By: Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, December 31, 2004
Does Islam have the keys within itself to liberate women within Muslim social structures? To discuss this issue with us today, Frontpage Symposium has assembled a distinguished panel. On the side of the possibility of a feminist Islam, joining us today are:
Mohamed El-Mallah, a board member of Al-Ittihad Mosque in Vista, former board member of Islamic Center of San Diego, and an associate member of the Muslim American Society. A native of Egypt who migrated to the U.S. seven years ago, he is an activist in the Muslim Community of San Diego who has given many series of presentations on Islamic History,
Julia Roach, a UCSD student currently pursuing a bachelor’s in literatures of the world, specializing in gender issues and women in literature. She converted to Islam in 2003.
On the side of Islam being mutually exclusive with women’s rights, we are joined by:
Ali Sina, the founder of Faith Freedom International (www.faithfreedom.org), a movement of ex-Muslims created to provide support for those who want to leave Islam and give factual information about Islam for others,
Robert Spencer, the director of Jihad Watch and the author of Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West (Regnery Publishing), and Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World’s Fastest Growing Faith (Encounter Books).
FP: Mr. El-Mallah, Robert Spencer, Julia Roach and Ali Sina, welcome to Frontpage Symposium.
Mr. El-Mallah, let me begin with you. Can Islam liberate women and give them equality? Or is Islam and women’s rights mutually exclusive?
El-Mallah: Thanks for inviting me Jamie.
I will go back 1425 lunar years to answer your question. A woman came to the Prophet (PBUH) and asked him: “Why women are not mentioned (in Islamic sources: Quran and Hadith) as much as men?” Do you know how the Prophet (PBUH) answered? He answered her publicly, he went directly to the Masjid, and asked all the people to gather and from the pulpit he addressed the people by reciting the verse Q33:35 that says: “For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast (and deny themselves), for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise, for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward.” This verse clarifies that the rule is whenever the pronoun “He” is used, it can be substituted by the noun “She” with few exception, which are clearly explained in other verses of Quran and sayings of the Prophet (PBUH).
I would like to point out that the first to accept Islam was a woman, the first martyr in Islam was a woman, one of the longest chapters in Quran is named “The Women,” another chapter is named “Mariam”. We need to separate between what some of the Muslims practice, and what Islam is ordering us to do. We cannot put Islam on a trial because of wrongs that are done by people who have been living in countries that teach them nothing about Islam. Most of the wrongs that you see done by some Muslims, are done because the lack of good Islamic understanding.
Giving the above, we can categorize the reasons behind any misconceptions about women in Islam into two: The lack of knowledge of Islamic teachings and the ill-intentions of Islam bashers.
FP: Ms. Roach?
Roach: First I would like to preface my comments with a sad fact that exists within the current state of the Ummah or worldwide Islamic community: it is unfortunate that Islam is not practiced in all parts of the world by all Muslims to the standard prescribed by Allah in the Qur’an and exemplified by the blessed prophet Mohamed (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him.)
Nor is Christianity or Buddhism always practiced by all practitioners as it supposed to be. However, when we examine the conduct of those Muslims striving to seek knowledge as they have been commanded by their Lord we find that those people are practicing the deen of Islam in light of its sacred texts and the traditions of the prophets (may the blessings of Allah be upon them all) which do contain proof that women’s equality and Islam are not mutually exclusive.
The first and perhaps foremost important aspect of this is spiritual or religious equality: Women’s souls have equal value to those of Men’s as proved by numerous verses in the Qur’an in which Allah references the believing men and the believing women with equal importance and responsibility in terms of religious obligations such as charity, fasting, prayer, humility etc. Unlike the tradition practiced by some Christians in which the woman submits to her husband who then in turn submits to God, Muslim women are to submit to the Lord of the worlds Allah first and foremost, they do not need an emissary to answer for them.
Muslim women can pray by themselves or in a group in which no male need be present to worship their lord and that worship will be accepted as much as any other person’s worship (in sha Allah, If God wills). Similarly a woman’s sin is counted as much as a man’s too! A woman’s rights are protected, such as the right to life, which women could not be guaranteed in the pre-Islamic Arabian period (many female infants were murdered because boy children were preferred, Islam abolished this practice and Allah mentions the testimony of the murdered female child as being one characteristic of the day of Judgment). What right could be more serious than to be able to fight and die in battle?
Muslim women have had the right and opportunity to fight and die in battle for the past 1400 years, a right which was just recently bequeathed to American women, and the death of a female in battle counts just as much as a man’s death: she is still a martyr and merits paradise (in sha Allah).The first martyr in Islam was a woman, women fought alongside the Prophet (pbuh) in numerous battles, some sustaining serious injuries. Muslim women have always had the right to vote and their vote has always equalled a man’s, the right to own and dispose of property without having to obtain permission from male kin, the right to work outside the home, the right to equal work for equal pay, the right to keep her hard earned money for herself, the right to marry whom they wish and deny whom they wish, the right to sexual satisfaction within her marriage, (if a woman is unsatisfied she can obtain a divorce) etc. etc. etc.
I will not burden you with too much more (yes there is more!) It is unfortunate that more people do not get beyond their conception of the headscarf and ask us why we are proud to wear it…because we are Muslims and we are happy with our Lord and our lives, we are not being smashed by gender inequalities when we stand up for our own rights. Oh, one more thing, Muslim women are required to educate themselves about their deen and are urged to receive a formal education of some sort, putting them on the intellectually equal playing field as well.
FP: Ok Mr. Spencer, would you like to respond? A lot of this is about our definitions of “equality” and “freedom” isn’t it? What we think women’s “liberty” means is not necessarily what many Muslims take it to mean. Right?
Spencer: You are right Jamie. The nomenclature problem is akin to that over the word “terrorism”: some Muslims today denounce terrorism but don’t consider suicide attacks in Israel or even 9/11 to be terrorism at all. And speaking of names, it really makes no difference that “one of the longest chapters in Qur’an is named The Women, another chapter is named Mariam,” as Mr. El-Mallah points out (as do many other Islamic apologists). There are also chapters of the Qur’an entitled “Spoils of War” (8), “Haggling” (64), “Divorce” (65), “Soul-Snatchers” (79), “The Cheats” (83), “The Earthquake” (99), “The Calamity” (101), “The Traducer” (104), and “The Disbelievers” (109). That’s not to say that the Qur’an regards women as on the level of a calamity or an earthquake, but only that to bear the name of a sura of the Qur’an is not automatically a sign of approval.
And while it is true that, as Mr. El-Mallah says, “We need to separate between what some of the Muslims practice, and what Islam is ordering us to do,” I wish he had chosen to explore more of what Islam teaches about women. After all, the question before us is “Does Islam contain within itself the keys to liberate women within contemporary Islamic societies?” In order to consider this question fully, the obstacles to such liberation must be addressed: Qur’anic verses such as 4:34 (which enjoins wife-beating) and those that make a woman’s testimony (2:282) and inheritance (4:11) worth half of a man’s do indeed involve Islamic teachings, not just cultural practices. There are also numerous ahadith that reflect poorly on women, including one in which Muhammad declares that most of hell’s population is female and that women are deficient in intelligence and piety (Bukhari, I:6:304).
Sura 4:34, which has recently been advanced as a valid principle for conduct by Muslim spokesmen in Turkey, Spain, and elsewhere, makes for an atmosphere in which abuse of women is epidemic. The Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, for example, has determined that over nine out of ten Pakistani wives have been struck, beaten, or abused sexually for offenses on the order of cooking an unsatisfactory meal. It is the Qur’anic mandate for this abuse that makes it hard for me to accept Mr. El-Mallah’s contention that where women suffer in the Islamic world, it is because of a “lack of good Islamic understanding.”
Ms. Roach also mentions none of this, and instead attempts to deflect attention to Christianity, which is allegedly worse. But there is no analogy to Qur’an 4:34 in the Christian Bible, and even if there were, it is off the point. The question before us is whether Islam, not Christianity, liberates women. Muslims who care for the equality of dignity and human rights of women must acknowledge the existence of the material from the Qur’an and Sunnah that I have quoted above and other similar passages, and find some way to mitigate their destructive force among Muslims. I hope Mr. El-Mallah and Ms. Roach will take up that challenge.
FP: Mr. Sina?
Sina: Hello Jamie and thank you for inviting me to this symposium.
Mr. El-Mallah quotes the verse 33:35 where men and women are mentioned and their responsibilities and rewards are enumerated. How Mr. El-Mallah concludes that this verse establishes equality between man and woman is beyond me. If I say to you that you and your dog should not walk on the grass, should do this or should do that, does that imply that you and your dog are equal? I see no hint of equality in that verse.
Let us see what the Quran says about women. It says “men have a degree (of advantage) over them”2:228 ; that the witness of woman is worth half of that of man 2:282; that women inherit half of their male siblings, 4:11-12; that a man can marry two or three or four women 4:3; that if a women becomes captive in a war, her Muslim master is allowed to rape her 33:50; that if a woman is not totally submissive to her husband she will enter Hell 66:10; that women are “tilth” for their husbands (to cultivate them) 2:223; that men are in charge of women, as if women were imbeciles or minors who could not take care of themselves; that they must be obedient to their husbands or be admonished (verbally abused), banished from the bed (psychologically abused) and beaten (physically abused) 4:34.
These verses define the station of women in Islam.
Another “proof” that Mr. El-Mallah presents to prove the high status of women in Islam is that one of the long surahs of the Qur’an is named “Women”. Mr. Spencer has answered this correctly. May I also remind Mr. El-Mallah that the longest surah of the Qur’an is named “Cow” (286 verses). The surah Women is only 176 verses. According to Mr. El Mallah’s logic, cows must have a higher status than women. Another big surah is surah Livestock. It has 165 verses. Therefore women are just eleven points superior to livestock but 110 points inferior to cows. In fact even insects and bugs such as bees, ants and spiders have surahs named after them. Should women be trilled for having a surah named?
Another “proof” presented by Mr. El Mallah is the fact that the first believer in Muhammad was a woman. Why should this be an indication that women have equal rights? This is a non-sequitor fallacy.
The next “evidence” that he presents is that the first martyr in Islam also was a woman. Muslims must think this is such a convincing proof that it was also presented by Ms. Roach.
Apart from the fact that this in no ways indicates equality of rights for women in Islam the story is apocryphal. Our Muslim friends are talking about Summayyah. Ibn Sa’d is the only historian that says Summayyah suffered martyrdom in the hands of Abul-Hakam (Abu Jahl) If this martyrdom really had occurred; it would have been trumpeted forth by every biographer and would have been reported in innumerable traditions. This is just an example of the exaggerations that Muslims have been fond of making from the beginning.
In fact the same biographer also claims that Bilal was also the first martyr, though he long survived the alleged persecutions, came back to Mecca and chanted the Azan from the roof top of Ka’ba after Muhammad conquered that town and he died a natural death.
Ibn Sa’d describes that Summayyah, her husband Yasir and their son Ammar were persecuted in Mecca (p. 227) But after Yasir (who died of natural causes) Summayyah married the Greek slave Azrak and with him had a son called Salma. How then are we to understand that she died under persecution? Azrak belonged to Taif, and was one of the slaves who at the siege of that city (some fifteen years later), fled over to Muhammad’s camp. It is natural to conclude that Summayyah, after Yasir’s death, married Azrak, and lived at Taif.
Ms. Roach laments that Islam is not practiced in all parts of the world by all Muslims to the standard prescribed by Allah in the Qur’an.
For that we should give thanks to God. Imagine if all Muslims were to stone or hang victims of rape or flog women for minor offenses such as exposing a flock of hair. In fact, the countries that practice Islam to its fullest are truly barbaric. Just think of the suffering of the women in Afghanistan during the rule of the Taliban. Women were not allowed to go out of their homes or work. Male doctors were not allowed to visit female patients. So, when women became sick, there was no one to take care of them and they died. The more a country becomes Islamic the more hellish it gets.
Ms. Roach comforts herself by thinking that after women die they can expect to be treated equally and says “Women’s souls have equal value to those of Men’s”. In other words, what she is saying is that while women live a life of slavery, abuse and deprivation in this world they can rejoice because after they die they will be treated equally. Although I find this a vacuous bargain, the truth is that even this promise is not true. Women in Islam are not treated equally even in death.
Men are promised many virgins after they die. What do women get? They get their old lousy husband to share with 72 voluptuous celestial virgins. With that many high-bosomed houries why would any man want to spend a night with an old wife? Do women get also young celestial studs to have orgies with? No they don’t. They have to maintain their “modesty” even after their death. The truth is that in Islam men and women are not treated equally even after their death.
