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03-31-2008, 09:36 PM
Women in Islam

Sam Shamoun (http://www.answering-islam.de/Main/Shamoun/contact.htm)

It is obvious that many Muslim apologists are really not interested in seriously considering what the Holy Bible teaches about the issue of gender equality, but simply throw out passages that are wrenched out of both their immediate and greater contexts. This may score cheap debate points with Muslims readers who, for the most part, may never even pick up the Holy Bible to examine what it actually teaches about this subject. Many Muslim readers will never read the Holy Bible, and they may not even have access to one, to determine for themselves whether the Muslim authors have quoted the passages accurately, whether enough context has been presented to determine if the conclusions these polemicists have arrived at are actually correct.

In light of this observation, we have decided to provide an in depth analysis on what the Holy Bible and Islam teach regarding gender equality. This series of articles will examine what these two religions say about men and women and their relationship. Do they teach that men and women are genuinely equal in essence and dignity, although different in design and function, or is there oppressive discrimination between the sexes? Are women honored and dignified or degraded and discriminated against? It will be our specific purpose in these series of writings to answer these crucial questions.

We start off our examination by looking at the Islamic view of women and begin by addressing some of the passages often used by Apologists to try to convince people that the authentic teachings of Islam dignify and honor women.

For instance, the following two verses deal with the rewards of believers and are often used by Muslims to demonstrate gender equity:
And their Lord answers them: ‘I waste not the labour of any that labours among you, be you male or female -- the one of you is as the other. And those who emigrated, and were expelled from their habitations, those who suffered hurt in My way, and fought, and were slain -- them I shall surely acquit of their evil deeds, and I shall admit them to gardens underneath which rivers flow.’ A reward from God! And God with Him is the fairest reward. S. 3:195 Arberry
And whoso doeth good works, whether of male or female, and he (or she) is a believer, such will enter paradise and they will not be wronged the dint in a date-stone. S. 4:124 Pickthall; cf. 16:97
Muslims often appeal to these texts to show that Allah treats men and women fairly since he equally rewards them both for their righteous deeds. The problem with the above claim is that women do not receive the same kinds of rewards which men do, nor are they treated as equal partners when it comes to other matters such as inheritance, intelligence, witness etc.

The above verses promise male and female believers that they will both be admitted into the garden, but that is where it ends. What will they get once they are inside the garden? For instance, men will be wedded to young virgin women with swelling breasts:
Surely those who guard (against evil) are in a secure place, In gardens and springs; They shall wear of fine and thick silk, (sitting) face to face; Thus (shall it be), and We will wed them with Houris pure, beautiful ones. They shall call therein for every fruit in security; They shall not taste therein death except the first death, and He will save them from the punishment of the hell, A grace from your Lord; this is the great achievement. S. 44:51-57 Shakir

Therein are maids of modest glances whom no man nor ginn has deflowered before. Then which of your Lord's bounties will ye twain deny? As though they were rubies and pearls. S. 55:56-58 Palmer

In them maidens best and fairest!… Bright and large-eyed maids kept in their tents… Whom no man nor ginn has deflowered before them. S. 55:70, 72, 74 Palmer
Surely for the godfearing awaits a place of security, gardens and vineyards and maidens with swelling breasts, like of age, and a cup overflowing. Therein they shall hear no idle talk, no cry of lies, for a recompense from thy Lord, a gift, a reckoning, S. 78:31-36 Arberry
These passages are obviously male-centered, focusing on the rewards that the men receive without any reference to rewards for the believing women. The texts speak of men, and even jinn, being wedded to beautiful maidens, or houris. These verses specifically address the men. The problem is that there are no matching verses for the women. There are many verses that make exclusive promises to men, but none that make specific, let alone exclusive, promises of eternal rewards for women.
Unless one wants to assume that even women will be wedded to these maidens (i.e. Allah promises women lesbian relations in paradise), women obviously do not receive equal or the same rewards as the men do.
There are a couple of references that mention young, fresh boys who serve believers in heaven in Paradise:
Round about them will serve, (devoted) to them, Youths (handsome) as Pearls well-guarded. S. 52:24 Y. Ali

There wait on them immortal youths With bowls and ewers and a cup from a pure spring. S. 56:17-18 Pickthall

There wait on them immortal youths, whom, when thou seest, thou wouldst take for scattered pearls. S. 76:19 Pickthall
A Muslim may want to posit the view that believing women will be wedded to immortal boys much like the men will be wedded to firm breasted maidens. There are a couple of problems with this. First, the text does not say they are there for the women. Although their beauty is mentioned, it does not use clearly sexual or erotic words (wed, deflower, firm breasted, etc.) as in the earlier verses regarding the houris for the men. The classical Muslim commentators never understood these youths to be intended as sexual partners for women, so this claim would be contrary to the established meaning. In fact, it appears that these youths are for the men as well. Second, it is clearly established principle in Islam that men may enjoy sexual relationships with multiple females (wives and concubines) but women can never have more than one husband. See for instance Sura 4:3. There is no indication that this will be different in paradise.

The fact is that Allah is not just to women when it comes to eternal rewards. He does discriminate between the sexes, allowing men to continue their degradation and abuse of women in heaven by wedding them to specially created maidens so as to have perpetual sex. As New York Times Columnist Judith Miller stated in relation to the assassination of Egyptian writer Farag Foda:
"About two weeks before his murder, he mocked what passed for intellectual discourse among Islamists by citing a recent sermon by Egypt's most popular preacher, Abdel Hamid Kishk, a blind sheikh who constantly attacked both the government and its official religious establishment. Kishk had been telling his audience that Muslims who entered paradise would enjoy ETERNAL ERECTIONS and the company of young boys draped in earrings and necklaces. Some of the ulema, the religious scholars at al-Azhar, the government's seat of Islamic learning had disagreed. Yes, they said, men in paradise would have erections, BUT MERELY PROTRACTED, NOT PERPETUAL. Other experts disputed the possibility of pederasty in paradise. ‘Is this what concerns Muslims at the end of the 20th century?’ Foda asked in a column in October magazine. ‘The world around us is busy with the conquest of space, genetic engineering and the wonders of the computer,’ while Muslim scholars, he wrote ‘in sadness and pain,’ were worried about sex in paradise. In a column published just before he was killed, Foda reported that the Tunisian government had videotaped militant Islamic leaders on their prayer rugs, unwilling to await paradise, making love to beautiful women here on earth. Meanwhile, Egyptian militants in Assyut were ordering believers not to eat eggplants and squash because of their resemblance to sexual organs. ‘The Group of Darkness are obsessed with sex,’ he wrote." (Miller, God Has Ninety-Nine Names [A Touchstone Book, published by Simon & Schuster, 1997], pp. 26-27; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Here is the other passage used by Muslims:
O believers, it is not lawful for you to inherit women against their will; neither debar them, that you may go off with part of what you have given them, except when they commit a flagrant indecency. Consort with them honourably; or if you are averse to them, it is possible you may be averse to a thing, and God set in it much good. S. 4:19 Arberry
Muslims say that this text exhorts men to deal honorably with women and not to inherit them against their will. Yet it is strange that the Quran only adds "against their will" instead of abolishing the whole concept of inheriting a woman/person as if she was a thing. Although realizing that there is something wrong the author of the Quran does not lead the issue to its logical conclusion. On the contrary, the Quran still treats women as the possession of their husbands, and commands women to stay at home. This is a form of house arrest, as we will see shortly.

We agree that the Quran gives certain exhortations how to treat women, certain rules, and gives them some rights, but it is still clear that the men are in charge. The fact of the matter is that the Quran nowhere gives women equal rights and equal honor as men, it does not command men to treat women equally as themselves. The concept of honor is vastly different in various societies. What did "honorably" mean in the context of 7th century Arabia? The word is not self-explanatory, but needs to be filled with meaning. Its original meaning may not at all include of what we consider essential today.

Furthermore, it is this very same Sura which says that (a) a man’s inheritance equals that of two women, (b) that men can beat their wives whom they fear are being rebellious, and (c) is even discriminating in the rights of divorce:
And if a woman fears ill usage or desertion on the part of her husband, there is no blame on them, if they effect a reconciliation between them, and reconciliation is better, and avarice has been made to be present in the (people's) minds; and if you do good (to others) and guard (against evil), then surely Allah is aware of what you do. S. 4:128
In the above text, instead of warning the men from mistreating their spouses, women who fear mistreatment or desertion are told that they can seek a means of reconciliation. What many don’t realize is that this text refers to Muhammad’s mistreatment of his wife Sauda bint Zamah because she had gotten old:
Making peace is better than separation. An example of such peace can be felt in the story of Sawdah bint Zam'ah who WHEN SHE BECAME AGED, THE PROPHET WANTED TO DIVORCE HER, but she made peace with him by offering the night he used to spend with her to A'isha so that he would keep her. The Prophet accepted such terms and kept her.

Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded that Ibn ‘Abbas said, "Sawdah feared that the Messenger of Allah might divorce her and she said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Do not divorce me; give my day to 'A'ishah.’ And he did ...

In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that 'A'ishah said that when Sawdah bint Zam'ah BECAME OLD, she forfeited her day to 'A'ishah and the Prophet used to spend Sawdah's night with 'A'ishah ...

<And making peace is better>. IT REFERS TO THE WIFE RELINQUISHING SOME OF HER MARITAL RIGHTS and his acceptance of the offer. Such compromise is better than total divorce, as the Prophet did when retained Sawdah bint Zam'ah. By doing so, the Prophet set an example for his Ummah to follow as it is a lawful act ... (the preceding citation taken and adapted from Tafsir Ibn Kathir - Abridged, Volume 2, Parts 3, 4 & 5, Surat Al-Baqarah, Verse 253, to Surat An-Nisa, Verse 147 [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; first edition March 2000], pp. 599-601, and Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Part 5, Sura An-Nisa, ayat 24-147, abridged by Sheikh Muhammad Nasib Ar-Rafa’i [Al-Firdous Ltd., London, 2000 first edition], pp. 193-194; bold and capital emphasis ours)
One recent Muslim author says in a caption that:
Muhammad's personal and family life were not always smooth. His wives sometimes bickered amongst themselves and even once engaged in a petty plot against him. A'ishah, for example, disliked her Jewish co-wife, Safiyah, and insulted her periodically. Muhammad had to defend her status and honor a number of times and scold the youthful A'ishah. Hafsah became jealous of her co-wife, Maria, when she found her and Muhammad resting[sic] in her apartment one day. Sawdah gave up her allotted day with the Prophet WHEN SHE REALIZED HE WAS NOT REALLY ATTRACTED TO HER. As for the conspiracy, A'ishah agreed with two other co-wives to convince the Prophet that eating honey made him unpleasant to be around. When Muhammad vowed to never eat honey again, she privately repented to her co-conspirators. Though these incidents were not the norm, they demonstrate that the women in Muhammad's life were as human as the rest of us. (Yahiya Emerick, Critical Lives: Muhammad [Alpha Books, A Member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2002], p. 263; capital and underline emphasis ours) {2}
Commentator Al-Tabari stated that:
Umra bin Ali & Zaid bin Ahram said: second by Abu Dawud, said: second by Sulaiman bin Mu'ath, from Simak bin Harb, from Ikrimah, from Ibn Abbas, said: Saudah feared divorce by the messenger of Allah, so she said: Do not divorce me, and do not share with me! And he did, and this verse was revealed: And if a woman fears ill usage or desertion on the part of her husband.

Muhammad bin Husain said: He claimed that this verse came down in reference to the messenger of Allah, and Saudah bint Zama'h who became old, then the messenger of Allah wanted to divorce her, but they agreed that he will keep her but give her day to Ai'sha. (Arabic source (http://quran.al-islam.com/Tafseer/DispTafsser.asp?nType=1&bm=&nSeg=0&l=arb&nSora=4&nAya=128&taf=TABARY&tashkeel=1); translated by Mutee’a Al-Fadi)
Al-Qurtubi wrote:
In this verse there are four issues: the first, Al-Tirmidhi told that Ibn Abbas said: Saudah feared that the messenger of Allah will divorce her so she said, "Do not divorce me and keep me, and give my day with you to Ai'sha." He did and this verse came down: "there is no blame on them, if they effect a reconciliation between them, and reconciliation is better." He said: this is a good and strange hadith. (Arabic source (http://quran.al-islam.com/Tafseer/DispTafsser.asp?l=arb&taf=KORTOBY&nType=1&nSora=4&nAya=128); translated by Mutee’a Al-Fadi)
The Sahihayn, or the two Sahih collections, confirm that Sauda gave up her conjugal rights in order to please Muhammad:
Narrated Aisha:
Whenever Allah's Apostle wanted to go on a journey, he would draw lots as to which of his wives would accompany him. He would take her whose name came out. He used to fix for each of them a day and a night. But Sauda bint Zam'a gave up her (turn) day and night to 'Aisha, the wife of the Prophet in order to seek the pleasure of Allah's Apostle (by that action). (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 47, Number 766 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/047.sbt.html#003.047.766))
‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported: Never did I find any woman more loving to me than Sauda bint Zam'a. I wished I could be exactly like her who was passionate. As she became old, she had made over her day (which she had to spend) with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) to ‘A’isha. She said: I have made over my day with you to ‘A’isha. So Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) allotted two days to ‘A’isha, her own day (when it was her turn) and that of Sauda. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3451 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/008.smt.html#008.3451))
The hadiths also mention that Sauda was a fat woman:
Narrated Aisha:
Sauda (the wife of the Prophet) went out to answer the call of nature after it was made obligatory (for all the Muslims ladies) to observe the veil. She was a fat huge lady, and everybody who knew her before could recognize her. So ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab saw her and said, "O Sauda! By Allah, you cannot hide yourself from us, so think of a way by which you should not be recognized on going out. Sauda returned while Allah's Apostle was in my house taking his supper and a bone covered with meat was in his hand. She entered and said, "O Allah’s Apostle! I went out to answer the call of nature and 'Umar said to me so-and-so." Then Allah inspired him (the Prophet) and when the state of inspiration was over and the bone was still in his hand as he had not put in down, he said (to Sauda), "You (women) have been allowed to go out for your needs." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 318 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/060.sbt.html#006.060.318))
What this basically implies is that Muhammad no longer felt attracted to Sauda and wanted to abandon her because she was fat and old. Hence, Sura 4:128 gives men the right to simply ignore wives whom they are no longer attracted to, denying them the pleasure of love and intimacy!
More importantly, dealing honorably with women no more proves that the Quran views the genders as being equals than Muslims dealing honorably or kindly with animals mean that they are equal as well. After all, Muslims boast that Islam exhorts the kind treatment of animals, even citing narrations such as the following:
Abu Huraira reported God’s messenger as saying, "Forgiveness was granted to an unchaste woman who coming upon a dog panting and almost dead with thirst at the mouth of a well, took off her shoe, tied it with her head-covering and drew some water for it. On that account she was forgiven." He was asked whether people received a reward for what they did to animals, and replied, "A reward is given in connection with every living creature." (Bukhari and Muslim) (Mishkat Al Masabih, English translation with explanatory notes by Dr. James Robson [SH. Muhammad Ashraf Publishers, Booksellers & Exporters, Lahore PK, reprinted 1990], Volume I, Book VI- Zakat, Chapter VII- The Excellence of Sadaqa, p. 404)
Ibn ‘Umar and Abu Huraira reported God’s messenger as saying, "A woman was punished on account of a cat which she kept shut up till it died of hunger. She did not feed it or let it out so that it might eat things creeping on the earth." (Bukhari and Muslim) (Ibid.)
Obviously, no Muslim takes this to mean that humans and animals are equals.

We now turn to one final text used to support the claim of Islam’s honorific view of women:
And of His signs is that He created for you, of yourselves, spouses, that you might repose in them, and He has set between you love and mercy. Surely in that are signs for a people who consider. S. 30:21 Arberry
They say: Wives are from men, implying their equality, and Allah has demanded the two sexes to show love and mercy towards one another.
Far from proving the equity between men and women this passage actually shows that women are created for the pleasure of man. Note the wording of the reference very carefully:
And of His signs is that He created FOR YOU, of yourselves, spouses, that YOU might repose in them
The text is addressing the men and telling them that the women were created for them so that they can repose in their wives. What this verse is basically saying is that women exist for the pleasure of men much like the other things that Allah created. Compare the following texts to what is being said here:
He it is Who created FOR YOU all that is in the earth. Then turned He to the heaven, and fashioned it as seven heavens. And He is knower of all things. S. 2:29 Pickthall

And cattle He has created FOR YOU (men): from them ye derive warmth, and numerous benefits, and of their (meat) ye eat. S. 16:5 Y. Ali

Who has made FOR YOU the earth like a bed, and has made FOR YOU roads therein, in order that you may find your way, … And Who has created all the pairs and has appointed for you ships and cattle on which you ride, S. 43:10, 12 Hilali-Khan
Muslims will have no problem admitting that these texts show that man, as well as woman, is above and superior to all the things that God has made for him since they are all made subject to him. As the following verses say:
It is God who created the heavens and the earth, and sent down out of heaven water wherewith He brought forth fruits to be your sustenance. And He subjected to you the ships to run upon the sea at His commandment; and He subjected to you the rivers and He subjected to you the sun and moon constant upon their courses, and He subjected to you the night and day, and gave you of all you asked Him. If you count God's blessing, you will never number it; surely man is sinful, unthankful! S. 14:32-34 Arberry
Likewise, Sura 30:21 uses a similar expression regarding Allah making the mate FOR THE MAN, implying that men are above and superior to their women. Putting it simply, the expression "created for you" means that women, cattle and a host of other things are created for man’s pleasure and utilization. If anyone doubts that this is what the Quran teaches then all one has to do is to read Sura 3:14:
Beautified FOR MEN is the love of things THEY COVET; WOMEN, children, much of gold and silver (wealth), branded beautiful horses, cattle and well-tilled land. This is the pleasure of the present world's life; but Allah has the excellent return (Paradise with flowing rivers, etc.) with Him. Hilali-Khan
We will have more to say about this verse shortly. And lest we be accused of distorting what Sura 30:21 is actually saying note what one renowned Muslim commentator wrote:
"His saying 'created for you' is a proof that women were created like animals and plants and other useful things, just as the Most High has said ‘He created for you what is on earth’ and that necessitates the woman not to be created for worship and carrying the Divine commands. We say creating the women is one of the graces bestowed upon us and charging them with Divine commands to complete the graces bestowed upon us, not that they are charged as we men are charged. For women are not charged with many commands as we are charged, because the woman is weak, silly, in one sense she is like a child, and no commands are laid upon a child, but for the grace of Allah upon us to be complete, women had to be charged so that they may fear the torment of punishment and so follow her husband, and keep away from what is forbidden, otherwise corruption would be rampant." (Ar-Razi, At-tafsir al-kabir, commentary surah 30:21; bold emphasis ours)
Another Muslim myth that needs to be addressed is the assertion that Islam elevated women to a higher level and gave them much better treatment from what they were receiving in the pre-Islamic period. One Muslim source actually says that there was one Arab tribe which treated their women better than the Muslims did, and that women had the upper hand:
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas:
…Then ‘Umar went on relating the narration and said. "I and an Ansari neighbor of mine from Bani Umaiya bin Zaid who used to live in 'Awali Al-Medina, used to visit the Prophet in turns. He used to go one day, and I another day. When I went I would bring him the news of what had happened that day regarding the instructions and orders and when he went, he used to do the same for me. We, the people of Quraish, used to have authority over women, but when we came to live with the Ansar, we noticed that the Ansari women had the upper hand over their men, so our women started acquiring the habits of the Ansari women. Once I shouted at my wife and she paid me back in my coin and I disliked that she should answer me back. She said, ‘Why do you take it ill that I retort upon you? By Allah, the wives of the Prophet retort upon him, and some of them may not speak with him for the whole day till night.’ What she said scared me and I said to her, ‘Whoever amongst them does so, will be a great loser.’ … So, I entered upon the Prophet and saw him lying on a mat without bedding on it, and the mat had left its mark on the body of the Prophet, and he was leaning on a leather pillow stuffed with palm fibres. I greeted him and while still standing, I said: "Have you divorced your wives?" He raised his eyes to me and replied in the negative. And then while still standing, I said chatting: "Will you heed what I say, O Allah’s Apostle! We, the people of Quraish used to have the upper hand over our women (wives), and when we came to the people whose women had the upper hand over them…" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 43, Number 648 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/043.sbt.html#003.043.648))
In another narration, Muhammad’s child bride even admitted that Muslim women were treated far worse than any other women she knew:
Narrated ‘Ikrima:
Rifa’a divorced his wife whereupon ‘AbdurRahman bin Az-Zubair Al-Qurazi married her. 'Aisha said that the lady (came), wearing a green veil (and complained to her (‘Aisha) of her husband and showed her a green spot on her skin caused by beating). It was the habit of ladies to support each other, so when Allah’s Apostle came, ‘Aisha said, "I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women. Look! Her skin is greener than her clothes!" When ‘AbdurRahman heard that his wife had gone to the Prophet, he came with his two sons from another wife. She said, "By Allah! I have done no wrong to him but he is impotent and is as useless to me as this," holding and showing the fringe of her garment, ‘Abdur-Rahman said, "By Allah, O Allah’s Apostle! She has told a lie! I am very strong and can satisfy her but she is disobedient and wants to go back to Rifa’a." Allah’s Apostle said to her, "If that is your intention, then know that it is unlawful for you to remarry Rifa’a unless ‘Abdur-Rahman has had sexual intercourse with you." Then the Prophet saw two boys with ‘Abdur-Rahman and asked (him), "Are these your sons?" On that ‘AbdurRahman said, "Yes." The Prophet said, "You claim what you claim (i.e. that he is impotent)? But by Allah, these boys resemble him as a crow resembles a crow," (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 72, Number 715 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/072.sbt.html#007.072.715))
So much for Islam’s elevation of women!

Putting this all behind us we now proceed to an examination of Islam’s degradation of women.

Women are Inferior to Men
The following prove that women are second rate and not at all comparable to men:
O believers, when you contract a debt one upon another for a stated term, write it down, and let a writer write it down between you justly, and let not any writer refuse to write it down, as God has taught him; so let him write, and let the debtor dictate, and let him fear God his Lord and not diminish aught of it. And if the debtor be a fool, or weak, or unable to dictate himself, then let his guardian dictate justly. And call in to witness two witnesses, men; or if the two be not men, then one man AND TWO WOMEN, such witnesses as you approve of, THAT IF ONE OF THE TWO WOMEN ERRS THE OTHER WILL REMIND HER; and let the witnesses not refuse, whenever they are summoned. And be not loth to write it down, whether it be small or great, with its term; that is more equitable in God's sight, more upright for testimony, and likelier that you will not be in doubt. Unless it be merchandise present that you give and take between you; then it shall be no fault in you if you do not write it down. And take witnesses when you are trafficking one with another. And let not either writer or witness be pressed; or if you do, that is ungodliness in you. And fear God; God teaches you, and God has knowledge of everything. S. 2:282 Arberry

Allah commands you as regards your children's (inheritance); to the male, a portion equal TO THAT OF TWO FEMALES; if (there are) only daughters, two or more, their share is two thirds of the inheritance; if only one, her share is half. For parents, a sixth share of inheritance to each if the deceased left children; if no children, and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third; if the deceased left brothers or (sisters), the mother has a sixth. (The distribution in all cases is) after the payment of legacies he may have bequeathed or debts. You know not which of them, whether your parents or your children, are nearest to you in benefit, (these fixed shares) are ordained by Allah. And Allah is Ever AllKnower, AllWise, S. 4:11 Hilali-Khan
These passages presuppose that women are inferior in worth and intellect in comparison to men, something that Muhammad is reported to have believed:
Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:
Once Allah's Apostle went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) on ‘Id-al-Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, "O women! Give alms, as I have seen that THE MAJORITY of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women)." They asked, "Why is it so, O Allah's Apostle?" He replied, "You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion THAN YOU. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you." The women asked, "O Allah's Apostle! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?" He said, "Is not THE EVIDENCE OF TWO WOMEN EQUAL TO THE WITNESS OF ONE MAN?" They replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn't it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?" The women replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her religion." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 6, Number 301 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/006.sbt.html#001.006.301); see also Volume 2, Book 24, Number 541)
Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:
The Prophet said, "Isn't the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?" The women said, "Yes." He said, "THIS IS BECAUSE OF THE DEFICIENCY OF A WOMAN’S MIND." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 48, Number 826 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/048.sbt.html#003.048.826))
Muhammad indirectly makes reference to Sura 2:282 regarding the testimony of two women being equivalent to one man as a basis to show why women are intellectually inferior. Thus, Muhammad’s own interpretation of Sura 2:282 establishes the case that the reason why two women are required to testify is because they are inferior intellectual beings! Sunni Quran exegete ar-Razi made these comments on Sura 4:11:
"(The males share is that of two females). Man is more perfect than the woman IN CREATION, AND INTELLIGENCE, and in the religious sphere, such as the suitability to be a judge, and a leader in worship. Also, the testimony of the man is twice that of the woman. So that whoever is given great responsibilities must be given correspondingly great privileges. As the woman is deficient in intelligence and of great lust, if she is given much money, much corruption will be the result."
"The male is mentioned first in Q. 4:11 because the male is better than the female." (At-tafsir al-kabir, commentary on 4:11; bold and capital emphasis ours)
One Muslim source states that women were made stupid because of the sin of Eve:
According to Yunus- Ibn Wahb- Ibn Zayd (commenting on God's word: "And he whispered"): Satan whispered to Eve about the tree and succeeded in taking her to it; then he made it seem good to Adam. He continued. When Adam felt a need for her and called her, she said: No! unless you go there. When he went, she said again: No! unless you eat from this tree. He continued. They both ate from it, and their secret parts became apparent to them. He continued. Adam then went about in Paradise in flight. His Lord called out to him: Adam, is it from Me that you are fleeing? Adam replied: No, my Lord, but I feel shame before You. When God asked what had caused his trouble, he replied: Eve, my Lord. Whereupon God said: Now it is My obligation to make her bleed once every month, as she made this tree bleed. I ALSO MAKE HER STUPID, although I had created her intelligent (halimah), and must make her suffer pregnancy and birth with difficulty, although I made it easy for her to be pregnant and give birth. Ibn Zayd said: Were it not for the affliction that affected Eve, the women of this world would not menstruate, AND THEY WOULD BE INTELLIGENT and, when pregnant, give birth easily. (The History of Al-Tabari: General Introduction and From the Creation to the Flood, translated by Franz Rosenthal [State University of New York Press, Albany], Volume 1, pp. 280-281; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Also notice that Muhammad, in the first narration, claims that the majority of those in hell are women! This teaching of Muhammad is found in virtually all of the major hadith collections such as that of Al-Tirmidhi:
Narrated Zaynab, the wife of Abdullah
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) addressed them saying, "You women should give alms even if it consists of your jewellery, for you will be THE MAJORITY of the inhabitants of Jahannam on the Day of Resurrection." Tirmidhi transmitted it. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 573; ALIM CD-ROM Version)
In fact, Sahih Muslim has a whole section on this very topic{1}:

Usama b. Zaid reported that Allah's Messenger (way peace be upon him) said: I stood at the door of Paradise and I found that the overwhelming majority of those who entered therein was that of poor persons and the wealthy persons were detained to get into that. The denizens of Hell were commanded to get into Hell, and I stood upon the door of Fire and the majority amongst them who entered there was that of women. (Sahih Muslim, Book 036, Number 6596 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/036.smt.html#036.6596))

Ibn Abbas reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: I had a chance to look into the Paradise and I found that majority of the people was poor and I looked into the Fire and there I found the majority constituted by women. (Sahih Muslim, Book 036, Number 6597 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/036.smt.html#036.6597))

Imran b. Husain reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Amongst the inmates of Paradise the women would form a minority. (Sahih Muslim, Book 036, Number 6600 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/036.smt.html#036.6600))
There are other Quranic passages which make the point of men being above and superior to women even more explicit:
And the divorced women should keep themselves in waiting for three courses; and it is not lawful for them that they should conceal what Allah has created in their wombs, if they believe in Allah and the last day; and their husbands have a better right to take them back in the meanwhile if they wish for reconciliation; and they have rights similar to those against them in a just manner, and the men are A DEGREE ABOVE THEM, and Allah is Mighty, Wise. S. 2:228 Shakir
The Tafsir of Ibn Abbas asserts:
(Women who are divorced) through one or two pronouncements of divorce (shall wait) shall wait a certain time called the waiting period, (keeping themselves apart, three (monthly) courses) for three menstruation periods. (And it is not lawful for them that they should conceal) their pregnancy (that which Allah hath created in their wombs) of offspring (if they are believers in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands would do better to take them back) to take them back as their wives (in that case) during the waiting period or if they are pregnant (if they desire reconciliation.) This is because in the early period of Islam, when a man divorced his wife via one or two pronouncements of divorce, he had a better right to take her back after the lapse of the waiting period, before her marrying again. Later, the right to take one's wife back was abrogated by the saying of Allah: (Divorce must be pronounced twice). Similarly, a man had a better right to take his wife back if she were pregnant, even if he had pronounced her divorce a thousand times. This was however abrogated by Allah's saying: (divorce them for their (legal) period) [65:1]. (And they) have rights) and inviolability with their husbands (similar to those) of their husbands (over them in kindness) in kind companionship and intercourse, (and men are a degree above them) in relation to the REASONING FACULTY, inheritance, blood money, as witnesses in court and also that which they owe them in terms of expenditure and service. (Allah is Mighty) in that He is vengeful vis-à-vis whoever leaves that which is between a husband and wife of rights and inviolability, (Wise) regarding that which He has ruled between them. (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn 'Abbâs; online source (http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=73&tSoraNo=2&tAyahNo=228&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0); bold and capital emphasis ours)
This next one even grants men the right to beat their women!
Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them TO EXCEL THE OTHER, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, AND SCOURGE THEM. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great. S. 4:34 Pickthall
The two Jalals write:
Men are in charge of, they have authority over, women, DISCIPLINING THEM and keeping them in check, because of that with which God has preferred the one over the other, that is, because God has given them the advantage over women, in KNOWLEDGE, REASON, authority and otherwise, and because of what they expend, on them [the women], of their property. Therefore righteous women, among them, are obedient, to their husbands, guarding in the unseen, that is, [guarding] their private parts and otherwise during their spouses' absence, because of what God has guarded, for them, when He enjoined their male spouses to look after them well. And those you fear may be rebellious, disobedient to you, when such signs appear, admonish them, make them fear God, and share not beds with them, retire to other beds if they manifest such disobedience, and strike them, but not violently, if they refuse to desist [from their rebellion] after leaving them . If they then obey you, in what is desired from them, do not seek a way against them, a reason to strike them unjustly. God is ever High, Great, so beware of Him, lest He punish you for treating them unjustly. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; online source (http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=74&tSoraNo=4&tAyahNo=34&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0); bold and capital emphasis ours)
Since men excel over women they have the right to beat them if they fear any rebelliousness on their part. The hadiths unashamedly confirm this point:
Narrated ‘Ikrima:
Rifa'a divorced his wife whereupon 'AbdurRahman bin Az-Zubair Al-Qurazi married her. ‘Aisha said that the lady (came), wearing a green veil (and complained to her (Aisha) of her husband AND SHOWED HER A GREEN SPOT ON HER SKIN CAUSED BY BEATING). It was the habit of ladies to support each other, so when Allah's Apostle came, ‘Aisha said, "I have not seen any woman suffering AS MUCH AS THE BELIEVING WOMEN. Look! Her skin IS GREENER THAN HER CLOTHES!" When ‘AbdurRahman heard that his wife had gone to the Prophet, he came with his two sons from another wife. She said, "By Allah! I have done no wrong to him but he is impotent and is as useless to me as this," holding and showing the fringe of her garment, ‘Abdur-Rahman said, "By Allah, O Allah's Apostle! She has told a lie! I am very strong and can satisfy her but she is disobedient and wants to go back to Rifa'a." Allah's Apostle said, to her, "If that is your intention, then know that it is unlawful for you to remarry Rifa'a unless Abdur-Rahman has had sexual intercourse with you." Then the Prophet saw two boys with 'Abdur-Rahman and asked (him), "Are these your sons?" On that ‘AbdurRahman said, ‘Yes.’ The Prophet said, ‘You claim what you claim (i.e.. that he is impotent)? But by Allah, these boys resemble him as a crow resembles a crow,’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 72, Number 715 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/072.sbt.html#007.072.715))

Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab:
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2142 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/abudawud/011.sat.html#011.2142))

Narrated Abdullah ibn AbuDhubab:
Iyas ibn Abdullah ibn AbuDhubab reported the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) as saying: Do not beat Allah's handmaidens, but when Umar came to the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) and said: Women have become emboldened towards their husbands, he (the Prophet) gave permission to beat them. Then many women came round the family of the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) complaining against their husbands. So the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: Many women have gone round Muhammad's family complaining against their husbands. They are not the best among you. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2141 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/abudawud/011.sat.html#011.2141))
The translator, professor Ahmad Hasan, says in a footnote to the above hadith that:
This shows that wives should obey their husbands. In case they do not obey or become emboldened towards their husband, they should try to amend them by preaching and education. Beating is the last resort. But it is better to avoid beating as far as possible. (Sunan Abu Dawud, English translation and Explanatory notes by Prof. Ahmad Hasan [Sh. Muhammad Ashraf Publishers, Booksellers & Exporters; Lahore, Pakistan, 1984], Volume II, p. 575, fn. 1467)
In this next hadith a man beats his wife for praying too much and Muhammad says nothing to rebuke him!
Narrated AbuSa'id al-Khudri:

A woman came to the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) while we were with him.

She said: Apostle of Allah, my husband, Safwan ibn al-Mu'attal, BEATS ME
when I pray, and makes me break my fast when I keep a fast, and he does
not offer the dawn prayer until the sun rises.

He asked Safwan, who was present, about what she had said. He replied:
Apostle of Allah, as for her statement "he beats me when I pray", she
recites two surahs (during prayer) and I have prohibited her (to do so).

He (the Prophet) said: If one surah is recited (during prayer), that is
sufficient for the people.

(Safwan continued:) As regards her saying "he makes me break my fast," she
dotes on fasting; I am a young man, I cannot restrain myself.

The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said on that day: A woman should
not fast except with the permission of her husband.

(Safwan said:) As for her statement that I do not pray until the sun rises,
we are a people belonging to a class, and that (our profession of supplying
water) is already known about us. We do not awake until the sun rises. He
said: When you awake, offer your prayer. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 13, Number 2453 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/abudawud/013.sat.html#013.2453))
Muhammad reportedly gave these instructions during his farewell address:
Narrated Amr ibn al-Ahwas al-Jushami
Amr heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) say in his farewell address on the eve of his Last Pilgrimage, after he had glorified and praised Allah, he cautioned his followers: 'Listen! Treat women kindly; THEY ARE LIKE PRISONERS IN YOUR HANDS. Beyond this you do not owe anything from them. Should they be guilty of flagrant misbehaviour, you may remove them from your beds, and BEAT THEM but do not inflict upon them any severe punishment. Then if they obey you, do not have recourse to anything else against them. Listen! You have your rights upon your wives and they have their rights upon you. Your right is that they shall not allow anyone you dislike, to trample your bed and do not permit those whom you dislike to enter your home. Their right is that you should treat them well in the matter of food and clothing. Transmitted by Tirmidhi. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 104 ALIM CD-ROM Version)
In the earliest Muslim biography, the Sirat Rasul Allah, Ibn Ishaq also reports the same:
You have rights over your wives and they have rights over you. You have the right that they should not defile your bed and that they should not behave with open unseemliness. If they do, God allows you to put them in separate rooms AND BEAT THEM but not with severity. If they refrain from these things they have the right to their food and clothing with kindness. Lay injunctions on women kindly, FOR THEY ARE PRISONERS WITH YOU HAVING NO CONTROL OF THEIR PERSONS. You have taken them as a trust from God, and you have the enjoyment of their persons by the words of God, so understand… (Alfred Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth Impression 1995], p. 651; capital emphasis ours)
The above narrations shamefully state that women are not only to be beaten if they rebel but that they are the prisoners of their husbands! We shall discuss Islam’s placing women under imprisonment later on.

Suffice it to say that the foregoing explains Muhammad's statement that the best women are those who obey their husband's commands:
Narrated AbuHurayrah
When Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) was asked which woman was best he replied, "The one who pleases (her husband) when he looks at her, obeys him when he gives a command, and does not go against his wishes regarding her person or property by doing anything of which he disapproves." Nasa'i and Bayhaqi, in Shu'ab al-Iman transmitted it. (Tirmidhi Hadith, 964; ALIM CD-ROM Version)
After all, good prisoners and inmates are those who obey everything that their wardens and owners demand!

Muhammad himself hit his child bride Aisha at least one time because she was trying to conceal something from him:
Muhammad b. Qais said (to the people): Should I not narrate to you (a hadith of the Holy Prophet) on my authority and on the authority of my mother? We thought that he meant the mother who had given him birth. He (Muhammad b. Qais) then reported that it was 'A'isha who had narrated this: Should I not narrate to you about myself and about the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him)? We said: Yes. She said: When it was my turn for Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) to spend the night with me, he turned his side, put on his mantle and took off his shoes and placed them near his feet, and spread the corner of his shawl on his bed and then lay down till he thought that I had gone to sleep. He took hold of his mantle slowly and put on the shoes slowly, and opened the door and went out and then closed it lightly. I covered my head, put on my veil and tightened my waist wrapper, and then went out following his steps till he reached Baqi'. He stood there and he stood for a long time. He then lifted his hands three times, and then returned and I also returned. He hastened his steps and I also hastened my steps. He ran and I too ran. He came (to the house) and I also came (to the house). I, however, preceded him and I entered (the house), and as I lay down in the bed, he (the Holy Prophet) entered the (house), and said: Why is it, O 'A'isha, that you are out of breath? I said: There is nothing. He said: Tell me or the Subtle and the Aware would inform me. I said: Messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be ransom for you, and then I told him (the whole story). He said: Was it the darkness (of your shadow) that I saw in front of me? I said: Yes. He struck me on the chest which caused me pain, and then said: Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly with you? … (Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 2127 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/004.smt.html#004.2127))
Even Muhammad’s son-in-law and first cousin, Ali ibn Abu Thalib, didn’t hesitate to beat up women such as Aisha’s slave girl:
"As for ‘Ali he said: "Women are plentiful, and you can EASILY change one for another. Ask the slave girl; she will tell you the truth.’ So the apostle called Burayra to ask her, and ‘Ali got up and gave her A VIOLENT BEATING, saying, ‘Tell the apostle the truth’, to which she replied, ‘I only know good of her…’" (Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad, p. 496; bold, underline and capital emphasis ours)
Not only did Ali beat women he also believed they were quite expendable, easily replaceable!

There was even one Muslim who was known for being a great woman beater!
Fatima bint Qais (Allah be pleased with her) reported that her husband divorced her with three, pronouncements and Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) made no provision for her lodging and maintenance allowance. She (further said): Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said to me: When your period of 'Idda is over, inform me. So I informed him. (By that time) Mu'awiya, Abu Jahm and Usama b. Zaid had given her the proposal of marriage. Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: So far as Mu'awiya is concerned, he is a poor man without any property. So far as Abu Jahm is concerned, he is A GREAT BEATER OF WOMEN, but Usama b. Zaid… She pointed with her hand (that she did not approve of the idea of marrying) Usama. But Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Obedience to Allah and obedience to His Messenger is better for thee. She said: So I married him, and I became an object of envy. (Sahih Muslim, Book 009, Number 3526 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/009.smt.html#009.3526))

Fatima bint Qais (Allah be pleased with her) reported: My husband Abu 'Amr b. Hafs b. al-Mughira sent 'Ayyish b. Abu Rabi'a to me with a divorce, and he also sent through him five si's of dates and five si's of barley… Thereupon Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: Mu'awiya is destitute and in poor condition and Abu'l-Jahm is very harsh with women (or he beats women, or like that), you should take Usama b. Zaid (as your husband). (Sahih Muslim, Book 009, Number 3527 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/009.smt.html#009.3527))
Instead of reprimanding Abu Jahm for beating women and for being harsh with them, Muhammad simply mentions these negative qualities in order to discourage Fatima from marrying him.

The late Iranian Islamic scholar, Ali Dashti, provides more examples of Muslim wife abuse in his explanation of Sura 4:43:
According to Tafsir ol-Jalalayn, the superiority of men lies in their greater intelligence, knowledge and administrative ability. Zamakhshari, Baydawi, and several other commentators go into more detail and construct metaphysical theories; they liken men's auuthority over women to that of rulers over subjects, and maintain that prophethood, prayer-leadership, and rulership are reserved for men because men are stronger, MORE INTELLIGENT, and more prudent…

There is one passage, however, which apparently endorses a pre-Islamic Arab custom. This is the sentence at the end of the verse 38[34] permitting a husband to beat his wife: "And those women whose insubordination you fear, admonish them, then leave them alone in the beds, then beat them!" Men with their greater bodily strength have certainly resorted to this unjust and unchivalrous expedient since the earliest times, and they still do so in the twentieth century. Nevertheless its authorization by the law of Islam provides ammunition for critics.

Every community's laws reflect it life-style, customs, and morals. In addition to the testimony of verse 38[34] of sura 4, there is historical evidence that the Ancient Arabs considered the husband to be the owner of his wife and fully entitled to inflict pain on her. Abu Bakr's daughter Asma, who was the fourth wife of Zobayr b. ol-'Awwam (one of the Prophet's first ten converts and principle companions), is reported to have said, "Whenever Zobayr was angry with one of us, he used to beat her UNTIL THE STICK BROKE."

The Islamic law on this subject has at least the merit of gradation. First admonition, next cessation of intercourse, and only in the last resort violence should be used to make the wife obey. In the opinion of several commentators and lawyers, the beating should not be severe as to break a bone, because in that case the legal right to retaliation in kind and degree might be invoked. Zamakhshari, however, writes in his comment on the verse that "some authorities do no accept gradation of the punishment of the insubordinate wife but consider infliction of any of the three penalties to be permissible." This was of course the interpretation given to the words by fanatical Arab theologians such as Ebn Hanbal and Ebn Taymiya. Nevertheless, the meaning of the words is clear and moreover confirmed by what follows in verse 39[35]: "And if you fear a breach between the two, send an arbiter from his kinsfolk and an arbiter from her kinsfolk in case they desire reconciliation." (Dashti, Twenty-Three Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad, translated from Persian by F.R.C. Bagley [Mazda Publishers, Costa Mesa, CA 1994], pp. 114, 115-116; underline emphasis and comments within brackets ours)
Muslim translator Muhammad Asad, in footnote # 45 regarding Sura 4:34 found in his English Quranic translation of Sura 4:34, stated:
It is evident from many authentic Traditions that the Prophet himself intensely detested the idea of beating one's wife, and said on more than one occasion, "Could any of you beat his wife as he would beat a slave, and then lie with her in the evening?" (Bukhari and Muslim). According to another Tradition, he forbade the beating of any woman with the words, "Never beat God's handmaidens" (Abu Da’ud, Nasa’i, Ibn Majah, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ibn Hibban and Hakim, on the authority of Iyas ibn ‘Abd Allah; Ibn Hibban, on the authority of ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abbas; and Bayhaqi, on the authority of Umm Kulthum). When the above Qur'an-verse authorizing the beating of a refractory wife was revealed, the Prophet is reported to have said: "I wanted one thing, but God has willed another thing - and what God has willed must be best" (see Manar V, 74). With all this, he stipulated in his sermon on the occasion of the Farewell Pilgrimage, shortly before his death, that beating should be resorted to only if the wife "has become guilty, in an obvious manner, of immoral conduct", and that it should be done "in such a way as not to cause pain (ghayr mubarrih)"; authentic Traditions to this effect are found in Muslim, Tirmidhi, Abu Da'ud, Nasa'i and Ibn Majah. On the basis of these Traditions, all the authorities stress that this "beating", if resorted to at all, should be more or less symbolic – "with a toothbrush, or some such thing" (Tabari, quoting the views of scholars of the earliest times), or even "with a folded handkerchief" (Razi); and some of the greatest Muslim scholars (e.g., Ash-Shafi'i) are of the opinion that it is just barely permissible, and should preferably be avoided: and they justify this opinion by the Prophet's personal feelings with regard to this problem. (Source (http://www.geocities.com/masad02/004); bold and underline emphasis ours)
Another late scholar and commentator narrates something similar:
The present verse relates to one such event, which can be termed as the background of its revelation. Sayyidna Zayd ibn Zuhayr had married his daughter, Sayyidah Habibah to Sayyidna Sa'd ibn Rabi'. During a dispute over something, the husband slapped her. Sayyida Habibah complained to her father. He took her to the Holy Prophet. He declared that Habibah has the right to hit Sa'd as hard as he did. Hearing this decision of their master, they started back home to take their revenge upon Sa'd. Thereupon, this verse was revealed in which the beating of women as the very last option has been permitted, and no retaliation or revenge against men was allowed. So, soon after the revelation of this verse, the Holy Prophet called both of them back and asked them to abide by the injunction from Allah Almighty, and abrogated his first directive permitting the seeking of revenge. (Uthmani, Maariful Quran, Volume 2, p. 424; source (http://www.islamibayanaat.com/EnglishMaarifulQuran/English-MaarifulQuran-MuftiShafiUsmaniRA-Vol-2-Page-396-450.pdf))
The following Muslim exegete narrates several versions of this story:
(Men are in charge of women...) [4:34].
Said Muqatil: “This verse (Men are in charge of women...) was revealed about Sa‘d ibn al-Rabi‘, who was one of the leaders of the Helpers (nuqaba’), and his wife Habibah bint Zayd ibn Abi Zuhayr, both of whom from the Helpers. It happened Sa‘d hit his wife on the face because she rebelled against him. Then her father went with her to see the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. He said to him: ‘I gave him my daughter in marriage and he slapped her’. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: ‘Let her have retaliation against her husband’. As she was leaving with her father to execute retaliation, the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, called them and said: ‘Come back; Gabriel has come to me’, and Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: ‘We wanted something while Allah wanted something else, and that which Allah wants is good’. Retaliation was then suspended”.

Sa‘id ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Zahid informed us> Zahir ibn Ahmad> Ahmad ibn al-Husayn ibn Junayd> Ziyad ibn Ayyub> Hushaym> Yunus ibn al-Hasan who reported that a man slapped his wife and she complained about him to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. Her family who went with her said: “O Messenger of Allah! So-and-so has slapped our girl”. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, kept saying: “Retaliation! Retaliation! And there is no other judgement to be held”. But then this verse (Men are in charge of women...) was revealed and the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “We wanted something and Allah wanted something else”.

Abu Bakr al-Harithi informed us> Abu’l-Shaykh al-Hafiz> Abu Yahya al-Razi> Sahl al-‘Askari> ‘Ali ibn Hashim> Isma‘il> al-Hasan who said: “Around the time when the verse on retaliation was revealed amongst the Muslims, a man had slapped his wife. She went to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace and said: ‘My husband has slapped me and I want retaliation’. So he said: ‘Let there be retaliation’. As he was still dealing with her, Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other...). Upon which the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: ‘We wanted something and my Lord wanted something different. O man, take your wife by the hand’ ”. ('Ali ibn Ahmad al-Wahidi, Azbab ul-Nuzul; source (http://altafsir.com/AsbabAlnuzol.asp?SoraName=4&Ayah=0&MyPageNo=4&search=yes&img=A))
How interesting that Muhammad showed more mercy and refrain than Allah himself, since the former didn't want men to beat women whereas the latter did!

At this point we need to mention the fact that the Quran NOWHERE demands that the beating of women should not be harsh, that a man must not severely hit his wife. The text simply says that men may beat or hit their rebellious spouses without any qualification:
… If you fear high-handedness from your wives, remind them [of the teachings of God], then ignore them when you go to bed, then HIT them. (The Qur’an: A New Translation by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem, Oxford University Press, 2004)
Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall rendered it as scourge:
… As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and SCOURGE them.
It is rather obvious that the hadith literature is trying to do some damage control. The compilers of the hadith literature obviously saw the need to improve on the Quran’s blanket statement by adding a specific qualification to the nature and extent of the beating since the Quranic injunction clearly gives men the complete license to batter women they fear are rebellious.

Sura 2:228, and other verses like it, granted men the power of divorce and therefore gave them the upper hand:
Yahya related to me from Malik that he had heard that Ali ibn Abi Talib used to say that if a man said to his wife, "You are haram for me," it counted as three pronouncements of divorce.

Malik said, "That is the best of what I have heard on the subject." (Malik’s Muwatta, Book 29, Number 29.1.6 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muwatta/029.mmt.html#

Yahya related to me from Malik from Nafi that Abdullah ibn Umar said that statements like "I cut myself off from you", or "You are abandoned", were considered as three pronouncements of divorce.

Malik said that any strong statements such as these or others were considered as three pronouncements of divorce for a woman whose marriage had been consummated. In the case of a woman whose marriage had not been consummated, the man was asked to make an oath on his deen, as to whether he had intended one or three pronouncements of divorce. If he had intended one pronouncement, he was asked to make an oath by Allah to confirm it, and he became a suitor among other suitors, because a woman whose marriage had been consummated, required three pronouncements of divorce to make her inaccessible for the husband, whilst only one pronouncement was needed to make a woman whose marriage had not been consummated inaccessible.

Malik added, "That is the best of what I have heard about the matter." (Malik’s Muwatta, Book 29, Number 29.1.7 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muwatta/029.mmt.html#

Yahya related to me from Malik from Yahya ibn Said and from Yazid ibn Abdullah ibn Qusayt al-Laythi that Said ibn al-Musayyab said, "'Umar ibn al-Khattab said, ‘If a woman is divorced and has one or two periods and then stops menstruating, she must wait nine months. If it is clear that she is pregnant, that is that. If not, she must do an idda of three months after the nine, and then she is free to marry.’"
Yahya related to me from Malik from Yahya ibn Said that Said ibn al-Musayyab said, "Divorce belongs to men, and women have the idda." (Malik’s Muwatta, Book 29, Number 29.24.70 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muwatta/029.mmt.html#
Even when a woman sought for a divorce it was the man who had to grant and pronounce it:
Narrated ‘Ikrima:
The sister of ‘Abdullah bin Ubai narrated (the above narration, 197) with the addition that the Prophet said to Thabit’s wife, "Will you return his garden?" She said, "Yes," and returned it, and (then) the Prophet ordered Thabit to divorce her. Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: The wife of Thabit bin Qais came to Allah's Apostle and said, "O Allah’s Apostle! I do not blame Thabit for any defects in his character or his religion, but I cannot endure to live with him." On that Allah’s Apostle said, "Will you return his garden to him?" She said, "Yes." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 63, Number 198 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/063.sbt.html#007.063.198))

Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:
The wife of Thabit bin Qais bin Shammas came to the Prophet and said, "O Allah’s Apostle! I do not blame Thabit for any defects in his character or his religion, but I am afraid that I (being a Muslim) may become unthankful for Allah’s Blessings." On that, Allah’s Apostle said (to her), "Will you return his garden to him?" She said, "Yes." So she returned his garden to him and the Prophet told him to divorce her. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 63, Number 199 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/063.sbt.html#007.063.199))

Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas:
Abdu Yazid, the father of Rukanah and his brothers, divorced Umm Rukanah and married a woman of the tribe of Muzaynah. She went to the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and said: He is of no use to me except that he is as useful to me as a hair; and she took a hair from her head. So separate me from him. The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) became furious. He called on Rukanah and his brothers. He then said to those who were sitting beside him. Do you see so-and-so who resembles Abdu Yazid in respect of so-and-so; and so-and-so who resembles him in respect of so-and-so? They replied: Yes. The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said to Abdu Yazid: Divorce her. Then he did so. He said: Take your wife, the mother of Rukanah and his brothers, back in marriage. He said: I have divorced her by three pronouncements, Apostle of Allah. He said: I know: take her back. He then recited the verse: "O Prophet, when you divorce women, divorce them at their appointed periods." (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 12, Number 2191 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/abudawud/012.sat.html#012.2191))

Narrated Rukanah ibn Abdu Yazid:
(Rukanah) divorced his wife absolutely; so he came to the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him). He asked (him): What did you intend? He said: A single utterance of divorce. He said: Do you swear by Allah? He replied: I swear by Allah. He said: It stands as you intended. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 12, Number 2202 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/abudawud/012.sat.html#012.2202))

Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin:
Habibah daughter of Sahl was the wife of Thabit ibn Qays Shimmas. He beat her and broke some of her part. So she came to the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) after morning, and complained to him against her husband. The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) called on Thabit ibn Qays and said (to him): Take a part of her property and separate yourself from her. He asked: Is that right, Apostle of Allah? He said: Yes. He said: I have given her two gardens of mine as a dower, and they are already in her possession. The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Take them and separate yourself from her. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 12, Number 2220 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/abudawud/012.sat.html#012.2220))
Imam Malik records traditions where men CAN give women the right to pronounce a divorce, but didn’t have to, and in some occasions this right was restricted to only one pronouncement and not to an irrevocable one which would entail three pronouncements of divorce:
(1128) It reached Malik that a man came to ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Umar and said: O Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman, I gave the right of divorce to my wife. She has divorced herself. What is your opinion now? Ibn ‘Umar replied, As she said, so is my opinion. The man then said, Oh, do not do so. Ibn ‘Umar replied: Did I do it? YOU DID IT YOURSELF.

(1129) Nafi’ reported that ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Umar used to say: If a man should authorize his wife in the matter of divorce, she could declare herself divorced any time she liked; but if the husband should object and say: I gave you option of only divorce and swears to it, he would have the right over her until the period of ‘iddah probation.

(1130) Kharija b. Zaid b. Thabit reported that he was sitting with Zaid ibn Thabit when Muhammad b. Abi Atiq came and tears were flowing from his eyes. Zaid said: What is the matter with you? He said: I had given my wife the option of divorce and she has left me. Zaid asked: Why did you give her the authority? He replied: It was my fate. Zaid said: If you wish, you can get her back, for only one divorce has become effective. YOU ARE STILL HER MASTER.

