The term triple talaq refers to the classic Islamic law that states that a man can announce to his wife, without reason or court approval, that their marriage is over.
This law is entirely male-centric, as it gives men all of the control in a marriage and women virtually none. The resultant power dynamic is incredibly unequal, as women must please their husbands in order to avoid divorce.
There is an imminent hearing in the apex court that will determine the validity of triple talaq. Opponents and supporters of the law have spoken out in anticipation of this hearing, both trying to sway the decision to their side.
The All India Muslim Personal Board (AIMPLB) is a huge supporter of the law, and has urged the courts not to touch its personal laws.
The board released a statement saying, “It is humbly submitted that the court ought not to venture into the area of changing personal laws by following the trend in several other countries. It is pertinent to note that any change or reform that comes with the backing of legislature takes due care of diverse cultural background, sensitivity and sensibility of the stakeholder community and thus is in spirit adheres to both the principles – the principle of democracy and the principle of separation of powers.”
According to the AIMPLB, the court’s ruling on the crucial rights of women is insensitive to the cultural backgrounds of its citizens. Ending injustice to women in the form of the triple talaq would thus be a “great injustice to the followers of Islam in our nation.”
AIMPLB further explains its claim that, “If a serious discord develops between a couple, and the husband does not want to live with the wife, legal compulsions of time-consuming separation proceedings and expenses may deter him from taking the legal course.
In such instances, he may resort to illegal, criminal ways of murdering or burning her alive.” This claim reveals an alarming, unapologetically violent mindset towards women.
In response to these statements and in anticipation of the upcoming hearing, eight Muslim women have spoken up about the matter. These women want the court to repeal the practice of triple talaq and polygamy.
The Modi government has given support to the women in its statement, which says, “Gender equality and dignity of woman are non-negotiable, over-arching constitutional values [that] can brook no compromise. These rights are necessary in letter and in spirit to realise aspirations of every individual woman.”
This response is promising, and it shows that there are members of the government who have women’s best interest in mind. The strength of these eight women in coming forward and arguing for their rights is inspiring. It only takes one voice of opposition to finally break through and make a difference, so if we all add our voices to the mix, progress can truly be achieved.
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