طراحی سایت

Sunset view of the shrine of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) from the Clock Tower, located in Najaf, Iraq.

 

PART 3: DO SHIAS WORSHIP GRAVES/SHRINES?!

Click here for Part 1 | Part 2

Dr. Kazem Mesbah Moosavi

The following text is part of a series of interviews done by Dr. Razavi with a Shia scholar and thinker, Dr. Kazem Mesbah Moosavi, the founder and president of Islamic Iranian Centre of Imam Ali. He is a graduate researcher from Elmiyeh Seminary in Qom, and received his PhD from McGill University. He has taught for many years as the professor of Islamic studies, theology and philosophy at Elmiyeh seminary as well as in a number of universities, including McGill University in Montreal. He is the author of many published and unpublished writings in psychology, philosophy, and Islamic studies.  There are hundreds of his video lectures available for researchers.

 


One of the popular accusation of Shias by Salafi-Wahhabism is that Shias worship the grave/shrine, what is your perspective on this issue?!

We, as the followers of the prophet Muhammad and his successor, Imam Ali do not hold any one in the position of deity except the Almighty God, who deserves to be worshiped alone. We do not consider a partner for God. We bear witness that there is no deity deserve of worship except Allah, the Creator of the world. As our religious obligation, we recite in all of daily prayer: “iyyaka naabudu wa iyyaka nastaeyn” means: Our Creator and Nurturer! You alone do we worship, and your aid alone do we seek.

 

So why do Shias visit the shrine of the prophet and his household?

The shrine of the prophet and his household are considered as holy places and mosques. Shias go there to worship God and seek forgiveness from him alone and not from anyone else. Yes, we do believe in the intercession (shafa’ah) of the Prophet and the Imams. We visit the shrine of the prophet to ask him to pray for us and to intercede for God’s forgiveness and blessing.

Professor, you said that Shia considers the prophet as intercessor or shafia, this was the very belief of the pagans towards their idols when they said: “we do not worship them except because they are our intercessors (shafia) towards God.” In other words, the idols were considered as intercessor, likewise Shia believe that the prophet is an intercessor toward God. What is the difference between Shia’s belief system and that of the mushrikin (disbelievers)?

First of all, the pagans as explicitly stated in the Quran, use to worship the idols and not God. And this is the real shirk, but Shia does not worship anyone else but God. Shia prays to Allah and for Allah, Shia prostrates for Allah alone and asks forgiveness from Him alone. This is exactly the opposite of what the pagans used to do; (they worshiped the very idols and prostrate before them and not before God). Do not you see such a big difference?! Those who worship idols vs. those who worship God. The problem with Salafi-wahhabists is that they cannot simply differentiate between these two actions.

 

If Shias believe in monotheism (tawheed) why do they not ask directly from God; who did validate the prophet’s intercession?! 

First of all, Islam is not about God alone, but God as the Creator and Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as His messenger. According to the holy Quran, (in Surah 4, verse # 64) it is not enough to do seek forgiveness from God when you are sitting at home without consideration of the prophet Mohammad (pbuh). God wants His prophet to be acknowledged and respected all the times. That is why Islam is not to believe in God only but to have faith in the prophet as well. You cannot become Muslim by stating that “there is no God but God,” you have to confess that “Muhammad is His messenger” as well.

In Islam the prophet is in the core of the faith; he should not be isolated or forgotten even when pray to God. In our daily prayers we must recite repeatedly the confession “I bear witness that Muhammad is His messenger.” This is the reason why the holy Quran in surah 4: 64 states that when people wrong themselves by committing sin, they must go to the prophet; then they ask forgiveness from God (istighfar). In this case, the latter becomes their intercessor by doing isteghfar, then, on that time, people find the Lord as repentive and compassionate.

Similarly, in the story of the children of Jacob, when they wronged their brother Josef, asked their father to intercede for them before God by seeking forgiveness from God. They said: قالوا يا ابانا استغفر لنا ذنوبنا انا كنا خاطئين “They said O father seek forgiveness for our sins; we were the wrong doers (surah 12:97). He said I shall seek forgiveness from my Lord; He is forgiving and compassionate” (Surat 12:98). There are other verses in the Quran which command the prophet to do isteghfar, ask forgiveness on behalf of the believers. (See Surat 47:19, Surah 60:12, Surat 24:62, Surah 3:159).

Accordingly, the holy Quran acknowledges the intercession of the prophet for people. Given the position of the prophet before God, He will not turn down the payers of His prophet. The main point is that God wants His prophet to be at the center of the believers’ hearts and attention. We must venerate him whether live or dead to get his intercession before God.  That is why the issue of intercession is unanimously agreed upon by all the sects of Muslims whether Shia, Shafi’i, Maliki, Hanbali or Hanafi except for the takfiri sect of Salafi-Wahhabists.

 

Interesting. You gave me a new vision about the intercession from the Quranic perspective. But there is something still bugging me all the times when I think of intercession. What you said was logical with regards to the prophet’s intercession when he was alive, but how do you justify people’s visit of the shrine of the prophet who is no longer alive. Can he still pray for them and ask God’s forgiveness while he is dead? How is it possible to visit a dead person and ask his dua and his intercession? Can a dead person hear and respond to you?! 

This is an excellent question which requires an excellent answer. Let me present you with an introduction before I answer your question. As you know, some concepts are relative. It could mean something by some consideration and its opposite by another consideration. The concepts of life and death are the same; someone may be considered alive from one perspective and dead from another. For example, the one who has been in coma for many years and is in the vegetative stage, not being able to eat, move, see, hear, or do any function anymore is considered dead from the medical perspective, but he is alive from another perspective.

The same is true of the concept of death. Death happens when the soul leaves the body, then the body cannot function anymore: it cannot eat, drink, move or grew at all, but rather begins to be decomposed and converted into dust after a while.  This is the most common stage of people after the death. The body, in this case, has no feeling and cannot have any interaction with the world and consequently must be buried under the ground. This is the meaning of death in the holy Quran, “You will indeed die as the others die too.” Accordingly, the prophet, the martyrs and saints die too; they are no longer alive after the occurrence of their death. This is from one perspective.

This, however, is not the case with all people from another perspective. According to the Quran, some people are alive and must be considered alive after their deaths. The holy Quran with regards to the martyrs states: “Do not say to those who have been killed in the sake of Allah, as “dead” but they are alive but you do not feel it.” (Surat 2:154). There is a similar verse:

“And never think of those who have been killed in the cause of Allah as dead. Rather, they are alive with their Lord, receiving provision” (3:169). Accordingly, those who have been killed for the sake of Allah, are not dead but alive and being sustained by their Lord. Therefore, a martyr is dead from one perspective and alive by another consideration. When Quran uses the concept of “dead” for His prophet after the occurrence of the death, it refers to the stage of the prophet when he leaves the corporeal life, and his soul departs from his body and loses all its physical functionality in this world. On the other hand, when Quran speaks of life after the occurrence of death, it refers to the spiritual life of the martyrs who enjoy a higher stage of life after their death. These people must not be considered as dead, but alive in another sense. They can see, listen and interact with others but not through their corporeal bodies and the physical eyes. The body dies but the soul survives in another level of life.

If this is the case with the martyrs, it will surely be the case with regards to the prophet. It does not make sense to say that people who were defending Islam and fighting beside the prophet and have been killed in the sake of Allah are alive because they are martyrs, but the prophet himself, who is the source of all good is dead.

In other words, if martyrs, like Imam Ali, Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain (who have been killed in the sake of God) are alive, surely the prophet is alive too. He is able to see and hear us; he will return our salaam and pray to God for our sins.  If he is not hearing us, why we should say salaam to him in all of daily prayers when we say “assallam Alayk ayuhan nabi wa rahmatollah wa barakatuh”?! Without question the prophet, who is alive from the Quranic perspective, will return our salaam. The same is true with all martyrs, and is why they must be visited and venerated even after their death.

 

Thank you, it was a relieving answer. But can I ask them to pray for me and to pray for healing of my family in case they are sick. Can I also ask them to pray for my needs and wishes?!

Given that the prophet and the Imams and all the martyrs are alive from the Quranic perspective, you must treat them the same way you treat a living person. What would you do if they were in this world and you had chance to see them?! You would certainly ask them to pray to Allah for you, your family and all your wishes; because you know that the prophet’s dua, prayer, is not the same as others. If he prays to Allah for your needs, there is much more possibility that God gives you your wishes. You must, however, be careful not to forget God at any moment. You must remind yourself that they are just God’s servants and they have nothing of their own. Your main focus must be on almighty God, who has permitted their intercession and dua.

 

As I learned from our discussion, the main difference between the pagans who consider the idols as their intercessors and those Muslims who regard the prophet and the imams as their intercessors is that the pagans worship the idols, whereas, the Shias worship God alone without consideration of a partner for Him; they forbid worshiping anyone but God. Am I right?!

Yes you are absolutely right, and this is the main difference between tawheed and shirk.

 

Thank you. There are a few more questions related to our topic. One refers to building a mosque and shrine for the grave; is it allowed to do so?!

The Salafi-Wahhabist insists that building a mosque on the top of a grave is a sign of shirk and must be forbidden. They refer to the verse 84 in surah 9: “Do not stand on his grave and never pray for any of them who die.” This verse does not, however, support their argument. When we take into consideration before and after this part of the verse, we can make sure that this verse does not intend to forbid visitation of the graveyard and prayer on the grave. This verse is referring to a special case of hypocrites, who publicly say the shahadatain and acknowledge Islam, but privately denies Islam and ridicule in the faith of Muslims.

Let us look at the whole verse as follows: “And do not pray [the funeral prayer, O Muhammad], over any of them who has died – ever – or stand at his grave. Indeed, they disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger and died while they were defiantly disobedient.” As you see, the verse has nothing to do with praying on the grave but refusing to pray for the disbelievers.

 

Is there any verse which confirms the validity of building a mosque on the grave?!

Yes, I can refer you to the story of the people of the Cave (ashabul Kahf) in the Quran; there was an argument among people how to deal with their graves. The holy Quran mentions that a group of believers, who knew the secret of the people of the Cave and their high spiritual position before God, decided to honor them by building a mosque on top of their graves:  “And similarly, we caused them to be found that they [who found them] would know that the promise of Allah is truth and that of the Hour there is no doubt. [That was] when they disputed among themselves about their affair and [then] said, “Construct over them a structure. Their Lord is most knowing about them.” Said those who prevailed in the matter, “We will surely take [for ourselves] over them a masjid (Surah 18:21).”

Giving that the holy Quran mentions the believers’ proposal to build a mosque on top of their graves without denouncing or rejecting it, proves that Quran approves such an action, otherwise, it should reject such an idea. Similarly, the Ummah of Islam honored their prophet by building a shrine for him. This is not a sign of shirk but the very pure monotheism (tawheed) to honor its prophet in such a decent way. This is why traditionally, Muslims honour some of their great personalities by building a Mosque on top of their graves. Shias made Mosques for all the household of the prophet, including Imam Ali in Najaf and Imam Hussain, the grandson of the prophet in Karbala, Iraq.

 

Thank you Dr. Mesbah Moosavi for your valuable time. We are looking forward for an upcoming session regarding other issues about the Shia belief system. I am sure that such a discussion will remove any misconceptions Shia Islam and pave the way towards unifying the Ummah.

 

Click here for Part 1 | Part 2

PART ONE: SHIA AND THE ACCUSATION OF HUMAN DEITY

Click here for Part 2 | Part 3

Dr. Kazem Mesbah Moosavi

The following is part of a series of interviews, in relation to the Shia’s Belief System, conducted by Sajid Sajidi with a Shia scholar and thinker, Dr. Kazem Mesbah Moosavi, the founder and president of Islamic Iranian Centre of Imam Ali. Dr. Mesbah Moosavi is a graduate-researcher from Elmiyeh Seminary in Qom, Iran and received his PhD from McGill University. He has taught for many years as the professor of Islamic studies, theology and philosophy at Elmiyeh seminary, as well as in a number of universities, including McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He has authored many published and unpublished articles in psychology, philosophy, and Islamic studies. There are hundreds of videos of his lectures available for researchers.


