A license to rape

Updated Jun 07, 2013 12:59pm

enter image description here A series of events in the past few weeks have again highlighted the injustices being committed against women in the name of Islam in Pakistan. Recently, the three accused of raping an 18-year old woman at Jinnah’s Mausoleum were set free by a court in Karachi. The court refused to entertain the DNA evidence, which reportedly proved the guilt of the accused, and gave the accused the benefit of the doubt because the victim could not produce four eyewitnesses to the rape. Weeks later, the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) decreed that the DNA evidence in the absence of four righteous men as witnesses to rape is not sufficient for conviction under Islamic law.

While women are being discriminated in Pakistan and elsewhere in the name of Islam, there is nothing Islamic or divine about the man-made laws in Pakistan. Take the case of the Hudood laws in Pakistan, which were enacted by the then military dictator General Zia to Islamicize Pakistan’s legal system. A close scrutiny of the laws reveals that the Hudood laws, which also cover offenses related to rape, are in fact a legacy of the British Colonial law. As these laws stand today, they discriminate against women rather than protecting their rights. Furthermore, the refusal to embrace modern-day forensic evidence is a divergence from the Islamic tradition where similar techniques have been used by the Muslim jurists to resolve disputes in the past.

In a well-researched paper published in 1997, Professor Asifa Quraishi explains that the rape laws in Pakistan are anything but Islamic. Drawing exclusively from Islamic sources and Quranic injunctions, Professor Quraishi makes the following points. First, the Quranic injunctions are restricted to zina (consensual sexual act by adults outside of marriage). There is no mention of rape in Quran. Secondly the intent of the Quranic injunctions was to prevent lewd behavior in public and to limit instances of false accusations. The requirement to produce four witnesses who had explicitly witnessed the sexual act is possible only if the act is being committed in public and in nude. This suggests that “unlawful sexual intercourse will be prosecuted by the state only when it is publically indecent.”

The noble Quran forbade Zina (fornication) in Surat Al-'Isrā' (17:32) and prescribed the punishment in Surat An-Nūr (24:2). The noble Quran then reads:

Those who defame chaste women and do not bring four witnesses (shuhada) should be punished with eighty lashes, and their testimony should not be accepted afterwards, for they are profligates. (24:4)

The Quranic speech is clear and without confusion. The requirement to produce four witnesses, and not just male witnesses, is required by the Quran to prevent false accusations of fornication against women. The Quran does not ask for four male witnesses, but General Zia’s Hudood ordinance did when it required “at least four Muslim adult witnesses, about whom the Court is satisfied, having regard to the requirements of tazkiyah al-shuhood …”

The Quranic intent had been to protect the rights of women against false accusations. General Zia’s Hudood Ordinance accomplished exactly the opposite. Firstly, it unnecessarily confused rape, a violent crime, with fornication. Secondly, the Hudood ordinance has made it impossible for a rape victim to get justice in Pakistan. Under the Hudood Ordinance, the Courts require four “adult male” eyewitnesses to rape. When a female victim fails to produce four male eyewitnesses, she is then charged under Tazeer for fornication. If the woman becomes pregnant as a result of rape, the rapist/s gets a walk, while the woman is charged with fornication using pregnancy as a proof.

Man-made law

How is it possible that the very Quranic injunctions that were supposed to safeguard women’s rights were reversed by General Zia to discriminate against them? Professor Qurashi offers the answer to this riddle by exposing the plagiarist jurists commissioned by the military dictator to draft the Hudood Ordinances. She reproduces the texts of the Hudood Ordinances enacted by General Zia, and the earlier British Common Law of rape. I have reproduced below verbatim the two texts to demonstrate that what was presented to Pakistanis as the divine law was in fact a cut-and-paste from the British Common Law. Even the explanation to what constitutes as rape is identical in the two texts.


enter image description here


What the mullahs defend in Pakistan today is not the divine law, it is the British Common Law. The Quran does not explicitly refer to rape. But the laws to prosecute rape have been enacted in the name of Islam. In their eagerness to promote their cultural patriarchal biases, the jurists have imposed their ignorant and misogynist views over Islamic jurisprudence. Where the noble Quran suggested four witnesses, they turned into four male witnesses; whereas the Quran intended to prevent false accusations against women, the mullahs created laws that had no parallel with Islam.

Professor Qurashi points out that requiring four male witnesses, as is stated in the Hudood Ordinance, creates this situation where women could no longer be accused of slander. If a woman’s testimony is not admissible in the Court, as per the Hadood Ordinance, a woman can make false accusations against others without fearing punishment.

The Hudood Ordinance, as it stands today, prevents women in Pakistan from following the noble Quran that states in Surat An-Nisā:

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever acquainted with what you do. [4:135]

This infringement of Quranic law continues unabated in Pakistan.

Is Islam against circumstantial or forensic evidence?

The precedence for circumstantial evidence is set in Surat Yusuf (12:23 – 12:29) in the Quran where it narrates the story of Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) being accused by a woman of attempting to rape her.

The Quran narrates the story in the following verses (12:23 – 12:29):

And she, in whose house he was, sought to seduce him. She closed the doors and said, "Come, you." He said, "[I seek] the refuge of Allah. Indeed, he is my master, who has made good my residence. Indeed, wrongdoers will not succeed." And she certainly determined [to seduce] him, and he would have inclined to her had he not seen the proof of his Lord. And thus [it was] that we should avert from him evil and immorality. Indeed, he was of Our chosen servants. And they both raced to the door, and she tore his shirt from the back, and they found her husband at the door. She said, "What is the recompense of one who intended evil for your wife but that he be imprisoned or a painful punishment?" [Joseph] said, "It was she who sought to seduce me." And a witness from her family testified. "If his shirt is torn from the front, then she has told the truth, and he is of the liars. But if his shirt is torn from the back, then she has lied, and he is of the truthful." So when her husband saw his shirt torn from the back, he said, "Indeed, it is of the women's plan. Indeed, your plan is great. Joseph, ignore this. And, [my wife], ask forgiveness for your sin. Indeed, you were of the sinful."

Circumstantial and forensic evidence are not merely an invention of the modern times. The story about the Prophet in Egypt suggests that centuries old legal traditions relied on logic and commonsense. In fact, there is even evidence of the use of forensic evidence in the early days of Islam. Anwar Mahmud Dabur in al-Qara’in wa Dawruha fi al-fiqh al-Jina’i al-Islami (p. 215) narrates the story of a woman who falsely accused another man of rape. She spread the egg yolk on herself and her clothes and brought it as evidence to Caliph Umar ibn Khattab. The Caliph consulted another woman who confirmed the woman’s clothing bore semen stains. The Caliph consulted Ali (subsequently the fourth Caliph), who immersed the stained cloth in boiling water that turned the stains into white solid, which smelled and looked like egg yolk.

The Islamic tradition provides for the use of the scientific evidence in legal matters. Forensic evidence can be used under the tradition of Qarinah (circumstantial evidence) and al-ra’y al-khabir (expert opinion). The Prophet himself is reported to have consulted an expert on face recognition to settle a paternity dispute (Sunan al-Dar Qutni, p. 240). By turning our collective backs on science, logic, and ijtihad, we have brought ourselves to a state where discrimination against women and the disenfranchised is being committed in the name of Islam.

A study of 74 cases of rape or attempted rape registered at the Shadman female police station in Lahore during 1995 and 2008 reveal the ugly consequences of inadequate legal frameworks in Pakistan. Writing in the Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Pakistan in 2010, Dr. Iram Manzoor and others discovered that most rape victims were aged between 10 and 19 years old. Approximately 74 per cent victims were unmarried, 83 per cent had grade eight or lower education, and 82 per cent were unemployed. In the 13-year period, only five per cent accused were convicted of the crime.

The five per cent conviction rate for rape has been reported in other studies in Pakistan. As a comparison, the conviction rate for rape in neighbouring India is around 26 per cent. In a written statement to the Parliament, the Minister of State for Home Affairs revealed that 24,206 rape cases were registered in 2011 and 5,724 were convicted.

The superior courts in Pakistan must act without delay to address the shortcomings in the Hudood Ordinances. For decades women in Pakistan have been discriminated against in the name of Islam. Quran does not explicitly address rape. In fact, the Islamic jurisprudence deals with rape under Hiraba and Jirah; even allowing for compensation for the rape victims.

If it is indeed true that the rape laws are anything but Islamic, they should then have no place in Pakistan’s judicial system. This matter, however, cannot be left to the mullahs to decide. We already know what they believe in. It is the time for the rest of us to speak up.


Murtaza Haider is a Toronto-based academic and the director of Regionomics.com.


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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Comments (168) (Closed)


Agha Ata
Jun 05, 2013 08:55pm

When you deal with mullahs, you do not deal with real Islam or even with common sense.

I.Khan
Jun 05, 2013 09:01pm

I hate to see daughter of one of the mullah at Islamic council is raped by three people but no eye witnesses. Rape will not happen if there are three or four witnesses present at the scene unless they are the rapists themselves. These member Islamic council use cell phones and perhaps take meds for sugar or heart problem but they refuse to accept DNA science. Stupid, stupid and criminal.

