The War on Terror has made a number of sharp turns as it has lurched forward over the past decade or so. Even the acronym WOT now seems so retro, so Bushie, so yesterday. For a short time it was the War on Extremism, but even that expression carried a negative connotation for some people. Radicalization is the new buzzword and the now defunct War on Terror has become the campaign to counter radicalization.
Professor Quintan Wiktorowicz, discussed here on NPR, is the new radicalization czar at the National Security Council, and his "broad tent" approach will certainly include moderate Muslims such as Tawfik Hamid who is the Chair for the Study of Islamic Radicalism at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. Tawfik recently gave this lecture at the Institute, and also appeared as a guest on the Arabic program Daring Question. His subject on both programs was his plan to deradicalize Muslims by presenting them with a new approach to the Quran. What caught my attention was that none of the attendees in the English lecture, even though they are educated and influential people, knew enough about Islam to counter anything presented by Tawfik. It was quite different in the interview with ex-Muslim Rashid, and I would like to concentrate on Rashid's comments. The material presented by Tawfik was basically the same in both lectures and readers can watch the English lecture to fully understand his perspective. I'll add a few comments at the end.
Rashid began the discussion by asking Tawfik to define moderate Islam. Tawfik said his definition was, "I love you; I don't hate you because you are different than me, and I leave the final judgement to God."
The next question was what it means to reform Islam. Tawfik responded that the relationship of a believer to his religion contains three basic elements. First is the Nuss, the sacred text, second is the Tafsir or interpretation of the text, and final is the thought process of the believer. A radicalized person can take even a peaceful text and reach a violent conclusion based upon his interpretation of that text and the way he thinks.
"We cannot change the original texts," said Tawfiq, "But we can change the way people interpret them by changing the way they think."
"Where does your role come in?" Rashid asked. "Do you begin with the text, or do you teach the radical to interpret the text and think in a new way?"
Tawfik replied that he began with the text itself. The Quran, he said, does not teach Hudud (capital punishment) for Riddah (leaving Islam), and no Ayah commands Rajam for Zina (stoning for adultery). On the contrary, it declares "there is no compulsion in religion" (Quran 2:256), and "whoever chooses can believe, and whoever chooses can disbelieve" (Quran 18:29). No one has the right, asserted Taufik, to deny anyone the freedom of belief that has been given them by God. By placing our priority on the Nuss of the Quran itself, rather than the Hadith and Sira (sayings and biography of Muhammad), we avoid many problems.
Does this mean, asked Rashid, that you are a Qurani, a "Quran-only Muslim"? (comment: I have discussed this group here). Tawfiq replied he did not follow their ideology because of the Quranic verse "those who listen to the Word and follow that which is good are guided by God and given understanding" (Quran 39:18).
"All truth is the Word," said Tawfik, "Even if it comes in the writings of a Buddhist. I accept what is good in any text. My only criterion is that it not contradict the Quran."
"Does that mean," asked Rashid, "That you accept the peaceful and tolerant Hadith that go along with the Quran, but refuse the violent ones that are not in line with the Quran?"
When Taufik said that was correct, Rashid continued, "Do you reject the saying of Muhammad, "If anyone leaves Islam, kill him."
"I absolutely reject that Hadith," replied Tawfik. "The Quran says that God did not choose to make all people Muslim, and you cannot force anyone to be a Muslim (Quran 10:99). That Hadith contradicts the plain teaching of the Quran."
"But the Ulama," replied Rashid, "Have determined that "if anyone changes his religion, kill him" is an authentic Hadith and its Sanad, or train of transmission, goes directly to Muhammad. It is something that Muhammad said. Even if the scholars agree this is true, do you still refuse it?"
"Of course," replied Tawfik. "I am not refusing anything the Prophet said, but I am suggesting that he did not really say it. There is always room for human error in the Sanad, and just because the scholars agree that Muhammad said something it does not necessarily make it true. The Quran tells us not to think that we are above mistakes (Quran 53:32). The Ulama are great scholars, but they can still make mistakes. I am not denying anything the Prophet actually said, and I am not even questioning the integrity of the Ulama. I am simply stating there is always room for human error."