One of the misunderstandings regarding Shia’s belief system is that Shias believe in the Imams as a deity. Despite explicit assertions of monotheism by Shias, some of the Salafi-Wahhabis accuse them of worshiping their Imams and holding them in a position of a deity. Is there any truth to their claim?

There is no truth to this accusation. As you said, it is only an accusation. Shias deny any deity but God which is the meaning of “la illaha ilallah.” The prophet and the Imams are just God’s servants and have nothing of their own. In our daily prayers, we recite, “wa ashhado anna Muhammadan abduhu wa rasulullah, meaning, “I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.”

 

So how do the Salafi-Wahhabis justify their accusation?

They argue that power exclusively belongs to God, and He does not give it to others. Consideration of any supernatural power for other beings, be it a prophet or anyone else, implies “shirk” or disbelief. They argue that knowledge of the unseen (“elm al ghayb”) is a unique characteristic of God. It cannot be present in any other being. Since the Shias accept the possibility of supernatural power and knowledge of the unseen to some extent, for certain exceptional people, the Salaf-Wahhabi therefore consider the Shias as “Mushriks,” or disbelievers.

 

Their argument seems to be fair. What is your response to this?

Shias believe that all power and knowledge originate from Almighty God. But He is able, and willing, to empower His chosen servants with limited knowledge of the unseen-as was the case with Prophet Jesus (PBUH). According to our holy book of Quran, God had given Jesus (PBUH) the power to raise the dead, heal the sick, and give sight to the blind. All this power was possible due to God’s will. Jesus could do all these miracles as long as God had permitted him to do so. As soon as He would take away His power, Jesus would be unable to do anything. Let’s look at a few verses describing the scenario:

“(Remember) when Allah will say (on the Day of Resurrection).”O ‘Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary)! Remember My Favour to you and to your mother when I supported you with Ruh-ul-Qudus [Jibrael (Gabriel)] so that you spoke to the people in the cradle and in maturity; and when I taught you writing, Al-Hikmah (the power of understanding), the Torat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel); and when you made out of the clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My Permission, and you breathed into it, and it became a bird by My Permission, and you healed those born blind, and the lepers by My Permission, and when you brought forth the dead by My Permission; and when I restrained the Children of Israel from you (when they resolved to kill you) since you came unto them with clear proofs, and the disbelievers among them said: ‘This is nothing but evident magic.’” (Qur’an 5:110)

According to this verse, Jesus (PBUH) had supernatural powers to raise even the dead. However, the difference between his power and that of God’s is that God’s power is absolute, independent and infinite, whereas Jesus’s power is limited by God’s permission. It cannot be absolute, or independent of God’s power. And this is the secret of Jesus’s (PBUH) supernatural power. Therefore, our belief in Jesus’s (PBUH) power does not imply “shirk” or disbelief. That is why we can consider some supernatural powers to be available to certain prophets or Imams with God’s permission.

 

Ok, thank you professor for your excellent response. Why don’t you shed some light on the “knowledge of the unseen” for us?

I suggest we refer to the Quran again where it says:

“And will make him [‘Isa (Jesus)] a Messenger to the Children of Israel (saying):
“I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, that I design for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah’s Leave; and I heal him who was born blind, and the leper, and I bring the dead to life by Allah’s Leave. And I inform you of what you eat, and what you store in your houses. Surely, therein is a sign for you, if you believe” (Qur’an 3:49).

In this verse, the Quran refers to Jesus’s ability and his knowledge of the unseen where he is informed of what people eat or store in their homes. There is another verse which denies the knowledge of unseen for anyone except certain prophets:

[He is] Knower of the unseen, and He does not disclose His [knowledge of the] unseen to anyone. (Qur’an 72:26)… Except whom He has approved of messengers, and indeed, He sends before each messenger and behind him observers. (Qur’an 72:28).

Accordingly, it is quite possible that God empowers and discloses the knowledge of the unseen to those whom He is satisfied with.

 

Your answers are so clear that no honest scholar can deny it. But how do you attribute supernatural powers to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) whereas the Qur’an makes no mention of it?

If we believe that Prophet Muhammad is the greatest of all messengers of God, then it is quite likely that he has been given more than that which has been given to the other prophets of God. If Prophet Jesus (PBUH) had been given the power and permission to heal the sick or cure the blind, then why such ability should be denied in our Prophet (PBUH), who is the very seal of prophethood. Furthermore, God does not restrict His supernatural powers only to His prophets. According to some hadiths, it is quite possible for even ordinary people who reach a certain spiritual stage–that is, if they truly are sincere servants of God, whose hearts are felt with His love, and have abandoned the world to achieve His satisfaction. God surely will not hesitate to bless and empower them with supernatural powers and to an extent, knowledge of the unseen.

Additionally, there is a hadith from the Prophet (PBUH) that God has said, “If a servant of mine chooses my obedience, he would be elevated, and would reach such a point in his life where he acts solely by the power of God. That is why Shias believe that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his household, including Imam Ali (PBUH), have entertained certain supernatural powers bestowed upon them by Almighty God. And this belief does not contradict “tawhid” at all, but rather, it is real “tawhid”. Essentially, we consider all natural and supernatural powers as originating only from God. Even when we go through our regular day-to-day actions such as breathing, uttering a word, moving the hands and so on, all are made possible by God’s permission. Thus, this is the meaning of the popular statement: “la hawla va la ghowwata illa billah al Aliyol Azhim; There is no power and no strength, but from Allah.” Therefore, the prophets and imams are merely servants of Allah and do not have anything of their own. They do, however, possess supernatural powers that God has given them.

 

Thank You Professor Mesbah Moosavi for your valuable answers.

 

Click here for Part 2 | Part 3

Continued from Part 1.

This is the third segment of the Youtube interview “Women’s Rights in Islam“, conducted by Sajid Sajidi with Shia scholar and thinker, Dr. Kazem Mesbah Moosavi, the founder and president of Islamic Iranian Centre of Imam Ali. Dr. Mesbah Moosavi is a graduate-researcher from Elmiyeh Seminary in Qom, Iran and received his PhD from McGill University. He has taught for many years as the professor of Islamic studies, theology and philosophy at Elmiyeh seminary, as well as in a number of universities, including McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He has authored many published and unpublished articles in psychology, philosophy, and Islamic studies. There are hundreds of videos of his lectures available for researchers.


What about women’s rights of marriage?

A marriage is based upon two foundations, spouse’s consent as well as dowry. If one of the pillars is missing, the marriage is null. The wife, of course, is entitled to waive her dowry upon completion of the marriage, if she wills it. Accordingly, forced marriage in Islam has no validity. It is the basic right of a woman to be able to choose her partner.

When a couple moves in together after marriage, there is household work left to do. Who is responsible for them? Does Islam acknowledge the unpaid work of women done at home?

In contrast to non-Muslim’s understandings on this issue, from the beginning, Islam explicitly states that women have no obligation to do any chores at home. It is forbidden for a man to impose upon his wife to clean, cook, or to any other chores at home, including feeding and taking care of their baby.

 

I am sure this is a surprise for many people who think that Islam imposes all these chores on women.

Yes, that is right. When we talk about Islamic laws, we are not referring to books that are written in the modern era. Rather, we refer to the holy Quran and the Hadiths from 14 centuries ago. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) tried to lift such burdens from the wife’s shoulders. In today’s western society, we sometimes hear that both the man and woman work outside of their home, and when they return, it is up to the woman to do the cooking and cleaning. In Islam, none of these are mandatory for women. Women have no obligation in marriage except for marital intimacy, which is a mutual right incumbent upon both the man and woman.

Now you may ask that if it is not compulsory for women to tend to the children or the house, then whose responsibility for them? According to Islam, all of these are the responsibility of the husband. Even when the mother gives birth, it is the husband who has to take care of the baby from the time of birth. For example, he has to feed and nurse the baby, and change the diaper.

 

How can a man nurse a baby? It is the woman who can breastfeed.

That is a valid question and a critical point can be made here. Islam knows that men cannot feed the baby. Hence, Islam wants the man to be appreciative of his wife for her services. When a man cannot feed his baby, he would ask his wife, kissing her hand, pleading with her to help him in this regard. Islam knows that women have a compassionate heart and would not be indifferent to her crying child. She would not say, “I am not going to do anything.” In this way, Islam promotes kindness, mercy, and compassion. Additionally, Islam lightens the burden from the wife’s shoulder, ensuring that she does not feel obliged to do everything while the husband is free to play or in today’s society, watch TV. Islam wants the man to appreciate his wife in such a way that when she does something, the husband would say, “Thank you for doing this voluntarily.”

 

Could you please elaborate on what stance Islam has on the unpaid works of women at home?

Sociologists discuss unpaid works of women, meaning women who work without a salary at home, a concept which stemmed from Marxism. Conversely, the men who work outside make increasingly more money. If the marriage ever comes to a divorce, the woman is left with no capital while the man owns all this income. Now Marxism consideration of unpaid work of women is not something novel. Islam has deliberated it from before. Islam says that if a woman works at home, she could ask to be paid for it. She can request her husband to split his income with her for the tasks that she does. Moreover, she can set her salary and ask for more should she want to be compensated for the time spent on the children or other house chores. So Islam already acknowledged unpaid work of women from early on.

More than a millennium after Islam, on October 24th, 2013, the United Nations acknowledged the unpaid works of women. According to a United Nations independent expert, cooking, cleaning and caring for children and the elderly should be a social and collective responsibility, rather than falling entirely upon the woman. She warns that unpaid care that is not shared ingrains poverty and social exclusion for women.

“I call on States to recognize unpaid care work as a major human rights issue,” UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty, Magdalena Sepúlveda, told the UN General Assembly’s main social, humanitarian and cultural body (Third Committee) in New York. “Unpaid care work is at the foundation of all our societies, and crucial for economic growth and social development,” she noted. “However, it has been mostly overlooked or taken for granted by policy makers. This has an enormous impact on women’s poverty and their enjoyment of rights – as they do the majority of unpaid care.”

According to UN News Centre,  Ms. Sepúlveda, who is among a host of independent experts at UN Headquarters this month to brief the Committee, noted that women in developed and developing countries work longer hours than men when unpaid work is taken into account, but receive lower earnings and less recognition (UN News Centre).

As far as Islamic laws and Sharia are concerned, women are not obliged to do the chores at home; they may ask for compensation from the husband for all the tasks they have chosen to do at home.

The family environment that we see today is more like a competitive environment. Everyone is asking for their rights and the opposing party is refusing to honor them. So what sort of environment does Islam endorse within the house?

Islam is promoting two things. One is regarding its legal aspect. Here, Islam is very adamant, saying: “Man has no right to impose upon his wife any chores at home.” This is a very strict one. Yet at the same time, Islam is trying to facilitate a peaceful and loving environment, encouraging both the man and woman to forgive and reach out to each other with love and mercy. The holy Quran states in chapter 30, verse 21, “And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your hearts. Verily in that are signs for those who reflect.” Thus, family foundations should be based upon love and mercy.

Islam attempts to illustrate that although tending to the house is not a woman’s responsibility, it is our moral obligation to help each other. According to Islam, if a stranger needs help, we must assist them, more so for one’s life partner. There must be an environment of peace, love and mercy within the family. For example, when the Quran states, “Compete each other in doing good,” when it comes to cooking, both the man and woman should race each other in preparing the food. The same goes for cleaning or doing the laundry; they should compete in doing the chores. Therefore, cooperation in completing house works in the hopes of gaining more rewards from God should be the goal.

In a family environment, the woman does not sit and demand, “I am not going to touch anything, you do everything while I just watch!” Such behaviour is not in accordance with Islamic teachings. Islam does not support indifference towards people’s affections and needs. The environment which Islam is calling for is one which involves competition in doing good deeds in order to receive God’s satisfaction and gain more rewards from Him. In short, in a family based upon Islamic values, it is both cooperation and the willingness to assist one’s partner that facilitates family warmth.

 

How does Islam view women working outside the house?

