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My Shade


You wonder what my shade is,
What it represents.
Call me anything;
An extremist, a fundamentalist,
Anything you desire.
I don’t care.

My shade is
My protection
from this evil world,
from roaming eyes,
from diseased hearts.
Call me anything;
Vain or
don’t care.

My shade is
My Protection
of my beauty,
reserved for one
special gift
that God has given me;
My Life Partner.

This world
is but a fleeting moment
about to end
at Any Time.
The Signs are here.
The Day of Judgement is coming.
No one will enter my grave with me except
My body, my heart, my soul.

Call me a pessimist,
I don’t care.

My shade
Covers me
Like a tree from the sun;
Like a coat of wax
on your shiny new sportscar.

My shade
My protection,
is my Khimaar,
I am a woman of Islaam.

Four candles softly burned

Four candles of our UMMAH softly burned…

The ambiance was so soft, one could almost hear them talking…
The first candle said: "I’m AMAL! The world is full of injustice and hatred, no one can keep me lit.
And the flame of AMAL went out completely…
Then the second candle said: "I’m IMAN I’m not longer indispensable. It doesn’t make sense that I stay lit another moment."
And a breeze softly blew out IMAN’s flame..
Sadly the third candle began to speak: "I’m SABER! The MUSLIM Ummah does’nt understand my importance.They completely put me aside.
They can’t keep me in their lives,they are just impatient. I haven’t the
strength to stay lit."
And waiting no longer,SABER’s flame went out…
Suddenly, a Muslim enterd the room and saw the three unlit candles.

"Why aren’t you alight? You supposed to say lit till the Fajer al’basim arrives…… and saying this, he began to cry…

Then the fourth candle answered: "Don’t be afraid, I’m ISLAM! While I’m still alight,I can re-light the other candles!"

With shining eyes the MUSLIM took the candle of ISLAM and did just that…

The nor of ISLAM should never go out from your life and with ISLAM each of us can live a life with AMAL, IMAN and SABER!


by Huma Ahmad

Dua is defined as any invocation or prayer addressed to
Allah (SWT). In our times, we find many reasons why people do
not make Dua; we forget, don’t know how, or just do not think
it will be answered. Fundamental to this is the loss of
dependence and trust upon Allah. As Muslims there is
something very wrong when we believe our Duas won’t be answered.
We do not turn to Allah in our times of need and instead put our
trust, dependence and hopes on worldly things that we think will
help us. Although these temporal things are the means through
which our Duas can be answered, the root of our being should be
trained automatically to turn to Allah and not anything or
anyone else. Through Dua, we strengthen our Imaan and our
relationship with Allah, as well as heighten our awareness of
cause and effect that can help inspire and motivate us to be
closer to Islam in our lives.

We find many reassurances throughout the Quran for those
who make Dua. Allah the Exalted, has said: "And your
Lord says: Pray unto me: and I will hear your prayer" (Quran
40:60), "Call upon your Lord Humbly and in secret" (Quran 7:55),
"When My servants question thee concerning Me, I am indeed close
(to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he
calleth on Me" (Quran 2:186), "Is not He (best) who listens to
the (soul) distressed when it calls on Him, and who relieves its
suffering." (Quran 27:62)

Aisha radhiallaahu anha said, "No believer makes Dua and
it is wasted. Either it is granted here in this world
or deposited for him in the Hereafter as long as he does not get

In fact, it is even wrong to never make Dua, "Whosoever
does not supplicate to Allah, He will be angry with Him."
[Saheeh Jaami`as-Sagheer #2414]

A Hadith says "Ad-Du’aa Huwal-3ibaadah",[Abu
Dawud,at-Tirmidhi, Hasan Saheeh], Dua is Ibadah so calling
upon anyone other than Allah in one’s Dua is Shirk. This
is an important condition of having one’s Dua accepted; the Dua
should not be directed to other than Allah alone. A second
condition would be sincerity or Hudoor alqalb, having the heart
present. Also, one’s food, drink, clothes and lifestyle should
be Halal. One should avoid unlawful, impious or forbidden
sources or means of livelihood. Fourth, one cannot ask for
something sinful or Haram. Dua should not be made against
family and property (i.e. to sever the ties of kinship).

