Tag Archives: Women’s issues

The Muslim-Community’s Dilemma concerning the Issue of Abortion

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Author’s-Note:

I’ve written this, as a Result of an Article which I’ve read, concerning a Muslim-Woman who made the Decision to have an Abortion.(http://www.thetempest.co/2017/08/25/life-love/love-sex/muslim-had-abortion/) The story actually is not Uncommon, yet Powerful none the less. This Article is indicative of how Broken so many Muslims in our Communities are, as well as how our Muslim-Communities are either too Apathetic, too Preoccupied, too Judgmental, to truly be of Help & Service to marginalized Demographics, who have to make Difficult, Life-Changing, Decisions.

Contrary to Popular-Opinion: Muslims do not see Eye2Eye pertaining to this Issue, for a lot of Reasons: Conservatism vs. Liberalism, Women’s-Liberation, Feminism, Female-Autonomy, Reproductive-Rights, Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice, etc. As Muslims, however, we must be prepared to journey with/walk with anyone/everyone whom has either had to make a Decision involving Abortion, or is right now as we speak in the process of having to make a Decision concerning Abortion.

As far as I’ve been able to research, there’s 3-Types of Abortions:

1. Resulting from Sexual-Assault (Incest, Rape, etc.).

2. Resulting from a Medical-Necessity (Health/Life Threatening).

3. Resulting from: a. A Woman choosing to do it because she doesn’t want Children/additional Children (Noble-Qur’ān: Chpt.17, V.33)…b. A Woman who rationalizes that because she’s not in a Socio-Economic Space/Place she wants/needs to be in to be a Responsible-Parent (Noble-Qur’ān: Chpt.6, V.151)…c. A Woman who wants to rid her Life of the Responsibility of a Child resulting from the Personal-Actions of both her & her Sexual Partner/Partners (Noble-Qur’ān: Chpt.17, V32) and/or her Partner, her Family/Community, etc. putting pressure on her to proceed with it.

Islām has a Maqsid/Mantra, among the many Maqāsid/Mantras of ash-Sharī`ah/Islāmic-Law…among them being the Maqsid of the Preservation of Life: every Human-Being has the Right to live, even prior to Conception/Birth, even if they grow-up to be a Tyrant.(Noble-Qur’ān: Chpt.5, V.32)

According to the Sharī`ah, Mahrūmāt/Prohibited-Actions fall under 3-Categories:

1. Reprehensible & Punishable (Punishable either in the Hereafter, in the Mundane, or both).

2. Reprehensible but not Punishable.

3. Neither Reprehensible nor Punishable.

Now, the Challenge is objectively placing each Type of Abortion into each Category of Mahrūmāt…here it goes:

a. Abortion Type-1…Category-2

b. Abortion Type-2…Category-3

c. Abortion Type-3…Category-1

As per our Collective-Responsibility as Muslims: we mustn’t/shouldn’t attempt to pursuade anyone to make any Decision…they have Freewill for a Reason, and their Decision will be held into Account by Allah, not us.

I know that it’s easy to say, “it’s Harām/Forbidden”, when you’re not in another Person’s Shoes, who has to decide whether or not an Unborn Human-Being lives or dies. Spiritual/Psycho-Emotional Breakdown is a Real-Thing. Now, I’m just as Pro-Life is anyone else. At the same Time, it behooves us, as Muslims to be more Empathetic to Issues like this. Also, the Cycle of Abuse is a Real-Thing as well. When People witness Trauma (Domestic-Abuse for example), they Spiritually/Psycho-Emotionally accept it as Normal-Behavior when it’s not What had been mentioned in this Article, concerning this Muslim-Woman’s Struggle to find herself, in the midst of not being healed from her Childhood-Trauma, which had led to her escapades with a Man she wasn’t married to is Reality for countless Muslim-Women, which the Muslim-Community fails constantly to both address & remedy. And, let’s be Honest here: among Muslims generally, Women are ostracized significantly more for having Bastard-Children (Children conceived via Non-Wedlock), as opposed to Men having Bastard-Children. So, the Pressure surrounding this Muslim-Woman as per mothering a Bastard-Child isn’t at all false or exaggerated.

Our Maslahah/Objective, particularly pertaining to this Issue is to maitain the Mantra of R.E.P. (R.espect…E.mpathy…P.atience) at all Times. We’re dealing with Real-People, who’re dealing with Real-Issues just like this everyday. Now, I’m going to anticipate that least 1,000-People are going to disagree with what I’ve presented. But, then again: that’s what having these Types of Conversations are all about…Dialogue…Solutions.

