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Fatima is Fatima

by : Dr. Ali Shari'ati

Back You are here: Home Books The Family Section Five

Section Five

Section Five

Challenges Facing the Family and Society
Divorce Yesterday and Today

It was usual in Islamic countries for marriages to take place in a context of common sense and compatibility. It was the family who would find the appropriate partner with regard to religion, moral behaviour, financial status and physical character. For this reason, marriages on the whole were successful.

The family's choosing for their offspring did not negate the choice and contentment of the prospective couple but rather confirmed it and steered it in the required direction, because of the families knowledge and links to other family circles was more than that of the young man or woman. Further more, the family by possessing a means of exerting pressure on those who wished to divorce could act to prevent splits taking place. Hence the families acted in truth as a kind of safety valve against the recklessness and haste of youth as in the Qur'anic verse :

'Then appoint two arbiters, one from his family, one from hers; if they seek to set things to rights then Allah will cause their reconciliation' 80.

This God granted success as with everything else that He causes in this world must be preceded by human action, for God has disdained to run affairs other than through their causes.

I have been told by one of the persons responsible for marriage and divorce in the city of Karbala forty years ago that he only presided over the divorce of one person a year. Today however, now that society has taken up with Western values or has plunged into Westernisation and the misplaced imitation of its laws and customs, it is the youngsters who choose their partners in isolation and without consulting their parents. It is evident now that the criteria for marriage is a mixture of emotion, sexual fervour, inexperience, and immaturity. This is fuelled by the pressure of such values and their false notions of freedom and its attack on authentic customs which it describes as being reactionary or backward and senile. Hence a large proportion of marriages now end in separation and divorce.

For those that fall into these traps the calamities are great.

For these reasons it is imperative that we return to the Islamic lifestyle of happiness which our forefathers lived in the lands of Islam until half a century ago.

Conciliation is Best

The prevalence of divorce in the latter half of this century 81 is attributable to a number of reasons including :

1. A short sighted and arbitrary way of choosing a partner for life because of emotions and the like.

2. A tendency towards over expectation by one partner of the other and an excess of idealising.

3. The pressure of man made laws limiting real freedoms, opportunities for work, travel and obtaining free goods and so on.

4. The spread of exhibitionism, social mingling, licence and dissipation, whereby a man can find someone apparently more beautiful than his wife and a woman can find a man more preferable than her husband.

5. The decline of the restraint promoted by religion and morals and a moving away from the Islamic way.

However, this notwithstanding, it is imperative that marital problems be solved without resort to divorce, for divorce is described as being the most detestable of all that God has made lawful.

The emissary of God has said: 'There is no permissible thing more beloved in the sight of God than marriage, nor is there any permissible thing more detestable in the sight of God than divorce' 82.

Imam Al-Sadiq has said: 'God loves the house in which there is matrimony and hates the house in which there is divorce for there is nothing more detestable in the sight of God than divorce' 83.

In another tradition from Imam Al-Sadiq he commands: 'Marry and do not divorce for the heavenly throne verily shakes as a consequence of divorce' 84.

Why then has God not outlawed divorce altogether?

The answer is that the home may have become an unbearable hell on earth. Alternatively, many things may add up to make reconciliation impossible.

In the case of the Christian church when it forbade divorce, millions of men and women remained partner less, after finding their natures incompatible. Hence corruption and licence and perversity flourished as each partner found, in the air of poisonous freedoms promulgated by the West, all manner of means to prostitution and adultery put in front of them while the media and advertising egg them on.

There is no doubt that if there were present in society institutions dedicated to conciliation and trained conciliators together with charitable bodies, these problems which cause damage to the family, harm the children and come between relatives and at times end up in murder and suicide would certainly reduce.

Certain divorce lawyers who do not heed God and do not experience any barrier from government or society can exploit the will of one of the partners to separate. He then fills his coffers at the expense of religion, conscience and morals. If he were to heed God however he would make haste to resolve matters between them, as in the Qur'anic verse: 'Conciliation is best' 86.

Polygamy - A Spurious Crisis

The law of the universe runs according to the perfect balance of pairs, as in the Qur'anic verse: 'We have created of everything in pairs so that perhaps you may take heed'. 87

However, this does not necessarily mean equality in terms of numbers but rather compatibility in terms of type, whereby each pair is ensured of fulfilling its natural role in life. For example in the world of ants and bees, the queen capable of procreation is one only, whereas the males which compete with each other for the prize of fertilising her are many. This is true of most of the animal kingdom.

