Friday, April 7

Last one on this issue (for now)

Qur'an and women

* Women are inferior to men, and must be ruled by them: "Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other" (Qur'an 4:34)

* "Allah thus directs you as regards your children's inheritance: to the male, a portion equal to two females" (4:11)

* "Good women are to be obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah has guarded. As for those you fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them" (4:34)

Aisha, the most beloved of Muhammad's many wives, admonished women in no uncertain terms: "Oh womenfolk, If you knew the rights that your husbands have over you, everyone of you would wipe the dust from her husband's feet with your face."

Individual Muslims may respect and honor woman, but Islam doesn't!


Granny said...

What you say is true, but what about the Bible? The religious right takes many verses out of context to "prove" some monstrous things.

So is Christianity what they say it is or what I say it is? You'd never know we were talking about the same religion.

Zee said...

Yes, you have a good point Granny and I do agree that "the religious right" is taking things out of context to further their own stuck up (and dangerous) agenda.
But let as look at these two very different religions in broad brushstrokes for a moment; at least in the way I perceive them.
The bible, both the Hebrew part (old testament) and the Christian part (the new one) describe most prevailingly imagery of parables how to better yourself, in essence how to do SELF-development.
The Qur'an on the other hand gives mostly orders as what "though aught to do" or what has to happen to change society at large, a form of controlling OTHER-peoples development and not primarily your own.
This subtle distinction (a very important one in my book), is often overlooked.
It is therefore, that in (mostly Arab) muslim countries the role of society is dictated by the "laws" spelled out in the Qur'an.
It is therefore that a woman still can be stoned to death in Saudi Arabia today for committing a "crime" that would equal a parking ticket in the western world (driving a car alone for example...) or having the misfortune to be raped by her cousin.
Remember, it takes two woman witnesses to equal the voice of one man in any court in the Muslim/Arab world. Also, if a woman is raped and she complains, there need to be FOUR MALE witnesses to not stand in for her, but also can prove that the have been observing the scene.
Granny, societal law in Muslim countries are figured out by the guidelines of the Qur'an; in any other country either by the dictator, the king or queen, or some kind of democratic setup.
With all it's menace and horrible disgusting avenues, Saddam Hussein's regime was not a regime dictated by the Qur'an. The US will wonder in the future why in all earth they ever toppled him. Grand mistake!
They should have just had patience and see him fade away...
Less deaths, less killing, trillions of US$ saved.
But oh well, we know now that there are even non- religious fanatics on this globe.

Carries Stepbrother said...

Was the Bible sent down in English? - No. That would be most facetious to consider when we take into consideration that English is only a 940 year old language.

Does the Bible still exist in the original form in which it was revealed and in the original languages? - No.

Can any scholar of the Bible say with absolute certainty which of the verses of the Bible came to Abraham, or Moses, or David, or Solomon or Jesus? - No.

Do you accept that the English version of the Bible is the same thing that was held in hands of the Great and Noble prophets of Almighty God? - No.

Of course you don\'t. After all, only the most inept and uneducated from the most backward of civilizations would dare make such a claim.

Zee said...

Interesting post Carries - but, come to think of, what was actually your point?

Kathleen Callon said...

I've read the quotes a couple times, and while it is upsetting these are written in their scripture, much that is beautiful is included as well. I agree with Granny in that the Bible has much that is heinous as well.

Something important to remember is that the Koran doesn't just have Mohammed's writings, but also includes much from Judaism and Christianity as well. Muslims worship Abraham's God, same as Jews and Christians, and in all texts it is written that God has "great nations". If we all view each other as such, and if we focus on what we have in common, bridges can be made. (Sorry for typos, I'm rushing.)

Granny said...

Thanks Zee. We don't disagree but if the Christian Reconstructionists here every get the upper hand, we'll see executions of women here as the woman taken in adultery would have been stoned had not Jesus intervened. Those righteous people were following Old Testament law.

