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The Place of Women in Pure Islam

By Sh. G. F. Haddad

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From a Christian site[1] with the title:

The Place of Women in Pure Islam

by M. Rafiqul-Haqq and P. Newton

Women in Islam is one of the most controversial topics imaginable.
You may do well to heed this great advice by Imam Ali:

"Never abandon the truth, even if it is against you."

This refutation focusses on correcting the string of misrepresentations and mistranslations of the Qur'an and Sunna to show that what the authors call “pure Islam” is in fact a construction of their own based on texts that are either inauthentic, irrelevant, or deliberately misconstrued in quick and superficial fashion.

Men's Superiority
Women's Deficiencies
What is a Woman?
Husband's Rights
Woman's Rights
Man's Prerogatives
Significance of the Marriage Contract
Significance of the Dowry
Spiritual Standing of Women


The true title of this section should be: “Men's greater share of responsibilities.”

The Qur'an expresses the equality of the works of the sexes and the oneness of origin of the sexes in the following verses.

"And their Lord answereth them, 'I will not suffer the work of him among you that worketh, whether of male or female, to be lost. The one of you is the issue of the other." (Q 3:195) Rodwell.

"Mankind fear your Lord, who created you of a single soul, and from it created its mate." (Q 4:1) Arberry

So while the Qur'an holds the works of men and women in equal regard and acknowledges that they are completely interdependent as to their very existence, they are not regarded as having equal worth as people.

This is a lie. The Qur'an clearly states:
{ O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female_. Verily the best of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. } (49:13).

The men are a step above the women and superior to them as is clear from the following two verses.

"And it is for the women to act as they (the husbands) act by them, in all fairness; but the men are a step above them."[7] (Q 2:228) Rodwell "Men have authority over women because Allah has made the one superior to the other."(Q 4:34) Dawood.

Here are Muslim translations of the same two passages but _in full_, indicating that the context in each of the two verses denotes superiority of men in maintenance and financial responsibility. Imam al-Shaʿrani said, “If the man does not work and support his wife then he loses that degree.” [2:228]
{ 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, if they have Faith in Allah and the Last Day. 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. And Allah is exalted in power wise. } (Yusuf ʿAli) [4:34]
{ 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). } (Yusuf ʿAli)

The famous commentator Ibn Kathir commented on (Q 4:34) saying:

"Men are superior to women, and a man is better than a woman."[8]

8. Ibn-Kathir, commenting on Q 4:34.

As we already said, the Qur'an states:
{ O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female_. Verily the best of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. } (49:13). This is enough to silence the lie that men and women in Islam “are not regarded as having equal worth as people,” which is the premise of the present section.

As for commentary, al-Tabari said the best explanation for 2:223 is that of Ibn ʿAbbas: "The degree mentioned by Allah Most High here is the exemption, on the man's part, of some his wife's obligations towards him and his indulgence towards her, while he is fully obligated to fulfill all his obligations towards her, because the verse came right after {And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness}. Hence Ibn ʿAbbas said: 'I would not like to obtain all (astanzif) of my right from her because Allah Most High said { and men are a degree above them.}.'"


The true title of this section should be: “Limitations connected with women.”


The true title of this section should be: “Sins of the tongue.”

The intellectual and religious deficiencies of women are stated in the following Hadith found in Sahih al-Bukhari which is considered by Muslim scholars to be "The most authentic book after the Book of Allah (ie. the Qur'an)":[13]

"Allah's Apostle once said to a group of women :'I have not seen any one 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 defi cient 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 of your intelligence'... 'Isn't it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?' The women replied in the affirmative. He said: 'This is the deficiency in your religion.''[14]

13. Sahih Bukhari, Arabic-English translation, vol. 1, Introduction, p. xiv. 14. Ibid., 1 Hadith No. 301. See also vol. 3, Hadith No. 826.

The authenticity of the above Hadith is undisputed. It is reported by the two most reliable collections of Hadith; Bukhari and Muslim. The agreement of Bukhari and Muslim on its authenticity makes it (mutafaqun 'alayhi) 'agreed upon', which is the highest degree of authenticity. The above Hadith has been accepted and used by eminent scholars, such as Ghazali, Ibn al-'Arabi, Razi, Suyouti, Qortobi, Nawawi, and Ibn Kathir, in their writings.

The problem here is not authenticity but meaning. Even the plainest statement can become completely incoherent on the tongue of a retarded person or a pathological liar. The hadith here uses two figures of speech: the first is hyperbole (mubalagha) meaning exaggeration in the words “even a prudent, sensible man might be led astray by some of you” i.e. a fortiori an ordinary man. The second figure is synechdoche (majaz mursal) consisting in using the whole for the part: intelligence to mean the specific legal testimony of a woman, and religion to mean the prayer and fast at the time of menses.

Numerous verses and other narrations stress that the reward of women equals that of men even if their acts differ. So this particular narration is not meant literally but as an acknowledgment of the power women wield over men while ostensibly less active in the public and spiritual spheres.

However, the real import of the hadith - spoken at the Farewell Pilgrimage - and its actual context was that the Prophet ﷺ challenged the women that were present to realize that unless they helped raise money with their gold and jewelry, they would miss the reward of men waging jihad as well as show ingratitude.

In the full version of the hadith the Prophet ﷺ also orders the women to ask forgiveness and desist from frequently cursing their husbands. All this was spoken at a time of
(1) the impending departure of the latter on jihad
(2) the impending departure of the Prophet ﷺ from this world and
(3) the fact that “Cursing the believer is like killing him.”

But the Prophet ﷺ was also being playful in his use of strong terms to impress this teaching on the listeners. Ruqayyah Waris Maqsud writes, “After the Farewell Pilgrimage at the Eid prayer, the Prophet ﷺ walked past the men leaning on Bilal's arm, and came to the rows of women behind them. Bilal spread out a cloth and the Prophet ﷺ urged the women to be generous with their gifts of charity, for when he had been allowed a glimpse into the flames of Hell, he had noted that most of the people being tormented there were women.

The women were outraged, and one of them instantly stood up boldly and demanded to know why that was so.
'Because,' he replied, 'you women grumble so much, and show ingratitude to your husbands! Even if the poor fellows spent all their lives doing good things for you, you have only to be upset at the least thing and you will say, 'I have never received any good from you!' (Bukhari 1.28, recorded by Ibn Abbas - who was present on that occasion as a child).
At that the women began vigorously to pull off their rings and ear-rings, and throw them into Bilal's cloth.”

Commenting on the Qur'anic verse Q 30:21 which states "And of His signs is that He created for you, of yourselves, spouses, that you may repose in them" Razi said:

"His saying 'created for you' is a proof that women were created like animals and plants and other useful things, just as the Most High has said 'He created for you what is on earth' and that necessitates the woman not to be created for worship and carrying the Divine commands. We say creating the women is one of the graces bestowed upon us and charging them with Divine commands to complete the graces bestowed upon us, not that they are charged as we men are charged. For women are not charged with many commands as we are charged, because the woman is weak, silly, in one sense she is like a child, and no commands are laid upon a child, but for the grace of Allah upon us to be complete, women had to be charged so that they may fear the torment of punishment and so follow her husband, and keep away from what is forbidden, otherwise corruption would be rampant."[15]

15. At-Tafsir al-Kabir, Razi, commenting on Q 30:21.

The above is consistent with the authentic Hadith that says women are deficient in intelligence and religion. This belief has been accepted by Muslim scholars and writers for the past thirteen hundred years.

The Qur'an once again very clearly states: { I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me } (51:56) and woman is part of humankind. This and none other has been the belief accepted and practiced by the Muslims for the past fourteen hundred years. It is amusing to see the critics of Islam forever straying into the sidetracks of strange and unusual interpretations although they do stick to the primary text (cf. the hadith in this very section) and disregard its explanation when they think it suits them.

One modern writer said: "The woman's share of intellect does not reach man's level."[16]

He then went on to say that "al-'Aqad, one of the most eminent Arabic writers, in his book al-Mar'ah wal-Qur'an,

"has a valuable chapter in which 'Aqad demolished the intellectual equality of women and men."[17]

16. Al-Islam wa-l-Mar'ah al-Mu'aserah, Al- Bahi al-Khuli, Dar al-Qalam, Quwait, 1984, p. 241. 17. Ibid.

There is incoherence here: What “intellectual equality” was there to demolish if the belief that ”the women are deficient in intelligence and religion” has been accepted by Muslim scholars and writers for the past thirteen hundred years”? And what do modernist writers in the first place have to do with "pure Islam"?”


This section belongs with the previous section and under the same title, “Sins of the tongue.”

Women are not only deficient in intelligence, but they also lack gratitude. Women's lack of gratitude is expressed in another Hadith from Bukhari:

"Women are ungrateful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favours and the good (charitable) deeds done to them. If you have always been good (benevolent) to one of them and then she sees something in you (not of her liking), she will say, 'I have never received any good from you."[18]

18. Sahih Bukhari, Arabic-English translation, vol. 1 Hadith No. 28.

So according to this Hadith, women are not only intellectually and spiritually deficient but also deficient in gratitude.

We already demonstrated that the claim that women are intellectually and spiritually deficient is untrue. This is the very same narration as the one that was quoted in the previous section and here is its actual text: 1.28: Narrated Ibn ʿAbbas: 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. If you have always been good (benevolent) to one of them and then she sees something in you (not of her liking), she will say, 'I have never received any good from you." It can be seen that the claim that “according to this Hadith, women are “deficient in gratitude” is yet another lie, since the hadith only states that the sin of the female dwellers of Hellfire was ingratitude.


The true title of this section should be: “Limitations to a woman's testimony.”

The testimony of the woman is not equal to that of the man. Her testimony is half the testimony of the man with regard to financial matters. The Qur'an states,

"And call in to witness two witnesses, men; or if the two be not men, then one man and two women, such witness as you approve of, that if one woman errs the other will remind her."[19]

19. The Qur'an, 2: 282.

There are plenty of cases where one woman's testimony is as good as one man's. “As regards the witness of two women being required instead of one, the shari'ah generally accepts that this is advisable in cases where women have little knowledge and no expertise of the subject. In matters where their witness would be just as valid as a man's, the witness of one women is sufficient.” (Ruqayyah Waris Maqsud)

The proof that the meaning of the above verse applies only in a very narrow and technical context is that many scholars of Islam have permitted women to be judges. Further, all Sunni schools agree that a woman may be a mufti just as a man can. Based on that consensus, moreover, al-Tabari, and probably al-Shaybani, were also of the position that a woman could be a judge (qadi) for all types of cases, because a fatwa is more important (a'zam makanatan) than a judgment (qada').

To go back to the meaning of the verse: Al-Zuhayli said the second woman was needed to remind the first of any detail she might have forgotten (as explicitly mentioned in the aya), just as the second man - if there actually were two male witnesses - would have done with the first. For men socialize with men, and women with women; they do not mix so, a priori, they would not be able to correct each other as easily as a member of their own sex. Another reason is that from the psychological perspective men and even little boys tend to be more finnicky about rules and details - even meaningless details - whereas women and little girls often brush off the rules as unimportant and overlook minutiae that to their minds may seem irrelevant. Also, contractual and commercial life tends to be male-dominated i.e. of greater access and familiarity to men, although there are social situations where only women are present.

