Sunday, August 16, 2015

Tafseer Surah An-Nur Verses 2 to 4 by Nouman Ali Khan (Week 2)

Assalamualaikum and greetings dear Bits and Pieces readers,

Alhamdulillah (all praise be to ALLAH and thanks to ALLAH), I was given the opportunity to attend the tafseer (explanation) of certain verses from Surah An-Nur (chapter 24 of the Quran); presented by Nouman Ali Khan. The talk is organised every Saturday in August after Asar prayer until Maghrib prayer (about 5pm to 7.25pm) at the Wilayah Mosque, Kuala Lumpur. So should any of you live nearby, do attend the next sessions.

Back to the topic.

To be honest, the tafseer was until verse 5 (according to my husband) but I didn't jot anything down about it. But despite my obvious lack of focus, I was still able to collect valuable gems from verses 2 to 4.

Verse 2 

Source: The Noble Quran
One glance of this verse would portray that the religion of Islam is cruel and harsh but don't state your verdict yet. Let's first analyse my notes pertaining to the historical, cultural, and linguistic context of this verse.

During the time of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him (pbuh), prostitution was out in the open. A prostitute would put a certain flag on her door signalling to men that should he want zina (sexual intercourse outside of marriage), then he can come to her. Obviously, everyone knows what that flag meant. Thus a public crime such as this deserves a public punishment. On top of that, it is to make certain without doubt that they have indeed being punished

These 100 lashes that should be done in public however, have certain conditions according to fiqh (laws in Islam). Scholars say that it cannot be done in a cold day or hit parts of the body that can cause major injury. The reason behind this is because they are being punish enough.

"...and do not be taken by pity for them in the religion of ALLAH, if you should believe in ALLAH and the Last Day" has dimensions of meaning to it. Firstly, the person who is carrying out this punishment should feel pity towards those who are going to be punished. If he doesn't feel pity, then there's something wrong with his heart. Secondly, the reason he should perform this punishment is because ALLAH commands it; nothing more.

Lastly, there is a very powerful reason behind the statement "...And let a group of believers witness their punishment". Believers should witness the crime because believers would make do'a (prayer) for them. Only believers would ask ALLAH to forgive their sins, only believers would desire good for them, and only believers would feel sad. If non-believers were to watch, they would assume the punishment as a show, they would see it for fun, and ridicule the ones who are being punished.

On a very important side note, take notice that this verse is condemning those who commit zina in public. This verse didn't mention about those done privately. When analyse carefully, this is proof of how Islam is such a rahmah (loving and merciful) that the religion doesn't punish acts of zina that are done in secret. Even if someone had seen and report this act, there are strict conditions for the one who reports (details will be given in verse 4). Islam instead urges the fornicator to do sincere taubah (the act of seeking forgiveness from ALLAH) and to know that ALLAH never punishes a person (even if HE seems to be punishing) after (s)he does taubah.

There is a Hadith (tradition of the Prophet Muhammad pbuh) about a woman who had committed zina and felt such remorse that she asked the Prophet pbuh to punish her. But the Prophet pbuh said that she should just go. She came to the Prophet pbuh a few times and he told her the same thing. Take notice that the Prophet pbuh was reluctant to punish her. Thus this is again another proof of how Islam is a religion full of rahmah. But after that, she told the public that she had committed zina; leaving the Prophet pbuh with no choice but to punish her.

Verse 3

Source: The Noble Quran
This verse is quite a direct one; believers are not to marry a fornicator. In the present context, believing men and women should not marry those who love going to night clubs, who has multiple partners, and the likes. Besides, if we think about it, (wo)men who goes to night clubs etc would choose a husband/wife that's alike. Same goes to believing (wo)men; they would also choose someone alike. But bare in mind that should a fornicator makes sincere taubah, then (s)he can indeed marry a believer.

Here, Nouman Ali Khan had made a small comment on what has pornography done to us. Pornography had turned intimacy that is supposed to be an act of love, an act that brings husband and wife closer to each other like never before, into an act of animals. According to him, 80% of pornographic content are violent. Plus Islam teaches us that intimacy is like clothing for the husband and wife which symbolises protection and love; not pain, and definitely not a thing that can be turned into a profitable industry. 

Verse 4

Source: The Noble Quran
Picking up from the paragraph before last in verse 2, the one who complains must bring forth 4 witnesses that had also saw the fornication happening. On top of that, these witnesses must clearly see that the man's organ went inside the woman's. This of course, is impossible to prove hence shows how Islam is full of rahmah; Islam doesn't want to punish.

If the one who complaint can't produce the above, then (s)he should be punished instead and his/her testimony can never be taken. Ever. Unless if (s)he does sincere taubah.

There are four or five reasons why this said person is punish so harshly and his/her testimony can never be trusted. But I only managed to jot down two because I lost my focus! Sorry for that. Anyway, the two reasons are (1) this sort of person loves to destroy people's dignity and, (2) they love to insinuate. Those who loves to insinuate are clearly fasiq (definitely misguided).

Before I end this post, I would like to present to you a sort of summation from the tafseer of these verses:

1) The reason for hudud is to get rid of the extreme in society, to protect the society, and not to punish
2) The most important thing for a Muslim is iman and it is protected by doing taubah
3) Islam is a religion of rahmah.

God willing, I will post week 3 of Tafseer Surah An-Nur next week.