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Miracles, Myths, Mistakes and MattersSee Title Page and List of Contents


See: Project Rebuttal: What the West needs to know about Islam

Refuting the gross distortion and misrepresentation of the Quran, the Prophet Muhammad and Islam, made by the critics of Islam

Read: Background to the Project

List of all Issues | Summary 1 | Summary 2 | Summary 3‎ — completed, 28th June 2013


Archive for the ‘III. Mistakes’ Category

Forced distortions into Quran, Alas!

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

Forced Distortions into Quran, Alas!

6:71. Say, `Shall we call, besides Allâh, upon that which can neither profit us nor harm us (by itself), and shall we be turned back on our heels (and led astray) after Allâh has guided us, like one whom the evil ones have made to follow his caprices (leaving him) utterly bewildered in the land; (whilst) he has companions who call him to the guidance (of Allâh, saying), "Come to us".' Say, `Verily Allah's guidance is the only perfect guidance. And we are commanded (by Him) to submit to the Lord of the worlds.'[1] [Emphasis added]

5:45. …And whoever does not judge according to (the law) which Allâh has revealed, these it is who are the very unjust.[2] [Emphasis added]

No judgment – be it single or collective, and with a big name to back it – can bind us if it goes against Quran and good conscience. The word of God is the only criterion for testing genuineness of the Hadith. No word or action alleged as coming from the Prophet can be accepted as such if it controverts anything in the Quran.[3]

The previous section was aimed at the advocates who abrogate the verses of Quran because they can not reconcile some verses against the others. Abrogation is a simple way out for them from their ignorance. But, on the opposite, there are other kinds of advocates who draw injunctions from outside the Quran and then somehow interject their sources and interpretations into Quran. Once having corrupted the very basis of the Message and the Principles of the Quran, thereafter, they by using circular arguments attribute the source of their dogmas and fancies to Quran. Little do they know that they read their own minds into Quran, rather than what Quran is stating in plain terms.

68:36. What is the matter with you? How do you judge?

68:37. Or do you have a book in which you read [–besides Quran]

68:38. that you shall surely have in it whatever you choose?

68:39. Or do you have covenants from Us on oath, extending to the day of Resurrection, that you shall surely have whatever you judge?

68:40. Ask them which of them will vouch for that.

68:41. Or do they have associate-gods [– i.e. their ‘mighty’ scholars, experts, books and interpretations]? Then let them bring their associate gods [– against the logic and wisdom of Quran], if they are truthful.[4]

 


[1] Al-Anam – The Cattle: Nooruddin 

[2] Al-Maidah – The Table Spread with Food: Nooruddin 

[3] 'Apostasy in Islam' by Khwaja Kamaluddin, Islamic Review, p. 261, June 1925 

[4] Al-Qalam – The Pen: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz

Case Study 4: Slavery, Concubines, Extra-marital Relations – Zilch, Nada in Quran!

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

Case Study 4: Slavery, Concubines{1}, Extra-marital Relations – Zilch, Nada in Quran!{2},{3}

“There is no verse in the Quran or any instance in the Holy Prophet’s life sanctioning what is called concubinage.”{4}

Slavery was rampant before Islam. Captives were taken in wars or in slavery raids, out of which both males and females ended up as slaves and concubines. Slave trade was of epidemic proportion until the arrival of Islam. Islam dried-up the swamp of slavery simultaneously by stopping the inflow of new slaves into the cesspool while it drained out the cesspit itself.

Quran separates slaves (Arabic: abad) who were already in bondage at the time of advent of Islam from those captured in a battle as prisoners, translated as – whom your right hands own or possess (Arabic:mimma malakat aimanukum). Thus a Muslim’s bondsman resulting from a war is not a slave but a fallen foe{5} and the entrusted Muslim of that fallen foe is not a slave master but a guardian (see v. 4:25 below).

In early Islam, there were neither prisons nor prison camps; hence the war captives were distributed under the custody of families who were responsible for their safety and wellbeing at par with their own self. Islam put a stop to any new slaves and existing slaves were to be released for any and every excuse. Captives allowed were only those captured in a battle and mechanisms were put in place for their release as well. These topics are now of historical importance only as under international treaties the captives in war have rights and protections as Prisoners of War. Credit goes to Quran, which eliminated these atrocities thousands of years before the modern ethics took hold only recently.

Quran discusses human rights across a wide spectrum of human behavior. It firmly establishes the fundamental equality of mankind to exclude from the minds the ideas of racial and economic divide that if not checked soon turn human tendencies into abuse of the weak of physique, gender, status, means, nation or race. The scrooge of slavery and its consequent exploitation of body and soul of its victims pervaded the human cultures from times immemorial because of dearth of this fundamental check on the psyche of man. A refresher of certain baseline teachings of Quran is in order that formed the basis of the charter of human rights from the very inception of Islam and are summarized below.

Equality of mankind, irrespective of national origin, race, tribe or gender:

10:19. And (all) people are but a single nation, then they disagree…{6}

49:13. O mankind! We have created you out of a male and a female, and We have made you tribes and sub-tribes that you may recognise (and do good to) one another. Surely the most honourable of you in the sight of Allâh is he who guards against evil the most. Verily, Allâh is All-knowing, All-Aware.{7}

Without any exception, no extra-marital sex is allowed in Quran, which is not only a check on an ordinary human tendency, but also prevents the historical unchecked exploitation of the slaves who were an easy prey of their masters:

17:32. And Keep away from adultery and fornication; surely, it is an abominable act and an (extremely) evil practice.{8}

24:33. And those who find no (means of) marriage should (exercise restraint and) keep themselves chaste until Allâh grants them means (to marry) out of His grace and bounty…{9}

With arrival of Islam, slavery was banned and no new slaves were inducted. No slave trade or slavery raids are allowed in Quran; individual liberty could be taken away only in case of prisoners taken in an actual battle. Of note is that the only war permitted in Quran is a defensive one:

8:67. It does not behove a Prophet to keep captives unless He has triumphed after a regular bloody fighting in the land. (If you take captives without warfare,) you desire the temporary and frail goods of this world, while Allâh desires (for you the good of) the Hereafter. And Allâh is All-Mighty, All-Wise.{10}

Prisoners of war, both men and women are to be released no matter what soon after the war is over, with or without a ransom:

47:4. … After you have bound them fast in fetters (as prisoners of war), then, afterwards, (release them, a must), either by way of grace or by (accepting) ransom. (That is the law,) until war lays down its weapons (and it is over).{11}

Contrary to the usual practice of sexual exploitation of the then existing bonds-women, the concubinage, was totally banned by Islam. Sexual relationships were allowed only after a full marriage, which not only restored dignity to bonds-women, but also made them a useful member of the society. The following verse in itself is a proof that a bonds-woman is not a concubine, but a marriageable woman:

4:25. And those of you who have not the means (- social or financial) to marry free believing women (may marry) such of your believing bonds women as your right hands own (by being captives in war). Allâh knows very well (the state of) your faith, you are all (sprung) one from another, so marry them with the permission of their guardians and give them their dowers with equity, they being properly married, not (committing fornication), to pursue their lust nor taking secret paramours…{12}

Note the mention of the word guardians of prisoners of war in the above verse, which is not the same as slave owners. The next verse reinforces the previous one:

4:26. Allâh desires to make clear (His commandments) to you, and guide you to the (righteous) ways of your predecessors, and to turn to you with mercy. Verily, Allâh is All-Knowing, All-Wise.{13}

Any deviation from verses 4:25-26 by any action, intent or interpretation is nothing but lust, pure and simple, which is condemned in the next very verse:

4:27. Whereas Allâh desires to turn to you with mercy, those who follow (the dictates of their) lusts want you to drift far away (from the right path).{14}

Given the fact that as the Arabian society converted to Islam, there were existing slaves in the households of new Muslims. For all Muslims the details of 'high virtue' in Quran included 'to set slaves free', and that's what happened in Islam where the righteous beliefs were bridged to righteous deeds and homes were not only cleansed of slavery but the emancipated were rehabilitated in the society as well. Of note is that the same verse also binds the faithful to establish their former slaves to full independence because most if not all the former slaves fell into the category of orphansneedy and deserving of charity:

2:177. It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards the East and the West, but righteous is the one who believes in Allah, and the Last Day, and the angels and the Book and the prophets, and gives away wealth out of love for Him to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the traveller and to those who ask and to set slaves free and keeps up prayer and gives the due charity; and the performers of their promise when they make a promise, and the patient in distress and affliction and in the time of conflict. These are they who are truthful; and these are they who keep their duty. {15}

Similarly, in challenging mankind for not taking 'uphill path ' of moral progress, Quran puts in the premier position ' freeing of a captive ' and a collective societal effort to 'exhort one another to be compassionate ' to rid the society of the evils, besides others, of slavery:

90:10-18. And We have pointed out to him the two conspicuous high ways (of right and wrong)? Yet he would not attempt the uphill path of steep and difficult ascent. And what should make you know what the uphill path of steep and difficult ascent is? (It is) the freeing of a captive (from the bondage of slavery, debt and other afflictions), Or feeding in the time of famine an orphan, near of kin, or a downtrodden poor man. And what is even more, then he is of those who believe and exhort one another to be patiently persevering and exhort one another to be compassionate (towards God's creation). These (who follow this hard path) are the blessed ones (- the people of the right hand). {16}

Existing slaves were to be released on any and every excuse as restitution for violation of any moral law, no matter how trivial custom it might have seemed then. For example:

58:3. Such of those who thus happen to call their wives their mothers and then retract what they have said, must free a slave before they two touch each other (for re-establishing conjugal relationship). This is what you are enjoined (to do in case you commit such a hateful thing). And Allâh is Well-Aware of what you do.{17}

In a masterly stroke, the above verse not only established the dignity of a helpless wife in an otherwise male dominated society, but simultaneously expunged one more from the ranks of the slavery.

State treasury as well individual wealth was to be used for emancipation of existing slaves:

9:60. Compulsory charities (- Zakât) are meant for the destitute and the needy, and for its functionaries, and (for) those whose hearts require to be consoled (in all sincerity), and for the emancipation of the slaves, and for (the relief of) those in debt, and (for spending) in the cause of Allâh, and for the wayfarer. (This is) an obligation imposed by Allâh, for Allâh is All-Knowing, All-Wise.{18}

In the above verse the slaves were not only to be freed but once freed, they were to be rehabilitated in the society by the state treasury as they were destitute and the needy in their new found freedom.

Besides the general injunction on singles to marry, to emphasize the marriage of slaves, Quran identifies them by their gender, both males and females, and orders them to be kept chaste and marriages were to be obligatorily arranged for them, either by marrying them within the household or being given away in marriage, as married state is a natural state for adults in Quran and is an assurance for their chastity:

24:32. Arrange marriages for those of you who are single and for your male and female slaves as are deserving and fit (to lead a married life). If they are poor Allâh will grant them means out of His bounty; Bountiful is Allâh, All-Knowing.

The next verse eliminates prostitution of slave-girls by their masters, which was the norm of Arabia before Islam. On one hand it stops sexual relations with slave-girls by disallowing any such advances toward the potential victims by their masters, on the other, Quran does not rant empty lectures to avoid evil, but gives solution to shun evil, in this case the marriage of slave-girls:

24:33. And those who find no (means of) marriage should (exercise restraint and) keep themselves chaste until Allâh grants them means (to marry) out of His grace and bounty…(Another commandment for you is that,) with a mind to gain (by this unrighteous means) the benefits of the present life do not constrain your slave-girls to unchaste life (by keeping them unmarried) when they desire (to marry) to preserve their virtue. But if anybody forces them (to abstain from marrying and to become unchaste) they will find, after they are forced, that God is Most Forgiving, Ever Merciful.{19}

Thus Quran keeps at bay the potential aggressors, the guardians of the slaves and captives, from their potential victims, the slaves. The only mechanism to bridge the two for any sexual relations was a full marriage contract and all the obligations that fall under a free marriage contract. These mechanisms remained air tight till the time the existing slavery dissipated under the overall multipronged interventions both through Quran and change that emerged in the society in due course under the Prophet.

Even, the existing captives were given the right to buy their freedom by a written contract of payment in installments of the loan that they may ask for from their own very masters. Once a captive, male or female, asked for such a contract, it could not be refused by the master:

24:33. …(There is another commandment,) as for those of your bondsmen (or women) as ask for a written contract (of freedom for themselves on payment of ransom), write this (deed of manumission for them)…{20}

Further, as an addendum to above freedom contract, the masters were obligated to invest in their slaves to establish them financially before and after their freedom so that they could not only buy their own freedom if not given for free, but also pay back the back the loan, if incurred:

24:33. … provided you find good capabilities in them and give them out of Allâh's wealth which He has given you…{21}

Additionally, in the verse 24:33, when read in toto, for the slave-girls, there in an implication of an extra injunction on the owner to ensure their chastity for which they were to be given means of sustenance. This in turn eliminates the risk of them falling into prostitution of their own accord only to sustain themselves.

