It is indeed a matter for regret that we in the Muslim world, are often quick to point at the injustices committed by non-Muslims, while we conveniently ignore those perpetrated by Muslim regimes and groups in the name of Islam. We often forget the maxim that we should put our own house in order before we set out to put others right. Take for instance, Casteism such as prevalent in India, but who are we to pass judgement when we find that Casteism in another form, Tribalism, is alive and kicking in a Muslim country like Saudi Arabia, and mind you unlike in India, its not banned, but has even been upheld by the courts, to the extent that it has even been used to nullify a marriage. Consider the following news item.
“In Saudi Arabia, women of all ages generally need to obtain permission from a male guardian (father, husband, brother, uncle, son) to work, travel, study, marry or obtain medical treatment. Fatima Al-Timani, a Saudi Arabian woman, was forcibly divorced from her husband by a court in 2005 at the request of her half-brothers. The couple’s ordeal started when Fatima’s half-brothers asked a court to annul the marriage, citing her husband’s low tribal background. The judge agreed, even though the couple had been married for over two years and had two children. Following the ruling, the couple was arrested in Jeddah after going there to seek official help. Fatima and her children spent nine months in a women’s prison in Dammam after refusing to go back to her family. In January 2007, Riyadh’s Appeals Court upheld a judge’s decision to divorce the couple, and Fatima was moved to a women’s shelter in the city, where, as of May 2008, she was still living with her two -year-old son, Suliman. Her other child, four-year-old Noha, lives with her husband, Mansour Al-Timani”.
We here have a case of a Muslim country, not only preventing its women from exercising their right of choosing a partner which was conceded over 1400 years ago by Islam ( such as when the our beloved Prophet gave Khansa bint Khidam and the unnamed wife of Julaybib the right to choose their partners), but also recognizing the inequality of man (a jahilliyah trait which Islam abrogated completely as evident in various Qur’anic passages and the last sermon of the Prophet).
This brings us to another question. Is it Islam or Jewish law that these courts implement. The tribalism of the Jews is very well known. In fact, the word they use for a non-Jew goyim literally means ‘dirt’, filth’ and one wonders whether the Saudi judge who gave this very unislamic ruling was inspired by Jewish racist ideas. How can we believe one to be a Muslim when he rules in all his arrogance that one tribe is lower than another. Is it not the Jahiliyyah or the Jewish law that he follows ?
Coupled with this racist bigotry of the Jews, we would find another of their well known traits that has found a fertile breeding ground, of all countries, the land of our beloved Prophet, and that is the oppression of the fairer sex. Women in Saudi Arabia for instance do not have the right to choose their partners which is decided by their male kin, in the first instance their fathers, and in their absence their brothers. When selecting a partner they are often influenced by pedigree or wealth and hardly ever have the girl’s interests at heart which is exactly why the divorce rate in Saudi Arabia is so high.
Here too we will find that it is not Islam that dictates such oppression and curiously we would find that the rules followed here are very much similar to the laws of the ancient Hebrews according to which a girl and even a grown up woman could be forced into marriage by her father or next of kin.
However it is not only these misled authorities who follow such perverse ideas, but even so-called Islamic groups that purport to fight for Islam, but appear to know nothing about it such as when they unleash violence against innocents. Consider for instance the following news item which made headlines recently.
“Afghanistan’s Taliban publicly executed a young couple who had tried to elope, a provincial governor said Tuesday. The pair were shot dead on Monday in front of a mosque in the southwestern province of Nimroz, an area where the Taliban has influence. It followed a decree by local religious leaders that they should be put to death, governor Ghulam Dastageer Azad told AFP. He branded their execution an “insult to Islam.” “An unmarried young boy and an unmarried girl who loved each other and wanted to get married had eloped because their families would not approve the marriage,” Azad said. The pair, both adults, were discovered by Taliban militants and returned to their village in Khash Rod district where the extremists are active. “Three Taliban mullahs brought them to the local mosque and they passed a fatwa [religious decree] that they must be killed. They were shot and killed in front of the mosque in public” the governor said”.
It seems that the Taliban in their rabid bigotry do not understand basic Islamic law. Even a layman knows that an unmarried couple who have illicit sex are merely to be given a hundred lashes each and this is the maximum punishment that can be meted out to them. This too has to be established only after four witnesses catch them in the very act itself, or else even this punishment cannot be applied. Furthermore there is nothing to show that this couple had committed fornication. They had not even eloped and were only planning to do so. The couple concerned had decided to elope because the young woman’s parents were attempting to force her to marry another man who was not to her liking, and by no means can this be regarded as a crime. She was only exercising a right conceded by Islam and to murder these young people for that is not only a crime against humanity, but also a crime against Islam.
And here we have it again, a creeping Jewish influence among these bigots who seem to have applied Jewish law in this connection. And why do I say Jewish. Well, because their harsh unislamic verdict smacks of ancient Jewish law which dictated that if a bride did not bleed on her wedding night (upon the rupture of her hymen) she was to be killed by her father.
There is a tradition that the Afghans are descended from the lost tribes of Israel despite their Aryan speech and if so could this explain their retention of these barbaric Jew-like laws despite their conversion to Islam centuries ago. One likewise wonders whether the Jewish tribes that were expelled by the Prophet from the holy land infiltrated the Arab tribes in their vicinity or perhaps even assumed an Arab identity to ensure their survival, undermining Islam in the process. Although we cannot be sure of this hypothesis what we can be certain of is, is that regimes or groups claiming to follow Islamic law are not really what they make out to be. So let us beware of following these elements blindly and covering their faults lest we should be guilty of acquiescing in their evil deeds that have nothing to do with Islam and which only bring our noble faith a bad name.
Change will have to come, but such change can only come when we decide to change ourselves. Speak out against evil whenever and wherever you see it, and always stand up for what is right. Our beloved Prophet said: “Whoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then (let him change it) with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart – and that is the weakest of faith”. And as the noble Qur’an says: Allah will never change the condition of a people, until they change it themselves (with their own souls).