Virginity… What’s The Big Fuss?

In France, a recent court ruling annulling a marriage of a young Muslim couple, because the bride wasn’t a virgin, has sparked heated debate and objection in France and elsewhere, especially among feminists.

Since this article would involve the laws of Allah, it is important to establish the identity of the One who gifted us, the Muslims, with Islam’s holy book, the Qur’an, and its laws.

Muslims believe that the Qur’an is 100-percent the word of Allah, revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) through Angel Gabriel over 23 years of time. Muslims believe the Qur’an is the only holy book to be uncorrupted and free from human error and tampering.

“No falsehood can approach it [the Qur’an] from before or behind it: It is sent down by One Full of Wisdom, Worthy of all Praise.” (Fussilat 41:42)

A person who is familiar with Jewish and Christian holy books, namely the Old and New Testaments, can easily observe that the Qur’an confirms the laws given to Jews and Christians and goes further to cancel, modify, and complete the instructions to humankind in order to safeguard their physical, mental, and spiritual well-being while still in the physical world.

When it comes to the matter of chastity for men and women, there are no contradictions in these holy books. The famous, “Thou shall not commit adultery and fornication,” is among one of the most important commandments given to humankind by Allah. This law is cemented in these holy scriptures with no room to justify any act of sexual intercourse outside of legal and permissible wedlock.

Secularism has attempted to change the laws of Allah and replace it with human laws that are in continuous states of change, alterations, and contradictions. Feminists have continuously claimed for women more rights that are not based on divine wisdom and, as a result, have driven females more into harm’s way than protection.

Realizing the fact that Allah ordained laws, only to protect humans from harm, is essential to debating any moral issues. Once this is established in the mind of a person, the contested matters become much easier to resolve.

Chastity, in Islam, is a belief, followed by actions prescribing to certain standards on behavior and the dress code. Muslim men and women who adhere to the tenements of Islam are required to respect and adhere to these standards in the hope of pleasing their Creator and preparing a better station for themselves in this life and the hereafter.

“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be modest. That is purer for them. Lo! Allah is aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent.” (An-Nur 24:30-31)

And Allah, glory be to Him, praised pious men and women saying,

“And they who do not call upon another god with Allah and do not slay the soul, which Allah has forbidden except in the requirements of justice, and (who) do not commit fornication and he who does this shall find a requital of sin.” (Al-Furqan 25:68)

In the case of this young couple, only Allah knows if she repented to Allah for her previous sin and hoped to cover her wrong doing by concealing it, or if it was an actual act of predetermined deception; we can’t harbor suspicions about others’ intentions, only Allah knows what is concealed within hearts.

“Unless he or she repents, believes, and performs righteous deeds, for Allah will change the evil of such persons into good, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Al-Furqan 25:70)

Sometimes, a wise approach could solve a major conflict prior to its eruption.

Let’s take a closer look at the beginning of the article published by Times, on May 31, 2008.

A court in the northern city of Lille has annulled the marriage of a young Muslim couple after the groom complained his bride was not virgin as she claimed to be.

The husband said his bride had deceived him on “one of the essential elements” of the marriage.

The bride acknowledged that she had led her groom to believe that she was a virgin when she had already had sexual intercourse.

The bride did not oppose the marriage annulment.

The fact that she did not oppose the marriage annulment shows a certain integrity she possessed, possibly filled with guilt and/or remorse. This should have been the end of a sad story.

“However, politicians, feminists, and rights activists saw the ruling as an affront to the legal equality of men and women and a violation of a woman’s privacy,” reported Times.

The protests continue.

“[I’m] shocked to see that today in France the civil law can be used to diminish the status of women,” Valerie Letard, Minister for Women’s Rights, said. (Times)

Such statements are not true. Allah, glory be to Him, exalts the status of women by ordaining laws to raise the status of women and protect their chastity, honor, and integrity. Feminists see this as a violation of woman’s rights. It is sad to see some females today, not considering guarding their chastity an issue related to honor.

“Do they then seek after a judgment of (the days of) ignorance? But who, for a people whose faith is assured, can give better judgment than Allah?” (Al-Ma’idah 5:50)

“It is profoundly shocking that, in our country, a marriage can be annulled on the basis of non-virginity before the marriage,” Frederic Lefebvre, spokesman for President Nicolas Sarkozy’s governing UMP party, said in a statement, reported by Times.

It is interesting to note here that the virginity issue is highlighted and not thedeception itself. Although we don’t know if the intention of the bride was deception, never the less, in any case involving deception, courts of law in any country would annul a contract when it is based on such, and the accused party admits the guilt.

“The sexuality of women in France is a private and free matter,” said feminist Elisabeth Badinter. “The annulment will just serve to send young Muslim girls running to hospitals to have their hymens restored,” she claimed.

When Allah’s laws have no part in the moral life of a society, it’s no wonder why we see statements like this.

Practicing Muslims, in no way, see their lives, actions, thoughts, and morality separate from their religious belief. It is regrettable to see so much bold ignorance coming from those who have important posts in governments, societies, and even schools.

If it is the right of women to do as they want with their lives and beliefs, then why are they banned from wearing hijab in schools in the same country that is crying out for women’s rights?

Is it not their personal choices that are being violated? At what point do we make a distinction between women’s rights and political agendas related to Muslim women in Western countries? On the one hand, the West ignorantly considers Muslim women in certain countries oppressed, and, on the other, their own governments oppress Muslim women by subjecting them to follow traditions totally alien their religious beliefs.

It is interesting that in the above article and all the debates, there is no mention of the rights of the young bridegroom being cheated. There is no mention of his feelings of betrayal, the possible costs of marriage and emotional hardship he suffered as a result of this deception — not to mention the possible embarrassments between the families of both.

The issue of chastity, for those who believe in Allah, His Prophets, and the Day of Judgment, is not a matter of choice, but an obligation that must be guarded with utmost care. We decide if we want to be winners in the sight of man or in the sight of the Creator.

Western or feminists’ objection to chastity issues doesn’t in any way deter a Muslim in believing that the laws of Allah always prevail over the laws of people.

“But the word of Allah is exalted to the heights, for Allah is Exalted in might.” (At-Tawbah 9:40)

 

Sources:
Virginity Ruling Stirs French Furor” News. IslamOnline. 31 May 2008.

“Outrage as French judge annuls Muslim marriage over bride’s virginity lie” Bremner, Charles.  timesonline.co.uk Last accessed 23 June 2008.

Raya Shokatfard
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Raya Shokatfard

Founder/Adviser Islamic Center Langkawi at Islamic Center Langkawi
Raya Shokatfard holds an MA in Journalism/Mass Communications and an M.A.D. in TV journalism. BA in Communication and BA in Islamic Studies. She has been Islamic propagator in the U.S, Egypt and Malaysia for many years and academic lecturer, writer, international presenter, consultant, foreign correspondent, and former Editor in Chief for Reading Islam website.
Raya Shokatfard
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