Won't tolerate the injustice anymore: Muslim women who have signed the petition against triple talaq speak

I signed a petition against triple talaq Hundreds of Indian Muslim women are fighting for changePTI
news Triple-Talaq Friday, June 10, 2016 - 16:59

Of the 4,000 Indian Muslim women surveyed last year by the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), a rights-based mass organization led by Muslim women, nearly 500 women said they had been divorced through triple talaq. Most of the women also supported the abolition of the practice calling it unislamic, reported AFP

A movement of sorts is currently brewing in the country, owing to efforts of BMMA which launched a petition seeking the abolishment of “triple talaq” calling it "Un-Quranic". 

Over 50,000 women, and 200 men, have signed in support of the campaign till now and The News Minute spoke to a few of them about their opinions on the issue.

35-year-old Ciemeen is a school teacher in Bhopal. She feels the "heinous" practice should be abolished immediately and that as citizens of India, it is our right to fight the injustice. 

"I was shocked to learn about so many divorce cases wherein men announce talaq on Facebook, WhatsApp, over the phone and many other ways. It is why I decided to sign the petition," she says. 

"Men think that they are done with three words- talaq, talaq, talaq. And many women, specially those who are uneducated, are not aware of their rights, which is the reason why they have been suffering for ages. There are also those who think that whatever the qazis and mufti’s say is always right," she says. 

Her sentiment is palpable when she goes on to ask, "Why should only men enjoy their rights? Why can't women enjoy their lives and all their rights as mentioned in the Quran?"

20-year-old Nikhat Haleema, a BA final year student from Hyderabad, has seen many a cases of triple talaq in the neighbourhood she lives in. She also knows the suffering these women go through once they have been arbitrarily divorced by their husband. Nikhat, along with five of her friends, have signed the petition. Like Ciemeen, she reiterates the importance of education to fight such deep-rooted practices.

‘’Nowhere in the Quran is it mentioned that men can give divorce to their wives by merely saying talaq thrice. But I have personally see such cases, and so the educated girls in our area who can read Quran and know our rights decided to create more awareness among women who don’t. We hope by signing we can create more awareness and bring about change.”

For some however, the issue at hand is a much larger one, one that involves the misogyny and violence that women regularly face in the confines of their homes.

As 20-year-old Zareen Begum, a counselor in Karwaan Centre in Hyderabad, puts it, “Men torture women in our community not only through “triple talaq”, but also through other ways like hitting them. Women in our community have no freedom to work or to take any decisions on their own. We can’t even wear the clothes we like. We are just dominated by men in every way. It is high time now. We will not tolerate this anymore, we will fight against it. We will make sure that no man can leave a woman by just uttering talaq thrice. And for this change to become a reality every woman should come forward and sign this petition.”

Safia Akhtar (60), state convener of BMMA from Madhya Pradesh, explains how a large number of victims of triple talaq are uneducated women with children. So when their husbands abandon them, they are not just mentally hurt, they also end up with no financial assistance, which only quadruples their suffering.

She narrates one such incidence. “There was one case in MP last year where a husband announced divorce in the newspaper. A famous mufti in Bhopal had asked his son to give talaq to his wife. The daughter-in-law was also a victim of domestic violence. She was immediately thrown out of the house along with her one-year-old kid and she has not received any maintaince yet. If a powerful person like a mufti can take such a step, what will a common man do then?’’

The practice of “triple talaq” is banned in 21 countries including Pakistan. The relentless fight of these women to add India to the list looks promising to say the least.