Saturday, February 24, 2007

'Anti-Muslim' Literature Handed Out in Class

FOXNews reported "First of all, it slanders, things like, Mohammed is a 'criminal,'

Is Muhammad a "thing", or is that phrase something that can be slandered? I know what you meant to say ,but that is not what you said.
is 'demon possessed' ... that just made my blood boil," said Triaq Butte, whose daughter, Saira, participated in a ninth grade orientation seminar at Enloe High School in Wake County, N.C., where the material was distributed. Butte is a non-practicing Muslim; he said his wife is Christian and his children are taught to accept and respect all religions.
If he was a practicing Muslim I suspect he would feel differently.
"So for a person like me to feel like that — I've never been to a mosque — to feel like that … for me to feel such hideous attacks, they were not just pointing out failures or weaknesses in Islam or Muslims, they were just attacking."
If that was what they said, I would agree with you, but that is not born out by theexample presented in the aritcle.
Among the materials handed out was a pamphlet called "Jesus not Muhammad," as well as one entitled, "Do Not Marry a Muslim Man." The latter pamphlet compares parts of the Koran with those of the Bible, such as:
  • "Husband, beat your wives and deny them sex." (The book of Islam, Koran 4:34)
  • "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for her." (The Holy Bible, Ephesians 5:25)
It warns women not to be lured into marrying a Muslim, even for his "dark good looks, education, financial means, and the interest he shows in you."
The quotes are both accurate, and based on them, the warning is a good one.
.... The Council on American-Islamic Relations wrote to superintendent of the Wake County Public School System, asking for an apology to the students, disciplinary action against the teacher, a review of policies regarding what outside speakers are allowed to say in class, and more diversity training.
This presentation may well have been in response to some of the teaching pushing Islam we have read about.
"It is unconscionable for a teacher at any public school to abuse his or her position of trust by forcing such hate-filled, inaccurate and intolerant materials on students," CAIR Legal Director Arsalan Iftikhar wrote in the letter.
Is the Qur'an quote incorrect???


RC said...

Yes, the Quran quote is incorrect. This is one of the most misinterpreted verses in the Quran.

It does say something along the lines of that, but the meaning is TOTALLY different.

There is a perfectly reasonable explanation for this verse, but I don't think this blog would allow me to leave a comment so long. Is there any other place I can send/post a response?

Don Singleton said...

Here is the full quote, in three different translations:

YUSUFALI: 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 the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all).

PICKTHAL: Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great.

SHAKIR: Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.

RC said...

I know what the verse says.

However, saying this verse says to beat women is like trying to give one meaning for Shakespear.

The following is a quote from "KORAN-NOTITIES door
by Linda Bogaert"

"The verse instructs a husband whose wife causes problems in their marriage to first talk to her about it, then leave the marital bed, then {adriboo} his wife, and all of this in view of pursueing a reconciliation as is evident from the subsequent verse 4:35.

The Arabic word used here, {adriboo}, from the root {d-r-b}, has several dozens of meanings, such as: 'to beat', but also: 'to forsake, to avoid, to leave'.

How do we know which interpretation to choose? One way to find out, is to relate this verse to other verses in the Holy Qur'an and to check if the meanings make sense. In this case, let us look at verse 24:2, which describes what should be done in case of adultery.
This verse establishes the principle that for men and women, equal actions lead to equal punishment. When for adultery men and women must receive equal punishment, surely there is no reason why they should be treated differently for any lesser marital problem.

Now let us take a look at the consequences of interpreting {adriboo} one way or another.

Suppose {adriboo} means: 'to beat'.

In this case, verse 4:34 says that when a wife causes a problem in the marriage, her husband should first talk to her about it, then leave their bed, then beat her and all of this in view of increasing his chances of a reconciliation. On the emotional level, this certainly does not sound like a very promising course of action. So let us check this meaning against the bigger framework and in particular against the principle of 'equal behaviour leads to equal punishment'. This would imply that when a husband causes a problem in the marriage, his wife can beat him. At which he could invoke verse 4:34 to beat her again, so that the result would be a perpetual physical fight between spouses! Surely, this makes no sense at all. And indeed, it is not what Allah prescribes for the situation where a husband causes a rift, as will be explained in a moment.

Suppose {adriboo} means: 'to forsake, to avoid', possibly, as Mohammed Abdul Malek suggests: 'to separate, to part' .

Now what do we get? Verse 4:34 now says that when a wife causes a problem in the marriage, her husband should first talk to her about it, then leave their bed (forsaking his sexual satisfaction), then avoid her even more (not talking to her anymore, leaving the room when she enters it, and possibly even leaving the house for a while), in order to prevent things from getting worse, and on the contrary to let things cool down and create enough space in view of increasing chances of a reconciliation.

This sounds like a very logical chain of events.

Also, application of the general rule of verse 24:2 ('equal actions, equal punishment') now means that when a husband causes a marital problem, his wife should forsake a few of her rights, avoid her husband in increasing ways, and try to work towards a reconciliation. And yes, that is precisely what verse 4:128 says:

"If a wife fears cruelty or desertion on her husband's part, there is no blame on them if they arrange an amicable settlement between themselves" (Holy Qur'an 4:128)4

Understanding {adriboo} as 'to forsake, to (gradually) avoid (more and more), possibly eventually leave altogether', clearly makes sense when relating several verses to one another.

