Women in Islam

[Part 1] Part 2 [Part 3] [Part 4]

Sam Shamoun

Women are Men’s Property

Since the Quran assumes that women are not equal to men in worth and value it therefore comes as no surprise that it places them as property that the men own:

Your women ARE A TILLAGE for you; so come unto your tillage AS YOU WISH, and forward for your souls; and fear God, and know that you shall meet Him. Give thou good tidings to the believers. S. 2:223 Arberry

The hadiths provide the reason why this passage was given:

Narrated Jabir:
Jews used to say: "If one has sexual intercourse with his wife from the back, then she will deliver a squint-eyed child." So this Verse was revealed:-- "Your wives are a tilth unto you; so go to your tilth when or how you will." (2.223) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 51)

The hadiths even tell us how Allah and his angels feel about a woman that refuses to allow her husband to enter her when and how he wants:

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." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 460)

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)

Some Muslims get really ingenious and argue that the above narrations prove that men can’t force their wives to have sex since it speaks of men sleeping in anger. If he could force his wife to have sex then there would be no need for him to sleep angry.

This rather desperate explanation overlooks the fact that Muhammad is warning and scaring the women into satisfying their husbands’ sexual wishes. The women are being warned NOT TO refrain from sleeping with their husbands since Allah will be angry with them. So there is no need for men to force their wives to have sex since Muhammad already did it for them by putting them under the fear and condemnation of God. Muhammad clearly used religion as a weapon, a tool of domination, as a psychological tactic to scare women into doing want men wanted.

Thankfully, there are others who see these verses and hadiths for what they truly are, examples of misogyny, evidence that Islam has a very low opinion of women.

One example of such a person is liberal Muslim writer and feminist Irshad Manji. She has quite an amusing response to Muslims who try to sidestep the obvious implications of Sura 2:223:

In light of the raped woman in Nigeria, one more passage from the Koran bowled me over. "Women are your fields," it says. "Go then, into your fields when you please. Do good works and fear God." Huh? Go into women when you please, yet do good? Are women partners or property? Partners, insists Jamal Badawi, renowned Koranic scholar. He assures me that this "sexually enlightened" verse serves as a defense of foreplay. Like fields, women need tender loving care in order to turn sperm into real human beings. The farmer’s "seed is worthless unless you have fertile land that will give it growth," Badawi says, looking quite satisfied with his progressive explanation. But he has only addressed the words, "God into your fields." What about the words, "when you please"? Doesn’t that qualifier give men undue power? The question remains: Which paradigm does Allah advocate - Adam and Eve equals, or women as land to be plowed (excuse me, stroked) on a whim? (Manji, The Trouble with Islam Today [St. Martin's Griffin, paperback, March 16, 2005], Chapter 2, "Seventy Virgins", p. 35)

There is at least one positive thing Muhammad did after giving men the right to enter their wives when and how they want. Muhammad at least required men to get the permission of free women whether they could withdraw during sexual intercourse!

Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) forbade withdrawing the penis from a free woman unless she gives permission. Ibn Majah transmitted it. (Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 950; ALIM CD-ROM Version)

Another feminist Muslim writer says:

… The people of Quraysh "had sexual intercourse with their wives from in front and from behind," and this latter position was unknown among the Medinese. An Ansari woman went to see Umm Salama and asked her to put the question to the Prophet. As was his custom, the Prophet summoned the person concerned in order to communicate the response revealed by Heaven. When the woman came, the Prophet/arbiter/legislator recited verse 233 of sura 2, which gives to men ALONE the right of decision regarding sexual positions: "Your women are a tilth to you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will." Using an impressive collection of testimonia, al-Tabari shows us that this verse, far from closing the debate, did nothing but start it up again. Some people said that the verse permitted sodomy, others that it forbade it, and the argument also extends to vaginal intercourse, from behind.

We are faced - and al-Tabari along with us – with one of those ambiguous verses, susceptible to various interpretations, which require the imam who undertakes to explicate the Koran to be doubly vigilant. The fussy, hairsplitting al-Tabari takes every precaution: 41 testimonia, opinions, and views are minutely examined. Some of them maintain that the verse sanctifies men’s right TO SODOMIZE their wives. No point of view is ignored. Even the most ridiculous have the right to be cited: "‘Abd al-Rahman told me … someone had said to Yazid Ibn Aslam: ‘Muhammad Ibn al-Munkadir advises men not to sodomize their wives.’ Yazid said: ‘By Muhammad, I testify that I heard Muhammad Ibn al-Munkadir say that he practiced it himself.’"

What is certain is that with this verse Heaven supported the men. They had the right to use the positions that they wanted; women had no right to protest; they had only to submit to men’s whims. In any case, this verse excluded women from the debate, and by so doing transformed the question, which was thus reduced to the following: Do men have the right to sodomize their wives?

Moreover, one explicit version of this debate rewrote the history of its origin, suppressing the Ansari woman’s question and substituting for it a male problem. In this version, it was no longer women who initiated the debate, but men. While chatting with each other and exchanging confidences about different sexual positions, they stumbled onto the subject of sodomy. They noted that they did not know exactly what Islam’s stand on this practice was. So they decided to go to the Prophet and put the question to him.