I liked your last sentence about non-religious fanatics as well.

I think I'm so disturbed by our home grown fanatics because as a Christian (although they would dispute that) I'm offended by the evils they commit in the name of a God and a Christ I do not recognize. I mention something about my church and I get to hear a diatribe about Fred Phelps or Pat Robertson.

I think neither of us is wrong; just approaching the issue from different directions.


Zee said...

I am also "with you" Ann (granny), totally!
But I heard a disturbing interview today from a woman-reporter who went to interview young people in present Afghanistan. The theme of her report was: How do people find each other - or a date. The difficulties of such an activity were underlined by responses by woman, that they still need consent from their male brothers before they can meet a "stranger." Even more worrisome was to hear that the tradition of inspecting the sheets (linen) for blood of newly weds by their parents is still enacted. No blood = no virgin = please get rid of her or stone the bitch!
If I were alive as a woman in Afghanistan today, I surely would make a point of carrying beet juice in a secret vial on me at all times - just in case!

Zee said...

The scriptures of the Qur'an were supposedly dictated directly to Mohammed by the arch-angel Gabriel. In some ways the Qur'an is the "purest" and least "obstructed and manipulated" of all religious documents due to in part that Islam is also the last and youngest faith that appeared on this earth.
Yes, with all respect, there are references in the Qur'an to other "prophets" from other religions (Jesus amongst them) - but by all means, the book didn't include teachings from other faiths and is not composed by a melange of several avenues.
I am not saying that you in particular close your eyes and sit there in hope for peace and love - but many do. It is the "comfortable way out."
Let me be destructively evil in my response: The Qur'an has none whatsoever value in todays world and only supports retardation of humanity. Perhaps this Muslim religion was a necessity in the course of human development in earlier history, but it has no place to exist today!
Sometimes you have to "burn the bridges" Kathleen - because there is no other way!!!
Peace starts in the beholder of aggression, not the one who is attacked.
Closing your eyes and meditating "oahhhmmm" will do nothing.
Even Ghandi (a hero of mine) was an activist.

Granny said...

I read a disturbing report about Dubai and the treatment of women by their families.

I'd link it but I can't remember where I read it. Slate maybe but I'm not sure.

Dubai is one of the more "enlightened" countries.

JuBlue said...

I'm fed up with organized religion.

Gary said...

Rant away brother!

If you want to line up religions and rank them by their degree of harm, then you're probably right - Islam today for many people (especially women) is at or near the top. I wouldn't spare any religion from the list myself (including anthroposophy), although when you get down the list there are some a lot less harmful than Christianity and Islam.

As John Lennon said,

Imagine there's no religion.

Mirvat said...

i am an arabic woman who was raised muslim in beirut. i am today a strict scientist and against organized religion and all aspects of religious practices. having said that, zee the koran was dictated to the prophet mohammad by the angel Gabriel and it reflects the words of God. the koran is supposed to be the least manipulated and the miracle of Islam through its construction and scientific teachings which even moden science could not explain. it was written by a man who was supposed to be an isolated illeterate sheperd who hadn't left his spot in the desert and who described places he'd never been to and geological and scientific and medical facts that were in no way clear back then. the koran is also a literary miracle. all this taken into consideration, no one can deny the inexplicable in any religion. the koran did include teachings from all the previous religions and islam does acknowledge and incorporate all these teachings. the point of islam is an upgrade, if you will, same as the christian religion before.
i'm with you on the fact tht the social teachings in islam, and in any other religion for that matter, is outdated. those verses that you mentioned are the main reason why i renounced the book. i could find a logical interpretation for all the other teachings except for the views on women. so agreed 100 %.
as for the way women are treated in arabic countries. my first point is that dubai is not a very liberal country. that's a misconception. lebanon would be the perfect example, as egypt and jordan. the example given about dubai is a social one. also the situation of women in afghanistan would be another extreme example. it hs more to do with the socio-economical status of the country. it would be like looking at some of the early christian practices and some aspects of self-mutilation nd self-sacrifice in eastern religions and saying that was the norm. i guess my point is that extremism and fundamentalism exist in all religions. it's a real shame that islam is being this misinterpreted nowadays. i've always said that bush is the perfect example that extremism and killing in the name of religion happens even in the most enlightened countries.
the koran is a beautiful book like all scriptures are. islam is a beautiful religion as well to the people of real faith. the key is in islam is moderation.
did you know that wearing the veil for example is not mentioned in the book? that takes me back to granny's point, if given the chance all religions would do that to their women probably.

