The All India Muslim Personal Law Board Thursday may have suggested that an “advisory” be sent to all qazis advising them to desist from encouraging triple talaq and ensuring that the practice is clearly seen as unacceptable. But on March 30, Dar ul Uloom, Deoband, the leading Islamic seminary and considered one of the most prestigious after Cairo-based Al Azhar, may have shown the way.
In a fatwa issued that day by seven scholars of Dar ul Uloom, including Mufti Habib-ur Rehman, it was decreed that as part of the nikahnama or marriage contract, it “would be durust (proper)” to incorporate the condition that the woman will never be given an oral and instantaneous triple talaq. “If it is uttered thrice at one sitting, it would be correct to treat it as one utterance”.
Moreoever, it said, that enhanced dower could be seen as a disincentive for breaking this clause, “eg of Rs 50,000 may be deemed multiplied 10 times, upto Rs 500,000” in case this condition is violated.
This fatwa comes out of a detailed query put forth by Justice Sohail Aijaz Siddique, former Chairman of the National Commisison for Minority Educational Institutions. He is of the view that “it is important for the community to show that it is cognisant of the fact that the instantaneous oral triple talaq is an evil social practice and must not be allowed to be continued. An argument made by the Board that the Courts or state must not interfere with personal laws of communities would be taken seriously only if there was a clear indication that the community itself was keen and capable of reform.”
Said Justice Siddique: “I was thrilled to note that the bench and judges on it asked for this assurance on Wednesday and on Thursday. It is important that this issue gets resolved without allowing for dragging all Muslim practices in the dock and trying to isolate them as violative of the Constitution and good sense.”
Justice Siddique had met Maulana Arshad Madni of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind in March and called upon him to take the initiative before the bench started its hearing.
Sources at Dar Ul Uloom said “the document must be read carefully and seen in the right spirit”.
A fatwa is an opinion as per Islamic law and is non-binding, but one from Dar ul Uloom in India is counted as the gold-standard of what is correct and appropriate Islamic practice.
While even in earlier fatwas by Dar ul Ifta, the fatwa-issuing branch of Dar ul Uloom has not wholeheartedly approved of the instantaneous oral triple talaq, it has for the first time enunciated a process through which it attempts to reform this practice.