In Muslim countries, usually only women are present at the time of a birth; whether they are the mid-wife, doctor etc. In some cases only one woman may be present. There are serious legal implications in inheritance as to whether the baby is still-born, lives, or breathes (is alive) and then dies almost immediately. Yet, if only one woman is present at such times, her testimony is taken as valid. In the case of two spouses each accusing the other of adultery with no other witnesses: each spouse may witness four times, the fifth time they invoke the curse of Allah on them if they are telling a lie. In neither of these two examples is the man's word equivalent to that of two women.

See also, on this issue, Mohammad Fadel's article in the International Journal of Middle East Studies, May 1997, titled "Two Women, One Man: Knowledge, Power and Gender in Medieval Sunni Legal Thought."



This is not in the Qur'an, nor the authentic Sunna, nor the sayings of the early Muslims.

The previously mentioned deficiencies show the woman's inadequacy as a companion for man. Her deficiency in intelligence and religion prevent her from exchanging secular or sacred ideas or participating in religious or related spheres. To what level do these deficiencies reduce the woman?

"'Omar [one of the Khalifs] was once talking when his wife interjected, so he said to her: 'You are a toy, if you are needed we will call you.'"[21]

21. Al-Musanaf by Abu Bakr Ahmad Ibn 'Abd Allah Ibn Mousa Al-Kanadi who lived 557H., Vol. 1 Part 2, p. 263. See also Ihy'a 'Uloum ed-Din by Ghazali, Dar al- Kotob al-'Elmeyah, Beirut, Vol II, Kitab Adab al-Nikah, p. 52.

(1) “Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn ʿAbd Allah ibn Mousa al-Kindi (d. 557)” is a complete unknown in hadith scholarship and so is his supposedly 42-volume Musannaf, although the fact that the Ministry of national patrimony and culture of Oman commissioned its 1989 publication indicates that he is a Kharijite.
Kharijites strenuously deny the validity of hadith, and their treatment of women is entirely academic here.
(2) the saying is in the Ihya' without chain and is evidently a forgery.
(3) Critics of Islam generally cling to spurious sources and weird interpretations while they stay clear of the Qur'an and Sahihayn.

The correct version of the above report is in al-Bukhari and Muslim, narrated from Ibn ʿAbbas, from ʿUmar, that the latter said: “In the Pre-Islamic Time of Ignorance we held women as nothing until Allah revealed what He revealed concerning them and assigned for them what He assigned. Once, as I was thinking over a certain matter, my wife said, 'I recommend that you do such-and-such.' I said to her, 'What have you got to do with the matter? Why do you poke your nose in a matter which I want to see fulfilled?' She replied, 'How strange you are, O son of Al-Khattab! You want no argument while your daughter, Hafsa, surely argues with the Messenger of Allah!'”

And 'Amru Bin al-'Aas, also a Khalif, said: "Women are toys, so choose."[22] 22. Kanz-el-'Ummal, Vol. 21, Hadith No. 919.

(1) ʿAmr ibn al-ʿAs was never a Caliph.
(2) A report taken from al- Daylami's al-Firdaws (4:314 #6922) without chain, which is in al-Hakim's Tarikh as in Kanz al-ʿUmmal (#44592). Al-Suyuti in his collection of forgeries al-La'ali' al-Masnuʿa reproduces al- Hakim's chain: Haddathana Abu al-Tayyib Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Mudhakkir: [qala] haddathana Muhammad ibn al-Rumi: [qala] haddathana Abu al-Azhar: [qala] haddathana Zuhayr ibn ʿAbbad: [qala] haddathana Ibn Lahiʿa: ʿan al-Ahwas ibn Hakim: ʿan ʿAmr ibn al-ʿAs marfuʿan_ Abu al-Tayyib and his shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Rumi are not known while al-Ahwas and Ibn Lahiʿa are weak. (The correct translation is “choose well.”)

This was not just 'Amru Bin al-'Aas and 'Omar's opinions. Mohammad himself said:

'The woman is a toy, whoever takes her let him care for her (or do not lose her)."[23]

23. Tuffaha, Ahmad Zaky, Al-Mar'ah wal- Islam, Dar al-Kitab al-Lubnani, Beirut, first edition, 1985, p. 180.

(1) This is a forgery discussed in the following forgery compilations:
• al-Suyuti's al-La'ali' al-Masnuʿa
• al-Fattani's Tadhkirat al-Mawduʿat
• Ibn ʿArraq's Tanzih al-Shariʿa al-Marfuʿa
• Ibn al-Jawzi's al-Mawduʿat
• Al-Dhahabi's Tartib al-Mawduʿat.
(2) The reference given is not a recognized source for hadith narrations.
(3) It is found in Musnad al-Harith ibn Abi Usama (1:546 #491) with an extremely feeble chain of transmission that goes thus: Haddathana Ahmad ibn Yazid: [qala] Haddathana ʿIsa ibn Yunus: ʿan Zuhayr ibn Muhammad: ʿan Abi Bakr ibn Muhammad ibn Hazm [annahu] qala: Qala Rasulullah_ Analysis:
(a) First of all, Musnad al-Harith contains many forgeries and rejected narrations. Al- Dhahabi in Talkhis al-Mustadrak said: “He [al-Harith] is not a pillar of reliability” while al-Azdi and Ibn Hazm graded him weak as in al-Dhahabi's Tabaqat al-Huffaz.
(b) Ahmad ibn Yazid ibn Ibrahim al-Wartanisi is weak according to Abu Hatim al-Razi.
(c) Zuhayr ibn Muhammad al-ʿAnbari al-Tamimi (Abu al-Mundhir al-Khurasani) is weak to begin with, but especially with regard to hadiths narrated from him by people from al- Sham, as is ʿIsa ibn Yunus [al-Hadathi d. 189] cf. al-Bukhari, al-Duʿafa' al-Saghir p. 47, Ibn ʿAdi, Kamil 3:217-223 and al-Dhahabi, Siyar 8:187, Mizan and Man Tukullima fih p. 81 #117.
(d) There is a missing link between Zuhayr and Abu Bakr, cf. al-Bukhari in al-Tarikh al-Kabir 3:427 #1420, al-Mizzi in Tahdhib al-Kamal 9:415 and Ibn ʿAdi: Zuhayr heard not from Abu Bakr but from Abu Bakr's son ʿAbd Allah.
(e) The narrator from the Prophet ﷺ is the junior TabiʿI Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad ibn ʿAmr ibn Hazm who died in 120. There are between one and three or more missing links between him and the Prophet ﷺ.
(4) The report is also found in Abu Bakr al-Shafiʿi's al- Ghaylaniyyat through “ʿIsa ibn ʿAbd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn ʿAli, from his father, from his grandfather.” Al-Suyuti said: “ʿIsa narrates forgeries from his father and grandfather.” This chain also contains Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Yazid al-Jumhi who, al-Suyuti said, “narrates rejected hadiths.”
In conclusion: to adduce such as the above three narrations in a debate on “pure Islam” shows complete ignorance of what the sources of pure Islam are.


The true title of this section should be: “Women's heightened sense of modesty and shame.”

Apart from the deficiencies of the woman, she is also has ten 'awrat. The Encyclopedia of Islam defines 'awrah as pudendum, that is "the external genitals, especially of the female. [Latin pudendum (literally) a thing to be ashamed of]"[25]

25. The World Book Dictionary.

Neither the World Book Dictionary nor the Encyclopedia of Islam are Islamic sources, and the correct definition of ʿawra, a word applied to both men and women, is “private parts”.

"Ali reported the Prophet saying: 'Women have ten ('awrat). When she gets married, the husband covers one, and when she dies the grave covers the ten."[26]

26. Kanz-el-'Ummal, Vol. 22, Hadith No. 858. See also Ihy'a 'Uloum ed-Din by Ghazali, Dar al-Kotob al-'Elmeyah, Beirut, Vol II, Kitab Adab al-Nikah, p. 65.

Listed among the forgeries by al-Fattani in Tadhkirat al-Mawduʿat. To adduce such a narration in a debate on “pure Islam” shows ignorance.

And according to the following Hadith, women not only have ten 'awrat, but the woman herself is perceived as 'awrah :

"The woman is 'awrah. When she goes outside (the house), the devil welcomes her."[27]

27. Ihy'a 'Uloum ed-Din by Ghazali, Dar al-Kotob al-'Elmeyah, Beirut, Vol II, Kitab Adab al-Nikah, p. 65. Reported by Tirmizi as a true and good Ahadith.

(This Hadith is classed as 'Sahih' that is sound or faultless.) So going outside the house is a form of exposure of the 'awrah; a thing that delights the devil.

(1) The above mistranslates "istashrafaha" to mean "welcomes her" when in fact it means "stares up at her," and the devil is here an euphemism for depraved men.
(2) This applies to the uncovered woman who might allure such men.
(3) Those are the same values as in early Christian society whereas the modern Western world can no longer understand that women are private human beings and not public sexual objects. [Editor's mark]
(4) Similarly the ʿawra here is not literal but figurative, signifying all that should remain private.
The medieval philosopher Pierre Abelard said: “If you cannot understand figurative language, avoid intellectual pursuits.”[3]

This is why women are discouraged from going outside the house, even to pray in the mosque, as the following Hadith indicates.

"A woman is closest to God's face, if she is found in the core of her house. And the prayer of the woman in the house is better than her prayer in the mosque."[28]

28. Ibid., p. 65.

(This Hadith is classed as 'Hassan', that is approved.)

(1) Every prayer of a man in his house is also better than in the mosque except for the obligatory prayer.
(2) The Prophet ﷺ also said: "Do not prevent the maidservants of Allah from going to the mosques (to pray)."


This material belongs in the same section as “Sins of the tongue” above, but in a subsection titled “Marital advice and spiritual growth.”

The character of women is likened to a rib, crooked. Bukhari reported the following Hadith:

"The woman is like a rib; if you try to straighten her, she will break. So if you want to get benefit from her, do so while she still has some crookedness."[33] This Hadith is classed as agreed upon.

Another Hadith attributes this crookedness to the act of creation because the woman was created from man's rib.[34] This crookedness then is inherent and incurable, the man has to live with it and make the most out of it.

33. Sahih Bukhari, Arabic-English translation, vol. VII Hadith No. 113. 34. Ibid., Hadith No. 114.

The more complete versions of this hadith state: “woman was created from a rib and the most crooked part of the rib is its top,” “straightening her is breaking her and breaking her is divorcing her,” “Therefore, treat women kindly.”
The top is a simile for her tongue and the meaning of the hadith is that one might hear unpleasant words from his wife - as established by the hadith of the dwellers of Hellfire - and yet must show restraint and patience without forcing his view on her nor divorcing her. The simile of the rib is not new in Islam but is found also in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

What is new is the message, “Therefore, treat women kindly” (istawsaw bil-nisa'). This message shows that the Prophet ﷺ took a primarily misogynistic Biblical simile, stripped it of its “original sin” construct and turned it into a practical exhortation to patience and perseverance between spouses so that disputes lead into spiritual growth instead of impasses and divorce, even if they should lash out at each other in verbal arguments.

