India: Open Letter to Darul Uloom Deoband Advocates for Dignity of Muslim Women in Response to Fatwa on Divorce

News article, posted 11.26.2010, from India, in:
Source:
Indian Muslim Observer

We the activists of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan condemn the fatwa issued by Darul Ifta, Fatwa department of Sunni Islamic seminary, Darul Uloom Deoband stating that divorce pronounced by the husband on phone is valid even if the wife has not heard it due to network problems. It says that ‘for talaak to take place it is not necessary that wife should hear it or witnesses are present.’ In October this year they also ruled that talaak pronounced in jest is also valid.

We demand an answer from all those mullas, muftis and qazis who have nothing better to do than pass fatwas which ruin the lives of so many women. We ask you 5 questions and we demand an answer to all of them:

Who are you and what is your authority in passing fatwas? In a secular democracy like India and in a religion that denounces clergy ship, from where do you get the authority to pass dictates which are unConstitutional and unIslamic?

What is the source of illogical, stupid and laughter-evoking fatwas like women should not be riding bicycles, women should not talk loudly, they should not work in male company and without a veil, that women cannot be a judge and that she cannot be talking to her fiancé before marriage and many other much much more ridiculous rulings? Don’t you think twice before you defile a rational, progressive and liberal religion like Islam? Don’t you have an iota of a sense of responsibility?

A Muslim man today feels empowered and emboldened when irresponsible muftis and qazis send letters and notices on his behalf to his unsuspecting wife abruptly terminating her marriage. Divorcing ones wife by letters, emails, SMSs is a recurring phenomenon which gives no opportunity to a harried wife to even know what went wrong where and how. Instead of dissuading men from resorting to this unIslamic method of divorce, the qazis are actually providing an easy conduit to men who think of marriage as some joke and his wife to be some piece of furniture to be discarded at his will. What do you feel when you read the verse no. 4:35 which insists on arbitration before divorce? Do you suffer from selective amnesia and forget all those verses which are just and fair to women?

Is there no control over the qazis and maulana? Are they free to speak nonsense and defile the religion and hurt the dignity of Muslim women? You have given a bad name to Islam. Give us one good reason why Muslim women should not approach the police station and put these irresponsible mullas behind bars?
When practically all Islamic/Muslim countries have codified the family law, why is the Darul Uloom not taking an initiative to call for codification of Muslim personal law in India? You have to tell us your views on codification.

We challenge the Darul Uloom Deoband to be answerable to Muslim women on the above and many more such pressing issues. We urge you to stop taking the community and Muslim women for granted.

 

See Also: 

http://islamopediaonline.org/editorials-and-analysis/faizur-rahman-indian-muslim-divorce-and-proper-quranic-prescriptions