Islamic web forums – bullying, amoral and oppressive

sisterquote

There are loads of islamic websites offering “advice” to people who find themselves in difficult situations. Many of the people who turn to these forums to vent are uneducated, stressed out and vulnerable.

The advice they get is often manipulative and aggressive. “Do this or you’ll end up in hell”  or “This quote from the quran or a hadith proves that you must act thus”. There is little or no consideration for the individual, the only thing that seems to matter in these islamic forums is indoctrination and fanaticism.

Whether a piece of advice is moral or not, harmful or not, is of no importance. The only thing that matters is if I can find some islamic rule to support it. And of course, the interpretation is based on patriarchal tradition and hegemony. Men have rights – women must submit.

You can see an example above. A young christian woman has fallen in love with an arabic man who has a wife and small children. He’s in love with her too and they have obviously been sneaking around behind his wife’s back for five years. Is there general outrage over the zina committed here? Is there moral indignation over this man who is cheating on his wife, this woman who is having an affair with a married man? NO! This is a muslim forum – they are not concerned with what is right or what is revolting – they are only concerned with what is islamic. And this man wants to marry his mistress – so it’s OK!

As you can see, they are advised that marrying is good, the home wrecking woman doesn’t need to concern herself with the fact that the lives of the first wife and the children will be destroyed – he has a right to marry and he doesn’t need to ask or tell his wife!!!!!!!

Islam as practised by fanatics you see, has nothing to do with decency or morals or common humanity. It is only about rules. Wreck a family? YES – it is permissible! Fuck another woman while my wife is pregnant? YES – marry her behind your wife’s back and it’s permissible!

It is nauseating the way people manage to forget ordinary human decency, morals and mercy, when religion enters the game.

Any sane person with ordinary, basic human decency and morals, would tell this young woman to stay away from another woman’s husband, be loyal to the first wife and her children, and hope that in the future, other women will show her the same decency.

(Source: http://www.ummah.com)

22 thoughts on “Islamic web forums – bullying, amoral and oppressive

  1. Salam

    Some of the forums and websites with q&a are full of hatred and condemning that is true. I also feel that many times the answers are just to make things quiet make women stay and try harder and put up with injustice and bad treatment. The answers are not to be correct or to be helpful but to make things quiet and calm and often the answers are better for men. But where else should you look for answers? If you have a husband who is treating you bad or unjust he can not give you advice. So who should advice us? The women to on these forums run errands for the men I feel. But many many read, and I discuss the fatwas and councils with my friends and they all feel the answers are not for us not help us. So where should we turn? La hawla wala quwata illah billah

  2. If she had written into our website, we would’ve strongly discouraged her from considering marriage to this brother if only because he doesn’t seem to be a person of good character if he’s been in a haram relationship with her for that long already. We would tell her she deserves better, and that she should take the time to find a good man who will value her instead of being thrust into a complicated polygamous situation with a man who clearly doesn’t have the piety to manage it as it should be managed.

    @Umm Muhammad,
    I’m not sure if Fiona permits links to other websites, but if she does I would certainly encourage you to visit IslamicAnswers.com. I work on this website, and over half our staff is female so your concerns that women are not being properly represented is put to rest. The brothers who work with us are all very professional and knowledgeable as well, and the chief editor himself is a self-described feminist.

  3. Dear jamylah,

    I will not remove your link since I have decided not to ban nor block any content here, but allow a free discussion and exchange of views as long as the posts aren’t illegal or blatant attacks. I will say however that I have checked your website, and I find e.g. that you (or admins there anyway) recommend people to break UK law by for example getting married again, islamically, without having their legal marriages ended and saying it doesn’t matter if a legal divorce has come through, you can just go ahead and get married again anyway. In the UK, bigamy is illegal, but you don’t seem to care. You also claim that men and women should be granted different social and legal standing, rights and responsibilities,so you are in denial of basic human rights as specified by e.g. the UN. You also give advice that is based on different rights for men and women, you claim that men are heads of families and should be obeyed et.c. You also publish false science and false statistics e.g. to claim that misogyny – e.g. allowing polygyny while forbidding polyandry – is really fair and just. You can see examples of this all over your site, e.g. here: http://www.zawaj.com/askbilqis/why-cant-a-woman-have-more-than-1-husband/. If your ideology is warped, that staff is female is no guarantee that women’s or human rights will be respected. The guards in Ravensbrück were women too. As for feminism in islam, I might return to the subject since there is much to be said.

    I do feel Umm Muhammad and her friends are worth getting advice from somebody who believes her, and all women, to be of equal standing, rights and responsibilities based on her being human – not of different standing, rights and responsibilities based on her being a woman.

