Statement against All India Muslim Personal Law Board’s affidavit claiming triple talaq is Islamic: Bebaak Collective

Statement by Hasina Khan, Roshni Rina, Geeta Thatra, Shirin Dalvi  on behalf of Bebaak Collective (Voices of the Fearless).

Contact details: bebaakcollective@gmail.com/ 9870162113

We, as part of women’s movement and practising feminists working with Muslim community and the women of the community for years in India, take the liberty to write this statement condemning the recent affidavit posed by All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB). The claims of this affidavit are:

First, abolition of triple talaq is (un) Quranic;

Second, since women lack decision making abilities, it is only men of the community who should have this right;

Third, polygamy is Islamic, though not promoted by Islam, and this practice ensures marital rights for Muslim women, banning of which will result in promiscuous sexual practices or murder of women at the hands of their husbands;

Fourth, the honorable Supreme Court of India has no right to intervene in the religious law of the community.

This statement has been issued by the AIMPLB in the context of the growing number of Muslim women’s petitions challenging the constitutionality of triple talaq in the apex court.

We strongly condemn this statement based on all the four premises.

First, whether the practice of unilateral triple talaq is validated by religion or not is not our concern, rather we emphasize that it is gender discriminatory and epitomises patriarchal values and therefore must be abolished.

Second, the belief that women lack decision making qualities dilutes the citizenship rights of Muslim women in India who have been exercising their electoral rights for more than sixty years now.

Third, the idea that polygamy ensures marital rights for Muslim women and prevents death threats, and that its erasure will increase promiscuous sexuality, is not only conservative but also challenges the principle of ‘equality’ enshrined by our Indian Constitution for women.

Fourth, the claim that Supreme Court cannot intervene in personal law contravenes Article 14 which promises equal rights to the citizens within Indian territory across religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth.

It is no surprise that All India Muslim Personal Board has not progressed over the decades and reiterates the same position which resonates with the patriarchal conservative ideas of the community. However, we envision a gender just law for the community where  there would be social security and rights for women as promised by the Indian Constitution.

We do not believe in progressive or regressive interpretation of religion, nor codification of Muslim Personal Law for codification can eliminate the multiple realities of identity, multiple practices of beliefs and pluralist visions of family structure, which we believe exist in in every community, including the Muslim community.

We therefore, emphasize on acknowledgement of women’s rights which remain unacknowledged in the name of religion, purity, chastity or even in the garb of ‘protecting’ women.

This statement is not only an emphatic resistance to religious organizations like All India Muslim Personal Law Board but also a call to reiterate the feminist vision of gender just laws for Muslim women who are also rightfully Indian citizens.

List of organizations, collectives, groups and individuals supporting the statement.

Organizations:

  1. Forum Against Oppression of Women, Mumbai
  2. Khairun, Sameena, Manda Behen from Parwaaz Sansthan, Gujarat
  3. Sahiyar (Stree Sangathan) Team
  4. LABIA- A Queer Feminist LBT Collective
  5. Awaaz-E-Niswaan, Bombay
  6. Saheli Women’s Resource Centre, Delhi
  7. Pehchaan, Dedhradu
  8. Muhim, Farrukhabad
  9. Sparrow Mumbai
  10. Humsafar Support System, Lucknow
  11. Zehen Collective- An Intersectional Queer Feminist Collective, Mumbai

List of scholars, writers, activists, theatre personality and individuals.

