An Editiorial by:
Dr. Fatimah Majidi, Nader Abbas Maudodi and Chris Abdul-Rahman
There are widespread erroneous misconception about the status of women in Islam (Submission.) This misconception was augmented by some newsmedia that made little effort to correct their understanding before broadcasting their views on this matter. Adding to this misconception are the regrettable practices in most so called “Islamic” countries or societies where myths, traditions and innovations have won over the true Islamic (Quranic) teachings and where women are traditionally subdued and oppressed. In this presentation we will try to clarify the position of the true Islam (Submission) on the status of women. We will list the misconceptions then comment on every issue accordingly.
(1)Muslim women have to wear the veil: This is a very common misconception, as Quran does not command the veil (Hijab). Wearing the veil is a tradition and is only supported by the man-made books of Hadiths and Sunna. These books do not represent the words of Allah in the Quran and on many occasions contradict them. Please see: Women Dress code in Islam.
(2) Islam encourages wife beating: On the contrary, Quran uses the best psychological approach to discourage this widespread abuse that is widespread in both Islamic and non-Islamic societies. Please see: Domestic violence, Wife abuse and beating, a Quranic Perspective.
(3) The woman inherits only half what a man can inherit: This is a common misconception even among the traditional Muslims themselves. Quran gives the parents total freedom to give their children as much as they see fit even if this means giving the females double what the males would get. Quran, however, commands that if a will is NOT left, then the estate is distributed in such a manner that the son gets double what the daughter gets. Generally, the son is responsible for a family, while the daughter is taken care of by a husband or her family. However, the Quran recommends in 2:180 that a will shall be left to conform with the specific circumstances of the deceased. For example, if the son is rich and the daughter is poor, one may leave a will giving the daughter everything, or twice as much as the son.
(4)The woman’s testimony. is equal only to half of the man’s testimony: This is a gross mis-representation. The woman testimony is equal to the man’s testimony except in one case only, the financial transactions. This is according to 2:282;
[ 2:282] O you who believe, when you transact a loan for any period, you shall write it down. An impartial scribe shall do the writing. …….. Two men shall serve as witnesses; if not two men, then a man and two women whose testimony is acceptable to all. Thus, if one woman becomes biased, the other will remind her. It is the obligation of the witnesses to testify when called upon to do so. ……
Financial transactions are the ONLY situations where two women may substitute for one man as witness. This is to guard against the real possibility that one witness may marry the other witness, and thus cause her to be biased. It is a recognized fact that women are more emotionally vulnerable than men. If the woman as a witness was worth half that of a man, the verse would have stated so clearly. But obviously that is not the case. Women’s testimony in all other matters are equal to that of a man or even supersedes his testimony as in the case of a wife testifying against her accusation of adultery, 24:6-10. See also, 65:2, 5:106 and 4:6
(5)Muslim woman cannot have jobs outside their homes: This also is not true. The social structure in the East where Islam (Submission) prevails encourages the woman to make her house her first priority but there is no prohibition whatsoever on women having to work and earn their living. The Muslim (submitter) woman has been given the privilege to earn money, the right to own property, to enter into legal contracts and to manage all of her assets in any way she pleases. She can hold a job or run her own business and no one has any claim on her earnings including her husband. Historically, Muhammed’s first wife was a merchant who hired Muhammed to work for her. Muslim women went along with their husbands, fathers and brothers during battles to take care of the wounded and help in the back lines of the troops..
(6)Polygamy is strongly recommended: This is one of the most common misconceptions about Islam (Submission.) Quran strongly discourages polygamy. Polygamy was a way of life until the Quran was revealed 1400 years ago. It was advocated and practiced by the followers of the previous scriptures. Quran came to put the first scriptural limit on polygamy and discourages it as much as possible. Please see; Polygamy, the right way In all the scriptures, the men were allowed to have more than one wife and not vise verse, since the idea of polygamy then was to populate the earth. As we know a woman can be pregnant only once a year even if she is married to four men but one man can have four children in the process at the same time if he is married to four wives. Polygamy was never meant to be abused for sexual pleasure or prove superiority. The emotional make up of a man makes him acceptable to polygamy and the opposite is true for women who prefer a monogamous relationship.
(7)Men status is higher than that of the women : Again this is not true. Many writers who wrote about women’s rights refer to the statement in 4:34 as a sign of the man is above the women in status but it is a misunderstood statement. In 4:34, the expression “..al-rijalu qawwdmuna ‘ala al-nisa’i…. ” means “The men are made responsible for the women, and GOD has endowed them with certain qualities, and made them the bread earners.” This expression simply means that God is appointing the husband as “captain of the ship.” Marriage is like a ship, and the captain runs it after due consultation with his officers. It does not assign inequality but rather assigns duties to avoid conflicts and disputes.
Quran provides every possible proof that women and men are equal in th sight of God and treats both genders in the same way and rewards them in the same way. Please see; Are women and men equal in Islam? , Women in the religion of Submission (Islam) and Blame it on Eve. !.
(8) Muslim Women cannot have education: This is not true. Qur’an encourages the pursuit of knowledge by all Muslims (Submitters) regardless of their sex. It repeatedly commands all believers to read, to recite, to think, to contemplate, as well as to learn from the signs of God surrounding us in nature. In fact, the very first revelation to Prophet Muhammad was “READ” and the second revelation talked about God who teaches the people by the “PEN”. In either case no gender is advocated, the order is for everyone. Islam (Submission) does not put any limit on the kind or field of education a woman may choose. Islamic history still has the mark of few women scholars
(9)Women cannot share in the political life in their communities: This also is not true. Women in Islam (Submission) have the right to vote, express their views on any public matter, run for an office and even be the head of a state.See 60:12, 27:22-44 Please see; Women and Politics in Islam and The record set straight: Women in Islam have rights.
