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Opinions Thu, 22 May 2014

Paa Nii’s misconceptions of Islam clarified by Islamic research foundation-(Part 2)

RE: On the Arrogance of Islam

RE: Calm Down, You Aren’t Fooling Anyone

Why does Islam degrade women by keeping them behind the veil?

The status of women in Islam is often the target of attacks in the secular media.  The ‘hijab’ or the Islamic dress is cited by many as an example of the ‘subjugation’ of women under Islamic law.  Before we analyse the reasoning behind the religiously mandated ‘hijab’, let us first study the status of women in societies before the advent of Islam 

A.  In the past women were degraded and used as objects of lust

The following examples from history amply illustrate the fact that the status of women in earlier civilizations was very low to the extent that they were denied basic human dignity:

1. Babylonian Civilization:

The women were degraded and were denied all rights under the Babylonian law. If a man murdered a woman, instead of him being punished, his wife was put to death.

2. Greek Civilization:

Greek Civilization is considered the most glorious of all ancient civilizations. Under this very ‘glorious’ system, women were deprived of all rights and were looked down upon. In Greek mythology, an ‘imaginary woman’ called ‘Pandora’ is the root cause of misfortune of human beings. The Greeks considered women to be subhuman and inferior to men.  Though chastity of women was precious, and women were held in high esteem, the Greeks were later overwhelmed by ego and sexual perversions. Prostitution became a regular practice amongst all classes of Greek society. 

3. Roman Civilization:

When Roman Civilization was at the zenith of its ‘glory’, a man even had the right to take the life of his wife. Prostitution and nudity were common amongst the Romans.

4. Egyptian Civilization: The Egyptian considered women evil and as a sign of a devil.

5. Pre-Islamic Arabia: Before Islam spread in Arabia, the Arabs looked down upon women and very often when a female child was born, she was buried alive.

B. Islam uplifted women and gave them equality and expects them to maintain their status.

Islam uplifted the status of women and granted them their just rights 1400 years ago. Islam expects women to maintain their status.

Hijab for men: People usually only discuss ‘hijab’ in the context of women. However, in the Glorious Qur’an, Allah (swt) first mentions ‘hijab’ for men before ‘hijab’ for the women. The Qur’an mentions in Surah Noor: “Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do.”[Al-Qur’an 24:30]

The moment a man looks at a woman and if any brazen or unashamed thought comes to his mind, he should lower his gaze.

Hijab for women.

The next verse of Surah Noor, says: “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons...” [Al-Qur’an 24:31]

C. Six criteria for Hijab.

According to Qur’an and Sunnah there are basically six criteria for observing hijab:

1. Extent:

The first criterion is the extent of the body that should be covered. This is different for men and women. The extent of covering obligatory on the male is to cover the body at least from the navel to the knees. For women, the extent of covering obligatory is to cover the complete body except the face and the hands up to the wrist. If they wish to, they can cover even these parts of the body. Some scholars of Islam insist that the face and the hands are part of the obligatory extent of ‘hijab’.

1. All the remaining five criteria are the same for men and women.

2. The clothes worn should be loose and should not reveal the figure.

3. The clothes worn should not be transparent such that one can see through them.

4. The clothes worn should not be so glamorous as to attract the opposite sex.

5. The clothes worn should not resemble that of the opposite sex.

6. The clothes worn should not resemble that of the unbelievers i.e. they should not wear     clothes that are specifically identities or symbols of the unbelievers’ religions.

D. Hijab includes conduct and behaviour among other things:

Complete ‘hijab’, besides the six criteria of clothing, also includes the moral conduct, behaviour, attitude and intention of the individual. A person only fulfilling the criteria of ‘hijab’ of the clothes is observing ‘hijab’ in a limited sense. ‘Hijab’ of the clothes should be accompanied by ‘hijab’ of the eyes, ‘hijab’ of the heart, ‘hijab’ of thought and ‘hijab’ of intention. It also includes the way a person walks, the way a person talks, the way he behaves, etc.

E. Hijab prevents molestation: The reason why Hijab is prescribed for women is mentioned in the Qur’an in the following verses of Surah Al-Ahzab:

“O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad); that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful [Al-Qur’an 33:59]

The Qur’an says that Hijab has been prescribed for the women so that they are recognized as modest women and this will also prevent them from being molested.   F. Example of twin sisters: Suppose two sisters who are twins, and who are equally beautiful, walk down the street. One of them is attired in the Islamic hijab i.e. the complete body is covered, except for the face and the hands up to the wrists.  The other sister is wearing western clothes, a mini skirt or shorts. Just around the corner there is a hooligan or ruffian who is waiting for a catch, to tease a girl. Whom will he tease? The girl wearing the Islamic Hijab or the girl wearing the skirt or the mini? Naturally he will tease the girl wearing the skirt or the mini. Such dresses are an indirect invitation to the opposite sex for teasing and molestation. The Qur’an rightly says that hijab prevents women from being molested. 

