- Domestic violence is not unique to Muslim societies, it is wide spread throughout the world. In fact the rate of violence is far higher in Western countries in which it is illegal for husbands to hit their wives. The reason being the extended family structure’s role in domestic disputes. In the West, the family is reduced to what is commonly referred to as the “nuclear family”; the husband, wife and kids. Consequently, relatives have little or no concern in domestic disputes. In Muslim communities, the relatives are encouraged to interfere, to protect the rights of their daughter, sister, niece, aunt, or cousin. Families often live together, or in the same vicinity and family contact remains strong.
- The West’s attitude toward corporal punishment has changed drastically since Dr. Spock [not of the Enterprise] published his seminal work in the 50’s on the rearing of children. His book became a standard, not only for parenting, but its principles became standards for educational institutions. His view was that children should be treated as little adults. They should be reasoned with, and advised, but not hit. In the same way that, as adults, one would not hit another adult in order to get them to follow instructions, nor would they be hit for disobeying orders, children should not be struck. As a result, the use of corporal punishment in schools was abandoned. It had already been stopped in prisons in favor of reform. The consequence in schools is that teachers became hostages in the hands of their students. A number of cases of students attacking teachers occurred in the late sixties and seventies. As a result, most inner city schools in America have metal detectors at their gates in order to disarm students.
- Islaam recognizes corporal punishment for major crimes; 100 lashes for fornication, 80 for drunkenness and slander, etc. Furthermore, regarding children, the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Teach your children the prayer when they are seven and spank them for it at the age of ten.”1 There are limitations, in that the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) prohibited hitting in the face, even in the case of animals.
- It is true that the Shareeah does permit a husband to hit his wife. Allaah stated that in the Qur’aan (Soorah an-Nisaa, (4): 34)2. The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) also said, “You have rights over your women that they do not allow anyone you dislike into your home. If they disobey you, you may spank them. And the woman's right on you is that you clothe her and feed her justly, according to your means.”3 However, that permission is under special conditions and with severe limitations. A husband is not permitted to beat his wife simply because she spilled his tea, burnt his toast, forgot to iron his shirt, etc. for example. The Qur’aanic permission given is specifically in the case of divorce, as a last resort to save the marriage. The Qur’aanic verse outlines the procedures which should be followed in the case of a rebellious and unjustly disobedient wife. She should first be verbally advised of her obligations. If that fails, the husband should then cease having sexual relations with her. Failing that, if the husband sees it useful, and as a final step in order to bring her back into line he is allowed to hit her. What is meant by the Prophet’s words “...If they disobey you...” is rebellious disobedience to instructions permitted by Islaamic law. As to instructions which contradict the Shareeah, she is instructed to disobey. The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Creatures should not be obeyed if it means disobedience to the Creator.” As regards the hit, it should not be physically damaging and it should not be in the face as the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) said, “... Do not hit her in her face nor curse her...”4 and “Do not beat your wives as you would your servant girls in pre-Islamic times.”5 If the husband abuses this conditional permission and brutalizes his wife, her male relatives have the right to intervene and the case can be taken to the courts if it is severe enough.
- Consequently, the intent of this beating is not inflicting pain and punishment but merely to bring the woman back to her senses and re-establish authority in the family.
CHOPPING OFF OF HEADS AND HANDS AND STONING TO DEATH
Muslim application of criminal law has often been described as Medieval Draconian laws. The application of capital punishment has been banned by the UN and the ECC.
- Punishment in Western penology served three functions: i) Retribution (justification looking to the past – i.e. punishment, revenge); ii) Deterrence (justification looking to the future – i.e. prevention); and iii)Reformation
- In The Report of the Departmental Committee on Corporal Punishment in England, 1938, the committee’s unanimous opinion was that “corporal punishment was of no value as a deterrent and should be abolished.” In 1952, in the USA, Justice Hugo Black wrote: “Retribution is no longer the dominant objective of criminal law. Reformation and rehabilitation of offenders have become important goals of criminal jurisprudence.” In 1972, Justice Thurgood Marshall wrote: “Punishment for the sake of retribution is not permissible under the Eighth Amendment.” In the same year, California’s capital-punishment law was declared unconstitutional.6 For some criminologists “reformation” has become synonymous with “cure”. The criminal is no longer a “bad man” but a “sick man.”7 A convict needs treatment. He is genuinely ill, perhaps physically, almost certainly mentally, and psychiatrically.
