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A REPLY TO AHMED SHAFI

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A Reply to Ahmed Shafi                    10 July 2013

By: Board of Directors of Muslims Facing Tomorrow

We heard with disgust the recent sermon on women by Ahmed Shafi available on youtube. This sermon was given by someone his supporters consider to be an esteemed scholar of Islam, and who holds the titles of Chairman of Bangladesh Qawmi Madrassah Education Board and Emir of Hefazat-e-Islam. But in hearing Shafi we were reminded instead of a saying of Rasul Allah (pbuh) made during the last days of his life. Rasul Allah said, “Islam began as a stranger and will become once more a stranger.”

The truth of Rasul Allah’s warning was in full display as Shafi sermonized. It is indisputable this man has no understanding of the status of women in Islam, nor of the message of Islam.

The Quran describes man and woman as equal partners, both created out of one living entity, neither superior to one another, and both equally responsible for the well-being of family and society. In Shafi’s despicable view a woman is inferior to man and the source of ills in our world.

The Quran addresses women as “mu’minat” and “muslimat”, meaning as “pious and believing women” alongside pious and believing men. Shafi instead contemptuously describes women as tamarind tempting men to commit adultery.

Sura An-Nisa’a was revealed in the name of women, and in the context of the time it raised the status of women from what existed under the tribal circumstances of pre-Islamic Arabia where infant girls were often put to death. The message here, and for all time, is to raise and improve the place of women in every age to be equal to that of men. It means that as history progresses and new circumstances evolve it is incumbent on society to raise and maintain a woman’s status as equal to that of man, since by protecting and supporting the equal advancement of women alongside men the well-being and prosperity of society are secured.

But Shafi’s sermon is contrary to the teachings of the Quran. He condemns education for women, abuses women who work in professions or industries as temptress spreading adultery in society, and demands that women be confined within four walls of private homes. He is against the empowerment of women, he rages against their presence in public places, and he insists women are meant for child rearing only and to serve men’s interests.

It is evident from the sermon that Shafi is lacking in knowledge of the Quran and the traditions of Rasul Allah. He displays no awareness of how greatly Prophet Muhammad depended upon the strength, wisdom, and wealth of Khadija both before and after he received the divine mission. The example of Khadija as an independent woman is a lesson for women and men at all times and everywhere. It is a lesson especially for people in poor and backward societies, as was Arabia in Khadija’s time, that strong and independent women are the source of strength for family, for the children women and men raise together, and for the advancement of society in which women are respected as equal to men.

The only negative reference to women in the Quran is in the sura or chapter condemning the wife of Abu Lahab, an uncle and enemy of Rasul Allah. Abu Lahab’s wife was a sister of Abu Sufyan, another enemy of Rasul Allah and the last man to accept Islam on the day Mecca was conquered, and for her immense hostility she was condemned.

Behind the mask of false piety Ahmed Shafi is just another Abu Lahab of our time. Is it any wonder that such men as Ahmed Shafi are responsible for the backwardness, the poverty, the ignorance and the violence that characterize Muslim societies in our day and age? Is it any wonder that because of such men as Ahmed Shafi the Muslim ummah has been on the decline in every age through history following the noble times of Rasul Allah and just as he had warned?

Ahmed Shafi is a fraud and an ignorant hypocrite. His contemptible views about women and on Islam should be repudiated totally by every individual with conscience and learning inside and outside Bangladesh.

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