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Saudi Arabia Is Redefining Islam for the World’s Largest Muslim Nation by Krithika Varagur/Mar 2, 2017

King Salman’s historic visit to Indonesia is the culmination of a long campaign for influence.

When Saudi Arabia’s King Salman landed in Indonesia on Wednesday, he became the first Saudi monarch to visit the world’s largest Muslim-majority country since 1970. Officials in Jakarta had hoped the visit would help them strengthen business ties and secure $25 billion in resource investments. That’s largely been a bust—as of Thursday, the kingdom has agreed to just one new deal, for a relatively paltry $1 billion.
But Saudi Arabia has, for decades, been making investments of a different sort—those aimed at influencing Indonesian culture and religion. The king’s current visit is the apex of that methodical campaign, and “has the potential to accelerate the expansion of Saudi Arabia’s cultural resources in Indonesia,” according to Chris Chaplin, a researcher at the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asia. “In fact, given the size of his entourage, I wouldn’t be surprised if there will be a flurry of networking activity amongst Indonesian alumni of Saudi universities.”
Since 1980, Saudi Arabia has devoted millions of dollars to exporting its strict brand of Islam, Salafism, to historically tolerant and diverse IndonesiaIt has built more than 150 mosques (albeit in a country that has about800,000), a huge free university in Jakarta, and several Arabic language institutes; supplied more than 100 boarding schools with books and teachers (albeit in a country estimated to have between 13,000 and 30,000 boarding schools); brought in preachers and teachers; and disbursed thousands of scholarships for graduate study in Saudi Arabia. All this adds up to a deep network of Saudi influence.
“The advent of Salafism in Indonesia is part of Saudi Arabia’s global project to spread its brand of Islam throughout the Muslim world,” said Din Wahid, an expert on Indonesian Salafism at Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University (UIN) in Jakarta.
Salaf is Arabic for “forebear,” and Salafism is a Sunni movement that advocates a return to the Islamic traditions of the Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) and his contemporaries. It arose in reaction to 18th-century European colonialism in the Middle East, but it took particular root in Saudi Arabia in the hands of the influential preacher Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab. Al-Wahab’s alliance with the House of Saud in 1744 cemented Wahhabism as the spiritual backbone of the Saudi Arabian state. And in the 20th century, Saudi Arabia, which had become fabulously oil-rich, started to invest its considerable resources in propagating its ideology abroad.
The heart of Indonesian Salafism is the Institute for the Study of Islam and Arabic (LIPIA), a completely Saudi-funded university in South Jakarta whose campus was abuzz the day before the king’s visit.
“It’s really great that our two countries are becoming closer,” said one student who, like most of the other male students at LIPIA, had a wispy beard and wore cropped pants, per hadith verses stating that covering one’s ankles connotes arrogance. “I’ve been reading all the news about the royal visit. I hope to further my own studies in Saudi Arabia, God willing.”
LIPIA’s doors opened in 1980. Its ostensible purpose is to spread the Arabic language, and there’s not a word of the country’s official language, Bahasa Indonesia, on its campus—not a bathroom sign, not a library book. Tuition at LIPIA is free for all its 3,500 students. Music is considered bid’ah, an unnecessary innovation, and is prohibited, along with television and loud laughter. Men and women do not interact; classes of male students attend live lectures on one floor while female students watch the same lecture, live-streamed, on a separate floor.
Indonesia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs accredited LIPIA in 2015, which bodes well for the university’s push to open four more branches across the archipelago. Hammed al-Sultan, head of LIPIA’s Arabic language department, was confident that the satellite campuses would open by the fall of this year. But they will need their own green lights from the ministry, which has voiced concerns about whether they will uphold moderate Islam and Indonesia’s state philosophy of Pancasila, which enshrines religious tolerance.
When I asked whether LIPIA Jakarta already does this, al-Sultan said, “Pancasila … sorry, what is that again?” An LIPIA representative acting as our translator quickly briefed him on it. Al-Sultan said, “Yes, our integration of Pancasila is in progress since it was a requirement for our accreditation two years ago.”
Muhammad Adlin Sila of the Ministry of Religious Affairs was more frank.“We are concerned about some alumni from LIPIA who are big fans of khilafah [the caliphate of the Islamic State].”
Ulil-Abshar Abdalla, a LIPIA alumnus who now runs the Liberal Islam Network, said he found the university’s theological climate oppressive when he attended in the early 1990s. “Theology, which is a mandatory subject there, is only taught by committed Wahhabis, and I really think their ideology is antithetical to traditional Indonesian Islam, which is usually syncretic and relaxed,” he explained.
“Wahhabi, Wahhabi, Wahhabi… people love to throw around this term without knowing what it means!”
BeyondLIPIA, hundreds of Indonesians receive scholarships to study at Saudi universities every year. A few decades in, alumni of these programs are becoming nationally influential in their home country. Habib Rizieq, the founder of the Islamic Defenders Front, a hardline organization associated with religion-related violence, attended both LIPIA and King Saud University in Riyadh. Jafar Umar Thalib, who founded the militant Salafi group Laskar Jihad, also graduated from LIPIA. Right-wing Islamist leaders like Hidayat Nur Wahid, a member of parliament who earned three degrees on scholarship from the University of Medina, are prominent in mainstream politics.
