Marriage: Its Status and Benefits in Qur’an and Sunnah (Part 1)

هBy Muhammad Abdul-Rauf 

ِAbout marriage, the Qur’an, which Muslims believe to be the word of God, reads:

And marry those among you who are single . . . If they are needy, God will make them free from want out of His grace. (An-Nur 24:32)

And He it is Who has created man from water; then He has made for him blood-relationship and marriage-relationship. And your Lord is ever Powerful. (Al-Furqan 25:54)

One of His signs is this: that He has created mates for you from yourselves that you might find quiet of mind in them, and He put between you love and compassion. Surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect. (Ar-Rum 30:21)

Marriage in Qur’an

One of His signs is this: that He has created mates for you from yourselves that you might find quiet of mind in them. (Ar-Rum 30:21)

In the context of praising the Prophet preceeding the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the Qur’an reads:

And surely We sent Messengers before thee and appointed for them wives and children. (Al-Ahzab 33:38)

And in praising the habits of good believers, it reads:

And those who say, “Our Lord, grant us in our wives and our offspring the joy of our eyes… (Al-Furqan 25:74)

There are also many traditions ascribed to the Prophet Muhammad in which the practice of marriage is emphatically praised. The following are some of these hadiths:

Marriage is my recommended custom. Whoso-ever turns away from my recommended custom is turning away from me. (Ibn Majah)

Get married so you multiply. I shall indeed be proud of your multitude on the Day of Resurrection. (Abu Dawud and An-Nasa’i)

O you young people, men and women! Whosoever can bear the burden of marriage, let him or her get married. It (marriage) is indeed contentment to the eye and a protection to the modest parts. (Al-Bukhari)

When one is married, he secures half of his religion. So let him fear God in the other half. (At-Tirmidhi)

Advantages

1- Procreation

This is the paramount advantage of marriage; namely, to contribute through legitimate means to the continuity and preservation of the human race. The sexual urge serves the function of bringing the mates together for the fulfillment of this basic objective.

The procreational objective has four aspects: to fulfill the will of God; to seek the love of the Prophet Muhammad; to benefit from the prayer of the child; and to profit from its intercession on behalf of its parents.

Almighty God, in providing the male with intricate fertilizing organs and the female with a receptive fertile womb, is telling us in the most eloquent but voiceless language of the purpose of these provisions. To let them be idle is to ignore the divine wisdom written on these God-given instruments. Imagine a farmer who, although he is given a piece of fertile land, seeds and farming tools, just lets the land go to waste, the seeds rot and tools rust.

This farmer not only is a fool, but is to be condemned for his wasteful and harmful indifference.

Procreation through marriage is also a means of seeking the pleasure of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) who is believed to be alive in his grave and to whom the deeds of the members of his nation are regularly presented. He has called upon his nation: “Marry, so your number increases. The practice of marriage is an answer to his call.

Prayer of a child is believed to be beneficial to his dead parent. The Prophet (peace be upon him) says:

When the son of Adam dies, nothing would be of any more benefit to him except three things: a continuous charity, some useful knowledge he has left behind and a child who may pray for him. (Muslim)

Should the child die early and the parents accept its loss as an act of God, without despair, it would be like a ticket to Paradise for them. The Prophet (peace be upon him) is related to have said:

A child (who dies before reaching puberty) leads the parents to Paradise. A child will be brought (on the Day of Judgment) and told, “Get into Paradise.” But he will stand reluctantly and angrily at its gate and say, “I am not going to enter Paradise without my parents.” It will then be said, “let his parents enter Paradise with him.” (An-Nasa’i)

It is related that an unmarried man of good conduct who lived in the early past shouted when he was rising from sleep one morning. “Help me to get married! Help me to get married.

Maybe God will give me a child who will be useful to me on the Day of Judgment.” He was asked, “What has happened?” He said, “I dreamt that the Day of Judgment had come, and all mankind was raised and brought together in one place with the burning sun close over their heads.

