By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
12 April, 2015
There is only one Hudood law on which the Quran is inflexible and that is on adultery.
(24:2) The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication,- flog each of them with a hundred stripes: Let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment.
The verse leaves no scopes for ifs and buts or for lessening the punishment. Any compromise on the sentence castes a doubt on your belief in Allah and the last day. Simply said, non-implementation of the law or any compromises made makes the judge and servant of the State trying the case and awarding the sentence, a disbeliever.
Does this mean that since the Quran is so inflexible in the matter of punishing those found guilty of adultery, individuals who report on such cases and help establish the charge of adultery earn divine pleasure and rewards? Let us consider how those who report on such cases are rewarded.
(24:4) And those who launch a charge against chaste women, and produce not four witnesses (to support their allegations),- flog them with eighty stripes; and reject their evidence ever after: for such men are wicked transgressors (Fasiq);-
Those who report without being able to establish the charge with three other reliable witnesses are given 80% of the punishment for adultery besides being categorized as wicked transgressors whose evidence is to be rejected ever after.
(24:5) Unless they repent thereafter and mend (their conduct); for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
By no stretch of imagination can we say that a solitary witness is always a liar and neither does the Quran call them a liar. It calls them a Fasiq or a person given to wickedness.
The lesson to derive from this is that an individual who is concerned about the “sins” of others is driven by wickedness or by a hate for others rather than love. He is driven by feelings of revenge and retaliation rather than forgiveness. He takes gleeful pleasure in catching others in the wrong rather than overlooking faults. While in Islam there is no intention to tolerate or encourage adultery, there is no encouragement for an individual to excessively bother about the sins of others either and such a person is called a Fasiq or wicked. The same term Fasiq has been used to describe those who waged battle against the Prophet. The Fasiq are therefore the enemies of humanity and all that is good and must be shunned and not encouraged in Muslim society. What this at the same time teaches you is to abhor adultery and all sin to an extent that your personal life is totally free of it.
Spirituality and Bigotry are effectively defined from this example. A spiritual person is concerned with constant refinement of self where as he progresses on the path of self-refinement, his sense of gratitude to Allah increases. The embodiment of perfection is Allah. The embodiment of love, mercy, tolerance, forgiveness and of giving many chances to the sinners and giving them a very long respite from retribution is also Allah. A person as he progresses on the spiritual path acquires these qualities of Allah. Retribution is solely the prerogative of Allah and punishment is solely the duty of the State. A common man should not concern himself with either. A common man should represent God’s love, mercy, forgiveness and tolerance on earth unless he chooses to represent Satan.
Bigotry is excessive concern with the sin of others, of gleefully trapping and catching the sinners and punishing them or getting them punished. Bigotry is driven by hate. In a person who calls himself a “believer” or a Muslim this is disguised as a love for the “Shariat” and its implementation in the harshest form possible. Even when it comes to a believer, it is easy to see that he is either a worshipper of Allah or a worshipper of Satan irrespective of what he professes with his mouth.
We are lazy thinkers and make the mistake of categorizing spiritual Islam as Sufism and of bigoted Islam as Salafism. There are however bigoted Sufis and spiritual Salafis and the only test of who is what is what they say and what they support and their deeds.
Professor Nazeer Ahmed writes “When Shah Jehan fell ill and the armies of Aurangzeb and Dara Shikoh met on the banks of the Jamuna in 1657 over succession rights to the Peacock throne, it was more than a battle between two princes. It was a contest of wills between Sufic Islam represented by Dara Shikoh and Salafi Islam championed by Aurangzeb. In this contest, the Salafis won and Muslim India charged off in the direction of exclusivism and a rigid application of Fiqh.”
Aurangzeb we must remember was a disciple of Hazrat Saifuddin Sirhindi, descendent of Ahmad Sirhindi, a Naqshbandi, so it is wrong to say that he was a Salafi or a Wahhabi, as this was before Abdul Wahhab was born and the Salafi sect did not exist at that time.
