Friday, April 20, 2012

Domestic Violence Bill, Maulana Fazlur Rehman & Deobandi Fatwa.

ISLAMABAD: A landmark bill seeking to deter all forms of domestic violence against women has reached a serious deadlock following stiff resistance by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F). Claiming that the bill undermines Islamic values, the party announced on Friday it would fight “tooth and nail” against it. Strong resistance by opposition parties, including the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), had forced the government on April 4 to defer the bill, introduced in 2009, which sought heavy jail terms for those involved in violence against women. “We cannot adopt a bill which is a ditto copy of a bill on women passed by India’s parliament,” observed JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman, when lawmakers, under the leadership of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) senior leader Syed Khurshid Shah, met to forge a consensus on the issue. Fazl claimed the bill promotes Western culture and values rather than Islamic ones. “NGOs continue to promote the culture which keeps women away from Islam and that is not acceptable to us.” The JUI-F chief termed it an effort to destroy the dignity of women in Islam and urged followers to stand united against those who wanted to impose Western culture in Pakistan. “We know women’s rights better than the PPP… Western culture cannot be promoted under the pretext of protection in Islamic states,” maintained the JUI-F chief. On Thursday, lawmakers across party lines failed to evolve any consensus to amend a controversial clause of the aforementioned bill passed by the National Assembly in 2009. Since the bill was not adopted by the Senate in 90 days, rules stipulate it can only be passed in a joint sitting of Parliament. PPP MNA Yasmeen Rehman had tabled the bill earlier stressing the institutionalisation of measures required to protect women and children from domestic violence. Despite PPP senior minister’s efforts, the opposition could not be convinced into contributing positive suggestions so that the bill could be tabled once again before the joint sitting next week. “The PPP-led government has always been a strong supporter of women’s rights but some forces (followers of conventional schools of thought) are dead against the passage of this landmark bill,” Khurshid Shah told The Express Tribune after the meeting. PML-N, the top opposition party in the National Assembly, also dragged its feet over the bill when MNA Khawaja Saad Rafiq implied that external forces had stakes in the passage of its controversial clauses. He refrained from explaining his thoughts further. REFERENCE: Domestic violence bill a copy of Indian law: Fazl By Zahid Gishkori Published: April 7, 2012

