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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tolerance and Diversity in Islam

By: Asma Afsaruddin

In the thirteenth century, when the non-Muslim Mongols had taken possession
of Baghdad, their ruler Hulegu Khan is said to have assembled the religious
scholars in the city and posed a loaded question to them: according to their
law, which alternative is preferable, the disbelieving ruler who is just or
the Muslim ruler who is unjust? After moments of anguished reflection, one
well known scholar took the lead by signing his name to the response, "the
disbelieving ruler who is just." Others are said to have followed suit in
endorsing this answer.

Just and accountable government has long been considered essential in
Islamic political and religious thought. The Qur'an states that the
righteous "inherit the earth," righteous in this case referring to the
morally upright rather than the members of any privileged confessional
community. A righteous and just leader ruling by at least the tacit consent
of the people and liable to being deposed for unrighteous conduct remained
the ideal for most Muslims through much of the Middle Ages, even though
dynastic rule replaced limited elective rule only about thirty years after
the Prophet Muhammad's death in 632 CE. That thirty year period of
non-dynastic rule became hallowed, however, in the collective Muslim memory
as the golden era of just and legitimate leadership.

The consequences of this memory could have potentially far-reaching
repercussions for the reshaping of the Islamic world today. The Qur'anic
concept of shura refers to "consultation" among people in public affairs,
including political governance, and was practiced in particular by the
second caliph Umar during the critical thirty year period. It is a term that
resonates positively with many contemporary Muslims who wistfully recognize
the intrinsic value of this sacred concept but find it rarely applied in the
polities they inhabit today. Contrary to certain popular caricatures,
Muslims are not somehow genetically predisposed to accept tyranny and
religious absolutism. There is a healthy respect for honest, reasoned
dissensus within the Islamic tradition; this attitude finds reflection in
the saying attributed to the Prophet, "There is mercy in the differences of
my community."

With the historical insight and interpretive rigor, one can discover common
ground between the modern Western ideal of democratic pluralism and the
praxis of various pre-modern Muslim societies. Long before the first ten
amendments to the United States Constitution were formulated, medieval
Muslim jurists developed what may be called an Islamic bill of rights meant
to ensure state protection of individual life, religion, intellect,
property, and personal dignity. Non-Muslims such as Jews and Christians
(later Zoroastrians and others as well) also had specific rights in the
Muslim community. Above all, they had the right to practice their religion
upon payment of a poll-tax to the Islamic state (from which priests, other
clerics, and the poor were exempt) and were consequently freed from serving
in the military. The Qu'ran after all counsels, "There is no compulsion in
religion." Within roughly twenty years after the Prophet's death, Islam lay
claim to the former domains of Byzantine and Persian empires in Persia,
Syria-Palestine, Iraq, and Egypt.

It is important to point out that territorial expansion did not mean
forcible conversion of the conquered peoples. The populations of Egypt and
the Fertile Crescent, for example, remained largely Christian for about two
centuries after the early Islamic conquests. Individual Christians and Jews
sometimes obtained high positions in Muslim administrations throughout the
medieval period. Syriac speaking Christians were employed by their Muslim
patrons in eighth and ninth century Baghdad to translate Greek manuscripts
into Arabic; their inclusion in the intellectual life of medieval Islam
helped preserve the wisdom of the ancient world. Centuries later, Jews
fleeing from the "excesses" of the Spanish Reconquista would find refuge in
Muslim Ottoman lands and establish thriving communities there. Clearly, the
Qur'an's injunction to show tolerance towards people of other, particularly
Abrahamic, faiths was frequently heeded by those who revered it as sacred

To deny these lived realities of the Islamic past, which point to what we
would term in today's jargon a respect for pluralism and religious
diversity, is to practice a kind of intellectual violence against Islam.
Muslim extremists who insist that the Qur'an calls for relentless warfare
against non-Muslims without just cause or provocation merely to propagate
Islam and certain Western opinion makers who unthinkingly accept and report
their rhetoric as authentically Islamic are both doing history a great
disservice. Muslim extremist fringe groups with their desperate cult of
martyrdom are overreacting to current political contingencies and
disregarding any scriptural imperative. It is worthy of note that the Qur'an
does not even have a word for martyr; the word "shahid," now commonly
understood to mean "a martyr," refers only to an eyewitness or a legal
witness in Qur'anic usage. Only in later extra Qur'anic tradition, as a
result of extraneous influence, did the term "shahid" come to mean bearing
witness for the faith, particularly by laying down one's life, much like the
Greek derived English word "martyr."

*The question thus remains: if there is much in the history of Muslims that
may be understood to be consonant with the objectives of civil society, how
and why did it go awry? Zeal for political power and corruption on the part
of many ruling elites throughout history, and debilitating encounters with
Western colonialism and secular modernity in recent times are prominent
among the constellation of reasons advanced to explain this current state of

There has in fact never been a better time for collective introspection and
moral housecleaning. A contrite Christian Europe after the debacle of the
Holocaust was forced to question some of its interpretive traditions and
their moral and social consequences. After the atrocities of September 11,
the virulently militant underbelly of political Islam can and should be
eviscerated by debunking the interpretive strand that is in clear violation
of the most basic precepts of Islam, fosters the glorification of violence
and self-immolation. In its stead, reflective Muslims must engage in a
process of recovery and revalorization of genuine Islamic core values, such
as consultative government, religious tolerance, respect for pluralism and
peaceful coexistence with diverse peoples. The compatibility of these core
values with those of civil society imparts both urgency and legitimacy to
this process.

*Asma Afsaruddin is Assistant Professor of Classics at Notre Dame and a
Fellow of the Kroc Institute. Her scholarly research focuses on the early
religious and political history of Islam, Qur'an and hadith studies, and
classical and modern Arabic literature. She recently published Excellence
and Precedence: Medieval Islamic Discourse on Legitimate Leadership (Leiden:
E.J. Brill, 2002). This article is adapted from "Recovering the Core Values
of Islam," published in Muslim Democrat, vol.4, no. 1, January 2002*

Quranic Way of Life

Some of the lessons learnt from Quran that apply to our general

1. Respect and honour all human beings irrespective of their religion,
colour, race, sex, language, status, property, birth, profession/job
and so on [17/70]

2. Talk straight, to the point, without any ambiguity or deception

3. Choose best words to speak and say them in the best possible way
[17/53, 2/83]

4. Do not shout. Speak politely keeping your voice low. [31/19]

5. Always speak the truth. Shun words that are deceitful and
ostentatious [22/30]

6. Do not confound truth with falsehood [2/42]

7. Say with your mouth what is in your heart [3/167]

8. Speak in a civilised manner in a language that is recognised by the
society and is commonly used [4/5]

9. When you voice an opinion, be just, even if it is against a
relative [6/152]

10. Do not be a bragging boaster [31/18]

11. Do not talk, listen or do anything vain [23/3, 28/55]

12. Do not participate in any paltry. If you pass near a futile play,
then pass by with dignity [25/72]

13. Do not verge upon any immodesty or lewdness whether surreptitious
or overt [6/151].

14. If, unintentionally, any misconduct occurs by you, then correct
yourself expeditiously [3/134].

15. Do not be contemptuous or arrogant with people [31/18]

16. Do not walk haughtily or with conceit [17/37, 31/18]

17. Be moderate in thy pace [31/19]

18. Walk with humility and sedateness [25/63]

19. Keep your gazes lowered devoid of any lecherous leers and
salacious stares [24/30-31, 40/19].

20. If you do not have complete knowledge about anything, better keep
your mouth shut. You might think that speaking about something without
full knowledge is a trivial matter. But it might have grave
consequences [24/15-16]

21. When you hear something malicious about someone, keep a favourable
view about him/her until you attain full knowledge about the matter.
Consider others innocent until they are proven guilty with solid and
truthful evidence [24/12-13]

22. Ascertain the truth of any news, lest you smite someone in
ignorance and afterwards repent of what you did [49/6]

23. Do not follow blindly any information of which you have no direct
knowledge. (Using your faculties of perception and conception) you
must verify it for yourself. In the Court of your Lord, you will be
held accountable for your hearing, sight, and the faculty of reasoning

24. Never think that you have reached the final stage of knowledge and
nobody knows more than yourself. Remember! Above everyone endowed with
knowledge is another endowed with more knowledge [12/76]. Even the
Prophet [p.b.u.h] was asked to keep praying, "O My sustainer! Advance
me in knowledge." [20:114]

25. The believers are but a single Brotherhood. Live like members of
one family, brothers and sisters unto one another [49/10].

26. Do not make mockery of others or ridicule others [49/11]

27. Do not defame others [49/11]

28. Do not insult others by nicknames [49/11]

29. Avoid suspicion and guesswork. Suspicion and guesswork might
deplete your communal energy [49/12]

30. Spy not upon one another [49/12]

31. Do not backbite one another [49/12]

32. When you meet each other, offer good wishes and blessings for
safety. One who conveys to you a message of safety and security and
also when a courteous greeting is offered to you, meet it with a
greeting still more courteous or (at least) of equal courtesy [4/86]

33. When you enter your own home or the home of somebody else,
compliment the inmates [24/61]

34. Do not enter houses other than your own until you have sought
permission; and then greet the inmates and wish them a life of
blessing, purity and pleasure [24/27]

35. Treat kindly
" Your parents
" Relatives
" The orphans
" And those who have been left alone in the society [4/36]

36. Take care of
" The needy,
" The disabled
" Those whose hard earned income is insufficient to meet their needs
" And those whose businesses have stalled
" And those who have lost their jobs. [4/36]

37. Treat kindly
" Your related neighbours, and unrelated neighbours
" Companions by your side in public gatherings, or public
transportation. [4/36]

38. Be generous to the needy wayfarer, the homeless son of the street,
and the one who reaches you in a destitute condition [4/36]

39. Be nice to people who work under your care. [4/36]

40. Do not follow up what you have given to others to afflict them
with reminders of your generosity [2/262].

41. Do not expect a return for your good behaviour, not even thanks

42. Cooperate with one another in good deeds and do not cooperate with
others in evil and bad matters [5/2]

43. Do no try to impress people on account of self-proclaimed virtues

44. You should enjoin right conduct on others but mend your own ways
first. Actions speak louder than words. You must first practice good
deeds yourself, then preach [2/44]

45. Correct yourself and your families first [before trying to correct
others] [66/6]

46. Pardon gracefully if anyone among you who commits a bad deed out
of ignorance, and then repents and amends [6/54, 3/134]

47. Divert and sublimate your anger and potentially virulent emotions
to creative energy, and become a source of tranquillity and comfort to
people [3/134]

48. Call people to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful
exhortation. Reason with them most decently [16/125]

49. Leave to themselves those who do not give any importance to the
Divine code and have adopted and consider it as mere play and
amusement [6/70]

50. Sit not in the company of those who ridicule Divine Law unless
they engage in some other conversation [4/140]

51. Do not be jealous of those who are blessed [4/54]

52. In your collective life, make rooms for others [58/11]

53. When invited to dine, Go at the appointed time. Do not arrive too
early to wait for the preparation of meal or linger after eating to
engage in bootless babble. Such things may cause inconvenience to the
host [33/53]

54. Eat and drink [what is lawful] in moderation [7/31].

55. Do not squander your wealth senselessly [17/26]

56. Fulfil your promises and commitments [17/34]

57. Keep yourself clean, pure [9/108, 4/43, 5/6].

58. Dress-up in agreeable attire and adorn yourself with exquisite
character from inside out [7/26]

59. Seek your provision only by fair endeavour [29/17, 2/188]

60. Do not devour the wealth and property of others unjustly, nor
bribe the officials or the judges to deprive others of their
possessions [2/188]

Islam in American Prisons

By Siraj Islam Mufti

In the 1940s, the only religious services permitted in U.S. prisons were for Christianity. The only other exception was for Judaism, and a rabbi from outside the prison was provided to offer Sabbath services. The Qur'an was not allowed in prisons and if found with an inmate, was confiscated. Then in the 1960s, the famous Shabbaz vs. the State legal ruling gave Muslims their initial legal recognition.

Although once strange and feared, Islam is no longer an unknown entity within American prisons and is almost accorded the same recognition as Christianity and Judaism. Currently, there are approximately 350,000 Muslims in Federal, state and local prisons - with 30,000-40,000 being added to that number each year. These inmates mostly came into prison as non-Muslims. But, it so happens that once inside the prison a majority turns to Islam for the fulfillment of spiritual needs. Thus, finding new meaning to their lives, along with self-respect for themselves they never could have envisioned before in the streets. Islam has brought about an abrupt change in their personalities is even acknowledged by their non-Muslim overseers.

Having lost all contact with the outside world, prison inmates lead a very secluded life. This loss of contact takes its toll on them, gnawing at their psyche and leading to boredom and depression. Thus, the major cause of death within prison walls is suicide. But strangely, this isolation also works to their advantage by giving them a major asset that people in the outside world, especially in the West, do not possess. This is the asset of time, and they have plenty of it. Utilizing it, a substantial number of them turn to religion for spiritual fulfillment. More than any other religion, Islam meets this yearning. It is estimated that of those who seek faith while imprisoned, about 80% come to Islam. This fact alone is a major contributor to the phenomenal growth of Islam in the U.S.

