Women Before and After Islam
Contrary to what Muslims claim, Islam did not improve the status of women in Arabia. It actually denigrated them instead of elevating them.
Bukhari Volume 3, Book 43, Number 648:
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas:
I had been eager to ask ‘Umar about the two ladies from among the wives of the Prophet regarding whom Allah said (in the Qur’an saying): If you two (wives of the Prophet namely Aisha and Hafsa) turn in repentance to Allah your hearts are indeed so inclined (to oppose what the Prophet likes) (66.4), till performed the Hajj along with ‘Umar (and on our way back from Hajj) he went aside (to answer the call of nature) and I also went aside along with him carrying a tumbler of water. When he had answered the call of nature and returned. I poured water on his hands from the tumbler and he performed ablution. I said, “O Chief of the believers! ‘ Who were the two ladies from among the wives of the Prophet to whom Allah said:
‘If you two return in repentance (66.4)? He said, “I am astonished at your question, O Ibn ‘Abbas. They were Aisha and Hafsa.”
Then ‘Umar went on relating the narration and said. “I and an Ansari neighbor of mine from Bani Umaiya bin Zaid who used to live in ‘Awali Al-Medina, used to visit the Prophet in turns. He used to go one day, and I another day. When I went I would bring him the news of what had happened that day regarding the instructions and orders and when he went, he used to do the same for me. We, the people of quraish, used to have authority over women, but when we came to live with the ansar, we noticed that the ansari women had the upper hand over their men, so our women started acquiring the habits of the ansari women. Once i shouted at my wife and she paid me back in my coin and i disliked that she should answer me back.She said, ‘Why do you take it ill that I retort upon you? By Allah, the wives of the Prophet retort upon him, and some of them may not speak with him for the whole day till night.’ What she said scared me and I said to her, ‘Whoever amongst them does so, will be a great loser.’ …
(This is a long Hadith; please read all of it in my article Maryiah the Coptic Maid.)
Umar is complaining that while the people of Quraish used to have “authority” over their women, since they came to Medina they were influenced by the Ansari women who had the upper hand over their men.
Mecca was a religious hub. In all religious centers, often fanaticism overrides commonsense and wherever a patriarchal religion has a stronger grip, women are discriminated. Mecca was no exception. It was natural that women in Mecca had a lower status than their Jews and Ansari (Arabs of Medina who supported Muhammad) counterparts and when they saw the freedom of the women of Medina, they wanted it too. This did not sit well with Umar and Muhammad, the two misogynist men of Mecca. The above conversation between these two central figures of Islam clearly shows that they were not pleased to see their wives getting used and enjoying the taste of freedom.
Arabs were not used to write their history. Very little is left of their pre Islamic culture and way of life. Whatever was written, Muslims destroyed. What Muslim historian wrote of that time is all derogatory. Muhammad called anything pre Islamic “jahiliya” (days of ignorance) and claimed that until the advent of Islam all Arabs were barbarians. Muslims think the Arabs buried their daughters alive and were constantly in war. They say that women prior to Islam were worth less than camels and it was the Prophet who gave them the status of human being. The above hadith depicts a different story. We can see that Arab women had more rights prior to Islam. Islam took those rights away.
Muhammad, being from the Quraish was used to women abuse and to him that was the right way. Furthermore since he suffered from impotence, he was strict with his wives, constantly fearing that a young virile man cast an eye on them. The verses that he revealed to frighten his wives lest they go astray became norm for all the women. Islam is a misogynistic religion because Muhammad was a misogynist.
Anytime that the Prophet needed to say the ultimate word and make others shut up, he would make his Allah reveal a verse. He was an old man, having a harem of a score of wives and concubines. All his wives were young and beautiful. In his old age he became the chieftain and very powerful. So he could afford to marry anyone and some even came and offered themselves to him. He would choose only the pretty ones. But political power is not a substitute to physical stamina. The Prophet was fully aware of the age gap between his young wives and himself. He was jealous and would warn his wives to not betray him.
O Consorts of the Prophet! If any of you were guilty of evident unseemly conduct, the Punishment would be doubled to her, and that is easy for Allah.
31. But any of you that is devout in the service of Allah and His Messenger, and works righteousness,- to her shall We grant her reward twice: and We have prepared for her a generous Sustenance.