Human beings by virtue of being alive like the remainder of living things in this existence are no exception to this rule. Granted, they have their own particularities but so does every other living thing, and just as the divine will has ensured for human beings perfect compatibility in terms of type, as with the rest of existents, it has also defined and shaped humanity in a way particular to itself whereby fulfilment, concord and continuance are ensured, each having its own proof and wisdom.

Among the teachings of Imam Sadiq to Al-Mafdal Ibn 'Amr are his words: Humanity was not created masculine and feminine except in order to be able to reproduce ... Had an organism given birth to males only or females only then reproduction would cease and the species would become extinct. Therefore some of the offspring came as males and others as females so that reproduction would continue and not be cut off'. 88

Imam Al-Rida, speaking about the prohibition of adultery and of violating the law of nature which was created by God to harmonise with the human species and his needs, said: 'God has prohibited adultery because of the corruption it can cause, from murder to loss of lineage and neglect to the children's upbringing and corruption of inheritances and other forms of corruption'. 89

It is possible to posit no more than the following four different marital systems between the two sexes :

1. Complete sexual freedom.
2. Polyandry.
3. Monogamy.
4. Polygamy.

There is no doubt that the first two are both invalid from an intellectual and religious point of view as the preceding report from Imam Rida points out. There only remains the latter two.

Statistics and surveys show that women outnumber men, particularly around the ages of puberty and sexual maturity despite the fact that some statistics in some countries show a relative parity between the sexes.

As to why women should outnumber men, that is one of the secrets of nature. However, its wisdom should not be lost on anyone who reflects upon it.

This phenomenon also gives rise to the fact that women are more long lived in comparison to men, perhaps as men are generally occupied with heavy work which can shorten their lives. Men are more often affected by wars and imprisonment or long absences; which necessitates the right of divorce by their wives in religious law, or by the men if they know that they will not be able to maintain the relationship because of imprisonment or the like.

Furthermore, those who are marrying a second, third or fourth wife are obviously not marrying a woman who is already married but one who is free of a husband.

What then is the intellectual problem with polygamy?

If we do not solve this problem through polygamy, then we will either see women without husbands or we will see them taking lovers both of which are in opposition to the balances of rationale and of nature.

Since the beginning of Islam, and for a long time there was no barrier to polygamy. It was in fact totally normal. Disputes amongst wives were as seldom as disputes amongst sisters or between mother and daughter. Then however, the matter became corrupted; by men through their oppression towards women in the context of polygamy, and by women because of their desire for favouritism and being singled out for benefits. Then the majority of women began to detest the concept of polygamy in many Islamic countries, even though polygamy was practised without mishap in countries like Chad and other African countries.

It is then necessary to adjust this situation so that so many women are no longer condemned to spinster hood which is one of the greatest forms of oppression against women.

If the man were to die, then society should take care to facilitate her marriage to someone else or, in the case of divorce, to try to bring about her return to her former husband where possible as is prevalent in countries practising polygamy.

The Prophet married the greater number of his wives after their divorces from former husbands or after the death of their first husbands as was practised from the beginning of Islam and for centuries onward and is still practised now in certain countries.

Is it not a kind of injustice that a young woman, or one who has lost her husband through divorce or by some accident, should remain single when she is a human being with emotions relating to sex, abode, children and so on. In the main though, the corrupted customs of some people deny her all of this. Customs though if transcended will fall. All that is needed is an agent - a powerful current in society, and an authentic culture - to transcend this situation.

The Crisis of Celibacy

Today in Islamic countries, women are suffering from social oppression since these countries have adopted corrupt foreign traditions in this vital area of life. Society oppresses them by delaying their marriage 90, by preventing their re-marriage after the death of their husbands, or when the numbers of unmarried women are great, or for many other reasons. All of this needs to be transcended and overcome with the return to the land of Islamic tradition which conforms to nature and the intellect. It is also imperative that society be educated in harmonising the characters of the married couple as a precaution against marital breakdown, separation and divorce.

