Home » Events » BMMA – 6TH ANNUAL CONVENTION OF BMMA AND PUBLIC HEARING ON ORAL/UNILATERAL DIVORCE IN MUMBAI

BMMA – 6TH ANNUAL CONVENTION OF BMMA AND PUBLIC HEARING ON ORAL/UNILATERAL DIVORCE IN MUMBAI

BMMA – 6TH ANNUAL CONVENTION OF BMMA AND PUBLIC HEARING ON ORAL/UNILATERAL DIVORCE IN MUMBAI

BMMA

Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan [BMMA] is a secular, autonomous and rights based Muslim women’s movement in india established in 2007 which works for justice, peace, democracy and development within and outside the Muslim community. It is leading movement of Muslim women in India with a membership base of 35000 women, more than 10 lakh beneficiaries and an active leadership in 12 states across the country. BMMA addresses the marginalization of the community through Muslim women’s own active leadership at the local, state and national level. It facilitates the emergence of Muslim women’s and girl’s leadership so that they can lead themselves and the larger community towards social, educational, economic and legal development.

More than 500 Muslim women and men gave a call for putting a complete ban on the practice of oral/unilateral divorce in the Annual Convention and Public Hearing organized by BMMA. The Convention titled ‘Jiski Kahaani Uski Zubaani’ gave opportunity to women to demand a ban on the practice of oral divorce. 5720 signatures and endorsements have been collected so far of individuals who want an end the system of one-sided divorce. 99 civil society groups, organizations and networks from different parts of the country have supported BMMA’s demand for ending oral/unilateral divorce.

10 Muslim women from Maharashtra, Gujrat, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha, West Bengal, Rajasthan, and Bihar who are victims of oral/unilateral divorce narrated the manner in which their husband’s gave them divorce unilaterally. Apart from these women who presented their cases more than 25 women from amongst the audience spontaneously shared their own stories of the callous way in which their marriages were terminated by their husband’s in an arbitrary manner.

The panel consisted of noted and eminent activists like Zakia Soman from Ahmedabad, Nishat Husein from Rajasthan, Khatoon Shaikh from Mumbai and Safia Akhtar from Madhya Pradesh. The public hearing was facilitated by Noorjehan Safia Niaz.

BMMA is active in 12 states across the country and its leaders receive many cases of Muslim women who have been orally and unilaterally divorced by their husbands. Muslim husbands have evolved innovative methods of divorcing their wife. For instance one husband himself wrote the khulanama and made his wife sign it. In another instance, a father in law divorced his daughter in law on behalf of his son. There are many instances of women divorced through sms, emails, phone calls, letters and of course orally. Many qazis who are paid by the husband send divorce notices to the wife without even giving an opportunity to the wife to give her side of the story.

Although Quranic injunctions demand arbitration before divorce proceedings, this injunction is clearly forgotten by the husband and the ulemas who justify the practice of oral divorce in the name of religion. As a result Muslim women are deprived of her rights mentioned in the Quran and are subject to harassment by husband and unscrupulous qazis.

The government must intervene in this matter as Muslim women are also citizens of this country and they have a right to enjoy a dignified life. They must get utmost support from the state whose responsibility is to ensure that all constitutional rights are available to all citizens. Muslim women have too long being suffering because of this practice. Neither the leadership of the Muslim community nor the state is taking any interest in the plight of Muslim women.

In the light of Quranic injunctions the practice of oral/unilateral divorce is atmost unIslamic and goes against the principles of equality and justice which are the pillars of Islam. The Muslim women are only asking for what is just and thus Islamic. In the long run the Muslim law must be codified so that other aspects of personal law can also be brought in line with the Quranic injunctions. The following resolutions were passed at the end of the Convention:

  • Oral/Unilateral divorce to be banned with immediate effect
  • Complaints against errant Qazis and Muftis be filed with the Police/Minority Commission
  • Arbitration should be made mandatory
  • Talaak-Ahsan method of divorce must be the accepted form of divorce for man and woman
  • Muslim family law must be codified

The gathering ended on a note that the struggle to end this practice will continue with increased participation of women.

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