  1. Ayesha Kidwai, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  2. Uma Chakravarti, Historian
  3. Ritu Menon, editor and author of Unequal Citizens: A Study of Muslims Women in India
  4. Zoya Hasan, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi author of Educating Muslim Girls: a comparison of five Indian cities
  5. Mary E John, Centre for Women’s Studies, Delhi
  6. Anjali Monteiro, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
  7. Teesta Setalvad, activist, Mumbai
  8. Madhu Mehra, Partners for Law in Development, Delhi
  9. Masooma Ranalvi, activist campaigning against female genital mutilation
  10. Rahman Abbas, writer, Bombay
  11. Ritu Diwan, Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai
  12. Jaya Sagade, Director, Women’s Study Centre, Pune
  13. Lata Singh, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi
  14. Suneeta Dhar, Jagori, Delhi
  15. Rajarshi Dasgupta, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi
  16. Geeta Seshu, journalist Bombay
  17. Sukla Sen, EKTA (Community for Communal Animity), Mumbai
  18. Ranu Jain, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
  19. Rituparna Borah, Nazariya, Delhi
  20. Anuradha Kapoor, Swayam, Kolkata
  21. S, Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai.
  22. Vahida Nainar
  23. Pushpa Achanta, Bangalore
  24. Monisha Behal, North East Network, Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland
  25. Hozefa Ujjaini, Janvikas, Ahmadabad
  26. Madhu Bhusan
  27. Gabriele Dietrich, Madurai
  28. Kalyani Menon-Sen, Delhi
  29. Abha Bhaiya, Jagori, Delhi
  30. Thanksky Thekkekara, Ex. Additional Chief Secretary of Maharashtra
  31. Shubhada Deshmukh, Ahmi Amchaya Arogaya saathi – gadhchiroli,Nagpur
  32. Pyoli Swatija, Women against sexual violence and State repression
  33. Purwa Bharadwaj, activist
  34. Razia Patel, activist and writer, Pune
  35. Anwar Rajan, Pragtishil Bhartiya Muslim Andolan
  36. Pouruchisti Wadia, SNEHA , Mumbai
  37. Rohini Hesman, author, Bombay
  38. Kamayani Bali Mahabal
  39. Brinelle D’souza, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
  40. Nasreen Fazalbhoy
  41. Mangai, theatre person, Chennai
  42. Japleen Pasricha, Feminism in India
  43. Vimala Ramachandran
  44. Hussain Indorewala, Mumbai
  45. Saswati Ghosh, Professor, Kolkata
  46. Shakil Ahmad, Swaraj Abhiyan
  47. ShubhRaj Merchanta Chacko
  48. Lena Ghosh
  49. Johanna Lokhade
  50. K Dave
  51. Sohini Shoaib
  52. Reema K M
  53. Ansari Najmussaher
  54. Neetika Vishwanath
  55. Nandini Rao
  56. Aswathy Raveendran
  57. Juhi Jain
  58. Riddhima Sharma, FemPsitive
  59. Rubina Jasani
  60. Farrukh Saiyyeda Waris
  61. Gitanjali Joshua
  62. Nazia Akhtar
  63. Trupti Sethi
  64. Salim Saboowala
  65. Rajan Padwal
  66. Payal Agarwal
  67. Kaveri Dadhich
  68. Niti Saxena
  69. Neeraj Malik
  70. Javed Malick
  71. Anisha George, Research Scholar, Tiss, Mumbai
  72. Runu Chakrabarti
  73. Anuradha Pati
  74. Nimisha, Olakh, Vadodara
  75. Shewli Kumar, TISS, Mumbai
  76. Lakshmi Subhramanium
  77. Vaishali Gaikwad
  78. Sana Contractor
  79. Rafia Zaman
  80. Riddhima Sharma, Research Scholar, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  81. Priyanka Sisodiya
  82. Afreen Bano Khan
  83. Swarnima Bhattacharya
  84. Tarique Eqbal
  85. Deepra Dandekar
  86. Rajesh Umadevi
  87. Urvija Priyadarshini
  88. Ranjini Murthy
  89. Brandt, Zehen, Mumbai
  90. Pushpa Achanta
  91. Nivedita Menon, JNU

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Statement against All India Muslim Personal Law Board’s affidavit claiming triple talaq is Islamic: Bebaak Collective

  1. Manu vedwan

    No , doubt Muslim women (it reflects the intention of Muslim women and collective work of all the intellectuals whether Muslim or not or for that matter even Muslim or not)have all the rights to fight against anything which they find as against the esteem of the female gender. Saying, that it will lead to their murders ,in an affidavitfiled on the behalf of the board, in whatever sense or context it is said is absolutely wrong . Infact , this as well as other unreasonable and unconstitutional grounds found mentioned in that affidavit further strengthened their ground that something requires to be rectified for future generation..

