No Qualifications Needed

What kind of job does not require applicants to sit for a test, and does not require any qualification? In case you are curious about this job, it is the job of Executioner in Saudi Arabia.  An online advertisement appeared, seeking to fill 8 such vacancies.

Job Scope

It seems that Saudi Arabia is facing a shortage of executioners following a recent upsurge in the number of people getting beheaded.  So far this year, Saudi Arabia has executed nearly as many people as it did for the whole of 2014.

The advertisement was placed by the civil service ministry. The advertisement describes this as a “religious job”.  It said that no qualifications were necessary, and that applicants would be exempted from the usual entrance exams.

Besides beheading, the successful candidates are expected to carry out amputations ordered by the courts under Islamic Sharia. Amputation of one or both hands is a common punishment for theft.

Executions

Crimes that attract the death penalty under Sharia include those caught trafficking in drugs, rape, murder, apostasy and armed robbery.

Most common form of execution is beheading.  But there are a few cases of death by firing squad, stoning or crucifixion.

All executions are carried out in public.

Think About It

Why are there suddenly so many executions in Saudi Arabia?  What kind of crimes did they commit that warrant a death sentence.  How come the world is not condemning Saudi Arabia for beheading people?

Fury At Being Misled By Halal Labelling

Muslim customers of Aldi Supermarket have been furious that a product that clearly contained pig ingredients were labelled as being halal, Both the Germany-based Aldi Supermarket and its supplier of black-pudding pakora have had to apologise to customers for the error.

The “Halal” Black-Pudding Pakora

Pakora is an Indian-style fritter. Black pudding is a type of blood sausage commonly eaten Britain and parts of Europe. It is usually made from pig’s blood. The black-pudding pakora, which was sold by Aldi was made by Punjab Pakora, a firm based in Scotland. The packaging carried a UK Health Code stamp certifying the product to be halal.

However, the packaging also clearly specified that the ingredients included “pork blood” and “pork skins” and, lower down the ingredients list, “pork stock”.

The Error

Kushal and Vinita Duggal, the owners of Punjab Pakora explained that. “The mistake happened when we did the print run and unfortunately our manager failed to spot this error and got approval for printing”.

The Apologies

Punjab Pakora’s statement said that they “sincerely apologise to the public who have been affected by this mistake and would like to thank everyone who brought this error to our attention”.

Aldi has also apologized and said that “While this is not a food safety or legal compliance issue, any customers who are not satisfied are welcome to return their purchase to store for a full refund”. The supermarket also confirmed that the product was on sale only in Scotland and has been recalled.

Consequence For Muslims Of Eating Pork By Mistake

For Muslims, eating pork intentionally is breaking Sharia law, but unintentionally doing so is not.

Think About It

Nobody likes to be misled by wrong labelling on a food or any product. But what if the mistake is a genuine error and not intended to mislead? Especially if the mistake did not lead to adverse consequences for the consumer. Unintentionally eating pork does not break Sharia law. So will Muslims who bought the black-pudding pakora thinking it was halal be prepared to forgive Aldi and Punjab Pakora? What does Islam expect of them? Is there another lesson to be learnt from this incident – ie, to check the ingredients carefully for pork, especially when the product contains black pudding?

Seeking Advice On Discount Coupons as Gifts

It is common for companies and large departments to reward their employees with gifts. These gifts can take the form of bonuses, a company holiday abroad, or gifts of various kinds. Generally the decision on what to give is made in-house. However, Islam seems to have so many rules, which are not always clear cut, on what is or is not permissible, not just about gifts but about almost everything one can think of, that its followers have to seek advice on what to do. Hence it was that Dubai’s Department of Communication and Marketing of the Department of Islamic Affairs sought advice about whether discount booklets would be suitable gifts for its staff.

Distributing Discount Coupons Is An Act Of Gambling

The advice given by the Dubai’s Supreme Scholars Committee, which comes under the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities, was that giving these coupons is an act of gambling, and therefore not advisable.

