WOMEN IN ISLAM

Discussion in 'Women, Family, and Marriage' started by Basicofislam, Mar 4, 2007.

  1. Basicofislam
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    Basicofislam sister

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    Islam preceded all the exsting systems in introducing women's rights
    more than fourteen centuries ago. Women were believed to be evil or
    creatures without souls in so many societies in the world. Women in
    Islam did not have to fight an endless battle with men to get their
    rights, nor did they have to give up their femininity, honor, and virtue
    to get some material rights, as is the case in many non-Islamic
    societies, and as happened in Europe after the Industrial Revolution. A
    whole package of new rights was given at once to women by their creator
    without their having to strive to get them. At the same time their
    duties were introduced too, as well as the rights and duties of men.

    Islam gave those rights to women without making them look to men as if
    they were their sole enemies on earth. It also made men respect such
    rights, and abide by such rules, with full consent and happiness, since
    they were issued by Allah, not by a feminist organization that forced
    men to recognize them. Abiding by them is considered part of their
    worshipping Allah, and as the Prophet (s.a.w.) said: {The best among you
    are the best to their wives, and I am the best among you to my wives.}
    (At-Tirmizi and Ibn Majah). He also told the Muslim men to always be
    kind and fair to women in his last speech before he died.

    Allah (s.w.t.) said: {{Lo! men who surrender unto Allah, and women
    who surrender, and men who believe and women who believe, and men
    who obey and women who obey, and men who speak the truth and women
    who speak the truth, and men who preserve (in righteousness) and
    women who preserve, and men who are humble and women who are humble,
    and men who give alms and women who give alms, and men who fast and
    women who fast, and men who guard their modesty and women who guard
    (their modesty), and men who remember Allah much and women who
    remember - Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a vast
    reward.}} [Al-Qur'an: Al-Ahzab (33:35)].

    Islam prohibited the infanticide of baby girls, and hence gave them the
    right to live. It also stopped the habit of selling them and inheriting
    them that was practiced before Islam. It stopped abusing them and using
    them for entertaining men, and prohibited exploiting them. It gave them
    the right of ownership and inheritance which they never had before.
    Islam made them full human beings with rights and duties. They are
    responsible for their deeds in this life just like men, and will be
    judged in the hereafter based on what they did.

    Islam made women keep their last names, which means that they don't
    become part of the man's property after marriage. They kept their
    identities unlike the European women who were named after their
    husbands. Islam protected them from being cheated on by their husbands
    by prohibiting adultery. It also protected them from being attacked by
    ordering the rapists to be killed, and the slanderers to be whipped.
    Islam made it safe for any woman to walk and go around without being
    harassed.

    Islam equates between men and women concerning judgment by Allah in the
    Hereafter; hence, each is responsible for his/her own deeds.
    Nevertheless, Islam made some differences between her duties and his in
    this life based on the biological differences.

    For example, women should not pray or fast during menstruation periods,
    and during the childbed period, which is the first forty days after
    childbirth or until the blood stops, whichever comes first. They are not
    supposed to make up for the prayers they do not pray because of these
    excuses, but they should make up for the fasting (Muslims in general
    make up for the prayers and fasting they miss).

    Praying the Friday prayer in the Mosques is a must for men (unless they
    are travelling, sick,...etc) while it is optional for women, and men
    cannot prevent them from going to the Mosque. The prayer of the woman is
    better at her home, but the Prophet (s.a.w.) also told the men not to
    prohibit women from praying in the Mosque.

    Women are also excused from going to Hajj if they cannot find a husband,
    a Mahram, or a trustworthy group of Muslim women (according to Imam
    Shafi`i) to go to Hajj with. A Mahram is a man that a woman can never
    marry. It is also appropriate to mention here that women are not allowed
    to travel over one day without a Mahram or a husband. Many Muslim
    scholars, however, allowed her to go with a trustworthy group of Muslims
    or if the environment is Islamically safe like a long flight from the
    U.S.A. to the Middle East, for example, if he gives her a ride to the
    airport, and her relatives pick her up at the other end. The word
    ``trustworthy'' applies to the group and the environment, and one should
    not misinterpret it and say that he can travel alone with another woman,
    since she or he is a trustworthy person.

    Joining the army is a must for men when there is a need but not for
    women, unless the status of the Islamic State is threatened where they
    may have to take more responsibilities in helping defending the state.

    Concerning education, the Prophet (s.a.w.) said: {Seeking knowledge is a
    must for every Muslim.} (Ibn Majah), and the Qur'an addresses all
    Muslims (males and females) to think, learn, and seek knowledge. What is
    required from Muslims to do in this life implies requiring them to know
    it too. So learning becomes a must for both men and women to be able to
    abide by the laws of Islam. How else can the children be raised on an
    educational basis without educated mothers? Education is not only for
    jobs and titles, nor is it solely measured by degrees.

    Islam does not prohibit women from working, nor does it say in detail
    what work men or women should do. Islam puts general guidelines for
    that. It is the environment of the job that makes it allowed or
    prohibited for men or women. These guidelines are strongly affected by
    the laws of decency introduced by Islam as a protection for Muslims from
    unlawful relationships.

    Muslim men and women are told to lower their gaze and not look at what
    could tempt them from people they are not married to. Muslim men and
    women are also ordered to wear decent clothes when going out in public
    or when with other people. These clothes must not be tight or
    transparent, and must cover all the parts of the body that are supposed
    to be covered. Islam also prohibited any man to be in a complete privacy
    with a woman he can get married to, now or in the future, and prohibited
    him from touching her. Islam also prohibited the loose and open forms of
    socialization between men and women.

