By Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam
23 May 2017
(Co-author (Jointly with Ashfaque Ullah Syed), Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA, 2009
This is in response to the article ‘Supreme Court as Clergy’ dated May 20 by Faizan Mustafa, Vice Chancellor, NALSAR University of Law, and in sequel to his recently published articles dated May 11 and this writer’s series of articles on the issue of instant triple Talaq dating from Jan. 2012 referenced below.
Certain universal truths/ customs about Islam are above debate and cannot be dismissed by Law, nor need to be authenticated by the so-called clergy whether they are essential or non-essential components of faith. The Qur’an preaches that there is One God. Muslims recite from the Qur’an in their daily prayers. Muslims are required to do ablution (wet or dry) before commencing the prayer. The Qur’an prohibits flesh of swine as food. The Qur’an abolished the custom of burying alive of new born girls. The Qur’an abolished the custom of instant divorce and introduced a time frame for divorce. The Qur’an abolished incestuous relation between clearly identified close relations.
Now if a clergy or even a secular person says no to any of the above propositions, he is simply telling a lie against the Qur’an or is stark ignorant of what is written in the Qur’an.
This leads up to the tricky question embedded in this statement in the article in the context of instant divorce: It [The Court] does not have the expertise to decide which practice/ritual is essential/non-essential. These are purely religious questions, which is best left to clergy.”
The flaw in the statement is that i) it does not define ‘clergy.’ ii) it fails to recognize that the Qur’an does not recognize any clergy class or any other authority entrusted with the interpretation of its message.
The question around which this writer’s consistently advocated argument of constitutionally invalidating triple Talaq rests, is its enduringly devastating impact on a poor Muslim woman who receives the triple Talaq at a fatal moment.
In the blink of an eye, she loses her husband, her children, her home and hearth, her status, her livelihood. She is barred from all her Qur'anic rights; her fundamental human rights are violated. She is abjectly dehumanized, and is struck with such overwhelming shock, trauma, and mental agony, that may be no less tormenting than if she were about to be buried alive. Also unlike a wife who is, so to say, buried alive (instead of getting instant triple divorce) she will suffer stigma, disgrace and deprivation all her life. So a woman from a poor family who is handed a triple divorce suffers more grievously than if she was buried alive – a parallel that India’s ex-Union Minister Mohammed Arif Mohammed Khan aptly gave in a recent court hearing.
Bearing the above in mind, it is simply ridiculous to suggest that the ‘court’ does not have the expertise to decide the essentiality or otherwise of triple Talaq. The Judges are no robots. They are human beings. Regardless of what Muslim clergy say on a matter that is expressly repugnant to Qur’an (the holy book of Muslims), to universal human values and opposed to the noble notions of justice, mercy, compassion that distinguish man from beast, the court can surely say that such practice/ ritual cannot be ‘essential ‘to Islamic faith or for that matter any faith.
Let us not forget the case of Imrana [June 06, 2005]. Raped by her father-in-law, the local clerics invoked Hanafi law to turn the rapist father-in-law into lawful husband of the rape victim. The Supreme Court did not leave the matter with the clergy. It intervened and handed due punishment to the rapist father in law.
Think of the case of so many un-known sisters of Imrana, whom their husbands instantly divorce in a state of drunkenness or anger and then force to marry a friend and have intercourse with him and get his friend to divorce her for him to remarry her back – all within just a few days - what a colossal violation of human rights under the ambit of MPL. Is the court going to leave the mater in the hands of the clergy, which, in any case, is not recognized in Islam.
As to the learned Professor’s repetitive suggestion of incorporating a clause in the Nikahnama ‘that triple divorce shall not be given’, this writer will reiterate that “this will purport to imply imposing some limitations on the prerogatives of the male spouse, who may in practical terms, violate the contract and take recourse to this practice. … In other words, instant triple divorce must be declared constitutionally invalid and culpable in the eye of Law, and not included in Nikahnama as a condition of prenuptial contract.”
This writer, who is keeping a close tab on the arguments of those who are bent on retaining ‘triple Talaq’ either in MPL or in the Nikahnama as a prohibitive clause, and is consistently tabling counter-arguments is now compelled to say this:
Having failed to establish its case by telling lies upon lies about the Qur'an in their recent submission as reported by the media and exposed by this writer in his last two articles [3-5], the advocates of triple Talaqs an Islamic custom, have taken to a labyrinthine legal argument to support their case. It is reminiscent of labyrinthine Fatwas by terror groups who will cite opinions of different scholars of different era and overwhelm the lay reader into accepting their views but the world knows they are terrorists and so are those who advocated instant triple Talaq as expounded in one of my articles referenced below:
This is this writer’s 7th article on the subject consistently advocating constitutional invalidation of triple Talaq:
Having stretched his vocabulary in protesting against AIMPLB and its sympathizer’s insistence to keep triple Talaq in MPL – at least as an express prohibition (thus tacitly acknowledging its religious bearing, the author would now like to end this article with the following quote from Marcus Tullius Cicero - an iconic figure of the Roman era, remembered for his political and juristic erudition:
“The enemy is within the gates; it is with our own luxury, our own folly, our own criminality that we have to contend.”
Muhammad Yunus, a Chemical Engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, and a retired corporate executive has been engaged in an in-depth study of the Qur’an since early 90’s, focusing on its core message. He has co-authored the referred exegetic work, which received the approval of al-Azhar al-Sharif, Cairo in 2002, and following restructuring and refinement was endorsed and authenticated by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl of UCLA, and published by Amana Publications, Maryland, USA, 2009.
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