بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِي
I am going to write about some thoughts about a topic more controversial than my normal topics, in the hope that Insha Allah the insights in here will be beneficial for me and for others as well. I am sure that if from those who read this, they may brush off the suggestions as irrelevant and unnecessary, but I still hope that the piece hereunder will be of benefit for many people.
Someone asked me a question concerning the many reports we hear of women being sexually assaulted in many of the Muslim-majority countries, with specific reference to Egypt and the condition of women who go out only for protesting, but wind up in the hands of those who sexually assault them.
To begin with, we need to understand: It is really very difficult to know the particulars of such reports, so it would be extremely difficult to find out an exact ruling concerning such incidents, particularly when each incident is to be judged upon by the scholarly expert after considering the evidence for rape or assault in each particular case.
But this is actually a secondary matter. There is in fact a very big problem the Islamic nation is facing in that too many of its members have drunk the wine of sights, sounds, thoughts and ideologies contrary to Islam, while knowing that they are still living in societies where many of the outer consequences of their evil thoughts and actions will not be paid much attention to and perhaps will not be prosecuted at all, not due to the Islamic rules themselves, but due much more to social conservatism.
Let me be honest about people in general: There are a number of narrations from the Prophet ﷺsaying that there is a devil with every single person, and this goes to the point that the Shaytan flows through a person as blood flows through his veins. When this is the situation people naturally face, the main goal of their existence should be how to counteract this condition within themselves so that they may reach the pleasure of Allah. Note that taking even a neutral attitude in this regard will inevitably lead to these inner, devilish temptations to come out one way or the other. And this cannot be other than this, since the Shaytan is an active agent within the human being, and passiveness cannot be an option against active enemies. When we combine the Shaytan with the enticing soul, then the situation is much worse, since as the Qur’an mentions, the soul entices to evil except for those whom Allah has had mercy upon.
Also, let me be honest about the male gender, that when it comes to womenfolk, the men generally have many weaknesses. Even the innate thinking of men is many times geared towards looking with lust at women, and expressing vulgar thoughts concerning the women they look at – whether this is within themselves or in the company of their friends. It is obvious that the physical attacks against women occur as an extension of these thoughts, when men feel that no one can prosecute them for their actions [which are again a part of the Shaytan and their own soul having overcome the proper way they should be dealing with the precepts of the Islamic Sharia.]
What I think is that this is not something that will be resolved only with tougher legislation against sexual assaults and the like, but it requires that the entire atmosphere of the Muslim youth itself should be fundamentally modified, because otherwise the only thing that will happen is that these thoughts will be transferred over to “consensual partners”, rather than to the eradication of such evils. And we know that “adult consensus” is the keyword that many of the non-Muslims would be happy to hear in this regard, while for the Muslims, the external implementation of lustful thoughts does not become lawful simply with an appeal to consent between adults.
So coming back to the issue of the atmosphere we should consider in these cases, if we take only one strand of the situation, it cannot be ignored that the young Muslims of today have an enormous amount of energy that will be used in one way or the other. It is up to our societies to see whether this is to be unfortunately laid to waste by spending time doing useless and unlawful activities such as talking vulgarities about women and taking any opportunity presented to them to satisfy their carnal desires, or whether there are more constructive ways that this energy may be expended.
In fact, the thought had come to my mind that if such young Muslim men have so much energy that needs an outlet, why would they not consider fighting in the way of Allah on the many fronts where Muslims are in need of able-bodied people to defend their interests. But of course, this matter of fighting is an extremely complicated and delicate issue, and one can never give such advice without consulting the traditional scholars who are really experts in this matter, and who may decide how best this youthful energy is to be used for the sake of Allah.
However, it seems that the religiously correct activities that the youth of Islam may potentially engage in are frowned upon by many of the members of the Muslim societies themselves. And the more the details of such shameful things becomes more obvious, the more it seems that there are those who would rather have the energetic young men involved in these sorts of shocking and immoral practices, rather than seeing what is the best way to engage such youth in activities that best serve the Muslim Ummah.
And then, there are others who simply may not understand the issue from this angle, who may not understand that the problem requires a change on many levels of thinking all across the society, rather than the adoption of rules specific to outward incidents involving assault and the like.
Of course, all the above are simply introductory ideas concerning this delicate matter, and there are definitely a number of ramifications of the above that have to be treated separately, even though I may not be able to talk about all of them in the near future. But let us first recognize what the main problem and its potential solution are on a very general level, and from there Insha Allah the concrete ramifications may be discussed in the proper times and contexts.