Uncovered Meat and Rape: Condemning an Honest, innocent Cleric
02 Nov, 2006
In a sermon during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, Australia's highest cleric and Egyptian-born Mufti, Sheik Taj al-Din al-Hilali, raised an international media stir culminating in waves of condemnation over his claim that immodestly dressed women attract rapes and the fault lies squarely with the women themselves. In the September 27th sermon, delivered in Arabic in Australia's largest mosque in Sydney, attended by 500 worshippers, he said, "If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it...whose fault is it, the cats or the uncovered meat? The uncovered meat is the problem." He added, "If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred." He added women were "weapons" used by "Satan" to control men. "It is said in the state of zina (adultery), the responsibility falls 90 per cent of the time on the woman. Why? Because she possesses the weapon of enticement (igraa)", said the Mufti. [The Australian, 26 Oct., 2006]
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The initial sermon in Arabic, however, went past without causing any stir for a month until 26 October, when The Australian published the English translation of the sermon. As condemnation started pouring in from all quarters, some Muslims also woke up from their slumber to join in the chorus of castigating the learned and honorable cleric. In the backdrop of the controversy in Europe over the Islamic veil for Muslim women, this sermon must have meant to justify the rationality of veiling the women and confining them in their homes, instead of allowing them to go to schools/colleges and to work. The major focus of this sermon was, however, the rape of eighteen young Australian women, some as young as sixteen, in a Sydney neighborhood in 2000 by a gang of fourteen Muslim youths of Middle-Eastern origin. This sermon was meant to express the cleric's displeasure over punishing the two brothers, Bilal and Muhammed Skaf, the ringleaders of the rapist gang. They were found guilty of rape and were duly sentenced to long-term jail. The rapists accepted the punishment with smiles as it was being read out on 28 July, 2006.
Mufti al-Hilali is the head Islamic cleric of Australia and New Zealand, who is paid AUS$ 40,000 annually to guide the Muslim community to true values and teachings of Islam. It is expected that he would do an honest job for which he is handsomely paid. The utter degradation of the women by the learned Mufti, his desire to have them veiled and confined in their homes and his blaming the unveiled women for the rapes require investigation in the light of the precepts of Islam in order to determine if he has done a good job in his position of responsibility before castigating him.
According to the Islamic faith, the Koran contains the unadulterated words of Allah, the supreme God of the Muslims and these verses are the eternal truth and divine guidance for the entire mankind until the end of the Universe. The Koran is the complete code of life which all Muslims must follow as the unalterable and binding command of the supreme creator and any deviation would land him/her in the pit of eternal hellfire. The paid Mufti is supposed to ensure that the 300,000-strong Australian community of Muslims have the correct knowledge, understanding and application of the precepts and commands of Islam.
Allah says in the holy Koran that Men are in charge of women, because Allah made men to be superior to women. If men suspect rebellion from their wives, they should admonish them, refuse sex, and finally beat them to discipline them [Quran 4:34]. Men have the higher rights than women [Quran 2:228], women are worth only half of men [Quran 2:282] and they will inherit only half of that of men (brother, husband) [Quran 4:11; 4:176].
Allah has made women just the tilth for the men, who can plough (have sex with) them as, when and how he wants.
Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will, and send (good deeds) before you for your souls, and fear Allah, and know that ye will (one day) meet Him. Give glad tidings to believers, (O Muhammad) [Quran 2:223].
When it comes to marries, a woman is worth even much less than a man. A man can marry as many as four legal wives plus as many slave women as possible for sexual indulgence as and when he wants [Koran 4:3, 70:29-32; 4:24].
Allah has also commanded how women should dress:
"And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment save to their own husbands or fathers or husbands' fathers, or their sons. ." [Koran 24:31].
O Prophet! Tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them (when they go abroad). That will be better, so that they may be recognized and not annoyed [Koran 33:59].
