Back in 2001 the Elimination of Violence against Women decree was a huge step toward rights for Afghan women when it was endorsed by President Karzai, but it had not yet been approved by the Parliament.

In the last week, a move to pass the law in Parliament encountered major opposition from MPs (members of parliament) who said it is anti-Islamic. They said some of the articles in this law are against the Koran and the Prophet’s narration of Islam.

The legislation was presented by Fawzia Koofi, one of the female MPs and a women’s rights activist. Koofi is also head of the House Commission on Women Affairs, and a candidate for president in the 2014 elections.  

Mulla Trakhel, representative of the Nomads, argued that God allows men to get married four times, but this law prohibits it. He said because the Prophet Mohammed married a nine-year-old girl (Aisha) then men ought to be able to marry teenagers. Muslims are obligated to follow their prophet’s tradition. “As a member of parliament, I would never, ever allow this law get approved,” he said.

Mr. Rhamani, who represents Balkh province, said, “This law should not be presented in the general assembly; it is totally against Islam. We request that it be removed from the general assembly’s agenda.”

He said God mentioned in verses, Nase 35 in the Koran, that a man can get married four times and the men would “do justice among them,” in reference to the four wives. He said that if a man does not do justice among the wives, this doesn’t mean to define the law of Allah. He also said the strategic pact between Afghanistan and the U.S. was “a shameful pact which was presented in the parliament, and this is the most shameful law.”

On the other side of the argument, one of the articles in the legislation says that a girl can be permitted to pick her life partner and that it doesn’t matter who she picks. If her father rejects her choice, and refuses to let her marry, he would face two years in jail.

This is a problem because under Islam, a girl must marry whoever her father chooses.  This follows on what happened when the first Caliph of Islam, Abubakr Șiddīq, had his daughter Aisha marry the Prophet when she was only nine years old. 

My concern with this article in particular is that if my daughter makes a bad choice, if she picked an alcohol or a drug abuser, I would not let her get married to such as person, yet under this law I should be put in jail for two years. What sort of law is this? It creates a gap between family members. This law is against Islam and the Afghanistan constitution. It must not be approved. 

Another lawmaker, Satar Khawase, a representative of Parwan province, said that President Karzai is against Islam for endorsing such a shameful law. The law mentioned the protection centers for women, which Khawase said is completely against Islam. He said that these protection centers are like centers of prostitution. They just lead women to prostitution.

Finally, only two women MPs raised their voices against the men’s arguments.

Gulalai Noorsafi of Balkh province said women are beaten, forced to marry, are raped, and then are blamed for having relations with someone other than a husband. Women have suffered for years. Enough is enough, now we won’t tolerate this situation. We want equal justice, and we will fight for approval of this law.

All of my male colleagues in my office were against this law. They expressed their hatred toward the law, and confirmed the MPs arguments.

A huge rank of female MPs, scholars, university students, government and private companies’ staffs also are firmly against the law. They argued the law is against Islam. But no one asks them what is their level of knowledge and education about Islam and the holy Koran.

God says, “I sent Koran for entire periods.” So the Koran must be interpreted according to the era.

People always argue that Islam says a man can marry four wives, but they don’t know the circumstances under which God gave this permission. At the time when God sent this verse of holy Koran to the Prophet of Islam, most men had lost their lives in Jihad. There were a lot of widows and no one to feed them, so God allowed men to marry again, and justice was still able to be performed with fewer men.

But now, men sometimes have nine children from one wife, and they may end up more than twenty children from four wives. How could there be justice?  

With all respects to lawmakers, I don’t know their level of knowledge of Islam. But I am also a Muslim and I have read the holy Koran and the Prophet of Islam’s narrations, and there is no way that the Koran even in one verse says that girls have no right to pick their life partners.

When the Prophet of Islam’s cousin (Ali) asked Mohammed for his daughter Fatima’s hand, Mohammad (peace be upon him) asked his daughter whether she was willing to marry Ali or not.

So how do you ignore these points, and turn every thing for your own benefits and portray Islam as a forced religion? 

What would you say to Allah when you see him? Please do not continue to portray Islam as a phobia and a violent religion.   

By Sitara