As a teenager, I remember watching a film starring Salma Agha, Raj Babbar and Deepak Parashar. This film was titled, ‘Nikaah’ – it is the same film with the famous song, ‘Dil Ke Armaan Aasuo Me’. I also remember how drastic it was for me to remember her wedding scene, when it is all blacked out due to a power outage and how her first husband asks her to divorce the man she was marrying, after consummating the marriage.
That is when I got to know more about the practice of Nikah Halala. But not everyone watched that film and not everyone knew what Muslim women are made to go through until today.
The name itself is really confusing:
‘Nikah’ means marriage, while ‘Halala’ means making something lawful that is unlawful at the moment! What? Seriously?
Nikah Halala is when after a woman is divorced by a man who says ‘talaq, talaq, talaq’ – and if the man wants to remarry his wife again, she has to get married to someone else, consummate the marriage and then get divorced by the second man! But this happens in case of a third divorce – in the first two cases, they can remarry.
It is basically an option for a man to fall back on if he suddenly regrets divorcing his wife by ‘triple talaq’.
It degrades women:
So the husband, on a whim, decided to divorce her. Then suddenly he wants her back. But he doesn’t have to go sleep with someone else, she has to. That someone else then again has to tear off her self-respect and divorce her so that the first husband can come running as a saviour- when he himself put her in the situation in the first place.
What about the man? In Islam, a man can have up to four wives. There – that thing that is staring us right into the face is discrimination, exploitation and projection of women as objects.
Also, there is period called the period of ‘Iddah’ in Muslim law, which a woman has to observe – let me state that again – a ‘woman’ has to observe after her spouse dies or divorces her. This iddah period is also when the couple can reunite – but only twice.
Many think it is a misinterpretation of what the Quran states:
Let’s see what the Quran states (2:230):
“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.”
How will you interpret this? Do you think it is a misinterpretation?
There are certain fundamental questions that come into the picture here – should a woman be with a man who repeatedly divorces and puts her through this? And then there is this huge question about rights and gender justice.
The shocking truth:
A shocking investigation by India Today revealed, ‘A number of religious scholars in India are asking to be paid for a one-night stand with divorced Muslim women who are using Islamic law to save their marriages. The women are charged anywhere between Rs 20,000 (£240) and Rs 1.5 lakh (£1800) to participate in nikah halala.’
Judge for yourself. Take a stand! Let them have a free life.