TheReligionofPeace.com
Guide to Understanding Islam

 

 

What does the
Religion of Peace
Teach About...

A Woman's Place

 
 

Question
:

Does Islam teach that women are under the charge of men?
 


Summary Answer
:

Men are in charge of women, according to the words of Muhammad and the Qur'an.
 


The Qur'an:

Qur'an (4:34) - "Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them."

Qur'an (2:228) - "and the men are a degree above them"

Qur'an (33:59) - "Tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them..."  Men determine how women dress.

Qur'an (33:33) - "And abide quietly in your homes..."  Women are confined to their homes except when they have permission to go out.

Qur'an (2:223) - "Your wives are as a tilth unto you; so approach your tilth when or how ye will." Wives are to be sexually available to their husbands in all ways at all times.  They serve their husbands at his command.  This verse is believed to refer to anal sex (see Bukhari 60:51), and was "revealed" when women complained to Muhammad about the practice.  The phrase "when and how you will" means that they lost their case.

Qur'an (66:5) - "Maybe, his Lord, if he divorce you, will give him in your place wives better than you, submissive, faithful, obedient, penitent, adorers, fasters, widows and virgins"  A disobedient wife can be replaced.
 


From the Hadith:

 

Bukhari (88:219) - "Never will succeed such a nation as makes a woman their ruler."

 

Bukhari (2:28) - Ingratitude toward her husband (ie. disobedience) can land a woman in Hell.  Muhammad explains why women comprise the bulk of Hell's occupants. 

 

Bukhari (72:715) - A charming little tale in which a woman seeks Muhammad's help in leaving an abusive marriage, but is ordered by the prophet to return to her husband and submit to his commands.

 

Bukhari (4:149) - Muhammad's wives are even trained to defecate on his command.

 

Bukhari (48:826) - Women have a deficiency of intelligence, meaning that their decisions will not be comparable to a man's.

 

Bukhari (58:125) - Women are tradable commodities.  A Muslim with two wives offers a fellow Muslim his pick between the two.  Muhammad then arranges a wedding banquet.

 

Bukhari (62:81) - According to Muhammad, the most important part of a marriage contract is the unrestricted access that a man has to his wife's vagina.

 

Al-Tirmidhi 3272 - "When Allah's Messenger was asked which woman was best he replied, 'The one who pleases (her husband) when he looks at her, obeys him when he gives a command, and does not go against his wishes regarding her person or property by doing anything of which he disapproves'."

 

Abu Dawud (567) - "...even though their houses are better for them."

 


Additional Notes:
 

To this day, it is absolutely forbidden for a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim man, even though men are not under the same restriction as to their choice of marriage partners.  This is is a consequence of the low status of a wife against that of her husband.  A Muslim is not allowed to be subordinate to a non-Muslim, and a wife must be subordinate to her husband.

 

In her lifetime, a Muslim woman is never to be without the guardianship of a man, from her father to her husband to the male members of her family (in the event that she is widowed or divorced).

 

Many contemporary Muslims realize that traditional Islamic practice is painfully out of step with modern tastes.  Thus have ensued very imaginative efforts to reinterpret the long held traditions of their religion, exaggerating both the negative treatment of Arab women prior to Muhammad and the reforms that he is said to have brought about. 

 

Muhammad's blunt words on marriage are what they are.  On top of this, he forbade women from traveling alone.  Nor are they allowed to be alone with a non-relative male.  Women must cover themselves, and, when there is sexual sin, they nearly always bear the responsibility of guilt, as it is assumed that they are under a higher standard of conduct.

 

Stonings, honor killings, floggings and even the mutilation of female genitalia are sporadically employed in the Muslim world to keep women in their place.

 

According to a recent fatwa on the Muslim Matters website, "a Muslim woman should keep her home as the focus of her attention and activities, and make it the base of her affairs."  Women are allowed to leave the house under certain conditions, such as medical emergency and religious observance.  Islam also permits them to get a job "if there is no mahrum man providing for them", but it should be limited to certain occupations that only involve other women, such as catering, teaching, fashion, beautician or a variety of domestic positions.

 

 

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