The committee’s reasoning is that large sums of money would have to be spent to buy the coupon booklets, but the discounts are valid only for a certain period, vary in size, may not be of any use to the recipients, and may not be used at all. Thus spending money on gifts that could be useless is a waste of money and represents a form of gambling.

Acceptability Of Coupons For Recipients

However, the Supreme Scholars Committee said that it was fine for employees to accept the coupon booklets as long as they did not risk any money in accepting them.

Would it then be permissible for the recipient to sell the coupons? This point was not addressed by Dubai’s Supreme Scholars Committee, but is discussed on the Islam Question and Answer website. After a lengthy discussion on what various scholars have pronounced on buying and selling goods, this website says that it is permissible for person who receives the coupon as a gift to sell it to someone else. However, if the person had bought the coupons, he or she may not sell the coupons on. The goods obtained in exchange for the coupons may, however, be sold.

Think About It

Aren’t gifts often expensive and of little use to the recipient? Would spending on those also be a form of gambling and thus not permissible in Islam? Is spending a lot on useless gifts against Islam, or just against plain common sense? Are discount coupons so useless if the recipient can sell them on? Is it worth consulting Islamic scholars on every action to be taken? Do they not sometimes differ in their views?

“Un-Islamic” And Guilty Of “Fasad” (Violence) In Islam

Some 200 religious scholars from different Islamic sects in Pakistan gathered recently for a conference in Lahore where they passed a fatwa condemning suicide attacks as “un-Islamic” and sectarian killings as guilty of “fasad” (violence) in Islam.

Islamic Governments Duty Bound To Crush Rebel Groups

Since suicide attack is the weapon of choice of rebel groups like the Taliban, ISIS and al-Qaeda, the fatwa says that Islamic governments are duty bound to crush them.

The fatwa puts it this way: “Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, Al-Shabab and other such so-called Jihadi outfit’s philosophy is misleading. Their functioning is un-Islamic and thinking based on poor knowledge of Islam”.

Elaborating further the fatwa says: “The Jihad methodology of these outfits (are) against Islamic conditions for Jihad and that the elements involved in sectarian killings are guilty of ‘fasad’ (violence) as Islam does not allow any killing in the name of sect and the Islamic governments are bound to crush such rebels”.

“Worst Criminals”

Referring to the Taliban’s killing of women health workers during their anti-polio drive, the fatwa calls such killers the “worst criminals”.

The Pakistan Taliban oppose the anti-polio drive and they killed many polio workers, including women.

“Worst Sins”

Regarding the frequent attacks on non-Muslims’ places of worship, the fatwa said such attacks are heinous crimes, and those participating in such attacks have committed the worst sins.

The fatwa also said that protection of non-Muslims is mandatory for an Islamic state.

“Peace And Love Day”

Conference coordinator Mualana Ziaul Haq Naqshbandi later announced that the clerics have decided to designate May 22 as “Peace and Love Day”.  On that day, clerics in 400,000 mosques throughout Pakistan will deliver sermons against unlawful killings.

Additionally, an Ulema board will be established to counter the propaganda of extremist and terrorists organizations like the Taliban and ISIS.

Mualana Ziaul Haq Naqshbandi describes how this battle will be fought, saying: “An Eradicate Terrorism and Save Country movement will also be launched”.

Think About It

Can these 200 Islamic scholars succeed in reclaiming Islam from the likes of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, Al-Shabab? Can they save Pakistan by eradicating terrorism?  How effective will this fatwa be?  Will Pakistani Muslims pay attention to it?  If not, why not?

Yet Another Possible Honor Killing

A 30-year-old married man and a 16-year-old girl in Bihar, an Indian state near Bangladesh, tried to elope, but ended up being burnt to death in what is highly suspected to be yet another case of honor killing. In India, such killing is found mainly in the northern states of Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh. Bihar is the state east of Uttar Pradesh. Among the commonest reasons for honor killing in these places are marriage without the family’s approval, or marriage outside the caste or religion. 18 honor killings were reported in India in 2014.