Another version brings a Medinese Jew on to the scene. He was having a discussion with a Muslim, who confided in him that he had intercourse with his wife from behind. Horrified, the Jew cried: "But you are like the beasts; we [that is, the Jewish community] have only one way of making love with our wives." Still another version says that in fact Allah intervened because a Jew had told the Muslims: "When a man has intercourse with his wife from behind, the child who is born from such copulation will be blemished; it will be crosseyed." With verse 223 of sura 2 Allah invalidated what the Jew had said (though here, of course, sodomy is not in question).

The particularly revealing debate concerning this verse allows us to grasp the depth of the problem that this book seeks to make clear: the use of the sacred by men to legitimize certain privileges, whether they be of a political or a sexual nature. Three centuries later, when al-Tabari in his role as imam was trying to help the believer clarify the meaning of this verse, the debate was still going! And still today they are arguing about whether a Muslim does or does not have the right to sodomize his wife! … Al-Tabari, as brilliant as he was, did not help his contemporaries to resolve this question, leaving it bogged down in observations that are strangely reminiscent of the time of jahiliyya (the era of ignorance). Observations like: "Yes, I have the right to sodomize"; and "No, you don’t have the right to sodomize." He did not try to evolve principles that codified what is permitted and what is forbidden in the heterosexual act by recalling the equality of the partners as believers. He did not go beyond the incident to arrive at the principle that the sex act depends on two distinct free wills; that it is a relationship between two believers with needs and desires that do not necessarily coincide. It was this timidity on the part of the imam toward the necessity to evolve principles that makes the verses so malleable, and makes the opportunism in their interpretation a structural, almost institutional, feature of Islam.

Al-Tabari did add a supplementary opinion, his own, which said that the verse permits the man to have intercourse with his wife when he wishes, as he wishes, from in front or from behind, the essential point being that he must penetrate her through the vagina, the sole spot where insemination is guaranteed. Thus, according to him, sodomy was formally forbidden. But the essential question remained without answer: what principle in Islam regulates the role of the woman during the sex act? Did or did not the free will of a woman as a Muslim person exist? And were there cases where this free will was affirmed and others in which it disappeared? It was the answer to this essential question that woman tried to obtain from Heaven. The pre-Islamic laws on this matter were very clear; since a woman could be inherited or taken as a hostage and reduced to slavery (contrary to a man, who was in principles physically done away with after the defeat of his tribe), her free will could be suspended in certain situations. (Fatima Mernissi, The Veil and the Male Elite: A Feminist Interpretation of Women’s Rights in Islam, translated by Mary Jo Lakeland [Perseus Books Publishing, Cambridge Massachusetts, 1987], pp. 145-148)

There is plenty of evidence from both the commentators and hadith for the permissibility of anal sex. Imam Al-Bukhari recorded the following exegesis of Sura 2:223:

Narrated Nafi’:
Whenever Ibn ‘Umar recited the Qur'an, he would not speak to anyone till he had finished his recitation. Once I held the Qur'an and he recited Surat-al-Baqara from his memory and then stopped at a certain Verse and said, "Do you know in what connection this Verse was revealed?" I replied, "No." He said, "It was revealed in such-and-such connection." Ibn ‘Umar then resumed his recitation. Nafi added regarding the Verse:-- "So go to your tilth when or how you will." Ibn ‘Umar said, "It means one should approach his wife in …" Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 50)

Curiously, part of Ibn ‘Umar’s comments are missing. The following source gives the probable reason why they are:

"Ibn Abbas said, in question with this verse, that the Muslims from Medina had previously practiced a type of sexual relationship between husband and wife which they had learned from the Jews, in which the husband honours his wife with respect. When the Muslims from Mecca arrived, they brought a different standard of behaviour with them. This created a severe tension in the Islamic community. Muhammad answered it with the above verse and allowed men to behave as they wished. He allowed his followers anything that would satisfy their beastly lusts. (The full text of this hadith is not translated out of spiritual reservations).

"Ibn Abbas said: ‘Umar came to Muhammad and said: "I have perished." "Why?" Muhammad asked. ‘It is because I have altered the normal position of sex tonight."’ He meant to say that he had sexual intercourse away from his usual place. At first, Muhammad gave no reply, then he claimed that Allah gave him license. Muhammad and Umar were shameless and immodest. Muhammad should have guided Umar to God’s holiness and purity.

"Al-Bukhari narrated after Ibn Umar that al-Baqara 2:223 was revealed on the issue of having anal intercourse with women. Al-Tabarani narrated in Al-Aswat, with a reliable chain of traditions, that ‘Your women are a tillage for you’ was only revealed to license anal intercourse (Asbab al-Nuzul by al-Suyuti on Sura al-Baqara 2:223)." (True Guidance, pt. 5, pp. 48-49; bold emphasis ours)

Ibn Kathir, although condemning the practice, acknowledges that there were certain Muslims who claimed that Ibn Umar did permit this act:

"Quoting his father, from his grand father, Amru Ibn Shu’aib narrated that the Prophet said: ‘Having sex with one’s wife in the anus is minor sodomy.’ On the authority of Ali Ibn Talq, Imam Ahmed narrated: ‘The Prophet has forbidden sexual intercourse with one’s wife in the anus, for Allah is not ashamed of the truth.’ Quoting Abu Hurayrah: The Prophet said: ‘Allah will not look at whoever has sex with his wife in the anus.’ Also, it was narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said: ‘Cursed is he who has sex with his wife in the anus.’ Any Ahadith which allow such act are considered incorrect and they were all examined by our Sheikh al-Hafidh Abu Abdullah adh-Dhahabi in a volume which he compiled, and proved weak and false.

