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Islam Women In Islam

A Comparison of Women in the Qur’an and the Bible

Christians claim that the current equality of women now enjoyed by Christian women came from the Bible, and that Islam is cruel towards women. Below are the comparisons of issues on women between the Bible and the Qur’an I leave it to you to decide which Book is the one which truly gives freedom to women and elevate their status and which Book is the hypocritical one.

1. The Bible convicts women as the original sinners (i.e. Eve picking from the forbidden tree) (Genesis 2:4-3:24)

The Qur’an clarifies that it was both Adam and Eve at fault, equally. For example, in Sura’ al-Baqarah, Allaah says:

“fa azallaHUMAA ash-shayTaan..” meaning “And Satan caused them (DUAL) to err..”

The same is found in Qur’an 7:19-25 wherein it says:

“fa-waswasa laHUMAA ash-shayTaan..” meaning “So Satan whispered to them (DUAL)”.

Both the man and woman were equally to blame. Thus, in Islam there is equity in rights as well as blame.

2. The Bible says “the birth of a daughter is a loss”. (Ecclesiasticus 22:3)
The Qur’an says both are an equal blessing (Qur’an 42:49)

3. The Bible forbids women from speaking in church (I Corinthians 14:34-35)
The Qur’an says women can argue with the Prophet (Qur’an 58:1)

4. In the Bible, divorced Women are labeled as an adulteress, not men (Matthew 5:31-32)
The Qur’an does not have Biblical double standards (Qur’an 30:21)

5. In the Bible, widows and sisters do not inherit any property or wealth, only men do (Numbers 27:1-11)
The Qur’an abolished this male greediness (Qur’an 4:22) and God protects all.

6. The Bible allows multiple wives. (I Kings 11:3)
In the Qur’an God limits the number to 4 only under certain situations (with the wife’s permission) and prefers that you marry only one wife (Qur’an 4:3). The Qur’an gives the woman the right to choose who to marry.

NOTE: Nowhere in the Bible does it forbid polygamy, or says that the male must marry one woman. Single marriage is a Greco-Roman tradition – one of the many influences on the true teachings of Jesus. Jesus lived for 33 years among a nation that practiced polygamy and he never prohibited, nor even ever talked about it in his teachings.

7. “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? According to the Bible, you have to spend the rest of your life with the man who raped you, and therefore had obviously low morals.

However, even before the marriage women in Islam are given right to choose their husband, and they can even reject if they are forced to marry somebody. In a hadith narrated by Aisha’, the Prophet said, “It is essential to have the consent of a virgin (for the marriage)”.

Other similar hadith are as follows:

Narrated Abu Hurairah r.a, that the Prophet said, “A divorcee cannot be forced to marry before she agrees, and a virgin cannot be forced to marry before her permission is obtained. The Sahaba’ asked “How can we obtain her permission?” The Prophet said, “Her permission is when she keeps quiet.” (Muslim)

Ibn Abbas reported that a girl came to the Messenger of Allah Muhammad and she reported that her father had forced her to marry without her consent. The Messenger of Allah gave her the choice (between accepting the marriage and invalidating it). (Ibn Hanbal)

Would the Christian men reading this prefer the women they know to be Christian or Muslim?

8. The Bible also asks women to wear veils as in Islam (I Corinthians 11:3-10)

9. Women were given rights to vote less than a 100 years ago in the U.S. while the Qur’an gave women voting rights almost 1400 years ago.

In a hadith narrated by Abu Huraira, the Apostle of God said, “Treat women nicely, for a women is created from a rib, and the most curved portion of the rib is its upper portion, so, if you should try to straighten it, it will break, but if you leave it as it is, it will remain crooked. So treat women nicely.” (Sahih Bukhari)

And only God knows best!

Categories
Women In Islam

Women and Divorce From The Islamic Perspective

Introduction

The position of women in an Islamic marriage institution has always been a question among the critics outside Muslim world. Islam is accused for not giving the fair right to women as compared to their husbands, and this include in the matter of divorce. It is often claimed that the easy divorce procedure in Islam results in the oppression among Muslim wives, without realising the fact explained in a hadith by the Prophet Muhammad(P), who said that the halaal matter which is most hated by God is the talaaq.1 In short, a divorce is not encouraged in Islam for as long as a better solution can be obtained. This brief article is intended to outline the basic principles in the regulations concerning divorce in Islam, and at the same time tries to examine the view of the so-called “oppression” towards women with regard to this matter.2

Why a Divorce?

Islam considers a marriage institution is built based on mutual trust between husband and wife, and is for the benefit of both women and men. This is outlined in the following verse:

“And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts), verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.” (Qur’an, Sura’ Ar-Rum: 21)

It is essential therefore, for both husband and wife to try to fulfil the rights of each other, so as to make the marriage institution beneficial and more meaningful to both parties. However, it is sometimes the case where both parties are not able to come to an understanding and agreement in order to continue their marriage further. As a result, there often is the case where they lost their love and mercy previously existing in the marriage, and even worse, wives are left hanging by their husbands while their husbands enjoy their life with other women.

