Archive | March, 2016

An Open Letter to the Religious Right

16 Mar

To Mohammad Sheerani, Siraj-ul-Haq, Muhammad Naeem, Tahir Ashrafi and the rest of the religious right in Pakistan,

Although I have very little to no respect for people who misuse and distort my religion, I hope this open letter finds you in good health. At the very onset, I would like to clarify that I have not referred to you as “Maulana” or “Mufti” not out of disrespect but out of respect for Islam and the credibility afforded to such titles. Please do not take offence at this as I am not writing to offend you, but to provide you with a perspective distinct from yours.

I wouldn’t call myself an authority on anything as only Allah is the all-knowing but being part of the “Ashraful Makhluqat”, I’d like to believe that the brain Allah has blessed me with has something to offer, be it limited.

Let me begin by saying that while you have consistently termed the women’s protection law ‘un-Islamic’, you have yet to point us to a single provision that supports your claim. In this regard, I must refer you to the Holy Quran (9:119): “O you who believe! Be careful of (your duty to) Allah and be with the true ones.” The Holy Quran guides us, providing (40:28): “Truly Allah guides not one who transgresses and lies.” Further, it states (2:9): “They seek to deceive God and those who believe, and they deceive only themselves and they perceive not.” I quote here from scripture to remind you of your duty to be honest, to not deceive people who look towards you for guidance.

Now, I may not know a lot about Islam or Islamic history, but I am constantly trying to learn. So please, direct me to a single passage in the Holy Quran that directs men to assault, rape and humiliate women? Please direct me to a single saying of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) that allows men to insult, degrade or engage in violence against women? I trust that you will be unable to do so because, although I’m not an Islamic scholar, I have read the scripture and have yet to come across anything that contradicts the fundamental principles underpinning the notion of human rights.

For far too long have women like myself allowed a handful of hateful, ignorant men to hijack our religion. It is time we speak up.

I need not be scholar of Islam to highlight when my religion is being abused. I need not have a beard and demonstrate a constant desire to shove religion down the throats of others to stand up and say that the Quran is mine just as much as it is yours. I may not be the best of believers but nor must i pretend – my intention is clean which is more than I can say for yours (but of course only Allah can judge). If you intend to mislead, you may succeed in this life but bear in mind that this life is but a test. This life is but a way for Allah to determine if you have been a good human being – and I highly doubt they allow wife-beaters, rapists or misogynists into heaven.

There is still time to repent.


Imaan Mazari-Hazir