Hifzur Rahman Qasmi
Human is referred to as “social animal” in the modern sociology. It clearly reflect the notion that human in fact, is an animal with the only extra characteristic of ‘social nature’ which distinguishes him from other animal species. Irrespective of the reality and meaning of this explanation of human, we come to the thought that the sociology has acknowledged the human an animal. With sharp contrast to this term, Islam has called him ‘the best and noblest of all creatures’. This descriptive difference makes it abundantly clear that Islam holds him in high regards.
Absolutely natural is the idea that the greater the thing, the more significantly it is safeguarded. Thus, Islam has articulated much concern and has, therefore, made brilliant principles to protect the life, wealth and honor of human. To save his life, the Qur’an has presented the maxim of Qisas (Equal Retaliation). (Al-Baqarah: 179) Implementation of this principle makes the safety of life sure. The Qur’anic precept for protection of wealth is “hand cutting” (Al-Maidah: 39) and the countries having it as a part of their penal code are less faced with thievery. The honor and chastity of human being hold paramount import in the eyes of Islam. It, therefore, introduced many effective principles along with developing some valuable strategies for protection. If these principles and strategies are employed, the honor of human is sure to be protected.
After the brutal incident of gang rape in Delhi, the whole nation is demanding capital punishment for the culprits in one breathe. But, had the punishment for this vicious crime proposed by Islam been made a part of the Indian Penal Code, the daughters of the Innocent Marry would not have to wander across the streets of India Gate and the Parliament seeking sure protection for their chastity. The women’s chastity is so a great asset in the eyes of Islam that it does not only issues penalty for the adulterers (stoning to death, if the adulterer is married, and hundred lashes if he/she is single.) but also it considers the allegation of adultery a criminal act and gives punishment for that. (Eighty lashes, if the claimant fails to give sufficient evidence.)
It is well to note here that Islam, against the contemporary blasphemous notion, regard the extra marital coition occurred with mutual unanimity of man and woman too as a heinous sin. Thus, both are liable to be penalized. The reason is that both have broken the moral system which was necessary for survival of the pure social system and prevention of strife. In addition to that, the adultery (committed with mutual consent) makes path for forcible rape.
In short, apart from legalizing these punishments, Islam has also foregrounded some helpful strategies to protect the honor and chastity of the nice gender. But unfortunately, the whole nation is facing unbearable trouble due this menace, but does not even take into consideration the natural strategies to prevent it. Yet, the men of insight are in full agreement with the claim that the society can be purified from this menace, if these strategies are put in practice. Following is the brief sketch of them.
Adultery, a heinous crime: To safeguard the women’s chastity, it is necessary, at first to know the heinousness of adultery. The Holy Qur’an, therefore, described it as an ‘evil act’. And then it commanded man to abstain from it in many verses. While describing the adultery, the Holy Qur’an uses the word ‘Fahisha’ which literally means ‘to cross the limits’. Thus, the adultery means to cross the limits ordained by Allah in the sexual matters. It is known to everybody how great a crime it is to infiltrate the prohibited area crossing the limits. Allah Almighty, therefore, has given the good news of Paradise to those respecting His limits, and also has warned of the Hell to those violating them. (Nisa: 4: 14, 15) Going on the same line, the Prophet (saws) has also described its dangerous consequences. Thus, he declared it a cause of plague (Ibn Majah) at some place; while on the other, he called it a means of drought (Mishkat) and poverty (Baihiqi). Besides that, the Prophet (saws) has given warning of many other bad results of the adultery.
As the first strategy to prevent rape and adultery, the Holy Qur’an tried to instill in the hearts of human the bad impact and evil sides of adultery and also what it results in the life after death. After that, it prohibited man even to come closer to the causes and means which generally leads to the adultery, let alone committing it. (Al-Isra, 33)
Free intimation: To uproot anything completely, one needs to find out their main causes and then to attack strongly on them, so that the cause may finish with the result of ending the main thing. The reason thereof is self evident. If a tree is cut from the surface of the earth and the roots spreading all around are left, they will, again, get some sort of nourishments and then turn into big and strong tree. It is a fact beyond doubt that free intimation of male and female often leads to illicit relationship. Islam, therefore, forbad it to save the chastity of the nice gender. Experiences and observations suggest that no sexual sin occurs until both the genders meet each other freely. Therefore, the Holy Prophet (saws) also prohibited it in many clear ahadith. Hazrat Aqba ibn Aamir (ra) narrates that the Prophet (saws) said, “Avoid entering the non-mahram women.” (Bukhari) This is not enough. Islam has also prohibited from meeting and maintaining frank relationship with brother in-laws. Once, the Prophet (saws) was asked about free intimation with brother in-laws. Upon it he replied, “They are death.” (Mishkaat) The gist of the hadith is that women should fear from them the way they fear from death. That is because, they are more likely to fall into the pitch sin in such case, because it is generally not considered abnormal for these relatives to come and meet their sister in-laws in loneliness. Thus, the society faces such inhuman incidents due to not exercising this injunction that not only violates the value of brotherhood, but it goes to the extent of bloodshed. This is the reason why Islam declared it impermissible.
