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No interfaith nikah sans parents' consent: MP’s Ulama Board’s latest diktat

Madhya Pradesh Ulama Board has “decided” that Muslim parents will have to take a call if their consenting adult children or daughters can marry a non Muslim partner or not

Sabrangindia 23 Feb 2022

Madhya Pradesh Ulama Board
Image Courtesy:zeenews.india.com

Madhya Pradesh Ulama Board has “decided” that Muslim parents will be the ones taking a call if their consenting adult sons or daughters can marry a non-Muslim partner. A “no interfaith nikah sans parents' consent” order has reportedly been sent out by the Madhya Pradesh chapter of All India Ulama Board telling qazis to “solemnise interfaith marriages only after the consent of the couple's parents''.

According to the board this step will “avoid any controversy after the nikah''. MP’s home minister Narottam Mishra has reportedly “welcomed it as a positive initiative”. A report in The Times of India quoted Ulama Board's MP chapter president Qazi Syed Anas Ali Nadvi saying they had “written to all the qazis, appealing that they should avoid solemnising the nikah if an interfaith couple comes for marriage without the consent of their parents or only for the sake of religious conversion," adding that "Islam doesn't advocate changing religion for the sake of marriage, which also hurts the sentiments of parents of interfaith couples." According to Nadvi “there is no such problem in big cities like Bhopal, but qazis in some smaller places may conduct such marriages. It should not happen. We want peace and harmony in society." He did not tell the media if he had come across any such cases or allegations of marriage for the sake of conversion. However, the Ulama Board's decision has made many in the right wing ecosystem happy. Even the Minister Mishra hailed it as “a good initiative. It will spread positivity in society. I hope everybody will pay heed to it." 

Madhya Pradesh already has in place the Freedom of Religion Act, commonly known as the ‘Love Jihad’ law which provides for prison term of up to ten years and fine of Rs 1 lakh declaring forceful conversions for marriage ‘null and void’. This has replaced the Religious Freedom Act of 1968 in the state. The draft Dharma Swatantrya (Freedom of Religion) Bill, 2020 was tabled on December 26 that year. It was cleared in a special meeting of the Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

While both the Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh laws provide for a jail term of two to ten years in case a person being converted is a minor, Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe, the latter imposes a stricter penalty of Rs. 50,000 against Uttar Pradesh that is capped at Rs.25,000. The fine for religious organisations or individuals seen as carrying out mass conversions is also higher in Madhya Pradesh, that lays down a whopping Rs.1 lakh penalty against Rs.50,000 in Uttar Pradesh. In both states, the priest who performs the conversion has been mandated to inform the District Magistrate 60 days prior to the date of conversion.

But the failure to do so, again attracts a greater penalty in Madhya Pradesh (three to five years of jail term and Rs.50,000 fine) than Uttar Pradesh (one to five years of jail term and Rs.25,000 fine).

Now, Syed Anas Ali Nadvi, the board’s president, has added fuel to the ongoing situation where it is the young interfaith couples who are at the receiving end of social hate, by saying that such marriages happening without the approval of parents was harming harmony. “A letter has been written in this regard to all the qazis to solemnise inter-religious weddings only in the presence of parents of couples,” he said, adding it is not permissible to get married without the consent and presence of the parents and that, “It is necessary that at the time of registering the marriages, the necessary documents should be checked for their authenticity.”

Nadvi told mediapersons that he was receiving complaints about secret marriages, which are unnecessarily creating tensions. “It is not right to change religion for marriage. It has come to our notice that people have changed their names according to Islam just for the purpose of registering the marriages but they are living with their old identities,” he was quoted by the Hindustan Times, adding that action will be taken against qazis who violate the order. According to the HT report, 

Ishrat Ali, a qazi in Indore, said they were not officiating inter-faith marriages since the enactment of the anti-conversion law in Madhya Pradesh but, “According to Islam, any adult man and woman can marry each other in the presence of two witnesses. The presence of parents is not necessary.”

Madhya Pradesh has often been in the news for vicious attacks carried out on Muslims, as well as Christians. Over a year ago, a conclave of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh [RSS], held in MP discussed the war cry: “Chadar aur Father Mukt Bharat” (An India liberated from Chadar (Cloth Sheet symbolising Muslims) and Father (Christian Priests). The Dainik Bhaskar newspaper carrying out an extensive undercover investigation of the conclave had reported from Chitrakoot that this anti-Muslim, anti-Christian ‘campaign’ and slogan had been discussed, and was to be shared with the RSS cardes. Then, in 2021, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), had written to the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), over attacks on Muslims in Madhya Pradesh since August. CJP’s prayer to the apex minority rights body was to conduct a full-fledged investigation into such incidents and also seek information about such attacks under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.