This belief is accepted not only by the masses but by celebrated scholars such as Imam Shafi'i who said :

'three [persons] if you esteem them they will dishonour you and if you dishonour them they will esteem you : the woman, the servant and the Nabatea.'[35]

The above is a spurious attribution to al-Shafiʿi along with other racist and sexist clichés falsely attributed to him without chains of transmission.

and Ghazali who said:

Below the reader can observe a sample of the writer's fundamental dishonesty and deception in misquoting and mistranslating, as they leave out the beginning of al-Ghazzali's text then proceed to mistranslate the whole thing to refer to women rather than the ego.

Al-Ghazzali actually said: “The ego (nafs) of the woman is exactly like your own ego: if you relax the ego's bridle a tiny bit, it will take you and bolt wildly. And if you lower its cheek-piece a hand span, it will pull you an arm's length.”
Al-Ghazzali is saying that this is the condition of both sexes, but the writers suppress part of his statement to make it seem he speaks only of women.

"If you relax the woman's bridle a tiny bit, she will take you and bolt wildly. And if you lower her cheek-piece a hand span, she will pull you an arm's length ... Their deception is awesome and their wickedness is contagious; bad character and feeble mind are their predominant traits ... Mohammad said[36] : 'The likeness of a virtuous woman amongst women is like a red beaked crow among a hundred crows."[37]

36. The authority of that Hadith is classed as Sahih. It is quoted by Ahmad and al-Nisa'i 37. Ihy'a 'Uloum ed-Din by Ghazali, Dar al-Kotob al-'Elmeyah, Beirut, Vol II, Kitab Adab al-Nikah, p. 51.

Thus it is believed that virtuous women are rare and their crookedness is as natural as the crooked rib.

Not “red-beaked crow” but “white-legged crow.” This narration again uses the rhetorical figure of hyperbole to say that the virtuous woman is incomparable and exceptional, as stated literally in al-Tabarani's version of the very same narration.
As Hedaya Hartford said in her monograph Islamic Marriage: “Being among the elect is never easy, especially when the reward is so great” (p. 102, “The Wife Who Earns Paradise”).
But this is also the condition of virtuous men as established by the narrations: “stand out among the people (due to your excellence) like a mole on the face” (Abu Dawud and Ahmad, sahih) and “the likeness of one who remembers Allah and one who does not is like the difference between the living and the dead." (al-Bukhari) among countless other similar hadiths.



The true title of this section should be: “A spouse's sexual advances must be welcomed.”

Man's sexual needs are considered so urgent that it is better for food to burn in the oven than a man to burn in waiting for his wife to satisfy his desire. If she refuses, the angels of heaven will turn against her.

"The Prophet of Allah said: When a man calls his wife to satisfy his desire, let her come to him though she is occupied at the oven."[38]

38. Mishkat al-Masabih, English translation, Book I, Section 'Duties of husband and wife', Hadith No. 61.

(The above Hadith is agreed upon, that is, no scholar doubts its authenticity.)

All the commentators agree in that
(1) this hadith is hyperbolic and not to be taken literally;
(2) its gist is that the wife should not refuse her husband's advances, and
(3) the opposite is also established from the Qur'an: {turn not away (from a woman) altogether, so as to leave her (as it were) hanging} (4:129) and the Prophet ﷺ approved Salman's word to Abu al-Darda': “_and your wife has a right over you.” (Sahih) This unanimously means cohabitation.
And al-Qurtubi said: “She has over him the same right of sexual cohabitation he has over her.” (Tafsir for 2:178).
The Prophet ﷺ explicitly stipulated that a Muslim must seek his wife's permission even for coitus interruptus. Nothing near such respect for the feelings of one's wife near is found even at the peak of Judeo-Christian civilization.

"The messenger of Allah said: Whenever a man calls his wife to his bed and she refuses, and then he passes the night in an angry mood, the angels curse her till she gets up at dawn."[39]

39. Ibid., Hadith No. 54 (agreed upon). See also Bukhari, Arabic-English translation, vol. VII, Hadith no. 121.

The correct translation is “he goes to bed”, not “he passes the night”. Another wording in Bukhari and Muslim also makes abundantly clear that she must deliberately spend the night away from her husband's bed for this malediction to take place. There are just too many examples of faulty translations for the original writers to be trusted.

The understanding that man's sexual needs are more important than the woman's was not only believed by the early Muslims,

They no more believed this than they ignored the commands to respect a woman's sexual needs. This sensitivity and justice, by the way, is nowhere found in the early Christians and Jews.

but is also believed by modern-day Muslims. A contemporary scholar wrote:

"Allah the most high has fashioned the woman's psychological and physiological make up in such a way that man's pleasures are satisfied in her more than her pleasures satisfied in him. Not only that but she also finds her happiness in feeling so."[40]

40. Dr. Mohammad Sa'id Ramadan al-Buti, Ela kul Fataten Tu'min be-Allah, Mu'asasat ar_Risalah, Beirut, 1987, Eighth edition, p. 55.

The above is incoherent and incorrect, probably due more to a faulty translation than to anything Dr. Buti wrote. The writers multiply false premises and false assumptions then cite single, isolated views in support of broad statements about what “early Muslims” and “modern-day Muslims” believe.

Another contemporary scholar wrote:

"Sexual intercourse is an action, and the woman does not act."[41]

41. 'Abd ar-Rahman al-Gaziri, al-Fiqh 'ala al-Mazahib al-Arba'a, Dar al-Kutub al- 'Elmeyah, 1990, vol. 4, p. 7.

Once again this is a lie because it takes an original statement out of context to make it sound like something completely different.
Al-Jaziri originally said: “The Hanafis said that 'marriage' in the verse {until she marries another husband} [merely] means the contract, not intercourse, as marriage is attributed to the woman in that verse, and intercourse is an act while the woman is passive_”

The famous commentator Qortobi said:

"The woman was created so that man can rest in her ... for by her he gets rid of his sexual storm. The female sexual organ was created for men. For when Allah the most high said '(You) leave what your Lord has created for you of your wives?'[42] Allah made it known that that place of the woman was created from man for man's sake. So the woman must yield it whenever the husband calls her. If she refuses then she is an oppressor and in a grave position. Sufficient proof of this was reported from Sahih Muslim in the Hadith that says 'When a man calls his wife to his bed, and she refuses, the One Who is in the heaven will be angry with her until he [her husband] is pleased with her"[43]

42. The Qur'an, 26:166, Maulvi Mohammad 'Ali's translation. 43. Qortobi, commenting on Q 30:21.

It is also established from the Qur'an that the reverse is also true, since Allah Most High said: {They [your wives] are your garments and ye are their garments} (2:187) meaning rest, as in al-Tabari.
Similarly, if “The female sexual organ was created for men,” then the male sexual organ was created for women as established by the verse {Who abstain from sex, except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captive) whom their right hands possess, for (in their case) they are free from blame} (23:5-6) i.e. they are blamed in all other cases.
And a husband who deliberately omits give his wife her right of intercourse is also an oppressor and in a grave position. The Prophet ﷺ said that a man who disregarded the right of one of his two wives shall appear with one half of his body collapsed on the Day of Judgment. (Al-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, al-Nasa'i, and Ahmad.)


The true title of this section should be: “Woman's duty to husband, man's duty to parents.”

All the woman's piety is considered useless if she disobeys her husband.

This is one of the more enormous lies in this text. The authors apparently made up lies as they went, in haphazard fashion.

Her disobedience to her husband represents an unlawful and irrational act. But obedience to her husband is the key to Paradise as is clear from the following Hadith:

"There are three (persons) whose prayer will not be accepted, nor their virtues be taken above: The runaway slave until he returns back to his master, the woman with whom her husband is dissatisfied, and the drunk until he becomes sober."[44]

44. Suyuti, commenting on Q 4:34, see also Mishkat al-Masabih, English translation, Book I, Hadith No. ii, 74.

This is a rejected (munkar) narration as stated by al-Dhahabi in his abridgment of al-Bayhaqi's Sunan titled al-Muhadhdhab, and its chain is weak according to al-Arna'ut in his edition of Ibn Hibban (12:178 #5355). Such evidence has little or no merit in a would-be debate on “pure Islam.”

"Whosoever female dies while her husband is pleased with her, will enter Paradise."[45]

45. Mishkat al-Masabih, English translation, Book I, Section 'Duties of husband and wife', Hadith No. ii, 60.

This is a weak hadith narrated by al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah with a chain containing two unknowns. Never- theless the hadith means that after her religious duties, the wife's greatest social duty is to her husband, while the latter's greatest social duty is to his mother as established by the narration: “The one person in the world owed the greatest right by a woman is her husband, and the one person in the world owed the greatest right by the man is his mother.”

"The Prophet once said to a woman: 'Watch how you treat your husband for he is your Paradise and your Hell."[46]

46. Suyuti, commenting on Q 4:34 and Kanz- el-'Ummal, Vol. 22, Hadith No. 868.

The Prophet ﷺ said the same to a man concerning his parents. In another narration, he placed the mother first three times, then the father in the scale of rights due to parents. He ﷺ also called filial piety a jihad, and he also called wifely piety a jihad.


The true title of this section should be: “The rights of both spouses and both parents are divinely ordained.”

The obedience of the woman to her husband is an important prerequisite that shows her piety and guarantees her eternal destiny. He is her Paradise or her hell.

So are a man's parents, especially his mother, and a man's treatment of his wife is a measure of the perfection of his faith as in the hadith: “The most perfect of the believers in their belief are those with the best manners, and the best of you are those who are best with their wives.” Al-Tirmidhi (hasan sahih), Ahmad, and others.

Man is thus so elevated that by comparison with the woman, he is placed on a divine level. Her response to him approaches worship.

If the woman is his mother, the reverse is also true.

That however, is impossible, as worship belongs to God alone.

Mohammad said:

"Had I ordered anybody to prostrate before any one, I would have ordered women to prostrate before their husbands on account of men's rights over the women ordained by Allah."[47]

47. Mishkat al-Masabih, English translation, Section 'Duties of husband and wife', Hadith No. 70. Reported by Abu Dawood, Ahmad, Tirmizi, Ibn Magah and Ibn Haban.

The commentaries concur in explaining this narration as a hyperbole. Similarly, the Prophet ﷺ is related to say: “If Jurayj were knowledgeable, he should have known that answering his mother was preferable to worshipping his Lord” and “If my parents were alive and my mother called me as I had begun Salat al-ʿIsha', I would have answered her: At your service.” Kashf al-Khafa' 2:209. Note that the authors transcribe “Ibn Majah” in colloquial Egyptian.


This section is a shameless string of lies and falsehoods.

Man's status is so much higher than woman's that no sacrifice on the woman's part will ever gain her her full right in relation to a man. Even in our own time (1985) a Muslim writer, Ahmad Zaky Tuffaha, seriously and reverently quotes the following Hadith :

"If a woman offered one of her breasts to be cooked and the other to be roasted, she still will fall short of fulfilling her obligations to her husband. And besides that if she disobeys her husband even for a twinkling of an eye, she would be thrown in the lowest part of Hell, except she repents and turns back."[48]

48. Tuffaha, Ahmad Zaky, Al-Mar'ah wal- Islam, Dar al-Kitab al-Lubnani, Beirut, first edition, 1985, p. 176. It is also quoted in Al-Musanaf by Abu Bakr Ahmad Ibn 'Abd Allah Ibn Mousa Al-Kanadi who lived 557H., vol. 1 part 2, p. 255.

