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Pakistan: Sindh Assembly passes a resolution to do away with the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII)

3 April 2014

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Daily Times, 2 April 2014

Editorial: Dissolving CII

The Sindh Assembly has passed a resolution to do away with the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII). The recent recommendations given by the CII, all related to women, have caused hackles to rise in many people concerned with the protection of women in a society that still holds primitive views about them. A country where women are treated like dumb driven cattle, and their presence deliberately kept subdued, any law that reinforces their status as second-class citizens is adding more agony to their existence. The problem with the CII is that they are living in a state of mind that has become obsolete because of its anachronistic bent. Their restricted vision that denies science as the modern interpretive force to solve ambiguities that could not be done otherwise is hindering progress. To them, any man-made law that facilitates modern interpretation of Islamic laws is considered blasphemous and a blow to the integrity of Islam itself. First it was the DNA test that was denied as conclusive evidence in rape cases. Then the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961 that restricts a man to one wife by putting a condition of the first wife’s consent in the case of a second marriage came under fire. And lastly, defining the minimum age for marrying a girl under the Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929 was declared against Islam. Modelling themselves on the primitive tribal culture of yesteryears where marrying four women was considered justified with no age bar, the cleric finds it the best course to maintain what he defines as the spirit of Islam. Since there had been no DNA testing when rape happened in the ‘golden era’ of Islam, therefore this option could not be entertained either.

Adopting a typical dogmatic approach with no thought process involved, clerics of the likes of Maulana Shirani have painted Islam as a religion that denies logic, reason and judgment. This interpretation has wrought havoc, with Muslims having become a source of nuisance because of decaying ethics. As far as contracting a second marriage is concerned, the condition of doing justice between wives is obligatory. And unless one is sure of giving equal rights, the desire to have two wives should best be shelved as is clearly enunciated in the Quran. In the case of adultery, the evidence to the act presented by four male witnesses is intended to protect women against false accusation. Marrying off a girl child when she is not able to protect the family or to take up the attached responsibilities is as well not recommended. The irony is that a religion based on knowledge is facing a dearth of clerics and scholars who have the intent and courage to contemplate things without fear of losing their influence and power that lies in a blinkered view of Islam.


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