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Kawartha Muslim Religious Association’s al-Salaam mosque (Ontario). Photo: CIJnews

Women’s rights according to the Imam of Peterborough mosque and his guest speakers

Kawartha Muslim Religious Association’s al-Salaam mosque (Ontario) hosted in recent years several imams for speaking engagements with the local Muslim community:

  • Bilal Philips gave a speech in December 2012.
  • Sheikh Musleh Khan gave the speech “A Happy Home: Keys to Building a Successful Household” on March 23, 2013 at St. Peter’s Secondary School (Auditorium) 730 Medical Drive Peterborough.
  • Sheikh Abu Usama al-Thahabi was the guest speaker at the 2nd Annual Winter Conference “Strengthening a vibrant Muslim Community” held on December 28, 2013 at St. Peter’s Secondary School (Auditorium) 730 Medical Drive Peterborough.
  • Sheikh Alaa ElSayed and Sheikh Zakariya Warsame were the guest speakers at the 3rd Annual Conference “Walking in the Footsteps of the Sahaba (Muhammad’s companions)” held on December 25, 2014.

Masjid al-Salaam was severely damaged in a fire on November 14. The arson was strongly condemned by the federal government, the City, faith groups and members of the public from all walks of life. More than $110,000 were raised in few days to help renovating the mosque. The Police treat the arson as a hate crime.

Al-Salaam mosque’s Imam on the rights and duties of husband and wife in Islam

Shazim Khan, the Imam of al-Salaam mosque in Peterborough, provided an interesting perspective about the family values in Islam. In a a speech at Abu Huraira Center in Toronto few years ago, Imam Shazim Khan explained that the wife has always to respond to her husband’s call to bed unless she has a genuine reason, to avoid suspicious behavior such as talking to other men, and to serve her husband in order make her marriage successful. The husband, according to Imam Shazim Khan, should take care of all his wife’s needs and to prevent his wife from having a job outside home unless there is necessity. To read more about the Imam’s speech click here.

Who were the guest speakers at al-Salaam mosque and what did they say about women’s rights?

Bilal Philips

Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, the Canadian Muslim scholar, was born as a Christian in Jamaica in 1947 and grew up in Canada, where he accepted Islam in 1972. He completed a diploma in Arabic and a B.A. from the College of Islamic Disciplines (Usool ad-Deen) at the Islamic University of Madeenah in 1979. At the University of Riyadh, College of Education, he completed a M.A. in Islamic Theology in 1985, and in the department of Islamic Studies at the University of Wales, he completed a Ph.D. in Islamic Theology in 1994.

In recent years he was banned of entrance to or being deported of several countries, including Australia, UK, Germany, Kenya, Bangladesh and the Philippines, because of radical views or security reasons.

In his book “Contemporary Issues” from 2002, which was accessible for downloading in the online library of the website Muslims of Calgary, Bilal Philips among other things justified the rationale of early marriage in Islam, explained why the scenario of a wife being raped by her her husband is generally irrelevant to Muslims families and outlined the circumstances in which the husband is permitted to hit his wife.

The following are excerpts of Bilal Philips’ book:

CHILD MARRIAGES

“The Prophet (PBUH) has been accused of being a pedophile due his marriage to Aa’ishah at the age of 9…

“3. Islam sets the age of marriage at puberty, as it is the natural dividing line between childhood and adulthood. Menstruation indicates that a young girl has reached childbearing age. This age may vary from country to country, but it is discernible and not arbitrary…

“5. Islam stipulates that a girl or boy married before puberty will not live with their spouse until they have attained puberty. Furthermore, they have the right to cancel or proceed with the marriage when they reach puberty.

“6. Aa’ishah was seven when she was married off to the Prophet (PBUH) and she came to live with him when she reached puberty at nine

RAPE IN MARRIAGE

“In the West, a woman may charge her husband for rape and he may be prosecuted and jailed. If the husband desires sexual relations and she does not and he insists it is considered rape. The wife has the right to say no.

“1. Men and women are considered equal according to Western standards. No one has the final authority in marriage. Consequently, when the spouses differ and neither one backs down, the end result is divorce.

