Ex-Muslim Writes Open Letter To Muslim World.
I am not a scholar, so unfortunately I cannot answer all the points in the detail required. However when my deen is being attacked I will try my best, with the help of Allah to clear up misconceptions, not for the person who wrote the article, but for those reading it. Just so they can read another viewpoint inshallah.
So there are a few things I would like to say.
“1. Why Allah changed his own statements in the Holy Quran?..…the attitude of the Prophet and tone of Allah’s subsequent verses dramatically changed..“
The situation of the Muslims dramtiacally changed, the first verses revealed were about faith and the later verses once faith was established were about rulings.
You quoted some verses saying nice things about disbelievers and then some later verses about fighting. Well it is obvious that the situation had changed in to a situation in which Muslims were commanded to stand up for themselves. In Islam we don not preech turn the other cheek, we are meant to stand up for ourselves and others in oppression.
“Slay the idolaters wherever you find them.” (Q.9.5)
You quoted one part of the ayat, the full ayat is full of mercy
But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
you also omitted the context of this verse, which is made clear in the ayah before, which is there were a tribe who the Muslims had a treaty with, and they went against the treaty. . The Holy Prophet was able to send missions among different clans for the propagation of Islam. The result was that during the short period of two years, it became such a great power that it made the old order of ignorance’ feel helpless before it. So much so that the zealous elements from among the Quraish were so exasperated that they broke the Treaty in order to encounter Islam in a decisive combat. But the Holy Prophet took prompt action after the breach so as not to allow them any opportunity to gather enough force for this.
So they attacked a people who were planning an attack on them.
Similarly with Surah 2. 191 you omitted the verse before
Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors.
as well as the verse after
And if they cease, then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
which gives a totally different context to the verse
And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.
It is clear the verses are saying fight those who fight you, and not those who do not fight you.
Allah also says
Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly
Clearly showing the way we are commanded to treat people who do not fight us.
you also say “2. Accusation of our Holy Prophet of being a paedophile? – Is it normal for a 50-year-old Holy Prophet to fall in love with a 9-year-old girl and for a 53-year-old Holy Prophet to consummate a 9-year-old girl?“
I would say in the year 600 it was normal for girls of that age to marry older men.
In the 12th century Gratian, the influential founder of Canon law in medieval Europe, accepted age of puberty for marriage to be between 12 and 14 but acknowledged consent to be meaningful if the children were older than 7.
It should be noted that Judges honored marriages based on mutual consent at ages younger than 7, in spite of what Gratian had said; there are recorded marriages of 2 and 3 year olds.
The American colonies followed the English tradition, and the law was more of a guide. For example, Mary Hathaway (Virginia, 1689) was only 9 when she was married to William Williams. Sir Edward Coke (England, 17th century) made it clear that “the marriage of girls under 12 was normal, and the age at which a girl who was a wife was eligible for a dower from her husband’s estate was 9 even though her husband be only four years old.
you can check more about marriagable age here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriageable_age
There are many hadith in which Aysha rashi anhu describes her life with the Prophet Muhammad, a large proportion of the Prophetic traditions are narrated by her. She has an exalted status in Islam.
“Are we to follow this example and marry six-year-old girls?”
erm no is the short answer.
The Quran says
And try orphans (as regards their intelligence)until they reach the age of marriage; if then you find sound judgement in them, release their property to them, but consume it not wastefully, and hastily fearing that they should grow up, and whoever amongst guardians is rich, he should take no wages, but if he is poor, let him have for himself what is just and reasonable (according to his work). And when you release their property to them, take witness in their presence; and Allah is All Sufficient in taking account. S. 4:6 Hilali-Khan
Note that the expression “until they reach the age of marriage” takes it for granted that there is an age that girls have to reach before a man can marry them. Presumably, that age would be puberty.
It is not rocket science. A girl can get married before puberty and the marriage can be consumated at puberty. Many girls have sex after ouberty and before marriage out of choice. Why is it ok (as in socially acceptable) for girls to have sex outside marriage after they have reached puberty, and to have boyfriends etc, but it is not ok for them to be married?
If a woman is married before puberty she stays with her parents then at puberty goes to stay with her husband, and she has the right to annul marriage.
“3. Accusation that our Holy Prophet a looter of caravans, a rapist and a slave trader?“
Slavery In Islam is a totally different concept to the western idea of slavery. You have to feed and clothe a slave in the same manner you feed and clothe yourself, the slave lives in the same conditions as you do, eats with you, shares jobs with you, the slaves work load can be no larger then your own. The slave also can be intimate with you. Islam does not deny women’s sexuality, it acknowledges that women have desires and sexual needs just like men.
Being intimate with a slave girl does not equate to rape. I think that is where the confusion is.
“4. Accusation that our Holy Prophet was a mass murderer?“
He fought those who fought him, as in the above verses. He is a mercy to mankind, he saves them from these kind of people who will kill you and attack you even if you have a treaty with them, and who will mistreat captives and children. Like I said, Islam is a religion in which believers are told to stand up for themselves if attacked.
“5. Accusation of polygamy against our Holy Prophet”
I don’t get the question. Yes he had lots of wives. He treated them all well. Loved them all. Looked after and provided for them all, and their children. What’s the problem?
“6. Did Our Holy Prophet marry his own daughter-in-law Zainab”
Zaid, son of Harithah bin Sharahil Al – Kalbi, was the salve of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him), who he had freed and taken him as his son, and he was known as Zaid bin Muhammad, until Allah revealed His Words:
“Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers, that is more just with Allâh. But if you know not their father’s (names, call them) your brothers in faith and Mawâlîkum (your freed slaves). And there is no sin on you if you make a mistake therein, except in regard to what your hearts deliberately intend. And Allâh is Ever Oft*Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Al-Ahzab 33:5)
So they called him Zaid bin Harithah.As for Zainab, she was the daughter of Jahsh bin Ri’ab Al – Asadiyyah and her mother was Umaimah bint ‘Abdul Muttalib, the paternal aunt of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).With Regard to the story of Zaid’s marriage to Zainab, it was the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) who arranged it for him, due to his having been his slave and adopted son; he proposed to her on Zaid’s behalf, but she rejected him, saying: “I am of more noble descent than his:she responded in obedience to Allah and in fulfilment of the wishes of His Messenger (peace be upon him. She lived with Zaid for about a year, then there took place between them what (often) takes place between a man and his wife (i.e. disagreement) and so Zaid complained of her to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), due to their relationship to him, for he was his (former) slave and his foster son, while Zainab was his paternal aunt’s daughter. And it seems that Zaid suggested divorcing her, so Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) ordered to hold on to her and be patient with her. WHich he did for a while.
As for the marriage of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to Zainab, May Allah be pleased with her, he proposed to her after the expiry of her ‘Iddah (The prescribed waiting period for a woman following divorce, during which she may not marry.) following her divorce from Zaid.
Allah abolished adoption as it had been practised in the pre-Islamic period out of ignorance, and He permitted the Muslims to marry the widowed or divorced wives of their adopted sons, as a mercy from Him upon the believers, and in order to relieve them of their difficulties.
The point is people should be attributed to their fathers, adopted children are not mahram to opposite sex parents or adopted siblings and their wives not mahram to opposite sex parents in law. They retain the identity of their own family lineage.
For the stuff about Women’s rights in Islam, I don’t want to repeat myself so you can see some here