Answering Dr. Jamal Badawi:
Jamal Badawi's Misinformation and Misquotations - Part 2
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The following is taken from Badawi's lecture titled Misconceptions About Islam: How To Correct It. Badawi claimed that:
"Nowhere in the Quran does it ever point the finger to Eve as the reason for the tempting Adam or the Fall from Paradise. Not a single instance. In fact there is one verse that blame Adam alone even."
Badawi went on to say that the Quran in Sura Al-Araaf (Chapter 7) states that both Adam and Eve were told what to do, were tempted, ate, regretted, repented and were then forgiven by God. Badawi then stated:
"This notion of responsibility of Eve has been a theological base to accuse women of all kind of things. Actually even in the Scriptures themselves, in the Bible, you find reference to the fact that as a consequence of eating from the forbidden tree or committing that original sin, the pregnancy and childbirth are regarded as punishment for women for this kind of temptation they caused. Paul, as you know, launched a very strong attack on women, that they are the ones, you know, Adam was tempted by Eve. It's not that Eve was tempted, ahh sorry. It was not that Adam was tempted, but Eve was tempted and then she was the one who tempted Adam."
In his debate with Anis Shorrosh titled The Quran - Word of God or Muhammad, Badawi again claimed that Paul forbids women from speaking in the Church due to Eve being the one deceived.
In light of these claims we will present the Biblical data that exposes Badawi's deliberate twisting of the scriptures. From there, we will briefly examine both the Quran and Muslim traditions to document the fact that it is Islam that degrades women.
We would like to first point out that the Holy Bible does not state that pregnancy and childbirth are a punishment for women. Rather, pregnancy and childbirth is viewed as God's blessing:
"Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and FEMALE he created THEM. God blessed THEM and said to THEM, 'Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.' Then God said, I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground - everything that has the breath of life in it - I give every green plant for food.' And it was so." Genesis 1:26-30
Even before the Fall, wee see God commanding man to reproduce after their own kind refuting Badawi's assertion. We also find God creating both man and female in his image, implying that both are essentially equal before God. This is stated elsewhere in the Holy Bible:
"This is the written account of Adam's line. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them MALE AND FEMALE AND BLESSED THEM. And when they were created, he called THEM 'man.'" Genesis 5:1-2
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:28
In fact, Eve is said to be the mother of all the living:
"Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living." Genesis 3:20
Interestingly, even though Islamic traditions state that Allah created Adam in his image, this honor is not extended to Eve:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "Allah created Adam in HIS IMAGE, sixty cubits (about 30 metres) in height. When He created him, He said (to him), 'Go and greet that group of angels sitting there, and listen what they will say in reply to you, for that will be your greeting and the greeting of your offspring.' Adam (went and) said, 'As-Salamu alaikum (Peace be upon you).' They replied, 'As-Salamu 'Alaika wa Rahmatullah (Peace and Allah's Mercy be on you).' So they increased 'wa Rahmatullah.' The Prophet added, 'So whoever will enter Paradise, will be of the shape and picture of Adam. Since then the creation of Adam's (offspring) (i.e. stature of human beings) is being diminished continuously up to the present time.'" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 74, Number 246 as translated in Interpretation of the Meanings of The Noble Quran In the English Language - A Summarized Version of At-Tabari, Al-Qurtubi and Ibn Kathir with comments from Sahih Al-Bukhari, Summarized in One Volume By Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, Ph.D. Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, pp. 142-143, f. 1 pocket size edition)
Other verses on childbearing include:
"Sons are a HERITAGE from the LORD, children a REWARD from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate." Psalm 127:3-5
"Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. YOUR WIFE WILL BE LIKE A FRUITFUL VINE WITHIN YOUR HOUSE; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table. Thus is the man blessed who fears the LORD." Psalm 128:1-4
"But women will be saved THROUGH CHILDBEARING - if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety." 1 Timothy 2:15
We therefore see that childbearing was not a sign of the curse. Rather, women would now suffer labor pains as a consequence of Eve's sin.
Second, Genesis 3 blames both Adam and Eve for their actions, holding both of them equally responsible:
"To Adam he said, 'Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' Cursed is the ground BECAUSE OF YOU; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.'" Genesis 3:17-19
The Hebrew is even more emphatic:
The concept of pain in childbirth, the so-called curse of Eve, cannot be traced to Scripture in the original languages, or to early Judaism. Genesis 3:16 is used as proof that pain is inevitable, ordained by the Creator as punishment for Eve's sin. The word translated as "sorrow" or "pain" is the Hebrew word etzev. However etzev is used for Adam in the following verse, Genesis 3:17, a fact most translators have overlooked! The Hebrew Bible with English translation reads as follows: "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow (etzev) and thy pregnancy: in pain (etzev) thou shall bear children… And unto Adam he said,… cursed is the ground for thy sake; in toil (etzev) shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life." (Hebrew Bible, 1965)
When the word is translated as "pain" for the woman and "toil" for the man, it is clear that the translator's cultural beliefs have biased his judgment as a scholar of the text. The best description of giving birth is toil, or labor. When Eve's first child Cain was born there is no mention of pain or any kind of difficulty in the birth, but only the joyful statement, "I have obtained a man [from] the Eternal" (Genesis 4:1). In the Talmud, Eve's "curse" is divided into 10 parts, embracing the whole of a woman's life. Adam's "curse" is paired with Eve's, and divided into 10 parts also. (Helen Wessel, "Biblical and Talmudic Images of Childbirth", in "The Encyclopedia of Childbearing", ed. Barbara Katz Rothman, 1993, p. 29)
The Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible made by 70 scholars nearly 300 years before Christ uses the Greek word lupe to translate the Hebrew word etzev in Genesis 3:16. The word lupe refers only to an emotion. Three Greek words are used to translate chul and yalad. These words are gennao, tikto, and odino. Gennao means to have a child and is used of either parent. Tikto simply means "to give birth." Odino means to labor in birth. These same three simple words are found in the Greek New Testament. But again, translators have too often imposed on them the false assumption of pain or anguish in birth, even though the Bible describes the bearing of children as one of the most rewarding and joyous experiences of a woman's life. (Source)
In fact, in many places it is Adam who is singled out as causing the fall of man:
"Like Adam, they have broken the covenant - they were unfaithful to me there." Hosea 6:7
"Therefore, just as sin entered the world through ONE MAN, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned - for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time OF ADAM to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, AS DID ADAM, who was a pattern of the one to come. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of THE ONE MAN, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of THE ONE MAN'S SIN: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of THE ONE MAN, death reigned through THAT ONE MAN, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of THE ONE MAN the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous." Romans 5:12-19
"For since death came through A MAN, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in ADAM all die, so in Christ all will be made alive." 1 Corinthians 15:21-22
The reason why Adam is singled out is that whereas Adam knowingly broke God's command by eating from the tree, the Holy Bible states that Eve was deceived into eating:
"Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, 'Did God really say, "You must not eat from any tree in the garden"?' The woman said to the serpent, 'We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, "You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die."' 'You will not surely die,' the serpent said to the woman. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'" Genesis 3:1-5
That the serpent went to Eve and questioned her instead of going to Adam implies that God never directly commanded the woman not to eat from the forbidden fruit. Had God directly told Eve then she would have realized that the serpent was lying to her from the very start. This means that it was Adam who told Eve not to eat from the forbidden fruit. The serpent deceived Eve into doubting whether God had actually forbidden them from eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil since the woman never directly heard God command her not to eat from it. This is precisely what the verses that immediately follow indicate:
"To the woman he said, I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you. To Adam he said, Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about WHICH I COMMANDED YOU, 'You must not eat of it'..." Genesis 3:16-17
Verse 17 makes it clear that God had personally told Adam that he must not eat from the forbidden tree. No such statement is made to Eve.
