VOICE OF GLOBAL UMMAH
Volume 241, August 18, 2013
Editors: Mohamed & Rashida Ziauddin
In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent and the Most Merciful
Our spot light on this issue is on the topic of DEVIATIONS AND PERVERSIONS AWAY FROM ISLAM. It is really sad that such a beautiful religion of Islam has unfortunately a small minority of Muslims who have deviated away from Islam and perverted the true essence of Islam specially as it pertains to INJUSTICE which Islam has for the past fourteen centuries plus been fighting against.
When we talk about injustice, it is definitely not confined from a non-Muslim individual or non-Muslim group to Muslims but to all perpetrators both Muslim and non-Muslims. Injustice is injustice regardless of who the perpetrator or criminal maybe. When it comes to injustice perpetrated against our Muslim sisters by our own Muslims as evidenced in below article, some Muslims either turn a blind eye or express a condescending attitude, which is WRONG.
As with followers of other religions, there are always areas of improvement needed by such followers in their practice of their religion. As for Muslims, we have our own polluted socio-religious backyard that had primarily resulted due to some of us moving away from the golden teachings of Islam. There is no question, that it is due for a major overhaul and clean up.
Below article is one example where we hope and pray that the people of Sindh province and some parts of Punjab in Southern Pakistan step up to the plate, identify the perpetrators who continue to ILLEGALLY PRACTICE it on the shadows and fringes of the society and work towards eliminating it to the point that, inshallah there be not a single Muslim sister who has to ever go through this shocking terrible injustice. NEVER AGAIN.
We acknowledge that some Muslims after reading below article would consider it baseless or a fiction cooked up by "Jews" or the "West" to undermine Islam. If that is true, we need evidence to back up their response and appreciate their feedback to this E-Zine. It would also be tremendously helpful to get feedback directly from people of above named provinces to enlighten us to the facts both from a historical perspective as well as a contemporary perspective.
We could find no better word to address below practice of "Haq Bakshish" than to consider it as a PERVERSION clearly away from Islam. It is really mind-boggling as to how a local community has even fathomed such a sick and twisted practice of expecting a Muslim sister to sacrifice her whole life as a bride married to the Holy Quran, leave alone tolerating its continued presence in the shadows of the contemporary society. Worse, to put salt on the wound, this evil practice has been camouflaged under the guise of ISLAM by involving the Holy Quran.
Even though, it is banned under the Islamic law (punishable with a seven year jail sentence), how is it that there are still about ten thousand such brides sentenced to this tragic fate and what is the community at the local, State and National level doing about it ? Has the community's genuine Islamic compass, especially as it relates to human rights, been side tracked away from SOCIAL JUSTICE towards ECONOMIC CONSOLIDATION FOR PERSONAL GAIN ? What if there were ten thousand (men) bride grooms who were married to the "Quran"? Would that have been ever possible ? If NO, then why not ?
As we have repeatedly stated in the previous issues, there are lot of cultural practices "conveniently" legitimized by literally stamping the brand name of ISLAM on it in one form or other. Below perversion is one such example of a cancerous practice that cleverly incorporated the element of ISLAM and blended it with two other entities involving women and the institution of marriage.
The three entities are: (a) VULNERABLE MINORITY GROUP - "MUSLIM SISTERS" (b) MANDATORY AND FORMAL RITUAL PRACTICE THAT GIVES LEGITIMACY AND STAMP OF APPROVAL FOR A UNION BETWEEN THE TWO - "MARRIAGE". (c) Religion - Represented by the WORD OF ALLAH "HOLY QURAN" . (In essence, it involves Muslim Sister / Marrying / Quran).
We urge interested and committed members of the the GLOBAL UMMAH to reach out to (a) first gather the facts (from below article) (b) and if substantiated to be true, to leave no stone unturned to work to eliminate such cancerous practice. As Muslims we must have ZERO TOLERANCE to such abhorrent human right violations of our Muslim sisters. If Islam stands for fighting against injustice, then this is an issue that we as Muslims should unitedly work towards.
The life of slavery of Pakistani women who are forced to “marry” the Quran
Female members of the Sayyid caste – descendants of the prophet Mohammed – are forbidden to marry so as to preserve the purity of their family’s blood. Although this practice is banned under Islamic law, there are apparently 10 thousand women who face this fate
Pakistan - A wedding scene
Some can’t take it and go mad. Others become apathetic and slowly fade away. Most, live a nightmarish life, trapped in the hellish web of an inhumane tradition. These girls are waitresses, child minders and slaves born to serve the family. They are the “wives of the Quran”, Pakistani girls whose lives have been mortgaged by their families: instead of marrying men, they are forced to “marry” the Holy book of Islam, the Quran. They learn its contents off by heart and have to hang the text around their wastes with a cord. They live segregated lives and no boy that is older that 14 is allowed to approach them. A life sentence they have no say in.
The tradition, known as the “Haq Bakshish”, lite rally means “renouncing the right to marry”. It is an ancient and cursed tradition which is still widely practiced in the Sindh province and in some parts of the Punjab in Southern Pakistan. Arabic international newspaper Asharq Al Awsat says that in 2007 there were an estimated 10 thousand Quran brides in Sindh. The roots of this tradition are economic more than religious. This is explained further in a 2011 U.S. Department of State report on human rights in the world. It said that this practice is prevalent among the families of big landowners. When a suitable husband cannot be found for a daughter or a sister among the members of extended family (cousins and uncles, Ed.), then it is preferable to keep the girl cooped inside the family home than divide the land, giving a portion of it to the girl as a dowry and letting her marry an outsider. This keeps her portion of the land within the family and under the protection of her father or brother.
Under Pakistani law the Haq Bakshish tradition is punishable by a seven-year prison sentence, but no one dares report such cases. This is partly due to the fact that the families involved belong to the Sayyid caste, which claims its members are direct descendants of the prophet Mohammed. These pure blooded Muslims are often leaders of institutions. This is why Quran brides are hidden away, making it impossible to get official numbers. Very rarely some cases do come to light. For example, in 2011 a 28-year old couple, Fahad Amin and Shahnila Naz married against the parents’ will and held a press conference in Lahore speaking out against the death threats they received for violating the Haq Bakshish code. “Half the women in my family - the girl told the Daily Times – are married to the Quran: they are treated worse than servants and are forced to look after children and animals. One evening – she said – all of my family came to my room, sat on my bed, opened the Quran and said: “Here is your husband.” I managed to escape; I got to Fahad and we got married in a court. But they are threatening me, I’m scared…” It is not known what happened to the rebel couple in the end.
Zubaida Ali actually attended a wedding between his cousin Fareeba and the Quran. “It was so strange. My cousin was 25, she was pretty and was wearing the traditional outfit worn by Sindh brides: a red dress, jewellery, sequins, henna on hands and feet and a black veil. There was music and the place was bustling with guests. The only thing missing was the groom…” Habib ur Rehman, a professor at the Islamic University in Islamabad has frequently stated that “these ceremonies are considered invalid by Islamic law. Each woman has a right to marry whomever she wishes and certainly not the Quran.” Truer words have never been spoken. But words alone are not going to free these young Pakistani women.