Personal Law Board Moots Major Reforms
Strive for " Alliance of the Deprived"
"Qur'an and Science" Exhibition held at Nagpur
Islamic Calligraphy on Display
Islamic Medicine meet at HyderabadF
Society Against 'Fundamentalist' Islam
Most of the issues faced by the community today are the result of Muslim intellectual stagnation.
The 13th session of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) was held at Mumbai from Oct 28 to 30 1999. Approval of Nikahnama and codification of existing Muslim personal law in India were two of the most important decisions taken during the session.
Establishing shariat panchayat and setting up training camps for ulemas and qazi’s for training before deputing them for shariat panchayat was another major decision.
AIMPLB is the largest representative body of Muslims. It has representation from some of The Muslim Organisations, ulemas, Academicians, legal luminaries, eminent social activists, politicians etc. It was formed to safegaurd Muslim personal law from external threats and strive for social reforms amongst Muslims.
AIMPLB in one of its resolution has agreed to approve proposed Nikahnama, with minor changes. A committee has been set up to suggest changes in the proposed Nikahnama before the board gives it final seal of approval.
This is one of the most crucial decision taken by the board. The Nikahnama evolved after years of efforts by women activists and leading lawyers was presented to the board for its approval a couple of years ago.
The Nikahnama recommends that Mehr(dower) should not be in cash but in shares, land or gold or silver all of which appreciate in value. It stipulates that neither the husband nor any of his relatives can pressurise the wife to give it up.
Mehr, originally supposed to be a security for the women, especially the poor, has been reduced to a symbolic value. It is an amount, decided at the time of marriage to be given to the wife by the husband.
The Nikahnama stipulates that triple talaq (divorce in one sitting) should not be resorted to by the man. If he does so, he is bound to pay double the Mehr. The stipulated form of talaq will be talaq-e-ahsan, the Qur’anic form most preferred by the Prophet, which means pronouncing talaq once in the presence of four respected members of society two from each each side. There should be a gap between three talaq as directed by the Qur’an.
This form of divorce allows for a three month period when reconciliation can be attempted, failing which the divorce becomes effective.
Other conditions in the proposed Nikahnama are : The wife’s retention of her legal personality with plenary capacity to contract and to acquire, hold and dispose of property with reference to her husband’s family after marriage and also her coordinated related rights to inherit from her parents. The women’s right to divorce in case of unchastity imputed on her, aside from other cases of cruelty and divorce by mutual consent.
The Nikahnama also stipulates that the husband will not marry without the first wife’s consent. If he does so he will have to pay her double her Mehr.
The first wife will have the first right to the matrimonial home and will not be compelled to share it with the second wife. She will also enjoy the right to be treated and looked after, along with her children, as she was before the second marriage. She will have the first right on her children.
For Muslim women in this country this could be the beginning of a change. A change towards a life without the crippling fear of destruction and divorce, of ignorance and ignominy. The board has acquire the status that a Nikahnama released by it officially will not face much resistance among ulemas and qazis at the local level.
Even a cursory look at the divorce and polygamy cases which land in the courts reveals that the main reson is the denial of status and rights to Muslim women, which Islam has accorded her. Since the community has no mechanism nor any platform through which women can fight for their legitimate rights, such cases lands in the court.
Unless and until Muslim women demand and fight for their legitimate rights, they would suffer. The crux of the problem is that women themselves are not demanding their rights and male ego would not allow it to concede these demands. Women have to fight their own battle.
Since very few women are socially active these issues remain on the back burner. Without elevating the status of women the upliftment of Muslim community cannot be achieved. To achieve this AIMPLB has appointed a committee to advise the board on amending its constitution, so that more representations to women could be given.
No social reform movement can be successful without the participation of women. First step toward that direction would be educating women.
The dawn of new millenium demands that forums like AIMPLB must set their house in order. Instead of concentrarting on frivolous issues the board must take up more burning issues of the community.
Most of the issues faced by the community today are the result of Muslim intellectual stagnation. Instead of concentrating only on protecting Babri mosque through court, fighting cases related to Muslim personal law. Scattered throughout the country and riot relief the board should appoint professionally competent experts to take care of these issues and start concentrating on problems arising due to the tremendous strides in the field of information technology. The social reform movement to weed out UnIslamic tradition and practices amongst Muslims also require sustained efforts.
The most prestigious resource of any community is its intelligentsia and leadership. The community depends and look towards them with hope and anticipation. The challenges posed by the developments at the dawn of new millenium demands that forums like AIMPLB must set up their own agenda and priorities intead of merely reaching out to the agendas set up by others.
Bangalore: Syed Shahbuddin, former MP and diplomat, acknowledged that tactical voting by Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka played a key role in containing the BJP at the centre at its past tally. He said the principal focus of the ideological conflict on the national level was still the war between secularism and communalism and Muslim votes were still influenced by the psychological warfare. He said the number of Muslim MPs had gone up by two in the 13th Lok Sabha and if Muslims could organise themselves better the number could go up considerably. He said only in 11Lok Sabha constituencies Muslims were in majority while in another 60 they were 25 per cent and plus. If Muslims could device a strategy, the representation from these 71 Lok Sabha seats could be improved to around 45. In another 473 constituencies the Muslims did not matter much. So a better strategy was to concentrate on the 71 constituencies and improve numbers.
He said the largest representation of Muslims was during 1980 elections when 44 Muslim MPs were elected.