Larry Poston (2000) observes a pattern in conversion to Islam in Western societies. It starts by disillusionment with one's original religion, followed by a long period of exploration for alternatives. The search ends in dropping other alternatives in favor of Islam. Those converting are characterized by seekership and retain a religious problem-solving perspective. Two factors stand out as most significant for those encountering Islam. First, some personal contact with a Muslim acquaintance or friend, and through this casual social association, an attraction to Islam. Second, exposure to Islamic literature of some kind - including the Qur'an - which allows for a careful and deliberate evaluation in decision making. This observation also holds true for those imprisoned. An inmate mostly studying on his own, or by his listening to another inmate and impressed by his personal example, becomes convinced by and finds guidance within Islam.

Poston states that Islam becomes a middle point in this search between Western and Eastern religions. The converts are familiar with historical descriptions in the Qur'an and are attracted by distinctive characteristics of Islam that separate it from Christianity or Judaism, such as: no clerical hierarchy or a privileged class; its egalitarianism; its comprehensivity encompassing a political, economic and social agenda for this world; and its superb rationality.

Islam is even more distinct from other Eastern religious alternatives. God, the Creator and Lord of the Universe, is One; as well as personally involved in human affairs, communicating via His Book, His Angels and His Prophets; there is a moral order and humans are answerable to God for their actions. The Islamic worldview carries a purpose and meaning. Humankind is God's representative on Earth and endowed with His trust. There will be an ending; and a final resurrection leading to a final judgement followed by a state of eternal existence.

Poston also applauds the great blessing within Islam that a convert enjoys most: a support group of international proportions. This is the universal Islamic Ummah, which surpasses all distinctions of race, color and geographic location. Thus, a convert is initiated into a worldwide network that provides him with a consistent confirmation of his decision. Such a sense of belonging is particularly valuable for an inmate who is cut off from the world.

From my personal experience as a chaplain in the U.S. Federal penal system, Islam is most impressive for prison inmates because of its simplicity, comprehensiveness, universal egalitarianism, and the brotherhood of its community. It has special appeal to those who are oppressed and are not tied to any privileged class. Thus, African Americans are historically attracted to it, and constitute the majority of inmates accepting Islam.

Also, inmates particularly appreciate Islamic practices because they are unbound by any institutional or hierarchical requirement. An inmate does not need a church authority for its confirmation; in fact, Islam is antagonistic to any concept of clerical hierarchy. Indeed, he can perform the prayers without resorting to outside attestation. One cannot but be impressed by the elegance of the five daily obligatory salat (prayers) performed in a group. As another instance, the month of Ramadan in particular, has a special significance for inmates in prison. The self-discipline and devotion it inspires impresses them. It is a time of intense spiritual activity along with abstention from food and drink. The days are spent in reading the Qur'an and reflecting on its message, interspersed by obligatory and supererogatory prayers and the evenings in special prayers ( taraweeh ) ending in nightly vigil ( tahajjud ). It serves to solidify their bonds of brotherhood. With these palpable changes, their behavior becomes exemplary.

Islam places great emphasis on the reformation of an individual within a society. Even more so, on individuals who are guilty of a crime: they should be reminded and helped in this endeavor. Reformation and rehabilitation of an inmate must start within the prison and continue when he or she leaves. Individual reformation starts with a self-purification process ( tazkia tun-nafs ) that includes cultivation of faith ( iman ) and God-consciousness ( taqwa ), combined with the righteous conduct ( aml salih ). A believer must be constantly engaged in this struggle ( jihad ) of tazkia tun-nafs with his ultimate desire being to attain the grace ( rahmah ) and pleasure ( rida ) of God.

Most inmates come into prison with a variety of addictions. An anti-addiction group called Millat Islami, wherever active, has had remarkable success among inmates. Islamic rehabilitation for addicts aims at changing his/her heart and mind by developing taqwa, thereby generating a sincere and conscientious effort to give up the addiction. Such addicts must be constantly persuaded and carefully reminded of the Islamic prohibition against intoxicants. For the weak, Islam offers the motive of tawbah (repentance) and of asking for forgiveness from the Lord and Creator who is Tawwab (Often Returning), regardless of how often one falters if they repent sincerely. For those complying with God's edict, the immediate reward is apparent psychological elation and personal fulfillment.

Unfortunately, there is a dire shortage of qualified persons who can teach Islam in an institutional setting. Because most of Islam is self-taught, an inmate's understanding is often skewed, with more emphasis placed on exterior appearances such as wearing a koofi (skullcap), and possessing a prayer rug and prayer beads.

Also, initially, because of its black nationalism aspects, African American converts to Islam were predominantly associated with the Nation of Islam started by Elijah Muhammad. Presently, most are merged into one community of believers representing the universal Ummah with one creed and belief focusing on the centrality of Allah. Internalization of Islam comes with time, study and reflection. Inmates want to learn and become better Muslims, but there is little support provided them from the outside.

There are very few Muslim chaplains in U.S. prisons. For example, of the more than 200 chaplains in the Federal Bureau of Prisons, less than a dozen are Muslim. The situation is not much different in state and local prison systems. The only possible exception is the state of New York, which has more than 40 full-time Muslim chaplains due to its large population of Muslim inmates. Contracting with local Islamic centers makes up for deficiencies in most cases. But while volunteers of other faiths flood federal, state and local prisons, regrettably few Muslims volunteer.

It is generally recognized that the rate of recidivism among Muslims is low and a majority of them are far less likely to become repeat offenders. Sadly, however, after their release only about 25% of them can pursue their Islamic practices with any regularity. This is because most of their time is taken up by employment needs and the need to deal with bills for expenses incurred by the family while the inmate was incarcerated. There is little time available to visit Islamic centers and/or meet with the community.

It is time that the Muslim community appraises itself of its obligation of dawa (Islamic outreach), and in particular of its responsibility towards the incarcerated. They must overcome the inhibitions against involvement in prisons and the fear of contact with criminals. Not only do the Muslims inside prison need help, but more importantly, so do the Muslim ex-offenders after their release. They must be supported in their journey within Islam and must be shown how to become contributing members of the Islamic community.

The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) have been bringing prison chaplains and volunteers together since 1998 in their "Islam in American Prison" conferences. These delegates deliberate on various ways of serving inmates, such as the provision of free literature within prison, helping the families of those incarcerated, building halfway houses for those released, and similar other beneficial measures. Whether American Muslims urgently respond to their recommendations for this neglected part of the community, is yet to be seen.

Siraj Islam Mufti, Ph.D. is a researcher and freelance journalist. He frequently contributes articles to the Islamic Circle of North America, Muslim American Society, and United Association for Studies and Research.

Short Temper

Anger is a tendency that comes from the Shaitan (devil). Only Allah knows how much evil and sin results from it. Hence Islam has a great deal to say about this negative characteristic and the Prophet (SAW - may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) described remedies for ridding oneself of this problem and limiting its effects. These include the following:

Seeking refuge with Allah from the Shaitan. Sulaymaan ibn Sard (ra- may Allah be pleased with him) said: “I was sitting with the Prophet (SAW), and there were two men swearing at one another. One of them was red in the face and the veins of his neck were standing out. The Prophet (SAW) said: ‘I know a word which, if only he would say it, this (anger) would leave him. If he said, “A’oothu billaahi min al-shaytaan (I seek refuge with Allah from the Shaitan),”, this [anger] would leave him.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 6/377).

He (SAW) also said:

“If a man gets angry and says ‘A’oothu billah (I seek refuge with Allah),’ his anger will cease.” (Saheeh al-Jaami’ al-Sagheer, no. 695).

Keeping quiet. The Messenger (SAW) said:

“If any one of you gets angry, let him keep quiet.” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad, al-Musnad, 1/239; ).

Anger usually makes a person lose control, often to the extent that he may utter words of kufr (disbelief) or curses, or the word of divorce (talaq) which will destroy his family, or foul language that will earn him the enmity of others. Keeping quiet is the way to avoid all of these evils.

Keeping still. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:

“If any one of you gets angry, let him sit down if he is standing. If his anger goes away, (that is good), otherwise let him lie down.”

The narrator of this hadeeth was Abu Dharr (RA), who told the following story: he was watering his animals at a trough, when some other people came along. He said, “Who among you will help Abu Dharr to water his animals and ....?” A man said, “I will,” but he broke the trough. Abu Dharr was standing, so he sat down, then he lay down. Someone asked him, “O Abu Dharr, why did you sit down then lie down?” He said, “Because the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said … [and quoted the Hadith].” (Musnad Ahmad, 5/152. ).

According to another report, Abu Dharr (RA) was watering his animals at a trough when another man made him angry, so he sat down… (Fayd al-Qadeer al-Mannaawi, 1/408).

One of the benefits of this Prophetic teaching is that it prevents the angry person from doing something crazy and out of control. An angry person could inflict harm or even kill – as we shall see shortly – or he could destroy property and so on. Sitting down makes it less likely that he will explode in this fashion, and lying down makes it even less likely that he will do something reckless or harmful. Al-‘Allaamah al-Khattaabi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in his commentary on Abu Dawood: “The one who is standing is ready to move and destroy things. The one who is sitting is less likely to do so, and the one who is lying is not able to do anything of the sort. It seems that the Prophet (SAW) commanded the angry person to sit down or lie down in order to prevent him from doing anything that he would later regret. And Allaah knows best.” (Sunan Abi Dawood wa ma’ahu ma’aalim al-sunan, 5/141)

Remembering the advice of the Messenger of Allah (SAW). Abu Hurayrah (SAW) reported that a man came to the Prophet (SAW) and said: “Advise me.” He said: “Do not become angry.” The man repeated his request several times, and each time the response was, “Do not become angry.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath al-Baari, 10/465).

According to another report, the man said, “I thought about what the Prophet (SAW) had said, and I realized that anger is the source of all evil.” (Musnad Ahmad, 5/373).

“Do not get angry, and Paradise will be yours.” (A saheeh hadeeth. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 7374. Ibn Hajar attributed it to al-Tabaraani. See al-Fath, 4/465).

Remembering what Allah (SWT) has promised to those who avoid the causes of anger and strive to control themselves is the best way to extinguish the flames of anger. The Prophet (SAW) has told us about this great reward:

“Whoever suppresses his anger at the time when he could express it openly, Allah will fill his heart with contentment on the Day of Resurrection.” (Reported by al-Tabaraani, 12/453; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 176).

Another immense reward is described in the Hadith: “Whoever suppresses his anger when he is able to vent it, Allah will call him before all the people on the Day of Resurrection and let him choose whoever of the hoor al-‘iyn (women of Paradise) he wishes.” (Reported by Abu Dawood, 4777, and others. Classed as hasan in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 6518).

Knowing the high rank and distinction that is bestowed upon the one who controls himself. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said,

“The strong man is not the one who can wrestle another to the ground; the strong man is the one who can control himself when he is angry.” (Reported by Ahmad, 2/236. The hadeeth is agreed upon).

The more angry a person gets, the more highly valued is his self-control. The Prophet (SAW) said:

“The real strong man is the one who gets intensely angry, so that his face reddens and his hair stands on end, but he suppresses his anger.” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad, 5/367; classed as hasan in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3859).

The Prophet (SAW) used an incident that took place in front of his Sahabah (his companions) as an opportunity to reinforce this lesson. Anas (RA) reported that the Prophet (SAW) passed by some people who were wrestling, and asked, “What is this?” They told him, “So-and-so is a strong man. No one challenges him but he beats them at wrestling.” The Prophet (SAW) said,

“Shall I not tell you who is stronger than him? A man who is mistreated by another, but suppresses his anger, has defeated his own shaytan (devil) and the shaytan of the one who mistreated him.” (Reported by al-Bazzaar. Ibn Hajar said that its isnaad is hasan. Al-Fath, 10/519).

Following the guidance of the Prophet (SAW) with regard to anger.

He is our example, and his attitude towards anger is clearly demonstrated in many ahaadeeth, of which one of the most famous was reported by Anas (RA), who said: “I was walking with the Messenger of Allah (SAW), and he was wearing a Najraani cloak with a stiff collar. He was accosted by a Bedouin who pulled his cloak roughly. I looked at the Prophet’s (SAW) neck and saw the marks left by the collar. The Bedouin said: ‘O Muhammad, give me some of the wealth of Allah that you have!’ The Prophet (SAW) turned to him and smiled, and ordered that he should be given something.” (Reported by al-Bazzaar. Ibn Hajar said that its isnaad is hasan).

Another way in which we may follow the example of the Prophet (SAW) is by making our anger for the sake of Allah (SWT), when the limits set by Allah (SWT) are violated. This is the worthy kind of anger. The Prophet (SAW) became angry when he was told about the imaam (religious leader) who was putting people off praying because his recitation was too long. He became angry when he saw a curtain decorated with pictures of animate creatures in ‘Aisha’s (RA) house. He became angry when Usamah (RA) spoke to him about the Makhzoomi woman who was guilty of theft, and said to him, “Are you interceding concerning one of the punishments prescribed by Allah?” He became angry when he was asked questions he disliked. His anger was only for the sake of Allah (SWT).

Knowing that suppressing anger is one of the signs of taqwa (piety).

Allah has praised certain people in His Book, and the Prophet (SAW) highly commended them. There have been prepared for them Gardens as wide as the heavens and the earth. One of their characteristics is that they

“… spend (in Allah’s Cause - deeds of charity, alms, etc.) in prosperity and in adversity, who repress anger, and who pardon men; verily, Allah loves Al-Muhsinun (the good-doers).” (Al-Imran 3:134)

These are the people whose good qualities Allaah has mentioned, people whom others admire and want to catch up with. Another of their characteristics is that

“...when they are angry, they forgive.” (Ash-Shura 42:37)

Paying attention when one is reminded.