A laughable fabrication. Ahmad Zaky is not a source, al-Kindi's Musannaf is a Kharijite curiosity, and this kind of evidence betrays a bankrupt argument.

Although this Hadith is not mentioned in Bukhari, it is consistent with the other Ahadith quoted by Bukhari.

It is a despicable forgery from non-sources, and is in no way consistent with anything in Islam other than the perverse imagination of Christian missionaries.

It is a noble sacrifice for a man to share his life with the woman as described in Bukhari's sound Ahadith;

There is no such hadith, whether in Bukhari or elsewhere, and this is another trivial lie.

she being deficient in mind, religion, and gratitude. It is condescension on the part of the man to spend his life with her. She can not repay this favour, no matter what sacrifice she makes.

Indeed, the rights of the husband are so vast that

"If blood, suppuration, and pus, were to pour from the husband's nose and the wife licked it with her tongue, she would still never be able to fulfil his rights over her."[49]

49. Suyuti, commenting on Q. 4:34.

This Hadith is repeated, also with great reverence, five times by commentator Imam Suyuti who is regarded as one of the greatest of all Muslim scholars.

This is an inauthentic addition to an authentic hadith as shown by Shaykh Shuʿayb al-Arna'ut in his edition of Imam Ahmad's Musnad (20:64-66 #12614).

See also: < Al-Bazzar's addition to the hadith >


While the Hadith enumerates the husband's rights, the woman's rights are simple, as the following Hadith shows:

"'O Messenger of Allah ! What right has the wife of one among us got over him?' He said: 'It is that you shall give her food when you have taken your food, that you shall clothe her when you have clothed yourself, that you shall not slap her on the face, nor revile her, nor desert her except within the house.'"[50]

50. Sunan Ibn Magah, Kitab al-Nikah, Hadith No. 1850.

The true translation is: “That you shall give her food when you have food, that you shall clothe her when you have clothing…” Also, the Qur'an stresses the rights of women over those of men in numerous places such as in connection with female orphans, motherhood, widowhood, divorce, and female slaves.

The last two things the Prophet ﷺ stressed before death are prayer and the treatment of women.
He also said: “I emphatically forewarn of the sin of violating the rights of the two weak ones: the orphan and the woman.” It is probably impossible to ignore the emphasis on women's rights in Islam unless one is dishonest or ignorant or both.


The true title of this section should be: “Alternatives to divorce in cases of loose morals.”


The true title of this sub-section should be: “Man may discipline and temporarily avoid his wife.”

The Qur'an describes the natural relationship between the husband and the wife as one of love and mercy : "He has set between you love (mawaddah) and mercy." Q 30:21. A contemporary scholar, Sayyed Qotb sees that the love and the mercy spoken of in this verse as the natural feelings the man has for the opposite sex that was planted by the creator. Earlier scholars saw that "love" between the husband and the wife in the above verse refers to the sexual act, while "mercy" refers to the offspring of the man and his wife.[51]

51. See Razi and Qortobi commenting on Q 30:21.

Al-Razi al-Qurtubi, and before them, al-Tabari, and others, all mention that love and mercy are the mutual feelings of affection and kindness as well as the material senses of copulation and offspring. None of them leaves the affective sense out of their commentaries and it is profoundly dishonest to try and suggest otherwise.

The important thing to note is that this love and mercy is not found in the man apart from the woman, but it is a mutual thing found in both.

In Islam, love and mercy are in all things in creation including animals and plants.

And the Qur'an commands men to "Consort with them (women) in kindness (ma'ruf)." Q 4:19 According to the Dictionary of Qur'anic terms and concepts the word "ma'ruf" means "customary law; enjoining good and forbidding evil."[52]

52. Dictionary of Qur'anic terms and concepts, Mustansir Mir, Garland publishing inc. New York& London, 1987, p. 235.

Their dictionary seems to confuse ʿUrf, customary law, with Maʿruf, common kindness and justice.

Elsewhere the word is translated many times as equitable as in Usif Ali's English translation of the Qur'an53

53. See for example Q 2:231, 232, 233.

“Kindness” in Pickthall.

In other words when women behave properly they are to be treated kindly, the treatment must be equitable according to the customary laws.

Not at all, since the verses apply to divorce cases, in which chances are one of the two spouses has behaved improperly. And we already said that “customary laws” is an incorrect translation for maʿruf. The gist is, that women are to be treated fairly and kindly at all times.

There is also a Hadith that describes the good husband; "The best of you are those who are the best to their wives."[54] (that Hadith is mentioned only by Tirmizi).

54. Mishkat al-Masabih, English translation, Book 1, section 'duties of husband and wife', Hadith No. 68.

The hadith is also in Ibn Majah's Sunan, al-Darimi's Musnad, Ibn Hibban's Sahih, al-Bayhaqi's Sunan and Shuʿab al-Iman, al-Bazzar's Musnad, al-Tabarani's Muʿjam al-Kabir and al-Awsat, Abu Yaʿla's Musnad, al-Qudaʿi's Musnad, Abu Nuʿaym's Hilya, Ibn Saʿd's Tabaqat, and others.

But how far this goodness will go in difficult times, when the wife does not behave properly?

“does not behave properly” is a meaningless and disingenuous expression. The condition should be, “When the wife behaves immorally and/or refuses to pray.”

The man according to the Qur'an has the responsibility to admonish his wife, and the right to desert her sexually, and to beat her to correct any rebelliousness in her behaviour.

The Qur'an states:

"Righteous women are therefore obedient, ... And those you fear may be rebellious (nushuz) admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them."[55]

55. The Qur'an, 4:34. (Arberry's translation).

Nushuz or "recalcitrance” is here an euphemism for immorality that may lead to adultery. The wife's primary marital duty is spelled out in the mass-transmitted hadith of the Farewell Pilgrimage (in Sahih Muslim) as "not allowing whom you hate to enter your bed nor your house." Al-Maziri also said that another interpretation of the words in that hadith said it referred to a woman sitting in seclusion with a stranger inside her husband's house. (In al-Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim.)

Some translators add the word lightly after 'beat them'[56] in Q 4:34. Others like Mohammed Pickthall and Rodwell translate the word 'edrebouhon - beat them' as 'scourge them'.

There is really no excuse for such extreme errors when the Prophet ﷺ himself defined the permissible form of beating in the Farewell Pilgrimage hadith:

"Lo! My last recommendation to you is that you should TREAT WOMEN WELL. Truly they are your helpmates, and you have no right over them beyond that - EXCEPT IF THEY COMMIT A MANIFEST INDECENCY (fahisha mubina = ranging from immorality to adultery). If they do, then refuse to share their beds and beat them WITHOUT INDECENT VIOLENCE (fadribuhunna darban ghayra mubarrih). Then, if they obey you, do not show them hostility any longer. Lo! you have a right over your women and they have a right over you. Your right over your women is that they not allow whom you hate to enter your bed nor your house. While their right over you is that you treat them excellently in their garb and provision."

"Mubarrih" is defined in al-Mawrid as "violent, intense, severe, acute, sharp, excruciating, tormenting, agonizing." Qatada said as narrated by al-Tabari in his Tafsir (5:68): "Ghayr mubarrih means ghayr sha'in = not disgraceful/ outrageous/ obscene/ indecent [beating]." ʿAta' said: "I asked Ibn ʿAbbas: 'What is the hitting that is ghayr al-mubarrih?' He replied: '[With] the siwak [toothbrush] and the like'." Narrated by al-Tabari in his Tafsir (Dar al-Fikr reprint 5:68).

The hadith of the Farewell Pilgrimage continues, “Then he [the Prophet ﷺ] took the covenant from them and from us that they and we all heard and understood this from him, respectively, directly and indirectly, with his forefinger raised, and said: 'O Allah! bear witness.'”

After this, whatever Muslim man derogates to the recommendation of the Prophet ﷺ has violated his covenant with the Prophet ﷺ and shall be called to account for it; and whoever of the non-Muslim men or women claims - even if it should be the Archbishop of Canterbury and his wife - that beating women is an acceptable practice in Islam, has belied the Divine witness invoked by the Prophet ﷺ and shall be called to account for it in the Divine Court.

The occasion in which Q 4:34 was revealed sheds more light on the meaning of that verse. Most commentators mention that

"the above verse was revealed in connection with a woman who complained to Mohammad that her husband slapped her on the face (which was still marked by the slap). At first the Prophet said to her: 'Get even with him', but then added : 'Wait until I think about it.' Later on the above verse was revealed, after which the Prophet said: 'We wanted one thing but Allah wanted another, and what Allah wanted is best.'"[57]

57. Razi, At-tafsir al-Kabir, on Q. 4:34.

The commentators said that this report is narrated only from al-Hasan al-Basri who is not a Companion. The most that can be said of it here is that it is a weak, isolated, mursal Tabiʿi report that does not have probative force at all. What is more, al-Hasan himself flatly contradicts the above as he reportedly explained {wadribuhunna} to mean: "hitting that is not obscene; hitting that *does not leave a trace*" (darban ghayra mubarrih ghayra mu'aththir). Narrated by al-Tabari in his Tafsir (Dar al-Fikr reprint 5:68).

Al-Razi himself said in his Tafsir on 4:34 (1308/1891 edition 3:222): "Al-Shafiʿi said: 'wa al-darbu mubah, wa al-tarku afdal - and hitting is permitted, but not hitting is preferable'" but mentions that as a rule (a) it must be a light beating and (b) the face must be avoided. He added that certain of the Shafiʿi jurists said "a coiled scarf (mindil malfuf) or his hand may be used but not a whip nor a stick." This shows the excessiveness of Pickthall's translation as “scourge.”

The beating in the previous incident can hardly be described as light, unless that is what is meant by light beating. This beating comes as the last corrective measure when sexual desertion fails. Light beating after sexual desertion is an anticlimax that serves no purpose. But firm beating is the logical progression from admonishing, then sexually deserting, finally beating her. This beating must be stronger than sexual desertion to have any effect.

the above paragraph in its entirety consists in irresponsible speculation on the basis of a single chainless, inauthentic report. Such reasoning methods may be considered valid for the construction of Christian theologies but they are null and void in Islam. However, there is one correct assumption in the above paragraph, namely, that no beating at all is permissible except as the last resort in an exceptional situation that verges on a final crisis and leads to divorce.

This beating however is not like the whipping of a slave.[58] But "a beating without causing injury"[59] (agreed upon)

58. Mishkat al-Masabih, English translation, Book 1, section 'duties of husband and wife', Hadith No.50. 59. Ibid., Hadith No.76.

So the man has the right to beat his rebellious wife as long as that beating is not like the whipping of the slave and will not result in injury.