don't let the poverty and the social state that is prevalent in some islamic country represent what islam is about. my country is a perfect example of women who are as powerful and represented as american women even when islam is their religion.

Haider Droubi said...

I do agree with mirvat ..actually living the reality is different than reading about it...
I am sure that most of the western people who lived in Muslim countries shall have a more realistic (not saying ideal) opinion of things in the middle east ...most of life’s aspects are not based on Qouran ..they are based on culture& tradition..which should be omitted..
And one more thing …all religions are strict…most of the religions (originally) prohibit divorce, Islam doesn’t., which could be considered a modern side of it …
Comparing Muslims and non Muslims is not a correct comparison ….
It is either we compare between eastern society (including all religions ) believing blindly in anything could be related to religion. and western one that turned the religion into some kind of a culture and lived based on the human being concept.-both of those have positive and negative sides.
Or the comparison should be between the religious people of Islam and those of other religions..Which i think all of them act in the same way …
I used to see similarities between the nuns who put veil to cover their hair and muslim women .…nuns don’t get married nor use make-up and other stuff..and don’t enjoy one of the life most essential joy (intimate relations)… just for the sake of serving god… …I personally don’t judge them ….and I don’t think that they were brain-washed by a harsh system ..simply cos no one has the right to judge …
Simply …religion is a very critical issues ,,one should consider it carefully before judging ,,,that in case things were judge-able …
One more thing …we all say AMEEN …I will be posting something about the languages …and as Cathleen commented above …we have a lot in common …

Ghalia said...


You can’t reach a conclusion just simply especially by relying on ill-translated verses.
To reach such a conclusion you need to search, check your sources and observe.

Quraan verse should be taken in a unit, you can’t split it anywhere,
However here is the same verse in a better translation thought it is not the best yet…
[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).

