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Published in the 16-31 May 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition



The Milli Gazette Online

The recently concluded meeting of the AIMPLB in Bhopal endorsed the model Nikahnama and reinforced the basic rights and dignity of women already encased in the tenets of Islam and so strongly and beautifully put into practise by our beloved Prophet (pbuh).This meeting is already being hailed as a landmark for Indian Muslims. But then the question arises, what about the average Muslim men and women, how truthfully will they follow the rules that safeguard the rights of Muslim women? For ultimately it is this vast majority who will put into practise all rules in their letter and spirit. It is very often seen that men tend to adopt a holier-than-thou attitude where women's rights are concerned forgetting perhaps that Islam is the only religion in the world that so clearly and sensitively respects women and protects them. But the projection of a Muslim woman's rights in the non-Muslim world is very poor. Particularly in matters of marriage and divorce. A survey by the state women's commission reveals that 70% of Muslim women suffer injustices in their marriage but choose not to do anything about it because they cannot afford the long legal battles or are ignorant of what exactly their rights are. There is a disregard of these issues among the best of Muslims, no wonder then that even when a particular case is cited, it finds no print space even in a paper like the Milli Gazette. When a well meaning non-Muslim friend (Sema Menon) wrote to MG about the newly appointed Vice Chancellor of Osmania University, Hyderabad and his shoddy track record as a bad human being and even worse husband and father, who has refused to grant divorce to his wife for 20 long years, she found no takers. Similarly a widely circulated English daily of Hyderabad chose to ignore the letter protesting the appointment of such a double standard person to the august office of the VC. But it did find the space to write about the invovement of a Registrar of OU in a case of misappropriation of funds .Obviously it was not for the regard of an academic institution that the first letter was ignored but because how little is the regard for human values, particularly where a woman and a wife is concerned. If an educated Muslim, with a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies and who is now sitting in the Vice Chancellor's chair can make life miserable of a woman for twenty years, then what can we expect from an uneducated man? Mr. Suleman Siddiqui, the person in question has surpassed all instances of subterfuge and managed to present a different face altogether to the public at large, so much so that he can still manage to convince the editor of a leading Urdu daily of Hyderabad, Mr. Zahed Ali Khan to intervene and ask the hapless long suffering wife to return to her lord and master. After 20 years? Is there no concern left for a lady's wishes or her dignity? Mrs. Uzma Naheed member of the AIMPLB had been apprised of the case when she had come to Hyderabad. She was shocked and outraged at the injustice of the whole case, she promised all help but lamented the fact that there are no rules laid down nor an apex body that can bring such un-Islamic people to book. I would like to question the esteemed ulama who arbitrate in matters of Islamic jurisprudence, Can they understand a woman's helplessness? Can they compensate for the loss of these twenty years and the trauma of attending long drawn court room trials that were undermined by him? I have a question for the ordinary, average Muslim as well, is a man worthy of being called the protector of women and children?
Mrs. Nishat A. Hussaini, Gulbarga

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board deserves all praise for its Bhopal Declaration aimed at bringing about social reforms and eradicating social evils such as dowry, triple divorce etc. which have entered the Muslim community though condemned in Islam. The model Nikahnama wants the couples to lead a happy and dignified life understanding each other and without resorting to "instant triple talaq" which is a sinful practice of the pre-Islamic days of ignorance. There is no sanction for it in the holy Quran or the Ahadees - the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Its further stress on a simple marriage is also most welcome. 

It is hoped that the Bhopal Declaration and the model Nikahnama will enable the Muslim community to root out many marriage related evils mainly because ulama (religious scholars) are expected to do their best to follow the declaration and not associate themselves with any marriage which is conducted with dowry or any wasteful expenditures and encourage simple and strict procedures for marriages without any extravaganza. The mosque jamaats have to play an important role in highlighting and implementing the well chalked out Bhopal Declaration which is the fruit of many years of hard work by Islamic and social activists particularly women. 

V.M. Khaleelur Rahman, Ambur

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