HUMAN RIGHTS UNDER ISLAM
Looked at from the viewpoint of a modern Western human rights champion Islam’s version of it fall short of his own.
To start with Islam discriminates between Muslims and non-Muslims. The latter may live in peace in his own non-Muslim country as well as a visitor to a Muslim country. But if he is a resident of a Muslim country he has to pay a different tax than a Muslim and is not supposed to serve in the Muslim armed forces. He is also not subject to Islamic Law but to his own faith’s and lives under the jurisdiction of his own religious leadership as under that of the Islamic Muslim’s government. With all these his freedom from all interference in his life and persecution on account of his divergent faith are assured. In other words, a non-Muslim is not an equal citizen to the Muslim citizen and arguably also not inferior to him but just different.
The reason why Muslims are treated differently than non-Muslim is that Islam claims to improve man and society as never before and therefore needs a uniform model society conspicuous by its delineation from others even when those others share the same town. For example, Muslim is not supposed to drink intoxicants and all possible measures need be taken to provide him with an intoxicant-free environment. Muslim women are not supposed to be accosted by any males except their near relations and also an emergency. A mixed environment cannot guarantee this as much as a uniformly Muslim environment. On the other side of the equation the non-Muslim must be given the chance to observe Muslims in their authentic social setting- a Muslim community etc. No hurt or oppression is intended any more than a chaste virgin isolates herself from her suitors to enable them to make up their minds for a serious purpose and not entertain seduction. Islam is sure it is the best civilization in principle and ambitious to bless humanity with itself in its purity. Which decent soul can be angry with a modest virgin awaiting to bless with her promises the worthiest of her observers with the most honourable intentions?
There is another category of discrimination which the Western human rightist wonders about. That is the sexual discrimination. Like in the faith case the sex case recognizes two categories- male and female. Their respective rights may be said to be equal in quantity but different in quality. Islam is a realistic teaching and abhors all those dreamed and drummed up claims of and demands for literal equality among all kinds of people. For example, according to Islam the two sexes’ different but complementary biologies make their different treatment the just treatment and not the literally equal treatment. A recent example makes the error of the literal way obvious and unanswerable. Recently the British armed forces have concluded that their women soldiers should be trained and employed less strenuously and demandingly than their male colleagues. The women’s frames and organs have both qualitative and quantitative differences from men’s in which matter men have a definite and substantial advantage. The broader chest with the larger heart and lung capacity, the narrower pelvis, the bigger and more muscular frame… all contribute to a man’s physical superiority to woman as the case is in all mammals. In most mammals in fact males are often twice the size of females or more and can kill a female easily.
The leaders of the British armed forces, after decades of subjecting the both sexes to the same training and putting on them the same demands found that there is a far larger female occurrence of physical damage to all limbs and organs. It is like using passenger cars and trade vans for trade activities. In the former the comfort is the priority while in the latter the weight bearing. So, although the two models look almost exactly the same from outside except the respective back parts the chasis is built sturdier in the van model. Again the same frame size and engine design may be used in a bus and truck. But the truck must differ from the bus with respect to its different purpose- carrying heavy loads.
Inter-complementing differences between the two sexes reproductive roles also call for different treatment. A man cannot share in his wife’s mothering duties any much more than he can share in his pregnancy duties and responsibilities. Until recently women had no effective means of contraception and it would be unjust to demand from them contribution to the family budget from gainful employment. Always busy with increasing number and age-range of children she had to specialize in their an husband’s needs for comforts and services.
The recent variable liberation of women from child-bearing through the pill is artificial and by no means a pure blessing. It replaces a woman’s certainly more important and natural employment at home with employment outsides home like man’s without doing much about her sexual disadvantages vis-à-vis men. For men sex is a momentary conquest which need no preparation before nor involves any worries afterwards. It is the woman who must daily swallow the pill at significant risk to her long-term help and when accessed by a man then worry about the consequences. For man it is almost equal to defecation, for woman it is like eating but trying not to digest what is eaten but somehow making the stuff indigestible and going through all sorts of precautionary as well as possible post-event complications. This is nothing short of cruelty to non-feminist women whose joint oppressors are their feminist sisters and their ultimate ill-wishers the insatiable promiscuous men. It is a cheat, it is an oppression it is a great injustice and an insult, all aided by technologically manipulating the female nature to exploit them economically and abuse them sexually without actually conferring on them too much of the advantages of the male world. The latter is not only a world of the physically stronger but also more skilfully criminal. The higher one climbs on the social ladder the more criminal and treacherous the environment becomes and soon a battlefield of ravenous wolves emerges. There few women can match men in audacity, stealth and cruelty. The few exceptions only prove the rule.
