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The Right of Qualified Women to Be Prayers' Imams of Male Congregations in Mosques

 

The Right of Qualified Women to Be Prayers' Imams of Male Congregations in Mosques

Was published in August, 2006

Translated by Ahmed Fathy

 

 In Manama, the Bahraini capital, on April 19th 2004, the Bahraini police arrested a woman in a mosque who dressed up as a man and tried to ascend to the pulpit to deliver a sermon to other men. In New York City, in March 2006, an American Muslim woman has been the imam and the preacher of Friday sermon in congregational prayers that included Muslim men and women in one place. Severe criticisms were vociferous on the part of Sunnite and Wahabi clergymen in the Middle East, claiming that the concept of a female imam is against faith. This female imam was Amena Wadoud, the professor of Islamic studies, Virginia University. She led the congregational prayers in a suburb in Manhattan, New York. She preached in her sermon that the equality between both genders is something of paramount importance in Islam, and that current Muslims are adopting extremist fanatical interpretations of faith that lead to backwardness and regressive way of life. Using this mixed congregational prayers, she said, Muslims will have moved a step forward, and this is the usage of the full potential of Islam. About one hundred men and women participated in this congregational prayer, organized by the female journalist Asrah Numany, the former correspondent of the Wall Street Journal. She said that this step will shed light on the inequality suffered by Muslim women in their spiritual lives as well as other aspects of their lives. She said that Muslim women demand their rights; they will no longer enter houses of worship from back doors; they will no longer remain in the shade. Eventually, there will be female leaders in the Islamic world. Some of those who protested against this mixed congregational prayers demonstrated outside the building in which the prayers were held. Police forces removed them away and prevented them from entering the place. An unveiled American woman from an Egyptian origin, Suhayla Al-Attar, voiced the call for prayers in the microphone. Ahmed Nasif, a responsible in the "Muslim Wake-Up" group of activists, said that the purpose of holding these mixed Friday prayers with a female imam was to offer the chance for a spiritual act of worship on equal footing between men and women. He added that the aim was not to teach the rest of Muslims how to pray; rather, to make them be open toward new trends and notions. In reaction, the head of Al-Azhar institution, the supreme Sunnite authority, in Cairo, Egypt, wrote in the Egyptian daily public newspaper, Al-Ahram, that Islam allows female imams to female-only congregations, and that it is highly improper for men to see a woman prostrating before them during prayers, when one is to feel modest and devout.

 We, Dr. Ahmed Subhy Mansour, have some comments to say about that subject.

 

 Firstly

1- The head sheikh of Al-Azhar has voiced the traditional Sunnite view in the Sunnite theology that has nothing to do with Islam. Instead of refuting his view, we will refute the views of his 'holy' deified and 'sanctified' imams of the Middle Ages. Imam Malik has never written about the concept of female imams in the only book of theology ascribed to him, and Imam Al-Shafei' was the first one to write on that subject. He has written that female imams cannot perform the duties in Friday congregational prayers even if they include women-only congregations. Female imams are to be so in other prayers with women only. He said women can never lead any group of any type. Al-Shafei' never used a Quranic verse to support his view; he could not find any, of course. He even did not use any of the fabricated hadiths (sayings) ascribed falsely to Prophet Muhammad after his death. He based his view or edict only on personal preferences and masculine biased reasoning. This view can be refuted easily by the Quran and within history. The Quran mentions the Queen of Sheba, who ruled her people and owned many possessions and a great throne. Her retinue said to her: ""…We are a people of might and great courage, but the decision is yours, so consider what you wish to command."" (27:33). Thus, we have an example in the Quranic stories of a woman who was a queen ruling her people of both genders. The Quran shows us how wise she was, in contrast to another male tyrant monarch who was so proud as to deify himself: Moses' Pharaoh. This tyrant persecuted the Israelites and two prophets, Moses and Aaron, and thus, this Pharaoh deserved to drown and be cursed. He has become an example in the Quran for those tyrants who lead his people, his state, and himself to destruction. Moses' Pharaoh is an example to warn all tyrants; yet, Arab tyrant rulers follow his example and never get warned. Arab tyrants disregard the wisdom of the Queen of Sheba. It seems that Arab regressive tyrant rulers are leading their people 20 centuries backward! It is noteworthy that Al-Azhar head sheikh has issued before a fatwa (i.e. the so-called religious edict) that any woman can be elected as president of any Arab country. This is a good praise-worthy view, better late than never. We have written a research titled "The Right of Women to Be Presidents of Any Republic", which has been discussed in an international forum in Cairo presided by Dr. Nawal Al-Saadawi. This research has been translated into English and published by the Cairo Center for Human Rights in the periodical titled "Arabi Forum" in 1999. The query raised here is as follows: if any woman can become the president of any state to lead a Muslim nation – regardless of the backward, regressive view of Al-Shafei' – why cannot any woman be an imam to mixed congregations or even to male-only congregations? One might say that being a female imam differs from being a female president or a political leader. We say that in the Sunnite ancient tomes and volumes, there is no difference between the head of a state, or a caliph, and the imam in congregational prayers. It is the duty of a ruler to be an imam in congregational prayers, according to Sunnite theological books. The Sunnite clergymen and scholars used to give the title (imam) to any political leader or ruler.

