“I divorce you. I divorce you. I divorce you.” For some married Muslims in India, simultaneously uttering these three sentences could actually end a marriage. This long-held practice is known as “triple talaq” or instant divorce.

The divorce process in Islam is meant to bring a measure of calm and rationale when making the big decision to dissolve a marriage. It is done by going through various steps over a period of time. But when it comes to moving forward with the divorce, there are varying interpretations of the approach. Reports of men divorcing women via voicemail, email and text have critics arguing the practice is being abused. Activists say this type of instantaneous divorce has left many women across India economically and socially disadvantaged.

For years, Muslim women in India have been mobilising for equal divorce rights – something that is explicit in the Quran. And this month, the Indian government came out against triple talaq, among other practices, saying it is not “an essential part of religion.”

Many Muslim-majority countries have stopped recognising triple talaq, but in India, it is protected under Muslim Personal Law, which prevents the state from intervening in religious affairs. The government’s stance on triple talaq has left many questioning the impact this could have. We take a look at the debate and get into what Muslim communities are doing to protect the rights of women. 

On this episode of The Stream, we speak to:

Lalitha Kumaramangalam @NCWIndia
Chairperson, National Commission of Women

Zakia Soman @zakiasomanbmma
Co-founder, Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA)

Yusuf Muchhala @AIMPLB_2015
Legal cell convener, All India Muslim Personal Law Board

Flavia Agnes @MajlisLaw
Women’s rights lawyer

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