(1131) Qasim b. Muhammad reported: A man of Thaqif gave his wife the option of divorce. She gave herself one divorce. He kept quiet. She then gave herself another divorce. He said: Stones be in your mouth. She then gave herself the third divorce. He said: Stones be in your mouth, and they went quarreling to Marwan b. Hakam. Marwan took an oath from the man to the effect that he had given option only for one divorce and handed her back to him. (Muwatta’ Imam Malik, English translation with exhaustive notes by Professor Muhammad Rahimuddin [Sh. Muhammad Ahsraf Publishers, Booksellers & Exporters, Lahore (Pakistan), reprinted July 2000], pp. 246-247; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Again, notice that the power of divorce lies solely with the men who weren’t required to grant this right to their spouses. In fact, when the women did want to divorce their husbands the men were told that it was their own fault for giving their wives this privilege in the first place!
Narrated Thawban:
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: If any woman ASKS her husband for divorce without some strong reason, the odour of Paradise will be forbidden to her. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 12, Number 2218 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/abudawud/012.sat.html#012.2218))
Note two important things from this narration. First, the woman needs to ask for a divorce, which means she can’t simply pronounce one even though the man can do so and doesn’t need to ask. Second, she must have a strong reason to want a divorce, which is another way of saying that it is either up to her husband or the Muslim authority to decide whether her request is valid or not!

So the women only have such a right if the husband gave it to them, otherwise, and that is the implication, they do not have a right to divorce in general. Quite interesting.

Shortly, we will post additional commentaries of some more renowned scholars regarding Suras 2:228 and 4:34.

Not only do women not have power to initiate a divorce unless granted to them by their husbands, Muhammad wouldn't even allow a woman to give either herself or another woman away in marriage:
Narrated AbuHurayrah
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "A woman may not give a woman in marriage, nor may she give herself in marriage, for the immoral woman is the one who gives herself in marriage."

Ibn Majah transmitted it. (Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 935; ALIM CD-ROM Version)
Yet it was ok for women to give themselves to Muhammad!
Narrated Aisha:
I used to LOOK DOWN upon those ladies who had given themselves to Allah's Apostle and I used to say, "Can a lady give herself (to a man)?" But when Allah revealed: "You (O Muhammad) can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them (your wives), and you may receive any of them whom you will; and there is no blame on you if you invite one whose turn you have set aside (temporarily)." (33.51) I said (to the Prophet), "I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 311 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/060.sbt.html#006.060.311))
The following texts provide indirect evidence for the Quran’s low view of women
One can, therefore, legitimately argue that Paul used this same word in the same sense in reference to Phoebe. What! has He taken daughters to Himself of what He Himself creates and chosen you to have sons? And when one of them is given news of that of which he sets up as a likeness for the Beneficent God, his face becomes black and he is full of rage. What! [I]that which is made in ornaments and which in contention is unable to make plain speech! S. 43:16-18 Shakir
Women are categorized as those who are clothed with ornaments and are unable to speak in their defense or speak plainly, implying that they are intellectually deficient! Sunni Muslim scholar and commentator Ibn Kathir wrote regarding the above:
Similarly, out of the two kinds of offspring, sons and daughters, they assigned to Him THE WORST AND LEAST VALUABLE (in their eyes), i.e., daughters, as Allah says…
<A creature who is brought up in adornments, and who in dispute cannot make itself clear> means, women are regarded as lacking something, which they make up for with jewelry and adornments from the time of childhood onwards, and when there is a dispute, they cannot speak up and defend themselves clearly, so how can this be attributed to Allah. (Source (http://tafsir.com/default.asp?sid=43&tid=47533))
The words in parentheses are not part of Ibn Kathir’s comments, but are the additions of the translators in order to do some damage control. They were obviously embarrassed by Ibn Kathir’s degrading views of women and so decided to distort what he actually said.
The two Jalals commented:
What! (a-wa contains both the hamza of denial and the conjunctive waw, 'and', in other words, 'do they ascribe to God ...') one that is brought up amid trinkets, ornaments, and is incoherent in a dispute?, to argue clearly because of an [inherent] inability [in this respect] as a result of [that person belonging to] the female sex. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)
Upon the birth of her daughter, Mary’s mother supposedly made the following comments:
And when she was delivered she said: My Lord! Lo! I am delivered of a female - Allah knew best of what she was delivered - the male is not as the female; and lo! I have named her Mary, and lo! I crave Thy protection for her and for her offspring from Satan the outcast. S. 3:36 Pickthall
The point here is that women are not as good as the men, but despite that Allah can still use Mary!

The inferiority of women is such that only a few have ever attained perfection according to Muhammad!
Narrated Abu Musa:
Allah’s Apostle said, "Many amongst men reached (the level of) perfection but none amongst the women reached this level except Asia, Pharaoh’s wife, and Mary, the daughter of ‘Imran. And no doubt, the superiority of ‘Aisha to other women is like the superiority of Tharid (i.e. a meat and bread dish) to other meals." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 623 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/055.sbt.html#004.055.623))
In fact, men are so dominant over women that Muhammad would have made the latter bow to the former if he could!
Narrated Qays ibn Sa'd:
I went to al-Hirah and saw them (the people) prostrating themselves before a satrap of theirs, so I said: The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) has most right to have prostration made before him. When I came to the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him), I said: I went to al-Hirah and saw them prostrating themselves before a satrap of theirs, but you have most right, Apostle of Allah, to have (people) prostrating themselves before you. He said: Tell me, if you were to pass my grave, would you prostrate yourself before it? I said: No. He then said: Do not do so. If I were to command anyone to make prostration before another I WOULD COMMAND WOMEN TO PROSTRATE THEMSELVES BEFORE THEIR HUSBANDS, because of the special right over them given to husbands by Allah. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2135 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/abudawud/011.sat.html#011.2135))
Prof. Hasan claims that:
This shows the superiority of man over women. The wives have been commanded to obey their husbands in respect of lawful things. (Hasan, Sunan Abu Dawud, p. 574, fn. 1461)
Al-Tirmidhi recorded a similar narration:
Narrated Aisha
Once when Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) was with a number of the Emigrants and Helpers a camel came and prostrated itself before him. Thereupon his companions said, "Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) beasts and trees prostrate themselves before you, but we have the greatest right to do so." He replied, "Worship your Lord and honour your brother. If I were to order anyone to prostrate himself before another, I SHOULD ORDER A WOMAN TO PROSTRATE HERSELF BEFORE HER HUSBAND. If he were to order her to convey stones from a yellow mountain to a black one, or from a black mountain to a white one, IT WOULD BE INCUMBENT ON HER TO DO SO."

Ahmad transmitted it. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 963- ALIM CD-ROM Version)
Ibn Ishaq quotes Muhammad as telling women that even licking the blood and pus of their husbands’ nostrils wouldn’t be enough to discharge their duties:
‘Abdullah b. Abu Bakr told me that he was told that when the apostle sent Mua'dh he gave him instructions and orders and then said: Deal gently and not harshly; announce good news and do not repel people. You are going to one of the people with scripture who will ask you about the key of heaven. Say to them it is the witness that there is no God but Allah, Who has no partner. Mua'dh went off to Yaman and did as he was ordered and a woman came to him and said, 'O companion of God's apostle, what rights has a husband over his wife?' He said, 'Woe to you, a woman can NEVER fulfil her husband's rights, so do your utmost to fulfil his claims as best as you can.' She said, 'By God, if you are the companion of God's apostle you must know what rights a husband has over his wife!' He said, 'If you were to go back and find him with his nostrils running with pus and blood and sucked until you got rid of them you would not have fulfilled your obligation.' (Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad, p. 644; capital and underline emphasis ours)
This concludes the first part of our analysis. Continue with Part Two (http://www.answering-islam.de/Main/Shamoun/women_in_islam2.htm).

{1} As a sheer act of desperation, one Muslim claims that the reason why there are more women in hell is because the ratio of women is greater than that of men:
If the ratio of women to men here on planet earth is larger, then it is only logical that the ratio of women to men in hell would also be larger.
Go to this site and check out the ratio of women to men in every country. You will see that most of them are larger. http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/
(Source (http://www.answering-christianity.com/bassam_zawadi/rebuttal_to_james_arlandson_2.htm))
Besides this being a rather gross distortion of the facts (cf. this article (http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Naik/polygamy.htm)) the author completely and conveniently ignores the very reasons given by Muhammad why there are more women in hell than men. Muhammad didn’t say that the reason why the majority of those in hell are women is because they outnumber the men on earth. Instead, he said that it was because of their lack of intelligence, religiosity and gratefulness that landed them in the majority spot of those burning eternally:
Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:
Once Allah's Apostle went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) o 'Id-al-Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, "O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women)." They asked, "Why is it so, O Allah's Apostle?" He replied, "You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you." The women asked, "O Allah’s Apostle! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?" He said, "Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?" They replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn't it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?" The women replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her religion." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 6, Number 301 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/006.sbt.html#001.006.301))
… "I also saw the Hell-fire and I had never seen such a horrible sight. I saw that most of the inhabitants were women." The people asked, "O Allah's Apostle! Why is it so?" The Prophet replied, "Because of their ungratefulness." It was asked whether they are ungrateful to Allah. The Prophet said, "They are ungrateful to their companions of life (husbands) and ungrateful to good deeds. If you are benevolent to one of them throughout the life and if she sees anything (undesirable) in you, she will say, ‘I have never had any good from you.’" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 18, Number 161 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/018.sbt.html#002.018.161))

… "Then I saw the (Hell) Fire, and I have never before, seen such a horrible sight as that, and I saw that the majority of its dwellers were women." The people asked, "O Allah’s Apostle! What is the reason for that?" He replied, "Because of their ungratefulness." It was said. "Do they disbelieve in Allah (are they ungrateful to Allah)?" He replied, "They are not thankful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favors done to them. Even if you do good to one of them all your life, when she seems some harshness from you, she will say, ‘I have never seen any good from you.’" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 125 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/062.sbt.html#007.062.126))
This same author further distorts the facts when he makes the following claim:
This hadith shows that there are more women in Paradise
[U]Sahih Bukhari
Book 040, Hadith Number 6793.
Chapter : The first group that would be admitted to Paradise would be like the face of the full moon and the description of their qualities and their spouses.

Muhammad reported that some (persons) stated with a sense of pride and some discussed whether there would be more men in Paradise or more women. It was upon this that Abu Huraira reported that Abu'l Qasim (the Holy Prophet) (may peace be upon him) said: The (members) of the first group to get into Paradise would have their faces as bright as full moon during the night, and the next to this group would have their faces as bright as the shining stars in the sky, and every person would have two wives and the marrow of their shanks would glimmer beneath the flesh and there would be none without a wife in Paradise.
Apart from the fact that this hadith is taken from Sahih Muslim, not Sahih Bukhari, it does not in any way support the claim it is supposed to prove. The author presumably thinks that the statement "every person (i.e. every man) would have two wives" refers to women who had previously lived as female Muslim believers on earth, implying that more "earthly women" will enter Paradise than "earthly men", actually at least double the number of men since every man will have (at least) two wives.

Two major observations are important here. First, this hadith, something we have seen so many times before, only makes promises to the male believers and what they will get, i.e. women. It is not a promise for women, they are not addressed. The first and the second group will be men who have different merits.

If anything, looking at this narration from the viewpoint of a woman, it is more a threat of punishment than a promise of reward, since it means that even those pious Muslim women who lived in a monogamous marriage on earth will in the future have to share their husband with at least one more woman, and that for eternity. The women among our readers will surely be thrilled.

Second, the wives who will be the rewards for the believers in Paradise are not necessarily related to the female believers on earth, but may primarily be those houris who are especially created for the pleasure of Muslim men as the following narrations show:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "The first batch (of people) who will enter Paradise will be (glittering) like the full moon, and the batch next to them will be (glittering) like the most brilliant star in the sky. Their hearts will be as if the heart of a single man, for they will have neither enmity nor jealousy amongst themselves; everyone will have two wives FROM THE HOURIS, (who will be so beautiful, pure and transparent that) the marrow of the bones of their legs will be seen through the bones and the flesh." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 476 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/054.sbt.html#004.054.476))
Notice here that the two wives are said to be from the houris, not from earthly women.

Continuing our observation from above, this means that if a Muslim woman makes it into Paradise at all, she will have to share her husband with at least two houris whose beauty is beyond comparison to their own.
Far from solving the problem of the number of believing women who make it into Paradise, this hadith adds the painful aspect that those who may make it there will have very little to look forward to.

The topic of our discussion is whether Islam treats men and women equally, whether women are honored, respected, and valued equally in comparison to men. Within this wider topic, the question here was the number of Muslim women and Muslim men who will make it to Paradise or end up in Hell.

For this aspect of the discussion, the number of those speculative beings of the afterlife (houris) is not relevant. Again, the question is not what kind of beings Allah will create only for Paradise, but among those who are believers on earth, how many of the men and how many of the women will enter Paradise? On this issue, the Islamic narrations are clear: the majority of earthly women will go to hell, and only a minority of them will make it to Paradise just as this next hadith states:
Imran b. Husain reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Amongst the inmates of Paradise THE WOMEN WOULD FORM A MINORITY. (Sahih Muslim, Book 036, Number 6600 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/036.smt.html#036.6600))
{2} The Council of American Islamic Relationships (CAIR) actually distributes this book free of charge for the asking (here (http://www.cair.com/Muhammad/)). We encourage our readers to request their free copy of this book.

03-31-2008, 09:43 PM
Women in Islam
Part 2

Women are Men’s Property

Since the Quran assumes that women are not equal to men in worth and value it therefore comes as no surprise that it places them as property that the men own:
Your women ARE A TILLAGE for you; so come unto your tillage AS YOU WISH, and forward for your souls; and fear God, and know that you shall meet Him. Give thou good tidings to the believers. S. 2:223 Arberry
The hadiths provide the reason why this passage was given:
Narrated Jabir:
Jews used to say: "If one has sexual intercourse with his wife from the back, then she will deliver a squint-eyed child." So this Verse was revealed:-- "Your wives are a tilth unto you; so go to your tilth when or how you will." (2.223) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 51 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/060.sbt.html#006.060.051))
The hadiths even tell us how Allah and his angels feel about a woman that refuses to allow her husband to enter her when and how he wants:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "If a husband calls his wife to his bed (i.e. to have sexual relation) and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 460 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/054.sbt.html#004.054.460))
Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: By Him in Whose Hand is my life, when a man calls his wife to his bed, and she does not respond, the One Who is in the heaven is displeased with her until he (her husband) is pleased with her. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3367 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/008.smt.html#008.3367))
Some Muslims get really ingenious and argue that the above narrations prove that men can’t force their wives to have sex since it speaks of men sleeping in anger. If he could force his wife to have sex then there would be no need for him to sleep angry.

This rather desperate explanation overlooks the fact that Muhammad is warning and scaring the women into satisfying their husbands’ sexual wishes. The women are being warned NOT TO refrain from sleeping with their husbands since Allah will be angry with them. So there is no need for men to force their wives to have sex since Muhammad already did it for them by putting them under the fear and condemnation of God.

Muhammad clearly used religion as a weapon, a tool of domination, as a psychological tactic to scare women into doing want men wanted.
Thankfully, there are others who see these verses and hadiths for what they truly are, examples of misogyny, evidence that Islam has a very low opinion of women.

One example of such a person is liberal Muslim writer and feminist Irshad Manji. She has quite an amusing response to Muslims who try to sidestep the obvious implications of Sura 2:223:
In light of the raped woman in Nigeria, one more passage from the Koran bowled me over. "Women are your fields," it says. "Go then, into your fields when you please. Do good works and fear God." Huh? Go into women when you please, yet do good? Are women partners or property? Partners, insists Jamal Badawi, renowned Koranic scholar. He assures me that this "sexually enlightened" verse serves as a defense of foreplay. Like fields, women need tender loving care in order to turn sperm into real human beings. The farmer’s "seed is worthless unless you have fertile land that will give it growth," Badawi says, looking quite satisfied with his progressive explanation. But he has only addressed the words, "God into your fields." What about the words, "when you please"? Doesn’t that qualifier give men undue power? The question remains: Which paradigm does Allah advocate - Adam and Eve equals, or women as land to be plowed (excuse me, stroked) on a whim? (Manji, The Trouble with Islam Today [St. Martin's Griffin, paperback, March 16, 2005], Chapter 2, "Seventy Virgins", p. 35)
There is at least one positive thing Muhammad did after giving men the right to enter their wives when and how they want. Muhammad at least required men to get the permission of free women whether they could withdraw during sexual intercourse!
Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) forbade withdrawing the penis from a free woman unless she gives permission. Ibn Majah transmitted it. (Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 950; ALIM CD-ROM Version)
Another feminist Muslim writer says:
… The people of Quraysh "had sexual intercourse with their wives from in front and from behind," and this latter position was unknown among the Medinese. An Ansari woman went to see Umm Salama and asked her to put the question to the Prophet. As was his custom, the Prophet summoned the person concerned in order to communicate the response revealed by Heaven. When the woman came, the Prophet/arbiter/legislator recited verse 233 of sura 2, which gives to men ALONE the right of decision regarding sexual positions: "Your women are a tilth to you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will." Using an impressive collection of testimonia, al-Tabari shows us that this verse, far from closing the debate, did nothing but start it up again. Some people said that the verse permitted sodomy, others that it forbade it, and the argument also extends to vaginal intercourse, from behind.

We are faced - and al-Tabari along with us – with one of those ambiguous verses, susceptible to various interpretations, which require the imam who undertakes to explicate the Koran to be doubly vigilant. The fussy, hairsplitting al-Tabari takes every precaution: 41 testimonia, opinions, and views are minutely examined. Some of them maintain that the verse sanctifies men’s right TO SODOMIZE their wives. No point of view is ignored. Even the most ridiculous have the right to be cited: "‘Abd al-Rahman told me … someone had said to Yazid Ibn Aslam: ‘Muhammad Ibn al-Munkadir advises men not to sodomize their wives.’ Yazid said: ‘By Muhammad, I testify that I heard Muhammad Ibn al-Munkadir say that he practiced it himself.’"

What is certain is that with this verse Heaven supported the men. They had the right to use the positions that they wanted; women had no right to protest; they had only to submit to men’s whims. In any case, this verse excluded women from the debate, and by so doing transformed the question, which was thus reduced to the following: Do men have the right to sodomize their wives?

Moreover, one explicit version of this debate rewrote the history of its origin, suppressing the Ansari woman’s question and substituting for it a male problem. In this version, it was no longer women who initiated the debate, but men. While chatting with each other and exchanging confidences about different sexual positions, they stumbled onto the subject of sodomy. They noted that they did not know exactly what Islam’s stand on this practice was. So they decided to go to the Prophet and put the question to him.

Another version brings a Medinese Jew on to the scene. He was having a discussion with a Muslim, who confided in him that he had intercourse with his wife from behind. Horrified, the Jew cried: "But you are like the beasts; we [that is, the Jewish community] have only one way of making love with our wives." Still another version says that in fact Allah intervened because a Jew had told the Muslims: "When a man has intercourse with his wife from behind, the child who is born from such copulation will be blemished; it will be crosseyed." With verse 223 of sura 2 Allah invalidated what the Jew had said (though here, of course, sodomy is not in question).

The particularly revealing debate concerning this verse allows us to grasp the depth of the problem that this book seeks to make clear: the use of the sacred by men to legitimize certain privileges, whether they be of a political or a sexual nature. Three centuries later, when al-Tabari in his role as imam was trying to help the believer clarify the meaning of this verse, the debate was still going! And still today they are arguing about whether a Muslim does or does not have the right to sodomize his wife! … Al-Tabari, as brilliant as he was, did not help his contemporaries to resolve this question, leaving it bogged down in observations that are strangely reminiscent of the time of jahiliyya (the era of ignorance). Observations like: "Yes, I have the right to sodomize"; and "No, you don’t have the right to sodomize." He did not try to evolve principles that codified what is permitted and what is forbidden in the heterosexual act by recalling the equality of the partners as believers. He did not go beyond the incident to arrive at the principle that the sex act depends on two distinct free wills; that it is a relationship between two believers with needs and desires that do not necessarily coincide. It was this timidity on the part of the imam toward the necessity to evolve principles that makes the verses so malleable, and makes the opportunism in their interpretation a structural, almost institutional, feature of Islam.

Al-Tabari did add a supplementary opinion, his own, which said that the verse permits the man to have intercourse with his wife when he wishes, as he wishes, from in front or from behind, the essential point being that he must penetrate her through the vagina, the sole spot where insemination is guaranteed. Thus, according to him, sodomy was formally forbidden. But the essential question remained without answer: what principle in Islam regulates the role of the woman during the sex act? Did or did not the free will of a woman as a Muslim person exist? And were there cases where this free will was affirmed and others in which it disappeared? It was the answer to this essential question that woman tried to obtain from Heaven. The pre-Islamic laws on this matter were very clear; since a woman could be inherited or taken as a hostage and reduced to slavery (contrary to a man, who was in principles physically done away with after the defeat of his tribe), her free will could be suspended in certain situations. (Fatima Mernissi, The Veil and the Male Elite: A Feminist Interpretation of Women’s Rights in Islam, translated by Mary Jo Lakeland [Perseus Books Publishing, Cambridge Massachusetts, 1987], pp. 145-148)
There is plenty of evidence from both the commentators and hadith for the permissibility of anal sex. Imam Al-Bukhari recorded the following exegesis of Sura 2:223:
Narrated Nafi’:
Whenever Ibn ‘Umar recited the Qur'an, he would not speak to anyone till he had finished his recitation. Once I held the Qur'an and he recited Surat-al-Baqara from his memory and then stopped at a certain Verse and said, "Do you know in what connection this Verse was revealed?" I replied, "No." He said, "It was revealed in such-and-such connection." Ibn ‘Umar then resumed his recitation. Nafi added regarding the Verse:-- "So go to your tilth when or how you will." Ibn ‘Umar said, "It means one should approach his wife in …" Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 50 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/060.sbt.html#006.060.050))
Curiously, part of Ibn ‘Umar’s comments are missing. The following source gives the probable reason why they are:
"Ibn Abbas said, in question with this verse, that the Muslims from Medina had previously practiced a type of sexual relationship between husband and wife which they had learned from the Jews, in which the husband honours his wife with respect. When the Muslims from Mecca arrived, they brought a different standard of behaviour with them. This created a severe tension in the Islamic community. Muhammad answered it with the above verse and allowed men to behave as they wished. He allowed his followers anything that would satisfy their beastly lusts. (The full text of this hadith is not translated out of spiritual reservations).

"Ibn Abbas said: ‘Umar came to Muhammad and said: "I have perished." "Why?" Muhammad asked. ‘It is because I have altered the normal position of sex tonight."’ He meant to say that he had sexual intercourse away from his usual place. At first, Muhammad gave no reply, then he claimed that Allah gave him license. Muhammad and Umar were shameless and immodest. Muhammad should have guided Umar to God’s holiness and purity.

"Al-Bukhari narrated after Ibn Umar that al-Baqara 2:223 was revealed on the issue of having anal intercourse with women. Al-Tabarani narrated in Al-Aswat, with a reliable chain of traditions, that ‘Your women are a tillage for you’ was only revealed to license anal intercourse (Asbab al-Nuzul by al-Suyuti on Sura al-Baqara 2:223)." (True Guidance, pt. 5, pp. 48-49; bold emphasis ours)
Ibn Kathir, although condemning the practice, acknowledges that there were certain Muslims who claimed that Ibn Umar did permit this act:
"Quoting his father, from his grand father, Amru Ibn Shu’aib narrated that the Prophet said: ‘Having sex with one’s wife in the anus is minor sodomy.’ On the authority of Ali Ibn Talq, Imam Ahmed narrated: ‘The Prophet has forbidden sexual intercourse with one’s wife in the anus, for Allah is not ashamed of the truth.’ Quoting Abu Hurayrah: The Prophet said: ‘Allah will not look at whoever has sex with his wife in the anus.’ Also, it was narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said: ‘Cursed is he who has sex with his wife in the anus.’ Any Ahadith which allow such act are considered incorrect and they were all examined by our Sheikh al-Hafidh Abu Abdullah adh-Dhahabi in a volume which he compiled, and proved weak and false.

"It was narrated on the authority of IBN UMAR, Malik, ash-Shafi’i and at-Tahawi THAT IT IS LAWFUL but it is untrue. An-Nasr as-Sabbagh said: Ar-Rabi' used to swear by Allah that Ibn Abdul Hakam had lied, when he had made allegations against ash-Shafi’i concerning the lawfulness of having sex with one’s wife in the anus. On the contrary, ash-Shafi’i mentioned the unlawfulness of having sex with one’s wife in the anus in six of his books, and Allah knows best. Also, Ibn Umar forbade it. On the authority of Sa'id Ibn Yasar abu al-Habbab, ad-Darami narrated: ‘I said to Ibn Umar: ‘What do you think of having sex with one’s wife in the anus?" Ibn Umar said: "Does anyone of the Muslims do that?"’ This is a good Isnad, and explicitly reveals the unlawfulness of such act, and anything attributed to him is rejected on the ground of the above Hadith.

"Ma’mar Ibn ‘Isa narrated that Malik considered having sex with one’s wife in the anus is unlawful. Quoting Israel Ibn Rawh, Abu Bakr Ibn Zayyad an-Nisaburi narrated: ‘I asked Malik Ibn Anas’s opinion on having sex with one’s wife from the back, he said: "You are but Arabs, and can sowing be in a place other than that which has been ploughed? Do not go beyond the vagina." I said: "People claim that you say that?" He said: "It is a lie, it is a lie."’ Thus, this is what has been attributed to them, and it involved Abu Hanifa, ash-Shafi’i, Ahmed Ibn Hanbal and their companions, followers and other scholars from the Salaf. They entirely denied the allegation and some of them even believed that having sex with one's wife in the anus is Kufr." (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Part 2 Surah Al-Baqarah, ayat 142 to 252, Abridged by Sheikh Muhammad Nasi Ar-Rifa‘i [Al-Firdous Ltd, London; 1998, first edition], pp. 191-192; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Sunni Muslim historian and Quranic exegete al-Tabari narrated some of these traditions of Ibn Umar:
Others said, "Rather, it means that you may have intercourse whenever you want and in whatever manner you want." Of those who narrated this:

It was narrated Yakub, Narrated by Hushaim, narrated by Ibn A’wn, narrated by Nafi’ who related that whenever Ibn Umar read the Quran he would not speak, but one day I read the verse, "Your wives are as a tilth unto you: so approach your tilth when or how you will" (Sura 2:223). So he said, "Do you know about whom this verse was revealed?" I replied, "No." He said, "This verse was revealed about PENETRATING WOMEN IN THEIR ANUS."

It was narrated by Ibrahim Ibn Abdullah Ibn Muslim Abu Muslim, narrated by Abu Umar Al Dariri, narrated by Ismail Ibn Ibrahim (owner of) Al Karabisi, narrated by Ibn A’wn, narrated by Nafi’ who said, "I used to (inquire) from Ibn Umar whenever he read the verse in the Quran, ‘Your wives are as a tilth unto you: so approach your tilth when or how you will’ (Sura 2:223), he would say, ‘Meaning to have intercourse with women IN THEIR ANUS."

It was narrated by Abdel Rahman Ibn Abdullah Ibn Abdel Hakam, narrated by Abdel Malik Ibn Maslama, narrated by Al Darawardi who stated that it was related to Zaid Ibn Aslam that Muhammad Ibn Al Munkadir used to forbid penetrating women through their anus so Zaid responded, "I bear witness against Muhammad that he informed me that he performed this."

It was related about Al Harith Ibn Yakub that he narrated about Abi Al Habab Sa’id Ibn Yassar that he asked Ibn Umar and said, "O Abu Abdul Rahman! We buy slave girls, so may we commit ‘Nahmid’ with them?" So he replied, "And what is this ‘Nahmid’?" He responded, "(penetrating) the ANUS." Ibn Umar said, "Wow, Wow! Does a believer do that?"

It was narrated by Abu Kilaba, narrated by Abdel Samad, who said that it was narrated by his father who narrated from Ayub, narrated from Nafi’, narrated by Ibn Umar who said that (Sura 2:223), ‘Your wives are as a tilth unto you: so approach your tilth when or how you will,’ WAS REGARDING THE ANUS. (Arabic Source (http://quran.al-islam.com/Tafseer/DispTafsser.asp?nType=1&bm=&nSeg=0&l=arb&nSora=2&nAya=223&taf=TABARY&tashkeel=0); translation and all bold, capital, and underline emphasis ours)
Hence, Ibn Umar the son of the third caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab allowed for men to engage in anal sex. This perhaps explains why Ibn Abbas claimed that Ibn Umar misunderstood the meaning of this specific text:
Narrated Abdullah Ibn Abbas:
Ibn Umar misunderstood (the Qur'anic verse, "So come to your tilth however you will")—MAY ALLAH FORGIVE HIM. The fact is that this clan of the Ansar, who were idolaters, lived in the company of the Jews who were the people of the Book. They (the Ansar) accepted their superiority over themselves in respect of knowledge, and they followed most of their actions. The people of the Book (i.e. the Jews) used to have intercourse with their women on one side alone (i.e. lying on their backs). This was the most concealing position for (the vagina of) the women. This clan of the Ansar adopted this practice from them. But this tribe of the Quraysh used to uncover their women completely, and seek pleasure with them from in front and behind and laying them on their backs.

When the muhajirun (the immigrants) came to Medina, a man married a woman of the Ansar. He began to do the same kind of action with her, but she disliked it, and said to him: We were approached on one side (i.e. lying on the back); do it so, otherwise keep away from me. This matter of theirs spread widely, and it reached the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him).

So Allah, the Exalted, sent down the Qur'anic verse: "Your wives are a tilth to you, so come to your tilth however you will," i.e. from in front, from behind or lying on the back. But this verse meant the place of the delivery of the child, i.e. the vagina. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2159 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/abudawud/011.sat.html#011.2159))
Notice how this hadith simply disregards and degrades the rights of women by giving men the right to completely ignore the wishes of their wives regarding sexual positions. Interestingly, it isn’t a coincidence that Ibn Abbas’ claim regarding Ibn Umar’s misunderstanding is positioned after the following narration:
Narrated AbuHurayrah:
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: He who has intercourse with his wife through her anus is accursed. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2157 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/abudawud/011.sat.html#011.2157))
Basically, Ibn Abbas’ statements provide further substantiation that Ibn Umar did in fact condone anal sex.

Finally, here is a narration from al-Tirmidhi regarding Muhammad permitting Umar to engage in anal sex with his wives:
"Ibn Abbas narrates that Hadhrath Umar went before the Messenger of God and said, ‘Master I am destroyed!’ The Messenger of God asked, ‘What thing has destroyed you?’ Umar replied, ‘Last night I had anal sex.’ The Messenger of God did not give a reply to Umar, then Allah sent down this revelation, ‘Your wives are as a tilth unto you; so approach your tilth when or how ye will; the words "kabool wa Dhabar" (the anus is accepted).’" (Jami Al-Tirmidhi, Bab al-Tafseer, Volume 2, p. 382, Ayat Hars)
To read the original Arabic text of this hadith please go here (http://www.answering-ansar.org/answers/private_lives/trimdhi_v2_p382.jpg).
In fact, one Sunni source claims that the Shia sect of Islam actually condones anal sex till now. The translator of the hadith collection of Sunan Abu Dawud noted:
1483. This shows that it is not lawful to have intercourse with one’s wife through her anus. This is the view agreed upon by the whole community. The Shi'ah alone allow intercourse through anus, but this is against the traditions which prohibit this practice. (Sunan Abu Dawud, English translation and Explanatory notes by Prof. Ahmad Hasan, Volume II, p. 579)
What the foregoing confusion proves is that the Quran nowhere expressly forbids engaging in anal sex, since if it did there wouldn’t be so much confusion amongst Muslim writers and the Islamic traditions. It basically took Muslim tradition to straighten out the mess left by the Quran’s lack of clarity on this issue, and even that tradition wasn’t unanimous.

In all this debate about anal sex in the Muslim sources, it is always the question whether a man may do it or not. Not once is the issue raised whether or not the wife likes this. Whether the husband is allowed to commit this act on his wife depends only on Allah, or Muhammad, or the companions or commentators’ opinions but not on the wife. Is this not another strong evidence that Islam does not honor but degrades women who simply have to accept what the man (or some men) decides in regard to sexual practice?

Moreover, the comment that women are tilth implies that Muhammad viewed women as nothing more than breeders, that there real value was in their ability to give birth. If they were unable to get pregnant then he considered them to be basically useless:
Narrated Ma'qil ibn Yasar:
A man came to the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and said: I have found a woman of rank and beauty, but she does not give birth to children. Should I marry her? He said: No. He came again to him, but he prohibited him. He came to him third time, and he (the Prophet) said: Marry women who are loving and very prolific, for I shall outnumber the peoples by you. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2045 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/abudawud/011.sat.html#011.2045))

We now turn to a passage which we mentioned earlier:
The love of desires, of women and sons and hoarded treasures of gold and silver and well bred horses and cattle and tilth, is made to seem fair to men; this is the provision of the life of this world; and Allah is He with Whom is the good goal (of life). S. 3:14 Shakir
Muhammad placed women on a list of things that a man desires and owns. In the hadiths, he and his followers even placed them on the same level as horses, dogs and asses!
Narrated ‘Aisha:
The things which annul the prayers were mentioned before me. They said, "Prayer is annulled by a dog, a donkey AND A WOMAN (if they pass in front of the praying people)." I said, "You have made us (i.e. women) dogs. I saw the Prophet praying while I used to lie in my bed between him and the Qibla. Whenever I was in need of something, I would slip away, for I disliked to face him." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 9, Number 490 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/009.sbt.html#001.009.490))

Abu Dharr reported: THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH (may peace be upon him) SAID: When any one of you stands for prayer and there is a thing before him equal to the back of the saddle that covers him and in case there is not before him (a thing) equal to the back of the saddle, HIS PRAYER WOULD BE CUT OFF BY (passing of an) ASS, WOMAN, AND BLACK DOG. I said: O Abu Dharr, what feature is there in a black dog which distinguish it from the red dog and the yellow dog? He said: O, son of my brother, I asked the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) as you are asking me, and he said: The black dog is a devil. (Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 1032 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/004.smt.html#004.1032))

Abu Huraira reported: THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH (may peace be upon him) SAID: A WOMAN, AN ASS AND A DOG DISRUPT THE PRAYER, but something like the back of a saddle guards against that. (Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 1034 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/004.smt.html#004.1034))
The Quran mentions things which are a source of trials, tribulations, for men:
And know ye that your possessions and your progeny are but a trial (fitnatun); and that it is God with Whom lies your highest reward. S. 8:28 Y. Ali

Your possessions and your children are only a trial (fitnatun), and Allah it is with Whom is a great reward. S. 64:15 Shakir
According to the so-called sound narrations the greatest source of trials are the women:
Narrated Abdullah bin ‘Umar:
Allah’s Apostle said, "Evil omen is in the women, the house and the horse." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 30 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/062.sbt.html#007.062.030); see also Numbers 31 and 32)

Usama b. Zaid reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: I have not left after me any (chance) of turmoil more injurious to men than the harm done to the men because OF WOMEN. (Sahih Muslim, Book 036, Number 6603 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/036.smt.html#036.6603); see also 6604)
In light of the foregoing, women would have to fall under the category of wealth or possessions which the Quran mentions since they are obviously not children! Basically, the hadiths are simply further confirming that women are the possession of the men.

The hadith compiler Ibn Majah provides further evidence for this view:
1855. ‘Abdullah b. ‘Amr (Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said that Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "Verily, the world is a property (1) and nothing of the property of the world is better than a righteous woman."

1856 Thauban (Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said that when (the command) concerning gold and silver was revealed, they (the people) said, "Which property should we get?" ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him) said, "I will inform you of it." Then he rode his camel and spurred it. Then he reached the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and I was behind him. Then he said, "Allah’s Messenger, which property should we acquire?" Upon this, he said, "Anyone of you should possess a heart thankful (to Allah), a tongue devoted to (Allah's) mention and a righteous wife helping anyone of you in the matter of the Hereafter."

According to al-Zawa’id, Nasa’i declared ‘Abdullah b. ‘Amr b. Marra da'if while Hakim and ibn Hibban held him reliable. Ibn Mu'in said, "There is no objection against him," and said: Tirmidhi transmitted in at-Tafsir direct from him a version other than 'Umar's version; and said: It is hasan.

1857 Abu ‘Umma (Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said on the authority of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that he used to say: A Believer does not get more benefit of the good he possesses, after God-consciousness, than a righteous wife. If he commands her, she obeys him, if he casts a glance at her, she pleases her[sic] (1) and if he takes an oath against her, she fulfils it and if he is absent from her, she is sincere to him regarding her person and his property.

According to al-Zawa'id, its isnad has ‘Ali b. Yazid. Bukhari said about him: He is a transmitter of munkar traditions. As for ‘Uthman b. ‘Atika, there is a difference of opinion about him. Nasa’i has transmitted this hadith from the hadith of Abu Huraira and he has observed silence against him. He has a proof from the hadith of 'Abdullah b. ‘Umar. (Sunan Ibn-I-Majah (Imam Abu Abdullah Muhammad b. Yazid Ibn-I-Maja Al-Qazwini), English version by Muhammad Tufail Ansari [Kazi Publications, Lahore (Pakistan), 1st edition 1995], Chapter NO. V, "The Best Women", Volume III, pp. 119-121)
Adding insult to injury, Muhammad even advised men to pray for God’s protection from the harm in women, female slaves and camels!
Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-‘As:
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: If one of you marries a woman or buys a slave, he should say: "O Allah, I ask Thee for the good in her, and in the disposition Thou hast given her; I take refuge in Thee from the evil in her, and in the disposition Thou hast given her." When he buys a camel, he should take hold of the top of its hump and say the same kind of thing."

Abu Dawud said: Abu Sai’d added the following words in his version: He should then take hold of her forelock and pray for blessing in case of a woman or a slave. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2155 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/abudawud/011.sat.html#011.2155))
{Note: The online version conveniently omitted Abu Dawud’s comments from Abu Sai’d.}

What about the evil of the men? Are there any prayers prescribed for women to seek protection from the evil of the man?

Muhammad went further and told Muslims to seize their wives’ foreheads, much like they should do to their slaves and animals, and pray for the good which they gain from them and against the evil inherent in them!
1918. 'Abdullah b. 'Amr (Allah be pleased with him) reported on the authority of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) who said, "When anyone of you benefits him with a woman or a servant or a cattle he should seize its forehead and pray: O Allah, I beg of Thee its good and the good of its natural disposition with which it has been created and I seek refuge in Thee of its evil and of the disposition with which it has been created." (Sunan Ibn-I-Majah, Volume III, Chapter No. XXVII, "The Supplication At The Time Of Sexual Intercourse", p. 157)
What about women doing that to their husbands? Why didn’t Muhammad command them to do the same with their husbands’ foreheads? Why give this right to husbands only?

As a further indication that a woman is a man’s possession and property in Islam is the Quran’s command to place the former under a kind of house arrest. In Islam women are only allowed to leave their homes if it is necessary and by permission of their husbands:
O wives of the Prophet! you are not like any other of the women; If you will be on your guard, then be not soft in (your) speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease yearn; and speak a good word. AND STAY IN YOUR HOUSES and do not display your finery like the displaying of the ignorance of yore; and keep up prayer, and pay the poor-rate, and obey Allah and His Apostle. Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House! and to purify you a (thorough) purifying. S. 33:32-33 Shakir
Earlier we had looked at texts which said that wives are prisoners of men, a position supported by the above text as the reader can see.

The following quotations come from Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri’s Reliance of the Traveler: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law In Arabic English Text, Commentary And Appendices edited and translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller (Amana Publications, Beltsville Maryland, revised edition 1994). It is one of the more respected, classical works in Islamic theology. This 1200+ page volume contains fundamentals of Islamic jurisprudence compiled by "the great 13th century hadith scholar and jurisprudent" Imam Nawawi, and others. Keep in mind that this work was not written with a Western audience in view since Imam Nawawi wanted to produce a book on Islamic law that was precise, and accurate, one that taught true Islamic values, specifically for a Muslim audience. The manual says in section m10.3-4 that:
(A: A husband may permit his wife to leave the house for a lesson in Sacred Law, for invocation of Allah (dhikr), to see her female friends, or to go to any place in the town. A woman may not leave the city without her husband or a member of her marriageable kin (def: m6.2) accompanying her, unless the journey is obligatory, like the hajj. It is unlawful for her to travel otherwise, and unlawful for her husband to allow her to.) (n: In the Hanafi school, it is not unlawful for her to travel beyond the city limits without a husband or member of her unmarriageable kin unless the distance to her intended destination exceeds ca. 77 km./ 48 mi. (al-Lubub fi sharh al-Kitab) (y88), 1.105).)

The husband may forbid his wife to leave the home (O: because of the hadith related by Bayhaqi that the Prophet said,
"It is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to allow someone into her husband’s house if he is opposed, or to go out if he is averse").
But if one of her relatives dies, it is preferable to let her leave to visit them. (p. 538)
And in section m10.12 it says:
(2) It is not lawful for a wife to leave the house except by permission of her husband, though she may do so without permission when there is a pressing necessity. Nor may a wife permit anyone to enter her husband’s home unless he agrees, even their unmarriageable kin. Nor may she be alone with a nonfamily –member male, under any circumstances. (p. 541)
It also writes in section p.42.2:
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

(1) "Allah will not look at a woman who is ungrateful to her husband, while unable to do without him."

(2) "When a man calls his wife to bed and she will not come, and he spends the night angry with her, the angels curse her until morning."

(3) "It is not lawful for a woman to fast when her husband is present, save by his leave. Nor to permit anyone into his house except with his permission."

(4) Whoever leaves her husband’s house [A: without his permission], the angels curse her until she returns or repents."
(Khalil Nahlawi:) It is a condition for the permissibility of her going out (dis: m10.3-4) that she take no measures to enhance her beauty, and that her figure is concealed or altered to a form unlikely to draw looks from men or attract them. Allah most High says,
"Remain in your homes and do not display your beauty as women did in pre-Islamic period of ignorance" (Koran 33:33). (p. 682)
And regarding praying at the local mosque, this same manual exhorts men to do so but advises women not to!
It is better for women to pray at home than at the mosque (A: whether they are young or old). It is offensive for an attractive or young woman to come to the mosque and pray (0: or for her husband to permit her), though not offensive for women who are not young or attractive when this is unlikely to cause temptation. (N: The author’s words here must be interpreted in the light of the following details: If a woman’s going to group prayer or elsewhere will definitely lead to temptation between the sexes, it is unlawful for her to go. If such temptation can be definitely prevented, her going to the group prayer remains sunna, as is attested to by the hadiths that have reached us on the subject. If temptation is feared but not certain to occur, her going becomes offensive.

Whether such temptation is likely to occur is something that differs with different times, places, and people. An old woman is not like a young one, nor a righteous society like one in which temptation between the sexes is the rule; nor is a special prayer place set aside for women at the mosque like a prayer place which they share with men. This is why ‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) said,
"Had the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) seen what women do now, he would have forbidden them the mosque as the women of Bani Isra’il were forbidden."
A hadith reported by Bukhari and Muslim. (f12.4, pp. 171-172)
The so-called sound hadiths state:
Narrated Ibn 'Umar:
The Prophet said, "If your women ask permission to go to the mosque at night, allow them." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 12, Number 824 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/012.sbt.html#001.012.824))

Narrated Ibn Umar:
One of the wives of Umar (bin Al-Khattab) used to offer the Fajr and the ‘Isha’ prayer in congregation in the Mosque. She was asked why she had come out for the prayer as she knew that Umar disliked it, and he has great ghaira (self-respect). She replied, "What prevents him from stopping me from this act?" The other replied, "The statement of Allah's Apostle (p.b.u.h): ‘Do not stop Allah’s women-slave from going to Allah s Mosques' prevents him.’" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 13, Number 23 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/013.sbt.html#002.013.023))
Note carefully that the women have to ask their husbands first before they can even go to the mosque and that Umar hated for women to attend prayers! The foregoing leads us to ask the following questions:

Why would women need permission to enter the house of God at night? Do men also need their wives’ permission? And where does the Old Testament forbid women from entering God’s house? Furthermore, why should women sit behind the men while in the mosques? Finally, if Muhammad would forbid women from entering the mosque based on things that they were doing then what about the evils committed by the men? Shouldn't they have also been warned of being banished from God's house?

Muhammad even stated that women’s salvation is dependent on whether their husbands are pleased with them:
Narrated Umm Salamah
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "Any woman who dies when her husband is pleased with her will enter paradise."
Tirmidhi transmitted it. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 958; ALIM CD-ROM Version)

Narrated AbuUmamah
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: There are three people whose prayer does not pass beyond their ears: the runaway slave till he returns; the woman who spends night in a state in which her husband is annoyed with her; and the leader of the people, whom (they do not like).

Tirmidhi transmitted it and said: This is a gharib hadith. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 344; ALIM CD-ROM Version)
Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: There are three people whose prayer does not ascend beyond their heads, even to the length of a span: the person who leads people in prayer despite their disapproval; a woman who spends the night (in a state) in which her husband is annoyed with her; and the two brothers who are estranged.
Transmitted by Ibn Majah. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 347; ALIM CD-ROM Version)

Islam Condones A Form of Prostitution Called Mut’a
At one stage in his life Muhammad permitted the degrading of women in order to satisfy the sexual desires of Muslim men and passed it off as temporary marriages. Among Muslims this abuse of women is called Mut’a:
Narrated Abdullah:
We used to participate in the holy wars carried on by the Prophet and we had no women (wives) with us. So we said (to the Prophet). "Shall we castrate ourselves?" But the Prophet forbade us to do that and thenceforth he allowed us to marry a woman (temporarily) by giving her even a garment, and then he recited: "O you who believe! Do not make unlawful the good things which Allah has made lawful for you." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 139)

Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah and Salama bin Al-Akwa': While we were in an army, Allah's Apostle came to us and said, "You have been allowed to do the Mut’a (marriage), so do it."

Salama bin Al-Akwa' said: Allah's Apostle's said, "If a man and a woman agree (to marry temporarily), their marriage should last for three nights, and if they like to continue, they can do so; and if they want to separate, they can do so." I do not know whether that was only for us or for all the people in general. Abu Abdullah (Al-Bukhari) said: ‘Ali made it clear that the Prophet said, "The Mut’a marriage has been cancelled (made unlawful)." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 52 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/062.sbt.html#007.062.052))

Narrated Abdullah:
We used to participate in the holy battles led by Allah's Apostle and we had nothing (no wives) with us. So we said, "Shall we get ourselves castrated?" He forbade us that and then allowed us to marry women with a temporary contract and recited to us: -- ‘O you who believe! Make not unlawful the good things which Allah has made lawful for you, but commit no transgression.’ (5.87) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 130)

Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas
The temporary marriage applied only in the early days of Islam. A man would come to a settlement where he had no acquaintance and marry a woman for the period it was thought he would stay there, and she would look after his belongings and cook for him. But Ibn Abbas said that when the verse came down, "Except their wives or the captives their right hands possess," intercourse with anyone else became unlawful. Tirmidhi transmitted it. (Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 942; ALIM CD-ROM Version)
The time frame usually given for such marriages (more like fornication and/or adultery) is three days, but can theoretically last as long as an hour:
Q1: Can Someone Contract Mut'a Marriage for 1 hour?
I would say theoretically yes! Much in the same way that it is possible for some one to marry a woman permanently and then divorce her in one hour or even less. Logically, since the possibility of this action does not invalidate the regular marriage, therefore, it should not be applied in the case of Mut'a either! (Source (http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6a/8.html))
Sunni Muslims generally believe that Muhammad himself abrogated this perverted practice. Yet there are Sunni narrations that say that this practice was being observed all the way till the time of Umar ibn Al-Khattab who stopped it, but then later reinstated it. For instance, ar-Razi wrote of Mut’a:
"‘Mut’ah marriage involves a man hiring a woman for a specific amount of money, for a certain period of time, to have sex with her. The scholars agree that this Mut'ah marriage was authorized in the beginning of Islam. It is reported that when the Prophet came to Mecca to perform ‘umrah, the women of Mecca dressed up and adorned themselves. The companions complained to the Prophet that they had not had sex for a long time, so he said to them: ‘Enjoy these women.’" (At-tafsir al-kabir, Q. 4:24)
"No Muslim disputes that Mut'ah marriage was allowed in early Islam, the difference is whether it has been abrogated or not." (Ibid.)
The hadith collections affirm that there was debate regarding whether this practice had been abrogated:
Narrated Abu Jamra:
I heard Ibn Abbas (giving a verdict) when he was asked about the Mut’a with the women, and he permitted it (Nikah-al-Mut’a). On that a freed slave of his said to him, "That is only when it is very badly needed and women are scarce." On that, Ibn ‘Abbas said, "Yes." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 51 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/062.sbt.html#007.062.051))

Ibn Uraij reported: 'Ati' reported that Jabir b. Abdullah came to perform 'Umra, and we came to his abode, and the people asked him about different things, and then they made a mention of temporary marriage, whereupon he said: Yes, we had been benefiting ourselves by this temporary marriage during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) and during the time of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3248 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/008.smt.html#008.3248))

‘Urwa b. Zubair reported that ‘Abdullah b. Zubair (Allah be pleased with him) stood up (and delivered an address) in Mecca saying: Allah has made blind the hearts of some people as He has deprived them of eyesight that they give religious verdict in favour of temporary marriage, while he was alluding to a person (Ibn 'Abbas). Ibn Abbas called him and said: You are an uncouth person, devoid of sense. By my life, Mut'a was practised during the lifetime of the leader of the pious (he meant Allah's Messenger, may peace be upon him), and Ibn Zubair said to him: Just do it yourselves, and by Allah, if you do that I will stone you with your stones. Ibn Shihab said. Khalid b. Muhajir b. Saifullah informed me: While I was sitting in the company of a person, a person came to him and he asked for a religious verdict about Mut’a and he permitted him to do it. Ibn Abu ‘Amrah al-Ansari (Allah be pleased with him) said to him: Be gentle. It was permitted in the early days of Islam, (for one) who was driven to it under the stress of necessity just as (the eating of) carrion and the blood and flesh of swine and then Allah intensified (the commands of) His religion and prohibited it (altogether). Ibn Shihab reported: Rabi’ b. Sabra told me that his father (Sabra) said: I contracted temporary marriage with a woman of Banu 'Amir for two cloaks during the lifetime of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him); then he forbade us to do Mut’a. Ibn Shihab said: I heard Rabi’ b. Sabra narrating it to Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz and I was sitting there. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3261 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/008.smt.html#008.3261))

Abu Nadra reported: While I was in the company of Jabir b. Abdullah, a person came to him and said that Ibn 'Abbas and Ibn Zubair differed on the two types of Mut'a (Tamattu’ of Hajj 1846 and Tamattu’ with women), whereupon Jabir said: We used to do these two during the lifetime of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him). Umar then forbade us to do them, and so we did not revert to them. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3250 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/008.smt.html#008.3250))
One narration even says that, during the caliphate of Umar, a woman got pregnant as a result of Mut’a:
Yahya related to me from Malik from Ibn Shihab from Urwa ibn az-Zubayr that Khawla ibn Hakim came to Umar ibn al-Khattab and said, "Rabia ibn Umayya made a temporary marriage with a woman and she is pregnant by him." Umar ibn al-Khattab went out in dismay dragging his cloak, saying, "This temporary marriage, had I come across it, I would have ordered stoning and done away with it!" (Malik’s Muwatta, Book 28, Number 28.18.42 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muwatta/028.mmt.html#
Another renowned Sunni exegete and historian, al-Tabari, claimed that Umar rescinded his prohibition:
According to Muhammad b. Ishaq - Yahya b. Ma’in – Ya’qub b. Ibrahim - ‘Isa b. Yazid b. Da’b - ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Abi Zayd – ‘Imran b. Sawdah: I said the morning prayer with ‘Umar, and he recited the Subhan chapter and one other. Then he left. I went off with him, and he asked if there was anything he could do. I told him there was, so he asked me to join him. I did so and, when he entered [his house], he gave me permission [to enter]. There he was on a bed with nothing on it. I told him I wanted to give him some advice. His reply was, "The person giving good advice is welcome anytime." I said, "Your community finds fault with you on four counts." (‘Umar) put the top of his whip in his beard and the lower part on his thigh. Then he said, "Tell me more." I continued, "It has been mentioned that you declared the lesser pilgrimage forbidden during the months of the [full] pilgrimage. The Messenger of God did not do this, nor did Abu Bakr, though it is permitted." He answered, "It is permitted. If they were to perform the lesser pilgrimage during the months of the pilgrimage, they would regard it as being in lieu of the full pilgrimage, and (Mecca) would be a deserted place that year, and the pilgrimage would be celebrated by no one, although it is part of God's greatness. You are right." I continued, "It is also said that you have forbidden temporary marriage, although it was a license (rukhsah) given by God. We enjoy temporary marriage for a handful [of dates], and we can separate after three nights." He replied, "The Messenger of God permitted it at a time of necessity. Then people regained their life of comfort. I do not know of any Muslim who has practiced this or gone back to it. Now anyone who wishes can marry for a handful [of dates] and separate after three nights. You are right." I continued, "You emancipate a slave girl if she gives birth, without her master's [consent to] the emancipation." He replied, "I added one thing that is forbidden to another, intending only to do some good. I ask God’s forgiveness." I continued, "There have been complaints of your raising your voice against your subjects and your addressing them harshly." He raised his whip, then ran his hand down it right to the end. Then he said, "I am Muhammad's traveling companion"- he sat behind him at the raid on Qarqarat al-Kudr… ([I]The History of al-Tabari: The Conquest of Iran, translated by G. Rex Smith [State University of New York Press, Albany, 1994], Volume XIV, pp. 139-140; bold emphasis ours)
To add to this mass confusion, this next hadith says that the Quran never abrogated Mut’a:
Narrated 'Imran bin Husain:
The Verse of Hajj-at-Tamatu was revealed in Allah’s Book, so we performed it with Allah’s Apostle, and nothing was revealed in Qur'an to make it illegal, nor did the Prophet prohibit it till he died. But the man (who regarded it illegal) just expressed what his own mind suggested. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 43 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/060.sbt.html#006.060.043))
The Saudi translator of Sahih al-Bukhari, Muhammad Muhsin Khan, has changed the word Mut'a to Hajj-at-Tamatu, even though the Arabic text of the Hadith that is placed next to the English says Mut'a. Yet even here the point is still clear since the expression Hajj-at-Tamatu refers to the practice of Muta during the time of Hajj, i.e. Mut’a of Hajj.

Despite the Sunni claim that Mut’a has been cancelled one will still find Shiite Muslims condoning and practicing it, as the following links show:
http://www.answering-ansar.org/answers/mutah/en/index.php (http://www.answering-ansar.org/answers/mutah/en/index.php)
http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6a/1.html (http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6a/1.html)
http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6a/2.html (http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6a/2.html)
http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6a/3.html (http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6a/3.html)
http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6a/4.html (http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6a/4.html)
http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6a/5.html (http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6a/5.html)
http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6a/6.html (http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6a/6.html)
http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6a/7.html (http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6a/7.html)
http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6a/8.html (http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6a/8.html)
http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6a/9.html (http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6a/9.html)
As anyone can see, this practice is nothing more than a form of legalized prostitution since its sole aim being to gratify the carnal perversions of men.

