Short Answer: Your efforts to guide him back to Islam are reward-worthy, indicating your sincerity as a Muslim. Turning to Atheism for a Muslim is indeed a serious issue, so you must do your best to help him. You will find here an answer to the five questions. Please do continue to provide your husband with more resources.
Asalaamu alaykum and thank you for sending in your question to our website.
First of all, sister, I ask Allah to guide your husband back to Islam, and to grant you patience during this calamity.
This is indeed a very serious situation for any Muslim wife to be in.
Your intentions and efforts to guide him back to Islam are reward-worthy, indicating your sincerity as a Muslim.
May Allah (SWT) make this task easy for you and be with you, and guide him back to His Straight Path.
The five issues that he has raised are among the common ones that are often quoted by self-professed critics and skeptics of Islam, most notably atheists and apostates.
The Quran is a Linguistic Arabic Miracle
Before I attempt to address each one of them shortly, I would like to begin by saying that there are many verses in the Quran that mention a particular phenomenon, topic, or object of Allah’s creation, or an aspect of Islamic law, without going into the complete details of it.
The fact is that many verses of the Quran are actually very deep and profound.
When modern-day “experts” of science attempt to approach the Quran with a critical eye, they often do so from a linguistic, bibliopolical, and historical perspective, treating it like a human-authored textbook.
The Quran is the spoken word of Allah: it is a light, a criterion, guidance and much more.
It is not a textbook or an instruction manual that is meant to detail/expand upon each and every aspect of Islamic law, for every era of time.
Rather, the Prophetic narrations and scholarly consensus often explain the details of the verses of the Quran.
That being said, let us briefly address his five concerns.
1- Men Should Beat High-Handed Wives?
This verse outlines the underlying principles of the husband-wife relationship in Islam.
The part that your husband has an issue with (as do most critics of Islam), is the one in which he is apparently allowed to “hit” her if he fears high-handedness in her.
Sister, actually, this chapter of the Quran (aptly titled “The Women”) mentions many laws and rules regarding family living and rights of relatives in Islam.
We should look at the whole picture, not just one angle.
The laws of Islam should not be misused or abused by anyone to mistreat someone who is in a weaker economic or social position.
The guidelines in Islam for husbands to deal with recalcitrant wives follow a long-term, three-step strategy: advising, separating beds, then tapping.
Most rocky marriages either break down totally, or get resolved, before the final stage (tapping a wife) is even reached.
Even so, a Muslim husband is not allowed to “hit” his wife the moment he fears that she is becoming high-handed.
There are verses of the Quran and Prophetic sayings that exhort kind treatment of wives, but these are often ignored by critics of Islam.
2- Men Can Marry Prepubescent Girls?
Yes, the Quran allows men to marry girls who have not yet passed puberty.
Even marriage of such underage boys is allowed in Islam.
This is actually similar to the foster care system in modern secular societies, which aims to protect children and provide them with an optimal upbringing/nurturing home environment.
Muslim parents have the right to contract their minor son’s or daughter’s marriage to someone suitable, who is righteous and from an honorable family, with their knowledge and consent, before they reach puberty.
The consummation, however, should be postponed till after puberty.
This allowance has been made in Islam, in order to enable Muslim parents to ensure a child’s good future beforehand, as soon as a good match is found (based upon righteousness).
Criminals and unethical people attempt to abuse the laws of every system. This does not mean that the legal system is at fault, (e.g. when a foster child is raped by their foster parent).
The same applies to Islam. Those who misuse this Islamic law of child marriage to traffic and exploit children, are sinners.
3- Starve Adulteresses to Death?
Verse 4:15 of the Quran is a verse that is abrogated.
This punishment, of confining a woman who has been convicted of committing adultery to her home until death, which is mentioned in it, no longer applies in practicality, even though its text has remained in the Quran. This involves the rules of abrogation.
Nevertheless, even when this verse was revealed, it did not command starvation for the confined guilty women, per se.
Rather, it just commanded that they not be allowed to go outside their homes.
After this verse was abrogated, the punishment for both adulterous men & women In Islam, is the same, i.e. either lashing or stoning.
As for the other verse, i.e. 4:16, it refers to homosexuals, men or women, as alluded to by the use of the grammatical dual-plural. [Tafsir ibn Kathir]
And Allah knows best.
4- Mary & Miriam: the Same?
This claim about Mary being confused with Miriam that critics often make is totally baseless.
By calling her the “sister of Aaron”, it does not necessarily mean biological sibling, i.e. this expression is not meant to be taken literally.
Rather, Mary is called “Aaron’s sister” in order to remind her of her pious predecessors, and of her own chastity which was similar to the Prophets in her lineage.
Elsewhere too, in the Quran, Allah refers to many Prophets as the “brother” of their people.
In verse 7:73 for example, Allah says, “And to Thamud, their brother Saleh”.
This expression does not mean that Prophet Saleh was his entire nation’s biological brother!
This has been clarified by a Prophetic narration in Sahih Muslim. For a detailed explanation, click here.
5- Are Meteors Called Stars?
Lastly, the simple answer to the issue of meteors is the allegorical use of certain words in the Arabic language.
The Arabic word nujoom is used to refer to all moving galactic bodies, such as stars (light-emitting celestial bodies) as well as others, including meteors.
When there is need to be more specific, then other Arabic words are also used, such as shihab, kaukab, and misbah.
Think of it this way: milk, juice, and water can all be termed as drinks, but not every drink is either milk, juice, or water.
To conclude, please continue to provide your husband with resources to bring him back to Islam and advise him to study Islam in-depth based on the Quran and Sunnah to dispel his doubts, instead of forsaking his religion altogether!
And Allah knows best.
I hope that this answers your questions, sister.
Salam and please stay in touch.
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