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This article discusses the position of women in Islam based on the Qur’an, the Hadith, and Islamic law (Sharia). It also provides a summary on the position of women in Christianity. This analysis deals with major areas of interest, including the status of women in society, marriage and divorce, sexual ethics, the position of woman in paradise, etc. The Christian position is presented briefly emphasizing the great gulf that separates the two religions.
II. ISLAMIC LAW (SHARIA) AND WOMEN
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Sharia prescribes a complete way of life for the Muslim (social, cultural, religious, military, and political). It governs the Muslim’s life from the cradle to the grave. Muslims live in bondage to Sharia. It is a brutally repressive totalitarian legal code imposed on the people in the name of the Islamic god. By the beginning of 900 AD, Sharia became rigidly and inflexibly fixed, and set in its final mold. It is absolute, immutable and stagnant. It cannot be amended to conform to changing human values, standards and needs, because Islamists believe that it is divinely inspired and valid for all times and places.
The three basic inequalities between master and slave, man and woman, believer and non-believer are established and regulated by Islamic Sharia laws. Abhorrent behavior condoned or commanded by the barbaric laws of Islamic Sharia includes child marriage (at-Talaq 65: 4), temporary marriage, honor killing, female circumcision, polygamy (an-Nisa’ 4: 3), domestic violence (an-Nisa’ 4: 34), including marital rape (al-Baqarah 2: 223), etc.
Shafi’i school of Sharia mandates the circumcision of females. If the family of a Muslim girl follows the Sharia Shafi’i law, they can force her to get circumcised at a young age by removing her clitoris, which is female genital mutilation (Abu-Dawud 41.5251; Reliance of the Traveler, e4.3). Minor forms of mutilation cause about 20% rise in death rates, while extensive forms cause death rates rise of over 50%. Genital mutilation results in severe scarring of the vagina and surrounding area. This makes it more difficult to deliver babies. This crime of mutilating female genitals is widely practiced in regions where the Shafi’i school of Sharia predominates, such as Indonesia, Egypt, southern Arabia, Kurdistan, Somalia, Malaysia, etc. Parents and grandparents are not subject to punishment or retaliation for killing their offspring, which encourages honor killing.
A host of oppressive laws regarding women are enforced wherever misogynistic Islamic law (Sharia) is strictly followed (e.g. wearing the veils (niqabs) and lowering their gaze (al-Ahzab 33: 59, 33; an-Nur 24: 31, 58ff; Abu Dawud 32.4092), forbidding education for women, etc). Islam perceives the woman as ‘awrah (private part of the human body). The Maliki and Hanafi schools of Sharia allow the woman to show her hands and face without makeup. However, if she is naturally beautiful, she is required to cover her face. While the followers of Hanbali and Shafi’i Sharia consider even the hands and face to be ‘awrah that should be covered. By covering the entire body of the Muslim woman except for her eyes, wrist and feet, the niqab adds to her alienation and loneliness. It is a shield of isolation and a symbol of subjugation and oppression. It makes Muslim women look like ghosts or the walking dead. It declares their inferior status in society.
Islamic Sharia treats rape victims very unjustly. In order to prove rape, either the rapist has to confess, or four male witnesses of the rape testify (an-Nur 24: 4, 13). The victim’s testimony is inadmissible. That makes it impossible for any woman to prove rape. She may then become a victim of honor killing, or be flogged with hundred stripes for committing premarital sex (an-Nur 24: 2), or stoned to death by the Islamic court for adultery, if she is married. Even if rape is proven, the rapist can get away by paying the bride’s money, without marrying her.
Sharia was created by powerful men to serve the same—from Muhammad in the seventh century who had the first pick of war-captive women, to the caliphs, to the Arabian kings and Muslim dictators. It benefits the wealthy powerful men who can afford four wives and limitless enslaved women (maids). The poor Muslim man cannot afford even one wife or an apartment. Fossilized eleven-centuries-old laws of Sharia protect the oppressors and punish the oppressed. It strips women and non-Muslims from their God-given right to be human-beings.
