Women in Islamic Law

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A Muslim woman is not permitted to marry a non-Muslim Man

Islamic jurisprudence only allowed a Muslim woman to marry a Muslim man, based on their interpretation of the Qur'an. This injunction has been the cause of great personal grief for inter-faith couples and even the spark of violence and honor killings. According to all schools of Sunni and Shi'a jurisprudence, a non-Muslim man must either convert in order to marry a Muslim women or the couple must be seperated.

This ruling, derived from a verse in the Qur'an and for which there was scholarly consensus[1][2][3], is designed to ensure that a Muslim wife and her future offspring continue to follow the religion of Islam, lest a non-Muslim husband enforces his views on the family.

Wed not idolatresses till they believe; for lo! a believing bondwoman is better than an idolatress though she please you; and give not your daughters in marriage to idolaters till they believe, for lo! a believing slave is better than an idolater though he please you. These invite unto the Fire, and Allah inviteth unto the Garden, and unto forgiveness by His grace, and expoundeth His revelations to mankind that haply they may remember.

Muslim men have fewer restrictions - they are permitted to marry Muslim women and people of the Book (Jewish and Christian women).

This day are (all) good things made lawful for you. The food of those who have received the Scripture is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them. And so are the virtuous women of the believers and the virtuous women of those who received the Scripture before you (lawful for you) when ye give them their marriage portions and live with them in honour, not in fornication, nor taking them as secret concubines. Whoso denieth the faith, his work is vain and he will be among the losers in the Hereafter.

In recent times, some modernists have argued that the classical view does not necessarily follow from the Qur'anic verses and that Muslim women should be given more freedom, though in both the scholarly and lay communities this remains a decidedly fringe view vis-a-vis the traditional view.[4]

Men can marry up to four wives

If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four;

Muhammad's Allowed Wife Limit in the Qur'an

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.

Muhammad on Polygyny for his Son-in-Law Ali

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."

Child marriage

Main Articles: Forced Marriage and Contemporary Pedophilic Islamic Marriages

Forcing a female to marry someone against her explicit wishes is forbidden in Islam. Nevertheless Shari'ah does not apply these protections to children. This failure to protect children has two aspects:

1. A father or guardian must ask the consent of his virgin daughter before offering her in marriage, based on a well known sahih hadith. However, according to that same hadith, if she remains silent when asked, offering no explicit acceptance, this counts as consent (Sahih Muslim 8:3303,Sahih Muslim 8:3305).

2. A girl is expected to make a life changing decision on marriage while still a child, with very limited experience and utterly dependent on her parents. Child marriages occur all over the world, but especially in Muslim countries that practice Shari'a. The UN regards child marriage as a human rights violation and aims to eradicate it by 2030. The girl is vulnerable to spousal abuse and childhood pregnancy which greatly jeopardizes her health and future.

Child Marriage

[speaking of the prescribed waiting period for a divorce] And those of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the 'Iddah (prescribed period), if you have doubts (about their periods), is three months, and for those who have no courses (i.e. they are still immature) their 'Iddah (prescribed period) is three months likewise.

Muhammad married Aisha at 6, had sex at 9 years of age

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.
Narrated 'Aisha: that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e., till his death).
'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) married her when she was seven years old, and he was taken to his house as a bride when she was nine, and her dolls were with her; and when he (the Holy Prophet) died she was eighteen years old.

Ayatollah Khomeini, the Iranian Shia religious leader, married a ten-year-old girl when he was twenty-eight.Khomeini called marriage to a prepubescent girl "a divine blessing," and advised the faithful: "Do your best to ensure that your daughters do not see their first blood in your house."

Speaking about the waiting period for divorce, the Qur'an states:

Such of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the prescribed period, if ye have any doubts, is three months, and for those who have no courses (it is the same): for those who carry (life within their wombs), their period is until they deliver their burdens: and for those who fear Allah, He will make their path easy.

Marriage to virgins

Virgins must give consent for marriage, but… "Malik related to me from Abdullah ibn al-Fadl … 'A woman who has been previously married is more entitled to her person than her guardian and a virgin must be asked for her consent and her silence is her consent.'"

Mut'ah marriages

Mut'ah is a temporary arrangement whereby a man and a woman enter into a contractual arrangement to marry each other for a specified period of time. The time can be as little as one hour or as long as several years, though most Mutah contracts are for hours or a few days. The man gives the woman something of value, and in exchange he is allowed to enter into sexual relations with her, legally, without committing fornication, since they are "married." At the end of the period specified in the contract, each party walks separate ways and neither is indebted to the other. Mut'ah can thus be seen as a religiously-endorsed form of prostitution. The practice actually dates back to Arabia's pre-Islamic days, and was recorded by the pagan Latin historian Ammianus Marcellinus writing in the 300's.

Mutah is practiced mainly by Shi'ites today, although at one time Muhammad permitted it for all Muslims. This is one of many areas of disagreement between Sunnis and Shi'ites: Sunnis believe Muhammad abrogated Mutah, while Shi'ites disagree and still practice Mut'ah as allowed by Muhammad.

According to Islamic literature, Mutah was first made unlawful by Mohammad on the day of the battle of Khaybar (a battle against a jewish tribe named Khaybar), after apparently being practiced since the conception of Islam. It was then made lawful again on the day of Conquest of Makkah for 3 days by Muhammad, when his companions complained to him their desire for women. From this point, it is disagreed upon between Sunnis and Shias on whether Mutah was made again unlawful by Muhammad or not. However, the practice of Mutah continued in the early Muslim Community by the companions until Umar (the second caliph) forbade it sometime between 13-23 AH. Some of Muhammad's companions however still held the belief that Mutah was never made again unlawful by Muhammad, the most notable of which is Ibn Abbas.[5]

The following quotations regarding Mut'ah marriages are from a Shi'ite Muslim website.[6]

