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Ayan Hirsi Ali on the Colbert Report

Omar Usman

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This is a video of Ayan Hirsi Ali on the Colbert Report. There was already a good discussion regarding her and her book here, so I won’t reinvent the wheel.

A few things about this video struck me though. Some of the things she said, it’s like she was quoting Shaytaan verbatim! That is the only way I can think of to describe it. She says outright that she has a problem submitting to God!! It’s one thing to fall short in following what Allah (swt) has commanded, but subhanAllah it is a completely different story to have this extreme level of arrogance in your approach to your relationship with your Creator and Sustainer!

Check out also: Conditions of the Shahadah.

Omar Usman is a founding member of MuslimMatters, Qalam Institute, Muslim Strategic Initiative, and Debt Free Muslims. He is a regular khateeb and has served in different administrative capacities in various national and local Islamic organizations. You can follow him on Twitter @ibnabeeomar. Check out his latest project at Fiqh of Social Media.

40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Umm Layth

    March 18, 2007 at 3:01 AM

    The weird thing with these people who apostate is that they tend to go to extremes.

  2. Avatar

    anon

    March 18, 2007 at 5:03 AM

    “It is a completely different story to have this extreme level of arrogance in your approach to your relationship with Creator and Sustainer”

    Okay, I hope this doesn’t sound like I agree with her or am defending her, but she declares herself to be an atheist. Meaning she doesn’t believe a creator, sustainer, or a God exists. I don’t think you can display arrogance to something you don’t believe exists. Wouldn’t you have a problem submitting to something someone or somebeing if you don’t think it exists to begin with? I personally think there’s a difference between disbelief/skepticism and and downright arrogance

    Anyways, I think that all this publicity she gets both postive and extremely negative is what she, Manji, and others kind of like them probably want. Its all about marketing. Kind of like Ann Coultergeist who thrives on being hated. Hatred and controversy sell. So in effect, by continually commenting on everything she says we are giving her tons of publicity for free. Which I’m sure is the opposite of what 99.9999% of people here want I’m sure she’s quite happy with it though:)

  3. Avatar

    Abdul-Quddus

    March 18, 2007 at 5:22 AM

    But don’t all atheists and agnostics have a problem submitting to Allaah? This Colbert interview with Ayaan wasn’t indepth enough. Therefore, it’s difficult to assess her reasons for leaving the deen. We’d have to read her book to honestly get her perspective. Ayaan says she travelled to Europe to escape an arranged marriage. She is a feminist that views the corpus of Islaam as misogynistic and, according to her other book, she “learned that God and His truth had been humanized.”

    Her “extreme level of arrogance” differs from that of Iblees because she’s an atheist. To a certain degree, Iblees somewhat recognized the existence of Allaah. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, on the other hand, doesn’t subscribe to the Judeo-Christian-Islamic understanding of evil.

    And in response to the previous comment, I’d like to point out that Ayaan and Irshad really share nothing in common.

  4. Avatar

    anon

    March 18, 2007 at 5:49 AM

    Good point about Ayaan and Irshad sharing nothing in common Abdul. I was just generally lumping them together in the “really disliked by most muslims” category to kind of illustrate one of my points:)

  5. Avatar

    Hassan

    March 18, 2007 at 10:04 AM

    From her interview, it seemed she do know there is God (not atheist), but she just refuse to submit. Anyway, Colbert sounded more reasonable than her.

  6. Avatar

    ExEx Blogger

    March 18, 2007 at 10:55 AM

    Yes, Colbert sounded much more reasonable than her. I feel that some event in her life will force her to submit to any God that she wishes. But at the same time, the God she is submitting to is her arrogance, ego, whims, desires etc. From the way that I see, the book infidel is not just her critical view points on Islam but since Christianity is also about submission, she has joined the ranks of atheist philosophers that wish to destroy all religions. She is an infidel to all religions.

  7. Avatar

    Umm Layth

    March 18, 2007 at 2:47 PM

    He sounded more reasonable, especially when he corrected her on the fact that the majority of Christians still believe in a hell and in submission.

    I think these non-Muslims take these ‘ex-muslims’ as jokes sometimes because like I said above they tend to go to opposite extremes.

  8. Avatar

    AnonyMouse

    March 18, 2007 at 3:52 PM

    Hmmmmm… I’m wondering whether to watch this clip or not… she annoys the heck out of me, for various reasons – amongst them, her inconsistency. For example, she says ‘we’ as though she’s still Muslims… and then she goes and says that she’s *not* a Muslim, etc. Also, her apparent lack of a good grasp on facts. A local newspaper had a profile on her and one of her books, and it was so full of rubbish that I ended up writing a letter to the editor… which, surprisingly enough, was published (albeit with the bit where I blasted the newspaper’s lack of objectivity cut out…).

    Anon is right: All the publicity, positive from quite a few non-Muslims (especially the neocons!) and negative from most Muslims, just feeds their popularity and boosts the sale of their books…

    All right, well, I just watched the clip. Nothing new, really…

  9. Avatar

    Sharique

    March 18, 2007 at 10:22 PM

    People like Ayan and Manji (and also perhaps Taslima) should be secluded in Antarctica so that they can enjoy each other’s company. Even shaytan would never have to visit that place because of so much evil that will exist there (perhaps he may be ashamed of himself! ).
    I wonder why only women apostates are highlighted by the western media and not males.

  10. Avatar

    anon

    March 18, 2007 at 11:07 PM

    I am truly sick to death of all this harping on Ayaan, Manji, Nomani, and all the other “evil” apostates/lesbians/adulterers/blah blah blah. Aren’t there better things to discuss about the muslim community and affairs than how “evil” these women are? I can see plenty of more evil and terrible things going on in the muslim community today than this select group of people. I think its been fairly well established now that everyone who is muslim hates them and everyone who is not muslim loves them. And I’m really not quite sure what is up with all the stone throwing I’m continually reading not just here but on other blogs. I can state with 100% certainty that none of us here are completely sinless, blameless, and have never committed sometype of evil. Why can’t we just move on? Maybe everyone, including myself, should stop harping on other people sins and faults and focus more on our own.

    And if you all care to know what initiated my little rant see Sharique’s comment above.

  11. Avatar

    Bint Amina

    March 18, 2007 at 11:08 PM

    Allahu musta’aan.

    ‘Umar ibn al Khattab,(Radiallaahu ‘anhu), said, “There is no excuse for anyone going astray thinking that he is upon guidance. Nor for abandoning guidance thinking it to be misguidance, since the affairs have been made clear, the proof established and the excuse cut off.”

    May Allah ta’ala grant us hidayah and understanding of this deen. Aameen.

    As for individuals like these, leave them. Someone mentioned the publicity factor, which I’m sure none of us want to contribute to. Shall we give the microphone to all that have strange beliefs, going against the way of Allah ta’ala and His Messenger? Rather, the floor should be given to those whose words have weight, because with them is the truth, giving us reminders, and that which benefits.

    Allahu ‘alam.

    • Avatar

      amiin mohamed

      July 29, 2010 at 3:33 PM

      masha ALLAH,madam binta amina first and formost am greating you the best great in the world which is ASALAMU CALEYKUM that is the for all of us am called mohamed ammiin,please madam am herby kindly requesting you to contact me on this email——ammiin77@hotmail.com this is online mail in any time you can get me onthat email adress binta amina your agood muslim lady i have information for you please contact
      thanks in advance

  12. Avatar

    anon

    March 18, 2007 at 11:22 PM

    And to round out my little rant, I got this from Bint Amina’s blog:

    Let us heed the words of ‘Eesa ibn Maryaam (alayhi salaam), who said:

    “Do not look at the people’s faults as if you are lords, but look at your own faults as if you are slaves, because people are of two types: afflicted and pardoned. So have mercy on the afflicted and thank Allaah for pardoning you and protecting you from it.”

    I don’t know how to link but if you care to look at the whole post it is at: http://tawheedfirst.wordpress.com/2007/03/16/look-in-the-mirror/

    *PS: sorry if my linking to your post bothered you Bint Amina. I’m not familiar with blogging etiquette, rules, and all that:)

  13. Avatar

    abu ameerah

    March 19, 2007 at 1:10 AM

    I don’t know exactly what to make of this interview — at least it was short, alhamdulillah. Colbert’s interview with Ayaan reminds of an interview that Tavis Smiley (aka “Bob Johnson’s road kill”) did on PBS with Salman Rushdie a while ago.

    In that interview, Smiley seems to be in great awe over the Rushdie. Much of the interview seemed to make Rushdie out to be some kind of victim in a noble and just cause against Islam.

    Colbert, however, seemed a bit restrained and somewhat less enamored by “Miss Apostate” than most others in the media.

  14. Avatar

    DrM

    March 19, 2007 at 9:14 AM

    Ayaan Hirsi Magan(her real name) does have a religion. $$$. I just need to point out that her entire story has been proven to be a sham. Look it up! Why do you think she left the Netherlands and came to the US to work for neocon terrorist AEI institute?
    Come on people, put your thinking caps on!

  15. Avatar

    ExEx Blogger

    March 19, 2007 at 9:35 AM

    Dear Anon

    I feel that the bloggers at muslimmatters not trying to forget the other “evil” things that you mentioned. If they had mentioned those, someone could also say why mention those not these?! I think we take one issue at a time and see what it is.

    Thanks

  16. Avatar

    ExEx Blogger

    March 19, 2007 at 9:35 AM

    are not*

  17. Avatar

    Ruth Nasrullah

    March 19, 2007 at 10:42 AM

    Asalaamu alaikum. As a long-time fan of Stephen Colbert, I have to say I was amazed to see him actually take on a guest and – without making a joke of it – directly question her beliefs. Kudos to him.

  18. Avatar

    Umm Reem

    March 19, 2007 at 11:04 AM

    “I wonder why only women apostates are highlighted by the western media and not males.”

    Easy…so they can propagate the so-called ‘muslim misogyny’.

  19. Avatar

    Mujahideen Ryder

    March 19, 2007 at 12:49 PM

    Colbert was mad funny. He sent blessings upon Muhammad (saas) and he basically told the murtada she was stupid for not knowing anything about Christianity.

  20. Avatar

    Ahmad AlFarsi

    March 19, 2007 at 12:52 PM

    Colbert was mad funny. He sent blessings upon Muhammad (saas) and he basically told the murtada she was stupid for not knowing anything about Christianity.

    I can’t help but mention that I felt his sending salaat on the Prophet (sall Allahu alayhi wa sallam) was a mockery on his part (it was accompanied by laughter from the audience and a smirk on his face), and I felt thoroughly upset and disgusted at that mockery of his. But he did mock Ms. Apostate as well, which was quite entertaining.

  21. Avatar

    ibnmasood

    March 19, 2007 at 1:04 PM

    May Allah guide Colbert!

  22. Avatar

    ibnmasood

    March 19, 2007 at 1:05 PM

    …and Ayaan too! Glory be to the one who has control over all things and wearies none over their maintenance.

  23. Avatar

    Ahmad AlFarsi

    March 19, 2007 at 2:57 PM

    Assalaamu alaykum,

    I wanted to mention something about a general vibe that is being expressed from the comments of this post that we should “not be so judgmental of others” in reference to the likes of Hirsi Ali.

    While I am in complete agreement with the premise that we should be harsh on ourselves and not hypocritically judgmental of others… I feel that in general Ms. Hirsi Ali is one of many exceptions to the rule.

    Perhaps recalling an aayah of the Qur’an will help inshaAllah:

    Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves. [Surat Al-Fath 48:29]

    Thus, I don’t think there is any need to be merciful to the likes of Hirsi Ali who is not only an apostate, but actively waging a war (of the pen and tounge) against Islam! Rather, we should follow this ayah and be severe against her and her kind.

    I find it thoroughly interesting how on the one hand, it almost seems as though we are being told to have Husn udhDhunn for someone like Hirsi Ali, yet on the other hand, we find ourselves harshly critical of our fellow Muslims, who, while still having eemaan, may have committed some small injustice (which is small relative to the kufr and riddah of the likes of Hirsi Ali)… (in reference to some comments on the “Meet the Saudi-stones” post).

  24. Avatar

    Ruth Nasrullah

    March 20, 2007 at 10:35 AM

    Asalaamu alaikum. Of interest – Irshad Manji is speaking here at the University of Houston tonight. The Chronicle did an advance interview:

    “Death threats cannot stop Irshad Manji from speaking out in favor of reform within Islam. The journalist and author will speak tonight about her film Faith Without Fear at the University of Houston. The deeply personal film, which also features her fearful mother, is part of a PBS documentary series called America at a Crossroads, which will air in mid-April on PBS.

    Manji, who lives in Toronto, is the author of The Trouble With Islam Today: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith. Reform-minded Muslims, she says, condemn violence committed under the banner of Islam, ‘but we go a step further. We acknowledge how our religion is being manipulated to incite that violence.'” […]

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ent/4643313.html

  25. Avatar

    DrM

    March 20, 2007 at 11:22 AM

    Manji charges around $7500 per “speaking engagement,” and I’d like to see these big bad death threats investigated. We know there are death threats and then there are “death threats” used by many an anti-Muslim media whore.

  26. Avatar

    Josh Scholar

    March 20, 2007 at 8:40 PM

    Colbert was mad funny. He sent blessings upon Muhammad (saas) and he basically told the murtada she was stupid for not knowing anything about Christianity.

    You do realize that Colbert’s act, his entire joke, his shtick (as it’s called) is that he mocks conservative/fundimentalist Christians by pretending to be one.? The entire studio audience understands that, even if you missed the obvious fact.

  27. Avatar

    Rational Human

    March 20, 2007 at 11:19 PM

    Comments removed due to foul language. See our House Rules
    Rational Human: If you want to participate in a civil discussion, then please act as your nick-name suggests. We will be glad to engage you when you brush up your manners of engaging in dialogue. -MuslimMatters

    Josh: I don’t think anyone missed the ‘obvious’ fact. In fact if you read the first few words of what you quoted: “Colbert was mad funny”. Obviously we ‘get it’. And as far as your comments on your friend’s blog re: the commentators, you should read the “About” and note that most of the staff are actually either American converts or born/raised in America. Thank you for being civil though. -Amad

  28. Amad

    Amad

    March 21, 2007 at 12:09 AM

    Seems like we have a lot of apostate supporters for the charlatan liar Hirsi (see how she is being exposed here, and her story unravelling). Apparently, all 5 of them keep a pretty tight circle.

    Interestingly, I find a gem (the AlMaghrib type!) in this apostate circle: Isn’t it a testimony to Islam itself that apostates are a ‘rare breed’? That you’ll find only a handful of them among the 1.2 billion+ Muslims? Despite all the world’s treasures that have been opened up for them? DESPITE all the negative media, the propaganda and tons of evangelical $$?

    On the other hand, “Christian apostates” are swarming in all corners… those who are coming to Islam are so ‘common’ (no offense to my revert brothers and sisters :) ) that we don’t even give it a second-thought. I mean right on this blog, we have 2 out of 5 staff writers as converts from Christianity. SubhanAllah, only a true religion of God could stand up to everything that Muslims are subjected to, and still have hoards of people running to it.

    If “the few, the arrogant, the apostates” (and I imply arrogance in their denial of the Creator) cannot see this simple truth, then truly they are “deaf, dumb, and blind” (Quran 2:18)

  29. Pingback: Ayaan Hirsi Ali on The Colbert Report « Basharee Murtadd

  30. Avatar

    Josh Scholar

    March 21, 2007 at 1:33 AM

    Interestingly, I find a gem (the AlMaghrib type!) in this apostate circle: Isn’t it a testimony to Islam itself that apostates are a ‘rare breed’?

    I would avoid that arguement because, because the more obvious interpretation just jumps out at you. You know what I mean?

  31. Avatar

    Josh Scholar

    March 21, 2007 at 1:40 AM

    And sorry if I misunderstood. But I thought that the poster who said that Colbert was funny might have missed the point that Colbert isn’t trying to represent Christianity fairly, he’s trying to mock more extreme Christians. As such, you can’t take what he says about Christianity at face value.

    I think that even the Catholic Church has basically gotten rid of Hell. They now claim that hell or damnation just means a lack of God’s presence and blessing, whatever that is.

    By the way, I’m not a Christian… I’m just pointing out context.

  32. Amad

    Amad

    March 21, 2007 at 7:58 PM

    Josh, sorry for being a little ‘sharp’ in my previous comment to you. I was kind of replying to your comment here so perhaps some may be wondering where I was coming from.

    As far as your comment, “I would avoid that argument [re: Islam’s resilience in light of attacks on it] because, because the more obvious interpretation just jumps out at you [i.e. people don’t convert because of fear]. You know what I mean?”

    To be honest, this is complete and utter baloney. First of all, let’s set something straight– Isaac isn’t an apostate. After reading up on him today, it seems that he was an Ahmadi; Ahmadis are already not Muslims. You can’t apostate from what you never were.

    Secondly, millions of Muslims live in the West, with full rights to become whatever they choose. Even if I were to accept, for the sake of argument, that it would be difficult to convert in Muslim countries (though evangelists seem to be working quite freely in many of them) , that is not the case in the West. In fact, apostates seem to get a lot of support, esp. financial (as in the case of Isaac who also got his residency privileges in Canada). Many apostates have made a living out of being one. As far as family pressures, social pressures, don’t you think Christian reverts face that living in the West? Ask any of them and perhaps you will feel differently.

    Muslims don’t convert because the message is plain, simple and beautiful. Its monotheism is unmatched, and its followers recognize that fact. Most Christian scholars recognize this aspect about Islam, and there is also some envy as to why this doesn’t happen with other religions. I think sometimes we just need to admit certain things instead of trying to mask it with subjective and self-serving arguments.

    Thank you again Josh, for the civil discourse.

  33. Avatar

    Josh Scholar

    March 21, 2007 at 11:17 PM

    I think you’re missing the more subtle point that the same culture which made conversion a capital offense also makes it very hard, socially, and dangerous in various ways, to convert no.

    No matter where you live, west or east, if you convert you still have to deal with your family’s reaction, your friends’ reactions etc.

    Also, I think everything you said about Isaac was completely unfair.

    No matter whether you consider him a Muslim or not, his own people consider themselves Muslims and have, no doubt, the same cultural problems as other Muslims, including their mistreatment of what they consider apostates. In any case his own country, Pakistan, does or did consider Ahmadis to be a sort of Muslim at least some of the time, so he still has to deal with Pakistan’s laws and culture if he goes back.

    That, because of attitudes like yours, he risks being treated as a having been born a heretic hardly improves his situation.

    You make it sound like you’re being generous by saying that he isn’t an apostate. I can’t see it that way.

    And second of all, the only financial help Isaac got, as far as I can tell, was a few small donations that barely covered his laywers fee for his hearing (a mere $2000). I know for a fact that he didn’t have all that wide support because I followed the blog traffic about him on technorati. He got a link from a large blog (that scrolled off the main page in the same day) and not much traffic after that.

    By the way, I did send him a very (very) small contribution (I was completely broke at the time, myself).

    Many apostates have made a living out of being one.

    I really am sick of Muslims who always start smearing shit on people when they can’t think of any other way to defend their hostility.

    I’m sorry, but I do not, and will never buy the implication that not being a Muslim equals being corrupt. That sort of thinking is just hate mongering.

    As far as family pressures, social pressures, don’t you think Christian reverts face that living in the West? Ask any of them and perhaps you will feel differently.

    People wouldn’t be reacting to ex-Muslims stories the way they do if there was any comparison. We’re shocked, really, because we don’t act that way. Not in this day and age.

  34. Avatar

    Josh Scholar

    March 21, 2007 at 11:36 PM

    By the way, I forgot, in my last response to point out that my understanding is that your statement “that Isaac was never a Muslim” actually puts his family in at least as bad a position as he would have been as an apostate.

    Aren’t you implying that they are heretics who have perverted Islam? And if so, isn’t it supposed to be your duty to go to war to convert them by the sword – or kill them?

    Takfiring his entire family and community is certainly much more brutal and bloodthirsty than doing it to that single individual!

  35. Amad

    Amad

    March 22, 2007 at 7:18 AM

    Josh, I would remind you take care of your language here. I only a have a few points in reply to your rant:

    a) No need to generalize. I said “many” apostates have made a living out of it, not “all”.
    b) Josh: “No matter where you live, west or east, if you convert you still have to deal with your family’s reaction, your friends’ reactions etc.”. Yes, absolutely, and that applies to all converts from any religion.
    c) The reason why many Muslims hold contempt for these apostates are the attempts by many apostates at maligning Islam. The people who are really hostile are the apostates (towards Muslims), much more than the reverse. Do you see Christian reverts (to Islam) go out and start attacking Christians and the Bible, except in an academic way? Generally speaking, you don’t. Muslims are committed to their faith and if the apostates leave us alone, I am sure we would leave them alone as well (of course no allowance for any physical violence).
    d) Many Ahmadis live all over the Muslim world. My family in Pakistan has family friends among them. They are doing just fine. And saying that they are subjected to violence is utter nonsense (I am sure exceptions exist just like Muslims in the West are subject to hate-crimes).

    Finally, “Aren’t you implying that they are heretics who have perverted Islam? And if so, isn’t it supposed to be your duty to go to war to convert them by the sword – or kill them?”

    The answer is no. Ahmadis are not Muslim-heretics, they are just not Muslims, simple as that, just like Christians, Jews, Hindus or others. If it was the ‘duty’ of Muslims to kill non-Muslims, then there wouldn’t be any left in Islamic countries.

    This tangent to the topic is now closed as you have degraded this into stereotypical Islam-bashing. You can continue your discussions with your ‘apostate-wannabe’ friend. You are free to contribute positively to any other discussion.

    thanks.

  36. Avatar

    Josh Scholar

    March 22, 2007 at 1:29 PM

    I thought heretics were in a different category from simple infidels.

    Anyway:
    The reason why many Muslims hold contempt for these apostates are the attempts by many apostates at maligning Islam. The people who are really hostile are the apostates (towards Muslims), much more than the reverse. Do you see Christian reverts (to Islam) go out and start attacking Christians and the Bible, except in an academic way? Generally speaking, you don’t. Muslims are committed to their faith and if the apostates leave us alone, I am sure we would leave them alone as well (of course no allowance for any physical violence).

    Yes of course many former Christians are very bitter and attack that religion, though usually only former conservative Christians have that problem. More liberal versions of religions have much less dogma and much less hostility toward outsiders, so there’s very little to attack.

    Really, I’m surprised that you think that there aren’t so many. There are many, many people who attack Christianity with incredible bitterness, or at least complete contempt. And there are many who attack religion without being specific to religion.

    This is one of the reasons that people are so bothered by Islams’ ban on criticism, because we fought hard, step by step for that right. Each century, each decade we’ve gained more freedom to attack religion, until finally, there are no restrictions on that sort of speech at all. And now such a freedom is anything but obscure. Look up the comedian Lenny Bruce if you want an example of someone who fought the last few steps of the fight to mock religion in public.

    Anyway, to some extent you have cause and effect confused. Some of the hostility that former Muslims have comes precisely from the fact that Islam has declared war on them. If you make a man your enemy, don’t be surprised if he acts like one.

    I guess its the classic question of who came first: the chicken and the egg. Of course, we believe that Allah created the chicken, so we have kind of solved that one :) The apostates are free to criticize Muslims in the West, and when money is involved, which is the case in many cases, then they should be prepared to accept criticism in return. On this final note, we’ll just have to agree to disagree. Thank you for the interesting discussion. -Amad

  37. Avatar

    Josh Scholar

    March 22, 2007 at 1:34 PM

    Along the lines of attacking very liberal religion. I remember a few jokes about Unitarians (a group that tries to combine all religions).

    Utah Philips tells these:

    “I had to move out of town. Damn Unitarians burned a question mark on my lawn”

    “I worked at a Unitarian summer camp. We sang songs like “‘We would rather not be moved.'”

    “We had a charity drive: send a poor Unitarian child to camp, if you can find one”

  38. Avatar

    Hamdi

    May 25, 2007 at 3:09 PM

    I know this post is kind of old, but just the other day it sort of dawned on me that Ayan Hirsi Ali is the Muslim equivalent of Israel Shahak. You can read up on him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_Shahak

  39. Avatar

    Ahmed

    April 28, 2010 at 9:35 AM

    Can we shut off the sun by our speech ? no muhammed rasuululah . salalaahu calayhi wasalam

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#Islam

What Does Sharia Really Say About Abortion in Islam

Abortion is not a simple option of being pro-life or pro-choice, Islam recognizes the nuance.

Reem Shaikh

Published

on

The following article on abortion is based on a research paper titled ‘The Rights of the Fetus in Islam’, at the Department of Sharia at Qatar University. My team and I presented it to multiple members of the faculty. It was approved by the Dean of the Islamic Studies College, an experienced and reputed Islamic authority.

In one swoop, liberal comedian Deven Green posing as her satirical character, Mrs. Betty Brown, “America’s best Christian”, demonized both Sharia law as well as how Islamic law treats abortion. Even in a debate about a law that has no Muslim protagonist in the middle of it, Islam is vilified because apparently, no problem in the world can occur without Islam being dragged into it.

It is important to clarify what Sharia is before discussing abortion. Sharia law is the set of rules and guidelines that Allah establishes as a way of life for Muslims. It is derived from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, which is interpreted and compiled by scholars based on their understandings (fiqh). Sharia takes into account what is in the best interest for individuals and society as a whole, and creates a system of life for Muslims, covering every aspect, such as worship, beliefs, ethics, transactions, etc.

Muslim life is governed by Sharia – a very personal imperative. For a Muslim living in secular lands, that is what Sharia is limited to – prayers, fasting, charity and private transactions such as not dealing with interest, marriage and divorce issues, etc. Criminal statutes are one small part of the larger Sharia but are subject to interpretation, and strictly in the realm of a Muslim country that governs by it.

With respect to abortion, the first question asked is:

“Do women have rights over their bodies or does the government have rights over women’s bodies?”

The answer to this question comes from a different perspective for Muslims. Part of Islamic faith is the belief that our bodies are an amanah from God. The Arabic word amanah literally means fulfilling or upholding trusts. When you add “al” as a prefix, or al-amanah, trust becomes “The Trust”, which has a broader Islamic meaning. It is the moral responsibility of fulfilling one’s obligations due to Allah and fulfilling one’s obligations due to other humans.

The body is one such amanah. Part of that amanah includes the rights that our bodies have over us, such as taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally and mentally – these are part of a Muslim’s duty that is incumbent upon each individual.

While the Georgia and Alabama laws in the United States that make abortion illegal after the 6-week mark of pregnancy are being mockingly referred to as “Sharia Law” abortion, the fact is that the real Sharia allows much more leniency in the matter than these laws do.

First of all, it is important to be unambiguous about one general ruling: It is unanimously agreed by the scholars of Islam that abortion without a valid excuse after the soul has entered the fetus is prohibited entirely. The question then becomes, when exactly does the soul enter the fetus? Is it when there is a heartbeat? Is it related to simple timing? Most scholars rely on the timing factor because connecting a soul to a heartbeat itself is a question of opinion.

Web MD

The timing then is also a matter of ikhtilaf, or scholarly difference of opinion:

One Hundred and Twenty Days:

The majority of the traditional scholars, including the four madhahib, are united upon the view that the soul certainly is within the fetus after 120 days of pregnancy, or after the first trimester.

This view is shaped by  the following hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Masood raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إن أحدكم يجمع خلقه في بطن أمه أربعين يوما ثم يكون في ذلك علقة مثل ذلك ثم يكون في ذلك مضغة مثل ذلك ثم يرسل الملك فينفخ فيه الروح..

“For every one of you, the components of his creation are gathered together in the mother’s womb for a period of forty days. Then he will remain for two more periods of the same length, after which the angel is sent and insufflates the spirit into him.”

Forty Days:

The exception to the above is that some scholars believe that the soul enters the fetus earlier, that is after the formation phase, which is around the 40 days mark of pregnancy.

This view is based on another hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Masood raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إذا مر بالنطفة إثنتان وأربعون ليلة بعث الله إليها ملكاً، فصوره، وخلق سمعها وبصرها وجلدها ولحمها وعظمها…

“If a drop of semen spent in the womb forty-two nights, Allah sends an angel to it who depicts it and creates its ears, eyes, skin, flesh and bones.”

Between the two views, the more widespread and popular opinion is the former, which is that the soul enters the fetus at the 120 days (or 4 months) mark, as the second hadith implies the end of the formation period of the fetus rather than the soul entering it.

Even if one accepts that the soul enters the fetus at a certain timing mark, it does not mean that the soul-less fetus can be aborted at any time or for any reason. Here again, like most matters of Islamic jurisprudence, there is ikhtilaf of scholarly difference of opinion.

No Excuse Required:

The Hanafi madhhab is the most lenient, allowing abortion during the first trimester, even without an excuse.

Some of the later scholars from the Hanafi school consider it makruh or disliked if done without a valid reason, but the majority ruled it as allowed.

Only Under Extreme Risks:

The Malikis are the most strict in this matter; they do not allow abortion even if it is done in the first month of pregnancy unless there is an extreme risk to the mother’s health.

Other Views:

As for the Shafi’i and Hanbali schools of thought, there are multiple opinions within the schools themselves, some allowing abortion, some only allowing it in the presence of a valid excuse.

Valid excuses differ from scholar to scholar, but with a strong and clear reason, permissibility becomes more lenient. Such cases include forced pregnancy (caused by rape), reasons of health and other pressing reasons.

For example, consider a rape victim who becomes pregnant. There is hardly a more compelling reason (other than the health of the mother) where abortion should be permitted. A child born as a result in such circumstances will certainly be a reminder of pain and discomfort to the mother. Every time the woman sees this child, she will be reminded of the trauma of rape that she underwent, a trauma that is generally unmatched for a woman. Leaving aside the mother, the child himself or herself will lead a life of suffering and potentially neglect. He or she may be blamed for being born– certainly unjust but possible with his or her mother’s mindset. The woman may transfer her pain to the child, psychologically or physically because he or she is a reminder of her trauma. One of the principles of Sharia is to ward off the greater of two evils. One can certainly argue that in such a case where both mother and child are at risk of trauma and more injustice, then abortion may indeed be the lesser of the two.

The only case even more pressing than rape would be when a woman’s physical health is at risk due to the pregnancy. Where the risk is clear and sufficiently severe (that is can lead to some permanent serious health damage or even death) if the fetus remained in her uterus, then it is unanimously agreed that abortion is allowed no matter what the stage of pregnancy. This is because of the Islamic principle that necessities allow prohibitions. In this case, the necessity to save the life of the mother allows abortion, which may be otherwise prohibited.

This is the mercy of Sharia, as opposed to the popular culture image about it.

Furthermore, the principle of preventing the greater of two harms applies in this case, as the mother’s life is definite and secure, while the fetus’ is not.

Absolutely Unacceptable Reason for Abortion:

Another area of unanimous agreement is that abortion cannot be undertaken due to fear of poverty. The reason for this is that this mindset collides with having faith and trust in Allah. Allah reminds us in the Quran:

((وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ خَشْيَةَ إِمْلَاقٍ ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُهُمْ وَإِيَّاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ قَتْلَهُمْ كَانَ خِطْئًا كَبِيرًا))

“And do not kill your children for fear of poverty, We provide for them and for you. Indeed, their killing is ever a great sin.” (Al-Israa, 31)

Ignorance is not an excuse, but it is an acceptable excuse when it comes to mocking Islam in today’s world. Islam is a balanced religion and aims to draw ease for its adherents. Most rulings concerning fiqh are not completely cut out black and white. Rather, Islamic rulings are reasonable and consider all possible factors and circumstances, and in many cases vary from person to person.

Abortion is not a simple option of being pro-life or pro-choice. These terms have become political tools rather than sensitive choices for women who ultimately suffer the consequences either way.

Life means a lot more than just having a heartbeat. Islam completely recognizes this. Thus, Islamic rulings pertaing to abortion are detailed and varied.

As a proud Muslim, I want my fellow Muslims to be confident of their religion particularly over sensitive issues such as abortion and women’s rights to choose for themselves keeping the Creator of Life in focus at all times.

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#Current Affairs

Sri Lankan Muslims To Fast In Solidarity With Fellow Christians

Raashid Riza

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On Sunday morning Sri Lankan Christians went to their local churches for Easter services, as they have done for centuries. Easter is a special occasion for Christian families in ethnically diverse Sri Lanka. A time for families to gather to worship in their churches, and then to enjoy their festivities. Many went to their local church on Sunday morning to be followed by a traditional family breakfast at home or a local restaurant.

It would have been like any other Easter Sunday for prominent mother-daughter television duo, Shanthaa Mayadunne and Nisanga Mayadunne. Except that it wasn’t.

Nisanga Mayadunne posted a family photograph on Facebook at 8.47 AM with the title “Easter breakfast with family” and had tagged the location, the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo. Little would she have known that hitting ‘post’ would be among the last things she would do in this earthly abode. Minutes later a bomb exploded at the Shangri-La, killing her and her mother.

In more than a half a dozen coordinated bomb blasts on Sunday, 360 people have been confirmed dead, with the number expected to most likely rise. Among the dead are children who have lost parents and mothers & fathers whose families will never be together again.

Many could not get past the church service. A friend remembers the service is usually so long that the men sometimes go outside to get some fresh air, with women and children remaining inside – painting a vivid and harrowing picture of the children who may have been within the hall.

Perpetrators of these heinous crimes against their own faith, and against humanity have been identified as radicalised Muslim youth, claiming to be part of a hitherto little-known organisation. Community leaders claim with much pain of how authorities were alerted years ago to the criminal intent of these specific youth.

Mainstream Muslims have in fact been at the forefront not just locally, but also internationally in the fight against extremism within Muslim communities. This is why Sri Lankan Muslims are especially shaken by what has taken place when men who have stolen their identity commit acts of terror in their name. Sri Lankan Muslims and Catholics have not been in conflict in the past, adding to a palimpsest of reasons that make this attack all the more puzzling to experts. Many here are bewildered as to what strategic objective these terrorists sought to achieve.

Sri Lankan Muslims Take Lead

Sri Lankan Muslims, a numerical minority, though a well-integrated native community in Sri Lanka’s colourful social fabric, seek to take lead in helping to alleviate the suffering currently plaguing our nation.

Promoting love alone will not foster good sustainable communal relationships – unless it is accompanied by tangible systemic interventions that address communal trigger points that could contribute to ethnic or religious tensions. Terror in all its forms must be tackled in due measure by law enforcement authorities.

However, showing love, empathy and kindness is as good a starting point in a national crisis as any.

Sri Lankan Muslims have called to fast tomorrow (Thursday) in solidarity with their fellow Christian and non-Christian friends who have died or are undergoing unbearable pain, trauma, and suffering.  Terror at its heart seeks to divide, to create phases of grief that ferments to anger, and for this anger to unleash cycles of violence that usurps the lives of innocent men, women, and children. Instead of letting terror take its course, Sri Lankans are aspiring to come together, to not let terror have its way.

Together with my fellow Sri Lankan Muslims, I will be fasting tomorrow from dawn to dusk. I will be foregoing any food and drink during this period.

It occurs to many of us that it is unconscientious to have regular days on these painful days when we know of so many other Sri Lankans who have had their lives obliterated by the despicable atrocities committed by terrorists last Sunday. Fasting is a special act of worship done by Muslims, it is a time and state in which prayers are answered. It is a state in which it is incumbent upon us to be more charitable, with our time, warmth and whatever we could share.

I will be fasting and praying tomorrow, to ease the pain and suffering of those affected.

I will be praying for a peaceful Sri Lanka, where our children – all our children, of all faiths – can walk the streets without fear and have the freedom to worship in peace.

I will be fasting tomorrow for my Sri Lanka. I urge you to do the same.

Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ. Surah Maidah

Raashid Riza is a Sri Lankan Muslim, the Politics & Society Editor of The Platform. He blogs here and tweets on @aufidius.

 

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#Life

Are You Prepared for Marriage and Building a Family?

Mona Islam

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High School is that time which is ideal for preparing yourself for the rest of your life. There is so much excitement and opportunity. Youth is a time of energy, growth, health, beauty, and adventure. Along with the thrill of being one of the best times of life, there is a definite lack of life experience. In your youth, you end up depending on your own judgments as well as the advice of others who are further along the path. Your own judgments usually come from your own knowledge, assumptions, likes, and dislikes. No matter how wise, mature, or well-intended a youth is compared to his or her peers, the inherent lack of life experience can also mislead that person to go down a path which is not serving them or their loved ones best. A youth may walk into mistakes without knowing, or get themselves into trouble resulting from naivety.

Salma and Yousef: 

Salma and Yousef had grown up in the same community for many years. They had gone to the same masjid and attended youth group together during high school. After going off to college for a few years, both were back in town and found that they would make good prospects for marriage for each other. Yousef was moving along his career path, and Salma looked forward to her new relationship. Yousef was happy to settle down. The first few months after marriage were hectic: getting a new place, organizing, managing new jobs and extended family. After a few months, they began to wonder when things would settle down and be like the vision they had about married life.

Later with valuable life experience, we come to realize that the ideas we had in our youth about marriage and family are far from what are they are in reality. The things that we thought mattered in high school, may not matter as much, and the things that we took for granted really matter a lot more than we realized. In retrospect, we learn that marriage is not simply a door that we walk through which changes our life, but something that each young Muslim and Muslima should be preparing for individually through observation, introspection, and reflection. In order to prepare for marriage, each person must intend to want to be the best person he or she can be in that role. There is a conscious process that they must put themselves through.

This conscious process should begin in youth. Waiting until marriage to start this process is all too late. We must really start preparing for marriage as a conscious part of our growth, self-development, and character building from a young age. The more prepared we are internally, the better off we will be in the process of marriage. The best analogy would be the stronger the structure and foundation of a building, the better that building will be able to serve its purpose and withstand the environment. Another way to think of this process is like planting a seed. We plant a seed long before the harvest, but the more time, care, and attention, the more beautiful and beneficial the fruits will be.

 

Sarah and Hasan:

Hasan grew up on the East Coast. He had gone to boarding school all through high school, especially since his parents had died in an unfortunate accident. His next of kin was his aunt and uncle, who managed his finances, and cared for him when school was not in session. Hasan was safe and comfortable with his aunt and uncle, but he always felt there was something missing in his life. During his college years, Hasan was introduced to Sarah and eventually they decided to get married.

The first week of his new job, Hasan caught a really bad case of the flu that made it hard for him to get his projects done. Groggy in bed, he sees Sarah appear with a tray of soup and medicine every day until he felt better. Nobody had ever done that for him before. He remembered the “mawaddah and rahmah” that the Quran spoke of.

Knowledge, Skills, and Understanding:

The process of growing into that person who is ready to start a family is that we need to first to be aware of ourselves and be aware of others around us. We have to have knowledge of ourselves and our environment. With time, reflection and life experience, that knowledge activates into understanding and wisdom. This activity the ability to make choices between right and wrong, and predict how our actions will affect others related to us.

Preview:

This series is made up of several parts which make up a unit about preparation for family life. Some of the topics covered include:

  • The Family Unit In Islam
  • Characteristics of an Individual Needed for Family Life
  • The Nuclear Family
  • The Extended Family

Hamza and Tamika

Tamika and Hamza got married six months ago. Tamika was getting her teacher certification in night school and started her first daytime teaching job at the local elementary school. She was shocked at the amount of energy it took to manage second graders. She thought teaching was about writing on a board and reading books to kids, but found out it had a lot more to do with discipline, speaking loudly, and chasing them around. This week she had state testing for the students and her finals at night school. She was not sure how to balance all this with her new home duties. One day feeling despair, she walked in her kitchen and found a surprise. Hamza had prepared a beautiful delicious dinner for them that would last a few days, and the home looked extra clean too. Tamika was pleasantly surprised and remembered the example of our Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

The Family Unit in Islam

We always have to start with the beginning. We have to ask, “What is the family unit in Islam?” To answer this we take a step further back, asking, “What is the world-wide definition of family? Is it the same for all people? Of course not. “Family” means a lot of different things to a lot of different people across the world. As Muslims, what family means to us, is affected by culture and values, as well as our own understanding of Islam.

The world-wide definition of family is a group of people who are related to each other through blood or marriage. Beyond this point, is where there are many differences in views. Some people vary on how distantly related to consider a family. In some cultures, family is assumed to be only the nuclear family, consisting of mom dad and kids only. Other cultures assume family includes an extended family. Another large discrepancy lies in defining family roles and responsibilities. Various cultures promote different behavioral norms for different genders or roles in the family. For example, some cultures promote women staying at home in a life of luxury, while others esteem women joining the workforce while raising their kids on the side. Living styles vary too, where some cultures prefer individual family homes, while in other parts of the world extended families live together in large buildings always interacting with each other.

 

Layla and Ibrahim   

Layla and Ibrahim met at summer retreat where spirituality was the focus, and scholars were teaching them all day. Neither of them was seriously considering getting married, but one of the retreat teachers thought they might make a good match. It seemed like a fairytale, and the retreat gave them an extra spiritual high. Layla could not imagine anything going wrong. She was half Italian and half Egyptian, and Ibrahim came from a desi family. Soon after the nikah, Layla moved across the country into Ibrahim’s family home, where his parents, three siblings, and grandmother lived.  Come Ramadan, Layla’s mother-in-law, Ruqayya, was buying her new clothes to wear to the masjid. It was out of love, but Sarah had never worn a shalwar kameez in all her life! Ruqayya Aunty started getting upset when Layla was not as excited about the clothes as she was.

As Eid approached, Layla had just picked a cute dress from the department store that she was looking forward to wearing. Yet again, her mother-in-law had other plans for her.

Layla was getting upset inside. It was the night before Eid and the last thing she wanted to do was fight with her new husband. She did not want that stress, especially because they all lived together. At this point, Layla started looking through her Islamic lecture notes. She wanted to know, was this request from her mother-in-law a part of the culture, or was it part of the religion?

Marriage

The basis of all families, undoubtedly, is the institution of marriage. In the Islamic model, the marriage consists of a husband and a wife. In broad terms, marriage is the commitment of two individuals towards each other and their children to live and work together to meet and support each other’s needs in the way that they see fit. What needs they meet vary as well, from person to person, and family to family. The marriage bond must sustain the weight of fulfilling first their own obligations toward each other. This is the priority. The marriage must also be strong enough to hold the responsibility of raising the kids, and then the extended family.

How are we as Muslims unique and what makes us different from other family models? We are responsible to Allah. The end goals are what makes us different, and the method in which we work. In other family systems, beliefs are different, goals are different, and the motives are different. Methods can especially be different. In the end, it is quite a different system. What makes us better? Not because we say we are better or because we automatically feel better about ourselves due to a misplaced feeling of superiority. But instead it is because we are adhering to the system put in place by the most perfect God, Allah, the Creator and Sustainer of all the worlds, the One Who knows best what it is we need.

Family Roles:

Each person in the family has a role which Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has meant for them to have, and which ethics and common sense tell us to follow. However, our nafs and ego can easily misguide us to live our family life in the wrong way, which is harmful and keeps us suffering. Suffering can take place in many ways. It can take place in the form of neglect or abuse. In the spectrum of right and wrong, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) tells us that we are a nation meant for the middle path. So we should not go to any extreme in neglect or abuse.

What are the consequences of mishandling our family roles? Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) calls this type of wrongdoing “transgression” or “oppression”. There are definitely consequences of oppression, abuse, and neglect. There are worldly consequences which we feel in this life, and there are long term consequences in the Akhirah.

Razan and Farhaan

Razan and Farhan had gotten married two years ago. Since they were from different towns, Razan would have to move to Farhaan’s hometown. On top of the change of married life, Razan felt pangs of homesickness and did not know many people in the new town. However, Farhaan did not realize what she was going through. He still had the same friends he grew up with for years. They had a die-hard routine to go to football games on Friday night and play basketball on Saturday at the rec center.

Razan was losing her patience. How could he think it was okay to go out with his friends twice on the weekend? Yet he expected her to keep the home together? Her blood started to boil. What does Islam say about this?

Mawaddah and Rahma

The starting point of a family is a healthy relationship between the husband and wife. Allah SWT prescribed in Surah 25: verse 74, that the marriage relationship is supposed to be built on Mawaddah (compassion) and Rahma (mercy). A loving family environment responds to both the needs of the children and the needs of parents. Good parenting prepares children to become responsible adults.

Aliyaah and Irwan

Aliyaah and Irwan had homeschooled their twin children, Jannah and Omar, for four years. They were cautious about where to admit their children for the next school year. Aliyaah felt that she wanted to homeschool her children for another few years. There were no Islamic Schools in their town. Irwan wanted to let his kids go to public schools. He felt that was nothing wrong with knowing how things in the real world are. However, every conversation they started about this issue ended up into a conflict or fight. This was beginning to affect their relationship.

Parenting

Two significant roles that adults in a family play are that they are married and they are parents. It is important that parents work to preserve and protect their marital relationship since it is really the pillar which supports the parenting role. Parenting is a role which Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) directly addresses in our religion. We will be asked very thoroughly about this most important role which we will all play in our lives.

There is a hadith in which the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) reminds us,

“All of you are shepherds and responsible for your wards under you care. The imam is the shepherd of his subjects and is responsible for them, and a man is a shepherd of his family and is responsible for them. A woman is the shepherd of her husband’s house and is responsible for it. A servant is the shepherd of his master’s belongings and is responsible for them. A man is the shepherd of his father’s property and is responsible for them”. (Bukhari and Muslim)

Islam has placed a lot of importance on the family unit. A family is the basic building block of Islam. A strong family can facilitate positive social change within itself and the society as a whole. The Quran asserts that human beings are entrusted by their Creator to be his trustees on Earth, thus they need to be trained and prepared for the task of trusteeship (isthiklaf).

Asa youth, it is important to make a concerted effort to develop our family skills so that we grow into that role smoothly. Proper development will prepare a person emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically for marriage and family life.

Mona Islam is a youth worker, community builder, motivational speaker, writer, and author. For the past 25 years, Sr. Mona has been on the forefront of her passion both locally and nationally, which is inculcating character development in youth (tarbiyah).  Sr. Mona has extensive knowledge of Islamic sciences through the privilege of studying under many scholars and traveling worldwide.  An educator by profession, she is a published author, completed her masters in Educational Admin and currently doing her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. Sr. Mona is married with five children and lives in Houston, TX.

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