The lawyer appearing for the Muslim girls in Karnataka HC has quoted Quranic verses to establish that wearing hijab is an essential religous practice in Islam. The court, while taking note of those verses, questioned whether all Quranic injunctions are inviolable. Advocate Kamat couldn’t answer and only wanted to talk about the hijab issue. However the source quoted by him appears to have contentious parts of the Quran on other matters as well.
Advocate Devadatt Kamat, a known Congress associate and Hindu-baiter, is arguing for the Muslim girls who want to wear hijab inside classrooms. Karnataka High Court has been hearing the matter and Kamat quoted verses 24.31 and 24.33 from Quran to support his arguments. He quoted them to defend the right to wear hijab under Article 25 which protects the freedom of religion. He referred to a website named Quran.com in which Quranic verses have been translated by one Abdul Haleem.
The 24.31 verse quoted by Kamat says, “And tell believing women that they should lower their glances, guard their private parts, and not display their charms beyond what [it is acceptable] to reveal; they should let their headscarves fall to cover their necklines and not reveal their charms except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their womenfolk, their slaves, such men as attend them who have no sexual desire, or children who are not yet aware of women’s nakedness; they should not stamp their feet so as to draw attention to any hidden charms. Believers, all of you, turn to God so that you may prosper.”
The other verse 24.33 quoted by Kamat from Quran.com says, “Those who are unable to marry should keep chaste until God gives them enough out of His bounty. If any of your slaves wish to pay for their freedom, make a contract with them accordingly, if you know they have good in them, and give them some of the wealth God has given you. Do not force your slave-girls into prostitution, when they themselves wish to remain honourable, in your quest for the short-term gains of this world, although, if they are forced, God will be forgiving and merciful to them.”
Kamat relied on these two verses to impress upon the judges that wearing hijab is an ‘essential practice’ in Islam. Upon some digging we come to know that the website Kamat referred to in the court has some troubling content on what else the Quran says. Swarajya has listed some verses from the site that talk about “idolators”, “disbelievers”, women and practically anyone who doesn’t believe in Muhammad and Allah, in what most would consider a problematic tone.
- Verse number 9.5 says, “When the [four] forbidden months are over, wherever you encounter the idolaters, kill them, seize them, besiege them, wait for them at every lookout post; but if they turn [to God], maintain the prayer, and pay the prescribed alms, let them go on their way, for God is most forgiving and merciful.”
- Similar to Christian belief that those who don’t believe in Jesus will end up in hell, verse number 98.6 says, “Those who disbelieve among the People of the Book and the idolaters will have the Fire of Hell, there to remain. They are the worst of creation.” People of the Book refers to all Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Quran generally places fellow Abrahamics (People of the Book) at a slightly higher pedestal compared to ‘idolaters’/polytheists (like Hindus), with both categories well below Muslims.
- Verse number 9.29 says what should be done with those who don’t believe in teachings of the Islam’s messenger, “Fight those of the People of the Book who do not [truly] believe in God and the Last Day, who do not forbid what God and His Messenger have forbidden, who do not obey the rule of justice, until they pay the tax and agree to submit.”
- Verse number 9.123 also encourages Muslims to fight with those who don’t believe in Allah. It says, “You who believe, fight the disbelievers near you and let them find you standing firm: be aware that God is with those who are mindful of Him.
- Verse number 8.55 describes non-believers thus, “The worst creatures in the sight of God are those who reject Him and will not believe.”
- Along the lines of Verse 98.6, Verse number 66.9 says those who don’t believe in Allah will go to hell, “Prophet, strive hard against the disbelievers and the hypocrites. Deal with them sternly. Hell will be their home, an evil destination!”
- Verse 21.98 further assures “disbelievers” about where they’ll end up after death. It says, “You [disbelievers] and what you worship instead of God will be fuel for Hell: that is where you will go.”
- Verses 21.99 and 21.100 say, “If these [idols] had been real gods they would not have gone there – you will all stay there. There the disbelievers will be groaning piteously, but the [idols] will hear nothing.”
- Verse number 47.4 assures that those who die in the process of “striking the disbelievers” will be rewarded by their god. It says, “When you meet the disbelievers in battle, strike them in the neck, and once they are defeated, bind any captives firmly––later you can release them by grace or by ransom––until the toils of war have ended. That [is the way]. God could have defeated them Himself if He had willed, but His purpose is to test some of you by means of others. He will not let the deeds of those who are killed for His cause come to nothing.”
- Verse number 8.12 gives more suggestions about what should be done with the disbelievers, “Your Lord revealed to the angels: ‘I am with you: give the believers firmness; I shall put terror into the hearts of the disbelievers – strike above their necks and strike all their fingertips.”
- Verses 69.30 to 69.33 would trouble any “disbeliever’s” mind for they say,
“Take him, put a collar on him,
lead him to burn in the blazing Fire,
and [bind him] in a chain seventy metres long:
he would not believe in Almighty God.”
