JAH dismisses HC ruling on Talaaq as ‘interference in religion’
All religious groups’ conference called on Nov 4th to devise resistance plan
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
In a 23-page judgment delivered last week, Mr Justice Hasnain Masoodi had decreed that both partners of marital union had equal rights in Islam and the husband’s competence of pronouncing divorce was not arbitrary, unqualified or absolute. The judgment has been delivered in a case in which the wife had initially come up with an application in the trial court seeking maintenance. However, the husband had resisted the application on the grounds that he had divorced her and was not under any obligation to pay maintenance allowance.
JAH today held a threadbare discussion on the body, interpretations and consequences of the High Court judgment. According to a statement released to media this evening, JAH viewed the judgment on Talaaq as “completely unacceptable” calling it “direct interference in the religious matters (of Islam”. It asserted that the judgment was pregnant with “extremely dangerous consequences for the religion of Islam”.
The JAH statement added that the High Court judgment was infringement of Muslim Personal Law under which followers of the faith of Islam had every right to live as per their religious dogmas and practice. It claimed that the judicial courts set up under the non-theocratic set up had no jurisdiction or competence to adjudicate and interpret matters defined in Quran and Hadith. “If this judgment is accepted today, the man-made courts would be tomorrow judgmental on all other religious matters of the Muslims. This has never been acceptable to Muslims in the past nor would ever be in future”, added the JAH statement, unprecedented after Shah Bano judgment controversy in
According to the press release, JAH was inviting “all religious and social organisations, intellectual community, jurists and legal experts besides prominent religious leaders” to deliberate on the judgment and its consequences in a conference here on November 4th. The conference would devise a collective strategy to resist the judgment on divorce.
Informed sources added that efforts were underway to get on board all the religious leaders including heads of both factions of the separatist Hurriyat Conference. However, there were strong speculations that Chairman of so-called moderate faction of the Hurriyat had certain reservations including the one that Mr Justice Masoodi happens to be the uncle of his spouse. Even the participation of the Chairman of Hurriyat’s “hardline” faction, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, as well as that of Sadr Mufti, Mufti Bashiruddin, and his successor son, was said to be uncertain for varied reasons.
Confrontation between the clergy and judiciary in
Kashmir over the husband’s competence of Talaaq would be watched with interest as
the judge himself belongs to a scholarly background and a respected family.
Bar-at-Law from the prestigious Harvard
University in , Mr Justice
Masoodi is known as an authority on Islamic jurisprudence. “This is not going
to be a debate on a judge’s profile or qualification. The question is whether
or not the courts of a non-religious set up could adjudicate such matters and
issue decrees”, a JAH activist observed. USA
The judgment goes extensively into details of the Shariah law and Quranic injunctions on the subject to find support for its view that “husband cannot have unrestricted or unqualified power to pronounce the Talaaq.” It lays special emphasis on going into the fundamental sources of Shariah law to understand the concept of marriage in Islam, the rights of the parties to the marriage contract and the mode and manner the contract is dissolved.
“Though Islam visualizes a situation where a marriage may run into rough weather for reasons beyond control of the parties to the marriage contract, and provides for a mechanism to end or dissolve the relationship in such case, yet the device of divorce is to be used as the last option when the marital relations have irretrievably broken down”, it reads.
It maintains that in Islam divorce by husband may take three forms: Talaaq-e-Ahsan—single pronouncement of divorce made during a Tuhr (period between menstruations) followed by abstinence from physical relationship for the period of Iddat; Talaaq-e-Hasan—three pronouncements of divorce made during successive Tuhrs, without any physical relationship during any of the three; and, Talaaq-e-Bidhi—three pronouncements of divorce made during a single Tuhr either in one sentence or in three sentences or in any other form like in writing, indicating intention of the husband to irrevocably dissolve the marriage.
The judgment calls the Talaaq-e-Bidhi as most despised and discouraged form and Talaaq-e-Ahsan as the most approved form of divorce.
Maintaining that Talaaq-e-Ahsan is the “only form of divorce that finds approval of Quran,” it says this is the approved form of divorce as it leaves room for reconciliation. Quoting several verses from the Quran on the subject, the judgment reads: “Quran obviously places certain restrictions on the power of husband to pronounce divorce.”
It reads: “There is no scope for disagreement with the legal proposition that as Quran and Sunna refer to Talaaq-e-Ahsan, restrictions placed on use of said device, as laid down in Chapter 65 verse 1 and 2 and elsewhere in Quran and Sunna have reference to Talaaq-e-Ahsan. However, there is no reason to conclude that the said restrictions, applicable to the most approved form of divorce, should not be applicable to the most despised and discouraged form of Talaaq i.e. Talaaq-e-Bidhi. On the other hand, restrictions warrant strict enforcement in case of Talaaq-e-Bidhi.”
According to this judgment, a husband was bound to prove that “effort was made by the representatives of husband and wife to intervene, settle disputes and disagreements between the parties and that such effort for reasons not attributable to the husband did not bear any fruit; that he had a valid reason and genuine cause to pronounce divorce on his wife; that Talaaq was pronounced in presence of two witnesses endued with justice; and that Talaaq was pronounced during the period of Tuhr (between two menstrual cycles) without indulging in sexual intercourse with the divorcee during said Tuhr.”
“It is only after the husband pleads and proves all the above ingredients that divorce- Talaaq- would operate and marriage between the parties would stand dissolved so as to enable husband to escape obligations under the marriage contract, including one to maintain his wife,” it rules.
“Islam does not give preference to either of the parties to a marriage. The message in Chapter 30 Verse 21 is not gender specific. It does not address a Muslim man or Muslim woman. It does not say that Almighty Allah created for a man, woman as his spouse or vice-versa. It, on the other hand, addresses both men and women saying that He created spouses and it is a sign of His mercy. This clearly indicates that a man and woman are equal partners in a marriage”, reads the judgment.
It adds: “Again Quran uses expression ‘Zawj’ for both husband and wife. It means either of the pair. Wherever Quran makes mention of ideal partners in a marriage, it refers to them as ‘Zawj’ and not husband or wife. This again makes it clear that husband and wife in Islam are equal partners and have equal status.”
“Islam does not prefer or encourage a particular pattern of life for a married couple. It gives them complete freedom to decide on life pattern and assign roles as long as such patterns or roles are not in conflict with fundamental principles of Islam. The husband and wife, at the time the marriage is contracted, must be competent to enter into a contract. The contract is to be based on mutual consent i.e. offer and acceptance. This further reinforces the proposition that a man and women have equal rights, equal role and equal power while contracting marriage.”
Again, it reads: “In Islam husband and wife protect each other. Quran calls them garments for each other. The verse is to indicate the level of proximity or intimacy between the spouses. Here again Quran does not make any difference between wife and husband.”