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13 May, 2005
A lively debate between Prof. Taj Hashmi (plus Abid Bahar) and his opposition camp, the so-called Islam-bashers, caught my attention. Prof. Hashmi came with new translation of some the well-known morally-indefensible verses is very refreshing. I am, being halfway to depart from Islam, getting a buzz to give a rethink now. But, I happen to have a few questions to the participants involved this debate and to Prof. Hashmi in particular, before I revert to Islam.
Pakistan army's rape of Bangladesh women in 1971 war vs. the Abu Gharib prisoner rapes
In this debate, Prof Hashmi has asserted that the rapes of female prisoners in Abu Gharib prison in Iraq is part and parcel of American policy and culture of raping the prisoners and captives. In counter debate, Syed Kamran Mirza appears to have been out of tune with all the developments around the Abu Gharib prison scandal and has asserted that US soldiers did not do any acts of rapes than simply using those abusive and humiliating tactics on the prisoners at Abu Gharib. Enough information came to the media that suggests that some incidences of rape of the prisoner women by the US soldiers had have happened in Abu Gharib. But the number appears to be very limited - may not cross a couple of dozens. Yet, it is no where close to 200-300 thousands of Bangladeshi women who were raped by our Pak Muslim brothers for collaborating with the Kafir lefts, communists and Hindus India in 1971 war of independence.
More importantly, those involved in the Abu Gharib scandal are being punished and many of them have gone to jail already. But the massive rapes of 200-300 thousands of our mother and sisters of Bangladesh in 1971 are never even recognized by Pakistan, forget about an apology. Justice remains a dream only of a few critics of Islam from Bangladesh while most Muslims of Bangladesh have either forgotten, forgiven or even never desired for the recognition and justice of those massive number of their mothers and sisters. My question is: when Abu Gharib scandal has been recognized, condemned and apologized for by the US, including by president Bush himself, and justice is being rendered, does Prof. Taj Hashmi, a Bangladeshi by origin, has any moral right to quickly refer the Abu Gharib rape incidence as an US policy of raping POWs before citing the Pakistan armies raping a massive number of our own mothers and sisters? We don't even hear a call for recognition of those rapes in Bangladesh in 1971 from our Bangladesh Muslims brothers; forget about a call for apology or justice. I want to know: How many times Prof. Hashmi has demanded justice for the rapes of our own mothers and sisters through his major research, publications, speeches and writings?
Being a Bangladeshi-origin academician of the highest caliber whose association has graced the academic institutions of international reputation across the continent and his engagement being in comparative religious studies, Mr. Hashmi might have got loads of research publications in journals of international reputation. Some of his papers should have graced the issue of misdeeds of the Pakistan forces in his motherland in 1971. We will be interested to read his research papers to realize his interest in recognizing and condemning the Pakistan armies' rape of our own mothers and sisters.
In case, he never took interest in that area, then may I ask Prof. Hashmi: When he, for the first time, took in interest in the inhuman rapes of POW by the custodians, why he quickly pointed to a case, negligible to what happened to the mothers and sisters of his own country? That too, when the misdeed in the minor Abu Gharib incident has been recognized and apologized for by the perpetrating party and justice is being rendered.
Indeed, a great majority of the Bangladeshi Muslims have forgotten those rapes of 1971, others don't bother and yet another group recognizes but prefer to forget or are ashamed of asking for recognition and justice. Had such mass rapes been done by an infidel country like India in stead of Islamic Pakistan, Prof. Hashmi and his Bangladesh brothers would never have forgotten it and forgiven.
Now let us come to the question: why Bangladeshi Muslims like Prof. Hashmi cannot condemn and seek justice for the Pakistan's rapes of Bangladesh women? Is it because, that would go against what is prescribed in Islam â the only misinterpreted and misguided religion on earth?
It appears that people like Prof. Taj Hashmi of highest learning and education faced with the modern Western conscience, although condemn the teachings of their religion that appears wrong today; yet instinctively they do agree with what the allegedly wrongly translated and misinterpreted Islamic doctrine preaches. Lest they miss the caravan for the Islamic heaven full of all the enjoyable goodies and big-busted celestial virgins (houris); instead of being burned in hellfire for eternity.
Sahi Hadiths, not Sahi (Sahih)
In response to a number of Shih (true) hadiths which his opposite camp has forwarded to show that raping of the captive, prisoner and slave women (girls) are allowed in Islam, Prof Hashmi wrote: "Even if we accept these Hadises (hadis) to be Sahih (as all that glitters is not gold, so all that goes in the name of Sahih is not so), we need to explain certain facts in the light of history."
Prof. Hashmi asserts that the Sahih Hadiths are not necessarily Sahih. May I ask him: what is the basis of this claim of his? What kind of research has he done in the field of evaluating Sahih-ness of Hadiths? In which major religious journals, he has published his research findings? Has his research, if unpublished, been recognized by the Islamic scholars of the world?
The great Islamic scholars (turned great Islam-bashers overnight - thanks to Prof. Hashmi and his like-minded Islamist apologists) like al-Bukhari and al-Ghazali et al. spent their whole life digging the truth about Islam. They traveled from one corner of the Arabian land to the other in utmost pursuit of their research to find of truth about prophet Muhammad's actions, life-style and sayings before compiling the hadiths. How much research Prof. Hashmi has done such that he can negate the peerless efforts, dedication and devotion those great Islamic scholars had put in to preserve the truth about the greatest-ever man to appear on earth? Why does Prof. Hashmi think that his research finding, if any, is more authentic and trustworthy? Has his research gone through the razor-sharp scrutiny by panels of international academics of the field. If so, has his research papers made any call to destroy all the false works of the Sahih hadith collectors?
Why this one Sahih?