Islam however, specifically mentions that women are not to be left hanging, as indicated in the following verse:

“Ye are never able to be fair and just as between women, even if it is your ardent desire. But turn not away (from a woman) altogether, so as to leave her hanging. If you come to a friendly understanding, and practice self-restraint, God is Oft forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Qur’an, Sura’ An-Nisa’: 129 )

In the above verse, it is clearly indicated that the first step is to try to solve the problem between husband and wife in a friendly manner, so as to keep the marriage institution intact, and the husband and wife are not separated.

Another example whereby God prohibits a husband to leave his wife hanging is shown in verse 226-227 of Sura’ Al-Baqarah. These verses was sent down to abolished the jahiliyah tradition with relation to ila‘, whereby the husbands leave their wives hanging without the necessary provision for maintenance, but did not divorce them. This sort of tradition is oppressive towards women, and the Holy Qur’an provides the necessary solution for the women, in order to protect their rights to live in a happy manner as a human being.

In the case where there is no solution obtained to continue the marriage in a better manner, a fair solution on divorce is allowed as outlined in the following verse:

“But if they disagree (and must part), God will provide abundance for all from His all-reaching bounty: for God is He that careth for all and is wise.” (Qur’an An-Nisa’ :130)

The reason why a marriage can be terminated is to avoid unnecessary pain to either party, be it the husband or the wife, if a better solution cannot be found. Although a divorce is allowed in An-Nisa’ verse 130 whenever a friendly understanding cannot be reached between a husband and his wife, there is a further suggestion indicated via the Qur’an in an attempt to reconcile the marriage before the decision for a divorce is obtained:

“If ye fear a breach between them twain, appoint (two) arbiters, one from his family, and the other from hers, if they wish for peace, God will cause their reconciliation. For God hath full knowledge, and is acquainted with all things.” (Qur’an An-Nisa’:35 )

This verse shows that divorce is the very final solution. As far as possible, a marriage institution is to be maintained, and the couple should try every possible way to try to reconcile the marriage in order to avoid a divorce.

‘Iddah As a Means of Reconciliation

The regulation on iddah comes from the following verse :

“Divorced women shall wait concerning themselves three monthly periods. Nor is it lawful for them to hide what God hath created in their wombs, if they have faith in God and the Last Day. And their husbands have better right to take them back in that period, if they wish for reconciliation. And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable. But men have a degree over them. And God is Exalting in Power, Wise.” (Qur’an Al-Baqarah: 228)

‘Iddah is the 3 cycles of monthly periods (or three months for women without menses) enforced on the wife after the divorce. During this period, the husband still has the responsibilities towards his wife as if they are still tied in a wedlock (except sexual intercourse), including her provision for maintenance. The reason for the ‘iddah on woman upon divorce is to ensure that she’s free from carrying anything in her womb. If she’s pregnant during the divorce, then the period of ‘iddah is extended until she gives birth to the baby, as required in Sura’ Al-Talaq verse 6. This regulation is to protect the woman, in which it guarantees that the needs of the wife will be provided fully by the husband throughout the period.

The benefit for the ‘iddah is for the husband and wife to rethink and reconcile their marriage. The fact that the husband and the wife need to be together during the period of ‘iddah often helps to reconcile the marriage. There will always be space for the couple to do things together and talk to each other, and this might help to regain love between each other and the couple could be reunited. That is the beauty of the law of God, and the reason why a couple is given two chances to reconcile their marriage as can be seen from Sura’ Al-Baqarah verse 229.

Are Women Abandoned or Oppressed Upon A Divorce?

Often, a woman is the victim as a consequence of divorce. The Holy Qur’an however provides regulation that should be followed by the couple following a divorce, in order to protect the women from being oppressed.

“When ye divorce women, and they fulfil the term of their (iddah) either take them back on equitable terms or set them free on equitable terms, but do not take them back to injure them or to take undue advantage, if any one does that, He wrongs his own soul. Do not treat God signs as a jest, but solemnly rehearse God’s favours on you, and the fact that He sent down to you the Book and Wisdom, for your instruction. And fear God, and know that God is well acquainted with all things.” (Qur’an Al-Baqarah: 231)

The above verse outlines the regulations set by God binding the husband:

-A husband is allowed to take his wife again on equitable terms
-A husband is allowed to set the wife free from him on equitable terms
-The husband is not allowed to cause injury to the wife, nor can he abuse her, nor can he take advantage of her out of her weaknesses.

This regulation protects a wife from being abused by her husband upon divorce. Apart from that, Islam guarantees the right of the wife with regard to her maintenance.

“Let the women live (in ‘iddah) in the same style as ye live, according to your means, annoy them not, so as to restrict them. And if they carry (life in their wombs) then spend on them until they deliver their burden. And if they suckle your offspring, give them their recompense, and take mutual counsel together, according to what is just and reasonable. And if ye find yourselves in difficulties, let another women suckle the child on behalf.” (Qur’an Al-Talaq: 6)

According to the sharia’regulation, a woman in ‘iddah is still considered as the responsibility of the husband, and therefore still has the right to get the provision for her maintenance throughout the period. This is the period whereby the wife will be able to prepare herself for her future life.