The practice of Mut’a may account for why the following text is worded in the way that it is:
And let those who do not find the means to marry keep chaste until Allah makes them free from want out of His grace. And (as for) those who ask for a writing from among those whom your right hands possess, give them the writing if you know any good in them, and give them of the wealth of Allah which He has given you; and do not compel your slave girls to prostitution, WHEN THEY DESIRE TO KEEP CHASTE, in order to seek the frail good of this world's life; and whoever compels them, then surely after their compulsion Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. S. 24:33 Shakir
From the way this passage is worded one can easily conclude that prostitution is only a sin when the slave girl desires chastity. Otherwise, if she does not desire to be chaste then it is okay for her to prostitute herself for gain. This interpretation makes sense in light of the practice of temporary marriages. After all, there must be women who are willing to be used and degraded in this manner for Mut’a to even be possible.

03-31-2008, 09:50 PM
Women in Islam
Part 3

Islam Condones Adultery, Rape and Pedophilia

Islam not only condoned a form of prostitution in the guise of marriage, it also permits other perverted sexual acts such as sex with minors and the rape of prisoners of war. We begin with the Quran’s teaching regarding marrying and divorcing prepubescent girls:O Prophet, when you divorce women, divorce them when they have reached their period. Count the period, and fear God your Lord. Do not expel them from their houses, nor let them go forth, except when they commit a flagrant indecency. Those are God's bounds; whosoever trespasses the bounds of God has done wrong to himself. Thou knowest not, perchance after that God will bring something new to pass… As for your women who have despaired of further menstruating, if you are in doubt, their period shall be three months; and those who have not menstruated as yet. And those who are with child, their term is when they bring forth their burden. Whoso fears God, God will appoint for him, of His command, easiness. S. 65:1, 4 ArberryThe waiting period for the divorcing of women who haven’t even menstruated is three months. This means that these women aren’t even women (they haven’t attained womanhood) but are in fact young girls who haven’t even attained puberty! Now a woman can only be divorced if she was first married, so it is clear that this injunction assumes that young girls can be married and divorced and remarry before they reach puberty. Even more, the purpose of this waiting period is to ensure that the wife who is about to be divorced is not pregnant, or if she is to make sure that the true father is known, i.e. that the child is from the current husband, and not a next husband that she may marry afterwards. Thus, this verse presupposes that the Muslim men who are married to prepubescent girls have sexual intercourse with them.

The renowned Muslim commentator Abu-Ala’ Maududi, in his six volume commentary on the Quran, confirms this by stating the following regarding this passage:"Therefore, making mention of the waiting-period for girls who have not yet menstruated, clearly proves that it is not only permissible to give away the girl at this age but it is permissible for the husband to consummate marriage with her. Now, obviously no Muslim has the right to forbid a thing which the Qur’an has held as permissible." (Maududi, volume 5, p. 620, note 13, emphasis added)

The collector of the so-called sound narrations, Imam al-Bukahri narrated:Narrated Sahl bin Sad:While we were sitting in the company of the Prophet a woman came to him and presented herself (for marriage) to him. The Prophet looked at her, lowering his eyes and raising them, but did not give a reply. One of his companions said, "Marry her to me O Allah's Apostle!" The Prophet asked (him), "Have you got anything?" He said, "I have got nothing." The Prophet said, "Not even an iron ring?" He said, "Not even an iron ring, but I will tear my garment into two halves and give her one half and keep the other half." The Prophet; said, "No. Do you know some of the Quran (by heart)?" He said, "Yes." The Prophet said, "Go, I have agreed to marry her to you with what you know of the Qur'an (as her Mahr)." 'And for those who have no courses (i.e. they are still immature). (65.4) And the 'Iddat for the girl BEFORE PUBERTY is three months (in the above Verse). (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 63 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/062.sbt.html#007.062.063); emphasis ours)

It is important to note that the Quran teaches that there is no waiting period for marriages that have not been consummated:O you who believe: When you marry believing women and then divorce them before you have touched them, no period of idda (waiting) have you to count in respect of them: so give them a present and set them free in a graceful manner. S. 33:49What this shows is that the waiting period only applies in the case of a prepubescent if her husband has actually slept with her. In other words, Islam is allowing men to have sex with minors, legally sanctioning pedophilia!

For further, detailed discussion of this issue, see An Examination of Muhammad’s Marriage to a Prepubescent Girl And Its Moral Implications (http://www.answering-islam.de/Main/Shamoun/prepubescent.htm). Here is a reference permitting to rape captive women:Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess: Thus hath God ordained (Prohibitions) against you: Except for these, all others are lawful, provided ye seek (them in marriage) with gifts from your property, - desiring chastity, not lust, seeing that ye derive benefit from them, give them their dowers (at least) as prescribed; but if, after a dower is prescribed, agree Mutually (to vary it), there is no blame on you, and God is All-knowing, All-wise. S. 4:24 Y. AliThe above passage emphatically allows for the raping of women that are taken captive, even if these captives happened to be married!

It did not remain an abstract theoretical right, but was readily put into practice by the Muslim jihadists:Abu Sirma said to Abu Sa'id al Khadri (Allah he pleased with him): O Abu Sa'id, did you hear Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) mentioning al-'azl? He said: Yes, and added: We went out with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) on the expedition to the Bi'l-Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them. So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing 'azl (Withdrawing the male sexual organ before emission of semen to avoid conception). But we said: We are doing an act whereas Allah's Messenger is amongst us; why not ask him? So we asked Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him), and he said: It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3371 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/008.smt.html#008.3371))

Abu Said al-Khudri said: The apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) sent a military expedition to Awtas on the occasion of the battle of Hunain. They met their enemy and fought with them. They defeated them and took them captives. Some of the Companions of the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) were reluctant to have intercourse with the female captives in the presence of their husbands who were unbelievers. So Allah, the Exalted, sent down the Quranic verse, ‘And all married women (are forbidden) unto you save those (captives) whom your right hands possess’. That is to say, they are lawful for them when they complete their waiting period. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Volume 2, Number 2150)

Ibn Kathir wrote:<except those whom your right hands possess>except those women whom you acquire through war, for you are allowed such women after making sure they are not pregnant.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri said, "We captured some women from the area of Awtas who were already married, and we disliked having sexual relations with them because they already had husbands. So, we asked the Prophet about this matter, and this Ayah was revealed…

<Also (forbidden are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess>.

Consequently, we had sexual relations with these women." This is the wording collected by AT-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i, Ibn Jarir and Muslim in his Sahih. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Volume 2, Parts 3, 4 & 5 (Surat Al-Baqarah, Verse 253, to Surat An-Nisa, Verse 147), abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; First edition, March 2000], p. 422; bold emphasis ours)

The Holy Bible, however, prohibits the raping of captive women and condemns adultery completely. Note what God’s true Word says about the treatment of captive women:"When you go to war against your enemies and the LORD your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her AS YOUR WIFE. Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her." Deuteronomy 21:10-14

M.G. Kline, considered one of the leading Old Testament theologians of the last century, wrote regarding God’s ruling in Deuteronomy 21:10-14:This first of three stipulations concerned with the authority of the head of the household (cf. vv. 15-21) deals with the limits of the husband's authority over his wife. The case of a captive woman (vv. 10,11; cf. 20:14; contrast 7:3) is used as a case in point for establishing the rights of the wife, perhaps because the principle would obviously apply, a fortiori in the case of an Israelite wife. On the purificatory acts of verses 12b, 13a, which signified removal from captive-slave status, compare Lev. 14:8; Num. 8:7.

On the month's mourning, see Num 20:29 and Deut 34:8. This period would provide for the achieving of inward composure for beginning a new life, as well as for an appropriate expression of filial piety. 14. Thou shalt not sell her. A wife might not be reduced to slave status, not even the wife who had been raised from slave status… then thou shalt let her go whither she will. The severance of the marriage relationship is mention here only incidentally to the statement of the main principle that a man's authority did not extend to the right of reducing his wife to a slave. This dissolution of the marriage would have to be accomplished according to the laws of divorce in the theocracy (cf. Deut. 24:1-4). Not the divorce was mandatory, but the granting of freedom in case the man should determine to divorce his wife according to the permission granted by Moses because of the hardness of their hearts (cf. Matt 19:8). (Wycliffe Bible Commentary [Oliphants Ltd.: London, 1963), p. 184)

The late chief rabbi of the British Empire, Chief Rabbi J. H. Hertz noted regarding this passage:"A female war-captive was not to be made a concubine till after an interval of a month. The bitter moments of the captive's first grief had to be respected. She must not subsequently be sold or treated as a slave. 12. bring her home. This law inculcates thoughtfulness and forbearance under circumstances in which the warrior, elated by victory, might deem himself at liberty to act as he pleased (Driver). ‘After the countless rapes of conquered women with which recent history has made us so painfully familiar, it is like hearing soft music to read of the warrior's duty to the enemy woman, of the necessary marriage with its set ritual and its due delay. And the Legislator proceeds to trace the course of the husband's duty in the event of the conquered alien woman failing to bring him the expected delight. ‘Then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not deal with her as a slave, because thou hast humbled her'" (Zangwill)… 13. she shall be thy wife. And enjoy the full rights and duties of a Jewish wife; Exodus xxi, 10.14. no delight in her, i.e. no longer any delight in her. The Rabbis deemed such a marriage a concession to human weakness, as a preventive against worse manifestations of the unbridled passions of man...humbled her. Dishonored her." (Pentateuch & Haftorahs, edited by Dr. J H Hertz [The Soncino Press Limited: London, 1960], p. 840)Thus, we can clearly see that the Holy Bible even dignified captive gentile women by elevating them to the same status as that of married Israelite women.

The problem, however, sits deeper. Two stories about Muhammad’s behavior from his own life will illustrate this.Jabir reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) saw a woman, and so he came to his wife, Zainab, as she was tanning a leather and had sexual intercourse with her. He then went to his Companions and told them: The woman advances and retires in the shape of a devil, so when one of you sees a woman, he should come to his wife, for that will repel what he feels in his heart. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3240 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/008.smt.html#008.3240))

Narrated Abdullah ibn Mas'udAllah's Messenger (peace be upon him) saw a woman who charmed him, so he went to Sawdah who was making perfume in the company of some women. They left him, and after he had satisfied his desire he said, "If any man sees a woman who charms him he should go to his wife, for she has the same kind of thing as the other woman."Darimi transmitted it. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 927; ALIM CD-ROM Version)Nobody has to have sexual intercourse immediately simply because a beautiful woman passes by. Human beings are not animals but can make a decision where to direct their thoughts and desires. Obviously, Muhammad did not only see a woman, but started to entertain lustful desires for her. The narrations imply that Muhammad became so aroused that he could not bear it anymore and needed to release the pressure immediately, in the middle of the day, interrupting the work his wife was doing, and even sending away visitors who were with his wife at the time. Muhammad committed adultery in his mind and then used the body of one of his wives to release the physical pressure resulting from these adulterous desires. He did not make love to his wife with the intention of making her happy and satisfied, but he simply "satisfied his desire" by using her "thing" while his mind was with the other woman. The fact that there exist at least two narrations about similar but distinct incidents suggests that this seems to have been a habit of his.

God’s true Word warns a person from lusting after another man’s wife:"You shall not commit adultery… You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's." Exodus 20:14, 17"And you shall not lie sexually with your neighbor's wife and so make yourself unclean with her." Leviticus 18:20

"If there is a man who commits adultery with another man's wife, one who commits adultery with his friend's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death." Leviticus 20:10

The Lord Jesus Christ warned his followers:"You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Matthew 5:27-28Thus, Muhammad and his teachings come under the condemnation of the plain commandments of God’s true Word.

Had Muhammad instructed his followers to discipline their thought life, and not to lust after other women in the first place, things might have been very different.
The readers can see how these specific Muslim teachings once again further expose Islam’s degradation and humiliation of women. Both Allah and his messenger viewed women as little more than chattel which could be used, abused, raped and sold by Muslim men.

For more on these issues please read the following articles:http://answering-islam.org/Silas/femalecaptives.htm (http://www.answering-islam.de/Main/Silas/femalecaptives.htm)http://answering-islam.org/Silas/childbrides.htm (http://www.answering-islam.de/Main/Silas/childbrides.htm)http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/prepubescent.htm (http://www.answering-islam.de/Main/Shamoun/prepubescent.htm)http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/marriage_age.htm (http://www.answering-islam.de/Main/Shamoun/marriage_age.htm)http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/lesbian.htm (http://www.answering-islam.de/Main/Responses/Osama/lesbian.htm)Women are ‘Awrah

Islam traditionally regards women as ‘awrah, a word which is used in the Quran:Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be modest. That is purer for them. Lo! Allah is aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment save to their own husbands or fathers or husbands' fathers, or their sons or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers or their brothers' sons or sisters' sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male attendants who lack vigour, or children who know naught of women’s nakedness (AAawrati). And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn unto Allah together, O believers, in order that ye may succeed. S. 24:30-31 Pickthall

O believers, let those your right hands own and those of you who have not reached puberty ask leave of you three times -- before the prayer of dawn, and when you put off your garments at the noon, and after the evening prayer -- three times of nakedness (AAawratin) for you. There is no fault in you or them, apart from these, that you go about one to the other. So God makes clear to you the signs; and God is All-knowing, All-wise. S. 24:58 Arberry

From the above we can gather that ‘awrah refers to a person’s nakedness which must be covered. In his explanation to Sura 24:58, the late Muslim translator Muhammad Asad defines the word as:[Lit., "three [periods] of nakedness (thalath awrat) for you". This phrase is to be understood both literally and figuratively. Primarily, the term awrah signifies those parts of a mature person’s body which cannot in decency be exposed to any but one’s wife or husband or, in case of illness, one’s physician. In its tropical sense, it is also used to denote spiritual "nakedness", as well as situations and circumstances in which a person is entitled to absolute privacy. The number "three" used twice in this context is not, of course, enumerative or exclusive, but is obviously meant to stress the recurrent nature of the occasions on which even the most familiar members of the household, including husbands, wives and children, must respect that privacy.] (Source (http://www.geocities.com/masad02/021); bold emphasis ours)

What this essentially means is that a woman must entirely cover herself with the exception of the face and hands because her entire person is classified as indecent, as nudity, and therefore harmful to men to look at:Narrated Abdullah ibn Mas'udThe Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "A woman should be concealed, for when she goes out the devil looks at her."Tirmidhi transmitted it. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 928; ALIM CD-ROM Version)

Sunni write G.F. Haddad narrates a somewhat similar tradition which is related to this very censuring of women:`Alî was with the Prophet when the latter asked: "What is the best trait in women?" but no-one spoke. `Alî said: "When I returned I asked Fât.ima and she replied: ‘THAT MEN DO NOT SEE THEM.’ I mentioned this to the Prophet and he said: ‘Truly, Fât.ima comes from me.’"

Narrated by al-Bazzâr in his Musnad (2:159-160 #526) and by Abû Nu`aym in the Hilya (1985 ed. 2:175) with a chain containing Qays ibn al-Rabî` al-Asadî who is "truthful" (s.adûq) to "weak" (da'îf) as in Tah.rîr Taqrîb al-Tahdhîb (3:186 #5573) and `Alî ibn Zayd who is weak. Cf. Ibn H.ajar, Mukhtas.ar (1:567 #1001), al-Haythamî in Majma` al-Zawâ'id (4:255; 9:203), and Kanz al-'Ummâl (#46012). However, the narration is also narrated from Anas through A STRONG CHAIN by al-Dâraqut.nî in Su'âlât H.amza (p. 280 #409) and Abû Nu`aym in the Hilya (1985 ed. 2:40-41) with the wording, "That they do not see men nor do men see them." (Haddad, A Narration on the Best Trait in Women; source (http://www.abc.se/~m9783/fiqhi/fiqha_e65.html); underline and capital emphasis ours)

Renowned Muslim scholar and philosopher Al-Ghazali wrote:(1) If the husband wants to enjoy her body, she should not refuse. The Prophet said: If the wife of a man dies while he is pleased with her, she will enter Paradise. The Prophet said: When a woman prays five times a day, fasts the month of Ramazan, saves her private parts and obeys her husband, she will enter the Paradise of her Lord. The Prophet said about the women: They bear children, give birth to children and show affection to children. Even though they do not come to their husbands, they will enter Paradise if they pray. The Prophet said: I peeped into Hell and found that the majority of its inmates are women. It was asked: Why, O Messenger of God? He said: They take recourse to much curse and deny relatives. There is another Hadis: I peeped into Paradise and found that there are a few women there. I asked: Where are the women? He said: Two things of reddish colour stood as a stumbling block against them- gold and Zafran (ornaments and varied dresses). Once a girl came to the Prophet and asked: I don’t want to get married. The Prophet said: Yes, get married and it is better. A woman of Khasham tribe once came to the Prophet and asked him: I want to marry, but what are the rights of the husband? He said: When he wants her, she will not refuse it even though she remains on a camel’s back. She will not give anything of his house in charity without his permission. If she does it, she will commit a sin and her husband will get rewards. She will not keep optional fast without his permission. If she does it and becomes hungry and thirsty, it will not be accepted from her. If she goes out of his house without his permission, the angels curse him[sic] till she returns to his house or till she repents. The Prophet said: When a woman stays within her house, she becomes more near to God. Her prayer in the courtyard of her house is more meritorious than her prayer in mosque. Her prayer in a room is better than her prayer in her courtyard. The Prophet said: A woman is like a private part. When she comes out, the devil holds her high. He said: There are ten private parts of a woman. When she gets married, her husband keeps one private part covered; and when she dies, the grave covers other parts. The duties of a wife towards her husband are many, two out of them are essentially necessary. The first one is to preserve chastity and to keep secret the words of her husband and the second thing is not to demand unnecessary things and to refrain from unlawful wealth which her husband earns. (Imam Ghazali’s Ihya’ ‘Ulum-Ud-Din (The Revival of Religious Learnings) , translated by Al-Haj Maulana Fazal-Ul-Karim [Sh. Muhammad Ahsraf Publishers, Booksellers & Exporters, Lahore-Pakistan, Reprinted 2000], "Secrets of Marriage", Book II, pp. 42-43; bold and underline emphasis ours)A hadith in Ibn Majah also mentions Muhammad’s statement that women should be ready to sleep with their husbands on a camel’s saddle if they have to:

1853. 'Abdullah b. Abi 'Auta (Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said that when Mu'adh (Allah be pleased with him) came from Syria, he prostrated before the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). He (the Holy Prophet) said, "O Mu'adh, what is it?" He replied, "I went to Syria and found them (the Syrians) prostrating before their archbishops and their emperors. I liked it in my heart that we should do so for you." Upon this, Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be with him) remarked, "Don't do so. If I were to command anyone to prostrate before anyone besides Allah, I would have commanded the wife to prostrate before her spouse. By him in Whose Hand lies my life, a woman can not carry out the right of her Lord, till she carries out the right of her husband. And if he asks her to surrender herself (to him for sexual intercourse) she should not refuse him even if she is on a camel's saddle. According to al-Zawa'id, Ibn Hibban transmitted it in his Sahih. Sandi said, "It is as if he means that it is hadith having good isnad." (Sunan Ibn-I-Majah, Volume III, Chapter IV, "Right Of The Husband Over The Wife", pp. 118-119; underline emphasis ours)

Others argue that even her hands and face should be covered. The following Salafi Muslims state:The correct view is that a woman is obliged to cover her entire body, even the face and hands. Imam Ahmad said that even the nails of a woman are ‘awrah, and this is also the view of Maalik (may Allaah have mercy on them both). Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: "… It seems that the view of Ahmad is that every part of her is ‘awrah, even her nails, and this is also the view of Maalik." (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 22/110).

In contrast to those who say that this is not obligatory, if we examine the views of those who say that it is not obligatory for women to cover the face, we will see that it is as Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd (may Allaah preserve him) said:

"One of the following three scenarios must apply: 1 – There is clear, sound evidence, but it has been abrogated by the verses that enjoin hijaab…

2 – There is sound evidence but it is not clear, and it does not constitute strong evidence when taken in conjunction with the definitive evidence from the Qur’aan and Sunnah that the face and hands must be covered…

3 – There is clear evidence, but it is not sound…" (Hiraasat al-Fadeelah, p. 68-69)

With regard to the evidence that it is obligatory to cover the face and hands:

1 – Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): "O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allaah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful"[al-Ahzaab 33:59]

Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: "Allaah commands women to let the jilbaab come down (over their faces) so that they will be known (as respectable women) and not be annoyed or disturbed. This evidence supports the first opinion. ‘Ubaydah al-Salmaani and others stated that the women used to wear the jilbaab coming down from the top of their heads in such a manner that nothing could be seen except their eyes, so that they could see where they were going. It was proven in al-Saheeh that the woman in ihraam is forbidden to wear the niqaab and gloves. This is what proves that the niqaab and gloves were known among women who were not in ihraam. This implies that they covered their faces and hands." (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 15/371-372)

… Ahmad said: the adornment which is apparent is the clothing. And he said: every part of a woman is ‘awrah, even her nails. It was narrated in the hadeeth, ‘The woman is ‘awrah,’ This includes all of the woman. It is not makrooh to cover the hands during prayer, so they are part of the ‘awrah, just like the feet. Analogy implies that the face would be ‘awrah were it not for the fact that necessity dictates that it should be uncovered during prayer, unlike the hands." Sharh al-‘Umdah, 4/267-268.

… 6 – It was narrated from ‘Abd-Allaah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "The woman is ‘awrah and when she goes out the Shaytaan gets his hopes up." (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1173).

Al-Albaani said in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi (936): It is saheeh. (Question #21536: Correct view on the ruling on covering the face (http://islamqa.com/index.php?ref=21536&ln=eng); bold emphasis ours)

And:All of the woman’s body is ‘awrah and must be covered during prayer, except for her face, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "No prayer will be accepted from an adult woman unless she wears a khimaar (head-cover)." (Reported by the five Muhadditheen) There is some dispute as to whether her heels and feet should be covered. The author of al-Mughni (2/328) said: "As for the rest of the free woman’s body, it must be covered during prayer. If any part becomes uncovered, it renders her prayer invalid, except if only a little bit is uncovered. Maalik, al-Oozaa’i and al-Shaafi’i said the same. (Question #1106: Differences in Prayer for Men and Women (http://islamqa.com/index.php?ref=1106&ln=eng))

Finally,Praise be to Allaah.

The free woman who has attained the age of majority is obliged to cover her entire body during prayer, apart from her face and hands, because all of her is ‘awrah. If she prays and any part of her ‘awrah becomes uncovered, such as a shin or foot or all or part of her head, then her prayer is invalid, because the Prophet said: "Allaah will not accept the prayer of a woman who has started to menstruate, except with a khimaar (covering)" (Reported by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Ibn Maajah and al-Tirmidhi, with a saheeh isnaad)

Abu Dawud reported from Umm Salamah that she asked the Prophet about a woman who prayed wearing a dir’ (chemise or upper garment) and a khimaar (head cover), but no izaar (lower garment). He said: "The woman is ‘awrah."

As for the face, the Sunnah is to uncover it during prayer, so long as no non-mahram men are present. According to the majority of scholars, the feet must be covered; some scholars allow uncovering the feet but the majority say the opposite. Abu Dawud reported from Umm Salamah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that she was asked about a woman who prayed in a khimaar and qamees (dress or gown). She said, "There is nothing wrong with it if the dir’ (chemise) covers her feet." In any case, it is better to cover the feet, to be on the safe side. As far as the hands are concerned, there is more leeway: there is nothing wrong with either covering them or uncovering them, although some scholars think that it is better to cover them. And Allaah is the Source of strength. (Question #1046: Ruling concerning women covering their feet in prayer (http://islamqa.com/index.php?ref=1046&ln=eng))

Because of this very degrading classification of women as ‘awrah which makes them dangerous to men, Muhammad condemned any female for putting on perfume:Narrated AbuHurayrahI heard my beloved friend AbulQasim saying: The prayer of a woman who has perfumed herself (to go) to the mosque is not accepted until she has bathed herself (as is done in case of janabah (after sexual intercourse).

Transmitted by AbuDawud and Ahmad and Nasa'i transmitted something similar. (Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 328; ALIM CD-ROM Version)

Narrated AbuMusaAllah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: Every eye is lustful and when a woman applies perfume and then goes about in an assembly, she is like such and such, i.e. an adulteress.

Transmitted by Tirmidhi and AbuDawud and Nasa’i transmitted something similar. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 330; ALIM CD-ROM Version)

In this section we will look at quotations from some additional Muslim sources that further degrade women, particularly sources that cite the views of scholars on some of the passages which were mentioned previously. We begin with the views of Ali ibn Abu Thalib, the fourth Muslim caliph who was both Muhammad's first cousin and his son-in-law. These comments are believed to be taken from some of his lectures that were then compiled together. Ali said regarding women:O' ye peoples! Women are deficient in Faith, deficient in shares and deficient in intelligence. As regards the deficiency in their Faith, it is their abstention from prayers and fasting during their menstrual period. As regards deficiency in their intelligence it is because the evidence of two women equal to that of one man. As for the deficiency of their shares it is because of their inheritance being half of men. So beware of the evils of women. Be on your guard even from those who are (reportedly) good. Do not obey them EVEN IN GOOD THINGS so that they may not attract you to devils. (Nahjul Balagha-Peak of Eloquence, translated by Syed Ali Reza [Tahrike Tarsile Qur'an, Inc. Publishers and Distributors of Holy Qur'an, Elmhurst NY, sixth edition 1996], p. 204; bold and capital emphasis ours)

The translator's note states:1. Amir al-mu'minun gave this sermon after the devastation created by the Battle of Jamal. Since the devastation resulting from this battle was the out-come of blindly following a woman's command, in this sermon he has described women's physical defects and their causes and effects. Thus their first weakness is that for a few days in every month they have to abstain from prayer and fasting, and this abstention from worship is a proof of their deficiency in Faith. Although the real meaning of 'Iman (belief) is heart-felt testification and inner conviction yet metaphorically it also applies to action and character. Since actions are the reflection of Belief they are also regarded as part of Belief. Thus, it is related from Imam 'Ali ibn Musa ar Rida (p.b.u.t.) that:

'Iman (belief) is testification at heart, admission by the tongue and action by the limbs. The second weakness is that their natural propensities do not admit of full performance of their intelligence. Therefore, nature has given them the power of intelligence only in accordance with the scope of their activities which can guide them in pregnancy, delivery, child nursing, child care and house-hold affair. On the basis of this weakness of mind and intelligence their evidence has not been accorded the status of man's evidence, AS ALLAH SAYS:[I]… then call to witness from among your men and if there not be two men then (take) a man AND TWO WOMEN, of those ye approve of the witnesses, so that should be one of the two (women) forget the (second) one of the two may remind the other… (Qur'an, 2:282)

The third weakness is that their share in inheritance is half of man's share in inheritance as the Qur'an says:Allah enjoineth you about your children. The male shall have the equal of the shares of two females… (4:11)This shows woman’s weakness because the reason for her share in inheritance being half is that the liability of her maintenance rests on man. When man's position is that of a maintenance and care taker the status of the weaker sex who is need of maintenance and care-taking is evident.

After describing their natural weakness as Amir al-mu'minin points out the mischiefs of blindly following them and wrongly obeying them. He says that not to say of bad things but even if they say in regard to some good things it should not be done in a way that these should feel as if it is being done in pursuance of their wish, but rather in a way that they should realize that the good act has been performed because of its being good and that their pleasure or wish has nothing to do with it. If they have even the doubt that their pleasures has been kept in view in it they would slowly increase in their demands and would wish that they should be obeyed in all matters however evil, the inevitable consequence whereof will be destruction and ruin. Ash-Shaykh Muhammad 'Abduh writes about this view of Amir al-muminin as under:

Amir al-muminin has said a thing which is corroborated by experiences of centuries. (Ibid., pp. 204-205; underline and capital emphasis ours)

Al-Ghazali writes:(4) Don’t sport with wife so much that her conduct is ruined and fear goes out of her mind, but take to middle course. Don’t give up your duties and strike some sort of fear in her mind at the time of doing evils. Hazrat Omar said: Act opposite to women as there is blessing in opposing them. Some one said: Take advice from them but act to the contrary. The Prophet said: He who becomes a slave of women is ruined. He said for this reason that if a husband acts according to the wishes of his wife, he becomes her slave and is thus ruined as God has made him her master. The right of the husband is that the wife should follow him and the husband should not follow her. God termed the husbands as the maintainers of women and husbands as masters. God says: Both (Zulaikha and Joseph) found the master (husband) of Zulaikha near the door. Imam Shafeyi said: If you honour three kinds of men, they will disgrace you and if you disgrace them, they will honour you -WIFE, servant and Nabati. Evils AND LITTLE INTELLIGENCE are strong over them. The Prophet said: The example of a religious woman among general women is that of a crow with white belly among one hundred crows. The wise Luqman advised his son: O dear son, fear unchaste wife, as she will make you grow old before you grow old. Fear the harms of women as they do not call towards good. Beware of unchaste women. The Prophet said: Seek refuge to God from three calamities. An unchaste wife will make you old before you get old. In another narration-If you go to her, she will rebuke you. If you don’t go to her, she will be treacherous to you. When the Prophet fell seriously ill and could not come to the mosque for prayer, he said to Abu Bakr to lead the prayer, Hazrat Ayesha said: The mind of my father is soft. When he will find your place vacant, he will be perturbed. The Prophet said: When you prevent Abu Bakr to lead the prayer, you have swayed towards your low desires being misguided from the right path. When the wives of the Prophet disclosed the secret talks of the Prophet, God said: If both of you make repentance to God, he will unite your hearts. He said this regarding his good wives. The Prophet said: No nation prospers over whom a woman rules. (Ihya’ ‘Ulum-Ud-Din, Book II, pp. 32-33; bold, underline, and capital emphasis ours)We conclude our discussion with comments taken from a Salafi Muslim website which provide the opinions of other writers and scholars to support the exegesis given in answer to specific questions. The main page to the website we will be using is www.islamqa.com (http://www.islamqa.com).

Regarding whether Islam allows for women rulers, this Salafi site responds:The evidence from the Qur’aan and Sunnah indicates that it is not permissible for a woman to assume positions of senior public authority, such as the caliph (khaleefah), minister of state (wazeer or vizier) or judge (qaadi) and so on.

1 – Evidence from the Qur’aan: Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): "Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allaah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means"[al-Nisa 4:34]

Al-Qurtubi said: The words "Men are the protectors and maintainers of women" mean that they spend on them and protect them, and also that they (men) are the rulers and governors, and the ones who go on military campaigns, and none of these are the role of women.

Tafseer al-Qurtubi, 5/168. Ibn Katheer said: It means the man is in charge of the woman; he is her leader, the ruler over her WHO DISCIPLINES HER if she goes astray. "because Allaah has made one of them to excel the other" means, because men are superior to woman, and a man IS BETTER THAN A WOMAN. Hence Prophethood was given ONLY TO MEN, as is the role of caliph, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "No people will ever prosper who appoint a woman in charge of them." Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 1/492.

2 –Evidence from the Sunnah: It was narrated that Abu Bakrah said: When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) heard that the people of Persia had appointed the daughter of Chosroes as their queen, he said, "No people will ever prosper who appoint a woman in charge of them."

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4163. Al-Shawkaani said in Nayl al-Awtaar, 8/305: This indicates that women ARE NOT QUALIFIED TO RULE, and it is not permissible for people to appoint them as rulers, because they must avoid that which will cause them not to prosper.

Al-Maawirdi said, in the context of his discussion of the position of wazeer: It is not permissible for a woman to play this role, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, "No people will prosper if they delegate their affairs to a woman." And because these positions require wisdom and resolve, WHICH WOMEN MAY BE LACKING IN, and requires appearing in public to handle matters directly, which is haraam for them to do.

Al-Ahkaam al-Sultaaniyyah, p. 46… Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked the following question: What is the Islamic view on a woman being nominated as a candidate for the position of head of state, or head of a government, or a public ministry?

He replied: It is not permissible to appoint or elect a woman as head of state. This is indicated by the Qur’aan, Sunnah and scholarly consensus. In the Qur’aan, Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):"Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allaah has made one of them to excel the other…"[al-Nisa 4:34]

The ruling in the verse is general and includes a man’s position of leadership in his family, and applies more so to his position of public leadership. This ruling is supported by the reason given in the verse itself, WHICH IS MEN’S INTELLECTUAL SUPERIORITY AND BETTER UNDERSTANDING etc, which are basic qualifications for leadership…

The ummah unanimously agreed in practical terms at the time of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs and the imams of the first three generations, which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) testified were the best of generations, THAT WOMEN SHOULD NOT BE APPOINTED AS GOVERNORS OR JUDGES. There were women who were brilliant in religious knowledge, to whom scholars would refer concerning knowledge of Qur’aan, hadeeth and religious rulings, but no woman aspired to positions of public leadership during that time or any other position of that nature. The shar’i responsibilities of such positions cannot be carried out by women, because that involves travelling to the provinces, and mixing with the members of the ummah, and meeting with them, and leading the army sometimes in jihad, and negotiating with the enemy, and accepting oaths of allegiance from members of the ummah, and meeting with them, men and women, at times of war and peace, and so on. This is not appropriate for a woman, and it goes against the rulings of sharee’ah that are established to protect her and keep her safe from having to go out and mix in such a manner.

Rationally speaking, women should not be given positions of public office, because what is required of the one who is chosen for such a position is that he should a man of great resolve, determination, smartness, will power and good management skills. THESE CHARACTERISTICS ARE LACKING IN WOMEN BECAUSE THEY HAVE BEEN CREATED WITH WEAKNESS IN THEIR INTELLECT AND THINKING, and with strong emotions, so electing them to such positions is not in the interests of the Muslims and does not help them to achieve greatness.

And Allaah is the source of strength. May Allaah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon his family and companions.

Majallat al-Mujtama’, issue no. 890. And Allaah knows best.Islam Q&A (www.islam-qa.com (http://www.islam-qa.com))(Question #20677: Is it permissible in Islamic sharee’ah for a woman to be a ruler? (http://islamqa.com/index.php?ref=20677&ln=eng); capital and underline emphasis ours)

They respond to a similar question asked by a different individual:This is because positions of leadership and government require a person to join men's gatherings, which is not allowed for women according to sharee'ah because of the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): "And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance." [al-Ahzaab 33:33]. These positions also require perfect wisdom, reason and alertness, and the testimony of a man has been made equal to that of two women, the reason for which Allaah has explained in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): "... so that if one of them (two women) errs, the other can remind her." [al-Baqarah 2:282].

Imaam al-Muwaffaq Ibn Qudaamah said:"For this reason the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and his successors (khulafa') and those who came after them never appointed a woman to be a judge or a governor of a province, as far as we know. If it were permissible, it should have happened."

Imaam al-Ghazaali said:"The position of leader (imaam) could never be given to a woman even if she possessed all the qualities of perfection and self-reliance. How could a woman take the position of leader when she did not have the right to be a judge or a witness under most of the historical governments?"

Imaam al-Baghawi said:"The scholars agreed that women are not fit to be leaders or judges, because the leader needs to go out to organize jihaad and take care of the Muslims’ affairs, and the judge needs to go out to judge between people, but women are 'awrah and it is not right for them to go out. Because of their weakness, women are not able to do many things. Women are imperfect, and the positions of leaders and judge are among the most perfect of positions for which only the most perfect of men are qualified." (Question #3285: Ruling on appointing women to positions of high public office (http://islamqa.com/index.php?ref=3285&ln=eng); bold emphasis ours)

Their opinion is not an isolated one, but one found throughout the hadith literature:Narrated AbuHurayrahAllah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "When your commanders are your best people, your rich men are your generous people and your affairs are conducted by mutual consultation, the surface of the earth will be better for you that its interior. But when your commanders are your worst people, your rich men are your niggardly people and your affairs are in the hands of your women, the interior of the earth will be the better for you than its surface." Tirmidhi transmitted it, saying this is a gharib tradition. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 1439- ALIM CD-ROM Version)

On the issue of whether men and women are equal in Islam, these Salafis unashamedly quote Ibn Kathir’s comments on Sura 2:282 and claim:Ibn Katheer said:Two women are to take the place of one man because women are lacking in reason, as Muslim narrated in his Saheeh from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "O women, give in charity and seek forgiveness a great deal, for I have seen that you form the majority of the people of Hell." A wise woman among them said, "Why is it, O Messenger of Allaah, that we are the majority of the people of Hell?" He said, "Because you curse too much, and you are ungrateful to your spouses. I have seen none lacking in common sense and failing in religion but (at the same time) robbing the wisdom of the wise, besides you." The woman asked: "O Messenger of Allaah, what is wrong with our common sense and our religion?" He said: "Your lack of common sense (can be well judged from the fact) that the evidence of two women is equal to that of one man, that is a proof of the lack of common sense, and you spend some nights (and days) in which you do not offer prayer and in the month of Ramadan (during the days) you do not observe fast, that is a failing in religion."

(Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 1/336)There may be some women who are wiser than some men, but this is not the usual rule and such women are not in the majority. Sharee'ah is based on what is general and most common...

The fact that women are lacking in reason does not mean that they are crazy, rather their reason is often overtaken by their emotions, and this happens to women more often than it happens to men. No one would deny this except one who is arrogant.

They also quote Ibn Kathir on Sura 4:34:Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:"Allaah says 'Men are the protectors and maintainers of women' meaning that the man is in charge of the woman, i.e., he is the leader and head of the household, the one who disciplines her if she goes astray.

'because Allaah has made one of them to excel the other' i.e., because men are superior to women and are better than women. Hence Prophethood was given only to men, as was the position of khaleefah, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, 'No people shall ever prosper who appoint a woman as their ruler.' This was narrated by al-Bukhaari from the hadeeth of 'Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Abi Bakrah from his father. The same applies to the position of qaadi (judge), etc.

'and because they spend (to support them) from their means' refers to the mahr and the spending on women's maintenance that Allaah has enjoined upon men in His Book and in the Sunnah of His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). SO A MAN IS INHERENTLY BETTER THAN A WOMAN, and he is superior to her because he spends on her. So it is appropriate that he should be in charge of her, as Allaah says, 'but men have a degree (of responsibility) over them' [al-Baqarah 2:228].'Ali ibn Abi Talhah said, narrating from Ibn 'Abbaas: 'Men are the protectors and maintainers of women' means that men are the leaders of women and they should obey them in areas where Allaah has enjoined obedience. Obedience may mean treating his family kindly and protecting his wealth."(Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 1/490)They don’t stop there:

There are other differences between the sexes, including the following:

A man can marry four women, but a woman can only have one husband.
A man has the right to issue a divorce and it is valid if he does so, but a woman does not have the right to issue a divorce.
A man may marry a woman from among the People of the Book (Jews and Christians), but a Muslim woman may not marry anyone but a Muslim.
A man may travel without his wife or any of his mahrams, but a woman may not travel unless she is accompanied by a mahram.
Prayer in the mosque is obligatory for men, but not for women; a woman's prayer in her house is more beloved to Allaah.
A woman may wear silk and gold, but a man must not wear them.Everything that we have mentioned is based on the difference between men and women, because the male is not like the female. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

"And the male is not like the female"

[Aal 'Imraan 3:36] ...And men are different in intellectual terms, for men are known for their strength of understanding and their memory as compared to women. Women are weaker than men in memory and forget more than men do. This is well known, for most of the reputable scholars in the world are men. There are some women who are more intelligent and have better memories than some men, but this does not cancel out the general rule. Most cases are as we have described above...

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid (www.islam-qa.com (http://www.islam-qa.com))(Question #1105: Does Islam regard men and women as equal? (http://islamqa.com/index.php?ref=1105&ln=eng); bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

Here, also, are their quotations from al-Baghawi, and al-Baidawi regarding Sura 4:34:Al-Baghawi said in his Tafseer (2/206): "because Allaah has made one of them to excel the other' means, men excel women BECAUSE THEY HAVE MORE POWERS OF REASON and religious commitment and they are in charge of affairs. And it was said that this refers to giving testimony, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 'And if there are not two men (available), then a man and two women' [al-Baqarah 2:282]. And it was said that it refers to jihad, or to worship i.e., Jumu'ah and prayers in congregation, or that it refers to the fact that a man may marry four wives, but a woman is not permitted more than one husband; or the fact that divorce is in the man's hand; or that it refers to inheritance, or to diyah (blood money), or to Prophethood."

Al-Baydaawi said in his Tafseer (2/184): "'Men are the protectors and maintainers of women' means that they are in charge of them and take care of them. He gave two reasons for that, one that is INHERENT IN THEM and one that is acquired subsequently, and said: 'because Allaah has made one of them to excel the other', because Allaah has favoured men over women by making men MORE PERFECT IN REASONING and running affairs, and has given them more strength with regard to work and acts of worship. Hence men are singled out when it comes to Prophethood, leadership, guardianship, establishing rituals, giving testimony in legal matters, the obligation to engage in jihad and pray Jumu'ah, and so on, and they are given a greater share of inheritance, and divorce is in the man's hand. ‘and because they spend (to support them) from their means’ refers to what they spend with regard to marriage, such as the mahr and maintenance, etc." …

(Question #43252: The reason why the husband is regarded as superior and is given the role of qawwaam (protector and maintainer) (http://islamqa.com/index.php?ref=43252&ln=eng); underline and capital emphasis ours)

They are not quite finished:Allaah has commanded the testimony of two women so as to be sure that they remember, because the mind and memory of two women takes the place of the mind and memory of one man. (See I'laam al-Muwaqqa'een, part 1, p. 75).

This does not mean that a woman does not understand or that she cannot remember things, but she is weaker than man in these aspects - usually. Scientific and specialized studies have shown that men's minds ARE MORE PERFECT THAN THOSE OF WOMEN, and reality and experience bear witness to that. The books of knowledge are the best witness to that; the knowledge which has been transmitted by men and the ahaadeeth which have been memorized by men far outnumber those which have come via women.This has to do with gender, i.e., the gender of men IS MORE PERFECT than the gender of women...

Nevertheless, there are some women who are far superior to men in their reason and insight, but they are few, and the ruling is based on the majority and the usual cases...

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid (www.islam-qa.com (http://www.islam-qa.com))(Question #20051: Why is the witness of one man considered to be equal to the witness of two women? (http://islamqa.com/index.php?ref=20051&ln=eng); bold, underline and capital emphasis ours)We come to the conclusion of our analysis of the authentic view of women in Islam. If someone can read through all this massive amount of evidence and still conclude that Islam honors and dignifies women, then there is really nothing more that a person could say.
Further Reading
http://www.christian-thinktank.com/femalex.html (http://www.christian-thinktank.com/femalex.html)
http://debate.domini.org/newton/womeng.html#sup (http://debate.domini.org/newton/womeng.html#sup)
http://www.faithfreedom.org/Articles/abulkazem/Women_in_Islam.htm (http://www.faithfreedom.org/Articles/abulkazem/Women_in_Islam.htm)
http://answering-islam.org/Assumptions/equality.htm (http://answering-islam.org/Assumptions/equality.htm)
http://answering-islam.org/Authors/Arlandson/women_inferior.htm (http://answering-islam.org/Authors/Arlandson/women_inferior.htm)
http://answering-islam.org/Authors/Arlandson/women_fields.htm (http://answering-islam.org/Authors/Arlandson/women_fields.htm)
http://answering-islam.org/Authors/Wood/women.htm (http://answering-islam.org/Authors/Wood/women.htm)
http://www.faithfreedom.org/Articles/abulkazem/Women_in_Islam.htm (http://www.faithfreedom.org/Articles/abulkazem/Women_in_Islam.htm)
http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/q_women_property.htm (http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/q_women_property.htm)
http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Azeem/myths.htm (http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Azeem/myths.htm)
http://answering-islam.org/Wales/eve.htm (http://answering-islam.org/Wales/eve.htm)
http://answering-islam.org/Silas/beating_badawi.htm (http://answering-islam.org/Silas/beating_badawi.htm)
http://answering-islam.org/Green/womenstatus.htm (http://answering-islam.org/Green/womenstatus.htm)
http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/badawi_lies2.htm (http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/badawi_lies2.htm)
http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm)
http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Menj/women_prayer.htm (http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Menj/women_prayer.htm)
http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/women.htm (http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/women.htm)
http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/women2a.htm (http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/women2a.htm)
http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/women2b.htm (http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/women2b.htm)

03-31-2008, 09:52 PM
Women in Islam
Part 4

Appendix: Supplementary Material

The purpose of this short article is to provide some additional Islamic narrations regarding Muhammad’s and the first Muslims’ views of women to supplement our series on Women in Islam (http://www.answering-islam.de/Main/Shamoun/women_in_islam1.htm). The following quotations are taken from an English online version of Riyad as-Salihin (http://www.sunnipath.com/Resources/PrintMedia/Hadith/H0004P0000.aspx), chapters 34 and 35. We include in this article only those narrations which reflect poorly on Islam’s view of women. To get the full picture, readers should also look up the rest of the statements which do encourage men to treat women kindly. Yet as we stated in our initial series, this no more proves that Islam views women as holding equal dignity with men than the exhortation to treat animals kindly implies that Islam views them as being equal with humans. All bold, underline and capital emphasis will be ours:273. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Treat women well. Woman was created from a rib. The most crooked part of the rib is the top part. If you try to straighten it, you will break it. If you leave it, it remains crooked. So treat women well." [Agreed upon]In a variant in the two Sahih collections, "A woman is like a rib. If you straighten it, you break it. If you wish to benefit from her, you can benefit from her in spite of her crookedness."In a variant in Muslim, "Woman was created from a rib, and you will never find any means to straighten her. If you wish to benefit from her, you can benefit from her in spite of her crookedness. If you try to straighten her, you will break her, and breaking her means divorcing her."Just like a rib is crooked, so is a woman. And just as it is useless to try to straighten out a rib since it will break, it is equally useless to attempt to straighten out a woman since she is crooked by design, by her very nature! Basically, Muhammad is saying that women are deficient by nature, since to be crooked isn’t a good thing!

In fact, this is precisely the same conclusion that the Salafi version of the Riyad come to:Commentary: The words (Istawso bi' nisa') mean, take care of your wives. Whatever is the formation of the words of the Hadith, it stresses the importance of kind treatment to wives because woman is not only weaker than man by nature, BUT ALSO LESS INTELLIGENT. On account of HIS BEING MORE INTELLIGENT and having greater patience, man should be more forgiving in his dealing with her. The secret of a pleasant family life lies in this advice of the Prophet (PBUH) with its emphasis on kind treatment to wives. (Riyad-us-Saliheen, compiled by Al-Imam Abu Zakariya Yahya bin Sharaf An-Nawawi Ad-Dimashqi, commentary by Hafiz Salahuddin Yusuf, revised by M.R. Murad [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore, First Edition: June 1999], Volume I, p. 268; online edition (http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/hadeeth/riyad/00/chap034.htm); capital and underline emphasis ours)

Hence, this Muslim version has no hesitation in admitting that the meaning of these narrations is that women by nature are intellectually inferior to men!274. 'Abdullah ibn Zam'a reported that he heard the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, giving a speech in which mentioned the She-camel and the one who hamstrung her. The Messenger of Allah said, "'The worst of them rushed ahead,' (91:12) means that a mighty, malicious, powerful man in his party leapt to do it." Then he mentioned women and gave an admonishment regarding them, saying, "Some of you go and flog their wives as a slave is flogged and then sleep with them at the end of the day." Then he admonished them about their laughing at people breaking wind and said, "Why does one of you laugh at something he himself does?" [Agreed upon]

Muhammad’s statements presuppose that Muslim men were beating both their wives and their slaves! As we will see next, Muhammad’s admonishment didn’t mean that men should not beat their wives, but that they shouldn’t flog them as they do a slave. He also warned Muslims from abusing their slaves.276. 'Amr ibn al-Ahwas al-Jushami reported that he heard the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say during the Farewell Hajj after praising and glorifying Allah, and reminding and admonishing, "Treat your women well. THEY ARE CAPTIVES IN YOUR POSSESSION. You have no rights over them except that . If they act licentiously in an open way, then leave them alone in their beds AND BEAT THEM but not severely. If they obey you, you have no way against them. You have rights over your women and your women have rights over you. Your right over them is that they do not allow into your bed those you dislike and do not permit those you dislike to enter your house. Their right over you is that you are good to them in respect of their clothes and food." [at-Tirmidhi]277. Mu'awiya ibn Hayda said, "I asked, 'Messenger of Allah, what is the right of someone's wife over him?' He said, 'That you feed her when you eat and clothe her when you clothe yourself and do not strike her face. Do not malign her and do not keep apart from her, except in the house.'" [Abu Dawud]

Muhammad didn’t say not to strike a woman at all, but simply said not to strike her face! As the hadith prior to this shows, Muhammad not only granted men the right to beat their wives but expressly stated that women are the captives and prisoners of their husbands!279. Iyas ibn 'Abdullah ibn Abi Dhubab reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Do not beat the female slaves of Allah." Then 'Umar came to the Prophet and said, "The women have become bold towards their husbands," AND SO HE MADE AN ALLOWANCE TO BEAT THEM. Then many women surrounded the family of the Messenger of Allah to complain about their husbands. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The people of the household of Muhammad have surrounded by many women who are complaining about their husbands. Those men are not among the best of you." (34. Chapter: [I]Treating women well; online source (http://www.sunnipath.com/Resources/PrintMedia/Hadith/H0004P0034.aspx))

After Umar complained that women were becoming emboldened Muhammad gave the men the right to beat them, but then complains at the men for doing the very thing which he himself permitted! The right thing for Muhammad to have done was to prohibit the men altogether from laying a hand on their wives, since there is no justification for wife beating no matter how "light" it may be.281. Abu Hurayra said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'When a man calls his wife to bed and she does not come and he spends the night angry with her, the angels curse her until morning.'"In a variant they both have, "When a woman spends the night spurning her husband's bed, the angels curse her until morning." [Agreed upon]In one variant, the Messenger of Allah said, "By the One in whose hand my soul is, there is no man who calls his wife to his bed and she refuses to come without the One in the heaven being angry with her until her husband is pleased with her again."We wonder whether Allah and his angels have nothing better to do than to watch and see whether a wife has slept with her husband or not.

Moreover, do Allah and the angels get equally angry when a polygynous husband is unable to satisfy the sexual desires of one of his wives because he is busy sleeping with another one? Or do Allah and his angels start cursing the man who refuses to sleep with his wife on the day he happens to be with her but is too tired to perform?

The Quran answers these questions in its own way:If a woman fear rebelliousness or aversion in her husband, there is no fault in them if the couple set things right between them; right settlement is better; and souls are very prone to avarice. If you do good and are godfearing, surely God is aware of the things you do. You will not be able to be equitable between your wives, be you ever so eager; yet do not be altogether partial so that you leave her as it were suspended. If you set things right, and are godfearing, God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. S. 4:128-129Allah basically gives man a free pass here. This text is essentially condoning a man’s unfair treatment of his multiple wives on the grounds that it is not possible for him to be fair with all of them. So instead of telling Muslims that they shouldn't marry multiple wives on account of this inability to be just with all of them, Allah simply says to the men to not allow this lack to cause them to be completely partial!

In fact, Sura 4:128 was given to justify Muhammad’s unfair and unkind treatment to his wife Saudah bint Zamah who had gotten old and was described as a heavy set woman. For the details please see these articles: [1 (http://debate.domini.org/newton/sauda.html)], [2 (http://www.answering-islam.de/Main/Shamoun/women_in_islam1.htm)].284. Abu 'Ali Talq ibn 'Ali reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "When a man calls his wife to attend to his need, she should come to him, even if she is at the oven." [at-Tirmidhi and an-Nasa'i]

See our comments above.285. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "If I were to command anyone to prostrate to anyone else, I would have commanded women to prostrate to their husbands." [at-Tirmidhi]

Muhammad’s statement makes perfect sense in light of his claim that women are the prisoners of men and that women are crooked. Muhammad clearly viewed men as being superior creatures to women intellectually, mentally, emotionally and physically.286. Umm Salama reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Any woman who dies at a time when her husband is pleased with her will enter the Garden."287. Mu'adh ibn Jabal reported is that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "A woman does not injure her husband in this world without his wife among the houris saying, 'Do not injure him, may Allah fight you! He is a guest with you who is about to leave you for us." [at-Tirmidhi]

Again, what happens if a wife dies unhappy with her husband? Will the husband suffer hellfire because his wife died unsatisfied? Will the young boys of paradise rebuke the man and invoke Allah’s curse upon him for failing to please his wife or wives?288. Usama ibn Zayd reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "I have not left after me any temptation more harmful to men than women." [Agreed upon] (35. Chapter: "On the rights of a husband from his wife"; online source (http://www.sunnipath.com/Resources/PrintMedia/Hadith/H0004P0035.aspx))Muhammad’s statement leaves us wondering what the most harmful temptation for women would be, whether men, animals, children, jewelry etc.? We don’t know since Muhammad obviously didn’t care enough about the women to tell us.

Let us summarize what we have discovered thus far:

Women are crooked like a rib and should not be straightened out. Basically, since they are beyond repair a man should not waste his time or expend any effort in trying to correct their condition.
Women are captives and prisoners of their husbands.
Women can be beaten, but not in the face.
Women who fail in pleasing their husbands will be cursed by Allah, his angels, the houris (the maidens of Paradise), and will not enter the Garden.
Muhammad would have commanded women to prostrate and bow before the men.
Women are the most harmful temptation to men.

04-01-2008, 01:58 AM
Islam It also says
that love and tolerance

04-08-2008, 02:42 AM
Qur'an 60:4"We reject you. Hostility and hate have come between us forever, unless you believe in Allah only.'"

Bukhari:V9B84N59"Allah's Apostle said, 'I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: "None has the right to be worshipped but Allah." Whoever says this will save his property and his life from me.'"

Qur'an 48:28"It is He Who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the Religion of Truth (Islam), that he may make it superior to every other religion, exalting it over them. Allah is a sufficient Witness. Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah. Those who are with him are severe with Infidel unbelievers."

Qur'an 8:59"The infidels should not think that they can get away from us. Prepare against them whatever arms and weaponry you can muster so that you may terrorize them."

Qur'an 4:168"Those who reject [Islamic] Faith, Allah will not forgive them nor guide them to any path except the way to Hell, to dwell therein forever. And this to Allah is easy."