The apologists of Sufism exclude all such hardliner Sufis from ‘Sufism” by calling them pseudo Sufis. However, what they fail to realize is that the pseudos have dominated in every age and even today, Sufi websites proudly display the most outrageous communal sayings attributed to Ahmad Sirhindi. Bigotry has thrived in every age both before Abdul Wahhab and after. Shah Waliullah was a highly acclaimed Sufi as well as a “Jihadist” and a religious bigot. Incidentally, he was greatly influenced after his meeting with Abdul Wahhab. This cannot be cited as proof that bigotry among the Sufis is on account of the influence of Abdul Wahhab or his followers. Extreme religious bigotry among the Sufis is found all through the ages. The common perception of the Sufi derives from the culture of the Dargahs and the Urs celebrations in which people regardless of faith participate but this is like treating every businessman as a pluralist because he treats all his customers well irrespective of their faith and depending only on the secular criteria of their spending power!
And which category (spiritual or the bigot) is having the upper hand? The bigot rules the world of Islam from the tenth century and the evidence is in the writings of both the Sufis and the Salafis. They both consider the non-Muslim as Kafir and a war to end “Kufr” as “Jehad” which is far, far from the truth and a complete distortion of the word of God. My efforts to clear these misconceptions have received little support and encouragement even from those who call themselves moderate! This could be on account of any of the following two reasons:
1. The ideas are not in conformity with the message of the Quran. In that case, as witnesses to the “truth” contained in the Quran, they are obliged to refute the ideas. Keeping silent is to abet and become a partner in the “falsehood” that I am trying to spread.
2. Although considering non-Muslims as “Kafir” and fighting to end “Kufr” may be a view which is on the far right, it is safer to err by being on the far right rather than falling on the left side and be found wanting in faith.
Clearly, the choice is also on the side of either support for bigotry or support for spirituality. What makes matters worse is that none of the acclaimed masters have taken the apparently “liberal” view. Interestingly, I have taken a very literalist and fundamentalist view and therefore people are finding it difficult to refute the view since it is supported by very strong evidence from the Quran. In the absence of precedence, the Taqlidis cannot accept it either! The meaning of reform should be clear from this. It is to give up blind Taqlid, recognize the bigotry of the bigots no matter how acclaimed they were in their times, and cleanse our theology of all traces of bigotry. It is certainly not easy for the Taqlidis to give up Taqlid. It is as difficult as changing one’s belief by those whom we consider disbeliever. The disbelievers find it equally difficult to accept what we consider and say is the “truth”. The choice of accepting or rejecting the truth is faced equally by a believer and by the choices he makes; he becomes a believer or disbeliever. Let us move towards a more spiritual Islam in the true spirit of the Quran which incidentally is also by its true uncorrupted letter and strengthen our faith.
Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He is a frequent contributor to NewAgeIslam.com.
I have taken just one
verse (Medinian) from the Quran to show that Spiritual Islam permeates and
dominates the overall message of the Quran as indeed Allah's mercy dominates
all His other attributes. Inshallah, I will cover this topic with many more verses
of the Quran to bring out the essence of spiritual Islam based purely on the Quran.
Respected Muslim Readers @ New Age Islam
I applauded Jordan King Abdullah’s action, there are few who made a comment
that “Cowboy,” type of actions not justified against ISIS. Never mind, a
Jordanian pilot who was burned alive. One only has to give a moral support to
the King for being brave enough to go after the barbarians.
the point in continuing to play the role of “Chicken George,” and
merely talk about how evil is ISIS? If one cannot join the fighting, then at
least, be bold enough to encourage the
fight against the evildoers or “Kuffars.” May I ask, “What kind of
hypocrisy are the learned Muslims engaged in?
“Hang ‘Em High,” and that is what the King of
Jordan is doing. Why not support the Muslim King for crying out loud? So what
he is a king? At least, he is acting like Clint Eastwood.
may be, but not stupid. Is Naseer Ahmed Saheb aware of Jordan's King
Abdullah who is waging war against ISIS?
rather puzzling is that the man remain relentless on one single word, “Kufr,”
but afraid to pronounce ISIS brutal and barbaric action as that of “Kuffars.”