Najeeb Anwar
Jun 05, 2013 09:02pm

There is not much we can say, the ones who say anything are termed blasphemers, and in Pakistan no one will question whether you are one or not, death penalty by a court of law or a mob is you only choice. A video on Social Media showed a molana declare a journalist a blasphemer when he aksed him to explain the Hudood Ordinance. Such is the state of our nation and our so called religious leaders. I ask all such Molanas out there who ask women not to go public with the rape issue since it will create a bad influence over other women and men. Would a Molana ask his daughter to hide the issue if she was to be raped in the absence of four witnesses? And if he agrees to the above question would he then be able to face his daughter ever after? It is a pity men who advocate that women be deprived of going public with such issues forget they too are born out of a woman, our sisters are women and our wives and daughters are women too. How can then people be so cruel to women who have been violated, who have been put through what I or any sane person would want for the women of their own family.

Ahmed Raza
Jun 05, 2013 09:06pm

Mind Boggling Research. I wish Our so called scholars also read this. Common sense is Lacking in Our Scholars. Islam is NOT a religion of the Past. It embraces Modernity. All civilized Nations accept DNA Evidence as circumstantial evidence but We are still far from being a decent Nation. Courts are busy in selective justice and Mullahs are Busy making their Own Monopoly,Its abt Time we let go of the Zia's Legacy and Slaughter the Holy Cow..!!

SJ
Jun 05, 2013 09:41pm

Thank you for writing an informed piece on a subject that merits immediate attention. I as a woman have always felt unsafe due to hudood laws in Pakistan. High time we change them!

SJ
Jun 05, 2013 09:41pm

Thank you for writing an informed piece on a subject that merits immediate attention. I as a woman have always felt unsafe due to hudood laws in Pakistan. High time we change them!

Asif
Jun 05, 2013 09:48pm

Quranic zina law applies only to consensual situations and serves two broad purposes:

  1. Prevent open and blatant shamlessness, while keeping what consensually happens behind closed doors squarely out of the the public domain.
  2. put a stop to gossip.

It has nothing whatsoever to do with rape.

iqbal
Jun 05, 2013 10:13pm

Excellent article. Can someone make these Mullahs read and understand Holy Quran? Part of the problem is that many mullahs are uneducated even in religion and Islam. They only know what was taught to them by their teacher who also is many cases uneducated in religion and Islam, in the middle of nowhere. No thinking at all. When did CII started making laws? They are not the parliament nor are they judiciary. Why do they have so much power? Our country and our people will never progress or succeed when half of the population is openly discriminated in such a shameful way and when these illiterates are made in-charge. Shame on these so called mullahs!!! No wonder, the entire world laughs at us as ignorant and backwards. I wonder what is the opinion of mainstream religious scholars like Mufti Taqi Usmani or Maulana Tariq Jamil. Listening to them or reading their writings has always been refreshing.

Fahad
Jun 05, 2013 10:23pm

Dear Haider Raza,

You have made two mistakes in your colonm. Firstly, the Hudood Ordinance are not a legacy of the British colonial law but only the definition of rape. Please make the distinction between the two.

Secondly, and more importantly, you have stated:

"When a female victim fails to produce four male eyewitnesses, she is then charged under Tazeer for fornication. If the woman becomes pregnant as a result of rape, the rapist/s gets a walk, while the woman is charged with fornication using pregnancy as a proof."

This may be the act of illiterate police officers, but it is definitely not part or a consequence of the law because:

As Justice (retired) Taqi Usmani states: "According to the Hudood Ordinance, the condition of four witnesses only applied to enforcing the hadd for rape. Clause 10(3), which awarded the ta’zeer punishment, did not have this requirement; the crime could be proven through one witness, medical reports, and chemical analysis report. Consequently most rape criminals were awarded punishment as per this clause.

Further, a woman claiming rape could not be punished under Qazf (false accusation of zina) since Exemption 2 in Qazf Ordinance Clause 3 clearly stated that if someone approaches the legal authorities with a rape complaint, she could not be punished in case she was unable to present four witnesses."

Lastly, for those unaware of Islamic law, Taazeer is a punishment left for the judge to decide. So, if punishment for a certain crime, or to say Hud, is not mentioned in Islam, then it will be decided by the judge that how the criminal of a particular crime should be punished.

So, what if a woman, victim of rape, is unable to produce 4 witnesses?

In this case, after proper investigation, Taazeer will be enforced instead of Hud. This notion is completely false and baseless that if she can’t bring forward 4 witnesses then her case will be closed without any progress at all.

The Taazeer of such a case is decided by the law-governing body or the Shariah Board. Of course, proper investigation will be done first, like medical examination or even one witness will be enough or any other means, to prove the case. Once proven, the criminal will be punished accordingly.

Iqbal
Jun 05, 2013 10:37pm

This is ridiculous. How many other sections of our life are we following Islamic rules in our society?

For this crime, a very strict rule should be passed which allows to have only DNA test and the witness from the victim itself should be enough to prosecute the culprit. In that way, it will be a deterrence if someone knows the consequencies. In the current rules and regulations, do not expect to have less rate of this crime until we change our system and have severe punishment for rapists.

Syed
Jun 05, 2013 10:41pm

Your accusational statement against General Zia has spoiled your whole article. Quoting Gen Zia to be the originator of these laws shows as if Gen Zia got some devine revelations and made these laws himself. We better not be that short memoried to forget that these were the molvis who forced Zia to implement Shariat Laws. On that he asked them to first decide which Sharia would they like to be implemented, Naqshbandi, Deobandi, Hanfi, Braralvi or else. All these molvis for the first time sat together and finally came out with these Laws after 8 years of feastings. Now you are trying to blame Zia for their evils. However if you consider that these laws don't give desired justice, then these may again be placed before these molvis for review.

aaa
Jun 05, 2013 10:44pm

I guess everyone should be consulted but islamic scholar alone who does not even have good enough knowledge should not be the final authority. When majority does not agree with the interpretation of islamic scholar then there is something wrong with the scholar.

Ayesha Khan
Jun 05, 2013 10:59pm

I am no authority or any scholar on the subject , but what I understand from my personal observations and profound studies of the Quran that this verse 4 from Sura Noor is not applicable, nor it is addressing the issue of rape. The verse clearly indicates to restrict the defamation against women. The wordings of the verse 4 needs attention. " Those who launch a charge against chaste women and do not produce four eye witnesses, flog them each with eighty stripes and reject their evidence ever after, or un till they amend their ways " ( Sura Noor verse 4, translation Abdullah Yousuf Ali ) . Here those are addressed who is charging women with false accusations, but the article is about the punishment of the rape victim. Here the woman is not the victim of accusation, but of injustice, which can be understood in the light of many other verses from the Quran. It is not possible that the Noble Quran does not address any issue or provides no answer, however, at times we need to look into the connecting verses to find the solution of the issue, or issues.

There is a very valid point in the article about General Zia, there is no doubt that he mis interpreted the meanings, of the verse, but this is the great tragedy that the Al Quran has been misinterpreted by many great Muslim scholars, and thus its image has been distorted. This is a very sensitive subject, and I hope the concerned authorities would ponder into deeper meanings of the book to find the correct answer of this rape issue. As for the British law, it has been heard that most of the Quranic laws specially in cases of marriage, child custody, divorce, rights of orphans, and many others have been adopted by the teachings of the Quran.

But all we need to do is to remain attentive towards what Al Quran states and the rest is irrelevant ---

Junaid H.
Jun 05, 2013 11:03pm

hard to understand this law, rapist will not rape a woman in public, how will she arrange for four eye witness, there's got to be more than this !

Amir
Jun 05, 2013 11:20pm

A very well written and researched article. If Pakistan can only start producing Islamic scholars instead of these mullahs, who can interpret Islamic laws based on common sense then things will become much different. But because of Zia, these mullahs have got their tenticles rooted deeping into the society now and it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to reverse what Zia had started. These reforms will have to be started from the madrassas where kids are taught the twisted version fo the religion.

Arman Zain
Jun 05, 2013 11:50pm

Nice Article Dr.Haider but I beg to differ.

1 - The use of word Zina and rape: In Quran Zina has been usedas sex outside of marriage. It covers adultery and rape. The difference is that in Adultery both parties are subjected to stoning while in rape the enforcer is subjected to stoning.

2 - The Quran calls for 4 male witness and that is clear from Quranic verses.

3 - DNA as primary prove for rape , is not sufficient as it in no means differentiat between Rape and Adultery.

4 - Islam is a moderate religion which has always encourage its followers to gain knowledge, thus advancement in Science and Technology is allowed in Islam as long as they don't violate fundamental Islamic laws. Thus, DNA is should be accepted as supporting evidence but not as primary evidence.

5 - Not proven till guilty beyond reasonable doubt, is basic principle of Islamic law.

I am not here to argue Pakistan Constitution being Islamic as It is clear that it is not but I will like to clarify that is not right to put Islamic and divine law in confusion by misrepresenting words.

Regards

Arman Zain

Parvez
Jun 06, 2013 12:07am

One of your best articles so far. The misuse of religion in many ways has been the biggest stumbling block this country has witnessed. The myopic vision of our leaders have allowed the religious extremists so much space that now they challenge the hand that nurtured them. The lesson which we still have not fully learnt is that its easy to spoil something but very hard to put it right again. We are still refusing to get to the root of the disease and treating the symptom with Aspirins instead of resortin to life saving surgery.

