Q: Why does Islam degrade women by keeping them behind the veil?
The status of women in Islam is often the target of attacks in the secular media. The ‘hijab’ or the Islamic dress is cited by many as an example of the ‘subjugation’ of women under Islamic law. Before we analyze the reasoning behind the religiously mandated ‘hijab’, let us first study the status of women in societies before the advent of Islam.
In the past women were degraded and used as objects of lust
The following examples from history amply illustrate the fact that the status of women in earlier civilizations was very low to the extent that they were denied basic human dignity:
1. Babylonian Civilization:
The women were degraded and were denied all rights under the Babylonian law. If a man murdered a woman, instead of him being punished, his wife was put to death.
2. Greek Civilization:
Greek Civilization is considered the most glorious of all ancient civilizations. Under this very ‘glorious’ system, women were deprived of all rights and were looked down upon. In Greek mythology, an ‘imaginary woman’ called ‘Pandora’ is the root cause of misfortune of human beings. The Greeks considered women to be subhuman and inferior to men. Though chastity of women was precious, and women were held in high esteem, the Greeks were later overwhelmed by ego and sexual perversions. Prostitution became a regular practice amongst all classes of Greek society.
3. Roman Civilization:
When Roman Civilization was at the zenith of its ‘glory’, a man even had the right to take the life of his wife. Prostitution and nudity were common amongst the Romans.
4. Egyptian Civilization:
The Egyptian considered women evil and as a sign of a devil.
5. Pre-Islamic Arabia:
Before Islam spread in Arabia, the Arabs looked down upon women and very often when a female child was born, she was buried alive.
HIJJAB IN ISLAM
Islam uplifted women and gave them equality and expects them to maintain their status.
Islam uplifted the status of women and granted them their just rights 1400 years ago. Islam expects women to maintain their status.
Hijab for men:
People usually only discuss ‘hijab’ in the context of women. However, in the Glorious Qur’an, Allah (swt) first mentions ‘hijab’ for men before ‘hijab’ for the women. The Qur’an mentions in Surah Noor:
“Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do.” [Al-Qur’an 24:30]
The moment a man looks at a woman and if any brazen or unashamed thought comes to his mind, he should lower his gaze.
Hijab for women:
The next verse of Surah Noor, says:
” And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons…” [Al-Qur’an 24:31]
3. Six criteria for Hijab:
According to Qur’an and Sunnah there are basically six criteria for observing hijab:
The first criterion is the extent of the body that should be covered. This is different for men and women. The extent of covering obligatory on the male is to cover the body at least from the navel to the knees. For women, the extent of covering obligatory is to cover the complete body except the face and the hands upto the wrist. If they wish to, they can cover even these parts of the body. Some scholars of Islam insist that the face and the hands are part of the obligatory extent of ‘hijab’.
All the remaining five criteria are the same for men and women.
2. The clothes worn should be loose and should not reveal the figure.
3. The clothes worn should not be transparent such that one can see through them.
4. The clothes worn should not be so glamorous as to attract the opposite sex.
5. The clothes worn should not resemble that of the opposite sex.
6. The clothes worn should not resemble that of the unbelievers i.e. they should not wear clothes that are specifically identities or symbols of the unbelievers’ religions.
4. Hijab includes conduct and behaviour among other things:
Complete ‘hijab’, besides the six criteria of clothing, also includes the moral conduct, behaviour, attitude and intention of the individual. A person only fulfilling the criteria of ‘hijab’ of the clothes is observing ‘hijab’ in a limited sense. ‘Hijab’ of the clothes should be accompanied by ‘hijab’ of the eyes, ‘hijab’ of the heart, ‘hijab’ of thought and ‘hijab’ of intention. It also includes the way a person walks, the way a person talks, the way he behaves, etc.
5. Hijab prevents molestation:
The reason why Hijab is prescribed for women is mentioned in the Qur’an in the following verses of Surah Al-Ahzab:
“O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad); that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Al-Qur’an 33:59]
The Qur’an says that Hijab has been prescribed for the women so that they are recognized as modest women and this will also prevent them from being molested.
6. Example of twin sisters :
Suppose two sisters who are twins, and who are equally beautiful, walk down the street. One of them is attired in the Islamic hijab i.e. the complete body is covered, except for the face and the hands up to the wrists. The other sister is wearing western clothes, a mini skirt or shorts. Just around the corner there is a hooligan or ruffian who is waiting for a catch, to tease a girl. Whom will he tease? The girl wearing the Islamic Hijab or the girl wearing the skirt or the mini? Naturally he will tease the girl wearing the skirt or the mini. Such dresses are an indirect invitation to the opposite sex for teasing and molestation. The Qur’an rightly says that hijab prevents women from being molested.
7. Capital punishment for the rapists:
Under the Islamic shariah, a man convicted of having raped a woman, is given capital punishment. Many are astonished at this ‘harsh’ sentence. Some even say that Islam is a ruthless, barbaric religion! I have asked a simple question to hundreds of non-Muslim men. Suppose, God forbid, someone rapes your wife, your mother or your sister. You are made the judge and the rapist is brought in front of you. What punishment would you give him? All of them said they would put him to death. Some went to the extent of saying they would torture him to death. To them I ask, if someone rapes your wife or your mother you want to put him to death. But if the same crime is committed on somebody else’s wife or daughter you say capital punishment is barbaric. Why should there be double standards?
8. Western society falsely claims to have uplifted women:
Western talk of women’s liberalization is nothing but a disguised form of exploitation of her body, degradation of her soul, and deprivation of her honour. Western society claims to have ‘uplifted’ women. On the contrary it has actually degraded them to the status of concubines, mistresses and society butterflies who are mere tools in the hands of pleasure seekers and sex marketeers, hidden behind the colourful screen of ‘art’ and ‘culture’.
9. USA has one of the highest rates of rape:
United States of America is supposed to be one of the most advanced countries of the world. It also has one of the highest rates of rape in any country in the world. According to a FBI report, in the year 1990, every day on an average 1756 cases of rape were committed in U.S.A alone. Later another report said that on an average everyday 1900 cases of rapes are committed in USA. The year was not mentioned. May be it was 1992 or 1993. May be the Americans got ‘bolder’ in the following years.
Consider a scenario where the Islamic hijab is followed in America. Whenever a man looks at a woman and any brazen or unashamed thought comes to his mind, he lowers his gaze. Every woman wears the Islamic hijab, that is the complete body is covered except the face and the hands up to the wrist. After this if any man commits rape he is given capital punishment. I ask you, in such a scenario, will the rate of rape in America increase, will it remain the same, or will it decrease?