Modern day barbarians must be condemned by ways of writing and not by fighting.
Ahmed Saheb’s verdict, “All of us have learned to ignore, Mr. Lodhia,”
is indeed welcomed. This only shows that an ordinary Muslim layman’s viewpoint
are intentionally ignored. It is amazing to learn that the “Dictatorial Mindset,” of the learned Muslims are still
intact. They still remain stubborn and arrogant as ever.
Naseer Saheb’s comment, it is quite apparent that, “the most basic issues lying
at the bottom of every other problem that we see,” are in his own sweet
mind, “Kufr” and “Adultery.”
giving the readers his opinion of two dimensions, that is, temporal and
spiritual, can Naseer Saheb officially declare in writing the conduct of ISIS,
Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda as an act of “Kuffar”?
all that I have read, he should not even hesitate to do so. If he is not sure
then, he should once and for all quit discussion on “Kufr,” based upon
his conclusion, “Who or who is not a
kafir is known only to God and this is of no concern to man.”
case, the readers are looking for the description of the two dimensions, here
the temporal dimension, the word kafir is faith neutral and applies even
to a Muslim who is an enemy of people of any faith for no other reason other
than their faith.”
the spiritual dimension kafir means someone who rejects "true
belief" and not someone who has merely not accepted but not rejected
is relatively easy to avoid Mr. Lodhia, but can “The Proud Commentator,”
come to grip with the fact, as to how “Curious Traveler,” converted his comment
in order to arrive at the following conclusion:
you said, it's how this law seems to attract wicked people. Everyone who
opens a Qur'an automatically thinks they're enforcers of the law, so they go
out and specifically look for adulterers. All of this tends to create an
oppressive environment where you're even afraid to cross the street without
getting harassed and possibly beaten with permanent scars. Even if we limit the
enforcement to government officials, we have to consider the opportunity of
abuse here too.”
the way, how many Islamic countries are busy policing the “Adulterers,”
on a daily basis? Does every Muslim open the Qur’an and specifically look for
the “Adulterers”? What
nonsense? In words of Naseer Saheb, all such comments are nothing but, “Garbage In,
Garbage Out.” One
should applaud, Naseer Saheb for giving such an impression to the readers. I
say, together he and New Age Islam forum are providing a tremendous service to the religion
of Islam and the Muslims. Bravo!
Dear Curious Traveler,
Your questions and
comments are relevant and you show a good understanding of the issues and the
Quran as well (you related verses of Surah 5 in one comment).
All of us have learned to
ignore Mr Lodhia. He rarely gets anything right but he is a good specimen of a
type of person and makes for an interesting study.
In this article, the
focus is not on adultery but on the fact that those who report on adultery are
heavily discouraged from doing so and the lessons that we draw from this on
what is Bigotry and what is Spirituality.
Spirituality is a focus
on self and self-improvement.
Bigotry is an excessive
concern with the sins of others and making the lives of others miserable. This
Bigotry is responsible for considering all non-Muslims as kafir and Islam as
the religion of the followers of Muhammad (pbuh) alone and Allah as the god of
the followers of Muhammad alone and the Quran as the scripture of the followers
of Muhammad (pbuh) alone and on declaring a state of permanent war with the
The issues that are
being discussed are the most basic issues lying at the bottom of every other
problem that we see. Ignoring these and attending to the symptoms that we see,
is not going to solve anything. How basic and important this issue is can be
Mr Muhammad Yunus confirms
that mushrikin is translated as unbelievers, disbelievers and idol worshippers
and goes on to argue that there is a vast difference between the Mushrikin of
Mecca and the Hindus of India and they are not the same in his article The
Hindus are not ‘the Mushrikin’ Mentioned in the Qur’an. The article however assumes mushrik (polytheist),
unbeliever, disbeliever (kafir) and idol worshiper to be synonyms and falls
short by not saying emphatically that the Hinuds are not kafir whereas the
Mushrikin of Mecca were mostly kafir in that they were religious persecutors
and that is the essential and most important difference.
