“I never lost my virginity… it was stolen!” a statement describing the attitude of a rape victim, blaming the offender for his horrible crime. Rape is the term used to describe sexual intercourse committed without a person’s consent and/or against a person’s will through force or threat of force. There is a universal consensus on considering rape as a crime, a social ailment that requires treatment by all available means.
Dec 16 rape case in India:
The gang rape of a 23-year-old student on a public bus, on 16 December 2012, sparked large protests across the capital Delhi.
She was with a male friend who was severely beaten with an iron rod during the incident.
Within 24-hour period after the gang rape of the victim, just thirteen days before her death due to this ghastly attack, at least two girls under the age of 18 were gang raped and one of them was murdered.
MPs in both houses demanded strict punishment for those who carried out the attack. Leader of the Lok Sabha, Mrs. Sushma Swaraj, demanded that “the rapists should be hanged“. Thousands of people, mostly young, participated in a massive demonstration in 22 December in protest. Police announced that six men suspected of rape had been arrested. As a result of this incident, Govt said, it will improve the lighting of roads and public transport and there will be more police patrols to ensure the safety of women. But the question arises, so much for the tragedy?
Islam closes the door for the criminals who want to commit this crime.
The laws of Islam have come to protect women’s honour and modesty. Let us discuss in this article the point of view of Islam to create a rape free society. Sexual crimes can be prevented by measures undertaken by the family and the community. Many communities with rising sexual crime rates have failed to recognize the social antecedents of the crimes and have lacked the courage and will to eradicate them These communities adopt what would amount to an ‘ostrich head in the sand’ attitude. While on one hand they tolerate or even encourage sexual norms, entertainment, and commercial advertising that stimulate and glorify deviant sexual passions, on the other hand they complain about increase of sexual crimes. They refuse to acknowledge what is obvious to the naked eye that currently accepted social norms lead to sexual transgressions.
“O mankind! Fear your Lord (Creator – Almighty Allah)) and be dutiful to Him! Verily, the earthquake of the Hour (of Resurrection) is a terrible thing. The Day you shall see it, every nursing mother will forget her nursling and every pregnant one will drop her load, and you shall see mankind as in a drunken state, yet they will not be drunken, but severe will be the Torment of Allah”. (22:1, 2)
“But for him who fears the standing before his Lord, there will be two Gardens (i.e., in Jannah)”. (55:46)
Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him)
Prophet’s (pbuh) Companion ‘Adi bin Hatim (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,
“Every one of you will speak to his Lord (Creator or Almighty Allah) without an interpreter between them. He will look to his right side and will see only the deeds he had previously done; he will look to his left and will see only the deeds he had previously done, and he will look in front of him and will see nothing but Fire (of Hell) before his face. “
So protect yourselves from Fire (of Hell), even by giving half a date-fruit (in charity)”. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Islam and Desire
“God created men and women. He also created their characters, instincts and organic needs. Such needs are constantly provoked in different degrees … which have to be satisfied accordingly… Islamic laws (shari’a) handle such problems by simply organizing those needs and instincts’ satisfaction, without trying to obstruct or deprive them, nor through chaotic satisfaction, nor even satisfying some instincts on each other’s expense… “. Islam manages the process of satiation and control of human desire by the means of two channels:
1. Internal/personal, which includes creed (cognition), and the system of worship and moral conduct (behavior).
2. External/socio-political, including clothing criteria, male female relations’ regulation, banning provocative stimulants, and punishment for criminals.
Basis of Behaviour – Islamic Creed (Aqeedah)
A Muslim is motivated, guided and driven by his creedal conviction.
A Muslim establishes a firm belief in God that is not mixed with uncertainty. He knows God’s existence and attributes (Might, Mercy, Knowledge, Omnipotence, Will…) through examining the world around him. Consequently, out of gratefulness to God, a Muslim reaches the following convictions:”
Is it right to disobey Allah when I eat the provision He created, and live on His land and when I know that He can see everything I do? … How can I disobey Allah, while I cannot ward off death long enough to give myself time to repent, and I know that when death comes there will be no reprieve, how can I hope to be saved?”
