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Muslim Women's Views on Muslim Personal Law

A survey of Muslim women and their views on Muslim personal law reveals that the women feel the rights enshrined in the Quran have not reached them; an overwhelming number of the women want personal law to be reformed. As it exists today, Muslim family law is piecemeal and disjointed and neither the community nor the government has tried to make it comprehensive.

The Sachar Committee1 was established in 2005 to study the socio-economic condition of Indian Muslims. The findings of this committee showed how India’s largest minority lagged behind educationally, economically and socially. The committee carried out extensive research, studying the conditions of the community in the run-up to its final report. However, the terms of reference of the Sachar Committee did not include a look at the socio-economic condition of Muslim women and their status vis-à-vis Muslim personal law. There has not been any data collection or evidence gathering by any government agency or social organisation that could be found in the public domain. The situation of Muslim women inmatters of family and marriage remains anuncharted area that requires empirical probing in order to understand it and also to move towardsgender-just solutions to the problems they face.

In 2013, the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan2 conducted a national study on the Muslim women’s condition as well as views on reforms in Muslim personal law. This article is based upon the key findings of this study.3

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