LIPIA alumni have also set up pesantren, or Islamic boarding schools, across Indonesia. Many of the country’s 100-odd Salafi pesantren are supplied by Saudi Arabia with teachers, especially in the Arabic language, and textbooks, according to Din Wahid. For many poor families, these pesantren are the only feasible option for their kids’ schooling, despite ideological quibbles, Wahid said.
Enterprising Saudi envoys have even made inroads in places like Aceh, the westernmost Indonesian province that’s been wracked by natural disasters like the 2005 tsunami. “We have built mosques, hospitals, and schools there,” the Saudi ambassador to Indonesia, Mohammad Abdullah Alshuaibi, told me. “And an Arabic language institute.”
One reason Indonesia has been reluctant to push back on Saudi cultural advances is the all-important hajj quota, the number of citizens who can make the pilgrimage to Mecca in a given year. Indonesia gets the largest allowance in the world:221,000 this year. But decade-long hajj waiting lists are common in many provinces, and jeopardizing the national allowance could provoke a huge backlash, said Dadi Darmadi, a UIN researcher, and hajj expert.
“That being said, the Indonesian government has to be wiser and stop considering the hajj quota as a political gambit to attract more populist support in this country,” Darmadi said.
Nearly every Indonesian leader, from the president to the foreign minister to the Speaker of the House, has cited the hajj quota as an important focus of King Salman’s trip.
The first big policy objective announced for the visit, however, addressed not the hajj, but terrorism. A “pact to combat terrorism” will be the “centerpiece” of agreements signed in Indonesia this week, the Saudi ambassador, Alshuaibitold reporterson Tuesday.
“We need King Salman to make a clear and bold statement denouncing radicalism.”
It’s ironic, then, that some of Indonesia’s leading jihadists have passed through Saudi institutions. Although Salafism is largely “quietist,” or discouraging of political activity, there is a growing faction of Salafi jihadists in Indonesia, according to Din Wahid. In 1972, Saudi money helped to found the “ivy league” of jihadist pesantren, the Al-Mukmin school in Ngruki, Central Java. The Indonesian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah received funding from Saudi charities in theearly 2000s.Salafi TV, YouTube channels, Facebook groups, and Telegram channels have become a fertile ground for female extremists and ISIS sympathizers in Indonesia in the last few years, according to a2017 reportfrom the Institute of Policy Analysis and Conflict (IPAC).
“We’ve been seeing some evidence of the transition from Salafism to extremism among female extremists of the ISIS generation,” said Nava Nuraniyah, an IPAC researcher. “On the other hand, though, Salafi ulama [scholars] in Indonesia are among the most vocal opponents of extremism,” she said, suggesting that Salafism acts as a bridge to extremism for some even as it acts as a deterrent for others.
Saudi Arabia has long pushed the notion that its rigorous, state-sanctioned version of Islam is actually a bulwark against violent extremism, and has partnered with countries like the United States to fight terrorist groups from al-Qaeda to ISIS. But as Indonesia’s recent history shows, the distinction between Salafism and jihadism is not clear-cut.
“We need King Salman to make a clear and bold statement denouncing radicalism,” said Yahya Cholil Staquf of the moderate Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama. Otherwise, he said, “His visit will be easily perceived as more support to radical Islamic movements in Indonesia, as it is already a common public understanding that those radical movements take theological reference from Saudi Wahhabism and have been enjoying various kinds of support from Saudi Arabia.”
The Saudi ambassador, for his part, thinks such fears about the ideological impact of Saudi investment are off-base. “Wahhabi, Wahhabi, Wahhabi… people love to throw around this term without knowing what it means!” Alshuaibi told me. “They make baseless accusations. It is crazy!”
And some Indonesian leaders remain cautiously optimistic about closer ties with Saudi Arabia. “The two countries face the same challenge of rising radicalism and intolerance, so cooperation in those areas will be beneficial,” Yenny Wahid, a moderate Muslim activist, toldReuters.
Indonesia may be the largest stage for Saudi Arabia’s cultural diplomacy, but it’s hardly the only one. Saudi Arabia builtsatellite campusesfor Egypt’s Al-Azhar university in the 1980s, funded Bosnianrebelsand later built themschools in the 1990s, bankrollednumerous madrassasin pre-Taliban Pakistan and Afghanistan, and sent 25,000 clerics to India between2011 and 2013. Al-Hattem, of LIPIA Jakarta, was previously stationed at Saudi outfits in Bosnia and Djibouti.
Observers have commented that the scales of power seem to be shifting in the Indonesia-Saudi relationship so that the former is now theoretically in a better position to resist unwanted expansion than it was in the early years of its republic.
“Our economic condition now is very different, almost reversed, since the last Saudi visit,” said Luthfi Assyanukie, a liberal Muslim academic. “I think we can utilize that to prudently regulate Saudi investments.” Sila, from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, said, “I think the Saudi government needs Indonesia more now than vice versa, not least in terms of the revenue from hajj pilgrims.”
As Saudi Arabia’s economy fluctuates and it enforcesausterity measuresat home, will it ramp up its global efforts or scale them back? It may not matter.
“Salafi pesantren, and Saudi-inspired religious education in general, no longer necessarily rely on Saudi donations, as followers have become incredibly adept at raising money locally,” Chaplin said.
As the rise of hardliners, the Arabic language, and Salafi jihadist cells in Indonesia show, Salafism has some undeniable, durable appeal here. In Indonesia, at least, Saudi Arabia is already seeing the fruits of its labor. This new religious ecosystem may be self-sustaining.
Reporting for this piece was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting

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Why Extremists find a wide following in the Muslim World? The Gap between Faith and Practice among Muslims

 

All Muslims need to do a reality check on the gap between professing Islam and practicing it in their daily lives.  We point our finger at the depravity of Western societies and cultures, but we do not realize that three fingers of the same hand are pointing at us. Western societies are NOT hypocritical about the decadence and malaise among them. the shout to the tree tops at every incidence, which harms their society. But, then they do an analysis of the problem at hand, and resolve to implement laws and practices which lead to a solution. In Islamic societies, problems exists in broad daylight, but we are not willing to accept their existence. So, they wallow in decadence and indecision. They claim to follow the Final Message of  the Creator of the Universe, but, there is chasm, between their beliefs and their acts. The Islamic storm centers like Indonesia Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iran, and Pakistan have a dichotomy between their faith and their practices. Muslim world is steeped in hypocrisy or munafiqat. It is true that there cannot be 100 percent compliance between the tenets and its practice. But, in the Islamic world there is least bit of adherence to basic rules of society and life enunciated in the Holy Qu’ran and Sunnah. The fallout of this disaster is manifested in the backwardness of Muslim societies in science, technology, space and oceanic exploration, medicine, biology, mathematics, social, economic, and cultural spheres. This has also resulted in a revolt of the masses and a gravitation towards wrong and extreme interpretations of the Deen of Peace, Al-Islam has been gifted to all humanity by their Creator. It is the ONLY faith which in its holy book devotes its longest chapter to a woman, Hazrat Maryam (PBUH) and  puts the status of women equal to men. Not only that, in some cases, the  women occupy a higher pedestal. But, in Muslim societies,  one finds, the worst degradation of women in practice. Muslims need a reality check on their own souls as well as those of their societies.  Otherwise, Islamic societies will be left behind by rest of the world. 

 

Islamic Concept of Education and the Real Purpose of Knowledge

knowledge about islam

Islam represents a comprehensive code of civilization encompassing all the dimensions of human thought and life. The Holy Quran is Allah’s last revelation to the mankind, meant to guide man in his esoteric and exoteric domains of life.

As Islam considers education a very essential tool to mould human thought and life so its educational system has the potential to lead civilization to the pinnacle. Islam seeks to setup its own civilization on the earth. Therefore, the mission of all prophets was to establish al-Din (i.e. religion, faith, mode of life, path etc.)- Islam. So, in order to understand what Islam is one has to see what Prophet Muhammad (SAW) achieved in his life. He established a full fledged Islamic society in Arabian peninsula which continued flourishing for several centuries. It was not merely religious society but represented Islamic principles in all walks of life, i.e. social, political, economic, moral, cultural, military, international relations and education.

Islamic system of education is composed of a clear objective of human recognition of Allah- the Ultimate Reality. The ultimate aim, real purpose, and goal of seeking knowledge is to know the Ultimate Reality, i.e. Almighty Allah- the Sustainer, the Maintainer, the Creator, the Provider, and the Keeper of the entire universe.

As the mission of all prophets was to establish Islam, so for that matter the holy Quran serves as its comprehensive constitution (4:105, 6:38) which is based on ‘Ilm (knowledge). Holy Quran says, “Verily, we have sent unto them a book (i.e. holy Quran), based on knowledge, which is explained in detail, a mercy and a guidance to a people who believe” (7:56). It does not allow man to act without knowledge (17:36) and there is no room in its philosophy for illiteracy, which according to holy Quran is the source of all kinds of fallacies, superstitions and irrational approaches. In other words, “illiteracy is the root cause of all evils including false beliefs, superstitions,etc.” The Holy Quran, infact, stimulates Muslim scholarship to study the Universe in its various factes. “About 750 verses of the holy Quran exhort the believers to study nature, to make best use of ‘Aql (Reason/ intellect) in their search and to make acquisition of knowledge and scientific comprehension… as there are signs of Allah’s power for mankind”. Holy Quran says “Verily in the creation of the Heavens and the Earth, and in the alternation of night and the day, there are indeed signs (revelations and proofs) for men of understanding”. (3:190)

In many Qura`nic verses Allah has highlighted the importance of knowledge for success in life. Islam seeks to help man to recognize Allah as knowledge is to know the reality and the greatest reality is the existence of Allah. This is the ‘Ilm by which we can distinguish between true and false, right and wrong, virtue and vice, Haqq and Batil etc. The very first Revelation (96:1-5) to the last Prophet (SAW) serves as an invitation to man to know the Lord of the entire creation.