Whenever man sets foot on the earth the need to travel always emerges. Sometimes traveling can involve man going thousands of miles away from home, sometimes for moths, even years. Do one's sexual desires just evaporate when an individual is traveling? Sexual desire isn't like some light switch that turns off when a man leaves his wife to set off on his travels, and turns back home when he gets back! Sexual desire is something that remains permanently with a human, when it accompanies him at all times then how can he curtail such sexual feelings? When someone is traveling and accessing his wife is impossible, and he is incapable of summing her to join him, then what will a young red-blooded male do? Miles away from home, feeling sexually aroused his situation is not one wherein he can get permanently married, so what is he to do? He will feel the only way that he can relieve himself is by amalgamating himself into the society around him. Islam does not permit a person to sexually relieve himself through masturbation nor is he permitted to adopt the ways of the kufr and indulge himself in fornication, it offers him a legitimate mechanism with which to relieve himself and that is temporary marriage.
It is not just traveling, that might necessitate Mutah, there are many in society who just does not have the financial ability / standing to get permanent married, yet they still have sexual desires, again Mut'ah is there to ensure that they practice sex within the boundaries set by Allah (swt).
Islam is a religion that is suited for all nations and ages. Mut'ah is a good example of that. It is only the Deen of Islam that caters for sexual desire by permitting a legitimate method of control. For others societies the only mechanism that they see as the solution to relieving sexual feelings is through the practice of fornication. In the western world adultery and fornication are common and openly performed. Mut'ah is a way of protecting a person from committing these serious sins and vices.
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." Quran 5:87
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)."
Sabra Juhanni reported: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) permitted temporary marriage for us. So I and another person went out and saw a woman of Bana 'Amir, who was like a young long-necked she-camel. We presented ourselves to her (for contracting temporary marriage), whereupon she said: What dower would you give me? I said: My cloak. And my companion also said: My cloak. And the cloak of-my companion was superior to my cloak, but I was younger than he. So when she looked at the cloak of my companion she liked it, and when she cast a glance at me I looked more attractive to her. She then said: Well, you and your cloak are sufficient for me. I remained with her for three nights, and then Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: He who has any such woman with whom he had contracted temporary marriage, he should let her off.
Ibn Uraij reported: 'Ati' reported that jibir 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 Prophet (ﷺ) and during the time of Abu Bakr and 'Umar.

Imam al-Baydawi, in his famous book, The Interpretation of the Baydawi, says, "The purpose of the contractual marriage is the mere pleasure of intercourse with a woman, and her own enjoyment in what she has given" (p. 108).

Polygamy in Islam

Main Article: Polygamy in Islam

Muhammad was a polygamist, and Islam allows a man to marry up to four wives at any one time:

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; 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.

It is also interesting to note that a Muslim male does not require the permission of his first wife before marrying a second. These articles looks at the various arguments that are often presented in defense this practice and the choices made by Muhammad.

Justice for Women in Islam

Main Articles: Dealing Justly with Wives and Orphans and Unjust treatment of wives

Verse 4:3 is often partially quoted to explain demonstrate a Muslim man may marry up to four women. However, if he cannot deal justly with each of the wives then he is forbidden to marry that many; and can marry only one wife, to prevent treating women unfairly. It is usually then explained that the use of the word "Justice" or "Justly" (depending on which translation is being used) refers to the man's ability to treat each of his wives exactly the same in every regard: not just materially (ie. food, clothing, shelter, time, money, etc..) but also that he must be able to love them all exactly the same. He must be able to feel the same amount of affection and love for each of his wives. If he cannot do this, then, according to (this interpretation of) the Qur'an he cannot marry more than one wife. According to most scholars, however, Qur'an 4:3 has nothing to do with treating your wives equally, but is in fact about orphans and their Mahr. Injustice in this verse is generally understood as being in reference to the financial equality regarding the Mahr (for orphans) and financial viability of having that many wives, not equality between them.


Islamic scriptures describe the mahr, or primarily financial gift made by a groom to his bride upon a nikah (intercourse) contract, as 'the recompense for your having had the right to intercourse with her'.

Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with them) reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) saying to the invokers of curse: Your account is with Allah. One of you must be a liar. You have now no right over this woman. 'He said: Messenger of Allah, what about my wealth (dower that I paid her at the time of marriage)? He said: You have no claim to wealth. If you tell the truth, it (dower) is the recompense for your having had the right to intercourse with her', and if you tell a lie against her, it is still more remote from you than she is. Zuhair said in his narration: Sufyan reported to us on the authority of 'Amr that he had heard Sa'id b Jubair saying: I heard Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with them) saying that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) had said it.

The purpose of the mahr is to serve as a payment from a man to a woman for the future sexual relations (nikah) he will have with her. This is further illustrated by the requirement for a mahr in temporary "marriages", the statements of Muhammad, and the fact that a mahr cannot be taken back (except under extenuating circumstances) because the man has availed himself of the service for which it was payment. The Qur'an supports and confirms, rather explicitly, the explanation provided in these sahih hadiths.


The Arabic word for "marriage" is "zawaj". In Islamic law, marriage is considered under the concept of nikah, a legal and financial contract between a male and a female Muslim. Nikah literally means "sexual intercourse".

When a woman marries, she sells a part of her person. In the market one buys merchandise, in marriage the husband buys the genital arvum mulieris. As in any other bargain and sale, only useful and ritually clean objects may be given in dower.
Ruxton (1916: 106). Quoted by Ziba Mir-Hosseini in volume five of Voices of Islam, pp. 85-113
The Arabic word for marriage is zawaj or nikah, the latter being derived from the verb nakaha (‘to have sexual intercourse’): cf. Qur. II: 230. Nikah is also used to denote the marriage contract (cf. ‘aqd, ‘aqd qiran).
Ronak Husni, Daniel L. Newman, Muslim women in law and society: annotated translation of al-Tahir al Haddad al-Ṭāhir Ḥaddād, p. 182
[These are eight things. The first, marriage, is the root and rest are consequences. Each has a linguistic meaning and usage which we will mention in its proper place. Marriage (nikah) linguistically means intercourse and is used as a metaphor for the contract. In technical usage, it is actual for the contract and metaphorical for intercourse. It is used in custom to mean to mean intercourse as the Almighty says, "Until she marries a husband other than him," (2:230) and so it is known from this that nakaha is used for intercourse between any man and woman. Marriage in the sense of intercourse is only permitted in the Shari'a by one of two matters: the contract of marriage or ownership by the words of the Almighty, "those who guard their private parts – except from their wives or those they own as slaves, in which case they are not blameworthy." (23:5-6)
The Risala of 'Abdullah ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (310/922 - 386/996) A Treatise on Maliki Fiqh (Inc. commentary from ath-Thamr ad-Dani by al-Azhari) Ch. 32

Domestic obedience and punishment


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…
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "It is not lawful for a lady to fast (Nawafil) without the permission of her husband when he is at home; and she should not allow anyone to enter his house except with his permission; and if she spends of his wealth (on charitable purposes) without being ordered by him, he will get half of the reward."
It was narrated from 'Amr bin Shu'aib, from his father that he delivered: “It is not permissible for a woman to dispose of her wealth except with her husband's permission, once he has married her.”