Lowering gaze: Eyes serve as doors for the heart. When a person beholds anything, its characteristics go straight to his/her heart through the path of eyes. Then, if he/ she finds anything attractive, his/ her heart compels them to attain it. Therefore, Islam prohibited looking at the non-mahrams, so as to protect the women’s chastity. (Al-Nur: 31) if an accident eye falls on them, then they should immediately remove it according to the Islamic law. It is by no means allowed to keep on looking at and fixing one’s eyes. (Jamye Tirmidhi)
Noting on the same line, the women too have been asked not to look at non-mahram males. (Al-Nur: 32) That is because it may create sensation in their own hearts. And also if a man observes a woman looking at him, he naturally finds evil thought emerging in his heart and mind; and ultimately he dares to come nearer to her.
The third point in this regard is that women should wrap themselves with shawls. (Al-Ahzab) if you see tow women at the same place. One is dressed properly in the Islamic style, while the second one is wearing a dress which is either revealing or covering only some parts of the body. Males are more often inclined with illicit intention only to the second one, while he finds a feeling of respect for the women dressed properly.
Proper dressing: Dress has many purposes. Covering the body parts, protection of body from the impact of climate unbalance and decoration are main features. But, covering of the body assumes paramount importance among them. (Al-A’raaf: 27) This purpose can be served only with the clothes which are neither transparent enough to reflect the body parts, nor are the tight enough to reveal the ups and downs. As far as the matter of dress is concerned, this is the highest peak of human development. Islam, therefore, mandated such dresses, because wearing any dress except them would be considered as returning back to orthodoxies. Moreover, the revealing dresses create amorous intentions in the minds of the beholders which put the women chastity at stake. Therefore, Islam has established a special benchmark in matter of clothing for both male and female, so that its purpose can be served the better way.
Seeking permission: Human is entitled to privacy by birth. No one enjoys any right to disturb one’s privacy. Islam, therefore, has issued a legal provision of the social life that permission should be sought before entering other’s house. (Al-Nur: 28) The reason is that every person presumes his/ her house as the safest place for them. No one is, therefore, sure in which condition the householder is within. Thus, if a man enters a house without seeking permission and the women within are not properly covered or dressed, this will created a kind of turmoil condition in the society. Well to note here, this injunction is not meant to be practiced only while entering other’s house, but it also applies in joint family structure. Even the teenagers of the family who have begun to feel and understand the sex inclinations are directed to greet and seek permission before entering the room.
Avoid displaying the beauty: Homes are the safest place for women. They should, therefore, stay at their homes and not go out without any pressing need. But if any crying need calls for outing, they must not decorate themselves and display their beauties. (Al-Ahzab: 33) In the pre-Islamic pagan days, women were given to outing with full make up and display their beauties, because chastity and decency did not have any weigh in their eyes. The Qur’an has termed this situation as “Tabarruj ul jahiliyah”. But this attitude did not suit at all to the noble women. This was the reason why Islam directed them to stay at homes. This does not mean at all that Islam has imprisoned them in the house and closed every door of success and development. They are of course allowed to go out when needed. They are however, directed not to decorate themselves while going out, because it may put their chastity at risk.
This is the Islamic stand in regards with protection of women’s chastity and preventing the sexual crimes. But unfortunately, the advocates of gender equality declared these strategies hurdle in the ways of women’s development; and it resulted into a very drastic consequence. The daughters of Eve are mourning after losing their assets and the politicians and media are using these incidents for their gain. The West declared the adultery punishment prescribed by Islam as cruel, but when the society is filled with strife and the nice gender is always at stake, the whole band of humanity is crying for death punishment in one voice. This strengthens even more the idea that Islam and Islamic maxims are but natural. No matter how far one goes from the nature, one has to return to it one day or the other. It can, therefore, be said with fuller surety today that this world does not have any solid strategy to save women’s chastity and prevent sexual crimes. If it wants, it will have to adopt the Islamic strategy.