Everyone became very thirsty and I was dying of thirst. Suddenly, children appeared among us, lively and handsome, covered with protective light and carrying silver ewers and golden goblets. They offered drinks to some but left out most. When I stretched my hand to one of them and said, ‘Give me to drink, I am exhausted because of thirst,’ he said, ‘You have no child among us.’ I asked, Who are you? He said, ‘We are Muslim children; our parents lost us when we were young!”

To be continued…

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The article is an excerpt from Marriage in Islam by Muhammad Abdul-Rauf, Ph.D. Fifth printing 1993, published by Al-Saadawi Publications, P.O. Box 4059, Alexandria, VA, U.S.A. 22303.

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Marriage: Its Status and Benefits in Qur’an and Sunnah (Part 2)

By Muhammad Abdul-Rauf 

Part 1

The practice of marriage is highly recommended and praised in Islam. Here’re some of its advantages…

2- Fulfillment of the Natural Urge

The sexual urge is perhaps the most powerful human inclination. It seems not to be an end in itself, but a means to bring the mates together for the purpose of fertilization. Yet, its fulfillment is the most enjoyable and absorbing of human experiences.

Marriage in Islam

In marriage, there is comfort to the soul, there is beauty to look at, there is company, and there is play and joking and relaxation.

Failure to fulfill this urge is likely to lead either to deviation or to maladjustment. Deviation is dishonorable and is strictly forbidden in Islam.

Therefore, the Prophet (peace be upon him) calls upon youth, saying:

“O you young people! Whoever of you can afford to get married, let him do so. Those who cannot afford it, let them practice fasting, as it may be a protection to them (against sin).” (An-Nasa’i, Al-Bukhari and Ibn Majah)

It is believed that the intense pleasure of the climax of the sexual act, though short-lived, has the value of reminding the believers of the more durable and more perfect enjoyment that awaits them in Paradise. The experience should enhance their zeal to comply with divine teachings.

So the practice of marriage is the way to remove evil and protect against shameful failure.

To try to suppress the sexual urge by other means, such as fasting, may succeed in preventing the eyes from looking at forbidden scenes and keeping the sexual organs away from committing heinous abominations; but there is no way of freeing the heart from engaging in meanest thoughts, pondering and dreaming of acts it craves for, even during the hallowed time of the performance of prayers.

A person of any degree of respectability would never dare to speak openly of such mean thoughts to any creature, but he has no control over his mind to prevent it from roaming into these thoughts when he is addressing his Creator in prayers! Some cannot afford to do without women.

Some also say that two-thirds of man’s wisdom is lost when his male organ becomes erect. Al-Junaid, one of the major founders of the Sufi movement, used to say, “The sexual act is as important to me as food.”

And thus, a wife is food for the man and a measure for purifying his heat.

Therefore, the Prophet (peace be upon him) commanded that whenever a man sees a woman and feels attracted to her, he should go and release his urge with his own wife in order to remove the evil thoughts from his mind. The Prophet sometimes added, “His wife surely can offer as much as this woman does.” He also forbade visiting women when husbands are away.

It is related that Ibn `Abbas, a cousin of the Prophet, once noticed a youth staying behind after a lecture he had given, when the other members of the audience had gone. When Ibn `Abbas asked him about his problem, the reluctant youth complained that when he was overwhelmed by sexual excitement, he released himself by performing masturbation. Ibn `Abbas was horrified and condemned the act, but said that the practice was less abominable than fornication.

It was because of fear of the danger which might arise from an unfulfilled sexual urge that the early Muslims did not hesitate to rush to new marriage once they became widowed. Imam `Ali, cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet, remarried on the seventh day of the death of his wife Fatimah.

3- A Healthy Relaxation

In marriage, there is comfort to the soul, there is beauty to look at, there is company, and there is play and joking and relaxation, all of which relieve the heart from its burdens and make the mind better able to concentrate during prayers and worship.

To be always serious and deprive the soul of its joy is boring to the heart and could blind it. Relaxing through the company of the spouse is healthy; and that is why the Qur’an describes the spouse as a source of mutual comfort. It is said that it is wise to divide one’s time over three types of activities: worshiping the Lord, self-examination and entertainment of the heart.