In fact, according to Muhammad few women ever make it to Paradise . The majority of them end up in Hell. Let us see what the Prophet says in this regards. This is where he describes his hallucinatory visit to hell and paradise:
“Then I saw the (Hell) Fire, and I have never before, seen such a horrible sight as that, and I saw that the majority of its dwellers were women.” The people asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! What is the reason for that?” He replied, “Because of their ungratefulness.” It was said. “Do they disbelieve in Allah (are they ungrateful to Allah)?” He replied, “They are not thankful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favors done to them. Even if you do good to one of them all your life, when she seems some harshness from you, she will say, “I have never seen any good from you.’ ” Bukhari 7.62.125
Ms. Roach says Muslim women can pray by themselves. Is that the sign of their equality and liberation? Can’t women of other Faiths pray by themselves? Wouldn’t God accept their prayers?
Ms. Roach says that in pre-Islamic Arabia female infants were murdered and Islam abolished that. Muslims truly believe that this was a common practice. If that were the case, where did Arab women come from? They also claim that Muhammad raised the status of women by limiting a man to no more than four wives. How could Arab men have so many wives if they practiced female infanticide?
Perhaps some ignorant people killed their newborn daughters, but that could not have been a common practice. Infanticide is just against human nature. After all, Arabs were also humans. They must have had the same kind of parental instincts that we have. Even animals have parental instinct. Yes exceptions always occur. Even today female infanticide is practiced in China and in India . But it is an abhorrent practice punished by the law. The cases are extremely rare. The pre-Islamic Arabia could not have been different. What Muhammad said was commonsense and agreed by everyone. Let me make an example. We read in the news that some men kill their wives. How common is this practice? It is extremely rare. But suppose I declare myself a prophet and among other things prohibit wife killing. Not a big deal, everybody knows wife killing is bad. A thousand years from now my zealot followers claim that in Pre-Sinaic period of ignorance people practiced wife killing and his holiness Ali Sina (pbuh) abolished this repugnant practice. How ludicrous does it sound to you? Well, it is no more ludicrous than the claim of Muslims that Muhammad abolished female infanticide
Among the “rights” of the Muslim women, Ms. Roach claims that the “right” to fight in battle is the most important. She says “What right could be more serious than to be able to fight and die in battle?”
Is this a right? Wouldn’t it have been better if instead of war Muhammad had brought peace to the world and gave women (and men and children) the right to live in peace? He called upon Muslims to wage war in the name of God and shed the blood of their fellow human beings.2:216, 9:39 Is this something good? Didn’t humans have enough wars already? Did they need a prophet to give them the “right” to kill and die? He took away the right to think, the right to believe in the faith of one’s choice, the right to self determination and instead gave them the right to wage war, to kill, to hate, to “instill terror in the heart of the enemy” 8:12, to destroy this world and to die. Is this a right? This is like saying Muhammad gave Muslims the right to live in hell, the right to be slaves, the right to be abused and tortured.
In America and other civilized countries, people have the right to freedom, to life and to the pursuit of happiness. In Islam Muslims have the right to wage war and to die. Are we still supposed to believe Islam is a divine religion? The problem with Islam is that it destroys one’s values. The right becomes wrong and evil is praised as good. Now seriously: how does a Muslim woman fight wrapped in her burqa? That is something worth seeing.
Furthermore, are non-Muslim women prohibited to fight if they want to? Do we know of any women in any society that does not have the “right” to fight and die?
Maybe Ms. Roach should read the biography of her prophet once again. She will notice that even the pagans used to take their wives to the battlefield. In the battle of Uhud it was Hind, the wife of Abu Sofyan, who was roaring like a lioness and encouraging the men to march forward. In those days women used to accompany their husbands to the battle to provide logistics for them and to nurse them if they were wounded. Muhammad did what other Arabs did. However, after Islam, when Muslims started to put into practice their prophet’s teachings, they found there was no room for women anywhere — including in the battlefield — and hence women were discarded and were relegated to second class citizens.
Ms. Roach says “Muslim women have always had the right to vote”. How can this be true when even Muslim men don’t have the right to vote? In Islam there is no democracy. How can you vote where there is no democracy? Lack of democracy in Islam is another interesting subject worth exploring.
Ms Roach says women in Islam have the right to own and dispose of property without having to obtain permission from their male kin. Is she forgetting that Khadijah, prior to marring Muhammad was a businesswomen who had made a fortune running her own trading business and who had many men at her service? Can women succeed in any Islamic country the way Khadijah succeeded in a pagan society? Was there a single woman after Khadijah in any Islamic country during these 1400 years that has rivaled her success? The answer is no! Doesn’t this prove that there are fewer opportunities in Islamic world for women than what Khadijah had in a pagan world? It is clear that women have lost their rights after Islam and did not gain anything from it.
Ms. Roach says Muslim women have the right to work outside the home. I wonder why she did not tell that to the Taliban. They prohibited women from working outside the home. Also I would like to ask her how a woman can work outside the home when she can’t be in a room alone with a man and can’t travel alone without a male kin (mahram). Muhammad discouraged women from going out of their home and in fact he said that it is better for them to pray in the privacy of their home (read prisons) than pray in the mosque. In some Islamic countries women are not even allowed to drive a car. How they are supposed to go to work if they can’t even get there unless someone drives them to and from work?
Ms. Roach says Muslim women have the right to marry whom they wish. I ask her, how can a 9 year old child consent to a marriage? A blind choice is not a choice. Also, how can a Muslim woman be free in her choice when she is not even allowed to date the man whom she is planning to marry in order to know him? How can you make any intelligent and educated decision when you do not know your prospect mate?
She also claims that a Muslim woman has the right to sexual satisfaction within her marriage and, “if a woman is unsatisfied she can obtain a divorce”. Is that true? Under the Sharia women are not allowed to divorce even if their husband beats them. The decision to divorce rests on man’s whims. Now imagine a women going to a Judge demanding divorce accusing her husband of impotency. How can you humiliate the gigantic ego of a Muslim man and expect to live after that? She will be a dead woman the next day. If she survives and manages to divorce, she will be seen as a whore by everyone. A divorced woman has nowhere to go in the Islamic world. I do not know whether Ms. Roach has ever lived in an Islamic country. Muslim women are not allowed to have any libido. It is not pious for women to have sexual feelings. In fact the genital mutilation is designed to take away any sexual pleasure from them. Women are not supposed to enjoy sex. If they have any libido, there is a risk that they may fornicate and commit sin. Women must only provide satisfaction to their husband and deny all their own sexual needs. According to a tradition:
Allah’s Apostle said, “If a husband calls his wife to his bed (i.e. to have sexual relation) and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning.” Bukhari 4.54.450
It is hilarious to think that the angels have nothing better to do than sit around and curse the poor woman all the night for depriving them from watching the live porno show. If Allah must punish woman for not satisfying the sexual needs of their husbands why does he needs angels to lobby him for it? Isn’t it a waste of angel’s resources?
In one sense this is all truly very funny. But in another, much larger sense, it is a tragedy.
FP: Mr. El-Mallah?
El-Malla: Mr. Spencer and Mr. Sina have brought up most of the recycled misconceptions about women in Islam.
Mr. Spencer and Mr. Sina failed to understand the logic behind naming the chapters in Qur’an. “The Women” chapter addresses many women topics as well as other topics. The chapter was named “The Women,” where it could have been named something else from the other topics discussed. If Islam is looking down to women, the chapter would not have been called “The Women” or at least you would find another chapter called “The Men.”
I would like to correct Mr. Sina, the longest chapter in Qur’an is named “The Cow,” it is not “Cow.” There is a big difference between the two words. The name refers to a specific cow, in a reference to its story that is mentioned in the chapter and the great lessons learned from that story.
Verse 33:35, not only enumerate the responsibilities and rewards of men and women, it clearly proves that there is no superior gender, and the general rules apply on both. Not sure how Mr. Spencer and Mr. Sina define equality? But to me the above verse clearly proves equality, and if Q33:35 is not enough for them, verse 3:135 stresses the same meaning when Allah (swt) says: “Never will I allow to be lost the work of any of you, whether male or female; you are of one another.” Q4:124: “And whoever does righteous deeds, whether male or female, while being a believer, those will enter Heaven, and will not be wronged (even as much as) the speck on a date seed” Same is emphasized in Q16:97 and Q40:40.
The verses and Hadiths that Mr. Spencer and Mr. Sina quoted are not obstacles to liberating women, they might seem to them that way, since they have been taken out of context (and in some cases, totally misinterpreted by both, as I will prove inshaaAllah). It is interesting that Mr. Spencer is inquiring why we did not mention the few verses that he brought up, and the more important question is: Why have Mr. Spencer and Mr. Sina ignored much more verses and Hadiths that praise the women, order the men to treat the women in nice, respected, and compassionate manner.
1) Q2:228 “men have a degree (of advantage) over them.”
Mr. Spencer and Mr. Sina failed to mention the fact that in Islam the husband is the financially responsible party in the family; the wife is not required to contribute with a penny from her own money. This verse does not mean superiority and it does not mean any advantage before the Islamic law.
Islam emphasizes the importance of taking counsel and mutual agreement in family decisions. Qur’an gives us an example: “If they (husband and his wife) desire to wean the child by mutual consent and (after) consultation, there is no blame on them” (Q 2:233).
Allah (swt) states:” But consort with them in kindness, for if you hate them it may happen that you hate a thing wherein God has placed much good.” Q4: l9. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The best of you is the best to his family and I am the best among you to my family. The most perfect believers are the best in conduct and best of you are those who are best to their wives.” (Ibn-Hanbal, No. 7396)
The above mentioned degree is not a privilege but a responsibility, which mandates maintenance and protection and prohibits dictatorship.
2) Q4:11-12 that women inherit half of their male siblings.
This does not mean in anyway that a sister is worth half of her brother. This variation in inheritance shares is only consistent with the variations in financial responsibilities. The husband in Islam is fully responsible for the maintenance of his wife, his children, and in some cases of his needy relatives, especially the females. This responsibility is neither waived nor reduced because of his wife’s wealth or because of her access to any personal income gained from work, rent, profit, or any other legal means. A woman’s share is completely hers and no one can make any claim on it, including her father, brother or husband, irrespective of how rich she is and how poor her family is. If she, optionally, spends any amount on her family, Allah(swt) will reward her more in the Day of Judgment. She is entitled to a dowry from her husband at the time of marriage. And if a divorce takes place she can get alimony from her ex-husband.
3) Q33:50 that if a women becomes captive in a war, her Muslim master is allowed to rape her.
The cited verse has nothing to do with rape at all, not sure what type of translation or interpretation Mr. Sina is using?
4) Q66:10 that if a woman is not totally submissive to her husband she will enter Hell.
The verse talks about the story of the wives of Noah and Lot (PBUT), and how they did not follow the Prophets’s message so they are punished for that. This is clear from the story of Lot (PBUH) and how his wife did not follow the order of Allah(swt).
5) Q2:223 that women are “tilth” for their husbands (to cultivate them).
The Arabic word that Qur’an used is “Harth,” which means cultivation of land. In fact Harth is a metonymy for the vulva of women. The similarity between ’tilth’ and ‘vulva’ is that man put his seed in the vulva of women. This seed will grow up till it becomes a child. A similar thing will happen when the farmer put seeds of a plant! Using this metonymy in Arabic language is very common even before the Qur’an was revealed. This verse was revealed because Jews used to say to Muslims in Medina that if the husband made the intercourse (in the vagina) from the back of the woman, then the child will come cross-eyed. The Holy Qur’an used this beautiful example to tell Muslims that however the seed was put in the ’tilth’, the result will be the same.
6) Q4:34 which enjoins wife-beating.
It is important to read the section fully and understand it in the light of other verses and Hadiths. One should not take part of the verse and use it to justify one’s own misconduct. The problem with many Islam-bashers is that they keep their eyes away from any Hadith that explains certain aspects of the Quran verses. The verse cited is a clear example of such case. This verse neither permits violence nor condones it. The word “beating” is used in the verse, but it does not mean “physical abuse”. The Prophet (PBUH) explained it in Arabic “dharban ghayra mubarrih,” which means “a light tap that leaves no mark”. He further said that face must be avoided. Some and that it is no more than a light touch by siwak, or toothbrush. This should not be used in minor household problems. It should be used in severe cases of “disloyalty and ill-conduct.” This is a last resort after all other means have failed.