2- To refute the views of Al-Shafei', let us remember that God in the Quran has set a good example to be imitated and followed by all believers – men and women – by citing two women: the wife of Moses' Pharaoh and Mary, the mother of Jesus. The bad example of evil people to be avoided was also two women mentioned in the Quran: the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot. Hence, we conclude that women are cited in the Quran to set a higher example of faith and goodness and another example to avoid in evil unbelief, regardless of the position and stature of a woman's husband. Moses' Pharaoh's wife had an evil foolish tyrant of a husband. His wife is an example (i.e. imam in Arabic) to be followed and imitated by all believers – men and women. Noah and Lot were good prophets, but their wives were traitors and enemies of the Lord. We think that the Quran cites such figures to assert the independent nature of women in themselves, with no dependency on men. Women, as well as men, can be bad or good examples for others. Hence, female imams should exist. History tells us that Aisha, the wife of Prophet Muhammad, led a huge army against the caliph/imam Ali Ibn Abou Talib. Regardless of her stance to be deemed wrong or right, no one told her that she cannot lead any group of men. They reminded her at the time only of the Quranic command specific to the wives of Muhammad to remain at home: "And settle in your homes…" (33:33).

3- Al-Shafei' writes in his book concerning female imams in ordinary prayers that a female imam should never perform such role for congregations of men; female imams are to perform this role for women-only congregations. Otherwise, prayers are not deemed correct. He asserts further in his book that there are no female saints and that the Quran says: "Men are the protectors and maintainers of women…" (4:34). In his erroneous views, Al-Shafei' mixes things that are not related to one another. A woman can stipulate in the marriage contract that her independent stature and money and possessions cannot be used by her husband. Anyway, this Quranic verse states clearly that ''maintainers'' are to spend on their wives to acquire this epithet. This does not imply that a husband is to hold authority over his wife; rather, this means he is to be a responsible kind caretaker of his wife. Such matters of marriage have nothing to do with female imams. Prayers' imams are to be among those who recite the Quran without errors and among those with good moral character who pray regularly. Such stipulations are found in the Sunnite books and volumes. Such conditions do not include anything concerning the gender of the imam. How come that a man who disobeys God to be an imam in prayers to his wife if she is more pious and God-fearing than he is?! Can Moses' pharaoh-type of men be imams to women of the type of Moses' Pharaoh's wife?! We have refuted in previous articles the views of Al-Shafei', and other Sunnite ancient scholars, concerning their prevention of women to lead any group of men or to be a ruler/queen of any society/nation. It is ironic that Al-Shafei' says in the same page that contains the above-mentioned views that rows of female performers of prayers ought to be arranged in a particular way fashioned by himself! It is as if Al-Shafei' were a deity giving new sharia along with the divine one of God in the Quran! The legislations of Al-Shafei' – and any other clergymen or scholars, ancient or contemporary – follow his whims and biases and have nothing to do with Quranic legislations, the only ones in Islam.