Anger is something natural, with regard to which people differ. It may be very hard for a person not to get angry, but a sincere person, if he becomes angry and is reminded about Allah, will remember Him and will stay within the limits that He has prescribed. Some examples of this follow.

Ibn ‘Abbaas (RA) reported that a man asked permission to see ‘Umar (RA), and permission was given. The man said, “O son of al-Khattaab, by Allah, you are not giving us much, and you are not ruling us fairly!” ‘Umar (RA) became so angry that he was about to hit the man, but al-Hirr ibn Qays (who was among the people sitting with ‘Umar) said, “O Ameer al-Mu’mineen, Allah said to His Prophet (SAW):

'Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish (i.e., don’t punish them).’ (Al-A'raf 7:199),

and this man is one of the foolish.” By Allah, ‘Umar (RA) did not take the matter any further when this was recited to him. He adhered to the words of Allah (SWT) (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 8/304).

This is how the Muslim should be, not like the evil hypocrite who, when he got angry and was told about the hadeeth of the Prophet (SAW), and was advised by one of the Companions of the Prophet (SAW) to seek refuge with Allaah from the Shaytaan, said, “Do you think there is something wrong with me? Do you think I am crazy? Go away!” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 1/465).

We seek refuge with Allah (SWT) from failure. Ameen!

Knowing the bad effects of anger.

The bad effects of anger are many, harming both the self and others. A person may swear and utter obscenities, and may hit others, lashing out with no control. It may even lead to killing. The following story contains a lesson.

‘Alqamah ibn Waa’il reported that his father (may Allah be pleased with him) told him: “I was sitting with the Messenger of Allah (SAW) when a man came along, leading another by a twisted rope. He said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, this man killed my brother.’ The Messenger of Allah (SAW) asked, ‘Did you kill him?’ He said, ‘Yes, I killed him.’ He asked, ‘How did you kill him?’ He said, ‘He and I were hitting trees to make the leaves fall (so we could use them for animal fodder). He swore at me, so I got angry and hit him on the side of the head with an axe, and I killed him.’…” (Reported by Muslim in al-Saheeh, 1307).

Even if anger does not go as far as this, there may still be broken bones and injuries. If the person with whom a man is angry runs away, he may turn his anger upon himself, tearing his clothes, slapping his cheeks, falling unconscious, or breaking dishes and furniture.

One of the worst things that result from anger and cause social ills and family breakdown is talaq (divorce). Ask many of those who have divorced their wives how and when it happened, and they will tell you, “It was in a moment of anger.”

Lives are shattered and children are lost as a result. Feelings of regret and failure haunt people’s minds, and life becomes bitter – all because of anger. If only they had remembered Allah (SWT) and come back to their senses, restrained their anger and sought refuge with Allah (SWT) from the Shaitan, what happened would not have happened. Going against shari'ah only ever results in loss.

The physical harm that results from anger is very serious, as the doctors describe, such as thrombosis, high blood pressure, fatal heart attacks, diabetes, etc.

We ask Allah (SWT) for good health. Ameen!

The angry person should think about himself at the time of anger.

If the angry person could see himself in the mirror at the time of anger, he would despise himself and how he looks when his color changes, he shakes uncontrollably, his face reddens, the veins of his neck stand out and he behaves like a crazy person. He would be put off by his own appearance, but it is well known that the ugliness that exists inside a person is even worse than any that may appear on the outside. How happy the Shaitan must be when someone is in this state!

We seek refuge with Allah (SWT) from the Shaitan and from failure. Ameen!


This is the believer’s constant weapon. He asks his Lord to rid him of evils, problems and bad characteristics, and he seeks refuge with Allah (SWT) from falling into the pit of kufr and wrongdoing caused by anger, because one of the three qualities which will save a person from Hellfire is being just and fair both at times of contentment and at times of anger. (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3039). One of the du’aa’s of the Prophet (SAW) was:

“Allaahumma bi ‘ilmika’l-ghaybi wa qudratika ‘ala’l-khalqi aheeni ma ‘alimta’l-hayaata khayran li, wa tawaffani idha ‘alimta’l-wafaata khayran li. Allaahumma wa as’aluka khashyataka fi’l-ghaybi wa’l-shahaadah, wa as’aluka kalimat al-ikhlaasi fi’l-ridaa wa’l-ghadab, wa as’aluka’l-qasda fi’l-faqri wa’l-ghinaa, wa as’aluka na’eeman la yanfad, wa qurrata ‘aynin la tanqati’, wa as’aluka’l-ridaa bi’l-qadaa’, wa as’aluka bard al-‘aysh ba’d al-mawt, wa as’aluka ladhdhat al-nadhr ila wajhika wa’l-shawqa ilaa liqaa’ik, fi ghayri darraa’ mudirrah wa laa fitnati mudillah. Allaahumma zayyinnaa bi zeenati’l-eemaan wa’j’alnaa hudaatan muhtadeen"

(O Allah, by Your knowledge of the Unseen and Your power over all creation, keep me alive so long as You know life is good for me, and bring about my death when you know death is good for me. O Allah, I ask You to make me fear You in secret and in the open, I ask You to make me speak sincerely at times of contentment and at times of anger, I ask You to make me be moderate in poverty and in wealth, I ask You for a blessing that does not end, contentment that never ceases, and for acceptance of Your decree. I ask You for a good life after death, and I ask You for the joy of looking upon Your face and the longing to meet You, with no harmful adversity or misleading trial (fitnah). O Allah, adorn us with the beauty of faith, guide us and let us be a means of guidance for others).” (Reported by al-Nisaa’i in al-Sunan, 3/55; and by al-Haakim. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1301).

The Virtues of Hijab

1. An act of obedience.

The hijab is an act of obedience to Allah and to his Prophet (pbuh - peace be upon him), Allah says in the Qur'an: 'It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allâh and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allâh and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed in a plain error.' (S33:36).

Allah also said: And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like palms of hands or one eye or both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer dress like veil, gloves, head-cover, apron, etc.), and to draw their veils all over Juyubihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms, etc.)....... '(S24:31).

2. The Hijab is IFFAHT (Modesty).

Allah (subhana wa'atala) made the adherence to the hijab a manifestation for chastity and modesty. Allah says: 'O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e.screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allâh is Ever Oft­Forgiving, Most Merciful.' (S33:59).

In the above Ayaah (verse) there is an evidence that the recognition of the apparent beauty of the woman is harmful to her. When the cause of attraction ends, the restriction is removed. This is illustrated in the case of elderly women who may have lost every aspect of attraction. Allah (swt) made it permissible for them to lay aside their outer garments and expose their faces and hands reminding, however, that is still better for them to keep their modesty.

3. The hijab is Taharat (Purity)

Allah (swt) had shown us the hikmat (wisdom) behind the legislation of the hijab: `And when you ask them (the Prophet's wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen, that is purer for your hearts and their hearts.' (S33:53).

The hijab makes for greater purity for the hearts of believing men and women because it screens against the desire of the heart. Without the hijab, the heart may or may not desire. That is why the heart is more pure when the sight is blocked (by hijab) and thus the prevention of fitna (evil actions is very much manifested. The hijab cuts off the ill thoughts and the greed of the sick hearts:

`Be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease (of hypocrisy or evil desire for adultery, etc) should be moved with desire, but speak in an honorable manner.' (S33:32)

4. The hijab is a Sitr (Shield)

The prophet (pbuh) said: "Allah, Most High, is Heaven, is Ha'yeii (Bashful), Sit'teer (Shielder). He loves Haya' (Bashfulness) and Sitr (Shielding; Covering)." The Prophet (pbuh) also said: "Any woman who takes off her clothes in other than her husband's house (to show off for unlawful purposes), has broken Allah's shield upon her. "The hadith demonstrates that depending upon the kind of action committed there will be either reward (if good) or punishment (if bad).

5. The hijab is Taqwah (Righteousness)

Allah (swt) says in the Qur'an: `O children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover yourselves (screen your private parts, etc) and as an adornment. But the raiment of righteousness, that is better.'(S7:26). The widespread forms of dresses in the world today are mostly for show off and hardly taken as a cover and shield of the woman's body. To the believing women, however the purpose is to safeguard their bodies and cover their private parts as a manifestation of the order of Allah. It is an act of Taqwah (righteousness).

6. The hijab is Eemaan (Belief or Faith)

Allah (swt) did not address His words about the hijab except to the believing women, Al-Mo'minat. In many cases in the Qur'an Allah refers to the "the believing women". Aisha (RA), the wife of the prophet (pbuh), addressed some women from the tribe of Banu Tameem who came to visit her and had light clothes on them, they were improperly dressed: "If indeed you are believing women, then truly this is not the dress of the believing women, and if you are not believing women, then enjoy it."

7. The hijab is Haya' (Bashfulness)

There are two authentic hadith which state: "Each religion has a morality and the morality of Islam is haya'" AND "Bashfulness is from belief, and belief is in Al-Jannah (paradise)". The hijab fits the natural bashfulness which is a part of the nature of women.

8. The hijab is Gheerah

The hijab fits the natural feeling of Gheerah, which is intrinsic in the straight man who does not like people to look at his wife or daughters. Gheerah is a driving emotion that drives the straight man to safeguard women who are related to him from strangers. The straight MUSLIM man has Gheerah for ALL MUSLIM women In response to lust and desire, men look (with desire) at other women while they do not mind that other men do the same to their wives or daughters. The mixing of sexes and absence of hijab destroys the Gheera in men. Islam considers Gheerah an integral part of faith. The dignity of the wife or daughter or any other Muslim woman must be highly respected and defended.

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How to Perform the Rituals of Hajj and Umrah...

In The Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

How to Perform the Rituals of Hajj and Umrah


Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Universe. May peace and blessings be upon
Muhammad, the last of the prophets and messengers, and upon his family and
esteemed companions. Hajj is one of the best forms of worship and is one of
the most sublime deeds because it is one of the pillars of Islam that Allah
sent Muhammad--may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him--with. A
servant's religion is incomplete without it. A form of worship is only
acceptable when the following is true.

. One devotes it to Allah alone, with a desire for the Hereafter. It cannot
be done with the intention of being seen among people or for worldly gain.

. One follows the Prophet's example, in words and deeds. This cannot be
accomplished except by gaining knowledge of the Sunnah.

Forms of Pilgrimage

There are three forms of Hajj: Tamattu'- Ifraad - Qiran

Tamattu': A pilgrim wears Ihram for Umrah only during the months of Hajj,
which means when a pilgrim reaches Makkah, he/she makes Tawaf and Sa'yi for
Umrah. Then shaves or clips the hair. On the day of Tarwiya, which is the
eighth of Dhul-Hijja, a pilgrim puts on his Ihram for Hajj only and carries
out all of its requirements.


A pilgrim wears Ihram for Hajj only. When he reaches Makkah, he performs
Tawaf for his arrival and Sa'yi for Hajj. He doesn't shave or clip- his hair
as he doesn't disengage from Ihram. Instead, he remains in Ihram till after
he stones Jamrah Al-Aqaba on the Eid day. It is permissible for him to
postpone his Sa'yi for Hajj until after his Tawaf for Hajj.


A pilgrim wears Ihram for both Umrah and Hajj or he wears Ihram first for
Umrah, then makes intentions for Hajj before his Tawaf for Hajj. The
obligations on one performing Ifraad are the same as those on one performing
Qiran, except that the latter must slaughter whereas the former is not
obligated to do so. The best of the three forms is Tamattu'. It is the form
that the prophet-may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him encouraged
his followers to perform.

Even if a pilgrim makes intentions to perform Qiran or Ifraad he is allowed
to change his intentions to Tamattu'; he can do this even after he has
performed Tawaf and Sa'yi.

When the Prophet -- may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon
him--performed Tawaf and Sa'yi during the year of the Farewell Hajj with his
companions, he ordered all those who hadn't brought sacrificial animals to
change their intentions for Hajj to intentions for Umrah. cut their hair,
and disengage from Ihram till Hajj. He said, " If I hadn't brought the
sacrificial animal, I'd have done what I've ordered you to do."

The Umrah

If a pilgrim wishes to be ritually pure for Umrah, he should shed his
clothing and bathe as he would after sexual defilement, if convenient. He
should perfume his head and beard with the best oil he can find. There is no
harm in what remains of it after Ihram.

Bathing for Ihram is Sunnah for both men and women, including menstruating
women and those experiencing postnatal bleeding. After bathing and preparing
himself, a. pilgrim, other than those menstruating or experiencing post-
natal bleeding, prays the obligatory prayer, if it is time.

Otherwise, he makes his intention by praying the two Sunnah Rakass which are
made each time Wudhu is performed.

When he finishes his prayer he should say: "Here I am for Umrah--here I am,
Oh Allah, here I am. Here I am. You have no partner.

Here I am. Surely all praise, grace and dominion is yours, and you have no
partner." [Talbeeyah]. A man raises his voice when saying this and a woman
says it so that only one beside her may hear her. One in Ihram should say
the Talbeeyah as often as possible, especially when times and places change.
For example: when descending or ascending during travel or when day or night
approach. He should also ask Allah for His pleasure, for Heaven and seek
refuge in Allah's mercy from Hellfire.

One should say the Talbeeyah during Umrah, starting from the time he puts on
his Ihram till he starts Tawaf. During Hajj he should say it starting from
the time he puts on his Ihram till he starts to stone Jamrah Al- Aqaba on
the Eid day.