The wife has no religious obligation to take the beating. She can ask for and get divorce any time, actually Islam allows the wife to divorce her husband through what is known as “khole’”. Mr. Sina statement: “Under the Sharia women are not allowed to divorce even if their husband beats them. The decision to divorce rest only on man’s whims” is absolutely wrong.
In Islam, if the husband beats a wife without respecting the limits set down by the Quran and Hadith, then she can take him to court and, if ruled in her favor, she can be given the right to apply the law of retaliation and beat the husband as he beat her.
It will be interesting to see how many other religions have given the wife such rights? Actually, in a fast comparison with the biblical teachings regarding that issue we can see that if a wife entices her husband to worship other than God, then he should stone her to death (Deuteronomy 13:7-12) But I think the mission of some is to bash Islam and Islam only.
7) About the Hadith that majority of its dwellers were women; Mr. Sina presented only half of the fact. Women form not only the majority of the people of Hell, the same authentic sources, also state that women will form the majority of the people of Paradise, see (Sahih Muslim, Kitaab al-Jannah, 4/2179, no. 2834). Simply, summing the number of women through the humanity, they will be the majority. I would have discussed it more, if the Hadith mentioned the number of women entering Hell and the number of women entering Paradise and comparing these numbers (or percentages) to men.
8) About the first Martyr in Islam, the point that Mr. Sina missed, is that from the early time of the Islam till now, women didn’t feel that Islam contain within itself the keys to oppress them, otherwise they wouldn’t have sacrificed much for it, let alone their lives.
9) Again Mr. Sina goes into a field that he proved that he has a little experience at by claiming that only Ibn Saad narrated the story of the martyrdom of Summayyah. Well, here it is from Al-Bayhaqi “ Abu Jahl stabbed her in her private parts.” (Al-Dalaa’il, 2/282) and then it is supported by Ibn Katheer when he said:” When Abu Jahl was killed on the day of Badr, the Prophet (PBUH) said (to ‘Ammaar, her son): ‘Allaah has killed the one who killed your mother.’” “(al-Isaabah, 4/327; al-Bidaayah wa’l-Nihaayah by Ibn Katheer, 3/59).
I have to stress that in this symposium we are discussing “Does Islam Contain in itself….” So when we present arguments they have to discuss actual Islamic teaching. Examples from contemporary countries that are not practicing true Islam are not the main subject of this symposium. But since Mr. Spencer and Mr. Sina gave themselves the right to talk about such issues, I will refute couple of the points they raise, again I cannot cover all points because of the length:
10) “Imagine if all Muslims were to stone or hang victims of rape or flog women for minor offenses such as exposing a flock of hair.”
These are not orders of Allah (swt), from where did Mr. Spencer come up with these claims? In Islam Victims of rape are not punished in anyway. They are victims..! Islam orders us to stone both MEN and WOMEN who commit adultery if they are married. If they are not married they are BOTH lashed.
11) Assuming for a second that over nine out of ten Pakistani wives have been abused somehow by their husbands, this does not mean much unless we establish that the sample selected was religiously committed Muslims. Again, many of the Muslim men around the world do not know what Islam order them when it comes to treating their wives. How will they know, if their governments are intentionally removing any meaningful religious education from the public schools.
It will be very interesting to know how many men are been abused by their wives (yelling and shouting are considered to be abuse in the survey mention by Mr. Spencer)? More importantly, let’s look at the domestic violence in the USA: Does Mr. Spencer know that by the end of 4 years of college, 88 percent of women had experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual victimization in their lifetimes (US Dept. of Justice research in Nov 04)? And a final important point, to be able to reach to any conclusion from the study mentioned you need to find out what is the similar percentage in a non-Muslim 3rd World country such as India, which is not surprising to me, is very close to the percentage in Pakistan!!! Shall we blame Islam for what the Christian men are doing in the US and the Hindu men in India, let alone Philippine, Chili, etc.?
FP: Ms. Roach?
Roach: I would just like to bring up the point, as obvious as it might be, that I am a Muslim woman, married to a Muslim man, educated, and right at this very moment contradicting the views of men in a public forum proving that Islam does not oppress women, ignorance does. I agree that there is a very poor rate of implementing real Islamic law which enforces fulfilling the rights of women as much as men’s rights. As for criticizing certain countries like Pakistan, there is no excuse for the ignorance practiced by some people there or anywhere concerning female seclusion and abuse. I would also suggest that the critics inspect American rates of spousal abuse, the reality is women are beaten everywhere under every guise imaginable. There is also no excuse for women to receive this kind of treatment and not fight back, if not out of knowledge of the Qur’an and Sunnah, then out of their own human dignity. If I were beaten by anybody, husband or no, you can bet your life I would fight back!
Ok. Islamic law is not set up to imprison people, it is set up to free them, from ignorance. There is nothing anywhere in any of the texts that tells women to take beatings from anyone, and people who use certain hadith to support violence and misogyny will receive their own punishments for adding and subtracting to faith of Islam from the best Judge. I do comfort myself with this, that those who slander Islam unjustly will be punished in this world or the next, as they would be for any lie. Muslims, whether male or female are not allowed to be oppressed, this might clear up my emphasis on female martyrdom and the right to fight and die in Allah’s cause (jihad), if you die in refusal of being oppressed you merit the reward of paradise in sha Allah, the goal of all Muslims, therefore there is no excuse for anyone male or female to take this kind of treatment from anyone! There is no real Islamic society today on the national level, there is no real and complete implementation of Sharia law, therefore how can anyone criticize Sharia law! When they themselves have not even seen it enacted as it is supposed to be?
I will reiterate my first point: condemning Islam because of some people’s backward interpretation is unscholarly. I will demonstrate this point with a short exercise on the Christian church fathers.
“As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active power of the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex while the production of a woman comes from a defect in the active power.”- Thomas Aquinas
“Women are vessels of excrement”- St. Augustine
“The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age, the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the devil’s gateway. You are the unsealer of that forbidden tree, you are the first deserter of the divine law. You destroyed so easily God’s image, man on account of your desert- that is death, even the son of God had to die.”- Tertullian
As you can see, the wisdom of the Christian fathers did not extend toward modern feminism and equality. By this exercise I DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CONDEMN CHRISTIANITY ITSELF, but rather these obviously misogynistic and perhaps sexually frustrated “holy” men who made mistakes in their interpretation of Christ’s teachings and ran away with their impression of the Old Testament. I will keep my concerns about the bible’s treatment of women to myself so as not to “deflect” to Christianity :o) I will say that the Qur’an blames both Adam and Eve equally for their equal sin and punishes them BOTH FOR TRANSGRESSING THE LIMITS SET DOWN BY ALLAH, not for being one gender or another.
Now I would like to address another subject the Qur’anic verses brought forth by the gentlemen as well as the ahadith. Going through Islamic texts and taking what you find unpalatable, or simply looking at so-called Islamic societies and making your judgment based on that alone is unscholarly. When investigating any body of knowledge, you may not pick and choose and then present your case convincingly. In order to fully understand hadith and verses from the Qur’an you not only have to read the Tafseer but you also have to think about the context and validity of the hadith you are citing. There is an entire system of rating hadith, and many that people claim are the most authentic have been found to be inaccurate, or with only one narrator, etc. So taking some hadith out which “appear” to denigrate women and ignoring the countless hadith in which the Prophet SAW defends and enforces the rights of women is petty, and infantile. That being said I will only address the verses cited which are the most important.
I will begin with the first verse, which I might add is a little typical of Islamic adversaries. Suraah 4:34 the so-called “wife beating verse”. It might be wise for those who criticize the Qur’an to investigate the possibility of mistranslation when reading it. So many times have I heard the claim that the Qur’an advocates beating one’s wife, and so have I believed in the past when I was not a Muslim and was highly critical of what I saw in the news media’s version of the Islamic world. The word “beat” as it is used in this context is the mistranslation of the Arabic word “daraba” which in the Qur’an alone is used in six different ways, Arabic being a much more faceted language than English, other verses in which this word is used are , 47:27, 18:11, 43:5, 14:24, and 2:273. In the context of this particular verse the word daraba, which some translators simply list as beat in their texts is more accurately translated as a symbolic gesture of a “light tap, leaving no mark”, or as “leave/separate”, not bash her head around until she sees your point of view. Here I would like to clarify the fact that the woman in question would not be some subservient, simpering slave girl, but a disrespectful, irresponsible, and unreasonable life mate who has entered into the agreement of marriage and is not fulfilling her end of the agreement(don’t think the west doesn’t have its own agreements about marriage!)
Since brother El-Mallah has answered many of your claims already I will only address a few more that are dear to my heart:
1. Let me clarify that in Islam prayer (salat) is considered worship and (dua) is a more informal supplication. It is said that if anyone supplicates to Allah he will answer their prayer. However, in other faiths women cannot perform the parallel degree (to salat) of worship by themselves, without a male emissary, primarily in the Orthodox and Catholic churches where only priests can lead rituals like liturgy, mass, or the sacrament. Women are not allowed to become priests because they do not represent the “image of Christ”, any woman who is menstruating cannot cross the altar without desecrating it. This is not the case Islam where a woman can become a scholar or a Sharia judge, since there is no clergy in Islam. In a mesjid or Mosque, the wife of the Prophet (PBUH) Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her narrated a hadith in which she used to sit right next to the Prophet while he prayed in the mosque while she was having her menses. Women not having to pray during their menses is a blessing from Allah and a medical precaution. I know this to be the case because I am a female, which you Mr. Sina, are not (and you probably thank God for that right?)
Coincidentally some Buddhist nuns pray a Buddhist prayer for a man’s body in their next life. Buddhist nuns of twenty years always eat after a man who has been a monk for one day, I AM NOT DEFLECTING, I am stating the difference between a woman’s body being accursed and being treated as having special needs.
2. It would appear that Mr. Sina has been to the afterlife and has seen how women are living there! (StakfirAllah).How does anyone know that women are treated unequally after death since it says in the Qur’an that anyone who receives the reward of paradise will have whatever they wish therein! We are not just talking about what our little human brains can think up. Often in the holy Qur’an the masculine verb form is used (because of linguistics, not gender preference)and in most cases it can apply to any believer, male or female, this is one such usage. You can never know, nor can any human being comprehend or explain the unseen, Allah will reward his slaves both male and female for what they earned in this life. There are also hadith which support a woman’s right to sexual satisfaction in this life. The Prophet is reported as having said: “approach your wives with foreplay, please your wife (to orgasm) several times before you please yourself.” There is a saying that the child conceived will look like whoever orgasms first (implying that women in Islam orgasm, check the western stats on that one). Marital relations are considered an act of worship.
P.S. the seventy two virgins comes from a hadith that is often considered less than reputable by some and many consider the number 72 to be an _expression rather than a literal number. The burqa is a ridiculous concept where a woman’s face is covered, WHICH IS NOT REQUIRED. Women may not veil their faces on the Hajj (pilgrimage).The Prophet (PBUH) never hit any woman, and we are required to follow his sunnah (tradition). Also if Muslim men’s egos were so big, why would they let women fight with them, even sometimes show them up in battle? You might try reading Aisha Bewley’s book, Islam: the Empowering of Women, where she cites European colonialism as a major cause for the limiting of a woman’s place in past and contemporary “Islamic” societies. And as for the Taliban, they just wouldn’t listen to a weak woman like me, sorry!
Sina: It is good that Mr. Mallah sees equality in verse 33:35. Unfortunately most Muslims do not see what he sees and as the result women in Islamic countries are not treated as equals. Mr. Mallah may think this is because Muslims do not practice the true Islam, but maybe it has to do with the fact that either his understanding of the Qur’an is inaccurate or the Qur’an is not clear enough and the majority of Muslims and I can’t read any equality in that verse.
The verse 3:135 stresses the fact that everyone will be remunerated but does not say they will be remunerated equally. If the owner of a factory tells his employees that after the sale of the product he will pay everyone it does not mean he is going to pay everyone equally. In the same way he may want to emphasize the interdependence of everyone involved and say you are of one another. This does not imply that the managers and the janitors are equal. The same argument can be made about the other verses Mr. Mallah quoted.
Mr. Mallah complains why Mr. Spencer and I did not mention the verses and hadiths that praise women. Yes indeed there are some verses and hadiths that praise women but we are talking about rights. Praising women does not imply they have equal rights. I could have lots of praises for my dog; this does not imply I consider him equal to humans.
Furthermore there are other verses and hadiths that denigrate women. For example verse 30:21 says “He created for you, of yourselves, spouses, that you may repose in them”
The Arabic text makes it clear that “for you” is masculine and “them” is in feminine.
What this verse is conveying is that women are created FOR men and are for their enjoyment.