Tonight With Jasmeen - 18 April 2012 - P - 1/3

The fatwa issued by a mufti of the Deoband madrasa dissolving the marriage of Imrana, mother of five, for having been allegedly raped by her father-in-law has, predictably, set off a major controversy. Several Muslims have voiced their opposition to the fatwa, arguing that it is not in accordance with Islamic law or shariah as they understand it. This points to the deeply contested nature of the shariah, there being considerable diversity of opinion as to precisely what it mandates on a range of issues. While the ambiguity of the shariah might lend itself to theological anarchy on occasion, it also allows for alternate, more progressive interpretations to be articulated that can challenge what, to critics, are regressive and obscurantist prescriptions. This is precisely what seems to be happening as a fall-out of the Imrana controversy. Given the strong sectarian divisions within the broader Muslim fold, it is not surprising that there is no consensus among the ulama of different sects as to the 'Islamicity' of the fatwa. Most Deobandi ulama and their rivals, the Barelvis, both adherents of the Hanafi Sunni school of jurisprudence, probably believe that the fatwa is in accordance with their version of Islam because this is what is prescribed in the books of classical Hanafi law. The fatwa is based in a ruling by Imam Abu Hanifa, putative founder of the Hanafi school, that when a woman has sex after marriage with her husband she becomes the mother of all his children and so cannot marry his son, even though that son may be from a previous marriage. The ruling includes the possibility that a daughter-in-law and her father-in-law may have an illegal sexual relationship, in which case also her marriage to the man's son would be invalid. It is on the basis of this argument that the Deoband mufti issued his fatwa annulling Imrana's marriage to her husband. The fatwa has been critiqued by several Muslim scholars for its literalist reading of Hanafi prescriptions, without taking into account the particular context surrounding the case. For instance, Yawar Baig, a Bangalore-based Islamic scholar, writes that Abu Hanifa's ruling applies to a case of consensual sex, and not of rape. Hence, he says, Imrana cannot be punished for having been raped, and to do so would be to go against the intention of Abu Hanifa's ruling. Similarly, a Deobandi scholar, a close friend of mine, who chooses to remain anonymous for fear of being hounded by his fellow Deobandis, tells me that by punishing the victim the fatwa defies the basic 'intention' (maqsad) of the shariah, which is 'justice' (adl), and hence cannot be considered Islamically valid. He is bitterly critical of the 'blind following' (taqlid) of the Hanafi school on the part of most Deobandis, even in cases where Hanafi jurisprudence departs from the clear prescriptions or the underlying spirit of the Quran, as is clearly evident in this particular fatwa. The books of Hanafi jurisprudence, he says, were written centuries after the death of the Prophet, and are based on the opinions of Hanafi ulama, and are not necessarily in accordance with the Quran on every issue. Hence, he says, to place Hanafi jurisprudence over the Quran, as this fatwa appears to have done, has 'no justification at all'. He insists that 'half-baked mullahs' with no understanding of social reality and contemporary demands should desist from issuing fatwas, and argues the need for ijtihad, or creative reinterpretation of Islamic jurisprudence in order to meet contemporary concerns. He laments that most of his fellow Hanafis, Deobandis and Barelvis, are loath to accept the need for ijithad, although ijithad is entirely in accordance with the commandments of Prophet Muhammad. Notable ulama belonging to the Ahl-i-Hadith sect as well as some Shia scholars have argued that the fatwa has no sanction in the Quran or in the sayings attributed to the Prophet. Other scholars have pointed out that the fatwa does not receive support from the three other schools of Sunni jurisprudence, the Shafi, Hanbali and Maliki, which are regarded by the Hanafis as equally 'orthodox' in matters of belief. According to the Shafi school, for instance, an act, such as rape, that is forbidden (haram) cannot establish or nullify something that is pure (halal), such as marriage. Critics of the fatwa have argued that no matter what the Hanafi position on the matter is, there is no harm if Imrana be allowed to resort to the equally 'orthodox' Shafi school for redress. Resorting to another school of Sunni jurisprudence on a particular issue, they argue, would not constitute a radical innovation. After all, it was at the suggestion of the renowned Deobandi scholar, Ashraf Ali Thanvi, that the Muslim Dissolution of Marriage Act of 1939 was passed that bypassed the Hanafi rule that apostasy annuls a marriage in order to prevent Muslim women seeking a divorce from abandoning Islam. The Act, which received the approval of most Indian Hanafi scholars, allowed a Muslim woman to obtain a judicial divorce on grounds permitted by the Maliki school without having to convert to another religion. There is thus no reason, critics of the fatwa argue, that in the Imrana case help cannot be sought from another school of Sunni law if it will help secure justice for her. Whether or not the Deobandis, strictly wedded to the Hanafi school, will concede this just demand remains to be seen. While the opposition to the fatwa on the part of numerous Muslims is heartening to note, it is possible that, despite this, the controversy faces the risk of being turned into a communal issue, with Hindutva spokesmen using it in order to attack Muslim Personal Law. Presenting themselves as 'saviours' of 'oppressed' Muslim women, they conveniently overlook their supporters' role in the mass murder and rape of Muslim women and the Muslim women left widowed and destitute in one pogrom after another. The controversy is also being sensationalised all out of proportion by the 'mainstream' press, ever on the prowl for stories of the 'oppressed' Muslim woman, who is used as a foil to 'prove' to the world how 'modern' the Hindu woman is in contrast. It is striking how mild, in comparison, the indignation of the press is to similar or worse stories of oppressed 'Hindu' women, to sati deaths, dowry-killings, girl child sacrifices to appease bloodthirsty goddesses, 'low' caste women killed or raped by 'upper' caste goons or spouses being killed by caste panchayats for daring to marry outside their caste. In the brouhaha that the press, obdurate mullahs, Hindutva-walas and 'secular' politicians are all so taken up with, Imrana, like the hapless Gudiya and Shah Bano before her, risks being turned into a pawn in a larger, murky political game. And just as Shah Bano and Gudiya have long since been forgotten, Imrana and her plight might soon vanish from our conscience. REFERENCE: Brouhaha over a fatwa July 21, 2005

