Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Things to learn and Rape

In addition to a reading wish list a mile long, I have a list of things that I'd like to learn, Islam-wise. I signed up for a Sunnipath course last spring, but with work, paralegal courses, and marriage, I couldn't find the time to finish it. Thankfully, there have been several small, free lectures this past year that I've had the chance to take advantage of, Alhamdulilah.

I would like to get more in depth into aqidah, especially the hadith of Gabriel. I would love to develop a course for converts based on this hadith. I mean, this hadith has everything a muslim should know, and yet, I didn't know about it for several years. Maybe I just haven't been reading the right stuff. *shrugs*

I would like to explore tasawwuf. So much of the materials aimed towards converts lean heavily on the fiqhi aspects of Islam, halal and haram, don't do this, don't do that. All of that is well and good, but something is lacking. When I envision what I want my deeny life to be, I want it to be a deep relationship with the Almighty, my Lord (swt). While following God's laws are certainly a part of that, it doesn't fill me. My husband isn't a big sufi fan, despite having some sufi sheikhs in his family tree. But, I'm slowly working on him ;)

And, although I'm a wee bit exhausted from the "don't do this, don't do that" Islam that I've been following since I converted, I would like to delve deeper into Islamic Jurisprudence. I'm a quasi-paralegal (do the paralegal work without the title) and in the future, I'm thinking of going to law school. Law and the development of law fascinates me. I never knew how complex the laws of the United States were, especially case law. While studying for my paralegal certification, I spent many a Saturdays in a local law library. The first time I went, I stood in awe at the thousands upon thousands of books full of court decisions, all interpreting and fleshing out US law. While we have the basics - the US consitituion and the US code, it's the case law that really makes things complex and exciting.

Islamic Jurisprudence is the same. There are our basics, the Qur'an and the Sunnah of our Prophet (saws), and then we thousands upon thousands of books and scholars who interpret this. It would be fascinating to delve deeper into the issues that are presented as so black and white to converts - don't do this, don't do that - and study the sources and the commentary over history...

...which brings me to the article that I was originally going to blog about. Can you tell I tend to ramble? Shaykh Faraz Rabbani is uber spiffy. He teaches several courses on Sunnipath, as well as many of the free lectures they do from time to time. He answers a question on witnesses for rape that leaves my mind racing - what is the history of rape laws in islamic jurisprudence? What influences it and how has it changed over time? I'm definately going to have to look up Mufti Taqi Usmani's work on this. I think it's floating somewhere out in cyberspace. I'm definately going to play around in english works for the time being, but I really need to dedicate myself to serious arabic studies. Bah.

Q. If a woman is raped, does she have to bring up 4 witnesses to get the rapist convicted? If so, what is if she gets pregnant. Will she get punishment since juridicaly she is guilty of adultery? And can modern technics be used in order to proof that she was being raped. I read somewhere else, that she has to bring up 4 witnesses, but it seems very unlikely, since if there were 4 witnesses theese would obviously done something to help her. Can u please bring some light into this whole complicated topic.

A. Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits. This is a common myth about Islamic criminal law. Rather, the four witness requirement applies only to the prescribed hadd punishment (which in the case of a married person could be death and for the non-married, 100 lashes). [Marghinani, Hidaya] This punishment is only applied in very rare cases, as is clear, and is meant to be a social deterrent, above
all.

As the classical and contemporary jurists (such as Mufti Taqi Usmani) have made clear, a rapist can be convicted on lesser evidence (including scientific evidence, such as DNA tests and medical reports) for discretionary punishments. These discretionary punishments are left up to the legal system to determine.
However, it is a myth to say that Islam would in any way condone rape, or allow a rapist to go free for this terrible crime against an innocent human being and against society.
And Allah alone gives success.
Faraz Rabbani

2 comments:

dezhen said...

Check out "The Vision of Islam", a book written by Sachiko Murata and William Chittick. It is basically based on this hadith, and is an exposition of islam, iman and ihsan; one of the best overviews of Islam that I have ever read in English.

Sh. Hamza has also done some audio lectures based on this book, clarifying some of the small issues he had with it, and giving more explanation.

Listening to that while having the book is an awesome combination!

rahma said...

Thanks for the suggestion! I've put it on my list of things to get