Archive for the ‘Islamophobia’ Category

Is Islamic inheritance law unfair?

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

The British newspaper The Telegraph published today an article with the heading “Islamic law is adopted by British legal chiefs”. The author, John Bingham, alleges in the article that British lawyers will now for the first time be able to write wills for their clients that “deny women an equal share of inheritances and exclude unbelievers altogether.”

Is that true? Have testators never been able to exclude from their wills heirs they resented, or wished to penalize, and given some heirs more than others and even given people who were totally unrelated to them a large portion of their estate? I doubt that, since the English law, as far as I know, regards the testator as the sole owner of his or her estate and therefore the only one who has a say in how the estate is to be distributed. Probate courts only interfere when a litigator contests the will as being contrary to common standards of fairness.

One article I found, written by a lawyers group, spells out how a testator can disinherit some heirs. I’m sure you can find many other.

However, is Bingham’s Islamophobic allegation true about Islamic law? Does Islamic law of inheritance deny women an equal share of inheritance and exclude unbelievers altogether?

Not quite as stated. The reason women inherit half of what men inherit is because Islamic law requires men to financially support women! If this requirement is not found in a Muslim community, then the division becomes invalid. I hope that the legal guidance the article refers to has taken into consideration that important proviso. Bingham really should have asked about it before he published his article.

And what about non-Muslims, can they possibly inherit from a Muslim? While some schools of thought do not allow it, there really is nothing in the Quranic verses that makes that ruling. A Muslim testator certainly can specify a bequest in his will, not to exceed one third of the estate, to be given to any one person or group who is not a regular heir.

The questions and answers page of this software may answer more of the readers questions about Islamic law of inheritance. God says in the holy Quran “Verily, God does not wrong even the weight of a speck.” (4:40) Don’t let Islamophobic writers give you the wrong impression about God.

Bingham also reports in the article that the legal guidance documents will exclude out-of-wedlock children and adopted children from inheriting. Is this true? Apart from the fact that any British testator can probably do that already under British law, Islamic law does not deprive out-of-wedlock children. The Quran does not say they are excluded! As for adopted children, they are not regular heirs for the reasons we explained in previous posts, but they can inherit by way of a bequest.

Next Islamophobic allegation in the article is the exclusion of people married in a church or in City Hall! Where is that written exactly in the Quran? If the reader can point to the verse, I’d appreciate it.

Is that guidance document “the first step on the road to a parallel legal system” for British Muslims, as the article quotes some campaigners? My humble answer to this question is that it can be, but never has to be. It all depends on how Islamic law is defined. If the definition is made by a school of thought, or some influential person, then the fears expressed in the article are legitimate. But that does not qualify as Islamic law. Islamic law is the Quran and the authentic Hadeeth, properly interpreted according to universally recognized logic, called in Islamic disciplines Usool-ul-Fiqh (Foundations of Deduction). Anything else is somebody’s opinion.

This whole issue of fear of “Sharia”, which resulted in several American states banning Sharia altogether, mixes two things which are not always related: Islam and Muslims! What Islam teaches is not necessarily followed by Muslims, and what Muslims do is not necessarily taught by Islam. To ban unfair laws is a good thing regardless of who wrote those laws. But to ban something based on misunderstanding it, or on mixing it with something else, is unwarranted.

If I were to advise the Law Society of Britain, I would only say that what they are told is Sharia may not be. It could simply be a tradition, or somebody’s refutable interpretation, and therefore should not overrule British law. They and the detractors and even many Muslims may be surprised to learn that much of British law has always been Sharia-compliant. In fact, the beginnings of the English Common Law were much influenced by Islamic law.

Is the word “Allah” exclusive to Muslims?

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

A court in Malaysia ruled that non-Muslims cannot use the word “Allah”,

Is this proper?

No. To begin with, one cannot censor the use of words that other people use unless the usage is defamatory, slanderous, libelous or profane.

Secondly, the word “Allah” is simply the Arabic word for God. God uses it in the Quran to refer to Himself because the Quran is revealed in the Arabic language, not because that is His name. God does not have a name. He does not need one. You and I have names because there are many creatures that are just like us, so a name is necessary to distinguish us from others. But there is only one God.

