Even as the Marxists and Islamists have been training their guns against the Centre over raising the minimum legal age of marriage for women from 18 years to 21 years, the Muslim women, especially young women, in Kerala have welcomed the move. Even women who had married at the age of 18 years have openly supported the move.
One of the most vocal Islamic reformist leaders Smt Jamida Teacher who is also the first woman Imam in Kerala has welcomed the move, saying this would end miseries of hapless Muslim girls who are married off at a very young age and become mothers of multiple children by the time they reach 21 years.
Talking to the Organiser weekly, Smt Jamida Teacher said the move will go a long way in “lowering the maternal mortality and improving nutrition levels in women”. According to her, it is good for girls, especially of the Muslim community. There is a tendency among Muslim parents to marry off their girl children at a very young age. “Becoming mothers at a tender age of 18 years is harmful for them,” she said.
Islamic value system must undergo a change. Raising the legal age of marriage for women to 21 years is a right step taken by the Prime Minister. Girls should have enough maturity before they get married
Smt Jamida Teacher said the 1400 years old Islamic value system must undergo a change. Raising the legal age of marriage for women to 21 years is a right step taken by the Prime Minister. Girls should have enough maturity before they get married. Their dreams about education should be materialised. They should be bold enough to face all sorts of crises in their life. But, what we see among Muslim community is marrying off the “skirt clad” girls. Muslim traditionalists cite the example of Ayisha who was married to the Prophet when they advocate for the marriage of underage girls.
Smt Jamida Teacher referred to Muslim League leader and Lok Sabha member ET Mohammed Basheer’s allegation that the raising of legal marriage age is a step towards uniform civil code. He had said that it was a Sangh Parivar agenda. She believes that if it is really so, it is welcome. If civil rules are common for all communities why can’t the same rule be applicable to criminal rules? She came down heavily on the Muslim personal law on inheritance for girls. Girls’ right is confined to half of the ancestral property the boys get. Since men are superior to women, they have to lead and women are to be led.
Smt Jamida Teacher expressed her strong opposition to the Islamic system of denying education to girls. She wonders if Muslim girls are bound to end up as a tailor in a remote tailor shop. She talked about the happenings in the Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Poor little girls who went to their schools with their text and notebooks were threatened and sent back home by fundamentalist Talibanis. They are forced to cover their face with veil and they are not permitted to step out of houses. They have no right to education. All these atrocities are justified in the name of Islam.
According to Smt Jamida, Islam has scant respect for women. They are being commoditised. Islamic value systems should change according to the times.
The Islamic scholar, who is facing threat to her life from Islamists for her criticism of Islam, says that Section 308 of Mohammedan law (DF Mulla’s Principles of Mohammedan Law) does not permit a woman, divorced vide Triple Talaq, to move any court against it. A civilised society cannot go by old tribal rules.
She said Islamists want to establish the sixth century tribal value systems in modern society. The madrasas have been radicalising young children.
Smt Jamida says that at the moment even a father can fix wedding of a female foetus during the conversation with the father of a potential groom. She believes that PM Narendra Modi’s move to raise the legal marriage age to 21 is a sincere effort to materialise the women empowerment among Muslim community.
Though hated by Islamists, Smt Jamida has a huge following in social media. An Arabic scholar she has exposed the anti-women attitude of Islam through her videos. She is unsparing on Communists also. According to her, the Communists do not want to address issues of reform in Islam because they think a radicalised community is beneficial for them electorally. Their vote-bank politics is one of the reasons for the backwardness of Muslims.
Meanwhile, Muslim women have been forthcoming in welcoming the move by the Centre. A Muslim respondent told a media outlet: “18 is not the time to get married. The new age limit empowers women to think about her education and career. An 18-year old is too young to take a call on her future.”
The Communists who always give sermons on women empowerment have been rubbing shoulders with Islamists in slamming the new law.