Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Divorce in Qur'aan

Moderator's note is followed by Dr. Asghar Ali Engineers' article below.
Dear God, help us stand up for the rights of the women on whom injustice is heaped through irresponsible statements by the anamolic Aalims. In the following article Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer takes us through the malady that exists in Muslim societies. Could some one translate this into regional languages and get it published for the benefit of the common people.

Not all, but a few political, civic, business and religious leaders make gross mistakes. Maulana Rahmani quoted below falls into that category. He may have self interests in trying to interpret it that way.

The core value of Islam is Justice; even the wahdaniyat (oneness) is a catalyst to get the humanity to edge towards Justice. In a just society, the fear of taking advantage of the week and the meek dissipates, when that is gone, there is lesser wrong doing to happen – no more lying, cheating, robbing and infidelity.

Qur’aan talks about a refined language that occurs in a civil dialogue. The pitiful language used by the interlocutors “Divorce is given only when husband gets angry with his wife due to some act of hers lack civility.” This is a bad language where the woman is treated less than the man. Alhamdu Lillah, Qur’aan has expressly added the language that Women can initiate a divorce for the very same purpose – to believe in the equal rights of men and women. The language of the Ulema should be “Divorce is an outcome of misunderstanding between the spouses” which is a language of the equals, which is an expression of Justice.

These are the dumb acts of individuals that we can find in every group be it religious or otherwise. Unless we stand up and speak out, we are part of it. There was a statement by a wise man “ evil triumphs because good people don’t do anything about it”. The least one can do is spread the word. I admire Dr. Asghar Ali Engineers stand on this issue and I hope that should be the stand of every Muslim – Justice to all humans.

Mike Ghouse

Asghar Ali Engineer

(Secular Perspective April 1-15, 2008)

The other day I read an article on divorce in Inquilab, an Urdu Daily from Mumbai written by a well known ‘alim and member of Muslim Personal Law Board Khalid Saifullah Rahmani. The title of the article was “Ghusse ki haalat ka f’al m’utabar hota hai to talaq kyun m’utabar nahin hogi” i.e. if generally anything done in anger is valid why not a divorce given in anger? If any lay person had written this article even then it would have been considered outrageous and when written by one who is considered an ‘alim, it is much more so.

The Maulana argues that generally divorce is given in state of anger only and he argues if a husband is happy with his wife, will he gift her divorce? Divorce is given only when husband gets angry with his wife due to some act of hers. And then he says not only divorce but also several things are done in the state of anger. One would not like to comment on such arguments had it not involved fate of hundreds of Muslim women. One can only ring ones hands at such status of our prominent ‘ulama. They take divorce so lightly and break up of family for them is only a matter of husband’s anger with his wife.

Maulana Rahmani also maintains in this article that all fuqaha’ have consensus that divorce takes place if given in state of anger because in this state as in this state man remains conscious of his act. Then the Maulana goes on to quote noted jurist Allama Abidayn Shami who has quoted Hafiz ibn Qayyim (very well known jurist and ‘alim and disciple of Ibn Taymiyyah) and argues that anger has three stages: one that no change has occurred in his reasoning power due to anger and what he says, he should be understanding that and he should remain aware of its consequences and divorce pronounced in this state of anger will be valid. Second state is of extreme anger when man is unable to understand consequences of what he is doing and lacks in his will power. In this status divorce will not be valid since such a status of anger borders on madness and divorce given in a state of madness is not valid. Third state of anger is between the two states i.e. when man is partially aware of what he is saying and doing and partially not and divorce given in this state will also not be valid.

These are hardly acceptable arguments and at best these are rationalization or justification of divorce given in a state of anger. One would like to ask Maulana and the jurists he quotes who will determine what state of anger one is when pronouncing divorce? Is there any objective criteria available to measure husband’s anger at the time of pronouncing divorce? Has any instrument like thermometer available for measuring the degree of anger? And for these jurists even two witnesses for divorce are not necessary as prescribed by the Qur’an?

A divorce simply takes place if a husband pronounces divorce thrice in one breathe and no witnesses are required. If witnesses are not required who will bear witness as to which state of anger divorce was pronounced? Will husband’s own statement will be relied on? And if husband is determined to divorce his wife, how can his statement as to what state of anger he was in at the time of divorce can be acceptable. Who will decide what state of anger he was at the time of pronouncing divorce? Very strange rationalization indeed for justifying divorce in a state of anger.

