Archive for the ‘religion.logic’ Category

Which Morality—Modern or Virtuous–is Right?

September 1, 2017
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (by Shakir Mumtaz January 2017)

(Morality based on common sense! Can common sense be trusted? Ethical Egoism says that “One person’s common sense may be another person’s naïve platitude” It is also called “revisionist theory” for it declares that “our common sense moral views may be mistaken, therefore, need to be changed”)

Morality predicates every facet of human life. It has always been, fervently, debated by the scholars and thinkers of almost all the societies, as to what constitutes morality, what should be its source and how its parameters should be determined and so on. I have therefore embarked on this interesting but multifarious topic to explore; by consulting various perspectives and sources, and present a cogent picture for the readers; to make up their own mind, after weighing for and against reasons and arguments.

Modern morality (or moral philosophy) has a rich and fascinating history. A great many thinkers have approached the subject from a wide variety of perspectives and have produced theories that both attract and repel the thoughtful people. Almost all the classical theories developed by philosophers of undoubted genius are, however, vulnerable to crippling objections. Hence, one is left wondering what to believe?

Derek Parfit, “Reasons and Persons” 1984 put it very aptly as “Non-religious ethics (Morality) is the youngest and least advanced” Thomas Hobbs, foremost British philosopher of 17th Century tried (unsuccessfully) to provide an alternative to Divine Philosophy*1 by arguing as follow. “Suppose we take away all the props for morality. We assume, first, that there is no God to issue commands and reward virtues; and second, that there are no moral facts built into the nature of things. Moreover, we deny that there is any sort of universal altruism built into human nature—we see people as essentially motivated to pursue their own interests. If we cannot appeal to God, moral facts or natural altruism, is there anything left on which morality might be found? After all this, he suggests an alternate, in the form of “Social contract” and commonly accepted mechanism (Govt.), to enforce the terms of the contract. Then he conjectures an untenable “state of nature”, insinuating absolute chaos, to support his hypothesis. “State of nature”*2 is governed by “the Laws of Nature” and Laws of Nature not only describes “how things are” but also “how things ought to be” as well. Things are always as they “ought to be” solemnly serving their natural purposes (Theory of the law of nature). He replaced God with altruism and moral facts and His command and control by an indispensable Government. Mundane and temporal end-result suggested was— “the gain of the benefits of social living”. This outrageous endeavor could simply be classed as a “Blatant Hobbesian Intellectual Egoism”{Dishonesty/Arrogance). After close scrutiny of this hypothesis, Thomas Hobbs is also found to be guilty of defying “the minimum conception of morality”. (By the way, Islamic theology makes use of “minimum conception” with respect to the performance of basic obligatory rituals, ensuring the salvation of the believers in the hereafter).

It might be of interest for the readers to know, that morality is not an issue as such in most parts; especially in predominantly monotheistic and polytheistic societies, of the world at all. Centuries-old religious ethos shaped their cultural traditions and social practices in consonance and the life goes on smoothly. The issue of morality, for the most part, arises when an equitable and just resolution is sought in the face of conflicting interests. It is generally thought that formulation of morality started from the Greeks. This treatise, therefore, would start from there; foregoing the issue of the actual origin of morality, which according to some sources goes back to Prophet Adam. Greek philosophers such as Pluto, Aristotle and Socrates and some other eminent scholars resorted to reason in formulating the moral laws of their time; while counting on the character to establish the virtuous traits of a man. Questions were framed as “What is the good of man?”, “What traits of character make one a good man?” This was happening 400 years before the time of Jesus Christ. With the spread of Christianity however, a new idea of “Law Giver” and “Obedience to His commands” was introduced. St Augustine, the most influential and prominent thinker of 4th Century, however, “distrusted the reason” and taught that virtuous life rests in the unwavering subordination to the commandments. From here on when the Christian Scholars, philosophers discussed the issue of virtues; it was within the context of “Divine Law”, and theological virtues including “Obedience” occupying the central place. On the contrary, Greeks gave “reason” the center stage. They viewed the “reason” the source of practical wisdom. Virtuous life for them was inseparable from the life of reason.

After renaissance, however, morality took another turn and Philosophers stopped turning to the Greek way of reasoning or Christian way of obedience to “Divine Law” but to its secular equivalent called “Moral Law”. “Divine Fiat” was replaced by “Human reason” and by following its directive would decide which actions are right? The question was changed from “what traits of character make a good person” to “what is the right thing to do?” “Virtue” was replaced by secular ‘rightness of actions” & “obligations” thereby promoting the element of individualism and self-interest (selfishness). Human reason gave rise to the conception of Hubristic “ought” as a standard for most advantageous actions; petrifying the Human-reason with inconsistency; hence similar reasoning was acceptable in one situation, but not in the other. Later moral theories from the seventeenth century onward; such as “Ethical egoism”, “Utilitarianism”, “Social Contract Theory”, all were developed and promoted in the same vein of individualism and self-centeredness.

Utilitarianism, in particular, proved to be the harbinger of Religion divested morality. A theory presented by David Hume (1711-1776) formalized by Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), vehemently advocated by John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) and his son James Mill. After the 18th and 19th century’s series of upheavals, America was a newly developing country and traditional morality was up in the air. Bentham’s conception of Religion divested morality; in conscious opposition to Christianity; especially for those escaping the Church of England’s persecution, proved to be a boon. He argued “Morality is not a matter of pleasing God, nor is it a matter of faithfulness to abstract rules. Morality is nothing more than the attempt to bring about as much happiness as possible in this world” Bentham was also given the assignment of reforming the laws and constitution of England along utilitarian lines. Needless to say that despite huge influence utilitarianism had severe flaws. One of its more developed forms, Act-Utilitarianism, recognized it to be a “radical doctrine” “that implied that many of our moral feelings may be mistaken” Ethical Egoism, as a “revisionist theory”, also asserted the same theme.

An Australian philosopher J.J.C Smart (1961) published a monograph, challenging the common sense (morality) as it cannot be trusted. His assertion challenges us to rethink matters that we have taken for granted. To accentuate the point further, here is the opinion of a Swedish Sociologist Gunner Myrdal which he gave after his classic study—American dilemma in 1944 ”There must be still other countless errors of the same sort that no living man can yet detect, because of the fog within which our type of Western cultures envelops us…”

Bentham and Mill were leading a revolution as radical as Marx and Darwin of 19th Century. To understand the radicalness of their theory an excerpt is quoted as “Gone are all references to God or to abstract moral rules written in the heavens. Morality is no longer to be understood as faithfulness to some divinely given code or to some set of inflexible rules” The concept of individualistic worldly happiness—known as “Hedonism”– was promoted. Mills introduction of the notion “Individual is sovereign” pushed it even further.