    Men have the leadership in the house, because Allah has made them
    different from women, and because of their financial responsibilities,
    as the Qur'an states.

    Allah (s.w.t.) said: {{Men are in charge of women, because Allah has
    made the one of them to excel to the other, and because they spend
    of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the
    obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah has guarded.}}
    [Al-Qur'an: An-Nisa' (4:34)].

    It is understood that women who did not grow up in an Islamic
    environment, and the ones who do not understand Islam may not like
    giving men the leadership in the house, but Muslim women are happy and
    comfortable with it, and they understand its importance and benefits for
    them, since Allah knows best what is good for them. It comes down to
    what people live for in this life.

    Men also have to work and make a living to support the family on one
    side, and to support the Islamic State on the other hand. Men should
    help in the house too if they can and if there is a need, and Islam does
    not say that they shouldn't do anything at home. They have duties in
    leading their families to a good perspective of life from the Islamic
    point of view. Their responsibility covers their wives and children
    here. So their duties are not limited to working outside only.

    Men, however, cannot help bearing babies or breast-feeding them. This
    fact cannot be changed. They also cannot provide the same comfort to the
    babies as can the mothers. This is also a natural phenomenon in all
    humans and animals alike. Men also cannot provide the required patience
    for nursing the babies, and cannot be so attached to them as the
    mothers. This fact is observed in all societies as well, and it is
    because of the physiological and biological differences, and not because
    of some inherited habits caused by continuous male domination, as the
    feminists claim.

    Women, on the other hand, should fulfill the two main duties that men
    cannot do which are being mothers and being wives. Islam gave those two
    duties a great attention. It is sad when you ask a man these days about
    what his wife does to hear him say ``nothing''. Being a good mother is
    the greatest and hardest job anybody can do.

    Raising children is a great mission in this life and should hold a place
    of high priority. Spending on one's family to cover their essential
    needs is more rewarding than spending in any other cause.

    The Prophet (s.a.w.) said: {When the human being dies, his/her deeds
    will come to an end except three kinds: Sadaqah Jariah (continuous
    charity), beneficial knowledge, and a good child that will pray for
    him/her.} (Muslim).

    The Prophet (s.a.w.) also said: {A dinar (currency unit from gold)
    you spend in the sake of Allah, a dinar you spend to free a slave, a
    dinar you donate to the poor, and a dinar you spend on your family,
    the most rewarding among them is the dinar that you spend on your
    family.} (Muslim).

    The Prophet (s.a.w.) also said: {The best dinar a man spends is a
    dinar he spends on his family, a dinar he spends on his animal, and
    a dinar he spends on his companions in the sake of Allah.} (Muslim).

    Whoever offers or loses three or two children in the sake of Allah, they
    will protect him/her from the Hell fire, as the Prophet (s.a.w.) told
    us.

    The Prophet (s.a.w.) said: {When three children die for a Muslim the
    Hell fire will not touch him except for fulfilling the oath.}
    (Muslim). The oath fulfillment refers to the Qur'anic verse that
    declares that every human being will touch the Hell fire.

    Allah (s.w.t.) said: {{There is not one of you but shall approach it
    (Hell). That is a fixed ordinance from Allah. Then We shall rescue
    those who kept from evil, and leave the evildoers crouching in it.}}
    [Al-Qur'an: Maryam (19:71-72)].

    Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri narrated: {A woman from Al-Ansar came to the
    Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) and said: ``The men have got all your
    speeches, so, make a day for us on which we come to you to teach us
    from what Allah taught you.'' He said: ``Meet on such and such
    day''. They met, and he came to them and taught them from what Allah
    taught him, and then said: ``Every woman among you offers (in the
    sake of Allah) three children they will be protection for her from
    the Hell fire.'' A woman asked: ``How about two?''. The Messenger of
    Allah (s.a.w.) said: ``And two''.} (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

    Raising children, especially girls, is very important in Islam. It is a
    good way to seek more rewards in the hereafter. Many people tend to
    discriminate between their sons and daughters, and tend to favor the
    boys. The Prophet (s.a.w.) emphasized the reward of raising daughters
    and showed that it is a protection from the Hell fire.

    Imam Al-Bukhari narrated these four Hadiths in his book Al-Adab
    Al-Mufrad (not to be confused with his famous book of Hadith called
    Sahih Al-Bukhari):

    The Prophet (s.a.w.) said: {Whoever had three daughters and was
    patient on raising them, and clothed them from his substance, they
    would be a protection for him from the Hell fire.}

    The Prophet (s.a.w.) also said: {Any Muslim has two daughters, and
    be a good companion to them, will enter Heaven because of them.}

    Jabir Ibn `Abdillah narrated: {The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.)
    ``Whoever has three daughters that he provides a dwelling for,
    supports, and has mercy on, Heaven is his guaranteed reward.'' A man
    asked: ``How about two?''. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said:
    ``And two''.}

    The Prophet (s.a.w.) said: {Whoever has three daughters or three
    sisters and supports them will enter Heaven.}

    Islam, however, did not restrict women to the two main jobs of being
    wives and mothers. Any other job is an option for them unless there is a
    need for women in some jobs in the Islamic State, in which case, the
    state can require enough number of women to do these jobs if men cannot
    do them. The rules that guide that are the laws of decency mentioned
    before which apply to men and women as well. However, the leader of the
    Islamic State and the judges have to be men in Islam.

