By S. Arshad, New Age Islam
02 September 2019
Islamic preacher Zakir Naik’s Peace TV is under the UK government’s scanner as the UK broadcasting regulator Ofcom has allegedly found four of its five programmes spreading hate and promoting violence. The regulator monitored the programmes in July which were telecast in March 2018. One of the programmes was on the subject of homosexuality in which the presenter Imam Qasim Khan likened homosexuals to pigs and said that people engaged in homosexual acts were worse than pigs. “You never see two male pigs trying to have sex together. That’s insanity. Worse than animals. Human beings can be worse than animals. At least an animal does have the dignity of confining their passion, their sexual passion, to the opposite gender.” he allegedly said. The regulatory body says that his statements were highly offensive and amounted to hate speech which was an attack on the rights of the homosexual community.
Scholars of every religion have every right to present the ruling of their respective religion on particular social practices or crimes. But while discussing the subjects in public or before the family, the scholars should follow standards of social and religious behavior. Unfortunately, the scholars of Peace TV showed a total lack of understanding of true Islamic norms and spirit.
Another programme was on the subject of magic or black magic. In this programme broadcast in November 2017, the Salafi scholar Shaikh Ashfaque Salafi quoted from the book of the founder of Wahhabism, Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab, title Kitabut Tawheed to declare sorcerers worthy to be killed. He said, “The correct, reliable and majority opinion is that the punishment for a sahir (magician) is that the person should be killed.”
Islam does discourage homosexuality and has prescribed physical punishment to those found guilty but the Quran deals with the issue of sexual crimes with a degree of sensitivity.
“If two men among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. If they repent and amend, Leave them alone; “(Al Nisa: 16)
While discussing sexual crimes, the Quran and hadith do not use offending language but demonstrate a degree of sensitivity. But the presenter showed total lack of sensitivity while making vulgar statements before an audience consisting of young boys and girls sitting with their parents.
The way the Imam made statements on the subject showed that they did not have any sense how to deal with a delicate issue. The Quran and hadith do not deal with the issue of sexual crimes in this way. While discussing the issue of homosexuality, the presenters should have considered the fact that children and the youth also listen to the programme. But a section of the scholars of Islam have the notion that the sexual issues can be discussed openly because the Quran and hadith have discussed them. The Quran though prescribes punishment for homosexuals to discourage the practice but also stresses on the need for counselling and reformation. The statements of the scholars were in very bad taste though the programme was supposed to be viewed by the whole family, including minor girls and boys.
The other issue was of magic which according to the scholar was punishable with death. The scholar made the conclusion only on the basis of Ibn-e- Wahhab’s book and mentioned the ‘majority opinion’ which supported the death sentence for magic or sorcery.
On the contrary, the Quran does not prescribe any punishment for magic though it condemns magic and sorcery and declares it an act of kufr. Some hadiths also declare magic acts of idolatory or Kufr. But a punishment is not prescribed for them.
It is the tradition of most of the Islamic scholars to follow the ruling of any particular school of thought or the view of a particular scholar on any topic ignoring the rulings of the Quran on the same. Why the majority opinion on the subject considers magic punishable with death is not explained. Probably, they brought magic under the category of ‘Fasad’ (mischief) for which the Quran prescribes death or amputation of hand and leg.
“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter; “(Al Maida: 33)
But if the Quran had considered magic and sorcery an act of Fasad, it would have mentioned the punishment for it. The fact that the Quran says that it’s an act of Kufr means that like Kufr, magic is also a sin against God and not against society as the magician or sorcerer interferes with the principles of nature affecting it’s working.
Magic or sorcery cannot be brought under crime as it cannot be proved in a court of law and therefore the Quran has not brought it under social crimes.
The Quran uses the word ‘Fasad’ in a broader sense. It considers practices that a large number of people are involved in affecting a large section of the society as ‘Fasad’ like terrorism, corruption, sectarianism and other anti-social practices. Magic and sorcery are acts of individuals against individuals for monetary gains or done out of jealousy and enmity. For example, magic used to cause separation between a husband and wife.
From the views expressed and books quoted in the programmes of Peace TV it has now become clear that it has been following a hidden agenda and wants to spread only a particular school of thought in Islam that promotes radical and extremist thoughts and violence in the name of religion. This kind of ideology does not find place in any democratic and pluralist society where many religions and cultures exist with each other.
S. Arshad is a regular columnist for NewAgeIslam.com
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