Posted in Islam & Interfaith Subjects, Social Issues & Politics

The Hypocrisy of Islamophobia

Not pleasant topics by any means, but certainly important ones, and that’s what we’ll be talking about today. But mostly hypocrisy. I’m going to tell you a story of something that happened a couple of days ago…

So, I was browsing my Twitter feed the same way I usually do almost every day and came across an older tweet about human rights (the Women’s March, I believe) and began reading the discussion going on. The rest is of the backstory irrelevant, I came across some hateful Islamophobic tweets by an account belonging to Mindy Gray so I clicked on her page to report the discrimination and move on to the rest of the thread when I got quite the surprise.

It turns out that this person does social work, much of the same kind that I care about too! I was appalled that in one tweet Mindy preaches the love and compassion of Jesus Christ and then turns around and posts the things that I’ve taken screenshots of below! (Click on them to see the entire thing.) Please tell me where in the world Jesus gave you an idea like this one! What I’d really like to ask her is what would you do if you picked up a Muslim in that hope coach vehicle? Which Mindy would they get? The one who loves Jesus or the one who hates Muslims? Because these two vastly different people cannot be the same one, right? Hypocrisy is something I will never understand.

After reporting to Twitter, I also wrote to the real Phoenix Rescue Mission that she is said to work at, or at least volunteer for. Why? Because there’s no way that I believe that the PRM is an Islamophobic organization that preaches hate. If one of them employees or ambassadors or whatever else you want to call it preaches hate under the name of their compassion and legitimate and important message then they should know about it. People like her make their work look bad or seem illegitimate. Hypocrites like her sadly reflect on organizations like PRM the same way that Donald Trump makes conservatives look like Nazis. I wouldn’t want somebody doing bad in the good name of my organization, would you?

It’s no different that those police officers who were fired because they are members of the KKK. Law enforcement officers are supposed to serve and protect with equality and justice. Here it might be on a much lesser scale but the denominator is the same. Big or small, this kind of stuff smears the good name of good organizations. PRM responded saying that Mindy never worked for them, yet I found this on their Facebook page, but what the hell. It’s not up to me anymore.

facebook

Whatever they do (or not do) now is not up to me, but I can only hope that at some point somebody will stand up and do something instead of passively endorsing discrimination and prejudice. Twitter has policies against this and it’s the responsibility of every individual who wishes to enjoy this community to honor them. I’m not saying that you should go out and be the moral police — that won’t get you many friends nor is it your job to begin with — what I am saying is that if you stumble across something that violates the clear policies like I did during your daily activities for God’s sake report it! They have a button for that, make use of it! The community guidelines weren’t put there for nothing! Read more about Twitter’s policies here and here but to sum it up:

Freedom of expression means little if voices are silenced because people are afraid to speak up. We do not tolerate behavior that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another person’s voice. If you see something on Twitter that violates these rules, please report it to us.

You don’t even have to engage with the other person, but if you do make sure that’s it’s by saying something respectful and constructive and not emulating their own behavior. Proving them wrong isn’t your job either, but by being part of a certain community it is your social obligation to honor their terms of service to create a good social atmosphere for all to enjoy the same way you do. If you stand by and do nothing you are as much of the problem as the person spreading the hate. Treat others the way you want to be treated, why is that so hard to understand?

I would be one hell of a hypocrite, equally a hypocrite as the person in question, if I went around preaching human rights and then silently standing by as my own people are victimized. I don’t go out looking for trouble or drama, but I am a responsible citizen and Twitter user who will take a stand when needed. I’m not going to uselessly argue or get emotional with people like this (that generally doesn’t amount to much) but I won’t stand by the heartache of the ummah either. We need to pick our battles and act appropriately and accordingly, and the moral of this story is social responsibility. When I think of social responsibility the first thing I think about is the following poem.

NiemollerQuoteMonmouthNJ580pxw

It’s also important to bring up the issue that there is a big difference between criticism (or difference of opinion) and discrimination. There’s always going to be somebody who doesn’t agree with you or who gets angry about an alternate point of view but this is completely different than targeting a group or individual to harass them, put them down or entice prejudice against them. We can all share different viewpoints while remaining respectful and engaging positively. That’s also something that I hope will be taken from this story.

Lastly, why did I not blot out names you ask? This person is not a minor. This person knows what they are doing and they chose to post this kind of stuff publicly under their own identity. You choose the behavior, you choose the consequences. These were not isolated incidents of a lapse in judgement or in a limited context. These posts happened time and time again over a period of time and promoted the fear and hatred of Muslims. This is not a smear campaign nor does anything in this post promote hatred or harassment of the person in question or anyone else. I know it’s tempting to launch an Antifa-style social media smear campaign — and it’s not like I don’t often think about it when I see vile things in my feed — but it won’t accomplish much.

I won’t collect and publicly shame hypocrites or Islamophobes here either (nor do I encourage anyone to do so), however I chose to use this incident as a cautionary tale and to bring up important matters that too often get swept under the rug.

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Posted in Islam & Interfaith Subjects

Sectarian Hatred Within Islam

Happy New Year 2018 everyone! 🙂 I know I haven’t posted much about Islam in recent months, and not to worry, it’s not at all because I am less Muslim or losing faith or whatever. In fact, I haven’t had much to say about anything in recent months. Donald Trump doesn’t get under my skin anymore, Islamophobia doesn’t irk me anymore. I suppose I’ve gotten desensitized, or perhaps just used to it, but here I want to touch on another issue that plagues the Muslim community but is not as talked about as other types of anti-Muslim hatred.

I’m talking about sectarian hatred, particularly that Sunni vs. Shia crap that people never seem to get over. Just two days ago I basically lost all respect for a Sunni comrade after some absolutely disgusting derogatory comments towards Shias. I honestly don’t see how you can get people to want to be part of your oh-so-perfect-and-righteous version of Islam when that’s how you treat them. When you discriminate others it says much more about you and your cold dark heart than about the person you are putting down. Apparently he and I do not worship the same God. I worship the One who is All Merciful and All Forgiving. I do not care who you discriminate or why, you have a disgusting soul. End of story.