The Prophet (peace be upon him,) used to say, “Two worldly things have been made beloved to me: women and perfume; but the light of my eye is in prayers.” (Ahmad and An-Nasa’i)

It is related that Al-Asma`i, an ancient Arab philologist, once encountered a beautiful Bedouin woman in the desert wearing a red dress and holding worry beads in her beautifully henna-dyed hand.

Al-Asma`i remarked, “What a contrast!” meaning that the worry beads, a sign of deep religious devotion, and the henna dye in the hands, a popular cosmetic practice, did not go together. The beautiful righteous woman retorted poetically,

“There is in me a devotion to God which I cannot neglect; but there must also be room for my heart and for my pleasure.”

4- A Comfortable Home

Marriage, moreover, provides cooperation in the household and greatly relieves one from worries.

Spouses cooperate in the management of the house, in its upkeep, in cooking and washing, and so forth. And thus, there will be more time for worship and seeking knowledge, and a climate conducive to concentration. It is, therefore, said that a righteous wife is not a worldly asset only; she is a sure way to success on the Day of Judgment.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) says:

“Seek to have a grateful heart, a sweet tongue and a believing, righteous wife who would help you in your endeavor to success on the Last Day.” (Ibn Majah)

He also says:

“Nothing is of more benefit to the believer after Taqwa of Allah than a righteous wife whom, if he commands her she obeys him, if he looks at her he is pleased, if he swears an oath concerning her she fulfills it, and when he is away from her she is sincere towards him with regard to herself and his wealth.” (Ibn Majah)

In another hadith, he said:

“This world is but provisions, and there is no provision in this world better than a righteous wife.” (Abu Dawud and Al-Hakim)

5- Social Importance

Finally, by adding responsibilities upon the individual, marriage enhances his status in society and gives him an opportunity for training in bearing the hardships of life.

Living with a spouse, a person of different inclinations and background, trains one in accommodating oneself to new experiences; each party helps the other in the exercise of the virtues of patience and forbearance.

The responsibility of rearing children and the need to earn for their living are added meritorious aspect arising from marriage. Listen to the Prophet when he says:

“A man will be rewarded for what he spends on his wife, even for putting a morsel of food into her mouth.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

He also says:

“Whoever performs his prayers correctly, and spends on his children in spite of his modest means, and does not speak ill against others, will be in Paradise as close to me as these (two fingers of mine).”

He also says:

“Whosoever is given three daughters and spends on them and treats them well . . . surely God will reward him in Paradise.” (Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi)

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The article is an excerpt from Marriage in Islam by Muhammad Abdul-Rauf, Ph.D. Fifth printing 1993, published by Al-Saadawi Publications, P.O. Box 4059, Alexandria, VA, U.S.A. 22303.

 

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New Muslims, Niqab and Family Issues

New Muslims, Niqab and Family Issues

What is the wisdom behind and the ruling of a Muslim woman wearing a niqab (face veil)? Is wearing a niqab obligatory in Islam?

Besides, my parents are difficult. They deal with me rudely that I feel offended.

How do I deal with them? How should I respond to such rudeness? Do I have to cope with them, particularly when one of them are alcoholic? Should I cut them off my life?

What right do they have upon me? In what manner should I behave with them Islamically?

Sheikh Yasir Qadhi answers here…

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Family Life: Lessons from the Qur’an

Family Life: Lessons from the Qur’an

Family Comes First

The more you look into the Qur’an and approach it with a sincere heart, give it your attention while assuming its magnificence, the more your heart connects with the Al-Mighty.

The Qur’an is not a storybook of wondrous tales and ancient fables, isolated from the realities and complexities of real life. Each verse, in fact, each letter is miraculously endowed with precision of meaning, succinctness of message and purity of sound.

The life lessons that can be taken from any surah are amazing, but Surat Ṭa-Ha in particular is unique in this regard.

