By Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam
[co-author (Jointly with AshfaqueUllah Syed), Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA, 2009.]
3 September 2015
My article referenced below tables the following compelling arguments on the strength of the Qur’an to show that the triple talaq is diametrically opposed to its message.
The Qur’an’s key agenda “to lift from them (humanity) their burdens and shackles that were upon humanity (before)” (7:157) obviously included the protection of women from the curse of arbitrary divorce that was in vogue in pre-Islamic Arabia.
Instantaneous divorce is expressly forbidden in Islam (2:226/227).
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), obviously in the presence of witnesses. The time-framing is reiterated in two other verses (2:231, 65:2).
The truth is, the institution of triple talaq deprives a married Muslim woman of her Qur’an rights of counseling, arbitration and negotiation with her husband prior to the termination of her conjugal rights that is binding on a man as her awliya (9:71) and qawwam (4:34). Furthermore, it gives a Muslim husband infinite power to blackmail his wife into doing anything, however immoral, or to abuse her in any way he wishes, or curtailing all her civil rights, and even forcing her to break her parental filial ties by dangling the dagger of triple talaq over her head. It is a far greater weapon of extortion and black-mail than a loaded revolver that can kill a woman’s body once and for all rather than turn her into a living dead – killing her soul leaving the body alive to bear the agony of moral death, having been reduced to virtually a slave of her husband who could shout at her at whim, beat her up, torture her and throw her out of his life by uttering once terse sentence. It is by far the most heinous legalized extortion of the defenseless married Muslim women in India that forces this Muslim writer to exercise utmost restraint in castigating its advocates lest he may be charged of using unscholarly diction and reduce this most serious essay into polemical narrative.
Looking back into history, in the ancient times in isolated settlements a married man could be required to leave home at a moment’s notice on long military missions without leaving any provision for his wife and without any certainty of the span of his absence from home that could run into years. He could then release his wife of marital bondage by the triple talaq, knowing it well that it was sinful. But in today’s world of rapid mobility and electronic communication, the notion of triple talaq has totally lost its relevance and its advocates commit grave sin and monstrous crime against their women-folk. While it is for God to judge them for their sinful legalistic views, the human court of justice must stop them from committing their monstrous moral crime – which the religion of Islam as enshrined in the Qur’an does not permit.
As for those who cite ahadith or secondary sources to justify their views - theyare reminded that the secondary sources of Islam can be quoted to justify divergent “views and deeds in the whole range of matters concerning Muslim societies. Such matters could be of social, political or theological nature, or pertain to statecraft, educational curriculum and women’s status, for example.” [Afterword, 1.3 Essential Message of Islam.]. Hence, “Muslims must endeavor to take guidance directly from the Qur’an” [Ibid] and must dismiss all those ahadith that contradict the Qur’anic message as spurious or apocryphal. Therefore, the advocates of triple talaq have no leg to stand on and must not lose any time in bringing the MPL in line with the Qur’anic message, beginning with the scrapping of triple divorce – unless they want to remain shamelessly adamant about their immoral, anti-Qur’anic and criminal views.
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. KhaledAbou El Fadl of UCLA, and published by Amana Publications, Maryland, USA, 2009.