Sharia ultimately degrades society and diminishes freedom. That is why many Muslims choose to rise above the corrupting temptation of Islamic Sharia and reject what the Islamic god and Muhammad’s example permit for them. They choose what their basic human decency tells them is right, not because of Islam, but despite it. They are more humane and civilized than the Islamic Sharia. On the other hand, many Muslim men feel weak without Islamic Sharia that grants them master-slave relationships in their homes. Therefore, they demand Sharia even in the West. Because of the repulsive nature of the embarrassing Islamic Sharia laws, they are kept as deep secrets not uttered. Their truth is hidden, suppressed, and misrepresented in the West.
III. THE WORTH OF A WOMAN IN ISLAM
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In Islam, the woman is worth hardly half a man:
1. The Islamic rite of Aqiqa is performed at the birth of a child. It requires the sacrifice of two sheep, goats, or lambs for a baby boy. However, only one sheep, goat, or lamb is sacrificed for a baby girl (Bukhari 7.66.380; Abu-Dawud 15.2836; Reliance of the Traveler, j15).
2. A woman can inherit only half of what her brother, husband or son inherits (an-Nisa’ 4: 11, 12, 176). This is not conditional upon a woman getting her support from a man (an-Nisa’ 4: 34), or refusing to work to support herself. A woman does not receive a portion of the battle’s bounty.
3. The testimony of two women in court is given the value and credibility of one man’s testimony (al-Baqarah 2: 282; Bukhari 3.48.826). The rule is not to accept the testimony of women in matters of prescribed Sharia penalties (Reliance of the Traveler, o24.8). Four male witnesses are required to prove rape or adultery (an-Nur 24: 4). The victim’s testimony is inadmissible.
4. If a woman is killed, her indemnity money is half the indemnity money of a man (Reliance of the Traveler, o4.9).
5. Islam forbids certain professions to women. A Muslim woman cannot become a head of state, a head of the armed forces, an imam, or a judge. Women cannot vote in several Islamic countries.
6. Muhammad stated once that a cheap rug is more valuable in a man’s house than a woman?
IV. THE INFERIORITY OF WOMEN IN ISLAM
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Islam degrades women. Women under Islam are treated like properties owned by men. They are considered inferior to men (al-Baqarah 2: 228; al-Nisa’ 4: 34). This is the position of famous Islamic scholars including ibn-Kathir, ar-Razi, Baidawi, al-Zamakhshari, and al-Tabary.
1. Women are under the control of male relatives or husbands who are considered their guardians. They are considered to be the absolute property of males, such as fathers, brothers, husbands, etc. (al-‘Imran 3: 14). Therefore, financial independence and sexual freedom are all but impossible for women in Islam. The male guardian has the right to prevent his Muslim woman subject from education, work, travel, leaving the house, etc. (Reliance of the Traveler, m10.4). A Muslim woman is not allowed to travel without her husband or a man of her unmarriageable kin accompanying her, unless the journey is obligatory, like the pilgrimage (hajj) (Reliance of the Traveler, m10.3).
2. A Muslim wife is considered her husband’s property and sex object (al-Baqarah 2: 223). If a Muslim wife refuses the sexual advances of her husband, she is accursed for the night (Bukhari 4.54.460; 7.62.121), and her husband is not obliged to support her (Reliance of the Traveler, m11.9). Islam requires the Muslim woman to obey her husband. If she obeys him she is destined to paradise. On the other hand, if she disobeys him, all her good works and piety are considered useless, and she is destined to the fires of hell. This elevates the Muslim man to a much higher level above the woman.
3. Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, taught that most of the inhabitants of hell are women, because they are deficient in religion and gratitude as discussed in item #4 below (Bukhari 1.6.301; 1.2.29; 2.24.541; 8.76.456; 4.54.464; Muslim 36.6596, 6597, 6600). This has nothing to do with the number of women slightly exceeding that of men in some countries in the mature age group.
4. Muhammad taught that women are deficient in intelligence and religion (Bukhari 2.24.541; 1.6.301; 3.31.172; 3.48.826). Women are also deficient in gratitude (Bukhari 2.18.161; 7.62.125; etc). The character of the woman is likened to a crooked rib (Bukhari 7.62.113), because she was created from a man’s rib (Bukhari 7.62.114). Her crookedness is natural and incurable. Therefore, it is a great sacrifice and condescension on the man’s part to share his life with the woman.
