Property rights of Half Widows can’t be eschewed as Quran and Sunnah has given them those rights, says Ulema in Kashmir

By Raqib Hameed Naik,

Srinagar: In a significant development regarding the property rights of Half Widows in Kashmir, a meeting with Ulema’s (Islamic Scholars) was organized by Ehsaas, an NGO fighting for rights of women in Srinagar on Saturday, May 14.

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During the day long deliberations between eminent religious scholars, educationists and civil society members, a general consensus was reached that half widows issues need to be taken with full vigour and their property rights can be in no way eschewed as Quran and Sunnah has given them rights on property.

Half Widows

Chairperson of Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), Parveena Ahangar along with a delegation of half widows presented their viewpoint and expressed the series of injustice they have been facing at the hands of their in-laws and other social institutions.

Importantly, the disappearances of persons in valley which continued unabated during 1990s created a sub group of widows who were called ‘Half widows,’ a term for women who did not know whether their husbands were dead or alive.

Most of half widows have to deal with various emotional, economic and social insecurities after their husbands went missing. But the biggest problem faced by almost every half widow was that of property rights which were snatched by their in laws.

Half Widows

It was also resolved that soon, letters would be dispatched to eminent religious organizations to debate and discuss and reach to a consensus on the property issue on the same parlance as was reached on issue of time period with reference to marriage of Half widows, due to the efforts of the group.

“It is the need of hour for all stakeholders to resolve the issues faced by Half Widows and their children and get illuminated from Islamic teachings in this regard so as to ease their hardships” vowed the Ulema.

The Ulema also said that considering the grave nature of pain and trauma faces by the half widows, it has become pivotal to break the taboos with reference to half widows especially their rights on Property and right to re-marry.

“We need to carry with zeal and zest the awareness with reference to issues confronted by Half widows via religious sermons especially Friday sermons,” reiterated, the Ulema.

It was also urged on state institutions to be more proactive in this regard as the general opinion emerging was that social welfare organizations have failed to do any good to genuine cause of Half widows.

Half Widows

“The jurisprudence and teachings of Islam is just in every manner and takes into consideration the issues faced by vulnerable sections like half widows and orphans, the only thing needed is to spread awareness of these just teachings so that effective answers are provided in this regard. Keeping this in view, we are trying to find solutions to some of the problems being faced by half widows in light of Quran and Sunnah, with the help of Ulema,” said Ezabir Ali, Secretary EHSAAS.

The group, in 2015 had initiated steps related to property rights of women with special reference to half widows and orphans by organising a deliberative session of Islamic scholars (Ulemas).

The same NGO earlier in 2013 was instrumental in bringing a landmark consensus regarding the waiting period for half-widows which was decided as four years after rounds of consultations among local Islamic scholars.

Earlier this year, had done a series on half widows, in which various issues faced by them in the Valley were raised including the undermining of their property rights by their in laws.