Rebuttal to Jochen Katz's Article "Did Allah forget the wives?"

 

By

 

Bassam Zawadi

 

 

Jochen Katz wrote an article over here. The readers should read it before proceeding on to read the rebuttal.

 

Jochen said:

 

In the next life, your children will be with their fathers, who also get other women, and you are not even worth mentioning!

 

This is what the verse states:

 

And those who believed, and their seed followed them in belief, We shall join their seed with them, and We shall not defraud them of aught of their work; every man shall be pledged for what he earned.

 

The verse states "and those who believed", it does not say "and those men who believed". Jochen might argue that the context is speaking about men, since in verse 20 we see those being discussed are men being married to houris. However, verse 21 is not necessarily speaking about the same gender of those in verse 20, since it used the word "and" that is used to shift the discussion to either another topic area or to refer to different persons in the same topic. None of the commentaries that I have read said that women will be excluded from seeing their children.

 

Also, let us assume for the sake of argument alone that the Qur'anic verse is only speaking about fathers. This would only mean that children (the ones who did not reach puberty according to the more sound opinion) who weren't able to perform the righteous deeds that their fathers did would be given the privilege of achieving the rank that their fathers achieved. If the child's mother and father are in paradise, then this would be for all eternity and they would have plenty of opportunities to visit each other. So either way, Jochen doesn't make any case out of this verse whatsoever.

 

It's also strange that one would say that Islam disrespects the woman in regards to her rights to her children, when Islam states that she is entitled to the greatest rights over her children:

 

Saheeh Muslim

Book 032, Number 6180:

Abu Huraira reported that a person came to Allah, 's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: Who among the people is most deserving of a fine treatment from my hand? He said: Your mother. He again said: Then who (is the next one)? He said: Again it is your mother (who deserves the best treatment from you). He said: Then who (is the next one)? He (the Holy Prophet) said: Again, it is your mother. He (again) said: Then who? Thereupon he said: Then it is your father. In the hadith transmitted on the authority of Qutalba, there is no mention of the word" the people".

A'ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) asked the Messenger of Allah (PBUH): "Who has the greatest rights over a woman?" He said, "Her husband." She asked, `And who has the greatest rights over a man?" He said, "His mother." (Reported by al-Bazzar with a hasan isnad. See Majma' al-Zawa'id, 4/308, Bab haqq al-zawj 'ala'l-mar'ah, Cited here)  

And that disrespecting her is one of the worst sins imaginable:

 

Saheeh Bukhari

Volume 9, Book 92, Number 395:

Narrated Warrad:

(The clerk of Al-Mughira) Muawiya wrote to Al-Mughira 'Write to me what you have heard from Allah's Apostle.' So he (Al-Mughira) wrote to him: Allah's Prophet used to say at the end of each prayer: "La ilaha illalla-h wahdahu la sharika lahu, lahul Mulku, wa lahul Hamdu wa hula ala kulli shai'in qadir. 'Allahumma la mani' a lima a'taita, wala mu'tiya lima mana'ta, wala yanfa'u dhuljadd minkal-jadd." He also wrote to him that the Prophet used to forbid (1) Qil and Qal (idle useless talk or that you talk too much about others), (2) Asking too many questions (in disputed Religious matters); (3) And wasting one's wealth by extravagance; (4) and to be undutiful to one's mother (5) and to bury the daughters alive (6) and to prevent your favors (benevolence to others (i.e. not to pay the rights of others (7) And asking others for something (except when it is unavoidable).

 

Jochen said:

 

The believers are promised that they will get houris in Paradise (v. 20), i.e. not their earthly wives

 

The verse doesn't exclude earthly wives. Jochen is confusing Islam with Christianity. It is Christianity that states that the woman will no longer remain married to her husband in paradise, which is quite sad and disheartening for loving couples. Islam on the other hand states that women would be with their husbands from this life:

 

Abi Al Darda' reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: If a woman's husband dies and then she marries after, she will be with her last husband. (Shaykh Al Albani declared this narration to be authentic in his Silsila Al Ahaadeeth Al Saheeha, no. 1281; One may view a detailed discussion on the different chains and authenticity of this hadeeth over here)

 

This hadith is stating that the last husband that a woman had in this life would be the husband that she gets married to in the afterlife. So Islam does teach that the wife would be with her husband (assuming she died as a believer).

 

Jochen said:

 

The believers (i.e. the men) will be given perfect, beautiful, sensuous houris. Why should they care about those old, nagging, and comparatively ugly wives that were so difficult to live with on earth?

