Monday, 11 May 2009

No triple talaq in Hyderabad, thanks to Muftis and Mullahs

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Hyderabadi Muslim women are the least affected by the "triple Talaq" menace that is rampant elsewhere in the country.
Though about 8,000 marriages are performed by Qazis in the 11 Qazi Zones on an average every month in twin cities, only half a dozen couples are separated through the triple Talaq. In all, the Qazis in Hyderabad and Secunderabad deal with around 300 divorce cases every month and a majority of them are settled through mutual reconciliation.
The most common type of Talaq practiced in Hyderabad is Talaq-e-Bain (talaq pronounced in three sittings each one month apart). Talaq-e-Salasa (triple talaq, pronounced thrice in one go) is very rare. Neither religious scholars nor Qazis permit couple seeking divorce to go in for triple Talaq as it is considered harmful and morally incorrect. Though local Muslim scholars disagree with last week's Supreme Court judgment on triple Talaq, they feel that triple Talaq should be discouraged.
"We do not encourage triple Talaq. Most of the divorce cases are sorted out though rigorous counselling at the end of which the couples agree to live in peace. Only a few dozen couples fail to heed our advice and separate through Talaq-e-Bain, a system in which Talaq is pronounced in three sittings each with a gap of 30 days giving sufficient time for rapprochement. The triple Talaq cases are very rare and account for just five or six a month," chief Qazi of old city Mir Khadar Ali told this correspondent.
Hyderabad has the second largest Muslim population in the country after Mumbai and the presence of several "Shariah Panchayats" in the city is discouraging local Muslims from going in for triple Talaq. Andhra Pradesh has about 150 Qazis and they together perform about 1.20 lakh marriages a year on an average.
"We deal with divorce cases at two stages, through Darul Qaza Helpline and Darul Qaza Shariat Panchayat. First couples seeking divorce are put to counselling by religious scholars at Darul Qaza Helpline and if the efforts fail they are referred to the Shariah Panchayat. Here also our scholars tell them about the ill-effects of divorce. Most of the couples agree while a handful decide to separate," Shariah Panchayat chief Moulana Hussamuddin Jafar said.
The State Wakf Board, which has made it mandatory on the part of the Qazis to submit marriage records, has strangely enough absolved them from the responsibility of submitting the divorce records. The Board does not maintain any records on Muslim divorces. Individual chief Qazis in twin cities have their own record system on divorces, which are often wrought with irregularities.
Andhra Pradesh Qazi Association president Ghulam Sarwar Biyabani blames divorces on TV serials. "Young couples are influenced by television serials which are increasingly showing extra-marital affairs and frequent divorces. We have launched a campaign to educate young couples that life is altogether different in reality. What is shown on small screen cannot be imitated in real life. About 90 per cent of couples seeking divorce heed our advice," he points out.

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