Although discrimination takes on many forms and goes both ways, it seems to be more common that the Sunnis put down the Shias, much like what I recently witnessed. Of course not everyone does this, and your average Sunni isn’t a person with a hate-filled heart nor do I think badly of them in general, but I thought it was important nonetheless to share this article from The Muslim Vibe to show people that we, “the other,” are not evil infidels.

In all fairness, many Shia Muslims are also people with hate-filled hearts towards Sunnis and other Muslim groups, and this video shows both sides of the disgusting issue or sectarian hate with Islam. Every group does much to combat Islamophobia coming from the outside or even interfaith relations with the People of the Book but how many of us actually do anything to foster good relations with other groups of our own faith?

Before becoming a Muslim I was a Christian and one thing I found absolutely disgusting about the church I went to was the constant bashing of Catholics and Jehovah’s Witnesses, whom I’ve later learned were much nicer people that the group I belonged to. When I converted to Islam I believed in One Ummah, and I still do, but obviously we still have a long way to do because my experiences up to this point aren’t much different than my experiences in that church.

When I see things like this I sincerely don’t blame those who do not want to have anything to do with God or religion with people who claim to follow the One who is endlessly gracious and loving behave like this towards each other. People with small brains and big mouths will never undo my love for God and my positive relationship with Him, but I have no trouble understanding why others and put off by it. Isn’t there enough hatred in the world without all of this?

God help us.

Posted in Islam & Interfaith Subjects

This Is What I Believe

In both 2016 and 2017 I’ve posted much about hadith authenticity (or more about what is not authentic), not from a Quranist perspective — although my sympathies are with them more often than not — but from a logical and intellectual perspective. I will continue to do this now that 2018 is upon us, but this post right here that I got from Tumblr sums up just about all of my beliefs about the hadith.

While I agree that the hadith are an important part of Islam when they elaborate further on what is found in the Quran, there’s no way that I can believe something that violates or contradicts what is clearly established in the Quran. Hadith are secondary to the Quran, and it’s disheartening for me to see how people have corrupted Islam and turned it into some legalistic cult by elevating them to the level of the Quran or even higher! I’m here trying to follow God, not people who want to control every aspect of my life.

I converted to Islam three years ago because I believed the Quran was true when I read it. It’s not a religion that insults my intellect or my wanting to question and challenge. Islam invites doing this to bring about progress, and getting an education is a duty upon every single Muslim. I’ve already said all I had to say about this a long time ago, but I think it’s important that we remind ourselves of this from time to time because it’s so easy to fall into legalism and corruption.

May God guide us to the right path. Happy New Year!

Posted in Islam & Interfaith Subjects

Muslims and the Bible

In certain parts of the world like North Korea and Saudi Arabia you can be executed for having a Bible. In many so-called “Muslim” nations Christians are persecuted and Jews are purged from the land completely. Yet Prophet Muhammad loved Jews and Christians and the Quran calls them the People of the Book, not infidels or unbelievers. It’s a long held belief within the Muslim community that the Bible has been corrupted, and while I do have some problems with the Bible and modern Christianity, that will be examined in a future post. Here I will look solely at what the Quran had to say about the Bible and how Muslims should see it.

mdaxresdefault

And We caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow in their footsteps, confirming that which was (revealed) before him in the Torah, and We bestowed on him the Gospel wherein is guidance and a light, confirming that which was (revealed) before it in the Torah – a guidance and an admonition unto those who ward off (evil). (Quran 5:46).

It’s an unfortunate sentiment today that Muslims hate Christians or Jesus. The truth is that Muslims love Jesus. Jesus came to fulfill the Jewish law and the Quran came to confirm the Bible. The Quran speaks favorably of the Bible and Islam follows all of the prophets, from Abraham to Jesus.

It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong). (Quran 3:3).

The Quran calls the Bible, or parts at least parts of it, a light (5:44), an example (11:17), and a warning (17:4). It also states that the authors of the Bible were inspired (4:163; 5:111). In addition, Islam holds the Torah, the Psalms and the Gospel of Jesus sacred to its faith and believing in these books is an essential part of the faith. I should note that the Gospel is the one given to Jesus, not the ones written about him, but nonetheless many of his teachings have been preserved. Contrary to popular belief, the Quran does not undo the previous scriptures it confirms them and weeds out the truth from the falsehood:

And We have revealed to you, (O Muhammad), the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it. (Quran 5:48)

In addition to the Torah, Psalms and Gospel, the Quran also mentions the following people from the Bible:

  • Aaron
  • Abel
  • Abraham
  • Amram
  • Cain
  • David
  • The Apostles
  • Eber
  • Elijah
  • Elisha
  • Enoch
  • Ezekiel
  • Ezra
  • Gabriel
  • Gog and Magog
  • Goliath
  • Haman
  • Isaac
  • Ishmael
  • Jacob
  • Jethro
  • Reuel
  • Hobab
  • Jesus
  • Joachim
  • Job
  • John the Baptist
  • Jonah
  • Joseph (and his brothers)
  • Korah
  • Lot (and his wife)
  • Mary
  • Miriam
  • Michael
  • Moses
  • Noah
  • Pharaoh
  • Potiphar (and his wife)
  • The Queen of Sheba
  • Samuel
  • King Saul
  • Satan
  • Shem
  • Ham
  • Japheth
  • Solomon
  • Terah
  • Zechariah
  • Zimri

People mentioned but unnamed include the following:

  • Eve
  • Sarah
  • Zipporah
  • Jochebed
  • Elizabeth

Now that is a significant part of the Bible narrative also present in the Quran in one form or another. There is nothing in the Quran that prohibits a Muslim from reading or learning from the Bible. In fact, I’ve seen many books that have stories from the Bible and Quran side by side so you can compare and contrast what the two say. On that note it’s important to say that reading the Bible as Muslim should enhance your Islamic experience, not lead you astray. One Hadith cautions against reading the Bible if you are weak in faith or have no previous knowledge of what is true and false but to those who seek to deepen their Islamic faith, the Bible is a valuable tool!