The man has no right to beat his wife as per the explicit prohibition of the Prophet ﷺ. The basic rule (asl) is strict prohibition, followed by dispensation (rukhsa) as explicited by the Prophet ﷺ in the hadith below where the Prophet ﷺ said: "Do not hit the maidservants of Allah!" (la tadribu ima' Allah).

Then ʿUmar (RA) came to the Prophet ﷺ and said [by way of exaggeration, cf. ʿAwn al-Maʿbud]: "The women are rebelling (dha'irna) against their husbands!" So the Prophet ﷺ GAVE A DISPENSATION (rakhkhasa) to beat them. Whereupon women started pouring in to see the family of the Messenger of Allah and complain about their husbands. Seeing this, the Prophet ﷺ said: "Many women have poured in to see the family of Muhammad, complaining of their husbands, and *the latter are certainly not the best of you*." Narrated from Iyas ibn ʿAbd Allah ibn Abi Dhubab by al-Shafiʿi in his Musnad, Abu Dawud, al-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, al-Tabarani in al-Kabir, and al-Hakim. Al-Nawawi and al-Suyuti graded it a sound (sahih) narration in Riyad al-Salihin and al-Jamiʿ al-Saghir respectively.

Another authentic version in Sahih Ibn Hibban (9:491) adds that the Prophet ﷺ then revoked the dispensation. His statement that “the best of you are the best in their behavior towards their wives, and I am the best of you in my behavior towards my wives” shows that
(1) wife-beaters are the worst men and
(2) no Muslim wife-beater can possibly claim to imitate the Prophet ﷺ, although Allah Most High said to imitate him ﷺ: {Verily in the messenger of Allah ye have a good example for him who looketh unto Allah and the last Day, and remembereth Allah much} (33:21).

The translator of Mishkat Al-Masabih wrote in a footnote of Fatwa by Qazi Khan that said beating the wife mildly is[2]

"allowed in four cases (1) When she does not wear fineries though wanted by the husband, (2) When she is called for sexual intercourse and she refuses without any lawful excuse, (3) When she is ordered to take a bath [to clean herself] from impurities for prayer and she refuses and (4) When she goes abroad without permission of her husband"[60]

60. Ibid., Footnote No 138.

In another footnote the translator of Mishkat Al-Masabih said,

"No wife shall refuse her husband what he wants from her except on religious grounds ie. at the time of menstrual flow or fasting. Some theologians regard this refusal as unlawful as the husband may get enjoyment from his wife in other ways, by embracing, kissing etc. The duty of the wife is to give him comforts in his bed whenever he wants her."61 (emphasis added)

61. Ibid, Footnote No 140.

These Fatawa are matters of opinion that are the sole responsibility of their authors. The Qur'an and Sunna are clear enough in this respect, as established in the previous lines.

This beating is the husband's unquestionable right. Ibn Kathir in his commentary mentioned a Hadith on the authority of zal Ash'ath Ibn al-Qays who was visiting 'Omar and at that time. 'Omar took his wife and beat her, then said to Ash'ath:

'Memorise three things from me, which I memorised from the Prophet who said: "The man is not to be asked why he beat his wife ..."'[62]

This is a weak report narrated only through ʿAbd al-Rahman Musli who is unknown and who does not narrate anything else in all of hadith literature. The rest of this section cites irrelevant blurbs from “The Guardian Weekly”, Sayyed Qotb, “The Australian Minaret”, al-Bahi al-Khuli, all interspersed with unscholarly, warped comments such as, “The Qur'anic injunction to beat the perverted masochist woman will cure her from her disorder. But will it rather increase her perversion by giving her the pleasure she sought?”

[ - last comment for this text - ]

The man then has the right to desert his wife sexually and beat her, if he fears rebelliousness in her. The woman, however, can not resort to such measures, if she fears rebelliousness in her husband, as is clear from the following verse:

"If a woman fears rebelliousness or aversion in her husband, there is no fault in them if the couple set things right between them; right settlement is better."[68]

It is clear from Q 4:128 & Q 4:34 that the Qur'an commands diplomacy when a woman fears rebelliousness in her husband. But when the man fears rebelliousness in his wife, the Qur'an commands the use of force and sexual desertion.

Bukhari gives an example of the wife's options if she fears cruelty or desertion on her husband's part in the following Hadith:

"... narrated 'Aisha (regarding the verse:- 'If a wife fears cruelty or desertion on her husband's part...) It concerns the woman whose husband does not want to keep her with him any longer, but wants to divorce her and marry some other lady, so she says to him: 'Keep me and do not divorce me, and then marry another woman, and you may neither spend on me, nor sleep with me.' This is indicated by the statement of Allah:- 'There is no blame on them if they arrange an amicable set tlement between them both, and such settlement is better.'"[69] (emphasis added)

So according to Bukhari's sound Hadith, the recommended amicable settlement for the woman who fears cruelty or desertion on her husband's part, is to submit to her husband's will to marry another woman, and to forego her financial and sexual rights.

Beating the rebellious wife is the last resort before divorcing her. She must be admonished first. If that does not work, the husband has the right to desert her sexually. The Qur'anic injunction to consort with women kindly is not inconsistent with beating the rebellious wife and sexually deserting her, this beating is included and part of the scope of the kind treatment. The Prophet himself, who was the kindest of all Muslims to his wives, deserted them all sexually for one month.[70] Imam Ghazali puts it this way: "There is wickedness and weakness in women. Diplomacy and harshness is the remedy of wickedness, kindness and gentleness is the remedy of weakness."[71]


A provision is made for men to marry more than one woman as follows:

"If you fear you can not treat orphans (girls) with fairness, then you may marry other women who seem good to you: two, three or four of them. But if you fear that you can not maintain equality among them, marry only one or any slave girls you may own. This will make it easier for you to avoid injustice."[72]

Some however have argued that since maintaining equality is impossible, then marrying more than one wife is not permissible using the following verse:

"Try as you may, you cannot treat all your wives impartially. Do not set yourself altogether against any of them."[73]

But the majority of the commentators agreed that

The equality in Q 4:3 is concerned with apportioning time and money, while the equality mentioned in Q 3:129 is concerned with the affection and love of the man towards his wives.[74]

They further argued that Mohammad himself was not impartial in his affections towards his wives, for he loved 'A'isha more than any of his wives.[75] So as long as the husband can be fair in apportioning his time and money he can marry up to four.

Others believe the number is limited to nine wives, as two and three and four make nine, and Mohammad himself when he passed away had nine wives, and to follow his tradition is the commended way of living.[76]

Others believe that the above verse is the proof for an unlimited number of wives, because the verse does not say two or three or four but literally says two and three and four, meaning two and three and four etc[77]. The majority believe the number of wives the man may marry to be limited to four, because of the reported Hadith about a man who had ten wives. When he became a Muslim, Mohammad said to him : 'Keep four, and leave the rest.'[78]

The reason for marrying more than one woman is given by Ghazali the great Muslim scholar:

"Some men have such a compelling sexual desire that one woman is not sufficient to protect them [from adultery]. Such men therefore preferably marry more than one woman and may have up to four wives."[79]

Besides the above provision men have the right to have sex with their slave girls.

"For if a man purchases a slave girl, the purchase contract includes his right to have sex with her."[80] "This contract is primarily to own her and secondarly to enjoy her sexually."[81]

And the reason for having sex with the slave girls beside one's wives is also given by Ghazali:

"Since among Arabs passion is an overpowering aspect of their nature, the need of their pious men to have sex has been found to be the more intense. And for the purpose of emptying the heart to the worship of God they have been allowed to have sex with women slaves if at some time they should fear that this passion will lead them to commit adultery. Though it is true that such action could lead to the birth of a child that will be a slave, which is a form of destruction,...yet enslaving a child is a lighter offence than the destruction of religious belief. For enslaving the new born is a temporary thing but by committing adultery eternity is lost."[82]

Ghazali gives us an example of this overpowering sexual desire.

"The son of 'Omar who was an ascetic, and a scholar, used to break his fast by having sex before having food. And he might have had sex with three of his slave girls before the last meal."[83]

And Bukhari reported,

"The Prophet used to pass (have sexual relation with) all his wives in one night, and at that time he had nine wives."[84]


"He once said of himself that he had been given the power of forty men in sex."[85]


"Ali who was the most ascetic of all the companions had four wives, and seventeen slave girls as concubines."[86]


"some of the other companions had three and four wives and those who had two wives were countless in number."[87]

Concerning the provision for having sex with slave girls, found in the last part of the above Qur'anic verse, Razi said:

"God made the provision of having sex with many slave girls as easy as marrying one free woman. Besides, the responsibilities and provisions of the slave girls are lighter than those of the dowers, no matter (never mind) if you have a few of them or many, no matter if you were fair in apportioning your nights amongst them or not, no matter whether you completed the sexual act or not."[88]

The commentator Qortobi sees in that verse (Q 4:3) that slave girls used as such by the free Muslim man

"have neither sexual rights, nor financial rights. For God made the 'one free woman' and the 'slave girls you may own' of the same category. The man however owes the slave girls the appropriate rights of ownership, and the kindness that befits slaves."[89]

So because "the need of the pious men to have sex was found to be the more intense, and for the purpose of emptying the heart for the worship of God" they have been allowed to marry up to four women and have sex with an unlimited number of slave girls even if this provision may lead to "the birth of a child that will be a slave, which is a form of destruction."


Divorce is recognised by most societies as a horrible thing. It is viewed as such in Islam except that it is viewed as a lawful course of action. The Hadith states, "The most detestable of lawful things near Allah is divorce."[90]

The power to divorce usually resides in the hand of the man. Bukhari reported a Hadith that shows how easy the detestable and lawful act can be.

A "man may say to his brother (in Islam), 'Have a look at either of my wives (and if you wish), I will divorce her for you.'"[91]

It can even happen against the will, and the love of the husband and the wife concerned.

"The son of 'Omar reported: I had a wife under me whom I loved but whom 'Omar disliked. He told me: 'Divorce her'. But I refused. Then 'Omar came to the Messenger of Allah and notified it to him. The messenger of Allah told me: 'Divorce her'."[92] (Quoted by Tirmizi and Abu Daud)


Man is the privileged party in cases of custody of the children. Gaziri a modern scholar in Islamic Law wrote:

The Hanafites, who form the largest Muslim group, said "The conditions of the custody of the children is as follows. First the wife should not reject Islam. If she rejects Islam, she has no right to the custody of the children. Second, she must be of good character for if it was proven that she is corrupted by illicit sex, or theft, or has a low trade such as a professional mourner, or a dancer, she loses her right to custody. Third, she is not allowed to marry anyone except the father of the child. If she remarries, she has no right to custody, unless her new husband is related to the child as a paternal uncle. But if she marries a foreigner she has no right to custody. Fourthly, she must not leave the child without supervision. Especially if the child is a female, because females need protection. So if the mother had to go outside for a long period and so neglect her child, she has no right to the custody of the child. Fifthly, if the father is poor, and the mother refused the custody of the child except for payment, and his aunty said 'I will look after him for free', then the aunt will have the right to the custody of the child. To follow the religion of Islam is not a condition to the right to custody, for if the husband is married to one of the people of the Book, she has the right to custody as long as he is safe from apostasy, or corruption. But if that is not so, such as he saw her taking the child to a church, or feeding him pigs meat, or giving him wine, then the father has the right to take the child from her, and sanity is a pre-requisite that is agreed upon by all."[93]

As to the period of custody, Gazirir added

"the Hanafites said, the mother has the rights to the custody of the boy until he is seven years old. Others said "Until he is nine". But the first opinion is the one that is legally accepted. For the girl there are two opinions. The first until she menstruates. The second until she reaches the age of puberty which was set to be nine years old. This is what is accepted legally."[94]

The mother can have the child for the most difficult years where she wakes up at night to feed and change nappies and toilet train etc. then the father can take over when the child is capable of being a help instead of needing help.


