Sunday, May 30, 2010

Young. British. Female. Muslim.

May 29, 2010

Young. British. Female. Muslim.

Thousands of young British women living in the UK decide to convert to Islam - here are some of their stories

                                  From left: Sukina Douglas, Catherine Heseltine, Aqeela Lindsay
                                             Wheeler, Catherine Huntley and Joanne Bailey

It’s a controversial time for British women to be wearing the hijab, the basic Muslim headscarf. Last month, Belgium became the first European country to pass legislation to ban the burka (the most concealing of Islamic veils), calling it a “threat” to female dignity, while France looks poised to follow suit. In Italy earlier this month, a Muslim woman was fined €500 (£430) for wearing the Islamic veil outside a post office.
And yet, while less than 2 per cent of the population now attends a Church of England service every week, the number of female converts to Islam is on the rise. At the London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park, women account for roughly two thirds of the “New Muslims” who make their official declarations of faith there – and most of them are under the age of 30.
Conversion statistics are frustratingly patchy, but at the time of the 2001 Census, there were at least 30,000 British Muslim converts in the UK. According to Kevin Brice, of the Centre for Migration Policy Research, Swansea University, this number may now be closer to 50,000 – and the majority are women. “Basic analysis shows that increasing numbers of young, university-educated women in their twenties and thirties are converting to Islam,” confirms Brice.
“Our liberal, pluralistic 21st-century society means we can choose our careers, our politics – and we can pick and choose who we want to be spiritually,” explains Dr Mohammad S. Seddon, lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Chester. We’re in an era of the “religious supermarket”, he says.
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
Joanne Bailey
Solicitor, 30, Bradford
“The first time I wore my hijab into the office, I was so nervous, I stood outside on the phone to my friend for ages going, ‘What on earth is everyone going to say?’ When I walked in, a couple of people asked, ‘Why are you wearing that scarf? I didn’t know you were a Muslim.’
“I’m the last person you’d expect to convert to Islam: I had a very sheltered, working-class upbringing in South Yorkshire. I’d hardly even seen a Muslim before I went to university.
“In my first job at a solicitor’s firm in Barnsley, I remember desperately trying to play the role of the young, single, career woman: obsessively dieting, shopping and going to bars – but I never felt truly comfortable.
“Then one afternoon in 2004 everything changed: I was chatting to a Muslim friend over coffee, when he noticed the little gold crucifix around my neck. He said, ‘Do you believe in God, then?’ I wore it more for fashion than religion and said, ‘No, I don’t think so,’ and he started talking about his faith.
“I brushed him off at first, but his words stuck in my mind. A few days later, I found myself ordering a copy of the Koran on the internet.
“It took me a while to work up the courage to go to a women’s social event run by the Leeds New Muslims group. I remember hovering outside the door thinking, ‘What the hell am I doing here?’ I imagined they would be dressed head-to-toe in black robes: what could I, a 25-year-old, blonde English girl, possibly have in common with them?
“But when I walked in, none of them fitted the stereotype of the oppressed Muslim housewife; they were all doctors, teachers and psychiatrists. I was struck by how content and secure they seemed. It was meeting these women, more than any of the books I read, that convinced me that I wanted to become a Muslim.
“After four years, in March 2008, I made the declaration of faith at a friend’s house. At first, I was anxious that I hadn’t done the right thing, but I soon relaxed into it – a bit like starting a new job.
“A few months later, I sat my parents down and said, ‘I’ve got something to tell you.’ There was a silence and my mum said, ‘You’re going to become Muslim, aren’t you?’ She burst into tears and kept asking things like, ‘What happens when you get married? Do you have to cover up? What about your job?’ I tried to reassure her that I’d still be me, but she was concerned for my welfare.
“Contrary to what most people think, Islam doesn’t oppress me; it lets me be the person that I was all along. Now I’m so much more content and grateful for the things I’ve got. A few months ago, I got engaged to a Muslim solicitor I met on a training course. He has absolutely no problem with my career, but I do agree with the Islamic perspective on the traditional roles for men and women. I want to look after my husband and children, but I also want my independence. I’m proud to be British and I’m proud to be Muslim – and I don’t see them as conflicting in any way.”
Aqeela Lindsay Wheeler
Housewife and mother, 26, Leicester
“As a teenager I thought all religion was pathetic. I used to spend every weekend getting drunk outside the leisure centre, in high-heeled sandals and miniskirts. My view was: what’s the point in putting restrictions on yourself? You only live once.
“At university, I lived the typical student existence, drinking and going clubbing, but I’d always wake up the next morning with a hangover and think, what’s the point?
“It wasn’t until my second year that I met Hussein. I knew he was a Muslim, but we were falling in love, so I brushed the whole issue of religion under the carpet. But six months into our relationship, he told me that being with me was ‘against his faith’.
“I was so confused. That night I sat up all night reading two books on Islam that Hussein had given me. I remember bursting into tears because I was so overwhelmed. I thought, ‘This could be the whole meaning of life.’ But I had a lot of questions: why should I cover my head? Why can’t I eat what I like?
“I started talking to Muslim women at university and they completely changed my view. They were educated, successful – and actually found the headscarf liberating. I was convinced, and three weeks later officially converted to Islam.