A year later, the hijab reached MP where on February 14, 2022 a mix of various right-wing Hindutva groups assembled outside an autonomous post graduate government college and harassed two hijab-wearing students. Members of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal and Durga Vahini recorded videos of two hijab-wearing students entering the college premises while taunting them for their “discipline”. The goons then proceeded to shout “Jai Shri Ram” and “Vande Mataram” and threatened aggressive protests if all students did not start wearing saffron outfits from the next day.

Recently, in an in depth discussion Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) co-founder, activist, educationist and journalist Teesta Setalvad and social scientist and activist Dr. Muniza Khan, discussed if the Hijab Ban was Identity politics or body policing? Setalvad contextualised the discussion on the ongoing crisis, that is yet another example of the “downturn of secularism is clearly visible in the State because of the ongoing spreading of hatred by the communal forces”.

It is also concerning how various organisations, recognising human rights or the rights of minority communities or the rights of women, feel that the right of choice has been misinterpreted by the religious patriarchal system. Dr. Khan, also called out the right-wing, conservative patriarchy that was alive within the Muslim community itself, particularly the men. She said that now only women are told “Hijab lo, cover karo, ghar se mat niklo,” but men are not told anything. According to Dr. Khan, when she read the Quran to learn about the rights of women in Islam, she found that most of the rights were already recognised in the holy book, but were not in practice and women were never informed about them. An example was found in “the 4th ayat which prohibits women in Islam to forgive or give up the right to meher (a sum set aside in case of a separation)”. Dr. Khan then said that dowry, something that is not a part of Islamic culture, is practised by manipulating tradition. She asked why it was not questioned by Muslim scholars? “Kaha jata hai ki jalana mana hai vaha par bride burning shuru hai!" (Translation: They say it a sin to burn, but bride burning is still going on)” said Dr. Khan and put the onus on the conservative Muslim leadership, often make, who claim that "Islam is in danger” whenever a Muslim woman asserts her right and her freedoms. She called this out as a “patriarchal controversy” to push women back where fundamentalists both Hindutva and Islamists, talk the same way as they do not want women to progress.

Related:

MP: Goons harass hijabi students, demand saffron dress code
Hijab Ban: Identity politics or body policing?
MP High Court warns state against “moral policing” in interfaith marriage where wife converted willingly
Why is Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra invoking UP's Kairana? 
Hate Offender: Meet Kalicharan ‘Maharaj’ aka Abhijit Dhananjay Sarag
CJP moves NCM over hate crimes against Muslims in Madhya Pradesh
No Garba for non-Hindus: Right-wing in MP

No interfaith nikah sans parents' consent: MP’s Ulama Board’s latest diktat

Madhya Pradesh Ulama Board has “decided” that Muslim parents will have to take a call if their consenting adult children or daughters can marry a non Muslim partner or not

Madhya Pradesh Ulama Board
Image Courtesy:zeenews.india.com

Madhya Pradesh Ulama Board has “decided” that Muslim parents will be the ones taking a call if their consenting adult sons or daughters can marry a non-Muslim partner. A “no interfaith nikah sans parents' consent” order has reportedly been sent out by the Madhya Pradesh chapter of All India Ulama Board telling qazis to “solemnise interfaith marriages only after the consent of the couple's parents''.

According to the board this step will “avoid any controversy after the nikah''. MP’s home minister Narottam Mishra has reportedly “welcomed it as a positive initiative”. A report in The Times of India quoted Ulama Board's MP chapter president Qazi Syed Anas Ali Nadvi saying they had “written to all the qazis, appealing that they should avoid solemnising the nikah if an interfaith couple comes for marriage without the consent of their parents or only for the sake of religious conversion," adding that "Islam doesn't advocate changing religion for the sake of marriage, which also hurts the sentiments of parents of interfaith couples." According to Nadvi “there is no such problem in big cities like Bhopal, but qazis in some smaller places may conduct such marriages. It should not happen. We want peace and harmony in society." He did not tell the media if he had come across any such cases or allegations of marriage for the sake of conversion. However, the Ulama Board's decision has made many in the right wing ecosystem happy. Even the Minister Mishra hailed it as “a good initiative. It will spread positivity in society. I hope everybody will pay heed to it." 

Madhya Pradesh already has in place the Freedom of Religion Act, commonly known as the ‘Love Jihad’ law which provides for prison term of up to ten years and fine of Rs 1 lakh declaring forceful conversions for marriage ‘null and void’. This has replaced the Religious Freedom Act of 1968 in the state. The draft Dharma Swatantrya (Freedom of Religion) Bill, 2020 was tabled on December 26 that year. It was cleared in a special meeting of the Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

While both the Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh laws provide for a jail term of two to ten years in case a person being converted is a minor, Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe, the latter imposes a stricter penalty of Rs. 50,000 against Uttar Pradesh that is capped at Rs.25,000. The fine for religious organisations or individuals seen as carrying out mass conversions is also higher in Madhya Pradesh, that lays down a whopping Rs.1 lakh penalty against Rs.50,000 in Uttar Pradesh. In both states, the priest who performs the conversion has been mandated to inform the District Magistrate 60 days prior to the date of conversion.

