New Delhi, Dec 28: Are Muslim clerics and muftis above Indian laws?
It seems clerics (Muslim religious heads) and muftis (Muslim legal experts) have no regard for the Supreme Court and its judgements.
In spite of the Supreme Court ban on "triple talaq", or instant divorce, practised by some in the Muslim community, saying it is "unconstitutional" in August this year, clerics and muftis are coming up with various "excuses" to help Muslim men get divorce instantly.
In an investigative report done by India Today, it was revealed how "muftis are advising male divorce-seekers to modify the outlawed commandment of triple talaq for quick but safe separation from their wives".
India is all set to criminalise triple talaq, the practice under which a Muslim man can divorce his wife by simply uttering "talaq" three times, by introducing and passing a bill in this regard in Parliament on Thursday.
The India Today report revealed that the clerics are now advising Muslim husbands to use the terminology talaq-e-bain instead of triple talaq.
The investigation finds out that the clerics and muftis are well-aware about the ban on triple talaq by the Supreme Court and thus they are devising ways and means to deceive the law of the land.
The clerics told reporters of India Today that the use of the term "talaq-e-bain" in place of triple talaq also dissolves the matrimony immediately.
"Instead of pronouncing talaq thrice, if you say talaq-e-bain once, the matter ends there," Mufti Fahimuddin, who runs the Arabia Hidayatul Islam Madrasa at Loni in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, told India Today's undercover team.
"This is talaq-e-bain, which means the wife will be separated. If she ever wants to revive the marriage, then it will have to be solemnized afresh by a mufti or a maulvi."
"What will happen in that case. Will there be an instant talaq?" probed the reporter.
"Yes. Just say it in one breath that 'I am giving you talaq-e-bain'. The matter ends there," the mufti replied.
The investigation revealed that the clerics are twisting laws to make divorce procedure quick and hassle-free for Muslim men.
Another, Muslim legal expert, identified as Mufti Asrar, who runs the Darul Uloom Jamiat-ul-Siddiqui Madrasa in western Uttar Pradesh, in the India Today report, suggested divorce-seekers issue talaq-e-bain in writing and not orally.
"Issue it in writing. Don't utter a word from your mouth. Issue talaq-e-bain in writing instead," he said. "The biggest advantage is that if she accuses you of triple talaq, you can then show it (the talaq-e-bain note)," he said.
There are mainly three methods of divorce as per the Islamic personal laws-- talaq-e-ahsan, talaq-e-hasan and the now banned talaq-e-biddat or triple talaq.
Women rights groups, who are fighting hard to give justice to millions of Muslim women whose lives have been ruined because of triple talaq, say that once the bill to criminalise triple talaq is passed in Parliament, all those who are involved in abusing Islamic personal laws would be punished.
"Muftis and clerics are the main reasons why divorce rate among the Muslims is increasing. To earn quick money they help men to get divorce hassle-free and fast by misusing the Islamic laws," says an activist working for the rights of Muslim women.