10. Implementation of Islamic Sharee’ah will reduce the rate of rapes:
Naturally as soon as Islamic Sharee’ah is implemented positive results will be inevitable. If Islamic Sharee’ah is implemented in any part of the world, whether it is America or Europe, society will breathe easier. Hijab does not degrade a woman but uplifts a woman and protects her modesty and chastity.
Asalaamu alaikum waramathullahi wabarakathu dear Sisters & Brothers !
I’m A Sunni Muslim Alhmdulilah and I follow the Qur’an & our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s sunnah.
★ STOP CATEGORIZING ISLAM AND STOP TRYING TO DIVIDE ISLAM. WE ARE ALL MUSLIMS. MUSLIMS ARE ALL BROTHERS, SISTERS AND WE ARE ALL ONE UMMAH.
“Those who annoy ALLAH and His Messenger shall be cursed by ALLAH in this world and in the Hereafter. ALLAH has prepared for them a humiliating punishment”.
Wake up Muslims!! We are ONE Ummah, and we worship ONE GOD. It doesn’t matter if your father is from China or if you mother is from Jamaica, we are one body, one entity, ONE Ummah! Allah the Almighty says:
“Verily, this community of yours is a single community, and I am your Lord and Cherisher: therefore serve Me (and no other)”
This is a divine law “IF YOU ARE UNITED, YOU WILL BECOME POWERFUL”
Make a promise today; “I won’t live for myself anymore. I belong to this Ummah and I will live for it!” , In Sha Allah
Some muslim womens, may Allah guide them, dress their young daughters in short dresses that display the shins.
Above picture is a sample of inappropriate dressing which should be avoided my muslim womens.
Muslim womans should not dress his daughter in such clothing while she is young.
This is because if she grows accustomed to it, she will stick with it and she will consider it a light matter.
However, if you trained her properly to be bashful when she was young, she would continue in that proper manner when she gets older.
I advise my Muslim sisters to leave the dress of the foreigners who are the enemies of the religion and to bring up their children wearing clothes that cover their bodies and to teach them modesty, for modesty is part of faith.
If we are dressing our kids with according to islamic principles, they’ll used to wear those clothes when they are younger and older,
If we let them to wear tight and bare clothes and we say that, no problem he/she is just a kid, when he/she grows up then it will be problem for him/her to get used with new clothes that parents offer.
Here we should consider the likes of kids as well and respect to it, but if we dressed them from childhood Islamic clothes, they’ll obviously select appropriate ones, if sometimes they show interest in inappropriate clothes the parents should let them know with kind words, that o’ my dear daughter/son we are Muslim, Alhmdulilah we should wear Islamic clothes and proud of it.
In Sha Allah, 🙂
O Allah! Please grant me the one
Who will be the garment for my soul…
Who will satisfy half of my deen
And in doing so make me whole
Make him righteous and on your path
In all he’ll do and say
And sprinkle water on me at Fajr (Early Morning Prayer)
And spend within his means
May he seek Allah’s guidance always
To fulfill all his dreams
May he always refer to Qur’an
and the Sunnah as his moral guide
May he thank and appreciate Allah
For the woman at his side
May he be conscious of his anger
And often fast and pray
In every possible way
May he honor and protect me
And guide me in this life
And finally, O Allah!
Make him abundant in love and laughter
In taqwa and sincerity
In striving for the hereafter!
May Allah grant all the Muslim sisters with such husbands… Ameen ya rabbel alameen
Superior Days For Righteous Deeds
Shaykh Abdullah Ibn Abdur-Rahman al-Jibreen
The Superiority And Virtue Of The First Ten Days Of The Month Of Zulhijjah
And The Deeds Legislated In These Days from the Gulf Times March 1999
Verily, the praise belongs to Allah, the Most High, and May the Blessings of Allah and Peace be upon His Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions, all of them.
It is narrated from Ibn Abbaas (RAA) that the Prophet (PBUH) of said: “There are no days in which righteous deeds done in them are more beloved to Allah than these days, ie the ten days (of Zul-Hijjah). They said: O Messenger of Allah, not even Jihaad in the path of Allah? He said: Not even Jihaad in the Path of Allah, the Most High, except if a man goes out (for Jihaad) with his self and his wealth,
then he doesn’t return with anything from that.”
(Al-Bukhari, Abu Daawood and others. The exact wording is that of Abu Daawood)
It is narrated from Ibn Umar that the Prophet Muhammad (Blessings of Allah and Peace be upon him) said:
“There aren’t any days greater, nor any days in which deeds done in them are more beloved to Allah, the Most High, than these ten days (of Zul-Hijjah).
So, increase in them the saying of Tahleel (La Ilaaha illa Allah), and Takbeer (Allah Akbar) and Tahmeed (al-Hamdu li-llah)” [Musnad Imaam Ahmad]
The Types of Good Deeds in These Ten Days:
First: The performance of Haj and Umrah, and these are the best of deeds that may be done.
And what indicates their superiority are a number of Ahaadith, one of which is the saying of the Prophet (PBUH).
Performance of Umrah is an expiration of the sins committed between it and the previous Umrah,
and the reward of the Haj which is accepted by Allah, the Most High, is nothing but Paradise.
(Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Second: Fasting during these days – as many of them as may be easy (for one to fast); Especially the Day of Arafah. There is no doubt that the act of fasting is one of the best deeds, and
it is from what Allah, the Most High, has chosen for himself, as in the Hadith Qudsee:
Fasting is for Me, and it is I who give reward for it. Verily, someone gives up his sexual passion, his food
and his drink for My sake…”
(Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Maalik, at-Tirmidhee, Nasaa’ee and Ibn Maajah)
Also, from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudree who said that the Messenger of Allah said: No servant (of Allah, the Most High) fasts one day in the Path of Allah, except that Allah, the Most High, removes his face from the Fire because of it (the distance of travelling) seventy years. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
From Abu Qatadah that the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said: Fasting the Day of Arafah will be credited with Allah by forgiving one’s sins of the previous year and the following year. (Muslim)
Third: At-Takbeer (Allah Akbar) and adh-Dhikr (the remembrance of Allah through different words of praise and glorification) in these (ten) days, Allah said “And mention the name of Allah
on the appointed days”(12:28).
This has been explained (by some) to mean the ten days (of Zul-Hijjah), and the scholars consider it desirable to increase adh-Dhikr in these days, based upon the hadith of Ibn Umar narrated by
Ahmad, which contains the words:
… so increase in these days the Tahleel and Takbeer and Tahmeed…
It is reported about Ibn Umar and Abu Hurairah that: the two of them used to go out to the market place during the ten days (of Zul-Hijjah) saying: Allahu Akbar, causing the people also to say it.