He would often remind his wives to behave in a way as not to attract the attention of other men and cover themselves so they don’t become desired by strangers.
32. O Consorts of the Prophet! Ye are not like any of the (other) women: if ye do fear (Allah), be not too complacent of speech, lest one in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire: but speak ye a speech (that is) just.
33. And stay quietly in your houses, and make not a dazzling display, like that of the former Times of Ignorance; and establish regular Prayer, and give regular Charity; and obey Allah and His Messenger. And Allah only wishes to remove all abomination from you, ye members of the Family, and to make you pure and spotless.
Are these verses from God or are the worries of an impotent aging man with a bevy of young and attractive wives?
Muhammad needed to control his wives and that is the reason behind the Islamic veil. What was originally meant for the wives of the Prophet became part of the Sharia and is imposed in all Islamic countries.
Muhammad repeatedly emphasized the importance that of women obeying their husbands. Did this have something to do with the fact that most of his wives were teenagers that he needed to control? His wives were uppity, as all teenagers are. To frighten them into submission he made his own wishes expressed by his imaginary friends in the heavens. Any time he had some domestic problems his Allah would rush to his rescue and reveal a verse or two to help him out. The following is to put all his wives in their places.
“It may be if he divorced you (all) that his Lord will give him instead of you, wives better than you, Muslims (who submit to Allâh), believers, obedient to Allâh, turning to Allâh in repentance, worshipping Allâh sincerely, fasting or emigrants (for Allâh’s sake), previously married and virgins.” Q. 66: 5
The truth that women in Arabia had more liberty and authority before Islam than after it can also be evinced from the fact that Khadijah, Muhammad’s first wife, had a business of her own and had many men at her service. Muhammad, was but one of her employees. Do we have any tale of women after Islam, running their own business and hiring men to work for them?
For Muhammad women were nothing more than sex objects. It is reported that he refused to shake hands with them. And when they came to give their allegiance he delegated Umar for that task. What is so sexual about a simple handshake? Was torn between his sexual impulses and his religious ideals? Something must have happened in his mind that made him feel guilty when he touched women.
He also thought that women are deficient in intelligence and the majority of them will go to hell because they are ungrateful but to their husbands.
Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri
On ‘Id ul Fitr or ‘Id ul Adha Allah’s Apostle (p.b.u.h) went out to the Musalla. After finishing the prayer, he delivered the sermon and ordered the people to give alms. He said, “O people! Give alms.” Then he went towards the women and said. “O women! Give alms, for I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-Fire were you (women).” The women asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! What is the reason for it?” He replied, “O women! You curse frequently, and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. O women, some of you can lead a cautious wise man astray.” [Bukhari Volume 2, Book 24, Number 541]
Can a man who thinks women are responsible for leading men astray, that the majority of them go to hell because they are ungrateful to their husbands and that they are deficient in intelligence, respect women. Various versions of this Hadith are repeated in several places. In another version the he explained the reason for which he believed women are deficient in intelligence.
Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:
Once Allah’s Apostle went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) o ‘Id-al-Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, “O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women).” They asked, “Why is it so, O Allah’s Apostle ?” He replied, “You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you.” The women asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?” He said, “Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?” They replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn’t it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?” The women replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her religion.” [Bukhari Volume 1, Book 6, Number 301]
So according to Muhammad, women are deficient in intelligence because the witness of two of them equal to the witness of one man. And they are deficient in religion because during their menses they cannot pray or fast.
What did he mean by “deficient in religion?” Perhaps he meant that women are spiritually less evolved than men.
The question that begs an answer is that who made these unjust laws? Wasn’t he the one who said that women cannot pray during their menses and that their testimony is worthless?
With this in mind his reasoning can be summarized as women are deficient in intelligence and religion because I say so.
His logical fallacy consists in trying to prove one absurdity by the authority of another.
Muhammad used fear as a mean to drive home his point. His Allah would send women to hell for the most trivial things like displeasing their husbands.
