These 2 Muslim women fought against triple talaq, women’s right to enter mosques
New Delhi, August 22: On Tuesday as India celebrated the landmark judgement of the Supreme Court that struck down the practice of instant triple talaq prevalent among the Muslim community, let us thank these ordinary women who have fought an extraordinary battle as they relentlessly pushed for the ban on the discriminatory practice which gave the men unilateral right to divorce their wives by uttering the word talaq (divorce) three times.
The verdict of the apex court is the result of a slew of petitions filed by individual women and organisations against the triple talaq to declare it "unconstitutional and unlawful".
One organisation that did its best to carry on its fight against the triple talaq is the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), a non-profit organisation, run by two brave women--Zakia Soman and Noorjehan Niaz.
Both Soman and Niaz co-founded the BMMA in 2007. Today, the NGO has around 30,000 members in 15 states of the country. Along with fighting against the practice of triple talaq, the BMMA is also at the forefront to demand women's right to enter mosques and Mumbai's Haji Ali dargah.
The BMMA is also credited with the effort of conducting the first-ever nationwide survey of Muslim women on the issue of triple talaq. As per the survey, 92 per cent of the Muslim women want a ban on triple talaq.
As a part of its work, the NGO on a frequent basis conducts "Sharia adalats" or Sharia-based informal courts where Muslim women's domestic problems are addressed by female qazis (Islamic judges).
Because of these adalats, the BMMA managed to collect hundreds of firsthand stories of women left destitute because of triple talaq, nikah halala or polygamy.
The BMMA has signed a letter containing a petition titled--Muslim Women's Quest for Equality. The apex court had earlier taken a suo motu cognisance of the petition filed by the BMMA.
Speaking to The Indian Express before the apex court's verdict, Soman of the BMMA said, "We are hopeful that the verdict will be in favour of women. Triple talaq should not have been allowed in the first place. It is high time that this huge anomaly that has gone on for seven decades be addressed. The legal process really is a small part of the much longer process of social reform but it will be a beginning. Our petition, Muslim Women's Quest for Equality, was taken suo motu cognizance by the bench of Justice (Anil R) Dave and Justice (Adarsh Kumar) Goel and now we are one of the petitioners in the case. We have also submitted our triple talaq case studies to the court."
"We have reproduced verses from the Quran about talaq, negotiations and how it should happen over a minimum period of 90 days. The second argument is about gender justice. There is no ambiguity in the Constitution of India about all citizens having equal rights," Soman added.