Islam is not rigid, Satwa Gunamji, Islam allows
rethinking, indeed exhorts Muslims to do that as no more prophets are going to
come. We are told to adapt to new circumstances as they arise. You may like to
read Allama Iqbal's book on Ijtihad on this website. However, if Muslims close
the doors of rethinking on themselves, Islam can do nothing. It is against all
compulsion in matters of religion.
Please read this
book starting with this page:
The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam By Dr. Muhammad Iqbal
Knowledge and Religious Experience By Dr. Muhammad Iqbal
Mr. Sultan Shahin has raised a very pertinent question in his speech: “………It is very important for us to study what did the Prophet do before he was chosen by God to be his messenger. We don't know much but what we do tells us that he spent hours and days in mediation, in the way of our Sufis and Rishis, was considered a man of impeccable honesty by the people of Mecca including later his enemies and ran what today would be called a human rights NGO, called The Alliance of the Virtuous, fighting oppression, protecting the weak."
This question has not yet been fully answered by the Muslim intelligentsia and is, of course, worth paying special attention to, at a time when Islam is being turned today into an exclusivist, totalitarian, fascist political ideology. Given this, I would want to base my upcoming piece on the very intellectual probe. I would also ask both the readers and writers of the NAI forum to seriously ponder over the subject so that we may offer a creditable retort to the extremist and violent interpretation of Islam by the people who peddle hate, intolerance, intolerance, exclusivisim and fascism, in the name of Islam.
Calling a spade a
spade, this article brings to light a truth-based part of the prophet (peace be
upon him) that will truly and really extinguish the fire of war, hate and fate
of prejudice, only if we and others are sincere to adopt it in a full swing.
KHURAN was not compiled as a book during prophets' time. So which the book referred in khuran?
The portrayal of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) as a Sufi as well as a social activist, fighting oppression and exploitation along with a group of Meccan activists through the organisaion The Alliance of the Virtuous, is at least, for me, a novel concept. But it seems to make a lot of sense for what the Prophet did later in his life.
I knew about his mysticism and trustworthiness, but not about his human rights activism. This also brings into focus the great emphasis in Islam on hoququl ibaad (human rights).Thank you, Mr. Shahin.
People should make a serious attempt to understand the
message of the Quran as it is meant to be understood and then study whether the
message contains more/less wisdom than the `current wisdom’ on the subject.
There is no virtue in showing little faith in the wisdom of the Quran and
becoming a votary of meaningless ‘modernity’.
The effectiveness of the prison system in reforming criminals has
been extensively studied. It has been found that the system has failed to
reform criminals. Among nearly 300,000 prisoners released in 15 States in 1994,
67.5% were rearrested within 3 years. Sexual abuse and violence by prison
guards and other inmates is an open secret. Incidence of HIV, suicides and
serious psychiatric disorders are high. Every inmate is brutalized and suffers
far more than a person who is subject to a punishment by flogging in the
Islamic system. Besides, he is deprived of his freedom, chained or confined
like an animal, and made to live with other serious offenders. Denial of
freedom for several years by itself is much harsher than temporary physical
punishment. Besides, his family suffers on account of his absence and approximately
5 more persons are indirectly ‘punished’ with social isolation, humiliation,
loss of a bread earner, when their kith is in prison for as long as he is in
prison and even after his release. The high rate of recidivism is proof that it
is not easy to get back to normal life. The only humane thing about the prison
system is that all its horrors are out of public view.
Public physical punishments are in themselves a deterrent
for future criminals to attempt to commit the crime. “And in punishment, there
is life for you, O you who can comprehend” (Quran Chapter 2 Verse 179). Islamic
punishment not only prevents recidivism but also acts as a deterrent. The
prison system has not proved to have any deterrence value. The stark
difference, however, when Sharia law is applied versus the abject failure of
man-made laws, is the tremendous difference in the number of victims and criminals
between both systems. “A quick comparison between, let’s say, Saudi Arabia,
which applies these capital punishments, you will discover that the total
amount of punished criminals and crimes, for that matter, in all physical
capital punishments, is about 20 annually. This is not even one thousandths the
four hundred thousand armed robberies and their victims committed annually in
America alone. So in a closed, black box comparison, you would see, clearly,
the mercy of Sharia law, upon all humans, in any society”
There is considerable scope for defining the punishment for theft
where cutting off of the hands can be made applicable to the rarest of rare
cases and indeed this is so. The thief that gets his hand cut off is the
one who broke, entered, and stole materials that are worth more than one
quarter of a golden dinar, where in most of the cases, we would be talking
about armed robbery. All other kinds of thieveries are not punished by cutting
the hand, even though they are called thieves in western societies. Examples
like an embezzling accountant, a store clerk who steals merchandise, or someone
who steals from an open display – these have various fines and punishments, but
the hands of those thieves are not cut.
