Thursday, February 19, 2009

Women Rights in Islam - Modernising or Outdated?

Women Rights in Islam - Modernising or Outdated?

by Dr. Zakir Naik


According to the Oxford dictionary, ‘Women’s Rights are the rights, that promote a position of social and legal equality, of women to menE
According to the Oxford dictionary, ‘they are the rights, claimed for the women, equal to those of men, as regards to suffrage that right to vote, as regards to property, etcE
‘ModernisingE according to the Oxford dictionary means, ‘to make modern, to adapt to modern needs or habitsE
And according to the Webster’s dictionary it meansE‘To make modern, or to give a new character or appearance - e.g., to modernise ones ideasE
In short, modernising is a process of updating or opting for the betterment of the present status itself - It is not the present modern status itself.
Can we modernise ourselves, to master our problems, and to realize a new way of life, for the whole human race?
I am not concerned about the modern ideas, the conclusions and the categorical statements made by scientists and inexperienced armchair experts, as how a life should be lived by a woman.
I am going to base my conclusions and considerations on truth, which can be proved by experience.
Experience and unbiased factual holistic analysis, are the sure test, between the gold of truth, and the glitter of theory.
We have to check our thinking against reality, otherwise many a times, our mental process will go astray - Indeed the great brains of one time, believed that the world was flat.

Women Rights in the West
If we agree with the ‘Women’s rights in IslamE as portrayed by the Western media, you have no option, but to agree that the ‘Women’s rights in IslamEare outdated.
The Western talk of women’s liberation, is actually a disguised form of exploitation of her body, deprivation of her honour and degradation of her soul.
The Western society which speaks of upgrading the status of women in Islam, have actually reduced her status to concubines, to mistresses, to society butterflies, which are mere tools in the hands of sex marketers and pleasure seekers, which are disguised behind the colorful screen of art and culture.

Women Rights in Islam
Islam’s radical revolutionary support, gave women their due right and status in the days of ignoranceE1,400 years ago.
Islam’s objective was and continues to be, to modernise our thinking, our living, our seeing, our hearing, our feeling and striving for the women’s upliftment and emancipation in the society.
Before I dwell further with the topic, I would like you to make note of a few points.
• Approximately one fifth of the world’s population, consists of Muslims. There are different Muslim societies - Some may be close to Islam, some may be far away from Islam.
• The ‘Women’s rights in IslamE should judged according to the authentic sources, and not what individual Muslims do, or what the Muslim society does.
• The authentic sources of Islam, are the Qur’an, which is the word of God, and the authentic Sunnah, and the traditions of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him).
• Qur’an will never contradict itself, nor will the authentic Hadith contradict itselfE neither will these two authentic sources, contradict each other.
• Sometimes the scholars differ, and many a times, these differences can be removed by analyzing the Qur’an as a whole, and not just by quoting one particular Verse. Because if one particular verse of the Qur’an is ambiguous many a times the answer is given somewhere else in the Qur’an - Some people quote one source and neglect all the other sources.
• It is the duty of every Muslim, male or female, to seek the pleasure of God, and to act as His trustee on this world, and not to try and gain fame or satisfy one’s own ego.
Islam believes in equality of men and women E‘EqualityEdoes not mean ‘identicalityE
In Islam, the role of a man and woman is complimentary, it is not conflicting. It is that of a partnership, it is not contradictory, so as to strive for supremacy.
Where ‘Women’s rights in IslamE is concerned, I have divided it into 6 broad categories.

Six Categories of Women Rights in Islam
The first are ‘the Spiritual rightsE second are ‘the Economical rightsE third are ‘the Social rightsE fourth are ‘the Educational rightsE fifth are ‘the Legal rightsE and last are ‘the Political rightsE
Sex is Not the Criteria to Enter Paradise:
The greatest misconception that the West has about Islam, is that they thinkE‘Paradise in Islam, is only meant for the male - it is not meant for the femaleE
This misconception can be removed by quoting from Surah Nisa, Ch. No. 4, Verse No 124, which says, ‘If any of you do deeds of righteousness, whether it be male or a female and has faith, they shall surely enter Paradise and not the least injustice shall be done to themEnbsp;
A similar thing is repeated in Surah Nahl, Ch.16, Verse No.97 which saysE‘If any of you perform good deeds, be it a man or a woman and is a believer, We shall give you good life and We should reward you for all your good worksE
Just because in Islam, sex is not the criteria to enter Paradise, will you call such rights in Islam as modernising or outdated?

A. Spiritual Rights of Women in Islam
Another misconception is that, which the Western media has, that, ‘The woman has no soulE
In fact, it was in the seventeenth century, when the Council of wise men, when they gathered at Rome, and they unanimously agreed that the woman had no soul.
In Islam, man and woman have the same spiritual nature. It is mentioned in Quran, Ch.4, Verse No.1, which says that, ‘O humankind reverence your Guardian Lord, who has created you from a single person and created like nature his mateE
A similar thing is mentioned in Surah Nahl, Ch.16, Verse No.72, which says that, ‘We have made for you companions and mates of your own natureE
In Surah Al-Shura, Ch.42, Verse No.11, it says, ‘He is the one who has created the heavens and the earth and has made for you pairs from among yourselvesE
Just because the spiritual nature of a man and woman is the same in Islam, will you call such rights in Islam, as modernizing or outdated?
The Qur’an clearly mentions that, ‘God has breathed somewhat of His spirit into the human beingsE
If you read Surah Hijr, Ch.15, Verse No.29, it says, ‘When I have fashioned you in due proportion and have breathed into you something of my spirit, fall you down in obeisanceE
A similar thing is repeated in the Qur’an, in Surah Sajdah, Ch. 32, Verse No.9, which says, ‘Then He fashioned him and breathed into him of His Spirit...E
Here, when God refers to as ‘Something of My Spirit, is breathed into the human beingsE- it does not mean, a sort of incarnation or a pantheistic form.
It means that Allah has given to every human being something of His spiritual Nature, and the Knowledge of God Almighty, and coming closer towards Him.
Here it refers to both Adam and Eve (may peace be upon them) - Both were breathed something of God's Spirit.
Again we read in the Qur’an, that Allah has appointed the human being as His vicegerent, as His trustee, as is mentioned in Surah Isra, Ch.17, Verse No.70, which says, ‘We have honoured the children of Adam and bestowed on them special favoursE
Note, here all the children of Adam have been honoured, male as well as female.
There are some Religious scriptures, for example the Bible, which puts the blame on Eve for the downfall of humanity.
In fact if you read the Qur’an in Surah Araf, Ch.7, Verse No.19 to 27, Adam and Eve (may peace be upon them both) are addressed, more than a dozen of times.
Both disobeyed God, both asked for forgiveness, both repented, and both were forgiven.
In the Bible, if you read Genesis, Ch. 3, only Eve is held responsible (May peace be upon her) for the downfall of humanity.
And according to the doctrine of ‘Original SinE because of Eve (may peace be upon her) the whole of humanity is born in sin.

Does Pregnancy Uplift the Women or Degrade?

If you read the Bible in Genesis, Ch. 3, Verse No.16, it says that, 'To the woman He (God) said, "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you."'
That means, pregnancy and child birth has been said in the Bible to degrade the women and the labour pain is a sort of punishment.
In fact if you read the Qur’an, pregnancy and child birth have uplifted the women.
If you read Surah Nisa, Ch.4, Verse No.1, it says, ‘Respect the womb that bore youE
Its mentioned in Surah Luqman, Ch.31, Verse No.14, it says, ‘We have enjoined on the human being to be kind to the parents, in travail upon travail did their mother bore them and in years twain was their weaningE
A similar thing is mentioned in Surah Ahqaf, Ch.46, Verse No.15, it again repeats, which says, ‘We have enjoined on the human beings to be kind to his parentsE
To be kind to the parents - in pain did their mother bore them, and in pain did she give them birth - Pregnancy in the Qur’an has uplifted the women not degraded her.
Just because pregnancy has uplifted the women in Islam will you call such rights in Islam as modernizing or outdated?