If one asks Allah to curse someone, it rises up to
heaven and goes to the person if they are deserving, if
not it returns to the person supplicating. Patience is another
condition. This perseverance in making Dua is important. One
should not say "Why hasn’t Allah answered my Dua" or "I have
prayed and prayed so many times, but the same was not accepted"
and then become disappointed and give up praying. An example of
this is like a person who planted a seed or a sapling, and kept
looking after it and watering it and when its complete shape and
height was slow in coming, they left it and forgot about it.

Lastly one should have expectation, belief with
certainty only Allah can answer the Dua. Understanding
dependence on Allah and asking with absolute resolve and
believing with certainty that one’s Dua will be answered is a
also a condition of acceptance. One should not say "O Allah do
this…if you wish…" because one should appeal to Allah with
determination, for nobody can force Allah to do something
against his Will. If one fulfills these conditions, Allah will
definitely answer the Dua, avert some equivalent evil or give
better in the Hereafter.

We can and should make Dua in every condition, i.e. in
hardship and in prosperity. There are also some special
times to make Dua where it is more likely to be accepted:

1. When one is oppressed
2. Between the time of Athan and Iqama
3. At the time of the call for prayer
4. At the time of fighting when warriors are engaged with
each other
5. When it is raining
6. When one is sick
7. The last third of the night
8. Ramadan (especially Lailatul Qadr)
9. After the Fard part of prayer
10. When traveling
11. When breaking fast
12. In Sujood
13. Fridays, some say on Friday after Asr prayer
14. While drinking the water from the well of Zamzam
15. At the start of prayer (Dua of Istiftah)
16. When one begins the prayer, i.e. with "all praise be to
Allah, the Pure and the Blessed one"
17. While one recites al-Fatiha (which is a Dua)
18. When Ameen is said in the prayer (also relating to Fatiha)
19. At the time of raising the head after the Rukoo
20. In the last part of the prayer after conveying blessings
unto the Prophet (SAW)
21. Before finishing the prayer (before Tasleem (saying the
Salaam to the angels))
22. At the end of Wudu
23. On the day of Arafah
24. On waking up from sleep
25. At times of adversity
26. Prayer after the death of a person
27. Dua when someone’s heart is filled with sincerity and
when it is focused on Allah
28. Dua of the parent against or for his children
29. When the sun moves from its meridian but before the
Dhuhr prayer
30. The Dua of a Muslim for his brother without the latter’s
31. At the time the army advances to fight in the way
of Allah.

Dua can be beautified and perfected by certain actions:

1. Have Wudu, face Qibla, be neat and clean
2. Raise both hands up to the shoulder with palms open facing up
3. Use words of Allah and Muhammad (SAW)-
i.e. Duas found in Quran and Hadith
4. Ask by Asma alHusna- Allah’s Beautiful Names
5. Ask Allah by your good deeds
6. Be insistent-repeat (i.e. 3x’s)
7. Glorify Allah and recite Durud for the Prophet (SAW) at
both the beginning and end
8. Show humility, entreaty, desire and fear while making Dua
9. Repent and try to make amends where one has wronged
10. Confess mistakes, shortcomings, and sins
11. Keep voice between a whisper and speaking aloud
12. Show the need for Allah’s help and implore Him for release
from weakness, hardship and tribulation.
13. Seize the opportunity of time, situation and circumstance in
which prayers are answered
14. Avoid rhymed prose to keep concentration
15. Crying when making Dua
16. The Dua of Dhun-Nun (Yunus) by which he invoked Allah from
within the belly of the whale was: "LAa ilaha illa
Anta, Subhanaka innee kuntu min aDH-DHaalimeen."
No Muslim ever makes Dua with it but Allah
answers it." [at tirmidhi in his sunan, ahmad
and hakim reported it and hakim declared it
authentic and adh dhahabee agreed]
17. End with "Alhamdulillah rabbil alameen"

