Category Archives: Uncategorized

i’m moving on…

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Salaam/Peace everyone,

I just wanted to let you know that I have now officially moved on to a new blog.  This blog will remain online but I will no longer be making any new posts.  The new blog is a more inclusive way of viewing God and spirituality, with the aim being interfaith harmony and friendship.  I hope you enjoy and support my other blog as well. I have included the address below, and I hope to see you all there soon. Take care and stay in love with the Creator! 🙂

http://ftlogblog.wordpress.com/

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…in light of Muharram

happygomuslim

I seek refuge in Allah from satan the accursed.

In the name of Allah Most Compassionate Most Merciful.

 

It was a beautiful summer afternoon as the eleven year old me strolled the scenic streets of the hilltop tourist paradise of Murree, Pakistan with my family.  Coincidentally, it was also the tenth of Muharram, thus the day for the Shia community to come out to mourn the slaughter of the Prophet’s (pbuh) grandsons.  My parents were unaware of the date, and brought along my aunt and uncle who were visiting us from another city.  At some point, my parents bought my younger sisters and me soft serve ice cream cones from one of the street vendors, which we devoured pretty quickly.  By the time I was done eating my cone, my hands were very sticky, and that left me feeling irritable the whole time.  I somehow got my parents to…

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The inconvenient truth

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I seek refuge in Allah from satan the accursed.
In the name of Allah Most Compassionate Most Merciful

“Say: Verily, my Salât (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allâh, the Lord of the ‘Alamîn” (6:162)

 
When I was a sophomore in high school, all I wanted was to work at a part-time job.  I envied my classmates who worked part-time jobs, and were able to use that money to live the kind of life they wanted, spending when and how they felt fit.  At that time I relied on my parents’ money to purchase items of necessity or was forced to beg them for a desired purchase.  But what baffled me was how most of those working classmates complained to each other of having to go to work later in the evening, and showed annoyance at their jobs when they were invited to parties and they wouldn’t be able to make it because of their shift timings.  I kept thinking, “But, at least you have a job!  You get to make money and buy what ever you want whenever you want.”  I thought that those classmates were crazy for ever complaining about working, because in my eyes, it was as if they were complaining about money flowing into their lives.  I mean, who wouldn’t want money flowing into their lives?

Then I got my own experiences to enjoy and learn from.  A couple of months after consistently applying for jobs and getting no calls or rejected at interviews, I finally landed my first job at a Baskin Robbins ice cream store.  I was thrilled.  It was only a three-minute walk from my house, the hours were flexible, the pay would steadily go up with my performance, I got a free scoop of any flavour of ice cream at the end of each shift, and best of all, I got paid!  I was set.  I would be forever happy right?  Wrong!  Now it’s not that I wasn’t happy, but as time went on, I started to find faults with my job.  I got annoyed when my manager told me to wipe counters and wash utensils when I wasn’t serving customers.  I got irritated when my manager called my home when I wasn’t scheduled to work to ask if I could fill in for someone or work because there were more customers than expected.  I felt frustrated with the half hour break I got in between my longer shifts and felt like it was inhumane to not have a break during my short shifts.  And of course, I got really angry when I couldn’t accept a friend’s invitation for a weekend outing or a dinner event that fell on the same date and time as my shift at the store.  Often I would get home with aching feet, having stood up for so many hours, and I had days or nights when I felt exhausted.

I found escape through a summer job opportunity at a pharmaceutical corporation with more than double the Baskin Robbins pay.  This time I worked 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. But of course I found several flaws with this job as well.  They included the following: the work is mind numbing as I stand all day packaging medications with invoices, there is nobody to be friends with, I feel too tired when I get home, and I feel like my work has taken over my life.

When I started school again, my summer contract ended but I was happy for about three months to live off what I had made during the summer.  When those funds dried up, I couldn’t imagine living without my own income, so I went back to Baskin Robbins, hoping my manager would re-hire me.  My manager hired me back graciously, but of course soon after settling into my job I was back to complaining about one thing or another, despite the fact that this time, I often got scheduled with good friends of mine.  The money was never enough, and I was happy to leave the job a little bit before my wedding.  I breathed a sigh of relief, happy to not have to go work, but soon after married life became like a regular existence, I missed working, even though I was continuing my studies.

