Qur'an, Hadith and Scholars:Violence Against Women

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Beating your Wives is Allowed[edit]

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.
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.
It was narrated that Iyas bin 'Abdullah bin Abu Dhubab said: "The Prophet said: 'Do not beat the female slaves of Allah.' Then 'Umar came to the Prophet and said: 'O Messenger of Allah, the woman have become bold towards their husbands? So order the beating of them,' and they were beaten. Then many women went around to the family of Muhammad,. The next day he said: 'Last night seventy women came to the family of Muhammad, each woman complaining about her husband. You will not find that those are the best of you.' " (Sahih)
Discipline. The husband has the right to discipline his wife if she disobeys him in something good, not if she disobeys him in something sinful, because Allaah has enjoined disciplining women by forsaking them in bed and by hitting them, when they do not obey. The Hanafis mentioned four situations in which a husband is permitted to discipline his wife by hitting her. These are: not adorning herself when he wants her to; not responding when he calls her to bed and she is taahirah (pure, i.e., not menstruating); not praying; and going out of the house without his permission.
What are the rights of the husband and what are the rights of the wife?
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid, Islam Q&A, Fatwa No. 10680

Kill Woman Guilty of Lewdness by Starvation[edit]

If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, Take the evidence of four (Reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordain for them some (other) way.

Female Circumcision is Allowed and Prescribed[edit]

Abu al- Malih ibn `Usama's father relates that the Prophet said: "Circumcision is a law for men and a preservation of honour for women."
Ahmad Ibn Hanbal 5:75; Abu Dawud, Adab 167.
Firstly:

Circumcision is not an inherited custom as some people claim, rather it is prescribed in Islam and the scholars are unanimously agreed that it is prescribed. Not a single Muslim scholar – as far as we know – has said that circumcision is not prescribed.

Their evidence is to be found in the saheeh ahaadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), which prove that it is prescribed, for example:

1-

The hadeeth narrated by al-Bukhaari (5889) and Muslim (257) from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him), that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "The fitrah is five things – or five things are part of the fitrah – circumcision, shaving the pubes, cutting the nails, plucking the armpit hairs, and trimming the moustache."

This hadeeth includes circumcision of both males and females.

2-

Muslim (349) narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When a man sits between the four parts (arms and legs of his wife) and the two circumcised parts meet, then ghusl is obligatory.”

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) mentioned the two circumcised parts, i.e., the circumcised part of the husband and the circumcised part of the wife, which indicates that a woman may be circumcised just like a man.

3-

Abu Dawood (5271) narrated from Umm ‘Atiyyah al-Ansaariyyah that a woman used to do circumcisions in Madeenah and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to her: “Do not go to the extreme in cutting; that is better for the woman and more liked by the husband.” But the scholars differed concerning this hadeeth. Some of them classed it as da’eef (weak) and others classed it as saheeh. It was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood. The fact that circumcision for women is prescribed in Islam is confirmed by the ahaadeeth quoted above, not by this disputed hadeeth. But the scholars differed concerning the ruling, and there are three opinions:

1 – That it is obligatory for both males and females. This is the view of the Shaafa’is and Hanbalis, and is the view favoured by al-Qaadi Abu Bakr ibn al-‘Arabi among the Maalikis (may Allaah have mercy on them all).

Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Majmoo’ (1/367): Circumcision is obligatory for both men and women in our view. This is the view of many of the salaf, as was narrated by al-Khattaabi. Among those who regarded it as obligatory is Ahmad… it is the correct view that is well known and was stated by al-Shaafa’i (may Allaah have mercy on him), and the majority stated definitively that it is obligatory for both men and women. end quote.

See Fath al-Baari, 10/340; Kishshaaf al-Qinaa’, 1/80

2 – That circumcision is Sunnah for both males and females. This is the view of the Hanafis and Maalikis, and was narrated in one report from Ahmad. Ibn ‘Aabideen al-Hanafi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in his Haashiyah (6/751): In Kitaab al-Tahaarah of al-Siraaj al-Wahhaaj it says: Know that circumcision is Sunnah in our view – i.e., according to the Hanafis – for men and for women. end quote.

See: Mawaahib al-Jaleel, 3/259

3 – That circumcision is obligatory for men and is good and mustahabb for women. This is the third view of Imam Ahmad, and it is the view of some Maalikis such as Sahnoon. This view was also favoured by al-Muwaffaq ibn Qudaamah in al-Mughni.

See: al-Tamheed, 21/60; al-Mughni, 1/63

It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (5/223):

Circumcision is one of the Sunnahs of the fitrah, and it is for both males and females, except that is it obligatory for males and Sunnah and good in the case of women. End quote

Thus it is clear that the fuqaha’ of Islam are agreed that circumcision is prescribed for both males and females, and in fact the majority of them are of the view that it is obligatory for both. No one said that it is not prescribed or that it is makrooh or haraam.

