DH News Service Lucknow, Feb3, 2006
On a day when the All India Muslim Personal Law Board said that fatwas on Sania Mirza’s on court dress did not come under the purview of the Muslim personal law, the president of the one year old All India Muslim Women’s Personal Law Board (AIMWPLB) Shaista Ambar declared that fatwas against Muslim women who had ventured into sporting and glamour careers were anyway useless. “If they are Muslims, then the fatwas apply on them. But they are not within Islam for our religion says that women should step out of their homes only to fend for their families, fight injustice, do charity or stand by their husbands. They are not encouraged to indulge in such activities that corrupt the coming generations.”
Ambar was speaking at the board’s first anniversary and gloating over the board’s achievements. “We are committed to rebuilding families and not breaking them on irrelevant pretexts. We are not anti men,” Ambar declared while illustrating with the case of Anjum Ara, a woman from Ghazipur who was divorced but now her husband’s family was looking for a compromise towards which the AIMWPLB was working. Ambar decalred that Anjum had also expressed her willingness for a conciliation.
No sooner had this declaration been made that Shamshad, Anjum Ara’s brother who was part of the audience grabbed the mike and accused Ambar of doing politics. “We are not willing to compromise under any circumstances. How can you make such a statement on our behalf?” he glowered before walking off.
Ambar got into immediate damage control mode and pleaded with the media not to highlight the issue without getting both sides of the story and proceeded to elaborate the board’s agenda. “We are working on a model nikahnama that will be unambiguous unlike the ones floated so far.
It will detail the rights and duties of the husband and wife, not accept three talaqs given in one go or those given over e mail, sms or telephone. We will also include a provision that women be given their inheritance at the time of the nikah”, she said. The nikahnama will take about six more months to be ready.