Razi in At-Tafsir al-Kabir, commenting on this verse wrote:
“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.”
Hadi Sabzevari, an eminent Muslim scholar, in his commentary on another grand Muslim thinker, Sadr al-Mote’alihin wrote:
That Sadr ad-Deen Shirazi classifies women as animals is a delicate allusion to the fact that women, due to the deficiency in their intelligence and understanding of intricacies, and due to their fondness of the adornments of the world, are truly and justly among the mute animals [al-haywanti al-sa^mita]. They have the nature of beasts [ad-dawwa^b], but they have been given the disguise of human beings so that men would not be loath to talk to them and be compelled to have sexual intercourse with them. That is why our immaculate Law [shar’ina al-mutahhar] takes men’s side and gives them superiority in most matters, including divorce, “nushuz,” etc.
Ms. Roach says we won’t understand the Qur’an unless we do not read the Tafsir. She is right. But Tafsirs often incriminate Muhammad even more, unless they are written by modern apologists and for the consumption of the westerners.
Mr. Mallah thinks just because Muhammad names men and women together in one sentence then they mush be equal. But we have hadiths where Muhammad names asses, women and dogs in one sentence.Muslim 4,1232 says a man’s “prayer would be cut off by (passing of an) ass, woman, and black Dog”.
Mr. Mallah says we failed to mention that in Islam the husband is responsible to provide for the family and the wife is not required to contribute with a penny. Is that a good thing? This is precisely the source of inequality and tension between husband and wife. They are not seen as partners but rather as employer and employee. She is to provide a service for him, (give birth to HIS children, satisfy his sexual needs, take care of HIS property, etc) and in exchange he is required to maintain her. Is there any difference between this dynamism and that of a master and his slave?
The verse 2:228 does not just imply but it is explicit that men are superior to women. It says very clearly: “but men have a degree (of advantage) over them…”. Can you be more explicit than that?
If we are mistaken can our Muslim friends tell us which Islamic country has understood this equality that they talk about and is applying it? How is it possible that all the Muslims are so confused about what the Qur’an says that in 1400 years they have not been implement the true Islam? Didn’t Muhammad claim that the Qur’an is a “clear book” (5:15) “easy to understand” (44:58 , 54:22 , 54:32, 54:40) “explained in detail” (6:114), “conveyed clearly”, (5:16, 10:15) and with “no doubt” in it (2:1)?
Mr. Mallah quoted several verses where women are mentioned but none of them suggest that women are equal in rights to men. Telling men to treat their wives with kindness does not imply equality. One could say, be kind to animals. This does not mean you and animals have the same right.
The very fact that Mr. Mallah quotes these totally unrelated verses shows there are no verses in the Qur’an that speak of equality. On the other hand there are many verses that show women are inferior to men.
Mr. Mallah claims the verse 4:11-12 that says women inherit half of their male siblings does not mean that a sister is worth half of her brother. We are not talking about “worth”. We are talking about rights. Value is an abstract thing. How much you value me is irrelevant to me. But I expect you to respect my rights and treat me equally. Values are subjective, rights are tangible and objective. In Islam women are not treated equally. They do not have the same rights that men have.
Now since we started talking about “worth” I think it is worth mentioning that in Saudi Arabia if a person has been killed or caused to die by another, the latter has to pay blood money or compensation, as follows:
100,000 riyals if the victim is a Muslim man
50,000 riyals if a Muslim woman
50,000 riyals if a Christian man
25,000 riyals if a Christian woman
6,666 riyals if a Hindu man
3,333 riyals if a Hindu woman
Source: The Wall Street Journal, April 9, 2002
So as you see people’s worth are not the same in Islam. It depends on their gender and their religion.
Mr. Mallah also boasts that in Islam the husband is responsible to maintain his wife even if the wife is wealthier than him and has other sources of income. Is that justice? Does that help to solidify love and unity between the husband and wife? How would you feel if suddenly your wife receives a huge inheritance and becomes a multi millionaire but does not share a penny from her wealth with you and at the same time demands you to maintain her with your meager salary? Can such marriage survive?
All of this emphasizes the fact that the marital relationship in Islam is akin to the relationship of an employer with his employee. A good marriage is one where husband and wife are equal partners in every sense. That is not what happens in Islam. The wife enters in the husband’s household as an employee and can be fired at anytime. All he has to do is to utter “I divorce thee” and the marriage is over. And woe if he utters this three times out of rage or respite, because then he will not be able to re-marry her unless she marries someone else, consummate the marriage with that new husband, divorces him and then she can remarry her original husband.
Mr. Mallah says verse 33:50 has nothing to do with rape. Actually it has. If you take the verse 4:24 where Muhammad says: “Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess…” it becomes clear that a Muslim is allowed to have intercourse with his right hand possessions (slaves, women captured in war) even if these right hand possessions are already married. If you still doubt the meaning of this verse, there is a hadith that can make this clear. Bukhari 7,62,137 talks about Muslim warriors who used to have sex with woman captured in war. But because they did not want to impregnate them and wanted to return them for ransom after raping them, they went to Muhammad asking about coitus interruptus (spilling the sperm on the ground). The prophet did not prohibit the raping of the women but rather said do not do coitus interruptus because if God has destined for a soul to be born it would be born anyway. See also Bukhari 8.77.6
Maybe I should remind our friends that Rayhana and Safiayah were Jewish women (both in their teens) who were captured by Muhammad and the prophet slept with them in the same day that he murdered their fathers, brothers, husbands and other relatives. Although Safiayh after losing every person in her family, felt she had no choice but to marry Muhammad, Rayhana refused to marry the murderer of her tribe (Bani Quriaza) and remained in his household as a sex slave until he died. Another victim of Muhammad wasJuwariyah belonging to another Jewish tribe.
In explaining the verse 4:34 Mr. Mallah says the beating must be light, should not leave any marks and must be with “toothbrush”. This is not clear from the verse and certainly millions of battered Muslim women have not benefited by this addendum. Again it boils down to the question, why is the Qur’an not clear on these crucial matters? Also the way Mr. Mallah explains this verse sounds more like foreplay. Beating with a toothbrush? Is that a joke? Why beat at all? Even if it is symbolic, and it is only intended to establish the dominance of man over woman, the question is why? Why should men dominate women even symbolically? However, millions of battered Muslim women can testify that there is nothing symbolic in this beating. They are often beaten so much that their bones are crushed. I personally recall women coming to our house showing their bruises to my mother and crying.
Mr. Mallah says Islam allows the wife to divorce her husband through what is known as “khole”.
What is khole? Khole is when women agree to forgo alimony and to repay their husbands any dowry in exchange of having the right to divorce. It is supported by this hadith: abudawud12.2220 . Is that fair?
This is a great tool in the hand of a man who wants to get rid of his wife and not pay her alimony and get back the dowry. All he has to do is to make her life miserable until she takes her freedom and forgoes her rights. This happens everyday where Sharia is practiced.
I do not see any justice in this. Women in Islamic countries are often not allowed to work so they do not have money. They receive half of the inheritance of their brothers so fanatically they are in disadvantage. Divorce means assured poverty and extreme hardship. Often death is preferable and the rate of suicide among women is very high (especially in Iran ).
Mr. Mallah says: “In Islam, if the husband beats a wife without respecting the limits set down by the Quran and Hadith, then she can take him to court and, if ruled in her favor, she can be given the right to apply the law of retaliation and beat the husband as he beat her.”
I am sure Mr. Mallah is trying to use some humor here. I never heard of a woman beating her husband by court order. But this gives us an idea of the concept of marriage in Islam. Imagine children raised in such families. No wonder the majority of Muslims have such high egos and such low self-esteems and they burst to violence at a drop of a hat. They come from dysfunctional families.
Mr. Mallah says “In Islam victims of rape are not punished in anyway. They are victims..!”
Is that true? In Islam the testimony of one woman is not valid. So a woman who is raped and can’t produce a witness (generally rapists do not rape in public so the likelihood of finding a witness is very slim) cannot accuse her assailant. However if she becomes pregnant there is a clear proof that she has had sex out of wedlock and she can be accused of adultery and stoned to death. This is not hypothetical. It happens all the time. We all remember the case of Amina Lawal, the Nigerian woman who was sentenced to stoning and was released after Amnesty International and the whole world was mobilized. But there are many more cases. ( See also this )
The question is why people’s sex life should be the concern of the society and government. Why two consenting adults should be lashed for sleeping together? Why adulterers should be stoned to death? If your wife commits adultery just divorce her. Why resort to such barbaric and primitive practice? This savagery should not be allowed in our modern world. Adultery is morally wrong and it is something between an individual and his or her creator and spouse. The state has no right to intervene in people’s personal lives. Last month a 14 year old boy was flogged to death for eating during the month of Ramadan. This is insane. If a person wants to fast or not should be his personal choice. But beating a person is a crime. Islamic code of law is criminal. Imposing religions morality is criminal. It is amazing that Muhammad saw nothing wrong in raping women captured in war but prescribed stoning the adulterers.
It is reported that Muhammad said: “I was about to order for collecting firewood and then order someone to pronounce the Adhan for the prayer and then order someone to lead the people in prayer and then I would go from behind and burn the houses of men who did not present themselves for the (compulsory congregational) prayer.” Bukhari 9.89.330 Muhammad was a controlling man. He could not tolerate anyone not obeying him.
Ms. Roach tries to tackle this problem by flaunting her own example as a liberated Muslim woman. She is by no means a typical Muslim woman. She lives in America (or another western country, I presume) and she is protected by the American laws. If her husband raises his hand on her, she can afford to fight back or lock him up in jail. Her husband knows it too and he behaves himself. I have come to know many ex-Muslim women who told me that their husbands were “charming and cute” until they lived in the West but as soon as they moved to their Islamic countries they changed and beatings started. The story “Not Without My Daughter” by Betty Mahmoodi is a true story and it has happened to countless western women who married to Muslim men.
Ms. Roach says: “If I were beaten by anybody, husband or no, you can bet your life I would fight back!”
Dear Ms. Roach, be grateful you do not live in an Islamic country. It is this Kafirdom that you despise that empowers you to say such things. Please know that Muslim women who endure abuse are no less intelligent than you. They however, do not have your luxury to be protected by the infidel’s laws. They live in Islamic countries where they have no rights.
A couple of months ago we heard of the tragic story about an Iranian woman who had gone to the court asking the judge to tell her husband to beat her only once a week and not every day. All she wanted was to live and she was willing to be beaten once a week for that privilege which kafir women take for granted. She knew if her husband divorced her, she had nowhere to go except to end up as beggar in the street. This reminded all of us of the painful reality of the Muslim women trapped in Islamic countries. Ms. Roach has no understanding of, or is completely and heartlessly indifferent to, how a typical Muslim woman lives and what she has to endure.
Ms. Roach says “There is nothing anywhere in any of the texts that tells women to take beatings from anyone,” So what does she think of Q 4:34? This denial is mind boggling. Even more mind boggling is when she says: “There is no real Islamic society today on the national level, there is no real and complete implementation of Sharia law.” That is an amazing statement. After 1400 years 1.2 billion Muslims have not managed to implement the Sharia law in any of the 57 Islamic countries. Isn’t it reasonable to conclude that such a utopian Islamic paradise exists nowhere except in Ms. Roach’s fantasies?
No dear Ms. Roach, I do not condemn Islam because of “some people’s backward interpretation of it”. I condemn Islam for what Muhammad did and said. I condemn Islam because he assassinated those who criticized him including a 120 year old man and a poetess, mother of five small children. I condemn him forraiding civilians without any warning for killing unarmed men who had gone after their daily business and for enslaving their women and children, for selling humans and for looting innocent people. I condemn Muhammad for traitorously beheading 750 innocent Jews of Bani Quraiza after they surrendered to him without a fight. I condemn him for torturing and blinding people with red hot bars of iron to force them to reveal where they had hidden their treasures and then after killing them he showed their beheaded corpses to their wives and took one of them (Safiyah) to the tent and slept with her on the same day. I condemn him for introducing religious intolerance in a very tolerant Arabian society and for inaugurating religious wars and killings that has lasted up to this day and is still taking its tolls.
Dear Ms. Roach. I know it is hard for you to accept that Muhammad actually meant beat when he said beat your wife. But you must either accept Islam as is or reject it. Daraba does not mean “light tap”. It means beat. It does not mean play music like beating a drum, it says beat your wife. You can deny this as much a you like and hide your head deep in the sands but you can’t change the truth. Beating is supported by hadith too. Abu Dawood 11. 2142: “The Prophet said: A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife.”