Saudi feminist Wajeha Al-Huwaider describes the lives of many Arab women as similar to a prisoner. As she puts it, "the Arab woman is a prisoner in her own home, has committed no crime, was not captured in battle, does not belong to any terrorist group."

In the book The Ideal Muslimah, Dr. Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimi notes:

The true Muslim woman devotes herself to taking care of her house and husband. She knows her husband's rights over her, and how great they are, as was confirmed by the Prophet's words:

"No human being is permitted to prostrate to another, but if this were permitted I would have ordered wives to prostrate to their husbands, because of the greatness of the rights they have over them."

A woman came to ask the Prophet (PBUH) about some matter, and when he had dealt with it, he asked her, "Do you have a husband?" She said, "Yes." He asked her, "How are you with him?" She said, "I never fall short in my duties, except for that which is beyond me." He said, "Pay attention to how you treat him, for he is your Paradise and your Hell."

How can the Muslim woman complain about taking care of her house and husband when she hears these words of Prophetic guidance? She should fulfil her household duties and take care of her husband in a spirit of joy, because she is not carrying a tiresome burden, she is doing work in her home that she knows will bring reward from Allah.

One of the most important ways in which the Muslim woman obeys her husband is by respecting his wishes with regard to the permissible pleasures of daily life, such as social visits, food, dress, speech, etc. The more she responds to his wishes in such matters, the happier and more enjoyable the couple's life becomes, and the closer it is to the spirit and teachings of Islam.

"It is not permitted for a woman who believes in Allah (SWT) to allow anyone into her husband's house whom he dislikes; or to go out when he does not want her to; or to obey anyone else against him; or to forsake his bed; or to hit him. If he is wrong, then let her come to him until he is pleased with her, and if he accepts her then all is well, Allah (SWT) will accept her deeds and make her position stronger, and there will be no sin on her."

It is a great honour for a woman to take care of her husband every morning and evening, and wherever he goes, treating him with gentleness and good manners which will fill his life with joy, tranquility and stability.

`Aisha urged women to take good care of their husbands and to recognize the rights that their husbands had over them. She saw these rights as being so great and so important that a woman was barely qualified to wipe the dust from her husband's feet with her face, as she stated: "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."[7]

The Wife Must not Withhold from her Husband

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "If a man invites his wife to sleep with him and she refuses to come to him, then the angels send their curses on her till morning."
Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: When a woman spends the night away from the bed of her husband, the angels curse her until morning.
Talq bin Ali narrated that The Messenger of Allah said: “When a man calls his wife to fulfill his need, then let her come, even if she is at the oven.” (Sahih)
Marriage in Islam is intended to protect the chastity of men and women alike, therefore it is the woman's duty to respond to her husband's requests for conjugal relations. She should not give silly excuses and try to avoid it. For this reason, several hadith urge a wife to respond to her husband's needs as much as she is able, no matter how busy she may be or whatever obstacles there may be, so long as there is no urgent or unavoidable reason not to do so.


The issue of protecting a man's chastity and keeping him away from temptation is more important than anything else that a woman can do, because Islam wants men and women alike to live in an environment which is entirely pure and free from any motive of fitnah or haram pleasures. The flames of sexual desire and thoughts of pursuing them through haram means can only be extinguished by means of discharging that natural energy in natural and lawful ways.

Rape of Wives, Captives, and Slave Women in Islam

The Qur'an and hadith and, subsequently, Islamic law, all allow men to rape their female slaves, wives (Quran 2:223), and women captured in war. The rape of other then one's slaves is, however, prohibited. Still, several hadiths describe the rape of captive women by Muhammad's companions and his failure to condemn such actions when made known to him. Qur'an chapter 4 verse 24 discusses lawful and forbidden women for Muslim men.

Also (forbidden are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess. Thus has Allah ordained for you. All others are lawful, provided you seek them from your property, desiring chastity, not fornication. So with those among them whom you have enjoyed, give them their required due, but if you agree mutually after the requirement (has been determined), there is no sin on you. Surely, Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise.

What we see in the beginning of this verse as “forbidden” refers to sexual intercourse. The Qur'an dictates, women already married are forbidden for Muslims except those whom their right hands possess (sex slaves). It is obvious from this verse, a Muslim can have sexual relations with his slave-woman.

Coitus Interruptus

Al-'Azl, (العزل) also known as coitus interruptus, is the practice of having sexual intercourse with a woman but withdrawing the penis before ejaculation. This was an important topic for Muhammad and his companions as evidenced by the abundance of Hadith material on the subject. According to Muhammad, when raping a captive, it's better if you do not pull out the penis at the end.

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri: that while he was sitting with Allah's Apostle he said, "O 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?" 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."

Disciplinary punishment


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).

Muslim apologists will assert that the term "and beat them" speaks only metaphorically. Others insist it means only a simple strike, as with hitting them with a feather or toothpick. Yusuf Ali adds the word 'lightly,' which never appears in the Arabic. Yet, a simple observation of the text shows any of the above to be erroneous.

The text presents a series of progressive disciplinary measures if a man suspects disobedience from his wife:

  1. Admonish her. Give her a verbal warning regarding her behavior.
  2. sleep in separate beds from her. This humiliates the woman, for in Islam a woman's worth is measured, in part, by her ability to reproduce offspring, particularly male offspring. Sleeping in a separate bed from the wife dishonors her by limiting her ability to reproduce a male child.
  3. Beat them. This is the third, most significant step of the progressive discipline process and is expected to be the one that produces the desired result if the first two failed.

