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Can't Allah forgive? part 2

continuation of Part 1

Forgiveness is stronger

The Old Testament endorsed the stoning of adulterers (Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:22) and fornicators, including a monetary fine and stoning, depending on the circumstances (Ex. 22:16-17; Deut. 22:23-26; 28-29). But there came a moment in the human history, when the law was fulfilled in a Man, who's words brought healing instead of stoning.

Because stoning as a form of punishment was recognized and ordered by Mohamed in the hadiths, there is still a strong base for it's validation. In my comparison list between Mohamed and Jesus, the two worlds, according to their teachings and life examples, collide in many areas, and the stoning reveals one of the aspects of a quite different Word of God they preached and practised.

stoning in Afghanistan

When Jesus came, He changed the world upside down. He revealed the truth about His Father's heart. In the Sermon on the Mount, which is Christianity 101, He touched upon the sins of adultery and lust in a way that changed the perspective on men's righteousness completely.

"You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Matt. 5:27-28

This statement was soon followed by an incident which we can read about in the Gospel of John, chapter 8. The smart and intelligent scholars (teachers of the law) and the religious leaders (Pharisees) caught a woman in adultery. In reality they were preying on Jesus, trying to corner Him and expose His luck of, according to their way, cohesive teaching. But the whole story turned into something unexpected, life changing, mind bugling. After dragging her to Jesus' feet they left the power for her life and death in His hands. Jesus replied:

"He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."

adulterous woman scene from the movie "The Passion of Christ"

The verdict which was expected to be imposed upon the fallen woman, was turned upon the accusers' consciousness. There were probably few things that could happen then, but the most bizarre happened, and it was recorded in the Gospel. One by one, they all left. Was it, because the spoken Word penetrated their hearts? Was is because they realized their hypocrisy? Was it because they decided they can't win their tricky game this time? was it because the fear of God fall upon them? Was is because they had a glimpse of God who is just and merciful?

This one moment changed the universe forever. The power of forgiveness was installed in the human race. It was cried out not in a moment of speech or preaching, but in the moment where someones destiny was about to be overturned.

"Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?"

Jesus spoke to a condemned woman. That was a shocking reality by itself. The question He asked was for her to realize, that the accusers lost their ground. There were no more threats. And then comes the punching line, that is the quintessence of God who is Justice and Mercy at once.

"I do not condemn you either, go, from now on sin no more."

This is the way to a human heart and the root of the sin. The spiritual solution is forgiveness without condemnation, with the encouragement. Later on, Jesus fulfilled the law by taking the penalty for our sins on Himself.

How different from Mohammed's form of justice - stoning and flogging. Did these kinds, still used in some countries as a "Muslim way" of dealing with the criminals, ever work? As far as I am aware, in Judaism, there is no more stoning imposed as a punishment for the sins or committed crime. Christian based judicial systems are not allowing such cruelty. But in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Nigeria, it's still a different story. It just torns families apart, deprives the children of the parent, causes damage to the child's life, brings shame without resolution, drives the sin underground, does not offer any healing to the families or the society. If it would work in theses controlled societies, is the sin purged out of the hearts of people?

Can't Allah forgive?

More:

PBS Frontline story about Saudi princess executed for adultery (1980)

Islam and stoning

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8 years old girl wants divorce - update

Here is the first part of the story about a girl who wants to divorce her 30 year old husband.

She was sheltered for 4 days in the judge's house and then was sent to her uncle's house who is helping and supporting her. Her husband rejected the proposal of divorce.

“I will not divorce her, and it is my right to keep her. No need to sleep with her, at least I can have her as a wife. No power can stop me."

“It is not a matter of loving her, I don’t, but it’s just a challenge to her.  Her uncle thinks that they can put me in jail and also the judge has no right to bring me here. How did she dare to complain about me?”

She complained that he was sexually and physically abusing her for 2 months.

Shatha Mohhamed Nasser, a lawyer in the Supreme Court has taken the case. She wants to help Nojuud and her 6 year old sister who might end up in a similar situation soon.

A 2006 field study revealed that child marriage among Yemeni girls reached 52.1%, compared to 6.7% among males. The study, conducted by the Woman and Development Study Center, affiliated to Sana’a University, looked at 1,495 couples, concluding that there is a huge age gap between the spouses.

The study established a comparison between ages of spouses in their first marriage through three generations. It disclosed that marriage age raised gradually from an average of 10.24 years to 14.70 years for women and from 20.97 to 21.54 years for men. It indicated that the average marriage age varies from one geographical area to another; for example, it showed that girls in Hodeidah and Hadramout married at the average age of eight, while in Mukalla the average age was 10. ( from this article)

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8 year old Nojoud wants divorce

Jesus said, "You shall know them by their fruits" Matthew 7:20

Looking through my Tag surfer, I found a post pointing to a story from Yemen. Are you ready for this? I wasn't.

