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Deoband fatwa to bring son-in-laws closer to mother-in-laws

11, Mar 2011 By Simon

Saharanpur. Women can only travel up to 48 miles without her husband or a male relative, the Darul Uloom Deoband has ruled. The announcement has caused consternation amongst Muslims and experts claim that it will put many marriages under unbearable strain.

“I may have to get a divorce now,” said Jamal, 35, “Her parents live in Lucknow; we stay in Kanpur. It is 50.2 miles… No matter how many times I measure it, it’s still more than 48 miles.” Jamal had been avoiding visiting his sasuraal (in-laws’ place) ever since he got married, but under the new fatwa, he will be forced to accompany his wife to her parents’ house.

Darul Uloom
A man returning to Darul Uloom, apparently after dropping off his wife 70 miles away

“Islam condemns all kinds of oppression, violence and terrorism,” says Jamal, “but this fatwa is not consistent with this; I’m terrified of her mother.”

“This will cause a marked change in son-in-law-mother-in-law relations,” said sociologist, Arpeeta Goyal, “Now the husband will choose to live closer to his wife’s family in order to avoid them. This ruling may appear archaic, she explained, but the time-space issues it causes are very modern indeed, if not postmodern.”

The Deoband based university told Faking News that the fatwa “possessed both the rectitude and solidity of traditional thought and the dynamism of contemporary global theory”.

Appearing confused, our correspondent was ushered into a side room and told the “practical historical and contemporary foundations for the ruling”:  If a man stood on the back of a camel in the Saudi desert 1400 years ago, he could observe his wife from 3 miles away. But if the same man stood on his camel in the same place, he would be able to observe her from 48 miles away thanks to modern binocular technologies.

Faking News pointed out that with modern IT technology and GPS devices there was no limit on the distance from which a husband could track his wife, but we were told that this was a “ridiculous suggestions” because using a laptop on the back of a camel would be “very difficult”.

Rumors are circulating that the university is in talks with technology companies to produce a “wife sensor”, which operates in like a parking sensor – beeping quickly when the wife is close by and becoming slower as the wife becomes further away. An alarm will ring at 48miles and a pre-recorded voice message will command the owner to “retrieve your wife”.

Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi was due to provide the voice for the device but this was cancelled once it emerged that he once let his wife go as far as Gujarat unaccompanied.