- The Abolition of the Death Penalty Act of 1965 cancelled capital punishment for murder. The Home Secretary announced on 22nd April 1970 that 172 convicted murderers had been released from prison since 1960, most of them having only served nine years or less of their statutory life sentence. Only five served 12 or more years, nine served 6 or less and one completed only 6 months.8 These are not cases of mistaken ruling which was corrected. These were convicted murderers being let out on the public due to their good behavior in prison. Many of them killed again, only to be sentenced for a few more years.
- Western penologists have admitted that the penal system has failed utterly in reforming and rehabilitating criminals. Petty criminals enter the system and exit as well trained hardened criminals. Society ends up paying for the crimes committed against it by being obliged to provide food, clothing and shelter for criminals.
- In the Islaamic system, punishments are placed in three categories: i) Hudood : Punishments prescribed by God in a revealed text of the Qur’aan or Sunnah, the application of which is the right of God (Haqq Allaah). 6 offenses: drinking alcohol; theft; armed robbery; illicit sex [homosexual, pedophilia, bestiality]; sexual slander; and apostasy. In a penal context, the punishment is (a) prescribed in the public interest; (b) cannot be lightened or made heavier; and (c) after being reported to the judge it cannot be pardoned by either the judge, political authority, or the victim [Qur’aan, (2): 229]. ii) Qisaas: Retaliation. Punishment prescribed in Islaamic law for murder and injury wherein an injury of equal severity is inflicted. iii) Ta'zeer : Discretionary.
- During the Ottoman administration of the Arabian peninsula hudood punishments were not applied. In the late 1920’s the Saudi regime reintroduced them and the crime rate fell noticeably. The hadd for theft up to 1970 was not implemented more than twice per year. Six months after the introduction of Sharee'ah in the Sudan, crime decreased by more than 40% despite President Jaffar Numeiri’s release of 13,000 prisoners at the time of decreeing Islamic law because they were not sentenced under the Sharee'ah. Since the introduction of Islaamic law in Iran, crime has dropped significantly.
- Retribution is obvious in hudood punishments from their severity and the prohibition of mediation. And retaliation in qisaas as Allaah said (2:179): “In retaliatory punishment there is life for you, o people of understanding, in order that you fear God.” Goodheart stated in 1953: “Retribution in punishment is an expression of the community’s disapproval of crime, and if this retribution is not given recognition then the disapproval may also disappear...”9 The element of retribution – vengeance, if you will – does not make punishment cruel and unusual, it makes punishment intelligible. Leo Page wrote: “Law exists for the protection of the community. It is not necessary to show that capital punishment is an absolute preventative of murder, or even that it is the only deterrent. If it can be shown that it is more effective as a deterrent than any other punishment, then I shall be satisfied that it should be retained. To hold otherwise is surely to forget the innocent victims of murder in the interest of their murderers. And I have no doubt at all that fear of the gallows is the most powerful of all deterrents.”10
- In the West, homicide is a crime in which the state must intervene and apply punishment. Consequently, punishment for homicide in the West became arbitrary and lacking any uniformity. Studies in the 60s showed that black Americans were sentenced to death for crimes which white Americans were only “doing time.” In Islaam, homicide is considered a civil wrong (tort). It is up to those who suffered the loss (the victim’s relatives) to decide on punishment or pardon. Qisaas may be private justice or personal revenge either by i) execution; ii) deeyah; or iii) complete pardon (2: 178). However, even after execution has been ordered by the court remission is possible. This principle is uniform and leaves the right to pardon in the hands of those harmed.
- Crimes of passion will not be eliminated by the death penalty. Public execution discourages premeditated murder. Where a person knows that he or she will only have to face life imprisonment (6-9years) for murder, if caught, they will be more willing to take the chance. But, where the consequence is possible death, they will think twice or thrice before going ahead with a murder. In the West, the execution of murderers takes place in prisons it is only viewed by a few members of the press, prison officials and the family of the murderer and the murdered. Consequently, for the society at large it is only a statistic. The execution has no personal impact on the individual members of society. In the Muslim state large segments of the society are invited to view the execution so they will convey it to the rest of the society.
