Muslim body asks qazis to officiate interfaith weddings in presence of parents

Cases have been filed over inter-religious marriages in states such as Madhya Pradesh under the anti-conversion law, which provides for imprisonment up to 10 years.
Madhya Pradesh is among the states that have passed anti-conversion laws. (Getty Images/Representative image)
Madhya Pradesh is among the states that have passed anti-conversion laws. (Getty Images/Representative image)
Updated on Feb 21, 2022 05:14 PM IST
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BHOPAL: The All-India Ulama Board has asked qazis to officiate interfaith weddings only in presence of parents of couples for the sake of peace and harmony, the organisation’s president said on Monday.

Cases have been filed over inter-religious marriages in states such as Madhya Pradesh under the anti-conversion law, which provides for imprisonment up to 10 years.

Qazi Syed Anas Ali Nadvi, the board’s president, said such marriages happening without the approval of parents was harming harmony. “A letter has been written in this regard to all the qazis to solemnise inter-religious weddings only in the presence of parents of couples,” he said.

Nadvi said it is not permissible to get married without the consent and presence of the parents. “It is necessary that at the time of registering the marriages, the necessary documents should be checked for their authenticity,” he said. He added the purpose of such marriages should not be only conversion.

Nadvi said they were receiving complaints about secret marriages, which are unnecessarily creating tensions. “It is not right to change religion for marriage. It has come to our notice that people have changed their names according to Islam just for the purpose of registering the marriages but they are living with their old identities.”

He added action will be taken against qazis who violate the order. Nadvi said marriages without the consent of parents were hurting the harmonious culture.

Ishrat Ali, a qazi in Indore, said they were not officiating inter-faith marriages since the enactment of the anti-conversion law in Madhya Pradesh. “According to Islam, any adult man and woman can marry each other in the presence of two witnesses. The presence of parents is not necessary.”

Madhya Pradesh is among the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states that have criminalised what they call forced religious conversion, including through interfaith marriages. Critics of the legislation say they are being misused to target minorities and tend to infantilise women to prevent them from choosing who they wish to marry.

Vigilante groups have targeted interfaith couples and the anti-conversion laws were passed after a campaign against “love jihad”, the term Hindu groups use to describe relationships between Muslim men and Hindu women. The groups believe “love jihad” is an organised conspiracy of Muslim men to trick Hindu women into marriage.

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