Hassan
Jun 06, 2013 12:53am

Well!! Whole story lies with the law and order precisely enforcement of law. Those who flouting laws sitting in the assemblies so it does not make sense that law and justice is there for a common man. History is full of cases however judgement and justice still not clear for such precedence. http://www.ezsolutionspk.net

sabeeh ahmed
Jun 06, 2013 01:31am

Unfortunately, most of the present Mullas are representing Islam in such a way, which pleases only them. And they are becoming another "MAFIA" day by day.. May Allah have mercy on all of us!! Aameen..

quresh
Jun 06, 2013 01:40am

You should not go very graphic that what is Rape. Every body knows. At the end, what you accept from ignorant Molvis. Now-a-days, Muslims are following Hybrid Islam(Mixed with Culture and Islam). Please any body tell me, Is any Muslim country in this world implemented true Islam?..........Answer is NO.

Armaan
Jun 06, 2013 01:46am

I am glad I live outside of Pakistan....This is 4th world country not even 3rd world....

Sandip
Jun 06, 2013 02:34am

Really why do we need Quaran to say what is rape and what is not rape and what are admisible evidence. Can't we use our common sense?

sadat
Jun 06, 2013 02:37am

crime against women is highest as the law enforcement agencies are manipulated. It has nothing to do with religion, it happens in poor countries, period. Why do people get scared to do any such offence in gulf countries? or western countries, it is definitely lower than poor countries. Poor economic conditions are the main reason.

Saifullah Shaikh
Jun 06, 2013 02:57am

Why is supreme court and Chief justice is silent on these issue !? Any suo-moto notice?

alp
Jun 06, 2013 03:15am

There are a hundred shades of grey of interpretation of Islam. Why cannot we take logic and rationality by themselves.

Syed Shah
Jun 06, 2013 03:36am

@Arman Zain:

Thanks for the clarification.

Pakistan is a nation of CONFUSED and HIPPOCRATE people and they have their own versions of ISLAM.

Syed Shah
Jun 06, 2013 03:39am

@Junaid H.: True, please do not follow the paki version of Islam made by Gen Zia and his mullahs

Matin
Jun 06, 2013 03:54am

@Arman Zain: A typical Mullah reply .....sorry to say

Tirang
Jun 06, 2013 04:15am

@quresh: Yes Thankfully no one has implemented "true islam" if there happens to be anything like that! There is nothing called "True Islam". It doesnt exist and is a mirage.

True Islam is what we see in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia in front of our own eyes! Stop looking for excuses. Use Rational Secular Law that remains in tune and changes with the times and ethics of soceity, rather than quoting from Arcane books from Centuries ago.

Islamic laws on women comes from Arab Culture and the society of centuries ago. It is no longer relevant for 21st century. Thankfully the Turks have secularized their soceity with common sense. Would pakistan do the same?

Rafiq Syed
Jun 06, 2013 04:15am

@quresh:

Bringing religion in everything is a problem and not a solution. No one even knows what true Islam is. What is islamic laws - the one followed in Iran, Saudi Arabia or Pakistan or Turkey? The fact is DNA didn't exist in 7th century so it makes no sense to link it with any religious saying so makes no sense.

Secularism is the answer and not bring religion in every thing.

Raj Patel
Jun 06, 2013 04:17am

Can crime analyzer provide the data of how many rap cases registered in pakistan compared to different country and how many culprit convicted.

Pradip
Jun 06, 2013 04:28am

The subject is rape of women and all but one are men to comment on it. Just shows the state of women....not only in Pakistan but also in most of the Indian sub continent. Alas!

amir
Jun 06, 2013 04:38am

Excellent article, very thought provoking

amir
Jun 06, 2013 04:39am

Excellent article, very thought provoking.

Romi
Jun 06, 2013 05:00am

I think a lot of non Muslims are puzzled about why religion should be brought into the prosecution of a violent crime. As long as you are justifying your laws using religious interpretation, you'll always lose to the fanatics who claim to know more religion than you. But you're all incapable of sending away from the public domain into the private.

Roz
Jun 06, 2013 05:17am

Am I missing anything here? The four witness are needed for zina birraza (consentual illicit relations) and not for zina biljabr. The reason zina birraza needs witnesses is because private crimes are not punishable by law (they are only punishable by Allah, such as drinking in private and having illicit relations in private) because these victimless crimes do not hurt society. However, zina biljabr is a violent crime and no different than a murder. One does NOT require witnesses for murder or rape, if there is enough evidence (blood on one's hands, or DNA etc.) against the assailant, he/she should be tried in court for that crime. The witness requirement is only for zina birraza because if there are many witnesses to a woman's illicit behavior, then she is obviously engaged in prostitution or other such social crimes that are a threat to Islamic society.

The witness requirement is NOT for zina biljabr, it cannot be !! Who kills, torture and rapes anyone with four witnesses around??

Roz
Jun 06, 2013 05:24am

@Arman Zain: DNA proves that there was some connection between the alleged victim and assailant. Whether it was with or without consent can be determined with forensic and circumstantial evidence of force used, trauma to the victim etc. DNA proves that SOMETHING happened between the victim and alleged assailant and therefore it should be the primary source of evidence. If the action was WITH consent, one would have to bring four witnesses, if the action is proven to be without consent, the assailant has to be tried for a violent crime.

Sunil
Jun 06, 2013 05:26am

Religion is search for eaternal truth. So is science which is search for truth. So why should men of religion oppose sceintific methods? Is it not a contradiction? Possibly too rigid interpretaion of religion is causing this contradiction

Baber
Jun 06, 2013 05:33am

Excellent article. this was addressed by Geo as part of their segment Zara Sochiyeh.. (Just think about it). I am still surprised that exposure of the flaws of the Hudood Ordinance didn't bring about any rectifications. Infact, it should be scraped.

Moby
Jun 06, 2013 06:43am

On the day of judgement, I can see Allah listening to achivements of thinking socieites - they can tell Allah they sought knowledge and explored all corners of knowledge, from the Higgs boson, to DNA, to landing craft on other planets. We will likely miss our turn when it is our turn to reply to Allah since we will still likely be debating on what the quran said or did not say and what is islamic and not islamic

NASAH (USA)
Jun 06, 2013 07:03am

@quresh: Can you define what is "True Islam" -- in truth there are 1.2 billion kinds of "true Islams" -- this is what happens when a community has no central authority to define and interpret a religion that is practiced by such a widespread heterogeneous regions of the world. Every Muslim is his own Pope or Mufti -- cooking up on the spot his own interpretation of the religion..

A good question may be -- whose Islam?

NASAH (USA)
Jun 06, 2013 07:08am

@Ayesha Khan : "But all we need to do is to remain attentive towards what Al Quran states and the rest is irrelevant"

I wish the world of the 21 century was as simple as the world of 700 AD.

Shahnaz Khan
Jun 06, 2013 07:33am

@Asif: You have hit the nail on the head.

Asif
Jun 06, 2013 07:48am

@Arman Zain: Your Points 1 and 2 are your interpretation only.

You go on to say that DNA evidence does not prove difference between consensual and non-consensual intercourse - ok but what about it being taken together with other police work? You seem to agree with it being used as supporting evidence BUT only if your so called 'primary evidence' of 4 male witnesses is there. This point of yours is illogical as such a scenario in which someone is going to commit a crime like rape in front of at least 4 male witnesses who are themselves not accessories to the crime is so unlikely as to be almost impossible.

Any rational person would not agree with your interpretation of the Quran and Sharia law. Even in Saudi Arabia there is no such law as in Pakistan.

And lastly there is such a thing as empathy, meaning having the capacity to put yourself in someone else's shoes, which people like you and the mullahs and judges supporting these laws certainly do not have. Think for a minute if this happened to you or a member of your family how you would like the police and courts to handle your case.

gee
Jun 06, 2013 08:37am

Hey, there is nothing wrong with the Mullahs, they are smart and wily; they utter one simple Fatwa and twirl Pakistan, rather, whole Islamic world by the tail. :

Wajeeh
Jun 06, 2013 08:47am

@Ayesha Khan : I agree with Ayesha, the verse is not about the rape victims its about those who put false accusations of adultery on some women they have been asked to produce four witnesses to prove their allegation; verse has been misinterpreted and the decision made with this reference has ruined the lives of a number of rape victims who are unable to produce four witnesses and suffering in jails. the mentioned law is equally against the common sense. May Allah give Muslim scholars insight to understand the true spirit of Deen .

sonia aslam
Jun 06, 2013 08:52am

This hindrance from mullah is a sad story.Instead of coming to help the persecuted molvis are showing a nonsensical attitude as if their minds are sealed.

