During one of my ethics classes, we were discussing morality in the domain of religion, politics, and somehow “nikah halala” came into the picture.
The Government recently passed “The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill” on June 30, 2019 which makes it a criminal offence for the husband to perform triple talaq (talaq-e-biddt), that is, the uttering of the word ‘talaq’ (divorce) including electronic or written means thrice in one sitting. A practice, though not mentioned in the Quran, gradually came into being, and had been going on since centuries—until it became an offence. With the passing of the new law, this offence would lead to three years of imprisonment along with a fine for the husband. And the compliant can be filed by the women or her blood relative. But a shortcoming of this bill is that it doesn’t include the practice of “Nikah halala”.
This is a practice performed by the Islamic religion wherein the husband gives divorce to his wife, using any form of talaq. After the completion of “iddat” (the waiting period), which is usually three months, the wife can remarry any other male without any precondition. If she wishes, she can remarry her first husband too. It’s a practice which favours the Muslim women. But this practice is (mis)used in a certain way, mostly prevalent amongst the “Sunni Muslims”. The women here are required to marry someone else, have sexual intercourse with that person and then divorce him, to remarry her first husband. Such practices have developed over time.
The Quran prohibits this act. According to the Quran, if the man divorces the wife for the third time, she can marry any other male she desires. But if the next husband dies or divorces her, she and her former husband are free to remarry.
The inhuman “Islamic dharma gurus” frighten people stating that if they don’t follow ”nikah halala” then God would be upset, and this is done just to satisfy their sexual needs and greed. Innocent women are exploited in the name of religion. This practice has not been approved by the Prophet or the religion itself. The religion gives both man and wife a fair chance to continue or dismiss their marriage without any restrictions. Yet, in the 21st century, women are struggling for their freedom.
These religious practices in the name of imam objectify women and play with their character. The person hired for performing halala are paid in lakhs, all this is apparently being done for the sake of saving the marriage. It has converted to a one-night stand business, run by the ‘professional agents’ where a majority of the men are married, and this is done without taking permission from their wives. The latter have no knowledge of their husbands acting as agents.
It’s traumatising to see these things in the current world, where slogans of women empowerment, ‘Beti bachao’ are being chanted and yet, simultaneously, such crucial issues remain unaddressed.
The person behind making people aware of the crimes taking place against women in the name of ”nikah halala” is Sameena Begum. She is the one who filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in Supreme Court against it. I think it’s our duty to encourage such people to come out and make a difference in society.
It is extremely important today that people have complete knowledge about things, even in case of religious matters. But the question still remains: Is it ethical to perform such heinous actions in the name of religion?