  4. I won’t dispute with you that we do not advise other’s to seek a legal divorce before remarrying. However, I’m surprised that this point mattered to you (the legality issue), since you yourself are doing this in your own life. I figured someone wouldn’t do something they personally were ethically against, or felt others should do.

    As far as breaking the law, though, I don’t know how it’s structured in UK personally. In the US, many states only consider bigamy or polygamy as against the law if someone has actually obtained two (or more) legal marriages at once. If a person only has one legal marriage, but is carrying on with someone and calling it marriage without any legal paperwork, that doesn’t count. Many states here no longer recognize “common law” marriage, and someone going to the authorities and claiming they are married to someone (as a second spouse or whatever) because they went up on a hill, said some vows amongst friends and whatever else, wouldn’t be considered a lawbreaker per se. If anything they would be considered adulterous, and I think it’s fair to say in both countries adultery is not often penalized the way maybe it was at one time.

    I don’t assume you’re using the word “you” at me personally since I have never done any of the things you’ve mentioned (publishing false science etc)but I have to be honest if you mean “you” as the editors on the website collectively I honestly could not find any responses by editors that did any of those things at all. I won’t deny that public posters have done that, but they don’t represent our site….just the same way your respondents don’t represent yours.

    As far as the one post you did cite as a support for your claims, that post is specifically about women marrying more than one man. Now, I am familiar with your philosophy about that, but since we are talking about equality here I just want to say that not every woman sees being able to marry another man as the desired route to it. Some women have no desire to have another husband. For most polygamous wives, the only thing they desire is the right to get out of the marriage if their husband wants to practice polygamy, and that is something we do support. Also, I would remind you that you yourself didn’t necessarily consider marrying another husband as an option when your first husband initially remarried. It was something that just happened to fall together that way for you. Do you think (and this is a sincere question), that you would’ve been as open to the idea of remarrying someone else yourself if it had been put to you by someone else right after your husband remarried, before you met Graham? Or do you think you were still working out some things and just wanted those issues to be put to peace before thinking about something as grand as practicing polygamy yourself?

  5. So you are saying that islamic marriages aren’t legal, that they are illegal? I agree.
    My second marriage is a marriage of conscience. You are right in saying a common law marriage is no more valid than an islamic hoax marriage. The difference is that many states accept marriages that hold legal status in another culture. So in many states polygyny is bigamy. So these polygynous husbands, in the US, often are bigamists. I am not.

    I have for example seen on your we bite claims that there are more men than women in the world. This is a lie, a blatant lie and if you look at any international census you will see this.

    You are right, a lot of women want only one husband. And o lat of men want only one wife. But I don’t see islam using the fact that a lot of men only want one wife as an argument to forbid polygyny, so why should the fact that many women only wnat one husband be an argument to forbid those of u s who want two to marry two?

    I think a lot of men who want polygyny only want it because it is allowed. Had these men been born in the Netherlands,Denmark or Iceland, the thought would never have occurred to them. The same thing explains why most women don’t become polygamous. If culture had said they were allowed, and their husbands would have to serve the,obey them and give them sex whenever they wish – I believe a lot more women would be inclined to be polyandrous! 🙂

    I would never have become polygamous if my husband hadn’t done it first. I would never have thought of it. But I do have a nature that allows me to love two men deeply and passionately. And I guess, so do most women – if they were only allowed!

  6. You said, “The difference is that many states accept marriages that hold legal status in another culture. So in many states polygyny is bigamy. So these polygynous husbands, in the US, often are bigamists.”

    I have not seen any evidence that there is truth in that statement. I’ve lived in several states, and know many people who live in states I’ve never lived in. None of them approach polygamy/bigamy in that fashion. In fact, most states, if polygamy is practiced on any level at all in them, don’t much care about THAT in particular. What they care about, if anything, is polygamists using their relationships to get over on the government with taxes, state benefits and things like that. They will prosecute those types of cases, but for fraud….not polygamy.

    If what you were saying were in any way accurate about how the US views bigamy, then the LDS (mormons) would be under constant censure. They practice very openly, and we even have a reality show that follows a family who lives this lifestyle. Even though that family has been brought under scrutiny, no charges formally were able to be brought against them:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/01/sister-wives-bigamy-lawsuit-kody-brown_n_1561962.html

    Your issue about polyandry being prohibited is really an issue with basic tenets of religion (in this case Islam). Islam is not the only religion that forbids polyandry, in fact it’s prohibited in judaism and Christianity as well. Why aren’t they included when discussing whether or not a religion should permit polyandry?