Suggestions such as of hitting the woman "lightly" with a toothpick as the most severe disciplinary measure don't seem to follow logically from the steps laid out in the text and lack textual and traditional attestation.

In the most authoritative biography of Muhammad, written by ibn Ishaq, we find the following words of the prophet of Islam:

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 to beat them but not with severity. If they refrain from these things they have the right to their food and clothing with kindness.[8]

Ibn Kathir records a hadith that states:

"The best woman is she who when you look at her she obeys you, and when you are absent, she protects her honor and your property."[9]

Ibn Kathir further elaborates what constitutes ill conduct:

[It is] the woman from whom you see ill conduct with her husband, such as when she acts as if she is above her husband, disobeys him, ignores him, dislikes him, and so forth. When these signs appear in a woman, her husband should advise her and remind her of Allah's torment if she disobeys him. Indeed, Allah ordered the wife to obey her husband and prohibited her from disobeying him, because of the enormity of his rights and all that he does for her.[10]

Scholar Abdul-latif Mushtahiri:

If admonishing and sexual desertion fail to bring forth results and the woman is of a cold and stubborn type, the Qur'an bestows on man the right to straighten her out by way of punishment and beating provided he does not break her bones nor shed blood. Many a wife belongs to this querulous type and requires this sort of punishment to bring her to her senses!"[11]

Domestic Violence Against Women in Islam

Wife-beating in the Muslim world comes from the teachings of Islamic religious texts such as the Quran and the Hadiths. It has been an accepted part of Islam since its inception. Muhammad himself made attempts to limit the degree of violence, yet nevertheless declared "A man should not be asked why he beats his wife."[12] and according to Aisha, "I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women. Look! Her skin is greener than her clothes!"[13] Domestic violence has been used as a tool to maintain control and dominance over Muslim women, this has created an intensely patriarchal society where men rule women and women must submit to men. This article explores how wife-beating is authorized by the Qur'an and Hadiths along with commentary from Muslim scholars, statistics on wife beating in the Muslim world and common apologetic arguments made by Muslims and responses to them. In-Depth Analysis of an Apologetic Claim

This article looks at the mysterious translation of the verb darb (meaning "hit" "beat" or "strike") that has been presented on a few sites which claim to have "modern" translations of the Qur'an and are directed at non-Arabic speakers who lack adequate command of the language. It has been claimed that the following verse (4:34) does not mean "to beat them," but rather to "separate from them" or to "strike them out."

"Men are overseers over women, by reason of that wherewith Allah hath made one of them excel over another, and by reason of that which they expend of their substance. Wherefore righteous women are obedient, and are watchers in husbands absence by the aid and protection of Allah. And those wives whose refractoriness ye fear, exhort them, and avoid them in beds, and beat them; but if they obey you, seek not a way against them; verily Allah is ever Lofty, Grand." [14]

Beat them and leave/separate/abandon them are different phrases in Arabic. The arabic word idribohunna derived from the root word Darab does not have any other meaning than Beat when it comes to mean "Yadreb Ahadan" = Hit someone. Idriboohunna (أضربوهن) means beat them (for female plural). Adriboo Anhunna (اضربوا عنهن) is the one that means abandon or leave them. According to the Arabic lexicon[15]:

Arabic Transliteration Meaning
ضرب Zarb Beat
أضربوهن (used in 4:34) Idriboohunna Beat them
اضربوا عنهن Adriboo Anhunna abandon them, leave them

Quran 4:34 says Idriboohunna أضربوهن, not Adribu Anhunna اضربوا عنهن. These two phrases have different meanings. All the verses that contain darb against a human are understood to mean "beat" or "strike" that human, by their context, and this is agreed upon by even the sources making these strange claims. Why they then consider verse 4:34 to be a special case and translate "darb" to mean "separate from them" remains a mystery.

Muhammad's instruction and practice

...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. ... 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?
Narrated 'Abdullah bin Zam'a: The Prophet said, "None of you should flog his wife as he flogs a slave and then have sexual intercourse with her in the last part of the day."

Divine wrath

Abu Umamah narrated that :

Allah's Messenger said: "There are three whose Salat would not rise up beyond their ears: The runaway slave until he returns, a woman who spends a night while her husband is angry with her, and a people's Imam whom they dislike."


O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness…except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good.
Lodge them where you lodge according to your means, and do not injure them in order that you may straiten them…


The marriage of women who convert to Islam or whose husbands leave Islam is annulled

Based on another Qur'anic verse and numerous hadiths, Islamic jurisprudence has often decreed the break-up of existing marriages when a wife converts to Islam but the husband does not to do so. This ruling, for which there is also classical scholarly consensus[1][16], is based on the following verse:

O ye who believe! When believing women come unto you as fugitives, examine them. Allah is Best Aware of their faith. Then, if ye know them for true believers, send them not back unto the disbelievers. They are not lawful for them (the disbelievers), nor are they (the disbelievers) lawful for them. And give them (the disbelievers) that which they have spent (upon them). And it is no sin for you to marry such women when ye have given them their dues. And hold not to the ties of disbelieving women; and ask for (the return of) that which ye have spent; and let them (the disbelievers) ask for that which they have spent. That is the judgment of Allah. He judgeth between you. Allah is Knower, Wise.

The classical scholars also ruled that if on the other hand a husband converts to Islam, the marriage remains intact so long as his wife is a Christian or Jew. If a Muslim husband or wife leaves Islam, the marriage to his or her Muslim spouse is immediately annulled, though some held that the marriage is unaffected if only the wife leaves the religion, while others said that she becomes the husband's slave.[1]

Grounds for a Man to Divorce His Wife

Narrated Aisha: The following Verse: If a woman fears cruelty or desertion on her husband's part (i.e. the husband notices something unpleasant about his wife, such as old age or the like, and wants to divorce her, but she asks him to keep her and provide for her as he wishes). Quran 4:128 "There is no blame on them if they reconcile on such basis."
The divorce is twice, after that either you retain her on reasonable terms or release her with kindness..

