ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Muslim Personal Law

Secularism, the State and Muslim Personal Law

Governing Islam: Law, Empire, and Secularism in Modern South Asia by Julia Stephens, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (South Asian Edition), 2019; pp xiv + 220, price not indicated.

Divorcing Traditions: Islamic Marriage Law and the Making of Indian Secularism by Katherine Lemons, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2019; pp x + 232, price not indicated.

Do Personal Laws Get their Authority from Religion or the State--Revisiting Constitutional Status

What enables an obscurantist, patriarchal body such as the All India Muslim Personal Law Board to challenge the state’s authority to intervene in Muslim Personal Law is  uncertainty over the constitutional status of personal laws, that is, does the authority of personal law come from religion or the secular state. However, what eventually came to be known as “Hindu and Mahomedan laws” were creations of the colonial state following a complex process of rationalisation, rather than a simple codification of religious commands.

 

Muslim Women: Historic Demand for Change

A number of Muslim women and their organisations are part of the national debate on ending the system of triple talaq. Triggered by the public interest litigation currently being heard in the Supreme Court, this represents a major change from the past when individuals like Shah Bano went to court raising issues around marriage and divorce procedures for Muslim women. What remains unchanged is the position of the ulema and the All Indian Muslim Personal Law Board.

Reforming Muslim Personal Law

The recent judgment by a Bangladesh High Court invalidating the utterance of 'talaq' thrice as a ground for divorce has sounded the death-knell for an erroneous, long held legal doctrine that has stifled a more benevolent interpretation of Muslim law. The judgment though not binding in India, is bound to have a substantial and pervasive influence on Indian courts and legislatures as both countries remain bound to the shared legacy of the colonial legal system.