4- It is ironic that most ancient scholars of theology imitated Al-Shafei' in all other Sunnite doctrines and schools of thought. All of them followed their personal preferences and whims and made it by force part of legislations of Islam! In a fiqh volume titled "Jurisprudence in the Four Sunnite Doctrines", published in Cairo in 1970, the author, Sheikh Al-Jeizeiri, cites the famous agreed-on views of the founders of the four main Sunnite doctrines in the golden age of flourishing of schools of thoughts, and he intentionally ignores the regressive thought of theological studies of the Ottoman era, studies until now in Al-Azhar institution, with all its bad lewd language, corrupt diction and terminology, and backward notions; indeed, Satan, the Master of the Sunnites, would have been ashamed to utter such notions! We paraphrase here the views in this book concerning the doctrinal opinions or fatwas concerning the presence of women in Friday congregational prayers. We will write our comment after each view. The Hanafi doctrine scholars preferred that women ought to pray Friday noon prayers at home alone; this is a manly act of worship. We say this is utterly wrong and absurd; congregational prayers in the Quran every Friday is a Quranic command for both men and women among the believers, likewise in all other acts of worship. The Maliki doctrine scholars preferred that elderly women can attend Friday congregational prayers. If an elderly woman is still able to get married, she ought not to attend. All young women are never to attend, lest men should droll over them in wanton lust. We say that this erroneous view contains no criteria to judge if men are to lust over women who pray at mosques! Are we to hold beauty contests to decide who the beautiful ones are to prevent them from praying at mosques?! Prayers have nothing to do with carnal lusts and appetites. Acts of worship are sublime; they are not aphrodisiac for men! other scholars insisted that only ugly women can attend! Again, who would set such a criterion?! Are female believers to be deemed ugly in order to perform congregational Friday prayers?! This is silly! Why men at mosques would be thought to be concerned all the time (24/7) with sexual obsessions?! Al-Shafei' doctrine scholars held the view that all pretty women are to be prevented from entering mosques at Friday noon prayers. Other women of less beauty are to obtain written consent of their fathers/husbands! They are to be covered from top to toe so as not to tempt men! preferably, women are to dress humbly in modest clothes so as not to make 'pious' men pay attention to their presence! These silly, laughter-inducing views are patriarchal and masculine backward regressive views that reflect Middle-Ages culture, not Islam. At that time, men tended to be biased against women in general in all fields. Such ancient scholars were obsessed by sex; women are for them mere sexual objects or sex-machines for carnal enjoyment of men and child-bearing. We still remember the sexually explicit nature of terms and notions in the theological books of Al-Azhar Secondary stage books. When we were an adolescent, such nauseating notions caused our inclination to vomit due to such horrible imagination of the ancient scholars. We used to call such bad notions the fiqh of genitals. The sexual mania of ancient scholars goes on in contemporary ones and clergymen!