Shahabuddin in a chat with Islamic Voice said, it was the first time in the electorol history that the concept of tactical voting could be understood by Muslims. He recalled that in 1987, when V.P.Singh was engaged in crucial fight against Congress(I), then the butt of Muslim anger was against rising communalism. Kanshi Ram too had pitted himself in the fray in Allahabad byelections. Presence of Kanshi Ram who had a considerable Dalit Votebank at his command had confused Muslims a bit. It was then that he (Shahbuddin) had trued to convince the Muslims that they should identify the candidate who had the support of a larger section of Hindus whose votes combined with those of Muslims should be enough to defeat the Congress. The Muslims had agreed that Kanshi Ram’s party was still not a formidable force and V P Singh had considerable support from several social components of Hindus. He said V P Singh won just because of this arithmetic and he (shahbuddin) did not do any campaigning in favour of Singh. He said the momentary definition of objectives and identification of candidates and parties held the key to the tactical voting and Muslims in three states of India mastered the art in the just concluded elections for the 13th Lok Sabha.
Shahbuddin said Muslims should consider injustice being meted out to several other social groups and avoid merely being engrossed in their non-representation or non-reservation. He said the backwards among the traditionally forward classes and castes also deserved bonding with Muslims while the forward (creamy layer) among the traditionally backward should be excluded from the struggle for social justice. He explained it with the example from Bihar where he said if the Yadavs, Koeris and Kurmis were excluded from the OBCs, the remaining 34 per cent of population was represented by only a single MP in the current Lok Sabha. He said it was clear that the three dominant social groups were grabbing all the privileges reserved for the OBCs. He said invariably in all states, some of the OBC castes had achieved much socio-economic progress during the last five decades and they were lapping up the entire cream of reservations for the OBCs. He said this needs constant monitoring and Muslims would need to bond with those who have been denied social and economic justice. Only “ an alliance of the deprived” would be able to deliver justice to all, he remarked.
Shahbuddin recalled that the MUslim political thinking had been evolving throughout the country. He siad due to loss of power, the slogan in the early part of the century was about restoration of privileges. This changed into parity of the Hindu and Muslim elite around 20s. Further on, around 1937, Muslims wanted more weightage in legislatures and the government jobs than their numbers deserved. Now they were veering round to the idea of proportionality of representation which was the cardinal principle of democracy.
Syed Shahbuddin stressed the need for grooming Muslim youth and professionals into politicians to develop a mechanism wherby such youth could be identified and helped into important future roles.
Shahbuddin observed that no party was a national party now and almost all parties had been reduced to regional status and Muslims should plump for parties after identifying the ideological essence and the core of the political party. Shahbuddin said Muslims would have to adopt democratic thinking and avoid exclusivism in order to be equal partners in the struggle for socio-economic justice. He said Pakistan was a tragedy and Muslim should never tread the path that led to the emergence of Pakistan.
Cuttack: The Imarat Shariah of Bihar and Orissa has appealed for help to victims of super cyclone. In a press release the Imarat has said that 35 per cent of the tiny Muslim population of Orissa is affected by the cyclone. While 100 mosques have been damaged. The Imarat noted that repairs will be urgently needed in views of the approaching Ramadhan. Only three per cent of Orissa population is Muslim and most of this is concentrated in the Cuttack, Jagasinhpur and Puri districts. The Imarat Shariah can be contacted at Phone: 0671-617337.
Nagpur: Qur’an and Science Exhibition was inaugurated on November 3rd, 1999 by Maulana Mufti Abdul Qader sahib, chairman Jamia Arabic Unani College Nagpur. The exhibition was jointly held by Al-Hamd Education Trust, Bangalore, World Islamic exhibition and All India Institute of Islamic Culture, Pune, under the auspices of Al-Hejazi Foundation, Nagpur.
The premises of Urdu Primary school became a star attraction for 8 days for the people of Nagpur and surrounding towns and suburbs. Nearly 2.5 lakh people visited the exhibition. The three galleries represented the themes such as “Qur’an and Science”, “Great Muslim Scientists” and the “Early Muslim Technology”.
Prof T.S.Sanaullah Bintory, was assisted by his colleague, Prof Zakir Hussain and student volunteers from Al-Ameen Arts, Science & Commerce College, Bangalore.
The other part of the Exhibition, an Islamic Heritage, by Manzurul-Hassan of Pune, consists of over 3000 pictorial exhibits on Islamic architecture, magnificent Mosques, Islamic Art, paintings, Arabic Calligraphy, Holy places of Islamic world etc.
Chennai: Saadiyah Jameel’s ornaye calligraphy was on display for two days in Sharanya Art Gallery here. Jameel uses stained glass painting technique and has created exquisite pieces with the first Kalima, Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem, and other noted verses of the Holy Qur’an. Jameel says she felt inspired by the calligraphy on Mughal monuments in Agra, Delhi and Fatehpur Sikri etc. Some of the pieces of her art using creepers, flowers, mirror images and geometric maxes evoked wondrous gasp from the viewers at the exhibition. Jameel intends to hold the exhibition at Bangalore too.
Hyderabad: The Fifth International Convention on Islamic Medicine will be held here from January 13 to 17 next year. The convention will deliberate on the contribution of Muslim physicians to the advancement of science and medicine, especially in the areas of surgery, dermatology and opthalmology, Dr. Fakhruddin Mohammed, director, Princess Durru Shehvar Children’s Hospital, told newsmen here. The convention would also focus on key issues like family planning, contraception, circumcision, cloning, genetic engineering and euthanasia, he said, adding moral and ethical values of Islamic teachings would receive special attention. The convention is being held under the aegis of the Islamic Medical Association , Illinois, USA.
New Delhi, (IINA): A study published by The Pioneer, the English daily, has revealed that academicians in India, China and Russia have formed a society known as the Triple Society, with the aim of preventing the spread of fundamentalist Islam in Central and Southern Asia. The study reveals that the spread of ‘fundamentalist’ Islam with such lightning speed in the three countries would hamper the development of these countries and would pose a real danger to their peace and security, according to the newspaper.