Below is a link to a
news report according to which http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/
Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, a religio-educational organisation with a
hold over the Deoband seminary, said on Monday that it was not in favour of
Hindus being branded as kafirs in any Islamic discourse. They have
opposed Hindus being dubbed as `kafirs' and pointed out that though the
term does not have any derogatory connotations, it should be avoided to promote
understanding between the two communities. "Strictly speaking, the word
`kafir' only means someone not belonging to Islam; but if its use hurts anyone
the term should be avoided," Jamiat spokesman and a member of the Deoband
faculty, Abdul Hamid Naumani, told.
and Islam are opposed to each other. The progress of one is possible only at
the expense of the other and co-existences between these two contradictory
faiths is unthinkable. The honor of Islam lies in insulting kufr and kafirs.
One who respects kafirs, dishonors the Muslims …. They (unbelievers) should be
kept at an arm's length….Ahmad Sirhindi, 1564–1624
While the spirit of
accommodation shown by Muhammad Yunus and the Maulana of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind is
laudable and they have made their efforts go as far as they can, they are still
unable to say that no non-Muslim can be considered a kafir by any Muslim unless
the non-Muslim is clearly an enemy of Islam and the Muslims for no other reason
except their faith.
In the temporal
dimension, the word kafir is faith neutral and applies even to a Muslim who is
an enemy of people of any faith for no other reason other than their faith.
In the spiritual
dimension kafir means someone who rejects "true belief" and not
someone who has merely not accepted but not rejected either. Who or who is not
a kafir is known only to God and this is of no concern to man.
This tendency to lean
to the right in interpreting is universal and the Mullah thinks that he is only
playing safe and harsh treatment of someone who is after all not a believer can
do no harm but only earn him rewards. The god of the Mullah is a parochial God
and he is certainly not the Lord of all The Worlds or Rabbul alimeen. If
anything at all, God is more likely to be forgiving to those who lean to the
left and stricter in accounting of the deeds of those who lean to the right.
All the Prophets without exception, inspite of receiving revelations all the
time, tended to lean to the left. Prophets Noah, Ibrahim, and Muhammad (pbut) are
commented upon in the Quran on leaning a little too heavily on the left because
of their innate compassionate and merciful nature.
Subject: ACTING AS AN EDUCATED MAN
You are right in
stating that Muhammad Yunus Saheb’s article was well-written. Did you see any
of my remarks denying it at any given point? If you don’t mind, let us take a
quick glance at Yunus Saheb’s valid points as follows:
Point No. 1 - The author makes
another sweeping remark against the Prophet Muhammad by charging him very
casually of ‘war like’ conduct.
Tell me, Mr.
Traveler, you seem to be very knowledgeable about Islam. Can you elaborate to
the readers, what kind of war was fought during Prophet’s lifetime? How long
did each of the battles lasted? If Prophet of Islam’s conduct was only ‘war-like,’
then, why did the “Divine” revelation consisted of so many verses pertaining
to the moral conduct of humans (and Muslims)? Blame Islam as much as you
want, at least, be honest to answer some relevant questions.
Point No. 2 - The truth is, the
Islamic zealots/ extremists are bent on taking the Muslims to the pre-Islamic
era and NOT to the days of the Prophet.
Agreed. They are
indeed taking to an era, where the people did not know nor realized the
importance of “Reading,” and “Understanding,” the true values of
life. That’s what one calls, “Jahiliyyah (Arabic: جاهلية ǧāhiliyyah/jāhilīyah
"ignorance").” You and so many Muslim readers, including the
respected Sultan Shahin Saheb knows that the first word revealed in the Holy
Qur’an was “Read” (Iqra). Now, can you in right mind simply go
out and blame Qur’an? For what, Mr. Traveler?
You and Sultan Saheb
also know very well that countless millions of Muslims in the Madrassas are not
reading, but “Reciting,” the Qur’anic verses by heart. In turn, they are
made into “Thoughtless Devotees,” good for nothing. “Zealots,”
with too much emphasis on the fairy tales based upon the secondary sources of
Islam. And not to mention, the “Extremists,”
as they believe that everyone in this world is “Infidel,” except for those
who follow Islam. Now even their own definition has changed.