This concept of accountability before God, once embraced, has a great influence on one’s behavior. He will be carefully weighing the consequences of his actions before initiating them, for he certainly knows that nothing goes without God’s accountancy:
And fear the day when you shall be brought back to Allah. Then shall every soul be paid what it earned, and none shall be dealt with unjustly (Qur’an – 2:281)
Then shall anyone who has done an atom’s weight of good, see it! And anyone who has done an atom’s weight of evil, shall see it. (Qur’an – 99:7, 8)
In addition to reflection and reason, the Holy Qur’an is another source of certainty for a Muslim. It challenged the Arabs, masters of rhetoric and eloquence to produce a chapter similar to it, yet, throughout fourteen centuries none was able to meet the challenge. It can not be, logically speaking, the word of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) for he was known to be illiterate. Furthermore, the Qur’an includes scientific facts that were unknown during Muhammad’s (pbuh) time, such as embryonic development, the expansion of the universe, the celestial origin of iron, the function of mountains as pegs for the land in addition to prophecies that were fulfilled throughout history. Therefore, it can not be from Muhammad (pbuh). It must be a Divine revelation.
These conclusions result in the consolidation of the creed in the mind of the believer, and thus a Muslim’s behavior will be more bound to, and directed by his faith.
Some might argue that one’s need and desire might prevail over his belief and thus lead to a criminal or deviant act. Consciousness is highly important in Islam. One should be constantly aware of being in the Divine presence, for God is omniscient and omnipresent. However, man would occasionally fall into heedlessness (ghafla) and then fall into sin. This is not the end of the world for a Muslim; there is always room for rectification and repentance (as long as he lives):
Say: “O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah. For Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Qur’an – 39:53)
In brief, the Islamic creed provides a believer with a purpose of life, as well as an effective cognitive immunity to deviancy and delinquency. It ingrains in the psyche a moral impetus that effectively prevents the individual from committing criminal acts. It also empowers one’s adherence to the moral code provided by the Qur’an, making its commands and prohibitions much more binding than any man-made set of laws or moral code.
Hijab and the decent conduct of a Muslim woman
Other pre-emptive measures exist in the Islamic system in order to prevent uncontrolled desires and illicit behavior. The most important procedure consists of avoidance of all stimuli that would lead to arousal. The sexual feeling is an instinctual aspect which is never excited internally. It rather necessitates an external exciting factor. One of the theories of stimulation in behavioral psychology indicates that an instinctive behavior aiming for satiation is caused by a certain releaser. In the case of rape, the primary releaser causing the crime is the female’s body. Findings indicate that males are stimulated through visual stimuli in terms of sexual activity. One of the Islamic duties is wearing decent clothing, and thus concealing the stimulating features of a woman’s body, and hence helps in avoiding male excitement. In addition to that, God commands the believers, males and females, to avoid contemplating and staring on each other’s bodies. This helps in preventing attraction that would be the first step into fornication. The following verse also indicates the people before whom a woman is allowed not to be wearing the hijab:
“Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: And Allah is well acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! Turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss.” (Quran – 24:30, 31)
Control of Antecedents of Sexual Transgression
Sexual transgression can be prevented by controlling or eliminating its antecedents: exposing awrat (nakedness), khalwat (seclusion), ikhtilat (mixing), tabarruj (sexually provocative dress or behavior), and violating the privacy of the home.
Exposing awrat (shameful parts):
The various organs of the body can be involved in actions that are described as non-coital fornication, zina al jawarih. The eye by looking gives sexual enjoyment that could turn into physical sexual transgression. Covering nakedness for both males and females prevents sexual provocation by hiding those parts of the body that could elicit sexual stimulation if seen. Nudity of varying degrees is found in societies according to their level of sexual immorality.
Khalwat, defined as a man being with a marriageable woman who is not his wife in a place where others cannot see them, is forbidden. Whenever a man is with a woman in seclusion, devil comes between them and leads them to temptation.
Ikhtilat, defined as mixing of men and women, can lead to sexual transgression. When men and women are together the natural sexual attractiveness could lead them into temptation. When mixing is unavoidable for societal necessity, the Law on male-female interaction has prescribed certain etiquettes. Awrat (shameful parts) must be covered as prescribed by the Law. Men and women who are strangers to one another have to lower their gaze, and not look at each other fixedly and for a prolonged time. Both genders must have haya (modesty). If a man and woman talk to one another they must be serious, and not engage in frivolous talk that could lead to temptation.
Tabarruj is sexually provocative dress or behavior that can lead to sexual transgression. Ornamentation must be concealed from public display and should only be within the confines of the home.
Violating the privacy of the home leads to sexual transgression. A stranger is not allowed to enter a home unless given permission. This ensures that the house occupants’ nakedness will not be exposed accidentally. Rooms within the home are also private territory that should not be entered before asking for permission.
