Source: Christian Concern
The Independent published an astonishing article this week, entitled: “How the teachings of Islam could help us prevent more sexual abuse scandals”. It is written by Qasim Rashid, an Ahmadiyya Muslim writer and commentator. This comes after revelations about Harvey Weinstein’s appalling behaviour have been headline news almost continuously for some days.
Can this be true?
At first glance, one wonders how Rashid can possibly think this. After all, the teachings of Islam enable lecherous men to have up to four wives at a time (Q 4:3), any of which can be divorced at will, not to mention sex slaves as well (Q 4:24). Accusations of rape require four male eyewitnesses (Q 4:15). This means that in Pakistan, for example, women who have been raped often face charges of adultery, and are imprisoned or worse. There has not been a single Islamic scholarly formal condemnation of such practices. We have all read of the capturing and abuse of sex slaves by Islamic State and Boko Haram, and also of Islamic rape gangs in this country. If none of this is regarded as scandalous then there is a sense in which Islam would indeed do away with sex scandals.
What is his argument?
How exactly does Rashid really think that the teachings of Islam would prevent sexual abuse scandals?
Let’s look at his arguments:
“Yes, Islam implores accountability to the creator, but rather than preach empty dogmatic theories, Islam instead prescribes a proven secular model.”
I agree with the benefits of recognising accountability to the creator. What I don’t see is any proven Islamic model for preventing sexual abuse, let alone a ‘secular’ one. Islam does not create secular states, it creates Islamic states. In which Islamic country in any period of history has the teaching of Islam provided a proven model for preventing sex scandals?
Men and women equal?
Rashid argues that Islam teaches the equality of men and women:
“In a recent internationally broadcast lecture given live before roughly 6,000 Muslim women, the Khalifa of Islam said, “Chapter four, verse two of the Holy Quran…clarifies that women were not created out of the body of a man or from his rib. Rather, the Quran testifies to the fact that men and women were created from a single soul and are of the same kind and species.”
“Thus, the Quran 4:2 first establishes men and women as equal beings.
Rashid’s references are one verse off from standard qur’anic references. So Quran 4:1 does say that men and women were created from a single soul. There is an implied criticism here of the Biblical teaching of Eve being made from Adam’s rib. This is also the same substance. What really matters is not how they were made, but whether men and women are understood to be equal
The Muslim Times’ Chief Editor’s comments:
We believe that we have to learn from the goodness of all traditions and every religion. Islam, Christianity and the Western civilization have all great things to offer regarding women’s rights.
At the same time we believe that the holy Quran is the word of All Knowing God, but should not be understood in the context of the seventh century Arabia, rather in the context of the 21st century global village: God Is Living, So Why Does Religion Treat God As Dead?
It seems both the Muslim writer and the Christian critic are cherry picking and not presenting a comprehensive view.
As Muslims, we cannot give lip service to women rights and then go around and try to implement strictest understanding of Hijab and modest dressing, segregation of sexes and other so called Islamic teachings, to the detriment of the Muslim women, in our societies and countries. We need to precisely define women rights as we understand them in the light of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Before we hold mirror to the Western civilization, we need to define what we believe in. No Muslim scholar has ever comprehensively defined as to how the Muslim women can be professors, lawyers, judges, CEOs, journalists, prime ministers and presidents and astronauts yet be good Muslims, and how can we move the so called Muslim countries and the Western countries towards that vision.