07 October 2009

Why is Islam so "backwards"??? (pt 2)

Asalaamu alaikum...

This is a continuation of the "Why is Islam so "Backwards"' post...

Sir Hamilton, the well-known English thinker and philosopher, stated in his book on Islam and Arab Civilization:

"The rules, regulations and verdicts concerning women in Islam are clear, frank and open. Islam capitalizes on the complete care that should be given to the protection of a woman against anything that may harm her personally, or cause ill-fame to her reputation or character."

Why are women forced into marriages?

In some countries this may occur...but it strictly goes AGAINST Islamic teachings. The Qur'an specifically states women are not to be married against their will. A marriage is NOT valid without the woman's permission, technically. What some countries do...that is CULTURAL and NOT Islam.

What about the arranged marriages?

Arranged marriages has a different meaning than what most non-Muslims realize. Yes, in Islam, "arranged marriages" are common...but this does not mean "forced marriages." There is a difference. Here is how it should work ideally (and yes, many Muslims don't follow this either...this just an ideal):

A parent meets a young man that they think will be suitable for their daughter. Who else knows their daughter's quirks and eccentricities than the parents, right? Usually, when we look for someone ourselves, we don't take into account our little personality quirks...but someone, like our parents, that live with us all our lives do notice those things and take those things into account, or should. Anyways...so the parents introduce the daughter to the man, and they have "sit-downs" (dating is a no-no is Islam...at least Western-style dating). Basically this means the woman and man sit and discuss all the things that are important to them in a relationship/marriage. The woman's wali must be present during any sit-down...again, this is to protect the woman's integrity and to protect her from being taken advantage of. Numerous sit-downs can occur, and anything that is important should be discussed. If they decide they are too different, they can choose not to see each other and not get married...and the search for a mate continues. If the decide to get married, then arrangements are made, and the man has to pay the wife-to-be a "mahr" (like a dowery...and it is HERS to keep; doesn't go to her parents).

This is the ideal way couples in Islam should meet. Of course, if a man and woman catches each other's eye, then they can ask for a sit-down as well. The person doesn't have to be chosen by the parents. My love and I joke that ours is an "arranged marriage" since his father is the one that introduced us.

Why can't women work?

We can work, but we are encouraged to stay home. Many see this as oppressive as well. However, it's not....instead, it's a mercy from Allah (SWT). Think about this...who does most of the housework, take care of the kids, and cook the meals even in American society? Usually the wife...and this is AFTER working all day. In Islam, it is recognized that doing the housework, etc IS a JOB in itself! So, why make the woman have to work TWO jobs while the man only works one?? That is hardly fair! Ideally (again, this doesn't always happen, esp with our economy), IF a woman works, whatever money she earns is hers to keep to spend how she wants...instead of on bills. That hardly seems oppressive to me. And, even Prophet Muhammad (SAW) helped with the chores in the home. And, since we should be following his example, then men SHOULD be helping out around the house as well, actually. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) told his companions that the best among them are the ones that are best to their wife.

If Islam is so woman-friendly, then why can men beat their wives?

Many people take the verse in the Qur'an out of context. There are stages that should occur in working out a problem in a marriage. First and foremost, it says in the Qur'an that they should try to talk things out. If the wife is still doing something wrong (and when I say "wrong," I mean something that is major; i.e. drinking, which is prohibited in Islam), then he can turn her away from the bed...make her sleep on the couch, to show his displeasure. As a very last resort, he can "tap" her....but NEVER in the face, and never do her harm...it's more of a way to show, again, their displeasure the wife's actions. In another hadith (saying/actions of Prophet Muhammad), a man asked Prophet Muhammad what should he "hit" his wife with if it gets to that point, and the Prophet (SAW) said "with this" and he held up his toothbrush. Seriously...what kinda damage can be done with a toothbrush?! It was the Prophet's (SAW) way of showing that harm really should not be done. And, again...we should follow his examples, and he NEVER hit any of his wives.

Why can men have more than 1 wife?

In Islam, polygyny (having more than one wife) is allowed...HOWEVER...he can only marry up to 4 wives. And the major stipulation to it is he HAS to treat them equally and justly. Not too many guys can do that, esp in this economy. Actually, less than 2% of Muslims practice polygyny. And, what many do not understand is that it was allowed as a mercy to women.

In Islam, as I stated above, men are to provide for the women. However, women tend to outlive men (due to illness, accidents, and war). So, why should all the single or widowed women be alone? Polygyny was allowed so that those women would have someone to provide for them and to love them. It was a mercy for them. Also, in the instance when the wives get along (I know, doesn't always happen, but it does sometimes), they can help each other out with housework, raising the children, or taking care of the husband if he gets sick.

If Islam is so peaceful, why all the terrorists?

First, think about this...there are over a billion Muslims in this world...if Islam really taught violence and terrorism...there'd be A LOT more terroristic acts (or attempts) occurring. The fact is, those that commit such violence is really a small fraction of "Muslims."

The issue of "terrorism" was pretty much addressed in my "Islam Information" blog post. The actions of terrorists go directly AGAINST Islamic teachings. The Qur’an states:

“Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loves not transgressors” (Qur'an 2:190).

This means if Muslims are oppressed (i.e. not allowed to practice their religion or being forced out of their homes), they are allowed to fight back. However... the Qur’an further tells Muslims:

“But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in Allah: for He is One that hears and knows (all things)” (Qur'an 8:61).

And Prophet Muhammad had commanded “Do not kill any old person, any child or any woman,” “Do not kill the monks in monasteries,” or “Do not kill the people who are sitting in places of worship."

In the case of war, we're not to kill non-combatants...obviously, terrorists are going against this ruling. Also, in Islam, suicide is "haram" (unlawful)....and yet, many of the terrorists are "suicide bombers"...another action that goes AGAINST Islamic teachings. So, really, anyone that is a terrorist but is claiming to be committing such acts "in the name of Allah" or Islam...are VERY misguided, to say the least.

That about covers everything that I can think of. If there are any additional issues that you wish to better understand, feel free to please let me know and I will do my best to address them. Insh'Allah, this has been beneficial in some way. Jazak'Allah khairn for taking the time to read this blog.


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