The abolition of the triple talaq in India is projected as the ultimate panacea of all the problems that Indian Muslim women are facing. That’s far from the truth. ‘Talaq’ means ‘I divorce you’. Contrary to what is being propagated through right wing slander, saying “talaq” three times at the drop of a hat is not how it’s done.
A man can’t just say: “talaq talaq talaq” and divorce his wife just because she burnt the toast. Talaq must be pronounced in a calm frame of mind, not in a state of anger or intoxication. There has to be a time period of three months between the three talaqs. After saying “talaq” once, in the period of three months that follows, if the couple wishes to reconcile, they can do so. It is the same after the second talaq. It’s only the third time that it is finalised. If the man wishes to get rid of his wife, then there are a hundred ways to do so.
It’s not the law that’s the problem. It is the men who misuse it. There is not a law on this Earth that doesn’t have loopholes. Instead of going for the quick fix solution, let’s try to understand the problem. As a woman, if my husband doesn’t want me, I would consider it his loss. I’m not going to try to find fault with the law or beg him to let me continue in a marriage where I’m not respected. Anyone who is in a relationship will understand that if one or both of the parties are not interested in being together, it will lead to disagreements, arguments and, in extreme cases, violence. In that scenario, the quicker the divorce, the lesser the damage. Islam does not advocate breaking up families. On the contrary, the Prophet [PBUH] said that of all the things that are halal (permissible), divorce is most disliked of those by God.
Every religion has customs, laws and rituals, which others may find unacceptable. Illiteracy, radicalisation and ghettoisation are some of the grave problems that Muslims are facing today. If the Indian government really cared about Muslim women, let them start with literacy. Educate men so that they respect their wives. Educate women so that they don’t have to depend on men for their food and shelter. Empower women so that instead of pleading with their husbands not to divorce them, they would be the ones who will want to get out of an empty marriage.
- The reader is a homemaker based in Ajman.