When a pilgrim enters the Holy Mosque he puts forth his right foot first and
says: "In the name of Allah, may peace and blessings be upon the Messenger
of Allah. Oh Allah, forgive me my sins and open to me the doors of Your
mercy. I seek refuge in Allah the Almighty and in His Eminent Face and in
His Eternal Dominion from the accursed Satan." He approaches the Black
Stone, touches it with his right hand and kisses it. If this isn't possible,
he should face the Black Stone and point to it. It is best not to push and
shove, causing harm and being harmed by other people.

When touching the Stone, a pilgrim should say the following: "In the name of
Allah, Allah is the greatest. Oh, Allah, with faith in you, belief in Your
book, loyalty to you, compliance to the way of your Prophet Muhammad--may
the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him."

A pilgrim must walk, keeping the Ka'bah on his left. When he reaches the
Rukn Al Yamani he should touch, but not kiss it, and say: " Our Lord, grant
us good in this life and good in the hereafter and save us from the
punishment of the Hell-fire. Oh Allah, I beg of You for forgiveness and
health in this life and in the hereafter." Each time he passes the Black
Stone he should say: "Allah is the Greatest."

During the remainder of his Tawaf he may say what he pleases of
supplications, mentioning Allah, and recitation of Quran. This is because
Tawaf, Sa'yi, and Stoning the Jamrah have been devised for the purpose of
mentioning Allah. During this Tawaf it is necessary for a man to do two

. Al-ldhtebaa' from the beginning of Tawaf until the end. Al-ldhtebaa' means
placing the middle of one's Reda' under his right arm and the ends of it
over his left shoulder. When he is finished performing Tawaf, he may return
his Reda' to its original state because the time for Idhtebaa' is only
during Tawaf.

. Al-Raml during the first three circuits. Al-Raml means speeding up one's
pace with small steps. A pilgrim should walk at a normal pace during his
last four circuits. When he completes seven circuits of Tawaf, he approaches
Maqam Ibrahim and recites: "And take ye the station of Abraham as a place of
Prayer" Chapter 2, Verse 125 [2:125].

He prays two short Rakaas, as close as conveniently possible, behind Maqam
Ibrahim. During the first Rakaa he recites Surah Al-Kafirun [Chapter 109]
and during the second one Surah Al- lkhlas[Chapter 112].

When he completes the two Rakaas he should return to the Black Stone and
touch it, if convenient. He goes out to the Mesa'a and when he nears
As-Safaa he recites: " Verily As- Safaa and Al-Marwah are among the shrines
of Allah" [2:158].

He ascends As-Safaa until he is able to see the Ka'bah. Facing the Ka'bah
and raising his hands, he praises Allah and makes any supplications he
chooses. The Prophet--may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon
him--prayed thus: "There is no Deity but Allah alone," three times,
supplicating in between.

He descends As-Safaa and heads for Al- Marwah at a normal pace until he
reaches the green marker. He should then run fast until the next green
marker. He continues toward Al- Marwah at a normal pace. When he reaches it,
he ascends it, faces the Qibla, raises his hands and repeats what he said on
As-Safaa. He descends Al-Marwah heading towards As-Safaa, taking care to
walk where walking is designated, and run where running is designated.

He continues this procedure until he completes seven laps. Going from
As-Safaa to Al-Marwah is a lap and returning is another lap. During his
Sa'yi he may recite what he wills of supplications, recitation of Qur'an,
and mentioning Allah.

In completion of Sa'yi he shaves his head. A woman clips her hair the length
of a finger tip. Shaving is preferable, except when Hajj is near and there
isn't sufficient time for hair to grow back. In this case it's best to clip
so that hair will remain for shaving during Hajj. With that, Umrah is
completed. and a pilgrim is free to dress in other clothing, wear perfume
and engage in marital relations, etc.

The Hajj

In the forenoon of the eighth day of Dhul-Hijja, a pilgrim purifies himself
once again by bathing as he did before Umrah in the place in which he is
staying, if convenient. He puts on his Ihram and says: " Here I am for Hajj.
Here I am, oh Allah, here I am. Here I am. You have no partner. Here I am.
Surely all praise, grace and dominion is yours, and you have no partners."

If he fears that something will prevent him from completing his Hajj he
should make a condition when he makes his intentions, saying: " If I am
prevented by any obstacle my place is wherever I am held up." If he has no
such fear, he doesn't make this condition.

A pilgrim goes to Mina and there prays Dhuhr, Asr, Magrib, Isha and Fajr,
shortening his four unit prayers so as to make them two units each, without
combining them.

When the sun rises, he goes to Arafah and there prays Dhuhr and Asr combined
at the time of Dhuhr, making each one two units. He remains in Namira Mosque
until sunset if possible. He remembers Allah and makes as many supplications
as possible while facing the Qibla.

The Prophet--may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him--prayed thus:
"There is no Deity but Allah alone. He has no partner. All dominion and
praise are His and He is powerful over all things.If he grows weary it is
permissible for him to engage in beneficial conversation with his companions
or reading what he can find of beneficial books, especially those concerning
Allah's grace and abundant gifts. This will strengthen his hope in Allah. He
should then return to his supplications and be sure to spend the end of the
day deep in supplication because the best of supplication is the
supplication of the day of Arafah.

At sunset he goes from Arafah to Muzdalifah and there prays Magrib, Isha,
and Fajr. If he is tired or has little water, it is permissible for him to
combine Magrib and Isha. If he fears that he will not reach Muzdalifah until
after midnight, he should pray before he reaches it for it is not
permissible to delay prayer until after midnight. He remains there, in
Muzdalifah, making supplications and remembering Allah till just before

If he is weak and cannot handle the crowd during Ar-Ramy, it is permissible
for him to go to Mina at the end of the night to stone the Jamrah before the
arrival of the crowd. Near sunrise, a pilgrim goes from Muzdalifah to Mina.
Upon reaching it he does the following:

. He throws seven consecutive pebbles at Jamrah Al-Aqaba which is the
closest monument to Makkah, saying Greatest," as he : "Allah is the throws
each pebble.

. He slaughters the sacrificial animal, eats some of it, and gives some to
the poor. Slaughter is obligatory on the Mutamati and Qiran.

. He shaves or clips his hair; shaving is preferable. A woman clips her hair
the length of a finger-tip.

These three should be done in the above order if convenient, but there is no
restriction if one precedes another.

With that, one is allowed to come out of Ihram. He can wear other clothing
and do everything that was lawful before Ihram except engaging in marital
relations. He goes to Makkah to perform Tawaf Al-lfadha and Sa'yi, also for
Hajj. It is Sunnah to put perfume on before going to Makkah.

With the completion of this Tawaf and Sa'yi, a pilgrim is allowed to do
everything that was lawful before Ihram, including engaging in marital
relations. After performing Tawaf and Sa'yi, he returns to Mina to spend the
nights of the eleventh and twelfth days there.

He stones the three Jamrah in the afternoon of both the eleventh and twelfth
days. He starts with the first Jamrah, which is furthest from Makkah, then
the middle one, and lastly Jamrah Al-Aqaba. Each one should be stoned with
seven consecutive pebbles accompanied by Takbeer. He stops after the first
and middle Jamrah to make supplications facing the Qibla. It is not
permissible to stone before noon on these two days. It is best to walk to
the Jamrah, but riding is permissible.

If he is in a hurry after stoning on the twelfth day, he leaves Mina before
sunset. But if he wishes to prolong his stay, which is best, he spends the
night of the thirteenth in Mina and stones that afternoon in the same manner
as on the twelfth day.

When he is ready to return to his country, he makes Tawaf Al-Wadaa, which is
seven circuits around the Ka'bah. Menstruating women and women experiencing
postnatal discharge are not obligated to perform Tawaf Al -Wadaa.

Visiting The Prophet's Mosque - Not related to Hajj & Umrah :

1. A pilgrim goes to Madina before or after Hajj with the intention of
visiting the Prophet's mosque and praying in it. Prayer there is better than
a thousand prayers elsewhere except in the Holy Mosque in Makkah.

2. Upon reaching the mosque he prays two Rakaas of salutation.

Note: "Ziyaarath" to grave of Prophet Muhammed (sal) is not a mandatory one.
Hajj & Umrah both are do not have any connection with "Ziyaarath". Due to
ignorance & misbelieve, many pilgrims thinks that this is a part of hajj


The following is incumbent upon the Muhrim for Hajj or Umrah:

1. That he be committed to Allah's religious obligations upon him such as
prayer in its time (in congregation for men).

2. That he avoids what Allah has prohibited such as obscenity, inequity, and
disobedience. if anyone undertakes Hajj therein. Let there be no obscenity,
nor wickedness, nor wrangling during Hajj ~ [2:197].

3. That he avoids harming the Muslims with words or actions within the
Masha'ir or elsewhere.

4. That he avoids all of the restrictions of Ihram:

a. He shouldn't cause the loss of any of his hair or nails. A prick by a
thorn and the like is unobjectionable, even if there is bleeding.

b. He shouldn't perfume himself, his clothing, his food or his drink after
entering Ihram. He should also abstain from cleansing himself with scented
soap. There is no harm in what remains of the effect of perfume used prior
to Ihram.

c. He shouldn't touch, kiss, etc. his spouse out of passion and, even worse,
shouldn't have sexual intercourse.

d. He shouldn't be wed or propose to a woman for himself or others.

e. He shouldn't wear gloves, although there is no harm in wrapping the hands
in cloth. This ruling goes for both men and women.

The following pertains specifically to men:

a. He cannot cover his head with something that touches it, although there
is no harm in the use of an umbrella, the roof of a car or tent for shade.
There is also no harm in carrying his baggage atop his head.

b. He cannot wear a shirt, turban, hooded cloak trousers, or shoes. Only if
he is unable to obtain an Ezar or sandals can he wear trousers or shoes.

c. He cannot wear anything with the same qualities of the above mentioned
such as an Abea', Qubaa, hat, undershirt, etc. It is permissible for him to
wear sandals, rings, glasses, a hearing aid. a watch, worn on his wrist or
hung from his neck, or a speech aid. It is permissible for him to cleanse
himself with unscented cleansers and to wash and scratch his head and body,
even if some of his hair falls unintentionally. In such a case there is no
obligation on him because of it.

Allah is the giver of success. May His blessings be upon our Prophet
Muhammad and all of his family and companions.

Allah Almighty knows best

Courtesy:Shaikh Muhammad As-Salih Al-Uthaimeen.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Even the Animal's want to get away from the Israelie's

Ziggy the cat's 17-day journey from Israel to UK

LONDON (Reuters) - Ziggy the cat used up at least one of his nine lives after surviving for 17 days without food on a 2,300 mile voyage that took him from northern Israel to England.

The skinny white cat named after Ziggy Stardust -- the character created by David Bowie in the 1970s, because like the rock star he has one green and one blue eye -- made his epic trip as a stowaway in a 40-foot container.

His journey began when he wandered into a consignment of plastic goods which were then sealed in Afula in Israel and shipped from Haifa on October 31.

It ended when he emerged, exhausted, starving and dehydrated, at a warehouse in Whitworth in Lancashire on Friday.

"When the container was finally opened, staff unloading it got a real surprise when this fluffy white cat shot out," said Colin Barton, the local authority's animal health officer who helped capture Ziggy.

"I think he had probably used up some of his nine lives."

The cat had not only survived but was able to resist capture for five hours.

"I think he was scared to death," said James Ratcliff, of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). "He'd travelled all that way and got to a strange country and ran for his life."

Ziggy's background or owners remain a mystery as he had no collar or microchip, but the RSCPA believe he is someone's pet because he is so friendly. He will now stay in quarantine in Britain for six months as a precaution against rabies.

Grandmother Blows Herself Up in Gaza

64-Year-Old Grandmother Blows Herself Up Near Israeli Troops in Gaza


JEBALIYA, Gaza Strip Nov 23, 2006 (AP)— A 64-year-old Palestinian grandmother blew herself up near Israeli troops sweeping through northern Gaza on Thursday, and eight other Palestinians were killed in a day of clashes and rocket fire.

The militant Hamas, which is in charge of the Palestinian government, claimed responsibility for the suicide attack and identified the bomber as Fatma Omar An-Najar. Her relatives said she was 64 by far the oldest of the more than 100 Palestinian suicide bombers who have targeted Israelis over the past six years.

Israeli forces were moving through the Jebaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza on the second day of an operation to stem rocket fire from the coastal strip into southern Israel. They spotted a woman acting suspiciously, the military said. Soldiers threw a stun grenade, a weapon that makes a loud nose but causes no damage. The woman then set off explosives she was carrying, killing herself and slightly wounding two soldiers.

At the compound where her extended family lives near Jebaliya camp, her oldest daughter Fatheya explained the bomber's motives.

"They (Israelis) destroyed her house, they killed her grandson my son. Another grandson is in a wheelchair with an amputated leg," she said.

Female suicide bombers were a rarity during the first several years of the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but that has gradually changed. The last suicide bombing, on Nov. 6, was also carried out by a woman in northern Gaza.

But the past few weeks have seen an increase in militant activity by women in Gaza who have served as "human shields" defending the homes of militants that Israel has threatened to destroy.

Fatheya said she and her mother had taken part in rally at a Gaza mosque three weeks ago where women defied a cordon of heavily armed Israeli troops to create a diversion for besieged Hamas fighters to slip away.

"She and I, we went to the mosque. We were looking for martyrdom," the daughter said.

Hamas spokesman Abu Obeideh said both Palestinian men and women are committed to battling the Israelis.

"We told the Zionist enemy we will meet it with many surprises … and this is one of the surprises," he said.

Before setting out on her mission, An-Najar filmed the video testament customary for suicide bombers. A copy obtained by The Associated Press showed a petite woman wearing a white headscarf and black dress, toting an assault rifle on her shoulder and standing in front of a Hamas wall mural.