    Working at home, however, is always better for women, unless there is a
    need for them to work outside.

    Allah (s.w.t.) said to the wives of the Prophet (s.a.w.): {{O you
    wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women. If you keep
    your duty (to Allah), then be not soft of speech, lest he in whose
    heart is a disease aspire (to you), but utter customary speech.

    And stay in your houses, and bedizen not yourselves with
    the bedizenment of the Time of Ignorance. Be regular in
    prayer, and pay the poor-due, and obey Allah and His
    messenger. Allah wants to remove uncleanness far from
    you, O Folk of the Household, and cleanse you with a
    thorough cleansing.

    And bear in mind that which is recited in your houses of
    the revelations of Allah and wisdom. Lo! Allah is
    Subtile, Aware.}} [Al-Qur'an: Al-Ahzab (33:32-34)].

    Although these verses of the Qur'an were addressing the wives of the
    Prophet (s.a.w.), the rest of the Muslim women would please Allah more
    if they took after the best ideals of the Muslim women - the wives of
    the Prophet (s.a.w.).

    We should remember that we are talking about general rules that are for
    everybody, not for some special men or women. It is true that a woman
    can do a better job than a man in many cases, and at the same time a man
    can take care of and raise children better than women in other cases.
    Those women, however, are sacrificing their other two main duties
    mentioned above, and those men are sacrificing their main duties for the
    state too.

    In Islam, if something were applied to all people, it should not hurt or
    endanger people in general. For example, celibacy in Christianity, if
    applied by all people, would mean the end of the Christians in two
    generations. In Islam, if all women sacrificed their being mothers and
    wives for their careers, there would be a terrible new generation that
    would be raised in the streets instead. This would cause more problems
    as seen in many parts of the world as a result of forcing women to
    struggle to live. This phenomenon accompanied the Industrial Revolution
    in Europe when women were like any property men had.

    Special examples of female hard workers or females who outperform men do
    not negate what Islam has taught, since Islam did not state that all men
    can do certain jobs better than all women. It stated that it is best for
    the society to be like this. If you can find few women that are better
    than most men in working outside the house, you can also find a lot more
    men who are better than most women in that same field.

    Now, since Muslim women realize that this is a good mission in this life
    that takes them to Heaven (which is the main goal of every male and
    female Muslim), they prefer raising their children to working for a
    company. Many Muslim women choose to quit their jobs after they have
    children, since that is their priority. This cannot be understood by an
    non-Muslim woman who knows very little about the goals of the Muslim
    woman.

    The non-Muslim women are not blamed when they decide to raise only two
    children, one child, or no children at all, and when they kick them out
    of the house at the age of eighteen years, or make them pay the rent for
    example. There is no good reason that these non-Muslim women would go
    through all the struggling in bearing children and raising them when
    that is not their mission in this life. According to their belief, that
    does not help them get anywhere in Heaven, in which most of them don't
    believe in to start with. There is no good reason for doing that when
    most children do not treat parents nicely when they are old. The
    children usually send their parents to the elderly houses to die there
    slowly. These non-Muslim women make their decisions according to their
    priorities and their beliefs, and so do the Muslim women.

    In Islam, the children are ordered to be nice and kind to their parents
    in this life even if they were not Muslims, in which case, they should
    not obey them in disobeying Allah.

    Allah (s.w.t.) said: {{Your Lord has decreed that you worship none
    save Him, and (that you show) kindness to parents. If one of them or
    both of them attain to old age with you, say not fie unto them, nor
    repulse them, but speak unto them a gracious word.

    And lower unto them the wing of submission through mercy, and say:
    My Lord! Have mercy on them both as they did care for me when I was
    little!}} [Al-Qur'an: Al-Isra' (17:23-24)].

    Allah (s.w.t.) also said: {{And We have enjoined upon the human
    being concerning his parents -- His mother bears him in weakness
    upon weakness and his weaning is in two years -- Give thanks unto Me
    and unto your parents. Unto Me is the journeying.

    But if they strive with you to make you ascribe unto Me as partner
    that of which you have no knowledge, then do not obey them. Consort
    with them in the world kindly, and follow the path of him who
    repents unto Me. Then unto Me will be your return, and I shall tell
    you what you used to do.}} [Al-Qur'an: Luqman (31:14-15)].
  2. Basicofislam
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    Basicofislam sister

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    part 2

    Men are financially responsible for themselves, their children, their
    wives, their parents (if they are needy), their sisters, their nieces,
    their brothers, and other close members of the family (if they are
    needy) while women are not financially responsible for anybody,
    including themselves. A woman may help her husband financially only if
    she wants. The husband is responsible for providing her with a house,
    food, clothes, and the cost of living. He is also responsible for the
    children, while she takes care of them at home.

    The husband does not have any right to deal with the money or property
    of his wife without an authorization from her. Whatever she makes from a
    job or trading is hers. Her account is kept separate from his. So in
    divorce, no need to go to court at all, and lawyers are lousy money
    makers in Islam. Everyone knows what belongs to him/her and they fear
    Allah more than each other in taking property that doesn't belong to
    them.

