12 December, 2017

Blog

Muslim Women’s Lib & Liberal Islam – Part II

By Izeth Hussain

Izeth Hussain

Izeth Hussain

The abrogated verses of the Koran arising out of contradictions between verses are not negligible in number but are very substantial: according to one estimate they concern as much as 71 out of 114 Suras (Chapters) in the Koran. The question of abrogation has proved to be highly controversial. Most Christians, accustomed as they are to what is called I believe the Higher Criticism of the Bible developed since the nineteenth century, will conclude that the Koran does not consist only of the revelations provided to the Prophet but that there were later interpolations. But most Muslims won’t accept that because they hold that the Koran was put together in a final and definitive form shortly after the death of the Prophet, unlike the holy texts of other religions which took decades and more for final collation. However that could lead to the conclusion that Islam postulates a God who kept on changing his mind just like fallible human beings.

That of course is totally unacceptable to Muslims whatever the sect to which they belong. The only way out is to hold with proponents of the liberal critique of orthodox Islam that there are two dimensions to the Koran, one of which is eternal and universal and the other is temporary and locally specific. I quote again Montgomery Watt on the doctrine of abrogation: “The idea underlying the doctrine is that certain commands to the Muslims were only of temporary application, and that when circumstances changed they were abrogated or replaced by others”. As I have shown above there were three different Koranic positions on the drinking of wine within a single lifetime, that of the Prophet. How on earth are we to suppose that the provisions of the Sharia, formulated by four Islamic legists two centuries and more after the death of the Prophet, are sacrosanct and immutable for all time? The commonsense of the matter is that if God had wanted to prescribe a comprehensive legal code valid for all time, He would have done so in the Koran. He did not, and I find myself forced to accept the liberal critique that the Sharia is a human construct and not something Divinely ordained. The Divine Law is a misnomer.

Muslim-Women colombotelegraphI will now provide some instances to show that Koranic injunctions and recommendations have been ignored in Muslim practice even though the Muslims themselves regard them as the direct word of God, not mediated by the Prophet but conveyed by him to humanity. The most famous instance is that of the cutting off of hands for theft. It is an injunction not just a recommendation, a categorical and not a conditional injunction with no ifs and buts about it. And yet it has not been put into practice in the greater part of the Islamic world. That is not because of adaptation to the norms and values of modernity, but something that prevailed from the days of early Islam. The Caliph Omar, the second Caliph of Islam, ordered the cutting off of the hand of a man convicted for stealing food. Omar, famous for his fearlessness and uncompromising integrity, rescinded his order after he was told that that man had stolen food under conditions of famine. Therefore, even a categorical Koranic injunction, no less than the word of God, was not regarded as sacrosanct but as open to denial or modification according to conditions of time and place. How can we regard the provisions of the Sharia as sacrosanct and immutable for all time?

I will now provide instances of Koranic recommendations that are not put into practice. Slavery is allowed in the Koran but the freeing of slaves is recommended and the attitude towards it is thoroughly negative. According to the letter of the Koran, slavery should today be allowed while it is discouraged. But it is banned all over the Muslim world – Saudi Arabia being I believe the last country to ban it in the second half of the last century. Another instance is that of lex talionis, the retaliatory law of an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth which is allowed in Suras 2:178; 5:45; and 16:126. I wrote of it as follows: “But no Muslim state will today allow its citizens to take the law into their own hands, obviously because lex talionis is appropriate only to societies without a centralized state providing police and judicial authorities. No traditionalist argues that lex talionis must be permitted today. This is a clear example of Koranic law changing with changing circumstances”.

It appears therefore that both the liberal Muslims on the one hand and on the other the traditionalists who are all for a rigid application of the Sharia are agreed in going against Koranic injunctions and recommendations that are outrageously out of sync with the modern world, such as the cutting off of hands for theft and slavery. But there is an exception: polygamy is outrageously out of sync with the modern world but the liberal Muslims and the traditionalists are polarized about it. We have to wonder about the reasons for that polarization.

