Updated version of this article here
Islam is a religion by men for men. The narrative of Islam empowers women is just not true. Islam may have given women some rights that they did not have, but it also froze their rights in time so that they could never get any more. As well, many of the rights are very one-sided in Islam. Wouldn’t it make more sense for God to send general principles such as “treat women well” that we could apply to each culture rather than strict rules that would soon become outdated in modern societies?
To start with, here is a fascinating quote that sums up the entire argument:
If I were to command anyone to make prostration before another I would command women to prostrate themselves before their husbands, because of the special right over them given to husbands by Allah. (Abu Dawud, 2140)
Revelations directed to men only
The wife of Prophet Muhammad Umm Salamah actually asked her husband why are we not mentioned in the Quran like the men are? To which the Quran came with some verses for women:
Imam Ahmad recorded that Umm Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her, the wife of the Prophet said, “Why is it that we are not mentioned in the Qur’an as men are?” (Tafsir of Quran 33:35)Narrated ‘Amr bin Dinar:from a man among the children of Umm Salamah, from Umm Salamah that she said: “O Messenger of Allah! I have not heard Allah mentioning anything about women and emigration.” (Tirmidhi.)
To which the verses of Quran came:
So Allah, Blessed and Most High, revealed: “Never will I allow to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female. You are members one of another (3:195).”
Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so – for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward. (Quran 33:35)
Testimony – 1 Man or 2 Women?
A woman’s witness is half of a man’s in the Quran:
..And bring to witness two witnesses from among your men. And if there are not two men [available], then a man and two women from those whom you accept as witnesses – so that if one of the women errs, then the other can remind her… (Quran 2:282)
Incase she forgets? Wow, Allah, why do you say that? Are women dumb or forgetful or something? Actually Prophet Muhammad explained this verse to us:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?” The women said, “Yes.” He said, “This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.” (Bukhari 2658)
Ah okay, so we know Allah and Muhammad are in agreement that women are stupid.
She can be beaten by her husband simply for being a badass or for him fearing her disobedience, according to the Quran.”
A woman wanted retaliation (because the Quran prescribes eye for eye) after her husband slapped her, and look what happened:
Around the time when the verse on retaliation was revealed amongst the Muslims, a man had slapped his wife. She went to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace and said: “My husband has slapped me and I want retaliation”. So he said: “Let there be retaliation”. As he was still dealing with her, Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other”). Upon which the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “We wanted something and my Lord wanted something different. O man, take your wife by the hand” “. (Asbab Al Nuzul by Wahidi for 4:34)
Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand. (Quran 4:34)
A woman is not allowed to reject her husband’s sexual advances. If a woman rejects her husbands sexual advances she is cursed all night by the angels:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “If a husband calls his wife to his bed (i.e. to have sexual relation) and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning.” (Bukhari 3237, Bukhari)
And if she is cooking she has to drop what she is doing to have sex with him:
If I were to command anyone to prostrate to anyone other than Allah, I would have commanded women to prostrate to their husbands. By the One in Whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad! No woman can fulfill her duty towards Allah until she fulfills her duty towards her husband. If he asks her (for intimacy) even if she is on her camel saddle, she should not refuse.’ ”
(Ibn Majah, rated Hasan)
Also see my article Marital Rape in Islam
She is not allowed to perform optional fasts or make up her missed Ramadan fasts without his permission either because he might want to have sex. Aisha said she had to wait all year before making up her Ramadan fasts because Muhammad “needed her”:
“I would not make up what was due upon me from Ramadan except in Sha’ban, until the Messenger of Allah died.” (Tirmidhi)
It was narrated that ‘Aishah said:
“I would own fasts from Ramadan and I would not make them up until Shaban came.” (Nasai)
Yahya related to me from Malik from Yahya ibn Said from Abu Salama ibn Abd ar-Rahman that he heard A’isha, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, “I used to have to make up days from Ramadan and not be able to do them until Shaban came.” (Malik)
It was narrated that Abu Salamah said:
“I heard ‘Aishah say: ‘I used to owe fasts from the month of Ramadan, and I would not make them up for until Sha’ban came.’” (Ibn Majah)
Abu Hurairah narrated that:
The Prophet said: “A woman may not fast a day – other than in the month of Ramadan – while her husband is present, except with his permission.” (Tirmidhi)
Sometimes I missed some days of Ramadan, but could not fast in lieu of them except in the month of Sha’ban.” Said Yahya, a sub-narrator, “She used to be busy serving the Prophet (ﷺ) .” (Bukhari 1950)
Women cannot divorce in Islam, only Men can:
‘Any woman who asks her husband for a divorce when it is not absolutely necessary, the fragrance of Paradise will be forbidden to her.'” (Ibn Majah 2055)
Not smelling paradise is another way of saying she will not go to paradise. Women can request their marriage to be annuled (called Khula in arabic) but they have to give back their maher (marital gift). A man simply has to utter a word and over a three month period she is divorced.