voice for true Islam
Jun 06, 2013 08:56am

Rape is a physical attack on another person. True and impartial reasoning dictates that the case should be tried in a court of law just as murder, stabbing, etc. and the victim should be evaluated through examination by a medical doctor trained to evaluate such sensitive cases, and established scientific tests should be admissible in favor of the victim or to refute the charge. Requiring four witnesses in order to document the case of a rape victim is counter to common intelligence and reason. In the holy Quran surah 24 verse 21, Allah Almighty says, “O You who have attained to faith! Follow not Satan’s footsteps: for he who follows Satan’s foot¬steps [will find that], behold, he enjoins but deeds of abomination and all that runs counter to reason.” Establishing justice in the society is the essence of Islam, please refer to Surah 16 verse 90 “Behold, God enjoins justice, and the doing of good, and generosity towards [one's] fellow-men and He forbids all that is shameful and all that runs counter to reason as well as envy; [and] He exhorts you [repeatedly] so that you might bear [all this] in mind”. Thus, anyone who brings forward anything in the name of Islam should be evaluated for its’ validity and thrown away if found counter to reasoning and against the spirit of holy Quran. This applies to the requirement of four witnesses in rape cases.

voice for true Islam
Jun 06, 2013 09:00am

Rape is a physical attack on another person. True and impartial reasoning dictates that the case should be tried in a court of law just as murder, stabbing, etc. and the victim should be evaluated through examination by a medical doctor trained to evaluate such sensitive cases, and established scientific tests should be admissible in favor of the victim or to refute the charge. Requiring four witnesses in order to document the case of a rape victim is counter to common intelligence and reason. In the holy Quran surah 24 verse 21 Allah Almighty says, “O You who have attained to faith! Follow not Satan’s footsteps: for he who follows Satan’s foot¬steps [will find that], behold, he enjoins but deeds of abomination and all that runs counter to reason.” Establishing justice in the society is the essence of Islam, please refer to Surah 16 verse 90 “Behold, God enjoins justice, and the doing of good, and generosity towards [one's] fellow-men and He forbids all that is shameful and all that runs counter to reason as well as envy; [and] He exhorts you [repeatedly] so that you might bear [all this] in mind”. Thus, anyone who brings forward anything in the name of Islam should be evaluated for its’ validity and thrown away if found counter to reasoning and against the spirit of holy Quran. This applies to the requirement of four witnesses.

Z.patel
Jun 06, 2013 09:04am

@quresh:just look at your neigbor iran on the left (muslim) and india on the right ( non muslim), pak can learn from both in all areas.

Wajeeh
Jun 06, 2013 09:10am

A very good article indeed. I wonder this is so simple and why these so called highly learned members of our society don't understand such a simple thing,

Mahani
Jun 06, 2013 09:08am

@Fahad: The writer is writing about what happens in Pakistan. Its not just the "illiterate police officers" that are to be blamed for the existing conditions in Pakistan. Even though Tazeer and Qazf Ordinance exist most judges in sharia courts do not follow them. That is why most rapists in pakistan get away with this crime so easily.

PS. I think you meant to call the writer "Murtaza Haider" and not Haider Raza.

Shruti
Jun 06, 2013 09:44am

@quresh: What is true Islam? I don't understand? For every failure, people blame misinterpretation of Islam, which is beyond me.

Instead, why look at religion for solutions of a social problem such as rape? Rape is wrong. Period. And modern laws and justice-systems should be used to deal with it.

Omer Shahid
Jun 06, 2013 10:09am

Quran and Islamic injunctions impose no restriction in adopting new methods to investigate or dig out the crime and culprit. Council of Islamic Ideology while giving its verdict should have assessed the issue in view of Quranic injunctions and practices of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Progressive interpretation of Islamic Laws should be encouraged vis-a-vis retrogressive method of deduction.

pramod
Jun 06, 2013 10:17am

Just one question 4 eye witness(four righteous men ) are required in case of rape I think if 4 people are there when rape is taking place and they let it happen then how they can be righteous. I think if 4 men are and saw rape and did not tried to stop it or call police to stop then they are equally responsible as rapist.

Ch Farooq
Jun 06, 2013 10:23am

Muslim nations should have set an example by forming a society free from social evils such as rape, bribery, injustice etc However, these evils do not exist in any other society more than what muslim society possess. What kind of message we are giving to rest of the world? We are earnestly adding lots of illiterate people in our population, generally Islam and Islamic values have no real place in their lives as they are called muslims just because they are born Muslims! For god sake, muslims should wake up to educate themselves!

akhtar
Jun 06, 2013 10:32am

very well written article but has contradictions which gives impression of Murtaza,s biased attitude or ignorance. Islamic jurisprudence is a very sensitive matter and cannot be discussed on whims and personal likes and dislikes. It is based on authority much superior than intellect of an ordinary Ph,d as against man made law which traces its origin in centuries old traditions of uncivilized and uneducated masses of Europe which is administered by people selected apparently on the basis of their education but in fact the considerations differ in each case. For Islamic law you need righteous people to administer it and if they deviate or transgress are immediately accounted severely. The legal system developed in the west authorizes the judge to amend and modify law to make anew law known as case law on the bases of which the lawyers community thrives and decisions also differ from earlier decisions thus making a mockery of the law. In Islamic system a qazi is restricted to what has been explicitly decreed. The author contradict his statement by saying the provisions of of hadood ordinance is a copy of colonial era law. Mr Murtaza the legal system of our beloved Pakistan was imposed by col lord clive boss of notorious East India company and we are even now suffering for the sin of our elders whose deed enslaved us. You praised it on one side and condemn it on other. Compare American law and system with on in our country and you know the reality. As regard hadood law there are imbiguities which have not been heeded to .The successive govts did not bother to amend it because it provides tool to them to malign Gen Zia. He was not a law expert but those whom he entrusted to frame hadood ordinance are responsible but are rarely mentioned much short of maligning them. The only mistake he committed was that he entrusted its administration to corrupt system. I remember an old man saying the Gen is providing us Islamic justice through Jews to decide the disputes. The present govt which did not do it in its earlier two terms ,if pressed hard may take the initiative and rid us of this in justice by adequately amending it strictly in accordance with injunctions of the noble quran and also ensuring that the second party does not exploit it.

Sal
Jun 06, 2013 10:39am

@Fahad: That's exactly what the article is saying. If the woman complains that she was raped, but can't produce four witnesses, a near impossibility in case of rape, she is then charged with plain old sex outside of marriage if becomes pregnant. Since the court already rejected rape evidence as weak or circumstantial, the man or men simply walk away.

If we only gave the woman the benefit of the doubt and not charge her of sex outside of marriage under tazeer, and simply said that since the man responsible for this pregnancy is not identified, until such time that he is found, the woman can not be charged with any crime either. She can raise the unborn child, have an abortion, or give it up for adoption.

Feroz
Jun 06, 2013 10:42am

To believe that all answers to the Worlds problems can be found in any one book, is simply unbelievable. A subject like science is not dependent on any religion for its achievements. We want to exploit its benefits by using all products and gadgets, however when we want to keep women suppressed as second class citizens we have no shame to hide under the skirt of Religion. Very sad to see such opportunism and human regression.

Ashhar
Jun 06, 2013 11:21am

First of all the condition of four witnesses is not for "Zina" either rape or with consent. It is for "Fawahish", Act that leads to Zina. All are requested to read it again and see words used in arabic. Secondly rape is an extrame case of killing personality. Quran suggest death sentence in extreme case. See sura AlEhzab ayat 59-61. Also study the complete context. Quran does not bind it method of witness.

malik
Jun 06, 2013 11:26am

I guess the lesson for a woman is if she plans to be raped she should take four witnesses with her who can testify and narrate the whole incident for the pleasure of court.

malik
Jun 06, 2013 11:29am

@Arman Zain: It is very clear that four witnesses are required ony to protect chaste women from false allegation and not the other way. Please dont try to misinterpret what is said in these ayats. And there is no mentioning of stoning anywhere in the whole quran.

jamil
Jun 06, 2013 11:33am

Very well written and enlightening article exposing these hypocrite mullahs......

Mariam
Jun 06, 2013 11:34am

@Junaid H.: The requirement of four witness is not for the rape case. It is required for adultery or fornication.

Umair Ali
Jun 06, 2013 11:37am

Assalam o alaykum,

Great article Murtaza bhai. You wrote my heart out. There are many things, which have nothing to do with Islam, but are in practice by Muslims. We can do few things. First, we must create awareness among people about true Islam. It is only possible if we teach the right Islam in education institutes so that one can argue to mulla teaching Islam in the Madrasas and Mosques. Second, write about it, like you are doing. Third, force the govt. to change the law. There are many people like me who want to change many things, but do not know what to do. It is like we want to go to Murree, but do not know the route. Any suggestions will be highly appreciated. I want change and want to be a part of it.

malole
Jun 06, 2013 11:35am

That is it. We need to ger rid of these archaic laws which are open to as many interpretations. No two mullas will agree on the translation of a single ayat so how can we leave this interpretation to them?

UtilizeTimeEffectively
Jun 06, 2013 11:46am

?????? ????? ? ???? ???? ? ??????,

May Allah benefit us all from the goodness. The person who can be trusted is the messenger of Allah Muhammad ??? ???? ???? ???? any one else sayings must be confirmed up to the prophet ??? ???? ???? ????, if it matches then we accept if not we drop it, even if the whole Ummah says one thing.

We must ourselves strive to find the TRUTH and should not expect it to knock on our door and come in our lives whilst we are sleeping.

There are many out there calling to many ways, the point is one of them is right, but who? The one on the Quran and Sunnah, right.... But all of them claim as such. Confusion over confusion. No that's not right.