  2. mu

    “This statement is not only an emphatic resistance to religious organizations like All India Muslim Personal Law Board but also a call to reiterate the feminist vision of gender just laws for Muslim women who are also rightfully Indian citizens.”
    Why this statement stops with this, instead of indicating what they envisage as gender just laws. It talks of gender just laws and not Uniform Civil Code (UCC).. Is it because they do not want to give an impression that they are in favor of UCC.
    “We do not believe in progressive or regressive interpretation of religion, nor codification of Muslim Personal Law for codification can eliminate the multiple realities of identity, multiple practices of beliefs and pluralist visions of family structure, which we believe exist in in every community, including the Muslim community.”
    Codification is necessary but not sufficient to bring in gender just laws. The so called ‘ multiple realities of identity, multiple practices of beliefs and pluralist visions of family structure” need not be favorable to gender justice and work against it. Polygamy can be claimed as an acceptable practice if one goes by this view. Codification of Hindu Laws did benefit Hindu women. It is one thing to be cautious about codification and ensure that codification does not harm women or deprive them of the rights in the name of codification. It is another to reject codification totally. The statement takes the second position. This statement criticizes AIMPLB but stops telling us what exactly the signatories want. Do they want reform in personal laws or do they prefer a UCC. The AIMPLB’s response is to a case before Supreme Court. Do the signatories at least agree with the demands on banning triple talaq. Even that is not clear from this statement.

  3. Gauhar Siraj

    For Muslims, the issues that you have raised are deeply religious, hence of great importance. They seem to have their own understanding of their religion and frequently mention that Islam came as a liberator ( and cite how even today, in the liberated/educated West women still form the bulk of the population that converts to Islam). Superimpose that with the fact that the Indian government, its constitution and laws have come through for them very slowly, reluctantly and covered in communally vitiated identity politics and lack reliability or even credibility. To add to the crisis they have been under vicious attack from RSS-BJP combine. Hence advocacy needs to be contextualized and nuanced, not in-your-face. You only need to look at what happened to the failed attempts made to upgrade the Codified Hindu laws, and to bring about social transformation and change gender relationships to see how that can be counter productive.

    Flavia Agnes shows a better way to engage. This comment by her stands out, “The enforcement of a uniform civil code cannot be viewed in a simplistic manner as outlawing polygamy and triple talaq. The issue is far more complex and would require a nuanced analysis of the gaps within existing laws of all communities, from the perspective of women’s empowerment, to explore a solution which, in its essence, is gender-just.”

    Read her brilliant article in full here: https://communalism.blogspot.in/2016/08/india-uniform-rights-not-uniform-law.html

    As good as Flavia’s proposal is I don’t subscribe to her methods entirely either, for she too ultimately seeks change via judicial laws, completely ignoring Islamic feminism. Still, her recommended process, though not greatly successful, seems much more practical in comparison.

    Change is perhaps the most difficult thing to bring about. But all meaningful changes must happen from within. That is a more assured way of bringing about change for it will come about only when the stake holders feel vested and committed. My personal opinion though is that it may be better to ask for these changes to be brought about within the framework of Islam and not the Indian constitution. If the process is conducted within known parameters it would perhaps become easier to sell the changes required. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter which path the change takes. That is just being practical. There are ways and processes to do so within Islam. It would do well to remember that Islam is neither monolithic nor has it remained stagnant over the course of its 1400 years of history. That, is obvious from how the 58 or so Islamic countries run their lives in different ways while still operating within the frame of Sharia system of laws.

    An internal dialogue definitely needs to happen within the Islamic community in India where Muslim intellectuals start asking questions and bring about consensus on issues that need attention. As outsiders, you could perhaps help in that process…in starting a nuanced dialogue which could enable a process of discussions internally. However, you need to do so from outside, not as actual agents of change. Certainly not in the brash manner that you have adopted creating an anti-religion, us versus them scenario.

  4. Pingback: Women unite to fight against oppressive religious laws

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