By Yahya Snow
An allegation by Islamophobes on the internet; they claim Islam allows rape. This is a hateful and bigoted allegation that has no other intention but to demonize Muslims. Of course this claim contains no truth and is absurd. There are abundant claims of this fallacious and hateful nature on the internet. The internet is an unregulated media which means it can be a safe-haven for all sorts of hate-mongers and aberrations; in this case their vile and unscholarly claims are directed at Muslims.
I am a student of comparative religion and it astounds me that anybody can make such sullying claims against any religion, through study you realise that all religions teach good basic morals and encourage good and just actions.
Before going into the specifics and illustrating why their claim is absurd I deem it important for us to touch on the fuel behind claims of this nature and the historicity of these claims in order to have a more mature understanding of the Islamophobe’s claims.
Claims of this ilk do tend to emanate from Western sources usually via people/organisations with evangelical Christian agendas. Staying on the Christian theme, modern anti-Muslim feelings are traced all the way back to the Crusades and Braibanti goes further in describing Dante’s Inferno as depicting Mohammed as “the figure that broke the hold of Christianity”(1, 2). Much of the resentment is fuelled by the religious rivalry between Muslims and Christians. In simple terms both parties are locked in a theological debate while lower elements (from both sides) have resorted to mud-slinging through propaganda.
Jack G. Shaheen (3) highlighted many examples of anti-Muslim feelings within American popular culture, of course, negative stereotyping within popular culture effectively serves as propaganda conditioning the ill-informed to believe and even propagate claims such as the one being discussed in this article.
Having said all that, a potent method of destroying anti-Muslim feeling is to debunk the distasteful claims being levelled at Islam on the internet. The claim of the Islamophobe; Islam allows rape.
The most effective way of debunking this claim is to show that Islam does not allow rape. I will outline adequate evidence proving rape is not allowed in Islam, this should be sufficient for anybody of a rational mindset.
A tradition narrated by Abu Huraira and Abdullah bin Abbas mentions that the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) said in one of his sermons:
A man who mishandles (sexually) a woman, a lad or a man, would be resurrected with more stink than a putrid body (4)
This tradition clearly shows that rape is not allowed as it would be deemed as mishandling (sexually). Also, this tradition shows that male rape is not allowed either, although I have not come across anybody claiming Islam allows male rape I would not be surprised if that is the Islamophobe’s next claim or one which has previously been disseminated by them.
In order to add more weight and further evidence to highlight that Islam prohibits rape, a prominent scholar of Islam is cited; Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi says:
“The relations between the spouses should be based on tranquillity, love and mercy. Allah says, “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.” (al-Rum 30:21)
Tranquillity (sukun), love (mawaddah) and mercy (rahmah): these are very important concepts in Islam. These three summarize the ideals of Islamic marriage. It is the duty of the husband and wife to see that they are a source of comfort and tranquillity for each other. They should do everything physically, emotionally and spiritually to make each other feel happy and comfortable. They must care for each other. They should not inflict any harm or injury, neither physically nor verbally, to each other. In order to increase the tranquillity and comfort in their relations and in their home, they should love each other and should have mercy and kindness for each other (5)
Of course rape is diametrically opposed to the idea of tranquillity, love and mercy; it is clear that rape is forbidden in Islam. Islamic Law also instructs us that rape is not allowed as it is deemed a punishable offence. It is clear that rape is not allowed in Islam, no religion allows rape and to imply differently would be an insult to humanity. The Islamophobe makes the claim but cannot back the claim up with evidence, in all scholarly fields; it is the duty of the claimant to back up his claim with evidence. The Islamophobe only brings forth mere conjecture and speculation, which is neither sophisticated nor deemed as being worthy evidence. Evidence, in this regard would be a clear quote from the Prophet or in the Quran; the Islamophobe has no such thing. I have brought up evidence (Quranic and Prophetic) that opposes the idea of rape while the Islamophobe brought mere speculation and hot air.
It appears as if the false claim being made against Islam says more about the Islamophobe than anything else; W.Montgomery Watt (a Western scholar of Islam) speaks about the sexually charged critique that critics of Islam level at Islam and he suggests that men often project their own faults onto others and criticize others for what is really a more serious flaw in themselves. (6) The theological debate between Muslims and Christians, as eluded to earlier, is being dominated by the Muslims; giving rise to lower elements (within the Christian camp) resorting to propaganda of this nature. Quite simply, the Muslims have won the theological debate and the aftermath is taking place now and is being characterised by smear campaigns from the Christian side. It would, of course, be myopic to suggest that this is all to do with theology as, currently, politics between the West and the Muslim World is at the forefront of news reports worldwide. It would be equally myopic and unjust not to extricate the majority of Christians from the lower elements of evangelical Christianity so I would like to state that the majority of Christians have nothing to do with and even despise the Christians that have been responsible for such distasteful claims against Islam. In fact, from my observations, it seems that militant-atheists are becoming more prominent distributors of false information against Islam.
1. Arab and Muslim Stereotyping in American Popular Culture, By Jack G. Shaheen, Center or Muslim-Christian Understanding: History and International Affairs, 1997 p9
2. Braibanti, Nature and Structure of the Islamic World, p18
3. Arab and Muslim Stereotyping in American Popular Culture, By Jack G. Shaheen, Center or Muslim-Christian Understanding: History and International Affairs, 1997
4. Tafseeur-annoorul-ibn-taymiya, quoted from Islam on homosexuality by Mufti Muhammad Zafeeruddin, translated by Syed Azhar Ali Zaidi, 1996, pg80.
6. What Is Islam by W.Montgomery Watt, Longman Group, Second Edition, 1979, pg230