  7. They are included. Thing is, polygyny is forbidden by christianity today. Has been for a long time. The only exception are a few christian cults, mainly in the US. No European christian church allows polygyny. So they are not gender racist. I am however in favour of polygamy – equal polygamy. I don’t think it should be forbidden at all. But your site explicitly advices muslim men to go ahead and marry a second wife, even though the legal divorce has not gone through – in the UK!! Where you know that bigamy is illegal, and where the courts have accepted nikahs, hence turning these men into bigamists. As for the US, I know that e.g. New York has granted single custody to mothers who have divorces, based on that their polygynist husbands were regarded as bigamists, hence criminal, hence unsuitable fathers. Quite rightly so.

  8. If I’m understanding you correctly, you’re talking about if a man is divorcing his first wife, likely has already obtained an islamic divorce, is awaiting the legal divorce, and wants to remarry someone else?

    Or are you saying that the first wife should be legally divorced before taking a second wife to practice polygamy?

    Yes we do advise people who are already getting a legal divorce to go ahead and have an Islamic (not legal) marriage. If UK recognizes nikkah, then it stands to reason that it should also recognize talaq. As I understand it, the process of doing an Islamic divorce is often quicker an getting a final verdict on a legal one, so that does tend to put folks in a bind. It’s true that such folks can be advised to wait things out, but that’s being weighed against the risk of breaking religious law by fornicating. In most faiths (and as I was a born again Christian before, I know for a fact that many conservative Christians stateside feel this way as well) if breaking a law set forth by God is at risk by keeping a law set forth by man, then the law to be followed is God’s.

    If, however, you are actually saying that all legal relationships should be severed if one wants to practice polygamy “under the radar”, then why haven’t you urged your number 1 to do just that? Wouldn’t he technically be a bigamist as well?

  9. By the way, I actually didn’t know (personally) that UK recognizes nikkah marriages. That’s interesting to know.

  10. Yep, my husband is a bigamist. I however am not.

    I am glad to see that you admit that islamic marriages are illegal.

    So why have them at all in countries where they aren’t legal.

    Yes, talaq is quick in the UK sharia councils. Khula is not. The process can go on for years. Do you encourage women who have gotten a legal divorce but are denied divorce by their muslim husbands and get stuck in year long khula processes to marry again too??? So they don’t risk zin a? Or is the soul of a woman less worth than the soul of a man, so you can put her through the risk, but not him????

    I believe the only way to have legal, working polygamy would be for people to choose different forms of weddings. Having the state offer one monogamous wedding contract and one polygamous where all partners are allowed to marry more spouses.

  11. You asked why have nikkahs at all if they aren’t legal. I think the answer to that lies in the fact that nikkahs have been going on for centuries, and carried out as they are, when our countries came along and established the current governments we have. Generally, religions don’t feel they need to change what they do just because a government sets up an alternate structure. I’m not saying that’s right or wrong, that’s just the difference between practice of faith and compliance of law. Laws come and go, they change. Religions were instituted to keep to a tradition over generations. They are inherently different in purpose and function, so it would be very difficult to have one keeping up with the other…and usually the more flexible entity is government since legislation does change so much.

    I don’t know why the khula process is like that there. That’s wrong. Khula is actually supposed to take less time than a conventional Islamic divorce given by talaq. If a woman wants a khula, and the husband disagrees to it, the imam or whoever is supposed to hear the case and decide on it as soon as it’s brought to him. If he agrees that the woman should be released (which should be the vast majority of the time if he’s doing things right), then the dowry would be returned to the man immediately and the iddah of only one month would begin. Whatever they are doing in UK to make it so drawn out is oppressive in my opinion.

  12. The UK recognizes nikah marriages when not doing so would seriously harm children. We also recognize nikahs that have been performed in countries where nikahs are legal, and before any spouse lived or resided in the UK.

  13. I’m just curious, is it required that Islamic divorces (whether khula or talaq) go through the local UK shariah councils? Where I live, if I wanted a khula, and my husband refused me, we would just go to the local imam at our masjid and bring it to him. There would be no waiting or legislation or anything like that. Usually the imam won’t force a woman to stay in the marriage if she really wants out, so if he says, in his authority -even against my husband’s wishes- that my khula stands…that’s it. I give back my dowry and a month later we’re done. No need for anything official or public. Is that not an option for women there?

