Download - Dr.Muhammad Farooq Khan

Document Sample
Download - Dr.Muhammad Farooq Khan Powered By Docstoc
					Islam and Woman                       1

                 ISLAM AND WOMAN
                DR RIZWANA FAROOQ

Islam and Woman                     2

                  Islam and woman

Islam and Woman                              3

                  Dr. Muhammad Farooq Khan
                      Dr. Rizwana Farooq

Islam and Woman       4

Islam and Woman                                                5

Table of Contents

Chapter             Title                               Page


1                   The Entity of a woman

2                   Manners for man-woman interaction

3                   Islam‟s Concept of Family

4                   The Women and the Islamic Law

5                   Woman and Politics

6                   Women‟s Miscellaneous Issues

Islam and Woman                                                             6

       The issue of women‟s rights in Islam has become one of the most
hotly topics of today. What is the status of women in Islam? What are there
duties and what rights do they enjoy? What limits have to be observed when
men and women interact with one another? What are the requirements of the
Hijab? Are women inferior in the eyes of Islam law? What is the nature of
the relationship between a husband and wife? All these questions have
invited a lot of debate and discussion in present times. Moreover, the rapid
changes which Muslim societies are undergoing today have served to
increase the tempo of this debate.
       We find that two distinct viewpoints have emerged regarding this
issue. One of them is based on rigid religiosity and regards women as second
rate citizens. The other is greatly influenced by the western society which
encourages extra-marital relationships and the free intermingling of men and
women. Unfortunately, the golden mean between these two extremes seems
to have been lost to the tide of time. According to it, man and woman both
are equal as human beings; however, both have different responsibilities and
       Both authors of this book hold that the massage of Islam portrays this
golden mean. The Quran is the fountainhead of Islam. If we ascertain the
status of women in the light of the Qur‟an and also interpet the related
sayings of the prophet (sws) in the light of the Holy Qur‟an, it is this very
viewpoint that become manifest. Therefore, in this book, the Qur‟an has
been the main source of every deduction and the related sayings of the
Prophet (sws) have been explained in its light. Moreover, the context of a
verse or a hadith has remained one of the basis of our interpretation.
       Human endeavors can never be free of faults. So we would welcome
any criticism from our readers regarding the viewpoint presented.
       While writing this book, we have benefited greatly from guidance of
our mentor Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, Mr Rafi Mufti and Manzoor-ul-Hassan
also offered immense help.
       Finally, we pray to almighty Allah to open the hearts of the readers to
whatever is beneficial to them in this book and to save them from its

April 2005                            Dr. Muhammad Farooq Khan

Islam and Woman                                                              7


First edition of this book, in Urdu, was published in Feb 1998. Second
edition was published in July 2004. English translation of this book was
published in Feb 2002. Second edition of English translation was published
in April 2005. Hopefully third editions, both in Urdu and English, will be
published in 2010.

Islam and Woman                                                             8


                      THE ENTITY OF A WOMAN

       Islam believes that a woman is not merely subject to man rather she
has her own separate and complete entity in all respects. She has an equal
right to that of a man to nourish her religions faculties, serve her faith,
acquire education, get a job, do business, own something and benefit herself
from it and prove her creativity in an enterprise. She is master of herself in
all respects. The religious aspect of this fact is described in the Quran as

      “For muslim men and women, for believing men and women;
      for devout men and women; for men and women who are
      patient, for men and women who humble themselves; for men
      and women who give charity‟ for men and women who fast; for
      men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and
      women who remember Allah much- for them all has God
      prepared forgiveness and a great reward” (Al – Ahzab 33, verse

        The characteristics mentioned in the above Quranic Verse are ten in
number. These characteristics cover all aspects of Islam, Islamic conduct
and behaviorism related to the rights of God and of human beings too. The
above verse makes it clear that there is no distinction between a man and a
woman in terms of worships of God, obedience to Him and the place in the
life after death. In fact there is no distinction on the basis of gender.
        The Quran has laid down the following principle in connection with
acquisition of wealth

      “For men is a portion of what they earn and for women is a
      portion of what they earn “(Al-Nisa 4, Verse32)

       The Sura “Al-Nisa” basically deals with matters relating to money and
other issues that emerge out of the relationship of man and woman in
different capacities in a family; Immediately after the above quoted verse an

Islam and Woman                                                             9

article from the law of legacy has been described and next comes the
instructions about the mutual contacts of a husband and a wife. Hence the
context makes it clear that the above mentioned verse is related to the
worldly life and that a woman has equal rights to that of a man like acquiring
education, doing job or a business, deal of a property and even develop her

      There are several other Quranic verses which make it clear that there
is no distinction between man and a woman on any grounds except in the
bearing of a responsibility (the detail would come in later pages). Both are
human beings and both have rights and privileges. God says:

      “I will deny no man or woman among you the rewards of their
      labours. You are the offspring of one another” (Al-Imran 3:
      Verse: 195)

      Through Sura Al-Tawba, God has declared all Muslim men and
women as friends, companions and helpers of each other. Thus women are,
in no way inferior to men rather they are friends of men and are equal to
them. (However, in terms of responsibilities there can be classification, like
a doctor and a teacher, under special circumstances):

      “The true believers, both men and women, are equal friends to
      each other. They enjoin what is just and forbid what is evil;
      they attend to their prayers and pay the Zakat and obey Allah
      and His Apostle. On these Allah will have mercy. He is Mighty,
      Wise.”       (Al-Tawba 9, verse71)

              This is why during the prophetic period women used to
       acquire both religious and worldly education, do farming, take
       part in trade and industry and manage their wealth and property;
       About Aisha, the wife of the Holy Prophet, everyone knows
       that she has related and confirmed 2210 Hadiths (Prophet‟s
       sayings) (Sadarat-ul-Zahab: vol.1)
       Imam Ibne-e-Qaseem has prepared an index of the male and female
jurists who expressed their valuable opinions on the law and even issued
verdicts in this context. If we glance at that list, we would amazingly find
that there were a large number of women among them. These include
Ayesha, Umm-I-Salma, Hafsa, Safia, Umm-I-Habiba, Layla Binti Qarim,
Asma Bint-I-Abubaker , Umm-I-Shareek, Khaula Bint-I-umm-I-darda,

Islam and Woman                                                           10

Atteeqa Bint-I-Zaid, Sahla Bint-I- Suhail, Jaweria, Maimoona, Fatima Bint -
I-Qais, Umm-I-Aiman, Umm-I-Yousaf, Assroa etc. (Aalam-ul-Moqeen:
       The books based on the compilations of the history of the days of the
companions of the Apostle reveal the stories of innumerable females who
had mastery over different fields of the religious knowledge rather several
eminent scholars attained the knowledge of Islam from them. It was a
general practice during those days people used to seek guidance from the
wives of the Apostle in the matters of religion. There were besides the wives
of the Apostle, certain other women too who earned repute in this field.
Rabi-Bint-I-Mauz was one such famous scholar and the outstanding scholars
of Islam like Abdullah-bin-Abass and Abdullah Bin Umar had been her
students. Several people have related certain Hadiths through her reference.
These include Salman Bin Yasir, Abad Bin walid and Nafei-Bin-Umar etc.
Fatima Bint-I-Qais had been the tutor of the prominent scholars like Ibn-e-
Maseeb, Urwa Bin Zubair and Shabi. (Al-Astaayab-fil-Asam-ul-Sahab)
               Ayesha the daughter of Saad Bin Abi-Waqas was
       remarkable scholar and had educated Imam Malik, Ayub
       Sakhtiami and Hakam Bin Ataiba. (Tazeeb-ul-tazeeb Vol. 12)
               Imam Shafi, the eminent jurist learnt the knowledge of
       Hadith from the Syeda Nafisa, the grand daughter of Hasan, the
       grand son of the Apostle. (Wafyat-ul-Aayam-al-Ibn-khalkan
       Vol 2)
       Same was the case of the worldly knowledge and wisdom. For
example among the female companions of the Apostle several were poetess
like Khansa, Saudah, Safia, Atika, Muridya, Umm-I-Aiman and several
others. In the field of medicine and surgery, Rafaza Aslamia, Umm-I-Mutea,
umm-I-Kabsa, Hamne Bint-I- Jahsh, Ummi-I-Athiya, Ummai Saleem and
several other women won repute. (Tabqat-Ibne-Saeed, Asaba)
       It was a usual practice among women to get worldly knowledge
during those days. If their number is not remarkable, it was due to lack of
resources. Some ordinary women knew how to read and write and even
could manage small accounts. (Tabqat Ibn-e-Saad Vol-8). Some wrote and
reply letters. (Al-Adab-ul Musfi)
               During those days the women used to do farming and
       looked after their fields. In Bokhari (the collection of Hadith)
       Sahl Bin Sasd relates the story of a female companion of the
       Apostle who owned fields and gardens. She cultivated a
       vegetable named “Salq” near the bank of a stream and used to

Islam and Woman                                                            11

       serve Sahl Bin Saad and others with Salq and Maize when they
       visited every Friday. (Bokhari)
              The most authenticated books on Hadith like Bokhari,
       Muslim, Abu-Daud and Ibni Mauja quote the statement of Jabir
       Bin Abdullah who narrates about her maternal aunt. She was
       divorced and was going through Iddat (the three months waiting
       period after divorce during which a woman can‟t marry). She
       desired to sell out the fruit of her garden for her living. She
       consulted the Apostle who advised her to do so as in that case
       she would be able to give charity and do something for her
       redemption. This makes clear that the women, during the
       prophetic perod used to do farming and trade.
       According to Bokhari, Asma, the daughter of Abu Bakar, the first
pious Caliph and the wife of Zubair used to assist her husband in farming on
the fields almost two miles far from her home.
       Those days the women could freely take part in the trade and business
activities. The most respectable woman in Muslim Ummah Khadija was a
trader. Many female companions of the Apostle like Khaula. Al-khamia,
Saqafia and Bint-I-Mukarrama used to trade in perfume. (Asaba-Fi-Tameez-
ul-Sahaba Vol-4)
       Several event related in „Tabqat Ibn-I-Saad‟ exhibit the fact muslim
women during the Prophetic period used to take part in agriculture, trade and
industry even without the assistance of their husbands. The wife of Abdullah
Bin Masud was a good craftswoman. Once she told the Apostle that she was
adept in different crafts and sold out her prepared goods. She inquired if she
could spend her money on her husband and children as they have no other
source of income. The Apostle told her that she would get a reward from
God if she did that. It is also quoted in Al-Asaba Fil Tameez-al Sahabe
       Once a woman named Khaula Bint-e-Saalba had a dispute with her
husband. Both of them presented their case before the Apostle who advised
the husband to keep himself away from her until the revelation of an
instruction from God. At this Khula told the Prophet of God that her
husband would‟t be able to survive in that case as he was dependent upon
her for his living.
        A woman named Qaila told the Apostle that she was a trader and
sought his guidance in the trade matters.
       Another woman, Amira narrates that once she went to the market
along with her maid servant and bought a fish. Ali, the fourth Caliph of
Islam was also there who bought that fish from her.

Islam and Woman                                                             12

       There are many such incidents related in „Tabqat Ibn-I-Saad Vol 8.
The most authentic book on this subject.
       Souda, the Prophet‟s wife was adept in the art of tanning. It is quoted
in Bukhari that once her sheep died, she put its skin off, got it tanned and
softened it with dates.
       During that period women performed several tasks collectively as
well. The Bokhari kitab-ul-istehsan unfolds that once many women visited
the Apostle and requested him to allocate one day in a week for their
religious training. The Prophet thus accepted their request. Asma Bint-I-
Zahid was good at rhetoric. Once women designated her their representative
and sent to the Apostle to make some queries (Al-istaab Fi-Al-Sahab)
       Women were entrusted with certain responsible positions as well and
they proved their worth. For example Umar, the second Caliph of Islam
appointed Shafa Bint-e- Abdullah as the Price control officer.

       After having known this fact that men and women are equal to each
other with reference to religion, conduct and all human rights, some
questions arise on the seenaries.
       Firstly, what is meant by the statement that Hawwa, the first ever
woman of human race was born from the ribs of Adam. Secondly, how can
it be justified to say that men are leaders of women. Thirdly, whether the
recompense for a female blood in half to that of a man. Fifthly, if a woman‟s
evidence is considered half to that of a woman by the court of law.
       Keeping in view the subject of this chapter its seems appropriate to
explain the first questions first now, the rest would be discussed in detail in
the relevant chapters.

      The Quran Says:

      “O‟humabeing have fear of your Lord who created you from a
      single soul. From that soul He created its mate, and through
      them He bestrewed the earth with countless men and women.”
      (Al-Nisa 4, Verse-1)

       There can be two possible explanations for the words, “From that soul
He created its mate”. First, this mate was created from that very soul and
second that its mate was created through its race. As per first possibility
Adam was created first and Hawwa was created out of him. Second
possibility shows that an image of Human being was created first and out of
that image Adam and Eve were created separately.

Islam and Woman                                                               13

      There is an established rule for the proper understanding of the Quran:
if a Quranic Verse does not unfold its meaning at one place all other verse
on the same topic should be studied for the proper comprehension. For
example the following verse of Al-Nihal.

      “Allah has given from among yourselves your mates, and
      through them He granted you sons and grandsons. He has
      provided you with good things” (Al-Nahal-16,:72)

            “This verse conveys the sense that the wives are created
      from the race of human beings and not from the ribs of their

Another verse of Al-Rum says:

             “And of His sings is that He gave you mates from among
      yourselves, that you might live in tranquility with them. And
      put love and kindness in your hearts. Surly there are signs in
      this for thinking people.” (Al-Rum 30-21)

       When we try to understand the meaning of the verse-1 of Al-Nisa in
the light of the above quoted verses, the real sense of the matter becomes
crystal clear. It is so because no part of the Quran is contradictory to another,
rather the whole book gives the same sense.

Now we turn towards the reference books.

       One hadith is related through the refrence of Abu Huraira and put
down in the book of Hadith like Bukhari Kitab Nikah, Kitabul Ahadis-ul-
Anbia and Muslim- Kitabul Razaat. The wording of the reference is different
every where as it was quite natural that a person heard something from the
Apostle and related it to a person of the next generation and so on. Thus this
Hadith reached the compiler of the book of Hadith two hundred years after
the death of the Prophet. It is obvious that the wording of the saying is not
the same when it passes through this process. The main motive behind all
this is to convey the sense understood by the listener. Thus it is important
and essential that every Hadith be understand in the light of the Quran which
is the most authentic and basic document of Islam. While studying Hadith,
all relevant Hadiths must be kept in mind and no separate meaning of one
Hadith should be derived in order to avoid any doubt.

Islam and Woman                                                            14

       After this brief discussion it becomes easy for us to reflect upon the
above mentioned Hadith. The only narrator of this Hadith is Abu Huraira. It
seems as if the Apostle was advising the people to treat their wives well and
try to pull on with them. They should not try to mould them according to
some strict regulation and tackle them wisely. If their wives start
complaining, suspecting and creating problems for them, even they should
try to convince them and satisfy them with love and politeness. Therefore
the Apostle expressed the women‟s psychology as like rib. If it is tried to be
straightenit it might break. Thus if a woman is pressed to lead her wife
according to some strict code of rules, it might result in divorce.

       Obviously, it is a fine example to make people understand. The Quran
and the Hadith are full of such examples and they always accord their
idiomatic sense. So the different narrators have expressed the same
statement in different words: “women is like a rib”. This reference recorded
in Kitab-al-Razzat of the Muslim seems to be reflecting the real words. Rest
of the narrators reported it according to their understanding and taste. If we
study it as a whole, it becomes clear that it is merely an example because
none of the references mentions Everather Women as community has been
talked about here. Every one knows the fact that women are not born from
the ribs of men, rather they pass through all stages of birth like men.

      Thus, the above discussion proves that there is no such concept in
Islam that women is inferior to man and is subservient to him as she is born
from his ribs.

Islam and Woman                                                              15


       This is an aspect of Islam which has been made complicated,
contradictory and misunderstood due to lack of understanding on the part of
certain circles. At times, Islamic teachings are confused with the local rituals
and customs. It is therefore necessary to present the original teachings of the
Quran and Hadith in a vivid manners so that a man of logic may accept it
virtually and the one who denies it must be awarness of its weightage too.
       First, we will relate our point of view in this context and then the
opinion of the two very eminent scholars will be analyzed so as to bring both
positive and negative aspects before the readers.
       The most important aspect in the social concept of Islam is the unit of
family as the foundation of society. The family is formed of the sacred and
pure relationship that there must not be any illicit contact between a man and
a woman before marriage and after marriage the sexual contact must be
limited to the husband and wife. This would save this beautiful relationship
from any kind of disintegration and the whole society would be based on
solid grounds. (All those matters will be discussed in the chapter titled
“Islam‟s concept of family”)
       In order to safeguard the relationship of husband and wife, Islam has
ruled out any kind of illegitimate relationship. The muslims were directed
about this in the very initial period of Islam.

      “You shall not draw near to adultery, for it is foul and its way is
      evil.” (Al-Isra17:32)

       Therefore, under this guideline, God determined such manners for the
mutual contact of men and women which would save the society from
becoming sex-free and morally bankrupt and the social requirements and
interests also remain intact without imposing undue restrictions upon
women. These manners manifest the Islam‟s concept of modesty.
       From a women‟s point of view all men can be divided in three
groups. First group includes the close relatives like father, husband, brother,
son, uncle, nephew, grandfather, father-in-law etc. second group includes all
remote relatives, family friends, work mates, teachers, students, class
fellows, neighbors, physicians, co-travelers, domestic servants etc. Third
group is comprised of all those who have no connection with a woman in
ordinary circumstances.

Islam and Woman                                                                16

        The places can be categorized into two circles. The first circle is her
own home and the houses of her close relatives. Second circle has the places
like the houses of her remote relatives and friends while the places like her
office, educational institutions, business centers, hospitals, hotels, restaurant,
public transport like bus, train and aero plane etc.
        For all above categories and circles Islam has maintained such
appropriate manners which help the society get protected from any
illegitimate act and do not cast any obstacle in the path of a woman.
Therefore, first the Quranic teaching regarding the men‟s circles will be
described here which says that woman can appear freely and causally before
her close relatives without any restriction even with all her adornments.
However, the manners pertaining with modesty and common sense must be

             “ The believing women must not reveal their finery
      except to their husbands , their fathers, their husband‟s father,
      their sons, their steps sons, their brothers, their brother‟s sons,
      their sister‟s sons, their own, women and the slaves they posses,
      male attendants lacking in natural vigour, and children who
      have no knowledge of sex.” (Al-Nur, 24: 31)

      The above verses also mention slaves. Later in this book, we shall
present Islam‟s point of view about slaves. Besides this, the words “male
attendants lacking in natural vigour” have also been used. It indicates
towards the male servants who are so deep under the influence of a family or
the woman herself that they can‟t even think of any sexual contact.
      Obviously, the category of the domestic servants seems a bit vast and
broad. It is so because the Quran, intentionally uses the words with different
shades of connotation so that it should be easy to act upon them in all
      It is advisable for others to seek the permission of the husband and
wife before entering their room when they are alone inside:
              “Believers let your slaves and those who have not come
      of age ask your leave when they come in to see you on three
      occasions: before the morning prayers, when you have put off
      your garments in the heat of noon and after the evening prayers,
      These are the three occasions of privacy. And when they have
      reached the age of puberty, let your children still ask your leave
      as their elders do. Thus Allah makes plain to you His
      revelations. He is Wise, Knowing.” (Al-Nur 24, 58-59)

Islam and Woman                                                           17

       Next we discuss about the people of the second circle who are
frequently in contact with a woman owing to relationship, family contacts
and business affairs though not closely related to her. Obviously such a
meeting can take place either at home or at a public place. When a person
from such a circle visits another person, he must introduce himself before
entering the house and should only enter if he is allowed for that. It is
obligatory upon all men and women to wear a modest dress on such
occasion and show modesty through their looks and style. The women
should not reveal their adornments, rather conceal them if possible. They
must draw their shawls upon their bosoms but the old women are exempted
from this binding. If they have put on a jewellery causing sound, they should
be careful while walking and not pace with pounding steps.
       The real motive behind these instructions is the care so that such
meeting and conversation should not breed any lusty feeling. However, any
family can treat an invalid person or a patient as member of family.
       With in the limits mentioned above men and women can even dine
together and enjoy all social and recreational activities. There are no undue
restrictions upon their healthy and positive recreation.
       There is no binding of introduction or seeking permission at a public
place. (However the code of rules declared by the administration of the
particular place must be abided by). Men and women just have to keep in
mind the manners of such places mentioned earlier:
        “Believers, do not enter the dwellings of other people until you
       have asked their owners‟ permission and wished them peace.
       That will be best for you. If you find no one in them, do not go
       inside till you are given leave. If you are refused admission, you
       should go away; Allah has knowledge of all your actions. It
       shall be no offence for you to seek shelter in uninhabited
       dwellings which can be of use to you. Allah knows what you
       hide and what you reveal. Say to the believing men to turn
       away some of the gazes and to restrain their sexual desires. This
       will make their lives purer. Allah has knowledge of all their
       actions. Say to the believing women to turn away some of the
       gazes and to preserve their chastity; to cover their adornments
       except such as are normally displayed; to draw their shawls
       over their bosoms ………………… And let them not stamp
       their feet in walking so as to reveal their hidden trinkets.
       Believers, turn to Allah together in repentance, that you may
       prosper.” ( Al-Nur 24, 27-31)

Islam and Woman                                                            18

        These verses are very clear. However a few words require our
attention a bit more. “Ask for owners‟ permission “means to introduce
oneself and show identity. One should introduce oneself at the door, wish
peace to the dwellers and seek permission to enter the houses. “Houses
“means the dwelling places where one‟s family lives. It is an established fact
that there was not a practice of having drawing room for male guest during
the days of the revelation of the Quran. Thus a guest allowed to enter the
house can see all inhabitants.
        “Uninhabited dwellings” mean the places like shops, inns, hotels,
hospitals, educational institutions, offices and drawing rooms for male
        “Turn away some of the gazes “mean not to cast bold and lusty
glances upon others. God does not want to impose restriction upon anyone to
look at others but teaches people to show modesty in their looks.
        “Preserving the Chastity” means that one must wear a civilized
dress that covers one‟s body in the desired sense. Obviously this instruction
is both for men and women.
        The word “adornments” means all the things worn by women upon
their bodies for the purpose of beautification like jewellery and embroidery.
The women are directed not to reveal their adornments when they are
together with men at public places. There is an exception here that she has to
conceal only those adornments which are normally not visible. We can
observe that the words used in the Quran are the most appropriate ones and
could not be replaced by other ones. If a word seems to be broad, it is an
intentional arrangement in order to show a relaxation so that the people can
act upon it according to their trends, taste, temperament and circumstances
and should not feel their way and actions restricted. Every woman has the
right, in such case to act upon the sense she deems right. For example a large
number of jurists including Aisha the wife of the Holy Prophet (PBH) and
Ibn-i-Abbas the companion of the Holy Prophet (PHB) are of the opinion
that a woman can reveal her face and hands with all adornments and
beautification. Zimikhshari, the great Quranic commentator holds the same
        The words, “ Draw their shawls on their bosoms” convey the sense
of a shawl worn by them over their clothes to conceal the prominence
projected of their bodies. The Quran directs the women to cover their
bosoms with such a cloth. The question arises here whether it is obligatory
upon women to cover their heads too. The usual cultural practice in Arabia
during the Prophetic period was that women used to cover their heads with
such clothes. Therefore it is generally believed that the women should

Islam and Woman                                                               19

continue this practice as it has become a symbol of the muslin culture and it
is a precautionary measured too.
       However, it is a fact there the Quran issues no clear instructions in this
regard otherwise the direction of covering bosoms could have been coupled
with covering of heads too. Thus covering of head is desirable but not
compulsory in shariah. (All references relating to this issue will be discussed
in the forthcoming chapters)
       The words “let them not stamp their feet in walking so as to reveal
their hidden trinkets” convey the sense that even the hidden adornments
should not be revealed. A woman should walk so gracefully before men that
her adornments and the features of her body must not be revealed.
       After the revelations of the instructions in the Al-Nur: 27-31,several
questions arose in the society. One such question pertained with the
invalid and shelterless people who were generally treated as the
members of family by some kind people who settle them in their homes.
Second question pointed out the situations when women are bound to dine
with men on some occasions when no separate arrangement for women in
possible. The Quran answered all such questions.
       It was elaborated here that such invalid and shelterless people can be
settled in houses and they can be treated as the close relatives.

            “It shall be no offence for the blind, the lame, the sick
      and yourselves to eat at your table. Nor it is an offence for you
      to eat in your houses and the houses of your fathers, your
      mothers, your brothers, you sisters, your paternal uncles, you
      paternal aunts, or in houses with the keys of which you are
      entrusted, or in those of your friends. It should be equally
      lawful whether you eat together or apart. When you enter you
      houses, salute one another with salutation from Allah, blessed
      and kind. Thus Allah makes clear to you His revelations so that
      you may understand.” (Al-Nur 24:61)

       Hence it becomes evident that Islam does neither puts any restriction
on social contacts and liberties nor limits them, rather intends to strengthen
them. It desires that people should meet mutually and dine on individual
levels as well as collectively in the public meetings. This verse mentions
men and women relatives and family friends together. Obviously they can
exchange their views in a graceful and modest way on such occasions.
       There is another important issue. Do the old women and the
spinsters too have to follow the restrictions imposed upon other women?

Islam and Woman                                                             20

There was an elaboration revealed in this context that they too should
notreveal their adornment yet they are not bound to observe the taking of
shawl. However, it is desirable that they should take care in this regard.

            “It should be no offence for old spinsters who have no
      hope of marriage to discard their cloaks provided they do not
      reveal their adornments. Better if they abstain (from this). Allah
      hears all and knows all‟ (Al-Nur 24: 60

       Next are the men for the third circle who have, generally no direct
link with women. It is obvious that such an interaction can take place only
in some street, market or any other unfamiliar spot. The Quran has laid down
the guidance at different places on its pages in this context. These principles
direct men and women to avoid any kind of vulgarity, moral misconduct and
an action contradictory to social practice and culture.:

            “(Successful indeed are the believers) who turn away
      from vain talk” (Al-Muminun 23: 3)

      “ Allah enjoin justice, kindness and charity to one‟s kindred,
      and forbids indecency, wickedness and oppression. He
      admonishes you so that you may take heed. ( Al-Nahal 16: 90)

       These instructions are for men and women alike. The Apostle drew
the attention of the muslims to the sideof this issue from time to time. For
example the Apostle forbad men to cast the second glance polluted with lust
upon women if they see them by chance anywhere, rather they should
continue with their business without disturbing and causing trouble for the
female passers by. There is a Hadith related by Jareer:

            “I asked the Apostle what I should do if I see a woman
      without prior intention. The Apostle told me to turn my eyes
      away.” (The Muslim kitab-ul-Adab)

       This Hadith is obviously about this third circle. This is why an
accidental glance is mentioned here and it can only be for a passer by or a
stranger woman. Unlike this the persons of the second circle have been
directed not to cast lusty glance on the opposite sex. There is another Hadith
related by Bareerah:

Islam and Woman                                                             21

             “The Apostle told Ali, „Do not cast the second glance
      after the first glance taken per chance. First glance can be
      pardoned but the second glance is disallowed.” (The Muslim

      This instruction of the Apostle is also related with the strangers and
female passers by as the persons in the second circle may have to talk to
each other with the eye contacts. In the same way the Apostle directed the
women also to wear a modest dress in streets and bazaars.
            “The Prophet said that the women who remain naked
      even after they have put on clothes, tempt others and get
      themselves tempted and cast their necks aside like intoxicated
      camels while walking, will not at all enter the paradise nor will
      even smell it.” (The Muslim Ktiab-ul-Al-libas-w-zinatah)

We know that instructions for the apostles of God are different from those
for other persons. In some cases they are imposed more restrictions upon
while they are relaxed in some other cases so that they can easily perform
their duty as an Apostle. This is why the code of law for the Apostle
Muhammad (PBUH) was quite distinguished from that of other people. For
example tahajjud (midnight prayer) was obligatory upon him while it was
not binding for others. In the same way the laws of marriage and divorce for
him were also different from those meant for rest of Ummah.
       Being the wives of the Apostle, certain laws for them were also
different from those for other women, it was so because they were entrusted
with the duties of educating other Muslim women.Thus for the
accomplishment of these duties, they were imposed upon stricter regulations.
For example they were directed to stay at their homes so as to accord any
guidance needed by any women at any time. They were also not allowed to
reveal their adornments before others. They were not allowed to remarry
after the death of the apostle and they were declared as the mothers of all
Muslims. They were imposed upon certain other restrictions to keeping in
view the circumstance. They were directed not to show mildness in their
conversation while talking to other men. They were asked to talk to other
men nothing more than it was required. In the same way all outside the
closest circle were prohibited to enter the homes of the apostle unless invited
for food. They were advised to leave the homes of the apostle immediately
after having taken food. All these instructions have been revealed in Al-

Islam and Woman                                                              22

        It is important to note the background for these additional restrictions
upon the apostle and his wives. A careful study of Al-Ahzab can make the
reason clear while the study of hadiths adds to our knowledge about the
background of these impositions.
       In fact those were the day when the hypocrites of Madina had been
intriguing against even the personal life of the apostle in order to tarnish his
image. These scandals have been discussed in the Quran. These scandal-
mongers tried to enter the house of the apostle in his absense and took
liberty with his wives in order to get a way for scandalization and thus create
a situation of conflict among Muslims. Therefore the Quran countered these
       The apostle used to see all visitors in mosque. Each wife of the
Prophet had her separate room adjacent to the mosque and just a curtain
partitioned both the places. Keeping of drawing rooms for the guests was
not a practice those days. The hypocrites pretending to leave for drinking
water, used to enter the house of the Apostle without permission. While the
apostle had been in the mosque with visitors, they used to demand some
eatable from the wives of the apostle and take liberty with them in order to
scandalize the matter. Following these hypocrites some Muslims started
committing the same therefore God forbade all to observe the practice.
               The Quran says “The Prophet has greater claim on the
       faithful than they have on each other. His wives are their
       mothers. Blood relation is closer to one another in the book of
       Allah than to other believers or migrants. Although you are
       permitted to do your friend a kindness that is decreed in Allah‟s
       book…… Wives of the Prophet those of you who commit a
       proven sin shall be doubly punished. That is not difficult thing
       for Allah .But those of you who obey Allah and his apostle and
       do good works shall be doubly rewarded; for them we have
       made a generous provision. Wives of prophet you are not like
       other women. If you fear Allah, do not be too complaisant in
       your speech. Lest the treacherous- hearted should be moved
       with desire. Show discretion in what you say. Stay in your
       homes and do not display finery as first ladies used to do in
       former days of ignorance. Attend to your prayer, give alms to
       the poor and obey Allah and his Apostles. Allah only wishes to
       remove uncleanness from you members of the family and to
       purify you revelations of Allah which are recited in your houses
       and wisdom,. Benignant is Allah and all knowing
       ……………… believers “Do not enter the houses of the

Islam and Woman                                                             23

       Prophet for a meal without waiting for the proper time, unless
       you are given leave. But if you are invited, enter; and when you
       have eaten, disperse. Do not engage in familiar talk, for this
       would annoy the Prophet and he would be ashamed to bid you
       go; but of the truth would Allah is not ashamed. If you ask his
       wives for anything, speak to them from behind a curtain. This is
       more chaste for your hearts and their hearts. You must not
       annoy Allah‟s Apostle, nor shall you ever wed his wives after
       him, this would be a grave offence in the sight of Allah………
       if the hypocrites and those who have disease in their hearts and
       the scandal-mongers of Madinah do not desist, We will rouse
       you against them and they will be you neighbors in it only for a
       while.”(Al-Ahzab 33: 6, 30-34, 53, 60)
       Whosever studies the above Quranic verses with his mind as a clean
slate, will find no difficulty in understanding their meanings. However, some
words and sentences interpreted have been in different manners by some
circles. It is proper that we discuss these portions first.
       The first thing to be understood is whether the instructions used
through the above verses a for all muslim women or exclusively for the
wives of the Prophet. In fact the Quranic words are so clear that they leave
no ambiguity:

       “Wives of Prophet, you are not like other women”. Some people still
believe that the general muslim female community has been addressed here.
The first argument tendered in this context is that it is merely an addressing
style just as a noble person advises his child in this manner, „My son, you
are not a street boy; you must not abuse anyone. The second argument says
that since some of the instructions in the verses e.g the observance of prayer
and alm-taxes etc are meant for all Muslim women, in the same way these
instructions also deal with the general lot.
       We, disagree with both the arguments. Talking on the first argument,
we must keep in mind that no one else can have better command on Arabic
than God. It can not be even doubted that the meanings desired by God are
not conveyed by the vocabulary chosen by Him and thus convey an
ambiguity in the minds of the readers. It is beyond possibility that God uses
ambiguous words while issuing forth such an important instruction.
       Secondly, it is explicit through the Surah itself that these revelations
are meant for the wives of the Prophet:
              “The Prophet‟s wives are the mothers of all the
       muslims.” (Al-Ahazab 33:6)

Islam and Woman                                                              24

               Then they are addressed as under:
               “O Prophet, say to your wives: if you seek this life and
       all its finery” (Al-Ahzab: 33:28)
       They are informed of the law made for them:
               “Wives of the Prophet! Those of you who commit a
       proven sin shall be doubly punished. That is no difficult thing
       for Allah. But those of you who obey Allah and His Apostle
       and do good works shall be doubly rewarded; for them We have
       made a generous provision. (Al-Ahzab 33-31)
               The incident of Zaid (The Prophet‟s adopted son), his
       wife and the Prophet‟s marriage with Zainab has been analyzed
       in the Verses 50-52. And the special laws formulated for the
       Prophet and his wives have been highlighted. These laws are
       quite different from those meant for other Muslims. Whenever
       required general Muslim men and women are addressed in very
       clear manner leaving no confusion behind. For example:
               “For Muslim men and women, for believing men and
       women ……… (Al-Ahzab 33: 35)
               “It is not for true believers men and women ----------------
       -------------------- (Al-Ahzab33: 36)
               Believers ……………… (Al-Ahzab 33, 41-44, 49)
       Then God issues an instruction to all Muslim men and women
       without any exception:
               “Prophet, enjoyn your wives, your daughters and the
       wives of true believers ………. (Al-Ahzab 33, 59)
       The above references make it clear that instructions of the Quran
meant for the wives of the Prophet cannot be considered applicable upon
others as general instructions.
       So far as the second argument mentioning the verses with the
observance of prayer and alm-taxes is concerned, it can not made a plea that
since these are the instruction meant for all people, all other instructions are
also meant for all muslims. It is a baseless argument. In fact, the duties of
offering prayer and paying alm-taxes are of such a grave nature that God
advises all to observe them on all occasions. Even the Prophet of God has
also been directed to draw his attention towards these religions bindings:
               “Proclaim the portions of the Book that are revealed to
       you and be steadfast in prayer.” (Al- Aukabut 29, 48)
       Every reader of the Quran knows that numerous Quranic orders are
exclusively for the Apostle. He has a special status. For example, it has been
declared in the Quran on several occasions that the people denying the

Islam and Woman                                                             25

teachings the Prophet will be inflicted upon heavy punishments. Everyone
knows that such a punishment cannot be inflicted upon anyone for denying
anyone else. But on the basis of the above quoted verses of Al-Ankabut, if it
is claimed that since offering of prayer is not an exclusive instruction to the
Prophet and thus all orders addressed to the Prophet meant for him are also
for all muslims, it would be totally baseless and false.
        Next is the verse notable:
               “(Wives of the Prophet!) Do not be too complaisant in
        you speech, lest the treacherous hearted should be moved with
        desire.” (Al-Ahzab 33: 32)

       As already discussed, the hypocrites of Madinah always tried to
scandalize the personal life of the Prophet and his wives. For this purpose
they maneuvered to take liberty with the wives of the Apostle. Thus, in order
to prevent them from accomplishing their evil designs the wives of the
Prophet were ordered not to be frank with anyone else and avoid being
complasat in their speech. Obviously, these instructions were also
exclusively meant for the Prophet‟s wives because Islam‟s general moral
instructions teach everyone to talk in a soft, nice and sympathetic way with
every one else. For example:
              “Talk nice to others.” (Al-Baqra 2: 83)
              “Tell my servants to be courteous in their speech” (Al-
       Isra 17, 53)
       It obliviously means nice words, good phraseology and polite style
and tone.
       Next is the instruction, stay at your homes‟. It means that it was the
status of the Prophet‟s wives to avoid roaming around and go in the general
functions like other women. The reason for this restriction has been
described in the Quran. Since the real job of the Prophet‟s wives was to
receive direct guidance from the Prophet in all matters and impart it to all
women. Thus it was necessary for them to be available at their homes
whenever needed by the muslims women. The Quran relates it in such a
              “And promote the teachings of Allah‟s revelations and
       the words of wisdom acquired by you at your homes.”
       Obviously this was an exclusive order for the Prophet‟s wives because
an ordinary woman has no binding in going to market, having recreation and
participation in functions.
       Next is the instruction:
       “Do not reveal your adornments like the past days of ignorance.”