Satisfaction of Human Sexuality by Marriage
Sexual transgression would be virtually eliminated by early and continuous marriage such that there are no windows of temptation. This requires quick remarriage of those whose marriages are broken by divorce or death. Marriage is the only institution that allows full expression of human sexuality in a responsible way. It is a deep and serious relationship that protects against sexual immorality. Immediate recourse to a spouse in cases of sexual temptation is protection from potential sin. The sexual relation in marriage is wider than coitus. It involves social and psychological bonding. It is forbidden to withhold sexual favors from a spouse without a valid reason because this could lead to temptation. The sexual relation is also private. It is forbidden for both spouses to disclose their sexual experiences to any outside parties.
Penalties in Islam were created to preserve people’s lives, freedoms, honor, dignity, property and mental health, and to provide a basis for coexistence and stability within the community. The main objective of the Islamic faith is to preserve life. Islam strictly prohibits the deprivation of the right to life of any human being, aside from the situations that are clearly and explicitly specified in Shariah (Islamic Law)
Deterrence and Restraining
Deterrence and Restraining are for preventing the offender from re-committing the crime and preventing others from committing the crime too. Punishments are deterrents in Islam, in which we can fight our lusts. Islamic scholar Ibn Taymiyyah in his “Fatwas” had said: “legitimate sanctions are embarked on the mercy of God towards his slaves to deter commission of crimes” (Ibn Taymiyyah – Al Moktarrat).
In reducing the feelings of anger and resentment caused by the crime in the community, and satisfy the general feeling and healing rage of the victim.
The Legal punishment
Rape is completely forbidden in Islam, and is a crime punishable by death.In Islam, capital punishment is reserved for the most extreme crimes which harm individual victims or destablize society. Rape falls into both of the categories.Islam takes very seriously the honor and protection of women. The Quran repeatedly reminds men to treat women with kindness and fairness. Rape is a horrible crime which causes a women humiliation and physical harm.Throughout Islamic history there have been scholars who classified rape as a form of terrorism (hiraba).
The legal punishment is that the accused will be stoned to death (rajm).
The Role of Media
Rape is a very traumatic experience for the victims. They need a lot of psychological and emotional support. The first issue to be tackled is the feeling of guilt that they experience. Despite knowing that they were victims and not perpetrators of the crime, some feel that may be they are somehow to blame because of something they did or failed to do. The quickest way to rehabilitate them is to forget the crime and put it in the basket of history. Unfortunately many health care workers have the opposite view thinking that talking about the problem takes it ‘off the heart’ and leads to normalcy.
Repeating the gory details of the crime makes the victims be ashamed and they cannot live as normal members of society because everybody will point at them as victims of rape. Islamic Law requires concealing information that affects the social standing of the civtims. Bukharui reported from Abu Hurairah that the prophet said ‘man satara musliman satarahu al llaahu fi al dunia wal akhirat’he who covers the shame of a Muslim will be rewarded by Allah covering his shame on earth and in the hereafter.
The mass media play a role that is negative with regard to rape. They compete with one another in reporting the details of the crime so that we know all what happened to the victim. They never report the details of the suffering of the criminals under punishment.The Islamic approach is not to broadcast the shameful details of the crime but to broadcast the punishment. Islamic Law requires that execution of people convicted of serious crimes should be public to be a deterrent.
Islamic Law provides for financial recompense to the victim. The convicted offender has to make financial restitution before execution. The financial payment cannot wipe away all the physical and psychological damage due to rape but can help relieve some of the physical consequences of the crime such as obtaining medical care.
Sharia Law – the only deterrent to stop dastardly crimes and rapes in India
And those who invoke not any other ilah (god) along with Allah, nor kill such life as Allah has forbidden, except for just cause, nor commit illegal sexual intercourse and whoever does this shall receive the punishment. (Quran – 25:68)
As India emerges from yet another futile year covered in shame, it continues to aspire to build a secure and crime free foundation for the people one day. Incidents such as the Delhi rape case and the sexual assault on the two year old girl are still haunting fresh on the minds of the people. Unhealed and unraveled, they have left a deep scar on the face of India. The bus which spread ignominy whilst moving on the roads of the capital, has kindled a kind of fire in every thinking Indian’s heart, which cannot be easily stopped until justice prevails in the society.
