- The Universality of Islam
- Women’s rights
- Original sin
Universality and Solving Problems of Humanity
Humanity today faces numerous critical problems, from individual problems such as, alcoholism and sexual diseases, to social problems such as, the dire conditions of the elderly, abuse of children and women, and pervasive global problems like wars of aggression.
Humanity today faces numerous critical problems, from individual problems such as, alcoholism and sexual diseases, to social problems such as, the dire conditions of the elderly, abuse of children and women, and pervasive global problems like wars of aggression. If any system of life is proposed for humankind, it should be able to provide preventative measures for such problems. It should also be able to solve emerging problems. There is no doubt that the existence of the majority of our problems in the world is the result of the inability of the existing systems to neither prevent nor solve such problems. Indeed these systems often seem to encourage the manifestation of and root cause for these problems.
1. ALCOHOLISM AND DRUG ADDICTION
Although some of the existing systems, especially the secular ones, have achieved considerable scientific and material success, which have brought positive changes and comfort to some, their negative impact and pressures have led for many people to resort to self-destructive actions and habits. Consumption of narcotics, drugs and alcohol has become a universal problem.
The magnitude of these problems has transcended health and social consequences resulting in war between drug smugglers and countries where drug trafficking takes place on the one hand and countries of drug consumption on the other. The crimes of drug and alcohol users vary from public drunkenness or driving while intoxicated to committing rape, manslaughter and homicide.
In the year 1979 alone, police in the U.S. reported 2,137,999 alcohol-related crimes.83 In fact, the dire effects of alcohol went far beyond this figure. In 1975, there were about 50,000,000 moderate drinkers and 14,000,000 heavy drinkers in the United States alone.84 The reliance of many Americans on alcohol and drugs seems to have grown substantially and has emerged as one of the most costly social problems and the most difficult to control.
One might be asked why has the problem of alcoholism become more serious in recent years? The answer of five leading American sociologists is:
The last decades in America were referred to as the chemical age, in which people utilize a myriad of substances in order to cope with whatever problems they face: physical pain, emotional upset, or blocked aspirations. Some have gone so far as to argue that America is a drug culture, and when we consider the enormous quantity and variety of drugs consumed by Americans each year, there may be some credence to this description.
Realizing the magnitude of alcoholism and drug addiction, many countries have taken different measures. The United States, for example, banned the consumption and the selling of all forms of alcoholic beverages and other types of drugs in 1920. This was known as the Prohibition law, which lasted from 1920 to 1933. However, despite the might of the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, it resulted in great failure and perhaps could have never succeeded.
As a matter of fact, the enactment of the National Prohibition Act was followed by widespread disregard of it. Illegal manufacturing, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages became common. It provided organized criminals a very valuable source of business. The whole experiment resulted in a dismal failure.
This very fatal problem is not peculiar to the US. Indeed, most societies of the world suffer greatly from alcoholism, more than any other drug. According to a report published in the year 2000 by the Russian daily news paper Kommersant,87 two thirds of Russian men die drunk and more than half of that number dies in extreme stages of alcoholic intoxication. At 57.4 years, Russian men have the lowest life expectancy rate in Europe. The paper reported the results of a three year study of men aged between 20 and 55 in the cities of Moscow and Udmurita that:"Everyone is drunk: Murderers and their victims, drowning victims, suicides, drivers and pedestrians killed in traffic accidents, victims of heart attacks and ulcers."
Mr. Chernyenko, vice chairman of the National Organization of Russian Muslims, remarks on the matter of alcoholism:
"One can say that drinking vodka or wine is a significant aspect of Russian culture, yet I can be a good Russian while not drinking alcoholÖ Most of the social problems in Russia are caused by alcohol consumption. If we can introduce some Islamic social values to Russia, the society and the country will become stronger."
It is beyond doubt that neither Judaism nor Christianity or any other system can provide a workable solution to such a problem, because alcohol consumption is an essential part of most if not all their religious and official occasions even though it is prohibited according to the teachings of The Bible, the source of their teachings. As for drugs, it is evident that influential sectors of some nominally Christian governments do support the legalization of drugs or have initiated programs--such as the free distribution of syringes to addicts - which encourage drug addiction rather than containing it. During the last five years alone, the United States government has spent $52 billion in fighting drugs with little if any success.