June 28: The alleged rape of Imrana, a mother of five, by her father-in-law has split the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, the apex decision-making body of the community, along sectarian lines. Followers of the Hanfi school (named after Imam Abu Hanifa) are firm that the rape victim’s marriage stands automatically annulled because father-son relations are “sacred”, while followers of the Shafai school argue that she cannot be punished further. In India, most of the Sunni population belongs to either of the two schools. Board chief Maulana Rabey Nadvi, who is in Mumbai, yesterday spent a busy day trying to put a lid on the controversy. The rector of the Nadwa school of theology spoke to some senior office-bearers, wondering why the board was being dragged into a matter that should be dealt with according to criminal justice proceedings. Word has been sent to board members not to issue statements on the Imrana rape case as it falls beyond its mandate. The board, Nadvi said, is primarily meant to protect Shariat law in civil matters. Pri-ma facie, Imrana’s case has serious criminal and legal implications that should take precedence over other matters. Yesterday, a board member had said in Lucknow that Imrana must separate from her husband. But that was an individual view, not the board’s stand. Nadvi is of the view that fatwas in such matters lower the prestige of local panchayats and theological schools. First, fatwas issued by theological schools have no locus standi since there is no mechanism to ensure their implementation. Secondly, those issuing fatwas lack basic information such as the sequence of events, statements, cross-examination, necessary to impart justice. Imrana was allegedly raped by her father-in-law at Muzaffarnagar in western Uttar Pradesh. The village’s Islamic panchayat asked her to abandon her husband Noor Illahi but a defiant Imrana initially refused to obey the order. Yesterday, after the Deoband school of theology said in a fatwa that Imrana’s marriage with Noor Ilahi is nullified and they must split, the rape victim said in Muzaffarnagar that she and her husband would obey the order. The Deoband muftis also ruled out the possibility of Imrana marrying her father-in-law, pointing out that under Islamic law, he should face death penalty. The lone woman board member, Begum Naseem Iqtedar Ali Khan, said in Lucknow yesterday that she agreed with the muftis’ order. But some board members feel this case should not be seen as a Muslim issue. Board member Kamal Farooqui said: “It was a heinous crime that should not have occurred in a civilised society. The culprit must be punished in the most severe manner possible. That is it. As for future of Imrana, it should be her decision.” He clarified that this was his personal view. Legal experts in the board are also asking how a rape victim’s name is being bandied about when a Supreme Court verdict has strictly prohibited this. Coming barely few months after the agreement on the model nikahnama in Bhopal and creation of parallel women, Shia and Barelvi law boards, the Imrana controversy has again shaken the fragile unity within the board. REFERENCE: Imrana rape splits Muslim board RASHEED KIDWAI Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Text of the Question and fatwa on Imrana

Question: In Charthawal town of Muzaffarnagar district, a married woman was raped by her real father-in-law. When this incident was made public by this woman, the village panchayat decided that under such condition the woman has got divorced and now this the woman, who was the wife of rapist’s son, has now become the wife of the father-in-law; that she has become forbidden (haram) for her husband. The village panchayat has sent the woman to her parents’ house (maika). This woman has five children from her husband.

Now the question arises: if a married woman is raped by her real father-in-law, will her wifehood be changed, i.e., will she no longer remain the wife of her husband or will she be considered as divorced and will she become haram for her husband? If it is so, will she be married anew to her rapist father-in-law? And whose children will those five existing children be considered? Will these children be considered brothers and sisters of their father?

Such types of questions are making rounds and are being discussed in that area. In the absence of any clear Shar’i command or explanation, a great sense of uncertainly is prevailing in the locality. There are also a lot of misunderstandings and misreportings in the media. Ulama and Muftis are therefore requested to give their opinions and clarifications in this matter.

Mohammad Ashraf Usmani
Rashtriya Sahara (Urdu)

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem The answer with the help of Allah: If someone has committed adultery with the wife of his son, and if this has been proved by the depositions of witnesses or if his son confirms it or if the woman herself admits and confirms it, the wife of the son becomes haram forever for the son. If the father copulates with a woman either legally after marriage, or illegally without marriage, in both cases it becomes haram for a man [son] to keep her her in his marriage.