Criteria in the Sight of God to Judge Male and Female:
The only criteria for judgment in the sight of Allah is ‘TaqwaE ‘God consciousnessEor ‘righteousnessE
It is mentioned in Surah Hujurat, Ch.49, Verse No.13 ‘O humankind, We have created you from a single pair of male and female and have divided you into nations and tribes, so that you shall recognize each other not that you despise each other and the most honored in the sight of God, is the one who is the most righteousE
Sex, colour, caste, wealth has got no criteria in Islam - The only criteria in the sight of God is ‘righteousnessE neither is sex the criteria for God to reward or to punish a person.
If you read Surah Imran Ch.3 Verse No.195 it says ‘I will never suffer the loss of any of you, be it male or female, you are companions unto each otherE

Equal Moral Duties for Men and Women:
I had started my talk by quoting a verse from the Qur’an from Surah Al Ahzab, Ch.33, Verse No.35, which says,
‘For Muslim men and Muslim women,
for believing men and women,
for devout men and women,
for true men and women,
for men and women who are patient and constant,
for men and women who give in charity,
for men and women who fast and deny themselves,
for men and women who guard their chastity,
for men and women who engage much in God's praise,
God has prepared for them forgiveness and a vast reward.Enbsp;

This verse indicates that the spiritual duties, the moral duties, for the men and women in Islam are the same - Both have to believe, both have to pray, both have to fast, both have to give in charity, etc, etc.
But the women has been given certain concession in Islam.
If she is undergoing her menstrual period or pregnancy, she does not have to fast - She can keep those fasts later on, when she is more healthy.
During the menstrual period and during the postnatal period, she needs not pray also - she has been given the concession, and neither does she have to compensate it later on.
Just because the moral duties of the men and women are equal in Islam will you call such rights in Islam as modernizing or outdated?

B. Economical Rights to the Women

Islam gave economical rights to the women 1,300 years before the West.
An adult Muslim woman can own, she can dispose or disown any of her property without consulting any one, irrespective whether she is married or she is single.
In 1870, it was the first time in England, that the West recognized the rights of the married woman, where she was allowed to own or dispose any of her property without consultation.
I do agree that the women were given their economical rights 1300 years ago - these are ancient rights - but the question is E‘are they modernizing or outdated?Enbsp;

Women on Job:
A women in Islam, if she wishes to work she can work - There is no text in the Qur’an or the authentic Hadith which prevents or makes it prohibited for a woman to do any work, as long as it is not unlawful, as long as it is within the preview of the Islamic Shariah, as long as she maintains her Islamic dress code.
But natural, she cannot take up jobs, which exhibit her beauty and body - Like for example, modeling and film acting, and such kind of jobs.
Many of the professions and jobs which are prohibited for the woman are also prohibited for the man, for example serving alcohol, working in gambling dens, doing any unethical or dishonest business. All these jobs are prohibited for both men and women.
A true Islamic society requires women to take up profession such as doctors.
We do require female Gynecologists, we do require female nurses, we do require female teachers.
But, a woman in Islam has got no financial obligations - The financial obligation is laid on the shoulders of the man in the family - Therefore she need not work for her livelihood.
But in genuine cases, where there are financial crisis in which both the ends do not meet, she has the option of working.
Here too, no one can force her to work - She works out of her own, absolute free will.

Financial Security for Women:
A woman in Islam has been given more financial security, as compared to the man.
As I told you earlier, the financial obligation is not put on her shoulder - It is put on the shoulder of the man in the family. It is the duty of the father or the brother, before she is married and the duty of the husband or the son, after she is married to look after her lodging, boarding, clothing and financial aspects of her.

Compulsory Marital Gift for a Woman:
When she gets married, she is on the receiving end.
She receives a gift - she receives a dower or a marital gift, which is called as ‘MeherE
And it is mentioned in the Qur’an in Surah Nisa, Ch.4 Verse No.4 which says, ‘Give to the woman in dower, a marital giftE
For a marriage to solemnize in Islam, ‘MeherEis compulsory.
But unfortunately in our Muslim society here, we just keep a nominal ‘MeherEto satisfy the Qur’an, say 151 Rupees, or some people give 786 Rupees and they spend lakhs and lakhs of Rupees on the reception, on the decoration, on the flowers, on the lunch parties, on the dinner parties.
In Islam, there is no lower-limit, nor is there an upper limit for ‘MeherE- But when a person can spend lakhs of Rupees on the reception, surely the ‘Meher Eshould be much more.
There are various cultures which have crept into the Muslim societies, specially in the Indo-Pak area.
They give a small amount of ‘MeherEand they expect the wife to give a fridge, to give a T.V set, they expect the wife to give an apartment, to give a car, etc., and a large sum of dowry, depending upon the status of the husband.
If he is a graduate, they may expect 1 lakh - If he is an engineer they may expect 3 lakhs - If he is a doctor they may expect 5 lakhs.
Demanding dowry from the wife, directly or indirectly is prohibited in Islam.
If the parents of the girl give the girl something out of their own free will, it is accepted - But demanding or forcing directly or indirectly, it is prohibited in Islam.

No Financial Liabilities:
If a Woman works, which she does not have to - whatever earning she gets, it is absolutely her property.
She need not spend on the household - if she wants to spend it is her free will.
Irrespective how rich the wife is, it is the duty of the husband to give lodging, boarding, clothing and look after the financial aspects of the wife.
In case of divorce or if a wife gets widowed, she is given financial support for the period of ‘IddahE- and if she has children, she is also given child support.

Right to Inherit:
Islam gave the right to the women to inherit, centuries ago.
If you read the Qur’an - in several verses, in Surah Nisa, in Surah Baqarah and in Surah Maidah, it is mentioned that a woman, irrespective she is a wife or she is a mother, or a sister, or a daughter, she has a right to inherit. And it has been fixed by God Almighty in the Qur’an.

C. Social Rights of Women in Islam
Broadly it can be categorized into four sub-headings. Social rights given to a daughter, to a wife, to a mother and to a sister.
Social Rights to a Daughter:
Islam prohibits, female infanticide. The killing of female children is forbidden in Islam.
It is mentioned in Surah Taqveem, Ch. 81, Verse No. 8 and 9, ‘when the female child is buried alive and when she questions you, for what crime was she killedE
Not only female infanticide has been prohibited, all sorts of infanticides has been prohibited in Islam, whether it be a male child or a female child.
It is mention in the Qur’an in Surah A’nam Ch.6, Verse No.151 that, ‘Kill not your children for want of sustenance for it is God that will provide sustenance for you and for childrenE
A similar thing is mentioned in Surah Isra, Ch.17 Verse No.31 which saysE‘Kill not your children for want of sustenance, for it is God that will provide sustenance to you and your children, for killing of children is a major sinE
In the pre-Islamic Arabia, whenever a female child was born mostly she was buried alive.
Alhamdullillah, after the spread of Islam this evil practice has been discontinued.
But unfortunately it still continues in India - According to a BBC report, in the programe assignment the title of which was ‘Let Her DieE there was a British reporter by the name of Emily Beckenen, who came all the way from Britain to India to give us the statistics of the female infanticide.
In that programe, it gives the statistics, that every day more than 3,000 fetuses are being aborted on being identified that they are females.
If you multiply this figure by the number of days, that is multiplied by 365, you get a figure of more than one million female fetuses are being aborted every year in our country.
And there are big hoarding and posters in states like Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan, which says spend 500 Rupees and save 5 lakh Rupees.
What does it mean? - That spend Rupees 500 on medical examination like Aminocententus or Ultra Sonography, and identify the gender of child.
If it is a female you can abort it and you’ll save 5 lakh Rupees - How?
The couple of lakhs you spend on upbringing her and the remaining lakhs of Rupees you spend on giving dowry to the man who will marry her (a custom in India).
According to the report of the Government Hospital of Tamil Nadu E‘out of every 10 female children that are born, four are put to deathE- No wonder the female population in India is less than the male population.
Female infanticide was continuing in India since centuries - If you analyze the statistics of the 1901 census, for every 1000 males there were 972 females.
According to the 1981 statistics and census, it tells you for every 1000 males you have 934 females.
And the latest statistics of 1991 tells you that for every 1000 males you have 927 females.
You can analyze that the female ratio is dropping every year - And since science and medicine has advanced, it has helped in this evil practice.
Just because Islam tells you that you should not kill any children whether it be male or female will you call these rights in Islam as modernizing or outdated?
Qur’an not only prohibits female infanticide, it rebukes at the thought of you rejoicing at the birth of a male child and getting saddened at the birth of a female child.