We should ask for Dunya things, but not just for the
sake of Dunya itself and for Akhirah things. We should
not ask for punishment to be brought forward in this world or
for early death. We should not curse any particular human being
or animal, abuse a Muslim for no reason, abuse dead people
without cause and religious excuse, or abuse fever or the wind.
We should not make Dua by saying we have been given rain by this
or that star or what Allah willed, and so and so willed. We
should not make Dua against family and property or for sinful
acts and severing the bonds.

In the end there can be reasons why the Dua might not be
answered such as not fulfilling conditions like some of
the ones listed above or: Divine Wisdom, trying to hurry the
response of one’s Dua, Dua for what is sinful or the breaking
off of relations, eating, drinking, or dressing from what is
Haram, not being resolute in making Dua, abandoning the duty of
enjoining what is good and shunning the evil, the dominance of
unmindfulness, lust and vain desires, not being submissive
during Salah, or committing particular sins (not divorcing a
vile woman, giving a loan without a witness, and a man who gave
his wealth to the foolish)

More information on Dua can be found in a book in
English, a translation of Kitaab ud-Du`aa’ by Shaykh
al-`Awaa’ishah (published by Jam`iat Ihyaa Minhaaj al-Sunnah),
the Book of Supplications in Al-Bukhari and Riyadh us Saleheen
and Ajawab Alkafi by Imam Shams Adeen Mohamad bin AbiBakr Bin
Qayem Ajawyzeyah. Jazakamullahu khairan to those who corrected
and added to the above compilation. May Allah make us of those
that oft turn to Him in Dua. Ameen.

Nature of Allah

of Allah

Yasir al-Wakeel 


religious and philosophical outlook concerning The Nature
of Allah, the purpose of creation and the practical implications
of our faith in Allah

is based on monotheism. Tawhid, the oneness of Allah, is
an essential belief for all Muslims.
Islam teaches that Allah, the one
god, has 99 attributes. Although we can understand some of
His attributes, His essence cannot be comprehended by a human’s
limited mental capacity. Allah has created mankind primarily
so that they may know their creator through his creations.
Realisation of the supremacy of Allah, although necessary
for success in the hereafter, has not been enforced on man
– it is a test that is based on the fact that man has been
given free will. However, man’s free
will is limited, although he has
the freedom to choose between right and wrong, he cannot
change parts of his destiny that Allah
has pre-determined. Understanding
the nature of Allah is essential as it has a substantial
effect on a Muslim’s duties to Allah.

The oneness
of Allah is the one most important theological principal
in Islam. The first of the five pillars, the declaration of
faith, which is the first act that
one does to embark on Islam, reiterates
the necessity of the belief in the oneness of Allah. It begins
with the negation of any god other than Allah:

bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that
Mohammed is His messenger."

with negation rather than affirmation, in this case, serves
to emphasise strongly the importance of the oneness of Allah.

The Quran,
the words of Allah mediated to Prophet Muhammad
by the angel Jibril (Gabriel), is full of references to the
essential belief in one god:


‘He is Allah the One’ 112:1


Allah alone is the creator of all things and he is
the One, the Most Supreme 13:17

‘I am only a Warner, and there is no god but Allah,
the One, the Most Supreme. 23:66

is He! He is Allah the One, the Most Supreme 39:5

As well as
proving the oneness of god through the Quran, logic too
can help prove this as I shall explain. If you ask a believer in
god, whether he believes in one god
or ten, you will probably find
that somewhere in his definition of the term ‘God’ he rules
out the possibility of god being weak,
inferior or compromising. From
this, we may say that something that is weak, inferior or
compromising cannot be a God. Yet the
very fact that there is more
than one god suggests two contradictory possibilities; That
the Gods are of equal power and therefore
are compromising, or
that their power is uneven resulting in some Gods being inferior
to others. From this ontological argument one can conclude
that there can only be one true god.