Also, these arguments are completely at variance with what Qur’an says about divorce. Firstly, Qur’an requires, as pointed out earlier, two witnesses for divorce. Also, there is not even indirect evidence in Qur’an for giving divorce in a state of anger. See these two verses of Qur’an from Chapter 65 (Surah Al-Talaq) “O Prophet, when you divorce women, divorce them for their prescribed period, and calculate the period; and keep your duty to Allah, your Lord. Turn them not out of their houses – nor should they themselves go away – unless they commit an open indecency. And these are limits of Allah. And whoever goes beyond limits of Allah, he indeed wrongs his own soul…” (65:1)

And we find in second verse of this chapter (65), “So when they have reached their prescribed time, retain them with kindness or dismiss them with kindness, and call to witness two just ones from among you, and give upright; testimony for Allah. With that is admonished he who believes in Allah and the latter Day. And whoever keeps his duty to Allah, He ordains a way out for him.

Let Maulana Rahmani note that Qur’an not only does not talk of divorcing in a state of anger but requires husband to divorce her (fariquhunna) with kindness. Also, she should not be thrown out of her marital home by the husband nor should she herself leave her marital home unless she comes with an indecent act (bi fahishatin). Also, Qur’an wherever talks of divorce, requires husbands to divorce them or separate them, with kindness. The verse 229 of Chapter 2 also talks of kindness while letting them go or separating them.

The verse is as under:” Divorce may be (pronounced) twice; then keep them in good fellowship (bi m’arufin) or let (them) go with kindness (tasrihun bi ihsan). Also so ensure full justice for women Qur’an requires arbitration before divorce (4:35). Thus there cannot be fairer method for divorce than the one prescribed by the Qur’an.

It is so unfortunate that Muslim jurists, under the influence of patriarchal ethos of their societies, they ignored all Qur’an injunctions and gave more credence to prevalent social practices and that too in the name of Islam. All this corpus of laws are referred to as Islamic laws of divine origin. In total contradiction to what Qur’an prescribes, the jurists, not only justified divorce given in a state of anger but also described states of anger.

What is more central to Islam - justice (‘adl, qist) or state of proper consciousness in anger? Forget about anger, Qur’an does not approve of divorce in normal state of consciousness if proper method is not followed for giving divorce which ensures justice for wife. Any unjust act is zulm (oppression, wrong doing). According to the Qur’an women must be treated with fairness and justice and no act, committed in a state of anger (whatever the state of anger) can be a just act.

Maulana Rahmani’s argument is very strange indeed that husband if not in a state of anger, will he divorce when he is happy with wife? Divorce, in fact should never be given in a state of anger at all. Whatever state of anger, intense, extreme or moderate, one does loose control of oneself and even if he is conscious of consequences of his act, is unable to think coolly and rationally. And Qur’an requires husband to remain kind even when divorcing her. Can anyone be kind while pronouncing divorce in a state of anger? Kindness and anger are two opposite states of mind.

Also, there are several instances in which husband pronounce divorce on getting angry on petty quarrels with wife. Can then such divorces be justified? Often husband repents after pronouncing divorce thrice in a state of anger but our jurists maintain his wife has been irrevocably divorced and he cannot take her back unless she marries some other man and he divorces her.

Husband and wife often quarrel and husband gets angry temporarily and is provoked to pronounce divorce. So such petty quarrels would become basis for divorce. This is not only legally wrong but also morally totally wrong. But such are our jurists and ‘responsible’ members of personal law board. Can Muslim women then ever expect justice from them?

On one hand these jurists will argue that Islam greatly raised status of women and in pre-Islamic society women were treated as chattels and, on the other hand, to maintain manly authority, bring back those pre-Islamic practices in divine garb. Qur’an put the entire responsibility of treating women fairly and with kindness on men and our jurists gave total authority to men to throw their wives away whenever they liked.