In Islam, a daughter should be brought up correctly.
In Islam, there should be no partiality in upbringing of the daughter or the son.
According to a Hadith, ‘In the presence of the Prophet Muhammad, once a man kissed his son and placed him on his lap but did not do the same to his daughter.
The Prophet immediately objected and said that you are unjust - You should have even kissed your daughter and placed her on the other lapE

Social Rights to Wife:
All the previous civilizations, they have considered the women to be an ‘instrument of the devilE
The Qur’an refers to the women as ‘MohsanaE that is a ‘fortress against the devilE
And if a woman, who’s good, marries a man, she prevents him from going on the wrong path.
There’s a Hadith in which Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) he said that, ‘there is no monasticism in IslamE.
And again according to Sahih Bukhari, Volume No. 7, Ch. No. 3 Hadith No 4 it says that ‘the Prophet Muhammad ordained the young men, all those who have the means to marry, they should marry - For it will help them to guard their gaze and guard their modesty.
The Qur’an say’s that, ‘We have put love into the hearts of the husband and wifeE
If you read Surah Rum, Ch. 30, Verse No. 21 it says that, ‘And amongst our signs We have created for you mates or companions, so that you may dwell in them in tranquillity and we have put love and mercy between your heartsE
According to Surah Nisa, Ch.4, Verse No.21, marriage is considered as a strong agreement, a strong contract.
According to Surah Nisa, Ch.4, Verse No.19, it says, ‘You are prohibited to inherit women against their willE- Means, to marry the permission of both the parties are required.
It is compulsory that the man and women both should agree to marry. No one - not even the father can force their daughter to marry against her wishes.
There’s a Hadith in Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 69, which says ‘that a lady she was forced by her father to marry against her wishesE- And she went to the Prophet and the Prophet invalidated the marriageE
Another Hadith in Ibn-e-Humbal, Hadith No. 2469, it says ‘that a daughter was forced by her father to get married - And when the daughter approached the Prophet, the Prophet said you can either continue, or if you wish you can invalidate the marriage.

That means, the consent of both the male and the female is required.
In Islam, a women is considered as a homemaker - She is not considered as a housewife, because she is not married to the house.
Many people use terminology, without understanding what it means E‘HousewifeEmeans ‘you are the wife of the houseE
So I believe, from now onwards the sisters would prefer calling themselves ‘homemakersE than ‘house wivesE if they are occupied more in the home.
In Islam, a woman, she is not married to a master that she should be treated like a slave - She is married to it is equal.
And there is a Hadith which says in Ibn-Hambal - Hadith No 736, 7396. It says that, ‘the most perfect of the believers are those that are best in character and behavior, and those that are best to their family and their wivesE
Islam gives equal rights to the man and woman. Qur’an clearly mentions that men and women, husband and wife have equal rights in all aspects, except leadership in the family.
It is mentioned in the Qur’an in Surah Baqarah Ch.2, Verse No.228. It says that, E..the women have been given rights similar against them (men) on equitable terms but the men have a degree higher...E
Most of the Muslims have misunderstood this verse, when it says ‘a men have a degree higherE- As I said we should analyze the Qur’an as a whole. And its mentioned in Surah Nisa, Ch. 4, Verse No.34 which says, ‘The men are the protectors and maintainers of the women, for God has given one of them more strength than the other and they give them their meansE
People say the word ‘KawwamE means, ‘one degree higher in superiorityE- But actually the word ‘KawwamEcomes from the root word ‘IkamahE ‘IkamahEmeans for example ‘when you give the Ikamah before prayers - You stand upE
So ‘IkamahEmeans to standup - so the word ‘KawwamEmeans one degree higher in responsibility, not one degree higher in superiority.
Even if you read the commentary of ‘Ibne-KathirE- He says that the word ‘KawwamEmeans one degree higher in responsibility, not one degree higher in superiority.
And this responsibility, should be carried out by mutual consent of both husband and wife.
It is mentioned in Surah Baqarah, Ch.2, Verse No.187, which says, Which meansE‘Your wives are your garments, and you are their garmentsE
What’s the objective of garments - It is used to conceal and to beautify.
The husband and wife, should conceal each others faults, and they should beautify each other - Its a relationship of hands and gloves.
The Qur’an mentions that, ‘even if you do not like your wife, you should treat her kindlyE
It is mentioned in Surah Nisa, Ch.4, Verse No.19, that, E..consort with them (your wives) in kindness, for if you hate them it may happen that you hate a thing wherein God has placed much good.
Even if you dislike your wife you have to treat her kindly and with equity
Just because the rights of a wife are equal to those of the husband in Islam, will you call such rights in Islam as modernizing or outdated?

Social Rights to a Mother:
The only thing above respect to Mother, is the worship of God - It is mentioned in:
Ch.17, Verse No.28-29, It says thatE‘God has ordained for you, that you worship none but Him, and to be kind to your parents. And if any one or both of them reach old age do not say a word of contempt or repel them but address them with honour, and speak to them with kindness, and lower your wing of humility and pray to God - ‘My Lord! bless them as they have cherished me in childhoodE
Surah Nisa, Ch. No. 4, Verse No. 1 says, ‘Respect the womb that bore youE
Surah A’nam, Ch.6, Verse No.151, says that, ‘You have to be kind to your parentsE
Surah Luqman Ch.31, Verse No.14, says that, ‘We have enjoined on the human beings to be kind to his parents. In travail upon travail, did their mother bore them and in years twain was their weaningE
A similar thing is repeated again in Surah Ahqaf, Ch.46, Verse No.15, thatE‘We have enjoined on the human beings to be kind to his parents. In pain did their mother bore them and in pain did she give them birthE
Another Hadith related in Sahih Bukhari in Volume 8, Ch. No. 2 Hadith No. 2, as well as in Sahih-Muslim - It says that a man asked the Prophet MuhammadE‘Who requires the maximum love and respect and my companionship in this world?
The Prophet replied E‘your motherEbr> ‘Who is nextE E‘your motherEnbsp;
‘Who is next?EE‘your motherEnbsp;
The man asked for the fourth time, - ‘Who is nextEnbsp;
The Prophet replied ‘your fatherE
So 75% of the love and respect goes to the mother and 25% of the love and respect goes to the father.
Three fourth of the better part of the love and respect goes to the mother EOne fourth of the remaining part of the love and respect goes to the father.
Social Rights to a Sister:
According to Surah Tawbah, Ch. 9, Verse No.71, it says that, ‘The men and the women they are friends of each otherE
Prophet Muhammed (may peace be upon him) he said, ‘The women are the ‘ShakatE-‘ShakatEmeans sisterE

D. Educational Rights to a Woman
The first 5 verses which were revealed in the Qur’an were from Surah Alaq, or Surah Iqra, Verse No. 1 to 5 which says:
‘Read, recite or proclaim in the name of your Lord, Who has created the human beings from a congealed clot of blood (a leech like substance).
Read, your Lord is most bountiful.
Who has taught the use of the pen.
Who has taught the human beings that which he knew-notE
The first guidance given in the Qur’an to the humankind was not to pray, was not to fast, was not to give charity - It was read - Islam pays utmost importance to education.

