Muslim men in India can break off their marriage by simply saying ‘Divorce’ three times

May 14, 2017 by  
Filed under India, newsletter-india

India, May 14, 2017: For Muslim men in India, getting a divorce can be as easy as one, two, three. Just say the word “talaq” three times, which means divorce in Arabic, and they’re good to go. But several divorced women want to change this practice, prompting the Supreme Court to open hearings into a number of petitions.

India enforced the practice in 1937, allowing Sharia or Islamic law to govern on marriages and divorces and prohibiting the state from interfering. Muslims who support the custom say the matter is an issue of faith and personal law, which the courts have no role getting involved into.

“Talaq is an honorable way of dissolving a marriage without going to the court of law,” said S.Q.R. Ilyas, a member of the dominant Muslim Personal Law Board. “The wife can re-marry … life goes on,” the member added. Other groups that support the practice are India’s conservative clerics and Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.

But Tahir Mahmood, an expert on Sharia law, calls the practice a perversion of Islam, saying that instant “triple talaq” divorce is not even mentioned in the Quran. He added that the procedure should be spread over three months, in which the husband would declare “talaq” once a month to give him and his wife enough time and chance for reflection and reconciliation.

Mahmood complained that politicians are wary of offending powerful clerics considering that Muslims are India’s largest minority community and the third largest in the world, with a population of 155 million. He lamented that their hope lies on the judiciary as politicians are only after the votes.

A five-member all-male bench of India’s Supreme Court will hear final arguments whether talaq is integral to Islam and should be protected constitutionally under freedom of religion. Most Islamic countries have banned triple talaq including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Tunisia and Egypt.

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