Here I will reflect on the life lessons that can be derived from Surat Ṭa-Ha (the 20th chapter of the Qur’an which chronicles the life of Musa. Commentators point out that apart from two short references to Musa in earlier surahs:Or, has he not been informed of what is in the scriptures of Musa?” (Al-Kahf 53:36) and “The scriptures of Abraham and Moses” (Al-A`la 87:19), the narrative appearing in Surat Ṭa-Ha, particularly the verses 9–98, is undoubtedly the earliest Qur’anic exposition of the story of Musa.

Life lessons from the Qur’an are infinite. The more you look into the Qur’an and approach it with a sincere heart, give it your attention while assuming its magnificence, the more your heart connects with the Al-Mighty.

Has the story of Moses come to you (Prophet)? He saw a fire and said to his people, “Stay here – I can see a fire. Maybe I can bring you a flaming brand from it or find some guidance there”. (Al-Kahf 20:9-10)

These two verses contain many important lessons that I think we can all benefit from. In particular we can focus on ten important lessons that impact our family life. This does not limit, of course, business and management applications, educational considerations, and other professional dimensions.

Life Lessons

1- Family Comes First

Musa (peace be upon him) seeks to ensure his family’s safety and comfort by asking them to wait for him in the cold darkness of the night while he departs to investigate the source of fire at a distance from them. Never compromise your family and lead them into the unknown.

2- Present Danger is Better Than Hidden Danger

Musa knows it is dangerous to leave his family in the dark expanse of the desert that they lost their way in. Yet, that is less a danger than walking into a campfire of what could possibly be a group of brigands who would harm him and his family. The known danger is clear and evident, but at least it is predictable.

3- Danger to One Is Better Than Exposing Many

Musa instinctively decides that the danger faced by him, alone, is worth the risk of warmth and guidance to safety. Judgment is imperative when a preponderance of danger exists. The less exposure, whether financially, psychologically, spiritually and physically, the better.

4- One Person Takes the Final Decision

In trying circumstances, defined, clear and unambiguous directions can be the difference between life and death, health and sickness, safety and tragedy. In all decisions, especially within the household, a unified singular voice needs to provide leadership and direction.

5- Leaders Consult & Explain Their Decision Making Process

Musa explains, in detail, why he has made the decision to investigate the fire and to leave his family behind. It is reasoned, rational and explicit. Often, complaints arise about a decision being made without consultation and explanation. That contradicts the established prophetic model. Decisions are not demands and the authority to make them is not inherent to one party over another except by virtue of trust. Trust is lost not by poor decisions but by poor consultation.

6- Speak to All Whom Your Decision Impacts

Musa spoke to all his family/people, not just his wife. Taking counsel with your sons and daughters in important decisions is a way of ensuring reciprocation when they reach an age of decision making ability for themselves. If you ignore their voices, then expect them not to share it with you.

7- Don’t Promise What Is Not Assured

Musa says, “Maybe/perhaps I can bring you” (Al-Kahf 20:10) and does not speak in definite. Nothing undermines credibility of a parent with their children more than unfulfilled promises. The greatest wedge between a husband and wife are vows that are not maintained and assurances not met. Speak the truth and do not embellish.

8- Maximize Your Benefit from Assumed Danger

Musa calculates what he stands to gain; warmth, light, guidance out of the desert, return with a flaming brand and more.  Always seek maximum benefit, even from precarious situations that others may view as a complete loss.

9- Prioritize

Musa speaks about warmth and a flaming brand to return with and provide comfort and light for his family, before he speaks about finding their way. He understands the greatest need and seeks to fulfill it before other essentials.

10- Take Responsibility

Musa says “I can” (Al-Kahf 20:10) to legitimize his decision. He assumes responsibility for the decision and intends a positive outcome, even though he does not guarantee it. Families disintegrate due to a lack of responsibility. Standing up and assuming leadership equally necessitates being responsible when things go bad.

The Qur’an alludes to all human experience and seeks to enrich the finite time we spend on earth before our return to our Maker the Most High.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was commanded to follow his predecessors and take heed from their trials while finding inspiration in their eventual divinely ordained triumph.