I quote from my seminar paper: “But neither did the Prophet say that we must practice polygamy. It is known that the verse on polygamy was the consequence of the battle of Uhud in which Muslim males were decimated, and furthermore it is hedged by the important condition that all wives have to be treated equally. Yusuf Ali and others have argued that that condition is impossible of fulfillment, and therefore polygamy should be banned. It can also be argued on the basis of Sura 24:32 that monogamy is in reality preferred to polygamy. Nevertheless there has been a fierce insistence that polygamy is allowed by immutable Koranic law”. So, Koranic law that is mutable when it concerns theft and slavery suddenly becomes immutable when it concerns polygamy. What is the explanation for this inconsistency? The explanation, I believe, is that polygamy unlike theft and slavery concerns the position of women in relation to men. What the traditionalists really want is the continued unIslamic subjugation of women. And behind that is a fear of change and a conservative backing of the powerful against the powerless. I will be arguing that case later citing the views of the Algerian Emeritus Professor at the Sorbonne, Mohammed Arkoun, and others.

I come now to the second source of the Sharia, namely the hadiths which are the Traditions of the Prophet, meaning the record of what he said and what he did. There are thousands of them and six books of the hadiths are accepted as having canonical status, with the ones by Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim being regarded as the most authoritative. I quote from my seminar paper: “It is known that in the vast corpus of the hadiths, most were apocryphal or worse, as they were motivated by inter-sect and inter-dynastic rivalries. Bukhari, Muslim, and the other editors of the six canonical books adopted what was regarded as a rigorous methodology so far as isnad (genealogy) was concerned, tracing back each hadith to the time of the Prophet through reliable witnesses. But it appears that they ignored matn (content), and consequently there are many contradictory hadiths. Their methodology has been criticized by Goldziher in the nineteenth century and several other European scholars. The work of Joseph Schacht is regarded as authoritative by some Muslim scholars”.

I proceeded to make the important point that it must not be supposed that European criticism of the hadiths was motivated by Orientalist ill-will towards Islam. Louis Massignon, generally regarded as the greatest of the European Islamologists, who became a devout Catholic through the impact on him of Islam, made critical observations on the hadiths in his work of dazzling scholarship establishing the historicity of Salman the Persian, one of the five original Companions of the Prophet. But it was in fact a Muslim, Sir Seyed Ahmed Khan, who in the nineteenth century first criticized the methodology used by Bukhari and others, and he did so in terms that were later used by Goldziher. In his The Traditions of Islam (1924) Alfred Guillaume quotes some pages from Ibn Khaldun, the great medieval historian, questioning the authenticity of the hadiths. He also quotes from Moulavi Cheragh Ali, a disciple of Sir Ahmed, questioning the authenticity of all the hadiths in a work published in 1885. The criticism of Schacht has been accepted by Professor Fazlur Rahman. It has also been accepted by Asaf Fyzee in his text book Outlines of Muslim Law (1987) which had gone into several editions since its original publication in 1947. I am providing these details to establish that the questioning of the authenticity of the hadiths has behind it a solid Islamic tradition going back to the great Ibn Khaldun in the Middle Ages.

To be continued…

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 2
    2

    CT, please allow experts of a subject to opinionate on the subject.

    • 2
      0

      Izeth Hussain

      RE: Muslim Women’s Lib & Liberal Islam – Part II

      1. “Therefore, even a categorical Koranic injunction, no less than the word of God, was not regarded as sacrosanct but as open to denial or modification according to conditions of time and place. How can we regard the provisions of the Sharia as sacrosanct and immutable for all time?”

      Thanks for pointing out, using Reason, that the so called Saharia is man-made by the Theologians, the Ulema, the so-called “learned” Islamic Scholars.