But how many time did we find a time to read the translation of Quran and understand what our Rub has sent to us in his own words.

We should derive our sources from the same well from which companions of the blessed prophet drank from. The Quran and the companionship of prophet. The prophet ??? ???? ???? ???? said the the best era is mine, then of those who come after and then of those who come after. As long as we stick to those best early generation we will be guided.

Take the time out of life which will benefit the most, which has the tendency to influence and shape the life as its should be. Read the Quran ( http://ar.islamway.com/SF/quran/ ) small portion at a time 'say ten ayah' understand it and apply on life then move forward and continue to do so regulary.

HEARTS AND MINDS ARE YOUR GREATEST ASSET DON'T LET OTHERS HAVE CONTROL OVER THEM. If you don't choose and work on your objectives, others will choose for you. We submit our will only to Allah, our prayers, our slaughter, our lives and our deaths are for Allah alone.

Don't be afraid if some one mocks you whilst you are on true path, as many of them are ignorant who do not hear and see yet they have ears and eyes. We still ask Allah to guide us and them.

www.islam-qa.com/en/tree

Muhammad Awais
Jun 06, 2013 11:47am

Informative article had written by murtaza haider. If any islamic country is able to implement true Islam then this type of rape cases can be lessened but cannot be fully removed the reason is western people. By punishing them who do these types of low moral deeds we can set up an example and in Islam everyone knows that there is very strictness in this regard.

TAM
Jun 06, 2013 11:51am

"This infringement of Quranic law continues unabated in Pakistan." Not only against women but in many walks of life this statement is very true.

FarmerDr
Jun 06, 2013 12:18pm

The present law is unjust and hence defies the noble Quran. Those who support this law are enemies of the Prophet (as) and of his teachings. The four eye witness requirement for rape conviction and denial of DNA evidence as primary evidence clearly go against reason, against justice, against Divine Guidance. Misguided mullahs have trapped themselves into a self deluding belief into which they wish to trap others with irrational argument.

Hasan
Jun 06, 2013 12:26pm

There should always be a separation of church and state, or in this case mosque and state. Many rapes occur in completely isolated areas so the concept of bringing 4 witnesses whether male or female is incredibly difficult and allows rapists to get away under islamic law.

Tahir Alam
Jun 06, 2013 12:35pm

@quresh: yes, we are following a mix of Islam and local customs. This happens only due to lack of knowledge about Islam among the masses. The educated people must come to Islam and get Islamic education so that we can have better opinion and better legislation.

Farhan
Jun 06, 2013 12:40pm

Very well researched and informative article. I admire the writer's effort for highlighting such a key issue. Similar voices can be heard across the country but the sluggish government reamin incapable/reluctant of making any amendments in Hudood ordinance. Human rights activists has to put an immense pressure on our blatant shameless leaders to address this disease of our society.

Naveen
Jun 06, 2013 12:50pm

It is not about what is right and what is wrong, but what majority of ordinary Pakistanis want. And what the majority in Pakistan wants (as per various surveys) is a full scale implementation of Sharia (exact version can be agreed upon with discussion b/w religious scholars). A Woman's rights, minorities right are to be defined as per interpretation of Quran by the Mullahs. Like it or not, These laws are here to stay as as I see no progressive mass based revolution brewing on Pakistan's horizon. Infact going by the trajectory, I am looking forward to imposition of Jizya on the Dhimmis within next few decades.

Replier
Jun 06, 2013 01:02pm

@quresh: If he's talking about rape laws, he is pretty spot on if he's graphic. Dawn is not a children's magazine.

Farooq Ali
Jun 06, 2013 01:36pm

Very well written and researched article , I propose you to file the same in Supreme Court Of Pakistan to get a fair interpretation of this debatable matter.

Adnan
Jun 06, 2013 01:42pm

The new Parliament has many new female faces (including those appointed on reserved seats). These parliamentarians must fulfil their responsibilites in making laws to prevent the exploitation of women. I think they should launch a nation-wide campaign, garner more support among the masses (particularly women) in all provinces, and present a bill in the Parliament to allow DNA test as sufficent for conviction in alleged rape cases.

ss
Jun 06, 2013 02:00pm

@Raj Patel: I don't think the number of cases registered would be anyway near actual incidents of rape, in our society rape victims are treated as the actual culprits :-/

ss
Jun 06, 2013 02:09pm

expecting anything logical from Pakistani Mullahs is illogical :-/

ss
Jun 06, 2013 02:11pm

Brilliant article, kudos!!

Rashid
Jun 06, 2013 03:16pm

If everyone is intelligent enough to interpret the religion as per his own convenience, why did God send prophets? If Qura'n says four witnesses it must be due to some purpose or do you mean to say that God could not have foreseen the discovery of DNA?

Shabbir
Jun 06, 2013 03:22pm

What an ingightful and englihtening writing. Thanks So it is not mendatory for a woman to present 4 witnesses?. Looking forward to some action from our legislators.

jibran
Jun 06, 2013 03:26pm

Darkest Age of Muslim history : So called Islamic thekadars Refused to accept Truth and their religious Ego to legalize the Rape victims.

abdul
Jun 06, 2013 03:55pm

well written article. Still some points that needs further research 1. Rape includes Zina + physical assault. Do we have references where in case of rape, the case of physical assault can be pursued independent of rape, in absence of 4 withess. I read a references where a woman admitted that she was forced upon by a man in exchange for food. As she did not have food ( for quite long - i guess), she was not punished for Zina by Caliph Hazrat Umar RA. 2. DNA evidence proves sexual intercourse by a particular man or men. It can not tell if it was by consent or by force. 3. Circumstantial forensic evidences: can a doctor who examine the rape victim can be a witness for marks of injuries/resistance on her body? by the way, pregnancy is a circumstantial evidence of sexual intercourse. 4.It s wrong to argue that sharia does not accept women witness. But the number required is double as compared to man; in my understanding. 5. Rape cases are intrinsically complex and difficult. Be it any country. See wiki-leak founder's case Julian Assange. We should be aware that false rape accusations are also used to settle disputes. In some studies false rape cases are reported to be as high as 40%. As a universally accepted principal of law, its more unacceptable to punish an innocent as compared to let a criminal walk free. See infamous Delhi bus rape case is marred by custodial death of key accused.

Zeeshan raza
Jun 06, 2013 04:15pm

@Hasan: I disagree with your comments, No one can escape under "Islamic Law", these things are happening bcoz ppl are starting to believe that What they think is right is Islamic! Every one has his own interpretation.

I totally agree with this article.

Zeeshan raza
Jun 06, 2013 04:19pm

Dear Murtaza bhai,

Very well written, more ppl must stand up to this oppressiveness against women. I think its better if women themselves get properly trained in the interpretation of Quran and cud debate with these Jaahil Mullahs!!!

Hanif
Jun 06, 2013 04:47pm

No one can object law of Quran neither anyone can change it or enforce HUD. So Hadood is right in this regard to enforce HUD on Zina crime in not to accept DNA as compare to 4 witnesses. However, there is no restriction in Islam of making a Pakistani law (Tazeer-Pakistan) which can accept the DNA as evidence and punish the culprit, and it needs to be done as law of Pakistan and not as Islamic law.

Naeem
Jun 06, 2013 05:08pm

Ok, so let me get this straight.... If a woman and a man fornicate in public, in the nude, then the proscribed punishment is ok. But what if a woman fornicates in private, and later, due to either societal pressure to be a virgin, or being ashamed of doing the act after the fact, or due to discovery of the act cries rape, then what's the procedure? Should she be exempt again, as there are no witnesses? For the love of whoever you revere, stop shoving this feminist bs down our throat. Women do shitty things just like everybody, don't try to portray them as something purer or fairer then men.

o'brother
Jun 06, 2013 05:19pm

I think everyone is confused. Rape is NOT like any other sex act. It is more akin to, excuse me for a very poor comparison, being stabbed. No one in his or her right mind would like to be stabbed. As such all kinds of forensic evidence becomes acceptable and justifiable. For anyone, regardless who it be, to require 4 eye witnesses is being unislami and surely mocking islami law. It displays their lack of knowledge and 'hikmah', but a must in islam. I ask these so called Ulema-i-deen to produce their evidence. I assure you they will not because they cannot or they will provided manufactured evidence, one without basis. May Allah protect the innocent.

Latif Khan
Jun 06, 2013 05:21pm

Excellent article for brain storming and exploring possible solutions to deter rapists and protect the rights of innocent women and minor girls. I wonder Islam has progressed in the last 1400 years and created well known scholars and saints, too, but I can't find a single Muslim sect who have achieved a competency and confidence to come up with a perfect solution. Every sect interprets the Holy Quran its own way but fell short of modern support with technology and methodology to reach to conclusive decision and fails to achieve the highest degree of justice for innocent people. Every day these cases happen all over the world. It can be catalogued and decision should be made on the merit of cases with the help of experts. These Ulma who have become politicians have no or little knowledge in this field. It requires ingenuity of the religion scholars, scientists, medical specialists, criminologists and the legal experts to bridge this gap and unlock the Qurannic facts in the light of modern world. Our Ulmas have not done what they were supposed to do in Pakistan. Good luck Pakistan

dhananjay
Jun 06, 2013 05:37pm

From where any lady will find four male witnesses? And will it be "Islamic" for such four male witnesses to watch such rape silently without resisting? Judges and the clergies both seem to have gone completely insane. Utterly disgusting.