The media often refers the “hacking off” of the thief’s hand in order to portray the most gruesome picture possible of the implementation of Islaamic criminal law.
- The Qur’aan prescribes amputation in Chapter 5: 38 “As for thieves, both male and female, cut off their hands as recompense for their deeds and an exemplary punishment from Allaah...” However, there are conditions under which this law is to be applied.
- The law of amputation is not applied under the following circumstances:
i) During times of famine or starvation. If a person steals food to prevent starvation, his hand will not be amputated. If he steals property because of the opportunity in a time of natural disaster, he is a criminal whose hand should be removed.
ii) If a worker stole from a boss who had withheld his pay. Instead the boss would be penalized as long as the amount stolen was not more than was owed in back wages.
iii) If the property taken was public property. For example, rugs or fittings in a mosque, or seats from public transport.
iv) If the value of the property was less than 10 dirhams.
v) If the item stolen was not in its proper place (i.e., it was accidentally left somewhere and thus became temptation). The professional pickpocket or burglar have made theft a way of life.
- The right hand is surgically removed at the wrist and not hacked off by a meat cleaver or a chain saw, as media reports seem to imply. The left foot at the ankle is removed on the second occasion and on the third occasion he may be executed as incorrigible. This is law is implemented publicly for the purpose of deterrence.
MUSLIMS OPPOSE PERSONAL FREEDOMS LIKE FREE SEX
Adultery and fornication have been decriminalized in the West due to the rapidly changing moral standards. Consequently, critics of Islaam often point the finger of blame at the severe punishments assigned to them.
- The laws regarding adultery and fornication are purely based on morality. It is a part of a system in which all acts and relationships are measured by a scale of moral evaluation. The Western moral principle of consenting adults rejects punishment in cases where there is no discernable harm to the adults involved. On the other hand, Islaam holds that adultery and fornication are crimes against society when they become public knowldege. They attack the foundations of the community; the family.
- Proof of guilt is limited to pregnancy, confession or the testimony of four adult Muslim eye-witnesses to the act. The chances of such an act occurring publicly are very small, especially in Muslim society where PDAs (public displays of affection) are strongly discouraged. On the other hand, in the West where it is common for a man to kiss his guest’s wife and his guest to kiss the man’s wife, and PDAs are considered normal, the chance of public sex occurring is greater. For example, on a recent New York-London flight in the first-class section, a married man copulated with the woman sitting next to him after a few drinks. They completely ignored the protests of other passengers and the flight attendants and were both arrested on arrival in London Heathrow airport.
- The law is primarily a deterrent as it requires four eye-witnesses for implementation. The punishment for fornication, 100 lashes might seem sufficient to cause death in many people. However, the one implementing the punishment is not allowed to raise his hand above his shoulder level. It is the embarrassment and shame to one’s family and reputation which discourages people from breaking the law. The fact that the penalty is executed publicly (24: 2) clearly indicates that its goal is to protect public morality and safeguard it against corruption.
- The goal of such punishments is the protection of the family structure which represents the foundation of the society. A society in which adultery and fornication are condoned is one in which family has little or no meaning. In fact, once adultery and fornication became decriminalized in the 60’s, wife-swapping parties and orgies became country wide rages. Since that period, such practices have entered mainstream behavior at parties and no longer cause any surprise.
MUSLIMS ARE HOMOPHOBIC AND INTOLERANT
Homosexuality and lesbianism have been dubbed “alternative life-styles,” “personal preference,” “a natural variation,” etc. in the West today. Where homosexuality was considered an illness by the Association of Psychiatrists, it is now removed from the list and replaced by homophobia (the dislike of homosexuals and homosexuality). Consequently, Islaam and Muslims are considered intolerant and biased due to their continued opposition. Arguments in favor of tolerance to homosexuals are based on the assumption that homosexual behavior is biologically based and not merely learned from society.
