Is Shariah [Islamic law] Hurtful to Women in Pakistan?

Is Shariah [Islamic law] Hurtful to Women in Pakistan?There is a raging debate regarding Shariah Law in the USA, many States have banned Shariah Law,  perhaps invalidating many of the legal methods of marrying and divorcing according to Islam.

In Pakistan there has been a flurry of imprisonment for women reporting rape, despite the fact that the punishment of rape is clear in the Hadith, conversely these women have been imprisoned, making the victim a criminal. A prominent Muslim Scholar and activist was interviewed regarding this topic:

From the Archives of interviews in New Trend Publications with Islamic Scholars in Pakistan regarding Muslim women in Pakistan

[Islamabad, Pakistan: On September 7, 2006 (Unfortunately nothing much has changed for the better in six years) New Trend Staff Writer interviewed Syed Munawwar Hasan, Secretary General of Jamaat e Islamic and key coordinator of the Islamic coalition MMA.]

New Trend: Western news sources as well as secularist Pakistani sources are saying, particularly on the Internet, that women in Pakistan are being victimized under Sharia by way of the Hudood Ordinance. Why is the Islamic coalition supporting the Hudood ordinance, which is oppressing women?

Syed Munawar Hasan: It’s not surprising that western media and their supporters are trying to propagandize against Sharia [Islamic Law]. What did you expect them to say?

NT: It’s being said that in Pakistan if a woman is raped, she has to bring 4 witnesses otherwise she will be accused of adultery under the Hudood Ordinance

SMH: Punishment for adultery requires 4 witnesses (ref 1-5) She can’t be punished if 4 witnesses’ are not there. That goes against those who are making up these stories.

NT: But is it not true that there are women in Pakistani prisons who complained of rape and were then imprisoned under Hudood Ordinance?

SMH: That’s what the Islamic movement is saying, that the fact of women being in prison shows that Sharia is NOT being implemented. Police, like the rest of our government, is extremely corrupt. People go to police for help and instead of getting help and justice end up in serious trouble. None of these women should be in prison.

NT: But this situation still doesn’t make sense to me. Maulana Fazlur Rahman is quoted as saying that women should be subjected to the punishment for adultery if they do not bring witnesses to their being raped. How can you support Fazlur Rahman?

SMH: We must clarify to your readers in America about the realities of the Islamic struggle in Pakistan. The government here wanted to strike a blow at Sharia [Islamic Law] in the name of “giving women their rights.” The real purpose was to please America.

We challenged the government’s moves. [Islamic women representatives in the assemblies {parliament} stood up and tore up the bill presented by the government against Sharia.]

Yesterday we held a big rally in Rawalpindi to support the Hudood Ordinance. The government is now in a bind having been exposed in its sneak attack on Islamic Law.

Sharia is the biggest defender of women’s rights. If policemen misuse the Law, it means that the implementation should be corrected, not that the Law is wrong.

End Interview on this subject.

References:

From the Holy Quran:

1.  If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, Take the evidence of four (Reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordain for them some (other) way. 

(  سورة النساء  , An-Nisa, Chapter #4, Verse #15)

2. And as for the two of you, who are guilty thereof, punish them both. And if they repent and improve, then let them be. Lo! Allah is ever relenting, Merciful.

An Nisa, Chapter 4 verse 16

3. O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well acquainted with all that ye do. 

سورة النساء  , An-Nisa, Chapter #4, Verse #135)

4. And those who launch a charge against chaste women, and produce not four witnesses (to support their allegations), – flog them with eighty stripes; and reject their evidence ever after: for such men are wicked transgressors; – 

(  سورة النور  , An-Noor, Chapter #24, Verse #4)

5.  Why did they not bring four witnesses to prove it? When they have not brought the witnesses, such men, in the sight of Allah, (stand forth) themselves as liars! 

(  سورة النور  , An-Noor, Chapter #24, Verse #13)

 

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About Kaukab Siddique PhD

Professor of English, World Literature and Journalism at Lincoln University. Research specialization in Women and Islam

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