Muslim men are entitled to several wives in this life. In Paradise, they are further rewarded with additional women - perfect in beauty.

Mu'az reported from the messenger of Allah who said:

"A woman does not give trouble to her husband in this world but his wife of the pure-eyed virgin ones [huris] does not say to her: 'Do not give him trouble. May Allah destroy you, He is only a passing guest with you and it is very near that he will soon leave you to come to us'."[95]

The editor of Mishkat wrote in a footnote to that tradition:

"No woman should give trouble and anxiety to her husband. She is to give him ease and comfort in the household. If she acts otherwise, she will not be able to be his mate in Paradise. There the pure-eyed virgin girls will be his consorts."

For the Qur'an promises godfearing men, beautiful women in Paradise. The following are their descriptions:

"Lo! those [men] who kept their duty will be in a place secure amid gardens and water springs, attired in silk and silk embroidery, facing one another. Even so (it will be). And We shall wed them unto [huris] fair ones with wide, lovely eyes."[96]

"Therein maidens restraining their glances, untouched before them by any man or jinn .....lovely as rubies, beautiful as coral"[97]

"The fair, the beautiful ones [huris]... With large dark eyeballs, kept close in their pavilions"[98]

"Surely for the godfearing awaits a place of security, gardens and vineyards, and maidens of swelling breasts (Kawa'eb)[99], like of age, and a cup overflowing."[100]

From this, it can be seen that the godfearing shall be 'wedded' to women in Paradise. Those women will not look at any one else, except their husbands. They will be restrained in their pavilions. Those women in Paradise will be fair; not like the dark skinned ones of Arabia. Their beauty will be perfect. Their eyes are wide and large, and their breasts are

"Kawa'eb" -"swelling and firm, not sagging."[101]

The Hadith also tells us-

"In Paradise ... every person would have two wives (so beautiful) that the marrow of their shanks would glimmer beneath the flesh and there would be none without a wife in Paradise."[102]

Another Hadith makes the number of wives seventy two. Seventy females are specially created, and two are human females.[103] His earthly wife may be included among his "huris", but in Paradise there will be additional women for him, even up to seventy-two.

The above descriptions are literal, and the relationship between men and their "huris" are physical, and not only spiritual as the following Hadith which is chosen by the compiler of Mishkat al- Masabih shows.

"The Holy Prophet said: 'The believer will be given such and such strength in Paradise for sexual intercourse. It was questioned: O Prophet of Allah! can he do that? He said: "He will be given the strength of one hundred persons.'"[104]

(This Hadith is Quoted from Tirmizi and classed by Tirmizi as Sahih - sound and faultless."[105]

Ibn Kathir in his commentary emphasises the literal nature of sexual intercourse in Paradise by another Hadith:

"The Prophet was asked : 'Do we have sex in Paradise?' He answered: 'Yes, by him who holds my soul in his hand, and it will be done dahman, dahman, (that is intercourse done with such shove and disturbance.106) And when it is finished she will return pure and virgin again."[107]

In Islam, the perpetual taking of the virginity of women is traditionally associated with Paradise. The famous commentary Al-Galalayn sees that the rejoicing mentioned in the Qur'anic verse "The inhabitants of Paradise today are busy in their rejoicing (fakehoun)"[108]

"includes the taking of the virginity of women in Paradise."[109]

The great scholar Ghazali quotes al- 'Ouaza'i, one of the early scholars who commented on the above verse saying: "'Busy in their rejoicing' means busy taking the virginity of the virgins."[110]

And the great commentator Ibn 'Abbas said of the above verse: (fakehoun) means enjoying taking the virginity of the virgins."[111]

Not only on earth, but also in Paradise, the man has considerable sexual enjoyments. He may marry several women on earth, and even when his earthly life is over, he may look forward to having beautiful women in Paradise. He will be able to have up to seventy-two "huris"; he will be given the strength of one hundred men in sex; he will be able to perform sex with great shoving and disturbance, on the other hand, nothing is promised to the woman. She has no assurance of even one man.

Once again, the man has all the advantages and pleasures, while the woman must be perpetually used for his purposes. His is the pleasure - hers the disturbance, in this world and the next.


Why do men in Islam have such privileges over women? The following material, taken mostly from a contemporary work on Islamic Law by a modern scholar named Gaziri, may explain the reason why.


"The marriage contract is designed by the legislator so that the husband may benefit from the sexual organ of the woman and the rest of her body for the purpose of pleasure. As such the husband owns by the marriage contract, this exclusive benefit."[112]

"The accepted understanding in the different schools of jurisprudence, is that what has been contracted in marriage is for the benefit of the man from the woman, not the opposite. The followers of Imam Malik declared the marriage contract is a contract of ownership of benefit of the sexual organ of the woman and the rest of her body.

The followers of Imam Shafi'i said :'The most accepted view is that what is been contracted upon is the woman, that is the benefit derived from her sexual organ. Others said, 'What has been contracted is both the man and the woman. So according to the first opinion the wife can not demand sex from her husband because it is his right [not hers], and according to the second opinion she can demand to have sex with him.

The followers of Imam Abu Hanifa said, :'The right of the sexual pleasure belongs to the man, not the woman, by that it is meant that the man has the right to force the woman to gratify himself sexually. She on the other hand does not have the right to force him to have sex with her except once [in a lifetime]. But he must, from a religious point of view , have sex with her to protect her from being morally corrupt."[113]


"The dowry (Mahr) is a technical term denoting the money which must be given to the woman in the marriage contract in exchange for enjoying her."[114]

"The most worthy condition you fulfil is one with which you were given the right to enjoy the (woman's) private parts."[115]

The Encyclopaedia of Islam commented on the above Hadith saying,

"According to a tradition in Bukhari the mahr is an essential condition for the legality of the marriage 'Every marriage without mahr is null and void'."[116]

The giving of the dowry is fundamental to the securing of man's sexual rights, so "Whoso gives two handfuls of flour or dates as dowry of his wife has rendered [her] (private parts) lawful."[117] The Hadith recorded that a pair of shoes[118], and an iron ring[119] were given as a dowry. For "The best dowry is the easiest to pay."[120]

The connection between the dowry and sexual enjoyment can even be seen outside of marriage:

"If a man has sex with a married woman, by mistake, thinking her to be his wife, he must give her a dowry equal to the dowry given to a woman of her social worth. This dowry becomes the property of the wife and not her husband."[121]

This significance of the dowry as a guarantee of the man's sexual enjoyment is rooted in the Qur'an, as we shall see from the following statements made by some of the most eminent scholars:

"(Such wives as you enjoy thereby, give them their wages apportionate. Q4:24) The enjoyment [mentioned in this Qur'anic verse] is the sexual pleasure. And the wages is the dowry. And the dowry was called a wage because it is a wage of enjoyment...and that proves that the wage is an exchange of the woman's sexual organ (or the sexual intercourse), for what is given in exchange for an enjoyment is called a wage. The scholars disagreed as to what is the thing that is being contracted in the marriage contract. Is it the body of the woman , or the enjoyment that comes from the use of the woman's sexual organ? Or both? What is obvious is 'both' because the contract stipulates all of that."[122] (Qurtubi)

This significance of the dowry is also attested to by the Hadith:

"A man married a woman thinking her to be a virgin. He discovering she was pregnant from adultery went and reported it to the Prophet. The Prophet judged that the woman was entitled to the dowry. He separated the two, commanded that the woman be flogged, and said to the man, 'The baby will be your slave [In Islam both recognition and adoption of illegitimate children is impossible][123]. So the dowry is given in exchange for the sexual intercourse."[124] (Ibn Kathir)

"The dowry is given in exchange for the woman's sexual organs."[125] (Ibn Kathir)

"By analogy the dowry is to be given in exchange for the use or the benefit of the woman's sexual organ."[126] (Razi)

"(Such wives as you enjoy thereby, give them their wages apportionate. Q4:24) There are two interpretations concerning that verse. The first, which is the opinion of the majority of the scholars, in His saying (Lawful for you ...is that you may seek using your wealth in wedlock). By this is meant seeking the woman by wealth through marriage. The other interpretation is that this verse speaks of temporary marriage."[127] (Razi)

"Abu Bakr ar-Razi said: 'This verse [Q4:24] is a proof that the freeing of the slave girl cannot be her dowry'. Because this verse proves that the woman's sexual organ is something which has a monetary value."[128]

"Malik said: The dowry shouldn't be less than a quarter of a dinar, or three dirhams. Some of our followers said in justification of his finding: This resembles most, the cutting of the hand because the woman's sexual organ is a member of the body and the hand is a member whose amputation becomes lawful for stealing a minimum amount of money. And that is a quarter of a dinar, or three dirhams. So Malik considered the woman's sexual organ as being of the same worth as the hand. Abu 'Omar said: "Abu Hanifah had come to a similar conclusion before him. For he compared the dowry with the cutting of the hand. In his system, the hand cannot be cut, except in a dinar or twelve dirhams and according to him there is no dowry below that."[129] (Qurtubi)

"Allah's saying (you may seek using your wealth in wedlock) This means: through marriage or purchase. So Allah the Wise made lawful the woman's sexual organ by wealth. That necessitates the giving of dowry in marriage. The most high made unlawful the use of the woman's sexual organ except by paying something in return."[130] (Ibn al- 'Araby)

"give them their wages apportionate. (Q4:24) This verse proves that the dowry is called 'wages'. The evidence for that is that the dowry is given in exchange for the benefit of the sexual enjoyment. For the benefit is the opposite to what is called 'wages'."[131] (Ibn al- 'Araby)

"Our scholars have said: "Allah the most exalted, He made the dowry to be a substitute. He treated it like other things that require a substitute. Because of his saying: "(Such wives as you enjoy thereby, give them their wages apportionate. Q4:24) So He called it a wage. He took it outside the law of gifts to the law of replacements. The argument that both partners enjoy each other in marriage and that the dowry is an additional payment for the wife, is not so. But the husband is obliged to pay the dowry, so that he may own the right of rulership over the woman, and stand as the "master to his slave" in the relationship because of what he gave as a substitute. So that her benefit becomes his. So she cannot fast except by his permission. She cannot go to pilgrimage, except by his permission. She does not leave the house, except by his permission. And he will have the right over her property except up to a third will belong to her. It goes without saying, that he will have the right over her body. "[132] (Ibn al-'Araby)

Ibn al-'Araby saw that the man's sexual rights by virtue of the paying of the dowry is grounded in the Qur'an. He even went as far as saying that the payment of the dowry provided a master-servant relationship between the husband and the wife.