Qur'an 4:114"He who disobeys the Apostle after guidance has been revealed will burn in Hell."

Qur'an 5:51"Believers, take not Jews and Christians for your friends."

Qur'an 72:15"The disbelievers are the firewood of hell."

Qur'an 33:64"Verily Allah has cursed the Unbelievers [whom he defines as Christians in the 5th surah] and has prepared for them a Blazing Fire to dwell in forever. No protector will they find, nor savior. That Day their faces will be turned upside down in the Fire. They will say: 'Woe to us! We should have obeyed Allah and obeyed the Messenger!' 'Our Lord! Give them double torment and curse them with a very great Curse!'"

Qur'an 5:10"Those who reject, disbelieve and deny Our signs, proofs and verses will be companions of Hell-Fire."

Tabari VIII:130"The Messenger said, 'Two religions cannot coexist in the Arabian Peninsula.' Umar investigated the matter, then sent to the Jews, saying: 'Allah has given permission for you to be expelled."

Qur'an 48:13"If any believe not in Allah and His Messenger, We have prepared a Blazing Fire for them!"

Bukhari:V4B52N288"Expel disbelievers from the Arabian Peninsula.'"

Qur'an 21:98"Verily you (unbelievers), and that which you worship besides Allah, are faggots for the Hell Fire! And come to it you will! There, sobbing and groaning will be your lot."

Qur'an 2:256"There is no compulsion in religion."

Qur'an 4:90"If they turn back from Islam, becoming renegades, seize them and kill them wherever you find them."

Bukhari:V5B59N572"O Muslims, take not My enemies as friends, offering them kindness when they reject Allah, the Prophet Muhammad, and his Qur'an. And whoever does that, then indeed he has gone (far) astray. You have come out to fight in My Cause, seeking My acceptance so do not be friendly with them, even in secret." [60:1]

Qur'an 8:12"I will terrorize the unbelievers. Therefore smite them on their necks and every joint and incapacitate them. Strike off their heads and cut off each of their fingers and toes."

Qur'an 8:39"So fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief [non-Muslims]) and all submit to the religion of Allah alone (in the whole world)."

Qur'an 3:85"If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (Surrender), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who are losers."

04-16-2008, 05:58 PM
Women in the Qur’an

By Dallas M. Roark (http://www.answering-islam.de/Main/Authors/Roark/contact.htm)

The life of women in Muslim countries today cannot be understood apart from reflecting on the Qur’an first, and then hadiths (traditions) and laws that have been created due to the influence of the Qur’an.

There are many passages dealing with men and women, and they are scattered throughout the Qur’an, but there are a number declaring that God created man and woman. At first this implies some equality, but on a closer study, women are not equal in any important sense. They are equal when it comes to faith and believing, but then the result of this believing does not bring equality in life. Sura 4:124 declares "And whosoever does deeds of righteousness, be it male or female, believing–they shall enter Paradise and not be wronged a single date-spot."1 The same thought is expressed in Sura 16:97, with a slightly different emphasis, "And whosoever does a righteous deed, be it male or female, believing, We shall assuredly give him to live a goodly life; and We shall recompense them their wage, according to the best of what they did." The repetition of this is again expressed in Sura 40:40, and almost similarly in Sura 53:45, when it is declared that God created male and female. (See also Sura 92:3 and 75:39 for the same thought.)

There are a variety of passages that suggest a bit different analysis regarding the status of women in the Qur’an. Wives on earth are still wives in Paradise with an exception that their impurity is gone. (Sura 2:25) Being no longer subject to the menstrual cycle is one bit of good news in the Qur’an. Now in natural living the cycle is gone when a woman reaches middle age or thereabouts, but wives in Paradise are believed to be always the same age as their husbands. The tradition states that wives and husbands would be about 30 or 33 years of age forever. To declare that a woman would be without impurity at age 30 or 33 would make sense, since that is a threatening time for women on earth who may not want to be pregnant. (The repetition of the passage is seen in 3:15 and 4:57.)

Although women may well read this as good news for themselves, in the overall context of the Qur’an which will emerge later in this article, it seems more likely intended to be good news to the men, because women who do not have menstrual bleeding anymore will always be available for sex, i.e. women will loose their only valid excuse to refuse their husband's demand for intercourse. Moreover, it is not even so clear whether these pure companions promised to the believers in 2:25, 3:15, and 4:57 are actually their earthly wives (in ‘purified form’) or whether they are not rather a reference to the houris that will be given to the male Muslim who enter paradise. (See the article, Did Allah forget the wives? (http://www.answering-islam.de/Main/Quran/Versions/052.021.html))

There is another strain of thought running through the Qur’an and it involves paradise through the eyes of the male, rather than the female being there on her own right and because of her own faith. Paradise is described as a man’s world where he shall eat and drink with easy digestion. "Reclining upon couches ranged in rows; and We shall espouse them to wide-eyed houris," (52:20) or as Sales translated it, "virgins having large black eyes." (p. 506)

In Sura 37:44 the faithful have waiting for them fruits and high honor where they recline on couches face to face with spring water passed around to them "and with them wide-eyes maidens restraining their glances."

In Sura 38:52, the description is similar with an additional qualifier that the maidens are of equal age to the males. The men recline, are given abundant fruits, and the maidens are around them restraining their glances. Sale translated the additional description of maidens "refraining their looks from beholding any besides their spouses." (p. 447) In Sura 44:51 a little different emphasis is made. The Qur’an says, "Surely the god-fearing shall be in a station secure among gardens and fountains, robed in silk and brocade, set face to face. Even so, and We shall espouse them to wide-eyed houris, therein calling for every fruit, secure."

In Sura 56:23 Paradise is described with the fruit, couches, and "maidens restraining their glances, untouched before them by any men or jinn...lovely as rubies, beautiful as coral."

A paragraph later the maidens are said to be "good and comely...houris, cloister in cool pavilions...untouched before them by any man or jinn." Sura 56:10-25 describes the same scene in paradise with the couches, reclining face to face, with immortal youths going round about them with goblets, and ewers, and a cup from a spring (no brows throbbing, no intoxication) and such fruits as they shall choose, and such flesh of fowl as they desire, and wide-eyed houris as the likeness of hidden pearls, a recompense for that they labored." The Sura continues to underscore the fact that God created the spotless virgins, "chastely amorous, like of age for the Companions of the Right." Sura 78:32-33 confirms again the reward of the god-fearing who will be given a place of security, "gardens and vineyards and maidens with swelling breasts, like of age, and a cup overflowing."

The non-Muslims can read these statements and a number of questions arise.

First, what is the reward for faithful women? They are promised paradise, but at best they are ignored in the reward system. Second, the men seemed to be rewarded the beautiful damsels of like age, and since there is no explanation in the Qur’an, it would seem that the female believers lose out on things. On the one hand it seems that they are equal to the men in being welcomed to Paradise in some of the passages, but on the other hand, appear to be replaced by the dark eyed houris. Third, whatever the solution to this question, paradise is clearly the reward for the men rather than the women.

These are issues about Paradise for the female. Down on earth things are quite different but not much better in many ways. Men’s wives are compared to a garden, their tillage, "so come unto your tillage as you wish." (Sura 2:223) But in spite of this general attitude toward a husband’s sexuality, there are some limitations. When one is going on the Pilgrimage a man should "not go into his womenfolk, nor indulge in ungodliness and disputing in the Pilgrimage." (Sura 2:197) Women are not to engage in sex with their husbands during their monthly course. They are not to have sex until the wives are "clean." (Sura 2:222)

The Day of Judgment is the basis for purity for the man and woman. Because of their "chastisement none feels secure and guard their private parts save from their wives and what their right hand owns...." (Sura 70:29-31) Sale translated this as abstaining from "carnal knowledge of women other than their wives, or the slaves which their right hands posses (for as to them they shall be blameless; but whoever coveteth any women besides these, they are transgressors.)" (Sale, p. 552)

We have observed many Muslim cultures in which women cover themselves almost completely. The inspiration for this is in the Qur’an. Sura 33:59 declares, "O Prophet, say to thy wives and daughters and the believing women, that they draw their veils close to them; so it is likelier they will be known, and not hurt." Sale gave a more detailed interpretation translation, women are to "cast their outer garments over them when they walk abroad; this will be more proper, that they may be known to be matrons of reputation, and may not be affronted by unseemly words or actions." (p. 417)

Greater detail is given concerning the covering of women in Sura 24:30-31. The Qur’an says, "Say to the believers, that they cast down their eyes and guard their private parts; that is purer for them. God is aware of the things they work, and say to the believing women, that they cast down their eyes and guard their private parts, and reveal not their adornment save such as is outward and let them cast their veils over their bosoms, and not reveal their adornment save to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s father, or their sons, or their husband’s son, or their sister’s sons, or their women, or what their right hands own, or such men as attend them, not having sexual desire, or children who have not yet attained knowledge of women’s private parts; nor let them stamp their feet, so that their hidden ornaments may be known."

The subordinate position of women in society is reinforced in other contexts. Sura 2:228 states, "Women have such honorable rights as obligations, but their men have a degree above them." Sale is more to the point in declaring that "the women ought also to behave towards their husbands in like manner as their husbands should behave toward them, according to what is just; but the men ought to have a superiority over them. God is mighty and wise." (p. 32) The superiority is expressed in another fashion toward their wives. "Men are the managers of the affairs of women for that God has preferred in bounty one of them over another, and for that they have expended of their property. Righteous women are therefore obedient, guarding the secret for God’s guarding. And those you fear may be rebellious admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them. If they then obey you, look not for any way against them." (Sura 4:34) Moreover, the Qur’an declares that God "created for you, of yourselves, spouses, that you might repose in them." (Sura 30:20)

The inferior position of woman in the Qur’an is further seen in regulations regarding some ordinary matters of life. Women are supposedly more prone to err in matters of witnessing. In matters of contracts, "two men should witness, but if not two men, then one man, and two women so that if one of the two women should err, the other will remind her." (Sura 2:282)

There are other comments made about women in the Qur’an, many of them in an occasional context. In the Sura on women, it appears that the fear of God and respect for women are in the same sentence. Sale translates, "fear God and respect women," but notes that the word "women" is literally "the wombs." Arberry translates it directly, "and fear God by whom you demand of one another, and the wombs." (4:1)

Immediately following this passage comes direction concerning orphans, mostly female orphans. "If you fear that you will not act justly toward the orphans, marry such women as seem good to you, two, three, four." (Sura 4:3)

Orphans should be tested to make sure they are worthy of receiving their endowments. If a man could not afford free women he could have slaves for sexual purposes as well. (Sale, p. 71)

The Qur’an improves on the pagan practices regarding inheritance for women. A woman should not have any part of her husband’s or father’s estate. Sura 4:11 declares that a woman shall share of what parents and kinsmen leave. A man shall inherit twice as much as a female. (Sale, p. 72)

If a woman is guilty of "indecency" (Arberry) "whoredom" (Sale) and four witnesses can be produced against them, they are to be detained in their houses until "death take them or God appoints for them a way." (Sura 4:15) The passage continues, "And when two of you commit indecency," implying the possibility of either fornication or sodomy. Sura 24:2 is more detailed in punishment. The whore and the whoremonger are to be scourged with 100 stripes, and this judgment was not to be hedged by compassion. This sin had the consequences of restricting the people one could marry. The man could only marry a harlot, and the woman could only marry a whoremonger. Neither of them could marry true believers. (24:3)
The Qur’an declares that a man shall purify himself before prayer, and among those polluting sources are women. (Sura 5:6) It may be worth noting explicitly here that men apparently are not similarly a source of pollution for women. Apparently women are inherently more unclean than men if the one is stated and not the other. While there are inequalities in many ways between men and women, crime is treated differently in regard to punishment.. Women are treated equally here. Sura 5:38 declares, "And the thief, male and female; cut off the hands of both, as a recompense for what they have earned and a punishment exemplary from God."

Women appear to be the natural object of sex in the Qur’an. In three passages recalling the story of Lot in the Old Testament, the charge is made that a great indecency was committed: "See, you approach men lustfully instead of women." (Sura 7:81, 27:55 and 29:29)

Coveting other women than one’s wives and what "one’s right hand owns" is to become a transgressor. Men are to guard "their private parts save from their wives." (Sura 23:5)

We have seen that four witnesses are important for charging someone with adultery. If someone charged another with adultery without four witnesses, they are not to be believed, and should be scourged with eighty stripes. (Sura 24:4) This passage is important for Muhammad’s own personal life. On one expedition Muhammad took his wife Aisha to accompany him. On their return to Medina the army was moving by night and Aisha alighted from the camel to relieve herself. On her return she discovered that she had dropped a necklace and returned to search for it. The attendant, thinking she was in the curtained carriage on the camel, moved on. She expected that they would return quickly to find her, and she fell asleep. Early in the morning, Safwan Ebn al Moattel, who had stayed behind to rest, came upon Aisha, and put her on his camel and following the army they found it at noon. Her reputation was called into question, and Muhammad did not know what to think. Aisha’s enemies spread malicious rumors. This Sura seemed to put a stop to false rumors.

Another improvement from Muhammad was the prohibition of using one’s slave girls for prostitution and their owners collecting their fees. Sura 24:33 states, "And constrain not your slave girls to prostitution, if they desire to live in chastity, that you may seek the chance goods of the present life." The question may be raised if they don’t desire to live in chastity, is prostitution then okay? How much freedom did a slave girl have to express to their masters what they really want or do not want? What is the effect of this command if the person did not have the full freedom to go against the wish of the owner?

There is a rather unusual characterization about one woman in the Qur’an. It refers to Lot’s wife. The story of Lot is referred to a number of times in the Qur’an but in two of them Lot’s wife is described in a degrading way. The fact that the city of Sodom is judged is true, but among the unbelievers was Lot’s wife, "An old woman among those that tarried." (Sura 26:171). Similarly, in Sura 37:135, the Qur’an states that Lot was delivered and his people together, save an old woman among those that tarried.

This description may only be stating a fact, but with the tendency on the part of polygamist to be attracted to younger women as the man grows older, as was true in Muhammad’s case, the question can only be raised whether this was a slur on older women. The age of a woman has little to do with her faith or lack of faith.

Muhammad’s attitude toward his wives is rather interesting. He regarded his wives as "mothers" of the believing. (Sura 33:6) But the prophet’s wives needed to be an example in their lifestyle. Allah is supposed to have said to the wives through Muhammad that if they desire adornments in this life, then Muhammad could divorce them. They were given the choice of living with Muhammad on his terms or being divorced. If his wives should commit a "flagrant indecency, for her the chastisement shall be doubled." (Sura 33:30) Greater responsibility has the greater punishment. It seems strange that Allah would command this regarding women’s transgressions but not for the prophet himself. The wife of the prophet would also find double reward for her obedience, one measure for her faith, and the other measure for her obedient behavior to Muhammad.

This obedience is reflected in the words to be "god-fearing, be not abject in your speech, so that he in whose heart is sickness may be lustful; but speak honorable words. Remain in your houses, and display not your finery, as did the pagans of old. And perform the prayer, and pay the alms, and obey God and His messenger." (Sura 33:32)

The obedience to Muhammad as prophet is stressed in an unusual situation. Sura 33:36 notes, "It is not for any believer, man or woman, when God and His Messenger have decreed a matter, to have the choice in the affair. Whoever disobeys God and His Messenger has gone astray into manifest error." Muhammad intended to marry his cousin Zainab bint Jash to Zaid, his freed slave and adopted son. Zainab and her family refused this proposal at first, but after this revelation had come they could no longer resist, and the two were married.

The story of Zainab has further development. Sale recounts the story of how Muhammad went to Zaid’s house on some business, but he was not home. Muhammad did cast his eyes accidentally on Zainab, "who was then in a dress which discovered her beauty to advantage, and was so smitten at the sight, that he could not forswear crying out, ‘God be praised, who turneth the hearts of men as he pleaseth!" Zainab was flattered by the remark of Muhammad and conveyed the comment to her husband, Zaid. After reflecting on this, Zaid determined to divorce her so that Muhammad could marry her. This revelation seems designed to give Allah’s approval so that no scandal would arise out of the situation. Hence the Qur’an states regarding this episode, "There is no fault in the Prophet, touching what God has ordained for him." (Sura 33:38)

The Qur’an gives great latitude to Muhammad concerning wives. It says, "O Prophet, We have made lawful for thee thy wives whom thou hast given their wages and what thy right hand owns, spoils of war that God has given thee, and the daughters of thy uncles paternal and aunts paternal, thy uncles maternal and aunts maternal, who have emigrated with thee, and any woman believer, if she gives herself to the Prophet and if the Prophet desire to take her in marriage, for thee exclusively, apart from the believers–We know what we have imposed upon them touching their wives and what their right hands own–that there may be no fault in thee." (Sura 33:50) Sale translates the last thought by these words: "This is a peculiar privilege granted unto thee, above the rest of the true believers." (p. 415)

Muhammad’s wives were to be secluded from his followers. Sura 33:53 also declares that the followers were to speak to his wives with them behind a curtain "that is cleaner for your hearts and theirs." Not only were they not to be seen or touched by other men, other men were not "to marry his wives after him, ever...." On the matter of touching, this particular sura seems to have come about after Muhammad was disturbed by one of his companions accidentally touching Aisha.

Divorce appears to be fairly easy in the Qur’an, but there are guidelines for it. If a man has not touched his wife (sexually) there is little involved in divorcing her especially if no dowry has been established. Sura 2:228 indicates that if divorce is made, the woman should wait by herself without sexual relations for three of her periods to indicate that there is nothing in her womb. Following this time the husband could restore her. But at any event he can divorce her only twice. The paragraph on this appears ambiguous about the finality of the divorce. It says, "If he divorces her finally, she shall not be lawful to him after that, until she marries another husband. If he divorces her, then it is no fault in them to return to each other, if they suppose that they will maintain God’s bounds." (2:230) A wife whose husband has died should not marry again until four months and ten nights go by presumably to certify that there are no heirs of the deceased husband.

There were husbands who divorced their wives rejecting them declaring, "be as my mother’s back." Sura 58:2 says "Those of you who say, regarding their wives, ‘Be as my mother’s back’" are uttering a falsehood. This was apparently a pagan way of divorce, then current in Arabia, and mostly at the petition of a woman who had small children and was rejected by her husband, Muhammad proclaimed this Sura in condemnation of that practice.

In Sura 65:1 Muhammad is told to count the period of the women to be divorced. They are not to be put out until the time has expired. If a woman is pregnant, she is not to be put out until she delivers and in some case agreement is made for nursing. But if there is a problem between them, then another woman may be secured for suckling the child. The obvious implication is that the child belongs to the man, not the woman. The Qur’an does not give the traditional formula for divorce, i.e., I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you.

In summary, with regard to the Qur’an, and the issues of women and marriage, these have become normative for Muslim cultures. Muhammad defended himself at one point against his opponents by declaring what Allah told him to say, "If I go astray, I go astray only to my own loss; if I am guided, it is by what my Lord reveals to me." (34:50) There is a more serious issue here than Muhammad admits. If he went astray he has led astray countless generations. To him goes the authority of what marriage is like in Muslim cultures, as well as divorce. A westerner looks at the view of women in the Qur’an and laments that it takes a slice of time and history and makes it normative for all generations of Muslims thereafter.
Most westerns are curious about the matter of polygamy. Muslim writers tend to defend polygamy on the following lines. First, war has devastated the male population and there are more women then men. Second, argument is made that the western pattern of monogamy has failed because of many divorces, affairs, and permissiveness. Third, polygamy has been the custom in all ages and this proves to the Muslim "that it is natural to man."2 Fourth, "If a wife, owing to biological factors, is unable to give birth to a child, or satisfy her husband’s sexual urges, the man may safely opt for polygamy." This saves the first wife from divorce and from being "homeless and shelter-less."

The author states, "The basic aim of the married life is the satisfaction of the sexual desire within the bounds of legality....The man is always sexually active provided he is healthy and normal, while even a perfectly healthy woman is not always inclined to sex."3 The menstrual course keeps her from being able to engage in sexual relations. Fifth, normal sexual attraction requires the possibility of polygamy. "Is it not natural that a person having one wife may be attracted towards another woman so much so that this attraction may demand fulfillment?" One may well ask how it is possible to be attracted to a woman who is all covered up. Since you are not supposed to see the woman, and she is not supposed to talk to men other than her family, how is one supposed to learn to know a woman?

Should one ask about the opposite situation, many husbands, and one wife, the answer is that nature does not allow 28 days of sex a month. Moreover, the "primary aim behind espousing a woman is to impregnate her."4

Polygamy is defended on the grounds that a woman can object to a second wife. This can be the grounds of divorcing him. But it is claimed that "no home has been destroyed by polygamy."5

In summary, one can see the discrepancy of equality in the matter of faith before Allah, and the inequality in this world of men. The article on polygamy is written from a very male point of view. The woman is regarded as a womb and the function of a woman is to have sex. If she cannot, she must face the prospect of a competitor in marriage in a second or third wife. While polygamy may be the story of sinful man, we must observe the model of creation–God made only man and woman, not Adam and four wives.

____________________ Notes:
1 All quotes from the Qur’an are from two sources: 1) A. J. Arberry, The Koran Interpreted, New York: The Macmillan Co., 1967, and 2) George Sales, The Koran. London: Frederick Warne and Co. Unless indicated, the quotations are from Arberry’s translation.
2 Shahnaz Begum, "Islam and Polygamy," The Muslim World League Journal, June-July, 1983, no. 9, p. 17
3 Ibid.
4 Ibid., p. 19
5 Ibid., p. 20

04-16-2008, 06:03 PM
Banish Them to Their Beds and Scourge Them!

Muhammad’s Low Opinion of Women

By David Wood (http://www.answering-islam.de/Main/Authors/Wood/contact.htm)

The status of women in the Arab world is a source of frequent criticism against Islam. Women in the West have fixed their gaze on the polygamy, veils, and other inequalities in Muslim countries and are concerned about the rapid spread of Islam. When Western critics charge that Islam teaches the inferiority of women, Muslims often argue that any disparity between men and women is the result of cultural differences, rather than of Islamic law:The Qur’an enshrined a new status for women and gave them rights that they could have only dreamed of before in Arabia, so why the seeming disparity between what once was and what now appears to be? The answer lies in the deterioration of basic Islamic education that occurred in the Muslim world after the disasters of the Mongol invasions and the Crusades in the eleventh through thirteenth centuries. . . . Cultures that arose since that time have been characterized by customs and local cultural leanings more than genuine Islamic values.[1]
The treatment of women in the Muslim world, then, is the result of the Crusades and the Mongol invasions. If it weren’t for the Christians and the Mongols, Muslim women would still be enjoying the prominent status given to them by Muhammad.

Muslim apologists have done an outstanding job convincing people that Muhammad was a champion of women’s rights. Indeed, arguments for Muhammad’s liberation of women have convinced some that "Muhammad was probably the greatest champion of women’s rights the world has ever seen."[2] Descriptions of Muhammad’s improvements in the area of gender relations abound in Muslim writings:So far back as the seventh century of the Christian era, Islam abolished the horrible practice of female infanticide prevalent among the pagan Arabs, gave clear directions leading to the restriction of polygamy, restrained the unlimited rights exercised by men over their wives, and gave woman both spiritual and material equality with man.[3]

Arab human rights were quite backward, even for the time. Women had precious few rights. A woman became the property of a man upon marriage, and no woman could refuse a match made by her father. Spousal abuse was rampant, with no recourse to any quarter for help. Upon the death of her husband, a woman could be inherited by her son and made her son’s wife. Female infanticide in which newborn baby girls were buried alive in the sand was quite common in a society that considered surplus females a burden. Women had no divorce or well-defined inheritance rights and certainly no political vote. A man could divorce without reason and leave a woman penniless, and there was no limit to the number of wives a man could have, nor rules for how each should be treated. . . . Arabian custom had always dictated that women should take no public role in religious or political activity. The superiority of men over women in all respects was also a widely accepted notion. Muhammad changed that notion by asserting that men and women were equals before God in every sphere. . . . To examine the record of Muhammad and his mission is to gain a new respect for the improvements he made in the lives of both men and women.[4]

The Qur’an provided women with explicit rights to inheritance, to property, the obligation to testify in a court of law, and the right to divorce. It made explicit prohibitions on the use of violence against female children and women as well as on duress in marriage and community affairs. . . . Women were equally responsible for ensuring that all religious duties of the individual and society were fulfilled, in terms of punishment for social, criminal and moral infractions. They were also offered equal opportunities to attain the ultimate boon: paradise and proximity to Allah if they strove with all their means to ‘establish what is good and forbid what is evil’.[5]
While it is true that Muhammad raised the status of Arabian women in some respects,[6] we cannot let this fact cloud certain other issues, namely, (1) that Muhammad permitted husbands to beat their wives, (2) that he repeatedly proclaimed the inferiority of women’s intellectual abilities, (3) that he taught that women’s prospects for the afterlife are extremely bleak, and (4) that, according to Muhammad, it is acceptable for men to rape their female captives. When combined with the above passages describing Muhammad’s beneficial impact on society, these four facts allow us to arrive at a more accurate and well-rounded picture of Muhammad’s view of women.

Four Facts

FACT #1: The Qur’an allows (or, perhaps, commands) men to beat their wives into subservience. If a wife doesn’t listen to her husband, the husband should admonish her. If that doesn’t work, he is to make her sleep in a separate bed. However, if the wife still doesn’t respect her husband’s authority, even after she has been banished to another bed, the husband is told to physically punish her. Consider three translations of the following verse:Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret what Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High Exalted, Great.[7]
Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.[8]
Men are the protectors And maintainers of women, Because Allah has given The one more (strength) Than the other, and because They support them From their means. Therefore the righteous women Are devoutly obedient, and guard In (the husband’s) absence What Allah would have them guard. As to those women On whose part ye fear Disloyalty and ill-conduct, Admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); But if they return to obedience, Seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, Great (above you all).[9]
Muslim translators have struggled with this passage and have sought ways to water down its clear meaning. For instance, Ali adds the word "lightly" to his translation, which doesn’t occur in the original Arabic. However, even if we allow Ali to tone down the parts of the Qur’an he finds offensive, the verse still allows husbands to beat their wives. Hence, according to God’s last and greatest prophet, spousal abuse is permissible, and perhaps even required. Modern nations that have established laws against spousal abuse are therefore in direct violation of Allah’s command in the Qur’an.

FACT #2: According to Muhammad, women lack common sense because their minds are deficient. Of course, this declaration didn’t go unchallenged. To his credit, Muhammad allowed women to question him about their intellectual deficiencies. His response to these questions was illuminating:[Muhammad said]: O womenfolk, you should give charity and ask much forgiveness for I saw you in bulk amongst the dwellers of Hell. A wise lady among them said: Why is it, Messenger of Allah, that our folk is in bulk in Hell? Upon this the Holy Prophet observed: You curse too much and are ungrateful to your spouses. I have seen none lacking in common sense and failing in religion but (at the same time) robbing the wisdom of the wise, besides you. Upon this the woman remarked: What is wrong with our common sense and with religion? He (the Holy Prophet) observed: Your lack of common sense (can be well judged from the fact) that the evidence of two women is equal to one man, that is a proof of the lack of common sense.[10]
The Prophet (the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) said: "Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?" The women said: "Yes." He said: "This is because of the deficiency of her mind."[11]

Notice here that, in the first passage, Muhammad justifies his claim that women lack common sense by stating that their testimony is worth half that of a man. Yet, in the second passage, Muhammad justifies his claim that the testimony of women is half as good as men’s testimony by stating that women have deficient minds. This is a classic example of circular reasoning. We can imagine a conversation between Muhammad and a more critical questioner:Questioner: "O Muhammad! Why is Hell full of women?"Muhammad: "Because they lack common sense!"Questioner: "How do you know they lack common sense?"Muhammad: "Their lack of common sense can be seen from the fact that their testimony is only half as good as a man’s testimony."Questioner: "But why is their testimony half as good as a man’s?"Muhammad: "Because of the deficiency of their minds!"Questioner: "How do you know that their minds are deficient?"Muhammad: "The deficiency of their minds can be seen from the fact that their testimony is worth half the testimony of a man."Questioner: "Again, why is their testimony half as good?"Muhammad: "Because their minds are deficient!"Questioner: "Maybe the only thing deficient here is your argument."Notice also that Muhammad’s claims here are falsifiable. That is, they can be tested and, in theory, disproved. We could easily set up an experiment to see whether Muhammad’s statements about the inferiority of a woman’s intellect are correct. We could also set up an experiment in which a group of men and a group of women each witness the same accident. If the testimonies gathered from the male group are twice as accurate as the testimonies taken from the female group, Muhammad’s statements will have been vindicated. On the other hand, if the reports from the two groups are similar, we can dismiss Muhammad’s ideas as the sexist comments of a man affected by cultural biases.

FACT #3: Muhammad offered women little hope for the afterlife. Indeed, he clearly states that most of the inhabitants of hell are women who were ungrateful to their husbands (though he never suggests that ungrateful husbands will receive similar punishment[12]). This means that, after being admonished, banished to a separate bed, and beaten by her husband, a willful woman can look forward to an eternity in hell:The Prophet (the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) said: "I saw paradise and stretched my hands towards a bunch (of its fruits) and had I taken it, you would have eaten from it as long as the world remains. I also saw the Hell-fire and I had never seen such a horrible sight. I saw that most of the inhabitants were women." The people asked: "O Allah’s Apostle! Why is it so?" The Prophet (the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) said: "Because of their ungratefulness." It was asked whether they are ungrateful to Allah. The Prophet (the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) said: "They are ungrateful to their companions of life (husbands) and ungrateful to good deeds."[13]
[Muhammad said], "O women! Give to charity, for I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-Fire were women." The women asked, "O Allah’s Apostle! What is the reason for it?" He said: "O women! You curse frequently, and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. O women, some of you can lead a cautious man astray."[14]

However, even if these women were to stop cursing and to start thanking their husbands, their prospects for the afterlife would still leave much to be desired. According to Muhammad, Muslim women can look forward to an eternity of standing in corners, waiting for men to come and have sex with them:Allah’s Apostle (The blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) said: "In Paradise there is a pavilion made of a single hollow pearl sixty miles wide, in each corner of which there are wives who will not see those in the other corners; and the believers will visit and enjoy them."[15]
Hence, good Muslim women who respect their husbands in this life will have the opportunity to continue their sexual service to their husbands in "Paradise." Apparently, Muhammad considered this to be an appropriate view of Paradise; many women would rightly disagree.

FACT #4: The Qur’an permits Muslims to have sex with their female captives and slaves (i.e. those "whom their right hands possess"). As the Muslim armies raided town after town, they captured many women, who would often be sold or traded. Yet, since the Muslim men were a long way from their wives, they needed wisdom from God to guide them in their treatment of their female captives:The Believers must (Eventually) win through—Those who humble themselves In their prayers; Who avoid vain talk; Who are active in deeds Of charity; Who abstain from sex, Except with those joined To them in the marriage bond, Or (the captives) whom Their right hands possess—For (in their case) they are Free from blame.[16]
Not so those devoted To Prayer—Those who remain steadfast To their prayer; And those in whose wealth Is a recognized right For the (needy) who asks And him who is prevented (For some reason from asking); And those who hold To the truth of the Day Of Judgement; And those who fear The displeasure of their Lord—For their Lord’s displeasure Is the opposite of Peace And Tranquility—And those who guard Their chastity, Except with their wives And the (captives) whom Their right hands possess—For (then) they are not To be blamed.[17]

The Muslim practice of having sex with captured women is reported often in the Hadith, where we find Muslims perplexed about what to do with their captives. It wasn’t long before Allah sent a revelation allowing the confused soldiers to sleep with the women:Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) sent an army to Autas and encountered the enemy and fought with them. Having overcome them and taken them captives, the Companions of Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) seemed to refrain from having intercourse with captive women because of their husbands being polytheists. Then Allah, Most High, sent down regarding that: "And women already married, except those whom your right hands possess (4:24)" (i.e. they were lawful for them when their Idda period came to an end).[18]
We went out with Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) on the expedition to the Bi’l-Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them. So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing azl (withdrawing the male sexual organ before emission of semen to avoid conception). But we said: We are doing an act whereas Allah’s Messenger is amongst us; why not ask him? So we asked Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him), and he said: It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born.[19]

We went out with Allah’s Apostle (The blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) for the invasion of Bun Al-Mustaliq and we received captives from among the Arab captives and we desired women and celibacy became hard on us and we loved to do coitus interruptus [same as "azl" above]. So when we intended to do coitus interruptus, we said: "How can we do coitus interruptus before asking Allah’s Apostle (The blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) who is present among us? We asked (him) about it and he said: "It is better for you not to do so, for if any soul till the Day of Resurrection is predestined to exist, it will exist."[20]
Jabir bin Abdullah (Allah be pleased with them) reported that a person asked Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) saying: I have a slave-girl and I practice azl with her, whereupon Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: This cannot prevent that which Allah has decreed. The person then came (after some time) and said: Messenger of Allah, the slave-girl about whom I talked to you has conceived, whereupon Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: I am the servant of Allah and His Messenger.[21]
The Muslims had originally refrained from having sex with their captives because they were the wives of polytheists; nevertheless, God sent a message saying that they were free to have sex with the women. Modern Muslims believe that this sexual intercourse would only have occurred after marriage, but this view is clearly false. Muhammad’s followers said that they wanted to have sex with the women but that they still wanted to sell them. They asked Muhammad about performing coitus interruptus, but Muhammad answered that it doesn’t really matter. All children who are destined to be born will be born, so it doesn’t matter if a man practices coitus interruptus or not.

Thus, the Qur’an permits men to have sex with their female captives (whose husbands were sometimes still alive[22]), and the Hadith provides examples of when this was practiced. Yet we must follow this fact through to its logical conclusion. The Muslims decided to have sex with their captives, whom they were later going to sell. These captives were women whose husbands and families had been exterminated by the Muslims. Would these women gladly consent to sexual intercourse with the men who had killed their families? Probably not. But since the Qur’an and Muhammad authorized sex with these captives, it is highly probable that Muhammad allowed Muslims to rape their captives.

Muhammad improved the lives of women in Arabia in some ways.[23] However, Muslims sometimes use this fact as evidence of Muhammad’s prophethood. Such an argument is absurd. All that is implied by the improvement in women’s lives is that Islam wasn’t as bad as the culture before it, which says more about the pagans than it does about the Muslims. For, as we have seen, Muhammad permitted spousal abuse, stated repeatedly that women have inferior minds, claimed that most of the people in hell are women, and allowed his men to have sex with their captives. This situation was still probably better than that of women prior to the rise of Islam; however, Muhammad was far from being "the greatest champion of women’s rights the world has ever seen."

In the West, the status of women has greatly improved over the past few centuries. We can all be thankful that people in some areas of the Muslim world are seeing the change and are trying to adopt similar policies, in spite of Muhammad’s low opinion of women. Yet many areas, intent on following Muhammad’s guidelines, are still in darkness. We can only hope that those who want to heed the Qur’an will one day pick up the Bible and read the words of the Apostle Paul:Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.[24]

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.[25]
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into the name of Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.[26]
This article is a revised and expanded version of an essay that originally appeared on www.answeringinfidels.com (http://answeringinfidels.com/).

1 Yahiya Emerick, Muhammad (Indianapolis: Alpha Books, 2002), p. 142.
2 Pierre Crabites, cited in Allama Sir Abdullah Al-Mamun Al-Suhrawardy, The Wisdom of Muhammad (New York: Citadel Press, 2001), p. 20.
3 Ibid., p. 20.
4 Emerick, pp. 8-9, 141, 142.
5 Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies, The No-Nonsense Guide to Islam (Oxford: New Internationalist Publications, 2004), pp. 121, 122.
6 In their efforts to provide evidence for Islam, Muslims tend to exaggerate the immorality in Arabia before the rise of Islam, so much so that they sometimes conflict with their own claims. For instance, it is often claimed that female infanticide was horribly widespread in Arabia, and that Muhammad improved the situation by outlawing infanticide. Yet Muslims also maintain that there was unbridled polygamy in Arabia, in which men would sometimes marry hundreds of women; Muhammad supposedly improved the situation by limiting men to no more than four wives. The problem here is obvious. If everyone was murdering their daughters, how could there possibly have been so many women to marry? If infanticide was common, women would have been a rare commodity. But there were plenty of women to go around, so infanticide couldn’t have been very common. Further, when Muslims are criticized for allowing polygamy, they often argue that polygamy was acceptable in the time of Muhammad because of the shortage of men. Yet if infanticide was as common as Muslims claim, there would have been an even greater shortage of women, so that polygamy would have been unnecessary.
7 Qur’an 4:34, Mohammed Pickthall Translation.
8 Qur’an 4:34, M.H. Shakir Translation.
9 Qur’an 4:34, Abdullah Yusuf Ali Translation.
10 Sahih Muslim, Abdul Hamid Siddiqi, tr., Number 142.
11 Sahih Al-Bukhari, Dr. Muhammad Matraji, tr. (New Delhi: Islamic Book Service, 2002), Number 2658.
12 This raises an important question: Were Muslim women more ungrateful to their husbands than husbands were to their wives? This doesn’t seem likely. According to Muslim apologists, women’s rights were almost nonexistent in Arabia before Islam (but see Note 23). Would Muslim men have had a great deal of gratitude towards their wives? Probably not. The attitude would most likely have been, "You women had better thank us for treating you so well." As it turns out, this is exactly the attitude we see in Muhammad, who tells ungrateful women that their ingratitude will earn them a place in hell.
13 Ibid., Number 1052.
14 Ibid., Number 1462.
15 Ibid., Number 4879.
16 Qur’an 23:1-6, Abdullah Yusuf Ali Translation.
17 Ibid., 70:22-30.
18 Sahih Muslim, Number 3432.
19 Ibid., Number 3371.
20 Sahih Al-Bukhari, Number 4138.
21 Sahih Muslim, Number 3384.
22 For more on this, see "Muhammad and the Female Captives (http://www.answering-islam.de/Main/Silas/femalecaptives.htm)" and "Adultery: Do It! Do It! Do It! (http://www.muhammadanism.org/Hadith/Topics/Adultery.htm)"
23 In other ways, women’s rights seem to have taken a step backwards with the rise of Islam. For example, Muhammad’s first wife, Khadija, was a successful business woman, who was able to select whomever she wished as a husband. Thus, we know that women were able to have prominent positions in society and could wield a great deal of power before the rise of Islam. Under Islamic Law, however, women couldn’t so much as leave their houses without the permission of their husbands (and could only do so in the proper attire).
24 Colossians 3:19, New International Version.
25 Ephesians 5:25.
26 Galatians 3:26-29.

04-23-2008, 05:50 PM
Islam It also says
that love and tolerance

Quote the Quran and Hadith as I have don't just make cliams without supporting them. If you can that is.

04-23-2008, 06:06 PM
The Place of
In Christianity & Islam

Salman Hassan Jabbaar

To All women, of any nation or faith,
To my Sister in humanity,
To the other Half of Society,
To the Original Partner in the Journey of Life,
To Womankind, I dedicate this my simple effort.
S.H. Jabbaar

Chapter One: Womanhood in Christianity (http://www.answering-islam.org/Women/place.html#christian) God's Image (http://www.answering-islam.org/Women/place.html#image) Who's then is boss? (http://www.answering-islam.org/Women/place.html#boss) Holy Women (http://www.answering-islam.org/Women/place.html#holy)
Chapter Two: The place of women in Islam (http://www.answering-islam.org/Women/place.html#islam) Temporary Marriage - "Zawaj ul Muta'a" (http://www.answering-islam.org/Women/place.html#temporary) Teen Marriage (http://www.answering-islam.org/Women/place.html#teen) Marriage with "People of the Book": 'Sheltered' and 'Unsheltered' women (http://www.answering-islam.org/Women/place.html#sheltered) Women in Paradise (http://www.answering-islam.org/Women/place.html#paradise) The Rights of women in Islam (http://www.answering-islam.org/Women/place.html#rights) The Veil (http://www.answering-islam.org/Women/place.html#veil) Divorce (http://www.answering-islam.org/Women/place.html#divorce) Adultery (http://www.answering-islam.org/Women/place.html#adultery)

Chapter One
The Place of Women in Christianity

So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman' for she was taken out of man." For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. (book of Genesis chap.2: vs. 21-24)

Whenever I used to read this blessed book in the Bible I would - and I still do - pause at these majestic verses, then return to the beginning of the story in chapter one!! I was struck by the wisdom of God, His love and understanding. All who study the book of Genesis will notice that God had created everything at first by one command; when He saw that it was good, He would complete it and then bless it. If we look more closely at the above passage we will notice that God, after creating Adam performed another act of creation from this creature; something made from another. We see from this that it required a special operation, despite God's omnipotence. This operation demanded a special act and procedure for, in order to produce the secondary creation it was necessary to put the first one out of action. To enable the Maker to do His work properly He had to induce a deep sleep on Adam. He put him out of action. We can imagine the Lord considering which part of his creature to borrow to provide the material for his future partner and mate... In His wisdom He chose to remove one of Adam's ribs.

One could ask: "But why a rib; why didn't the Lord take a finger, for instance or a tooth?" Perhaps because if He were to cut off a finger or a leg or extract a tooth or eye the person would still be able to continue lying. However, no one can remove a rib from my body without first gouging my chest which would inevitably result in my death!!

Notice too that here we have God taking one rib only. No more nor less than necessary! This may point to His unique holiness. Then we come across the use of the word "made" instead of the fiat: "Let there be... and there was". The act of making demands architecture, design, study and testing to ascertain fitness for the purpose. When the structure is complete its builder can be proud of it. Moreover, building demands effort and expenditure on the part of the maker after which, he deserves to rest. What's next?; I find myself marveling at God's precision and perfection in all the works of his hands. After He had made Eve the creator Himself brought her to Adam! We all know the social custom whereby the bride's father brings the bride, leading her by the hand to her awaiting bridegroom... Then follows our human father - Adam's recognition that she is," flesh of his flesh and bone of his bones" and that henceforth they are something new, one united body, "until death do us part".

God's Image

We are certain that no one has seen God. And that he is the light of the heavens and earth. This is taught throughout the Bible for when Moses tried to look at the face of God he failed. Instead, the whole mountain above him shook at his presence and movement. God is awesome in his might and we cannot openly see his glory, for if we could we would be struck dead! ! It would be too much for us...

But God has marvelous ways to reveal himself in a form which can be comprehended by our human mind; he will not burden us with more than we can bear. The point is that God loves us and reveals his beauty and might to us is by appropriate means. Thus he did not create us from the dust of the ground in order to insult us but rather to demonstrate to us that there is a special connection between our bodies and the dust. But then this earthy takes on another, incorruptible body no longer subject to corruption or death. In this way God's prior act of creation seems to be counterbalanced. It is as though God is holding heaven in one hand and the material world in the other; though created from dust, man was also made to bear God's image! Can you imagine a combination of glory with the dust of the earth? That is a mystery indeed!

But God states clearly in the book of Genesis, in that same chapter: "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the f ish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." (Gen. 1:26)

Male and female, thus did God's wisdom decree. He did not just create Adam in his image but Eve also. We see him giving them both the same degree of honor for the female, as the male was also created in God's image. He did not take into account their sexual or functional differences when he gave both of them equal glory, the very glory which they, unfortunately lost when they yielded to the love of self! It is also noticeable from the following passage; he addressed them saying... "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over all the creatures that move along the ground". (Gen. 1:28)

The order came to them jointly. God did not single out Adam for authority and management but Eve too was included in this mandate; she would be his co-worker and equal partner in all things. It is therefore quite clear that from the start woman was meant to enjoy the same rights on this earth, he gave her the same high rank and honor. However, l really wonder when I read some of Muhammad's sayings regarding women for they belittle their ability in a surprising way. It is totally inappropriate. At-Tarmathi in his collection of the Prophet's sayings mentions one such reference: "If a woman enters, she comes in the form of a devil" ... Then, in another saying, attributed to Sahih Al Bukhari we read: "Woman is just a rib; if you straighten it you break it and if you try to relish it the taste is ambiguous!"

We do know that Muhammad had a reasonable knowledge of the religions of his day and thus would have had a good idea of the teachings of the Bible since he was the disciple of the scholarly Waraqa bin Nawfal. However, it appears that the closed society in which he lived contributed to Muhammad's unusual view of women's place. What is one to believe, I often wonder? Should we believe the One who said he had created Eve in his own image or the one who considered her a mere arched rib or a scary devil? Surely, the Holy One who ennobled both my own status and that of my womenfolk; isn't that the case, brothers and sisters?

What then is the woman's role in general? Was she created to serve the man and bear him sons and daughters, to cook for him meals, whatever his stomach craved? Of course not!

The Bible mentions that God, after creating Adam presented him with all the creatures in Eden. We are told that he asked him to name them and that Adam did; but among all those creatures there was none like him. That must have saddened him. He had a deep desire for someone his equal - to know he had a partner in Eden. God knew what was in his heart and soon provided him with a helpmate, a most beautiful gift, Eve! The role of woman then came as a fulfillment of a deep-felt need, an existential necessity for the man. Otherwise one can visualize Adam, placed in control of the vast riches and bounties of Eden feeling depressed, unfulfilled and lonely. Maybe, in the wisdom of God from the beginning his plan was to create him solo in order for him to develop a strange longing for another to share life with him. He would not obtain her before first waiting and experiencing loneliness so that when she arrived it would be as from God in order to find the necessary favor and grace in his sight; then she was taken from his body so that she would correspond to him and reflect his nature. A 'Helpmate' indeed!

This then is the function of woman; to complete man and walk with and cling to him to the end. As for the practical things such as cooking, doing the laundry and bearing offspring, these help to enhance rather than to detract from woman's ability and femininity. Indeed they bestow on her a different kind of beauty since they stamp her character with that of a wife, mother and cherished one, qualities contributing to her deep feeling of kinship which is surely God's will for her life. You are well aware that we live in an age when the man is probably doing more of the household chores than his wife because the progress and demands of modern life require the wife to pull her weight in the workplace, thus helping her husband to keep the home together. Happy indeed is that man whose wife can also shoulder these outside responsibilities while remaining in charge of her home, spouse and children ... but this is rare.

Who then is Boss?

We have here a major war, whose flames can only be extinguished by faith. Who is to rule over the other, the man or the woman? Each has his special weapons and without faith in God and submission to him neither side is safe from the other's missiles. Men by nature like to dominate and for their word to be unquestioned while women, by nature like to run things according to their own ideas. So who is the winner and who is the loser in this battle when differences begin to surface in the home?

It seems to me that the first difference between the man and his wife occurred in the garden of Eden when Eve listened to the serpent's voice and, seeing the idea was good, obeyed it. This was the first step in straying and departing from faith. Then later, when she had convinced Adam also to eat from the fruit of the tree, he too incurred the wrath of his Creator. To God's question why he did that, he replied by putting the blame on his wife and indirectly, on God too. His statement in Genesis chapter 3 verse 12 shows it:

The man said, "The woman you put here with me - she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." It is understandable why he should want to shift the blame; he feared the punishment. As for Eve, since she had no one else to blame, when she was questioned she blamed the serpent, saying: "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." However, none of these excuses availed. God's wrath and his justice were inevitable. And since that day the conflict has continued; who is to obey the other, and does the man have to obey his wife in all things? Furthermore, what about the 'serpents' of these days...? Or should the wife obey her husband no matter what?

In my judgment the situation needs to be a consensus and a balance between the two parties. The woman has to submit to her husband so long as she submits to God with a pure trust while the man needs to understand that his wife is his partner in this life and not an employee or a servant. Above all else, there has to be faith in that family because where it is absent there can be no true, stable family life. We know that if there is faith in a family there is also the love of God and his leadership. This was the case with Adam and Eve before their disobedience. They were in control of all of Eden's domain but when they fell into satan's trap all that they obtained from God were leather aprons to cover their nakedness!! What a difference now!

The Bible orders women to obey their husbands and to submit to them in an honorable manner, making reference to and recalling those godly women of old who had obeyed their men with all dignity and honor. We find the apostle Peter, in his first letter, chapter three, saying:

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without talk by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self; the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women, of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master... (I Peter 3:1)

The beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. How beautiful is this description but how hard to apply!! I myself observe with great sadness that many women do not like these sayings of this dear apostle. They prefer instead what the world has to offer in the way of styles and fashions. But I know that God's thoughts, which are as far from man's as the East is from the West are always for our good.

What is important and plain here is that the man is entitled to have his wife's obedience. When a woman like Sarah, who could be called "Mother of the Faithful" addressed her husband as 'master' conceding to him the lordship of their home while, at the same time she was cooperating with him in the building of that home. No wonder a woman of this caliber deserved to have the Lord himself announce to her the promised son after all those barren years. She also earned the honor to be mentioned in Holy Scriptures with all respect and esteem.

What would have resulted if the opposite were the case? What if Abraham agreed to everything which his beloved Sarah ordered? In fact, this did happen on one important occasion when he consented to her wishes to marry her servant Hagar in order to produce an earthly offspring. This was categorically against God's wishes but Abraham obeyed Sarah this time. What was the result??

If you have been following the news of the Middle East relating to Palestine and Israel and the shared and un-shared destiny between them you can understand the reality of what happened and is still happening to this moment between the children of Ishmael the firstborn and Isaac the favorite. The Muslims bitterly hate the Jews and the Jews hate and fear them even more. Thank God that Christ's followers, though often caught between the upper and lower millstones in these issues are eagerly awaiting the Second Coming of Christ, who will save the world from its host of political, economic and religious problems. But we must thank the Lord at all times that He doesn't deal with us according to the flesh but according to the necessities of His grace and mercy. With God there is no difference between the Ishmaelites and the Isaacites, between the Zionist and the Arab, between the American and the African but everyone who loves God receives the right to be His child and one of His chosen people. In the letter to the Galatians, for instance we hear this heavenly declaration:

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:26-29)

As for the woman in general, if she has shut her ears to the voice of God and made up her mind on something, woe to her man! But we repeat; faith plays an effective part in restraining the feelings of pride and dominance on the part of both spouses. Furthermore, it is the duty of the wife, while obeying, to advise and counsel him if he is in the wrong; indeed she should pray for him and ask for his conversion if he is an unbeliever. The man, on his part should listen to his wife's views and be able to discuss them. Also he should nurture her and give her the honor she deserves. The apostle Peter in that same third chapter goes on to say:

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, ... (I Peter 3:7)

And to you, my brother, the honored reader and to you, my sister a grace which surpasses every grace and blessings unequaled: God's love and the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit in Christ the Beloved. Amen.

Holy Women...

If we want to elaborate a little to further show God's concern with the person of the woman and her place we discover that a whole book in the Bible has been set aside for this purpose. In the book of Ester we see a portrayal of a woman's wisdom and skill in taking some brave steps. God had entrusted her with all the necessary wisdom for rescuing her nation from certain destruction which had been planned for them. She offered her mind, soul and body in order to save the people of God from slaughter and extinction. What love and what beauty is there displayed! Then observe too how the book of Ruth describes Ruth, the gentile widow, the least in the eyes of the nation, amongst whom she was a stranger. Read this narrative for you will see how loyalty, devotion and sacrifice which this patient woman of faith displayed worked out God's gracious plan in her life and fulfilled His wonderful purposes for mankind. Such were the women of the Bible. Sanctified women are endowed with God's boundless wisdom and the holy pages of Scriptures are illuminated by their exploits throughout human history. By their deep faith they were able to lead the armies of believers to victory, defeating the enemies of God. Witness, for instance Deborah, who was also a judge in Israel (See the book of Judges chapter 4). She rescued the Lord's army from destruction. Likewise, Rahab of Jericho who was a despised prostitute, looked down upon by the community. Yet she sheltered the prophets and men of God, fed them, then let them escape safely. Then we have the story of the widow of Zarephath who sustained that prophet of miracles Elijah (see the book of 1st Kings chapter 17). We also have mention in the Bible of Miriam, Moses' sister who was a prophetess and leader... In the New Testament numerous women served the early church and thus participated in the spread of the Gospel. To my mind these examples demonstrate the elevated position in which God held womanhood.

Nevertheless, if I ignore all these women and consider just one individual whom the Bible singles out for the highest esteem and honor it would suffice to give grounds for real pride to her sex. I mean, of course Mary the mother of Jesus. God almighty chose her before the foundation of the world to carry to the world the best tidings. She was to be the vessel to bear God's infinite Love for mankind. God selected the virgin Mary, that devout woman in Israel by granting her the favor, through the Holy Spirit to conceive and bear God's holy Son. This incarnate Son of God was made in fashion as a man in order to be our substitute, saving us by His death on the cross Thus he satisfied God's justice and demonstrated his abundant mercy. Consider, oh woman what a position you occupy in God's sight. Will you not open your heart to the One who loved you and bow before Him and pray: "Come now, Lord and save me so that my soul too may rejoice in you; come, oh Master and flood my life with your amazing light so that henceforth I will not seek anything except you. No one else has elevated me, respecting my person like you. And I will be your servant all my life. Amen"

Finally, I will conclude this chapter by inviting you to read with me the next pages with an open mind. My only hope is that you will leave behind any bigotry and extremism and listen only to God's voice within you. Let your conscience be the judge and dismiss all dark thoughts from your mind. I have not come with something out of thin air or from my grandfather's wallet but from well attested sources. I therefore beg you to read on with a good conscience even as I have written this with a good conscience before God and myself. And God is above all and knows all secrets.

In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. (I Corinthians 11:11)

Chapter Two
The Place of Women in Islam

"Wives are playthings, so take your pick" attr. to the Prophet, according to Al Hakem, attr. to Omar.

And now, let us discuss this subject calmly:

When one studies the Koran which is the recognized, legal authority among Muslims one finds differences between one sura and another on various important and sensitive subjects to do with building the social fabric. Our purpose here is not to discuss the structure and composition of the Koran but only to focus on our main goal in this study, namely ... womanhood.

In this chapter we shall discuss an important topic dealing with marriage and divorce situations and the wife's treatment by her Muslim husband according to the Law (Sharia'a.) Also we shall consider the evaluation of women in general by Islamic legal standards. Some of these topics may be unfamiliar even to Muslim women.

We shall start by asking ourselves the basic question: What is Marriage?

It is generally known that marriage is a familial relationship - a holy relationship, the purpose of which is the creation of a live nucleus within a living society. In a sense then, marriage is like a tent whose walls shelter a man and a woman - one man and one woman - the one consecrated to the other. It is not an animal relationship but a full life of respect, appreciation and reciprocal human emotions.