 

This is not true, it is narrated that an old woman came to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and made a request:

 

"O' Messenger of Allah make pray for me that Allah grants me entrance into Paradise." The prophet replied, "O' Mother, an old woman cannot enter Paradise." That woman started crying and began to leave. The prophet then said, "Say to the woman that one will not enter in a state of old age, but Allah will make all the women of Paradise young virgins. Allah says, "Lo! We have created them a (new) creation and made them virgins, lovers, equal in age." (Quran, verse 35-37). (Shaykh Al Albani declared this narration to be authentic in his Silsila Al Ahaadeeth Al Saheeha, no. 2987)

So here we see that women would be transformed when they enter paradise.

 

Jochen then said:

 

A question to ponder for all Muslim women: What will you get in Paradise?

 

They will get nothing but what they desire and satisfaction just as the Qur'an promises them:

 

Surah 39:34

They will have with their Lord whatever they desire; that is the reward of those who good.

Surah 43:70

Enter the garden, you and your wives; you shall be made happy.

 

In response to Jochen's article, Shaykh Jalal Abu Al Rub wrote an article, which was then "responded" to by Sam Shamoun over here. Our readers should first read Shamoun's article before proceeding on wards.

 

I will only be dealing with Shamoun's reference to Umm Salamah, since the rest of Shamoun's points lack substance and don't really require a response. Here is the narration in question:

 

Imam Ahmad recorded that Umm Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her, the wife of the Prophet said, "I said to the Prophet, 'Why is it that we are not mentioned in the Qur'an as men are.' Then one day without my realizing it, he was calling from the Minbar and I was combing my hair, so I tied my hair back then I went out to my chamber in my house, and I started listening out, and he was saying from the Minbar: ...

to the end of the Ayah."

This was also recorded by An-Nasa'i and Ibn Jarir. (Source; bold and underline emphasis)

After citing this narration Shamoun said:

 

Muhammad started to explicitly mention the eternal rewards which await believing women later in his career as a result of a woman bringing this to his attention, thereby correcting his blunder.

 

First thing to bare in mind is that Umm Salamah did not explicitly state that women are not mentioned at all in the Qur'an as receiving eternal rewards in paradise. Her statement could very well be read and interpreted as her saying that women are not mentioned as often as men are.

 

That seems to make more sense taking into consideration that Surah 33 was revealed in Medina, while Surah 40 was revealed in Makkah and Surah 40, Verse 8 states:

 

"And grant, our Lord! that they enter the Gardens of Eternity, which Thou hast promised to them, and to the righteous among their fathers, their wives, and their posterity! For Thou art (He), the Exalted in Might, Full of Wisdom.

 

Imam Al-Qurtubi and Al-Tabari report several narrations in their commentaries on Surah 40:8 stating that this verse means that fathers, their wives and children will be together in paradise.

 

It's also interesting to note that Surah 40 was revealed before Surah 52 just as Maududi states (bold emphasis mine):

 

According to Ibn 'Abbas and Jabir bin Zaid, this Surah was sent down consecutively after Surah Az-Zumar, and its present position in the order of the Surahs in the Quran is the same as its chronological order.  (Source)

 

Second thing to bare in mind is one of the features of the Arabic language known as Taghleeb Al Dhakar 'Ala Al Enaath, which basically means that male gender pronouns could be used to include women under its categorization as well. For instance, look at the following hadeeths from Saheeh Al Bukhari:

 

Volume 8, Book 73, Number 76:

 

Narrated Ma'rur:

"Yes, they (slaves or servants) are your brothers, and Allah has put them under your command. So the one under whose hand Allah has put his brother, should feed him of what he eats, and give him dresses of what he wears, and should not ask him to do a thing beyond his capacity. And if at all he asks him to do a hard task, he should help him therein."

Volume 8, Book 73, Number 91:

 

Narrated Anas bin Malik:

Allah's Apostle said, "Do not hate one another, and do not be jealous of one another, and do not desert each other, and O, Allah's worshipers! Be brothers. Lo! It is not permissible for any Muslim to desert (not talk to) his brother (Muslim) for more than three days."

Volume 8, Book 73, Number 125d:

 

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle said, "If a man says to his brother, O Kafir (disbeliever)!' Then surely one of them is such (i.e., a Kifir). "

 

Even though the Prophet (peace be upon him) continuously uses pronouns in the male gender, Muslims have historically understood such narrations to be applicable to women as well.

