Amini versions skewed
Fazlul Huq Amini, chief of Islami Ain Bastabayan Committee, has given skewed arguments and misinterpreted the holy Quran to drive people against the women development policy for political gains, said Islamic scholars and academics.
They said Amini, also chief of a faction of Islamic Oikya Jote, had portrayed women as inferior whereas Islam bestows more honour and rights on women than men.
The Daily Star contacted Islamic scholars Maulana Abdullah Al-Maruf, Maulana Ziaul Hasan of Islamic Foundation, Misbahur Rahman, Prof Md Abdul Mabud, chairman of Arabic Department of Dhaka University (DU) and Prof ANM Rais Uddin of Islamic Studies Department, DU for their opinion on Amini's claim about the women policy.
“Nothing in the women policy clashes with the Quran or Sunnah. A section of Alems, like Mufti Amini, are making wrong interpretation of the policy only for political gains,” said Al-Maruf.
Amini, in his booklet, termed anti-Islamic the policy's section-23.5 that talks about women's equal opportunity and participation in employment, wealth, market and business.
So is section 25.2, which seeks to give women full control over the wealth they accumulate through earning, inheritance, loans and market management, according to Amini.
The scholars, however, disagree with Amini.
"Any literate person will understand that the word 'wealth' in section-23.5 does not mean inherited wealth. Similarly, the word 'inherit' in section 25.2 does not imply equal share of property to women," said Maulana Mohammad Ziaul Hasan.
Besides, the women development policy is not a law, rather a guideline upholding the constitution and the existing law, said the scholars.
Al-Maruf said Amini deliberately twisted the meanings of words in the Quran. For instance, according to the authentic book of tafsir [interpretation of the Holy Quran] the Arabic word "qauwamun" actually means "guardian", who is to perform managerial job for the family. Thus a husband is usually in-charge of sustenance of his family. But Amini used the word as administrator, ruler and controller.
In his booklet, Amini said the husband is the ruler or controller of other family members, including his wife.
Al-Maruf referred to surah Ali Imran, verse 195 from the holy Quran that says: “Never will I allow to be lost the work of [any] worker among you, whether male or female; you are of one another.”
The verse gives no scope for discriminating women. The Quran contains so many verses, which indicate that responsibilities and liabilities are reciprocal and obligatory to every individual, male or female, he said.
Amini also misinterpreted the meaning of the phrase "eliminate discrimination between men and women" in the women policy.
"Here the phrase does not refer to inherited wealth. It rather means elimination of discriminations in wages and opportunities, and ensuring rights of women,” said Misbahur Rahman, chairman of a faction of Islami Oikya Jote.
On Amini's claim that Allah has created women weak and relieved them of the responsibilities of all their family members including themselves, Islamic scholars said Amini made the remark either out of ignorance or to hide Islam's true essence.
Ruling out the claim, Al-Maruf mentioned verse 28 of surah An-Nisa that says, "I [Allah] have created human weak."
"Surah An-Nisa, verse 32 says, 'For men is a share of what they have earned, and for women is a share of what they have earned'," he said, explaining that the Creator has given equal rights to both men and women in earnings and expenses, which Amini and his associates missed out.
Amini has censured the women policy for suggesting inclusion of a child's mother's name along with father's name in any documentation and said, "This would encourage free sex and illegal child birth."
In reply, Al-Maruf said on the Judgement Day, Allah will call every human being after their mother's name. So what Amini fears is absolutely baseless.
Maulana Ziaul Hasan alleged that Amini has been protesting the policy to serve the purposes of a fundamentalist country.
Misbahur said Amini and his supporters are misinterpreting the Quran because they do not have proper knowledge of the holy book.
He said during the time of Prophet Hazrat Mohammad (SM), women made bags and men sold them in market. Hazrat Khadiza was one of the biggest businesspersons in her time. She had 11,000 men including the Prophet working for her. She gave them capital and the men gave her a share of their profit in return.
Moreover, Hazrat Ayesha led the "battle of camel" where one lakh followers fought under her leadership, said Misbahur Rahman.
He said Amini's claim that women don't have any responsibility in the family or economy is wrong.
Prof Abdul Mabud said Islam has given women the rights of economic activities. He called upon the government to sit with Islamic scholars to end confusion over the policy.
Prof Rais Uddin said except for the right to inherit property, Islam has given more rights and honour to women than men.
Asked about Amini's claim that Islam has portrayed women as weak subordinates, Rais Uddin said in the Quran Allah has said, “Wife is like an ornament for husband. Likewise, husband is an ornament for wife.”