      2. Let’s see what the most respected and the best Islamic Scholar and Philosopher, Ibn Rashd, Averroes, Ibn Rushd (14 April 1126 – 10 December 1198), full name (ʾAbū l-Walīd Muḥammad Ibn ʾAḥmad Ibn Rushd‎), had to say about these Quranic interpretations, by the Theologians and Islamic “Scholars”.

      The Islamic Scholars are hung up on whether the Quran was created and temporal or uncreated or eternal. Reading the works of Averroes, the top Islamic Scholar of All time, is not hung up.( Some Islamic “Scholars” and others are still hung up on the Earth spinning on its axis and moving around the Sun.)

      On Top, those who understand the “Holy Book”, and therefor by corollary, the Sharia.

      1. The People with knowledge- The Philosophers. The Quran is for them to interpret accurately.

      2. The Theologians are Literalists*. They are like Parrots. They are literalists.

      * adherence to the exact letter or the literal sense, as in translation or interpretation:

      3. The Common People. They just listen, to whatever, the Theologians say.
      Idiotic “Theologians” such as Abdul Wahhab says, idiotic things, the Wahhabi’s, who do not know do and follow.

      4. Just look the Average GMAT Scores of Wahhabi Saudi Arabian Graduates. They are at the bottom Globally, with the lowest scores. Do you want such “Scholars” to interpret the Quran and define Sharia?

      https://humanvarietiesdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/gmatregressionplot.png

      If Allah, God, selected the Wahhabies-Salafies to be true, how come they are so stupid among all the people, as far as the Wahhabi graduates are concerned, Are they people of knowledge or Stupidity? The Data says Stupidity.

      Besides the Wahhabies are among the fattest people in the world with the highest obesity.

      http://www.worldatlas.com/articles/29-most-obese-countries-in-the-world.html

      Did God, Allah wanted it that way, so that they will die early and enter Hell-Fire with Satan, Shytan?

      All they want is to suppress women, by using Sharia as an excuse, claiming that that was what God, Allah intended. So, this needs to be exposed.

    • 1
      0

      Izeth Hussain

      RE: Muslim Women’s Lib & Liberal Islam – Part II

      //”That of course is totally unacceptable to Muslims whatever the sect to which they belong. The only way out is to hold with proponents of the liberal critique of orthodox Islam that there are two dimensions to the Koran, one of which is eternal and universal and the other is temporary and locally specific. I quote again Montgomery Watt on the doctrine of abrogation: “The idea underlying the doctrine is that certain commands to the Muslims were only of temporary application, and that when circumstances changed they were abrogated or replaced by others”.//

      Thank you for you writing and effort in trying to free the Muslim women and girls from the shackles of the Theologians, Ulema and other Tribals.

      Please remember that the Theologians, Ulema, and others will likely accept only data and reason that comes from the Quran, Hadith and respected and recognized Islamic Scholars. The Wahhanites will not even o that.

      How do you define a respected Islamic Scholar? Somebody who knows the Quran and Hadith by heart, and interprets everything literally ?

      Or is it somebody who digests, comprehends the knowledge given in the Quran and Hadith, processes it using reason, and comes to an intelligent and rational collision? Who are they? They are philosophers, says the top Islamic Scholar, Jurist and Philosopher, Ibn Rishd, aka Averrores.

      Ranking order.

      1. The People with knowledge- The Philosophers. The Quran is for them to interpret accurately, Not the Theologians and Ulema.

      2. The Theologians are Literalists. They are like Parrots. They are literalists.

      3. The Common People. They just listen, to whatever, the Theologians say.

      You certainly have an uphill battle to get the Muslim women and girls human rights. Remember even in the West it was about a century ago that the women were given voting rights.

  • 2
    7

    Dear Sir,

    All problems supposed to be affecting SL Muslim women must be sorted out within the community. Funny thing is some of the people crying for Muslim women are from the “Sathi Pooja” camp! Surely Muslim women are far more intelligent and better off than them.