Bonga
Jun 06, 2013 06:02pm

@Naeem: Rapist!

rchellaram@gmail.com
Jun 06, 2013 06:04pm

Professor What about force conversion (from Hindu into Islam) by the so called Imam i.e. Rinkle. Does Quran allow such act? What are the consequences?

akram
Jun 06, 2013 06:18pm

Islam like any religion believes in justice, our mullahs on the other hand believe in misogyny in the name of religion. They think by holding back the rights of women and minorities they are somehow following Islamic values, they are in fact just attempting to hold back modernity, which is a foolish endeavor doomed to failure.

At every turn these people want to turn the clock back to the 7th century, the problem is this is not the 7th century, and much like trying to apply the rules of the 15th century are not going to work in the 21st century, the 7th century rules are not appropriate for the modern era. Yet we will continue this dance, until we realise you are not going to get any common sense out of people who have none.

my late poopi once said in Punjabi "bundha utni gul karda hai, jitni udhe kol akal hai" very appropriate for our Mullah friends.

A. Khan
Jun 06, 2013 06:25pm

What the mullahs do in the name of Islam is what I call religious blackmail. If you speak out against them, you are speaking out against Islam and that is where their power lies.

Its time people spoke out against mullahism. Their antiquated views of the world and myopic interpretations of the quran are outdated and no longer relevant. Mullahs should be consigned to the dust bin of history as well as the Hudood Ordinance & the CII, which is Zia Ul Haq's lasting legacy apart from the Kalashnikov culture.

naimat ali sardar
Jun 06, 2013 06:29pm

dear sir, me ne yasir peer zada ka coloumn read kia is baary me , mujy nahayet he dukh hova hay k hmary molvio ne itna zulm kia hay , Allah na kry ager on ki bahoo betio k saath rape hota hay and koi victom nahi milta except DNA test k to vo kia kry gay , Allah ka khouf nahi hay in molvio ko , Allah asania peda kry

akram
Jun 06, 2013 06:32pm

@Tahir Alam: did you ever consider the educated people already know islam and are thus disenchanted with it? hence their lack of interest in 'Islamic solutions'. Take a look at every election of the last 60 years the islamic parties never get more than 5% of the vote, why?

Zulqarnain
Jun 06, 2013 06:40pm

Folks here is the summary of the laws that are in force regarding rape in Pakistan as per WPA2006. Please tell me why the judge let go all the accused even though one of the accused was identified by the victim. Remember this verdict came on 18 APr 2003 and CII opinion came on 30 May 2013. The fact is that CII opinion carried no weight and in the matter of the 18-year old girl, the case was decided by penal court, not by Shariat court.

Zinâ bil jabr (rape)-hadd Proof : a) Confession b) Four truthful adult male Muslim eye-witnesses. Punishment : Punishment 100 lashes for minors and stoning to death for adult married people

zinâ bil jabr (rape)-tâ‘zîr Proof : No standard of proof is provided; at the discretion of the judge. Punishment :Imprisonment for not less than 5 and not more than 25 years and 30 lashes

Why do all liberal/ secular writers forget to mention all the facts . Why do they forget to mention that CII is only an advisory body whose members are selected by the ruling government. They do not fall from sky nor are nominated by Allah SWT. Why did PPP have such illiterate scholars in CII to begin with? The head of CII (Sheerani) is the right hand man of Fazlu (Moulana Diesel), why does media not mention this? No one wants to bother with the real facts they only want to use the name of Islam. See how beautifully the writer in this case has missed the point that this whole issue is more than 5 years old, that the verdict of session judge did not come out as a result of CII opinion (Which holds no validity of enforcement), that the judge could easily have punished the accused and that Supreme Court of Pakistan has allowed DNA to be used as evidence and this judgement hold legal power of enforcement. Instead in the whole article he has cried fowl on the now demised Hudud Laws.

Lakhkar Khan
Jun 06, 2013 07:06pm

@gee: There is everything wrong with mullah. They are jahils in Quranic study to start with.

Lakhkar Khan
Jun 06, 2013 07:15pm

@Arman Zain:

Most Pakistanis do not agree with you.

Look at the score: 18 hands up 90 hands down. I am one of given you hand down.

Lakhkar Khan
Jun 06, 2013 07:16pm

@I.Khan: We will never get to see that. Mullahs have different standard for themselves than for eveyone else.

Em Tee
Jun 06, 2013 07:23pm

While I am not completely well-versed with Pakistani law, from my study of Islamic sources I do know that Hudood Ordinance is one of the most misinterpreted law in the Pakistani society, and people are blaming Islamic scholars, or 'mullahs,' for the misinterpretation without actually knowing the whole truth. How many people here can claim that they've actually gone to a mufti to understand the Islamic law before starting these coffee-table-discussions and blaming these scholars for the mess in the system?

It is unfortunate that we point fingers at those whose version and understanding on this issue we aren't even aware of!

Syed Bokhari
Jun 06, 2013 07:40pm

**I sincerely hope this injustice to the female comes to an end as soon as possible. My heart goes out to such victims and helplessness which comes in the wake of such heinous crime against them. Such culprits should be decapitated in public to serve as deterrent.

Fatima-Zehra
Jun 06, 2013 07:47pm

A very good article indeed.

Hudood Laws need to be repealed. Period.

In their place, there should be separate, secular, religion-free and modern laws in place for the crimes with which the barbaric Hudood Laws supposedly deal.

The 4 witnesses requirement for a rape victim in order to prove that she's been raped is an appaling example of why you need to separate religion from state and politics as soon as possible, if you ought to make any sort of progress in any direction at all and if you want to protect the lives, rights and honor and dignity of your citizens, especially women.

Khalid Nazim
Jun 06, 2013 07:50pm

Dear Murtaza,

Fantastic article - as usual. Great research and comparative analysis. To all the people who somehow think that the law in Pakistan is correct and just, answer this question: If a female member of your family is raped, where will you get justice for her, In Pakistan or in Canada?

Murtaza, Can you put this analysis as part of a petition on Change.org and we can then start a campaign to push Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan to bring about the required changes in the law? We can at least document public opinion and support for changing these laws in Pakistan then.

Again, thank you very much for your article.

Regards Khalid

Mengal
Jun 06, 2013 08:11pm

how illogical is to bring four eye witnesses for rape case. it encourages the rapist to rape more and more women. i think i should suggest all the females to take with them four men around when they go out and ask them take no action and just help me in pak courts to get justice. silly laws silly people.

H L
Jun 06, 2013 08:10pm

@Naeem: Wakeup Naeem Sahib. please for sake of your daughters and mother. Because for sake of God you did not read the research and effort author put in before writing this blog.

Zack Khan
Jun 06, 2013 08:13pm

1400 years ago if Prophet would have said that DNA would be an acceptable form of evidence against rape, would have made sense ?

Zack Khan
Jun 06, 2013 08:19pm

@Naeem: Yes in western society they do( i have been in USA since 1980), but not in your society!

Zack Khan
Jun 06, 2013 08:23pm

@Rashid: You are missing the point rashid pai...Allah can foresee more than your tiny brain cell... He has to make a point 1400 years ago to produce some kind of very heavy evidence against rape, during those time peoples thought process was no more than yours(maybe little bit more than yours) therefore DNA couldn't be mention at the time!

naghman qureshi
Jun 06, 2013 09:00pm

in this male dominated society,these laws are meant to suppress the the women professionally and politically not only in pakistan but all the other islamic countries.this is a disgrace

A.M.
Jun 06, 2013 09:04pm

Case of rape and court verdict-- how foolish were the judges To look for answer in Islam to every problem in a society is lunacy.

pathanoo
Jun 06, 2013 09:19pm

First of all, the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) MUST be renames as "Council of Islamic Idiots." Then the next question I have is why EVERY THING has to be looked through the mirror of Islam and must be justified or distorted to glorify Islam and find excuses for the dysfunctionalities of Muslim societies.

Why not use logic, common sense, reality, civil laws and human philosophy to enunciate laws and implement them. It's time to give Islam a little rest. You think?

Arman Zain
Jun 06, 2013 09:32pm

@malik: 1 - It is Islamic law to have four witness for prove of Zina - It is in Quran thus can't be argued being a Muslim

2 - Yes Stoning is not in Quran but there are many Hadith talking about Stoning of a married person.

The topic was DNA in case of Rape and Pakistan law. DNA cant be primary evidence as it doesn't prove distinguish between adultery, rape and implantation of DNA for sake of defamation. It can certainly be used as support evidence.

Regard Arman Zain

Arman Zain
Jun 06, 2013 09:38pm

@Asif : Thanks for your detailed reply 1 - Lets not get emotional

2 - The requirement of 4 male witness is not suggested by me. It is clearly written in Quran. I am no one to Challenge that. I am a Muslim and I abide by that. The rational behind the requirement for 4 witness is a long topic but It is law and being a Muslim we cant argue that.

3 - What is happens to member of my family. I still don't have the power to change divine regardless of how much pain I am in. In such case if I cant prove rape, then I should stay patient and seek justice from Allah.