Kantian morality although, hovers around religious lines but; he seems to have circumvented God and religion; probably to prove that besides; all- encompassing God’s commands notion; there are rational and logical grounds on which Divine Morality could be asserted with the same potency. Kant however, abjured the serpent-windings of the Utilitarian theory because, he said, the theory is incompatible with human dignity. (God confers “dignity” to human—Qua’an 17:70). His formulation of “hypothetical Imperatives” VS “Categorical Imperatives” exposes the vainness of Modern Morality. It can, therefore, safely be deduced that most of these Religion-Divested Moral theories provide only plausible answers to the difficult questions, but lack the potency and conviction of Divine Morality– providing definitive solutions built in the rigor of observance of its rules and rituals. (All classic theorists, needless to say, hold not only opposing but critical views about Divine Morality).

Recent thinking on morality is ready to take yet another turn. Philosophers are debunking the ”Moral Law” theory as bankrupt and advocating radical idea to go back to virtue based Aristotelian Morality to salvage the subject. This idea was first floated by a British Philosopher G.E.M Anscombe in 1958; suggesting that modern moral philosophy is misguided because it rests on an incoherent notion of “law” without a “Law Giver” She further elaborated that the very concepts of obligation, duty, and rightness, on which the modern philosophers have concentrated their attention, are inextricably linked to this nonsensical idea. Therefore, she argued, we should return to Aristotelian approach, and virtue should once again take the center stage.

Philosophers in this camp share the opinion, that virtue-based morality is 
superior to the other kind of (Religion divested) morality because of the 
following reasons. 

1) Moral Motivation. Virtuous Morality is appealing because it provides a natural and attractive account of moral motivation while the other kind of morality falters on this account. It can be explained in terms of an example quoted, in Journal of philosophy in 1976, where the value of merit of morality was juxtaposed duty. In this case, a patient was visited by some friend; that made patient delighted but: when he found out that the visitor was just doing his duty and did not really come for him, the visit turned cold and bereft of moral value. The desire to do the right thing for the right reason and doing it out of an abstract sense of duty is not the same. 2) Ideals of Impartiality. Virtuous morality can accommodate partialities very well since it recognizes that some virtues are partial and some are not. It also recognizes that love of family and friends is an inescapable feature of the morally good life. Ideals of Impartiality in modern moral philosophy, however, do not add up. John Stewart Mill put the point very succinctly when writing about Utilitarianism that “Utilitarianism requires (the moral Agent) to be as strictly impartial as a benevolent and disinterested spectator”. A mother loves her children and cares for them in a way that she does not care for other children. “She is partial to them through and through”. Same is the case with friends and family members.

3) Divine Morality provides a pleasing practical “fit” between; – a) Impartiality of reason. b) Adherence to set rules for life, serving everyone’s interest. c) Fulfillment of our natural inclination and moral duty to care about others. Making morally behaving a natural dispensation. 4) An Anthropocentric view of Aristotle (and of many philosophers of ancient); which modern philosophers and scientists vehemently refute, has been categorically asserted in Qura’an. This assertion, in the same vein, also refutes the accusation of the human being as “vein-species”. https://shakir2.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/the-anthropocentric-character-of-the-universe-special-status-of-man-and-yet-his-denial-of-god/ Conclusion A trajectory of traits of both the schools of Philosophy has been presented above, making it easy for the readers, to weigh and decide for themselves.

  • 1Divine Philosophy—means virtue/religion based philosophy.
  • 2Always serving their purpose regardless of our favorable or unfavorable understanding of their operations.
  • 3 Moral philosophy and Modern Morality are interchangeably used.
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Interpersonal relationship between Muslim and Non-Muslim

August 31, 2017

“Let not the believers take those who deny the truth for their allies in preference to the believers since he who does this cuts himself off from God in everything – unless it is to protect one against them in this way. But God warns you to beware of Him: for with God is all journeys’ end.” (Q, 3:28) 

 

Muslim seem oblivious to or Ignorant of this important aspect of Islamic teachings. Befriending Non-Muslim has become cursorial; Muslim are dealing and even living with them (in a relationship) like with their fellow Muslim. {Muslim women marrying Non-Muslim men is strictly forbidden and Haram) Read: – https://shakir2.wordpress.com/2015/06/22/muslim-women-marrying-non-muslim-men/

 

Although, it can be easily understood from the Qura’anic text that dealing with the Non-Muslims, despite the requisite cordiality, compassion and empathy, ought to be within defined limitations. Non-Muslim should be helped and dealt with on purely humanitarian/empathetic grounds, but without, any emotional attachment. Such attachment is permissible only with fellow Muslim. The obviating reason is that they do not subscribe to Islamic faith/religion and are rather against it. Disbelievers (in Islam) are described in Qura’an as the enemies of Allah (SWT)(Q, 8: 59,60) {Despite the fact that, they may express nothing of the sort, or may even offer a favorable opinion—which would tantamount to a lip service in the face of their disbelief}.

Note:- From the Psychological point of view, such contents of words may be fallacious, due to their (Non-Muslim) long ingrained and sustained experiences otherwise, for their body language would be sending a (true but) contrary messages.  

A formal friendship at the level of mutual dealing is, no doubt, permissible; but, that too is not favored if Unnecessary.

In Qura’an it has been declared repeatedly that– they would like to see you adopting their faith and way of life. (Psychological truth)  From everyday experiences; it is clearly evident that most often; Muslims who befriend with Non-Muslims; imitate and emulate them, compromising their distinct identity and religion. So called liberal/secularist/modernist Muslim even talk in their language, temerariously criticizing Islam, Qura’an and the Prophet (PBUH). It has therefore been sternly warned that such people cut off any bond with Allah (SWT), for they become one of them (disbelievers)          (Q, 3:28).

Allah (SWT) in Qura’an, used the word “Zalimun” instead of “Kafiroon”; Likely widening the scope, to include such people.  Allah therefore clearly forbids a true Muslim from keeping the company of not only the Non-Muslims but also of those, acting like them. It has been said in (Q, 6:70) that “unbelievers; are the people, who have been detained in the punishment of their evil deeds”. Which is further articulated in verse (Q, 47:15) by declaring that “their entrails will be shattered apart” (due to drinking boiling water as the punishment for their denial and disbelief). This verse also informs that their disbelief is harmful to those who like to sit in their company hence would be caught up in the same punishment as the disbelievers. (Ma’araful Qura’an Pg. 393, vol 3). As the wrong environment affects its surrounding so does the bad company by pushing human beings into the abyss of sinfulness. “This is how Allah (SWT) brings disgrace, damnation upon those who do not believe, for their hearts are not open for the truth but dash for the evil”. (Q, 6:125).

 

 

Several verses, with varying shades of meanings, against the FRIENDSHIP WITH NON-MUSLIMS are presented in the Holy Qura’an. Some of which are:-

IMPORTANT NOTICE

 One should not pick and choose a verse to present his/her own (skewed) point of view instead a collective outcome, of all the verses on the topic, should be the one guiding and binding. (Q, 2: 85 & 4: 150)

 

Allah’s enemy is your enemy.

“O those who believe do not take my enemy and your enemy as friends having love for them and whosoever from among you do that have gone astray” (Q, 60:1)

 A friend with them is one of them.

“O those who believe do not take Jews or Christian as friends, for they are friends among themselves. And whosoever has friendship with them is one of them” (Q, 5:51)

 Believers shouldn’t befriend with unbelievers, even if kinfolk.