the mainly Greek belief that refers to the belief that
there are two gods- one evil and one good- on account of
the reasoning that I have mentioned
can clearly be put aside. However
one can also add that if there was one good god and one
evil god, or even any other form of polytheism, the world
would be in chaos and thus the order
of the world would break down.
Logically, by the use of the common analogy that one can
not have more than one captain in a boat you can start to
see the reasoning that I am trying
to convey. With power in the hands
of more than one god there would clearly be argument.

one effective point that non-Muslims or curious ones such
as myself put across is that this theory is contradictory to
Islamic teachings, because we are associating
god with the human attribute
of not being able to share power. The answer to this
is clear. It is not an assumption by humans that there would
be chaos if there was more than one
god, for if it was -putting in mind
that Islam teaches that humans with their finite perceptions
cannot make any assumptions about God-
than it would be very wrong.
However it is a fact made known to us by Allah Himself in
the Quran:


there had been in them (the heaven and the earth)
other gods beside Allah, then surely both would have
gone to ruin." 21:23

is another theory that Muslims believe to be wrong. Although
Muslims believe that Allah is everywhere, he is a separate
entity and therefore cannot be reincarnated in everything
as the pantheists believe – who although are not strictly
defined as polytheists, they are certainly not monotheistic
in the Islamic sense.

against the oneness of Allah, Shirk, is a very major sin:


Allah will not forgive that any partner be associated
with him" Holy Quran 4:49

the attributes of Allah, Islam teaches that Allah although
He has many attributes, cannot be fully understood by man.
Man is restricted in thought into that which is manifest,
Allah however is unique and above human


the god of all humanity, is perceived differently in other
religions. Since man would be limiting
Allah by creating a physical
image of Him Muslims do not. Allah is as I said unique and
superior to His creations. Thus the biblical statement that
was mentioned in Genesis Ch1 v27 that
God has created man in his
own image is a view that is not shared by Muslims.

religions believe that God resembles creation- they believe
in describing causes by their effects. An example of this
is that we can describe a corpse to
be horrifying (the effect) but we
may also say that the person responsible for this death, the
murderer, (the cause) is also horrifying
– cause resembles effect. This
theory can easily be put aside, for although it may be true
for a limited number of examples, the
vast majority can prove it wrong,
i.e. a shoe does not resemble a shoe maker, etc.

Thus Islam
does not try in anyway to personify Allah. Whilst it may
be true that two of His attributes are that He ‘Sees’ and
‘Hears’, this does not mean that He
has eyes and ears like you and
I, His hearing or seeing cannot be comprehended by us as
finite beings.

the Almighty, is ideal. He is the ‘Just’ and the Judge, as
well as the ‘Avenger of Evil.’ It follows
that to test mankind one must
judge fairly and punish those who do evil. An example of
Allah’s justness is that we are only
accountable for our own actions,
unlike the Christian concept of the original sin, for the
Quran says that no bearer can bear
a burden of another.

do not agree with the Judaeo- Christian concept of God
having the necessity to rest as they say he did after creating
the world. All god needs to say is
‘Be and it is.’
Tiredness is a human
attribute as is making mistakes, this is not applicable to
god who is infallible. Allah is also
pre-existent to all he has created,
he is the first, and as Aristotle put it in his cosmological
theory ‘the prime mover.’

the Creator has perfect knowledge. Muslims believe in the
omniscience of Allah, He knows all that is tangible and that
is manifest, He knows the past and
the future. Muslims rebuke the
Christian belief that god does not have perfect knowledge,
for example in the bible it says that
God underestimated the intelligence
of His creations- He did not think that man could build
the tower of Babel (Genesis Ch11 v5-7, Exodus Ch32 v14).
Muslims argue that having created everything, He knows all
that there is to know.

