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‘Muslim women opposed to unilateral divorce’

95 per cent surveyed unaware of Muslim Personal Law Board.

Written by Zeeshan Shaikh | Mumbai |
August 9, 2015 12:54:30 am

An all India survey by the Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan reveals that 92.1 per cent of the surveyed Muslim women were opposed to oral Talaq, a form of unilateral divorce that does not give room for reconciliation, and 91.2 per cent were against polygamy.

Of those surveyed, 88.3 per cent were more agreeable to another form of Talaq that offered scope for reconciliation.

A majority of those surveyed were, however, not aware about the All India Muslim Personal Law Board that works to protect Muslim Personal Law in the country. Of the 4500 women interviewed, 95.5 per cent claimed they had never heard about the AIMPLB.

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The results of the survey by the Mumbai-based BMMA will be formally released on Tuesday.

Of the women interviewed, 78.7 per cent of were homemakers and 73.1 % had an annual family income of less than Rs 50000. The survey reveals that 55.3 per cent of the respondents married before the age of 18, and 53.2 per cent had faced domestic abuse.

Several women’s groups have been demanding that the Muslim Personal Law be codified so that it is not open to interpretations. The clergy is against any tampering with Islamic laws.

The survey states that 88.3 per cent of the women agreed Talaq-e-ahsan to be the method of divorce rather than oral talaq which can take place with the husband uttering the word thrice. In the Talaq-e-Ahsan, divorce is pronounced once. If both parties agree, the husband can reverse the process of separation.

The survey says that 88.9 per cent of Muslim women were keen on retaining custody of children after divorce and 95.6 per cent wanted the ex-husband to pay maintenance for children. The survey states that 75.5 per cent of respondents wanted 18 years as the minimum age for a girl to marry and 88.3 per cent wanted the age of marriage of boys to be over 21 years.

The All India Muslim Personnel Law Board is skeptical about the findings of the survey.

“Which sane Muslim person in the country is not aware of the AIMPLB,” Maulana Abdul Raheem Qureshi, spokesperson of the AIMPLB said.

On abolishing oral talaq, Maulana Qureshi said the AIMPLB was not in favour of tampering with Muslim laws. He said it gave a way out of a tough marriage. “Look at dowry deaths in Hindu women… The Islamic system allows couples a chance of coming out of a bad relationship. Other religions do not do so easily…,” Maulana Qureshi added.

The BMMA said the survey was to find empirical data on status of Muslim women.

“The objective was to find what Muslim women seek in Muslim Personal Law. The survey was to voice aspirations of women in the community,” Bhartiya Muslim Mahil Andolan founder member Noorjehan Safia Niaz said.

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