“When I told my mum a few weeks later, I don’t think she took it seriously. She made a few comments like, ‘Why would you wear that scarf? You’ve got lovely hair,’ but she didn’t seem to understand what it meant.
“My best friend at university completely turned on me: she couldn’t understand how one week I was out clubbing, and the next I’d given everything up and converted to Islam. She was too close to my old life, so I don’t regret losing her as a friend.
“I chose the name Aqeela because it means ‘sensible and intelligent’ – and that’s what I was aspiring to become when I converted to Islam six years ago. I became a whole new person: everything to do with Lindsay, I’ve erased from my memory.
“The most difficult thing was changing the way I dressed, because I was always so fashion-conscious. The first time I tried on the hijab, I remember sitting in front of the mirror, thinking, ‘What am I doing putting a piece of cloth over my head? I look crazy!’ Now I’d feel naked without it and only occasionally daydream about feeling the wind blow through my hair. Once or twice, I’ve come home and burst into tears because of how frumpy I feel – but that’s just vanity.
“It’s a relief not to feel that pressure any more. Wearing the hijab reminds me that all I need to do is serve God and be humble. I’ve even gone through phases of wearing the niqab [face veil] because I felt it was more appropriate – but it can cause problems, too.
“When people see a white girl wearing a niqab they assume I’ve stuck my fingers up at my own culture to ‘follow a bunch of Asians’. I’ve even had teenage boys shout at me in the street, ‘Get that s*** off your head, you white bastard.’ After the London bombings, I was scared to walk about in the streets for fear of retaliation.
“For the most part, I have a very happy life. I married Hussein and now we have a one-year-old son, Zakir. We try to follow the traditional Muslim roles: I’m foremost a housewife and mother, while he goes out to work. I used to dream of having a successful career as a psychologist, but now it’s not something I desire.
“Becoming a Muslim certainly wasn’t an easy way out. This life can sometimes feel like a prison, with so many rules and restrictions, but we believe that we will be rewarded in the afterlife.”
Catherine Heseltine
Nursery school teacher, 31, North London
“If you’d asked me at the age of 16 if I’d like to become a Muslim, I would have said, ‘No thanks.’ I was quite happy drinking, partying and fitting in with my friends.
“Growing up in North London, we never practised religion at home; I always thought it was slightly old-fashioned and irrelevant. But when I met my future husband, Syed, in the sixth form, he challenged all my preconceptions. He was young, Muslim, believed in God – and yet he was normal. The only difference was that, unlike most teenage boys, he never drank.
“A year later, we were head over heels in love, but we quickly realised: how could we be together if he was a Muslim and I wasn’t?
“Before meeting Syed, I’d never actually questioned what I believed in; I’d just picked up my casual agnosticism through osmosis. So I started reading a few books on Islam out of curiosity.
“In the beginning, the Koran appealed to me on an intellectual level; the emotional and spiritual side didn’t come until later. I loved its explanations of the natural world and discovered that 1,500 years ago, Islam gave women rights that they didn’t have here in the West until relatively recently. It was a revelation.
“Religion wasn’t exactly a ‘cool’ thing to talk about, so for three years I kept my interest in Islam to myself. But in my first year at university, Syed and I decided to get married – and I knew it was time to tell my parents. My mum’s initial reaction was, ‘Couldn’t you just live together first?’ She had concerns about me rushing into marriage and the role of women in Muslim households – but no one realised how seriously I was taking my religious conversion. I remember going out for dinner with my dad and him saying, ‘Go on, have a glass of wine. I won’t tell Syed!’ A lot of people assumed I was only converting to Islam to keep his family happy, not because I believed in it.
“Later that year, we had an enormous Bengali wedding, and moved into a flat together – but I certainly wasn’t chained to the kitchen sink. I didn’t even wear the hijab at all to start with, and wore a bandana or a hat instead.
“I was used to getting a certain amount of attention from guys when I went out to clubs and bars, but I had to let that go. I gradually adopted the Islamic way of thinking: I wanted people to judge me for my intelligence and my character – not for the way I looked. It was empowering.
“I’d never been part of a religious minority before, so that was a big adjustment, but my friends were very accepting. Some of them were a bit shocked: ‘What, no drink, no drugs, no men? I couldn’t do that!’ And it took a while for my male friends at university to remember things like not kissing me hello on the cheek any more. I’d have to say, ‘Sorry, it’s a Muslim thing.’
“Over time, I actually became more religious than my husband. We started growing apart in other ways, too. In the end, I think the responsibility of marriage was too much for him; he became distant and disengaged. After seven years together, I decided to get a divorce.
“When I moved back in with my parents, people were surprised I was still wandering around in a headscarf. But if anything, being on my own strengthened my faith: I began to gain a sense of myself as a Muslim, independent of him.
“Islam has given me a sense of direction and purpose. I’m involved with the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, and lead campaigns against Islamophobia, discrimination against women in mosques, poverty and the situation in Palestine. When people call us ‘extremists’ or ‘the dark underbelly of British politics’, I just think it’s ridiculous. There are a lot of problems in the Muslim community, but when people feel under siege it makes progress even more difficult.
“I still feel very much part of white British society, but I am also a Muslim. It has taken a while to fit those two identities together, but now I feel very confident being who I am. I’m part of both worlds and no one can take that away from me.”