 

Shaykh Al Munajjid states:

 

The evidence that women are included in Verses of the Quran in the male gender is a Hadith by 'Ayishah who said that the Prophet (May peace and blessings be upon him) was asked about a man who sees traces of semen but does not remember having any dream of sexual nature. The Prophet (May peace and blessings be upon him) said: "Such man should perform the Ghusul (ritual ablution). He was also asked of a man who remembers a dream of sexual nature but sees no traces of semen. He said: "Such man does not have to perform the Ghusul (ritual ablution). Umm Salim said "A woman may have the same experience. Does she have to perform the Ghusul (ritual ablution)?" The Prophet (May peace and blessings be upon him) said: "Yes, there is no difference in this between man and woman." Narrated by Abu Dawud, at-Tirmizi 113 and others. The last phrase is in Sahih al-Jami' under No. 2333 (Source)

 

Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah states:

 

: { } { }

 

And His words: "As for the Righteous, they will be in bliss" (82:13) "On thrones, they shall gaze" (83:23), all this is applicable to both men and women.

 

And he continues:

 

 

According to the Arabic language if both male and female were combined together, then the male will dominate. (Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah, Majmu' Al-Fataawa, Volume 6, page 437)

 

 

Hence, we see that just because we see the male pronoun being used in a given context that doesn't give us the right to automatically conclude and assume that only males are being addressed. Rather, we need to look at the context.

 

Umm Salamah's concern most likely was that women weren't being explicitly mentioned often in the Qur'an. So Allah due to His Mercy and Love for His creation revealed more Qur'anic verses explicitly mentioning women entering paradise in order to bring them joy and assurance.

 

We as usual conclude that the Answering Islam team has failed to prove their case.

 

 

Appendix

 

 

Shamoun wrote a rebuttal over here.

 

He said:

Zawadi argues that verses 20-21 are not necessarily speaking of the same gender or group since the conjunction "and" separates them, thereby implying that a shift in subject or referent has taken place, i.e. verse 21 is no longer speaking of the same group that is mention in verse 20.

This makes it is obvious that Zawadi didn't actually bother to read the surah in context since this is what he would have discovered:

Surely the godfearing shall be in gardens and bliss, rejoicing in that their Lord has given them; and their Lord shall guard them against the chastisement of Hell. 'Eat and drink, with wholesome appetite, for that you were working. Reclining upon couches ranged in rows; and We shall espouse them to wide-eyed houris. AND (Wa) those who believed, and their seed followed them in belief, We shall join their seed with them, AND (WA) We shall not defraud them of aught of their work; every man shall be pledged for what he earned. AND (Wa) We shall succour them with fruits and flesh such as they desire while they pass therein a cup one to another wherein is no idle talk, no cause of sin, and there go round them youths, their own, as if they were hidden pearls. AND (Wa) they advance one upon another, asking each other questions. They say, 'We were before among our people, ever going in fear, and God was gracious to us, and guarded us against the chastisement of the burning wind; we were before ever calling upon Him; surely He is the All-benign, the All-compassionate.' Therefore remind! by thy Lord's blessing thou art not a soothsayer neither possessed. S. 52:17-29

However, Shamoun appealing to "AND" has only shown us that it is only speaking about the same people and gender from verse 21 onwards, which I have no dispute with. Secondly, I said that "AND" could possibly be used to shift the discussion and not necessarily and since Shamoun is providing the positive argument here the burden of proof is on him.

 

Shamoun said:

 

It seems that Zawadi likes to make up things as he goes along since that is not what the verse states at all. The passage expressly says that the men will be joined to their offspring provided that they too believed, no more no less. And yet sadly, the mothers of these children are not mentioned at all.

 

I didn't say that they could attain the ranks, I said that they could visit them and see them. Paradise is a huge place. If the father and children so pleased to pay the mother a visit then what is to stop them? Who said that they are forced to stay in their place? Read this.

 

Shamoun said:

 

Thus, it makes perfect sense why Allah wouldn't mention women being joined with their offspring in Q. 52:21, since many (or even most) of the mothers who were honored by their children in this life will be burning in hell forever!

 

The hadith says that the majority of people in hell would be women, it does not logically follow that the majority of women and mothers would go to hell. Secondly, the hadith doesn't say that they would enter hell merely for their gender, rather they would enter hell because of their sins. We wonder if Shamoun would say that Islam teaches misandry if it were to have said the same thing but for men. Thirdly, this has nothing to do with the verse and is nothing more than a red herring and Shamoun is using any excuse to sneak in any argument despite it being irrelevant to the topic at hand.

