The differences are real and relevant today because they’re still being practiced right now.
Let’s get started without a long introduction.
The back up articles that explain the ten points are found at the bottom.
This post updates the one offsite, written by yours truly, and titled Top ten rules in the Quran that oppress and insult women.
At the end of this post, there’s an eleventh bonus reason.
1. A Husband has sex with his wife as a man plows a field.
The Quran in Sura (Chapter) 2:223 says:
Your women are your fields, so go into your fields whichever way you like . . . . (MAS Abdel Haleem, The Qur’an, Oxford UP, 2004)
We should make no mistake about this verse. It includes sexual positions. In a footnote to this verse, Haleem says that Muslims in Medina heard from the Jews that “a child born from a woman approached from behind would have a squint.”
The hadith are the reports of Muhammad’s words and actions outside of the Quran. Two reliable hadith collectors and editors are Bukhari (d. 870), Muslim (d. 875). After the Quran, the hadith come second in importance and sacredness among the vast majority of Muslims around the world.
Since the hadith is explicit, the readers are invited to read for themselves, at their own discretion: Muslim nos. 3363-3365.
We should have no doubt that the husband controlled their sex life. If a woman does not want to have sex, then angels curse her.
. . . “If a man invites his wife to sleep with him and she refuses to come to him, then the angels send their curses on her till morning.” (Bukhari)
2. Husbands are a degree above their wives.
The Quran in Sura 2:228 says:
. . . Wives have the same rights as the husbands have on them in accordance with the generally known principles. Of course, men are a degree above them in status . . . (Sayyid Abul A’La Maududi, The Meaning of the Qur’an, vol. 1, p. 165)
Gender inequality shows up in a theological context. This hadith shows that the majority of the inhabitants of hell are women.
The Prophet 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)
The parallel hadith explains that the majority of the inhabitants of hell are women because they are ungrateful and harsh towards their husbands. There is no word about the husbands’ ingratitude and harshness.
It should be noted that some Muslim missionaries and polemicists assert that since women make up the majority of the world, it only stands to reason that they would be the majority in hell. In reply, however, this misses the point—and may miss the possibility that women may be more spiritual than men. Regardless, the reason that women make up the majority in hell is their harshness and ingratitude. So it has nothing to do with a mathematical majority. Islam clearly does not honor women.
Muhammad was also superstitious (see here for the evidence, a post written by yours truly). This next hadith says that women are part of an evil omen.
I heard the Prophet saying. “Evil omen is in three things: The horse, the woman and the house.” (Bukhari)
3. A male gets a double share of the inheritance over that of a female.
The Quran in Sura 4:11 says:
The share of the male shall be twice that of a female . . . . (Maududi, vol. 1, p. 311)
Malik (d. 795) is a founder of a major school of law. He composed a law book that is also considered a collection of reliable hadith: Al-Muwatta of Imam Malik ibn Anas: The First Formation of Islamic Law (rev. trans. Aisha Bewley, Inverness, Scotland: Madina Press, 1989, 2001). Malik writes:
The generally agreed upon way of doing things among us . . . about fixed shares of inheritance (fara’id) of children from the mother or father when one or the other dies is that if they leave male and female children, the male takes the portion of two females.
4. A woman’s testimony counts half of a man’s testimony.
The Quran in Sura 2:282 says:
And let two men from among you bear witness to all such documents [contracts of loans without interest]. But if two men be not available, there should be one man and two women to bear witness so that if one of the women forgets (anything), the other may remind her. (Maududi, vol. 1, p. 205).
It seems that the foundational reason for having two women witnesses is that one of the women may “forget” something.
This hadith removes any ambiguity about women’s abilities in Sura 2:282:
The Prophet 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, emphasis added)
5. A wife may remarry her ex-husband if and only if she marries another man, they have sex, and then this second man divorces her.
The Quran in Sura 2:230 says:
And if the husband divorces his wife (for the third time), she shall not remain his lawful wife after this (absolute) divorce, unless she marries another husband and the second husband divorces her. (In that case) there is no harm if they [the first couple] remarry . . . . (Maududi, vol. 1, p. 165)
6. Slave-girls are sexual property for their male owners.
The Quran in Sura 4:24 says:
And forbidden to you are wedded wives of other people except those who have fallen in your hands (as prisoners of war) . . . (Maududi, vol. 1, p. 319).
See also Suras 4:3; 23:5-6; 33:50; 70:22-30, all of which permit male slave-owners to have sex with their slave-girls. Suras 23:5-6 and 70:22-230 allow men to have sex with them in the Meccan period, during times of peace before Muhammad initiated his skirmishes and wars while being based in Medina.
The hadith demonstrate that Muslim jihadists actually have sex with the captured women, whether or not they are married. In the following hadith passage, Khumus is one-fifth of the spoils of war.
Ali, Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, just finished a relaxing bath. Why?
The Prophet sent Ali to Khalid to bring the Khumus (of the booty) and . . . Ali had taken a bath (after a sexual act with a slave-girl from the Khumus).
What was Muhammad’s response to the person who hated Ali for this sexual act?