I missed work life, and so began applying at retail and grocery stores around my house.  But for two whole years, I couldn’t manage to get anything.  Then finally, I got accepted at a grocery store as a cashier.   I was grateful for finally getting something.  What made this job more exciting was that I had always wanted to experience scanning grocery items at a grocery store.  But of course, eventually I despised this job as well.  Although most customers were either kind or indifferent, I began dreading my shifts due to my fear of dealing with the difficult and impatient customers.  I was thrilled when I got accepted as a preschool teacher at the municipal recreation centres, as it was partially to prepare my resume for teacher’s college applications coming up.  But of course this time I got overly stressed because of dealing with small children by myself.  I prayed before each class for all the kids to be good and that nobody needed a bathroom break in the hour and half I spent with them.  Since it was a summer opportunity, I was grateful to end it by September, which was when I returned to my undergrad studies.  This cycle continued for another year or so with different jobs at different times.

Why am I sharing this, you ask?  I realized after so many jobs and several years, the inconvenient and painful truth about life: whether it’s our jobs, careers, relationships, or any other venture, in order to achieve the level of happiness we desire, we must remember that everything requires SACRIFICE.  It took me so many years, and so many life experiences to finally understand and accept that the foundation of all happiness and stability in life is directly proportional to how willing I am to sacrifice certain aspects of my life in order to successfully fulfill and retain bigger goals in life.  It took me so much unnecessary stress, annoyance, anger, and restlessness to finally realize that nothing is for free.  We must be willing to pay the price for all the good things we desire in life.  And when I refused to pay the price for all the things I wanted in life, I faced not just unhappiness and immense stress, but also instability and lack of focus.  I kept searching for that one time in life when I would be in perfect harmony, but I was deluded because I didn’t understand that life is constantly changing, and we are not meant to sit and enjoy things for too long.

God designed this existence so that we are constantly facing new challenges in order to help us grow in wisdom and humility.  True happiness is definitely achievable if we shift our definition of true happiness from: when everything and everyone is in harmony with my wishes and goals, to when: I know and accept that I will have to give up some very important desires of mine in order to achieve my biggest life goals, all while respecting the rights of others.  The trick is to understand that EVERYONE has to sacrifice some of their wishes for others, and that means that I am not alone when it comes to making sacrifices.  There are others who made and continue to make sacrifices in order to keep me happy and satisfied.  This relates to all realms of life: relationships, careers, jobs, finances, health, family, children.  One must be careful not to overlook the sacrifices others make for us.

Let’s remember the Pact of Hudaybia, when the Prophet pbuh agreed to give up many of his desires for the ummah in order to secure some peace and stability for the struggling community.  There were many humiliating clauses in the pact, and yet he willingly signed it because he gained something much more profound: peace and stability for everyone around him.  The Prophet pbuh understood that he would need to give up some things to get some things, and history shows that his decision to embrace this fact of life paid off in the short and long run.

I end this post with a fitting song excerpt:

We want it all, with no sacrifice
And now we’re all to blame
We’ve gone too far
From pride to shame
We’re hopelessly blissful and blind
When all we need
Is something true
To believe
Don’t we all?
Everyone, everyone
We will fall

(song: we’re all to blame)
(band: Sum41)

The MYTH

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I seek refuge in God from satan the accursed.

In the name of God Most Compassionate Most Merciful.

A couple of years ago, a group of Canadian Muslims in the Toronto area got together and decided to hold a talent show and contest.  Their mission was to bring out Muslim youth and showcase their talent, build their confidence, and boost community involvement.  Excited about this new Muslim initiative, I opened The Toronto Star to read more about this upcoming event.  But as I read the article, I became increasingly uneasy, and by the end of it, I felt miserable and sick.

The article explained how the talent show was soon holding auditions in different artistic categories, including singing.  But what got me upset was the fact that the organizers were only allowing singing to be done by male competitors.  This was obviously due to the widely circulated and accepted myth that women’s voices can somehow sexually arouse men and cause mass chaos and the eventual breakdown of society as we know it.