In addition, a husband is not allowed to take back anything that has been given to his wife as a gift throughout their marriage upon a divorce, as has been outlined in the Holy Qur’an in Sura An-Nisa’, verse 20-21 as follows:

“But if ye decide to take one wife in place of another, even if ye had given the latter a whole treasure for dower, take not the least bit of it back. Would ye take it by slander and manifest wrong? And how could ye take it when ye have gone in unto each other, and they have taken you a solemn covenant?”

A husband is also required to give a settlement or gift (mut’ah) to his wife upon divorce for her future use, as shown in Sura’ Al-Baqarah 241:

“For divorced women mut’ah (should be provided) on a reasonable (scale). This is a duty on the righteous.”

Concerning the children, Islam protects the right of both husband and wife to have the right to take care of their children, although the mother has an advantage over the father to take care of the children, so long that she is still not remarry. This is explained in the hadith, “From Abdullah bin Amar, who said, a woman asked Prophet Muhammad ‘O Apostle of God, I am the one who carried my son in my womb, and gave him protection on my lap and I suckled him with my breasts, and now his father wants to take him away from me’. Then The Apostle said, ‘You have greater right over him, so long that you are not remarry’.” (Abu Dawud)

However, both father and mother still have the right over their children, and this right is protected in Sura’ Al-Baqarah verse 233:

“No soul shall have a burden laid on it greater than it can bear. No mother shall be treated unfairly on account of her child. Nor father on account of his child, and heir shall be chargeable in the same way.”

As can be seen from the above facts, the rights of both husband and wife are protected in Islam, in a manner in which the divorce can be done peacefully, without resulting any unnecessary pain to any party.

Can A Wife Divorce her Husband?

Often, it is argued that Islam gives the exclusive right for a husband to divorce his wife , but similar right is not given to a wife. Therefore, the claim continues, this gives a wide space for the husband to misuse the power given to him which results in unnecessary pain to his wife. This is definitely a lie created by the ignorant critics, when the fact is that Islam gives equal rights for a wife to divorce her husband in order to protect her from any misconduct by her husband.

And how is done in Islam? There are two methods for such a divorce, namely the fasakh and the khulu’.

1) Fasakh

The provision for fasakh is explained in the following verse:

“If a wife fears cruelty or desertion on her husband’s part, there is no blame on them if they arrange an amicable settlement between themselves, and such settlement is best, even though men’s soul are swayed by greed. But if ye do good and practice self restraint, God is well acquainted with all ye do.” (Qur’an An-Nisa’:128)

This right is also given to a wife to get a divorce through the power of judges, or qadhi to separate the wife from her husband. A wife is given right to request for fasakh if any of the following (to mention a few) problems occur in the marriage:

a) The husband failed to provide for the maintenance of his wife for four months, or any of his responsibilities towards his marriage.

b) The husband abused his wife by way of the following:

  • physical abuse to the wife resulting in unnecessary oppression in her daily life.
  • to force the wife to live in unhealthy manner, e.g. by forcing his wife to be a prostitute.
  • prevent his wife from doing her responsibility towards her religion.
  • the husband failed to be fair and just to his wives (in the case of polygamy) according to the requirement in sharia’ that will cause a wife to be abandoned.

The Holy Qur’an outlined the problem in the following verse:

“O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness, that ye may take away part of the dower ye have given them, except where they have been guilty of open lewdness, on the contrary, live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike of them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and God brings about through it a great deal of good.” (Qur’an An-Nisa’:19)

c) The wife did not give her consent to their marriage, or her permission is not valid as she was forced, or she has a mental problem at the time of the marriage. This is to be in line with the following hadith:

Narrated Abu Hurairah r.a, that the Prophet(P) said, “A divorcee cannot be forced to marry before she agrees, and a virgin cannot be forced to marry before her permission is obtained. The Sahaba’ asked “How can we obtain her permission?” The Prophet(P) said, “Her permission is when she keeps quiet.” (Muslim)

d) The condition of husband, such as being impotent or having a mental problem in which is not known to the wife prior to the marriage, if such a problem can affect the condition of the marriage.

2) Khulu’

Khulu’ is a settlement made by a wife to the husband in order to get a divorce. This provision is allowed in the following verse:

“A divorce is only permissible twice, after that the parties should either hold together on equitable terms or separate with kindness. It is not lawful for you to take back any of your gifts (from your wives) except when both parties fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by God. If ye do indeed fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by God, there is no blame on either of them if she gives something for her freedom. These are the limits ordained by God, so do not transgress them if any do transgress the limits ordained by God, such persons wrong.” (Qur’an Al-Baqarah: 229)

Khulu’ is the provision for the woman to get a divorce, but is not able to do it by way of fasakh. This provision is explained in the following hadith, “The wife of Tsabit bin Qais came to meet the Prophet of God(P) and said ‘O Prophet of God, I am not downgrading his behaviour and his religion, but I do not want to belittle the teachings of Islam’. The Prophet(P) asked: ‘ Do you want to return his farm?’ and she answered ‘Yes’. Therefore, the Prophet(P) said ‘ Accept the farm, Tsabit, and give her one talaaq’.” (Abu Dawud)

The above case happened when the wife wanted Tsabit to divorce her, when in actual fact there was nothing wrong with Tsabit. She was not able to keep the marriage intact because she feared that she will not be able to fulfil her responsibilities as a wife which will give rise to further problems within the marriage, and therefore she requested for khulu’ as a settlement. The farm was originally owned by Tsabit, but was given to her as a gift during their marriage.