 

Shamoun in defense of Christianity teaching that married couples won't be together anymore states:

 

True believers won't need to have sex in order to experience true, eternal joy and pleasure since true happiness and fulfillment comes from dwelling in the eternal, glorious pure and holy presence of the Triune God. Everything else pales by comparison.

 

Well that just shows how Shamoun views marriage: only sex. Forgetting the loving companionship and comfort that two couples experience together, that's nothing. Nope for Shamoun marriage is strictly and only about sex. Islam's paradise is superior because one is able to enjoy both the physical and spiritual pleasures (see here), while Shamoun's false paradise seems quite boring and fails to appeal to ALL of man's needs.

 

Shamoun said:

 

Now doesn't Zawadi realize that these examples prove that Katz was right? If Allah could mention wives in all of these verses then he could just as easily have referred to them in Q. 52:21. The fact that he didn't mention them proves Katz' point that they were not included in that particular surah, which shows that Allah deliberately overlooked them.

 

I've already explained the linguistic feature of Taghleeb Al Dhukur 'Ala Al Enaath and that it doesn't necessitate that the Qur'an continuously mentions women explicitly.

 

Shamoun said:

Zawadi further overlooked the fact that these are not the words of Allah but of the angels!

Those (angels) who bear the Throne (of Allah) and those around it glorify the praises of their Lord, and believe in Him, and ask forgiveness for those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah) (saying): "Our Lord! You comprehend all things in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who repent and follow Your Way, and save them from the torment of the blazing Fire! "Our Lord! And make them enter the 'Adn (Eden) Paradise (everlasting Gardens) which you have promised them, and to the righteous among their fathers, their wives, and their offspring! Verily, You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. S. 40:7-8 Hilali-Khan

It is not Allah making promises on his own initiative, but the angels praying and imploring him to forgive and bless the repentant. The angels seem to be more considerate than Allah.

It's when Shamoun refers to these kinds of responses that clearly expose how insincere he is. Why on earth would Allah mention the supplications of the angels (i.e. the purpose is for us to know these supplications for ourselves) if they were invalid and impossible for Allah to accept? Come on Shamoun, you are better than that!

 

Shamoun said:

 

Second, this verse clearly addresses men again. The wives are included in a certain list, but the verse mainly addresses the believing MEN, since it does not include "husbands" in the list (which it would have to, if women were equally addressed.)

 

I don't understand how Shamoun reached the conclusion that this verse is only addressing men and how he said that husbands are not in the list. This is what the verse says: "which you have promised them, and to the righteous among their fathers, their wives, and their offspring!"

 

Shamoun said:

 

However, if this is the case then why does Allah even bother mentioning the wives of the believers at all? Didn't Allah know this Arabic rule which says that masculine pronouns also include women within it? Moreover, didn't Umm Salamah, Muhammad's wife, know this Arabic rule?

 

He could mention them explicitly in order to stress a point and as I argued Umm Salamah wanted women to be expressed explicitly. There is no need for Allah to continuously prolong the sentence by explicitly mentioning women each time.

 

We could argue the same with Shamoun's Bible. Does Jesus' command in Matthew 5:22 only refer to men or does it also include women? If it does include women, then why does Jesus bother to mention women in other places, but not here?

 

Shamoun asks:

 

Furthermore, why didn't Muhammad correct her and inform her of this linguistic feature of the Arabic language? Why did he proceed to compose passages which started to refer to believing women and their rewards?

 

More importantly, why didn't Muhammad mention the fact that Q. 40:8 was "revealed" in Mecca and stated to her that this verse clearly speaks of the rewards which women also receive?

 

Because as I previously argued, Umm Salamah's intention was most likely in regards to women being mentioned explicitly or as often as men.

 

Shamoun asks:

 

Since the masculine pronouns can also refer to the women is Zawadi willing to admit that these texts teach that Muslim women will also have sex with these houris, thereby implying that Allah will allow lesbian relations in his supposedly holy paradise? Will he concede the fact that the verses can be interpreted to mean that the believing women will have sex with the very houris that their husbands will be busy deflowering for all eternity? If not then why not?

 

Just because it is linguistically possible at times that doesn't mean that we say that it is the case at all times. You need to look at context. We say not in this case since no one in Islamic history ever understood it to be that case.

 

Again, Shamoun's arguments are of no real substance.

 

 

 

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