As ‘Ilm (knowledge) is basis of Quran (7:56) and Quran is furqan ( distinguishing between Haqq and Batil) so ‘Ilm is the power and blessing or criteria for distinguishing between true and false and between right and wrong. Knowledge brings light to life, increases power of mind and without it one’s life is aimless and purposeless. 

To conclude, ‘Ilm is one of the blessings bestowed by Allah to the Supreme creature- the human being. The real purpose, ultimate aim and goal of acquiring or seeking knowledge is to know the Ultimate Reality- who is the Creator, the Sustainer and the Maintainer and the Provider of the entire creation- Almighty Allah.

 

 

Reference

 

We present to you excerpt from the writings of Prof. Anwar Syed highlighting the conundrum and offers some solutions:

Decadence of the Muslim World

By Anwar Syed

 Muslims seem to have been content with their existing station in life. Possessed of passivity, they have been wanting in ambition and drive to attain higher levels of productivity and prosperity. Advancement in the pursuit of knowledge requires hard work, which they have not been willing to undertake

There was a time when the ordinary individual’s right to know was not acknowledged. It is said of Naushirwan the Just that he was once out on a military campaign, the end of the month approached and the soldiers had to be paid their salaries, but the treasurer with bags of money had not yet arrived from the capital. He sent one of his ministers to a nearby town to see if someone would lend the king the money he needed for a few days. The minister found a wealthy blacksmith who manufactured weapons and made a lot of money. He was willing to lend the king the money in return for a consideration, which was that his son should be allowed to enrol in a school to get education. The king declined this condition, saying that learning had to remain the preserve of the ruling classes. That was a long time ago. Earlier this year a landlord’s employee in Multan beseeched a friend of mine to enrol his son in a school in Lahore because his employer did not want the children of his servants to get education. He would rather that they stayed ignorant and, like their fathers and grandfathers, worked on his farm as serfs. This landlord was not the only one of his kind. Countless large landowners in Pakistan think the same way. The great majority of the people of Pakistan are at best semi-literate.

It is true that during the medieval ages Muslims made great advances in the study of medicine, physical and biological sciences, history and sociology. Their works reached the Europeans through translations. They advanced the frontiers of knowledge that existed at that time. They questioned conventional wisdom, made new discoveries and got new answers. Then came the theologians, notably Imam Ghazali, who taught that no further questions needed to be raised because enough had been asked and answered. Knowledge in the Muslim lands froze rigid. Conformity (taqleed), instead of innovation, became the rule. This remained the case for several hundred years and became a habit of the Muslim mind and it continues to be the same way even today.

Dr Attaur Rehman, a renowned scientist and founder of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in Pakistan, stated recently in a television interview that there were some 500 universities in the Muslim world whereas India alone had more than 7,000 of them. He added that Muslim scholars published about 500 research-based articles in professional journals in a year while Japan produced more than 10 times as many. Only seven Muslims have received the Nobel Prize in their respective fields of specialisation. There are less than 10 million Jews in the entire world and more than 100 of them have been awarded the same prize. Pakistan, he pointed out, allocated 4 percent of its GDP but actually spent less than 2 percent of it on education. Turkey is an exception to this general trend. It has made enormous progress in the areas of manufacturing and commerce. It operates a knowledge-based economy. It should be noted that while an Islamic party has been in power in this country for several years, its military, bureaucratic, and commercial elite have been secular-minded for the most part since Kemal Ataturk’s revolution in the 1920s. Malaysia is another exception whose government has been allocating 25 percent of its budget to education.

How may we then explain the Muslim people’s disinclination to pursue knowledge? Imam Ghazali’s halt to further investigation related only to scriptural knowledge. It is however possible that subsequent scholarship extended his scepticism to other disciplines, and knowledge in the Muslim world became stagnant. Another influence may be noted. The Ulema (Islamic scholars) have traditionally taught that all that is worth knowing has already been stated in the Quran and Sunnah, and whatever has not been covered in these sources is not worth knowing. Furthermore, Muslims seem to have been content with their existing station in life. Possessed of passivity, they have been wanting in ambition and drive to attain higher levels of productivity and prosperity. Advancement in the pursuit of knowledge requires hard work, which they have not been willing to undertake. Moreover, the mullah has been preaching that the existing state of affairs is what it is because God has so willed.

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In Pakistan, absolutism in governance has declined to a degree but it has not disappeared entirely. A reasonably fair election was held in February 2008 and a parliament and a government of elected representatives are in place. That this government is not honest and competent enough to be relied upon is a different matter. The media is free and vocal as are the other organs of civil society. The higher judiciary is both honest and competent. Public order and tranquillity have broken down and terrorism has become pervasive. Beyond all these adversities there is the fact that education in Pakistan, as in the rest of the Muslim world, is in a very bad state. Standards of attainment in higher education have fallen precipitously, and the situation is not any better at the lower levels. Teacher salaries are low and dedication to duty is hard to find. The infrastructure is in ruins. It is not uncommon to find teachers and students sitting under trees or the open sky because they do not have a school building. Strangely enough, one may find places where there is a school building but no students because the local landed aristocrats are using the structure as a warehouse and as a barn for their cattle. The elected representatives of the people in parliament and the executive branch are not making any visible effort to clean up this mess.

