20 May, 2024


MMDA Claims Misleading, Exaggerated Or Reasonable?

By Mass L. Usuf –

Mass Usuf

The response to the subject query is that it has a little of each of these attributes. The reality of experience dictates that nothing is perfect in which there is human intervention. Here are some illustrations before delving into the crux of the matter.

Very recently, it was reported that the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka had urged the Bar Association of Sri Lanka to take action against racist lawyers in certain regional courts. Unlike conjoined twins, where in most cases they can be separated by surgery, Law and Justice are an inseparable combination. Law and justice bring to mind equality, fairness, reasonableness and the doctrine of presumption of innocence. For these noble principles of law and justice, racism is a complete stranger. However, the fact of the matter is that racism is being practised in the sanctum sanctorum of justice itself!  The imperfection in man. 

The Police Station is a place where most of the times the citizens are not been treated as they should be. There is no need to explain this fact. Then the free medical health and the hospital system are fraught with its own positives and negatives. The unequal application of traffic rules on the road by the traffic policeman is also part of this defectiveness. The subject of Law is not an exception to this phenomenon. The number of statutes and their frequent amendments are ample proof that man is not perfect.  

Rules Of Interpretation

This imperfection is the reason why there has to be reforms, reorganisation, restructuring, alterations and so on in many areas. This is also one of the reasons why there is the need for regulatory authorities, independent commissions and ombudsmen in the various fields.

Legal practitioners and others with knowledge of the law are aware that in law there are several Rules of Interpretations. An exercise where a judge or a lawyer tries to make sense of what someone else has written. In law there are the standard Literal, Golden and Mischief rules and also the Purposive approach. Some of these rules have evolved over centuries in order to give meaning to the intent of the law Giver – the Legislature. When we speak of a Rule, the understanding is that when the rule is followed you cannot go wrong. The irony in the ‘Rules’ of interpretation is that there is always the tendency for the interpretation to go wrong even though you may be following the ‘rule’. This shows the complexity of law not to mention, word or phraseology ambiguity.

MMDA Not Different

It is common knowledge that the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA) is not any different from these imperfections. Even the MMDA is subject to amendments and the rules of interpretation to the extent of that human imperfection, barring some of the Islamic jurisprudential laws. Therefore, MMDA is not a strange animal from an unknown planet.  What needs to be appreciated is that under the regular law also there is unfairness, unreasonableness, injustice etc. For example, the principles of natural justice and the Wednesbury principles are doctrines that came about to address the deficiencies in the regular law.  


Muslim or not, we are social animals and are nurtured by several socio-cultural-religious subtleties. Whether the women activists like it or not, the reality is that Sri Lanka is a male dominant society.  Going by research, what is indicated is that up to 97% of Sri Lankan men believed women should obey their husbands, and the majority of participants (both men and women) consider men to be the decision-makers in the family. Another study found that obeying the husband was associated with a lower risk of intimate partner violence (IPV). (Ceylon Medical Journal 2015; 60: 133-138). So, accusing only the Muslim men as being patriarchal is perpetuating a misleading impression. The Muslim women activists may have to be prudent and refrain from making sweeping statements in their unbounded enthusiasm.

It is also morally incorrect to showcase MMDA as a piece of law which has the intent of causing hurt to the Muslim women, to oppress them and to deprive them of their rights.  The public is privy to a lot of noise being made that the rights of the Muslim women are being suppressed.  In general, it gives a very distorted image about Muslim men to the average person on the street.  Has the Muslim community ever been instrumental in suppressing the rights of the Muslim women? They enjoy the right to cast their own votes, the right to go before courts, the right to choose their religion, the right to select their partner, the right to have their own political opinion, the right to equality before the law etc. It is clear that she enjoys all the rights that any citizen of this country enjoys.  

Why Only Muslim Women?

This does not in anyway imply that every affair relating to the Muslim women is hunky-dory. As much as other women folks have their own issues, the Muslim women, too, have their share but, not to the extent that is exaggerated. Women from other communities also face problems relating to marriage, divorce, maintenance, domestic violence, adulterous union, fornication, drunkenness, drug addiction etc. The above research indicates that intimate partner violence is a widespread problem in Sri Lanka affecting 1 in 3 women in the country. Based on the recent, most representative data, the overall prevalence of intimate partner violence in Sri Lanka is about 25–30%. Proportionately, the number of Muslim women who are subjected to IPV must certainly be very less especially, since alcohol abuse is less prevalent among Muslims.