This is perhaps the reason that Paul could say that Eve was deceived, while Adam was not:
"But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ." 2 Corinthians 11:3
"I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner." 1 Timothy 2:12-14
Hence, the very passage used by Badawi to slander Paul is the very one that actually vindicates Eve!
Third, when one reads Paul in context one will see the high position Paul gives women:
"Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. And every woman WHO PRAYS OR PROPHESIES with her head uncovered dishonors her head - it is just as though her head were shaved. If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head. A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head. IN THE LORD, HOWEVER, woman is not independent of man, NOR IS MAN INDEPENDENT OF WOMAN. For as woman came from man, SO ALSO MAN IS BORN OF WOMAN. But everything comes from God. Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman TO PRAY to God with her head uncovered? Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice--nor do the churches of God. 1 Corinthians 11:3-16
Although Paul states that man is given positional headship, he clearly states that in Christ both men and women are co-dependent. Paul also states that women may pray and even prophecy, so long as she is veiled. This refutes Badawi's false assertion that Paul forbade women from speaking in the Church.
Paul was only forbidding women from holding a position of authority over men, since man was given the position of overseer. Paul was also preventing disorderly conduct in the Church in order to maintain unity in worship:
"What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. If anyone speaks in a tongue, two - or at the most three - should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God. Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church." 1 Corinthians 14:26-35
In light of what Paul stated earlier regarding women praying and prophesying, the exhortation that women remain silent is presumably given to women who were asking questions inappropriately. In so doing, Paul was preventing them from disrupting the worship service.
Even if one were to argue that Paul forbids women from speaking at all, this would only be restricted to married women as the context shows. It says nothing about single women.
Further proof that Paul was not completely forbidding women's participation in worship can be gleaned from the roles assigned to the latter. Paul alludes to women who held the position of deaconess and exhorts the older women in the Church to function as teachers for the younger women:
"I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deaconess of the church at Cen'chre-ae, that you may receive her in the Lord as befits the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a helper of many and of myself as well." Romans 16:1-2 RSV
"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." Titus 2:3-5
Paul goes on to give the following exhortation to husbands:
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church - for we are members of his body. 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' This is a profound mystery - but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:25-33
In fact, Paul demands that husbands view their bodies as not belonging to themselves but to their wives and vice-versa, and must not deny the others' needs:
"Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by MUTUAL consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." 1 Corinthians 7:1-5
We challenge Badawi to produce similar verses from the Quran commanding husbands to view their wives as their own bodies. As we shall shortly demonstrate both the Quran and the Sunnah of Muhammad actually degrade women.
Fourth, the Holy Bible mentions women who were used by God as prophets and leaders such as Miriam (Exodus 15:20; Micah 6:4), Deborah (Judges 4-5), Anna (Luke 2:36), the four daughters of Philip the evangelist (Acts 21:9), and a number of others (Isaiah 8:3).
First, it should be stated that orthodox Islam does not allow for women to function as prophets or messengers. Furthermore, not only does the Quran never mention prophetesses, but the Quran also does not mention a single woman by name with the sole exception of Mary, the Lord's mother.
Third, not only does the Quran never refer to Eve by name, but it also fails to tell us who in fact ate of the forbidden fruit first. Therefore, Badawi's point comes back to haunt him. Unlike the Holy Bible, the Quran is unclear and vague leaving out important details. This again demonstrates that the Holy Bible is far more coherent and vastly superior since where the Quran is silent the Holy Bible is explicit.
Due to the Quran's vagueness and incompleteness, Muslims were forced to consult the Biblical story in order to make sense out of the Quranic account. They realized that the Quran was unclear and vague. Muslim scholars themselves admit this to be the case. Mahmoud M. Ayoub comments on S. 2:30-38:
The story of Adam (30-38) is told in earlier surahs belonging to the later Meccan period. His creation, the obeisance of the angels to him, his dwelling in the garden and subsequent expulsion are all told in some detail. These verses may be seen as a commentary on an already well-known story, because they raise new issues and because they are placed before other and more explicit verses. These nine verses have raised many questions and controversies: Why did God tell the angels of His plan to establish a representative for Himself on the earth? How did the angels know that Adam's progeny would act wickedly? How could they question the will and wisdom of God? How was this vicegerent of God created and why did he soon disobey God's command against eating the forbidden fruit? What sort of fruit did the forbidden tree bear? Who was Satan and how was he able to enter the garden in order to lead the innocent Adam and his spouse astray? Adam's stay in Paradise, the creation of a mate for him, and their sin and expulsion are but briefly mentioned in the Qur'an. The Qur'an leaves many other questions UNANSWERED. It does not, for example, MENTION EVE BY NAME, or the manner in which she was created. For the answers to these and other questions, commentators HAD TO RESORT TO THE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK… (Ayoub, The Qur'an and Its Interpreters - Volume 1 [State University of New York Press, Albany 1984], p. 73; bold and capital emphasis ours)
When one consults the Muslim authorities in relation to the story of Adam and Eve, we find them largely agreeing with the Biblical account:
(35) Tabari preserves a wealth of tafsir tradition going back to the earliest authorities on this science. He relates on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas, Ibn Mas'ud, and others of the Prophet's Companions that "Adam was lonely in Paradise, having no mate to keep him company. He went to sleep and when he awoke he found a woman beside him whom God created from his rib. He addressed her, saying, 'Who are you?' 'I am a woman,' she replied. 'Why were you created?' Adam asked. 'So that you may have companionship,' she said (Tabari, I, p. 513). There are traditions going back to the early authorities of tafsir such as Ibn 'Abbas asserting that God created Eve from Adam's rib, which he took from his left side. This information they claimed to have transmitted from the People of the Book, and more specifically the Jews. They differed, however, as to whether she was created before or after Adam was made to dwell in Paradise. Tabari also relates, concerning the name of Adam's spouse, "The angels, wishing to test Adam's knowledge, asked, 'What is her name, O Adam?' He answered, 'It is Hawa' [Eve]. They said, 'Why did you call her Hawa?' and he answered, 'Because she was created of a living thing'" (Tabari, I, p. 518). (Ayoub, p. 82; bold emphasis ours)
Notice the marked difference between the origin of Eve's name with that of the Holy Bible. Here, she is named Eve because she is created of a living thing (Adam putting himself above her, he is the source, she is only the recipient or result, deriving her life from his). Yet the Holy Bible states that her name was given as a result of her being the mother of all the living. Clearly, the degree of honor given to Eve in the Holy Bible is vastly superior to that shown by Islam.
Fourth, Muhammad actually claims that Eve is the reason why women betray their husbands:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "But for the Israelis, meat would not decay and but FOR EVE, wives would never betray their husbands." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 547)
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "Were it not for Bani Israel, meat would not decay; and were it not FOR EVE, no woman would ever betray her husband." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 611)
Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Had it not been FOR EVE, woman would have never acted unfaithfully towards her husband. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3471)
Hammam b. Munabbih said: These are some of the ahadith which Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) narrated to us from Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him), and one of these (this one): Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: Had it not been for Bani Isra'il, food would not have become stale, and meal would not have gone bad; and had it not been FOR Eve, a woman would never have acted unfaithfully toward her husband. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3472)
This next tradition regarding the fall comes from renowned Muslim historian al-Tabari, and fully agrees with the preceding traditions that Eve's sin affected all women:
According to Yunus- Ibn Wahb- Ibn Zayd (commenting on God's word: "And he whispered"): Satan whispered to Eve about the tree and succeeded in taking her to it; then he made it seem good to Adam. He continued. When Adam felt a need for her and called her, she said: No! unless you go there. When he went, she said again: No! unless you eat from this tree. He continued. They both ate from it, and their secret parts became apparent to them. He continued. Adam then went about in Paradise in flight. His Lord called out to him: Adam, is it from Me that you are fleeing? Adam replied: No, my Lord, but I feel shame before You. When God asked what had caused his trouble, he replied: Eve, my Lord. Whereupon God said: Now it is My obligation to make her bleed once every month, as she made this tree bleed. I ALSO MAKE HER STUPID, although I had created her intelligent (halimah), and must make her suffer pregnancy and birth with difficulty, although I made it easy for her to be pregnant and give birth. Ibn Zayd said: Were it not for the affliction that affected Eve, the women of this world would not menstruate, AND THEY WOULD BE INTELLIGENT and, when pregnant, give birth easily. (The History of Al-Tabari: General Introduction and From the Creation to the Flood, translated by Franz Rosenthal [State University of New York Press, Albany], Volume 1, pp. 280-281; bold and capital emphasis ours)
According to this tradition Eve not only was made to bleed but she was also made stupid with the result being that all women now bleed and are basically stupid! Nowhere will one find the Holy Bible saying that women have become stupid as a result of the Fall.
