25 May, 2017

Muslim Women’s Lib & Liberal Islam – Part III

By Izeth Hussain

Izeth Hussain

Izeth Hussain

A point to be noted and emphasized is that the hadiths came to be questioned not only after the four schools of law – those of Abu Hanifa, Shafi, Malik, and ibn Hanbal – were adopted as integral parts of orthodox Islam. They were questioned by one of the four legists whose systems were given canonical status. Abu Hanifa, whose school of law is the most widely prevalent in the Islamic world, did not use the hadiths at all as one of the bases of his system, because he regarded only 17 of them as authentic – according to Morteza Mutahhari in his book Jurisprudence and its Principles. That means that Islamic law can be formulated without any recourse to the hadiths. The corollary of that would be that any law can be regarded as Islamic provided that it is consonant with the spirit of Islam as enunciated in the Koran.

I come now to the third source of the Sharia on which I wrote as follows in my seminar paper: “The third source ijma (consensus) was regarded by Iqbal as perhaps the most important legal notion in Islam. Evidently that was because he had in mind not the ijma of the ulemas (religious scholars), but of the people, in accordance with Shafi’s view and the hadith ‘My people will never agree upon an error’. The ijma of the people might usually have been conservative, but all the same, and whatever the ulemas and the rulers may decree, the ijma of today will have to change with the ijma of tomorrow. The Muslim liberal apparently saw in ijma a potential for change, in combination with Ijtihad (independent reasoning)”. On the fourth source of the Sharia, namely qiyas (analogical reasoning) I will not say anything as it is not relevant to my argument in this article.

The above part of this article gives in broad outline the liberal critique of the sources of the Sharia. I will now give indications of how that critique views the Sharia as a whole. I quote from my seminar paper: “The above observations on Islamic jurisprudence raise questions about the validity of the Sharia as Divine Law. Liberal Muslims also raise common sense questions about the Sharia. The so-called ‘closing of the gate of Ijtihad’ means that there was consensus in the Islamic world on the canonical status of the four legal schools of Sunni orthodoxy. Iqbal points out that there was no written law up to the time of the Abbassids, and before the closure of the gate of Ijtihad there were nineteen schools of law. Were the Muslims who lived before the enunciation of the Divine Law un-Islamic?”

The following is a further quotation from my paper: “The liberals would argue that the founders of the four schools never claimed infallibility, or that they had formulated an eternally valid Divine Law. Iqbal asked ‘Did the founders of our schools ever claim finality for their reasoning and interpretations? Never’. So far from claiming finality, the Hanafites seem to have fully acknowledged that laws have to change with time and place and changing circumstances. Santilana in the Legacy of Islam, 1931 edition, quotes the Hanafites as saying, ‘The legal rule is not unchangeable, it is not the same as the rules of grammar and logic. It expresses what generally happens, and changes with the circumstances which have produced it’ “.

I will now provide some details about the actual practice of the Sharia in the predominantly Muslim countries. A reader has sent me an article which points out that only about 80 of the Koranic verses amounting to 6,236 are about specific legal injunctions. The article cites Professor Jan Michiel Otto of Leiden University in Holland who divided legal systems in predominantly Muslim countries into three categories. The first has classical Sharia systems under which the sharia has official status or a high degree of influence on the legal system. The important point is that the countries in this category are in a minority in the Islamic world. The second category, mixed systems, is the most prevalent: the Sharia covers family law while the secular courts cover everything else. The third category consists of secular systems in which the Sharia plays no role at all. The Professor mentions 17 countries in this category, including Turkey. That might seem surprising because the Ottoman Empire of Turkey prided itself on the strict observance of the Sharia, far stricter than in the earlier Arab Empires. Probably Kemal Ataturk after 1922 identified the Sharia as one of the factors that kept Turkey in a backward condition and decided to jettison it. The paradox is that Turkey has remained an intensely Islamic country, its present leader Erdogan is basically a fundamentalist, and yet it has no place for the Sharia. The details in this paragraph serve to show that in the greater part of the Islamic world the Sharia is practiced only to a limited extent, and sometimes not at all.

Before proceeding further I must declare that I am not unmindful of the fact that the intellectual brilliance shown in the formulation of the Sharia, and the profound Islamic humanism informing it, has earned encomiums from eminent non-Muslim scholars of the order of Ostorog and Hamilton Gibb and in our time Weeramantry. It remains however that the Sharia is today virtually a term of opprobrium among non-Muslims. The reason is that its perversely selective practice in a few parts of the Islamic world has projected an image of the Sharia as a legal system that is characterized by barbaric brutality and the subjugation of women. Saudi Arabia, which has its own peculiar notion of a Sharia that absorbs pre-Islamic practices, affords the spectacle every Friday of decapitated heads rolling in the dust.

