This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Nafees Ahmad. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Why I Think Triple Talaq Is Un-Islamic

More from Nafees Ahmad

The unprecedented move of the Supreme Court to hear the issue of triple talaq in the summer vacations and to refer it to a five-judge constitution bench speaks volumes about the gravity of this sensitive issue which has brought Muslim women’s rights to the forefront. The CJI JS Khehar listed the matter for summer vacations and expressed his willingness to sit even on a weekend to hear all the stakeholders between May 11 and May 19.

The judiciary should not lose this historic opportunity to rule in favour of Muslim women whose stand is backed, on one hand, by authentic verses of the Quran, which express a well-laid out procedure of talaq based on efforts of reconciliation and room for mediation, the necessity of two witnesses, categorical statements of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and public support.

The holy Quran lays down an explicit procedure of divorce and devotes one chapter to the cause of it, emphasising on a gradual process of divorce. Here are some of the verses.

The Quranic Verses

Divorced women remain in waiting for three periods.” (2:228)

Divorce is twice. Then, either keep [her] in an acceptable manner or release [her] with good treatment.”  (2:229)

And when you divorce women and they have [nearly] fulfilled their term, either retain them according to acceptable terms or release them according to acceptable terms.” (2:231)

“O Prophet, when you [Muslims] divorce women, divorce them for [the commencement of] their waiting period and keep count of the waiting period, and fear Allah, your Lord. Do not turn them out of their [husbands’] houses, nor should they [themselves] leave [during that period] unless they are committing a clear immorality. And those are the limits [set by] Allah. And whoever transgresses the limits of Allah has certainly wronged himself.” (65:1)

“And when they have [nearly] fulfilled their term, either retain them according to acceptable terms or part with them according to acceptable terms. And bring to witness two just men from among you and establish the testimony for [the acceptance of] Allah. That is instructed to whoever should believe in Allah and the Last day. And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out.” (65:2)

The last two verses underline the process of reconciliation and mediation and necessitate two witnesses while the divorce is processed. Besides, the verses command husband not to drive his wife out while she goes through a waiting period of three months.

Despite these unequivocal verses, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) is determined to back the practice of triple talaq, no matter how robust your argument is. Interestingly, the AIPMLB considers the practice of delivering triple talaq in one go as sin but maintains that it shouldn’t be banned. Why is the board unrelenting on its regressive stand?

The Defiance Of The All India Muslim Personal Law Board

The board, along with its ideological mentor and allies such as the Darul Uloom Deoband, Jamiat-Ulema-E-Hind and Jamaat-E-Islami, is adamant on maintaining the validity of triple talaq which is arbitrary and instantaneous and leaves no scope for reconciliation.

A judicial intervention, sought by some of its worst-hit victims such as Shah Bano, in a practice which has deprived many women of their adoring husbands and rendering them homeless in a flash of the eye, has been portrayed, by the board, as judicial overreach and unsolicited intervention in divine laws.

The board has recently said in its affidavit filed in the apex court that the issues (triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy) fell outside the purview of the judiciary and the latter should exercise restraint in this regard. The board then took refuge under the Article 25 of the Constitution which accords the fundamental right to the citizens to free conscience, practice and propagation of religion of their choice.

The board further contended that the issues which have been raised in a number of petitions fell within the legislative domain, and since divorce was an issue of a private nature, it cannot be enforced by bringing it under the ambit of fundamental rights.

The foregoing arguments of the board fall flat as the essence of the Quranic verses regarding divorce and halala go against the regressive stand of the board and all the arguments in the garb of secularism and the Constitution go against the discourse of gender justice and equality, which are the fundamental cornerstones of the Constitution. The centre, which is also a party, in this case, sought to oppose triple talaq on the ideal of gender justice.

The Centre

The centre has been consistent in opposing the practice of triple talaq in which a man divorces his wife by delivering three divorces in one stroke. The practice, according to Islamic injunctions, is arbitrary, unilateral, detestable, draconian and exercised according to the whims of a man. The centre has questioned this archaic practice by invoking three principles: gender equality, secularism and binding international covenants.

Here are the four questions the centre framed for the consideration of the top court of the country:

A) Whether Article 25(1) of the Constitution is consistent with the issues of triple talaq, halala and polygamy?

B) Whether this article is subordinate to Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution?

C) Whether personal law is ‘law’ under Article 13 of the Constitution

D) Whether the controversial foregoing practices (talaq, halala and polygamy) are compatible with India’s obligations under international treaties and covenants to which it is a signatory?

The Stand Of Muslim Women

The Muslim women led by Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) have been active in their opposition of triple talaq as they perceive it anti-women and anti-Islamic. The BMMA, in its nationwide study, has revealed that a whopping 92% of Muslim women want an end to the practice of triple talaq which is known as Talaq-ul-Biddat in Arabic and it is a new innovation in Islam and did not exist until the time of the second Caliph Umar.

The BMMA was able to garner 50,000 signatures of Muslim women seeking an end to the practice. She has been the most vocal champion of women’s rights and actively campaigned to put a ban on the practice.

Oblivious to the opposition of media, Muslim women and the general public, the board is rigid on its anti-Islamic stand of maintaining the validity of triple talaq, overlooking the plight of its hapless victims who are thrown out of their houses in the heat of the moment.

The Drawback Of The Board’s Defiance

The opposition of the board towards the invalidity of triple talaq has led to unnecessary and evitable judicial intervention and it has brought unsolicited disgrace on Islam. Indian liberal Muslims are united in case the apex court nullifies the validity of the triple talaq as it does not exist in the Quran.

The judiciary will have a tough challenge ahead in deciding the fate of polygamy as it is approved by the Quran, though with several harsh conditions that render it more or less rare among Muslims. In a shocking revelation, TOI published an article which says,If you were to carry out an honest survey across the country, you would find that more Hindu men than Muslims have more than one wife.”

To sum up, the board could have avoided this controversy by reforming its stand in accordance with the Quranic injunctions. But the board, unfortunately, failed to do so.

Now, the issue is under the judicial scanner and we are optimistic that the judiciary will settle it once and for all.

Image source: Rajesh_India/ Flickr
You must be to comment.

More from Nafees Ahmad

Similar Posts

By Karthika S Nair

By Mythili Kamath

By Aditi

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below