“2. Men are considered the head of the family and the final decisions are in his hand. This has been the natural order in the vast majority of societies in world, ancient and modern. The man’s responsibility is to provide food, clothing and shelter for his wife and her responsibility is to obey him as long as his requests are permissible according to Islamic law.

“3. Women and men have different capacities for sexual relations. A woman may have relations without having any desire at all. For example, prostitutes may have sex with a large number of men, one immediately after the other, for money. Whereas, a man may be incapable of having sex if he has no desire at all. Consequently, the Prophet (PBUH) instructed women to come to their husbands whenever they are called upon but he did not instruct men vise versa. Thus, in Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was reported to have said, “When a man calls his wife to satisfy his desire, she must go to him even if she is occupied at the oven. ” And he was also quoted as saying, “If a woman refuses her husband’s bed and he passes the night angry with her, the angels will curse her until the morning. ”

[In] Islam, a woman is obliged to give herself to her husband and he may not be charged with rape. Of course, if a woman is physically ill or exhausted, her husband should take her condition into consideration and not force himself upon her.”

VIOLENCE IN MARRIAGE

“The finger is often pointed at Muslims as being wife beaters since Islamic law permits hitting wives.

“1. Domestic violence is not unique to Muslim societies it is wide spread throughout the world… In Muslim communities, the relatives are encouraged to interfere, to protect the rights of their daughter, sister, niece, aunt, or cousin…

“3. Islam recognizes corporal punishment for major crimes 100 lashes for fornication, 80 for drunkenness and slander, etc…

“4. It is true that the Sharee’ah does permit a husband to hit his wife. Allah stated that in the Qur’aan (Soorah an-Nisaa, (4): 34). The Prophet (PBUH) also said, “You have rights over your women that they do not allow anyone you dislike into your home. If they disobey you, you may spank them. And the woman’s right on you is that you clothe her and feed her justly, according to your means.” However, that permission is under special conditions and with severe limitations. A husband is not permitted to beat his wife simply because she spilled his tea, burnt this toast, forgot to iron his shirt, etc. for example. The Qur’anic permission given is specifically in the case of divorce, as a last resort to save the marriage. The Qur’anic verse outlines the procedures which should be followed in the case of a rebellious and unjustly disobedient wife. She should first be verbally advised of her obligations. If that fails, the husband should then cease having sexual relations with her. Failing that, if the husband sees it useful, and as a final step in order to bring her back into line he is allowed to hit her. What is meant by the Prophet’s words “…If they disobey you…” is rebellious disobedience to instructions permitted by Islamic law. As to instructions which contradict the Sharee’ah I, she is instructed to disobey. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Creatures should not be obeyed if it means disobedience to the Creator.” As regards the hit, it should not be physically damaging and it should not be in the face as the Prophet (PBUH) said, “… Do not hit her in her face nor curse her…” and “Do not beat your wives as you would your servant girls in pre-Islamic times. ” If the husband abuses this conditional permission and brutalizes his wife, her male relatives have the right to intervene and the case can be taken to the court if it is severe enough.

“5. Consequently, the intent of this beating is not inflicting pain and punishment but merely to bring the woman back to her senses and re-establish authority in the family.”

Musleh Khan

Sheikh Musleh Khan, Saudi born who grew up in Toronto, serves as Director of Education at the Khalid bin Walid Mosque in Toronto. He is also affiliated with AlKauthar, a Canadian academic Islamic education provider of Islamic Studies and Pure Matrimony, an organization that provides halal online environment for matching single Muslims for marriage as well as information and advice on all aspects of relationship between men and women according the Islamic Law (Sharia).

Spent approximately 10 years studying under various scholars and acquired a broad understanding of Islamic sciences including Fiqh, Hadith, Tafseer and Aqeedah, Sheikh Musleh appears on worldwide Islamic TV networks including IslamChannel and Ramadan TV.

As part of his activity for Pure Matrimony Sheikh Musleh held in March 2013 a webinar entitled ‘The Heart of The Home: The Rights And Responsibilities of A Wife’. In this webinar he referred, among other issues, to the wife’s duties in her relationship with her husband, including the prohibition to refrain from having conjugal relations whenever her husband desires unless she has “a valid excuse.”

Here are the relevant slides of Sheikh Musleh’s lecture followed by his verbal explanation and elaboration on it.

