The Deoband fatwa invalidating the marriage of a Qatari Muslim for inadvertently typing the word talaq thrice during an Internet chat with his wife deserves to be condemned strongly as it goes against the Koran and the authentic teachings of the Prophet. Last year, in a similar fatwa, the Deoband justified triple talaq pronounced in a state of drunkenness. These fatwas (based on the medieval Hanafi law) are unacceptable because according to the Koran, only after serious attempts at reconciliation fail a Muslim is permitted to divorce his wife once or twice within a certain period of time called the iddah. After the expiry of iddah, he can re-contract the marriage on fresh and mutually agreeable terms or irrevocably divorce her by pronouncing the third and final talaq.

However, to emphasise the sanctity of marriage and the enormity of breaking it for frivolous reasons, the Koran warns that once the parties choose to separate after the expiry of the iddah, they cannot entertain hopes of marrying again unless the wife takes another husband and the second husband divorces her (2:230). It is understood here that a divorce may result only if the new husband has serious differences with his wife, and in the rare event of such differences cropping up, he is required to follow the Koranic procedure of divorce as discussed earlier. The extreme unlikelihood of this happening serves as a severe deterrent against arbitrary divorce.

But unfortunately, this Koranic injunction (of 2:230) has been abominably circumvented by sectarian seminaries to overcome the impracticality of the Hanafi talaq law. To help the victims of this law, they set up a pliable person who marries the divorced wife, consummates the marriage overnight and divorces her the next day so that the first husband can remarry her in accordance with 2:230. This outrageousness which an innocent woman is subjected to for the ruthlessness of an un-Islamic and inhuman law has come to be known as halala. And one fails to understand on what basis the AIMPLB and the scholars associated with it are supporting this fatwa and the abhorrent concept of halala that results from it. Equally lamentable is the fact that Muslim women have conditioned themselves to suffer under such misogynist fatwas rather than come out and agitate. They must realise that instant triple talaq is a much bigger issue than a ban on the burqa.

A. Faizur Rahman,

Chennai

The triple talaq is mostly misunderstood by non-Muslims — even by Muslims — and misinterpreted by Islamic scholars. Islam does not allow a man to pronounce triple talaq in one sitting. He has three chances to divorce his wife. The last instance is irrevocable and irretrievable.

One should understand that talaq is not permissible for trivial issues. It is permitted only in unavoidable circumstances and it must be the final remedy and the last resort. Islam prohibits the utterance of talaq jokingly. If anyone commits such a mistake, it should be considered a single utterance, according to the teachings of Prophet Mohammed (May Peace Be Upon Him). The Deobandi fatwa is flawed and against the Holy Koran and Hadhees.

M. Shamsulluha Rahmani,

Tirunelveli

The recurring episodes of triple talaq cannot be left to the arbitrary pontificators in the form of a Deobandi mullah or some office-bearer of a so-called Muslim representative board. Even if a marriage is accepted as a pious union, it sounds ridiculously irrational to accept that such a thing can be annulled by a casual recitation of the word talaq thrice, that too by one of the spouses, almost always a male. Does not this provision make way for women in the backward sections to be exploited? Why can't there be a provision in the law for not accepting such divorces?

Kasim Sait,

Chennai

Let the AIMPLB members and other ulema come out with the relevant portions of the Holy Koran and the Hadith which say that the pronouncement of the triple talaq in one sitting is valid, even if uttered seriously. The Deoband gives priority and preference only to Fiqh — even at the cost of the spirit of the Koran and the Hadith.

Secondly, the halala cannot be an arranged one. It should be incidental and natural. A man cannot utter three talaqs in three months and throw his former wife into somebody's arms and take her back. Only if the woman gets married for the second time by chance and her husband dies or divorces her for his own reasons can the first husband offer his willingness to marry her.

K. Malikul Azeez,

Chennai

In Islam, nikah is a pious union and talaq is serious. Both require the fulfilment of some conditions before they are recognised. One of the conditions is the presence of two eyewitnesses at the time of nikah and talaq. It is unlikely that an eyewitness was present at the time of the chat on Skype.

That said, the statement of Naish Hasan of the Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan that triple talaq is a “pre-Islamic concept” is laughable. During the tenure of Caliph Umar Farooque, people started trifling with the pronouncement of talaq. To curb the menace, he validated triple talaq.

M.H. Siddiqui,

New Delhi

One of my relatives, in a fit of fury, pronounced talaq thrice in the presence of a housemaid, binding her as a witness. The wife went to her father's house and refused to return. Thereupon, we contacted the Islamic seminaries, ‘Baghiyathul Salaihath', Vellore, and an Islamic centre at Nidur, which gave their independent opinions that a talaq pronounced any number of times on a single occasion is not valid. It should be said on three different occasions. The triple talaq system was prescribed to give the man an opportunity to repent.

M.M. Abdul Samad,

Thanjavur

I do not understand how the Deobandis can pronounce a fatwa cancelling the couple's nikah when the Koran clearly says that it should be pronounced on three different occasions in the presence of two witnesses. Nowhere in the Koran is it mentioned that if a man utters talaq in one sitting, a marriage stands dissolved.

Thahira Iqbal,

Chennai

It is not the word but the spirit behind the word that matters. It is clear that the Qatari young man did not mean to divorce his wife. In this case, the nikah is valid.

The Durool Uloom should reconsider its fatwa and restrain itself from throwing such matters in the public sphere, as they are very personal.

Kalam Ahmed,

Guntur

The Koran is a wonderful matter-of-fact book that guides Muslims. Allah, the Almighty, has time and again mentioned in various chapters that He speaks to all of us through this magnificent book. I, therefore, believe that no seminary or group can have a final say in such important matters. The final decision lies with the individual. It is between him and the Lord.

The Koran mentions time and again that every sin (if at all) is pardoned by Him if it is genuinely regretted, and the person decides not to commit the same mistake wantonly, again. It also talks of the great importance and sanctity that Allah gives to marriage and the need to protect and safeguard women in every way. The couple should ignore the incident, pray to the Lord for guidance and forgiveness, and continue to live as husband and wife.

M.C. Salim,

Chennai

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