G. Capital punishment for the rapists: Under the Islamic shariah, a man convicted of having raped a woman, is given capital punishment.  Many are astonished at this ‘harsh’ sentence. Some even say that Islam is a ruthless, barbaric religion!  I have asked a simple question to hundreds of non-Muslim men. Suppose, God forbid, someone rapes your wife, your mother or your sister. You are made the judge and the rapist is brought in front of you. What punishment would you give him? All of them said they would put him to death. Some went to the extent of saying they would torture him to death. To them I ask, if someone rapes your wife or your mother you want to put him to death. But if the same crime is committed on somebody else’s wife or daughter you say capital punishment is barbaric.  Why should there be double standards?

H. Western society falsely claims to have uplifted women: Western talk of women’s liberalization is nothing but a disguised form of exploitation of her body, degradation of her soul, and deprivation of her honour. Western society claims to have ‘uplifted’ women. On the contrary it has actually degraded them to the status of concubines, mistresses and society butterflies who are mere tools in the hands of pleasure seekers and sex marketers, hidden behind the colourful screen of ‘art’ and ‘culture’. 

I. USA has one of the highest rates of rape: United States of America is supposed to be one of the most advanced countries of the world. It also has one of the highest rates of rape in any country in the world. According to a FBI report, in the year 1990, every day on an average 1756 cases of rape were committed in U.S.A alone. Later another report said that on an average everyday 1900 cases of rapes are committed in USA. The year was not mentioned. May be it was 1992 or 1993. May be the Americans got ‘bolder’ in the following years.

Consider a scenario where the Islamic hijab is followed in America. Whenever a man looks at a woman and any brazen or unashamed thought comes to his mind, he lowers his gaze. Every woman wears the Islamic hijab, which is the complete body is covered except the face and the hands up to the wrist. After this if any man commits rape he is given capital punishment. I ask you, in such a scenario, will the rate of rape in America increase, will it remain the same, or will it decrease?

J. Implementation of Islamic Shariah will reduce the rate of rapes: Naturally, as soon as Islamic Shariah is implemented positive results will be inevitable. If Islamic Shariah is implemented in any part of the world, whether it is America or Europe, society will breathe easier. Hijab does not degrade a woman but uplifts a woman and protects her modesty and chastity. 

ALL RELIGIONS TEACH MEN TO BE RIGHTEOUS, THEN WHY FOLLOW ONLY ISLAM?

All religions basically teach followers to do good deeds. Why should a person only follow Islam? Can he not follow any of the religions?

1. Major difference between Islam and most other religions

All religions basically exhort mankind to be righteous and eschew evil. But Islam goes beyond that. It guides us towards practical ways of achieving righteousness and eliminating evil from our individual and collective lives. Islam takes into account human nature and the complexities of human society.  Islam is guidance from the Creator Himself. Therefore, Islam is also called the Deen-ul-Fitrah (the natural religion of Man).

2. Example - Islam commands us to shun robbery and also      prescribes method of eliminating robbery

a. Islam prescribes method of eliminating robbery

All major religions teach that theft is an evil act. Islam teaches the same. So what is the difference between Islam and the other religions? The difference lies in the fact that Islam, besides teaching that robbing is evil, shows a practical way of creating a social structure in which people will not rob.

b. Islam prescribes Zakat

Islam prescribes a system of Zakat (obligatory annual charity). Islamic law prescribes that every person who has a saving that exceeds the nisab level i.e. more than 85 grams of gold, should give 2.5% of that saving every lunar year in charity. If every rich person in the world gave Zakat sincerely, poverty will be eradicated from this world. Not a single human being would die of hunger.

c. Chopping off the hands as punishment for robbery

Islam prescribes chopping off the hands of the convicted robber. The Glorious Qur’an says in Surah Maidah: “As to the thief, male or female, cut off his or her hands: a punishment by way of example, from Allah, for their crime: and Allah is exalted in power, full of wisdom.”[Al-Qur’an 5:38]

The non-Muslim may say, “Chopping off the hands in this 20th century. Islam is a barbaric and ruthless religion!”

d. Results achieved when Islamic Shariah Implemented: America is supposed to be one of the most advanced countries in the world. Unfortunately it also has one of the highest rates of crime, theft, and robbery. Suppose the Islamic shariah is implemented in America i.e. every rich person gives Zakat (2.5% of his savings in charity above 85 grams of gold every lunar year), and every convicted robber has his or her hands chopped off as a punishment. Will the rate of theft and robbery in America increase, remain same or decrease? Naturally it will decrease. Moreover the existence of such a stringent law would discourage many a potential robber.