Prof Taj Hashmi wrote:
"We know how the Prophet's desire to free the female POWs after the Battle of Hunayen remained unfulfilled.
Several Sahabas grabbed his robe telling him in very stern voice: "You cannot stop us from grabbing these women this is our age-old custom". And the Prophet remained a helpless spectator."
Although Prof Hashmi is hell-bent on discarding the Hadiths, yet he used one Hadith which suit his desired assertion. To him, this Hadith is Sahih! Why is this Hadith Sahih? Is he going to show us his research and publication which proves that this Hadith is Sahih and has been accepted by the scholars in the field?
About honor-killing, Prof. Hashmi wrote: "Honour killing also happens in Brazil, amongst Sikhs - not only in Islam."
This assertion is indeed true. There was a much-publicized honor-killing of a Sikh girl in Canada. It must be understood that Catholicism is very strong in Brazil whilst Sikhs are very dogmatic in their religious matters. It was evident in France recently. When religious symbols were banned in France, the Jews and Christians made no fuss about it; but the Muslims and Sikhs to oppose it with dogmatic bigotry. Honor-killing is a general trend amongst the strongly religious people.
Yet, rate of honor killing amongst Muslims have no parallel in any other religion. In the Indian state of Punjab, I have seen scores of Sikh girls are falling in love with Hindu guys, marrying them and converting to Hindu religion. Yet, there is no frequent incidence of honor-killing reported there. If Muslim girls would have done the same thing, imagine what would have happened to those girls. Luckily Muslim girls have the understanding of their fate if they would fall in love and marry guy from another religion and convert. Very sensibly, they restrain themselves from any such temptations.
In refutation of Syed Kamran Mirza's assertion that most people got killed throughout history in battles and wars fought in the name of religion, Prof. Hashmi cited the wars by Napoleon and Alexander et al. and the two world wars that he claims were not religious in nature.
Of course, the wars of Alexander and Napoleon were not religious in nature. Yet, those wars were not as barbaric as those fought for spreading religions. Alexander was never known to have touched the civilians or capture any great number of people as slaves. Similar things could be asserted for Napoleon. Napoleon's conquest of Egypt and during its administration, he showed a great deal of sympathy towards Islam and Muslims and showed hatred towards Christianity due the strong anti-Christianity sentiments in Europe in enlightenment age. Wars fought for Islam and Christianity had affected both the civilians and the military personnel alike. No nonreligious war has the parallel of the Hindu Kush mountain, where ~100,000 Hindu slaves died whilst being taken to Persia by the Muslim conquerors (hence the name Hindu Kush, meaning Hindu death).
Indeed, most wars since the early times in history have been inspired by the Gods of the existing religions. In the movie "Troy", it was shown so explicitly that all the wars have been approved by the Gods through their representative Clergies on earth. God (Clergy) has always been prepared to give his blessing as soon as a King sought to launch a war.
Prof. Hashmi tells us that the two world wars had to religious basis. Yet, religion was the major inspiration for the both world wars. Bertrand Russell writes, "The First World War was wholly Christian in origin. The three emperors were devout and so were the more warlike of the British Cabinet." It was the Martin Luther's book on Protestant reformation which inspired the genesis of World War II. Hitler's Mein Kampf was profoundly influenced by Martin Luther's work. Yet, Hitler was a committed Catholic and his soldiers used to sing "God on our side" as they went to the battle. In his own words, Hitler had claimed himself blessed by God to kill the Jews:
"Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: 'by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord." [Adolph Hitler].
"God gave the savior to German people. We have faith, deep and unshakeable faith, that he (Hitler) was sent to us by GOD to save Germany." [Hitler's Elite].
Given these facts, it is very difficult to refute Mr. Kamran Mirza's assertion that religions have been the root cause of all major wars.
Mistranslation and misinterpretation of the Koran
Prof. Hashmi has presented new translation of a few verses from the Quran, which would make those like me, who have become intrigued by the available translations which represent Islam as a morally indefensible doctrine and are thinking of leaving Islam. Given the grace and freshness Prof. Hashmi has introduced through own translations, I should rethink leaving Islam since it will save me from being killed by Muslims for apostasy as well as from burning in hellfire for eternity. Yet, a few questions remain to be asked before I take my pledge to return to Islam in full faith and pride.
BTW, Allah has explicitly asserted in the Koran that he will (probably through someone) would protect and preserve the original and all-correct Koran. Prof. Hashmi may have been sent by Allah to protect the original Koran. But if he is not responding to Allah's call, does he know the punishment? I believe he does!
In concluding the issue of rape and abuse of captive women in warfare, let use recognize that rape and sexual abuse of women in a war, though unavoidable, is totally unacceptable in any civilized society. That is why we have the Geneva Convention on the conduct of warfare. When an American or a British soldier sexually abuses a woman POW, he is breaking the International law. Therefore, he is subject to disciplinary actions. When Germany occupied France during the starting of WWII, German soldiers were under strict order not to molest any French woman.
Yet rapes took place and those German soldiers charged with raping a captive French woman faced severe punishment including execution. Can we say the same for the Islamic laws on the conduct of warfare? The answer is a definite "NO". Those Islamic laws on captives are based on the Qur'an and Sunnah. The applicable verses are absolutely immutable for eternity. That is why when the Islamic army of Pakistan raped the vanquished Bangladeshi women those soldiers faced no disciplinary actions whatsoever. Those foot soldiers had simply followed Allah's laws on the treatment of female captives.
Therefore, the question of contrition, remorse, apology, justice and compensation simply do not arise for the rape of Bangla women by the Pakistan army in 1971. It is Islam which empowered these soldiers to do what they did to our hapless women. Our Muslims brothers in Bangladesh, Pakistan and world-over have only followed Allah's edict by not seeking justice for the rapist Pakistan soldiers.