Muslim women reject ‘Triple Talaq’, polygamy: Survey findings
NEW DELHI: More than 90
per cent of Muslim women surveyed in India want the “triple talaq” divorce
ritual and polygamy banned from family civil law in the country, a study by a
women's rights organization said on Friday.
The Bharatiya Muslim
Mahila Andolan (BMMA) said its survey also showed that three quarters of
interviewees wanted a ban on child marriage, indicating a need for reforms in
the Muslim personal law which governs family-related issues in India.
Activists say the current
law discriminates against women and are calling for a well-defined Muslim law
that criminalizes polygamy, unilateral divorce, child custody and child
“It (the survey)
suggests that Muslim women are aware of their legal rights and are determined
to attain justice in family matters. An overwhelming number of women demand
reforms in Muslim personal law as is prevalent in India today,” said a
statement from the BMMA.
“They want an elaborate
codified law based on the Koranic justice framework to cover matters such as
age of marriage, divorce procedures, polygamy, maintenance and custody of
Muslims are India's
largest religious minority, making up more than 13 percent of the country's 1.2
billion population, yet government data shows they are among some of the most
excluded and marginalized communities.
amongst Muslim women in particular are lower than average in the country.
For example, the
literacy rate for Muslim women is just 50 percent compared to nearly 68 percent
for Muslim men, and below the national average for women of 53 percent, said
Only one in 100 Muslim
women are graduates, while an average of 37 percent of Indian women overall
have had a tertiary education, it added.
The BMMA said that
while there was an urgent need to improve Muslim women's access to healthcare,
education and employment, it was also essential to address their "legal
The study, which
surveyed 4,710 Muslim married women across 10 Indian states, found nearly 92
percent of respondents said a Muslim man should not be allowed to have another
wife during the first marriage.
It also found that more
than 88 percent of women interviewed wanted the legal divorce method to be the
"talaq-e-ahsan" method -- a practice spread over a period of 90 days
and involving negotiation.
Many women surveyed had
experienced triple talaq, under which a Muslim man can repeat the word
"talaq" three times to divorce his wife.
The survey said some
respondents were divorced orally, others by letters from their husbands, and
some over the phone or by SMS. More than 78 percent had no say in the decision.
“The study has brought
out a major injustice faced by Indian Muslim women through decades in the form
of oral unilateral divorce or triple talaq,” said the report.