Women in Islam

By Daniel Scot Sept. 2008

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Sura 'Al-Fatihiah' (The Opening) 1:1-7

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, The Beneficent, the Merciful. Master of the Day of Judgment, You (alone) we worship; You (alone) we ask for help. Show us the straight path, The path of those whom You have favoured; Not the (path) of those who earn Your anger nor of those who go astray.

Jesus said: "...and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32)

 

Warning—This pamphlet contains words of the Qur'an in Arabic and English. Please use appropriately.

NOTE: Authoritative Islamic texts are the Qur'an and Hadith. Muslims believe that the Qur'an is the revealed word of Allah (verse numbers differ slightly in different versions). Sura always stands for a chapter in the Qur'an. Islamic belief is that Muhammad is the perfect example to be followed by all Muslims. Whatever he said, practiced or approved is called Hadith. There are six different sets of authentic ahadith (Hadiths): Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmizi, Sunnan Ibn Majah and Sunnan Nasa'i. This pamphlet is intended to show the teachings and examples of Muhammad, and is not intended to be offensive to Muslims; many Muslims may have little real knowledge of what their god, Allah and their prophet has said on this topic.

According to Christian belief, a husband is commanded to "love his wife just as Jesus loves His Church and gave His life for her" (Ephesians 5:25). But, as people turn away from the Bible, the suffering of women and others increases. Some have claimed Biblical authority for mistreating women, but there is not a single passage in Scripture that encourages people to be harsh with their wives. The foundation for equality in Western civilisation, irrespective of race, religion or gender is that:

Yahweh, the God of the Bible, created man and woman in His own image and likeness (Genesis 1:27);

In Christ, all who accept Him as their Lord and Saviour are adopted into His family (John 1:12 Galatians 3:28);

God condemns partiality (1 Timothy 5:21; James 3:17).

In Islamic teaching Allah claims that he created all human beings as his slaves (Sura 19:93), and as such, no-one is or can be a child of Allah. As a result, there is no equality of people before Islamic law in the teachings of the Qur'an and Hadith. Islamic law considers women as deficient. A woman's witness [in court] is worth half a man's (Sura 2:282; Bukhari vol. 3, Hadith 826); women are deficient in intelligence and religious practices (Bukhari vol. 1, Hadith 301; vol. 3, Hadith 826; vol. 2, Hadith 541); women are referred to as a possession such as gold, silver, horses and cattle (Sura 3:14); a woman is to be used like a field according to the husband's desires (Sura 2:223); a man can exchange one of his wives for another (Sura 4:20); and a woman comes in the form of a devil (Sahih Muslim vol. II, Hadith 3240). The teaching of Islam on women is that:

women will be the majority in hell (Bukhari vol. 1, Hadith 301; also Muslim vol. 4, Hadith 6600);

the best of women are neither to be seen by, nor to see, a man (Ghazali quoted this Hadith in Ihya' 'Uloum ed-Din vol. II Kitab Adab al-Nikah. Beirut: Dar al-Kotob al-'Elmeyah. p. 53);

A man can marry up to four wives (Sura 4:3, 129);

a man can have a child wife (Sura 65:4 'The Noble Qur'an'); men can have temporary wives (Sura 4:24; Bukhari vol. 7, Hadith 13A, 52; Sahih Muslim vol. 2, Hadith 3247, Bukhari, Vol 6, 139);

men are commanded to beat their wives (Sura 4:34);

a man can have any number of concubines (Sura 70:29-30);

men are better than women (Sura 4:34).

The above teaching is a license for Muslim men to oppress women. Some Christian men oppress their wives also, but they have no Scriptural basis for their actions.

Rape and Adultery In 1979, Pakistan adopted the Hudood Ordinances which are essentially Sharia law. These laws almost completely blur the distinction between rape and adultery.

Adultery is proven if a person admits to having sex with someone to whom they are not married. Under this law non-Muslims cannot testify against Muslims; the witnesses must be adult, male and Muslim—since a woman's testimony is of only half the value of a man's (Sura 24:4). Consequently, if a woman cannot provide sufficient witnesses, she is admitting (under law) to adultery. The Pakistan Human Rights Commission (PHRC) estimates that a rape occurs every 8 minutes and that there are more than 1500 honour killings annually. Former Mufti of Australia, Sheik al Hilali, stated that if a woman does not cover herself properly, she is the one at fault if she is raped.