Ibn Kathir, the one of the most respected of Qur'an commentators:

Divorce is thrice. This honorable ayah abrogated the previous practice in the beginning of Islam, when the man had the right to take back his divorced wife even if he had divorced her a hundred times. This situation was harmful for the wife, and this is why Allah made the divorce thrice, where the husband is allowed to take back his wife after the first and the second divorce… The divorce becomes irrevocable after the third divorce.[17]

Divorce process for women

A wife can ask her husband to divorce her, and if he releases her from the marriage she makes a payment to him of the mahr (dowery) she had received or other agreed payment. This is known as khula'. If he refuses, she can try to get a divorce by judicial decree when there are grounds for which his consent is not required (such as inability or failure to fulfil his marital obligations, desertion, insanity, cruelty).

Divorced women shall wait concerning themselves for three monthly periods. Nor is it lawful for them to hide what Allah Hath created in their wombs…. And their husbands have the better right to take them back in that period, if they wish for reconciliation. And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree (of advantage) over them. A divorce is only permissible twice: after that, the parties should either hold Together on equitable terms, or separate with kindness. It is not lawful for you, (Men), to take back any of your gifts (from your wives), except when both parties fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah. If ye (judges) do indeed fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah, there is no blame on either of them if she give something for her freedom. These are the limits ordained by Allah; so do not transgress them if any do transgress the limits ordained by Allah, such persons wrong (Themselves as well as others).

Ibn Kathir quotes Sahih Muslim:

Fear Allah regarding your women, for you have taken them by Allah's covenant and were allowed to enjoy them sexually by Allah's words. You have the right on them that they do not allow anyone you dislike to sit on your mat. If they do that, then discipline them leniently. They have the right to be spent on and to be bought clothes in what is reasonable.[18]
If a wife fears cruelty or desertion on her husband's part, there is no blame on them if they arrange an amicable settlement between themselves; and such settlement is best; even though men's souls are swayed by greed.
The apparent wording of the Ayah [Quran 4:128] refers to the settlement where the wife forfeits some of the rights she has over her husband, with the husband agreeing to this concession, and that this settlement is better than divorce. For instance, the Prophet kept Sawdah bint Zam'ah as his wife after she offered to forfeit her day for A'isha. By keeping her among his wives, his Ummah may follow this kind of settlement."[19]
Narrated Aisha: Regarding the explanation of the following verse:-- "If a wife fears Cruelty or desertion On her husband's part." (4.128) A man may dislike his wife and intend to divorce her, so she says to him, "I give up my rights, so do not divorce me." The above verse was revealed concerning such a case.

Muhallil Marriage

A woman can remarry her first husband only if she marries another man and consummates the marriage with him, then proceeds to divorce that man:

So if a husband divorces his wife (irrevocably), He cannot, after that, re-marry her until after she has married another husband and He has divorced her.
Narrated Aisha: The wife of Rifa'a Al-Qurazi came to the Prophet and said, "I was Rifa'a's wife, but he divorced me and it was a final irrevocable divorce. Then I married AbdurRahman bin Az-Zubair but he is impotent." The Prophet asked her 'Do you want to remarry Rifa'a? You cannot unless you had a complete sexual relation with your present husband."
Yahya related to me from Malik … that Rifa'a ibn Simwal divorced his wife, Tamima bint Wahb, in the time of the messenger of Allah three times. She then married 'Abd ar-Rahman ibn az-Zubayr and he turned from her and could not consummate the marriage and so he parted from her. Rifa'a wanted to marry her again and it was mentioned to the Messenger of Allah, and he forbade him to marry her. He said, 'She is not halal for you until she has tasted the sweetness of intercourse.'


Adultery (with slaves) is Permitted in Islam

Main Articles: Zina, and The Punishment for Zina

Zina (Arabic: الزنا‎ ) is the Arabic word for "unlawful sexual relations." It is used to refer to both adultery and fornication.

The Islamic definition of adultery differs from the modern/secular definition as well as the Biblical definition. The meaning also differs in relation to gender. Adultery is a serious offense in Islam and earns the death penalty. However, according to the most widely accepted definitions of the term, Islam in fact allows adultery, so long as it is with one's slave women.

Moreover, not only may a Muslim man have sex with a married woman who is his slave, but he may also sell or give her as a slave to another man for him to have sex with .

Men Can Have Sex with (Rape) Female Slaves

If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess.
Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess: Thus hath Allah ordained (Prohibitions) against you.
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.
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;


...Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (Allah her pleased with him) reported that at the Battle of Hanain 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 (iv. 24)" (i. e. they were lawful for them when their 'Idda period came to an end).
...Abu Sirma said to Abu Sa'id al Khadri (Allah he pleased with him): 0 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.

"What the right hand possesses" is a common euphemism in Arabic for a slave or slaves. Ibn Timiyya says in volume 32, p.7 the following:

"It is lawful for a Muslim to (have sex) with as many as he wishes of those whom his right hand possesses, … Muslims are not prohibited from having more than four concubines provided that no two sisters are among them."

In the same volume (page 89), Ibn Timiyya says boastfully:

"Islam has made it lawful to its followers to have sex through marriage as well as with what the right hand possesses, while (for Jews and Christians) they may have sex through marriage only. They are not (allowed to have sex with) what their hand possesses.

Women Cannot Have Sex with Male Slaves and POWs

In a tafsir explaining surah 23 verses 1-7 of the Qur'an, Abul A'la Maududi explains that women are not allowed to have sex with male slaves and captives.

"Most certainly those Believers have attained true success who perform their Salat with humility: who refrain from vain things. who spend their Zakat dues in appropriate ways. who guard their private parts scrupulously. except with regard to their wives and those women who are legally in their possession, for in that case they shall not be blame-worthy. but those who go beyond this (in lust for sexual desires), shall be transgressors[7]"


7: This is a parenthesis which is meant to remove the common misunderstanding that sex desire is an evil thing in itself and satisfying it even in lawful ways is not desirable, particularly for the righteous and godly people. This misunderstanding would have been strengthened had it been only said that the Believers guard their private parts scrupulously, because it would have implied that they live unmarried lives, away from the world, like monks and hermits.


