Now, in broad daylight, Islām is at the centre of an unmatched ideological attack. This concerted media effort has echoed into government, driving forward many punitive measures against the UK’s Muslim minority. Interestingly, this rampage stems, supposedly on the back of a limited number of issues the media views as ‘contentious’ or against ‘British values’, the latter never meaningfully defined. The outlets leading this campaign are mainly the notorious far right; the self-believing bastions of UK Christian and Jewish values against those trying to purge them from ‘British culture’. And, although not the focus of this article, militant liberalists are part and parcel of the same campaign.
The continuing assault against Islām is mainly centred around some of the conservative and orthodox values Muslims hold to. These are all part and parcel of the Sharīʿah. The most maligned elements of the Sharīʿah, such as the penal code, are not applied in the west due to the dictates of the system itself, without disregarding their religious statute. Muslims are thus held to account merely for their belief in the Divine authority of the Islamic texts, or in other words, what constitutes the definition of a Muslim.
Referring again to ‘Christian and Jewish values’, we can conclude that if their underlying doctrines contain stipulations ‘less-compatible’ to the 21st century as those that exist in Islamic texts, why not interrogate the other communities (particularly orthodox Jews and Christians) on whether they aspire to application of these ‘non-compatible’ texts, and whether they would wish that they be applied if ‘conditions were met’? If not the application, then the extent of their belief in them (and in their statute), not least those teachings that motivate current practices such as segregation, woman covering and the Church’s ‘discriminatory’ consecration of only male bishops until 2015, which was apparently motivated by not entirely ‘outdated’ biblical stipulations. This is not to mention more problematic texts such as stoning rebellious children if conditions are met.
Why not lift the media blackout on the contents of widely circulated Christian and Jewish texts, not least amongst children, on the one hand tuned to embrace fundamentally prohibited notions such as homosexuality and on the other forbidden by biblical values? Why does no one question what really goes on in rabbinical centres and why there are no undercover reporters infiltrating such services? The answer is simple: because they are not Muslims, and those that shout loudest about the ‘incompatibility’ of Islām and Muslims in modern society do not really care about the incompatibility, rather they yearn for an excuse to demonise.
A judicious analysis of the mainstream scriptures, the Old and New testaments and the Qur’ān reveals the following broadly common concepts that only Muslims seem to be criticised over, despite having the most just, refined and rational perspectives on them. It also gives us an appreciation of the fundamental error of those who view the Sharīʿah through a Eurocentric, Judeo-Christian lens, unconsciously attributing biblical baggage to Muslims’ views.
The Head Covering – who intends integrity and who intends otherwise?
How much each of the sexes cover is something stipulated by religion or culture, most agreeing that at least a level of covering is necessary. ‘Modern’ philosophy looks to the full head and face garment adopted by Muslims as a ‘symbol of male dominance’. A Muslim is left dumbfounded at this allegation, not least that the Male ‘Hijāb’, as it were, is mentioned before that of the woman. But aside from cunning intents, rummaging through the Gospel possibly reveals the motivation behind this assertion.
In the New Testament, glorified by mainstream Christians, it is stated that
“every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven (or ‘ought to cut off her hair’ as appears in more modern versions)…”
It goes on to say,
“For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels“ and “submit to their husbands in everything.“
With due consideration to the above, it becomes clearer how the notion of the Hijāb being a sign of ‘male dominance’ sifted into media rhetoric to be used against Islām. Is it fair though? Of course not. Islām stipulates the Hijāb on the woman in adolescence as an obligation independent to the man. It thereafter serves to cover her ‘adornment’ or physical beauty, that are in many elements far and above that of the man’s, for the protection and preservation of religious and societal ordinance. Truly a concept incomparable and one accompanied with reasoning and care rather than humiliation and inferiority.
“O Prophet! Tell your wives and daughters and the women of the believers to draw their outer garments closely round themselves. This makes it more likely that they will be recognised and not be harmed. Allāh is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
Marriage: A Blessing or Damnation?
All too often, the media spurts on about a woman’s household subservience, her being considered an object of cardinal fulfilment and her economically ‘disadvantaged’ role of bringing up her children. Scourging again through the celebrated Gospel imparts on a delightful set of verses, outlining a recipe for disaster for any woman who sets to tie herself into wedlock.
“All wickedness is but little to the wickedness of a woman: let the portion of a sinner fall upon her. As the climbing up a sandy way is to the feet of the aged, so is a wife full of words to a quiet man. Stumble not at the beauty of a woman, and desire her not for pleasure. A woman, if she maintain her husband, is full of anger, impudence, and much reproach” (if she ‘maintain’ her husband means if she is the ‘bread-winner’)… “Of the woman came the beginning of sin, and through her we all die. Give the water no passage; neither a wicked woman liberty to gad abroad (meaning the ‘freedom’ to speak freely). If she go not as thou wouldest have her, cut her off from thy flesh, and give her a bill of divorce, and let her go“ (meaning if she does not do as you say, divorce her).