The punishment for adultery is however not open to ‘redefining by
means of deductions, inferences or any other considerations unconnected with
the plain wording of the Qur'an’
The following is from a translation by M Asad with his explanatory
A SURAH [is this] which We have bestowed from on high, and which
We have laid down in plain terms;1 and in it have We bestowed from on high
messages which are clear [in themselves], so that you might keep [them] in
AS FOR the adulteress and the adulterer - flog each of them with a
hundred stripes, and let not compassion with them keep you from [carrying out]
this law of God, if you [truly] believe in God and the Last Day; and let a
group of the believers witness their chastisement
1 I.e., "the injunctions whereof We have made self-evident by
virtue of their wording": thus, according to Bukhari (Kitab at-Tafsir),
'Abd Allah ibn 'Abbas explains the expression faradnaha in this context (cf.
Fath al-Bari VIII, 361). The same explanation, also on the authority of Ibn
'Abbas, is advanced by Tabari. It would seem that the special stress on God's
having laid down this surah "in plain terms" is connected with the
gravity of the injunctions spelt out in the sequence: in other words, it
implies a solemn warning against any attempt at widening or re-defining those
injunctions by means of deductions, inferences or any other considerations
unconnected with the plain wording of the Qur'an.
Yunus Sb., - Thanks for pointing out that the Qur'an offers a scope of flexibility (5:48) with the progress of civilization. It is an important point to remember.
Dear Sultan Shahin Sahab,
Un-Islamic rulings of Muslim family law/
notions in India’s traditional religious scholarship
As regards the rulings of Indian Muslim
family law and some of the popular notions that patently contradict the
Qur'an's message based on gender neutral, historic specific, intelligent (‘aql
driven) reading and introspective interpretation, I have done the following
articles that you may circulate around the major traditional schools. Unless
the Ulema there are bent on playing the believing desert Arabs of the Prophet's
era, who were intense in Kufr, they will read them seriously and search their
souls. They can fool the ignorant Muslims but they cannot fool God and He knows
His enemies and knows best how to punish them unless they repent and reform.
The Classical Islamic Law (Islamic Sharia Law) is NOT a Word
Notions Of Male Superiority, Domination And Beating Of Wife
Stand Un-Islamic Today
An Open Reminder To Ulama- Rejecting Universal Knowledge As
Un-Islamic Is Brazenly Un-Islamic And Kufr (Denial Of Truth).
Any Fatwa Imposing Full/Face Veil (Burqa/Niqab), Headscarf On
Muslim Women As A Religious Requirement Is Anti-Qur’anic.
The Opponents of the Right to Universal Education (RTE) to
the Muslims are the enemies of Indian Muslims.
The Qur’an Prescribes Monogamy As The Social Norm For
Qur’anic Sharia (Laws) On Divorce: Triple Divorce, Temporary
Marriage, Halala Stand Forbidden (Haram)
Love, Sex and Marriage in the Qur’an
The Zakat – A Pillar Of Faith, As Actualized Today Is A Grand
Mockery, If Not Fraudulent Realization Of Qur’anic Message On Wealth
Distribution And Social Justice.
A Call To Global Muslim Communities – Inciters Of Sectarian
Or Communal Violence May Stand 'Kafir’ In The Divine Court And Criminal On
The Qur’an Offers Protection And Coequal Personal Rights To
Women And Those Who Deny Them Such Rights Today Are The Deniers Of The Message
Of The Qur’an – Though God Knows Best.
The Grievous Impacts Of Hadith Sciences In The Later
Centuries Of Islam – A Soul Searching Exercise And A Final Call To The Muslim Ulema
And Intellectual Elite.
India’s Child Marriage Act 2006 Prescribing 18 As Women’s
Legal Age For Marriage Is Consistent With The Qur’an, The Personal Sunna Of The
Prophet And Does Not Infringe The Fundamental Religious Rights Of The Muslims In
The Opponents Of Women’s Equal Rights To Education And
Employment As Men This Day Are The Belated Proponents Of The Pre-Islamic Jahilliyah
And Thus Enemies Of Islam
Is it possible that you mail this comment
and the articles listed (in Urdu translation) to the heads of the major
traditional religious institutions in India?
Quran is neither a book of laws, nor a book of science, nor a book of medical practice. It is a call that requires us to be righteous, just, rational and compassionate. It illustrated those fundamental principles with practical examples which were suitable for the times. Twenty first century Muslims of India should formulate and support laws which are consistent with their ethos regarding righteousness, justice, rationality and compassion. Our laws should be such that they make us proud, not ashamed. In the 7th century our laws were ahead of the laws of other communities. We should try to recreate that situation again.
Dear Muhammad Yunus Saheb, Thanks again.
