Very funny piece by Khalid Hasan for the Friday Times (Pakistan). As the expression goes, you can't make this stuff up. Enjoy Khalid Hasan's article on the wacky religious gatekeepers (comments at the end):
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God's self-declared gatekeepers
by Khalid Hasan
A young woman in Houston, who should go by the initials FV, says that given what she has been reading on a South Africa-based fatwa site, it might be straight to hell for her because she is or does all of the following: disobedient wife; meets men; does not press husband's legs. When I asked her for more of her black marks, she said she had already transgressed the limits by exchanging emails with a na-mehram .
I think she is perfectly justified in believing that she is blazes-bound, because that is where Mufti Ibrahim Desai - no kin to Morarji one hopes, which would make his fate in the hereafter problematic - would send women who do not press their husbands' legs. He runs something called the Fatwa Department on his site, which going by the number of fatwas he hands out, gets more hits than the sinful will get from the fiends pushing them towards the eternal bonfire. Mufti Desai has pontificated that when a wife presses the legs of her husband without being asked, she gets the sawaab of giving seven ounces of gold in charity. And if she presses his legs after he asks her to do so, she receives the sawaab of giving seven ounces of silver in sadqa. If she refuses to press her husband's legs, asked or unasked, she is in big trouble, both here and in the hereafter. FV wants to know why nothing has been said about the husband offering to press his wife's legs, considering that she has been toiling all day at home, polishing floors, dusting furniture, washing clothes and cooking three different dishes including her husband's favourite Qorma Jalfrezi .
I am less amazed at Desai and more at those who send him the questions troubling their souls. One woman wants to know if it is permitted to peel a banana from the bottom up. Answer: No.
We are also told that a single pious, practicing woman is equal to 70 saints and a single bad woman the equal of 1,000 bad men. The single prayer of a woman well-versed in matters of religion is better than 80 of those offered by the average bibi. The debate over breastfeeding or bottle-feeding a baby is settled with the fatwa that for each drop of milk that a baby imbibes from its mother, she gets one good deed registered in the book of heaven. We are also told that when a man comes home full of worries and the wife extends a warm welcome to him and consoles him, she receives the reward of "half-jihad" - whatever half-jihad is. A woman who is deprived of sleep owing to her child crying at night receives the sawaab of freeing 20 slaves. I did not know there were any slaves left to be freed in the lands of the faithful.
We should also know that a woman who sends her husband to do his duty to God and stays at home by herself, maintaining her honour, will enter paradise 500 years before her husband, while 70,000 angels and houris will serve her. She will be given a bath in paradise and, sitting on mountains of pearls, she will await the arrival of her husband. Dare I say that while the pious lady would not want for room service, it is going to get pretty lonely waiting for her husband for 500 years. Women are also told that if they pray and fast and perform khidmat for their husbands, all eight doors of paradise will be thrown open to them. They will be free to enter through any door they choose. And if a woman is disobedient to her husband, her prayers will fail to reach heaven. Another piece of good news for women is that if they die 40 days after giving birth, they will have the same status as that accorded to martyrs. In other words, nobody should grieve for them if they take leave of the world. There is a grave warning for erring women, which I reproduce unedited: "Woman who wears thin garment (transparent, see-through garment) or who arouses passion in men, or meet men they are not allowed to mix or move about openly while heavily made up or who live without pardah , will never enter jannat . In fact they will not even smell the fragrance of jannat ."
Mufti Desai had advice for a woman from Desai who wrote to him about veiling. "It is good to know that you have started wearing the Abayah and Hijaab. This should be worn at all times whenever leaving the house. If you cannot wear the Abayah for some reason and resort to wearing a scarf, utmost care should be taken that your head is well covered and you are wearing clothing which does not reveal your figure." Another questioner is told, "Women, having been created from a rib have a degree of imbalance in their nature." They also suffer from their common trait of being ungrateful to their husbands, and of being hasty in cursing those who hurt their feelings. While not all women are ungrateful, "the quality of ungratefulness will manifest itself" unless they make an effort to be grateful. Asked why women should not visit graves, he replied that the reason for prohibiting females from visiting graves is due to "our corrupted environment" in which women who do not adhere to the laws of Hijaab and thus attract strange men. "Therefore, it is not permissible for young females to visit the graveyard," the South African pontiff declaimed.
One woman wanted to know if it was all right for a Palestinian girl who worked with her to go to a Christmas party wearing a knee-length skirt. Answer: "The actions of this sister are definitely questionable from an Islamic point of view. Firstly, attending parties of the Kuffaar (infidels) can never be regarded as permissible . By us attending such functions we will be showing our support rather than opposition to them."
Need I add that not a word I have reproduced above has the remotest basis in the Qur'an or in the teachings of Islam. The question is where does this all come from; and who are these Muftis and Maulanas and Mashaikh who are sending everyone to hell (barring themselves of course)? Well, they have a big surprise coming on Judgment Day.
*(Khalid Hasan is a senior Pakistani journalist-columnist hailing from Jammu and Kashmir based in Washington).
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I'm told that there are a few imams in the Boston area who talk like the Mufti Desai.
Not to mention the Muslim chaplain at Wellesley who promotes the exhortations of Egyptian preacher Amr Khalid for Muslim women to be completely covered, or else they're not real Muslims. Hijab is a sort of Ikhwan litmus test. If the ideological Muslim leaders can get a woman to wear hijab, then they've found someone who can be molded. Someone who believes that every word of Koran is written by God and there can no other interpretation allowed than the Ikhwan interpretation.