Reading from a sheet of paper, she dedicated her attack to the Hamas-led government and to the movement's military commander, Mohammed Deif.

"I hope God accepts it," she said.

Eight other Palestinians were killed Thursday. In Gaza, three militants from the Palestinian Resistance Committees were killed in an Israeli airstrike on their car, Palestinian security and hospital officials said. The military confirmed the air force had attacked a vehicle.

The Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades said one of its men, a 20-year-old, was killed in a clash.

Two Hamas militants were killed in a gun battle with Israeli forces, and another was shot dead as he was about to fire a rocket at Israel, the military said. Another man died of wounds in a Gaza hospital. It was not known whether he was a militant or a civilian.

Despite the stepped up Israeli military operations, militants kept firing their homemade rockets at southern Israel. Five were fired from Gaza, the army said. No one was hurt.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas denounced the Israeli raids, using terms like massacre and barbaric, but blamed the rocket squads for setting it off.

"There is no need for these rockets, because the action of these rockets will not reach the level of the Israeli reaction," he told his Fatah Party late Thursday.

Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz was in Sderot, next to northern Gaza, where he lives, when the alarm warning of a rocket attack sounded. Channel 10 TV showed him being hustled by security officers into a concrete-lined room, and seconds later the explosion of two rockets could be heard clearly.

The escalating violence added urgency to diplomatic efforts to defuse the conflict.

In one hopeful sign, the Damascus-based supreme leader of Hamas, Khaled Mashaal, began talks with Egyptian mediators in Cairo on a vital prisoner swap with Israel and formation of a Palestinian national unity government that could end months of crippling Western aid sanctions.

No announcement was made after the talks between Mashaal and the chief of Egyptian intelligence, Omar Suleiman, Egypt's point man for the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

The capture in late June of an Israeli soldier by Hamas-linked militants set off the latest Israeli offensive in Gaza. Israel insists the soldier must be returned before other issues are discussed.

Hamas official Mussa Abu Marzouk told the AP that negotiations were centering on Israel's three-stage release of 1,400 Palestinian prisoners, including 400 children and women, in exchange for the soldier.

Mashaal, who is recognized as having the final say in Hamas, was also expected to discuss prospects for replacing the current Hamas-led Palestinian Cabinet with a more moderate coalition including Abbas' more moderate Fatah Party. Talks have been sputtering for months.

Abbas told his party Thursday that before a government is formed, a cease-fire must be in place, the Israeli soldier must be freed and dozens of Palestinian members of parliament and Cabinet ministers held by Israel must be released.

The West cut off funds to the Palestinian government in March, when Hamas took control after sweeping Fatah out of office in a parliamentary election. The U.S., Europe and Israel list Hamas as a terror group. A government with Fatah might satisfy Western demands.

Israel kills 2 Palestinians in Gaza: medics

By Nidal al-Mughrabi

GAZA (Reuters) - Israeli forces shot dead a 10-year-old Palestinian boy and a militant in Gaza on Friday, hospital officials said as the government vowed it would only end its assault when militants stopped attacking Israel.

The latest Israeli ground and air offensive, about a week old, is part of ongoing efforts to stop Gaza militants from firing rockets at Israel. Two Israeli soldiers were slightly wounded in the northern Gaza Strip when gunmen detonated an explosive device near troops, the army said.

"If the Palestinian terror factions, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, stop terror activities from the Gaza Strip, Israel would have no reason or incentive to operate in Gaza," said government spokeswoman, Miri Eisin.

Palestinian factions in Gaza late on Thursday had offered to stop firing rockets if Israel halted military action in Gaza and the occupied West Bank. Israel rejected the offer.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told reporters it was up to Israel to respond positively.

"The issue should not be seen as if there is a Palestinian army with an arsenal of rockets ... The issue is that there is an unarmed Palestinian people who are subject to Israeli aggression," he said.

Palestinian hospital officials said the boy was shot dead east of the town of Beit Lahiya. Israel's army said it was not aware of the incident. Hamas said the other dead Palestinian was a militant and cameraman from the faction's armed wing who filmed Hamas fighters in action.

Israel has killed nearly 400 Palestinians in Gaza, about half of them civilians, since it began its offensive in June following the abduction of an Israeli soldier in a cross-border raid, hospital officials and residents say.

Three Israeli soldiers have been killed.


The fresh fighting coincides with a visit to Gaza by President Mahmoud Abbas of the once-dominant Fatah faction, who has been meeting Haniyeh to try to revive talks on forging a unity government.

Haniyeh is a member of the Hamas movement, which ousted Fatah in elections earlier this year and has resisted international pressure to renounce violence and recognize the state of Israel.

Hamas accused Abbas on Friday of imposing what it called unacceptable conditions for a unity cabinet, including the release of a captured Israeli soldier and a halt to attacks on Israel.

Palestinians hope a unity government will convince Western nations to renew aid to the Palestinian Authority after sanctions were imposed because of Hamas's refusal to recognize Israel and renounce violence.

"Mr. Abu Mazen (Abbas) has started putting new conditions which were not included in the understandings and agreements we have concluded to form a unity government," said a Hamas statement from Damascus, where many of its leaders live in exile.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior Abbas aide, said Hamas had "invented" the idea the president was imposing new terms, saying they had been on the table for months.

"This is the latest trick by the Hamas leadership to portray itself to the public as not being responsible for the destruction of the internal Palestinian situation," he said.

Haniyeh was more upbeat, saying the "true intention" of the talks was to reach an agreement.

(Additional reporting by Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem, Mohammed Assadi in Ramallah and Khaled Yacoub Oweis in Damascus)

Russia sends missiles to Iran

MOSCOW, Russia (AP) -- Russia has begun delivery of Tor-M1 air defense missile systems to Iran, a Defense Ministry official said Friday, confirming that Moscow would proceed with arms deals with Tehran in spite of U.S. criticism.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue, declined to specify when the deliveries had been made and how many systems had been delivered.

Ministry officials have previously said Moscow would supply 29 of the sophisticated missile systems to Iran under a $700 million (565 million euros) contract, according to Russian media reports.

The United States called on all countries last spring to stop all arms exports to Iran, as well as ending all nuclear cooperation with it to put pressure on Tehran to halt uranium enrichment activities.

Tehran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but the United States and its allies suspect Iran is trying to develop weapons.

The U.N. Security Council, where Russia is a veto-wielding permanent member, is currently stalemated on the severity of sanctions on Iran for defying its demand to cease uranium enrichment.

Which? slams junk food firms

Read the Which? report

Mark Sweney
Friday November 24, 2006


Consumer group Which? has launched a scathing attack on the "underhand" marketing tactics used by junk food advertisers, less than a week after Ofcom announced tough restrictions on TV advertising targeting children.
The controversial report, called Food Fables: Exploding Industry Myths on Responsible Food Marketing to Kids, attacks the tactics used by 12 companies including McDonald's, Burger King, Coca-Cola, Cadbury, Kellogg's, KFC and PepsiCo.

The report highlights a wide range of marketing tactics used by these companies, including viral marketing by Coco Pops, Burger King's film tie-ins with Garfield and Spongebob Squarepants, and Cadbury's educational resource packs for schools that encourage a trip to Cadbury World to "find out how Cadbury makes its delicious chocolate bars".

Also criticised are KFC's sponsorship of Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway on ITV1 and McDonald's for its internet tactics, including sponsoring the MSN Messenger service.

However, the research by Which? has been heavily criticised by industry bodies such as the Food and Drink Federation and the Food Advertising Unit of the Advertising Association, who argue that the attack is completely "unconstructive".

Julian Hunt, the director of communications at the FDF, said: "It's disappointing that rather than work in this spirit of cooperation and partnership, Which? has decided to generate cheap headlines which don't really help to take the debate forward.

Sue Eustace, the director of public affairs at the FAU, said: "The issue of obesity is extremely important and the industry remains committed to playing its part.

"However, the solution requires a partnership approach rather than continuous counter-productive battles in the media."

PepsiCo and KFC were incensed by the report.

A PepsiCo spokesman said: "This report does not accurately reflect PepsiCo's position in a number of ways, principally the fact that PepsiCo does not advertise directly to children under the age of 12.

"Pepsi has signed a self-regulatory code across Europe to this effect, an initiative which was recently welcomed and supported by the European commission." The spokesman also claimed the report contained errors, and that some of the products mentioned in the report as PepsiCo brands did not belong to the company, such as Sugar Puffs and Tango.

He said that Pepsi only promotes its no-sugar brand Pepsi Max in the UK, and that all Pepsi online activity and competitions require the individual to be over 16 years of age. A KFC spokesman said: "KFC GB recently took the decision to end all children's toy promotions, and further to that has not targeted children with its advertising since 2004.

"The Which? report misrepresents KFC's policies and includes factual inaccuracies. For example, KFC has not sponsored Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway since Christmas 2005 and has no plans to do so in the future."

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Have you ever thought you did not exist before

Have you ever thought about the fact that you did not exist
before you were conceived and then born into the world and that
you have come into existence from mere nothingness?

Have you ever thought about how the flowers you see in your
living room everyday come out of pitch black, muddy soil with
fragrant smells and are as colourful as they are?

Have you ever thought about how mosquitoes, which irritatingly
fly around you, move their wings so fast that we are unable to
see them?

Have you ever thought about how the peels of fruits such as
bananas, watermelons, melons and oranges serve as wrappings of
high quality, and how the fruits are packed in these wrappings so
that they maintain their taste and fragrance?

Have you ever thought about the possibility that while you are
asleep a sudden earthquake could raze your home, your office, and
your city to the ground and that in a few seconds you could lose
everything of the world you possess?

Have you ever thought of how your life passes away very quickly,
and that you will grow old and become weak, and slowly lose your
beauty, health and strength?

Have you ever thought about how one day you will find the angels
of death appointed by Allah (God Almightly) before you and that
you will then leave this world?

Well, have you ever thought about why people are so attached to a
world from which they will soon depart when what they basically
need is to strive for the hereafter?

Man is a being whom Allah furnishes with the faculty of thought.
Yet, most people do not use this very important faculty as they
should. In fact, some people almost never think.

In truth, each person possesses a capacity for thought of which
even he himself is unaware. Once man begins to use this capacity,
facts he has not been able to realise until that very moment
begin to be uncovered for him. The deeper he goes in reflection,
the more his capacity to think improves, and this is possible for
everyone. One just has to realise that one needs to reflect and
then to strive hard.

Someone who does not think will remain totally distant from
truths and lead his life in self-deception and error. As a
result, he will not grasp the purpose of the creation of the
world, and the reason for his existence on the earth. Yet, Allah
has created everything with a purpose. This fact is stated in the
Qur'an as follows:

We did not create the heavens and the earth and everything
between them as a game. We did not create them except with truth
but most of them do not know it. (Surat ad-Dukhan: 38-39)

Did you suppose that We created you for amusement and that you
would not return to Us? (Surat al-Muminun: 115)

Therefore, each person needs to ponder the purpose of creation,
first as it concerns him himself, and then as it pertains to
everything he sees in the universe and every event he experiences
throughout his life. Someone who does not think, will understand
the facts only after he dies, when he gives account before Allah,
but then it will be too late. Allah says in the Qur'an that on
the day of account, everybody will think and see the truth:

That day Hell is produced, that day man will remember; but how
will the remembrance help him?

He will say, "Oh! If only I had prepared in advance for this life
of mine!" (Surat al-Fajr: 23-24)

While Allah has given us a chance in the life of this world to
reflect and derive conclusions from our reflections, to see the
truth will bring us great gain in our life in the hereafter. For
this reason, Allah has summoned all people, through His prophets
and books, to reflect on their creation and on the creation of
the universe:

Have they not reflected within themselves? Allah did not create
the heavens and the earth and everything between them except with
truth and for a fixed term. Yet many people reject the meeting
with their Lord. (Surat ar-Rum: 8)

Islamic Legal Analysis by Karamah




The zina and rape laws of Pakistan are the subject of heated debate both inside and outside the Muslim world. Opponents of the Shari’a law have found in the subject an ideal opportunity to attack Islamic law as patriarchal and unjust to women. Some have even argued that Shari’a law, in its entirety, should be abolished. On the other hand, many serious Muslim scholars and activists are themselves troubled by these Pakistani laws regarding zina and rape. They view them as incompatible with basic Qur’anic principles and the prophetic tradition.

After serious study, we at KARAMAH have concluded that the Pakistani laws of zina and rape as they currently stand, are incompatible with Islamic law. In reaching this conclusion, we have relied first on the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet, then on the works of such major scholars as the great Imam Abu Hanifah, whose school of thought provides the foundation of Pakistani law. We also relied on the works of Imam Malik, Imam al-Shafi’i, Ibn Hazm, and others, as the rest of this position paper will make clear.

Furthermore, it is our deep belief that the practice and application of Islamic law must be accomplished within its intrinsic objectives and intentions. Indeed, hudood2 are to be perceived as part of a comprehensive system of social and moral values that works in harmony to build a healthy society and protect it, not only as punishment for wrongdoers and criminals. The hadd of zina, as it is currently understood and applied in Pakistan , is a flagrant example of how the misconception of the spirit and goals of the Shari’a can lead to injustice and discrimination, the opposite of the Islamic ideal of ‘adalah (balance, justice, harmony).