Clearly we have not been able to get your article read by as many people as we should be able to. These articles need to be read and re-read for their arguments and the conclusion:
The Classical Islamic Sharia Law is NOT a Word of God! (Part 1: How the Qur’anic Message Has Been Subverted)
Dear Sultan Shahin
As expounded in the
article referenced below, "exemplary amputation punishments (5:33, 5:38)
accorded with the paradigms of the seventh century Arabia as the Qur’an could
in no way ask its audience to engage the practices of later historical
This explains why,
"nearly all of the 1.5 billion-strong Muslim country around the world has
abandoned the criminal punishments of the so-called divine Sharia Laws."
This is just to
corroborate your remark with an exegetic argument.
Classical Islamic Law (Islamic Sharia Law) is NOT a Word of God!
Epitome of Justice
and Equity for a thousand years of Islamic civilization - now a threat to
Islamic civilization and World peace, warranting an urgent paradigm shift in
Islamic Juristic thoughts.
doesn't become infructuous merely because it is given by Jana Sangh. In any
case Jana Sangh doesn't exist anymore and being no fan of theirs I do not know
if they did give this argument before they ceased to exist as a party in 1977.
In any case this is just a distraction.
Let us get back to the subject. It seems you would merely like
to be flogged, as flogging is in the Holy Quran, not stoned to death, even
though it's part of various Sharia laws. But you would probably have no
objection to being beheaded for let us say, saying that Quran is a book created
by God, as Ibn-e-Taimiya suggested. Naseer Saheb, there is a lot of barbarism,
advocated and perpetrated by the Najdi hordes who now rule a part of the Arab
world and call it after the name of one family. Such barbarism does not exist
anywhere else in the world, except, of course, among their followers in the
Af-Pak region. I am sure you know what happened for a while in the
Taliban-ruled Afghanistan or happens now in FATA or PATA regions of Pakistan. Let
us fight barbarism wherever it exists and not spread it around further. However,
if people do want to follow "Divine" Sharia laws, they should follow
the entire Sharia laws, not those parts only that they find convenient.
Some of your
suggestions, however, sound quite liberal and modern. They should be discussed
in an atmosphere free from abuse and calumny. I would like contributors to take
courage in their hands and discuss these issues freely. Don't be afraid of
being abused. That is just an idiosyncrasy of this scholar. Many scholars are known to be eccentric. This
is a subject that needs to be discussed thoroughly. So many of our mothers,
sisters and daughters are suffering a daily life of hell on account of the
so-called Shariah laws, and not just in India. But Indian Muslim women's
situation is worse than perhaps that in any other civilised country.
As I said in my talk in Pune, we would be
better off implementing even Pakistani or Bangladeshi laws. But no such possibility
is on the horizon. The Congress will, of course, only do what Deobandi Mullahs
want. AAP party leader will probably listen to Tauqeer Reza Khan and what can
you expect. BJP, once in power, forgets to raise these issues; in any case, if
it does, liberal intellectuals like Naseer Saheb will start shouting Jan
Sanghis are saying this and so this cannot be good and so on. We have seen third
front people and communists too. And why should anyone care for us if we don't care
Personal Law in India is a British relic and should be reformed. It's we
Muslims who would have to launch a movement to convince the political parties
that it's the community that desires change. Let us at the very least have the
reformed Pakistani personal laws here. Our ulema will have to keep quiet if any
government decides to do that. There is hardly any difference in Pakistani and Indian
ulema on any issue of substance. Why should there be any on the issue of Muslim
Thank you Mohammad Yunus and Ghulam Mohiyuddin Saheban for your invaluable support in the cause of social reform.
However, those who consider divine the so-called Sharia Laws of different variety, made by scholars separately for Sunnis and Shias of various schools of thought, should support my following contention, though expressed in the course of a speech, not very felicitously:
"But those who believe Sharia laws to be divine and thus valid for all time and place should be given the choice to follow these laws in full. This means that in cases of crimes too these people should be given the barbaric punishments of the various medieval Shariah laws like cutting off hands, being flogged or stoned to death. If Shariah laws are divine then its criminal punishments too are divine. Muslims should have a choice to be punished with Sharia law punishments or from the common laws of the country. You can't just hide behind the supposed divinity of Shariah laws in order to get rid of your wife quickly or to get multiple wives without fulfilling the conditions laid down by God while refusing to be flogged or stoned for adultery and getting your hands cut for theft and fraud."
There must be some reason why except in parts of Arabia ruled by barbaric Najdi hordes and Taliban-infested Af-Pak region, nearly all of the 1.5 billion-strong Muslim country around the world has abandoned the criminal punishments of the so-called divine Sharia Laws. If you believe in the divinity of Sharia laws have it applied to yourself in full, not just portions that you find convenient for harassing women and committing human rights violations of women.
Good speech! Education, reform and national integration have to be our top priorities. They cannot be achieved unless we eliminate extremist, fascist and coercive tendencies from our community. Moderate, reformist and inclusive Islam must be our agenda and our goal.