Gareth Bryant/2017

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Circumcision vs. Mutilation: is there a Difference between the two?!!!

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Circumcision in Islām is of 2-Types:

1. Male-Circumcision-

Male-Circumcision consists of removing the Male-Prepuce/Foreskin, exposing the Head of the Penis.

2. Female-Circumcision-

Female-Circumcision consists of partial or complete removal of the Female-Prepuce/Clitoral-Hood, exposing the Clitoris.

Both Types of Circumcision are known to possess Precedent within Islām via the Qur’ān&Sunnah.(al-Bukhārī, Muslim) Circumcision is not Mutilation of the Human-Body, as Anti-Circumcision Advocates dishonestly propagate to be the Case, simply because Islām never textually condones Mutilation of the Human-Body in any way. Also, Circumcision isn’t some Archaic (many would even dare to argue “Barbaric”) 3rd-World Custom, as many would attempt to classify it as such. Rather, the Islāmic-Origins of Circumcision actually begin when Allah commanded Abraham (Peace be upon him) to establish Circumcision: to circumcise himself, along with all Male-Members of his Household.(Qasas-ul-Anbiyā’/Stories Of The Prophets, ibn-Kathīr) And, thus proving that Circumcision not only predates the Revelation of the Qur’ān, but that it also is predicated by Revelation which Allah imposed upon Abraham: the Friend of Allah…the Father of the Prophets.

20170802_183837

Since this Discussion is particular to Female-Circumcision: it must be noted that the Islāmic-Allowance of Female-Circumcision is in no way akin to Female Genital Mutilation, because of what I’ve already mentioned prior, pertaining to Islām never condoning Mutilation of the Human-Body & by virtue of the fact that there’s no Islāmic-Texts stating that Female-Circumcision is Mafrūdh/Mandatory.

Rather, Female-Circumcision is something which is Mubāh (Neutral/Optional), as is proven within the following Text:

20170802_183814

Now, based upon this particular Hadīth/Prophetic-Narration, it’s Clear that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) never mandated nor abolished Female-Circumcision, yet only advised/warned, commanded that it must not be done in an Extreme-Fashion. Based upon what we know concerning FGM, it’s obvious that this is the Extreme-Fashion in which Muhammad set out to avoid & forbade from taking place.

There’s very blatant differences between Female-Circumcision, which is Islāmically-Acceptable vs. FGM, which is Mahrūm/Islāmically-Prohibited, by virtue of the Harm which is caused by it. In fact, in Islām, we as Muslims are commanded to avoid Harm at any/all Costs. (Noble-Qur’ān: Chpt.2, V.195; an-Nawawī)

The following Diagram proves my Point:

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Let’s review the above Diagram (B.  Type I [A. Prepuce removal only]): it paints a Clear-Picture, that B. Type I (A.Prepuce removal only) is the only Islāmically-Acceptable form of Female-Circumcision, and therefore could never be FGM. The other Figures  within this Diagram clearly describe/define that these other Types are not Circumcision; rather, these are Types of Mutilation/FGM. In the Modern-World: I must agree that most Places Worldwide where Female-Circumcision takes place don’t use proper Medical-Technology, nor Sanitary/Hygienic Tools and/or Facilities to conduct Female-Circumcision correctly, according to Islām. So, under these Conditions, coupled with the Reality that Female-Circumcision isn’t Islāmically-Mandatory anyway, I do advocate that Female-Circumcision generally should/must be discontinued in Places where there’s no proper Facilitation that Female-Circumcision: 1. Won’t be done correctly, according to Islām…2. Could/would result in Dangerous/Life-Threatening Health-Risks for Women. And, unfortunately, there’s enough Evidence that Female-Circumcision (1. Based upon Unhealthy-Methods of it being done…2. Dangerous/Life-Threatening Health-Risks) should/must be discontinued.

In Islām, if something isn’t Obligatory: if there’s a higher Probability that Muslims won’t be able to maintain it and/or do it correctly, not only is it Islāmically-Allowable to discontinue it (depending on what it is), it would also then be Islāmically-Mandatory to discontinue it, if the Harm resulting from it becomes greater than its Benefit.