Arab Christians and Jews call God “Allah.”

It is true that many Islamophobes have been abusing the word “Allah”, but these folks do not realize that, by doing so, they are abusing the same God they believe in!

When God says in the holy Quran that He has beautiful “names” that we should use when we call upon Him (7:180), He is referring to His attributes, such as Ar-Rahmaan (The Beneficent), Al-Ghafoor (The Much-Forgiving), At-Tawwaab (The Oft Accepting of repentance). One of those attributes is Allah, which means The God.

Evolution of Islamic laws

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Thank you, Aapa, for the blog you referenced in your recent question. I particularly like the author’s post on Islamic law. I like to second the the idea he stressed: that Islamic law evolved and was flexible and took in diversity of opinions, people and circumstances. I humbly think that this is also the case with executive government, economics, etc. Any student of Islamic history who read the writings of the Salaf (Muslim antecedents), can easily notice that evolution of thought, discipline and rulings.

What the Quran and the Sunna did was not ordain a rigid set of rules, but rather a framework within which a judge, ruler or businessman may work safely. Like a parent teaches their children how the world works so they make it and not get into trouble.

I watched a YouTube video with that brother interviewing Hamza Yusef. They were discussing the fact due to internet access to translations of hadith i.e Bukari and Quran many youths make judgments. They forget that many hadiths are contextual and it takes wisdom to understand. They joked that in the old days the elders/scholars would literally give them 20 lashes for the rash judgments.

Unfortunately, nationalism has erased the words of the tribal elder. And it is easiest to control the greatest number of people with the most rigid standards. George Orwell comes to mind in 1984. As nationalism spreads we have a loss of deep understanding of our faith. We have lost the sense of compassion that was a trait characteristic of the prophets.

We forget that we need forgiveness from Allah swt. We also need to be in the mode of forgiving. Our laws today are not the Laws of Love.

We forget our history. How can we forget what happened to us in Spain?

We need a basic class in why understanding sharia helps us to be the best of moral character. We are distanced from each other not by nationalism but our ignorance of the laws that unite us.

Islam is wide, but some want it narrow. It is easy, but some want it cumbersome. It is open, but some want it strict. It welcomes diversity and history has proved it, but some want it exclusive. It is adaptable, but some want it rigid. The problems Muslims have are not the result of Islam, as some Islamophobes want you to believe, but are the result of misunderstanding Islam. Hopefully, this blog may put a dent into that misunderstanding.

Why are they leaving Islam?

Friday, August 24th, 2012

An excellent article by Mathew Longacre,

I’d add that the spread of lies, half-truths, bad translations and scare tactics and confusing traditions or culture with religious tenets by Islamophobes, as well as the spread of misinterpretations, misconceptions and flawed fatwas (religious rulings) by fundamentalist Muslims as well as portraying terrorism, mass murder and suicide as Jihaad (!!), all leave the vulnerable and the gullible Muslims in confusion and doubt. It is the responsibility of parents, friends, preachers, scholars and media to rush to help those who have unanswered questions about Islam and answer them! We are all responsible for each other and will be questioned by God on the Day of Judgment if we have failed that responsibility. The Prophet (PBUH) made that quite clear when he said, “All of you are caretakers and all of you will be questioned about those you were to take care of!”, narrated by Abdullah ibn Umar and reported by Al-Bukhaari.

Quoting the Quran out of context

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

Quoting any text out of context is obviously dishonest, so why do so many people do it? The reason is that it works! When someone has an agenda and they know that if they expose it, it will not be popular, they must find alternative ways. One such way is to use for evidence, backing their argument, text taken out of context and quoted by respectable sources. This impresses the gullible, thus helping the people making those arguments pursue their agendas.

This practice of quoting text out of context is a pseudo-reasoning technique, a misinformation. Many politicians use it to knock down the electability of their opponents or the favorability of their opponents programs.

Thus, it is no wonder that Islamophobes often quote translations of verses of the Holy Quran stripped from their context, so that their listeners or readers would get the wrong impression about what the verse it about and would not be interested in Islam. Few people actually bother to check out the Quran to verify what they heard or read. Those who do invariably conclude the opposite!

