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All India Muslim Personal Law Board delegation meets Law Commission; says firm no to UCC

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New Delhi: A delegation of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board told the Law Commission of India that Muslims, like Sikhs, Christians, and tribal people, will not accept the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) under any circumstances. The Law Commission assured the delegation that they would not propose any significant changes that could change the fundamental elements of Sharia Law.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board met with the Law Commission on August23 and presented its position on UCC in a clear and concise manner. The delegation was led by the organisation’s president, Moulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani. The Law Commission invited the Muslim Board to seek its opinion on UCC.

After introducing his team the Chairman of the Law Commission, Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, said we have invited you to seek your opinion on the UCC and on certain issues related to Muslim personal law. Moulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani explained to the Commission why UCC is unacceptable to Muslims. He said Shariat Law (Muslim Personal Law) has two components: one is based on the Quran and Sunna (the prophet’s words and actions), and the other is Ijtehad (Islamic scholars’ opinions). The first part is unalterable; even Muslim ulemas (scholars) cannot make any changes to it. Ijtehad can differ with time and situations. Therefore, for us, even a minute change in the basic format of Sharia will not be acceptable. The Indian Constitution has made freedom of religion a fundamental right.

The delegation asked the commission whether they have undertaken any survey or have any data on the basis of which they are proposing UCC. The Commission was also asked why only Muslims

have not been exempted from the UCC when the government is ready to exclude tribals and Christians of north-eastern states from it. It means that only Muslims are the target of the UCC. Similarly, if anybody has a problem with religious personal law, he or she can solemnise their marriage under the Special Marriage Registration Act, which is a secular law. For such marriages, the Indian Succession Act will be applicable. Then the delegation asked the Commission whether they had some specific issues related to Muslim personal laws or if they had certain queries, which the delegation would be willing to explain from an Islamic perspective. Mr. Awasthi raised some specific questions like: Is there any specific age prescribed for marriage in Islam? What is the position of the Personal Law Board on Nikah-e-Halala and Muta Marriage? What do you say on gender justice?

The president of the board said there is no such specific age prescribed for marriage in Islam. If both husband and wife are in a position to fulfil the obligations of marriage they can marry.

Likewise, on other issues, the board explained the sharia position.

Finally, the Chairman, Justice Awasthi, assured the delegation that they are not going to suggest any substantial change that may alter the basic features of Sharia Law. Their role is just to make suggestions. It is on the government to finalise the bill and put it before Parliament for discussion and approval.

Other members also participated in the discussion. Apart from the President, the delegation comprised Prof. Syed Ali Mohd Naqvi, Mr. Syed Sadatullah Husaini (Ameer Jamaat e Islami), Vice

Presidents, Moulana Mohammed Fazlur Rahim Mujaddidi, General Secretary, Senior Advocate Mr. Y. H. Muchala, Adv. M.R. Shamshad, Dr. Mufti Mohd. Mukarram Ahmad (Shahi Imam, Masjid Fatehpuri), Moulana Asghar Ali Imam Mehdi Salafi (Ameer, Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith Hind), Women Members, Professor Monisa Bushra Abidi (Working Committee Member), Adv. Ms Nabeela Jameel (Member) and Dr. S. Q. R. Ilyas, (Spokesperson and Working Committee Member).