Seeing that these hadiths echo the biblical teaching that Eve's sin (as well as Adam's) affected humanity as a whole, Badawi is therefore dishonestly withholding information from his audience. It seems the reason Badawi does this is to give a false and misleading impression that the Quran is superior to the Holy Bible.
Fifth, unlike the Holy Bible the Quran clearly classifies women as property and teaches that they are inferior to men:
"Your wives are as a tilth unto you; so approach your tilth when or how ye will; but do some good act for your souls beforehand; and fear Allah. And know that ye are to meet Him (in the Hereafter), and give (these) good tidings to those who believe." S. 2:223
The reason why this verse was "revealed" is given in the Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2159:
Narrated Abdullah Ibn Abbas:
Ibn Umar misunderstood (the Qur'anic verse, "So come to your tilth however you will")--may Allah forgive him. The fact is that this clan of the Ansar, who were idolaters, lived in the company of the Jews who were the people of the Book. They (the Ansar) accepted their superiority over themselves in respect of knowledge, and they followed most of their actions. The people of the Book (i.e. the Jews) used to have intercourse with their women on one side alone (i.e. lying on their backs). This was the most concealing position for (the vagina of) the women. This clan of the Ansar adopted this practice from them. But this tribe of the Quraysh used to uncover their women completely, and seek pleasure with them from in front and behind and laying them on their backs.
When the muhajirun (the immigrants) came to Medina, a man married a woman of the Ansar. He began to do the same kind of action with her, but she disliked it, and said to him: We were approached on one side (i.e. lying on the back); do it so, otherwise keep away from me. This matter of theirs spread widely, and it reached the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him).
So Allah, the Exalted, sent down the Qur'anic verse: "Your wives are a tilth to you, so come to your tilth however you will," i.e. from in front, from behind or lying on the back. But this verse meant the place of the delivery of the child, i.e. the vagina.
The late Iranian Islamic scholar, Ali Dashti, wrote regarding S. 2:223:
... The Tafsir ol-Jalalyn gives the meaning of "by whatever way you wish" as either "standing, sitting, or lying, from the side, from the front, or from behind", and states that the purpose of the revelation is to dispel a Jewish notion that when the woman has been approached from behind, the child is born left-handed or squint-eyed. In Soyuti's opinion, the words "from the direction that God prescribed for you" in verse 222 were abrogated by verse 223, and the abrogation occurred after a protest by 'Omar and a number of the Prophet's other companions. The possessors of scripture (i.e. Jews and Christians) lay on their sides with their women, and the Prophet's Madinan supporters (Ansar) had adopted this custom, which was more in accord with the concept of female modesty and seclusion. The Moslem emigrants (Mohajerun) adhered to the customs of the Qorayshites and other Meccans, who liked to handle their women in different ways, such as throwing them onto their backs or their chests and approaching them from in front or from behind. When a Mohajer who had married a woman of the Ansar wished to handle her in this way, she refused, saying "We lie on our sides." The case was reported to the Prophet, and the verse giving discretion to men in this matter was sent down. According to Ebn Hanbal and Termedhi, the meaning of the verse is "from the front or from behind, supine or prone", and its revelation took place after 'Omar had said to the Prophet one morning "I am done for", and in reply to the Prophet's question "How so?" had answered "I changed my approach last night but it did not work." (Dashti, Twenty-Three Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad, translated from Persian by F.R.C. Bagley [Mazda Publishers, Costa Mesa, CA 1994], pp. 118-119)
Instead of respecting the woman's refusal to engage in a particular sexual position, Allah sends down the command permitting men to enter women as they like!
"Women have such honorable rights as obligations, but their men have a degree above them." S. 2:228
Muslim commentator Ibn Kathir notes:
<But men have a degree over them.>, that is, men have a degree over women as far as virtue, behavior, status, obeying orders, expenditure, fulfilling duties, and grace in both worldly life and the Hereafter... (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, part 2, Sura Al-Baqarah, ayat 142-252, Abridged By Sheikh Muhammad Nasib Ar-Rifa'i [Al-Firdous Ltd., London 1998], p. 204; bold emphasis ours)
"Fair in the eyes of men is the love of things they covet: WOMEN and sons; Heaped-up hoards of gold and silver; horses branded (for blood and excellence); and (wealth of) cattle and well-tilled land. Such are the POSSESSIONS of this world's life; but with Allah is the best of the goals (to return to)." S. 3:14
Again, Ibn Kathir:
Allah mentions the delights that He put in this life for people, such as women and children, and He started with women, because the test with them IS MORE TEMPTING. For instance, the Sahih recorded that the Messenger said,
<I did not leave behind me a test more tempting THAN WOMEN.>
When one enjoys women for the purpose of having children and preserving his chastity, then he is encouraged getting married, such as,
<Verily, the best members of this Ummah are those who have THE MOST WIVES> He also said, <This life is a delight, and the best of its delight IS A RIGHTEOUS WIFE>
The Prophet said in another Hadith,
<I WAS MADE TO LIKE WOMEN AND PERFUME And the comfort of my eye is the prayer.> 'Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said, "Nothing was more beloved to the Messenger of Allah THAN WOMEN, except horses," and in another narration, "…than horses EXCEPT WOMEN." (Tafsir Ibn Kathir-Abridged Volume 2, parts 3, 4, & 5, Surat Al-Baqarah, Verse 253, to Surat An-Nisa, Verse 147, abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, March 2000], p. 124; bold emphasis ours)
The Quran states:
"Men are superior to women on account of the qualities which God hath gifted the one above the other, and on account of the outlay they make from their substance for them. Virtuous women are obedient, careful, during the husband's absence, because God hath of them been careful. But chide those for whose refractoriness ye have cause to fear; remove them into beds apart, AND SCOURGE THEM: but if they are obedient to you then seek not occasion against them: verily, God is High, Great!" S. 4:34 Rodwell
Not only does this last verse say that men are superior to women, but it also grants husbands the right to beat disobedient wives! Here are Ibn Kathir's comments on 4:34:
In this verse Allah says that the man is the leader over the woman and is the one who disciplines her if she does wrong. <Because Allah has made one of them excel the other.>, this is because men are better than women, and man is better than woman. Therefore, prophethood and kingship were confined to men, as the Prophet said: 'A people that choose woman as their leader will not succeed.' This hadith was narrated by Al-Bukhari. Added to that positions such as judiciary, etc.... <And because they spend from their means.> Here, Allah refers to the dowry and expenses, which Allah has prescribed in the Qur'an and Sunnah; and given a man is better than a woman, it is appropriate that he be her protector and maintainer, as Allah says: <But men have a degree over them.> (2:228). (Tafsir Ibn Kathir-Part 5, Surah An-Nisa', ayat 24-147, Abridged By Sheikh Muhammad Nasib Ar-Rifa'i, p. 50; bold italic emphasis ours)
Do notice Ibn Kathir's claim that prophethood was confined to men, and Muhammad's comment that choosing women to be in leadership basically leads to disaster. Yet the Holy Bible, God's true inspired word, contradicts both these statements. This clearly demonstrates how vastly superior the Holy Bible is to the Quran.