"It was narrated on the authority of IBN UMAR, Malik, ash-Shafi’i and at-Tahawi THAT IT IS LAWFUL but it is untrue. An-Nasr as-Sabbagh said: Ar-Rabi' used to swear by Allah that Ibn Abdul Hakam had lied, when he had made allegations against ash-Shafi’i concerning the lawfulness of having sex with one’s wife in the anus. On the contrary, ash-Shafi’i mentioned the unlawfulness of having sex with one’s wife in the anus in six of his books, and Allah knows best. Also, Ibn Umar forbade it. On the authority of Sa'id Ibn Yasar abu al-Habbab, ad-Darami narrated: ‘I said to Ibn Umar: ‘What do you think of having sex with one’s wife in the anus?" Ibn Umar said: "Does anyone of the Muslims do that?"’ This is a good Isnad, and explicitly reveals the unlawfulness of such act, and anything attributed to him is rejected on the ground of the above Hadith.

"Ma’mar Ibn ‘Isa narrated that Malik considered having sex with one’s wife in the anus is unlawful. Quoting Israel Ibn Rawh, Abu Bakr Ibn Zayyad an-Nisaburi narrated: ‘I asked Malik Ibn Anas’s opinion on having sex with one’s wife from the back, he said: "You are but Arabs, and can sowing be in a place other than that which has been ploughed? Do not go beyond the vagina." I said: "People claim that you say that?" He said: "It is a lie, it is a lie."’ Thus, this is what has been attributed to them, and it involved Abu Hanifa, ash-Shafi’i, Ahmed Ibn Hanbal and their companions, followers and other scholars from the Salaf. They entirely denied the allegation and some of them even believed that having sex with one's wife in the anus is Kufr." (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Part 2 Surah Al-Baqarah, ayat 142 to 252, Abridged by Sheikh Muhammad Nasi Ar-Rifa‘i [Al-Firdous Ltd, London; 1998, first edition], pp. 191-192; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Sunni Muslim historian and Quranic exegete al-Tabari narrated some of these traditions of Ibn Umar:

Others said, "Rather, it means that you may have intercourse whenever you want and in whatever manner you want." Of those who narrated this:

It was narrated Yakub, Narrated by Hushaim, narrated by Ibn A’wn, narrated by Nafi’ who related that whenever Ibn Umar read the Quran he would not speak, but one day I read the verse, "Your wives are as a tilth unto you: so approach your tilth when or how you will" (Sura 2:223). So he said, "Do you know about whom this verse was revealed?" I replied, "No." He said, "This verse was revealed about PENETRATING WOMEN IN THEIR ANUS."

It was narrated by Ibrahim Ibn Abdullah Ibn Muslim Abu Muslim, narrated by Abu Umar Al Dariri, narrated by Ismail Ibn Ibrahim (owner of) Al Karabisi, narrated by Ibn A’wn, narrated by Nafi’ who said, "I used to (inquire) from Ibn Umar whenever he read the verse in the Quran, ‘Your wives are as a tilth unto you: so approach your tilth when or how you will’ (Sura 2:223), he would say, ‘Meaning to have intercourse with women IN THEIR ANUS."

It was narrated by Abdel Rahman Ibn Abdullah Ibn Abdel Hakam, narrated by Abdel Malik Ibn Maslama, narrated by Al Darawardi who stated that it was related to Zaid Ibn Aslam that Muhammad Ibn Al Munkadir used to forbid penetrating women through their anus so Zaid responded, "I bear witness against Muhammad that he informed me that he performed this."

It was related about Al Harith Ibn Yakub that he narrated about Abi Al Habab Sa’id Ibn Yassar that he asked Ibn Umar and said, "O Abu Abdul Rahman! We buy slave girls, so may we commit ‘Nahmid’ with them?" So he replied, "And what is this ‘Nahmid’?" He responded, "(penetrating) the ANUS." Ibn Umar said, "Wow, Wow! Does a believer do that?"

It was narrated by Abu Kilaba, narrated by Abdel Samad, who said that it was narrated by his father who narrated from Ayub, narrated from Nafi’, narrated by Ibn Umar who said that (Sura 2:223), ‘Your wives are as a tilth unto you: so approach your tilth when or how you will,’ WAS REGARDING THE ANUS. (Arabic Source; translation and all bold, capital, and underline emphasis ours)

Hence, Ibn Umar the son of the third caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab allowed for men to engage in anal sex. This perhaps explains why Ibn Abbas claimed that Ibn Umar misunderstood the meaning of this specific text:

Narrated Abdullah Ibn Abbas:

Ibn Umar misunderstood (the Qur'anic verse, "So come to your tilth however you will")—MAY ALLAH FORGIVE HIM. The fact is that this clan of the Ansar, who were idolaters, lived in the company of the Jews who were the people of the Book. They (the Ansar) accepted their superiority over themselves in respect of knowledge, and they followed most of their actions. The people of the Book (i.e. the Jews) used to have intercourse with their women on one side alone (i.e. lying on their backs). This was the most concealing position for (the vagina of) the women. This clan of the Ansar adopted this practice from them. But this tribe of the Quraysh used to uncover their women completely, and seek pleasure with them from in front and behind and laying them on their backs.