Islam and Woman                                                              26

       The Arabic word for „reveal‟ means to be prominent and reveal
dominantly. The First Ladies in every regime are always quite prominent
due to their grandeur, ornament, dress, style and a train of servants. It was in
particular very common in the days of ignorance before Islam. The Quran
told them that they were not only the first ladies but were also the wives of
an Apostle. Therefore they were         ordered not to reveal their majesty,
grandeur and adornments like the days of ignorance. Their factual duty was
to impart Islamic teachings to other women.
       This order was also peculiar with the Prophet‟s wives as the
instructions about showing their adornments are different for other women.
They are allowed to reveal their adornments. (See Al-Aaraf 7: 32).
Obviously, being born with the nature of a woman, they would try to look
prominent in the company of women by revealing their adornments. The
Quran has indicated towards it on several occasions.
       Next came the instruction that, „if you ask for anything from the
Prophet‟s wives, speak to them from behind the curtain.‟ This instruction
attached a distinguished status to the house of the Prophet and all people
except the closest relatives were disallowed to enter.
       As already explained, the room of each of the wives of the Prophet
was adjacent to the mosque and just a curtain partitioned the both. The
hypocrites, with an aim to scandalize the life of the Prophet and his wives
tried to get a glimpse of the holy ladies without letting them know before
hand. They also entered the houses of the first ladies on the plea of drinking
water or for anything else. Some naïve Muslims also started following this
practice. Thus all people except the closest relatives of the ladies were
ordered not to enter their houses:

              “It shall be no offence for their fathers, their sons, their
       brothers, their brother‟s sons, their sister‟s sons, their women
       and those whom their hands possess if they enter the rooms of
       the Prophet‟s wives.” (Al-Ahzab 33, 55)
       Although no one could enter into a bond of marriage with the
Prophet‟s wives even after his death yet none was allowed to enter their
houses except their closest relatives with permission or without permission.
This was also an exclusive order for the first ladies as all other Muslims can
enter the houses of others with permission as described in Sura Al-Nur.
       The word „Hijab‟ (Curtain) has been used in this sentence. The Urdu
speaking people of the Indo-Pak Sub-continent consider it a veil to cover
face. This is not correct. „Hijab‟ means the curtain hung on the outer door in
order to keep the privacy of the house intact. All translators and interpreters

Islam and Woman                                                          27

of the Quran have a consensus on these meanings. This point is important in
the context that all related Prophet‟s sayings must be understood keeping
this meaning in view.

       The verse is named the verse of Hijab because a curtain was drawn
between the Prophet‟s wives and the mosque and peole were not allowed to
cross it. The same meanings have been taken in the references of the Muslim
and the Bukhari. It shall be discussed later in this book in deatal.

   Special Instructions about Unsafe Places:

   During the prophetic period, several Jews and hypocrites used to live in
Madina and its outskirts. Whenever Muslim women passed from their
localities, the mischievous ones among them used to pass remarks on them
and tried to embarrass them. Later they used to make an excuse that they had
mistaken them for their women. A detailed analysis of the michiefs of the
Jews and the hypocrites has been revealed through Al-Ahzab. In this
context, the Muslim women were advised to take a big and long cloth as
shawl over their clothes while passing through an unsafe place like the one
mentioned above. It will counter the evil designs of the trouble-mongers.
Those days it was a common practice among the nobility of Arabia that
women used to cover their heads and bodies with the help of a big shawl in
order to get protected from the morally distracted people. The Quran, thus
taught a protective measure to the women for their safety.
              “Those who annoy believing men and believing women
       undeservedly shall bear the guilt of slander and gross sin.
       Prophet, enjoin your wives, your daughters and the wives of
       true believers to draw their shawls close round them. That is
       more proper, so that they may be recognized and not molested.
       Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. If the hypocrites and those
       who have disease in their hearts and the scandal-mongers of
       Madinah do not desist, We will rouse you against them and
       they will be your neighbors in it only for a while.” (Al-
       Ahzab33, 58-60)
   “Annoy undeservedly” means teasing women, passing remarks on them
and cutting vulgar jokes with them and thus causing trouble for them and the
men of their families. The words, „draw their shawls close round them‟
convey the sense of drawing a big cloth round them so as to cover their
heads. It might give the sense that head should be covered with or without
concealing the face. The Quranic words used here has vast meanings and

Islam and Woman                                                           28

give relaxation. Obviously the gravity of a risk is not the same every where.
Some places are quite safe. There is also a difference between familiar and
unfamiliar places. The situation with a woman also makes difference. A
woman with a lot of luggage and accompanied by children finds it
inconvenient to cover herself with a large shawl. Age of a woman is another
factor that counts. These were the reasons for which words with vast
meanings have been used in the Quran. Otherwise God was not short of
    Next are the words, “ So that they may be recognized.” These were the
instructions so that they may be recognized as modest woman at strange
places. It is already stated that the women of noble families used to take a
large shawl known as „Jalbab over their heads and clothes even before
Islam. It is general impression that the Pre-Islamic Arab Society was morally
bankrupt. The fact was contrary to this. The women of some families
belonging to lower classes had no doubt flaws in their characters but female
community of the noble families used to observe all moral values even
before Islam. The poetry of that period refers to this factor at length. Thus
God desires that women should wear the dress worn by modest women of
any society while passing through unsafe places.
    Next words, „so that they may not be molested‟ make it clear that the
main motive is to protect women from attitude of vulgar people. Hence it is
a precautionary measure at unsafe places. These measures are not necessary
for safe places and familiar paths. However, women are directed to conceal
their adornments and protect their chastity even at these places. Like men,
they are also directed to dress themselves up gracefully and modesty.
    Next are the words, „the hypocrites and those who have disease in
their hearts and the scandal-mongers of Madinah.‟ These words prove
that the above mentioned instructions to women were meant to counter the
propaganda of the hypocrites, enemies of Islam and trouble-seekers. The
above given explanation highlights the point that the verse 59 of Al-Ahzab,
in fact directs the Muslim women to wear a civilized and graceful dress
which is in vogue in their society so that the vulgar people may not get an
opportunity to tease them. Hence, this is not a permanent part of the
instructions in the context of “the manners for correlation of men and
women”, rather this is a precautionary measure to be observed in extra-
ordinary circumstances.
Man-women correlation: Description and justification of the
       We observe that the Quran has laid down vivid instructions about the
correlation of women and men in a mulim society. When we consider all

Islam and Woman                                                             29

those references in the books of Hadith in the light of these instructions,
their original context becomes clear and an apparently visible paradox in
them is removed too. In fact, all Hadiths should be studied, as a principle, in
the light of vivid Quranic instructions. It seems proper to consider all other
issues in this context.
       So far as the first and the closest circle of a woman is concerned, the
necessary details have been related in Sura Al-Nur of the Quran. However,
some more questions arise in this context. First is the question if there
should be any such precaution in the relationship of husband and wife. The
Quran lays no hurdle between husband and wife because they are garbs of
each other. As body is not concealed from the dress, the husband and the
wife has the similar examples:
       “ They are apparel to you as you are an apparel to them” (Al-Baqara2,
       However, some Hadiths related in this context create an impression as
if husband and wife should also take care of their dress and should conceal
their bodies from each other but these references are not reliable. The first
Hadith is related as under:
       “When you visit your wife, take care of your dress and don‟t get
naked like donkeys.” (Ibn-e-Majah-kitab-ul-nikah)
       It is mentioned by author that the reference of this Hadith is not
authentic. Second Hadith is said to relate by Ayesha, the Prophet‟s wife:
       “I never saw the Prophet in naked condition.”
This Hadith has also been quoted in Kita-ul-Nikah of Ibne-e-Majah and has
been taken from an unknown servant of Ayesha. Thus it is also an unreliable
       Second is the question what care a woman should take in her closest
circle other than her husband regarding her clothes. The Quran allows a
woman to reveal her adornment in her closest circle. It proves that a woman
can appear before the men of her closest circle in a casual dress. She may
keep her head uncovered. She can tuck up her trousers from ankles and her
shirt from elbows. A Hadith is quoted in Abu-Daud that once the apostle
visited his daughter, Fatima along with a servant. She had a shawl not large
enough to cover her head and feet both. The Prophet, on seeing her in
difficulty told her not to worry as she was just before her father and a slave.
       According to another reference of the Muslim and Bukhari once the
Apostle visited Fatima, his daughter and Ali, his son-in-law. It was night and
the couple had gone to their bed. They were wrapping a cloth around their
bodies which was not long enough to cover their heads and feet. The Prophet
stayed with them for some time in this state too.

Islam and Woman                                                              30

        The above references give us an idea about the frankness observed in
the closest circle. But there are five references which have the matter unlike
the above fact. All these references are weak and hence unreliable. First
reference is as under:
               “The Prophet said that Muslim women should not reveal
        her arms more than half of her palm.”
        This reference has been quoted in Ibn-e-Jareer related by Qatawa but
the previous source is unknown and the linking source of this Hadith is
missing. Such a Hadith is called “Mursal” which is a weak Hadith and
hence fails to prove anything.
        Second Hadith says:
“A woman, after having attained puberty should not reveal any part of her
body except her face and arms up to wrist joints.
        This Hadith has been quoted by Abu-Daud in his book “Murasil”. The
name of the book itself makes it clear that the middle link in the narration is
missing. Thus this Hadith, as well cannot be taken into account, as it is a
weak reference. Another important thing to be noted over here is paradox
between the two above quoted references. The first reference relates that a
woman is allowed to open half of her arms while the second reference talks
of opening it up to the wrist joint.
        As per third reference related by Ayesha, the Prophet‟s wife, once she
appeared before her nephew, Abdullah Bin Tufail with her adornments and
the Prophet disapproved it. She argued that Abdullah was her nephew. The
Prophet said, “A woman must not reveal her body except her face and her
arms from the point of their grip up to middle of palm.” This Hadith has
been quoted by Ibn-e-Jareer. It is related by a person named Ibn Juraih. It is
clear that time period between the two personalities differs and thus at least
two middle links are missing. So it is also a weak reference.
        According to the fourth reference, once Asma, the sister of Ayesha
came before the Prophet while she was wearing very thin dress and the
Prophet turned his face aside and said, “ it is not good for a woman to reveal
any part of her body except her face and palms of her hands after she has
attained puberty”. This reference has been recorded by Abu Daud who says
that it is not a well linked reference because it has been related to Khalik Bin
Dareek who heard it from Ayesha while the collectors of Hadith affirm the
both the persons had never met each other. Another relater of this reference
is Saeed Bin Bashir who is not considered a reference. Thus it is also a weak

Islam and Woman                                                             31

       Fifth reference says that once a woman named Hisfsa visited Ayesha
with a thin cloth as a shawl. Ayesha tore it into pieces and gave her a thick
shawl to take over her clothes.
       This reference has been related by an unknown woman named Umm-
i-Alqamah and recorded in Mauta Imam Malik. It is also a weak reference. It
must also be kept in mind that it is just the incident to the prophet‟s wife
which exhibits her taste and the Prophet is nowhere mentioned in this
       At times, a sixth reference is also quoted. “The women who remain
naked even after having dressed themselves up are cursed by God”
       But this reference has not been recorded in any book of Hadiths.
       After having presented the two Hadiths in the beginning of this
discussion and making an analysis of the next five weak references, it shows
that a woman can appear in her closest circle in a frank manner and there is
no restriction upon them except the rules of the time and the traditions of the
       Now we come to the second circle which includes all relatives,
family friends and work-mates. The Quranic order in this context have
been already presented through Surah Al-Nur, verses 27-31. Now we shall
discuss further with reference to the Hadiths.        As per one Hadith
recorded in the Muslim and the Bukhari once a very beautiful woman visited
the Prophet for some query in religious matter. At that time a handsome
young man Fazal Ibn-e-Abas was present there. Both Fazal and the woman
had repeatedly eye contacts with each other. On seeing this Prophet turned
the face of the Fazal aside by holding his chin.
       This Hadith makes two things clear; the woman had her face
uncovered and the Prophet taught the manner for being in the society of a
       Another incident is relatd by Jabir and quoted in the Muslim and other
books. Jabir related that once on Eid prayers the Prophet, after preaching the
men went to the female side and gave away his pieces of advice. On hearing
them, a woman turned faded and her complexion grew                 dark and she
further put a question regarding that matter. It is evident that the woman had
not covered her face so that Jabir was able to witness her facial expression
and relate it afterwards.
       Another Hadith is related by Sahl Ibne Saad and has been recorded in
the Muslim and Prophet and Bukhari. Once a woman come to the requested
him to marry her. The Prophet looked up towards her and his eyes stayed
there for some time and then he kept his eyes low. It that the woman had not
covered her face.

Islam and Woman                                                            32

       According to a reference recorded in Kitab-ul-Soum of Abu Daud and
related by Ummi-I-Hani, the first cousin of the Prophet, on the day of the
conquest of Makkah Ummi-I- Hani was sitting on the right side of the
Prophet while his daughter, Fatima on the left side. A maid servant brought
some drink and Umm-I-Hani presented it to the Prophet. The Prophet drank
some of it and gave the rest to Umm-I-Hani and then they started talking.
This proves that the first cousins can sit in the same place, chat and dine
together without concealing the face while abiding by the manners described
in Al-Nur.
       Ayesha relates that when Sura Al-Nur was revealed, all women
prepared shawls for themselves immediately. Next morning, all women
present in the Prophet‟s mosque for the Fajor prayer were taking in the
shawl. The point to be noted here is that those women were taking shawls on
their bosoms instead of Jalbab because they were at a safe place. This Hadith
has been recorded in Kitab-ul-Libas of Abu Daud.
       Another Hadith is recorded in Muslim, the Bukhari and other books.
According to this an Ethiopian delegation came to Madinah in the 7th year of
Hijrah. Some of the delegates gave their performance for recreation on Eid
day. The Prophet let Ayesha see that performance. This indicates that
women can watch players and can enjoy under the instructions of Al-Nur.
       Tirmizi and other books have recorded a Hadith. Mughira Bin Shaaba
relates that once he proposed a woman for marriage through some one. The
Prophet advised him to see her first as it would have been better for both of
them to breed love between them.
       Abu Huraira relates that once he was sitting with the Prophet. A
resident of Madinah came and told the prophet about his intention to marry a
local woman. The Prophet asked him if he had seen his proposed wife. The
man answered in negative. The Prophet advised him to see her first as the
madinites had, generally squint in their eyes. This Hadith has been recorded
in the Muslim, Nisai and other books.
       According to a reference in Kitabul Nikah, Abu daud, Jabir bin
Abdullah relates that the Prophet said, “whosever intends to proposed to a
woman should possibly see her first whether she has something to attract the
man to marry her”
       The above instructions can only be implemented when there is a
society practicing the directions laid down in Sura Al-Nur and covering of
face in a safe place is not observed. If a woman covers her face all the time,
it would not be possible for her to reveal her face to the suitor specially
when the chances of getting the proposal materialized or not are equal.

Islam and Woman                                                             33

       We can also infer through the Quranic instructions that a man may
propose a woman for marriage even directly. It has been told with clarity in
the verses 234-235 of Al-Baqara that a woman becoming a widow must not
marry till she spends a four months and ten days. After the lapse of this
period she can marry again. Then men are informed that they may express
their intentions of marriage before such a woman during this period in an
indirect way and can marry them after the stipulated period of wait is over,
with their consent.
       Obviously, this instruction can be acted upon when the men and
women had opportunities of meeting each other:
              “And those of you who die and leave wives behind, such
       wives should keep in waiting for four months and ten days after
       their husband‟s death. When they have reached the end of their
       waiting period, it shall be no offence for you to let them do
       whatever they choose for themselves provided that it is lawful.
       Allah is cognizant of what you do. It shall be no offence for you
       to propose marriage indirectly to such woman or to cherish
       them in your hearts. Allah knows that you will remember them.
       Do not arrange to meet them in secret and, when you propose
       them, speak to them honourably.” (Al-Baqara 2, 234-235)
       According to reference recorded in Kital-ul-Salat of Abu Daud, the
Prophet used to call on a woman Umm-I-Warqa. He had arranged for her a
chanter of Adhan (Call for prayer) and she was allowed to lead the members
of her family in prayer.
       Sahl Bin Saad relates, as recorded in Kitab-ul-Jumah of the Bukhari,
that a woman owned her farms and fruit gardens. She used to grow
vegetables near the bank of freshet. On Friday, when Sahl and some other
Prophet‟s companions visited her, she used to serve those vegetables and
maize to eat.
       According to a reference recorded in the Muslim and Bukhari a
companion of the Prophet Abu Usaid Saadi invited the Prophet and his
companions on a marriage party. The food was served by Umm-I-Usaid, the
wife of the host. She soaked some dry dates in a stone utensil for the whole
night before the party and served it as drink to the Prophet after he had eaten
the food.
       According to a reference from the Muslim a woman named Faitma
Bint-I-Qais was divorced. She did not know where to spend the waiting
period of four months and ten days. The Prophet first suggested her to live at
the house of Umm-I-Shareek as she was a rich woman and famous for her
hospitality. But the Prophet changed his mind by saying that she wouldn‟t

Islam and Woman                                                            34

feel comfortable there as that place was frequently visited by his
companions. He gave her an alternative suggestion to live at the house of
Ibn-e-Maktoom as he was blind man and she would live there comfortably.
       Uqba bin Amir relates that the Prophet advised not to visit women in
isolation. One man enquired about the case of the brothers of a woman‟s
husband. The Prophet said, “They are just death” It has been recorded in
Muslim and Bukari.
       According to another reference of the Muslim the Prophet said, “
From now onwards no man will visit a woman in the absence of her husband
unless he is accompanied by one or two other persons.
       The above quoted two references prove that normally there is no
restriction upon the interaction of men and women within the code of
conduct formed in Al-Nur. However, since the Quran is strictly against
adultery, no man and woman without a blood relationship should stay in
isolation with each other lest they should melt away. The husband‟s brother
can live in the same house, chat and dine together with their brother‟s wife
but should not stay alone with her in a bedroom. Some people argue that the
woman should cover her face in front of her brother in Law but it is not
mentioned at all in the Hadith.
       If a man, in any case to go into a house where the husband is not
present, the visitor may enter with the prior permission of the housewife. It
is advisable that he should take one or two reliable persons with him in order
to avoid any misunderstanding.
       According to Islamic etchings, women are exempted from compulsory
military training. However, Islam encourages women to render allied
services like dressing of wounds, cooking and safe-guarding the camps
during war. It is obvious that they need training to perform these services
and they have to interact with men. All such services are performed by
observing the interactions laid down in Al-Nur but covering of face is not
possible at all in such a training.
       Various Hadiths prove that the Prophet‟s wives and women used to
accompany the army and rendered the above services. This had been
practice before and after the revelation of Al-Nur and Al-Ahzab. For
instance a Hadith is recorded in Kitab-ul-Jihad of the Bukhari and related by
Ayesha that the Prophet used to decide through draws which of his wives
had to accompany him on any journey. Once she accompanied the Prophet
as her name had come out through draw. This incident took place after the
revelation of Quranic verses about Hijab (special instructions for the
Prophet‟s wives).

Islam and Woman                                                             35

       Anas relates as recorded in Kital-ul-Jehad of the Muslim that the
prophet used to keep Umm-i-Saleem and certain other women in his
company at the time of war. These women used to provide drinking water to
the soldiers and dress their wounds.
       Anas through Kitab-ul-Jihad of the Bukhari and Kitab-ul-Amarah of
the Muslim that once the Prophet visited the house of a woman named Bint-
e-Malham. He felt sleepy and kept sleeping for some time. On waking up, he
smiled. Bint-e-Malham inquired the reason of smile. The Prophet told his
dream to her. He had seen that some persons from his Ummah would be
taking a voyage with an aim to participate in war. They would look like the
crowned kings. Bint-e-Malham wished that she were among them and
requested the Prophet to pray for the fulfillment of her desire. The Prophet
told her that she would be among the leading ones. It is said that afterwards
Bint-e-Malham participated in a battle and died while returning from war.

       In other reference recorded in Bukhari and Kitab-ul-Jihad of the
Muslim, Anas relates that on the day of the battle of UHAD Ayesha and
Umm-i-Saleem were providing drinking water to the soldiers. They were
gathering the hems of their shirts and their ornament worn round their ankles
were visible.
       Rabi Bint-e-Mauz relates through Kitab-ul-Jihad of the Bukhari that
she along with other women used to participate in war by rendering the
services like providing drinking water to the soldiers, shifting the wounded
and the martyrs to Madinah and doing other useful services.
       According to Kitab-ul-Jihad of the Muslim Umm-i-Attiya relates that
she had been with the Prophet during seven battles. She used to look after
the tents of the soldiers, cook food for them, look after the wounded and
provide medicine to them.
       It should be kept in mind that during the Madinite period, war was a
matter of routine as the enemy had been always busy in hatching up
conspiracies against the new Islamic state. Thus it was necessary for the
assisting women to identify all Muslims as otherwise they could not have
been able to make a difference between Muslims and the enemies because
there was no distinction of dress and the battle were also fought hand to
hand. In the same way the same duty can be performed today after having
acquired necessary training. It is necessary to observe the instructions of Al-
Nur but more restrictions would make this service impossible.
       In the previous pages, we have analyzed all Hadiths recorded in the
most authentic books of Hadith like the Muslim and the Bukhari in the
context of man-woman interaction. It is noteworthy that there is no

Islam and Woman                                                            36

contradictory Hadith. The Hadiths considered to be contrary to this
erroneously are, in fact the description of the verse 53 of Al-Ahzab
pertaining exclusively with the Prophet‟s wives and a great number of them
are weak in reliability. Their real context would be given on the coming
       Now we have to consider the issue regarding the restriction of dress at
the time of man-woman meeting. It is important to note that most of the
Hadiths, in this context are unreliable. Only one Hadith is considered to be
„Hasan‟ (better). There is not even a single reliable Hadith in this context.
The references about women have already been discussed. So far as men are
concerned the first reference has been recorded in Darqutmi and is as under.
         “Abu Ayub Ansari relates through the Prophet that whatever is
below the navel and ablove knees to be concealed”.
       In fact this is a very weak and unreliable reference because one of its
relaters same saeed Bin Rashid was unreliable according to Imam Bukhari
and Imam Nisaiwas the case of another relater i.e Abad Bin Kaseer.
       Second Hadith has been recorded in Abu Daud and Ibn Majah.
According to these books Ali relates a Prophet‟s saying:
              “Never reveal your thighs.”
       Abu Daud expresses that a middle link in this Hadith is
       missing. Ibne Majah
has recorded the name of Ibn Juraish who used to impart Hadith after
having collected from the unreliable sources. Thus this is also a weak
       Third is the reference of Tirmizi that the Prophet said, “Never
be naked because you have angels with you with the exception that
when you visit your wives or go to the toilet. So respect
angels.”Tirmizi expresses that one of its relaters, Bass Bin Abi Salim
was suffering from forgetfulness.
       Next is the reference recorded in Abu Daud and Tirmizi. Jarhad
Aslami, one of the companions of Suffah relates that one day he was
sitting in the company of the Prophet with open thighs. The Prophet
disliked it and said, “Don‟t you know your thighs are to be kept
concealed and close?” Al-Mujam-al-Kabir, after having writing down
this Hadith expresses that it is not considered authentic one because
some of its relaters are not reliable.
       However, if this Hadith is considered authentic even then it
merely proves that no one should keep his thighs open in a mosque.
As we know that the companions of Suffah used to stay in the mosque
of the Prophet for the acquisition of knowledge. The Prophet was, in

Islam and Woman                                                                37

fact teaching the people at that time when Jarhad‟s thighs were open,
so the Prophet drew his attention towards it. It does not mean that
thighs can not be opened in any case.
       After having analyzed all these Hadiths, now we find out what
has been said in the Quran regarding manners of dress. Quran
discusses this matter in Al-Aaraf-7: 20-33. We can get an impression
about the desired meaning of the Quran through the study of above
mentioned verses.
       According to the Quran, the Satan seduced man, first of all,
through nakedness and the guilt of sin was realized by Adam and Eve
after they became naked in front of each other. The Quran then
addressing the whole mankind in general, says that dress is meant to
conceal their parts of shame and to make them look nice. The dress
worn in the fear of God is ideal. They must avoid being watched
naked as it is obscenity. They must wear modest and full dress while
they are in mosque. They can adorn themselves but should not wear
obscene dress:
              “But devil tempted them, so that he might reveal to them
       that which had been hidden from them of their shame. He said:
       „Your Lord has forbidden you to approach this tree only to
       prevent you from becoming angels or immortals.‟ Then he
       swore to them that he would give them friendly counsel. Thus
       he cunningly seduced them. After they had eaten of the tree,
       their shame became visible to them and they both covered
       themselves with the leaves of the garden. Their Lord called to
       them, saying: „Did I not forbid you to approach that tree, and
       did I not warn you that the devil was your sworn enemy?‟ They
       replied: „Lord, we have wronged ourselves. Pardon us and have
       mercy on us, or we shall surely be among the lost?”
              “Children of Adam! We have given you clothing with
       which to cover your nakedness, and garments pleasing to the
       eye, but the finest of all these is the robe of piety. That is one of
       Allah‟s revelations. So that they take heed. Children of Adma!
       Let the devil not deceive your, as he deceived your parents out
       of Paradise. He stripped them off their garments to reveal to
       them their nakedness. He and his companions see you whence
       you cannot see them. We have made the devils supporters of the
       non believers. When they commit an indecent act, they say:
       „this is what our fathers used to do before us. Allah Himself

Islam and Woman                                                              38

       enjoined it.‟ Say: „Allah does not enjoin what is indecent.
       Would you tell of Allah what you do not know?”
              “Children of Adam! Dress well every time you pray. Eat
       and drink, but avoid exess. He does not love the intemperate.
       Say: „who has forbidden you to wear the nice clothes or to eat
       the good things which Allah has bestowed upon His servants?
       Say: „These are for the faithful in the life of this world, (though
       shared by others); but they shall be their alone on the day of
       resurrection; thus we make plain our revelations to people of
       understanding. Say my Lord has forbidden all indecent acts,
       whether overt or disguised, sin and wrongful oppression; He
       has forbidden you to associate with Him that wchich is not
       sanctioned by Him, or to tell of Allah what you do not know;
       The way the Quran has unified the philosophy of dress,
wisdom, history and practical instructions, it could not have been
possible had it not been a revealed book. Now we will concentrate on
some of him directues of these verses.
       Firstly, one should wear a dress in normal circumstanced which
is modest and covers the whole body except the parts used in
performing the necessary works like face, head, hands, feet, and the
arms partially. The dress should conceal the human parts of shame.
Special heed should be paid to dress at the time of prayer.
       When more parts of body are required to be revealed for games
or swimming, the dress worn should not be obscene. The women
should cover the projected parts of their bodies even in such situations
as directed in Al-Nur (It is worth mentioning that now-a-days such
dresses are easily available that cover women‟s bodies and they can
participate in any game. Even they can swim).


       The special instructions for the Prophet‟s wives have been
described through quoting the verses 6, 30-34, 53, 55 and 60 of Al-
Ahzab. Now we shall discuss the concerned Hadiths.
       Anas relaters through the Bukhari that Umar Bin Khattab
repeatedly requested the Prophet to keep curtain on his wives‟s rooms
as all sorts of people used to visit him. Thus the Quranic verse about
Hijab was revealed.

Islam and Woman                                                          39

       Umar Relates through the Bukhari and the Muslim that he
requested the Prophet to direct his wives to remain behind curtain as
all sorts of people, good and bad used to visit him. Consequently, the
verse about Hijab was revealed.
       The above two references make it clear that the verse about
Hijab was exclusively revealed for the Prophet‟s wives. Owing to this
extraordinary significance of their status and the unusual
circumstances, God directed that there must always be curtains on
their doors which were adjacent to the Prophet‟s Mosque and that no
one except the closest relatives should enter their rooms.
       According to another Hadith, related by Anas and recorded in
the Bukhari the Prophet invited people on dinner arranged at his home
in connection with his marriage with Zainab. After having eaten the
food, the people remained busy in chat for a long time. Zainab, the
newly married bride of the Prophet was feeling very uncomfortable
due to their presence. The Prophet realized it. In order to show his
disapproval of their overstay, the Prophet cam out of the house. After
some time when he re-entered the house, people were still there.
However, they realized their mistake and dispersed. After a while, the
Prophet came out of the house and related the just revealed Quranic
verses relating to Hijab.
       The above quoted Hadith reveals the real motive behind the
verse of Hijab. It also proves that this verse was only meant for the
Prophet‟s wives. Anas tells that after the revelation of this verse,
curtains were hung on the doors of the Prophet‟s wives.
       As recorded in the Bukhari Ayesha relates that the Prophet‟s
face was an expression of intense grief and shock when he received
the news about the consecutive martyrdoms of different commanders
of Muslim Army in the war of Mauta. Ayesha relates that she was
observing all through a slit of her door.
       Ibn Umar relates through Bukhari that they heard Ayesha
brushing her teeth and clearing her throat from inside her room while
we were sitting and busy in chat in the Prophet‟s Mosque.
       According to another Hadith recorded in the Bukhari, the
Prophet gave some water to two of his companions and asked them to
drink some of it and wash their faces with the rest of it. Umm-i-
Salma, the Prophet‟s wife was watching all from behind the curtain.
She requested both of them aloud to save some of it for their mother

Islam and Woman                                                             40

       Anas relates through the Bukhari that once he and Abu Talha
were accompanying the Prophet in a journey. The Prophet was on a
camel‟s back along with wife Safia. The Camel got unbalanced and
fell down. Consequently the Prophet and his wife fell down as well.
Abu Talha approached the |Prophet and enquired if he was alright.
The Prophet asked him rather to make care of Safia. Abu Talha
covered his face and approached Safia. He put a cloth on her and she
got up.

       It becomes clear through the above references that the Prophet‟s
wives, usually used to stay at home after the declaration of their
special status. Other men were not allowed to visit their homes. The
Prophet‟s companions knew that those holy women were to be
respected even when there was an unusual situation while they where
outside homes. They did not cast their glances on them so as to avoid
any scandal.
       Ayesha relates, as recorded in the Bukhari and the Muslim that once
she was traveling in the company of the Prophet. When the Carvan set out,
she lagged behind by chance. On finding that the caravan had left she sat
down. She was so overpowered by sleep that she could not resist. In the
morning when Safawan Bin Mtal passed from there by chance, he identified
Ayesha as he had seen seen her before the revelation of the verse of Hijab.
He recited a Quranic verse. Ayesha woke up on hearing voice and covered
her face with a cloth.
       The above mentioned Hadith reveals the care taken by the Prophet‟s
wives after the revelation of the verse of Hijab.
       Through another Hadith from Abu Daud Ayesha relates that on her
way to Makkah for the Prophet‟s last Hajj with other companions, she used
to draw the veil of her Ahram (dress used for Hajj) on her face on seeing the
male passers by and uncovered it again when they went away.
       The above Hadith is not reliable because one of its relaters Hasheem
refers it to Yazeed Bin Abi Ziadah while he had never met Yazeed through
his life. (Thzeeb-ul-Tahzeeb) vol-11 page 329) However, if it be reliable it
only proves that the rules for Hijab described in Al-Ahzab were exclusively
for the Prophet‟s wives. This is why they were so cautious even during Hajj
whereas the Prophet had forbidden all men and women to cover their faces
during Hajj.
       There is another Hadith recorded in the Muslim and the Bukhari and
described in detail in the Nisai that the father of Saudah, the Prophet‟s wife,
had a son of his maid slave and thus a brother of Saudah. A person named

Islam and Woman                                                            41

Utbah claimed during the last moments of his life that the particular boy was
his son. When this petition was filed in the court of the Prophet he dismissed
it and laid down a legal statute that the son belongs to the person on whose
bed he took birth. Since the boy had a close resemblance with Utbah, the
Apostale advised Saudah not to allow that boy to enter her house.
       Though the brothers of the Prophet‟s wives could enter the houses of
their sisters as laid down in Al-Ahzab; verse-55 but the relationship of that
boy with Saudah as her brother had become a dubious matter (surely the
Prophet would have been intimated though revelation that the boy was not
the real brother of Saudah). This was the reason that Prophet advised Saudah
to observe Hijab from that boy.
       A long incident has been related in Kitab-ul-Khiraj of Abu Daud. A
part of it says that two paternal cousins of Zainab, the Prophet‟s wife came
to the Prophet with the request of some job. They were sitting with the
Prophet out side his room while Zainab was inside it. When needed Zainab
talked to them from behind the curtain. Thus it proves that even the paternal
and maternal cousins were not allowed to come before the Prophet‟s wives
as per verse 55 of Al-Ahzab.
       According to another Hadith once Aflah, the foster brother of
Ayesha‟s father came to her house and sought her permission to enter.
Ayesha was a bit reluctant as she was not clear whether a foster uncle comes
in the closest cirlcle in the light of verse 55 of Al-Ahzab. The Prophet told
Ayesha that a foster uncle is like one‟s father.
       According to a Hadith form the Bukhari, after his marriage with
Zainab, when the Prophet was entering his room, Anas also tried to
accompany him. The Prophet forbade him to enter as Al-Ahzab had already
been revealed and consequently he remained outside.
       According to a Hadith recorded in the Muslim and the Bukhari, once
Saudah, the Prophet‟s wife went outside her home. Umar Bin Khitab, on
seeing her, checked her and expressed his disapproval. Saudah, complained
before the Prophet who told her that she could come outside her home to
meet some necessity. Obviously. Umar had a confusion regarding the
interpretation of the instructions issued through Al-Ahzab which was
clarified by the Prophet.
       According to a narrative registered in Kitabul Fazal of the Muslim and
the Bukhari the Prophet was sitting inside his room once. Some women from
the Quraish sitting in the company of the Prophet and were talking loudly.
Umar came there and sought the Prophet‟s permission to enter the house. On
being granted the permission to Umar, the women sitting there ran away and
hid themselves behind a curtain. The Prophet smiled on watching all that.