Ishaaq narrates from the scholars of the Taabi’een that in these ten days they used to say:
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar Laa Ilaaha illa ‘llah Wa ‘llahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar Wa li’llahi alhamd
It is a beloved act to raise the voice when saying the Takbeer in the markets, the houses, the streets, the Masjids and other places, because of the saying of Allah, the Most High, in Surah al-
Hajj, verse 37: “… that you may magnify Allah for His Guidance to you”
The saying of Takbeer in congregation, ie everyone pronouncing the Takbeer with one voice, is not permissible since this has not been transmitted (to us) from the early generations of the
Sahabah and those who followed their ways.
Verily, the Sunnah is for everyone to say the Takbeer individually. And this is (generally) applicable to Dhikr and supplications, except if the person doesn’t know what to say. In that case he may repeat after someone else until he learns (the words to be said).
It is also permissible to make Dhikr with all the different wording of Takbeer and Tahmeed and Tasbeeh, and the rest of the Islamic legislated supplications (from the Qur’an and Sunnah).
Fourth: At-Tawbah (repentance) and abstaining from disobedience and all types of sins,
since forgiveneand mercyare the results of deeds. Disobedience is the cause of being far away (from Allah, the Most High) and repulsion, while obedience is the cause of being near (to Allah,
Most High) and His love. In the hadith of Abu Hurairah he said that the Prophet said: Verily Allah has a sense of Ghaira, and Allah’s sense of ghaira is provoked when a person does that which Allah has prohibited. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Fifth: Doing plenty of voluntary (nafl) righteous deeds of worship like Prayer, Charity, Jihaad, reading the Qur’an, Commanding what is Good and Forbidding what is Evil, and other such deeds.
Verily, these are amongst the deeds that are multiplied in these days. It is during these days that even deeds that are less preferred, are superior and more beloved to Allah than superior deeds done at other times. (These deeds are superior) even to al-Jihaad – which is one of the most superior of all deeds – except in the case of one whose horse is killed and his blood is spilled (loss of life in Jihaad).
Sixth: It is legislated in these days to make at-Takbeer al-Mutlaq at all times of night and day until the time of the Eid Prayer. Also, at-Takbeer al-Muqayyad is legislated, and it is done after
the (five) obligatory prayers that are performed in congregation. This begins from Dawn (Fajr) on the Day of Arafah (the 9th of Zul-Hijjah) for those not performing Haj, and from Noon (Zhur) on
the Day of Sacrifice (10th of Zul-Hijjah) for those performing Haj (pilgrims); and it continues until Asr prayer on the last day of the days of Tash-reeq (13th of Zul-Hijjah).
Seventh: The slaughtering of a sacrificial animal (Adhiyah) is also legislated for the Day of Sacrifice (10th) and the Days of Tashreeq (11th, 12th and 13th). This is the Sunnah of our father
Ibraaheem – when Allah, the Most High, redeemed Ibraaheem’s son by the great sacrifice (of an animal in his place). It is authentically reported that The Prophet Muhammad slaughtered (sacrificed) two horned rams, black and white in colour, and said Takbeer (Allahu Akbar), and placed his foot on their sides (while slaughtering them). (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Eighth: Offering animal as Udhyia It has been narrated from Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her) that the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said: If you see the Hilal (new moon) of Zul-Hijjah, and any one of you wants to make a sacrifice, then he should not cut (anything) from his hair and his nails. (Muslim and others). And in one narration, he said: .Then he should not cut (anything) from his hair, nor from his nails, until he performs the sacrifice.
Perhaps this is because of the similarity with the one who is bringing a sacrificial animal for slaughter (in Haj). As Allah, the Most High, said: And do not shave your heads until the Hady (sacrifice) reaches the place of sacrifice…
The apparent meaning of this prohibition is that it is particularly for the one whom the sacrifice is for, and does not include the wife or children, unless there is an individual sacrifice for one of them. There is no harm in washing the head, or scratching it, even if hairs may fall out.
Ninth: It is incumbent for the Muslim (who is not performing Haj) to make every effort to perform the Eid Prayer wherever it is performed, and to be present for the Khutbah and benefit.
He must know the wisdom behind the legislation of this Eid Celebration). It is a day of thankfulness and performing deeds of righteousness. So, he must not make it a day of wildness,
pride and vanity. He should not make it a season for disobedience and increase in the forbidden things like music and singing, uncontrolled amusement, intoxicants and the like – those things which could cause the cancellation of the good deeds done in these days (of Zul-Hijjah).
Tenth: After what has been mentioned, it is fitting that every Muslim, male and female, take advantage of these days by obeying Allah, the Most High, remembering Him, thanking Him, fulfilling all the obligatory duties, and staying far away from the prohibited things. He must take full advantage of this season, and the open display of Allah’s gifts, to attain the pleasure of his Lord.
Surely, Allah, the Most High, is the One Who grants success, and He is the Guide to the Straight Path. And may the blessings of Allah, the Most High, and peace be upon Muhammad and his family and companions!
Ghaira: A sense of honour and prestige, and the anger caused by its being violated.
At-Takbeer al-Mutlaq: the Takbeer (Allahu Akbar) which is unrestricted to specific times or any specific form.
At-Takbeer al-Muqayyad: The Takbeer which is done at a particular time and in a specific manner. Zull Hujjah (Arabic) : Dhul Hijjah (Eng.)
Excellence of Good Hopes
“(And the man who believed said:) `… and my affair I leave it to Allah. Verily, Allah is the All-Seer of (His) slaves.’ So Allah saved him from the evils that they plotted (against him)”. (40:44,45)
440. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Allah says: `I am just as My slave thinks of Me when he remembers Me.’ By Allah! Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than one of you who unexpectedly finds in the desert his lost camel. `He who comes closer to Me one span, I come closer to him a cubit; and he who comes closer to Me a cubit, I come closer to him a fathom; and if he comes to Me walking, I come to him running”.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadith highlights the merits of expecting good treatment of Allah. But this has to be backed by good actions, in the same way as one can hope for good results after ploughing and sowing seeds. It is obvious that one who accomplishes good deeds will expect good consequences, and one who does evil deeds will expect evil consequences. Allah will treat people according to their expectation that are founded on their actions, and the reward will match their deeds.
441. Jabir bin `Abdullah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard the Prophet (PBUH) saying three days before his death: “Let none of you die unless he has good expectations from Allah”. [Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadith also tells us that one should always perform good deeds because no one knows the time of his death. At the time of death one must entertain hope for Allah’s Pardon and Mercy which cannot be possible without good actions. Thus, this Hadith conveys the same meanings of the following Ayah:
“And die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims)”. (3:102).
Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Allah, the Exalted, has said: `O son of adam, I forgive you as long as you pray to Me and hope for My forgiveness, whatever sins you have committed. O son of ‘Adam, I do not care if your sins reach the height of the heaven, then you ask for my forgiveness, I would forgive you. O son of ‘Adam, if you come to Me with an earth load of sins, and meet Me associating nothing to Me, I would match it with an earthload of forgiveness.”’
1. What it really means is that if sins of a Muslim, committed in ignorance and carelessness, become so numerous that in stacks touch the heights of skies, he should not lose hope in Allah’s Mercy. If he repents wholeheartedly for his sins, makes penitence for them and begs Allah’s forgiveness, he will certainly find Allah’s Mercy open for him.
2. Shirk (polytheism) is an absolutely unpardonable sin. All other sins, how many and how grave they may be, can be forgiven by Allah. He will pardon them if He likes and send the sinful persons straight to Jannah, or keep them for a while in Hell and then shift them to Jannah. In any case, the punishment of Hell will not be eternal for them, as it is for the Mushriks (polytheist).
Allah, the Exalted, says:
“Say: O `Ibadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: verily, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful”. (39:53)
“And never do We requit in such a way except those who are ungrateful (disbelievers)”. (34:17)
‘(Say:) `Truly, it has been revealed to us that the torment will be for him who denies (believes not in the Oneness of Allah, and in His Messengers), and turns away (from the truth and obedience of Allah)”. (20:48)
“And My Mercy embraces all things”. (7:156)
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying, “When Allah created the creatures, He wrote in the Book, which is with Him over His Throne: `Verily, My Mercy prevailed over My Wrath”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Another narration is: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “(Allah wrote) `My Mercy dominated My Wrath”.
Still another narration is: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “(Allah wrote) `My Mercy surpasses My Wrath”.
Commentary: Imam Al-Khattabi states that here the word “Kitab” (translated here as `Book’) means the decision of Almighty Allah which He has already made, an instance of which is the following Verse of the Noble Qur’an:
“Allah has decreed: `Verily, it is I and My Messengers who shall be the victorious”. (58:21).
In this Ayah the Arabic word “Kataba” is used in the sense of “Qada’ (decided);” or the word “Kataba” signifies “Lauh Mahfooz” on which He has recorded everything. Almighty Allah is on the ‘Arsh’ (the Throne of Allah) and this Book is with Him. (Fath Al-Bari, Kitab At-Tauhid, Bab: Wa kana Arshuhu `alal-Ma’.)
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Allah has divided mercy into one hundred parts; and He retained with Him ninety-nine parts, and sent down to earth one part. Through this one part creatures deal with one another with compassion, so much so that an animal lifts its hoof over its young lest it should hurt it”.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Another narration is: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Allah has one hundred mercies, out of which He has sent down only one for jinn, mankind, animals and insects, through which they love one another and have compassion for one another; and through it, wild animals care for their young. Allah has retained ninety-nine mercies to deal kindly with His slaves on the Day of Resurrection.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Another narration in Muslim is reported: by Salman Al-Farisi: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Allah has hundred mercies, out of which one mercy is used by his creation for mutual love and affection. Ninety-nine mercies are kept for the Day of Resurrection.”
Another narration is: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Allah created one hundred units of mercy on the Day He created the heavens and the earth. Each one of them can contain all that is between the heaven and the earth. Of them, he put one on earth, through which a mother has compassion for her children and animals and birds have compassion for one another. On the Day of Resurrection, He will perfect and complete His Mercy”. (That is He will use all the hundred units of mercy for his slaves on that Day).
1. We learn from this Hadith that kind and compassionate treatment is liked by Allah and is in fact His Blessing and Benevolence. This is the reason He has given a part of it to His creatures, and a person who is so hard-hearted, that he is not even aware of it has a defect which is extremely displeasing to Allah. Moreover, it is a sign that such a person is deprived of Divine blessing and mercy.
2. On the Day of Resurrection, Almighty Allah will bestow upon the believers hundred mercies. This news has great hopes and joy for His slaves.
. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “If a believer had full knowledge of the chastisement of Allah, none would covet His Jannah; and were an infidel to know the Mercy Allah has, none would despair of His Jannah”.
5. Ibn Mas`ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Jannah is nearer to you than your shoelace, and so is the (Hell) Fire”.[Al-Bukhari].
Commentary: Jannah is close to him who adopts the path of righteousness and he can easily attain it. Its opposite case is also equally true. He is close to Hell who takes the path of evil. Thus, this Hadith has an inducement for virtue and warning against evil.
Women In Christianity And Islam
Whenever the topic of Islam is brought up among Westerners, it has been my experience that the first objection that immediately springs into their minds is: “But women are so extremely oppressed in Islam.”
And, “But women are second class citizens in Islam.” For example, they see that Muslim women usually observe modest standards in their clothing and they automatically equate their modesty with oppression.
They appear to feel that freedom is in some way directly proportional to how little clothing one wears and that oppression is directly proportional to the degree of modesty one exhibits in their clothing. Although this topic does not directly relate to the main topic of this book, still it seems inevitable to touch on this subject even if only very briefly, due to it’s importance.
The problem is twofold: First of all, people who make such objections usually only have A very superficial knowledge of the true teachings of Islam, and secondly, they do not realize what The Bible requires of all believing women.
I was once passing through Canada with in laws and their family. As we walked down the street, a Canadian Christian girl (in her late teens-perhaps early twenties) passed by us with a group of her friends. She looked at my mother in law who was dressed in modest clothing and had a large scarf wrapped around her head such that only her face was showing. She then stopped my mother in law and said words to the effect of: “Why do you allow your men to oppress you? Why do you wear these clothes?”
Now, my mother in law is a university graduate, a straight A student, highly respected by her peers, and gainfully employed as an inspector of the public educational system back in my home country. My mother in law has also distinguished herself in her study of the English language and it’s grammatical structure. However, she did not have an extensive working knowledge of American and Canadian pronunciation and slang, and thus, she missed the tone with which this question was delivered to her.
I decided to move a reasonable distance away, and let her handle this situation herself. My mother in law was very happy to answer this girl’s question and went on to explain to her about our religion and customs and how we prefer to dress modestly, and that Allah Almighty requires us to do this. However, this was not the answer this girl was looking for so she retorted: “Thanks for sharing!,” then spun around and stormed off.
Now, in my home country, our elders are quite used to being highly respected by those who are younger than them and being served by them. For this reason, it did not even occur to my mother in law that this question could have been anything more than a young girl respectfully asking an innocent question of a trusted elder, and I hated to tell her otherwise. I would have hated for her to leave Canada thinking that all Canadians or all Christians speak this way to their elders, since I know that this is not the true case. However, this episode did indeed sadden me.
