Books and Documents

Islamic Sharia Laws

Though incidence of polygamy is not very high among Muslims in India still some men do marry second wife (rarely four wives as in Hindutva propaganda) by either deserting first wife or refusing to divorce her when wife asks for khula’. Thus there is need to regulate polygamy by stipulating strict conditions as required by the Qur’an and no man should be free to take another wife according to his whims. Codification would attempt to lay down such conditions and make it justiciable as per law.

 Also, triple divorce should be replaced by talaq al-sunnah or Qur’anic form of divorce both are quite fair to women. Even divorce where inevitable has to be fair to women and Qur’an repeatedly exhorts men to either retain her (in marriage) in goodness or leave her (i.e. divorce her) in kindness (2:229). She cannot be thrown out arbitrarily as it is usually done through triple and oral divorce. Law must prevail and proper procedure must be followed as laid down in Qur’an and sunnah. Triple divorce is not in keeping with either of the two,

Rethinking Muslim personal law as prevalent in India is certainly not to violate divine injunctions as often maintained by some people but to bring in much closer to divine injunctions i.e. to infuse in them a really divine spirit. Well it may not always be possible to achieve complete unanimity but certainly we will attempt to create a broad consensus around codification so that Muslims women really enjoy equal status as they are entitled to according to Qur’anic injunctions and also in accordance to modern laws. -- Asghar Ali Engineer

The screams of the young Swati girl are the knock on the door of the entire society to wake up and not allow these men and others like them, who are at best Zia's children in terms of their sense of legal fairness, to bring violence in this country in the name of religion. This is not just about better treatment of women but also a matter of justice for all and peace and tranquillity in the society. What is being presented as Sharia is in reality a system that protects the unquestioned power of those who have monopoly over violence and resources in the society. A legal system is an ever-evolving process that needn't mimic the past without taking into account the circumstances. In the words of Maulana Amin Ahsan Aslahi, religion of the past is history of the present which can only be used as a good reference point and no more. -- Ayesha Siddiqa

The question of Kafu in marriage: Casteism by back door?
Abdul Hameed No’mani, Tr. by Raihan Nezami, NewAge

The Role of Guardian in the marriage of a mature girl

The Fatawah of the invalidity of the Nikah of a mature girl with an out-of-caste boy without the guardian’s consent is considered invalid according to the book Dar Mukhtar Ma’al Shamee, in the same book before this, another Fatwah is written that the Nikah of a mature girl even without the guardian’s consent is considered valid and authentic. Maulana Khurram Ali writes after its translation, “It will be valid for both within-the-caste and out-of-caste, because the guardianship is optional, not mandatory and this is the rule of the religion. Syedna Imam-e-Azam Abu Haneefa, Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad (May Allah be pleased with Them) have also approached the same rule and opinion.

The Darul Uloom Deoband and the All India Muslim Personal Law Board are in the news again for the wrong reasons — the former for issuing another misogynist fatwa, and the latter for supporting the former’s obscurantism. The misfeasance in question this time is the pronouncement that talaq uttered by a Muslim husband in a drunken state is valid. This nonsensical ruling has once again exposed the medieval bias of some Muslim clerics. This fatwa is not just bad in law but also bad in theology, as it is not based on the Quran, the locus classicus of Islam. The Deoband muftis have been honest enough to concede that their recent articulation is grounded in the Hanafi law. It is common knowledge among Muslims that the Hanafi fiqh contains many provisions that are repugnant to reason. For instance, according to Al-Marghinani’s Hedaya, one of the most celebrated treatises of Hanafi legal thought, the wife of a missing or absconding husband can remarry only after a minimum of 90 years have elapsed from the day of his birth. -- A. FAIZUR RAHMAN

Muslim personal law board betrays word, spirit of Quran:  The Quran repeatedly asserts that “no change can there be in the words of Allah [10.64]”. It means that for any rule or law, to be Islamic, it must be consistent with the provisions of the Quran. Once this position is accepted it will become easy to make the distinction between “Quranic laws” that release mankind “from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them [7.157]” and the “cleric laws” that “mislead [men] by their appetites unchecked by knowledge [6.119]”. -- Arif Mohammed Khan