<And beat them.> if they do not abstain from their disobedience through both advise and desertion. However, the beating should be Dharbun ghayru mubrah, i.e. light, according to the hadith narrated in Sahih Muslim, on the authority of Jabir, who had quoted the Prophet as saying in his farewell pilgrimage: "And fear Allah in women, for they are your aides, and their duties towards you is that your beds should not be shared with someone you dislike. Therefore, if they disobey you, beat them lightly, and your duty towards them is that you should maintain and buy them clothes in a reasonable manner."
Scholars said: Dharbun ghayru mubrahun means: The husband should beat his wife lightly, in way which does not result in breaking one of her limbs or affecting her badly. (Ibid., p. 53; bold italic emphasis ours)
Notice that even in Ibn Kathir's translation of S. 4:34 the command to beat one's wife sticks out clearly. Again from the Sunan Abu Dawud:
Narrated Abdullah ibn AbuDhubab:
Iyas ibn Abdullah ibn AbuDhubab reported the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) as saying: Do not beat Allah's handmaidens, but when Umar came to the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) and said: Women have become emboldened towards their husbands, he (the Prophet) gave permission to beat them. Then many women came round the family of the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) complaining against their husbands. So the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: Many women have gone round Muhammad's family complaining against their husbands. They are not the best among you. (Book 11, Number 2141)
Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab:
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife. (Book 11, Number 2142)
Here is Abu Dawud's comment on 2141:
"This shows that wives should obey their husbands..."
And also his notes to 2142:
"This means that a man tries his best to correct his wife, but he fails to do so, he is allowed to beat her as a last resort. This tradition never means that a husband should beat his wife without any valid reason".
About surah 4:43, Dashti wrote:
According to Tafsir ol-Jalalayn, the superiority of men lies in their greater intelligence, knowledge and administrative ability. Zamakhshari, Baydawi, and several other commentators go into more detail and construct metaphysical theories; they liken men's authority over women to that of rulers over subjects, and maintain that prophethood, prayer-leadership, and rulership are reserved for men because men are stronger, MORE INTELLIGENT, and more prudent ...
There is one passage, however, which apparently endorses a pre-Islamic Arab custom. This is the sentence at the end of the verse 38 permitting a husband to beat his wife: "And those women whose insubordination you fear, admonish them, then leave them alone in the beds, then beat them!" Men with their greater bodily strength have certainly resorted to this unjust and unchivalrous expedient since the earliest times, and they still do so in the twentieth century. Nevertheless its authorization by the law of Islam provides ammunition for critics.
Every community's laws reflect it life-style, customs, and morals. In addition to the testimony of verse 38 of sura 4, there is historical evidence that the Ancient Arabs considered the husband to be the owner of his wife and fully entitled to inflict pain on her. Abu Bakr's daughter Asma, who was the fourth wife of Zobayr b. ol-'Awwam (one of the Prophet's first ten converts and principle companions), is reported to have said, "Whenever Zobayr was angry with one of us, he used to beat her UNTIL THE STICK BROKE."
The Islamic law on this subject has at least the merit of gradation. First admonition, next cessation of intercourse, and only in the last resort violence should be used to make the wife obey. In the opinion of several commentators and lawyers, the beating should not be severe as to break a bone, because in that case the legal right to retaliation in kind and degree might be invoked. Zamakhshari, however, writes in his comment on the verse that "some authorities do no accept gradation of the punishment of the insubordinate wife but consider infliction of any of the three penalties to be permissible." This was of course the interpretation given to the words by fanatical Arab theologians such as Ebn Hanbal and Ebn Taymiya. Nevertheless, the meaning of the words is clear and moreover confirmed by what follows in verse 39: "And if you fear a breach between the two, send an arbiter from his kinsfolk and an arbiter from her kinsfolk in case they desire reconciliation." (Dashti, 23 Years, pp. 114, 115-116; underline emphasis and comments within brackets ours)
There is absolutely no justification for Muhammad to permit the beating of women. This is simply inhumane to say the least. The reason for this being inhumane is not simply over whether the beating is light or heavy. Rather, it has to do with the fact that the right of the man to beat his wife is a clear violation of her dignity as an equal partner. Parents may at times beat their children as part of disciplining them, because they are in authority above them, while children have the duty to obey. Their position is not one of equality. Beating is an expression of not only higher physical strength, but of position. Beating clearly violates the status and dignity of women, putting them on the level of children (and even animals as we shall shortly see) in comparison to their "owner".
In spite of all these verses, Badawi still has the audacity to claim that the Quran teaches that women are equal to men. He bases this on the following passage which teaches that women were created from the same soul:
"And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may find repose in them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect." S. 30:21 (Cf. S. 4:1; 7:189; 39:6)
Unfortunately for Badawi, this verse does not prove his point. When this verse is read in the entire context of the Quran, it becomes clear that woman was created from man not so much to be an equal, but rather as the means in which man may find satisfaction and pleasure. The Quran has already classified man as being superior, with woman being part of his property. Further proof for this can be seen from the following citations, which are taken and adapted from M. Rafiqul-Haqq and P. Newton's The Place of Women in Pure Islam:
"The woman IS A TOY, whoever takes her let him care for her (or do not lose her)." (Ahmad Zaky Tuffaha, Al-Mar'ah wal- Islam [Dar al-Kitab al-Lubnani, Beirut, first edition, 1985], p. 180)
Umar Ibn al-Khattab once told his wife:
"You are a toy, if you are needed we will call you." (Abu Bakr Ahmad Ibn 'Abd Allah Ibn Mousa Al-Kanadi, Al-Musanaf, Vol. 1 pt. 2, p. 263- see also Al-Ghazali, Ihy'a 'Uloum ed-Din, Vol. II, Kitab Adab al-Nikah [Dar al-Kotob al-'Elmeyah, Beirut], p. 52)
The Caliph 'Amru Bin al-'Aas said:
"Women are toys, so choose." (Kanz-el-'Ummal, Vol. 21, Hadith No. 919)
Newton and Haqq also provide Muslim exegete Ar-Razi's commentary on 30:21:
"His saying 'created for you' is a proof that women were created like animals and plants and other useful things, just as the Most High has said 'He created for you what is on earth' and that necessitates the woman not to be created for worship and carrying the Divine commands. We say creating the women is one of the graces bestowed upon us and charging them with Divine commands to complete the graces bestowed upon us, not that they are charged as we men are charged. For women are not charged with many commands as we are charged, because the woman is weak, silly, in one sense she is like a child, and no commands are laid upon a child, but for the grace of Allah upon us to be complete, women had to be charged so that they may fear the torment of punishment and so follow her husband, and keep away from what is forbidden, otherwise corruption would be rampant." (Razi, At-Tafsir al-Kabir) (source; all bold emphasis ours)
The Quran also allots men a double portion of the inheritance:
"Allah (thus) directs you as regards your children's (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females: if only daughters, two or more, their share is two-thirds of the inheritance; if only one, her share is a half. For parents, a sixth share of the inheritance to each, if the deceased left children; if no children, and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third; if the deceased left brothers (or sisters) the mother has a sixth. (The distribution in all cases is) after the payment of legacies and debts. Ye know not whether your parents or your children are nearest to you in benefit. These are settled portions ordained by Allah: and Allah is All-Knowing, All-wise. In what your wives leave, your share is a half, if they leave no child; but if they leave a child, ye get a fourth; after payment of legacies and debts. In what ye leave, their share is a fourth, if ye leave no child; but if ye leave a child, they get an eighth; after payment of legacies and debts. If the man or woman whose inheritance is in question, has left neither ascendants nor descendants, but has left a brother or a sister, each one of the two gets a sixth; but if more than two, they share in a third; after payment of legacies and debts; so that no loss is caused (to any one). Thus is it ordained by Allah; and Allah is All- Knowing, Most Forbearing." S. 4:11-12
"They ask thee for a legal decision. Say: Allah directs (thus) about those who leave no descendants or ascendants as heirs. If it is a man that dies, leaving a sister but no child, she shall have half the inheritance: If (such a deceased was) a woman, who left no child, her brother takes her inheritance: If there are two sisters, they shall have two-thirds of the inheritance (between them): if there are brothers and sisters, (they share), the male having twice the share of the female. Thus doth Allah make clear to you (His law), lest ye err. And Allah hath knowledge of all things." S. 4:176
Badawi claimed that the reason men are given a double portion of the inheritance is that they have been assigned the role of provider. In other words, since men must provide financially for their wives they are entitled to more money. Wives are given the privilege of not being under any kind of obligation to work and provide for the home.