Education is Compulsory in Islam:
According to Quran:
• God will exalt those of you who believe and those who are given knowledge to high degrees. (58:11)
• And say, O my Lord! increase me in knowledge. (20:114)
• And whoever is is given knowledge is given indeed abundant wealth. (2:269)
According to a saying of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) “It is obligatory for every Muslim, male or female, to acquire knowledge (Al-Bayhaqi).
Imagine, 1400 years ago, when the women were ill treated and were only used as property, Islam asked the women to be educated.
Because Islam tells that every woman should be educated, - Will you call such women’s right’s in Islam as modernizing or outdated?

E. Legal Rights to a Woman
According to the Islamic law, men and women are equal - The Islamic Law protects the life and property of a man and woman both.
If a man murders a woman he too will receive the capital punishment of ‘KisaasE
According to the Islamic law of ‘KisaasE men and women - irrespective the injury be of the eye, of the nose, of the ear, of the body - both receive equal punishment.
And if the guardian of the murderer, even it be a woman - If she says, that forgive the murderer and she accepts ‘DiaE that is compensation - her opinion cannot be rejected - they have to accept it.
And if there’s difference of opinion between the relatives of the person whose murdered - And some say that the murderer should be killed and some say that he should be forgiven and ‘DiaEnbsp; should be accepted - people should prevent the relatives from killing that murderer.
And irrespective whether the witness or the opinion is given by a man or woman, it has same weight.
According to Surah Maida, Ch.5, Verse No.30 - It saysE‘As to the thief, whether he be man or a woman, cut off his or her hand as a punishment for his crime, an example from GodE
Means, if a person robs, irrespective whether he is a man or a woman his or her hands should be chopped - The punishment is the same.
According to Surah Nur, Ch.24, Verse No.2, it says ‘If any commits fornication, be it a man or a woman, flog them with 100 stripesE
The punishment for fornication in Islam irrespective whether it is a man or a woman, it is the same - Flogging with 100 stripes.

The punishment for men and women, is the same in Islam.
In Islam a woman is allowed to give witness
Imagine, Islam gave right to a woman to be a witness, 14 centuries ago.
Even now in as late as 1980, the Jewish Rabai, they were considering that whether the women should be given a right to act as a witness or not - And Islam gave that right 1400 years ago.
Accord¬ing to Surah Nur, Ch.24, Verse No.4, it is said ‘If any of you put a charge against the chastity of a woman, produce 4 witnesses, and if they falter, flog them with 80 stripesE
In Islam for a small crime, you require 2 witness - for a big crime you require 4 witnesses.
Accusing a woman falsely is a big crime in Islam, therefore you require 4 witnesses.
Now a days you see in the modern society, you find men abusing women and calling them all sorts of name. They call them prostitutes etc, and nothing is done.
In an Islamic state, if a man calls her a ‘prostituteEin public or anywhere else, and if she takes that man to court - And if that man cannot produce 4 witnesses or even if he produces 4 witnesses and any one of them falter, all of them will receive 80 lashes each, and in future all their evidence will be rejected.
Islam gives utmost importance to the chastity of the woman.
When a lady marries, she normally adopts the name of her husband.
In Islam she has the option of either keeping her husband’s name, either adopting the name of the husband, or maintaining her maiden name.
And maintaining the maiden name is recommended in Islam - And we find in several Muslim societies that women, even after they get married they maintain their maiden name, because according to the Islamic law men and women are equal.
Will you call such rights in Islam modernizing or outdated?

F. Political Rights of a Woman
According to Surah Tawba, Ch.9, Verse No.71, ‘The men and the women they are friends (supporters) of each otherE
Supporters not only Socially - even Politically EPolitically, men and women should support each other.

Women can even take part in law making.
And according to the famous Hadith in which Hazrat Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), he was discussing with the Sahabas, and considering putting an upper limit on the ‘Meher E since young men were discouraged from getting married - a lady from the back seat she objected and said When the Qur’an says in Surah Nisa Ch.4, Verse No.20 thatE ‘you can even give a heap of treasure, a heap of gold in ‘MeherE when Qur’an puts no limit on ‘MeherE who is Umar to put a limit (may Allah be pleased with him).
And immediately Hazrat Umar (peace be upon him) saidE‘Umar is wrong and the lady is rightE
Imagine, she was a common lady - If it would have been a famous lady, the name of the lady would be mentioned in the Hadith.
Since the Hadith does not mention the name of the lady, we can understand that the lady was a common lady.
Means, even a common lady can object to the ‘KhalifaE the head of the state.
And in technical terms it would be called that E‘she is objecting to the breach of the constitutionE- because Qur’an is the constitution of the Muslims - That means a woman can even take part in law making.

Women have even taken part in the battle fields
There is a full chapter in the Sahih Bukhari mentioning women in the battle field - Women gave water - they give first aid to the soldiers.
Because the Qur’an says ‘Man is the protector of the ‘WomanE
Under normal circumstances, the women should not go to the battle field. It is the duty of the man.
Only when required, under necessity are women allowed - and they should go to the battle field if they want.
Otherwise you’ll have the same position as you are having in the USA.

Women in USA are Not Safe
In USA women were allowed to join the battle since 1901 but they were not allowed to take active part - They only played the part of a nurse.
Later on after the ‘Feminist MovementEhad started in 1973, the ‘Feminist movementEdemand¬ed E‘Why aren’t women allowed to take active part in the battle field?E/font>
So the American government allowed women to take active part in the battle field.
And according to a report of the Defense Department of America, which was released on the 23rd of April, 1993 it said that, E0 people were sexually assaulted in a convention, out of which 83 were women and 117 officers were charged with in disciplinary actionE Imagine in one convention only, 83 women sexually assaulted.
What was the crime of those 117 officers?
They made the women run and they snatched at their clothes. They made them parade absolutely nude without even covering the genital parts. They were made to have sex in public.

Is this what you call ‘Women’s rightsE
If you think that this is what is ‘Women’s rightE then you can keep your rights to yourselves. We do not want our sisters, our daughters our mothers to be sexually assaulted.
And there was a uproar in the parliament and the President, Bill Clinton - he himself had to apologize publicly and he said, ‘Necessary action will be takenE
And you know when politicians say ‘necessary action will be taken, what happens.
So Islam allows women to take part in the battle field only when required.
But there also they should maintain their Islamic dress and the Islamic ethics, and their modesty.

USA Has One of the Highest Rates of Rape
United States of America is supposed to be one of the most advanced countries of the world. It also has one of the highest rates of rape in any country in the world. According to a FBI report, in the year 1990, every day on an average 1756 cases of rape were committed in U.S.A alone. Later another report said that on an average everyday 1900 cases of rapes are committed in USA. The year was not mentioned. May be it was 1992 or 1993. May be the Americans got ‘bolderEin the following years.

Islamic Law Let's Women Breathe Easily
Consider a scenario where the Islamic law is implemented in America. Whenever a man looks at a woman and any brazen or unashamed thought comes to his mind, he lowers his gaze. Every woman wears the Islamic dress as mentioned in Quran. After this if any man commits rape he is given capital punishment. I ask you, in such a scenario, will the rate of rape in America increase, will it remain the same, or will it decrease?
If Islamic law is implemented in any part of the world, women will breathe easier.