“You shall not find those who believe in Allah and in the hereafter having friendship with those who have enmity with Allah and His Messenger, even though they may be their fathers or sons or brothers or members of their tribes” (Q, 58:22)

 

Feeling honored/proud by having Non-believers as friend

Those, who take disbelievers as their allies instead of the believers, Do they seek with them honor {through power}? But indeed, honor belongs to Allah (SWT) entirely. (Q, 4:139)

 

Sitting in the company of Non-believers

And it has already come down to you in the Book that when you hear the verses of Allah (SWT) (recited), they are denied (by them) and ridiculed; so do not sit with them until they enter into another conversation. Indeed you would then be like them. Indeed Allah (SWT) will gather the hypocrites and disbelievers in Hell all together, (Q, 4:140)

 

The only friends

Your friends can only be Allah (SWT), His Prophet (PBUH) and those who believe” (Q, 5:55)

 

Social interaction with Non-Muslims, for clear understanding and exercising due restraint, has been described, under four (4) categories.

Mawalat. (Affairs of the Heart) –For Allah knows what is in your hearts–(3:29) (Relations involving Love or Emotional attachment).

This is specifically What all these verses vehemently prevent a Muslim from.

 

Psychological reasoning

 Need to belong

According to the hierarchy of needs, humans need to feel love (sexual/non-sexual) and acceptance from others. In fact, the need to belong is so innately ingrained that it may be strong enough to overcome physiological, safety needs, as well as religious restraints, such as children’s attachment to abusive parents or staying in abusive romantic relationships or a Muslim woman marrying a Non-Muslim man. Such examples illustrate the extent to which the psychobiological drive to belong is entrenched hence harmful (one may, therefore, appreciate the rationale and vehemence with which Islam prohibits such a bond between the two with clashing/contradicting religious beliefs.

 

 Attachment Theory

Social acts that reinforce feelings of attachment also stimulate the release of neurotransmitters such as oxytocin and endorphin, which alleviate stress and create feelings of contentment. Such contentment, however, may prove to be fleeting due to ingrained religious disparity and even if it is fictitiously presumed to be there, in the beginning, may evade soon.

 

Prophetic injunctions

Apart from the above cited psychological reasons, there is a logically reasoned Injunction issued by the Prophet (PBUH) which lays the ground rules for an association (particularly the marriage as any other type of association is out of the question in Islam).

 

In Islam, there is a concept of “Kuf” which means —equal, alike or matching. Under this Principal, there are two sub clauses which need to be considered when accepting/rejecting the marriage proposals. (or contemplating an association for that matter).

 

These are “Lineal Homogeneity” & “Familial Homogeneity” Prophet has instructed that girls should be married in their”Kuf” which means—equality(compatibility)—rather than equalness. The likeness of spouses in their religion is incumbent and necessary for the validity of the marriage. The marriage of a Muslim girl with a disbeliever is not valid; even if the girl agrees to it. (So is not the interpersonal relationship). (religio-legal verdict—hukme-tashriee).

 The rationale here is that it is not simply the matter of “right of woman”; which may be dropped at her pleasure, Instead, it is the “right of God” –a Divine- injunction, under the clause of Familial Homogeneity. 

 A question or doubt may be raised about the whole religio-legal-verdict stated above. The validity of it has very eloquently and in unequivocal terms been stated in Qur’an as– “Prophet has more right to men and women of his (Ummah) community than their own selves” and also that “And it becomes not a believing man or woman, when Allah and His prophet have decided an affair (for them) that they should claim any “say” in that matter”      Surah Al Ahzab 33, V 6 & 36

 Finally, Allah forbade such relationship in categorical terms in Surah “Mumtahinah”–(She who is examined) #60, V – 10–in the following words “Neither these (Muslim women) are lawful for them, Nor are those (unbelievers) lawful for these (believing) women” All such relationships which existed at the time of revelation of this verse were ipso-facto severed.

 Muwasat. (Concern)

Non-Muslims ought to be dealt with favor, generosity, compassion, sympathy, and concern. It also includes charitable help and support, condolence, consolation or any other well-intentioned attitude of wishing them well.  Confirmed in the following verse:

“Allah does not forbid you from treating those, who have not fought with you because of your faith, nor have they driven you out of your homes, with benevolence and equity” (Q, 60:8)

 Mudarat. (Cordiality)

This category of dealings involves customary cordiality, adequacy in courtesy, pleasant and mannerly politeness.

Muamalat. (Dealings)

This category involves things such as employment, wages, industry, technology, business dealings, benevolence, and human-interests.  

Note: Most of the permissible interactions, however, would become impermissible if it becomes harmful to the interest of the general body of Muslims such as arms sales to a group fighting against Muslims.(war situation exemptions to older folks, Non belligerent folks, children, religious folks(priests/monks etc), places of worship, livestock and crops/orchards etc nevertheless, would apply).

Exception

An exception; under the category of MAWALAT; where there is a severe threat to one’ life or overarching-interest, is allowed. “Unless you guard yourselves against an apprehension from them” in such a case an (outwardly) expression of affection and love is permissible (Q, 3:28). This position is also supported by the Hadith, “Allah (SWT) has forgiven my people from, mistakes, forgetfulness, and acts done under compulsion/duress” (*1)

 Concealment of feelings of affection and love for Non-believers                           (Do not incline towards unjust, lest Hell fire catches you) (Q, 11:113)

At times it happens that people emotionally attached to Non-Muslims verbally deny it in the presence of fellow Muslims. Such people have been warned by Allah in the following words, “whether you conceal what is in your heart or disclose it, Allah knows it” (Q, 3:29)

 A superficial look at the inhibitive verses might generate an intolerant view of Islam which is dispelled in various verses of the Holy Qura’an, Ahadith, Sunnah and the dealings of the revered Companions.

 How Prophet (PBUH), Sahabah & Khulafa’a dealt with Non-Muslims?

Examples

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), at the time of famine in Mecca, personally went out to help his enemies who drove him out of Mecca earlier.

Then after the conquest of Mecca, he gave general amnesty to all those who fought against him.

Caliph Umer Farooq allowed stipends and allowance to needy Non-Muslims living under his rule.

 An Obvious question, however, may arise here, why Allah (SWT) has warned against the friendship with Non-Muslims so sternly?

The answer is given through a Qura’anic verse and a Hadith (Bukhari and Muslim).  “My Prayer, my sacrifice, my life, my death all are for Allah, the Lord of the worlds” (Q. 6:162) Prophet (PBUH) has been reported to have said “Whoever loves for the sake of Allah (SWT) and whoever hates for the sake of Allah (SWT), has perfected his faith”(*2) It means that Iman/Faith remains incomplete unless a Muslim’s love, friendship, hate and enmity all are subordinated to Allah Almighty. That is why at the end of verse 3:28, for the ones who defy this injunction, it is said that “you are one of them”.

The premise on which the edifice of—“No-intimate relationship with Non-Believers”— is based is the primal purport of the temporal life of a Muslim.

The primal-purport of a Muslim’s life is to remember and serve Allah (SWT). Everything else including all affairs of life, politics, business, Government and social relationships ought to be subservient to this primal purport.