One should note that at the time of Muhammad, the Christian Bible included a section called the Apocrypha, which is no longer part of the modern Bible except in a few select churches. There are also several other texts including the Pseudepigrapha that were circulating around churches at various points over the course of history but that have been excluded from the modern Biblical canon. The Dead Sea Scrolls are also an important discovery when it comes to Bible history and the origins of both Christianity and Islam. You can view the different Bible canons throughout the major traditional churches on Wikipedia.

The important thing to remember here is that the Quran has the final authority over the previous texts, just like the previous texts have authority over the ones that came before them. Keep an open mind and do some historical and theological research when it comes to these texts and the stories mentioned in them from various reputable sources. As a Muslim myself, it’s important for me to also be familiar with the Bible not only to deepen my understanding regarding the roots of my Abrahamic faith and where the prophets come from, but also to promote good and strong interfaith relations with Christians and Jews within the community. We live in a day and age where such things are more crucial than ever and a good place to start is with what we have in common.

So unless you have doubts in faith or your government will kill you for it, as a Muslim you have no reason not to read and study the previous scriptures too.

 

Posted in Islam & Interfaith Subjects, News & Relevant Topics, Personal & Opinion, Social Issues & Politics

Nobody’s Asking

Are you tired of hearing me say that I hate the modern practice of the death penalty because it’s now used to reap nothing than injustice, the exact opposite of what it was supposed to serve? Well, I’m not done. There’s just one more rant I want to post before I close this chapter for good.

oxymoron

“But it’s changing the Sharia law!”

I can’t tell you how much I hate hearing those words. People, the word Sharia does not mean penal code. Yes, aspects of justice and the penal code do fall in with the concept of Sharia but you cannot confound Islamic law, the moral code Muslims are called to live by, and the laws of your country enforced by the government. If you look at Wikipedia written in Simple English (apparently people are too stupid to understand regular English) you’ll see that “Sharia” isn’t a penal code set in stone. Very few aspects of it are set in stone in the Quran. I prefer to call the penal code part of it a principle of law instead since Islamic values such as equality and justice are set in stone, but social issues change from culture to culture, nation to nation, year to year and thinking that 7th century customs could solve modern issues is just insane. On the other hand, God’s timeless principles present throughout revelation can, but only if we can find a way to apply them properly under specific circumstances.

simpleenglish

Let there be no question that Islam allows (that is allows, not mandates) the death penalty for certain crimes, it’s an ancient prescription that has been around since the beginning of time, but where people go wrong is that they justify its modern practice by saying “well, it’s in the books.” Yeah it’s in the books, just the Word of God is more than just ink on a page isn’t it? People also think that the justice system today is the same as it was in the 7th century but that could not be more erroneous. So what was the death penalty for back then exactly? Primarily a deterrent, and used really only as a last resort to keep the community safe and free from crime. Today the statistics prove that it’s not a deterrent (the exact opposite actually) and we have very safe and advanced, albeit far from perfect, criminal justice and rehabilitation programs. In a nutshell, the death penalty was prescribed to uphold justice, but in modern society it does nothing but reap injustice.

Take a look at the death penalty in Islam page on ProCon.org. I don’t believe that apostasy is punishable by death in Islam but that’s another story, but you’ll see that the death penalty was reserved for very serious offenses and not taken lightly at all. I must add that Sheikh Ahmad Ash-Sharabasi’s comments were laughable though. How is the modern death penalty self-defense? That’s completely beside the point. Sure, the ancient death penalty served to destroy the threat but do you think that the American terrorists in Supermax are still a threat? Self-defense isn’t even an issue. It’s misguided and erroneous. On the other hand, let’s take a look at what we do with the death penalty in modern society. Firstly, take what Rabia Terri Harris had to say:

An Islamic opposition to the death penalty must begin by acknowledging that the Qur’an may clearly be read as giving special exemption (from the general prohibition on killing) to the taking of a murderer’s life…

Those who favor the death penalty therefore cannot be considered as beyond the pale: we must accept the faithfulness and validity of their opinion…

[T]he responsibility of a Muslim is justice. Will the killing of a murderer produce justice…

[W]e can measure whether it does or not by examining the state of public trust. In the US, the following facts have been established…Nearly 90% of persons executed for murder were convicted of killing whites, although people of color make up over half of all homicide victims nationally…[and] 90% of the people US government prosecutors currently seek to execute are black or Latino…

There is no justice here. No needs are met, no fear is alleviated. This idea does not work. The hallmark of truth is that it works…

It is a far more serious error of Islamic ethics to demand a human death in circumstances when there are doubts about guilt or innocence, where the bereaved are not consulted about their wishes, and when the penalty is selectively applied based on the pernicious fantasy that some lives have more value than others.

Islamic law, and Islamic taqwa, demand that we dissent from such a travesty of justice.

Nobody’s telling you that the death penalty is not part of Islam, and nobody’s asking you to remove those verses from the book. What I am asking is that we stop allowing injustice in the name of “Sharia.” You run your mouth saying that Sharia upholds justice but congratulations, your beloved Sharia law has turned into an oxymoron because the exact opposite is all it’s accomplishing! Tariq Ramadan also echoes this sentiment:

[W]e launch today a call for an immediate international moratorium on corporal punishment, stoning and the death penalty in all Muslim majority countries. Considering that the opinions of most scholars, regarding the comprehension of the texts and the application of hudud, are neither explicit nor unanimous (indeed there is not even a clear majority), and bearing in mind that political systems and the state of the majority Muslim societies do not guarantee a just and equal treatment of individuals before the law, it is our moral obligation and religious responsibility to demand for the immediate suspension of the application of the hudud which is inaccurately accepted as an application of ‘Islamic sharia’.

Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl also wrote that you’d basically have to be God himself to properly carry out a sentence of the death penalty. Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan had this to say about the position of contemporary Judaism about capital punishment, which I believes echoes the sentiments of contemporary Islam in the face of the issues surrounding the modern death penalty:

In practice, however, these punishments were almost never invoked, and existed mainly as a deterrent and to indicate the seriousness of the sins for which they were prescribed. The rules of evidence and other safeguards that the Torah provides to protect the accused made it all but impossible to actually invoke these penalties… the system of judicial punishments could become brutal and barbaric unless administered in an atmosphere of the highest morality and piety. When these standards declined among the Jewish people, the Sanhedrin… voluntarily abolished this system of penalties.

We are closer to Andromeda than we are to a fair and equitable justice system. I don’t believe that reform will do it because peoples’ standards only keep declining, serving their own interests and disregarding the rest. How many times have I heard of dirty cops, corrupt law enforcement officials, cover ups, set ups, and downright gross injustice. So do we stop the oppressor from committing oppression? By removing the means of oppression, a.k.a. the death penalty.

When you sentence someone to life in prison it’s a very harsh sentence of reconciling with yourself looking at a concrete wall for every single day of your life but such a sentence can easily be overturned, after all the person is still alive and can still speak for themselves. On the other hand an execution is permanent and you can’t take it back. As I’ve written about in my previous published articles about this issue An Argument Against Capital Punishment (Part 1 of 2) and An Argument Against Capital Punishment (Part 2 of 2) among others, there is a scary amount of innocent people awaiting execution. And then we execute them in inhumane ways. Even if you wholeheartedly still believe in capital punishment after everything, you must also agree that there is no executing people in inhumane manners. That is not Islamic.

tariqexecution

https://nomorehurtingpeoplepeace.tumblr.com/post/152252551516/the-social-cost-of-solitary-confinement

Lastly, I want you to contemplate a couple of things before everybody loses their minds over this…

https://nomorehurtingpeoplepeace.tumblr.com/post/152252641306/we-need-to-realise-that-we-should-be-on-the-side

https://nomorehurtingpeoplepeace.tumblr.com/post/152252650276/youre-faithful-to-the-text-when-you-understand

Is the modern practice of capital punishment faithful to the text? Not even close! Consider this next time you go on blabbing about that “it’s scripture” or that you care about human rights. The two must go together.

https://nomorehurtingpeoplepeace.tumblr.com/post/152252926786/certain-verses-leave-no-scope-for-interpretation

https://nomorehurtingpeoplepeace.tumblr.com/post/152252967471/please-please-could-you-show-some-heart-some

Posted in Islam & Interfaith Subjects, Reblogged Posts

More of Zaida’s Writings

I hope that everyone enjoyed the series on Zaidism; the Zaidiyyah Muslims within Shia Islam seem to only be getting smaller and smaller and even Zaida’s blog is now inactive. My hope is that by doing this it’ll keep the movement alive. You can also find some of her other blogs linked below:

Unfortunately, they are also all inactive but they have more valuable information about Islamic thought that seem to be disappearing these days. It is my hope that you will open your mind to these thoughts and maybe they’ll even inspire something in your own faith!

Posted in Islam & Interfaith Subjects

The Question of Zaydi / Zaidi Identity

How would I define a Zaydi?

From what I have read so far, I would define Zaydism as “progressive, moderate, rational Islam”.
To elaborate on this simple definition, I would say:
“progressive, because it is inspired by the an early Muslim who challenged the corrupt status quo (Zaid bin Ali), moderate, because it represents the common ground between the two differing sects of Sunnism and 12erism, rational because it incorporates the rational school of thought within Islam (the mu’tazilah school.)”
Therefore I would define a Zaydi as a “progressive, moderate, rational Muslim”.

Let’s compare my definition with the Wikipedia definitions:

“Zaydis historically come from the followers of Zayd ibn Ali, the great-Grandson of ‘Ali b. Abi Talib. They follow any knowledgeable and upright descendant of al-Hasan and al-Husayn, and are less esoteric in focus than Twelverism or Ismailism.”
“Zaydism is a Shī’a madhhab (sect, school) named after the Imām Zayd ibn ˤAlī. Followers of the Zaidi fiqh recognize the first four of the Twelve Imams but differ from Twelver Shia in recognising Zayd ibn Ali — not his brother Muhammad al-Baqir — as the “Fifth Imām”. After Zayd ibn Ali, the Zaidi recognize other descendants of Hasan ibn Ali or Husayn ibn Ali to be Imams. Other well known Zaidi imams in history were Yahya ibn Zayd, Muhammad al Nafs az-Zakiyah and Ibrahim ibn Abdullah… In matters of theology, the Zaidis are close to the Mu’tazili school, but they are not Mu’tazilite, since there are a few issues between both schools, most notably the Zaidi doctrine of the imamate.”

I think these definitions do not do justice to Zaydism, because they portray Zaydis as followers (of Imams) rather than thinkers; in truth, Zaydism is a way of thinking, not a matter of blindly following an Imam. The Imams were, in my opinion, an inspiration and showed us how to think.
It has been well documented that Islam is in a state of intellectual stagnation compared to the West. The blame for this rests on the shoulders of the Sunnis and 12er Shi-ites. Instead of encouraging debate, reform, creativity, critical thinking, and self criticism, they have opted for a bigoted “holier than thou” attitude, refusing to admit that any mistakes or flaws may exist in their respective ideologies, demanding blind acceptance from their devotees, and promising Hell to anyone who questions the dogmas they inherited from their ancestors.
The remedy is to convince Sunni and Shi-ite Muslims to adopt a progressive line, like Zaydism, so they can free up their thinking, without resorting to Western ideologies.
However, as long as Zaydi intellectuals themselves refuse to be identified as Zaydis, for whatever reason, it will difficult to change the Sunnis and 12er Shi-ites’ negative perception of Zaydism.
Some “progressive, moderate, rational Muslims” are reluctant to be identified as Zaydis, putting forward the following reasons:
1. They agree with the Zaydi stand on every issue, but are happy to be Sunni!
2. Although they are from a Zaydi family, they disapprove of sectarianism, and think that by identifying as Zaydi they are joining a sect.
3. They prefer to be known as Muslims, not Zaydis.
4. They do not want to follow Zaydi Imams/ scholars, because they think that the judgements and theories made by imams and scholars of the past may not have been intended to be set in stone, and need reform.