    Even after divorce, the mother has the right to keep the children until
    they can distinguish unless she is not qualified to raise them
    Islamically or she gets remarried. At the age of distinguishing (Sin
    At-Tamyiz), they choose whom to live with unless one parent is not
    qualified to raise them Islamically (for reasons of being a drunkard,
    mentally sick, or non-Muslim for example). This age varies from one
    person to another and is reached when the child can take care of himself
    or herself, and no longer needs an adult to help him/her eat, get
    dressed, and clean himself or herself. In the school of thought of Abu
    Hanifah, it is seven years for the boy, and nine years for the girl. The
    girl is given a longer time so that she can learn more about the habits
    of women.

    The divorced woman also has the right to give the children to the man if
    she wants, unless there are no other women who can raise them. If she
    keeps them, he has to support them and pay her for their custody and for
    nursing the infants too if she has any.

    Allah (s.w.t.) said: {{The duty of feeding and clothing nursing
    mothers in a seemly manner is upon the father of the child.}}
    [Al-Qur'an: Al-Baqarah (2:233)].

    Allah (s.w.t.) also said: {{Lodge them (the women) where you dwell,
    according to your wealth, and harass them not so as to restrain life
    for them. And if they are pregnant, then spend for them till they
    give birth. Then, if they breast-feed them for you, give them their
    due payment and consult together in kindness; but if you make
    difficult for one another, then let some other woman breast-feed for
    him (the father of the child).

    Let him who has abundance spend of his abundance, and he whose
    provision is measured, let him spend of that which Allah has given
    him. Allah asks naught of any soul save which that He has given it.
    Allah will vouchsafe, after hardship, ease.}} [Al-Qur'an: At-Talaq
    (65:6-7)].

    These rules could not be from men in a male dominant society as many
    people in the west say. No man would write all these rules and put all
    such duties and commitments on himself. These rules are from Allah, and
    that is why they keep the balance, and what may seem to be unjust or
    missing in one place is balanced and compensated for in another place,
    since Islam is a whole way of life.

    Women have the right of divorce just like men, and for the same reasons
    like fighting, incompatibility, inability to support, or cheating.
    However, Islam made the man capable of divorcing his wife by just saying
    or writing it without being mad, angry, drunk, astonished, or forced to
    say that by others. It is assumed in these cases that the man did not
    realize what he said.

    Women need to go to the judge to explain to him the reasons, and he will
    issue the divorce on accordance. The woman can also obtain divorce if
    she doesn't like her husband by just paying him back the Mahr he paid
    her when he married her. This dissolution of marriage is called Khul` in
    Islam.

    A man can also give his wife the right to divorce; in this case, she
    will be able to issue it just like him, by saying or writing it. This
    permission could be given to her in the marriage contract or later on.

    Islam put a limit of three on the number of divorces between the same
    man and woman, after which they cannot go back to each other unless she
    marries another person and then gets divorced not for the goal of going
    back to the former husband. Allah knows if they do that as a trick to go
    around the law, which is considered adultery in the sight of Allah. The
    man has to support her during the first three months after the first or
    second divorce. If that period is over without their going back to each
    other, the marriage is over, and he doesn't have to pay alimony.

    In the case of testifying for some crimes like adultery, fornication,
    theft, drinking, and slander, the Qur'an requires two female
    eyewitnesses for each male eyewitness, except in some cases, like when
    she claims to have breast-fed a certain baby, or when she accuses her
    husband of adultery or vice versa. Also in the case of reporting sayings
    of the prophet or sighting the new moon. Many of his sayings were
    narrated by his wife `A'ishah, who was a great scholar, and many of the
    companions of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) learned a lot of the Islamic
    Jurisprudence from her. The testimony case is due to the emotional part,
    and to remembering such things.

    Non-Muslims always make a big deal of the dress of the Muslim woman, and
    concentrate on criticizing it as if covering the body were a shameful
    and harmful thing. It is true that Islam did not give women the right of
    going out in the nude, nor did it give it to men for that matter. This
    is something to be proud of instead of looking at it as a critic.
    Decency has always been an honor, but somehow the standards of people in
    many societies have changed to the level of considering wearing the
    least in public a measure of civilization and decency.

    Women can wear any fashion and any color as long their outfits are not
    tempting, transparent, tight, and as long as they cover their bodies
    except the hands and the face. This is only in public and in the
    presence of foreign men. Muslim men are also required to not wear tight
    or transparent outfits in public, and are required to cover from the
    knees to the navel when they are in public or in the presence of other
    people. This is rarely mentioned by those who criticize the Muslim women
    for wearing decent clothes.

    The Islamic dresses are not some fashions chosen for Muslim women by
    some male fashion designers, as is the case in the so-called civilized
    societies, but are described for them by the one who created them. Male
    fashion designers in the non-Islamic societies only worry about
    revealing as much as possible from the woman's body to please every man
    in the street, and her body becomes a public domain property to amuse as
    many men as possible.

    Allah (s.w.t.) said: {{Tell the believing men to lower their gaze
    and to be modest. That is purer for them. Lo! Allah is aware of what
    they do.

    And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and
    to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to
    draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their
    adornment save to their own husbands or fathers or husbands'
    fathers, or their sons or their husbands' sons, or their brothers,
    or their brothers' sons or sisters' sons, or whom their right hands
    possess, or male attendants who lack vigor, or children who know
    naught of women's nakedness. And let them not stamp their feet so as
    to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn unto Allah
    together, O believers, in order that you may succeed.}} [Al-Qur'an:
    An-Noor (24:30-31)].

