A heated debate is going on in the Indian political and religious circles as to whether Muslim personal law needs any reformation or not. Muslim religious organizations say since the triple talaq, to which many Muslim women are vehemently opposed to, is based on the divine sharia law, it is infallible and therefore, unchangeable.

As most of us are aware, religion (deen) is very dear to Muslims and they don’t tolerate any ‘Kafir’ intervention in their religious affairs. They, if we go by the history, don’t even take any criticism kindly and have an inclination to take to streets and indulge in violence. So they should be left alone as far as their religious matters are concerned and should be allowed to practice their religion the way they want to. However, if they really want to follow ‘sharia’ in its letter and spirit they have to fight for its full-fledged implementation for all the Muslims in the country. As of now, it is being used only by Muslim husbands to desert their supposedly disloyal wives through triple ‘talaq’.  But sharia is such an elaborate jurisprudence when implemented in toto will touch each and every aspect of a Muslim’s life.

When we have a close look at the kind of punishments that are administered under the ‘sharia’ law in many Islamic countries, we get to know about its draconian nature. Most of the punishments pronounced under the law are mind-numbingly cruel such as stoning to death, throwing off a cliff, lashing, amputating hands and public beheadings. Sharia law does not allow Muslims to receive interest on their bank deposits and it even expressly forbids Muslims from watching movies and listening to music as it considers them as ‘haram’. So the moot question is are the Muslims in India ready to be tried in ‘sharia’ courts and undergo punishments awarded by them? Are they ready for the full-fledged implementation of the ‘sharia’, which they all consider so dear to them? Will they keep quiet if banks decline to pay interest on their deposits? Will they obey if they are ordered to stop watching the ‘Khan’ dominated Bollywood movies and listening to their music?

The real problem faced by the Muslims in our country is no one criticizes them and everybody prefers to pander to their religious sensitivities. And the people, especially the politicians, have their own narrow self-interests in doing so.  The absence of dissent and critique is actually harming Muslims and transformed them into a community that is bereft of any reform movement giving an impression that Muslims, as a whole, are allergic to any reforms.

To conclude, this is the right time for the Muslims to keep all their doors open to let fresh ideas enter their community. This is the right time for them to introspect and make room for reformation in order to secure the future of their women. And finally, this is the right time for them to ponder over and decide for themselves whether they want to join the mainstream by being modern and progressive or get left behind in this fast changing world by being regressive and sharia compliant.

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