Islam, Violence and Women’s rights

Question 6: There are those who say that violence is not a modern issue in Islam, rather it has been used since the time of the prophet, and they say that Islam spread by the sword, so how do you interpret these Quranic verses which promote killing, extermination and alienation: Quran chapter “The Family of Imran” 3:85, 91, 83; “Repentance” 9:29; “The Women” 4:91; “Muhammad” 47:4? And how do you interpret the verses concerning inheritance and testimony, which violate the civil rights of women?

 

Answer: The matter of jihad in the divine religion, as a whole and not just in Islam, is a matter i have clarified in the book of Jihad, the Doorway to Heaven.[1] As for the verses in the Quran which they consider to promote violence or marginalization of others:

First: Quran chapter “The Family of Imran”, ﴾19 indeed, the religion in the sight of God is Islam. And those who were given the book did not differ except after knowledge had come to them — out of animosity between themselves. And whoever disbelieves in the verses of God, then indeed, God is swift in account.﴿. ﴾83 so is it other than the religion of God they desire, while to him have submitted those within the heavens and earth, willingly or by compulsion, and to him they will be returned?﴿. ﴾85 And whoever desires other than Islam as a religion — never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the hereafter, will be among the losers.﴿

The meaning: “The Family of Imran”, ﴾83 so is it other than the religion of God they desire, while to him have submitted those within the heavens and earth, willingly or by compulsion, and to him they will be returned? 84say, “We have believed in God and in what was sent down to us and what was sent down to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Descendants, and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and to the prophets from their lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are muslims [submitting] to him.” 85And whoever desires other than Islam as a religion — never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.﴿

Verse 84 of Quran chapter “The Family of Imran” shows clearly that the meaning of Islam in the verses is submission to God and to the vicegerent of God on his earth in all times, who is appointed according to the law of the vicegerency of God on his earth, which has been since the first day of the first human on this earth, who is the prophet of God Adam, whom God appointed as his vicegerent on his earth. so these verses are not for the purpose of marginalizing any one or judging anyone, rather they are for the purpose of clarifying the law of belief that is acceptable to God, which is the submission to him and to his vicegerent on his earth. but if you consider that placing a law of belief is marginalization of others who do not accept it, then the meaning of your words is that all people of religion, considering that they possess a law of belief, marginalize others. moreover, the matter extends to every group which has a certain ideology.[2]

 

Second:  Quran  chapter  “repentance”,  ﴾29 Fight  those  who  do  not believe in God or in the last Day and who do not consider unlawful what God and his messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the book — [fight] until they give the tribute willingly while they are humbled.﴿

The meaning: The Quran is an integral unit, and what the Wahhabis do to pass their false ideologies and their verdicts of killing people, and what the Christians and others do nowadays to slander the Quran is a process of taking out verses from a book which is an integral unit, of which no part can be taken in isolation from the whole or the remain- ing parts.[3] And God has clarified in the Quran that it is an integral unit and it is invalid to segregate, and whoever segregates it is a tendentious person who either wants to slander in a random and absurd manner, such as the one who says that whoever says “There is no god but God” is a disbeliever in God because he said “There is no god”, or that he is a person who wants to pass an ideology or a corrupt verdict for a purpose within himself, like the Wahhabis have done (or those who are called salafis).

And these are Quranic verses which forbid this tendentious and deviated behavior of segregating the Quran:

﴾ … 85so do you believe in part of the scripture and disbelieve in part? Then what is the recompense for those who do that among you except disgrace in worldly life; and on the Day of resurrection they will return to the severest of punishment. And God is not unaware of what you do.﴿ Quran chapter “The cow” 2:85.

﴾91 Who have made the Quran into portions. 92so by your lord, We will surely question them all 93About what they used to do.﴿ Quran chapter “rock city” 15:91-93.

As for verse 29 of Quran chapter “repentance”, we need to read the verses after it to see clearly why God urged the believers to fight here,
﴾29 Fight those who do not believe in God or in the last Day and who do not consider unlawful what God and his messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the book — [fight] until they give the tribute willingly while they are humbled. 30The Jews say, “ezra is the son of God”; and the Christians say, “Christ is the son of God.” That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved from before. may God destroy them; how are they deluded? 31They have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides God, and the Christ, the son of Mary. And they were not commanded except to worship one God; there is no deity except him. exalted is he above whatever they associate with him. 32They want to extinguish the light of God with their mouths, but God refuses except to perfect his light, although the disbelievers dislike it. 33it is he who has sent his mes- senger with guidance and the religion of truth to manifest it over all religion, although they who associate others with God dislike it.﴿

Therefore, God promotes fighting them because they were the ones to initiate the war, ﴾32 They want to extinguish the light of God with their mouths, but God refuses except to perfect his light, although the disbelievers dislike it﴿, and i do not believe that the encouragement to kill another or preparation to kill another or that equipping to kill another is other than war, and i believe that the wish to extinguish the light of God with their mouths bears these things and more. [4]

And if the previous verses tolerate giving and taking and are alle- gorical, then there is a clear and explicit verse which clarifies that God urges the believers to fight those who fight them; and God forbids the believers to assault others, and the allegorical is referred to the explicit. The Almighty said, ﴾Fight in the way of God those who fight you but do not transgress. indeed. God does not like transgressors.﴿ Quran chap- ter “The cow” 2:190.

moreover, the action of the messenger Muhammad is clear, as the Jews, who are the people of a book, used to live with him in al-madina in safety and he did not harm them until they started fighting him and supporting those who fought him, peace be upon him and his progeny. Attention must also be paid to the fact that Islam and the divine religion does not consider religion separate from politics; rather, that governance and politics are a component of religion, therefore many verses of the Quran are military laws clarifying the rights of a soldier in battlefield and what he is permitted to do toward whoever fights him; as the believer does not kill, even one who fights him, except by the command of God in order for him to be rewarded. For this reason, God allowed the believers on the battlefield to kill whoever fights them, and he clarified this matter in Quranic verses; just as the countries, now and before now, enact laws for their armies and in them they clarify the rights of their soldiers in the battlefield and what is permissible and what is not, etc.

 

Third: ﴾You will find others who wish to obtain security from you and obtain security from their people. every time they are returned to trial, they fall back into it. so if they do not withdraw from you or offer you peace or restrain their hands, then seize them and kill them wherever you overtake them. And those — We have made for you against them a clear authorization.﴿ Quran chapter “The Women” 4:91.

Where is the problem in this verse?

it promotes fighting the disbeliever who fights [muslims] and whose hand does not cease fighting the believers.

in addition, the verse before it from the same sura also states that it is permitted to make truces with whoever requests peace and does not fight the believers or seek their harm: ﴾except for those who take refuge with a people between yourselves and whom is a treaty or those who come to you, their hearts strained at [the prospect of] fighting you or fighting their own people. And if God had willed, he could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you. so if they remove themselves from you and do not fight you and offer you peace, then God has not made for you a cause [for fighting] against them.﴿ Quran chapter “The Women” 4:90.

 

Fourth: ﴾so when you meet those who disbelieve [in battle], strike [their] necks until, when you have inflicted slaughter upon them, then secure their bonds, and either [confer] favor afterwards or ransom [them] until the war lays down its burdens. That [is the command]. And if God had willed, he could have taken vengeance upon them [himself], but [he ordered armed struggle] to test some of you by means of others. And those who are killed in the cause of God — never will he waste their deeds.﴿ Quran chapter “Muhammad” 47:4.

The meaning: This verse clarifies some of the rights of the believing soldiers, in the Islamic army, during war and in battlefield, and it is that they have the right to kill the disbeliever who fights them,[5]  and itclarifies that they also have the right to take prisoners and it gives them liberty in handling the prisoners, so they either release them without exchange or exchange them or ask for their ransom, etc.

So where is the problem in this verse? And we have said that the Quran is a divine law not only for worshipping; rather, it also clarifies the divine politics and governance and the rights of the believers and their obligations, etc.

 

Fifth: Whoever says that the woman is oppressed by a specific legislation such as the inheritance[6]  or testimony must clarify for us his scale and gold standard upon which he determines justice and oppression, and thus decided and concluded that the woman must be made equal to the man in everything, although we all see that the woman does not equal the man in everything.[7]

Also: whoever wants to direct criticism toward a certain legislation within a lawful and legislative system, must observe this legislation as a part of this system, and not take this portion out and treat it in isola- tion of the system as a whole.

He should at least consider both the rights of a woman and her responsibilities in the Divine law and not just consider her rights and say that the woman was given less rights than the man in the Divine law. Why does he not consider the responsibilities, and say that the man was burdened with more responsibilities than the woman in the Divine law?

And as an example: for two people, you gave one of them an assignment to build five stories and the other ten stories; would it be fair if  i gave them the same amount of building material and money for the building? And if i were to give the one assigned ten stories double the one assigned five stories, would it be valid for a person to come and say, “You are unjust, because while they both work for you, you did not give to them equally”?

I believe that whoever says that the woman is oppressed by such legislation, his words and decision are impulsive and far from accurate scientific research.

Ahmed Alhasan
13th Disciple

 

 

[1] A passage from the book of Jihad, the Doorway to Heaven by Imam Ahmed Alhasan: “Jihad in the Divine religions: Jihad or fighting to raise the word of God and to spread monotheism and the religion with which Almighty God is satisfied is a cause decided by Almighty God, and he urged the believers toward it and made it obligatory upon them and he promised heaven to whoever fights in his way, and promised hellfire to whoever turns away from jihad. And the prophets and the messengers are the bearers of the word of Almighty God and they are the bearers of the banner of jihad and fighting for the way of Almighty God, and this is the history of the prophets and the messengers between your hands, browse through it in the Torah, the Gospel and the Quran so that you may find Moses carrying his sword and preparing to enter the holy land, and Joshua son of Noon carrying his sword and entering the holy land, and David spending his days fighting to raise the word of God and spread monotheism, and then Jesus saying to his followers, “if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” [Matthew 16:24] meaning that he calls to rebel against tyranny and corruption and he commands his followers with jihad and fighting in the way of God, as the wood at that time is the match for the shroud with us today, meaning it is as if he is saying to his followers, ‘Whoever wants to follow me, let him carry his shroud with him … ’ it was mentioned in the Torah (The old Testament, Joshua chapter 10): 34Then Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from lachish to eglon. And they laid siege to it and fought against it. 35And they captured it on that day, and struck it with the edge of the sword. And he devoted every person in it to destruction that day, as he had done to lachish. 36Then Joshua and  all  Israel with  him went  up  from  eglon  to  hebron.  And  they  fought  against  it  37and captured it and struck it with the edge of the sword, and its king and its towns, and every person in it. he left none remaining, as he had done to eglon, and devoted it to destruction and every person in it. 38Then Joshua and all Israel with him turned back to Debir and fought against it and 39he captured it with its king and all its towns. And they struck them with the edge of the sword and devoted to destruction every person in it; he left none remaining. Just as he had done to hebron and to libnah and its king, so he did to Debir and to its king. 40so Joshua struck the whole land, the hill country and the negeb and the lowland and the slopes, and all their kings. he left none remaining, but devoted to destruction all that breathed, just as the lord God of Israel commanded. 41And Joshua struck them from Kadesh-barnea as far as Gaza, and all the country of Goshen, as far as Gibeon. 42And Joshua captured all these kings and their land at one time, because the lord God of Israel fought for Israel. 43Then Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal.   … This is an image of one of the days which Joshua son of noon spent in jihad and fighting to raise the world of God and spread the religion of God and monotheism on this earth.”

[2] For  example,  in  the  introduction  of  The  Book  of  Faith  by  pope  shenouda,  “And  the importance of the nicene creed is that all the churches of the Christian world believe in one creed and it is a law acknowledged by all churches. That is why it must be placed by an ecumenical society that encompasses the representatives of all ecumenical churches. The law between our hands was formatted in the ecumenical council of nicaea in 325 a.d, and it was the first ecumenical council. And that was in response to the Arian controversy which denied the divinity of Christ. All the churches of the world, even if they disagree on some ideolo- gies, believe in all the clauses of this law. And any sect that does not believe in anything in the nicene creed is not considered Christian, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Adventists who believe in the holy book and its two testaments ‘according to their own translations’ but they do not believe in all the Christian ideologies that came in the nicene creed.”

[3] Referring to a single verse in isolation from the rest of the book is a matter warned against by the Christians as well, and their clerics reject it. For this reason, for example, we find that pope shenouda iii devoted a particular chapter in his book salvation in the orthodox understanding, and he named it “The Danger of using the single Verse”. Also bishop bishoy of Damietta has done the same in the book A Collection of Lectures of Simplifying Faith, passage 115 also carries the same title, “The Danger of using the single Verse”. And this is the text of pope shenouda iii’s words, “in the topic of salvation, o brothers, and as in any other topic, be very careful concerning the danger of using one [verse] of the holy book. The holy book is not just a verse or verses, it is rather a particular spirit that walks through the entire book. The ignorant person places before himself one verse or a part of a verse, separating it from its circumstances and situation and from the general meaning as a whole. As for the wise searcher who is intent upon the truth, he collects all the texts that are related to his topic of research, and sees what they indicate.”

[4] In The Dictionary of the Holy Book, there is the definition of the word “kill”: “The permissible killing: and killing is permitted or obligatory in the following situations as mentioned from the events of the book … and the jurisprudence obligates to kill the enemies at war without hesitation. And some of the prophets recommended forbidding some of the enemies of God who are evil, meaning they recommend eliminating them and their cattle.”
Moreover, the clerics of the church considered jihad and fighting the occupier and defend- ing the countries to be established and fundamental values. pope shenouda iii said, “And one of the established and firm values that are obligatory for every human: the love of the country and defending it, and sacrificing blood for its sake, if necessary.” Article: “The Values and principles between Titles and concepts”, published in Al-Ahram newspaper, 6th of August, 2006.

[5] And this is a matter acknowledged by human nature and all divine books, and we mentioned some of the passages of the old Testament that the Jews and the Christians believe in; moreover, it is a matter acknowledged by all societies whether religious or not religious.

[6] In the old Testament,   1Then drew near the daughters of Zelophehad the son of hep- her, son of Gilead, son of machir, son of manasseh, from the clans of manasseh the son of Joseph. The names of his daughters were: mahlah, noah, hoglah, milcah, and Tirzah. 2And they stood before Moses and before eleazar the priest and before the chiefs and all the congre- gation, at the entrance of the tent of meeting, saying, 3“our father died in the wilderness. he was not among the company of those who gathered themselves together against the lord in the company of Korah, but died for his own sin. And he had no sons. 4Why should the name of our father be taken away from his clan because he had no son? Give to us a possession among our father’s brothers.”
5Moses brought their case before the lord. 6And the lord said to Moses, 7“The daughters of Zelophehad are right. You shall give them possession of an inheritance among their fa- ther’s brothers and transfer the inheritance of their father to them. 8And you shall speak to the people of Israel, saying, ‘if a man dies and has no son, then you shall transfer his inheritance to his daughter. 9And if he has no daughter, then you shall give his inheritance to his brothers.
10And if he has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his father’s brothers. 11And if his father has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to the nearest kinsman of his clan, and he shall possess it. And it shall be for the people of Israel a statute and rule, as the lord commanded Moses.’”   Numbers, chapter 27. This is the law of inheritance mentioned in the Torah which the Jews and Christians believe in. in this law, there is no equality between man and woman. rather, the woman does not inherit if there is a son. Fr. Antonios Fekry says, “And there was a new law that if the deceased had no son, his daughter is to inherit from him and if he had no daughter, his brothers or uncles or those closest to him among his family.” The Explanation of the Holy Book, Interpretation of Numbers.

[7] Although this matter is obvious, i relate a passage from pope shenouda iii, “if we search in the holy book and the old traditions of the church we find that 1. The woman does not teach in the church, and concerning this, st. Paul the messenger says, ‘let the woman learn in silence and with complete submission; however, i do not permit the woman to teach or to be dominant over the man but she should remain silent. because Adam was created first and then eve. And Adam was not tempted but the woman was, so she committed the transgression. but she would be saved by bearing children if she was firm upon belief, love, and sanctity along with reasoning.’ And we notice that the teaching of st. Paul the messenger in this field presented a justification for this restriction that has nothing to do with the common social conditions of that time or with the particular conditions of the church that was looked after by his student, Timothy. rather, he relied upon matters that concerned man and woman since the beginning of creation … 11. practical obstacles: There are practical obstacles for the woman during pregnancy, birth and breast-feeding. because of these matters, working women take a long leave of absence from their jobs. And perhaps the preoccupation with the work of the priesthood results in completely neglecting the work of the housewife, including the raising of children.” The Opinion of the Orthodox Church in the Priesthood of the Woman.

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