In a remarkably silly decision, even by standards set by Indian courts, the Allahabad High Court has ruled that marriages between Muslim men and non-Muslim women will be void, unless the women convert to Islam before the wedding. The judges say:
“For a valid Muslim marriage, both the spouses have to be Muslim. In the present writ petition, this condition is not satisfied”, the court remarked and quoted from a verse in the Holy Quran which says, “Do not marry unbelieving women until they believe… Nor marry your girls to unbelievers until they believe”.
If the Quran asks a Muslim to kill the infidel (and it does, and some), does that give a Muslim person the right to kill? Are the judges saying that every fatwa from every misogynistic, xenophobic, hate-mongering cleric will have legal teeth? Should have legal teeth?
This also raises the question of why ‘marriage’ in this country cannot apparently be a covenant between two people without also being ‘Hindu marriage’ or ‘Muslim marriage’. Why does there have to be a religion’s name prefixed to a marriage? Does the court really want to canonise such fundamentalist readings of the religious texts? (I’d prefer the courts stopped basing their decisions on these muddled documents entirely, of course. If only wishing made it so.)
The Supreme court of India cited Akbar’s refusal of meat for the nine days of a certain Jain festival, in ruling that a man who contested a ban on meat by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation should just suck it up. That this preposterous reasoning was employed by judges touted to be the foremost scholars of law in this country is a tragedy. But even by this logic, surely the AHC isn’t suggesting that Akbar’s many marriages to Rajput princesses weren’t marriages at all? Aren’t there enough nutcases in the country who insist on the right religion, caste (and sub-caste and sub-sub-caste, and so forth) as preconditions for marriage, without the courts making it illegal not to?
This in a country where unimaginable violence is carried out by otherwise sane people against others entirely like them except for their religion. This in a country which is still recovering from the effects of the pre-planned and orchestrated pogrom of Gujarat and 2002.
What were the judges sniffing? Could I get some?
An example of the kind of stupidity that can be expected to be treated as law if every madman’s interpretation of religious doctrine starts gaining legal teeth.
Of course, being Lucknow, the idiots who issued that fatwa have been roundly criticised; but the thing about religious doctrine is precisely that anybody can claim expertise in its interpretation.