There is not a single verse in Qur’an which exhorts women to treat their husbands with kindness while in their nikah (marital bond) whereas there are several verses requiring men to treat their wives with kindness. This was because women were in weaker position in that society and Islam has all the sympathy for weaker sections of society. In fact Islam lad greatest stress on giving justice to weaker sections of society including slaves, servants, orphan, widows and the poor.

As we have repeatedly pointed out Qur’an’s sympathy is with mustad’ifin (those who have been weakened) (5:28) and our Ulama show all the sympathy with men who had all the power over women in that society (and still this continues even in most modern society) and juristically gives all the power over them. Let us remember justice is more central than opinion of any jurist howsoever eminent that jurist may be. Justice is Qur’an’s central principle which cannot be sacrificed on the altar of any jurist’s opinion.

If we have to project Islam as religion of justice and compassion for weaker sections of society we will have to revise our jurisprudence completely and prioritize justice over opinions of all past jurists of eminence. Eminence is not a principle it is only a social status whereas justice is a moral value central to Islam. Divorce is a very serious act and should be treated with utmost caution and responsibility. It breaks families and causes trauma to wife and children. According to a well-known hadith Allah has permitted act of divorce with utmost reluctance. Thus neither Qur’an nor authentic hadith are problem for women, it is male authority which is.
Centre for Study of Society and Secularism
Mumbai: - 400 055.
E-mail: csss@mtnl.net.in
Mohammad Irtaza share verses from Qur'aan

[1:1] In the name of GOD, Most Gracious, Most Merciful[6:116] If you obey the majority of people on earth, they will divert you from the path of GOD. They follow only conjecture; they only guess. Salamun Alykum. Does it a matter if "Muslims" outnumber Christians or Christians outnumber "Muslims"? [5:100] Proclaim: "The bad and the good are not the same, even if the abundance of the bad may impress you. You shall reverence GOD, (even if you are in the minority) O you who possess intelligence, that you may succeed." Who are the majority, anyway? What kind of people are they?! Please note that "Muslims" are not excluded from the following verses! [6:116] If you obey the majority of people on earth, they will divert you from the path of GOD. They follow only conjecture; they only guess.

[12:106] The majority of those who believe in GOD do not do so without committing idol worship.

[16:83] They fully recognize GOD's blessings, then deny them; the majority of them are disbelievers.

Please also note that "Muslims" do not get special privilege as noted from the following verses! [2:62] Surely, those who believe, those who are Jewish, the Christians, and the converts; anyone who (1) believes in GOD, and (2) believes in the Last Day, and (3) leads a righteous life, will receive their recompense from their Lord. They have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.

[5:69] Surely, those who believe, those who are Jewish, the converts, and the Christians; any of them who (1) believe in GOD and (2) believe in the Last Day, and (3) lead a righteous life, have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.

[10:98] Any community that believes will surely be rewarded for believing. For example, the people of Jonah: when they believed, we relieved the humiliating retribution they had been suffering in this world, and we made them prosperous.

[16:93] Had GOD willed, He could have made you one congregation. But He sends astray whoever chooses to go astray, and He guides whoever wishes to be guided. You will surely be asked about everything you have done. The various Quranic stories always give us bad news: majority of people are disbelievers, wicked and idol worshipers! [3:110] You are the best community ever raised among the people: you advocate righteousness and forbid evil, and you believe in GOD. If the followers of the scripture believed, it would be better for them. Some of them do believe, but the majority of them are wicked.

[6:116] If you obey the majority of people on earth, they will divert you from the path of GOD. They follow only conjecture; they only guess.

[12:106] The majority of those who believe in GOD do not do so without committing idol worship.

[16:83] They fully recognize GOD's blessings, then deny them; the majority of them are disbelievers.

[19:73] When our revelations are recited to them, clearly, those who disbelieve say to those who believe, "Which of us is more prosperous? Which of us is in the majority?" Thank you and may God guide us, M. Irtaza Moderator - This is not anti-majority verses, but simply verses that value what is right, rather than majority or minority. thanks Mohammad, for the verses. Jazak Allah Khair. This was in reference to a question by Hasni Essa located in the archives: http://muslimarchives.blogspot.com/2008/04/04-03-2008-wednesday.html

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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797



We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration (www.UnitydayUSA.com) held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.

URL- http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2013/08/planned-muslim-response-to-quran_18.html

Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.