    • 5
      1

      Yes-Must be sorted out by Muslim women. Their voices are not heard and it is the Mullah’s voices that reverberates and not the voices of the women who suffer under the system, with polygamy, unconditional divorce by men, non payment of maintenance for the divorced women ( unlike the women who are divorced under the general law) and the patriarchal quazi who sits in judgement.

      It must be sorted out on human rights perspective and progressive interpretation of the sacred texts.

    • 4
      0

      If the community is, and has been oppressing women for centuries, you cannot expect “the community” to do anything except carry on the old sins.

      Yo need help.

      The original “community” even immediately after the death of the earliest religious leaders has split into many splinter faiths precisely because of this impossibility of getting all the help from within the community. The claim about doing all within the community is like the mafia not wanting any outsiders getting to know what they are doing.

      Similarly, when Karuna broke away from Prabhakaran he said he will settle it within the LTTE, without outside interference, and send his goons to try to eliminate Karuna.
      “Within community” means purging those who want change without interference from outside.

      This is shameful. I am a Muslim and I know this game well.

      Bodin

  • 1
    2

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

    • 1
      0

      Rajash

      This is too long.

      Keep it brief.

      • 1
        2

        I didn’t know that ice cream is an offensive word for Muslims

  • 3
    2

    Izeth Hussain

    RE: Muslim Women’s Lib & Liberal Islam – Part II

    1. “The commonsense of the matter is that if God had wanted to prescribe a comprehensive legal code valid for all time, He would have done so in the Koran. He did not, and I find myself forced to accept the liberal critique that the Sharia is a human construct and not something Divinely ordained. The Divine Law is a misnomer.”

    Thank you for your excellent write up. When Amarasiri was reading, thinking of Averroes, Al-Ghazali and Aristotle, writings that caused calamity for the Islamic Theologians, Ulema, 900 years ago.The Theologians and Ulema,prevailed then, not because they were correct, because of political reasons. Islamic Science and Philosophy was stagnant and downhill since then.

    A similar storm happened in the Christian world with Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler, but the Age of reason prevailed in the West, Joshua in the Bible notwithstanding.

    2. “I will now provide some instances to show that Koranic injunctions and recommendations have been ignored in Muslim practice even though the Muslims themselves regard them as the direct word of God.”

    One must read up on the greatest Islamic Scholar, Philosopher and Polymath,
    the works of the Islamic Scholar Averroes, Ibn Rushd (14 April 1126 – 10 December 1198), full name (ʾAbū l-Walīd Muḥammad Ibn ʾAḥmad Ibn Rushd‎), often Latinized as Averroes.

    He articulated Reason and Philosophy, and Philosophers above the Theologians and the common man, in the interpretation of the Quran and the knowledge constrained in them.

    This has become a power struggle with the Theologians.

    Separation of Variables –For the Philosophers and those with common sense, Math is Fun. Math is not the Devil, Philosophy, is not the Devil, Reason is not the Devil, Science is not the Devil. Not so for the Theologians.It is a threat.

    Read up on Al Ghazali ans Averroes debate.

    This debate continues….

  • 0
    6

    Ignore Islamophobe writeups which are hell bound.

    • 3
      0

      Maghribi

      Wahhanies and their clones, called Wahhabites, are hell bound, because they follow Satan, Iblis, on the day of judgement, as per Islamic Theology.

  • 3
    6

    Muslim women must liberate Izeth Hussain from his evilness.

    • 1
      1

      Ayub Khan

      Read the works of ,,,

      One must read up on the greatest Islamic Scholar, Philosopher and Polymath,
      the works of the Islamic Scholar Averroes, Ibn Rushd (14 April 1126 – 10 December 1198), full name (ʾAbū l-Walīd Muḥammad Ibn ʾAḥmad Ibn Rushd‎), often Latinized as Averroes.

