The Curse of Ignorance

 In an article, Washington Post 22nd October 2006, Ms. Asra Q. Nomani blames the whole problem with women’s rights in Islam, on one single aya (verse) in the Koran, aya 34 of Surat 4. She not only blames the aya for domestic violence, but also “As long as the beating of women is acceptable in Islam, the problem of suicide bombers, jihadists and others who espouse violence will not go away“(1), a very distorted view, a view driven by shear ignorance.


Domestic violence is a bad social problem prevalent throughout the world, with varying degrees, and is not an exclusively Muslim problem. Also, it is not sanctioned by Islam, quite to the opposite; it is highly discouraged by Islam, or as stated by Ms Yvonne Ridley on the same paper (2) “If a man does raise a finger against his wife, he is not allowed to leave a mark on her body, which is the Koran’s way of saying, “Don’t beat your wife, stupid.


Ms Nomani, to prove how bad is the problem of domestic violence in Muslim countries, cited a “2003 study of 216 Pakistani women found that 97 percent had experienced such abuse; almost half of them reported being victims of nonconsensual sex“, and “one in four married Syrian women is the victim of domestic violence“. Ok, now we have the proof that the situation is very bad. Leaving aside the argument about whether or not these statistics are representative or that they prove that it is sanctioned by the religion, how about the situation in her adopted home country, the USA ? Shouldn’t Ms Nomani, who took it as her mission to “stand Alone” to “struggle for the sole of Islam“, care about the plight of American women, the victims of domestic violence? Or would reference to the problem undermine her thesis of connecting domestic violence to an aya in the Koran?


The National Domestic Violence Hotline survey (3), as cited by Ms Ridley in her article, reports very disturbing statistics about domestic violence in the USA . What should one conclude from it? One should conclude that it is a serious problem that needs to be addressed, to identify the causes and implement solutions to remedy the situation, and according to the report, “92% of women say that reducing domestic violence and sexual assault should be at the top of any formal efforts taken on behalf of women today“. May be Ms Nomani, should take a clue from this survey.


Ahmed El-Gasir


(1)   Clothes Aren’t the Issue by Asra Q. Nomani, Washington Post, Sunday, October 22, 2006; Page B01

(2)   How I Came to Love the Veil by Yvonne Ridley, Washington Post, Sunday, October 22, 2006; Page B01

(3)   The National Domestic Violence Hotline survey “Abuse in America