Slides

Duties of the Wife

The wife’s duties towards her husband may be greater than the husband’s duties towards his wife, as Allah says: And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect) to what is reasonable, but men have a degree (of responsibility) over them” [Al-Baqarah 2:228]

Obedience

The wife should be obedient to her husband at all times as he is her protector and maintainer, and supports her financially

• Women should not see this as a chore, but rather a means of gaining reward, as the Prophet (SAW) said: “Have I not told you about your women in Jannah [heaven]? The loving fertile one if she gets angry, was mistreated, or her husband was angry, she said: ‘here is my hand in yours, I will not sleep until you are pleased with me’ (Assaheehah 287)

• Keep in mind — there is no obedience for the husband in disobedience of Allah

A halal relationship with her husband

• The wife should make herself available to her husband, after marriage has taken place and he has given the mahr [dowry]

• She should not withhold this right from her husband without a valid excuse, e.g. sickness, obligatory fasting etc

• If she refuses without a valid reason then she has committed a major sin

• This is because one of the wisdoms of marriage is to prevent zina [fornication]/loose morals by allowing this relationship

Not admitting anyone husband dislikes

• She should take care to not permit anyone whom her husband dislikes into the marital home

• The Prophet (SAW) said: “Fear Allah concerning women!… You too have rights over them, and that they should not allow anyone to sit on your bedding [i.e., not let them into the house] whom you do not like…Their rights upon you are that you should provide them with food and clothing in a fitting manner.” [Muslim]

Ask her husband permission before leaving the home

• She should take care to seek permission from her husband before going out of the home that he has provided her

• Women are seen as the guardians of their marital home and their husband’s wealth as the Prophet (SAW) said: “The woman is the guardian of her husband’s house and is responsible for it.” (Bukhari)

Serving her husband

She is obliged to serve her husband according to what is reasonable This includes:

• Respecting her husband as the ameer [lord] and main decision-maker of the home

• Maintaining his honour— not speaking ill of him to others

• Keeping his secrets and not divulging them

• Treating him in a good manner with love and kindness Mu’ath Ibn Jabal elevated: “If a woman harms her husband in this life; the maidens will say, do not harm him, may Allah harm you; he is only a guest you, and soon he will leave your company” (Assaheehah 173)

• Beautifying herself for her husband – though the same is also expected of the husband!

• Ibn Abbaas (RA) said: ‘I love to beautify myself for my wife, as love her to beautify herself for me.’

• To not deny him the right to children

Sheikh Musleh’s verbal explanation

“The second bullet mentions here [that] she should not withhold that right for her husband without a valid excuse, [that] means sickness, obligatory fasting etc. So here, there is a very classic example during the time of the Prophet, peace be upon him [PBUH], he mentions about his daughter Fatima. Fatima was married to Ali May Allah be pleased with him. So, Ali of course is the son in law of the Prophet [PBUH] and the Prophet [PBUH] even orders her that if you were kneading the flour and your husband calls for you, then you should respond to that call. You should respond. If he wants to be with you, then you should try to do that.”

“Even some scholars went as far as saying that even if it doesn’t feel right, or you’re just not in that emotional relationship you know it’s not the right manner, you’re not feeling that at that particular time, still try to make it happen, still try to force yourself even if you have to do that.”

“Why? Because this is crucial and even scientists, even doctors, even psychologists, all of them, have proven that this here, this intimacy with your spouse is a crucial crucial ingredient for a successful marriage.”

“Sometimes you are not going to feel the way you usually do, but other days it may feel great. The point is that you always want to preserve that intimacy with each other.”

“Why do I even mention all of this in this particular manner? Because, brothers and sisters, especially the sisters, I want you to know that intimacy is a part of our religion. Intimacy is an act of worship with Allah Almighty. When you are intimate with your spouse you are worshiping Allah at the same moment. That is something that we are very proud of…”

“The second bullet mentions here [is] that she should not withhold this right from her husband without a valid excuse.”

“Third bullet: if she refuses without a valid reason then she committed a major sin. This is unanimous among scholars of Islam, this is because one of the wisdoms of marriage is to prevent zina [fornication], loose moral by allowing this type of relationship. We need each other to complete one another. That’s the bottom line and especially for a man, the way Allah created him, many many times he needs his wife there more than she might need him. This is just a nature of man, this is just a nature Allah Almighty created us with.”

