Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without that person’s consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority, or against a person who is incapable of giving valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, has an intellectual disability, or is below the legal age of consent. (Krug & Dahlberg & Mercy & Zwi & Lozano,2002; dictionary.reference.com.,2011; legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com.,2011) Society is the man-made environment in which every human being has to survive from birth to death. In Bangladeshi society raped women sometimes are not cordially accepted because of some misconceptions existing in society. There are four leading religions in Bangladesh. They are Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity. A limitation of this paper is this paper focuses only on Islam. In Islam, this paper focuses on the Quran, hadith, and some secondary sources like articles, reports, and others. This paper examines those misconceptions according to Islam for the proper rehabilitation of rape victims. The aim of this study is to create a space for rape victims in her society since society has a very negative mindset towards raped women.
Islam and Rehabilitation
Rehabilitation means the proper way of help a victim needs most. Islam prescribes a complete way of life. Islamic society is based on faith in Allah and His messenger and selfless charity to one another. Rape is considered one of the worst crimes in Islam. It is the same as oppression. Islam ensures women’s dignity and due rights. So if a woman’s chastity is violated, it is taken very seriously in Islamic society. A rapist receives due punishment. The raped victim receives social, psychological, and religious support and rehabilitation.
Social rehabilitation of a rape victim focuses on three points. They are given below-
Along with Sheikh Al-Qaradawi, many Muslim scholars have maintained that young Muslim men should hasten to marry women who fall as rape victims, so as to reduce their suffering and console them, to compensate them for the loss of their most precious thing. This reflects mutual love, rapport, and altruism that prevail in the Muslim society. (Badr, 2016)
Simply because a woman is being raped no one has the right to deprive her of her property rights. A raped woman has as much property right as other virgins or married women, which is half of a brother’s right according to Islami shariah (Quran 4:11)
Islam does not give any kind of punishment to a rape victim. Rather Islam gives punishment to the rapist. The punishment of a rapist is like the punishment of adultery. From the time of Prophet Mohammad (SH) the punishments are if the rapist is married then he will be stoned and if he is not married then he will be caned. In a hadith, narrated Abu Hurairah (RA): “Allah’s Messenger judged that the unmarried person who was guilty of illegal sexual intercourse be exiled for one year and receive the legal punishment (i.e. flogged with one-hundred stripes). [Sahih Al-Bukhari, 8/6833]. In another hadith, it was recorded that Allah’s Messenger ordered a man from the Bani Aslam tribe to be stoned to death. This man had committed adultery and was married. [Sahih Al-Bukhari 8/6814]
Most raped women have their self-esteem diminished. They feel shame and guilt. They need psychological support. The Prophet said, “Allah has forgiven my Ummah for their mistakes, what they forget and what they are forced to do.” (Ibn Majah-Sahih,n.d.) Such hadiths which describe forgiveness help rape victims to not feel depressed, guilty. This also helps raped women to come out from their psychological trauma.
A raped woman should not be pessimistic and has hope to start a new life. In Islam, deeds are judged based on the intentions rather than what is being seen or apparent. It is narrated by Umar bin al-Khattab that he heard from the Messenger of Allah (SH), ‘The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended.’ (Hadith 1, Sahih Al-Bukhari) Allah Said, “Allah knows what is in every Heart” (Al-Quran 67:13) A raped victim commits no wrong intentionally rather she is the one oppressed. So she is as pure as any other woman, to Allah and so should be to society. Rape is not an ‘end all’ for her nor should she be marked as defiled. She is innocent from her heart. Society has no right to scandalize a raped woman and corner her family. She has every right to live a normal life like any other woman. Islam does not support any such acts. In Sura Hujraat Allah says, “O believers! Let no men laugh at other men who may perhaps be better than themselves; and let no woman laugh at another woman, who may perhaps be better than herself. Do not defame through sarcastic remarks about one another, nor call one another by offensive nicknames. It is an evil thing to be called by a bad name after being a believer, and those who do not repent are the ones who are the wrongdoers.” (Al-Quran, 49:11) Islam gives a raped woman dignity and honor to live a normal and peaceful life in her society.