Islam and Woman                                                               42

On the enquiring of Umar, the Prophet told him the whole story, Umar spoke
loudly to those women and said, Enemies, of your souls.! You should rather
fear the Prophet more than me.‟ The women replied; you have a hot temper
while the Prophet has polite temperament.
       The above incident is enough to show the difference between a
religious principle and one‟s temperament.
       According to another narrative Umm-i-Salma relates through Tirmizi
and Abu Daud that once she was sitting with the Prophet. Maimoonah or
Ayesha was also present. A Prophet‟s companion, Ibn Maktoom came there.
The Prophet directed both the women to go behind the curtain. Umm-i-
Salma pleaded that Ibn Maktoom was blind man and thus he could neither
see them nor identify them. The Prophet asked, “Are you both blind too?
Can‟t you see him?”
       The above narrative is weak as its middle narrator. Binhan, the
liberated slave of Ummi-i-Salma is not considered authentic by most of the
experts in Hadith except Ibn Hubban (Al-Jami-al-Ahkam-al-Ahkam-al-
Quran chapter 12, page 228) Tirmizi has declared it not that weak. But Hafiz
Zabibi says that other scholar‟s don‟t accept the verification of Tirmizi as
most of his approved Hadiths prove to be weak on later ascertainments
(Meezan-al.Eitadal) chapter -4 page 416)

    HADITHS ABOUT                PRECAUTIONARY             MEASURES          AT

       Now we tend towards the fifth topic regarding the precautionary
measures to be adopted at unsafe pleaces‟. It has already been made clear
that God directed muslim women to take a big cloth round their bodies over
their clothes at unsafe places, through Al-Ahzab verse 58- 60. It was
customary in Arab society even before Islam that women of respectable
families used to take a big cloth while going out of their houses. The Quran
has directed to take this measure only at risky places. The women are not
advised to cover their faces even through this verse. However, we can infer
that the face can be partially covered if the nature of the risk is graver. Those
days, women did not use „Jalbab‟ for the purpose of covering their faces.
The women desirous of covering their faces used to do so with another veil.
Such women were known as „Manqabah‟ (Taking veils). Women have not
been directed any where in the Quran or Hadith to cover their faces.
However, in some incidents. „Manqabah‟ women are mentioned. We will
discuss it later on.

Islam and Woman                                                              43

       It is clear through history that taking of a big cloth and covering of
face with a veil is an old custom and not merely order issued just fourteen
hundred years ago. It was a tradition in several civilizations of the world. For
example, 1200 years B.C, during the Ashori period, detailed legislation was
compiled about the veil for women (this informative and interesting detail
can be seen in any good encyclopedia). Not only this, some important men
like kings etc also used to cover their faces to keep themselves away from
their subjects, in some societies. Even today, the tradition of veil exists in
some non-muslim societies. It is observed very strictly among some factions
of Hundus. In some areas like Rajhistan some non-muslim women conceal
their faces completely even today according to their customs thousands of
years old.
       In the same way several Arab women used to cover their faces with
veil and women of noble families used Jalbab‟ while going outside even
before Islam. The pre-Islamic Arabic poetry testifies the above fact. A poet
of that period, seerah Bin Qafsi says in a verse:
              „While fleeing away from the battle field your women‟s
       faces were uncovered due to intense fear and anxiety as if they
       were slaves whereas they were your noble ladies.”
       Another poet, Rabi bin Zaid says in an elegy written in the memory of
              “Our women kept their faces covered before the death of
       malik but they had to lift their veils afterwards.”
       Maulana Ameen Ahsan Islahi puts down a verse of a poetess from the
tribe Huzail on page 269: vol -6 of „Tadabbar-i-Qura‟ with the similar sense.
       Thus some women used to cover their faces and took „Jalbab‟ even
during the normal circumstances before the revelation of the Quran as well.
Islam neither bade for anything nor forbade to do so because it has a policy
of abstaining from interfering in the existing social practices of any society
to the maximum possible level. Therefore Islam brought slight reformation
by advising women to take „Jalbab‟ at unsafe places. Rest was left as it was
       Therefore, now some relating Hadiths would be analysed.
       According to a narrative recorded in Kitab-al-Jihad of Abu Daud a
woman, Umm-i-Khalad lost her son in the war of Uhad. She came to the
Prophet for enquiry about her son with her face covered. Some companions
of the Prophet expressed their surprise over her veiled face while she was
enquiring about her son. She answered, “I have lost my son, not my

Islam and Woman                                                               44

       The first thing in this context is that it is a weak narrative. One middle
narrator of this Hadith. Farj Bin Fazalah was, to the experts of Hadiths, an
unreliable man who used to narrate wrong narratives. Thus his narratives
cannot be accepted (Al-Jarah-w-al-Taaded, vol-7: 86 and Tareekh-al-kabir
vol-6: 137)
       However, if the above incident proves to be true, it only ascertains one
thing; Ummi-Khalad was one of those women who used to cover their faces.
Further, this is the incident of the Battle of Uhad when neither Al-Nur nor
Al-Ahzab had been revealed as yet. Obviously, this incident does not
become a precedent for the observation of veil. According to several most
authentic narratives innumerable women used to appear before the Prophet
with their faces uncovered.
       The next narrative has also been registered in Abu Daud (Kitabul
Tarjil). According to this narrative a woman, once handed over a paper
carrying some request to the Prophet from behind a curtain. The Prophet
inquired whether it was the hand of a man or a woman. She replied that she
was a woman. The Prophet said that a woman‟s hand should be at least
coloured with myrtle.
       The above narrative is also weak. The experts ascertain that a middle
narrator of this Hadith, Safia Bint Asmah was an unknown and hence
unreliable source. (Takreeb-al-Tahzeeb Page 480). Another middle link in
this narrative, Muteei bin Memoon was also an ureliable narrator. (Taqreeb-
al-Tahzeeb Page 399)
       The inner evidence of this Hadith also makes the incident doubtful. It
seems strage that the Prophet did not know that it is always a woman who
can hand over something from behind the curtain. Further more it also gives
an impression that coloring of hands with myrtle is compulsory for every
woman whereas it is not at all assential according to the religion.
       The next narrative is registered in Kitab-al-Hajj of Mauta Imam
Malik. It gives the narrative of a female successor of the companions of the
Prophet, Fatima Bint-i-Munzar that she along with other women covered her
face with her veil when she was wearing Ahram (the dress worn during Hajj)
Asma Bint Abu Bakar was also traveling in the company.
       In fact the Prophet had ordered women very clearly not to take veil or
gloves during Hajj. So, the woman mentioned in the narrative wanted to
express that there was no harm in taking the veil on face if needed (for
intense heat or crowed of men). So they used to take veil on faces and even
Asma did not forbid doing that.
       Ayesha relates through kitabul Hajj of Fath-al-Bari as under:

Islam and Woman                                                            45

       “A woman should draw her Jalbab (the long cloth wrapped over
clothes) down on her face”.
       It is also a weak reference as two of its middle links, Hushaim and
Aamash used to relate unreliable narratives (Taqreeb-al-Tahzeeb page 136,
365). Thus this narrative cannot be taken into account.
       According to kitab-al-Bayan of the Bukhari Ayesha relates that the
Prophet had declared the witness of a veiled woman as valid.
       It can be explained as such that a veiled woman should not be asked to
put her veil off to prove her identity when she presents herself in the court.
The judge may verify her identity in private or adopt some other measure. In
fact there were very few women during the Prophetic period who used to
take veil to cover their faces. Therefore, the Prophet had to say this about
them in special.
       Through Bukhaari and Kitab-al-Fazail of the Muslim, Abu Saeed
Khadree expresses that the Prophet was modest like a maiden in veil. He
further says that we could observe the face of the Prophet when he disliked
       It can be explained in the manner that some maidens are so modest
that even a slight thing can make then blush. The Prophet was also such a
modest man. Hence, this narrative is merely narrating a fact and not an order
of the religion.
               Anas relates an incident from the Battle of Khyber as recorded
       in Kitab-al-Maghazi of the Bukhari. The Prophet had married Safia
       but muslims were not clear about that. Thus some persons were
       discussing whether Safia was the Prophet‟s wife or a slave. Some of
       them said that she would be wife if kept behind the curtain otherwise
       the case would be opposite. When the Prophet set out, he placed Safia
       behind himself on the camel‟s back and drew a curtain around her.
       This narrative is making difference clear between the Prophet‟s wives
and other women. The Prophet‟s companions knew that the restrictions of
Hijab were only for the Prophet‟s wife than the ordinary muslim women.
Since they could not confirm the Prophet‟s marriage with Safia direct from
the Prophet due to hesitation, they judged the matter through the restriction
of Hijab for Safia.
       According to a narrative of Tirmizi the Prophet says, “Devil watches a
woman when she steps our of her home”. This is also a weak narrative as
one of its narrators, Fatedah Bin Ramma used to exaggerate while narrating
a Hadith (Al-Naqdees by Ibn Dajar, page…… 102). An amportant point here
is that Mufti Muhammad Shafi has quoted this narrative in his book
“Ma‟araf al Quran” vol-7, page 215 and has declared that according to

Islam and Woman                                                             46

Tirmizi this Hadith “good, and true but with single narrator”. In fact Mufti
Shafi has erroneously misquoted Tirmizi who does not use the word „true‟
for this Hadith. It must be borne in mind that the narratives called as „good‟
by Tirmizi are generally weak. Same is the case here.
        According to a narrative of Tibrani the Prophet says. “Women should
not come out of their houses except in emergency.” It is also a very weak
narrative because its middle narrator, Sawar Bin Musa‟ab was an unreliable
person. Imam Haismi declares the same (Majmah-al-Zawaba vol-2: page
200). Hence it is also a weak and unreiable narrative.
        Ali narrates that once he was sitting in the company of the Prophet
with companions. The Prophet enquired of his companions, “What was
better for a woman?” The Prophet‟s companions had no answer. Ali put the
same question to his wife, Fatima when he went home, Later. Fatima said,
„It is better for women neither to see men nor be seen by them‟. Afterwards
Ali told the reply of Fatima to the Prophet who verified it and said, “She said
it true; surely she is a part of mine.” Mufti Muhammad Shafi has quoted this
narrative in “Ma‟arif-al-Quran vol-7 page 216 without any reference. This is
another weak narrative because its narrators are not identified by the experts.
Imam Haismi, after quoting it in „Majma-al-Zawaied vol-4 4:255 and vol-9,
page 330) says, „It has been copied by Bazaz and several of its narrators are
unknown to me.‟ It must be kept in mind that if an expert refuses to identify
any narrator, the status of that narrative remains no more than a fiction.
        Another narrative is attributed to Umar Ibn Abbas through Tafseer Ibn
Jareer vol-22)
        “God has ordered women to cover their faces with their veils except
their eyes when they go out of their houses for some emergent business.”
        This is a weak narrative. It has been narrated by Ali Ibn Tala‟a with
the reference of Ibn Abbas whereas both had never met each other during
their life time. (Taqreeb-al-Tahzeeb: page 646). Another narrator of this
Hadith, Abu Saleh was not a reliable man to some experts (Tareekh-i-
Baghdad vol-9, page 481)
        Through the above discussion, we have tried our level best to present
all narratives which are important with reference to the topic of man-woman
correlation. While pondering over these narratives, if they are studied free of
Quranic references, they seem to be conflicting very badly. They convey
their true sense and context only when studied in light of the Quran. This
technique also provides us an opportunity to segregate the authentic
narratives from the weak ones. It is important to note that during this
discussion only those narratives could find their true contextual application

Islam and Woman                                                               47

which were taken from the two most authentic books of Hadith; Bukhari
ande Muslim.
       The stand of Maulana Maudoodi:
       Maulana Maudoodi is one of those scholars who have influenced the
educated Muslims of today, the most. The authors of this book are
personally indebted to Syed Maudoodi as their religious spirit and an
inclination to reflect upon Deeen in the light of the Quran and Sunnah are
basically due to the influence of his writings. However, it is a fact that every
person is vulnerable to commit mistakes except the Prophet of God. Since,
the authors of this book disagree with the viewpoints of Syed Moudoodi; his
stand would be analyzed with all respect for him.
       Syed Maudoodi has expressed his views on this topic in “Pardah”,
“Women and religious issues”, “Tafheem-ul-Quran vol-3”, “Tafseer Al-Nur
and vol-4 Tafseer Al-Ahzab.” His views in this regard can also be studied
Rasail-o-Masail” in a scattered manner.
       Syed Maudoodi‟s concept of Pardah can be described through the
following points:
       1.            The real significance is attached to Al-Ahzab-32-33 and
                     59 in the context of „Pardah‟. According to these Quranic
                     verses, a woman has to cover the whole of her face. At
                     the most she can keep her one eye open.
       2.            She will cover her head and bosom from the men of the
                     closest circle except her husband even inside the house.
       3.             A woman shall cover her face from all men except those
                     from the closest circle.
       4.            Shariah has a vague policy about a woman‟s relatives
                     who are neither in her closest circle nor perfect strangers.
       5.            The instructions in Al-Nur, basically deal with the
                     exceptions like some extra-ordinary situation. Normally a
                     woman has to cover her face.
Now we analyse the viewpoints of Syed Maudoodi:
As we have already made it clear in detail that the verses of Al-Ahzab 32-33
and several others besides them are exclusively about the wives of the Holy
Prophet. The Quran addresses them under:
       “Wives of the Prophet! You are not like ordinary woman”.
       Syed Maudoodi opines that this address is like the admonition of a
father to his child when he says:
“You are not like the street children”.
       There is a remarkable difference between this example and the style
of Quran. If the Quran had used the words as under:

Islam and Woman                                                              48

“Wives of the Prophet! You are not like the notorious or street women”
,there could have been the possibility of generalizing their sense. But the
Quranic words, „ordinary women‟ mean that there is a difference between
the Prophet‟s wives and ordinary women.
Syed Maudoodi‟s next argument in this context is that there is nothing in
particular for the Prophet‟s wives in all the next Quranic instructions rather
they are all for ordinary muslim women. Whe have already explained that
the prayer and alms taxes are the only two things towards which even the
Apostle‟s attention has been drawn distinctively though every one knows
that some of the orders for them are different from those meant for the whole
Ummah. So far as rest of the instructions are concerned like, “do not be too
complaisant in your speech” “stay in your homes” „do not display finery as
used to be done in the former days of ignorance” and “bear in mind the
revelations of Allah which are recited in your houses” , they are all related to
the Prophet‟s wives. Unlike this, instructions for ordinary Muslim women
have been revealed through the same Surah and Al-Nur in particular.
       Syed Maudoodi, in this context did not consider that God is not
hostile to our faith and practice that He uses words of one kind which
conveys the sense otherwise. If God intended to issue these instructions to
all Muslim women, He would have rather used the words of Verse-59,
“Prophet enjoin your wives, your daughters and the wives of true believers”
over here as well. If God has not used these words in verses 30-32, there
must be some sound reason for that.
       Maulana Maudoodi interprets verse 59 of Al-Ahzab that women
should wrap their Jalbabs around their bodies so as to cover their faces while
going outside their homes. At the most they can keep one or both their eyes
open to see the way.
       The Maulana has not paid the attention towards the context of this
sentence. He did not consider the justification of the criticism upon
hypocrites and the revelation of this verse. Secondly, why did the Quran not
use the commonly known word of „Niqab‟ if it wanted women to cover their
faces whereas several women used to cover their faces even in that society.
Thirdly, why did the Quran not clearly asked women to cover their faces, if
it wanted to do so. Instead the words used are, “draw their Jalbab round
them”, which have a wider connotation. Fourthly, what do the adjacent
words, “so that they may be recognized and not molested” mean? Is it
necessary to cover one‟s face in a society where a woman who wraps herself
with Jalbab and leaves her face uncovered is considered noble and not

Islam and Woman                                                               49

       Through the above Question, we intend to point out that it is
important; to reflect upon every word and keeping the whole context of an
order in mind while deriving an instruction from the Quran. This is the only
way to understand the wisdom and the wider sphere of every instruction.
       Syed Muadoodi has quoted the opinions of Ibn Abbas and some other
interpreters of the Quran while explaining this verse. Ibn Abbas is the
significant of all others but this attribution to him can not be accepted as true
because he had never met Ali Ibn Talha. So far as the rest of the interpreters
are concerned, the Maulana has differed with all of them on several places in
Tafheem-ul-Quran (the reference of the interpretation of Al-Tin will be
sufficient). It should be kept in mind that all the reference quoted by Syed
Maudoodi related to the unsafe places.
       The second point related to Syed Maudoodi‟s concept of „Hijab‟ is
that a woman should conceal her head and her bosom in front of all close
relatives except her husband even within the house (Pardah:284)
       All six narratives presented by the Maulana as an argument in favour
of this viewpoint are weak. The most prominent Muslim expert in Hadith of
the modern era, Allama Nasir-ud-Din Albani has discussed in detail on the
infirmity of all these narratives in his book, “Hijab-ul-Miratul-ul-Muslima”
and declared them as very weak. We have discussed about it briefly before.
On the other side it is proved through Al-Nur and the true narratives of the
Bukhari and the Muslim that a woman can come before her close relatives
with all her finery in a frank manner but Syed Maudood‟s attention did not
catch it.
       Syed Maudoodi‟s third point is that a woman will cover her face from
all men except from those in the closest circle. He has tendered his
arguments in Tafheem-ul-.Quran vol-3 page381-382. in this context. First he
has quoted the incident of Ayesha and argues that the Prophet‟s companion
could identity her because he had seen her before the instruction of „Hijab‟.
It is obviously an incident related with a wife of the Prophet and the
instructions relating „Hijab‟ in Al-Ahzab were related exclusively for the
Prophet‟s wives. Thus it can not be generalized for other Muslim women.
Next, the Maulana bases his arguments upon the incident of Umm-i-Khallad
though it is a weak narrative. At the third stage he quotes the incident in
which the Prophet enquired whether it was the hand of a man or a woman.
The Maulana argues that the concerned woman was sitting behind the
curtain because the instruction about Hijab had been revealed prior to that
incident. Whole of this narrative is weak. If we accept it true, even then it
just proves that some women used to take Hijab during that period. It has
already been told that several women used to observe Hijab and took veil

Islam and Woman                                                             50

even before the advent of Islam. Islam neither ordered to follow it nor
forbade to do so.
       Next, Syed Maudoodi bases his argument on the narrative of Ayesha
in which she narrates that she covered her face along with Prophet‟s wives
when men encountered them on their way to Makkah for Hajj. This is also a
weak narrative and has a conflict with all other narrative relating to the
instructions regarding Hajj. It is clear through them that a woman should not
cover her face in the state of „Ahram‟ (the dress during Hajj). Several
narratives with the similar sense are recorded in the Bukhari, Nisai, Abu
Daud, Masnad Ahad, Baihaqi and other books of Hadiths. If this narrative is
accepted as true even then we must keep in mind that the instructions of
Hijab for the Prophet‟s wives were different form those for other women.
Naturally the women traveling with the Prophet were his wives.
       Thus all narratives quoted by the Maulana are weak except the one
relating the incident of IFK which was exclusively about a wife of the
       Since Maulana Maudoodi was a writer of extraordinary calibre, at
times he used to offer the arguments which appear forceful in the surface
reading but a minute study ensues conflicting results. For example, the
Maulana has quoted a narrative from the Bukhari and Tirmizi in support of
his argument in Tafheem ul Quran vol-3 page 381. According to this
narrative, at the time of the last Hajj of the Prophet, the first cousin of the
Prophet, Fazal Bin Abbas stared at the face of a woman while she was
asking something from the Prophet. As this narrative indicates that the
woman had her face uncovered, therefore the Maulana pleads that she was in
the state of Ahram and a woman is disallowed to cover her face in that
condition. This argument is absolutely wrong. It is recorded in Tirmizi that
the particular incident took place after the „Qurbani‟ (the slaughter of animal
at the time of Hajj). It is noteworthy that the restriction of Ahram is lifted
after the Qurbani.
       Similarly, quoting the restriction upon the women not to wear gloves
or veil on their faces, the Maulana pleads that this exemption was granted
just because the order of Hijab had already been issued (Pardah 318-319). In
fact neither in the Quran nor through even the weakest narratives the
wearing of gloves or taking of veil is proved. Factually speaking, both these
trends were in practice even before Islam. Islam did not issue any order
affirming them or denying them under normal circumstances. However,
observance of these practices were forbidden during the state of Ahram as it
was a token of humility before God and an apparel of indigence.

Islam and Woman                                                              51

       Next, Syed Maudoodi says that the nature of Hijab cannot be
determined in case of the men in the second circle like first cousins because
it has not been determined by Shariah (Tafheem ul Quran vol-3, 338). He
further creates confusion for the reader by presenting paradoxical and
conflicting narratives in this context and forming an unclear opinion about it.
       It is a pity that the Maulana could not get the original point. If he had
studied verses 27-31 of Al-Nur with an insight he would have known that
the Quran has left no ambiguity in this matter. The Quran says very clearly
that a woman can sit, converse and dine with these relatives with the
observance of the restrictions like keeping modesty in her eyes, protecting
her chastity and concealing her finery. It is worth noticing how the Quran
could left the complicated and delicate issue of man-woman co-relation
       Far as the narratives are concerned, there is no conflict among them.
Unfortunately, Syed Maudoodi has related even weak narratives without
taking their validity into account. In fact true and reliable narratives are
either under Al-Ahzab pertaining with the Prophet‟s wives or under Al-Nur
pertaining with ordinary Muslim men and women. If all true narratives are
studied in the light of the Quranic instruction, they offer no conflict at all.
       Next, Syed Mauddodi expresses that all instructions revealed through
Al-Nur are related with exceptions, the real instruction has been revealed in
Al-Ahzab which, the Maulana relates with the covering of face. While
explaining the instruction of keeping modesty in one‟s look the Maulana
       “No body should have a misunderstanding here that women were
allowed to move with their faces uncovered this is why they were ordered to
have modesty in then looks and keep their eyes low. If the covering of face
had been ordered before, there was no wrong both logically and historically.
It is wrong logically because despite the enforcement of the order of Hijab
for face, there could be a possibility of a man-woman encounter” (Tafheem
ul Quran vol-3, 381).
       It is strange that the Quranic Surahs declared as clear and vivid
instructions by God right in their beginning are being acknowledged by the
Maulana as pertaining with exceptions. On the contrary the verses declared
by God as dealing with exceptions are being acknowledged by the Maulana
as the verses carrying real orders. Let us see what the first verse of Al-Nur
               “This is Surah which we have reveled and sanctioned,
       proclaiming in it clear revelations, so that you may take heed.”

Islam and Woman                                                                 52

              “The words further used by the Quran do not deal with
       exception as well. For example verse 27 dealing with the social
       manners starts as under:
              “Believers, do not enter the dwellings of other people
       until you have asked their owners permission…….”
       After the entrance is made and men and women sit together, the
Quran orders in clear terms and without any exception;
              “Say to the believing men and women to turn away some
       of their gazes and to restrain their sexual desires.”
       In fact the whole Surah tells it so explicitly that its instructions are for
all Muslims and it has been revealed so that the Muslims should be taught
the manners for man-woman correlation. It is a pity that the Maulana has not
been able to interpret and explain this Suhah on so many places. For
example it is clear if we read verses 58-61 with their context that all of these
instructions are about the man-woman correlation. They also carry the
instruction that they may dine together if they desire. This instruction is so
clear that every learner of the Quran would understand it in its true context.
       Unfortunately, the Maulana misinterpreted that this instruction is
merely for men. Such misunderstanding on the part of Maulana Maudoodi
confused the whole matter.
       Unlike this the exceptions are declared by Al-Ahzab itself and make it
clear from the very first verse that it basically deals with the marital affairs
of the Prophet and his wives. Therefore the first verse of Al-Ahzab starts as
              “Prophet, have fear of Allah, and do not listen to the
       unbelievers and hypocrites”
              Verse-6 of the same Surah says:
              “The Prophet has greater claim on the faithful than they
       have on each onther. His wives are their mothers.”
              “O Prophet, say to your wives…………..”
       Verse 30 warns the Prophet‟s wives that they would be doubly
punished in case of a sin and doubly rewarded if they do well.
       Verse 32 says:
              “Wives of the Prophet, you are not like other women.”
       This is the usual tone of Al-Ahzab. Wherever ordinary Muslims are
addressed in this Surah, the reason and the nature of occasion for this
address has been made clear. For example women have been informed that
wearing of „Jalbab‟ is a preventive measure at unsafe places.
              “This is more proper, so that that they may be recognized
       and not molested”

Islam and Woman                                                             53

     Through the above discussion we have, briefly offered a criticism on
Syed Maudoodi‟s viewpoint with regard and respect for him.
     The view point of Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi:

Now we shall analyze the stand of Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi,
another eminent scholar of Muslim world. Mufti Shafi was a great scholar
belonging to the Hanafi school of thought. He enjoined the special status of
“Mufti-e-Azam Pakistan”. “Ma‟arif-al-Quran”, Tafseer of the Quran written
by him is one of the great tafseers of the modern era and a learner of the
Quran can never overlook it. He has described his view on the subject in
Vol-7 through tafseer of Al-Ahzab. We shall criticize his viewpoint with
regard and respect for him. He believes in three categories of Hijab. In the
first and the most desirable category, women should stay at home and their
bodies and their movement should be concealed from the eyes of men. In the
second category, they should cover whole of their bodies with the help of a
big cloth whenever they step out of their homes for some need. They can
keep just one eye open to see the way or they should affix a net in the
portion of cloth facing their eyes. In the third category, they can keep their
faces and hands open while going out of their homes. Mufti Shafi believes
that though last category is admissible according to Imam Abu Hanifa yet it
carries risk and is therefore discarded by the scholars of Hanafi school of
thought. Therefore, this last category is no more admissible.
       He bases his argument on the verses 32-33 of Al-Ahzab in the context
of the first category. Without giving any detail about these verses which are
entirely related with Prophet‟s wives, he expresses that they carry orders for
all. Further all incidents quoted by him in this context belong to the
Prophet‟s wives. Two narratives of the three quoted by him tend to give
sense as if the order for staying at home was meant for ordinary women too.
But all three narratives especially the last two are very weak.
       In support of the second category he offers the interpretation of
Abdullah Ibn Abbas rcorded by Ibn Jareer as an argument. We have already
proved that this reference is very weak.
       In the third category of Hijab (which he believes to be discarded) he
argues on the basis of the narrative of Abdullah Ibn Abbas.
       Here arises a very interesting situation that needs our attention. It is
noteworthy that two paradoxical opinions are attributed to the same
companion of the Prophet. One opinion attributed to Abdullahh Ibn Abbas is
the same quoted above. There is another opinion attributed to him which is
quite contrary to the previous one. It says that a woman is allowed not only
to keep her face and hands open rather she may not conceal any finery worn

Islam and Woman                                                             54

upon them. It has been related by Syed Maudoodi in a satirical and
interesting style to him as under.
       “To him a woman may reveal her face with her adorned lips, eyes full
of collyrium, coloured cheeks and hands adorned with bracelets, rings and
bangles to other men. This reference is related by Abdullah Ibn Abbas and
his disciples and has been accepted by a large faction of the Hanafi school of
thought.” (Tafeem-ul-Quran vol-3,386)
       Is noteworthy that Ayesha also believes that a woman is not bound to
cover her face and hands while going out of her home. The most prominent
expert in Hadith in the present era Allama Albani says:
       “These contrasting views have been recorded by Ibn Jareer in his
Tafseer Vol.18, 84. Ibn Jareer adopts the view that exception pertains with
hands and face both. Thus he believes the interpretation of those scholars
closer to reality who mean this exception to be about face and both hands
with collyrium, hair dye, ring and bracelets. In the course of the
interpretation of this verse the above quoted opinion of Abdullah Ibn Abbas,
Ayesha and other companions of the Prophet is true.” (Hijab-al-Mira‟at-ul-
Muslimah Fi kitab wal Sunnah)
       While discussing the third category of Hijab, Mufti Shafi says that
category should be considered as oblished as there is a risk of mischief in it.
Now no woman should open her face and her palms in front of any man
other than those included in the closest circle.
       It therefore seems appropriate to know what the risk of mischief is and
what is the general temperament of Islam on such occasions. Islam has one
important principle that it is based on convenience. The Quran says:
               “Allah desires your well-being, not your discomfort.”
               “He has laid on you no burdens in the observance of your
       faith. (Al-Hajj-22.78)
               “Allah would lighten your burdens, and man was created
       weak.” (Al-Nisa-4, 28)
               “Allah does not wish to burden you.” (Al-Maida-5,6)
       While relating the justification of the ProphetHood of Muhammad
(sws), the Quran tells the one reason is that Jews had made their religion
very rigid. Their scholars and jurists had laid several restrictions on them.
(They also had a belief in the risk of mischief). God therefore sent His
Prophet to abolish these restrictions:
       “He (the Prophet) relieves them (the Jews converted converted to
Islam) of their burdens and of the shackles that weigh upon them.” (Al-

Islam and Woman                                                            55

       This is why the Prophet said:
       “Deen is easy to adopt”
       And gave the principled instruction:
       “Give convenience to people. Do not put them in trouble.”
       In this context, Ayesha, while describing the life of the Prophet told
that he used to adopt the easier option among the two admissible things.
       Through the above quoted instructions of Islam it becomes clear that
we should not, as principle, impose instruction just for the fear of violation
in any injuction. Rather more and more convenience should be created for
people as rule. Where the words of the Quran or Hadith give vest meanings,
the one according convenience should be adopted. If sternness is the stance
there is a possibility that people refrain from acting upon even the clear
instructions of the faith rather they might turn rebellious to the religion.
       An eminent scholar of Hanafi School of thought, Mufti Ghulam
Sarwar Qadri writes on this topic as under:

             “Respectable companions of the Prophet like Ibn Abbass,
      Qatawa and Mujahid and some of their successors have
      declared covering of face as exception through the words, „draw
      their shawls close round them‟ in the verse of Hijab and the
      same is easy for Ummah. The Prophet teaches to create
      convenience for Ummah to the maximum possible extent and
      not make their way difficult……….. it clearly means that only
      those orders should be told to people which are easy to follow
      so that they may observe them easily. If a religious order has
      two shades, the simpler one should be taught to the people. If
      the difficult aspect is told to the people, they might consider
      Islam as a difficult religion and non-muslims would also have a
      reservation before embracing Islam. If they refrain from
      embracing Islam only because of their considering it a difficult
      religion, the people who paint religion as such would be
      responsible for that.”
      Next Mufti Sarwar Qadri answers to Syed Maudoodi‟s stance on the
incident of IfK and same is answer to Mufti Shafi‟s logic as both these
scholars have the same opinion on this subject:
      “So far as the logic offered by Syed Maudoodi is concerned that
Ayesha concealed her face in front of Safwan, we have already expressed
through the reference of Sunan Abu Daud and Imam Qazi taken form
„Sharh-i-Muslim of Imam Navavi that the covering of face is exclusively for

Islam and Woman                                                             56

the Prophet‟s wives and other women are not bound to follow it.” (Pardah ki
Shari Haisiyet- Mahhama Al-Bir July 1993)
      The above discussion and the analysis conclude that three categories
of Hijab mentioned by Mufti Shafi are not proved by the Quran and Suhhan.

      Answer to the intellectual misunderstanding:

       This book has been written with the objective to make the Islamic
point of view clear on general matters. This is why the discussions on
philosophy, history and logic have been avoided intentionally. However, one
rational point in favour of covering the face of women is presented so
frequently that it needs being noticed. According to this logic, a woman
exhibits her real sensual appeal through her face. Therefore her face should
be covered in order to save her from any risk of mischief from men. It is a
wrong logic. A woman‟s face may reflect her aesthetic quality but it does
not express sensuality. Obviously, a man gets an aesthetic pleasure through
the sight of her face but the sensuality may only be the outcome of a wild
imagination of a sexually perverted man. Such men must be warned of
consequences rather than to impose restrictions upon women. In fact,
sensuality is reflected in a woman‟s naked body, tight dress and inviting
beautification. There is another aspect of the same issue. Some men do have
natural attraction in their faces? Is there any instruction for such men or for
men at a particular age to cover their faces? It seems justified that such men
should also be instructed to cover their faces to avoid any risk of mischief if
women are asked to do so. The third aspect of this issue is that if the risk of
mischief is the parameter, all men and women should remain veiled as well
in order to prevent the risk of homosexuality.
       In fact face reflects the personality and covering of face makes an
individual lose his or her entity. This is not the requirement of the religion
from men and women both. It should only be done when one desires to
conceal one‟s identity.