The following Hadīth gives us Precedent, as to the Islāmic-Allowability to discontinue something which is not Mafrūdh:20170802_183904In Conclusion, let 1-Thing remain Crystal-Clear: Female-Circumcision is in no Way akin to Female Genital Mutilation. So, do not…I repeat, do not continue to allow Ignorant/Islāmophobic (Muslims and/or Non-Muslims) People attempt to treat Circumcision and FGM as though they’re the same Things, because they’re clearly not akin to one another at all. And, stop allowing them to promote this Fallacy that FGM is supported by Islām.
Gareth Bryant/2017

Shari`ah & Women’s Rights in Islam: Who’s entitled to interpret it?

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Oz Sultan pic

In the past decade, we’ve seen a huge debate around the concept of “Sharia: in America “, what it means, as well as what it’s implications are on Americans as well as to women, on a more global scale.

I’ve known Carlin for a while and we’ve started to have some discussions on the matter. Discussions that I hope might lead to more posts like this over time – for as we can open dialogues, we begin to break down the walls that separate us.

So on to why I’m writing today:

Yesterday, Deutsche Welle (The German News Service) published an article that covered the issue of Women’s rights, specifically the holdup around  legalizing a Women’s Rights law in Afghanistan.

(http://www.dw.de/afghan-widows-would-rather-die/a-16562576)

So what’s the holdup you ask? In a country now redefined after almost 40 years of continuous war – first at the hands of the Russians, Civil war, Warlord fighting and US reparations post- 9/11 – you’re dealing with more uncertainty than certainty. Governments often last less than the years it takes for a child to grow into adolescence.  The family unit is the only sacrosanct thing and anything that could lead to divisiveness in the family is viewed as a threat by a lot of the old guard – especially Mullahs and  Leaders that are averse to change.

Then…there’s the whole Sharia issue: So what is it?

Simply put “Sharia” is a code of conduct that includes the practice of law (“Fiqh”) and is complimented more often than not by tribal law (“Wali”). Now, here’s where it becomes fuzzy for a lot of folks who’ve never dealt with this before. In most countries where you see the subversion of human rights or women by Mullahs – you’re dealing with Wali – a code of conduct and tribal law that often precedes Islam and Sharia by centuries.

So what does this do? It creates an environment where fear of change and fear of the loss of control by a few is used to limit the advancement of women. The use of Wali in this respect is rampant in countries that have been war-ravaged or where technology and change are viewed as potential harbingers of oppression by foreign forces.

What has this led to? Let me use an analogy – Countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of North African nations are dealing with a rise of fundamentalism tied to Wali that uses Sharia as a guise to keep Status Quo. Status Quo here means that if a Mullah or group of Mullahs or Elders or Local Civic leaders has grabbed control – they’re reluctant to share or give it away. Especially when sharing has unknown consequences and everyone is looking for their nickel out of any arrangement.

There’s also the big misunderstanding outside the “Muslim World” of what the Muslim World is. There is no Muslim World. The concept is a figment of policymakers imaginations – and a term that allows diverse groups of varying people to at least be comprehended.  Muslims in Afghanistan alone are divided by multiple ethnic groups and a myriad of languages and dialects. Often the Wali of one village can be at odds at the Wali of a neighboring Village – differing from National policy, National Law and how Sharia is interpreted on a local, state and National level.

So ultimately when Afghani (MP) (Member of Parliament) Masooda Karochi says “If a lunatic protests that this law is against Sharia you can imagine the consequences it can have.  .. these proponents make it impossible to have a constructive discussion.”

What she’s speaking to is the core issue that Muslim Nations will have to address, as they begin the long process of getting past Colonialism and being buffer states for foreign interests. It’s Fear. Fear of change. Fear of disrupting the Family unit (Under current mandates – victims of domestic violence can escape to shelters – often preventing further assault of death)..fear of political-uncertainty and fear of what an empowered Female populace might lead to (It wasn’t so long ago that in the US – we thought unrestrained female autonomy would lead to anarchy…or dancing).

So what to do?  Starting to understand that Sharia is a blanket moniker for a complicated system of National, Regional and Local laws that are coupled with the interpretation of law (Fiqh) and tribal law (Wali) is the beginning.

I worked with a few NATO campaigns in the past that used video to try and show Afghanis that US troops and Coalition forces were there to help and how. Engagement is key, if we’re to break the cycle of Fear that has pervaded these nations. Social Media and outreach allows us to interact to get involved with Women’s rights; Child Health and Domestic Abuse.