Islam attempts to ensure financial security for women; however, working is not considered an obligation for them. Women should not have to deal with the stress of having an occupation and the responsibility of paying the bills. Islam wants women to feel peace because when a woman is at peace, she can transfer her tranquility to the family and thus foster love and calmness to the rest. The purpose of marriage is to reach tranquility, as we have quoted the Quran earlier, saying that marriage is there to bring about tranquility. From an Islamic perspective, if a woman works, she does not have to share her income with her husband. According to Islamic Jurisprudence, the man has to work and continue to support his family and spend his income on his wife, children, and parents. However, if a woman works, she can keep the income for herself.

We have discussed women’s right of marriage. A related issue would be divorce. Do women have the right to divorce?

In history, many countries in Europe had prohibited divorce, as it is not permitted by the Catholic Church. Sometimes citizens travelled to other jurisdictions in order to obtain a divorce. No Catholic Church will remarry divorced persons, unless they previously have their marriage annulled, which is only possible in certain circumstances.

According to Helena Hojtczck, in her article regarding British women’s emancipation, “Prior to 1670, people could only get a divorce if they could prove to the ecclesiastical courts that their marriage never happened legally in the first place. The courts followed canon (religious) law. The normal reasons for divorce were insanity, heresy, consanguinity and impotence.” She holds that “a man could get a divorce if his wife was unfaithful, even just once. No woman could get a divorce even if her husband had a different woman each night AND kept a string of mistresses. She had also to prove that he was guilty of incest, bigamy or ‘unnatural vice (www.historyofwomen.org).'”

Although it is not easy, in Islam, it is permissible to divorce. According to Islamic law and marital jurisprudence, divorce is permissible in urgent cases where the couple cannot continue to have a peaceful relationship with one another. Given that women are often emotional and may be more prone to considering divorce, Islam makes the process of divorce difficult. However, at the time of marriage when the contracts are being made, to some extent the bride can claim the right for divorce. At that time, the bride can tell her future husband that she accepts the marriage provided that he gives her the authority to act on her divorce if the husband is abusive, abandons her, doesn’t pay her expenses, or any other condition that she may consider as misconduct.

So according to this law, which is approved by all Islamic jurisprudence authorities, a woman may ask for the right of divorce at the commencement of the marriage. Of course, this issue is complicated and encompasses many other details which we may cover during another time.

What about the right for education? Are women permitted to educate themselves?

Unfortunately, women were not very lucky in history; they were denied even the right for education. Researchers tackling women’s literacy during the Middle Ages in Europe speak of women during that era. They hold that:
Women were considered to be inferior to men and were not formally educated. It was common for women to be unable to read and write in their own language. Even though some were fortunate enough to be taught how to read, some were still unable to write. Women were not usually taught how to read Latin, the language of male scholars and people of the Church, who also happened to be male. In the later Middle Ages, even most nuns were not able to learn Latin. (http://csis.pace.edu/grendel/WS1/object.html)

This was the case for European women during the middle ages. In contrast, Islam from the very beginning acknowledged the right of women to have an education. During the period of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), there were many educated notable ladies. For instance, Bibi Fatima (PBUH), the Prophet’s daughter, would respond to people’s questions and teach them. We have a hadith from Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) that says, “Seeking knowledge is the responsibility of both men and women.” He also said, “Seek knowledge from cradle to the grave.” Here, he does not exclude women. That is why lady Fatimah (PBUH), made herself available to educate women who were interested to advance in their knowledge.  As such, the right of studying and learning has been approved by Islam.

Allow me to add another point here. In certain cases, receiving an education and gaining knowledge could be obligatory for both men and women. It depends upon the needs of a society. If a community requires female physicians, it would be an obligation for women who have the means, to become a physician. If a woman is a surgeon, and people are in need of a surgery with their lives in danger, she must perform the job.

Now going back to education, women’s rights for education has been approved by Islam 14 centuries ago. On the contrary, the Bible indirectly discourages women obtain an education. It is mentioned in the Bible that if a woman has a question, she has to ask her husband only, “Because man has been created in the image of God, not woman” (Genesis Chapter 1, Verse 27).

 

Another issue is the right of women to vote. Does Islam acknowledge the right to vote?

From inception, Islam has given women the right to vote. For example, when the Prophet appointed his successor, he asked all the believers, both men and women to pay their allegiance to the successor. The men did so by shaking hands with the Imam. As physical contact between opposite genders is not permitted in Islam, a bowl of water would be placed for females where the women would place their hands in with the Imam as a sign of their approval. In comparison to Europe, women had no right to vote until the 20th century. In Canada, women got their right to vote in the 1960s, about 50 years ago! On the federal level, the vote was first given to the relatives of enlisted men in 1917. In 1918, it was then broadened to include most women. Other provinces followed suit by 1922, with the exception of Québec, where women were denied to vote until 1940. It was not until the 1960s, where the First Nations women received the right to vote (http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en).

 

Missed Part 1? Click here to catch up!

Part 2 here

This is the third segment of the Youtube interview “Women’s Rights in Islam“, conducted by Sajid Sajidi with Shia scholar and thinker, Dr. Kazem Mesbah Moosavi, the founder and president of Islamic Iranian Centre of Imam Ali. Dr. Mesbah Moosavi is a graduate-researcher from Elmiyeh Seminary in Qom, Iran and received his PhD from McGill University. He has taught for many years as the professor of Islamic studies, theology and philosophy at Elmiyeh seminary, as well as in a number of universities, including McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He has authored many published and unpublished articles in psychology, philosophy, and Islamic studies. There are hundreds of videos of his lectures available for researchers.


This interview has been conducted by Sajid Sajidi in response to a number of Youtube videos which portray women in Islam in a negative light.  The videos online which try to explain women’s rights in Islam, are in fact based on Salafi-Wahhabi doctrine which is in no way representative of the true Islam. This interview attempts to shed light upon women’s rights from an Islamic perspective.  It will briefly examine women’s rights in seven cases: (1) the right of ownership, (2) the right of inheritance, (3) the right of marriage, (4), the rights of unpaid work at home, (5) the right of divorce,  (6) the right of education, and (7) the right to vote. This article will also discuss a general discrimination made against women in which, up to the modern day era, were not recognized as persons in both Western and Eastern societies—contrary to Islam, which always considered females as persons.


Let’s begin by acknowledging that not all practices being followed by Muslims around the globe are necessarily in line with the teachings of Islam. Let’s discuss this issue with Dr. Mesbah Moosavi and review his interpretation on this matter.

Yes, I agree with you that the practices that are being followed by Muslim societies are not reflective of the authentic teachings of Islam. A glance at the status of women in Saudi Arabia would demonstrate my point. Women are deprived of their most basic rights, including the very right to vote or drive a car. This illustrates that sometimes religion is replaced with backward cultures and customs. What one witnesses in Saudi Arabia has nothing to do with Islam, rather, it reflects the Arabian and tribal traditions instead which should not lead to so many criticisms against the Islamic view of women. Such traditions are the main reasons for Islam being accused as a religion whose women are subjugated and denied of their most basic rights.

 

Let’s examine some of the women’s rights in Islam.  What is the Islam’s perspective on the ownership of property by women? Are women entitled to own personal, real, or intellectual properties?

From inception, Islam explicitly declared that women have the right to own or disown properties. When Islam suggests that a man at the time of marriage has to give a dowry to the woman, it means that woman has the right to keep this gift for herself or spend it as she wishes. Some people would be surprised to know that even in the western world, mainly in Europe, up until the 1840s, the right of ownership of property by women was not given. According to English Common Laws, which was developed since the 10th century, “All the property of a woman, at the time of marriage, became her husband’s property.” So if a woman owned something before marriage, according to the English Common Law, all her property would be possessed by her husband after their marriage.

According to my research, a millennium, almost one thousand years after Islam had already acknowledged the rights of women to own property, in the late 19th century, European societies suggested that women has to have the right of ownership. So in the late 19th century in the United States and the British parliament, they began to pass laws that women should have the right to own or disown property. The Married Women’s Property Act 1882 (45 & 46 Vict. c.75) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that significantly altered English law regarding the property rights of married women, which besides other matters allowed married women to own and control property in their own right.

According to Claire Jones, “these acts were a milestone along women’s route to equality. The legal position of married women for most of the nineteenth century was little short of that of a slave. (This was the way in which philosopher John Stuart Mill described a married woman’s lot in his 1869 book The Subjection of Women.) As soon as a woman married she disappeared as far as the law was concerned; now she was no longer a person in her own right but was merely an extension of her husband, unable to own property or even her own person (divorce was impossible for all but the most privileged women as it necessitated a special act of Parliament). A woman became essentially a chattel of her husband; her wealth and possessions were now all his.” (Her Storia Magazine, July 2012) This is very shocking. Some people accuse Islam of stripping women of their basic rights. On the contrary, Islam had already acknowledged their rights for ownership 1000 years prior to Europe.  

 

What about inheritance in Islam?

It is mentioned in the Quran that when a man passes away, the family, namely the daughter(s), son(s) and the wife, would inherit from the deceased. Islam clearly outlines the rights of inheritance pertaining to both men and women. In the holy Quran chapter 4, verses 11 and 12 describe various scenarios and explicitly clarify how to divide the wealth among the numerous inheritors for both genders.

 

How is it that a woman is entitled to only half of what a man gets from inheritance? This means that men are going to be in a better financial situation!

Yes, I agree with you that in some cases women get half of what men get from inheritance, however, from an Islamic  perspective, I do not agree with your conclusion that men are financially better off. Rather, it is the reverse. Women in Islam receive more than what a man gets throughout their day-to-day life. One cannot however understand this formula unless they get to comprehend the entire Islamic financial system.  Allow me to briefly explain how the Islamic financial system works. From an Islamic perspective, man is in charge of all living expenses. It is his obligation to provide an acceptable accommodation for his wife. He has to pay for the food, clothing, as well as all other necessities of life. He has to pay for his children’s expenses, including their education.

This is a general obligation for men, regardless of the woman’s financial situation. There is no exception, even if the woman is a millionaire. Let us now examine inheritance in a case where someone dies and leaves behind a married son and daughter. Whatever the daughter gets from inheritance she can keep it solely for herself, but the son cannot keep it for himself alone; he has to share it with his wife and children.  As a result of this ecosystem, women in Islamic societies would be better off.  

 

As you mentioned, it took a long time—12 centuries, for women in the western world to begin gaining their basic rights already given to Muslim women back in the 7th century. I am curious as to how women were being treated before Islam was revealed in the 7th century. Would you please shed some light on the state of women before Islam was revealed? Was a woman considered a person?

When Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him; PBUH) was appointed to call people towards Islam and monotheism, Arabs had a stigma against female infants. The Quran mentions that when a man would receive the news of his wife giving birth to a female child, his face would get dark from shame and would feel humiliated. The holy Quran discusses the crime of people burying their female infants alive. There are many cases in history regarding Arabs and various other nations burying their infant daughters alive. In the Quran, surah 81, verses 8 and 9 says, “When the female infant, buried alive, is questioned, for what crime she was killed?” So during those times, women were not considered as persons according to old Arabic customs and thus, did not have equal respect and dignity within the society.

This was not occurring only in the Arabian Peninsula. Even in Europe in the 7th century (during which Islam was revealed), there were discussions in churches, about whether women even had a soul! The churches would discuss whether women had satanic souls or animal souls. In European societies, women were not considered as full human beings. When I came to Canada some 30 years ago, the $50 Canadian bill was written with a statement which read, “Woman is a person.” It was surprising for me. What did it mean? It makes sense once we take into consideration the fact that just couple of centuries ago, people in the West denied women to be seen as persons. One of the most important milestone for women’s rights was defining “persons” under the British North America Act.

According to the Canadian Government’s official website, in 1928, people…petitioned the government to ask the Supreme Court of Canada to decide whether ‘persons’ in the Act included women. The Supreme Court decided that it did not, for the following reasons:

• The British North America Act in 1928 had to maintain the meaning “persons” would have been given by the courts when it was passed in 1867.

• According to common law, women could not hold political office.

• If the British Parliament had intended for women to be included as “qualified persons” under section 24 of the Act, it would have said so.

However, an appeal to the Privy Council was launched. In 1929, the Council decided the word “person” in itself was not clear, and would be better understood if the British North America Act was given a wider interpretation. Therefore, if the law was to exclude women specifically, it should have been clearly stated in the Act. From this point on, women were considered “persons” under the law.