For this reason, we shall examine in this paper the zina and rape laws of Pakistan from an Islamic legal perspective, which keeps in mind the core Islamic principle of ‘adalah. Our purpose is to highlight the difference between the act of zina, which involves two consenting adults, and the act of rape, which is an aggressive coercive act that destroys altogether any possibility of consent. This is not only an important factual distinction, but Islamically an important jurisprudential one as well that some modern Muslim scholars have unfortunately failed to recognize.

We shall commence our discussion by carefully studying the applicable passages from Holy Qur’an and the sunnah of the Holy Prophet on this important subject. We shall then turn to the Hanafi School ’s jurisprudential contribution to this topic because of the school’s special significance to Pakistani law. However, we shall later take into account opinions from other jurisprudential schools, especially the Maliki School , as it seems to us that the Maliki position on zina and rape has influenced the Pakistani legislation related to the matter.

Zina In Islamic Law: Definition, Requirements For Proof of Zina And Punishment:

The Zina Ordinance, as defined by the statutory criminal law of Pakistan , deals with fornication, adultery and rape and provides evidentiary requirements and punishments for them, treating them as related offences. It specifies the punishments of stoning to death or public flogging for both offenses if certain evidentiary requirements are fulfilled.

However, by looking at the Pakistani legislation, it appears that the legal definition of zina blurs the distinction between zina and rape. For the purpose of the ordinance, both acts of zina and zina-bi’l-jabr (forced illicit sexual relations, i.e., rape) are defined as “sexual intercourse without being validly married.” Clearly, the only difference between the two acts (and it is a major difference) is that rape occurs without consent. This difference has major legal implications. Indeed, under current Pakistani law if a woman cannot prove that the sexual act occurred without her consent (i.e., if she cannot prove that she was indeed raped), the sexual act itself becomes a crime against society and therefore, the woman becomes liable for the hadd of zina.

As a result of this approach, instead of protecting Muslim women from violence and rape, Pakistani zina laws effectively punish raped women for reporting crimes against them and their families. Consequently, these laws have a devastating effect on the reporting of such crimes. Further, Pakistani rape laws have proven to be counterproductive over the years, having resulted in an alarming increase in rape. Once we know that in Muslim societies, acts of rape typically do not impact the individual woman alone, but severely impact her extended family as well, we start perceiving the alarming scope of the problem. Yet the ideal Muslim state is not one where reports of crimes are decreased for fear of retaliation or punishment. Rather, it is a state in which each victim is encouraged to appeal to the wali (head of state), the qadi (the judiciary), or ahl al-hall wa al-‘aqd (community leaders/ representatives of the people), for justice and relief in accordance with divine ‘adalah

Clearly, the roots of the problem are not religious, but are found in a Jahili3 behavior in society which must be uprooted. They can also be found in the erroneous application of basic Shari’ah principles to the evidentiary requirements and the assignment of the burden of proof in rape cases. As these stand, they place an unreasonably heavy burden on the victimized woman. Furthermore, rape laws in Pakistan commit a serious conceptual error by conflating the crimes of rape and zina, something that traditional jurists were keen not to do. The cumulative effect of these errors, combined with Jahili behavior, has resulted in grave harm to Pakistani women and their families. This unfortunate state of affairs is intolerable for the maslahah (wellbeing) of the ummah, and must be addressed by the wali, the qadis, and ahl al-hall wa al-‘aqd through both extensive education and the promulgation of better, more effective laws.

We believe that the failure in establishing a legislation that protects the rights of individuals, men and women, their families, and society at large, is in great part due to a misreading of divine law related to zina as stated by the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah. Qadis have a duty to correct such grave misreading of Islamic law, but so far they have not done so. We shall therefore explain herein the full extent of this misreading of the Islamic law by briefly visiting the fundamentals of Islamic law as they pertain to our subject.

Islam considers zina a major sin and an evil path. In this Islam shares the same views as other Abrahamic religions. We have to point out here that the concept of zina in Islamic law applies only to the actual intercourse, i.e. physical penetration. No act short of that is considered zina, nor does such act fall under the same legal framework as zina. From the perspective of the Qur’an, the prophetic tradition, and Islamic law, sex uncoupled with a legally binding marital tie4 is considered zina, and is equally punishable for both women and men. It is important to note that when it comes to punishment for illicit intercourse, men and women are treated exactly alike. Thus clearly, the traditional Islamic framework for dealing with illicit sexual behavior is gender-balanced and fair. The Qur’an deals with zina in several places. We start by providing the Qur’anic general rule that commands Muslims not to commit zina: “Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed)
and an evil, opening the road (to other evils).” ( 17:32 ).5

Most of the rules related to illicit sex (zina), adultery, and false accusations from a husband to his wife or from members of the community to chaste women, can be found in Surat an-Nur (the Light). The surah starts by giving very specific rules about punishment for zina: “The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication, flog each of them with a hundred stripes: Let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment.” (24:2).

Then it turns to false accusations from members of the Muslim community to chaste righteous women: “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 testimony ever after: for such men are wicked transgressors;- Unless they repent thereafter and mend (their conduct); for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”(24: 4-5)

The rather harsh treatment of zina in Islam should be considered in light of the moral system articulated by the Islamic faith. It must also be understood within the context of the Islamic social system based among other things on relationships of blood and kinship (as reflected for example in laws of inheritance and marriage). The laws of zina are crucial for protecting society and preserving the purity of these blood relationships.

Given the severity of punishment for the offense of zina, the Qur’an requires solid proof beyond the shadow of doubt before convicting an individual, be it a man or a woman, of zina. Muslim jurists derived from the sunnah of the Holy Prophet very strict requirements for proving zina. In fact, jurists unanimously agree on only two means of doing so:
1. A clear, free, and willful confession by the person guilty of the act of zina. However, if that person retracts his/her confession, he/she is not punishable (barring the presence of witnesses, as indicated below), because there would no longer be any proof of the occurrence of the prohibited act, and alternatively,
2. The testimony of four reliable Muslim male eye-witnesses, all of whom must have witnessed the actual intercourse at the same time.6

It is worth noting that in the case of a confession, it is recommended that the judge ignores the first three iterations of such confession. The confession does not become binding unless it is repeated freely four different times. Abu Hurayrah narrated: “A man from the tribe of Aslam came to the Messenger -peace be upon him- while he was in the mosque and said to him,: ‘O Messenger of God, I have committed adultery.’ The Messenger turned away from him. The man, then, stepped in front of the Messenger and said,: ‘I committed adultery.’ The Messenger again looked away. The man did the same thing four times. When he confessed four times the Messenger called upon him and asked him,: ‘Are you insane?’ The man said,: ‘No!’ The Messenger then asked him: ‘Were you married (muhsan) when you committed this act?’ to which he said,: ‘Yes!’ Only then did the Prophet order that the man be punished for zina7.

Moreover, for a confession to be valid, it is required that the person accurately state the facts of the act of adultery/illicit sex in clear, real, and non metaphoric words, so that all doubts are removed. This eliminates ambiguities, since the term “zina” might be used by some to refer to other minor acts that are not punishable in the same way. Ibn Abbas reported that the Prophet – peace be upon him- said to Ma’iz: “Maybe you just kissed, maybe you touched her, or looked…” and the man said: “No!” He (the Messenger) said, “So, did you penetrate8 her? (using no metaphors), and the man said: “Yes!”9 The Prophet then ordered his punishment. In another version of the same hadith, the Prophet asked the man: “Till that of yours disappeared in that of hers?” the man said, “Yes”, the Prophet asked, “Like a stick disappears in a kohl canister and a rope in a well?” The man said, “yes!” He then asked him, “Do you know the meaning of zina?” The man said, “Yes! I did with her
illegally what a husband does with his wife legally.”10 The Hadith carries on as reported by Abu Dawud.

Other hadiths that reaffirm this previous hadith abound and can be found in the major hadith books. There is no need to relate all of them in this short paper. However, they all support the position that a confession ought to be willful, repetitive and insistent, denoting the desire of the sinful person to purify himself/herself before God, and take his/her punishment on earth rather than in the thereafter. Confession therefore is a clear act of repentance that purifies the person and brings him/her back to the original state of innocence and purity, spiritually as well as socially. The Prophet established this fact in the following incident. A woman who repeatedly confessed to having committed zina was finally punished. A person who was present at the time showed contempt towards her. The Prophet was so displeased that he told the man, “She repented such a repentance that if divided between seventy people of Madina, it would suffice them.”11

The relevant hadiths are so clear-cut that the four Sunni schools of thought, including the Hanafi School , agreed on the requirements that a valid confession must satisfy. They are also unanimous about the requirements necessary for establishing zina through the testimony of eyewitnesses. Indeed, there is no disagreement among scholars about the qualifications of these witnesses. Each witness must meet the following criteria:
(a) He should be a credible, free, Muslim male,12 and
(b) He should have eye-witnessed the actual act of intercourse (i.e.,actual penetration),13
Scholars also agreed on two additional requirements:
(c) There should be at least four witnesses, and
(d) The witnesses should testify in the same hearing, about the same zina act. Any disagreement about the time of the act, its place or even the color of the clothes of accused persons, leads to the rejection of the accusations.

These severe requirements relating to the establishment of guilt through the testimony of eyewitnesses are very specific to the hadd of zina. Generally, the testimony of two men is sufficient for the establishment of a criminal violation under Islamic law. Yet the law of zina requires four witnesses.

It is pertinent to point out here that the evidentiary requirement for zina was initially intended to protect women from frivolous charges. This intention derives directly from Asbab al-Nuzul (reasons of revelation) relating to the Qur’anic verse that establishes the hadd of zina14. We therefore believe that the requirement of four witnesses (with all its restrictions and specifications) is a merciful measure from God in order not only to avoid incriminating innocent people, but also to preserve the privacy of Muslims, which is one of the most valued principles in Islam (the concept of sitr). It is not accidental that the privacy principle is stated in the same chapter, a few verses later: “O ye who believe! Enter not houses other than your own, until ye have asked permission and saluted those in them: that is best for you, in order that ye may heed (what is seemly).” (24: 27)

In fact, most Muslim scholars agree that the act of zina encompasses two rights, the right of God and the right of society or the community. The fact that a person has committed a forbidden act, even secretly, means that the right of God was transgressed.15 But when the act becomes public, in one way or another, then the right of society to protect its morals is activated. The earthly punishment of zina, which is its hadd, is then not directed towards the act itself, because this is a matter that only God can judge, but rather towards the fact that such an act has become known to the community, and therefore has disturbed public order and morality.

We also believe that the requirement of male witnesses constitutes another protective measure that makes it more difficult to prove zina. After all, in Muslim societies women have more facility and liberty to enter houses and access each other’s private apartments than men usually have. From the rich jurisprudence related to the matter, one can easily conclude that Muslim jurists were very cautious not to convict an innocent person. They went so far as to state that it is better to let a guilty person get away with his/her crime than to punish an innocent person16. For, even when a person escapes the worldly punishment, the right of God remains. He will ultimately decide whether to punish or forgive the sinful.

Muslim scholars also derived some ethical principles from the Qur’an, hadith and sunnah related to zina. First of all, it is preferable for a person who witnesses an act of zina not to report it, and instead to cover the shortcoming (‘awrah) of others while at the same time advising them to change their behavior. This principle is in harmony with the hadith that states: “Whoever covers the shortcoming (‘awrah) of a Muslim, God will cover his shortcomings here and in the thereafter.”17 Scholars also concluded from the Prophet’s example that it is preferable for the imam or the judge to suggest to the person who confesses that he/she retract his/her confession, and to the witnesses not to testify.18

What we learn from this attitude is that the zina punishment should not be understood as a revengeful measure. To the contrary, it has to be understood as a measure designed to protect the morality of Muslim society whenever this morality is threatened. It is also very important to keep in mind, as we said earlier, that such a crime is not punishable unless it crosses the boundaries that separate the private sphere from the public sphere. The four witnesses’ requirement is clear evidence that such an act cannot possibly be proven unless the offending parties flagrantly disrespect the Islamic society they live in by transgressing those boundaries.

We discussed so far the two undisputed ways to proving zina. There is a third way to prove zina, upon which Muslim scholars greatly disagreed. It revolves around the following question: Is the pregnancy of an unmarried woman clear evidence that she had committed zina? Because of the significance of this question to the issue of rape, we now turn to it.

Is extramarital pregnancy proof of zina?

Pakistani zina law considers extramarital pregnancy as proof of zina. We shall now look at the Islamic legal foundation of this statement. Major Muslim scholars vastly disagreed on whether extramarital pregnancy should be considered evidence for zina. Imam Abu Hanifah was firm in rejecting the use of extramarital pregnancy as an evidence of zina. Basing his judgment on clear injunctions from the Qur’an and sunnah, he considered pregnancy as mere circumstantial evidence that does not constitute sufficient proof of zina. In his view, the judge has to ask the woman being tried for such accusation to defend herself. If she claims that she was raped, or forced into a sexual relationship, or that she had intercourse with a man to whom she thought she was married19, then she would not be liable for hadd. This opinion is in conformity with the opinion of the Prophet’s companions, especially Omar before whom an unmarried pregnant woman was tried for zina. Omar asked her to defend
herself, she then said: “I am a sound/heavy sleeper, and a man raped me while I was asleep and then he left. I could not recognize him thereafter.” Omar accepted her defense and released her.20

Abu Hanifah went so far in his reasoning as to state that an unmarried pregnant woman who claims that she was raped or married does not have to provide clear evidence of her rape or marriage. Her word alone suffices. Abu Hanifah referred to another incident involving Imam Ali who was khalifah at the time of the incident. He asked a pregnant woman: “maybe you were forced to have sex?” she said: “No.” He then said: “then maybe somebody raped you when you were asleep?”21 Considering the fact that Pakistan adopts the Hanafi School , it is rather obscure why the Pakistani legislators rejected Abu Hanifah’s view on the matter.