One may give thought to the situation whether it is civil behaviour, in the name of women’s rights, to isolate only the affairs of the Muslim women and, that too, at a national level while ignoring the welfare of the other women who are not Muslims. Do not they also have women’s rights?

Resolving the Issue

Pointing fingers at each other is called the blame game. The masters of the blame game are the politicians. The politicians have now entered the MMDA fray. As for the Muslim politician, the word on the street is that the Muslim community is not too happy about this interference. They will do something which is not needed or not do something which is needed and continue to debate on it. Nikita Khrushchev famously said, “Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build bridges even when there are no rivers.” 

It is a tragedy that those who call themselves intellects, professionals and experts whether religious or secular supported by their cohorts are indulging in this game. Reforms are needed and each side must walk that distance towards the centre which will bring them closer towards resolution.  

Reasonable Demands

It must reiterated that certain administrative, procedural and substantive parts of the MMDA do need revisiting.  The call for reforms by the Muslim women and men are therefore, reasonable to that extent.  One striking example is the payment of compensation (Matha) to the woman at the time of divorce. It has to be recorded that the majority of Muslims do not oppose reforms. However, one thing is clear, they are absolutely against MMDA being excessively tinkered.  All those who are directly or indirectly involved in reforms may need to acknowledge this increasingly growing popular sentiment.

My next column will focus on suggestions as to how to facilitate a resolution to this issue.

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Latest comments

  • 10

    MASS L USUF: Just forget everything You are human. How do you want your daughters and sisters to suffer. forget your grand mother, Mother and wife. IS there a humanitarian way to treat them. You are looking for excuses and for what. One human is conceptualising how to treat another human and looking for ways to justify it. Is there anything religious or spiritual in it except some dictatorship and ownership of women ? You do not care your daughter or sister suffering.
    did you here, One Muslim politicians who doe snot have daughters had to give his relative daughter as per wahhabi customs and when she was very young.
    Why don’t you say human Barbarism is at best. The you will be honest to you even if you were killed. To whom you people lie.. forget the influence of the influence of politics. You people got something wrong.

    • 8

      Mass L Usuf,

      You are NOT a Muslim women or a girl, who is a chattel, per MMDA, and subject to abuses including legal child rape, but a Sri Lankan Muslim man, and per Ulama of the ACJU, the MMDA is perfect and divine.

      Why not try to be useful and justify the Hadith of Najd and expose the Satan, Iblis following Wahhabies and clones?

  • 13

    Whom is he trying to bluff?
    Why no women as members of the MMDA enforcers?
    Why only males can divorce, but females cannot?
    Why females cover every part except a fraction of the face unlike many Moslem countries?
    Why females cannot attend schools and enter universities?
    Why women cannot practice family planning?
    Why women cannot even see a photo of men they will marry?
    Why marriage soon after puberty without consent?
    Why women not permitted employment in mixed gender environment?
    Why women cannot travel alone ?
    Why stillbirths are not reported and bodies secretly buried?
    Why genital mutilation in secret?
    Why women cannot worship in mosques?
    Why marriageable age not same as other nationals?
    Why women cannot be examined by male doctors for even serious illnesses – but only Caesarian Sections by male doctors are permitted?
    Why females are segregated at even family functions?
    Why polygamy but not polyandry is allowed?
    Why dowry property is for males only?

    • 3

      Justice, whom you are trying to hoodwink?
      If there is no women members of the MMDA it is an issue for MMDA to correct according to Islamic Law, not your laws.
      Female can divorce and there is no barrier for that.
      If a man go without covering everyone will spit on him including women but if a women go without covering there will be a Perehara behind her. So covering protect her.
      First take statistic and pose this question.
      It is women who practice family planning.
      Not women can see photo of men but personally too.
      There is not even a fraction of a percentage. Get statistic first.
      Go to companies and government departments first to see yourself the truth in your statement.
      You must be blind a fellow or just confined to your room without going about on the roads.
      I am a Muslim, I did not know such things. May be it’s your peoples practice. Abortion means illegal things can happen but it is among all faiths.
      There is no genital mutation but they were health concerned and now more non-Muslims follow these, may be not you goddayas.
      Women can pray in Mosque but they consider house chores as first to consider so they pray at home.
      Marriageable is something that come under law. Since the law of the nation is first it can come under that law.
      Serious illnesses are attend to by specialist in that field whether male or female.
      Then who will do it if there are no female gynecologist?
      No females are segregated in functions but they opt to gather among themselves, this is natural unless you are in New York.
      In polygamy women will know who is the baby’s father but in polyandry women had to get genetic test.
      Male is her breadwinner who works and look after her.
      I hope donkey justice understand this.