To be
a Muslim it is essential to believe in the destiny, whether
good or bad, that Allah has set for
us (known as Qadr in Arabic).
The Quran says:


Nothing shall befall us save that which Allah has
ordained for us"

This however
does not mean that man does not have free will, for
if he did not Allah’s justice would be compromised for you
cannot judge a person if he does not
have the freedom of choosing
what he does. Allah, the ‘Just’, has given man both destiny
and free will, the action of a human is interrelated with
destiny and both are mutually necessary,
as Imam Ali son of Abi Talib
(AS) said:

predestined will of Allah and the action of a human
are like the spirit and the body, the spirit without
the body has no physicality and the body without
the soul is a picture without movement. If the
two are adjoined they become like Al-Qadr and
action, for if there was no Qadr then you would
not know the difference between creation and
creator, and if there was action without it being
willed and predestined by Allah than it would
not happen."

Some things
such as our deaths and disease are above human will,
no matter what a person does, if for instance God has set
the hour at which you are to die than
it will be so:

no soul can die except by Allah’s leave- a decree
with a fixed term" Holy Quran 3:146

"They say
‘If we had any part in the government of
affairs, we should not have been killed here.’ Say
‘If you had remained in your homes, surely those
on whom fighting had been enjoyed would have
gone forth to their deathbeds." Holy Quran 3:155

are also an example of things that are pre-destined by Allah,
a poor man could work all his life but never become rich
whilst others are rich without effort.
This generalised example serves
to bring us on to a specific comment; Even though things
such as our income are predestined
by Allah we must strive to improve
our conditions, for although they are willed by Allah, if
we will it Allah may change his will:


Allah changes not the condition of a people until
they change themselves" Holy Quran

Yet we
came back to the age old question: Why did God create man?
One always wonders about this question, if God is perfect
what use would man be to him? None.
Allah did not create man for
his own benefit, he created man for the benefit of man: The
hadith Qudsi says:


son of Adam, I did not create you for my own benefit, but that you benefit
from Me as your God, alone, for I am your saviour"

But how
can we benefit from Allah? We can benefit from Allah by
worshipping him, for if we worship Allah we will be rewarded.
This is a reason in its self:


I have not created the Jin and man but that they worship
Me" Holy Quran 51:57

Now the
next thing that one can ask is ‘How can we worship Him?’
To worship Allah we have to accept that there is a God, this
implies that God created man so that they may know Him, but
is this the primary reason? The grandson of the Prophet,
Imam Hussain bin Ali (AS), implies
that it is when he said:


people, Allah did not create mankind but that they
know Him, for if they know Him they will    
worship Him, and if they worship Him they will benefit
from his grace"

one may look at the purpose of creation from a different
aspect and thus end up with an altogether different answer
as to what the primary reason is. If you go back to the question
of how can we benefit from Allah, we may come up with
a different reason, other than worship. All of creation is
already at benefit. Our existence is
benefit. Being created is an example
of Allah’s mercy towards us. Thus one can conclude that
we were created, fundamentally because Allah is merciful.
However, although there are many different
perspectives to the answer
as to why we were created, they are all connected and in
a way each of them is right.

In defining
what is meant by a Muslim’s duties, we may generalise
that a Muslim’s duty is to worship Allah. To elaborate further,
Muslims do not see the term worship in the vague sense of
praying and fasting, etc – worship can be any aspect of a
Muslim’s daily life depending on the
intention. For example even a
when a Muslim goes to get an education, provided that he
intends to use it for good, it is seen
as worship and will be rewarded.

