Do Muslim leaders, who are backing triple talaq system, hate or undermine women? No! Don’t they understand the irrelevance of the system in a modern world? They do! They why support triple talaq? It’s a battle of ego and votes. Muslim leaders do not want to be seen defeated in a fight over, what they call religious right. They fear they would no more be seen as “guardians of Islam” if they let go triple talaq system. They would lose authority. There is also apprehension about people slowly bypassing them while seeking blessings of Allah!
Another reason for the religious heads or spokespersons to stick to triple talaq is to appease the vast majority male chauvinists, who are present in any religion. The Allahabad High Court verdict terming triple talaq unconstitutional is a major blow to the male chauvinists, who constitute a huge constituency among Muslims. This section, who ‘genuinely’ need triple talaq, is voters for political parties and supporters of ‘guardians of Islam’ like the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB).
The Allahabad High Court verdict against triple talaq cannot bring ultimate smile to the suffering Muslim women. There is another litigation pending the Supreme Court. The AIMPLB is trying to justify triple talaq as a religious right which is protected under the Constitution. India being a secular country every person belonging to any religious community has the freedom of practicing his religion. Now to validate its argument AIMPLB will have to prove that triple talaq is a religious practice and that it does not come in the way of a person’s fundamental right – ‘Right to Equality’. The right to equality is violated in triple talaq as it is a one way process. The woman cannot say ‘triple talaq’ to her husband, if she wants to leave him, let alone text the same to him through SMS, Whatsapp and Facebook, and earn freedom! The verdict is a first step towards establishing gender equality among Muslims in India. More and more of the community now need to come out in support of the verdict and follow Islam with more freedom, rather than restriction.
(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on December 9, 2016)