The settlement for khulu’ is limited to the amount given by the husband to the wife during their marriage, as a gift or dowry. This is explained in Sura’ Al-Baqarah, verse 229 as stated above.

Conclusion

Islam has provided clear guidance with regard to marriage and divorce, in which both parties are treated equally and a clear solution is provided to avoid any misconduct by any parties, and to protect the rights of both men and women alike. Regardless, Islam does not encourage divorce, so long as a better solution can be found to keep the marriage intact.

And only God knows best!

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Women and Divorce From The Islamic Perspective," in Bismika Allahuma, September 22, 2005, last accessed September 25, 2022, https://bismikaallahuma.org/islam/women-in-islam/divorce-in-islam/
  1. See Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (transl. Nuh Ha Mim Keller), The Reliance of the Traveler: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, Amana Publications, 1997, p. 556. Although the status of this hadith is itself mursal and cannot be soundly attributed to the Prophet, its meaning is sound as commented upon by Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, Liqa at al-bab il-Maftooh, no. 55, question no. 3 []
  2. See also our article: Divorce and Reconciliation of Marriage in Islam []
Categories
Women In Islam

Divorce and Reconciliation of Marriage in Islam

Introduction

Divorce (talaaq) in Islam “is a permissible thing most detested by God”, as stated in a popularised hadith1 This invariably sums up the permissibility of divorce and its legal basis in the Noble Qur’an, the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad(P) and the Muslim consensus. The Qur’anic verse on the matter is as follows:

“Divorce is two times, then retain with kindness or gracious release.” (Qur’an, 2:229)

This clear and definite Qur’anic statement, however, was not understood by an infantile and belligerent missionary who makes the most absurd claims, blatant twisting of facts and unjust comments about Islam’s divorce and reconciliation laws. He claims as follows:

    It may be rare that a divorced couple would like to reconcile and remarry each other, but this does happen. The Quran has a strange marriage law for the divorced couple in this situation, after they have worked out their differences. It says that a divorced couple may remarry each other if and only if the wife first marries another man, have sexual intercourse with each other, and then this second man divorces her.

Our purpose in this article is to explain the divorce and reconciliation laws in Islam, hence exposing this missionary lie once and for all. Since the missionary had taken the time to attack the Noble Qur’an, we will repay the missionary in a tit-for-tat exchange — complete with interest — when it comes to the Bible.

That the Bible is confusing when it comes to the topic of divorce and remarriage is no big secret. In the Old Testament, a marriage can simply be “dissolved” at will, whereas in the New Testament, Jesus(P) is reported to have issued an injunction against divorce in the first place!

After the Reformation period, however, Christians generally have abandoned their divorce laws contained in the Old and New Testament, preferring instead to rely on the secular laws formulated by their “common sense” and seek the arbitration of the courts.

Divorce according to the Qur’an and Sunnah

In Islam, the reason why a marriage can be terminated is to avoid unnecessary pain to either party, be it the husband or the wife, if a better solution cannot be found. Although a divorce is allowed in Qur’an, 4:130 whenever a friendly understanding cannot be reached between a husband and his wife, there is a further suggestion indicated via the Qur’an in an attempt to reconcile the marriage before the decision for a divorce is obtained:

“If ye fear a breach between them twain, appoint (two) arbiters, one from his family, and the other from hers, if they wish for peace, God will cause their reconciliation. For God hath full knowledge, and is acquainted with all things.” (Qur’an, 4:35 )

This verse shows that divorce is the very final solution. As far as possible, a marriage institution is to be maintained, and the couple should try every possible way to try to reconcile the marriage in order to avoid a divorce.

“Divorce is two times, then retain with kindness or gracious release.” (Qur’an, 2:229)

This sums up the Islamic laws concerning divorce and reconciliation. Here, the Qur’an is clear that the couple is given an opportunity to reconcile twice before the third, and final divorce. Both the first and second divorce are effective unless and until the couple sues for a reconciliation.2

On the third, and final, divorce, the same couple are not allowed to remarry unless the wife marries another husband. It is only effective after the third divorce, or if the husband pronounced the divorce thrice after realising the consequences of his actions, i.e. that there will be no opportunities for a reconciliation3.

In practice, a Muslim would usually pronounce the first or second talaaq, the third pronouncement being quite rare and used only in extreme cases. It is offensive to make a pronouncement of divorce when there is no need, to make three pronouncements being even more offensive.4

On another missionary accusation, namely that:

    In Islamic law, a woman has a very hard time divorcing her husband against his will, while a husband can easily divorce his wife against her will. She will not be asked.

the missionary has pronounced another lie and deception, following in the footsteps of the madman apostle from Tarsus. It is simply a false claim to state that a wife in Islam is unable to divorce her husband if she wanted to do so.

