Rattled by Muslim women backing the BJP on banning triple talaq, top Muslim Law Board has now changed its heart on the issue.
Rattled by reports that Muslim women had voted for the BJP in the recent Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh for supporting a ban on triple talaq, a rattled All India Muslim Personal Law Board has stepped in warning Muslim men who misuse triple talaq.
Those who misuse triple talaq or use it arbitrarily without valid reason will be subjected to social boycott, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB).
“Whoever gives triple talaq without valid Shariat reasons will be boycotted by the society… so that such cases do not arise in future,” the governing body for Muslim personal law in the country said.
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By social boycott the board said it would involve restricting the offender entry into public functions and community programmes. Though it would have no legal standing, the AIMPLB feels the fear of social isolation would serve as a deterrent for men misusing triple talaq.
The warning came at the end of a two-day executive meeting at the Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulam, a key Islamic seminary in Lucknow.
Coincidentally, the warning came on the same day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi wooed Muslim women over the triple talaq issue.
Speaking at Bhubaneswar, Modi lambasted triple talaq and called for measures to ensure that ‘socially backward’ in the community got benefits from affirmative action for OBCs.
In his address at the close of the BJP national executive in the capital city of Odisha, Modi spoke on triple talaq and made his government’s decision clear: to defy influential Muslim clergy and conservative opinion to back abolition of the controversial “instant divorce”.
Modi said all women had the right to live with dignity. “Prime minister spoke about social justice and Muslim sisters should be saved from injustice. However, there should not be division in the community and it should be done amicably,” highways minister Nitin Gadkari told the media later.
Though the AIMPLB indicated its change of stand on the triple talaw issue, it asserted its “full constitutional right” to implement Muslim personal law in the country.
“It is our responsibility to implement it and the best way is to ensure that is following its guidelines. Islamic Sharia gives equal status to men and women. The truth is that talaq was kept to protect women from danger,” Mohammaed Rabey Hasan Nadwi, AIMPLB president, said.
In an indication that the Board wants to take the wind out of the BJP sails on the issue, the AIMPLB asked and prodded Muslim couples to try and resolve differences on their own, and if that fails, adopt the “reconciliation and arbitration” method though involvement of family elders, before settling for a divorce.
Issuing a series of guidelines, the Board said if after the waiting period (iddat), reconciliation happens, the two can, through mutual consent, restore the relationship with a fresh marriage.
The AIMPLB appealed to imams and ulemas to spread the new set of guidelines on code of conduct and triple talaq through mosques during Friday prayers.
“If some people misuse it, the need is not to change the law but to correct such people,” a spokesperson of the Board said.
Going further the Board is now planning to set up a Muslim women’s wing and helpline while appealing to various Muslim organisations to help divorced and destitute women, and widows to get their rights under the Sharia.