JAMAAT-E-ISLAMI PLANS MASS AWARENESS DRIVE ON MUSLIM PERSONAL LAW, TRIPLE TALAQ ROW
Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI — “Where are the champions of Muslim women? Why they did not come forward to help the widow of Phelu Khan who was brutally killed by cow vigilantes?” The question was posed by the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind’s women wing chief Atiya Siddiqua at a press conference at the Press Club of India here Friday in which the Jamaat leadership announced a nationwide mass awareness campaign on Muslim Personal Law.
Taking a dig at the ongoing debate on triple talaq, Ms. Siddiqua said it has taken absurd proportion with a clear-cut political undertone. “It is as if if the Muslims stopped pronouncing triple talaq, all the problems of the country will be solved; inflation and gas cylinder’s prices will crash down and other malaise affecting the society etc will come to an end,” she said on a lighter note.
Earlier, Jamaat President Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari said that in view of aggressive media debate and political interventions in Sharia matters, the Jamaat has decided a fortnightly awareness campaign to ‘equip Muslims with authentic knowledge about Sharia for reforming Muslim society and for educating the people of country at large in order to remove their ignorance and misconceptions about Islam and Muslims’.
He said that it is mainly the ignorance of the Muslim masses about Islamic family laws and their consequent faulty conduct that have created a distorted image of Islam.
“It must be recognized that the primary reason for violation of Sharia is large-scale ignorance of Muslim masses and a lack of sincere commitment to Islamic norms. A large segment of Muslim society does not even know the basics of Islam. Many Muslims do not know the rules and instructions which would guide them in matters of marriage, divorce, inheritance and the like. Hence, there is an imperative need to educate, uplift and morally reform the Muslim society, as a whole,” said Maulana Umari.
Answering a barrage of questions, the Jamaat chief explained the concept of marriage and its obligations and divorce in Islamic law added that if a woman gets divorced, she cannot become destitute as there are many provisions for her sustenance. He also stressed that Islamic laws are not only for Muslims but whole mankind.
“Holy Quran gives answer to all questions; so no problem has occurred in practicing the Sharia laws and women’s rights are all well reserved in the Muslim Personal Law”.
He deplored that the current debate in the media and political circles is meant to divert attention of Muslims and the people of the country from real issues like rising intolerance, communalism and violence against minorities and Dalits.
When asked how the two sets of laws (Islamic and Indian) can be run in the country at the same time, the Jamaat chief said that Muslims and all other religious communities have their own personal laws in accordance with the Constitution, so Muslims also have their own personal law to practice.
“Indian constitution has given us right to practice our religious laws. It is our constitutional right,” he added.
Maulana Umari was also critical of the way the judiciary, legislature and the media have been interfering in Muslim Personal Law.
Courts of the land often pass judgments contrary to the position of Islamic Sharia on disputes related to Muslim Personal Law and then these judgments become legal precedents. Legislative bodies also interfere in it while the media portrays a one sided image of Muslim Personal Law. They are seldom aware of real teachings of Islam; rather they are usually misled by the faulty conduct of Muslims themselves, which presents a distorted image of the Islamic law,” Maulana Umari said.
During the interaction with the media, the Jamaat leadership faced some hostile questions including why not ‘burqa’ (Hijab) for men? Why Muslim women have no right of triple talaq? Why Muslim men are trying to suppress women? Why there is no Halala for men?
When asked how the two sets of laws (Islamic and Indian) can be run in the country at the same time, the Jamaat chief said that Muslims and all other religious communities have their own personal laws in accordance with the Constitution, so Muslims also have their own personal law to practice. “Indian constitution has given us right to practice our religious laws. It is our constitutional right,” he added. Maulana Umari was also critical of the way the judiciary, legislature and the media have been interfering in Muslim Personal Law.
However, the Jamaat leadership demonstrated restraint and did not get involved in a war of words. Ms Atiya Siddiqua pointed out that despite triple talaq, the divorce rate in Muslim society is very low in comparison to Hindu and Christian societies. She presented figures of a survey conducted in Muslim-dominated areas of eight states.
Secretary General Mohammad Salim Engineer said it has now become clear that the present government is hell-bent on interference in the religious affairs of the Muslims, so the Jamaat has given a call to Muslims to assert their right to follow the religion of their choice.
The campaign will run from April 23 to May 7. During the campaign, the Jamaat plans to reach 4-5 crore people, said Mohammad Jafar, the national convener of the campaign.
The Jamaat will organize 700 public meetings and 8000 Friday sermons in cities and towns and will also cover 20,000 villages particularly slums areas. It has also designed an app for this campaign to reach out to people. It can be downloaded from the Jamaat website.