      • 8

        Your “reasons” are laughable.
        Muslim females are crying for equality, but people like you keep them as ‘slaves’
        to perpetuate your “tradition”.

        • 1

          Yes Mr Justice. My reasons are laughable only to brainless specimens like you.

  • 14

    M L U
    MMDA needs significant changes as suggested by the learned Justice Marsoof after much study. The majority of Muslims in SL are gullible to the influence of ACJU which really is defunct and archaic; the customs of the desert culture disguised as law.

  • 5

    I think that Dr Ameer Ali has done a lot of solid research on this subject than any one else.. Let us consider all this ideas. but all others are fake and unsolicited one.. No enough academic and rational backing

  • 2

    People talking about ‘reconciliation’ without taking in to consideration the real issues involved need to read the media reports (and watch video) of the visit of the secretary of the so-called World Muslim Congress to the Malwatta and Asgiriya prelates in Kandy.
    This man wearing a full head covering tried to shake hands with the monks, and tried to sit on the monk’s chair. He paid no courtesy whatsoever. And the local translator did not seem to translate the Malwatte monk’s advice to Muslims as to how to behave as a minority.
    This example shows the issues of insensitivity, greed and ignorance, and selfishness and arrogance of Islam as a religion and Muslims as a community that act against reconciliation.
    Our politicians (like Sirisena, Ranil, Mangala and Rajitha) only worried about the ‘Muslim vote”, tolerate this arrogance, protecting questionable characters like Bathurdeen, Sally and Hisbollah from the law.
    When will these shameless politicians get a soul and stop this shameless practice?

  • 2

    IF There is no equal treatment lets say no care if a minority is admitted incase if infected with dengue
    it will spread all and majority will suffer , same in other cases. Everyone is beautiful, and the world isn’t equal – and we need to fight towards that.Should be the basic theory thought the country will have great value in front of the world.

  • 8

    A 50 year old pervert abusing a 9 year old child is not reasonable under any normal culture or civilization. It can only be condoned by a crazy lunatic cult.
    The stone age practices of the Mohommedan cult has no place in the 21st century. It’s time for us Kafirs to band together and vote in a strong national leader. That is the only way to control and ban crazy stone age cult practices and rituals.

    • 5

      Saurus aka J.Chambers,
      “A 50 year old pervert abusing a 9 year old child is not reasonable under any normal culture or civilization. “
      Don’t you know that a number of perverts are in jail for doing just that?
      But they were all Buddhist monks, including one who did time in London but is free to carry on his trade here.

      • 2

        But the pervert i’m talking about is a fraud who created a nasty dangerous cult.
        Jail would be too good for such a person
        Wouldn’t you agree that an old man who abused a child should burn in hell?
        As per one of his fairy tales he visited hell when he travelled on his magic flying donkey. The world would have been a far better place had he stayed there. But of course that was just a fairy tale for gullible stone age Arabs.

        • 4

          Some religions are known to worship people nailed to pieces of wood and also burnt women at the stake not that long ago. Then there is the religion that worships trees and abuses young boys. Which one do you follow that makes you superior ?

          • 1

            in theory, wouldn’t even a worm be superior to a man who abused a child and kept slaves?
            What kind of a lunatic would condone these actions? If you think this is normal then it automatically becomes normal to walk into a church go Allah Allah Rabadallah and blow up innocent children and worshippers
            Do you see the problem faced by us Kafirs? We know the lunatic cult that follows the teachings of a stone age warlord pervert will never reform nor will it accept crticism. The only solution for us Kafirs is to vote in a strong national leader who can control and ban the stone age practices and rituals of a crazy cult.
            Three more months.

