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Researcher accuses Muslim panel of contemplating Islam only through prism of Hanafi law

Thursday May 18, 2017 12:35 PM, News Network

Muslim Panel meet on Triple Talaq
[All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) General Secretary Mohammad Wali Rahmani addressing a press conference in New Delhi. (File photo)]

A. Faizur Rahman, an Independent Researcher and Secretary General of the Chennai-based Islamic Forum for the Promotion of Moderate Thought, has accused the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) of being unaccomdating and blindly advocating the Hanafi viewpoint that validates triple talaq, although it has no basis in the Shariah.

Questioning Salman Khurshid's submission in the Supreme Court that the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) is the best body to guide the court on the varying philosophies of schools of Islam about triple talaq, Faizur Rahman in a recent article published by The Hindu, says the views of Salman Khurshid quoted in the media are astonishing if true.

Former Union Minister and senior Congress Leader Salman Khurshid is the amicus curiae to the Supreme in triple talaq case hearing of which is underway in the apex court since May 11 on daily basis.

"The reality is, had the AIMPLB been open-minded about different schools of Muslim thought, it would not be blindly advocating the Hanafi viewpoint that validates talaq-e-bid’a (instant triple talaq)", A Faizur Rahman says in his article.

"The board would have made use of legal devices such as takhayyur and talfiq al mazaahib which allow jurists to amalgamate the doctrines of various Islamic legal schools to formulate reformist interpretations that are capable of outlawing unjust practices such as talaq-e-bid’a.

"On the contrary, the preface to the AIMLPB’s Compendium of Islamic Laws released in 2001 categorically states that the original Urdu version of the compendium contains extensive notes in Arabic drawn from “authentic books of the Hanafi law”, which is a clear indication of the board's intention to view Islam only through the prism of Hanafi law and nothing else", he writes.

Explaining the procedure of divorce as explained in Quran, A Faizur Rahman says, "Other forms such as talaq-e-bid’a, talaq-e-hasan, talaq-e-ahsan and talaq-e-tafweez are concepts of Hanafi jurisprudence. They find no mention in the Quran."

A Faizur Rahman in his article also says that the practice of concurrent or instant triple talaq is not fundamental to Islam, as repeatedly asked by the Supreme Court during the hearing in the case.

"To answer the question raised by the Supreme Court, instant talaq (talaq-e-bid’a) has no basis in the Quran and, therefore, is not fundamental to Islam.

"Muslim theologians must understand that concepts not sanctified by the primary source of Muslim law, the Koran, cannot be declared as essential parts of Islam irrespective of where they draw their legitimacy from. All sources of Islamic law, be it hadees, ijma or qiyas, are subservient to the Koran.

"Given the reluctance of Muslim religious bodies in India to give up their sectarian conformism and delegitimise talaq-e-bid’a, the Supreme Court will be well within its rights under Articles 141 and 142 of our Constitution to resort to, in consultation with progressive Islamic scholars, a neoteric interpretation of the terms “talaq” and “Shariat” mentioned in section (2) of The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, and lay down the procedure of divorce in accordance with the egalitarian and gender-just principles of the Quran", he says.

Differences over practice of triple talaq exist among Muslims since the tenure of second Caliph Omar (RA). Muslim scholars and jurists argue that concurrent talaq or triple talaq in one go has never been approved by Prphet Mohammad (peace be upon him), during the tenure of first Caliph Abu Bakr (RA) and the first two years of Caliph Omar's caliphate.

Caliph Omar later approved it as punishment, scholars argue, but later on the practice was annulled by Muslim jurists. It is on this basis, the practice of concurrent talaq has been termed invalid in most of the Muslim countries.

Muslims in India, majority of them followers of Hanafi school of thought, are adamant on the invalid concurrent talaq and are fighting a case with women activists in the Supreme Court.

Interestingly, some renowned Hanafi scholars have also ruled against concurrent, instant or triple talaq. It is also learnt that there is a strong dissent among the members of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMLB) and especially some women members are upset over board's handling of the situation.

But, according to the sources in the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), the members fear that agreeing to any change on triple talaq would open floodgate of interference in other Sharia matters.



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