Lastly, we need to educate ourselves on the issues and find ways to engage. With over $1 Billion in aid going to many of these nations, it makes good sense for us to engage our lawmakers and give them our own mandate – A mandate to put Cultural Education of our policymakers on the agenda and earmarks, where our Foreign Aid spend is tied back to initiatives that will help raise the voices of our sisters – beyond the issues of domestic violence, towards more equality and participation in the decision-making of their own lives.

 Oz Sultan/2013

Some Brief Islamic-History (Islam’s female version of the “Dream-Team”):

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Author’s note:

I’ve written this exclusively to address the fallacies of people whom are Islamophobic, who state that Islam has no respect for women, and that it’s even religiously-sanctioned in Islam to mistreat women, all of which are complete not at all true.  However, ironically, unfortunately, sadly, there are Muslims out there who attempt to justify the abuse of women via the religion of Islam. What my writing is merely meant to do is to highlight just some of so many known female figures in Islam, whom Allah has honored to such a magnified degree.

1. Eve-
The mother of the Human race, Eve (also known as Hawwa’ [Peace be upon her]) is the pinnacle of womanhood. The first to mother a child-She was the first to nurturer & educate people. She was the first woman to cover herself, commanding respect, honor, pride, and dignity, by not revealing her body to others, setting an ever important precedent & example for any & all of her female descendants to come after her.

2. Hager-
Known as Hajar in Arabic, Hager (Peace be upon her) was the wife & mother of Prophets, Abraham, her husband & Ishmael, her son (Peace be upon both of them). She taught us all how to deal with the separation of family, during hard times. She taught us that a woman can raise a man, in the absence of a father. She taught us the resilience, drive, ambition, and iron-will that is required for survival. She taught us gratitude, in the absence of security & hope.

3. Mary-
The mother of Jesus (Peace be upon him), Mary, known as Maryam in Arabic (Peace be upon her) was an outcast of the Children of Israel, because she had a child, but no father for him. Because of this, she was scrutinized, ridiculed, and slandered. But, through all of this, she was still an honorable woman & a mother like no other, whom in the face of adversity, raised a man, whom Allah is well-pleased with, who became a Prophet, Messenger, the Christ, and will return to this Earth, as the one who will rid the world of the corruption of the Anti-Christ. Through Allah’s guidance & direction, Mary gave her son his foundation, to commit himself to the service of his creator.

4. Khadijah-
The first wife of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), our mother Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) was the first from among his nation to believe in his Prophethood & the first to accept the teachings of Islam, even when he doubted the legitimacy of his own calling. She gave him the encouragement that he needed to endure through those early years in Makkah, when he really didn’t know whether he was suitable for this mission, and when the Muslims were mocked & persecuted, just for their belief in the existence & oneness of Allah. There was never anyone before or after her whom the Prophet could’ve individually count on for moral support in the fashion that was provided to him by Khadijah.

5. `A’ishah-
The wife of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) & the daughter of his most trusted friend, Abu-Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him), our mother `A’ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) set the standard for leadership & scholarship among women. She set an unprecedented & unchallenged authority of narrating the most Prophetic-Statements about Muhammad (Peace be upon him), about his military campaigns, his home/family life, his character, his business practices, his humor. All of the narrations about Muhammad, through her, gave us humanized aspects of his life, that we may have never known without her exposing them to us, through teaching them to countless persons, many of whom were men. After all, she came from a society where women were not Humanly valued as they should be. But, through the guidance of Islam, she was able to establish herself as a religious, social, and political authority that no one would dare violate the sanctity of.

Gareth Bryant/2012

Some Brief Islamic-History (the Origin of the Hijab of the Man & Woman in Islam):

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Hijab and Niqab pic

Author’s note:
This article has been written as a result of a previous lecture that I had given about Hijab at Hudson County Community College, in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Unfortunately, whenever the subject of Hijab comes up, it’s basically always gyno-centric-It’s always concentrating upon the Hijab of the Muslim woman & not enough or at all upon the Hijab of the Muslim man. I personally view this bias, when it comes to only mentioning the Hijab of the woman, as very unfair, for the following reasons: It gives a lot of Muslim women the impression that men can wear whatever they want without reservation, which makes the mandates of Hijab seem very misogynistic. Also, the rise of a feminist mentality among Muslim women has established the very  radically deviant opinion that women don’t have to wear Hijab, at all, because it’s something that puts women back, as opposed to putting them forward. Then, there’s the whole fallacy that the Hijab is just an Arab thing, or something which predated Islam in Arabia.

