Triple talaq is un-Quranic: Zakia Soman

Zakia Soman speaks about about her organisation Bharatiya Muslim Mahila mission against triple talaq.
Triple talaq is un-Quranic: Zakia Soman

As Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan co-founder Zakia Soman’s campaignagainst triple talaq and nikah halal gains traction,Chandrakanth Viswanath catches up with her at her Aluva home,where she opens up about the organisation’s mission. Excerpts:

There is an allegation that you  have started the campaign at the behest of organisations like RSS?

We have heard some of these allegations.  Those who make such allegations have no idea about us and our work. We started this organisation post-9/11 and post- Gujarat riots. In our country while the community was facing challenges from outside, women were additionally facing challenges  within the community. Hence, we decided to work for the citizenship rights as well as Quranic  rights of women.

Is Bharatiya in your group’s  name one of the reasons behindthis allegation?

Maybe. But we used the name Bharatiya with a purpose. We want to say we are Bharatiya and  we are Muslim and there is no contradiction in it. All Indians have the right to be called Bharatiya. Some other names too were suggested. But we decided not to have any Urdu or Hindustani words. We were making a political statement. We don’t have to be apologetic about it.

So you started the organisation as a fight for identity?

We started a movement for justice  and equality for Muslimwomen. She is a citizen of India,  a Muslim and a woman, she has multiple identities. She must be enabled to be an equal citizen  and an equal human being.

When did you decide to work   for the rights of Muslim  women?

Initially, our focus was citizenship  entitlements mainly within  the framework of the SacharCommittee report. But  when we were working on education, livelihoods, health, etc, a large number of women came to us seeking  help in triple talaq and other personal law matters. Weknow that ours is a patriarchal society. However, Quran gave   equal rights to women 1,400 years ago, whereas in reality, society denied it to them.

Why did you choose triple talaq  and nikah halal for the campaign?

There is no mention of triple talaq  in the Quran. Even in countries like Pakistan or Bangladesh where Islam is the state religion, triple talaq is not legal. We get lots of calls from women saying, “I am divorced instantly, where do I go with my children, my parents are too poor to support me?” A large number of victims of the triple talaq are economically  deprived women with no education or means to support themselves. Even Kerala is no exception. The worst is the case of nikah halal. How can you force your own wife to marry another  man?

You have questioned the triple  talaq in the Supreme Court.

Yes, we want abolition of triple talaq and nikah halal. Both are un-Quranic. 

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