Apr 05 2009

Little Woman at the Age of Nine?

News from the small Scandinavian country Finland (yet well known for NOKIA and Mika Hakkinen).  It used to be a hidden tolerant island and cultural conflicts sounded like echoes from overseas.

Imam Chehab Khadr Finland The Lebanese born Imam Chehab Khadr of  Helsinki Muslim community

defended in an  Aamulehti newspaper interview the notion that girls as young as nine years old could be wed into marriage with parental consent and that what is against the law some countries is permissible in others.

It followed on outcry in the country with unbelievable amount of feedback, blogger comments and phone calls what made him change his position the next day.

Nobody could be fooled; words are cheap and even cheaper by the dozen.

The damage is done and once again the image of Islam was badly tarnished in a place which is known to be very welcoming and tolerant.  They have for centuries a small Muslim community originating from the east with no problems whatsoever with human rights or marrying little girls. Today many Muslim immigrants are causing trouble and controversy, mostly through the growing rape rate in bigger cities (mostly by Somalis) and  small time criminality like snatching ladies handbags in broad daylight. People do not walk in the streets at night time anymore!

My first reaction was that this man is mega stupid!  But he is a regular guest at state banquets, and TV talk shows. This middle aged man probably close to his fifties has been living large part of his life in a Western country with an excellent human and especially women rights record. Finland was the 1st country in Europe to grant women voting rights and women make up almost half of the parliamentarians and they have a woman president in her second term already. I would have wished at least a little more openness of mind and some critical thinking.

From a man in his position one would expect more common sense. How can he advocate Stone Age practices marrying little girls when there are lots and lots of unmarried young women waiting to get married?

A grown up man wishing to marry a six or even a nine year old girl is a man with sick fantasy, a pervert and a pedophile, there is no way around it. This Imam went so far as saying that in Western societies youngsters at that age are involved in sexual acts but in Islam he is accepting it in a marriage. Not to mention that elsewhere hardly any 6 yr. or 9 yr. old girl is sexually active, so he was simply lying.

There is a HUGE  difference here: the first one is not acceptable although it happens occasionally  (mostly rape by someone close) – the latter one is sanctioned by higher authorities, and what is worse: sanctioned by God itself?!

I went to find facts from Wikipedia.

What I found very shocking that Lebanon which is trying to appear the most modern and advanced Middle Eastern Muslim country has the worst record of women rights! Nine year old girls are children and sexual acts with them is pedophilia, married or not.  It makes me sick, this is not Islam.

From the list of some countries with marriageable ages for male/female I pick up Lebanon, the former home country of this Imam:

Lebanon: 18 for males and 17 for females; scope for judicial discretion on basis of physical maturity and wali’s permission from 17 for males and 9 for females; real puberty or 15/9 with judicial permission for Shi’a; 18/17 or 16/15 with judicial permission for Druze.

Nine years minimum age for little-girl-wives and this country is bragging to be a model to the Muslim Middle Easterners.    HOW can a 10-year old be a mother to an infant, or perhaps this possibility is not taken into consideration in those male chauvinistic minds?

In a few days I will write, Inshallah,    about the Prophept’s young wife Aisha. The Hadith’s suggest, that she was married to him at the age 6 yrs.  By Hadith’s  of which I am very critical about. They were collected as late 250-300 years after the death of the Prophet (p.b.u.H.). From 600 000 stories f.e. Bukhari selected 7,397 based on their truthfulness.

Truthfulness? How can a lengthy recitation transmitted by word of mouth over half a dozen generations be truthful in every single word? Human mind is not a computer, it can err with the best of intentions.

Prophet Mohammad discouraged in his lifetime writing down these stories in fear they would be confused with the Quran itself. Well, yes, it looks like it happened after all.

There are several surviving written document from the lifetime of the Prophet from which we can reconstruct the events and we find that Aisha was in her late teens, probably early twenties when marrying as it happened in Medina after he Hijjra (emigration).

Especially the shia-Muslims (most Iranians, half of the Iraqis, Persian Golf Emirates, part of Saudi Arabia, and Southern Lebanon) still hold on to this practice and what disturbs me most is that the media and especially the internet is full of hate speech regarding this matter and Islam is regularly called a “Pedophile Religion”. Opponents are using a very powerful image,  and it is working.

One of my favorite quotes is from the late  Dr. Lila Fahlman,  founder of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW):   “Man-written Hadith’s have ruined have ruined Islam. “

I am trying my very best to shake up and wake up the Muslims themselves into critical thinking ( it is our duty trying to change things we think are wrong) and at the same time trying to build bridges.

There is no other way.

Mona


Nov 29 2008

More feedback

 

Since the latest feedback from the Wahabi corner I started thinking, that maybe I am doing more harm than good. Although I still think we cannot ignore criticism and should examine our behavior and interpretation of Islam in a changed world. Today I received a heartwarming Email, that I wish to share with you:

Assalaam Alaikum!

I’ve found your blog browsing blogcatalog and it is one of the best muslim blogs I’ve found so far! I’m from Moscow, Russia and it is not easy to find information about islam because of the fact that muslim community here is divided into several ‘tribes’ by which I mean that nationality is more important for them then religion. Me and my husband are jewish but we feel that Islam is the religion that suits our views the best. Back to your blog: I wanted to comment your latest post about provocative writers and such, but unfortunatelly didn’t find a comment form so I’m writing it here.

