Women demand codification of Muslim Personal Law

Activists of the Muslim Mahila Andolan from different parts of Uttar Pradesh converged in Lucknow on Sunday to demand codification of the Muslim Personal Law, which they say is being “misinterpreted to the disadvantage of women”. They also demanded an “immediate ban” on the malpractice of divorce by triple utterance of the word ‘Talaaq’.

Prominent among those who addressed the gathering at the Mahila Natya Kendra in Lucknow were former Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) MP Subhashni Ali, Noor Jehan Safia Niaz and others.

Muslim Mahila Andolan had shot into spotlight a few months ago when its activists took up the cause of Muslim women fraudulently divorced by a particular Maulana, who was busy issuing ‘talaaq’ certificates for a price in Lucknow. They even went to the extent of publicly thrashing the Maulana.

“We are in the process of preparing a draft for codification of personal laws, that were often misinterpreted to the disadvantage of women,” Muslim Mahila Andolan founder Naish Hasan told reporters.

“Our meet expressed deep concern over the negative attitude of certain class of Islamic Maulanas. What we all wish to ask is that when Islamic personal laws have been codified in most of the Islamic nations, including Malaysia, Egypt, Turkey, Morocco, Bangladesh and even Pakistan, then what is the hitch in doing so in India?”

“It has come to our notice that often Maulanas cite pre-Islamic diktats as laws of the ‘shariat’, which needs to be checked,” she added.

Speakers at the meet unanimously resolved to strongly oppose this “malpractice” and “misuse” of the ‘shariat’, which they felt was distinct from the Muslim Personal Law.