Women in Islam

. The Spiritual Aspect
The Qur'an provides clear-cut evidence that woman iscompletely equated with man in the sight of God interms of her rights and responsibilities. The Qur'an states:
"Every soul will be (held) in pledge for its deeds" (Qur'an 74:38). It also states:
...So their Lord accepted their prayers, (saying): I will not suffer to be lost the work of any of you whether male or female. You proceed one from another ...(Qur'an 3: 195).
Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has faith, verily to him will We give a new life that is good and pure, and We will bestow on such their reward according to the their actions. (Qur'an 16:97, see also 4:124).
Woman according to the Qur'an is not blamed for Adam's first mistake. Both were jointly wrong in their disobedience to God, both repented, and both were forgiven. (Qur'an 2:36, 7:20 - 24). In one verse in fact (20:121), Adam specifically, was blamed.
In terms of religious obligations, such as the Daily Prayers, Fasting, Poor-due, and Pilgrimage, woman is no different from man. In some cases indeed, woman has certain advantages over man. For example, the woman is exempted from the daily prayers and from fasting during her menstrual periods and forty days after childbirth. She is also exempted from fasting during her pregnancy and when she is nursing her baby if there is any threat to her health or her baby's. If the missed fasting is obligatory (during the month of Ramadan), she can make up for the missed days whenever she can. She does not have to make up for the prayers missed for any of the above reasons. Although women can and did go into the mosque during the days of the prophet and thereafter attendance et the Friday congregational prayers is optional for them while it is mandatory for men (on Friday).
This is clearly a tender touch of the Islamic teachings for they are considerate of the fact that a woman may be nursing her baby or caring for him, and thus may be unable to go out to the mosque at the time of the prayers. They also take into account the physiological and psychological changes associated with her natural female functions.
2. The Social Aspect
a) As a child and an adolescent
Despite the social acceptance of female infanticide among some Arabian tribes (before Islam), the Qur'an forbade this custom, and considered it a crime like any other murder.
"And when the female (infant) buried alive - is questioned, for what crime she was killed." (Qur'an 81:8-9).
Criticizing the attitudes of such parents who reject their female children, the Qur'an states:
When news is brought to one of them, of (the Birth of) a female (child), his face darkens and he is filled with inward grief! With shame does he hide himself from his people because of the bad news he has had! Shall he retain her on (sufferance) and contempt, or bury her in the dust? Ah! What an evil (choice) they decide on? (Qur'an 16: 58-59).
Far from saving the girl's life so that she may later suffer injustice and inequality, Islam requires kind and just treatment for her. Among the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (P.) in this regard are the following:
Whosoever has a daughter and he does not bury her alive, does not insult her, and does not favor his son over her, God will enter him into Paradise. (Ibn Hanbal, No. 1957).
Whosoever supports two daughters till they mature, he and I will come in the day of judgment as this (and he pointed with his two fingers held together).
A similar Hadeeth deals in like manner with one who supports two sisters. (Ibn-Hanbal, No. 2104).
The right of females to seek knowledge is not different from that of males. Prophet Muhammad (P.) said:
"Seeking knowledge is mandatory for every Muslim". (AlBayhaqi). Muslim as used here including both males and females

b) As a wife:
The Qur'an clearly indicates that marriage is sharing between the two halves of the society, and that its objectives, beside perpetuating human life, are emotional well-being and spiritual harmony. Its bases are love and mercy.
Among the most impressive verses in the Qur'an about marriage is the following.
"And among His signs is this: That He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest, peace of mind in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy. Lo, herein indeed are signs for people who reflect." (Qur'an 30:2 1).
According to Islamic Law, women cannot be forced to marry anyone without their consent.
Ibn Abbas reported that a girl came to the Messenger of God, Muhammad (P.), and she reported that her father had forced her to marry without her consent. The Messenger of God gave her the choice . . . (between accepting the marriage or invalidating it). (Ibn Hanbal No. 2469). In another version, the girl said: "Actually I accept this marriage but I wanted to let women know that parents have no right (to force a husband on them)" (Ibn Maja, No. 1873).
Besides all other provisions for her protection at the time of marriage, it was specifically decreed that woman has the full right to her Mahr, a marriage gift, which is presented to her by her husband and is included in the nuptial contract, and that such ownership does not transfer to her father or husband. The concept of Mahr in Islam is neither an actual or symbolic price for the woman, as was the case in certain cultures, but rather it is a gift symbolizing love and affection.
The rules for married life in Islam are clear and in harmony with upright human nature. In consideration of the physiological and psychological make-up of man and woman, both have equal rights and claims on one another, except for one responsibility, that of leadership. This is a matter which is natural in any collective life and which is consistent with the nature of man.
The Qur'an thus states:
"And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them, and men are a degree above them." (Qur'an 2:228).
Such degree is Quiwama (maintenance and protection). This refers to that natural difference between the sexes which entitles the weaker sex to protection. It implies no superiority or advantage before the law. Yet, man's role of leadership in relation to his family does not mean the husband's dictatorship over his wife. Islam emphasizes the importance of taking counsel and mutual agreement in family decisions. The Qur'an gives us an example:
"...If they (husband wife) desire to wean the child by mutual consent and (after) consultation, there is no blame on them..." (Qur'an 2: 233).
Over and above her basic rights as a wife comes the right which is emphasized by the Qur'an and is strongly recommended by the Prophet (P); kind treatment and companionship.
The Qur'an states:
"...But consort with them in kindness, for if you hate them it may happen that you hate a thing wherein God has placed much good." (Qur'an 4: l9).

