Dalia Mogahed is a public advocate for Muslim Rights and a defender of Islamic beliefs in the American public. On her personal Facebook page, she shared this meme:
These were her thoughts on the meme:
Here’s the original Hadith:
Abu Umamah reported: A young man came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and he said, “O Messenger of Allah, give me permission to commit adultery.” The people turned to rebuke him, saying, “Quiet! Quiet!” The Prophet said, “Come here.” The young man came close and he told him to sit down. The Prophet said, “Would you like that for your mother?” The man said, “No, by Allah, may I be sacrificed for you. People would not like it for their mothers.” The Prophet said, “Would you like that for your daughter?” The man said, “No, by Allah, may I be sacrificed for you. People would not like it for their daughters.” The Prophet said, “Would you like that for your sister?” The man said, “No, by Allah, may I be sacrificed for you. People would not like it for their sisters.” The Prophet said, “Would you like that for your aunts?” The man said, “No, by Allah, may I be sacrificed for you. People would not like it for their aunts.” The Prophet placed his hand on him and he said, “O Allah, forgive his sins, purify his heart, and guard his chastity.” After that, the young man never again turned to anything sinful.
In another narration, the Prophet said to him, “Then hate what Allah has hated, and love for your brother what you love for yourself.”
I agree with Dalia that humanizing a person will make a potential aggressor less likely to harm/degrade them. However, I think her rejection of the contradiction between the Hadith and the meme is dishonest, and quite frankly stupid.
In the Hadith, a man considered engaging in adultery with another woman, and the Prophet Muhammad helped him see it from the point of view of that woman’s relative, whether he would want that for his own women relatives. The man said no, and because of this empathy for the woman’s relatives, he became dissuaded towards pursuing his desires.
How is that not empathizing with other women as if they were his own? How is that different from identifying a potential victim of sexual assault as someone’s mother, daughter, sister?
That man was asked to be in the position of not the woman herself but her relatives. This emphasis on the woman’s family instead of the individual woman shows us the honor culture and collective ownership of a woman’s body and sexuality in early Islamic history. A promiscuous woman would be harmful to her family members’ honor, and the man in the Hadith had to take that into account. He had to consider the burden of being a family member of the woman adulterer, instead of being asked to consider the consequences of the woman herself.
Dalia Mogahed ended her post with “I see no contradiction between the Hadith and the idea of this meme.”
The contradiction between the Hadith and the meme is extremely obvious. How does she fail to see the contradiction between the two? Is she deliberately being dishonest?
Why does she fail to examine the Prophet Muhammad with the same degree of critical thinking she would with any other man? Why is he exempt from her criticisms? Why is Dalia Mogahed so desperate to prove that Islam is inherently feminist and then takes extreme mental gymnastic leaps like this one?
I think Dalia Mogahed is one of many Muslims in western society struggling to reconcile their Islamic faith with their secular, feminist, progressive etc. values. Like other western Muslims, she cherry picks positive verses from the Quran and Hadiths; and does mental gymnastics/dilutes the scriptures to prove that the Islamic views on women is compatible with contemporary feminism.
If any other man said what the Prophet said, would she still deny the contradiction of that instance with the meme? I doubt it.
Dalia Mohahed’s denial of the obvious contradiction proves one thing: Muslims trying to reconcile progressive values with their devout Islamic faith are desperate and in denial.