The preponderant outrage which is being witnessed in the entire subcontinent is a clear indication of a dramatic change in the perception of the people. The masses have come to the notion that rigorous laws are the only deterrent to stop crimes in India. Especially rapes, which nowadays has entangled India like an epidemic. And unless a strong immunity to counter attack its deadly widespread is not engaged, many a life’s of our mothers and daughters are in serious vulnerability. Overwhelmingly, the only solution which is by enlarge visible and appealing to the masses, in trying to impede this atrocity is the adoption of a leaf out of the Sharia law.
The Sharia law has predominantly been proven to be as great deterrent to sexual assaults, rapes, drug abuses, child molestations and providing ample security to women in places where it has been implemented. The law has been abstracted from the Quran which is the essence of the sharia law and absolute manifesto during the time of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). The Sharia looks into all endeavors of the crime and orders a stringent sentence based on the seriousness of the crime committed. A death penalty is usually the central aspect for one who commits rape or fornication if proven guilty.
According to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report, counties like Egypt, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Yemen, which are partly considered to be Sharia based and in some ways to the democratic world to be autocratic in nature, apparently happen to be among the safest countries for women to live in, where the combined rape cases of these five countries between 2003 to 2010 are910 opposed to a staggering 141,713 in India alone.
It’s so quite intriguing for a world to know that countries which have always been criticized of being oppressive towards women can provide security like no other country of the world has done. America and Britain apparently are the top ten worst rape afflicted countries of the world. India, which has traditionally been a land to different cultures, customs and religions, where people have always lived together acknowledging each other’s faith and values; sharing the positive aspects of every religion can be inspired by the Islamic Sharia law.
The whole nation today is mourning for a system and law which can strongly punish these sexual predators who are causing this atrocity on women and bringing shame to the nation. The law, on the other hand is vehemently impotent, in neither stopping the influx of rape crimes taking place in our society nor resolving the pending cases, which are rotting in the courts since decades. Take for instance the case of the girl from Hyderabad. Sonal who was sexually assaulted by her relatives when she was 8 yrs old, and now at 16 she is still battling it out for justice. And it’s so pathetic that in the last 8 years, there has been no justice which has been done to her.
Abreast to the episode which has shaken India there are innumerable diabolical incidents mushrooming up of late. Recently a girl as young as two years was raped and murdered, and a 6 year old girl was lured by a chocolate to carry out a rape on New Years Eve, reveals the darker side of India. Where, pedophilic misogamists are haunting in our society ready to pounce on every opportunity. A strong feeling of dismal parody subjects the mind with the world looking alike a jungle and humans as animals strangled in the ever so archaic law of the Jungle, “Only the strongest survive”. How can a country which is not leaving any stone unturned in adapting to new accomplishments and wanting to stand tall in the global foray of latest technological advancements be confined to crippling laws? It’s high time that we need to think of a serious reformation in the laws, and events like these are apt platforms to bring in new revolutions.
Many people who want to impose tighter laws like Sharia in India have to remember one thing that the objective of the Sharia is not just confined to putting people to death when they commit rape or sexual assault. But the punishment is actually a lesson for others who pacify their lusts by unlawful means. As Sharia does punish the culprits as to him being an ordinary man, military personnel, a minister’s son or an actor without any preconceived prejudice or animosity against anyone; it also does nullify the catalysts of crime to the very grassroots irrespective of the gender.
Women living under the Sharia rule should actually dress modestly in public and should not become the medium to instigate a crime. Much of the countries which have implemented Sharia have a code of dressing in public, have legally banned drugs, prostitution, pornography though all means by magazines, DVDs or by internet. To a certain extent one can argue that our very own film industry is also a major accomplice in hypnotizing the minds with sexual thoughts and lacking moral responsibility. Most of the movies which are being made today can easily be labeled as 15+, where erotic rape scenes and the exploiting of a women’s body is used to the best possible effect, and constantly being shoved down on the screens in theatres and home. Although, the film Industry is filling their pockets; but on the other hand they are polluting the minds of the masses and specially the younger generation.
So, Sharia is a mechanism, where its innate nature is to stop the crime in the budding stages itself rather than answering to the consequences later on. It acts as a deterrent by addressing to the very crux of the problem. It would be too early to comment if the government can impose a law like sharia full fludged, but strict laws can be a good start for something good and especially when the whole nation is craving for one.
There are some decisions that are to be made by political correctness and there are some which are made on instincts, and India today is on the verge of falling down and we don’t have enough time to fiddle about. Every single second lost in trying to impose a rule; a mother, a daughter is being put to death…
So, let us peacefully, seriously and unbiasedly ponder upon the laws given by our Creator Almighty Allah and take steps for implementing them to save Humanity from the scourge of sexual crimes.