    Women in Islamic societies are not worried, unsafe, or unprotected like
    most of the non-Muslim women, nor are they degraded by men or used on
    stage to entertain men. There is no pressure on them to seek illegal
    ways of making a living such as prostitution, modeling, and acting. They
    are not exploited like women in many non-Islamic societies, who are not
    treated as human beings with souls and minds, but as statues of beauty.

    Abuse of women in non-Islamic societies is so obvious in the television
    commercials, fashion designs, television and movie shows, men's
    entertainment, and even in jobs. Most secretaries are women, even though
    many of them hold different degrees from prestigious schools and even
    though men can do this secretarial work as well. Women have to be good
    looking to be accepted as receptionists and stewardesses in these
    societies, since it is the looks that count and not what she knows.

    The beauty contests are other forms of exploiting women. They are used
    to entertain men, and they make people compare women based only on their
    physical looks instead of considering their personalities, morals, and
    qualifications. Another form of abuse is the use of the cheerleaders in
    the sports games. They choose some women based on their outlooks, and
    make them wear the least possible so that they can please the male
    spectators when jumping up and down. Muslim women are protected from all
    these silly practices and traditions. The Muslim woman is respected as a
    sister, mother, daughter, niece, wife, and aunt, instead of just a tool
    of entertainment.

    Even the prices of the women's clothes are much more expensive than the
    men's, which gives an idea of how women are taken advantage of in the
    non-Islamic societies. Women in non-Islamic societies do not get equally
    paid like men when they hold the same job. All this abuse and
    degradation of women does not exist in the Islamic societies. The
    femininity of the woman is kept for her husband or future husband, and
    the masculinity of the man is kept for his wife or future wife, and they
    are not public domain for everybody.

    The Qur'an and Hadith address the family structure in Islam in great
    detail covering all aspects of family life. Marriage, divorce,
    inheritance, provision, rights and duties, and marital relationships in
    Islam are the main issues that are covered in the parts of the Qur'an
    and Hadith addressing the family structure in Islam.

    The family is the main cell in the society, and its structure affects
    the structure of the whole society. This is why Islam paid so much
    attention to protecting and taking care of the family. Islam has
    established rules that govern relationships between different families,
    as well as guidelines for relationships between members of the same
    family.

    Islam does not allow people to give way to bodily desires or to be
    dominated, controlled, or enslaved by them. If everyone became a slave
    to his passions, life would run in the wrong direction, and humans would
    become like animals. Humanity aims at development and improvement; it
    can never achieve such aims as long as it is dominated by unruly
    passions which exhaust all one's energy and lead downward to animalism.
    Islam prevents people from descending to the level of animalism.

    Islam, however, does not advocate repression or support the belief that
    such passions are dirty in themselves. This would drive people to
    abstain from even entertaining such feelings in the name of purification
    and elevation. Muslims are strongly encouraged to get married. Marriage
    provides Muslims with the comfort and tranquility that help them become
    better believers and also raise a new generation of believers.

    In its treatment of the human soul, Islam recognizes, in principle, all
    the natural emotions and does not repress them into the unconscious; it
    permits the practical performance of such instinctive acts, allowing a
    reasonable degree of pleasure, without causing any harm or injury to the
    individual or the community.

    Muslim men and women are told to seek faithful spouses with a strong,
    good belief, and not allow non-Muslim standards of selection influence
    them.

    Muslim men can marry only Muslim, Christian, or Jewish chaste women,
    while Muslim women can marry only chaste Muslim men.

    Allah (s.w.t.) said: {{This day are (all) good things made lawful
    for you. The food of those who have received the Scripture is lawful
    for you, and your food is lawful for them. And so are the virtuous
    women of the believers and the virtuous women of those who have
    received the Scripture before you (lawful for you) when you give
    them their marriage portions and live with them in honor, not in
    fornication, nor taking them as secret concubines. Whoso denies the
    faith, his work is vain and he will be among the losers in the
    Hereafter.}} [Al-Qur'an: Al-Ma'idah (5:5)].

    A Muslim man is discouraged from marrying a non-Muslim woman if there is
    no Islamic State or if he is not living in an existing Islamic state,
    since the non-Islamic states do not recognize his rights as head of the
    family to raise the children Islamically. On the contrary, the children
    will most likely be brought up in their mother's religion, since the
    Muslim husband does not have his Islamic rights in his non-Muslim wife's
    country.

    There are many tragic examples of Muslim men who tried to take their
    children to their Muslim countries after they divorced non-Muslim wives.
    The women in many of these cases succeeded in bringing the children back
    to be raised in the non-Islamic societies as non-Muslims. The fathers
    are referred to as kidnappers (of their own children) in the non-Islamic
    media. Unfortunately, even the governments in Muslim countries these
    days help the non-Muslim wives to get custody of the children. This is
    due to the absence of an Islamic state which would protect Muslim
    children from being kidnapped by non-Muslim wives to be raised as
    non-Muslims.

    Muslim men should consider these issues before they marry non-Muslim
    women, especially when the man is strongly influenced by her physical
    appearance. A Muslim man should look to the future and consider his
    duties toward his children. The cases mentioned show clearly the damage
    that can be done to children in interfaith marriages, and while a
    personal sin may be easy to forget and repent from, one may never
    overcome the problems that arise because his children were raised as
    non-Muslims as a result of his negligence concerning providing the right
    spouse and community for them. Children have the right to be brought up
    in an Islamic environment by good Muslim parents.