            • 2

              Saurus Chambers,
              So you are no longer the paedophile tourist in short pants?

            • 2

              No need to be so hypocritical. Even George Washington kept slaves, and Gandhi slept with young girls. Whatever Muhammad did was appropriate to his time. No need to go rabble rousing with irrelevant rubbish. If you want to be racist, at least be honest.

            • 1

              No need to be so hypocritical. Even George Washington kept slaves, and Gandhi slept with young girls. Whatever Muhammad did was appropriate to his time. No need to go rabble rousing with irrelevant rubbish. If you want to be racist, at least be honest.

    • 0

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    • 1

      Yes, this child abuse is still happening in Temples today where 50 and 60 year old men screw 10, 13 or even 14 year olds in the behind and get away with it .Mostly, the head monks who abuse young kids never get caught, not in Sri Lanka, but in England, Yes. Where the law is applied equally to all. in our country, they get away due to their yellow robes that they wear, which they have forced and threatened all people must fall at their feet and worship them. Muslims all over the world are not used to and will never stoop to such low levels, to bow down and worship anyone except Allah, God Almighty, their Creator who reigns Supreme, So these monks feel slighted and insulted and want to force the issue on Muslims. like they have done successfully to the majority Buddhists living in this country. Without robes they are just ordinary men, sometimes common criminals, but with robes they are at a different level, a law and authority unto themselves.

  • 6

    The MMDA requires radical reform and the mockery carried out in Qadhi courts worse than some decisions given Nattamai in Tamil movies. Mr Yusuf, this is not the problem between Male or Female, this is about justice and the purpose is to find a more ‘objective judgement’. When all Qathis are male, gullible to take bribe, how can they provide justice. Meanwhile they don’t have any accountability. Whilst you are calling to move both parties to come to the middle ground, you conveniently state that there is no need to excessively tinker it. What an irony???

    • 0

      Well said.

  • 1

    Muslims are not indigenous community here. They are descendants of south Indian refugees who came here after collapsed of Delhi sultanate rule in south part of India. Occupied Afghan soldiers plus Dalits south Indian prostitute were their ancestors. . Their destination was East Indies. Landed here due to Tsunami situation. Given only Temporally staying order by Kotte King at that time under the plea of Gujarati Marine traders. Kotte kingdom forces tried to kill them all but Chief incumbent of kotte kingdom Buddhists temples prevented it. British era got all the facilities even citizenship rights. British has no rights to do that. Now asking separate laws. One country one law for all. There should not be separate laws for separate communities. If they can not live under general law should go to their original places south India or Afghanistan. Muslims are not part & parcel of our society.They are aliens.like Rohingya community in Myanmar. Like in Myanmar Sinhalese youths should get to gather and chase them out of the country. Should boycott their business. Their holy book says Others are vile animals. That is why they add garbage to foods they sell to Sinhalese.So called Doctor safi did same kind of thing to Sinhalese mothers in order to curtail Sinhalese population growth. .It is long term plan of entire Muslims community. All Muslims are behind that plan. Attorni general department Muslims Employees slept on files regarding Islamic terrorism. All are terrorists or apologists of Islamic Terrorism. To understand it read ISIS publications on Islamic Empire . All Muslims live here either ISIS members or ISIS terror apologists. should be chased out of the country to have peace..

  • 7

    Those Muslims who are exposed to non Islamic ethical standards are in a quandary. These alternative ethical standards appear to be superior to them. At the same time it is difficult for the men folk to make up their minds to give up the relative advantages over womenen enjoyed under Islamic ethics.Under Islamic system value of a woman is one-fourth that of a man. As Karl Marx said privileged class anywhere wouldn’t give up the privileges without a fight. As for the women who support the existing system all what you can say
    is when slaves defend slavery there is nothing you can do about it.


  • 3

    India’s parliament has approved a bill outlawing the centuries-old right of a Muslim man to instantly divorce his wife. Under Muslim law a man can divorce by uttering the word “talaq”, meaning “I divorce you” in Arabic, three times in his wife’s presence. Let us not have that kind of nonsense here. Enough of these special laws for Muslims. One law for one nation.

