Women brought their personal cases to the Supreme Court
Up until this week, in India, a Muslim man could divorce his wife instantly by repeating the word ‘talaq’ three times.
It was one of a handful of countries which maintained the practice, with the majority of Islamic countries, like Pakistan and Bangladesh, having banned the practice some time ago.
According to the BBC, Islamic scholars find no scriptural backing for the practice in either Sharia law or the Qur’an.
In fact, the Qur’an details exactly how divorce must be carried out, which includes a three-month process which is there to give the couple the opportunity for ‘reflection and conciliation’.
Five Muslim women who had experienced ‘talaq’ divorces filed cases to the Supreme Court. With the support of two prominent women’s rights group, the change to the law was pushed through.
They argued that there were cases of women being divorced with no warning, through letters, telephone and even by text, WhatsApp or Skype.
The practice, which obviously undermines women’s rights by ending a marriage without a woman’s say-so, was called ‘un-Islamic, arbitrary and unconstitutional ‘ by three of the five Supreme Court judges.
They also said that it was ‘manifestly arbitrary’ to allow only men to ‘breakdown marriage whimsically and capriciously.’
Campaigners, like activists Zakia Soman and Hasina Khan, are heralding this as a ‘historic moment’, that will hopefully end the mistreatment of women, particularly from poorer families, who are ‘discarded’ by their husbands.
Khan told the BBC, ‘We are extremely happy. Muslim women have struggled for years.’
The All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board (AIWPB) said the judgment ‘could not have been better’, and told the BBC:
It will change the entire landscape of Muslim families. It’s now in the mainstream and will protect not only women, but children. Families will be more stable because children will also be protected.
Sounds like a step in the right direction for equality.
This article was originally published on ELLEUK.com