Many non-Muslims feel sorry for any Muslim women they see adorned in their modest clothing. They feel that they are deprived the freedom to roam around in more scant and revealing clothing. Anyone who lives in a manner other that which they have become accustomed to is seen by them to be oppressed and forced to live in this manner. There are certain tribes in the Amazon jungle, in Australia, and in Africa, which have become accustomed to walking around in a simple g-string around their waist. What would the people of the West say if these people were to condemn the Western habit of “forcing” their women to wear “excessive amounts of clothing” and to demand that all women in the west immediately stop wearing anything but the simplest g-string around their waist? What if they were to say that the Western society should immediately stop unjustly persecuting their women and preventing them from freely roaming the streets wearing only a pair of socks? They would say that the people making these demands have no morals or shame. Philosophers would have a field day with such a question.
What if someone were to claim that it was immoral, discriminatory, and unjust to separate men and women indifferent public bathrooms the same as it is not just to do so with blacks and whites. What if this person were to then call (in the interest of equality, fairness, and constitutional freedom of course) for a merging of men and women’s bathrooms into one “unisex” or “equal-opportunity” bathrooms for both men and women? Once again, the philosophers would have a field day. Anyone who follows the news will see that this may indeed be where the USA is now headed. In the New York Post (31 Aug. 1994 or a little before) it was reported that women have now won the right to appear topless in the New York subway system. Where will the USA be a few years from now? That is anyone’s guess.
Who has the power to determine what decent and modest clothing is? Who is to determine what decent and modest behavior is? Muslims assign this right to God alone. This is the essence of “Islam.” “Islam” means “The submission to the will of God.” What God commands, a Muslim does. They do not demand that God justify his commands before they accept them. Once they have verified that a command is indeed from God then they abide by it without hesitation.
We can indeed find this lesson in the story of Adam. In the Islamic version of the story of Adam (slightly different than that of Judaism/Christianity), Adam and Eve were created by God, educated, clothed, and then allowed to inhabit heaven. They were told by God that they could have anything their hearts desired except they must not eat from the tree. Out of envy, the devil encouraged them to eat from the tree and told them that its fruit would make them angles or immortal. They ate from the tree and immediately, their bodies were revealed to one another, so they took to scooping up the leaves off the trees in order to cover themselves. This is when Allah sent them down to earth. What mankind learned from this lesson is that just because a person does not know the wisdom behind a command of God, and others tell him to disobey it, by the time the reason for the command is made apparent to them it may be too late.
Example of dress worn by a Christian nun. Compare it with how Muslim women dress today.
Well then, what is the Biblical view on these matters? Actually, even in this day and age there still remain traces in Christianity of the common ancestry with Islam in regard to the accepted norms of modest dress for Christian women as ordained by her Creator. In the above figure we have an example of the sort of dress codes observed by Christian nuns. We are strangely amazed to find that it is almost the striking similarity it bears to the sort of outfit, which most Muslim women wear. Why is that? Well, although there are quite a number of very pronounced differences between Biblical and Qur’anic laws in this regard, let us start with the following:
What the New Testament has to say:
1 Timothy 2:11-14 “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”
1 Corinthians 14:34 “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”
1 Corinthians 11:5-10: “But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, for as much as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.”
1 Corinthians 11:13: “Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God (with her head) uncovered?”
What the Old Testament has to say:
Genesis 3:12-16 “And the man (Adam) said, The woman (Eve) whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”
Leviticus 12:2-5 “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a MALE child: then she shall be unclean SEVEN DAYS; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying THIRTY THREE days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled. But if she bear a FEMALE child, then she shall be unclean TWO WEEKS, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying SIXTY SIX days.“
Ecclesiastics 7:26-28 “And I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare….while I was still searching but not finding, I found one upright man among a thousand but not one upright woman among them all”.
Leviticus 15:19-30 “And if a woman have an issue (her period/menses), [and] her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even.
And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean. And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe [himself] in water, and be unclean until the even. And whosoever toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe [himself] in water, and be unclean until the even. And if it [be] on [her] bed, or on any thing whereon she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the even. And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him, he shall be unclean seven days; and all the bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean. And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she [shall be] unclean. Every bed whereon she lieth all the days of her issue shall be unto her as the bed of her separation: and whatsoever she sitteth upon shall be unclean, as the uncleanness of her separation. And whosoever toucheth those things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes, and bathe [himself] in water, and be unclean until the even. But if she be cleansed of her issue, then she shall number to herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean. And on the eighth day she shall take unto her two turtles, or two young pigeons, and bring them unto the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And the priest shall offer the one [for] a sin offering, and the other [for] a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for her before the LORD for the issue of her uncleanness.” SEE ALSO WOMEN IN THE BIBLE
In other words, the Bible teaches us that:
1. Women should learn in silence and subjugation.
2. Women should not teach.
3. Women should not have authority over men but should remain silent.
4. Adam and Eve were not equal in sin. Adam was not deceived but Eve was.
5. Women are commanded to be under obedience to men. God ordained that men shall for all time rule over women
6.Women must keep silent in Churches. It is shameful for them to open their mouths therein. If they have a question they should ask their husbands before going to church and then their husbands will ask for them in the church.
7. A woman should neither pray nor profess with her head uncovered.
8. If a woman prays with her head uncovered then she might as well shave her head.
9. Man was created in the image and glory of God, and Woman was created in the glory of Man, thus Man must have power over her.
10. Any woman who delivers a male baby shall be unclean for one week. But any woman who delivers a female baby shall be unclean for TWO weeks. Thus, females make their mothers DOUBLY unclean as compared to males.
11. While it is possible to find one upright man in every thousand, it is impossible to find even one single upright woman in every thousand
12. Woman is a snare, her heart is a trap, and her hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but she will ensnare the sinner.
13. If a woman had her period and touches a chair or a bed or anything else then that item immediately becomes unclean. Anyone who then touches those things shall also become unclean. They must then bathe themselves and wash their clothes because they have touched an item that a menstruous woman has touched.
What the canonized saints of Christianity said about women:
“Woman is a daughter of falsehood, a sentinel of Hell, the enemy of peace; through her Adam lost paradise” (St. John Demascene)
“Woman is the instrument which the devil uses to gain possession of our souls” (St. Cyprian)
“Woman is the fountain of the arm of the devil, her voice is the hissing of the serpent” (St. Anthony)
“Woman has the poison of an asp, the malice of a dragon” (St. Gregory)
St. Tertullian, while he was talking to his ‘best beloved sisters’ in the faith, he said, “Do you not know that you are each an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the Devil’s gateway: You are the unsealer of the forbidden tree: You are the first deserter of the divine law: You are she who persuaded him whom the devil wasn’t valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God’s image, man.” Once again, St. Augustine wrote to a friend, “What is the difference whether it is in a wife or a mother; it is still Eve the temptress that we must beware of in any woman.”