Do you hate Ali for this? . . . Don’t hate him, for he deserves more than that from [the] Khumus. (Bukhari)
Moreover, jihadists may not practice coitus interruptus with the women they capture, but not for the reason that the reader may expect. While on a military campaign and away from their wives, Muslim jihadists “received captives from among the Arab captives and we desired women and celibacy became hard on us and we loved to do coitus interruptus.” They asked the prophet about this, and it is important to note what he did not say. He did not scold them or prohibit any kind of sex whatsoever. Rather, he invokes the doctrine of fate:
It is better for you not to do so [practice coitus interruptus]. There is no person that is destined to exist, but will come to existence, till the Day of Resurrection. (Bukhari)
7. A man may be polygamous with up to four wives.
The Quran in Sura 4:3 says:
And if you be apprehensive that you will not be able to do justice to the orphans, you may marry two or three or four women whom you choose. But if you apprehend that you might not be able to do justice to them, then marry only one wife, or marry those who have fallen in your possession. (Maududi, vol. 1, p. 305)
The clause “marry those who have fallen in your possession” means slave-girls who were captured after a war. Men may “marry” them because slaves do not incur very much expense, not as much as free women do. This means that the limit on four wives is artificial. Men could have sex with as many slave-girls as they wanted.
Muhammad would not allow polygamy for his son-in-law Ali, because an extra wife would hurt Muhammad’s first daughter Fatima, by his first wife Khadija. Fatima was married to Ali.
I heard Allah’s Apostle who was on the pulpit, saying, “Banu Hisham bin Al-Mughira have requested me to allow them to marry their daughter to Ali bin Abu Talib, but I don’t give permission, and will not give permission unless ‘Ali bin Abi Talib divorces my daughter in order to marry their daughter, because Fatima is a part of my body, and I hate what she hates to see, and what hurts her, hurts me.” (Bukhari)
Muhammad’s special marriage privileges
Moreover, it seems that Allah gave Muhammad special permission to marry as many women as he desired or take them as slaves or concubines, just as in the pre-Islamic days of “ignorance.”
The Quran in Sura 33:50, a lengthy verse, grants Muhammad wide latitude in his marriages:
O Prophet, We have made lawful to you those of your wives, whose dowers you have paid, and those women who come into your possession out of the slave-girls granted by Allah, and the daughters of your paternal uncles and aunts, and of your maternal uncles and aunts, who have migrated with you, and the believing woman who gives herself to the Prophet, if the Prophet may desire her. This privilege is for you only, not for the other believers . . . . (Maududi vol. 4, p. 111, emphasis added).
8. A Muslim polygamist may simply get rid of one of his undesirable wives.
The Quran in Sura 4:129 says:
It is not within your power to be perfectly equitable in your treatment with all your wives, even if you wish to be so; therefore, (in order to satisfy the dictates of Divine Law) do not lean towards one wife so as to leave the other in a state of suspense. (Maududi, vol. 1, p. 381)
9. Husbands may hit their wives even if the husbands merely fear highhandedness in their wives (quite apart from whether they actually are highhanded—as if domestic violence in any form is acceptable).
The Quran in Sura 4:34 says:
4:34 . . . If you fear highhandedness from your wives, remind them [of the teaching of God], then ignore them when you go to bed, then hit them. If they obey you, you have no right to act against them. God is most high and great. (Abdel Haleem, emphasis added)
The hadith says that Muslim women in the time of Muhammad were suffering from domestic violence in the context of confusing marriage laws:
Rifa’a divorced his wife whereupon ‘AbdurRahman bin Az-Zubair Al-Qurazi married her. ‘Aisha said that the lady (came), wearing a green veil (and complained to her (Aisha) of her husband and showed her a green spot on her skin caused by beating). It was the habit of ladies to support each other, so when Allah’s Apostle came, ‘Aisha said, “I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women. Look! Her skin is greener than her clothes!” (Bukhari, emphasis added)
This hadith shows Muhammad hitting his girl-bride, Aisha, daughter of Abu Bakr, his right-hand Companion:
“He [Muhammad] struck me [Aisha] on the chest which caused me pain.” (Muslim no. 2127)
10. Mature men are allowed to marry prepubescent girls.
The Quran in Sura 65:1, 4 says:
65:1 O Prophet, when you (and the believers) divorce women, divorce them for their prescribed waiting-period and count the waiting-period accurately . . . 4 And if you are in doubt about those of your women who have despaired of menstruation, (you should know that) their waiting period is three months, and the same applies to those who have not menstruated as yet. As for pregnant women, their period ends when they have delivered their burden. (Maududi, vol. 5, pp. 599 and 617, emphasis added)
Muhammad was betrothed to Aisha when she was six, and he consummated their union when she was only nine.
The hadith says:
. . . [T]hen he [Muhammad] wrote the marriage (wedding) contract with Aishah when she was a girl of six years of age, and he consumed [sic, consummated] that marriage when she was nine years old. (Bukhari)
11. A woman must wear a head covering and maybe a facial veil.
Qur’an 24:31, 33:53 (a curtain or screen), and 33:59 are not as clear about the veil as one might think. They say to dress modestly, but should the head be covered or just the neckline? What about the face (except the eyes)?
Back Up Articles:
The nightmare must end for women in Islamic countries.
But the political and legal hierarchies in the Islamic world do not seem ready to reform on women’s rights.
If Islamic nations, especially those who follow sharia (Islamic law) closely, refuse to reform, then the second best strategy must be played out. Islam must never be allowed to impose its sharia system of “justice” anywhere in the West and around the world. No sharia courts should be permitted outside of the Islamic world. The Quran—the ultimate source of sharia—oppresses women specifically and people generally.
The Islamic holy book is too patriarchal and culture-bound to be relevant to the new millennium.
Jesus came and showed us a better way.
Live as free people.