Lucknow: A model nikahnama, aimed at curbing rising incidences of divorce among Muslims by means of triple utterance of the word "talaq", has abruptly been removed from the website of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB).
The nikahnama, that was formulated after much deliberation by the board, was posted six years ago.
It was put up on its website for easy access to all and sundry. However, it could never become very popular with the community as not many people were ready to deviate from the formats used by their respective sects, sub-sects and orders.
"For whatever reason, very few people were actually using the model nikahnama," remarked board spokesman Qasim Rasool Illyas.
"Significantly, it included duties and obligations of both husband and wife, besides prescribing that disputes between the two be settled only through ‘darul-qaza` (Islamic courts) that were set up in all cities and towns," he said.
However, none of the key AIMPLB functionaries were able to assign any reason for its sudden removal from the website.
"I am sure it has not been removed deliberately; it must have been by accident during the course of upgrading the website," said board legal adviser Zafaryab Jilani.
Jilani said: “Well, I do not deny that the model nikahnama did not become very popular, but we only are to blame for that. In fact, it was suggested several times at AIMPLB meetings to entrust the task of wide circulation of the model nikahnama to a commercial agency, but that never happened. And it was not possible for the board to do that job."
Some insiders were of the view that the Barelvi school of Islam was opposed to the model nikahnama and they ran a sustained silent campaign to discourage its use. "And that was essentially because the Barelvi school had always been a protagonist of the triple talaq system," claimed a senior member of the board on condition of anonymity.
The model nikahnama also did not find favour with a section of Muslim women who rebelled against the traditional male chauvinistic practices by forming their own All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board. Its founder president Shaista Ambar had then made it loud and clear that the model nikahnama "had failed to provide the desired protection to women as per the provisions of the shariat".