By L.G. Chincholkar
The ?Shah Bano? case in India in which an aged Muslim lady with grown up children was divorced and unceremoniously deprived of any livelihood and denied any monetary relief from the husband only confirms the Islamic idea of ?respect? for women. Strangely there was no effective protest by Muslims against such injustice. (17) The status of woman in Hinduism may not be ideal but it is far better than what prevails in Islam. Besides, there have been and are effective reformers in Hinduism.
If there was no Mahabharata [for Droupadi] or Ramayana [for Sita] in Islam-as is said -it does not add any superiority to Islam, for, in Islam a woman is a lootable and marketable ?property?. (18) The concept of Sita or Droupadi'sdevotion to husband [pativratya] is not in Islam. The marriage in Islam is a breakable contract not a life-long bond. Therefore, absence of such characters like Sita or Droupadi is natural in the literature of Islam.
The contention that Prophet brought in ?four wives at a time? formula to prohibit the multi-marriage system prevailing in Arabs is not only unrealistic but it also defeats the very purpose for which Prophet brought it in. The reason is very clear. Besides, is not ?four wives at a time? a multi-marriage system itself? A man could go on marrying as many wives as he desires provided he limits four wives at a time. Because of contractual marriage, the moment the man so desires he could divorce the existing wife and bring in another of his choice and thus could go on so long as the man chooses to proceed accordingly.
Prophet himself is reported to have married 11 (eleven) times. (19) Besides he entertained concubines.(20) There is no reason given why the number of wives for others, at a time, has been limited to four only. Woman as a looted property from the war (21) constitute an additional quota. Does this reflect the ?respect? for woman in Islam?
Let us view-in this context-the case of Imrana of Muzaffarnagar, who has recently reportedly been raped by her father-in-law. Her case gets all the more tragic because of the fatwa issued by Deoband and endorsed by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board-that she can no longer stay with her husband. That means that in one stroke she is deprived of her home and hearth and her husband and her five children!?(22)
This once again proves the deplorable status of a woman in an Islamic society. As Siol J.Sorabjee-the former Attorney General of India-pointed out, ?The fatwa issued by the Darul-Uloom, Deoband apparently does not accept this basic principle of justice [ that ?the victim of crime is never punished nor condemned. Indeed the victim is compensated and rehabilitated.?] According to press reports the All India Muslim Personal Law Board [AIMPLB] has stated that the woman'slife could be in danger if she continues to live with her husband in defiance of fatwa. One wonders whether the Taliban has taken over our country?. (23)
Taslima Nasarin-the novelist from Bangladesh-in her work Lajja described how the Muslims there persecuted the Hindus. How they raped and ravished the Hindu girls, how the Muslims ill-treated the Hindus there. [The fate of Hindus in Pakistan is not different]. She did it not because she is a Muslim-as is argued- but because she had courage-the courage to defy Islamic tendencies-and possessed humane qualities. This, however, bared the true nature of Islamic exclusivism.
Again-unlike what is stated-the riots in Mumbai in 1993 killed not only Muslims but Hindus too. He appears to avoid eclectic view. Who were the conspirators? Were not Muslims responsible for it? Were not the implanted bombs the handiwork of Muslim? Did Muslims categorically and courageously condemn the attitude behind such acts? Could such riots be effected without the active support of some Muslims in India? The attack on Akshardham temple on 24/09/2002, the attack in London on 07/07/2005, the attack on Indian Parliament, the attack on World Trade Center in USA have common aspects. Islam inspired them all. Islamic attacks in Kashmir go on as usual. (24)
It has to be noted that Islam propagates Islamic brotherhood and not human brotherhood, even in principle. Dr Ambedkar had therefore very clearly stated that Islam will never allow Indian Muslims to be loyal to India. (25) This applies to all non-Islamic countries in the world. Even Moulana Abdul Kalam Azad, the 1st Education Minister of independent India and the prominent scholarly Muslim leader, had asked the Indian Muslims to go and settle in Afghanistan because India was not a Muslim country but a Hindu country. Lakhs of Muslims then had gone and settled there as per the fatwa of the Moulana. (26) Even ?Universal Islamic Declaration of human Rights? calls upon Muslims of the world to obey only those commands. ?That are in consonance with the law? i.e. Muslim Law.(27) Thus Islamic law supercedes all the State laws.
Such an attitude becomes clear when we know that according to Islam, Abu Talib-the uncle of the Prophet-will always remain in the hell-fire because he was an idol-worshipper and the Prophet could not convert him into Islam. The Quran denies Muslim even right to pray for non-Muslims.(28) Therefore to say that Islam represents pity, peace and forgiveness is inconsistent with the principle and practice of Islam. Where there is majority of Muslims they deny equality, freedom, fraternity, justice or all such human values to non-Muslims (29). It should now be clear why Islam is antithetic to such human values. It is to be noted that Islamic religious council organised special prayer for Abdul Rashid, who assassinated the ailing bed-ridden Swami Shraddhanandji-the Hindu leader. When in 1921 Mopla Muslims slaughtered the Hindus cruelly in Kerala [India], tore off the stomachs of even pregnant Hindu women there,(30) the Indian Muslims volunteered to protect such criminals.
The marriage in Islam is a breakable contract not a life-long bond. Therefore, absence of such characters like Sita or Droupadi is natural in the literature of Islam.
Hamid Dalwai viewed that Islam remained bereft of any reformation on account of such Islamic attitude.(31) Therefore, it cannot mix with any other religious society freely and on equal terms.(32) This explains why Moulana Muhammad Ali said that the creed of most fallen and degraded Muslims is superior to Mahatma Gandhi.(33) According to Islam Mahatma Gandhi also is doomed to the hell-fire forever only because he was not a Muslim.