Another cute story of wife beating can be found in this hadith: muwatta30.2.13 In this hadith a woman tries to trick her husband so he stop sleeping with their maid. But Umar tells him to beat his wife and to go to his slave-girl.
Another cuter story is when Muhammad raises his hand to beat a woman who rejects his advances.Bukhari 7.63.182
Ms. Roach boasts that she would fight back anyone who beats her but she does not mind if other Muslim women are beaten, provided they are “disrespectful” and “irresponsible”.
Who can determine if someone is disrespectful and irresponsible? Who should be the judge? The husband! Who should apply the punishment? Also the husband! And of course the husband is also the plaintiff. Doesn’t this seem a little unjust? How this system can guarantee that women will not be beaten wantonly?
Moreover, does beating really work? Is it right to treat “disrespectful” women like animals? In this day and age you can’t even beat an animal but Muslims insist the there is nothing wrong in beating the wife. Isn’t divorce better than violence?
Spencer: The statements of Mr. El-Mallah and Ms. Roach here are so outstandingly disingenuous, misleading, and deceiving to the uninformed, that it would take a book-length treatise to unravel them completely. For example, about the Qur’anic chapter entitled “The Women,” Mr. El-Mallah asserts that “if Islam is looking down to [sic] women, the chapter would not have been called ‘The Women’ or at least you would find another chapter called ‘The Men.’” He breezily ignores my point that the names of the chapters of the Qur’an confer no honor cf. the suras named “Spoils of War” (8), “Haggling” (64), “Divorce” (65), “Soul-Snatchers” (79), “The Cheats” (83), “The Earthquake” (99), “The Calamity” (101), “The Traducer” (104), and “The Disbelievers” (109). Fine, Mr. El-Mallah; so I guess that by your logic Islam is not looking down on soul-snatchers, cheats, traducers, or disbelievers either, eh?
Likewise disingenuous is his treatment of other Qur’anic verses that Ali Sina and I have allegedly “taken out of context” (that ever-ready refuge for dishonest politicians everywhere). Mr. El-Mallah says in reference to Qur’an 4:11-12, which stipulates that a woman’s inheritance is to be half of that of her brothers, that “this does not mean in anyway that a sister is worth half of her brother.” Except financially, obviously. His argument that “this variation in inheritance shares is only consistent with the variations in financial responsibilities” founders on the fact that a woman in the Islamic world who for whatever reason must fend for herself doesn’t for that reason receive more of an inheritance.
About Qur’an 33:50, which Ali Sina had pointed out as meaning “that if a women becomes captive in a war, her Muslim master is allowed to rape her,” Mr. El-Mallah says: “The cited verse has nothing to do with rape at all, not sure what type of translation or interpretation Mr. Sina is using?” Very well: I will use the English translation most beloved by Muslims, that of Abdullah Yusuf Ali: “O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee…” In other words, a Muslim may have sexual relations with his wives and with prisoners of war. I would ask Mr. El-Mallah to produce one verse of the Qur’an that requires that those enslaved (for that is what the Qur’anic _expression “those whom thy right hand possesses” means) prisoners must consent to these relations. Of course there is none, for the very concept of consent on the part of a slave is unthinkable. But sexual relations without consent is rape.
As for Qur’an 2:223, Mr. El-Mallah accurately recounts the anti-Semitic hadith accusing Jews of spreading a superstition about cross-eyed children. His explanation does nothing, however, to mitigate the larger trouble caused by this verse: it envisions a woman as the possession of her husband, to be used by him as he wills. This impression is reinforced by numerous ahadith, such as this: “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘If a husband calls his wife to his bed (i.e. to have sexual relation) and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning.’” (Bukhari IV:54:460).
In connection with the infamous “wife-beating” verse, Qur’an 4:34, Mr. El-Mallah complains that “the problem with many Islam-bashers is that they keep their eyes away from any Hadith that explains certain aspects of the Quran verses.” Like many other Muslim apologists, he quotes (without citation) a hadith that has Muhammad telling men to beat their wives with nothing more than a siwak, a toothbrush. In fact, this hadith does not appear in Bukhari, Muslim, or other hadith collections considered most reliable by Muslims. Ibn Kathir makes no mention of it in his voluminous commentary on the Qur’an. Unfortunately, this tradition appears more often in Islamic apologetics intended for Western consumption than it does in material intended for Muslims themselves. Meanwhile, the devastating effects of verse 4:34 are obvious from the pandemic physical abuse of women in the Islamic world.
But Mr. El-Mallah makes no mention of this, and instead departs from the subject of this Symposium in order to shy bricks at other religious traditions: “Actually, in a fast comparison with the biblical teachings regarding that issue we can see that if a wife entices her husband to worship other than God, then he should stone her to death (Deuteronomy 13:7-12).” So while women are being abused all over the Islamic world, we are being asked not to notice, and instead to tut-tut over a verse of the Bible that no Christian or Jew is putting into practice today. I wish I could say that no Muslim is putting 4:34 into practice today, or that they were all using toothbrushes to beat their wives, but I can’t.
El-Mallah then asserts that there is a hadith stating “that women will form the majority of the people ofParadise, see (Sahih Muslim, Kitaab al-Jannah, 4/2179, no. 2834).” The numbering is different in my edition (which was produced by Muslims for Muslims), but I looked up every reference to women in Kitab Al-Jannat of Sahih Muslim. The closest thing I found to El-Mallah’s claim was this: “Muhammad reported that some (persons) stated with a sense of pride and some discussed whether there would be more men inParadise or more women. It was upon this that Abu Huraira reported that Abu’l Qasim (the Holy Prophet) (may peace be upon him) said: The (members) of the first group to get into Paradise would have their faces as bright as full moon during the night, and the next to this group would have their faces as bright as the shining stars in the sky, and every person would have two wives and the marrow of their shanks would glimmer beneath the flesh and there would be none without a wife in Paradise” (no. 6793). This isn’t even close to asserting that women will outnumber men in Paradise, unless El-Mallah means that they will because “every person would have two wives.” Since these are presented as a reward to the men inParadise, and since the Qur’an also presents women as a reward for men in Paradise, it hardly counts as an indication that more women will be blessed than men. It seems much more likely that they are there to be servants.
Mr. El-Mallah then takes me to task for saying, “Imagine if all Muslims were to stone or hang victims of rape or flog women for minor offenses such as exposing a flock of hair.” In fact, it was Ali Sina, not I, who said, that. I will leave the response to Mr. Sina, who is more than capable of defending himself.
In Mr. El-Mallah’s treatment of what I wrote about Pakistani spousal abuse, he says: “Shall we blame Islam for what the Christian men are doing in the US and the Hindu men in India, let alone Philippine, Chili [sic], etc.?” Irrelevant unless Mr. El-Mallah can produce from Christian or Hindu scripture a verse comparable to Qur’an 4:34, along with evidence that Christian and Hindu men are treating their wives in conscious accordance with its dictates. But 4:34 is used by Muslim men to justify the beating of women, which makes Ms. Roach’s statement that “there is nothing anywhere in any of the texts that tells women to take beatings from anyone” simply strange.
As for her assertion that “there is no real Islamic society today on the national level, there is no real and complete implementation of Sharia law, therefore how can anyone criticize Sharia law,” it reminds me of a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party whom I knew in college. She used to dismiss any evidence of the depredations of Communism in the Soviet Union or China with the claim that they weren’t true Communists anyway, so none of what they did counted against Communism! Saudi Arabia and Iran are avowedly Sharia states, and many other Islamic states have adopted various elements of Sharia law, which is public and quite knowable. I suppose we are to believe that the Saudis and Iran, for all their diligence to implement Sharia, all their scholars and all their jurists, missed out on the genuine article? To rule evidence from all these countries out of order because they do not conform to Ms. Roach’s idea of Sharia is simply absurd.
Ms. Roach again indulges in the cheap rhetorical trick of trying to divert attention from Islam, which is the subject of this Symposium, to Christianity, with a number of purported quotations from Church fathers about women. Never mind that no Christian, Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant, reads such statements as authoritative or normative for their own beliefs or behavior: they have nothing like the authority of Qur’an 4:34 or other foundations of the Islamic oppression of women. We are nevertheless supposed on this basis to subscribe to some dubious moral equivalence. It would be refreshing if Ms. Roach, instead of contenting herself with smearing Christianity, actually confronted the sources of Islamic oppression of women and detailed a way that their devastation could be mitigated.
As for her little lecture on rating hadith, I am well aware of the lineaments of the science of hadith, as well as of the fact that Muslims generally accept Bukhari and Muslim as the most reliable hadith collections. That is why I have quoted them here. If Ms. Roach really thinks the ones I have quoted are inaccurate or unreliable, let her say so although I am sure she is aware that in doing so, she will be separating herself from the mainstream of Islamic thought past and present. If she does so, I hope she will also explain to us, again, how she proposes to blunt the force of these ahadith among Muslims who, in accord with mainstream Islam, do accept them.
“It might be wise,” asserts Ms. Roach about the “wife-beating verse,” Qur’an 4:34, “for those who criticize the Qur’an to investigate the possibility of mistranslation when reading it.” I wonder why only she seems to know that “daraba” means not “beat” but “light tap, leaving no mark.” This seems to have eluded virtually everyone who has translated the Qur’an into English, Muslim and non-Muslim. Ali, Shakir, Ahamed, Fakhry, Dawood, Arberry and Al-Hilali and Khan have “beat”; Pickthall has “scourge” (no gentle tap, that). Instead of covering up the facts, why not acknowledge them and work for positive change?
Roach: “What can one do against such reckless hate?”– Tolkien
I want to address only a few things in this response since it seems no matter what is said, one’s adversaries (as they have become by their own childish conduct and patronizing language) will reiterate their points without evidence even in the face of evidence that has been supplied against their views. It is clear that those who entered into this symposium did so with their minds already made up, they assume they know everything, they have all the facts. Mr. Sina: just because you have lived in the middle east, does not make you an expert on Islam, just ask Saddam Hussein who believed himself to be a Muslim while he and his sons tortured prisoners, something that is completely forbidden in Islam, (whether you believe it or not) or you might ask some marines that go to Iraq and just from their experiences(which are almost entirely negative because they do not want to be there) form an opinion about all middle easterners (including you) and think they know everything about Islam when what they have seen is a secular country where some people have bent the Islamic rules to suit their own selves(as people do in countries all over the world). And by the way, one thing I love about Islam is that no one but my husband calls me “dear” whether they are trying to patronize me or sexually harass me.
I would like to say that Mr. Sina and Mr. Spencer have only proven my point about the church fathers and those Muslims who are not practicing Islam correctly when they incorporated the examples of two scholars who DO NOT REPRESENT ISLAM, THEY REPRESENT THEIR OWN VIEWS WHICH ARE COMPLETELY DERANGED IN REGARDS TO WOMEN, JUST AS THE CHURCH FATHERS THAT I MENTIONED WERE.
Talk about being outside the mainstream, I have never even heard of these scholars and if I ever encountered anyone using them as a source I would correct their thinking immediately. Who is diverting attention now, to outcast opinions that no one in Islam, at least not true Muslims pay attention to?
You have also proven your own ignorance of true Islam by using the Saudis and their government as an example: no kingship or royal family governances are allowed in Islam, therefore the Saudis, who are supposed to be the caretakers of our holy city Mecca, are laughing in the face of Islam by flaunting their royal family and wealth. We like to call King Fad, King Fraud because he is defrauding the people of his own country, especially the women, who apparently are not allowed to drive, now that is ridiculous, finally a point where Mr. Sina and I agree. It is laughable to me that grown men can pretend not to understand a point of comparison, or say that it lies outside the realm of the topic to depreciate its validity. The rest of my comments I would like to direct toward the readers of this symposium:
Dear interested readers,
No one on this symposium is a scholar of Islam, nor are there scholars of any other kind supplying their opinions here. I implore you as an interested party to research Islam and its criticisms on your own for this is the only way that a person can really make up their own mind about a topic. As a person who used to hate Islam because of the horrible things I HEARD AND PEOPLE TOLD ME I developed a biased opinion based on the conjecture of the media and people’s opinions who hated Islam and anything it represented.
I also encourage you to seek out Muslims themselves, get to know your Muslim neighbors or co-workers and you will see that they do no beat their wives, they do not think women are animals, THEIR FAITH DOES NOT ALLOW THEM TO THINK THIS WAY. I am sorry if you have already been “turned” by the lies force fed to you by American media and government, but please do not let that deter you from learning more, even if you disagree with it.