2. Dangerous liaisons: No place for polygamy in English law

3. France: Muslim marriage annulment on disputed virginity of the bride overturned

4. Australian Muslim women start fighting a repressive patriarchal system

Raja Choudhary quotes a BBC report that reads in part: “Although Yemen has a law stating that 15 is the marriageable age, it is frequently flouted, particularly in poor rural areas where society is run along tribal lines...Sheikh Hamoud Hashim al-Tharihi … cites the example of Prophet Muhammad who married six-year-old Aisha but waited for consummation till she was a little older. "Because this happened to the Prophet, we cannot tell people that it is prohibited to marry at an early age," he argues. Moreover, he claims it would harm society by spreading vice.

Few in the Muslim community share Raja’s outrage. They merely cite examples of similar atrocities being perpetrated by other communities. Since Hindus also perpetrate atrocities, there is no harm in Muslims doing the same, thus goes the argument. Pointing fingers at others, however, doesn’t absolve us of our shameless silence at the ills of our society. That these crimes are precisely what some people in other communities also perpetrate is absolutely no excuse for remaining silent at the diseases afflicting our own community. One should always look within, particularly before pointing fingers at others. My Maulvi father used to tell me that when you are pointing a finger at some one else for your own shortcomings, three fingers of your hand are automatically pointing towards you. We are never going to improve ourselves individually or as a society if we do not first look within with honesty and courage and learn what is wrong with us, and then set out to cure our ills.

Actually, I am quite appalled at the insensitivity of some Muslims to the fate of Muslims who suffer at the hands of other so-called Muslims, some of them their own relatives or fellow citizens, in the land of the Prophet as well as in other lands that embraced Islam. On top of that they would even question motives of critics, whether from within the community or outside. This is the easiest way out, particularly for those who know they have no grounds to question facts and even opinions. But in all honesty motives are best left for God to judge for He alone knows what is in someone’s heart.

Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

Yet another teenage girl has lost her life to brutal acts of inhumanity in the name of a senseless and rabid brand of Islam. 13 year old Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow was recently stoned to death over an unproven charge of adultery. The execution took place in a packed stadium in the port city of Kismayu in southern Somalia —an area controlled by a radical Islamist militia. Twice a victim, the girl was first raped by three men, and then put to death at the hands of a merciless criminal justice system that is rooted in the most archaic notions of guilt, crime and punishment, write Canadian activists Farzana Hassan and Hasan Mahmud.

Making A Mockery Of Jihad
Asghar Ali Engineer

In Shariah law, jihad can be declared only by the state or those empowered by it. Terror attacks, on the other hand, are planned and executed by a few individuals unrepresentative of any state or state institution. So their attacks cannot be legitimate by any Islamic or Shariah law. That is nothing but committing murder of innocent people. Also, according to Islamic laws, in jihad no non-combatant can be attacked, much less women, children and old persons and no civilian property can be destroyed unless it is being used for military purposes or for purposes of combat, says Asghar Ali Engineer an acknowledged authority on Islam based in Mumbai.

Mullahs living in advanced countries too may not be very different from those inhabiting remote tribal regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan or the deserts of the Middle East. This is exemplified by the following story being presented here as a backgrounder to what is going on today in the remote regions of South Asia where people may have accepted Islam but insist on living according to their pre-Islamic tribal codes of behaviour while giving it the name of Islam, thus doing enormous damage to a religion which came to free humanity from oppression and slavery of all sorts. -- Editor

A Muslim cleric's claim that women who do not wear the veil are like 'uncovered meat' who attract sexual predators sparked outrage around Australia some time ago. Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali, the nation's most senior Muslim cleric, compared immodestly-dressed women who do not wear the Islamic headdress with meat that is left uncovered in the street and is then eaten by cats. Politicians including Prime Minister John Howard, community leaders and a large number of Muslims condemned the mufti's comments amid calls that he should be deported to Egypt, his country of origin. He has since been forced to apologise for his remarks. -- Richard Shears

the books written 200-300 years after the death of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), though seeking to provide a good deal of historical information about him, are not free from less than perfect and self-contradictory materials.  These should not be taken as the final word for a Muslim.  There is a Final Word for a Muslim and that is the Book of God, the Holy Qur’an—the book that defines the marriageable age for a man or woman when he or she attains soundness of judgment (Al-Qur’an 4:6). If the exalted prophet of Islam is a model for all-time mankind, if he followed the Qur’an all his life, if Allah stands witness to his rock-solid moral character, there is no way that he could have taken a 6-9 year old, immature young, playful girl as a responsible wife, argues Abdul H. Fauq.