Secondly:

With regard to the criticism of circumcision by some doctors, and their claim that it is harmful both physically and psychologically,

This criticism of theirs is not valid. It is sufficient for us Muslims that something be proven to be from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), then we will follow it, and we are certain that it is beneficial and not harmful. If it were harmful, Allaah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would not have prescribed it for us.

In the answer to question no. 45528 we have mentioned some of the medical benefits of circumcision for women, quoting from some doctors.

Thirdly:

We would add here the fatwas of some modern scholars who have responded to this war that has been launched against female circumcision on the grounds that it is harmful to health.

Shaykh Jaad al-Haqq ‘Ali Jaad al-Haqq, the former Shaykh of al-Azhar, said:

Hence the fuqaha’ of all madhhabs are agreed that circumcision for both men and woman is part of the fitrah of Islam and one of the symbols of the faith, and it is something praiseworthy. There is no report from any of the Muslim fuqaha’, according to what we have studied in their books that are available to us, to say that circumcision is forbidden for men or women, or that it is not permissible, or that it is harmful for females, if it is done in the manner that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught to Umm Habeebah in the report quoted above.

Then he said:

From the above it is clear that the circumcision of girls – which is the topic under discussion here – is part of the fitrah of Islam, and the way it is to be done is the method that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) explained. It is not right to abandon his teachings for the view of anyone else, even if that is a doctor, because medicine is knowledge and knowledge is always developing and changing. End quote.

In the fatwa of Shaykh ‘Atiyah Saqar – the former heard of the Fatwa Committee in al-Azhar – it says:

The calls which urge the banning of female circumcision are call that go against Islam, because there is no clear text in the Qur’aan or Sunnah and there is no opinion of the fuqaha’ that says that female circumcision is haraam. Female circumcision is either obligatory or recommended. Even though there is a fiqhi principle which says that the decree of a ruler may put an end to a dispute regarding controversial matters, the decree of the ruler in this case cannot be but either of two things: that it is either obligatory or recommended, and it is not correct to issue a decree banning it, so as not to go against sharee’ah which is the principal source of legislation in our land, whose constitution states that Islam is the official religion of the country. It is permissible to issue some legislation that provides guidelines for performing this procedure (female circumcision) in the proper manner in such a way that does not contradict the rulings of sharee’ah.

The words of the doctors and others are not definitive. Scientific discoveries are still opening doors every day which change our old perceptions. End quote.

In the fatwa of Dar al-Ifta’ al-Misriyyah (6/1986) it says:

Thus it is clear that female circumcision is prescribed in Islam, and that it is one of the Sunnahs of the fitrah and it has a good effect of moderating the individual’s behaviour. As for the opinions of doctors who say that female circumcision is harmful, these are individual opinions which are not derived from any agreed scientific basis, and they do not form an established scientific opinion. They acknowledge that the rates of cancer among circumcised men are lower than among those who are not circumcised, and some of these doctors clearly recommend that circumcision should be done by doctors and not these ignorant women, so that the operation will be safe and there will be no negative consequences. However, medical theories about disease and the way to treat it are not fixed, rather they change with time and with ongoing research. So it is not correct to rely on them when criticizing circumcision which the Wise and All-Knowing Lawgiver has decreed in His wisdom for mankind. Experience has taught us that the wisdom behind some rulings and Sunnahs may be hidden from us. May Allaah help us all to follow the right path. End quote.

Killing Women and Children is Allowed as "Collateral Damage"[edit]

Narrated As-Sab bin Jaththama: The Prophet passed by me at a place called Al-Abwa or Waddan, and was asked whether it was permissible to attack the pagan warriors at night with the probability of exposing their women and children to danger. The Prophet replied, "They (i.e. women and children) are from them (i.e. pagans)." I also heard the Prophet saying, "The institution of Hima is invalid except for Allah and His Apostle."
It is narrated by Sa'b b. Jaththama that he said (to the Holy Prophet): Messenger of Allah, we kill the children of the polytheists during the night raids. He said: They are from them.
Sa'b b. Jaththama has narrated that the Prophet (may peace be upon him) asked: What about the children of polytheists killed by the cavalry during the night raid? He said: They are from them.
...[O]ne must go on jihad (i.e. razzias or raids) at least once a year ... one may use a catapult against them when they are in a fortress, even if among them are women and children. One may set fire to them and/or drown them. ... If a person of the ahl al-kitab [i.e. People of the Book] is enslaved, his marriage is revoked. ... One may cut down their trees. ... One must destroy their useless books. Jihadists may take as booty whatever they decide ... they may steal as much food as they need...[1]
Al-Ghazali, Kitab al-Wagiz fi fiqh madhab al-imam al-Safi'i