Reasonable enough, …but perhaps their own definition of Zaydism is too narrow, like the narrow definitions in Wikipedia?

Posted in Islam & Interfaith Subjects

Zaidism and Women’s Liberation [Comments]

Here are some of the other interesting comments from the previous articles that I thought would contribute to the discussion.

What a fantastic article!! Zaidism is paving the way for womens rights in the Islamic world by setting clear rights for women.

Its really interesting to read first-hand how a Saudi Woman feels. We so often judge their plight from the outside, without consulting those who are affected. Her response is moving.

I’m not sure I agree with the Zaidi theology on the issue of Hijab (covering everything but the face and feet)

I think the exterior appearance of a woman is trivial and of personal choice, not a condition of faith.

Men should just Butt out and instead concern themselves with protecting their own modesty.

Resisting temptations and ‘seductions’ should bear an onus on both women and men. Why should we walk the streets in cotton helmets with only our hands exposed to sunlight, while men gallivant around in whatever they choose!?

Instead of bestowing that responsibility fully on women, why not share the load?

Thanks for your comment. As far as women’s dress in Islam is concerned, I think the hope lies with the re-interpretation of the Quranic verses relating to women’s dress in a less literal way. Muhammad Asad (English translator with mu’tazili tendencies) points out, in his commentary of these verses, that they are to be understood as a general message of modesty and decency in dress, rather than as specific guidelines of exactly what to wear for all women-kind everywhere. What was appropriate, in order to distinguish oneself from a prostitute or promiscuous woman, in the days of the early Muslims of Arabia, may not be necessary in other cultures or in later times in order to achieve the same outcome. I think the best way to judge what is appropriate in a given society, is to look at the societal norms regarding decent dress and indecent dress and go from there. It should not be necessary to look like a medieval Arab if you happen to live in Australia or Romania in 2010. It should not be necessary for a Muslim woman living in a non Muslim society to be stigmatized where-ever she goes because she stands out and looks so different. But Muslim women should never imitate the dress codes of prostitutes and loose women living in their society. That might mean, for example, staying away from the high heels/ mini-skirt/ heavy make-up combination which has become so commonplace among today’s young Western women, and wearing instead a pair of loose jeans and a shirt.

Here’s another article confirming the dismal plight of women in the Wahhabi state of Saudi Arabia:

Saudi women are being kept in perpetual childhood so male relatives can exercise “guardianship” over them, the Human Rights Watch group has said.
The New York-based group says Saudi women have to obtain permission from male relatives to work, travel, study, marry or even receive health care.
Their access to justice is also severely constrained, it says.
The group says the Saudi establishment sacrifices basic human rights to maintain male control over women.
The report says that Saudi women are denied the legal right to make even trivial decisions for their children – women cannot open bank accounts for children, enroll them in school, obtain school files or travel with their children without written permission from the child’s father.
Human Rights Watch says that Saudi women are prevented from accessing government agencies that have no established female sections unless they have a male representative.
Male guardianship over adult women also contributes to their risk of exposure to violence within the family as victims of violence find it difficult to seek protection or redress from the courts.
Social workers, physicians and lawyers say that it is nearly impossible to remove guardianship from male guardians who are abusive, the group says. (BBC news, 21st April 2008).

This Western Puppets must be Stopped.Muslims unlike Other Religions(Except Confucianism)Encourage Sex,Reproduction and See it as a Sin not to Engage in Sexual Pleasures.Sex is Clean in Islam.and Provided it Is thru The right Outlet,it is a Great source of Godly Rewards,and Form of worship.

Now We All Know the Women of Ahl ul-Bayt(a.s)Wore The Niqab.

In regards to Women :
1.Muslim Women Had the right to Vote Since the Days of Our Prophet Muhammad(SWS),Whereas ion The civilized west,you didnt Get this right until the 20th Century.
2.Muslim Women Have Inheritence rights and Property Rights ,And this is Based on the quran and Traditions and PRactice of All Muslim States, something Not granted to Them in Western countries Until the 20thb Century.

3.Muslim Women Are Told To cover up,Because as many women Who CHOOSE to Wear the Niqab :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXzUuKdfnRE Hijab, Niqab or Nothing

Have Said,Men Respect Them,they See Them As a Object of Dignity ,Virtue And Appreciatte Their Value in society

in the West Women Are seen as Sex Objects Showing their Awrat for a Bottle Of Water!

A Great Lecture on This subject is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKi2JBUSFkw Dr. Shomali – Islam and Sexuality – PressTV, ‘Minbar’

4.Comparing the Rates of Rape,Divorce,Sexual Abuse and Sexual Harrasment at the workplace in Muslim countries VS.The” Liberated West”’We Find

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cr…pes-per-capita

That Saudi Arabia and other muslim Countries has the Lowest for Example on The List While Western-christian-Countries have the Highest Rates .

1 of 6 U.S. women has experienced an attempted or completed rape. (according to Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault)

Also 47% of rapes, both the victim and the perpetrator had been drinking. In 17%, only the perpetrator had been. 7% of the time, only the victim had been drinking. Rapes where neither the victim nor the perpetrator had been drinking were 29% of all rapes.

Now you Can See Why Islam,Forbids Alcohol completely .

Alcohol also is the major Source of Western Countries Debts,Social problems,Incest,Homicide(Al-Qatil),and other Crimes almost 86 % ,to my knwoledge Atleast,Of the Cases involve Alcohol.

Now in the U.K the Bastion of ”’Freedom”’the Rates of Rape Are 230 cases every day

In muslim countries ,we Respect Our women,and do not See Nakedness adn Lewdness As Freedom.

