Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pakistan Hudood Ordinance...far from being divine!

I wanted to discuss is the stupidity and mere stubbornness of the proponents and opponents of Huddood Ordinance.

We all know that the government benches haven't all of a sudden found this concern for women-folk. Mind you most of these goons are the same people that actually brought about the ridiculous and retarded Hudood ordinance in the first place. Let's be real, "Bushy" wants this done so our government is obliging. For the love of GOD our Federal Minister for Religious affairs is the son of "Amir-ul-Momineen" Zia-ul-Haq who was the enforcer of this ordinance. It's all in the family people where the mother is the senator on treasury benches and the mother-in-law sits on opposition benches. And this is very common practice amongst our "Masters", where one member of the family belongs to treasury benches and the other belongs to the opposition. This is what we call a win-win situation. Utterly pathetic!

What is Huddood Ordinance? Is it a divine document that can't be amended? I have heard TRUE religious scholars that come from all different schools of thoughts, saying more than once that this ordinance is flawed. Any ordinance that punishes a victim for being a victim is retarded, stupid and obtuse. My amazement is that why in the world religious-politico-parties are making this a life and death issue? Where in Quran does it say that if a woman is raped and is not able to prove the crime with 4 witnesses then she should be jailed for fornication? How dim-witted can we really be? Do we have any sort of knowledge as to how my beloved prophet (PBUH) and the companions (may Allah SWT be pleased with them) dealt with these issues? Do we not know, that Prophet (PBUH) insisted thru his actions that if someone had committed adultery then they should ask for sincere forgiveness from Allah swt in privacy, rather than bringing it in public. He (PBUH) sent a woman back that came to the prophet (PBUH) because of her guilt. He (PBUH) asked her if she was pregnant, she said yes. Prophet (PBUH) sent her back, once she gave birth mind you Prophet didn't go looking for her to punish her, she came to him again and said I want to be punished now, he (PBUH) asked who is feeding the baby, she said it was her so he sent her back again. I mean there are lessons to be learned here people. We seem to become the policemen of Allah SWT and nothing pleasures us more than to punish deviances and foolish mistakes of already poor and ravaged, while completely ignoring and most times facilitating the Rich & Influential in committing far graver crimes. It's a sickness.

We have to understand the spirit of this beautiful religion. No one is propagating a society where people are free to act lewdly. There must and should be laws that condemn & punish open-lewdness & immorality so the society as a whole can be safeguarded. But to be stringent, stubborn and ruthless rather than merciful is not at all the spirit of Islam.

Why do we forget that 2nd greatest companion of the Prophet (PBUH) Omer (may Allah SWT be pleased with him) terminated "HUD" (shariah punishments) while there was famine. Are we living in any better times now?

As a matter of law, how can Rape and consensual-sex be lumped together? Forget about Rape, shariah even makes a distinction between extra marital affairs and consensual-sex between two un-married individuals. It's on record that there have been hundreds of innocent men & women who have been in the past and continue to suffer by this draconian law that has diddly-do to do with the spirit of Islam. It'll be an interesting survey to find out how many amongst the "Culprits" come from poor and un-influential families, I will go on a limb and say all of them did. We are not suggesting that rich and influential in our society are all decent GOD-fearing people and have never done anything against the "HUDOOD Ordinace" therefore they are never once indicted, are we? Shame on Religious-political-parties to sell this issue as a matter of aqeedah(faith). Like all hell will break loose and women will come out dancing top-less on streets, God-forbid if there were to be amendments in Hudood Ordinance. Give me a break.

As I said earlier that we all know that treasury benches are not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. Americans would like to see that ideally consensual-sex is not a punishable crime or as lightly punished as possible. I don't quite know how to comment on this. I find it quite amusing that American government has all these problems and this mess in Iraq that they created for themselves; however the priority right now is to ensure that all Pakistanis should be able to get their "GROOVE" on. I guess Thank You for caring!