5. The Qur’an teaches that women are unclean by their very nature. A man is considered unclean if he touches a woman (even his own wife) before prayer (an-Nisa’ 4: 43; al-Ma’idah 5: 6). If a dog, donkey or a woman walks by a man who is praying, his prayer is cancelled out, and he will have to restart it again from the beginning: “The things which annul the prayers were mentioned before me ('Aisha). They said, "Prayer is annulled by a dog, a donkey and a woman (if they pass in front of the praying people)." I said, "You have made us (i.e. women) dogs” (Bukhari 1.9.490; Muslim 4.1032, 1034, 1039). The woman is unclean during her monthly period (menses) and could not pray or fast on those days (Bukhari 1.6.301; 3.31.172). Women are bad omen (Bukhari 7.62.33; 4.52.110). If women are allowed in mosques at all for Friday prayer, they pray in separate halls or behind the men. Usually, women cannot enter the mosque through its front entrance.
The Torah treats both women and men identically in the event of bodily discharge (Leviticus 15: 1-9, 19-30).
6. Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, Omar ibn-al-Khattab, Amr ibn-al-‘As, al-Ghazali, etc considered the woman a toy for the man.
V. WIFE BEATING IN ISLAM
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The Islamic god sanctions wife beating for a variety of reasons: “. . . As for those (women) from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and BEAT THEM . . .” (an-Nisa’ 4: 34b; Sad 38: 44). Muhammad himself hit his girl-bride, Aisha (Muslim 4.2127). He said: “A man will not be asked why he beat his wife” (Abu-Dawud 11.2142, 2141). Aisha complained once saying that she has not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women whose skin is greener than their clothes (from their husbands’ beating; Bukhari 7.72.715). This domestic violence is a form of wife abuse, which is considered a crime punishable by law in the West. It is a wide spread practice in the Islamic world of today. In addition, the Qur’an allows the Muslim husband to punish his wife by withholding the conjugal relation from her for four months (al-Nisa’ 4: 34; al-Baqarah 2: 226).
Nevertheless, the Muslim wife is required to settle marital disputes through negotiations with her rebellious husband (an-Nisa’ 4: 128). According to Bukhari 7.62.134, the recommended settlement for a wife, who fears cruelty or desertion on her husband’s part, is to submit to his desire to marry another woman, and to forgo her financial support and her sexual rights. The double standard is obvious.
VI. POLYGAMY, MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE
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The Qur’an (an-Nisa’ 4: 3) permits no more than four wives for a Muslim man at one time. Muhammad broke that law and had thirteen wives in addition to concubines, slaves, war captives, and devout Muslim women who gave themselves to him (al-Ahzab 33: 50). Muhammad claimed that he received revelation that his god had made an exception for him (al-Ahzab 33: 50). He could marry any number of women, in addition to taking slave girls and concubines. In addition to four legal wives, the Qur’an (al-Ahzab 33: 50; an-Nisa’ 4: 3, 24; al-Mu’minum 23: 5-6) allows the Muslim man as many women as he wants (war captives, slaves, and concubines). The Muslim man can marry more than four wives by simply divorcing one and replacing her with another (an-Nisa’ 4: 20). Polygamy completely disregards and disrespects the feelings of women. The harem is a system of domestic slavery. It reduces women to something that a man can accumulate, like cars or neckties.
The Muslim husband is required to maintain equality among his wives pertaining to apportioning equal time and financial support to each of them (an-Nisa’ 4: 3). However, equality is not required in the husband’s affection towards his wives (an-Nisa’ 4: 129). Muhammad himself was not impartial in his affections towards his wives. He loved Aisha more than his other wives.
Following the example of Muhammad and his teachings, Umar ibn al-Khattab, the second guided caliph, married seven women and had two maid-slaves; Uthman ibn Affan, the third guided caliph, eight women. After the death of Fatima, Muhammad’s daughter, her husband Ali ibn Abi Talib married ten women and acquired nineteen concubines and maid-slaves for a total of 29 women. His son al-Hassan ibn Ali, Muhammad’s grandson, married seventy women and begot thirty-one children. Sometimes, he used to divorce two women in a day.
