I divorce thee….Theoretically that is how simple it is to annul a marriage contract between a muslim man and a muslim woman, as understood by many muslims in Malaysia. The good news is that, practically, it is getting more procedural and systematic. the bad news is that the legal process may drag. Would you blame sisters in islam and many woman ngo’s in crying out loud the injustice they feel they are subjected to.
Not in the name of islam, they say. That statement is by all account courageous. I would even credit such statement as enlightened. That statement reflects the liberation of thoughts of the muslim women in Malaysia in defiance of the stereotyping that muslim women as subservient and second class.
The ability to argue and debate using the fundamental principles, as interpreted by them from the Koran, the same source as used by the proponents of the proposed legislation on marriage and divorce earned them my respect and the tag “enlightened”. So what , it is their interpretation!! That “enlightened” tag comes from me too. That set them apart from the other women activists we are familiar with, that should make the practitioners of the religion proud.
With the high rate of divorce among Muslim couples, which is three times the national average, you have to sit up and take notice that something is wrong.
My personal opinion is that muslim males in Malaysia generally, yours truly excluded, are irresponsible and have a total lack of respect and understanding, that a marriage is a contract. Taking the easy way out, if conflict arises in marriages, by using religion as the excuse and usually to their advantage is outright irresponsible.
The Koran says that divorce as an exit route is allowable but the rights of both parties are well laid out. It also adds the additional burden to the men: as protectors of women, and not to violate the rights of women as a condition for righteousness,
In a society where abuses are rampant and responsibility not a common virtue and character, then legislation has to be in place to protect the rights of the parties to the contract.
Men has to be made aware that any breach of contracts has its consequences. Men has to know that by pronouncing I divorcee thee, it is the beginning of a string of responsibilities; to his ex-spouse, to the children, both in terms of material needs, respect and dignity. The law of the land must protect the aggrieved party to the contract in the event of a breach.
The registration of contracts has to be in place, which is already the case and procedural wise made monitoring and enforcement a state matter. As a strategy to educate the muslim male, the procedure has to be made more effective and irresponsible act has to be severely punished.
I have seen it working. Someone I knew pronounced I divorce thee to his wife. He was hauled up in court, and was told by the presiding judge that his action is in breach of the law of the land and he could be fined and jailed 3 months for not going through the court to annul the marriage contract. Now he is having second thoughts.
The enforcer of the law has to dispense and be seen to dispense justice. It is just not the educating of the male populace about responsibilities but also to tell the likes of sisters in islam that laws are meant to protect women.
The chauvinistic manners displayed by many people of the cloth when countering the arguments of the women ngos do not help the cause. Questioning their rights to their understanding of the Koran is outright chauvinistic,
Isn’t it islam that recognizes the rights of women? The rights to the words of God, to be revered and to be given mutual rights?
I repeat , muslim males in Malaysia has to be taught responsibilities. Muslim male has to be educated that a marriage is a contract between two parties with specific rights . Termination of contracts carries with it rights and responsibilities. And any breach has to be severely penalized.
Many use divorce as the easy way out. No it is not . Not in the name of Islam.
Polygamy? That is another subject.