(Taken from A brief history of women’s rights in Canada.)

To summarize, at some point in time, both in the East and the West, women were not considered as “persons”. It was a general discrimination occurring against women all around the globe. Such was the status of women during Jahiliyyah, which is defined as the period before Islam.  

 

How did Islam change the negative perspective of Jahiliyyah held against women?

Islam had a very strong reaction to the issues of female infanticide or humiliation of women. Quran declared if someone kills a person (be it a man or woman), he or she will be directed to hell forever. With such kind of verses, Islam warns against the murdering of innocent people. Therefore, no one has right to kill anyone, regardless of gender.

On the other hand, the Quranic verses also attempt to educate people that there is no difference between men and women with regard to being human. Yes, there are some undeniable biological differences between men and women, but the value of a woman as a human being is equal to that of a man. This is shown in various verses of the Quran.

For instance, chapter 18 verse 50, God says, “We have honored the children of Adam…”. It does not mention gender. In chapter 3, verse 195, God says, “Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, be male or female.” Or in chapter 49, verse 13, God declares, “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes…”. In another verse, it is mentioned that “He created mates for you, from yourself”. To conclude, in Islam, men and women are created as equals, and are given equal value.

I would like to emphasize that according to the Quran and Islam, a woman is not created from the rib of a man, women are not created for men made specifically to serve them. On the contrary, the Bible humiliates women by saying, “Women have been created to serve men,” (Corinthians Chapter 11, Verse 9). In the story of Adam and Eve, Quran mentions that both of them made a mistake of eating the forbidden fruit. In the Bible, the blame is placed upon the woman only, where it says that the woman tempted Adam to a commit sin. In Genesis chapter 3, verse 16, it says that because woman made Adam to commit a sin, God punishes women with the pain of childbearing. Furthermore, God made men the master of women. But we do not have such a concept in the Quran. The holy Quran holds both Adam and Eve equally accountable for disobeying God. As a matter of fact, in the Quran, chapter 20 verse 24, God blames Adam only, “…thus did Adam disobey his lord …”.  

 

Some say that the Qur’an addresses men only, linguistically speaking only to them. Is that true?

No, it is not true. The Quran is revealed in Arabic. According to the Arabic language, the general correspondence used is masculine pronouns. For example, in chapter 49, verse 13—which I had just mentioned—God refers to both men and women, saying “We have created you male and female…”. The word “you” comes in a masculine form. Although it is speaking to both males and females, it still uses the masculine pronoun. It is merely a linguistic feature of the Arabic language.  

 

You gave us a Quranic perspective of women, but what about Hadiths (sayings of Prophet Mohammad or Imams (peace be upon them)?

We have many Hadiths in which Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) tried to change the perception of men towards women and female children. Indeed, we have a very well-known Hadith that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) had said, “Blessed is the one whose first baby is a female.” We have many other similar Hadiths.

You know the expression, “ladies first,” Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) actually made a similar reference fourteen centuries ago. He said, “When one presents gifts to his or her children, that person should gift their daughters first, and then their sons.” In another Hadith Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said that Angel Gabriel came to me and said so much about women in such a way that I thought that man is forbidden to even say “woe” to his wife. There are numerous other Hadiths which uplift and elevate the status of women, emphasizing upon the equality of men and women before God. However, we are unable to mention all of them in such short time.  

 

Continued here in Part 2…  

مترجم: سپیده دمنین

آقای دکتر عبدالحی پاتل موسس شورای امامان و رهبران مسلمان کانادایی و هماهنگ کننده اسبق آن است. ایشان با داشتن ۴۷ سال سابقه فعالیت به عنوان امام و رهبر برخی از جوامع(کامیونیتی های) مسلمان، در حال حاضر مدیر روابط بین مذاهب در کانادا می باشد. همچنین علاوه بر ارائه خدمات به عنوان یک کمیسر کمسیون حقوق بشر آنتاریو(۲۰۰۵-۱۹۹۹)، عضو اسبق هیأت ملی فرمانداران پیشاهنگی کانادا نیز بوده است.ایشان به علت خدمات اجتماعی خود در استان آنتاریو جوایز متعددی نیز دریافت کرده است.

مصاحبه زیر به منظور آشنایی خوانندگان مجله هدی با یکی از چهره های کوشا و موفق مسلمان در کانادا انجام شده است.


با تشکر از وقتی که در اختیار ما گذاشتید، ممكن است ضمن معرفی خود، خوانندگان مجله هدی را با خدمات و فعالیت هایتان در تورنتو(کانادا) آشنا فرمایید؟

من متولد هند هستم ولی در سن ١٢ سالگى آنجا را ترک کردم و به پدر و برادرم که در باربادوس زندگی می کردند،پیوستم و در آنجا وارد دبیرستان شدم. سپس در سال ١٩٦٩ به كانادا آمدم و در رشته مهندسی الکترونیک مشغول به تحصيل شدم.
به یاد دارم در آن زمان تنها حدود چهار- پنج نفر بودند که می توانستند وظایف امام جماعت را در موارد پیشنمازی، کفن و دفن و مراسم تشییع جنازه، ازدواج و غیره انجام دهند. از این رو با اطلاعات دینی خود براى امامت جماعت داوطلب شدم و از همان زمان تا کنون در كنار کار تمام وقتم در رشته مهندسی، داوطلبانه به عنوان امام جماعت خدمت مى كنم.
البته خدمات من چه در جامعه مسلمانان و چه در جامعه غیر مسلمان کانادا بیشتر از موارد فوق الذکر است و بسیاری از فعالیتهایم در حوزه سیاسی با هدف برقراری عدالت اجتماعی مى باشد.

 آیا شما برآوردی از جمعیت مسلمان در کانادا داريد؟

وقتی من در سال ١٩٦٩ به اینجا آمدم، جمعیت مسلمانان در تورنتو، به نظرم حدود هزار نفر بود. ولى امروزه، بیش از یک میلیون مسلمان در کانادا وجود دارد که نیمی از آنها در منطقه تورنتو بزرگ زندگی می کنند.

 چه تعداد مسجد و مراکز اسلامى برای مسلمانان ایجاد شده است و آیا این تعداد پاسخگوی نیازهای جامعه مسلمانان مى باشد؟

در منطقه تورنتو بزرگ به تنهایی بیش از صد مسجد، مشتمل بر سنی و شیعه وجود دارد و در کل کانادا بیش از ٥٠٠ – ٦٠٠ مسجد موجود است. که البته شامل مُصلا ها (نمازخانه غیر رسمی) نمى باشد. در غیر اين صورت تعداد مراكز مزبور در سراسر کشور می تواند بالغ بر هزار واحد شود. علاوه بر این، نماز جمعه در بسیاری از مراکز و مکان هاى اشتغال(اداری، کارخانه ها و غیره)، مدارس، دانشگاه ها و کالج ها، و همچنین اماکن اجاره ای، در شهرهای مختلف بر پا مى شود. در منطقه تورنتو بزرگ نیز نماز جمعه در بیش از ٢٥٠ مکان اقامه مى شود.

با این حال، این بدان معنا نیست که همه یا بیشتر مسلمانان با مساجد در ارتباط اند. تعداد مسلمانانى كه اسلام خود را در كشورشان رها كرده اند و هيچ ارتباطی با مساجد ندارند، به نظر من حدود ٣٠ تا ٤٠ درصد در منطقه تورنتو بزرگ تخمين زده مى شود. آنها فقط زمانی که یک ازدواج یا مرگى در خانواده رخ مى دهد به مسجد مراجعه مى كنند.

همان طور که می دانید، افرادی هستند که به ایجاد تفرقه و دشمنی میان مسلمانان علاقه مند هستند، و به قول معروف معتقدند که “تفرقه بیانداز و حکومت كن”. شما برای جلوگیری از نفرت و جدایی میان مسلمانان كانادا و ايجاد عشق و همبستگی در میان آنها، چه طرح و تدبيرى انديشيده اید؟

رويكرد من این است که بايد پل های ارتباطى در بین جوامع ايجاد شود. در اينجا جامعه مسلمانان یکپارچه نیست و ما یک جامعه واحد نداريم، بلكه از جوامع متفاوت متشكل شده ايم. مسلمانان از کشورهاى متفاوتى با مکاتب مختلف فکری، فرهنگى و زبانى به کانادا آمده اند.این یک چالش بزرگ است، با این حال، همهء ما در اصول اساسى اسلام، نماز، روزه، زکات و حج مشترك و متحديم.
در گردهمايى ها و برنامه ها ی گروهی به غير از اعمال عبادى تنها چيزى كه ما را با هم همگون و يكى مي كند، زبان انگلیسی مى باشد. ولى مدل کثرت گرایی (پلورالیسم ) و چند مليتى کانادایی به ما کمک می کند تا همکاری نزدیکى در میان همه فرقه های مسلمانان داشته باشيم.

 آیا در این کشور برای کسانی که به دلیل حجاب و یا ایمان و اعتقادات خود ممکن است در معرض تبعیض قرار گیرند، امکاناتی فراهم شده است؟

ما در اينجا به ویژه در استان آنتاریو، از امتياز حقوق کانادایی و از بهترین کد حقوق بشر در جهان، برخورداريم.
بدین معنا که به ما اجازه آزادی مذهب مى دهد. کارفرمایان و مؤسسات باید نیازهای مذهبى را مرتفع سازند. زندان ها و بیمارستان ها نمازخانه، غذای حلال و افطار و سحری فراهم می کنند.

 مسائل دیگری در جوامع مسلمان مطرح است که قاعدتا” باید به آنها رسیدگی شود. به عنوان مثال، عدم تعادل روانی و بهداشتی که به سرعت در جوامع مزبور در حال گسترش است. آیا برای چنين افرادى تسهيلاتى وجود دارد؟

متأسفانه عدم سلامت روان به عنوان يك مشکل رو به رشد در سرتاسر این کشور مطرح است. در کانادا، سلامت روان، دارای تعریف گسترده اى است که هنوز براى بسیاری از کانادایی های تازه وارد شناخته شده نيست. اغلب مردم مشکلات روحی – روانی را به عنوان يك بيمارى نمى شناسند و به دنبال درمان آن نمى روند. برنامه های آموزشی توسط مراكز مراقبت های بهداشتی در همه جا برگزار مى شود، اما نمی تواند مشكلات رو به رشد مربوط به عدم سلامت روان را كاملأ پوشش دهد. از سوى ديگر، تسهيلات پزشکی كه تنها مختص به مسلمانان باشد، وجود ندارد.
مسلمانان به طور اخص و کانادایی ها به طور اعم، از صحبت کردن در اين مورد اجتناب مى كنند. مشكلات روانى هنوز یک ننگ در جامعه محسوب مى شود.

 همان طور که می دانید، تمام فعالیت های تروریستی در سراسر جهان توسط سلفی-وهابیت صورت گرفته است و ترویج مى شود. نظر شما چیست؟ آيا ذهنیت سلفی-وهابیت ریشه در قرآن دارد یا اصلاً با تعالیم عالیهء اسلام هيچ ربطى ندارد بلکه بيشتر یک ایدئولوژی سیاسی مبتنی بر نفرت و کشتار مى باشد؟

در این روزگار مدرن سلفی-وهابیت تحت تأثير دکترین از بین بردن بدعت ها قرار گرفته اند.
امروزه علما و پیروان سلفی-وهابى، با تفسیر تحت اللفظی و تحریف شده قرآن و احادیث، در جهت مقاصد سیاسی و مادّى خود استفاده مى كنند، و متوسل به تروریسم مى شوند، که هرگز نمی توان آن را از طریق قرآن و سنت توجیه کرد. چرا كه حضرت محمد (ص) براى هدایت و رحمت بشرفرستاده شده است، نه برای نابود کردن بشريت.

چه اقداماتی تا کنون برای جلوگیری از بروز چنین ایدئولوژی هولناکی در کانادا انجام داده اید و برای آینده چه در نظر دارید؟

جواب: با وجود فراوانی سخنرانی ها، خطبه ها و آموزه های بسیاری از علما و ائمه علیه خشونت، درگیری های خاورمیانه همچنان توجه جوانان ما را به سوی خود جلب مى كند. اینترنت نیز به الگو و راهنمای آنها تبدیل شده است. بنابراین امامان و رهبران جامعه کنترل کمی بر ذهنیت جوانان دارند. از آنجايي كه امنیت ملی دغدغه همه مسلمانان است، من مصرانه از مردم تقاضا دارم دربارهء کسانی که از این ایدئولوژی ضد بشری الهام مى گيرند گزارش دهند و آنها را معرفى كنند.