      This chapter can be summarized through the following points:
      1.    A woman has no restrictions upon herself in her closest circle.
      2.    Every one should seek their permission before entering the
            room of a married couple when they are alone (Al-Nur:58-59)

Islam and Woman                                                          57

    3.    Men and women having mutual interaction like friendly
          relations, kinship, business contacts or the similar must visit
          each other after having sought permission of the owner of the
          house and introduced themselves. They need not seek
          permission at public places (Al-Nur: 27-31)
    4.    Men should wear modest and civilized dress and reflect
          modesty through their eyes and style on such occasions. (Al-
          Nur 27-31_
    5.    The women should also put on civilized and modest clothes.
          They should not disclose their finery on such occasions, if any,
          except that which are mormaly open like hands and face. They
          should put their shawls on their bosoms and avoid stamping
          their feet in walking so as to reveal their hidden trinkets. There
          should be modesty in their eyes and grace in their style. (Al-
    6.    The lame people of the society can be kept in homes like other
          members of family. (Al-Nur:61)
    7.    Men and women may dine together or separately when they
          meet one another. (Al-Nur 61)
    8.    There should not be a show of any misconduct if men and
          women stranger to each other have an encounter somewhere.
          (A.-Nur: 90, Al-Muminum:3)
    9.    Women should wrap a big cloth around their bodies and head
          and over their clothes while going at unsafe places. They should
          wear such a modest dress that they may be recognized as
          respectable women and not molested. (Al-Ahzab 58-60)
    10.   The Prophet‟s wives had distinctive instructions in the context
          of Hijab issued though Al-Ahzab: 6, 30-34, 53,60

Islam and Woman                                                            58


                            Islam‟s Concept of Family

       The fabric of Society stands erect upon the foundation of family. This
is why the Quran has attached great importance to the matters relating to
family and issued clear instruction in this regard. Some of these instructions
are legal in nature i.e. they can be achieved through a court of law. These
instructions include Nikah (marriage), Talaq (divorce) and conflict between
husband and wife. While others are social in nature i.e. they have to be kept
in mind while living in a family. They can not be contested in a court
because they are extremely delicate in nature.
       A family is formed by the sacred and pure love between a husband
and a wife. The mankind took its start with the couple of Adam and Eve.
According to Islamic teachings a man and a woman enter into the bond of
marriage through NIKAH when they make an agreement to live for the
whole life together. It is essential that every new marriage is announced
publically and in the presence of witnesses so that it is known to everyone
that a new couple has been formed. The main objective of this relationship is
to bless both husband and wife with the wealth of love and peace through
each other. Both of them are apparel of each other. Both have equivalent
rights and duties towards each other except at one stage when man as has a
husband an edge upon woman for being the head of family. On the other
side he is more responsible than woman as he has to bear all the expenses his
wife and children.
       Several questions arise in this context, about the rights of women. We
shall discuss all of them one by one. The first question demands an
answer regarding the purpose of marriage. The answer to this question is
that a man and a woman get their sexual relationship legalized through
marriage as any such contact outside the bond of marriage is disallowed by
              The Quran Says:
              “You shall not draw near to adultery, for it is foul and its
       way is evil.” (Al-Isra 17,32)
              Most of the Quranic instructions related to family have
       been issued through Al-Nisa. Therefore it opens as under:
              O‟Mankind! Have fear of your Lord, who created you
       from a single soul. From that soul He created its mate and
       through them He bestrewed the earth with countless men and

Islam and Woman                                                           59

       women. Fear Allah, in whose name you plead with one another,
       and honour the relations of the uterus. Allah is watching over
       you.” (Al-Nisar-4:1)
       After this the Quran relates that the agreement of marriage would take
place through the mutual consent. The one would freely propose the other
for marriage who would give a part of his wealth to the wife as per
agreement. Thirdly, both husband and wife would vow to continue living
with each other in a stable way. Fourthly, there would be an announcement
of this marriage which would legalize their mutual sexual relationship
started after marriage.
               “(Forbidden to you also) are married women, except
       those whom you own as slave. Such is the decree of Allah. All
       women other than these are lawful to you, provided you seek
       them with wealth in modest conduct, not in fornication. Give
       them dowry for the enjoyment you have had of them as a duty;
       but it shall be no offence for you to make any other agreement
       among yourselves after you have fulfilled your duty. Allah is
       knowing, Wise.”(Al-Nisa-4,24)
            “Marry them, so that they should be honorable and chaste.”
Nikah (the bond of marriage) has been called „a firm contact‟ in the verse21
of Al-Nisa. The Verse with similar sense have been placed at different
places in the Quran.
       Next question deals with the nature of the ideal relationship
between a husband and wife according to Islam. In reply to this, it is told
by the Quran that ideal husband and wife love each other. They are like each
other‟s apparel. In fact they complement each other. They save each other
from trouble, accord happiness and conceal each other‟s fault. The Quran
               “They are apparel to you as you are apparel to them.”
       (Al-Baqara-2, 187)
       It further says:
               “It was He who created you (man and woman) from a
       single being. From that being He Created his mate, so that he
       might find comfort in her. And when he had covered her, she
       conceived and for a time her burden was light. She carried it
       with ease, but when it grew heavy, they both cried to Allah,
       their Lord: „Grant us a goodly child and we will be truly
       thankful.” (Al-A „raf 7, 189)
       It says at another place:

Islam and Woman                                                            60

              “And of His Signs is that He gave you wives from among
       yourselves, that you might live in tranquility with them, and put
       love and kindness in your hearts. Surely there are signs in this
       for thinking people.” (Al-Rum30,21)
       The Quran makes it clear that normally men and women are equal in
rights and duties:
              “Women shall with justice have rights normally similar
       to those exercised against them.” (Al-Baqara-2,228)
       Next question pertains with special duties of a man according to
Islam. Islam replies that a man shall fulfill all genuine requirements of his
wife. He will neither tease her nor be unkind to her. He should try to make a
compromise even with habits of his wife, undesirable for him, because no
one is free from faults. The Quran says:
              “O believers, it is unlawful for you to inherit the women
       of your deceased kinsmen against their will, or to bar them
       from re-marriage, in order that you may force them to get a part
       of what you have given them, unless they be guilty of a proven
       crime (adultery). Treat them with kindness; for even if you do
       dislike them, it may well be that you may dislike a thing which
       Allah has meant for your own good.” (Al-Nisa-4,19)
       The Quran also instructs men to be kind to women and surrender their
rights in favour of women. The Quran, after a detailed discussion on the
laws of divorce says:
              “It is more pious that he (man) should forego it (his
       rights). Do not forget to show kindness to each other. Allah
       observes your actions.” (Al-Baqara-2,237)
       Next question requires the answer about the special duties of a wife
according to Islam. Islam determines that a wife shall be loyal and obedient
to her husband and will maintain the secrecy of her husband and his home:
              Good women are obedient. They guard the secrets of
       family as Allah guards the secrets of Human beings (Al-Nisa
Hence a wife has to take care of life, honour, property, children, secrets and
temperament of her husband. Normally, she has to remain obedient and
faithful to him. She should not adopt an attitude of humiliation and insolence
with him. She should be true well wisher and confidant of her husband and
should not be rebellious to him.
       Next question is who is the head of the family according to Islam.
Islam pleads that the unit of family is alo a tiny state that needs a head.
Headship is not merely a right rather a great responsibility. The head has to

Islam and Woman                                                              61

meet all requirements of the members of his family. He has to take care of
everything, protect his house and show resistance to any offence against the
house. Man has been gifted with the qualities required for headship like
toughness of body, hardwork, sprit of competition in society, and the will to
spend on his family. This is why husband has been appointed as head of his
family. The Quran uses the Arabic word „Qawam‟ for him which means the
person who guards and meets all requirements. Therefore it is the
prerogative of man to be the „Qawam‟ and his responsibility too.
       It shall also be borne in mind that God, according to the Quran has
given superiority to one over the other in different respects. For example if
man is more suitable for performing safe-guarding duties, woman has been
made befitting for the job of rearing kids. The Quran says:
              “Men (as husbands) are Qawam over women because
       Allah has made the one superior to the others (at times man and
       at times woman) and because (in this situation) they spend their
       wealth to maintain the family”. (Al-Nisa-4,34)
       At another place the Quran says:
       “Wives shall with justice have rights similar to those exercised against
them; although husbands have an edge above them (as Qawam).” (Al-
       There are some more notable points in the above two verses that need
explanation. Firstly, whether any man is a „Qawam” of his mother after his
father‟s death. The answer is that it is not so. It is clear through the context
of both the Quranic verses that convey the sense of husband and wife only.
Thus the whole discussion here is related to the relationship between
husband and wife. The discussion related to other relations gets room at
other places in the Quran.
       Secondly, whether God has granted man an absolute superiority over
owmen as the part of verse 34 of Al-Nisa, “Allah has made one superior to
the other”, gives the similar sense apparently. In fact man has no absolute
superiority over woman as the Quran has made it clear that other than
headship, man and woman are equal in all respects. The above mentioned
part of the Quranic verse says, „Allah has made the one superior to the others
(at times men and at times women)‟. It means that someone might be
superior to others due to some special characteristics and vice versa. If God
had an intention to declare men as superior to women absolutely, he would
have laid it down in clear terms that „God has granted man absolute
superiority over woman‟. It must be kept in mind that the Quran says every
important and fundamental thing very clearly. It says a thing in an abstract

Islam and Woman                                                             62

way only where it is required for example the Quran has described the
matter of superiority very clearly in the verse 32 of the same sura as under:
              “Do not cobet the favours by which Allah has exalted
       some of you above others. For men is a portion of what they
       earn, and for women is a portion of what they earn. Ask Allah
       for his grace.” (Al-Nisa-4,32)
       Next is the question how far is a husband authorized in enforcing
something upon his wife. The answer is that although husband is the head
of the family in matters related to the organization of home, but he should
always consult his wife and he cannot interfere in the personal life of his
wife. In Chapter Shura the Holy Quran has laid down the principle of
consultation obligatory in all affairs. Husband does not have veto power
because the Holy Quran has given the wife right of holding difference of
opinion with the husband through verse 35 of chapter Nisa.
       Our religion aims at inculcating a temperament among us so that there
is perfect harmony, unity and happiness inside the home, all decisions are
taken after mutual consultation and understanding and man and woman
fulfill each other‟ requirements to maximum possible limit and avoid
glancing at temptations outside their home. Islam declares a family a tiny
state where every matter should be resolved wisely and nicely. Islam advises
man to regard his wife‟s liking in these matters. The Prophet was so
particular about the husband- wife relationship that he talked about it on the
significant occasions of his last sermon.
       Man cannot interfere in the personal matters of his wife (Al-Baqara-2
verse 228). For example he has no claim on the property of his wife. He
cannot force her to wear a particular dress or eat a particular food. He cannot
stop her from meeting her close relatives and offering her prayers in the
mosque. Thus a man has no command over his wife in her commonly known
personal matters. The Prophet has described it in detail on various occasions.
       Since Islam calls man and woman as apparel of each other, it expects
wife to regard the feelings and liking of her husband in such matters.
Husband and wife conceal each other‟s faults and thus are part and parcel of
each other” (Al-Baqara-2: 187)
       Next is the question whether Islam allows men to strike their wives
physically. What is the true situation?
       According to the Holy Quran a husband is not authorised to strike his
wife or torture her physically under any circumstances. He cannot do so
even if she happens to be the source of a big financial loss or her children
get spoiled due to her negligence. However, he can strike her only when she
becomes unfaithful to him and shows open disobedience towards him by

Islam and Woman                                                             63

taking interest in other men. In such situation, the Quran advises men first to
convince their wives in a nice way. If the situation doesn‟t get better, he
should start sleeping apart. This might make a woman realize of her fault of
insolence and disobedience. If the previous situation still persists, a husband
is allowed to strike his wife mildly (Al-Nisa -4, 34) but it should not be
uncontrolled and the target should not be the face or any other delicate part
of her body. The purpose is to make her realize of the gravity of the situation
that the family will be destroyed if she does not mend her ways.

It should also be kept in mind that hard striking is totally prohibited for any
person by the Holy Quran in verse 45 of chapter Maida.
       The Quran says:
              “As far as those (Women) whom you (husbands) fear
       unfaithfulness, first admonish them, then send them to beds
       apart and (if the situation is still grave then you can) beat them,
       then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Allah
       is High, Supreme.” (Al-Nisa-4, 34)
       This situation gives birth to two more questions. First, why Islam has
allowed a husband to beat his wife? In fact Islam desires to safeguard the
state of family and wishes that the internal secret should not be slipped out.
Islam wants peace every where and advises every Muslim to remain loyal to
his state and obey every order given by the state except that which forces
him to commit a sin (like drinking wine). In the same way, Islam wants that
the small state of family should be a model of love and peace. It should stay
intact and in order to save it from dismemberment a husband may take some
disciplinary action. God has allowed to do so because it is a lesser evil as
compared to the dismemberment of a home.

       Hence, Islam wishes to save this unit so that this important foundation
of society stays intact.
       Second question is: to what extent a man can strike his wife in case of
unfaithfulness? It has been made clear that a man is not allowed to beat his
wife except for this matter. The husband can, even in this matter beat her
mildly as a performer and not as torturer. The target should not be the face
or any other delicate part of the body. The Prophet‟s saying has been
recorded in authentic books of Hadith through reliable narratives. For
example it is recorded in the MISHKAT:
              “I asked the Prophet about the right of our wives upon us.
       He told to feed them the same food that we eat and to clothe
       them as we clothe ourselves. We should not strike them on face

Islam and Woman                                                              64

       in case of unfaithfulness. If we want to take a disciplinary
       action through separation, we should not live apart rather just
       sleep apart.”
       The Prophet made it clear in this context that the Prophets never did it
and it is not desirable for nice men. The Prophet‟s words are, “nice men
won‟t deal with their wives in this manner.”
       The Quranic support for this instruction of the Prophet is that severe
physical punishment or other similar kind of torture is a state crime and there
is no exception for any one including husband and wife in this matter. (Al-
Miada 5, 45)

       The third question is: does wife has similar and equivocal rights if her
husband is unfaithful to her. The answer from this scribe is Yes. Further
details are given in a separate article.

        Here a contextual question arises whether there should be legislation
on the state level against the violence within a house. The answer is that
violence against women is serious issue in some Muslim societies. Men
don‟t hesitate in beating their wives even on trivial matters and at times hurt
them physically. It is therefore necessary that legislation is done at the state
level on this matter. This would inculcate awareness in the society that a
man may take disciplinary action against his wife only when she becomes
unfaithful to him and it should also be a reformatory action. It should be kept
and mind that if a wife comes to a court of law with complaint of torture
against her husband, the husband will have to prove her unfaithfulness,
otherwise he will be punished for false allegation or his wife will be
separated from him, meaning that he will have to face grave consequences.
It is also necessary that legislation be done for the judicial inquiry of every
accidental death of a woman i.e through the stove burst etc.

       The next question is: has the wife got the right of difference of
opinion with her husband. The answer is Yes. If there is a difference of
opinion of a serious nature or a conflict to such an extent that husband and
wife reach the stage of divorce, it is obligatory upon family fiends, relatives,
society and finally the state to activate themselves and appoint a two –
member jury (one from each side) to reach a broad based agreement and a
peaceful co-existence. Both the members should try to resolve the dispute in
the way acceptable to both the parties so that husband and wife lead their
future life accordingly. The Quran says:

Islam and Woman                                                              65

            “If your fear a breach between a man and his wife,
      appoint an arbiter from his people and another from hers. If
      they (husband and wife) wish to be reconciled, Allah will bring
      them to together again. Allah is knowing, Wise.” (Al-Nisa-4,

       The next issue in this context taken directly by the Quran is
related to dower. Dower is, in fact the amount paid by a man with a vow of
taking life long responsibilities to the woman entering into the bond of
marriage with him as an acknowledgement of the submission on her part in
terms of body and will. Islam has determined this amount as a token that the
woman may utilize it as and where she desires freely and conveniently. The
Quran has attached great significance to it and has mentioned it at ten
different places. It is essential that the amount of the dower is determined at
the time of marriage.
       The Quran directs that this amount should be determined keeping in
view the social and financial conditions (Al-Nisa-4, 24-25). However, this
amount should be handsome enough to grant her sense of security.
       It can be decided mutually whether the amount of dower would be
paid immediately at the time of marriage or a part of it would be paid
afterwards on the demand of his wife.
       Later, the wife may surrender a part of the dower if she desires (Al-
Baqara-2, 229-237). There is a general confusion in our society that amount
of dower is determined by Islam as Rupees Thirty Two and Annas ten only.
In fact, the religion doesn‟t determine any such amount. This amount was, in
fact suggested by the Muslim scholars during the reign of Aurngzeb
Alamgir, the famous Mughal emperor of the Indian Sub-Continent, for the
convenience of the masses. The amount of that time equals lacs of Rupees
today because, during those days one Tola gold could be bought in one
Rupee (Tola is unit of weight in Inida-subcontinent equal to ten grams.)
       There is another misunderstanding that the wife will have to return the
dower in case she demands divorce. In fact, at times the amount of dower is
determined in a unrealistic manner for example the native house of the
husband, his all or partial property etc. Later when husband and wife decide
separation, the husband delays the divorce for the fear of surrendering a
large part of his property. In such a situation, the Quran directs us to resolve
the matter through the principle of „give and take‟ and such unrealistic terms
should be made moderate through mutual consultation (Al-Baqara-2, 229).

Islam and Woman                                                              66

In case of divorce after Nikah but before the bride‟s formal departure from
her parents the husband will have to pay half of the dower to the woman (Al-
Baqara-2 :237)
       Next, the Quran directly instructs that Nikah with some relatives
and persons is disallowed. It is so because these are the relations which
should be based on pity, love and affection without any pollution of sexsual
desires. There should not be any kind of envy or antagonism. This
instruction has been issued through Al-Nisa-4:23.
       According to this instruction a man is disallowed to marry his mother,
daughter, sister, maternal and paternal aunts, nieces, foster mothers and
daughters-in-law. Besides this a man is not allowed to marry-two sisters or
an aunt and her niece (parernal and maternal both) at the same time. A
muslim man cannot marry a pagan woman but he may marry a Christian or a
Jew woman if she is chaste. The Quran says:
              “(All) good things have this day been made lawful to
       you. The food of those to whom the Book was give is lawful to
       you and yours to them. Lawful to you are the free believing
       women and the free women from among those who were given
       the Book before you, provided that your give them their
       doweries and live in honour with them, neither committing
       fornication nor taking them as mistresses.” (Al-Maida-5, 5)
       Muslim women are not allowed to marry any non-muslim man in any
case. The Quran says:
       “They (Muslim women) are not lawful to the infidels; nor are the
infidels lawful to them‟. (Al-Mumtahana-60,:10)
       At this stage two questions require their answer. First is it not unjust
to allow a man to marry from a community with the Book while a woman is
deprived of this right? The answer is that Muslims verify and respect the
Prophets and Books of those communities and thus no muslim man can hurt
the feelings of a non-muslim woman. On the other side, these communities
do not acknowledge the Prophet Hood of Muhammad (sws) at all and
therefore there is a strong fear that a non-muslim man would not regard the
feelings of a Muslim woman.
       The other aspect of the above instruction is that it was issued after the
Holy Prophet had directly offered all these communities to accept Islam
through his hectic efforts spanned on almost twenty years (thirteen years of
Makkah period and almost seven to eight years of the newly established
Islamic state of Madina) Hence, it seems that if a woman embraces Islam
while her Husband is still non-muslim, she need not sever her relations with

Islam and Woman                                                           67

him unless he remains adamant even after the persuasion of several years to
accept Islam as his religion.
       Above are the instructions about which the Quran has laid down very
clear verses. Now we would heed towards certain issues which have
assumed great significance in the present era:
       Firstly, since woman of today feels herself very insecure owing to the
prevalent social conditions, is it possible to include some terms in the
bond of marriage to grant her sense of security? For example it may be
decided that the husband would pay a fixed stipend to his wife for her
personal commitments or he would not force her to quit her job if she is
already having one or she would be given a separate house to live in or he
would have to pay a particular amount to his wife in case of divorce or
would not marry another woman etc. According to the Quran, Nikah is an
open agreement between a man and a woman therefore all such terms can be
included in it rather, it is requirements of the present time keeping in view
the social conditions. It is an obligation upon the government to include all
such conditions in the officially printed Nikah Forms.
       Second: is a woman free to marry the man of her choice and is she
authorized to take final decision regarding her marriage or her life
partner would be chosen by her „Wali‟ (a nearest related responsible
       Islam believes in an ideal situation in the context of marriage when
there is a perfect harmony between the man and the woman and their
respective families on the proposed marriage. However, if such ideal
situation does not exit, no man is allowed to arrange the marriage of a
woman against her will rather she is free to marry the man of her choice in
case of a dispute. The logic here is that the Quran declares marriage a free
and sloid contract between two wise persons having an insight into the
matter. They have to live together and accept all responsibilities. Hence,
they should be acknowledged free and independent in the accomplishment
of this strong contract.
       The Quran has declared it clearly that women are free to marry
according to their will and no one can cast impediments in their ways. The
Holy Book has mentioned this right of a woman especially in a case where it
is feared that people would cast obstacles in her way and would consider her
marriage as a matter of their prestige. For example it is feared that the
relatives of the ex-husband of a widow or a divorced woman would try to
stop her from remarrying. The Holy Quran says:
              “If a man has a divorced his wife and she has reached the
       end of her waiting period (three menstrual cycles) do not

Islam and Woman                                                           68

        prevent her from remarrying if they (man and woman) have
        come to an honourable agreement. This is enjoined on every
        one of you who believes in Allah and the Last Day; it is more
        honourable for you and more chaste. Allah knows, but you do
        not.” (Al-Baqara-2, 232).
        It further says:
                “And those of you who die and leave wives behind. Such
        women should keep in waiting for four months and ten days
        after their husband‟s death. When they have reached the end of
        their waiting period, it shall be no offence for you to let them
        do whatever they choose for themselves, provided that it is
        lawful. Allah is cognizant of what you do”. (Al-Baqara-2, 234)
        The above quoted Quranic verses prove it vividly that the will of a
woman is final in the matter of her marriage. If anyone else had the final
authority on this matter, it would have been, definitely put own in the Holy
Book very clearly. Not only this but the Quran also grants the right of
marriage to a woman in particular situation of divorce. It would be discussed
latter in this book. The Holy Book says:
                If a man divorces his wife (after the two divorces), he
        cannot remarry her until she has wedded another man and been
        divorced by him (the second husband); in which case it shall be
        no offence for either of them (the first husband and the divorced
        woman) to return to the other (means remarry each other), if
        they think that they can keep within the limits set by Allah”
        (Al-Baqara-2, 230)
        After this clear Quranic statement when we turn our attention
towards the treasure of Hadiths, we find narratives of both kinds.
These include the narratives according to which the Prophet declared
a woman free and independent in the matter of her marriage and there
are narratives with contrary sense as well:
        “Abu Huraira narrates the Prophet‟s saying that, the marriage of
a widow should not be arranged without her consolation and an
unmarried girl should also be asked for permission regarding her
marriages‟. The companions of the Prophet requested him for further
clarification of the nature of the permission (For example if an
unmarried girl cannot utter the word „yes‟ due to shyness). The
Prophet told that her silence means that she has no objection”. (The
Bukhari: kitabul Nikah)
        The above narrative is the exact and clear explanation of the
verse 230,232 and 234 of Al-Baqara. It clearly indicates that the

Islam and Woman                                                              69

permission of a widow and a virgin both is necessary for their
marriage and plays the decisive role.
       The second narrative is from the Muslim:
       “The woman, once married is more powerful than her „Wali‟ in
the matter of her marriage and a virgin should also be sought
permission (According to another narrative) the virgin‟s father should
seek her permission and her silence amounts to her permission”. (The
Muslim: Kitab-ul-Nikha)
       Hence, if a virgin has none of her own choice contrary to her
„Wali‟ or she is an embodiment of modesty; even then it is necessary
to seek her permission which would play the decisive role.
       Third narrative has been taken from the Nisai and Masnad
       “Auyesha narrates that a girl came to the Prophet and told that
her father has made her marriage with his nephew so that the boy may
be relieved of burden through this marriage. The Prophets granted her
the right to retain or terminate the Nikah. The girl said that she accepts
the decision of her father as she just wanted the women to realize that
their father are not authorized to made their marriage at their own.”
(Nisai, Ibn-Majah, Masnad Ahmed: Kitabul Nikah).
       The above Hadith makes it clear that the final authority, in this
matter rests with the girl and not her father.
       There is another narrative as under:
       “A woman came to the Prophet and said that her father had
made her marry the man she disliked. The Prophet told her father that
he had no right to make her marriage. He allowed the girl to marry the
man of her choice.” (Nasb-ulRaiah Kitabul Nikah).
       There are many more narratives on this topic.
       Now we tend towards the narratives conveying the sense
contrary to the above references of the Quran and Hadith:
       “The Prophet said, “There is no marriage without a Wali.” (Abu
Daud, Ibn Majah: Kitabul Nikah).
       If we have a surface reading of this narrative, it seems quite
opposite in sense to all Quranic injunctions and most narratives
because according to the above quoted every woman rather every man
is bound to seek permission of his or her Wali for marriage. Therefore
this narrative is absolutely not acceptable in this sense.
       However, this narrative can be taken as an advice with
reference to the element of persuasion and an attempt to bring a nice
trend in society. It is just as the Prophet said:

Islam and Woman                                                         70

       “There is no Islam without the fulfillment of a promise”.
       The above narrative does not that the one violating a promise
would be outside the circle of Islam. It, in fact means to say that a
promise should not be broken. The above quoted narrative is also an
advice of similar nature saying that the real spirit lies in the mutual
consent of the families of both husband and wife.
       Another narrative is as under:
       “Ayesha relates that the Prophet said, „the Nikah of a woman
without the consent of her wali is invalid. In case of a dispute, the
ruler of the state is her Wali. If she has no other Wali”. (Abu Daud,
Tirmizi: Kitabul Nikah).
       It must be kept in mind that it is a weak narrative even
according to Abu Daud and Tirmizi. This Hadith has been also
narrated through the reference of Zahri who denied his access to it
when contacted later for verification.(Kitabul Fiqah Ala Mazabid-al-
Araba Vol-4 89). This narrative, through its surface meanings runs
contrary to the clear instruction of the Quran and thus cannot be taken
as an argument.
       There is another narrative as follows:
       “Abu Huraira relates a Prophet‟s saying, „No woman is to make
marriage of another woman or any woman is to make her marriage
herself”. (Al-Sunan-al-Kubra Libelequi)
       The first part of this narrative is illogical while the second part
is contrary to the Quranic instructions. The first part of the narrative is
illogical because it would be impossible for a woman to make the
marriage of her daughters if she has no close male relative. Now we
come to the second part of the narrative. The Quran instructs clearly:
       “Do not prevent those women from marrying their husbands if
they have come to an honourable agreement. Your are advised not to
do so at all.” (Al-Baqara-2, 232).
       Third Question is whether a father or a grand father can arrange the
marriage of their minor daughter or grand daughter. The answer is in
negative as Islam does not allow this, because according to the clear
instructions of the Holy Quran the age of marriage begins after having
attained the age of maturity. While issuing instructions about orphans, the
Quran says:
              “Put orphans to the test until they reach a marriageable
       age. If you find them capable of sound judgment, hand over to
       them their property, and do not deprie them of it by
       squandering it before they come of age” (Al-Nisar-4,6)

Islam and Woman                                                              71

        However, an important thing in this context is that according to
some narratives Ayesha, the Prophet‟s wife was just six when she
entered into the bond of Nikah and nine when she came to her
husband‟s home. Is it not enough to prove that the marriage of a minor
girl can be made by her parents? In fact Ayesha was almost sixteen to
seventeen years old at the time of Nikah and nineteen at the time of her
departure from her father‟s home. An eminent scholar from Sargodha,
Pakistan, Hakim Niaz Ahmed has written a book on this subuect titled
„Research on the age of Ayesha Siddiqua‟ after a lot of keen research work.
This book has been published by „Shakoor Academy, F-89, Block 2, PECHS
Karachi Pakistan. A summary of this valuable research has been made by
Khalid Masud through „Tadabbur‟ July, 1994. Although it is a technical
discussion, it is very significant keeping in view the prevalent
circumstances. This is why it is being presented on these pages:
        “The honourable author has argued on all those narratives that show
Ayesha, the „Umm-ul-Momineen‟ as under aged. The most important of all
these narratives has been recorded in all authentic books of Hadith like the
Bukhari, the Muslim, Abu Daud, Niasi and Ibn Majah as under:
        “The Prophet entered into the bond of Nikah with Ayesha when she
was six, brought her home as wife when she was nine and died when she
was eighteen”
        The only narrator of the above Hadith in all the authentic books of
Hadithh is Hasham Bin Urawah who narrated it with reference to his father,
Urwah Bin Al-Zubair. After a very scholarly discussion, the author has
proved that there was no narrator for this important narrative before the 145th
year of Hijra. This is the reason that all books of Hadith compiled before this
date do not register this narrative. Hasham Bin Urwah lived for the whole
life in Madiha but none of Midinitte preservers of Hadith related it from his
reference. Unlike this, Eleven Iraqi preservers of Hadith relate it through his
reference and their narratives have been registered in the books of Hadith.
Hasham went to Iraq only once in 145 Hijira when he was eighty four. It
seems that he related this narrative at that time which was picked by the
Iraqis. There was no one alive, at that time to recity the mistake or provide
the original imformation. Therefore the statement of Hasham was taken as
final and became acceptable for the whole Muslim Ummah when registered
in all six most authentic books of Hadith. No one ever tried to investigate the
matter. Afterwards, some experts in Hadiths attached it to their favorite
references in order to strengthen the text of the narrative. All such narratives
seem to be testimony of Hasham‟s narrative apparently but prove to be
dislinked when tested on the parameter of logic and argument. The author

Islam and Woman                                                               72

has proved, after having discussed all testimonies found in all the books of
Hadith that these are dislinked. Even certain narrators are quite unreliable,
liars and concoctors.
       The honourable author has assessed all those narratives that tell
Ayesha as under aged. For example the statement of Ayesha that little girls
from the neighborhood used to come to her in order to play dolls. According
to the research of the author, this narrative is also attributed to Hasham. It is
a permanent narrative which tells us the Makkan period of Ayesha when she
was factually under aged but it was attached with the narrative regarding the
marriage of Ayesha so as to make the statement look real. If it had been the
incident during her Madinite period, her playmates would have been part of
history instead of being wrapped in unfamiliarity.
       The author believes that the narratives regarding the singing of songs
about the Battle of Ba‟as by two maid servants and Ayesha‟s watching of
War feats performed by Ethiopians do not prove childhood or playfulness of
the Umm-ul-Momineen. Further the narrators have yoked the heterogeneous
references together which have faded the reality away. The author has
provided several proofs about the fact that many narrators had distorted the
original narratives by adding to them. In this context, he has held a narrator,
Abd-ul-Razaq particularly responsible for this. The author holds the same
person responsible for adding some sentences to the narrative about the
incident of Ifk which prove Ayesha to be under aged, negligent, unwise and
the same.
       Despite the element of weakness in the narrative regarding the
marriage of Ayesha, the autor, by taking a favorable view, has formed the
opinion that the figures of tens and twenties might have been missed with
the age reference of Ayesha in the narrative of Hasham. It means the
Hasham might have related the age of Ayesha at the time of Nikah as sixteen
or twenty six and nineteen or twenty nine at the time of her departure from
her father's home but these figures might have, erroneously been left out
while writing. This mistake was considered as true record in the later
       In the second part of the book, the author has assembled all the
prospects which determine that Ayesha was nineteen or twenty nine when
she came to the Prophet's home as his wife, though the author is of the
opinions that we should not determine the age by ourselves. It is sufficient to
prove that Ayesha had attained the age of puberty when she came to the
Prophet's home. The following are evidences and prospects regarding it:
a) According to the narrative of Muhammad Bin Ishaq (a contemporary of
Hasham Bin Urwah) in 'Seerat Ibn Hasham' Ayesha's name was included in

Islam and Woman                                                            73

the list of people who embraced Islam in the very beginning. She embraced
Islam in the first year after proclamation of Prophethood by Muhammad
(sws) along with her sister, Asma. The books like ' Mawahib Ladinah' by
Qastalni, 'Sharh-i-Mawahib' by Zarqani and 'Hayat-e-syed-al-Arab' also
enlist among those who excelled others in embracing Islam. Obviously, She
was wise,grown up girl in the first year of Prophet hood of Muhammad
(sws). Had she been in her infancy, she was not expected to accept Islam
with all awareness.
b) She has a narrative regarding the verse of Surah Al-Qamar, 'the hour of
doom is their appointed time' that she remembered perfectly the time of its
revelation. Al-Qamar was revealed in the fourth year of prophet hood. It
means she was at an age when one can distnguish between different things
and remembers them.
c) The Bukhari registers the narrative about the migrarion of Habsha with
refernce to Ayesha. According to this narrative she relates the incident she
was an eye witness to and makes a comprehensive commentary on the
Makkan period of Islam spanned over thirteen years. The migrarion to
Habsha by Abu Bakr mentioned in this narration took place in the fifth year
of Prophethood. It is obvious that a sane person only can describe her
observation with such detail. Therefore, in the fifth nabavi year Ayesha's age
should have been at a stage when an indidual can understand the affairs and
express her opinion based on deep observation.
d) After the death of Khadija, his first wife, the Prophet needed a woman to
look ater his home. On this occasion, Khaula bint Hakim proposed the
Prophet to marry either Sauda or Ayesha. Had Ayesha been under aged at
that time, the proposal of Aisha would have been inappropriate at all because
the Prophet needed a wife capable enough to sustain the burden of his
domestic affirs and not a child to play with dolls. When this proposal was
presented to Abu Bakar, he pleaded that Ayesha was just like a spiritual
niece of the Prophet. How could she be suitable for Nikah? Had Ayesha
been a child at that time, Abu Bakar would have pleaded that she cannont
bear the load of the domestic responsibilities because of her young age.
e) The author contains the detailed description regarding the Nikah of
Ayesha. It tells us that Ayesha entered into the bond of nikah with Jabeer
Bin Muta'am bin Adi before the death of Khadija.Jabeer was very hostile to
Islam. His father, Muta;am Bin Adi was avoiding the departure of the bride
because of his conflict in faith. When Khaula proposed Ayesha for the
Prophet (sws), Abu Bakar went to Muta'am and asked him to take a clear
decision about the marriage. Muta'am showed reluctance in accpeting
Ayesha as his daughter-in-law owing to his hostility against Islam.

Islam and Woman                                                              74

Moreover, he was the son of Lord of Makkah and was obviously not short of
young girls to marry. There was no justification for him to marry a minor
girl and wait for at least ten years so that his bride would attain the age of
puberty. It is, therefore, obivious that Ayesha's Nikah with jabeer would
have taken place after she had attained puberty as it was customary in
f) The migration to Madina has been recorded in 'Tabqat Ibn Sa'ad' related
by Ayesha herself. We come to know through it that the Prophet did not
brieng the new bride home even after the lapse of some time after the
migration. On Abu Bakar's enquiring, the prophet said that he had not yet
enough money to pay as dower. It proves that the delay was not because of
the underage of Ayesha.
g) A narrative has been registered in different books of Hadith that several
immigrants fell ill in the first year of Hijrah (migration to Madina). Ayesha
visited some of them. On her return she describes the pitiable conditions of
the immigrants to the Prophet and even related verses told by them
expressing their misery. It is obvious that such description is beyond the
capacity of nine year old girl.
h) According to a narrative recorded in Bukhari and the Muslim Ayesha
was present on the war front in the battle of Badar and Uhad and served
water to the soldiers even in the most unfavorable circumstances. It is a fact
that minor boys were forbidden to take part in these battles. Had Ayesha
been under aged she would not have been allowed the arduous tasks meant
for the grown ups only. Therefore, the reference to her minor age is untrue.
i) Ayesha was adept in genealogies which was the peculiar art of Abu
Bakar. She had learnt several verses by heart and used them according to the
situation. Her perfection in the arts of genealogy and poetry shows that she
had spent a lot of time with her father and leant all from him. If she had
come to the Prophet's home at such a young age, she would not have been so
well versed in these arts. It is noteworthy to note that such an art can only be
learnt when one is mentally mature.
j) Ayesha was quite at home in the injunctions of Deen, its expediencies and
gradual progress. The books of Hadith are full of her opinions on theology.
Could such intellectual depth and immensity belong to an under aged girl?
We shall have to admit that she was quite mature in mind and intellect and
was at the climax of her faculties of thought when married to the Prophet.
This is why she went to the root of every affair and understood it in its
proper context. This is how she benefited the whole Ummah through her
sound opinion.