General Norman Schwarzkopf, Commander of the Allied Forces in the Gulf War addressed the US Congress on how the prohibition of alcohol consumption in Saudi Arabia made for better and more disciplinedAmerican soldiers, June 13, 1991)
"Our sick call rate went down, our accident and injury rate went down, our incidents of indiscipline went down, and health of the forces went up. So there were some very therapeutic outcomes from the fact that no alcohol was available whatsoever in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."
THE ISLAMIC SOLUTION
Alcoholism and drug addiction have proven to be unsolvable problems to many sociologists and social activists, not to mention the police force and politicians. Unable to stem their use, the societies where alcoholism and drug abuse have become chronic have ceased addressing underlying root causes. Instead, they concentrate on controlling the effects in a selective and piecemeal approach. For instance, there is not a law that prevents the manufacture, sale and the consumption of alcoholic beverages, though there is one for driving while intoxicated.
The effect, not the root cause, is addressed here: the symptom, not the disease. Pilots can drink any time they want but not when handling airplanes.
Liquor advertising is so prevalent that it has indoctrinated children. Children cannot wait to reach eighteen years of age, so that they can hastily rush to the closest liquor store to buy alcohol by themselves for the first time, as if it were a treat or 'the thing' to do.
All these contradictions and double standards are rejected in Islam. If alcohol is harmful while driving, then it should be harmful at all times. If it is harmful for young people under the age of eighteen, then it should be harmful for the people at any age. The evidence to the contrary is the horrific number of crimes that are being committed under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Islam, the divine teaching of God, came to eliminate this problem altogether; therefore, it leaves no opportunity for its grave consequences to destroy human beings and their societies. All avenues that lead to alcohol consumption are legally blocked. So, instead of exploiting resources to deal with the symptomatic aspects, the whole disease is prevented. Islam aims, from the beginning, at raising the consciousness of its followers. Thus, outside enforcement is not necessary. One finds many places in the Qur'an where Allah says:
O you who believe be aware of Allah O you who have believed, be upright [in responsibility] for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is acquainted with what you do.
(The Qur'an 5:8)
Islam has established a whole system of life so that all its components work in harmony. Solutions that have been proposed all over the world to solve the problems in question are not compatible with other systems of the same society. As a result, they have led to social chaos.
Islam has established a whole system of life so that all its components work in harmony. Solutions that have been proposed all over the world to solve the problems in question are not compatible with other systems of the same society. As a result, they have led to social chaos. Fasting, one of the five pillars of Islam, for example, is an institution in Islam that encourages self-consciousness and self-discipline on the part of the followers.
Muslims are taught that Allah has made all good commodities permissible and all the bad commodities prohibited, describing the believers as: Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet whom they find mentioned in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel [who] enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them from what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits them from the evil, and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them.
(The Qur'an 7:157)
When such a belief is established in the hearts of the believers that the Creator of the universe has ordered people not to engage in certain actions or consume certain things, then the law is accepted. Such compliance by Muslims is typical of the early days of Islam. Quraishies (Makkahans) and other existing pre-Islamic peoples used to engage in drinking alcohol as a common social behavior just like the current non-Muslim societies. However, after submitting themselves to the will of Allah the Almighty, they stopped worshipping idols and drinking alcohol as soon as the call from Allah came, enjoining them:
O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling [sacrificing on] stone atters [to other than Allah] and diving arrows are but defilement from the handiwork of Satan, so avoid it, that you may be successful. Satan only wants to cause between you enmity and hatred through intoxicants and gambling, and to obstruct you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. So will you not resist? And obey Allah and obey the Messenger and beware. And if you turn away, then know that upon Our Messenger is only [the responsibility for] clear notification.
(The Qur'an 5: 90-92)
PEOPLE ALL OVER MADINAH
People all over Madinah stopped drinking immediately. They instantly got rid of their reserves of alcohol to the extent that the roads of Madinah turned into streams of wine.