I agree that the amount of theft that takes place in the world today is so tremendous that if you chop off the hands of all the thieves, there will be tens of thousands of people whose hands will be chopped off. The point here is that the moment you implement this law the rate of theft will decline immediately. The potential robber would give it a serious thought before jeopardizing his limbs. The mere thought of the punishment itself will discourage majority of the robbers. There will barely be a few who would rob. Hence only a few person’s hands would be chopped off but millions would live peacefully without fear of being robbed.

Islamic Shariah is therefore practical, and achieves results. 

3. Example: Islam prohibits the molestation and rape of women. It enjoins hijab and prescribes capital punishment fora convicted rapist.

a. Islam prescribes method of eliminating molestation and rape: All the major religions declare the molestation and rape of women as grave sins. Islam teaches the same. What then is the difference between Islam and the other religions? The difference lies in the fact that Islam does not merely preach respect for women, or abhor molestation and rape as serious crimes, but also gives clear guidance as to how society can eliminate such crimes.

b. Hijab for men: Islam has a system of hijab. The Glorious Qur’an first mentions hijab for the men and then for the women. Hijab for the men is mentioned in the following verse: “Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do.”[Al-Qur’an 24:30]

The moment a man looks at a woman and if any brazen or unashamed thought comes to his mind, he should lower his gaze.

c. Hijab for women: Hijab for women is mentioned in the following verse:

“And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons.[Al-Qur’an 24:31]

The extent of hijab for a woman is that her complete body should be covered. The only part that can be seen, are the face and the hands up to the wrists. If they wish to cover, they can even cover these parts of the body. However some Islamic scholars insist that even the face should be covered.

d. Hijab prevents molestation: The reason why Allah has prescribed Hijab for the women is given in the Qur’an in the following verse of Surah Al-Ahzab:

“O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women,that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, most Merciful.”[Al-Qur’an 33:59]

The Qur’an says that Hijab has been prescribed for the women so that they are recognized as modest women this would prevent them from being molested.

e. Example of twin sisters: Suppose two sisters who are twins and who are equally beautiful, walk down a street. One of them is wearing the Islamic Hijab i.e. the complete body is covered except for the face and the hands up to the wrists, and the other twin is wearing a mini skirt or shorts. Around the corner there is a hooligan who is waiting for an opportunity to tease a girl. Who will he tease? The girl wearing the Islamic Hijab or the girl wearing the mini skirt or shorts? Dresses that expose more than they conceal, are an indirect temptation to the opposite sex for teasing, molestation and rape. The Qur’an rightly says that the hijab prevents women from being molested.

f. Capital punishment for rapist: The Islamic shariah prescribes capital punishment for a convicted rapist. The non-Muslim may be horrified at such a stringent punishment in this age. Many accuse Islam of being ruthless and barbaric. I have asked a common question to hundreds of non-Muslim men. Suppose God-forbid, someone rapes your wife, your mother or your sister and you are made the judge. The rapist is brought in front of you. What punishment would you give him? All of them said, “We would put him to death.” Some went to the extent of saying, “we would torture him to death”, If your wife or your mother is raped you want the rapist to be put to death.  But if someone else’s wife or mother is raped, capital punishment is a barbaric law. Why the double standards?

g. U.S.A. has one of the highest rate of Rape

The United States of America is supposed to be one of the most advanced countries of the world.  An F.B.I report in the year 1990 says that 1, 02,555 cases of rape were reported. It further says that only 16% of the cases of rapes are reported. Thus, in order to know the actual number of rapes that took place in 1990, the reported figure should be multiplied by 6.25.  We get a total of 6, 40,968 rape cases that took place in the year 1990. If the total is divided by 365 the number of days in a year, we get an average of 1,756 rape incidents every day.

