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Posted Online on Friday 1, July 2005 00:35 IST

Statements on Imrana case


The Imrana case and the Deoband fatwa, is generating considerable anxiety . There is a fear that we may be on the verge of another Shah Banu disaster. The last thing the country needs at this stage is another issue to widen the gulf between Hindus and Muslims. The concern for Imrana is genuine and admirable among human rights and women activists. But there is also the Sangh Parivar that would love to use this issue to increase stereotyping of Muslims, and shed crocodile tears for the plight of its women.

It is best that we refer to the actual Koranic injunction. Surah 4, ayat 23, lays down those with whom marriage (sexual intercourse) is not allowed. "Prohibited in marriage are your mother, daughters, sisters, father's sisters, mother's sisters, brother's or sisters's daughters, foster mothers or foster daughters, wife's mother, step daughters, daughter in laws , and two sisters in wedlock at the same time."

In the Imrana case the father in law forced himself onto his daughter in law. She screamed and shouted for help. Clearly it was not with consent. The father in law is obviously guilty, while the daughter in law is the victim. The above injunction applies only when consent is involved. The Imrana angle has to be viewed from the viewpoint of a number of other injunctions in the Koran, that demands compassion and kindness to the victim. I am surprised the Deoband ulemas failed to apply these Koranic commands. Certainly Imrana, her husband and her five children deserve these considerations. By declaring this marriage to be null and void, the final price for this dastardly act will be paid by the victims. That violates the spirit and the letter of the Koran. The Deoband ulemas have erred badly.
Prof J. S. Bandukwala
Vadodara, Gujarat


When neither the victim of the alleged rape, nor her husband nor the Muslim community to which they belong, have any objection to the Fatwa issued by the Deoband ulama, endorsed by the Muslim Personal Law Board, where is the necessity for non-Muslim individuals and organisations to interefere with the Shariat (Muslim Personal Law). As far as the criminal case against the accused is concerned, let the law take its own course but the matter regarding the relationship between Imrana and her husband lies within the province of the "Shariat" and so any interference with the Shariat by those who have no faith in it is patently unwarranted and undesirable inasmuch as it would widen communal divide. Hence, the Council appeals to non-Muslim brothers and sisters to leave the concerned parties in peace to obtain guidance from their religious leaders and solve their problem or problems. 
Convener, Shariath Protection Council
Chennai, Tamil Nadu


Most Retrograde Fatwa in Imrana's Case

The 'fatwa' (religious edict) given by Deoband seminary, and confirmed by All India Muslim Personal Law Board, that Imrana, after being raped by her father-in-law, cannot be allowed to stay with her husband, is most retrograde, and in total violation of Islamic Shariah. Countless provisions of Qur'an bear ample testimony to the fact that nobody can be punished or subjected to adverse consequences for any deed which he or she was compelled to commit, and the commission of which could not be resisted despite all human efforts. According to Quranic injunctions, even if a woman is forced into prostitution by those under whose custody she is, she is free from any guilt, sin or whatever might be associated with it. Had the act of Imrana been voluntary, then the situation would have been totally different. This is a gross injustice which can never be authenticated by Shariat, that a poor woman was firstly raped by her father-in-law, and then also deprived of her matrimonial life. 
Such un-Islamic 'fatwas' are bound to project Islam as a cruel and unjust religion, and I am sure, that by acting in this most heinous and negative manner, the obscurantist clergy class is ruthlessly damaging the image of Islam as the most progressive religion of the world. Such developments amply manifest that these seminaries and the 'maulvi' class have lost their utility in the Muslim society, and the more free hand they are given in tampering with Shariat, the more disastrous they will prove themselves for the whole social and religious fabric of the community. Now it is a time when a sustained movement must be launched to keep the illiterate Muslim masses away from the nefarious ideology of these 'Madarsas' and 'Maulvis', if Islam is to survive as a modern religion in the 21st century

Dr. Mustafa Kamal Sherwani
President, All India Muslim Forum
Presently Dean, Faculty of Law and Shariah
University of Zanzibar, Tanzania

Read Also:

- Imrana case: Rape by Media

:: Imrana on video - no rape

- Muslim Political Council's report on the Imrana episode

- Text of the Question and fatwa on Imrana

- "Deoband Fatwa"


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