Let me make this clear. The article is about the Wisdom of Quran and any question that is not relating to the Quran is outside the scope for discussion under this thread.
Dear Naseer Ahmed: I appreciate your efforts to portray Islam as an enlightened
Dear Naseer Bhai: Thanks for your suggestion, let me first express, whatever personal opinion we give on this site or in our personal life, should not be assumed as a "Fatwa" or binding upon others. Considering ourselves as a free thinker and practitioner of Islamic Sharia in the light of Qur'an and Hadees accountable to Allah only, we should try to act accordingly to be just and righteous before Allah Kareem.
Coming to the topic, his ignorance being a bliss for him and even the family members and maybe Qazi also being motivated by money power, favour or force. It is a tale of triangular love among two sisters and a boy; although he had married the elder one ten years ago, he could not hold his love for the younger one that became unbound for the last five years while the family was passing through this trauma. Recently, he eloped with the younger sister with the help of some in-laws, married somewhere and has been living as husband and wife for sometimes, the elder sister is at her father's residence. Now the girls' parents are worried what to do in this case, whereas the boy is still not repenting, he is blind in love and dumb in Islamic laws.
Anyway I think, it is a clear case of violation of Islamic laws that does not permit two real sisters to be in "Nikah" with one man at the same time. Thanks for your opinion, I will pass it over to him and his families.
Dear Raihan, I am not qualified to answer these questions or give fatwas. However, I will answer your question placing myself in the same situation and say how I would have acted.
First of all how did this happen? Were he, his wife, the second wife, her family and the Kazi who married them unaware of the Islamic prohibition?
Let us assume that this happened out of ignorance and without any intention to transgress the Islamic law. (If the fact is that it did not happen in ignorance, then he has acted out of convenience the first time, and is now seeking a solution on how to get rid of one of them on the pretext of complying with Islamic law!)
Assuming that he had acted out of ignorance of the prohibition, and that his sole motive in seeking a solution now is to comply with the Islamic law, and that his real intentions are not ulterior, then, placing myself in his position, I would have done the following:
The second girl he married was incorrect while the first one was still wedded to him and so he should divorce the second one and not the first one. He should take full responsibility for the divorced wife until he settles her with a decent marriage with a boy acceptable to her. He should take both the sisters and their family into confidence before taking any step and not act unilaterally.
The above however is only my opinion and I reiterate that I am not competent to give a fatwa. If the assumptions are wrong, and his ‘mistake’ was no mistake, and his seeking advice now is again to serve some ulterior motive of his, then no advice need be given to him.
Mr. Naseer: It is a nice article contemplating upon the important conflicting issues of Islamic society. I would like to ask a question related to second topic, "Permission for taking upto four wives". One of my acquaintances has married the real sister of his wife, what should be done in that case? Is it "Haram"? Can both live as a case of Polygamy? Or one has to go? Please guide him in this respect in the light of Quran and Sunnah.
Marital infidelity would bring about either a divorce or a reconciliation. Physical violence should have no place in it. Husbands do beat up their wives badly, throw acid on their faces and even a beheading has been reported. But we take from the Quran what is best in it, and that is civilized behavior.
Naseer Sb., in his response to Hasan Abbas's excellent post, says, "Even the feminists have abandoned the language of Gender Equality and speak about Gender justice."
This is false. Women insist on gender equality. The concept of gender justice is flawed because judgements about what is gender justice can be arbitrary, and can lead to merely cosmetic reforms because of our male dominated clergy.
Since Naseer Sb. mentioned feminists, does he know of any feminist group which endorses wife beating?
To interpret 4:34 as saying that whether a woman will be beaten or not will depend on whether she is educated and economically independent or not is abhorrent to my Muslim sensibility.
Dear Hassan Abbas,
What I gather from your comment is that you equate the backwardness of Muslim society with the backwardness of their religion. My article discusses the Quran and not Muslim society as it is today.
Even the feminists have abandoned the language of Gender Equality and speak about Gender justice. Within the constraints of the socio economic conditions of the times, the Quran's prescriptions promote gender justice which was unmatched by the rest of the World for the next 1000 years.