The god of Muhammad encourages polygamy (at-Tahrim 66: 1, 5). The wife cannot prevent her husband from taking other wives. She does not have a say in the matter. Islam sees the marriage relationship from a usurious exploitative male perspective. Polygamy causes domestic instability, family discord, high level of crime, violence, and gender inequality. It destroys the nuclear family which is the basis of society. It also leads to high fertility rates and poverty. It is a device used by Islam to increase the Muslim population, not only because the man is fathering children from several wives, but also because the wife, insecure in her marriage, would burden her husband with more children that he could not afford to multiply wives. Muhammad encouraged polygamy saying: “… Is not the worth of a Muslim measured by the number of his wives? …”
Most of the ills and resentment within the Muslim family are caused by the institution of polygamy. The family is polarized as each wife becomes a separate center of power within the family resulting in fierce competition, animosity, and rivalry. Children grow up in this venomous atmosphere of quarrelling and insults. That makes them acquire a negative outlook on life. They hate their stepmothers and their father who caused that mess. A mother’s dependence on her sons for protection complicates her relationship with her daughters who feel left out by her special treatment of her sons, which often results in arrogant spoiled sons, and troubled relationships between the mother and her daughters-in-law. Muslim women’s deep-seated fear from the institution of polygamy exists even among those in happy monogamous marriages.
The God of the Holy Bible intended marriage to be monogamous. In the beginning, he had created only one woman Eve for one man Adam (Genesis 2: 24; Matthew 19: 5-6; Mark 10: 7-8). Although polygamy was permitted in ancient times, the Old Testament (Torah, etc.) did not encourage it (Malachi 2: 13-15). Most of the major prophets of God (Moses, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, etc) were monogamous; and some were celibate (Elijah, Elisha, etc). Jesus never married. Christianity stresses monogamy (Matthew 19: 4-5; 1 Corinthians 7: 2). Christianity teaches monogamous marriage (1 Corinthians 7: 2; 1 Timothy 3: 2-3, 12; Titus 1: 6), and teaches that the wife is an equal partner in the journey of this life.
Christianity gives marriage a high spiritual status, and restricts divorce. The biblical God hates divorce (Malachi 2: 16). Christianity asserts that a husband should never abuse his wife in any way. They have complementary roles. He is required to love her as Christ has loved his Church and sacrificed his life for her. She is required to respect him as her head, not her master: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. . . Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her. . . So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. . . Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (Ephesians 5: 22-33; 1 Peter 3: 7; 1 Corinthians 7: 14, 23; Colossians 3: 19).
Christianity teaches that marriage is an honorable institution. It is a sacred life-long bond blessed by God between man and wife. It unites the two persons in one family unit (Ephesians 5: 31; Genesis 2: 24). The marriage ceremony is a holy event officiated in the church by the priest. The bride and groom exchange the sacred marriage vows of faithfulness, love, and honor in a sacred marriage covenant blessed by God. It is a new beginning for the couple that unites them in the life-long bond of marriage broken only by death, adultery, or equivalent.
The Islamic marriage is dramatically different. It is a big step backward. According to Sharia, the Islamic marriage is a legal and financial contract between families. It is not a life-long covenant between a man and a woman blessed by God. It is not conducted in a mosque. Traditionally, the Muslim marriage contract is called “Aqd Nikah” which means “Contract of coitus.” Some Arab countries changed it to “Aqd Zawag” meaning “Marriage contract,” because they found the word “Nikah,” which is the word used in the Qur’an and Hadith to describe marriage, offensive.
The Islamic marriage contract is a document that grants sexual intercourse rights to the male. It transfers the control of the woman and her sexuality from her male guardian to her husband. It asks the bride about her virginity status, and states the amount of dowry the groom has to pay. It asks the groom to list three wives, if he has other wives. The payment of the dowry creates a master-servant relationship between the Muslim husband and his wife. The Qur’an often calls the dowry ujur, meaning wages (an-Nisa’ 4: 24; al-Ahzab 33: 50; etc). The Muslim man purchases his sexual rights with his wife by paying the dowry. She has the right to refuse sexual intercourse with him until he pays the dowry in full. It is obvious that the Muslim marriage contract is about sexuality. It degrades and reduces marriage to a commercial transaction. In fact imam Ghazali (1058-1111) defined Muslim marriage as “a form of slavery. The woman is man’s slave, and her duty therefore is absolute obedience to the husband in all that he asks of her person” (al-Ghazali, Book of Etiquette of Marriage, part 2, p. 64). The belief that the Muslim wife is her husband’s slave is also shared by great Islamic scholars, such as ar-Razi and ibn-al-Araby.
The happiness of some Muslim marriages is in spite of the marriage contract, not because of it. The Muslim marriage contract downgrades the institution of marriage, is defective and should be replaced. It demeans women by reducing them to property. It can only produce a mean-spirited relationship based on selfishness, anxiety and misery.