Sukina Douglas
Spoken-word poet, 28, London
“Before I found Islam, my gaze was firmly fixed on Africa. I was raised a Rastafarian and used to have crazy-long dreadlocks: one half blonde and the other half black.
“Then, in 2005, my ex-boyfriend came back from a trip to Africa and announced that he’d converted to Islam. I was furious and told him he was ‘losing his African roots’. Why was he trying to be an Arab? It was so foreign to how I lived my life. Every time I saw a Muslim woman in the street I thought, ‘Why do they have to cover up like that? Aren’t they hot?’ It looked oppressive to me.
“Islam was already in my consciousness, but when I started reading the autobiography of Malcolm X at university, something opened up inside me. One day I said to my best friend, Muneera, ‘I’m falling in love with Islam.’ She laughed and said, ‘Be quiet, Sukina!’ She only started exploring Islam to prove me wrong, but soon enough she started believing it, too.
“I was always passionate about women’s rights; there was no way I would have entered a religion that sought to degrade me. So when I came across a book by a Moroccan feminist, it unravelled all my negative opinions: Islam didn’t oppress women; people did.
“Before I converted, I conducted an experiment. I covered up in a long gypsy skirt and headscarf and went out. But I didn’t feel frumpy; I felt beautiful. I realised, I’m not a sexual commodity for men to lust after; I want to be judged for what I contribute mentally.
“Muneera and I took our shahada [declaration of faith] together a few months later, and I cut my dreadlocks off to represent renewal: it was the beginning of a new life.
“Just three weeks after our conversion, the 7/7 bombings happened; suddenly we were public enemy No 1. I’d never experienced racism in London before, but in the weeks after the bombs, people would throw eggs at me and say, ‘Go back to your own country,’ even though this was my country.
“I’m not trying to shy away from any aspect of who I am. Some people dress in Arabian or Pakistani styles, but I’m British and Caribbean, so my national dress is Primark and Topshop, layered with colourful charity-shop scarves.
“Six months after I converted, I got back together with my ex-boyfriend, and now we’re married. Our roles in the home are different, because we are different people, but he would never try to order me around; that’s not how I was raised.
“Before I found Islam, I was a rebel without a cause, but now I have a purpose in life: I can identify my flaws and work towards becoming a better person. To me, being a Muslim means contributing to your society, no matter where you come from.”
Catherine Huntley
Retail assistant, 21, Bournemouth
“My parents always thought I was abnormal, even before I became a Muslim. In my early teens, they’d find me watching TV on a Friday night and say, ‘What are you doing at home? Haven’t you got any friends to go out with?’
“The truth was: I didn’t like alcohol, I’ve never tried smoking and I wasn’t interested in boys. You’d think they’d have been pleased.
“I’ve always been quite a spiritual person, so when I started studying Islam in my first year of GCSEs, something just clicked. I would spend every lunchtime reading about Islam on the computer. I had peace in my heart and nothing else mattered any more. It was a weird experience – I’d found myself, but the person I found wasn’t like anyone else I knew.
“I’d hardly ever seen a Muslim before, so I didn’t have any preconceptions, but my parents weren’t so open-minded. I hid all my Muslim books and headscarves in a drawer, because I was so scared they’d find out.
“When I told my parents, they were horrified and said, ‘We’ll talk about it when you’re 18.’ But my passion for Islam just grew stronger. I started dressing more modestly and would secretly fast during Ramadan. I got very good at leading a double life until one day, when I was 17, I couldn’t wait any longer.
“I sneaked out of the house, put my hijab in a carrier bag and got on the train to Bournemouth. I must have looked completely crazy putting it on in the train carriage, using a wastebin lid as a mirror. When a couple of old people gave me dirty looks, I didn’t care. For the first time in my life, I felt like myself.
“A week after my conversion, my mum came marching into my room and said, ‘Have you got something to tell me?’ She pulled my certificate of conversion out of her pocket. I think they’d rather have found anything else at that point – drugs, cigarettes, condoms – because at least they could have put it down to teenage rebellion.
“I could see the fear in her eyes. She couldn’t comprehend why I’d want to give up my freedom for the sake of a foreign religion. Why would I want to join all those terrorists and suicide bombers?
“It was hard being a Muslim in my parents’ house. I’ll never forget one evening, there were two women in burkas on the front page of the newspaper, and they started joking, ‘That’ll be Catherine soon.’
“They didn’t like me praying five times a day either; they thought it was ‘obsessive’. I’d pray right in front of my bedroom door so my mum couldn’t walk in, but she would always call upstairs, ‘Catherine, do you want a cup of tea?’ just so I’d have to stop.
“Four years on, my grandad still says things like, ‘Muslim women have to walk three steps behind their husbands.’ It gets me really angry, because that’s the culture, not the religion. My fiancé, whom I met eight months ago, is from Afghanistan and he believes that a Muslim woman is a pearl and her husband is the shell that protects her. I value that old-fashioned way of life: I’m glad that when we get married he’ll take care of paying the bills. I always wanted to be a housewife anyway.
“Marrying an Afghan man was the cherry on the cake for my parents. They think I’m completely crazy now. He’s an accountant and actually speaks better English than I do, but they don’t care. The wedding will be in a mosque, so I don’t think they’ll come. It hurts to think I’ll never have that fairytale wedding, surrounded by my family. But I hope my new life with my husband will be a lot happier. I’ll create the home I’ve always wanted, without having to feel the pain of people judging me.”

