Much has been written on the role of women in Islam. The religion has been presented as a protecting environment for women, where they are nurtured and treasured. Information, such as what you see below, can be perceived as protective, but when you read deeper into such writings, you see the oppression and humiliation of women,.
The book, ‘Women in Islam’ outlines the role of women and their lesser intellectual capacities. It instructs how to discipline a wayward wife, complete with Quranic references.
This book is given out freely at the Islamic Booth at Dundas Square in Toronto. It is also given out on our university campuses during Islam Awareness Week.
Although some Muslim women do not suffer beatings or humiliation, countless women do suffer, and the following information can encourage the abuse, oppression and humiliation of women.
In point B below, ‘Women in Islam’ states that Mohammad never beat his wife Aisha, however, in Sahih Muslim (4:2127), we read that he did indeed beat her and caused her pain.
It must also be said that prominent Muslim leaders in Canada hold the view that beating women (albeit lightly) is permissible.
The following quotes (in italics) are take from the book ‘Women in Islam’.
A/ “Polygamy in the Islamic society is limited to four wives only, the marriages being performed lawfully with a proper marriage contract, witnesses, etc. The man must bear all financial burdens and responsibilities to his wives and children that arise from his marriages. All the children are legitimate, who must be raised and cared for under the responsibility of both parents…
B/ Wife Discipline
Allah, the Exalted, stated in the Glorious Qur’an: “(… As to those women on whose part you see ill conduct, admonish them (first), (next,) refuse to share their beds, (and last,) beat them (lightly, if it is useful). But if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely, Allah is Most High, Most Great.)” [4:34]
Islam forbids beating women and warns strictly against it. The Prophet (Peace be upon Him) never beat any of his wives or servants, as his wife Aishah (may Allah exalt their mention) reported in an authentic tradition (Bukhari #2328). Women are, in general, weaker than men in their physique and stamina. Women are often unable to defend themselves against violence. Although beating of women is generally forbidden, Islam permits the beating of wives in a restricted and limited sense only as a final solution and acceptable valid reason when all else fails. This is analogous to spanking children when all else fails and they must learn a lesson in obedience for their own protection and success.”
In the verse we quoted, Allah deals with the case of a wife who behaves immorally towards her husband’s rights. The treatment of this extremely sensitive issue comes in gradual stages, as we have noticed from the verse. Medicine, or treatment of any ailment, can be very bitter at times. But an ill person will take the remedy gladly and bear the bitterness of the medicine in order to be cured from his illness. The remedy to treat a wife blameworthy of immoral behavior, as we have noticed, comes in three gradual stages:
1. First stage: The stage of advice, counseling and warning against Allah’s punishment. A husband must remind his wife of the importance of protecting his rights in Islam. This stage is a very kind and easy one. But, if this treatment does not work and proves to be ineffective, then the husband may resort to the next stage.
2. Second stage: To leave the wife’s bed. Or, if one sleeps in the same bed with her, he will turn his back to her, not touch her, talk to her or have intercourse with her. This stage, as noticed, combines both strictness and kindness, although it is a very harsh practice on both. But, if this treatment does not work, then the husband may resort to the final stage of discipline explained below.
3. Third and final stage: Beating without hurting, breaking a bone, leaving black or blue marks on the body, and avoiding hitting the face or especially sensitive places at any cost. The purpose of beating her is only to discipline and never retaliation or with desire to hurt by any means. Islam forbids severe beating as punishment.”
The Prophet (Peace be upon Him) said: “None of you should beat his wife like a slave beating and then have intercourse with her at the end of the day”. [Bukhari #4908]
This treatment is proved to be very effective with two types of women, as psychologists have determined:
The first type: Strong willed, demanding and commandeering women. These are the type of women who like to control, master and run the affairs of their husbands by pushing them around, commanding them and giving them orders.
The second type: Submissive or subdued women. These women may even enjoy being beaten at times as a sign of love and concern…
Beating, according to the Islamic teachings, is listed as the last and final stage of disciplining methods.
Islam does not permit, allow or even condone beating unless the first two stages are proven to be ineffective. Moreover, beating must not be employed as a remedy, if a wife prefers to be divorced.
The three stages of discipline stated in the verse of the Glorious Qur’an are only meant to be a means of discipline for the protection of the family unit. One form of destruction of a family is when the wife becomes a victim of divorce. Islam aims to relieve unnecessary pains, problems and conflicts…”
C/ Testimony of Women
“Allah the exalted stated in the glorious 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, such as you agree for witnesses, so Allah clarifies to assure the rights of others that testimonies will not be valid unless two men, or one man and two women offer them.“
D/ Travel Without a Male Guardian
The Prophet (Peace be upon Him) said: “A woman must not travel alone without a (1) mahram. No man may enter the house of a woman unless there is a mahram with her.”
For the protection of the person and honor of women, the Islamic rule encompassed in this tradition forbids any woman, whether she be young or old, single or married, to travel alone without (mahram) as a travel companion. This man must be of those to whom she is permanently prohibited to marry due to their close blood relationship, such as a father, a brother, an uncle, an elder son or nephew after he has reached puberty, or a husband, etc. Some people might say that this regulation restricts the freedom of the woman and her basic right of movement. The purpose of this rule is not to prevent her travel but to free her from harm and molestation, and thus to maintain and preserve her right of dignity.”
We find that many civilizations have similar rules about escorting women in travel, but often they allow other than the “mahram” to escort her since they do not differentiate between a “mahram” and a “non-mahram” in their cultures, which results in terrible stories. Therefore, and upon this line of reasoning, forbidding a woman to travel alone, and mandating a male escort who must be a “mahram”, is not in any way a humiliating restriction or insult to her abilities, but, in fact, is an honor that she is served, protected and given companionship by a male escort who has to give her preference over his personal matters and needs.”
- unmarriageable kin
Negative results of Quranic texts on discipline