And there is more. Beating a wife would contradict hadiths of the Holy Prophet who repeatedly said: “do not beat believing women!”. It would also contradict the Holy Prophet's instructions about anger – which (unless it is caused by injustice) he explained to originate from Satan and which he described as "a living coal on one's heart". One should not act upon ones anger, lest one would do things one would regret later. When you are angry when you are standing, sit down, the Prophet said. And when you are still angry when you are sitting, then lie down. Interpreting this verse as allowing a husband to beat his wife surely contradicts these rulings on anger.

Furthermore, Allah says in the Qur'an that one must meet bad behaviour with something that is better, not with something that is worse, in order to turn a hostile situation into a friendly one:

"Nor can goodness and Evil be equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better: Then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate!" (Holy Qur'an 41:13)4

Therefore the word {adriboo} cannot really have meant “to beat”, can it. It must mean something that is better than causing problems, and avoiding the problem certainly is exactly that.

Based on the evidence presented here, it would seem that interpreting {adriboo} as 'to beat', causes several internal conflicts with the meaning of other Qur'anic verses and hadiths, while interpreting it as 'gradually forsaking, more and more and possibly leaving altogether', is a much more logical interpretation that is entirely consistent with the interpretation of other rules in the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad.

What makes much more sense is that this verse does not allow a 'superior' husband to 'beat' his 'inferior, disobedient' wife. On the contrary, this verse appears to tell us that a husband must look after his wife (an equal partner who, like he, is obedient to God), and that when his wife is causing problems in their marriage, he should first talk to her about it, if that doesn't help, he should begin avoiding her by leaving the marital bed. If that still doesn't resolve the situation, he should forsake her presence even more, avoid conversations, leave a room when she enters it, avoid her company altogether, and possibly leave the house for a while, so that no problems are added to the conflict, and so that things can cool down a bit to maximise chances for a later reconciliation."

Don Singleton said...

24:2 applies only to adultery or fornication

In Islam the rights of a woman are 1/2 that of a man
Qur'an 2:282 says ... Let his guardian dictate faithfully, and get two witnesses, out of your own men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as ye choose, for witnesses, so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her.

RC said...

Here is more information on verse 4:34. After this, I will respond to your other comment.

The suggestion to use beating is made specifically to deal with nushuz on the part of the wife, that is, to deal with her deliberately nasty behaviour that poses a threat to the marriage. Moreover, it is not to go on and on but is to be tried as a last step to save the marriage. Once it is clear that it is not working it is to be abandoned in favour of some other steps involving relatives of the husband and the wife mentioned in the next verse (4:35). There is therefore, absolutely no license here for the type of regular and continual wife beating that goes on in some homes, where each time the husband is angry with his wife or with someone else he turns against her and beats her up.

In regard to the suggestion about beating, the following further points should also be noted:

a) According to some traditions the Prophet said in his famous and well-attended speech on the occasion of his farewell pilgrimage that any force according to the present verse should be ghayr mubarrih, i.e. in such a way that it should not cause injury, bruise or serious hurt. On this basis some scholars like Tabari and Razi say even that it should be largely symbolic and should be administered "with a miswak or some such thing".
Do you know what a miswak is? It is a twig, probably the size of a pencil, that is used to brush teeth. How could anyone possibly harm another with a toothbrush!?
However, to be effective in its purpose of shaking the wife out of her nasty mood it is important that the husband provide an energetic demonstration of the anger, frustration and love for his wife. In other words, he should neither hurt the wife in any way, nor reduce it to a set of meaningless motions devoid of emotions.

b) The wife has no religious obligation to take hitting of any kind. She can ask for and get divorce any time. The suggestion applies only in the case when the husband is seriously disturbed by a prolonged nasty behaviour on the part of the wife but neither he nor the wife is as yet seriously thinking of breaking up.

c) If the husband hurts a wife without respecting the limits set down by the Quran and Hadith, then she can take him to court and if ruled in favor has the right to apply the law of retaliation and beat the husband as he beat her.

d) There are many hadith that say "when the prophet was asked about this verse, he said 'beating' would be the equivilant to tapping someone lightly with a leaf."

Why then, do all the translations still say to "beat" your wife? Simply because it sounds better.
How would the English translation sound if it said:

"Lastly, beat them lightly, so that it leaves no mark and is so light that it is the equivilant of tapping them with a leaf"
--That doesn't sound very good.

Translators aim to make the Quran flow like poetry in every language as it does in Arabic. So when they translate in English, the shortened meanings may seem different from the originals in Arabic. I myself, can read Arabic, but I don't fluently speak or understand it. Therefore, I must research the history, context, and hadith to any verses I find controvertial. It is the same with any other verse that may seem violent, including verses that terrorists use to justify their actions.

I hope this clarifies things.


Don Singleton said...

Someone beaten with a birch, made of twigs smaller than a pencil, with or without leaves, would tell you it is a severe beating, as will someone struck with a cane the size of a pencil.