But the failure to do so, again attracts a greater penalty in Madhya Pradesh (three to five years of jail term and Rs.50,000 fine) than Uttar Pradesh (one to five years of jail term and Rs.25,000 fine).

Now, Syed Anas Ali Nadvi, the board’s president, has added fuel to the ongoing situation where it is the young interfaith couples who are at the receiving end of social hate, by saying that such marriages happening without the approval of parents was harming harmony. “A letter has been written in this regard to all the qazis to solemnise inter-religious weddings only in the presence of parents of couples,” he said, adding it is not permissible to get married without the consent and presence of the parents and that, “It is necessary that at the time of registering the marriages, the necessary documents should be checked for their authenticity.”

Nadvi told mediapersons that he was receiving complaints about secret marriages, which are unnecessarily creating tensions. “It is not right to change religion for marriage. It has come to our notice that people have changed their names according to Islam just for the purpose of registering the marriages but they are living with their old identities,” he was quoted by the Hindustan Times, adding that action will be taken against qazis who violate the order. According to the HT report, 

Ishrat Ali, a qazi in Indore, said they were not officiating inter-faith marriages since the enactment of the anti-conversion law in Madhya Pradesh but, “According to Islam, any adult man and woman can marry each other in the presence of two witnesses. The presence of parents is not necessary.”

Madhya Pradesh has often been in the news for vicious attacks carried out on Muslims, as well as Christians. Over a year ago, a conclave of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh [RSS], held in MP discussed the war cry: “Chadar aur Father Mukt Bharat” (An India liberated from Chadar (Cloth Sheet symbolising Muslims) and Father (Christian Priests). The Dainik Bhaskar newspaper carrying out an extensive undercover investigation of the conclave had reported from Chitrakoot that this anti-Muslim, anti-Christian ‘campaign’ and slogan had been discussed, and was to be shared with the RSS cardes. Then, in 2021, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), had written to the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), over attacks on Muslims in Madhya Pradesh since August. CJP’s prayer to the apex minority rights body was to conduct a full-fledged investigation into such incidents and also seek information about such attacks under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.

A year later, the hijab reached MP where on February 14, 2022 a mix of various right-wing Hindutva groups assembled outside an autonomous post graduate government college and harassed two hijab-wearing students. Members of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal and Durga Vahini recorded videos of two hijab-wearing students entering the college premises while taunting them for their “discipline”. The goons then proceeded to shout “Jai Shri Ram” and “Vande Mataram” and threatened aggressive protests if all students did not start wearing saffron outfits from the next day.

Recently, in an in depth discussion Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) co-founder, activist, educationist and journalist Teesta Setalvad and social scientist and activist Dr. Muniza Khan, discussed if the Hijab Ban was Identity politics or body policing? Setalvad contextualised the discussion on the ongoing crisis, that is yet another example of the “downturn of secularism is clearly visible in the State because of the ongoing spreading of hatred by the communal forces”.

It is also concerning how various organisations, recognising human rights or the rights of minority communities or the rights of women, feel that the right of choice has been misinterpreted by the religious patriarchal system. Dr. Khan, also called out the right-wing, conservative patriarchy that was alive within the Muslim community itself, particularly the men. She said that now only women are told “Hijab lo, cover karo, ghar se mat niklo,” but men are not told anything. According to Dr. Khan, when she read the Quran to learn about the rights of women in Islam, she found that most of the rights were already recognised in the holy book, but were not in practice and women were never informed about them. An example was found in “the 4th ayat which prohibits women in Islam to forgive or give up the right to meher (a sum set aside in case of a separation)”. Dr. Khan then said that dowry, something that is not a part of Islamic culture, is practised by manipulating tradition. She asked why it was not questioned by Muslim scholars? “Kaha jata hai ki jalana mana hai vaha par bride burning shuru hai!" (Translation: They say it a sin to burn, but bride burning is still going on)” said Dr. Khan and put the onus on the conservative Muslim leadership, often make, who claim that "Islam is in danger” whenever a Muslim woman asserts her right and her freedoms. She called this out as a “patriarchal controversy” to push women back where fundamentalists both Hindutva and Islamists, talk the same way as they do not want women to progress.

Related:

MP: Goons harass hijabi students, demand saffron dress code
Hijab Ban: Identity politics or body policing?
MP High Court warns state against “moral policing” in interfaith marriage where wife converted willingly
Why is Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra invoking UP's Kairana? 
Hate Offender: Meet Kalicharan ‘Maharaj’ aka Abhijit Dhananjay Sarag
CJP moves NCM over hate crimes against Muslims in Madhya Pradesh
No Garba for non-Hindus: Right-wing in MP

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