Conclusion

(Allah (SWT) therefore has strongly forbidden an intimate friendship/relationship with any Nonbelievers under any circumstances).

*1–An-Nawawi’s Hadith No.39 (On the authority of Ibn Abbas). A  Hasan (fair)  Hadith related by Ibn Majah, Al-Baihaqi and others.

*2–Sunan Abu Dawud 4681, Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani.

 

AUTHOR’S PRAYER.

It is hoped that this treatise would help men and women of understanding in tackling the endemic of the entrenched interpersonal relationship between Muslims and Non-Muslims with Divine guidance; provided through Qura’an and Hadith, while applying human logic and reasoning as well rather than succumbing to the reflexes of sentimentality.

Note:        An abridged form of this topic.

https://shakir2.wordpress.com/2017/05/07/can-muslims-be-friends-with-non-muslims-especially-jews-and-christians/

 

Does Islam support pantheism?

July 16, 2017

 

Does chapter (Q, 57:3) prove that Islam supports pantheism? It is said by the proponents of Pantheism, that everything that exists is Allah (in the image of Allah) and will eventually return to Allah. Is it the correct interpretation of the verse? 

There are a variety of definitions of pantheism. Some consider it a theological and philosophical position concerning Allah (SWT).

As a religious position, some describe pantheism as the polar opposite of atheism. From this standpoint, pantheism is the view that everything is part of an all-encompassing, Immanent God. All forms of reality may then be considered either mode of God, or identical with Him.

Some hold that pantheism is a non-religious philosophical position. To them, pantheism is the view that the Universe (in the sense of the totality of all existence) and God are identical (implying a denial of the personality and transcendence of God).

Here are various translations of the verse quoted above.

Asad: He is the First and the Last, 1 and the Outward as well as the Inward: 2 and He have full knowledge of everything.

Malik: He is the First and the Last, the Evident and the Immanent, and He has the knowledge of all things.

Pickthall: He is the First and the Last, and the Outward and the Inward, and He is Knower of all things.

Yusuf Ali: He is the First and the Last the Evident and the Immanent: and He has full knowledge of all things. 5276

Explanation of # 5276—-Allah is Evident in so far as there is ample evidence of His existence and providence all around us. On the other hand, Allah is hidden in so far as intellect cannot grasp His essence nor can He be seen in the present world. The following tradition in Sahih Muslim is also significant for an understanding of this verse. The Prophet (PBUH) said: (H) “Thou art the First, so that there was nothing before Thee; and Thou art the Last, so that there is nothing after Thee; and Thou art Evident, (or Ascendant) so that there is nothing above Thee, and Thou art the Hidden, the Knower of hidden things, so that there is nothing hidden from Thee.”

Here is something to be noticed that in any of the translation of the Qura’anic text there is nothing even faintly hinting that “Anything (created) is part of an all-encompassing, immanent God” Which has categorically been declared in (Q, 112:4) “There is nothing like Him”

CONCLUSION

This verse, therefore, does not in any form or shape subscribe to the man made, the philosophical or theosophical, construct.

Purely Philosophical position; denying the existence of God is simply beyond the realm of any rational argument, is simply an untenable position.

shakir2.wordpress.com

How Scholars view Sharia’a?

June 11, 2017
 (First published on FB).

Although It is an anathema mainly for most Non-Muslims and few modernist, secularist Muslims but ironically they forget that it is not Muslims exclusive. Moses had his Shari’a and so did many other Prophets. Successful Propaganda, labeling it antiquated, draconian and too Harsh is the reason.
Here is, however, how the Muslim scholars see and categorize it.
“God made this Blessed righteous Shari’a accommodating and convenient and thus won the hearts of human beings and invoked in them love and respect for the law. Had they had to act against convenience they could not have honestly fulfilled their obligations”
ABU ISHAQ AL-SHITABI (A Muslim religious Scholar)
“The Shari’a is all Justice, Kindness, Common Good and Wisdom. Any rule that departs from Justice to injustice…..or departs from common good (maslaha) to harm (mafsada) ….is not part of Shari’a even if it is arrived at by literal interpretation”
IBN QAYYIM.(A Muslim religious Scholar)
“Take to forbearance, and bid the Fair and ignore the ignorant”
Qura’an (7:199)
Prophet was asked by God to “accept what people can do easily” not demanding a high standard of deeds.
Holy Prophet (PBUH) has referred to this aspect of sharia’a saying:-
“Ad Dino Yusrun”…..I am leaving among them an easy and practicable law; which is neither cumbersome nor susceptible to going astray

Can Muslims be friends with non-Muslims, especially Jews and Christians?

May 7, 2017

“Oh you who believe, do not take (such) Jews and Christians as friends and allies who themselves are friends and allies of each other. And whoever of you (Muslims) turn to them (with friendship and alliance) becomes, verily, one of them; behold, Allah does not guide such evildoers.” (Qur’an, 5:51)

Answer.

It is rather enjoined upon Muslims to be compassionate, courteous and fair in dealing with Non-Muslims and especially so with the People-Of-Book. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) has set many examples of it.

It is, however, strictly forbidden to take them as intimate friends or supporters; for they are considered enemies of Allah, therefore for a Muslim one can not be his friend who is the enemy of his Lord. On the face of it, it may seem anti-social or discriminatory but logic and rationality defy such assertions.

Some Muslims; due to lack of understanding, quote verse (60:9); where it is mentioned that—-”Allah only forbids you from those who fight you because of religion and expel you from your homes and aid in your expulsion”, to justify being friends with Christians and Jews as moderate or liberal in their social behavior and Also presenting Islam; in their naivete, as a moderate, modern or liberal religion.

They are oblivious to the fact that Islam is the most modern, liberal and moderate of all Divine religions. (2:143)

The injunctions in verse (60:9) were applicable only to the war situation at the time of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and not to the normal situation of nowadays. (validated by the renunciation of such friendships—even for future by one of the noble sahabah–Ubadah Ibn Samit and some others. (Exegesis Ma’araful Quran pg 189, Vol 3).

Verse # 1 of the same surah clearly supports this viewpoint.

For a clear Understanding, one has to read all forbidding verse in conjunction, as ordained in verse 85 of surah Baqarah (2).

READ— A comprehensive writing on this Topic.

https://shakir2.wordpress.com/2017/08/31/interpersonal-relationship-between-muslim-and-non-muslim/

Liberalization? Not Islam.

January 14, 2017

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Shakirmwp/sandbox

“Many of the People of the Scripture (including liberals and reformists) wish they
can turn you back to disbelief, afrter you have believed.

West’s moral dilemma!

October 30, 2016

Image result for Allama Iqbal's photos

Morality, in general, is a contentious subject but ironically, it becomes even more so in the Western setting for it is thought that i) they are the most righteous. ii) It is their right to set moral standard. iii) Elevated morality by divesting it from its bedrock– Religion. iv) Their standards should be emulated by all others.

