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Published On:05 September 2012
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

An Open Letter to All India Muslim Personal Law Board

Let it be between ourselves (Muslim leaders & Ummah)

By Dr. Amjad Masood Husaini

I am an ordinary man from a Muslim background. I used to look upon All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) with reverence a decade back, and used to send my ‘prayers’ (good wishes) to those who had established and served this institution since its inception in 1972 and worked as Muslim missionaries! However in 2009-10 I met with a huge personal crisis related to the infringement of a husband’s rights by his arrogant & unfaithful wife who had got so much emboldened and blinded by the legal system in place in our courts and the larger biased public opinion in favour of the so-called frail women folk that she refused to even take care and breastfeed their 3 months old daughter. Having full support from her family she got so much bolstered that she abused the child and trampled the rights of the baby girl by abandoning her at the tender age of just 5 months. I needed to understand the legal position under Islamic Law and so looked towards AIMPLB. I got very much disappointed by having observed the sluggishness and laziness of the people who are in charge of this erstwhile great institution. I did not need any personal support from this institution! I needed some important literature regarding the Muslim Law, and its interpretation. I went to its Head office in Batla House, New Delhi, where I saw its small half rusted name-board on one corner of a building in a dirty place. I went inside it and went upstairs through a dark and narrow staircase only to reach an almost 10×15 room partitioned into two. I saw two office bearers sitting there and then I asked about some literature that I had seen in the publication list in its web portal http://www.aimplboard.org/publications3.html. Firstly there is not much literature available in English, and secondly whichever has been published has got out of stock. The officials cut a sorry figure, and I then sought to buy a copy of the Nikahnama published by the board. I had a lot of admiration for the Board having created a Common Nikahnama for all the Muslim Ummah of this country, having done a lot of exercise to sift the husk from the grain (as regional nikahnamas have local variations and in case of legal issues interpretation of these additions/ alterations in these nikahnamas becomes cumbersome). To my surprise I was shown a dust-ridden copy of the AIMPLB Nikahnama by its official who said that there is nothing special about this Nikahnama. I wanted to buy a copy of it for my personal use. However he said that he can only provide a set of 50 copies for Rs 1000/- and for that I shall have to come again after a week. I went disappointed!!! While leaving I asked them if they can place a pdf copy of the Nikahnama on its website, as there may be many people like me who would like to take out a printout of the same and register their marriages on them. They said that they have noted my suggestion and that it would be placed soon on the website. They did not upload it, and then I reminded them again through telephonic conversation as well as personal visit in February 2012. Is it there now???. NO! Please check it yourself too.

Some time back I was astonished to notice the website of one more organisation by a similar name, namely “All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board”. Their website is far better than AIMPLB. The All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board has released the "Shariat Nikahnama" that they claim would give equal rights to both Muslim men and women. The Nikahnama can be freely downloaded from their website. Ironically there is now need to set up a “All India Muslim MEN Personal Law Board”!, thanks to the almost dead and decayed organisation AIMPLB. Shaista Amber, President of IMWPLB claims in that website that she had reposed full faith in the religious leaders of the community and made a fervent appeal to the AIMPLB to provide a copy of the model nikahnama to her so that she could go through it. She has questioned AIMPLB and sought to clarify as to why it did not set up units in the districts of the state (UP) and did not launch any awareness campaign among the members of the community despite having all resources to meet the crisis gripping the community. She has denied that the women’s law board was formed soon after the formation of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (Jadeed) by Maulana Tauqir Raza Khan of Barelvi sect and All India Shia Personal Law Board by Maulana Mirza Mohammad Athar. Isn’t this an alarming signal and a wake up call for AIMPLB to deliver or perish! Some may argue that AIMPLB is a victim of government apathy or intrigues since Babri Masjid episode or may not agree that it has decayed under its present leadership. For then I must ask them to openly answer some of my questions:

To my knowledge the first post-independence codification of Islamic Law was done in India by Mufti Fasil-ul-Rehman Hila Osmani who prepared a code in 1989 in the form of a book “Islamic Qanoon”. Such a codification can help the Islamic Darul Qaza as well as the regular courts of the country in correctly applying Muslim Personal Law. Later “Majmua Qawaneen Islami” was prepared by AIMPLB which was a GREAT SERVICE to Indian Muslims, particularly ‘Hanafi’ Muslims who form 90 % of Indian Muslim population and one-third of the world population. However its updated version namely “Majmua Qawaneen Islami” or “Compendium of Islamic Laws” is still awaited!!!! while the previous edition is out of stock. In such a case what is an ordinary Muslim of India like me expected to do? Fall in the trap of lawyers and courts, or different mullas/ molvis / muftis with varied interpretations and inner motivations, some based on monitory benefits? Will Allah forgive the learned Ulema of AIMPLB for this callousness? Should it not have been undertaken as a holy mission??