The law prescribed in the parenthesis is only applicable to men as is clear from the Text. A woman in the time of Hadrat `Umar did not understand this fine point of the language and indulged in sexual gratification with her slave. When her case was brought before the consultative body of the Companions, they gave the unanimous decision: "She misinterpreted the Book of Allah.".... The wisdom of why the slave has been forbidden to the woman is that he can only satisfy her sexual desire but cannot become guardian and governor of herself and her household, which leaves a serious flaw in the family life.

Ban on Forcing Slave Girls into Prostitution

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.

The slave women are 'forgiven' for what they were forced to do by the slave owner, but no punishment is prescribed for this action.



According to the ahadith and sira, Umar bin Al-Khattab, a companion of Muhammad, wished that Muhammad would reveal verses from Allah requiring women to wear the hijab. When Muhammad did not oblige, Umar followed Muhammad's wives out at night and in the dark when they went to go to the toilet and made his presence known, later informing the prophet that he had spied his wives relieving themselves in the dark, and that had his wives been cloaked in a garment such as the hijab, he would not have been able to identify the women as being the prophet's wives. Having heard of this, Muhammad received the revelation that Umar had requested, and the verses of the hijab were sent down from Allah.

Women's Responsibility to Cover

And say to the believing women that they 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, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments.

Modesty valued more than life

In the Muslim holy city of Mecca in March 2002, fifteen teenage girls perished in a fire at their school when the Saudi religious police, the muttawa'in, wouldn't let them out of the building, because in the female-only school environment, they had shed the all-concealing outer garments that Saudi women must wear in the presence of men. They had not put these garments back on before trying to flee from the fire. The muttawa'in preferred that they die rather than transgress Islamic law, and actually battled police and firemen who were trying to open the school's doors and to save the girls. [20]

Value of testimony

Women's testimony equal to half of man's

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri: Once Allah's Apostle went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) of 'Id-al- Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, "O women! Give alms... 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.
Allah 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.
I’laam al-Muwaqqa’een. Part 1, p.75.

Females found responsible and punished for rape

In March 2007, a 19-year-old Saudi woman received a sentence of 90 lashes. Her crime? A man threatened to tell her father that they were having an affair unless she met him alone. When she did, she was kidnapped and repeatedly raped, after which her brother beat her because the rapes brought shame to the family. Rather than giving her justice, a Saudi court sentenced her to be lashed ninety times because she had met a man alone who was not related to her. Fuziyah Al Ouni, a feminist activist, said she was outraged by the case. 'By sentencing her to 90 lashes they are sending a message that she is guilty.'[21]

"In 2004, a sixteen-year old girl, Atefeh Rajabi, was hanged in a public square in Iran. Her crime? Rajabi was charged with adultery -- which probably means she was raped. Her rapist was not executed. Rajabi told the mullah-judge, Haji Rezaii, the he ought to punish men who rape, not their victims." The judge both sentenced and personally hanged Rajabi because, in addition to her crime, he said that she had "a sharp tongue."[22]

On November 1, 2008 a 13-year-old girl in Somalia was stoned to death after being raped by three men. She was unable to produce the required four witnesses to the rape and was therefore accused of adultery as required by Shari'a law. It was reported that the girl begged for mercy before being buried waist high in the ground and pummeled to death by a mob of 1,000.[23][24]

Islamic law restricts the validity of a woman's testimony, particularly in cases involving sexual immorality. And Islamic legal theorists have limited it even farther, in the words of one Muslim legal manual, to "cases involving property, or transactions dealing with property, such as sales." In other judicial areas only men can testify. It is virtually impossible, therefore, to prove rape in lands that follow these Sharia provisions. If the required male witnesses can't be found to exonerate her (four men who testify to seeing the actual crime, according to the Qur'an), the victim's charge of rape can become an admission of adultery. That accounts for the grim fact that as many as seventy-five percent of the women in prison in Pakistan are, in fact, behind bars for the crime of having been raped.[25]



Sex Segregation in Islam

Islam generally prohibits free-mixing between men and women. It is argued that direct references for this prohibition can not be found in either the Qur'an or the Sunnah of the Prophet; but this can not mean that such conduct is permissible in Islam. As a complete way of life, Islam has not failed to address the matter. Various scholars of Islam have formulated their opinions on this matter and acknowledged the practice of free-mixing as a crime punishable under Shari'ah laws. All of the Jurists have sourced their views from the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the prophet, using these as the basis of their argument. Under Islamic law, it is not permissible for women to freely mix or socialize with non-Mahram men who are not her husband (Mahram i.e. those whom marriage is prohibited in Islam, include fathers, uncles, brothers and close blood relatives) under any circumstances. Islamic scholars are unanimous on this matter.

Women must never be alone in the presence of another man who is not a relative

A women who walks or goes out unaccompanied or in the company of a man who is neither their husband nor a close relative is at risk of arrest on suspicion of prostitution or other "moral offences" in certain majority-Muslim countries.

In February 2008, an American businesswoman of Jordanian descent was arrested in Saudi Arabia after being found by the religious police sitting in the family area of a Starbucks with a male business associate. They had been working together at their nearby office when power was lost, and they decided to go to Starbucks to use the wireless internet. She was released from jail a day later, bruised and crying after being detained and beaten for being in the presence of another man not a relative.[26]

Adult Suckling

In Islamic societies gender segregation is a common practice to avoid any form of adultery. Thus men and women are not advised to stay in the same room if they are alone, and any adult woman is required to wear a veil in public. Only if men and women are closely related (Mahram) or married is there no need for gender segregation and hijab. However, it is obvious that the strict application of Islamic law may cause some trouble and difficulties to daily life, particularly concerning business. Some scholars today and historically have suggested a way around this:.

'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that Salim, the freed slave of Abu Hadhaifa, lived with him and his family in their house. She (i.e. the daughter of Suhail) came to Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) and said: Salim has attained (puberty) as men attain, and he understands what they understand, and he enters our house freely, I, however, perceive that something (rankles) in the heart of Abu Hudhaifa, whereupon Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) said to her: Suckle him and you would become unlawful for him, and (the rankling) which Abu Hudhaifa feels in his heart will disappear. She returned and said: So I suckled him, and what (was there) in the heart of Abu Hudhaifa disappeared.