      He articulated Reason and Philosophy, and Philosophers above the Theologians and the common man, in the interpretation of the Quran and the knowledge constrained in them.

      This has become a power struggle with the Theologians, the Literists and those who know and have knowledge, BEYOND the Literists, the Philosophers.

    • 2
      0

      Please do not generalise. Let us know how, why and where you disagree with Izeth Hussein. Then we can logically argue.

  • 1
    2

    From this paper one has to gather that Islam is the most modern of religions founded on the on the most primitive of ideas and beliefs.very good examples are the instances of women covering their faces,the systems of punishments like the cutting off of hands where there is no forgiveness, circumcision of young girls etc. It is in fact believed that Prophet Mohamed was a paedophile.Bensen

    • 1
      0

      Bensen Berner

      “From this paper one has to gather that Islam is the most modern of religions founded on the on the most primitive of ideas and beliefs.”

      If you go by the Theology and Practices of Wahhabites and their Tribal habits, it will say so.

      If you go by the Theology and Practices of many Ulema and Mullah’s, the so-called Islamic Scholars, reason will say so.

      However, if you go by the greatest Islamic Scholar, Philosopher and Polymath,
      the works of the Islamic Scholar Averroes, Ibn Rushd (14 April 1126 – 10 December 1198), full name (ʾAbū l-Walīd Muḥammad Ibn ʾAḥmad Ibn Rushd‎), often Latinized as Averroes, using reason and philosophy, you will come to a different conclusion.

      Read up on his works. Quite enlightening.

      He corrected many Islamic “scholars”.

      He articulated Reason and Philosophy, and Philosophers as above the Theologians and the common man, in the interpretation of the Quran and the knowledge constrained in them. He wrote on logic, Aristotelian and Islamic philosophy, theology, the Maliki school of Islamic jurisprudence, psychology, political and Andalusian classical music theory, geography, mathematics, and the mediæval sciences of medicine, astronomy, physics, and celestial mechanics.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Averroes

      Aristotle and Averroes Lyrics

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOlzx4_FSQE

      This has become a power struggle with the Theologians. They want to show their hegemony, by suppressing the women. It is like the higher caste Hindus showing their power by suppressing the lower caste Hindus.

      Similar to Sinhala “Buddhism”. Para-Sinhala “Buddhism”is an insult to pristine Buddhism and the Buddhist Philosophy. Besides, Mahawamsa of Monk Mahanama is an insult to the Buddha.

  • 2
    1

    Liberal Islam is a contradiction in terms.
    It doesn’t exist, except in Hussein’s writings aimed at deceiving.

    • 2
      0

      Slayer,

      One does not talk of Islam and Liberalism in the same sentence or page. Though slow, change is coming. More Islamists throughout the world are questioning key aspects of the medieval, uncompromising religion and its stone age practises. Salman Rushdie is not the only one.

      Currently, a former young Imam is on a visit to Europe and draws a large following wherever he undertakes public speaking. Father Mario Joseph, now converted to Christianity, says of 114 Chapters 6666 Verses in the Koran only 4 references to Prophet Mohamed whereas there are 25 for Jesus. He points out there is hardly any reference in the Koran to women except for Mariyam – mother of Jesus. Fr. Joseph says he was the 3rd of 6 children and his father tried to kill him when he announced he was converting to Islam. Not much liberalism there.

      Fr.Joseph says Mohamed married 24 times/wives????