    The benefits of marrying a non-Muslim woman are minimal when both live
    in a non-Islamic state. The woman and her relatives would not see how
    Muslims live as a community, nor would they have close contact with
    family, should the Muslim man decide to marry her and live outside the
    Islamic State. Marrying a chaste Christian or Jewish woman in a
    non-Islamic state should be considered as a last resort and as the only
    alternative to keep him from falling into adultery. Men, however, should
    be aware of the fact that most women in non-Islamic societies do not
    qualify as chaste women in Islam, (i.e. abstention from unlawful sexual
    activities). Some Muslim men ignore these conditions and ignore the
    commands of Allah when they are misled and fooled by a smile from a
    non-Muslim woman.

    Abdullah Ibn `Abbas, a famous companion of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and a
    famous scholar, said that Muslim men should not marry Christian or
    Jewish women from people who are enemies of Islam.

    Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi, a contemporary Muslim scholar, said that the
    Christian or Jewish women can be married only if the four conditions
    summarized below are satisfied:

    \item 1. She must be Kitabiyyah, i.e. Christian or Jewish by
    faith, and not by virtue of birth into a Christian or Jewish
    family. Many women who live in Christian or Jewish societies
    today are atheists, Buddhists or Bahai's. These women are
    prohibited for Muslim men. A woman who commits apostasy, by
    becoming a non-Muslim after being a Muslim, would not be allowed
    to marry a Muslim man, since apostasy is much worse than
    unbelief.

    \item 2. She must be Muhsanah, which means chaste and virtuous.
    Women who are involved in illicit relationships with men are
    prohibited for Muslim men. Most non-Muslim women these days do
    not qualify as Muhsanat (chaste and virtuous women who abstain
    from sexual activities outside marriage), and Muslim men should
    fear Allah and keep this condition in mind.

    \item 3. The woman should not be from people who are fighting
    Islam or are helping others to fight Islam. Since Israel is at
    war with Islam, all Jews around the world are helping Israel,
    Muslim men should not marry Jewish women is she is from people
    who help Israel.

    \item 4. There should be no threat or possible harm from
    marrying her. For example, if a man's children would not be
    raised as Muslims, he should not marry her. If the courts in a
    non-Islamic society would give the children to her in the case
    of divorce, then he cannot marry her, unless she agrees that he
    would have the children in the case of divorce.

    Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi also said that Muslim men may not marry Christian
    or Jewish women if the Muslim community is a small minority in a huge
    non-Muslim society, and such marriages would make it impossible for
    Muslim women to find Muslim men to marry. This is classified under
    "limiting the allowed" in the Islamic jurisprudence. Dr. Yusuf
    Al-Qaradhawi used the example that if all people grew cotton instead of
    wheat, the government would have the right to stop them from doing so,
    since wheat is a necessary food ingredient, even though growing cotton
    is allowed in normal cases.

    Non-Muslim women who repent and accept Islam are treated as any other
    Muslim if their acceptance of Islam is sincere and not merely for the
    purpose of marrying Muslim men. Islam forgives all that was before it.
    Some people, however, accept Islam by name only to marry a Muslim,
    without showing the least change in their lifestyles to prove that they
    are following Islam. One should not marry from such people.

    There are many Muslim girls of a marriageable age who are living in
    non-Islamic countries, and it is the duty of the Muslim men to protect
    these girls from marrying non-Muslim men, which is absolutely prohibited
    in Islam. If Muslim men loosely practice their right to marry Christian
    or Jewish women, the Muslims girls in non-Islamic societies will be
    forced into unwanted circumstances and Muslim men will be at least
    partially responsible and will get their share of the punishment from
    Allah.

    In considering marriage to a non-Muslim woman a man should remember that
    marriage is more than the private marital relationship. A good Muslim
    woman would provide her husband with total security, comfort, trust,
    tranquility, and happiness, and would raise the children as good
    Muslims. A man would not have to see his children taken to a church
    every Sunday without being able to prevent it or live with the concern
    that his wife would teach his children un-Islamic traditions. It is much
    easier to trust a Muslim woman than to trust a non-Muslim woman who does
    not fear Allah, and know that He is watching her all the time. And
    certainly a woman who does not fear Allah, who sees and knows
    everything, will not fear or obey her husband who is only home in the
    evenings.

    Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) said: {A woman is chosen as a wife for her
    wealth, beauty, family, and faith. Win the one that has the faith or
    you would ruin your life.} (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

    The following verses from the Qur'an beautifully give us the guidelines
    for selecting the right spouse:

    Allah (s.w.t.) said: {{Do not marry Mushrik women (idolatresses)
    until they believe; a slave woman who believes is better than a free
    woman who does not believe, even though (the idolatress) woman may
    appear very attractive to you. (Likewise) Do not marry (your girls)
    to Mushrik men (idolaters) until they believe; a slave man who
    believes is better than an unbeliever, even though he (the Mushrik)
    may attract you. These Mushriks invite you to the fire, but Allah,
    by His Grace, invites you to His Jannah (Heaven), and forgives by
    His leave, and (Allah) makes clear His messages to people so that
    they might bear them into mind.}} [Al-Qur'an: Al-Baqarah (2:221)].