Recently I was faced with two such issues and explaining them from an Islamic perspective, proved to be like fixing a square peg into the round hole of western morality. One was about the polygamy sanctioned in Islam and the other about the permissibility, of having intimate relations with the believing women, of the vanquished enemy, taken in as captives/enslaved —“What your right-hand posses”—Qura’an.

Polygamy, in western discourse, is an oft-recurring issue. This time, it cropped up as a fall-out of an Egyptian female professor Suad Saleh of Al-Azhar University’s interview aired on Egyptian T.V Al-Hayat. It was picked up and reproduced, with distorted English translation, by INQUISITR on 16th of January 2016. Offensive words were used to exploit and rile up public sentiments which; especially in the heavily charged atmosphere due to TRUMP factor, engendered the highest level of ISLAMOPHOBIA in the history of the USA.

My immediate response to the post was as under. (Edited for grammatical accuracy)

“Surprisingly Dr. Andrew Holt (An English-speaking Anti-Islam commentator exploiting and misleading the people) did not get appalled at the rampant fornication, infidelity and out of wedlock births in the western society but got appalled and concerned about the treatment of female POWs  in a very limited context of war. This clearly exposes the height of his hypocrisy. There has been hardly any war, in the human history, in which women have not been the worst victim of sexual abuse, including the most recent ones of Vietnam and Mid East; especially Iraq) If we do it with en-masse impunity across the board it is OK but if it is done in war situations on a minuscule level is too bad! Professor is simply playing insane to exploit the situation for his advantage. The situation explained by the lady professor is taken out of context for designed exploitation. Otherwise, in earlier scriptures, women have also been treated as the property of the man. In Islam, however, this treatment extended only to those who are taken as captives/slaves. It sure sounds heinous until thought through objectively; which is not as bad as sex slavery forced upon millions around the world for profiteering. It is actually a matter of perspective. It is objective for some and exploitative for the others. It’s positive implications, in  a particular, set of circumstances, however, cannot be overemphasized”

The theme of the interview was “expunging” the extramarital sex and Modern-day slavery; in the light of Islamic “Fiqh” (jurisprudence). For Muslim men are engaging in sexual slavery by buying slave women from poor countries,

Elaboration

The logic and rationale behind the permissibility of sexual relationship with captured women in war   are multifarious. The fact is that excesses are always committed in wars. Islamic laws, therefore, ensured the elimination of inevitably unbounded mistreatment through sanctification and accordance of rights; which were not even conceivable before Islam, as women were treated like a herd of animals. Slavery under Islam is distinguishable from usual slavery in the sense that it makes it incumbent upon the master to be fully responsible for all their worldly needs, under the concept called—“kafala” The master is permitted to have sexual relations with her but if she is not willing or comfortable then he is ordered either to marry her with another slave of her choice or sell her off. A slave woman cannot be forced to have sexual relations with the master. She also cannot be forced to have sexual relations with more than one man at a time. If a woman is captured along with her husband then that marriage remains intact and no one else can have sexual relation with her. Women other than people of the book are absolutely forbidden for such intimacy before their conversion, for which she cannot be forced. Raping a slave woman is a punishable crime like raping a free woman. ( Muwatta, Book 36,Chapter 16,Narration 14).  A child born to a slave woman (in whatever state, live, still, dead, premature) grants a special status of “UMM AL WALAD” (mother of a child) hence, she cannot be sold. She gets automatically emancipated at the death of her master even if he does not manumit her in his lifetime “… the very purpose of marriage is (to make) intercourse (permissible) but the purpose of possession (of slave-women) is not intercourse.” (Al-Muntaqa Sharah al-Muwatta, Darul Kitab al-Islami, Cairo, 1332 A.H. vol.4 p.82)

 

The concept of slavery sounds gruesome but justifies the end and purport; induces them to accept Islamic faith, which would necessitate either a formal marriage followed by complete integration into the family unit and society or freedom. A pertinent anecdote of the Prophet (PBUH) himself, who married slave or captured-in-war women, named “Juwairiyah”, “Qibtiyya” & “Safiyya” would invite a-man-of-intellect to reflect on this issue objectively. As a consequence, out of respect for “Juwariyah” becoming the mother of the faithful, more than 100 women of her tribe were also emancipated. Her father, who was the leader of his tribe, also became Muslim.

 

An important fact to be kept in mind is that in Islam there is no concept of “Rape” in a husband-wife relationship. A woman has to satisfy the sexual needs of the husband unless there is a permissible reason such as menstruation or some sickness etc. A slave woman, on the other hand, seems to have been given more latitude than a free woman. Needless to say, that master/husband has to be kind and compassionate (romantic, amorous) as is established by the Prophet (PBUH)’s Sunnah. Similar kindness has to be accorded to the Captured woman. It should also be borne in mind that Islam is a religion attuned to human nature. Human nature; tendencies and inclinations along with preemptive, preventive measures are, very much at the root of its injunctions. Excesses are committed in wars and would continue to be committed, despite UN Human rights and Geneva Convention declarations. Islam, therefore, has enforced a pre-emptive system, in the face of human frailties way before these declarations and laws were even conceived.

 

POLYGAMY

Polygamy had been rampant since pre-Islamic era. Prophet Solomon (R.A) reportedly had 300+ wives. Having a large harem of women/wives had been a norm. Polygamy, before 20th Century, had been in practice among Eskimos in Northern fringes of North America and Greenland when anyone hardly even knew about them. It is still practiced in North America and elsewhere in Americas; by Mormon and some other tribal communities. In the Middle East and Africa, it is a commonplace. It’s logical reason seems to be unbridled avarice and machismo. Then Arab and African tribal societies afforded it a political flavor; marriages began being solemnized for buying the loyalties of other tribes.  At the advent of Islam however; a limit of maximum four, at any given time, was set, thereby dispensing with the custom of numerous wives and countless children simultaneously.

Non-Muslims wonder and also object, that why it was not restricted to just one wife? Divine wisdom; in some matters challenges the objectivity of our ingrained ordinary beliefs; possibly for two reasons, either to leave us at the threshold of despair, rejection, and unbelief or, to transcend to a higher level of contemplation to appreciate the efficacy of Divine wisdom. Qura’an in Surah Nisa-4, V-129 clearly states that “you do not have the capacity to be judicious among your wives regardless of how sincerely you intend to. Therefore, do not lean towards one and neglect the other, leaving her hanging. And if you do the best you can God is forgiving and merciful”. It is also said in another verse # 3 of the same Surah that “if you fear that you won’t be able to do justice Just take only ONE

Great pioneering sociologist William Graham Summer in1906 explains the customs and traditions like this— “The right way is the way which the ancestors used and which has been handed down. The tradition is its own warrant. It is not held subject to verification by experience. The notion of right is in the folkways. It is not outside of them, of independent origin, and brought to test them. In the folkways whatever is, is right. This is because they are traditional, and, therefore, contain in themselves the authority of ancestral ghost. When we come to the folkways we are at the end of the analysis”

Herodotus—Greek author of First great narrative history wrote, which is also a recurring theme in the literature of social sciences— “Different cultures have different moral codes. What is thought right within one group may be utterly abhorrent to the people of another group, and vice versa” judging one right and other wrong means we have an independent standard. Whereas there is no such independent standard in reality; every standard is culture-bound.