Yet Badawi doesn't tell us why men have been given the responsibility of providing for their wives. Ar-Razi, commenting on Q. 4:11, gives us the reason:
"(The males share is that of two females). Man is more perfect than the woman in creation, and intelligence, and in the religious sphere, such as the suitability to be a judge, and a leader in worship. Also, the testimony of the man is twice that of the woman. So that whoever is given great responsibilities must be given correspondingly great privileges. As the woman is deficient in intelligence and of great lust, if she is given much money, much corruption will be the result." (Razi, At-Tafsir al-Kabir)
"The male is mentioned first in Q. 4:11 because the male is better than the female."(Ibid.) (source; bold emphasis ours)
We therefore see that men have been assigned the role of provider because of Islam's teaching that men are vastly superior to women.
That men are viewed as being inherently superior is further proven from what Muhammad says here:
Narrated Qays ibn Sa'd:
I went to al-Hirah and saw them (the people) prostrating themselves before a satrap of theirs, so I said: The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) has most right to have prostration made before him. When I came to the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him), I said: I went to al-Hirah and saw them prostrating themselves before a satrap of theirs, but you have most right, Apostle of Allah, to have (people) prostrating themselves before you. He said: Tell me, if you were to pass my grave, would you prostrate yourself before it? I said: No. He then said: Do not do so. If I were to command anyone to make prostration before another I WOULD COMMAND WOMEN TO PROSTRATE THEMSELVES BEFORE THEIR HUSBANDS, because of the special right over them given to husbands by Allah. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2135)
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "If I were to order anyone to prostrate himself before another, I should order a woman to prostrate herself before her husband."
Tirmidhi transmitted it. (Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 957; taken from ALIM CD-ROM Version; see also Hadith Number 110)
Once when Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) was with a number of the Emigrants and Helpers a camel came and prostrated itself before him. Thereupon his companions said, "Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) beasts and trees prostrate themselves before you, but we have the greatest right to do so." He replied, "Worship your Lord and honour your brother. If I were to order anyone to prostrate himself before another, I SHOULD ORDER A WOMAN TO PROSTRATE HERSELF BEFORE HER HUSBAND. If he were to order her to convey stones from a yellow mountain to a black one, or from a black mountain to a white one, IT WOULD BE INCUMBENT ON HER TO DO SO."
Ahmad transmitted it. (Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 963- ALIM CD-ROM Version)
Other passages that expose the Quran's prejudicial treatment of women include:
"O ye who believe! Approach not prayers with a mind befogged, until ye can understand all that ye say,- nor in a state of ceremonial impurity except when you are passing by (through the mosque), until after washing your whole body. If ye are ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from offices of nature, or ye have been in contact with women, and ye find no water, then take for yourselves clean sand (or earth), and rub therewith your faces and hands. For Allah doth blot out sins and forgive again and again." S. 4:43
"O ye who believe! when ye prepare for prayer, wash your faces, and your hands (and arms) to the elbows; Rub your heads (with water); and (wash) your feet to the ankles. If ye are in a state of ceremonial impurity, bathe your whole body. But if ye are ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from privy, or ye have been in contact with women, and ye find no water, then take for yourselves clean sand or earth, and rub therewith your faces and hands. Allah doth not wish to place you in a difficulty, but to make you clean, and to complete his favor to you, that ye may be grateful." S. 5:6
It would have been more proper for the Quran to refer to sexual contact in general, as opposed to specifying women. That women are explicitly mentioned further proves that the Quran is a male-oriented and chauvinistic religion that views women as second-class citizens.
The final verse under discussion includes:
"They ask thee concerning women's courses. Say: They are a hurt and a pollution: So keep away from women in their courses, and do not approach them until they are clean. But when they have purified themselves, ye may approach them as ordained for you by Allah. For Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly; and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean." S. 2:222
The Quran is wrong in classifying woman's monthly cycles as pollution since it is God's mechanism for keeping women healthy. This once more demonstrates the low view of women in Islam, going so far as to classify women's natural process of purification as a pollutant. This is totally unlike the biblical position that classifies monthly cycles in the category of ceremonial uncleanness as opposed to being viewed as a medical harm or defect. (Cf. Leviticus 15)
Finally, Newton and Haqq comment on certain hadiths exhorting men to be good to their wives, hadiths that Badawi himself appeals to:
Some other Hadiths that are often quoted in order to counterbalance the many Hadiths that enumerate men's rights are the following:
The best of you is he who is best to his wife.[71b]
The best of you are those who are best to their ahl, meaning spouses and children. And I am the best of you to my family.[71c]
These Hadiths must be viewed in the light of the facts of history. It is a fact that "Mohammad deserted his wives for a whole month."[71d] At one occasion he also called both Aisha and Hafsa "the Companions of Joseph" which is a very derogatory term.[71e] He also intended to divorce Sawda for no reason except that she became old (Ibn Kathir commenting on Q. 4:128). Mohammad's superiority as a husband did not prevent him from exercising his rights as a Muslim man. (source; bold emphasis ours)
Sahih al-Bukhari On Women
In this particular section, we will be mainly focusing on narrations taken from Sahih Al-Bukhari. We chose Bukhari's work since it is considered to be the most authentic collection of ahadith. We will include a few other narrations from different sources as well, but the great bulk of the reports will be drawn from Al-Bukhari's work.
Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:
Once Allah's Apostle went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) on 'Id-al-Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, "O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women)." They asked, "Why is it so, O Allah's Apostle?" He replied, "You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you." The women asked, "O Allah's Apostle! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?" He said, "Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?" They replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn't it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?" The women replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her religion." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 6, Number 301; see also Volume 2, Book 24, Number 541)
Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:
The Prophet said, "Isn't the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?" The women said, "Yes." He said, "This is because of the deficiency of a woman's mind." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 48, Number 826)
Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:
The Prophet said: "I was shown the Hell-fire and that the majority of its dwellers were women who were ungrateful." It was asked, "Do they disbelieve in Allah?" (or are they ungrateful to Allah?) He replied, "They are ungrateful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favors and the good (charitable deeds) done to them. If you have always been good (benevolent) to one of them and then she sees something in you (not of her liking), she will say, 'I have never received any good from you.'" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 2, Number 28)
The things which annul the prayers were mentioned before me. 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. I saw the Prophet praying while I used to lie in my bed between him and the Qibla. Whenever I was in need of something, I would slip away, for I disliked to face him." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 9, Number 490)
Do you make us (women) equal to dogs and donkeys? While I used to lie in my bed, the Prophet would come and pray facing the middle of the bed. I used to consider it not good to stand in front of him in his prayers. So I used to slip away slowly and quietly from the foot of the bed till I got out of my guilt. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 9, Number 486; see also Volume 1, Book 9, Numbers 493 and 498)
There are some Muslims who try to say that these hadiths which place women on the level of dogs and asses were not narrated from Muhammad, and therefore do not represent the view of Muhammad. It simply reflects the views of certain Muslims of that time. The following traditions clearly demonstrate that these Muslims were actually deriving their opinions from Muhammad himself:
Abu Dharr reported: THE MESSENGER OF 'ALLAH (may peace be upon him) SAID: When any one of you stands for prayer and there is a thing before him equal to the back of the saddle that covers him and in case there is not before him (a thing) equal to the back of the saddle, HIS PRAYER WOULD BE CUT OFF BY (passing of an) ASS, WOMAN, AND BLACK DOG. I said: O Abu Dharr, what feature is there in a black dog which distinguish it from the red dog and the yellow dog? He said: O, son of my brother, I asked the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) as you are asking me, and he said: The black dog is a devil. (Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 1032)
Abu Huraira reported: THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH (may peace be upon him) SAID: A WOMAN, AN ASS AND A DOG DISRUPT THE PRAYER, but something like the back of a saddle guards against that. (Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 1034)
'Urwa b. Zubair reported: 'A'isha asked: What disrupts the prayer? We said: THE WOMAN AND THE ASS. Upon this she remarked: IS THE WOMAN AN UGLY ANIMAL? I lay in front of the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) like the bier of a corpse and he said prayer. (Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 1037)
Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas:
Qatadah said: I heard Jabir ibn Zayd who reported on the authority of Ibn Abbas; and Shu'bah reported the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) as saying: A menstruating woman and a dog cut off the prayer. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 2, Number 0703)
Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas:
Ikrimah reported on the authority of Ibn Abbas, saying: I think the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: When one of you prays without a sutrah, A DOG, AN ASS, A PIG, A JEW, A MAGIAN, AND A WOMAN CUT OFF HIS PRAYER, but it will suffice if they pass in front of him at a distance of over a stone's throw. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 2, Number 0704)
Narrated Abdullah bin 'Umar:
Allah's Apostle said, "Evil omen is in the women, the house and the horse." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 30; see also Numbers 31 and 32)
Muhammad places women on the level of houses, horses, dogs and donkeys. Not only did Muhammad state that women were an evil omen, but also claimed that they were the greatest harm for men:
Narrated Usama bin Zaid:
The Prophet said, "After me I have not left any affliction more harmful to men than women." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 33)
Women are so bad that only three women in history have been able to attain perfection:
Narrated Abu Musa:
Allah's Apostle said, "Many amongst men reached (the level of) perfection but none amongst the women reached this level except Asia, Pharaoh's wife, and Mary, the daughter of 'Imran. And no doubt, the superiority of 'Aisha to other women is like the superiority of Tharid (i.e. a meat and bread dish) to other meals." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 623)
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Apostle said, "Treat women nicely, for a women is created from a rib, and the most curved portion of the rib is its upper portion, so, if you should try to straighten it, it will break, but if you leave it as it is, it will remain crooked. So treat women nicely." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 548)
Narrated Ibn 'Umar:
The Prophet said, "If your women ask permission to go to the mosque at night, allow them."(Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 12, Number 824)
Had Allah's Apostle known what the women were doing, he would have forbidden them from going to the mosque as the women of Bani Israel had been forbidden. Yahya bin Said (a sub-narrator) asked 'Amra (another sub-narrator), "Were the women of Bani Israel forbidden?" She replied "Yes." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 12, Number 828)
Narrated Ibn Umar:
One of the wives of Umar (bin Al-Khattab) used to offer the Fajr and the 'Isha' prayer in congregation in the Mosque. She was asked why she had come out for the prayer as she knew that Umar disliked it, and he has great ghaira (self-respect). She replied, "What prevents him from stopping me from this act?" The other replied, "The statement of Allah's Apostle (p.b.u.h): 'Do not stop Allah's women-slave from going to Allah's Mosques' prevents him.'" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 13, Number 23)
Narrated Um 'Atiya:
We used to be ordered to come out on the Day of 'Id and even bring out the virgin girls from their houses and menstruating women so that they might stand behind the men and say Takbir along with them and invoke Allah along with them and hope for the blessings of that day and for purification from sins. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 15, Number 88)
This makes us wonder why would women need permission to enter the house of God at night? Do men also need their wives' permission? And where does the Old Testament forbid women from entering God's house? Furthermore, why should women sit behind the men while in the Mosques? Finally, if Muhammad would forbid women from entering the Mosque based on things that they were doing then what about the evils committed by the men? Shouldn't they have also been warned of being banished from God's house?
Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas:
…Then 'Umar went on relating the narration and said. "I and an Ansari neighbor of mine from Bani Umaiya bin Zaid who used to live in 'Awali Al-Medina, used to visit the Prophet in turns. He used to go one day, and I another day. When I went I would bring him the news of what had happened that day regarding the instructions and orders and when he went, he used to do the same for me. We, the people of Quraish, used to have authority over women, but when we came to live with the Ansar, we noticed that the Ansari women had the upper hand over their men, so our women started acquiring the habits of the Ansari women. Once I shouted at my wife and she paid me back in my coin and I disliked that she should answer me back. She said, 'Why do you take it ill that I retort upon you? By Allah, the wives of the Prophet retort upon him, and some of them may not speak with him for the whole day till night.' What she said scared me and I said to her, 'Whoever amongst them does so, will be a great loser.' Then I dressed myself and went to Hafsa and asked her, 'Does any of you keep Allah's Apostle angry all the day long till night?' She replied in the affirmative. I said, 'She is a ruined losing person (and will never have success)! Doesn't she fear that Allah may get angry for the anger of Allah's Apostle and thus she will be ruined? Don't ask Allah's Apostle too many things, and don't retort upon him in any case, and don't desert him. Demand from me whatever you like, and don't be tempted to imitate your neighbor (i.e. 'Aisha) in her behavior towards the Prophet), for she (i.e. Aisha) is more beautiful than you, and more beloved to Allah's Apostle.