RC said...

You miss the point completely.

How can I make this any clearer?
A husband our wife is NEVER allowed to hurt their spouce.

As I said, what the verse meant is largely symbolic and would ONLY be allowed to save the marriage. If the husband beats the wife in ANY way, she can take him to court, divorce him, or beat him back.

By the way, I don't understand how anyone could possibly be hurt by something so small unless they were poked in the eye. Hitting to the face, even in war, is strictly forbidden in Islam.

I'm busy right now, but when I get time, I'll answer your other question about women being worth less than men.

Don Singleton said...

It is very interesting that three different translators translated adriboo to mean beat, if it does not mean that. And I am surprised that God would have let Gabriel use a word that had so many different meatings.

RC said...

You said: "In Islam, the rights of women are half of men."

First of all, verse 2:282 does not mention anything about rights; it deals solely with witnesses. The Quran does say that you need more women witnesses if men cannot be found.

However, you left out a key part of this verse: It deals only with financial matters, i.e. loans.

Here is my answer to your question taken from the "Islamic Speakers Bureau of ING handbook"
" - According to Islamic scholars, this is not a general rule, but was interpreted to apply only to certain contractual arrangements, i.e. financial and business, where in pre-modern societies, most women did not have a lot of expertise. This changed, however when women started having more of a role in society. Umar, one of the earliest Muslims, even appointed a woman to head of commerce.
- In comtemporary society, where women are often more knowledgeable than men in financial matters, this opinion is being reexamined and reinterpreted.
- In other matters, witnessing by women is equal to that of men; evidence to this is the fact that thousands of hadith were transmitted by women.
- In fact, there are circumstances in Islamic teachings where a woman's witness is accepted and a man's is not, such as pregnancy or other female matters."

Another reason is that in pre-modern society, many women often did not take part in matters outside the home. It would be much easier for a woman to be pressured by a man into not coming forward with testimony. In that case, the other witness would be there to testify, also in the case that the other forgot.

As you can see, many things may seem like discrimination against women in Islam, but that is not the case. People also wonder why women get half the inheritance of men; this is another similar scenario where islamophobes leave out information to make Islam seem unfair.

Don Singleton said...

It is not just in financial matters. A woman must hae four witnesse to prove rape.

Amd why is it fair that they get only half the inheritance of a man?

As 2:111 says Produce your proof if ye are truthful

RC said...

You keep quoting the Quran, leading me to believe that you have easy access to one. Here's a suggestion: next time read the WHOLE verse through before quoting out of context. Go ahead, read all of verse 2:282. It deals with financial transactions.

Anyway. Rape witnesses:

First of all, you must realize the difference between the Quran/Islam, and Sharia. Many laws of what people call Sharia these days actually CONTRADICT Islamic teachings. So I am giving my answer from the actual Islamic point of view, without considering culture.

The Quran mentions a male witness or two female witnesses for financial transactions only. If you read the Quran where this is explained, it is talking about a financial transaction.
I don’t know where you are getting that a woman must have “four witnesses for rape” thing. In the Quran it says “And those who launch a charge against chaste women, and produce not four witnesses (to support their allegations),- flog them with eighty stripes; and reject their evidence ever after: for such men are wicked transgressors”
Obviously this shows that it is a crime to accuse women falsely and the bar for proving such an accusation is very high. You could say this actually protects women.

As for your question on inheritance, you cannot pick and choose which laws to apply or not. Islam is a whole system. In Islam, the man has the responsibility of taking care of the family. Whatever the woman earns from her job is hers to keep or do as she wishes. She doesn’t have to spend it on her family or house at all. The man, on the other hand, has to take care of his own wife and children, and also his parents if they can’t take care of themselves. In addition, he has to take care of other women in the family if they don’t have other people to support them. This includes sisters and even widowed sister-in-laws. The inheritance system in Islam is so detailed that there are whole books about it. In some situations, depending on the number and relation of the heirs, women may receive more than a man. Historically, when true Islamic laws were followed, and not based on cultural practices, many women actually became very rich because of the wealth they inherited, not because of working.

To sum it up, men must use their inheritance to support their whole extended family (including parents, in-laws, etc.), while women can spend the money however they wish, even on themselves if they choose.
By the time men spend their money on their family, they often end up with less than a woman anyway.

Now does this sound unfair to women to you?


Don Singleton said...

You are right that 2:282 deals with financial transactions. but I don't htink that is fair to women.

I can't find the reference to 4 witnesses to prove rape, btu many women have been punished for being raped because they could not come up with four witbesses.

Islam may be a whole system, but I beliee that people should be free to reject that system fi they choose. After all Surah 2:256 says “There is no compulsion in religion…”

I do not accept "Whoever changes his religion, kill him" which is called for in Bukhari, Abu Dawud, and many other Haddith that are not online, including Muslim, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, An-Nasai, the Muwatta of Imam Malik, Tayalisi, Ibn Hanbal, Ibn Hibban, the Sunan al-Kubraa, Bayhaqi, Abu Ya'laa, Humaidi, Abd al-Razzaq, and Ibn Abi Shaybah.