For a further understanding on how this missionary has lied through his teeth, see Women and Divorce From The Islamic Perspective. The various forms of how a woman may seek a divorce is discussed in this paper.

Divorce according to the Old and New Testament

According to the missionary, the Bible allows divorce to take place “…only for sexual unfaithfulness. No man should divorce his wife for trivial reasons.”

This was not how it was understood by the Jews and Christians as it was practiced in the past. In the Old Testament, a man could unilaterally dismiss his wife without any literal pronouncement. Hence, Abraham dismissed Hagar by a sheer act of will, seeing her off with what her shoulder could carry by way of bread and water (Genesis 22:14). It was only long after the time of Jacob that limitations began to be imposed upon divorce which had, until that time, been a male prerogative. Thus, the Deuteronomic law (24:1) demanded a “bill of divorcement” to be given by the husband. The law still permitted divorce at a husband’s whim and fancy (“that she finds no favour in his eyes” 24:1), nevertheless, making it harder than it had been.5

Following the Exile, divorce was again very common but the ethical progress towards making divorce was more disapproved (and so less common). However, a bill of divorcement continued to be necessary, but was made much more easier to draw up and apply, hence prompting widespread abuse. Divorce required a statement that the husband has found some “uncleanness” in his wife. This gave Ezra-Nehemiah the opportunity to reinstate the practive of wife and child repudiation exemplified in the Biblical account by Abraham. “Uncleanness” was interpreted to enable the exclusivist, “ethnically cleansed” community they wanted.6

It is in fact this vage wording of the Deuteronomic law which gave rise to rabbinic controversies well adapted to Ezra’s racist pogrom. By the time of Jesus, there were already two trends in the rabbinic tradition; one, following from the inspiration of the prophets, tended to interpret “uncleanness” in the sense of adultery or incapacitating infirmity; the other, following Ezra, allowed any reason and interpreted “uncleanness” as an opportunity to find a more attractive woman.7 We may note that Joseph considered putting Mary away, “privily” (Matthew 1:19)

Due to this widespread abuse of divorce, Jesus(P) made various pronouncements against it. In fact, Jesus(P) did not contribute to the legal debate about divorce; he rejected the debate and repudiated the law itself. In the Sermon on the Mount, he is reported to have said: “It hath been said, whosoever shall put away his wife, le him give her a writing of divorcement. But I say unto you, that whosoever puts away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery; and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery” (Matthew 5: 31-32). The inevitable argument with the Pharisees is also reported in Matthew 19:3-12, where Jesus(P) boldly answered them (19:4-5), invariably concluding by repudiating divorce as contrary to God’s will, as an undoing of the bond He had instituted (19:6).

It is clear that if Christians are still obeying their New Testament or claim that they are following Jesus(P), they should not be talking about reconciliation after divorce, much less the proceedings of a divorce itself! Certainly, there are no two ways about it. It is either the Christians repudiate divorce in a marriage completely (as per the Jesus injunction) except on basis of adultery, or that they allow a divorce to take place but without any basis in the Bible apart from their own “common sense” civil laws in a secular system.

Summary

To illustrate the above marriage-divorce-remarriage pattern we have made clear above, we will use the following keywords in order to make it clear that the accusations of the missionary is without any legal basis:

    The Bible [New Testament]: Marriage…. (M), no divorce allowed, except in cases of adultery and “uncleanness”
    The Bible [Modern-Day Practice]: Marriage-Divorce-Remarriage (M-D-R), ad infinitium
    The Quran: Marriage-Divorce-Remarriage-Divorce-Remarriage-Divorce-Marriage (New) (M-D-R-D-R-D-MN)

Clearly, Islam promotes and protects the sanctity of marriage, particularly of the first marriage, by allowing a remarriage of the original couple, not once but twice, only finalising an absolute divorce in the third. Opportunities for reconciliation are given during the `iddah period of the divorced wife and prior to the third and final divorce.

Conclusions

From the facts we have provided, it is clear that this ignorant and fatuous missionary certainly does not know what he is arguing about. It is clear that in Islam, divorce comes in three stages: once, twice and then three times. Reconciliation between the same husband and wife is possible if the divorce was pronounced only once or twice, but on the third time, the divorce is final and the system prevents a mockery of the divorce laws by further remarriages. Hence lies the the essential difference between the Qur’an and the Bible.

The missionary claims that “It may be rare that a divorced couple would like to reconcile and remarry each other, but this does happen.”. In Islam’s case, however, it is very rare that a couple who were divorced for a third time would actually want to reconcile together. However couples who were divorced only once or twice are given ample opportunities for a reconciliation. Hence the missionary claim that “the Bible allows reconciliation and remarriage after a divorce without requiring or demanding an intervening second marriage and divorce” is thus simply a missionary propaganda with no real legal basis.

Furthermore, in Christianity there is no opportunity for a divorce, modern-day Christian practice notwithstanding. The Old Testament allows for indiscriminate reasons for divorce, without any further deliberation. In the New Testament, one cannot proceed to a divorce unless he accuses his wife of adultery.The modern-day Christian way for divorce and reconciliation is no better, as an infinite series of divorce and reconciliation can be held without any check-and-balance. Such strange laws have no place in modern society today.