They did not hesitate to respond immediately to the divine command. There was no need for the interference of highly trained agents or the exploitation of billions of dollars to stop this destructive habit. This is really where the strength of the Islamic system lies. The people themselves take the initiative and willingly submit, so that no course of action needs to be imposed on them. The welling submission to Allah is behind the decision of millions of people to accept Islam as a way of life:
There is no compulsion in [accepting} religion. The right course has become clear from error. So whoever disbelieves in taghut [i.e. false deities] and believes in Allah has grasped the trustworthiest handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.
(The Qur'an 2: 256)
The willing submission in Islam should be contrasted with the grudging social submission of secularist societies. When the Law of Prohibition was imposed by the United States government in the 1920's, people were not prepared spiritually or psychologically to abide by it. In effect, there was not a system of life in which such laws could be integrated. The force of a man-made law cannot go unchallenged when imposed on people who disagree with it. When there is not a common denominator, things fall apart, because the people live in Jahiliyah90 (devastating ignorance).
Crime in its different forms - organized crime, street crimes, state crimes, social crimes, etc. - is considered a major threat to peace and security in our world. However, discussing in detail the magnitude of the problem of crime as a universal catastrophe is beyond the scope of this study. A summary of statistics that describe the spread of some crimes in the U.S.
The Uniform Crime Report (UCR) issued by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) revealed that the number of reported crimes in the U.S. (as in the table above) increased by 5.0 % in the years from 1976 to 1995. Arrests in 1985 totaled 11.9 million, an increase of 3% over 1984.92 Though the numbers presented are extremely high for the most prosperous nation that presumably has one of the most advanced security systems, the UCR figures are widely believed by criminologists to be low.
A more reliable index is probably the U. S. Bureau of Justice Statistics' National Crime Survey (NCS), an annual report on household crime victimization based on census surveyors. This survey covers crimes not reported to police. Its 1985 survey showed that 25% (1 in every 4 households in the U. S.) had experienced crimes against individual members of the household or against the household itself during that year.
Regardless of the costly efforts by the FBI and the high loss of lives among police officers94 to reduce crime rates in the United States, the reversal is occurring.
According to FBI, Uniform Crime Reports (1995), the number of total reported offenses including murder, property crimes, rape, robbery, etc. has increased from 11,349,700 crimes in 1976 to 14,872,900 in 1992, an increase of 3,537,200 reported offenses.95 And according to the most recent statistics from the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics, at the end of 2006
roughly in 1 in ever 31 adults in the United States was in prison or jail, or on parole or in supervised release.96 After all these facts, can any sensible human being claim that the prime superpower and the leader of the New World Order that has gravely failed to reduce crime in its cities will succeed in restoring peace and security to the remainder of the world?
According to FBI, Uniform Crime Reports (1995), the number of total reported offenses including murder, property crimes, rape, robbery, etc. has increased from 11,349,700 crimes in 1976 to 14,872,900 in 1992, an increase of 3,537,200 reported offenses. After all these facts, can any sensible human being claim that the prime superpower and the leader of the New World Order that has gravely failed to reduce crime in its cities will succeed in restoring peace and security to the remainder of the world?
As these statistics show, crime,97 in its various forms, has become a major threat to societal and individual security. Crime from a Western perspective has been defined as: an act by a member of a given social group, which by the rest of the members of that group regard as so injurious or as showing such a degree of antisocial attitude in the perpetrator that the group publicly, overtly and collectively reacts by trying to abrogate (abolish) some of his rightscited from the President's Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice. Nevertheless, most of the methods used to fight against crime have backfired and are far short of meeting such a challenge. According to some recent statistics from the Bureau of Justice, during the late 1970's there were about 268,000 prison inmates in all 50 states. By the end of 2006, there were over 2.4 million. Despite this drastic increase, crime rates remained high.98 Most of the statistical data collected are about Western societies, due to the availability of documentation on the matter. The failure of the Western methods of combating crime- -as attested by the continual rise of crime rates--leads one to suggest a solution which treats criminal activity not piecemeal but within the total scheme of life: a system that had restored peace and security to the lives of people from all nations that were under its folds.