How relevant the verse 4:34 is even today when it qualifies the rest of the verse by saying that "since the man provides for the woman from his means". Even in the 21st century, this maxim is true. Those who hold the purse strings call the shots. Even nations behave the same way. Muhammad Yunus the Bangladeshi banker of Grameena bank fame refused aid from the IMF because it comes with strings attached. This is a reality which is unchanged even in the 21st century. So the one who feeds you does enjoy a position that is a degree higher and if you want that to change, then become economically independent. And indeed the reality is that women won their rights only after gaining economic independence in the west and they still have much ground to cover. Equal Rights Amendment Act is not yet passed by every state of the USA.
As I have said repeatedly in my comments, the position of women in society is determined primarily by her education and economic independence.
At least Islam made it highly desirable and a religious duty for everyone to become a literate 1500 years ago, since it is incumbent on every Muslim to read the Quran. The ideal of 100% literacy is not achieved even among the males in most societies even in the 21st century.
Muslim society and culture has stagnated and lagged behind and was overtaken by other societies in the last 100 to 150 years. Is religion to blame for it? Or was Islam the religion responsible for Muslim society being ahead for a 1000 years? Did not Islam tranform Arab society in a very dramatic manner?
Notions of male superiority, domination and
beating of wife stand un-Islamic today
Dear Dr.A.Anburaj, Here is the article referenced in my just posted mail:A Fresh Insight into the Qur’anic Verses Quoted to Justify Unwedded Sexual Relation with Maids, Call Girls etc.http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-sharia-laws/muhammad-yunus,-new-age-islam/a-fresh-insight-into-the-qur’anic-verses-quoted-to-justify-unwedded-sexual-relation-with-maids,-call-girls-etc/d/7198 It is framed on the strength of the Qur'an and its internal illustrations and concludes as follows:"The Qur’an came to bring about an all round reform of human society that included, among other things, phased abolition of slavery and empowerment of women through the institution of marriage and other family laws. Therefore any suggestion to accommodate slavery or sex with captives, maids, call girls etc. in the fold of Islam will stand in stark contradiction to its universal message.It is conceivable that with time the gendered and historic-specific traditional translation of the Qur’an will be refreshed with the tabled universal rendition. But how long the predominantly male Muslim scholarship will cling to the gendered traditional interpretation remains a question mark. Those lusting after extramarital avenues will not be happy with the tabled universal rendition. It is for the Muslim intelligentsia to take up the issue through Face book, Twitter and other forums rest the highly patriarchic ulama will support and perpetuate the traditional rendition that caters to the masculine sexual lust."You are free to make your opinion Sir.
Distinctions between Type 1 and Type 2 violence are not helpful for this discussion. The simple rule should be: "You shall not beat your wife". It is shameful that we have to even discuss this in the 21st century.
Dear Muhammad Yunus (1) Sb,
Thank you very much for your inputs.
The Quranic verse 4:34 is very clear as to its intention and covers a situation of serious marital strife where the woman is economically dependent on the husband. The verse is providing guidance for a process for Conflict resolution and reconciliation setting the limits and prohibiting recurrent violence. Finally, the verse says “if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all)”. Clearly the verse does not sanction type 2 violence or patriarchal violence rooted in the belief that man must control his women or that a man owns his wife. Islam gave woman rights of inheritance in order to make her economically independent at a time when in no society or culture a woman enjoyed inheritance rights except a few small and relatively insignificant matriarchal societies. Yet most women were economically dependent on their husband.
We can look at a woman like Hazrat Khadija (RA) about whom, the Quran itself says (as per scholars) in verse 93:8 that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was found in need, and God made him independent (through his marriage with Khadija). Very obviously, 4:34 does not apply to Hazrat Khadija or any other woman who is economically independent.
No amount of debate will solve any social problem except doing the right things. Domestic violence is a social problem having socio-economic reasons and can be solved only by addressing these causes.
The Right things are:
1. Work for women’s education and economic independence. The sexual and political liberation of women in the West gained momentum only in the 1960s when the woman was freed from domestic chores by labour saving electrical gadgets and availability of preprocessed canned food which allowed her to take up a job. Without economic independence, gender equality and gender justice will remain a pipe dream and wishful thinking. Today, even domestic help have become economically independent and are walking out of abusive relationships. I can provide one dozen case studies from personal knowledge.
2. Recognize that there are two patterns of violence. One is “an intermittent response to the occasional conflicts of everyday life, motivated by a need to control in the specific situation (Milardo & Klein, 1992), but not a more general need to be in charge of the relationship”. The second type which is also unislamic and has no sanction, is exercising control to show who is master.