"But the first Caliphs after Muhammad," countered Rashid, "Were the Sahaba, the companions of the Prophet. They were close to him and received his instructions. They practiced the Hudud for Riddah (capital punishment for leaving Islam). They certainly didn't make this up themselves. They knew that Muhammad said this Hadith, and they carried out his instructions. It sounds to me as if by refusing the Hadith you are saying that Caliph Abu Bakr did not understand, and neither did Caliphs Umar or Uthman or Ali. No one has understood for 1400 years except Dr. Tawfik Hamid!"
"No," replied Tawfik. "I look at it from another perspective. Those generations are gone, with their accomplishments and their mistakes. They have nothing to do with me. On Judgment Day, God is not going to ask me what so-and-so did many years ago. They were not perfect. The Quran says, "Muhammad is no more than a messenger, and there were many messengers before him. If Muhammad dies, will you turn away from him? (Quran 3:144). Who am I to say whether the Sahaba followed him correctly, or turned away from him to use Islam for political purposes? My methodology is to examine the text in front of me, and to understand it irregardless of its traditional and historical context. I set history aside and look at the text as if it were revealed to me just now."
"But that is exactly what the first Muslims did," replied Rashid, "They practiced the Quran as it was revealed to them, with the result that they enforced the punishments of Hudud (capital punishment) including Rajm (stoning)."
Realizing he was on shaky ground, Tawfik quickly shifted direction. "They weren't all the same," he said. "There were always people who disagreed. For example, the poet Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi (1165-1240) wrote,
My heart is capable of everything.
It is a pasture for gazelles, and a monastery for monks.
A temple for idols, and the Kabah of the pilgrim.
It holds the scrolls of the Torah, and the text of the Quran.
I follow the caravan of love, wherever it may take me.
Love is my faith and my religion."
"Dr. Hamid," said Rashid. "Ibn Arabi was rejected by the Muslim majority, who considered him a Sufi Kafir (Sufi unbeliever). Sufism is the result of Christian influence on Islam. When you study the Sufi books, you see the deep influence of Christianity. I am not talking about individuals outside the mainstream who were influenced by other ideologies. I am talking about Orthodox Islam. The first four Rightly Guided Caliphs were not ordinary people. They were the successors of the Prophet and they ruled in his name."
Tawfik simply repeated his earlier assertion that no Muslim could justify his actions before God on the Day of Judgment on the basis of what these Sahaba had done, because they were not perfect.
"Let's look at the verses you mentioned," said Rashid, "That say there is no compulsion in religion and everyone has the right to believe as they choose. The Ulama say these verses are Nasikh wal Mansoukh (abrogated). They were revealed in the early Medinan period, soon after Muhammad arrived from Mecca and before he instituted Jihad. Some of these verses were given for extenuating circumstances. For example, Quranic Mufassir (commentator) Ibn Kathir gives the historical context for the phrase "there is no compulsion in religion." The Arab women of Medina had a high infant mortality rate, and would sometimes give their infants to the Jewish woman to raise (comment: The Jewish tribes of Medina followed the dietary and sanitary laws of the Torah and as a result were more healthy than their Arab neighbors). When the Jews of Medina refused to accept Muhammad as a Prophet, he exiled them from the city. The Arab women wanted to bring their children back but Muhammad refused saying, "There is no compulsion in religion; you cannot force your children to return." (comment: rather than being a verse of tolerance, this phrase resulted in the disruption of families). That verse was revealed for a specific situation, but the general rule was to kill those who left Islam."
Dr. Tawfik suddenly looked like a deer caught in the headlights, and it was apparent he did not know the context of the very verse he was quoting. "If you say that verse was revealed for an extenuating circumstance," he said. "You can say the same about the verses of violence. They were also given for specific situations, and are not applicable today."
"Just as others have the right to interpret the Quran as they choose," continued Tawfik, "I have that same right. The Quran testifies that if it were not from God, it would contain many contradictions (Quran 4:82). When there are differences in interpretation we must return to the original text to remove the contradictions. The text does this by saying "there is no compulsion in religion".
"I also do not believe in the principle of Nasikh wal Mansoukh (aprogation)," said Tawfik. "First of all, the Quran says that the Word that comes from God cannot be changed (Quran 50:29). Secondly, the traditionalists say the fighting verses of Medina cancelled out the peaceful verses from Mecca. But the famous phrase "kill the unbelievers wherever you find them" (Quran 9:4) is followed by the verse "if any of the unbelivers ask you for protection, grant it to them so they may hear the Word of God" (Quran 9:6). If the verses of mercy were cancelled out, why would a verse offering mercy immediately follow Quran 9:4? Even the Medinan suras contain messages of mercy."
