Azhar Ahmed, a Lucknow student, had been friends with Mumbai-based Farah Sultan for few months. They had met through Facebook, and usually chatted about things like movies, culture, music and news. Last Thursday, they were talking about marriage and divorce laws, when Azhar asked jokingly, [we’re reproducing an extract of the chat transcript, a copy of which is exclusively in NTMN’s possession] —
Azhar: “Whts so hateful abt saying talaq dat dey shud divorce just by saying it 3 tyms?! :-o” [sic]
Farah: Dunno, but that’s how it works!
Azhar: S’pose a guy tells his wife — here you go! — Talaq, talaq, talaq! — aha, that sounds so kewl! Bt u c it duzn’t show that the guy has stopped loving the woman, does it?! [sic]
Azhar, however, was caught chatting by his dad, who immediately got doubtful about the religious consequences of this. He contacted local religious authorities. Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband has now ruled it as a valid talaq. “Now that the boy said the T-word thrice, he means that the woman has become haraam to him, so the two have to be divorced!” it was ruled.
Azhar is excited at the prospect of having an early marriage, which is actually due to a joke. “Gosh! Today’s children are doing everything at such little age! Now a boy who’s hardly an adult is not only marrying, but also facing divorce! GenNext feels online and SMS nikahs are a lot ‘cooler’ than the actual practices,” said a child psychologist. Azhar, in excitement, has already changed his online relationship status to “divorced”.
Farah, meanwhile, is “damn confused and irritated”. “I am ready to talaq that outspoken childish Azhar, if there could be talaqs in friendship. I am no more friends with him,” she said angrily. “I will not accept friend requests from just anyone arbitrary now.” She is on her way to Lucknow to marry (and divorce) Azhar, to heed to the fatwa that says they will be declared anti-Islam if they didn’t marry first.
Meanwhile, the makers of Rakhi Ka Insaaf have offered a huge sum of money to the two families to appear on their show and sort out the problems. They have proposed a two-hour special episode for the live nikah and talaq.