The artificiality of making women literal equals to men is exposed by another phenomenon. Nobody among the social ideologues have even contemplated to bring about the literal equality of child to adult. Or animal to man. Man is allowed to kill and eat animal but not the opposite. Why not? Because in the first case the child’s inalienable inferiority in mental and physical power is acknowledged while in the second case human life is put far above the animal. Which means natural differences between human beings on the one hand and human beings and animals on the other make realistic and benevolent discrimination mandatory.
We must see Islam’s inequalities from this angle and approve them as justice itself and the ideologically motivated and biotechnologically assisted artificial literal equality demands as deplorable abuses of nature and persons involved.
This matter has also a bearing on democracy. Chlidren are barred from voting and voted for simply because their incompenence is acknowldeged as it should. On an airplane the passengers or in a hospital the patients are not allowed to opine and vote as regards the operation of the system. It is left to qualified experts. But when it comes to government any adult with any level of intelligence and knowledge are given an equally right to vote or be voted for. The fact is that government is certainly a specialized science and should be left to the specialists. In classical democracies like the Greek, Roman or Arab (
With these in view we are entitled to claim that human rights in Islam may be the better argument than the modern Western and the latter’s ideological vehemence and sanctioning powers may not amount to a proof of its justice or a justification for it to attack and condemn the Islamic version.
To sum up, the set of human rights in Islam is based on realistic justice and not idealistic as in the Western version and as such they cause no unnecessary damage to any sex or age of people like the artificial and literal equalities of the West inflict. Women in Islam do not resent being women nor the young resent the hallaowed authority of their elders. Everything is natural and pristine in Islam as well as being valid at all times and stages of genuine and humane civilization. Man has never and will never have a better core social unit as genetically authentic family enjoying and giving natural parental and filial love and care.
THE WEST’S DENATURATION AND DEGENERATION OF VALUES AND RELATIONSHIPS
Before we tackle this let us make one thing clear. To a great extent the present set of human rights formulated and applied in the West have been very beneficial. In their formulation all the best values of past religious teachings and traditions played a part despite the secular and sometimes the atheistic claims credited to them. Both the best in Christianity and later Islam went a long if unconscious and unadmitted way in their formulation, for these two religions are universal in outlook and charity and compassion-based in spirit. These values no set of human rights can ignore let alone abandon.
But Christianity, unlike Islam, is also tragic in character and the Christians very traumatized in historical experience. Tragic because its central tenet is tragic- salvation coming from the heart-rending sacrifice of the most innocent for the underserved benefit of the atrocious. Flying in the face of man’s deepest moral instincts this unfortunate dogma left the Christian soul in a moral quandary- are we to fight evil in the name of justice or submit to it in the name of salvation? In that case are justice and salvation incompatible?
Or the original sin- what an unnecessary, unhelpful, depressing premise is that! So, because no real and clear sense could be made out of such unrelated and haphazard mixture of premises Christians could never achieve the consistency and realism, logic and pragmatism of Islamic ethics and morality. Their behaviour wildly swung from one extreme to the other; in one case the saintly Christian felt compelled to forgive enen the most hideous crimes and let the culprit enjoy his ill-gained victory while at the other extreme zealously endorsed the live burning or massacring of hundreds and even thousands of people simply because they pronounced the Christian creed with a slight variation or were Jewish. The sexual instinct, rather than realistically as well as blessingly taken on board and then beneficially regulated was condemned as essentially evil only to poison the lives of lawfully indulgent and drive the lustful to almost mad and criminal excesses. Almost all with the means and opportunity debauched and even the popes and bishops had to run brothels to sort of contain as well as exploit the sexual quagmire so caused.
The backlash had to follow and it did in the form of today’s incredibly irrersponsible and shameful degeneration of the sexual mores and practices. Incest is now commonplace and homosexuality almost an honour. Chastity is now seen a laughable foolishness if not a dishonour. The so-called consent is the only condition for a sexual act between individuals and there is an increasing pressure for reducing the age of consent for all sexual acts and a practice of silent approval and even encouragement. Not minding that, for example, sexual acts with juniors, i.e, aged below 16) is an almost capital crime girls as young as 11 or even 10 have been known to be officially issued with contraceptives as well as morning after remedies. ‘Naturally’ no criminal enquiries are made when an underage girl is found pregnant. Instead the crime is rewarded a second time by looking after the victim or willing girl and her baby at public expense. There can be no doubt in the mind of the careful and insightful observer that the whole sexual liberties (which are also ‘human rights’) farce is an unconfessed reaction to and avenging of the wrongs the wrong Christian attitude towards the sexual instinct committed for centuries. Because of this and because Muslims has had no problem with sex and therefore are not sexually traumatised and hence have no revenge to take.The sexual sector of the Western set of human rights can only be largely wrong for them.
