On the name of “Halala”: A women who was married to her father-in-law and her husband become her son

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“India is a democratic country,” she said. “No one can ostracise me from Islam. Only Allah can decide who is guilty.”
“India is a democratic country,” she said. “No one can ostracise me from Islam. Only Allah can decide who is guilty.”

The woman who campaigns against the use of “triple talaq” instant divorce among Muslim communities in India has herself been made the subject of a fatwa by a prominent local cleric.

Nida Khan runs an NGO to support women in Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh state who like her have been divorced by their husbands simply uttering the word “talaq” three times.

India’s prime minister Narendra Modi has spoken out against “triple talaq” on a number of occasions and, last summer, the country’s Supreme Court banned the concept as “unconstitutional”.

But the practice remains prevalent among some Muslim communities that follow the Hanafi Islamic school of law, who argue that “triple talaq” exists in the Quran and is permissible as part of shariah law.

The Story

The issue has reared its head again because the Supreme Court will soon consider the related concept of “nikah halala”, which dictates that a man and woman divorced by “triple talaq” can only remarry if she first marries a second man, consummates the new marriage, and then seeks a new divorce.

Ms Khan’s campaigning against both practices has provoked the ire of Shahar Imam Mufti Khurshid Alam, whose fatwa ordered a social boycott against Ms Khan unless she “apologise” for her NGO work.

“No medicines will be provided if she falls ill. If she dies, no one is allowed to offer ‘namaz’ on her ‘zanaja’ [funeral procession]. She cannot be buried in kabristan [graveyard] after her death,” the imam told the Press Trust of India, quoting the fatwa.

He added: “Nida wants an amendment in shariah while Islamic laws were made by Allah. As Nida has been giving statements against Quran and Hadith, she is dismissed from Islam.”

For her part, Ms Khan has remained undeterred. She told news agency ANI that, far from being boycotted, she had the support of “thousands of women”.

“India is a democratic country,” she said. “No one can ostracise me from Islam. Only Allah can decide who is guilty.”

Ms Khan was married to Usman Raza Khan in 2015 but divorced by him using “triple talaq” a year later. Despite her husband being a member of a prominent family of clerics, she contested the matter in civil court and won.

The court said

In a major victory for Nida Khan, a petitioner in one of several triple talaq cases, a Bareilly court on Wednesday declared the instant divorce given by her husband as invalid.

The court also rejected the petition filed by her husband who had sought a stay on the domestic violence case filed against him by Nida Khan. During a hearing in the matter, the court categorically rejected the petition filed Nida Khan’s husband Sheeran.

Court also posted the matter for hearing on July 27.

The court also ordered the authorities to probe the domestic violence case against Sheeren and his family members for allegedly harassing and torturing Nida Khan.

Nida Khan, who is associated with the prestigious Dargah-e-Ala Hazrat of Bareilly, had grabbed headlines when she approached the Supreme court and challenged the triple talaq given to her by her husband.

Narrating her ordeal, Nida alleged that she was forced to sleep, consummate marriage with her father-in-law and brother-in-law, under the Islamic practice of ‘Nikah Halala’, so that her husband could marry her again.

The Law

Since the Supreme Court ruling on “triple talaq”, the Indian government has drafted the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, which would make the practice illegal and punishable by up to three years in jail for the husband.

The bill, which has been passed by the lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha, specifies that “triple talaq” is illegal in any form – be that spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, text or WhatsApp message.

And the new law would give the victim the right to seek a “subsistence allowance” for herself and her children from the husband, as well as taking custody of their children.

The Battle

Nida Khan runs an NGO to support women in Bareilly who, like her, have been divorced by their husbands by simply uttering the word “talaq” three times.

Khan’s campaigning against both evil practices has irked several Muslim clerics who have issued fatwas ordered a social boycott of Khan unless she “apologise” for her remarks.

“Nida wants an amendment in Shariah while Islamic laws were made by Allah. As Nida has been giving statements against Quran and Hadith, she is dismissed from Islam,” he added.

On her part, Khan has remained undeterred. She claimed that she has the support of “thousands of women”.

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