3. A complaint by a woman for any type of domestic violence must be made a cognizable offence and taken seriously and acted upon. A complaint means that the situation is unacceptable to the woman who should then be provided protection and if necessary freedom from an oppressive relationship.
The following is from a paper by Michael P Johnson which can be accessed using the link below:
Proof that CCV is part of the Conflict Resolution process
The evidence from the National Family Violence Surveys (NFVS) suggests that so called minor violence against women does not escalate into more serious forms of violence. Feld and Straus (1990) reported data relevant to this question based on a 1year follow-up survey of 420 respondents from the 1985 NFVS. The data indicate that not only is there virtually no tendency to escalation (fully 94% of perpetrators of minor violence do not go on to severe violence), but that in most (70%) of the cases of severe violence there is, in fact, a de-escalation. Data on frequency show much the same pattern.
Type 2 violence also called patriarchal terrorism
A very different pattern is observed in research with shelter populations. According to Pagelow (1981), "one of the few things about which almost all researchers agree is that the batterings escalate in frequency and intensity over time"
The causal dynamic of patriarchal terrorism is rooted in patriarchal traditions, adopted with a vengeance by men who feel that they must control "their" women by any means necessary. As one husband responded to his wife's protests regarding a violent episode during their honeymoon, "I married you so I own you" (Dobash & Dobash, 1979, p. 94). Escalation in such cases may be prompted by either of two dynamics. First, if his partner resists his control, he may escalate the level of violence until she is subdued. Second, even if she submits, he may be motivated not only by a need to control, but by a need to display that control, yielding a pattern observed by Dobash and Dobash (1979, p. 137), in which no amount of compliance can assure a wife that she will not be beaten: For a woman simply to live her daily life she is always in a position in which almost anything she does may be deemed a violation of her wifely duties or a challenge to her husband's authority and thus defined as the cause of the violence she continues to experience. (p. 137)
Highly informative and researched article! However, I have a few comments:
1. Marriage with first cousin. Had this been forbidden, young men and women in small isolated communities of the past era – through the medieval ages would have found it difficult to find lawful mates and would have mated regardless of the prohibition. This would have detracted from the Qur’anic wisdom and universality.
2. Polyandry is biologically unconstitutional and socially untenable. A man has the physiological constitution to impregnate and meet the sexual callings of more than one wife, but a woman’s long pregnancy period constrains her from bearing a child for more than one husband at a time, and meeting the recurring sexual callings of even one husband. Determining the paternal line and inheritance of children born to a polyandrous woman are also serious issues.
3. Polygamy. The Qur’anic broader message stands for monogamy as a social norm regardless of any stipulation in the marriage contract. Polygamy was a context specific instruction and may only be permitted under highly exceptional circumstances. This is argued on the strength on the Qur’an in the following article:
‘The Qur’an prescribes Monogamy is the social norm for humanity’
4. Wife beating: Your interrogative statement “let us understand why Quran permits light chastisement” reflects the traditional gendered translation/ interpretation of the Qur’anic verse 4:34. A gender-neutral translation/ interpretation of the verse based on Qur’anic vocabulary and internal illustrations in a recent exegetic work [Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publication, Maryland, USA- 2009.] tables the following rendition of this verse [that does not need a lot of apologetic explanations and leaves the husband to decide what is ‘light chastisement.’]
“Men are the supporters (qawwamah) of (their) wives because God has favored each of them in different measures, and because of what they spend (for them) of their wealth. The righteous women are devout and guard the unseen that God would have them guard. As for those (women), of whom you fear extramarital perversity (nushuz), counsel them, leave them (alone) in their beds and assert on them (wadribuhunna); but if they listen to you, do not seek a way against them. (Remember,) God is Sublime, Great” (4:34).
Please see this article for further details:
Notions of male superiority, domination and beating of wife stand un-Islamic today
2. Permission for taking upto four wives
3. Would gender justice demand that polyandry be permitted?
4. The argument for polygyny
5. Does Quran sanction wife beating?
Let us begin with the first issue:
I have to salute Naseer sahab's knowledge of Quranic laws and his ability to marshal new literature to suppot Quranic laws.
I like things to be simple and brief. The basis of my positions is to imagine what Islam would have stood for if ijtihad had not been halted in the 11th century. Hence here is my take:
(1) No first cousin marriages.
(2) No polygamy or polyandry.
(3) No wife beating.