This attitude of women being temptresses by nature and the intense need to control their lives has somehow taken over our community.  I don’t know how excatly it came about, but it seems to be gaining momentum under the guise of “Islamic morality.”  It is time to expose this myth for what it really is: a means of controlling women and keeping the public domain in the hands of men.

In case you think my judgement on this topic is heretical or far fetched, allow me to elaborate on this topic.  It is time we all wake up and realize the truth staring us in the face: it’ not just men who are attracted to women, but in fact, women are also attracted to men!  So, if men can be aroused by women’s melodious voices during a singing contest, women can also be aroused by men’s voices.  The fact that “opposites attract” is just a basic fact of nature.  So why is it that we as women are labelled a detriment to men’s spirituality whereas men are free to express their creativity in front of us as though we are some sort of asexual beings?

Let’s turn our attention now to the Quran and see if the Book of Light can help us solve this issue once and for all.  It is clear that God Almighty tells both men and women to lower their gazes and guard their modesty when in the public realm or around people who are not blood relatives.  So we know right away that our Merciful Creator has created both men and women with the desire for one another, and therefore, in order to purify our lives, He advises us all to watch how we dress and conducts ourselves, regardless of gender.  But in practice, our community is extremely lopsided and full of hypocrisy and double standards.

The other thing to keep in mind is that no matter how much we try, people will feel attracted to one another, even if everyone is dressed and acting in a modest way.  That is because it is the only way people can actually get and stay married.  There is no magical “love button” that switches on during the day of the nikkah.  Therefore, what the Quran sets for us are boundaries for our behaviour that we ourselves must monitor.

Part of this myth that only men have desire for women, is that women must try their best to stay confined to their homes or female dominated professions because men are animalistic in their pursuit for sexual pleasure through women, and that if women choose to show themselves, then men are “by nature” going to aggressively go after them.  This idea is not only demeaning to women, but also to men.  But before you try and justify this idea, let’s examine the story of Prophet Joseph pbuh, which completely destroys this myth from its core.

So the Quran tells us that Prophet Joseph pbuh was blessed with not just the ability to interpret dreams, but also exceptional beauty.  He was thrown down a well by his jealous half brothers, rescued by a travelling caravan, and eventually sold to a wealthy Egyptian, where he grew up to mature as a very handsome man.

Remember the part where the lady of his house desired him?  Oh wait, I thought only men were mesmerized by women’s beauty.  Remember how even he desired her, and that she was the one who aggressively pursued him, and despite being attracted to her, he turned to God and was able to fight his temptation to commit any sexual acts with her?  Oh wait!  I thought that men couldn’t control their desires and that women were to blame for the men who pursued them.  I know the skeptic in you in thinking, “But that was just one woman!” Remember how all the women at the banquet went crazy for him because he was so good looking?  Remember how the lady of the house threatened to get him imprisoned if he didn’t agree to commit sexual acts with her? Oh wait!  I thought that only men aggressively pursued women and that only men had sexual desires that need “instant quenching.”

Now I can hear the skeptic in you saying, “Okay fine! But Prophet Joseph was a prophet, so we can’t expect Muslim men to be so controlling like him.”  Oh really?  So do we all remember how many times Allah SWT has repeated in the Quran that prophets are just people like everyone else, and that they don’t have any special abilties?  If prophets were some sort of super humans, then why would Prophet Yusuf pbuh feel attracted to her in the first place?  Why would Prophet Jonah pbuh abandon his mission only to be swallowed by the whale until he begged for forgiveness, why would Mary pbuh wish for her own death while giving birth to a child in a society that would make a scandal out of her situation, and why would Prophet Jacob cry himself blind from losing his beloved Joseph?    Prophets were different from us only by the fact that they had an extra burden of constant missionary work.   Other than that, they needed to eat and drink like the rest of us, and they felt fear, sadness, happiness, hope, nervous, excited, and all the range of emotions found in regular human beings.