    A Muslim man can only marry unmarried chaste Muslim, Christian, or
    Jewish women who are not among those listed in the Qur'anic verses
    below. A Muslim woman can only marry chaste Muslim men who are not close
    relatives. The following Qur'anic verses list the women that a man
    cannot marry:

    Allah (s.w.t.) said: {{And do not marry those women whom your
    fathers married, except what had happened in the past (before
    Islam). Lo! it was ever lewdness and abomination, and an evil way.
    Forbidden to you are your mothers, and your daughters, and your
    sisters, and your father's sisters, and your brother's daughters,
    and your sister's daughters, and your foster mothers, and your
    foster sisters, and your mothers-in-law, and your stepdaughters who
    are under your protection (born) of your women unto whom you have
    gone in - but if you have not gone in unto them, then it is no sin
    for you (to marry their daughters) - and the wives of your sons who
    (spring) from your own loins. And (it is forbidden unto you) that
    you should have two sisters together, except what had already
    happened (of that nature) in the past (before Islam). Lo! Allah is
    ever Forgiving, Merciful.

    And all married women (are forbidden) unto you save those whom your
    right hand possess. It is a decree of Allah for you. Lawful unto you
    are all beyond those mentioned, so that you seek them with your
    wealth in honest wedlock, not debauchery. And those of whom you seek
    content (by marrying them), give unto them their portions as a duty.
    And there is no sin for you in what you do by mutual agreement after
    the duty (has been done). Lo! Allah is ever Knower, Wise.}}
    [Al-Qur'an: An-Nisa' (4:23-24)].

    Allah (s.w.t.) said: {{This day are (all) good things made lawful
    for you. The food of those who have received the Scripture is lawful
    for you, and your food is lawful for them. And so are the virtuous
    women of the believers and the virtuous women of those who have
    received the Scripture before you (lawful for you) when you give
    them their marriage portions and live with them in honor, not in
    fornication, nor taking them as secret concubines. Whoso denies the
    faith, his work is vain and he will be among the losers in the
    Hereafter.}} [Al-Qur'an: Al-Ma'idah (5:5)].

    A foster sister is one who was breast-fed from the same mother. Foster
    mothers are those who breast-fed a foster daughter or son. This means
    that a person breast-fed from a woman who is not his/her mother cannot
    marry his/her foster relatives; they become forbidden as if they were
    direct blood relatives. For example, a foster sister or aunt cannot
    marry a foster brother or uncle. However, brothers and sisters of the
    person who was breast-fed from a foster woman can still marry his/her
    siblings foster relatives.

    The above verses show that one is not allowed to marry a woman and her
    sister, and the Hadith below shows that a man cannot marry a woman and
    her father's or mother's sister (aunt).

    Abu Hurairah reported: {The Prophet (s.a.w.) prohibited that a man
    be married at the same time to a woman and the sister of either her
    father or her mother.} (Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, At-Tirmizi,
    An-Nasa'i, and Malik).

    It is also important to mention here that marrying first cousins is
    allowed in Islam, since in some non-Muslim societies, this is not
    allowed.

    A man may not marry a woman whom he had divorced three times, unless she
    marries another man (for the purpose of marriage) and divorces him for a
    good reason (not for remarrying the former husband). Allah knows well
    their intentions; it would be adultery if the originally divorced couple
    tried to go around the laws of Allah by marrying and divorcing in order
    to marry the first husband again. This is explained in the divorce
    section in this document.

    A man may not marry a former wife if they had gone through the process
    of Al-Li`an (double testimony concerning accusation of adultery between
    them), as explained in the section of Al-Li`an in this document.

    In addition, a woman may not marry a non-Muslim man, or a Muslim man to
    whom she is related by one of the relationships mentioned in the above
    Qur'anic verses and Hadiths. A Muslim woman may not also marry a
    non-Muslim man.

    Another issue to mention when talking about women in Islam is polygamy.
    The word ``polygamy'' means having more than one mate. Having more than
    one wife is called ``polygyny'', while having more than one husband is
    called ``polyandry''. A mixture of men and women is called ``group
    marriage'' or ``communal marriage''. Islam prohibits polyandry and group
    marriages, but allows polygyny with conditions that restrict the number.
    In this section, the common word ``polygyny'' is used, with an
    explanation of the Islamic conditions which pertain to it.

    Islam allows Muslim men to consider marrying up to four wives at the
    same time, but there is a necessary condition for this permission. The
    man must be just to them, and must treat them equally in all matters
    that are under his control; like provision, and the amount of time he
    spends with each one. If the man cannot provide for them with justice
    and equality, he must restrict himself to one, as the Qur'an states.

    Allah (s.w.t.) said: {{And if you fear that you will not deal fairly
    by the orphans, marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or
    three or four; and if you fear that you cannot do justice (to so
    many) then one (only) or that your right hands possess. That is more
    likely that you will not do injustice.}} [Al-Qur'an: An-Nisa'
    (4:3)].

    Islam restricted the number of wives a man may have to four; people
    before Islam used to marry many women. When Islam was revealed all
    Muslim men were ordered to divorce any wives above the limit. Only the
    Prophet (s.a.w.) was allowed to exceed this limit; this was a special
    right given by Allah. Polygyny was organized and limited by Islam rather
    than left open in number and conditions. It should be noted that many
    prophets before Muhammad (s.a.w.), like Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham), had
    more than one wife.

    In polygamy, each wife has the right to have a separate house of equal
    quality, or separate apartments in the same house. The husband has no
    right to force them to live in one house with separate bedrooms unless
    his wives agree.