When the muhajirun (the immigrants) came to Medina, a man married a woman of the Ansar. He began to do the same kind of action with her, but she disliked it, and said to him: We were approached on one side (i.e. lying on the back); do it so, otherwise keep away from me. This matter of theirs spread widely, and it reached the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him).

So Allah, the Exalted, sent down the Qur'anic verse: "Your wives are a tilth to you, so come to your tilth however you will," i.e. from in front, from behind or lying on the back. But this verse meant the place of the delivery of the child, i.e. the vagina. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2159)

Notice how this hadith simply disregards and degrades the rights of women by giving men the right to completely ignore the wishes of their wives regarding sexual positions. Interestingly, it isn’t a coincidence that Ibn Abbas’ claim regarding Ibn Umar’s misunderstanding is positioned after the following narration:

Narrated AbuHurayrah:
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: He who has intercourse with his wife through her anus is accursed. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2157)

Basically, Ibn Abbas’ statements provide further substantiation that Ibn Umar did in fact condone anal sex.

Finally, here is a narration from al-Tirmidhi regarding Muhammad permitting Umar to engage in anal sex with his wives:

"Ibn Abbas narrates that Hadhrath Umar went before the Messenger of God and said, ‘Master I am destroyed!’ The Messenger of God asked, ‘What thing has destroyed you?’ Umar replied, ‘Last night I had anal sex.’ The Messenger of God did not give a reply to Umar, then Allah sent down this revelation, ‘Your wives are as a tilth unto you; so approach your tilth when or how ye will; the words "kabool wa Dhabar" (the anus is accepted).’" (Jami Al-Tirmidhi, Bab al-Tafseer, Volume 2, p. 382, Ayat Hars)

To read the original Arabic text of this hadith please go here.

In fact, one Sunni source claims that the Shia sect of Islam actually condones anal sex till now. The translator of the hadith collection of Sunan Abu Dawud noted:

1483. This shows that it is not lawful to have intercourse with one’s wife through her anus. This is the view agreed upon by the whole community. The Shi'ah alone allow intercourse through anus, but this is against the traditions which prohibit this practice. (Sunan Abu Dawud, English translation and Explanatory notes by Prof. Ahmad Hasan, Volume II, p. 579)

What the foregoing confusion proves is that the Quran nowhere expressly forbids engaging in anal sex, since if it did there wouldn’t be so much confusion amongst Muslim writers and the Islamic traditions. It basically took Muslim tradition to straighten out the mess left by the Quran’s lack of clarity on this issue, and even that tradition wasn’t unanimous.

In all this debate about anal sex in the Muslim sources, it is always the question whether a man may do it or not. Not once is the issue raised whether or not the wife likes this. Whether the husband is allowed to commit this act on his wife depends only on Allah, or Muhammad, or the companions or commentators’ opinions but not on the wife. Is this not another strong evidence that Islam does not honor but degrades women who simply have to accept what the man (or some men) decides in regard to sexual practice?

Moreover, the comment that women are tilth implies that Muhammad viewed women as nothing more than breeders, that there real value was in their ability to give birth. If they were unable to get pregnant then he considered them to be basically useless:

Narrated Ma'qil ibn Yasar:
A man came to the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and said: I have found a woman of rank and beauty, but she does not give birth to children. Should I marry her? He said: No. He came again to him, but he prohibited him. He came to him third time, and he (the Prophet) said: Marry women who are loving and very prolific, for I shall outnumber the peoples by you. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2045)

We now turn to a passage which we mentioned earlier:

The love of desires, of women and sons and hoarded treasures of gold and silver and well bred horses and cattle and tilth, is made to seem fair to men; this is the provision of the life of this world; and Allah is He with Whom is the good goal (of life). S. 3:14 Shakir

Muhammad placed women on a list of things that a man desires and owns. In the hadiths, he and his followers even placed them on the same level as horses, dogs and asses!

Narrated ‘Aisha:
The things which annul the prayers were mentioned before me. They said, "Prayer is annulled by a dog, a donkey AND A WOMAN (if they pass in front of the praying people)." I said, "You have made us (i.e. women) dogs. I saw the Prophet praying while I used to lie in my bed between him and the Qibla. Whenever I was in need of something, I would slip away, for I disliked to face him." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 9, Number 490)

Abu Dharr reported: THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH (may peace be upon him) SAID: When any one of you stands for prayer and there is a thing before him equal to the back of the saddle that covers him and in case there is not before him (a thing) equal to the back of the saddle, HIS PRAYER WOULD BE CUT OFF BY (passing of an) ASS, WOMAN, AND BLACK DOG. I said: O Abu Dharr, what feature is there in a black dog which distinguish it from the red dog and the yellow dog? He said: O, son of my brother, I asked the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) as you are asking me, and he said: The black dog is a devil. (Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 1032)

Abu Huraira reported: THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH (may peace be upon him) SAID: A WOMAN, AN ASS AND A DOG DISRUPT THE PRAYER, but something like the back of a saddle guards against that. (Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 1034)

The Quran mentions things which are a source of trials, tribulations, for men:

And know ye that your possessions and your progeny are but a trial (fitnatun); and that it is God with Whom lies your highest reward. S. 8:28 Y. Ali

Your possessions and your children are only a trial (fitnatun), and Allah it is with Whom is a great reward. S. 64:15 Shakir

According to the so-called sound narrations the greatest source of trials are the women:

Narrated Abdullah bin ‘Umar:
Allah’s Apostle said, "Evil omen is in the women, the house and the horse." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 30; see also Numbers 31 and 32)

Usama b. Zaid reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: I have not left after me any (chance) of turmoil more injurious to men than the harm done to the men because OF WOMEN. (Sahih Muslim, Book 036, Number 6603; see also 6604)

In light of the foregoing, women would have to fall under the category of wealth or possessions which the Quran mentions since they are obviously not children! Basically, the hadiths are simply further confirming that women are the possession of the men.

