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Muslims averse to compulsory registration of marriages

By Sharat Pradhan
April 19, 2012 20:33 IST
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The Union government's move to make registration of all marriages compulsory may run into rough weather as prominent Muslim organisations and clerics are all set to oppose it tooth and nail.

In fact, the campaign is being spearheaded by none other than the All India Muslim Personal Law Board that has kept this issue on top of its agenda for a meeting to be held shortly in Lucknow.

A few well known leaders of the organisation have already started terming the government's move as "direct infringement with the Shariat law."

"How can you render a 'nikah' invalid simply because the marriage has not been formally registered with the concerned authorities?" asks Zafaryab Jilani, AIMPLB legal adviser and member of its apex executive body.

"If it were just getting a marriage registered, it is fine, but we will not accept anything beyond that as no one other than a Shariat court has the right to declare a 'nikah' invalid," he added.

Jilani, who was recently also appointed as the additional advocate general of Uttar Pradesh, feels, "Any condition which is not enshrined in the Shariat and is sought to be imposed through an official notification would tantamount to meddling with the personal law and therefore unacceptable to Muslims."

Lucknow's Naib Imam and head of Firangi Mahal, the city's leading Islamic seminary, also seeks to make it loud and clear that the government's move would not be acceptable to the community. "I fail to understand why the government cannot make 'nikahnama' an officially acceptable document to be treated at par with any other registration," he stressed.

 "After all, 'nikahnama' is necessarily signed by a Qazi, duly authorised under the tenets of Islam", he added.

Renowned Shia cleric and most prominent leader of the sect Maulana Kalbe Jawwad, however, holds a slightly different view. "While I do not see anything un-Islamic about registration of marriages, I feel it is not a very pragmatic decision, considering that it would pose major problems and hurdles for poor and rustic people living across India's countryside", Jawwad pointed out.

He feels, "Introduction of such practice was bound to give rise to exploitation of the poor and the illiterate by the 'sarkari' babudom; therefore it would be ideal if the government could grant an official certification status to 'nikahnama', which should be made acceptable as a legal document."

Also a senior member of the AIMPLB executive, Jawwad was strongly of the view that the government should give it a fresh thought and also discuss the issue with various representatives of the Muslim community as well as Islamic scholars.

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow