First publish on Dawn.com

That reporting a rape is an arduous ordeal is a truth that resounds globally. When braving for police investigations, enumerating the ordeal in court and damaging stereotypical media representations become a norm then the argument for a pellucid approach becomes preemptory.

In 2006, a much-heated debate on the Hudood Laws revealed the anatomy of rape, conflicting legalities involving misinterpretations of Shariah Laws and the deeply engrained distorted public perceptions. For those who followed the debate, there should be no qualms in admitting that it made the inherent flaws in interpretations of the law and the systematic distortion of a society sensitive to violence and abuse evident.

The women protection bill implemented later that year made it possible for a woman to convict on the basis of forensic and medical evidence. Aimed at encouraging women to report the crime, which was deterred due to the farcical  ‘four witness’ rule enforced by the Hudood ordinance, the act has been strongly opposed by Jamaat-i-Islami, whose activists and leaders continue to lobby against the act.


In a recent interview to a local news channel, Munawar Hassan of Jamaat-i-Islaami had the following to say:

Anchor: Why did you vehemently oppose the women protection act?
Munawar Hasan: Women protection act was not aimed at protecting women instead it is meant to promote vulgarity and obscenity in the society. 
Anchor: What is the basis of your allegations? 
Munawar Hasan: On the basis of which we opposed the act.
Anchor: The fundamental purpose of the women protection act was (is) to provide women with the right to file cases on the basis of circumstantial and forensic evidence, making convictions of rape easier. Where is the obscenity in that? 
Munawar Hasan:  This bill has been part of law for years, how has that affected the rights of women in Pakistan? What is the one issue that can be pointed out as a success of this law?
Anchor: One blaringly obvious problem with the Hudood law was the need to present four witnesses in order to convict a rapist, failure to do so resulted in the arrest of the woman on charges of confession to adultery, that was the main issue. 
Munawar Hasan: What is the problem in that? 
Anchor: The problem is this sir, that according to the 2003 national commission status of women report 80 per cent women were forced to languish in jails because of inability to produce witnesses of their rape. 
Munawar Hasan: The objective of Islam is to discourage such acts, no one can be shameless enough to commit such an act in the presence of four people. Making it impossible to prove such acts, therefore the whole idea is to discourage bringing such acts into public light. Discouraging it to the extent that the act is never quoted. If such a crime occurs and since there are no witnesses than both men and women are suppose to keep it under wraps and not discuss it in public. 
Anchor: Sir, are you suggesting that a woman should stay silent after she is raped? That she should not report the crime?
Munawar Hasan: I am saying she should keep quiet if she has no witnesses. If she has witnesses then she should present them. 
Anchor: What kind of an argument is that? A woman is raped and she has to look for witnesses to prove the crime?
Munawar Hasan: Argue with the Quran and not me. 
Anchor: I am not questioning the Quran, I am questioning your argument.


As it becomes evident, Munawar Hasan makes up for the lack of substance in his argument by accusing the anchor of speaking against the word of God, he then goes thus far as asking the anchor to read the ‘kalima’ and declare his faith. The anchor concludes the argument by suggesting that Islamic laws pertaining to rape should be respected but in the presence of facilities such as forensic study we should not refrain from conviction.

This for me, defeats the purpose of the entire debate. Firstly because the interpretation of the Shariah law as per Munawar Hasan is neither derived directly from the Quran nor is it widely accepted. The Hudood ordinance is based on interpretations of certain scholars; it is neither a unanimously accepted interpretation nor is it logical.

Rape is a crime and criminals tend to prefer committing the crime without leaving evidence or witnesses. The idea of having four witnesses present at the time of rape is irrational and absurd.  Can anyone in their right mind imagine witnessing rape and not doing anything to stop or even report it? If not by law then by conscience, would they not feel complacent?  Rape is much more than forceful sex. It is a power game; it is a way to overpower the victim both physically and psychologically and derive pleasure out of it. To discourage rape victims from reporting rape is serving the predatory nature of the rapist.

Similarly, the callously flaunted idea that women use rape as a tool for popularity, fame, and money or simply to attack Islamic principles is devoid of logic.  For all we know, taking a rapist to court in Pakistan can put you behind bars, after dealing with the severe moral policing of course.

The arguments and logic provided by Munawar Hasan form a vivid example of rape culture. To elaborate rape culture, it is prevalent practices by which despite the rampant increase in sexual violence, rape (and other forms of violence) is condoned, considered a norm or worse considered tolerable. The most powerful tool to propagate such a culture is through moral policing the victim and by reinforcing the ‘she was asking for it’ mindset.  To validate and rationalize rape and (or) sexual violence need a wide variety of beliefs that stem from an inherent misogynistic approach towards the social fabric.
Inconsistent application of law and moral policing the rape victim makes for a steady case for rape culture. Munawar Hasan isn’t the only practitioner and preacher of this culture, if we look at the way the accuser in

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of IMF, is being treated, one can be sure that rape culture is a globally adopted phenomena for which religion, moral, ethics or culture are mere ploys.

This is made much easier when done at the behest of religion and morals. The four witness rule as clear by all available translations and interpretations of the Quran is to be sought in case a woman is accused of fornication. The impossibility of four people witnessing the act was meant to make it tougher for the society to slander a woman. It is indeed heart wrenching to witness it being used to encourage violence against women and cultivate a culture of silence and shame.

I am not going to refrain from commenting on the interpretations simply because the Quran is meant and believed to be a book for guidance for all-alike — not just the scholars. Islam doesn’t preach a method of dependency, in fact the tone carried throughout the Quran addresses individuals directly, the entire concept is a spiritual and personal connection with God. Scholars are pursued to elaborate on various methods of law, but leaving them to impose their interpretations on us is faulty and damaging and works against the very principle of Islam. A faith that is threatened by introspection and one that is scared of evolution is fickle and convoluted.

Munawar Hasan is no ordinary politician; he is the Ameer of one of the oldest religious political party. For him to advocate the culture of silence and shame in the name of religion is a mockery of our beliefs. When we choose to allow scholars to use rhetoric to avoid questions we inadvertently become complacent If we choose to hold back our questions and remain silent in the face of such rhetoric we must brace ourselves to accept full liability of injustice to the victims of rape, all 2,903 of them.

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41 thoughts on “Your rape culture is not my religion

  1. Dear Sana,
    I’m an American feminist and blogger who is passionate about women’s rights issues. I recently read about a case in Pakistan in which a woman killed her husband due to his threats to rape her daughter, and knew I had to write about the issue. Among the resources I used was this amazing post. I don’t know if you’re interested or if you’ll agree with my take on the issue, but my article was posted on thecontrarianmedia.com if you’d like to take a look.
    Sincerely,
    Carrie

  2. Sana,

    This was a hair raising read for someone who’s neither Pakistani, nor a Muslim. The ideal practice is to leave the matter of faith to the individuals, as you rightly suggested and give more importance to “humanity”.

    The interview you pasted was astonishingly unreasonable, no wonder you used a word like “rape culture”.

    May God bless and protect the women of Pakistan.

  3. Arif Humayun is correct. Munawar Hussain could not realize or internalize Islam’s message The purpose of Quranic requirement of 4 witnesses was to protect women from false accusation. The context was and (illicit) rumor about Bibi Ayesha and her slave Safwan. Related references are verses Nisa 15, 16 & 25, Noor 2, 3, 4,11-20 (specially 13) & 26 and Sahi Bukhari Vol 5 – 462. References of rejection of women witness in Hudood cases are Hanafi law Hedaya page 176 & 353, Shafi’i Law Umdat Al Salik # o.24.9, Penal Law of Islam page 44 , Criminal Law in Islam and the Muslum World, Pakistan’s Hudood ordinance # 7 of 1979 amended by 8B of 1980. I heard this law is recently repealed in Pakistan, please confirm.
    BTW, women judges are prohibited in Sharia law – Codified Islamic Law Vol Vol2 – 554.

  4. The religion, which was accepted by the downthrotten masses during prophets time because it delivered justice and equality is been helt hostage to the opposite.

    Jamaat-e-Islami wants to be recognised as an political party, it has the full right to do so. Yet it returns for sanction in religion each time it gets tuff time in media or by opponents.

    It was Maudoodi in his early years as Jamaat-e-Islami leader who termed the creation of Pakistan to be wrong and even naming Mohammad Ali Jinnah to be the great infidel (Kaafir-e-Aazam) in contrast to what the AIML dubbed him, the great leader (Quaid-e-Aazam.

    It was Maudoodis Jamaat-e-Islami which during the Anti-Ahmadi riots in Lahore in the 50s was responsible for arons, loot and daylight murder.

    The Jamaat was of the view during the 60s that smallpox vaccine should not be taken as it is an western conspiracy and will infertilise the children (similar to todays resistance against Polio among muslims in north-west Pakistan and even in Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar).

    The Jamaat later on was the main ally of the Yahya Khan regime which together with the army killed, looted and raped bengalis in huge numbers. The al-Shams and al-Badr organizations were indeed created by JI members.

    Now their youth organizations terrorize the students at our university campuses. Even managed to kill an student who listened to music in his dorm. Such is happening unchallenged as rulers are pleasing these groups in order to ease fingers pointing at their heads.

    Pakistanis surely needs to wake up the real Ghairatmand in their inner selves. We are first and foremost humans who have been given fitrah by God, even that should be enough to denounce such attitude when it comes to rape-culture. In addition our majority is following the religion of Islam which preaches Justice and Equality clearly… can we please, look behind the beard and have the courage enough to challenge those who hold religion as hostage, as Sana just did with this article?

  5. The auhthor is ignorant of the fact that verse 5:33 punishment applies to kafirs only, who reject Allah and Islam. This verse, barbaric as it is, has nothing to do with crimes Muslims themselves commit in Islamic societies. She is also ignorant of the fact that a Muslim nation cannot have a penal code other than those stated in the Quran and hadith. Doing so itself constitutes defiance of Allah’s law and therefore “mischeif in the land”.

  6. Rape Does Not Go Unpunished in the Absence of 4 Witnesses

    Research Committee of IslamToday under the supervision of Sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî. From Islamtoday.com

    There is a lot of misunderstanding about how the crime of rape is established within an Islamic judicial system. Many people are of the false opinion that four witnesses must see the act of rape in order for a conviction to hold in the courts. They are understandably appalled by the idea that a woman who cannot produce four witnesses to the crime will be unable to bring justice to bear on her attacker. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    It is true that the prescribed punishment (hadd) for fornication requires four witnesses in order for that specific punishment to be a sacred duty for the Muslim courts to carry out. However, what it means is that, in the absence of four witnesses, the judge will prescribe a punishment for the perpetrator according to his discretion or according to the country’s penal code. He will not be obliged to prescribe the specific prescribed punishment for fornication. In any case, rape is a far more serious matter than fornication and deserves a more severe punishment.

    If a rape is proven based on DNA or heard screaming or any other means (in the absence of 4 witnesses), then the punishment for rape in Islam is same as the punishment for zina, which is stoning if the perpetrator is married, and one hundred lashes and banishment for one year if he is not married. The rapist also has to bear other financial damages that can be discussed later.

    However, if the rape occurs based on threatening weapons (knife, gun point, etc.), then he is to be subjected to the punishment described in the verse in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

    “The recompense of those who wage war against Allaah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off from opposite sides, or be exiled from the land. That is their disgrace in this world, and a great torment is theirs in the Hereafter” [al-Maaidah 5:33]

    So the judge has the choice of the four punishments mentioned in this verse, and may choose whichever he thinks is most suitable to attain the objective, which is to spread peace and security in society, and ward off evildoers and aggressors.

    It is important to clarify a common misconception that many people have about the judicial system in a state that operates within the parameters of Islamic Law. It is commonly assumed that every decision and every criminal sentencing in an Islamic country is derived directly from Islamic religious teachings and from sacred law. This is not the case at all.

    A court operating under Islamic Law will be obliged to carry out Islamic legal injunctions in the few instances where those injunctions are relevant. Otherwise, the judicial decisions of the court will be based upon the court’s application and interpretation of the country’s statutory law and on the discretion of the judge, as it is with purely secular legal systems.

    In Islam, there are a handful of crimes that are addresses by the sacred texts and are given prescribed punishments (hudûd in Arabic). The same texts determine the evidentiary burden that is required to establish guilt. When this evidence is established, it becomes the religious duty of the courts to carry out the sentence. There are only a few crimes of this nature. Even with these crimes, if the burden of evidence is not met for the prescribed punishment to be carried out, then it will not be obligatory upon the courts to carry out that specific prescribed punishment.

    Instead, the matter reverts to the discretion of the court. It becomes, like any other crime, a matter for the court to decide on its own authority or for the country’s legal system to determine through statutory legislation. The discretionary punishment (ta`zîr in Arabic) might be a protracted prison sentence, or even the death penalty.

    We can see an example of this in the law that the Muslim scholars in Saudi Arabia have approved of, where the death penalty is decreed by statute for drug smugglers who bring large quantities of drugs into the country. No punishment for drug smuggling is mentioned in the Qur’ân and Sunnah. This is a discretionary punishment set by statute.

    The courts and the civil law codes can also determine the evidentiary burden needed for a conviction. This may include circumstantial evidence, any number of male or female witnesses, DNA evidence, and so forth.

    The vast majority of civil and criminal cases heard by the courts in an Islamic country will not be decided on the basis of scriptural teachings. In the vast majority of criminal cases, the definition of crimes will be determined by the country’s statutory laws, which are developed through the country’s legislative process. Likewise, sentencing will either be dictated by statute or passed according the judge’s discretion. This is very similar to the situation in the judicial systems of secular countries.

    In the secular courts of the West and other parts of the world, they do not have any such thing as divinely prescribed punishments. All punishments are determined by the discretion of the courts or by the country’s statutory penal law. Still, rapists are punished for their crimes. The same can be said for the courts in an Islamic legal system. The matter reverts to the discretion of the courts in the absence of the specific evidence required for carrying out the prescribed punishment.

  7. What a vulgar language is this to prove Munawar Hassan wrong by few friends, specially by Jamshaid Siddqui. May be he belongs to MQM or PPP, coz both parties are famous for their bazaro language (Haider Abbas, Firdous Ashiq Awan, Fauzia Wahab, Faisal Raza Abidi). By reading it, one can understand easily the mind set of the reply writer. Calling M Hassan’s sister and mother, why these guys forget to give respect to women.
    The same bad thinking for woman although in words but did not stopped.
    Sana you can understand what kind attitude our men have for women. Can you feel attitude difference in streets and in forums?

  8. Also, what Mr Hasan is saying, is scary, and inhuman, (and needless to say, illogical). And I hope you agree with that. My worries are, that maybe you don’t. But explaining that to you is a separate debate. For now, just chew on the above. Just one line, when you read what Mr Hasan has to say, imagine your own sister/mother/wife/daughter going through all that, and then see if you can understand our concern, or objection

    You have such a poor argument in order to prove yourself correct over others. To oppose Sana one doesnt has to get his Sisters or mothers raped. And a fickle minded Sana who at one point says “Jamshed, I value your feedback but would like to request you to please stop using ‘if his daughter was raped’ as an example. I understand the logic behind this, but people tend to get carried away and direct their hate wrongfully.”

    is praising your comment as “Thank you Akshay, for taking out the time and explaining on my behalf. I really appreciate. As far as Mr. ‘John Morrison’ is concerned I think he/she has clearly misunderstood my writings, but that’s okay. We can agree to disagree, I believe in freedom of expression and so his comments are approved on various pieces I wrote. I don’t believe his/her intent is to offer valuable critique, instead some of his comments read more like personal attacks. Would not waste my time and energy on replying back to unfounded hate. But touched by your responses, thank you!”

    Does she support my sisters and mother get raped in order to prove you are good and right in your own way.

    Where am I arguing that Munawwar Hussain is right, I strongly oppose Munawwar Hussain for making such a fool of himself without knowing the issue on which he is talking and giving enough fire for others to write about the mullahs. its Jamat e Islami which started the interpretation of Quran by ordinary people in their own understanding not the other religious bodies. When every tom dick harry starts interpreting the Quran with out knowledge of Hadith and Fiqh people will start interpreting Quran for their own benefits.

    Sanas intention is not against the mullahs but there will always be comments made against mullahs just because of one Politician of a religious party.I am not against any of the Sana blogs i am against the hatred being generated among the muslim community against the mullahs. Just because a few uknown Ullemas who come on the TV so proudly and give a fatwa doesnt make the whole ullemahs wrong. There are good ullemas in Pakistan like Maulana Tariq Jamil, Makki Sahab. Has anyone seen them on TV these people dont believe in TV at all. By commenting on this trivial Mullahs she is making the other innocent muslims to stop believing in these Maulvis who worked for the betterment of the Muslim community.

    Oh and I am sorry Sana for those personal comments sometimes I dont have control on my anger which really shoud be kept in check.

    And Ajay my online identity doesnt mean my existence in real world is shameful. And your online identity doesnt guarantees that you exist in real world with the same name. this is virtual world you cant prove your identity until it takes your credit card number to post your comment.

    John Morrison

    1. Dear “Morrison”

      You have now used my name to post the comment! What do I say!

      I am sorry, but you took my argument in the wrong light. The point was never made to insult any of your family, but asking you to think of any other woman as your own family’s women.

      I am sorry, if you felt hurt, however unintentional it may be.

      Though I continue to disagree with a lot of what you write, I respect your right to express it.

      Regards.

  9. HI Sana,
    I read, liked n agreed with most of your blog … But this time i m not … Mr Munawar is right to some extend that if the victim does not have four witnesses then she should be silent. Our society would never respect a women who had once raped .. Our system will not give her justice . How many women got justice ? n how many culprits got penalties.?.. Our people would never want to sit n talk with that woman.. there would be no place left for her in this society eventually. But yes she may take revenge in other ways if she is intelligent enough. I m not against freedom of expression but some evils should not be discuss openly.

    1. Huma,

      Rape is a crime for which there will never be four witnesses. This is the point in the interview that the anchor makes forcefully. Islam does not sanction any crime nor does it try to protect the rapist. The question asked in the interview was that in the presence of forensic or other evidence that can be used to establish the crime and punish the rapist. The need for four witnesses is not required for rape; that is for consensual sex and has to met certain requirements, including an equal right to the accused (woman) to prove her innocence. I have detailed these in my earlier comment which is at the bottom of this link.

  10. Hey Arkesh Ajay look for the problems in your own country. And stop saying that you know a lot abot Islam.
    What doesnt looks like unislamic to you may look islamic to me we have reasons for them as we have our own knowledge levels to perceive.

    If I would say you a male private part worshipper you will feel offended. For me its like a joke to hear people worshipping penis. But for you its a part of religion.

    1. Dear “Morrison”

      You need help.

      And, humanity has no boundaries. Cliched, but true. Humanity came way before 1947, or before any nations were created. So it’s not about “problems in my own country”. It’s about problems human beings face.

      Also, I never claimed to know “a lot” about Islam. I said, like any other religion it preaches love, and rationality. People interpret it differently. In fact, I don’t know a lot about Hinduism, or Christianity or any other religion. For religion is endless. And what is, afterall, “a lot”?

      And reading you, I am utterly sure, you understand neither Islam, or Hinduism, or anything at all. A narrow mind can hold very little, you see.

      Making fun, or attacking anybody’s religion just reflects poorly on your upbringing, and education. God bless you, dear.

      And, trust me, worshiping a “penis”, or you saying it doesn’t offend me one bit. Why should it? You may be ashamed of sex, truth is sex is what brings life, be it you, or be it me. So worshiping a penis, or a vagina, is natural, rational, healthy, and perfectly the right thing to do. You find it “funny”, for you are an insecure, uneducated, and small-brained individual.

      All religions are great. But you won’t understand it.

      So let go of your bile. And get some heart.

  11. Sana, I know you the reason behind it but let me clear it that the reason what i was made this point was just to make him realize about his double standard outlook about these fragile matters. In India when a Rapist Dhanajay Pratap was given death penalty, there were many non- muslims and muslims stood against this and said that we live in a modern society , and lets stop practicing such barbaric act.But my question to them was – will they say the same if the girl who was raped was there daughter or sister. I am sure in that state the views will surely take U turn. I am 200% sure if something like this ghastly incident happens with Mr. Hasan;s daughter or sister (or for that matter wife) he will put the Hudood ordinance on a side and will do what he believes is right !!!!

  12. Sana, the reason what i was made this point was just to make him realize about his double standard outlook about these fragile matters. In India when a Rapist Dhanajay Pratap was given death penalty, there were many non- muslims and muslims stood against this and said that we live in a modern society , and lets stop practicing such barbaric act.But my question to them was – will they say the same if the girl who was raped was there daughter or sister. I am sure in that state the views will surely take U turn. I am 200% sure if something like this ghastly incident happens with Mr. Hasan;s daughter or sister (or for that matter wife) he will put the Hudood ordinance on a side and will do what he believes is right !!!!

  13. Looks like Sana Saleem is among those fools who believes that there is a shariah law decreed upon in Pakistan. Well if she keeps writing about things against Islam in Pakistan her blogs will surely be rewarded. What is the population of Muslims in Pakistan and among them how many are following Shariah Law. She presents the picture of Pakistan as a country ruled by the Mullahs when they clearly have a democracy. If at all Pakistan belived in this mullahs then the govt would had been a Islamic one like the Taliban. But is there Taliban power in Pakistan oh absolutely not. Then why does Sana is coming up with questioning the roles of Jamat e Islami leaders. When she opted for some other party members to lead their govt. Is the 4 witness rule a law passed in Pakistan oh I think its absolutely not. Sana Saleem is amongst those writers who forgets that she is living in a democratic country where they have chosen the elite agnostic muslims to lead the liberalists muslims.

    Then why drag these religious issues into all his articles, its just like the oscars or bookers prizes where the more you show Indians or Asians to be bad the more good for the westerners pride and more the glory.

    I hope Sana Saleem will receive the Nobel Peace Prize very soon for she has criticized the Islamic Ideology more than the Democracy in her country.

    1. Dear Mr Morrison

      In all probabilities your name is not “John Morrison”. So why the need to take this obviously Christian name, in order to defend, what I’ll chose to call, your brand of Islam. Rather, your understanding of Islam. Which obviously departs strongly from what Islam or Humanity (they must be identical, trust me, darling) actually are.

      Do you need to hide in order to say what you feel is right? Don’t have the guts to put your real identity on line, for saying what you believe in?

      Even if what you say may be entirely nonsensical, it is what you believe in. So, before everything else, get some courage. And don’t misunderstand courage for what you have suggested in the second line of your rant, “Well if she keeps writing about things against Islam in Pakistan her blogs will surely be rewarded”. Is that a threat, Mr ashamed-of-your-own-identity?

      Also, read Sana’s blog again. She is NOT speaking against Islam. Not even once, not a single line or word is against Islam. It’s against a socio-political ideology she writes against? She writes against Munawar Hasan, and his understanding of Islam.

      As you disagree with Sana’s interpretation of Islam, and think you are right in writing against that; so is she right in writing against Mr Hasan’s interpretation. Mr Hasan is not God, or The Prophet, is he? Mr Hasan is as ordinary a human being (even after his views, I’ll call him a human), as Sana is. Or I am. And people have a right top disagree with me, or Sana, or Mr Hasan.

      Also, what Mr Hasan is saying, is scary, and inhuman, (and needless to say, illogical). And I hope you agree with that. My worries are, that maybe you don’t. But explaining that to you is a separate debate. For now, just chew on the above. Just one line, when you read what Mr Hasan has to say, imagine your own sister/mother/wife/daughter going through all that, and then see if you can understand our concern, or objection.

      Moreover, Sana is also not saying that Mr Hasan or his ideology rules Pakistan, or that “Pakistan is like this”. She is saying – ‘there are a few people in Pakistan who are like this, and they are wrong’. That is it. Not all of Pakistan (or any other country) is a murderer. So should the newspapers stop reporting murders? Even if it’s a small percentage, even if it’s a single person who is like Mr Hasan, there is a need to debate. And this debate is what Sana is interested in. Nothing more.

      Read her blog thoroughly, she loves Pakistan as much as you do.

    2. Thank you Akshay, for taking out the time and explaining on my behalf. I really appreciate. As far as Mr. ‘John Morrison’ is concerned I think he/she has clearly misunderstood my writings, but that’s okay. We can agree to disagree, I believe in freedom of expression and so his comments are approved on various pieces I wrote. I don’t believe his/her intent is to offer valuable critique, instead some of his comments read more like personal attacks. Would not waste my time and energy on replying back to unfounded hate. But touched by your responses, thank you!

    3. Dear Sana

      That is the least a rational man can do. Debate, sitting on a computer screen, assured of the safety of his life.

      And though a common mistake, and I am almost always amused by it, my name is NOT Akshay. It is “Arkesh”.

      Hope God keeps your courage alive.

      Do take care.

  14. 99.9% politicians in Pakistan are idiots. This man certainly lacks and knowledge, capacity and the ability to comment and lead.

    Witnesses were needed 700 years ago because of lack of scientific evidence. In today’s world even if there is no witness, this can be scientifically proven.

  15. Reading what Munawar Hasan has to say, leads me from shock to a more basic question: when we can see the obvious, why can’t he? If he is just being obstinate for this stand serves his political purpose, it is a tragedy (for as you point out he is an important figure in the political/religious discourse); but what scares me is what if this is his real belief. For that would be dangerous. As it would point out towards the fact that there is a line of reasoning which may lead people to this ridiculous belief, which he is willing to kill for. What is then worrisome is the possibility that this line of reasoning may someday become the predominant line of thought, or at least may find a considerable number of followers (for in the politics of gender, men have often gone to worse extents).

  16. evidence is necessary for conviction. A woman can have consensual sex and then claim that she was raped. you need evidence in that case for conviction ( forensic, witnesses, etc).
    its not only women who are victimised, men are also not spared.
    its good that you support the cause of women but you should also focus on all oppressed.

  17. It is just so incredible that one just can’t even comment

    Has he been smoking some joints

    These guys do more damage to Islam & Muslims than anyone else

  18. People witness all kinds of crimes and do not stop it for fear of retaliation from the goons. No one wants to be killed, or have their family harmed, so they don’t stop it. Reporting it is out of the question, due to harassment from police. The argument is not would anyone in their right mind not stop a rape, but 4 people witnessing a crime like rape stand there and do nothing about it. In that case, all 4 are sinners. However, the truth is that 4 witnesses are required to prove adultery, not rape.

    And those who accuse chaste women [of adultery] and then do not produce four witnesses — lash them with eighty lashes and do not accept from them testimony ever after.

    1. WARNING: CONTENT IS GRAPHIC

      I wanted to share this video. You said no one can witness a crime and do nothing about it. I replied by saying four …. well I am not sure about even four now.

      WARNING: CONTENT IS GRAPHIC

  19. The best way to make Mr Hasan believe that what he is standing with is not correct, morally, socially and islamically is just one question. Ask him will he stand quite if his daughter is raped , and she identifies the culprit. What will he do, will he ask his daughter to stay mum or will he look for 4 witnesses.
    Its really shameful for us that we live in a society where our leaders have such ideology which is morally vaccumed.

    1. Jamshed, I value your feedback but would like to request you to please stop using ‘if his daughter was raped’ as an example. I understand the logic behind this, but people tend to get carried away and direct their hate wrongfully.

    2. In my opinion, Mr. Siddiqui has come up with a great example. The people who come up with bizarre theories would actually be hesitant to use them if their own female family member was subjected to the same crime.

  20. What kind of arguments Munawar Hassan and the anchor were giving to each other. One did not know what to ask and the other what to say.
    Four witnesses which are required to be presented in court is not for rape (Zina & rape are two different cases). These witnesses are to be presented by a man (including him) who is reporting sex between two persons who are not in Nikkah. It is for the purpose to stop culprits and idiots from spoiling someone’s life. In case the reportee fails to produce four witnesses, he is to be charged 80 splinters for his lie (the philospy of save innocent women from blame game). In a rape case Islam permits the govt to punish the criminals as harsh as much necessory to stop crimes. Prescription from Quran is the duty of those clerics (all sects) who are doing it for Allah without any individual interests. This must not be done for political interest.

  21. Sana,

    You have once again touched on a critical topic which needs to be debated publicly to establish how Islamist leaders have monopolized religion; when confronted with their illogical arguments, their only way out is to challenge the questioner’s Muslim faith. As you rightly point out, advocating silence by the rape victim in the name of religion – as explained by Munawar Hussain – not only makes a mockery of our beliefs, it also encourages the rapist to continue unhindered by ensuring that there are no witnesses to the crime. What a flawed interpretation of Islam (which literally means peace) and is built on the fundamentals of equality, peace and justice. How does Munawar Hussain’s explanation of rape victim remaining silent promote these fundamentals of Islam? Such farcical and convoluted interpretations of Islam must be condemned in the strongest possible terms because he has totally twisted the Quranic teachings.

    Rape is a crime and the Qur’an does not offer any concessions to the rapist. Any means of confirming the crime, identifying and punishing the culprit should be admissible and cannot be prohibited by the Qur’an. Mr. Hussain’s explanations do not remotely apply to rape; rather they are for fornication or consensual sex. Here again, the four-witness rule is to protect women against false accusations; the accuser has to provide four witnesses – who can testify to have observed intimate details of the sexual act – before the accused can be convicted of fornication. Failure to provide the four witnesses requires the accuser to be punished and disqualified from testifying for the remainder of his life (Qur’an Ch 24, verse 5). Providing four witnesses for rape is virtually impossible, except when the witnesses have been invited by the rapist. That makes them accessories to the crime or a porn show! This impracticable requirement is designed to discourage men from accusing women of fornication.

    The Qur’an also deals with instances where a husband accuses his wife of adultery, claiming to have personally witnessed the act. He must proclaim four times under oath that he witnessed the act and that he is speaking the truth and that Allah’s curse be on him if he was not truthful. Chapter 24, verse 7 stares: “And as for those who calumniate their wives, and have not witnesses except themselves — the evidence of any one of such people [shall suffice] if he bears witness four times in the name of Allah saying that he is surely of those who speak the truth.” However, Chapter 24 also offers the wife an equal opportunity to prove her innocence by invoking God as her witness as spelled out in verse 9 of Chapter 24: “But it shall avert the punishment from her if she bears witness four times in the name of Allah saying that he is of the liars.” These verses clearly show the balance in the Qur’anic teachings whereby it affords equal opportunity to both the accuser and the accused.

    Chapter 4 verses 16 and 17 mention improper behavior by both women and men. Verse 16 referring to women states: “And such of your women who are guilty of any flagrant impropriety – call to witness four of you against them; and if they bear witness, then confine them to the houses until death overtake them or Allah open for them a way.” And verse 17, referring to men states: And it two from among you are guilty of it, punish them both. And if they repent and amend, then leave them alone; surely, Allah is Oft-Returning with compassion and is ever merciful.” Verse 17 can also be taken to mean flagrant impropriety by two males!

    Munawar Hussain’s grotesque interpretation not only distorted the Qur’anic teaching, it also failed to mention the reprieve offered to the accused women by the Qur’an whereby she can invoke God as her witness to prove her innocence. This is the beauty of Islam that the so-called scholars of Munawar Husain’s ilk can never appreciate; they can only bring disrepute to Islam!

    The essence of the Qur’anic teachings is to establish the crime through irrefutable evidence and not encourage accusations of sexual misconduct based on suspicion or malice against women. This is the in-built safety mechanism to protect women’s honor and not to punish the rape victim by using her report of the crime as her admission to being a criminal, as is being done in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia today. This is the law that Munawar Husain and people like him want to retain in the name of their Islam!

    Sana, please continue to forcefully condemn such convoluted interpretations because, as you rightly assert, the Quran is meant and believed to be a book for guidance for all; the so-called scholars do not hold monopoly over Islam. Our religion does not preach a method of dependency; in fact the Quran addresses individuals directly and expects them to be responsible for their actions through a direct spiritual and personal connection with God. The understanding of the Quranic teachings will evolve over time and allowing the so-called scholars to impose their twisted interpretations is faulty and damaging and works against the very principle of Islam. As you aptly say: “A faith that is threatened by introspection and one that is scared of evolution is fickle and convoluted.”

  22. The guy does not even know what he is talking about. People like these should not represent any one at all. These kind of idiots should be punished for stupidity. When they have no substance they tend to show religion as an excuse.

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