Postedby Mubashir Inayet

India: Wahhabi Taliban onslaught on Sunni Muslims - Clean-shaven Muslim’s daughter killed, 4 injured
Sultan Shahin, Founding Editor, New Age Islam
India: Wahhabi Taliban onslaught on Sunni Muslims - Clean-shaven Muslim’s daughter killed, 4 injured
Sultan Shahin comments on Saleh Ahqar's report

In an Indian village in UP’s Saharanpur district, Mohammad Iqbal got severely beaten up for his ‘crime’ of saying Takbeer as a clean-shaven person in a mosque before Iftar. In the ensuing violence that involved the entire village his 7-year-old daughter lost her life while four people got injured.

An eye-opening report by Saleh Ahqar of Delhi’s premier Urdu Daily Hindustan Express’ News Bureau from Saharanpur, a stronghold of Deobandi Talibani Wahhabism in Uttar Pradesh.


Sultan Shahin, Editor, NewAgeIslam.com adds: The Wahhabi onslaught on Sunni Indian Muslims is now acquiring overtones of Talibani extremism and violence. What was considered harmless Tabligh (sermonizing) engaged in by the Tablighi Jamaat and similar Wahhabi organisations of the Deoband school of thought is asserting itself now through growing violence in its bid to acquire control of more and more Sunni Muslim mosques.

This has already happened in Pakistan where most Sunni Muslim mosques and madrasa

Strangely, however, another Muslim theologian at the other end of the Muslim world reached the same exact conclusion? "Moroccan theologian: Muslim girls can wed at nine," Middle East Online, September 15: Sheikh Maghraoui reiterates his claims are based on Prophet Mohammad’s sayings.

THE INFLUENTIAL Islamic seminary Darul-uloom, on Sunday said it did not agree with the concept of jehad as espoused by the Indian Mujahideen and objected to the use of Quranic extracts in chest-thumping terror mails sent by the outfit....

In Saturday's mail, the outfit had quoted Quran's verse no. 47, that commands "believers" to "slice their (enemies') necks; and, when you have overcome them...and bind fast the fetters". Madrasi said the outfit did not mention the line preceding this para, which is: "And when you meet in regular battle..." "Bomb blasts, which kill innocents, are not regular battles, are they?" Madrasi asked, adding one should always understand a Quranic verse within its context.


In a fatwa on democratic politics of India, Darul Uloom Deoband has clarified that India being a secular, democratic country, Muslims should not look for an Islamic brand of politics, settle for what is available, make their choices from among the parties that exist and choose parties that may be favourable to Muslims. However, it insists that Muslims should use their right to vote and not waste an opportunity to use the franchise conferred on them by the Indian constitution.


RIYADH: A senior Saudi cleric has said purveyors of horoscopes on Arab television should face the death penalty, a paper said on Sunday, days after another cleric argued death for TV owners.


Noted Islamic scholar and Law Commission member Tahir Mahmood has welcomed the solemnisation of nikah by a woman qazi in Lucknow, saying it has “its own high social significance”. “It symbolises undercurrents of resentment among Muslim women against the unbridled male chauvinism typical of the Muslim society in India, which is not only out of tune with the modern times but also repugnant to the true Islamic teachings,” Mahmood, a former chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, told HT.


Women preachers are urging followers at one of Britain’s most influential mosques to kill homosexuals and view all non-Muslims as “vile”, according to an investigative documentary by Channel 4. The London Central Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre is one of the most respected centres for moderate Islam in Western Europe.


JEDDAH: Celebrating birthdays and wedding anniversaries has no base in Islam, Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Alsheikh has said.

 The mufti made the comments while answering a question from Al-Madinah newspaper after prominent Qassim-based scholar Salman Al-Oadah issued a fatwa saying that celebrating such occasions was not against the rules of Shariah.

Iran’s Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi on Monday slammed a government bill that would ease polygamy laws for Iranian men, saying it would bring “moral corruption” to society.


Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Vijay Kumar, an émigré from India who is seeking the Republican nomination in a Tennessee primary Congressional race set for August. He is running on an anti-Sharia platform. Visit his website at kumarforcongress.com. Vijay Kumar explains: The main focus of my campaign is the War on Terror. What so many politicians do not seem to realize is that our struggle is against more than just “terror.” Terrorism is simply a method, not an end itself. Terrorism is just one tactic being used by Islamic extremists in their effort to force their way of life on the rest of the world. Ultimately, then, this is a struggle over whether the nations of this world will be ruled under Sharia law or not. As Omar Ahmad, founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said: “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant.”


"Nothing is more precious to God than the sparing of a neck," said Nasser al-Zahrani, head of the Mecca office of the Reconciliation Committee. "We try to explain to these families with victims that it provides a blessing like no other."

Quoting the Koran, the Muslim holy book, Zahrani said he tells families: "He who takes a life, unless it be for murder or spreading terror in the land -- it would be as if he killed everyone. And he who saves one life, it is as if he has saved all of mankind."

Despite the committee's work, Saudi Arabia carried out 166 executions in 2007, compared with 39 a year earlier, according to the Rome-based human rights group Hands Off Cain, which campaigns against the death penalty. Faiza Saleh Ambah of Washington Post Foreign Service reports.


The Darul Uloom Deoband does not seem to have learnt any lessons. After the flak it received for its bigoted verdict in the Imrana case in 2005 when it ruled that the victim, who had been raped by her father-in-law, could no longer live with her husband, one would have thought that the Darul Uloom would correct its regressive ways. Now it has issued a similar fatwa against Salma, a mother of two, who was molested by her father-in-law. To add insult to injury, the fatwas in both cases contained veiled references to the victims having consented to the act. Imrana and her husband did not take the fatwa lying down and after a protracted battle the court sentenced her father-in-law to ten years in jail and ordered that he compensate her. The present case, too, must have such an ending, comments Hindustan Times, New Delhi.


Malaysia's main opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim on Wednesday asked the Islamic court to investigate a former aide, who accused him of sodomy, for alleged slander. Anwar, who is being investigated by the police over the sodomy allegation, is making his case in a shariah court because the burden of proof in Islam is much heavier, his lawyer Kamar Ainiah Kamaruzaman said. Under Islamic laws, an accuser in fornication cases has to produce four witnesses regarding the sexual act to back his or her claim, as prescribed by the Koran. Anyone found guilty faces three years in jail or a 5,000 ringgit ($1,534) fine or both.

Sharia may be a divinely-inspired legal system. But in the hands of the wrong people, it’s criminal punishments can become part of the devil’s handiwork, says free-lance writer Irfan Yusuf in an earlier article on the subject.


In a chilling reminder of the Imrana case, yet another young woman from Muzaffarnagar who allegedly fell victim to her father-in-law’s sexual assault faces a bleak future after mullahs called for the annulment of her marriage.

On July 6, Salma (25), an unlettered mother of two kids, returned to her parental home in Islamnagar, Muzaffarnagar, after she was allegedly raped by her father-in-law over a period of six months. Salma’s father, Raisuddin, filed a criminal complaint with the police under section 376-506 IPC in Ghaziabad, and the accused, Salma's father-in-law Akbar, has been jailed.

But in the process her four-year-old marriage to Azad has virtually ended after clerics ruled their reunion as 'haraam'.

 A compilation of Times of India readers’ opinions presented below the news story shows how outraged humanity is over the issue. NewAgeIslam.com condemns the Mullahdom’s clear attempt to make new laws and create a bad name for Islam in the process.


One of life’s many mysteries is the question of why the lord chief justice Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, the most senior judge in England, was moved to speak out in public about sharia. Last week he gave a speech to a large audience at an east London mosque about the place of sharia in resolving disputes. He must have known, from the experiences of the Archbishop of Canterbury, that no matter what he said, his speech would be inflammatory; as Usama Hasan, an imam and an adviser to the Islamic Sharia Council here said at the time, it is very difficult to have a sensible discussion about sharia here because the subject is “like a red rag” to the public mind. Minette Marrin comments in The Sunday Times, London

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