Awrat Awr Islami T’alim

My Dear Fellow Muslims,

As-Salaam Alay-Kum

Anyone who has a religion with ancient roots is bound to do one of three things with it: interpret it in its historic context, or stick to its ancient roots and interpretations or dismiss it.

What we, the Muslims, are witnessing today is that a viscous bunch of “Intellectuals Bigots” are hell-bent to mistranslate the meaning of the Qur’anic verses right out of the “Secondary Sources” which are readily available for them on the cyberspace with the singular aim to dismiss the Holy Qur’an by completely ignoring the historical context of the seventh century Arabia.

Truthfully speaking, the “Muslim Intelligentsia, who advocate that those who speak against Islam are putting the Muslims on a learning curve are on a wild goose chase. The current predicament in the Islamic world can be summed up in the words of Sir Walter Scott as follows:

We are not worst at once – the course of evil
Begins so slowly and from such slight source,
An infant’s hand might stem its breach with clay;
But let the stream get deeper, and philosophy –
Ay, and religion too – shall strive in vain
To turn the headlong torrent.

Mark the sentence, “begins so slowly from such slight source,” is where all the trouble begins. One of the sources which slowly but surely encouraged the evil act against women, was due to the mistranslation of Surah: Al- Mu’minun (The Believers) – Chapter: 23 – Verse: 5 by Maulana Sayyid Abul A’La Maududi (May Almighty Allah rest his soul in peace), wherein he declared that, “the verse deeply lays down the law that one is allowed to have sexual relationship with one’s slave-girl as with one’s wife, the basis being possession and not marriage.”

Shocking as it may seem to those who are not followers of Maulana Maududi’s teachings, but what is more predictable is how James M. Arlandson in his article titled, “Slave-Girls as sexual property in the Qur’an,deliberately skipped to mention the Verse – 23:7. What should one expect from an outsider, who simply takes Maulana Maududi’s comments and magnifies it only to shift the blame on our Holy Qur’an?

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (May Almighty Allah rest his soul in peace) summed up his thoughts on Surah: Al-Mu’minun (The Believers) – Chapter: 23 – Verses: 1-11 as follows:

Verse 7 makes it clear that no sex-relationship is permissible except
the relationship sanctioned by a formal marriage. In Arabia in the
time of the advent of the Prophet, slavery was widely prevalent, so
much so that, slaves were regarded as items of property one may
hold. The female slaves were on that account used by their masters
as they liked. This practice was stopped by the Qur’an by laying
down, that no one should touch a female slave except in wedlock.

Surah: Al-Mu’minun (The Believers) – Chapter: 23 – Verses: 1-11

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

1. Happy now is the state of believers,

2. Who in their prayers are lowly,

3. And who avoid vain talk,

4. And who are zealous in the payment of poor-due,

5. And who keep their sex-impulse under restraint,

6. Except with their wives or any of those whom their right hand
possessed (namely, the slave-women whom they
have married), for, in that case they shall be free from

7. But they who seek anything beyond this are indeed
transgressors –

8. And who tend well their trusts and respect their covenants,

9. And who are careful of their prayers,

10. These indeed are they,

11. Who shall inherit Paradise to abide therein for ever.

Amazingly, the entire article of James Arlandson is based upon Maulana Maududi’s translation only. On reading his startling comment, “predictably, the hadith perpetuate the Qur’an – inspired immorality,” is something that should wake up the consciousness of all those Muslims, who are deeply concerned about the way the slight source of mistranslation that has thus far caused a headlong torrent by what one calls “Islamophobes. Though, this is not the term which I like to use, but one has to refer to such word as that is what dominates the headline news in these days and times.

Now, let’s ponder over the subject matter, “Marriage” in Surah: Al-Nisa’ (Women) – Chapter: 4 – Verses: 24-25, and Surah: Al-Nur (Light) – Chapter: 24 – Verses: 32 – 34, by Dr. Thomas Ballantyne Irving (Al-Hajj ‘Talim ‘Ali) as follows:

Surah: Al-Nisa’ (Women) – Chapter: 4 – Verse: 24-25

“Nor [should you marry] any [already] married women, except the
ones under your control. [Such is] God’s legislation as it applies
to you. Anything beyond that is lawful for you, provided you court
them by means of your wealth, marrying them properly, rather than
taking them on as mistresses. Since you have thereby sought
enjoyment with them, give them their marriage portions as is
stipulated. Yet it will not be held against you should you come to
terms about it even after what has been stipulated. God is Aware,
Wise.” [24]

“Any of you who cannot afford to marry respectable believing
matrons, should then [seek] one of your believing maids under
your control. God is quite Aware as to what your faith consists
of. Each one of you has ties to others, so marry them off with
their family’s consent and give them their marriage portions
decently as matrons rather than taking them on as mistresses,
nor having [any secret affairs with] them as girlfriends. Once
they are so married off and should they then commit some
sexual offence, they should have half the punishment that
[ordinary] matrons would receive. That goes for any of you who
worries lest he may not control his [sexual] impulses; however
it is better for you to discipline yourselves. God is Forgiving,
Merciful.” [25]

Surah: Al-Nur (Light) – Chapter: 24 – Verses: 32-33

“Marry off any single persons among you, as well as your
honorable servants and maids. If they are poor, God will
enrich them from the bounty. God is Boundless, Aware.
Yet let those who do not find [any way to] marry, hold off
until God enriches them out of His bounty. [32]

“Should those whom your right hands control desire their
freedom, then draw up a writ for them if you recognize
anything worthwhile in them. Give them some of God’s wealth
which He has given you. Do not force your girls [whom you
control] into prostitution so that you may seek the display of
worldly life, if they want to preserve their chastity. Anyone
who forces them (to do otherwise) [will find] God is Forgiving,
Merciful, even after forcing them to. We have sent you down
clarifying signs and an example to those who have passed
on before you, as well as instruction for the heedful.” [33]

It is truly mind-boggling for an ordinary Muslims like myself to take notice of how Maulana Maududi conveyed a flawed idea that the Qur’anic verse 23:5 sanctions having sexual relationship with one’s slave girl on the basis of possession and not marriage. Was the Maulana not aware of Verses: 24 & 25 from Surah: Al-Nisa (Women) and Verses: 32 & 33 from Surah: Al-Nur (Light)?

In his book, “AWRAT AWR ISLAMI T’ALIM” rendered into English under the title, “Women In Islam, Malik Ram Baveja, a well-known scholar of Urdu remarked as follows:

“The Qur’an warns the believers not to exploit their slave-girls in
any lustful manner, but to marry them themselves or give them
away to pious male slaves.”

“And compel not your slave-girls to prostitution.” (Q.24:32)

“And marry such of you as are solitary and the pious of your slaves
and maid-servants. (Q.24:33)

Karen Armstrong, in her thought-provoking biography “Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) opined that “Western critics often blame the Qur’an for its treatment of women, which they see as iniquitous, but in fact the emancipation of women was dear to the Prophet’s heart.” It is truly sad to see that in spite of all all-out earnest efforts by a handful of wise scholars, there are those who being an avowed “Islam Haters, will continue to recycle the same old version of mistranslations of the Qur’anic verses, be it of Maulana Maududi or any other misguided Muslim scholars. For instance, take a quick glance at the following links:

Sex with captured women/slave girls is divinely ordained

Slave Girls and Their Rights in Islam

Why do Muslims pray for sex with slaves and captives?

Slavery In the Quran, Traditions, and Classical Law

Hadiths that Inspires ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda and other “Jihadi” groups

My fellow Muslims, on browsing through the above links, one thing all of you will notice is that the only “Ulema’s Opinion, which is common throughout is of none other than Maulana Maududi’s “Tafsir Qur’an – Book 10, Page 137, Footnote No. 94” and “Tafsir Qur’an, Book 2, Page 112, Footnote 44.” Little wonder that one slight source of distorted translation of the Qur’anic verse has not only caused a devastating effect throughout the Islamic world, but it has forever converted the “Muslim Terrorists” into rapists, murderers, and barbarians of first degree. I say, shame on the followers of Maulana Maududi for being ignorant till this day about his teachings, and also, by remaining silent and not addressing the root cause of “The Course of Evil.

Very sadly yours,

Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia

    A Pen1  



Woman in Islam




Education & Training

The Qur’an always places man and woman in the same category, so far as righteous deeds are concerned. How can it then consider the education of girls less important than that of boys?

Mental and spiritual elevation are more important than physical well-being, and when the Qur’an prohibited the killing of girls and condemned it in strong terms, surely, it could not disregard the spiritual health of girls. On the contrary, it considered that such neglect would amount to murdering their personality. The Qur’an says:

“They are losers who besottedly have slain their children by keeping
them in ignorance.” (Q.6:141)

The Qur’an says that women was created to give comfort to man. The comfort can be physical as well as mental and spiritual. What mental comfort can an educated man receive from an illiterate and uneducated wife? The truth of the matter is that mental and physical comforts are inter-related. Nothing can please a man when he is mentally upset and spiritually tortured.

Education should inculcate in its recipients the principles of good conduct, for the Qur’an emphasizes the need for right education. The education that breeds superstition and fear and leads to bad conduct is like murdering the personality of the pupil. The Qur’an desires that education should be of a quality which would make people God-loving so that they might prosper.

“O ye who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families the
fire (that which destroys human personality). (Q.66:6)

Perpetuation of the Human Race

The Quran states that the second purpose of creating woman is to perpetuate the human race, and it, therefore, compares woman to cultivable land and says:

Your wives are a tilth for you. (Q.2:223)

The above Qur’anic verse means to suggest that just as grains and foodstuff depend upon the fields, and if there were no cultivable fields, the food grains would disappear from the world, in the same way, the human race depends upon women, and if there were no women, the human race would become extinct. This proves that according to the Qur’an, the function of woman is twin-fold: First to bring solace to man and, second, to perpetuate the human race. These are two essential functions referred to in a Tradition of the Prophet, namely, “Marry women to enjoy their love and to beget children.”

Women with whom Marriage is not Permissible

The first restriction on marriage that Islam imposes is that it prohibits marriage with certain categories of women. In pre-Islamic days, it was customary that on the death of a man, his wives were also regarded as part of the inheritance; and the son of the deceased could marry any of his step-mothers. Islam, in the first place, prohibited this shameful custom, and then recounted the categories of women who could not be taken in marriage.

“And marry not those women whom your fathers married, except what
hath already happened (of that nature) in the past. Lo! It was ever
lewdness and abomination, and an evil way.”

“Forbidden unto you are your mothers and your daughters and your
sisters, and your father’s sisters, and your mother’s sisters and your
brother’s daughters and your sister’s daughters and your foster-
mothers and your foster-sisters, and your mothers-in-law, and your
step-daughters who are under your protection (born) of your women
unto whom ye have gone in – but if ye have not gone in unto them,
then it is no sin for you (to marry their daughters) – and the wives of
your sons (who spring) from your own loins. And (it is forbidden unto
you) that ye should have two sisters together, except what hath
already happened (of that nature) in the past. Lo! Allah is forgiving
and merciful.” (Q.4:22-23)

The above prohibitions pertained to the near relations. Another category of women was also declared ineligible.

“And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives)
whom your right hands possess. It is a decree of Allah for you. Lawful
unto you are all beyond these mentioned. (Q.4:24)

The above verse has been interpreted in several ways. Muhsana has two meanings – ‘a married woman’ and ‘a free woman,’ and in the light of these meanings, the verse would be interpreted thus: Do not marry women whose husbands are alive except those who have been taken prisoners in war. In such case, marriage can be performed after setting them free. Secondly, married women are prohibited except those who are divorced by their former husbands. Thirdly, even free women in excess of the number prescribed are prohibited.

So, whatever interpretation one may put upon the verse, all women who cannot be lawfully taken in marriage are prohibited.

Marriage with Slave Girls

In the conditions prevailing in the time of the Prophet, a person who could not afford to marry a free woman was recommended to marry slave-girls captured in war. This was subject to the condition that these girls should not be polytheists. Some contend that such captive girls need not be regularly married, but can be kept as wives without formal Nikah. But this militates against the provisions of the Qur’an and Sunnat. In Surah Nisa – Women, it is stated:  

“And whoso if not able to afford to marry free, believing women,
let them marry from the believing maids whom your right hand
possesses. Allah knoweth best (concerning) your faith. Ye
(proceed) one from another.” (Q.4:25)

The above order was given so that unlucky girls captured in war and enslaved, should not be spurned, but can be taken in marriage. This is ordered for two reasons: First, according to the Prophet, all slaves, male and female, are your kith and kin, and should not be looked down upon, and second, a free women may be inferior to a slave-girl in both faith and righteousness. The Prophet himself married Safiya, a Jewess, who was made captive in the battle of Khyber, and Jawharia, daughter of Harith, head of the tribe of Bani Mustalaq, who had been captured in the battle of Mustalaq.

In fact, the Prophet himself set a noble example to those who thought that to marry an emancipated slave-girl was derogatory to their dignity. It was obvious that if it was degrading for a man of noble family to marry a manumitted woman, it would be much more so for a lady of high family to marry a free slave. So, the Prophet not only himself married slave-girls who had been set free, but he gave his own cousin, Zainab binth Jahash, in marriage to Zaid bin Harith, a freed slave. In this way, he put it beyond doubt that by marrying manumitted slaves, persons of noble birth did not bring any discredit upon themselves. Islam does not countenance any kind of inequality among men and women on the basis of race or social class. According to the teaching of Islam, one’s worth depends not on his or her family or lineage, but on his or her virtue and righteousness. Says the Qur’an:

“Surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among
you most careful (of his duty). (Q.49:13)

And God alone can judge the righteousness of men. “And Allah knows best your faith.” (Q.4:25)

Vexation Treatment

It is also the duty of a husband that he should not treat his wife with harshness and violence. Says the Qur’an:

“Return them not to their hurt so that ye transgress (the limits). He
who doeth that hath wronged his soul. Make not the revelations of
Allah a laughing stock (by your behavior). (Q.2:231)

The above verse prevents husbands from repeatedly divorcing their wives and renewing conjugal relations with them. Some husbands, in order to harass their wives, did not pronounce divorce thrice all at once, but did so only once, and then renewed relations, again did likewise and resumed conjugal life, with the result that the poor wives remained a prey to constant mental torture. This practice was a direct opposition to the Qur’anic injunctions. The Prophet warned against this kind of cruelty, and laid down a general principle, e.g., “Do not be harsh or cruel to your wives.” That harshness or cruelty can be physical, mental and also spiritual.


Book: Woman in Islam
Author: Malik Ram Baveja
Publisher: Renaissance Publishing House – New Delhi
Year: 1988

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