Each of
Allah’s divine attributes has practical implications in the
life of a firm Muslim. Clear, comprehension
of the uniqueness of Allah’s
nature improves a persons Taqwa, or belief in god. Having
taqwa in our hearts throughout our daily life adds a feeling
of contentment peace with one’s self and constant happiness,
for when they return to Allah He will say:

thou, O soul at peace. Return to thy Lord well pleased
with Him and He will be pleased with thee Holy Quran

that Allah knows all, hears all and sees all that we do is
one of the most important aspects of Allah’s nature that a
Muslim can benefit from. Knowing that
‘there are not two but that
the third is Allah (hadith) increases what we might call our
‘self-policing’. For example, when
one is alone such as when a teenager
is away from his strict parents, he may say that there is
no one to fear so why bother praying?
The answer to this is given
in the following hadith:


Allah as if you can see Him, if you cannot imagine
seeing Him, know that He sees you."

sees everything that we do and so we should be faithful in
our duties even when we are alone.

For those
who have a very high realisation of the nature of Allah,
they do not worship him for the fear of His hell, nor for
the want of His paradise but because
Allah is worthy of all praise.
Imam Ali (AS), the cousin of the prophet says:


Allah, I did not worship You for the greed of your
paradise nor for the fear of hell, but because you
are worthy of all praise."

is the ideal that all Muslims should aim for.
e greed of your
paradise nor for the fear of hell, but because you
are worthy of all praise."

is the ideal that all Muslims should aim for.

You are beautiful, masha Allah!
By Na’ima B. Robert

When was the last time you looked in the mirror and
smiled: `alhamdulillah’ ? Chances are, your last encounter with a
full-length mirror was conducted with a worried frown on your face
as you ran down a long, humiliating list of your figure’s faults and

Why do we do this to ourselves?
As women, the pressure to live up to a collagen-enhanced, air-
brushed ideal of beauty is greater than ever. We are constantly
bombarded with images of women with impossibly clear skin,
symmetrical features, long, glossy hair, perky fronts and backs,
toned thighs, dainty feet: no wonder we feel inadequate!
Even being a Muslimah doesn’t necessarily shield one from our
society’s insistence on codifying `beauty’ and making it a standard
that all women should aspire to.

What’s a girl to do? Some of us rise to the challenge: we work out,
watch what we eat, keep our daily `cleanse, tone and moisturise’
routine and invest in flattering make-up and complementary clothes
in shades that suit our complexions.
BUT… if you are like the many Muslim women that I know – busy wives,
even busier mothers – you just don’t have time for such a hectic
grooming schedule. So, in a way, some of us opt out. We give up
trying to compete. We cover our bodies with our abayas, hide our
split ends under our hijabs and bury ourselves in the many demands
of home and family life.

But we are not `conscientious objectors’. We have not taken the
decision to neglect ourselves as a matter of principle and so, we
are still unhappy when we look at ourselves in the mirror. We are
still dissatisfied. And we are still ungrateful.
Yes, we are ungrateful. We agonise over our stretch marks and ignore
the miracle of the womb that blossomed and left us with those
silvery marks.

We worry about our dimply thighs and forget that our legs are strong
and capable of bending in prostration, of walking around the Ka’aba
and carrying us through life.

We fret about our flabby upper arms and turn a blind eye to the
amazing strength of our arms that have carried schoolbooks, rocked
babies and comforted husbands and friends..
My sister, look at your body. Take a long, hard look. Then say the
du’a of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam): "O Allah,
as you have made my appearance beautiful, make my character

That’s right, my sister, you are beautiful, masha Allah: believe it!
You are a unique, amazing creation of Allah ta’ala and your body is
a witness to His Majesty every single moment of every day, with
every breath you take and every beat of your heart. And your beauty
is not fleeting or in and out of fashion like the false ideal of
beauty being peddled on the high street. Your beauty is more than
skin-deep: it radiates from your soul, from the beauty of your iman,
from a life lived for the sake of Allah.

For the ideal of beauty that we should be striving for is the beauty
of the believer: the light of inner peace, the glow of the night
prayer, the smile of contentment and gratitude, the beauty of a
righteous and noble character. That is the true beauty and the only
one worth striving for.