Centuries later, St. Thomas Aquinas still considered women as defective, “As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from a defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence.”
Orthodox Jewish men in their daily morning prayer recite “Blessed be God King of the universe that Thou has not made me a woman.” The women, on the other hand, thank God every morning for “making me according to Thy will”
According to the Jewish Talmud, “women are exempt from the study of the Torah.” In the first century C.E.,Rabbi Eliezer said: “If any man teaches his daughter Torah it is as though he taught her lechery”
According to Rabbi Dr. Menachem M. Brayer (Professor of Biblical Literature at Yeshiva University) in his book ‘The Jewish woman in Rabbinic literature’, it was the custom of Jewish women to go out in public with a head covering which, sometimes, even covered the whole face leaving one eye free. He quotes some famous ancient Rabbis saying, “It is not like the daughters of Israel to walk out with heads uncovered” and “Cursed be the man who lets the hair of his wife be seen…a woman who exposes her hair for self-adornment brings poverty.” Rabbinic law forbids the recitation of blessings or prayers in the presence of a bareheaded married woman since uncovering the woman’s hair is considered “nudity” . Dr. Brayer also mentions, that “During the Tannaitic period the Jewish woman’s failure to cover her head was considered an affront to her modesty. When her head was uncovered she might be fined four hundred zuzim for this offense.” Dr. Brayer also explains that veil of the Jewish woman wasn’t always considered a sign of modesty. Sometimes, the veil symbolized a state of distinction and luxury rather than modesty. The veil personified the dignity and superiority of noble women. It, also, represented a woman’s inaccessibility as a sanctified possession of her husband. It is clear in the Old Testament that uncovering a woman’s head was a great disgrace and that’s why the priest had to uncover the suspected adulteress in her trial by ordeal (Numbers 5:16-18).
St. Tertullian in his famous treatise ‘On the Veiling of Virgins’ wrote, “Young women, you wear your veils out on the streets, so you should wear them in the church, you wear them when you are among strangers, then wear them among your brothers…” Among the Canon laws of the Catholic Church today, there is a law that require women to cover their heads in church.
Some Christian denominations, such as the Amish and the Mennonites for example, keep their women veiled to the present day. The reason for the veil, as offered by their Church leaders, is “The head covering is a symbol of woman’s subjection to the man and to God”: The same logic introduced by St. Paul in the New Testament.
Russian Orthodox women are expected to wear a head covering when in the church. Most don’t outside of it in America, but many in Russia do, along with women in other eastern Orthodox countries Europe.
These are only a small sampling. For many more similar quotations please obtain a copy of the 70 page book”Women in Islam Versus Women in the Judaeo-Christian Tradition: The Myth & The Reality,” By Dr. Sherif Abdel Azeem, World Assembly of Muslim Youth.
Furthermore, according to the Old Testament, a childless widow must marry her husband’s brother, even if he is already married and regardless of her consent, so that she might bear a child from him (Genesis 38).
Additionally, according to the Bible:
“If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives” Deuteronomy 22:28-30
One must ask a simple question here, who is really punished, the man who raped the woman or the woman who was raped? What is to prevent someone from finding the best looking woman in town, raping her, telling everyone about it, and then having the courts force her to be his wife for the rest of her life?
According to Numbers 27:1-11, widows and sisters don’t inherit at all. Daughters can inherit only if their deceased father had no sons.
So what is the standpoint of the Qur’an with regard to women? Women are indeed commanded by Allah to cover their heads and wear modest clothing, however, in Islam this is not a sign of denigration or subjugation to men, rather, it is a sign of chastity, modesty, and the fear of God. It also designates this woman to all men who might deal with her that she is to be dealt with respect. This could be compared to the situation in the West when one meets a nun or priest, how the nun’s habit and the priest’s robes signal those who meet them, that this person does not condone vulgarity of speech or evil actions.
This is made apparent in the Noble Qur’an in Surrah Al-Ahzab:
“… that is closer to their being recognized so that they shall not be abused, and Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful”
[Al-Ahzab(33):59, (also see Noor(24):31)]
What about the rights of women in Islam?
Are they indeed, as the popular propaganda would have us believe, “second class citizens”? Let us read the Qur’an:
“And they (women) have rights similar to those of men over them in a just manner.”
(The Noble Qur’an, Al-Baqarah(2):228)
“And their Lord has heard them (and He says): Verily! I suffer not the work of any worker, male or female, to be lost. You proceed one from another. So those who fled and were driven forth from their homes and suffered damage for My cause, and fought and were slain, verily I shall remit their evil deeds from them and verily I shall bring them into Gardens underneath which rivers flow. A reward from Allah. And with Allah is the fairest of rewards.”
(Translation of The Noble Qur’an, A’al-Umran(3):195)
“And covet not the thing in which Allah has made some of you excel others. Unto men a fortune from that which they have earned, and unto women a fortune from that which they have earned. (Envy not one another) but ask Allah of His bounty. Verily! Allah is Knower of all things.”
(Translation of The Noble Qur’an, Al-Nissa(4):32)
“Unto the men (of a family) belongs a share of that which parents and near kindred leave, and unto the women a share of that which parents and near kindred leave, whether it be little or much, a legal share.”
(Translation of The Noble Qur’an, Al-Nissa(4):77)
“And whoso does good works, whether of male or female, and he (or she) is a believer, such will enter paradise and they will not be wronged the dint in a date stone.”
(The Noble Qur’an, Al-Nissa(4):124)
“And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends one of another; they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and they establish worship and they pay the poor-due, and they obey Allah and His messenger. As for these, Allah will have mercy on them. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Wise.”
(The Noble Qur’an, Al-Tauba(9):71)
“Whosoever does right, whether male or female, and is a believer, him verily We shall quicken with good life, and We shall pay them a recompense in proportion to the best of what they used to do.”
(The Noble Qur’an, Al-Nahil(16):97)
“And of His signs is this: He created for you spouses from yourselves that you might find tranquility in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy. Lo, herein indeed are signs for folk who reflect.”
(Translation of the The Noble Qur’an, Al-Room(30):21)
“Whoso does an ill deed, he will be repaid the like thereof, while whoso does right, whether male or female, and is a believer, (all) such will enter the Garden, where they will be nourished without stint.”
