HYDERABAD: Amid rising voices of Muslim women across the country against triple Talaaq and other alleged misogynist tendencies among Muslim men, Hyderabadi Muslim women are yet to join the bandwagon thanks to Khulas (demand for divorce by a woman) being already in vogue here.
While some view it as empowerment of women due to secular education and modernisation, others view it as a result of physical and mental harassment meted out by husband and in-laws. Women don't get allowance after Khula.
“The number of Khula (divorce) is on the rise in urban Telangana to such an extent that in a study conducted in Hyderabad and Nizamabad between 2010 and 2016 with data from Qazis, it was found that Khulas have exceeded Talaaqs in the two major cities of Telangana,” said Mohammad Irfan, an independent researcher who has contributed to the report of Sudheer Commission set up by the state government to study the socio-economic conditions of the Muslims in the state.
“The urban Telanganite Muslim woman gets secular education, is exposed to media and also has the support of state policies. Naturally, she is finding it difficult to pander to the whims and fancies of the lesser educated husband to whom she is married off by her parents against her wish. To realise her dreams, she later gives Khula to the man and this trend is on the rise,” he added.
But this is not always the case. “As meher or compensation is not allowed in case of Khula and the dowry is not returned, many men also compel their wives to seek Khula,” said Irfan.
However, other perspectives of Khula have also emerged. “As against the common perception that an increase in the number of Khula cases indicated empowerment of Muslim women, it is the other way round. Most women seek Khula being unable to bear the mental and physical harassment at the hands of in-laws,” said Jameela Nishaat of a women's organisation, Shaheen. “Many view Khula as a window to divorce a man and marry another man but it is just an escape route from torture,” she added.
“The cases of Khula are more visible in houses where husbands work in Gulf countries and wives are kept as housemaids. However, the Qazis are also worried about the rise in Khula instances and they support our struggle against the reasons that cause it. A campaign will be launched in November,” Jameela said.