May i Remind you :60 % of Parlement in some muslim Countries,like iran,and i think Saudi Arabia Are women

In The West,this is unheard of Practicly,but Nominally Women have Freedom.

Finally Feminism is a Ideolgoy Like Nazism

it was Created to Enslave Women

http://www.savethemales.ca/

See the Backround on Feminism and how the Powers That Be,Promoted it To Destroy the Family.

The Worst Type of Slavery is When You Think your Liberated!

The opinion and Irreligiousity of A Few Saudis Should not Spoil it for all these Millions of Women.

The Fact is Saudi women on the Internet always Say They dont nmind this Treatment Because They Are Treated As Queens.

In Regards to the south,Aden was Communist,and the Regime Openly Encouraged Irreligiousity.

im not Saying Niqab Should Be Forced.

but i am Saying it Should not be fought Against Either.

You Know there Were many Muslim women who Chose To Wear Niqab and Do Very Well for Themselves in the Society.

In Yemen there Are many women Who Function Very Well with Niqab.

some Yemeni Beloved Rulers Like Queen Hurrat al-Malika Wore Hijab.

also the Bana’at Al-Risalah Wore niqab.

and you Saw That the worst Thing that Happened To The Ahl Ul-Bayt in the Battle of Karbala Was when The Bana’at Al-Risalah Had their Niqabs torn off of Them(a.s).

had it been Any further allah would Have Destroyed This Earth.

Thanks for your comments! I agree with you about the statistics, but I think the prohibition of alcohol and the wearing of modest dress would be sufficient to keep down rape stats, without women having to cover their entire bodies, which is frankly impractical if women are to lead an active life and experience what life has to offer (in a halal way of course). I am trying to ascertain whether Zaidi fiqh actually has a clear policy on the niqab. Anyway, we both agree that it shouldn’t be compulsory. The Saudi Qur’ans make it seem that it is compulsory, and this is what I object to.

To Ali, re “khumr” verse (24/31):
When Allah revealed this verse, as you pointed out, the word “khumr” meant a veil which was draped loosely around the womens’ body, in some kind of attractive way, without covering the bosom. If the word “khumr”, before the verse was revealed, already had the meaning of “covering the head and face”, why would Allah have needed to tell the women to cover their heads and faces with their “khumr”? They would have already been doing so! No, at that time, khumr simply meant veil. The reason why, in post -revelation dictionaries, the word “khumr” is translated as a “veil covering the head and face” is that at some stage after the verse was revealed, the word gradually became associated with the full head covering which some women wear and have worn in some societies (even before Islam). We need to understand the words as they were understood at the time and place of revealing, not how they were understood afterwards. So, in the context of this particular verse, “khumr” simply means “veil” and “juyoobihinna” means “bosoms”. There is no need to read extra words into it. In the Hadith you mentioned from Aisha (funny how Shi-ites use Aisha’s sayings only when it suits them), she used the verb ikhtamara which, according to what I said above, simply meant “veiled themselves”. She did not say “veiled their heads” or “veiled their faces”. Therefore her hadith (if we even accept hadeeth from Sunni sources) means that when women in Medina heard the verse saying that they should cover their bosoms with their veils, they cut their aprons and veiled themselves (i.e. presumably they covered their bosoms as the Qur’an had instructed them to) with them. Perhaps they did not have veils, so they used their aprons instead. The addition of the words “heads and faces” in English translations of Bukhari must be based on the dictionary meaning which the word “ikhtamara” later came to have. I see no need to add the words “head and faces” in the translation of this hadith, as the words “ikhtamara” at that time did not yet mean anything more than “veiled”. I think the practice of concealing the entire body like the Prophet’s wives did (because, as the Qur’an says, they are “not like other women”) is not compulsory. Some women may do it to imitate the wives of the Prophet, but most women do it either because they have been led to believe it is compulsory, or because they have no choice. I have worn it and I can tell you it is not a pleasant experience. If I were to wear it it would make my life extremely difficult. I do not believe religion is meant to be a source of suffering. It is meant to be a source of enlightenment.

”When Allah revealed this verse, as you pointed out, the word “khumr” meant a veil which was draped loosely around the womens’ body, in some kind of attractive way, without covering the bosom. If the word “khumr”, before the verse was revealed, already had the meaning of “covering the head and face”, why would Allah have needed to tell the women to cover their heads and faces with their “khumr”? ”’

i never said Khumr,ment covering the face,i said Khumr ment a Headscarf wich covers the head.i am not opposing your statement on that niqab is not Quranic,i am opposing your statement that The Quran does not Mandate Hijab for the head!

Now,you can Put a Hat on your Feet or your Back,
but its intended to be put on your Head.

The Saying of allah to cover their bosoms is because they wore these hijabs but did not cover there bosoms.

””The reason why, in post -revelation dictionaries, the word “khumr” is translated as a “veil covering the head and face” is that at some stage after the verse was revealed, the word gradually became associated with the full head covering which some women wear and have worn in some societies (even before Islam). We need to understand the words as they were understood at the time and place of revealing, not how they were understood afterwards. So, in the context of this particular verse, “khumr” simply means “veil” and “juyoobihinna” means “bosoms”. ””

actually,in order to make such a argument you need to prove this was a later day fabrication.All dictionaries from Muslim history define Khumr,and Jilbab as something wich covers the head. Unfotenatly WE DONT have any images or depictions or inscriptions wich show how muslim women dressed in the days of Ignorance and wether this refers to Khumr. Now i can Say Taharah refers to cleaning and not something religiouis,i can also claim that Qur’an means just any recitation and does not refer to allah’s Book!i can also claim Nabi just means news giver and Rasool just means a postman but since certain words have special meanings i can not jump easily away from the Correct Interpretation.
i can also claim when allah Says:إِنَّمَا وَلِيُّكُمُ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُه ُُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلاَةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَهُمْ رَاكِعُونَ

005.055 Your Guardians Are Only Allah, His Messenger, and the (fellowship of)Are believers,- those who establish regular prayers and regular charity, and they bow down humbly (in worship). Notice the Word”إِنَّمَا”’
”إِنَّمَا”is like a Fortress that keeps all invaders out,Now i can claim that other hadith wich mention the Wali for marriage are Void,since my Wali is only allah ,his Messenger ,the Beleivers and and Ali(a.s)according to the Above ayat.therefore i dotn Need the Permisision of the Wali of a Kitabiya Fiancee is i take sucha Approach.and on the other hand,since my wali is the beelivers.i can marry a Muslima with my noones permission,since i am her Wali ,because i am a Beleiver too

but since Certain things have Special meanings,one cannot take such a Approach.