So, in conclusion, if Prophet Joseph being an exceptionally handsome man could turn away from women throwing themselves at him, then average Muslim men can also do the same.  Would you blame him for attracting all those women?  No!  He was never trying to tempt or cause “fitna” (this word seems to be our favourite).  Using the same principle, let’s not suffocate our women, making them feel guilty for simply being pretty or beautiful.  Yes, we should dress modestly, but let’s not divide society by gender so much.  Let us not forget that women are also attracted to men and the goal should be create a comfortable environment where everyone can live, work, contribute to humanity, and enjoy a respectable life.

Grateful for: Memory

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I seek refuge in Allah from satan the accursed.

In the name of Allah Most Compassionate Most Merciful.

 

Memory is one of the most precious blessings bestowed by our Maker.   It is truly responsible for our sense of self.

Memory is not just for remembering significant childhood events, milestones, or traumatic incidents.  It allows us to function, survive, thrive, and stay sane.   The unfortunate truth is that our species learns the important lessons about gratitude and our dependence on The Merciful mostly through losing one of our abilities or possessions.  Thus, examine any case of memory loss, and you will definitely be astonished at how deeply involved it is in the human experience.

Memory is what allows us to make meaning and sense of life.  It is involved in all the activities listed in my previous post about hand-eye coordination.  It is also responsible for recognition of familiar faces, which makes for stable family and work life.  It even allows us to experience movement, because we only truly experience one moment and the fact that an object or being is moving comes from having remembered its previous positions and piecing them together to interpret what we’re seeing as movement.  At all times, our sense organs receive a multitude of signals and input, that we in turn interpret and react to.  Whereas animals are mostly preoccupied with survival and their next meal, our extensive memory allows us to have a more unique and richer life experience.

I’ve read and watched stories of people who lost their short or long-term memories, and all I can say is that it is absolutely heartbreaking to see how dysfunctional the lives of these people became.  A man lost his memory tied to specific life events.  So when asked about how to change a tire, the man listed the precise, detailed steps of how to go about it, but when asked to share a time when he had to actually change a tire, he thought and thought, until he finally said that he had never actually changed a tire.  When asked that if he really hadn’t changed one himself, how he knew such details.  He replied that it was just one of those things that people knew how to do.  Another man lost his visual cortex memory, so he declared his parents imposters pretending to be his parents, but when they were not in his sight, and spoke to him on the phone, he accepted them as his parents.  Another subject lost part of his procedural memory, so when a family member asked him to switch off the room light, he just stood by the switch.  Frustrated, he expressed that he knew how to switch it off but he just couldn’t quite remember it.

But the strangest story I ever saw was of the man named Clive Wearing who had no short-term memory.  For over twenty years, the man lived with the worst case of amnesia.  His memory was only thirty seconds long at the most, and that meant sometimes he would forget the topic of his discussion while he was in the middle of a sentence.  He lived with his wife and although recognized her, became jittery with happiness every time he saw her, even if she returned to him after a minute of leaving, as he would completely lose the memory of her being with him before.  Strangely, he retained his ability to play the piano and his language, but expressed that he didn’t have any thoughts at all and that he had never seen another human being before.  This was his understanding because he did not have any short-term memory and therefore no chance of building up a bank of long-term memories.  He was confined to constantly living in the present.

His story shows how profound memory is to our development through life.  Imagine not being able to conjure memories of growing up, of fun times with family and friends.  Imagine not being able to learn from your past.  Imagine not being able to experience the joys of kinship and friendship simply because you cannot remember anything that you experienced more than thirty seconds ago.  No memory also means no aspirations or dreams for your life.  And perhaps worst of all, no memory means no direct connection to God; for how could you even begin to pray or commune with God if you would forget the sequence of your words after no more than thirty seconds?

It was through this man’s difficult existence that I realized that all of the meaning in our life comes from memory.  All the emotions we experience, from happiness to sadness and all the other ups and downs we go through, happen as a result of our memory.  It is what makes us human, because it allows us to learn, plan, and make choices in life.  So let’s raise our hands and bow down our heads and thank The Most Merciful for this beautiful gift that allows us to have a colorful and fulfilling life experience.

