I want my divorce NOW
As the debate around Triple Talaq heats up in India, where the Supreme Court is to decide on the fate of Triple Talaq, the narrative around Muslim marriages has taken centre stage.
What exactly is Triple Talaq? Triple Talaq is a form of divorce by which Muslim men can divorce their wife simply by uttering ‘Talaq, Talaq, Talaq’ which loosely translates to ‘I divorce thee, I divorce thee, and I divorce thee’. This seems almost like a cruel joke, when you first narrate it to someone, that this form of divorce still exists in India, one of the few countries that grants legitimacy to the instant Triple Talaq. There are almost no court procedures involved and the wife is cast aside by these lethal utterances. She has almost no legal recourse available to question its validity because the umbrella of law clothes it with a legal sanction.
Triple talaq is unilateral and doesn’t require the consent or concurrence of women. It’s as though the woman doesn’t matter and the man’s word is final. He is fed up of her and if he so desires he can just ‘get rid of her’ and life is back to normal, for him. When a desire translates into instant results almost magically it’s fantastic, but not when it concerns the lives of two people married to each other and sharing a family together. That’s because the husband’s desire, sanctified by law, has the power to completely destroy another person’s life, in this case the wife and children, without them having any power to undo what has been done by the husband. Like it happened in one of the cases that I was handling, where the husband Ishfaq* being unhappy with Tazneem* decided to divorce her and invoked the Triple Talaq by merely smsing her when she had gone to visit her parents’ place with their two children Rahim*(4) and Aaliyah (8).Tazneem’s world turned upside down since she had not expected a divorce and the stealth with which it was delivered has shocked her into a state of depression. Tazneem does state that her marriage wasn’t perfect and there were occasional fights over the usual domestic issues but nothing as severe to merit a divorce, that is her side of the story. Obviously, her husband had different thoughts about the state of marriage and wanted a divorce and he got it without any protest from his wife. Not that his wife didn’t want to protest, but her protest didn’t resonate with the legal system, because Ishfaq was legally in the right.
If the situation was reversed and Tazneem had wanted a divorce she would have to approach a court of law/qazi loosely translated as a judge in the Muslim community and seek a divorce. Tazneem, being a woman doesn’t have the option of invoking the Triple Talaq.
If a marriage is between two people, so the option to dissolve the marriage should also be exercised equally by the two people in the marriage. Triple Talaq completely skews the options in the man’s favour leaving the women powerless and decimated.
Perhaps, it will take the alliance of men and women working as one force to transform Triple Talaq from the sword of Damocles hanging over a woman’s head to a shield that she will use for her protection against men that want to exploit the religion in the name of ‘fake masculinity.’
Originally published at medium.com