I see no signs of a movement in the Muslim world, apart from the couple of exceptions already noted, to spread knowledge to the generality of its people, encourage them to be inquisitive and appropriately sceptical of conventional wisdom, take hold of modern science and technology, become innovative and inventive, and join the ranks of the developed world.

The writer, professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, is a visiting professor at the Lahore School of Economics.

Source: The Daily Times, Lahore

 

Reference

 

 

COMMENTS
  • “Imam Ghazali’s halt to further investigation related only to scriptural knowledge. It is however possible that subsequent scholarship extended his scepticism to other disciplines, and knowledge in the Muslim world became stagnant. Another influence may be noted. The Ulema (Islamic scholars) have traditionally taught that all that is worth knowing has already been stated in the Quran and Sunnah, and whatever has not been covered in these sources is not worth knowing.”

    Prof. Syed’s reflections on Muslim backwardness are worth noting. We need to combat the unhealthy attitudes of many Muslims regarding learning. 

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin – 8/10/2011 11:29:26 AM 

Prohibition against prostitution from the Qur’an:

Allāh says in Sūrat An Nur:

A painful punishment waits in this world and the next for those who like indecency to spread among the believers. God knows and you do not.  [Qur’an, Sura An Nur, 24:19].

[…] Nor shall you compel your handmaidens to whoredom–for they too ardently desire to be chaste–in order for yourselves, thereby, to seek the fleeting things of the life of this world. Bus should one so compel them–then the compeller is guilty, while after their having been so compelled, God is All-forgiving of such handmaidens, and mercy giving towards them  [Qu’ran, Sura 24, An-Nur Ayah 33]

Prohibition against Prostitution from the Hadiths of the Prophet (s):

Narrated Abu Juhaifa: The Prophet cursed the lady who practices tattooing and the one who gets herself tattooed, and one who eats (takes) Riba’ (usury) and the one who gives it. And he prohibited taking the price of a dog, and the money earned by prostitution, and cursed the makers of pictures. [Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith (Hadith 7.259)]

Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah: Musaykah, a slave-girl of some Ansari, came and said: My master forces me to commit fornication. Thereupon the following verse was revealed: “But force not your maids to prostitution (when they desire chastity).” [Sunan of Abu-Dawood – 954]

Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah: Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul used to say to his slave girl: Go and fetch something for us by committing prostitution. It was in this connection that Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, revealed this verse: “And compel not your slave-girls to prostitution when they desire to keep chaste in order to seek the frail goods of this world’s life, and whoever compels them, then surely after their compulsion Allah is Forgiving, Merciful” (xxiv.33). [Sahih Muslim Hadith – 1415]

Fatwa Against Temporary Marriage or Mutah by Islam’s Global Leading Scholar, Sheikh Yusuf Al Qardawi

On “muta marriage” marriage from a Sunni view:

 

http://www.islamonline.net and reprinted on Islamopedia

Marriage in Islam is a strong binding contract based on the intention of both partners to live together permanently in order to attain, as individuals, the benefit of repose, affection, and mercy mentioned in the Quran, as well as to attain the social goal of the reproduction and perpetuation of the human species. Almighty Allah says: “And Allah has made for you spouses of your own nature, and from your spouses has made for you sons and grandsons….” (An-Nahl: 72)

Now, mutah marriage is a marriage that is contracted by the two parties for a specified period of time in exchange for a specified sum of money. While the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) permitted mutah marriage during journeys and military campaigns before the Islamic legislative process was made complete, he later forbade it and made it haram on a permanent basis.

It was initially permitted because the Muslims were passing through what might be called a period of transition from jahiliyyah (the pre-Islamic period) to Islam. Fornication was widespread among the Arabs before the advent of Islam. After Islam, when Muslims were required to go on military expeditions, they were under great pressure as a result of being away from their wives for long periods of time. Some of the believers were strong in faith, but others were weak. The weak in faith feared that they would be tempted to commit adultery, which is a major sin, while the staunch in faith, on the contrary, were ready to castrate themselves. Ibn Masud narrates: “We were on an expedition with the Messenger of Allah and did not have our wives with us, so we asked Allah’s Messenger “Should we not castrate ourselves?”(The reason for this request was the desire to preserve their chastity, which was in danger of being affected by their unmet needs.) He forbade us from doing so but permitted us to contract marriage with a woman up to a specified date, giving her a garment as a dowry (Mahr).” (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Thus, mutah marriage provided a solution to the dilemma in which both the weak and the strong found themselves. It was also a step toward the final legalization of the complete marital life in which the objectives of permanence, chastity, reproduction, love, and mercy as well as the widening of the circle of relationships through marriage ties were to be realized.

We may recall that the Quran adopted a gradual course in prohibiting wine and usury, as these two evils were widespread and deeply rooted in the pre-Islamic society. In the same manner, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) adopted a gradual course in the matter of sex. First, he permitted mutah marriage as an alternative to zina (fornication and adultery), and at the same time coming closer to the permanent marriage relationship. He then prohibited it absolutely, as all and many other Companions reported. Muslim reports this in his Sahih (Authentic Collection of Hadiths), mentioning that Al-Juhani was with the Prophet at the conquest of Makkah and that the Prophet gave some Muslims permission to contract mutah marriages. Al-Juhani said: “Before leaving Mecca, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) prohibited it.” In another version: “Allah has made it Haram until the Day of Resurrection.”