"The problem," replied Rashid, "Is that the Quran is not arranged chronologically. The fact that verse 6 follows verse 4 in the text does not necessarily mean they were both revealed at the same time."
When Tawfiq repeated his earlier assertion that he was only concerned with the words of the text and not its historical context, Rashid replied that the trajectory of the entire Quran moved from from the peaceful to the violent. In Mecca, Muhammad tried to gain converts by "preaching that which is better" (Quran 16:125). When he went to Medina he began to fight the Quraysh of Mecca, and by the end of the Quran he was preparing to attack neighbouring countries. The violence followed a pattern of escalation.
"If that were true," replied Tawfik. "Muhammad would have slaughtered the citizens of Mecca when he returned ten years after leaving. Instead it was a peaceful conquest."
"It was not a peaceful return," replied Rashid. "There are many Hadiths that speak of Muhammad's return to Mecca. He was determined to kill his enemies there, and he ordered they be seized even if they were clinging to the Kabah. Why would he kill all the people? He had an army surrounding Mecca of 10,000 soldiers. As soon as he killed the leaders, the city was his."
"The problem," continued Rashid. "Is that Muslim scholars who look at Islam from a historical perspective have evidence for their positions. They have the Hadith and the Sira. You come with just your opinion, and there is nothing historically to support you."
Tawfik responded that those scholars were not always in agreement with each other, and repeated his earlier assertion that if the verses of the Quran were all placed side by side, without bringing in extraneous texts, they would present a peaceful message. He then continued with his reasons for not believing abrogation.
"One of the justifications for the principle of abrogation," he said, "Is the verse that reads "Whenever we Nasikh (abrogate) a verse, we bring a better one (Quran 2:106). The word Nasikh has two meanings in the Quran. One is to erase, or abrogate. The Quran uses this meaning when it says, "Whenever we give a message to a Messenger, Satan comes and tries to Nasikh (remove) it (Quran 22:52)."
"But there is another definition of Nasikh in the Quran," continued Tawfik, "That means to confirm. The Quran says that on the Day of Judgment the angels will open the books on which they have written down, or confirmed, all our good deeds (Quran 45:29). The verb "to write down" is from the same root as Nasikh.
"If we think of Nasikh as confirmation and not abrogation," said Tawfik. "And apply that to Quran 2:106, it means that the message God gave to Muhammad was a confirmation of earlier messages God gave to Moses and Jesus and all the other Prophets. It is not speaking of abrogating Muhammad's peaceful revelations, but confirming all that was said by the previous Prophets."
"I can appreciate this Tafsir (explanation)," replied Rashid. "But the problem is that you are simply expressing your own opinion. You have nothing to support your exigesis. If we look at Islamic history and all its texts, whether in the Sira or Tafsir or Hadith, we find them in agreement on the principle of Nasikh as abrogation.
"Let's look at alcohol," continued Rashid. "In the beginning Muslims were allowed to drink but commanded to not perform Salat (the prayers) when they were drunk (Quran 4:43). The scholars have explained that Muslims were coming to the Mosque so drunk that when they tried to recite the verse, I do not worship what the unbelievers worship, and they do not worship what I worship (Quran 109:2,3), they got the words all turned around. For that reason the verse was revealed they were not to pray if they were drunk. In a later revelation, Muhammad stated that alcohol was a work of Satan and was to be avoided altogether (Quran 5:90), and this has been applied throughout Muslim history. No scholar would argue today that a Muslim can drink as long as he does not come to the mosque drunk, because that verse was abrogated by the later one forbidding alcohol. The principle of abrogation is an essential part of Muslim theology."
"I completely agree with you, said Tawfik, "That this is the traditional approach. Any child who reads the Hadith and the Sira and the Tafsir will find the principle of Nasikh wal Mansoukh. But even in the verses you mentioned I find a ray of hope. For example, the first verse you quoted said that believers were not to say their prayers when they were intoxicated. Not only alcohol, but some medications and even a lack of sleep can give one a sense of intoxication. So the verse might not have been referring to drinking alcohol, but the intoxication that can result from other things."
Tawfik quickly responded to the look of incredulity he saw come across Rashid's face. "I don't disagree with you," Tawfik said, "Muslim scholars have always looked at that verse in reference to people coming to the Mosque drunk. I'm just saying there could be another way to look at it."
