Shia body wants talks to settle Ayodhya issue, denounces triple talaq
The All India Shia Personal Law Board (AISPLB) said on Wednesday the dispute over a religious site in Ayodhya should be resolved through talks and also denounced the practice of triple talaq amid fresh spotlight on both the issues.
A Hindu mob demolished the 16th century Babri Masjid on December 2, 1992, demanding the construction of a temple for Lord Ram, who Hindus believe was born at the site in Ayodhya. The demolition of the mosque sparked some of the deadliest riots in India in which thousands were killed.
Muslims groups are opposed to building a temple at the site.
Last month, the Supreme Court said the settlement of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute through negotiation was a better course than insisting on a judicial pronouncement. The Chief Justice of India even offered to act as a mediator between the two sides laying claim over the historic site in Ayodhya.
“We are of the view that in the interest of the country, the parties to the dispute (both Hindus and Muslims) should sit down together and solve the matter through talks,” Maulana Yasoob Abbas of the AISPB said after a meeting of the executive committee in Lucknow.
The Muslim body also adopted a resolution endorsing a ban on cow slaughter. It praised the ‘fatwa’ or the religious decree issued by a renowned Iraqi Shia cleric Ayatullah Bashir Najfi imposing a ban on cow slaughter and said it would be followed it in letter and spirit in India as well.
Though Shias do not follow the triple talaq, the board’s stand on the issue has been at variance to that of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), which has prominent Shia clerics like Maulana Kalbe Sadiq and Maulana Kalbe Jawan also on its panel.
Under the provision of triple talaq, Muslim men can divorce their wives by simply stating their intention three times orally.
In September last year, the AISPLB had mooted its own model nikahnama (marriage contract) laying down specific guidelines and conditions on which a marriage could be annulled. Abbas said it was a misconception that Muslim women do not have divorce rights.
“Both men and women have equal rights but it is the provision of triple talaq that has been cropping of and on and unnecessary putting the religion (Islam) in a bad light. And now the matter has reached the Supreme Court,” he pointed out.
The Supreme Court is hearing a petition filed by women’s rights activists who want the declaration of triple talaq as unconstitutional.
Abbas said he was confident that the model nikahnama would be accepted and adopted across the country by Muslims as it empowered women and gave them rights in the modern context and was not at variance with anything laid down in the Indian Constitution.
In another resolution, the board demanded representation for Shias within the quota granted to minorities in government jobs and all other sectors.
“Shias have been ignored in the recommendations made by Sachar Committee. We want that a similar commission is set up for six crore Shias and they are given their due rights and quota in jobs,” Abbas said.