If is mentioned in the Qur’an ‘wa la tankihoo ma nakaha aaba-o-kum’ [“And marry not women whom your fathers married” -- Qur’an, 4:22], i.e., the son should separate himself from his wife and never go to her. The contention of the panchayat people that the wife of the son has now become wife of the father and her wifehood has changed is not correct, or to say that the wife of the son is divorced is also not correct. Neither she can be married to her father-in-law. All the five children are legitimate children of their real parents. They will be considered grandsons and granddaughters of their father’s father and not brothers and sisters of their father. The people of the village, because of their ignorance, have wrongly interpreted Quranic injunctions and have given a wrong judgment. It is probably because of wrong interpretation and judgement that various types of controversial questions are being raised which are disturbing people’s minds.

Habibur Rahman, Mufti, Darul Uloom, Deoband The answer is correct: [Muftis] Kafilur Rahman and Muhammad Zafiruddin [Translation ends] Text of the Question and fatwa on Imrana Posted Online on Wednesday 6, July 2005 17:05 IST Revised Friday 8, July 2005 02:40 IST

ISLAMABAD: Against his public perception of being an anti-American, Maulana Fazlur Rehman is reflected in a cable released by WikiLeaks as a frequent and cooperative American interlocutor, who professes his support for cooperation with the United States. The JUI-F leader has been described in the secret US cable as “more politician than mulla”, and “a frequent and cooperative interlocutor” with the post (US Embassy Islamabad). The Maulana is also shown as professing his “support for cooperation with the United States.” US embassy’s CDA Peter Bodde wrote in his April 3, 2008 cable, released by WikiLeaks, that Rehman, more politician than mulla, has been a prominent and legitimate figure in Pakistani politics since the 1980s. He “has publicly denounced terrorist attacks, but prefers to use negotiations rather than military force against militants. Although he is known to have contacts with Taliban and their sympathisers, he has negotiated with religious militants on the government’s behalf, garnering him criticism from the more hard-line religious sectors.” The primary purpose of the message was to request the FBI to recall information about Fazlur Rehman, which indicated that an individual “Fasilur Rehman” believed to be associated with Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) is behind the March 2008 bombing in Islamabad. The cable said that the information suggests that Fasilur Rehman refers to political party leader Fazlur Rehman of the JUI-F. The embassy “requests that FBI recall this information from all hardcopy and database records due to discrepancies and errors in the report.” It noted that prominent Pakistan politician Fazlur Rehman is not associated with the JI, but instead leads his own political party, the JUI-F. From 2002-2007, the two parties allied with other religious parties in the coalition Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA). However, the JUI-F and JI retained separate leadership structures as well as separate political objectives and methods, it said. The cable said that Fazlur Rehman’s JUI-F is a conservative Deobandi religious party that has recently joined the new Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) led government. The JI is a religious party that appeals to a narrow sector of the educated, conservative urban middle class. JI, which has a vibrant student wing, began as a movement for social change based on Sharia. “The JI party policy does not support violence as a means to achieve their political agenda, however, the party quietly has supported Jihad in Afghanistan and Kashmir by providing recruits from their student corps. The party does not support violence perpetuated within Pakistan, such as the recent attack on the restaurant in Islamabad. In addition, Fasilur Rehman and Fazlur Rehman are extremely common Pakistani names, making it impossible to accurately identify the individual with the prominent JUI-F politician.” In an earlier cable, the WikiLeaks showed the Maulana approaching the then US Ambassador Anne Patterson to become the Prime Minister. It was revealed that the leader of the country’s most fiercely pro-Taliban religious party, hosted a jovial dinner for Patterson at which the Maulana sought her backing to become prime minister and expressed a desire to visit America. Maulana-like Maulana’s lieutenant Abdul Ghafoor Haideri acknowledged that “All important parties in Pakistan had to get the approval of the US (to get power).” REFERENCE: Fazl keeps regular contact with US embassy, says cable Tuesday, December 07, 2010 By Ansar Abbasi Fazl keeps regular contact with US embassy, says cable Ansar Abbasi Tuesday, December 07, 2010

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