So, if you work out, keep a daily exercise routine and keep your
high standards, you go, girl. And if you don’t, just do your best.
But just remember that beauty is about so much more than clear skin
and toned thighs. It is about acknowledging the bounties of Allah
and recognising the beauty He looks for and can see. And that is the
kind of beauty that everyone should aspire to.

…………….it didn’t hurt.
Pain needs something to feed on and we had no food.

said there was food and water three days away, but three days is across
the world when you only have hollow bones to carry you there.

we sat together under the tree. My mother wrapped me in sticks and we
sat in silence as the sun that gave us life took it away again.

Night came and the air was so cold it made us transparent.

The world has shut its wars and moved on.

No one is here now, just the big birds waiting in our tree. It’s quiet.

It’s not fair for those of us who have plenty to waste when there are countless others who have none.

and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allâh) likes not
Al-Musrifûn (those who waste by extravagance). (Al-A’raf 7:31)

Are you still going to waste food?

Punishing Disobedient Wives
Ghada Al-Hori • Al-Watan

find it unacceptable when some people twist the meaning of a particular
verse in the Holy Qur’an — especially the one which permits a husband
to beat his disobedient wife. Those who do the twisting must understand
that the permission is only given under certain circumstances and that
the beating is intended as a remedy for specific situations. It is
unfortunate that some well-known and respected Muslim scholars have
either willingly or unwillingly joined a campaign seeking to distort
the meaning of that particular verse.

In many cases, they have
given a different meaning from the one actually intended. The verse —
number 34 in Surah IV — reads as follows: “Men are the protectors and
maintainers of women because Allah has given the one more (strength)
than the other, and because they support them from their means.
Therefore, righteous women are devotedly obedient and guard in (the
husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard. And to those women
on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first)
and (then) refuse to share their beds (and last) beat them (lightly),
but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means of

It is quite obvious here that Islam adopts a
gradual approach starting with verbal admonishment of the wife, then
seeks a period of refraining from conjugal relations and, finally, if
the husband finds the situation very serious, he may strike his
disobedient wife.

Some scholars have even suggested that the
punishment (beating) cited here is not of the physical nature and that
what the husband is required to do is stay away from the disobedient
wife. In short, they say the husband should leave the house and go to
another place. This is not what is actually intended in the verse.

beating which is only prescribed in the case of disobedient wives is
intended to serve as a remedy in an unusual situation. If the husband
feels the wife is behaving in a disobedient and rebellious manner, he
is required to rectify her attitude — first by kind words, then gentle
persuasion and reasoning. Beating as a last resort must never be
understood to entail using a stick or any other instrument that would
cause pain or injury.
Islam, Culture and Women
by Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood


can anyone justify Islam’s treatment of women, when it imprisons
Afghans under blue shuttlecock burqas and makes Pakistani girls marry
strangers against their will?

How can you respect a religion
that forces women into polygamous marriages, mutilates their genitals,
forbids them to drive cars and subjects them to the humiliation of
"instant" divorce? In fact, none of these practices are Islamic at all.

Anyone wishing to understand Islam must first separate the
religion from the cultural norms and style of a society. Female genital
mutilation is still practised in certain pockets of Africa and Egypt,
but viewed as an inconceivable horror by the vast majority of Muslims.
Forced marriages may still take place in certain Indian, Pakistani and
Bangladeshi communities, but would be anathema to Muslim women from
other backgrounds.

Indeed, Islam insists on the free consent
of both bride and groom, so such marriages could even be deemed illegal
under religious law.

A woman forbidden from driving a car in
Riyadh will cheerfully take the wheel when abroad, confident that her
country’s bizarre law has nothing to do with Islam. Afghan women
educated before the Taliban rule know that banning girls from school is
forbidden in Islam, which encourages all Muslims to seek knowledge from
cradle to grave, from every source possible.

The Koran is
addressed to all Muslims, and for the most part it does not
differentiate between male and female. Man and woman, it says, "were
created of a single soul," and are moral equals in the sight of God.
Women have the right to divorce, to inherit property, to conduct
business and to have access to knowledge.