Allah, the Most High, encourages us to look into the final Word and take heed of its lessons and parable:

And We have certainly diversified in this Qur’an for the people from every (kind of) example; but man has ever been, most of anything, (prone to) dispute. (Al-Kahf 20:54)

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Source: muslimmatters.com.

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The Appeal of Islamic Family Life

By AbdurRahman Mahdi

In Islam, considering the well-being of the “other” instead of just the “self” is a virtue so rooted in the religion that it is evident even to those outside it.  The British humanitarian and civil rights lawyer, Clive Stafford-Smith, a non-Muslim, stated: “What I like about Islam is its focus on the group, which is opposite to the West’s focus on individuality.”[1]

Individuals comprising any society are tied together by related group bonds.  The strongest of all societal bonds is that of the family.  And while it can be justifiably argued that the basic family unit is the foundation of any given human society, this holds particularly true for Muslims.  As a matter of fact, the great status that Islam affords to the family system is the very thing that so often attracts many new converts to Islam, particularly women.

“With laws for almost every aspect of life, Islam represents a faith-based order that women may see as crucial to creating healthy families and communities, and correcting the damage done by the popular secular humanism of the past thirty or so years, several experts said.  In addition, women from broken homes may be especially attracted to the religion because of the value it places on family, said Marcia Hermansen, a professor of Islamic studies at Loyola University in Chicago and an American who also converted to Islam.”[2]

 

Nowhere is this trend of a people who value traditional family values as they embrace Islam more prevalent than in North America’s Latino or Hispanic community.  As one of Florida’s Muslims observed:  “I have seen an increasing rate in Hispanics converting to Islam.  I think the Hispanic culture itself is very rich in terms of family values, and that is something that is very prominent in the religion of Islam.”

So, what are the particular values or traits of Islamic family life that so many are finding so appealing?

At a Columbia University Islamic event, Hernan Guadalupe, an Ecuadorian-American: “spoke of the cultural similarities and family values inherent to Hispanics and Muslims.  Typically, Hispanic households are tight knit and devout, and children are reared in a strict environment – traits that mirror Muslim households.”[3]

And in another recent newspaper report, it was also observed how: “Family values play an integral role in the formation of a Muslim community.  Because of those family values, there are a lot of other norms that are consistent within the Hispanic community and Islam; for instance, respect for elders, married life and rearing children, these are some of the traditions Hispanics have in common with Islam.”[4]

Some ordinary American converts also have had a say about real life experience, and some of these are collected in a book by the mother of such a convert; Daughters of Another Path by Carol L. Anway.  One woman, quoted in the book[5],  spoke about her change in attitude towards marriage and family life after converting to Islam.  “I became cleaner and quieter the further I went into the religion.  I became highly disciplined.  I had not intended to marry before I was a Muslim, yet I quickly became a wife and then a mother.  Islam has provided a framework that has allowed me to express belief, such as modesty, kindness and love, that I already had.  It has also led me to happiness through marriage and the birth of two children.  Before Islam I had had no desire to have my own family since I hated (the thought of having) kids.”

Another woman speaks of her acceptance into the extended family in the same book.  “We were met at the airport by a lot of his family, and it was a very touching moment, one I will never forget.  Mama (her mother-in-law) is like an angel… I have spent a lot of time in with tears, because of what I see here.  The family system is quite unique with closeness that is beyond words.”[6]

In Appendix C of the book, a 35 year old American convert, at that time 14 years a Muslim, wrote about the family of her husband and their values relative to her own American values.  “I have met all the members of my husband’s immediate family and some members of his immense extended family… I have learned a great deal from my in-laws.  They have a wonderful way of relating to their children, a way that engenders respect for others and great amounts of self esteem.  It is interesting to see how a child-orientated and religious orientated culture operates.  My in-laws, by virtue of being a contrast to American culture, have given me a great appreciation for certain elements of my American cultural identity… I have seen that Islam is truly correct in saying that moderation is the right path.”[7]

From these quotations, one from a non-Muslim intellectual, others from converts and reporters, and some from quite ordinary American women who embraced Islam, we can see that family values in Islam are one of its major attractions.  These values stem from God and His guidance, through the Quran and the example and teaching of His Messenger, Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, who indicates the family unit as being one of the mainstays of religion and Islamic the way of life.  The importance of forming a family is underscored by a saying of the holy Prophet himself, who said:

“When a man marries, he has fulfilled half of his religion, so let him fear God regarding the remaining half.”[8] (al-Baihaqi)

 


Footnotes:

[1] Emel Magazine, Issue 6 – June/July 2004.