THE ISLAMIC SOLUTION
The Islamic concept of security is a very comprehensive one, more comprehensive than any of the other existing systems. It looks at humankind in relation to the universe and its mass-influencing factors. It encompasses physical, mental, psychological, and spiritual domains as integral parts of an overall societal security system. Islamic teachings do not merely provide solutions to what is considered to be exceptional behavior in the form of crime, but emphatically focus on measures that prevent its occurrence.
In other words, Islam provides as many means as possible to avert temptation. While modern societies flaunt temptation (liquor, pornography, violence, etc.) before the people, a true Islamic society removes the sources of these temptations, and when the need for correction emerges, the punishment is serious and effective.
In most modern societies, crime has prospered because a completely contradictory approach is followed. All forms of temptation are prevalent. When it comes to correction, it is done leniently and frivolously. It is often biased and protective of the criminal's rights over those of the victim.
Islamic teachings, through the various practical forms of worship like salah (the five daily prayers), fasting and zakah (poor-due), aim at fostering the feelings of inner peace and security, responsibility towards others and mutual respect. In addition to their spiritual and moral functions they work as prevention against committing all evil behaviors.
In a video film by the Christian Science Monitor about Islam in America, a large portion was devoted to describing the lives of maximum-security prison inmates before and after becoming Muslims. Before reverting to Islam, many were serial killers, drug smugglers and addicts, and professional criminals. When they embraced Islam while in prison, they turned into dignified, secure and contributing citizens.
Western statistical indexes show that in the majority of maximum security prisons, the criminals get involved in criminal acts and end up back in prison. Based on the Bureau of Justice (BJS), of all prisoners released in 1994 (the most recent nationwide study by the BJS), 67.5% were arrested with in three years.99 As a matter of fact, in a recent article titled "Would God use prison to rehabilitate criminal minds?, the author emphasized that 'the problems inherent with this system have remained the same for years: recidivism (repeated relapse in criminal acts), overcrowding, cost and, most tellingly-despite the large amount of funding-the utter inability to reduce crime.
Such statistics are reversed when those inmates become Muslims, according to Christian Science Monitor.
100 The success of Islam in providing the best solution to crimes in the midst of the American society where all types of correction programs have failed is strong prevalent evidence for the universality of Islam and the pressing need for the adoption of its teachings.
3. ABUSE OF CHILDREN AND WOMEN
People tend to think of the family as a social institution in which love and affection prosper. An establishment whose stockholders exchange support and care, in reality, the family in most modern world societies has become completely the opposite of what it is assumed to be.
The problem is more pervasive in most modern societies allover the world.101 According to American official statistics of crime, 20 percent of homicidal crimes take place within the family.
According to Russian government records, in the year 1993 alone, "14,500 Russian women were murdered by their husbands. Another 56.400 were disabled or seriously injured. "Domestic violence statistics of crimes against women in England and the United States are alarming." According to Home Office research, 18 percent of homicides in England and Wales are of wives killed by their husbands, with a quarter of all recorded violent crimes blamed on domestic violence."
And since children are the weakest members of the family, a greater rate of abuse is directed towards them. Child abuse is understood to cover a wide range of parental actions that result in harm being inflicted on children of all ages. The kind of abuse, however, varies with age. Infants and preschool children are most likely to suffer deliberately inflicted fractures, burns, and bruises.
This is known as the battered child syndrome, firmly identified during the 1960s. Historically, reported cases of sexual abuse, ranging from molestation to incest, primarily involve male perpetrators and school-aged or adolescent female victims. More recently, however, a growing number of pre-schooled victims and male victims have been identified.104 It has been estimated that the number of reported cases of child abuse has increased at the rate of 30 percent a year. Between 1973 and 1982 there were 1.5 million cases of child abuse; 50,000 resulted in death and 300,000 in permanent injuries.105 Child
abuse is not restricted to the U.S. In Great Britain, for example, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children reports that child abuse has increased by about 70% between 1979 and 1984.106 Based a report in The Guardian, In America, the number of crimes against women is rising significantly faster than any other crime. According to the latest statistics, an estimated 3-4 million women every year are battered by their husbands or the men they live with. A third of female murder victims were killed by their husbands or boyfriends."
