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
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,
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
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
the above interpretation is used as a strategy to remarry, or Halala, and often
justified by some as true belief.
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.
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.]
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
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….
“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
Those who wish to know the Qur'anic perspective on the issue may read this article, which is drawn on duly approved and authenticated exegetic work:
The Qur’anic Sharia (laws) on divorce. Triple divorce, temporary marriage, Halala stand forbidden (Haram).
If a divorced couple want to remarry each other, there should be no impediments in their way. If they are required to fulfill certain conditions, and if those conditions appear to be clearly irrational, the matter should be examined, analyzed and the law must be made to reflect common sense and current concepts of individual rights and freedoms. In my view both triple talaq and halala should be abolished. I understand a letter to the AIMPLB on the subject is being considered on another website.
'Halala ‘was created by Sufis to facilitate reunion of divorced spouses. It has no mention in the Quran, nor was practiced during the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
What is the point of saying that this practice is against the spirit of Islam if it is being allowed to take place. I believe Shias do not have any such practice. So if it is non-Islamic then why not oppose it publicly? Why not do a memo to the AIMPLB asking them to disallow it? We had taken up case in Orissa where a man was supposed to have divorced his wife in a drunken state but was not heard by anyone else except a neighbour. He continued to live with his wife after that and - her father was beaten shoes on the orders of the Maulana; two different fatwas were issued, one saying that they were married, one saying they were not. They were driven out of their village and harassed for more than a year. On our intervention, the Govt. gave them protection and we fought a case to allow them to live as man and wife. Finally the Supreme Court gave a decision in their favour. Of course this will be condemned as 'madaakhalat' by some....Please do intervene on this issue. Subhashini Ali
@Yunus,It depends on which part of the world i am. When i travel through the Islamiccountries to see their blatant discrimination and hypocrisy on wine, womanetc.., i think i go over board in my extreme views. Back to mother land, mysense are back with rationality. Probably sanga ka rang
@non-India Hindu, I have given up. I leave it to the Muslim brethren whether their house girls have to go through shit for an error in statement made.
@Raihan NezamiI have read several of your comments on different posts in this forum and will agree that they are usually judicious and well thought out. My earlier comment was not to chastise you, question your character/beliefs or to suggest that I am intolerant over debate and would not follow the interesting articles and enlightened discussions on this forum.
It was simply to point out that when discussion is being held by saying "you shouldn't talk because...", which seemed to be the underlying current of the comment that I had quoted as well as the comment by N T Ansari (which had not been moderated at the time of the comment submission)"...point for our Hindu Brethren is that they should be worried for the so many wrong practices in their own religion concerning the women and if anyone wishes, I am ready to write them number wise.", the channels for discussions close.
My comment also lauded the position of Yunus Sahab which encourages discussion. Your point about Satwa Gunam and others is noted. Whilst I may not agree with many of his comments or the way they are phrased, in my opinion his criticisms is more over the practice of Islam than of Islam itself - something which should be noted applies to ALL religions.
The comments of his that I disagree with are not opinions of Hindus/Hinduism but of a practitioner of Hinduism. However I do not bear any grudge against him personally for even though some of his comments are harsh, he is at heart a loving person who wants a better life for all but is disillusioned by the role of religion in society for several reasons. If you look at some of his comments eg.
"@Yunus, Appreciate your fair stance on this Halala. If educated does not talk against the same, it will be very difficult for the society to change." shows his willingness to let go of his "prejudice". On a lighter note, maybe he should change his screen name from Satwa Gunam to Rajo Gunam :)