If the Muslims mind has historically been incapable of introspection,(34) then that also explains why they have alienated themselves throughout the world on account of such religious exclusivism. ?A Muslim reformation is to combat not only the jihadi ideologues but also the dusty, stifling seminaries of the traditionalists, throwing open the windows of the closed communities to let in much-needed fresh air?.(35)
Thus seen, Islam and Hinduism could become cooperative, willing and equal-along with other responsive religions-partners in an unbiased and unhindered quest for truth or God. We may also choose to ponder over the view of Sri Aurbindo that all religions appear to have failed in their tasks. It would be a memorable era when rising above the respective religious complexes, different religions coalesce to proceed in their common quest inclusively. Reference:-
17. Cp ?The existence of these evils [i.e. Purdah, slavery of women etc.] is distressing enough, but far more distressing is the fact that there is no organised movement of social reform among Mussalmans of India on a scale sufficient to bring about their eradication.? By Dr B.R.Ambedkar in Thoughts in Pakistan, P-229.
18. John J.Pool, ?Thus the Quran, in this matter of slavery is the enemy of human kind and woman as usual are the greatest sufferers.? Q.F.Ibid P-224.
19. (1) Dictionary of Islam-Thomas Patrick Hughes, Rup & Co., 15, Bankim Chatterjee Streets, Calcutta (1988) P-380.
(2) ?According to Shiahs, Muhammad had twenty two wives?, Ibid P-400.
20. ?At the time of Muhammad'sdeath, he had nine wives and two concubines?, Ibid P-400.
21. The life of Mahomet William Muir, Voll. III (1861), P-303.
22. Hamra Quraishi in an article ?Imrana And the Essence of Sufism? in Indian Express [English daily newspaper, Nagpur], Dt. 01/07/2005,P-8.
23. Ibid dt. 02/07/2005, P-8.
24. Dictionary of Islam by Thomas Patrick Hughes (1988) Calcutta, P-399.
25. ?And it becometh not a believing man or a believing woman when Allah and His messenger have decided an affair [for them], that they should [after that] claim any say in their affair, and whoso is rebellious to Allah and Hiss messenger, he verily goeth astray in error manifest.? [Quran 33-36].
26. ?Mohammad And The Rise of Islam? by D.S.MergoliouthP-234-235.
27. ?On the offensive is a force of faith: the fastest growing religion in the world has its most explosive, literally interpreters in Martyrs, more commonly known as suicide bombers, and who have come a long way the intifada factories of Palestine in the sleepper cell in your neighbourhood. For the jihadis, it has always been a power struggle intensified by an ancestral memory of a perfumed glory, and today, in a world, colonised and corrupted by the infidels, revolution is the only way forward [or backward to the Book], the road to a unipolar Sultanate. India Today (English Weekly), July 25, 2005 in ?Standing Upto Horror? by S.Prasannarajan, P-37 [an article] Living Media India Ltd. F/14/15, Cannaught Place, New Delhi-110001.
28. (1) Pakistan or the Partition of India by Dr B.R.Ambedkar, Thacker & Co. Ltd., Bombay 1946, 3rd. Edition, P-325.
(2) Cp. Mohammad Mazharuddin Siddiqi in What is Islam-Markazi Maktaba Jama-al-e-Islami Hind, Delhi-6 [19 69], P-23, ?A Muslim cannot be a Muslim in the mosque and a nationalist or communist in politics. He is a Muslim everywhere?.
(3) Also Cp. Dr Kitchlew in a meeting held in Lahore in 1925 ?If a Muslim nation attacks India [after the British leaves the country] we shall help the invading forces?. Ref. Times of India dated 14/03/1925 under the caption ?Through Indian Eyes?. [Q.F. Ibid P-264]
(4) Cp. Moulana Azad Shobhani in his speech on January 27, 1939 at Sylhet ?So if we do not fight the greatest enemies of Islam, the Hindus, from now on, and make them weak, then they will not only establish Ramrajya in India but gradually spread all over the world.? [Q.F. Ibid, P-265].
29. Muslim Politics in Modern India by M.J.Haq, Meenakshi Prakashan, Meerut , P-124. The fatwa of Hijrat issued by Azad declared ?after taking into account all the provisions of Shariah, contemporary events, the interests of the Muslims and the pros and cons [of political issues], I feel fully satisfied that from the view point of Shariah, the Muslims of India have no choice but to migrate from India. Those who would like to fulfil their Islamic obligations must quit India. Those who can not migrate immediately should help the migrants [ muhajirin] as they were themselves migrating from the country. The Shariah leaves us no other course than migration?.
30. Published by Islamic Council, 16, Grosvenor Cresent, SW-1, Nov, 2001, Indian Edition 2001.
31. ?It is not for the Prophet, and those who believe to pray for the forgiveness of idolators even though they may be near kin [to them] after it hath become clear that they are people of hell-fire?, [Quran-9/133].
32. ?Muslim nationalist Movements wherever there is Muslim majority, do not allow non-Muslims to exist freely and equally?-in ?Muslim Politics in Secular India? by Hamid Dalwai, P-81. Pub. Hind Pocket Books Pvt. Ltd., G.T. Road, Delhi-32 (1972)
33. Pakistan or the Partition of India by Dr B.R. Ambedkar, Thacker & Co. Ltd., Bombay 1946, 3rd Edition, P-153-154.
34. Ref. A.B. Shah'sPreface to Muslim Politics in Secular India by Hamid Dalwai, p-7.
35. ?Among Indian Muslims there is conspicuous absence of unbiased self-critical and rational individuals who can discuss this problem (Hindu-Muslim problem) fruitfully?. Hamid Dalwai, Ibid p-87).