[2] “Islam’s Female Converts”; Priya Malhotra, February 16, 2002. (see http://thetruereligion.org/modules/xfsection/article.php?articleid=167).

[3] “Some Latinos convert to Islam”; Marcela Rojas, The Journal News (http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051030/NEWS02/510300319/1028/NEWS12)

[4] “Islam Gains Hispanic Converts”; Lisa Bolivar, Special Correspondent, September 30, 2005 (http://thetruereligion.org/modules/xfsection/article.php?articleid=405)

[5] Daughters of Another Path, 4th printing, Al-Attique Publishers, p.81.

[6] Daughters of Another Path, p.126.

[7] Daughters of Another Path, p.191.

[8] A narration from the Prophet, by Anas b. Malik, his personal servant; collected in and commented on by Imam al-Baihaqi in Shu’ab al-Iman (Branches of Faith).

inting, Al-Attique Publishers, p.81.

[6] Daughters of Another Path, p.126.

[7] Daughters of Another Path, p.191.

[8] A narration from the Prophet, by Anas b. Malik, his personal servant; collected in and commented on by Imam al-Baihaqi in Shu’ab al-Iman (Branches of Faith).

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Parents in Islam: Their Rights and Status

Parents in Islam: Their Rights and Status

 

fatherhood

“No son can repay (the right of his father) unless he finds him a slave, buys him and then emancipates him.”

The rights of parents include respect, love and obedience. This obedience is conditional that it does not contradict obedience to the commands of Allah and His Messenger. It involves care and kindness to both parents, and provision of necessities for elder parents. Humility and respect to both parents equally is an obligation, and any arrogance or insolence is forbidden.

Patience and perseverance are required when serving parents, no matter what the circumstances. Allah says in the Qur’an:

Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in their life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor. (Al-Israa’ 17:23)

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) instructed us saying:

“(Allah’s pleasure on someone) is based on the pleasure of his parents. The wrath of Allah is based upon the anger of his parents.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Both parents are entitled to this right even if they are not Muslims so long as they do not command their children to do any act of disobedience to Allah (Exalted be He).

Asmaa’, the daughter of the Abu Bakr, said My mother came to visit me while still not a Muslim. I asked Allah’s Prophet (peace be upon him) concerning her visit (and how to treat her while visiting me) and said, ‘My mother is eager to visit with me. Should I (or should I not) extend my courtesy (as a host) to her?’ He said: “Yes, extend courtesy”. (Muslim)

The mother must be given priority in terms of kindness, sympathy, good feelings, love and affection as mentioned by Allah’s Prophet:

“A man  came to Allah’s Prophet and asked him: ‘O Prophet of Allah! Who is the most worthy and deserving person of my good treatment and companionship? He replied: ‘Your mother.’ The man asked: ‘who is next?’ Allah’s Messenger replied: ‘your mother.’ The man asked ‘who is next?’ Allah’s Messenger replied: ‘your father.’  And in another version there is the ending: ‘your father and then the next nearest and next nearest.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Allah’s Messenger assigned the mother with a three-fold portion of the right of companionship. The father, in comparison, receives only one share. This is due to the fact that mothers suffer more hardships during pregnancy and during the delivery and care of their children. Allah says in the Qur’an:

And we have enjoined on man kindness to his parents: in pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth. (Al-Ahqaf 46:15)

This in no way demeans the rights of the father, since the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“No son can repay (the right of his father) unless he finds him a slave, buys him and then emancipates him.” (Muslim)

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “Human Rights in Islam and Common Misconceptions”.

 

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