Of course there are many other human values in the sight of the Western civilization which are formed by its traumatized and disgusted reaction to Medieval social abuses, the most central of which was the complete and ruthless domination of the human spirit by the clergy. This created secularism as the reaction and atheism as the answer. Again, Muslims did not share such experiences as Christians and Muslims’ human rights ideas cannot be the same. One prescribes purgatives to the constipated and tranquilizers to the agitated and not to the healthy.
Unfortunately however Muslims have not entirely escaped traumas of their own which sometimes had a resemblance to those of the Christians. The reason was twofold. Firstly, Muslims could not entirely leave behind the cultural baggage coming from their own ethnic cultural backgrounds before their conversion to Islam (and some and perhaps up to half came from a Christian past anyhow) but Islam’s close and long neighbourship with Christianity had also a reverse osmosis with it. Some Islamic values diffused into Christianity while at the same time some Christian values, good or bad, diffused back. In fact since about two centuries this reverse osmosis is ever speeding up and transforming even the most dogmatic and traditional minded Muslim nations like the Saudis. Turkey can hardly be told apart from any other equally less prosperous European country were it not for its minarets and loud calls to prayer and in fact some more prosperous and trendy urban districts are almost and deliberately free of even that.
All these considerations must be taken into account and sensitivities assessed and appreciated when we think of formulating an Islamic version of human rights or reacting to the Western ones. We must also consider the presently all-powerful West’s intention to impose its values on us and all others outside it and while trying to improve our sometimes appalling human right record which anyhow are already in compatible with Islam on the other hand we must cultivate friendly, crisis-defusing relations with the West to moderate their any unhelpful ideas about Islam and Muslims. In that way our values may converge thanks to mutual respect and intelligent dialogue and we may benefit from their experience as they from our saving realism.
THE BASIS OF ISLAMIC HUMAN RIGHTS
This is ‘adl’ which means proper, comprehensive and also proactive (taking precautions against possible eventualities in good time) justice. Islam wants to be just to Muslims and non-Muslims, combatants and non-combatants, rich and poor, male and female, adult and child etc. taking good account of the needs and potentials, strengths and weaknesses, past records and future promises each and every person and NOT lump and treat them as literal or arithmetic equals which is false as well as unfair. Perhaps nothing finds this principle of real, qualified justice more in the Islamic legal justice itself. The Islamic court of Justice is a vastly refreshing superior to the modern secular. All legal and juridical services in Islam are free and accessible to all at all times. There is no parasitical ad fabulously expensive as well as often cynical and abusive lawyer class.
A plaintiff can simply walk into a court and demand remedy against any oppression from anybody in the land. The judge has just to issue a summons and send it by police escort to the defendant. Even if a king the latter must show up and explain himself. Witnesses may need be called and deliberations may take a bit of time but they never drag on. The judge tries to make as quick a decision as possible based on his sophisticated impression as a Godly man if need be skilfully arousing in the parties their own sense of decency and piety and warning them against the Divine wrath if they dare to transgress. It often works and works only too well except when corruption enters the equation but that is the same in all justice systems. Every judgment may go to appeal and a party who obstinately persist in claiming something which eventually proves groundless faces too severe a penalty to make the risk worth taking. In the Western court the loser only loses his expenses and may end up paying compensation but not suffering any other humiliation or punishment for trying to mislead the court which often a wrong party is guilty of. Additionally, neither party allowed to use hired legal expertise the richer cannot cheat the poorer of his rights thanks to the wits and eloquence of an expensive lawyer. In fact Muslim judges are trained to take into account the personal arguing skills of the parties, take account of it and help the weak party to state his case better. Yet, nobody is to win simply because he is the poorer party.
The same consideration condemns the secular Western justice on account of its being costly to the parties as well as to the society as a whole. One freezes with horror when one learns that a litigation case which lasted only a few weeks costs to all put together, i.e. the litigants and the court system millions of pounds and one party may end bankrupted. Reputation destroying and character assassinating libel and slander cases may never see the court simply because the oppressor is rich and the oppressed poor. Just to apply to the court for a remedy costs to the plaintiff the price of house. He has to swallow the injury and live a unjustly discredited man- what a shame for a ‘civilization’.