(Translation of The Noble Qur’an, Mumin(40):40)
In the Qur’an, both, Adam and Eve share the blame for eating from the tree. This can be seen in the Qur’an in such verses as Al-Baqarah(2):36, Al-A’araf(7):22-24.
They were also both forgiven by God Almighty for this sin. Actually, in one verse of the Qur’an (Taha(20):121), Adam is specifically blamed.
Islam encourages spouses to take each other’s council and to seek mutual agreement in matters which affect them, for example, in the Qur’an, Al-Bakarah(2):233 we read: “Mothers shall suckle their children for two whole years; (that is) for those who wish to complete the suckling. The duty of feeding and clothing nursing mothers in a seemly manner is upon the father of the child. No one should be charged beyond their capacity. A mother should not be made to suffer because of her child, nor should he to whom the child is born (be made to suffer) because of his child.
And on the (father’s) heir is incumbent the like of that (which was incumbent on the father). If they desire to wean the child by mutual consent and (after) consultation, it is no sin for them; and if you wish to give your children out to nurse, it is no sin for you, provided that you pay what is due from you in kindness. Observe your duty to Allah, and know that Allah is Seer of what you do.”
Husbands are commanded to treat their wives with kindness and respect. In Al-Nissa(4)-19 we read “…But consort with them in kindness, for if you hate them it may happen that you hate a thing wherein Allah has placed much good.”
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “The best believers are the best in conduct, and the best of you are those who are best to their wives.” When Muhammad (pbuh) first became the prophet of Islam, the Pagans of Arabia had inherited a similar disregard for woman as had been passed down among their Jewish and Christian neighbors. It was considered so disgraceful among them to be blessed with a female child that they would go so far as to bury this baby alive in order to avoid the disgrace associated with female children.
Through the teachings of Islam, Muhammad (pbuh) put a swift and resounding end to this evil practice. Not only did he severely discourage and condemn this act but he also used to teach them to respect and cherish their daughters and mothers as partners and sources of salvation for the men of their family:
AbuSa’id al-Khudri narrated: “The Prophet (pbuh) said: If anyone cares for three daughters, disciplines them, marries them (to other men), and does good by them, he will enter Paradise.” (Narrated by Abu-Dawood)
Abdullah the son of Abbas narrated: “The Prophet (pbuh) said: If anyone has a female child, and does not bury her alive, or slight her, or prefer his male children over her, Allah will bring him into Paradise.” (Narrated by Abu-Dawood)
Muhammad (pbuh) is also sited in “Sahih Muslim” as saying:
“Whoever maintains two girls till they attain maturity, he and I will come on the Day of Resurrection like this; and he joined his fingers”.
In other words, if one loves the messenger of Allah and wishes to be with him on the day of resurrection in heaven, then they should do good by their daughters.
The woman in Hijab is the wife of Hashim Amla (South African Cricket Player). MA SHA ALLAH! Love her confidence.
May Allah Subhana Taala Bless her and reward her. Ameen Suma Ameen
✿ A woman modestly dressed is like a pearl in its shell.
✿ The value of a woman rests in her level of Taqwa (Piousness) and good deeds, not in her apparent looks and wordly earnings.
♥ ALHAMDULILLAH ♥
To learn more about the rights of women in Islam, the issue of modest dress codes, the issue of polygamy, and many other issues which can not be covered here, I highly recommend the following books:
1.Women in Islam Versus Women in the Judaeo-Christian Tradition: The Myth & The Reality, By Dr.
Sherif Abdel Azeem, World Assembly of Muslim Youth.
2.“The Status of Women in Islam,” by Dr. Jamal A. Badawi, World Assembly of Muslim Youth.
3.“Women’s rights in Islam,” by Lea Zaitoun, World Assembly of Muslim Youth.
4.“Gender Equity in Islam,” by Dr. Jamal Badawi, World Assembly of Muslim Youth.
Brayer M. Menachem. Psychosocial Perspective (New Jersey: Ktav Publishing House, 1986)
Henning M. Clara. ” Cannon Law and the Battle of the Sexes” in Rosemary R. Ruether, (Ed), Religion and Sexism: Images of Woman in the Jewish and Christian Traditions, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974)
Kendath Thena. “Memories of an Orthodox youth” in Susannah Heschel (Ed.) On being a Jewish Feminist, (New York: Schocken Books, 1983)
Kraybill B. Donald. The riddle of the Amish Culture (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press,1989)
Swidler J. Leonard. Women in Judaism: the Status of Women in Formative Judaism, Metuchen, (N.J: Scarecrow Press, 1976)
Marriage in Islam: Considered from a Legal Point of View
From a legal point of view Islam views marraige as an ‘Aqd or Contract.
Like any other contract the marriage contract requires full and free consent of the parties concerned. The parents or guardian of any of the parties may give advice, choose a marriage partner or use persuasion, but the final decision to enter into a marriage must be the result of a free choice on the part of each partner, even though this freely made choice may consist of nothing but accepting the choice of one’s parents or guardian. This right of free choice is fairly well recognized in the case of men but (unfortunately) not in the case of women. In the Holy Qur’an we read:
“Do not inherit women against their will” (4:19)
And in Hadith we find traditions like the following:
“Khansa bint Khidhan who had a previous marriage related that when her father married her and she disapproved of that, she went to the Messenger of God and he revoked her marriage.”
(Bukhari, Ibn Majah)
“A [girl who was not married] came to the Messenger of God and mentioned that her father had married her against her will, so the Prophet allowed her to exercise her choice.”
(Abu Da’ud, on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas)
Just as any adult can enter into any legal contract, so also any adult man or woman can arrange his or her own marriage, provided that during the process of arranging the marriage there is no sexual contact, in other words, there is no dating in the North American style. It is well known that Khadijah, the Prophet’s first wife arranged her own marriage with the Prophet. It is true that this happened before sayyadna Muhammad received prophethood. But if an arrangement by a woman of her own marriage were so shameful in the eyes of Allah as it is in the eyes of some Muslims, then He would have somehow prevented His Messenger from such a marriage. Moreover, there are some ahadith which show that even after receiving prophethood sayyadna Muhammad did not disapprove of women arranging their own marriage.We quote here one such hadith:
“A woman came to the Messenger of God and offered herself to him (in marriage). When she had stood for a long time (without receiving an answer) a man got up and said: Messenger of God! Marry her to me if you have no need of her. He asked the man if he had anything to give her as dower (marriage gift), and when he replied that he had nothing but the lower garment he was wearing, the Prophet said: Look for something, even though it be an iron ring. Then when the man had searched and found nothing, God’s Messenger asked him whether he new anything of the Qur’an. When the man replied that he knew Surah so and so and Surah so and so, God’s Messenger said: Go away, I give her to you in marriage. Teach her some of the Qur’an.
