By Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam
3 December 2011
Nikah-e-Halala is the most obscene social practice prevalent among Indian Muslims, and now only among Indian Muslims, that Muslims are happy to practice but do not want it talked about. However, there can be no change or reform in the condition of women until the issue is brought out, highlighted and debated. I, therefore, present here a report By Manjari Mishra in The Crest, The Times of India, New Delhi. But first let us see what the term Halala implies and how it is seen by the world at large.
The following are some excerpts from the Wikipedia page on Nikah Halala:
Halala (Urdu: حلالہ) is a disputed Islamic marriage strategy practiced primarily by certain sects of Sunni Muslims, which involves a female divorcee marrying someone else, consummating the marriage and then getting a divorce inorder to make it allowable to remarry her previous husband. …
There is no theological basis for Nikah Halala in Islam. According to the Qur'an (2:229, 2:230):
"Divorce is twice. Then, either keep [her] in an acceptable manner or release [her] with good treatment. And it is not lawful for you to take anything of what you have given them unless both fear that they will not be able to keep [within] the limits of Allah . But if you fear that they will not keep [within] the limits of Allah , then there is no blame upon either of them concerning that by which she ransoms herself. These are the limits of Allah , so do not transgress them. And whoever transgresses the limits of Allah - it is those who are the wrongdoers."
"And if he has divorced her [for the third time], then she is not lawful to him afterward until [after] she marries a husband other than him. And if the latter husband divorces her [or dies], there is no blame upon the woman and her former husband for returning to each other if they think that they can keep [within] the limits of Allah . These are the limits of Allah , which He makes clear to a people who know."
The above is often interpreted as following: if a husband divorces his wife by pronouncing talaq, he can revoke the divorce within the iddah, that is, the period of separation that precedes divorce. If the divorce is completed, the couple can remarry. The couple may divorce and remarry twice. However, if they divorce a third time, they can neither unite within the iddah period nor marry again until the ex-wife marries another man, to ensure that the divorce is taken seriousl.
Consequently, the above interpretation is used as a strategy to remarry, or Halala, and often justified by some as true belief.
However, even according to the archaic groups who follow this belief, this only applies where the man has declared divorce on three separate occasions (not 3 times in a row). A Halala cannot be planned in advance, as a Nikah between her and the second husband with an understanding of a divorce afterwards will not be valid. If she does so, it will be an illegitimate relationship with the second husband and with the first husband also with whom she comes to live after a pre-planned Halala. Mohammed has cursed both such men who perform Halala and for whom Halala is performed.
This belief has been the basis of financial and sexual exploitation of Muslim women, and has received much critical news coverage
[This section's factual accuracy is disputed. Please help to ensure that disputed statements are reliably sourced.]
According to the Indian All India Muslim Personal Law Board, a man cannot remarry a woman after triple talaq unless she has already consummated her marriage with another man and then that new husband dies or divorces her. In this case the marriage (Nikah) of the woman with her new husband is called Nikah halala. Per a new set of codes of conduct issued regarding divorce by the organisation in April 2017, a man can rejoin with his wife in three months after single talaq and can remarry after three months without the woman having to go through nikah halala.
A BBC report found that Halala is common in certain south-Asian Muslim communities in the UK. The report uncovered many instances where women were socially and sexually exploited by local religious figures.
Comment By Quran expert Muhammad Yunus - 12/5/2011 8:07:06 PM
It is a pity that the Indian Maulvis in some regions have turned the noble institution of marriage into veritable prostitution. Pronouncing Talaq thrice – ‘the triple declaration’ or al-Talaq al-Bain is a pre-Islamic practice. Hanafi law declares it sinful but lawful. It makes a mockery of the Qur’anic tenets on divorce which is expounded below to defend it against any blame for this horrendous practice.
In a legally phrased passage (2:228/229) the Qur’an prescribes, among other things, a three-month waiting period for a woman under divorce notice (2:228), and commands a man who initiates the divorce to formally articulating his intention at least twice over the period (2:229). The time-framing is reiterated in two other verses (2:231, 65:1).
“Divorced women shall wait by themselves for three monthly periods, for it is not lawful for them, if they believe in God and the Last Day, to conceal what God has created in their wombs…. (2:228). (O men, you must) pronounce the divorce over two occasions. Thereafter live together (with your mates) honorably, or part with (tasrihu) them honorably…. (2:229).
“And if you divorce women, and they reach (the end of) their term, then either live together honourably, or part with (sarrihu) them honorably, but do not keep them to injure them, (or) to exceed limits. Anyone who does that merely wrongs his own soul…” (2:231).
“And when they reach (the end of) their term, then either live together honourably, or part with (fariqu) them honourably, calling to witness two just members from among yourselves and uphold the evidence (as) before God. This is to instruct anyone who believes in God and the Last Day. (Remember,) God will find a way out for anyone who heeds Him” (65:2).
Remarriage after divorce.
The Qur’an does impose the requirement of marriage of a woman with a new spouse after she has reached the end of the three month waiting/notice period (Iddat). (2:230). But this was conceivably to prevent a husband to prevent the woman he divorced after three months from entering into a new wedlock. The injunction also abolished a pre-Islamic custom of keeping an unwanted wife into wedlock indefinitely for oppressing her and saving the alimony.
“If he (the husband) divorces her (at the end of the waiting period), she becomes unlawful to him afterwards until she marries another man. If he (her new husband) then divorces her, there is no blame on the (former) couple to reunite - provided they feel that they can keep within the limits set by God. These are the limits set by God, and He clarifies them to a people who have knowledge” (2:230).