Islam has a lot to offer to make this world both just and humane and its strength is in its ADL and adl means discrimination not in a deleterious sense but in a benevolent as well as beneficent one. To be benevolently and beneficently discriminated for is real justice and real equality.
10. SEXUAL ‘LIBERATION’ AND THE CULT OF THE BODY
In our ever shrinking world interests and tastes are fast gravitating into a bottomless pit of carnal obsessions and pursuits. Having mostly been stripped of their religious faith and moral scruples nurtured by it, the more verifiable promises of this visible and gustatory physical world did away with the compensatory attractions of another world beyond this in the eyes of its majority of residents. In almost all prosperous modern towns one can see people of all ages and especially the adolescent and the working age adult take loving care of their dress and the body wearing it. Papers and periodicals, shop fronts and billboards, TV screens and commercial websites and emails… drip with varyingly naked and as a rule young and handsome bodies whose owners display or advertise all sorts of products and services to which they claim to owe their radiant health and sexually compelling beauty. Almost no publication seem able to afford to ignore the necessity of one form or another sexually suggestive pages except the most spartanly serious, like an academic something.
Incredibly large fortunes are being spent or generated to keep both bodies and their paraphernalia in tip top condition almost always with a driving ambition for another sexual conquest in mind. Weekends are avidly and anxiously awaited when these bodies to which flimsy personalities are attached fall into the arms and embraces of each other after being suitably seasoned by physical, physiological and biochemical seasonings like dressing and grooming, music and dance and alcohol and other drugs. To compensate for the ever diminishing returns of their ultimate indulgence the sex, all sorts of inventions and innovations are launched and recruited and this weekly mass ritual of the cult of the body is reluctantly taken leave of sometime Sunday evenings in preparation of another blue Monday.
But the obsession remains, building up the resources and determination for the next weekend. Given the relentless bombardment with sensuality-rocketing suggestions seved by almost heaven and earth, shop front or billboard, press and screen, talk and art… few are left with enough sense to think seriously about anything else.
Those who are thinkers by temperament and political by instinct do think about social and political issues and are motivated to speak their minds about them but with a big difference from the past. Respect for authority or tradition and deference to expertise are not any more popular; all and sundry are only too fast and cock-sure to pontificate on the government’s bad record (as if governments by definition can only do evil) or the religion’s uselessness or the cynicism of all who are in charge of any public interest. From the media to the village café and home, gossip and suspicion make up the spirit driving all debates. Prying into private matters down to the back or front parts is one of the the most inflammatory interest. Nothing is sacred, nothing is sacrosanct, but all must be exposed as profane and even worse- as depraved and rotten to the core. Despite all the tolerance of sexual indulgence except rape, the ‘liberation’ of sexual instinct has somehow done nothing to reduce the suspicious and malicious attitudes towards the sexual behaviour of others. It is still the most intensely pried into part of life as well as the most lucrative way of exposing, demonising and condemning others. Famous or important individuals in the society are relentlessly pursued, espied on and even trapped to be caught ‘pants down’ and then scandalized in the media with salacious details and most insulting ridicule worded in words like ‘romping’, ‘hypocritical adulterer’, ‘play boy’, ‘pest’, ‘lolita’, casanova etc.
Tabloids are splashed with colourful flesh and skin exposes identifying the participants and supposedly degrading and discrediting them in an age when anything goes with anybody and not only adultery and fornication have almost become clever and honourable but even incest is not taken too seriously any more. The super rich, ‘super stars’ and the royals are especially harassed and the fruits of the harassment sell well. Why? They sell well simply because the people are sexually insatiable and what they cannot do more physically because of their limited physiological capacity they are voraciously in need of supplementing by proxy in the forms of learning about or observing others’ exploits (like in peep shows).
Next to sex food and drink make up the other cult for the owners of bodies. From cream-topped sweets to steaming coffee and gourmet table to crunchy noisy crisps munching scene on the TV food is almost deified while obesity which is the unavoidable punishment demonised. To have the gustatory glories of the first while avoiding the other all sorts of energy reducing substitutes like artificial sweeteners and bulk-giving additives like cellulose are squeezed in the recipes proving that the aim is not nutrition but gluttony. The ancient Romans who were equally gluttons ‘solved’ this problem by occasionally vomiting what they ate and after rinsing the mouth beginning stuffing all over again. All this while at least half of the population of the word suffering from malnutrition or even starving.