God, as we have seen when he first created Adam also made Eve from his rib and here the divine wisdom is very clearly displayed. Eve was not created from the dust of the ground nor from the leaves of trees nor from other materials at God's disposal. We saw how, after putting Adam to sleep he removed one of his ribs from which he formed Eve. Thus the woman here is derived from the man; in other words, she and her mate are one body (see the book of Genesis Chap.2:24)

What does the Koran teach on this subject?

Undoubtedly the Koran allows a Muslim to marry four wives. However, if he is afraid of not treating them equally then marry one only. The actual text reads: If you fear that you will not act justly towards the orphans, marry such woman' as seem good to you, two, three, four; but if you fear you will not be equitable, then only one, or what your right hands own; so it is likelier you will not be partial. (Women vs.2)

We shall deal later with the matter of equitable treatment among the wives. But at this point, if we look more closely at the form of the text we will notice that the writer departed from a whole number to approximate numbers. He did not say (in the Arabic) "ithnatayn wathalath w'arbaa" as one might expect. Neither did he use the term "wahida" correctly in order to fit the context. In fact it is stylistically ambiguous since it may give the impression that here Muhammad is permitting the man to marry more than four if he dares... That may have been the intention because at the time this verse came down Muhammad himself was legally married to nine wives!

But what is this 'impartiality' which the Koran speaks of in this text? The Koran here enjoins the man with two wives or more to be scrupulously fair between them. That means he is to give each her legal rights and treat each as if she was the only one. If he spends time with one he should do the same all round, if he buys a garment for one he should not neglect the others; in effect his love and attentions should be fair and equally distributed without the least partiality.

It is said that an Arab once came to Muhammad and told him: "Oh apostle of God, I have ten wives and they are all very dear to my heart." The Prophet replied: "Get rid of six" The Arab kept pestering him to keep them and the Prophet urging him to get rid of some until he divorced six of his wives. I do not know if that Arab ended up being impartial with all his remaining wives or not. I mention it just to note my amazement at the Prophet's position for he himself, as we shall later see did not follow the Koranic injunction received from his Lord! Why do I say this? Come with me so we can look at some facts.

First of all, it should be recognized that Muhammad had nine wives whom he married after the death of his first, Christian-born wife, Khadija. The Prophet had a special way of classifying his wives:- Intimate (Muqarribat) and Remote (Ghair Muqarribat). At the head of the list of Intimates was Aiysha, then Hafsa, Um Salma and Zainab. As for the Outer Circle (Remote): Um Habeeba, Maimoona and Sawda. Then comes Juweiriyeh and Sufia.

These were the legal wives of Muhammad and we do not here envy him nor accuse him of impropriety, God forbid! All we are saying is that he did not bind himself with the rules he laid down for others although he is considered the highest example to every Muslim. What happened in this case? It raises some really serious questions which we need to address.

Does God have partiality in his laws? Did he permit him to do things forbidden to others? God forbid! What we see here is that physical instinct or the desire for male offspring or some other factor had a large part to play in the Prophet's marital conduct. He does not feel bound to marry according to the Koranic laws. But he doesn't stop here; he goes well beyond these limits when he attributes to God the permission to marry any other woman he fancied. She would in effect become a slave to him for purposes of sexual gratification. Here is the relevant text from the Koran:

Oh Prophet, We have made lawful for thee thy wives whom thou hast given their wages and what thy right hand owns, spoils of war that God has given thee, and the daughter of thy uncles paternal and aunts paternal, thy uncles maternal and aunts maternal, who have emigrated with thee, and any woman believer, if she give herself to the Prophet and if the Prophet desire to take her in marriage, for thee exclusively, apart from the believers --
(The Confederates vs.49 ff.)

So we see Muhammad allowing himself any wives, exclusively even if they were bound by law to another man. And this is actually what happened with Zainab. Once again, we remind the reader that the principle at issue is fairness among the wives. But one sees the Koran legislating a special provision for him without regard whatever for the opinion of the woman. She is to be led as a lamb to the slaughter at the whims of the chieftain, if he fancies a woman he acquires her with appropriate authority! He then obtains whatever enjoyment he desires after which he decides whether to bring her into his inner circle or desert her without fear of injustice in the matter...

In the same sura, verse 50 he says:

Thou mayest put off whom thou wilt of them,
and whom thou wilt thou mayest take to thee;
and if thou seekest any thou hast set aside there is no fault in thee. etc.

It is said of Ibn Saad through Munir bin Abdallah Ad Daa'ouli: "that the mother of Shareek Ad Dousieh offered herself to the Prophet and she was beautiful. He accepted her. Aiysha's reaction was: "God indeed speedily grants your passions", referring to the above-mentioned text. Aiysha hit the nail on the head!

We do not wish to stray too deeply into this subject lest we should lose sight of our main theme which is 'Womanhood'. It suffices to note that there are contradictions in the Koran when it comes to the value and place of women; it is clear that marriage in Islam favors the husband more than the wife. In fact, it is wholly preoccupied with the feelings of the man and his needs, while largely overlooking the woman's emotions and rights. By contrast, the Bible teaches us that the married man is concerned how he might please his wife while the latter is concerned with how to please her husband.

The Bible also teaches us that the man has no mastery over his body but his wife has; likewise the wife has no mastery over her own body but her husband has. (see I Corinthians chap.7). In this way an equality and complementarity follows, yes a harmony results in the sense in which God decreed. They come together to become one body.

And when the wife gives her husband his rights whether they be respect, esteem, love, even her own body, the husband responds by giving his wife an equal measure no less!

The husband is not to deceive or cheat her with diplomatic words so that when he gets his desire he can banish her from his face...

One can give as an example an incident in Muhammad's life: the Prophet had let his wife Hafsa leave in order to visit her father. He seized this opportunity to invite Maria the Copt (who was a concubine in the house not a legal wife) to go to Hafsa's apartment and he slept with her in Hafsa's own bed... It so happened that Hafsa had to return to the house for something. Then when she saw the couple in bed she was afraid to enter. She sat down and wept bitterly. There was nothing else she could do ... He came out and implored her not to cry, promising her that he would abstain from intercourse with Maria. Unfortunately he broke his promise, arming himself with yet another Koranic text, this time from The Forbidding:

O Prophet, why forbiddest though what God has made lawful to thee, seeking the good pleasure of thy wives? And God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.

And so, returning to verse 2 of sura Women we see that there is no place for justice or harmony in the polygamous marriage. No wonder God wisely decreed that for the true Christian, for reasons of fairness as well as health, "One man for One woman", enabling them to be truly One body, unified, holy without blemish. He called that institution MARRIAGE.

Temporary Marriage (Pleasure Marriage)

One concludes from these texts that the Koran advises marrying one wife if the husband doesn't feel he can be fair. Expanding a bit in our consideration of this subject we shall discover an important aspect which appeals to any man who feels he cannot be impartial.

Isolating the phrase: Or what your right hands own, we see that it gives the man of means the full right to exercise the special option known as "Temporary Marriage". This is a subject which frankly, to explore would fill a whole book; it is so complex and has wide variations in the different sects of Islam. But the Koran definitely sanctions it and Muhammad not only agreed to it but also practiced this type of liaison. Later in his life when he conquered Mecca and as he approached death he changed his views somewhat... When Omar became Caliph this subject was very controversial between his followers and their successors so that he had to ban 'temporary marriage' completely. This ban remained in Mecca and Madina until Ali succeeded Othman to the Caliphate. He once again lifted the ban and it became prevalent. As every Muslim knows the Shi'a sect practices 'temporary marriage'. However the Sunni Muslims do not, in spite of its admissibility in the Koran.

{Correction by the web editor: A Muslim reader pointed out that the above paragraph contains an error. The Quranic phrase "or what your right hands own" does not refer to temporary marriage (known as mut'a (http://www.answering-islam.org/Index/M/muta.html)) but to taking slaves as wives or concubines, which could either be slaves that the Muslim master had legally bought or women whom he himself captured / enslaved, i.e. prisoners of war. Since we do no longer have contact to the author of the book to ask him to revise this section, I am instead making the correction by adding this note. On the issue of Muhammad allowing his men to have sex with prisoners of war, the reader may consult these two articles: [1 (http://www.answering-islam.org/Silas/femalecaptives.htm)], [2 (http://www.muhammadanism.org/Hadith/Topics/Adultery.htm)].}

What is Temporary Marriage?

This type of marriage is like a personal agreement or contract between a man and a woman, acquainted or strangers. In it the man offers the woman a sum of money for that particular year as well as providing her with housing and all other necessities, be it food, clothes, etc. In exchange she will agree to satisfy his sexual demands whenever he wants without hindrance. She has to remain exclusively his for the duration of the contract signed between them. When the period expires (the Koran does not specify an exact period; it could be from one month to one whole year) the first party, the man has to either pay her off and release her or renew his agreement for a further period. This used to be the custom in the past with men who went to war, leaving their wives behind. At the new location they would come across other women with whom they would contract 'temporary marriages'. This practice was also common among men of business and commerce, since they are constantly on the move and need surrogate wives to satisfy their sexual urges...

The reason Omar banned this custom among Muslims was because many of the women wanted to renew their contracts, thus keeping their man. Often they had to conceal early signs of conception so that if they revisited them again they would find they'd become mothers of their child. In that case it was forbidden to desert or wrong them in any way. That led to more complications, for instance when the man already had four legal wives. Muslim scholars tried to find a solution to this problem and came up with the system of concubinage. A concubine is a woman who was previously a servant or temporary wife in the household then becomes a mother, having borne him children. By law he then had to keep her and take care of her and the children. However, she remained one degree below the legal wife and, in practice often played the part of helper to the original homemaker!!

Consequently it became simple for the wealthy Muslim to claim he had one legal wife only, thus freeing himself of the problem of being impartial among several wives! At the same time it enabled the man to secure his fill of sexual gratification with what, in those days was proudly described as a household full of 'jawari' and 'sarari' (slave-girls and concubines).

Teen Marriage

The Islamic religion recommends early marriage and this appears to be a good, healthy piece of advice. It enables the mature young man who can afford it to marry the girl of his dreams and settle down in his life's journey in a healthy manner. The Bible similarly advises young people that, it is better to marry than to burn in any case!

But Islam here goes beyond merely advising people to marry early. It makes it legal and proper to entertain the marriage of minors. This was something alien to most Arabian tribes for they did not allow young girls to be married off. The parents normally had to wait until the girl matured into a woman before accepting offers of marriage.

At the beginning of Islam we find clear instances of the practice of teen marriage. For instance, Muhammad gave his twelve year old daughter, Fatima in marriage to his cousin Ali bin Abu Taleb. It is true she was capable and quite mature mentally; it was said she would be reading the Koran with one hand while grinding barley with the other! Still her age would place her in the category of a minor or a child, approaching adolescence.

And if Fatima was so mature, this was not the case with Aiysha, daughter of Abu Bakr As Siddiq who was a close friend of the Prophet and in charge of his books. When he offered her as a legitimate wife to Muhammad she was only eight years old. He added, jokingly "She is eight but dependable!" (Ar. Hia thaman, wa alaihad dhaman). Yet there was another problem; it comes as a great shock to learn that the Prophet was fifty three years old when he married Aiysha - an age difference between them of forty five years!!

But Muhammad was insistent on that marriage with Aiysha; he even had planned it years before. He used to play with her and sit her on his lap and play games with her when she was only five years old. As soon as she was eight he could no longer wait and married her...

And here my Muslim brother and sister I would like to ask you this question: "Would you give your daughter in marriage to a man the age of her grandfather?... even if she were your ugliest and least lovable child?? Would you give away your daughter to a man, whoever he be while she is still a child in her mother's lap? Would you give your daughter in marriage at a time when, in all good conscience you knew she was still too young to know what marriage was about?. Be realistic and think with me; don't you feel that such an act would be a crime, deserving of punishment from God and man? I don't know your view but I, myself see it as a great crime...

In the case of Aiysha she was still a young child, immature and obviously ignorant of married life. To illustrate this; one evening the Prophet was in deep conversation with Abu Bakr when Aiysha stepped into the room. As Muhammad continued and was long winded, she grew bored and interrupted him with the words: "be brief." At which her father slapped her on the mouth, causing it to bleed. The Prophet, we are told was most unhappy... This shows that Aiysha was still a child, petted by Muhammad. He well knew that she was immature. Therefore he overlooked her interruption. He also permitted her to argue for she was, among his wives the one closest to his heart. How he deserted her though, before she was eighteen and went his way is hard to understand. Not only that but he forbade her and his other ex-wives from marriage all their lives. History does not tell us much of what befell her afterwards except that we know Aiysha stirred up many divisions among Muslims after the Prophet's death and her father had ceased to be Caliph. She did not completely see eye to eye with the new Caliph Ali ibn Abu Talib, Muhammad's cousin.

I myself will never forget a terrible incident which happened to my Muslim friend's sister there in the southern part of our homeland. My friend had a sister who was thirteen years old. Since they lived under a strict Islamic tribal code it was decided to stop her schooling and marry her off because her breasts began developing. When they searched for a youth to marry her they were unsuccessful; no one seemed interested. Then a man came forward and proposed marriage although he was forty five years old, a husband of two wives and had seven grandchildren. After consulting the sheikh, who held God's book in his hand, she was married according to the Koran. On the night of the consummation of the wedding the child was shocked to discover that it was not a mere game as she had been made to believe by her mother and aunts ... This grown man wanted from her what she could not comprehend, let alone understand. To prove his masculinity the man forcibly raped her. The result was that the girl died that same night! I can still picture my friend's tears streaming down his face as he related to me this tragedy. I found it heart-breaking and do, even to this day whenever I remember her story. I carry within me the indescribable hope that the day will come when God will open a wide gap and illuminate the minds and remove from all hearts the veil so that he can reach all mankind with the sunshine of his love.

Marriage with 'People of the Book'

Sheltered & Unsheltered Women

The Koran mentions 'The People of the Book' in numerous places, sometimes critically, at other times approvingly - it is inconsistent on this subject. But what concerns us here is the interaction between Muslims and 'The People' mentioned in sura The Table verse 4. There we find it allowing the Muslim in a general sense the "delicacies" available to the People of the Book such as certain pleasures, and foods. At the same time it allows the People (Christians and Jews) access to Muslims' food but without mentioning other pleasures. Then it goes on to expand by saying a Muslim can take to himself a wife from the People provided he can pay her dowry fully!! However, no mention is made in the text nor even in that sura, or the Koran, for that matter, about allowing a man from the People of the Book to marry a Muslim wife. One asks: "Does not the Muslim woman have the right to accept a Christian or Jewish man as a husband? Of course not! This is totally forbidden her by God, the Prophet and those in authority; it is common knowledge.

This is how the text reads:

Today the good things are permitted you, and the food of those who were given the Book is permitted to you, and permitted to them is your food. Likewise believing women in wedlock, and in wedlock women of them who were given the Book before you if you give them their wages, in wedlock and not in license, or as taking lovers. (to end of verse)

And in spite of the fact that the Koran itself makes our foods, our delicacies and our women available to our Muslim brethren some Muslim sects, even to this day insist on the principle of complete separation from The People of the Book, especially the Christians. Some have a prohibition to even drink water with or accept anything from the hand of a Christian. It is common in the southern part of my originally Christian homeland to refer to a Christian person as "Unclean". If the truth be told, these Christian families wherever you find them scattered in the land, look cleaner and better groomed and are better educated than most, assuming the reference is to outward cleanliness!

If we go back to the Koranic text we shall find that the word "sheltered" (muhassanat) is mentioned twice in this connection; once concerning 'believing' women, i.e. Muslim being fair game to Muslim men and the second time about Christian and Jewish women being available to Muslim men. Why then did the Koran make a distinction between the two categories when it came to eligibility? Why did it not, for instance include the Muslim believing women with the women of the People of the Book in one sentence?. Who was intended in the first reference of 'sheltered' and in the second and is there a difference? Yes, I would say there is a significant difference!

An Arabic language authority, Abu Bakr Ar-Razi, in his work "Mukhtar As Sihah" mentions that:

The man becomes sheltered when he marries and the woman becomes sheltered when she is chaste - her husband has made her sheltered. Then he comments on a statement by Tha'alab by saying: 'Every chaste woman is sheltered.'

It follows then that there is a clear distinction here: 'sheltered' as used first refers to Muslim women who enjoy complete shelter as well as the support of her people and tribe. Its second use also refers to women who are chaste and have husbands who are alive. Therefore the first half of the text includes unmarried Muslim women, widows or divorced; these are all available for marriage to a Muslim as long as he pays their dowry. The second half of the text refers to women of the Book, regardless of whether they are married or not. She is available to the Muslim under certain circumstance such as abduction, captivity or purchase and such like. And so we learn from Abu Sateed: We came across some women captives from Outas who had husbands and we hated to touch them while their husbands were still alive. So we asked the Prophet. He replied: "...take believing handmaids that your right hands own..." We took this to mean that God had placed them in our hands ... so we violated them. From that account one gathers that this commander had taken captive some Christian families. He separated the men from the women, as was the custom. The soldiers were tempted to violate the women but because they had husbands they refrained. However, after consulting the Prophet, who was Commander-in-Chief of the nation, and obtaining his permission they gratified their lust on them. The fact that they were 'sheltered' and had living husbands nearby didn't seem to deter them any more since they were abiding by the Koranic injunction in sura Women verse 23...

Just consider the extent of the pain and humiliation which befell those captive men when they learnt that their wives had been forcibly raped by strange men! It may be that the Prophet in this case intended to preserve the lives of those captives rather than allow them to be killed and their wives later taken due to the shortage of men! I personally feel that death is to be preferred to the sight of one's wife becoming another's while one stands helpless. He was, after all a prisoner, unable to stand against soldiers armed with swords and with the Prophet's word as well as the Koran's...

And now, having ascertained that a Muslim is allowed to marry from The People of the Book certain questions arise. What is the fate of a family having two religions? Whose religion are the children supposed to follow? Will things go smoothly between the spouses? Actually Islam has laid down that the wife of the People of the Book should not be forced to embrace her husband's religion. She can keep the faith of her fathers. On the other hand her children would have to become Muslim by inheritance. Yet the mother has to bring them up and initiate them in the doctrines of the Muslim religion. I myself know of many examples of this situation. I had a neighbor whose relative married a Muslim man, lived a long life with him and bore him many boys and girls. Naturally, the children were supposed to be Muslim. Whenever their mother took them to visit her family they would accompany her to church. I noticed that the children had a disposition which leaned towards their mother and her church. In their eyes one could see a certain insecurity and distraction. When I quizzed my neighbor on this he confirmed that he also regretted the children's plight. They do not know whose side to be on. Their father would take them to the mosque on a Friday and teach them the traditions and rituals of Islam but when they would visit us with their mother we would take them with us to church and involve them in our devotions. This had the effect of further unsettling them and making them insecure.

Perhaps when there is love and sacrifice between the couple and a spirit of tolerance harmony could prevail in such a home, at least for a while. But isn't this somewhat like the calm which precedes the storm?

I had a rare experience while I was a student at the institute. There was a young Muslim Arab whom I got to know and our friendship grew and deepened. I discovered that he was married to a Catholic woman from the Philippines. They were deeply in love with one another and so he was able to persuade her to adopt his religion in order to be better accepted by his family. At first she objected, saying that she had been baptized a Christian as a child and knew that Jesus has saved her and she must continue to follow him. He took pains to convince her that she need not take the thing seriously or bother about fulfilling all the Islamic precepts. It was enough for her to pronounce the two statements of faith for her to become Muslim! That would do the trick; and they could thereafter live in peace.. She finally agreed. He took her to Jerusalem where the head sheikh made her pronounce the two 'testimonies' in Arabic without really knowing what she was saying. He then declared her a Muslim woman and blessed their happy marriage. But when I asked this colleague if his wife was persevering in the reading of the Koran he laughed and replied: "She doesn't even know what it is or where it came from. All she knows is that now she is a Muslim and that I am still married to her!!"

Women in Paradise

The Gospel written by Matthew the disciple gives us an incident in which Jesus himself leaves us in no doubt whatsoever on this subject. We read that a certain Jewish party came to trick Jesus on a then controversial subject, namely life and the married state after the Resurrection. (Gospel of Matt. chapter 22 verse 23-31):

That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. "Teacher," they said, "Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and have children for him. Now there were several brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. Finally, the woman died. Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?" Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven... "

Therefore, it has been God's decision since eternity past that everyone who believes in him will live with him in heaven, the the angelic beings, occupied in praising and declaring him to be holy. God Himself will dwell among the host, rejoicing the hearts of all with that heavenly, unspeakable joy! No matter how hard we think about this subject we will not be able to fully understand what God has prepared for us in heaven. The beloved apostle Paul perhaps gave us the best glimpse from his experience when God allowed him to be transported to that blissful sphere. He testified:

"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those
who love him."
(1 Corinthians 2:9, quoting the prophet Isaiah)

Here we see that there is no room for uncleanness where holiness dwells, nor for darkness in the realm of unsullied light. God is holy and has prepared heaven for the saints (holy ones) and the fire for evildoers. It does not make sense at all to mix the two. And there is a vast difference between enjoyment as we know it on earth and heavenly joys, which are unsurpassed... We have mentioned all the foregoing simply in order to determine whether there is a difference in the concept of heaven between the two faiths. Obviously there is a vast difference!

Moreover, in the book "Kitab ul Isra'a wal Mu'raj" the author, Ibn Serene quotes Muhammad as describing the trip he took one night from Jerusalem to the Seven Heavens.

Among other things he reports about the paradises prepared for Muslims that each of them contained a variety of fruits, unpicked and not forbidden. Also there were rivers flowing underneath rivers of honey, milk and wine in which the believers were swimming as well as drinking. As he looked, he saw palaces made of crystal, sapphire and diamonds, the likes of which he had never seen. When he entered these palaces he saw that in each there were seventy couches made of gold and emerald on which lay virgins, untouched by man prepared for their bridegrooms...

When this reached the ears of his disciples and followers there were many questions asked. Among them, whether sexual intercourse was permitted in heaven. Were there female angels whom God had prepared for that purpose? When one of his followers posed the question: "Oh Messenger of God, do we have sexual intercourse in paradise?" He replied in extravagant words, indicating the intensity and total preoccupation with sexual expression... Then he added: "There is no bachelor in paradise". When another asked him how one man could have the strength to mount seventy girls in one day he responded: "He would be given the strength of one hundred men"!

This is also the case if we study the Koran, we find the subject repeated here and there and woven into several contexts. It would seem God not only rewards believers with perpetual paradise but gives them all that their worldly hearts desire of wine, milk, honey, fruits and women without number. In surat Imran verse 14 this fact is clearly stated and it is confirmed in surat Women verse 65, the sure which follows immediately. This topic recurs in different places throughout the Koran.

Indeed, wherever we come across this subject in any sure in the Koran it is couched in a special style, known among Islamic scholars as the "Threat and Inducement" style: The Koran thus offers the Muslim (man) all that he desires as a reward for loyalty and adherence to his faith in this world. On the other hand he is given dire warnings, repeatedly if he should turn round and become an apostate from his faith.

It is like threatening someone and appeasing him at the same time (a 'carrot & stick' approach), a treatment, certainly not worthy of a holy God! And what really bewilders me is that whenever I read such texts, it seems that only the men enjoy all these privileges. There is not even one verse in all of the Koran which gives the woman her right, for instance to swim in that river of wine in paradise or eat of the dangling fruits or claim ownership of one of those gorgeous palaces... Why then is womankind judged to be lacking in brains and piety in this world and apparently remain so in the next?? Muslim scholars have judged that the woman whose husband dies, while satisfied with her will presently be ushered by God into paradise to join her husband there. I wish I knew the fate of the less fortunate one whose husband leaves this world while angry with her - even though her faith may be stronger than his! We must leave her destiny in God's hands... However, logic dictates that there is no further use for such a woman in paradise. Her husband, with all that he desires of women at his disposal will hardly be content with someone with whom he has lived and been familiar all his married life. I think this woman will live as a pariah there, alongside those dark-eyed, virgin 'houris'. Even the service of her husband will be denied her since all things are automatically provided for him there. And so ... injustice in this world and worse injustice in eternity! What a fate...

Also worth mentioning in this connection is that Muhammad will have the lion's share of all the good things in paradise for surely he was singled out for favor by God by virtue of his flight into the seven heavens (Al Isra'a wal Mi'raj incident) It was there too that he received from God's hand all the teachings which he transmitted to his followers. When he returned to earth from that trip he was unable to hide the fact from his first wife, Khadija - the eldest. He told her as she lay dying: "Oh Khadija, know that God has wedded me to Mary, Christ's mother in paradise." He repeated this story to his favorite wife, Aiysha, after the Hejira, saying:" Oh Aiysha, didn't you know that God Almighty in heaven wedded me to Mary the daughter of Imran, to Kulthum, Moses' sister and to Assiya, wife of the Pharaoh". (related by Abu Umama)

It appears then that the trip to heaven culminated in the marriage of Muhammad to one of the greatest saints, and chiefest woman in the Bible, namely the mother of Jesus Christ! The Blessed Virgin Mary whom no human had touched! She it was who shouted, rejoicing in the Lord her Savior, because he chose her from the foundation of the world to carry in her womb the Child of the Holy Ghost, mankind's Savior.

Consider, my brother how much this story hurts the feelings of millions in the Christian world who regard this Mary with such reverence and love...
In any case, the woman in Islam, whether in heaven or earth will never get beyond her deficient, powerless status. She is a mere plaything at the mercy of her husband's whims. We've already referred to the saying, attributed to the Muhammad: "Women are playthings, so take your pick" (attr. to Al Hakem). It is also said of Omar that he once reprimanded his wife in front of his guest with the words: "You are only a toy; if you're needed we will call for you". Thus we see from all the foregoing that the woman in Islam is regarded as an appendage, there to serve a need; she is for cooking, cleaning, rearing the children and for the bed. This is all that is expected of her. Beyond that, if she steps over the limits she should be beaten, deserted, imprisoned and, maybe stoned. However, I thank God that in some Islamic countries women have started to be aware of their situation. In many of the progressive cities in the region we find women assuming more authority vis a vis the men. One just fears that the tables might, some day be turned if the man ends up under the woman. From such a calamity our refuge must be ever in the Lord!!

The Rights of Women in Islam

Some have heard of the custom among pre-Islamic Arabs of burying the newly born female child. There was a feeling of shame among those Arabian tribes if one's wife bore him a girl. When Islam came it utterly prohibited this killing of innocent babies. This measure gave a special distinction to the new religion and enhanced Muhammad's reputation in the eyes of all his people. Actually the custom was not universal; maybe just among those tribes who were unstable and relied largely on raiding, pillaging and fighting with others. And so when these tribes became Muslim they abandoned their ancient custom. However there still persisted a negative feeling towards the female throughout the whole region.

Here, while I would like to express my deep respect to Muhammad for his part in banning the murder of innocent babies, I wish he had also granted the female more than her mere right to life. Evidently she was given hardly any rights to protect her and uphold her dignity and worth in the eyes of Islamic society. For we have seen earlier in our discussion how Islam, definitely lowers women's station in society. Even the Prophet himself declared that woman is deficient, both mentally and religiously.

Mentally, because Islamic jurisprudence does not accept the witness of one woman whom it considers incapable of a reliable testimony. Therefore, where necessary it prescribes the witness of two women to be equivalent to one man.

This is how the text reads: and call to witness two witnesses of your people; but if there be not two men, let there be a man, and two women of those whom ye shall judge fit for witnesses: if the one of them should mistake, the other may cause her to recollect. (The Cow verse 281).

The reason why she is deficient religiously is due to her condition during her monthly period; she is considered to be in a state of imbalance spiritually and thus incapable of proper prayer or sustained fasting. Her menstrual period would interrupt that, even though it is the very thing, biologically which gives her fertility and thus the vehicle for continuance of the species. However, one presumes that she continues to be a woman and effective, after her own fashion... One reads of a saying by the Prophet, related in the "Sahih" by Al Bukhari: Oh ye women I have yet to find anyone swifter to the heart of a resolute man than one of you half-witted and irreligious lot! They asked: 'How are we irreligious and half-witted, oh Apostle of God' He replied: Isn't the testimony of the woman equal to that that of the man? They said: 'Yes'. He countered: That is due to her inferior mind; adding isn't it true that during her period she neither prays nor fasts? They said: 'True' Then he said: That is due to her lack of religion!

And since the woman has so much deficiency it is incumbent to direct her from on top. You suppress her when she is recalcitrant, expect total obedience from her without the least protest and to be led like a lamb wherever the father, brother and, later the husband wishes. A questioner might ask: "Does the woman have any rights at all?" You reply: "Yes", but it is not for us to decide where these lie!

Once the Prophet was asked about this subject: "What rights does the woman have with the man?" He replied: He should feed her if he eats, clothe her when he dresses, avoid disfiguring her or beating her excessively or abandoning her except at home.

These then are her rights: To be beaten but not enough to disfigure her (even though it might disfigure her spiritually and mentally) and to abandon or desert her at home - meaning shunned confinement in bed - at times when she is in most need of her only man. You remember, she does not have the right to marry four husbands... She will be fed and clothed like any other member in the household of her husband. Nothing special. She is accrued of no higher value beyond that! (See surat Women verse 33) As for the rights of the man with the woman; all things both the possible and impossible. The wife has to keep her husband happy no matter what it costs. It is everything to her. She also has to respect him and place him in a very elevated position in her spiritual and temporal life. The Prophet even mentioned that if it were decreed to kneel in worship to other than God, he would have ordered that women kneel before their husbands! The woman is also duty bound to be ready any time of night or day to satisfy her man's sexual needs, regardless of circumstances even if she is sick... It is attributed to Abu Huraira in the "Tayalisi", that he said: The man has the right to approach his wife even if she were menstruating.

So much for sexual matters. What about social affairs?

As we have mentioned earlier, no single woman's testimony is accepted in a court of law. The same is true of all other legal transactions. The woman is treated in a far inferior manner than the man. For example she cannot inherit the same amount as the man because the latter has the lion's share of the inheritance since he is complete mind and religion. As for her, No! Therefore she only receives one third. We find in the surat of Women: To the male a portion twice the female's, etc. where there is also a list of women's civil rights in Islamic society.

The Veil

What is the veil and why is it necessary for the Muslim woman to wear one? I recall when I was still in my homeland that many of my Muslim brethren used to regard the Christian woman as degenerate and loose in her morals for she would go out immodestly dressed often in clothes which revealed her physical attractions... And although this description only applies to some, yet I tend to agree with them. But I categorically object to the label "Christian" or "believer" being applied to such. Indeed, Christianity has nothing to do with these persons. For I believe in my religion with such conviction that I know it is the religion of holiness and chastity. When it enters a person's life and heart it ennobles and purifies it and lifts it above all uncleanness. For that reason the Christian person becomes, in the words of Scripture "a New Creature". As for those who have inherited their religion from their relatives and society, it does not follow that they are adherents of that religion nor bound by its precepts. These days there are millions who follow Islam but it is evident that not all Muslim women are veiled or follow the precepts or are bound by the fundamentals of their faith. What do you think; are they Muslims or no?

Regarding those nominal Christians, both women and men, they will attract to themselves the greater judgment because in their lifestyle they dishonor and crucify Christ again, in a manner of speech. But the true Christian woman is the one who is beautified by the presence of the Lord in her life. She is of neat appearance, careful what she wears, choosing only modest dresses so as not to be a temptation for other men, and so on. She has within her personality that quiet, meek spirit enjoined by the Bible. At the same time she is careful to keep her husband happy and attached to her physically and spiritually (see First Epistle of Peter chapter 3). This is the Christian woman, in God's sight, the woman who does her duty towards God by prayer, fasting, and godliness with knowledge and not by blind tradition. If she attends church, she stores God's words in her heart, memorizing them, and worships with fear and reverence. She covers her head for the sake of the angels and because God's presence fills the place. She does not enter the church dressed in anything less than modest. What really baffles me is that some modern women object strongly to this way of life in spite of the fact that the subject in the Bible is plain and clear. Some argue that these restrictions applied to the ancient world. We are now towards the end of the twentieth century, which is marked by its progress, prosperity and culture. Surely, they argue it is no longer necessary for the female to cover her head in the presence of God. I say, this is a gross error. The One who decreed this is the eternal God in whom there is no variability or change. He is Lord of yesterday, today and tomorrow; the God of the first century and the twentieth and he is Lord of all. The issue here is very plain but anyone who wants to do as he wishes let him do so without attributing it to God. We have the letter of the beloved Paul to the citizens of Corinth which explains this divine subject, leaving no room for doubt. In chapter eleven and starting at verse five we read: And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head - it is just as though her head were shaved. If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head. Thus we see that the Apostle did not leave a choice; either the head should be shaved or covered. He mentions shaving the head here because the women of that culture used to despise those with shaven heads because it was the style of the harlot. Observe carefully that he leaves no room for choice: either the woman is a follower of Christ or Satan. If she is Christ's she must obey his commandments not what the world dictates, in the way of alluring modern fashions and hair-styles. So it is clear that during a woman's attendance at church she should cover her head.

Now that we know what our Christian position is let us discuss this sensitive subject in Islam. Where did the veil come from? It was not known among the women of Quraish nor in the early stages of the Islamic religion when dress and ornament were in the traditional Arab styles. When the new religion moved from Mecca to Medina and Muhammad began to make consistent strides in his revolution laws were enacted for the residents of that city. Also the Koranic suras came down more frequently, regulating the people's rights and duties in the new society. As Muhammad began to marry one wife after another it gave rise to a certain jealousy from his distant followers vis a vis his wives. Such jealousy is not uncommon when a man has that number of spouses and since he cannot be with them a lot of the time... We have already alluded to the fact that Muhammad used to spend most of his time in his main house with Aiysha his favorite wife. It therefore became necessary to provide sufficient protection for his other wives by way of keeping them confined in their houses and not allowing them to venture out at all without permission. One day, a follower and relative of the Prophet named Talha was discovered visiting one of Muhammad's wives. This angered the Prophet and he ordered him not to be seen there again, to which the man responded: "She is my cousin and, by God, nothing improper took place between us!" The Prophet retorted: "None is more jealous than God and none is more jealous than me!" This sentiment was repeated more clearly on another occasion when he forbade his followers from entering his house without a specific permission from him. It is recalled that his servant 'Ans who was one of his honored followers stalked him about something he needed. Muhammad asked him to desist and forbade him from entering his house. This is how the sure reads: O believers, enter not the houses of the Prophet, except leave is given you for a meal, without watching for its hour. But when you are invited, then enter; and when you have had the meal, disperse, neither lingering for idle talk; that is hurtful to the Prophet, and he is ashamed before you; but God is not ashamed before the truth. And when you ask his wives for any object, ask them from behind a curtain; that is cleaner for your hearts and theirs. It is not for you to hurt God's Messenger, Neither to marry his wives after him, ever; surely that would be, in God's sight, a monstrous thing (Sura The Confederates vs. 52 ff.)

The fact is that no matter how many layers of clothes a woman may wear, even thick cloaks, etc. covering all that may give rise to lust in the beholder, the problem remains with the person of the woman herself. How many well draped ladies from all denominations and sects do not possess a draped or hidden spirit! If a woman does not fear God and has not his presence in her life, neither a veil nor doors or locks will stop her from doing what she wants, barriers notwithstanding... There have been many examples of this phenomenon.

However, if the heart of the woman is graced with the fear of God and filled with his wonderful light, one finds the believing woman without order or threat will reverence God's presence in her life. She will always appear as an honorable lady whether at home or abroad, preserving within her the meekness of the holy Lord and remaining faithful to her family to the end of her days.


This subject is considered one of the most important in any human society and is frowned on generally in all religions. Moreover, divine authority has forbidden divorce in the family but some people's intolerable situations have made divorce necessary.

In the Bible, in the book of Deuteronomy chapter 24 we read: If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the Lord. (Deut. 24:1-4)

It is plain then that God does not permit divorce except when a real, clear indecency is found in the woman such that she is no longer wanted by her husband. However, no sooner does he allow her divorce than he immediately bans her from her first husband after she has had intercourse with another man. The word 'defiled' is used to make it clear that in God's sight divorce is an abomination, after he had blessed the family and the two become 'one body'. She no longer has the option of taking another 'body'. Thus came the clear injunction regarding her non-return to her former husband after divorcing him; she has become another 'body' for another man. On the face of it, this scripture appears to be too harsh on the subject. The truth is that God desires that there be no loathsome situations in society nor division in the home!

But in spite of that some Jewish sects legislated their own special rules for divorce. Some schools of thought allowed it, for instance in the event that the wife could not cook or perform adequately in bed. The matter degenerated into a kind of game; a man would marry one day and divorce the next. Consequently, when Jesus came on the scene he wanted to save the family and to end the decline and disintegration of society, hence he banned divorce, except for the sin of adultery. If a woman committed adultery and been unfaithful to her husband the first punishment would be abandoning and divorcing her. She has not respected the presence of God in her life but went after her physical lust. The same prescription and consequences applied to the husband. And because in these cases, unfaithfulness is regarded as primarily directed to God, there is first a spiritual divorce between the body of the adulterer and the Holy Ghost, followed by a physical divorce between the two partners. This is the only situation where divorce is permitted; other than that, No! In the gospel of Mark chapter ten there is a comprehensive treatment of this subject. Jesus had been asked a pertinent question by a very dogmatic Jewish group. His reply was full and convincing. Here is the whole narrative: Some Pharisees came and tested him (i.e. Jesus) by asking, "Is if lawful for a man to divorce his wife?"

"What did Moses command you?" he replied. They said, "Moses permitted a us to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.
"It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law," Jesus replied.

"But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female'.
'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery."

And in the gospel of Matthew Jesus deals with the same problem in chapter five and verses thirty one and thirty two: "It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce." But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to commit adultery, and anyone who marries a woman so divorced commits adultery.

One asks, "Was God unjust here?" - God forbid! He wanted to elevate the status of the woman and her value and keep her presence as a wife and not a divorcee... God stressed the inadmissibility of divorce except for a fatal flaw, namely marital infidelity. Therefore the divorces due to anger, incompatibility and inadequate sexual performance are not legitimate divorces in God's sight. Any man or woman who divorces for such reasons, then remarries is viewed as an adulterer by God. Therefore this is the Bible's view of divorce. What about it in Islam? It is common knowledge among all sects of Islam that a man can divorce his wife for any reason notwithstanding it being in God's eyes a most hateful remedy.

There are a number of classifications here. For example, a man can divorce his wife twice without her knowledge and take her back. If he divorces her the first time and leaves her he can return to her whenever he wants without seeking her opinion. This is known as 'Al Bainoona as Sughra' i.e. Minor Separation. However, if he divorces her the second time it is incumbent on both parties to wait a while. If no signs of love or returning to the marital home are evident, the wife has to observe a probationary period of three months for fear she may be pregnant. That is called 'Al Bainoona al Kubra' i.e. Major Separation. Should the wife be pregnant the husband must bear the expenses of her confinement if he insists on leaving her. After the childbirth they will divorce. If she returns to him and he divorces her again she is no longer permissible to him since she is now in a major separation.

If the divorcees insist on returning to one another the woman has to first consummate a marriage with another competent man who will then divorce her through a minor separation. In that case she can return to her first husband. And so the same cycle is repeated if the man divorces her again she finds herself going through a minor separation, and so on!

In the sure The Cow in verses 225-232 there is a description of this process. It is worth mentioning that a certain man named Rufa'a al Kurthi had a wife who went to complain to Muhammad. She said that her husband divorced her 'by the three', that is by repeating orally the words: "I divorce you" three times. After that she married Abdul Rahman ibn Al Zubair but they had not consummated the marriage yet. After hearing her, the Prophet smiled then said: "do you want to return to Rufa'a, you cannot do so till after you have had your honeymoon with your new husband!" This principle is clearly enunciated in that same sure verse 229 where it says: If he divorces her finally, she shall not be lawful to him after that, until she marries another husband. If he divorces her, then it is no fault in them to return to each other, if they suppose that they will maintain God's bounds. This kind of remedy has created many problems in society. The man who divorces his wife in a fit of anger by uttering 'the three' finds it hard for himself to see his wife physically subject to another man overnight, then being re-united to her again... Muslim scholars are in agreement about this phenomenon of 'muhallel'. The term usually refers to any man who consents to marry a divorced woman for one day only then divorces her the second day so that she can return to her former husband. However, many do not permit their newly divorced wives to go to bed with the 'mohallel'... It may well be that they are right because in the sight of God she is still her husband's wife. It is known that in a fit of anger a man may say something he does not mean. If that should result in the sudden loss of his spouse to another man she would have committed adultery and that is brazen godlessness. As a result she is no longer fit to return to her original husband since she has become an adulteress, deserving indeed of divorce!!

Islam also permits a man to divorce his wife in order to offer her to another as was the case between Zaid bin Haretha and the Prophet. You may recall that once Muhammad needed something from Zaid so he went to his house. There he saw Zeinab, Zaid's wife, cleaning the house. Noticing the beauty of her body he was strongly attracted to her. He exclaimed, "Praised be God who changes men's hearts!" Zeinab reported the incident in detail to her husband. He was very upset and went at once to the Prophet and asked him permission to divorce her. Muhammad concealed what he felt in his heart and urged Zaid to keep his wife. Now this was a noble posture. However, Zaid could not bear to see his adoptive father so infatuated with his only wife. He went ahead and divorced her and Muhammad quickly married Zeinab. Thereafter she would boast among the other wives of Muhammad that God married her to him despite all the odds... Let us allow the Koran to tell us this story in the surat Confederates verses 36-37: When thou saidst to him whom God had blessed and thou hadst favoured, 'Keep thy wife to thyself, and fear God, and thou wast concealing within thyself what God should reveal, fearing other men; and God has better right for thee to fear Him. So when Zaid had accomplished what he would of her, then We gave her in marriage to thee, so that there should not be any fault in the believers, touching the wives of their adopted sons, when they have accomplished what they would of them; and God's commandment must be performed. It follows that his is God's adjudication of this matter: lifting the ban from Muhammad, therefore from all Muslim men to marry the divorced wives of their adopted sons or a servant or follower if the master fancied her! When one examines these texts closely one notices here that the matter is: "...fear God" originating from the lesser (the Prophet) to the one beneath him (Zaid bin Haritha). In truth, there is nothing more generous, more chaste or even more detached than this! The Prophet here wanted to preserve his follower's family from ruin and appeared to be helping to build up the family instead of destroying it... But what really puzzles me is the command issuing from the higher authority (God Almighty) to the lesser (Mohammed), without hiding what was in his heart of strong desire for that follower's only wife. He is not satisfied with that but goes on to chide him over the bounty and grace he was receiving from God and his Prophet. We do not know just the depth of emotional pain Zaid underwent during that tragedy but certainly his strange behavior proves that he was greatly distracted and fearful. He even went himself to notify his divorced spouse of the Prophet's intention to wed her.. He told her: "Rejoice oh Zeinab, for the Messenger of God has betrothed you to himself." That showed his complete impotence in the face of the bounties and graces which the Prophet bestowed upon him when he adopted him as a child. But we do know that man is a sinner by nature and therefore is bound to commit sin wherever he is found because he was born with it. So we can understand the Prophet's reproach to his follower. However, I stand amazed at God's reproach to that simple servant and why he should permit another to take his wife. Truly this is a baffling situation.

I well know that our God is the Father of all Lights. He is also Lord of majesty and bounty and that every good gift from him comes to us from a pure heart free from reproach or partiality. The Apostle James teaches us this lesson clearly in the first chapter of his epistle. He says: If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

Let us return to the heart of the matter in the text. We see that God dealt with the Prophet according to the desire of his heart. He did not, for instance check him or turn him from his path yet he blamed him for hiding the matter, for fear of the people. Evidently the case is reversed here; in Muhammad's lust for Zeinab he did not really fear God but men. Yet he was instrumental in her prompt divorce!!

But beloved, we notice that Almighty God, Lord of all holiness and master of every authority has a different view in the Bible. It is very easy for God to make of His prophet a martyr and pluck him from this earth rather than make a laughingstock of him in the eyes of people. He also had, in addition to His mercy and nobility a justice which had to prevail; spiritual values superseding physical ones, and heavenly issues overruling earthly ones. For the things of earth were created for the One in heaven and not the opposite!

I, as a humble and ordinary observer fail to discern any heavenly principles in this whole story as related in The Confederates despite my stated deference. On the contrary the incident and its justification all appears to be physical and earthy. By contrast, if we refer without bigotry and with the same degree of neutrality to the gospel of Mark chapter 17 we shall find a story similar to what transpired between Muhammad and his follower Zaid but quite different in principle with regard to the divine intervention!

It recounts how the prophet John the Baptist (corresponds to Yahya bin Zacharia in the Koran) was strongly opposed to the marriage of the King Herod to his brother's wife since the latter was still living. He argued with him, in the name of God, denouncing him vehemently at other times. He was quite unafraid in his protest - until it cost him his head, literally. He paid the ultimate price for standing up for the truth. Here, as a simple observer I would say this shows God's justice displayed in His majestic and unique and impartial holiness. There is no compromise. No other position is tenable!

And now, If I may ask of my dear Muslim reader a question: "Suppose you are a simple working man, laboring to spend on your home and wife. You are also very loyal to your boss and to the firm. Assume your boss, who is the source of all your income were to visit your home one day during your absence as a sign of his affection and humility. His eyes fall on your beautiful wife and her charms captivate him... He conveys his feelings to her. She too relays to you what had happened. Tell me, in all honesty and integrity, how would you feel and how would you treat your financial benefactor in view of his shameful behavior. Please do not answer now. However, think about it and review the above mentioned texts carefully. The rest is up to you. While you are thinking about this allow me to mention to you what God says to us in the Bible on this subject, since he regards it as a great sin. We read in I Thessalonians chapter 4: vs. 3-7 the words:

It is God's will that you should be holy; that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you for God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.

It should be added that Islam also sanctions divorcing the wife if the parents do not approve of her. Quoting Ibn Amr: I once had a wife whom I loved but Amr hated her and asked me to divorce her. I refused Amr then went and told the Prophet of God and he ordered me to divorce her.

Here, the father's dislike, for whatever reason of his daughter in law caused him to divorce her. And the judge in this case was no less than the Prophet himself. We do not know what happened to this poor woman who was the scapegoat of someone just hating her! But we can imagine the unbearable anguish she felt having to part from her husband. She may even have been driven to a life on the streets. For divorce - God preserve us - destroys homes, causes deviancy among family members and drives children away. This is why the Lord God forbade it, except for the sin of adultery by one spouse or the other or both. Divorce for any other reason is ruled out!

It comes as no surprise to you that Muhammad enjoyed immense spiritual authority among all his friends; hence his attribution of some of his deeds to divine providence, including his sexual adventures as well as his fickle behavior towards his legal wives. Whenever he angered any of them by an unseemly action he would invoke God's sanction in a text of the Koran. That would silence them and he was able to put the matter finally to rest. Let me wind up this topic by mentioning a typical case, where Muhammad claimed God's 'justification' on his behalf. It concerns his wife Hafsa in the incident quoted earlier but illustrates a broad principle:

It is possible that, if he divorces you, his Lord will give him in exchange wives better than you, women who have surrendered, believing, obedient, penitent, devout, given to fasting, who have been married and virgins too.

The Forbidding, verse 5.

What is worth noting is that the occasion for the coming down of this verse was when Omar told some of Muhammad's wives, in his presence: "It may be, if he divorces you that God will send him better ones." To which the Prophet replied: "God couldn't agree less, oh Omar!"


Both the Christian and Muslim religions rejects the existence of adultery in society. In the Old Testament days the penalty for adultery was death by stoning. The person was considered to have surrendered himself or herself to satan and strayed from the love of God. What follows is a description of the sentence for the sin of adultery, found in Leviticus chapter 20: If a man commits adultery with another man's wife - with the wife of his neighbor - both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death. (verse 10) It is repeated, in the same vein in the book of Deuteronomy chapter 22 and verse 23: If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, you shall take both of them the gate of that town and stone them to death...

This was God's law before Christ who when He came, embodied God's love for mankind. And since He preached love and forgiveness to all people, He forgave the woman who had been caught in adultery and whom the people wanted to stone - in accordance with the law. But God wanted to give this woman another chance to take stock of her life, an opportunity to become a new creature! After forgiving her, Christ told her to go her way but to "sin no more". While we are on this subject, let us see how the disciple John described this incident in the Gospel: The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with His finger. When they kept on questioning him, He straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

"No one, sir," she said.

Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared.

"Go now and leave your life of sin." (John 8:3-11)

Therefore we see clearly that God's view of this woman differed completely from that of the crowd. They saw her as a criminal, deserving death by stoning. He, however saw her as a victim of that society. The townspeople had apprehended her alone, allowing the other adulterer to escape and find refuge!! Jesus forgave her, giving her another opportunity and the record suggests that this woman was among those who followed Jesus wherever He went, adoring, nurturing in her heart the fear of a holy God; which leads naturally to the question: "Did Jesus' handling of the case mean that he sanctioned adultery in some cases and under special circumstances?" We would emphatically reply: "NO, God forbid!" For God is holy and cannot accept uncleanness wherever found. The Bible too warns categorically against this sin, as we have seen. In fact it orders us to 'flee adultery' and to 'boycott the corrupt one in our midst'. It exhorts us to keep our bodies pure because they are the temple of God; his Spirit dwells in us. Thus, in the case of the man who had committed adultery with his father's wife - mentioned in I Corinthians- God did not forgive him. On the contrary He was angry with him and ordered the church to excommunicate him. He was to be delivered to Satan for the destruction of the body in order that, perhaps his soul might be saved. (look up I Corinthians chap. 5)

Then, in the letter to the Ephesians, chapter 5 he confirms the prohibition against this sort of thing. It reads: But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving, etc.

You notice here that the apostle grouped adultery with some other vices, considering all of them to be sin. The Lord repeats to us this prohibition in the words of the Paul's First Letter to the Thessalonians chapter four. Indeed He commands us there to keep our bodies (vessels) in holiness and dignity and not in 'passionate lust' like people who do not know God. Last, but not least we have in the letter to the Romans a strict censure from the Lord against this practice in order to stamp it out among the believers. In chapter 13, God Almighty calls on the children of men to, Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (verses 13,14)

But for the lack of space here we would have mentioned many examples where adultery is forbidden in the Christian faith and where one is commanded to keep holy both body and soul in a complete union with God. Finally the words of Jesus Christ Himself tower above all the rest. In the gospel of Matthew, chapter five, we read: You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell vow that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (verses 27,28) These words, from the Master himself are meant to put an end, not only to physical adultery but the spiritual and mental as well. Do you now see what God means by holiness? What does Islam have to say on this subject?

We have already noted that adultery is also forbidden in Islam. The Koran in the various suras condemns this ugly and repugnant act and addresses the believers with warnings and threats against it. That is most admirable in my view. But the amazing thing I find is that this position contradicts the situations we have examined earlier, notably the practice of Temporary Marriage (Zawaj Al Mut'aa). But even in this case the punishment of the parties is unequal: the man's is limited to a flogging while the woman has to be imprisoned until death. This law was later abrogated to just eighty strokes for the man and one hundred strokes for the woman. But this law is not enforced in all Islamic countries. For instance, Egypt - a large Islamic country sentences the woman to a prison term ranging from six months to three years, not exceeding that. But the question which comes naturally to people's minds is: "How effective is the flogging or imprisonment? And do the beatings, torture and bodily confinement rehabilitate the wrongdoer or the fear of these punishments limit the occurrence of adultery? The answer is left to my readers. But I can tell you that no whip or prison or sword can stop a person from committing shameful deeds. Unless a person is born again - made a new creature - as God intended him to be he will continue in a vicious circle lost, as in a maze and unable to get out of its confines... We know that physical pleasure, like all other earthly pleasures is transitory. It is, as the Bible describes, like a garment which is folded up and discarded. By contrast, God's majesty and beauty are eternal. Therefore it behooves us to listen to His voice rather than the voice of our carnal natures! For if we do the latter we only feed it with death and corruption, whereas, if we listen to the voice of God's Spirit within us we attain to God's beauty, power and joy. Truly, how weak man is and how miserable when his main preoccupation is in the body. And here, we don't mean just sexual pleasures but everything which an uncontrolled person's nature seeks. What is one to do? Do we fight and keep under check our bodies or allow them free rein to hoard and possess and thus destroy all that is beautiful in us? How much better it is for us to restrain and reign in our physical natures, rising above them; instead of these natures controlling and leading us we should direct and channel them in a way well-pleasing to God.

I am thrilled at the words of the beloved apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatian Christians, chapter five:

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissension, factions and envy: drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:16 ff.)

Therefore, if we are led by the Spirit we are in complete control over the operation of the sinful nature. As such, we have no need of the whip or the jailer because there is a higher authority in control. It is the Spirit of God within us. There is then no need for threats or suppression from others who, themselves are under the sway of the same sinful nature. The conclusion of the matter is that whoever wants God's love and fear to rule in his heart must leave behind the old life and press on to what is new where there is no fear, threat or spiritual 'bribery' ... Instead, there is a full life, marked by holiness and striving upwards to reach the full stature of Christ. He is the Christian's model.

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature dictates but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace... (Romans 8:5,6).

Sources: The Bible (New International Version)
The Koran (The Koran Interpreted: A.J. Arberry)
"Mukhtar As Sihah" by Sheikh Al Razi
"Riyadh As Saliheen" (a Compendium of the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad)
"Silsilat Al Hidaya"
"Al Isra'a wal Mi'raj" by Mohd. b. Serene
"Ahadeeth An Nikah" (Talks about Marriage)
"Nisa'a Al Kitab Al Muqaddas" (Women of the Bible)
"Al Mar'a Fil Islam" by Naqeeb Rafi' Al Khayyat (The Woman in Islam)
"Al Nisa'a Fil Islam" by M. Rafiqulhaq (http://debate.domini.org/newton/) (Women in Islam)

04-23-2008, 06:20 PM
Did Allah forget the wives?

Surah At-Tur (52:21)

The Muslim translators Pickthall, Yusuf Ali and Shakir render Surah 52:21 the following way:

Pickthall: And they who believe and whose seed follow them in faith, We cause their seed to join them (there), and We deprive them of nought of their (life's) work. Every man is a pledge for that which he hath earned.

Yusuf Ali: And those who believe and whose families follow them in Faith, - to them shall We join their families: Nor shall We deprive them (of the fruit) of aught of their works: (Yet) is each individual in pledge for his deeds.

Shakir: And (as for) those who believe and their offspring follow them in faith, We will unite with them their offspring and We will not diminish to them aught of their work; every man is responsible for what he shall have wrought.

