|أحمد محمد لبن Ahmad.M.Lbn|
مؤسس ومدير المنتدى
عدد المساهمات : 27239
العمر : 67
|موضوع: The Optimistic but “Apologetic”and Faulty Approach الثلاثاء 15 يناير 2019, 10:37 pm|| |
The Optimistic but “Apologetic”and Faulty Approach
A third approach has been labeled here as optimistic but apologetic and faulty. The basic premise or general tenor of this approach is that there is no real conflict between contemporary human rights reasoning and Islam. In fact, it is not uncommon for such Muslim authors (in general, these will be Muslim authors) to claim that human rights were first promoted by Islam.
This category may be broken into two important subcategories:
(a) One group basically agues that if one were only to appreciate the justice, equity and wisdom of Islamic Law, one would recognize that, in fact, Islam and human rights are completely compatible with one another.
(b) Another group of authors argues that when one realizes that there is room for interpretation and a margin of appreciation within human rights law and with some re-understanding of some Islamic practices, one will find that, in reality, there is no incompatibility between Islam and human rights.
In many critics’ view, this third approach is one that comes across as a rather apologetic presentation of the relationship between human rights and Islam. As stated above, the goal seems to be to demonstrate that there is no conflict between the contemporary human rights schemes and Islam. However, in order to achieve this goal, the Islamic laws that seem to contradict contemporary international human rights standards must be “explained away.”
Although the defense of many “controversial” Islamic laws is often times correct and defensible, this will only seem obvious to the believing Muslim. In other words, for many non-Muslims the rhetoric and arguments used are nothing but an attempt to hide the conflict between Islam and human rights. Sadly, for these defenders of the Islamic version of human rights, the end result is probably more harmful than beneficial as these works are easily critiqued and virtually ridiculed by some non-Muslim writers, as shall be noted below. In fact, as shall be noted below, sometimes the same aspects that the writers of this approach praise as proper for humans is the exact aspect that is critiqued as violating human rights.
In reality, there is a relatively large number of works that could be placed in this category. Many of these writings list and discuss all of the various rights that Islam has to offer humans. Some of them are probably more useful as introductions to Islam rather than works on human rights, in the sense that they cover virtually every aspect of the religion and attempt to demonstrate all the rights that Islam has given, everything from the right of privacy of the spouses to the rights of parents and so on. At the same time, though, they also discuss when and why there seems to be some variance between the general human rights statements and the views of Islam on certain issues.
A typical work that attempts to demonstrate that there is no real conflict between human rights thought and Islam is Abdullah ibn Baih’s Hawaar an Bu’d Haul Huqooq al-Insaan fi al-Islaam. He begins by refuting those who say that Islam does not recognize any concept of human rights. He then goes on to argue that it is the materialistic, secular Western civilization that has prostituted and abused women.
When discussing the position of women in Islam, though, ibn Baih simply offers what is found in most such works on human rights in Islam. After critiquing some of the more recent developments in the feminist movement (for a page or two) and speaking about how this movement is a threat to the family, he then speaks about how Islam views the two sexes as complementary to each other, taking into consideration what Allah has bestowed upon each particular sex. He then says that Islam seeks tranquility and mercy in the relationship between the spouses. He says that this is something that Islam introduced to the world and that the woman had never known before. He then goes on to speak about how Islam is a revelation from Allah and was a type of revolution for the woman. This was especially true for the Arabs who would become very displeased when they learned that their wives had given birth to females. Furthermore, women were not allowed to inherit and there was no limit to the number of wives a male could have.
He moves from there to state that differences in laws concerning men and women in Islam does not mean that their honor or dignity differs from an Islamic perspective, wherein he quotes, for example, the verse,“Whoever works righteousness, whether male or female, while he (or she) is a true believer (of Islaamic Monotheism) verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter)” (al-Nahl 97).
Then he states, “However, it is imperative that one discusses the particular responsibilities that are appropriate based on the nature [of each sex]. Distributing roles and responsibilities and prioritize rights and jobs is not an issue of inferiority.” Thus, he says, one will once again note the complementary relationship between the two sexes. This, he says, explains why the inheritance is sometimes different for a man and woman, as the woman is never financially responsible for herself, either being under the responsibility of a husband, father, other male relative or the state. He then cites of examples of women participating in actions outside of the home during the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). He then goes on to discuss the difference of opinion as to whether women are allowed to be judges, rulers and so on. Again he states that Islam was a revolution for women’s rights. In sum, he states that the rights of women are protected in Islam. However, the principle of leadership of men is a principle stated in the Quran which is irreproachable:“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other”(al-Nisaa 34). But then he is quick to say,
But this leadership is for the benefit of woman before anything else and for the benefit of the household and the family, as the man fulfills the responsibility of maintenance and as the woman has responsibilities and obligations within the household… What is meant by leadership, though, is not dictatorship, tyranny, oppression or persecution…
Although there are some points that ibn Baih made that are open to critique, overall what he stated is correct and sound from an Islamic perspective. However, this kind of reasoning does not resonate with the proponents of human rights. His writing is fine when “preaching to the choir,” that is, when speaking to people who already believe in Islam as a divinely revealed religion, but it does very little to make people understand where Islam is coming from on the question of human rights.
The shortcomings of this approach demonstrates the difficulty of trying to explain to “the other” what is the basis of one’s human rights. It is reminiscent of Donnelly’s discussion of the challenges facing natural law proponents. Donnelly states,
Natural law theories today face much the same problem. John Finnis’s Natural Law and Natural Rights (1980) is a brilliant account of the implications of neo-Thomist natural law for questions of natural (human) rights. To those of us outside of that tradition, the “foundational” appeals to nature and reason are more or less attractive, interesting, or persuasive. For Finnis, though, operating within that tradition, they are definitively compelling. Having accepted Finnis’s starting point we may be rationally compelled to accept his conclusions about natural rights. But a skeptic cannot be compelled by reason alone to start there.
In fact, ironically, the very same points that ibn Baih praises as part of the beauty, greatness and perfection of Islam are those characteristics that human rights activists argue are violations of international human rights laws or that are nothing more than distorted twists on what human rights is supposed to be. For example, Mayer critiques Maudoodi’s view on specific rights of women that Maudoodi had mentioned, writing similarly to ibn Baih’s writings. Mayer responds by saying,
Other “rights” that have been derived from Islamic sources include the right of women not to be surprised by male family members of the household walking in on them unannounced. When one thinks about the implications of protecting women from surprise intrusions, one realizes that, far from affording protection for freedoms, it contains implicit restrictions on women’s rights.
There is an assumption that the world is sexually segregated and that women stay at home in seclusion from men. This segregation is so extensive that even male family members should never intrude on women’s quarters without giving women warning so that they can cover themselves in a suitably modest manner. The provision implies that even in the home there will be female seclusion and veiling, which in turn is connected with a woman’s duty to avoid indecency. Thus, the “right” is linked not with any meaningful human right but with women’s traditional duty under the shari’a to stay segregated, secluded, and veiled.
The seemingly rather eclectic choice of rights to be fully accepted and those grossly modified is also a source of criticism. Mayer is one of the leading critiques of these attempts to present an Islamic declaration of human rights. She rightly noted,
For the most part, Islamic human rights turn out to involve rights that are borrowed from international law and then qualified or distorted in some fashion. The misleading “equality” formulations already mentioned are perfect illustrations. These Islamic human rights initiatives represent hybrids of international rights principles and incongruous Islamic features. The borrowed rights are subject to supposedly “Islamic” limitations.