Local Goa News

Monday, May 16, 2016

‘Women should not be stopped from entering mosques, dargahs’

The Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) is of the opinion that women should have equal opportunities to pray and perform namaaz in the mosques. In an exclusive interview with our Staff Reporter Shoaib Shaikh, the vice-president (Naib Ameer) of JIH, T Arif Ali explained about the process of Talaq as laid down by Quran and the need for a review of Islamic jurisprudence by the Muslim Personal Law Board.
Q: What is your opinion about permitting entry for women in mosques and dargahs for performing namaaz and prayers?
Let me begin by informing you that no group or committee can stop any woman from entering a mosque because Prophet Muhammad in clear terms has stated that ‘they too are the worshippers of Allah and they should not be stopped from entering the mosques’. However, we find in India there is a tradition where women do not visit the mosques. But majority of the mosques in the southern states in India are accessed by women to perform namaaz. The mosque inside the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind headquarters in New Delhi has elaborate arrangements for women. They come to the mosque for regular as well as special namaaz.  According to Islamic teachings there are only three places of pilgrimage, the Ka’bah in Makkah, Masjid-e-Nabvi in Madina and Masjid-ul-Aqsa in Jerusalem, apart from these there are no other places of pilgrimage.
Q: Do you think the courts are correct in giving specific directions in this regard?
A court should not direct the rituals of a religion stating that it is a right to equality. Fundamental rights are a necessity, but the courts need to understand the motive behind the commandments in the scriptures and bring a balance. The personal laws have their uniqueness and the diversity should be maintained. However, if there is a conflict then the court can interfere but be cautious.
Q: Another issue that has always put Muslims in the limelight is triple talaq. What is the procedure of divorce in Islam?
The Quran at various places has addressed talaq and the procedure for divorce has also been described. The Quran ordains that if there’s some problem in the relationship between the couple then they should try to resolve it by themselves, if not successful then through a mediator. Even then if the issue is not resolved then the first talaq can be pronounced. If during the iddat (waiting period of three months), the couple resolve the issue then without nikah the two can live together. However, after the iddat if they resolve to live together, then the man will have to perform nikah and accept the woman. This procedure of pronouncing the talaq can be followed only twice. But if the issue cannot be resolved after following the prescribed procedure the third talaq has been pronounced, then the process of divorce is complete and the couple is declared divorced.
Q: What are your comments to the tradition in India of pronouncing triple talaq at once?
It has been observed that some people say that ‘I pronounce all the three talaqs at once’ and this has been understood as triple talaq. According to Islamic jurisprudence, the scholars are of the opinion that this is not a valid procedure and is haram. The Muslim Personal Law Board (MPLB) has been trying to create awareness amongst the masses that the current understanding of triple talaq is wrong and against the teachings of Islam. People should not follow this shortcut process of talaq. However, there is no unanimity between the scholars of all the four schools of thought found in India. They are yet to come to a consensus whether to treat such a pronouncement of triple talaq as one talaq or completion of talaq.
Q: Is the community then looking forward to review the laws due to social implications in India and move towards a uniform civil code?
As far as the social implications and the effects of the short triple talaq are concerned, the responsibility to review the jurisprudence is of the MPLB and the Islamic scholars in the country. The judiciary or the parliament will not be able to resolve the issue and should not intend to do the same. Our country is a plural society and the strength of this nation is its unity in diversity. The diversity lets every community to maintain its identity and the fundamental identity of any religious community are its personal laws. The culture of any community is dependent on the personal rituals and laws pertaining to various components of family and social life of an individual. Therefore, if we wish to maintain the plurality of Indian society then, personal laws of every community need to protected.
On the other side, whenever you speak of uniform civil code, there is bound to be a conflict between personal laws and uniform civil code. Personal laws of any religious community are not codified and the MLPB can and should move in a direction to codify Islamic jurisprudence based on the Quran and Hadith in light of the social environment of the country.
Q: What is your opinion about women’s participation in MPLB?
There are women in MPLB, but the representation is not sufficient as it should have been. The board also felt that more women should be accommodated within the board.
Q: What is the role of sharia panchayats in the Indian context?
The Chief Justice of India had cried recently over the shortage of judges who are needed to dispose off millions of cases pending at various levels in the courts across the country. Majority of the civil cases pending before the courts can be disposed off by the community based on the rites, rituals and personal laws of the community. One such attempt is Darul Qaza or the Sharia Panchayat, which the personal law too prescribes. This should consist of a Qazi, a person with knowledge of Indian legal system and a social worker. This will help in reducing the burden of the courts as far as the civil matters are concerned.

NT Network Goa News

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