I am glad that multiculturalism enables Abhijit Pandya to contribute to the Daily Mail‘s RightMinds blog. But then I’m from a place noted for religious dissent for the past five hundred years: Lollards, Quakers, Baptists, Methodists. Multiculturalism runs right through our veins.
Meanwhile, a reader in the comments beneath the article quotes from poorly paraphrased passages from the website “religionofpeace” and tells us they are hadith, hoping none of us knows how copy and paste works.
In schoolboy fashion, I too can do a Google search and happen upon English translations of ancient texts to present an opposing argument without wondering about authenticity, accuracy or interpretation.
And so here, in this rendition of the “green veil” hadith, 200 words long in English, we read of a woman who wishes to divorce a man because he is impotent and of no use to her. The hadith does not say whether the man was admonished or not, it only says that the Prophet, peace be upon him, believed that the man was not impotent because he had two sons who looked just like him, making the claim of impotency no grounds for divorce.
And here, in this rendition of the “Abu Dawud” hadith, we find that the second half of the hadith records the Prophet, peace be upon him, admonished the men for beating them after seventy women came to him to complain about their husbands. In a nearby hadith it ends, “Beat them, but only the worst of you will beat them.”
The reality is that Muslims vary immensely in their approaches to Islam and their interaction with family and society. Two scholars, both deeply learned and engaged in their faith, sometimes have completely opposite views on this subject alone. Tis life. Muslims are humans. Texts are open to interpretation. History seeks historians.