Thanks to the Muslim
bystanders for merely following their own School
of Thoughts, without paying any attention to the dangers of what the
perverted Mullahs in the Madrassas were in fact, teaching to the Muslim youths.
Sadly, what the Muslim world at large has is a whole bunch of “Uneducated Brutes”
running around with the deadly aim of terrorizing and killing their
fellow humans, period.
Point No. 3 - The author provokes
the Western think-tank with the question: “But during the Cold War, no US
president said: "Communism is an ideology of peace."
Here is a touchy
point, which no one dares to get involved in. We are passing through one of the
most critical periods of the Islamic history. It is in this age, the “Muslim
Intelligentsia,” who deep down inside believes that the faults lies in
Muslims only, and we the Muslims, must be brave enough to bear the insults and
humiliations of others. Shockingly, they continue to hold on to such bigoted views
as they themselves were “Empty-Headed” and did not contribute to
anything on the first place.
Traveler, if Ayaan Hirshi Ali is right, then can you be courteous enough to shed
light upon why the so-called “Ideology of Peace,” is not applied by the
followers of Judaism and Christianity in the Holy Land? Blame the Qur’anic
verses, and mock it, as much as you want to. I can assure you that it will be
accepted on the New Age Islam forum with cheers. My question to you is, “Is
there anyway, can you enlighten the readers about your take on the “Brutal Military Occupation,” by the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza and West
Bank?” If you feel sorry about the mental state of Muslims, then ACTING AS AN EDUCATED HUMAN, can you express
your agony over the misery of the Palestinian people for the past forty-five
On reading these
three points, just bear in mind, Sultan Shahin Saheb’s encouragement to you,
“I once again welcome
your chiming in on various issues. We should indeed discuss "everything."
Now, can you possibly find out what does he mean by “Everything”? If the concern for “Adultery,”
should be discussed multiple times over, then why do the intelligent humans run
away from discussing the “War-Like,” behavior of one single Jewish nation,
who blatantly violates the United Nations resolutions and is wholeheartedly supported
by the United States of America. What kind of civilized behavior is that? Mind
you that it is the same great country, where Ayaan Hirshi Ali continues to make
her millions by selling books about Islam. Welcome to America, the land of
What is more
baffling is when Ayaan Hirshi Ali said in one interview, “I will just say
that Israel is not the problem nor it is the solution …..Even if Israel
does not give up an inch of land -- the result will be the same.” Imagine,
such a statement coming out from the would-be reformer of Islam! Go ahead, Mr.
Traveler, chime in and blame Islam, Qur’an and Muslims for all the evil
deeds in the Middle East region. Like I stated earlier, there is far more to
life than to continue to debate about “Adultery,” and “Kufr.” Everything should
also include five words, “Injustice, Humiliation, Oppression,
Confiscating, Refugees,” and what not. In case, Ayaan Hirshi Ali
does not know, “Life is a two-way street.” Apparently, for her, it is
only Islam and Muslims who are the worst evildoers in the world. Then again, “It
is not an Israeli problem.” Bravo. Welcome to the world of “Intelligent Bigots.” Now, take your time to read and reflect upon the excerpt
of her interview as follows:
Israel Hayom: And
you think that it will be a huge mistake to give away territory before a
cultural change occurs?
Ayaan Hirsi Ali: I
will just say that Israel is not the problem nor is it the solution. Even
if you give up all the land, it will not solve any of the problems in the
Middle East. It will not obliterate despotism, it will not liberate women, it
will not help religious minorities. It won't bring peace to anyone. Even if
Israel does not give up an inch of land -- the result will be the same.
If you want a
process, continue the way you are. If you want real, lasting peace, then things
have to change first within the Arab Muslim individual, family, school,
streets, education, and politics. It is not an Israeli problem.
Have a blessed day.
Heads Up & Smile.
Yes, for sure. We
need to discuss everything, but is there anyway, we can at least set aside the
subject of “Kufr,” and “Adultery,” for at least four months?
