Around The World: India Court Strikes Down Islamic Instant Divorce

Muslim men in India will no longer be able to divorce their wives simply by reciting a phrase three times, thanks to a recent 3-2 ruling by the country’s Supreme Court.

 In some versions of Islam, one of the ways Muslim men can divorce their wives is by repeating an Arabic phrase that translates as “You’re divorced” three times in a row. The practice, known as the “triple talaq,” has been condemned by many Muslims as an outdated and one-sided practice; some have criticized it because only men have the option to verbally divorce a spouse.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the Aug. 22 decision is a “powerful measure for women’s empower­ment,” but some religious Muslims asserted that the decision is an erosion of the religious-freedom rights of religious minorities in the Hindu-majority country.

“This matter is not just about triple talaq but also about the religious sentiments of the minorities of this country,” Arshad Madani, president of the Muslim group Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, told The New York Times.

But some Muslim women felt differently. Ishrat Jahan, a plaintiff in the case whose husband divorced her over the phone and then took her children away from her and remarried, said she was pleased with the court’s ruling.