The implications of the sexual rights secured by the payment of this dowry extend to affect children of a previous marriage:

"The husband has the right to prevent his wife from looking after and breast feeding her baby, from her previous husband, (if she was living in the husband's house), because that will make her too busy to attend to the husband, and it will affect her beauty and cleanliness, all these are the rights of the husband alone."[133] (Hanafites)


In Islam "marriage does not produce any community of property between husband and wife"134 Hence the wife must rely on the support of her husband daily. However, there are numerous grounds on which the husband can refuse supporting his wife as the following indicates:

The Hanafites said :

'The support of the woman (nafaqa) is obligatory on the man in return for the woman being locked up in the man's house, and for being exclusively his.[135]

"The Hanafites said : 'There is no support for the woman if she is - (1) Rebellious (Nashiz) that is the woman who goes outside the house of the husband without his permission and without a justifiable reason, or refuses surrendering herself to him so she does not enter his house. But if she refuses to have sex with him (even though that is unlawful) that refusal is not a reason for stopping her support because the qualifying reason for the support does exist and that is her being locked up in his house. (2) The renegade woman. (3) The woman who obeys the husband's son or his father or kiss either with lust or any thing that might put her relation with her husband on a prohibited degree. (4) The woman whose marriage contract is imperfect, and the woman who had sex with someone by mistake, the man thinking she was his wife. (5) The wife who is too young to have sex. ["The Islamic law knows no minimum age for a legal marriage.[136]] (6) The wife who is imprisoned, even if she is innocent, if he can not have access to her (as a wife). (7) The sick wife who, due to severe illness, did not move after the ceremony to the husband's house, because she did not surrender herself to the husband. (8) The wife who was raped by another man. (9) The wife who goes to perform pilgrimage ... there is no support for her because she is not locked up."[137]

The followers of Imam Shafi'i said: "The conditions of the man's maintenance for the woman are as follows: First, she must avail herself to him by offering herself to him, such as saying to him 'I am surrendering myself to you'. The important thing is that she must notify him in advance that she is ready for his meeting with her, and of his entrance upon her as he wishes. If she does not notify him that she is ready, she has no right of maintenance, even if she does not refuse his request to meet with her. So maintenance is conditional upon the woman's notification to her husband that she is ready for his meeting any time he wishes, and that she must avail him of herself anytime he wishes. So if she works during the day time, and he cannot meet with her, her maintenance would be denied. Secondly, she must be capable of having sexual intercourse. If she was a small girl, that cannot cope with intercourse, she is not entitled to the maintenance. Thirdly, she must not be rebellious, that is, disobeying her husband, which can take the form of preventing him from enjoying her by refusing his touch and his kisses and refusing to have sex. If she denies him any of the above, her maintenance will be cancelled for that day, because maintenance is due day by day. ... and the rebelliousness of one day cancels his provision for clothing her for a whole season."[138]

The followers of Imam Malik said: "The condition for the man's maintenance to the woman is that she should avail herself to the man for sexual intercourse, so that if he requested it from her she would not refuse. Otherwise she would have no right to the maintenance."[139]

"The followers of Imam Ibn Hanbal said, ' The wife's daily maintenance is due upon the husband if the wife surrenders herself to her husband completely ... for the daily maintenance is given to the woman in return for the husband's sexual enjoyment, so when the wife surrenders herself her daily maintenance is obligatory as long as she had reached nine years old ... so if she was well physically and surrendered herself for the enjoyment of the husband but without sexual intercourse, she has no right for the daily maintenance. So if the wife refuses to surrender herself so that the husband might have sex with her, her daily maintenance is denied, so if she then has a problem that prevents her from having sex with her husband, but surrenders herself to her husband after that, her daily maintenance is not given to her as long as she is sick, as a punishment for her because she refused to surrender to her husband when she was well."[140]

The above rulings are sincerely believed to be the will of Allah. Gaziri who summarised the opinions of the different schools of Islamic law, in the introduction of his work, al-Fiqh, wrote:

"My intention was to produce for the people a book explaining to them their responsibilities & privileges within the family. ...so that the muslim masses, recognising their duties might perform them with perfection to please the Almighty God."[141]


The Hadith describes the good wife as follows:

"The virtuous wife, if her husband bids her, she obeys him; if he looks at her, she pleases him; if he gives her an oath; she fulfils it, and if he is absent from her, she guards herself and his property."[142] (Ibn Magah)

"The best women are those who have the prettiest faces and the cheapest dowry."[143]

"The good wife is out of this world because she helps free you to concentrate on the life to come. She does that by doing her house duties (instead of the husband having to do them), and by satisfying the husband sexually so protecting him from sexual temptation."[144]

Although women protect man's eternal destiny, by guarding them against committing adultery, they themselves are perceived as being very dangerous to men. Ghazali reported the following Hadith:

"When a woman comes she comes in the form of a devil."[145]

And it is believed that the majority of them will end up in Hell.

"The Prophet said: 'I have not left any calamity [fitnah] after me more detrimental to men than women.'"[146] (Bukhari, Agreed upon)

Dr. M. al-Buti addresses Muslim Girls saying, "Know that this temptation which afflicts the man is due to you."[147] Commenting on the Qur'an 3:13 (Decked out fair to men is the love of lusts- Women, children, heaped up heaps of gold and silver, horses of mark, cattle and tillage.) Dr. Buti said:

"God regarded woman as the first ranking lusts which He placed in the way of mankind... The woman then is absolutely the greatest affliction in a man's life."[148]

"The Prophet of Allah said to Fatima, his daughter, 'What is best for a woman?' She replied, 'That she does not see a man and not be seen by a man'. He being pleased with her answer hugged her and said, 'An offspring resembling its origin.' The companions used to block the windows and the holes in the walls of their houses, so that the women do not look to men. ... 'Omar said, 'Do not dress the women (nicely) and they will remain inside the house' for they will not go outside in tattered clothes. He also said, 'Get your women used to the word 'No'."[149]

Bukhari recorded the following Hadith:

'O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women)."[150]

And Muslim recorded:

"Amongst the inmates of Paradise the women would form the minority."[151]

Dr. Mohammad al-Buti, a modern writer sees that the reason the majority of women will end up in Hell is because they fail in their most important task thus causing men to stumble.[152]

Thus women represent the greatest stumbling block to men's worship and their eternal destiny as the following Hadith state:

"Had it not been for women, God would have truly, truly been worshipped."[153]

"There is no calamity I fear on my nation more than women and wine."[154]

"Men perished, the day they obeyed the women."[155]


It is no surprise that some thinking women from Islamic background rebel against such teachings. One such woman Dr. Sa'dawi wrote:

"The institution of marriage remained very different for men to what it was for women, and the rights accorded to husbands were distinct from those accorded to wives. In fact it is probably not accurate to use the term 'rights of the woman' since a woman under the Islamic system of marriage has no human rights unless we consider that a slave has rights under a slave system. Marriage, in so far as women are concerned, is just like slavery to the slave, or the chains of serfdom to the serf."[156]

If Dr. Nawal Sa'dawi is a Muslim rebel and a liberal thinker, let us hear it from the great Muslim scholar and philosopher Ghazali who stated the above position, some seven hundred years ago, when he summed up the situation, as follows:

"The most satisfying and final word on the matter is that marriage is a form of slavery (riq). The woman is man's slave and her duty therefore is absolute obedience to the husband in all that he asks of her person. As Mohammad himself said: 'A woman, who at the moment of death enjoys the full approval of her husband, will find her place in Paradise'."[157]

Ihy'a 'Ulum ed-Din in which Ghazali made this statement has been highly praised by many scholars. The famous Imam Nawawi said of it "The Ihy'a approaches being a qur'an."[158] The belief that the wife is the slave of the man is also shared by great scholars such as Razi159, and Ibn al-'Araby as we have seen earlier by virtue of the payment of the dowry.[160]

Modern writers are not as straightforward as Ghazali in admitting that the woman is man's slave. But they do admit women's inferiority to men.

A modern writer said:

"It is illogical and unfair to equate in any area between the woman who cares for dresses, fashion, hair styles etc. and the man who bears the responsibility on behalf of the woman and the children, and carries the misfortunes and the hardships for her sake and for the sake of the children."[161]

Later on he added:

"The woman is equal to the man in Islam before the law... but the woman is not equal to the man with regard to her so cial worth and her subjective rights, for how can the commanding and the commanded, the great and the small, the knowledgeable and the ignorant, the sane and the mad, the unjust and the just, the honourable and the insignificant, the able and the unable, the working and the lazy, the strong and the weak be equal? We must not then mix between equality before the law and the social worth of the human being."[162]

If the woman, according to the above, has an unspecified lower social worth, Ghazali, who is called the 'rock of Islam' (huggat al-Islam) qualified what that lower social worth is, and called it by its true name: a slave. Mohammad however gave the real worth of the woman compared to the man when he said "Had I ordered anybody to prostrate before any one, I would have ordered women to prostrate before their husbands...". This is not a relationship of master and slave but approaches that of creator and creature!

It must be stressed at this point that not every Muslim follows the above teachings. The following two Hadith are very telling ones:

"Narrated Ibn 'Omar : During the lifetime of the Prophet we used to avoid chatting leisurely and freely with our wives lest some Divine inspiration might be revealed concerning us. But when the Prophet had died, we started chatting leisurely and freely (with them)."[163]

"Narrated 'Urwa : The Prophet asked Abu Bakr for 'Aisha's hand in marriage. Abu Bakr said, 'but I am your brother.' The Prophet said, 'You are my brother in Allah's religion and His Book, But she ('Aisha) is lawful for me to marry.'"[164] (Mohammad was fifty years old, and 'Aisha was six or seven years old at that time, but the marriage was consummated when she turned nine years old).

The point is this: where there is strong religious leadership, the masses will surrender and follow the teachings. It is the leadership that passionately believes and teaches and demands the application of these teachings. Some Muslim leaders, even in the West, are calling for the practice of these teachings. For example in the country of Australia a Muslim scholar suggested that

"Polygamy should be legalised and rape in marriage abolished ... He argued that a woman should not be able to charge her husband with rape."[165]

Although not every Muslim follows these teachings, the teachings are there. So a nominal Muslim who does not follow these teachings now, can revert and become a committed believer, who would then not only observe them but call others to do likewise. The Iranian man in the film 'Not Without My Daughter' assured his little daughter once that he is as American as an apple pie, yet he could revert to be as strict a Muslim as Khomenie.

The above material, in the first place, is not the personal opinion of some individuals, but it represents the will of Allah as expressed in the teachings of Qur'an and the Hadith. What the Qur'an teaches in black and white, the Hadith teaches in colour. The Hadith quoted in this booklet is consistent with the spirit of Islam and the teachings of the Qur'an. If the Hadith was not so, it would have been rejected out of hand, as fabricated, from the early centuries of Islam, not thirteen centuries later. On the contrary they have been compiled by the most pious Muslims of their time, quoted in the mothers of all books in Islamic literature, which has been published year after year, for more than a thousand years. In the light of the Qur'an the above Hadith was not condemned and rejected. It is when it is exposed to a different light that it is called into question.