Let's take a moment and analyze the SHARIAH law about consensual-fornication amongst the un-married. The punishment is lashes, but there's gotta be four witnesses. Unless the culprits are in the porn business, how would you get four witnesses? Prophet (PBUH) has said numerous times that don't become witness over your sins meaning be discrete about your sins, and ask for sincere repentance from Allah swt. So in all reality consensual-sex can never be really punished unless the sinners insist upon being punished out of guilt or to purify themselves in the eyes of Allah swt. 2nd point is that according to Islamic Shariah governments should not be snooping around looking for crimes that are being committed privately, and are NOT AFFECTING THE SOCIETY AT LARGE ADVERSLY.

Once Omer (May Allah be pleased with him) was on his daily walk while he was the ruler of the Islamic Empire. He thought he heard the sound of music coming from a home, so he jumped over the wall to inquire because it was against the law at that time. The lady of the house got furious with his ruler that how dare he entered her house without her permission, Islamic shariah puts unprecedented sanctity of privacy and Omer (may Allah be pleased with him) realizing his grave mistake was apologetic and asked for forgiveness from her. Ladies and gentleman Omer (May Allah be pleased with him) was a man that was feared by the devil himself. Prophet (PBUH) once said that when omer is walking on a path, devil goes another way. This was a man of immense power, attitude, strictness and wrath. But he was also a very considerate man with un-canny sense of duty towards his constituents and truly understood the spirit of Islam. Forget about the King Musharaf himself (he is much too precious to be walking the streets), can you imagine standing up to a meaningless SHO, if he enters your house in the middle of night on suspicion of a crime? Forget IT! You'll be beaten back to the time of Omer

When will we wake up and demand respect and fairness from these thugs? Pakistan Army has decided to build a new GHQ that will cost the people of Pakistan literally billions of dollars. This 300 acre behemoth will have lavish Golf-Courses for the "hard-working" military top brass (keep in mind that pentagon that controls the entire world needs merely 30 acres to be productive). This money comes from the taxes that all of us have to shell out. It's not like Pakistan Army is making software and selling it to Microsoft. This institution is a liability & responsibility of Pakistani people and we are happy to oblige as long as it acts as the servant of the people of Pakistan & not the master. Why can't this money be spent towards raising the salaries of of the many hardworking souls out there? Who I assure you earn peanuts! Are we really this rich as a nation that we can afford a headquarter for our army where generals can play golf? For the love of whoever is sacred to you, people are committing suicides because they are hopeless & disenfranchised. 8 million kids in Pakistan are suffering from malnutrition. 7 million kids have no access to any education whatsoever. Millions of our people don't have clean water or access to a decent hospital, and the prime minister's kitchen expense last year was 4.7 billion Pakistani RS. Am I the only one who thinks this is just a tad bit extravagant?

Allah SWT is the greatest judge of all, and he will settle the score on the Day of Judgment for everyone, but we as individuals should also rise against this oppression. Prophet (PBUH) said that the highest level of Imaan is that you stop injustice with your hand, 2nd level is that you speak out against it and the lowest is that you at least consider it an injustice in your heart and pray for the oppressed. A little sole-searching is definitely in order.

Friday, October 13, 2006

A great poem written by my friend Miranda Dunn:

The VeilBy Miranda Dunn
What lies beneath the veil Jack Straw?
What lies cover your eyes striking you blind?
Why does the black veiled womanUncover the darkest corners of your troubled mind?
Shall we all take off our veils Jack Straw?
Is there a truth you hope to find?
The weeping mothers, the limbless men…
Wounds, which open their gaping mouths?
What lies beneath the veil Jack Straw?
Will Salome dance with the Baptist’s head?
What mystic secret will reveal the truth?
Fears your life will end with splattered Meat?
What lies beneath the veil Jack Straw?
Will you be swallowed by desert sands?
Your bones picked white by the vulture of time?
What is hidden by the veil Jack Straw?
What lies behind the veil Jack Straw?
A Muslim woman with an independent mind
Human flesh and human hair.
Eyes that see you as you are.
Do you want to take off your veil Jack Straw?
Will you fold away the tissue of lies?
The half truths that cover us with innocent blood
Will you put off your veil Jack Straw?
Will you put off the Veil?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Came across this site - seems pretty good.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Tariq Rammadhan
Always a joy to listen to him!
Jack Straw....
Ok so he has a problem communicating with women through the veil? this guy for real? So whats next ? how about not allowing ladies who show their cleavage or G-strings to attend his office - but i guess he wont be so bothered about the distraction there!!!
Given his track record in bringing the UK into several illeagle wars, im suprised this issue is at the top of his agenda!