 

Grateful for: hand-eye coordination

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I seek refuge in Allah from satan the accursed.

In the name of Allah Most Compassionate Most Merciful.

 

A couple months ago, I got inspired by reading the very popular Neil Paricha’s blog about a thousand awesome things.  For those unfamiliar with his blog, he goes over the little things in life that we gain joy from, such as when a server refills our drink before we ask them to, or when a cashier opens a new lane at the grocery store and you end up being their first customer, and so on.  I began thinking that there are indeed so many things in life we get joy from, and we really need to be more conscious of Allah SWT’s blessings.  It is after all an integral part of our worship to be grateful towards our Merciful Creator.

I decided to start my series of posts titled “Grateful for” with hand eye coordination.  It may seem like an odd topic, but I decided to dive into it because during my undergraduate studies, I took an introductory course in behavioural and neuro psychology, and one lecture really made me appreciate our sense of hand eye coordination, which most of the time we do not even realize as a special ability.  I remember sitting in the lecture room as the prof projected an image of a man reaching for a hot mug of coffee from his kitchen table.  She started off by stating how lifting up a mug and bringing it to your mouth appears to be a simple task, but in reality, it is actually quite complex because it requires the relaying and coordination of several messages between the brain, eyes, hands, and the muscles involved in completing the act.  I was quite fascinated by this piece of knowledge and for this reason I have carried that lecture’s memory with me for over five years now.

But just to say that I am grateful for hand eye coordination would not be enough.  There are so many activities we engage in our daily lives that require the use of this beautiful gift, and so I decided to list as many as I could think of.  Some of my entries are more  general whereas others are more specific, but my aim is simply to remind all of us to take some time to be grateful to our Most Kind Lord, and if after going through my list, you have other activities to add that use hand eye coordination, then please do list them in the comments section.  You don’t have to make a comment; you can just post another way we use hand eye coordination if you are more comfortable with that.

  1. typing
  2. writing
  3. frying food
  4. making sandwiches
  5. opening cabinets
  6. opening doors
  7. tying shoe laces
  8. locking/unlocking doors
  9. using TV remote
  10. changing clothes
  11. opening drawers
  12. picking up tea/coffee mug
  13. bringing tea/coffee mug to mouth to drink
  14. driving
  15. painting walls
  16. ironing clothes
  17. setting internet router
  18. using phones/ mobiles
  19. getting on and off the bed
  20. plugging in the vacuum cleaner
  21. navigating to clean with the vacuum
  22. using taps
  23. placing the food plate/dish in the microwave
  24. setting the microwave timer
  25. opening a can of soda and inserting straw
  26. filling up a glass with a drink
  27. changing diapers
  28. using the toilet
  29. using the bathroom sink
  30. switching lights on/off
  31. using a still camera
  32. using a video camera
  33. buttering toast
  34. moving prepared food from pan to plate
  35. playing video games
  36. washing dishes
  37. opening/closing windows
  38. installing window coverings
  39. opening/closing drapes/blinds
  40. mowing the lawn
  41. shoveling
  42. making tea/coffee
  43. making your bed
  44. changing bedding
  45. playing cards
  46. playing board games
  47. dusting
  48. mopping
  49. folding laundry
  50. using stain remover on clothes before washing them
  51. stapling paper
  52. hole punching paper
  53. sifting through clothes at a store
  54. getting a tissue out of a tissue box
  55. changing light bulbs
  56. gardening
  57. clipping nails
  58. shaking hands
  59. changing a tire
  60. connecting the cable box to the television
  61. assembling furniture
  62. measuring liquid medication
  63. making crafts
  64. measuring ingredients for baking/cooking
  65. decorating cakes/cupcakes
  66. pressing the elevator button to get on
  67. pressing the button for the desired floor on the elevator
  68. putting cereal into bowl from the box
  69. bagging groceries
  70. wiping counters and hard surfaces
  71. chopping fruits/vegetables
  72. loading/unloading laundry
  73. using the washer/dryer command buttons
  74. arranging decoration pieces around the house
  75. eating steak
  76. using a screw driver
  77. swiping credit card at a vendor
  78. dressing up a hot dog before eating it
  79. picking up the laundry basket
  80. using a photocopier
  81. using a parking meter
  82. adding sugar and cream to your tea/coffee
  83. playing carnival games
  84. making your plate at a buffet
  85. hammering nails
  86. hanging pictures on the wall
  87. adding pictures to a photo album
  88. altering pants
  89. sewing on buttons
  90. collecting garbage to put it on the curb
  91. shaving
  92. filling salt and pepper shakers
  93. driving a stroller (with baby)
  94. gardening
  95. using an ipad/laptop/desktop
  96. playing baseball
  97. using a pointer at an office meeting/conference
  98. lifting up and holding your child
  99. bathing your child
  100. arming/disarming an alarm system