    Many people think that Islam requires every man to marry four women. If
    people considered this for a moment, they would find that a society of
    80\% women and 20\% men is needed to make this possible.

    Islam is a way of life for all people at all times that provides
    solutions for all problems that arise among those who follow it. Society
    benefits from polygamy in many ways, and these should be mentioned here,
    however, the reader should not perceive this as a justification for the
    permission, as the laws of Allah do not need defense or justification.

    A man who wants children may marry a woman who turns out to be barren.
    In this case, he does not need to divorce her to marry another wife and
    have children. In a non-Islamic society, the first wife would be
    divorced, and nobody who wants children would marry her; this leaves her
    in a worse situation than the Muslim woman who would have the advantage
    of being able to stay married and be equal to the second wife.

    A woman with a permanent illness which prevents her from fulfilling her
    duties as a wife and a mother, would not be left. The man can remain her
    supporter and husband, and at the same time marry another wife.

    In a non-Islamic society, when a man meets a woman that he likes, he may
    divorce his wife to have her. Islam, reduces these chances of
    socializing with other women, but still leaves the door open for a man
    to marry a second wife without leaving the first wife. Not divorcing the
    first wife is a privilege for her, though she can still seek divorce if
    she prefers.

    The permission to marry up to four women is also the only alternative to
    adultery and fornication in wars, where many men die, leaving the ratio
    of women to men unbalanced. Even in normal societies when there is no
    war, there are around 3-5\% more women than men. How could these women
    have husbands, security and fulfillment if polygyny were prohibited?

    The permission also protects men from adultery, if a man is unable to
    wait for an allowed time to be with his wife.

    Many other benefits exist, but once again it must be emphasized that
    these are not explained to justify what Allah said. When Allah and then
    His Prophet decide something, no Muslim believer is left with a choice
    concerning the matter. The Qur'an states.

    Allah (s.w.t.) said: {{And it becomes not a believing man or a
    believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided an affair
    (for them), that they should (after that) claim any say in their
    affair; and whoso is rebellious to Allah and His Messenger, he
    verily goes astray in error manifest.}} [Al-Qur'an: Al-Ahzab
    (33:36)].

    Many people addressing this issue speak as if one is not allowed to
    marry a second wife unless his case falls in one of the exceptional
    cases mentioned above. This perspective is wrong, and makes a woman
    think that if her husband marries a second wife without the existence of
    one of the situations, then there must be something wrong with her. The
    first wife has no reason to feel less than the second wife. Islam made
    it clear that equality is a necessary condition, and the second wife has
    no privileges the first wife does not also have.

    People argue about whether the rule is one and the exception is more, or
    vice versa. There is no place for such an endless argument here.
    Marrying one, two, three, or four women is allowed, as long as the
    condition of justice is satisfied. However, the person should choose
    whatever serves Islam better, and do what helps him become a better
    Muslim and enables him to do more Da`wah in a time when we need a lot of
    Da`wah. Thus much depends on the time and the environment. It may serve
    Islam better to limit oneself to one wife at certain times, and it may
    serve Islam better to have more than one wife at other times.

    A Muslim man should fear Allah in making his choice, and should not base
    his decision on his own inclination. Many men these days do not fear
    Allah and use this permission loosely, forgetting the conditions
    attached to it. They may leave the first wife in limbo, deprived her of
    her rights, and treat her differently than the second wife. Even her
    children may be treated badly compared with the children of the second
    wife. Such behavior is a transgression against the laws of Allah and is
    absolutely prohibited.

    Many people ask why a woman cannot marry more than one man. Naturally,
    if it had been a good thing, Allah would have allowed it; and nobody is
    permitted to allow what Allah has prohibited.

    In examining such a situation, we find that (since the man is the head
    of the family) there would be more than one leader of the family, an
    impossible situation.

    Paternity is very important in marriages and inheritances, and it would
    be impossible to keep track of this if the woman were married to many
    men at the same time.

    Besides these factors, a woman's marriage to more than one man would not
    increase the number of children conceived (in cases when they could be
    needed), while the opposite is true.

    Allah (s.w.t.) said: {{O people! Be careful of your duty to your
    Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate
    and from them twain has spread abroad a multitude of men and women.
    Be careful of your duty toward Allah in Whom you claim (your rights)
    of one another, and toward the wombs (that bore you). Lo! Allah has
    been a Watcher over you.}} [Al-Qur'an: An-Nisa' (4:1)].
  3. Asiya-sparkles
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    Asiya-sparkles Junior Member

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    Jazak alak ghairun, a strong positive message. It is lovely to see such a detailed and clear example of the true status of women in Islam and I think is something that all mothers should pass on to our children...sons and daughters. A great reminder.

    :)
  4. Muslimboy2222
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    Muslimboy2222 Junior Member

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    Mashallah thanks for sharing for such an important aspect of islam!!!!!
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    hambaAllah Junior Member

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    :bismillah:
    :salam2:

    :jazaak: for sharing ukhti

    :wasalam::hijabi:
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    esterelle New Member

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    Thankyou very very much. That was a real eye opener to the true status of women in th Islamic faith. I really wish everyone worldwide knew these things. The world is filled with racisits and it is only through education that they can learn.

    I really appreciate this article. I was wondering if you would mind if I distributed it at school. I want to educate people about racist behaviour and the cultures they insult.

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