What is the correct translation? "Families" is obviously a much broader term than "offspring". The family includes also the spouse (or, in Islam, possibly wives in the plural), and perhaps even parents. The Arabic original, however, says "seed", which refers to the children only. Why, then, would Yusuf Ali render the word as "families"? Is this only a minor inaccuracy? Unintentional carelessness? Or is he again trying to cover up a serious problem by his mistranslation?

To understand what is going on, we need to read this verse in context. The following is Surah 52:17-21 in Arberry's translation:

17 Surely the godfearing shall be in gardens and bliss, 18 rejoicing in that their Lord has given them; and their Lord shall guard them against the chastisement of Hell. 19 Eat and drink, with wholesome appetite, for that you were working. 20 Reclining upon couches ranged in rows; and We shall espouse them to wide-eyed houris. 21 And those who believed, and their seed followed them in belief, We shall join their seed with them,
and We shall not defraud them of aught of their work; every man shall be pledged for what he earned. It should be obvious: If there are children (seed, offspring), then there must be mothers as well!

Without question, children are part of a man's pride and achievement in life. Certainly it will be a great comfort for them to know that their children will be with them in Paradise. However, mothers often love their children even more than the fathers do, they have sacrificed much in raising them. While the men go out, have a career, earn money, have success in this world and get most of the recognition, the women stay at home, and invest themselves in their chilren. The children are often all they have, and now they are told in this passage: In the next life, your children will be with their fathers, who also get other women, and you are not even worth mentioning!

Certainly we have to ask: Where are the wives of the godfearing?

The believers are promised that they will get houris (http://www.answering-islam.org/Index/H/houris.html) in Paradise (v. 20), i.e. not their earthly wives, but beautiful women especially created to be available as sex partners to the faithful. And they are promised that they will see their children again (provided if they also believed in Muhammad).

The believers (i.e. the men) will be given perfect, beautiful, sensuous houris. Why should they care about those old, nagging, and comparatively ugly wives that were so difficult to live with on earth?

Islamic paradise is a man's world. The Quran grew out of the fantasy and imagination of one man trying to secure the loyalty of the men around him by the promises he included in his "revelations". It is not the word of God.

This passage is unjust and incredibly cruel to women.

Seemingly, Yusuf Ali was at least embarrassed. His mistranslation of S. 52:21 reveals how uncomfortable he was with this, so that he tried to render it more politically correct for his western readers.

Note: If such a "revelation" had been given to one particular faithful believer who had an unbelieving wife with a difficult character, this could perhaps be accepted. However, this is a general statement, a promise directed to all Muslim believers, including those whose wives are faithful and devoted Muslim believers themselves.

Anyone who believes that God is just will have to reject the Quran. It is not the word of God.

A question to ponder for all Muslim women: What will you get in Paradise?

04-23-2008, 06:29 PM
Muhammad and the treatment of wives

BySam Shamoun (http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/contact.htm)

The Quran sanctions polygyny under the condition that a person treats all of his wives fairly:
O people! be careful of (your duty to) your Lord, Who created you from a single being and created its mate of the same (kind) and spread from these two, many men and women; and be careful of (your duty to) Allah, by Whom you demand one of another (your rights), and (to) the ties of relationship; surely Allah ever watches over you. And give to the orphans their property, and do not substitute worthless (things) for (their) good (ones), and do not devour their property (as an addition) to your own property; this is surely a great crime. And if you fear that you cannot act equitably towards orphans, then marry such women as seem good to you, two AND three AND four (mathna WA thulatha WA rubaAAa); but if you fear that you will not do justice (between them), then (marry) only one or what your right hands possess; this is more proper, that you may not deviate from the right course. And give women their dowries as a free gift, but if they of themselves be pleased to give up to you a portion of it, then eat it with enjoyment and with wholesome result. S. 4:1-4 Shakir

This passage is a bit perplexing and rather incoherent. After mentioning the property of orphans and the fear of not being able to treat them fairly the text then goes on to mention marrying up to four wives. Is this a general injunction meaning that a person can marry any lawful woman? Or is it saying that a man can only marry up to four women from among the orphans? After all, Aisha herself said that this reference was initially given to address marriages with orphans:Narrated Aisha:

There was an orphan (girl) under the care of a man. He married her and she owned a date palm (garden). He married her just because of that and not because he loved her. So the Divine Verse came regarding his case: "If you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan girls…" (4.3) The sub-narrator added: I think he (i.e. another sub-narrator) said, "That orphan girl was his partner in that date palm (garden) and in his property." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 97 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/060.sbt.html#006.060.097))

Narrated ‘Urwa bin Az-Zubair:

That he asked ‘Aisha regarding the Statement of Allah:

"If you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan girls…" (4.3) She said, "O son of my sister! An orphan girl used to be under the care of a guardian with whom she shared property. Her guardian, being attracted by her wealth and beauty, would intend to marry her without giving her a just Mahr, i.e. the same Mahr as any other person might give her (in case he married her). So such guardians were forbidden to do that unless they did justice to their female wards and gave them the highest Mahr their peers might get. They were ordered (by Allah) to marry women of their choice other than those orphan girls." ‘Aisha added, "The people asked Allah’s Apostle his instructions after the revelation of this Divine Verse whereupon Allah revealed:

‘They ask your instruction regarding women.’ (4.127)" ‘Aisha further said, "And the Statement of Allah: ‘And yet whom you desire to marry.’ (4.127) As anyone of you refrains from marrying an orphan girl (under his guardianship) when she is lacking in property and beauty." ‘Aisha added, "So they were forbidden to marry those orphan girls for whose wealth and beauty they had a desire unless with justice, and that was because they would refrain from marrying them if they were lacking in property and beauty." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 98 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/060.sbt.html#006.060.098))
Basically, the way Sura 4:3 is formulated there are three ways of understanding it: If you fear not to be able to treat the orphan girls fairly (in what regard?) then marry (a) two, three or four of THEM (the orphan girls), (b) two, three or four OTHER women (i.e. NOT those orphan girls), or (c) two, three or four of ANY women. However, if the latter option was meant, one wonders what does this have to do with orphan girls. After all, the statement is an "if ... then ..." construction, and one would expect that there is an obvious relationship between the two. This relationship is clearly missing, unless one wants to claim that only those who are in danger to treat orphans unjustly are allowed to become polygamous, while all others have to remain monogamous. Even more: Why does this verse not even give the option of marrying only one woman, why does it start with the number TWO? Does that mean that all Muslims should marry at least two women, or only those who fear that they can’t deal justly with the orphans in their care have to marry at least two women? This injunction is very incoherent and raises more questions than it answers.{1}

Furthermore, is this reference suggesting that a man can have up to four wives, or is it saying that a man can actually have a total of nine wives at one time? In other words, did the author of the Quran use the Arabic conjunction wa (and) to mean the same as "or," i.e. that a person can have either two, three, or four wives at any time, but cannot exceed four? Or did he intend for his readers to understand by the conjunction that they can actually add up all these numbers so as to arrive at a total of nine wives at one time? The passage also left some other issues untouched as the following Christian source notes:Ja‘far al-Sadiq was asked about this verse: "Why is the main clause of the conditional sentence far from the conditional article without obvious reason?" His response was: "A camel load between the main clause and the subordinate clause from the Quran."

Other Islamic commentators offered solutions. Al-Razi said: "Marry of the women who seem good to you" does not include men slaves, since a slave cannot afford to marry unless he gets permission from his master. Sura al-Nahl 16:75 says: "Allah sets forth the parable [of two men: one] a slave under the dominion of another. He has no power of any sort." …

Any slave who would be married without the permission of his master is an adulterer. So the slave does not fall under the verdict of the above verse.

Most Islamic theologians said that a slave can marry four wives. Malik b. Anas said: "It is lawful for the slave to marry four wives." Al-Shafi said that marrying four wives is the right of the free person only. He quoted two Quranic verse to defend his idea. He quoted, "What your right hand possesses" while slaves do not possess, but are possessed by their masters. He also quoted "Take it and enjoy it" (Sura al-Nisa 4:4) even though slaves do not enjoy what is given them, because it is the property of their masters.

Some Muslims claim that it is lawful for a man to marry as many women as he wants. They use the following rationale:

1. "Marry of the women that seem good to you" is an absolute statement which embraces all numbers.

2. "Two, three, four" cannot be particularized for these numbers exactly, because one man can marry this number of women, and more above it. The verse is clear: marry whatever you want of women.

3. The Arabic wa ("and") implies the total of these numbers, which is nine. It can also mean eighteen.

Muslims support their views with these historical Islamic events:

1. Muhammad died while married to nine wives. It goes without saying that Allah commands us to "follow him," which implies nothing less than "permission."

2. To marry four wives was the way of the prophet who said: "If anyone turns away from my laws, he is not of me." Anyone who breaks this "golden rule" in Islam is guilty, as far as marrying four wives is concerned (see al-Razi’s commentary on Sura al-Nisa 4:3).

Yet some Islamic theologians stress enumeration, which is based on tradition. For instance, Ghilan became a Muslim with ten wives. The prophet said to him: "Keep four and depart from the rest." Nawfal b. Muawiya became a Muslim with five wives. Muhammad said to him "Keep four and depart from one." (True Guidance: Comments on Quranic Verses [Light of Life, PO Box 13, A-9503 Villach, Austria; First English Edition, 1994], Part 5, pp. 79-80)
Traditionally, Islamic scholarship has sided with the up to four wives interpretation which, unfortunately for Muslims, Muhammad expressly violated (1 (http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/mhd_marriages.htm); 2 (http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/privileges.htm)).

There is another problem with this passage. Sura 4:3 says that a man can marry more than one woman provided that he can deal fairly with them. Yet this next citation says a man will not be able to deal fairly with his wives:And they ask you a decision about women. Say: Allah makes known to you His decision concerning them, and that which is recited to you in the Book concerning female orphans whom you do not give what is appointed for them while you desire to marry them, and concerning the weak among children, and that you should deal towards orphans with equity; and whatever good you do, Allah surely knows it. And if a woman fears ill usage or desertion on the part of her husband, there is no blame on them, if they effect a reconciliation between them, and reconciliation is better, and avarice has been made to be present in the (people's) minds; and if you do good (to others) and guard (against evil), then surely Allah is aware of what you do. You will NOT be able to be equitable between your wives, be you ever so eager; yet do not be altogether partial so that you leave her as it were suspended. If you set things right, and are godfearing, God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. But if they separate, God will enrich each of them of His plenty; God is All-embracing, All-wise. S. 4:127-130
Note the tension between these references:

Sura 4:3 states that men can marry more than one woman provided they can treat them all fairly.
Sura 4:129 expressly says that a man will not be able to deal fairly with all of his wives, and yet still permits him to have multiple spouses.
Hence, instead of telling the person to keep only one wife as a result of not being able to be fair with all of them, this reference basically justifies the unfair treatment of wives! It allows the man to have more than one wife even when he cannot deal justly with all of them, which expressly violates the stipulation of Sura 4:3 that a man cannot marry more than one woman if he cannot be fair. Because of this blatant contradiction, two different explanations have been proposed. One explanation is to suggest that Sura 4:129 revokes the permission to marry more than one wife. The other, more common explanation is to assume that fairness in Sura 4:3 refers to financial responsibility, that a man must provide for all his wives equally, whereas 4:129 is referring to a man’s inability to love all his wives the same. The late Muslim scholar Sayyid Abu A‘la Mawdudi sums all this up in his comments on Sura 4:129:This means that it is not possible for a man to accord complete equality of treatment to two or more wives under all circumstances and in all respects. It is possible that one is ugly, the other beautiful; one is old, the other young; one is permanently sick, the other healthy; one is irritable, the other good-tempered. These and other differences are likely to make a person less attracted to one and more to another. In such circumstances, the Law does not demand that one should necessarily maintain absolute equality between the wives in respect of love, emotional attachment and sexual relationship. What it does demand is that if a husband does not repudiate marriage despite aversion for his wife, either because of his own desire or out of consideration for the desire of his wife, he should at least maintain a good relationship short of which his wife begins to feel if she is without a husband. In such circumstances, while it is natural that a person should prefer one wife to the other, this should not go to the extent that the woman remains, as it were, in a state of suspension, as if she were without a husband at all.

Some point out that in this verse the Qur’an in one breath stipulates justice as the necessary condition for plurality of wives and in the other breath declares it to be impossible. On this ground they conclude that the Qur’an has itself revoked the permission to marry more than one wife. There is, however, absolutely no justification for such an inference. Such an inference would have been justified had the Qur’an merely said that: ‘You will not be able to treat your wives with (absolute) justice.’ But this statement has been followed by the directive: ‘… do not allow yourselves to incline wholly to one, leaving the other in suspense.’ This leaves no grounds at all for the blind followers of Christian Europe to force an interpretation of their liking on the verse. (Maududi, Towards Understanding the Qur’an: English Version of Tafhim al-Qur’an, translated and edited by Zafar Ishaq Ansari [The Islamic Foundation, Leicestershire, United Kingdom, Reprinted 2004], Volume II, Surahs 4-6, pp. 91-92, fn. 161; bold and italic emphasis ours)
Mawdudi’s response failed to consider that Sura 4:3 makes no such qualification since it rather emphatically states that the condition for having multiple wives is fair treatment for all.

Moreover, many people are not aware that Sura 4:128-30 was addressing Muhammad’s failure as a husband, specifically in reference to his treatment of Sauda bint Zam’ah, who was one of his first wives after Khadijah’s death. Muhammad decided to divorce and desert her when she had become old and was no longer attractive. Renowned Sunni commentator Ibn Kathir wrote regarding this Sura:Making peace is better than separation. An example of such peace can be felt in the story of Sawdah bint Zam’ah who WHEN SHE BECAME AGED, THE PROPHET WANTED TO DIVORCE HER, but she made peace with him by offering the night he used to spend with her to A'isha so that he would keep her. The Prophet accepted such terms and kept her.

Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi recorded that Ibn ‘Abbas said, "Sawdah feared that the Messenger of Allah might divorce her and she said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Do not divorce me; give my day to ‘A'ishah.’ And he did…

In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that ‘A’ishah said that when Sawdah bint Zam'ah BECAME OLD, she forfeited her day to ‘A’ishah and the Prophet used to spend Sawdah's night with 'A'ishah…

<And making peace is better>. IT REFERS TO THE WIFE RELINQUISHING SOME OF HER MARITAL RIGHTS and his acceptance of the offer. Such compromise is better than total divorce, as the Prophet did when retained Sawdah bint Zam'ah. By doing so, the Prophet set an example for his Ummah to follow as it is a lawful act ... (the preceding citation taken and adapted from Tafsir Ibn Kathir - Abridged, Volume 2, Parts 3, 4 & 5, Surat Al-Baqarah, Verse 253, to Surat An-Nisa, Verse 147 [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; first edition March 2000], pp. 599-601, and Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Part 5, Sura An-Nisa, ayat 24-147, abridged by Sheikh Muhammad Nasib Ar-Rafa’i [Al-Firdous Ltd., London, 2000 first edition], pp. 193-194; bold emphasis ours)

One recent Muslim author says in a caption that:Muhammad's personal and family life were not always smooth. His wives sometimes bickered amongst themselves and even once engaged in a petty plot against him. A'ishah, for example, disliked her Jewish co-wife, Safiyah, and insulted her periodically. Muhammad had to defend her status and honor a number of times and scold the youthful A'ishah. Hafsah became jealous of her co-wife, Maria, when she found her and Muhammad resting[sic] in her apartment one day. Sawdah gave up her allotted day with the Prophet WHEN SHE REALIZED HE WAS NOT REALLY ATTRACTED TO HER. As for the conspiracy, A'ishah agreed with two other co-wives to convince the Prophet that eating honey made him unpleasant to be around. When Muhammad vowed to never eat honey again, she privately repented to her co-conspirators. Though these incidents were not the norm, they demonstrate that the women in Muhammad's life were as human as the rest of us. (Yahiya Emerick, Critical Lives: Muhammad [Alpha Books, A Member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2002], p. 263; capital and underline emphasis ours) {2}

Commentator Al-Tabari stated that:Umra bin Ali & Zaid bin Ahram said: second by Abu Dawud, said: second by Sulaiman bin Mu'ath, from Simak bin Harb, from Ikrimah, from Ibn Abbas, said: Saudah feared divorce by the messenger of Allah, so she said: Do not divorce me, and do not share with me! And he did, and this verse was revealed: And if a woman fears ill usage or desertion on the part of her husband.

Muhammad bin Husain said: He claimed that this verse came down in reference to the messenger of Allah, and Saudah bint Zama'h who became old, then the messenger of Allah wanted to divorce her, but they agreed that he will keep her but give her day to Ai'sha. (Arabic source (http://quran.al-islam.com/Tafseer/DispTafsser.asp?nType=1&bm=&nSeg=0&l=arb&nSora=4&nAya=128&taf=TABARY&tashkeel=1); translated by Mutee’a Al-Fadi)

Al-Qurtubi wrote:In this verse there are four issues: the first, Al-Tirmidhi told that Ibn Abbas said: Saudah feared that the messenger of Allah will divorce her so she said, "Do not divorce me and keep me, and give my day with you to Ai'sha." He did and this verse came down: "there is no blame on them, if they effect a reconciliation between them, and reconciliation is better." He said: this is a good and strange hadith. (Arabic source (http://quran.al-islam.com/Tafseer/DispTafsser.asp?l=arb&taf=KORTOBY&nType=1&nSora=4&nAya=128); translated by Mutee’a Al-Fadi)

The two Sahih collections provide additional corroboration for Sauda relinquishing her day to Aisha:Narrated Aisha:

Whenever Allah’s Apostle wanted to go on a journey, he would draw lots as to which of his wives would accompany him. He would take her whose name came out. He used to fix for each of them a day and a night. But Sauda bint Zam’a gave up her (turn) day and night to ‘Aisha, the wife of the Prophet in order to seek the pleasure of Allah's Apostle (by that action). (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 47, Number 766 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/047.sbt.html#003.047.766))

‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported: Never did I find any woman more loving to me than Sauda bint Zam'a. I wished I could be exactly like her who was passionate. As she became old, she had made over her day (which she had to spend) with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) to ‘A’isha. She said: I have made over my day with you to ‘A’isha. So Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) allotted TWO DAYS to ‘A’isha, her own day (when it was her turn) and that of Sauda. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3451 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/008.smt.html#008.3451))

Ibn 'Abbas's Hadith, may Allah be pleased with them. 'Ata' related:

We were with Ibn 'Abbas at a funeral in Sarif, Ibn 'Abbas said: This is the wife of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him); so when you lift her bier, do not shake her or disturb her, but be gentle, for Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) had nine wives, with eight of whom he shared his time, but to one of them, he did not allot a share. (Hadith number in Sahih Muslim [Arabic only]: 2660 (http://hadith.al-islam.com/Display/Hierarchy.asp?Src=1&AlmiaNum=2659) (Source (http://hadith.al-islam.com/Bayan/Display.asp?Lang=eng&ID=830))

The Salafi scholars that write for www.islamqa.com (http://www.islamqa.com) cite references agreeing that Sura 4:128 referred to Muhammad’s mistreatment of Sauda:Al-Tirmidhi reported via Sammaak from ‘Ikrimah from Ibn ‘Abbaas that he said: “Sawdah was afraid that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would divorce her, so she said: ‘O Messenger of Allaah, do not divorce me; give my day to ‘Aa’ishah.’ So he did so. Then this aayah was revealed.” Al-Tirmidhi said: “(This is) hasan ghareeb.” I say: there is corroborating evidence in a hadeeth from ‘Aa’ishah narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim, without referring to the revelation of the aayah. (From Fath al-Baari).

The hadeeth mentioned by al-Haafiz ibn Hijr (may Allaah have mercy on him) is in Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 2966, where it is reported that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “Sawdah was afraid that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would divorce her, so she said: ‘Do not divorce me. Keep me and give my day to ‘Aa’ishah.’ So he did so, then Allaah revealed the aayah: ‘… there is no sin on them both if they make terms of peace between themselves; and making peace is better…’ [al-Nisaa’ 4:128]. So whatever they agreed upon was permissible.” It is as if the last sentence was the comment of Ibn ‘Abbaas. Abu ‘Iesa said: this is a hasan ghareeb hadeeth.

Al-Mubaarakpoori said, commenting on this hadeeth:

‘Sawdah was afraid…’ This refers to Sawdah bint Zam’ah ibn Qays al-Qurashiyyah al-‘Aamiriyyah. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) married her in Makkah after Khadeejah had died, and consummated the marriage there. The scholars agree that he consummated his marriage to her before he consummated his marriage to ‘Aa’ishah, and she migrated to Madeenah with him. She died at the end of the khilaafah of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab.

‘…was afraid that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would divorce her, so she said…’ Al-Bukhaari and Muslim reported from ‘Aa’ishah that Sawdah bint Zam’ah gave her day to ‘Aa’ishah, so the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to give ‘Aa’ishah her own day and that of Sawdah. Al-Haafiz said in al-Fath: Abu Dawood reported this hadeeth (from ‘Aa’ishah): ‘The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) never used to prefer any of us over others in sharing his time (i.e., he was fair in dividing his nights among his wives, and each one of them had her allotted night). When Sawdah bint Zam’ah grew old and feared that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) might divorce her, she said: ‘O Messenger of Allaah, my day is for ‘Aa’ishah,’ and he accepted this from her. Then concerning this and similar cases, the aayah was revealed (interpretation of the meaning): ‘And if a woman fears cruelty or desertion on her husband’s part…’ [al-Nisaa’ 4:128]. These reports agree that she feared divorce and so gave her day to ‘Aa’ishah.

Then al-‘Allaamah al-Mubaraakpoori said: The aayah may be explained thus: ‘If a woman fears’ means if she expects. ‘Cruelty’ means that he spurns her by refusing to sleep with her or by spending less on her than he should, because he dislikes her and wants to marry someone more beautiful. ‘Desertion’ means that he turns his face away from her. ‘There is no sin on them both if they make terms of peace between themselves’ means with regard to the sharing of his time and his spending on her, i.e., he should still give her something in this regard (sharing time or spending) in order to preserve the relationship: if she accepts, this is OK, otherwise the husband must either give her her full rights or divorce her. ‘Making peace is better’ means better than separation, cruelty and desertion. Whatever they agree upon between themselves is permissible. (Tuhfat al-Ahwadi Sharh Jaami’ al-Tirmidhi). (Question #2218: A man doesn’t want to live with his wife but doesn’t want to divorce her for the sake of the children; online source (http://islamqa.com/index.php?ref=2218&ln=eng); bold and underline emphasis ours)

Not only was Sauda said to be old, but other narrations mention her being overweight as well:Narrated Aisha:

Sauda (the wife of the Prophet) went out to answer the call of nature after it was made obligatory (for all the Muslims ladies) to observe the veil. She was a fat huge lady, and everybody who knew her before could recognize her. So ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab saw her and said, "O Sauda! By Allah, you cannot hide yourself from us, so think of a way by which you should not be recognized on going out." Sauda returned while Allah’s Apostle was in my house taking his supper and a bone covered with meat was in his hand. She entered and said, "O Allah’s Apostle! I went out to answer the call of nature and 'Umar said to me so-and-so." Then Allah inspired him (the Prophet) and when the state of inspiration was over and the bone was still in his hand as he had not put in down, he said (to Sauda), "You (women) have been allowed to go out for your needs." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 318 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/060.sbt.html#006.060.318))
How despicable and cruel. The foregoing makes it embarrassingly obvious that Muhammad wanted to divorce Sauda because she had gotten old and had become unattractive, a point confirmed by the above hadith’s graphic depiction of her as "a fat huge lady." Sauda, in order to prevent this from happening, chose to make certain concessions such as relinquishing her day with Muhammad, to which Allah gave his divine approval!

Moreover, this handing over of Sauda’s visitation to Aisha meant that Muhammad preferred the latter and loved her more than the rest of his spouses. After all, Muhammad ended up spending two days with Aisha whereas all the rest of his wives only had one day to spend with him (with the exception of Sauda). Thus, Muhammad was being quite intentional in his unfair treatment of his wives and display of love.

A further indication of Muhammad’s inability to treat his wives fairly is seen from his separating them into two groups. One group of wives he would sleep with more often, while the other group he would put off having sex with them. He would only have sex with this other group whenever he wished, not when they wished. Noted linguist and commentator Al-Zamakhshari wrote the following regarding this issue:It is related that the Prophet (refrained from sexual intercourse and) put off temporarily the following wives: Sauda, Juwairiya. Safiyya, Maimuna, and Umm Habiba. In so doing he used to grant them a share (of sexual intercourse) according TO HIS WISH. Among the wives whom the Prophet preferred to take to himself belong ‘A’isha, Hafsa, Umm Salama, and Zainab (bint Jash). Thus, he used to put five off temporarily in order to take four to himself. (On the other hand) it is related that, disregarding divorce and the selection concerned with it, the Prophet treated (all his wives) the same, with the exception of Sauda, who relinquished the night belonging to her to ‘A’isha and said (to the Prophet): ‘Do not divorce me but let me remain in the company of your wives!’… (Helmut Gätje, The Qur'an and Its Exegesis, translated and edited by Alford T. Welch [Oneworld Publications, Oxford England], pp. 90-91; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Even the wives noticed Muhammad’s partial and unfair treatment, being clearly aware that he loved one particular wife more than the others. This moved them to jealousy and strife:Narrated ‘Urwa from ‘Aisha:

The wives of Allah's Apostle were in two groups. One group consisted of 'Aisha, Hafsa, Safiyya and Sauda; and the other group consisted of Um Salama and the other wives of Allah's Apostle. The Muslims knew that Allah’s Apostle loved ‘Aisha, so if any of them had a gift and wished to give to Allah's Apostle, he would delay it, till Allah’s Apostle had come to ‘Aisha's home and then he would send his gift to Allah’s Apostle in her home. The group of Um Salama discussed the matter together and decided that Um Salama should request Allah's Apostle to tell the people to send their gifts to him in whatever wife’s house he was. Um Salama told Allah’s Apostle of what they had said, but he did not reply. Then they (those wives) asked Um Salama about it. She said, "He did not say anything to me." They asked her to talk to him again. She talked to him again when she met him on her day, but he gave no reply. When they asked her, she replied that he had given no reply. They said to her, "Talk to him till he gives you a reply." When it was her turn, she talked to him again. He then said to her, "Do not hurt me regarding Aisha, AS THE DIVINE INSPIRATIONS DO NOT COME TO ME ON ANY OF THE BEDS EXCEPT THAT OF AISHA." On that Um Salama said, "I repent to Allah for hurting you." Then the group of Um Salama called Fatima, the daughter of Allah’s Apostle and sent her to Allah’s Apostle to say to him, "Your wives request to treat them and the daughter of Abu Bakr ON EQUAL TERMS." Then Fatima conveyed the message to him. The Prophet said, "O my daughter! Don’t you love whom I love?" She replied in the affirmative and returned and told them of the situation. They requested her to go to him again but she refused. They then sent Zainab bint Jahsh who went to him AND USED HARSH WORDS SAYING, "Your wives request you TO TREAT THEM and the daughter of Ibn Abu Quhafa ON EQUAL TERMS." On that she raised her voice AND ABUSED ‘Aisha TO HER FACE so much so that Allah’s Apostle looked at ‘Aisha to see whether she would retort. ‘Aisha started replying to Zainab till she silenced her. The Prophet then looked at ‘Aisha and said, "She is really the daughter of Abu Bakr." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 47, Number 755 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/047.sbt.html#003.047.755))

Umar gave this advice to his daughter Hafsa, one of Muhammad’s wives:… Then ‘Umar went on relating the narration and said. "I and an Ansari neighbor of mine from Bani Umaiya bin Zaid who used to live in ‘Awali Al-Medina, used to visit the Prophet in turns. He used to go one day, and I another day. When I went I would bring him the news of what had happened that day regarding the instructions and orders and when he went, he used to do the same for me. We, the people of Quraish, used to have authority over women, but when we came to live with the Ansar, we noticed that the Ansari women had the upper hand over their men, so our women started acquiring the habits of the Ansari women. Once I shouted at my wife and she paid me back in my coin and I disliked that she should answer me back. She said, ‘Why do you take it ill that I retort upon you? By Allah, the wives of the Prophet retort upon him, and some of them may not speak with him for the whole day till night.’ What she said scared me and I said to her, ‘Whoever amongst them does so, will be a great loser.’ Then I dressed myself and went to Hafsa and asked her, ‘Does any of you keep Allah’s Apostle angry all the day long till night?’ She replied in the affirmative. I said, ‘She is a ruined losing person (and will never have success)! Doesn’t she fear that Allah may get angry for the anger of Allah's Apostle and thus she will be ruined? Don’t ask Allah’s Apostle too many things, and don't retort upon him in any case, and don't desert him. Demand from me whatever you like, and don’t be tempted to imitate your neighbor (i.e. ‘Aisha) in her behavior towards the Prophet), for she (i.e. Aisha) IS MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN YOU, AND MORE BELOVED to Allah’s Apostle. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 43, Number 648 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/043.sbt.html#003.043.648))

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:

that ‘Umar entered upon Hafsa and said, "O my daughter! Do not be misled by the manners of her who is proud of her beauty because of the love of Allah’s Apostle for her." By ‘her’ he meant ‘Aisha. ‘Umar added, "Then I told that to Allah’s Apostle and he smiled (on hearing that)." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 145 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/062.sbt.html#007.062.145))
Muhammad’s wives complained about his preferential treatment of Aisha and demanded to be treated equally. Instead of acquiescing to their demands, Muhammad justified his preferential treatment by claiming that divine revelations came to him on no other bed except Aisha’s! If Muhammad was correct this meant that Allah himself distinguished Aisha’s bed from the rest, thereby implying that it was actually Allah who caused Muhammad to expressly break the supposed divine command of being fair with all of one’s wives.

More importantly, Muslims claim that Muhammad’s marriages were, for the most part, consummated for political reasons, to solidify relationships with his companions or certain tribes. Yet this is not the reason stated by some of the older Muslim references:… Sahl at-Tustari said, "Women were loved by the Master of the Messengers, so how could we abstain from them?" Ibn Uyayna says something to the same effect.

The most ascetic of the Companions had a lot of wives and salve-girls and had much sexual intercourse with them. More than one of them disliked the idea of meeting Allah unmarried. (Qadi ‘Iyad Musa al-Yahsubi, Muhammad Messenger of Allah (Ash-Shifa of Qadi 'Iyad), translated by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley [Madinah Press, Inverness, Scotland, U.K. 1991; third reprint, paperback], p. 46)

He said, "He made me love, in this world of yours, WOMEN and scent, and the coolness of my eye (i.e. my delight) is in the prayer," and then he indicated that his love was for women and scent which are worldly things for other people whereas his occupation with them was not for this worldly life, but rather for the life of the Next World because of the otherworldly benefits of marriage already mentioned and his desire to come to the angels wearing scent. Scent also encourages intercourse, assists it and stimulates it. He loved these two qualities for the sake of others and for the restraint of his appetite. His true love, particular to him, lay in witnessing the Jabarut of his Lord and intimate conversation with Him. That is why he made a distinction between the two loves and separated the two conditions, saying, "and the delight of my eye is in the prayer."

Yahya and ‘Isa were on the same level regarding the trial of women. However, there is an extra virtue in satisfying women’s needs. The Prophet was among those who have given the ability to do so and he was given it in abundance. This is why he was allowed a greater number of wives than anyone else.

It is related from Anas, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to visit his wives in one hour of the day or night, and there were eleven of them."

Anas said, "We used to say he had been given the power of thirty men." Something similar was related from Abu Rafi’. Tawus said, "The Prophet was given the power of forty men in intercourse." A similar statement came from Safwan ibn Sulaym.

Salama, the female client of the Prophet, said, "The Prophet would go around in the night to nine wives and purify himself from each of them before going to the next. He said, ‘This is better and purer.’"

The Prophet Sulayman said, "I went around in the night to a hundred or ninety-nine women." So he had that capacity as well. Ibn ‘Abbas said, "There was the semen of a hundred men in the loins of Sulayman, and he had three hundred wives and three hundred slave-girls." An-Naqqash and others related that he had seven hundred wives and three hundred slave-girls.

In the hadith of Anas, the Prophet said, "I have been preferred over people in four things: generosity, courage, MUCH INTERCOURSE and great power." (Ibid., pp. 47-48; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)
This reference unashamedly admits that the reason Muhammad was permitted to have more wives is because of his very strong sex drive!

The preceding factors present Allah as a deity who had nothing better to do than to please Muhammad’s desires. Allah’s primary focus, it seems, was to grant Muhammad his desires and wishes, an observation which even Muhammad’s child bride made. Aisha said by way of mocking:Narrated Aisha:

I used to look down upon those ladies who had given themselves to Allah’s Apostle and I used to say, "Can a lady give herself (to a man)?" But when Allah revealed: "You (O Muhammad) can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them (your wives), and you may receive any of them whom you will; and there is no blame on you if you invite one whose turn you have set aside (temporarily)." (33.51) I said (to the Prophet), "I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 311 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/060.sbt.html#006.060.311))
In light of all the data which we have presented, it is very hard to disagree with Aisha’s assessment of Muhammad’s special privileges.

Aisha also made an interesting comment which helps reveal her true feelings and the sadness she felt because of Muhammad’s conjugal favors:Narrated Muadha:

'Aisha said, "Allah's Apostle used to take the permission of that wife with whom he was supposed to stay overnight if he wanted to go to one other than her, after this Verse was revealed:--

'You (O Muhammad) can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them (your wives) and you may receive any (of them) whom you will; and there is no blame on you if you invite one whose turn you have set aside (temporarily).'" (33.51) I asked Aisha, "What did you use to say (in this case)?" She said, "I used to say to him, 'If I could deny you the permission (to go to your other wives) I would not allow your favor to be bestowed on any other person.'" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 312 (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/060.sbt.html#006.060.312))
To summarize all of the problems we have noted:

The Quran says that marrying two, three and (or) four wives is permitted provided that they are given equal treatment, otherwise a person should marry only one wife.
It is not certain whether this means marrying up to four wives, or whether these numbers are to be combined in order to arrive at a total of nine wives.
It is also not certain whether this refers to marrying orphan women, that a man can only have more than one wife provided that he chooses them from among the orphans. Or whether this refers to women in general, that a person can marry more than one woman irrespective of whether she is an orphan or not.
The Quran further says that a man will not be able to treat all of his wives fairly in a context that is actually allowing a person to keep his multiple wives. This is clearly a contradiction within the Quran.
Realizing this, two conflicting explanations have been proposed: (a) Sura 4:129 has canceled out the right of Muslims taking more than one wife, which implies that Sura 4:3 has been abrogated. This explanation is an indirect admission that these texts are contradictory.
(b) Sura 4:3 is talking about providing equally for all of the wives, whereas 4:129 is talking about not being able to love all wives the same. The problem with this explanation is that the texts themselves do not make such distinctions. One will not find it stated anywhere that being just in one verse refers to providing financially for all wives whereas in the other passage it refers to loving them all equally. This interpretation is nothing more than ad hoc.
Muhammad, whom many Muslims claim was the walking Quran, failed to treat his wives fairly thereby violating the express command of Sura 4:3. He even wanted to divorce one of his wives named Sauda on the basis that she had gotten too old and was no longer attractive to him, something which is quite disturbing to say the least.
Allah justifies Muhammad’s neglect of Sauda by allegedly sending down verses sanctioning it. Unfortunately, this behavior by Allah’s "model for mankind" now provides a so-called divine sanction for other Muslims to mistreat wives whom they no longer find attractive.
Recommended Readinghttp://answering-islam.org/Authors/Arlandson/women_polygamy.htm (http://www.answering-islam.org/Authors/Arlandson/women_polygamy.htm)

http://muslimhope.com/WhyDidMohammedGetSoManyWives.htm (http://muslimhope.com/WhyDidMohammedGetSoManyWives.htm)

{1} There is another interpretation proposed by a group of Quran-only Muslims. The writers at Free-Minds.Org claim (http://free-minds.org/women/polygamy1.htm) that S. 4:3 is permitting Muslims to marry the mother of those orphans whom they have been appointed as guardians over:You must be the GUARDIAN to these Orphans and caretaker to their inheritance BEFORE even considering Polygamy. It is not just for a man to just pick children off the street and claim that he will marry their mother. The man must be the Guardian to the children appointed by their deceased father or because they (the Orphans) are from his blood. ...

1. Orphans placed in our guardianship are to be treated fairly.

2. If we fear biased-ness or unfairness in treatment, we MAY marry their mother.

3. We MUST pay their mother her dowry as in the case of a normal marriage.

The keen reader can see the obvious problem with this exegesis since the verses in question make no mention of the mothers of the orphans! The word mother doesn't even appear in the Arabic text, yet the authors took liberty to insert this word in their version of the Quran in order to obscure this fact:"You shall hand over to the ORPHANS* their rightful properties. Do not substitute the bad for the good, and do not consume their properties by combining them with yours. This would be a gross injustice. If you fear that you will not be equitable towards the ORPHANS*, then you may marry their mothers[sic]. You may marry two, three, or four. If you fear lest you become unfair, then you shall be content with only one, or with what you already have. Additionally, you are thus more likely to avoid financial hardship." (4/2-3) (underline emphasis ours)
The proposed explanation by these Muslims and their interpolations (more like willful tampering) to the text of the Quran simply provide further evidence of just how incoherent this passage truly is.

{2} The Council of American Islamic Relationships (CAIR) actually distributes this book free of charge for the asking (here (http://www.cair.com/Muhammad/)). We encourage our readers to request their free copy of this book.

04-23-2008, 06:39 PM
Women in Islam Versus Women in the Judaeo-Christian Tradition

(A Response to: 'Women in Islam Versus Women in the Judaeo-Christian Tradition: the Myth and the Reality', an article by Brother Sherif Muhammed)

By Sharon Morad, Beth Grove, and Jay Smith

There has been a need to answer many of the challenges Muslims posit concerning the way we treat women in Christianity, compared to the example in Islam. To aid us in this endeavour, we have set about just such a task, using as our model, a paper written by Sherif Muhammad (abbreviated as SM in the following), which challenges many of our precepts concerning women. While this paper (http://www.answering-islam.org/Responses/Azeem/index.htm) by SM will be used as a model, our responses will include auxiliary challenges and responses to aid the reader in better assessing the wider debate.

The stated aims of SM concerning this issue are laudable, to compare the position of women in the three religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) without attempting to denigrate the traditions they do not share. However, one is forced to question SM’s motives as he tends to repeat a number of errors in his assessment, seven to be exact…which include:

He ignores virtually all positive statements about women from the Bible, thus painting an extremely biased and inaccurate perspective of Biblical teaching on women.
He often either ignores or glosses over troublesome, negative texts towards women, in the Qur'an and the hadith.
Conversely, despite his observations that many people who claim to practice a religion are ignorant or bound by culture, and his insistence that his concern is, mainly, the position of women in the three religions as it appears in their original sources, not as practised by their millions of followers in the world today, he is, nonetheless, happy to point to any negative examples involving modern Christians or Jews.
Yet, ironically, he down-plays many of the more serious oppressions in modern Muslim societies.
SM often demonstrates an extremely selective use of both Biblical and Qur'anic texts and Christian and Muslim traditions.
He also demonstrates a poor understanding of Christian hermeneutics, specifically the purpose of and relationship between the Old and New Covenants [Testaments].
His use of the church fathers and of apocryphal Christian writings are inappropriate, as he does not understand the nature of the authority that such sources have in Christian thought.In this brief response we will try to be careful not to give an impartial comparison that is so often found in SM’s polemical writings. Instead we will confine ourselves to the more limited aim of showing where he has used the Bible unfairly for polemical ends. Though we believe that he has often distorted the teaching of the rabbis and the church fathers by quoting them out of context and with scant regard for their culture and language, we have foregone disputing him on that point for the moment, since the use of these sources is irrelevant to the discussion at hand, as Christians do not consider these sources to have the same sort of authority that Muslims grant to the Hadith.

We do not dispute the many good things that Muslims have to say about Islam, but on occasion we have pointed out passages in the Qur'an or the Hadith that seem to challenge their conclusions, and suggest that an honest treatment of the issues would demand an explanation of these troublesome texts.

I. Eve's Fault

SM’s argument:
In contrast to the Bible, the Qur'an:
- places equal blame on Adam and Eve
- suggests Eve did not tempt Adam
- believes Eve is not blamed for the pains of childbirth
Forgiveness in the Qur'an:
- God does not punish anyone for another's fault (Suras 6:164; 53:38)
- God freely forgave Adam and Eve's fault.

Our Response:
In the Genesis account, both Adam and Eve were present at the fall, both sinned, and both were punished. (Incidentally, the only one who is recorded as having 'tempted' anyone is the serpent; we have no reason to believe that Eve tried to persuade Adam in any way). Throughout the rest of Scripture, 'blame' is again attributed to both parties. Romans 5:12-21 focuses on the guilt of Adam, while 1 Timothy 2:13-14 focuses on the guilt of Eve, both passages written by Paul. Both Adam and Eve are treated seriously as moral agents, whose choices have real consequences. The ultimate consequence for each of them (because they are human) is death. However, God, being a gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in love, did not enact the penalty immediately, but granted them the gift of children, so that all human life could some day be redeemed. The curse did begin to take effect immediately, in that Adam and Eve would both have to live out the remainder of their days in the shadow of death. Adam would struggle and face pain in bringing forth food from the ground for their sustenance, while Eve would struggle and face pain in the bringing forth of children for the next generation. Surely everyone would agree that pain in childbirth is not a good thing? But since death entered the world through the choice of Adam and the choice of Eve, it hangs over life from beginning to end. Far from being the scapegoat, Eve is held forth as the example of hope, for among her descendants will arise the 'seed' who will defeat sin and death (Gen. 3:15), and she will be the mother of all of humanity (Gen. 3:20). Likewise, the promised Messiah must come through a woman, and the un-cursed line of Jesus, is through the woman, Mary (Luke 3).

With regards to the Qur'anic account, we are forced to question why Adam and Eve were thrown out of paradise if God had truly forgiven them (Sura 2:37-38)? What does God's forgiveness mean then? It also raises questions about the nature of God. How can he be truly righteous and holy if he does not hate sin? And how can he take humans seriously as moral agents if he can simply ignore their sinful choices?

What’s more, the idea that God does not punish anyone for another’s fault is contradicted by Sura 4:157, where a man is given the image of Jesus, and then dies on the cross in lieu of Jesus, seemingly paying for his ‘sin’. A further glaring example of corporate guilt is this very story in Sura 2. Since none of us are in the garden today, having all been cast out of the garden, due to their sin (this event was even more dramatic in the Qur'anic account, since the garden mentioned there was up in space), and so cannot enjoy its benefits, we have all corporally been punished for Adam and Eve’s sin, implying original sin.

The doctrine of original sin will be incomprehensible to Muslims until they have cleared up several other aspects of the nature of God. But it should be adequate to point out that whether or not you believe humans are born sinful, the fact is that all people do sin, and therefore the need for a solution to sin, and of forgiveness, remains universal as well.

II. Eve's legacy

SM's argument:
The Bible:
The Biblical image of Eve is one of a 'temptress' and all women inherit her guilt and guile. 'Consequently, [women] were all untrustworthy, morally inferior, and wicked. Menstruation, pregnancy, and childbearing were considered the just punishment for the eternal guilt of the cursed female sex.'

Ecc. 7: 26-28 shows that no righteous women exist. Then SM provides lots of non-Biblical citations: nine curses on women listed by Jewish Rabbis, a passage from Ecclesiasticus, and the daily prayer of Jewish men thanking God they are not a woman.

In Christianity Eve is pivotal because:

The reason for the mission of Jesus Christ stems from Eve's disobedience.
She is the source of original sin.
'Eve is responsible for her own mistake, her husband's sin, the original sin of all humanity, and the death of the Son of God.'
Her daughters are also sinners and treated as such.(SM lists a lot more quotations from the church fathers - Tertullian, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and Martin Luther.)

The Qur'an:
3:35 - men and women are listed together as believers and are given forgiveness
9:71 - men and women do good deeds and obey God
3:195 - men and women are members of one another
40:40 - men and women believers who do good deeds enter paradise
16:97 - men and women who do good deeds will be rewarded

In Summary: the purpose for women is the same as that for men, to worship God, do good deeds, and avoid evil. The Qur'an never says that men are made in God's image. Both men and women are God's creations. The role of women is not limited to childbirth and women must do the same righteous deeds as a man. The Qur'an never says there are no righteous women, but instead holds up some women as examples (e.g. Mary and Pharaoh's wife - S. 66:11-13)

Our Response:
The bulk of SM’s evidence is based on non-Biblical sources. As Christians we do not recognise these sources as being divinely inspired, and have no trouble admitting that various people reading the Bible have made mistakes in interpreting it. We are sure SM would not want us to begin listing the horrific references about women in many Islamic pieces of literature which have been popularized lately, as examples of correct Islamic teaching.

The unfortunate negative views of some of the church fathers he lists must be understood in light of the surrounding culture and the fact that many of them had little contact with women, due to the fact that they were monks. However, this was not the only perspective of the church fathers, and, more significantly, it was not the perspective of the apostles, who learned directly from our Saviour to value and respect women.

Conspicuous by their absence are any references by SM to women whom Jesus cited as examples of faith and piety [e.g., healing of an ill woman and raising of a dead girl (Luke 8:40-56); the widow of Zarapheth (Lk. 4:24-26); Mary and Martha (Lk. 10:38-42); the persistent widow (Lk. 18:1-8); or the poor widow’s offering (Lk. 21:1-4); the Syro-Phoenician woman (Mk. 7:24-28, Mt. 15:21-28)].

The quotation from Ecclesiastes is completely out of context.

As for the statement that all ‘daughters of Eve’ are sinners, of course is true, but so are all ‘sons of Adam’! Romans 3:23 stresses, ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’, implying both men and women. Sinfulness is common to the human condition, but redemption is offered to us all through Christ Jesus.

Regarding the Qur'an’s portrayal of Eve, indeed, it would be well nigh impossible to construe any unique blame on her, for she is such a secondary character that she is not even mentioned by name (S. 2:34-5). It is Adam who is deemed God’s vice-regent (khalifah) (S. 2:30), taught ‘the nature of all things’ by God (S. 2:31), to whom the angels bow (S. 2:34), and who receives the words of God (S. 2:36). Contrast this with the Bible, where Adam and Eve are declared joint rulers over the earth (Gen. 1:27-28). And despite the lack of basis in the Qur'an, according to the hadith Muhammad seemed to hold Eve responsible for sin.

‘He reported God’s messenger as saying, had it not been for the Banu Israel meat would not have gone bad, and had it not been for Eve a woman would never have acted unfaithfully towards her husband’ (Mishkat Al-Masabih, The Book of Marriage, Vol. 1, p. 688)
‘Narrated Usama bin Zaid: The Prophet said, after me I have not left any affliction more harmful to men than women’ (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 7, p. 22)SM’s choice of verses to depict the equality of women in the Qur'an stays clear of the more problematic and better known verses which show a clear inequality with men, and stand in clear contrast to anything which can be found in the New Testament, namely:

Polygamy: S. 4:3 One husband with four wives, and what the right hand possesses (slaves/concubines), but no reciprocity for women.
Men excel, or are ‘above’ women S. 4:34, ‘God has made the one above the other.’
Wife Beating: S. 4:34, stipulates that men may beat their wives! However, there is no reciprocity for women, who instead have to work it out ‘peacefully’ if they fear the same ‘rebellion.’
Divorce in the Qur'an is the prerogative of the husband, woman do not choose, if they, women, do choose to divorce [known as khul] they need to hand over their mahr, bridewealth back to the husband. S. 65:2; 2:229.
Inheritance: S. 4:11 "the inheritance to the male, equal to that of two females."
Testimony: S. 2:282, Bukhari 1:301 Muhammad replied, "Is not the testimony of a woman equivalent to half the testimony of a man?
Tilth: S. 2:223 "Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will", implying that women are primarily used for sexual gratification. S. 30:21 again stipulate that women were made for the men to find ‘repose’ in them. S. 26:166 describes women as created for their mates, for men. This stands in contrast to the New Testament stipulation that ‘the husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise a wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone, but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife,’ 1 Corinthians 7:3-4.
Slaves/Concubines: [S. 4:3, 24-5; 23:6; 33:50; 70:30] S. 33:50 "We have made lawful unto thee whom you have paid dowries (contract), those whom thy right had possesses (Slaves) of those whom Allah hath given thee as spoils of war." Muhammad incorporated such practices into his own life. Some of his wives were ‘spoils of war’, with whom he consummated the marriage soon after he and his men had killed their husbands. Society today considers this as ‘rape.’ Juwayriyya was a captive, and Muhammad married her upon her confession to Islam, or according to some hadiths, she remained a concubine. Maymuna bt. Al-Harith was captured at Khaybar, and ‘set free’ upon her confession to Islam. She became a concubine/wife to Muhammad. Rayhana bt. Zayd was captured from the Jewish Banu Qurayza tribe, after Muhammad and his men had killed her husband. Some hadith imply he consummated the marriage that same day. Note that the same treatment of women, and sayings towards women are never implied in Jesus’ own treatment of women.III. Shameful Daughters

SM's argument:
In the Bible the mother's ritual impurity was twice as long for a baby girl as for a baby boy (Lev. 12:2-5), and Ecclesiasticus [apocryphal literature] has many negative things to say about daughters. Islam on the other hand condemned female infanticide in pre-Islamic Arabia (S. 16:59, 43:17, 81:8-9) and it considers the birth of a baby girl to be as much of a blessing as that of a baby boy (S. 42:9). The hadith refer to Muhammad blessing men who bring up their daughters kindly (Bukhari & Muslim).

Our Response:
SM obviously does not understand the purpose of the purity laws in the Torah. The Hebrew world-view divided the world into ‘holy’ (things that are set apart as having to do with God) and ‘common’ (everything else). Common things could be either ‘clean’ or ‘unclean’. The normative state was to be ‘clean and common’, but certain rituals (primarily the blood sacrifices) could sanctify a person and certain situations (e.g. sin, weakness, and various abnormalities of function or condition of the human body) could make a person unclean. The levitical rules were designed to prevent anything unclean from coming in contact with anything holy. Ritual uncleanness did not imply moral blame, rather it was a state of ceremonial quarantine. Discharges from the body, especially of blood, (which represented life), was a deviation of normal health and a potential cause of death. It was not a sinful or shameful situation, but a dangerous one, making a person temporarily unfit to participate in sanctuary worship. Childbirth was recognized as a gift from God (e.g. Prov. 17:6; Ps. 127:3), but it did involve the loss of blood and so made the mother temporarily unclean (Lev. 12:2). No reason is given as to why the period is twice as long after the birth of a girl as for a boy, though some have suggested that it is in anticipation of the girl’s future menstruation. Therefore saying it is derogatory to females is imposing a man-made idea onto the text. In any case, since no shame was associated with the state of post-natal uncleanness in the first place there is no reason to associate the different length of times prescribed saying anything about the comparative value of a boy or girl. (See New Bible Commentary. IVP:Leicester. 1994. pp. 136-139)

With his references to the pre-Islamic infanticide (incidentally, the only example ever given by Muslims for Muhammad’s supposed civilizing effect on the Arabian peninsula), he has yet to bring forward any historical evidence that such infanticide ever occurred, or even was a common practice. In fact, it is difficult to reconcile his claim that polygamy was necessary due to a disproportionately high female to male ratio (see XIV below) with the existence of widespread female infanticide. What’s more, concerning polygamy, it now seems that it was little known or practiced in the Arabian peninsula before the time of Islam, and was a practice which was introduced primarily by Muhammad himself (Harald Motzki, "Marriage and Divorce", Encyclopedia of the Qur'an, vol.3, Leiden & Boston:Brill, 2006, p. 278).

Many Muslim protagonists claim that Muhammad elevated the position of women, by giving definite guidelines on male/female relationships; yet, it seem that over time, Muhammad’s stipulations imposed more rules and regulations and lack of freedoms on the women of Arabia; a progression that develops even more so in the hadith and fiqh material. (See Women and Gender in Islam, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1992, 41-63). His wives exemplify this, in that as the Qur'an progresses from the Meccan to the Medinan revelations, more and more rules were put on them as Muhammad seemingly received more and more ‘revelations’ concerning his household struggles, i.e. the jealousy of wives, his unequal treatment of wives, his favouritism, his desire to take other wives, and the quarrels between the wives. (See Anwar Hekmats Women and The Koran: The Status of Women in Islam. Prometheus Books, 1997)

IV. Female Education

SM's argument:
1 Cor. 14:34-35 forbids women from speaking. How can a woman learn if she can't ask questions and if she must be in full submission? The Qur'an, however, refers to an occasion when a woman who argues with Muhammad and is then judged right with Allah (S. 58).

Our Response:
To begin with, the interpretation of 1 Cor. 14:34-35 is incorrect and does not consider the context of the passage (see discussion on various interpretations above). This was a particular problem (women were disrupting the meeting by speaking out loud, due to the fact that they were hearing the scriptures being read openly for the first time), for a particular place (the city of Corinth, where many of the converts came out of a conservative Jewish background, and so had never attended a public religious gathering, nor heard the scriptures read publicly before). This admonition was certainly not repeated in any other church, thus it should not be taken as an absolute rule, as SM implies. This statement was made for a specific time, to a specific church, concerning a specific problem and a specific context, and has no connection to the overall education of women, as implied by the ‘title’ SM gave this section. He is adding to the text that which was not implied, nor intended by the author.
Secondly, he blatantly ignores all of the examples of women arguing with and questioning men in the Bible, as well as examples where they learned and instructed others, including in religious matters. [e.g. Abigail challenging David (1 Sa. 25:14-35), Zelophehad's daughters questioning Moses (Num. 27:1-11), the ideal wife described in Proverbs 31 with 'faithful instruction on her tongue,' Martha arguing with Jesus while Mary sat at his feet and learned just like any other male disciple (Lk. 10:38-42), the example of Priscilla, a woman, teaching the learned Apollo, a man (Acts 18:24-28), and the commands in the epistles for women to learn (1 Tim. 2:11) and then to teach (Tit. 2:4-5)].

V. Unclean, impure women

SM's argument:
Lev. 15:19-23 - menstruation makes a woman unclean, and whatever she touches must be washed. In Islam, however, menstruation is a normal part of life. The only limitations are that they may not have sexual intercourse while menstruating, and they are exempt from prayer and fasting.