See my post on Divorce in Islam
Men are allowed to marry multiple partners:
And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those your right hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice]. (Quran 4:3)
To marry Christians and Jews:
And [lawful in marriage are] chaste women from among the believers and chaste women from among those who were given the Scripture before you, when you have given them their due compensation, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse or taking [secret] lovers. (Quran 5:5)
And to have sexual intercourse with their slaves:
We went out with the Apostle of Allaah(ﷺ) on the expedition to Banu Al Mustaliq and took some Arab women captive and we desired the women for we were suffering from the absence of our wives and we wanted ransom, so we intended to withdraw the penis (while having intercourse with the slave women). But we asked ourselves “can we draw the penis when the Apostle of Allaah(ﷺ) is among us before asking him about it? So we asked him about it. He said “it does not matter if you do not do it, for very soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born.” (Abu Dawud 2172)
And those who guard their private parts
Except from their wives or those their right hands possess, for indeed, they are not to be blamed – (Quran 70:29-30)
My longer post here on Sleeping with Female Captives of War in Islam
Muhammad said women are deficient in religion and intelligence and the majority of hell is full of women.
Once Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) of `Id-al-Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, “O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women).” They asked, “Why is it so, O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) ?” He replied, “You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you.” The women asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?” He said, “Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?” They replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn’t it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?” The women replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her religion.” (Bukhari 304, Bukhari and Tirmidhi)
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “I looked at Paradise and found poor people forming the majority of its inhabitants; and I looked at Hell and saw that the majority of its inhabitants were women.” (Bukhari 3241 and others)
Yet strangely in another hadith he said the majority of dwellers in hell are Gog & Magog:
Who are the mission for the (Hell) Fire?’ Allah will say, ‘Out of each thousand, take out 999.’ … The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “From Gog and Magog nine-hundred ninety-nine will be taken out and one from you. (Bukhari 265)
In paradise men get fair big breasted sex dolls to hump and bump with all day:
And with them will be women limiting [their] glances and of equal age. (Quran 38:52)
In them are good and beautiful women –
Fair ones reserved in pavilions –
Untouched before them by man or jinni –
Reclining on green cushions and beautiful fine carpets.
And full-breasted [companions] of equal age (Quran 78:33)
and their wives will be large-eyed maidens (Muslim 2834c)
Girls like my own sweet daughter would get half what my sons get if I die.
Allah instructs you concerning your children: for the male, what is equal to the share of two females. (Quran 4:11)
How does this make any sense? I would wish my daughter to have a fair share to her brothers. Muslims will sometimes say “well her brothers are supposed to take care of her.” But this is a strange argument. What if she is married, does she not deserve my inheritance? What if she wants to spend the money I give her on her own children? Why should she get half of what my boys get? Nowadays men and women both work and it would be nice for me to leave her some money to pay down her home or to keep it for her kids education.
How does it make sense to have a permament rule that men get double what women get?
Islam may have given women some rights, such as the right to own property, but it also took away some rights from them.
See Divorce In Islam
Read more about Arab Women Before and After Islam.
Also see my post on Death Penalty for Adultery in Islam.
Picture source: Pinterest. Fair use, no copyright infringement intended.