4. RAPE AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT:
An extensive report about crime in The Epsilon issue of August 1991 reveals the magnitude of rape crimes committed in the West.
The report stated that in a country like Greece whose population does not exceed 8 million, more than 10,000 reported incidents of rape were committed between 1978-1987. During 1982 alone, more than 4,000 incidents of rape were committed in Italy alone. More than 55,000 rape crimes took place in France during the 1980's. As for the United States, about 102,000 rapes have been reported.
Recently, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported a 70% increase of crimes of forcible rape and attempted incidents of rape from the year 1970 to 1997. In 1970, only 37,990 incidents of rape were reported in comparison to 109,060 incidents in 1992 alone.
As it is for rape crimes, sexual harassment against employed women is on the rise too. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the number of complaints of female employees because of sexual harassment is on the increase. In 1989, 5,603 incidents of sexual harassment complaints were filed in comparison to 12,537 in 1993.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission stated that reported sexual harassment complaints by female employees were 10,578 cases during the year 1992. In 1993, the number increased to be 12,537 cases.111 The problem is not only restricted to the USA, but rather a global one, especially in societies that put no restrictions in men/ women relations.
According to a recent report by The International Labor Organization (ILO), entitled 'Combating Sexual Harassment at Work', November 1992, many thousands of women are victims of sexual harassment at the workplace in the industrialized world every year. Between 15-30 percent of women questioned in surveys by the ILO say they have been subject to frequent, gross sexual harassment. Of all women surveyed in the United States, 42% of women reported some kind of sexual harassment. The report included countries like Australia, Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom where the Labor Research Department made a survey in 1987 in which 75% of women responding to the questionnaire reported that they had undergone some form of sexual harassment in their workplaces.
The Epsilon magazine continued by reporting the observations of leading psychologists, sociologists and physicians on the escalating incidents of rape crimes. These scientists have affirmed that this phenomenon does not occur in the animal world and is not a part of their behavior. Moreover, they linked the emergence of such a devastating problem in the West and Western-like societies where such habits and values are reinforced due to several factors among which are:
- The media: it is one of the main factors for sensationalizing rape. T.V. films and movies show lots of violence, which include rape crimes. Most of the movies revolve around sexual and violent episodes, not just X-rated movies. Such presentations work as stimuli for imitation by the youth.
- Intoxication has been reported as another reason, behind 37.6% of reported rapes.
- Commercial factors were also behind the increase of rape and related crimes. The design of clothes by International Houses that show the attractive body parts of women results in many rape crimes against these women who exaggerate revealing their private body parts for the sake of public approval and attraction. A great number of rapists mentioned that the majority of their victims were of this type. Many raped women have indicated that they were raped while they were wearing exposing and attractive clothes.
- An educational factor exemplified through mixed education where children of both sexes are taught how to develop intimate relations with each other. Learning how to date is only one example. As a matter of fact, popular radio programs (such as the Dr. Ruth's infamous program in Canada and in the United States) are devoted to advising the public on how to establish sexual relationships.
- The collapse of the family has forced young people at an early age to seek love outside the family. On many occasions this has led to very grave consequences. Hundreds of thousands of children in the West do not have known fathers.
- Detaching the role of religion from the public life has brought about promiscuity.
- Since most Western societies are built on the basis of Christian values, some inaccurate religious attitudes towards women as evil personalities might have lead to such incidents of viewing women as worthy of becoming the object of rape.
- Another reason that the scientists gave was that the law in most Western countries does not take the crime of rape very seriously. Rapists are not punished severely, usually a mild sentence of no more than two years in prison, is given as a maximum judgment.
In Hindu society, on the other hand, the life of women whose husbands have perished becomes unbearable to the extent that they have to commit suttee, a form of suicide. Gustave le Bon wrote about this aspect of the Indian society by saying:
The immolation of widows on the funeral of their husbands is not mentioned in the Shastra, but it appears that the practice had become quite common in India, for we find references to it in the accounts of Greek Chroniclers.