Al-Shafi’i and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal opted for the same opinion, and so did many other scholars. The well-known scholar Ibn Qudamah has a very interesting view about the pregnancy of a virgin or unmarried woman, he said: “In our opinion, [pregnancy can occur from] rape or a suspected marital contract. Hudud must be dropped if there is an element of doubt, shubhah, according to the hadith. It is also believed that a woman can get pregnant without intercourse because the sperm of a man may get into her in many ways, whether passively or actively [that is, by her own will]. The pregnancy of virgins is a logically accepted fact because it did happen.”22 It is important to note here that the analogy with artificial insemination is rather striking.

However, Malik had a different view on the matter. He stated that an unmarried woman who becomes pregnant is liable to zina punishment unless she proves that she was raped or that she is married. However, Malik did acknowledge the possibility that pregnancy can result from an unwilling sexual act. Thus, he established a number of safeguards that aim to assure that no innocent is convicted unjustly. First, physical evidence is undeniable proof of rape. If a woman comes bleeding to the judge [or the police today] and claims that she was raped, her word is accepted because of her physical state.23 If somebody hears her asking for help, his testimony is accepted. From this perspective, even if the Pakistani legislators were influenced by the Maliki view, they should adopt it in its totality and hence allow women to rebut the pregnancy proof by physical/medical evidence that they did not consent to the intercourse.

It is worth noting here that many Muslim scholars criticized the Maliki point of view regarding pregnancy as proof of zina. The famous jurist Ibn Hazm vehemently disagrees with the Maliki analysis based on the clear and emphatic injunctions in the Qur’an. He argues in his book Al-Muhalla Bi al-Athar that the Maliki ruling is not in conformity with divine law. He says: “We have not seen anyone more audacious [than some jurists who] mete out a sentence based on mere circumstantial evidence, [i.e., based on a type of evidence] where there is no room for any sentence to be meted out...the Malikis establish the hadd of zina based on mere pregnancy, whereas pregnancy could result from rape.”24 It is therefore clear that Muslim scholars agreed upon the fact that a woman25 forced into a sexual relationship cannot be held responsible for this act. They disagreed, however, on the type of proof they considered sufficient for establishing sexual coercion. For this reason, we shall
examine next the various ways in which Muslim scholars dealt with situations that included claims of rape.

Rape and Coercive Sexual Relationships in Islamic Law:
As stated earlier, Pakistani law treats rape as an act of zina. It then extends the evidentiary requirement for proving zina, i.e., the requirement of four qualified Muslim male witnesses, to cases of rape as well. This treatment is supposedly based on Islamic law. We shall refute this claim, and eliminate these misunderstandings about the correct position of Islamic law, by discussing some of the major jurisprudential views on the matter.

It is true that Islamic jurisprudence treated rape, usually referred to as al-istikraah or al-zina bi’l-jabr, under the general law of zina. This is understandable since Qur’an does not deal with coercive sexual relationship. It only addresses the case of consensual sexual relationships. Consequently, jurists were forced to derive laws relating to rape based on arguments from analogy and other modes of legal reasoning. We shall now discuss the divergence of views regarding the claim of rape.

Muslim scholars based their arguments on the hadith that says, “God has forgiven to my people mistakes, forgetfulness and anything that they were coerced into (ma istukrihu ‘alayh)”26. They concluded from this hadith that if a person, especially a woman was forced into a sexual act, then she/he would not be subject to punishment. Jurists are unanimous on this matter as the following incidents and views show.

Ibn Qudamah emphasizes the agreement among scholars about the innocence of al-mustakrahah ‘ala al-zina (the woman forced into an illicit sexual act), he says, “There is no sentence against a coerced woman according to the overwhelming majority of Muslim scholars. This is the view of Omar, al-Zuhri, Qatadah, al-Thawri, al-Shafi’i, and others and we do not know anyone who departed from this view”27. Later on, Ibn Qudamah narrates different hadiths and incidents that support this view. For instance, a woman claimed that she was raped during the Prophet’s time; the Prophet did not charge her with any crime. He also narrates that some female slaves were raped by some male slaves and were brought before Khalifah [Caliph] Omar. Omar cleared the females of any wrongdoing and flogged the male slaves28.

In another incident, an alleged adulteress was brought before Omar, and she claimed that she was sound asleep when a man came unto her. Omar released her though she was not able to recognize and hence identify the rapist. When asked about his decision, he explained that the ruler was bound to waive the hadd whenever there was the slightest doubt about its applicability.

Moreover, jurists extended the definition of coercion to include not only coercion by means of physical force, such as in the case of a man forcing his way on a woman, but also by other means. For example, threats to kill or hurt the woman were included in the definition of coercion. Jurists even included denial of food or water to a needy woman in the definition as well, when the waiver of such denial is conditioned on the woman’s acceptance to engage in a sexual act. Indeed, a woman who was tried before Omar for zina claimed that she was thirsty and asked a shepherd for some water. The shepherd denied her water unless she allowed him to have sex with her. Having no choice, she did. Omar consulted with Ali whose opinion was that the woman had no other choice. Consequently, Omar dropped the case against her and even gave her monetary compensation.29 Jurisprudential books narrate many similar stories.

We can thus safely assert that the difference between the majority view of Muslim jurists and the minority view is not really about whether a raped woman should be punished or not. It is rather about proving that the sexual act occurred against the will of the woman. The disagreement among scholars on this point encompasses two cases: First: the case of an unmarried woman who is found to be pregnant, and who claims that she had been raped but cannot name her assaillant. Second: the case of a woman who reports to the authorities that she was raped by a certain individual whom she may be able to identify.

The second case is different from the first one because the woman in the second case was neither caught in the act of having illicit sex or its consequences, nor was she otherwise accused. Instead, she came forward of her own accord seeking justice. It is very important to keep this difference in mind, if we want to understand Islamic law of zina properly and not separate it, through hasty judgments, from its fundamental ‘illah (reason).

The Case of an Unmarried Pregnant Woman Who Claims Rape:
Muslim scholars widely disagreed about the extent to which the claim of rape by an unmarried pregnant woman may be accepted without evidence. Here again the Pakistani legislation departs completely from the Hanafi view on the matter. Indeed, as we mentioned earlier, the jurist Abu Hanifah states that a woman who claims rape is not required to prove it,30 nor is she required to recognize or name her assailant.31 Imam Abu Hanifah argued that if there was no way to verify the woman’s claim or to prove zina, then it would be better to release her according to the hadith “dismiss the hudud if there is an element of doubt (shubuhat)”. His argument shows that Imam Abu Hanifah clearly appreciated the fact that a woman being raped could not be expected to memorize the identity of her aggressor or name him thereafter.

Imam Abu Hanifah also based his opinion on numerous incidents where the Prophet’s Companions, notably the Khulafa’ ar-Raashidun, dismissed apparent cases of zina when women claimed rape. We have already mentioned some of these cases, which occurred during the rule of Omar. Indeed, after Omar dismissed an apparent zina case against an unmarried pregnant woman based on her claim that she was raped, he issued a decree to all his governors ordering them not to execute any one without consulting with him first.32 This decree is highly significant for cases involving apparent zina. Also, Khalifah Ali and the famous companion Ibn Abbas stated: “if there is an ‘if’ or a ‘maybe’ in the case of hadd, it cannot be applied.”33

However, other jurists, including Imam Malik, departed from this view arguing that pregnancy is sufficient proof of zina, unless marriage or rape are proven. They based their view on the following statement by Imam Ali: “O People, zina has two forms; it can be secret or public. As to secret zina, only the testimony of witnesses can prove it…whereas public zina is when there is a pregnancy or a confession...”34 The scholars who use Imam Ali’s statement seem to forget that he defined certain requirements for extramarital pregnancy. In such cases, he always provided the pregnant woman with the opportunity to defend herself by claiming either rape or a previously undisclosed marital relationship. He was also inclined to dismiss charges in case of shubhah (doubt, possibility of innocence).

For these reasons, the proper way of reconciling the various views of Imam Ali and thus understanding his proper intent in the statement about secret and public zina is the following: A secret (private) illicit sexual act becomes known (publicly) when pregnancy occurs. At that time, the illicit sexual relationship leaves its exclusively private sphere and acquires a public dimension. The apparent pregnancy of an unmarried woman impinges on society by affecting public morality. This state of affairs activates in Islamic jurisprudence the right of the society to protect its moral values. So, it becomes absolutely necessary for the pregnant woman to justify her pregnancy either by claiming rape or marriage. If she fails to do so, and there are no other shubuhat in the matter, then (and then only) pregnancy becomes a proof of public zina without the need for four witnesses or a confession.

The incident narrated earlier supports this interpretation. Imam Ali actually suggested to the pregnant woman brought before him different ways to justify her pregnancy, by asking her questions like: “maybe you were forced to have sex?” And “maybe somebody raped you when you were asleep?35 Muslim scholars who used Imam Ali’s statement distinguishing between secret and public zina completely missed his point because they took it out of context and did not understand it in light of his other statements and rulings that protect pregnant women in this context.36

The imposition of hadd of zina unfairly is such a serious matter, that even Malik moderated his rather rigid view on the matter by accepting physical evidence, such as bruises and bleeding, as proof of rape. This is an important point, given that proving rape through medical means has been made a lot easier in our modern times by advanced medical technology. Other scholars accepted the testimony of a single person who hears the victim asking for help. This position is based on an incident involving Khalifah Omar Ibn Abd al-Aziz, where a woman brought before him claimed that a man raped her.

Another man testified that he heard her screaming. So Omar released her.37 Malik’s comments suggest that he also accepts this view, and it is well that he does since even the Qur’an refers to this type of evidence in clearing the Prophet Joseph (alayhi assalam) from the accusations of the wife of the Pharoah.38 Consequently, if the Pakistani legislature adopts the Hanafi view, which permits a claim of rape to justify extramarital pregnancy, then it should also accept the fact that a woman is not required under the Hanafi position to prove that she was actually raped. Her word suffices. On the other hand, if the legislature opts for the more onerous Maliki view, then it should not denude it from its balancing elements of mercy and fairness, the hallmarks of Islamic ‘adalah. Thus, in the absence of eyewitnesses, medical/physical proofs must be admitted to establish the woman’s innocence, just as the Prophet Joseph used them, in the Qur’anic story, to clear his name.

The Case of a Woman Who Reports That An Identified Individual Raped Her:
Muslim jurists unanimously agree that a woman who is raped is neither legally nor morally (religiously) at fault. They however disagreed on the legal implications of the case of a woman who names a specific individual and accuses him of raping her without being able to fully establish her claim. Several opinions were expressed on this matter.

Imam Malik stated that if the woman accuses of rape a man known for his piety and righteousness, without providing witnesses or physical evidence, then she is liable for the punishment of qadhf (a punishment of 80 lashes meted out to those who make false accusations).39 But if the accused is known for his ill conduct (fisq) then the assessment of the veracity of the woman’s claim is left to the judge. If he believes the woman, the judge may inflict corporal punishment onto the presumed assailant, imprison him, and make him pay the woman a mahr, or more accurately, a value equivalent to her mahr40. Moreover, a woman can accuse a man of rape and yet avoid the hadd of qadhf, in the opinion of Omar Ibn Abd al-Aziz, if the woman is able to produce one testimony from a person who heard her calling for help. It is important to note that, for the Malikis, while this evidence would not suffice to legally establish the guilt of the man41, otherwise they would have sentenced him to
the hadd of zina on him, it suffices to protect the woman from the hadd of qadhf. It is clear that the Maliki reasoning here has serious flaws. Indeed, why should a man whose guilt was not irrefutably established be punished even by a lesser sentence than the hadd? The woman can also avoid hadd of qadhf, if someone saw her with the accused (thus establishing opportunity), or if the accused had scratches on his body or other similarly incriminating evidence42.

Despite its attempts to ameliorate the situation of an unmarried pregnant woman, it is our considered opinion that the Maliki point of view is demonstrably inconsistent with Qur’anic injunctions, as well as precedents from the sunnah of the Holy Prophet. The famous jurist Ibn Hazm agrees with us, and disagrees vehemently with Imam Malik whose reasoning on this matter he refuted point by point.

Ibn Hazm rejected the Maliki view that the righteousness or ill conduct of a man accused of rape should affect the legal ruling of a judge. He argued that neither the Qur’an, sunnah, ijma’, qiyas nor the tradition of the Companions, support this opinion. To the opposite, a judge should treat people equally whether they are known for their righteousness or their ill conduct, and whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims. Evidence from the hadith and the consensus of the Companions and scholars show that when a person accuses another of any charge and the defendant denies the claim, then the defendant must swear to his/her innocence of the charge brought against him, even if the said defendant were a companion of the Prophet.43 Ibn Hazm argues vehemently against the distinction Malik makes among Muslims in legal matters and considers such a rule as a wide open door to all kinds of injustice and discrimination. He states flatly that in such cases, the oath should be required
from every person, no matter who he may be.

A most important point raised by Ibn Hazm’s reasoning is the following: if we adopt the Maliki argument, then a woman who is raped by a well-known man and has no evidence to support her claim is left with only two options. Either she reports him, and becomes liable for the hadd of qadhf, or she remains silent. In the latter case, she risks the hadd of zina if she becomes pregnant. Ibn Hazm describes this outrageous situation as an extreme injustice towards women44.