Is AIMPLB a profiteering institution? Was it set up to safeguard Muslims against the evil designs of those who want to replace the Islamic Shariat (The Law) by flawed and infirm system created by man (the law) ? If it is an institution created with profit motives then it could have grown like any other commercial organisation! It has not. So if it was created with a mission then again it could have progressed as Muslims are not afraid of donating for such causes! That means there is no room for non-performers as under their leadership the organisation has decayed and the current status is confined to only hollow sloganeering!

Please tell us how much is your income and what is your expenditure? On what are you spending the public money of Muslim ummah?

Two decades back AIMPLB in its meeting at Jaipur in 1993 decided to set up Islamic courts in all states of the country and mobile Islamic courts for rural India. This was a great historic decision with far reaching consequences. May i ask what the progress in this front is? I presume it to be a BIG ZERO!!

How much money does it take a website to be kept updated? Please open the website of AIMPLB and you will be puzzled as well as upset to see that the latest news which is highlighted on it dates back to 2008 “20th Conference of All India Muslim Personal Law Board on February 29 to March 2, 2008”. The information on the Executive Committee meetings has not been updated since May 14, 1985. You try to contact through its link “Contact Us” and see for yourself, if it works!

Most of the publications on AIMPLB website are not available commercially in all parts of the country. So what is the objection in converting these books into E books (it needs minimum input) and put them available for free download on its website. I can volunteer you for this if you are ready to provide me the print or text version of these books. What is the use of such a knowledge or research which does not reach the target public and only remains on the shelves of their authors and some of their colleagues?

Can’t we house AIMPLB in a centrally located building of international standards like India Islamic Cultural Centre of New Delhi? Don’t we have the resources? Can’t we generate them in the next ten years if we do not have these right now?

Has AIMPLB been successful in accomplishment of its aims & objectives? viz.

• To generate awareness about the injunctions of Islamic Shariah regarding personal and social life of Muslims, and publication of literature for the purpose.

• To formulate a comprehensive framework for promotion and enforcement of personal laws of Islamic Shariah among the Muslims.

• To promote sense of harmony, goodwill, brotherhood, cooperation and unity among followers of various schools of Islamic Shariah, and to advance unity, coordination among them for the protection of Muslim Personal Law.

• To assess currently enforced “Muhammadan Law” in India in the light of Islamic Shariah, to arrange for study of various issues in the light of various schools of Islamic jurisprudence, and to find appropriate solutions to the issues facing the community, following the principles of Islamic Shariah, under the guidance of experts of Islamic Shariah and jurisprudence in the light of Holy Qur’an and Sunnah.”

Sometime back Mr. Danish A. Khan made a point for Uniform Civil Code, owing to his perception of the redundancy of the AIMPLB. Although i DO NOT subscribe to his views on the matter of the discussion in his article “Delhi HC verdict on 15-year-old Muslim girl marriage – A fit case for Uniform Civil Code implementation” but i DO AGREE that AIMPLB needs a complete overhaul and some of the senile leaders need to be either replaced or supported by younger and energetic generation of workers who are ready to infuse a new life into the ‘working’ of this organisation.

Please help by constructive criticism of my opinion, and make available AIMPLB Nikahnama as it is of use to every Muslim (more than 12 million Indian population).

[Dr. Amjad Masood Husaini is an Environmental and Plant Biotechnologist of International repute and is currently working as Assistant Professor (Senior Scale) in Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences & Technology of Kashmir, J&K. Send your feedback at amjadhusaini@yahoo.com]

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on September 05, 2012. Filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on September 05, 2012. Filed under , , , , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

3 comments for "An Open Letter to All India Muslim Personal Law Board"

  1. The article very well point out the
    inefficiency and dysfunctionality of
    AMPLB. Indeed, there is a need to
    make it more responsive to the needs
    of muslim community. Two things need to happen to improve the board:
    1- Top personnel of the board should be elected by the community based on the qualifications and commitment to serve the community. The current system breeds lethargy and indifference.
    2- The board should be run professionally. Administrative staff
    should be selected carefully and system of planning, performance evaluation and accountability be put in place. There should be annual meeting of the board open to all community members who want to attend.The head of the board should present the annual performance, major accomplishments and the challenges ahead. Suggestions for improvement should be welcome and implemented to keep the community interested.
    Nothing short of major reforms would make the board useful and enhance the
    community's respect for it.

  2. Assalamu alaikum to you
    I was quite distressed by reading this poor brother's plight. Yes I agree this slackers should be booted so damn hard! A new national Muslim organisation has to be established without much delay. I pray Allah subhanutallah gives you strength and support from good people and Muslim lawyers there.
    I believe it is possible to rectify this serious malaise of Muslims of Hindustan
    Wassalam.
    Aziz

  3. Dear Aziz and Dear Sajid,
    Thanks for having shared your valuable views. I feel it is 'hopeless' to write about AIMPLB. It seems it is already a 'DEAD' organization of 'learned great ulemas' who are buried under the load of their own books; and are computer 'illiterate' as i have not observed an iota of change in the working of this organisation nor even an attempt to update the website. Somebody please go and 'wakeup' these.....
    Anyway continue supporting my cause please, and thanks once again!
    Yours brotherly
    Amjad

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