"Dr. Tawfik," responded Rashid, "You are making things up. You are trying to make the text say what you want it to say. Scholars throughout history have made a connection between the revelations given in the Quran and the Sabab al-Nazoul (reasons they were revealed). Do you believe in the Sabab al-Nazoul?"
"No, I don't," replied Tawfik.
Rashid was astonished, "So you want to completely strip the Quran from its historical and cultural context," he asked, "And give it a 21st century meaning as if it were revealed today!"
"I am talking about the meaning of the Quran," Tawfik replied, "I agree with you that Ibn Arabi was persecuted as a Sufi, but his poetry reflects the meaning of the Quran. That is why I said in the beginning I do not rely on the Nuss only, but on a new Tafsir (interpretation) of the Quran."
With this segue Tawfik introduced his second element of deradicalization, a new way of interpreting the Quran, by telling a story from his younger days in Cairo. "I was reading the Quran," he said, "And I came to the verse, "Kill Al Mushrikun (the non-believers) wherever you find them" (Quran 9:5). The verse startled me. Even the thought of harming our Coptic neighbors was impossible to me. I went to a friend who was involved in Islamic Jihad to ask him what the verse meant. He replied that even if we could not kill the Christians now, we were to harbor enmity against them in our hearts for their refusal to accept Muhammad. I could not accept his explanation and went to see a Sufi Imam. His response was simply that we were to love all people and leave the final judgement to God. This was a better answer, but it still seemed as if he were evading the actual text."
"One day I was pouring over the verse," Tawfik continued, "And I realized it was not addressed to Mushrikun in general (an indefinite noun), but to Al Mushrikun (a definite noun). The Quran was not addressing unbelievers in general, but a particular group of unbelievers."
When Rashid asked who the verse was referring to, Tawfik replied it was the Quraysh who had opposed Muhammad in Mecca. He then explained how he used that verse in his work, "If I am speaking to a young radical, I show him this verse and ask him why Allah was angry at those unbelievers. He will reply it was because they persecuted Muhammad and his followers. I will then remind him that at the time the Muslims were the minority, and God was displeased with the Quraysh for mistreating this minority. If you mistreat Christian or Jewish or Buddhist minorities today, God will similarly be angry with you. I turn the verse around, and use it to teach a lesson."
Rashid had a perplexed look on his face at Tawfik's explanation. "In the first place, Al Mushrikun is always used in the Quran to refer to unbelievers everywhere. If the text mentioned the Mushrikun of Quraysh, or the Mushrikun of a certain time, I could accept your interpretation, but it doesn't."
When Taufik defended his argument by quoting that Muhammad "was granted permission to fight those who persecuted him" (Quran 22:39), and that this was a reference to the Quraysh, Rashid noted this was only the first stage of Jihad. In the final stage, Muhammad was ordered to fight unbelievers everywhere "until Allah alone was worshipped" (Quran 2:193).
Rashid then noted that the verse saying Al Yahoud (the Jews) were the strongest enemies of the Muslims (Quran 5:82) was also a definite noun, but Muslims have always interpreted this to mean that Jews in general are enemies of Islam. "If Muhammad would have specified "the Jews of Medina", or "the Jews of Arabia", said Rashid, "I could agree with you. But the Quranic reference is to all Jews."
Taufik responded by repeating his assertion that this reference was only to the Jews of Medina during the time of Muhammad. "How can you hate and insult all the Jews," he asked, "When the Prophet Moses was a Jew, and many of the other prophets mentioned in the Quran were Jews?"
Rashid replied that official Islam excepted the Prophets in its condemnation of the Jews, and then added, "It seems to me that you are an anomaly, a lone wolf in your understanding of Islam. You do not represent official traditional Islam."
"That is true," Taufik responded, "And I am proud of that."
Rashid continued, "To understand how the Ulema have interpreted Islam's relationship to the Jews, we must take it in its historical context. In the beginning Muhammad had no hostility against Christians and Jews, and even sent some of his followers to Ethiopia which was a Christian nation. When Muhammad migrated to Medina he thought the Jews would accept his ideas. It was when he put pressure on them to accept him that the conflict began. At that time, the attitude of the Quran changed towards the Jews and the Christians. It is true there is a verse that says "preach to them nicely", but that verse was from the early Meccan period."