As an example of the subjugation of women I pointed out in my seminar paper of 1990 that Pakistani women who complained of rape and could not prove it were brought to trial for adultery because in making the rape charge they had confessed to having engaged in sexual intercourse outside marriage. I quote: “The case of Safia Bibi is most interesting for revealing curious psychological processes at work among some Muslim traditionalists. A blind girl, Safia Bibi who complained of rape and could not prove it, was brought to trial for adultery and jailed. She escaped lashing only because she was pregnant. The case acquired international notoriety, the judgment was reversed, and Safia freed”.

My main purpose in this article has been to establish that there is no such thing as the Divine Law, and the provisions of the Sharia cannot therefore be regarded as immutable. That has been shown not only at the theoretical level but by the practice of law in the predominantly Muslim countries for over a thousand years. That means that we can have wide latitude in reforming Muslim personal laws in Sri Lanka. I take as just one illustrative instance the problem of child marriage. It is outrageous that the marriageable age in Sri Lanka should be as low as 12 years whereas it is much higher in the predominantly Muslim countries in South Asia, and also in India which has a huge Muslim population.

In the first part of this article I stated that I would focus also on the underlying reason for which the reform of Muslim personal law has proved to be so difficult: the reform movement started by Jamaldin al Afghani in the nineteenth century has been checked first by conservative Muslim despots and since the 1970s by the spread of Wahabism. That is a complex subject that requires a separate article. In the meanwhile I will bring some facts to the notice of the reader. Extremist Muslims are estimated to be no more than 0.05% of the world’s Muslim population of more than a billion and a half. Wahabism that is not of an extremist dangerous type is certainly more widespread. But orthodox Islam still prevails among the great majority of the Muslims, and that orthodoxy is much influenced by liberal Islam. In fact in recent years there has been a revival of the movement for liberal Islam. It will prevail. (Concluded).