This problem of the abundance of celibates or single women may be solved by charitable organisations and social institutions which specialise in the demands of this crisis and the numerous financial, medical and psychological problems associated with it. A woman who is celibate or unmarried is subject to being exposed to physical and mental illness as medical science has shown. In many cases she may not have any means of subsistence 91 and turns to prostitution or other activities like thieving.

Is it right that a large section of the community remain in this state?

Simplifying marriage together with the practise of polygamy and the application of public funds in solving financial problems and the aforementioned laws of precedence 92 and land 93 adds up to an Islamic solution to this problem. However because of the absence of vital Islamic law there is no alternative to charitable organisations and communal weddings as a way towards solving these problems as much as possible. From drops of water and grains of sand oceans and deserts are formed.

A group of friends of mine in Teheran saw to the marriage of 1000 young couples at the one time. The same thing happened with another group in the Eastern province of the Hijaz when they organised the marriage of 300 people.

It is clear that: 'The complexity of a task should not prevent the attempt of achievable tasks' 94 and 'What is not totally realisable as a whole should not be discarded as a whole.' 95 , these being among the best principles with regard to these matters.

Birth Control; Who is behind it?

The emissary of Allah has said: 'Marry, procreate and proliferate!' 96 He also said: 'Marry, procreate and proliferate so that I may be proud of you as a nation on the day of judgement even if the child is stillborn'. 97

These two traditions contain laws albeit in the form of recommendations which like all recommendations should only be neglected in the case of strict necessity. The night prayer for example is a recommended act which does not lose its status as such except through necessity. The same goes for proliferation of offspring.

What is taking place today however, goes against this completely. The idea of proliferation has become foreign amongst Muslims whilst the notion of birth control, previously abominable to Muslims, has taken its place. Even in the most desperate periods of Islamic history 98, no promoter of these ideas which go against the intellect and nature was ever witnessed. It is true that certain rulers used to perpetrate gross acts but the law of Islam was in force - generally - throughout society where the economy was Islamic as was the rest of society. Today however, after the appearance of Western colonialism in our lands everything has been overturned. Forbidden things have become permissible. Gambling is commonplace. Taxes and duties, geographical borders, confiscation of freedoms, oppression and terrorism and prevention from fulfilling the Hajj pilgrimage have become permissible. In this atmosphere of opposition to Islam comes a call from the West for Muslims to practice birth control 99 using the argument of the dwindling economic level of the family and the fall in GNP of the countries concerned which are unable to fulfil their commitments to provide enough schools and hospitals and other social services. At the same time they themselves in the West are encouraging their children to marry early and propagate. 100 This call for marriage and childbearing begins with the instruction of children at primary level upwards. There exists amongst Western leaders a great fear that the European nations are on their way to extinction if the negative trend in population growth continues. They also know that the most important cause of this trend lies in the promotion of birth control which swept through Europe during the 1960's and sowed in the European mindset the notion that having children is an erroneous act. Europeans have continued to carry this notion with them until their birth rate has dwindled.

Today they have rediscovered that the error does not lie in the act of bearing children but in the promotion of birth control. 101 Unfortunately they have exported this call to us after having experienced the tragedy of it themselves. They have come to the Islamic world to call Muslims to birth control.

Let us examine the goals of the West in their call for birth control. The goal is to drive Muslims to decline. In this they have found a most effective and devastating weapon capable of weakening Muslims after the failure of all their other weapons. We wonder why the West does not demand the Jews in Palestine to practise birth control. Why do we not see the Jews paying the slightest heed to this call? Why is the state of Israel strongly encouraging childbirth so that it has become commonplace according to visiting journalists to see pregnant women walking the streets or working in shops or teaching or working as policewomen? Why does the state of Israel prohibit birth control while we Muslims allow it and some of us think that it is compulsory like fasting and prayer. The case of birth control is political propaganda aimed at weakening Muslims. It has no connection whatsoever with economics despite what is said.

We wonder: why birth control? Is it that the laws of Allah have changed in the universe? Have nature and Allah's creation been replaced? Or is it that the laws of Allah apply only to one particular epoch rather than another? Is it because we lack lands or water or resources or opportunities?

The Islamic world comprises vast lands suitable for farming and developing. 102 It also has a great store of water and is furnished with unquantifiable resources and potentials.