It is clear that there is unparalleled justice in Islam when it comes to divorce and reconciliation. Islam, despite discouraging the act of divorce, gives an opportunity for a divorce, a reconciliation of the couple and prevents a further abuse of the system after a third divorce by disallowing a remarriage of the same couple. Who was the missionary trying to fool when he claims that Islam does not allow reconciliation of a divorced couple? Or that the Bible “promotes and protects the sanctity of marriage”, when historical evidence and modern-day practice is to the contrary?

And only God knows best.

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "Divorce and Reconciliation of Marriage in Islam," in Bismika Allahuma, October 27, 2005, last accessed September 25, 2022, https://bismikaallahuma.org/islam/women-in-islam/divorce-reconciliation-marriage-islam/
  1. See Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (transl. Nuh Ha Mim Keller), The Reliance of the Traveler: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, Amana Publications, 1997, p. 556. Although the status of this hadith is itself mursal and cannot be soundly attributed to the Prophet, its meaning is sound as commented upon by Ibn ‘Uthaymeen, Liqa at al-bab il-Maftooh, no. 55, question no. 3 []
  2. On this matter, see Muwatta Imam Malik (translated by Mohammed Rahimuddin), Kitab Bhavan, 2003, pp. 246-247. Malik gave several authentic hadith on the issue which supports this. []
  3. See Al-Shafi’i’s Risala: Treatise on the Foundations of Islamic Jurisprudence (translated by Majid Khadduri), pp. 150-151 []
  4. Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, ibid., n2.0, p. 558 []
  5. Isma’il Al-Faruqi, Christian Ethics: A Historical and Systematic Analysis of its Dominant Ideas, A.S. Noordeen, 1999, pp. 66-67 []
  6. Isma’il R. al-Faruqi, ibid., pp. 66-67 []
  7. The minutiae of the debate can be followed in I. Epstein, The Babylonian Talmud, 1936, vol 7, in particular pp. 436ff. See also Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 1930 edn, vol 4, p. 597. Philo too speaks of divorce available “under any pretense whatever”, 1855 edn., vol. 3 p. 312 []
Categories
Women In Islam

The Hijab and The Muslim Woman

The Islamic revival symbolized by the current resurgence of the hijab is often considered as an attempt of Arab Muslims to restore their pride and identity which have been repeatedly undermined by colonization and economic retardation. Man has always had a conservative tendency and reacts against which is new and unfamiliar without realizing whether it is good or bad for him. Some people still think the Muslim women insist on wearing hijab which is the “very symbol of the oppressed situation because they are enslaved by the tradition and are not sufficiently aware of their lamentable situation. “If only”, they probably think, “the movement of the women’s liberation and independence awakes those women’s mind, they will take away the hijab.”

Such a naive point of view is shared by the people who have little knowledge of Islam. They, who are so accustomed to the secularism and religious eclecticism, are simply unable to understand that the teaching of Islam is universal and eternal. Anyway, there are more and more women, beyond the Arab nationality, all over the world embracing Islam as the true religion and covering the hair. The hijab is surely a strange object for non-Muslim people. For them, the hijab does not cover the woman’s hair but also hides something to which they have no access, and that is the real reason as to why they feel uneasy. From the outside, effectively, they can never see what is behind the hijab. Every Muslim devotes his or her life to God. It is a wonder as to why why people who say nothing about the “veil” of the Catholic nuns criticize the veil of the muslima, considering it a symbol of “terrorism” or “oppression”.

“Why hide the body in its natural state?”, you may ask. But think it was considered vulgar fifty years ago in Japan to swim in a swimming suit.1 Now one would be able to see the Japanese swim in a bikini without shame. If you swim, however, with a topless, people would say you are shameless, but go to a South France beach, where many women, young and old, take a sun-bath in a topless. If you go to a certain beach on the west coast in America, the nudists take a sun-bath as naked as when they are born. On the other side, at the medieval times, a knight trembled at a brief sight of a shoe of his adoring lady. It shows the definition of women’s “secret part” can be changed. How you can answer to a nudist if she asks you why you hide yours busts and hips although they are as natural as your hands and face? It is the same for the hijab of a muslima. We consider all our body except hands and face as private parts because Allah defined it like this. Its why we hide them from male strangers. If you keep something secret, it increases in value. Keeping a woman’s body secret increases its charm.

Even for the eye of the same sex, the nape of a sister’s neck is surprisingly beautiful because it is normally covered. If a man loses the feeling of shame and starts to walk naked and excrete and “make love” in the presence of other people, he would then become no different than an animal. The problem of sexual harassment which is discussed very frequently proves how men are weak to resist to this kind of attraction. We could not expect prevention of sex harassment only by appealing men’s high morality and self-control. A short skirt might be interpreted by men to say: “if you want me, you may take me”, a hijab means clearly, “I am forbidden for you.”

The Muslim woman covers herself for her own dignity. She refuses to be possessed by the eyes of a stranger and to be his object. She feels nothing but a sense of pity for the Western women who display their private parts as sexual objects for male strangers. If one observes the hijab from outside, one will never see what is hidden in it. Observing the hijab from the outside and living it from inside are two completely different things. We see different things.