Before I conclude, I’d like to give an example.
As I said in the beginning of my talk, Islam believes in equality between men and women - Equality does not mean identicality.
Suppose in a classroom 2 students, student ‘AEand ‘BE during an examination both come out first - Both secure 80% marks - 80 out of 100.
When you analyze the question paper, the question paper has 10 differ¬ent questions, each carrying 10 marks.
In question 1 student ‘AEgot 9 out of 10, and student ‘BEgot 7 out of 10 - So in question 1 student ‘AEwas higher than student ‘BE
In question 2, student ‘AEgot 7 out of 10 and student ‘BEgot 9 out of 10 - Student ‘BEwas higher than student ‘AEin question number 2.
In question 3 both of them got 8 out of 10, both were equal.
So when we add up the marks of all the ten questions, both student ‘AEand ‘BEgot 80 out of 100.
So in short, student ‘AEand student ‘BEare over all equal.
In some questions ‘AEis higher than ‘BE in some questions ‘BEis higher than ‘AE in others both are equal.
In the same fashion, taking the example that since God has given man more strength - Suppose a thief enters the house will you tell, ‘I believe in women’s rights - I believe in women’s rightsE - will you tell your mother, your sister and your daughter, to go and fight the thief?E
No, but natural you’ll fight him - If required they may interfere - Under normal circumstances since God has given you more physical strength, you have to go and tackle the thief.
So here, in physical strength, man is one degree higher than the woman
Let us take another example where it comes to respecting the parents - The children are supposed to respect the mother 3 times more than the father (as mentioned earlier).
Here the women have one degree higher than the men - Over all both equal
So Islam believes in equality, not identically - Men and women are over all equal in Islam.
This was in brief, the highlights, of ‘the Women’s Rights in IslamE
After this what the Muslim society did is different - Many of the Muslim societies did not give the women their rights and they deviated away from the Qur’an and the Sunnah.
The Western society is largely responsible for this - because of the Western societies, many Muslim societies have become over protective, over precautions and have gone to one extreme and deviated away from the Qur’an and the Sunnah.
On the other extreme, some of the Muslim societies turned to the Western culture, and followed their culture.
I want to tell the Western society that if you analyze the women’s rights in Islam according to the Qur’an and the Sunnah - you will realize it is modernizing and not outdated.

please refer to the original source as mentioned above for further ....

Sunday, February 15, 2009

How does Historiography approach its vision?

Introduction to Historiography

Historical study concerns the past of men about everything they have done, said, thought in the flow of past time. This definition is simple. It is the fact in the form of records, oral traditions, inscriptions in stone, or writing on papyrus or paper, that historians can study and from which they can write history. Historical study then, is the study of the surviving records of men which needs a qualification and elaboration.

History is everything that has happened to men in the flow of past time. History as a study is the attempt to discover and understand what happened. Historians have sometimes hoped to recover the past as it actually was. But the actual past cannot be recovered for many reasons and not only because past men have left only traces of their acts and ideas. The surviving records, especially of ancient times are scanty, while the records of modern times, though partial and incomplete, are so vast that an historian can but sample them. The records were created by men; they may or may not give an accurate description, but they never give a full account of what happened. The historian himself is a product of his own times and has the biases of his own culture and he cannot, even imaginatively, fully project himself out of his own present into the lives of men of earlier times, for they acted and thought in ways partly beyond his comprehension.

History, like theology or natural science, is a special form of thought. The questions about the nature, object, method and value of this form of thought must be answered by persons having two qualifications. First, they must have experience of that form of thought. They must be historian. Second, they should not only have experience of historical thinking but also have reflected upon the experience. They must be not only historians but also philosophers; and in particular their philosophical thought must have included special attention to the problems of historical thought.

Collingwood’s The Idea of History, attempts to elaborate such idea in detail by investigating its history. He views that the historians nowadays think that history should be (i) a science, or answering of questions; (ii) concerned with human actions in the past; (iii) pursued by interpretation of evidence; and (iv) for the sake of human self-knowledge. But this is not the way in which people have always thought of history.

In a matter of fact, historiography reminds readers that historical writing has fashions in its method and approaches and attempted to provide as comprehensive an account as possible of the writing of previous historians.

What is Historiography?

Marnie Hughes-Warrington explains that historiography refers to a broader range of activities than is often acknowledged by historians and history teachers. It can be explored and suggested how knowledge of them can help us better understand both the diversity and limitations of the visions of history within these four approaches. First, studies of history as a social phenomenon. Historiography understood in this sense may entail the anthropological and sociological investigation of the historicities of various communities today, that is, their way of experiencing and understanding, and constructing and representing history. Anthropological studies of historical awareness make it clear that no single understanding of history binds culture together meanwhile sociological studies focused on single cultural contexts have also highlighted variation in historicities.

Second, relating to psychological studies of historical awareness and thinking. Sociological studies challenge man to think about the primacy of wtitten texts in historical and historiographical studies. We realize that the question ‘what is history?’ also entails asking ‘where is history?’. Psychological approaches to the study of historical awareness respond to that question by focusing on the mental activities of those who make and study histories, as well as social practices conventionally associated with the term.

Third, historical studies of histories play a prominent part in scholarship on teaching and learning history. When it comes to the consideration of historians’ activities, historical approaches are far more prevalent. For a number of historians, historiography is synonymous with the history of histories and history making. Arthur Marwick, for instance, has argued that the term ‘historiography’ can be collapsed into that of ‘history’. Historical studies of historians and histories range across ancient and modern cultures. A varied range of sources and methodologies have been employed in these studies, from narratological studies of the forms of works to numerical assessments of how many people came into contact with them. It might reasonably be expected historiographical research will present as complex an account of individual and social practices as that offered in historical research.

Fourth, philosophical study of history, it can be questioned how might we address a ‘should’ question in historiography? How do we decide what we ‘ought’ to research and communicate? The usual response to questions of this sort is that we require philosophical analysis. In both ancient and modern settings, writers and thinkers have looked to philosophical analysis both to address points of debate and illuminate agreed, unquestioned and taken-for-granted principles and assumptions. This is because every historian makes or affirms assumptions that define, refine, contract or extend their activities. Some of these assumptions are subject to great historical and cultural variation, while others are affirmed so often and for so long that they appear to be unalterable or subject only to minor alterations. Some are openly debated, while others are so deeply held that they cannot be clearly enunciated.

Sources :
1. Fifty key thinkers on History
2. Companion to Historiography
3. What is History

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Greatest Global Financial Crisis

The global wealth losses amounting to $20 trillion

By: Fudzail

I have my doubts when reading some not-so-good reports as well as feel-good reports on the current turmoil. Sometimes, too much information is more harmful to our plans. Rumours have been circulating with some basis to believe these rumours do have some truth and during last few months, rumours have been all but rumours.
There is a latest hot rumour about the impending merger of two big real estate developers in the UAE from Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The merger of the two giants will create a, well, big giant if not a monster, positively, I like that idea.
In today’s business paper, it is reported that top international investment banks have confirmed that the world is now experiencing the worst global financial crisis since the Great Depression. Believe it or not, the global wealth losses amounting to $20 trillion (Dh73.4trn).
Morgan Stanley, HSBC and The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (BNYM) unanimously say that the credit crisis has led to the biggest shock to world wealth since the Second World War.
The Great Depression was the largest and most important economic depression in modern history and is used in the 21st century as an example of how far the world's economy can fall. And like the current financial crisis, the Great Depression originated in the United States.
Historians most often use as a starting date the stock market crash on October 29, 1929, known as Black Tuesday. The depression had devastating effects in virtually every country, rich or poor. International trade plunged by half to two-thirds, as did personal income, tax revenue, prices and profits. Cities all around the world were hit hard, especially those dependent on heavy industry. Construction was halted in many countries.
But the current crisis is more than just a depression, says Richard Hoey, chief economist of BNYM. "We expect a severe global recession rather than a depression."
"The global economy was in freefall in the fourth quarter of 2008 and this should continue in the early months of 2009.We agree with the view this is the greatest global financial crisis since the Great Depression," he added.
According to Morgan Stanley's estimates, the result of the current financial crisis has been a destruction of world wealth, which since mid 2007 has amounted to approximately $20trn (or down 16 per cent from its peak, which has been estimated at $125trn by the United Nations).
"This is the largest absolute and percentage decline in world wealth since the physical destruction of the Second World War," said the New York-based bank holding company.