Dr. Maurice Bucaille (19 July 1920 – 17 February 1998), French gastroenterologist and author of “The Bible, the Qur’an, and Science”.

The following is a famous excerpt, re-posted by Hoda Team.


Dr. Maurice Bucaille is a surgeon by profession. He is also a renowned scholar. In order to be able to read Quran in its original text and to study its meaning and purport through direct access to its early and modern commentaries, he devoted himself to the learning of Arabic language at the ripe age of fifty.

Thereafter, he made a beginning by trying to reconcile proven scientific truths with religious axioms. As a result of these studies, he wrote his famous book “QURAN, BIBLE AND SCIENCE” in 1976, which caused a furor in high academic circles – particularly in the Christian world.
After a deeper study of Islam and the Quran, he has authored another book titled, “THE ORIGIN OF MAN”. It comprised Quranic explanations of some of the queries raised much earlier than the period when those queries were logically and satisfactorily resolved by scientific experimentation, to be fully in conformity with the explanations provided by Quran about 1500 years before. The Church acknowledged and accepted these researches of Dr. Bucaille to be a valuable contribution to human knowledge and the author became famous all over the world, like Cambridge, and Oxford Universities in U.K. & Yale and Harvard in USA. He was invited to give Extension Lectures in their academic institutions. By dint of his Quranic thought, and by virtue of his unprejudiced and realistic approach to Quranic thought, and by virtue of his unprejudiced and realistic discussion and research work, Dr. Bucaille has converted a number of high ranking scholars to agree with him and to subscribe to his view that the Quran is a Divine Book, not authored by any human being and actually a Book of Revelations from Almighty God to His Last Prophet, Mohammed, Peace Be Upon Him.

M. Bucaille is of the view that his findings in this behalf are a cause of consternation and chagrin to Western scholars because of their earlier exposure to false and fictitious propaganda against Islam and its Prophet (S.A.W.), by the Christian clergy and by biased Western writers and authors. This misguided class of people could not believe that Quran was the only Scripture which had remained sacrosanct and free from all additions, alterations and interpolations and consequently it still retained the purity to guide mankind in all ages, places and in every conceivable crisis.

For over 1400 years it has been the only treasure house of ecclesiastical and cosmic knowledge about the universe and life itself. Mankind has not yet to progress and proceed to a stage where it can fully be au fait with all the pearls and gems of wisdom and truth, garnered in its bosom by this miracle of literacy, excellence and academic purity which could not be matched even in one small sentence by the literary giants of yore, in spite of an open challenge to this effect.


What urged you so forcefully to undertake a study of the Quran and other scriptures, and why?

Like all other Frenchmen, I was also initially of the view that Islam was a religion conceived and introduced by a genius and a remarkable man of great intellect, known by the name of Mohammed (S.A.W.). Fifty years ago, by the Grace of God, I became professionally qualified to practice as a surgeon, and used to discuss and compare (views on) Islam and Christianity with my patients who came to consult me (and with my co-professionals). I was told by some of them that my knowledge of Islam and about its discipline was to a great extent misconceived and mistaken. In the beginning I was inclined to doubt them, but now and then some people produced actual and original Quranic Verses in contradiction of my references, and I was compelled to revise my conclusions. And, as a result of this revision and review, I felt that they were right and I was wrong.

I found that those who had been my teachers had a wrong approach to the problem and had imparted incorrect information to me. My knowledge of Islam, until then, had been restricted to Radio and T.V. reviews, articles published in various magazines and reproduced in biased treatise books. But I was perplexed; what should I do? How should I amend my position and rectify my understanding?

 

When did this happen?

After the 8th Vatican Conference but before the birth of a tolerant attitude on the part of European scholars gravitating to unbiased thought, i.e. before 1926, when the cleavage between Muslims and Christian scholars was at its zenith and there was no prospect of a direct dialogue between them.

 

How did you react to this situation?

There was only one road open to me then, that of learning Arabic language so that I could study the Holy Book, Quran, in its original form and try to get at its meaning directly. I devoted the next two years to this task when I had acquired enough knowledge of Arabic (in language and literature) to be able to make a dependable study of the Quran faithfully as well as academically.

 

And how did this benefit you?

I knew then that the Quran was the “Work of Allah” and had not been authored by any human being. I was also convinced that Mohammed (S.A.W.) was a true Prophet of God.

 

The world is now celebrating the first century of Darwin, do you subscribe to Darwinian theory or disagree with it?

No Sir, I oppose it vehemently. Darwin’s theory is totally based on a misconception and is not at all the outcome of such a scientific research as could prove that there exists the slightest relation between man and the theory of evolution of species as propounded by him. In fact his views are nothing but the misguided and misconceived calculations of a purely materialistic mind. My latest book (Origin of Man) contains a comprehensive “Rebuttal Article” on Darwin and his views.

 

Are you of the opinion that Darwin was aware of his error?

Yes, I think he knew the error he committed. The scholars, who are fond of materialism, have propounded innumerable theories, mostly incorrect, and the fun of it is that they are aware of their fallacies. However, being materialist, they stick to their wrong attitude. In my book I have criticized some of these scholars, several of whom are Nobel Prize winners.

 

Do you think your writings have had direct repercussion on people outside France?

Yes, Recently, only a few days ago, I visited Northern and Western African countries, where I was repeatedly called upon to address innumerable gatherings of educated persons including scholars, on the Origin of Man and about my first book: the Quran, Bible and Science. I was closely cross- examined about my views by some of the most qualified, even hostile, elements. Following this, countless students and scholars contacted and congratulated me. They declared that after listening to me, they had, for the first time, been able to feel convinced of the truth of the Quranic statements about the creation of universe and origin of man. Some of them frankly admitted that my writings and lectures had restored in them a firm certainty of belief and faith and converted them into True Muslims, who actually felt solace and pleasure now in saying their “prayers”. They declared that the element of doubt and dilly-dalliance in faith was entirely due to the misconceived theories of some of these so-called Western scholars whose theories had been adopted as gospel truth.

 

What is the verdict of Science on Man; and why this conflict between Science and Religion on this score?

In my book, “Origin of Man”, I have endeavored to explain what is dubious and what is proved according to scientific findings. I have also dealt with the theories formerly supported by scholars, but now their very basis is being demolished and proved to be without sound scientific footing. In 1851, Darwin published his first book, “Origin of Species”. In it he has pointed out that “All animals can procreate amongst themselves”, but he did not take the trouble to demonstrate and prove scientifically his view that the “Genealogy of Man” extends up to monkey.

 

Then who is responsible for propounding this frivolous theory?

The fact is that some other people metamorphosing and without statements digesting his theories, assigned wrong statements to Darwin, which comprised the assumption that “Man has evolved from apes”. Nevertheless, it is also true that Darwin did not care to contradict such false notions assigned to him as it was in this connection and on this topic that confrontation occurred between the supporters of Darwin and the Clergy, where both the parties roundly abused and maligned each other. That is why it is now essential that a line of demarcation should always be drawn between the results of scientific investigations and arbitrary views of scholars like Darwin.

By such scientific discourses, debates and discussions even Scriptures, are exposed to scientific test resulting in exposing their errors and pin-pointing their weaknesses. As such, may we inquire if you have some across any such anomalies in the Quran, i.e. where its expositions and explanations are in contrast to scientific findings?

The Scriptures of non-Muslims have been copied and passed on from generation to generation and through different personalities. The oldest document of this nature is “Jehovah”, which was written some time during 9th Century A.D. This book, although not voluminous, is still the most comprehensive document of its kind. The second book (Sacrodotal), although generally treated as Preface to the Bible, came to light in 600 B.C. It deals with the creation of universe and the appearance of Man on earth and the stories narrating the events following it. The Bible comes thereafter, but the books of the “New Testament” do not throw much light on the problem of Man. They repeat the statements of the Old Testament as adopted by St. Luke. Quran made its appearance six hundred years after Jesus and furnished valuable material on Man and his creation which was (and still is) totally lacking in the Old as well as the New Testaments and other Scriptures. What is more important is this context is that unlike the Bible’s Old and New Testaments, Quran is completely free from errors and interpolations.

 

In your opinion, what are the main causes of such plentiful errors in other Scriptures?

The compilers of the Holy Scriptures, in their vanity, presumed to have compiled them on the basis of heavenly revelations. But all their efforts were the echoes of their period resounding the thoughts prevalent in that particular environment. They presented the conception of Man and the phenomenon of his creation as if enunciated by God Himself, though it merely reflected the traditions the rite and the perceptions well known and prevalent at that time. This fact is admitted unanimously by all the exegetes of the Bible, be they Roman Catholics or Protestants.

 

Does the church also admit this fact and subscribe to this view?

Yes Sir. The church did accept this truth which was incorporated in the proceedings on the occasion of the second Vatican conference, which was held to declare the “Revolutionary Nature of Old and New Testaments”. They admitted that some parts of these Bibles are defective and contradictory in purport.

 

What are your views about the Quran in this behalf?

Now this is a matter of entirely a different nature. All scholars of the Quran are unanimous that the Quran is the “Word of God” as revealed to His Last Prophet Mohammed (S.A.W.) through Gabriel (The Angel of Revelation). I have studied the Book (Quran) very carefully and have not come across one single instance of scientific fallacy any where in it. On the contrary, I have felt that the (higher) truths and realities inherent in Quranic Text have been, throughout the history of 1400 years, beyond the comprehension of ordinary human beings which in itself, is positive proof that the Quran is the Word of God and it is (at places) beyond intellectual potential of mortal man; be he an excellent scholar or philosopher of the highest caliber, who is not always able to explain the inherent realities of nature as revealed in the Quran. What obviously conflicts with scientific truth is the assumption of the Bible that although life erupted in the form of various species, which have endured, there has been no evolution or improvement in their functions. On the other hand according to the Quran, Man has transgressed through gigantic changes in the course of the entire history of humanity. I felt it very necessary to inform the Christians of the world of this very serious discrepancy in the Bible. As it happen to be impartial, truthful and very outspoken in my studies, I have been repeatedly called upon from time to time to express my views regarding these matters before distinguished gatherings. On all such occasions, I have always dealt with the subject from the scientific point of view, ignoring the ecclesiastic or theological context. Whatever has appeared to be dubious or fit for further investigation, I have tried to put it on the touchstone of criticism and have not allowed to pass it unchallenged.

 

Have you embraced Islam?

I wanted to make it quite clear in the very beginning that even before I learnt the first letter of Bismillah, I was convinced that God was unique and all- powerful and when God guided me to undertake a study of the Quran, my inner soul cried out that Al- Quran was the Word of God revealed to his Last Prophet Mohammed (S.A.W.).

In my book “Quran, Bible and Science,” I have mentioned these facts and the book has met with instant success in the entire Christian world. In this book I have devoted myself to discuss all problems from purely academic angle, rather than that of faith or belief which would have revealed only my personal convictions. This was because I desired to be treated by the world as an academician rather than a theologian. About my faith and belief, God knows what is in one’s heart. I am convinced that if I identify myself with any creed, people will invariably dub me as one belonging to such and such group and feel that whatever I say or do, I do so from only the angle of such and such creed group. I know my fellow beings very well and understand their mentality only too well. I wanted to assure them that all my pronouncements are based on scientific knowledge and not on any religious dogmas.

 

This is O.K., but since you have referred to God’s complete awareness with what is in one’s heart, may we ask what is your opinion about human heart?

Heart is not an apparent and perceptible organ of the body. It is the abode of faith and source of eternal light.

 

What are your views on Islamic mission and its future in the west?