According to the Maliki, Hanbali and Shafi’i Sharia, the Muslim male guardian can force his Muslim virgin woman subject of any age to marry someone of his choice without her consent. The Hanafi Sharia allows her to say “yes” or “no” to the person picked by her male guardian.
Islamic law (Sharia) prevents Muslim women from marrying non-Muslim men (al-Baqarah 2: 221). However, it permits Muslim men to marry non-Muslim women (al-Ma’idah 5: 5). The children of this mixed marriage are required to be Muslim. This is one aspect of the double standard of Islamic Sharia which discriminates against women.
The Qur’an tells the wife that she is replaceable (at-Tahrim 66: 5; an-Nisa’ 4: 20). The problem of Islamic polygamy makes the Islamic marriage unstable and insecure. Some Muslim wives attempt of procreate more children in order to prevent their husbands from marrying other women because they will not be able to support them.
In Islam, men can divorce their wives for any cause (at-Tahrim 66: 5). In fact, a man may divorce his wife so that his friend may marry her (Bukhari 7.62.10). Only the man has the right to divorce his wife by simply saying “I divorce you” (al-Baqarah 2: 226-232). He can even do it by a sticky note, by leaving a message on the telephone answering machine, by email, or by text messaging. Divorce and reconciliation are always on the man’s terms (Bukhari 7.62.134; 3.49.859). In addition, a divorce could be forced on the couple by Sharia court for a variety of reasons, such as one partner leaving Islam, one partner belonging to a different social class, etc. A woman does not have the right to initiate divorce unless that right is granted to her by her husband. In some Islamic countries, the only way a wife can get divorce is by convincing the Sharia court and paying a large sum of money, which exceeds her dowry, to her husband. A divorced woman receives housing during her waiting period, and financial support after divorce for a maximum of three months if the divorce is not threefold, and may lose her children. However, if she is pregnant, she receives support till she delivers the child (Reliance of the Traveler, m11.10). She will definitely lose custody of her children if she remarries.
A Muslim man can divorce his wife three times. He can also say to her in one instance, “you are divorced three times” (Reliance of the Traveler n3.2). Afterwards, he cannot remarry her unless she first marries another man and gets divorced from him (al-Baqarah 2: 229-230; Muslim 8.3354, 3359; Bukhari 8.73.107; Reliance of the Traveler n7.7). This has given rise to the phenomenon of temporary husbands. A man may marry a divorcee for one night, consummate the marriage and then divorce her in order to allow her to remarry her original husband. The biblical God condemns this practice and calls it “abomination” (Deuteronomy 24: 1-4). Her first husband who had divorced her is prohibited from remarrying her after her second husband divorced her or died.
According to the four schools of Sharia, a Muslim wife is to receive daily support from her husband within marriage only if she makes herself available to him sexually. Payment for sex in one form or another is the basis for the Islamic marriage. A Muslim wife is treated as a tool for her husband’s pleasure. While the Qur’an gives the Muslim husband the right to deny his rebellious wife conjugal relations and to beat her (an-Nisa’ 4: 34), it requires the Muslim wife to settle differences through negotiations with her rebellious husband (an-Nisa’ 4: 128). The double standard is obvious. Even in the carnal Islamic paradise, Muslim women will have to compete constantly for their husbands with the huris. He may have 72 of them.
To many a Muslim woman, her husband is a source of fear. The police will not rescue the Muslim wife when beaten by her husband in an Islamic country. She has no recourse but to accept humiliation by sharing her husband with his other wives if he so chooses. She cannot complain to the domestic or foreign media, because this is considered rebellion against Islam itself severely punishable by the sword of Sharia.
Polygamy is not a relic of the dead past. It is practiced in the vast majority of Islamic countries till this day. Polygamy and ease of divorce make the Islamic marriage very unstable. Certainly a Christian wife enjoys a much more secure married life than a Muslim wife, because she is not afraid of a surprise second wife or divorce made by her husband over a night.
