Monday, May 29, 2006


Sometimes, a simple 'no' will suffice. Maybe even a 'thanks, but no thanks'. Or a 'thanks for asking'. An 'appreciate your efforts' is always nice. But, really, there's no need to overreact and start issuing fatwas:

"The High Council of Oulama has issued a fatwa affirming that women are not eligible to lead prayers, and have never been in charge of that mission throughout the history of Morocco ... The fatwa was issued on the request of the Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs which demanded a clarification on the position of Islam concerning the issue of women's Imama (leading prayers).

This is is in reaction to a group of Morshidat (female preachers) who recently graduated and about whom there has been much media speculation. It has been suggested that these 50 women might assume more dynamic roles within Islam, something beyond their current mandate of organising discussions, lectures & lessons about "moderate" values (but not on Fridays), and being general resource people on religious issues. The ugly truth of it is that there has been a rumour running amok in Morocco that they might serve as imams in mosques! Imagine: women wishing to serve god & their communities as they wish. Oh the horror! The shame! The sacrilege! Next thing you know, they'll be asking for a paradise replete with 70 of their own perpetually youthful male houris.

Ahhh, but there is a very good reason for not allowing female imams. Like noisome children, women must be seen but not heard:

The council noted that assigning women this role would go against the general rules of prayer, explaining that Islam stipulate that women should perform their prayers silently, while the imam is supposed to pray loudly.

Now, I take umbrage with being told what I can and cannot do. Furthermore, it sets my teeth on edge to be told what to by a man. Needless to say, my teeth grind down to stubs when I am told what to do in the name of an ideology (which includes religion). I would have made a really lousy communist. In fact, I would have been the first to go during Purge #1. So I started wondering what other fatwas might be lurking out there in the dogmatic mists, when I chanced upon Ask-The-Imam, an "Islamic Q & A Online with Mufti Ebrahim Desai". This website is a self-stylized "Online Fatwa Resource", so off I went in pursuit of those nagging questions like,

Q: Is it permissible for a man to look at his wife’s private parts including below the navel and vice versa, during intimacy? I've heard one can become blind.
A: It is permissible but undesirable for the spouses’ to look at each other’s private parts during intimacy.

Q: Is it permissible for a woman to pluck her eyebrows?
A: If the eyebrows have become so dense that it is unseemly for a woman and incites abhorrence in her husband, it is permissible to trim it to a more appropriate and normal size.

Q: Are a husband and a wife allowed to talk during penetration?
A: It is Makrooh (odious) for the wife and husband to engage in any sought (sic) of discussions while having intercourse.

Q: Is it permissible for a woman to work. Not in times of difficulty but to teach a subject in school.
A: Allah ta’ala states, ‘And stay within your homes.’ (Ahzaab 33). Considering the above, if there is no necessity, it will not be permissible.

Q: Are husband and wife allowed to dance with each other alone in their room?
A: Dancing is prohibited.

Q: Is it haraam for women to wear a brassiere?
A: Women may were a brassiere. It is not Haraam. However, when (there) is the presence of any male besides the husband they should ensure that
the shape of their bodies is not exposed.

All answers are written or checked by Mufti Desai with a reminder to each response that Allah Knows Best. This website will provide your family & friends with hours & hours of enjoyment (the category on marriage is especially juicy), not so much for the answers but rather for the questions. It is as if a planet populated with naive and/or indoctrinated individuals, deprived of the faculty to think critically and to act independently were suddenly given an e-mail account & a laptop. Trivial Pursuit will gather dust on your shelves. For me, it was a reminder why I am an atheist.

Addendum: I hope this posting will dispell any rumours of my kidnapping and having been replaced by a kinder, gentler heavily sedated Cat in Rabat ... nor are there pods in the basement!

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