If any Muslim woman feels she is oppressed, it is up to her to ask Allah’s help and then with Allah’s help free herself by any means necessary, even if it means death. Some people will criticize me saying that a woman shouldn’t have to choose to die in order not to be beaten, but I ask you: What do we tell American women who are in domestic violence situations? “Pack your bags, get your kids and go to a shelter” to many women this is the equivalent to death because their husbands seem to find them wherever they go. At least in Islam if this the case, a woman will attain paradise with Allah if she is the innocent victim of a psychopath, instead of just another domestic violence statistic.
Women who know their Islamic rights and study Islam’s laws will always find a sheihk or scholar to defend their position because these are men who love Allah and the truth revealed in the Qur’an which protects women. I encourage you to read the Qur’an and consult experts in its meanings so that you might get a better understanding of what it means to be a Muslim. Whatever good has been said here it is from Allah and whatever bad has been said here is from me or the shaitan (satan). Jazakum allahkhair-May Allah reward you all for reading this and listening fairly. Your sister In Islam, Julia Roach.
El-Mallah: Mr. Sina again failed to understand my simple logic when he repeatedly accuses Islam of being the reason behind the mistreatment of women in some so-called Islamic countries. Again this proves nothing when it comes to Islam, since this is the case, as I stated earlier, in many non-Muslim 3rd world countries, let alone in western countries such as the US.
I would like to point out that my understanding of Quran/Hadith comes from scholars opinions. So what I have mentioned earlier about the equality is not just my opinion, it is the opinion of the scholars to whom I reference. Again, the main problem is that Muslims in the so called Muslim countries are not aware of their religion. One simple proof is the relatively small percentage of them who pray 5 times a day. Where it does not need that much knowledge about Islam to know that prayers are mandatory, and you see many Muslims in Egypt for example who do not pray.
Mr. Sina wants to judge Islam and Quran based on the behavior of the people who do not follow it or understand it comprehensively.
Even that I have to blame these Muslims individually for their ignorance, I have to blame the pro-west governments for not educating people about their religion, which partially is due to the American government influence which preaches secularism.
Of course, not every body will be rewarded equally, the reward depends on the deeds performed by the individual, as well as the bounties that was given to this individual. So what is expected from a king is different that what is expected from a janitor since they were given different bounties. The closest example to illustrate this is the GRE or SAT exams, people get different questions and the questions are weighted differently based on their difficulty level.
Mr. Sina and Mr. Spencer can keep interpreting verses from here and there to try to prove that Islam will give rewards to men in paradise and not to women. They can argue that rewards are not the same. Bottom line this is what Allah said:
“They shall have all that they will desire with their Lord. That is the reward of the good doers.” Az-Zumar Ayah 34
So every one will get whatever they want MAN or WOMEN. There is no point to argue about. Whatever the women asks for in paradise she will get. Can anyone think of a better or more fair reward?
Quran is easy to understand and to implement,
“And as for those who believe, they know that it is the Truth from their Lord, but as for those who disbelieve, they say: ‘What did Allah intend by this parable?’ By it He misleads many, and many He guides thereby. And He misleads thereby only those who are Al-Fasiqun (the rebellious, disobedient to Allah).”
The so called Muslim countries do not implement Islam not because it is difficult to be understood but this is totally a different discussion.
The example that Mr. Sina used (i.e., verse 30:21) only proves without doubt that he is twisting the meaning of the verses to serve his Islam-bashing agenda. This verse talks to both males and females. So God is talking to both, telling them that He has created for them spouses.
Remember the basic rule of Quran interpretation that when masculine words are mentioned, by default, it means both genders, except only in few cases, where the feminine words are mentioned.
But Mr. Sina seems to ignore this rule repeatedly.
So the verse is saying men are created for women and women are created for men. The verse does not talk about enjoyment (that Mr. Sina mentioned) but it mentions tranquility, love and mercy. Even if some Tafsir (e.g. Razi’s) said that this verse refers to the fact that Allah (SWT) created Eve from Adam. Does that mean that men are better than women? If this is the logic then dust is better than men, since Adam was created from dust!
About the statements that Mr. Sina quoted from Shirazi, who was a philosopher at the time of the Safavid.
Shirazi is not considered to be a reference to the majority Sunni population, like me. Mr. Sina did not obviously find interpretations of Quran that he can use in his logic except to use the above from Shirazi.
Then he labeled the rest of commentators as apologists, BUT the truth is that old and new KNOWN Sunni commentators NEVER say/said that women are classified in Quran as animals, NEVER.
The statement that was made by my Sister is that there is currently no “real Islamic society on the national level” and “there is no real and complete implementation of Sharia law”. WHAT LOGIC led Mr. Sina to say “That is an amazing statement. After 1400 years 1.2 billion Muslims have not managed to implement the Sharia law in any of the 57 Islamic countries. Isn’t it reasonable to conclude that such a utopian Islamic paradise exists nowhere except in Ms. Roachs fantasies?”
In English, the words “it does not exist now”, does not mean “it never existed for the past 1400 years.” It DID exist for centuries, obviously Islamic history and prosperity that led the world in all fronts are easily forgotten.
I do not accept the use of the phrase “apologetic Muslims”. We HAVE NOTHING TO APOLOGIZE FOR. We are trying the explain the true religion of Islam away from any wrong practices and misconception because Allah ordered us to do that. We are not doing this in order for you to ACCEPT/LIKE us. We are doing it for the benefit of the readers.
In another proof that Mr. Sina is just copying and pasting recycled misconceptions about Islam, he mentioned the Hadith that says a man’s “prayer would be cut off by (passing of an) ass, woman, and black Dog”.
The above mentioned Hadith is an abrogated one. It was abrogated by the Hadith narrated by Aisha (Al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 9, Number 493).
Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari mentioned that al-Bukhari adduced this Hadith to show that the fact that a man at prayer faces a woman does not invalidate the prayer. Umm Salamah confirmed Aisha’s report that they would be on their menstrual periods and that they would either pass or lay down in front of the Prophet as they prayed, and the Prophet never made mention of any such claimed rule. Ali and Ibn Umar confirmed what Aisha and Umm Salama said, that NONE of the above things invalidated prayers. See (al-Jurjani, al-Kamil fi Duafa, 2:397, 7:104)
Mr. Sina is claiming that since in Islam the husband is the one responsible for the family provisions, then the wife is considered to be the employee, where she has to serve the husband.
I can give Mr. Sina another scenario. How about the poor husband how got to work hard to provide his wife with HER food, HER cloth, HER medicine, HER accommodation, HER transportation, take care of HER children, satisfy HER sexual needs … and the list goes on, while she is setting at HIS home?
In fact, both scenarios do not reflect what Islam teaches. The financial responsibility that the husband needs to fulfill is not less than the home and family responsibility of the wife, and since we are discussing equality between man and woman in Islam, then it is clear indeed that Islam put responsibilities on both parties equally. So unless Sina argues that one party’s responsibility is higher/lower than the other, an objective mind should conclude that Islam doesn’t discriminate against women.
Mr. Sina is claiming that “A good marriage is one where husband and wife are equal partners in every sense”. Well, does that mean that the wife can tell her husband “why is it me how should carry the baby in my tummy?
Why don’t you do it?” or “why should I go through the pain of breast feeding, why don’t we split this effort between us?”
If this looked absurd then it was meant to be, since the statement of Sina is simply unrealistic. The Islamic approach definitely makes more sense, that is, both husband and wife play an equally important rule although they may have different type of duties.
About women’s divorce right, Mr. Sina switched his argument after being faced with the fact that a Muslim women has the right to divorce her husband (which he was denying in his previous response) and instead of admitting this Islamic right of women, which any objective mind would do, he boldly misrepresented the concept of Khole in his comment.
Since the man should give his wife the dowry (marriage gift) to consummate the marriage, then it is fair to say that if the woman does not want to continue such relation, then she should return that dowry to her husband.
Now what it unfair about this? Mr. Sina’s assertions that the wife needs also to forgo her alimony is totally false, even the Hadith he quoted never mention any thing about alimony, nor does any other Hadith related to the issue of Khole.
About the Hadith Abu Dawood 11. 2142: “The Prophet said: A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife.” Mr. Sina just quotes any Hadith that seems to satisfy his lust for bashing Islam without even making sure of its authenticity. The previously mentioned Hadith is an unreliable (weak) one as the Hadith scholars indicated.
About the muwatta30.2.13 story that Mr.Sina’s mentioned, we can clearly see that this is not a saying or an order from the prophet. It is rather a ruling made by the judge in case presented to him. In this case that woman lied to her husband about a ruling in the religion; she claimed what God has made lawful to be unlawful because of the jealousy she has towards her maid. Now, what would be the result if everyone lied about a ruling of the law, just to satisfy his personal benefits? The punishment she had was not because her husband wants to sleep with his slave girl, but rather because of lying about the law.
About the story Mr. Sina quoted that Muhammad (PBUH) raised his hand to beat a woman who rejects his advances. Bukhari 7.63.182
Mr. Sina deliberately changed the word mentioned in the Hadith from “to Pat” into “to beat”. Is this how scholarly people should behave in such symposium? Here is the entire Hadith so the reader can be aware of how evidence against Islam are fabricated to delude the people.
Narrated Abu Usaid:
We went out with the Prophet to a garden called Ash-Shaut till we reached two walls between which we sat down. The Prophet said, “Sit here,” and went in (the garden). The Jauniyya (a lady from Bani Jaun) had been brought and lodged in a house in a date-palm garden in the home of Umaima bint An-Nu’man bin Sharahil, and her wet nurse was with her. When the Prophet entered upon her, he said to her, “Give me yourself (in marriage) as a gift.” She said, “Can a princess give herself in marriage to an ordinary man?” The Prophet raised his hand to pat her so that she might become tranquil. She said, “I seek refuge with Allah from you.” He said, “You have sought refuge with One Who gives refuge. Then the Prophet came out to us and said, “O Abu Usaid! Give her two white linen dresses to wear and let her go back to her family.” Narrated Sahl and Abu Usaid: The Prophet married Umaima bint Sharahil, and when she was brought to him, he stretched his hand towards her. It seemed that she disliked that, whereupon the Prophet ordered Abu Usaid to prepare her and to provide her with two white linen dresses.
I did not say that ALL the chapter names in the Holy Quran necessitates praising the topic mentioned in the Sura (e.g. “The disbelievers” where disbelieving in God is condemned, yet there is another chapter entitled “The believers” where the qualities of the righteous people are mentioned and praised.) So how do we know if the title is an indication of praise, condemnation, or simply mentioning some facts about it?
It is simply the contents of the Sura that explains that. In the case of chapter 4, Sura Al-Nisaa, God Almighty is explaining some rulings about the believing women and giving them the glad tiding of equality in the reward as stated in verse 4:124. So looking into the content of the Sura, we easily conclude that Islam does not look down to women, which is the topic of this discussion.
About financial security of women and inheritance rules, I already stated that the financial security for a Muslim woman is guaranteed. Her Husband is responsible for that, if she has no husband, then it is her father, brother, or uncle.
If she has no family, then it is the State that should take care of her financially. So under the Islamic law, a woman doesn’t need to fend for herself.
If she decided that she needs to work to gain extra money then that does not justify taking extra amount of inheritance or it would be unfair since there is always someone taking care of her financial needs.
So, when a women is divorced she still does not have to support herself . It is the responsibility of her male relatives or the state (if none) to do that. So if she is divorced and she does not have her own money they should support her. Supporting her is not a charity it is an obligation on them.
Mr. Spencer’s objection doesn’t stand.
About verse 33:50, Mr. Spencer brought a translation that does not contain rape in it. which was exactly what I said. About the consent of the slave girl in sexual relation: Let me correct Mr. Spencer with Verse 24:33. Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah: “Musaykah, a slave-girl of some Ansari, came and said: My master forces me to commit fornication. Thereupon the following verse was revealed: “But force not your maids to prostitution (when they desire chastity). (24:33)” (Translation of Sunan Abu Dawud, Divorce (Kitab Al-Talaq), Book 12, Number 2304)”
In addition, the Hadith mentioned in AlBukhari when a women said to the prophet peace be upon him after he approached her “She said, “I seek refuge with Allah from you.”
He said, “You have sought refuge with One Who gives refuge” and left her. That clearly specify that since that women did not consent, the prophet peace be upon him did not force her to do any thing. See Bukhari 7.63.182
Mr. Spencer, contradicts himself when he accuses the Muslim side of using the “taken out of context” (that ever-ready refuge for dishonest politicians everywhere).
