The issue of (instant) triple talaq – the utterance of the word talaq thrice in one go – has been making headlines and there is a judgment pending in the Supreme Court on the matter.
As argued by many, theinstant triple talaq, known as talaq-e-biddat or divorce of innovation, isnot mentioned in the Quranand only came into being after the death of the Prophet under the second Caliph of Islam.
The Prophet had called talaq (a normal divorce) as the most abhorrent practices among the ones made permissible by the Quran.
It was supposed to be the last resort of a couple who found they could no longer live together and when all attempts at reconciliation and counselling had failed. In that case it was better that the woman was “allowed to go with kindness” [Qur’an, 2:229] and left free to remarry.
Remarriage has been encouraged in Islam for divorcees and widows so that they lead a happy family life if that’s what they desire.
The Prophet had said: “There are three things which, whether undertaken seriously or in jest, are treated as serious: marriage, divorce and taking back a wife (after a divorce which is not final)” – Sunan of Abu-Dawood, Hadith 2189.
But a jest is exactly what we are making a serious issue by this absolutely unIslamic and barbaric practice of Nikah Halala. Marriage is a serious business and not a means of exploiting the woman as men have made it to be.
The opposite of the word haram, which means forbidden, is halal or that which is permissible.
Nikah Halala is a word which has been coined byMuslims(not Islam) to denote a temporary, pre-planned marriage, which involves sexual intercourse that makes the remarrying of the divorced wife by the husband legal.
Is this permitted by the Quran? Of course not. Let us examine what the Quran has to say about it:
“And if he has divorced her (for the third time), then she is not lawful to him afterward until (after) she marries a husband other than him. And if the latter husband divorces her (or dies), there is no blame upon the woman and her former husband for returning to each other if they think that they can keep (within) the limits of Allah . These are the limits of Allah, which He makes clear to a people who know. (Quran 2:230)
To ensure that a man does not divorce his wife in a fit of temper, jest or without proper consideration an almost impossible condition was set. Thus a divorced woman is free to marry another man after her waiting period (iddat) after the divorce.
However, if the man she has married dies or divorces her, she can marry the earlier husband who had divorced her – she is now halal or permissible for him. This should be of her own free will and without any conspiracy.
It should not be a marriage entered into just for the purpose of an immediate divorce so that she can remarry the first husband again. Such a marriage can only be called a mis-practice or an innovation against the spirit of Islam.
Nowhere is there any suggestion that this should be an escape route for a husband who has arbitrarily given divorce to his wife or a condition of sex between the second husband and wife before marriage to the first.
In fact, the Prophet denounced it: “Curse be upon the one who marries a divorced woman with the intention of making her lawful for her former husband and upon the one for whom she is made lawful” – Abu Dawud, Book 005, Hadith Number 2071 narrated by Ali ibn Abu Talib.
The Caliph Omar pronounced pre-planned Nikah Halala as adultery.
There is a huge difference between what Muslims do and what Islam prescribes and we must remember to make that difference. Nikah Halala violates the right of a woman and her dignity to live an equitable life.
The problem is lack of awareness among Muslim men and women about the Sharia and writings in the Quran. Most Muslims read the Quran in Arabic, often learning it by rote but without understanding it.
Ironically, for a religion which was almost the first to give rights to women, its women have purposely been deprived of learning and understanding their rights. The men in their lives dictate to them and they follow like sheep.
It’s time they were taught about the lives of Hazrat Khadija, the Prophet’s first wife and a very successful businesswoman; of Hazrat Ayesha, the Prophet’s youngest wife, a very intelligent woman and herself a narrator of Hadith; of Hazrat Zainab the Prophet’s granddaughter who fought the might of the tyrant ruler Yezid after the battle of Karbala and ensured that the Prophet’s legacy continued. These are of course just a few examples, there are many more.
I sometimes wonder if the men who are prostituting themselves in the name of Nikah Halala are even aware of the words of the Quran. Or are they just happy with the “services” they are providing in return for money without bothering to go into the Islamic legalities of their action.
Nikah Halala is nothing but a crime against vulnerable women who are probably willing to go to any lengths to save a marriage, perhaps for economic reasons, as many would be totally dependent on the husband and destitute without his support.
Our patriarchal society is always the driving force against injustices towards women.
I can’t imagine any woman wanting to go back to a husband who has so callously pronounced talaq unless there is some compulsion which drives her. I always remember the movieNikaahwhere the protaganist Salma Agha refuses to go back to the first husband and prefers to live with the second one.