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    Izeth Hussain: I think you are a free thinking individual. You don’t think the way Quran asks yu to think. Your grandmother, mother, sisters, daughters are all women. In order to treat them as humans, why do you need a rule book ? What if there is a religion one day that commands how a women should treat a man or men and if it says, Treat men like scum, what do you say ? You never responds to my comments. Why don’t you respond at least to this one ?
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      Izeth Hussain, RE: Muslim Women’s Lib & Liberal Islam – Part III Isn’t this Terrorism against Women, under the Cover of Sharia, and deny them Constitutional Rights and God Given Rights? That is what the Iblis, Devil following Theologians, who lack knowledge, as per Ibn Rashd, Averroes, lacks. Can those who oppose can be charged on violation of fundamental rights issues? News Item: ED slaps Zakir Naik with money laundering case. Where is thee Wahhabi-Salafi hiding? Wahaabi-Salafi Saudi Arabia. http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2016/dec/30/ed-slaps-zakir-naik-with-money-laundering-case-1554541.html
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      Izeth Hussain, RE: Muslim Women’s Lib & Liberal Islam – Part III A perspective, an Interpretation from a Preacher.Is he Wahhabi, Amarasiri does nor know. Talking about the beauty of women, and how they lead men astray…the Wahhabi-Salafi perspective. He says, it is competition between Satan and God, an experiment, and Satan is trying to recruit people to his case. Bases ob the Hadith of Najd, Satan seems to have succeeded in recruiting the Wahhabi-Salafis. Why and How Music became Haraam,,, and How Satan Invented Music..Hypothesis.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phI9DBRZ45Q
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      jim softy. The problem here is that you overestimate your thinking abilities to understand, and tend to pose silly questions and statements which no reasonable person would answer. Get real, man!
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        sarrij: Which part of the question is silly ? Why do you need a religious code for women when men can have four women or more depending on their economic condtions ? Why women are slaves only to produce children while men decide every thing else ?
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      [Edited out] Comments should not exceed 300 words and external links are discouraged. Comment approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details.
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    Izeth Hussain RE: Muslim Women’s Lib & Liberal Islam – Part III 1. “They were questioned by one of the four legists whose systems were given canonical status. Abu Hanifa, whose school of law is the most widely prevalent in the Islamic world, did not use the hadiths at all as one of the bases of his system, because he regarded only 17 of them as authentic – according to Morteza Mutahhari in his book Jurisprudence and its Principles. That means that Islamic law can be formulated without any recourse to the hadiths. The corollary of that would be that any law can be regarded as Islamic provided that it is consonant with the spirit of Islam as enunciated in the Koran.” 2. “I come now to the third source of the Sharia on which I wrote as follows in my seminar paper: “The third source ijma (consensus) was regarded by Iqbal as perhaps the most important legal notion in Islam. Evidently that was because he had in mind not the ijma of the ulemas (religious scholars), but of the people, in accordance with Shafi’s view and the hadith ‘My people will never agree upon an error’.” 3.”The ijma of the people might usually have been conservative, but all the same, and whatever the ulemas and the rulers may decree, the ijma of today will have to change with the ijma of tomorrow. ” 4.” The Muslim liberal apparently saw in ijma a potential for change, in combination with Ijtihad (independent reasoning)” 5. “The above part of this article gives in broad outline the liberal critique of the sources of the Sharia. I will now give indications of how that critique views the Sharia as a whole. I quote from my seminar paper: “The above observations on Islamic jurisprudence raise questions about the validity of the Sharia as Divine Law” 6. “Iqbal points out that there was no written law up to the time of the Abbassids, and before the closure of the gate of Ijtihad there were nineteen schools of law. Were the Muslims who lived before the enunciation of the Divine Law un-Islamic?” Thanks for an excellent write up and analysis. The above 6 points can be better understood, if one understood the writings, thoughts and rankings by Ibn Ruahd, Averroes, a Maliki Islamic Scholar, Philosopher and Polymath, who described the understanding of the Quran, and referred to people of knowledge, Philosophers, not theologians, and common people. 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 to maintain their hegemony. 7. 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”, and the masses who listen to the Theologians. 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, says that he 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. Remember, The Catholic Theologians were wrong on the geocentric model of the planetary system, and still did NOT accept what Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler were showing with Data about the Heliocentric system. It was about Self-Interest of the Theologians. In Islam, it is not different. Question: When will the Age of Reason and Enlightenment arrive for Muslims? What about the Scientific Method that preceded it.
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      Izeth Hussain RE: Muslim Women’s Lib & Liberal Islam – Part III Let’s see how women are liberating themselves from the Theologian made Sharia. In Saudi Arabia, according to Wahhabi-Salafi “Sahria” women can’t drive. They are only good for their husbands to drive them on the bed. Women at wheel dare Jordan’s social norms http://saudigazette.com.sa/world/mena/women-wheel-dare-jordans-social-norms/
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    Izeth Hussain Why Muslim women in Sri Lanka are changing their religious identity to become Christian, Hindu and/or Buddhist?
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      Ayub Khan “Why Muslim women in Sri Lanka are changing their religious identity to become Christian, Hindu and/or Buddhist?” They are finally beginning to use Reason and the Correct Interpretation of the Quran, of the People of knowledge, The Philosophers, and not the leaser Theologians, who lack the knowledge and critical thinking skills, as succinctly explained ny Read up on 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”, and the masses who listen to the Theologians.
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        Amarasiri I thought they are getting fed up of being used as baby producing machines.
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          Ayub Khan “I thought they are getting fed up of being used as baby producing machines.” I thought they are primarily being used as ******* holes, and the collateral damage is babies, for many, as is with all women, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.