Thanks for your comments but I intend to keep up my hobbies of rock climbing and bush-walking in the great outdoors. I don’t see why such pursuits should only be enjoyed by men. I don’t believe Allah wanted women to miss out on enjoyable outdoor pastimes and hobbies which help them to get fit and healthy.

Posted in Islam & Interfaith Subjects

Zaidism and Women’s Liberation (Part 2 of 2)

Here is the rest of the previous article that Zaidi copied and pasted in the article. I’ve left everything the same way she wrote it.

Here is the article by Abdullah Hamidaddin, entitled ” Segregating women from their humanity”:

Part 1: I was visiting a friend a few days ago in Little Rock, Arkansas, state of President Clinton and other prominent American leaders. He took me around the city starting from the Clinton Presidential Library and ending in Little Rock High School, the center of political and social events that constituted a turning point in the social history of the United States.

Though the American constitution grants individuals equal rights, yet there were those who interpreted it in a way that legitimized racial segregation between blacks and whites; thus “constitutionally” not allowing blacks to mix with whites in schools and other public areas. The legal principle which proponents of segregation upheld was “separate but equal”. Whites and blacks are equal in the eyes of the law, but each in their own geographical space. Opponents of segregation resisted such a principle more than one time of which one was in 1923 where the majority of the Supreme Court supported that principle justifying it by saying: “if one race be inferior to the other socially, the Constitution cannot put them on the same plane.”

In 1954 the Supreme Court rejected that principle and considered racial segregation unconstitutional. As one would expect, things didn’t simply end here. In spite of a constitution that guarantees equal rights and supported with an interpretation that prohibits racial segregation, some southern states rejected the court’s decision. Three years later 9 black students decided to act upon their constitutional right and attend school in the whites only Little Rock Public High School. Events escalated till President Eisenhower intervened in 25th September 1957 sending 1200 soldiers to the high school to protect the students and uphold the law. The legal victory of 1954 was based on psychological considerations. Opponents of racism presented evidence proving that racial segregation creates a feeling of inferiority leading to a permanently unhealthy person, who despises him/her self and has low self esteem. Those studies helped turn the case around to the side of the opponents of racial segregation.

The whole story is rich in meaning and deserves much contemplation, but at the time the foundations of the court’s ruling particularly caught my attention. The wording of the Constitution did not change, but consideration of the psychological impact of racial segregation lead to a change in its interpretation in a way that invalidates legalization of segregation even criminalizing it.

What can we say about the consequences of the demeaning situation of the Saudi woman? And how important is it to include those consequences in the legal and jurisprudential debate?

On different occasions I would ask Saudi women of different age groups to briefly describe their social experience of womanhood. One of the more expressive answers was:

Part 2:

“I am a “seduction”. This sums up how I look into myself. I am in the eyes of everyone first and foremost a body that is desired. A body that must continuously be concealed so as to protect men from the evils of my beauty. My mind cannot be seen unless I hide my body. And to the degree that I reveal my body less is seen of my mind even if it was casual and modest. I don’t own myself. My life is a set of roles that I didn’t choose and have no right to question. My duties and “rights” are tailored for me by others, and I must be grateful for whatever comes. My feelings have no value. Few look at me as I am and consider what it is that I really want. Rarely am I looked upon as a rational being that has the right to be a full human, has the right to have a body, and has the right to act as she will without considering its impact on others. I have no decision. I am an all time minor. I pass from the guardianship of one to another. From my father, to my brother, my husband and then even my son. And if neither of those then to a judge who knows nothing of me or my needs. I am a tag. I am a mother, a sister, a daughter, and a wife but I am never simply a “me”. Don’t believe those who tell you that they accept this with satisfaction. Whoever accepts this is either a woman afraid of the responsibility of independence individuality and humanity. Or a woman who has no more sense of her marginalized character while she is being treated as a minor. Any person is choked by this. Some of us reject silently. Some of us vocally. I cannot be silent. The situation chokes me. But I pay the price dearly. Look how people talk about me.”

I heard a similar answer from a woman living outside the bonds of customs and norms even outside religious boundaries. Assuming that she had a more positive answer I asked her: “How could you say this and your life is as free as it is?” Her reply was shockingly telling: “I am like this because it coincided that that my husband wants this life of me (not for me). My freedom is his freedom. My choices are his. Though I am happy being better than others, but my sense of humanness and personhood remains incomplete.”

Part 3:

Feelings of frustration, anger, sadness of the way she is perceived manifest differently according to the woman’s temperament. Some women rebel openly against norms and traditions. Some go further and reject religion silently or as the case of some openly and publicly such those who wrote against everything including religion. Some accept this subjugation unwillingly sometimes due to survival necessities. And then there is she who decides to wipe off herself to relieve herself from the inner struggle between her individuality and her restraints.

I don’t blame those whose anger takes them far.

The least right a woman in such a situation is to be angry at a patriarchal male dominated society that reduced her to a body and deprived her of her most basic human rights.
We may not be practicing racial segregation, but when we separate a woman from her humanness we are practicing segregation from humanity which in some ways may be lead to experiences worse than that those experienced by blacks.