It is therefore wrong to bang the drums of birth control when there is no need for it. 103

Iraq for example, which used to be called 'The Fertile Land' supported 40 million people during the 'Abbasid period according to some historians. Nowadays, Iraq's population is no more than half that figure. A country like Sudan would probably be able to feed the entire African continent from the arable land and water resources it has 104. The same could be said of the rest of the Islamic lands which own a tremendous amount of agricultural, mineral and oil wealth.

Where are these resources going to? Why are these riches stagnating? These are the questions which require answers. This is the problem which needs to be solved. All other problems arise from this problem. The population explosion, the economic crisis, underdevelopment, and the lack of political vision all stem from the tyranny, oppression, dictatorship, and despotism of the rulers, their control over Muslims, and their running of the affairs of the land according to their vain desires and not according to sound planning and the interests of the people.

One such ruler in an Islamic land - Saddam - has, according to some statistics, stolen 300 billion dollars from the people, not to mention the wealth he has destroyed in internecine wars. If we add to that the embezzlements of other rulers across history in Islamic lands then how much of the wealth of Muslims has been squandered on the desires and whims of these rulers?

Where there is someone stealing the people's sustenance he must be called to account and confronted with the problem and told he is a thief and demands made for the return of the peoples wealth to them. We should not demand that the people suffer hunger to tell them to restrain from marriage and having children because there is not enough food to go round.

A large portion of the wealth of Islamic lands has gone to the countries of the West. Statistics show that one-fifth of humanity (those living in the industrialised nations) consume four-fifths of the world's wealth. The remaining four-fifths of humanity - the poor living in what is known as the third world - only consume a mere one-fifth of the world's resources.

Herein lies the catastrophe.

The lack of justice in the world and the neglect of Islamic laws of development like the aforementioned two laws of precedence 105 and ownership of land. 106 The stranglehold of governments and their control over affairs. The excess of bureaucrats who deny people's freedoms. Poor distribution of wealth. The lack of a vociferous opposition. The poor peoples are battered and their nobility destroyed. We are denied a voice, then we are denied food and now today we are told to stop having children. The problem of progeny can be solved within the context of an Islamic system based on justice and pluralism. Through justice, Islam ends poverty and closes the gap between rich and poor, ruler and ruled. Through pluralism, the people are given a strong voice with which to speak freely.

The Islamic view of mankind differs to that of other systems. Some systems see man as a heavy burden and views every newborn child as an unwelcome guest and yet another mouth to feed. Islam however, views man as a vital and active force. The Qur'an sees man as the most powerful creation upon the face of the earth and sees within him the secret of advancement in the world: '...Man can have nothing but what he strives for; and that his striving will be in sight; then he will be rewarded with a reward complete'. 108

Islam sees in each new child as a form of progress and advancement. In the words attributed to Imam 'Ali :

'Do you think that you are a mere germ? While within you is concealed the greater realm.' 109

The prophet sees in every birth a new reason to be proud before the other nations of the world. Even if this child was stillborn and had no life. Was it not he who said: 'Marry, procreate and proliferate so that I may be proud of you as a nation on the day of judgement even if the child is stillborn'. 110

The newborn may become a scholar or an inventor or an engineer or anything else. He will add to life his potential for work and add a new value and genius to history. Life is not built by tools and machines but by the efforts of men. Life is not run by computers and satellites but by the intelligence of mankind and every new infant is a new intellect, a new arm and a new step forward. Why then all this fear? Has not Allah promised us and His promise is good and true: 'We shall provide sustenance for them and for you'. 111

He has also said: 'Marry those among you who are single, and the virtuous ones among your slaves, male or female: If they are in poverty, Allah will give them means out of his grace'. 112

Marriage then eradicates poverty and children are a cause of increased wealth. This is the logic of the Qur'an and the Sacred Law. As for those who believe the opposite of this, believing that marriage and children diminish wealth, then they are far from Allah and the Qur'an and from the logic of the intellect and wisdom.

Section Six

The Role of Institutions
Who is Responsible?

In the logic of Islam: ' Each of you is a guardian and each of you are responsible for his guardianship'. 113

Each person has a role and responsibility without which society has no basis. Since the family is the nucleus of society and the criterion for its advancement or decline rests with it, then it must have a great role in this guardianship.

Girls of marriageable age, divorcees, widows, marital disputes, and for that matter orphans are all subjects which require careful consideration so that wherever possible their problems may be solved. This may be achieved through facilitating the marriage of single persons or through reconciling those parties who have separated. By taking care of orphans and meeting their material and spiritual needs and giving them a good practical and intellectual education.