These point of views (Divine wisdom expressed through human intellect) should be convincing enough to set aside the –vehement objection– as to why the polygamy, slavery, FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) have not been outlawed in Islam in one strike. Slavery and FGM are not approved in Islam. Islamic injunctions on these issues are annihilative in essence.

In the case of polygamy, however; there are several logical arguments which could be offered in its favor; but most intuitive would be that, since man belongs to the larger group of social animals hence his natural tendencies “ought” to be in line with that of the group—multiple mates. This is probably why there have always been more women than men to meet this threshold. Man, from the known history of mankind, has been endowed with the head of the family and beholder of rationality status. He has also been enjoying the companionship of numerous women to satisfy his natural propensities. The limitation of one wife seems to be unnatural, counter-intuitive and counter-productive.

Deviation from this natural order is vividly evident in the moral decay of the western, artificially constrained one-for-one, societies. The number of wives in Islam however, was restricted to rational maximum “four” commensurate with the level of social developments and level of responsibilities at the same time. (Pattern of Prophet Mohammad {PBUH}’s marriages with, more than one widow, one older than him and a business woman, divorcees, pubescent girl etc, on the one hand, sets the standard for a successful marital relationship while, on the other, proves the efficacy of more than one wife).

 

 

Historical perspective of polygamy

 Antique Egypt Law: A man could marry more than one woman under some circumstances.

Babel Law: according to Hammurabi laws if a woman could not bear a child or had a serious disease the husband could have a concubine.

Chinese Law: If the wealth of the husband were sufficient, he could marry secondary wives. Antique Brahmans: According to the book Vishnu, men could marry one, two, three or more women in accordance with their classes. In the laws of Manu, the husband had to choose his first wife from the same social class; he could marry a woman of lower classes as his second wife. Ancient Iran: Polygamy was legal.

Under Roman Law: It was permissible to have a concubine, without a legal wedding.
In The Bible (Old Testament) It is stated that Prophet Dawood (David) married several women. In Old, Testament polygamy is also mentioned in several other places. Polygamy existed in Judaism.

 

 

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Psychological dimension of Qura’an

October 3, 2016

 

Image result for PICTURE OF OPEN QURAN

Qura’an’s main emphasis is on the guidance of human behavior/actions. Guidance is dispensed, mostly through general, and a few specifically, absolute, injunctions. Specifically, absolutes injunctions are called “limits” (Hudood)–which are just five. In explanation of the verses a fair use of analogy/allegory has been employed to accommodate common man’s logic and reasoning—elaborated through Ahadith and Sunnah; (words and deeds of the Prophet Mohammad-PBUH). Qura’anic verses, Ahadith and Sunnah are further interpreted and explained, by the exegetes, with reference to their contextual background presenting a coherent and cosmic perspective. (Literal translation whereof otherwise, may be misleading).

 

The importance of guidance can be gauged from the very fact that God, in the very first Surah “Al-Fath” (The-Victory), Himself taught the man how to pray and ask for guidance—for it is an embodiment of all material and spiritual benefits here and hereafter.

 

In Islamic parlance, the process of guidance is three tiered.                                                                          The first degree of guidance is given to every created thing. Qura’an (20:50) “Our Lord is He who gave unto everything its nature, then guided it aright”. Qura’an (17:44) “And there is not a thing except that it exalts God by His praise, but you do not understand their way of exalting”

The second degree of guidance is given to rational beings only through the Scriptures and Prophets explaining it. It may be accepted by some and rejected by others-hence being believers or non-believers. The tertiary degree of guidance is limited only to the Prophets and Men of God. It is of the highest degree and unlimited. It is called “Tawfeeq” which cannot be refuted or repelled by any rational being. Although the first and third degree of guidance are direct; without the medium of scripture or the prophets, yet in a matter of gradual progression from second to the third level, a rigor of the second degree (following the scripture and Prophet) would be inevitable. (The best example of “Tawfeeq” would be the endowment of Prophet-hood to Mohammad—PBUH—as he was un-lettered therefore, taught everything as a “Tawfeeq” by God).

 

 

RIGHTS fall in two domains as bifurcated below.

 

 

  • Rights of God (Allah) &   2) Rights of fellow human beings.     

                                 

Rights of God (Hudood) are absolute. There is no choice endowed to any human being regardless of his status or station; for any addition, deletion, modification or mollification. For details access the link below.

https://shakir2.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/disjunctive-sequel-2/

 

Rights of fellow Human beings, on the contrary, are open to interpretations within the strictures of Qura’an, Hadith & Sunnah; available as a consensus of OPINIONS of the (competent) religious scholars. There is an avenue of “Ijtihad” (by the competent religious scholars of the highest eminence) also available to address new issues/situations, which have either, not been addressed sufficiently, or at all, in either of the sources mentioned above. The institution of Ijtihad and the presence of various School-of-thoughts, provide a scope for adaptability as well, where “Taqleed” is not adhered to. (By the way, Imam Hanbal and Imam Ibn Tamayya and many others are against “Taqleed”).

 

Although in Qura’an, there is a panoply of topics on which injunctions have been issued, this treatise, however, would be restricted to tangibility and vassal; which are least discussed and explained with specific reference to human psychology.

 

 

 

Human Psychology

Human behavior, as mentioned earlier, is the main locus of Divine guidance, which can also be divided into two areas. (Philosophical terms have also been inducted at relevant places to broaden the scope of comprehension).

  1. Instinctive or innate behavior(Phil: Idealism, Priori knowledge).

Most prominent is the conception of the Creator–the Supreme Being, followed by empathy, compassion, rage fear, gratitude, possessiveness, self-protection, suckling etc. Qura’an stresses the cleansing of the inner-self through meditation, compassion and tranquility of justice enhancing the awareness and benefits conferred by these traits. In Sufic terminology, it would be a deliberate process of subduing the lower-soul, or lower-self (Nafs). These traits, contrary to general belief, do not annihilate, for they are an integral part of the human genre, but get channeled, through the bottleneck of struggle (mujahida), into higher soul/higher-self for higher purposes.

 

  1. Learned or acquired behavior— (Phil; Empiricism, Posteriori knowledge). A litany of the behavioral attitudes fall in this category, to name a few—-Defrauding, avariciousness, vanity, tangibility, and Vassal etc. The last two traits are often faced, but least understood and discussed. Qura’an in such matters, for the most part, orders prudence, care in association and equity of behavior by enshrining the element of “awe” (generally translated as (Fear)* backed up by a retributive system. The system of retribution is mostly reserved for the hereafter (with the exception of “injustice”, which is often swiftly dealt with here as well). Justice, of the last resort, however, will be done in the hereafter without the slightest discrepancy whatsoever.(Qura’an) A very important issue, which Qura’an mentions, is that the good done by the non-believers would fetch no reward in the hereafter. It would instead be rewarded right here in this world.

 

 

Tangibility & Vassal Qura’an has not expounded on these topics exclusively as a subject matter but rather alluded to them as causative-weaknesses of human behavior.

