Thousands of Muslim women in India are campaigning to abolish the ancient “divorce law” of triple talaq, but now men are also offering their support in a bid to change the law, according to the Hindustan Times.
Under the Muslim Personal Law Application Act, husbands are still permitted in India to perform talaq, whereby they must notify their wife in some way that they require a divorce by stating: “talaq, talaq, talaq”. Although this has become obsolete in many countries including Bangladesh, it is still used regularly in India, where wives have reported receiving letters at their parents’ house, as well as messages on Facebook and Whatsapp.
Recently, 50,000 Muslims signed a petition organised by Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, a charity dedicated to empowering Muslim women. However, Muslim leaders in India have stated that a change to the law would be “unacceptable”, although they concede that triple talaq should only ever be used as a last resort and that married couples should do all they can to reconcile; directions as laid out by The Koran.
Since then, over 200 men on behalf of the Muslim Men for Gender Justice Organisation which is based in Mumbai, have lent their support to the women’s charity and are campaigning for the law to be changed.
In a survey carried out among 4000 Muslim women last year, twelve percent said that they had been divorced by their husbands by way of talaq, despite many Muslim scholars believing that the procedure, which dates back to the seventh century, diverts from The Koran.
Muslim Men for Gender Justice counts lawyers, businessmen and doctors among its members. Irfan Engineer, who works at the Institute of Islamic Studies in Mumbai, also signed the statement, saying that religious leaders in India have made it very clear that they are very much in favour of retaining the practice and they must be “compelled to change”.