8 year old, Nojoud Muhhamed Nasser, a brave little girl from Yemen, went to court eight days ago, by herself, to find a judge. She wanted to find out, if she could be divorced from her 30 year old husband, whom her father forced her to marry 2 months ago. By the Yemeni law, she is to young to prosecute, but her father and her husband have been arrested. This is 21st century, people.

Her testimony:

“My father beat me and told me that I must marry this man, and if I did not, I would be raped and no law and no sheikh in this country would help me. I refused but I couldn’t stop the marriage,” Nojoud Nasser told the Yemen Times. “I asked and begged my mother, father, and aunt to help me to get divorced. They answered, ‘We can do nothing. If you want you can go to court by yourself.’ So this is what I have done.”

“He used to do bad things to me, and I had no idea as to what a marriage is. I would run from one room to another in order to escape, but in the end he would catch me and beat me and then continued to do what he wanted. I cried so much but no one listened to me. One day I ran away from him and came to the court and talked to them.”

“Whenever I wanted to play in the yard he beat me and asked me to go to the bedroom with him. This lasted for two months"

"He was too tough with me, and whenever I asked him for mercy, he beat me and slapped me and then used me. I just want to have a respectful life and divorce him.”

Her husband says:

Yes, I was intimate with her, but I have done nothing wrong, as she is my wife and I have the right and no one can stop me," he said. "But if the judge or other people insist that I divorce her, I will do it, it's ok."

It's not ok. You have ruined someone's life forever...

photo by Stephanie Sinclair

In Yemeni civil law, children under the age of 15 can not get married, but in 1998 an amendment was made, in order for parents to be able to make a marriage contract, if they wish so. Officially, the husband can not consummate the marriage until the girl is "ready" or "mature" ( I really do not know exactly, what that means in Yemeni law. Has her first period? Verbally agrees to have a sexual contact with her husband?)

Muslims are to follow Muhammed's example. After Muhammed's first wife died, he married his best friend's daughter, Aisha. She was six at that time, so he had to wait to consummate the marriage until she was about nine. (There are controversies about Aisha's age, some Muslim scholars are trying to convince the masses, that she was bit older than that).

Muhammed followed the cultural norm established in his land: marrying young girls and starting sexual interactions with them after their first menses was a norm at that time in the Arabic Peninsula (Jewish custom said the girl must be at least 12.5, the boy at least 13). Therefore Muhammed established this practice for his followers to come for the next centuries. Islam authoritatively and consequently follows His Prophet's example till today.

To make things easier for the men, there is a Fatwa (ruling on Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar) explaining Muhammed's sexual relationship with Aisha, which they can follow, if needed.

(...) answering the question about "thighing" of Aisha, (...)

After the committee studied the issue, they gave the following reply: It has not been the practice of the Muslims throughout the centuries to resort to this unlawful practice that has come to our countries from pornographic movies that the kufar (infidels) and enemies of Islam send. As for the prophet, peace and prayer of Allah be upon him, thighing his fiancée Aisha. She was six years of age and he could not have intercourse with her due to her small age. That is why [the prophet] peace and prayer of Allah be upon him placed HIS [MALE] MEMBER BETWEEN HER THIGHS AND MASSAGED IT SOFTLY, as the apostle of Allah had control of his [male] member not like other believers.. (from here )

If you can find another word then a word starting with "p" describing this act done to a child, send me a note.

Anyway, that's what and why Muslim men think about marrying young girls in some parts of the world still today.

The question to investigate would be: is this beneficial for the child-bride? Can the modern psychology, science change the approach of Muslims in this subject?

It is a proven fact that after the first menses, it takes between 1 to 6 years for a girl to be ready to successfully carry a baby full term. Younger girls are more likely to miscarry and their babies are facing higher risks during their developmental stage.

Mental, psychological, emotional and spiritual growth, and in consequences, beneficial engagement in the society is highly imparted also.

Early pregnancies are the leading cause of death for girls age 15 to 19 in the developing world, UN reports. According to UNFPA, at least 49 countries in the world are facing the problem of "child-brides". In Afghanistan, it is believed that between 60 and 80 percent of marriages are forced marriages.

Why are parents doing this to their children? The answer is almost always the same: financial or material benefits. Some are bought with money, some with material possessions, some with animals, some are the debts payments (officially it is a dowry, of course). Sad, but true.

You tell me, if girls so young are mature enough to handle life provided for them in such a way. You tell me, if you would like to volunteer and live through such life? You tell me, if you would allow your daughter/sister/mother to have a life story so traumatic? You tell me, if it should be still permissible in Islam to marry elementary age girls ?

Nojoud, you are a brave girl. I will remember you.