…So, I entered upon the Prophet and saw him lying on a mat without bedding on it, and the mat had left its mark on the body of the Prophet, and he was leaning on a leather pillow stuffed with palm fibres. I greeted him and while still standing, I said: "Have you divorced your wives?" He raised his eyes to me and replied in the negative. And then while still standing, I said chatting: "Will you heed what I say, O Allah's Apostle! We, the people of Quraish used to have the upper hand over our women (wives), and when we came to the people whose women had the upper hand over them…" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 43, Number 648)
Narrated Sad bin Abi Waqqas:
Once 'Umar asked the leave to see Allah's Apostle in whose company there were some Quraishi women who were talking to him and asking him for more financial support raising their voices. When 'Umar asked permission to enter the women got up (quickly) hurrying to screen themselves. When Allah's Apostle admitted 'Umar, Allah's Apostle was smiling, 'Umar asked, "O Allah's Apostle! May Allah keep you gay always." Allah's Apostle said, "I am astonished at these women who were with me. As soon as they heard your voice, they hastened to screen themselves." 'Umar said, "O Allah's Apostle! You have more right to be feared by them." Then he addressed (those women) saying, "O enemies of your own souls! Do you fear me and not Allah's Apostle?" They replied, "Yes, for you are a fearful and fierce man as compared with Allah's Apostle." On that Allah's Apostle said (to 'Umar), "By Him in Whose Hands my life is, whenever Satan sees you taking a path, he follows a path other than yours." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 515; see also Volume 5, Book 57, Number 32)
Narrated Abdullah bin Zama:
That he heard the Prophet delivering a sermon, and he mentioned the she-camel and the one who hamstrung it. Allah's Apostle recited:--
'When, the most wicked man among them went forth (to hamstrung the she-camel).' (91.12.) Then he said, "A tough man whose equal was rare and who enjoyed the protection of his people, like Abi Zama went forth to (hamstrung) it." The Prophet then mentioned about the women (in his sermon). "It is not wise for anyone of you to lash his wife LIKE A SLAVE, for he might sleep with her the same evening." Then he advised them not to laugh when somebody breaks wind and said, "Why should anybody laugh at what he himself does?" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 466)
Rifa'a divorced his wife whereupon 'AbdurRahman bin Az-Zubair Al-Qurazi married her. 'Aisha said that the lady (came), wearing a green veil (and complained to her ('Aisha) of her husband and showed her a green spot on her skin caused by beating). It was the habit of ladies to support each other, so when Allah's Apostle came, 'Aisha said, "I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women. Look! Her skin is greener than her clothes!" When 'AbdurRahman heard that his wife had gone to the Prophet, he came with his two sons from another wife. She said, "By Allah! I have done no wrong to him but he is impotent and is as useless to me as this," holding and showing the fringe of her garment, 'Abdur-Rahman said, "By Allah, O Allah's Apostle! She has told a lie! I am very strong and can satisfy her but she is disobedient and wants to go back to Rifa'a." Allah's Apostle said to her, "If that is your intention, then know that it is unlawful for you to remarry Rifa'a unless 'Abdur-Rahman has had sexual intercourse with you." Then the Prophet saw two boys with 'Abdur-Rahman and asked (him), "Are these your sons?" On that 'AbdurRahman said, "Yes." The Prophet said, "You claim what you claim (i.e. that he is impotent)? But by Allah, these boys resemble him as a crow resembles a crow," (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 72, Number 715)
These traditions clearly refute the lie that Islam exalted the status of women. Umar admits that amongst certain Arab tribes, women had the upper hand over the men. Yet Muhammad's particular tribe, Quraysh, treated women harshly. Furthermore, Muhammad permits the lashing of wives, as long as it is not quite as severe as the lashing of slaves. This shows that Islam abuses both women and slaves! Third, we discover a woman that had been hit so hard by her husband that it left a green bruise with Muhammad doing absolutely nothing about it. Finally, Aisha herself testified that Muslim women were treated more severely than other women.
Muhammad also permitted the degrading of women in order to satisfy the sexual desires of the men:
We used to participate in the holy wars carried on by the Prophet and we had no women (wives) with us. So we said (to the Prophet). "Shall we castrate ourselves?" But the Prophet forbade us to do that and thenceforth he allowed us to marry a woman (temporarily) by giving her even a garment, and then he recited: "O you who believe! Do not make unlawful the good things which Allah has made lawful for you." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 139)
We used to participate in the holy battles led by Allah's Apostle and we had nothing (no wives) with us. So we said, "Shall we get ourselves castrated?" He forbade us that and then allowed u s to marry women with a temporary contract and recited to us: -- 'O you who believe! Make not unlawful the good things which Allah has made lawful for you, but commit no transgression.' (5.87) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 130)
This sexual degradation is known as Mut'a:
Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah and Salama bin Al-Akwa': While we were in an army, Allah's Apostle came to us and said, "You have been allowed to do the Mut'a (marriage), so do it." Salama bin Al-Akwa' said: Allah's Apostle's said, "If a man and a woman agree (to marry temporarily), their marriage should last for three nights, and if they like to continue, they can do so; and if they want to separate, they can do so." I do not know whether that was only for us or for all the people in general. Abu Abdullah (Al-Bukhari) said: 'Ali made it clear that the Prophet said, "The Mut'a marriage has been cancelled (made unlawful)." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 52)
Despite the Sunni claim that Mut'a has been cancelled one will still find Shiite Muslims condoning and practicing it. This practice is nothing more than a form of legalized prostitution with its sole aim being to gratify the carnal perversions of men.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "If a man invites his wife to sleep with him and she refuses to come to him, then the angels send their curses on her till morning." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 122)
Angels evidently have nothing better to do but curse women who do not satisfy their husbands' sexual cravings. We wonder if angels also curse men who refuse to satisfy their wives' sexual cravings? If yes, then where is the Hadith supporting this? And if no, then why does Allah give the preferential treatment to the men and not the women? This again demonstrates how Islam's treatment of women pales in comparison to the treatment given to women in the Holy Bible, God's true inspired Word.
When the Prophet got the news of the death of Ibn Haritha, Ja'far and Ibn Rawaha he sat down and looked sad and I was looking at him through the chink of the door. A man came and told him about the crying of the women of Ja'far. The Prophet ordered him to forbid them. The man went and came back saying that he had told them but they did not listen to him. The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said, "Forbid them." So again he went and came back for the third time and said, "O Allah's Apostle! By Allah, they did not listen to us at all." ('Aisha added): Allah's Apostle ordered him to go and put dust in their mouths. I said, (to that man) "May Allah stick your nose in the dust (i.e. humiliate you)! You could neither (persuade the women to) fulfill the order of Allah's Apostle nor did you relieve Allah's Apostle from fatigue." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 23, Number 386)
Since when is it considered a crime for women to weep over their dead? And why the harsh treatment of threatening to feed women dust if they do not refrain from weeping?
Sauda (the wife of the Prophet) went out to answer the call of nature after it was made obligatory (for all the Muslims ladies) to observe the veil. She was a fat huge lady, and everybody who knew her before he could recognize her. So 'Umar bin Al-Khattab saw her and said, "O Sauda! By Allah, you cannot hide yourself from us, so think of a way by which you should not be recognized on going out. Sauda returned while Allah's Apostle was in my house taking his supper and a bone covered with meat was in his hand. She entered and said, "O Allah's Apostle! I went out to answer the call of nature and 'Umar said to me so-and-so." Then Allah inspired him (the Prophet) and when the state of inspiration was over and the bone was still in his hand as he had not put it down, he said (to Sauda), "You (women) have been allowed to go out for your needs."(Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 318; see also Volume 1, Book 4, Number 148)
The Prophet said to his wives, "You are allowed to go out to answer the call of nature." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 4, Number 149)
These hadiths show that women had to be given "divine" sanction just to go out and use the bathroom!