I’ve mentioned before many examples of questions and/or arguments made by Islamophobes to repulse people away from Islam and exposed the fraud in those questions and the flaws in their arguments. See posts in the categories Islamophobia and Misconceptions for more on that.

Today, I thought I’d turn this negativity into a fun quiz! The following are quizzes to test your knowledge of the Quran. See if you can solve them and use comments to enter your answers.

Each of the following is a translation of a part of a verse that sounds like a blasphemy! Where in the Quran do you find these verses? What is their context that was left out and that explains what they really mean?

1. “Blessed is the one in the fire”!

2. Satan “misguides and guides”!

3. “Woe unto those who pray”!

4. “My Lord does not pay attention to you”!

Does the Quran demean women?

Friday, June 24th, 2011

An Islamophobic blog wrote the following under the heading, “Top ten Quran quotes all women should know.” I know that you and others have answered such allegations many times, but please comment anyway.

  • A husband has sex with his wife, as a plow goes into a field.2:223 “Your women are your fields, so go into your fields whichever way you like . . . . (MAS Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, Oxford UP, 2004)

That web site caused my anti-virus program to launch into high gear! It is possible that it’s not only trying to spread lies about the Quran, but may also be trying to spread malware.

You need to understand the background of many Islamophobes when it comes to the issue of women. They come across as defending women’s rights, when in fact they are defending their rights to women. The way Western society has evolved affords men to have sex with women they are not committed to by way of legal marriage. This is a dream come true for many men. They have been pursuing this dream for centuries. They finally succeeded when they convinced women that sex without marriage is not a sin if it is by mutual consent between grownups. A majority of Western women, unfortunately, fell for it. The result is what you see everyday of children born out of wedlock, single mothers, abortions, abandoned children, cheating husbands, one-night stands, promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases, women treated as sex or display objects, etc. It is a truly sad state of affairs for women who may actually be duped into thinking that they are “liberated.” It is also a sad state of affairs for men who may be feeling in full control, yet their souls are in pain for violating God’s commandments.

It had to happen, because of human nature. That is why we all need God’s guidance to set us straight. The Quran is that guidance. Men who do not want women to listen to the Quran and mend their ways, will undoubtedly attack and try to demean the Quran. Did you know that more than half of new converts to Islam are women? That is what the men are afraid of! Muslim women will not date them.

Why do so many women accept Islam? Didn’t they read the Quran and see that top ten list? Why did the Quran not repulse these women, and on the contrary, attracted them? It’s because the Quran spoke the truth to them. God wants to honor women but most men’s natural impulses eventually will lead to disgracing them. As God clearly said in the holy Quran,

“God wants to accept your repentance, but those who follow lusts want you to swing a great swinging.” (4:27)

Isn’t it profound that God uses the same word that came to identify the “sexual revolution”: swinging?!

With that background well understood, you can now see through the men who claim to “defend women”.

Now, let me address their method. First, they quote a translation, which they pick from many available, because it can be easily assailed. Everybody knows that meanings often suffer through translation. They will not offer other translations that elucidate the meaning better, because they don’t want you to know the original meaning.

The other aspect of translation is that it is highly influenced by the translator’s culture and knowledge of Arabic, and it is also susceptible to the reader’s culture and knowledge of English!

That is why I always advise folks who ask me, to consult several translations before making a conclusion about a verse. This web site is one of many that show multiple translations to help the reader understand the Arabic verse better.

The other point to highlight about their attack method is that they take verses out of context. That’s a well-known pseudo reasoning technique, because it changes the premise. This is known in logic as a red herring.

Other techniques that apply to that blog are scare tactics, appeal to spite and indignation, and quoting common practice as valid reasoning.

That was a necessary foreword. Now, let me reply to the point quoted. Verse 2:223 does NOT say that women are fields to plow. The verse uses tilth as a metaphor for pregnancy. That metaphor has been used by all cultures throughout the ages. To this day, medical clinics that help women get pregnant are called fertility clinics. So, that blogger should start his attack by protesting in front of a fertility clinic demanding they change their name!