- Early opposition to homosexuality was based on the argument that such behavior was unnatural. Sodomy cannot produce children which is one of the main natural consequences of sexual relations. “Mother Nature” did not make us that way, it was argued. To counter such arguments homosexual researchers scoured the earth until they found supposed homosexual behavior among the animal kingdom. They found that the males of some species of exotic fishes of the coast of Japan imitated the behavior of females of the species in order to prevent other males from impregnating their mates, and some rare butterflies from islands of the coast of Africa also had males exhibiting female behavior during mating season, etc. However, if the animal kingdom is to be used to justify human behavior, there also exists a spider in South America, whose female is much larger than the male. When mating is complete, the female eats her mate.
- During the 80’s it was claimed that a gland in the base of the brain which is small in women and large in men was found to be small among homosexuals. However, this evidence, while seeming incontrovertible to the layman, was immediately refuted by scientists. The data was taken from cross-sections of the brains of dead adult humans whose sexual preference was identified prior to death. Consequently, the reduced size among homosexuals could have been a result of the practice and not its cause. That is, they could have been born with normal sized glands which then became small due to their deviant lifestyle.
- Recently genetics has become the most commonly used foundation for the pro-gay argument. In 1993 Dr. Dean Hamer, a researcher at the National Cancer Institute, claimed to have discovered “the first concrete evidence that ‘gay genes’ really do exist.” Homosexual orientation was supposedly transmitted to males on the X chromosome from the mother. Hamer’s findings, published in the prestigious journal Science, transformed his colorless career as a government scientist into a dynamic media personality and penned his memoirs. He gave expert testimony to the Colorado Supreme Court that formed the basis of the victorious decision striking down anti-gay Proposition 2. However, a replication of his study at the University of Western Ontario failed to find any linkage whatsoever between the X chromosome and sexual orientation.11 It was also found that Hamer’s study lacked a control group; a fundamental principle of scientific research. Furthermore, in June 1994, the Chicago Tribune reported that a junior researcher in Hamer’s laboratory who assisted in the gene mapping in the homosexuality study, alleged that he selectively reported his data. She was then summarily dismissed from her post-doctoral fellowship in Hamer’s lab. But a National Institutes of Health investigation substantiated her claims and gave her another position in a different lab. Though Dr. Hamer was coy abut his own sexuality in his memoirs, he later admitted in his lectures that the was gay.12
- It should be noted that Islaam, in its final form, did not introduce anti-gay legislature to the world. The texts of the Torah are replete with clear condemnation of such practices.
- The consequence of AIDS is enough to prove that homosexuality is evil and dangerous to society. The early spread of AIDS was concentrated among the homosexual community. It later spread to the heterosexual community through blood transfusions and intravenous drug usage and so-called bisexuals. And continues on a rampage among promiscuous heterosexuals.
- Islaam considers homosexuality to be the result of a choice. It is inconceivable that God made people homosexuals then declared it a crime and prescribed punishments for it in both this life and the next. To accept such a proposition is to accept that God is unjust. Inclinations can exist within humans for a variety of natural and unnatural acts, from fornication to rape and from necrophilia to bestiality. These inclinations may come from jinn-suggestions, media influence, or even from human whisperings or direct contact. Human beings are not like robots who only do what they are programmed to do. Humans choose and God holds them responsible for their choices. Were homosexuality a product of genetic destiny, it would be unfair for God to criminalize it and punish those who practice it. Currently, some scientists are even claiming that murder is of genetic origin. To accept that would mean to excuse murderers and tolerate murder.
- Islaam instructs parents to separate their children in their beds by the age of ten in order to avoid sexual experiences which may result from childhood experimentation. Such experiences may be reinforced by contacts in schools and through abuse from adults. Also the distinctions between male and female are strongly made in Islaamic teachings. The Prophet cursed men who imitated women and women who imitated men. The Western fashion industry is controlled by homosexuals who attempt to blur the distinction between males and females in order to make their behavior more acceptable. Consequently, men’s fashion has become more feminine in style and color and women are now wearing three-piece suits, ties and hats and traditionally men’s shoes. These distinctions may be relative and vary from society to society. For example, in Scotland men traditionally wear little knee-length dresses called “kilts”. In Scotland it would not be considered imitation of females, but in a society where only women wear such dress it would be considered imitation.
