The Shoaib Malik-Ayesha Siddiqui imbroglio may have been resolved, but it seems to have left a bitter taste in the Muslim community. Hyderabadi Muslims, in particular, feel the principal characters of the melodrama, could have settled the row without bringing disrepute to Islam through their war in the media.

The campaign unleashed by Mr. Malik and Ms. Siddiqui to prove each other wrong was in brazen disregard for Islamic principles. The matter could have been sorted out without washing the dirty linen in public. “The whole thing was so painful — trading charges through the media. None of the families involved in the controversy is adhering to the principles of Shariat. They are only interested in their selfish ends. Finally the divorce is given but we still don't know who is at fault,” said Sayeeda Aquila Khamoosh, member of the Muslim Personal Law Board.

Traditional Muslims are shocked at the way tennis star Sania Mirza and Mr. Malik, her husband-to-be, have been moving together even before they are formally married. “What we are seeing today is the result of such waywardness and unfettered freedom,” Ms. Aquila said.

Mr. Malik's initial refusal to offer divorce to Ms. Siddiqui and then finally giving in has shown not just him but the Muslim community in poor light, the Muslim leaders feel.

Islam has laid down clear instructions to resolve disputes arising out of marital discord. “But all these are given the go-by and the families just traded charges through the media,” said Professor Rehana Sultana of the Maulana Azad National Urdu University.

Religious leaders also failed to nip the crisis in the bud. “They ought to have come forward and exerted both moral and social pressure,” added Professor Sultana, who also heads the Progressive Women's Welfare Organisation.

“The whole thing is blown out of proportion as if that is the most important issue when Hyderabad is rocked by communal violence. The media needs to redefine its priorities,” said Mazhar Husain, director of the Confederation of Voluntary Associations.

Keywords: ShoaibAyeshaSania Mirza