(10)Women cannot pray, fast, do Hajj or Ummrah during menstruation: This misconception is even common among women who follow the traditional Islam that derives many of its laws from man-made books. This is totally against the teachings of the Quran. Please see; Religious Duties and Menstruation . A question/ answer report.
(11)Women are stoned to death for Adultery : This is totally false as there is NO death penalty for adultery in Islam (Submission). The penalty of adultery is equal for both men and women, and involves symbolic lashing. Social pressure, i.e., public witnessing of the penalty, is the basic punishment see 24:1-2
(12)Muslim women cannot marry Jewish or Christian men: This common misconception is advocated and promoted by men but have no basis in the Quran. Quran gives both men and women the right to marry from the people of the book, i.e. Muslims (Submitters), Jews or Christians. God also reminds us that the marriage to a believer is much better than the marriage to an idolworshiper. See 5:5 and 2:221. See also; Marriage in the Quran, and A Marriage question and answer from the Quran.
(13)Muslim women do not have the right to divorce their husbands: This is not true. Divorce laws in the Quran apply to both men and women equally. Women have the right to divorce their husbands as long as they follow the laws set in the Quran. Please see; Divorce according to the Quran.
(14)Compensation for the murder of a woman is half the going rate for men: This is totally false as both men and women are equally treated and compensated according to the Quran. Such laws are found in the fabricated books of Hadiths and Sunna and they are not the laws of God in the Quran.See 2:178.
(15)For a woman to prove rape, four adult males of “impeccable” character must witness the incident: This a gross misunderstanding of this law. Like any civil law in the civilized world, Quran urges a proof beyond doubt for such a horrendous crime. Quran accepts a proof of a crime if the proof is beyond doubt, e.g. see 12:75. Therefore although the verses of adultery which is used in cases of rape are applied, a proof beyond doubt, e.g. DNA of the offender should be an acceptable proof instead of four witnesses in these cases. Insisting on four witnesses when the other proof is beyond doubt is NOT Quranic.
(16)The legal age for girls to marry tends to be very young: This is not an Islamic law but local tribal or cultural tradition. In reality Islam (Submission) expects marriage to be established on mutual understanding, acceptance and approval. Such requirements cannot be achieved in the very young girls (or boys). Maturity, mentally, emotionally and physically is the rule in Islam (Submission) before marriage. The story of prophet Muhammed marrying his wife Aysha when she was only six is a gross lie that can be found in the Hadiths books that are full of many other similar lies that do not represent Islam (Submission.) Please see; Prophet Muhammed’s marriage to Aysha.
(17)Female circumcision, also called female genital mutilation: Quran does not mention nor advocates female circumcision and all the rituals that go with it. This is NOT an Islamic practice by all means. This practice predates Muhammad and is also common among some Christian communities.
(18) Muslim women are not allowed to drive: Again this is not Islamic law but rather a local tradition in some of these so called “Islamic” countries. Quran has no restriction on the women moving freely in the society, whether this includes riding a horse, driving a car or flying an aeroplane. Local laws that require the women to be accompanied by a male relative whenever they travel are traditional laws that have NO basis in the Quran.
(19) Typically, fathers win custody of boys over the age of six and girls after the onset of puberty: This is only a local law that is not supported by the Quran. Cases of custody are to be decided on a case by case basis with the interest of the children being the priority in any judgment. God puts a great emphasis on protecting the right of the weak and unprotected kids, please see; 6:151-152, 17:31, 17:34, 2:233, 6:140, 60:12, 4:127, 4:2, 4:10, 33:5, 93:9, 2:215, …..
(20) Women must be segregated form men in public, work and places of worship: This is a common misconception even among some Muslims but has NO basis in the Quran. On the contrary, God meant for the women and men to be together with NO segregation whether in public, work or worship places. Hajj (pilgrimage) is a vivid example of how women and men are not segregated and worship in the same place, then go ahead with their lives and practice commerce after Hajj with no limits..
(21) “honor killings” of women: Murders by husbands or male relatives of women suspected of disobedience, usually a sexual indiscretion or marriage against the family’s wishes. These are tribal laws, not Islamic laws. There is no such thing as HONOR killing in Islam (Submission.) All killings are condemned in the Quran. in the strongest language possible. Please see; 5:32, 6:151 and 17:33. Punishment for these killers will follow the same general rules in the Quran and would not get a lighter sentence for his claims even if they were true. After all, these killers violated the sacred laws of God in the Quran. The punishment in the Quran is based always on an attempt to save lives not to waste lives. Please see Capital Punishment in Islam.
(22) “Morality Police” keeps control on the behaviour of women: Islam (Submission) does not assign police for morality as such character is not created by force but rather by understanding of God’s laws in the Quran. The practice of the so called “Morality Police” is a total innovation of some of these so called “Islamic” countries but has nothing to do with Islam (Submission.)
(23) Women cannot travel freely except in the company of a male relative, “mahram”: This is a man made fabrication that has no support in the Quran. According to the Quran, women have no limitations on their moves, travels or activities. Men who hire themsleves guards on the women’s moves do this out of their own wishes not beause of any religious law in the Quran.