The Assyrian International News Agency (Dec 27, 2005) reported that Lebanese Sheik Faiz Mohammed said that women had no one to blame but themselves; the Islamic mufti of Denmark and a panel headed by an Egyptian scholar, Sheik Yusaf al-Qaradawi, claimed female rape victims should be punished if they were dressed immodestly when they were raped: "For her to be absolved from guilt, a raped woman must have shown good conduct." (Telegraph, 11 July 2004) In Indonesia, in 1998, human rights groups documented the testimony of over 100 Chinese women who were gang raped during the riots that preceded the fall of President Suharto. Many of them were told: "You must be raped, because you are Chinese and non-Muslim." This is in accordance with Sura 33:59, 'O Prophet! Tell ... the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested' [Yusuf Ali's Translation].

At one time, Muhammad ordered a man who had committed adultery be given lashes, and the woman stoned to death (Bukhari, vol. 3, Hadith No. 860).

But Jesus tells men that if they so much as look at a woman with lust, they are guilty of adultery (Matthew 5:28). In this light, Christians are told to treat younger women as their sisters and older women as their mothers (1 Timothy 5:2).

The Veil In Saudi Arabia, March 2002 saw 15 girls dead and more than 40 other girls injured at the Girls' Intermediate School No. 31 in Mecca, the holiest city in Islam. The girls were locked inside when an accidental fire started. The fire-fighters tried to open the doors but were prevented by the muttawa (religious police), who wouldn't let the girls outside the building without their veils (Newsweek, July 22, 2002)!!!

The Qur'an (Sura 24:31) says "that they [women] should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands". Muhammad, the prophet of Allah, told Asma, the daughter of Abu Bakr, that girls past the age of menstruation must cover themselves, excepting their hands and face (Abu Dawud, vol. 3, Hadith 4092).

Marriage Bukhari, vol. 7, Hadith. 17: When I got married, Allah's Apostle said to me, "What type of lady have you married?" I replied, "I have married a matron' ... Allah's Apostle said, "Why didn't you marry a young girl so that you might play with her and she with you?' Muhammad said that the silence of a virgin indicates that she wants to marry (Bukhari, vol. 7, Hadith No. 67). Ayatollah Khomeini said that marrying a girl before menstruation was a "divine blessing" and that girls should be married before they menstruate (Taheri, 1986, pp. 90-91). Muhammad married a 6-year-old girl (Bukhari, vol. 7, Hadith 64) and had many wives.

Some say that temporary wives are forbidden but Muhammad permitted temporary marriage when his warriors needed them (Sura 4:24; Bukhari, Vol 7. Hadith 51). The first caliph continued to allow them; only the second caliph forbade the practice, but the last 'rightly guided' caliph again allowed temporary marriages. The price (dowry) of a temporary marriage is two handfuls of dates or flour (Abu Dawud, vol. 2, Hadith. 2105).

General Women, dogs and donkeys can annul the prayers of a man, according to Bukhari, vol. 1, Hadith 490 and 493. But the Bible says that Husbands are to honour their wives and, if they are angry with their wives, their prayers will not be heard (1 Peter 3:7). Muhammad's most beloved wife, Aisha, said "O womenfolk, if you knew the rights that your husbands have over you, every one of you would wipe the dust from her husband's feet with her face." [Al-Hashimi, M., The Ideal Muslimah, (1996), chapter 4]. Muhammad taught that, "God permits you to shut them [your wives] in separate rooms and to beat them, but not severely. Treat women well, for they are [like] domestic animals (awan) with you and do not possess anything for themselves." [The History of al-Tabari, Volume IX, pg 113.]

Christians have a completely different view of the value and rights of a woman. The Holy Bible says that in Jesus Christ, there is neither male nor female, slave nor free...(Galatians 3:28). All believers have equal value and rights because men and women are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27; 5:2). Husbands are commanded to: love their wives as Jesus loves the Church and died for her (Ephesians 5:25); not to be angry with or harsh with them (Colossians 3:19); love their wives as their own bodies (Ephesians 5:28,33); and to be kind to their wives (1 Corinthians 7:3-5). There is not a single command that suggests or encourages a husband to beat or be harsh with his wife. Husbands and wives are commanded to submit to one another in Christ (Ephesians 5:21), but husbands must provide for their wives (1 Timothy 5:8). Husband and wife are considered to be one flesh before God (Ephesians 5:31); as such, God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). The treatment of men and women in the Bible and Qur'an are completely different.

The content here will probably have raised some questions in your mind. Muslims are commanded to read and believe the Scriptures that God gave Christians and Jews. If you think they have been corrupted, doesn't God say that His word cannot be changed? (Sura 6:115; 10:64-65; 18:27; 48:23). If you'd like more information contact us.

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