Muhammad, the prophet of Islam was the ideal human being for all time. He was on a talking term with Allah and his angels and was thus under the constant divine guidance, especially after receiving the prophethood. Accordingly his actions and sayings (Hadith, Sunnah) form the divinely inspired extra-Koranic and inviolable precepts of the Islamic faith. He considered the women the evil queen of temptation (towards sex) as says the Prophet:
A woman advances and retires in the shape of a devil; so when one of you sees a woman, he should come to his wife and have intercourse with her. So the apostle had sex with Zaynab bt. Jahsh … [Sunaan Abu Dawud 2.11.2146, Sahih Muslim 8.3240, 3242, Imam al-Ghazali, Ihya Uloom ediDin, volume 2, p.26 ]
Regarding this Hadith, the Prophet one day dropped by his adopted son's house who was away. After his daughter-in-law told this from inside the house, the Prophet peeped into her room and saw her semi-naked inside. So aroused and tempted the 56 year-old prophet felt by her sight that he had to rush to one of his wives and have sex to cool down his urge.
According to the prophet, a woman in her entirety is just like a private part of sexual temptation and identified her as the greatest danger to the men-folks:
Muhammad said, "A woman is like a private part. When she comes out the devil holds her high. A woman has ten private parts. When she gets married her husband covers one private part; when she dies the grave covers other nine private parts"… [Al-Ghazali, ibid, volume 2, p.43]
Muhammad said, "There will remain no greater danger for the people after my death than women. Fear the world of women." [ibid, volume 3, p.86]
In the light of the ultimate divine truth descended from the heaven to mankind through the final prophet of God and recorded in the glorious Koran, women are lower creatures than men. They are worth half of men in intelligence and inheritance. They must be covered with a cloak around them when they go out of their houses. Else, they might be the legitimate target of harassment by men. They are the incarnation of devil, the queen for sexual temptation and the fault of rape should squarely fall on them. Thus, the cleric was absolutely correct in asserting that ninety percent of women are at faults for adultery and when the rape happens to women who go out wearing enticingly immodest dresses, the blame should squarely lie on the queen of temptation – not on the men, who were enticed into committing the vile act.
Australian young white women, in their scanty and provocative attires, passed by the Muslim neighborhood in Sydney at the dead of night in 2000 and irresistibly tempted the Muslim men of the neighborhood. As cited above, the elderly prophet of Islam had rushed to one of his half-a-dozen wives to satiate such urge. But what do these young unmarried young Muslims do, who do not have wives to rush do? It is only natural that these men will satiate the urge created by the temptation of the semi-naked young girls. It is not the fault of the Muslim men; they were enticed into this sinful act by these uncovered and unguarded women. Even the holy Prophet, who was the ideal human being for all time, could not restrain himself from such temptation such that he had to rush to his wife for sex immediately after he happened to glimpse the sight of the semi-naked body of his daughter-in-law, who eventually became his wife soon afterwards.
The prophet did more than that on other occasions. In 628, the Prophet attacked the Jewish Banu Quraiza tribe after accusing them of spying for the Mecca enemies during the battle of the ditch. After the surrender of the Quraiza Jews, the Prophet slaughtered all adult males and captured their women and children as slaves. After the day-long act of butchery of 800 to 900 Quraiza men, the 59 year-old Prophet retired in bed with the prettiest of the captured women named, Reihana, whose husband and male relatives were slaughtered just a while earlier [Prophet's biography by Ibn Hisham, p.668f; Ibn Sa'd, p.47f]. Upon attacking the Jews of Khaibar on suspicion of their plan to attack the Muslims, the Prophet captured the leader Kinana after a blood-letting encounter and tortured him by placing fire on his chest for the whereabouts of his hidden assets. After extracting the information and recovering the treasures, Kinana was beheaded and his wife, Safiyah, was captured and the Prophet married her immediately. He took her to bed in his tent on the same night, in the midst of the blood-soaked battlefield where so many people had died earlier in the day [Prophet's biography by Ibn Hisham, p.755f; Ibn Sa'd, p.77f]. It should be noted that the father and brothers of the 17 year-old Safiyah were slaughtered in the Banu Quraiza massacre a few months before. It is a divine command of Allah recorded in the holy Koran to attack non-Muslim outposts and kill some of the enemies (adult males) and capture their women and children as slaves and confiscate their properties as happened to the Banu Quraiza:
"And He brought those of the People of the Scripture who supported them down from their strongholds, and cast panic into their hearts. Some ye slew, and ye made captive some. And He caused you to inherit their land and their houses and their wealth, and land ye have not trodden." [Koran 33:26-27]