This gap explains the chasm separating those from the understanding of Islam. From the outside, Islam looks like a “prison” without any liberty. But living inside of it, we feel at peace and experience freedom and joy that we have never known before. We choose Islam against the so-called freedom and pleasure. If it is true that Islam is a religion that oppresses the women, why are there so many young women in Europe, in America, and in Japan who abandon their liberty and independence to embrace Islam? A person blinded because of his prejudice may not see it, but a woman with the hijab is so brightly beautiful as an angel or a saint with self-confidence, calmness, and dignity. Not a slight touch of shade nor any trace of oppression is visible on her face.

“They are blind and cannot see” says the Qur’an2 about those who deny the sign of Allah(T), but by what else can we explain this gap on the understanding of Islam between us and those people?

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "The Hijab and The Muslim Woman," in Bismika Allahuma, July 17, 2007, last accessed September 25, 2022, https://bismikaallahuma.org/islam/women-in-islam/hijab-muslim-woman/
  1. Nakata Khaula, “A Japanese Woman’s Experience of Hijab” in Radio Islam International []
  2. Qur’an, 2:18 []
Categories
Women In Islam

The Position of Women in Islam

Western ignorance of the World of Islam is almost total, but if there is one area above all others where the vacuum of knowledge has been most effectively filled with misinformation, it is that surrounding the role of women in Islam. In contrast to the common misconception, the Qur’an does not restrict womens’ rights. Women are given the same rights as men are. The status of the Muslim woman in Islam is a very noble and lofty one, and her effect is very great in the life of every Muslim. Indeed the Muslim woman is the initial teacher in building a righteous society, providing she follows the guidance from the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger(P).

The Qur’an states categorically that men and women who practice the principles of Islam will receive equal reward for their efforts. (Qur’an 33:35). In the first verse of the chapter entitled An-Nissa’ (The Women), God says:

“O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it its mate and from them both have 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 towards the wombs (that bore you). Lo! Allah has been a Watcher over you.” (Qur’an 4:1)

Since men and women both came from the same essence, they are equal in their humanity. Women cannot be by nature evil (as some religions believe) or then men would be evil also. Similarly, neither gender can be superior because it would be a contradiction of equality. Women are encouraged in Islam to contribute their opinions and ideas. There are many traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) which indicate women would pose questions directly to him and offer their opinions concerning religion, economics and social matters.

The Qur’an states:

“By the creation of the male and female; Verily, (the ends) ye strive for are diverse.” (Qur’an 92:3-4)

In these verses, God declares that He created men and women to be different, with unique roles, functions and skills. As in society, where there is a division of labor, so too in a family; each member has different responsibilities. Generally, Islam upholds that women are entrusted with the nurturing role, and men, with the guardian role. Therefore, women are given the right of financial support.

The Qur’an states:

“Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend of their wealth (for the support of women).” (Qur’an 4:34)

This guardianship and greater financial responsibility is given to men, requires that they provide women with not only monetary support but also physical protection and kind and respectful treatment.

The Muslim woman has the privilege to earn money, the right to own property, to enter into legal contracts and to manage all of her assets in any way she pleases. She can run her own business and no one has any claim on her earnings including her husband.

The Qur’an states:

“And in no wise covet those things in which Allah hath bestowed His gifts more freely on some of you than on others; to men is allotted what they earn, and to women, what they earn; but ask All?of His bounty, for Allah hath full knowledge of all things.” (Qur’an 4:32)

A woman inherits from her relatives.

The Qur’an states:

“For men there is a share in what parents and relatives leave, and for women there is a share of what parents and relatives leave, whether it be little or much – an ordained share.” (Qur’an 4:7)

The great importance of the Muslim woman’s role whether as wife, sister, or daughter, and the rights that are due to her and the rights that are due from her have been explained in the noble Qur’an and further detailed of this have been explained in the Sunnah.

God Almighty says:

“And We have enjoined upon man to be good and dutiful to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness upon weakness and hardship upon hardship, and his weaning is in two years. Show gratitude and thanks to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination.” (Qur’an 31:14)

The secret of her importance lies in the tremendous burden and responsibility that is placed upon her, and the difficulties she has to shoulder responsibilities and difficulties some of which not even a man bears. This is why from the most important obligations upon a person is to show gratitude to the mother, and kindness and good companionship with her. And in this matter, she is to be given precedence over and above the father.

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "The Position of Women in Islam," in Bismika Allahuma, September 22, 2005, last accessed September 25, 2022, https://bismikaallahuma.org/islam/women-in-islam/the-position-of-women-in-islam/
Categories
Islam Women In Islam

The Injunction of Wearing the Hijab in Islam: An Answer to the Critics

Over the years, the dress code among Muslim women has been given great attention, especially in relation to the hijab (head covering) practice in which is considered as a symbol of “oppression” towards Muslim women. While Islam is certainly not the only religion to introduce the practice of covering head, it continues to be the centre of attack and heavily discussed as the women’s right issue especially outside Muslim world. Furthermore, this has been included as a political agenda in some countries, which results in Muslim women being oppressed and their freedom to practice their religion was taken away. Sadly, we also see that some so-called “Muslim” secularists and hypocrites, under the false insinuation that wearing the hijab is oppression for women, make the ridiculous claim that the Qur’an “does not make a statement about covering the hair”. Obviously, this claim stems from their arrogance combined with their sheer ignorance on the matter. The purpose of this paper is to answer these critics’ claims to show them that their lies do not hold water.