      Devanam Piyadasa

      • 1
        0

        Piyadasa,
        The fact that the Quran makes mention of Jesus, more than Muhammad (PBOH)and about a Chapter named after Mary, mother of Jesus and I wish to add, no mention of the mother of Prophet Muhammad is the proof of ts Divine Origin Further the fact that Muhammad (PBOH) was illiterate. Whenever revelation came to him,he got his scribes to write it down, and many are those who committed it to memory.No other scripture has been committed to memory .
        There are millions of Muslims ,from children to elders both men and women who have memorized the entire Quran.
        I don’t blame you ,as the cause is Izzeth Hussain, who writes without any knowledge of Islam.
        He is attempting to write about Quran, what our great Scholars of past and present would not attempt.
        There is a subject, known as Ulumul Quran, which explains everything.It is too wide a subject to discuss it here.
        It is better to say one does not know, than attempt to explain and go out of the fold of Islam.
        My advice to everyone is to learn what their religion teaches and put it into practice and we can have a peaceful society.
        No religion teaches anything bad. Sadly it is the priests and monks who have corrupted them.
        FURTHER I WANT TO MAKE IT CLEAR ISLAM HAS NO MONKS,PRIESTS OR CLERICS.
        I find some reference to Mullahs. The word itself is not Arabic it is an Urdu word.

  • 1
    0

    Muslim Women’s Lib & Liberal Islam
    The title appears to be ridiculous.
    There are various instances that women were punished when they were raped and were in helpless position.
    1. There were instances that when a Muslim girl loves a boy of another faith, she is beaten to death. No freedom to choose her life-partner.
    2. There are various instances that women were stoned to death for reasons known to them.
    3. If anyone speaks against an Imam for wrongs he could not account properly, she is punished if there is allegation of sexual crime or even for infringing the dress code. E.g. a Pakistani actress was punished.
    4. If Muslim man commits a crime on woman no action is taken against him. For instance what action was taken against Rauff Hakim for the death of Kumari Rodrigo. Everything was hushed up.
    The list is long. Mr.Izeth Hussain how do you account for such injustices.

  • 2
    0

    This man needs to first and foremost learn the Arabic Alphabet. He spells the revealed book of the Muslims as Koran just like the disbelieving western media spells it. I wouldn’t probe this further but give the man the benefit of the doubt. The word starts with the Arabic letter “Qaf” and pronounced from the throat. Qaf is one of the letters that doesn’t really have a counterpart in English. The Arabic letter qaf represents the sounds of q. Qaf is a gruff letter that represents a gruff sound. Like in the name of the Noble Book of Muslims ( Quran ). “Quran” begins with a gruff Qaf not a soft Kaf. It is written as ( قُـرآن ) not ( كُـرآن )

    • 0
      0

      IZZETH,
      If you accept Sir Syed’s criticism of the methodology of Imam Bukhari,I fear for you. I have read the biography of the
      Imam and I am amazed of his scholarship, his memory and his collecting of the authentic hadiths.So,much so that
      today the most authentic source of Islam, after the Qur’aan is SAHIH UL Bukhari .

      During all his travels, Imam Bukhari had one aim: to gather as much knowledge as possible and to make the greatest possible collection of the Traditions of the Holy Prophet. He wrote profusely all the time. He once said that, “l have written about 1800 persons, each of whom had a Saying of the Prophet, and I have written only about those who have passed my test of truthfulness.”

      The Imam possessed one of the most amazing memories, and his contribution to the science of the Ahadith remains unequalled. He wrote several books on Ahadith but in his book: “Al-Jami-al-Sahih’: the Imam had recorded all the Sayings of the Prophet which he found to be genuine after thorough examination and scrutiny. He spent sixteen years in research and examined more than sixty thousand Sayings from which he selected some 7,275 Sayings whose genuineness and accuracy he established beyond the slightest doubt. Deducting duplicates, the Imam’s collection contain about four thousand distinct Sayings.

      Imam Bukhari was extremely charitable in his remarks and opinions about men and scholars. Seldom did he brand the reporter of a false or inaccurate Hadith as a liar or forger, but simply called him “untrustworthy”.
      This last sentence should show ,that despite his scholarship he did not condemn those who were not correct,like
      Sir Syed and Izzeth, who quotes him.
      I must thank Abu,for his comment,about Izzeth’s “Koran”” !!

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.