While he uses the “anti-Semitic” (forever-ready sword against anyone how mentions historical issues with the Jews). I’d appreciate it if Mr. Spencer provided proofs that this cross-eyed children story being superstitious instead of his mere claim Mr. Spencer ignored what I have said in my explanation of using Siwak, AGAIN, what the prophet mentioned was “darban ghayr mubarrih” which means light striking, and was interpreted by his companions (like Ibn Abbas) to be as a (symbolic) use of miswak (a small natural toothbrush). For reference, see (Sahih Muslim, Ketab AlHajj, no. 2137, Tafsir Al-Tabari)
Mr. Spencer want to link the women problems in 3rd world countries to Islam, while the reason is the lack of the right understanding of it.
But he does not want to be objective and fair enough to tackle other religions with the same eye, again, refer to Deuteronomy 13:7-12.
You want to tackle the women problems in 3rd world countries, fine, why do not you also tackle the women problems in your own backyard:
Within the US we see the following statistics about how many women are treated in the United States, taken from the 1995 National Crime Victimization Survey of the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Domestic Violence Hotline Fact Sheet and Statistics (You can order this Special Report (NCJ-154348) “Violence Against Women: Estimates from the Redesigned Survey August 1995” by calling the Bureau of Justice Statistics Clearinghouse, 800-732-3277and the National Domestic Violence Hotline Fact Sheet and Statistics.)
HOW MANY ABUSED WOMEN ARE THERE IN THE U.S.?
Women age 12 or older annually sustained almost 5 million violent victimizations in 1992 and 1993. Women and girls ages 12 and up annually reported about 500,000 rapes and sexual assaults, almost 500,000 robberies, and about 3.8 million assaults.
WHO ARE THE ABUSERS
In 29% of all violence against women by a lone offender, the perpetrator was an intimate (husband,ex-husband, boyfriend or ex-boyfriend).
Women annually reported about 500,000 rapes and sexual assaults Friends or acquaintances of the victims committed over half of these rapes or sexual assaults. Strangers were responsible for about 1 in 5.
HONOR KILLINGS IN AMERICA?
Of the 5328 women murdered in 1990, FBI data indicate that about half or more of them by a husband or boyfriend.
VIOLENCE AMONG COUPLES
A minimum of 16 % of American couples experienced an assault during the year they were asked about it, and about 40% of these involved severely violent acts, such as kicking, biting, punching, choking, and attacks with weapons.
A 1993 national poll found that 34% of adults in the United States report having witnessed a man beating his wife or girlfriend and that 14% of women report that a husband or boyfriend has been violent with them.
THE PHYSICAL DAMAGE CAUSED TO WOMEN AND CHILDREN BY ABUSE
During the last decade, domestic violence has been identified as one of the major causes of emergency room visits by women.
From 20% to 30% of the women who are seen by emergency room physicians exhibit at least one or more symptoms of physical abuse.
10% of the victims were pregnant at the time of abuse.
10% reported that their children had also been abused by the batterer.
THE ECONOMIC FACTOR IN WOMEN’S ABUSE
*Women aged 19 to 29 and women in families with incomes below $10,000 were more likely than other women to be victims of violence by an intimate.
So the above statistics reflects how women are treated in a so called “Christian Country”. Should we still blame Islam for that?
There are problems behind women being treated like that, Islam is not the cause, the lack of Islam is. Islam provides a solution to these problems.
Sina: Ms. Roach starts her response with accusing Robert Spencer and I of having “reckless hate”. All I can say is that I am religion blind, race blind and gender blind. I do not see these differences. I am blind to them. Therefore I love Muslims; just the same way I love Jews, Christians, Atheists or any other person. But I can also say that, unlike some ideologies and religions, I do not divide mankind into believers and unbelievers and do not hate people for what they believe. I fight against belief-systems of hate — not against victims of those belief-systems. I don’t think there is anything wrong to hate ignorance, violence, barbarity, and discrimination.
Ms. Roach says torturing prisoners, is completely forbidden in Islam. Is it?
“In March 2002, Iran’s parliament (Majles) passed a bill aimed at limiting the widespread practice of torture and the use of forced confessions in criminal trials. On Sunday June 9, the bill was rejected by the Council of Guardians, a body of twelve senior clerics appointed by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamene’i, whose role is to ensure that all laws passed by the Majles are compatible, in their view, with Islam. The Council argued that the bill would limit the authority of judges to adjudicate on the admissibility of confessions and therefore ruled that the bill was against the principles of Islam.” [Source]
Perhaps Ms. Roach would tell us that Iran is not a true Islamic country. Was Muhammad a good Muslim?
“Some people were sick and they said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Give us shelter and food. So when they became healthy they said, “The weather of Medina is not suitable for us.” So he sent them to Al-Harra with some she-camels of his and said, “Drink of their milk.” But when they became healthy, they killed the shepherd of the Prophet and drove away his camels. The Prophet sent some people in their pursuit. Then he got their hands and feet cut and their eyes were branded with heated pieces of iron. I saw one of them licking the earth with his tongue till he died.” Bukhari 7. 71.58
In another story, we read that “After Muhammad raided the fortress of Kheibar and the unarmed population were taken by surprise, Muslim fighters killed many of the citizens until they surrendered. Muhammad allowed them to leave the country, but that they should give up all their property to the conqueror. With the rest, came forth Qinana, chief of the Jews of Kheibar, and his cousin.
Muhammad accused them both of keeping back, in contravention of the compact, a portion of their riches, especially the treasures of the Bani Nadhir, which Qinana had obtained as a marriage portion with his wife, Safiyah the daughter of the chief of that tribe. “Where are the vessels of gold,” he asked,” which you used to lend to the people of Mecca ?” They protested that they no longer possessed them. “if you conceal anything from me,” continued Muhammad, “and I should gain knowledge of it, then your lives and the lives of your families shall be at my disposal.” They answered that it should be so. A traitorous Jew, having divulged to Muhammad the place in which a part of their wealth was deposited, he sent and fetched it. On the discovery of this attempt at imposition, Qinana was subjected to cruel torture, — “fire being placed upon his breast till his breath had almost departed,” -in the hope that he would confess where the rest of his treasures were concealed. Muhammad then gave command, and the heads of the two chiefs were severed from their bodies.” [Tabari]
On that very night Muhammad took the 17 year old Safiyah the bride of Qinana to his tent, slept with that grieving woman, and claimed her as his wife.
Ms. Roach, addressing someone with “dear” is not necessarily patronizing, nor is it sexual harassment. It can often be a sign of respect. It can be a polite way to address people, as in “Dear Sir”, “Dear Mr. President”, etc. But if that is offensive to you I shall refrain from addressing you in that matter.
Ms. Roach writes: “If any Muslim woman feels she is oppressed, it is up to her to ask Allah’s help and then with Allah’s help free herself by any means necessary, even if it means death.” Thank you Ms. Roach for your wise advice. I believe most women prefer to be delivered by the rule of law – a law that protects their rights, dignity and lives rather than seek death, like many Muslim women do in Iran and other Islamic countries. The rights to live and to be free are birth rights of every human being. In the kafirdom of the West women don’t have to supplicate Allah and seek death. They are protected by law and enjoy the same rights that men do.
Realizing the absurdity of her own statement, Ms. Roach introduces a red herring:
“Some people will criticize me saying that a woman shouldn’t have to choose to die in order not to be beaten, but I ask you: What do we tell American women who are in domestic violence situations?”
First of all the incidences of domestic abuse in America or other civilized non-Islamic countries compared to the pandemic abuse of women in Islamic countries are negligible. Second, I would say to the American women who are victims of violence to immediately go to authorities and seek protection. I am afraid such thing for women in Islamic countries can happen only in their dreams. The Sharia law is not on the side of the abused woman. In Islamic countries there are no shelters for abused women. They either endure the pain of slavery or beseech Allah for death.
In comparing the fate of the abused women in Islam and the West, Ms. Roach says; “At least in Islam, if this is the case, a woman will attain paradise with Allah if she is the innocent victim of a psychopath, instead of just another domestic violence statistic.”
That sums up everything. A woman in Islam will remain a slave and abused by her psychopath husband and her freedom is in her death and a vacuous promise of a paradise. Interestingly, in her previous statements, Ms. Roach assured us that if she is abused she would fight back and defend herself. Why Ms. Roach? Aren’t you interested to go to paradise? Are you going to risk going to hell and be burned for eternity by rebelling against your husband? Apparently, in your philosophy, death is good — but only for others.
Mr. El Mallah, you state: “my understanding of Quran/Hadith comes from scholars’ opinions.” Are these opinions in agreement with the Quran and hadith? Why follow the opinion of the scholars when you can perfectly read the Quran and haidith on your own and come to your own conclusion?
I see you constantly blame the Muslims and say: “Muslims in the so-called Muslim countries are not aware of their religion.” Do you think the Quran and the misogynistic examples set by Muhammad have nothing to do with the violence perpetrated against women? Do you really believe if Muslims start reading the Quran and learn that women are like tilt to men 2:223, that they are less than men, 2:228, that their rights to inheritance and testimony are half 4:11-12, 2:282, that if disobedient they should be beaten 4:34, that they are deficient in intelligence and the majority of them will go to hell, and other not so flattering remarks such as these, they will start respecting women more?
You accuse me of judging Islam and the Quran based on the behavior of Muslims. I have not done so and will not do that. I first quote the Quran then the hadith and then show the effect of these on Muslims. I make observations about Islam by gauging what Muhammad said and did and not for what Muslims do. Curiously, instead of the nefarious anti-woman influence of the Quran and hadith, you find the influence ofAmerica and secularism responsible for the misogyny in Islamic countries. This attitude is mind boggling. But then again, we have people who blame the CIA and Mossad for 9/11.
You say that the bottom line is that Allah promised: “They shall have all that they will desire with their Lord. That is the reward of the good doers.” 39:34
So the bottom line is that paradise is a child’s fantasyland. You can wish anything and it will be yours. But isn’t this statement in disagreement with other verses of the Quran that clearly describe how paradise is made and how many celestial whores men get? (The word whore in English is the same Persian word hoor borrowed by Muhammad and used in the Quran) Suppose you want 75 or 750 whores; can you have your wish? If so, why did Muhammad specifiy two in one place and seventy two in another place? Why even give a number when the choice is left up to the believer? This to me seems contradiction. Muhammad talks about four rivers of wine, milk, honey and water running in paradise. If it is up to me I like fruit juices of various kinds and champaign too. And I do not like them running as rivers but rather served in bottles. Why does the Quran describe paradise when the fantasies of the believers set the limit?
Mr. El-Mallah accuses me of misinterpreting verse 30:21. But I quoted various Muslim scholars who thought this verse means women are like animals created for the enjoyment of men. In fact, the way women are treated in Islamic countries show most Muslims are in agreement with those scholars. Can Mr. El-Mallah explain how a clear and easy to understand book such as the Quran has been so misunderstood by the majority of Muslims? Why is it that only those Muslims who try to sell Islam to the Westerners are the ones who understand it? Finally, why instead of teaching “peaceful Islam” to Westerners, don’t you try to correct the misunderstandings of Muslims?
I said the relationship between husband and wife in Islam is akin to that of employer and employee. Actually it is more like a master and slave relationship. As Mr. El-Mallah reaffirms, the matrimonial house is HIS. She lives in HIS house. The children are HIS. In the case of divorce, Muslim women have no right to the custody of their own children unless the child is an infant and even then he should be given to the father after he is weaned or is no more a toddler. Yes, he is to provide for her food, cloth, medicine, accommodation, transportation etc. But wouldn’t any master do the same for his slave? If you had a she ass, wouldn’t you provide for her food, accommodation, saddle, etc?
Both Ms. Roach and Mr. El-Mallah repeated that the husband has the obligation to satisfy his wife sexually. This is news to me. Let us get practical here. A man with four wives (actually some Muslims believe that there is no limit to the number of wives in Islam) will enjoy sex four times more frequently than either one of his wives. So if he has sex 12 times per month, each of his wives can have it only three times per month (provided he does not have favorites and the older and uglier wives are not neglected). As you can see, this claim is utterly baseless. Furthermore, in some Islamic countries, Muslims are inspired by a hadith to mutilate their girls’ genitals, so they can never have orgasm, even if the husband does his best. It is interesting that Muslims insist that black is white and vice versa.