Islam and Woman                                                              75

       We find certain scholarly discussions on the knowledge of Hadith in
this book. The author has laid down the principles for the acceptance of
Hadith. According to the author, the narrative of Hasham regarding the
marriage of Ayesha does not qualify these principles.
       The author has, quiet diligently in the first chapter determined the
period of gradual progress in the Knowledge of Hadith. According to his
research, during the time of companions of the Prophet and their successors,
there was just a trend to asses the narratives but they were not analyzed
critically. This is why different narratives got intermixed on a large scale
during that period. Owing to the non-existence of the art of cricticizing
Hadith, several MURSAL Hadiths (where a link is missing) were included
in the initially compiled books of Hadith like Mauta Imam Malik and
Masnud Imam Abi Hanifa and these scholars accepted such narratives as
true and reliable. The art of critically analyzing Hadith was brought to
practice around 180 Hijra and was used for the compilation of the such
books of Hadith considered as most authentic. But the previous intermixed
narratives were also included in them regarding them reliable.
       A characteristic of this book is that it trains an intelligent reader how
to learn the way of making a research in Hadith. The way, the author
scrutinized the books of Hadith, the sources adopted to argue on the
narrators and detected such narrators, these information‟s we get through
this book which are helpful in practical training for research in Hadith.
       The honourable scholar deserves our appreciation and congratulations
for this valuable work. He, not only, highlighted the person of Ayesha but
also eradicated all allegations made against her by the enemies of Islam in
order to distort the image of the Prophet (sws) . Such a book was greatly
needed in this era. May God reward the author for his valuable task. "
       There could be a question in this context. At times, in some families
the elders decide mutually about the marriage of their children even when
they are minors. Can they refuse such a decision when they grow up to a
sane age? The answer is that since a marriage is a free contract between an
adult man and an adult woman, they are not bound to accept any such
agreements made by their elders. As the complications arising by such
agreements have been witnessed by the people therefore now this has
become almost obsolete in the society. It is necessary that an engagement or
Nikah of a minor should be declared illegal by the state.
       The next question is whether a wife can refuse physical
relationship with her husband. The answer is that she can't do so in normal
circumstances. It is against the basic spirit of the contract made between
them. Both husband and wife have satisfaction and peace from each other if

Islam and Woman                                                             76

they are bound with fibre of strong physical contact. According to the Quran
a woman must be obedient to her husband. As per narrative registered in the
Bukhari the Prophet said:
       “If a woman avoids her husband even for a single night and keeps him
away from fulfilling his sexual desire, she is cursed by the angles until she
tends towards her husband”.
According to a narrative of Ibn Majah the Prophet said:
“After the fear of God there is no other blessing of God favourable for a
Muslim man than a nice wife who obeys him, receives him with a smile,
does not refuse to what he demands, and protects her chastity and her
husband‟s property in his absence”.
The situation when she is unwell or is having a psychological problem
requires a different treatment. Islam directs man in such circumstances to
take all these conditions into account, treat well with her and avoid bothering
her. Hence, this is an aspect of their life where both have to regard each
other, as it is extremely a private affair.
Next question deals with the matter of the marriages in exchange (when a
person marrying a woman gets his sister married to his wife‟s brother).
What is the Islamic point of view here? The answer of Islam is very clear.
Islam believes that it is in fact a deceit and has been forbidden. The Prophet
forbade doing so in clear terms. It is not allowed in any shape and every one
must avoid it. There must be legislation to stop this practice.
Can a woman be married to the Quran?
The reality is that such customs are nonexistent in Islam, rather they are a
serous crime. According to the Quran, a woman can be married with a man
only and vice versa.
Is a man allowed to marry more than once by Islam? If so, what is the
logic behind it and what are the terms for that?
According to the Quran, it is advisable for a man to marry just one woman.
This is the logic that God has created men and women almost equal in
number, he created just one wife for Adam, It is quite natural for a man and
a woman to form a joint home. The Quran says in Allah „Aaraf:
„‟It was he who created you from single being. From that he created his
mate, so that he might find comfort in her. And when he had covered her,
she conceived, and for a time her burden was light. She crried it with ease,
but when it grew heavy, they both cried to Allah, their Lord: „Grant us a
goodly child and we will be truly thankful. (Al-A‟ raraf-7,189).
However, if the social situation goes unusual as innumerable women
becomes widows or a wife is unable to give birth to a child or the wife
suffers from a disease that hampers her from looking after her home, a man

Islam and Woman                                                            77

may marry another woman even in the presence of his first wife. But the
Quran has imposed two conditions in such circumstances. First that the man
must maintain justice among his wives and second that no man can marry
more than four women at a time.
The detail of the permission granted by the Quran is that several Muslims
were martyred in the Battle of Uhad waged by the pagans of Makkah upon
Madinah. Resultantly, several women became widows and many children
became orphans. It was feared that such children would experience a sense
of deprivation as young men preferred to marry unmarried women or those
who had no children before. So, the Quran encouraged the people to resolve
this issue in this manner:
               “(Believers) if you fear that you cannot treat orphans (as
        a result of Battle of Uhad) with fairness, then you may marry
        such women (these widowers) as seem good to you: two, three
        or four of them. But if you fear that you cannot do justice,
        marry only one or those you possess.” (Al-Nisa-4,3).
        The Quran says:
               “In no way you can treat your wives in a just manner,
        even though you may wish to do that. Do not set yourself
        altogether against any of them, leaving her, as it were, in
        suspense. If you do what is right and guard yourself against
        evil, (you will find) Allah is Forgiving and Merciful”. (Al-Nisa-

       Hence a man is allowed to marry more than one woman but he can‟t
do that just at his sweet will rather there are two very clear conditions for
that. First that it is meant for unavoidable circumstances only and second
that justice be maintained among all wives to maximum possible level.
       Here an important question arises keeping in view the present
circumstances. This permission is being misused in the present Muslim
societies and people marry more than one woman without any prerequisite.
They don‟t maintain justice between the two wives, rather don‟t give them
even their due sights. Is a state authorized to make laws for the rights of
woman and to protect them against the atrocities when such conditions
exist in the society?
       The fact is that a Muslim society can make legislation to stop any kind
of atrocity in the society. A Muslim state has its foremost duty to maintain
justice in the society and eradicate injustice from it. This instruction has
been issued by the Quran on various stages in clear terms (for example Al-
Nisa-4, 54 and Al-Hajj-22, 41). It is, therefore necessary under present

Islam and Woman                                                           78

circumstances that legislations is done binding a man to seek the permission
of the court before marrying for the second, third or fourth time. He should
prove before the court of law that such a step is being taken by him under
the most unavoidable circumstances. Secondly the court should make him
bound to maintain justice among his wives practically and he would be
punished in case of violation and would be forced to grant all rights to his
       Besides women should develop awareness by demanding addition of
the condition in the Nikah form that the husband would not marry further or
would face certain restrictions in case of more marriages.
       There could be a question in certain minds why a woman is not
allowed to marry more than one man under special circumstances when a
man is granted such permission. The principled stand in this regard is that
man is the head of the tiny state of family. As there can‟t be two heads of
state therefore a home can‟t accommodate two husbands. So far as the
special conditions are concerned like husband is azoospermic, the wife may
obtain separation and such a man may marry a woman who already has kids
of her previous husband. A woman may obtain separation in some other
cases as well for example if the husband is a chronic patient. However, we
must admit the fact that a woman is bestowed upon by God such a
wonderful spirit of loyalty, sacrifice and sympathy that normally she does
not leave such a husband, rather feels happiness and satisfaction in looking
after him. But we do not mean to say that a woman should sacrifice her
happiness on the alter of her loyalty with her husband.

Law of Divorce
       According to Islam the relation between a husband and a wife is very
sacred and quit significant and therefore it should stay intact to the
maximum possible extent. However at times the circumstances bring the
couple at a stage where they find it impossible to pull on together. For
example conflicts occur due to contrary temperaments; both the parties
violate the rights of each other or any other similar kind of situation takes
place when the separation becomes inevitable. Hence, in such a situation
Islam allows the husband and wife to sever every contact with each other by
observing a particular procedure meant for such conditions. However, it
must be borne in mind that divorce is the most undesirable thing among all
admissible ones.
       Here we need to know the practical procedure of granting divorce.

Islam and Woman                                                             79

The Quran has issued the instructions about the divorce in great detail. Thus,
we, first of all, shall present a summary of these and then they would be
explained through some concerned Quranic verses and relevant narratives.
        If a man intends to divorce his wife, he should not do so when she is
passing through her menstrual period. He should, rather give the first divorce
to her after the lapse of her menstrual period when he has not yet slept with
her. After this divorce the woman should stay at her husband‟s home till the
lapse of three more consecutive menstrual periods. The man is bound to
fulfill all the requirements of his wife during this period. During this period
(Three months approximately), the man may reconcile with his wife if he
desires so. They many resume their life as husband and wife.
        If the husband does not tend to his wife during these three menstrual
periods, they will separate from each other after the lapse of this time. But
they may remarry each other afterwards whenever they decide so.
        If the husband ever wants to divorce his wife for the second time, he
will adopt the same procedure.
        However, if he divorces his wife for the third time, they will not be
able to remarry each other. If the woman marries another man after the third
divorce and her second husband dies or divorces her, she may remarry her
previous husband. The detail about it would come on the forthcoming pages.
        Unlike man, if the wife wants separation, she will demand one divorce
from her husband. If the husband does not agree, she can get divorce through
the court of law. The court has only to verify whether the woman seeks the
divorce at her own will. The court would not trace the reasons for the request
for divorce and would order the husband to divorce his wife. This way
husband and wife will be separated from each other.
        They may remarry each other if they freely desire so.
        In case they get separated for the second time, they can even then
remarry if they like but they can‟t remarry after the grant of divorce for the
third time. Now there is only one situation in which they can remarry, which
would be discussed later. Thus the husband gives the divorce and a woman
obtains it. This Quranic law has been described through Al-Baqara-228,
229,236,237,241. Al-Ahzab-49, AlTalaq-6, 14 and Al-Nisa-19, 21.

      Now we shall present some relevant references. The Quran says:

             “Divorced women must wait, keeping themselves from
      men for three menstrual courses. It is unlawful for them, if they
      believe in Allah and the Last Day, to hide what He has created
      in their wombs: in which case their husband would do well to

Islam and Woman                                                           80

      take them back, should they desire reconciliation. Women shall
      with justice have rights similar to those exercised against them,
      although men have an edge above women (being husband).
      Allah is Mighty and Wise. Divorce (after which the men may
      reconcile during the waiting period) may be pronounced twice,
      and then a woman must be retained in honor or allowed to go
      with kindness. It is unlawful for husbands to take that from
      them anything they have given them, unless both fear that they
      may not be able to keep within bounds set by Allah; in which
      case it shall be no offence for either of them if the wife ransom
      herself. These are the bounds set by Allah; do not transgress
      them. Those that transgress the bounds of Allah are
      wrongdoers. If a man divorces (for the third time) his wife, he
      cannot remarry her until she has wedded another man and been
      divorced by him; in which case it shall be no offence for either
      of them to return to the other, if they think that they can keep
      within the limits set by Allah. Such are the bounds of Allah. He
      makes them plain to men of understanding (who know the
      consequences of transgressing His bounds). When you have
      divorced your wives and they have reached the end of their
      waiting period, either retain them in honor or let them go with
      kindness. But you shall not retain them in order to harm them in
      honor or to wrong them. Whoever does this, wrongs his soul.”
(Al-Baqara-2: 228-231).

At another place it says:
              “If you (believers) divorce your wives, divorce them at
       (the end) of their waiting period. Complete their waiting period
       and have fear of Allah, your Lord. Do not expel them from their
       homes or let them go away unless they commit a proven
       immorality (adultery). Such are the bounds set by Allah; he that
       transgresses Allah‟s bounds wrongs his own soul. You never
       know after that Allah may bring to pass some new events”. (Al-
       Talaq-65: 1).
       After the above explanation about the law of divorce we shall take
into account some issue arising out of them.
       Firstly if a man divorces his wife during her pure days (other than
menstrual period) when they have met in private as well, what is the
instruction of the religion in such position?

Islam and Woman                                                             81

       According to the instruction of the Quran the waiting period must be
carefully accounted. Since it is difficult to account for the waiting period in
the above mentioned condition the husband should wait for her menses in
order to confirm whether the woman is pregnant or not. He may divorce her
when she is purified for such condition.
The prophet says:
“That man should not divorce his wife when he has slept with her”(the
Muslim: Kitab-ul-Talaq).
       Secondly can a woman be divorced during her menstrual periods?
The reply to this question is that Islam intends to prevent divorce to the
maximum possible level and tries to save a home from dismemberment. This
is why God has ordered to give divorce in a proper way and calculate the
days of the waiting period truly He has ordered the husband and the wife to
live together in the same home during the waiting period.

The Quran says:
              “You never know; after that Allah may bring to pass
       some new event‟‟(Al-Talaq-65:1)
       As the menstrual period brings a kind of distance between a husband
and wife therefore there is a possibility that the husband postpones the
decision of divorce. Therefore the prophet forbade the Muslims to divorce
their wives during their menstrual periods in the light of Quranic
instructions. When Abdullah bin Umar divorced his wife during her
menstrual period the Prophet said:
       “Tell him to meet his wife and divorce her when she is purified or it
becomes clear whether she is pregnant or not:‟‟
       It is important to know whether such kind of divorce would be
counted as described in the above two situations. The answer is that there
would have been no instruction for reconciliation if this divorce had to be
counted. The reconciliation matters only when the divorce is not counted.
The two narratives quoted above prove the same. However two arguments
can be given against it. Firstly, in the narratives Younas says:
       “I asked Ibn Umar if he had counting that divorce. He answered,
„what was hurdle in committing it? Was Ibn Umar foolish or he could not
count it? (The Muslim).
       However, it is proved through it that it was not said by the Prophet
 Secondly according to „Al-Mughni‟ „La-bin-Qadamat: Kitab-ul-Talaq,
when the Prophet directed Ibn Umar to reconcile with his wife, he said to the

Islam and Woman                                                              82

Prophet” what would have been your instructions if I had given three
divorces? The Prophet said, „In that case you would have disobeyed your
God and your wife would have been unlawful for you.”
       The real answer to this is that it is absolutely against the narrative of
Ibn Abbas registered in the Muslim, so this is unacceptable.
       Next is the question that some people utter the words of divorce for
three times or more than that when they get enraged with their wives
and regret soon after that. This is so because there was no such strong
intention nor it was a well thought action. Does the divorce get enacted?
       The issue has taken a serious turn now a days because thousands of
families are undergoing anxiety and pain due to it.
       The authors, in this regard are of the opinion that such a divorce
would be counted for just once. The brief argumentation in its support is as
       Firstly, the faith is based on convenience and not on inconvenience. It
has been repeatedly laid down in the Quran as follow:
              “Allah desires your well-being, not your discomfort. (Al-
       Baqara-2: 185).

“Allah has laid on you no burdens in the observance of your faith. (Al-Hajj-
22: 78).
      There are several Quranic verses giving the sense that God burdens a
man according to his capacity. He does not want to give discomfort to him
and that He wants to lessen the burdens of man as He has been created weak
(For example Al-Maida-6, Al-Nisa-4: 28 and several others).
      Since the issue of divorce is very delicate and grave which ensues
several complications for the couple and their families, the new legislation
regarding it should be based on the comfort of the human beings. The law of
divorce formulated by God has been based upon the same principle.
Therefore the detailed legislation in this regard and the judicial decisions
should be made keeping this principle in view. There should not be any
discomfort for them. The same has been described by the Prophet, “Faith is
very easy” and, “make convenience for people and don‟t put them in
inconvenience.” (The Bukhari).
      Secondly, it is proved through the Quranic verses and the narratives
studied in the light of the Quran that divorce is an issue of serious nature and
it should be decided after much reflection and not under the immediate

Islam and Woman                                                             83

       According to the Holy Quran God, appreciated a lot the understanding
between husband and wife and declared them apparel of each other (Al-
Bukhari-2: 187).
A husband is asked to pull on with his wife even if he observes certain
weakness in her (Al-Nisa-4: 19). In case of a dispute carrying too long, they
should be brought to a compromise after appointing one representative from
both sides (Al-Nisa-35). If the situation leads to divorce, husband must keep
a record of the waiting period properly (Al-Talaq-1). After the divorce,
neither the husband should expel the wife from his house nor is admissible
for the wife to leave the home herself. Both husband and wife are directed to
live in the same house together after the divorce so that they might reconcile
if possible. While explaining the same Quranic verse, the Prophet told that
divorce is the most undesirable to God among the admissible things. (Abu
       This is why the Holy Prophet forbade men to divorce their wives
during their menstrual period. Since man and woman live apart during these
periods, they don‟t display the usual mutual love and there is a strong
possibility that the husband changes his mind after the passage of this
period. (The Muslim: Kitab-al-Talaq).
       The Prophet forbade a man to divorce his wife during her purified
period when he has met his wife in private as it is difficult to count the days
of the waiting period in such case. Whenever such a matter was presented
before the Prophet, he directed the man to reconcile (withdraw divorce) and
decide it afterwards in a proper way. (The Muslim: Kitab-al-Talaq, Abu-
Daud: Kitab-Talaq).
       Not only this but the Quran directs man also that the divorced woman
should be sent from his house after having paid her due in a proper way (Al-
Baqara-2: 241) and that he should appoint two responsible evidences while
sending her or reconciling at the end of the waiting period.
       The Quran goes a step further. If the husband and the wife do not
reconcile during the waiting period ensuing the first divorce, the Quran
allows them to restart their life as husband and wife so that the family gets
united again. Not only this the Quran keeps also the door for Nikah open for
the third time if they fail to reconcile during the waiting period after the
second divorce. However, after the third divorce they can‟t remarry directly.
       The above instructions and rules are worth reading, rather worth
considering repeatedly. One should try to understand, in the eight of these
instructions, the real spirit of the religion in this matter.
       Is it the spirit of Islam to to destroy the family the moment the
husband utters the words of divorce thrice or unlike this provides the couple

Islam and Woman                                                                 84

an opportunity to unite again by going relexation to them to the maximum?
Obviously, every right mined person‟s conscience would acknowledge that
it is against the spirit of Islam to punish severely for such a mistake without
providing an opportunity to reform the situation.
        Another factor must be kept in mind. Divorce can only be valid if the
husband has expressed his decision with all sanity. If he lost his temper and
got his sanity damaged, the divorce would stand invalid. Keeping this
principle in view, the Prophet told that neither divorce accorded by a minor,
insane and mad nor the divorce given by a man while he was intoxicated or
he was pressurized, would be considered valid. If the immediate and intense
rage is analyzed on the standered of the same principle, we would come to
know that the individual is not in his senses completely, loses control upon
himself and becomes delirious in such condition. Thus, he utters such words,
which he would avoid in normal circumstance. Therefore a person uttering
such words for many times in such a condition should be given relaxation.
Under the prevalent circumstances when people are experiencing a frequent
state of anxiety due to several psychological problems, the significance of
such a relaxation increases manifold.
        On the basis of the above three arguments, the authors of this books
believe that the divorce accorded under an immediate and intense rage
should be counted as a single divorce. Thus such a person would lose one
chance but he would still have a chance for reconciliation.
        Two things can be said in dissidence to the above discussion. Firstly,
divorce is always accorded in a state of anger. It is not true. Just refresh the
second argument in the context of the above discussion, which tells us to
divorce a woman after much consideration and reaching the conclusion that
the couple cannot live together anymore.
The Quran provides him further two chances for reconciliation even in this
condition. Hence it has no foundation in religion.
Secondly, it is said that Umar had declared to punish the individual who
would accord three divorces at a time and would implement all the three
        It is necessary to keep certain things in mind, in this context. First that
Umar was a ruler. A ruler has to formulate some laws in order to tackle with
some immediate problems but these laws are of temporary nature and do not
assume the status of permanent laws. The only everlasting thing is Quran
and Sunnah. We should, therefore keep in view those circumstances under
which Umar gave his verdict. In fact, during the regime of the Holy Prophet,
Abu Baker and Umar (for some time) when people, after having divorced
their wives thrice, stated that they intended to divorce just once, they were

Islam and Woman                                                              85

granted the right of reconciliation, implementing just one divorce. Later,
Umar realized that people were exploiting the rights of women on the basis
of this relaxation. It was so that they used to expel women from their houses
after having divorced them thrice and placed them in a state of shock. When
the women decided to start their new lives by marrying, their old husbands
used to give statements in the court that they, in fact intended to give just
one divorce. This way they used to strike women with double shocks.
Therefore, Umar took an administrative measure to save women from that
oppression. Every Muslim government has a right to devise such
administrative measures. For example Valima (the feast in connection with
the marriage accorded by the bridegroom) is a practice according to the
Sunnah but it can be cut to a limit by the state if it becomes a source for
display of wealth and a mental torture for the poor. However, it would be a
temprory decision and a government can change it with the change of
       Second important thing to note is that Umar‟s above quoted decision
has nothing to do with the divorce given in a state of rage. Wherever it has
been quoted, there is no mention of rage. Therefore, this decision is not
implemented on such divorce.
       Third important and noteworthy point is that Umar made this law to
save women from oppression whereas under the present circumstances
legislation is required quite otherwise in order to save women from
oppression. People, in those times were well versed with the law of divorce
and used to exploit it for their personal interests while people of the present
time are hardly aware of this law of divorce and consequently cause trouble
for themselves and for the whole family. Therefore, Umar‟s decision cannot
be accepted as a precedent nowadays.
       In the light of the above discussion, the authors of this book are of the
opinion that the divorce given under the state of rage which ensues
repentance would be considered just one, irrespective of the fact that the
husband uttered these words for more than twice at a time.
       Next, we have to understand that if a man grants three divorces to
his wife at a time after much reflection, would it be considered as just
one divorce or it should be realized that the individual has availed at the
same time the right of all the three divorces for the whole life and has,
thus separated himself from his wife forever?
       In fact it is a very complicated issue. However, we would try to
express our point of view by making it easy to some extent.
       We noticed through the above pages that God told us a particular
procedure for divorce. Now if a person violates it, he will be committing a

Islam and Woman                                                              86

major sin and would act contrary to the instructions of God. It is required to
know that what is to be done if an individual happens to do so. God has left
it to the state and society to find a solution to such an issue according to the
circumstances. The state may decide to declare it just one divorce or punish
the person who violates the law or separate the husband and wife
permanently by imposing all the three divorces considering them as distinct
        Obviously, the welfare of the family and society would be kept in
view while taking a decision in this context. The condition of woman must
be kept in observation so that their rights be safeguarded and they should not
be troubled undue. Since God has left the collective organization of Ummah
free in this issue, the instructions in this context kept changing with the
circumstances throughout the period of the Holy Prophet (sws) and the pious
caliphs. According to a narrative of Abu Daud and the Bukhari a man got
himself separated from his wife after having divorce her for thrice at time.
The Prophet called him and asked him to reconcile with his wife. The man
argued that he had given three divorces to his wife. The Prophet said, “I
know that yet you must reconcile”. After this, the Prophet recited the verse
        Hence, the Prophet told that man that it was not the proper way to
divorce. In the likewise manner when the Prophet was once told that some
person had granted three divorces to his wife at a time, he stood up in anger
and said, “People are playing with the Holy Book even in my presence”.
Seeing the anger of the Prophet, a person stood up and said, “O Prophet of
God! Should I kill this man?”
        The Prophet, even in his own life adopted a different view as well.
The incident of a companion of Prophet Rukana bin Abu Yazeed registered
in Tirmizi, Masnad Ahmad and Abu Daud tells that he swore before the
Prophet and said that he intended to give just one divorce to his wife
although he had used the word of divorce thrice. Therefore the Prophet
declared it just one divorce.
        Afterward, Umar made legislation according to his own
circumstances. He observed that people were violating the right of women.
People were in a habit of giving the impression of complete separation after
having divorced their wives thrice at a time. When those women made up
their mind to remarry (it is proven fact according to the books of Hadith and
history that it was not inconvenient for women to marry a new husband after
the expiry of the waiting period, in ensuing divorce by their previous
husband rather it was a general practice). Their previous husbands declared
in the court that they intended to give just one divorce. This used to lead

Islam and Woman                                                              87

long judicial proceedings which was harmful for women. Therefore, in order
to save women from this trouble, Umar made the law that all the three
divorces will be implemented if done so by individual and the women will
be free to settle down for a new husband after the expiry of their waiting
        According to a narrative of the Muslim: “Ibne Abbas said that during
the regime of the Prophet, Abu Bakar and the first two years of Umar it was
the practice that all three divorces given by an individual at a time were
considered as one divorce. Afterwards Umar said, people were showing
haste in the matter where they should have been showing much care and
tolerance. Why should we not impose three divorces upon them? Thus he
did so”.
        The statement of the Muslim is the most authentic on this matter. It
becomes clear trough this narrative that Shariah has done no legislation in
this matter. Thus Umar was free to issue an order contrary to the practice
carried on during the time of the Prophet and Abu Bakar.
        Hence, it is our duty, now to think what sort of legislation would be
suitable for the society, family and women in particular according to the
present circumstances. In the present situation, people are generally ignorant
of the procedural measures of granting divorce. This is the reason that it is a
general impression that the divorce does not get enacted unless the word of
divorce are uttered for three times. The other worth noticing fact is that
people have been stricken with anxiety, restlessness and dejection to such an
extent that they start thinking of divorce even at trifles. Further, the word of
divorce has assumed the status of abuse for divorced women and hence they
find it almost impossible to marry a new husband in present circumstances.
It is, therefore obligatory upon us to invoke the order of the Prophet in the
present circumstances, which says that all divorces granted at a time would
be considered as just one. Hence, it is essential that it should be enforced as
a law on the state level and all judicial documentation be made accordingly.
        Next, is the question that some people declare it for thousands or
two thousands while granting divorce; what should be done to this?
        The direct answer is that it is a sin to utter such word and an open
violation of the rule of God. Such a man should be punished by the state for
uttering such vulgar word. However it should be considered just one divorce
from the legal point of view.

What is Khula‟a?

Islam and Woman                                                                88

        In fact the Quran has granted woman the right to get divorce through
Al-Baqara. The reference of the verses 228-231 has already been given in
this context. This right has been named as “Khula‟a‟ in some of the
narrative. If a woman reaches the conclusion that she can no more live with
her husband, she may demand divorce from her husband. It is obligatory
upon her husband to give her one divorce in such a situation. However, he
may demand from his wife to pay back a part of what he has already given
to her. It is desirable that the issue of „Khula‟a‟ is settled within the four-
walls of a house. If a woman surrenders all of her dower, no obstacle is left
in her way. However, the woman has a right to approach the court of law in
case of a dispute. The court has simply to perform two functions: To give
enough time to both the parties so as to create an opportunity for
reconciliation and to decide what portion of dower given by husband to wife
should be paid back to him keeping in view all requirements of justice,
circumstances and the future of man and woman.
        There are two further important issues in this context. First, whether
it is essential for a woman to tell some reason while demanding
„Khula‟a‟?. For example, a woman accuse her husband of oppression,
injustice, lack of virility or immorality and prove it in the court of law to get
        Islam believes that it is not at all required. It is proved through the
several incidents found in many narratives that whenever a case of „Khula‟a,
was presented before the Prophet. He investigated in a normal way, tried for
reconciliation and set the couple apart when it was proved that the wife was
reluctant to remian as the wife of her husband any more. Those who
consider that woman must prove a serious allegation against her husband,
they are of the opinion that husband and wife should be set apart when they
fail to respect the limit of God. It means that first it should be proved that the
husband crossed the limits of Allah. In fact, it is just a misunderstanding.
The Quran never said so. The Quran, on the contrary says that when the
nature of the husband-wife relationship reaches a stage where it is feared
that both parties would not be able to remain within the limits of Allah,
either of them can get separation. Hence the Quran talks of future, not of the
past. It would be appropriate to study the translation Al-Baqara, 2:229.
               “It is unlawful for husbands to take from them any thing
        they have given them, unless both fear that they may not be
        able to keep within the bounds set by Allah; in which case it
        shall be no offence for either of them if the wife ransom
        herself”. (Al-Baqara 2:229)

Islam and Woman                                                               89

       Next question is whether a man can keep the decision of divorce
hanging in the balance when asked for his wife or by the court. Is it his
prerogative to divorce his wife or not?
       The answer is in negative. If the man refuses to divorce his wife and
decline the court order, the court can give the verdict of separation by itself
and can even punish him for disobeying the court. If we study the above
Quranic verse again, we shall come to know that woman has a right to get
divorce by paying back a portion of what has been paid to her by her
       It is essential that some sort of legislation done on the state level
making it clear that a woman need not prove some serious allegation against
her husband in the court in order to acquire „Khula‟a. It should also be
ascertained that the court would grant Khula‟a, to her within two to three
months after the filling of the petition so that the woman start her life a new
as soon as possible.
       There is another important question whether a woman can be
granted the right of direct divorce while preparing the bond of Nikah. It
means that a woman also get the right to divorce her husband when she
desire. Generally, it is assumed that it is possible. Unlike this, we believe
that this is contrary to the Quran‟s concept of Nikah. It is an interesting fact,
in the context of this question that our point of view, except on this matter is
generally in favor of women‟s rights on all important issue. On this
particular issue our opinion differs from general opinion. The real cause here
is that we have the Quran as a source of guidance. Since we believe that the
Quran has granted all those rights to women which are being denied today in
the general muslim society, we have expressed the opinion found through
the study of the Holy Quran. We find that the Quranic instructions, in this
matter is quite different from the generally conceived notion. Hence we are
making this matter clear.
       According to the Quran, the marriage tie is in hands of man. He plays
the active role in Nikah and the authority of divorce too, rests with him.
Whereas a woman enters into the bond of Nikah with the man and can get
divorce if she desires. The Quran, while describing the law of the dower in a
special matter makes it clear that the marriage tie lies in the hand of man.
The law says that if the man and woman have entered into the bond of Nikah
and the dower has been determined but divorce takes place before the
bride‟s departure from her home, the man will have to surrender half of the
       The Quran syas:

Islam and Woman                                                             90

              “If you divorce them before the marriage is
       consummated but after their dower has been settled, give them
       half of their dower, unless they or the man in whose hands is
       the marriage tie agree to forgo it. But it is more pious that he
       (husband) should forgo it (whole dower). Do not forget to show
       kindness to each other. Allah observes your actions”. (Al-
       Baqara 2:237)
       In the light of the above quoted Quranic instruction, we believe that a
woman cannot be granted the right of divorce through the bond of Nikah.
       Contrary to our opinion expressed above, the argument in favor of
general point of view is that God instructed the Holy Prophet through Al-
Ahzab: 28 to set his wives free from the bond of Nikah in a proper way after
giving them their due if they were desirous of this world and its ornaments.
The Prophet, thus put option before his wives. Hence, every Muslim can also
grant the right of divorce to his wife. This argument is not justified; because
the special principle mentioned in Al-Ihzab were meant for the Prophet and
his wives only and they had nothing to do with general Muslims. The right
of separation given to the Prophet‟s wives here does not meant, according to
the Quran itself that it was a right meant for all muslims. The Quran
explained it by telling that the path of the Prophet was difficult and needed
much tolerance. If any of the Prophet wives was unable to pace with him in
that uphill task, she could get separation.

The Quran says:
              “O Prophet, say to your wives: if you seek this life and its
       finery, come, I will make provision for you and release you
       honourably” (Al-Ihzab 33:28)
       It is obvious that the world and its finery is, according to the Quran‟s
clear explanation, admissible for general lot of mankind. It was disallowed
for the Prophet and his wives only. This is why the special status of the
Prophet‟s wives determined further in the Quran:
              “O wives of the Prophet! You are not like the ordinary

Next the Prophet has been told, in the context of his wives,
            “This is only for you and not any other believer”.

      The careful study of Al-Ahzab makes it clear that the law of marriage
and divorce for the Holy Prophet were different from those meant for
ordinary Muslims. Thus they cannot be applied in normal circumstances.

Islam and Woman                                                             91

Therefore, it must be acknowledged as a fact that man has a right to give
divorce and woman has a right to take divorce (Khula‟a). When a woman
has this right, there is no justification of granting this authority to her.
        Next question is whether a woman is bound to return the whole dower
in case she obtains „Khula‟a.
        The answer is in negative. It is proven through the Quran and Hadith
that a part of what has been granted by the husband to wife may be returned
to the husband through a proper accord and the rest should be left with the
wife. It is good if this accord takes place within the house or its terms are a
part of the bond of Nikah. However, if the matter reaches the court of law,
the court will do justice in every matter keeping in view all circumstances.
The Quran says:
               “It is unlawful for husbands to take from them anything
        that they have given them, unless both fear that they may not be
        able to keep within the bounds set by Allah; in which case it
        shall not be offence for either of them if the wife ransom
        herself. These are the bounds set by Allah; do not transgress
        them. Those that transgress the bounds of Allah are
        wrongdoers. (Al-Baqara 2:229)
        An incident from the Bukhari Kitab-ul-Talaq throws light upon the
above verse. According to this narrative,
               “The wife of Sabit bin Qais came to the Prophet and said,
        “O Prophet of God! I do not want objection to the faith or
        character of Sabit but I myself fear to run contrary to Islam”.
        The Prophet inquired of her whether she would return the
        garden given to her by her husband. She replied in affirmative
        and agreed to returned it in fact. Therefore, the Prophet ordered
        for separation between the two”.
        In the above quoted narrative, a sentence has been uttered by the
woman, “I, myself fear to run contrary to Islam”. She, in fact wanted to
express that she might not be able to observe the instructions given by God
about remaining obedient and loyal to her husband if she continued living
with him despite her hatred for him.
        The second important thing in this narrative is that Sabit had given a
precious gift of a garden in the form of dower. It is obvious that she had no
justification for keeping that garden with her when she did not want to live
with him. This is why the Prophet inquired whether she was ready to
surrender that garden. We conclude through this narrative that the court of
law should decide to return parts of such a gift of dower by the wife keeping
in view various factors when such a case is registered for hearing. These

Islam and Woman                                                           92

factors may include the duration of husband-wife relationship, children, the
temperament of husband and wife, given circumstances and other important

       Next question requires the meanings of the word „Eila‟a‟ (swearing)
used by the Quran. In fact at times, the tension between a husband and wife
mounts to that extent that the husband swears not to have any kind of
relationship including sexual contact with his wife. God directs that such a
man should reach a decision whether to live normally with his wife or
divorce her within four months. Husband and wife are not allowed to keep
away from each other more than this period. The Quran says:
              “Those who swear not to go to their wives must wait for
       four months. If they change their mind, Allah is forgiving and
       merciful; but if they decide to divorce them, know that He hears
       all and knows all”. (Al Baqara 2:226-227).

      Next question is what is meant by the Arabic word „Zihar‟ (Divorce
by the formula: Be to me as my mother‟s back) used in the Quran?

      In fact it was a cultural practice in Arabia during those days that an
angry husband used to utter this word for his wife, “You are just like my
mother”. Those days it was considered severer than even divorce. It was so
because in the Arabian culture, before Islam there was a room for
reconciliation after divorce but no chance was left after „Zihar‟.

       Since all this was out for intense rage which ensured repentance for
both the parties, God declared it null and void and issed an instruction for
       We know through the study of the Quran that a woman presented her
matter related to „Zihar‟ before the Prophet. She expressed her fear that the
whole of her family would be dismembered if she had been separated from
her husband. It is testified through the different narratives that this woman
was Khawaila whose husband Aus had done „Zihar‟ to her. Aus, due to his
old age had become short tempered and a bit cynical. Therefore, the Quranic
instruction was revealed on this issue. We realize through this instruction
that Islam protects the security of unity of a family and saves it from
disintegration to every possible extent.

      The Quran says:

Islam and Woman                                                            93

             “Allah has heard the words of that woman who pleaded
      with you concerning her husband and made her plaint to Allah.
      Allah has heard the arguments of both of you. He hears all and
      observes. Those of you who divorce their wives by „Zihar‟
      should know that they are not their mothers. Theirs mothers are
      those only who give birth to them. The words they utter are
      unjust and false: but Allah is Pardoning, Forgiving. Those who
      divorce their wives by „Zihar‟ and afterwards retract their
      words shall free a slave before they touch each other again. This
      you are enjoined to do: Allah cognizant of all your actions. He
      that does not have (a slave) shall fast two successive months
      before they touch one another. If he cannot do this, he shall feed
      sixty of the poor. This is enjoined on you so that you may have
      faith in Allah and his apostle. Such are the limits set by Allah.
      A grievous punishment awaits the unbelievers”. (Al-Mujadila

       We believe that the above quoted instructions about „Zihar‟ if studied
minutely testifies indirectly our point of view regarding the grant of three
divorce in a state of rage. We suppose that it would be in accordance with
the spirit of Islam if declaring the three divorce given at a time as just one
divorce and the above mentioned punishment should also be imposed on the
husband by the state.
       Next question is what is meant by the term „La‟an‟. It means that if
a man witnesses his wife with another man in a state of adultery but has no
evidence except himself, he and his wife would both appear in the court of
law. The husband will swear for five times in support of his claim and wife
will also swear for five times if she denies the charges. After that they will
be separated from each other forever.

The Quran says:
            “And those who accuse their wives and have no
     witnesses except themselves, let each of them testify by
     swearing four times by Allah that his charges are true, calling
     down in the fifth time upon himself the curse of Allah if he is
     lying. And they shall spare her the punishment if she swears
     four times by Allah that his charges is fault and call down
     Allah‟s wrath upon herself if it be true”. (Al-Noor 24:6-9)

Islam and Woman                                                              94

       Next question is that according to the Quran, husband is
responsible for all necessities of life required by his wife during the
waiting period after divorce (three menstrual periods for an ordinary
woman and till delivery of the child for a pregnant). Can a woman stay
for the above mentioned period at the residence of her ex-husband and
is he responsible for all her necessities after third divorce (after
reconciliation is disallowed)?
       There are two opinions in this regard. First that man has no obligation
to fulfill the requirements of his wife after third divorce. It is argued in its
support that Quranic word “When they have reached the end of their waiting
period, either retain them in honor or let them go with kindness” tell us that
man is not responsible for the requirement of his wife after the final divorce
as there are no chances left for reconciliation. It is also argued that the
Quran, while mentioning about the responsibility of a husband towards his
wife also says, “You never know; after that Allah may bring to pass some
new event”. It indicates that husband and wife are directed to live in the
same house so that the situation may get reformed. It is obvious that there is
no possibility of any such situation after the third divorce. A famous
narrative of Fatima binte Qais registered in several authentic books of
Hadith is also presented as an argument in favor of this point of view.
According to this narrative when Fatima‟s husband divorced her for the third
time, she went to the Prophet with the plaint for her right of residence and
other requirements of life. The Prophet did not declare her deserving for all
that and directed to complete her waiting period at the residence of another
of his companions.