The best method is to approach the people through in their own language. I am using the world language in its broadest sense, i.e. comprehensive of all the factors which go to make any language complete and expressive of peoples’ views and beliefs. The principles and the regulations towards which you are inviting their attention, should be presented in the style with which you are familiar and which is popular among them. In my book “Quran Bible and Science”, I have adopted a new style to acquaint the readers with Quranic truths and to understand the intrinsic value of al-Quran. This unprejudiced and impartial viewpoint of mine gave an impetus to the wide circulation in my books. Firstly, I tried to find out the central point of attention of the Christians and the style that appeals to their common sense. Thereafter I achieved this success. After the publication of these books I received a number of letters from great academicians and research scholars as well as commoners in which they expressed their interest in my study of Al-Quran and appreciated it. They felt satisfied with my views about the Bible and confirmed the fallacies pointed out by me. I once entertained some Christians at home, in which they expressed their astonishment over the literature I produced regarding Islam and inquired the names of exegesis to acquire correct information about it.

 

What are your activities now?

We are now trying to produce a film on “Science, the Quran and the Origin of Man” as a matter of fact I have deep friendly relations with Malaysia. The provincial branch of “Dawa-Islamia” has passed a resolution to produce a film on the Quran and the director of the producing company visited Paris to prepare a plan for it. This film is to be in Technicolor. The duration of its presentation is fifty-five minutes being devoted to the Quran and the history of the facts related to it, the verses of the Quran are depicted in this film. Thus it is of great importance. Six hundred thousand dollars have been collected to produce this film. The preparation of this film has already been started. To begin with it will be produced in five languages, and then it will be extended up to ten. The first print will be in English, then Arabic and French, and thereafter in other languages. It will be circulated throughout the world.

Could you say a few words about yourself and your activities in Toronto?

I was born in India but I left there at the age of 12 to join my father and brother in Barbados. My father had settled there since 1934. I came to Canada in 1969 as a student to study Electronic Engineering. At that time there were only about four to five people who could do the duties of Imam, i.e. leading them in Namaz (prayers), perform funeral and marriage service, etc. With my knowledge, I was volunteered as an Imam and ever since I have been serving as a volunteer Imam here along with my full time job in engineering until my early retirement in 2005. The list of my activities in Muslim and Non-Muslim communities would take two to three pages, which also includes involvement in political and social justice areas.

Do you have an estimate of the Muslim population in Canada?

When I came here in 1969, the Muslim population in Toronto, based on my estimation would have been approximately 1000. Today, there are over a million Muslims in Canada and half of them live in GTA.

How many Mosques and centres are available for Muslims and do they meet the needs of the communities?

In the GTA alone there are over 100 Mosques, which include both Sunni and Shi’ia. In Canada, there are over 500 to 600 Mosques. These do not include many Musallah (unofficial prayer rooms) which can number over 1000 across the country. Moreover, Friday Prayer takes place in many Work places (Office, Factories etc), Schools, Universities & Colleges, as well as rented facilities in various towns.
(In GTA Juma Namaz is performed at more than 250 places, every Friday).

However, this does not mean that all or most Muslims are connected with Mosques. Numbers of Muslims have left their Islam back home and in my estimation in GTA, 30 to 40% have no connection with Mosques. They only look for one when there is a marriage or death in the family.

As you know, there are people who enjoy seeing division and conflict among Muslims; as the saying goes, “divide and conquer”. What plan do you have to prevent hate and separation among Muslims and facilitate love and solidarity among Muslims instead within Canada?

My approach is to build bridges among communities. Muslim community here is not monolithic. We are not one community, but we are communities. Muslims have come to Canada from many countries, with different schools of thought, cultures and languages. It is a big challenge; however, we are all united in our Islamic fundamentals, Namaz, Fasting, Zakat and Hajj. Only the English language unites us in our programs other than worship. Our Canadian model of pluralism helps us to work closely among all Muslim Sects.

What sources are available in this country for those who were subject to discrimination due to their hijab or faith?

We have the Canadian Charter of Rights and the best Human Rights Code in the world, especially in Ontario. This allows us freedom of religion. Employers and institutions have to accommodate religious needs. Our jails and hospitals provide prayers, halal food, iftar and suhoor (meal before fasting) especially in jails.

There is another issue in Muslim communities that need to be addressed. For instance, the mental instability and poor health is expanding quickly in communities. Are there any facilities available for such people?

Mental health is a growing problem in this country from coast to coast. In Canada it has a wider definition, which is not known to many new Canadians. Often people fail to recognize it as an illness and do not seek treatment. Educational programs are conducted by health care providers everywhere, but can’t keep pace with the rise in mental health. There are no Muslim-only medical facilities. Muslims in particular and Canadians in general, avoid talking about it. It is still a stigma in the society.

As you know, all the terrorist activities in all around the world has been done and promoted by Salafi-Wahhabism. What do you have to say in this regards? Do you consider Salafi-wahhabism mentality rooted in the Quran or it has nothing to do with Islam but an ideology of hatred and killing?

Modern day Salafi-Wahhabisim has drifted from the original doctrine of elimination of Bidats (invocations). Their Scholars and adherents today, in their literal but skewed interpretation of Quran and Hadith is used for political and material purpose, resorting to terrorism, which can never be justified through Quran and Sunnah. Muhammad (saw) was sent as a Mercy to humanity, not to destroy it.

What measures do you take to prevent the emergence of such ideologies in Canada?

The Middle East conflicts continue to be the main attention grabber of our Youths, in spite of many lectures, Khutbas and teachings by many Imams against resorting to violence. The Internet has become their Imam and Guide. So Imams and Community leaders have little control over their mindset. I urge people to report those who are inspired by this ideology as national security is a concern of all Muslims.

با وجود رشد فزاینده امکانات و رفاه ظاهری زندگی، هنوز آرامش باطنی بدست نیامده و درگیری های ذهنی بسیاری از انسانها حل نشده است. لمس کردن آرامش درونی و رسیدن به احساس رضایت و شادمانی، مستلزم بهبود روابط و مهارت هایی است که در مکاتب گوناگون تربیتی آموزش داده می شوند. در این زمینه، پربار بودن تعالیم اسلامی بر کسی پوشیده نیست و کم نیستند آیات و احادیثی که بر اهمیت خودشناسی و مردم شناسی تأکید دارند به عنوان مثال امام صادق علیه السلام مهارت های ارتباطی در زندگی را به چهار دسته تقسیم کرده اند: تعامل با خالق، تعامل با نفس (خود)، تعامل با خلق (مردم) و تعامل با هستی، و به جزئیات هر قسمت پرداخته اند. از نظر تعالیم اسلامی داشتن توازن و بالا بودن کیفیت این تعاملات به افزایش سطح بهداشت روانی منجر شده و در نتیجه حصول آرامش ممکن میشود.

اما در این میان دنیای روان شناسی نوین هم از قافله عقب نمانده و طرح های پیشگیری ارتقایی در بهداشت روانی را با موضوع «مهارت های زندگی» مطرح کرده است. در تعریف روانشناسانه مهارت های زندگی عبارتند از: توانایی انجام رفتار سازگارانه و مثبت که افراد را قادر می سازد به طور مؤثرتری با مشکلات و کشمکش های زندگی روزمره کنار بیایند. آموزش این مهارتها به افراد کمک می کند تا هم خودشان و هم جامعه را از آسیب های روانی- اجتماعی محافظت کرده و سطح بهداشت روانی خویش و جامعه را ارتقاء بخشند و در نهایت انسان های مفیدی برای خود و جامعه باشند. مهارت های زندگی به ده بخش تقسیم شده اند که قصد داریم در هر شماره به یکی از آنها بپردازیم. بسیاری از مراجعه کنندگان به دفاتر مشاوره و روان شناسی که از مشکلات زندگی به ستوه آمده اند و یا به دنبال بالا بردن کیفیت روابط و زندگی خود هستند با فراگیری این مهارت ها قادر به پیدا کردن راه حل های مفیدی در زندگی خواهند شد.

به خاطر دارم خانمی حدود سی ساله به دفترم مراجعه کردند و بعد از مطرح کردن شرایط زندگی و مشکلی که داشتند از من خواستند راه حلی در اختیارشان قرار دهم تا بار مشکلات را کم کنند؛ شاید این داستان برای شما نیز جالب و یا حتی آشنا باشد «من به هیچ دردی نمی خورم!».

نزدیک به دوازده سال از ازدواج «بانو» میگذشت و مادر دو فرزند سالم بود. با تحصیلات دانشگاهی ای که داشت و بنا به توصیه یکی از دوستانش مدتها در شرکتی مشغول به کار بود. خودش میگفت «اگر به اختیار خودم بود شاید اصلاً درس نمیخواندم چه برسد به کار کردن! همه در فامیل ما درس خوانده بودند و من هم همان راه را رفتم». همسرش را دوست داشت ولی نه از اول رابطه؛ «شوهرم را همكارم معرفی کرد. با چند جلسه و آمد و رفت و خواستگاری حسابی در دل خانواده من جا باز کرده بود. به نظر پدربزرگم مرد جا افتاده و مسئولیت پذیری بود و پدر هم حرف ایشان را تایید میکرد. من هیچ احساس خوب یا بدی نسبت به همسرم نداشتم ولی وقتی نظر همه مثبت بود فکر کردم خب لابد انتخاب خوبیست!»

وقتی دختر «بانو» به دنیا آمد برای مدتی فقط به فعالیت های خانه، همسر و فرزندش رسیدگی میکرد. اگرچه درآمد خانوادگیشان کمتر شده بود اما احساس خوبی داشت و از این که میتوانست وقت بیشتری را با خانواده داشته باشد لذت میبرد. همسرش هم از این تصمیم راضی به نظر می رسید. پس بانو فکر کرد شاید این انتخاب درستی باشد که به طور کامل استعفا بدهد و همین کار را هم کرد. داشتن برنامه ها و مهمانی های خانوادگی که مدتها به خاطر شاغل بودن و خستگی ناشی از کار نمی توانست در آنها شرکت کند، فرصت استراحت بیشتر و فراهم کردن اسباب آرامش و آسایش خانواده اش را از محاسن خانه داری می دانست. در همین سال ها صاحب فرزند دوم هم شده بودند. اما بعد از چند وقت این سوال مدام در ذهنش میگذشت که «این همان زندگی ای است که می خواستم؟» بچه ها مدرسه می رفتند و نیازشان به حمایت های مادرانه اش کمتر شده بود، همسرش هم که از اول کم حرف بود و مشغولیت های کاری برایش اهمیت بسیاری داشت. اوقات تنهاییش بیشتر و بیشتر میشد.

«بانو» دیگر خودش را شاد و سرحال نمی دید. به نظرش چاق و حتی پیر هم شده بودم با وجود اینکه تمایلی به کار و فعالیت سابق نداشت وقتی به دوستانش که شاغل بودند نگاه میکرد با خود میگفت موفقیت یعنی این! وقتی هم به آشنایانی که خانه دار بودند دقت میکرد باز آنها را موفق تر از خودش میدید چرا که دیگر در خودش اثری از مفید بودن برای خانواده نمی يافت. برای همین هم از بقیه دوستانش دورتر میشد تا مبادا آنها هم متوجه این شکست بشوند و در نتیجه باز تنهاییش بیشتر می شد. رابطه «بانو» با خانواده هم متأثر از این احساس بود و حتی گاهی آنها را مقصر این حال و روز میدانست. به پیشنهاد همسرش به مشاور مراجعه کرده بود و حالا منتظر بود که من به او بگویم چه کند؟

داستان زندگی و مشکلات «بانو» را خواندیم اما قبل از ارائه راه حل از شما دعوت میکنم تا با یکی از «مهارت های زندگی» و البته اصولی ترین آن آشنا شوید: مهارت خودآگاهی و یا خود شناسی (self-awareness).

 

مهارت خودآگاهی (خودشناسی)

در تعریف این مهارت آمده است که خودشناسی عبارت است از توانایی شناخت خود و آگاهی از خصوصیات، نقاط ضعف و قوت، خواسته ها، ترسها و انزجارها.