When Taufik countered there were also peaceful verses in the Medinan suras, Rashid replied this was in the first two years of Muhammad's time there, when he was still trying to persuade the Jews to accept him. It was only when they rejected him that he turned against them by changing the direction of prayer from Jerusalem to Mecca and the holy day from Saturday to Friday. "But you don't believe any of this," commented Rashid, "You refuse the Hadith and the Sira and the Tafsir and say there are no problems in anything the Quran says."
Taufik reiterated that he did not believe any of the Hadiths that went against his understanding of the Prophet, including Muhammad's marriage to Ayesha when she was nine years old, the benefits of drinking the Prophet's urine, and the need for a woman to nurse adult men if she wanted to be in the room with them.
"That goes against my logic," he said. "How can I believe it?"
"But what are the things you accept?" asked Rashid, "And what are the things that you reject?"
"What I believe in," replied Taufik, "Is freedom of belief. Because the punishment for Riddah is not in the Quran, I reject it completely. I reject stoning for adultery, because that is not in the Quran. I reject the description of Jews as "monkeys and pigs", because that reference was only directed to the Jews of one particular tribe. I reject the choice between accepting Islam or paying the Jizya tax, because the Quran says God does not like aggression. Killing homosexuals is not mentioned in the Quran and I reject it. I reject the idea that Muslims must fight the Jews before the Day of Judgement because that is not in the Quran."
"But Jald (whipping) is clearly mentioned in the Quran," said Rashid, "And so is the amputation of hands. Do you reject that as well?"
"There is another verse," countered Taufik, "That enjoins Muslims to follow the Uruf (Quran 7:199) (comment: English Qurans translate this word as "good", but the Arabic conveys the meaning of the common good or common law). The Uruf in our day is the Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Convention, and we want Muslims to follow this. Even the Caliph Umar suspended amputations for theft during the Year of Poverty, when many Muslims were suffering from hunger. Is anyone going to accuse Umar of Kufr (unbelief)? He did not follow the letter of the law at that time, but adapted the law to the situation."
"The Quran allows men to have four wives," said Rashid. "What is your position on that?"
"When God first created Adam," replied Taufik, "He told him to live with his wife, not wives, in Paradise (Quran 7:19). He created Adam and Eve, not Adam and several wives. For that reason we say God's plan is for men to live with one wife. But when Muhammad lived, polygamy was common. The situation is similar to a man who becomes a Christian in Africa today and has multiple wives. Is he to divorce them, when divorce is not allowed in Christianity? In the same way in Islamic history, there was a time when it was necessary to deal with the problem of polygamy, and Allah allowed men to have more than one wife."
"The example you gave of Africa is different," countered Rashid. "It is one thing for someone to become a Christian when he already has multiple wives, and quite another to tell a man he can marry four. Muhammad did not find men with multiple wives, as the missionaries did, but he told them they could marry four women."
"Let me use this example," replied Taufik, "To move into my third main point, which is to develop a new way of thinking. It is well known that women feel oppressed and mistreated when their husbands take additional wives. The Quran warns that God will severely punish those who oppress others (Quran 25:19). If a Muslim marries a second wife and his first wife feels oppressed, he is in danger of God's punishment. My opinion is that oppression and mistreatment is present in multiple marriages and God hates oppression, so polygamy is not good."
"What about the command to beat disobedient wives?" asked Rashid. "That is a clear command in the Quran (Quran 4:34)."
"First of all," replied Taufik, "There is another verse that commands husbands to treat their wives reasonably (Quran 2:231) (comment: since this is a verse telling husbands how to treat divorced wives, it seems to me Taufik is stretching a little). If the Quran has a general amicable approach for marital relations, the "beating" verse must have another meaning. If a man finds his wife in bed with another man, the Quran orders him not to beat her but to produce four witnesses (Quran 4:15) (comment: Taufik does not mention the second part of this verse, which is that the adulterous woman is to be sentenced to life imprisonment within her house). If a husband does not even have the right to beat a wife he finds in bed with another man, how could he beat her at any other time? I admit, the beating verse presents problems, but there are other ways to look at it."
"Let me be frank with you," asked Rashid. "Is the problem just with the way people interpret the text of the Quran, or is it with the Nuss itself? I am looking at Quran 4:34. It says clearly in classical Arabic, "Beat them."