Friday, May 28, 2010

Why two women witnesses?

Artikel ini agak baik, tapi dalam konteks perundangan syariah di Malaysia, sebagai shahadah ada kebenarannya, tetapi sebagai bayyinah, saya kira Mahkamah Syariah dan Hakim-Hakimnya mungkin ada pandangan lain...
Apa pun ada baiknya kita baca dulu artikel ini.

Why two women witnesses?

By Shamshad.M.Khan
With modifications and additions by Abû 'Iyâd

A question that repeatedly arises is that concerning the 'position of women in Islâm'. Muslim scholars have been able with great success - despite the onslaught of distortion and misrepresentation - to demonstrate the true position of Muslim women; especially of women's liberation in the advent of Islâm. The Islamic ruling on issues such as inheritance, the right to earn, the right to own property etc. have reinforced this position and have been prescribed by Allâh - the One True God - long before western nations even thought of such concepts!
The issue of two women witnesses in place of one man is the concern of the present treatise. As will become clear to the sincere and objective reader, the intellectual status of a Muslim woman is neither marred nor degraded by the commandment that if two Muslim male witnesses are not available then one Muslim male and two Muslim females should be invited to witness. Rather, this injunction is in perfect harmony with the nature and psychology of the woman as will become evident through quotations from psychologists, psychiatrists and medical research.
The passage of the Qur'ân (Baqarah 2:282) in which the above-mentioned requirement is made has usury, capital and debtor difficulties as its theme. Allâh grants guidelines in matters relating to monetary obligations. Then business transactions are dealt with. In this section, the requirement to commit all transactions into writing is stated most emphatically (Reduce them to writing...). The section after this describes the responsibility of the scribe, or in modern parlance, the person responsible for drawing up the agreement. The following section describes the responsibility and the obligation of the person incurring the liability. The section after this explains how if the party that is liable cannot effectively draw up the contract - out of being deficient or weak mentally, or being unable to dictate - then his or her guardian should help draw out the contract and choose two suitable witnesses to observe. It must be understood that this situation arises if it is not possible for the liable party to draw out the contract by him/herself. The condition to put things into writing is still supreme. The next section then explains that two men should be called to witness and if two men are not available (And if there are not two men...) then a man and two women. The legislation then continues and reminds most emphatically that one should not be complacent about putting ALL agreements into writing - no matter whether these agreements are major or minor as this is more JUST in the sight of Allâh and more reliable as evidence. The passage of the Qur'ân further explains that for practical reasons it may not always be possible to commit on-the-spot agreements into writing. In this case, it is also recommended that it be witnessed. The section which follows then lays down the guidelines which should be followed in the event that no witnesses are present.
The purpose in giving the above outline is to draw attention to the fact the question of women witnesses relates, in this instance, to commercial agreements and is not a statement on their status.
Let's look at the section under investigation in more detail. Allâh said:
And get two witnesses of your own men, and if there are not two men then a man and two women such as you choose for witnesses - so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her... [Baqarah 2:182]
A number of questions (as well as eyebrows!) are raised when this section of the passage is read. The questions often posed include:
Do women have weaker memories than men?
Why should two women be needed in the place of one man?
Are women inferior to men?
One must remember that Prophet Muhammad sallâllahu 'alayhi wa sallam was neither a physiologist, a psychiatrist and nor a surgeon. He was an illiterate and could neither read nor write. He passed on the revelation exactly as he received it. Allâh, the Creator, with His infinite wisdom gave the directives best suited to humankind. He is the Creator, therefore, He knows man better than a man himself.
In this scientific age we can explore the significance of this legislation. A great deal has been discovered since the early days of Islâm. And each day of advancement brings about a better understanding of the the last and final revelation from the Creator, Allâh to the creation, humankind. As women, we are aware of the cyclical psychological strains that a woman has to encounter every month. The symptoms during early pregnancy, ante-natal and post-natal depressions, the phenomenon of menopause, the physiological and psychological problems due to infertility and last but not least the psychological problems faced after miscarriage.
It is under these situations that women can experience extraordinary psychological strains giving rise to depression, lack of concentration, slow-mindedness and short term memory loss. Let us examine these episodes in a bit more detail and with medical references from the scientific world. PMT is an umbrella term for more than 140 different symptoms and there is a lot of evidence that it causes a lot of unhappiness in many women, and consequently, to their families.
Psychiatry in Practice, April 1983 issue states:
"Forty percent of women suffer from pre-menstrual syndrome in some form and one in if our women have their lives severely disrupted by it. Dr Jill Williams, general practitioner from Bury, gives guidelines on how to recognise patients at risk and suggests a suitable treatment." [Psychiatry in Practice, April 1993, p.14]
