'Fatwa' on remarriage draws mixed reactions

Geelani has reservations while Mirwaiz welcomes it

Two days after a group of prominent Muslim scholars in Kashmir ruled that ‘half widows’, women whose husbands went missing and remain untraced, can remarry after four years, the opinion of separatists remained divided over the issue.

Hardline Hurriyat Conference faction led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani said it will go through a religious ruling passed by Muslim scholars on remarriage and then come up with its observations. 

“We will study the report keenly and only after that we can come up with our analysis over the issue. For now we cannot comment about the topic as the same is very subtle in nature,” said Ayaz Akbar, Chief Spokesman Huriyat (G).

However, moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar welcomed the ruling saying the issue is very serious and that all the jurists have passed the unanimous decision and it must be appreciated. 

“I, as the Mirwaiz of Kashmir, welcome the judgment and it is indeed a good step taken by the Ulema,” he said.

All women organisation Dukhtaran-e-Milat chairperson Asiya Andrabi has a different opinion. She appealed to the half-widows not to generalise the issue.

Strive to search

“I believe that the half widows here must strive to find the whereabouts of their husbands and must carry forward the movement in unison. The women who are destitutes can re-marry but the issue must not be generalised,” she said in a statement.

On Thursday, the ulema (scholars) reached a consensus in the light of Islamic teachings that any half-widow who intends to remarry can do so if their spouse remains untraced for four years.

The decision assumes significance as there had been no consensus among the local Islamic scholars over the remarriage and property rights of the half widows, a term used for women whose husbands have gone missing and it is not known whether they are alive or not.

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