The above quotations are not a collection of isolated, eccentric, or uncommon examples, but they are a representation of the main stream of a coherent consistent point of view regarding the place of women in Islam.

They are mostly isolated, weak, and eccentric views that have little to do with the letter and spirit of the Qur'an and the authentic Sunna.

We have kept our comments to a bare minimum so that the reader can come to his own conclusions, rather than be influenced unduly by our interpretation.

We can see that the Qur'an, the sound Hadith, the commentators of the Qur'an, Muslim scholars, ancient and modern are consistent in teaching the superiority of men over women. Yet there are those who claim the equality of men and women in Islam. Some make the claim of equality due to real ignorance of the above material. Others however make the claim of equality in spite of their knowledge of the above material, as is the case in the film "Mohammad, a messenger of God". The script of this film was prepared by Muslim scholars who knew very well the material brought to light in this booklet, and much more.

If you think this material is unbelievable, please check the references for yourself as a great number of them have been translated into English. And if you have read this booklet in haste, please read it again and draw your own conclusions.

This is hastily researched, relies on weak references, and is mostly dishonest. Probably, the saddest aspect of this attack is the victims who drink in it its venomous lies.

Printed copies: The printed form of this book is available from newton@integrity.org. The publisher has allocated a certain number of free copies for nationals residing in third world countries. Please contact the publisher at the above email address. languages: We are looking for Christian organisations to publish / distribute the above article in German, French, Russian, Mandarin etc. If you are interested please contact P. Newton via email, giving full details of your organisation and the reasons for your interest.


56. The Holy Qur'an, Yusuf Ali's Translation.

62. Ibn Kathir, Commenting on Q. 4:34, this Hadith is also reported by Abu Dawood and al-Nisa'i and Ibn Magah.

68. The Qur'an 4:128. (Arberry's translation). 69. Sahih Bukhari, Arabic-English translation, vol. 7, Hadith No. 134. 70. Ibid., Hadith No. 130&131 71. Ihy'a 'Uloum ed-Din by Ghazali, Dar al-Kotob al-'Elmeyah, Beirut, Vol II, Kitab Adab al-Nikah, p. 52. 72. The Qur'an 4:3. 73. The Qur'an 4:129. (Dawood's translation). 74. Tuffaha, Ahmad Zaky, Al-Mar'ah wal- Islam, Dar al-Kitab al-Lubnani, Beirut, first edition, 1985, p. 58. See also Razi and al-Galalayn on the above verses. And Ihy'a 'Uloum ed-Din by Ghazali, Dar al- Kotob al-'Elmeyah, Beirut, Vol II, Kitab Adab al-Nikah, p. 54. And Ibn al-'Arabi, Ahkam al-Qur'an, vol. 1, p.504. 75. Razi, At-tafsir al-kabir, commenting on Q. 4:129. 76. Ibid., commenting on Q. 4:3. 77. Ibid., commenting on Q. 4:3. 78. Ibid., commenting on Q. 4:3. 79. Ihy'a 'Uloum ed-Din by Ghazali, Dar al-Kotob al-'Elmeyah, Beirut, Vol II, Kitab Adab al-Nikah, p.34. 80. Abd ar-Rahman al-Gaziri, al-Fiqh 'ala al-Mazahib al-Arba'a, Dar al-Kutub al-'Elmeyah, 1990, vol. 4, p. 89. 81. Ibid. 82. Ihy'a 'Uloum ed-Din by Ghazali, Dar al-Kotob al-'Elmeyah, Beirut, Vol II, Kitab Adab al-Nikah, p. 33. 83. Ibid. 84. Sahih Bukhari, Arabic-English translation, vol. 7, Hadith No. 142. And vol. 1, Hadith No.268. 85. Mohammad Ibn Saad, al-Tabakat al- Kobra, Dar al-Tahrir, Cairo, 1970, Vol 8, p. 139. 86. Ihy'a 'Uloum ed-Din by Ghazali, Dar al-Kotob al-'Elmeyah, Beirut, Vol II, Kitab Adab al-Nikah, p.27. 87. Ibid., p.34. 88. Razi, At-tafsir al-kabir, commenting on Q. 4:3. 89. Qortobi, commenting on Q. 4:3. 90. Mishkat al-Masabih, Book II, Divorce, Hadith No. 137. 91. Sahih Bukhari, English translation by M. Muhsin Khan, Vol. VII, pp. 6&7, see Hadith No. 10. 92. Mishkat al-Masabih, Book 1, duties of parents, Hadith No. 15 93. 'Abd ar-Rahman al-Gaziri, al-Fiqh 'ala al-Mazahib al-Arba'a, Dar al-Kutub al- 'Elmeyah, 1990, vol. 4, p. 522. 94. Ibid., p. 523. 95. Mishkat al-Masabih, Book 1, duties of husband and wife, Hadith No.62 96 The Qur'an 44: 51-54 (Pickthall's translation). 97. The Qur'an, 55: 56-58 (Arberry's translation). 98.The Qur'an, 55:72 (Rodwells translation). 99. Pickthall in his translation of the Qur'an omits this description all together, although it is found in Dawood's, Rodwell's, and Arberry's translations. 100. The Qur'an, 78:33 (Arberry's translation). 101. Ibn Kathir, commenting on Q 78:33. 102. Sahih Muslim, English translation, Hadith No. 6793, see also 6794, 6795 &6797. 103. Ibn-Kathir commenting on Q 56:35-37. 104. Mishkat al-Masabih, English-Arabic translation, Book IV, Chapter XLII, Paradise and Hell, Hadith No.24. 105. Sunan at-Tirmizi, kitab sifat al- Ganah, Hadith No. 2536. 106. Ibn-Kathir, in a footnote explaining the meaning of 'dahman' while commenting on Q 56:35-37. 107. Ibid., commenting on Q 56:35-37. 108. The Qur'an 36:55. 109. Tafsir al-Galalayn on Q 36:55. 110. Ihy'a 'Uloum ed-Din by Ghazali, Dar al-Kotob al-'Elmeyah, Beirut, Vol IV, p. 575. 111. Ibn 'Abbas, Tanweer al-Miqbas, commenting on Q 36:55. 112. 'Abd ar-Rahman al-Gaziri, al-Fiqh 'ala al-Mazahib al-Arba'a, Dar al-Kutub al- 'Elmeyah, 1990, vol. 4, p. 7. 113. Ibid., p. 9. 114. 'Ibid., p. 8. 115. Sahih Bukhari, English translation by M. Muhsin Khan, Vol. VII, Hadith No. 81. See also Mishkat al-Masabih, Book II, under section dower, Hadith No. 53. 116. Encyclopaedia of Islam, under 'Mahr'. 117. Mishkat al-Masabih, Book II, under section dower, Hadith No. 57., reported from Abu Daud also reported by Ahmad. 118. Ibid., Hadith No. 58., reported by Tirmizi 119. Sahih Bukhari, English translation by M. Muhsin Khan, Vol. VII, Hadith No. 80. 120. Al-Islam wa-l-Mar'ah al-Mu'aserah, Al- Bahi al-Khuli, Dar al-Qalam, Kuwait, 1984, p. 57, reported in Musnad Ahmad. 121. 'Abd ar-Rahman al-Gaziri, al-Fiqh 'ala al-Mazahib al-Arba'a, Dar al-Kutub al- 'Elmeyah, 1990, vol. 4, p. 8. 122. Qurtubi. 123. Encyclopaedia of Islam, under 'Nikah'. 124. Ibn Kathir, commenting on the Q. 4:24. 125. Ibid. 126. Razi, commenting on Q4:25. 127. Ibid., commenting on Q4:24. 128. Ibid. 129. Qurtubi, commenting on Q4:24. 130. Abu Bakr Mohammad Ibn 'Abd Allah known as Ibn al-'Araby, Ahkam al-Qur'an, Part 1, p.387. 131. Ibid., p.401. 132. Ibid., p.317. 133. 'Abd ar-Rahman al-Gaziri, al-Fiqh 'ala al-Mazahib al-Arba'a, Dar al-Kutub al- 'Elmeyah, 1990, vol. 4, p. 488. 134. Encyclopaedia of Islam, under 'Nikah'. 135. 'Abd ar-Rahman al-Gaziri, al-Fiqh 'ala al-Mazahib al-Arba'a, Dar al-Kutub al- 'Elmeyah, 1990, vol. 4, p.495. 136. Encyclopaedia of Islam, under 'Nikah' 137. 'Abd ar-Rahman al-Gaziri, al-Fiqh 'ala al-Mazahib al-Arba'a, Dar al-Kutub al- 'Elmeyah, 1990, vol. 4, pp. 495-497. 138. Ibid., p. 498. 139. Ibid., p. 497-498. 140. Ibid., p. 497-499. 141. Ibid., p. 5. 142. Mishkat al-Masabih, Book 1, duty towards children Hadith No. 43. 143. Ihya' 'Uloum ed-Din by Ghazali, Dar al-Kotob al-'Elmeyah, Beirut, vol. II, Kitab Adab al-Nikah, p. 45. 144. Ibid., p. 35. 145. Ibid., P.33. Also quoted in Sahih Muslim, English translation, Hadith No. 3240. 146. Sahih Bukhari, Arabic-English translation, vol. vii , Hadith No. 33. 147. Dr. Mohammad Sa'id Ramadan al-Buti, Ela kul Fataten Tu'min be-Allah, Mu'asasat ar_Risalah, Beirut, 1987, Eighth edition, p. 19. 148. Ibid., p. 16. 149. Ihya' 'Uloum ed-Din by Ghazali, Dar al-Kotob al-'Elmeyah, Beirut, vol. II, Kitab Adab al-Nikah, p. 53. 150..Sahih Bukhari, Arabic-English translation, vol. 1, section 'A menstruating woman should not fast', Hadith No. 301. 151. Sahih Muslim, English translation, Kitab Al-Riqaq, chapter MCXL Hadith No. 6600. 152. Dr. Mohammad Sa'id Ramadan al-Buti, Ela kul Fataten Tu'min be-Allah, Mu'asasat ar_Risalah, Beirut, 1987, Eighth edition, p. 21. 153. Kanz-el-'Ummal, Vol. 21, Hadith No. 825. 154. Ibid., Hadith No. 829. 155. Ibid., Hadith No. 831. 156. Nawal El Sa'dawi, The Hidden Face of Eve, Zed Press, London, 1980, pp. 139, 140. 157. Ihya' 'Uloum ed-Din by Ghazali, Dar al-Kotob al-'Elmeyah, Beirut, vol. II, Kitab Adab al-Nikah, p. 64 158. Ibid., Vol V, p. 6. 159. Razi, commenting on the Qur'an 33:51. 160. Ibn al-'Arabi, Ahkam al-Qur'an, part one, p. 63. 161. Tuffaha, Ahmad Zaky, Al-Mar'ah wal- Islam, first edition, Dar al-Kitab al- Lubnani, Beirut, 1985, pp. 33. 162. Ibid., P.37. 163. Sahih Bukhari, English translation by M. Muhsin Khan, Vol. VII, Hadith No. 115. 164. Ibid., Hadith No. 18 165. The Sun-Herald, an Australian news paper, April 28, 1991, p. 21.



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