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Abbas:
I also saw the Hell-fire and I had never seen such a horrible sight. I saw that most of the inhabitants were women.” The people asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! Why is it so?” The Prophet replied, “Because of their ungratefulness.” It was asked whether they are ungrateful to Allah. The Prophet said, “They are ungrateful to their companions of life (husbands) and ungrateful to good deeds. If you are benevolent to one of them throughout the life and if she sees anything (undesirable) in you, she will say, ‘I have never had any good from you.’ “[Bukhari Volume 2, Book 18, Number 161]
I am sure he said this tale to intimidate his own wives who most likely were reluctant to have sex with an old infirm man, who sweated and smelled foul, as I have shown in my book Understanding Muhammad. Ironically, there is no mention of men going to suffer any consequence for mistreating their wives. As a matter of fact, men are instructed to abuse their wives verbally, emotionally and physically.
Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.
If anyone has any doubt about the position of women in Islam, the above verse should dissipate it. It takes away women’s independence, making them subservient to men. It suggests that men are the masters and the owners of the house because they are the breadwinners. It implies that women are incapable of and should not be allowed to work and become providers. It assumes women’s work at home and taking care of children and house is worth nothing and she must be grateful for the piece of bread that her husband gives her.
First he relegates women to the rank of a slave. But Muhammad goes even further. He instructs men to punish their wives, verbally, sexually and physically, downgrading them to the level of animals. In a world that you could pay a fine for cruelty to animals, the teachings are the Quran are difficult to swallow. It is unthinkable that a just God would say such horrendous things about women. The superiority of men over women is also ratified in verse 2:228 where it says: “and men are a degree above them (women)”
There are also other versions of the above hadith in Sahih Muslim.
Jabir b. ‘Abdullah reported: I observed prayer with the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) on the ‘Id day. He commenced with prayer before the sermon without Adhan and Iqama. He then stood up leaning on Bilal, and he commanded (them) to be on guard (against evil for the sake of) Allah, and he exhorted (them) on obedience to Him, and he preached to the people and admonished them. He then walked on till he came to the women and preached to them and admonished them, and asked them to give alms, for most of them are the fuel for Hell. A woman having a dark spot on the cheek stood up and said: Why is it so, Messenger of Allah? He said: For you grumble often and show ingratitude to your spouse. And then they began to give alms out of their ornaments such as their earrings and rings which they threw on to the cloth of Bilal. [Sahih Muslim Book 004, Number 1926]
Muhammad used these scare mongering tactics to collect money from his foolhardy women who gathered around him and listened to his nonsense stories.
In another place the Prophet of Allah compares women to devil.
Jabir reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) saw a woman, and so he came to his wife, Zainab, as she was tanning a leather and had sexual intercourse with her. He then went to his Companions and told them: THE WOMAN ADVANCES AND RETIRES IN THE SHAPE OF A DEVIL, so when one of you sees a woman, he should come to his wife, for that will repel what he feels in his heart.[ Bukhari Volume 1, Book 6, Number 301]
I wonder how a wife would feel knowing her husband is fancying another woman and is using her to relieve himself? This is the morality of the prophet of 1.2 billion people!
There are numerous verses in the Quran and hadith that are outrageous. The following Hadith, in my opinion, takes the cake.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
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 Volume 4, Book 54, Number 460]
One wonders whether Allah has nothing better to do than worrying about the sexual pleasures of his male servants. It seems quiet absurd that God would employ so many angels to sit around and curse the women who do not please their husbands sexually. Hadiths like this are repeated so many times that one start to suspect whether Allah is a dirty old pervert voyeur who gets pleasure, watching people having sex.
Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: By Him in Whose Hand is my life, when a man calls his wife to his bed, and she does not respond, the One Who is in the heaven is displeased with her until he (her husband) is pleased with her. [Sahih Muslim Book 008, Number 3367]
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, “If a woman spends the night deserting her husband’s bed (does not sleep with him), then the angels send their curses on her till she comes back (to her husband).” [Bukhari Volume 7, Book 62, Number 122]
It is hard to determine why the prophet of Islam was so concerned about sex. But again we should remember that he was an old man. His teeth were decaying and his mouth had a foul smell, but his wives were attractive courtesans. They must have enjoyed their status as the wives of the Prophet and the first ladies of Arabia, but it’s doubtful that they were too desirous to share a bed with an old man. Could it be that the warnings about the angels’ curses and Allah’s wraths were to coerce his wives to sleep with him?