More reading:

Child brides in Islam

7 years old child bride in Ethiopia

Child brides in Afghanistan

4 years old child bride in Afghanistan

Saudi 11 year old marrying 10 year old cousin

12 years old Nigerian, widowed at 20 with 5 kids and pregnant

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Can't Merciful Allah forgive? part 1

Stoning - such a cruel death.

Throwing stones at someone's humiliated body, until the person gives out their last breath, seems inhumane. But throughout the history of humankind, stoning has been practiced by many cultures and imposed as community justice or as a judicial form of capital punishment.

In today's world, there are countries that defend exercising this kind of justice upon it's citizens. Incidents of stoning are reported frequently from: Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Nigeria.

Some time ago, in his expose, then Saudi Ambassador to London, Ghazi Al-Qusaibi (present Minister of Labor in Saudi Arabia) stated:

[In Islam] punishments have been set, and no matter what we say, the West will see them as barbaric and primitive. According to the Western view, flogging is illogical. Execution is unacceptable, and the same goes for amputating hands and stoning. These are things that in Muslim eyes are at the core of the Islamic faith."

Islamic scholars are not unified on this. Stoning (rajm) is not found in the Quran, but plenty of it in the hadiths (oral traditions relating to the words and deeds of the Islamic prophet Muhammad), which causes much trouble to Muslim scholars. Muhammad's words concerning executing stoning ordered by him are quoted several times throughout the hadiths.

"Muhammad, on the other hand, believes in imposing sexual holiness from the outside of a person’s mind by flogging and stoning. But this has never worked throughout human history because sexual sin is too deeply entrenched in human nature. (...) Muhammad’s harsh punishments do not bring healing to a family and subsequently to society, but they tear the family and society apart. Also, it is only logical that such punishments would drive the sin underground; indeed, according to reliable hadiths that Maududi cites, Muhammad encouraged his early followers to keep their sins or "crimes" a secret. This is no long-lasting solution, either." (more here)

According to an Islamic scholar, Maududi, there is enough evidence in three hadiths, that Muhhamed advised criminals to hide their crimes rather then admitting them in order to escape the consequences.

"If any of you is guilty of any immorality, he should better remain hidden under the curtain of Allah, but if he discloses it to us, we shall certainly enforce the law of Allah on him" (Maududi 3:305).

This does not make a good case with the purposeful cruelty of the punishment for certain sins in Islam. Such executions as beheadings, stonings, amputations, should enforce the fear of Allah and in consequence, chastisement of the society.

One of the strongest arguments of Muslims to keep validating these punishments, is that this is the only way to produce a strong, Allah-fearing society and to prevent it from collapsing, as it has in the western cultures. That's why officially they go hard after the perpetrators of the Sharia law. There is no mercy, no reconciliation offered. The law is harsher in many instances toward women in these situations (raped women are condemned to death, or become the victims of honor killings; men usually are flogged and put to prison).

Muslim believers will not escape the example of their model Prophet. The law stands stronger than forgiveness.

So are these controlled societies better off now days? Is the nature of their faith engraved in their hearts?

Sharia law (Islamic religious law) institutes stoning as a penalty for adultery. And most of Islamic countries follow Sharia law (there are five different schools influencing shaping Sharia differently in different regions, although they are broadly similar).

Last year, Mohammad Javad Larijani the head of the Iranian judiciary human rights committee defended the use of execution by stoning after a sentence was carried out on an adulterer, saying the punishment was legal and in line with Iranian's human rights commitments. He said, the judiciary supported the principle of stoning after confirmation last week of the stoning sparked international condemnation. (more here)

"Stoning is based on Islamic Sharia law and it is not contrary to any of our international obligations ... We have signed four important treaties on human rights. None of them has any opposition to stoning".

While Muslims in the West are trying to soften the whole issue (by the way, how can you mercifully and compassionatly stone someone?), the acts of stoning remain undebatable.

Here is a film of an actual stoning from Iran. (Absolutely not to be watched by children!)

In Iran, stoning is included in the Islamic Penal Code. Raped women are also to be stoned, as they are seen to be offenders.

A stoned victim is wrapped in linens, buried half way in the ground, and then put to death. The whole act might take a few minutes to half an hour. In Iran, the victim theoretically might escape this gruesome death by wiggling their way out of the dirt. But look at the Iranians protocol below:

Article 102 states that a man who is sentenced to death by stoning is to be buried to his waist, while a woman who is to be stoned must be buried up to her chest.

Does it take a lot of intelligence to guess who has a better chance? The reports show that the victims who escaped the ditch, are dragged back and stoned again or shot on the spot.

Another interesting detail:

Article 104 defines the size of stones and stipulates: In stoning to death, the stones should not be so large that the person dies upon being hit by one or two of them, neither should they be so small that they cannot be called a stone.

I don't know who collects the killer-stones, who decides about the diameters or weight of a rock to be qualifies as a stone.

In the next part of this subject, I will talk about God who offers forgiveness that changes hearts.

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