NO RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: THOSE WHO LEAVE ISLAAM ARE EXECUTED
Objection to Islaam is often raised against the death penalty prescribed for apostasy (abandonment of religion). Since religion in Western civilization came to be looked at as a personal choice which cannot be enforced by either Church or state, to execute a person for leaving his religion would naturally seem extreme.
- It should be kept in mind that when capital punishment for murder was abolished in the UK in 1965 it was retained for treason and piracy with violence. And it was also the legal punishment for setting fire to Her Majesty’s ships and dockyards until 1971.13 Most countries have executed its citizens for treason. Treason is an act of rebellion against the state. State secrets are given to other countries which may not be at war with the state.
- Islaam is not merely a religion but a complete system of life. Its rules not only govern individual conduct but also shape the basic laws and public order in the Muslim state. Apostasy encourages the rejection of law and order of society. It is an act of treason against the state which would encourage rebellion among the weaker citizens.
- One who personally abandons the faith and leaves the country would not be hunted down and assassinated. Nor would one who apostates privately and remains in the Muslim state conforming to the outward rules of the state be tracked down and executed. The practice of setting up inquisition courts to examine people’s faith is not a part of Islaamic legal tradition.
- There is no compulsion in joining Islaam. Anyone may join the religion, but it should not be taken lightly. Only those who are serious should join. The death penalty discourages those who might think to join the religion in order to undermine it from within. The apostasy law was first instituted to stop the undermining of the state. Jews in Madeenah were converting to Islaam and apostating shortly thereafter in order to destroy the confidence of newly converted Muslims (Soorah Aal ‘Imraan (3): 72).
- The death penalty is mainly for apostates who cooperate with enemies at war with the Muslim state or those who gather people against Islaam and fight against the state.
- Western Civilization executes its citizens for giving away state secrets; something material. Islaamic law prescribes the death penalty for something far more serious. Rebellion against God is a far greater crime than rebellion against state secrets.
EXTREMIST MUSLIMS HATE MUSIC
The general impression among some ignorant Muslims is that Islaam prohibits music. However, that is not the case.
- God made human nature such that it loves music, especially in the case of children. Islaamic law does not prohibit music but regulates it by banning only its harmful aspects.
- The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) prohibited the use of wind and stringed instruments in a well known hadeeth saying, “There will be people of my nation who will legalize fornication, the wearing of silk, drinking wine and the use of musical instruments...”14 He also prohibited males from listening to adult female singers saying, “Some people from my nation will drink wine, calling it another name. Merriment will be made for them by the playing of musical instruments and the singing of adult female singers.”15
- Folk songs with acceptable content sung by males or females under the age of puberty accompanied by a hand drum (daff) are permissible. In fact, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) encouraged the participation of singing girls at weddings and festivals. Also the recitation of the Qur’aan should be done in a melodious voice as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was reported to have said, “Whoever does not sing the Qur'aan is not one of us.”16
- Wind and stringed instruments have been banned because of their captivating power. Their notes and chords evoke strong emotional attachments. For many, music becomes a source of solace and hope instead of God. When they are down, music brings them up temporarily, like a drug. The Qur’aan, the words of God filled with guidance, should play that role. A heart filled with music will not have room for God’s words.
- The voices of singing adult females are forbidden for men in order to keep the sensual atmosphere of the society at a minimum. Men are much more easily aroused than females as has been thoroughly documented by the clinical studies of Masters and Johnson. Consequently, the male voice has not been prohibited to females according to Islaamic law. Furthermore, the male voice leads the masses in formal prayers.
- The musicians of the world represent some of the most corrupt elements in society. Suicide and drugs are rampant among them. If their music was truly beneficial it would have benefited them first and foremost.
MUSLIMS ARE EITHER TERRORISTS OR SUPPORT TERRORISM
Terrorism is defined by the American government as the threat or the use of violence to advance a political cause by individuals or groups, whether acting for or in opposition to established governmental authority, when such actions are intended to shock, stun, or intimidate a target group wider than the immediate victims. Actually such a general definition will include all wars of liberation from the American War of Independence to the French Revolution. The worst aspect and perhaps the most common feature of terrorism is the unleashing of violence against innocent civilians.