The question arises: Is mutah marriage absolutely haram, like marriage to one’s own mother or daughter, or is it like the prohibition concerning the eating of pork or dead meat, which becomes permissible in case of dire necessity, the necessity in this case being the fear of committing zina?

The majority of the Companions hold the view that after the completion of the Islamic legislation, mutah marriage was made absolutely haram. However, Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) holds a different opinion, permitting it in case of dire necessity. A person asked him about marrying women on a haram basis, and he permitted him to do so. A servant of his then asked, “Is this not under hard conditions, when women are few and the like?” and he replied, “Yes.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari) Later, when Ibn Abbas saw that people had become lax and were engaging in haram marriages without necessity, he withdrew his ruling and retracted his previous opinion. (Zad Al-Ma`ad, vol. 4, p. 7

Fatwa of Sheikh Ibn Baz Against Temporary Marriage (Mutah or Sighe)

Some forms of marriage contradict with Shar`y (legal) marriage, including Mut`ah marriage (temporary marriage for a stipulated period) 

It means marrying a woman for a fixed period of time, after which their marriage comes to an end, such as a month or two. This form of marriage was allowed at one time, and then was abrogated and prohibited for the Islamic Ummah (nation based on one creed). It was reported in the Sahih (authentic) Hadith that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: I permitted you to contract Mut`ah marriage (temporary marriage for a stipulated period), but Allah has forbidden it (now) until the Day of Resurrection. He who has any (woman with this type of marriage contract) he should let her go, and not take back anything you have given to them as Mahr (mandatory gift to a bride from her groom). It was authentically reported on the authority of `Aly (may Allah be pleased with him), Salamah ibn Al-Akwa`, Ibn Mas`ud and others that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) prohibited Mut`ah marriage (temporary marriage for a stipulated period), so it was settled in Shari`ah (Islamic law) that it is prohibited and that Shar`y (Islamically lawful) marriage is one in which a man and a woman want to live with each other forever, for the purpose of achieving chastity, procreation and cooperation in goodness. This is the Shar`y marriage permitted by Allah, whose conditions were previously mentioned. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) made it goodness for the Muslim Ummah; it entails cooperation, increase of the progeny, chastity of men and women and their favor towards each other. The man does a favor to the woman by keeping her chaste, providing for her, maintaining her, protecting her from immoral men and so on. A woman, on the other hand, helps her husband in his worldly and spiritual affairs, keeps him chaste, and helps him during calamities. Mut`ah marriage (temporary marriage for a stipulated period) was abrogated in Islam forever. `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) used to threaten those who did it with stoning to death like an adulterer, because Allah prohibited it in Shari`ah (Islamic law) forever. However, Al-Rafidah (a Shiitic group) still consider this form of marriage lawful and practice it, as reported in their books. This is one of the matters that were used against them and one of their deviations from the straight path. Thus, no reasonable person should believe them;we should beware of their falsehood. A Mu’min (believer) should unmistakably acknowledge that this form of marriage is invalid and prohibited by Allah (Exalted be He). It was already mentioned the Hadith of Samrah ibn Ma`bad Al-Jahni, on the authority of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he said: 

 

I permitted you to contract Mut`ah marriage, but Allah has forbidden it (now) until the Day of Resurrection. He who has any (woman with this type of marriage contract) he should let her go, and do not take back anything you have given to them as Mahr.(Related by Muslim in his Sahih)This Nas (Islamic text from the Qur’an or the Sunnah) and others that carry the same meaning indicate that Naskh (abrogation) remains in effect until the Day of Resurrection; there is no way that it is still Halal (lawful). Rather, it was abrogated and will remain so until the Day of Resurrection. Temporary marriage is in which a man and a woman agree to marry for a fixed period of time. When this period comes to an end, they separate without the need for Talaq (divorce pronounced by a husband). They might stipulate divorce, but it is Mut`ah Talaq (temporary divorce) as well; they might agree upon marrying for two or three months, then he divorces her and she observes `Iddah (woman’s prescribed waiting period after divorce or widowhood). Temporary marriage is Mut`ah marriage (temporary marriage for a stipulated period) in all cases, whether there is divorce or just separation at the end of its fixed time. It is Haram (prohibited) according to the legal textand Ijma` (consensus of scholars) among Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah (adherents to the Sunnah and the Muslim mainstream).

 

Slavery and Prostitution in Pakistan

Muslim prostitute speaks about prostitution in Lahore, Pakistan

Saudis traveling for “Halal Sex” To Indonesia

Prostitution behind the Veil: Iran

Minna and Fariba are neighbours and good friends. They support one another. Both have to live under the pervasive curtailment of women’s rights and the double standards of today’s Iranian society. They make a living walking the streets looking for men. They have a choice between leaving their small children at home alone or bringing them along when they have sex with men.