In materialistic societies, which includes, in this age, Islamic societies, these problems are widespread 114 and individuals do not receive the attention they deserve.

Hence all those who have faith and hope in Allah and the day of resurrection, and who contemplate the reform of society should concern themselves with assisting women and orphans. The emissary of Allah has said: ' Have mercy on the weak, on women and on orphans'.

Is it not the case that any one of us could be susceptible to these problems? So if we do not have mercy on those less fortunate than ourselves we may not be shown mercy when we or our children are in a similar position and in need. In the Qur'anic verse: ' Let those (disposing of an estate) have the same fear in their minds as they would have for their own if they had left a helpless family behind. Let them fear Allah and speak appropriately '. 115

In the prophetic tradition: ' Have mercy upon those who are on the Earth and He who is in the heavens will have mercy upon you ' 116

The parents are responsible for themselves and the welfare of their family. Society, including intellectuals and capitalists, is also responsible for supporting its elements and families. The greater responsibility falls on the government and the state 117 as is in the prophetic tradition. There is also a great deal of reward due to whoever works towards the marriage of single Muslims.

The prophetic traditions are full of special mentions of motherhood, childhood and the ill, as well as the fact that it is a requirement of Allah's words to 'help one another in righteousness and piety' 118, as well as that of nature and intellect.

Charitable organisations are among the best solutions to numerous problems relating to the family and society and indeed in any area of life in that they :

a). Stimulate the activities of individuals or similar organisations because they tend to be pluralistic and encourage the activities of others.

b). Can be a source of support for people as the reliance upon a group is greater than that of an individual.

c). The obstinate individual will find no room therein for megalomania.

d). Each individual will be heading in the right direction where there is consultation and a meeting of minds as the most intelligent person is he who combines his mind with those of others.

e). Wherever there is competition between a single group of individuals, each one strives to be 'bigger and better' so that things improve in quality and quantity in a way impossible for a single person working alone to achieve however perfect and sincere he was. The exception to this is only in the case of those 'restrained from error' by Allah. Hence we find that the prophet, himself impeccable, saying: ' Oh people consult me in matters' 119. and before that in the Qur'anic verses: ' Consult them in affairs' 120, and '... those who conduct their affairs by mutual consultation' 121, and '... by mutual consent and consultation ' 122, and so on. Therefore there is a need for charitable organisations in all areas of life. 123. 124

The root of the problem lies in the substitution by the West and its agent rulers of the laws of Islam which used to guarantee our vitality and progress in life. 'He calls you to what will let you live'. 125

Therefore committees to institute change should be set up to bring back the vital laws of Islam. Otherwise our life will be nothing but strife and oppression, as in the Qur'anic verse: 'But whosoever turns away from the remembrance of me shall find a straitened existence'. 126

It is true that the man who says he does not believe in the law of gravity and throws himself from a high place will still find his bones broken. Or the man who says he does not believe in Archimedes principle and throws himself in the sea without knowing how to swim, will still drink water until he dies. The same goes for the laws of society, economics, politics, education and the family as Islam confirms.

In so far as salvation lies in the return of these vital laws, then the remit of the committees for change should be to substitute, law by law, each of the false laws with the correct laws. In this way, Allah may look upon Muslims with compassion and rescue them from the backwardness and confusion they now experience.

Another way of supporting the policies of substitution and facilitation is to form groups to make use of free media and equal rights to implement the aforementioned two groups. Similarly help must be sought from philanthropists and charitable bodies to collect funds to meet people's needs as far as possible.

All of this is possible if the concern and efforts of reformists and committed individuals is combined after which Allah may cause something to happen.

It is clearly possible to benefit from good Muslim businessmen in the facilitation and substitution operation. Traders were previously the jewel in the crown in the change that took place in favour of Islam and Muslims. It is capital, power, and knowledge that direct society towards the better or God forbid the worse.

It appears in the traditions that: ' Islam was built on three things; the wealth of Khadijah, the protection of Abu Talib, and the morals of the Prophet'. It is these three that helped to foment the rise of Islam.

In another tradition from the Prophet: ' There are two groups in my nation which if righteous so will my nation be righteous and if corrupt so will my nation be corrupt. They are the scholars and the leaders.'

If money is not mentioned in this then it is probably due to the fact that money is secondary to the two other things. As in when Imam Hussein was killed through the power of Zayad, the edict of Shureih, and the wealth of the public treasury which had been directed by the powers that were and the edict towards evil and tyranny.

Muslim traders have the ability to raise the status of Islam and deepen it and maintain it as a barrier against the vast currents over the ages. Islamic charitable institutions be they schools, mosques, shrines, or libraries mostly come from Muslim businessmen. So if they enter the picture, God willing, the change and substitution will become easier. The aforementioned committees should also take part in planning the development operation. Businesses like agriculture, industry, commerce and heritage may also be able to create those committees in this way. Naturally all arms, drugs, and trade in other forbidden articles should be at all costs avoided for Allah is not obeyed through disobedience. 127

There are four sources of funds for the public treasury: The Khums, The Zakat, The Jizya, The Kharraj each of which are discussed in detail in the books of jurisprudence. These sources can fulfil the needs of the people and the state making the need for raising public taxes obsolete except in very rare occasions like earthquakes, flooding, famine or drought and this under the supervision of the council of jurists and scholars. The secret to the sufficiency of these four taxes is that Islam places matters in the hands of the people while the responsibility of the state is the supervision and direction of the finances through a small number of specialised officials. This is dealt with in greater detail in other books on the subject. Use must be made of the great potential energies which should be rallied to productive work instead of wasting them in needless bureaucracy where they may be dispensed with. The treasury undertakes to fulfil the public's needs including the needs of those who wish to marry but are poor.

In the event of there being no public treasury as is the situation now in Islamic lands, then the principle of 'that which cannot be fully realised should not be completely neglected' must be put into effect through charitable bodies setting up funds to collect donations and distribute them according to the needs of the public including youngsters who wish to marry. 128 ,or His words' ... do not take those outside your ranks into your intimacy: they will not fail to corrupt you. They only desire for you to suffer'. 129 or His words: ' ... and consult them in the affairs of moment ...' 130 , or His words: ' ... so that (wealth) does not merely circulate amongst a rich few ... 131

and so many other verses and traditions? So that now the Muslim stands between two points; 'bemoaning the state of his religion and his way of life' 132 . Whereas Imam Kashif Al-Ghata when he visited Iran said in the prologue to his book 'I did not see one man or woman either weeping or complaining' (meaning here unnatural weeping or complaining)'. Similarly I do not recall any of that either in Iraq before the second world war where Muslims were not yet subject to Eastern and Western laws.

Today though after having chosen for themselves to be led by the Western agenda and have become a confirmation of Allah's words: 'But whosoever turns away from the remembrance of me shall find a straitened existence' 133

Calamity has struck even the righteous among them according to Allah Almighty's words: ' ... and fear a trial which may not only affect the wrongdoers amongst you '... 134

I now offer some examples of the oppression and distress which have surrounded Afghanistan, Iraq and the Gulf. These are by way of example only for every Islamic land has been struck by this plague.

A certain party in Afghanistan plants opium for export to neighbouring countries and with the proceeds buys weapons with which to kill the people of the country. In this there are at least five criminal acts :

1) Misuse of the blessings of Allah; good land that should be used for good things is used for evil things.

2) The exploitation of workers and means of production for bad ends instead of for righteous ends.

3) Wastage of wealth on tools of destruction, bloodletting and impoverishment instead of being used for building and construction and the needs of the people.

4) Causing pain to the people and the neighbouring countries that should be safe from the calamities of a neighbour falling into the trap of addiction and corruption.

5) Destruction of the country: the natural result of the aforementioned is the destruction of the country and the humiliation and impoverishment of the people. This though is only the natural result of the type of ignorance that we have mentioned and the abandonment of the laws of God. In the Qur'anic verse : '... and be not like those who have forgotten God and He made them forget their own souls ...' 135

Then the West puts Saddam in place so he can embezzle more than 800 billion dollars worth of Muslim wealth and do with Iraq and its neighbours such murder, terrorising, imprisonment, torture, war, famine, torment, and economic destruction as has not been witnessed in the whole of history. 136 The crimes of the Mongols, the Tartars and the Hajaj pale into insignificance compared to the crimes of Saddam and his party. The West then makes the Iraqi regime into a tool for terrorising and corrupting the Gulf states and their other neighbours so that they ask for military bases on their soil and buy from the West billions of dollars of arms 137 rather than serving the needs of the people and improving the lifestyle of the country. In this way the Islamic community is in the worst possible state of oppression and distress. 138

There is as we previously said no cure to this other than through a general awareness which is the prelude towards a return to the laws of Islam. For Islam is what will rescue humanity as that Muslim who went to conquer Persia said when Rustum asked him 'What do you want' He said ' We have come to bring the people from obeying other people to obeying Allah and to rescue humanity from the narrowness of the earth to its wideness.
80 The Holy Qur'an: Women (4): 35.

81 The instance of divorce in the Islamic world has shown an unprecedented rise. In Kuwait there is one divorce for every three marriages, 29% of which take place within the first year of marriage, and 67% take place within the first five years of marriage. In Egypt there are 4 million divorced women, .The rate of divorce has risen in recent years to 25%, and the rate of cancelled engagements has risen to 15% while the rate of marriage has fallen to 20%.

82 Supplement to Shi'a Guide; Volume 3; Page 2.

83 Shi'a Guide; Volume 15; Page 267.

84 Shi'a Guide; Volume 15; Page 267.

86 The Holy Qur'an: Women(4):128.

87 The Holy Qur'an: The Winnowing Winds (51): 49.

88 Extracts from The Tawhid of Al-Mafdal Ibn 'Amr Al-Ga'fiyy.

89 Seas of Lights; Volume 6; Page 98.

90 In Egypt for example there are 3.8 million unmarried women over the age of thirty. See issue 1149 of Al-Mujtama' (Society) periodical.

91 Studies show that 70% of the worlds poorest are women. See issue 60 of Al-Khairiyya (Charitable) periodical.

92 Shi'a Guide; Volume 17: Page 382.

93 The Complete Branches of Religion; Volume 5: Page 279.

94 Shi'a Guide; Volume 13; Page 368.

95 Seas of Lights; Volume 59; Page 283.

96 Supplement to Shi'a Guide; Volume 14; Page 152.

97 Ship of the Seas; Volume 1; Page 561.

98 As in the Umayyad, 'Abbasid, or Ottoman states.

99 There are two theories regarding childbirth :
The first is the Malthusian theory of Thomas Robert Malthus which stresses the non-correlation between demographic size and availability of economic resources since the demographic increase is subject to technology whilst economic resources are subject to arithmetic therefore equilibrium cannot be attained except through birth control. In the aftermath of the industrial revolution, Classicists promoted this theory to justify the poor distribution of incomes. In the post second world war period, certain rulers latched on to this theory to excuse the poverty, unemployment and backwardness that prevailed in their countries.
The second theory is growth theory supported by the majority of economists. It says that human behaviour depends upon the social environment and other social factors like values and traditions, and upon the extent to which Nature can be controlled, and upon the advancement of modes of production, and upon the nature of the prevailing economic system. These factors interact to influence human demographic behaviour. In other words, the absence of equilibrium between demographic growth and the nature of the economic and social system inhibits growth and prosperity. This theory believes that the best way to cure population growth is economic growth and advancement and social justice, the people not being responsible for their poverty but rather the state being responsible due to poor distribution of wealth, the failure of growth and the prevalence of unemployment due to laws which inhibit freedoms.
The Malthusian theory did not meet with any success and its overwhelming failure was proven in the countries of Europe. Hence voices have been raised in the West in criticism of the concept of birth control. Scholars say that people spontaneously are inclined to keep their numbers to reasonable levels when the standard of living rises and the economic and cultural way of life changes. The voices of criticism among Western scholars and intellectuals convinced the powers that be to bring in laws to increase reproduction rates. It may be wondered what the hidden factors were which motivated certain regimes to adopt birth control. In answer we would say that these regimes are of two types; local and Western. Local regimes have an interest in birth control as they lay the responsibility for backwardness at the door of the people and cover up their own failure to deliver economic and social growth and draw a veil over their own liabilities from bureaucracy through to corruption which contribute to the inefficacy of the growth cycle. Western regimes have an interest in birth control in the third world making them the big players on the world stage and diminishing the dependence of the third world on warranted international assistance and loans and preventing a flood of population from the third world into their countries. In addition to these factors, the application of the theory of growth in the third world means delving into three areas that the Western states would rather not delve; a).The lessening of consumption in the West, b).Third world debt, c). Transfer of technology from advanced nations to other nations. [Adapted from article called 'Two Schools of Thought in Dealing with the Population Problem' by Fahmy Haueidi].

100 The German government spends millions yearly to encourage childrearing. Scholars believe that women only become fully matured after one or two childbirths and that many women who have not given birth are not as well balanced as mothers. This in addition to the fact that they become more nervous than the mothers. The well-known French physician Petard says: Frankly a woman will not achieve good health unless she becomes a mother.

101 To realise the extent of Western fears about the dwindling of their populations it is enough to monitor newspapers concerned with social affairs and attend important conferences on demography in Europe. In 1988 the Danish press announced that the Danish government had imported 1000 Philipino girls for purposes of childrearing on the premise that Philipino girls are more inclined towards love, procreation and children.

102 The Islamic world covers approximately 30% of the earth's surface amounting to 32.7 million square kilometres which equals 3.5 times the area of the United States and China.

103 Certain people may cling to birth control for the following reasons: a). The parents may be incapable of bringing up their children. b). The 'happy life' may be one with few children and dependants. The answer to the first is that the history of Islam from the flight of the prophet until now confirms that the parents have the capacity to bring up their children and indeed upbringing is not confined to the parents alone but the whole of society takes part in it. In answer to the second, the truth is quite the opposite - the preferable life comes from having many children because life progresses through co-operation and the many necessitate more co-operation in quality and quantity.

104 The arable land of the Sudan comes to about 300 million fedans (about1200 million square kilometres) of which only 30 million fedans is currently cultivated.

105 Shi'a Guide; Volume 17: Page 328.

106 The Complete Branches of Religion; Volume 5: Page 279.

108 The Holy Qur'an: The Star (53): 39-40.

109 The Diwan of Imam 'Ali.

110 Ship of the Seas; Volume 1; Page 561.

111 The Holy Qur'an: The Night Journey (17): 31.

112 The Holy Qur'an: Light (24): 32.

113 Seas of Lights; Volume 72; Page 36.

114 In Egypt for example there are 15 million young men and women of marriageable age who are not yet married. (Al-Mujtam'a magazine; Issue 1149).

115 The Holy Qur'an: Woman (4): 9.

116 Nahj Al-Fasaha: Page 51

117 Seas of Lights; Volume 33; Page 374.

118 The Holy Qur'an: The Table Spread (5): 2.

119 Seas of Lights; Volume 19; Page 218.

120 The Holy Qur'an: The House of Emran (3): 159.

121 The Holy Qur'an: Consultation (42): 38.

122 The Holy Qur'an: The Cow (2): 233. The author has dealt with counsel in the book 'Counsel in Islam' . The author's son Ayatollah Al-Sayyid Murtada Al-Shirazi discusses it and its doctrinal and legal evidences in detail in his valuable book; Counsel of Jurists.

123 See Shi'a Guide; Volume 12; Page 129.

124 Seas of Lights; Volume 105; Page 168.

125 The Holy Qur'an: Public Estates (8): 24.

126 The Holy Qur'an: (the letters) T.H. (20): 124.

127 This refers to the welfare system devised and implemented by the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad, 14 centuries ago. (Editor's note)

128 The Holy Qur'an: The Groups (39): 9.

129 The Holy Qur'an: The House of 'Emran (3): 118.

130 The Holy Qur'an: The House of Emran (3): 159.

131 The Holy Qur'an: Banishment (59): 7.

132 Seas of Lights; Volume 52; Page 312.

133 The Holy Qur'an: (the letters) T.H. (20): 124.

134 The Holy Qur'an: Public Estates (8): 25.

135 The Holy Qur'an: Banishment (59):19.

136 As an example, Issue 1364 of the Iraqi magazine 'Alef Ba' mentioned that Iraq was home to 32,000,400 date palms in the year 1952 , 13 million of which were in Basra and giving 650 types of date. This number fell to 2,997,600 date palms in 1989. In recent years it has dwindled to the smallest number possible.

137 The volume of military expenditure for the Gulf States in 1993 reached 60 billion dollars.

138 Statistics show that loans against the Arab States including the Gulf States to the end of 1993 reached 194 billion dollars the interest upon which loans reached 18 billion dollars yearly.