An All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) member on Tuesday said conveying talaq (divorce) through an SMS or social media was just another mode of communication, in a debate on the manner in which ‘triple talaq’ is pronounced by Muslim men in the country.
AIMPLB member Hasan Raza said the new age practice of conveying the divorce through SMS or social messaging app Whatsapp is similar to using a postcard or a telegram in the past for the purpose.
“In the past, letters or telegrams were used to convey such messages (of talaq). Now, people send an SMS using mobile phones. So, it is just a way of communicating that message. However, we need to look into the credibility of that message. Such a message (of talaq) should not be sent in anger,” he said.
He, however, did not state his position on whether pronouncing talaq in such a manner was justified.
Raza, who is also a member of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH), was replying to a query on whether he found it inappropriate for a Muslim man to dissolve his marriage by sending an SMS or a WhatsApp message to his wife.
He and the JIH’s Gujarat unit president Shakeel Ahmed Rajput were addressing a joint conference in Ahmedabad.
Raza said the Gujarat chapter of the JIH has launched a campaign to spread awareness about Sharia laws, particularly those governing triple talaq, in the state.
He told reporters that the issue of triple talaq has been used as “a tool in the vote bank politics”.
“Our contention is that the issue has been unnecessarily politicised. It has become a tool of the vote bank politics. Our aim is to create an awareness about it among the masses. We want Muslims to interpret the law properly,” Raza said, adding that “JIH will not let this issue turn into a political game”.
Citing the data, which he said has been acquired through RTI, the AIMPLB member claimed that the number of divorce cases in Muslim community was far less than being projected.
“As per the information we received about the cases of divorce filed in 13 different family courts in some Muslim-dominated areas across the country between 2011 and 2015, only 1,307 such cases were filed by Muslims as against 3,827 cases of Christians and 16,505 cases of Hindus,” he said.
Explaining the drive launched by the JIH for dispelling the “misconceptions” about the Islamic laws, Rajput said, “The initiative named as ‘Muslim Personal Law Awareness Campaign’ is the part of a nationwide awareness drive launched recently by the central body ‘Jamaat-e-Islami Hind’ in an attempt to educate and reform Muslim community”.
He said the campaign, launched across the country on Monday, will continue till May 7.
“This initiative is aimed at educating Muslims about the personal law. Our objective is to make them aware about various rules, instructions and procedures prescribed in our law,” Rajput said.
“We have set the target of reaching out to at least 10 lakh Muslims in Gujarat through door-to-door campaign, seminars, interactive sessions and mohalla meetings. We will make people aware about triple talaq, polygamy and many other aspects of Islamic law,” Rajput added.
Earlier in April, the Centre had told the Supreme Court that the practices of ‘triple talaq’, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy impact the social status and dignity of Muslim women and deny them fundamental rights guaranteed by Constitution.
The apex court on March 30 observed that the practices of ‘triple talaq’, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy among Muslims were important issues involving “sentiments” and a Constitution bench would hear the pleas challenging these from May 11.
Influential Muslim organisations like the AIMPLB have opposed the court’s adjudication of these matters, maintaining that these practices stemmed from the Holy Quran and were not justiciable.
The AIMPLB had recently said it would issue a code of conduct under which those pronouncing ‘triple talaq’ without valid reasons mentioned under ‘Sharia’ (Islamic law) will face social boycott.