Does A Woman’s Clothing Really Make Men Want To Rape Them?

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“Oh, that pork looks yummy! Guess I can’t control myself now, better have a bite at it!”  Assuming you’re a Muslim, do you realize how stupid and preposterous this sounds? Yeah, I thought so. But, wait a minute. I’ve heard something similar: “If a woman is not dressed ‘properly’, she is inciting rape.” And this is popular opinion in the society I live in.

Right. So, a few months ago, I was completely taken by surprise when a person tried to partially justify the perpetrator of a rape case. “See, if the woman was dressed properly, he wouldn’t have done it. It is these women who need to dress up properly, only then can rape be minimized.” I couldn’t believe my ears, and I wanted to shake him up! “What the HELL is wrong with you?”

The Quran was sent down for a purpose. And that purpose is to read it in Arabic and earn rewards develop the reader’s character to the point where he is a responsible, productive, and a noble human being. Yes, a human being who makes informed choices instead of an animal that just follows its impulse.

Chapter 12, which narrates the account of Yousuf (Joseph), deals extensively with character development. It is here that we learn a vital lesson on curbing desires no matter what the situation at hand. As you might (and should) know, the lady of the house in which Yousuf was brought into, tried to seduce him sexually. But, when she tried to advance at him, what did he do? He resisted. He didn’t give into that weak moment. In fact, he immediately became conscious of evil, and sought protection from Allah.

“The lady of the house, tried to seduce him. She closed the doors and said, “I am all yours.” He said, “May God protect me! Truly, He is my Lord and He has bestowed upon me a good moral character and granted me a position of honor. The wrongdoers do not prosper.” Quran: 12:23

 

This speaks volumes about his character! Mind you, he was only young when this incident happened. But this young man realized that no matter how strong the incitation be, only he was responsible for his actions: a perfect role model on issues pertaining to modesty.

These are the role models that need to revived among Muslims! If we are oblivious to them, how can we ever emulate them? Mind you, following the prophets does not equate to following their cultural norms. Otherwise, wouldn’t we be still riding camels? What we have forgotten is the fact that we were commanded to follow their character! No great man would want his followers to adopt his culture, rather he would want them to adopt his morality, ethics, and character. Let’s please not fall into the trap of being penny wise, and pound foolish.

Now, I do advocate modest clothing, but more importantly, I also advocate developing one’s character to the point where external factors don’t affect your behaviors. What good did religion do to you if you can’t even control your impulses? We have got to stop cherry-picking verses we want to follow, and instead embrace the message holistically.

No matter what a woman is wearing, we as Muslims, are commanded to guard our gaze (24:30). It’s not the clothes that incite rapists; it is the sick mindset of such people that is to be blamed and addressed.  Instead of sympathizing and standing up for the victim, we have come to the point where we try to justify the perpetrator? Does it get any worse than this?

 

Still not convinced?

For those of you that still think clothing is a factor in rape, ask yourself this: “What about the children who get raped? Are their clothes ‘provocative’ too?” Let that sink in.

So, what is the solution?

Unless we start addressing the real issue here, we simply cannot make any progress. The first step to overcoming a problem is to identify it. Hence, instead of exhausting our efforts on how women should dress, we should more importantly deal with issues such as attitude towards women, and educating/sensitizing men.

The biggest problem, in my view, is the “macho” crap that is widespread in every society. As men, we are brainwashed to think that it is “alright” to play with the feelings of a woman and to use them for our petty desires. This becomes further encouraged when their male peers cheer them when they do such acts. This, I believe, is the fundamental cause of the oppression done on women. On a personal level, we need to take a stand against this.

In addition, unless men become sympathetic to the problems that surround women in their daily life (such as being cautious at all times), we cannot expect empathy and compassion between them. We have got to stop objectifying women, and treat them how we treat women in our households. How would we really feel if our mothers, daughters, and sisters had to go through this? Would we still blame them?

I really hope this changes your perspective. And that you become a voice for the oppressed.

P.S – Just to clarify, I am not implying that only Muslims think this way. This is a popular opinion in many societies. My point, however, is that considering the teachings of the Quran, Muslims should be the last people to believe in such an irrational statement. We have a gem of a reformation program in the form of Quran, and this is what needs to be propagated to Muslims.

Oh, Maulana Tariq Jameel…

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Just a while ago, I was listening to a talk given by Mr.Tariq Jameel (revered by many) and found out some very interesting things. Let me begin by saying that his lectures are somewhat better than what is usually propagated by other clergymen. As you might be aware, I am not against scholars. Rather, I am of the opinion that before listening to anyone speaking about Islam, read the Quran for yourself. And I will demonstrate why:

I will add the reference, but the context of the video is that the angel of death had come to take Prophet Mohammad’s soul. In his exact words: “Peace be upon you, Messenger of Allah. Till this day, I have never greeted anyone, you are the first.”

Now, when I heard this, immediately a verse came to mind:

Those whom the angels gather in death while they are in a state of inner purity, greeting them thus: “Peace be upon you! Enter paradise by virtue of what you were doing [in life]!” 16:32

Does it refer to the exclusivity of Mohammad? No, every noble human being is greeted by words and gestures of peace.

Furthermore, in another video, Mr. Tariq was talking about how every other Prophet except Mohammad (salutes and respect to him) would only be caring about himself on the Day of Judgement. Mr. Tariq Jameel described it like this: “ And the Prophets will say: Nafsee, Nafsee! Save me God, I do not intercede for anyone else on my behalf. But what would Mohammad do? He would be the lone person seeking forgiveness for his “Ummah.”

But, what would Prophet Mohammad actually say on the Day of Judgement?

And the Messenger will say, “O my Lord, indeed my people have taken this Qur’an as [a thing] abandoned.” 25:30

Here, we see, that he is in fact complaining about his people having totally abandoned the Quran. And this is the case with us today! We have no idea what the book says, only what so and so scholar told us about.

And, the concept of intercession by prophets is a lie. You can read about it here.

So it all boils down to two scenarios. Either Mr. Tariq Jameel is ignorant about these verses, or he is purposely misguiding his audience about Islam. Both ways, it doesn’t paint a very good picture of him. Do you see why I am against blind following? I skimmed through the comments on these videos, and not a single person had tried to rectify his mistake. All I could see was “Subhan Allah, Masha Allah, wow that is so true.” Why? No education about the Quran.

Personally speaking, having read the Quran, I have the luxury of knowing when a person is speaking from the Quran and when he is speaking out of his own desires and attributing it to Islam. Hence, I would heartily advise you to please familiarize yourself with what God has to say about first, then listen to other people’s opinion. Without a Furqan (criterion), how can you judge?

References: 1st video –http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnjWTomBUVk
2nd video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvPU8Guj0fg

To Sleep, Or Not To Sleep – That Is The Question

The hardest thing about entering an unknown territory is taking the first step. I suppose, that explains why people find it more convenient to believe whatever the society teaches them. Researching and thinking for yourself is an arduous task, but it pays. And boy, does it pay well? It completely changes your perspective on things, and you no longer see things the way other people do.

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This has it’s advantages and disadvantages, as do all things. The biggest advantage is that seeking truth liberates you. It is finding the key to your lock, and releasing yourself from the prison of blind following. Who likes slavery, anyways? But, the disadvantage is that due to your eccentric views, you are likely to be threatened and mocked by others. The majority will never like you for the person you have become. How can they? Difference of opinion is a threat to their well established norms! So, you will have to endure some alienation from the society. But then, you yourself would not want to be a part of such a society which is blissfully asleep.

 

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The important thing is the realization that you are now awake. Awake from a dream which everyone else believes to be true. And when you see everyone else around you sleeping, you have an urge to wake them up. To show them how refreshing it is on the other side. You do not want a wage, or reward from them. You only want to benefit them.

 

 

 

 

 

But, what do they do? They think you’re crazy and ask you to go back to sleep. That if you don’t, you are surely captivated by the devil and have no right to live.This is exactly what happened with every futuristic person. The prophets, the revolutionaries, the activists – they are the fortunate people who happened to break away from the shackles, surpassing the illusionary life, but also the unfortunate people who were abused, threatened, and killed.

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However, they at least lived a life of liberty, honor and courage. They contributed something to the world. Can we say that about ourselves? Probably not. We are too fixated on the next football game.

Who has time for all that?

Blah!

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Mosques: They Are Not What They Should Be

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A mosque is supposed to be a spiritual retreat – a community centre which encourages spiritual growth and makes people feel welcomed. You could think of it as a gym, except that it’s for the soul and not the physical body. Yet, unfortunately, mosques have lost their appeal. I think this is largely due to the fact that they tend to be male-dominated with a strict dress code focusing on very minute details of how to worship God. Inhospitable to women and non-Muslims, most people have stopped going to the mosques altogether.

What would I do if I was in charge of a mosque?

• Instead of stocking Arabic Qurans only, I would include translations. Muslims who do not understand Arabic stand in prayer not having the slightest idea about what the Imam is reciting. Tell me, what is the point? Salat means to connect with God. If you have no idea about what is being recited from God’s message, how can you connect with Him? Salat is a practice initiated to review the commandments of God, so that we keep ourselves aligned with them. A renewal of what we profess to believe in; to act as a constant reminder. Hence, before starting prayer, the Imam would announce what he would be reciting, so that the people could open up the relevant passage in the translations. While he recites in Arabic, they would read it in a language they understand. This would not only educate them about the Quran, but it would also fulfill the purpose of Salat – to connect and strengthen their relationship with God.

• Every Friday, Muslims go to pray the Jummah – even those that usually don’t pray. So, you have a great platform in the form of Friday prayers to educate people about the contents of the Quran. The Khutbah (sermon) does not even come close to this. Often, it is in Arabic, so people have no idea what is being said. Even if it is in their language, the substance is usually worthless. Hence, what I would do is I would choose a certain topic – say, modesty. Compile the relevant verses on it, and then give a sermon based on this. Not only would this clear a lot of misconceptions, it would also attract a loyal following of Muslims and non-Muslims who actually want to know about the Islam proposed by the Quran!

• Apart from these two fundamental changes, I would set up sessions where people would come together to discuss their interpretations of the Quran. In addition, they could also talk about relevant issues that need to be addressed in their community and elsewhere. So, it’s not all a preach preach preach sort of thing, it would also encourage people to share their own views. This would teach people tolerance. That, it’s never “my way or the highway”. This practice is crucial to being broad-minded and is bound to reduce zealots and religious extremism.

• Lastly, I would try to keep the environment of the mosque friendly. No one would be harassed based on their clothing, ideas, or gender. Yes, gender! The mosque would welcome both men and women. Women would not be considered inferiors, and would be encouraged to actively participate in all the activities. To facilitate children, the mosque would have a play area where they could play under the supervision of a nanny while their parents perform their duties. It is ironic how Islam liberates women, but certain Muslims want to keep them caged in homes.

So, there we have it: A mosque that is actually beneficial to the society. A mosque not built on sectarianism, but to promote unity. You could say that it’s wishful thinking, but all actions stem from thought.

The main problem with Muslims today is a lack of education and miseducation about the Quran. This allows “Imams” to cash in on their ignorance. Hence, you have so many sects all claiming to have the “true and right version of Islam”. Since Muslims are oblivious to the message of the Quran, they find it easier to blindly follow whichever sect or ideology they are “born in”. Once Muslims are exposed to the Quran like how I propose the Mosque would, they would automatically disassociate themselves from dogmatic ideologies. Of course, not all would. But it would be a step in the right direction. A step we so desperately need!

Can Praying For The Deceased Make A Difference?

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It is common practice among Muslims and other faiths alike to hold ceremonies in which relatives come together to pray for forgiveness for someone who has passed away. There are “Quran Khawanis” in which it is allegedly believed that reading the Quran would somehow benefit the deceased. People go so far in this dogma that they send someone else on behalf of the deceased for pilgrimage, in the hopes that the reward may be given to the deceased person. From an empathetic point of view, I understand. I really do. There are withdrawal symptoms in play and it may give a sense of satisfaction to pray or do whatever you can to “help”. However, I am sad to break the bitter truth to you: it doesn’t make any difference.

When a person dies, his account of deeds is closed. Nothing can be added or subtracted. We are judged on the Day of Judgement purely on the merit of our own actions. And it’s only fair this way, if you think about it. If the wicked people could go to heaven just because their family prayed a lot, would that be justice? Likewise, if the deceased was a good person, he would then naturally go to heaven. What would be the purpose of your prayers, then? Let’s see what the Quran has to say about this:

Every person is responsible for his own actions

That no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another – 53:38

“And that the human being can have nothing except what he has earned (good or bad) – 53:39

And that his effort is going to be seen – 53:40

And then he will be fully rewarded for it – 53:41

Whoever chooses to follow the right path, follows it but for his own good; and whoever goes astray. goes but astray to his own hurt; and no bearer of burdens shall be made to bear another’s burden – 17:15

And none can carry the load of another; and even if it calls on another to bear part of its load, no other can carry any part of it, EVEN IF THEY ARE RELATED. You will only be able to warn those who are concerned towards their Lord while unseen, and they hold the contact prayer. And whoever contributes, is contributing for himself. And to God is the final destiny –  35:18

 

Even the Prophet cannot redeem guilty people

Ask forgiveness for them, [O Muhammad], or do not ask forgiveness for them. If you should ask forgiveness for them seventy times – never will Allah forgive them. That is because they covered the truth about Allah and His Messenger, and Allah does not guide the Fasiqeen – 9:80

 

 Prophets couldn’t save their own family. What makes us think that we can?

Prophet Nooh tried to save his son but was reprimanded by God very severely as he was not among the reformists. Upon this, Nooh asked for forgiveness (11:45-47).

Prophet Ibrahim sought protection for his father from God, but to no avail. (9:114)

Loot’s wife was not saved from the punishment. (11:81)

 

There is no intercession on the Day of Judgement

And fear a Day when no soul will suffice for another soul at all, nor will intercession be accepted from it, nor will compensation be taken from it, nor will they be aided – 2:48 (Also check 2:123, 2:254, 39:44, 43:86, 74:48)

Conclusion

All these points go on to prove that we are judged purely based on our actions. As I have previously mentioned in an article, prayer alone does not influence the outcome – action does.

Having said that, it just baffles me that this has become common practice in our society, especially since the Quran is crystal clear on this subject. If one would stop, and think just for a moment – one immediately realizes how illogical a practice this is. But, perhaps, this is what happens when “Muslims” stop reading the Quran and get their information from secondary sources. We were never supposed to be a dogmatic lot. You would be surprised to see the amount of emphasis the Quran puts on critical thinking, especially when it comes to matters of religion as this is where most of the exploitation is done. But it’s easily overlooked  as these “scholars” portray themselves as representatives of God. Only if we would read the book we so dearly claim to believe…

 

For those who persevere in doing good there is the ultimate good in store, and more [than that].No darkness and no ignominy will overshadow their face: it is they who are destined for paradise, therein to abide – 10:26

On the other hand, there is he who has inevitably deserved suffering (for his persistence in following false ‘authorities’). Can you save the one already committed to fire? – 39:19

 

 

 

Eid Milad Un-Nabi

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It is supposedly the birthday of Prophet Mohammad today (Sunnis and Shias celebrate it on different days). I am all for celebrating birthdays, as they are an integral part of many cultures and allow families to spend some quality time together. However, what I’m against is hypocrisy. Some of the Muslims think that celebrating birthdays is a “Bidah” (innovation) and are adamantly opposed to it. Still, they find no harm in making an exception when it comes to the birthday of the Prophet.

O you who have believed, why do you say what you do not do? 62:9

On my Facebook Feed, I am exposed to updates which portray Prophet Mohammad as the sole reason this Universe was created. This has absolutely no basis in the Quran. Now, let me remind you that Prophet Mohammad deserves no special importance compared to the the other Prophets. All the Prophets brought the same message (42:13), and so we are to treat them equally. The Quran repeatedly warns us against making distinctions between messengers:

Say: “We have believed in Allah and what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to Ibraham and Ismael and Ishaq and Yaqoob and the Descendants and what was given to Musa and Eesa and what was given to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims for Him.” 2:136

The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, and [so have] the believers. All of them have believed in Allah and His angels and His writings and His messengers, [saying], “We make no distinction between any of His messengers.” And they say, “We hear and we obey. [We seek] Your protection, our Lord, and to You is the [final] destination.” 2:285

But they who believe in Allah and His messengers and do not discriminate between any of them – to those He is going to give their rewards. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful. 4:152

 

So, please, do not think of Prophet Mohammad as a pinnacle of Messengers. It is one thing to respect him, and totally another to idolize him. Did he not come to eradicate idolization? Yet, how ironic it is that on his own birthday, we deviate from his message and think that we are respecting him. Indulging in singing and listening to naats while completely oblivious to his message seems like a great disrespect to me. Don’t you think?

If you invoke them (anyone besides God), they do not hear your supplication; and if they heard, they would not respond to you. And on the Day of Resurrection they will deny your association. And none can inform you like [one] Acquainted [with all matters]. 35:14

 

In his own words, Prophet Mohammad said:
“I am not different from other  messengers, nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I only follow that which is revealed to me, and I am not but a clear warner.” 46:9

This verse alone clears two major misconceptions:

One, that he did not consider himself as superior to other messengers. So, why should we?

Second, he did not know what would be done with you, so clearly he can’t intercede for you on your behalf. This notion is also supported by 2:48, 2:123, 2:254, 39:44, 43:86, 74:48.

 

So, if you will celebrate this day, celebrate it by pondering on the message he brought. Support his mission in propagating it. And, donate your money to a worthy cause. That seems like a befitting tribute to him!

 

A very happy Eid Milad Un-Nabi to you & your family! 🙂

Can You Change The World?

So, I was just talking to a friend of mine, and we were discussing Religion & Politics. His point, basically, was that the world has plunged too deep into evil, and that just by changing himself, he couldn’t bring about any noticeable change whatsoever. So, why bother? Just relax and “live your life”. And, of course, the much repeated statement: “It’s one of the signs of Qiyamat, anyways.”

I completely disagree with this notion. Yes, I may not be able to “change” the world, but what I can do is to firstly change myself (a big feat in itself!) and the world of somebody else, at the very least. It is my personal belief that an informed person creates many ripples around him, just by speaking up. Sometimes, words just stick in your mind (even if they do not change you at that very moment) and go on to be paradigm-shifters for you later in life.  They sow a seed in your mind, and if you give it enough thought, it grows and bears fruit. So, we need to restore some belief in our capabilities. We can make a change! Instead of repeating the problems, let’s come up with solutions.  But for that, we have to speak up. Silence only helps the oppressors.

If we were to avoid this defeatist line of thinking, and instead focus on educating ourselves about what’s really happening around, the world would have many more informed people. And, informed people are not gullible. Remember, we be many and they be few. It is these oppressors who feed off our ignorance! If we stop buying their ideas, the system would collapse. We deserve better, god damn it. Our technology has evolved so much, yet the leaders are the same — greedy, good for nothings. Why haven’t we have evolved in this aspect? Ignorance. Information control. Propaganda.They don’t want you to think for yourself. An educated and critical thinking population threaten their existence! Isn’t it high time that we wake up?

We proclaim to believe and adore the Prophets for their courageous stands against oppression, but why don’t we  follow in their footsteps? Their group was small, too! What if heroes like Martin Luther King, Jinnah, and Nelson Mandela just decided to “take it easy”? Take any revolution: It starts with ONE courageous idea, and a group of like-minded motivated people who have confidence in their abilities to shake things up. So, we need to raise our consciousness as human beings. One by one. That is the only way to progress. And for that, we need YOU to take interest.

Will you play your part?

As long as you don’t make waves, ripples, life seems easy. But that’s condemning yourself to impotence and death before you are dead. – Jeanne Moreau

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