By Special Correspondent, The Hindu
All sections of Islamic society are of the view that Islamic law in India should be codified within the framework of the Quran and other religious injunctions, said Justice G. M. Akbar Ali, Judge, High Court of Madras.
For the last few months consultative meetings have been conducted in various states in which Islamic scholars, Ulama (religious heads), lawyers, jurists, representatives from madrasas participated and all of them strongly favoured codification of Islamic Law in the country, Justice Akbar Ali said, while speaking at the inaugural of the consultative meeting on ‘Codification of Islamic Law’ organised by The Muslim Law Academy (MLA), Central Zone, Tiruchi, here on Saturday.
The participants of the meeting held at New Delhi held that it was high time to legislate Islamic law within the Quranic framework and Sunnah (practice and teaching of Prophet). However they viewed that in doing so, the changing social circumstances has also to be taken into consideration. The Ijma (consensus) and Qiyas (analogical deduction) have to be updated, he said adding that the community has many reasons to rethink.
Islamic law is not static law, but a fluid law. Muslims should have progressive thinking while considering codification of Islamic Law. In this connection he said Islamic Law has already been codified in countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Philippines.
Referring to the need for codification in the light of changed social and economic circumstances, Justice Akbar Ali pointed out that though Sharia Law maintains that marriageable age of girls is when they attain puberty, the law of the land has fixed the marriageable age of girls at 18. While a Muslim girl can be given in marriage as soon as she attains puberty, the government authorities are bound to enforce the common law of the land. This has led to confusion among Muslims. Such contradictions have made progressive Muslims rethink the changes in age of marriage and codification of Sharia Law to bring uniformity, he added.
Asghar Ali Engineer, noted reformist writer and Chairman, Centre for the Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai, said changes in Islamic Law has been made right from the Prophet’s time and should be continued. Equality and Justice were two fundamental tenets of Islam, he said, and added that women have been given equal rights in Quran, which treats them with dignity. The holy book has explained the rights of women in Islamic society. He blamed religious scholars for turning rigid with respect to women’s rights. He also came down heavily against a section of Muslims, who refuse to follow the dictates of Quran and Prophet with respect to women.
The community should put an end to the misuse of Islamic Law and codify them, Mr. Engineer said. O. Sahabudeen, president, central zone of MLA, Nilamudeen, Professor, SASTRA University, Syed Tajuddeen Madani, coordinator of the meeting, also spoke.