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Qur'an sanctions rape? What a convenient mistranslation

Reader comment on item: Saudis Import Slaves to America
in response to reader comment: Quran sanctions rape of captured women and slave girls

Submitted by mark bonadio (United States), Jul 29, 2006 at 21:06

The person who presents the opinion that the Qur'an sanctions rape offers a convenient mistranslation and misinterpretation. The "forgiveness" of verse 23:33 is for the slave-girl, not the person who compels them; and no approbation of such an act is given.

Islam actually was a source of emancipation for slaves and women. The excellent biography by Martin Lings entitled "Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources", documents this. But more to the point, I imagine that the person making these false claims styles himself a Christian; now, slavery has been far more commom in "Christian" countries (including, of course, the U.S.) through the centuries than in Islamic countries; besides this, the "slaves" of a Muslim -- at least in those early times -- were treated far differently than the slaves of the American 1800s, in fact the former were often treated more like family, and this too has been documented.

As for jihad, its literal meaning is simply "effort" and the Prophet Muhammad indicated clearly that there is a "greater" and a "lesser" jihad. The "greater" is the one against one's own soul, the struggle against passions. The "lesser" is the outward one against those who attack believers. Anyone who believes that modern-day fundamentalist "jihad" is really based on the Qur'an is sorely mistaken. For this, read the excellent book edited by Joseph Lumbard, "Islam, Fundamentalism and the Betrayal of Tradition", and anyone wishing to inform themselves about true Islam would be well-advised to read the books of Seyyed Hossein Nasr or William Chittick.

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