Taufik repeated his earlier argument that if a man was not allowed to beat a wife in bed with another man, there must be another explanation to Quran 4:34. He suggested that since the verse referred to "women" and not specifically to "wives", it might mean that Muslims at the time of Muhammad were allowed to beat disobedient women in the society, but this did not refer to husbands and their wives.
"I agree with you," said Taufik. "If we take the texts literally there are problems. But we must reinterpret them in light of today. I encourage people to not take the text literally, to not think only in black or white, but to take a deeper approach. The problem in traditional Islam is that every situation is viewed from the perspective of whether it is Halal (allowed) or Haram (forbidden). With polygamy, for example, Muslims have traditionally not questioned it because according to the literal text it is Halal. A Muslim can look at a Christian or a Jew and conclude he is a Kafir bound for Jehenim (hell) based upon the text of the Quran. I want people to look at others from a different perspective."
"Are you trying," asked Rashid, "To establish a new Fiqh (system of Islamic law)? Traditional Fiqh in Islam was built upon a particular way of interpreting the texts. Do you want to do this again?"
Taufik replied he was not necessarily trying to do that, but wanted Muslims to look at their own religion and at non-Muslims in a new and different way.
"But who," asked Rashid, "Will lead this reformation of Islam? Is is you? Al Azhar University? The official organizations of Islam?"
"The leaders of a reformed Islam," replied Taufik, "Do not need to come from Al Azhar University. Although I don't agree with them, the fact is that the most influential Muslims of the past century, men such as Hasan al-Banna (founder of the Muslim Brotherhood) and Sayyid Qutb (a writer who has influenced violent Muslim organizations) did not come from Al Azhar. Current popular preacher Amr Khalid is not from Al Azhar."
"Do you believe," asked Rashid in the final moments of the interview, "That everything Muhammad did was right and he never made a mistake? Do you believe in Usmat Muhammad (the infallability of the Prophet)?"
Taufik replied that Muhammad at times needed to be corrected and guided by God, but that the Prophet always responded to the correction. The Prophet once turned away from a blind man to give his attention to a rich man (Quran 80), but received God's correct guidance and never repeated the same mistake. The Muslim world, he concluded, made a great mistake by concentrating on the externals of Muhammad's behavior such as how he brushed his teeth, washed his hands, or went to the bathroom.
1. I believe that Dr. Taufik Hamid is between a rock and a hard place, and it's not just because his interpretation of Islam differs from that of Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Muhammad has a iron tight grip on Dr. Taufik. As a lifelong believer, he is intellectually incapable of leaving Muhammad behind as Rashid has done. On the other hand, as a upright and moral person, he is unable to accept the Muhammad of history. His solution is to create the Prophet he wishes had existed, the Islam he wants to believe in, and the Quran he wishes were true.
2. Because American policy makers are not themselves scholars of Islam, they rely on people such as Taufik Hamid to teach them about Islam. They rarely realize the extent to which the fanciful information given them differs from the reality of Islam as it exists throughout the world.
3. Taufik's exegesis of Arabic grammar leaves much to be desired. He bases his conclusion that Quran 9:4 refers not to unbelievers in general but only to the unbelievers of Muhammad's day on the fact that the Arabic uses the definite article Al Mushrikun. A grammatical rule of Arabic, however, is that definite nouns are regularly used to express indefinite meaning. To say in Arabic, "I don't like American foreign policy", one says "Ana la uhibb Al siyasah Al Amrikiyah Al Kharijiyah" which is literally "I don't like the American foreign policy." The definite noun is used to express an indefinite meaning.
The reality is that the Quran consistently uses the definite noun to deal with all classes of people. Believers are Al Mumineen, Christians are Al Nasarah, Jews are Al Yahoud, the people of the book (Jews and Christians together) are Ahl Al Kitab, infidels are Al Kuffar, and unbelievers are Al Mushrikun. For Dr. Taufik to argue that the definite article in Quran 9:4 means it refers only to the unbelievers in Mecca is not only bad grammar, but also nothing more than wishful thinking.
4. Dr. Taufik also stated that husbands were not allowed to beat adulterous wives, but commanded to produce four witnesses against them. Apart from the obvious ridiculousness of finding four eyewitnesses of adultery, unless she was sleeping with the entire hockey team, Dr. Taufik ignored the law of Sharia that a husband cannot be prosecuted for murdering a wife who has committed adultery. Taufik's response, of course, would be that even if the entire Muslim Ummah followed this ruling it would mean nothing to him unless he could find it in the Quran.