“(Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Sahl bin Sa’d)
In this hadith a woman is arranging her own marriage but the Prophet does not rebuke her or admonish her in any other way. Thus while it may not be the best thing for a woman to do, she can if she wishes, make a marriage proposal for herself without being blameworthy in the eyes of God.What are the terms involved in the marriage contract? This contract involves two things: First, a gift from the husband to the wife, which may be a sum of money, an object of some value such as a ring or such non-material things as acceptance of Islam or teaching a part of the Qur’an(1). Second, a commitment from both parties to try to make life physically comfortable for each other and to provide emotional, psychological and spiritual happiness to each other, with the responsibility for taking care of economic needs generally falling on the shoulders of the man.(2)
At the time of the marriage both partners should have the fullest possible intention of keeping the marriage commitment for life, although under some extreme circumstances it may perhaps be possible to enter into a marriage contract on a temporary basis.(3)
Even though the marriage commitment is for life, should it so happen that after marriage the two partners find it impossible to live together the Islamic law provides for the termination of the marriage contract. The termination of the marriage contract can be initiated by any party which has decided that the other party cannot or will not satisfactorily fulfill the commitment implicit in the marriage contract, namely, to provide enough physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual happiness. It is evident that the judgment as to whether a marriage partner is getting enough satisfaction out of his or her marriage is a subjective one and therefore belongs entirely to the partner himself or herself. Consequently, for the dissolution of marriage Islam does not require that a partner prove to some authority such as a court that there has indeed been a failing on the part of the other partner in the fulfillment of his or her marital obligations. It is enough for the dissatisfied partner to say that he or she can no longer love or respect the other partner to be able to continue living with him or her. Third parties such as relatives, the community, etc. can and indeed should (4:35) get involved at some stage of marriage difficulties and try to prevent the break-up of the marriage through counseling, etc.; but they cannot oblige any marriage partner to remain in the marriage bond, as for example the catholic church or the Hindu tradition that obliges couples to remain tied in marriage until one of the partners dies.
A man can on his own dissolve the marriage by following a prescribed procedure, the details of which need not concern us here. A woman can dissolve the marriage by asking the husband to divorce her and if he refuses can go to court which should arrange the terms of dissolution as regards to compensation and order the husband to dissolve the marriage.(4) To avoid this procedure the woman can include in the marriage contract the condition that she can dissolve the marriage without having to go to court.
The party which initiates the divorce may have to pay some compensation to the other party. This compensation may be the return of the marriage gift in the case of a woman initiating the divorce(5) and payment of an alimony in the case of a man taking that step.
(6) Again, the details of these matters are out of the scope of this article.
The degree by which the husband has greater right
In the above outline of the legal view of marriage in Islam, man and women are completely equal partners except in the following respects:
1) Both parties make the equal responsibility to provide physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual happiness to each other, but men generally have the added responsibility to provide for the economic needs of the wife.
2) In case the husband initiates divorce, he is obliged by religious law to pay some maintenance expenses (2:241). This prescribed alimony belongs to the wife by right. However, when the woman initiates the divorce she does not pay any compensation to the husband as requirement of religious law; she need at most return part of what she received from the husband as dower if such payment is helpful in an amicable settlement. (2:229)
3) A man can divorce his wife on his own while a woman needs to go through court or introduce into the marriage a clause giving her the right to divorce her husband.
In regard to the above differences the Holy Qur’an says:
“And (wives) shall have rights similar to those (the husbands have) over them, in accordance with justice, (except that) husbands’ rights are a degree greater.” (2:228)”Husbands are guardians (qawwamun) of wives because God has favoured some more than others and because they (i.e. husbands generally) spend out of their wealth.” (4:34)
The first of the above two Qur’anic statements occurs in a long passage dealing with divorce and should be understood in relation to that context. The degree by which husband’s rights are greater should therefore be understood as the degree by which the husband is freer than the wife to break the marriage bond. This, however, is not a very big degree since as stated earlier the wife can get out of the marriage bond whenever she wants to, practically without giving any reason. It is only that she has to follow a more indirect procedure.The second Qur’anic statement refers to the greater responsibility husbands generally have as protectors and providers of women and to the greater say this gives them in making decisions.
The fact that husbands’ rights are a degree greater does not effect the claim that in Islam men and women have equal rights, since men’s greater rights within the marriage relationship do not mean that men also enjoy greater rights outside that relationship and since within the marriage relationship men’s greater rights are completely justified by their greater responsibility. We must remember here that whenever we talk about members of a society having equal rights it is never precluded that members of that society cannot freely enter into terminable arrangements in which some take greater responsibility and therefore also have greater rights. Equality of rights can only be asserted on the assumption of equality of responsibility. This principle sometimes works in favour of women. For example, as mothers women give much more to children than do men as fathers and so Islam recognizes greater rights of mothers over children than of fathers except where economic considerations demand otherwise.
(1) See the hadith quoted earlier in which the dower for marriage consists of the husband teaching a portion of the Holy Qur’an to the wife. In the following hadith it consists of the husband accepting Islam:
“Umm Sulaym had become a Muslim before Abu Talha and when he asked her in marriage she said: “I have become a Muslim. so if you also become one I shall marry you.” Abu Talha accepted Islam and that was the dower arranged between them.” (Nasa’i on the authority of Anas)
This hadith also supports the view that men and women can arrange their own marriage.
(2) See Qur’an 4:34. The wife can, however, with her own free will choose to share part of the economic burden. Khadijah helped the Prophet and Asma, the daughter of Abu Bakr, helped her poor husband Zubayr.
(3) This is the shi’a view. Sunni traditions admit that temporary marriage was at some point in time allowed in Islam but say that this was later forbidden.
(4) See Qur’an 2:229 in the light of the following hadith:
“The wife of Thabit bin Qays came to the Prophet and said, “Messenger of God, I do not reproach Thabit bin Qays in respect of character or religion but I do not want to be guilty of kufran regarding Islam (meaning that she did not like him enough as a marriage partner and so was afraid she might not give him the respect and love due to a husband).” God’s Messenger asked her if she would give back to Thabit his garden, and when she replied that she would, he told him to accept the garden and declare the divorce.” (Bukhari, Nasa’i, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and Bayhaqi, on the authority of Ibn Abbas)
(5) See the hadith quoted in the previous note. The wife is not obligated by religious law to pay the compensation and need only do so as part of a settlement with the husband. (Qur’an 2:229)(6) “For divorced women a reasonable maintenance (should be provided). This is a duty on the righteous.” (Qur’an 2:241)
by Dr. Ahmad Shafaat (1984)