Slavery was so much entrenched in the society that to raise slaves to a higher social status needed an incremental reform. For example, in the following verse, slaves, male or female were to be preferred in marriage over the otherwise higher clan status of the idolaters:

2:221. And marry not an idolatress until she believe; while a believing maid is certainly better than an idolatress even though she may highly please you. And do not give (believing women) in marriage to an idolaters until they believe. And a believing slave is better than a (free) idolater even though he may highly please you. It is they who invite to the Fire, but Allâh calls to the Paradise and to the protection by His command. He makes His Messages clear for the people so that they may take heed.{22}

The above verses set in stone equality of mankind, hence the basis of slavery were abolished. Bar was placed on any extra-marital sexual relationships, which excluded any possibility of concubinage which is another name and function for female slaves. Existing slaves, both men and women were protected from exploitation. Every means and excuse was utilized for their emancipation. Taking of newer slaves was prohibited. Prisoners of war were to be released, with or without ransom. It is absurd to even imagine that while Islam puts so much emphasis on freeing of slaves, that it also allegedly allows taking of slaves. Slavery is forbidden, as shown above. The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, even freed prisoners for them teaching children and adults as their ransom. Below is an excerpted article from 'The Light' (February 24, 1984, pp. 13-17){23} which is a rebuttal to even the present day 'scholars' of Islam who make a case for concubinage, which is not only laughable but deplorable by standards of Quran:

If there is to be no slavery, then there can be no concubinage either, for concubines are nothing but female slaves turned into mistresses. There is no question of buying female slaves in the market. As for the female prisoners of war, they are to be set free without ransom, or with light ransom, as in the case of male captives. But the trouble about the female prisoners of war is that if they are sent back, even free, their menfolk are not prepared to take them back as they assume that the women must have been ravished by the captors, as was the common practice among Arabs before Islam, and as is the common lot of female prisoners today in all non-Islamic countries, even of the West.

Such disgraceful treatment of the female prisoners of war was not possible in the Holy Prophet's time or even under the Early Caliphate. When the moral standards were of the highest possible order not a single case is to be found in the history of those periods.

"And whoever among you cannot afford to marry free believing women, (let him marry) such of your believing maidens as your right hands possess. And Allah knows best your faith (i.e., do not set high standards for the faith of such women). Some of you are like others: So marry them with the permission of their masters, and give them their dowries justly … then if they are guilty of adultery when they are taken to marriage, they shall suffer half the punishment for free married women … " (4:25).

This important verse requires the following elucidation:

(1) If a Muslim cannot afford to marry a free believing woman, he may marry one of those ‘whom your right hands possess’.

(2) The much misunderstood term ‘whom your right hands possess’ has been much exploited. It is taken to mean concubines. To describe a concubine bought from the market or from her master as one 'whom your right hands possess' is a complete misnomer. The very use of the words whom your right hands have taken possession of (which is the correct rendering of the Arabic phrase mimma malakat aimanukum) clearly points to women captured in battle. That is where the right hand is used to take possession of a prisoner. To apply that phrase to a woman bought from a slave market or from a master is totally unwarrantable.

(3) The Holy Qur'an still speaks of such a woman being taken in marriage with the permission of her master. Who is this master? It was the practice of the Holy Prophet and the latter-day Muslim commanders to distribute all prisoners, male or female, to the soldiers as part of the spoils of war. They were kept in homes, sometimes in a better way than the master or the mistress of the Muslim home, but always at least on the same scale of living. It is this 'master' spoken of in the verse under consideration. If they are now kept in a war prison, the Government holding them is the ‘master’.

(4) Why are ‘those whom your right hands possess’ mentioned in this and other places separately from free women? That is also explained in this very verse. If the former are guilty of adultery after marriage, their punishment is to be half that of free married women. It is because of the separate treatment under the Quranic law of these women who have come recently from a non-Muslim society and, therefore, the same high moral standards cannot be expected from them, that their separate mention was required.

Incidentally, the punishment of stoning to death for married men or women found guilty of adultery cannot possibly be permissible in Islam:

(a) The Holy Qur'an, which is the paramount authority on Muslim law, does not prescribe stoning to death for any crime whatsoever.

(b) It prescribes instead one hundred strokes for adultery, whether committed by man or women, married or unmarried.

(c) One hundred strokes can be halved as required in verse 4:25 of the Holy Qur'an, but not the stoning to death.

Anyway, because of the clear ban on sexual indulgence outside marriage (24:33) and the requirement that even the women 'whom your right hands possess' must be married properly (4:25), concubinage is simply not permissible in Islam.

The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, being the perfect exemplar, properly married those female prisoners of war whom he took as wives. Much has been made by the Christian critics of the case of Mary the Copt, who was presented to the Holy Prophet by the King of Egypt. That he had married her too is now an established fact beyond doubt.

It may be added to above quoted article, that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by personal example, married two women prisoners of wars on advice of his peers who were 'whom your right hands possess'. Both were set free, namely Safiyya and Juwairiya. Both were daughters of chieftains vanquished in the battle and their marriages to the Prophet became a source for not only ending tribal enmities but resulted in the release of other captives under the Muslims as those captives were now relatives of the Prophet:

33:50. O Prophet, We have made lawful to you your wives whom you have given their dowries, and those whom your right hand possesses, out of those whom Allah has given you as prisoners of war, …{24}

To reemphasize, the mention of the two types of women i.e. wives (Arabic: azwaaj)and whom your right hand possesses is only to distinguish the status of spouses in terms of those who were free women and those who were captives of war before their marriage. After their marriage, all of them were wives of equal dignity, and none remained as whom your right hand owns. It is the personal examples like these in which the Prophet eliminated slavery in his own household and elevated the dignity of former slave-girls to free wives in the society that no wonder Quran speaks so highly of the Prophet’s life as an example to be followed in matters of uplift and equality of mankind, besides many other virtuous deeds:

33:21. Certainly you have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar…{25}

To sum it up, the nonsense of concubinage in Islam emanates because of the concoctions of the so called ‘scholars’ of ignorance and not of Quran, who are then oft re-quoted by their blind followers. To such scholar and their followers Quran admonishes very clearly for their advocacy of concubinage:

4:27. Whereas Allâh desires to turn to you with mercy, those who follow (the dictates of their) lusts want you to drift far away (from the right path).{26}

 


{1} Merriam Webster – Concubine: a woman with whom a man cohabits without being married: as 

a : one having a recognized social status in a household below that of a wife 

b : mistress 

{2} Reader is encouraged to read a detailed analysis on the subject: 

'Marriage of Slaves' in “Religion of Islam” by Maulana Muhammad Ali, p. 488-495. 

'Islam and Slavery' – There is no concubinage in Islam, by Maulana Muhammad Ali, Islamic Review, p. 7-12, January 1958. 

{3}“The Quranic Message of Universal Freedom” by Dr. Basharat Ahmad, p. 1-8 , Paigham-e-Haqq, April/June, No. 66, Organ of Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-i-Islam, Fiji, 1994 

{4} Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz: Footnote to verse 4:25 

{5} Islam on Slavery by Al-Haj Lord Headley and Khwaja Kamaluddin, p. 20. 

{6} Yunus – Jonah: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz 

{7} Al-Hujurat – The Chambers: Nooruddin 

{8} Isra – The Night-Journey: Nooruddin 

{9} Al-Nur – The Light: Nooruddin 

{10} Al-Anfal – The Voluntary Gifts: Nooruddin 

{11} Muhammad – Muhammad: Nooruddin 

{12} Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin 

{13} Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin 

{14} Al-Nisa – The Women: Nooruddin 

{15} Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz 

{16} Al-Balad – The City: Nooruddin 

{17} Al-Mujadilah – The Pleading Woman: Nooruddin 

{18} Al-Taubah – The Repentence: Nooruddin 

{19} Al-Nur – The Light: Nooruddin 

{20} Al-Nur – The Light: Nooruddin 

{21} Al-Nur – The Light: Nooruddin 

{22} Al-Baqarah – The Cow: Nooruddin 

{23} ‘Slavery and Concubinage’ – The Founder of Ahmadiyya Movement as a Defender of Islam – II, The Light (February 24, 1984, pp. 13- 17) http://aaiil.org/text/acus/mga/mirzaghulamahmadahmadiyyamovementdefenderislam2.shtml 

{24} Al-Ahzab – The Allies: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz 

{25} Al-Ahzab – The Allies: Muhammad Ali – Zahid Aziz 

{26} Al-i-Imran – The Family of Amran: Nooruddin