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Society
Last Updated: July 19, 2007
The Good Society
By Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umri

All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) decided on July 14, 2007 to set up a “Moaashra Committee” to ‘cleanse’ the implementation of Islamic law. It urged the Supreme Court to review its judgements that went against the shariah. Here, Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umri, Ameer, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and Member, AIMPLB, who participated in the Board meeting, explains why this is urgent: only laws and prescriptions in the shariah are characterised by ‘justice and balance’

Family is the mainstay of the Islamic social system. Islam lays special emphasis on this relationship. Marriage is a pact of trust in Islam in which both parties have certain rights and duties. A sound family can rest only on the foundations of respecting these rights and fulfilling these duties.

Islam has considered the natural needs of both man and woman while ordaining these rights and duties. Since woman is the weaker sex in view of her physical and psychological make-up, her rights have been ordained accordingly. While setting down duties for the woman, care has been taken to preserve her characteristic feminine persona so that she doesn’t become merely a complement of man, and that her natural talents develop.

The laws and prescriptions in Islamic shari’ah are characterised by justice and balance. A just, balanced society can be established only when these laws are abided by. Although marriage is a lifelong trust in Islam, if God forbid life takes a different course and it becomes difficult for both to pull along and there is little scope for reconciliation, Islam has given a way out, as a last resort, in the form of talaq. It is the duty of the Islamic state to establish a system to resolve the conflicts of society so that justice prevails. In case discord occurs in a family, justice and balance should not be dispensed with and a woman must get her due rights.

Islamic shari’ah has endowed dignity to women. On their births and as daughters, the shari’ah gives glad tidings of paradise; as mothers, on serving them, fulfilling their rights and giving them respect, it assures one of paradise; as wives, on treating them well, it assures God’s pleasure.

For marriage, the woman’s assent is necessary. In addition, she is guaranteed a good and pleasant future in the form of mahr (dower) from her husband. Mahr has nothing to do with talaq or discord as it is considered better to pay off mahr at the time of marriage itself. Whatever the woman gets from the husband as mahr and from father and brothers as a share in property, it is her own wealth and she can use it at her discretion. The husband has no legal right over her wealth, unless she wishes him to spend from it. If, God forbid, divorce occurs, anything that her husband has given her before, he cannot take back. Similarly, if he has not paid her mahr yet, it becomes incumbent upon him to pay it now. During Iddah he is bound to bear her expenses and if there is any offspring who has not reached the age of adolescence, he has to take care of them also.

Although Islam has given options for discord in the form of talaq, faskh and khul’a, it urges both man and woman in the path of reconciliation. If a man abides by the proper method of talaq as ordained by shari’ah, the possibility of giving talaq in anger, an emotional fit or in thoughtless hurry is ruled out. While Islam provides the man talaq as a handle for discord it gives the right of khul’a to the woman. So if a woman wishes to separate, she can do so with the help of a qazi or shari’ah court.

For a good society and a happy family to prevail, it is necessary for man and woman to abide by Islamic shari’ah and the laws of God. But it is also necessary for society to be helpful and for the Islamic state to provide a salubrious environment and pave the way for a better and just society with the help of the qaza system. Whenever these three elements or any one of them is missing, the road to a sound family and a just society will become difficult to traverse. The rights of man and particularly woman, being the weaker and tender sex — both physically and psychologically — will be violated.

In this scenario, it is obligatory on social institutions and scholars to start a campaign against the ills and unjust practices of society to stop the Muslim man and woman, by underlining the pleasure of God and sense of accountability in the hereafter, from indulging in extremities. And to struggle for the due rights of the oppressed and stop the oppressor with the help of social pressure and the system of ‘qaza’.

Muslim organisations, whether the Muslim Personal Law Board or the Jama’at-e-Islami, are struggling to pave the way for social reform aiming at curbing the attacks on the family system thanks to western culture and media as well as stopping extreme practices in society.

The efforts of social reform pivot around the following points: safeguarding the economic and social rights given to women; better nurturing of girls; imparting education to them; curbing the unfair use of talaq; paying off mahr; ensuring the woman’s share in inheritance; upholding pleasant family life; stopping dowry and extravagance in marriages and so on.

Efforts for social reform and a sound system of qaza will jointly help to not only establish a good Islamic society but also serve as a model for women of the entire nation. We express a request to our countrymen, particularly justice-loving intellectuals, to appreciate the efforts of the Muslim Personal Law Board and Muslim organisations. At least they should refrain from opening a front to criticise and deter these noble efforts. (Courtesy: Indian Express, July 19, 2007)


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