VII. TEMPORARY PLEASURE MARRIAGE
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Three types of Islamic marriages are available for the Muslim man: the standard marriage acknowledged in public and recorded in the court; the urfi marriage which is not registered in the court and usually done secretly with witnesses; and the mutaa (pleasure) marriage (more prevalent in Shia Islam) which is a temporary marriage contract, carried out without a witness, to sanction a brief sexual relationship which may last anywhere from an hour to a few days (Bukhari 6.60.139; 7.62.13, 52; Muslim 8.3243, 3248, 3250, 3261). The dowry is paid in exchange for sexual intercourse. This is a religiously sanctioned prostitution in disguise. Sex for payment is prostitution, not marriage. This is an insult to the institution of marriage. It is demeaning and humiliating to women as it makes them sex objects. Muslim women covered from head to toe are treated and act like prostitutes in these religiously sanctioned temporary pleasure marriages. Muhammad sanctioned this type of marriage during times of war when men were away from home. Umar ibn al-Khattab, the second guided caliph, later abolished it. The Shiite and some Sunnis still practice it.
The Holy Bible condemns prostitution in all its forms (Leviticus 19: 29; Deuteronomy 23: 18).
VIII. SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILD GIRLS
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Islam sanctions sexual abuse of child girls under the pretext of child marriage. The Qur’an takes child marriage for granted when speaking about the waiting period required after divorce in order to determine whether the woman is pregnant (at-Talaq 65: 4). Abu Bakr, Muhammad’s friend, wed his child daughter, Aisha, to Muhammad, the role model of Islam, when she was six years of age. Muhammad practiced thighing with her, and consummated the marriage with her when she was nine years old, still a pre-pubescent child (Muslim 8.3309-3311; 31.5981; Bukhari 5.58.234, 236; 7.62.64, 65, 88; 7.65.88). He was 54 years old, 45 years older than her, old enough to be her grandfather. Muhammad committed the immorality of sexually abusing a child girl. Child marriage is immoral despite the fact that it was culturally acceptable in seventh century Arabia. This immoral behavior is lawful and codified in Islamic Sharia. A Muslim man has the right to force his daughter into marriage without her consent. The sexual abuse of a child is a heinous crime punishable by law in the West.
There is no minimum age for entering Islamic marriage. A child girl cannot possibly give her consent to marriage. When she grows up, she will simply discover that she is already married. Early marriage prevents the girls from completing their education and increases the chances of divorce later on. The probability of death for 10-14 year-old girls at childbirth is about five times that of 20-45 year-old women. This is in addition to the emotional and psychological damage the child-girls suffer because they are not mature enough for marriage.
The Holy Bible establishes that the minimum age for marriage is the onset of puberty (Ezekiel 16: 4 -14).
IX. SEXUAL ABUSE OF FEMALE SLAVES, SERVANTS AND WAR CAPTIVES
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Muslim men are permitted to have sexual relations with their slave women and war captives, even if the war captives were married (an-Nisa’ 4: 3, 24, 29; al-Mu’minun 23: 5-6; al-Ahzab 33: 49-50; al-Fatir 35: 50; at-Tahrim 66: 1; al-Ma’arij 70: 29-30; Reliance of the Traveler o9.13). Muhammad himself practiced that immorality (al-Ahzab 33: 50; Bukhari 3.46.717; 5.59.512; 9.89.321). This includes forced sex. Raping those women is codified in the Qur’an, Hadith and sharia (Bukhari 5.59.637; Muslim 8.3371, 3373-7, 3432). Islam is the only religion in the world that condones and encourages the crime of raping female captives of war as a reward for victorious Muslim soldiers for conquering the infidels. Slavery still exists in some Islamic countries till this day.
Muhammad took Safiyya bint Huyai whose husband, father and brothers he had killed, and forced her to marry him completely disregarding her feelings about her murdered father, brothers and husband (Bukhari 1.8.367; 5.59.522; Muslim 8.3329). According to Kitab Futuh al-Buldan of Baladhuri (ninth century), after the death of Muhammad, Safiyya admitted that: of all men, she hated the prophet the most—for he killed her husband, brothers and father, before raping her. He also took Rayhanah bint Amr for a concubine after murdering all the men of her family in the massacre of Banu Qurayza completely disregarding her feelings. Those women hated Muhammad for killing the men of their families. He raped them.
Following the example of Muhammad, Khalid bin Walid—the “sword of Allah” and the military hero of early Islam—raped Liyla, a woman renowned for her beauty, right on the battlefield after he severed her “apostate” husband’s head, lit it on fire, and cooked his dinner on it.