مهارت ها ذاتی نیستند، اما نکته مثبت اینجاست که می توان از طریق آموزش و تمرین آنها را بدست آورد؛ با داشتن مهارت به قابلیتی مجهز می شویم که با اطمینانی معین و مصرف انرژی کمتر و با زمان کوتاهتری، کاری را به نتیجه خواهیم رساند. درواقع مهارت ها مانند دستورالعملی برای زندگی و حل مشکلات آن عمل میکنند. همانطور که اشاره کردم خودآگاهی از مهارتهای اصولی و لازم در زندگی است. این مهارت باعث بالا رفتن شناخت خود از احساسات و افکار ما می گردد و به دنبال این شناخت است که انسان می تواند صاحب اعتماد به نفس و عزت نفس شود و برای زندگی خود هدف تعیین کند و در نهایت به رضایت از خود و زندگی دست یابد، رضایتی که در جهت تقویت نکات مثبت و تربیت نکات منفی خویش است. امام علی (ع) می فرمایند: بالاترین درجه دانایی، تشخیص اخلاق و آشکار کردن اخلاق پسندیده و سرکوب اخلاقی ناپسند است.

داستان زندگی مطرح شده فقط به عنوان نمونه ای برای آشنایی با تأثیر عدم خودشناسی در زندگی آمده. چه بسیار آقایانی که از زندگی خود راضی نیستند و هیچ راهی برای تغییر وضعیت پیدا نمیکنند. مهارت خودشناسی مختص به انسان است و البته فارغ از جنسیت و سن و سال هستند مردهایی که بانک اطلاعاتیشان در مورد دنیای تجاری و سیاسی پر است اما هيچ حسابی در شعبه خودشناسی ندارند.

در این داستان چیزی که کاملاً مشهود است عدم شناخت شخصيت مراجعه کننده از خویشتن است. او به توصیه و فشار گروهی جامعه درس خوانده و شاغل شده، ازدواج کرده و بچه دار شده، استعفا داده و در نهایت به مشاور مراجعه کرده تا زمانی که دیگران به خدمات او احتياج بیشتری داشتند خود را مفید می دانسته ولی اکنون فاقد اعتماد به نفس است. هنوز بین خواسته ها و نخواسته هایش گیر کرده، مثل ظرفی عمل میکند که محتوایش را دیگران تعیین میکنند و اگر کسی نباشد که برایش هدف گزاری کند خود را پوچ و بی ارزش میبیند. در یک کلام ایشان مهارت خودشناسی ندارد.

 

خودشناسی برای چه کسانی ضروری تر است و آیا شما نیز به تقویت این مهارت نیاز دارید؟

اگر مسایل زیادی هستند که شما را ناراحت میکند و اطرافیان شما را نه، اگر روی مسایل زیادی تعصب دارید و تحمل هیچ نوع انتقادی را ندارید، اگر خاطرات زیادی در گذشته وجود دارند که یادآوری آنها شما را به شدت بهم می ریزد، اگر مشکلات حل نشده و یا احساسات مبهمی نسبت به اطرافیان و خود دارید، اگر احساس می کنید که هیچ کس شما را درک نمی کند و احساس تنهایی شما را به شدت آزار می دهد، اگر نمی توانید با افرادی که می خواهید روابط موثری داشته باشید، اگر در ارتباط با همسر خود احساس طرد شدن می کنید و اگر فرزند شما از شما فراری است، اگر دیگران را از خود موفق تر میدانید، اگر دلیلی برای دوست داشتن خود پیدا نمی کنید، شما نیز به خودشناسی احتیاج دارید.

 

راه هایی برای تمرین و حصول این مهارت:

«آنچه در علم بیش میباید، دانش ذات خویش میباید»

اولین قدم در خودشناسی داشتن یک قلم و دفترچه است؛ خواهش میکنم که این قدم را با ما بردارید!

حال این پرسش ها را در دفترچه خودشناسی بنویسید و برای هر کدام یک صفحه فضای خالی بگذارید.
چه کارهایی را میتوانم به خوبی انجام دهم؟
چه ویژگی های اخلاقی خوب و مثبتی دارم؟
چه ویژگی های منفی اخلاقی دارم؟
چه کارهایی را نمی توانم انجام دهم؟
اولویت های من در زندگی چیست؟
در همین لحظه چه احساسی دارم؟
کسی که احساس خوبی نسبت به خود دارد در مورد خود چطور فکر میکند و چگونه رفتار میکند؟
کسی که ضعفی دارد چطور میتواند آن را تغییر دهد و یا اصلاح کند و اگر چنین کاری انجام دهد چه احساسی در مورد خود پیدا خواهد کرد؟

پاسخ این سوالات را در برگه های جدا بنویسید و سه نفر از دوستان و اعضای خانواده را انتخاب کنید و بخواهید که آنها هم این سوالات را در مورد شما پاسخ دهند. حال به نقاط مشابه و متفاوتی که در پاسخ ها وجود دارد توجه کنید. آیا شناخت شما از خودتان با شناخت دیگران از شما خیلی متفاوت است؟ برای تغییر احساس و رفتار خود چه راه حل هایی بدست آوردید؟

مرحله بعدی مرحله عمل است که هیچ عملی جز با شناخت و هیچ شناختی جز با عمل پذیرفته نشود. هر که شناخت پیدا کند، آن شناخت او را به عمل رهنمون می شود و هر که شناخت نداشته باشد، او را عملی نباشد. چهار مورد از توانمندی هایی که دارید و می توانید به دیگران آموزش دهید را در دفتر بنویسید و یک مورد که دوست دارید فرا بگیرید را نیز یادداشت کنید و حالا راهی برای انجام این معامله پیدا کنید.

امیرالمومنین امام علي عليه السلام می فرمایند: «الا لا خير في علم ليس فيه تفهم» آگاه باشید که در دانشی که در آن اندیشیدن نباشد، خیری نیست پس بیاندیشید و مراقب باشید که انتظارات و توقعات بالا از خود نداشته باشید. کمال طلب نباشید و غرور را در هنگام این تمرین از خود دور کنید. مبارک است و شما با این تمارین به بررسی خود پرداختید و تا حدودی موفق به شناخت و ایجاد احساس کارآمدی در خود شده اید و اکنون دارای اهدافی در زندگی هستید. با تکرار تمرین ها نقاط مثبت خود راشناخته و افزایش دهید و همچنین نقاط ضعف خود را اصلاح کنید و احساس سربلندی از خویشتن را به تدریج در وجود خود بیدار کنید. به خاطر داشته باشید با وجود تمام ضعف ها و شکست ها اگر انسان باقی بمانیم ارزشمند و موفقیم درست مثل آن اسکناس صد دلاری که با وجود مچاله شدن باز هم صد دلار می ارزد. امام زین العابدین (ع) از خدا طلب خودشناسی کرده اند: اجعلنا من الذين عرفوا انفسهم … ما را از کسانی قرار ده که خود را شناختند … باشد که ما پیروان ایشان هم در این مسیر قدم برداریم.

ازدواج يك رويداد مهم ، حساس ، زيبا و مقدس در زندگي است . هر دختر و پســر داراي يك خلاء عاطفي ، رواني ، جنسي و اجتماعي هستند كه اين خلاء جز با ازدواج و تشكيل خانواده پر نمي شوند. پيوند دو موجود كه از ميل به تكامل و تكيه بر عاطفه ، احساس ، عشق و علاقه نشأت مي گيرد ، در تمام دوران زندگي مشترك ، نيازمند عواطف و صفات خوب انساني است تا به زندگي لطف و زيبايي خاصي ببخشد .

باید دانست که تنها ازدواج و تشکیل خانواده مهم نیست بلکه حفظ و تداوم آن در یک محیط سالم و صمیمی از اهمیت بسزایی برخوردار است، عاشق شدن راحت ولی عاشق ماندن سخت است. لذا مهترین شرط در تداوم یک زندگی سالم و سازنده و موفق در زندگی مشترک،دقت کافی در انتخاب صحیح همسری همکف و متناسب در ابعاد مختلف فرهنگی،اعتقادی،اقتصادی،تحصیلی ،تربیتی و غیره است و سپس داشتن مهارتهای لازم جهت حفظ و بهبود زندگی مشترک. متاسفانه در برخی از موارد دختران و پسران بدون مطالعه و آگاهی کافی با برخورداری از احساس و هیجان منهای دقت و منطق در ابعاد گوناگون اخلاقی ، جسمی و روانی و شخصيتي يكديگر و خانواده ها تن به ازدواج  می دهند و بعد از تشکيل خانواده نیز در صورت ايجاد تعارضات زناشويي به دليل  بی اطلاعی و ندانم کاری به اين مشکلات بیشتر دامن می زنند و به همین دلیل ازدواج مدتي بعد از شروع زندگي مشترك دچار اختلال و تزلزل شده و در نهايت از هم مي پاشد كه اين امر نه تنها باعث ايجاد مشكلات رواني و عاطفي براي زوجين مي گردد ؛بلكه ضربه اي مهلك و جبران ناپذير روحي به فرزندان و به تبع آن به جامعه وارد مي كند.

اگر بخواهيم به صورت ريشه اي به دنبال علت ناسازگاري ها و عدم موفقیت در زندگی زناشویی بگرديم ،متوجه خواهيم شد كه علت عمده آن در اكثريت زوجين ،آماده نبودن برای ازدواج ، عدم احساس هویت و ارزشمندی و عدم حل تعارضهای فردی قبل از ازدواج است. ازدواج با منشاء عشق احساسی ، تصمیم گیریهای عجولانه و هیجانی ، عدم آگاهي و به دست نياوردن شناخت لازم و كافي از يكديگر در دوران پيش از ازدواج و نداشتن مهارت لازم برای حفظ و بهبود زندگی زناشویی از دیگر دلایل عدم موفقیت در زندگی زناشویی است. حال به توصیف هر کدام از عوامل فوق به عنوان پیش شرطهای موفقیت در ازدواج می پردازیم.

 

رسیدن به احساس هویت و ارزشمندی

از جمله پیش نیازهای یک ازدواج موفق رسیدن به احساس هویت و ارزشمندی در زوجین قبل از ازدواج است، بدین معنا که دختر و پسر قبل از تصمیم گیری به ازدواج می بایست از احساس ارزشمندی لازم در ابعاد مختلف تحصیلی، اعتقادی، هنر، توانمندی و مهارت و همچنین ارزشهای شغلی برخوردار باشند. این ارزشهای باعث می شود که ظرف وجودی فرد از جنبه های مختلف ارزشی برخوردار بوده و فرد با عزت نفس بالا و انتظار معقول از زندگی زناشویی وارد زندگی مشترک شود و با تکیه به جنبه های ارزشی خود محبت معقولی را از همسر خود مطالبه نماید. برعکس افرادی که از عزت نفس پایینی برخوردار هستند و ظرف وجودی آنها از جنبه های مختلف ارزشی تهی می باشد با انتظارات غیر واقع بینانه و غیر معقول وارد زندگی شده و انتظار دارند که همسرشان تمام ظرف خالی آنها را پر کند و مدام چشمشان به محبت طرف مقابل است. اینگونه افراد در زندگی مشترک وابسته ،حساس و زود رنج بوده و به تدریج ممکن است به افسردگی گرایش پیدا کنند، چرا که همسر آنها قادر به پر کردن تمام ظرف خالی وجودی آنها نیست. توجه به این نکته ضروری است که ازدواج تنها بخش کوچکی از نیازها و خلاهای وجودی فرد را پر می کند و نیازهای مختلف فرد نیز همپوشی نداشته و هیچ زن و مردی قادر به تکمیل تمام ابعاد خالی طرف مقابل نیست.

 

حل تعارض ها

از دیگر پیش نیازهای ازدواج موفق حل تعارضهای موجود در فرد،  قبل از ازدواج است. دختر و پسری که از گذشته ای ضعیف برخوردار بوده که در آن محبت پدر و مادری به نحو مقتضی تامین نشده است و یا در گذشته آنها سابقه تنش، طلاق و اعتیاد والدین و غیره وجود داشته بگونه ای که این درگیریها به آنها فرصت رسیدن به هویت و احساس ارزشمندی را نداده است، به مرور زمان درگیر تعارضها و هیجانات منفی از قبیل افسردگی، اضطراب ، وسواس، ترس ، بدبینی و غیره شده که می تواند زمینه ساز گرایش به مصرف مواد، وابستگی به الکل یا هر ماده دیگر برای فرار از استرسهای موجود گردد. گاها این افراد برای فرار از شرایط، ازدواج را به عنوان یک درمان یا راه وحل انتخاب کرده که این موضوع می تواند به انتخابهای عجولانه و هیجانی و بدون فکر و تصمیم گیری غیرعاقلانه منجر و به عدم موفیت در زندگی زناشویی ختم شود. لذا توجه به این نکته ضروری است که ازدواج هرکز نمی تواند به عنوان یک راه و حل و درمان تعارضهای موجود فرد عمل کند و فرد قبل از ازدواج می بایست پیگیر حل تعارضهای خود با روشهای درمانی مشخص باشد.