The Honor Killing

The man, Jairam Manjhi, who ran a small grocery store in Ametha village, had 3 children, and his wife was 6 months pregnant with their fourth child. The girl, Parvati Kumari, an only child, and a high-school student in the neighboring village of Pater, was Jairam Manjhi’s wife’s niece, and her family lived next door to his in-laws.

According to villagers, the elopers were caught by Parvati Kumari’s family, who brought them back to an agricultural field in Ametha, lynched them, and cremated the bodies outside the village. Charred remains were found near a canal on the outskirts of the village. At the agricultural field, some personal effects such as a wrist watch, a tobacco case, a green hair band, a necklace and few coins were found strewn on the ground.

The remains of the bodies have been sent for forensic tests. Meanwhile 16 persons, including Parvati Kumari’s parents and 5 of her uncles and their wives, have been named as the accused. Two of Parvati Kumari’s aunts have been arrested, while a search has been launched for the others.

Role Of Panchayat

In Indian villages, there is a village council (panchayat) of powerful men who set the rules. Quite commonly the panchayat is asked to resolve the disagreement, and their rulings can be harsh. In this case, there are conflicting reports about whether it was the panchayat that ordered the killing, or whether Parvati Kumari’s family acted without consulting the panchayat.

Think About It

Which family wouldn’t be furious if a married man deserted his wife and children and ran away with their only daughter? It is only understandable that the family would feel that the daughter’s action brought dishonour to their family. But is lynching and then cremating the runaways an acceptable action, especially in this day and age? How can people be made to realize that this kind of killing in no way restores their honor – that it does just the opposite? There is debate about whether honor killing is Islamic or not? Islamic leaders say not. Should they not then be leading the fight against honor killing?

Previous posts

India – Yet More Cases of Honor Killing
India – Deadly Clampdown On Honor Killings
Absolutely Nothing Honorable In Honor Killings!
Islamic Leaders Say Honor Killing Is Not Islamic, But Why Do Some People Believe It Is?
Muslim Leaders In Canada Say Honor Killing Not Islamic, But What Do Islamic Texts Say?
India – Supreme Court Judge Calls For Death Setence On Those Found Guilty Of Honor Killings
The Horrors Of Honor Killing

Almighty Allah May Make The Patient Continue To Benefit From The Treatment

The Muslim World League’s affiliate, the Islamic Fiqh Academy, recently held its 22nd session in Makkah during which a fatwa was issued prohibiting euthanasia.  The reason given is that Almighty Allah may make the patient continue to benefit from the treatment prescribed by specialist physicians.

The Fatwa

Euthanasia is defined by Wikipedia as “the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering”.  Some will call it mercy killing, thereby acknowledging that euthanasia involves an act of killing, either at the request of the patient or a relative.

According to the fatwa, if a specialist physician is of the opinion that his prescribed form of treatment will do more good than harm to the patient, and that it does not hurt the patient, then he is authorized to continue treating the patient, notwithstanding that the effect may be temporary.  The reason for this is that Almighty Allah may overrule the physicians’ expectation and cure the patient.

The fatwa stresses the importance of continuing health care for the patient, including the provision of nutrition and pain relievers to the extent possible.

The Exception

But are there grounds for specialist physicians to stop treatment?  The Islamic Fiqh Academy says yes, subject to the following.

To begin with, the patient must be categorically proven to be brain dead.  Only then can the resuscitation equipment be removed from the patient.  This means that the patient is terminally ill, with no hope for recovery.

But when is this condition reached?  Who decides? The Islamic Fiqh Academy’s fatwa provides this answer.

The decision is not taken by the relatives or any one person.  The fatwa says that 3 truthful specialist physicians must concur that continuing treatment will do more harm to the patient, and that it has no effect on improving the patient’s condition.  Only then can treatment be stopped.

