Kerala’s prominent Muslim cleric Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musaliyar has observed that Islam has not changed its obstinate approach with regard to the freedom for Muslim women and their relation with men on the reason that the women were educated.
In an interview with latest issue of Malayalam weekly Mathrubhumi,the influential Sunni leader said the modern times require education for Muslim women. “But that did not mean the Islam has changed its decrees regarding the life of women. Muslim women should not work in a place where only a woman and a man are present. They should go for job only in a place where there are enough number of women and trustworthy men. About 90 per cent of jobs do not require man-women mingling. These rules cannot be changed. The obstinacy still continues,” said Musaliyar, the general secretary of All India Sunni Jam-Iyyathul Ulema.
On women’s mobility,Musaliyar said they should travel only in unavoidable circumstances. These journeys should be for the purposes ratified by Islam. The Islam could not accept the argument that women have to travel extensively these days. If they go out,it should be in the company of male family members or of large group of women.
On recent controversy in Kerala over reducing the marriage age of Muslim women,he said the community organisations were looking for means to dissuade the government from fixing the marriage age at 18. But the general impression that Muslims do not obey the rules of the government or court is a dangerous situation,he said.
The Sunni leader,once known for his pro-Left stand in elections,said the community would not tolerate if a law is made tomorrow that a parent does not have the right to marry of his daughter. If a parent is able to find a suitable bridegroom for his daughter when she is 15 year old,it is better to allow such marriage. Sometimes,the bridegroom would take a stand that he was not ready to wait,instead would scout for other prospective brides. In such occasions,it is not good that the parent is unable to conduct that marriage,he said.
Although fixing marriage age as 18 is against Islam,the community perceives that demand could be pardoned off. Since the law is adamant the woman’s marriage would be held only after she attains 18 years,the organisations have adopted a wait-and watch policy. “Yet,we expect the marriage age would get some exceptions at certain particular situations. If a marriage is not allowed on the reason that the bride has six months left to attain the age of 18,that situation would lead to adultery. In such occasions,it is better to solemnize the marriage under the leadership of elders and community leaders,” he said.