 

خود آگاهی

سومین پیش نیاز یک ازدواج موفق داشتن مهارت خودآگاهی و خود شناسی قبل از دیگر شناسی است. این پیش نیاز اشاره به این مطلب دارد که هر فردی پیش از ازدواج می بایست به شناخت کافی از ابعاد مختلف خود شامل احساسات ، نیازها، عقاید، باورها، جنبه های مثبت و منفی، خصوصیات اخلاقی و شخصیتی و … نائل آمده بگونه ای که در خود قدرت انعطاف و تغییر یک سری از جنبه های منفی و باورها و عقاید موجود را ایجاد کند. این امر میسر نخواهد بود مگر با یادگیری این مهارت که گاها لازم است ما گذشته خود را زیر سئوال برده و به آنچه که تا کنون حاصل گذشته شده ایم به دیدی دیگر نیز نگاه کنیم. اصلاح این باور که آنچه که ما تاکنون شده ایم و عمدتا حاصل گذشته است لزوما نمی تواند درست باشد یعنی ما می توانیم با یک سری باورها ، عقاید، رفتارها ، حرکات و سکنات اشتباه و غیر منطقی شکل گرفته باشیم. دیدن خود در آینه طرف مقابل یعنی همسر به ما این فرصت را در زندگی زناشویی می دهد که در پی انتقادهای همسرمان منعطف تر عمل کرده و به جای مقاومت در برابر آن به تغییر و اصلاح خودمان دست زنیم. این مهارت نیز می تواند به موفقیت در زندگی زناشویی منجر شود.

به نام پروردگار

“آنچه كه براى خود دوست می‎داری، برای دیگران هم دوست بدار و آنچه براى خود نمى‏پسندى، براى دیگران هم مپسند.”[1]

اگر مجموعه ای از توانمندی هایی که زمینه سازگاری و رفتار مثبت و مفید را فراهم می آورند در یک تعریف بگنجانیم، در واقع به مهارت های زندگی اشاره کرده ایم. این توانایی ها، فرد را قادر می سازند تا مسئولیت های خود را بپذیرد و بدون لطمه زدن به خود و دیگران، با خواست ها، انتظارات و مشکلات روزانه، به ویژه در روابط بین فردی، به شکل موثرتری روبه رو شود.

در شماره قبل به مهمترین گام در بهبود روابط بین فردی که همان خودآگاهی است پرداختیم. با توجه به این شناخت است که می توان مسئولیت های رابطه را پذیرفت و برای آنچه که به واقع با ارزش است تلاش کرد. با تکیه بر مهارت خودآگاهی می توان دیگران را درک کرد و برای همدلی کردن آماده شد.

وقتى در دستورات و قوانین اسلام دقت کنیم می بینیم آنچه که وجودش سبب ازدیاد محبت و علاقه بین اقشار مختلف مردم می باشد را بصورت واجب یا مستحب سفارش کرده و در مورد آن تأکید نموده:”خداوند فرمان به عدل و احسان و بخشش به نزدیکان میدهد” [2] و آنچه که سبب به وجود آوردن کدورت و ناراحتی می شود را نهی کرده است: “و از فحشاء و منکر و ظلم و ستم نهى میکند، خداوند به شما اندرز میدهد شاید متذکر شوید.” [3] این دستورات در واقع همان تعریف همدلی است.

مطمئنا یکى از نکات ارزشمند و مثبت دین اسلام این است که به علاقه، محبت و همبستگى بین انسان ها اهمیت زیادى داده و سعى نموده تا بین آنان رابطه عاطفى قوى برقرار نماید تا زندگى و برخورد افراد توأم با مهر و عطوفت متقابل باشد.

اما تعریف همدلی در علم روانشناسی چیست؟

 

همدلی (Empathy)

توانمندی درک و فهم احساسات، اندیشه ها و باورهای دیگران را همدلی گویند. همدلی به معنای همدردی و یا تایید نیست؛ بلکه فقط درک دیگری است و درست در نقطه مقابل سرزنش و نکوهش کردن قرار دارد؛ یعنی بتوانیم خود را تا حد ممکن جای افراد مقابل بگذاریم. به طور کلی همدلی کردن سبب به وجود آمدن شناخت در مورد افکار دیگری می شود و کمک میکند تا آنچه برای او با ارزش است را بیابیم.

همه ما بارها و در موقعیت های بسیاری مثل محیط کار، خانه ، بین دوستان و همکاران و همچنین بین اعضای خانواده ، جمله “با هم تفاهم نداریم” و یا “مرا نمی فهمی” را شنیده ایم یا حتی به کار برده ایم. از هر طرف رابطه هم که پرسش شود نداشتن درک از طرف فرد مقابلش را دلیل عدم تفاهم میداند. شاید در مواقع بحرانی مانند سوگوار بودن یکی و یا بیمار بودن دیگری بتوان انتظار همدلی یک طرفه را داشت اما در اکثر شرایط و برای ارتباط موثرتر به وجود همدلی در هر دو طرف رابطه احتیاج است.

وجود این مهارت نه تنها باعث می‌شود که با یک درک عمیق به فرد مقابلمان آرامش دهیم بلکه در ارتباط با دیگران، فردی دلنشین تر به حساب می آییم و این یعنی مهارت همدلی به نفع رابطه، خود و دیگری است.

نبود همدلی به آسانی می تواند میان همسران، فرزندان، همکاران و … چالش و کشمکش پدید آورد و همین امر دلیل بسیاری از مراجعه ها به دفاتر مشاوره است.

 

چرا همدلی؟

به مثال های زیر توجه کنید:

  • “امید” و همسرش تقریبا هر آخر هفته بر سر چگونه گذراندن تعطیلات به مشکل بر می خورند. گاهی خستگی بیش از حد یکی موجب بروز ناراحتی می شود و گاهی نداشتن برنامه ای مشترک .
  • “اشکان” در یک شرکت بازاریابی کار میکند که به طور مستقیم با مردم ارتباط دارد. در معاشرت مهارت هایی دارد اما این مهارت ها برای جذب مشتری و ارائه محصولات به او چاره ساز نیست. معمولا افراد بعد از مصاحبت با “اشکان” از او تشکر می کنند و بدون اینکه خریدی انجام بدهند او را ترک می کنند.
  • از ازدواج “سارا” و “مجید” چندین سال میگذرد و اگر در مورد بچه ها صحبتی نداشته باشند، تقریبا دیگر هیچ کلامی بینشان رد و بدل نمی شود این باعث شده فاصله بسیاری بینشان به وجود بیاید.
  • برای “هدیه” سخت است که در مورد احساسات و عقاید خود با مادرش صحبت کند. با وجود استقبال مادر برای داشتن مکالمه، هنوز هم نتوانسته موضوعی که در دل دارد به او بگوید.

نمونه های ذکر شده، عدم همدلی بین افراد مختلف در شرایط مختلف را نشان میدهد. همانطور که دیدیم؛ اگر فروشنده ای نتواند نکات مثبت و منفی کالاها را از دید خریداران ببیند، نمی تواند آن ها را قانع کند که محصول برایشان کارایی دارد.

نبود همدلی بین همسران باعث می شود که مکالمه ای خوشایند نداشته باشند، از هم دور شوند و نتوانند علایق و خواست های یکدیگر را بشناسند و در جهت رفع کدورت ها تلاش کنند.

همچنین والدین و فرزندان با توجه به اختلاف سنی و اختلاف تجربه ای که دارند گاهی نمی توانند دنیا را از چشم دیگری ببینند و همین امر سبب میشود که از هم غافل شوند.

نداشتن درک از روحیات، خواسته ها و شرایط دیگران به راحتی می تواند رابطه دوستی را بر هم بزند وچه بسا موجبات دشمنی را پدید آورد. شاید به همین علت است که امام علی (ع) فرمودند: بهترین احسان و نیکی همراهی و همدلی با برادران دینی است[4].

 

تقویت مهارت همدلی

با توجه به اینکه همدلی یک مهارت است لذا می توان با تمرین آن را پرورش داد، شاید در ابتدای امر کمی مشکل به نظر برسد ولی در خاطر داشته باشید با همدلی کردنِ شما، محیطی امن به وجود خواهد آمد که نتیجه آن مورد همدلی دیگران قرار گرفتن متقابل است. توجه به موارد زیر برای داشتن مهارت همدلی ضروری به نظر میرسد:

خودآگاهی: همانطور که در ابتدا اشاره شد، با آگاهی داشتن از خود بهتر می توان از دیگری با خبر شد.

گوش دادن فعال: شنیدن با گوش دادن متفاوت است، یکی توام با توجه است و دیگری بدون توجه کردن حاصل می شود. برای تقویت همدلی باید خود را به گوش دادن عادت داد.

بیان احساسات: اگر در ارتباطات فقط انتظار شنیدن احساسات دیگری را داشته باشیم ممکن است علاوه بر احساس اجحاف از جانب خودمان، موجب عدم اعتماد او بشویم.

توجه به زبان بدن: منتظر شنیدن درخواست کمک برای همدلی کردن نباشید. در بیشتر اوقات زبان بدن واضح تر از کلام است. توجه کنید که لازم نیست برای داشتن توانایی همدلی کردن از فن بیان بالایی برخوردار باشید. گاهی فقط حضور شما کافی است.

صداقت داشتن: همدلی کردن با هدفی غیر از کمک و یا بهبود و سود رسانی به رابطه سبب دلسردی و بی اعتمادی می شود.

پرهیز از نصیحت و قضاوت: در بیشتر موارد قضاوت و نصیحت به این معناست که دانش بیشتری داریم و از جایگاه بالاتر نگاه میکنیم و مشخص است که در این صورت همدلی از بین می رود.

 

سخن آخر

 در تمام مسیر این نکته را فراموش نکنید که همدلی با همدردی متفاوت است. برای درک کردن رنج و شرایط دیگران، در صدد حمل و درونی سازی آن رنج ها نباشیم. به تعبیر راجرز[5] (روانشناس)، همدلی یعنی درک احساسات دیگران آن چنان که گویی احساسات خود ماست، با تأکید بر معنای واژه ” گویی“.

اینکه طرف مقابل بداند حال و دلیل رفتارش دانسته، درک و فهمیده می شود و بی اعتنایی، بی خبری و بی تفاوتی در رابطه وجود ندارد یک مزیت مهم دارد و آن این است که از بحث های بیهوده بسیاری و مقاومت ها و تلاش های بی هدف کاسته می شود. کسی که احساس همدلی طرف مقابل خود را درک می کند دیگر انرژی خود را روی تفهیم خود و احساساتش به دیگران متمرکز نمی کند یا دیگر برای جلب توجه تلاش نمی کند. در این صورت نیمی از راه رفته به حساب می آید و امکان به توافق رسیدن و حتی حل مشکلات خیلی بیشتر می شود.

اگر تا کنون در روابط دچار ضعف همدلی بوده اید و قصد پرورش این مهارت را دارید، در نظر داشته باشید که به اراده ای قوی احتیاج دارید چرا که ممکن است این تغییر یرای فرد روبروی شما ناگهانی باشد و به همین دلیل اعتماد کردن برایش مشکل باشد پس صبور باشید و ثابت قدم.

 

“یا محوّل، لطف خود افزون نما
شبهه ها از قلبمان بیرون نما
وحدت مستحکمی تقدیر کن
همدلی را بین ما تدبیر کن”[6]


[1]  امام صادق (ع) .وسائل الشيعه، ج 12، ص 205

[2]  سوره نحل، آیه 90

[3]  سوره نحل، آیه 90

[4]  غررالحکم:ج3 ص267

[5] Carl Ransom Rogers

[6] دکتر حسین حاتمی

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