“So sisters it’s part of your act of worship towards Allah that you try to respond to this as best as you can as part of your duties as the wife.”

Abu Usamah at-Thahabi

Abu Usamah at-Thahabi is an American-born Imam at Green Lane Masjid in Birmingham, England. He converted to Islam and studied at the University of Madinah in Saudi Arabia. In his speeches in recent years he said among other thing the following:

The one who is married and he commits zina he is stoned to death. The one who is not married and he commits zina he is flogged one hundred times and he is put out and expelled from the city for a year, that comes from the sunnah.

“The fornicating woman and the fornicating man, flog both of them one hundred times for what they did. Flog both of them one hundred times and do not allow any mercy to cause you to refrain from flogging them in the religion of Allah. Stand up for the truth and establish the religion. Flog ’em.

The woman who fornicates and the man who fornicates flog both of them one hundred times. The scholars said one of the wisdoms behind that ikhwani is because ultimately the responsibility of the zina falls on the shoulders of the girl because she is the one who is going to ultimately give the final word.”

Question: “Living in this non-Muslim country, is it permissible for a Muslim woman to pursue higher education studies if she lives at home?”

Answer: “If she doesn’t compromise her Islam and she can protect her religion…she’s not a fitna for them (men) and they’re not a fitna for her, inshallah it is permissible but it is better for her to stay in her home.”

Allah has created the woman, even if she gets a Phd, deficient. Her intellect is incomplete, deficient. She may be suffering from hormones that will make her emotional. It takes two witnesses of a woman to equal the one witness of the man.”

“But even greater than that is the zina of homosexuality and the zina of lesbianism. The prophet (SAW) said ‘Kill the one who does it and the one who it’s being done to. Kill the one who was on top and the one who was on the bottom’ whether it’s a man or a woman, and this is going to come inshallah (translation missing) homosexuality, and how the companions looked at it, and how they used to punish them, and the severity and the seriousness of it, it’s from the the worst types of zina.”

“This is talking about the Muslim man or woman who changes their religion from Islam to anything else, kill them in the Islamic state because he has made a form of shirk and that he has legislated for himself what Allah (swt) said was haram. And it’s haram for him to change his religion. So the Muslim who changes his religion, the penalty for that is death because he said it was halal.”

Muslims shouldn’t be satisfied with living in other than the total Islamic State.”

“We want the laws of Islam to be practised, we want to do away with the man-made laws.”

“The popular culture, if you are a person who gives yourself to that, your mind is going to be controlled by the so-called powers that be, who make these man-made laws.”

Alaa Elsayed

Sheikh Alaa Elsayed (علاء السيد) of Egyptian descent studied for his Bachelors in Sharīʿah from the American International University, earned a scholarship from the Shari’ah Academy in Egypt/Florida, received his ijāzah of Qurʾan recitation and studied comparative religion for five years through the IPCI in South Africa.

Elsayed was on the board of directors of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), an Imam for the Muslim Council of Calgary and acted as its media spokesperson. He was also the Executive Director for the Canadian Islamic Congress, a member of the Calgary Multi-Faith Committee and a member of the Muslim Christian Dialogue Committee.

Nowadays Elsayed is a member of the Canadian Council of Imams, a member of Horizon Interfaith Communication Media Council, the Director of Religious Affairs for the Islamic Centre of Canada-ISNA, a favourite tutor with AlKauthar, the director of internal & external affairs for Mercy Mission world and instructor with Pure Matrimony.

In an interview to OMNI TV in 2012 Elsayed referred to the Islamic Law regarding wife beating saying the following:

“To save that [implicitly the undesired behavior of the wife that goes against the Islamic Law] it’s tough love and there are restrictions on this. You use miswak [around 20cm wooden stick used as a toothbrush], which is a very small thing that it is actually said that if you want, use it.

“Again, it’s an option that you don’t have to take. You can never leave a mark, you can never scratch anything, or any bleeding, any breaking bones or anything like that, and I said this is an option that you not have taken, it is not recommended, especially out here in the West.”

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About Jonathan D. Halevi

Jonathan D. Halevi
Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi is co-founder and editor of CIJnews and a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is also a co-founder of the Orient Research Group Ltd.

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