Civil-minded discussion should be held, but not when it pushes any commentators
to start insulting Islam. I am sure, you will respect the fact that when a
person mocks another religion as well as the followers of that particular
religion, then wouldn’t you call it mean-spirited? Where was the moderator/editor
of the New Age Islam forum?
Sultan Shahin Saheb,
finally spoke his heart out. He wrote, “to say something or be seen (by
themselves) as doing something to save the "honour" of Islam,
the credibility of the website New Age Islam or the "sentiments"
of moderate Muslims, etc,” and then went on to further emphasize as follows:
don't consider these comments or a kind of forced rebuttals un-"civil-minded"
or "mean-spirited." They are not. They may be just
Sentiments does not
count, if it did, then it is the Muslim readers, who will at least find enough
courage to write something. They don’t, except for hardly a very few, if any. Hence,
when such environment is created, then the debates are bound to go off limits. Though,
from the “Editor’s Message,” it is alright went the rebuttals goes off
limits and far beyond too. What’s difference does that make?
Let’s wait and see
how best you will direct the course of certain debates. Again, no one knows
your identity, except Sultan Shahin Saheb. We do not need to know, but if you
or any commentator comes up with a bright idea, then we the “Moderate Muslims,” would certainly like your true name to be revealed.
Curious Traveller: " We Muslims need to discuss everything. Nothing should be off-limits (as long as the discussion is civil-minded and not mean-spirited)."
I agree. But in these discussions you may sometimes have to ignore some people who may have nothing much to say and yet a psychological need to say something or be seen (by themselves) as doing something to save the "honour" of Islam, the credibility of the website New Age Islam or the "sentiments" of moderate Muslims, etc.
Please don't consider these comments or a kind of forced rebuttals un-"civil-minded" or "mean-spirited." They are not. They may be just empty-headed.
During my training as a journalist, I was told: "Have something to say, and stop when you have said it." But clearly it's not an easy rule to follow for every one.
I once again welcome your chiming in on various issues. We should indeed discuss "everything."
me chime in too. In a separate thread, your comment on Muhammad Yunus Saheb’s
article was as follows:
“Great article. Also,
this Ayaan quote interests me: "The majority of dissidents are reformist
believers who have come to realize their religion must change." Is she
associating herself with those "reformist believers"? I always get
the vibe that Ayaan never really left Islam. She's just deeply uncomfortable
with the current state of Islam, which is a valid opinion. But like you said,
her criticisms are often imprecise.”
then, won’t it be a jolly good idea to stay focused on more serious issues
rather than indulge in making comments on “Adultery.” In fact, I am
surprised that an intelligent person like you, should have at least respectfully
suggested to him, not to be overly concerned about who is doing what to whom behind
the closed doors.
the question of “witnesses,” all I can say is that, many Muslims prefer
to be engaged in covering up the grave sins of wrongdoers / evildoers,
therefore, unfit to make any judgment calls. Hence, I have no earthly as to
what Naseer Saheb will accomplish by continuing to debate about the same old
subject matter endlessly. Then again, who knows? He might possibly dream of having
another one of the “Eureka,” moments
so to speak.
Respected Muslim Readers @ New Age Islam
the subject of “Kufr,” welcome to the world of “Adultery.”
Surprise! Don’t be, as there is nothing important to discuss and/or to read. It
seems like Muslim minds are more so attracted towards these two words.
Traveller,” is another unknown commentator. Then again, after reading his/her
numerous rebuttals, one can possibly relate to the one missing in action known
as, “Hats Off – S. Jeelani.” It
will be so easy to guess the pattern of communicating and then comparing with
the ones which are already in the archives. Let’s face it, the repeated comments
of “four witnesses,” has
been debated over and over and over again.
Age Islam is
one forum which continues to encourage unrelated subjects to dominate the
debates. Forget about “Modern Education,” and “Refugees Crisis,” in
the Islamic countries. That’s not important at all.
the back and forth comments which will be exchanged between Naseer Ahmed Saheb
and “Curious Traveller.” Do we the Muslim readers need to be curious as
to what lies ahead? Another endless round of senseless debate is sure to get
nowhere as always.