H C Singh

Implications of Fatwa Imposition and Solution

 It is only after 2004 that there have been news in media and press about Fatwas by Muslim clerics against Muslim women. Some Fatwas are: that it is against shriat that Muslim women should go out for work and do work where there are men; that if a family lives on a woman’s earnings it is sinful (haraam) and that woman should not contest Panchayat or other elections without veil (Burqua) and canvassing should be done by men on behalf of women and not by women themselves.

However the worst and most unlawful Fatwa was of 2005 against a Muslim woman who was molested by her father-in-law. This unfortunate woman’s name was Imrana. The clerics, instead of imposing rigorous and exemplary punishment on rapist father-in-law of Imrana, the fatwa ordered that Imrana’s marriage is dissolved, not only that, but further ordained that she should marry the rapist father-in-law. What a Fatwa judgment where criminal is awarded and honoured and dishonoured woman victim is punished? This Fatwa raised hue and cry even amongst educated and cultured Muslims demanding that Muftis and clerics should desist from issuing such disgraceful fatwas. It is heartening to note that an eminent Muslim Khalil Ahmed, a former executive director of Shantha Biotech has said: “Muslim women are emancipated lot and they have moved ahead in India. Clerics come from different socio economic class. Society needs people who can march ahead and take our nation ahead.”

It is equally important to mention that Turkey, which was a Muslim Caliphate, was the first Muslim country, under Kamaal Attaturk to grant social equality to Muslim women in 1918. He even banned wearing veil (Burqua) by Muslim women. He ordered the police to forcibly remove veil, if any woman was found wearing it. There was, therefore, no question of issuing fatwa in Turkey after Attaturk came to power. Even today Turkey is the most modern Muslim country in the world.

After Muslim women of Turkey got social equality, it was only India which gave under 1950 constitution social equality to women irrespective of their religion. Thus constitutionally Muslim women of India has social equality with Muslim men. If Imrana, even after the issue of illegal fatwa by clerics, had gone to court against her rapist father-in-law, the court definitely would have imposed exemplary punishment on her rapist father-in-law. Such a decision would have deterred clerics from issuing such disgraceful fatwa in future.

What is the long-term solution or remedy of issuing such illegal fatwas? Protests by educated Muslims and few articles in newspapers or magazines cannot solve this problem and make muslim women of India socially and actually equal to men. They should rather demand legal ban on fatwas through constitutional amendment/provision if necessary. As India is a secular democratic country, Parliament would be fully justified in passing such legislation, banning fatwa so that muslim women of India are treated equal to women of other religions in all respect, in getting education and doing all types of jobs in science, technology and civil sciences and fighting elections like other women of India independently and fearlessly.

July 8, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

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