Register Saturday | December 7 | 2019

hez jst not tht in2u

Text message divorce

Talaq-i-Bid’ah, also known as “triple talaq,” is the controversial, centuries-old procedure which permits a Muslim husband to end his marriage to his wife by uttering, three times in succession, “I divorce you”—or talaq, talaq, talaq. India is one of the few nations that openly tolerates this method of divorce (which is a Sunni innovation, as Shia jurispurdence does not allow it). Turkey, Tunisia, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq and Indonesia officially disapprove of the practice, arguing that the Qur’an has clear injunctions against it. Despite ongoing efforts by women’s activists to raise awareness about triple talaq and its shockingly whimsical applications (in a few cases, the wife’s offence was nothing more than tardiness or cooking up a disagreeable dinner) triple talaq entered a new level of convenience—not to mention debate—when it went digital in 2001. Many Muslim men now opt to triple talaq their wives via email, cellphone or, most recently, text messaging. The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, the Syariah Court and the Registry of Muslim Marriages were initially unanimous in their stance against such quickie e-terminations, but United Arab Emirates, Dubai and Kuwait continue to recognize their validity. Interestingly, the Malaysian government, which backed a landmark courtcase in 2003 that decreed a text-messaged triple talaq to be lawful under Sharia law, seems to have done an about-face due to concerns over widespread abuse of the method. According to a report by the Hindustan Times in 2004, “Malaysia, which was facing a massive problem of divorce through SMS and e-mail, has banned such divorces.”