We need to acknowledge this, making it an integral part of the debate on women rights. Legislative debates that focus on Islam and its view on women rights are fundamental but not sufficient. Getting closer to the psychological situation of women enhances our ability to interpret legislative texts. The laws of the United States changed when their judges looked into the psychological consequences of racial segregation. It may take some time for our laws to immediately change but we would at least change our perspective on the predicament of women in a way that would set the ground for future change in legislation.
And as a first step, I would suggest to every man believing that a woman has rights to wear a veil for two hours daily. Then to follow the instructions of his wife (or other relevant woman) regarding travel and stepping out of the house. Or he should just place himself under her guardianship in the same way she is under his. After that he should look at the suffocation he will experience. This is despite that this is a self imposed temporary situation. So how would it be for those whose whole life is such? Once we start doing that, once we start trying to be closer to the predicament of women, then we can speak of women rights.

Posted in Islam & Interfaith Subjects

Zaidism and Women’s Liberation (Part 1 of 2)

Here is a great article about women’s rights in Zaidiyyah thought by Zaida on her blog that is unfortunately no longer active.

A writer from a distinguished Zaidi family has likened the treatment of Muslim women in Wahhabi Arabia, I mean, Saudi Arabia, to the way African Americans were treated 60 years ago, before they achieved their civil rights. After speaking directly to Saudi women about how they feel about being covered from head to toe and unable to participate freely in society, and inspired by the Zaidi principle of a just society, Abdullah Hamidaddin was moved to become a champion of their cause.

Abdullah Hamidaddin’s article includes the following quote from a Saudi sister fed up with being treated as an “irrational human being” by her male guardians:

“I am a “seduction”. This sums up how I look into myself. I am in the eyes of everyone first and foremost a body that is desired. A body that must continuously be concealed so as to protect men from the evils of my beauty. My mind cannot be seen unless I hide my body. And to the degree that I reveal my body less is seen of my mind even if it was casual and modest. I don’t own myself. My life is a set of roles that I didn’t choose and have no right to question. My duties and “rights” are tailored for me by others, and I must be grateful for whatever comes. My feelings have no value. Few look at me as I am and consider what it is that I really want. Rarely am I looked upon as a rational being that has the right to be a full human, has the right to have a body, and has the right to act as she will without considering its impact on others. I have no decision. I am an all time minor. I pass from the guardianship of one to another. From my father, to my brother, my husband and then even my son. And if neither of those then to a judge who knows nothing of me or my needs. I am a tag. I am a mother, a sister, a daughter, and a wife but I am never simply a “me”. Don’t believe those who tell you that they accept this with satisfaction. Whoever accepts this is either a woman afraid of the responsibility of independence individuality and humanity. Or a woman who has no more sense of her marginalized character while she is being treated as a minor. Any person is choked by this. Some of us reject silently. Some of us vocally. I cannot be silent. The situation chokes me. But I pay the price dearly. Look how people talk about me.”

Commenting on this sister’s predicament, Hamidaddin writes:

“Feelings of frustration, anger, sadness of the way she is perceived manifest differently according to the woman’s temperament. Some women rebel openly against norms and traditions. Some go further and reject religion silently or as the case of some openly and publicly such those who wrote against everything including religion. Some accept this subjugation unwillingly sometimes due to survival necessities. And then there is she who decides to wipe off herself to relieve herself from the inner struggle between her individuality and her restraints. I don’t blame those whose anger takes them far…..We may not be practicing racial segregation, but when we separate a woman from her humanness we are practicing segregation from humanity which in some ways may be lead to experiences worse than that those experienced by blacks.”

To read more of Hamidaddin’s ground-breaking article, click on comments.

In neighbouring Yemen, not a Wahhabi state but a republic with a Zaidi and Sunni population, women are also under immense pressure to conform to the Wahhabi interpretation of women’s role (or lack of role to be more accurate).

We have already seen in my post “What is the Zaidi Position on the Burqa?” (in June section), that women’s groups in Yemen have blamed the Saudi funded Salafi/Wahhabi invasion of Yemen since the Afghan war, for the revival of the burqa in their country. It would appear that, when the salafi women wore it, the non-salafi husbands may have wanted to “keep up with the neighbours” in keeping their women-folk out of view.
The Qur’anic verses relating to hijab (which do not mention covering the face) are also quoted and discussed in the June post in this blog.

In response to that post, Imam Rassi society has confirmed that Zaidi fiqh, like 12 Imamer fiqh and moderate sunni fiqh, does not require women to cover their faces or stay out of public life. A scholar from Imam Rassi society writes:

“I do not know of any opinion that precludes women from public life! Indeed, the perfect model for women, Fatima az-Zahra, alayha as salaam, went out herself to demand her rights from the first caliph! The isolation and confinement that is practiced is probably more cultural than textual!

As far as the burqa, the Zaidi opinion is that only the khimar (head scarf) is obligatory for women. In a book of fiqh written by a contemporary scholar, he cited that the Zaydi opinion is that the only portion of a female body that can remain uncovered is the face and hands. There is even a minority opinion amongst the scholars that allow the feet to be uncovered. However, the general view is that only the face and hands. What’s practised in Yemen may be more cultural than anything. A woman is free to wear niqab if she wants, but it would be incorrect to force it upon her as an obligation. As for child marriages, a precondition of marriage is that the person reaches the age of baligh (past puberty).”

The lack of female representation in the arenas of politics, religion, business, the Arts and the Sciences in Yemen, when compared with other Muslim countries such as Iran, Egypt, Morocco, Malaysia and Pakistan, raises questions about the whether Yemen’s Zaidi women are being treated according to the Zaidi principles of justice and social progress. This backwardness in the development of women’s role in society may be more to do with Yemen’s lack of education in general than with interpretations of Islam. Yemen has one of the highest rates of illiteracy in the Muslim world, for males and females, and continues to struggle economically even more than the Muslim countries mentioned above.

It would be interesting to see how Zaidi ijtihad would respond to the need for reform regarding women’s rights and self determination if Zaidism flourished in a highly developed Muslim nation or a Western nation.