The Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) has prepared a draft on the Muslim Family Act. The members are now carrying out awareness programmes to support the draft and make it reach the Parliament. The draft codifies the Muslim personal law to remove anomalies in law related to marriage, divorce, maintenance and related issues.
"We have prepared this draft after four-year deliberations with academicians, intellectuals, lawyers in 15 states across the nation," said Safia Akhtar, coordinator of BMMA Bhopal chapter, while talking to HT.
Muslim women suffer owing to occurrences such as oral talaq (divorce), polygamy and similar such personal law issues, which are dealt within the society in unjust and unfair manner. The Quran gives several rights to women, but owing to the lack of a codified personal law in India, the suffering of Muslim women continues, said Akhtar.
She said that in the absence of a codified law, customary practices which are divergent from the values and principles of the Quran have emerged. New codes have been introduced globally with the hope that they will introduce the rule of law in family matters and end arbitrariness and variances in judicial decisions.
In India, there is a need to have a comprehensive codified family law to ensure justice within the family. Akhtar said that the BMMA would be conducting an awareness campaign to take this draft to the Parliament.
The draft explains terms like arbitrators, marriage, maintenance, etc in the light of holy Quran. The draft maintains that marriage should be solemnised by a registered Qazi that could be 'of either sex'.
It also lays down procedure for solemnisation of Muslim marriage, responsibility of the Qazi (the cleric), meher, responsibility of witnesses, temporary prohibitions in marriage and above all grounds for divorce.
"It is ironical to see Muslim women suffer, especially in the name of religion. Quran has given enormous rights to women but patriarchal mindset of men is the biggest hurdle in providing rights to women," said women's counsellor Moheb Ahmad.
This draft has explained and rejected the idea of saying talaq thrice by any man to nullify the marriage. Some groups would definitely oppose this draft as it would help Muslim women become more powerful, added Ahmad.
The BMMA was established in 2007 as mass organisation of Muslim women from across the country to become an alternative progressive voice of the community. This organisation had earlier prepared a 'model nikahnaama' also to set standard format across country.