Quite frankly, his boss Mr Blair doesnt wear a veil or a burkha and still no one seemed to have got it through his skull that we didnt want to go to war!

Ok thats my friday rant - am off.
A good question I was asked recently on whether Islam and Feminism are compatable or not?
To answer this ill need two parts !

Part I

Although there are some features of the feminist cause with which we as Muslims would wish to join hands, other features generate our disappointment and even opposition. There is therefore no simple or "pat" answer to the question of the future cooperation or competition which feminism may meet in an Islamic environment.
There are however a number of social, psychological, and economic traditions which govern the thinking of most Muslims and which are particularly affective of woman's status and role in Islamic society. Understanding these can help us understand the issues which affect male and female status and roles, and how we should react to movements which seek to improve the situation of women in any of the countries where Muslims live.

(a) Family System
Islamic traditions also prescribe a much stronger participation of the family in the contracting and preservation of marriages. While most Western feminists would decry family participation or arranged marriage as a negative influence because of its apparent restriction of individualistic freedom and responsibility, as Muslims we would argue that such participation is advantageous for both individuals and groups within the society. Not only does it ensure marriages based on sounder principles than physical attraction and sexual infatuation, but it provides other safeguards for successful marital continuity. Tragedy, even divorce, is not so debilitating to either adults or children since the larger social unit absorbs the residual numbers with much greater ease than a nuclear family organization can ever provide.

(b)Individualism vs larger organisation
The traditional support of the large and intricately interrelated family organization is correlative to another Islamic tradition which seems to run counter to recent Western trends and to feminist ideology. Islam and Muslim women generally advocate molding of individual goals and interests to accord with the welfare of the larger group and its members. Instead of holding the goals of the individual supreme, Islam instills in the adherent a sense of his or her place within the family and of a responsibility to that group. This is not perceived or experienced by Muslims as repression of the individual. Other traditions which will be discussed later guarantee his or her legal personality. Feminism, therefore, would not be espoused by Muslim women as a goal to be pursued without regard for the relation of the female to the other members of her family. The Muslim woman regards her goals as necessitating a balance with, or even subordination to, those of the family group. The rampant individualism often experienced in contemporary life, that which treats the goals of the individual in isolation from other factors, or as utterly supreme, runs against a deep Islamic commitment to social interdependence.

Hold you breadth for Part II (differentiation of sex roles - avoiding a "unisex society", polygyny and my views on what I see as Islamic feminism....)

Any comments on these points raised would be welcomed!
It makes my heart sadden to read the plight of the Afghani women. Here is a report by RAWA . Well done US for creating the taleban and miseducation the afghan youth on what islam is.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Welcome to my blog!
Because of a belief in a liberated, equitable and dignified position of women outlined in the Qur'an, many Muslims, men and women alike, are calling for reevaluation of attitudes and practices that, although done in the name of Islam, are actually contrary to the basic messages found in the primary sources. To question and possibly oppose entrenched positions that are based on archaic laws, weak Hadith, or cultural trends, requires courage and conviction on the part of religious leaders. But this is necessary and worth any risks in order to enable women to achieve liberation through Islam as originally intended.Major problem areas that need to be addressed include the following (which i hope my blog will synergise!):

  • Family laws pertaining to marriage and divorce that reinforce the image of relationships based on a hierarchy with the rights of the husband superceding those of the wife and that prevent women from being in control of their lives.
  • Violence against women which occurs in the home, community, and as a consequence of warfare which is claimed by some to be allowed by Islam when it is not.
  • Abuse of certain Islamic practices that affect women negatively, such as polygamy and temporary marriage, when applied out of context and without abiding by Islamic restrictions.
  • Excluding women from religious activities such as attendance in the mosque which has clearly been established as the Muslim woman's right.
  • Failure to promote the importance of a woman's contribution to society beyond child-bearing.
  • Failure to enable women to take advantage of rights of property ownership and inheritance outlined by Islam.
  • Focusing on the behavior of women as a marker for morality in society and subjecting them to harassment, intimidation or discrimination.
  • Lack of awareness of the important role of men in contributing significantly in sharing household responsiblities and child-rearing as exemplified by Prophet Muhammed.

