Attack on Muslim inheritance law a move to bring in Uniform Civil Code, says reformist organisation

C Shukkur and his wife Sheena at the Kanhangad Hosdurg Sub-Registrar's office in the presence of their daughters. Photo: Jibin Chembola/Manorama

Kozhikode: The Muslim community should come forward to intellectually resist attempts made to sow the seeds of suspicion on the Muslim Law of Inheritance, said Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen (KNM), an organisation that is part of the Islamic reformist Mujahid Movement.

The leadership of the organisation met in Kozhikode to discuss the recent debate around the Muslim Law of Inheritance.

The leaders called those exposing and opposing the inherent gender bias in the Muslim Law of Inheritance opportunists and puppets in the hands of those rooting for a Uniform Civil Code in the country.

To be sure, the Forum For Muslim Women's Gender Justice led by activist V P Zuhara is spearheading a campaign to amend the Muslim Law of Inheritance to make it gender neutral.

As of now, female heirs are discriminated against while dividing the estate after the owner dies. On International Women's Day on March 8, advocate C Shukkur and his wife Sheena Shukkur, a faculty member of the Law Department at Kannur University, registered their marriage under the Special Marriage Act to overcome the discriminatory inheritance law.

Muslims cease to be Muslim for the purpose of inheritance if they register their marriage under the Act.

The couple has three daughters, and according to the Muslim Law of Inheritance, they are entitled to only two-thirds of their parents' estate.

In the case of a single girl child, she would get only 50% of her parents' assets. The rest would be given to her grandparents or uncles or their sons.

If the heirs are a son and a daughter, the son would get double the share of the daughter.

Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen (KNM) said Islam had fixed the share fraction after considering the responsibilities of men and women in society.

It said that those demanding changes in the inheritance law were part of a conspiracy to bring in the Uniform Civil Code.

"Some are trying to gain media attention by mocking Shariat at a time when the threat of Uniform Civil Code is looming over the country... Those with Muslim names are being used to sow the seeds of suspicion on the law," it said and urged the Muslim community to see through their design.

Those creating opportunities for the advocates of the Uniform Civil Code are not progressive, they are opportunists, the KNM said.

To be sure, the Forum For Muslim Women's Gender Justice is vehemently opposed to Uniform Civil Code. It is only demanding changes to the Muslim Law of Inheritance to make it gender-neutral or an option to opt out of the Muslim Personal Law when it comes to inheritance.

As of now, all Muslims born in India are governed by the Muslim Law of Inheritance.

The 21st Law Commission of India -- the top legal advisory body of the government -- had also said that Uniform Civil Code is neither necessary nor desirable at this stage. It, however, drew a difference between differences in customs and discrimination in family laws and suggested amendments to end inequality in personal laws.

However, KNM said: "Those following the Islamic laws believe the inheritance law is flawless."

But those who refuse to fully embrace Islam or think they will suffer loss if they follow the rules are behind the conspiracy, said the organisation that was formed as a result of renaissance activities among Keralite Muslims. "We should not become puppets in the hands of those opposing Islamic."

The leadership meeting was inaugurated by KNM president T P Abdulla Koya Madani.

It was attended by general secretary M Muhammed Madani, treasurer K Noor Muhammed Noorsha, vice-presidents Dr. Hussain Madavor, Prof N V Abdurahman, A P Abdusamad, C. Muhammad Saleem Sullami, and secretaries P Abdurahiman Madani Palath, A Asgar Ali, M Salahudheen Madani, P P Abdul Haq, Dr Zulfiker Ali, M T Adbusamad Sullami, Dr. Abdul Majeed Swalahi, and K A Abdul Haseeb Madan.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.