       We believe that all three arguments quoted above are not very sound.
Firstly, because after the verses 1-2 of Al-Talaq the matter of the residence,
feeding and clothing of a woman has been repeated through the verse 6
before winding up the matter. This repetition intends to make this right of a
woman clear. Secondly, the Quranic word, “You never know; after that
Allah may bring to pass some new event” have a vast connotation. It has an
indication in case of third divorce that God will open new dimensions for
man and woman both after that interim period. It also indicates that a
woman, however needs her requirements to be met with during that interim
and emergent period. Thirdly, God would have revealed it clearly in the
Quran if there was no obligation upon man towards the woman after the
third divorce. So far as the narrative of Fatima binte Qais is concerned,
prominent scholars like Umar (second Caliph of Islam) and Aysha (The

Islam and Woman                                                           95

Prophet‟s wife) have refused to accept it despite its valid reference. Umar
             “We cannot overlook a Quranic verse and the Sunnah of
      the Holy Prophet just because of the saying of a woman, who
      does not know what she remembered and what forgot. I have
      heard myself from the Prophet‟s mouth that a woman divorced
      for the third time deserves residence and feeding too”.

      This narrative of Umar is registered in the Muslim too along with
other books of Hadith. Ayesha also believed that Fatima had misunderstood
the matter by going out of the context. This is why Aysha used to say,
             “It is better not to mention the narrative of Fatima. There
      is no good in mentioning it, what has gone wrong with Fatima?
      Does she not fear from God?” (The Bukhari)

      Various other narrative make us realize that Fatima binte Qais was
sharp tongued and impertinent. This was the reason that her case was
decided in an unusual way.

        The above discussion makes it clear that a woman deserves the
facilities of residence and living expenses during the waiting period even
after the third divorce.

       Next question is whether there could be some legislation for the
protection and compensation of the right of a woman.
       The answer is that Islam has only accorded the guideline and has left
the matter of detailed legislation upon the time and circumstances. In fact
circumstances differ with the passage of time. So it is necessary that
different legislation is done according to the requirement of time. The Quran
has given the guiding principle that whenever a woman is divorced:
              “Must be retained in honor or allowed to go with
       kindness”. (Al-Baqara 2:229)

It further says:
              “When they have reached their prescribed time, either
        keep them honorably or part with them honorably”. (Al-Talaq

      There are two important Arabic words in the above quoted Quranic
verses; „Ihsan‟ and „Ma‟aroof‟. „Ihsan‟ means doing something in the best

Islam and Woman                                                              96

possible way so as to satisfy the other person completely. „Ma‟aroof‟ has a
large connotation. It gives the sense of every such good, virtue and work of
excellence which has been declared as virtuous step by the religion which is
determined as welfare according to the intellect, wisdom and mass
observation and experience of man. According to this, every responsible
statute of law, custom and constitution is also called as „Ma‟aroof‟.

       Hence, the Quran directs that such an appropriate procedure should be
adopted in the matter of divorce, keeping in view the prevalent
circumstances which should guarantee the protection of the rights and career
of a woman. If such a system already exists, there is no need for further
steps. If such a system is non-existent in the society, it is the responsibility
of the state to legislate and get it enacted in the required form under

       We observe that there was no need for any such legislation during the
period of the Prophet. Every divorce woman was offered many proposals for
marriage immediately after her waiting period had been over and she used to
accept one of them. It was considered good for divorced woman to marry
anew immediately after the lapse of her waiting period, nor men were
hesitant to marry a divorced woman. There are innumerable narrative in the
books of Hadith and countless events in the manuscripts of history that
approve the above fact.
       The situation of the Subcontinent‟s Muslim society today is quite
different. Here divorce is looked down upon. Generally, no man is ready to
marry her. Mostly a woman is divorced when her parents are dead and all of
her brothers and sisters are well settled in their respective homes. Hence she
becomes all alone and appears to be a picture of intense grief and misery. It
is, therefore necessary that proper laws are made for her future. Such
legislation can have two forms. First that the first husband must be made
bound to pay some suitable amount on monthly basis till the woman marries
a new man. Second that man should hand over some reasonable amount to
the woman at the time of divorce. The first method does not conform to the
spirit of Islam as it might tempt the woman not to marry again whereas an
Islamic society asserts that every adult man and woman must get married.
Moreover, a woman remains dependent upon her previous husband
permanently under this method, old memories die hard and the woman can‟t
plan in a proper manner to proceed in her life according to her capability.
We, therefore consider the second method as more proper. It means that
there should be a law making the man bound to pay a reasonable sum of

Islam and Woman                                                              97

amount to the woman at the time of third divorce. The court may make
changes in the amount after viewing all circumstances. The court will have
to keep numerous factors in view like fixing the main responsibility, the
duration of couple‟s joint stay as the woman would have served her husband
free of cost for that duration and she would face much difficulty in searching
a new husband now and the financial conditions of both husband and wife
individually etc.
       This method is fruitful for both man and woman, as man gets relieved
of his obligations for ever and the woman can also start her new life
instantly.It is, therefore obligatory upon every Muslim state to introduce
legislation in this context immediately. It would close the door of oppression
and would open the gates of “Ma aroof” and “Ihsan”. However, people
should enter this term in the bond of Nikah as long as the state does not take
a step in this direction.
       Next question is whether a married couple can remarry each other
even after the third divorce. It is possible just in one situation. If the
woman marries another man but is divorced by him too or he dies, she can
remarry her first husband.

The Quran says;
       “ If a man divorces his wife (finally), he cannot remarry her
       until she has wedded another man and been divorced by him; in
       which case it shall be no offence for either of them to return to
       the other, if they think that they can stay within the limits set by
       Allah”. (Al Baqara-2:230).
       It gives us the message that our religion is so particular about keeping
a family intact that it always keeps a door open even after the repeated
       Next question requires the meaning and description of “Halalah”.
The religious sense of the word “Halalah” has been described in the above
paragraph. Now a days, it is used to mean that when a man divorces hiswife
for three times in the same wake in a state of rage but repents later, conspires
with his wife to get her married to another person in a fake manner and plans
her divorce after she has passed one or two nights with her new husband.
This way he marries his first wife after the waiting period is lapsed.
       It is obviously a conspiracy and not a marriage. The term “Nikah” is
known for the contract of marriage in which man and woman vow to live
together as husband and wife forever. A relationship without this vow is
merely adultery and not a “Nikah”. This is why, according to a narrative in

Islam and Woman                                                                98

Ibne Majah, the Prophet assimilated such a man to a hired bull. According to
a narrative registered in Tirmizi and the Nisai the Holy Prophet said:
              “The one who does “Hala‟la‟ and the one who gets it
       done are both cursed by God”.
       Such a „Hala‟ la‟ is a plot against the dignity of mankind. Therefore it
is necessary that there should be some strong legislative measure to counter
this malpractice.
       Next thing to be known is what should be done of kids in case of a
divorce. It is desirable that the man and woman reach some mutual decision
otherwise the court can make any judgment about the children keeping in
view their circumstances. However, it should be kept in mind, in this context
that the mother is more suitable for the look after and brought up of infants
and small kids. A narrative registered in Abu Daud says:
              “A woman said to the Prophet, „O Prophet this is my son
       who was born to me, fed by me, brought up in my lap and now
       his father has divorced me. He wants to acquire this child too‟.
       The Prophet said, you deserve more to keep the child until you
       marry. (it means that in such a situation court will have to
       consider the case of father and mother both)”
       If the child is sensible, his choice would be preferred. The Prophet
decided some cases according to the desire of the child.
       It looks proper to discuss another issue as well after a comprehensive
discussion on the Islam‟s concept of family. The Prophet married for
several times during the last nine years of his life (fifty four to sixty four
years of age) whereas he lived with only one wife during the first twenty-
five years of his married life. It is noteworthy that his first wife, Khadija was
fifteen years older than him. At the time of Khadija‟s death the Prophet was
fifty. He married another old widow who remained as his sole wife for
the next three years. He married several times during the last nine years
of his life after he had come to Madinah. What is the justification of this
apparently strange action?
       In fact, after the first two, rest of all marriages of the Prophet were for
the accomplishment of the Prophethood. The whole matter of these
marriages was in direct control of God. This is why the Quran declared it a
process of the performance of the Prophethood and made the specific laws
regarding these marriages clear. The Prophet was not allowed to marry
outside a particular circle. He was not allowed to divorce any of his wives.
His wives were also not allowed to remarry after the death of the Prophet.
They were declared as the mothers of all Muslims and were imposed some

Islam and Woman                                                            99

additional restrictions as compared to other Muslim woman. All this has
been described in detail in Al-Ahzab.
       Khadija was the first wife of the Prophet. The Holy Prophet was just
twenty-five while Khadija was forty years old at the time of their marriage.
Khadija had become widow thrice before this marriage. All her three
husbands died in succession. She had been the only wife of the Holy Prophet
for the next twenty-four years. Thus the Prophet spent the whole period of
his youth with an old widow. He loved her the most which he always
       The Prophet married Saudah a few months after the death of Khadija.
It was still the Makkan period of the Prophet. Saudah was also a mature
widow of fifty.
       After the migration to Madina some important requirements were
realized from the women„s point of view. First the Muslim population
started growing rapidly. There was a dire need of some women who should
have been trained directly by the Prophet so that they should be able to
impart the same to the women who newly entered the circle of Islam.
Second that the Muslims had been embattled by some very important tribes.
The only way to merge these tribes in Muslim Ummah was to develop their
relationship with the Holy Prophet. It was also necessary that there should be
some women able to impart Islamic social values to other Muslim women.
There were certain malpractices in the Arab Society, which needed
reformation. The Prophet married several women during his last ten years
for the accomplishment of all these objectives. Among all these wives of the
Prophet, Ayesha was the only woman who was unmarried before entering
into the bond of Nikah with the Holy Prophet. Rest were all widows or
divorced. Each of these marriages was a source of help for the promotion
and propagation of Islam.
       It should also be remembered that some of the Prophet‟s wives kept
on educating muslim women for almost half century after the death of the
Prophet. In fact, the same was the background of the marriages of the


   To sum up the whole chapter the important points are given as under:.
1. Any sexual relationship outside the bond of marriage is disallowed.
2. Nikah is an open, free and subtle contract between an adult man and an
   adult woman.

Islam and Woman                                                           100

3. Ideal married couple is like apparel for each other. They take care of each
   other. They have equal rights and obligation in usual circumstances.
4. Man is bound to fulfill all valid requirements of his wife. He is not
   allowed to tease her and be cruel to her. He has to adopt a nice attitude
   towards her.
5. A wife has to be obedient and loyal to her husband. She will keep his
6. Man is the head of family who is responsible to meet all the requirements
   of family and accord protection to it.
7. In normal circumstances, a husband is not allowed to strike his wife
   physically even if he gets intensely enraged due to her negligence.
8. The husband can punish his wife mildly for the larger interest of the unit
   of family if the wife revolts against him by taking interest in other men.
9. In case of a dispute, one representative from each party should decide the
   matter together.
10.Dower is the right of the wife.
11.Some close relatives cannot marry each other.
12.Some specific conditions can be included in the bond of “Nikah” for the
   grant of sense of security to a wife.
13.It is proper to get the consent of the family regarding a marriage. But the
   couple has the final authority in this matter.
14.The age of “Nikah” commences after the attainment of the age of
15.A wife cannot, normally decline the request of her husband for a physical
   contact but a husband should also respect his wife‟s desire.
16.A marriage in exchange is forbidden.
17.A man can marry more than once in case of a just reason only. The
   husband is bound to maintain justice between his wives.
18.When the co-existence is impossible, a man may divorce his wife and a
   wife may get divorce as well.
19.The right of divorce is for three times only.
20.It is forbidden for a husband to divorce his wife when she is passing
   through her menstrual period or when he has slept with he in purified
   state and her next menstrual period is not yet approached.
21.All three divorces given at a time should be considered as one and a man
   guilty of such act should be penalized.
22.Khula‟a is the right of a woman. It is not obligatory upon her to accuse
   her husband for this purpose. She may surrender a part of her dower on
   this occasion through mutual consultation.
23.A wife cannot be granted the right of divorce through the bond of Nikah.

Islam and Woman                                                           101

24.The maximum period of Eala is four months and ten days.
25.A divorce does not fall at the time of Zahar. However, the husband will
   have fast for sixty consecutive days or feed sixty poor persons.
26.La‟an, would be decided on the basis of the swearing.
27.The man is responsible for the residence, food and other requirements of
   his wife during her waiting period even after the final divorce.
28.The religious concept of Hala‟la is altogether different from the generally
   misunderstood concept nowadays. The present practice of Halala is, in
   fact a farce.
29.The matter of the children should be decided according to the existing
   circumstances in case of a divorce between their parents.
30.All marriages of the Holy Prophet during the last nine years of his life
   had taken place on the direct orders of God for the proper
   accomplishment of the objectives of his Prophethood.

   Some proposals have been made in this chapter for the Government
   to have legislation in this context. Here is a summery of them all:

   1. There should be a law against the violence at domestic level.
   2. A new Nikah from should be devised mentioning clearly all such
      terms that grant a sense of security to a woman.
   3. The court should declare instantly a court marriage.
   4. The right of a woman towards marriage should be made clearly part of
   5. The marriage of a minor should be strictly banned.
   6. A marriage in exchange or a marriage with the Quran and all such
      unislamic practices should be declared against the law.
   7. There should be a law that a man must seek the permission of the
      court of law before marrying more than once. The court should
      impose some restrictions upon him for the maintenance of justice
      between his wives.
   8. Proper law should be made declaring that in case of the grant of even
      all their divorce at the same time; only one divorce will be enacted.
   9. It should be clearly indicated in law that a woman needs not accuse
      her husband or prove an allegation against him for the acquisition of
      Khula‟ a.
   10.There should be legislation for the safe future of a divorce woman.
   11.The real concept of Hala‟la‟ should be made clear through law and the
      malpractice nowadays carried on in this regard should be declared

Islam and Woman                                                          102



     There are some very important matters in Islamic law regarding the
  capacity of a woman. It is generally believed that Islam makes a
  distinction between the evidence of a man and woman. It is assumed
  that the evidence of two women equal a man‟ s and her evidence is not
  acceptable in the matters of „Hudood‟ which include murder, robbery,
  theft and adultery. The argument advanced in its favour is that the Holy
  Quran has declared that the evidence of two women is equal to one man.
  The Holy Quran says:
            Call in two male witness from among you, but if two
     men cannot be found. Then one man and two woman whom
     you judge fit to act as witnesses; so that if either of them forget,
     the other will remember‟‟ (Al –Baqara-2.282 (a portion)
     It indicates that a woman‟s witness is, in fact half to that of a man in
  any matter. A narrative from the Bukhari; Kitab-ul-Hais supports this

Islam and Woman                                                             103

   argument as well which declares woman with defective intellect and
   faulty approach towards religion. It is argued by some circles that due to
   her defective intellect, her evidence is not at all admissible. We disagree
   to the above argument.

      1. So far as this fact is concerned that man and woman are alike in
          according to Islam. The following Quranic verse are the strong and
          clear arguments in its favour:
      „‟ For Muslim men and woman, for believing men and women;
      for devout men and women, for men and women who are
      patient; for men and women who humble themselves, for men
      and women who give charity; for men and women who fast; for
      men and women who guard their chastity; and for men and
      women who remember Allah much- for them all has God
      prepared forgiveness and a great reward‟‟. (Al-hzab-33.35)

                     The Quran further says:
       „I will deny no man or woman among you the reward of their
       labours. You are the offspring of one another‟‟ Al-Imran-3:195)
                     It further says:
          „‟The true believers, both men and woman are friends to each
          other. They enjoin what is just and forbid what is evil; they attend
          to their prayers and pay the alm-tax and obey Allah and His
          Apostle. On these Allah will have mercy. He is „‟Mighty, Wise,‟‟
       A careful reading of Islamic law regarding testimony in a court
reveals that it is avsolutely gender blind and discrimination free. In dirrerent
contexts, Quran has instructed its followers eight times about the law of
evidence which are as follows:
       1      Surah Al-Baqarah (2; 282)        2     Surah Al-Nisa (4:6)
       3      Surah Al-Nisa (4:15)             4     Surah Al-Maida (5:106)
       5      Surah Al-Maida (5:107) 6         Surah Al-Nur (24:4)
       7      Surah Al-Nur (24:6)              8     Surah Al-Talaq (Talaq)
       With the exception of Surah Al-Baqarah (2:282), no Quranic verse
differentiates between the evidence rendered by a man or a woman.
Interestingly enough, the particulare situation that upholds differentiation
between the two sexes carries little significance as compared to other ones,
which give equal weight to the evidence, whether given by a male or a
female. Therefore, it would be quite pertinent to explore why the Quran has

Islam and Woman                                                              104

upheld the distinction between a man and a woman in this particular matter.
The verse (282) of Surah Al-Baqarah primarily deals with the issue of
transaction of money in the form of loan or debt in day-to-day life. Islam in
such matters recommended its followers to keeping an account of the
transactions made. For that, the right to dictate the terms lies with the lender,
whereas the one whose services are solicited to pen it down is under divine
obligation to do so. The Quran ordains that two reliable and close male
friends be made witnesses over the deal. However, if only one man is
available at such occasions, two women alongside him be also made
witnesses to the agreement, with the objective that if one forgets, the other
could remind her about the deal.
       For a good appreciation of the verse discussing a highly important
issue, one has to keep in view the particular context in which it has revealed.
Firstly, the very first addressees of this verse belonged to a society where
very few men knew how to read and write, let alone talk about women‟s
education. In addition to this, neither any official arrangement for business
documentation nor any concept of stamp papers or professional scribes was
known to the people. Given this, the literate people have been asked in the
verse not to refuse if and when they are asked to write some document. With
this in the mind, the Quran gives a privilege to uneducated womanfolk by
allowing them to have another woman alongside her, so that if she forget
about the details, the other could remind her.
       Secondly, the court has nowhere been addressed in the verse. In that
case it should have started with the words like: “Oh you who believe if a
debt case is brought before you.” Instead it guides the faithful about a social
problem, which could be avoided if they follow a prescribed set of
instructions. Otherwise it is needless to mention that in monetary cases,
courts are expected and well advised to investigate a matter in a broader
context, scrutinize all relevant documents, listen to the statements of the
witnesses and analyze the circumstantial evidence to make the final
       One can maintain that the particular instructions given in the verse
pertain to the documentary evidence alone and have got nothing to do with
first hand and circumstantial evidence. Let it be explained in another way.
Suppose a crime is committed at place where neither a man nor a woman is
present but a video camera or surveillance equipment is there to record the
events. In another situation, no other proof except circumstantial evidence
such as fingerprints or blood stain ect, is available. The judgment of the
court in such situations shall be guided by the available circumstantial

Islam and Woman                                                             105

evidence alone. Thus, precisely speaking, one can hold that this verse has
nothing to do with the crimimal cases and the evidence required in them.
        Those who favor the woman‟s half evidence in jucicial cased often
refer to a Hadith narrated in Sahih Bukhari, Chapter Menstruation, reading
as: women asked, “Oh Messenger of Allah, how do we lack in faith and
wisdom? The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said “Don‟t you have half
evidence as against men? The women said yes. Then the Prophet (Peace be
upon him) said: this is how they lack in wisdom. Then he inquired “Are you
not exempted from prayer and fasting during menstruation? The women
answered in affirmative. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said this is how
they lack in faith”. It might be mentioned here that the authenticity of a
Prophetic tradition is to be adjudged in the context of other similar traditions
besides exposing it to human reason and logic. The incident mentioned
above is also stated in Musnid Ahmad Bin Hanbal through reliable narrators.
According to that the dialogue took place not between the Prophet (PBUH)
and a group of common women but between him and the wife of Abdulah
Bin Masud. Strangely enough, Sunan Darmi also makes a mention of the
text quoted above but calls it the saying of not any one else but Abdulah Bin
Masud. This contradiction shows that it is not safe to claim that these words
are the exact reproduction of what the Prophet (PBUH) said.
        When put to the scrutiny of reason and logic (commonly termed as
„dariat‟), it becomes further evident that such words are wrongly attributed
to the Prophet (PBUH). To bring the point home, one has to refer to the
theory of „cause and effect‟. For instance, it sounds correct when one says
that „X is an unintelligent fellow, therefore, he failed‟. However, it shall be
simply wrong if someone says „X got failed so he is an unintelligent fellow,
since there be multiple reasons, besides being unintelligent, behind his
        Seen in the backdrop of this example, the above-mentioned tradition
fails to satisfy logic. In fact it gives precedence to cause over consequences
whereas the logic dictates the quite other way round. It should have sounded
logical if it were stated that women be given the right of half evidence
against men as they were handicapped intellectually. Despite being logical,
the argument in the final analysis does not come to measure for it is based on
a mere assumption, not supported by any solid evidence to prove that
women are less worthy than men in matters of knowledge and memory.
        Secondly, abandoning of prayers and fasting during menstrual cycle is
given as yet another justification to regard a woman as „half in faith‟. Weird
and mistaken it must sound to any sane person on two grounds; first, it puts
the cause on the backburner and becomes consequence oriented. Second, it

Islam and Woman                                                           106

is sharply at variance with the basic spirit of Islam besides being illogical
and unfounded.
       The basic teachings of Islam with regard to fundamental beliefs,
virtues and rewards are not gender specific. Instead they hold both men and
women equally accountable for their deeds to God. Matters of prosecution
and persecution are doubtlessly no exception to this principal therefore; one
would be grossly mistaken to presume that women are intellectually
handicapped on account of the exemption given to them from offering
prayers and fasting during the menstrual period.
       Because of menstruation, a woman normally stays away from prayers
and fasting for seven days each month. Calculated mathematically, it
becomes almost one fourth, not half of the month, when she is spared from
these two supreme obligations. If this be so, how come her faith be regarded
as half than her male counterpart? Secondly, during menopausal period, she
does perform all religious rituals in an identical fashion to men. This again
proves the falsity of the claim that she is half in her faith than man.
       Thirdly, refraining from fasting and prayers during menstruation does
not belittle the status of a woman in the sight of God, for her act is driven
not by free personal will but by the commandment of her Creator. Therefore,
she would be received not as someone with a lower degree of piety but as a
true follower of Islam who would be rewarded duly against that in the world
hereafter. Moreover, it should also be not forgotten that she is obligated to
keep her missing fasting at the earliest when she is pure and clean.
Resultantly, she happens to fast as many time as a man does, dismantling the
very rationale of being taken as half in faith as compared to man.
       This said, one could maintain safely that the above-mentioned
tradition fails to satisfy logic and common sense and needs be discarded in
the light of „darait‟.
       There is yet another dimension to this issue. Certain authentic
traditions prove it beyond any doubt that a death penalty in the era of
Prophet (PBHH) was enforced on the evidence of a single woman. For
instance, an incident narrated in Sahih Bukhari tells us that a man was
awarded had penalty by the Prophet (PBUH) for killing a woman who in her
testimony at the eleventh hour of her life pointed him out as her murderer. In
the same vein, one can also refer to the historical fact that the martyrdom of
Hazrat Usman was witnessed by none but his wife Naila and the very
campaign spearheaded by Hazrat Ayesha and other senior companions of the
Prophet (PBHU) to avenge his blood was based on her evidence alone.
       The protagonists of no woman evidence in criminal cases at times
offer arguments, which defy common sense and logic. For instance, they

Islam and Woman                                                          107

argue that if, given the frailty and intellectual shortcoming, a woman‟s
evidence is taken as half of that of a man is monetary cases, how come that
be equated with that of man in a highly serious and crucial issue of a crime?
In order to give credence to their viewpoint, they claim that a consensus
existed among the jurists of past in the said matter. They often, in this
regard, quote Ibn-e-Shahab Zehri saying: “since the era of Prophet (Peace be
upon him) and the subsequent caliphs like Abu Bakar and Umar, the
woman‟s evidence in the matters of Hudood and Qisas has never been
accepted. This tradition has never undergone any change”. (Nasb-ur-raia,
Zeelai, volume 4, pp 79, chapter Evidence).
       This is absolutely wrong because, as stated above, Prophet (PBUH)
himself once enforced death punishment on the sole testimony of a woman.
Historically speaking, no incidence taking place either in the era of Abu
Bakar or Umar vindicate, or otherwise, the claim that a woman can be a
witness in criminal cases. Therefore, claiming any consensus on this issue is
itself erroneous. Otherwise the very testimony rendered by Naila in the
murder of caliph Usman would not have been granted. Furthermore, it is a
well-established fact that at least two jurists namely Atta and Hamad favored
women‟s evidence in case of Hudood and Qisa.
       Having said that, one can safely maintain that declaring women‟s
evidence in Hudood and Qisas cases invalid is neither Quranic nor
Prophetic. Common sense and logic also point to the same fact. Therefore,
one cannot take it for granted.

       The above discussion tells us that in the matters generally not dealt
with by women in a society, Islam grants them relaxation in the context of
documentary evidence that a woman can seek the assistance of another
woman in the court of law. Other than this specific situation there is no
distinction between the evidence of a man and a woman.

                 The law for slander in Islam
      Islam is very particular about the dignity of woman. The Quran
declares it a great sin to calumniate an innocent woman. If someone does so,
he is bound to present four-eye witness in support of his claim. A man,
whose claim is proved to be false, is sentenced eighty lashes and is not
allowed to present himself as evidence in any matter in future.

The Quran says:

Islam and Woman                                                             108

            „‟Those who defame honorable but unaware believing
      women shall be cursed in this world and in the next. Theirs
      shall be a woeful punishment on the day when their own
      tongues, hands and feet will testify to what they did (Al-Noor-

It further says:
              „‟ Those that defame honorable women and cannot
        produce four witnesses shall be given eighty lashes. And do not
        accept their testimony ever after, for they are great
        transgressors‟‟ (Al-Noor-24:4).
        The question arises why Islam has demanded four eye witnesses in
order to prove calumny against a woman. It is so because it is better to
conceal any such slip on the part of a man and a woman and not to make it
public. It should rather be kept extra judicial affair so that the guilty couple
remains careful in future. It is good for the society on the whole.

      Punishment against adultery in Islam

    It is clear that Islam declares adultery as a major crime. There
     are some queries regarding the punishment of this crime.

    What is the punishment against simple adultery and how can
     this crime be proved?
    Can some criminals of adultery be relaxed under specific
    Is it obligation of an individual to report it to state if he
     witnesses the crime himself?
    What is the punishment for married adulterers?
    What is the penalty against the crimes of gang rape, rape and
     prostitution? How can these crimes be proved?
    How would the case be proved if there is no other witness other
     than the affected woman who falls a victim to rape or gang
    Would the woman be declared guilty of false accusation if she
     fails to prove her claim?
    If a woman gets pregnant and she sues someone for the rape but
     fails to prove the case, would she be tried on the crime of

Islam and Woman                                                           109

    If a case of adultery is dismissed by the court of law, would the
     court declare the appellants incapable of presenting themselves
     as evidence ever in future, using its special powers or the
     affectee will have to file a new petition for that

   Now we shall discuss the above questions one by one:
The answer to the first question is that God issued these orders in Al-Noor
and declared its instructions as quite clear in the start of the Surah. The
Quran says:
     „‟ This is a surah (chapter) which we have revealed and
     sanctioned, proclaiming in it clear revelations, so that you may
     take head‟‟. (Al-Noor-24-1)

Next has been declared the punishment for adultery.
The Quran says:

             „‟The adulterer and the adulteress shall each be given a
      hundred lashes. Let no pity for them detain you from obedience
      to Allah, if you truly believe in Allah and the last Day, and let
      their punishment be witnessed by a number of believers. The
      adulterer may marry only an adulteress or and idolatress; and
      the adulteress may marry only an adulterer or an idolater. True
      believers are forbidden such (marriages).‟‟(Al Noor-24:2-3)

      So far as proving of this crime is concerned, such an allegation can be
raised against two types of people. First against a normal persons. in the
society. The Quran instructs that such people should not be accused unless
there are four eyewitnesses to support the charge. Second, whose
professions, living styles and other circumstances indicate strongly that they
are prostitutes. The charge against such people can be proved through all
generally known and logically just methods like prospect, circumstances,
medical examination, Post –mortem, finger prints, witnesses and all such
evidences which can be a source for proving a case in the court of law. The
Prophet says:

            „‟It is the responsibility of the plaintiff to present the
      argument and the one who denies the charge will swear‟‟
      (Tirmizi: kitab-ul-Ahkam)

Islam and Woman                                                          110

     Second question is whether some guilty of adultery can be
relaxed under specific circumstances.

       The Quran uses the words of „adulterer‟ and adulteress. This is why it
is the extreme punishment of this crime and can be imposed on the
individuals who happen to commit it in the last extreme and does not
deserve any relaxation due to their circumstances. Therefore some people
are exempted from this punishment. They include the insane, simpletons,
constrained, non Muslims and the forced ones (who are deprived of offering
resistance). They must be punished but less than the extreme punishment.
   The Quran says about the women who were forced to become prostitutes
by their masters:

           “If any one compels such women for prostitution then surely
       after such compulsion, Allah will be Forgiving, Merciful‟‟ (Al-
   Similarly, there was the matter of girl slaves during the period of the
Holy Prophet. These women had been without the defence of their family at
their back through their childhood and youth time and had passed through
extremely immoral circumstances.
   The Quran says that even if their parents, husbands or masters manage to
keep them chast yet they happen to commit such crime, they should be
granted half punishment simply because their moral foundation is weak. It
           “And if they are kept chaste yet they commit adultery, they
       shall suffer half the penalty inflicted upon free adulteresses‟‟

   Under the present circumstances when there are all temptations to arouse
sensuality, people have faulty moral education and innumerable people lack
necessary family and social protection, the state should make laws in this
regard and the court of law should also take this aspect into account.

   Third question is whether it is obligatory upon an individual to
report to the state if he witnesses this crime.

   The answer is that Islam dislikes it. The Quran declared the law for
slander for the same reason. The Prophet, explaining this point said to a

Islam and Woman                                                            111

         „‟If you had covered that man‟s crime, it would have been
      better for you „‟ (Al-Mauta: Kitab-ul-Hudood)

   It is also proper for the guilty noy to expose it and seek redemption of his
sin from God. The Prophet says:
           „‟Anyone among you who gets indulged in such a filthy
       crime should keep himself concealed under the covering
       granted by God. If he will expose himself, we shall impose the
       law of Allah upon him‟‟ (Al-Mauta Kitab-ul-Hudood)

   Next question is about the punishment to a married adulterer or
      It is the opinion of some circles that every such person should be
stoned to death.The important question to be asked in this context is what is
the basis of stoning to death penalty to a married man / woman involved in
adultery? As a matter of fact, a good number of arguments for or against this
issue are available in the literature. Given below is a brief description of
some of them:

Those who favor the stoning to death as Had maintain that:

       The penalty stated in Surah Al-Nur (24: 2) is meant for an
        unmarried man and woman involved in fornication, while the
        punishment for a married man and woman involved in this crime is
        death by stoning. To vindicate their point, they refer to the
        prophetic tradition stated by Ubadah bin Samit in Sahih Muslim
        reading as: Prophet (PBUH) once said: take from me, take from
        me. Allah ordained for them some (other) way. If who involved in
        this crime are unmarried, flog them with hundred stripes and if
        married, stone them until they are dead (Sahih Muslim, 1690).

       Another saying reported in Sahih Bukhari is as follow: “Child is
        for whom on whose bed he is born and for adulterer are but stones‟
        (Chapter, Al-Maharbeen).
       According to Sahih Muslim, Hadrat Umar narrated: “Allah sent to
        you the Prophet (PBUH) with truth (Haq) and revealed on him the
        book. In that book was one verse about stoning to death. We read
        it, we preserved it and comprehended it. (According to mauta
        Imam Malik the verse was “old adulterer man and woman, stone
        them to death. This is indeed a grevious punishment from Allah”.

Islam and Woman                                                         112

        Although the recitation of the verse was prohibited, the
        commandment remains still valid). Thus the Messenger of Allah
        punished the culprit with stoning to death and we following him,
        did the same. Behold! Stoning to death is a penalty mandatory on
        every man and woman who after marriage and indulges in

      In Sunan Nisai it is narrated: „‟the Prophet (PBUH) said, the blood
       of a Muslim is permissible only in three conditions. One, the
       married man and woman involved in adultery should be stoned to
       death, second, whosoever kills a man knowingly, be killed in
       return of the murder. And third, a man who recants Islam after
       embracing it and fights against Allah and His prophet, be killed or
       crucified or exiled from the land‟‟.

      Almost all Books of Hadith narrate the incident of Maiz Aslami
       who was stoned to death following the confession of this crime.

      Some Books of Hadith also talk about a woman named as
       Ghamdiya who was stoned to death after her confession.

      Similarly, one laborer is reported to be involved in an extra marital
       relationship with the wife of his lord. After being persecuted with
       Lashes, he was later exiled while the woman was stoned to death.

      According to Mussamag Abdul Razzaq, an adulteress woman was
       penalized by stoning in the era of Caliph Umar.

      The Caliph Usman persecuted a woman by stoning who gave birth
       to an illegitimate child just after six month of her marriage.

      Another similar tradition tells us that the same punishment was
       enforced upon an adulteress woman by the Caliph Ali.

   The other group has criticized the above eight arguments and
rejected on the following grounds:

      In the very first verse of Surah Al-Nur, Allah says that this Surah
       has been revealed and ordained upon Muslims as it carries God‟s
       Commandments in a clear and vivid manner. Then, in the second

Islam and Woman                                                            113

         verse the penalty for adultery is mentioned and it makes no
         distinction between married and unmarried culprits Instead it talks
         in the general sense and makes no distinction between married and
         unmarried culprits. They further argue that what refrained Allah
         from prescribing two different kinds of penalties for both types if
         He so wished? He neither lacked words nor wanted to put its
         servants in undue trial by stating one thing verbally in the Scripture
         and suggesting another in practice. It is simply impossible. So,
         there is one and the same penalty with regard to fornication and

       The penalty of stoning to death can be effectively used against all
        those who are or might be involved in „waging war against Allah
        and His Messenger and spread mischief and tumult in the land‟, as
        stated in Al-Maida, 5:33-34. so, if a person is found guilty of any
        such crime as rape, prostitution, kidnapping, abduction and so forth
        he can be awarded a punishment ranging from painful death to
        exile. Stoning to death is just one way of persecution, which is
        obviously shuddering. Each Islamic State is free to penalize the
        culprit in any of the prescribed ways and perform legislation in this
        regard keeping in view the peculiar circumstances.

       The very Hadith narrated by; Ubada bin Sabit further clarifies and
        explains what has been stated in Al-Nisa (4:15) about the
        institution of prostitution. At that time, there were a few women
        professionally involved in the business of flesh and the verse
        instructs about such women as follows:‟‟ if any of your women are
        guilty of lewdness, take the evidence of four (reliable) witness
        from amongst you against them, and if they testify, confine them to
        houses until death do claim them or Allah ordain for them some
        (other) way‟‟.

   Thus, according to the Quranic decree, these women were detained in
their homes. Following the reveling of Surah Al-Maida, 5, the prophet
(PBUH) introduced legislation in the light of the verse vis-à-vis „spreading
mischief and tumult in the land‟ (fasad-fil-arz). According to it, the
unmarried prostitutes were to be given the penalty of whipping and exile
whereas the married ones were whipped and stoned to death. This is why we
find almost the same verse stated in Al-Nisa, 4 also and the words as
narrated by Ubada bin Sabit „Allah ordained for them some (other) way‟.

Islam and Woman                                                              114

The legislation done by the prophet (PBUH) was based upon and derived
from the verse of Surah Al-Maida, 5. the Islamic State, even in
contemporary times, can perform such legislation if it is confronted with the
challenge of prostitution and whoring..