You can read the rest here-

Just imagine, $20 trillion worth of wealth disappeared into the thin air. If we had had used that amount to build a better world for everybody on the planet, we may not lose that much. Imagine, even some richest Muslims do not pay zakat and one Islamic scholar here mentioned that if even half of these Muslims had paid their zakats, there would be no poor Muslims in the world….

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Source : see

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Al-Ghazali's Contributions Towards Ummah

Imam al-Ghazzali

Dr. G.F. Haddad

Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad, Abu Hamid al-Tusi al-Ghazzali [or al-Ghazali] al-Shafi‘i (450-505), "the Proof of Islam" (Hujjat al-Islam), "Ornament of the Faith," "Gatherer of the Multifarious Sciences," "Great Siddîq," absolute mujtahid, a major Shafi‘i jurist, heresiographer and debater, expert in the principles of doctrine and those of jurisprudence. Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi stated that, like ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz and al-Shafi‘i for their respective times, al-Ghazzali is unanimously considered the Renewer of the Fifth Islamic Century. Ibn al-Subki writes: "He came at a time when people stood in direr need of replies against the philosophers than the darkest night stands in need of the light of the moon and stars." Among his teachers in law, debate, and principles: Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Râdhakâni in Tus, Abu Nasr al-Isma‘ili in Jurjan, and Imam al-Haramayn Abu al-Ma‘ali al-Juwayni in Naysabur, from where he departed to Baghdad after the latter’s death. Ibn ‘Asakir also mentions that al-Ghazzali took al-Bukhari’s Sahih from Abu Sahl Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Hafsi. Among his other shaykhs in hadith were Nasr ibn ‘Ali ibn Ahmad al-Hakimi al-Tusi, ‘Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Khawari, Muhammad ibn Yahya ibn Muhammad al-Suja`i al-Zawzani, the hadith master Abu al-Fityan ‘Umar ibn Abi al-Hasan al-Ru’asi al-Dahistani, and Nasr ibn Ibrahim al-Maqdisi. Among his shaykhs in tasawwuf were al-Fadl ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ali al-Farmadi al-Tusi – one of Abu al-Qasim al-Qushayri’s students – and Yusuf al-Sajjaj.
On his way back from Jurjan to Tus al-Ghazzali was robbed by highwaymen. When they left him he followed them but was told: "Leave us or you will die." He replied: "I ask you for Allah’ sake to only return to me my notes, for they are of no use to you." The robber asked him: "What are those notes?" He said: "Books in that satchel, for the sake of which I left my country in order to hear, write, and obtain their knowledge." The robber laughed and said: "How can you claim that you obtained their knowledge when we took it away from you and left you devoid of knowl-edge!" Then he gave an order and the satchel was returned to him. Al-Ghazzali said: "This man’s utterance was divinely inspired (hâdhâ mustantaqun): Allah caused him to say this in order to guide me. When I reached Tus I worked for three years until I had memorized all that I had written down."
Al-Ghazzali came to Baghdad in 484 and began a prestigious career of teaching, giving fatwa, and authoring books in nearly all the Islamic sciences of his day. His skill in refuting opponents was unparalleled except by his superlative godwariness, which led him to abandon his teaching position at the Nizamiyya school four years later, deputizing his brother Ahmad, famous for his preaching, to replace him. Upon completion of pilgrimage to Mecca al-Ghazzali headed for Damascus, then al-Qudus, then Damascus again where he remained for several years, taking up the ascetic life with the words: "We sought after knowledge for other than Allah’s sake, but He refused that it be for anything other than Him."
He came out of seclusion in 499 and travelled to Cairo, Iskandariyya and other places, finally returning to Baghdad where he taught his magnum opus Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din until his death in nearby Tus, occupying the remainder of his time with devotions, Qur’an recitations, prayer and fasting, and the company of Sufis. Ibn al-Jawzi narrated in al-Thabat ‘Inda al-Mamat ("Firmness at the Time of Death") from al-Ghazzali’s brother Ahmad: "On Monday [14 Jumada al-Akhira] at the time of the dawn prayer my brother Abu Hamid made his ablution, prayed, then said: ‘Bring me my shroud.’ He took it, kissed it and put it on his eyes, saying: ‘We hear and obey in readiness to enter the King’s presence.’ Then he stretched his legs, facing the Qibla, and died before sunrise – may Allah sanctify his soul!" It is related that al-Shadhili saw a dream in which the Prophet (s) pointed out al-Ghazzali to Musa (as) and ‘Isa (as) asking them: "Is there such a wise scholar in your communities?" to which they replied no.
The following is a list of some of al-Ghazzali’s works as found in al-Zabidi ’s and Ibn al-Subki’s recensions:
• Four works in Shafi‘i fiqh: the large al-Basit, the medium, seven-volume al-Wasit, and the two-volume al-Wajiz, condensed in al-Khulasa. Al-Wasit received many commentaries and abridgments, among them al-Nawawi’s Rawda al-Talibin.
• Four books on usûl al-fiqh: al-Mankhul, written in the lifetime of his teacher, Imam al-Haramayn; Shifa’ al-Ghalil fi Masa’il [or Masalik] al-Ta ‘lil; al-Maknûn; and al-Mustasfa. "Imam al-Ghazali’s Encyclopedia of Shari‘a Source Methodology, his fourth book on the subject, and his last word, was al-Mustasfa, which has been printed several times in Egypt and elsewhere. Indeed, this is the work he wrote after coming out of his period of meditation and seclusion."
• Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din, among his last works.
• al-Imla’ ‘ala Mushkil al-Ihya’, in which he replied to some of the insinuations made against the Ihya’ in his lifetime. This book is also called al-Ajwiba al-Muskita ‘an al-As’ila al-Mubhita.
• Tafsir al-Qur’an al-‘Azim, now lost.
• Jawahir al-Qur’an.
• al-Arba‘un fi al-Tawhid, originally part of Jawahir al-Qur’an.
• al-Asma’ al-Husna.
• al-Ma’akhidh, on the divergences of jurisprudents.
• Tahsin al-Ma’akhidh, a commentary on al-Ma’akhidh.
• Kimya’ al-Sa‘ada, The Alchemy of Happiness, originally written in Persian.
• al-Lubab al-Muntakhal, on disputation.
• al-Iqtisad fi al-I‘tiqad, in which he said:
"The anthropomorphists (al-Hashwiyya) assert direction for Allah while guarding themselves from divesting Allah of His attributes (ta‘tîl), falling thereby into likening Allah to creation (tashbîh). Allah has granted success to Ahl al-Sunna in establishing the truth. They have recognized the proper goal in establishing their method, and understood that direction is denied and disallowed for Allah because it pertains to bodies and complements them; while vision of Him is firmly established because it directly follows knowledge and attends it as its perfecting component."
• Mi‘yar al-Nazar.
• Mihakk al-Nazar.
• Bayan al-Qawlayn, on al-Shafi‘i’s two schools.
• al-Mustazhiri, a refutation of the esotericists or Batiniyya.
• Qawasim al-Batiniyya, another refutation.
• Tahafut al-Falasifa declaring the disbelief of the philosophers, to which the qadi of Andalus Abu al-Walid Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Rushd al-Maliki responded with Tahafut al-Tahafut.
• al-Maqasid fi Bayan I‘tiqad al-Awa’il, also known as Maqasid al-Falasifa.
• Asrar Mu‘amalat al-Din.
• Asrar al-Anwar al-Ilahiyya bi al-Ayat al-Matluwwa.
• Akhlaq al-Abrar wa al-Najat min al-Ashrar.
• Asrar Ittiba‘ al-Sunna.
• Asrar al-Huruf wa al-Kalimat.
• Bayan Fada’ih al-Ibahiyya, against freethinkers.
• Bada’i‘ al-Sani‘.
• Tanbih al-Ghafilin.
• Talbis Iblis, a title later used by Ibn al-Jawzi against al-Ghazzali and others.
• Khulasa al-Rasa’il ila ‘Ilm al-Masa’il, an abridgment of al-Muzani’s Mukhtasar.
• al-Risala al-Qudsiyya fi ‘Ilm al-Kalam.
• al-Sirr al-Masun, a book of Qur’anic invocations against enemies.
• Sharh Da’ira ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, also known as Nukhba al-Asma’.
• ‘Aqida al-Misbah.
• ‘Unqud al-Mukhtasar, an abridgment of Imam al-Haramayn’s abridgment of al-Muzani’s Mukhtasar.
• Rasa’il ("Epistles"), published recently in a single volume, in seven parts, comprising the following epistles:
(1) Al-Hikma fi Makhluqat Allah -- Subhan wa Ta`ala --; Mi‘raj al-Salikin.
(2) Rawda al-Talibin wa ‘Umda al-Salikin [in tasawwuf and tawhîd]; Qawa‘id al-‘Aqa-’id fi al-Tawhid which he included in the Ihya’ in full; Khulasa al-Tasanif fi al-Tasawwuf in which he defines tasawwuf as follows:
Know that tasawwuf is two things: Truthfulness with Allah Almighty and good conduct with people. Anyone that practices these two things is a Sufi. Truthfulness with Allah is that the servant put an end to his ego’s shares in the divine command. Good conduct with people is to not prefer one’s demands over theirs as long as their demands are within the para-meters of the Law. Whoever approves of the contravention of the Law or contravenes it can never be a Sufi, and if he claims he is, he is lying.
(3) Al-Qistas al-Mustaqim; Minhaj al-‘Arifin; Al-Risala al-Laduniy-ya; Faysal al-Tafriqa (fi al-Takfir); Ayyuha al-Walad, originally written in Persian.
(4) Mishkat al-Anwar; Risala al-Tayr; al-Risala al-Wa‘ziyya; Iljam al-‘Awam ‘an ‘Ilm al-Kalam; al-Mad-nun bihi ‘ala Ghayri Ahlih; Al-Ajwi-ba al-Ghazzaliyya fi al-Masa’il al-Ukh-ra-wiyya.
(5) Bidaya al-Hidaya; Kimya al-Sa‘ada; al-Adab fi al-Din; al-Kashf wa al-Tabyin fi Ghurur al-Khalq Ajma‘in.
(6) Sirr al-‘Alamayn wa Kashf ma fi al-Darayn; al-Durra al-Fakhira fi Kashf ‘Ulum al-Akhira.
(7) Qanun al-Ta’wil; al-Ahadith al-Qudsiyya; al-Munqidh min al-Dalal, in which he said:
The Sufi path consists in cleansing the heart from whatever is other than Allah... I concluded that the Sufis are the seekers in Allah’s Way, and their conduct is the best conduct, and their way is the best way, and their manners are the most sanctified. They have cleaned their hearts from other than Allah and they have made them as pathways for rivers to run, carrying the knowledge of Allah.
• Fatawa, in which he states the following responses:

source :

Islamic Political Framework

The Political Framework Of Islam

The political system of Islam is based on the three principles of towhid(Oneness of Allah), risala (Prophethood) and Khilifa(Caliphate).
Towhidmeans that one Allah alone is the Creator, Sustainer and Master of the universe and of all that exists in it - organic or inorganic. He alone has the right to command or forbid. Worship and obedience are due to Him alone. No aspect of life in all its multifarious forms ¾ our own organs and faculties, the apparent control which we have over physical objects or the objects themselves ¾ has been created or a acquired by us in our own right. They are the bountiful provisions of Allah and have been bestowed on us by Him alone.

Hence, it is not for us to decide the aim and purpose of our existence or to set the limits of our worldly authority; nor does anyone else have the right to make these decisions for us. This right rests only with Allah. This principle of the Oneness of Allah makes meaningless the concept of the legal and political sovereignty of human beings. No individual, family, class or race can set themselves above Allah. Allah alone is the Ruler and His commandments constitute the law of Islam.

Risala is the medium through which we receive the law of Allah. We have received two things from this source: the Qur’an, the book in which Allah has expounded His law, and the authoritative interpretation and exemplification of that Book by the Prophet Muhammad (blessings of Allah and peace be upon him), through word and deed, in his capacity as the representative of Allah. The Qur’an laid down the broad principles on which human life should be based and the Prophet of Allah, in accordance with these principles, established a model system of Islamic life. The combination of these two elements is called the shari’a (law).

Khilifa means "representation". Man, according to Islam, is the representative of Allah on earth, His vice-gerent; that is to say, by virtue of the powers delegated to him by Allah, and within the limits prescribed, he is required to exercise Divine authority.

To illustrate what this means, let us take the case of an estate of yours which someone else has been appointed to administer on your behalf. Four conditions invariably obtain: First, the real ownership of the estate remains vested in you and not in the administrator; secondly, he administers your property directly in accordance with your instructions; thirdly, he exercises his authority within the limits prescribed by you; and fourthly, in the administration of the trust he executes your will and fulfils your intentions and not his own. Any representative who does not fulfil these four conditions will be abusing his authority and breaking the covenant which was implied in the concept of "representation".

This is exactly what Islam means when it affirms that man is the representative (khalifa) of Allah on earth. Hence, these four conditions are also involved in the concept of Khalifa. The state that is established in accordance with this political theory will in fact be a caliphate under the sovereignty of Allah.

Democracy In Islam

The above explanation of the term Khilafa also makes it clear that no individual or dynasty or class can be Khalifa: the authority of Khilafa is bestowed on the whole of any community which is ready to fulfil the conditions of representation after subscribing to the principles of towhid and Risala. Such a society carries the responsibility of the Khilafa as a whole and each one of its individuals shares in it.

This is the point where democracy begins in Islam. Every individual in an Islamic society enjoys the rights and powers of the caliphate of Allah and in this respect all individuals are equal. No-one may deprive anyone else of his rights and powers. The agency for running the affairs of the state will be formed by agreement with these individuals, and the authority of the state will only be an extension of the powers of the individuals delegated to it. Their opinion will be decisive in the formation of the government, which will be run with their advice and in accordance with their wishes.

Whoever gains their confidence will undertake the duties and obligations of the caliphate on their behalf; and when he loses this confidence he will have to step down. In this respect the political system of Islam is as perfect a dorm of democracy as there can be.

What distinguishes Islamic democracy from Western democracy, therefor, is that the latter is based on the concept of popular sovereignty, while the former rests on the principle of popular Khilafa. In Western democracy, the people are sovereign; in Islam sovereignty is vested in Allah and the people are His caliphs or representatives. In the former the people make their own; in the latter they have to follow and obey the laws (shari’a) given by Allah through His Prophet. In one the government undertakes to fulfil the will of the people; in the other the government and the people have to fulfil the will of Allah.

The Purpose Of The Islamic State

We are now in a position to examine more closely the type of state which is built on the foundations of tawhid, Risala and Khilafa.
The Holy Qur’an clearly states that the aim and purpose of this state is the establishment, maintenance and development of those virtues which the Creator wishes human life to be enriched by and the prevention and eradication of those evils in human life which He finds abhorrent. The Islamic state is intended neither solely as an instrument of political administration nor for the fulfillment of the collective will of any particular set of people; rather, Islam places a high ideal before the state for the achievement of which it must use all the means at its disposal.
This ideal is that the qualities of purity, beauty, goodness, virtue, success and prosperity which Allah wants to flourish in the life of His people should be engendered and developed and that all kinds of exploitation, injustice and disorder which, in the sight of Allah, are ruinous for the world and detrimental to the life of His creatures, should be suppressed and prevented. Islam gives us a clear outline of its moral system by stating positively the desired virtues and the undesired evils. Keeping this outline in view, the Islamic state can plan its welfare programme in every age and in any environment.