In the Qur’an we read the following injunction about the hijab:

“Oh 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.”

    [Yusuf Ali’s translation of the Holy Qur’an, Sura’ al-Ahzaab, verse 59; The Arabic transliteration is: “yaa ayyuhan-nabiyyu qul-lil azwaajika wa banaatika wa nisaaa’i-l mu’mineena yudneena `alayhinna min jalaabeebihinna thaalika adnaa ay-yu`rafna fa laa yu’thayna wa kaana-llaahu ghafoorar-raHeema”]

In the above verse, women are required to cast their outer garments for them to be recognised as a decent woman, and further to avoid any harassment in any way. The word used in the verse, jalabib (plural of jilbab), refers to an outer garment which covers the body completely, and so this is also an argument in favor of covering the hair. While the above verse does not specifically mention what is the right dress code applied (apart from the fact that women should cover their body), it clearly shows that the basic underlying concept is modesty. It is widely agreed that women who dressed and behaved modestly are respectable, and it helps in having respectful relationship with other women and men in their daily life. This is the most important reason behind the rules set in Islam, in which it gives total respect to women with regards to their body and preserve their dignity, and at the same time act as a guard and protection to them, at least to a certain extent, from being physically and emotionally harassed.

We also hear another claim from the critics that:

    “…a [Muslim] woman has to cover certain parts of her body, parts which no sane woman exposes already.”

This is as ludicrous as suggesting:

    A) How would covering the breasts distinctly identify a woman as a Muslim in particular? Were all the other women of the time walking around topless? Thus, would covering the breasts and/or “neckline” be a specifically Muslim practice? Will these critics say that the Jews and Christians of Arabia allowed their women to march around topless? No, they were not, as anyone even slightly competent in history would know. These are all pathetic assumptions and a sad attempt to twist a religious tenet to fit one’s personal whims.

    B) If God had only revealed a verse about covering breasts and/or “neckline”, He would then be forced to address every other part of the body. According to this argument, the midriff or “belly” is not addressed and thus, waltzing around in a belly dancer outfit would be halal. Again, this is insipid, to say it nicely.

The Qur’an further extend the guidelines in relation to the Muslim woman’s dress code through the following verse:

“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 their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husband’s sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hand posses, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex, and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye believers ! Turn ye all together towards God, that ye may attain Bliss.” (Sura’ An-Nur: 31)

Again, the main subject behind the Islamic dress code is modesty. Coupled with a number of hadiths, this verse being the only verse within the Qur’an to mention about wearing veil to be included in the package to safeguard women’s dignity.

While most Western societies often consider veil to cover women’s hair as a radical and violation to women’s right, Muslim women feel that veil gives them freedom. Different from the definition of freedom set by the West, a Muslim woman who follows Islamic dress code consider themselves free from being judged by her physical features, but rather to be judged by her character. What important is their intellectual and personality, and not the discrimination for their beauty. While women always emphasize on their beauty to fulfil the standard of attractiveness set by men, Muslim women set themselves free from being such a display object , but rather consider themselves as humans who have an exclusive right over themselves.

Following the Islamic dress code including wearing veil to cover women’s hair obviously has no effect on women’s social interaction. The rights of each Muslim woman to get proper education and enjoy equal right with other women and men is not denied although they are required to wear veil and cover themselves according to Islamic requirement. With that reason, the word “oppressive” assigned to Islamic women’s dress code certainly has no basis at all. Unfortunately, this has been a favourite issue for some countries to deny the right of these Muslim women from getting proper education and play a major role in the society, without realising that they give a heavy burden upon these Muslim women, and that is what we call oppression!

If these so-called “Muslim” critics do not wish to follow Islam, the world is full of many other religions they can choose from. Christianity, for example, will let you do whatever you want, eat whatever you want, drink whatever you want, or wear whatever you want, as long as you accept the blood of Jesus to cleanse your sins. But if these same critics know that Islam is the truth, then please do not play games with it just because they do not wish to wear the hijab. The Prophet Muhammad(P) had stated that in later generations of his umma’ there would be “…women who would be dressed but naked and on top of their heads (what looks like) camel humps. Curse them for they are truly cursed.” 1. We would like to challenge these critics to find a single historian who will say that the Muslims in the time of Muhammad(P) did not believe that wearing a head scarf was commanding by God and His Messenger. Just one, simple request…otherwise, desist.

Cite this article as: Bismika Allahuma Team, "The Injunction of Wearing the Hijab in Islam: An Answer to the Critics," in Bismika Allahuma, September 22, 2005, last accessed September 25, 2022, https://bismikaallahuma.org/islam/the-injunction-of-wearing-the-hijab-in-islam/
  1. Narrated by Muslim from the report of Abu Hurayrah []