A woman that is righteous will not display anger or impudence at supporting her husband. The noble wife of the Prophet Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) Khadījah (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanha) was at one point his bread-winner, but he nonetheless held immense love for her. Contrary to modern Christian thought, women are not damned with the sin of humanity, nor condemned to divorce without due preventative steps. Islām expends all means in maintaining the psychological welfare of households, recommending sometimes proactive and often passive methods for bringing together points of difference. With the above in mind, consider and contrast the above with the following noble Prophetic statement:
“If a woman prays her five (daily prayers), fasts her month (Ramaḍān), guards her chastity and obeys her husband, it will be said to her: Enter Paradise by whichever of the gates of Paradise you wish.”
A marriage is joyous, and of the highly recommended actions in Islām. Women are not “more bitter than death”, but rather, as the Qur’ān states, a “body cover for you and you are the same for them.” Furthermore, intimacy and the fulfilment of cardinal desires, although one of the purposes of marriage, is not the sole reason for its endorsement, for Allāh has made marriage a blessing
“and among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy.”
Silence Woman! You are in Church
It is well known that ʿĀ’isha (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanha), the beloved wife of the Prophet Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) narrated above 2210 prophetic traditions. This is a considerable portion of the entire religion of Islām, transmitted by the most authentic books and followed by millions. Prominent companions would refer to ʿĀ’isha (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanha) for verification of Prophetic traditions, and often she would debate, correct and challenge reported narrations with the most modest etiquette and in the most respectful setting. The same can be said of a vast multitude of female scholars in Islamic history.
Had Islām adopted the stipulations of the gospel, that “…women should remain silent in the churches…for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church” and that “a woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent…” Islamic jurisprudence would have been deficient and a great contribution to scholarship lost. In fact, these are but part of the array of principles that hindered female consecration to Bishop status in the UK for so long.
If this surprises you, then you ought not be too surprised, what follows is certainly more shocking. It only takes a glance at these texts to realise that it is not Islām at all that needs reform, but it is the premeditated, internal, Islamophobic illness that has inflicted certain elements of society that needs treatment.
“Stoning women to death”
Right-wing pundits in the media all too often lay claim that ‘Islām (or the Sharīʿah) advocates a harsh penal code, contravening one’s human rights. One such claim is that Islām espouses the stoning of female adulterers.’ Such a plain and shallow claim imparts a number of intended messages, including ‘gender inequality’, ‘social injustice’ and cruelty. Here I claim the possible impetus behind such shallow arguments; an attempt to equate Islām with preceding Judeo-Christian law about which media bosses are aware. Let us ask, what legislates the execution of the penal code in each of the religions? The Torah states:
“And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.“
Deuteronomy (Jewish law) condemns a woman to stoning even if she be unmarried, while the same cannot be said for men. The litmus test of virginity is, from what appears stark in the verse, the singular witness of her husband even if subjective or inappropriately motivated. This is enough to summon her to stoning, wait for it… at the door of her father’s house.
“If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid….if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.“
Taking the almost impossible variables that must converge for stoning to occur in a complete Islamic system, singling it out in mention as ‘barbaric’ and incompatible is not only villainous, but forgery. For stoning to take place in a system in which the Sharīʿah is established in its entirety, the usual case entails that four, trustworthy witnesses see the act at first hand, and above this that the adulterer, as per the definition of the word, be already tied in wedlock, notwithstanding the sanity of the perpetrator that is also assessed. According to Ibn Taymiyyah, until his era such a process had never been established due to its extreme improbability and even until our time according to late Sheikh Ibn Uthaymeen. The only time this stipulation was established was when the perpetrators surrendered themselves to the system, fearing the repercussions in the hereafter. Furthermore, establishing any element of the penal code is further hindered by our obligation to give precedence to certainty over doubt in a most merciful injunction to “avert the prescribed punishment by rejecting doubtful evidence.”
Deuteronomy requires female virginity for marriage, penalising the woman by stoning her to death, with the witness of her male counterpart in a way most humiliating and hurtful to the family, at the door of her father. The verse lays no exception or qualification, or equality of punishment for the man.
Whether and to whatever extent stoning occurs, Muslim personalities are interrogated not by the practice, but by mere agreement to the injunction or law. For a Muslim to acknowledge the divinity of the stipulation becomes equated to extremism that somehow supposedly results in violent extremism. Not a single orthodox Jew is reprimanded for these supposedly ‘extreme’ views or put on the ‘conveyor belt’. This is despite live and present attempts to revive the historical “Supreme Judicial Court of the Jewish People known as the Sanhedrin” in Israel in which religious and ritualistic matters were dealt with, including “trials of adulterous wives” and “difficulties relating to ritual law.” So, even the assumption that all modern day Jews and Christians have departed from their orthodox principles, or from the desire to implement them - which is the point of interrogation for Muslim activists in mainstream media – is highly inaccurate.
