Monday, March 17, 2008

Muslim Women Personal Law Board unveils new ‘nikahnama’

The new Act makes registration of marriages compulsory

Lucknow: The All-India Muslim Women Personal Law Board on Sunday came out with a new “Shariat nikahnama,” which makes registration of marriages compulsory, accords several rights to the wife and is applicable to both Shias and Sunnis.

Unveiling the new Muslim Marriage Act drafted by a 30-member executive body, AIMWPLB chairperson Shaista Amber told a news conference here that it was an improvement on other ‘nikahnamas’ and “its authenticity cannot be challenged” as every provision was in accordance with the Shariat and it quoted the Koran.

She said it would mitigate the “agonies and sufferings of women” arising out of divorce and gives more rights to the wife.

However, the guidelines, believed to be the brainchild of Ms. Amber, have drawn criticism from the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board, the apex body of ulema, which termed these “useless” and “irrelevant.”

In Urdu and Hindi

Ms. Amber said it had been prepared in Urdu and Hindi so that the common people could understand the “rights and responsibilities of the husband and wife.”

She said it had “three forms of which one is for registration of the ‘nikah’ at the Registrar of Marriages. The other two are for the kazi, who solemnises the marriage, and for the bride and the groom.”

She claimed that the “Shariat nikahnama” was better in many ways as “its language is easy and it contains the rights of women.”

“In the old ‘nikahnama,’ there is no provision for address verification; registration of marriages has not been made compulsory and the rights of women have not been clearly laid down. Besides, it is in Urdu and everyone cannot understand it properly,” Ms. Amber said.

Senior AIMPLB member Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangimahali termed the new nikahnama useless and irrelevant.

He said “already there is a nikahnama issued by the AIMPLB, there is no room for another one.”

He said the old one was as per the Koran and Shariat and was in practice.

Conditions

On the compulsory registration of the Muslim marriages, he told PTI that the Board had already made it clear that it would support this only when some conditions were fulfilled.

“We have said marriages should not be held invalid in the absence of registration. Besides, the ulema solemnising the marriages could be given the powers of the registrar of marriages for the purpose of registration,” Maulana Firangimahali said. — PTI

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