pakistani women rightsIn an interview on a television on Express TV, Pakistan, Munawar Hussain, the top leader of the religious-political party, suggested women and men should not report the rape case if they could not produce four witnesses who can confirm that the incident, It is an absurd view because producing four witnesses is not possible as the incidents do not take place in public. He is of the opinion, reporting of such incidents brings more ills in the society. What he is asserting that Islam is so irrational religion that it allows the rapist to override the right of free movement of another person, especially women. This is a weird interpretation of Islam and he should be charged for misinterpreting Islam and promoting violations of human rights of women because it the women who are generally the victims of rape in most of the countries irrespective of Muslims or Non-Muslim.

It is suffice to say that Munawar Hussain views are either based on ignorance or deliberate misinterpretation of Islam (most likely deliberate misinterpretation). He failed to distinguish between the sexual relationship out of wedlock and rape. Sexual relationship out of wedlock is based on mutual consent between man and woman; whereas rape means that the one of the parties has forced the other to commit a sexual act without consent, which is a criminal act. He doesn’t seem to appreciate that Islam outlined the punishments to protect woman honor and dignity and not to provide safeguards to a rapist.

According to Islamic teaching, if anyone accuses a woman for sexual act out of wedlock and defames her for this reason without any authentic witness, he/she should be punished, as mentioned in these Quranic verses:

“And those who accuse chaste women, and produce not four witnesses, flog them with eighty stripes, and reject their testimony forever,….. (24:04); and, “Verily, those who accuse chaste women, ………., are cursed in this life and in the Hereafter, and for them will be a great torment (24:23)”. In Allah’s eyes, those people are liars who are unable to produce an authentic witness as shown in this Koranic verse, “….. Since they have not produced witnesses! Then with Allah they are the liars (24:13).

Islam restricts even husbands to make false accusations towards their wives. If the husband accuses chastity of his wife without any solid proof, the wife just needs to reject the accusation swearing upon Allah five times, “And the fifth (testimony) should be that the Wrath of Allah be upon her if he (her husband) speaks the truth (24:09)” and the matter would be considered closed.

The Quran stresses when a woman is accused of illicit sexual behavior, four Momin Muslims (a Muslim of pious behavior and good reputation) must have actually witnessed that the act of sexual intercourse is in progress. Even if it is proven, which is impossible because of finding four Momin witness as per condition, it is the appointed judge who should pass the verdict and not individuals.

It is unfortunate that many women were victimized merely on accusations of word of mouth that somebody has seen her engaging in an inappropriate sexual behavior. For some, an inappropriate behavior could be even if a female is simply talking or sitting next to a man in a garden other than brother, husband, father etc., so should we apply Islamic punishment on her? Of course, not – because this kind of intimacy does not fall under the concept of illicit sexual conduct (Zina) and should not carry serious consequences such as murder.

Munwar Hussain must tell the nation where it is written in the Quran that a woman needs to bring four witnesses if she got raped; where it is mentioned in the Quran that she should remain quiet if she is raped when no one around the place of incident. He should explain where it is written in the Quran that if she accuses a male for rape and the corrupt system is not willing to investigate, so she should be held in the prison. There are a number of reported cases that the women were put behind the bar for years when they reported a case of rape but could not produce four witnesses, even though forensic evidence could prove. Hussain has shown mullahs chauvinistic attitude by rejecting circumstantial and forensic evidence to convict the rapist.

Being a traditional society, people of Pakistan might understand the rights of female, dignity and honor when they themselves read the Quran in their own mother tongue instead of just reciting in Arabic like illiterates. Following the guideline of Hussain or his misinterpretation of the religion can only bring confusion in the system, than respect for each other. At the same time, it is important to mention here, Hussain views are not of views of majority of Pakistanis. If a majority of Pakistanis supported Mullahs and their political parties they would have been ruling the country, which never happened till today.

Nadeem Yousaf

9 July 2011

 Shame on Chauvinistic Mullah: Munawar Hussan