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‘Reforming Islam possible if Ulema are taken on board’

Faizan Mustafa, the Vice-Chancellor of NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, said on Saturday that since the Quran is a source of law — and not the law itself — it offers the possibility of liberal interpretations by the Ulema, thereby providing scope for reform.

Professor Mustafa was speaking at a national seminar on ‘Muslim Personal Law in the Present Context’, organised at the JBAS College for Women, Teynampet. The programme was organised by the Southern India Education Trust, the Islamic Forum for the Promotion of Moderate Thought and Majlis Legal Centre for Women & Children. “If something is based on human speculation, there are chances of providing it a liberal interpretation. There are chances of making it consistent with constitutional morality and constitutional doctrines of equality,” said Prof. Mustafa.

Several speakers at the event pointed out that the Quran does not describe triple talaq, but a three-step process that involves reconciliation efforts. Divorce, if given, will take up to a year.

Triple talaq issue

Prof. Mustafa went on to say that even if the Supreme Court holds an instance of divorce through triple talaq invalid, whereas the Ulema and the families concerned consider it valid, it will not serve the purpose. “That’s why, for any reform in personal law, we need to take the Ulema on board. We have to tell the Ulema that they have the power to give liberal interpretations (of the Quran),” he said.

Speakers at the event included Justice Akbar Ali, Retired Judge of the Madras HC, Magsaysay Award winner Mr. T.M. Krishna; novelist Ms. Salma, Prince of Arcot Nawab Mohammad Abdul Ali, Mr. Moosa Raza, chairman, Southern India Education Trust, Mr. A. Faizur Rahman, Secretary General of Islamic Forum and I.S. Parveen Sultana, Assistant Professor at JBAS College. Flavia Agnes, Director of Majlis, said that the Hindu code bills have led to the institutionalisation of brahmanical rituals like the kanyadaan, which can be imposed on other Hindu castes. She asserted that the Uniform Civil Code (UCC)will not end social evils, adding that Muslim women should be able to approach the courts to fight for their rights.

N. Ram, Chairman of Kasturi and Sons Ltd., said the Muslim community should not fall into the trap set up by the Hindu Right. “ No government, no political party, no coalition will be able to push it through. It is just impossible because it divides society so badly,” he said.

Former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi said that those who say that triple talaq is wrong should have moral authority and those who want justice must come with clean hands. “Those who want the UCC do not want equality in life. They want to needle the Muslim community. Love of cow is not the reason for their call against beef; it is the desire to needle those who eat beef. Love of gender equality is not the reason for those who are vociferous against triple talaq,” he said.


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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 4:29:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/%E2%80%98Reforming-Islam-possible-if-Ulema-are-taken-on-board%E2%80%99/article16669016.ece

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