With 50,000 Muslim women and men from across 13 states having already endorsed its demand to “abolish triple talaq” by making it illegal, the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) has written to the National Commission for Women (NCW) seeking its support for a law banning the “un-Quranic” practice of oral/unilateral divorce.
BMMA, the letter addressed to NCW chairperson, Dr Lalitha Kumaramanglam says, “is confident that you will support the legitimate and democratic demands of Muslim women. We also hope that you will be the ambassador for Muslim womens’ demand for justice at various governmental platforms”. The organisation is simultaneously contacting women’s commissions in different states for their “support and solidarity”.
A press statement issued by BMMA says that alongside its ongoing national campaign for more signatures, it continues to compile more and more cases across India of women victims of the “inhuman practice” of instant divorce.
BMMA’s earlier report, ‘Seeking Justice within Family’, based on a nationwide study found that 92% of Muslim women want an end to this practice which destroys their life and the lives of their children. Coupled with oral divorce, BMMA is also seeking abolishing of the “heinous practice of nikah halala”. (Nikah halala means that once a husband divorces his wife, the two can remarry only if she marries another man, the marriage is consummated and her new husband divorces her).
BMMA has been running a campaign in the past few years to educate Muslim women and men that there is no sanction for instant/oral divorce in the Quran. “In fact the Quranic method requires a 90 day process of dialogue, reconciliation and mediation before divorce takes place”.
Despite the clear Quranic injunction, women continue to be divorced unilaterally, rendered completely helpless as they have no say in the arbitrary process. BMMA bemoans the fact that “Qazis approve this malpractice and support the Muslim men to divorce their wife in this un-Quranic manner. Qazis also encourage nikah halala and even offer themselves as temporary husbands”.
BMMA is demanding a legal prohibition to unilateral divorce – triple talaq and nikah halala. It is also demanding that the mediation process must be made mandatory as per the provisions of the Quran.
“Muslim women are citizens of India and all Constitutional safeguards are applicable to her. The Muslim personal law must be reformed in such a manner that all discriminatory practices are struck down as illegal and Muslim women’s Constitutional and Quranic rights are safeguarded”, BMMA has demanded.
With substantial presence in 13 states across the country, BMMA already has over one lakh members.