           The literal interpretation of the tradition narratied in Sahih
            Bukhari “ child is for whom on whose bed he is born and for
            adulterer are but stones‟‟, says that every adulterer or adultress
            should be stoned until death but this is not the right
            interpretation. In fact it is an Arabic proverb meaning that an
            adulterer or adultress is destined to be empty handed or has no
            the claim on child born.

           The words attributed to Caliph Umar in Sahih Muslim and
            Mauta Imam Malik („old adulterer man‟) is absolutely
            devastating and repugnant to the very teaching of Islam. If
            taken for granted, they are capable of shaking the whole
            monument of Islamic faith and beliefs. This tradition tells us
            that there are certain verses in the Quran, which have been
            either abrogated or omitted from the Scripture, yet they stand
            valid as a Divine Law. If it is so, the question is why after all
            they were abrogated or omitted from the Quran? This is but
            blasphemous to believe this way for the Quran is a clear
            unambiguous guidance from Allah Almighty and is beyond all
            doubts, distortions and deletions.

Secondly, the word used in the verse („old adulterer man and old adultress
woman‟) are also ambiguous, contradictory and controversial. It uses the
word, “old man and old woman” for the culprit but they might be married or
unmarried. Then how is it right to interpret it in favor of the stoning to death
penalty for married men and women? The words and phrases used in this
alleged Quranic verse are unbecoming of the great and glorious Quran and
cannot be believed in.

    The tradition stated in Sunan Nisi is not only incomplete but also self-
     contradictory. There are several other crimes in which the killing of a
     muslim man is permissible, for example to kill a robber in self
     defence, to kill a rapist in saving one‟s chastity, to kill those who are
     involved any way in rebellion, drug trafficking, addiction, terrorism
     and like evils. In case of such kind, the state is sanctioned to legislate

Islam and Woman                                                            115

      and grant even the death penalty to any of the culprit. A recent
      example of this is Saudi Arabian Law where death sentence is granted
      as a penalty for drug trafficking. Another noteworthy detail is that all
      the above four traditions are diparate and contradict each other. For
      example, in the words of Ubada bin Sabit only a married involved in
      adultery should be stoned to death or whipped. Whereas, according to
      Sahih Bukhari, whoever fornicates should be stoned to death. In the
      tradition of Hadrat Umar, the old adulterer and old adulteress, either
      married or unmarried should be killed by stoning. The tradition
      maintains the penalty of stoning to death but forgive the trial of
      whipping. What concerns a genuine person is the question whether a
      man or woman can be stoned until death, in the presence of such
      multiple and contradictory traditions? Can the penalty of stoning to
      death be imposed and promulgated in the presence of so many
      dissenting and disparate traditions?

    There is no doubt that Maiz Aslmi was stoned to death in Prophet‟s
     age. However, the incident has been narrated in different books with
     various contradictions and conclusions. One narrator describe him as
     simple and innocent fellow, who committed the sin, felt guilty by the
     prick of his conscience and confessed before the Prophet (PBUH).
     However, in another narration, he is described to be involved in such
     activity earlier also. The Prophet (PBUH) had prior information of his
     crime and he confessed it with the hope of being forgiven. Another
     source tells us that his case was the case of rape and not adultery, as
     the Prophet (PBUH) called for the affected woman too but did not
     persecute her as her involvement was not willful (Tabqaat Ibne Saad,
     Volume-IV, Page-321). On the same day, the messenger of Allah
     gave a sermon during „Asr‟ prayer and without naming the fellow
     unveiled his conduct and character. Sahih Muslim states it as follows,
     “Did it not happen that whenever we came out of our home in Allah‟s
     way, one among us remained there who was overwhelmed and
     restless by his lust. O believers! I am but obliged to award such fellow
     a grievous penalty whenever he is brought to me” (Sahih Muslim,
     chapter Al-Hadood). The above words prove that it was an offense of
     rape and the Prophet (PBUH) punished him accordingly.

       Secondly, we have no clear and definite detail when did this incident
take place. It is possible that it happened before revelation of Surra Al-Noor,
24. if it is true, then it seems safer to conclude that the Prophet (PBUH)

Islam and Woman                                                           116

might have punished him by following the Mosaic Law, as it was his
common practice to do so before a clear Quranic commandment had been
sent to him. Moreover, the Holy Book itself states that the Quranic
injunctions are much lighter and benign than the Mosaic Law. A married
man or woman are asked to be killed by stoning Torah but the Quran
afterwards lightened the punishment in Sura Al-Noor (24:2), where the
penalty for an adulterer is stated.

      Thirdly, it might also be asked that did Maiz have any opportunity to
escape from or evade the punishment? The answer we find in his last words
as recorded in history, “take me to the Prophet (PBUH). My tribesmen
ruined me. They deceived and lied to me. They kept on telling me that the
Prophet would not kill me”. Afterwards when the prophet (PBUH) was
informed about it, he said: why didn‟t you spare him why didn‟t you let him
go, why didn‟t you bring him before me”. (Abu Daud, Al-Hodood).
Tabqat Ibn-I-Saad adds to it “Why didn‟t you leave him. May be he sought
repentance and Allah granted him what he prayed for‟.

   This again confirms that in case of „spereading mischief and tumult in the
land‟ (fasad-fil-urz), the Islamic State is sanctioned to grant forgiveness to
the culprit, whereas in other Had cases, the state has no authority to do so.
The above details make it definite to think that it was a case of rape and the
Prophet (Peace be upon him) granted him punishment in this offense.

       The incident of Ghamdiya is also narrated in various books.
        However, it is punctuated with a number of contradiction and
        confusions that remain unresolved even today. One tradition
        narrates that she had been stoned to death immediately after the
        delivery of the child, whereas the other states that punishmeny
        took place when the child reached his weaning age. One narration
        says that during this time (of pregnancy and lactation), she stayed
        with an Ansari Companion Whereas according to other one, she
        had been given patronage of her guardian. Was she a harlot or a
        whore who vowed to refrain from Zina after embracing Islam? Did
        she involve in sin after her avowed claim of refraining from it in
        the future and then had to confess because of her pregnancy? Or
        was she a gentlewoman who committed the crime by a timely
        temptation? These and such questions have not been answers in
        any book. Was her husband alive at the time when she got
        punished? Where was he and his whole family during this time?

Islam and Woman                                                         117

       Where were her tribesmen at the time of her funeral and burial?
       Such important yet minute details are missing in her account and
       give way to countless doubts and Confusions about the issue? Most
       of all, in any of these narrations, she has not been declared as a
       married woman, so they become quite unvalid and inauthentic to
       justify the penalty of stoning to death for a married culprit.

     With regard to the case of the laborer and his alleged illicit
      relations with his lord‟s wife, it seems as if it was a case of
      prostitution. When it became open, the lord made a deal (with the
      father of the laborer) by taking 100 goats and one concubine. Now
      is it fair to imagine or subscribe to the idea that a brave and gentle
      Arab lord would make a bargain over his own wife‟s chastity? It
      can be asserted that the man and his whole family were involved in
      such clandestine activities by first trapping men and then making a
      deal over it. But it was all by chance that they met a fellow who
      wanted to take back his goats and concubine. The man did know
      that if reported, his son would be less punished whereas the woman
      would meet her ultimate end. Thus every thing got revealed in this
      conflict and the prophet (PBUH) punished the woman against her
      crime of working as a prostitute.

    In any way, what we gather from this narrative is vague, unclear, and
    dubious. It does not contain satisfying answers to some vital
    questions, thus it can not be used and referred as a legal precedent for
    any other case. For example when did the incident take place? How
    did the crime get revealed? How was the culprit caught and who was
    the witness? Did the wife herself tell the husband that she was
    successful in her decision and could he ask for a material
    compensation from the laborers father by making a deal?

    Therefore, from a legal perspective all the three incidents mentioned
    above are simply invalid, confusing, and contradictory. Therefore,
    neither can they be used as a precedent or argument for the resolution
    of other such cases, nor the method and mechanism to deciding the
    things in this incidents matched in any way to the sagacious and
    glorious Prophetic traditions.

     The incident reported to have taken place in the era of four Caliphs
      are also fraught with contradictions and controversies. For

Islam and Woman                                                             118

         example, according to Mauta Imam Malik, the woman who gave
         birth a child six months after her marriage was brought to Caliph
         Usman, whom ordered to kill her by stoning. Now, it is very
         obvious that the accused woman was involved in illicit sex prior to
         her marriage. Therefore, punishment meted out to her can not be
         used as a valid argument in favor of the penalty of stoning to death
         for a married fellow.

      Besides these eight arguments and the counter response to them,
   there are four other aspects, which are significant and not worthy, in
   this debate:

   In almost all above-mentioned tradition, the word „Ihsan‟ and
„Mohsin/Mohsina‟ have been used for marriage and married man/woman,
which has or might have manifold meanings and all of them are valid. It can
be used for freedom and free man/woman as against slavery or slave-
man/woman. It might be interpreted as chastity or chaste man/woman as
well as Islam and Muslim man/woman. Contrary to this, there are few words
that are specifically used for marriage and the married man. Is it correct to
use such euphemistic terms for such a critical and serious matter in which
one is meted out such an exemplary punishment if the crime is proved? For
example, what if some one uses or might use the word „ihsan‟ for getting re-
involved in adultery after once withdrawing from act. In that way it might
create an ambiguous situation in which the spirit of law and justice might get

    Throughout the debate above, the question of one‟s being married, or
otherwise, is over emphasized, whereas there are several situations in
human life in which one despite being married leads a bachelor or
celibate life, such as in case of marital discord, illness of any of the spouses
or divorce between the couples. There may still be many other similar
situations like when a husband and wife are away from each other due to job
engagements or one of them has departed, etc. in all these hypothetical
situations, a man despite being formally married remains and lives like an
unmarried fellow. So putting all these multiple kinds in one category and
treating them in the same manner is neither just nor justifiable.

    The core principle is that „‟each and every Prophetic
     tradition/Hadith is subordinate to the Quran and is to be
     interpreted and comprehended in the light of the Holy Book‟‟. By

Islam and Woman                                                             119

      following this principle, we can avoid many conflicts and confusions
      that might arise in the interpretation of faith and in the realm of Fiqh.
      By doing so, every prophetic tradition will be well fitted in its own
      place like a beads work. On the other hand, if every tradition or
      Hadith is viewed and reviewed as a self-contained role, it may give
      way to a pack of dichotomies, disparities and discrepancies leading us
      to nowhere. As a matter of fact, this principle has been given by the
      Quran itself that in matters of faith and fiqah, the primary and
      principal source and authority is the Quran and every thing is to be
      explained and decided first and last in the light of the Quran.

    Those who do not favor the penalty of stoning to death as a Had
     cannot be cast aside and condemned as „‟apologetic Westernized
     lot‟‟. Rather there has been a great school of authentic and eminent
     scholars and jurists in past thirty years whose sincerity and perception
     of faith is beyond any doubt, but nevertheless they did not favor this
     penalty. Among them a few prominent names are Mulana Hameed-
     ud-Din Farahi, Ameen Ahsan Islahi, Imam Hasn-ul-Banna, Jaleel
     Ahsan Nadvi, Sadr-ud-Din Islahi, Umar Ahmed Usmani, Maulana
     Farooq Khan, Aligarh, Inait Ullah Subhani and Javed Ahmed

   Next question requires information regarding the punishment
for the crimes like rape, Gang Rape and Prostitution. How are
such crimes proved?

       The answer to this is that all above mentioned crimes fall in the list of
the crimes that amount to messing on the earth. There is a law for all these
crimes in Al-Maida-5:33-34 that tells that such criminals may be killed in an
exemplary manner. If the state conditions are not favourable for such
punishment, they should be sent in exile or should be restricted in some
particular area so that the society remains safe from their evil and
       The second part of the question was how these crimes are proved.
These claims are proved in the same manner as all other crimes in the world
are proved. Our religion has not forced us to adopt some particular measure.
However, the Quran has imposed a special law for the abolition fo
prostitution. According to this law if the Muslim women do not refrain
themselves from prostitution, four witnesses should be called to present their

Islam and Woman                                                              120

evidences with complete responsibility that the particular woman is known
as a prostitute in the society and to themselves too. It is not essential for
them to register themselves as eyewitnesses. In such a situation, if the court
feels itself satisfied with the evidences after the due investigation and cross
examination, guilty woman can be granted house arrest or she and her
accomplices can be granted any of the punishment meant for those messing
on the earth, keeping in view the circumstances.
       The Quran says:
           „‟If any of your (muslim) women commit fornication, call in
       four witnesses from among yourselves against them; if they
       testify to their guilt, confine them to their houses till death
       overtakes them or till Allah finds another way for them‟‟. (Al-

       The above instruction shows that it is basically state‟s responsibility to
take action against such prostitutes on the public complaint and to appoint at
least four respectable people of locality as witnesses.

     How the case of rape or gang rape would be proved if there is no
eye-witness other than the affected woman herself and if she fails to
prove the case, will she be tried for slander.

       The occurrence of such incidents is quite possible as such criminals
mostly select solitary and uninhabited places for the enactment of their evil
plans. Normally, it is unimaginable that a woman would accuse a man just to
defame him and would risk her own reputation. The Quran makes it clear
that the law of slander is meant to tackle with the mischievous people who
keep accusing innocent women of adultery. This is why the Quran has called
them “Pious women‟‟. Hence, it is basically a law for the defence of the
respectable women. It does not mean to quiten the innocent and set the
criminals free. Therefore, it seems quite according to the Quranic teachings
that the state must legislate in the way that all such cases are proved in the
same way as all other criminal cases are proved in the world. This includes
the methods like medical examinations, DNA test fingerprints, clothes of the
criminal and the relevant conditions. There is no need of four witnesses in
this context because it is needed only for adultery.

      Whether the woman would be tried for slander if she fails
to prove the case.

Islam and Woman                                                               121

       In fact, there are two possibilities in this context. First that her charge
is true but it lacks sufficient evidence to prove the case or there is some
technical fault in the evidences or the case has become weak due to the
manipulation of police. Obviously the affected woman is not at fault in this
situation. Second that she has accused someone just to defane him or for the
sake of money. This situation has three more aspects. First whether the
charge has been levied against a normal person or a man of weak character.
Second that such an accusation is more harmful for the reputation of a
woman than that of a man. Third that a woman just once in her life can level
a false allegation as she would lose her integrity in the eyes of the court and
the society after just one case. Therefore, keeping in view all such
circumstances, it is mandatory that there should be a law that the affected
women would not be tried by the court itself if the case is not proved.
However, the affected party may sue for the claim of defamation if it
believes that the case was quite fake.

      If a pregnant woman sues for rape but fails to prove the case, will
she be tried in the case of adultery?

        It is very important question because even now hundreds of such
pregnant women are behind the bars who sued for rape but failed to prove
the case. Consequently they were tried by the state for adultery, as their
pregnancy was a strong proof against them. This augment is wrong. The
woman could have been raped but the case could not have been proved and
the accused would have been given the benefit of doubt by the court of law.
It is therefore proper to grant the same benefit of doubt to the appellant too.
Another noteworthy point is that no woman would seek justice from the
court of law if they were held guilty in this way. It would start the practice of
injustice and Oppression in the country in an endless manner. Third aspect is
that it is wrong to say that a woman cannot be raped without her consent. A
woman can be raped on the threat of murder. She can be blackmailed
repeatedly through any of her irresponsible action like her letters to someone
or the similar. Fourth aspect of the matter is that the modern method of DNA
test can determine whether the woman has been made pregnant by the
particular man or someone else is responsible for that. The facility of such a
test should be provided because it would help in lessening the incidence of
such crimes. As long as this facility is unavailable in the country, the blood
specimen and tissues of man and woman can be sent abroad for examination.

Islam and Woman                                                               122

       Keeping in view the above aspects and factors, there is a need for
legislation to ensure that a pregnant woman, having failed to prove her case,
will not be sued by the sate itself.

      Whether the state would itself declare the claimants, who fail to
prove the case, as incompetent of presenting themselves as evidences in
future or the affected party would have to file a separate petition.

       If such a charge is leveled against a woman, the court itself should
penalize the claimants for slander while deciding the case. The affected
party need not file a separate petition for that. It is so because the Quran has
addressed the state and the court clearly in this matter. It says.
              “Those that defame honourable woman and cannot
       produce four witnesses shall be given eighty lashes. And do not
       accept their testimony ever after.(Al-Nur-24:4)
       The above Quranic verse makes it clear upon the state and the court
that it is directly their responsibility. If it is left upon the discretion of the
effected party, he may not contact the court due to the fear of the
complicated judicial procedure, wastage of time and money, further
defamation and the influence of affluent persons and the guilty of slanders
would move around freely.
       Therefore, it seems necessary that there should be a law enabling the
court to penalize the criminals of slander itself for tarnishing the image of a
respectable woman.

      The matter of blood money for a woman

       When a murder is done by someone erroneously, it is obligatory upon
the guilty, according to Islamic instructions, to pay a particular sum of
amount to heirs of the murdered as ransom and fine. This is called; Dayat;
(blood money). There are three points of view about the sum of amount and
the issue whether the blood money for a murdered man and a murdered
woman is equal.
       First point of view is that the quality of; Dayat; for a murdered man is
a hundred camels or the amount equal to it where as it is half in case of a
murdered woman. It is based on some weak narratives. The study of
Tarjuman-ul-Quran Volumes June, July and October 1984 can be helpful in
knowing about the detailed arguments in favour of this point of view. The
Ulema committee of Jama,at-e-Islami, Maulana Gohar-al-Rehman and
AbdulWakeel Alavi have suppprted this point of view.

Islam and Woman                                                            123

       The second point of view makes no distinction between the, Dayat, of
a man and a woman. In order to study detailed arguments in favour of this
point of view, the study of ,Fiqah-al-Quran, vol-4,6 by Maulana Umar
Ahmad Usmani. Who has also written an article in favour of this stand is
worth mentioning.
       According to third point of view, the Quran has used the word of,
Dayat, in the form of common noun which means that it has not determined
quantity in Shariah. The Quran says:
              He that kills a believer by mistake must pay blood-money
       to the family of the victim, unless they choose to give it away in
       alms. (Al-Nisa-4:92 (partly))
       In the same way it becomes clear through the Quran that, Dayat,
should be paid according to the tradition, law and practice of the society.
It says:
              He who is pardoned by his aggrieved brother shall be
       prosecuted according to the custom and shall pay him a liberal
       fine. (Al-Baqara-2: 178)
       It becomes clear through the above instruction that there is no
determined quantity of ,Dayat,. It is upon the state to make legislation
according to the circumstances.
       The Prophet enforced “Dayat” during his period according to the
tradition of Arabia and brought no change in it. He did not issue any clear
order as a permanent religious binding by himself. Similarly, the amount of,
Dayat, can be determined according to the requirements and circumstances
of a period. A detailed discussion can be studied in this context in, Hudood-
o-Ta, azeerat, by Javed Ahamad Ghamidy. We agree to his point of view as
it is in accordance with the Quran. It justifies all Hadiths and historical
narratives in a satisfactory manner and it is according to the human
conscience and common sense as well.

      Islam‟s law of legacy and woman

       It is generally objected on Islam,s law of legacy that it determines
woman,s share half to that of a man. Indeed the general law is the same in
Islam. However, if some aspects are kept in mind, this division would seem
equitable and natural. The first thing to notice is that a woman gets an
additional share in the form of dower at the time of her marriage which is
given to her from the belongings of her husband. Secondly, it is man,s
responsibility to meet all expenses of his wife and children after his marriage
where as a woman has no such obligation. Even after her marriage her

Islam and Woman                                                              124

expenses are the liability of her husband. The third aspect of the matter is
that the Quran has declared the shares of man and woman equal in legacy
during extra-ordinary circumstances when it is feared that her personal
expenses like medical treatment due to old age would exceed a certain limit.
For example according to Al-Nisa -4: 11 if a person having children dies,
one sixth of his legacy would go to both of his parents. Obviously both of
them would be old or bordering with old age and their personal expenses
including medical charges would be unusual.
       The above discussion makes it clear that in fact, the shares of man and
woman are equivalent if all aspects are kept in mind and the rights and
duties of both the sides are duly regarded.

      The Issue of Fosterage

       The Muslim law attaches great significance to the lap of a mother. It is
so important that a foster mother has been elevated to the status of a mother
by Islam. Her children are declared spiritual brothers and sisters of her foster
child and their mutual marriages are forbidden. Hence this relationship
becomes so sacred that everyone has to respect it. Her husband is also like
the spiritual father of her foster child.
       Three legal aspects in this context must be understood well. First that
the law of legacy is not applied on this relationship as it is merely a spiritual
contact. Second that this relationship has no application upon the real
brother and sister of the foster child and hence they are free from any
restriction of marriage faced by him otherwise. Thirdly, the Al- Nisa-4:23
makes it clear that the relation of fosterage is established only when it is
properly arranged. It means that this act of fosterage should take place
through mutual consent of the real parent of the child and the foster mother.
Moreover the foster child should be well aware of his foster parents so that
he should treat their children like his brothers and sisters. This rerlationship
is not established accidentally or just by calming down a weeping child or
without the consent of the real parents and proper arrangement made by

      A woman‟s journey outside her home

Islam and Woman                                                            125

       It is said that a woman is not allowed to take a long journey outside
her home alone because there are two narratives quoted in this context.
According to the first narrative, the Holy Prophet said:
       “It is narrated by Abu Huraira that the Prophet forbade a woman to
travel for a day and night without the company of a „Mahram‟ (A very close
relative who can not enter into the bond of marriage with the individual).
(Abu Dauod: Kitab Al-Mansik).
       The second narrative is as under:
       “It is not allowed for a woman who believe in God and the day of
Judgment that she travels for three days or more without the company of her
father, brother, son, husband or another „Mahram‟ (the Muslim: Kitab Al-
       There are two more true narratives in this regard. One narrative
mentions two days and nights while the other relates half day.
       Both the above narrativ differ in the number of days during the
journey. We know that Islam give clear instructions. If a woman‟s journey
without her „Mahram‟ had been disallowed as final order there would have
been just one instruction issued by the Prophet regarding the number of
days. It means that this matter pertains with prevalent circumstances or any
seemingly prudent measure. During the period of the Holy Prophet when his
hold was not yet strong on the entire empire of the Arabian Peninsula and
there was general state of unrest, it was unsafe for a woman to travel alone.
It must be remembered that this journey had to take place through barren
deserts occupied by unruly tribes. Therefore, it was natural for the Prophet to
direct woman not to travel for more than twenty four hours without the
company of some near relatives. It was all for the safety and honour of a
woman. We come to know that the Prophet allowed woman to travel alone
for a longer period when the circumstances became favourable. The fact that
this matter is related to the conditions of peace is known to us through a
narrative related by Adi Bin Hatem and registered in the Bukhari:
              “ The Prophet said that there would be the time quite
       soon when a woman will travel on a camels back all alone from
       Haira (a far flung area) to Makkah for pilgrimage but she would
       have no other fear except the fear of God and that of wolf”.(the
       Bukhari : Kitab-al-Manasik: 3595)
       Adi says that he himself witnessed later it happening exactly in the
same manner. He witnessed that an alone woman used to come from Haira
and offer her pilgrimage without the fear of anyone except God.
       The above discussion proves that the matter of alone woman‟s journey
is based on prevailing circumstances, common sense and the prudent

Islam and Woman                                                              126

measures. A woman should not travel without the company of some close
relative but if the gravity of the situation is lessened, she may do so. Hence,
it can be said that it is a social instruction which has nothing to do with any
permanent principal.
       Relying themselves on the same narratives, several Muslims scholars
debate whether a woman can go on pilgrimage without the company of her
„Mahrm‟. In this regard, Imam Malik and Imam Shafaee have the opinion
that an alone woman can travel in the company of such pilgrims who are
known for their satisfactory moral standing. Imam Ibn Hazm believes that a
woman can travel even without anyone on her way for pilgrimage. He
further says that she can go alone if her „Mahram‟ is present if he can‟t
accompany her or is unwilling to go. We believe that both the conditions are
valid keeping in view the prevailing circumstances.

                              Muta,a and Islam

        „Muta, a is a timely physical contact between a man and a woman
where husband and wife have no rights on each other and they can‟t be
declared as heirs to each other. Such a woman has neither the obligation of
the waiting period nor she gets proper divorce. This term means that the man
uses a woman physically and sexually for a limited period on payment. Thus
it is a sort of legalized prostitution. Some schools of thought consider it valid
in Islam and quote certain narratives from the Bukhari and the Muslims in
favor of their opinion which give an impression that „it was practiced during
the regimes of Caliph of Islam but it was banned later by Umer, the second
Caliphs, during his regime. So it appears that it is valid but it was banned by
Umar through an administrative order. Since an administrative order can
lose its implecation at any time it seems better to view the matter in the light
of Islam because its claims of validity gives the impression as if prostitution
is allowed in Islam.
        It is very clear that the Quran is the only equity to distinguish right
from wrong in Islam. This is the only standard and is sublimest of all. The
Quran is very clear about the fact that the only possible sextual contact
between a man and a woman can take place through marriage. The other
possibility during the earlier period of Islam was the relationship with one‟s
slave-girl. It was so clear that a Quranic verse was revealed in the earlier
period of Islam in this regard.
                “(Successful indeed are the believers who) restrain
        themselves from sexual desires, except with their wives and the

Islam and Woman                                                            127

        girl they posses, for those are lawful to them”. (Al-Muminun-
        23: 5-6).
        Then the Quran tells us that committing fornication and meeting other
woman in secret are forbidden in an Islamic society. The Quran says:
               “It shall be no offence for you openly to propose
        marriage or indirectly to such woman or to cherish them in your
        heart. Allah knows that you will remember them. Do not
        arrange to meet them in secret and, when you meet them, speak
        to them honourably. (Al Baqara-2: 235).
It further says:
               “(All) good things have this day been made lawful to
        you. The food of those to whom the Book was given is lawful
        to you and yours to them. Lawful to you are the free believing
        woman and the free woman from among those who were given
        the Book before you, provided that you give them their dowries
        and live in honour with them, neither committing fornication
        nor taking them as mistresses. (Al Maida-5: 5).
        “Muta‟a” is in fact, committing of fornication. The Quran, on the
contrary, directs all believing men and women to meet each other with
modesty in their eyes and a modest dress on their bodies while women are
not allowed to reveal their finery upon men. The reference to (Al-Nur-25:
30-31) has already been given on the previous page.
         The Quran has laid down the principles of “Nikah” in such a detail
that it appears as if it is the most important thing after the basic creeds in
Islam. It discusses the dower in this context. It throws light on each and
every aspect of the relationship between husband and wife, determines their
rights and obligations and describes the conditions for their mutual
separation. Had „Muta‟a been valid, all above exercise would have been a
futile effort as‟‟Muta,a‟ means open prostitution where people look at those
women in a lusty manner, buy them for a limited period which may be upto
a single night as well and then both the parties become stranger to each
other. If we justify, Muta, a, in Islam all Quranic suras like Al-Baqara, Al-
Maida and Al-Noor rather the whole Quranic teachings become irrelevant in
the context of man-woman relationship. It is therefore, clear that, Muta,a, is
completely disallowed in Islam. It is in fact adultery.
        However, the case of the narratives is different. If we collect all the
valid narratives in this context, they can be divided in the following groups:

      1.     The first group determines that, Muta,a, was declared forbidden
             during the Makkan period. Muta,a, was commonly practiced

Islam and Woman                                                       128

          before Islam in the Arabian society, the following narrative can
          be presented as an example:
          „Ibn Ababas narrates that Muta,a, was commonly practiced and
          was valid in Islam during its early days. Whan a person used to
          go to to some unfamiliar village, he used to marry some local
          women. That woman took care of his belongings and kept his
          affairs aright (means she would meet his sexual needs too).
          When Al-Muminun was revealed, Ibn Abbas said that all
          private parts of other women are forbidden except these two.
          (Tirmizi- Kitab-al-Nikah)

    2:    According to the second group of narratives, „Muta,a, was
          forbidden from the very beginning but the Prophet overlooked
          its practice on some occasions during the early period of Islam.
          The narrative of Abu Huraira registered in the Bukhari: Kitab-
          al-Nikah verifies this reference. The narrative of Abdullah Bin
          Umar is another supporting document. Moreover, the narrative
          of Ayas bin Salman registered in the Muslim: Kitab –al-Nikah
          conveys the similar sense.

    3 The third group of narrative conveys the sense that “Muta‟a” was
      allowed just for the period of war when husbands, were at a
      distance from their wives. Qais has quoted a narrative of similar
      sense in the Bukhari and the Muslim: Kitab Al-Nikah with refernce
      to Abdullah Bin Masauod. Morever the narrative of Jabbir Bin
      Abdullah and Salman Bin Aku in both these books support this

    4 According to the fourth group of narratives „Muta „a‟ was
      disallowed in sixth of Hijrah three months after the pact of
      Hudiabya on the occasion on the War of Khyber. One such
      narratives has been narrated by Ibn Abbas through the reference of
      Ali, the fourth pious caliph of Islam registered in the Bukhari and
      the Muslim: Kitab-al-Nikah.

    5 According to the fifth group of narrative „Muta‟a‟ was forbidden
      on the day of the conquest of Makkah in 8 th Hijrah by the Holy
      Prophet. One such narrative has been recorded in the Muslim:
      Kitab Al-Nikah with reference to Sabrah.

Islam and Woman                                                             129

      6 According to the 6th group of narratives, the Prophet declared
        „Muta‟a‟ as forbidden a few days after the conquest of Makkah
        when some people had already enjoyed themselves through it.
        Sabrat-al-Jahni registered in the Muslim, verifies it.

      7 According to the 7th group of narratives the Prophet banned
        „Muta‟a‟ on his last pilgrimage in 10th of Hijrah. This narrative has
        been narrated by Aslam Zahri with reference to Rabi Bin Sabarah
        and is recorded in Abu Dauod: Kitab al-Nikah.

      8 According to the 8th group of narratives „Muta‟a‟ was generally
        allowed during the regime of the Prophet and Abu Bakar. Umar
        declared it disallowed during his regime later. It has been narrated
        as such in the Muslim through the reference of Abu Zubair and

       9 The 9th group of narratives affirms without determining the period
            that „Muta‟a‟ was disallowed by the Holy Prophet. In a narrative of
            the Muslim with reference to Rabi Bin Sabrah Jahani, the exact
            period has not been specified. Similarly the wording of a narrative
            registered in the Mulim: Kitab Al-Nikah is as under.
       “The Prophet said: from this day Muta‟a is disallowed for you
       till the dooms day. Whosever has given something to a woman
       for Muta‟a should not take it back”.
       Some aspects of all the nine above quoted narratives need our
attention. First that all the above narratives have valid reference. Second that
all are these are contradictory to one another. If some of them find any
similarity, other are so contradictory that there is no possibility of finding
any common future in them. Third that there are so many contradictory
narrated by one person (at times some companions of the holy Prophet and
some time their successors). For example there is a narrative with reference
to Ibn Abbas that Muta‟a was forbidden through the revelation of Al
Muminun while in another narrative he says that he used to issue a verdict
regarding Muta‟a. according to another narrative with his reference he had
turned to his previous verdict. It is also narrated by Sabrat Jahm that Muta‟a
was banned a few days after the conquest of Makkah. It is narrated by Ibn
Rabi as well that Muta‟a was declared unlawful at the time of the last
pilgrimage of the Prophet when a year had passed after the conquest of
Makkah. Fourth aspect of the matter is that there are several things in these
narratives which are not only contradictory to the Quran but also run counter

Islam and Woman                                                             130

to the refinement of one‟s conscience. For example it is referred in these
narratives that in the eight year after Hijrah when the Holy Prophet had
established the firmness of his rule almost over the whole of the Arabian
Peninsula (and a long time had lapsed after the revelation of the instructions
through Al Nur) people used to hunt such women in the market places,
bargain with them, glanced at the different parts of their bodies critically and
hired them for Muta‟a on the decided cost. According to a narrative
registered in the Muslim Kitab al-Nikah, Rabi Bin Sabrah says that his father
was one of the soldiers in the Prophet‟s army at the time of the conquest of
Makkah. He told that they stayed at Makkah for fifteen days which give the
grand total of thirty by including days and nights. During this period, the
Prophet allowed them to benefit themselves from Muta‟a with women.
Rabbi‟s father along with another tribe‟s man set out in search of women.
The narrator was handsome than his fellow but the other fellows had a newer
shawl as compared to the one he himself had. They reached the southern or
northern part of Makkah where they met a beautiful girl who was young like
a female camel with a long neck. They asked her whether she was ready to
have Muta‟a with either of them. She enquired about the wages. Both the
candidates put down their shawls on the ground. She watched them keenly
and Rabbi‟s fellow also gazed at her from her head to her hips. Rabbi‟s
fellow boasted that his shawl was newer than the one his companion had. On
hearing this, she expressed that there was nothing wrong with his shawl. She
repeated this thing for several times. Rabbi said that he ultimately had
Muta‟a with her and never left her place until the Prophet disallowed the
practice of Muta‟a (Another narrative mentions this period as three days).

       The above discussion makes it clear that the principle in the Deen is
that the Quran is the authority in every matter. It has the supreme stand. If
any narrative stands contradictory to the Quran, it must not be granted even
the slightest weightage. The narrative is, in fact an information
communicated by an individual to another individual. The real matter may
take a different turn in this process of communication. A thing may slip off
the memory and the likelihood of deliberate attempt of tempering in also
there. All types of errors might find room despite all sorts of safety
measures. On the contrary, God himself has vowed to save the Quran in its
original shape. Therefore, any narrative contradictory to the Quran cannot be
accepted in any case.
       Here, we are confronted with another issue: Is there any justification
for the above mentioned nine groups of narratives and could there be any
congruity among them?

Islam and Woman                                                              131

We believe that the only justification congruity could be that Mata,a, was
not allowed since the beginning but its practice was at times overlooked with
the intention to train the society gradually in the moral field. Moreover, this
instruction had, probably not reached all muslims instantly. This is why it
was practiced for some time. Anyhow the Prophet forbade its practice
repeatedly. Finally, when Umar, the second pious Caliph of Islam witnessed
that people still had doubts about it, he declared the enforcement of the ban
on this unlawful practice in a forceful manner on the state level.

                       Islam and the issue of Slavery,

       The Quranic verses quoted in this book deal with slaves and slave
girls at certain places. It is, therefore, essential to make the Islam,s point of
view clear in this context and to describe how it abolished slavery.
       Slavery is not a part of Islam. According to the Quran, God has
blessed humain being with dignity and he is created of the best mould. The
Quran says.
               „„We have bestowed blessings on Adam,s children and
       carried them by land and sea. We have provided them with
       good things and exalted them above many of our creatures‟.
       (Al-Isra- 17:70)
       It further says:
               „„We created human being with the most noble image‟‟.
       (Al Tin 95:040)
               God created man as a creature who was prostrated by the
       angels. He is granted an independent and sovereign state on
       earth. Any distinction made by God among people is on the
       basis of their respective groups and tribes so that they can be
       identified mutually. The Quran says: O‟Mankind, we have
       created you from a male and a female, and made you into
       nations and tribes that you might get to know one another. The
       noblest of you in Allah‟s sight is the most righteous of you‟.
       (Al-Hujrat 49:13)
               Hence, no question of slavery is left after this situation.
       Islam determines the law for the collective interest of all
       Muslims (and not only the independent Muslims). It also
       affirms that all Muslims are brethren to one another. The Quran
       says: „the believers are brethren „. (Al-Hujrat 49:9)

Islam and Woman                                                            132

             It is impossible to believe with the rule of this law that
      Islam can allow an individual to enslave another person who is
      at his mercy in every case. In fact, Islam has abolished this
      institution for ever but has taken this step gradually in order to
      save the society from anarchy and disorder. Those days the
      Arab economy was as dependent on this institution as our
      economy is upon interest nowadays. Every lord had sores of
      servants who used to person labor in the fields like agriculture,
      Trade and others.