Prophet Muhammad. (P) said:
The best of you is the best to his family and I am the best among you to my family.
The most perfect believers are the best in conduct and best of you are those who are best to their wives. (Ibn-Hanbal, No. 7396)
Behold, many women came to Muhammad's wives complaining against their husbands (because they beat them) - - those (husbands) are not the best of you.
As the woman's right to decide about her marriage is recognized, so also her right to seek an end for an unsuccessful marriage is recognized. To provide for the stability of the family, however, and in order to protect it from hasty decisions under temporary emotional stress, certain steps and waiting periods should be observed by men and women seeking divorce. Considering the relatively more emotional nature of women, a good reason for asking for divorce should be brought before the judge. Like the man, however, the woman can divorce her husband with out resorting to the court, if the nuptial contract allows that.
More specifically, some aspects of Islamic Law concerning marriage and divorce are interesting and are worthy of separate treatment.
When the continuation of the marriage relationship is impossible for any reason, men are still taught to seek a gracious end for it.
The Qur'an states about such cases:
When you divorce women, and they reach their prescribed term, then retain them in kindness and retain them not for injury so that you transgress (the limits). (Qur'an 2:231). (See also Qur'an 2:229 and 33:49).

c) As a mother:
Islam considered kindness to parents next to the worship of God.
"And we have enjoined upon man (to be good) to his parents: His mother bears him in weakness upon weakness..." (Qur'an 31:14) (See also Qur'an 46:15, 29:8).
Moreover, the Qur'an has a special recommendation for the good treatment of mothers:
"Your Lord has decreed that you worship none save Him, and that you be kind to your parents. . ." (Qur'an 17:23).
A man came to Prophet Muhammad (P) asking:
O Messenger of God, who among the people is the most worthy of my good company? The Prophet (P) said, Your mother. The man said then who else: The Prophet (P) said, Your mother. The man asked, Then who else? Only then did the Prophet (P) say, Your father. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
A famous saying of The Prophet is "Paradise is at the feet of mothers." (In Al'Nisa'I, Ibn Majah, Ahmad).
"It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them."

3. The Economic Aspect
Islam decreed a right of which woman was deprived both before Islam and after it (even as late as this century), the right of independent ownership. According to Islamic Law, woman's right to her money, real estate, or other properties is fully acknowledged. This right undergoes no change whether she is single or married. She retains her full rights to buy, sell, mortgage or lease any or all her properties. It is nowhere suggested in the Law that a woman is a minor simply because she is a female. It is also noteworthy that such right applies to her properties before marriage as well as to whatever she acquires thereafter.
With regard to the woman's right to seek employment it should be stated first that Islam regards her role in society as a mother and a wife as the most sacred and essential one. Neither maids nor baby-sitters can possibly take the mother's place as the educator of an upright, complex free, and carefully-reared children. Such a noble and vital role, which largely shapes the future of nations, cannot be regarded as "idleness".
However, there is no decree in Islam which forbids woman from seeking employment whenever there is a necessity for it, especially in positions which fit her nature and in which society needs her most. Examples of these professions are nursing, teaching (especially for children), and medicine. Moreover, there is no restriction on benefiting from woman's exceptional talent in any field. Even for the position of a judge, where there may be a tendency to doubt the woman's fitness for the post due to her more emotional nature, we find early Muslim scholars such as Abu-Hanifa and Al-Tabary holding there is nothing wrong with it. In addition, Islam restored to woman the right of inheritance, after she herself was an object of inheritance in some cultures. Her share is completely hers and no one can make any claim on it, including her father and her husband.
"Unto men (of the family) belongs a share of that which Parents and near kindred leave, and unto women a share of that which parents and near kindred leave, whether it be a little or much - a determinate share." ((Qur'an 4:7).
Her share in most cases is one-half the man's share, with no implication that she is worth half a man! It would seem grossly inconsistent after the overwhelming evidence of woman's equitable treatment in Islam, which was discussed in the preceding pages, to make such an inference. This variation in inheritance rights is only consistent with the variations in financial responsibilities of man and woman according to the Islamic Law. Man in Islam is fully responsible for the maintenance of his wife, his children, and in some cases of his needy relatives, especially the females. This responsibility is neither waived nor reduced because of his wife's wealth or because of her access to any personal income gained from work, rent, profit, or any other legal means.
Woman, on the other hand, is far more secure financially and is far less burdened with any claims on her possessions. Her possessions before marriage do not transfer to her husband and she even keeps her maiden name. She has no obligation to spend on her family out of such properties or out of her income after marriage. She is entitled to the "Mahr" which she takes from her husband at the time of marriage. If she is divorced, she may get an alimony from her ex-husband.
An examination of the inheritance law within the overall framework of the Islamic Law reveals not only justice but also an abundance of compassion for woman.