Think About It

The Islamic Fiqh Academy’s fatwa prohibiting euthanasia says that people should not limit the power of Almighty Allah to recover a patient using the course of treatment prescribed by a specialist physician.  By the same token, shouldn’t people also not limit the power of Almighty Allah to restore a brain dead patient to life?

Imprisoned For Shaving Off Beard

The self-proclaimed Islamic State has done it again – issuing another fatwa that infringes on personal freedom.  This time it has to do with the Islamic beard, held in high esteem by ISIS militants and the likes of Taliban, etc.  And those who defy this fatwa by shaving off his beard faces imprisonment and beheading.

Caught

Any male living in the so-called Islamic State itching for a shave has better keep a close watch on where the razor blade or shaver is working.  Any careless movement of the hands can accidentally cause his beard to be shaved, and that will be a really big problem for him.

The Arrest

Mosul Eye, who claims to be a blogger in Iraq, reported recently that a group of men were arrested and jailed.  And their offense?

Mosul Eye said: “ISIL (another name for ISIS) arrested a group of young men for shaving off their beards, and locked them in jail for three months”.

But what will happen if these young men fail to obey the fatwa after their release from their 3-month imprisonment?

Mosul Eye said: “If they repeat this offense, ISIL will rule to behead them”.

The terror group introduced a ban on shaving this month. Preachers issued threats that men who shave would be punished because it is against Sharia law.

Think About It

If the Islamic beard is so important, then how come there are so many other male Muslims not growing it?  The vast majority of male Muslims in Indonesia don’t keep beards, and the same can be said of Malaysia.  So is the keeping of the Islamic beard so important as to justify beheading those who fail to do so?

Female-only Mosque For Bradford

The Muslim Women’s Council in the UK has spent the last year inquiring about facilities in existing mosques, and the result is that it has decided to build a female-only mosque in the city of Bradford. It will be the UK’s first all-female mosque. Bradford is one of the most densely Muslim populated regions in the UK.

“Open My Mosque” Campaign

This online campaign on social media asked members of the public about their mosque experiences -  “the good, the bad, and the ugly”. It found that the services offered by mosques were not always adequate for women.

The campaign organizers said, “Mosques should be a space for all and there shouldn’t be gender exclusion whether that’s women or even men. The state of mosques in the UK for the past 30 years has provided a challenge for female inclusion – whether that’s through inadequate space provisions, or in their participation in the governance of the mosque community structure and more often than not, it’s just a hostile experience for them”.

Bradford Mosque Project

This project is to build “a mosque for women, and run by women”, said Bana Gora, chief executive of the Muslim Women’s Council. Referring to the findings of the audit of mosques, she said, “Rather than just complain, we decided to do something about it”.

The project is starting with a month-long consultation. Bana Gora said, “Through the consultation process we intend to work with diverse groups, opinions and organizations, including the Council for Mosques, to create the ethos and spirit of the mosque during the Prophet’s time”. She explained that in the Prophet’s time the mosque was the centre of community life and learning.

The hope is that the mosque “will provide a good practice guide of how mosques should be providing space for women”.

Reactions To News About Mosque For Females

The idea of a female-only mosque has prompted some debate, such as whether women would be able to lead prayers.

The Bradford Council for Mosques declined to comment, pending discussions.

The President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association for Bradford North, said that as far his association was concerned, there was a tradition for women to lead prayers in their own groups, and that the mosque is a mixed community involving men, women and children.

Think About It

Wouldn’t an all-female mosque be subject to the criticism that it discriminates against men? Also, by excluding men, would the mosque be able to be the center of community life, which is what it is intended to be, in keeping with the spirit of the mosque during Prophet Muhammad’s time? Besides, how many all-female mosques is it practical to build in the UK? Does Islam intend that men and women should be treated equally? If so, would it not be better to try and persuade existing mosques to accommodate women?