The hadith compiler Ibn Majah provides further evidence for this view:

1855. ‘Abdullah b. ‘Amr (Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said that Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "Verily, the world is a property (1) and nothing of the property of the world is better than a righteous woman."

1856 Thauban (Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said that when (the command) concerning gold and silver was revealed, they (the people) said, "Which property should we get?" ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him) said, "I will inform you of it." Then he rode his camel and spurred it. Then he reached the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and I was behind him. Then he said, "Allah’s Messenger, which property should we acquire?" Upon this, he said, "Anyone of you should possess a heart thankful (to Allah), a tongue devoted to (Allah's) mention and a righteous wife helping anyone of you in the matter of the Hereafter."

According to al-Zawa’id, Nasa’i declared ‘Abdullah b. ‘Amr b. Marra da'if while Hakim and ibn Hibban held him reliable. Ibn Mu'in said, "There is no objection against him," and said: Tirmidhi transmitted in at-Tafsir direct from him a version other than 'Umar's version; and said: It is hasan.

1857 Abu ‘Umma (Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said on the authority of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that he used to say: A Believer does not get more benefit of the good he possesses, after God-consciousness, than a righteous wife. If he commands her, she obeys him, if he casts a glance at her, she pleases her[sic] (1) and if he takes an oath against her, she fulfils it and if he is absent from her, she is sincere to him regarding her person and his property.

According to al-Zawa'id, its isnad has ‘Ali b. Yazid. Bukhari said about him: He is a transmitter of munkar traditions. As for ‘Uthman b. ‘Atika, there is a difference of opinion about him. Nasa’i has transmitted this hadith from the hadith of Abu Huraira and he has observed silence against him. He has a proof from the hadith of 'Abdullah b. ‘Umar. (Sunan Ibn-I-Majah (Imam Abu Abdullah Muhammad b. Yazid Ibn-I-Maja Al-Qazwini), English version by Muhammad Tufail Ansari [Kazi Publications, Lahore (Pakistan), 1st edition 1995], Chapter NO. V, "The Best Women", Volume III, pp. 119-121)

Adding insult to injury, Muhammad even advised men to pray for God’s protection from the harm in women, female slaves and camels!

Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-‘As:

The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: If one of you marries a woman or buys a slave, he should say: "O Allah, I ask Thee for the good in her, and in the disposition Thou hast given her; I take refuge in Thee from the evil in her, and in the disposition Thou hast given her." When he buys a camel, he should take hold of the top of its hump and say the same kind of thing."

Abu Dawud said: Abu Sai’d added the following words in his version: He should then take hold of her forelock and pray for blessing in case of a woman or a slave. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 11, Number 2155)

{Note: The online version conveniently omitted Abu Dawud’s comments from Abu Sai’d.}

What about the evil of the men? Are there any prayers prescribed for women to seek protection from the evil of the man?

Muhammad went further and told Muslims to seize their wives’ foreheads, much like they should do to their slaves and animals, and pray for the good which they gain from them and against the evil inherent in them!

1918. 'Abdullah b. 'Amr (Allah be pleased with him) reported on the authority of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) who said, "When anyone of you benefits him with a woman or a servant or a cattle he should seize its forehead and pray: O Allah, I beg of Thee its good and the good of its natural disposition with which it has been created and I seek refuge in Thee of its evil and of the disposition with which it has been created." (Sunan Ibn-I-Majah, Volume III, Chapter No. XXVII, "The Supplication At The Time Of Sexual Intercourse", p. 157)

What about women doing that to their husbands? Why didn’t Muhammad command them to do the same with their husbands’ foreheads? Why give this right to husbands only?

As a further indication that a woman is a man’s possession and property in Islam is the Quran’s command to place the former under a kind of house arrest. In Islam women are only allowed to leave their homes if it is necessary and by permission of their husbands:

O wives of the Prophet! you are not like any other of the women; If you will be on your guard, then be not soft in (your) speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease yearn; and speak a good word. AND STAY IN YOUR HOUSES and do not display your finery like the displaying of the ignorance of yore; and keep up prayer, and pay the poor-rate, and obey Allah and His Apostle. Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House! and to purify you a (thorough) purifying. S. 33:32-33 Shakir

Earlier we had looked at texts which said that wives are prisoners of men, a position supported by the above text as the reader can see.

