Qur’an 65:4 Such of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the prescribed period

, if ye have any doubts, is three months, and for those who have no courses (it is the same): for those who carry (life within their wombs), their period is until they deliver their burdens: and for those who fear Allah, He will make their path easy.

This is the verse that has been the subject of much debate, misuse and
assault by Muslims & non-Muslims. The inadequacy and narrow mindedness of many Islamic scholars (giving due consideration to their time & place) over the centuries has only added to the confusion. For, in order to interpret this verse as sanctifying Paedophilia and/or pre-pubertal sex/marriage, one has to surely have paedophilic tendencies. When Islamic scholars enclose their analysis within brackets and we forget what those brackets signify, and thereby give those interpretations the same status as the Verse itself, then it is hardly surprising that such misunderstanding arises! For no scholar had ever proclaimed to have divine guidance in interpreting Qur’anic verses; then why is it that we refuse to think for ourselves in judging the writings of such scholars and take them for what they are- merely human interpretations. They are not ironclad, and therefore must be subject to constant scrutiny. The refusal on the part of the ulemma to allow for a margin of error in their interpretations of highly acclaimed works in the field of tafsir by revered pious Moslem scholars; is a real cause for a spineless Ummah today. The status of the clergy needs to be redefined; to that of an invaluable advisory council, one that is not only well versed in the Qur’an but also exposed to the realities of today’s world. Their status as ‘priests’ who possess divine knowledge and as keepers of the prophet’s legacy to all of humanity, with the power to pass unquestionable decrees, needs to be dissolved. The tendency of clergy to regard the volumes of works written by scholars’, centuries after the prophet’s death, as infallible and therefore refusing to think for ones self and to keep an open mind, and suppressing the common mans God given right to read & understand God’s word is a transgression most extreme. The result being true Islam has long become buried in a thicket of legalistic decrees; and clergy in their desire to perfect God’s word have built around God’s beautiful message to the whole of humanity, an impenetrable fortress, the keys to which they and they alone hold. They have institutionalised Islam, and today’s Muslim generation (esp. those who refuse to accept convention simply because they are told so) are struggling to escape the claustrophobia. Our lack of curiosity to explore God’s divine message, it would have to be said – through suppression of thought and discouragement by the establishment, and

due at times to our lack of desire to do so, has left us helpless & doubtful in the face of a barrage of systemic assaults on Islam by its’ enemies. We are made to believe and with time we ourselves come to believe, that we are incapable of comprehending God’s words except through the medium of learned Islamic scholars; who seems to possess something we, the common man (desirous of achieving taqwa) do not have – volumes and volumes of books written by scholars of late, on Tafsir. While television screens in millions of households across the world, display scenes of carnage and killings by Muslims and in Muslim countries, Islam continues to be one of the fastest growing religions in the world. While we glue ourselves to the big screen and salivate to the likes of J-lo & 50Cents, and voluntarily subject ourselves to daily doses of brainwashing by the likes of Dubya Bush & co. and Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, hundreds of thousands of Non-Muslims are driven to read for themselves the message of Islam and see it’s light, while we, unsatisfied with the instituition (that has utterly failed us) and ignorant of our ignorance about true Islam, are driven away from it! Muslims who were born Muslims, today face an identity crisis. And the violent, vocal and extremist minority that claims to be doing God’s bidding on earth, speak for us while we remain mute or silently fade away onto the other side. In my opinion it is a must for each Muslim to be fluent in Arabic, just as we must be in English or Dhivehi, in order to be able to read and comprehend its message.

Regarding the latter half, of the Verse in question‫" واللئي لم يحضن" فعدتهن ثلثة أشهر‬and those who never had menses” The transliteration and the meaning of each portion of the verse is given below: “Wa Al-Lā'ī Lam Yaĥiđna “ wa ( َ ) = and ‫و‬ Al-Lā'ī (‫ = )وَاللئِي‬for those who ّ Lam ( ْ‫ = ) لم‬did not َ Yaĥiđna ( َ ْ‫ = ) َحض‬menstruate. ‫يِ ن‬

The core issue being addressed in this Verse is iddah; or the waiting period before a recently divorced woman should wait before marrying again. She is allowed a period of three months during which time she would menstruate if she wasn’t pregnant. Now, the latter portion of the verse is claimed by some ‘scholars’ as telling that pre-pubertal girls who have not started their menstruation are also to wait 3 months (from which one could infer that pre-pubertal sex/marriage is allowed), much to the delight of the enemies of Islam. “And those who did not menstruate”; to my understanding this implies those women who have menstrual problems/ irregularities (Amenorrhoe and menstrual irregularities are the centerpiece of a gynaecologists battlefield) - in effect saying, if you have recently gotten divorced, your waiting period before marrying another man is 3 months & if you be in doubt (see footnote*), and if you have not been menstruating, then also wait three months, just in case your pregnant. The idea in trying to understand the Verse is to see it’s purpose or Hikma; in this case the welfare of the child and his/her lineage through him/her being the product of conception with the previous husband is being given priority, over the needs of the woman to marry another man, again. Now, If you want it to imply that peadophilia is Ok then one could view it in that angle; however, one has but to see the immense importance the Qur’an has given to the welfare of children and women (despite what cable TV tells you) and the classification of sexual abuse and loss of any and all sexual inhibitions as among the most vilified sins, in God’s sight! Also if the reference here is to pre-pubertal girls, then why ask them to wait 3 months? What is the hikma behind it; after all since they have not yet attained puberty, pregnancy is not possible! There have been assertions by anti-Muslim agents that thorough analysis of the verse essentially yields the meaning “And those who did not menstruate YET”. I reject this assertion for the reasons stated above, for if I am given a choice between that and my understanding of Islam for what it really is, then I would with a clear conscience & without a trace of doubt in God’s message and it’s purpose, gladly choose my explanation! Despite what taliban or wahhabism or any other ‘school of thought’ or any revered ‘scholar’ may have to say about it, Islam/God does not encourage or condone the use of children as objects of sexual pleasure. While some people in Arab states and/elsewhere may have been more than eager to make full use of this supposed allowance in Islam, I categorically reject their interpretation and the so called works of tafsir, which license such acts of horror. Call me an apostate, call me what you want; but I reject this, as a Muslim who bears witness that there is no god but God & that Muhammad (pbuh) was His last messenger. But I do not bear witness that the Clergy are the rightful custodians of God’s message to mankind.

I would urge all of us to read & understand the message of God for ourselves taking into consideration the works of scholars (whose piety I do not doubt for a second) & the prevailing arguments for or against, and to let your God given conscience guide you and to let your ability to reason and think be your greatest tool; after all that is what sets us apart from say- a monkey or a banana! Lol. Reza Azlan’s ‘NO GOD BUT GOD’ would be a good start. cheers

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------*Footnote- while theoretically the ideal length of a female reproductive cycle is 28 days, this is not always the case and women exhibit great variety in its length depending on a host of factors and even the number of days they should normally bleed for is given a range, 4-7 days/cycle, even though it can be longer than that and still be normal- point is menstrual cycles aren’t clock work precise.