In a strongest ever censure against the social practice amid a raging debate over the issue, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has called for “social boycott” of whoever divorces his wife by pronouncing ‘triple talaq’ in one sitting. But it stopped short of abolishing the utterance of ‘talaq’ thrice in one sitting.
The board, which deals with the Muslim personal laws in India, issued an eight-point code of conduct to prevent “misuse” of the practice and other Islamic laws (Sharia) on Sunday.
The board, however, made it clear that it would not tolerate any outside interference in matters of Muslim personal laws.
On Ayodhya dispute, the AIMPLB made it clear that it is not in favour of any out-of-court settlement as was suggested recently by the apex court on the issue.
The Supreme Court is currently hearing a case on the constitutional validity of the practice some Muslims follow to annul their marriage pronouncing “talaq”, the Arabic word for divorce, thrice.
The Union government on October 7 last year opposed in the SC the triple talaq and other Islamic practices such as ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy and favoured a relook in their continuation on grounds such as gender equality and secularism.
The top court will start day-to-day hearing over the issue from May 13, on a PIL filed by some Muslim women challenging the practice.
No roadblocks should be put in the implementation of the personal laws, said board’s general secretary Maulana Wali Rahmani.
A booklet, titled ‘Instructions for Talaq’, containing the guidelines will be circulated in all the mosques so that Imams can read them out after Friday prayer to create awareness.
Imams and clergies have also been asked to follow the “code of conducts in letter and spirit,” Rahmani said.
The board says a woman who does not want to live with her husband has the right to seek separation (khula).
Clarifying the process of divorce, the board said a man needs to pronounce ‘talaq’ once every month for three consecutive months.
The powerful religious body of all Muslim sects also announced setting up of a helpline for victims of “triple talaq”.
“We have conducted a countrywide survey on triple ‘talaq.’ The findings reveal that the rate of divorce is lowest among the Muslims. The issue has been blown out of proportion by the media and by people who are cut off from the ground realities,” the board said.
The signature campaign has revealed that majority of the Muslims in the country are against any change in their personal law, Rehmani said.
He said the organisation would provide all possible help to Muslim woman divorcees as provided under Shariah and urged parents to give women a share in their properties instead of dowry at the time of marriage.
To counter, what it said, “false propaganda on electronic and social media” over the Islamic practice, the AIMPLB has set up a special women’s wing to present its point of view.
“We are carrying out counseling sessions in which we try to settle issues related to marriage/divorce through reconciliation and arbitration,” said in-charge of the women’s wing Asma Zehra.
The organisation, she said, has already received 15,500 calls on its Muslim women helpline number 18001028426 so far.