NATIONAL

Triple talaq over phone valid, says Deoband fatwa

Amid an ongoing debate, the Islamic seminary in Deoband has issued a fatwa endorsing triple talaq (divorce by uttering the word talaq thrice in quick succession) over the phone.

Responding to a question from Naseem Ahmad, a resident of Haryana, the Darul Uloom Deoband Zakaria said talaq pronounced by a man to his wife over the phone would be valid and legal from the Islamic point of view. While giving the fatwa, Maulana Arshad Farooqui of the Fatwa Department of the seminary, however, said it would be valid only if the husband pronounced it while he was “in all his senses”. Farooqui held that a man could divorce his wife through a letter, message or an email in this age of technology, provided it was verified that the message and the letter was from the husband.

The fatwa is only an opinion, and it is not mandatory for Muslims to follow it. But it becomes important amid the debate over triple talaq when the issue provoked a country-wide reaction and its constitutional validity is being examined by the Supreme Court. The Narendra Modi government had submitted in the court that triple talaq is illegal. Women’s groups such as the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan rejected the fatwa. Zakia Soman from the group said the Deoband fatwa was illegal.