Our Response:
Once again SM has misunderstood what the phrase 'unclean' meant in the Torah. It was not a direct reflection of the moral status of the individual as he implies. Nor is this condition something unique to women. Men are also considered 'unclean' after an emission of semen (Lev. 15:16-18 - this is immediately prior to the verses he cited). We find his misunderstanding to be puzzling, as Muslims have a similar concept of ritual purity that is necessary before 'salah,' and the same sorts of circumstances can make it necessary for a person to perform 'wudu' (e.g. emission of semen, passing wind, having a baby spit up on them, etc…).

Finally, any limitations passed on a menstruating woman in the Torah or in rabbinical tradition, pales in comparison to the Muslim teaching that a woman may not even pray while menstruating. That is a heavy penalty indeed for any woman who truly loves her God - to be forbidden from speaking to him during the days of her bleeding, a time when she would need to be in relationship with her God the most.

SM also ignores the disturbing comments Muhammad makes towards women because of their menstruation. In Sahih Bukhari, Hadith 1:301, Muhammad is alleged to have said ‘…Then he, [Muhammad], passed by the women and said,… I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be lead astray by some of you." The women asked, "O Allah’s Apostle! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?"... Isn’t it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses? The women replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her religion" [emphasis added].

VI. Bearing witness

SM's argument:
The Qur'an S. 2:282 declares that in financial transactions the testimony of two women is equal to that of one man, but in S. 24:6-11, if a man accuses his wife of un-chastity the woman can swear herself to be innocent, and nothing is done to her.

In the Bible, Sarah is recorded as lying (Gen. 10:9-16) and some Rabbis have taken this to mean that all women are liars. Num. 5:11-31 prescribes a trial by ordeal for a woman accused of adultery, and Deut. 22:13-21 gives parents the responsibility of proving the innocence of their daughter if she is accused of not having been a virgin on her wedding night (the girl couldn't speak up for herself).

Our Response:
The reference to Sarah is irrelevant, as the Bible itself makes no such extrapolation. Besides, other men are described in scripture as lying as well. It is a sin common to both genders, which should be obvious when reading the numerous lies recorded in scripture, the majority by men.
The interpretation of Numbers 5 entirely misses the point. Of course the woman is speaking and giving testimony on her own behalf. More than that, she is appealing to God to be her witness. The trial by ordeal was the enactment of God's justice as it was the LORD himself who would proclaim the guilt or innocence of the accused.

The Islamic situation whereby a woman can simply claim five times that she is innocent, is strange, as it means that a woman who was lying, once she had testified 5 times, would simply be let off. Where is the justice there?

Concerning Deuteronomy 22, it is first of all unwarranted to say that a woman could not testify on her own behalf. The passage, unlike the Qur'an (Sura 24:6-11), merely states that her own testimony is insufficient proof of innocence. A marriage involved the joining of two families, not simply two individuals, and the truthfulness of the parents in having declared their daughter a virgin to her betrothed was also at stake when an accusation was brought against her. Bringing forth proof of her chastity vindicated the honour of the accused woman and confirmed the honesty of her parents as well.

With regards to the Qur'an, it is extraordinary that on less significant issues such as financial transactions the testimony of two women is necessary to equal that of a single man, while for such a serious accusation as adultery the woman is supposed to be taken at her word with no investigation made as to her truthfulness. Of course SM neglects to mention the serious breach of observance of his interpretation of these passages throughout the Muslim world today.

Sharif also fails to mention Muhammad’s attitude towards women and their testimony as recorded in Sahih Bukhari Hadith 1:301, ‘…Then he, [Muhammad], passed by the women and said, "O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women)." They asked, "Why is it so, O Allah’s Apostle?" He replied, "You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be lead astray by some of you." The women asked, "O Allah’s Apostle! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?" He said, "Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?" They replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her intelligence [emphasis added].

VII. Adultery

SM's argument:
The Bible commands the death sentence for male and female adulterers (Lev. 20:10), as does the Qur'an (S. 24:2), however, the Bible only considers extramarital affairs involving a married woman to be adultery (Lev. 20:10, Deut. 22:22, Pr. 6:20-7:27). If a married man sleeps with an unmarried woman, this is not considered adultery. This is because a woman is considered to be the property of men in the Bible. The Qur'an, on the other hand, describes marriage as 'love, mercy, and tranquillity, not possession and double standards' (S. 30:21).

Our Response:
In a sense, of course, SM is right, the Torah does permit a double standard. Of course, so does the Qur'an, as polygamy itself is a double standard. Why can a man have several wives but a woman can only have one husband, and may not a Muslim man have as many concubines as he wishes, regardless of whether they were married or not, while the same is not accorded Muslim women?

The Old Testament definition of adultery is a reflection of the tolerance of polygamy. If a man sleeps with a woman they are to make the situation right by marrying one another. Married or unmarried men are both capable of fulfilling this obligation, as is an unmarried woman. A married woman, however, is unable to make such restitution, as she is not permitted to take a second husband. As long as polygamy is permitted such a definition of adultery is understandable. It is important to note, however, that whilst tolerated, polygamy is not God’s ideal, nor is it included in his initial institution of marriage in Genesis 2:24-25, and reiterated in the New Testament in Ephesians 5:31-33.

With the New Covenant, however, Jesus decreases the leniency of the Old Covenant regarding marriage. Not only is fornication of all kinds forbidden, but men are commanded to guard their hearts, as in the eyes of Jesus, lust is considered as great a sin as adultery itself. Jesus modelled for us the love and sacrifice that should be seen in every Christian marriage and his example of looking to the needs of others before his own is held before the church as an example of how a man must seek the needs of his wife above his own (e.g. Eph. 5:21ff).

We fail to understand how the 'Qur'anic' definition of adultery (as 'the involvement of a married man or a married woman in an extramarital affair') fits with the permission given for Muslim men to take concubines (S. 4:24), to say nothing of reciprocity, since Muslim women may not have ‘gigolos’. Muhammad himself slept with women to whom he was not married (e.g. Maryam the Copt); does that make him an adulterer? The hadith makes numerous references to Muhammad’s concubines, sometimes simply ‘spoils of war.’ (See Barbara Freyer Stowasser in the Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an, Vol 5, Leiden-Boston: Brill, 2006, p. 508-509).

Interestingly, SM errs in suggesting Sura 24:2 stipulates execution for the adulterer, as this verse only calls for 100 lashes. Unwittingly, he has introduced the punishment, which, according to the traditions, was that practiced by the prophet Muhammad himself, yet not now found in the Qur'an, suggesting a later revision to the text. The fact that the verse on stoning (‘rajam’) was missing in the Qur'an, bothered those who knew that its exclusion would cause problems later on. Consider:

"See that you do not forget the verse about stoning and say: We do not find it in the Book of Allah; the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) had ordered stoning and we too have done so, after him. By the Lord Who holds possession of my life, if people should not accuse me of adding to the Book of Allah, I would have this transcribed therein: Ash-shaikhu wash-shaikhatu ithaa zanayaa faarjumuu humaa. We have read this verse". (Muwatta Imam Malik, p. 352).
I am afraid that after a long time has passed, somebody will say, ‘By Allah, we do not find the Verse of the Rajam in Allah’s Book’, and thus they will go astray by leaving an obligation which Allah has revealed. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 8:817, p. 539).It is interesting to note that the Qur'an also implies different treatment of women in regards to adultery. S. 4:15 mentions that women should be incarcerated in their homes for a period of time which may be until their death, whilst the other mentioned verse stipulates 100 lashes for both the man and woman.

Finally, one would appreciate an explanation concerning how permitting the beating by a man against his wife (S. 4:34-35) fits with an ideal marriage of ‘love and mercy’. The love and mercy is referenced in S. 30:21 ‘And among His Signs is this that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.’ This verse also raises another important issue, in that women are referred to as ‘mother of’, ‘wife of’ ‘women of’ and so on, seen in their relationship to men, not as autonomous, women.

It is interesting that SM failed to mention the concept of ‘Mut'a’ marriages, both mentioned in the Qur'an (S. 4:24) and encouraged by Muhammad. To this day many Shi’a religious leaders believe the institution to be relevant, and whilst Sunnis generally do not, but believe it to have been only for the time of Muhammad, the reasoning behind Mut’a marriages is somewhat disturbing for those who consider the importance of sexual purity within and without marriage. Sura 4:24 stipulates that a man may make a ‘contract’, agreement with a virtuous woman to have sexual relations with her for a fee. The reasons for mut’a marriages, argue Muslim scholars, were for Muhammad’s soldiers who were away from their wives for long periods of time while they were at war. Today such a ‘contract’ or, ‘marriage,’ would be considered ‘legalised prostitution.’ The Qur'anical ‘get out’ for this practice could be its teaching on concubines, and slaves, or literally speaking ‘what ever your right hand possesses.’ If a man can have concubines then his sexual urges can be satisfied, however, this seems contradictory in the face of the Qur'anical discussions on adultery.

VIII. Vows

SM's argument:
Num. 30:2-15. Her husband or father can nullify the vows of a wife or daughter. This is because a woman is owned by a man. Islam, however, declares that both men and women must keep their oaths (though a formula is given for expiating them - S. 5:89), and women and men used to come to Muhammad to make oaths (S. 60:12).

Our Response:
For the claim that men own women, see IX below. Regarding release from vows, several things must be noted:

(1) Husbands and fathers are given permission to release their wives or daughters from fulfilling a vow, but they are not given permission to force her to accept the release. (i.e. they cannot prevent her from fulfilling it.)
(2) If a wife or daughter wishes to follow her husband or father's wishes and not fulfil her vow, then he is the one who is held responsible and he must make expiation; she is not held guilty. However, if she does not fulfil her vows by her own choice, then she must make expiation herself.

IX. Wife's property

SM's argument:
All three religions stress the importance of marriage and family, and all three agree with male leadership in the family. But in the Judaeo-Christian tradition the husband owns his wife as he owns a slave. (For this he gives no Biblical evidence, but cites Jewish and Christian practices at various times. He is especially contemptuous of the practice of female dowry, which he claims is a sign of oppression.)

The Qur'an, on the contrary, does not teach female dowry, rather the man must offer a marriage gift. This gift belongs to the wife and has nothing to do with her husband or family. The woman retains the gift even if she is divorced. The responsibility for her maintenance belongs to her husband and the wife has exclusive control over her earnings. She retains her legal personality and her family name.

Our Response:
The complete lack of Biblical evidence for this argument makes it unworthy of any serious consideration. SM’s prejudice against female dowry reminds one of 19th century Europeans' prejudice against 'wife buying' (as they thought of the marriage gift), and demonstrates little cultural sensitivity or understanding. His argument also stands against the status of women as implied in the Qur'an, for example S. 26:166, which states that wives are created for their husbands.’ Concubinage is a practice given to men in the Qur'an (see S. 2), slaves are given to men, (S. 2-4), all of which not only exploits women, but puts them in a position where they are ‘owned’ by their masters, or sexual users.

SM surprisingly neglects the description of the scope of female activities in Proverbs 31, which clearly demonstrates that an Israelite woman was free to set up business ventures and use the profit for the benefit of herself and her children as she saw fit, or the example of Priscilla, in the New Testament, who was a ‘tent maker’.

SM ignores the injunctions in the Qur'an which plainly give men the authority of certain practices over women, S. 4:34, states that ‘men have a degree of women;’ S. 2:231-232; 65:2, suggests that divorce is only an option for men, ‘when you have divorced women;’ where a woman can retain her dowry, or ‘mahr’. However, if she chooses to divorce, she can ‘ransom’ herself, give up her ‘mahr’, whereby she could be left destitute. This could well hinder women from the freedom to choose in this area. Women are also rarely mentioned in the Qur'an as autonomous entities; instead they are connected to men-folk, such as a husband, father, or brother, which would imply that they have little status on their own.

When reviewing SM’s argument, a verse in the Bible comes to mind, that of Matthew 7:3-6, where Jesus says, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brothers eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"

X. Divorce

SM's argument:
Christianity abhors divorce completely (Mt. 5:32) and is therefore unrealistic. Judaism on the other hand, permits divorce without cause (Deut. 24:1-4). (Then he cites various opinions in the Talmud.) Islam gives the middle road between the two. Divorce is permitted, but all efforts are to be made at reconciliation first (S. 4:19, S. 4:34-35, S. 4:128). A man is given the right of divorce by repudiation (Talaq) but may not take back the bride price. A woman may divorce her husband (Khula) if she gives him back the bride price. She may also sue through the courts for divorce on grounds of cruelty, desertion, or impotence.

Our Response:
We agree that Christ demands a very high standard of his followers. However, he does not leave them alone to struggle through difficult situations, but has given us the Holy Spirit to be our comforter and our guide and to work that change within our lives that enable us to aspire to such a goal. Of course many Christians fail, but we would never suggest that God should lower his standards and accept our sinfulness. Instead we desire to be changed ourselves so that we may reach this lofty goal, a realistic goal if God is truly as great as He says He is, and able to help His followers through His Spirit. Because Islam does not have God’s Spirit to help them grow in faith, it is understandable, then, that they believe they are unable to keep from sin in this area.

In response to the idealism of Christianity SM offers the pragmatism of Islam, but we are puzzled by the lack of equality in his portrayal. Women must pay for the privilege of a divorce, whereas men have unilateral repudiation (as they had no access to the bride-price even during marriage, (see IX above), they lose nothing when the wife retains her bride-price if repudiated).

Most worrying, women are urged to seek settlement with their husbands (S. 4:128), whereas the husband is advised to rebuke, exile, and beat her, calling for family arbitration only as a last resort (S. 4:34-35). How can this be the better middle road SM asks us to prefer?

Marriage is also not given as high a status in the Qur'an, as the Bible, even though in Islamic life and jurisprudence it is central to the Islamic community, to the extent that singleness or monasticism is not an option, as implied in S. 57:27. Here it mentions monasticism was invented by its adherents, but not of God. Marriage is seen as a contract (2: 237) in Islam, but in the Bible it is seen as a picture of Christ’s relationship and love towards His people, ‘the church,’ and thus has spiritual implications completely lacking in Islam. A celebration of marriage is also described in Song of Songs, (a book which many Muslims dislike due to its honest portrayal of romantic and sexual love between a man and a woman). Here we see a man and woman declaring their passionate love for each other. Perhaps since marriage, in the Qur'an, does not signify intimacy with God, modelled on God’s love for the believers, the aforementioned passages, therefore, are simply not understood.

XI. Mothers

SM's argument:
The Old Testament commands kind and considerate treatment of parents, and condemns those who dishonour them (e.g. Lev. 20:9, Pr. 15:20). In some places honouring the father alone is mentioned (e.g. Pr. 13:1), but no special emphasis is placed on rewarding mothers for the suffering of childbirth and suckling. In the New Testament Jesus says that a good Christian must hate his mother (Lk. 14:26). He himself was indifferent to or disrespectful of his mother (Mk. 3:31-35) and refused to endorse a woman who declared his mother to be blessed (Lk. 11:27-28).
In Islam good treatment of parents is second only to the worship of God (e.g. S. 17:23-24) and the role of a mother in childbirth and nursing is emphasised (S. 31:14). Many hadith refer to the importance of mothers.

Our Response:
Counting the number of references to fathers v. mothers is petty and unproductive. In one sense he is right. In the Bible children are never commanded to give their parents special honour simply because they gave them birth. On the contrary, parents are reminded that children are a blessing from the Lord (e.g. Pr. 17:6; Ps. 127:3) and that raising them in the knowledge of the Lord is one of their most important religious duties (e.g. Deut. 4:9, 6:7; Pr. 6:20, 29:15). However, children are instructed to honour their parents for their wisdom and good deeds (e.g. Pr. 31:28, where honouring the mother alone is stressed), and children are also instructed to care for their mothers and grandmothers in their old age and widowhood as a sign of gratitude (Pr. 23:22, 1 Tim. 5:4).

Jesus' relationship to Mary is not adequately discussed. From his childhood Jesus was obedient to his mother (Lk. 2:51), but when she tried to distract him from his mission as an adult then he could not submit to her. That did not mean that he did not love her or honour her, as he demonstrated this even while in agony on the cross by ensuring that she would be taken care of , saying to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son" and to the disciple (John) "Here is your mother." (Jn. 19:26-27).

In Lk. 11:27-28 Jesus is challenging the stereotypes of the day, which stated that a woman's worth was determined by bearing sons. He insists that women have open to them a greater avenue of blessing than childbearing, one that is open to all, that of being his disciple. That nameless woman in the crowd was important to Jesus, though she could not be his mother, she could still be blessed by him. SM's objection to this seems strange in light of his assertion in II above that 'the role of women is not limited to childbirth.' If their role is not limited to childbirth, why should they be esteemed solely because of their motherhood?

Finally, the virtue of extreme mother-son ties is presupposed rather than proved. The Moroccan sociologist Fatima Mernissi sees the strength of this bond as advocated by Islam to be a major source of social instability in Muslim countries, as it weakens the husband-wife tie (cited in Glaser & John, Partners or Prisoners? Paternoster:Cumbria. 1998. pp. 51-53).

This subject also raises another glaring exception in the Qur'an, and in Islam in general, that of the status of single, childless women; a status not only ignored in the Qur'an, but discouraged in the hadith, fiqh and with Muslim scholars. The Bible on the other hand, sees all women as equal with men, regardless of whether they are married or single, in the eyes of God and towards each other. In fact, the New Testament encourages singleness if a man or woman is serving the Lord, as their hearts will then belong solely to the Lord, an ‘undivided devotion to the Lord’ (1 Corinthians 7:8, 25-35).

XII. Female inheritance

SM's argument:
Women are owned as property in the Bible. The inheritance laws are listed in Num. 27:1-11. A wife receives no inheritance from her husband, though he is her first heir, even before her sons. Widows and orphaned girls were especially vulnerable.

In Islam the inheritance laws are given in S. 4:7, 11, 12, 176. Females have an inheritance share half that of men, (except in cases where a mother receives a share equal to that of the father). This is not unfair because men have higher financial obligations and since celibacy is discouraged single females are rare.

Our Response:
Interestingly, SM appeals to 7th c. Arab culture and to the higher obligations on men to justify apparently 'unfair' Qur'anic inheritance laws, yet he makes no effort to see if similar reasons could explain the inheritance pattern in the Torah. When a woman married, she was given gifts from her family - typically of money, clothing, jewellery, and furniture (e.g. Gen. 29:24,29; Jdg. 1:13-15, 1 Ki. 9:16). This ended a father's financial responsibility for her and she became a member of a new family. Her sons inherited her husband's estate, not her father's (patrilineal descent). This emphasis on keeping land within the family prevented the development of a great 'rich-poor' divide, where wealthy sons and daughters would marry one another and receive inheritance from both sides of the family. This is the same rational as the 'Jubilee' legislation. (Lev. 25, cf. 1 Ki. 21:3) As for widows, sons were responsible for looking after their mothers (1 Tim. 5:4,8) and for their unmarried sisters (Lev. 21:3). The husband's brother was obliged to offer to marry his brother's widow if she preferred that to living with her sons (and if there were no sons, the inheritance passed to the daughters (Num. 27:1-11) and the same obligations applied).

Using SM’s logic, in light of present circumstances, where in cases of divorce, women are usually awarded the responsibility of children, should not the Qur'anic injunction for inheritance be biased therefore towards women, giving them twice the inheritance of males, due to their ‘higher financial obligations’?

Finally, his argument, that few women are single in Islam, is dealt with above in XI, but it further shows how the Qur'anic stipulation is not relevant for the modern world today, since many woman have the choice to be single, especially if her whole devotion is to the Lord’s work, whereby financial support would be crucial to her abilities to serve her LORD among the communities of the world.

XIII. Plight of widows

SM's argument:
In the Bible widows had no inheritance and therefore they were the most vulnerable people in Jewish society. Widows were forced to marry their dead husband's brother (Gen. 38). She had no choice but was treated as a piece of property. Widows were looked down on (Is. 54:4) and priests could not marry them (Lev. 21:13-15).
In Islam there is no stigma attached to wi
dows or divorcees (S. 2:231, 2:234, 2:240), and sons were forbidden from marrying their father's wives (S. 4:22)

Our Response:
Women were not forced to participate in a Levirate marriage. The brother-in-law is compelled to make the offer, but no one said that she had to accept it. In the passage cited no compulsion was used, rather it was the widow, Tamar, who agitated for the marriage to take place.

The question of inheritance has been discussed above (XII), and the silly and absolute incorrect assertion that women were simply property has been addressed ad nauseam. SM does not understand the message of the prophets when he cites Isaiah. The 'reproach' referred to, is not the fact of widowhood, but rather the loss of favour with God that Israel experience, due to her sin. The prophets frequently used the metaphor of marriage between a good man and a prostitute to illustrate the faithfulness of God and the unfaithfulness of Israel. In this chapter Isaiah is prophesying the return of God's favour to Israel, and likening that to a widow receiving back her husband from the dead. The fact that priests were only permitted to marry virgins says nothing about whether widows were stigmatised or not, as priests were restricted from many perfectly acceptable things because of the nature of their work. Incidentally, note the Torah shares the Qur'an's disapproval of son's marrying their father's wives (Lev. 18:6-8).

We are glad to hear that there is no stigma regarding widows or divorcees in Islam, and we hope that is true in practice as well as in text. On a related issue however, we would appreciate an explanation of how forcing a divorced woman to marry and divorce a second partner before she is permitted to return to her first husband (especially when the first husband is not required to do the same) is just? Or how it is moral in the eyes of a Holy God?

It is also interesting to note that SM fails to consider the long details given in the New Testament, in 1 Timothy 5:1-16, regarding widows in the church, whereby Christians are told to ‘Give proper recognition to widows in need…so the church can help those widows who really are in need.’

Younger widows are encouraged to remarry if they struggle with controlling their sexual desire, and they are encouraged to minister to other people. The church is very concerned with those who could be in a vulnerable situation; the apostles often call Christians to reach out to the needy as do the prophets of the Old Testament. (See Deuteronomy 24:17, Ephesians 6:9-10).

XIV. Polygamy

SM's argument:
Polygamy is an ancient institution found in many societies. The Bible does not condemn it and many important Old Testament figures had multiple wives [e.g. Solomon (1Ki. 11:31) and David (2 Sa. 5:13)]. Laws are given for dividing property between sons from different wives (Deut. 22:7), but the only restriction is against marrying two sisters (Lev. 18:18). The New Testament never explicitly condemns polygamy either.

The Qur'an permits polygamy but regulates it. A maximum of four wives are permitted, on condition that they are treated justly (S. 4:3). Polygamy was permitted to enable Muslims to fulfill their community obligation to care for orphans and widows.

In many cultures polygamy is not seen as degrading, but is actually preferable. Since women outnumber men all over the world, what are the possible solutions to this unbalanced sex ratio? Celibacy? Female infanticide? Complete sexual permissiveness? The sex ratio is especially distorted after wars, and polygamy can prevent women being reduced to virtual prostitution. African-American communities practice ‘man-sharing’ arrangements that are a type of informal polygamy. Some people (even Christians) think that polygamy should be legal, especially in a society that tolerates mistresses and prostitution, as it may provide an alternative to divorce and may enable women to share child-rearing responsibilities and thus have both a career and a family.

In Islam polygamy is a matter of mutual consent, unlike the Bible where it is sometimes forced (e.g. Gen. 38). Anyway, the rate of polygamous marriages in the Muslim world is much less than the rate of extra-marital affairs in the west. Even Billy Graham acknowledges this.

Our Response:
In many ways we agree – though we quibble with his description of Tamar being ‘forced’ to marry against her consent when she was the one who agitated for it against the will of the man she wanted to marry. Besides, there is no record that she was entering into a polygynous union. There is much validity in his comments about the hypocrisy of the west, but again, this is largely irrelevant, since the majority of people living in the west do not claim to be Christians or Jews, and those who do, do not always live according to the teachings of their faith, nor know the Savior in a personal way, and are thereby not genuinely given the Spirit to change towards God’s ways once they are saved.

The Bible does not in any way endorse extra-marital affairs – on the contrary, it strongly condemns them (see section on adultery, VII above). So the issue has nothing to do with the hypocrisy of Christianity, but it does reflect the hypocrisy of secular governments (and of some individual Christians). Several other issues should be considered?

What precisely is the role of government in regulating morality? Should the state criminalize adultery as it has polygamy? Or should individuals be free (within limits) to choose whether or not to obey God? Muslims and Christians have very different ideas regarding the appropriate relationship between religious and secular authorities.
Would the legalization of polygamy deal with the problems that SM mentioned? Perhaps, or perhaps not. The most likely scenario is that certain problems would disappear, others would remain, and new ones would arise. A wife in a polygynous marriage is not always content with her lot (see Fatima Mernissi, Dreams of Trespass. Addison-Wesley: Reading, MA. Ch. 4) and she may or may not prefer it to celibacy. Furthermore, the continued existence of prostitution in Muslim countries proves that polygamy is no panacea.
Indeed, the Bible nowhere condemns polygamy explicitly, though it does portray monogamous unions as ideal, and divinely instituted, (Gen. 2:24, Mt. 19:5) and it certainly restricts church leadership to those married to a single spouse (e.g. 1 Tim. 3:2, 12). In addition, Christianity considers celibacy to be a perfectly acceptable (and occasionally preferable) alternative to marriage. There is therefore not the same social and religious pressure to get married for a Christian as there is for a Muslim, and both the single and married person are considered equal to each other, before the eyes of God. Both marriage and singleness are regarded as gifts from God with challenges and opportunities unique to each state, and both situations in life are achievable to the true believer who is strengthened by the Spirit of God.
The statement that the Bible places no restrictions on polygamy is correct in that no maximum number of wives is given. However, husbands are given extra-ordinarily high standards regarding treatment of their wives (Eph. 5:25-33). In a polygamous marriage the same standard of behavior would be expected for each wife, and that itself would be a great deterrent to polygamy.
SM’s reasoning that polygamy makes sense in a world where more girls are born than boys no longer is tenable, since today many more female fetuses are aborted then males (i.e. in some countries such as China and India there are 3 boys born to every girl), creating an environment where, using his logic, polyandry should now be introduced and polygamy be made illegal, to alleviate the current imbalance of boys to girls.
The ‘excuses’ given for the allowance of polygamy fall short in light of the allowance for ‘muta’ [temporary] marriages, permitted only to men in time of war; again, a provision not given to the women at home, left without their husbands.XV. The Veil

SM's argument:
The veil also plays a role in the Judaeo-Christian tradition. Among Jews it symbolized modesty and status. Prostitutes were not permitted to wear a veil because it was a sign of respectability. In 1 Cor. 11:3-10 Paul commands veiling for Christian women as a sign that they were under the authority of men who are the image and glory of God. Tertullian commanded that Christian women veil in all circumstances.

So, Islam did not invent the head cover, though it did endorse it (S. 24:30,31). The veil is essential for modesty, which is itself important so that women will not be molested (S. 33:59). Unlike the Christian veil it is not a sign of women’s subjection to men, and unlike the Jewish veil it is not a sign of luxury or high status. Rather it is a sign of modesty with the goal of protecting women.

This concern to protect women extends to their reputation, and a man is flogged 80 stripes if he accuses a woman and cannot produce 4 witnesses against her (S. 24:4). In contrast to this, if a man rapes an unmarried girl in the Bible, he pays a fine and then must marry the girl (Deut. 22:28-30). She is again punished by being forced to live forever with the man who violated her. Which is more protective of women? To suggest that civilization, education etc… will serve to protect women is ridiculous (lots of scary statistics about sexual harassment and assault).

‘One of the greatest ironies of our world today is that the very same headscarf revered as a sign of ‘holiness’ when worn for the purpose of showing the authority of a man by a Catholic Nun, is reviled as a sign of ‘oppression’ when worn for the purpose of protection by Muslim women.’

Our Response:
First of all, we have no particular quarrel with the veil as long as women wear it because they choose to and not because they are forced to. We certainly do not dispute that Christians in various times and cultures have worn head coverings. Nor would anyone prevent a Christian woman from wearing a head covering today if she wished to do so.

However, SM’s interpretation of 1 Cor. 11 is flawed. Paul does not prescribe universal veiling, and the ‘authority’ he refers to is not the ‘authority’ of men over women, but of women over themselves. The point is that ‘although a woman has authority over her own head, she should remember that she is not independent of her husband and so should choose to cover her head for the sake of social propriety. A woman should want to honor and not to shame her husband.’ (R.B. Groothuis. Good News for Women. Baker Books: Grand Rapids, MI. 1997. pp. 160). It is also known that during the time of the early church women who did not cover their heads were considered loose, like prostitutes, and therefore the stipulation is referring to a specific cultural issue, which is not universal. Note that a woman is never commanded to cover to be modest, but rather to be seen as a ‘godly woman’, which at that time would mean a head-covering. Paul himself refers to it being a cultural ‘practice’ in the church.

Secondly, we would question whether the Islamic veil actually fulfills its supposed function in protecting women. Why, in Egypt, for example, is it still necessary for women to have separate trams and separate buses in order for them to avoid harassment? Also, the veil does not protect against sexual abuse within the family, a common form of assault in Muslim countries, according to the Egyptian doctor Nawal el Saadawi. (The Hidden Face of Eve. Zed Books:London. 1980, p. 14).

But even if it does, why should they be required to wear uncomfortable garments in order to be safe? The clothing of women is not the problem, the lust and violence of men is. Why does Islam not deal with the source of the problem, instead of blaming the victim, and forcing her to rectify what she is not guilty for? The New Testament puts the blame where it belongs, squarely on the shoulders of the man, saying to simply look at a woman with lust is the fault of the man and is equal to that of adultery.
We don’t really understand the juxtaposition of false accusations of unchastity v. rape, as they are two different issues. Why does SM not instead give us the penalty for rape prescribed in the Qur'an? Is there one? Certainly in Islamic law, a woman has to provide four witnesses to her rape to even get justice, hence the prisons filled with innocent, but raped, women in Pakistan, as they cannot provide such witnesses, and so in turn, are accused of adultery.

Regarding the Bible, again, nowhere is the girl commanded to accept the offer of marriage. The only command is that the man must make the offer. If she refused, he was still required to pay the bride price. Remember, this was a society where prisons did not exist. The only penile options were fines or death. As long as the bride price was paid, the girl was vindicated – declared guiltless. Regarding women’s reputations, in the Bible any accusation had to be supported by the testimony of two or three witnesses (Deut. 19:15, Mt. 18:16). When there were insufficient witnesses, the accusation was brought before the Lord.

XVI. Epilogue

SM's argument:
No Muslim society fully follows Islamic ideals today. Some are more conservative and restrictive, others are more liberal and western-orientated. And to be fair, we must acknowledge that a variety of cultural situations have given rise to the ‘biased’ and ‘frightening’ teachings of the Bible. In fact, the poor status of Jewish and Christian women in the 7th century is one of the reasons that Islam was necessary, to guide people back to the straight path (S. 7:157). ‘Therefore, Islam should not be viewed as a rival tradition to Judaism or Christianity. It has to be regarded as the consummation, completion and perfection of the divine messages that had been revealed before it.’

Finally a word to Muslims exhorting them to return to Islam, and a word to non-Muslims expressing bewilderment as to the reasons that Islam should be singled out as oppressing women. Why don’t you understand that what Muslims practice today is not necessarily any more ‘Islamic’ than the practices of westerns are ‘Christian.’ Islam has done many good things for women, thus most western converts to Islam are women.

Our Response:
Again, the stated aim of mutual understanding is laudable. We too deplore the unthinking condemnation of Islam and the lack of cultural understanding this represents. Unfortunately, SM Muhammad has demonstrated the same lack of insight in his refusal to understand the Bible on its own terms. We find it sad that he made no effort to investigate whether the Biblical teachings are truly ‘frightening.’ Instead he divorced them from the context in which they operated, with no understanding of how these laws functioned in relationship to other laws and existing societal norms. In particular, he appears to have deliberately suppressed the positive portrayal of women in the Bible, so that the resulting picture is sadly distorted.

His comments regarding the relationship between Islam, Judaism and Christianity are somewhat disingenuous. At first glance it looks like he is saying that these religions and their scriptures were divinely inspired. But if that is true, how dare he refer to the commands of God as ‘biased’ or ‘frightening’? If he is implying that the Bible is not divinely inspired, why does he not say so? And in what meaningful sense can Islam be said to be calling Christians and Jews ‘back to’ their religions? A more forthright approach would be appreciated. Similarly, a true Muslim, following his own holy book should know that he is to turn to the Jews and Christians for advice (Suras 10:94; 21:7; 29:46; 4:136; 5:46, 68).

It is also interesting to note that all women in Christianity are regarded as equal, valuable, and worthy in their community, and before God, whether they are single or married. It is also interesting to note that God’s principles in the New Testament are relevant for all time, all cultures, and can thus be readily practiced in any culture of the world, even today, though within Islamic cultures, they are usually suppressed and persecuted.

SM seems to imply that Christianity is a ‘Western’ phenomenon, when in reality, it is growing far more quickly in South America and in parts of Africa and in the East, or among Eastern peoples, outside of Muslim lands. It is in Islamic environments where we find the persecution of converts from Islam, including women; something which is condemned in the New Testament.

Women are turning to Islam in the West, which may say more about the West than Islam, as women’s testimonies reveal frustrations at the immodesty of the West, the immorality of the West, and the lack of good men in the West (See Robert, Na’ima B., From my sisters’ lips: A unique celebration of Muslim womanhood, London: Bantam Press, 2005). Such frustrations are legitimate; and many Christians would agree with these frustrations. Yet, is Islam truly the answer? Is it truly universal when it comes to women’s issues? Does it truly elevate, and indeed protect women in all cultures, allowing them to live in their different respective cultures, and yet fully enjoy a right relationship with their Lord?

God’s command in the Bible is that we are to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul, and love your neighbor as yourself’. All of the above Biblical principles, directives and exhortations, including those regarding women, are dependent on this, and so done with ‘love’ at it’s core…consider: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, it delights in truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a).

Finally, most of the accusations SM puts forth are leveled at Judaism, and in particular at Talmudic laws and practices, many of which are nothing more than opinions forwarded by individuals concerning the application of Judaic law. While many of these laws are no longer applicable, nor rarely practiced - a point SM would do well to acknowledge - it is interesting that he spends little time really challenging Christianity, which suggests that, indeed, it is Christian teaching and practice concerning women which proves to be the true corrective to both Judaism and Islam, and therefore, the more practical and just, and yes…universally true.

04-23-2008, 06:58 PM

A Reply to Dr. Jamal Badawi and Others

By Samuel Green

While it needs to be acknowledged that atrocities have been committed against women overseas in the name of Islam, it also needs to be acknowledged that such practices have no basis in the religion itself. More than 1400 years ago Islam afforded women rights comparable to those in our contemporary international human rights documents. It is not Islam but other factors, notably cultural practices alien to the religion itself, which are the cause of the mistreatment of women. ( Sydney Morning Herald, (http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/grim-picture-of-sharia-hides-its-useful-aspects/2008/02/17/1203190646668.html) "Grim picture of sharia hides its useful aspects", Ghena Krayem and Haisam Farache, February 18, 2008) Statements such as these are now common in our media. They assure us that the harsh treatment of women in Islamic countries is the result of the culture and not of the religion of Islam.

There are also many Islamic authors, like Dr. Jamal Badawi (http://members.tripod.com/iaislam/TSOWII.htm), who have written articles and booklets that promote Islam's teaching on women. They claim that Islam brings light into the world and leads humanity out of ignorance, especially in the area of the treatment of women.

My main criticism with these articles and booklets is that they are very selective with the material that they refer to from the Qur'an and Hadith. Dr. Badawi's article is an example of this. He is quite selective with the references that he gives. He is happy to quote from the Qur'an and Hadith when they are favourable to women but avoids quoting their harsher statements. In this article I am NOT trying to present a summary of all that Islam teaches about women. Instead I am presenting the references that Dr. Badawi, and those like him, deliberately avoid when they write their books about the place of women in Islam.

Muhammad beat his wives.
... He (Muhammad b. Qais) then reported that it was 'A'isha who had narrated this: Should I not narrate to you about myself and about the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him)? We said: Yes. She said: When it was my turn for Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) to spend the night with me, he turned his side, put on his mantle and took off his shoes and placed them near his feet, and spread the corner of his shawl on his bed and then lay down till he thought that I had gone to sleep. He took hold of his mantle slowly and put on the shoes slowly, and opened the door and went out and then closed it lightly. I covered my head, put on my veil and tightened my waist wrapper, and then went out following his steps till he reached Baqi'. He stood there and he stood for a long time. He then lifted his hands three times, and then returned and I also returned. He hastened his steps and I also hastened my steps. He ran and I too ran. He came (to the house) and I also came (to the house). I, however, preceded him and I entered (the house), and as I lay down in the bed, he (the Holy Prophet) entered the (house), and said: Why is it, O 'A'isha, that you are out of breath? I said: There is nothing. He said: Tell me or the Subtle and the Aware would inform me. I said: Messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be ransom for you, and then I told him (the whole story). He said: Was it the darkness (of your shadow) that I saw in front of me? I said: Yes. He struck me on the chest which caused me pain, and then said: Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly? ... (Sahih Muslim: book 4, number 2127) Muhammad's companions also beat his wives and other women.
... Umar then came forward, and when he had asked and had been granted permission he found the Prophet sitting sad and silent with his wives around him. He told that he decided to say something which would make the Prophet laugh, so he said, "Messenger of God, I wish you had seen the daughter of Kharija when she asked me for extra money and I got up and slapped her on the neck." God's messenger laughed and said, "They are around me as you see asking for extra money." Abu Bakr then got up, went to A'isha and slapped her on the neck, and Umar did the same to Hafsa ... Muslim transmitted it. (Mishkat Al-Masabih: volume 2, p. 690; Sahih Muslim: book 9, number 3506) Muhammad's companions beat their own wives.
Iyas b. Abdullah reported God's messenger as saying, "Do not beat God's handmaidens;" but when `Umar came to God's messenger and said, "The women have become emboldened towards their husbands," he gave licence to beat them. Then many women went round God's messenger's family complaining of their husbands, and he said, "Many women have gone around complaining of their husbands. Those are not the best among you." Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, and Darimi transmitted it. (Mishkat Al-Masabih: volume 2, p. 692) In the Qur'an Muhammad commanded that beating was part of the process for controlling a rebellious wife.
And those (wives) you fear may be rebellious admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them. (Qur'an 4:34, Arberry)

`Umar reported the Prophet as saying, "A man will not be asked about why he beat his wife." Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah transmitted it. (Mishkat Al-Masabih: volume 2, p. 693)
A woman has the right not to be hit in the face.
Hakim b. Mu`awiya al-Qushairi quoted his father as telling that he asked, "Messenger of God, what right can any wife demand of her husband?" He replied, "That you should give her food to eat, clothe her when you clothe yourself, not strike her on the face, and do not revile her or seperate from her except in the house." Ahmad, Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah transmitted it. (Mishkat Al-Masabih: volume 2, p. 691) The husband's right to beat his wife is Shariah law in every school of Islam.

The Qur'an, speaking figuratively about sex, says of women:
Women are your fields: go, then, into your fields whence you please. (Qur'an 2:223, Dawood)Muhammad gave strong warnings to women who would not accommodate their husband's or master's desire.
Talq b. `Ali reported God's messenger as saying, "When a man calls his wife to satisfy his desire she must go to him even if she is occupied at the oven." Tirmidhi transmitted it. (Mishkat Al-Masabih: volume 2, p. 691)

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet (p.) said, "if a man invites his wive to sleep with him an she refuses to come to him, then angels send their curses on her till morning." (Sahih al-Bukhari: volume 7, book 62, number 121, Khan)
Marriage in Islam binds a woman to one man but not the man to that woman. A man is allowed multiple wives and an unlimited number of slave girls.
And those (men) who preserve their chastity Save with their wives and those whom their right hands possess, for thus they are not blameworthy. (Qur'an 70:29-30, Pickthall) However, while Muhammad had many wives and slaves girls, and taught this in the Qur'an, he would only allow his son-in-law, Ali, to have one wife. Why? Because Ali was married to Muhammad's daughter, Fatima.
Narrated Al-Miswar bin Makhrama: I heard Allah's Apostle who was on the pulpit, saying, "Banu Hisham bin Al-Mughira have requested me to allow them to marry their daughter to Ali bin Abu Talib, but I don't give permission, and will not give permission unless 'Ali bin Abi Talib divorces my daughter in order to marry their daughter, because Fatima is a part of my body, and I hate what she hates to see, and what hurts her, hurts me." (Sahih Bukhari: volume 7, book 62, number 157, Khan) What hypocrisy!
Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah: When I got married, Allah's Apostle said to me, "What type of lady have you married?" I replied, "I have married a matron' He said, "Why, don't you have a liking for the virgins and for fondling them?" Jabir also said: Allah's Apostle said, "Why didn't you marry a young girl so that you might play with her and she with you?' (Sahih al-Bukhari: volume 7, book 62, number 17, Khan) This is a very disturbing statement by Muhammad. Don't just ignore it or make excuses for him; it is Muhammad himself who says that he has a preference for young girls. And this is what he did when he was 52 years old.
Narrated Hisham's father: Khadija died three years before the Prophet departed to Medina. He stayed there for two years or so and then he married 'Aisha when she was a girl of six years of age, and he consumed that marriage when she was nine years old. (Sahih al-Bukhari: volume 5, book 58, number 236, Khan) You may say that Muhammad's sexual relationship with a 9 year old girl when he was 52 was just part of the culture of that time. It may have been part of the culture, but this is not the reason that Muhammad gives. He said it was Allah who revealed and justified this relationship:
Narrated 'Aisha: That the Prophet said to her, "You have been shown to me twice in my dream. I saw you pictured on a piece of silk and some-one said (to me). 'This is your wife.' When I uncovered the picture, I saw that it was yours. I said, 'If this is from Allah, it will be done." (Sahih al-Bukhari: volume 5, book 58, number 235, Khan) Muhammad actions are more than just cultural; they are believed to be the revelation of the model Muslim life; they are the basis of Islamic law and attitude to marriage. This is why Imam Bukhari included them in his collection. This was the character of Muhammad and part of the way that orthodox Islam treats women.

Lo! those who kept their duty will be in a place secure amid gardens and water-springs, attired in silk and silk embroidery, facing one another. Even so (it will be). And we shall wed them unto fair ones with wide, lovely eyes. (Qur'an 44:51-54, Pickthall)

Surely for the godfearing awaits a place of security, gardens and vineyards and maidens with swelling breasts, like of age, and a cup overflowing. (Qur'an 78:31-33, Arberry)
Perfectly We formed them, perfect, and We made them spotless virgins, chastely amorous, like of age for the Companions of the Right. (Qur'an 56:34-35, Arberry)
Anas reported the Prophet as saying, "In paradise the believer will be given such and such power to conduct sexual intercourse." He was asked whether we would be capable of that and replied that he would be given the capacity of a hundred men. Tirmidhi transmitted it. (Mishkat Al-Masabih: volume 3, p. 1200)
It has recently been fashionable in some circles to say that the Qur'an does not promise Muslim men virgin women in paradise. Instead it is argued that the word for "spotless virgin/maiden" should be translated as "white raisins". However, just reading these verses in context shows that this is a false translation, for white raisins do not have swelling breasts or are chastely amorous, and you certainly cannot marry raisins. The inescapable truth is that Muhammad claimed that Allah will reward Muslim men with virgin women in paradise. This is part of the way that Islam thinks about women.

The practice of circumcision comes from the Hadith, Shariah and the consensus of Islamic communities.

The Hadith
Narrated Umm Atiyyah al-Ansariyyah: A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said to her: Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband. (Sunan Abu-Dawud: book 41, number 5251, Hasan) The Shariah
The following reference to Shariah comes from Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, Reliance of the Traveller - A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law. This book comes with the approval al-Azhar University.

Arabic Text:
As translated in the book:
e4.3 Circumcision is obligatory (O: for both men and women. For men is consists of removing the prepuce from the penis, and for women, removing the prepuce (Ar. bazr) of the clitoris (n: not the clitoris itself, as some mistakenly assert). (A: Hanbalis hold that circumcision of women is not obligatory but sunna, while Hanafis consider it a mere courtesy to the husband.) (p. 59)

What the Arabic actually says:
Circumcision is obligatory (for every male and female) by cutting off the piece of skin on the glans of the penis of the male, but circumcision of the female is by cutting out the clitoris (this is called khufaad).

It is interesting to notice how this translator has softened the Arabic to make it more acceptable to a Western reader. However, the fact remains that female circumcision is Shariah law for several of the main Sunni schools.

Female circumcision is practiced in many Islamic countries, for example, Egpyt, Sudan, Iraq and Somalia.


The Qur'an says that the testimony of a woman is not equal to that of a man. It says that the testimony of two women is required to be equal to the testimony of one man.
Call in two male witnesses from among you, but if two men cannot be found, then one man and two women whom you judge fit to act as witnesses. (Qur'an 2:282, Dawood) Why is it that the testimony of a woman is only worth half that of a man? Muhammad explains in the following hadith.
Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri: The Prophet said, "Isn't the witness of a women equal to half that of a man?" The women said "yes". He said "This is because of the deficiency of the women's mind." (Sahih al-Bukhari: volume 3, book 48, number 826, Khan) WOMEN HAVE A CROOKED NATURE

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "The woman is like a rib; if you try to straighten her, she will break. So if you want to get benefit from her, do so while she still has some crookedness." (Sahih al-Bukhari: volume 7, book 62, number 113, Khan) THERE ARE MORE WOMEN IN HELL AND LESS IN HEAVEN
Ibn Abbas reported that Allah's Messenger said: I had a chance to look into paradise and I found that majority of the people was poor and I looked into the Fire and there I found the majority constituted by women. (Sahih Muslim: volume 4, book 36, numbers 6596-6601)

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri: Once Allah's Apostle went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) o 'Id-al-Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, "O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women)." They asked, "Why is it so, O Allah's Apostle ?" He replied, "You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you." The women asked, "O Allah's Apostle! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?" He said, "Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?" They replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn't it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?" The women replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her religion." (Sahih al-Bukhari: volume 1, book 6, number 301, Khan)

Has Islam brought light into the world and lead humanity out of ignorance regarding women? Is the harsh treatment of women in Islamic countries just a matter of culture and not religion. In order to answer these questions you must consider all of what the Qur'an and Hadith teach and not just a select few verses. Dr. Badawi, and Islamic writers like him, only tell half the truth. They select references which make Islam appear attractive. The references I have presented are the other half of what Islam teaches. This teaching becomes important to Muslim leaders not when they are promoting Islam but when they are in power.

Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, Reliance of the Traveller - A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law (Translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller) Maryland, U.S.A.: Amana Publications, 1994.

Mishkat Al-Masabih, Lahore: Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, 1981, (translated by James Robson).

Muhammad ibn Ismail al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/) (translated by Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan).

Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj, Sahih Muslim (http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/muslim/) (translated by Abdul Hamid Siddique).

04-23-2008, 08:00 PM
What Islam Really Says About Women - a Critique of Jamal Badawi’s Booklet Gender Equity In Islam

February 2006 version

Part 1 - Inferiority of Women

Nice Things About Women and Wives (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc1)Women Inferior in Islam vs. Badawi’s Claims (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc2)

How Are Women Inferior in Muslim Society? A Muslim Counts the Ways (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc3)
Inheritance (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc4)
Women and Property (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc5)
Women Are Forbidden To Pray at Some Times (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc6)
Women are Not Half as Intelligent (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc7)
Women In the Eyes of Islamic Law (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc8)
Women in Employment (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc9)
Women and Leadership (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc10)
No Women Prophets (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc11)
No Women Rulers of Nations (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc12)
Role of Wives in Islam (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc13)
A Wife Needs Her Husband’s Permission (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc14)
Women More Restricted on Divorce (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc15)
Temporary Marriage (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc16)
Mustahill (No Equivalent in English) (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc17)
Polygamy, Marriage, and Divorce (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc18)
Attitude on Divorce (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc19)
Marriage Consent Is Required, But… (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc20)
Slave Girls and Sex with Captives in Islam (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc21)
Sex with Captives (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc22)
xtra-marital Sex with Slave Girls (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc23)
Partners Besides Wives in the Qur’an (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc24)
Non-Muslim Sex Slaves may be OK, but non-Muslim Wives are Bad (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc25)
Beating Women in Islam (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc26)
Beating Wives (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc27)
General Slapping Women Around (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc28)
Veils and Partial Seclusion (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc29)
Veils Are Required (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc30)
The Importance of Veils: Striking Unveiled Women (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc31)
Women Secluded In the House (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc32)
Other Sharia Gender Rules (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc33)
Women in Heaven and Hell (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc34)
Houris (Heavenly Virgins) (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc35)
Women in Hell (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc36)
Accuracy of Translations of the Qur’an (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc37)
Contrast with the Bible (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc38)
Summary (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc39)
The Alternative - Seek the True God (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc40)
References (http://www.muslimhope.com/WomenInIslam.htm#_Toc41)

Dr. Jamal Badawi is a noted Islamic apologist with at least 176 different tapes on Islam and Christianity. He has written a 59-page book with selected quotes showing some of the good things Islam says about women. The record needs to be set straight though; Muslims and non-Muslims both need to see the truth of what Islam really says about women. Dr. Badawi says a few things incorrectly, but much more serious are the many important aspects he fails to tell listeners. Before we discuss these those, let’s very briefly go over a number of things Jamal Badawi says correctly.

Dr. Badawi, at the beginning of page 1, explicitly distances himself from diverse cultural practices of Islam that are either not found in the teaching in the Qur’an and hadiths, or even contradictory to the original teachings. Total seclusion of women inside the home, female circumcision, calling prostitution temporary marriage, and other practices in various parts of the Muslim world are very bad, but we find no fault with Dr. Badawi declining to defend practices at variance with what Mohammed originally taught. - There is still plenty left for him to defend, however.

So then which Islam are we speaking of anyway? There are many very different opinions of Islam, from liberal Muslims, to ‘Alawites, Shi’ites, Sufis, and others. The only Islam Dr. Badawi is defending is the Islam of Mohammed found in the Qur’an and hadiths, and taught by many Sunni Muslims.

He says on p.3 "…authentic Sunnah is the second primary source of Islamic teachings, after the Qur’an." He says on p.47, "Another common term that some authorities consider to be equivalent to Sunnah is hadith (plural ahadith), which literally means "sayings’". Badawi gave an clear example of the importance of the hadiths that we had not considered. The Qur’an says that Muslims should pray, but with no details. It is the hadiths that provide the hundreds of pages of instructions on the times of prayer, when to pray, how long to pray, etc.

Thus Dr. Badawi bases all of his arguments on the Qur’an and authoritative hadiths, with a few things from al-Tabari and other sources. If you accept that the hadiths are generally accurate teachings, Dr. Badawi’s choice of authorities is perfectly reasonable.

Among other things, Badawi provides quotes that women as well as men are spiritual, both have inherent dignity. Women have property rights, and can inherit, though only half as much.

Badawi also admonishes people in general on p.145 to not allow "cultural peculiarities" to be an excuse for the oppression of men and women in Islamic countries that is non-Islamic.

Nice Things About Women and Wives

Badawi’s pamphlet gives the impression that Islam says only nice things about women. While that is not correct, Islam does say some nice things about women and wives, and here are some of them.

"Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, ‘Treat women nicely, for a woman is created from a rib, and the most curved portion of the rib is its upper portion so, if you should try to straighten it, it will break; but if you leave it as it is, it will remain crooked. So treat women nicely.’" Bukhari vol.4 no.548 p.346.

"Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported: Woman has been created from a rib and will in no way be straightened for you; so if you wish to benefit by her, benefit by her while crookedness remains in her. And if you attempt to straighten her, you will break her, and breaking her is divorcing her." Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 8 no.3467 p.752. See also Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 8 no.3466,3468 p.752-753 and Bukhari vol.7 book 62 no.113 p.80.

Mohammed in a sermon said "It is not wise for anyone of you to lash his wife like a slave," Apparently that would be too severe - for the wife that is, not the slave. Bukhari vol.6 book 60 no.466 p.440.

Likewise Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.1983 p.194 says that in a sermon Mohammed criticized Muslim men who beat their wives like they beat their slave girls. It could be a bummer to be a slave girl.

In contrast to this, Galatians 3:28 in the Bible says that in Christ there is no male nor female. While some ancient cultures might have thought of sons as superior to daughters, but Galatians 3:28 specifically says both believing men and women are "sons" in Christ Jesus.

Women Inferior in Islam vs. Badawi’s Claims

Badawi claims women have "equity" in Islam, meaning no inferiority to men but having different roles. However, the fact that both value spiritual life and human dignity does not contradict the vast majority of Islamic scholars who say the Qur’an and hadiths are contrary to Badawi in many areas.

On women in general, here is what Mohammed said. "A slave is a shepherd of his master’s property and a wife is a shepherd of her husband’s house and children." Abu Dawud vol.2 no.2922 p.827

How Are Women Inferior in Muslim Society? A Muslim Counts the Ways

"’O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women).’ They asked, ‘Why is it so, O Allah’s Apostle?’ He replied, ‘Your curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you…. The women asked, ‘O Allah’s Apostle? What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?’ He said, ‘Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?’ They replied in the affirmative. He said, ‘This is the deficiency in your intelligence. Isn’t it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses? The women replied in the affirmative. He said, ‘This is the deficiency in your religion.’" Bukhari vol.1 no.301 p.181

During the zenith of Islamic culture, Muslim scholar al-Ghazali (1058-1111 A.D.) catalogued a list of 18 ways women are inferior to men in Islam. Here are nine of them that relate to religion and culture.
Lesser inheritance

Liability to divorce and inability to divorce

Men can have multiple wives, but a woman can have only one husband

The wife must stay secluded at home
A woman must keep her head covered inside the house

A woman’s court testimony is only counted as half of a man

A woman cannot leave the house except accompanied by a near

Only men can take part in Friday and feast day prayers and funerals

A woman cannot be a ruler or judge
(See Why I Am Not a Muslim p.300 for all of the 18 ways.)

Dr. Badawi disputes many of these points of the Muslim scholar al-Ghazali.
We will look at some of these points, and examine Dr. Badawi’s view.

"Narrated ‘Aisha: Do you make us (women) equal to dogs and donkeys? While I used to lie in my bed, the Prophet [Mohammed] would come and pray facing the middle of the bed. I used to consider it not good to stand in front of him in his prayers. So I used to slip away slowly and quietly from the foot of the bed till I got out of my guilt." Bukhari vol.1 no.486 p.289. Let’s analyze this statement. ‘Aisha probably said this because Mohammed taught that a prayer was invalid if a dog or woman passed in front of you. Nothing actually says the prayer of a woman is invalid if a man passes in front of her.