 

Tangibility

Acquired traits of human beings are of immense consequence. Most of the aberrations in human behavior stem from these, as a consequence of upbringing, culture, education, and training etc. We, in general, become so accustomed to tangibility that often, substitutes even God (Allah SWT) with someone or something conspicuous. For example instead of relying on God and asking Him to fulfill our needs we resort to some acquaintance. We always, as an impulse, think of rich and powerful to help us rather than the one who made them rich and powerful. This behavioral aberration emanates from “cognitive easement” which triggers the instant sense of association culminating in instant reposal of trust in thus cognized entity. (This cognitive easement, however, is normally one-sided and may or may not be fortuitous). On the contrary, cognitive journey, towards an unseen or invisible entity, would require deliberated efforts and conviction to be completed and fruitful. This behavioral pattern vividly explains the difference in the approach and mindset of an unbeliever* from that of a believer. This aspect of human tangibility and vassal has been aptly articulated in Surah Zuukhruf 43, V 31 & 32.                                                      *(A professed believer could also act as an unbeliever).

 

Vassal

Pagans of Arabia often raised the objection that why Prophet Mohammad (PBUH); being of an ordinary background, has been accorded the prestige of Prophet-hood instead of some rich and powerful person of the town; who could have helped them with some mercy (compassion/favor) and put them to work. Ironically we, in our own time, often witness people coagulating around rich and powerful due to habituation with vassal and tangibility. Prophet Noah, (A.S) also complained of such an attitude of his people in Surah Nuh 71, V-21. Exegesis of Surah Tur 52, V-37 predicates the issue of similar attitude as well.

 

A couple of anecdotes, which would help bring the point home, are quoted here.

1) When Prophet Moses (A.S) journeyed to Mount Sinai (Zion) for 40 days his people, in his absence, started worshiping a “CALF” instead of God (Because it was visibly and tangibly right there).

2) When Prophet Moses (A.S) crossed river Nile and reached the other side, the first thing his people saw was; a tribe worshiping an idol, therefore, due to sudden tangibility impulse, they demanded that Prophet Moses (A.S) should make them a statue of God, like theirs. This probably was the worst example of habituation with tangibility. Prophet Moses (A.S) who just saved Israelites from the clutches of Pharaoh-god’s (tangibility/vassal): who they were forced to worship, wanted to worship an “idol” instead of God!

 

Translation (Surah Zukhruf 43, v 31, 32)

“They say! Why Qura’an is not revealed on any one of the great men of the two big cities?” “Is it they who distribute mercy of your Lord? We distributed among them their livelihood in this world and raised some of them in ranks over the others so that some of them may put some others to work. And Mercy of your Lord is much better than what they (the rich and powerful) may have accumulated” (wealth and resources etc)

 

Explanation (Exegesis)

“Mercy” here represents the Prophet (PBUH); which they objected to for being of humble background, and asked why not one of the rich men from big cities like Mecca or Taif has been chosen for this august office? God answered by admonishing them, that you can’t even handle the small economies of your cities, division of labor, distribution of resources etc, how dare you suggest, who should be chosen as a Prophet? God then declared that some of you have been accorded a higher rank; to act (like) as an Economic Manager, and that they have also been assigned resources (economy). Then He cautioned, that despite their higher ranks, do not seek favors from them (vassal) as My mercy is far better than their hoardings (wealth and resources—attractive to most human beings)” Human beings thus have been given a befitting answer with a warning about their weakness (I seek Allah’s refuge for any inadvertent misinterpretation or mistake)

 

1* – Fear (of not being able to do justice to the great task of worshiping God and recognizing His greatness). (Khashiyyah)  is the real term used, instead of fear, for its use is limited with reference to God only.  Khashiyyah} can loosely be translated as “Awe”.   “Fear” {Khawf}  ordinarily, is from  the other sentient beings.

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Masturbation (“ASTAMNA’A” in Arabic) from Islamic perspective.

September 7, 2016

It’s a pandemic of our times. Easy accessibility to explicit, stimulating material is the main cause for indulging in this practice.

Muslim scholars have pondered upon this issue from various logical and practical angles. There are several reasons why a person, male or female, may resort to this mode of satisfaction. I used this sentence deliberately because God has put in place an auto-piloted system of satisfaction—through wet-dreams—without the burden of sin or sense of guilt. One more thing which is worth remembering here is that; sin itself is not as grave as the contemplation thereof; for sin lasts a few minutes, whereas the contemplation thereof could last as long as the contemplator wants his fantasy to continue. It is the contemplation of the sin which leads to its execution, whereupon one is rendered blameworthy.

In Islam, there is a tested and trusted way to ward off the lecherous thoughts. That is through piety, frequently worshipping and fasting. This way is often prescribed by the devout to the novice. One who cultivates his body by means of gluttony serves his lust because when a man’s belly is filled with food he desires foolishness and his lust waxes great and his lower soul rises to seek her pleasure. (Sahl  b. Abdallah Tustari).

Prophet (PBUH) and Qura’an both have instructed one to get married to stave off any sex-related offense or crime. God promised financial well-being to those who would get married, despite their poor financial standing, to avoid indulgence in a sex related sin. (Surah Munafiqun # 64, V-9) Now it remains simply a matter of one’s determination and taqwa (piety).

After presenting the remedial suggestion here is what most Muslim scholars resorted to, declaring masturbation absolutely forbidden. Surah Al Ma’arij #70, V 27-30-31. Which reads: “Indeed the torment of their Lord is not something to be fearless from. And those who guard their private parts except, from their wives and slave girls, owned by their right hand, are not blameworthy. But the ones who seek sexual gratification beyond that are the transgressors” In verse # 32 & 33 it also says “and those who are careful about their trust and covenants & those who are upright in their testimonies” are not blameworthy.

What Scholars deduced here, is the applicability of general meanings of the verses to the particularity of masturbation; in the sense of abusing the private parts (self-indulgence for the sake of sexual pleasure).; It tantamounts to a breach of trust, which God placed in man by endowing him with these parts for good purposes.

On the judgment day, when sinners would be denying their sins, God will make them shut up and make their body parts testify against them. These parts would thus be confirming the breach of trust committed by the sinners. (Surah Yasin 36, v-65)(Surah Al Noor 24, V-24)

                     A worth reading dialogue regarding the parts testifying

“I was amazed at how a servant will dispute with his Lord on the Day of Resurrection. He will say, “My Lord, did You not promise me that you would not treat me unjustly” Allah will say, “Yes.” The man will say, “I will not accept any witness against me except, from myself.” Allah will say, “Is it not sufficient that I and the angels, the noble scribes, are witnesses” These words will be repeated several times, then a seal will be placed over his mouth and his organs (or limbs) will speak about what he used to do. Then he will say, “Away with you! It was only for your sake that I was arguing!”)” It was recorded by him and Ibn Abi Hatim. It was also recorded by Muslim and An-Nasa’i. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abu Burdah said that Abu Musa said, “The disbeliever or the hypocrite will be called to account and his Lord will show him his deeds, but he will deny them and say, `O Lord, by Your glory, this angel has written about me something that I did not do.’ The angel will say to him, `Did you not do such and such on such and such a day in such and such a place’ He will say, `No, by Your glory O Lord, I did not do it.’ When he does that, a seal will be placed over his mouth.” Al-Ash`ari, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “I think that the first part of his body to speak will be his right thigh.”