Based on this criticism, Ibn Hazm develops a new argument inspired by the ultimate Qur’anic principle: “If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger” ( 4:59 ). He argues that a woman who reports having been raped by a specific man should not be viewed as making a false accusation, qadhf. Rather, she should be viewed as a plaintiff seeking justice, and hence should not be liable for hadd al-qadhf. As a plaintiff, the woman has two resorts:
- She should be asked for a bayyinah (clear proof) supporting her claim, and if she produces it then the man should be punished accordingly; or
- In case the woman is not able to produce adequate evidence, then the man would have to take an oath that he did not aggress her, nor did he force her into any action. He does not have to swear that he did not commit zina,45 because such a crime violates the right of God and no one may interfere between a person and his/her God. After the oath, the two parties are free to leave and neither of them is liable for any punishment whatsoever46.

In our view, the position of Ibn Hazm is closer to the concept of Islamic ‘adalah than that of Imam Malik. It is at once, balanced, just, and compassionate, without showing favoritism. It errs on the side of caution, as a Muslim judge ought to do, and thus does not victimize any one. Significantly, Ibn Hazm understood the grave mistake other jurists make when they fail to distinguish between reporting an injustice, and accusing others falsely (qadhf). In their failure, other jurists turned a divine law that was meant to protect women into a weapon against them. Ibn Hazm’s reasoning takes into consideration the Islamic ideal of justice and equity, and brings the laws relating to zina and rape into conformity with divine law, without loosing sight of the rights of both parties involved in such cases.

It is important to highlight again that the Hanafi scholars were wise and fair in understanding the circumstances surrounding the case of a woman claiming rape without naming her assailant. They therefore accepted her sole word and did not require her to provide evidence whatsoever for her claim. They also stated that even if a woman confesses four times that she committed zina with a person she names, and the concerned man denies her claim, then there is no case. They argued that the act of zina couldn’t possibly occur without the active (physical) participation of the man. Since the man denies having committed the act, then the act itself becomes inconceivable47.

Since Hanafis did not address at length the case of a woman who identifies the man she is accusing of raping her, we believe that the best way to deal with it is to adopt the viewpoint of Ibn Hazm. As noted earlier, this point of view is more compatible with the principles of Shari’a and its spirit than other points of view available on this matter, especially that of Malik.

All schools of Islamic law agree that rape is a crime; they only disagreed on how to prove it. It is clear from our discussion that the foundation of the Pakistani zina and rape laws is not in conformity either with the Hanafi School adopted by Pakistan or with the other jurisprudential views related to the matter.

If we adopt the Hanafi position, which is also the majority position on the matter, then:
- Extramarital pregnancy should not be considered as proof of zina since it could result from a the woman’s wrong belief that she is married to the other party, or rape, or artificial insemination, and so on;
- If a woman claims that she was raped, either to justify her extramarital pregnancy or just to report the assault, she should not be required to prove her accusation. Her word is sufficient evidence; and
- Since the Hanafi School did not rule in the case of a woman who accuses a man of raping her but is unable to provide clear evidence (bayyinah), then we can adopt Ibn Hazm’s view, and ask the accused to take an oath stating that he did not aggress the plaintiff nor did he force her to do anything against her will. The two parties should then be released. If pregnancy occurs, it should not be held against the woman.

If we adopt the Maliki view, then:
- Physical/medical evidence should be accepted as proof of rape,
- In case no physical evidence exists, we should refer to the jurisprudential principle of avoiding the application of a hadd whenever there is an element of doubt (dar’ alhudud bi al-shubuhat) in the situation. The claim of rape should be viewed as sufficiently strong to overcome any charge of zina, especially when the woman reports the crime of her own volition. Her claim should not be treated as either a confession or a false accusation, as Ibn Hazm clearly demonstrated.
- In all cases, we should keep in mind the fundamental Qur’anic principle of ‘adalah (justice, balance, and equity). The law should protect society, its morals and ideals, but without denying to individuals their rights, especially their basic right to life. As all scholars agreed, it is better to let a guilty person get away with his/her sin and face God’s justice later than to enforce the hadd on a single innocent person.

We ask no more or less from the government and qadis of Pakistan .

1 The word zina is used in this paper as a generic word that encompasses, as the original Arabic word does, both adultery and fornication (i.e., illicit sexual relationships).
2 (Sing. Hadd), means literally (God’s) limits, and refers to His divinely ordained punishments for those who transgress them.
3 This refers to the pre-Islamic Age of Jahiliyyah or ignorance. Muslim thinkers have argued that some Muslim societies are going into a modern (secular or tribal) Jahiliyyah that does not reflect Islamic values.
4 Milq al-Yameen (which refers to the now outdated concept of a lawful female slave partner) was also recognized as a legally binding tie that would shield a person from the charge of zina.
5 We are using in this paper Yusuf Ali’s translation of the Qur’an, with minor revisions to better accord
with the original Arabic meaning of the verse.
6 Three Imams, Abu Hanifah, Malik, and Ibn Hanbal agreed on the fact that the four witnesses have to testify at the same time and place, whereas al-Shafi’i stated that it is acceptable for witnesses to testify in different places.
7 Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim. MUWAFFAQ AL-DIN IBN QUDAMAH, AL-MUGHNI. (Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-‘Arabi, n.d) vol. 10, p. 166.
8 The Arabic word used by the Prophet in this hadith means the actual intercourse, leaving no possible confusion. 9 IBN QUDAMAH, supra note 7, at vol. 10, p. 167.
10 IBN QUDAMAH, supra note 7, at vol. 10, p. 168.
11 Narrated by at-Thirmidhi. IBN QUDAMAH, supra note 7, at 132; 165 (margins)
12 Credibility is denied to those who have lied previously or committed other reprehensible acts. Freedom in an age where slavery existed was important to insure that the testimony would not be influenced by another who had power over the slave. Faith was necessary to insure that the witness fully understands the significance of both the offense and the testimony. The issue of women as witnesses is a controversial issue that has to be studied in light of the Qur’an and Sunnah. Women’s testimony was not accepted in this setting for reasons discussed later in this paper. Nevertheless, ‘Atta’ and Hammad, two Islamic scholars, are known to have accepted the testimony of three men and two women. See IBN QUDAMAH, supra note 7, at vol. 10, p. 175.
13 Anything else but the actual act of intercourse/penetration is not acceptable to carry on the hadd. The jurisprudential books report in great details the incident relating to al-Mughirah ibn Shu’bah, which took place during the ruling of Omar the second Khalifah and which is very clear about the requirements of the zina evidence. In brief, we learn that al-Mughirah was accused of zina, three of the witnesses testified against him describing the actual act of intercourse. When the fourth man’s turn came, he reported having seen two people in a suspicious setting. He stated, “I saw a behind going up and down, heavy breathing, and I saw her legs on his shoulders like a donkey’s ears. I do not know beyond that.” Although some might think that this testimony should be more than enough to convict the accused man and woman of zina, it was not. Based on the fact that the fourth testimony was not sufficiently explicit, Khalifah Omar dismissed the zina charge and convicted the
three men with false accusation. IBN QUDAMAH, supra note 7, at 197-198.
14 Verse 24:3 stating the eyewitness’s requirement was revealed in the aftermath of the slander incident involving A’ishah, the Prophet’s wife, who was lost in the desert and was returned by a young man to her tribe..
15 For the distinction between the right of God and the right of society, see, e.g., ABU MUHAMMAD ALI IBN SA’ED IBN HAZM, AL-MUHALLA BI AL-ATHAR (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1988) vol.12. p. 261.
16 In this regard, ‘Ai’shah narrated that the Prophet said, “ Shield Muslims from hudud as much as you can, if a person has a way [e.g., alibi] let them go for it is better for a judge to make a mistake in dismissing charges than in applying the punishment on an innocent. ” reported by at-Tirmidhi, in Sunan at-Tirmidhi (Reprint, Beirut: Dar al-Fikr, 1974), Bk, Hudud, Vol. 2, pp. 438-39.
17 IBN QUDAMAH, supra note 7, at vol. 10, p. 188. 18 Ibid.
19 Abu Hanifah goes very far in defining the element of doubt concerning the existence of a marriage contract. He indeed argues that if a man pays a woman to perform some work for him and then has sex with her, or if he even pays her to have sex with him, then there is a suspicion of marriage as the money given to the woman could be analogized to the mahr. Other jurists, including Ibn Qudamah and Ibn Hazm rejected vehemently this position. See, IBN HAZM, supra note 15, at vol. 12. pp. 195-198; IBN QUDAMAH, supra note 7, at 194-95
20 IBN QUDAMAH, supra note 7, at vol. 10, p. 193.
21 ABU AL-WALEED IBN RUSHD AL QURTUBI, BIDAYAT AL-MUJTAHID WA NIHAYAT AL-MUQTASID. (Reprint. Beirut: Dar Ibn Hazm, 1995), vol. 4, p, 1728.
22 IBN QUDAMAH, supra note 7 , at vol. 10, p, 193.
23 AL-ZURQAANI, HASHIYAT AL-ZURQANI ALA MUWATTA’ AL IMAM MALIK. (Beirut: Dar al-Ma’rifah, 1989) Vol. 4, p. 150. Further discussion of this issue will follow.
24 IBN HAZM, supra note 15, at vol. 12. p. 61.
25 Most scholars say that a man can also be forced into intercourse, not by a woman as some wrongly understood, but by somebody who has power over him, such as the ruler or a bandit. In such cases, he is not to blame or to be punished. Abu Hanifah departed from this view at an early stage of his life, he said that a man cannot be forced to have sex, because such act requires an active participation from his side, unlike a woman who is passive and can be forced into it. But he later on changed his opinion and stated that if a man’s life is threatened at the moment of the intercourse, then he is not to be blamed. He argued that the physical response (from a man) is not proof of consent or will but only of maleness. SHAMS AL-DIN ALSARKHASI, KITAB AL- MABSUT. (Reprint. Beirut: Dar al-Ma’rifah, n.d) vol. 9, p. 59.
26 IBN QUDAMAH, supra note 7, at vol. 10, p. 184.
27 IBN QUDAMAH, supra note 7, at vol. 10, p. 158.
28 IBN QUDAMAH, supra note 7, at vol. 10, p. 159
29 IBN QUDAMAH, supra note 7, at vol. 10, pp. 159-160.
30 IBN RUSHD, supra note 19, at 1728-29. 31 Ibid
32 IBN QUDAMAH, supra note 7, at 194. 33 Ibid.
34 IBN QUDAMAH, supra note 7, at 193. 35 See supra note 19.
36 Among those statements, his saying: “if there is an “if” or a “maybe” in the case of hadd, it cannot be applied”, see, supra note 28; and also the fact that when a pregnant woman claimed that she was forced to have sex with a man who refused to give her water when she was thirsty. He didn’t ask her to prove her claim and he advised Omar to release her, see supra note 27.
37 IBN HAZM, supra note 15, at 259. 38 Qur’an (12:26-27)
39 It is important to point out that Muslim jurists disagreed a great deal on whether the verse related to qadhf (defamation regarding one’s chastity) (24:3) can be applied to men. Indeed, the ayah addresses those who accuse falsely chaste/righteous women (muhsanat). Some scholars, especially those who adopt qiyas (reasoning by analogy), argue that men are not included in the ayah since it states flatly: “those who defame chaste women…” If we adopt this view, then the meaning of qadhf itself would be strictly limited to men who accuse women and never the opposite. See IBN HAZM, supra note 15, at 226-230 (and margins).
40 The fact that the presumed rapist is required to pay a value equivalent to the mahr of his alleged victim does not mean that he is required to marry her (as some cultures do). That would be repugnant under Islamic law. The payment is simply compensation for the damages the rapist caused, and is in addition to the punishment he receives from the court. Muslim scholars disagreed on the fairness of this approach. Al-Shafi’i agreed with Malik that if a man is found guilty of rape he is liable to hadd of zina, and he should pay his victim a value equal to her mahr, see, MUHAMMAD IBN IDRISS AL-SHAFI’I, KITAB AL-UMM. (1st edition, Cairo: Maktabat al-Kuliyyat al-Azhariyyah, 1961) Vol. 3, p. 258. Other scholars argued that such an approach imposes double jeopardy upon the perpetrator, which is unfair and inconsistent with the Qur’an. They also argued that the mahr is a marital gift that is exclusively required from a husband to his prospective wife, and hence the perpetrator
should not be required to pay it. See, Ibn Rushd, supra note 19, at vol. 4, p. 1729.
41 It is understood from the Maliki reasoning that in such cases, the aforementioned evidence is not
sufficient to legally establish the guilt of the man accused of rape. Otherwise, Malik would have ruled in favor of applying the hadd of zina upon him. This gave rise to the following criticism; if it cannot be established that the man is guilty, then why should he receive any punishment, be it imprisonment or other?
42 IBN HAZM, supra note 15, at 259.
43 This view is supported by the fact that a non-Muslim man hailed Khalifah Ali into court accusing him of not having paid him back his loan. Imam Ali had to swear his innocence because he had no evidence to prove that he actually paid the man his money back. Other Companions, including Khalifah Omar, Khalifah ‘Uthman, and Ibn Omar, the great Companion and narrator of hadith [Abd Allah ibn Omar Ibn al-Khattab] had to take the same oath for different reasons; IBN HAZM, supra note 15, at 260.
44 IBN HAZM, supra note 15, at 260-261. 45 IBN HAZM, supra note 15, at 261-62.
46 Ibid. 47 Al-Sarkhasi, supra note 23, at vol. 9, p. 99.


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