In contrast with that, the Holy Bible requires that war captive women be treated with respect, and not taken advantage of sexually, and if given in marriage, have the full rights of wives (Deuteronomy 21: 10-14).
A Muslim man is permitted to compel his slave woman into prostitution to profit from her. His god will forgive him (an-Nur 24: 33).
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Although some spiritual rewards are briefly mentioned (e.g. peace (Yasin 36: 58; Maryam 19: 62), bliss (al-Tawbah 9: 72)), the Islamic paradise is mainly a materialistic carnal paradise (an-Nisa’ 4: 57; al-Hajj 22: 23; Maryam 19: 22; az-Zukhruf 43: 71; ad-Dukhan 44: 51-56; ad-Dahr 76; 5, 21; al-Mutaffifin 83: 25). It appeals to, and satisfies, the base human fleshy instincts. It legitimizes the personal hedonistic pleasures of gluttony and polygamy. It contains the huris which the Islamic god created as devices of lustful pleasure to gratify Muslim men who fear him (ad-Dukhan 44: 51-54; ar-Rahman 55: 72; al-Waqi’ah 56: 22, 35-37; al-Baqarah 2: 25; an-Nisa’ 4: 57). The virgin huris are like delicate pearls (as-Saffat 37: 49; ar-Rahman 55: 56-58). Their virginity is reestablished after they are approached. The Islamic paradise also provides the kawa’ib (an-Naba’78: 33), who are charming young women (al-Waqi’ah 56: 23; ar-Rahman 55: 58). In addition to the female companions, the Islamic paradise will have young boys of perpetual freshness (at-Tur 52: 24; al-Waqi’ah 56: 17; al-Insan 76: 19) endowed with eternal youth. The paradise of the Qur’an suggests the immoral perverted sexual behavior of pederasty, lustful erotic sexual indulgence, excessive wine (Muhammad 47: 15), servants, etc.
It is interesting to note that the things that Islamists decry the most as satanic sins of the West are what the Islamic paradise consists of. The Islamic paradise is a man’s world. It is only to reward men. Muslim women are ignored? Even in the Islamic paradise, the Muslim woman is treated unfairly. She has no assurance of having even one man. Once again, she is used perpetually for the advantage, gratification and pleasure of the man. Virgin women are mentioned only in the context of gratifying the sexual needs of Muslim men (al-Baqarah 2: 25; as-Saffat 37: 39-49; ad-Dukhan 44: 51-59; Muhammad 47: 15; at-Tur 52: 17-24; al-Waqi’ah 56: 12-39; ar-Rahman 55: 54-59, 70-77; an-Naba’ 78: 31-34). Muhammad claimed that every Muslim man entering the Islamic paradise will be given 72 huris and virility equal to that of one hundred men. There is a sex market in the Islamic paradise which makes it sound like an Islamic brothel in the Islamic heaven. The Islamic paradise is not a liberating experience. In it, Muslim men live in bondage to gluttony and sexual lust. The origin of these Islamic teachings is found in Zoroastrian and Hindu sources. In fact, the word “huri” is derived from Persian source. The Islamic god seems to be absent from the Islamic paradise?
Christ taught saying: “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8: 34-36).
The Christian paradise is dramatically different. Its eternal bliss is a spiritual bliss at a higher state of existence in the new spiritual bodies of the resurrection in the immediate presence of God. It consists in deliverance from suffering, grief, corruption, etc.; experiencing the beatific vision of God; and the reunion with the other righteous souls. It will not be a materialistic carnal existence centered around gluttony, polygamy, and sensual pleasures. The biblical God condemns and abhors these excesses, “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14: 17; Habakkuk 1: 13). Jesus taught that there is no marriage in the biblical heaven: “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven” (Matthew 22: 30; Luke 20: 35-36). This means that human sexuality ceases to exist in eternity.
XI. BREASTFEEDING ADULTS
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Sahih Muslim 8.3428, 3425 states the incident which forms the basis for breastfeeding adult men in Islam. This authentic hadith informs that Muhammad commanded a married woman, Sahla bnt. Saheel, to breastfeed her husband’s adopted son, despite the fact that he was a grown man. Based on that teaching, Aisha, Muhammad’s youngest wife, had her sister, Umm Kulthum, and nieces breastfeed men before meeting with her. Muhammad’s other wives refused to do that. Other Islamic opinions provide that kinship is limited to the suckling of a child for the first two years of his life only. However, the fact remains that Muhammad commanded a Muslim woman to breastfeed an adult male. This is an immoral, shameful and disgusting behavior in any society under any circumstances. It humiliates women.