  • Husbands are a degree above their wives.2:228 “Wives have the same rights as the husbands have on them in accordance with the generally known principles. Of course, men are a degree above them in status . . .” (Sayyid Abul A’La Maududi, The Meaning of the Qur’an, vol. 1, p. 165)

Notice how he changed the translation source? Now you understand how he operates?

This issue has been answered before in this post. The degree referred to is a degree of responsibility. The Arabic does NOT say “status”. This is consistent with the beginning of the sentence, “And due to them (women) is similar to what is expected of them.”

What should happen when an issue in the family must be decided? Islam teaches that the issue must be discussed between husband and wife, e.g., see verse 2:233. If there is no agreement reached after such discussion, then how would a decision be made? Islam says the man decides. Does that blogger suggest that the woman should decide instead? I doubt it.

Why does Islam make this rule? It is not because men are better than women in decision making, nor because men are better than women in analysis or intelligence. It’s because men have that responsibility from God, while women have other responsibilities. It’s a simple division of labor in order to get the needed work done.

  • A male gets a double share of the inheritance over that of a female.4:11 “The share of the male shall be twice that of a female . . . .” (Maududi, vol. 1, p. 311)

That’s because the male is responsible for the female in Islamic societies. In Islam, a woman never has to work, but she can if she wants to. If she chooses not to work, her financial support is guaranteed. If her husband, father, sons, uncles, etc. cannot support her, the government must!

What about the woman’s own money? She has no obligation to support any men in her family from it. Even if she’s rich! Her dowry, her inheritance, her savings and investments are her property. No one can demand her spend from it if she does not want to. On the other hand, the husband has to support his wife, and the women in his family who need support, from his money.

Do you see now why he inherits double? It is not unfair to women, it’s a responsibility upon men. The blogger did not care to make that clear.

  • A woman’s testimony counts half of a man’s testimony.2:282 “And let two men from among you bear witness to all such documents [contracts of loans without interest]. But if two men be not available, there should be one man and two women to bear witness so that if one of the women forgets (anything), the other may remind her.” (Maududi, vol. 1, p. 205).

Doesn’t the verse explain why? The ruling is contingent upon forgetfulness, which was the norm for most women in financial matters throughout the ages. Up until the 1950s, you heard women in the US say that they “have no head for business.”

That started to change. When a contingency is no longer, so isn’t the ruling. Women with a “head for business” can therefore be witnesses, by themselves, of a debt writing. By the same token, men who have no head for business, and there are many, should not be witnesses to a loan by themselves!

Early Muslims understood this well. When they needed a testimony for an event that women are more familiar with than men, they accepted single testimonies from women. But the blogger would not want you to learn that.

  • A wife may remarry her ex—husband if and only if she marries another man and then this second man divorces her.2:230 “And if the husband divorces his wife (for the third time), she shall not remain his lawful wife after this (absolute) divorce, unless she marries another husband and the second husband divorces her. [In that case] there is no harm if they [the first couple] remarry . . . .” (Maududi, vol. 1, p. 165)

That applies to the husband too, doesn’t it? He cannot remarry his wife except after that protocol takes place, and it may never happen. That teaches him not to be hasty with divorce. Islam wants couples to stay together, but that blogger wants women to be available to all men at all times.

  • Slave—girls are sexual property for their male owners.4:24 “And forbidden to you are wedded wives of other people except those who have fallen in your hands [as prisoners of war] . . .” (Maududi, vol. 1, p. 319).

That was necessary in those times as likewise treatment. Prisoners of war were taken slaves by the enemy. Most men would not accept that humiliation of their women.

Islam was the first religion to take serious steps toward ending slavery. The Quran is clear that prisoners of war must either be ransomed or pardoned (74:4). Freeing a slave is considered one of the top righteous deeds and an expiation of sins (90:11-13).

Islam calls for what should be, but legislates for what is. Legislating for what should be is wishful thinking.