- The State of Israel is the most recent example of the establishment of a state by terrorism. It was established by Jewish terrorist groups, the most infamous of which was the Stern Gang.
- The term “Muslim terrorist” is used to label Islaam as a terrorist religion. However, it is a misnomer. When IRA bombers struck, they were not labeled as “Catholic terrorists” even though the struggle is between Catholic Ireland and Protestant Northern Ireland supported by Protestant England. Likewise, when Timothy McVeigh blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995 killing 168 people, he was not labeled as a “Christian terrorist”, though he was Christian and a terrorist. In fact the “Muslim terrorist” label was attached to the activities of the PLO who were a mixture of Muslims, Christians and communists. The PLO is not, nor was it ever, a Muslim organization. It is a nationalist organization working for the establishment of a secular Palestinian state.
- The face of terrorism can be seen in the extremist movements of Egypt. Al-Gama’a Al-Islamiya (Islamic Group) and Jihaad Movements provided shock troops for a bitter struggle with Egypt’s security forces that caused about 1,200 deaths from 1992 to 1997 but failed to topple Hosni Mubarak’s secular rule. The Gama’a claimed responsibility for the Luxor massacre of tourists in November 1997. However, in March 1997 its exiled leaders declared a unilateral truce and renounced violence. The philosophy of these movements and their program of action have been loudly condemned by leading Muslim scholars internationally as well as local Egyptian scholars.
- The case of Algeria is somewhat more complex. However, it is sufficient to say that the Islaamic Salvation Front (F.I.S.) - which was poised to win the elections cancelled by the Algerian military - renounced violent struggle over a year ago, yet the slaughter of innocents still continues. From the beginning of the civilian slaughters, the F.I.S. disclaimed them and identified the G.I.A. as the main culprit. Recent reports indicate that the G.I.A. was created by government secret service agents to discredit the F.I.S.’s military struggle by alienating them from the masses through atrocities.
- Islaam opposes any form of indiscriminate violence. The Qur’aan states: "Anyone who has killed another except in retaliation, it is as if he has killed the whole of humankind." (32:5) There are strict rules regulating how war may be conducted. Prophet Muhammad forbade the killing of women, children, and old people and the destruction of Churches and Synagogues or farms. Of course, if women, children or the elderly bear arms they may be killed in self-defense.
JIHAAD: ANOTHER NAME FOR ISLAMIC TERRORISM
Usually translated by the Western media as “holy war” is a greatly misunderstood principle in Islaam. There is no term in Arabic which means “holy war”. War is not “holy” in Islaam it is either just or unjust.
- The meaning of jihaad is “striving” or “struggle”. It is used in Islaam to refer to a variety of different efforts enjoined upon the believers. Striving to keep God and His Messenger more important than loved ones, wealth and one’s own self is the most basic form of jihaad prescribed on every Muslim. The Prophet said, “No one has truly believed until Allaah and His Messenger becomes more beloved than everything.”17 Doing the righteous deeds prescribed by God is itself a jihaad. The Prophet was reported to have said, “The best jihaad is the perfect Hajj.”18 On another occasion, someone asked the Prophet if he should join the jihaad. The Prophet responded by asking him whether his parents were still alive and when he replied that they were, he said, “Make jihaad by serving them.”19
- Defending Islaam and the Muslim community is a primary aspect of the physical jihaad which involves taking up arms against an enemy. God states in the Qur’aan "Permission to fight has been given to those who have been attacked because they are wronged. And indeed, Allaah is Most Powerful." (22:39) "Fight in the cause of Allaah against those who fight against you, but do not transgress the limits. Indeed Allaah does not love transgressors." (2:190). Muslims are also enjoined to fight against tyranny. The Qur’aan states, "Why shouldn't you fight in the cause of Allaah and for those oppressed because they are weak. Men, women and children who cry out, 'Our Lord! Rescue us from this town of oppressors and" (4:75)