Final Comment: Muslim Ulema in India are sticking to the personal law that their pre-Islamic ancestors established under the behest of Hanafi law. For the medieval era, when women were grievously oppressed in the non-Muslim word, these brazenly anti-Qur’anic law held sway. With the liberation and empowerment of women and a quantum change in gender dynamics in the non-Muslim world – much in line with the Qur’anic message (I am not suggesting they copied it from the Qur’an for if that was so, why couldn’t the Ulema do it), it is time for the Muslim Ulema to reform their laws in line with the Qur’anic paradigms.
One wonders why a section of the Muslim Ulema in India pass Fatwas or stick to rulings that patently contradict the Qur’an, are highly misogynistic, grievously violate international human rights and so immensely preposterous (condoning incest, forcing Indian Government to pass a law to limit the maintenance of a woman after more than 30 years of wedlock.) that one finds it hard to make any candid comment lest it could be too unsavoury. The least one may say about the practice of Halala is that a time may also come that a Maulvi from some obscure village of India may insist on watching and filming it as hard core evidence?? God save us from that day.
Can the Government of India do nothing to save the Muslim women from the grip of the Maulvis who blackmail ignorant Muslim women of divine punishment of which they seem to be the most deserving for turning Islamic marriage into virtual prostitution and condoning incest and passing preposterous Fatwas contradicting the Qur’anic message.
By Manjari Mishra
December 3, 2011
VEILED CRIMES Some victims have been subjected to Halala an excruciating two to eight times. Sometimes a close friend of the husband or even the brother obliges.
Holding a placard that says 'Halala is nothing but the vilest of rapes', the frail and waif-like Rubaiya Ahmad shudders as she recalls the darkest night in 35 years of her life - when she allowed another man into her bed.
"I felt totally numb and dead inside. But that was the only option left to reclaim my two sons, “she says.”Moreover, the Maulvi sahib had warned me that no one would participate in my funeral procession and my family would be ostracised if I flouted the Shari’a’s command. "
Jalal, Rubiya's "husband" for one night, was not particularly bothered about her turmoil. He was there for a purpose - to help his close friend salvage his marriage. A night after the Nikah and the mandatory consummation, he divorced Rubaiya without a fuss.
It has been seven years since Rubaiya got back with her first husband, but the horror of Halala has stayed on. "I feel as if the man I married died the day someone else defiled my body,” she declares with vehemence. Her only concern now is to ensure somehow that her sons never get to know about the humiliation their mother faced, for "it would shatter them, or worse, they may blame me for the episode".
Last week's meeting held by the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) proved to be a catharsis of sorts for two dozen-odd victims of mental violence - namely Halala and triple Talaq. "Many who went through this could not gather enough courage to come out and face the world,” says BMMA president Naish Hasan.
Last week, Naish created ripples in conservative Lucknow by dashing off a letter to the octogenarian president of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board. Pressing for inclusion of women's issues on the agenda in its next executive meeting, it pointedly demanded a ban on Halala and triple Talaq, apart from recommending a codification of the Sharia to escape misinterpretation. "The response from AIMPLB, was as anticipated - nil, " says Naish.
In her letter, Naish mentioned seven victims who were subjected to Halala an excruciating two to eight times. One of them is Zainab Rubaiya whose husband literally turned her into a prostitute "He would pronounce 'Talaq Talaq Talaq' when drunk, when annoyed, when fired from his job, when clubbed by the beat constable or when I stopped his mother from hitting me with a ladle, " she says. "Any occasion was good enough to boot me out. "
Zainab recollects that after every Halala, her husband would weep, standing alongside their children. "I bore Halala seven times. It's a terrible feeling to walk down the road, knowing that everyone in the Mohalla keeps a count of your moles and curves, “she says, teary-eyed. For women like Munni, whose brother-in-law volunteered for Halala, the situation is even more humiliating. "Imagine facing him every day and pretending to be normal, " she says.
Contrary to the popular belief that Halala is confined to the rural belt, Naish claims that she has listed 11 such cases in the last two months in Lucknow alone. "However, women in the city are turning rebellious, “she says. "Some of them have walked out of the marriage after Halala was ordered - in fact, one woman begs in the Imambara as she believes that begging is more respectable than getting raped every sixth months. "
The number of Halalas is on the rise, confirms Kamal Khan, a Lucknow-based journalist. Interestingly, Halala is also fraught with risks for the men now - there are instances where the second husband has violated the terms of a fixed Halala and refused to part with the woman, often because she was prettier than his own wife. "So caution is the key word now, " claims Kamal, who is making a documentary on the practice and has even recorded details of a Halala service run by Maulvis in Ghazipur and Faizabad. "The cleric in Akbarpur has inherited a lucrative business from his father. He conducts the marriage and divorce ceremonies. The business is growing, “he says.
According to Khan, Halala-fixing is nowhere mentioned in Islam. The provision is made for "ittifaqan Talaq" by the second husband - meaning the woman can remarry the first husband if the second husband genuinely divorces her and the move is not carried out under a well-calculated strategy. The way it is followed today, the practice is totally against the spirit of Islam, " he says.
Zainab has a suggestion that she is too timid to air publicly. "If a man divorces his wife and then wants her back, let him be flogged, skinned or even sodomised,” she says. Why should the poor woman be made to suffer instead? What kind of justice is this? Even animals don't mate on order. "
WHAT IS HALALA
"After pronouncing Talaq, the wife becomes haram for the husband. If he wants to remarry the same woman, the rules are set - once the mandatory Iddat period of three months and 13 days gets over, the woman has to get married to someone else. This marriage has to be consummated. After the second husband divorces the woman, the first husband is free to marry her once again after three months and 13 days. However, Halala-fixing is strictly prohibited in Islam. “Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangimahali
Source: The Crest, The Times of India, New Delhi