Other Traditions Regarding Women
Ali ibn Abu Thalib, the fourth Muslim caliph who was both Muhammad's first cousin and his son-in-law, made the following statement on women:
O' ye peoples! Women are deficient in Faith, deficient in shares and deficient in intelligence. As regards the deficiency in their Faith, it is their abstention from prayers and fasting during their menstrual period. As regards deficiency in their intelligence it is because the evidence of two women equal to that of one man. As for the deficiency of their shares it is because of their inheritance being half of men. So beware of the evils of women. Be on your guard even from those who are (reportedly) good. Do not obey them EVEN IN GOOD THINGS so that they may not attract you to devils. (Nahjul Balagha-Peak of Eloquence, translated by Syed Ali Reza [Tahrike Tarsile Qur'an, Inc. Publishers and Distributors of Holy Qur'an, Elmhurst NY, sixth edition 1996], p. 204; bold and capital emphasis ours)
The translator's note states:
1. Amir al-mu'minun gave this sermon after the devastation created by the Battle of Jamal. Since the devastation resulting from this battle was the out-come of blindly following a woman's command, in this sermon he has described women's physical defects and their causes and effects. Thus their first weakness is that for a few days in every month they have to abstain from prayer and fasting, and this abstention from worship is a proof of their deficiency in Faith. Although the real meaning of 'Iman (belief) is heart-felt testification and inner conviction yet metaphorically it also applies to action and character. Since actions are the reflection of Belief they are also regarded as part of Belief. Thus, it is related from Imam 'Ali ibn Musa ar Rida (p.b.u.t.) that:
'Iman (belief) is testification at heart, admission by the tongue and action by the limbs. The second weakness is that their natural propensities do not admit of full performance of their intelligence. Therefore, nature has given them the power of intelligence only in accordance with the scope of their activities which can guide them in pregnancy, delivery, child nursing, child care and house-hold affair. On the basis of this weakness of mind and intelligence their evidence has not been accorded the status of man's evidence, AS ALLAH SAYS:
… then call to witness from among your men and if there not be two men then (take) a man AND TWO WOMEN, of those ye approve of the witnesses, so that should be one of the two (women) forget the (second) one of the two may remind the other… (Qur'an, 2:282)
The third weakness is that their share in inheritance is half of man's share in inheritance as the Qur'an says:
Allah enjoineth you about your children. The male shall have the equal of the shares of two females… (4:11)
This shows woman's weakness because the reason for her share in inheritance being half is that the liability of her maintenance rests on man. When man's position is that of a maintenance and care taker the status of the weaker sex who is need of maintenance and care-taking is evident.
After describing their natural weakness as Amir al-mu'minin points out the mischiefs of blindly following them and wrongly obeying them. He says that not to say of bad things but even if they say in regard to some good things it should not be done in a way that these should feel as if it is being done in pursuance of their wish, but rather in a way that they should realize that the good act has been performed because of its being good and that their pleasure or wish has nothing to do with it. If they have even the doubt that their pleasures has been kept in view in it they would slowly increase in their demands and would wish that they should be obeyed in all matters however evil, the inevitable consequence whereof will be destruction and ruin. Ash-Shaykh Muhammad 'Abduh writes about this view of Amir al-muminin as under:
Amir al-muminin has said a thing which is corroborated by experiences of centuries. (Ibid., pp. 204-205; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad's earliest biographer, recorded the following:
'Abdullah b. Abu Bakr told me that he was told that when the apostle sent Mua'dh he gave him instructions and orders and then said: Deal gently and not harshly; announce good news and do not repel people. You are going to one of the people with scripture who will ask you about the key of heaven. Say to them it is the witness that there is no God but Allah, Who has no partner. Mua'dh went off to Yaman and did as he was ordered and a woman came to him and said, 'O companion of God's apostle, what rights has a husband over his wife?' He said, 'Woe to you, a woman can NEVER fulfil her husband's rights, so do your utmost to fulfil his claims as best as you can.' She said, 'By God, if you are the companion of God's apostle you must know what rights a husband has over his wife!' He said, 'If you were to go back and find him with his nostrils running with pus and blood and sucked until you got rid of them you would not have fulfilled your obligation.' (Alfred Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth Impression 1995], p. 644; capital and underline emphasis ours)
You have rights over your wives and they have rights over you. You have the right that they should not defile your bed and that they should not behave with open unseemliness. If they do, God allows you to put them in separate rooms AND BEAT THEM but not with severity. If they refrain from these things they have the right to their food and clothing with kindness. Lay injunctions on women kindly, FOR THEY ARE PRISONERS WITH YOU HAVING NO CONTROL OF THEIR PERSONS. You have taken them as a trust from God, and you have the enjoyment of their persons by the words of God, so understand... (Ibid., p. 651; capital emphasis ours)
The next set of traditions is taken from Hamdun Daghers book, The Position of Women in Islam, pp. 10-21. It is also available online.
"Do not let [women] into all of the rooms, and do not teach them how to write. Teach them to spin and recite Sura al-Nur." (Ala' al-Din Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanzu al-`ummal [Hyderabad, 1974], volume 22, p. 10)
"One woman, of 99 women, is in heaven, and the rest of them are in Fire." (Ibid.)
"Fire has been created for the senseless, the women, except for the one who obeyed her husband." (Ibid., volume 22, p. 12)
"Men perish when they obey women." (Ibid., volume 21, p. 205)
"Men are in a good state as long as they do not obey women." (Ibid.)
"I fear no temptation that would befall my people but for the temptation of women and wine;" (Ibid.)
"But for the woman, man could have entered paradise." (Ibid.)
Muhammad also "forbade women to talk except by leave of their husbands." (Ibid, volume 22, p. 7)
"Women are not allowed to go out except out of necessity, but for the occasion of the two feasts: The Greater Bairam and the Lesser Bairam. They are also not allowed to walk down the roads, but keep to the edges of the street." (Ibid.)
"Women are not allowed to use the middle of the road." (Ibid.)
"Women are not to be greeted nor to greet." (Ibid.)
"Do not let your women live in rooms, do not teach them how to write, and seek assistance against them. Constantly tell them 'No', because 'Yes' tempts them to ask a lot." (Ibn Qutaiba, `Uyun al-akhbar [Cairo, 1934-1949], volume 4, p. 78)
"Beware of women; the first temptation among the Children of Israel was caused by them;" (Shihab al-Din Ahmad Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab al-Nuwayri, Nihayat al-`arab fi funun al-adab [Beirut, n.d.], volume 2, p. 198)
"A believing woman is the same among women as a white-footed raven among the ravens. Fire has been created for the senseless, and women are the most senseless of all." (Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Musnad (Cairo, n.d.), volume 4, pp. 197, 205; Kanzu al-`ummal, volume 22, p.11)
Accordingly, if a woman wanted to clear herself of this charge she has to serve her husband. (See Kanzu al-`ummal, volume 22, p. 11)
"Woman is a vile beast," (Muslim, Salat 269)
"I think that women were created for nothing but evil." (Hanbal, Musnad, volume 6, p. 86)
"'The woman has two things to cover her: the grave and marriage.' It was asked, 'Which of them is better?' He said, 'The grave.'" (Kanzu al-`ummal, volume 22, p. 11)
We find that even those closest to Muhammad also shared his degrading and low view of women.
Malik related to me from Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir that Umayma bint Ruqayqa said, "I went to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, with the women who took an oath of allegiance with him in Islam. They said, 'Messenger of Allah! We take a pledge with you not to associate anything with Allah, not to steal, not to commit adultery, not to kill our children, nor to produce any lie that we have devised between our hands and feet, and not to disobey you in what is known.' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'In what you can do and are able.'"
Umayma continued, "They said, 'Allah and His Messenger are more merciful to us than ourselves. Come, let us give our hands to you, Messenger of Allah!' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'I do not shake hands with women. My word to a hundred women is like my word to one woman.'" (Malik’s Muwatta, Book 55, Number 55.1.2)
Muhammad wouldn't even extend to women the common courtesy of shaking hands.
Our final quote comes from al-Tabari:
"Now then, O people, you have a right over your wives and they have a right over you. You have [the right] that they should not cause anyone of whom you dislike to tread your beds; and that they should not commit any open indecency (fahishah). If they do, then God permits you to shut them in separate rooms AND TO BEAT THEM, but not severely. If they abstain from [evil], they have the right to their food and clothing in accordance with custom (bi'l ma'ruf)." Treat women well, FOR THEY ARE [like] DOMESTIC ANIMALS ('awan) WITH YOU AND DO NOT POSSESS ANYTHING FOR THEMSELVES. (The History of Al-Tabari: The Last years of the Prophet, translated and annotated by Ismail K. Poonawala [State University of New York Press, Albany], Volume IX, p. 113; capital emphasis ours)
This concludes Part 2. Continue with Part 3.
Further responses to Dr. Badawi
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