About 2 month ago on the second day after my marriage I was arrested by police (forunatelly for 1 night only). I was placed in a waiting caged room with some illegal immigrants from muslim countries (both men and women, but mostly men). After a while a policeman came to us and started abusing islam and prophet Mohammad. One of the men replied to the policeman telling he shouldn’t say such words. After a short conversation the muslim guy shrugged his shoulders and went silent. Later on he explained that it is useless to explain smth to an ignorant person…

With best regards,

Alexandra.

 

May God, the All-mighty and Creator of all mankind show us all the right path and bring us Peace!


Aug 30 2008

Democracy and Islam

While watching World News and Mayhem on my TV screen I have long been intending to write about Democracy because the common assumption is that Islam and Democracy do not go well together.  We should not confuse tradition with religion.

In older democracies the path to this day was long and slow. Some reached it earlier, like in Britain the first step was as early as in 1215  known as the Magna Carta Other countries have followed. Although one must sometimes wonder if democracy is the best way to govern. It is always a compromise which naturally is not the best solution to problems. And voters do not always choose the best candidate simply because of lack of knowledge and experience and they can be easily manipulated.  But there is no better way available and the rights and safety of individuals must be guaranteed.

In my opinion in the Quran  we have clear instructions for the early Muslim community to practice democracy:

“O you who believe! obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those in authority from among you; then if you quarrel about anything, refer it to God and the Apostle, if you believe in God and the last day; this is better and very good in the end.” (Q. 4:59)

“And their business is (conducted) through consultation among themselves.” (Q.42:38)

“God does not love the public utterance of hurtful speech unless (it be) by one to whom injustice has been done; and God is Hearing, Knowing.” (Q.4:148)

Traditionally, before Islam matters in the pagan Arabian Bedouin communities where already handled democratically. Clan elders discussed problems, set rules and practiced justice as they are still doing it among themselves in a smaller scale, because today we have governments and state laws. Like in almost all early human communities regardless of location worldwide.

It was much later than dictators have taken over motivated mostly by power and material gain.

It is still a long way for many, but I am hopeful that matters will improve. In my opinion the key to success is education, education, education and especially that of the women. They are the ones who educate the children and their influence on the society is tremendous.

Unfortunately in many places religion have been used to segregate women from men denying them the basic human rights the Quran guarantees them! (Please read also the Topic No.6 on the right “Women and Islam”)

As I already wrote, we should not confuse religion with tradition. I am quite critical about the Hadiths. They are orally narrated reports from the time of early Muslim community and were collected as late as 250-300 years after the death of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.). Bukhari, for example, examined 600,000 traditions of which he accepted only 7,397!

I have never forgotten an experiment we did in school, I was 11 years old (the last year before changing schools). At the beginning of class the teacher gave us a sentence or perhaps it was two sentences – a short story. We whispered it to each other and by the time bell was ringing for break the teacher asked the last pupil to tell what he had heard. We could not believe what from the story had become, it was unrecognizable!

I am not asserting, that this is the case with Hadith’s, but taken in account the time which passed (200-300 years) even the best-meaning and devoted believer can err. It is human, we are not computers that can record every word forever.

In my opinion we should put less importance on the Hadith’s (put them in perstpective) and more on the Quran, which gives us clear instructions and in this particular case we understand that Islam favors Democracy!

Quoting the late Dr. Lila Fahlman Dr Lila Fahlman

 

Founding President of the World Council of Muslim Women Foundation:

“Man-written Hadith’s have ruined Islam and do not speak to human rights or to equality for men and women, but rather favour the enslavement of women.”…   “Any Muslim who finds the Qur’an difficult to understand would do best to spend his time on the Qur’an rather then on the Hadith’s, which can never surpass the Qur’an as the Hadith is man written.”

 

 


Dec 07 2007

Teach not our children the undeniable falsehood!

If You have read other topics on the right you may have noticed, that I am quite critical about the Hadiths – the reports from the early Muslim community and the years thereafter. They were collected, sorted out and written down ca. 250 years after the death of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.).

They reflect the customs and beliefs of that time and should not always be taken literally.

Science today has a more accurate picture f.e. of the universe than people had 1400 years ago. In some hadiths astronomical phenomena are explained in clearly unscientific manner, from falling stars to the moon splitting in two. People around the Prophet narrated these and for centuries they were taken literally.

Even if the Prophet did make all these statements, then they must be seen as his sincere belief what he thought was right. After all he was an ordinary man, as He himself stated on numerous occasions.

Please read also on the right panel the topic No. 8 Hadiths (reported Sayings by The Prophet) and No. 7 What the Qur’an says about… - The Creation of the Universe.

 

Cat’s Eye Nebula

 

 

“O, assembly of the jinn (spirits) and the men! If you are able to pass through regions of the heavens and the earth, then pass through; You cannot pass through but with authority”(Q.55:32-37)

(Hubble space telescope image ‘Cat’s Eye Nebula”, an exploding star, NASA Oct.31st 1999 at:http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap991031.html)

Unfortunately, very often the Hadiths take a more important role than the Quran itself in the daily life of the believers when it comes to practical decisions.

The holy Quran was revealed to the Phophet in a dream or in a dreamlike condition and Muslims believe it to be the Word of God, literally. Until today researchers have not found any scientific inaccuracy in it.

Ref. The Bible, The Quran and Science. By Maurice Bucaille

A Student to his father: Today, my science teacher brought a mobile model of our Universe with its Sun, Moon and the Planets in our class room. It was fun to watch our Earth spinning on its own axis and at the same time also around the orbit of our Sun. When our side of the Earth faces the Sun we have the Day, and the people living on the other side of the Earth have Night. This alternating Light and Darkness within a Day has been the eternal Law of the Nature. A Muslim students dialogue with his parents.


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