  • A husband may simply get rid of one of his undesirable wives.4:129 “It is not within your power to be perfectly equitable in your treatment with all your wives, even if you wish to be so; therefore, [in order to satisfy the dictates of Divine Law] do not lean towards one wife so as to leave the other in a state of suspense.” (Maududi, vol. 1, p. 381)

The blogger’s statement is a clear straw man argument. He reads into it what it does not say. In fact, it says the opposite! It orders men not to neglect any of their wives and favor one. Where does it say “get rid of”?

You can see that the blogger is running out of plausible, but misconstrued attacks, so now he’s inventing new ones.

The rest of the “top ten” have been answered many times before, so I won’t make this post longer by refuting them when others have done it so well, over and over again.

Questions about two hadeeths

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

In Bukhari’s Hadeeth compilation, there is this hadeeth:

Allah’s Apostle said, “I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.’ And if they say so, pray like our prayers, face our Qibla and slaughter as we slaughter, then their blood and property will be sacred to us and we will not interfere with them except legally and their reckoning will be with Allah.”

How should the beginning of this hadith be interpreted? As fighting in a war?

And the second hadith is this:

“The best Jihad is the word of Justice in front of the oppressive Sultan.” (Abu-Dawud, Tirmidhi, ibn Majah)

In what volume/section of Dawud can I find this hadith? I’ve search everywhere but can’t find. Tell me the exact number of it please.

Unlike the Quran, the Hadeeth is mostly reported without context. That is, the narrator would say, “We were sitting with the Prophet, peace be upon him, when he said …” Sometimes, but rarely, some context is given. This often leads to misinterpretation, as taking any quote out of context usually does.

The hadeeth is talking about when to end a war with non-Muslims. Muslims must end fighting when the person they are fighting accepts Islam.

Islamophobes and extremists alike quote this hadeeth as evidence that Islam mandates forced conversions. It does not, as I just explained. How do we know that? Because Islam is not one hadeeth. It is the entirety of the Quran and the authentic Hadeeth taken together, not in isolated pieces. The Quran makes it abundantly clear that choice of religion is free and must never be coerced. For instance,

“Had God so willed, all in the earth would have believed altogether. Would you [, O Muhammad] then coerce them to be believers?” (10:99)

No authentic hadeeth can possibly contradict the Quran.

As for the second hadeeth you mentioned, it’s been narrated by Abu-Sa`eed Al-Khudri (RA) and reported by Abu-Daawood (4344) and rated authentic by Al-Albaani. Also reported by At-Tirmizhi (2174) who rated it “strange but sound”. It was also narrated by Taariq ibn Shihaab Al-Ahmusi and reported by An-Nawawi who rated it authentic. Also reported by Ibn Katheer who rated it “Thaabit” (established).

How can I defend Islam and the Prophet (PBUH)?

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

I’ve been coresponding with a Christian missionary about Islam. He had been reasonable until his last email in which he accused Islam, Islamic history and the Prophet (PBUH) with the most horrid charges! He did not comment on, or indicate that he even visited the links I recommended to him. Then he finishes his vile email with the words “Perhaps a look at Zakaria Boutros ‘Truth Talk’ would be useful as he clearly articulates the Muslim position from Muslim sources, and the Christian position from Christian sources. Wishing you every good thing and blessing of Christ.”

How do I reply to him and defend Islam and the Prophet (PBUH) when he would not even visit the links I recommended to him?

Tell him that he cannot learn about Islam from Islamophobes like Zakaria Boutros any more than you can lean about Christianity from agnostics.

The sources of Islam are not the books written by Muslims! The sources of Islam are the Quran and the authentic Hadeeth. If the charge he made about Muslims persecuting Christians are true, it was the fault of those Muslims, not the fault of Islam, which prohibits persecution in religion and guarantees freedom of belief to all. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and Islam are absolved from the horrible things some Muslim did or do. Did Christians ever commit atrocities? They sure did. The Crusades come to mind and so do the Conquistadors and the IRA terrorist war against Protestant Britain. They were all done in the name of Christianity! Are those the fault of Christianity and the teachings of Christ, or are they the fault of Christians from whom Christ and Christianity are absolved?

