Concept of Triple Talaq
India is a secular country. According to 2011 census, India accommodates around 14.23% Muslims out of total population making it world’s third largest Muslim population. India which has nowadays emerged as a powerful nation among all and the very first nation successfully launching Mars Orbiter Mission and teaches the lesson of women empowerment to the world still sees the life of Muslim women being ruined mercilessly under the threat of a sudden, oral and out-of-court divorce merely by uttering “talaq” thrice which is popularly known as Triple Talaq.
The Indian constitution protects gender equality, but on issues of marriage, divorce and inheritance, different religious communities are governed by their own so-called personal laws. Whether a person is subject to those laws is usually determined by their religion at birth.
Most of the Muslim women are forced to marry before the age of 15 years which is illegitimate as per our constitution but legal as per Muslim law board. Marriage at such a tender age decreases their ability to acquire proper education and become self-dependent financially. According to a survey conducted by Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan revealed the horrific picture that 95% of divorced women does not receive any maintenance from their husbands.
Concept of Divorce (Triple Talaq) in Islam
The Islamic concept of talaq (Divorce) envisages that talaq is accompanied by tripple talaq (one in each menstrual cycle) which means ‘three step process’ rather than pronouncing instant three times talaq, if people practicing instant talaq (Pronouncing talaq three times) then they are simply abusing the spirit of Islam.
“A Divorce is accompanied by a number expressly or implied , shall counted only as a single divorce is revocable except three talaq is given, one in each menstrual cycle”
This is three steps process because Islam gives the provision and much more space to rethink, reconsider and reconcile; If it is possible. The Quranic message on talaq is more keen to safeguarding the marriage rather dissolving it abruptly.
Muslim divorce laws in India
Muslim divorce law works on two forms of divorces, i.e. extrajudicial divorce and judicial divorce. The extrajudicial divorce is further categorised into three as per Muslim laws—given by the husband (talaq, zihar and ila), given by the wife (lian and talaq-i-tafweez) and agreed to separate through mutual agreement (mubarat and khula). The wife gets her rights to divorce from Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act 1939. As per Muslim law, this word signifies freedom only from the ties of marriage and from a legal sense it implies that the marriage has been dissolved by using words that are meant to be used for the said purpose. There are two categories of expressing talaq—talaq-i-sunnat and talaq-i-biddat.
1. Talaq-ul-Sunnat (Revocable Talaq)
Talaq-ul-Sunnat or Talaq-ul-raje is regarded to be the approved form of Talaq. It is based on the Prophet’s tradition (Sunna. The Prophet recommended only revocable Talaq, because in this form, the evil consequences of Talaq do not become final at once. There is possibility of compromise and reconciliation between husband and wife. It is further categorized into two forms—Talaq Ahsan and Talaq Hasan.
(i) Talaq Ahsan
This is the most proper form of repudiation of marriage. In the Ahsan Talaq there is a single declaration during the period of purity followed by no revocation by husband for three successive period of purity. In this form, the husband has to make a single pronouncement of Talaq during the Tuhr (a period between two menstruations) of the wife. But if a woman is not subjected to menstruation, either because of old age or due to pregnancy, a Talaq against her may be pronounced any time. After this single pronouncement, the wife is to observe an Iddat of three monthly courses. If she is pregnant at the time of pronouncement the Iddat is, till the delivery of the child. During the period of Iddat there should be no revocation of Talaq by the husband. The distinctive characteristic of the Talaq Ahsan is a single pronouncement followed by no revocation during the period of three month’s Iddat. A husband on realizing his mistake can cancle it as there is sufficient time for him to do so.
(ii) Talaq Hasan
This Talaq is also an approved form of Talaq in which, there is a provision for revocation. But it is not the best mode because evil words of Talaq are to be pronounced three times in the successive Tuhrs. It is noteworthy that the first and second Tuhrs may be revoked by the husband. If he does so, either expressly or by resuming conjugal relations, the words of Talaq become ineffective as if no Talaq was made at all. In order to make an effective Talaq, the words must be uttered thrice in three consecutive period of purity.
2. Talaq-ul-Bidaat (Irrevocable)
This is a condemned mode of divorce by the Prophet as it becomes effective as soon as the words are pronounced and there is no possibility of settlement between the parties. This mode of Talaq has been in practice among the Sunni Muslims. The Qur’anic verse 2: 229–30 begins with Al-talaqu marratan, which implies divorce may be pronounced twice and the word marratan implies a gap between two pronouncements which means there should be a large enough time-gap between the two pronouncements of divorce.
Triple talaq is a major issue as it is not only the easiest method of divorce but also making the life of Muslim women helpless. Nowadays people are using whatsapp, facebook and emails as well to divorce their wives. Where, in most of the cases women are not in a state to suddenly become bread-earner and nurture their children.
Allahabad High Court has called triple talaq unconstitutional and the Supreme Court has also decided that a five-judge constitution bench will begin hearing cases and will decide on the constitutional validity of the practice of triple talaq, nikah halala and polygamy among Muslims.
When most of the Muslim majority countries such as Turkey, Bangladesh and Pakistan completely discard triple talaq under the Muslim Personal Law Application Act (1937), its existence in India is a major concern.