“It’s Not To Hurt Her”

Remember Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria?  He caused a controversy recently when in arguing that there is no concept of marital rape in Islam, Harussani Zakaria made this statement, saying: “Even the Prophet says even when they’re riding on the back of the camel, when the husband asks her [for sex], she must give”.  Now Harussani Zakaria has come out with yet another controversial statement, this time saying that husbands are allowed to beat their wives, but only using handkerchiefs because beating is “not to hurt her”.

“Kurang Ajar”

Harussani Zakaria was commenting on an incident that took place recently at the Kota Kinabalu airport in the East Malaysian state of Sabah.

A couple was about to board a Malindo Air flight from Kota Kinabalu to Kuala Lumpur when they started to argue over something.  Then at the aerobridge, the man began to slap his tudung-clad partner several times until she cried.

The assault was photographed by documentary filmmaker Beatrice Leong, who promptly posted it on Facebook.  The post went viral immediately.

Commenting on this incident, Harussani Zakaria called the man who assaulted his partner “kurang ajar”, which translates in English to mean “rude”.

Use Handkerchief Only

Harussani Zakaria said: “In the hadiths, the Prophet says ‘beat with a handkerchief’; it’s not to hurt her”.

Harussani Zakaria added: “So this man who beat his wife in front of people is not obeying the law of Islam. I think he doesn’t know anything about the law of Islam”.

Then quoting Surah An-Nisa (verse 34) in the Quran, Harussani Zakaria said that a man can admonish his wife if she is “disobedient”, then refuse to share the marital bed, and if she still remains disobedient, he can beat her “lightly with the purpose of admonition”.

Harussani Zakaria added that Prophet Muhammad interpreted the “beating” as one that cannot be carried out with anything more than a handkerchief.  He said: “You cannot hit the face, the stomach. You can’t cause hurt or scars”.

Think About It

If beating a wife is for “the purpose of admonition”, how effective can this be when the light beating is done with a handkerchief?  Should beating be administered in the first place?

Previous post

Malaysia – Marital Rape Does Not Exist In Islam

Penalties For Skipping Friday Prayers

From June 1, Muslims in the Malaysian state of Kedah will have to think twice if they contemplate skipping Friday prayers. That is the date that the state will start to implement a law passed by the State Legislative Assembly last year. The ruling comes under Section 13 of the Kedah Darul Aman Shariah Criminal Offences Enactment 2014. Those who miss Friday prayers three times in a row can be fined up to RM1000 ($279) and/or be jailed for up to 6 months.

Implementation Of The Law On Skipping Friday Prayers

A law that carries the threat of a jail sentence for not attending Friday prayers seems unduly harsh. But the chief enforcement officer of the Kedah Islamic Religious Department (JAIK) has tried to soften things by saying, “However, we will not be blindly issuing summonses for the offence”. So how will offenders be caught? Syeikh Fisol Omar explained, “We will act based on public complaints, especially from those among their local congregation”. Moreover, offenders will be given a chance to mend their ways, for Syeikh Fisol Omar added, “If the offenders fail to cooperate, we will apply for a warrant of arrest from the Sharia court judge”.

According to Syeikh Ahmad, the law was introduced because JAIK had received complaints that Muslim men were spending time at public places during the times of Friday prayers. The hope is that enforcement of the law will reduce the number of “Friday prayer truants”.

JAIK has organized a road show on the enforcement of the law, and has also distributed posters and circulars about the law to 568 mosques.

Complaints System

People who want to report Friday prayer truants are assured that their identities will be kept confidential. They can obtain complaint forms from the district islamic religious offices.

Think About It

What is Islam? Is it just adherence to a set of rules that include attendance at Friday prayers? Does it not matter what is going on in the hearts and minds of those attending the prayers? Is everything fine as long as the mosque is full, even though the hearts of the congregation may be full of hate, and their minds plotting something evil, or just wandering idly about something entirely non-Islamic? And what about the complaints system? Might the complainant not be a person truly concerned about the welfare of his or her fellow Muslim and the mosque, but somebody with a grudge against the Friday prayer truant?