 

Here is an interesting anecdote, specific to masturbation. A young man asked Ibn Abbas, a religious figure of a high station. “I am an unmarried young man and at times I fear hardship upon me, therefore, I masturbate” Ibn Abbas turned his face from him and said “Alas! It would be better to even marry a slave girl, and yet it is better than adultery” It suggests three options. (1) Marrying a slave girl and bringing a child into slavery, (2)masturbating,  (3) and the worst, committing the adultery, so the masturbating ranks the least evil of the three options; when resorted to prevent the worst; which is adultery, yet it does not render it permissible.(From Ahya Ulum-Ad-Din—-Revival of religious sciences).

 

This is how it is interpreted in Islamic fiqha Jurisprudence by various learned scholars/Imams.

Maliki, Shafaii and Zaidites-Absolutely forbid it. (In the light of Surah # 23, V-1 to 7) This opinion is shared by most of the “jurists” scholars.

Hanafites-–Forbid in cases like sexual gratification—but—-declare it obligatory when fornication is feared (ijtihad based conclusion). Hanbalites concur with Hanafites.

Sayyidna Ata (R.A) declared is (makroh) reprehensible.

 

The notion that the hand of the masturbator, will emerge pregnant in the hereafter, andSayyidna Sa’id Ibn jubair (R.A)’s narration that a nation; who used to fondle their private parts, was destroyed and also a Hadith saying that “Cursed is he who married his hand” are  all weak, uncorroborated and lacking chain of narrators.

(I seek God Almighty’s refuge, should there be any inadvertent misinterpretation or misrepresentation in this treatise).

 

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Transgendered & Eunuch in Islam

August 6, 2016

 

This issue nowadays, especially in the west, is commonly debated, in the context of gender equality. Unfortunately, this topic is mixed with homosexuality and then, contemptuously, hurled at Muslims, due to a clear cut position in Islamic jurisprudence against homosexuality.

I would, therefore, try to express Islamic point of view mainly on the transgendered, since the issue of homosexuals is clearly settled, in Islam as well as in other Divine religions. First and foremost, the question of their impermissibility in Islam does not  arise since their existence is an undeniable reality. They are created by the same Creator who created cis-gendered.

 

There are several categories of them which need to be understood.

Trans-sexual:-  Those who want to be opposite of what they are or look like.

Transvestite:- Those who are apparently male but act like a woman (effeminate).

Trans-queer:- Those who have both the male and female organs/tendencies.

Mukhannas (Arabic for Eunuch):- who is either due to castration or naturally has not sexual desires.

Mukhannathan (Arabic for Trans-queer or double-gendered):- who generally hides his masculinity to mix with women.

(One may find these classifications overlapping and confusing at times)

Qura’an as a matter of principle deals with the issues of main concerns. Since laws are made for common occurrences and not exceptions. Despite the fact that nowadays we witness relatively somewhat higher proportion of transgendered people, or we may say, have wider awareness and discussion on the topic, they still constitute a fairly small part of the overall population. Qura’an does not specifically or categorically deals with the topic of transgendered as a subject matter except that in one of the Surah Nur # 24, V-31 it says, inter alia, male attendants who lack vigor” and then in Surah Waqiah # 56, V-61 it says “…We may transform you and make you (afresh) as you know not” Then in the successive verse it also alludes to the previous creations (per exegetic interpretation:-  referring to the transformation of human into the apes, monkeys and swine etc).  Then in verse 63 man is questioned as to “What do you cultivate” If this Surah, in its broadest possible scope, anyway refers to transgendered people then they are presented rather as an anomaly, for common people, to ward off heedlessness. Then in another surah 82:8, It is said “He created you in whatever form He willed” That is probably the reason that least has been said about them in Qura’an or Hadith!

This interpretation seems to be corroborated by two instances with reference to the Prophet (PBUH) Sunnah. In one he ordered a transgender to be expelled from the city and did not approve of killing him. (For, he was a praying person). In the second instance, a transgender (most likely Eunuch) was allowed to help his wives. (Although caution of Hijab was ordered subsequently)

Here is a different, though somewhat confusing, point of view.

“According to some “authors” (I guess it means writers/scholars) the Qur’an explicitly recognizes that there are some people who are neither male nor female. Verses 42:49-42:50 are translated by these authors as: “To God belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. It creates what it wills. It prepares for whom it wills females, and it prepares for whom it wills males. Or it marries together the males and the females, and it makes those whom it wills to be ineffectual (barren)”. According to these authors the usual English translation of these verses which mention God ‘giving daughters or sons to whom it wills and gives some people both sons and daughters’, is problematic. They argue that the verses, in fact, describe varieties of sexual orientation and gender(http://www.well.com/user/aquarius/Qurannotes.htm). One scholar has noted that commentaries on Surah13.3 which refers to ‘every kind of fruit being made in pairs’ also recognized that there is a third sex in plants. This scholar believes that it is possible to conclude that as there is a third sex in plants there may also be a third sex ‘unisex’ in animals and humans (unpublished paper)”

(I, the writer of this article, do not vouch for this interpretation as the verses quoted are not explicit about the issue as claimed).

Now here are some ancillary issues which may be of interest to believers and non-believers alike.

Transgendered people, who have a sexual urge, one way or the other, and the means to afford a marriage, are allowed to marry, by several scholars. (needless to say, with opposite of their own urges and genitals).

They are also allowed, by some scholars, the reassignment of gender-operations performed if they wish to do so.

Their gender will be determined by the genital used for urination until adolescence, thereafter by the nature of wet dreams, whether of a male or female?  If this person developed breast and also acts accordingly will be considered a female and treated accordingly.

There might be a situation where it may be difficult to distinguish domineering tendency. In such a situation this person would be classed as—Trans-queer (difficult-gender).

Under Islamic jurisprudence, such person would not be allowed to marry. He would also not be given the funeral bath at his demise, but rather “Tayammum” Dry-bath, or Dust-bath. Mehram (blood-relative) should perform it. In the absence of a Mehram, another person should wear some sort of gloves.

Difficult-gender (having both the genital organs) cannot wear silk and jewelry due to the possibility of him being more of a male than the female.

Such person should go out with some Mehram only, should he be more of a female than the male.

Such people should be accorded same respect and dignity as any normal person. They should not be forced into prostitution or some other lowly, demeaning situations at any cost…Doing so is a grave sin. Given the situation they are in, which is not of their own making but beyond their control, Qura’an in Surah Baqarah # 2, V-233 and in several other verses instructs to treat others (including anomalous and incapacitated people) with justice and fairness.

 

Needless to say that “eunuch”, who are bereft of sexual urges; could reach the highest echelon of spiritual excellence, should they devote themselves to the Creator in the right ways. It would also be worth mentioning that “Eunuchs” have played very important roles in various settings and have been even the rulers in the past.

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