Firstly, the ordinance of the Hijab originates not from Islamic-Arabia, but rather, according to “Stories of the Prophets”, written by ibn-Kathir, the Hijab was initially an established mandate for our Human parents, the first Muslims from among Mankind, Adam & Eve (Peace be upon both of them)-Ibn-Kathir has clearly explained, in his work, that when they disobeyed Allah & ate from the tree which Allah told them not to go near in the Paradise, they were evicted from the Paradise itself. When they were subjected to live upon the Earth, Allah had thus commissioned both of them to wear clothing, to cover their private areas. So, Adam had made clothing for himself, which covered him, from his navel to his knees (which coincides perfectly with the statement of Muhammad [Peace be upon him] when he described the `Awrah [private-area] of the man in which & he said, “Whatever lies under the navel & to the knees is an `Awrah [private-area].” [Sunan ad-Daraqunti & al-Bayhaqi]), and made clothing for Eve, which covered her entire body from head to toe (which also coincides perfectly with how Muhammad [Peace be upon him] described the `Awrah [private-area of the woman] when he said, “A Woman is is to cover her entire body & reveal nothing except her face & hands, once she reaches puberty.” [Sunan Abu-Dawud])-Now keep in mind that they were the only Humans upon the Earth at this time. So, the fact that this was ordained for them when there were no other Humans around, except them, is very important & significant, thus proving that the Hijab for both men & women possess roots in Islamic antiquity.

In all reality, the purpose of the Hijab is to maintain proper etiquette & decency between men & women, that they treat one another with respect, and not to merely view one another nor themselves just sexual objects. But, unfortunately, we all live in a modern/secular context, which promotes general/full-scale immorality via over-sexualization of our global society. Also, we live in an age where these disgusting misogynistic & feminist ideas of what men & women are outside of an Islamic context & this has caused Muslim men & women to have developed demented ideological religious stances as to how to practice Islam on an individual level as well as a social level. For now, let’s just stick with the individual aspect of practicing Islam.

The Feminist-Community has basically blacklisted the obligation Muslim women to cover properly as something archaic & savage, meant to demean women. On the contrary, the Hijab of both men & women was established to uplift both respective genders, never to debase them. However, because Secularism has become the ideological king of our society, people like members of the Feminist community have actually supported various movements to get the Hijab for women, specifically, banned in as many places as possible. Basically, they want our Muslim sisters to shame themselves, before men as well as other women, by exposing parts of their bodies which Allah has ordained to be covered & concealed from public view, as Allah says in the Qur’an: “Oh, Prophet!!! Tell your wives, daughters & the believing women to cover themselves with their garments. This is ensure that they be recognized & not be harassed. And, Allah is all-forgiving, most-merciful.”.(Chpt.33, V.59) In all actuality the purpose of the Hijab is not to make us miserable, rather to separate us from the rest. I mean really, do you want a bunch of horny, ill-mannered men who don’t believe in Allah & the Last-Day or disobedient Muslims to drool over the sight of your body?!!! We need to seriously think about this!!!

Now, there are those who would argue that men should have more control, or that women shouldn’t have to cover just because men are lustful. Well, from a Human perspective that’s a very good point. But, we’re not the ones who make the rules; rather, the Creator of the Universe has ordained how men & women are to worship behave, act, and dress, not us-The whole reason that Allah has ordained that men & women cover different parts of our bodies is because by our very nature, which He has created us with, men & women are anatomically attracted to different things. Let’s be very honest here, we all know that even anatomically, women are more attractive & possess more to offer men than the other way around.

The reason why women are required to cover their entire bodies is because every aspect of the external anatomy of a woman is attractive to some man in some way, and it’s not normally the other way around, meaning every aspect of the anatomy of a man is not attractive to a woman women are attracted to very specific things on a man’s body, while men are attracted to a whole number of things on a woman’s body. The ordinance for both men & women to cover their bodies a certain way is actually a mercy from Allah, for all of the reasons that I already mentioned previously. The whole notion of supporting legislation in countries that are attempting to legally eradicate the Hijab, for women specifically, are truly people who are hell-bent on establishing Secularism everywhere, and are on the side of the Shaytan to attempt to extinguish the Light of Allah (i.e. Islam). This is systematically being allowed because Islam is the only force that stands in between those who wish to see the world immersed in complete desire-driven corruption, and their goal of a world without any divine guidance established anywhere.

Gareth Bryant/2012