to beat or not to beat, that is the question

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Recently, a friend of mine posted a photo of the front page of the Toronto Sun on her Facebook page.  The entire front page was filled with big block letters stating, “How to Beat Your Wife.”  The article inside discussed an Islamic book sold in Toronto, in which the author justified use of force by a man to subdue his wife.  The story was obviously a part of the usual anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim fodder, because the book’s author had passed away in the 1940s, which means that it was written well before the civil rights and women’s liberation movements in the West.

However, this matter cannot be simple brushed away as irrelevant.  This is because there are many people in our community who are still very much accepting of such attitudes and beliefs.

I remember a couple of years ago, my dad told me how he had a Muslim client at his bank who expressed great distaste at living in Canada, and that he preferred to live in a “Muslim” country.  My dad wasn’t sure why he felt that way so probed further.  The client explained how he didn’t like the fact that nobody could beat their wife here, because according to him, it was his right as a Muslim to have the freedom to use physical force with her if he deemed necessary.  Frustrated, he related to my father how several of his Muslim friends were currently in jail because their wives had called the police on them for physical abuse.  Shocked, my dad listened on as the man told him how the majority of Muslim men in Canada’s jails were there on domestic abuse charges, and that he felt like it was totally absurd for a society to punish men for simply “excercising their right” to physically discipline their wives.

This issue of men being allowed to hit their wives keeps surfacing in our community, but unfortunately, it is not dealt with effectively.  The problem lies in the interpretation of the Quran, and further, when people confuse human interpretation with divine discourse. This is the current translation circulating online through the free Quran Explorer website for chapter 4, verse 34: …As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them.

I looked up the definition of the word “scourge” and the first one on google says the following: whip (someone) as a punishment.  The online Merriam Webster dictionary gives the following definitions for scourge (verb): flog, whip, to punish severely, afflict, to drive as if by blows of a whip, chastise.

All of these definitions give a pretty inhumane impression of God’s words.  The word being translated as “scourge” is the Arabic word “darraba”.  When such translations are freely circulated and elicit outrage from non-Muslims and sometimes even Muslims, many from our community come out and condemn violence against women, stating how the word darraba doesn’t at all imply to hurt, but to hit lightly, that it should not be on their face, and it should not leave marks, and some even go as far as saying that the hitting is meant as a “snap her back to her senses” and that it is symbolic and that no force should be used when hitting.  But all of these explanations are actually contradictory to not only human rights, but also to the message of the Quran, an insult to logic, and to the example of the Prophet pbuh.

To understand the Quran, one must free oneself from tunnel vision, and most importantly, one must read the Quran as a whole instead of isolating verses.  Another point everyone must understand is that although Arabic is still spoken today, it has gone through the usual metamorphosis of any language, and so it is possible that in modern times, we may not always be able to accurately pinpoint the precise meaning that was assigned to a word in times the Quran was first revealed.

One of my sisters sent me a link a couple weeks ago to a website for “The Sublime Quran.”  This translation is by a woman, who through her studies discovered that the word “darraba” has over twenty five meanings, one of which is “to go away”.  This means, that using this interpretation, we could read the verse as telling men to seperate or move away from their wives to use space as a means of possibly leading to clarity of mind and change of heart.  If you’re not convinced, then there is further proof.