             Had all of them been set free immediately, they could not
      have found a respectable and useful place in society. Most of
      them were unable to earn for their souls. As a result they could
      have become beggars and the maid servants would have been
      forced to adopt prostitution. The rival forces of Islam could
      have exploited this situations a lot. Keeping in view all these
      expediencies, Islam adopted such a way for their freedom
      which did not ensue any serious problems and all men and
      women servants, gradually became an integral part of an
      independent Islamic society. The declarations promising it a
      great social virtue to set a slave free. The Quran Says: „Get the
      bondsmen free‟. (Al-Balad 90:13)

             During the Madinite period, the Quran declared that their
      rights are equal to those of all free men and women. It says:‟
      Serve Allah and associate none with Him. Show kindness to
      you parents and your kindred, to the orphans and to the needy,
      to your near and distant neighbors, to your fellow travelers, to
      the wayfarers and to the slaves whom you own. Allah does not
      love arrogant and boastful man‟. (Al-Nisa 4:36)

       In explanation to this, the Prophet not only issued clear instruction to
treat well with the slaves but also enforced a law making it obligatory upon
the masters to respect the human right of their slaves. Besides this, the Quran
declared setting free of a slave as a source of one‟s redemption in case of
some sins committed by the individual.
       The Quran also directed to arrange the marriage of all capable male
and female slaves so that they could live in the society with high morals. The
Quran says:

Islam and Woman                                                           133

             „Take in marriage those woman among you who are
       single and those of your male and female slaves who are
       honest. If they are poor, Allah will enrich them with his own
       abundance. Allah is bounteous, knowing‟. (Al-Nur 24:32)
       The Quran made it obligatory upon the state to set maximum possible
men and women slaves free through a special head in the government
treasury known as „Fi-Riqab‟
       The centers of prostitution established by the masters of female slaves
during the pre-Islamic period were abolished.
       It was directed that the words of ,Fata, and ,Fatat, should be used for
slaves instead of the humiliating titles (this was the usual style of calling
someone with love those days) in order to change the well beset concept of
people since ancient days.

        Afterwards, two such steps were taken which made the number of
slaves remarkably less and the future slavery was eradicated for ever. The
first step was the implementation of the „deed of freedom‟ which was a
source for a slave to get freedom after the payment of some amount through
an agreement with his master. The state and the public were asked to help
the slave‟s maximum in this context.
The Quran says:
              “As for those of your slaves who wish for a deed (of
        freedom), free them if you find in them any promise (of
        earning) and bestow on them a part of the riches which Allah
        has given you.‟(Al-Nur-24:23)
It further says:
              „(After you overpower the unbelievers in the battle, bind
        (your captives) grant them their freedom or take ransom from
        them, until war lay down its burdens. (Muhammad-47:4)
        Since a person could be enslaved only as result of war, the door of
slavery was closed for ever through this Quranic injunction. Thus the
institution to slavery was abolished completely by Islam.

Islam and Woman                                                           134

Chapter 5


       Three questions are worth discussing with reference to this topic.
First, whether Islam grants right of vote to women. Second, whether she can
contest elections. Third, whether a woman can become head of the state.
       The code of conduct suggested by Islam for the smooth handling of
state affairs says that all political and collective affairs should be settled
through mutual consultation which is the real democratic culture.

      The Quran Says:
            „(The muslims) conduct their affairs by mutual consent.
      „(Al-shura: 42-38)

       The Quranic order is for all men and women. Hence it is the
responsibility of a Muslim state to seek the opinion of women like men and
grant them right of vote. It is also obligatory upon women to express their

Islam and Woman                                                          135

opinion in all collective affairs. The Quran quotes the example of the
Prophets shoaib who accepted the advice of his daughter. The Quran directs
through Al-Baqara-2:233 that husband and wife should decide the matter of
weaning their child through mutual consultation.

       The Holy Prophet himself consulted women on several matters
and accepted their advice as well. There is a commonly known incident in
this context. At the time of the pact of Hudybia the Prophet‟s companions
were deeply grieved. The Prophet wanted to do something but no one stood
up to obey him. The Prophet sought the advice of his wife, Umm-i-Salma on
the issue. She granted a useful advice which brought fruitful results.

       The Prophet‟s companions were also in the practice of consulting
women. The valid narratives and the historical events reveal several such
incidents that testify the above claim. For example, according to a narrative
of the Bukhari, a famous companion of the Prophet, Abdullah Bin Umar
consulted his sister, Hafsa on an important, collective issue of the Muslims
and acted upon her advice as well. The pious Caliph also used to consult
women on various matters. Several historical events approve of this fact. On
the issue of the appointment of Usman as the third Caliphs of Islam. Abd-al-
Rehman Bin Auf consulted women as well.
       So far as the second question is concerned, Islam has never laid any
embargo upon women to assume an office of responsibility. Since they
can assume an office, they can contest elections as well. Shafa Bint-e-
Abdullah was entrusted with the duty of inspecting the market by Umar, the
second Caliph of Islam. (Al-asaba, Al-Istiyab and Asad-al-Ghaba).similarly,
another female companion of the Prophet, Samra Bint-e-Nahek was also
used to punish the criminal (Al-Istiyab)
       According to an eminent jurist of Muslim Ummah Imam Bin Jareer a
woman may become a judge in all kinds of cases. According to another
eminent jurists, Imam Abu Hanifa, she can act as a judge in all cases except
those of criminal cases. Hence, a woman may grant her advice, decide a
case, and even get her decision implemented. There is no difference of
opinion left now among the Muslim Ummah in the context of the above
mentioned two questions.

      Third question is whether a woman can become head of a state?

     One point of view in this context is that a woman has no right to
become head of a state in any case. They quote a Quranic reference in

Islam and Woman                                                             136

support of their logic. The Quran says that when Talut was appointed as the
ruler of Banu Isarad, by the Prophet Daud, the nation objected to it. Daud
convinced them by telling that Talut had an edge over other people in terms
of knowledge and physical strength. It indicated that the physical strength
was one of the prerequisites for a ruler. Since man is blessed with physical
strength, only he is suitable for the rule of a state.
       We disagree with the above argument. The manly appearance,
wrestling, and the use of weaponry were the qualities required by a ruler
during that period. It was so because the ruler also held the portfolio of the
Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and he had to combat in the
battlefield himself. This is why the Quran describes that Talut killed Jalut,
the head of his rival forces. Today, no ruler fights himself in the battlefield.
The best equity for a ruler today is that he must be farsighted and wise. We,
therefore, cannot deduce any permanent principle for our selves out of this
       Two more Quranic verses are quoted as argument against the headship
of a woman. These include Al-Baqara-2:228 and Al-Nisa-4:34.However,
they do not offer any such logic in favour of the above point of view. Both
of these verses are related with the relationship of husband and wife. These
verses convey that man will act as head of the family when he marries a
woman and forms a family. If God had an intention to issue a similar order
in case of a state as well, it would have been laid down in the Quran clearly.

       Among narratives, only two demand analysis in this context. First one
is from the Bukhari. Abu bakra (not the 1st Caliph, but another person),
narrates that the Prophet, on hearing that the daughter of the ex-king of Iran,
Kisra was appointed as the new ruler of the country, said that, “the nation
that appoints a woman as its ruler can never succeed”.
       This narrative generates some important issues,
           According to narrator of this narrative, Abu bakra, he
              recollected it on the occasion of the battle of Jamal. This battle
              was fought in 36th year of Hijrah. It means that Abu bakra had
              heard it from the Prophet‟s mouth at least thirty years before. It
              had been slipped off the attic of his memory during this period
              while he recollected it on a special occasion. It looks quite
           Since it was an important issue, other companions of the
              prophet should also have heard it from the Prophet‟s mouth but
              no one else quoted it ever. There were thousands of the
              Prophet‟s companions present on the occasion of the battle of

Islam and Woman                                                           137

            Jamal from both sides but it struck no one else‟s memory. Not
            only this but no one also segregated himself from Ayesha‟s
            army. It is above board that the Prophet‟s companions could
            never miss an opportunity of acting upon the Prophet‟s saying.
          It is also clear from the logical point of view that the Holy
            Prophet could never say like that. It is so because many such
            states have gained materially which were headed by women. (it
            must be borne in mind that this narrative clearly deals with the
            worldly gain because a nonmuslim state has been discussed
            here). The success in the life after death is not conditional with
            the distinction on the basis of sex.
          The middle link of this narrative, Auf Bin Abi Jamilah
            belonged to the faction that preferred Ali to Usman. The
            researchers are quite aware of the fact that a particular group of
            people launched a campaign against Ayesha as she had sided
            with Usman. This narrative could possibly be a link of the same
          Basically, this narrative is not applicable on Ayesha at all as she
            had never claimed headship of the state. She had reached
            Makkah in order to perform pilgrimage. On realizing the
            gravity of the situation, she went to Basrah instead of going to
            Madina. During that journey, the opponents of Ali also joined
            her. They demanded that Ali must arrest the assassins of Usman
            and punish them. Ali was of the opinion that he would certainly
            do that after he gets circumstances under control. Both the sides
            held negotiations on the issue for three days. The talks were
            fruitful and both the sides reached an agreement, the terms of
            which were to be written on the next day.There were several
            trouble seekers on both sides who intended to create a conflict.
            They conspired in such a way that both the sides doubted each
            other for having violated the treaty. Ayesha was in the cradle on
            a camel‟s back at that time. Her camel was brought to the battle
            field so that the fighting factions should stop fighting in her
            respect. The opponents, on the contrary though that Ayesha had
            herself come there to command her army. The battle instead
            became severer. At last, Ali stood victorious in the battle and
            sent Ayesha to Madina with great respect. (please see Urdu
            Ma‟araf Islamia Vol-7,Jang-e-Jamel)
      All this detail proves that Ayesha was neither a claimant for the
headship nor she had commanded the army. She lived for twenty two years

Islam and Woman                                                             138

after this tragedy and spent the whole time in educating women. If she were
desirous of any political leadership, she would have remained active in this
respect. Thus the claim made in this narrative is totally baseless.
       The second narrative belongs to Tirmizi. According to Abu Huraira
the prophet said, “When you have the best among you as rulers, you wealthy
people are generous and your affairs are settled through mutual consultation,
the surface of the earth is better for you than its womb. When the worst
among you are your rulers, your wealthy people become miser and your
affairs are settled by women, the womb of earth is better for you than its
       This narrative is true as per its content. It means that every civilized
and pious society should be guided by the principles of democracy which
certainly respect the opinions of all categories of people including men and
women. However, if men of a society become indifferent to the collective
issues, become lethargic and luxury prone and hand over all the matters of
responsibility to women, it is certainly, an unwanted situation. It means that
this narrative is not against women rather it condemns the lethargic and
luxurious trend among men.
       There are just these two narratives on this issue out of six most
important compilations.
       It is a fact that Islam has never laid any such restrictions on any issue
because there would have been clear Quranic instruction if there had been
any such intention. The Quran has its peculiar style that it describes all
relevant instructions while narrating an incident. But we see that while
narrating the incident of the Queen Saba of Yemen in Al-Namal who had
embraced Islam on the invitation of the Prophet Sulaiman, the Quran neither
approves of the rule of a woman nor discards it. The Quran does not even
mention whether Saba was kept as a ruler after her embracing of Islam or
not. Had there been any intention of God to issue a clear order, it was the
most appropriate opportunity for that. Hence, keeping ambiguity over here
indicates that being a woman does not hamper her from becoming a ruler
       We consider the above attitude of Islam as a very wise action. There
might arise such circumstances when a nation or a large faction can have
consensus on the rule of a woman only, particularly when a ruler is dead or
he is assassinated. The recent history reveals that a woman goes for a rule in
the compulsive and pressing circumstances only when her father or husband
meets some accident. She usually does not like to assume such

Islam and Woman                                                           139

Chapter # 06

     This chapter deals with the matters pertaining with the personal life of
a woman. These include several such issues that are generally
misunderstood. Hence, it is essential that all such issues are taken together.

Menses, Discharge of blood after the child-birth and discharge of blood
of some disease:

      Cleanliness and purity are the natural requirements of an individual
and hence their realization is all the time there. Promoting the same human
nature, Islam not only directs an individual to remain pure but also tells the
whole society to remain pure and clean morally and socially. Our religion
emphasizes upon every Muslim to remain clean in all matters including
body, soul and the food. The Prophet says,

Islam and Woman                                                           140

       “Cleanliness is a part of the faith”.
       There are some specific instructions for men and women in terms of
cleanliness. These instructions are related to menses, discharge of blood
after the child-birth and discharge of blood due to some other diseases.
“Menses” is the name for the blood that is discharged of a woman every
month. This process starts with the attainment of puberty and continue till
the age of forty to fifty, even fifty five years in some cases. Normally its
duration is six or seven days but it varies in case of every woman.

       “Nafas” is the discharge of blood of the child birth or of abortion.
This process usually continues from twenty to forty days.
       During the above two processes, husband and wife are not allowed to
have sexual relationship with each other. However, rest of routine matters
and usual contacts would not cease at all.
       A woman is exempted from offering her prayers during these days
and she may not offer them even after words. She is not allowed to fast
during these days but she has to fast for these days after she become pure. If
a woman undergoes the menstrual process during the days of Hajj
(pilgrimage), she is exempted from the liabilities of prayers, „Tawaf‟ (taking
rounds of Ka‟aba) and „Saee‟ (taking seven rounds between the mounts of
Safa and Marwa) but she has to go through „Tawaf‟ and „Saee‟ after she gets
       A woman is not allowed to touch the Quran during these days.
However, she may recite the remembered portion of the Holy book verbally.
This is the stance of Imam Malik and we agree to it. If a woman has to study
or teach Islamic studies as a part of her syllabus or has to appear in the
examination during the menstrual periods, she may do so as Islam‟s
principled stands is;
              „‟Allah does not charge a soul with more then it can
Some women discharge blood of some diseases other than menses or „Nafas‟
whick is known as „Istahaza‟. A woman is allowed to offer her prayers and
other religious duties during this process. The women must take bath after
the periods of menses and „Nafas‟ are over. Certain women bind their hair in
such a manner that they are not easy to unbind. Such women may wash their
hair during the bath without unbinding them.

      Relaxations in religious duties:

Islam and Woman                                                            141

       God is particularly kind towards women. Thus they have been granted
such relaxations in the performance of their religious duties that they can
earn a reward equal to men with a little effort. It has already been pointed
out that women are exempted from performing the duties of prayers during
the menses and „Nafas‟ periods. If the month of Ramzan falls during these
periods, she is allowed to fast for the affected days as per convenience after
she gets purified. The woman giving breast feed to her child is also allowed
to fast afterwards. Women are accorded extra-ordinary relaxations during
the days of Hajj as well. They can perform pilgrimage in their usual dress.
They may not get their hair cut like men instead. They may get some of their
hair clipped as a token. It is also not obligatory upon them to throw stones
upon devil; men may perform this duty on their part. If their menstrual
periods start during Hajj, they may perform „Tawaf‟ and „Saee‟ afterwards.
They are exempted from performing their prayers collectively. Men are
instructed to offer their prayers for all the five times, collectively in the
mosque in order to perform this duty in the real sense while women may get
the equal reward even if they perform their prayers at home. It is desirable
that they perform their Friday prayers in the mosque. However, it is not
obligatory upon them. The Prophet has emphasized upon women to offer
their Eid prayers collectively in the mosque. They may just sit and join in the
congregational prayer if they are impure.
Two issues have been generated in our society out of the matter of women‟s
prayers. First, there is usually no place at all for women in the mosque now-
a-days. It is against the Islamic teachings. The mosque situated on the road
side must accommodate women in order to facilitate them. Similarly, all big
and main mosques of a city should also provide a place to women for the
performance of their religious duty.
       Second, women are usually not facilitated even during the Eid prayers
though it is essential from Islamic point of view. Therefore, it is the duty of
the state, religious leaders and the dignitaries of the society to make
necessary arrangements in this context.

Women and Fashion:

       Every thing that gives aesthetic pleasure to human being is admissible
in Islam provided that it is not polluted with vulgarity, polytheisem,
dissipation and betrayal. It includes every kind of dignified and civilized
Fashion. The Quran, exclusively mention the dress:

Islam and Woman                                                              142

               “Children of Adam! We have given you clothing with
       which to cover your nakedness and garments pleasing to the
       eye”. (Al-Araf-7, 26)
       The Quran has further described as a principle that every kind of
finery is admissible, it says:
               “Say: „who has forbidden you to wear the nice clothes or
       to eat the good things which Allah has bestowed upon His
       servants?‟ say: „these are for the faithful in the life of this world
       (though shared by others); but they shalls be theirs alone on the
       Day of Resurrection. “(Al-A‟ raf-7, 32)
       The Quran, while mentioning about the finery of women says that it is
their prerogative and a part of their instinct too. It is therefore, clear that a
fashion that makes a woman beautiful, graceful and feminish is admissible.
       However, some issues demand an answer in this context. First that
some specific things are forbidden through some narratives. The logic
behind them must be known. The answer to this is that these are two kinds
of such things mentioned in some narratives. One kind includes vulgarity
and obscenity which must be forbidden. During the prophetic period, three
things were includ in this kind and thus the Prophet explained these three
things only. One is making of the tattoo marks which is not liked worldwide
due to its absurdity. No sane person likes it. Second thing practiced those
days was making one‟s teeth pointed by cutting them and making slits
through them. It was another obvious act of absurdity. Third was the action
done by immoral women, those days. They used to make decorative marks
on their eyebrows after getting them plucked. Since it was an obscene act
and was done by immoral women, any similarity with them was also
forbidden. Therefore, the Prophet forbade its practice. It was termed as
“Nams” during those days and a woman practicing it was called “Namsa”.
       Apart from the above three things, there is another matter that
apparently comes under the category of valid finery but some narratives
reveal that the Prophet had forbidden it. It is the matter of attaching to one‟s
hair other than the original ones even if they are artificial. We know that
head‟s hair enhance a woman‟s beauty, as 99% of women have been blessed
by God with this gift. It is a natural desire for those who are deprived of this
gift that they look pretty with such hair like other women, in order to counter
any inferiority complex. However, some of the narratives from the Bukhari
reveal that the Prophet had disallowed to do so artificially. For example a
narrative is worded like that:
               “The Holy Prophet has cursed the woman who attaches
       artificial hair to her and the one who gets them attached.”

Islam and Woman                                                              143

       But when we analyze all such narratives minutely, it is proved that in
fact an act of betrayal has been disallowed. It means that when this defect in
a woman is concealed while its exposure is required, it would attribute to
treachery and is disallowed. This is what the Prophet termed as “Zoor” in
Arabic. Similarly, an event has been related in a narrative. After making a
comprehensive study of all the narratives of this event, it is known that a girl
had entered into the bond of marriage but had not yet left her father‟s home.
In the meanwhile, all of her head‟s hair fell off due to some diseases. When
the time of her departure for her husband‟s place approached, her mother
desired to attach artificial hair to her head. Since all this was being done in
order to conceal her defect from her husband who might have refused to
accept her otherwise, the Prophet directed that woman to refrain herself from
doing so.
       As a principle that finery is allowed which makes a woman look
feminish, pretty and graceful. However, vulgarity, absurdity and treachery is
disallowed. Therefore removing of the hairs from face, applying lipstick,
nail polish and the similar methods of beautifying a woman are admissible.
Fatah-al-Bari-Kitabul-Libas, offers a narratives that a woman asked from
Ayesha if she could remove the hair from her cheeks. Ayesha replied,
“Remove the trouble to the possible extent”.
       It seems proper here that a supplementary issue is also discussed. The
question is whether a woman has to remove her nail polish before
making her ablution. There are three different points of view in this
context. First that it is obligatory to remove nail polish every time before
making ablution because the nail remains dry due to the coated layer of the
nail polish present there. Second is that a woman can keep her nail polish
intact upto five prayers if she has performed her ablution before the
application of the liquid on her nails. Third is that nail polish does not hinder
the process of ablution. A woman can apply and remove it according to her
sweet will. The logic behind it is that all such religious matters are based on
convenience and not inconvenience. During the Prophet‟s period all such
things were allowed. For example there is a general consensus on the matter
that one is allowed to dye one‟s beard. Every coloring is, in fact a coating
that covers that skin under it whether it is the color of myrtle or anything
else. We know that the dyed hair of a beard don‟t get soaked, even then it
was allowed by the Prophet. In the same way, applying the color of myrtle
on hands and feet is also allowed and all acknowledge that it does not
damage ablution, though the color myrtle of is also a coating that covers the
skin under it. Similarly, there is a consensus on the matter as well that a
woman may take a bath by pouring water on her bound hair if its is

Islam and Woman                                                              144

inconvenient for her to unbind them. Obviously, several hair would remain
dry in this way but the Prophet allowed woman to do so in order to save
them from any inconvenience. Same is the case of the nail polish. We are
satisfied with last and third point of view.

      Dowry and Legacy:

       The trend of granting dowry has been established to that extent that it
seems hard to put an end to it. It is prevalent in various other countries of the
world that parents grant financial assistance to their sons and daughters at
the time of their marriage so that they may take a sound start in life. Hence,
a question arises whether a son or a daughter having such kind of assistance
at the time of his or her marriage deserves share out of the parent‟s legacy
and could that assistance be treated as a share in the legacy. Since this issue
was non-existent during the Prophetic period, it demands an innovative and
wise resolution through “Ijtehad”.
         We believe that such assistance can be considered as a part of the
share out of one‟s parent‟s legacy. The main reason for it is, in fact the
Islamic system of justice. A girl getting married after the death of her
parents would remain in loss as compared to her sister who had been married
during the life of her parents. It is also possible the one daughter is married
to a man who demands more dowry while the situation is different in the
case of the other.
       The second basis of our points of view is that this would save parents
from inconvenience and trouble, a proper account of all this could be
maintained and all parties would be aware that hey are having assistance out
of their own share. Therefore, all this would come under some specific code
instead of some undesirable custom.
       We believe that state should take steps towards legislation in this

      The Promised Girls Hooran In Heaven:

       While describing the promised endowment for a Muslim in heaven at
several places, the Quran also mentions the girls to be given as a reward. At
times, we think what kind of life it would be and what is, in fact meant by
this endowment. Would these women be just for the sexual pleasure of men?
If so, would it not create feelings of envy among wives of those men? Would
it no be unjust?

Islam and Woman                                                              145

        Although this issue is not related to the subject of this book yet it has
an indirect concern with our subject. Hence, it seems proper that we discuss
this issue.
        We come to know through the Quran that the matters like the life after
death, Heaven and Hell are directly related to the vague issues
(Mutashabihat). It indicates that we are unaware of the reality about them.
These words have been used just to create a concept in the mind of human
being closer to his imagination. Keeping this aspect in view, we realize
through the study of the Quran and the Hadith that all men and women in
heaven would be in the prime time of their youth; they will never grow old.
All men and women will be coupled up. The couples in this world will
remain as such even in the Heaven. Exceptional circumstances will have
exceptional codes and rules. For example, if a woman had married for
several times, she would have an option to choose one out of them:
        Every person in the Heaven will find his/her companion with the
maximum aesthetic appearance and will find best satisfaction out of the
counterpart. This way, neither one would be fed up of one‟s companion nor
there any feelings of jealousy for any other couple. Every meeting of couple
would seem to be the meeting of two bachelors. “Hoor” (the promised
women in Heaven) is, in fact plural of another Arabic word, “Ahwar” which
means an ideally proportionate and beautiful woman. The study of the Quran
reveals that this word has been used in double sense. One shade gives the
sense that every woman in heaven would be blessed with all the qualities of
a “Hoor”. She would be true embodiment of feminine beauty, modesty and
attraction. They would be coupled up with the pious men in heaven. The
Quran says:
                “Together with their wives, the men of Paradise shall
        recline in shady groves upon soft couches.” (Ya sin-36, 56).
        It further says:
                “Besides them will be those with modest gaze and large
        lovely eyes, (as chaste) as carefully protected eggs.” (Al-Saffat-
        The Quran says next:
                “And besides them will be companions (wives) of
        modest gaze and equal age”. (Sad-38, 52).
        It further says:
                      “And we shall wed them to fair maidens with large
        lustrous eyes”. (Al-Dukhan-44:54 and Al-Tur-52, 20).
        Besides this, the word “Hoor” has been used in a different connotation
as well. It conveys that there will be a specific creation in Paradise which

Islam and Woman                                                              146

will include boys (Ghilman) and girls (Hoor). These creatures will serve the
men and women in Paradise and will provide them every admissible source
of entertainment as well. The most prominent example lies in Al-Rehman-
55, verse 56-58 where the wives of the men in Paradise are mentioned and
further its verses 72-74 mention the “Hoors”.
       It says:
                     “Dark-eyed virgins sheltered in their tents. Which
       of your Lord‟s blessing would you deny? Neither man nor
       jinnee will have touched them before. (Al-Rehman-55:72-74).
       A narrative by Umm-e-Salma throws light upon this matter while
going into detail. She says, “I asked the Prophet whether women of this
world were better than the Hoors. The Prophet replied that the women in this
world are superior to Hoors as an outer fold of double garment is better than
the inner one. On my demand of knowing the basis for that, the Prophet told
that the women of this world have offered their prayers, fasted and showed
submission to their God.” (Tibrani).
       This creature would include boys as well. The Quran says:
              “And there shall wait on them young boys of their own as
       fair hidden pearls. (Al-Tur-52, 24).
       The Quran has mentioned the Hoors in the similar style:
              “And their shall be houris with large and beautiful eyes,
       chaste as hidden pearls.” (Al-War‟a-56,:22).
       Two more things require explanation here. One that two different
shades of meanings for one Quranic word is not a matter of amazement.
There are several words in the Quran with more than one meaning. For
example, the word “Rasul” has been used in the sense for a special category
of Prophets and for the angel Gabriel as well who was entrusted with the
duty of bringing revelations onto the Prophets. Secondly, the Quran nowhere
indicates that Hoors are meant for the sexual purpose. God is an arbiter in
the real sense. Therefore, there is not even the slightest possibility that any
of his orders proves to be unjust in any respect.

      Birth Control:

       Birth control is an important issue in the modern world. Islam believes
in planning in every field of life. Therefore, it is essential that the same wise
planning is observed in the matter of extension in the size of the family. The
detail is as under:
       God has made a code of conduct for the smooth running of this world.
Thus all work, accordingly gets accomplished in two ways. The first way is

Islam and Woman                                                          147

beyond the capacity of man like in the matter of rains, storms, floods,
earthquakes, changing seasons and natural calamities etc. The second way
has the partial involvement of man‟s will and action. In all maters which
man considers to be in his capacity, God has directed him to undertake them
with knowledge, rational thinking, intellect, wisdom and proper strategy.
       The Quran has placed this direction and the related references at more
then a hundred places:
       For instance the verses below:
                     “(O Prophet!) say: Lord increase my
                     “Are the wise and the ignorant equal? Truly, none
       will take heed but men of understanding”. (Al-Zaumar-39:9)
                     “And he that receives the gift of wisdom is rich
       indeed. Yet none except people of sense bear this in mind”. (Al-
              The meanest beasts in Allah‟s sight are those that are (by
       choice) deaf, dumb, and devoid of reason”. (Al-Anfal-8:22)
              “In the creation of heavens and the earth, in the
       alternation of night and day, in the ships that sail the ocean with
       what is beneficial to man, in the water which Allah sends down
       from the sky and with which He revives the earth after its death,
       dispersing over it all manner of beasts; in the movement of the
       winds, and in the clouds that are driven between earth and sky:
       surely in these there are signs for people who understand”. (Al-
              “(O Prophet!) Give good news to My servants, who listen
       to My words and follow what is best in it (the best
       interpretation of it). These are they whom Allah has guided”.
              “These are they who are endured with understanding”.
              In all such matters where man has free will whatever the
       decision he makes and whatever the line of action he opts
       become the decision of God if it is not against the larger interest
       of the whole mankind. Thus man continues proceeding on the
       highway of progress. Till date man has made all progress in the
       fields of knowledge, rational thinking and science

            through this way. God has declared His principle in clear
      terms in the Quran that He never lets any man‟s action go
      waste: “No soul shall bear another‟s burden and that each

Islam and Woman                                                              148

      person shall be judged by his own labours”. (Al-Najm 53:38-

       However if an individual effort proves to be overall against the whole
mankind and has a risk of promoting evil so as to curb virtue completely, it
is turned down by God:
              “Had Allah not repelled some by the might of others, the
       monasteries and churches, the synagogues and mosques in
       which Allah‟s name is frequently remembered would have been
       utterly destroyed”. (Al-Hajj 22:40).
              “Had Allah not defeated some by the might of others, the
       earth would have been utterly corrupted. But Allah is bountiful
       to His creatures”. (Al-Baqara 2:251)
       Childbirth is one of the elective matters where God lets the free will
of man exercise. Though a child is born as per order of God yet man is the
source for that. It is just as a farmer cultivates his land and grows the crop.
The Quran affirms it on so many occasions that the cultivation of land and
growing of crop by man is certainly done at the will of God. The farmer is
no doubt the source. Thus the same intellect employed by man for the
cultivation of his land should be applied while cultivating his generation too.
Both these matters have been yoked together in Al-Waqia:
              “Behold! the semen you emit: did you create it, or did
       We?…………….consider the seeds you grow. Is it you that
       give them growth or We?” (Al-Waqia 56:59-59-63-64).

      Therefore under present circumstances we must think about certain
things before extending the size of our family. The very first and foremost
thing in this regard is the health of the mother both physically and
psychologicaly. It is a fact that a woman after giving birth to a child
becomes weak both psychologically and physically. Secondly it is important
to make sure whether the woman has completed the process of the training
and education of her first child. The first five years are very important in this
context. If a child does not find enough attention of the mother through this
period it might affect his life and personality. The third notable thing is the
income of the father. It is important to realize whether he is able to meet the
requirements of all the kids he wishes to have.

       These requirements include education, medical assistance, proper
lodging and an honorable life and he would be answerable to God in this

Islam and Woman                                                             149

regard. At the fourth stage a father has to think over how many kids he can
pay personal attention to, how much time he can spare and to what extent he
can educate and train all of them in the most desirable manner. The fifth
considerable matter is the economy of the whole country, the situation of the
unemployment and the chances of appropriate planning. Every individual
has to think for the collective welfare of the whole society. In short, planning
is necessary in every field of life including the matters of family and it is
very much according to the teachings of Islam.
       The above point of view can be objected from different angles. It is
       better to analyze them.

       The first objection is that the family planning is an expression of the
lack of faith in the capacity of God as a provider of food. Since he is
guarantor of food to man, birth control is unjust. The answer is simple. If
family planning is a lack of faith, what is the status of man‟s struggle for
employment, trade cultivation and scientific development? Should man just
sit idle and wait for the things to happen? If we acknowledge that it is
necessary to struggle for one‟s earning, we must try to understand the sense
in God‟s capacity as a provider of food. It means that God has treasured his
bounties in this soil and has granted intellect to man so that he benefits
himself from them in a proper way. God will open the mouth of his treasures
when a person will use his intellect. Thus man has to plan for that otherwise
he would not get it enough. Hence one must plan the size of one‟s family,
the time for the birth of a child and the proper care of every child. This is
what we call family planning.

Another objection is raised by quoting a Hadith, which says that:
              “All the babies distend to born will be born till the world
       Then why should family planning be observed in the light of this
Hidath? The answer to this objection is simple. There is no denial to the fact
that the children will continue coming to this world but this birth should take
place with proper planning. This logic has a background of this Hidath.
During the time of the Apostle some of his companions used to adopt certain
preventive measures for birth control (i.e coitus interruptus). The Apostle
knew it and allowed to continue with that. (Thus it can be concluded that all
methods for birth control are valid in Islam). However, the Apostle said that
a man must not consider his planning as final. The final decision rests with
God. So it means that if women get pregnant, no step should be taken to stop
the birth of the child.

Islam and Woman                                                               150

        It is also objected that the Quran forbids the killing of children and
family planning amounts to the same. The fact is contrary to this
comprehension of the Quran verse. In fact the pagans of Makkah used to kill
their daughters in particularly considering them a burden on their economy
and due to some other reasons too. Hence the Quran stopped this practice, as
it was criminal. It has nothing to do with family planning at all.
        It is also that the family planning is a plot hatched up by the Western
and the Jewish lobby so as to stop the increase in the number of Muslims.
This objection is due to a misunderstanding. In fact the real plot against
Muslims is to keep them disordered, disorganized, uneducated and ignorant
of scientific progress. The unplanned population increase provides the best
platform for the enactment of the above-mentioned plot. Unlike this an
organized nation can maintain her superiority over the world through her
better civilization and practicability. So the Muslims Ummah can open the
gateway of Islam for the other nations to enter through reaching the zenith of
progress. This is the real way to increase the number of Muslims.
        It is also argued that “women have been declared as the fields of their
husbands and they have been allowed to go into their fields, as they desire
through the verse 223 of Al-Baqara in Quran. Obviously through the fields
one gets maximum yields but the family planning is against this teaching.
Thus Islam is against it”. The facts are otherwise. In the above quoted verse
of the Quran man or a husband has been personified as a responsible farmer
who, first of all gives fertilizer and water to his field, sows the required seed,
look after the fields during the growth period and protects it from every
disease and gives proper pauses between the harvest and the new
fertilization. Only an irresponsible farmer doesn‟t observe these measures.
Thus the above-mentioned Quranic verse lays a lot of responsibilities on the
shoulders of a husband. He must take proper care of the health of his wife.
He must plan for a new child when his wife is able to give birth to a child in
all respects. He has to look after her during the pregnancy. He must give
proper respite between the birth of two children. He can only be called a
wise and a responsible husband if he abides by all what has been stated
        Since it is an issue to be settled both by husband and wife, there is a
possibility of occurring difference of opinion between the two. The question
arises whose opinion should be decisive in this regard. The simple answer is
that it is the woman who has to take the final decision, as she is responsible
for all physical responsibilities in this connection. It is, therefore clear that
the person sustaining the burden should have the right of decision.
The Quran says:

Islam and Woman                                                            151

             “And we enjoined human being (to show kindness) to his
      parents, for weakness after weakness his mother bears him and
      he is not weaned before he is two years of age. We said: Give
      thanks to me and your parent. To Me shall all things return.”
      All the stages of pregnancy, birth and feeding belong to mother. This
is why mother has more rights than father in these matters and the Prophet
has declared mother‟s rights three times more to father just on this basis.
The Quran further says:

             “We have enjoined human being to show kindness to his
      parents. With much pain his mother bears him, and with much
      pain she brings him into the world. He is born and weaned in
      thirty months. (Al-Ahqaf-46, 15).

      There is another question in this context; what is the instruction of
Islam regarding abortion?
The beginning of pregnancy is, in fact the beginning of human being. This is
why abortion is a serious sin.
The Quran says:

               “It was He who created you from a single being. From
        that being He created his mate, so that he might find comfort in
        her. And when he had covered her, she conceived, and for a
        time her burden was light. She carried it with an ease, but when
        it grew heavy, they both cried to Allah, their Lord: „Grant us a
        goodly child and we will be truly thankful.” (Al-A‟raf, 189)
It further says:

             “God created all things in the best way. He first created
      man from clay, then bred his offspring from a drop of paltry
      fluid. He then molded him and breathed into him of His spirit.
      He gave you eyes and ears, and hearts: Yet (O people) you are
      seldom thankful.” (Al-Sajda-32,:7,8,9).

      According to a narrative soul is inculcated to the embryo in the third
month of pregnancy and in the fourth month, baby comes into being actually
with the fusion of soul. Therefore, abortion becomes a greater sin after the

Islam and Woman                                                      152

fusion of soul. However, according to the rule of exception, abortion is
allowed in case the mother‟s life is in danger.


Shared By: