Clerics, civil society members deliberate on rights of women in marriage

Seek suggestions for drafting ‘model Nikah''nama’

Srinagar, Publish Date: Apr 25 2018 12:54AM | Updated Date: Apr 25 2018 12:54AM
Clerics, civil society members deliberate on rights of women in marriage

A consultative meeting of religious scholars and civil society members on Tuesday here sought suggestions on drafting a ‘model Nikah’nama’ to address violence against women and to fight certain social evils.

The meet attended by ulema from various schools of thought, jurists and civil society members was held at 7Cs Fine and Dine Restaurant here, during which consultations were held on measures to counter violence against women which leads to various social issues.

The meeting was organised by a group named Ehsaas. Informing the participants about the work done by the organisation on gender issues, Bashir Ahmad Dar said the organisation had been working for the property and marital rights of the half-widows and had, with the help of the Ulema belonging to different schools of thought, arrived at a breakthrough of four years as waiting period before remarriage, if any of them so desire.

He said over 35,000 women of marriageable age were unmarried in Kashmir, which was resulting in various social evils.

The participants observed that Kashmiri women were witnessing violence against them in absence of defined rights in the marriage contract or the Nikah’nama.

To mitigate their sufferings, they said there was a need to empower women who had become victims due to the existing inadequacies in the marriage contract.

Moulana Showkat Hussain Keng, noted Islamic scholar who heads Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam J&K, traced the history of earlier Muslim marriages and said these marriages didn’t had any written Nikah’namas.

However, he said, over the years, written Nikah’namas came up, detailing the terms and conditions of the marriage contract.

Moulana Ghulam Rasool Noori, a scholar of repute from the Jafriya school of thought, said the terms and conditions in Nikah’nama make the case of women stronger.

Moulana Muhammad Sayeed-ur-Rehman Shams, representing the Anjuman-e-Nusrat-ul-Islam headed by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, said Nikah was a religious duty and that the Nikah’namas could be as elaborate as possible without clashing with the Shariah.

Urging all schools of thought to sit together with legal experts, Moulana Hakeem Sajad Hussain from the Jafriya school of thought said there was a need to evolve a consensus on the issue.

Muhammad Sayeed Zargar and Muhammad Suhail Mukaram of the Humsafar Marriage Counselling Cell said the organisation had performed over 30,000 Nikah ceremonies since 2005 with 25 percent of these marriages being of the widows while 70 percent of the people came from affluent families.

Right to Information activist Raja Muzaffar said the Nikah’nama should also mention the property rights of women.

Educationist Abdul Gani Madhosh said Nikah’nama should provide security to women.

Social activist Shakeel Qalander said before framing the model Nikah’nama there was a need to seek suggestions from different quarters through media.

Social activist and artist Ruksana Jabeen said women should get property rights.

The meeting was also attended by jurist Gousia-un-Nisa Jeelani, academician Nusrat Andrabi, journalists Raziya Noor, Baseera Rafiqi, and Zahra Bano from Ladakh.

Presenting the vote of thanks, secretary Ehsaas, Ezabir Ali said framing a modern Nikah’nama was the need of the hour as many women had suffered because their rights were not clearly defined in it.

She said in a Nikah’nama the main point of interest is the fixing Mehr.

Ezabir said many other gifts given to the bride at the time of marriage from both sides are not even mentioned in the contract, thus leading to disputes and conflicts at the time of separation or divorce.

She shared the example of half-widows and said if the Nikah’nama would have taken care of details, these women would not face some of the issues they face in their in-laws’ house, as their rights would have been clearly mentioned in the Nikah’nama.

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