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Background on Imams and Scholars on Sharia Inquiry

Updated 4 July 2016

The accommodation of arbitration systems to govern private and family matters had led, arguably, to the greatest human rights violations of minority women in the UK.

The following two Islamic scholars have been appointed to the government inquiry into Sharia courts. An open letter by an unprecedented number of women’s rights campaigners and organisations raised serious concerns about the inquiry.

For more information, please contact Pragna Patel (Southall Black Sisters), Gita Sahgal (Centre for Secular Space) or Gina Khan and Maryam Namazie (One Law for All). Contact details below.

Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi is the joint secretary for Majlis Ulama-e-Shia, which regularly sends delegations to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In one sermon, he has said:

From 20:46:

“I am not here to bash social media… Anything can be used as a double edged sword. Just be very careful on the way you use it. Understand the logic behind it… In the time of the prophet understand your enemy was three-fold. There are multi-layers to the enemy… As we said yesterday there was a particular nation from the time of Ismail who was looking to kill and extinguish the line of the prophet. There’s a third type of people as well who are bought by money. There’s a fourth type of people – munafiqeen who take you away from the religion…”

From 22:28:

“Do not socialise with a jahil because a jahil will cause you problems.”

In another sermon, he says:

From 34:30:

[Says Confucius] if you want a kingdom there are three things you need to do… Firstly, feed them… Secondly, give them a defence policy. Teach them how to defend themselves so that when they are not being attacked, give them security i.e. This is one of the biggest things of an Islamic government. Why is it that in an Islamic government a woman can walk at 2:30 in the morning and not be harassed? Because of security. That’s the main thing. If you look at Islamic edicts for example, if a person was to come into your house and they were to take a gun out and to steal or rob you at gun point, then what is the punishment? The punishment according to an Islamic government is death. Why is it death? But we’ve just robbed him. No. By taking the gun out you have put terror in the hearts of the people.  Islam is here to remove terror and terrorism… Thirdly, win their trust.”

From 38:38:

“…Two things externally. What are the two things? We said yesterday we talked about the necessity of education, right? But there is something else that i want you to implement within your life. These two strategies if you can have them, you’ll be successful. you’ll remove the misconceptions within the media. Yes there is a media bias. We know there is a media bias against us. We know there is a prejudice against us. If you have these two things you will change the entire face of the world. The first thing is our youth need to go into media. Why? Because after world war two when the Jewish nation realised that they are being oppressed, one thing that they did is that they went into media. You want to change perspectives of people, control the information flow of the people and that means going into media and control it. Maybe you can’t get into CNN but one thing you can do is you can use social media. You have seen revolutions take place on social media. You’ve seen social media campaigns that have taken place to stop wrong decisions taking place. You’ve seen awareness spread through social media. Use social media. Use google. Make sure that you can get to the top of google. Make sure that you can use Twitter, Facebook. They say everything can be used positively and negatively. Used negatively, it is haram for you. For example, when you find pictures of people pouting and all of this kind of rubbish that’s taking place. Hiya [shame] is leaving right?… Second thing. go into politics. go into politics. Local politics. national politics. international politics… You know why? Because I want you to influence the government to aid our Shia. This is what we need you need to do to change things. We live in a democracy. rather than criticising that democracy, change it. How do you change it? Vote, get in there. Get in there and change the system.”

On the signs of the coming of the 12th Imam, From 41:34:

“Abdullah Ben Masoud narrates from the prophet of God, narrated in Sunni traditions. He narrates the following things. I am going to break it down into 2. One environment; two society. He says that the prophet of God has told me that before the last days… acid rain will come, environment will start changing. Heat will start coming when cold should come. Cold will start coming when heat will come. Acid rain will fall from the clouds. the frequency of earthquakes will increase. At the same time the narration says that heritage will be destroyed. Are we not seeing today how ISIS has destroyed heritage. Are we not seeing today how the Saudi government has destroyed 95% of heritage. It says heritage will cease to exist. Culture will cease to exist. Look today and see… On the one hand you have traditions like that. On the other hand you have other traditions. Homosexuality will increase, zinaa [adultery] will increase in society; illegitimacy will increase in society. Men will look like women, women will look like men. What does that mean? What does that mean? That means men won’t be manly anymore. They lose their masculinity. There’s a term in the newspapers that they use, they call it metrosexual – that’s what’s happening.”

From 45:52

“Heralding the last days… They will be wearing clothes which are tight and will be see through. They will have clothes but they won’t have clothes on. I’m just narrating; I’m not telling you what to wear or not to wear. Is this modesty though? The tradition says tight clothing in a way that you’ll look – and I’m not just speaking of skinny jeans… Ibn Massoud says, the women will be corrupted. The men will also be corrupted but the women will be corrupted.”

Qari Muhammad Asim is Imam at Leeds Makkah Masjid, among the largest in the country. He is the senior editor of Imams Online. He provides advice on matters relating to fiqh, and advises on “domestic affairs” as well as engaging in marriage counselling. His rulings are not available online.

In an article on Imams Online entitled Domestic Abuse and Islamic Teachings, he writes:

“Women as well as men can be victims of domestic abuse, depending on which spouse is in a dominant position in the marital relationship. Domestic abuse manifests in various forms, most commonly as physical violence, but also as emotional abuse and financial control”. This trivialises domestic abuse given that women are overwhelmingly the victims of domestic violence.

In the section of Islamic view on marital relations, he speaks of a marriage as women being retained by men:

“Allah Almighty says in the Qur’an that when men retain their wives in marriage it should not be to take advantage of them; rather kindness and affection should be the mark of their relationship: “Retain them in kindness or release them in kindness. But do not retain them to their hurt so that you transgress (the limits). If anyone does that he wrongs his own soul. Do not take God’s instructions as a jest” [Qur’an 2:231].”

In the section on The role of the Community in preventing Domestic Violence, he writes:

“Mosques can also play a key role in promoting Islamic family values amongst the Muslim community. Young men and women should be educated about their respective rights and responsibilities in marriage so that it is instilled in them that tension at home or at work must not result in domestic abuse and violence. The aim of a married couple aim should be to develop a healthy, nurturing and abuse-free family life”.

In another articles on Imams Online entitled The Status of Women in Islam, he writes:

In the section entitled “Women and men are equal in the sight of Allah”, he writes

“These, and many other verses, show women have the same spiritual level of men and can attain every quality that is accessible to men”. This refers to the spiritual level without acknowledging that men and women are seen not as equal but as complementary to one another.

Under the section on the “Status of women in Islam” he writes of women in relation to men:

“Each women is someone’s mother, daughter, sister or wife. Islam has provided specific injunction highlighting the status of each of those roles so that women’s status and position could never be abused.

No religion or ideology in the world gives as a high as status to mothers as Islam does. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Your heaven lies under the feet of your mother” [Ahmad].”

For more information, please contact:

Pragna Patel
Southall Black Sisters
020 8571 9595

Gita Sahgal
Centre for Secular Space
079 7271 5090

Gina Khan and Maryam Namazie
One Law for All
077 1916 6731

Research by Will TG.

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