Regards

Arman Zain

sana
Jun 06, 2013 09:43pm

producing four witnesses is actually in the case of "adultery"..... rape is completely different thing and the punishment for rape is also different. i dont know why you are trying to confuse viewers. Anyway your worries would not change the laws

sana
Jun 06, 2013 09:44pm

@o'brother: you are right my friend. DNA can be produced any way,,, anyone can be pulled into a crime that he never committed. now a days DNA can be produced simply from a used towel or even a tissue paper. But in this article they are confusing adultery with rape

Arman Zain
Jun 06, 2013 09:43pm

@Roz:

What in case if DNA was implanted to cause defamation. so technically DNA presence doesn't even prove that anything happened between male and female. Yes it is plausible but not enough to charge someone of heinous crime.Indeed there are other medical evidence that cane make case stronger but DNA alone is not sufficient.

Further, law of 4 witness is not bounded to consent or enforced sexual act, It is requirement to prove Zina, Sex outside of marriage.

Regards

Arman Zain

Arman Zain
Jun 06, 2013 09:46pm

@Matin:

If standing by the words of Quran and Divine law means being Mullah, than I have no objection to it. We are in this state because our scholars or should I say true scholars have abandoned us.

Regards

Arman Zain

Arman Zain
Jun 06, 2013 09:51pm

@Syed Shah:

I wouldn't say people of Pakistan are hypocrite but they are more inspired by west then Islam. Our tragedy is that we never tried to study Islam, we love to talk about it , discuss it, blog it but never study it.

Today Pakistani population seems to be divided in to extremes One overly liberal , other overly conservative and Islam lies in middle. We need to educate ourselves with Islam rather than arguing over basic laws of Islam as we don't even have knowledge base to do so.

Regards

Arman Zain

Karen McFly
Jun 06, 2013 09:54pm

@Naeem: Have you read the article? I suppose not, because if you had you would know that it doesn't talk about women being all good and men all bad but quite on the contrary lists examples where women have falsely accused of men and thus it has been reasoned that empirical evidence must be used to determine who is speaking the truth. I recently watched a documentary about Islam and Science on youtube, which is no longer available in Pakistan as the country has entered the very dark ages, which could be seen in the video that showed how interested in progress Islam was back in the day before people started corrupting it and changing things for their own good.

Karen McFly
Jun 06, 2013 09:52pm

@Naeem: Have you read the article? I suppose not, because if you had you would know that it doesn't talk about women being all good and men all bad but quite on the contrary lists examples where women have falsely accused of men and thus it has been reasoned that empirical evidence must be used to determine who is speaking the truth. I recently watched a documentary about Islam and Science on youtube, which is no longer available in Pakistan as the country has entered the very dark ages, which could be seen in the video that showed how interested in progress Islam was back in the day before people started corrupting it and changing things for their own good.

Arman Zain
Jun 06, 2013 10:00pm

@Rafiq Syed:

if we take Islam out of state law then we say that Islam is not a complete system but set of some rituals like Namaz and Roza, which wouldn't be right .Islam is only religion which has complete law and historically implemented law .

Yes DNA was not there in 7th Century but Divine laws are not bounded to time. In Islamic law there is way to deal with new inventions as time progress, "ijtih?d."

Sorry being a Muslim I don't think secularism is an answer. As being a Muslim we all have to abide by Islamic Law first and far most.

Regards

Arman Zain

Sun
Jun 06, 2013 10:23pm

@Rashid: Kindly explain why would a rapist first gather four adult males to watch him and then go through with this heinous crime? Surely you must know that islam does not forbid you to use your brain which you have been blessed with.

A.Rehman
Jun 06, 2013 10:21pm

@akhtar Seems to me that are in a habit of writing pointlessly. Waste of time!

Jalaluddin S. Hussain
Jun 06, 2013 10:36pm

Please do not justify rape in any shape or form. The bottom line is that there a basic right to say "NO". Thus a rape can take place even between a lawfully-wedded couple!

The crucial point is, if it is WITHOUT CONSENT. A wife can sexually assault a husband and by the same token a husband can sexually assault a wife.

Logically therefore, the action of sexual assault/rape can take place between any combinations: male/female, male/male and female/female. The bottom line is if it take place WITHOUT CONSENT of the ADULT partners involved.

Jay
Jun 06, 2013 10:37pm

For an instance put the religion aside and use logic only. Problem Statement: Identification of rapist. Solutions: 1. DNA Test that tells us about sexual relation between male and female but cannot tell us about consent or force. 2. Witnesses can assure you whether sexual activity was done after consent or by force.

By using any one of above mentioned methods you cannot solve the problem.

Judge need to consider both and above all "IF A GIRL CLAIMS THAT SHE WAS RAPED, AND IS PROVED BY DNA (AND OTHER FORENSIC) MAN MUST BE PUT IN PRISON FOR A DECADE AT LEAST REGARDLESS OF THE FACT THAT IT WAS DONE BY HER CONSENT OR BY FORCE" because in any case man has done something illegal that he should have not done. Women should be given a benefit of doubt.

Naseem Altaf
Jun 06, 2013 10:43pm

@Arman Zain: How can you say that "in Quran,----,the word Zina has been used to cover both,adultery and Rape-- " . You are being incorrect .Pls refer back to Quran.

Naseem Altaf
Jun 06, 2013 10:51pm

These fossils calling themselves CII-members would also believe that finger prints taken from a crime scene e.g. theft would not entertained as a substantial evidence source .And they would (of course, wrongly) attribute their whims to Islam.

AHMAD ZAHIR KHAN
Jun 06, 2013 11:01pm

This is most misinterpreted law ,and enemies and illiterate narrators tottaly mis represent ISLAM on this law.The issue is when a WOMAN is victim her own finger pointing is enough but when Men is falsely accusing women of infidelity then he should produce a witness or the lover himself admits ,Four witnesses is a protection for women who were falsely accused to divorce them .on easy grounds.IN recent times consentual sex is no crime in English law but in ISLAM you have to produce four witness if MEN WOMEN indulge in sex out of marriage ,it protects both men and women.

Masood Hussain
Jun 06, 2013 11:04pm

Enlighted, great reseach Shariat court,Attorney General,Islamic Scholars in Pakistan should take notice of Mr. Hyder's work.

mir
Jun 06, 2013 11:06pm

Today is media strong. Calling mullahs jahil is just a way out, and providing deluded information, in such articles is just meant to mislead people.

Maybe such articles are credible for the normal modernist. I see, when such idealists come w/ such issues to people like Zakir naik, are silenced in the light of true Islam. Even though he doesn't call himself a scholar. Mullahs are the true knowledgeable people, but the modern world cant stand them, as their is no other bigger block in spreading their indecent culture as them,

I cant find any other label for such people other than a miscreant.

mukesh
Jun 07, 2013 12:18am

@Z.patel: I agree with u.....but just wanted to clarify that india is not a non-muslim country.....it has muslims population which is almost equal to muslim population of pakistan and surely have more muslims than Iran and muslims.....

hafsa
Jun 07, 2013 01:21am

@Rashid: that is in case one is accusing someone of adultery ...not for being raped. don't forget ALL those who are just losing their wits that in any case a COMPLETE investigation will be held...but things like DNA etc can HELP the case...that is all. No wonder we hate progress....we are so stubborn and just want to stick t our beliefs...without making sure if we are right or wrong. Allah be with us. Ameen.

2cents
Jun 07, 2013 01:42am

How bout all the women start raping all the men, I'm sure then the laws would change!

Khalid
Jun 07, 2013 01:48am

DNA evidence is considered primary evidence in most civilised countries. How sad that in Pakistan it is being used a shield for the rapists. I wonder if the people who believe DNA should be used as primary evidence what would they think if their sister daughter or mother was raped?. As for the 4 witnesses, my questions are: 1) What if there are 3 witnesses?. Would that be considered insufficient evidence?. 2) What are these 4 men supposed to be doing while a rape is being committed?. Just witnessing it?

Kausik
Jun 07, 2013 02:47am

3 having sex with one in a deserted public place and still not considered Rape as 4 males have to testify as witnesses must be a cruel joke on victim.Gang rapes happen all over the world including Pakistan.The question is can you have civilized laws to protect your women.Religion over science as in west DNA evidence accepted as it comes from sexual sites.What if the witnesses refuse to testify and are partisan as gang rapes happened in public places and people ignore eg gang rape in a bus in Delhi.women all over the world are main victims as there are not many instances of male victims.Please protect women with proper laws

nasir siddique
Jun 07, 2013 03:59am

anyone wonder why we as a nation are in such a mess?

Momekh
Jun 07, 2013 07:55am

Will someone PLEASE get Ghamidi to explain the Quran and Sunnah to us all!? This "in the name of the Lord" defies all logic. If what this article says is correct, then how can one even claim to believe in a just god? And my God is just. This one, not so much.

Dixit
Jun 07, 2013 10:41am

A fair medical inspection can proove it easily whether the sexual act was consensual or by force. Why should religion obstruct the way of law of state.

Reshma
Jun 07, 2013 11:20am

A well researched article....I hope such articles bring the change needed in Pakistan. We all should raise our voice.

pramod
Jun 07, 2013 12:00pm

@Ahmed Raza: I think most of the old religion or religion which are almost of same age as Islam are today much modern than Islam or they are minimum open to reforms. Islam is the only religion which is going in reverse direction.