Some Misconceptions and Society
According to a report on Daily Star the increasing rate of rape, a total of 818 women were raped across the country, among which 47 were killed after rape and 11 committed suicide in 2017. In 2016, a total of 659 women were raped.’(The Daily Star, 1 January 2018) So, it is said that the increasing rate of rape is alarming. Besides, the conditions of raped women are measurable. In the novel Talash by Shahin Akter, the measurable conditions of rape victims of 1971 are described. Though several of them were married off or given material supports, some of their families were broken, some had to go for prostitution and some became outcasts from society. Society did not accept the raped women because of their position of being raped. So, to rehabilitate a raped woman in Bangladeshi society the most important thing is creating social acceptance for her. However, we will not be able to create social acceptance for raped women unless society changes the negative mentality. The misconceptions related to Islam and raped women are given below-
1) When a rape occurs in Bangladeshi society, people always blame the woman. The worst part is that questioning the dress of the woman. Most people reference the verses of pardhahs and claim that the girl does not follow pardha so she became victimized. A verse from the Quran is often quoted in this issue: “And tell the believing women to subdue their eye and maintain their chastity”. (Qur’an 24:31) But the previous verse is ignored: “Tell the believing men that they shall subdue their eye (and not stare at the women) and maintain chastity. This is purer for them. God is fully Cognizant of everything they do”. (Qur’an 24:31) So, it is said that the rape did not occur because of the girl’s dress rather it occurred because the men could not control themselves.
2) A negative attitude towards the children of a raped woman is maintained in society. But Islam strongly prohibits blaming or bullying children because of their parent’s faults. Islam also prohibits calling someone with a bad name believing that the person is inherently evil. Quran says: “O you who believe! Let not a group scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former […] Nor defame one another, nor insult one another by bad names. How bad is it to insult one’s brother after having Faith [ i.e. to call your Muslim brother as: “O sinner” or “O wicked”] (49:11)
It can be said that Islam prescribes effective ways to rehabilitate raped women. Raped women are the ones who are tyrannized against and should be empathized. Had she have any will or consent then it would have been called adultery(Zina), and not rape. Raped women are not impure. Raped women are as pure and respectable to Allah as any other woman. instead of defaming and scandalizing the victim, society should defile the perpetrator.
Inadequate Islamic knowledge is responsible for the existing misconceptions and the miserable conditions of raped women. Proper Islamic knowledge will help us develop a positive attitude towards raped victims and be sympathetic to them. By this, Islam may be able to give some space for raped women in society.
- Alislam.org(2015) THE HOLY QUR’AN [online] Available: https://www.alislam.org/quran/Holy-Quran-English.pdf [21 February 2021]
- Badr,Kamal(2016) Are Raped Women Punished in Islam?,[Online], Available: aboutislam.net [30 September,2018]
- Dictionary.reference.com(2011) Rape, [online] Available: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/rape [22 February 2021]
- Khan,M. Muhsin, SAHIH BUKHARI [online] Available: https://d1.islamhouse.com/data/en/ih_books/single/en_Sahih_Al-Bukhari.pdf [21 Febuary 2021]
- Krug,Etienne G., Dahlberg,Linda L. , Mercy, James A. , Zwi, Anthony B. & Lozano, Rafael(2002) World report on Violance And Health, [online],Available: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/42495/9241545615_eng.pdf;jsessionid=A0A9BF6A4DDE3ECE9DDBC9F8604A7779?sequence=1 [22 February 2021]
- Legal-dictionary.freedictioary.com(2011) Rape, [online] Available: https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/rape [22 February 2021]
- Submission.org, Rape– Quran’s perspective and misconceptions,[Online], Available: submission.org/Rape.html [30 September,2018]
- www.thedailystar.net(2018)Human rights remain at alarming level: Report,[Online], Available: www.thedailystar.net [30 September,2018]
Author: Habiba Akter.