Since women are
under all the same obligations and rules of conduct as the men,
differences emerge most strongly when it comes to pregnancy,
child-bearing and rearing, menstruation and, to a certain extent,

Some of the commands are alien to Western tradition.
Requirements of ritual purity may seem to restrict a woman’s access to
religious life, but are viewed as concessions. During menstruation or
postpartum bleeding, she may not pray the ritual salah or touch the
Koran and she does not have to fast; nor does she need to fast while
pregnant or nursing.

The veiling of Muslim women is a more
complex issue. Certainly, the Koran requires them to behave and dress
modestly – but these strictures apply equally to men. Only one verse
refers to the veiling of women, stating that the Prophet’s wives should
be behind a hijab when his male guests converse with them.

modernists, however, claim that this does not apply to women in
general, and that the language used does not carry the textual
stipulation that makes a verse obligatory. In practice, most modern
Muslim women appreciate attractive and graceful clothes, but avoid
dressing provocatively.

What about polygamy, which the Koran
endorses up to the limit of four wives per man? The Prophet, of course,
lived at a time when continual warfare produced large numbers of
widows, who were left with little or no provision for themselves and
their children.

In these circumstances, polygamy was
encouraged as an act of charity. Needless to say, the widows were not
necessarily sexy young women, but usually mothers of up to six
children, who came as part of the deal.


English convert to Islam, Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood, is the author of over thirty books on Islam and other subjects.

Email: Ruqaiyyah@aol.com

Islam and Honor Killings (Revised)

By Imam Zaid on 13 December 2007


that reason, we ordained for the Children of Israel that whoever kills
a soul for other than murder or spreading corruption in the land, it is
as if he has killed the whole of humanity… Qur’an 5:35

One of
the gravest charges levied against Islam, in terms of its alleged
antipathy towards women, is the claim that it encourages a phenomenon
known as honor killings. This un-Islamic practice consists of the
murder of female family members who are seen as dishonoring their
families through real or perceived acts of indiscretion, such as
premarital sexual relations or unapproved dating. This charge has been
intensified recently due to the tragic murder of a Pakistani Canadian
teenage girl, Aqsa Parvez.

The practice of honor killings has
absolutely no sanction in the Qur’an, the Prophetic practice, or in the
evolved systems of Islamic law. In the case of fornication or adultery,
the only way a charge can be levied against an individual, male or
female, is through confession, which is discouraged, or by four people
actually witnessing the male organ penetrating the female. Even if four
people witnessed a naked man engaged with a naked woman, but could not
actually testify that they witnessed penetration, their testimony would
be rejected.

In a somewhat related issue, it should be noted
that in three of the four Sunni schools of law, as is the case with all
of the major Shiite schools, pregnancy is not a proof of fornication,
as the possibility of rape exists in such a case. Therefore, if a
single woman were to become pregnant, according to the overwhelming
majority of Islamic jurists, there is no basis for punishing her. In
the few well-publicized instances where a pregnant woman has been
threatened with death, the minority opinion of the Maliki School of law
was unjustly evoked, as occurred in Nigeria, or criminal malfeasance
occurred as is the case in Pakistan.

In the case of dating,
there is no Islamically-mandated punishment for a male or a female
seeing a member of the opposite sex against the wishes of their
families. Such situations should be handled with counseling, compassion
and a healthy dose of common sense. Muslim immigrants who have migrated
to the West should realize that they have placed their children in an
environment where there is a tremendous amount of anti-Islamic peer
pressure. This is especially true if they have placed their children,
as was the case of the young lady who was recently murdered in Canada,
in public schools. Children who succumb to that pressure should not be
seen as “bad” kids, for by the standards of the society that has shaped
them, no matter how strong their home environment is, they are normal.
To kill a female guilty of an offense such as dating or dressing like
her peers under such circumstances is nothing short of cold-blooded
murder, and no Islamic authority can argue otherwise.

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