The Government of Australia and all other Western nations in Europe recognize Islam as a great religion of peace and humanity. By this recognition, they also recognize that the core creed of Islam, that is, the Koran and the Sunnah are the sources of ultimate truth, command and guidance to all humanity, or at least to Muslims. It is duty of the Australian Government to ensure that the Muslims are allowed to live by the standard of the faith of Islam. If not, God will throw them into the eternal fire of hell. For the Muslims this life has little value other than dedicating to the cause of Allah to secure a place in the heaven in next life. For this, they should fight in the cause of Allah and be ready to slay the enemies and be slain (suicide martyrs) in the process [Koran 9:111, 4:74]:
Let those fight in the cause of Allah, Who sell the life of this world for the hereafter. To him who fighteth in the cause of Allah, - whether he is slain or gets victory - Soon shall We give him a reward of great (value). [Q 4:74]
Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur'an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? [Quran 9:111]
The indispensable duty of the Mufti is to educate, remind and warn the Muslims about the right precepts of Islam, deviation from which will land them in ire of the supreme God. Moreover, the Mufti gets his handsome salary for just doing that. What the Mufti said in the sermon of September 27 were the true in accordance with divine precepts of the great religion of Islam. The Mufti, as the spiritual head of the Muslims, is also responsible for protecting the interest of his community in Australia. When the Muslim ringleaders of the Sydney gang-rapists were given such severe punishments for a non-criminal act on their part according to the divine laws of Islam, it is a binding responsibility of the highest-ranking Mufti and spiritual leader of the Australian Muslims to express his dissatisfaction against such unjustified punishment to the members of his community. Expecting anything different from the Mufti is utterly insensitive and unreasonable on the part of the Australian people and the Government.
We have heard a few faint voices of condemnation even from amongst the Muslim community in Australia. In the light of truth of Islam as highlighted above, these are the so-called Muslims who are utterly misguided and fallen from the truth of great religion of Islam. Else, they are thoroughly ignorant of the inviolable ethical codes of Islam or that they are taking a deceptive position to do damage-control for the cleric's inadvertent utterance of some indelible truths of Islam, which are unacceptable to the Australian society. It could be a useful tactical move by the few guile Muslims for salvaging the future of the Muslim community in Australia, since spelling out such divine precepts, unfitting to the host society, might jeopardize their future there when the Muslims are still a desperately minor force.
Against these negligible voices of protests, however, the overwhelming majority of the Australian Muslims have clearly given their solid support to the truth spoken by the learned Mufti. The controversial sermon was first delivered in a congregation of 500 worshippers and not a single voice of protest was raised from amongst them for more than a month. After the Mufti was thrown into the hot soup upon the publication of his sermon in English in the "The Australian" newspaper, the next Friday's weekly congregational prayer attracted a huge 5,000 worshippers who came to lend a solid support to the Mufti. He came out of the prayer like an "elated rock-star" surrounded by 200 avid supporters.
In truth, raping of the "uncovered meats" (aka unveiled women) remains a justifiable act in the belief of the Muslims in general. Apart from the serial gang-rape of the non-Muslim white girls in the Sydney Muslim neighborhood in 2000, such acts are common all across Europe. In countries like France, Netherlands and Sweden, Muslims have created isolated ghettos, which are no-entry zones for the non-Muslims. If a non-Muslim white woman wonders into such neighborhood by mistake, she will be lucky to come out without harassment, assaults or rape. In Sweden, two white women strayed into such a Muslim neighborhood early this year who were gang-raped and severely beaten for going around in sinful un-Islamic dress [see photo]. When this story was posted in various internet forums, I noticed many well-educated and sophisticated Muslims, living in the West, while disapproving the rape blamed the victim's immodest dress which naturally attracted the rape.
It is, thus, thoroughly unethical and unreasonable for the Australian people and the Government to condemn the Mufti for doing his paid job with honesty, integrity and able competence. After recognizing Islam as a great religion of peace, it is unacceptable of the Australians to humiliate and make scapegoat of the honorable and learned Mufti simply for doing an excellent job in his position of responsibility. Western world's unethical and dishonest behavior of demonizing and humiliating the Muslims for their honest exercise of the great religion of peace must stop in this 21st century. Hopefully!