  • 1

    Dear Mass,

    Can you please be more specific about your statement, which goes: However, one thing is clear, they are absolutely against MMDA being excessively tinkered?

    Can you please also list the “excessive tinkering”.

  • 0

    Now the Ministers, who resigned on the Rishard investigation, are also demanding to stop reforming MMDA if they have to join the government again.
    Here, Usuf is telling how he is planning to balance others and even his own community activist, if they talk about MMDA.
    “Pointing fingers at each other is called the blame game. “
    Any statistics he cited is a lie and with fraudulent interpretation.
    He is saying IVP is high in other communities because there more freedom to women, so he is recommending using the Sharia leash to their women too. He is saying Lankaweyans are Patriarch culture oriented, so for the rest of the civilization life of Lankaweyans, they should use Sharia to up keep that kind of life.
    It is so cheap to tell that other races’ women in Lankawe are buried deep in fornication, prostitution, drunkenness, downwardness, disobey or violently reacting other members of their family. He is telling so, instead asking remove the MMDA from Muslim women, bring under his leash all of your women. Isn’t because of this barrier over load a Muslim women killed her two children. But there were much more cases with Mullaitivu Tamils like that, but all are suicide cases, mothers killing their children without being able to give a life to them, then they kill themselves too.

    From the start to end, every line is so skewed against women, other races, other races’ men, Children, Law of other countries, politicians, law professionals, and conventions of UN. It’s so scary & horrible when Usuf open up his and showed what bigotry, biased person he is. It is UN, UNHRC and EU have recommended the changes. It is not the Sinhalese or Tamils are running those offices.

    Probably this is the nastiest piece of essay ever appeared in CT sans, MLDM’s ones.

  • 2

    Mass Usuf.
    The discussion is about fornication with 11 year old girls and calling that legal. It is also about a man dismissing his wife once he has tired of sex with her, from year 11 to 16, then feeling an erotic urge for a younger girl, so issuing his wife with a triple talak. That too is said to be legal.

    Talking about the Bar Association, police station, traffic police, law courts, racism etc is just a distraction. It is called dissembling. Concentrate on the crux issue. Tell us if you like young girls and the ability to dismiss them once you feel like something ‘fresh’. Tell us whether you consider that religious law and not man-made law. Give us your arguments.

  • 1

    They are reasonable to an educated, family oriented, God fearing and one who wants to alleviate Muslim women’s suffering at the hands corrupt Quazis, Marriage Registrars, old men who get directed by their ding dongs. The writer of this article is either a confirmed Thowheed or on the pay of Thowheeds and reactionary forces. Readers please ask these questions: Would you as a father like your devoted child of 13 to get married? Is she at this tender age mentally, psychologically and physically prepared for child bearing? Would you like to hear her screams at child birth?
    Would you like a day to day wage earner in our society who struggles to meet ends being enticed by a man, from Mid East old enough to be his daughters grand father, into giving his teenage daughter in marriage by dangling Rs. 200,000.00 with connivance of corrupt Qazis, registrars of marriage and impersonating Walis?
    Would your teenage children like you bringing in another woman into their lives and household as a second wife without the consent of their mother? Would your children like to learn through the grapevine that their father is living with another woman in a different town or village without the consent of your mother like one of our learned or unlearned Mufti, had done in South India.
    Would you like men or brutes getting a divorce without payment of adequate maintenance to the children and if paid a tuppence compared to his enormous monthly earnings again with the connivance of corrupt Qazis.
    These are some of things that come to my mind. If the answer is a FIRM NO you will whole heartedly agree for changes in the MMDA as a matter of urgency. If The answer is Yes they would only come from the illiterate, insensitive, selfish, perverts and sex maniacs who wish to exploits to loop holes to satisfy their carnal desires.

  • 1

    Dear Yusuf

    The need of the ho ur is not the amendment to MDMA but a few kathijas amongst muslims to change every thing please remember Iulena prophet could prevail on her. She managed to keep the profet monogamous during her entire life time although twice widowed and allowed the world to see the true colours of the polygamous profet who married over a dozen dimes within the remaining decade that was left to him btw covering of the face is actually to help Muslim woman to enjoy the and decor the Male without the make knowing that he is being watched. Afterall it was twice widowed kathie who sent her marriage proposal to the youthful hardworking Mohammad.



  • 0


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