How can Muslim women endure so much insult and still believe in Muhammad? The following is the most obscene and offensive statement of a “holy Prophet.” I find it extremely derogatory to women.
Narrated Usama bin Zaid:
The Prophet said, “After me I have not left any affliction more harmful to men than women.” [ Bukhari Volume 7, Book 62, Number 33]
He did not stop there. In every occasion he found an excuse to show his disdain of women and poison the minds of his followers with ridiculous talks like the following.
AbuHuraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Woman is like a rib. When you attempt to straighten it, you would break it. And if you leave her alone you would benefit by her, and crookedness will remain in her. A hadith like this is reported by another chain of narrators. [Sahih Muslim Book 008, Number 3466]
How can Muslims respect their women when their prophet was so scornful of them, so contemptuous of their faith, so derisive of their intelligence, so disrespectful of their rights and so disdainful of their status?
Narrated Abu Musa:
Allah’s Apostle said, “Many amongst men reached (the level of) perfection but none amongst the women reached this level except Asia, Pharaoh’s wife, and Mary, the daughter of ‘Imran. And no doubt, the superiority of ‘Aisha to other women is like the superiority of Tharid (i.e. a meat and bread dish) to other meals.” [Bukhari Volume 4, Book 55, Number 623]
Here Mohammad is confusing the Miriam, (in Arabic Maryam) daughter of Imran and sister of Moses and Aaron with Mary (also Maryam in Arabic) mother of Jesus. He made the same mistake in the Quran. Miriam is not an important religious figure. She even disobeyed God once. We also don’t know who is this Asia the Pharaoh’s wife. It must have part of a fable known at tht time of Muhammad, which is now forgotten.
The moral standard and ethical values of the Muhammad can be revealed by stories like the following.
Narrated Abu Usaid
We went out with the Prophet to a garden called Ash-Shaut till we reache d two walls between which we sat down. The Prophet said, “Sit here,” and went in (the garden). The Jauniyya (a young girl 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 (for sex) as a gift.” She said, “Can a princess give herself 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. [Bukhari Volume 7, Book 63, Number 182]
Didn’t Muhammad have enough women already? Did he have to mount every beautiful woman whom he met? Look at his temper. In one moment he is overtaken by lust asking the little Jauniyyah to “give herself to him as a gift”, when he is rejected he becomes violent and raises his hand to beat her, then when she screams and seeks refuge with Allah that brute comes to his senses and feels guilty for his despicable behavior. To alleviate his conscience he decides to compensate the girl by bribing her with some cloths. Is this the profile of a mentally stable man?
Since Jauniyyah was accompanied by a wet nurse she could not have been more than a little girl. The way she retorts a man who could kill her, also shows she was just a little girl. The cloths that Muhammad gives her are most likely the ones he had stolen from her. It is highly unlikely that he had brought some cloths from Medina to distribute among his victims.
Muhammad had no regard for women. To him women represented evil. Even in his dream he saw women as the mark of disease and affliction. When he dreamt a black woman he interpreted it as the sign of epidemic.
Narrated Salim’s father
The Prophet said, “I saw (in a dream) a black woman with unkempt hair going out of Medina and settling in Mahai’a. I interpreted that as (a symbol of) epidemic of Medina being transferred to Mahai’a, namely, Al-Juhfa.”[ Bukhari Volume 9, Book 87, Number 163]
Even in religious matters he asserted the symbolical inferiority of women.
Narrated Sahl bin Sa’d:
The people used to pray with the Prophet tying their Izars around their necks because of their small sizes and the women were directed that they should not raise their heads from the prostrations till the men had sat straight. [Sahih Bukhari 1.778]
And as recorded in the following hadith he sealed the eternal enslavement of them.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, “It is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to travel for one day and night except with a Mahram.” [Sahih Bukhari 2.194]
Let us end our review of the status of woman in Islam with these inspiring words of wisdom uttered by the messenger of Allah (peace be upon his immaculate soul) found in hadiths:
· “To find a good woman among women is similar to finding a white crow among a hundred crows.”
· “The marriage commitment is a kind of slavery for women.”
· “If anybody has been required to prostrate before others beside God, the woman should prostrate before her husband.”
· “If the body of the husband is covered with pus and his wife licks it with her tongue, she still will not be able to pay her debt to him.”