Later another report said that an average of 1900 cases of rape are committed in U.S.A every day. According to National Crime Victimization Survey Bureau of Justice Statistics (U. S. Dept. of Justice) in 1996 alone 3, 07,000 cases of rape were reported. Only 31% of the actual cases of rape were reported. Thus, 3, 07,000 X 3.226 = 9, 90,322 rapes took place in 1996. That is, an average of 2,713 cases of rape took place every day in America in 1996. Every 32 seconds one rape is taking place in America. Maybe American rapists got bolder. The FBI report of 1990 continues and says that out of the rape cases that were reported only 10% of the rapists were arrested, that is only 1.6% of the actual rapes committed. Out of those arrested, 50% were let free before the trial.  This would mean that only 0.8% of the rapists faced a trial.  In other words if a person commits 125 rapes the chances that he will get a punishment for rape is only once. Many would consider this a good gamble. And the report says that of those people who faced trial 50% received sentences of less than a year’s imprisonment though the American law says rape carries a seven year sentence of imprisonment. For a rapist, the judge is lenient to first time offenders. Imagine a person commits 125 rapes and the chance of being convicted is only once, and 50% of the time the judge will grant leniency and give a sentence of less than a year! 

h. Results achieved when Islamic Shariah Implemented

Suppose the Islamic shariah is implemented in America. Whenever a man looks at a woman and if any brazen or unashamed thought comes to his mind, he lowers his gaze. Every woman wears the Islamic Hijab, which is the complete body is covered except the face and the hands up to the wrists. After this if any man commits rape, he gets capital punishment. The question is, will the rate of rape in America increase, will it remain the same or will it decrease? Naturally it will decrease. Islamic Shariah gets results.

4. Islam has Practical Solutions for the Problems of Mankind

Islam is the best way of life because its teachings are not doctrinaire rhetoric but practical solutions for the problems of mankind. Islam achieves results both at the individual and collective levels. Islam is the best way of life because it is a practical, universal religion not confined to any ethnic group or nationality.

VAST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ISLAM AND THE ACTUAL PRACTICE OF MUSLIMS

If Islam is the best religion, why are many of the Muslims dishonest, unreliable, and involved in activities such as cheating, bribing, dealing in drugs, etc.?

1. Media maligns Islam

a. Islam is without doubt the best religion but the media is in the hands of the westerners who are afraid of Islam. The media is continuously broadcasting and printing information against Islam. They provide misinformation about Islam, misquote Islam or project a point out of proportion, if any. 

b. When any bomb blasts takes place anywhere, the first people to be accused without proof are invariably the Muslims. This appears as headlines in the news. Later, when they find that non-Muslims were responsible, it appears as insignificant news’ item.

c. If a 50 year old Muslim marries a 15 year old girl after taking her permission, it appears on the front page but when a 50 year old non-Muslim rapes a 6 year old girl, it may appear in the news in the inside pages as ‘News briefs’. Every day in America on an average 2,713 cases of rape take place but it doesn’t appear in the news, since it has become a way of life for the Americans.

2.  Black sheep in every community: I am aware that there are some Muslims who are dishonest, unreliable, who cheat, etc. but the media projects this as though only Muslims are involved in such activities. There are black sheep in every community. I know Muslims who are alcoholics and who can drink most of the non-Muslims under the table.

3.  Muslims best as a whole: In spite of all the black sheep in the Muslim community, Muslims taken on the whole, yet form the best community in the world. We are the biggest community of teetotallers as a whole, i.e. those who don’t imbibe alcohol. Collectively, we are a community which gives the maximum charity in the world. There is not a single person in the world that can even show a candle to the Muslims where modesty is concerned; where sobriety is concerned; where human values and ethics are concerned.

4.  Don’t judge a car by its driver: If you want to judge how well is the latest model of the “Mercedes” car and a person who does not know how to drive sits at the steering wheel and bangs up the car, who will you blame? The car or the driver? But naturally, the driver. To analyse how good the car is, a person should not look at the driver but see the ability and features of the car. How fast is it, what is its average fuel consumption, what are the safety measures, etc. Even if I agree for the sake of argument that the Muslims are bad, we can’t judge Islam by its followers? If you want to judge how good Islam is then judge it according to its authentic sources, i.e. the Glorious Qur’an and the Sahih Hadith. 

5.  Judge Islam by its best follower i.e. Prophet Mohammed (pbuh): If you practically want to check how good a car is put an expert driver behind the steering wheel. Similarly the best and the most exemplary follower of Islam by whom you can check how good Islam is, is the last and final messenger of God, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Besides Muslims, there are several honest and unbiased non-Muslim historians who have acclaimed that prophet Muhammad was the best human being. According to Michael H. Hart who wrote the book, ‘The Hundred Most Influential Men in History’, the topmost position, i.e. the number one position goes to the beloved prophet of Islam, Muhammad (pbuh). There are several such examples of non-Muslims paying great tributes to the prophet, like Thomas Carlyle, La-Martine, etc.

Website: http://www.irf.net/faq_1.html#

Columnist: Islamic Research Foundation