A black dog or a woman, or a dog and menstruating woman cut off prayer. Abu Dawud vol.1 no.702,703 p.181; Ibn-i-Majah vol.2 no.949-953 p.78-80


In orthodox Islam daughters only get half the inheritance of their brothers. Sura 4:11 says, "Allah (thus) directs you As regards your children’s (inheritance): to the male, A portion equal to that Of two females:…" (Yusef Ali’s translation p.209).

Dr. Badawi on p.17 acknowledges this, but says the reason women have less inheritance is because men shoulder more of the burden for breadwinning. Actually though, having women inherit as much as men poses no hardship for men versus them only getting half as much.

By the way, Pakistan, Syria, and Egypt do not allow the woman to inherit anything according to Voices Behind the Veil p.131. However, that is against the Qur’an which says they should get half the portion of a male.

In contrast to this, prior to Mohammed in the Old Testament, daughters could inherit the same amount of land as their sons; Zelophehad’s daughters inherited in Numbers 27:7-8. The only restriction on women’s inheritance is that in those times, since the land was to remain within the tribe, Numbers 36:8 says that daughters who inherited land had to marry within the tribe. In the New Testament in 1 Peter vol.1 no.3-4, all believer’s (men and women) have the greatest inheritance of all, in inheritance in heaven.

Women and Property

When one is given a woman, servant, or cattle, one should seize its forehead and pray to Allah. Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.1918 p.157

Treat women well, for they are [like] domestic animals (‘awan) with you and do not possess anything for themselves." al-Tabari vol.9 p.113. Note that most Muslims scholars disagree with al-Tabari on this point though.

Women Are Forbidden To Pray at Some Times

Women are to "abandon prayer" during their time of month. Sahih Muslim vol.1 book 3 no.652 p.188-189; vol.2 book 4 no.1932-1934 and footnote 1163 p.418-419; Bukhari vol.1 book 6 no.322 p.194, vol.1 book 6 no.327 p.196; vol.3 book 31 ch.41 p.98; vol.3 book 31 no.172 p.98; Sunan Nasa’i vol.1 no.355-361 p.281-284; vol.1 no.364-368 p.285-286; Abu Dawud vol.3 no.4662 p.1312. One of the key wrongs of Christians and Jews, according to the Hadiths, is that they prayed at the wrong time.

A menstruating woman is not allowed to recite the Qur’an. Abu Dawud vol.1 footnote 111 p.56

On prayer, the New Testament has a rule too (if you can call it a rule.) All believers, male and female, are to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18; Ephesians 6:18)

Women are Not Half as Intelligent

According to the Muslim Sharia (Law), the witness of a woman is equal half that of a man, because of the deficiency of the woman’s mind. (Bukhari vol.3 no.826 p.502) Mohammed said that a nation will never succeed that makes a woman their ruler (Bukhari vol.9 no.219 p.171).

Eve was originally intelligent, Allah made her stupid after the fall. al-Tabari vol.1 p.280,281

A chain of transmission is "controversial" if it includes a woman. Ibn-i-Majah vol.5 no.3863 p.227. Transmission of a hadith by a woman is not as good as by a man. Sunan Nasa’i vol.1 p.84

The worst thing is not that Muslim writers would be considered male chauvinist pigs for saying that women have deficient minds. The really sad thing is that an educated Pakistani woman with a high-tech job was trying to explain to me why this was true.

Galatians 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

Women In the Eyes of Islamic Law

"Narrated Abu Sai’id Al-Khudri: The Prophet said, ‘Isn’t the witness of a woman equal half of that of a man?’ The women said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is because of the deficiency of the woman’s mind." Bukhari vol.3 no.826 p.502.

The Qur’an in Sura 2:282 says, "…And get two witnesses, Out of your own men. And if there are not two men, Then a man and two women, Such as ye choose, For witnesses, So that if one of them errs, The other can remind her…."

Dr. Badawi on p.34-35 acknowledges this, but also quotes Sura 24:6-9 which gives both husband and wife equal weight on charges of infidelity of the wife. Dr. Badawi says Sura 2:282 applies to only commercial transactions, and Sura 24:6-9 applies to everything else. However, it would be just as reasonable for all the other Muslim scholars to say Sura 24:6-9 applies to only infidelity cases, and Sura 2:282 applies to everything else.

Regardless of Badawi’s novel interpretation, all should agree that since the vast majority of Muslims who practice Sharia have used the same interpretation here, either

a) Allah failed to communicate what he intended

b) Badawi is right and the Muslim consensus has misunderstood Allah’s wishes all these centuries

c) Otherwise Dr. Badawi is wrong.

So if a Muslim man were to rape a Muslim woman, the man’s word would count twice as much as the woman’s. The word of a non-Muslim does not count at all in a court of law against a Muslim. Muslim man rapes a non-Muslim woman, even if a second non-Muslim woman is present, his word (that he did not do it) would count equal to the word of both of them.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said in an annual report that one woman is raped every three hours in Pakistan. Even worse, 72% of all women in police custody in Pakistan are physically and sexually abused. The Woman’s Action Forum says that 75% of all women in jail are under the charge of "zina" (fornication). It was never stated how many men, if any, were in jail for that. See Why I Am Not A Muslim p.324 for information and examples.

Freeing from slavery one Muslim man or two Muslim women frees one from Hell fire. Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.2522 p.509.

Wise women are mentioned in the Old Testament in 2 Samuel 14:2; 20:16-22. The virtuous wife speaks with wisdom in Proverbs 31:26. Of course what if you are not wise? Psalm 19:7 says that God makes wise the simple. This does not necessarily mean they will necessarily be wise in worldly knowledge, but wise in the wisdom of God.

Women in Employment

Dr. Badawi has interesting words here. He starts off saying that a woman’s primary role is motherhood, and that is why she must get her husband’s consent before working. Dr. Badawi says a women can seek employment, especially in certain fields, whenever there is a necessity for it. However, if there is no necessity, then Dr. Badawi never says it is OK for her to work. Dr. Badawi’s view is far superior to the Taliban’s, which forbade almost all work, even if the woman was starving. However, a much more ancient book, the Bible, mentions a wife in a well-off family working, initiating commercial transactions, and buying and selling all without requiring her husband’s consent; just as his buying and selling did not need her consent. This is in Proverbs 31:10-31. Proverbs does not say this lack of consent is not a source of friction between husband and wife, but verse 11 says her husband has full confidence in her. In my personal experience, if we are buying a car or a house, I have more confidence in my wife doing the buying and selling than myself doing it.

Women and Leadership

No Women Prophets

Dr. Badawi on p.13 "the demands and physical suffering associated with the role of messengers and prophets" is the reason there are no women prophets. Who says women were not capable of being prophets? What Badawi is perhaps unaware of is that there have been a number of godly prophetesses. Muslims recognize Miriam the sister of Moses as a godly woman. Exodus 15:20 says she was a prophetess. Deborah was a prophetess in Judges 4:4. Less well known is Huldah the prophetess in 2 Kings 22:14 and 2 Chronicles 34:22. In Luke 2:36 Anna was a prophetess who recognized the baby Jesus as the Messiah.

Joel 2:28 and Acts 2:17 says that both sons and daughters will prophesy. We have copies of these books from before the time of Jesus, and Sura vol.5 no.46 says that Jesus confirmed the Torah, of which Exodus 15:20 is a part.
No Women Rulers of Nations

Our point is to present an accurate view of Islam to balance what many modernist Muslims are saying. Lest someone mistakenly think we are antagonistic toward Dr. Badawi, we want to bring up an instance in his book where Dr. Badawi is at variance with the much of Muslim scholarship, but in this instance, we think Dr. Badawi is the one who is correct.

First we will look at the quotes that define Sharia, then give the common Muslim interpretation, and then Dr. Badawi’s interpretation.

"he [Mohammed] said, ‘Never will succeed such a nation as makes a woman their ruler.’" Bukhari vol.9 no.219 p.170-171.

No woman rulers. "Narrated Abu Bakr : During the battle of Al-Jamal [the camel] Allah benefited with a Word (I heard from the Prophet ): When the Prophet heard the news that the people of Persia had made the daughter of Khosrau their Queen (ruler), he said, ‘Never will succeed such a nation as makes a woman their ruler.’" Bukhari vol.9 no.219 p.171. Note that the context Mohammed was originally said this was when the Persians made a woman their ruler. However, also note that the application of this saying benefited Muslims after Mohammed’s death at the Battle of the Camel, when A’isha tried to defeat Caliph ‘Ali. So while the immediate context was Persia, the applicability was universal for after that.

The next two hadiths (Bukhari vol.9 no.220,221 p.171-172) said that when it was mentioned that ‘Aisha moved [mobilized] Basra, the response was "But Allah has put you to test whether you obey Him (Allah) or her (‘Aisha)"

Sura 4:34 says "Men are the protectors And maintainers of women, Because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means." Note that the word (strength) in Yusuf Ali’s translation is not in the Arabic.

-- That is it. There is nothing else in Sahih Muslim, Bukhari, or the Qur’an saying women cannot lead. Sura 4:34 does not mention leadership. Based on this single verse in Bukhari alone, many Muslims think women should not be presidents, governors, or in any government leadership position.

Dr. Badawi gives a number of weak arguments, but he also has one very strong one. Dr. Badawi says the only restriction given is the ruler of a nation; no restriction of any other government job is given; and even Muslims authorities such as al-Tabari accepted women as judges.

In contrast to this, Deborah was the top leader of Israel, a Judge, during the time of Barak. She was a godly woman and a godly leader, and God never gave any hint that either she was wrong, or women who emulated this Bible hero were wrong to do so. Israel succeeded at this time too.

Role of Wives in Islam

A Wife Needs Her Husband’s Permission

A wife cannot fast (superogatory) or allow someone to enter their home without her husband’s permission. Abu Dawud vol.2 no.2452, 2453 p.677-678

(superogatory means beyond what is required)

Outside of Ramadan, a wife can only fast with her husband’s permission. Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.1761-1762 p.62

Mohammed did not rebuke a husband who beat his wife for praying and fasting extra. Abu Dawud vol.2 no.2453 p.677-678

Men tell their wives when to take a bath. "If anyone makes (his wife) wash and he washes himself on Friday, goes out early (for Friday prayer), attends the sermon from the beginning, walking, not riding, takes his seat near the Imam, listens attentively, and does not indulge in idle talk, he will get the reward of a year’s fasting and praying at night for every step he takes." Abu Dawud vol.1 no.345 p.91. No reward for the wife is explicitly mentioned.

A woman should not give a gift from the joint property with her husband. Abu Dawud vol.2 no.3539 p.1006. This is generally because a woman lacks wisdom and intelligence. Abu Dawud vol.2 footnote 2991 p.1006.

A wife cannot give a gift without her husband’s consent. Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.2388 p.423

Women More Restricted on Divorce

Men can forsake wives, but wives cannot forsake husbands. Bukhari vol.7 no.121,122 p.93; vol.7 chapter 93 vol.7 no.130 p.99

Paradise has a strong smell. Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.2054 p.236 A woman who asks for divorce without extreme reasons is also forbidden the smell of Paradise. Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.2055 p.237, or strong reason in Abu Dawud vol.2 no.2218 p.600.

Men are not restricted however. Bukhari vol.3 no.859 (p.534) says a man can divorce for "something unpleasant about his wife, such as old age or the like."

A man became a Muslim and his wife knew about it. She became a Muslim, divorced her husband and married again. After the man told Mohammed, Mohammed took her away from her current husband and gave her back to her former husband. Abu Dawud vol.2 no.2230-2231 p.603

Temporary Marriage

"Narrated ‘Ali bin Abi Talib: On the day of Khaibar, Allah’s Apostle forbade the Mut’a (i.e. temporary marriage) and the eating of donkey meat." Bukhari vol.5 book 59 no.527 p.372 as well as Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.1961,1963 p.180,182. Bukhari vol.7 no.50,52 p.36,37 also discuss temporary marriage. Most but not all Sunni Muslims do not practice temporary marriages, while many Shi’ite Muslims feel free to do so.

Mustahill (No Equivalent in English)

A divorced woman cannot remarry the same man until she has consummated a marriage with someone else. Bukhari vol.7 book 63 no.186,187 p.136; Abu Dawud vol.2 no.2192 p.592-593

Note that if a man marries the same woman, he does not need to consummate a marriage with anybody.

Mustahill / Muhallil: When a man "irrevocably" divorces a woman, she must consummate a marriage with someone else before they can get back together again. Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.1933-1936 p.165-168. There is no such strange rule for a man.

Abu Dawud
vol.2 no.2302 p.629 also discusses the disgusting role of a mustahil in Islamic society.

Even for Muslim women who do not have to submit to a Mustahill, woman go through a lot in Muslim society. However, that is nothing compared to what a non-Muslim captive, slave girl, or even an "independent-thinking" wife can go through. We will cover this next.

A Word to Women (and Men too)

Sometimes Muslims women can feel inferior as the hadiths have taught, or even guilty for being a women, but I want to just say that this is very wrong. God created you, and if you think you are "junk", and God created junk, you are disrespecting God. Psalms (zubur in Arabic) 139:14 teaches that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

It is not enough to choose to believe the key truths of God. You also have to choose to disbelieve the lies that the key truths of God contradict. Mohammed taught one of the three worst lies was to attribute to Him things he did not say. While we should not lie about anybody, it is a much, much worse lie to attribute to God things God did not say.

Repent of the times you accepted lies, even knowing they were lies. Pray to God to show you the truth, and give you a heart to follow the truth and turn away from all lies, which can become idols themselves. What is there that you love more than God? Anything you love more than God can be an idol, even a religion. Do not love Islam more than God, and we do not ask you to love Christianity more than God either. Simply choose to love God with all your heart, all your heart, all your soul, all your strength and all your mind, and I am confident God will show you the truth of His word.

Nothing can separate God’s children from the love of God. Rom 8:29-39; 2 Cor 5:5; 1 Thess 4:17;5:10

Live a life of love through Christ. 1 Cor 16:14; Eph 5:1; 1 John 3:10-18,23; 4:7-13; 5:2; 2 Cor 8:24; Jn17:26.

www.MuslimHope.com (http://www.muslimhope.com/)

What Islam Really Says About Women - a Critique of Jamal Badawi’s Booklet Gender Equity In Islam

Part 2: Marriage and Sexual Relations in The Qur’an and Hadiths

Polygamy, Marriage, and Divorce

Some people might think that Judeo-Christian morality and Muslim morality are very similar. In the areas of marriage and sex, official Sunni Islamic Law is actually very detailed, and very different, in what is allowed. Let’s learn what the Sharia of Muslim lands teaches and then come to your own conclusions.

Dr. Badawi on p.27 asserts that an equal ratio of men and women born makes it impossible that polygamy was the norm for Islam; therefore it was not the norm. However, what if it was not impossible? There would be more women than men because

a) believing men were chastised if they did not fight in Jihad, so many would die off that way

b) While Muslim women cannot marry non-Muslim men, Muslim men can have non-Muslim concubines, have unlimited concubines, and have sex with unlimited women who are neither one of the four regular wives nor concubines, but simply captives or slaves "their right hands possess".

Attitude on Divorce

A man in Islam can divorce his wife for any reason. Bukhari vol.3 no.859 (p.534) says a man can divorce for "something unpleasant about his wife, such as old age or the like."

‘Umar commanded his son ‘Abd Allah to divorce his wife, but he refused because he loved her. So ‘Umar went to Mohammed, and Mohammed ordered him to divorce her. Abu Dawud vol.3 no.5119 p.1422

"’Abdullah b. ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "The most despicable acts of lawful acts in the sight of Allah is divorce." Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.2018 p.216

‘Umar said Mohammed divorced Hafsah (revocable divorce) and then took her back. Abu Dawud vol.2 no.2276 p.619

Mohammed ordered his adopted son Zaid to divorce Zainab, and then Mohammed married Zainab. Zaid had no choice, because Mohammed recited Sura 33:36-38. Muslims believe the Qur’an is uncreated and inscribed on a tablet in heaven, but Sura 33:36-38 mentions Zaid by name saying he was not to have any choice in divorcing Zainab. Later Zainab bint Jahsh "used to boast before the other wives of the Prophet and used to say, ‘Allah married me (to the Prophet) in the Heavens.’" Bukhari vol.9 no.517 p.382. Also vol.9 no.516,518 p.381-383.

As an aside, "bin" means son in Arabic, and "bint" means daughter.

A man must divorce his wife, if his father commands it. Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.2088-2089 p.259-260

Two Muslim men were good friends, so one man asked the other which wife he should divorce so that the other could marry her. Bukhari vol.5 book 58 no.125 p.82

A man had a wife for many years, who bore him many children. He intended to "exchange her" (Majah’s choice of words) but he kept here when she agreed to give up her turn with him. Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.1914 p.188.

There are some differences among the Sunni schools on divorce Sahih Muslim vol.2 footnote 1464 p.520

See also Book 10. The Book of Divorce. Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 p.205, for an entire chapter on divorce.

Marriage Consent Is Required, But…

Dr. Badawi p.23 says that in Islam the woman has a right to accept or reject marriage proposals.

However, it is strange that silence implies consent. "Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as having said: … a virgin must not be married until her permission is sought. They asked the Prophet of Allah (may peace be upon him): How her (virgin’s) consent can be solicited? He (the Holy Prophet) said: That she keeps silence." Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 8 no.3303 p.714. See also Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.1870,1872 p.129,130; Abu Dawud vol.2 no.2087-2088 p.560; vol.2 no.2095 p.562; Bukhari vol.9 book 85 no.79 p.66; Bukhari vol.9 book 86 no.100 p.81

Actually, Muslim scholars disagree on marrying a virgin against her will. Abu Dawud vol.2 footnote 1426 p.561

The Hanafites are the largest of the four major schools of Sunni Islam. Hanafi also taught that even if the woman is an adult, a guardian’s permission is still required. Abu Dawud vol.2 footnote 1409 p.557

A marriage is not valid unless the woman’s guardian gives consent. A woman who marries a man only with her own consent is an adulterer. Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.1879-1882 p.137-139

However, Dr. Badawi failed to mention one "small detail." Women captives do not have the right to refuse to be a sex slave concubine, because if they did, their masters would still have a right to have sex with them anyway, as the next section shows.

Slave Girls and Sex with Captives in Islam

I must give advance warning that some of this material is very "frank". Remember though, we are reading what is considered good and moral religious literature by orthodox Sunni Muslims. But we will let you be the judge of that. Here are the references and quotes so you can decide.

Sex with Captives

Stripping female captives of their clothes is OK, according to Sahih Muslim vol.3 book 17 no.4345 p.953 and Ibn-i-Majah vol.4 no.2840 p.187.

After the battle of Karbala (after Mohammed died), the Muslim soldiers supporting Yazid forcibly disrobed the Muslim women supporting Husayn. al-Tabari vol.19 p.161

Sex with captives among the Bani Al-Mustaliq. Bukhari vol.9 no.506 p.372; Abu Dawud vol.2 no.2167 p.582

The fact that it was OK for Muslims to have sex with captive women is in Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 8 no.3371-3374 p.732-735; Abu Dawud vol.2 no.2150 and footnote 1479 577-578.

"Narrated Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri that while he was sitting with Allah’s Apostle he said, ‘Oh Allah’s Apostle We get female captives as our share of booty, and we are interested in their prices, what is your opinion about coitus interruptus?’ [a sexual practice] The Prophet said, ‘Do you really do that? It is better for you not to do it, No soul that which Allah has destined to exist, but will surely come into existence." Bukhari vol.3 no.432 p.237. See also Bukhari vol.5 book 59 no.459 p.317; vol.7 no.136-137 p.102-103; vol.8 no.600 p.391; Abu Dawud vol.2 no.2166,2168 p.582

"Abu Sai’d al-Khudri said : The Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) sent a military expedition to Awtas on the occasion of the battle of Hunain. They met their enemy and fought with them. They defeated them and took them captives. Some of the Companions of the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) were reluctant to have intercourse with the female captives in the presence of their husbands who were unbelievers. So Allah, the Exalted, sent down the Qur’anic verse: [Sura 4:24) "And all married women (are forbidden) unto you save those (captives) whom your right hands possess." That is to say, they are lawful for them when they complete their waiting period.(1479)" Abu Dawud vol.2 no.2150 p.577

"After the distribution of the spoils of war a man may have intercourse with the female slave after passing one menstrual period, if she is not pregnant. If she is pregnant one should wait till she delivers the child. This is the view held by Malik, al-Shafi’i and Abu Thawr. Abu Hanifah holds that if both the husband and wife are captivated together, their marriage tie still continues; they will not be separated. According to the majority of scholars, they will be separated. Al-Awza-I maintains that their marriage tie will continue till they remain part of the spoils of war. If a man buys them, he may separate them if he desires, and cohabit with the female slave after one menstrual period. (‘Awn al-Ma’bud II.213)" Note that Mohammed married Safiyah right after the battle. Abu Dawud vol.2 footnote 1479 p.577-578.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Not thieves, not covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." (KJV)

A Muslim warrior has to wait until a woman’s menstrual course is finished before having sex with her. Abu Dawud vol.2 no.2153-2154 p.578

Narrated Ibn Muhairiz : I saw Abu Sa’id and asked him about coitus interruptus. Abu Sa’id said, "We went with Allah’s Apostle in the Ghazwa of Bani Al-Mustaliq and we captured some of the Arabs as captives and the long separation from our wives was pressing us hard and we wanted to practice coitus interruptus. We asked Allah’s Apostle (whether it was permissible). He said, "It is better for you not to do so. No soul, (that which Allah has) destined to exist, up to the Day of Resurrection, but will definitely come into existence." Bukhari vol.3 no.718 p.432

Notice that the captives were in no way considered "wives". They were neither wives nor concubines, or they would not have seen any need to ask Mohammed about this.

In contrast to this, the Old Testament teaches that if a soldier wanted a captive woman, he had to marry her first, and only after waiting for a month in Deuteronomy 21:10-14.

Extra-marital Sex with Slave Girls

That Muslims can force captives to have sex may be a surprise not only to some westerners. Even many Muslims who are not very familiar with their own hadiths might not know that Mohammed and Muslims historically did this. It is perfectly reasonable that a Muslim would be expected not to believe this unless there was thorough evidence, so here is the thorough evidence.

"…We went out with Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) on the expedition to the Bi’l-Mustaliq and took captives some excellent Arab women; and we desired them, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them. So we decided to have [sex] with them but by observing …. But we said: We are doing an act whereas Allah’s Messenger is amongst us; why not ask him? So we asked Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him), and he said: It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born." Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 8 no.3571 p.732-733.

Note that in this quote these women were in no way considered "wives".

vol.7 no.22; vol.3 no.after 436, vol.3 no.432; vol.5 no.459; vol.8 no.600 also teach it is morally acceptable to force female slaves to have sex.

"Can one travel with a slave-girl without knowing whether she is pregnant or not? Al-Hasan found no harm in her master’s kissing or fondling with her.

Ibn ‘Umar said, ‘If a slave-girl who is suitable to have sexual relations is given to somebody as a gift, or sold or manumitted [freed], her master should not have sexual intercourse with her before she gets one menstruation so as to be sure of absence of pregnancy, and there is no such necessity for a virgin.’

‘Ata said, ‘There is no harm in fondling with one’s pregnant (1) slave-girl without having sexual intercourse with her. Allah said: ‘Except with their wives and the (women captives) whom their right hands possess (for in this case they are not to be blamed).’" Footnote (1) says, "Pregnant from another man, not her present master." Bukhari vol.3 ch.113 after no.436 p.239-240. (Same ‘Ata as previous.)

"And ‘Ata disliked to look at those slave girls who used to be sold in Mecca unless he wanted to buy." Bukhari vol.8 no.246 p.162.

Mohammed was asked about sex with slave girls. - It is fine. Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 8 no.3377,3383-3388 p.734-735. In contrast to this, in the Old Testament a man who had sex with a slave, and not his wife, was killed.

Sex with captives is OK. Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 8 no.3371-3376 p.733; Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.2517 p.506

Sex with slave girls is OK. Ibn-i-Majah vol.1 no.89 p.52; vol.3 no.1920 p.158; vol.3 no.1927-1928 p.162. See also Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.1851 p.117.

Islam even has a special word for this: an Umm Walad (or um Walid) is a slave girl who gives birth to her master’s child. Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 footnote 1 p.257. Mariya was an um walid of Mohammed according to al-Tabari vol.13 p.58.

The child of a slave girl and her master is mentioned in Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.2004 p.207.

However, A Muslim slave owner cannot look at the nakedness of a slave girl if she is married to someone else. Otherwise it is OK; she does not have to be married to him, only owned by him at the time of sex. Abu Dawud vol.1 no.496 and footnote 198 p.126.

All of these quotes are available in Muslim books you can buy, so there is no real secret here. Now if you were brought up in a Muslim school, perhaps your teachers did not tell you about this part of Islam. Perhaps when you decided to follow Islam you were not told the full story, and joined Islam under false pretences.

Partners Besides Wives in the Qur’an

If one reads the Qur’an (as I have from cover to cover), one can miss many things if you do not know the terminology. Now that we understand what "those whom your right hands possess" means, let’s see what the Qur’an clearly states.

"Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess…." Sura 4:24.

"Those whom their right hands possess" is also mentioned in Sura 16:71.

"…abstain from sex, except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess - for (in their case) they are free from blame," Sura 23:5-6

"And those who guard their chastity, Except with their wives and the (captives) whom their right hands possess, - for (then) they are not to be blamed," Sura 70:29-30

It is not lawful to marry more than "these", except for those whom your right hands possess. Sura 33:52. See also Sura 33:50. So more than four "partners" is OK, as long as they other are merely those whom your right hands possess.

All the quotes of the Qur’an here, unless otherwise stated, are from Yusuf ‘Ali’s translation, and "(captives)" is not in the Arabic but his translation. Apparently it is to try to soften the impact of "those whom your right hands possess", but the truth is, it is not limited to captives.

Non-Muslim Sex Slaves may be OK, but non-Muslim Wives are Bad

"Do not marry polytheistic women until they have become true believers. For a woman who is a true believe is better than a woman who is a polytheist, even should you find the latter greatly pleasing. Furthermore, do not permit your women to marry polytheistic men until they have become true believers. For a man who is a true believer is better than a man who is a polytheist, even should you find the latter greatly pleasing… Sura 2:221 (quotes from Women In Islam p.53)

"Whenever Ibn ‘Umar was asked about the marrying of a Christian or Jewish woman, he replied: ‘Truly, God has made polytheistic women unlawful for true believers, and I do not know anything worse in polytheism than for a woman to say ‘Our Lord is Jesus’, though he was merely just one of God’s servants!’"

Bukhari vol.7 no.209 p.155-156. Also quoted in Women in Islam p.53

Yet Mohammed had at least two concubines who were not Muslim. Mary the Christian and Rayhana/Raihana/Rayhanah bint Zayd/Zaid. He also had some slave girls on the side too. Bukhari vol.7 no.274 p.210; Abu Dawud vol.3 no.4458 p.1249. Salmah for example, was a maid-servant of Mohammed. Abu Dawud vol.3 no.3849 p.1084; al-Tabari vol.39 p.181.

al-Tabari vol.12 p.202 also mentions that ‘Umar was going to give 10,000 dirhams to each of Mohammed’s widows, but none for Mohammed’s slave girls. However, the wives insisted that Mohammed’s slave girls each get 10,000 dirhams too.

Mohammed probably never had sex with the wife of someone else though. "He [Mohammed] replied, ‘Conceal your private parts except from your wife and from whom your right hands possess (slave-girls).’" Abu Dawud vol.3 no.4006 p.1123

Beating Women in Islam

Beating Wives

"‘How does anyone of you beat his wife as he beats the stallion camel and then he may embrace (sleep with) her?’ And Hisham said, ‘As he beats his slave.’" Bukhari vol.8 no.68 p.42.

Why does the Qur’an say in Sura 4:34 to "beat" or "scourge" your wife, if she is disobedient? Dr. Badawi on p.25 acknowledges that a man can "administer a gentle pat". However, he is toying with words here. The Arabic word "beat" or "scourge" does not mean tap lightly; it is the same word used to beat a violent criminal or a camel.

In Sura 4:34 the Arabic word idreb is a conjugate of daraba which means "to beat, strike, or hit" according to Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic p.538.

Mohammed himself once deliberately struck ‘Aisha "on the chest which caused me pain", according to Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 4 no.2127 p.462.

If a husband is remiss, the Qur’an never says the wife is to have her husband beaten. Even if the husband is a known beater, nothing is done to him.

In Egypt they do not think much of Dr. Badawi’s novel interpretation. The Guardian Weekly reported that in 1987 and Egyptian court ruled that a husband had the duty to educate his wife, and therefore he could punish her as he wished. (from Voices Behind the Veil p.152).

Umm Kulthum did not want to marry the caliph ‘Umar because "he leads a rough life and is severe with his womenfolk." al-Tabari vol.14 p.101.

‘Aisha explained to the Caliph ‘Umar, "You are rough and ready. … How will it be with (Umm Kulthum) if she disobeys you on any matter and you punish her physically? al-Tabari vol.14 p.102

Likewise al-Tabari vol.15 p141 footnote 251 said that all four caliphs had family ties to Mohammed except ‘Umar, "since Muhammad thought him too harsh for any of his daughters." So Muhammad thought him too harsh for his daughters, but did not stop him from being harsh towards others.

vol.3 no.1850 p.116 in discussing the responsibilities of a husband says that a husband cannot beat the face of his wife, or denounce her as ugly, or fail to materially support her. See also Abu Dawud vol.2 no.2137 p.574; vol.2 no.2138-2139 p.574-575. In all these references, only the face is exempt from beating.

Beat women, but not severely, if they allow anyone whom you dislike to lie on their beds. Abu Dawud vol.2 no.1900 p.505

Mu’awiya and Abu Jahm both asked to marry Fatimah bint Qais. Abu Jahm doesn’t put his stick down from his shoulder. Abu Dawud vol.2 no.2277 p.619-620. Mohammed knew this, but never did it say he rebuked Abu Jahm.

Job was allegedly ordered to beat his wife. al-Tabari vol.2 p.140

Today the penal code of Egypt and Libya Article 212 says that if a woman disobeys her husband, the man can file a complaint with the local judge. The judgments can be implemented in a coercive manner if the situation demands it. The house can be besieged by the forces of order if the need arises following the instructions of the judge." (See Why I Am Not A Muslim p.314 for more info.)

"’A’ishah said: Habibah daughter of Sahl was the wife of Thabit b. Qais b. Shimmas. He beat her and broke some of her part. So she came to the Prophet (may peace be upon him) after morning, and complained to him against her husband. The Prophet (may peace be upon him) called on Thabit b. Qais and said (to him): Take a part of her property and separate yourself from her. He asked: Is that right, Apostle of Allah? He said: Yes. He said: I have given her two gardens of mint as a dower, and they are already in her possession. The Prophet (may peace be upon him) said: Take them and separate yourself from her."

Note that the man still got the gardens back after beating his wife and breaking part of her. Abu Dawud vol.2 no.2220 p.600

"This shows that wives should obey their husbands. In case they do not obey or become emboldened towards their husbands, they should try to amend them by preaching and education. Beating is the last resort. But it is better to avoid beating as far as possible." Abu Dawud vol.2 footnote 1467 p.575.

In a January 2004 Associated Press article by Mar Roman, a Muslim imam in Fuengirola, Spain, Mohammed Kamal Mustafa, was fined $2,735 and given a 15-month suspended prison sentence for writing and distributing the book Women in Islam, which urged husbands to hit their wives ``on the hands and feet using a rod that is thin and light so that it does not leave scars or bruises on the body.'' The imam argued that he was interpreting passages of the Qur'an and said he opposed violence against women.

"’Umar b. al-Khattab reported the Prophet (may peace be upon him) as saying: A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife.(1468)" Abu Dawud vol.2 no.2142 p.575

"This means that a man tries his best to correct his wife, but he fails to do so, he is allowed to beat her as a last resort. This tradition never means that a husband should beat her [his] wife without any valid reason. If he beats her without any fault on her part, he will be responsible and called to answer." Abu Dawud vol.2 footnote 1468 p.375

While the Bible does mention disciplining children, it never mentions beating, hitting, or even disciplining a wife or husband.

A Final Caution

Abraham Lincoln once asked, "if you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?" When someone said "five", Lincoln said that was wrong, because calling a tail a leg does not make it so.

Just because a major world religion says God teaches that beating women, sex slaves, and extra-marital sex with captives is OK, does not make it so. These practices are wicked, and should not be condoned, even when done with the approval of the religious books of Islam.

Turn back from the innovations of Mohammed and the hadiths, to what God really said in the Bible.

Where Do You Go From Here?

God is not unknowable. You need to bow before the Creator of the Universe, who wants his own to know Him as Father, and be willing to follow the teaching of the True God.

God does not totally abandon his people. God does not his followers believe the teachings of Satan. So do not disrespect God by saying He "lost" his word, or allowed the teachings of Moses and Jesus to be corrupted, and corrupt lies is all God gave His followers, all they could have in times past.

Sin does not mean just little slip ups. You need to confess that you have turned your back on God’s teaching and commands, you have not only done the wrong things, you have failed to do the right things. Not only have our actions be wrong, we have had hatred of people, lust, and greed in our hearts. Ask God to come into your life, give you a new, clean heart, that will transform your mind, words, and actions. Then you will stop asking what you must not do instead of what you can get away with. Rather, you will want to do everything you can to please God.

To everyone Jesus appeared to die on the cross because He really did die on the cross. God did not fool all of His followers with false teaching for centuries. Jesus’ death was not a defeat, but the means by which Jesus went forth in battle and defeated Satan in His own realm of Hell. After Jesus conquered, Jesus was physically raised from the dead as a sign of God.

You can no longer ignore Jesus’ words. He taught that He was no mere prophet. There is only one God, but Jesus is a distinct part of the inseparable God. Call on Jesus as your Lord, worship Him as the apostles and His other followers did, and accept His forgiveness for sins.

Pray right now to God to show you the truth and come into your life, to give you eternal life. You may still have many questions, and that is fine. Contact us atwww.muslimhope.com (http://www.muslimhope.com/) and we will be happy to answer them.

What Islam Really Says About Women - a Critique of Jamal Badawi’s Booklet Gender Equity In Islam

Part 3: Veiling Women, Unveiling Afterlife, and Veiling the Qur’an

General Slapping Women Around

Dr. Badawi on p.25 says that in no circumstances does the Qur’an encourage, allow, or condone family violence or physical abuse. However, Mohammed himself tolerated it multiple times.

Before we go on, we need to interject that this is especially relevant today. Some Muslims in Great Britain, India, and other countries want to persuade those countries to have Muslims under Muslim (Sharia) law, and not just the law of the nation. Beating wives is lawful under Sharia.

In others.

Fatima bint Qais was divorced from her husband and received three marriage proposals, from Mu’awiya, Abu Jahm, and Usama bin Zaid. Mohammed mentioned that Mu’awiya was poor and without property, and Abu Jahm "is a great beater of women" in Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 8 no.3526 p.772. See also Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.1869 p.129. Notice that in both references Mohammed himself publicly recognized that he knew Abu Jahm was a great beater of women, but Abu Jahm was not punished. He was not even told to stop!


vol.7 no.132 p.101 says not to flog your wife as you flog a slave and then sleep with her later. It does not specify whether the slaves are male or female, because at another time (Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.1983 p.194) Mohammed criticized Muslim men for beating their wives in the same way they beat their slave-girls.

If the wife had a bad tongue (i.e. is insolent) Mohammed suggested divorcing her. When the man said there were children, Mohammed then said to ask her to obey him. However, do not beat her like he would a slave girl. Abu Dawud vol.1 no.142 p.35

Yet according to Ibn-i-Majah (the least authoritative of the six recognized collections of hadiths) A’isha said Mohammed did not beat his attendant or his wife. Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.1984 p.194

Are the hadiths contradictory saying that Mohammed beat women and not beat women? Not necessarily. If A’isha was not just covering up, it might have been said before the following incident.

Flip-flop on Beating:

Iyas b. ‘Abdullah, the son of Abu Dhubab (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "Do not beat the slave girls (women folk.)." Then ‘Umar visited the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said, "Allah’s Messenger, women have become emboldened towards their husbands. So allow us to beat them. So, they were beaten (when permission was granted) Upon this many groups of women went round the family of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). When it was morning, he (the Holy Prophet) said, "Seventy women went round the family of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) this night. Every woman was making a complaint against her spouse. You will not find them the best among you. [The footnote says "them" refers to the men]. Note that the peace which was supposedly on Mohammed apparently did not extend to the wives and slave girls who were the alleged rightful objects of beating. Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.1985 p.194-195

Let’s look at this again from another hadith. "Iyas b. ‘Abd Allah b. Abi Dhubab reported the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) as saying: Do not beat Allah’s handmaidens, but when ‘Umar came to the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) and said: Women have become emboldened towards their husbands, he (the Prophet) gave permission to beat them. Then many women came round the family of the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) complaining against their husbands. So the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) said : Many women have gone round Muhammad’s family complaining against their husbands. They are not the best among you.(1467)" Abu Dawud vol.2 no.2141 p.575

"One night ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him) arranged a feast. When it was midnight, he got up and went towards his wife to beat her. I separated them both. When he went to his bed, he said to me, "O ‘Ash’ath, preserve from me a thing that I heard from Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). (These things are): A man will not be taken to task for beating his wife (for valid reasons) and do not sleep without observing witr prayer." I forgot the third (exhortation)." Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.1986 p.195. Note that (for valid reasons) is a qualification added in the translation; it is not in the Arabic.

Even worse, Mohammed himself tolerated it with his own wives.

Abu Bakr and Omar came in to Mohammed’s tent and "found Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) sitting sad and silent with his wives around him. He (Hadrat ‘Umar) said: I would say something which would make the Holy Prophet laugh, so he said : Messenger of Allah, I wish you had seen (The treatment meted out to) the daughter of Kharija when you asked me some money, and I got up and slapped her on the neck. Allah’s Messenger laughed and said : They are around me as you see, asking for extra money. Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) then got up, went to ‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) and slapped her on the neck, and ‘Umar stood up before Hafsa and slapped her saying : You ask Allah’s Messenger which he does not possess. They said: By Allah, we do not ask Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) for anything he does not possess. Then he [Mohammed] withdrew from them for twenty-nine days." Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 8 no.3506 p.763

When a woman thinks she should be given more money for support, even if she were wrong, is this the way women are supposed to be treated, with slapping?

So he [Abu Bakr] admonished me [‘Aisha] and said what Allah wished him to say and hit me on my flank with his hand. Nothing prevented me from moving (because of the pain) but the position of Allah’s Apostle [Mohammed] on my thigh. Allah’s Apostle got up when dawn broke.…" Bukhari vol.1 no.330 p.199.

Abu Bakr deliberately poked ‘A’isha when she lost her bracelet and held up the caravan. Sunan Nasa’i vol.1 no.313 p.259; vol.1 no.317 p.261; vol.1 no.326 p.267

We cannot emphasize enough, that for Christians it is NEVER OK to slap a woman around.

Veils and Partial Seclusion

Dr. Badawi says modesty is required, but he totally sidesteps the hot issue of veils.

Muslims today apparently have at least three views on veils. Muslim women in many places wear a veil covering their face, or a burqa covering their body. Many who follow a modern or "neo-Islam" do not veil themselves. A third view, witnessed on a plane leaving Egypt is to be fully veiled in the Mideast, but to remove the veils, revealing western clothes once the plane is in the air. But our focus is not on the variety among Muslims today, but to see from the hadiths what Mohammed really taught and the earliest Muslims practiced.

Veils Are Required

The hadiths state that veils were for all Muslim women. Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 7 no.2789 p.606-607

I asked a Muslim woman, wearing traditional Muslims dress with a headscarf, why she was not wearing a veil. She believed that veils are preferred, but not required.

However, in the hadiths, "…Allah does not accept the prayer of a woman who has reached puberty unless she wears a veil." Abu Dawud vol.1 no.639 p.168

The law that a woman must cover her face is included in the law that she must cover her private parts. Abu Dawud vol.2 footnote 2749 p.935

Most curiously, veils are not required for slave women Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 8 no.3325,3328 p.721-722. Apparently the point was not the temptation of men, but simply modesty of Muslim women.

When Mohammed "took" Safiyah, the other Muslims waited to see if he would have her be veiled to see if she was going to be a regular wife, or unveiled for either a concubine or a "sex captive". He had her veiled, and made her a regular wife. Bukhari vol.4 no.143 p.92.

When the decree to veil women came. "Narrated ‘Aisha the wife of the Prophet : ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab used to say to Allah’s Apostle, ‘Let your wives be veiled.’ But he did not do so. The wives of the Prophet used to go out to answer the call of nature at night only at Al-Manasi’. Once Sauda, the daughter of Zam’a went out and she was a tall woman. ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab saw her while he was in a gathering, and said, ‘I have recognized you, O Sauda!’ He (‘Umar) said so as he was anxious for some Diving orders regarding the veil (the veiling of women.) So Allah revealed the Verse of veiling. (Al-Hijab; - a complete body cover excluding the eyes)." Bukhari vol.8 no.257 p.170

Interestingly, it is OK for a woman to stay in another man’s house if he is blind. Abu Dawud vol.2 no.2282 -2283 p.621

It is still OK for a woman to adorn herself for seekers in marriages. Abu Dawud vol.2 no.2299 p.627-628

One should have a look at a woman, you want to marry to create harmony. Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.1865 p.126

Similarly, it is good to look at a woman’s face before marrying her. Abu Dawud vol.2 no.2077 p.557

The Bible speaks of a veil but in a very different way. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."

The Importance of Veils: Striking Unveiled Women

In Afghanistan today, even after the Taliban were driven out, Afghan women are still being abused, harassed and threatened, according to the Human Rights Watch report "We Want to Live as Humans" (52 pages). (Source: The Dallas Morning News 12/17/2002). This would happen when they are caught without wearing their burqa.

In Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 7 no.2789 p.606-607 ‘Aisha was on a camel with her relative ‘Abd al-Rahman bin Abu Bakr, and she took off her veil since no one was around in the empty desert. "…I lifted my head covering and took it off from my neck. He struck my foot as if he was striking the camel. I said to him: Do you find anyone here?..." Footnote 1648 says "What A’isha meant was that it was wilderness and there was none from whom she was required to observe purdah. ‘Abd al-Rahman was, however, over-cautious and he was afraid lest anyone should abruptly appear before her." Leaving aside the question of whether she should have been veiled when no one else was around there are three things to note:

1) When people were around she should have been veiled

2) It is OK to strike her

3) There was no criticism for striking her first, and explaining why she was struck after that.

An unveiled women outside of the house was almost stabbed by her husband (Sahih Muslim vol.4 book 24 no.5557 p.1213). "The man carried the weapons and then came back and found his wife standing between the two doors. He bent towards her smitten by jealousy and made a dash towards her with a spear in order to stab her. She said : Keep your spear away and enter the house until you see that which has made me come out. He entered and found a big snake coiled on the bedding…."

See also Abu Dawud vol.3 no.5237-5238 p.1448-1449.

In Nigeria, a non-Muslim woman was walking where there was a mosque on the other side of the street. The mosque service had just ended, and when the people came out, they attacked her.

Modernist Muslims are wrong. Veils and seclusion of women from men in Muslim society [today] is required. Abu Dawud 1vol.1 footnote 506 p.267

Arabian Veils Prior to Mohammed

As a side note, veils were not a new thing among Arabs given by Mohammed. Tertullian, writing 200-240 A.D., mentions that Arabian heathen females were entirely veiled except for one eye. On the Veiling of Virgins ch.9 p.37

Women Secluded In the House

In contrast to veils, Dr. Badawi on p.32 does take a stand saying total seclusion was alien to the prophetic period. He elsewhere says the centuries of Islamic Jurisprudence should not always be followed, and claims seclusion and not leaving the house are not Islamic.

While early Islam did not preach total seclusion, it taught that a woman should not go on a journey of three days or more except when a close relative (Mahram) is with her. Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 7 no.3096-3098,3101-3110 p.675-676. An unaccompanied woman cannot journey for more than a day according to Ibn-i-Majah vol.4 no.2899 p.220

The prophet explicitly forbade that a woman should go on a two-day journey without her husband or a Mahram Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 7 no.3099-3100 p.676.

A divorced woman cannot go out of the house at some times. Abu Dawud vol.2 no.1605-1606 p.622-623

However, the original Islam was not totally unreasonable. It said that Muslim women confined to their houses can come out during Id festivals. Ibn-i-Majah vol.2 no.1307-1308 p.277

A man cannot enter into conversation with a woman except out of necessity Sahih Muslim vol.4 footnote 2964 p.1442

It was said that Mohammed never touched the hand of a woman. Ibn-i-Majah vol.4 no.2874-2875 p.204-205

On the other hand, a young girl from Ethiopia made Mohammed very happy. "Narrated Um Khalid bint Khalid: When I came from Ethiopia (to Medina), I was a young girl. Allah’s Apostle made me wear a sheet having marks on it. Allah’s Apostle was rubbing those marks with his hands saying, "Sanah! Sanah!" (i.e. good, good)." Bukhari vol.5 book 58 no.214 p.137

Averroes (Abu al-Walid Mohammed bin Ahmad ibn Mohammed ibn Roshd) was a famous Muslim philosopher who lived from 1126-1198 A.D. He said that the poverty and distress of that time came from women being kept like "domestic animals or house plants for purposes of gratification, of a very questionable character besides, instead of being allowed to take part in the production of material and intellectual wealth, and in the preservation of the same." Quoted from Y. J. de Boer The History of Philosophy in Islam 1933. p.198 in Why I Am Not a Muslim p.271

In contrast to this, Proverbs 31:14,18 says of the virtuous woman "She is like the merchant ships, brining her food from afar. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. (18) "She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night."

Other Sharia Gender Rules

Men cannot wear silk; this includes silk ties. (Bukhari vol.7 book 72 no.720 p.482; Sahih Muslim vol.4 book 29 no.6038 p.1314)

Men cannot wear yellow clothing: (Sahih Muslim vol.3 book 22 no.5173-5178 p.1146; Ibn-i-Majah vol.5 no.3603-3604 p.90-91)

Women cannot wear wigs of artificial hair. (Bukhari vol.7 no.133 p.101; Sahih Muslim vol.3 book 22 no.5297-5306 p.1165-1166)

Women cannot have false hair or alter their teeth. Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.1987-1989 p.196-197

Women cannot have false hair, alter teeth, or remove facial hair. Bukhari vol.6 no.408 p.380.

No birth control (Sahih Muslim vol.1 footnote p.66).

In the mosque, the woman’s place is in the back Sahih Muslim vol.1 book 4 no.880-881 p.239

On circumcision for girls, Muslim legal experts disagree according to the Abu Dawud vol.3 footnote 4257 p.1451. It is neither endorsed nor forbidden in the Qur’an.

Women in Heaven and Hell

"Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Qais Al-Ash’ari: The Prophet said, ‘A tent (in Paradise) is like a hollow pearl which is thirty miles in height and on every corner of the tent the believer will have a family that cannot be seen by the others.’" Bukhari vol.4 no.466 p.306. It is 60 miles high in Sahih Muslim vol.4 book 38 no.6806 p.1481.

vol.6 no.402 says that believers will have wives beautiful women restrained (chained?) in pavilions. While Muslims cannot drink on earth, they will have wine in Heaven.

Any woman who dies while her husband is pleased with her is promised Paradise. Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.1854 p.119; vol.3 no.2013 p.212. (There is no mention of a man who dies while his wife/wives are pleased with men is promised Paradise.)

Christian men do not have more to look forward to in heaven than women. Galatians 3:28 says that in Christ there is neither male nor female.

In the Bible, people are neither married nor given in marriage in Matthew 22:30.

Houris (Heavenly Virgins)

In heaven believers will allegedly have wives called "houris" Bukhari vol.4 no.544 p.343 and other places.

A man who controls his anger will be given his pick of wide-eyed maidens [houris]. Abu Dawud vol.3 no.4759 p.1339

Houris do not want wives [on earth] to annoy their husbands, since the houris will also be the wives of the husbands in the afterlife. "Mu’adh b. Jobal (Allay be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, ‘A woman does not annoy her husband but his spouse from amongst the maidens with wide eyes intensely white and deeply black will say: Do not annoy him, may Allah ruin you." He is with you as a passing guest. Very soon, he will part with you and come to us.’" Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.2014 p.212

Rumi's Mathnawi book 1 no.3450 p.192 tells of people of Paradise snatching kisses from the lips of houris.

Women in Hell

"It is narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah b. ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah observed: O womenfolk, you should give charity and ask much forgiveness for I saw you in bulk amongst the dwellers of Hell. A wise lady among them said: Why is it, Messenger of Allah, that our folk is in bulk in Hell? Upon this the Holy Prophet observed: You curse too much and are ungrateful to your spouses. I have seen none lacking in common sense and failing in religion but (At the same time) robbing the wisdom of the wise, besides you. Upon this the woman remarked: What is wrong with our common sense and with religion? He (the Holy Prophet) observed: Your lack of common sense (can be well judged from the fact) that the evidence of two women is equal to one man, that is proof of the lack of commonsense, and you spend some nights (and days) in which you do not offer prayer and in the month of Ramadan (During the days) you do not observe fast, that is a failing in religion…." Sahih Muslim vol.1 book 1 no.143 p.47-48. See also Bukhari vol.2 no.161; vol.1 no.301, vol.1 no.28; Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 4 no.1926 p.417; vol.4 no.9596-6600 p.1431 Sunan Nasa’i vol.2 no.1578 p.342.

Why do you think there are more women in Hell? Is it because there is not as much incentive for them to be in heaven? Bukhari vol.6 no.402 and prior says, "The statement of Allah, Beautiful fair females restrained in pavilions. Narrated Qaisi, Allah’s Apostle said, ‘In Paradise there is a pavilion made of a single hollow pearl sixty miles wide, in each corner there are wives who will not see those in the other corners; and the believers will visit and enjoy them.’" What rewards are in Paradise for faithful women who do not wish to be restrained?

In Christianity women have just as much to look forward to in Heaven as men.

Accuracy of Translations of the Qur’an

Badawi says in the notes on p.60 that he quotes from this translation, making slight modifications whenever necessary in the interest of improved clarity and accuracy. He made numerous changes, but most of them are OK, such as substituting "you both" for "ye" when ye referred to both men and women. However, there is one case that is suspect.

Badawi on p.5 quotes, "O mankind! Reverence your Guardian-Lord, Who created you from a single person (nafsin-waahidah), created, of like nature, his mate, … (reverence) the womb (that bore you); for Allah ever watches over you…. (Qur’an 4:1)" The bold is not in the original but added to contrast with below.

"Of like nature" is a curious phrase here. We have Yusuf Ali’s translation, as well as three others. In other translation those scholars have put together, there is nothing that says "of like nature". Here is what they say instead:

"…Who created you From a single Person, Created, out of it, His mate, and from them twain Scattered (like seeds) Countless men and women; - Fear Allah, through Whom Ye demand our mutual (rights), and be heedful of the wombs (That bore you); for Allah Ever watches over you." (Yusuf Ali)

"…from that soul He created its mate, and through them He spread countless men and women. Fear Allah, the One in whose name you demand your rights from one another and ties of relationship; surely Allah is watching you very closely." (Muhammad Farooq-i-Azam Malik)

"…from it created its mate, and from the pair of them scattered abroad many men and women; and fear God by whom you demand one of another, and the wombs; surely God every watches over you." (Arbury)

"…from a single soul and created therefrom its mate, and from them twain spread many men and women ; and fear Allah, in Whose name you appeal to one another, and fear Him particularly respecting ties of relationship. Verily, Allah watches over you."

Now the problem here is not with Dr. Badawi’s conclusion, but with his method. We agree that God made men and women of like nature, but his main point about the Qur’an is proved not by only one verse in the Qur’an. Rather it is only by one phrase he added in one verse, which is not in any of the four translations.

Dr. Badawi is not alone in "shifting" the meaning of the Qur’an. In Sura 4:34 about beating wives, the Arabic word for "beat" is the same word used to beat a camel of violent criminal. Yet Abdullah Yusuf ‘Ali translates this as "beat (lightly)". He at least puts the word lightly in Arabic to show that he added it; it was not in the Arabic.

Contrast with the Bible


In Christ there is no Jews nor Greek, male nor female, but all (even women) are sons (the most honored in Greek culture) in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28


Women can inherit property. Numbers 27:7-8; 36:8-9 gives the example of just as much as their brothers.

Leaders in Society:

Women can be not only a leader, but the top leader of a people. Deborah was in Judges 4-5.

Leaders in the Church:

Women could not be church elders or have authority over men, though they could be deaconesses. 1 Timothy 2:11-15. They could still teach women and children though.

In commerce, a wife can have her own business, independent of her husband. Proverbs 31

Judicially, nowhere is the witness of a woman said to be less than a man.

Women were to keep silent during the church service. 1 Corinthians 14:33-38

Women in New Testament times were to pray or prophesy with their heads covered. 1 Corinthians 11:3-16

Women are to obey their husbands, but husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. (Christ died for the church.) Ephesians 5:22-25

No seclusion

for women was even imagined: some accompanied Christ and also Paul.


Dr. Badawi is trying to convince his readers that Islam teaches an enlightened view of women, with no inferiority to men, though different roles. He accurately shows that women have dignity, motherhood, is good, etc., but his argument will not persuade many Muslims who follow the Sharia. They will not be convinced because Dr. Badawi left out many key passages legitimizing exploiting captives and slave girls, veils for women, and secluding women. Besides adding a phase to a quote from the Qur’an, he was flat wrong when he said Mohammed never "resorted to that means" of beating a woman (p.54). Mohammed once deliberately struck A’isha on the chest, causing her pain. Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 4 no.2127 p.462; Sunan Nasa’i vol.2 no.2041 p.526.

In addition, Badawi made the following errors
No women as prophets
Women agree to marriage
Only four wives
Court of law
Silence in saying the veil was required

Seclusion of women

The Alternative - Seek the True God

To give Dr. Badawi credit, he tried very hard to glean all the positive that he could about women. However, Muslims as well as non-Muslims can notice the many glaring omissions. There is an easier way though.

Maybe, just maybe, the awful things in the hadiths and Qur’an were not from the true God and are wrong. That would mean Sharia based on that would not be valid either. Instead of resting content following these rules without questioning anything, people should seek the true God and find his true, reliable revelation. This revelation is found what even the Qur’an acknowledges as God’s word, the Torah and Gospels. Read the Bible to see God’s revelation given to man.


www.Answering-Islam.org (http://www.answering-islam.org/) is a very extensive web site presenting and debating many aspects of Islam.

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www.MuslimHope.com (http://www.muslimhope.com/)