Balancing Life & Beyond


One book. Balancing life…

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p. 53 “Mixed gatherings offer opportunities where base desires are unleashed, and once allowed free reign, have the potential to even destroy families. Are the results of promiscuity not in front of us? The illegitimate and abandoned children, broken homes, adultery, abortions, divorces and sexual diseases and more. Relationship out of wedlock is known as ‘fornication’, punishable by Islamic Law in an Islamic state. It is in the larger interest of our society that Islamic high moral standards are advocated and enforced.” p. 46 “…because of the apparent restriction on Muslim women to remain away from the public realm, many Westerners see the Muslim hijab as a symbol of female oppression. However, on the contrary as per those women, especially Westerners who embraced Islam, the hijab is instead a symbol of ‘liberation’. The Islamic tradition of hijab frees women from being perceived primarily as sexual objects.” p. 48 “Human beings are conditioned by the society in which they live. Naturally when you see a woman scantily dressed and revealing her physical features, versus when you see a woman modestly dressed, covering her head, not revealing any of her physical features, impressions that will come to mind do not need mentioning. Needless to say, dress represents her modesty, and through it she commands the respect in the society. Whereas when a woman chooses to show her body in one form or another, the message is only one: she wants attention and possibly much more.” p. 50 “Islam puts an upper limit of four wives and gives a man permission to marry two, three or four women, only on the condition that he deals justly with them, which, if not impossible, is certainly extremely difficult. Knowing well of our shortcomings, Allah in His infinite wisdom says later in the same chapter: “You will not be able to do justice between your wives however much you wish (to do so).” (Qur’an 4:128-130) This verse serves as a deterrent of fear of Allah and as such, less than 2% men in the Muslim world exercise this option. Therefore polygamy is not a rule but an exception. Many people labour under the misconception that it is an open-ended verdict for a Muslim man to have more than one wife. This is absolutely not true.” p. 51 “The system of polygamy according to Islamic Law is a moral and human one. It is moral because it does not allow man to have intercourse with any woman he wishes, at any time he likes. He is not allowed to have intercourse with more than three women in addition to his (first) wife, and he cannot do that secretly, but must proceed with a contract and announce it, even if among a limited audience. To attain full legitimacy it must be registered with the law.” Older version of the book: Does Islam allow Wife Beating? The verses mostly referred to are 34 and 35 of chapter 4, An-Nisa of the Qur’an that are mentioned below. The issue has been greatly misconceived by many people who focus merely on its surface meaning, taking it to allow wife beating. When the setting is not taken into account, it isolates the words in a way that distorts or falsifies the original meaning. Before dealing with the issue of wifebattering in the perspective of Islam, we should keep in mind that the original Arabic wording of the Qur’an is the only authentic source of meaning. If one relies on the translation alone, one is likely to misunderstand it. The Qur’an is very clear on this issue. Almighty Allah says: “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more strength than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah would have them to guard. As to those women on whose part you fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them [first], [next], refuse to share their beds, [and last] beat them [lightly]; but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means [of annoyance]; for Allah is most High and Great [above you all]. If you fear a breach between them twain, appoint [two] arbiters, one from his family and the other from hers. If they wish for peace, Allah will cause their reconciliation; for Allah has full knowledge and is acquainted with all things.” (Qur’an 4:34-35) It is important to read the section fully. One should not take part of the verse and use it to justify one’s own misconduct. This verse neither permits violence nor condones it. It guides us to ways to handle delicate family situation with care and wisdom. The word “beating” is used in the verse, but it does not mean “physical abuse”. The Prophet explained it “dharban ghayra mubarrih” which means “a light tap that leaves no mark”. He further said that face must be avoided. Some other scholars are of the view that it is no more than a light touch by siwak, or toothbrush [Note: around 20cm wooden stick]. It is also important to note that even this “light strike” mentioned in the verse is not to be used to correct some minor problem, but it is permissible to resort to only in a situation of some serious moral misconduct.” Such a measure is more [P .35] accurately described as a gentle tap on the body, but never on the face, making it more of a symbolic measure than a punitive one. Even here, that maximum measure is limited by the following: a. It must be seen as a rare exception to the repeated exhortation of mutual respect, kindness and good treatment. Based on the Qur’an and Hadith, this measure may be used in the cases of lewdness on the part of the wife or extreme refraction and rejection of the husband’s reasonable requests on a consistent basis. Even then, other measures, such as exhortation, should be tried first. If the problem relates to the wife’s behavior, the husband may exhort her and appeal for reason. b. As defined by Hadith, it is not permissible to strike anyone’s face, cause any bodily harm or even be harsh. What the Hadith qualifies as “dharban ghayra mubarrih”, or light striking, was interpreted by early jurists as a (symbolic) use of siwak! They further qualified permissible “striking” as that which leaves no mark on the body. It is interesting that this latter fourteencenturies- old qualifier is the criterion used in contemporary American law to separate a light and harmless tap or strike from “abuse” in the legal sense. This makes it clear that even this extreme, last resort, and “lesser of the two evils” measure that may save a marriage does not meet the definitions of “physical abuse,” “family violence, “ or “wife battering” in the 20th century law in liberal democracies, where such extremes are so commonplace that they are seen as national concerns. c. True following of the Sunnah is to follow the example of the Prophet who never resorted to that measure, regardless of the circumstances. d. Islamic teachings are universal in nature. They respond to the needs and circumstances of diverse times, cultures and circumstances. Some measures may work in some cases and cultures or with certain persons but may not be effective in others. By definition, a “permissible” act is neither required, encouraged or forbidden. In fact it may be to spell out the extent of permissibility, such as in the issue at hand, rather than leaving it unrestricted or unqualified, or ignoring it all together. In the absence of strict qualifiers, persons may interpret the matter in their own way, which can lead to excesses and real abuse. e. Any excess, cruelty, family violence, or abuse committed by any “Muslim” can never be traced, honestly, to any revelatory text (Qur’an or Hadith). [P. 36] Such excesses and violations are to be blamed on the person(s) himself.