The following quotations come from Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri’s Reliance of the Traveler: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law In Arabic English Text, Commentary And Appendices edited and translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller (Amana Publications, Beltsville Maryland, revised edition 1994). It is one of the more respected, classical works in Islamic theology. This 1200+ page volume contains fundamentals of Islamic jurisprudence compiled by "the great 13th century hadith scholar and jurisprudent" Imam Nawawi, and others. Keep in mind that this work was not written with a Western audience in view since Imam Nawawi wanted to produce a book on Islamic law that was precise, and accurate, one that taught true Islamic values, specifically for a Muslim audience. The manual says in section m10.3-4 that:

(A: A husband may permit his wife to leave the house for a lesson in Sacred Law, for invocation of Allah (dhikr), to see her female friends, or to go to any place in the town. A woman may not leave the city without her husband or a member of her marriageable kin (def: m6.2) accompanying her, unless the journey is obligatory, like the hajj. It is unlawful for her to travel otherwise, and unlawful for her husband to allow her to.) (n: In the Hanafi school, it is not unlawful for her to travel beyond the city limits without a husband or member of her unmarriageable kin unless the distance to her intended destination exceeds ca. 77 km./ 48 mi. (al-Lubub fi sharh al-Kitab) (y88), 1.105).)

The husband may forbid his wife to leave the home (O: because of the hadith related by Bayhaqi that the Prophet said,

"It is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to allow someone into her husband’s house if he is opposed, or to go out if he is averse").

But if one of her relatives dies, it is preferable to let her leave to visit them. (p. 538)

And in section m10.12 it says:

(2) It is not lawful for a wife to leave the house except by permission of her husband, though she may do so without permission when there is a pressing necessity. Nor may a wife permit anyone to enter her husband’s home unless he agrees, even their unmarriageable kin. Nor may she be alone with a nonfamily –member male, under any circumstances. (p. 541)

It also writes in section p.42.2:

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

(1) "Allah will not look at a woman who is ungrateful to her husband, while unable to do without him."

(2) "When a man calls his wife to bed and she will not come, and he spends the night angry with her, the angels curse her until morning."

(3) "It is not lawful for a woman to fast when her husband is present, save by his leave. Nor to permit anyone into his house except with his permission."

(4) Whoever leaves her husband’s house [A: without his permission], the angels curse her until she returns or repents."

(Khalil Nahlawi:) It is a condition for the permissibility of her going out (dis: m10.3-4) that she take no measures to enhance her beauty, and that her figure is concealed or altered to a form unlikely to draw looks from men or attract them. Allah most High says,

"Remain in your homes and do not display your beauty as women did in pre-Islamic period of ignorance" (Koran 33:33). (p. 682)

And regarding praying at the local mosque, this same manual exhorts men to do so but advises women not to!

It is better for women to pray at home than at the mosque (A: whether they are young or old). It is offensive for an attractive or young woman to come to the mosque and pray (0: or for her husband to permit her), though not offensive for women who are not young or attractive when this is unlikely to cause temptation. (N: The author’s words here must be interpreted in the light of the following details: If a woman’s going to group prayer or elsewhere will definitely lead to temptation between the sexes, it is unlawful for her to go. If such temptation can be definitely prevented, her going to the group prayer remains sunna, as is attested to by the hadiths that have reached us on the subject. If temptation is feared but not certain to occur, her going becomes offensive. Whether such temptation is likely to occur is something that differs with different times, places, and people. An old woman is not like a young one, nor a righteous society like one in which temptation between the sexes is the rule; nor is a special prayer place set aside for women at the mosque like a prayer place which they share with men. This is why ‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) said,

"Had the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) seen what women do now, he would have forbidden them the mosque as the women of Bani Isra’il were forbidden."

A hadith reported by Bukhari and Muslim. (f12.4, pp. 171-172)

The so-called sound hadiths state:

Narrated Ibn 'Umar:
The Prophet said, "If your women ask permission to go to the mosque at night, allow them." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 12, Number 824)

Narrated Ibn Umar:
One of the wives of Umar (bin Al-Khattab) used to offer the Fajr and the ‘Isha’ prayer in congregation in the Mosque. She was asked why she had come out for the prayer as she knew that Umar disliked it, and he has great ghaira (self-respect). She replied, "What prevents him from stopping me from this act?" The other replied, "The statement of Allah's Apostle (p.b.u.h): ‘Do not stop Allah’s women-slave from going to Allah s Mosques' prevents him.’" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 13, Number 23)

Note carefully that the women have to ask their husbands first before they can even go to the mosque and that Umar hated for women to attend prayers! The foregoing leads us to ask the following questions: Why would women need permission to enter the house of God at night? Do men also need their wives’ permission? And where does the Old Testament forbid women from entering God’s house? Furthermore, why should women sit behind the men while in the mosques? Finally, if Muhammad would forbid women from entering the mosque based on things that they were doing then what about the evils committed by the men? Shouldn't they have also been warned of being banished from God's house?

Muhammad even stated that women’s salvation is dependent on whether their husbands are pleased with them:

Narrated Umm Salamah

Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "Any woman who dies when her husband is pleased with her will enter paradise."

Tirmidhi transmitted it. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 958; ALIM CD-ROM Version)

Narrated AbuUmamah

Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: There are three people whose prayer does not pass beyond their ears: the runaway slave till he returns; the woman who spends night in a state in which her husband is annoyed with her; and the leader of the people, whom (they do not like).

Tirmidhi transmitted it and said: This is a gharib hadith. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 344; ALIM CD-ROM Version)

Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: There are three people whose prayer does not ascend beyond their heads, even to the length of a span: the person who leads people in prayer despite their disapproval; a woman who spends the night (in a state) in which her husband is annoyed with her; and the two brothers who are estranged.

