The Struggle for Human Rights: Plight of Muslim Women
In today’s world Muslim women can still be seen searching for the light in this dark patriarchal society of India. A number of legislations have been enacting time and again, pertaining to make reforms in the concrete status of women. The concrete status that has been erected by the society itself which refers the women not only as subordinate to men but also a dependent on them for their very survival. This situation still persists.
The thinking that a woman is a commodity who has to bear the critical nuances of religion needs to change. For this change to come, a good religion or law in its truest sense is one which is viable enough to adjust to the demands of our progressing society. To begin with, Islam abolished the practice of killing female children and raised the stature of women in society to one of dignity, esteem, and privilege; but does this dignity, esteem and privilege still exists within the four corners of their personal laws?Behind the mask of religious sentiments, the basic human rights of a woman cannot be strangulated.
The objective of this paper is to analyse the conflict between the human rights of Muslim women and their personal laws. To achieve this objective, the researcher shall look upon the human rights of a Muslim women and the social evil, the personal laws bring into light. This paper will approach to show how and why the personal laws need to be rewritten for the sake of social reforms.
Oftentimes, calls for change are seen to be the effective tools against prevailing clamour pertaining to the Muslim community. The rationale behind this paper is not to put any impression against any religious sentiments of the Muslim community, rather to throw a light onto those painful issues which are putting the persons of this particular community itself, in agony.
Indeed, a view can be made that primarily the persons of this community only, are being suffered due to the very conservative perceptions that have been framed by them only. In spite of having all legal rights with regard to marriage, property, etc., the Muslim women have been deprived of all such enjoyments. We are also having some examples like Sanya Mirza, Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed etc., but these examples are very less and on the basis of these few, consisting a very least number of empowered women in Muslim community, we can’t ignore the plight of those who are troubling and struggling behind the four walls of their homes; they’ve been even compelled by their circumstances to embrace these anguishes, believing it to be their fate.
But, being a part of this developing nation, we cannot put these issues aside by considering it to be an interference with Islamic law & tagging and confining them as a private matter of Muslim’ community. It’s the need of the emerging time to scatter the rays of happiness in the life of these suffering women.
Moreover, it is presumed that Muslim women are also been given the equal right to divorce as a Muslim man has; Yes, they obviously are having such rights. But to procure those rights or to enforce those rights, one ought to need the free circumstances in which they can easily exercise such right without having any suppression or fear with regard to any future happening against them.
The concept of triple talaq, it can be said that, has been misused by the people; falling prey to such age-old practices of ritualistic traditions cannot be considered as their (women) own folly. But as of now, triple Talaq, which is being blown out of proportion as an issue, can actually be a boon to many an abused woman. To go on harping on triple Talaq as though it is the monster that breaks marriages and oppresses women, is ridiculous. Men and women who simply do not agree to live together break marriages. Good riddance to wife-beaters, abusers and sick-minded losers who value their women so little, that they pick up the phone in a cowardly manner and walk away with a ‘Talaq, Talaq, Talaq’.
Certainly, if we talk about the concept of the triple talaq, which the Muslim men think it to be plaything of their hand which they can use discretionary by undermining the wishes and desires of their wives. The latter statement has arisen the curiosity to raise some questions i.e,
• Whether the Muslim women are not considered to be the part of this country who are not befitted to be entitled for all such rights which are enjoying by other women in this county?
• Whether they are here only for rearing child within the four walls of their homes?
• Why they would always be considered as a commodity and a subordinate one, who are forced to accede to all sayings of their husbands?
We can’t leave these questions unanswered; Of Course not!! Certainly, any religion cannot be presumed taking away the means of living from any individual, especially women. Therefore, a person can’t be deprived of any of his/her right under the disguise of religious belief. Further, the lives of Muslim women cannot be allowed to be ruined” by the contentious custom.
The ideology behind the concept of triple talaq which has been disfigured by the people now-a-days, is not something in tune with what Quran has provided for; the justifiability of triple talaq has been faded away by the people in present times. To support this, let’s have an example of Polygamy among Muslim community; if we trace the history behind the emergence of Polygamy,the creed behind the concept of Polygamy was to support the needy Muslim women who had lost their husbands in their early ages. It (polygamy) ought to have inclination towards fulfilling the attached notion of equality, mandated by the Quran itself which the husband is obliged to give to all his four wives, upholding their dignity as well. But putting some instances into light would unveil the true picture of actual practices followed by the people.
The casesLily Thomas v. Union of India and Sarla Mudgal v. Union of India are theactual authority behind justifying this instance. The time has come to have a glance over the issue of conflict between the personal law of Muslims and the human rights of the Muslim women as a concern for respecting the dignity of the Muslim women alike other women belong to some other religion. A religion can’t be brought forth to supersede the nobles and ideals of the Indian Constitution.
The ideals of our constitution insists to wipe out each and every kind of germs that are responsible for hurting the very basic notion of equality. To illustrate it we can have a look upon this statement-If a Hindu commits female foeticide he will have to go to jail. Similarly, what is the crime of the Muslim women that somebody (their husbands) utters talaq thrice over the phone and their lives get destroy.
Furthermore, the Muslims women are also having all the rights guaranteed by our constitution with respect to their (women’s) honour and dignity, that’s why, the destiny of Muslim women cannot be decided upon the temperance of their husbands by giving it the name of religion. If Hindu women are being protected by our constitution, so why not Muslim women; why religious sentiments are becoming an obstruction in the way of reforming the country.
It would become a very controversial and pathetic issue that could even shake the very foundation of our democratic polity, if universal civil code would become the reality; as we have seen several times the aggression of Muslim community occasioned whenever the talks on uniform civil code came into light earlier. But it is the need of the hour to take an effective step to reconcile this issue involving human rights of Muslim women, besides personal law of Muslim; because they are being the part of our country and we can’t put these emerging issues aside by giving it the nomenclature of religious sentiments.
The voices against uniform civil code urge that it is an absolute interference with the personal laws of Muslims community which they considers it to be not tolerable by them. But this point at issue should not be taken as a mere communal one, rational thinking should be existed in order to solve the matter for the sake of country’s peace and harmony. Daily we are concerning about global reform by enlarging our arms to the outside world. But actual roots for reformation lies in our country itself and in order to bring forth this glorious reform, we need to first look upon the roots of problems from the very base level.
A state/country cannot be considered as a prosperous one until and unless it’s been capable of being a source of inspiration for others (country), by amicably fulfilling all the pre-requisites of a welfare state. As we all know that India is a diversified nation. Hence, for the sake of maintaining the dignity of all irrespective of their religion and sex, a revolutionary step ought to be taken in spite of the fact that it would, after a while, be considered as an interference with the personal laws. Even, the latter are not set free to strangulate the human rights of any person. A good law is one that is viable enough to be changed according to the circumstances that prevails.
# 2000 (2) ALD Cri 686.
# AIR 1995 SC 1531.