Yousaf
Jun 07, 2013 12:01pm

We must change with time or become irrelevant in the coming days and years.

Amit Singh
Jun 07, 2013 12:24pm

sana my dear Friend, DNA is world wide acceptable and there is no chance of even 1% mistake in it, while as far as eyewitness is concern, no one is ready to take risk against these criminals, or they may face warning. And it may also possible that they may be molt by given money. This is rubbish.

This is the law of Idiots.

Amit Singh
Jun 07, 2013 12:38pm

Arman Zain, Don't forget Allah helps only those who help himself first. You are muslim, it doesn't mean that you have no right to raise voice against any unlawful provision. You people are future of your country. I am an Indian, but I am not telling it as Indian but as Human. Any victim, doesn't matter weather she is in your country or from my country, suffers alost in this man mind world. Any crime against women is really painful to hear. Just take the initiative and try to change the people mind set.

HS
Jun 07, 2013 01:24pm

Common law does not require four adult male witnesses

Kashif
Jun 07, 2013 02:35pm

Once again a master piece from Dr. Murtaza. Well done! May Allah guide us and thekedar of Islams

Khair Khwa
Jun 07, 2013 03:35pm

It is enough for a law to be un-Islamic if its application disadvantages innocent people. The application of the recent 'fatwa' of the Council of the Islamic Ideology that the evidence of DNA is not sufficient for conviction has immediately benefitted rapists and disadvantaged women folk in this country. Hence, the given fatwa about DNA is un-Islamic.

Khalid
Jun 07, 2013 06:12pm

@Naeem: Your mannerism, your logic and your choice of words for women demonstrates exactly how men in Pakistan think and you are no exception. I have not seen anyone use such rude language for women?.

Yahya
Jun 07, 2013 06:13pm

4 witnesses is required for the Hadd punishment (death penalty). Any kind of evidence, forensic, medical, circumstantial, is admissible for a tazeer (discretionary) verdict which is where virtually all cases go and the punishment is at the discretion of a judge but it can not be death (the Hadd).

An accusation of rape cannot be turned into a conviction of adultery under Pakistan's actual Hudood Ordinances according to the authors (see the previous posts of mine here for links to articles on that). An American who did a study (Charles Kennedy) said Pakistani and Western press were both spreading lies in this regard and found no evidence for this. Rather, he found that more men were convicted of adultery (and obviously of rape) and women were more often given the benefit of the doubt and exonerated even when the man was convicted for adultery.

You can learn this from Wikipedia and the author of this article can't even bother to fact check and just publishes sensational rumors and stories.

Tell us Murtaza, why do you personally wish to decriminalize adultery?

Yahya
Jun 07, 2013 06:15pm

There are no Hudood laws today, they were removed under Musharraf, this entire article is a strawman fallacy.

Akhter Husain
Jun 08, 2013 12:49am

@Karen McFly: You are right.The writer does not say that all women are good and all men are bad.But it is also true that the writer does not say all men are good and all women are bad.Here it is not the question who is good or bad but if rape has been committed or not.The DNA test provides a clue that intercourse has taken place. It would be rape if done without consent and if it was done with consent then both are punishable.

Akhter Husain
Jun 08, 2013 12:54am

@Naeem: From your logic we in Pakistan need no law about rape because it has not been given in Quran

Shruti
Jun 08, 2013 02:38am

@Yousaf: Absolutely. Science has moved so far ahead. It gives more answers than religion and books written 2000-3000 years back ever could. We must not discourage science!

Shruti
Jun 08, 2013 02:46am

@2cents: Absolutely. If women were to become more physically stronger, men would be crying for a change in laws.

Shruti
Jun 08, 2013 02:50am

@sana: It pains me to see a woman not defending the rights of another woman! Rape (in or outside marriage) should be condemned. And DNA evidence is evidence enough.

Shruti
Jun 08, 2013 02:53am

@Arman Zain: You have all the powers to challenge the divine! Religion must also progress and evolve, just as all institutions do. That is the only way to keep religion relevant.

Asif
Jun 08, 2013 07:19am

@Arman Zain: You are missing the point again. Read the article. 4 witnesses are required for zina but nowhere does it say in the Quran that is required for zina bil Jibr. If your criteria of 4 witnesses for rape is applied then no matter what other evidence is brought forward, whether DNA or anything else, it would be irrelevant in almost every case if not 100% of cases. Now do you understand? You are not talking about Islamic law, you and the Pakistani mullahs are applying their own man made laws and labelling them Islamic laws. Why is this law only in Pakistan and in no other Muslim country, not even Saudi Arabia?

Syed Shmed
Jun 08, 2013 07:42am

I have never understood, why the Mullahs are even considered knowledgeable to interpret Quran. The reason Quran requires four witnesses in case of consensual intercourse (or zinna) that males were using it to falsely accuse women to divorce the wife or just enjoy the acts, knowing that under the present so called "Islamic" law would never convict them. What a mockery of Quranic injunctions? It is similar to an old saying in Urdu "chat bhi meri, pat bhi meri", or as somebody jokingly says "Head I win, and tail you lose". It is about time, the Hudood Ordinance should be changed and this time let some really qualified Lawyers draft it, and cut-and-past should not be an option. Start from scratch.

Kt
Jun 08, 2013 03:16pm

@Jay: Jail for sex with consent....?????????

Fauzia
Jun 08, 2013 06:23pm

The article is well-written but missed one important point. I have been doing some reading on the topic since I first read about this particular case. In classical Islamic jurisprudence, Hanafi scholars have indeed included rape in the same category as fornication as a "Had" crime. Had crimes are classified as committed against God (not against the victim) and all of them have severe punishments. So, the general rule for these early jurists was that the severe punishment warranted very difficult (may I say almost impossible) conditions to prove the crime, hence in case of fornication (which was also extended to rape), nearly impossible conditions to prove the crime (four adult male Muslim as witnessed who had seen the actual act of penetration..). Malikis have significant difference of opinion on this issue. In case of Pakistani laws, I think if we can take the rape off the hudood laws, that can solve the issue. Because the hadd is death by stoning in classical Islamic jurisprudence, hence all possible benefits of doubt to the accused. However, it does leave the real victims without justice. So one way of making sure that justice is done with both the victim and accused is to to keep the conditions for hadd (so hadd will not be applicable if there are no four male adult witnesses...) but then still have the room to have taair on the bases of circumstantial evidence and tazir can have anything from 10 to 15 years in jail as well as financial compensation for the victim.

Fauzia
Jun 08, 2013 06:24pm

The second option, as I said before, to completely separate the rape from huddod laws. It has no place there in fact as the writer has mentioned. Fornication is between two consenting adults whereas rape is nothing but a show or power and taking away basic human rights from the victim by force. The rape crimes can be tried under hiraba and jirah or just as a crime against the victim.

Fauzia
Jun 08, 2013 06:35pm

@Arman Zain: The huddod law is not a divine law. I hope you understand the difference between what is really divine (it is in Qur'an) and interpretation of Qur'an by jurists who were human beings like us. And the most important fact is that they "DIFFERED" in their understanding and accepted the differences in opinion. They never said that stop thinking after us. It is our problem that we do not want to do the hard work they did hundreds of years ago. One of the basic principle of fiqh is that it changes with the changes in time and cultural contexts.

Arman Zain
Jun 09, 2013 12:23am

@Amit Singh:

DNA is accepted as evidence but not primary evidence. DNA is a great forensic tool but can only be submitted as supporting evidence.

Regard

Arman Zain

Arman Zain
Jun 09, 2013 12:24am

@Naseem Altaf:

Zina, means sex outside of marriage. Which includes adultery and rape. Rape can be sub categorized as Zina-bi-Jabar (enforced Zina). So technical speaking it is covered.

Regards

Arman Zain

Arman Zain
Jun 09, 2013 12:40am

@Jalaluddin S. Hussain:

Sorry Jalauddin, the version that represent is western, that woman say No then that will be considered Rape within marriage, this is now islamic concept.

One thing really baffles me, how come we know about western concepts regarding day to day life but have no idea about islamic laws on same concepts and topics. It is telling indeed, we have astray away from our religion thus today we are arguing on things which are clearly mentioned in Quran and Hadith. Rather than standing by our religion and its concept we tring to infiltrate western concepts in Islamic law. To todays Muslim Islamic laws are Barbaric or out dated because West say so. Are we truly Muslim. Something to think about.

Regards

Arman Zain

DarkAlley
Jun 09, 2013 07:59am

@Zack Khan: When it is not making sense to you today, there are, indeed, very slim chances that it would have made sense back then.

Reformer
Jun 09, 2013 12:24pm

@mir: Actually, people like you are the real road blocks to any reforms in Pakistan and movement towards a just, civil and tolerant society. You seem to be educated but also brainwashed by the fundamental mullahs who defy any logic in their arguments. There are some exceptions with reformist Islamic scholars and the actual Islam is great and accomodates possibilities for reform but thanks to the Wahhabi Islam, the cancer from our dear friend, Saudi Arabia, we'll soon find ourselves back in 7th century in earnest so congratultions!