Transmitted by Ibn Majah. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 347; ALIM CD-ROM Version)

Islam Condones A Form of Prostitution Called Mut’a

At one stage in his life Muhammad permitted the degrading of women in order to satisfy the sexual desires of Muslim men and passed it off as temporary marriages. Among Muslims this abuse of women is called Mut’a:

Narrated Abdullah:
We used to participate in the holy wars carried on by the Prophet and we had no women (wives) with us. So we said (to the Prophet). "Shall we castrate ourselves?" But the Prophet forbade us to do that and thenceforth he allowed us to marry a woman (temporarily) by giving her even a garment, and then he recited: "O you who believe! Do not make unlawful the good things which Allah has made lawful for you." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 139)

Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah and Salama bin Al-Akwa': While we were in an army, Allah's Apostle came to us and said, "You have been allowed to do the Mut’a (marriage), so do it." Salama bin Al-Akwa' said: Allah's Apostle's said, "If a man and a woman agree (to marry temporarily), their marriage should last for three nights, and if they like to continue, they can do so; and if they want to separate, they can do so." I do not know whether that was only for us or for all the people in general. Abu Abdullah (Al-Bukhari) said: ‘Ali made it clear that the Prophet said, "The Mut’a marriage has been cancelled (made unlawful)." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 52)

Narrated Abdullah:
We used to participate in the holy battles led by Allah's Apostle and we had nothing (no wives) with us. So we said, "Shall we get ourselves castrated?" He forbade us that and then allowed us to marry women with a temporary contract and recited to us: -- ‘O you who believe! Make not unlawful the good things which Allah has made lawful for you, but commit no transgression.’ (5.87) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 130)

Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas
The temporary marriage applied only in the early days of Islam. A man would come to a settlement where he had no acquaintance and marry a woman for the period it was thought he would stay there, and she would look after his belongings and cook for him. But Ibn Abbas said that when the verse came down, "Except their wives or the captives their right hands possess," intercourse with anyone else became unlawful. Tirmidhi transmitted it. (Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 942; ALIM CD-ROM Version)

The time frame usually given for such marriages (more like fornication and/or adultery) is three days, but can theoretically last as long as an hour:

Q1: Can Someone Contract Mut'a Marriage for 1 hour?

I would say theoretically yes! Much in the same way that it is possible for some one to marry a woman permanently and then divorce her in one hour or even less. Logically, since the possibility of this action does not invalidate the regular marriage, therefore, it should not be applied in the case of Mut'a either! (Source)

Sunni Muslims generally believe that Muhammad himself abrogated this perverted practice. Yet there are Sunni narrations that say that this practice was being observed all the way till the time of Umar ibn Al-Khattab who stopped it, but then later reinstated it. For instance, ar-Razi wrote of Mut’a:

"‘Mut’ah marriage involves a man hiring a woman for a specific amount of money, for a certain period of time, to have sex with her. The scholars agree that this Mut'ah marriage was authorized in the beginning of Islam. It is reported that when the Prophet came to Mecca to perform ‘umrah, the women of Mecca dressed up and adorned themselves. The companions complained to the Prophet that they had not had sex for a long time, so he said to them: ‘Enjoy these women.’" (At-tafsir al-kabir, Q. 4:24)


"No Muslim disputes that Mut'ah marriage was allowed in early Islam, the difference is whether it has been abrogated or not." (Ibid.)

The hadith collections affirm that there was debate regarding whether this practice had been abrogated:

Narrated Abu Jamra:
I heard Ibn Abbas (giving a verdict) when he was asked about the Mut’a with the women, and he permitted it (Nikah-al-Mut’a). On that a freed slave of his said to him, "That is only when it is very badly needed and women are scarce." On that, Ibn ‘Abbas said, "Yes." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 51)

Ibn Uraij reported: 'Ati' reported that Jabir b. Abdullah came to perform 'Umra, and we came to his abode, and the people asked him about different things, and then they made a mention of temporary marriage, whereupon he said: Yes, we had been benefiting ourselves by this temporary marriage during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) and during the time of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3248)

‘Urwa b. Zubair reported that ‘Abdullah b. Zubair (Allah be pleased with him) stood up (and delivered an address) in Mecca saying: Allah has made blind the hearts of some people as He has deprived them of eyesight that they give religious verdict in favour of temporary marriage, while he was alluding to a person (Ibn 'Abbas). Ibn Abbas called him and said: You are an uncouth person, devoid of sense. By my life, Mut'a was practised during the lifetime of the leader of the pious (he meant Allah's Messenger, may peace be upon him), and Ibn Zubair said to him: Just do it yourselves, and by Allah, if you do that I will stone you with your stones. Ibn Shihab said. Khalid b. Muhajir b. Saifullah informed me: While I was sitting in the company of a person, a person came to him and he asked for a religious verdict about Mut’a and he permitted him to do it. Ibn Abu ‘Amrah al-Ansari (Allah be pleased with him) said to him: Be gentle. It was permitted in the early days of Islam, (for one) who was driven to it under the stress of necessity just as (the eating of) carrion and the blood and flesh of swine and then Allah intensified (the commands of) His religion and prohibited it (altogether). Ibn Shihab reported: Rabi’ b. Sabra told me that his father (Sabra) said: I contracted temporary marriage with a woman of Banu 'Amir for two cloaks during the lifetime of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him); then he forbade us to do Mut’a. Ibn Shihab said: I heard Rabi’ b. Sabra narrating it to Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz and I was sitting there. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3261)