5- It is noteworthy that such patriarchal, masculine fiqh reflects the Abbasid era in the 3rd nd 4th centuries A.H. when conditions of women worsened and the plight of women began. Enslavement of women was a widespread and lucrative trade at the time. Some of these female slaves were originally literate cultured accomplished women kidnapped by thieves while traveling or when cities were razed and invaded in wars. Gangsters used to teach foreign slave-girls Arabic, theology, fiqh, Quran, hadiths, etiquette, poetry, singing, musical instruments playing, history, art of storytelling…etc. by scholars and tutors to make their prices soar high in the markets. Such slave girls used to grace the palaces of Baghdad and other cities. They were bought and owned and cherished by rich sultans, caliphs, viziers, and rich traders. It was allowed to denude slave girls in public in the market before buying her! Scholars of Sunnite fiqh allowed this as if female slaves were merchandise! Most slave girls were bare-chested n markets to draw the attention of potential buyers. Buyers used them sexually in beds, of course, and as cultured companions in divans and halls. All palaces and houses of the rich in Baghdad in the Abbasid era were filled with such slave girls. Most Abbasid caliphs, except the very first one and Al-Amin, son of Harun Al-Rachid, were progeny of slave girls. In the Second Abbasid Era, slave girls used to have full authority and monopoly in matters of the caliphate. We have written a series of articles concerning strong women between lines of history, concerning the Second Abbasid Era. Some slave girls used to control the caliph himself. The very first Abbasid caliph, Al-Safaah, used to be controlled by his wife. Harun Al-Rachid used to be controlled by his strong mother, former slave girl named Al-Khayzuran. Al-Motawakil used to be controlled by his ugly strong wife who controlled her son the caliph as well. This ugly woman used to rule actually for twenty years instead of her son, and she appointed her female friend as a head judge in Baghdad. Such meddling of slave girls in the Second Abbasid Era and the influence they had on men with their ruse and culture led to a quasi-feminist renaissance in the Second Abbasid Era Iraq. Such a renaissance is apparent between the lines of formal history of the Second Abbasid Era. Most historians/imams at the time felt envious of such influential strong women. Yet, some books of literature and poetry mention the demands and ambitions of women to be appointed as scribes, preachers of sermons, judges…etc. on equal footing with the male counterparts. Some poets used to mock such demands in verses. In contrast to unveiled strong slave girls in palaces, free women (daughters and wives) used to suffer the full veil (covering their faces), being ignored, isolation, confinement, sometimes spinsterhood, lack of any rights, as well as polygamy of their husbands. At that era, no scholars of theology dared to protest against the strong impact and influence of the slave girls at palaces who controlled the caliphate, rulers, and viziers. Such scholars wrote venomous fatwas that reflect their frustration and envy toward them. This is the real historical background of the patriarchal Sunnite doctrines and theology. This has nothing to do with Islam; real Islam is the Quran alone.

 

Secondly: in brief, we state the following points.

1- In real Islam, equality between both genders is clear in the Quran concerning duties, rights, acts of worship, reward, and punishment. This takes the linguistic forms in the Quranic discourse that address both genders such as the following: "O people!", "O progeny of Adam!", "O believers!", "human soul(s)", "spouse(s)'', etc. you can review the following verses: 2:183, 52:9, 4:124-125. In the Yathreb society in the time of Prophet Muhammad, people of both genders had complete freedom in thought, faith, and politics. Women had the liberty to call for what they believe in. true believers, women and men, used to preach the message of the Quran, whereas hypocrites, women and men, preach against this message. The hypocrites used to refuse to give alms. They were free to do so with impunity rare in the logic and tyranny of the 7th century A.D., and rare today in the countries of the Muhammadans. The Quran registers such atmosphere and conditions: "The hypocrite men and hypocrite women are of one another. They advocate evil, and prohibit righteousness, and withhold their hands from charity…" (9:67). In contrast, believers are described in the Quran as follows: "The believing men and believing women are friends of one another. They advocate virtue, forbid evil, perform the prayers, practice charity, and obey God and His Messenger. These-God will have mercy on them…" (9:71). We conclude then that this Yathreb society used to be active and free; inhabitants had the right to express their opposing views freely. Such a society can never be imagined to have veiled women in niqab or headscarves or women confined to their homes ignored by the society of men. female believers used to go out and preach the Quranic message to the public on equal footing with male counterparts in active interactions with society members. This occurred in streets, mosques, markets, houses, and all social settings and gatherings. The term "righteousness" in the Quran is all known values of higher morals: justice, right, peace, tolerance, patience, and charity. The opposite of all these values are injustice, aggression, immorality, fornication, and other sins. Advocating righteousness and preaching against evildoing is not confined to any category of people to be employees who do that by the State. This is aggression of the type happening in the KSA. Advocating is a general duty ordained by God to all believers of both genders. This advocating is just giving pieces of advice and warning without interfering and meddling in people's personal life, as long as no harm, aggression, or violation done to others that deserve to be punished by law.

2- Women can participate fully in social and political life like men, regardless of gender, race, and ethnicity. This is a general rule as well in acts of worship and all other dealings and aspects of life. Gender is not among conditions to prevent one from any duties. Excuses and exceptions cover both genders among those who are weak, ill, poor, blind, lame, crippled; see 9:91, 4:98, 24:61, and 48:17. What is permissible is usually not mentioned in the Quran; rather, it mentions the exceptions: the orders/commands and the prohibited/impermissible. Hence, things that are not mentioned in the Quran to be specifically illegal and prohibited are legal and permissible by default for both genders. The Quran never mentions anything about prohibiting women to be prayers imams. We mean by Islamic sharia the Quran alone. It has nothing to do with theology books written by men. views of theologians and ancient scholars and clergymen/imams – as we see- reflect their minds and eras, not Islam at all. We can refute, make fun of, and mock such views as we have done above.

