View Full Version : Malala And Fatwa - Adeel Amjad - 3rd December 2012

3rd December 2012, 09:29 AM
The right to education

In Islamic Jurisprudence, a fatwa is a legal ruling or opinion issued by an Islamic scholar. In technical terms, it is a code of law derived from the Quran and from the teachings and actions of Mohammed (PBUH). The reason for providing the above very basic definition is tragic and seriously shocking in the context of modern world. The term fatwa has been used daily by quasi-religious leaders for their own makeshift beliefs to prove their sociopathic attitude in the light of Quran and Sunnah. Verily, the real sanctity of the legal principle of fatwa is continuing to lose its importance and meaning.

Recently, as reported in the Huffington Post, Islamic radicalists and rather controversial clerics in Britain have prepared a fatwa on Malala Yousafzai. The 14-year-old girl will be declared apostate and accused for turning her back on Islam. The statement issued against Malala states that “If someone apostatises like this woman did by allying with the Americans and saying her favourite person is (Barack) Obama and that she does not want the Sharia or hijab and wants to live under a secular state, she has put herself in a very precarious situation. It is no surprise what happened to her in Pakistan. Malala is mature Islamically, she is not immature, she has reached that period we say is adulthood.”

So, as per the charges levied on Malala by alleged attackers and these radicalist thinkers, she is being charged with idealising Obama, not wearing hijab and declaring herself pro-secular. Such hatred and cowardice can never be the voice of my religion. Our beliefs about Islam as the most tolerant and advanced religion of human history are based on the teachings of Islam. The ones targeting these teaching are not Muslims but the real enemies of Islam. The fatwa should be targeted at these religious criminals and not the ones who are trying to reform the society.

Ironically, the radical extremist working on this fatwa is living in a “non-Muslim country” with precariously an anti-Islam environment and very secular approach towards clothing. The concept of women education is a test case for our society. They give arguments in favour of blinding the women from their right to education. Historically, the customary approach towards women rights in Pakistan was based on sheer negligence of the state in showing faith in equality of rights. Women were even deprived of their right to vote in recent by-elections in FATA.

For a radical thinker, any girl trying to break into this conservative agenda is an apostate and is worthy to be held accountable for denying the basic teachings of these clerics. Many girls in Pakistan are devoid of their basic right to education due to overly protective approach adopted by their parents. Some do not get to school due to social pressures and the rest of them are deprived of their right to education due to a conservative outlook on the social evils by their blood relations. Thus, females tend to necessarily participate in things felt suited to them by “men”.

Half truth is a lie and these religious clerics have hijacked the teachings of Islam by telling the half truths about Islam. Quran and Sunnah are the basic sources of Islamic jurisprudence and both these sources clearly outline the importance of education for both men and women. The teachings of Islam do not set different standards for the education of men and women. This is a false pretence set by these clowns who are misusing religious teachings. These clerics hinder the progress of Muslims by terrorising people about the afterlife instead of focusing on how to reform the present.

According to a Hadith in Sahih Muslim, “The best of the speech is embodied in the Book of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance given by Muhammad (PBUH). And the most evil affairs are their (the misguided Muslims) innovations, and every innovation is error.” Most of the radicalists back their agenda with the teachings of Muhammad (PBUH) while they ignore that Muhammad (PBUH) was trying not only to introduce a new faith but was also trying to transform Arabic society. Many of Arabia’s ills laid down by Prophet (PBUH) under the concept of Jahaliya are so strictly followed by these radicalists. One such example is their approach towards education in general and for women in particular. Islam gives its women the right to education, inheritance and right to choose their spouse among countless others. Denying them their basic rights is just going to do more harm.

So, how to move forward? What should be the next step? What Malala suffered in the shape of wounds will soon recover. But she and her family will remain in constant danger of attacks from these radicals. Hundreds of girls schools in Swat have been destroyed in the past three years by these radicals and thousands of girls in northern areas have been deprived of their basic fundamental right to education due to hostility towards women education. The people glorifying the role of the attackers on Malala are cowards and their approach towards religion is a cause of concern for us.

Creating fear, distress and hatred about people of other faiths will not bring good name to Islam. Our main enemy is neither the Christians nor Jews, it is us. They are among us. They know that they are wrong but they are too adamant to admit it and would rather sink this society with their egotistic monopoly on religious thoughts. They have put more restrictions on simple beliefs and have made an earning out of spreading confusion and chaos about our religious.

Can you think of a religion that was meant to bring forward a society suffering from the menace of inequality, injustice and other social evils? Pakistan can achieve all the glory it aims at but only by doing away with the half truth. The state has to play its role in educating the people of this country about the teachings of Islam; otherwise, the worse part of the half truth about Sharia will consume the last ray of hope the people have. Pakistan can only progress through education and denying this basic right to anyone, let alone women, will be more fatal than any other offensive.