Raping of Women is Allowed[edit]

"Not so the worshippers, who are steadfast in prayer, who set aside a due portion of their wealth for the beggar and for the deprived, who truly believe in the Day of Reckoning and dread the punishment of their Lord (for none is secure from the punishment of their Lord); who restrain their carnal desire (save with their wives and their slave girls, for these are lawful to them: he that lusts after other than these is a transgressor..."
"And who guard their modesty - Save from their wives or the (slaves) that their right hands possess, for then they are not blameworthy, "
Prohibited to you (For marriage) are:- Your mothers, daughters, sisters; father's sisters, Mother's sisters; brother's daughters, sister's daughters; foster-mothers (Who gave you suck), foster-sisters; your wives' mothers; your step-daughters under your guardianship, born of your wives to whom ye have gone in,- no prohibition if ye have not gone in;- (Those who have been) wives of your sons proceeding from your loins; and two sisters in wedlock at one and the same time, except for what is past; for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful;- And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess. It is a decree of Allah for you. Lawful unto you are all beyond those mentioned, so that ye seek them with your wealth in honest wedlock, not debauchery. And those of whom ye seek content (by marrying them), give unto them their portions as a duty. And there is no sin for you in what ye do by mutual agreement after the duty (hath been done). Lo! Allah is ever Knower, Wise.
O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee; and daughters of thy paternal uncles and aunts, and daughters of thy maternal uncles and aunts, who migrated (from Makka) with thee; and any believing woman who dedicates her soul to the Prophet if the Prophet wishes to wed her;- this only for thee, and not for the Believers (at large); We know what We have appointed for them as to their wives and the captives whom their right hands possess;- in order that there should be no difficulty for thee. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Honor Killing[edit]

Who is Subject to Retaliation for Injurious Crimes

o1.1 - Retaliation

Retaliation is obligatory (A: if the person entitled wishes to take it (dis: o3.8)) against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right. (O: Intentionally is a first restriction and excludes killing someone through an honest mistake, while purely excludes a mistake made in a deliberate injury (def: o2.3), and without right excludes cases of justifiable homicide such as lawful retaliation.)

o1.2 The following are not subject to retaliation:

-1- a child or insane person, under any circumstances

-2- a Muslim for killing a non-Muslim;

-3- a Jewish or Christian subject of the Islamic state for killing an apostate from Islam (O: because a subject of the state is under its protection, while killing an apostate from Islam is without consequences);

-4- A father or mother (or their fathers of mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring's offspring;
Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law
Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, Edited and Translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller (p. 508, o1.1-2)
It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that: the Messenger of Allah said: “No woman should arrange the marriage of another woman, and no woman should arrange her own marriage. The adulteress is the one who arranges her own marriage.” (Sahih)

Unequal Punishments[edit]

If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, Take the evidence of four (Reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordain for them some (other) way.

Compare this to the punishment for men.

If two men among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. If they repent and amend, Leave them alone; for Allah is Oft-returning, Most Merciful.
Narrated Abu Huraira and Zaid bin Khalid: Two men had a dispute in the presence of Allah's Apostle. One of them said, "O Allah's Apostle! Judge between us according to Allah's Laws." The other who was wiser, said, "Yes, O Allah's Apostle! Judge between us according to Allah's Laws and allow me to speak. The Prophet said, "Speak." He said, "My son was a laborer serving this (person) and he committed illegal sexual intercourse with his wife, The people said that my son is to be stoned to death, but I ransomed him with one-hundred sheep and a slave girl. Then I asked the learned people, who informed me that my son should receive one hundred lashes and will be exiled for one year, and stoning will be the lot for the man's wife." Allah's Apostle said, "Indeed, by Him in Whose Hand my soul is, I will judge between you according to Allah's Laws: As for your sheep and slave girl, they are to be returned to you." Then he scourged his son one hundred lashes and exiled him for one year. Then Unais Al-Aslami was ordered to go to the wife of the second man, and if she confessed (the crime), then stone her to death. She did confess, so he stoned her to death.
Narrated Abu Huraira and Said bin Khalid: The verdict of Allah's Apostle was sought about an unmarried slave girl guilty of illegal intercourse. He replied, "If she commits illegal sexual intercourse, then flog her (fifty stripes), and if she commits illegal sexual intercourse (after that for the second time), then flog her (fifty stripes), and if she commits illegal sexual intercourse (for the third time), then flog her (fifty stripes) and sell her for even a hair rope." Ibn Shihab said, "I am not sure whether the Prophet ordered that she be sold after the third or fourth time of committing illegal intercourse."

See Also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Excerpted form Kitab al-Wagiz fi fiqh madhab al-imam al-Safi'i (Beirut, 1979), pp. 186, 190-91, 199-200, 202-203. English translation by Dr. Michael Schub.