3- The inherited Abrahamic creed contains prayers, pilgrimage, zakat alms, and fasting, by which believers assert their worship and devotion to God with no partners/deities. People of Mecca at the time of Prophet Muhammad are ordered in the Quran to observe prayers faithfully; this means they knew it before Islam from the inherited Abrahamic creed. This faithful observance is fulfilled by adherence to piety and morals. This entailed awareness; i.e. advocating righteousness as per the Quranic verses mentioned above as well as in 103:3 "Except those who believe, and do good works, and encourage truth, and recommend patience." this verse is the true image of the Islamic society members interactive in righteousness and charity. Hence, all acts of worship can have the social function of maintain morals and ethics; they must lead to better pious behavior in society and good deeds and acts of charity. This is the Quranic meaning of performing the prayers faithfully and observing it daily. One of the missions of Muhammad was to revive the Abrahamic faith that was distorted by polytheistic notions and practices that including ignoring prayers; see 19:54-59, 23:1-9, and 70:22-34.  Several verses revealed in Mecca order them of prayers and zakat. The form of address in these verses includes women and men equally. Prayers and how they are performed and on certain daily times are inherited correctly; we, Quranists, have only one different rite in prayers; we say 3:18 as the testimony in prayers. Hence, the view of ancient scholars of not allowing female imams to lead male or mixed congregations is wrong and has nothing to do with Islam (the Quran alone).

 

Thirdly:

 The Sunnite creed legislations and laws in general run contrary to the Quranic legislations in its essence, basics, aims, terminology, and details in every other respect: we give here in this article a quick overview that assert this contradiction. Details are found in previous articles and books on our website.

1- Quranic legislations revolve around three degrees: commands/ orders, prohibitions/impermissible things, and finally what is permissible and lawful. The first and second points are stated clearly in the Quran; what is not mentioned is permissible and lawful. The Quranic laws sometimes contain new things that never exist in the Abrahamic creed; for instance, "Permitted for you is intercourse with your wives on the night of the fast. …" (2:187). The Sunnite creed is fabricated wholly by men, not by God. The clergyman added to the three degrees or points another two things: 1) undesired/hated yet permissible and not unlawful and 2) the permissible that is not ordained as a duty. These added two points caused two problems as explained below.

 The first problem is to add new terms and legislations nonexistent in the Quran; this is self-deification and an act of defiance against God who is the Only Legislator in Islam via the Quran. Things described as ''hated'' in the Quran are meant to be abominations to be avoided as impermissible and prohibited matters, such as all major sins like theft, fornication, murder, polytheism, and unbelief; see 17:38 and 49:7.

 The second problem is restricting others by making permissible things seem unlawful and prohibited. This is deemed by Quranists to be meddling in the religion of God in the Quran.

 

 Interpretation in legislations rules that assert, combine, confine, and generalize in the Quran:

1- We mean by this combining the prohibited things or mater in some verses that prevents any additions or insertion or deletions, then more details appear in other verses. Let us cite an example. In 4:24, we see types of women that one can get married to and the other type that one cannot get married to. Yet, the Sunnite creed theologians added unneeded detail: they fabricated a hadith to add women prohibited in marriage within breast-feeding siblings relatives. That is to say, the Quran prohibits a man to marry a woman who has been breast-fed, as a child, by the man's biological mother; yet, the Sunnite creed added that he cannot marry the female relatives (e.g. paternal and maternal aunts) of this same woman! This is illogical. Another example in which the Sunnite creed prohibits things not mentioned as such in the Quran is adding a list of unlawful foods never prohibited by God in the Quran. The Quran tells us what to never eat in detail and we need no more prohibitions by ancient scholars. See 2:173, 5:3, 6:145, and 27:115. The Quran warns against adding more new prohibited foods in 5:87, 10:59-60, 16:116-117, and 66:1. Yet, the Sunnites added a large list of prohibited foods filling volumes of theology.

