Triple Talaq : An Insensitive Practice

Raghuvansh Seth elucidates the arguments against the practice of triple talaq and specifies how that violates the rights of the women and shall be adequately protected against.

One of the most controversial topics in present day India, is the Triple Talaq. Now, why is it controversial? The answer to this question lies in the context of what it actually means and what it essentially implies. Triple Talaq is an oral form of divorce under the Islamic Law. It states that the husband can divorce his wife anytime and anywhere just by pronouncing ‘I divorce you’ thrice, provided that the wife is in the state of purity (when she is not menstruating). It is believed that when the man repeats the said phrase thrice, he is said to have divorced his wife thrice, and the divorce is said to be irrevocable, unless the wife has remarried, consummated the marriage, and has gotten divorced by her new husband, provided that it is with an honest intention (not merely to let her remarry), or if she has become a widow .

It has been noted in various cases of oral divorces that the correct law for divorce as ordained by the Holy Quran is that the divorce must be for a reasonable cause and must be preceded by attempts at reconciliation between the husband and the wife by two arbiters, one from the husband’s side and one from the wife’s side. Only if the attempts at reconciliation fail, the divorce or talaq may be effected. This interpretation of divorce was acknowledged by the courts only after quoting several verses from the Holy Quranic and commentaries by scholars of great eminence. It was only then that the judges expressed disapproval of the statement that “the whimsical and capricious divorce by the husband is good in law, though bad in theology” and observed that such a statement was based on the concept that women were chattel belonging to men, which the Holy Quran did not brook.

Now, coming to what the aforementioned meaning of ‘triple talaq’ essentially implies. Looking at it reasonably, the concept aims at establishing the fact that in a marriage conducted under the Islamic customs, the man can divorce his wife; effectively throwing her out on the street and in turn, leaving himself free to marry someone else; solely on the basis of his whims and caprices. Basically, giving them the power to dissolve the marriage as and when they deem fit. Going by this interpretation, when it comes to the concept of marriage, the males should undoubtedly be considered as a class above the females. Such an interpretation of the concept is directly prejudicial to the rights of women and also undermines their status in the society. It, in turn, also highlights the very core of most of the problems in any stereotypical Indian society, that is ‘male domination’. Furthermore, it poses a direct contradiction to the very equality which is guaranteed to the citizens as a fundamental right under Article 14 Part III of the Constitution.

Now, given that the Muslim laws allow polygamy, it is very similar to giving the male gender a free pass to marry someone just for the sake of having sexual intercourse with her and then, as soon as it stops being fun for him, repeating the aforesaid ‘magic words’ thrice and freeing himself to do the same thing again. It is very similar to hiring a sex worker for fulfilling one’s sexual desires, except that it is for a longer period of time and there is no obligation to pay for it. So basically, it is the perfect setting for the Muslim version of ‘Barney Stinson’ to proclaim this practice as “الحلم” which is Arabic for “the dream”.

The concept compels the married women to think that they ‘belong’ like properties to their husbands, rather than as their wives. Essentially, reiterating the superiority of males in the society. The women are forced to accept this concept and the treatment that follows as their fate, and are compelled to believe that if they don’t want to end up homeless, provided that they even their parents wouldn’t take them back, they need to be at their best behavior at all times. It leaves them absolutely no choice and almost acts like a hammer waiting to be dropped on the anvil, to effectively declare the marriage they put so much effort in as dissolved.

The Holy Quran describes ‘nikah’ (marriage) as a very sacred and strong bond between the husband and the wife and holds that it cannot be dissolved without proper reason and method. Therefore, according to it, divorce is not an arbitrary and whimsical thing, but then again, there are a majority of people who are ignorant towards the ideologies and beliefs of the modern world. They still stand by the opinion of a bygone generation that used to believe in such third world concepts, which somehow always managed to plead the case of ‘male domination’. How such a group of people can be so ignorant and choose to constantly ignore the moral aspect of the law is beyond me, given the obvious contradiction its literal meaning poses to gender equality. They still refuse to acknowledge the fact that the very concept of ‘triple talaq’ is an invitation to the stereotypical theory of male domination. Plus, by giving the power to dissolve the marriage at the mercy of their whims and caprices, it itself is epitomizing the concept and giving birth to such prejudicial ideologies.



Now, it is almost as if the already existing campaigns supporting feminism weren’t enough, that out came another wave of religiously inclined people, claiming the ‘triple talaq’ to be a valid and justified practice. To me personally, the concept makes no sense at all, considering the absurdity of the very meaning and implication of it, but then again, one should not forget that we live in a country driven by outdated customs and traditions, which are supposed to supersede our own beliefs, as taught to us by our very own parents. To the people though, who consider ‘triple talaq’ to be a justified concept, I propose imagining a situation wherein they themselves are the female parties to a marriage wherein the sword of arbitrary divorce (i.e the ‘triple talaq’) hangs over their heads, and then, taking into consideration the mental state of a such a woman, answer the question that follows- “Does it still seem justified?”.



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