Dr. Atiyya, the head of the Hadith Department in Al-Azhar University, repeatedly declared that the sources he quoted belonged to the Islamic holy texts with the highest possible authority. According to him, no fewer than 90,000 contemporary scholars confirmed that the hadith referred to is authentic.

In the modern world

According to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, over 90% of married women report being kicked, slapped, beaten or sexually abused when husbands were dissatisfied by their cooking or cleaning, or when the women had 'failed' to bear a child or had given birth to a girl instead of a boy. Another organization stated that one woman is murdered and one woman is kidnapped in Pakistan every day.[27]

Women – social status

Women are mere possessions

In the following hadith, note that Sad bin Ar-Rabi used his wives as a mere possession to be traded in a purely commercial transaction:

Narrated Ibrahim bin Sad from his father from his grand-father: Abdur Rahman bin Auf said, "When we came to Medina as emigrants, Allah's Apostle established a bond of brotherhood between me and Sad bin Ar-Rabi'. Sad bin Ar-Rabi' said (to me), 'I am the richest among the Ansar, so I will give you half of my wealth and you may look at my two wives and whichever of the two you may choose I will divorce her, and when she has completed the prescribed period (before marriage) you may marry her.'

The prophet of Islam stated the following, recorded in the earliest biography:

"Lay injunctions on women kindly, for they are prisoners with you having no control of their persons. You have taken them only as a trust from God, and you have the enjoyment of their persons by the words of God, so understand (T. and listen to) my words, O men, for I have told you.[28]

Women are also mentioned in these texts as possessions along with animals:

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

Women are deficient in intellect

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri: On 'Id ul Fitr or 'Id ul Adha Allah's Apostle (p.b.u.h) went out to the Musalla. After finishing the prayer, he delivered the sermon and ordered the people to give alms. He said, "O people! Give alms." Then he went towards the women and said. "O women! Give alms, for I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-Fire were you (women)." The women asked, "O Allah's Apostle! What is the reason for it?" He replied, "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 wise man astray." Then he left.

Women are the inhabitants of hell

(And it is said unto the angels): Assemble those who did wrong, together with their wives and what they used to worship instead of Allah, and lead them to the path to hell;

Some Qur'an translators use the word "spouses" instead of "wives."[29] Yet, the Qur'an is clear in telling us that if some persons deserve hell, their spouses must simply follow suit irrespective of whether or not they are guilty. The tafsirs are also in disagreement over the correct word; Ibn Abbas goes with "wives."[30]

Narrated Ibn 'Abbas: The Prophet said: "I was shown the Hell-fire and that the majority of its dwellers were women who were ungrateful." It was asked, "Do they disbelieve in Allah?" (or are they ungrateful to Allah?) He replied, "They are ungrateful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favors and the good (charitable deeds) done to them.
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 Hellfire were you (women)..."
Narrated 'Abdullah bin Abbas: The people say, "O Allah's Apostle! We saw you taking something from your place and then we saw you retreating." The Prophet replied, "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 replied, "Because of their ungratefulness."
Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri: On 'Id ul Fitr or 'Id ul Adha Allah's Apostle (p.b.u.h) went out to the Musalla. After finishing the prayer, he delivered the sermon and ordered the people to give alms. He said, "O people! Give alms." Then he went towards the women and said. "O women! Give alms, for I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-Fire were you (women)."
Narrated Usama: The Prophet said, "I stood at the gate of Paradise and saw that the majority of the people who entered it were the poor, while the wealthy were stopped at the gate (for the accounts). But the companions of the Fire were ordered to be taken to the Fire. Then I stood at the gate of the Fire and saw that the majority of those who entered it were women."
Narrated Imran: The Prophet said, "I looked at Paradise and saw that the majority of its residents were the poor; and I looked at the (Hell) Fire and saw that the majority of its residents were women."

Women compared to dogs

Most orthodox Islamic scholars considers dogs to be haram - forbidden and najis - unclean. Thus the comparison of women to dogs in these Sahih (authentic) ahadith are noteworthy:

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."
Narrated 'Aisha: It is not good that you people have made us (women) equal to dogs and donkeys.
Abu Dharr reported: The Messenger of 'Allah (may peace be upon him) said: When any one of you stands for prayer … his prayer would be cut off by (passing of an) ass, woman, and black Dog.
...Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: A woman, an ass and a dog disrupt the prayer.
...Masruq reported: It was mentioned before 'A'isha that prayer is invalidated (in case of passing) of a dog, an ass and a woman (before the worshipper, when he is not screened). Upon this 'A'isha said: You likened us to the asses and the dogs.

Women compared to devil

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.

Sexual relations with women in Islam

Man Can Take Pleasure from their Women (Wives)

They question thee (O Muhammad) concerning menstruation. Say: It is an illness, so let women alone at such times and go not in unto them till they are cleansed. And when they have purified themselves, then go in unto them as Allah hath enjoined upon you. Truly Allah loveth those who turn unto Him, and loveth those who have a care for cleanness.
Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will, and send (good deeds) before you for your souls, and fear Allah, and know that ye will (one day) meet Him. Give glad tidings to believers, (O Muhammad).

Women are Placed in Paradise for the Pleasure of Men

Narrated Abdullah bin Qais: Allah's Apostle 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.

Muhammad Suggested Marrying Virgins to Fondle Them

Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah: I was accompanying the Prophet on a journey and was riding a slow camel that was lagging behind the others. ... When we approached Medina, I started going (towards my house). The Prophet said, "Where are you going?" I said, "I have married a widow." He said, "Why have you not married a virgin to fondle with each other?"
Narrated 'Aisha: The Prophet and I used to take a bath from a single pot while we were Junub. During the menses, he used to order me to put on an Izar (dress worn below the waist) and used to fondle me.