2- The Quran uses the style of confining and restricting in some legislations; see 17:33, 6:151, and 25:68. We conclude from these verses when we should exact retributions from murderers; see 2:178 and in defensive wars; see 2:194. Yet, the Sunnite creed allows imam/ruler to kill as many people as he pleases to ameliorate conditions of his people, provided that he cannot exceed the one-third of the population!

3- The Quran uses the style of assertion and affirmation in some legislations; see 2:180. In written wills and testimonies, God asserts in the Quran the rights of inheritors by different terms of assertion. Later on, we find verses that detail the rules of written wills; see 4:11-14. Yet, the Sunnite creed theologians fabricated a hadith to the effect that no one should ever write a will since he or she have heirs! This is annulment of Quranic verses! Wills and rules of shares of inheritance in the Quran urge justice; one cannot apply them alone without violations of others' rights in some cases; hence, a will might give more shares to those who deserve if for certain reasons; this does not violate the shares ordained in the Quran after one's death. That is because one can give away some of the possession while one is alive. hence, written will can help achieve social justice and to ease the conscience of a dying person who wants to achieve justice before the Almighty and one's relatives and inheritors/heirs as well. Hence, one might give his daughter and son equal shares of the inheritance if certain cases entail such equality; this is according to the care of the dying or old person to achieve justice.

4- Sunnite false and erroneous interpretations of the Quran have led to two results: 1) additions of new false meanings to the Quranic terminology, e.g. the Arabic Quranic term (naskh) in the Quran means assertion and affirmation not deletion and alteration as claimed by the Sunnites, and 2) the theologians' views and fabricated hadiths were made to replace/annul the Quranic legislations ordained by God.