The charge against the Prophet (PBUH) that you mentioned in your more detailed email, is a famous fallacy. See this post for explanation,

Also read the posts about apostasy if you like to reply to him about it. I doubt, however, that he will listen. He has taken the posture of self-righteousness. It is futile to converse with such people. Their arrogance deafens their ears.

You may also find the posts in the category: Muhammad very relevant to your question.

Explain the first five verses of Chapter 9

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

It would be great help for me if you explain how to present these verses (9:1-5) to non-Muslims. I was talking with some non-muslim friends and based on tafsir (exegesis) of Quran I could not explain it well.

Muslims had non-aggression treaties with the polytheists of Mecca. Verses 9:1-15 were revealed to declare that after the expiration of the terms of the current treaties with the polytheist that those treaties will never again be renewed. The polytheist will have to live peacefully with Muslims. If they choose to fight, as they have done repeatedly before, then Muslims will fight them back and there will not be any more treaties.

Verse 9:4 makes it clear that the terms of the current treaties that have not yet expired have to be honored,

“Except those you have covenanted of the polytheists and they have not shorted you of anything nor supported anyone against you; so complete for them their treaty until the end of their term. Indeed, God loves the watchful [of Him].” (9:4)

Verse 9:5, called in the classic literature “the sword verse”, and often quoted by Islamophobes, is the most misunderstood verse in the Quran, even by Muslims. It simply says that after the expiration of the terms of the current treaties, aggression of the polytheists will not be tolerated. This is made clear by the next verse, 9:6, which makes it clear that aggression is only directed at the aggressors,

“And if any one of the polytheists seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the words of God. Then deliver him to his place of safety. That is because they are a people who do not know.” (9:6)

The next verses explain the theme further and tell why God does not want Muslims to have more treaties with the polytheists by reminding Muslims of the past hostility and atrocities they committed against Muslims. Verse 9:7, however, makes it clear that peaceful co-existence can happen between Muslims and polytheists,

“How can there be for the polytheists a covenant with God and with His Messenger, except for those you covenanted at the Sacrosanct Mosque? So as long as they have been straight with you, be straight with them. Indeed, God loves the watchful [of Him].” (9:7)

Finally, verse 9:12, emphasizes again that betrayal and aggression from the polytheists must be met with a fight back. Verse 9:13 urges Muslims not to fear the polytheists and reminds them of the long history of injustice done by the polytheists to Muslims.

Define Jihad, Jihadi and Jihadist please

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

I hear those words often in the news, and always associated with terrorism. I’ve seen enough media distortion of your religion to distrust what they say. Can you once and for all define Jihad, Jihadi and Jihadist and how they relate to terrorism?

Jihaad is an Arabic word that means “exerting an effort that meets with resistance.” Thus, any endeavor you embark on that is not a smooth sailing is a Jihaad. Have you tried to lose weight, quit smoking, or petition City Hall? Then you did Jihaad!

The struggle of Jihaad can therefore be against external forces, or against oneself. Resistance can be your own negative thoughts, whispers of Satan, mind talk, false memes that you hold on to, a tendency to procrastinate, fear of failure, fear of success, and countless excuses that stop us from achieving the goals we set for ourselves.

It can also become a war, if the resistance uses force. Muslims are required to defend themselves against militant enemies, but never start a war. God says in the holy Quran,

“And fight in the way of God those who fight you, but do not transgress. God does not like transgressors.” (2:190)

Armed Jihaad may be declared by a duly elected Muslim leader and only in response to an act of war by an enemy. Not anyone is authorized to do so, and certainly not the terrorists!

Terrorism has absolutely nothing to do with Jihaad. The word for terrorism in Islamic law is ترويع الآمنين (frightening the secure). It is punished in Sharia with the capital punishment! Tell that to Islamophobes.

Jihaadi is an adjective for the struggle act, e.g., pushing a bill through Congress is a Jihaadi act, LOL. A person is never called a Jihaadi; the adjective for the person is Mujaahid, plural Mujaahideen.

Finally, a Jihaadist is a person who believes in Jihaad. That is, if you believe that establishing truth and justice requires struggle, then you’re a Jihaadist.