Shame and honor

Honor killings by family members

Domestic violence is an issue that transcends cultures and is not limited solely to the Islamic world. Yet while honor killing indeed occurs in other cultures, and is not prescribed in by Islamic schools of jurisprudence, the ubiquity of killing of children by parents is popularly excused through reference to Islam. Shari'a law allows a father or mother to murder their children without retaliation (Qisas):

Retaliation is obligatory .... against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right ... The following are not subject to retaliation ... (4) a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring.
'Umdat al-Salik (Reliance of the Traveller), section o1.1-2

Thus according to the Shafi'i school of Islamic jurisprudence, a father or mother may murder their offspring for any reason, without fear of vengeance or justice. Most often, this sort of murder is done to preserve family "honor" and this honor usually revolves around something that a female family member has done. Such extreme negative attitudes and actions in response to female freedom are no doubt influenced by Islamic punishments for zina and the highly controlling nature of Islam towards women generally.

The United Nations Population Fund estimated in September 2000 that as many as 5,000 women and girls fall victim to such killings each year. Some examples:

Female circumcision (FGM)

In some Islamic countries women face the certainty of female circumcision, otherwise known as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Somali women's rights activist and ex-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali notes that in her own homeland virtually every girl has her clitoris excised, sometimes when as young as five years old, and that the practice is always justified in the name of Islam.

Uncircumcised girls are told they will become prostitutes but that circumcised girls will be pure and will retain their honor and dignity. Ayaan Hirsi Ali describes her own genital mutilation in her book Infidel:

Grandma caught hold of me and gripped my upper body… Two other women held my legs apart. The man, who was probably an itinerant traditional circumciser from the blacksmith clan, picked up a pair of scissors. With the other hand, he caught hold of the place between my legs and started tweaking it, like Grandma milking a goat... Then the scissors went down between my legs and the man cut off my inner labia and clitoris. I heard it, like a butcher snipping the fat off a piece of meat. A piercing pain shot up between my legs, indescribable, and I howled. Then came the sewing: the long, blunt needle clumsily pushed into my bleeding outer labia, my loud and anguished protests, Grandma's words of comfort and encouragement… When the sewing was finished, the man cut the thread off with his teeth. That is all I can recall of it.[31]

Among Muslims FGM is prevalent mainly in Egypt, Sudan, and Somalia, and in other African countries. Muslims who practice it invest genital mutilation with religious significance. One Islamic legal manual states that circumcision is required "for both men and women."

Reliance of the Traveller

This manual of Islamic law prescribes female circumcision, but with an interesting twist. In English versions, the law forbids removal of the female clitoris, while in the original Arabic no such restriction exists.

English translation:

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).

Original Arabic:

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).

To Sheikh Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi, the Grand Imam of Cairo's al-Azhar, the oldest and most prestigious university in the lands of Islam, female circumcision is "a laudable practice that does honor to women." Tantawi is no fringe figure: he is, in the words of a BBC report, "the highest spiritual authority for nearly a billion Sunni Muslims."

In endorsing female circumcision he uses this considerable spiritual authority to perpetuate a practice that gives women lifelong pain and blocks their access to sexual fulfillment. But perhaps in the eyes of Sheikh Tantawi the pain is worth the result: most authorities agree that female circumcision is designed to diminish a woman's sexual response, so that she will be less likely to commit adultery.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Leeman, Alex B. (2009) "Interfaith Marriage in Islam: An Examination of the Legal Theory Behind the Traditional and Reformist Positions," Indiana Law Journal: Vol. 84 : Iss. 2 , Article 9. pp.754-759 Available at: http://ilj.law.indiana.edu/articles/84/84_2_Leeman.pdf and https://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/ilj/vol84/iss2/9
  2. Verses on Interfaith Marriage: Still Binding? Archive of islamonline.net
  3. Why a Muslim Woman Is Not Allowed to Marry a Non-Muslim Man
  4. Muslim Women Can Marry Outside The Faith - Blog on Huffington Post by Junaid Jahangir
  5. https://sunnah.com/muslim:1406f https://sunnah.com/muslim:1406g https://sunnah.com/muslim:1406f https://sunnah.com/muslim:1407a https://sunnah.com/muslim:1406i
  6. The Marriage of Mut'ah: Introduction: Preface - Answering Ansar
  7. Dr. Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimi - The Ideal Muslimah (chapter 4) - MSA West.net
  8. Sirat Rasul Allah, ibn Ishaq, A. Guillaume, translator. Oxford University Press, 1955, page 651.
  9. Tafsir Ibn Kathir - Qualities of the Righteous Wife - Tafsir.com
  10. Tafsir Ibn Kathir - Dealing with the Wife's Ill-Conduct - Tafsir.com
  11. Quoted in: The Veil of Equality and Justice: Section 2 - Answering Islam
  12. Sunan Ibn Majah 3:9:1986 (graded Hasan)
  13. "...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!"..." - Sahih Bukhari 7:72:715
  14. Quran 4 the World - Quran 4:34 (Daryabadi)
  15. "arabic-lexicon" (page in Arabic language)
  16. Stories of Women who Became Muslim and Left their Non-Muslim Husbands - IslamQA.info
  17. Tafsir Ibn Kathir (abridged), Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri et al, translators (Riyadh: Darussalam, 2000), vol 1, p. 635.
  18. Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol 1, page 633
  19. Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol 2, page 601
  20. Christopher Dickey and Rod Nordland - The Fire That Won't Die Out - Islamawareness, 2002
  21. Saudi gang-rape victim faces 90 lashes - Khaleej Times Online, March 5, 2007
  22. Alasdair Palmer - Death and the maiden in Iran - The Telegraph, August 29, 2004
  23. Raped girl, 13, stoned to death news24.com,2008-11-01
  24. David Williams - Somali girl 'pleaded for mercy' before Islamists stoned her to death for being raped - Daily Mail, November 5, 2008
  25. Rape, Zina and Incest Press Statement - Violence Against Women - SistersInIslam, April 6, 2000
  26. Sonia Verma - American Woman Boasted of Saudi Freedoms To Bush Brother Before Arrest at Starbucks - Fox News, February 7, 2008
  27. Pakistan: Violence against women: Media briefing - Amnesty International
  28. ibn Ishaq, p. 651
  29. 37:22
  30. "Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas 37:22", http://www.altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=73&tSoraNo=37&tAyahNo=22&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2. 
  31. Ayaan Hirsi Ali - Infidel (p. 32) - NY: Free Press, 2007, ISBN 9781416526247