 This led to ignoring of higher and general aims of Quranic legislations that are commands revolve around a frame of general purposes/targets. Each Quranic law is linked directly to certain regulations detailed in following verses in the same context or in later on context in another chapter. Details of that will be explained in a later article. Let us focus now on examples to explain this point further. The higher aims of the Quranic legislations are piety and God-fearing acts (i.e. in our modern terms: the superego or the conscience); see 7:201 and 3:133-136. Piety includes true faith in Quranic facts and incessant good deeds and charity and acts of worship as well as dealing with people in justly manner.  That is why Paradise is reserved to the pious righteous ones; faith alone is not enough, and good deeds without faith are not enough. That is why piety is the higher value in Islam as a methodology in applying ethics, faith, and legislations.  Piety is ordered within Quranic legislations and sometimes alone in verses as a high value in itself. Orders of piety are addressed to Muhammad and to all believers in the very opening verses of some chapters; see chapters 4, 22, 33 and. Piety is ordered within legislations to raise the awareness and the conscience of all true believers in God who seek His satisfaction, with no outside forces like police or human authority. Let us give one example in divorce; in the Quran, divorce is ordained while keeping and maintaining the rights of women; see 2:231. Divorce in Islam is to keep one's wife in one's house in her grace period of three months as a period to reconsider separation. This period might end in deciding to separate without harm done to both parties, or in their reconsidering to begin their life anew together. God warns in the Quran against harming/tormenting one's divorcee or taking revenge from her. Piety is ordained in all Quranic divorce legislations. We have written a lot about the contrast to this in the Sunnite man-made divorce laws. Details of divorce are given in Chapter 65. These details are given to preserve women's rights. Yet, Wahabi Sunnite creeds annul such Quranic rights of women as well as numerous human rights. The Quranic legislations here aim to maintain the family as a nucleus of society as well as to ease complications and to preserve one's chastity. The Salafist, Sunnite, Wahabi creeds focus on commands without the higher aims and rules. In 4:19, we see the Quranic orders in dealing with a wife who has all her rights and dues but is disobedient to her husband. But in 4:34, we have the divine warning against abusing the legislation in 4:19 to deal unjustly with obedient wives. Details will be further given in another article. Salafist Wahabi Sunnite creeds and notions focus only on beating one's wife, in total disregard for other details in these verses. Another Quranic verses ordain that males and females should refrain from leering or looking lasciviously at one another, and general decency in dress codes; yet, the Wahabi/Salafist thought commit grave injustice to women by obliging them to wear niqab (full veil covering the face). This is an erroneous interpretation of 17:32 and 24:30-31. These verses order the covering of a woman's cleavage and legs; not her hair, neck, face, and arms. Salafist extremist thought made women a bundle of clothes black or colored. This led to the loss of a woman's role in testimony before judges as well as her role in a society. Niqab wastes away the aims of chastity and modest dress code. Niqab is used now to cover crimes, criminals, and adultery. No one would ever know the identity of the woman (or the man!) in niqab! Wahabi and Salafist extremism is based on the fanatical doctrine of Ibn Hanbal. In acts of worship, we observe piety first; this is their aim. See 2:183, 2:196-197, 2:221. They are means to avoid sins and elevate morals and ethics; see 29:45. Salafist interpretations have led to the general sense that acts of worship are ends in themselves, not means to an end. That is why Wahabis and Salafists are in general immoral and unethical. They assume that by sticking to daily acts of worship, they can commit as many sins as possible! Their acts of worship do not lead to piety but to sin and eating from ill-gotten money. They claim falsely that acts of worship, especially performing pilgrimage to Mecca, would absolve all sins! This is a faulty notion, of course. Another wrong notion is that Paradise is confined only to the one born of Muslim parents! Superficial and hypocrite notions and acts are countless within the societies of the Muhammadans due to such erroneous notions. Reputation of the Muhammadans is tarnished due to this when they travel abroad. Salafist and Wahabi Sunnite notions of wars and battles and jihad lead to aggression, murder, massacres, and mass killings, whereas in the Quran, wars are permissible ONLY in self-defense, especially to impose religious liberty. This is jihad for the sake of God. Freedom of faith without coercion in religion entails to impose peace and free choice to be responsible for one's choices before the Almighty in Doomsday. Reading 2:193-195, we perceive that we are not to begin aggression or to violate the peace of innocent ones; we are to engage in self-defensive wars only, with the higher aim to prevent coercion/persecution in faith matters. See 2:217 that assert that meaning. Hence, no inquisitions and persecutions are allowed in Islam; see 8:39. The Sunnite creed focused erroneously ONLY on the order to fight! They ignore on purpose the reasons for it in self-defense and prevention of persecution and coercion in religion. This is jihad. The Salafists have made it aggression against the innocent peaceful ones! Ancient Sunnite clergymen perceived the matter wrongly because this was the logic of Middle Ages: raiding and invading cities for financial and political reasons. They needed to distort the Quranic meanings by imposing their own interpretations that allow massacres, robbing, thefts, etc. Islam as a peaceful creed never allows such crimes; rogue had to impose their hadiths and Sunna to annul and misinterpret the Quranic verses! That is why the Qorayish tribe used Islam to unite all Arabs and to conquer neighboring countries after Muhammad's death.  They had to fabricate oral traditions and theological terms that later on were written down and ascribed falsely to Muhammad to justify their horrible crimes and invasions and immorality. They ignored piety and God-fearing righteousness on purpose. In the Quran, legislations are directly linked to piety to make a true Muslim have a conscience to watch oneself before being watched and checked by human temporal authorities. All Sunnite theologians ignore to mention piety in their books in golden eras and decadent eras. Omitting the spiritualties side, Wahabi and Salafist Sunnite theology focused on superficial acts of worship with countless useless details, especially in dress codes. Such theologians tended to focus on trivial matters imagined by deprived minds and imaginations that tend to vie in supposing unthinkable situations to issue an edict! We remember that we used to hate tomes of heritage fiqh and theology studied by us in the secondary schools of al-Azhar. It used to focus on things that make any students feel ashamed of themselves and their imaginations and feel obsessed with trivial matters and sexual fantasies! How come that such filth is still studies by female and male adolescents in Al-Azhar until now?! Some lines and/or chapters of such curricula were omitted due to some of our articles published in Cairo in some newspapers, but many Azharite clergymen declared us in the 1990s as an apostate who forsook Islam! Let us end this article before being tempted to give more details on that subject of our being persecuted in Egypt.


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