  14. What happens in the UK is that the interests of the family come first, hence all methods of councelling and reconciliation must be tried before khula is demanded. This is often the case even if the husband is a condemned wife beater. A woman can be forced to stay married to her convicted husband for years because the sharia council demand she takes part in a mediation process, sometimes forcing her to meet her convicter wifeabusing husband over and over during these years before she is granted khula. And then they might still grant custody of children, daughters, to the convicted abusive husband.

    Don’t you have any respect for the law of the land? Shouldn’t muslims too abide by the law where they live?
    Wouldn’t you expect the same from westerners who live in muslim nations?

  15. So it sounds like the shariah courts operate as an alternative type of family court…but apparently they are adopting more of the processes of secular courts than the way it was actually done when Islam began. That’s a shame.

    My respect for the law of the land is variable. I’m personally not someone who believes that laws reflect morality. I think there are laws that should not exist, that are arbitrary and unnecessary. No, I personally don’t feel compelled to follow those laws. Nor do I feel compelled to follow laws that are in direct opposition to the practice of my faith, as is my constitutional right. I wouldn’t expect anyone else to either, even if they practice or believe something vastly different from me. Islam teaches that we should obey those in authority, but the caveat is that it must not go against religious law and general morality.

    I guess on that note, I wouldn’t expect westerners to keep laws that are oppressive just because they live somewhere else either. I mean, everyone who breaks a law knows there’s a consequence, the assumption is that they are accepting of whatever that consequnces is because their values are of more importance. But no, I’m not one of those people who think that just because a man made law exists, that makes it right to follow. We should of course work to change laws that are counterproductive, but no I wouldn’t chastize one for breaking a law on moral grounds after they have evaluated the situation with their own discretion.

  16. As I’m thinking about what you said, I think where the shariah court went wrong with khulas is bringing child custody into it. Child custody has nothing to do with getting a khula. Prophet Muhammad SAWS never asked any woman who asked him for khula about the children. The issue was strictly whether the marriage should stand. Any issues about children were brought separately, as needed.

    Too bad the UK shariah courts can’t get back to that, just granting the khulas and leaving the rest for another department or whatever to handle AFTER that’s taken care of.

  17. I don’t approve of all laws either, but I believe it is my duty to live according to the laws. I would not go to a muslim nation and violate their laws – even the ones I thoroughly detest. It is not a constitutional right to break laws. For example, marrying and having sex with a ten year old is not forbidden in islam, but you can not do that without breaking the law in the US. You don’t have a constitutional right to have sex with children. Polygyny e.g. is not obligatory in islam. It’s not even recommended, only allowed. So living by the law in the US, abstaining from polygyny, is not contrary to the muslim faith. Hence. the law should be followed. Anything else is simply criminal, and you can not claim that criminality in itself is a moral act?

    So any muslims who want to practise polygyny or child marriage or hit their wives or have sex with their wives against their will, should abstain from this, or be punished severely for crimes against humanity. That is my opinion.

  18. Divorce should of course be equally in the hands of both wife and husband. Then this problem would not exist. It’s the fault of misogynist rules to begin with.

  19. The UK sharia councils are not allowed to do any ruling concerning children, but they do all the time and then lie about it. I wanted to divorce my husband when he married his third wife because he promised after the second no more and he was treating us unjust and my children needed a father and then he lied and married a third anyway. The sharia council told me it is not a valid reason for khul and said I must go back and they said if I had a divorce in legal court I would have to give my chidlren up because they were 9 and 11 my daughters and sharia council said they must go to father. And if I disobeyed I would not be a part of the muslim community any more and my husband would have a right to take my children as I was divorcee and a disobedient wife. it doesnt matter all these hipocrite muslims websites who say “Be kind to your wife” because in islam when it becomes a conflict only the man has real poser. The woman can’t even get a divorce. He can divorce any time, but she must beg and beg of the council and they can refuse. They can never refuse a man. And these men who become polygamists in the West should all go to prison!

  20. Amy,
    Sharia is such a flawed system, no society based on Sharia could thrive. Any society that tries to base personal and economic justice on Sharia will end up as most Islamic societies are today; impoverished, angry, dreaming of the afterlife, and blaming everyone else for their problems.

  21. Lessie, your story is more representative than Amy’s. Anywhere in the Arab world (and in Judaism also, by the way), a woman is first in the hands of her husband to grant her divorce. If he doesn’t, religious authorities are at it. And both religions do NOT by standard practice grant any woman who “wants out” a divorce, along the lines if “irreconcilable differences” of secular divorce law. Typical practice is as you say – as long as the husband has not done anything horrendous (and beating is not horrendous if the wife was “disobedient”, as you say marrying a 3rd wife is not horrendous etc) she will not be granted it by the religious authority.

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