The film is a sympathetic portrait of the two women, exploring their day-to-day life and the workings of prostitution in a country that bans it and prosecutes adulterers, sometimes with the penalty of capital punishment.

Many of the clients find a way to buy sex and still comply with Muslim law: they marry the women in what is called ‘Sighe’, a temporary marriage sanctioned in Shia Islam. Sighe can last from two hours up to 99 years. Both Minna and Fariba enter into Sighe with clients, and Fariba is in a Sighe marriage with a neighbour, Habib, that lasts six months. Giving his perspective on temporary marriage, Habib says that Sighe is a way to help poor women, it is an act of mercy in the name of Allah.

The film follows the two women for more than a year. It describes their middle-class backgrounds and their submission to treacherous men and drugs. We see how Fariba manages to quit drugs and prostitution, only

Please note that that the Shi’ite continuation of Mut’ah or Sighe (temporary marriage)  is against what the Prophet (s) himself and Caliph Omar (r) allowed.  Please see Fatwa above by Sheikh Yusuf Al Qardawi, one of the foremost global Islamic scholar.

Sex in Bangladesh

Sex Trade in Malaysia

Child Labor and Prostitution in Egypt

The Fate of Prostitutes in the Muslim World

By Aishah Mohd. Nasarruddin, trainee lecturer in women’s health development unit, Universiti Sains Malaysia.

Drifted and Forgotten

The flourishing of prostitution in Muslim countries is a paradox that we often overlook as a problem of our ummah. As prostitution is condemned and forbidden in Islam, and these women, to an extent, are marginalized and invisible in our community, many of us are not aware of the magnitude and realities of this problem. We do not consider them as a cause worth fighting for as we do for the betterment of the poor, abused, homeless, oppressed and ailing. To make matters worse, misinformation is widespread and the voices of former prostitution victims are systematically silenced.

Among the factors contributing to the widespread practice of prostitution among Muslim countries include:

  • The denial of the existence of such problems in our community
  • Spreading of the truth impedes men’s comfort and pleasure in using women
  • Hindrance of profitability of the industry, especially for those players who are politically connected
  • Prostitution is too horrible of a practice, a highly stigmatized taboo subject, that people would rather not hear details about

Majority of us may have the idea that prostitution is a choice and the women enjoy what they do. The reality is quite the contrary for many of them. On many occasions, deprivations, conflicts, and difficult circumstances often lead to desperation, and desperation forces these women into the practice of prostitution. Many are uneducated women who live in poverty and possess few marketable skills. My research finds that prostitutes are many times:

  • single mothers making ends meet for their children.
  • victims of incest and sexual abuse.
  • manipulated homeless teenagers.
  • displaced sufferers of human trafficking.
  • They are distraught girls with failed early marriages.
  • They are refugees who fled from their war-torn countries.

While we criminalize them for living in adultery, spreading diseases, disrupting family institutions, and giving birth to innocent, illegitimate children who suffer for having dishonorable mothers, we fail to see the other spectrum of the consequences of prostitution. The consequences are not only devastating to the society, but also to the prostitute herself as a person. It completely destroys her already shattered life, being reduced down to a depersonalized, sexual object.  She develops a personality where she is unable to develop trust in relationships and slowly numbs herself, to the point where she loses the ability to feign attachments to anyone or anything.  In order to survive this overwhelming, daily ordeal, she dissociates from her real self, originally as a defense mechanism; sadly, it reaches to the point of complete shut down, where she is stripped of her identity, and over time, she disappears. […]

What can we do to help?

1. Reach out wherever possible to our sisters who are prostitutes: In regions where prostitution remains legal, it may be easier to reach out to them because they are registered under the profession and therefore can be identified. For example, in Turkey, sociologists and psychologists interviewed 3,000 registered prostitutes working at brothels to determine whether they had been forced into the job and if they would prefer another line of employment.

On the other hand, where prostitution is generally illegal, it is difficult and rather unsafe to reach them. Many things can happen if you are at the wrong place at the wrong time. They fear that ‘outsiders’ would turn them in to the authorities to be penalized, especially the prostitutes who are linked to pimps, traffickers, and corrupt officials.  […]

2. Put prostitutes in touch with reputable and experienced, relevant NGOS. What we can do to reach out is put them in contact with experienced volunteers from reputable organizations such as NGOs working on reproductive and health education, or NGOs that conduct programs to keep children from red-light districts in school.  […]

3. Include prostitutes in legitimate and Islamic income-generating programs. We should include them in income-generating programs so that they can have a regular income, which hopefully would decrease the chance of them resorting back to prostitution. […]

4.  Criminalize the trafficking and buying of sex. On a larger scale, there should be a focus shift to criminalize the buying rather than the selling of sex. The burden of punishment should be on the clients who perpetuate the sex trade rather than the women who are trapped in the situation. For example, in Sweden, prostitution is officially acknowledged as a form of male sexual violence against women and children. Swedish policy addresses the issue of prostitution and trafficking by focusing on the root cause […].

[Please click here to read more.]