Islām requires its followers to uphold beliefs and injunctions. It also defines a series of prohibitions. A person who accepts this is then a Muslim. In most cases, the media is indifferent about Muslims’ ideological motivation behind most prohibitions. Take for instance alcohol, Muslims are seldom criticised for abstaining from alcohol or from considering it an abomination. It would be ludicrous for alcoholics to say that Islām is Alcoholic-phobic since alcoholics have chosen to do what Islām holds as an abomination, and are not forced to agree.
Islamic prohibitions do not contravene one’s free choice as that person has freely chosen to be a Muslim. In turn, to censure the Muslim faith individually because it condemns the act of sodomy and puts it under the remit of what it ideologically considers ‘sin’ is devious. This is not withstanding the subjective and changing moral compass the media sets for itself. It goes without saying that Jewish and Christian tradition share similar views:
“Thou shalt not lie with mankinde, as with womankinde: it is abomination.”
“…neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves…will inherit the kingdom of God…“
Jude 1:7 asserts that the people of Sodom who practiced sexual immorality (homosexuality) will undergo the punishment of eternal fire. In Romans 1:26-28, the practice of sodomy is referred to as shameless, liable for the ‘due penalty’ and states that those who commit such actions have been given a “debased mind to do what not ought to be done.” This ‘due penalty’ is clarified in Leviticus 20:13 as being put to death.
It is therefore an amazing injustice for right-wing outlets, many of whom promote a Christian UK, to question why gay rights stop at the borders of Islām, without revisiting its own tradition, reciprocated no fewer than 100 times across the two testaments.
Many Christians (‘Supersessionists’) will rebut this article on the basis of reform and many laws being superseded by the New Covenant, particularly, rendering all elements of the ‘Mosaic’ law obsolete. This view, however, is disputed by many ‘dual-covenant’ Christians who believe in the validity of both laws, but only for their respective adherents, while some Jewish-Christians hold to the applicability of both laws. But apart from the laws, contentious matters surround beliefs associated with morality. Many contemporary Evangelical Christians distinguish laws into ‘moral, civic and ceremonial’, accepting the former from Mosaic law and rejecting the latter two while other Christians question why Evangelicals consider civic laws that ‘relate to the overarching principles of God’s holiness’ as not being moral!
In practice, why does the bigoted media not interrogate traditionalist Jews and Christians surrounding their exact beliefs and whether they conflict with accepted norms, or, for example, if they would accept that their children be married off to or in a sexual relationship with the same gender for example?
‘Contentious’ Islamic issues by the subjective and evolving standards of the modern west are dwarfed by the ‘controversial’ teachings held by other faiths and this article presented but a very few examples. This is not disregarding holders of no faith who suffer from what can be called double-subjectivity, in the creation of law and in its interpretation or application – although this will be covered in a following discussion. Such a realisation, particularly when it stems from the holders and adopters of these doctrines, at large in the Islamophobic media industry, denotes:
– Resounding hypocrisy that people hardly reflect over or question but accept blindly
– A duping of the audience which in turn creates obtuse EDL-like movements who march against what they call the ‘Sherayaa’ without a spectacle of awareness of it.
– An intentional targeting and misrepresentation of Islām and the marginalisation of a community that propounds such ‘radical’ and extraordinary beliefs.
– An intentional blackout on the ascendancy of the Islamic doctrine by (not purporting or defining their own doctrine for the critique of the observer) and by confining Islām to the penal code, the head covering and its views on sexuality.
This prevents the observer from seeing those elements in the Sharīʿah that are far from subjective ‘contention’ but that offer immaculate solutions, above all its purpose of creating a sincere society that puts the pleasure of God above and beyond its selfishness and prejudice.
“Those who disbelieve from among the followers of the Book do not like, nor do the polytheists, that the good should be sent down to you from your Lord, and Allāh chooses especially whom He pleases for His mercy, and Allāh is the Lord of mighty grace.”
 Deuteronomy 21:18-21
 Al-Qur’ān 24:30
 1 Corinthians 11:5 and 7-10 King James Bible “Authorized Version”, Cambridge Edition
 Ephesians 5:22-24 English Standard Version
 Al-Qur’ān 33:59
 Ecclesiasticus 25:19-26 King James Bible “Authorized Version”, Cambridge Edition
 Narrated by Ahmad (1664)
 Ecclesiastes 7:26
 Al-Qur’ān 2:187
 Al-Qur’ān 30:21
 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 NIV
 1 Timothy 2:11-15 NIV
 Leviticus 20:10
 Deuteronomy 22:13-21
 Hadith on the authority of ʿĀ’sha (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanha)
 Leviticus 18:22
 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
 Al-Qur’ān 2:105
The views expressed on Islam21c and its connected channels do not necessarily represent the views of the organisation.