This is it for CAIR wannabe Omer Subhani: he has had eleven tries to produce even one error on my part, and like so many other Islamic spokesmen in the West when confronted with the teachings of Islam that jihadists use to justify violence and supremacism, all he has come up with are eleven forays into desperate logic-chopping and brazen falsehood. In this, the last part of his series, he concludes by accusing me of either "ignorance or dishonesty," and so we finish this exercise with another example of the projection that we often see from jihadists, their allies, and their dupes. Palestinian and Muslim propaganda accuses Israel of genocidal intentions and plots to control the world, when actually it is Islamic leaders who have expressed genocidal designs on Israel, and aspirations to impose Islam upon the world. And so in a much smaller arena we see here one of the most ignorant and dishonest of commentators accusing his target of just those things.
Here are Parts I, II, III, IV, V VI, VII, VIII, IX, and X.
And finally we come to the end, "Exposing Robert Spencer Part XI: Gender Issues":
More gibberish from the world's leading example on how not to be a scholar on Islam. I respond to Spencer 's comments below.
Islamic spokesmen in the West routinely claim that non-Muslims are only suspicious of Muslim intentions out of “ignorance” of the true, peaceful Islam. This, of course, goes hand-in-hand with the idea that it is not Muslims, but non-Muslims (like Geert Wilders in Fitna), who are responsible for linking Islam with violence. This approach deftly shifts the focus away from acts of violence committed by Muslims in the name of Islam, and onto the alleged “Islamophobes” who are supposedly victimizing Muslims by connecting Islam with violence.
Actually, non-Muslims are probably suspicious of Muslims because people like Spencer routinely attempt to connect Islam and violence through the guise of simply reporting on the activities of radicals, while continuously mentioning that such actions and ideology are actually part of pure Islam. If you mean misunderstandings about the faith, such as the garbage you write in this piece, then maybe that qualifies. There's a very simple way to solve the dilemma Spencer is faced with. "Islamophobes" do not simply connect Islam with violence. They are saying that Islam is violent. It's a political movement, as Pat Robertson comments, and one bent on world domination. While it is true that there are Muslims committing crimes and justifying them by using Islamic texts that does not mean that Islam, per se, is violent in of in itself. Those "Islamophobes" then are in fact "victimizing" the great majority of Muslims because they are saying that the Muslims who commit violent actions are simply following "Islam" when in fact those criminals have distorted Islamic teachings to justify their own criminal actions.
Let's unpack that. I say, in the paragraph Subhani quotes above, that it is not non-Muslims like Geert Wilders who are guilty of linking Islam with violence. Rather, it is Muslims like Osama bin Laden and others, who quote Qur'an and Hadith to justify their actions, who are guilty of linking Islam with violence.
In response, Subhani says no, it is people like Pat Robertson and me who make this link, for the fact that Muslims commit crimes and justify them by using Islamic texts does not mean that Islam, per se, is violent in of in itself. The jihadists are distorting Islamic teachings, you see.
Very well. So when the Hamas MP and cleric Yunis Al-Astal said on Al-Aqsa TV on April 11, 2008 that Islam would, "thorough da'wa and military conquests," conquer Europe and the Americas, Subhani would have us believe that he was distorting Islam, and that I have done something wrong by reporting on this because it gives some impression that there is some idea in Islam that Muslims should bring non-Muslims under the rule of Islam by preaching ("da'wa"), causing some to convert, and by military conquest and the subjugation of those who do not convert.
All right. I think it's entirely reasonable for people like Pat Robertson or anyone to get the impression that, as Subhani puts it, "Islam is violent" and is a "political movement...bent on world domination," when Muslims say things like this. For it isn't just Yunis Al-Astal, of course; Ahmadinejad has said much the same thing. So has Qaradawi, and many others also.
My question to Omer Subhani here is, if he really opposes this expansionist program, what is he doing to counter it? Is he working on some program at CAIR-South Florida to teach against Islamic supremacism and the ideology of conquest expressed by Ahmadinejad, Al-Astal, and the rest?
Or is his ire directed only at me?
What do you think?
Subhani then goes on to quote some statements I've made about the mistreatment of women in Islam, and begins playing tu-quoque games about Christianity and women. He even says some good things about how it would be wrong to force a woman to cover her hair, although here again I doubt he is actually doing anything to counter that impulse within the Islamic community, since his emphasis, like that of so many others, is solely on finger-pointing at outsiders.
Then, speaking of women being oppressed in the Islamic world, he says this:
The right to inherit, the choice to accept or decline a marriage proposal, to speak out politically, and the right to learn were all included in the Qur'an and in the life of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and prayers be upon him. Now to say that "any oppression of women in the Islamic world is simply a remnant of pre-Islamic culture" is obviously a false claim. Many people use religion to justify their actions - like beating up their wife or blowing people up. A justification is only that, a justification. It does not mean one's justification is in accordance with the facts.