4. The Political Aspect
Any fair investigation of the teachings of Islam o~ into the history of the Islamic civilization will surely find a clear evidence of woman's equality with man in what we call today "political rights".
This includes the right of election as well as the nomination to political offices. It also includes woman's right to participate in public affairs. Both in the Qur'an and in Islamic history we find examples of women who participated in serious discussions and argued even with the Prophet (P) himself, (see Qur'an 58: 14 and 60: 10-12).
During the Caliphate of Omar Ibn al-Khattab, a woman argued with him in the mosque, proved her point, and caused him to declare in the presence of people: "A woman is right and Omar is wrong."
Although not mentioned in the Qur'an, one Hadeeth of the Prophet is interpreted to make woman ineligible for the position of head of state. The Hadeeth referred to is roughly translated: "A people will not prosper if they let a woman be their leader." This limitation, however, has nothing to do with the dignity of woman or with her rights. It is rather, related to the natural differences in the biological and psychological make-up of men and women.
According to Islam, the head of the state is no mere figurehead. He leads people in the prayers, especially on Fridays and festivities; he is continuously engaged in the process of decision-making pertaining to the security and well-being of his people. This demanding position, or any similar one, such as the Commander of the Army, is generally inconsistent with the physiological and psychological make-up of woman in general. It is a medical fact that during their monthly periods and during their pregnancies, women undergo various physiological and psychological changes. Such changes may occur during an emergency situation, thus affecting her decision, without considering the excessive strain which is produced. Moreover, some decisions require a maximum of rationality and a minimum of emotionality - a requirement which does not coincide with the instinctive nature of women.
Even in modern times, and in the most developed countries, it is rare to find a woman in the position of a head of state acting as more than a figurehead, a woman commander of the armed services, or even a proportionate number of women representatives in parliaments, or similar bodies. One can not possibly ascribe this to backwardness of various nations or to any constitutional limitation on woman's right to be in such a position as a head of state or as a member of the parliament. It is more logical to explain the present situation in terms of the natural and indisputable differences between man and woman, a difference which does not imply any "supremacy" of one over the other. The difference implies rather the "complementary" roles of both the sexes in life.

Abdul Rahman Hilmi said...

This website compares the status of Women in Islam vs that in Judeo-Christian traditions and scriptures.

Zee said...

Gahlia, I do not judge on the basis of the scriptures alone - woman in muslim ruled countries are secondary citizens. There is a physical outer reality to this which has little to do with the interpretation of religious issues.
Abdul Rahman Hilmi, I checked out your references, but it looked like a religious contest of whom is better in the old fashioned way, depicting phrases that truthfully have no meaning in the year of 2006. Sorry your link is of no use for the present (and future).