Until recently, because of a pervasive sexist and oppressive presentation of women in Islam, Muslim women often felt the only way to be liberated intellectually, socially, politically and economically was by abandoning Islam. There appears to be a growing movement of Islamist women who are demanding that the rights guaranteed by Islam must be applied in their communities.

Gender Equality in Islam
In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

If i received a pence for everytime I come across a slur for wearing a veil and being taunted for being subordinate to my male brother counterpart - i'd be a very wealthy lady! Its a sad state of affairs when islamic doctrine has been hijacked by mullas most of whom have mixed their own cultural strains of "islam" and present this as being mainstream.
Fortunately we still have the Quran and Sunnah (sayings of the prophet (saw)) ...

"I shall not lose sight of the labor of any of you who labors in My way, be it man or woman; each of you is equal to the other (3:195)"

Spiritual equality, responsibility and accountability for both men and women is a well-developed theme in the Quran. Spiritual equality between men and women in the sight of God is not limited to purely spiritual, religious issues, but is the basis for equality in all temporal aspects of human endeavor.

The concept of gender equality is best exemplified in the Quranic rendition of Adam and Eve. The Quran states that both sexes were deliberate and independent and there is no mention of Eve being created out of Adam's rib or anything else (ill let the christians explain their own doctrine - nothing to do with me!). Even in the issue of which sex was created first is not specified, implying that for our purpose in this world, it may not matter.

"O mankind! Be conscious of your Sustainer, who has created you out of one living entity (nafs), and out of it created its mate, and out of hte two spread abroad a multitude of men and women. And remain conscious of God, in whose name you demand your rights from one another, and of these ties of kinship. Verily, God is ever watchful over you! (4:1)"

Quranic translators disagree on the meaning of "nafs" in the above verse which Muhammad Asad translates as "living entity." Many claim that "nafs" translates as "person," that is, Adam. But according to Asad and other scholars, God created humankind and its sexual counterpart out of its own kind. The Arabic word referring to mate (zawj) in the above Quranic verse is grammatically neutral and can be applied both ot male and female interchangeably. So it is not clear, nor should we conjecture, that Adam was created first, Eve was created out of Adam, or that Eve/woman is innately subservient to Adam/man. The fact that this Quranic verse does not specify one specific sex over the other is proof of gender non-bias and equality. It is commonly (and mistakenly) argued that Adam was created first, and that by this gesture God finds the male dominant and superior to the female; however, the wording of the Quran in the aforementioned verse does not support this claim.

So now we come to the infamous tree...the Quran describes how Adam and Eve were told to avoid a specific tree, which they both approached. For this act of disobedience to God, they were consequently banished from the garden; however, later both repented and were forgiven by God. The Quran does not allude to Eve tempting Adam to eat from the tree and being responsible for their downfall. In the Quranic version, both were held accountable and both paid the price for their choices, proving that gender equality is an intrinsic part of Islamic belief. (See Quran 2:30-37)

Women are independent individuals, as exemplified by the fact that all human beings will be accountable for their own intentions and deeds on the Day of Judgment when "no human being shall be of the least avail to another human being" (82:19) If men were ultimately responsibile for women (fathers for their daughters, husbands for their wives, etc.), then this accountability would be solely on men's shoulders to bear until the Day of Judgment?. But this is not the case:
"And whatever wrong any human being commits rests upon himself alone; and no bearer of burdens shall be made to bear another's burden..." (6:165)Consequently, we cannot be judged according to our own deeds unless we have the freedom of choice to do so. This free choice carries with it the responsibility to make the right choices or paying the consequence for wrong ones.

A great read here too !