The Prohibition of Temporary Marriage or Mutah in Islam

Caliph Umar’s (r) Control Of Sexuality Laxity

In the days of ignorance sexual laxity was the order of the day. Islam stood for reform in the moral and social fields, and condemned sexual laxity in all forms. Under Islam a limitation was placed on the number of wives one could marry. Such number was not to exceed four, and it was enjoined that all the wives should be treated alike with due justice. Lapidation was provided as the punishment for those found guilty of adultery.

When Umar became the Caliph he took further steps to rid the society of sexual laxity.

In the days of ignorance poetry was pressed into service as an instrument of moral laxity. The poets indulged in ribald poems. They named their sweethearts in their poems and by indulging in poetic licence compromised the honour and integrity of ladies. Then where ladies were no party to love the poets in their imagination made their beloveds return their love in passionate terms. Such poetry did considerable social harm, and disturbed domestic peace in many a home. Umar took cognisance of this unsocial practice. He commanded the poets not to mention the names of ladies in their poems. He also issued directions that the poets should not indulge in any versification calculated to encourage moral depravity. Where some poets inadvertently or otherwise contravened these instructions they were flogged or punished.

Mutah in some form or the other was permissible or at least not expressly forbidden before the time of Umar. Umar felt that Mutah “hereunder a man married a woman for a specified number of days amounted to disguised prostitution and this led to moral laxity. Umar accordingly passed an order prohibiting Mutah. He declared that it was open to a person to divorce a woman after regular marriage for any valid reason, but a marriage which was stipulated to be dissolved after a specified number of days was repugnant to the spirit of Islam which stood for stability of domestic homes. Umar elaborated that the purpose of marriage was to set up homes with a view to getting children and Mutah negated such objects. Moreover in the case of Mutah the children born of such union were to be subject to social disability which was detrimental to social order.

Under the Islamic law divorce was permissible. The Holy Prophet however took pains to explain that divorces which disrupted family life were distasteful to God. People were enjoined not to be hasty in the matter of divorce. Divorce could be effective only when three divorces were given. The idea was to provide some opportunity for reconciliation. When under Umar more countries were conquered and women from other countries became available for the Muslims, some Muslims resorted to the practice of announcing three divorces simultaneously. In order to put a stop to this unsocial practice Umar laid down that if a person gave three talaqs simultaneously such divorce would be irrevocable.

With the conquest of Iraq and Syria, Iraqi and Syrian women became available to the Muslims. Attracted by the beauty of these women, the Muslims divorced their Arab wives. That created a social crisis which led to sexual laxity. Umar accordingly ordered that marriages with foreign ladies should be permitted under exceptional circumstances. Hudhaifa was the administrator of al Madina and he married a Christian beauty of Iraq. When this was brought to the notice of Umar he required Hudhaifa to divorce the Christian beauty, Hudhaifa said that he would not comply with the order unless he was told whether his marriage was unlawful or else; the Caliph referred to the authority under which he wanted him (Hudhaifa) to divorce his legally wedded wife. Umar wrote to say that the marriage he had contracted was not unlawful, but he had been advised to divorce the Christian beauty as it was bound to adversely affect the interests of Arab ladies. Moreover if the Muslims married non-Muslim ladies merely for tbeir beauty that would encourage sexual laxity. Thereupon Hudhaifa divorced his Christian wife.

Besides four lawful wives Islam permitted any man to take over any number of slave girls to bed. These slave girls were to be the property of the Master and he could sell them any time. With the extension in conquests the number of available slave girls increased and Umar felt that this would promote sexual laxity. He ordered that Umm ul Walad that is such slave girls who bore children to their masters would stand emancipated. This had the effect that such women could no longer be treated as concubines and were to be given the status of regular wives or divorced when they could, as free women, marry other persons.

Source: Hadrat Abu Bakr, Umar, Usman, Ali (ra) 4 Vol. Set

Upon being critiqued by Umman bin Sawad for his decision, Umar (r) explained why he prohibited Mutah:

About the Mutah, Umar said:

“Mutah was an ancient practice with the Arabs. The Holy Prophet did not like the practice though he tolerated it on some occasions due to special circumstances. Even then on at least two occasions he prohibited the practice. God has spoken of the sanctity of the marriage ties, and if the marriage is held sacred on one side and Mutah is allowed on the other that would be inconsistent. If Mutah is allowed that would be a sort of sanctioned prostitution. That is repugnant to Islam. If any person marries the idea is to establish a home. If a person marries for a few specified days that is foreign to the establishment of a home. Mutah is thus repugnant to Islam. If any person wants to dissolve the marriage after a few days it is open to him to give the divorce in the usual way. I have prohibited Mutah in the interests of the sanctity and integrity of Muslim homes. That is a social reform. There is no express injunction allowing Mutah and by disallowing it I have not contravened any provisions of Islamic law.”

WhUnknown-29y Islam Prohibits Fornication and Adultery

This video explains the beautiful wisdom of Islam prohibiting having girlfriends, fornication and adultery. It also explains a little bit on the relationship between husband and wives.http://www.TheDeenShow.com, speaker: Abdur-Raheem Green

 

 

 

 

Fighting Zina in Islam


Additional related articles:
1. Islam and Extra-marital Affairs in the Workplace.

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