In the same issue, George Beaumont reporting on the workshop held at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in London on pre-menstrual syndrome, says:
"Some authorities would argue that 80 percent of women have some degree of breast and abdominal discomfort which is pre-menstrual but that only about 10 percent complain to their doctors - and then only because of severe tenderness of the breasts and mental depression... Other authorities have suggested that pre-menstrual syndrome is a new problem, regular ovulation for 20 years or more being a phenomenon caused by 'civilisation', 'medical progress', and an altered concept of the role of women." [Psychiatry in Practice, April 1993, p.18]
In its examination of the occurrence of physical and psychological change during the period just prior to the onset of menstruation we read in Psychological Medicine:
"Many studies have reported an increased likelihood of various negative affects during the pre-menstrual period. In this affective category are many emotional designations including irritability, depression, tension, anxiety, sadness, insecurity, lethargy, loneliness, tearfulness, fatigue, restlessness and changes of mood. In the majority of studies, investigators have found it difficult to distinguish between various negative affects, and only a few have allowed themselves to be excessively concerned with the differences which might or might not exist between affective symptoms." [Psychological Medicine, Monograph Supplement 4, 1983, Cambridge University Press, p.6]
In the same article dealing with pre-menstrual behavioural changes we read:
"A significant relationship between the pre-menstrual phase of the cycle and a variety of specific and defined forms of behaviour has been reported in a number of studies. For the purpose of their review, these forms of behaviour have been grouped under the headings of aggressive behaviour, illness behaviour and accidents, performance on examination and other tests and sporting performance." [Psychological Medicine, Monograph Supplement 4, 1983, Cambridge University Press, p.7]
The lengthy review portrays how female behaviour is affected in these situations. In 'The Pre-menstrual Syndrome', C. Shreeves writes:
"Reduced powers of concentration and memory are familiar aspects of the pre-menstrual syndrome and can only be remedied by treating the underlying complaint."
This does not mean, of course, that women are mentally deficient absolutely. It just means that their mental faculties can become affected at certain times in the biological cycle. Shreeves also writes:
"As many as 80 percent of women are aware of some degree of pre-menstrual changes, 40 percent are substantially disturbed by them, and between 10 and 20 percent are seriously disabled as a result of the syndrome."
Furthermore, women face the problem of ante-natal and post-natal depression, both of which cause extreme cycles of depression in some cases. Again, these recurring symptoms naturally affect the mind, giving rise to drowsiness and dopey memory.
On the subject of pregnancy in Psychiatry in Practice, October-November 1986, we learn that:
"In an experiment 'Cox' found that 16 percent of a sample of 263 pregnant women were suffering from clinically significant psychiatric problems. Eight percent had a depressive neurosis and 1.9 percent had phobic neurosis. This study showed that the proportion of pregnant women with psychiatric problems was greater than that found in the control group but the difference only tended towards significance." [Psychiatry in Practice, October-November, 1986, p.6]
Regarding the symptoms during the post-natal cycle Dr. Ruth Sagovsky writes:
"The third category of puerperal psychiatric problems is post-natal depression. It is generally agreed that between10 to 15 percent of women become clinically depressed after childbirth. These mothers experience a variety of symptoms but anxiety, especially over the baby, irritability, and excessive fatigue are common. Appetite is usually decreased and often there are considerable sleep difficulties. The mothers lose interest in the things they enjoyed prior to the baby's birth, and find that their concentration is impaired. They often feel irrational guilt, and blame themselves for being 'bad' wives and mothers. Fifty percent of these women are not identified as having a depressive illness. Unfortunately, many of them do not understand what ails them and blame their husbands, their babies or themselves until the relationships are strained to an alarming degree." [Psychiatry in Practice, May, 1987, p.18]
" ... Making the diagnosis of post-natal depression is not always easy. Quite often the depression is beginning to become a serious problem around three months postpartum when frequent contact with the health visitor is diminishing. The mother may not present with depressed mood. If she comes to the health centre presenting the baby as the patient, the true nature of the problem can be missed. When the mother is continually anxious about the baby in spite of reassurance, then the primary health care worker needs to be aware of the possibility of depression. Sometimes these mothers present with marital difficulties, and it is easy to muddle cause and effect, viewing the accompanying low mood as part of the marital problem. Sometimes, only when the husband is seen as well does it become obvious that it is a post-natal depressive illness which has led to the deterioration in the marriage." [Psychiatry in Practice, May, 1987, p.18]*
Again there is a need to study the effects of the menopause about which very little is known even to this day. This phase in a woman's life can start at any time from the mid-thirties to the mid-fifties and can last for as long as 15 years.
Writing about the pre-menopausal years, C.B. Ballinger states:
"Several of the community surveys indicate a small but significant increase in psychiatric symptoms in women during the five years prior to the cessation of menstrual periods... The most obvious clinical feature of this transitional phase of menstrual function is the alteration in menstrual pattern, the menstrual cycle becoming shorter with age, and variability in cycle length become very prominent just prior to the cessation of menstruation. Menorrhagia is a common complaint at this time, and is associated with higher than normal levels of psychiatric disturbance." [Psychiatry in Practice, November, 1987, p.26]
On the phenomenon of menopause in an article in Newsweek International, May 25th 1992, Dr. Jennifer al-Knopf, Director of the Sex and Marital Therapy Programme of North-western University writes:
" ... Women never know what their body is doing to them ... some reporting debilitating symptoms from hot flashes to night sweat, sleeplessness, irritability, mood swings, short term memory loss, migraine, headaches, urinary inconsistence and weight gain. Most such problems can be traced to the drop-off in the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone, both of which govern the ovarian cycle. But every woman starts with a different level of hormones and loses them at different rates. The unpredictability is one of the most upsetting aspects. Women never know what their body is going to do to them ... "
Then there are the psychiatric aspects of infertility and miscarriage. On the subject of infertility, Dr. Ruth Sagovsky writes:
"Depression, anger and guilt are common reactions to bereavement. In infertility there is the added pain of there being nobody to grieve for. Families and friends may contribute to the feeling of isolation by passing insensitive comments. The gynaecologist and GPs have to try to help these couples against a backdrop of considerable distress." [Psychiatry in Practice, Winter, 1989, p.16]
On the subject of miscarriage the above article continues:
"Miscarriage is rarely mentioned when considering abortion. However, miscarriage can at times have profound psychological sequelae and it is important that those women affected receive the support they need. Approximately one-fifth of all pregnancies end in spontaneous abortion and the effects are poorly recognised. If however, the miscarriage occurs in the context of infertility, the emotional reaction may be severe. The level of grief will depend on the meaning of pregnancy to the couple." [Psychiatry in Practice, Winter, 1989, p.17]
Also, the fact that women are known to be more sensitive and emotional than men must not be overlooked. It is well known, for example, that under identical circumstances women suffer much greater anxiety than men. Numerous medical references on this aspect of female behaviour can be given but to quote as a specimen, we read in 'Sex Differences in Mental Health' that:
"Surveys have found different correlates of anxiety and neuroticism in the two sexes. Women and men do not become equally upset by the same things, and being upset does not have the same effect in men as in women. Ekehammer (1974; Ekehammer, Magnusson and Ricklander, 1974) using data from 116 sixteen-year-olds, did a factor analysis on self-reported anxiety. Of the eighteen different responses indicating anxiety (sweating palms, faster heart rate, and so on) females reported experiencing twelve of them significantly more often than males. Of the anxiety-producing situations studied, females reported experiencing significantly more anxiety than males reported in fourteen of them." [Katherine Blick Hoyenga and Kermit T. Hoyenga in Sex Differences in Mental Health, p.336]
It is in light of the above findings of psychologist, psychiatrists and researchers that the saying of Allâh, the Exalted:
And get two witnesses of your own men, and if there are not two men then a man and two women such as you choose for witnesses - SO THAT IF ONE OF THEM ERRS, THE OTHER CAN REMIND HER ... [Baqarah 2:182]
can be understood. One must also bear in mind that forgetfulness can be an asset. A woman has to be put up with children presenting all kinds of emotional problems and a woman is certainly known to be more resilient than man. The aim of presenting these research findings on a number of aspects related with the theme is to indicate that a woman by her biological constitution faces such problems. It does not however make her inferior to man but it does illustrate that she is different. Viewed in this way, it can only lead one to the conclusion that Allâh knows His creation the best and has prescribed precise laws in keeping with the nature of humankind.
Allâh, the Creator is - as always - All-Knowing and man (or the disbeliever in Allâh and the final, perfected, revealed way of life, Islâm) is - as usual - either ignorant and arrogant.
* As has been mentioned above the Prophet Muhammad sallâllahu 'alayhi wa sallam was neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist. Rather, he merely conveyed the truth that was revealed to him. It is in the context of this quotation and the one before it that the following saying of the Prophet Muhammad sallâllahu 'alayhi wa sallam can be understood: "Treat your women kindly. The woman has been created from a rib, and the most curved part of a rib is its upper region. If you try to straighten it you will break it, and if you leave it as it is, it will remain curved. So treat women kindly." And in another narration: "If you try to straighten her you will break her and breaking her means divorce." [Reported by al-Bukhârî and Muslim]. This is very important advice for the man - for him to have patience and not to try to 'reform' the behavioural pattern of the woman during these times i.e. 'to straighten her'. He will not be able to do that, as it is biological in origin. Instead, he should maintain and protect his relationship with her by showing kindness. 
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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Prosiding Interlokutori dan Perintah Interim di Mahkamah Tinggi Syariah

Salam sahabat-sahabat maya sekalian,
Alhamdulillah masa terus berlalu mencemburui kita. Dalam pejam celik sibuk dengan tugasan harian, sempat juga saya menyiapkan wadah terbaru dengan mengahsilkan buku terbaru dalam genre yang sama seperti buku-buku sebelumnya, iaitu undang-undang Syariah bagi memeriahkan lagi penulisan buku undang-undang Syariah di tanah air.

Buku ini berkonsepkan separa akademik tetapi lebih memfokuskan secara 'praktikal ' amalan biasa perjalanan prosiding perbicaraan di Mahkamah Syariah dengan rujukan asasnya kepada undang-Undang Tatacara Mal Mahkamah Syariah Negeri Sembilan. Penekanan diberikan kepada konsep interlokutori, perintah interim, ex parte, injunksi dan seumpamanya dengan rujukan kepada kes-kes terkini di Mahkamah Syariah. Buku ringkas ini adalah memadai dan amat bernilai bagi mereka yang ingin mengetahui konsep asas permohonan-permohonan interlokutori di Mahkamah Tinggi Syariah  yang seringkali menimbulkan salah faham terutamanya prosiding-prosiding yang wajar dikemukakan di hadapan mahkamah samada sebelum, semasa atau selepas perbicaraan.

Ini adalah buku ketiga yang dihasilkan oleh Penulis dan yang kedua pada tahun ini selepas 'Undang-Undang Tatacara Mal Mahkamah Syariah, Prinsip dan Amalan'. Buku pertama ialah 'Penghinaan Mahkamah  Mengikut Undang-Undang Sivil dan Undang-Undang Syariah' yang diterbitkan dalam tahun 2007 adalah penyuntik semangat dan sebagai inspirasi untuk menghasilkan buku-buku seterusnya.

Semoga buku terbaru ini memberikan banyak manfaat kepada semua pembaca, pengamal undang-undang, pelajar dan pecinta undang-undang Syarie di Malaysia. Nantikan pengedarannya di toko-toko buku berhampiran anda! InsyaAllah.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Persidangan Penyelarasan Undang-Undang Syarak dan Sivil Kali ke 20

Persidangan Penyelarasan Undang-Undang Syarak dan Sivil Kali ke 20 yang diurusetiakan oleh Pejabat Penasihat Undang-Undang, Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (Jakim) telah diadakan pada 14 hingga 15 Mei 2020 di Pusat Konvensyen Antarabangsa Putrajaya (PICC). hadir mewakili ketua jabatan pada hari tersebut memberikan manfaat besar dalam menyingkap perkembangan terbaru mengenai undang-undang syariah/sivil untuk perhatian kerajaan.