The constant demand made by Islam is that the principles of morality must be observed at all costs and in all walks of life. Hence, it lays down as an unalterable policy that the state should base its policies on justice, truth and honesty. It is not prepared, under any circumstances, to tolerate fraud, falsehood and injustice for the sake of political, administrative or national expediency. Whether it be relations between the rulers and the ruled within the state, or the relations of the state with other states, precedence must always be given to truth, honesty and justice.

Islam imposes similar obligations on the state and the individual: to fulfil all contracts and obligations; to have uniform standards in dealings; to remember obligations along with rights and not to forget the rights of others when expecting them to fulfil their obligations; to use power and authority for the establishment of justice and not for the perpetration of injustice; to look upon duty as a sacred obligation and to fulfil it scrupulously; and to regard power as a trust from Allah to be used in the belief that one has to render an account of one's actions to Him in the life Hereafter.

Fundamental Rights

Although an Islamic state may be set up anywhere on earth, Islam does not seek to restrict human rights or privileges to the boundaries of such a state. Islam has laid down universal fundamental rights for humanity which are to be observed and respected in all circumstances. For example, human blood is sacred and may not be spilled without strong justification; it is not permissible to oppress women, children, old people, the sick or the wounded; women's honour and chastity must be respected; the hungry must be fed, the naked clothed and the wounded or diseased treated medically irrespective of whether they belong to the Islamic community or are from amongst its enemies. These, and other provisions have been laid down by Islam as fundamental rights for every man by virtue of his status as a human being.
Nor, in Islam, are the rights of citizenship confined to people born in a particular state. A Muslim ipso facto becomes the citizen of an Islamic state as soon as he sets foot on its territory with the intention of living there and thus enjoys equal rights along with those who acquire its citizenship by birth. And every Muslim is to be regarded as eligible for positions of the highest responsibility in an Islamic state without distinction of race, colour or class.

Islam has also laid down certain rights for non-Muslims who may be living within the boundaries of an Islamic state and these rights necessarily form part of the Islamic constitution. In Islamic terminology, such non-Muslims are called dhimmis (the covenanted), implying that the Islamic state has entered into a covenant with them and guaranteed their protection. The life, property and honour of a dhimmis is to be respected and protected in exactly the same way as that of a Muslim citizen. Nor is there difference between a Muslim and a non-Muslim citizen in respect of civil or criminal law.

The Islamic state may not interfere with the personal rights of non-Muslims, who have full freedom of conscience and belief and are at liberty to perform their religious rites and ceremonies in their own way. Not only may they propagate their religion, they are even entitled to criticize Islam within the limits laid down by law and decency.
These rights are irrevocable. Non-Muslims cannot be deprived of them unless they renounce the covenant which grants them citizenship. However much a non-Muslim state may oppress its Muslim citizens it is not permissible for an Islamic state to retaliate against its non-Muslim subjects; even if all the Muslims outside the boundaries of an Islamic state are massacred, that state may not unjustly shed the blood of a single non-Muslim citizen living within its boundaries.

Executive And Legislature

The responsibility for the administration of the government in an Islamic state is entrusted to an amir (leader) who may be compared to the president or the prime minister in a Western democratic state. All adult men and women who subscribe to the fundamentals of the constitution are entitled to vote for the election of the amir.
The basic qualifications for an amir are that he should command the confidence of the majority in respect of his knowledge and grasp of the spirit of Islam, that he should possess the Islamic quality of fear of Allah and that he should be endowed with qualities of statesmanship. In short, he should have both virtue and ability.
A shoora(advisory council) is also elected by the people to assist and guide the amir. It is incumbent on the amir to administer his country with the advice of this shooraThe amir may retain office only so long as he enjoys the confidence of the people and must relinquish it when he loses that confidence. Every citizen has the right to criticize the amir and his government and all reasonable means for the ventilation of public opinion must be available.

Legislation in an Islamic state is to be carried out within the limits prescribed by the law of the shari’a. The injunctions of Allah and His Prophet are to be accepted and obeyed and no legislative body may alter or modify them or make any law contrary to them. Those commandments which are liable to two or more interpretations are referred to a sub-committee of the advisory council comprising men learned in Islamic law. Great scope remains for legislation on questions not covered by specific injunctions of the shari’a and the advisory council or legislature is free to legislate in regard to these matters.

In Islam the judiciary is not places under the control of the executive. It derives its authority directly from the shari’a and is answerable to Allah. The judges are appointed by the government but once a judge occupies the bench he has to administer justice impartially according to the law of Allah; the organs and functionaries of the government are not outside his legal jurisdiction, so that even the highest executive authority of the government is liable to be called upon to appear in a court of law as a plaintiff or defendant. Rulers and ruled are subject to the same law and there can be no discrimination on the basis of position, power or privilege, Islam stands for equality and scrupulously adheres to this principle in social, economic and political realms alike.

Human Rights, The West And Islam

The Western Approach

People in the West have the habit of attributing every beneficial development in the world to themselves. For example, it is vociferously claimed that the world first derived the concept of basic human rights from the Magna Carta of Britain - which was drawn up six hundred years after the advent of Islam. But the truth is that until the seventeenth century of no-one dreamt of arguing that the Magna Carta contained the principles of trial by jury, Habeas Corpus and control by Parliament of the right of taxation. If the people who drafted the Magna Carta were living today they would be greatly surprised to be told that their document enshrined these ideals and principles.

To the best of my knowledge, the West had no concept of human and civic rights before the seventeenth century; and it was not until the end of the eighteenth century that the concept took on practical meaning in the constitutions of America and France.

After this, although there appeared references to basic human rights in the constitutions of many countries, more often than not these rights existed only on paper. In the middle of the present century, the United Nations, which may now be more aptly described as the Divided Nations, made a Declaration of Universal Human Rights, and passed a resolution condemning genocide; regulations were framed to prevent it. But there is not a single resolution or regulation of the United Nations which can be enforced if the country concerned wants to prevent it. They are just expressions of pious hopes. They have no sanctions behind them, no force, physical or moral, to enforce them. Despite all the high-sounding resolutions of the United Nations, human rights continue to be violated and trampled upon.

The Islamic Approach

When we speak of human rights in Islam we mean those rights granted by Allah. Rights granted by kings or legislative assemblies can be withdrawn as easily as they are conferred; but no individual and no institution has the authority to withdraw the rights conferred by Allah.

The charter and the proclamations and the resolutions of the United Nations cannot be compared with the rights sanctioned by Allah; the former are not obligatory on anybody, while the latter are an integral part of the Islamic faith. All Muslims and all administrators who claim to be Muslim have to accept, recognize and enforce them. If they failed to enforce them or violate them while paying lip-service to them, the verdict of the Holy Qur’an is unequivocal:
"Those who do not judge by what Allah has sent down are the disbelievers (Kafirun)." (5:44)
The following verse also proclaims:
"They are the wrong-doers (zalimoon)". (5:45)
A third verse in the same chapter says:
"They are the perverse and law-breakers (fasiqoon)." (5:47)

In other words, if temporal authorities regard their own words and decisions as right and those given by Allah as wrong, they are disbelievers. If, on the other hand, they regard Allah's commands as right but deliberately reject them in favour of their owns decisions, then they are wrong-doers. Law-breakers are those who disregard the bond of allegiance.

This article is based on a talk by
Syed Abul A'la Maudoodi and has been translated
into English by Prof Ahmed Said Khan and
Prof Khurshid Ahmad. It was published by the
Islamic Foundation, UK.