Abu Nadra reported: While I was in the company of Jabir b. Abdullah, a person came to him and said that Ibn 'Abbas and Ibn Zubair differed on the two types of Mut'a (Tamattu’ of Hajj 1846 and Tamattu’ with women), whereupon Jabir said: We used to do these two during the lifetime of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him). Umar then forbade us to do them, and so we did not revert to them. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3250)

One narration even says that, during the caliphate of Umar, a woman got pregnant as a result of Mut’a:

Yahya related to me from Malik from Ibn Shihab from Urwa ibn az-Zubayr that Khawla ibn Hakim came to Umar ibn al-Khattab and said, "Rabia ibn Umayya made a temporary marriage with a woman and she is pregnant by him." Umar ibn al-Khattab went out in dismay dragging his cloak, saying, "This temporary marriage, had I come across it, I would have ordered stoning and done away with it!" (Malik’s Muwatta, Book 28, Number 28.18.42)

Another renowned Sunni exegete and historian, al-Tabari, claimed that Umar rescinded his prohibition:

According to Muhammad b. Ishaq - Yahya b. Ma’in – Ya’qub b. Ibrahim - ‘Isa b. Yazid b. Da’b - ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Abi Zayd – ‘Imran b. Sawdah: I said the morning prayer with ‘Umar, and he recited the Subhan chapter and one other. Then he left. I went off with him, and he asked if there was anything he could do. I told him there was, so he asked me to join him. I did so and, when he entered [his house], he gave me permission [to enter]. There he was on a bed with nothing on it. I told him I wanted to give him some advice. His reply was, "The person giving good advice is welcome anytime." I said, "Your community finds fault with you on four counts." (‘Umar) put the top of his whip in his beard and the lower part on his thigh. Then he said, "Tell me more." I continued, "It has been mentioned that you declared the lesser pilgrimage forbidden during the months of the [full] pilgrimage. The Messenger of God did not do this, nor did Abu Bakr, though it is permitted." He answered, "It is permitted. If they were to perform the lesser pilgrimage during the months of the pilgrimage, they would regard it as being in lieu of the full pilgrimage, and (Mecca) would be a deserted place that year, and the pilgrimage would be celebrated by no one, although it is part of God's greatness. You are right." I continued, "It is also said that you have forbidden temporary marriage, although it was a license (rukhsah) given by God. We enjoy temporary marriage for a handful [of dates], and we can separate after three nights." He replied, "The Messenger of God permitted it at a time of necessity. Then people regained their life of comfort. I do not know of any Muslim who has practiced this or gone back to it. Now anyone who wishes can marry for a handful [of dates] and separate after three nights. You are right." I continued, "You emancipate a slave girl if she gives birth, without her master's [consent to] the emancipation." He replied, "I added one thing that is forbidden to another, intending only to do some good. I ask God’s forgiveness." I continued, "There have been complaints of your raising your voice against your subjects and your addressing them harshly." He raised his whip, then ran his hand down it right to the end. Then he said, "I am Muhammad's traveling companion"- he [in fact] sat behind him at the raid on Qarqarat al-Kudr… (The History of al-Tabari: The Conquest of Iran, translated by G. Rex Smith [State University of New York Press, Albany, 1994], Volume XIV, pp. 139-140; bold emphasis ours)

To add to this mass confusion, this next hadith says that the Quran never abrogated Mut’a:

Narrated 'Imran bin Husain:
The Verse of Hajj-at-Tamatu was revealed in Allah’s Book, so we performed it with Allah’s Apostle, and nothing was revealed in Qur'an to make it illegal, nor did the Prophet prohibit it till he died. But the man (who regarded it illegal) just expressed what his own mind suggested. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 43)

The Saudi translator of Sahih al-Bukhari, Muhammad Muhsin Khan, has changed the word Mut'a to Hajj-at-Tamatu, even though the Arabic text of the Hadith that is placed next to the English says Mut'a. Yet even here the point is still clear since the expression Hajj-at-Tamatu refers to the practice of Muta during the time of Hajj, i.e. Mut’a of Hajj.

Despite the Sunni claim that Mut’a has been cancelled one will still find Shiite Muslims condoning and practicing it, as the following links show:


As anyone can see, this practice is nothing more than a form of legalized prostitution since its sole aim being to gratify the carnal perversions of men.

The practice of Mut’a may account for why the following text is worded in the way that it is:

And let those who do not find the means to marry keep chaste until Allah makes them free from want out of His grace. And (as for) those who ask for a writing from among those whom your right hands possess, give them the writing if you know any good in them, and give them of the wealth of Allah which He has given you; and do not compel your slave girls to prostitution, WHEN THEY DESIRE TO KEEP CHASTE, in order to seek the frail good of this world's life; and whoever compels them, then surely after their compulsion Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. S. 24:33 Shakir

From the way this passage is worded one can easily conclude that prostitution is only a sin when the slave girl desires chastity. Otherwise, if she does not desire to be chaste then it is okay for her to prostitute herself for gain. This interpretation makes sense in light of the practice of temporary marriages. After all, there must be women who are willing to be used and degraded in this manner for Mut’a to even be possible.

This concludes the second part of our analysis. Continue with Part Three.

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