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    Izeth Hussain It’s apparent that there’s only one thing that god’s made but man hasn’t. What is that? The claim God made the claim that he created every thing, including he created him HIMSELF(how ridiculous), But no man made that claim because man is not that stupid. But the stupidity is that some men are strong believers of the claim. Izeth Hussain; please let me tell you that the world is fast changing and it is inevitable that god’s words are becoming meaningless and obsolete. Religious pundits like you still see this unseen god as a very powerful force in spite of the fact that human intellectuals can do more than that for the well being of people. So let gods only (if any) to be governed by divine law; understanding the fact that man is not divine but human so humanely made law for them. Nature (god) has made ladies attractive to men (and vice versa) because they deserve it so let them display their beauty as they want. There’s an innocent desire for anybody to reveal his/her body so don’t suppress it. Nature(god) has covered apes with fur because that’s what they deserve. So don’t go against god’s will and let ladies enjoy equal rights unless god may make you and the likes apes in your next lives. Muslim ladies be careful, there’s a possibility for you to be born as apes after your death unless you respect nature god than your stupid men.
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      [Edited out] Comments should not exceed 300 words and external links are discouraged. Comment approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details.
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        Colombo Telegraph thank you. The truth is bitter. Well you are serving your paymasters well..Amarasiris comment is more than 300. So you change the goal post to suit . @AYMAN – We introduced this word limit yesterday, sorry about that – CT
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          AYMAN “@AYMAN – We introduced this word limit yesterday, sorry about that – CT ” So you got Protection from Amarasiri’s Common Sense, logical, based on Reason with Supported Rebuttals and comments, showing clearly that the Wahhabites ( Wahhabies, Salafis, Tawheedis, ISIS, ISILL, Taliban, Deobandi, Boko-Haram etc.) are truly the followers of Satan, Iblis, Devil, Shaitan as per Islamic Theology. Reminds Amarasiri of Mahinda Rajapaksa and clones going to President Sirisena, and asking to stop the FCID, Influence the Judges to release the suspected killers, etc. Nevertheless, as per Hadith of Najd, the Wahhabites are Followers and Agents of Satan, Iblis, Shaitan. They are not even considered a School of Islam, unlike Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi and Hanbali. Wahhabites belong to the School of Satanism, Iblism. Please give up Wahhabism, and save yourself from Hell -Fire. The Data supports it.All recognized Islamic Scholars say that. Even. the brother of Abdul Wahhanb (founder of Wahhabism) said that, and he was killed by the Wahhabies. Al Azhar Scholar: ‘Wahhabism/Salafism is a Satanic Faith, the Horns of Satan
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          AYMAN “The truth is bitter” Indeed, The truth is bitter for the Wahhabies and their clones. Not much different for the Catholic Church as well. Yes, the Earth moves around the Sun, despite what the ancients and Josuha said in the Holy Bible.
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          AYMAN “Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged.” 1. CT wants it to be succinct. It will be comprehended mostly by those who have common sense and a high enough IQ. Those with low IQ will not get it. For example, it moves, whispers Galileo. May be the external links might help them, if CT allows. 2. Amarasiri has a hard time reading with all capital letters, even though he sometimes highlights certain words with capital letters, to emphasize. AYMAN, are you still on the Satan, Iblis corrupted Wahhabi ideology? If so, please get off and avoid Hell-fire. Remember the Hadith of Najd. It is one of the few Hadiths that was prescient.
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    As some reader commented sometimes back if all the Gods of al l religions come forward and tell things directly to men , in a direct God to man talk,, without sending any messengers, life would have been simple
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      The curse of the world ; “The Self Appointed Spokesmen/women of God”
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    Qudos to Br.Izeth Hussain for the enlightening 3 part article on Sharia and the womens liberation. The articles were well written and argued well, as it has always been with his weekly column. However I beg to differ on his assertion that, ‘Wahabism that is not of an extremist dangerous type is certainly more widespread’. Wahhabism is indeed the root cause of all the problems that we witness in the Muslim East and even in the heightening of tension between the Buddhists and Muslims of Sri Lanka, as well. It’s wrong to look at Wahhabis as anything different from its front organisations viz.Taliban, Al Qaida,Al Shabab, ISIS, Nusrath, Sepah Sahaba,Jangvi,etc..
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      Br Habeeb Mohammed – Thanks. I had in mind a purely factual distinction: Wahabism is more widespread than its clones such as the Taliban and the IS. I would certainly agree that Wahabism is a harmful phenomenon as shown most clearly by its clones. Some time ago I wrote a series of articles on Whahabism, in the course of which I made it clear that Wahabism and its clones should be extirpated from off the face of the earth. – IH
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        IZZETH HUSSAIN, By writing about Islam ,which you are not knowledgeable, you have created a lot of problems..There is nothing called WAHABISM and I have explained this elsewhere in my comments. You are a deviant yourself if you say that there is a Wahabi sect. When you a Muslim say this what can we expect from non-Muslims ,I have repeatedly said it and say it again,to say :”I do not know” is a sign of knowledge.. If you are to “extirpate” WAHABISM and its clones, you will have to wipe out THAWHEED (Monotheism) which is the foundation of Islam. From your writings and knowing who you are and your background,you are one of the ” seventy two groups” that are going in the wrong direction. I CHALLENGE you to say how you are going to do this. Ever since the time of Sh.Muhammad IBN Abdul Wahab, there has been an international cry and movement, but it has failed. There will come a time you and I will not be there but THAWHEED and Islam will flourish.What the SHAIKH revived. There is time for you to still repent. Well there is no compulsion in religion, and it is you who select your final abode. A knowledge of English and ability to write does not give license for you to write disparagingly of the Quran, (not your Koran) and the SUNNAH and write disparagingly and slander our Scholars. For that matter it is civilized behaviour not to speak ill of the dead,to whatever religion he belongs. In my attempt to clear misunderstandings of Islam ,I have steered clear of insulting the founders of other religions or their teachings. This is in obedience to Allah and His Prophet .(PBOH) “Oh ! Allah accept this deed of mine ” is my final prayer
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          Dear AYMAN, “There is nothing called WAHABISM and I have explained this elsewhere in my comments.” Why are you agitated? Isn’t Wahhabism following Satan, Iblis, as per the Hadith of Najd? Please give up your Wahhabism, and Avoid Hell-Fire. There is support in the Hadith and in the actions of the Wahhabies and their clones, called Wahhabites. What more do you want? There is support for the Earth spinning on its axis and orbiting the Sun. Just accept the facts, and give up Wahhabism. Avoid Hell-Fire with Shaitan.
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