True. But it then remains to be established that the justification is indeed not in accord with the facts. Subhani then attempts to do this:
Rather than regarding women as human beings equal to men, the Qur’an likens a woman to a field (tilth), to be used by a man as he wills: “Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will” (2:223).
This verse has nothing to do with men using women in whatever way they want or that the Qur'an thinks of women as less equal than men. It has to do with sexual relations between man and wife - specifically about positions couples can use when having sex as long as it is vaginal intercourse. The "tilth" reference is a metaphor for the woman's vagina, as Imam al-Qurtabi relates: "The ayat uses the word "harth" (fields) and so this must apply to the vagina, because that entails fertility (Tafsir Al-Qurtubi, translated by Aisha Bewley, p. 569). This verse does not mean that a husband can do whatever he wants to his wife, as Spencer portrays it. Nor does it imply that women are just sex slaves for men. From the Tafsir al-Jalalayn: "Your women are a tillage [tilth or field] for you, that is, the place where you sow [the seeds of] your children; so come to your tillage, that is, the specified place, the front part, as, in whichever way, you wish, whether standing up, sitting down, lying down, from the front or the back: this was revealed in response to the Jews saying that if a person had vaginal intercourse with his wife from behind, the child would be born cross-eyed... " The commentators also say this verse was revealed about Ansari women who were not comfortable with having intercourse in different positions, as Qurayshi men were accustomed to. Qurayshi men who married Ansari women were told through this verse, and all Muslim couples afterward, that having sex in different positions is perfectly fine, as long as it is vaginal intercourse, sodomy being prohibited of course.
Here again Subhani assumes I don't know something I wrote about months ago, but anyway, gee, that all sounds great! Women are equal to men, and aren't sex slaves. Logged and noted. The whole tilth thing is just about different positions. It doesn't mean that men can use women, no, not at all. Islam teaches gender equality! That hadith in which Muhammad says, "When a man invites his wife to his bed and she does not come, and he (the husband) spends the night being angry with her, the angels curse her until morning"? Just ignore it! Nothing to see there!
This verse has something to do with gender equality though: "If any do deeds of righteousness, be they male or female, and have faith, they will enter Heaven, and not the least injustice will be done to them" [4:124]. It is abundantly clear from this verse that the Qur'an looks upon males and females as equals.
No, it is abundantly clear from that verse that the Qur'an says that faithful Muslims will enter Paradise, whether they are male or female. It doesn't say anything about equality. Qur'an 4:34, however, says, according to Abdullah Yusuf Ali, "Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other." N. J. Dawood translates this passage as "Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other."
The Qur’an also declares that a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man: “Get two witnesses, out of your own men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as ye choose, for witnesses, so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her” (2:282).
Dr. Said Ramadan al-Buti says: "The reason for which the Qur'an lays the condition of two women to testify in place of one man in financial case has nothing to do with the woman's femininity as some people imagine. It springs from a basic condition in the testimony itself, represented in the witness's being highly related to the subject to which he testifies no matter whether the testifier be a man or a woman." What this means is that a Muslim woman's testimony is not regarded as reliable if she is not familiar with what is being arranged, but if she is then her testimony is equal to that of a man. Some Muslim scholars went further and said that if the woman was competent and known to be intelligent then her testimony was sufficient without the need to bring another woman. This is not a modern interpretation either, but this opinion was held by notable Muslims scholars like ibn al-Qasim, ibn Taymiyya, and ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya as well as by Imam al-Tabari, the dean of Qur'anic commentators. Spencer's words are nothing more than miserable propaganda.
It's true: 2:282 refers specifically to financial matters, and Ibn Taymiyya and his student Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya argued that in other cases testimony should be admissible from both men and women, rejecting the two-women-equal-one-man rule. However, most Islamic scholars have agreed that in hudud cases, the serious crimes for which punishment is dictated by Allah (such as theft, Qur'an 5:38), women's testimony is completely inadmissible. Islamic authorities disagree over whether a woman's testimony is worth half that of a man in general, or just in financial cases, but in any case, the view advanced by Ibn Taymiyya and his student is certainly not dominant. The Shafi'is allow two women to testify as the equivalent of one man in cases concerning property; in cases that do not involve property, i.e., marriage cases, only men can testify, although the Hanafis allow two women as the equivalent of one man to testify in marriage cases also.
It's also interesting to note that Ibn Taymiyya is quite popular with the jihadists today, because of his fierce statements about jihad warfare against unbelievers. Noting this, Islamic apologists in the West have frequently been eager to throw him under the bus. But as we see here, they'll happily drag him out from under the bus when he becomes useful in other contexts.
It allows men to marry up to four wives, and have sex with slave girls also: “If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice” (4:3).
Yes, a man can marry four women in Islam. So? If a man decides to do so he must treat them all equally in regards to taking care of them financially. Didn't Abraham have two wives? But no Christian gets bent out of shape over that. As far as having "sex with slave girls" this was allowed under Islamic law with conditions, such as the slave women could only be given over to men by the state authority, and it is not as if the men could just treat these women as garbage either. This legal area is essentially a dead letter though.
Is it really? Yet as long as these provisions remain part of the Qur'an and Islamic law, they can be revived when the conditions are right, can't they? And what about continuing instances of slavery in the Islamic world today?
As far as polygamy goes, it reduces women to the status of commodities. No orthodox Christian sect allows it or has ever allowed it, and none consider the Old Testament polygamists normative as examples for contemporary behavior.
On Qur'an 4:11 Subhani agrees with me, although he argues that the fact that sons receive double the inheritance of daughters is just dandy, so let's move along to the infamous wife-beating verse, 4:34:
It's amazing what happens when you don't use tafsir (Qur'anic commentary) to discuss a verse. I've already addressed this issue in detail here. Spencer either deliberately or mistakenly did not use a commentary when discussing this issue. Translations only lead to the mistaken understanding that Muslim men can "beat up" their wives when in reality they are allowed a light tapping or patting if their wife indulges in inappropriate activities, which was defined by the Prophet Muhammad himself during his final sermon where he told the Muslim men their right over their wives: "And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste." So, can a Muslim man beat up his wife? Absolutely not. The tapping or patting is only allowed when a very, very serious issue like adultery comes up. And that is only after the other means in the verse are taken (admonishing, banishing, etc.). Even this "beating" is only allowed as a rukhsa or dispensation, not as something that is recommended.
I'm sure Spencer owns a copy of the Reliance of the Traveler, the Shafi'i fiqh manual that he routinely brings up. It was written by ibn Naqib al-Misri in the fourteenth century and he described the "beating" as such: "His hitting her may not be in a way that injures her, and is his last recourse to save the family" (Reliance, section m11.0, p. 542). How do you beat someone without injuring them? Obviously the meaning is that some form of physical encouragement is needed only when such a situation between man and wife is on a seriously bad level, and should only be used when a husband believes it will help the situation.
We've already been down this road here. "Physical encourgement"! That's rich. All this "tapping and patting" nonsense is absurd, because tapping and patting doesn't constitute any kind of warning, or punishment, or inducement to correct one's behavior. We are to believe that a woman must obey a man, and that if a man finds his woman disobedient, he is to tap her lightly and invite her to be obedient. I can't imagine that Subhani finds any infidels gullible enough to swallow this, but I'm sure he does. I, however, will not join them. The whole idea of 4:34 is that a man is authorized to administer corporal punishment to a disobedient woman. He is, in other words, to cause her pain in order to demonstrate to her that disobedience is profitless. Then the Islamic apologists come and say, Oh, no, he isn't to cause her pain. In that case, the entire substance of the verse is voided. 4:34 contains a three-step trajectory: a man is first to warn the disobedient woman, then send her to a separate bed (depriving her of the bliss of her man's companionship), and then beat her. Subhani would have us believe that this means warn her first, then send her to a separate bed, then tap her lightly as a...warning. So we're back to step one.
In any case, Subhani is so tangled up in apologetic nonsense that he doesn't even notice when he contradicts himself. He says that "the tapping or patting is only allowed when a very, very serious issue like adultery comes up. And that is only after the other means in the verse are taken (admonishing, banishing, etc.). Even this 'beating' is only allowed as a rukhsa or dispensation, not as something that is recommended." If the Qur'an is really only talking about a light tap or pat, why is it such a serious thing that it is only allowed as a dispensation and a last resort, and only for a very, very serious issue? One would think a light tap or pat would not need to be so restricted!
Anyway, back in the real world, as I've said before, one man's light tap is another man's brutal beating.
Toward the end of his windy piece, Subhani says: "It's more important and relevant to ask to what end are you, Robert Spencer, retailing these half-truths and distortions?"
Well, Mr. Subhani, I haven't distorted anything. As I've shown in these eleven replies, I have reported accurately on the texts and teachings of Islam, as Subhani has not. I have not misrepresented their contents, as Subhani has. I have not claimed he has not read or does not own books that he has read and does own, as Subhani has done with me. I have not ignored, denied, or downplayed unpleasant realities, as Subhani has repeatedly.
And so I ask him in turn: to what end, Mr. Subhani? Why are you retailing these half-truths and distortions, and defaming me instead of working within the Islamic community to reform the elements of Islam you profess to oppose?