Saying that beating the wife is permissible under certain circumstances actually contradicts the Quran.  There are two main pieces of evidence against allowing any physical force in a marriage.  The first proof is evident from the very next verse that follows the controversially interpreted one:

And if ye fear a breach between them twain (the man and wife), appoint an arbiter from his folk and an arbiter from her folk. If they desire amendment Allah will make them of one mind. Lo! Allah is ever Knower, Aware. (4: 35)

I found a link to another imam on youtube who also interpreted “darraba” as seperate and not hit, because he stated that what sense does it make to hit your wife and then call both your families to try and work out your marriage?  It obviously makes more sense that the word with the multiple meanings is referring in this case to simply seperate to allow for cooling of minds.   I remember when I told my youngest sister about this, she agreed and then we joked about how a man who beat his wife would offer her an ice pack for her bruise and then tell her to call her family for marriage counselling.

Still not convinced?  The author of the Sublime Quran has several sensible aruguments, and the best one is from the Quran itself.  Read surah Baqarah, verse 231 (The Sublime Quran translation):

“When you divorce wives, and they are about to reach their term, then hold them back honorably or set them free honorably; and hold them not back by injuring them so that you commit aggression, and whoever commits that, then indeed he does wrong to himself; and take not the Signs of God to yourselves in mockery…”

The author points out that if God is telling men to be kind and to not in any way hurt or harm women during a divorce, so how could God allow men to hit their wives, no matter how lightly, when the women are still in a marriage?

Plus, if you read the whole Quran, all you find is talk of kindness, mercy, forgiveness, taking the “steep” road, and compassion.  Any talk of agression or violence is clearly in the context of self-defence, or if absolutely necessary to free a group of innocent civilians from cruel tyranny.  So if you read the Quran as a whole, your reason tells you that hitting your wife, no matter how lightly or harshly has no place with those who submit themselves to God.  Interpretations can only remain valid if they are done so in line with the entire Quran and in keeping with the example of the Prophet pbuh.

And perhaps the biggest evidence against any kind of hitting of wives comes from the life of our beloved Prophet pbuh, who, along with all other messengers of God, is a beacon of light for all of humanity.  He never hit or even verbally insulted any of his wives, but rather treated them with the utmost respect and love.  For those who argue that the Prophet pbuh did not hit any of his wives because he was exceptionally soft hearted, their words contradict history, because despite being compassionate, he was known to carry out justice and Quranic commands, such as punishments for stealing and other injunctions.

So if all historical records point to the complete absense of the Prophet pbuh ever hitting any of his wives, and the whole of Quran pushes mankind to embrace compassion and kindness in treatment of all peoples in their family and society, then why do so many Muslim men keep interpreting this word as permission to hit their wives, sometimes even at the slightest hint of annoyance? The answer: tradition.  How, when and why this tradition formed despite being completely against the Prophet’s example and the Quran’s teachings is a whole another area that needs to be properly researched.

Before you get too happy about this new interpretation, it’s best you know that the woman who published the Sublime Quran, Laleh Bakhtiar, is quite despised by many orthodox and mainstream scholars and religious institutions.  It seems that many Muslim leaders are having a difficult time accepting this new interpretation.  I don’t know why.  But many have tried to discredit her translation through smear campaigns that accuse her of not having proper authority to translate the Quran. Their reasons range from her not being a native Arabic speaker to spending too few years in the study of Arabic, to not being accredited from well known Islamic scholarship centres such as those in Medina.  The author commented how other mainstream translations have been conducted by non-Arabic speakers, such as Yusuf Ali.  Despite of this truth, those against her interpretation of the word “darraba” still lash out against her, discrediting her work all together.

My sincere advice to everyone is that you must seek out your truth and that you must use reason and logic to reach your conclusion.  Do not cloud your judgement by paying all your attention to who is talking, but rather, you must focus on what is being said.  People’s titles and public image can wreak havoc on our minds.

Marriage is a difficult bond to secure, and always remains as delicate and fragile as a spider’s web.  It is built on love and compassion between the husband and wife, and even if one or both parties no longer feel love for the other, they must always hold on to the rope of compassion, because it is what connects us to Allah, the Most Merciful Most Compassionate.