XII. WOMEN IN CHRISTIANITY
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The teachings of Christianity are diametrically opposed to those of Islam on women. Christianity teaches that men and women are equal before God: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3: 28, Colossians 3: 11). Both men and women are created in the image of God. “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1: 27). Christianity also teaches that women should be honored (1 Peter 3: 7). Eve was created from Adam’s rib signifying equality with him (Genesis 2: 21-22). Jesus treated men and women equally (1 Corinthians 11: 11-12). He praised women for their faith (Luke 21: 1-4; Matthew 15: 28), and good works (Matthew 26: 13). He healed women (Mark 5: 21-34), and cast demons out of them (Luke 8: 1-3; 13: 10-13). He also forgave their sins (John 4: 1-42; 8: 3-11; Luke 7: 36-50) and blessed them (Luke 7: 50).
The first Eve committed the first transgression (Genesis 3: 6). However, Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, brought forth the Savior of the world by her obedience to God’s will, thereby, reversing the negative effects of the transgression of the first Eve. “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith” (Irenaeus). Tertullian wrote: “As Eve had believed the serpent, so Mary believed the angel. The delinquency which the one occasioned by believing, the other by believing effaced.” The destruction of humanity had occurred through the disobedience of a virgin, so the redemption of humanity occurred through the obedience of a virgin. In addition, the Holy Bible holds Adam, not Eve, primarily responsible for the first transgression that led to the fall of the human race (Genesis 3: 17-19; Hosea 6: 7; Romans 5: 12-21; 1 Corinthians 15: 21-23). This is because he failed to protect Eve from the fall.
Many verses in the Holy Bible praise and honor godly women (Proverbs 18: 22; 19: 14; 31: 10-31; Romans 16: 1-7, 12-13, 15; Philippians 4: 2-3; etc.). Entire books in the Holy Bible (Ruth, Esther, and Judith) are focused on describing great godly women and their good deeds. The top ranking and most revered saint in Christianity is a woman, Virgin Mary the mother of Jesus. The first Christian evangelist was the Samaritan woman (John 4: 5-43). The first person who saw, and spoke with the resurrected Christ was a woman, Mary Magdalene (John 20: 11-18). Jesus never considered nor taught that the touch of a woman is unclean and defiling. Some godly women were prophetesses (Exodus 15: 20; Judges 4: 4; 2 Kings 22: 14; Luke 2: 36; etc).
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Although Muhammad improved some conditions for women in his day and cared for widows, those improvements fall far short and are inadequate, because Islam does not protect women from the abuses of conservative Islamic societies. Islam holds the works of men and women in equal regard (an-Nisa’ 4: 124; an-Nahl 16: 97; al-Mu’min 40: 40; etc) and acknowledges that they are completely interdependent (al-‘Imran 3: 195; an-Nisa’ 4: 1).
However, in other ways, the status of women in seventh century Arabia seems to have deteriorated because of the rise of Islam. For example, Muhammad’s first wife, Khadija, was a successful business woman, who was able to select whomsoever she wished as a husband. Thus, we know that women were able to have prominent positions in society and could wield a great deal of power before the rise of Islam. However, under Islamic law, women could not so much as leave their houses without the permission of their husbands, and could only do so in the proper attire.
Islam insists on the superiority of man, and marginalizes the woman’s role in society. Therefore, Muslim women could not be appointed to positions of leadership, such as governors, judges, etc. Islam imprisons the Muslim woman in the closed casket of Islamic Sharia. Islam isolates the Muslim woman from society by encapsulating her in the cocoon of the niqab (veil). If a woman is honored and respected in an Islamic household, it is in spite of the teachings of Islam, not because of them.
The harsh treatment of Muslim women in Islamic countries is the result of the teaching of Islam. It is not because of the culture of these countries. Islam is the fundamental cause of the oppression of Muslim women, and remains the major obstacle to the improvement of their position. It has always considered them inferior in every way: physically, intellectually and morally. It hinders any serious attempt to emancipate the Muslim woman. Aisha, Muhammad’s favorite wife, once declared that she had not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing (Muslim) women.