Persidangan tahunan ini menemukan Ahli-Ahli Jawatankuasa Teknikal Undang-undang Syarak/Sivil yang dipengerusikan oleh Y.Bhg. Tan Sri Sheikh Ghazali bin Abd Rahman dengan Ashabul Samahah Mufti negeri-negeri, YB Penasihat Undang-Undang negeri-negeri, Y.A.A. Ketua Hakim Syarie negeri-negeri, Pengarah Jabatan Agama Islam negeri-negeri dan Setiausaha atau Pegawai Eksekutif Majlis Agama Islam negeri-negeri bertujuan untuk membincang, membahas dan mendapatkan pandangan mengenai undang-undang atau kaedah-kaedah yang berkaitan dengan hal ehwal Islam serta isu-isu undang-undang yang berbangkit yang yang berkaitan dengan kemaslahatan masyarakat Islam

Persidangan pada tahun ini yang dirasmikan oleh YB Mejar Jeneral Dato’ Seri Jamil Khir bin Baharom (B), Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, mencadangkan tiga perkara penting dalam ucapannya iaitu keperluan untuk menaik taraf dan memperkasakan Jawatankuasa Teknikal Undang-Undang Syarak/Sivil agar segala keputusan yang dibuat oleh Jawatankuasa ini dapat dilaksanakan dengan sempurna dan digunapakai di seluruh Malaysia. Oleh itu, beliau mencadangkan bahawa Jawatankuasa ini perlu diletakkan di bawah Majlis Raja-Raja.

  Yang kedua, beliau mencadangkan agar Akta Mahkamah Syariah (Bidangkuasa Jenayah) 1984 dipinda bagi membolehkan Mahkamah Syariah dalam bidang kuasa jenayahnya Mahkamah itu, boleh menjatuhkan apa-apa hukuman yang diperuntukkan oleh undang-undang syariah selain hukuman mati dan boleh membuat perintah penahanan terhadap mana-mana orang yang melakukan kesalahan jenayah syariah. Pada masa ini, Mahkamah Syariah hanya boleh menjatuhkan hukuman denda tidak lebih daripada RM5000.00, penjara tidak lebih daripada 3 tahun dan sebat tidak boleh melebihi 6 kali sebatan.

Yang ketiga YB Dato’ Seri memaklumkan mengenai cadangan pindaan Akta Perihal Dagangan 1972 yang dihasratkan oleh JAKIM dengan kerjasama Kementerian Perdagangan Dalam Negeri, Koperasi dan Kepenggunaan (KPDNKK) dan pindaan tersebut akan dibentangkan dalam sesi persidangan Parlimen pada bulan Jun yang akan datang ini. Sekiranya undang-undang ini diluluskan, segala permasalahan yang timbul berkaitan dengan halal seperti masalah ”self declaration” oleh pihak-pihak yang tidak berautoriti akan dapat diselesaikan. Pihak yang terlibat dengan industri halal pula hanya akan berurusan dengan pihak yang berautoriti seperti JAKIM dan Majlis Agama Islam di Negeri-negeri untuk mendapatkan sijil halal. 

Syarikat-syarikat yang memohon sijil halal tidak lagi dibenarkan mendapatkan sijil halal daripada pihak-pihak lain, selain daripada JAKIM dan Majlis Agama Islam Negeri-negeri. 

Persidangan pada tahun ini juga amat bermakna sekali apabila Y.Bhg. Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, Peguam Negara Malaysia sudi membentangkan Kertas mengenai cadangan Menaiktaraf Mahkamah Syariah di Malaysia. Dalam sesi pembentangan kertas oleh YBhg. Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, beliau menerangkan mengenai konsep Mahkamah Syariah yang baru yang hampir setaraf dengan Mahkamah Sivil dan konsep baru Mahkamah Syariah yang dicadangkan ini akan dipersembahkan kepada Majlis Raja-Raja untuk kelulusan.

Sekiranya Majlis Raja-Raja memperkenankan cadangan ini, Mahkamah Syariah akan memasuki suatu lembaran baru di dalam sejarah penubuhannya di mana tarafnya hampir akan sama dengan Mahkamah Sivil. Cadangan ini juga selaras dengan program tranformasi oleh Kerajaan yang diwar-warkan oleh Y.A.B. Perdana Menteri pada ketika ini.

Persidangan pada tahun ini juga membincangkan Draf Kedah-Kaedah Undang-Undang Keluarga Islam (Wilayah-Wilayah Persekutuan) (Perkahwinan, Perceraian dan Ruju’) 2010. Tujuan Kaedah-Kaedah ini diwujudkan untuk menyelaras dan menyeragamkan pengurusan perkahwinan, perceraian dan ruju’ di seluruh Malaysia.

  Ahli-Ahli Jawatankuasa Teknikal Undang-Undang Syarak/Sivil
bersama peserta-peserta Persidangan Penyelarasan Undang-Undang Syarak dan Sivil.
Tarikh :   25 Mei 2010
Sumber : Unit Perhubungan Awam JAKIM
Editor : PRO JAKIM 

Dipetik dari laman web JAKIM