Thaqofah: Misconception about Islam

Thaqofah: Misconception about Islam

شبهات حول الإسلام

Focus: Misconceptions about women rights in Islam

 Preamble

Praise be to Allah who revealed the following verses in His Book:

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يُجَادِلُ فِي اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَلَا هُدًى وَلَا كِتَابٍ مُنِيرٍ (8) ثَانِيَ عِطْفِهِ لِيُضِلَّ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ لَهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا خِزْيٌ وَنُذِيقُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ عَذَابَ الْحَرِيقِ (9) ذَلِكَ بِمَا قَدَّمَتْ يَدَاكَ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ لَيْسَ بِظَلَّامٍ لِلْعَبِيدِ (10)

(8) And of the people is he who disputes about God without knowledge or guidance or an enlightening book [from Him], (9) Twisting his neck [in arrogance] to mislead [people] from the way of God. For him in the world is disgrace, and We will make him taste on the Day of Resurrection the punishment of the Burning Fire [while it is said], (10) “That is for what your hands have put forth and because God is not ever unjust to [His] servants.”[1]

يُرِيدُونَ لِيُطْفِئُوا نُورَ اللَّهِ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَاللَّهُ مُتِمُّ نُورِهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَافِرُونَ

They want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His light, although the disbelievers dislike it.[2]

 He instructed His messenger to declare the following statement to humanity:

عَنْ ثَوْبَانَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ – صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ – قَالَ: “لَا تَزَالُ طَائِفَةٌ مِنْ أُمَّتِي عَلَى الْحَقِّ مَنْصُورِينَ، لَا يَضُرُّهُمْ مَنْ خَالَفَهُمْ حَتَّى يَأْتِيَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ”[3]

Thaoban narrated that the prophet said: A group from my Ummah will remain on the truth, they will assist (with their clear evidences), and those who differ from them will not be able to harm them (destroy their values) until the command of Allah reaches them.

 Background

The noble task of Islamic message is to establish a just society, reform nations and entrench lofty principles. If this should be left to continue on its course, humanity will enjoy a life of stability and peace both inward and outward. The destruction of inner and outer stability of man is necessary for shaytan to achieve his devilish task of human’s doom.

Allah has chosen to propagate His message of Islam through messengers from among humans; it will be more effective to challenge and counter this message through another set of people among humans. Therefore, shaytan resorts to the use of people who accept his deceptions[4] from among humans to cause confusion and misguide the people who wish to follow the truth.

Among the means of attack against Islam is psychological warfare. The remaining paragraphs under this topic will be on this aspect with special focus on women’s rights due to the impacts it has on the internal stability of Muslims and their ability to maintain and uphold the superiority of Islamic values in the midst of Western orientation and values.

How the problem started

Opportunities opened to the enemies of Islam to propagate their misconceptions and false creed to destroy the foundations of Islamic families and communities at a time when the administration of Islamic states were under leaders who had been diverted[5] away with worldly materials and became unmindful of guarding the sanctity and values of their religion from attacks that had already been foretold by Allah and His messenger. Unfortunately, Islam was relegated to only solat and other rituals[6]. Other affairs were governed by the values brought by the orientalists.

The influences of these attacks left the many Muslims in doubt of how compatible are the values of their religion to modern developments.

Attacks on the foundations of Islam

Since the most effective way to destroy a system is to devalue its foundations, the orientalists are unrelenting in their efforts to attack the sacred foundations of Islam. Among the misconceptions they spread are the attacks on the prophet and his nobility; the Qur’an and its sacredness; the Ka’bah and its sanctity; the injunctions of the Shariah[7] and its fairness.

Notable areas of misconceptions and attacks

  • Allegations on the authenticity of the prophet’s claim to prophethood.
  • Attacks on his personality.
  • Allegations that he was blood-thirsty.
  • Allegations that he was not a lover of peace.
  • Allegations of many injustices in the Shariah Law.
  • Allegations of mistrust and betrayal.
  • Allegations on the prophet’s plural marriage.
  • Allegations on having uncontrolled lust for sex.
  • Allegations that of massacres in the name of jihad.
  • Allegations that the Shariah does not allow free mixing between men and women

Explanations on the above allegations, the claims of the enemies and appropriate responses (textual and rational) will be provided in subsequent editions. The focus herein is the clarifications on allegations of women’s right violation in the Shariah.

Misconceptions on women’s right

Allegations: The enemies of Islam and the promoters of misconceptions alleged that the Shariah of Islam was unfair to women using the following false claims as support:

 Claims & Responses:

  1. Claim: The Shariah gives authority to men over women according to Qur’an 4:34.
    • Response: (1) The verse should be taken in context. The reason for the authority is the undisputable natural psycho-physical superiority of men over women (2) Administration is required for a stable co-existence; a head that possesses the major qualities of leadership[8] is required for successful administration.
  1. Claim: The Shariah put an autonomous[9] right to divorce in the hands of husband only, leaving the wife to the mercy of another man’s intervention (a Muslim male judge).
    • Response: (1) Medically, during menses, pregnancy and postnatal periods women experience some psychological anomalies due to the physiological change their body is undergoes. Furthermore, women mostly have low ability to control utterances during emotional periods. The Shariah does not take divorce lightly, once it is deliberately pronounced it will take immediate effect. Therefore, it was a wise decision to prevent the woman from the authority over a divorce before the careful consideration by the judiciary. (2) The Shariah granted the husband authority to administer over his wife; if she knew he was not capable of ending the marriage, she will be defiant to most of his commands and the purpose of administration will be lost. A government cannot be effective under a system of anarchy where all parties are equal in authority.
  1. Claim: The Shariah allows men the right to plural marriage and prevents the women from same.
    • Response: (1) The verse[10] of the Qur’an that permits polygamy[11] should be taken in context; justice is strictly attached to this permission (2) The culture of polygamy is inseparable from human nature and existence. This has been from time immemorial to solve critical issues that may destroy the nature of man. Any attempt to constitute a law preventing such will destabilize the foundation of human moral culture. (3) Since the time of human’s existence on earth, women have always been in surplus for several reasons like war and the varying levels of resistance[12] to diseases and plague. An outlaw of polygamy will leave surplus women whose options[13] that will be inimical to the nature and moral culture of humankind.
  1. Claim: The Shariah suppressed women and denied her right to free communication and association by obliging her to cover up with jalbaab, hijaab and niqaab[14].
    • Response: (1) The verse[15] of the Qur’an that commanded this code of dressing should be taken in context; the reasons for the institution of the dressing were immediately outlined in the verse. (2) Islam is a religion of honour, dignity and respect; People who embrace the religion must enjoy same. Islam encourages peaceful co-existence between its adherents and the people of other faiths. Muslims may live in the community of people who lack the moral principles of bashfulness and suffer from corruption that molest the sacredness of women’s body. In order to save the Muslim women from unnecessary harassment of an uncultured man, the jilbaab was instituted as a protective measure. (3) A number of surveys across the world show that majority of women in hijab chose to wear it; if they considered it a means of suppression, this will not be the case.
  1. Claim: Islam placed the bulk of home maintenance activities on the wife leaving the husband with only what is too little compared to his strength and other capacities.
    • Response: (1) Islam shared the responsibilities of a marital life between the husband and wife; it placed bulk of in-house activities on the wife and the bulk of the outside home activities on the husband; anyone who defaults in his/her responsibilities will be responsible to Allah’s judgment. The husband is solely responsible to make available provisions necessary to service the home needs. While the wife’s responsibility to utilize the provisions and make the home healthy and clean (2) it will be strange, and the required authority lost if the husband were obliged to do what he was supposed to direct.[16]
  2. Claim: Islam gave only half of a male’s inheritance to a female and made the witness of two women equal to only one man.
    • Response: (1) The glorious history of Islam shows that the concept of justice and the alignment of its Shariah with it is undisputable (2) Equality does not always mean equal justice. Islam promotes justice and not necessarily equality (3) All of the financial obligations that Islam commands is placed on the male. The half that a woman gets from the inheritance will be a surplus for her; which is an indicator of the right Islam granted her to possess wealth and property. (4) The verse[17] of the Qur’an that requires two female as equal to one male should be taken in context. The reason for demanding such was made clear in the verse: so that one may remind the other. (5) It is an established medical fact that the average mental capacities of the female to remember is not equal to that of the male by default, therefore, Islam requires more of females than males to satisfy the requirement in its judicial proceedings.

 Conclusion

 كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ

Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.[18]

[1] Surat-ul-Hajj 8-10

[2] Surat-ul-Saff 8

[3] Sunan ibn Majah 1/8

[4] Shaytan’s deceptions include disbelief and rejection of the truth after it has been made manifest via arrogance, egoism, materialism, power struggle, etc

[5] This diversion is an overnight rigorous effort of the enemies as part of their deliberate plan to achieve their goal.

[6] Ritual: what is done repetitively and very much the same way as a means to maintain the identity of a group or set of people.

[7] Shariah: the body of Islamic laws

[8] Refer to Surat-ul-Qasas 23-26 (The story of prophet Musa and the daughters of Shuaib). Strength and Trust are two qualities ordinarily known for men.

[9] The husband does not require a judicial intervention to divorce his wife; but the wife must seek the intervention of a judge if she wishes to end the sacred bond of her marriage.

[10] Surat-ul-Nisa 3

[11] With restriction on the numbers of wives to a maximum of four.

[12] Medically, Women have higher resistance to fight disease than men due to their regular menstrual periods that afford them the opportunity to get rid of blood diseases; a favour that most women don’t realize.

[13] Options include prostitution, celibacy , etc

[14] Hijaab is the outer non-transparent loose garment for woman to cover up her dress and body with the exception of the face and hands up to the wrist when leaving inside her home to the public. Niqaab is an extention of hijaab to include the covering of hands and face. Jilbaab or Jalbaab is a term used for both. Scholars of Islam are unanimous on the preference of Niqaab over the hijaab and they differ over the obligation of the former.

[15] Surat-ul-Ahzaab 59

[16] However, Islam highly encourages the husband to consider the tender nature of the woman and assist her with home duties as part of his benevolent gesture seeking his reward from Allah; neither taking that as a substitute nor allowing that to affect his major responsibility of providing for the family.

[17] Surat-ul-Baqarah 282

[18] Surat-ul- Al-Imran 103

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