Mr. El-Mallah claims Islam treats men and women equally because it puts equal responsibility on both parties. He confuses responsibility with rights. Yes, we know that in Islam women are responsible for a lot of things — including obeying their husbands and satisfying them sexually, even when they don’t feel well. A hadith says:
“Allah’s Apostle said, “If a husband calls his wife to his bed (i.e. to have sexual relation) and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning.” Bukhari 4.54.460
In another place we read:
“The prophet of Allah said: When a man calls his wife to satisfy his desire, let her come to him though she is occupied at the oven.” Mishkat al-Masabih, English translation, Book I, Section ‘Duties of husband and wife’, Hadith No. 61.
In Islam the duties and responsibilities of the wife are stated clearly. But where are her rights? Does she own anything? Can she have any claim to the house that she is living in, to her children or even to the cloths that he has bought for her with HIS money? In Islam women have many responsibilities but very few rights.
Mr. El Mallah says, “Mr. Sina is claiming that ‘A good marriage is one where husband and wife are equal partners in every sense’. Well, does that mean that the wife can tell her husband “why is it me who should carry the baby in my tummy?”
I am afraid our friend is confusing — again — responsibilities with rights. Of course men and women are different, biologically, emotionally, psychologically and in many other ways. Each one has his/her own strength and that is why they form the partnership. In any partnership the partners compliment each other. For example, you put the capital and I put the expertise and the labor and we make a partnership. The reason you and I form the partnership is because each one of us has something the other one does not have but needs.
In a marriage, husband and wife, each contribute according to their capacity and strength. Here we are talking about rights. If you and I form a “partnership”, where you put the money and I put the labor, where you order me and I obey you, where everything is in your name, and if we split you keep everything and I walk away with nothing. Where you have even the right to beat me, this is not partnership. This is slavery, because during the years I worked for you, you paid me no salary. I have no savings. You only maintained me, paid for my food and clothing so I could continue to work for you. And now that I am older, you kick me out and I am entitled to nothing. I can do only one thing and that is pray to Allah to take me away. That is not partnership. That is not even employment. That is slavery.
Mr. El-Mallah asks what is unfair with Khole where a woman can obtain divorce after forgoing her dowry. The unfair part is the forgoing of the dowry. This means that if a husband decides to get rid of her wife and give her nothing, he would beat her so much that she is forced to forego her rights just to get her divorce. Not only she gets nothing from his wealth, she is forced to even forego the little gifts that he had bought for her. I honestly believe this is unfair. Don’t you Mr. El-Mallah?
As for the incident between Muhammad and Jauniyya, the princess of Bani Jaun, the text of the hadith is clear. Muhammad made sexual advances on her and told her “give yourself to me as a gift”. The word used here is habba. This is not a proposal for marriage. Habba which means “give as a gift” is free sex. The favor is paid pack with a gift from the man to the woman in the form of goods or money. There are other hadiths that point out to this practice. One apocryphal hadith that sheds light on this practice is about Abdullah, father of Muhammad who was allegedly approached by a woman who told him, “Take me as a gift”. But Abdullah went to his wife and conceived Muhammad. On his way back he went to that woman and declared his readiness for the proposition but she spurned him saying, “before I saw a light in your forefront; now that light is gone, you gave it to another woman so go away”. This hadith is fabricated to claim that the prostitute had recognized the light of Muhammad while he was still in his father’s testicles. It is a ludicrous hadith fit for the gullible Muslims. But it is important because it shows the practice of habba was common among the Arabs. (See also Muslim 8.3253) In our language we call it prostitution.
The hadith says Muhammad asked Jauniyya to give herself to him in habba, she responded “Can a princess give herself (in marriage) [sic] to an ordinary man?” Muhammad raised his hand to pat her [sic] so that she might become tranquil.” Any reasonable person can figure out what happened. Muhammad’s advances must have offended this woman for her saying “Can a princes give herself to an ordinary man? The word (marriage) is put in parenthesis because it is the insertion of the translator. Then the hadith says “Muhammad raised his hand to pat her so she become tranquil”. Obviously she had become upset. Women do not get offended by marriage proposals; they get offended when they are cheapened and solicited for sex. Then she exclaimed “I seek refuge with Allah from you.” This is clear that this “patting” must have been of a violent nature. Clearly the writer of the haidth (or the translator) must have felt embarrassed of such conduct of his prophet and has tried to soft-sell a violent incident by choosing less harsher words. The so-called “patting” must have been threatening enough to make the woman exclaim “I seek refuge with Allah” and stopping Muhammad. It must have been also guilt inducing for Muhammad enough to try to compensate her with gifts (stolen from her own tribe) The whole story is despicable and certainly not worthy of a man who claimed to be the best example to follow.
Mr. El–Mallah says that it is not the NAME of the Sura (The Women) which is the testimony of her high status in Islam but the CONTENT of this chapter that makes this clear. I am happy that the alibi of the name of the Sura is withdrawn. But as we saw, it is in this chapter that Muhammad says beat your wives. There is no mention of equality of rights for women neither in this chapter nor anywhere else in the Quran.
Mr. El-Mallah says that “the financial security for a Muslim woman is guaranteed. Her Husband is responsible for that, if she has no husband, then it is her father, brother, or uncle. If she has no family, then it is the State that should take care of her financially. So under the Islamic law, a woman doesn’t need to fend for herself.”
The simple question that begs an answer is why not give the woman her independence so she can fend for herself and earn her own livelihood with dignity and not be a burden to others? This is unfair to both men and women and puts her at the mercy of men all her life. She is reduced to a virtual beggar. What if the brother has his own family to feed? What if there are several single sisters and only one brother or one aging father? Why keep a woman in slavery and maintain her? Why put her in a jail and then provide for her? Why can’t she be a free, productive member of the society? Why should she live like a parasite all her life, be humiliated and lose her dignity and pride? Who benefits from this? What is the rationale of this absurd law?
To justify the violence against women in Islam, Mr. El Mallah reports a long list of statistics of crime and violence in America . This is a logical fallacy very much in vogue with Muslims. It is called tu quoque. This is the famous “you too” fallacy. They immediately try to find a mote in the eyes of others to justify the beam in their own. Yes indeed, no country is without crime and violence. However the violence happening in Islamic countries against women is not even considered a crime. It is a common practice; it is not reported and not punished because it is not against the law. In the West, violence against women is a crime and that is why you see statistics. Show me the same statistics in Islamic countries.
I think through this symposium we established that Islam is a misogynist religion. Women in Islam are barely regarded above animals and in marriage they have as much rights as slaves in the house of their master. As Ms. Roach eloquently put it, a Muslim woman’s freedom comes in her DEATH. So if you are an abused women living in an Islamic country, Ms. Roach’s advice to you is: pray to Allah so he may precipitate your death and set you free. Meanwhile, Ms. Roach, who lives in a non-Islamic country and is protected by the laws of the Kafirs, boasts about her own “courage” to fight back if her husband becomes abusive. In other words, she doesn’t want Muslim women under Islamic law to fight for their rights. Only she has that privilege. This is the perfect conclusion for this discussion.
Spencer: Ms. Roach begins her concluding remarks by quoting Tolkien: “What can one do against such reckless hate?” The idea that Mr. Sina and I must hate Muslims because we dare to tell the truth about what Islam teaches is a common calumny straight out of the playbook of those who revere as a prophet the man who said, “War is deceit” (Bukhari IV:52:267). Yet it was neither Mr. Sina nor I who put this question and answer exchange, complete with supporting hadiths at the Muslim Students’ Association website of theUniversity of Houston:
Question: We always hear the Hadith, “Women have a shortcoming in understanding and religion.” Some of the men state it to insult women. We would like you to explain to us the meaning of that Hadith.
Response: The Prophet’s words and their explanation is as follows:
“I have seen none having more of a shortcoming in reasoning and religion yet, at the same time, robbing the wisdom of the wisest men than you.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) what is the shortcoming in our reasoning?” He said “Is it not the case that the testimony of two women is equivalent to that of one man” They said, “O Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), what is the shortcoming in our religion” He said, “Is it not the case that when you have your menses you neither pray or fast?”1
The Prophet (peace be upon him) explained that their shortcoming in reasoning is found in the fact that their memory is weak and that their witness is in need of another woman to corroborate it….This also does not mean that she is less than men in every matter or that men are superior to her in every aspect. Yes, as a class, men are superior to women in general. This is true for a number of reasons, as Allah has stated,
“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend [to support them] from their means” (al-Nisa 34).
However, she may excel him in many matters. How many women are greater than many men with respect to their intelligence, religion and proficiency. It has been narrated from the Prophet (peace be upon him) that women as a species or class are less than men in understanding and religion from the point of view of the matters that the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself explained….Shaikh ibn Baz
I suppose Sheikh ibn Baz and Muhammad himself hate Muslims too? Or is it just I who must hate Muslims because I dare to quote them? Ms. Roach is dealing in a patent absurdity. This is a symposium about women’s rights in Islam, but instead of forthrightly acknowledging the obstacles and difficulties women face in Islamic lands and offering positive solutions, Mr. El-Mallah and Ms. Roach have denied, obfuscated, distorted, smeared Mr. Sina and me, and tried to deflect attention to Christianity. If this is what we can expect from Islamic “moderates,” the future for women in Islam looks bleak indeed.
As for the scholars Mr. Sina and I quoted who, according to Ms. Roach, “DO NOT REPRESENT ISLAM,” it’s an interesting phenomenon: I have been studying Islam in depth since 1980, and yet every single Islamic authority I have ever quoted is someone that no Muslim has ever heard of or pays any attention to at least according to the Muslims I have debated. When I quoted Al-Azhar’s Sheikh Tantawi endorsing suicide bombing, As`ad AbuKhalil told me that every Muslim actually laughs at Al-Azhar and holds it in contempt. (Hussein Ibish trotted out another well-worn dodge, asserting that Tantawi’s words were mistranslated.) Yet you can ask virtually anyone, and they’ll tell you that Al-Azhar University in Cairois revered and influential throughout the Islamic world. Maybe Ms. Roach has indeed never heard of Ibn Kathir’s Tafsir, which Mr. Sina quotes, but to millions of Muslims worldwide, it is justly dubbed by its publisher “the most renowned and accepted explanation of the Qur’an in the entire world.”
Nor did Mr. Sina or I, or Ms. Roach’s other bogeymen the “American media and government,” compose Qur’an 4:34 or its common understanding in the Islamic world. Mr. El-Mallah’s high-sounding explanation of all the many safeguards that women in Islamic lands possess likewise founders on reality. If any reader actually takes her up on her invitation to learn about Islam from Muslims, once he or she gets beyond the distortions and apologetics, the nefarious uses of 4:34 will be clear as they are to any objective observer of the Islamic world. They are inescapable.
Mr. El-Mallah adduces Sura 24:33, “But force not your maids to prostitution (when they desire chastity)” to establish that slave girls are not to be raped. But alas, this verse does not accomplish what he wants it to. The Qur’an in Sura 33:50 grants men the right to use slave girls sexually. 24:33 is simply not on topic: a man having sex with his slave girl is not making her a prostitute especially when he is explicitly allowed to do so by the Qur’an. Mr. El-Mallah still has not established, and cannot establish, that any consent on the girl’s part is required. The Hadith he quotes, unfortunately, does not establish a general principle as is illustrated by many other ahadith that do not even consider the woman’s consent as a concept. One was quoted above by Mr. Sina: a notorious incident in which Muhammad clearly permits his men to have sex with captive women without a word about consent being uttered. Another is Sunan Abu Dawud 11:2153, which stipulates that “it is not lawful for a man who believes in Allah and the Last Day to have intercourse with a captive woman till she is free from a menstrual course.” It doesn’t say that it is not lawful for a Muslim to have intercourse with a captive woman unless she consents. Nor does any other hadith.
Mr. El-Mallah also provides some dubious references in support of his contention that Muhammad directed his followers to beat their wives with nothing larger than a toothbrush. This tradition does not appear in any of the Hadith collections considered most reliable by Muslims. Mr. El-Mallah cites “Sahih Muslim, Ketab AlHajj, no. 2137.” The word miswak (tooth stick) does not appear in Kitab Al-Hajj of Sahih Muslim; nor does it appear in Sahih Muslim 2137. I challenge Mr. El-Mallah or anyone to produce this tradition of Muhammad recommending toothbrushes for beating women from Sahih Muslim or any of the other hadith collections Muslims value as most reliable: the Sahih Sittah.
As for his material about the abuse of women in the U.S., once again he is trying to deflect attention away from the topic of the Symposium, which is the status of women in Islam. As long as he and others like him continue to play dodge ball instead of confronting the uncomfortable facts, Muslim women will continue to suffer.
FP: Mr. El-Mallah, Robert Spencer, Julia Roach and Ali Sina, our time is up. Thank you for such an informative discussion. We hope to see you again soon.