I always craved for writing something right from my mind, and the lust to be creative in expressing my opinions has expended my faculties and dimensions of critical thinking. Consequently now I am able to connect things that I have noticed years back with my contemporary observations. So today in a discussion with friend, the word of ‘‘sexual lust’’ took me back to university days. Once, just for sake of curiosity to know the difference between translation and transliteration (tafseer) of Quran, I took a book of transliteration from the university’s library. As I was skimming the contents of the transliteration, I stumbled upon a very famous story of two angels, Harut and Marut (Surrah Al-Baqara, 2:102). I will cherry pick some part of that story which is related to my topic of interest. That part was the reply from the Creator to the angels when they questioned the superiority of humans among all the creatures. The Creator replied back that I have placed two distinct features in human nature i.e. sexual lust and anger. And the extreme of any of these features can make a human worse than an animal. If humans can control these two, they can get the first place on the podium of superiority. So to test, Harut and Marut were sent on earth in human form. And they failed as they could not contain their newly attained human features. After reading the story one can infer that sexual lust is powerful evil present in human nature.
Sexual lust is a problem when it makes the society insecure. It can lead not only to heinous crime of rape but to murder as well. Rape is the most extreme outcome of sexual lust. Therefore, from here on I will discuss sexual lust in its extreme form i.e rape. If we look into our society, the prosecution department of justice is so incompetent and corrupt; that poor rape victims eventually lit their selves in front of police stations and courts to prove the victimhood. That’s why to protect the society, strong punishments are must; every society has its own way to deal when sexual lust leads to crime. In modern societies such crimes are dealt with aide of advanced forensic techniques like DNA test.
As this article is focused on sexual lust so let’s see what Islam has proposed to contain this evil 1400 years ago. Islam has given different strategies to tame the evil of sexual lust, because Islam is known as complete guide for human life. Quran and Hadith has very clear directions such as women to fully cover the body; avoid forbidden relationships; lower the gaze; avoid physical contact and places or things which can stimulate sexual desires. But most important is the law or the punishment so for rape (zina bin jabrr) in Shariah ; is stoning if the perpetrator is married, and one hundred lashes and banishment for one year if he is not married. Great advises to avoid sexual arousal and deserveable punishment for a rapist. Job well done.
Before further going into the most critical part, first let’s see how the Islamic precautionary measurements are meeting the needs of 21th century. Well any sensible mind can ponder on how one can lower a gaze when a Mullah is lecturing about religion while sitting in a TV show with a pretty lady. How one can avoid physical contact when PM of Islamic Republic of Pakistan is handshaking with the foreign female delegates. How to avoid forbidden relations when one cannot afford to meet the expense of marriages in current economic situation. How one can avoid sexually arousing things when smart phones loaded with internet are in the hands of every person. It is crystal clear that Islamic advices are utterly impractical and irrelevant to the highly urbanised and socialised complex life of 21st century. It’s a not simple desert life anymore. It is necessary to realize that science and technology has penetrated in our social and professional lives. And there are also new ways to do a crime if sexual lust goes beyond control, so new ways to control it.
Now come to the most critical part of my analysis. As we all know it is the law that gives us a secure society. In Islamic law for convicting a rapist four male adult witnesses are required who have actually seen the act while happening. And those male witnesses should have to be pious, not Sheeda or Meeda standing on the corner of street. So what if no one has seen the act of rape. Because usually the rapes are done on deserted places, not on the roads. If nobody has seen it happening then rapist is free to go? I wonder where the completeness and perfectness of Islam is gone while punishing the vilest crime of human.
While searching the references to cross check my point of views, I came across with most shocking and incomprehensible thing i.e there is not even a single word in the Quran for rape. The word used for a sex crime is ‘‘zinaa’’, defined as “unlawful sexual intercourse” – which includes only two things: (i) fornication (pre-marital sex); and (ii) adultery (extra-marital sex). But there is no word or any kind of description for sex without consent (rape). The word for rape denoted as ‘‘zinaa bil jabrr’’ which I previously stated; is devised by Muslims Jurists not taken from Quran. So a very simple question comes in the mind that why Quran missed to mention the rape (sex without consent) in terms of crime and punishment when it is saying that sexual lust is evil or test for human. Shouldn’t there be any Quranic punishment for such grave crime which rips apart the dignity and modesty of human life. Or sex without consent (rape) is not considered even a crime according to Quran? I would not interpret or answer this question in my own words because I don’t want to hurt the feelings of the readers. But I hope the readers will be provoked to search about this simple question and will enlighten me if they find any Quranic verse or sensible explanation for such lack of acknowledgement.
I felt deep irony in finding the absence of Quranic reference about rape, but finding clear and strict directions to the women how to appear and act (Surah an-Nur verse 31/Surah al-Ahzab verse 59). This deep irony is so similar to the one we observe in most rape cases when people tend to blame the rape victim to be the cause of sexual assault in the first place, it’s a common mindset.
Now before winding up, I will go back to the start of this article where I mentioned about a discussion with the friend which actually provoked me to write. In that discussion we were comparing the freedom of women in Pakistan (religious) and China (nonreligious) country. Although there is nothing much to compare between a conservative society of Zia and a liberal society of Mao. So the discussion ended with my single argument which I presented from my personal experience. One of my Chinese female friends wearing a denim mid-thigh short travelled all alone from North to South of China by hitchhiking on the road. But right in her neighbouring country, lives a Pakistani female dressed in modest clothing waits for the van on a busy bus stop of the city centre. And she is about to cry when a man left his car and approached her asking to come with him. And he is not the first one to ask, two men have already offered her a lift during her 30 min stay on bus stop. This was all happening in the middle of the city. I wonder what would be the worst possible scenario if a woman is standing on deserted road. According to studies, hundreds of women are sexual harassed every day on public buses in Pakistan. Most of the sexual harassments go unreported to avoid the harassment in police stations. It is a mind boggling to see this kind of behaviour of men in Pakistan; is it built on conservative religious and cultural ideology? Is it a mental problem or actually there is sexual lust that has grown to alarming level in men of our society? Seriously what is wrong with the men in Pakistan; if it is not the ideology then is it their higher testosterone levels than Chinese men, making them to treat women less than a human? I know the typical answer that it is all due to lack of religious teaching on individual or collective level, but how it could be lack of Islamic teachings when ironically the primary source of Islamic knowledge, the holy book does not consider rape as something worthy to even mention by name. So it becomes ridiculously baffling when people suggest me just go and read Quran, you will find the best guidance for every problem, and instead you get disappointment rather than guidance.
I hope instead of judging my faith and knowledge, readers will actually do a self-study of their religion and think about answers of the question marks of this article. And come forward with sensible explanation to negate my perception that ideology of Quran especially for women is male dominated, for instance it has completely failed to acknowledge rape as a crime. I hope I will learn something better from others perceptive.