This disdain for females is also seen in reports by the Indian media, which report that great numbers of young girls are buried alive because the females are viewed as an economic burden to their parents.
The Times reported the one-child-only policy applied in China nowadays has led many Chinese to desire a male child and either abort female babies or kill their female toddlers or sell their older girls to mobile slave merchants.
In this regard, the Chinese police have recently arrested 49 members of a gang whose job was to buy, smuggle, and sell girls all over China. As a result of this savage treatment of female children in China, the Chinese Committee for State Planning reported that the number of males is 36 million more than the number of females.
The treatment of women and children in present secularist societies - whether in American, Europe, Russia, the UK, India or China - is very similar to that of the pre-Islamic society (jahiliyah). Islam came to abolish the abuse of women and children and to restore dignity to women, young and old alike.
Because of the social chaos that is taking place in many western societies, abuse is not only directed towards the weak members of the society as indicated above but rather towards those in charge of educating and disciplining. Based on a report by the Carnegie Foundation, the percentage of teachers in the U.S. who say that they have been verbally abused was 51%. As for those who have been threatened with injury was 16% but those who have been physically attacked were 7%.
Away from what the law considers as rape or sexual harassment in western society, there is an alarming moral decay. In the U.S., three out of every four unmarried white women have affairs by the age of nineteen. The figure was 6% in the year 1900.118 One out every four children is born out of the wedlock, not including millions of children who are aborted.119 Europe is having a great resemblance to the U.S. In Canada, the number of out-of-wedlock births escalated from 4% in 1960 to 31% in 2000, from 5% to 38% in the U.K., from 6% to 36 in France.
Though most examples cited belong to western countries, other non-western societies are not immune against such social ills and problems. Many communities all over the world imitated western ways of life aspiring for modernity and social advancements; instead they acquired their ills and wrongdoings. They were not able to acquire western technology and material prosperity.
THE ISLAMIC SOLUTION
No doubt that there is a strong correlation between the mistreatment of women all over the world and the attitude that these cultures have towards women. Women in Islam are not looked at as the source of evil or an object of sexual gratification and abuse by men, as is the case in other cultures. Islam considers women as integral members of the family and the community. They are a source of happiness and peace.
Islam highly praises taking care of women, both old and young. It urges fair and just treatment of women by all members of the society, whether they are daughters, wives, mothers or sisters.
Abu Hurairah (RAA) reported that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said: Let him be a loser, let him be a loser, let him be a loser. Someone said, who is he, O Messenger of Allah? He said, one whose parents or one of them reached old age with him and did not enter paradise.
Jabir (RAA) said, I heard the Messenger of Allah saying: One who is deprived of kindness is deprived of goodness. Messenger of Allah (PBUH) had said: Whoever brings up two girls, he and I will come side by side in the Day of Judgment...
By discussing these great Islamic values, I never intend to claim that all Muslim communities adhere to these teachings and values. Many incidents of malpractices and mistreatment of women among Muslims emerge because of a very salient reason which is repelling against the authentic Islamic teaching.
tic Islamic teaching. The misery of aging124 in the West does not exist in a truly practicing Muslim society. The extended family in Islam has worked effectively through history as a safe haven for its members, regardless of their sex or age. Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) said:
Abu Hurairah (RAA) said that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) had said: The guardian of a widow or a needy person is just like a person who struggles for the cause of Allah..
Anas Ibn Malik (RAA) reported that he heard Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) saying, He who would like that his sustenance should be expanded and his age be lengthened should he join the tie of kinship.
The mixing of exposed women and men according to the data collected by The Epsilon was a major factor in the escalating rate of rape and of battered women. The fact that Islam has prohibited unrestricted mingling between men and women helps to prevent rape crimes in a practicing Muslim society. The rule of modesty applies to men as well as women. A brazen stare by a man at a woman (or even at a man) is a breach of refined manners. Where sex is concerned, modesty is not only good form- it is not only to guard the weaker sex, but also to guard the spiritual good of the stronger sex.
Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Verily, God is Familiar with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their private parts and not display their beauty [and adornment], except that which must ordinarily appear thereof, and that they should draw their head-covers over their chests and not display their beauty except to their husbands
their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers, their brothers' sons, their sisters' sons, their women, what their right hands possess [i.e., slaves] or those male attendants without physical desire, or small children who are not yet aware of women's privacy. And they should not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn, all of you, O believers, to God in repentance that you may succeed.
(The Qur'an 24:30, 31)
The New York Times published, in May 1993, a report which was entitled Separation Is Better.128 The report was written by Susan Ostrich who herself was a graduate of one of the few women's colleges in the U.S. It was a shock to most Americans to find that girls in female colleges achieve better academically than their counterparts at mixed colleges. She supported her claim with the following statistics:
- 80% of girls at female only colleges study science and math for four years, in comparison to two years of study in the mixed colleges.
- Female school students achieve higher GPA than the girls in mixed schools. This leads a higher number of female students to be admitted to universities. In fact, more PhD's were acquired by such female students.
- According to Fortune Magazine one third of the female members in the boards of trustees in the largest 1000 American companies are graduates of female only colleges. To realize the significance of this number, we need to know that graduates of female only colleges make only 4% of the number of female college students graduating every year.
- 43% of female professors with PhDs in math and 50% of female professors with PhDs in engineering were graduates of female only colleges.
This is further evidence from the Western world itself that lends support to the validity and applicability of Islamic principles as universal laws guiding or regulating human behavior. The Indian politician and reporter, Kofhi Laljapa, concluded:
No other religion but Islam has the ability to solve the problems of modern life. Islam is indeed unique for that...
Separation between men and women is adapted by The Pentagon as a solution to many problems including sexual harassment, without given credit to Islam as the system of life that is propagating this practice to maintain morality and social peace and security.
Nevertheless, Prince Charles has emphasized the great contributions Islam can provide the west with to overcome their most serious moral and social problems, during a number of his speeches on Islam and the West.
William Cohen, the American Secretary of Defense, announced the first phase of a comprehensive plan to maintain a reasonable level of morality among the male and female soldiers. The plan stressed the importance of constructing permanent partitions to separate male and female soldiers in the current mixed buildings. This is only a temporary solution until newly separate buildings are constructed. The Navy also issued a number of strict instructions that prohibit the presence of female and male navy officers behind closed doors. These instructions were presented as rules that should be respected by all soldiers, especially on board Navy ships.
The Defense Secretary emphasized that the rationale behind such measures was to provide a reasonable level of privacy and security for members of the difference sectors of Defense. Among these new regulations, the restriction of sleeping while wearing underwear or naked and those doors should be tightly locked during sleeping hours. They also forbid watching pornographic films in the presence of female soldiers, and imposed clearly detailed regulations regarding the type of clothes to be worn when swimming or when sun bathing.
The question that we raise here is this: why are such regulations that many would look at as radical and anti-modernization imposed by the most modern country in the world? The answer is very simple: sexual harassment has reached an unbelievably alarming level and has become a threat to national security and morality. Thousands of complaints of sexual harassment by female employees rang an alarming bell.
The guidelines of Islam provide the only solution for criminal problems such as alcoholism, drug addiction, abuse of women and children, which are ravaging the world today. When western influences have encroached into a Muslim society, crime has spiraled, but where the reverse has happened--Islamic values manifesting themselves in Western
A 1994 Gallup Poll indicated that 80% of Americans favor the death penalty for convicted murderers.132 Capital punishment is permitted in 38 states. In addition, some 60 crimes are subject to the federal death penalty. About 3,000 U.S. prisoners are currently on death row.133 Capital punishment was suspended in the U.S. from 1967-1977, but was then restored.
Should not one conclude that the moral fate of the world depends on the spread of Islam? Such dramatic change in the attitude of the majority of Americans toward the application of the death penalty against vicious criminals is a strong indicator of the tendency of moving toward workable solutions to the ills of our societies as explained by Islam.
In Islam, injustice is regarded as one of the greatest sins. Therefore, oppressing people because they have different beliefs is rejected. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: The supplication of an oppressed person, even though he be a pagan, is heard (byAllah) directly, without any veil.56