Tuesday, 28 June 2005

Imrana case: Hyderabad muftis differ with their counterparts in the North

A wife continues to be wife even after she is raped by a close relative or an outsider and sexual assualt on a woman will not nullify her wedlock

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, June 28: A wife continues to be wife even after she is raped by a close relative or an outsider and sexual assualt on a woman will not nullify her wedlock, says a noted city mufti.
Reacting sharply to a fatwa (religious decree) issued by Darul Uloom, Deoband, against a woman raped by her father-in-law, Mufti Muhammad Omar Abedin told this correspondent that a victim of rape would continue to enjoy all legal rights as a wife, since she is not at fault. The Deoband fatwa declared that the woman was illegal for her husband and he should divorce her.
"Islam is silent on the issue. There's no reference in the Holy Quran or in the Hadith (sayings of the Holy Prophet). The common opinion among Islamic scholars is that a victim of rape should not be denied her rights. In case of rape, the woman is not a fault. The issue is quite different if she commits adultery", observes Mufti Omar, who is also the general secretary of the Centre for Peace and True Message.
Dealing with the rape case of housewife Imrana, Mufti Habibur Rahman of Darul Uloom held that since she was raped by her father-in-law she had become "haram" (prohibited) to her husband Noor Ilahi. The fatwa ironically comes in the wake of Imrana's decision to live with her husband.
According to Mufti Omar, scholars adhering to Shafai and Maliki schools of Islamic jurisprudence do not nullify a wedlock even if the rapist is a close relative. Imrana's case falls under this category. Even in the Hanafi and Hanbali schools, the opinion is divided.
He also found fault with some scholars referring the case to the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board. "How can they refer it to the board. The issue invoved is of Islamic jurisprudence and nothing to do with the personal law", he pointed out.
The Mufti denies allegations that Islam is anti-woman. Muslim women are allowed to do "tawaf" (circumambulation) around the Holy Kaba in Mecca along with men. They are also allowed inside Masjid-al-Haram, Islam's holiest shrine. Same is the case with the Prophet's mosque in Madina. There is no bar on women offering prayers in mosques and many mosques in twin cities have provided special facilities for women.
Referring to the Nikahnama, he said since marriage is an agreement between man and wife, all that is agreed upon at the time of Nikah will hold good.

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