- Verses 6.22 and 6.23 talk about polytheists and say, “When We gather them all together and say to the polytheists, ‘Where are those you claimed were partners with God?’ in their utter dismay they will only say, ‘By God, our Lord, we have not set up partners beside Him!”
- Verses 22.9 and 22.10 say, “These two kinds of people disagree about their Lord. Garments of fire will be tailored for those who disbelieve; scalding water will be poured over their heads, melting their insides as well as their skins.”
- Many would have heard about those who follow Islam fight for Jannat. Verse 9.111 talks about it thus, “God has purchased the persons and possessions of the believers in return for the Garden – they fight in God’s way: they kill and are killed- this is a true promise given by Him in the Torah, the Gospel, and the Quran. Who could be more faithful to his promise than God? So be happy with the bargain you have made: that is the supreme triumph.”
- Verse number 9.30 says this about Jews & Christians, “The Jews said, ‘Ezra is the son of God,’ and the Christians said, ‘The Messiah is the son of God’: they said this with their own mouths, repeating what earlier disbelievers had said. May God confound them! How far astray they have been led!”
The Quran, as per the website quoted by Devadatt Kamat, says this about women.
- Verse 4.34 says, “Husbands should take good care of their wives, with [the bounties] God has given to some more than others and with what they spend out of their own money. Righteous wives are devout and guard what God would have them guard in their husbands’ absence. If you fear high-handedness from your wives, remind them [of the teachings of God], then ignore them when you go to bed, then hit them. If they obey you, you have no right to act against them: God is most high and great.”
- Verse 4.3 says, “If you fear that you will not deal fairly with orphan girls, you may marry whichever [other] women seem good to you, two, three, or four. If you fear that you cannot be equitable [to them], then marry only one, or your slave(s): that is more likely to make you avoid bias.”
- Verse number 4.15 says, “If any of your women commit a lewd act, call four witnesses from among you, then, if they testify to their guilt, keep the women at home until death comes to them or until God shows them another way.”
- Verse 24.6 says, “As for those who accuse their own wives of adultery, but have no other witnesses, let each one four times call God to witness that he is telling the truth.”
It should be noted that Justice Dixit asked “Whether what all stated in Quran is essential religious practice?” and questioned “whether all Quranic injunctions are inviolable?”. Kamat veered off the questions saying that “hijab is essential” in the concerned case. He in fact requested the judges to “not get into that issue”. He further said that Islam cannot be anti-Quran.
By quoting a religious text to fulfill the wishes of a handful of girls, that too on being provoked by Islamist organisations like PFI and CFI, Kamat and others are taking refuge in the Quran to prove that wearing hijab is an ‘essential religious practice’. But as the judges themselves wondered, what if another group of Muslims raked up an issue to demand that things said in the above verses are essential religious practices and thus should be allowed in public spaces.
SC advocate Sanjay Hegde, another controversial Congress-ecosystem lawyer appearing for the hijab-demanding Muslim girls, had earlier argued that one’s faith cannot be suspended for a few days for the judiciary till it gives a verdict. The Karnataka government had banned headscarves and other forms of attires that are related to religious beliefs in a government order. It had cited the judgment of Kerala HC in not allowing hijab in a Christian minority school. Kamat argued that since minority schools have rights to run their institutions as they see fit under Article 30, the judgment cannot be taken for reference or relied upon.
Minority institutions, whether Christian, Muslim, Sikh or Jain, can enforce rules regarding uniform or literally anything else and the government cannot interfere in their rights to do so. In that case, Muslim girls studying in Christian or other minority institutions would have to put their “faith on hold” as Kamat put it, as long as their study there.
Interestingly, even Kerala’s Muslim-run MES educational institutions (150 in number) have banned hijab in their school and college campuses. – but neither PFI nor Congress lawyers have picked up cudgels for ‘right to wear’ hijab there.
Girls who till now have chosen to not wear hijab could also be made to feel immodest and irreligious if the courts decide that hijab is indeed an essential religious practice. It would mean snatching the rights of those girls and subjecting them to increased pressure from radicals to wear the hijab as we recently saw happen in Kashmir. And what about the boys and non-Muslim girls studying in public schools – what message are we sending to them that girls need to cover their hair and neck to ‘look modest’?
Further, there have been instances of students offering namaz inside the school premises in Karnataka. Can a group of students say that offering namaz 5 times a day is an essential part of Islam and thus they should be allowed to perform it in institutions, citing the hijab order if it goes the girls’ way? If they are arguing today that a public institution should practice “positive secularism”, as Kamat put it, and allow wearing hijab inside the institutions, then what happens to other public institutions like Army, Navy, etc?
While these are the immediate questions that arise out of what transpired in the court hearings, the problematic and troubling religious verses that emerged give a view into what all could be demanded citing the hijab case, if it is ruled in the favour of the Muslim girls. Perhaps that is why Kamat pleaded with the judges that the media shouldn’t report about him citing the Quran.