On August 22, 2017, Talaq-e-Biddat also known as Instant Triple Talaq, was announced invalid by the Supreme Court in a 3-2 majority verdict.
The Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) that was started in 2006 to get gender reforms within the Muslim community was one of the petitioners in the case.
This week on Off Centre, Anuradha Sengupta speaks with Zakia Soman, one of the co-founders of the BMMA, who explains the role that politicians and the community must play to address the needs of the Muslim community especially women and explains how the Supreme Court verdict will play out on the ground.
Taking about Supreme Court’s verdict to invalidate the practice of Triple Talaq, Zakia says, “I would only call it a beginning because legal reform is a part of a much larger process of social reform and following this judgement we need to do a lot of work within the community. All these heroines of modern day India, they are all very happy with the verdict but they are all still trying to make sense of it because this verdict has set aside Triple Talaq but it has not laid down any procedure as to what should be procedure for Talaq to be just and fair and valid constitutionally as well as Quranically. It has been received very well within the community, especially by Muslim women and all ordinary Muslims even the personal law board has welcomed it, so it’s a good beginning.”
On the current government, Zakia says, “As far as the government is concerned, the ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ is a mere slogan, the government needs to walk the talk on this, and they need to act against the cow vigilantes. The government needs to make Muslim feel that they are equal citizens in a democratic nation. We have criticized the government whenever the need has risen, but on the issue of Triple Talaq, that support is welcomed, they filed the affidavit and it was as per the constitution so we welcomed it. We are not pathologically averse to anybody, our opposition or support is based on the substantive actions of the government.”
On the road ahead for BMMA, she says, “Amongst Indian Muslims a social reform and democratization process is long overdue, so that will be a very elaborate and comprehensive kind of effort which is called for but on the little Muslim girls and women, we need to make them more and more aware of the Quaranic as well as constitutional teachings, we need to send home this message that Islam is a religion of gender justice, this kindness, compassion, justice wisdom are the core values of the Quran and the core values of Quran and constitution converge and Muslim citizens are just like all other Indian citizens, they also have similar issues, they also want jobs, good education, good homes to live in so we also need to build an awareness about the citizenship based on the constitution. At the same time it is the Qazis who you go to for Nikah and Talaq and all the Qazis are male, the male qazi need to go under mindset change, they need to see women and men as equals. Till that happens we cannot wait, so till then we are training women to become qazis.”
Catch the full conversation this Saturday at 8:00 PM with repeats on Sunday at 12:30 PM and 9:30 PM, only on CNN-News18