Concerns with Islam: Women’s Lack of Legal Rights and Equality

From WikiIslam, the online resource on Islam
Jump to: navigation, search
Concerns with Islam:
Thoughts from an American Convert
By: Americana X
Ch.1: Apostasy
Ch 2: Immoral, Unjustified, and Preemptive Warfare and Violence
Ch.3: Child Marriage
Ch.4: Women’s Lack of Legal Rights and Equality
Ch.5: How Women Are Perceived Disrespectfully
Ch.6: Wife Beating
Ch.7: Men and Women are Not Equal at All In Islam
Ch.8: Sexual Slavery in Islam
Ch.9: Adoption
Ch.10: Democracy is not Compatible with Islam

Women’s Testimony is Worth Half a Man

Call in two male witnesses from among you, but if two men cannot be found, then one man and two women whom you judge fit to act as witnesses.
O womenfolk, you should ask for forgiveness for I saw you in bulk amongst the dwellers of Hell. A wise lady said: Why is it, Allah’s Apostle, that women comprise the bulk of the inhabitants of Hell? The Prophet observed: ‘You curse too much and are ungrateful to your spouses. You lack common sense, fail in religion and rob the wisdom of the wise.’ Upon this the woman remarked: What is wrong with our common sense? The Prophet replied, ‘Your lack of common sense can be determined from the fact that the evidence of two women is equal to one man. That is a proof.’

Muslim apologists constantly say that a woman’s witness is half that of a man’s because women forget more than men because of some mental deficiency. Also, they say they are more emotional than men. This is just plain ridiculous. If that were true, than why are all the jails filled with men? Why can’t these “unemotional men” control their emotions when it comes to violent crime? Additionally, countless studies over and over again confirm that men lie more than women do and that men tell twice as many lies as women. According to a recent study about male and female lying conducted in the UK, “Researchers found they tell six fibs a day on average to their partner, boss and work colleagues, but women come out with just three.”[1]

Women Will Never Successfully Rule Nations

Narrated Abu Bakra: During the battle of Al-Jamal, Allah benefited me with a Word (I heard from the Prophet). When the Prophet heard the news that the people of the Persia had made the daughter of Khosrau their Queen (ruler), he said, "Never will succeed such a nation as makes a woman their ruler."

If God says that woman will never be successful politicians, this certainly would affect Muslim women’s opportunities in the world of politics, and we all know that it does. There are many fatwas or religious ruling based on this notion. According to Cleric Maulana Syed Kalbe Jawwad:

“Women should have no role in politics and stay at home. They should become mothers of good leaders rather than try to be leaders themselves.”

The notion that women will fail in politics is not only sexist, but it is simply untrue. Study after study demonstrates that when women are in politics, communities overall fair better.[2] If anyone questions this, they need to read The Impact of Women in Public Office by Susan J. Carrol. The research demonstrates that women in public office do take a more active role in fostering measures to further women's interests and that feminist public officials especially African American women are most likely to undertake action on behalf of women and minorities.

Furthermore, As Womenomics authors Katty Kay and Claire Shipman point out, research has shown the many benefits of having more women at the decision-making table—leading to a wake-up call among many U.S. companies. In addition to focusing on collaboration, women seek out long-term results and tend to take fewer risks. The positive results of women’s leadership can be demonstrated by corporations’ performance:

“By all measures, more women in your company means better performance. Pepperdine [University] found that the Fortune 500 firms with the best records of putting women at the top were 18 to 69 percent more profitable than the median companies in their industries.”
Fixing the Economy? It's Women's Work.
Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, The Washington Post, July 12, 2009

Divorce Rights: Not Equal For Men and Women

A husband may say to his wife at anytime she is not menstruating, "I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you," and this effectively throws her out on the street. Some Muslim countries have made their divorce laws more humane, but this does not negate the general ruling of Shariah which allows her to leave only with her Mah’r.

Women's rights groups in the Muslim world are waging an uphill battle to prevent governments from recognizing the “triple talaq” - and with some success in the more moderate countries - but it will always be honored by Islamic courts because this is the Shariah ruling.

Although Muslims will tell you that a woman has a right to divorce, they often omit the fact that “Khula” is vastly different from “Talaq.” A woman can not execute the same kind of divorce that her husband can. The rules are different. The type of divorce a woman can ask for is Khula and she can wind up with nothing or have to pay her husband to divorce. Khula, or mubaraat, is a mutual divorce affected through the common consent of the wife and husband. This form of divorce requires that the wife give the husband some form of compensation.[3] I have personally seen women who had been married multiple times to wealthy men wind up with nothing due to this type of unfair divorce laws.

Also, the burden of proof is on her to “prove” that she “deserves” a divorce. This is very subjective and she may be forced to endure a dangerous situation while the court proceedings go on. Her only safety net is an understanding family. If she doesn’t have that, she has few options.

Women Get Half of What Their Brother’s Gets In Terms of Inheritance

“Allah directs you in regard of your Children’s (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females…. These are settled portions ordained by Allah.”

Often it is explained in conjunction with verse 4:34:

"Men are (meant to be righteous and kind) guardians of women because God has favored some more than others and because they (i.e. men) spend out of their wealth. (In their turn) righteous women are (meant to be) devoted and to guard what God has (willed to be) guarded even though out of sight (of the husband). As for those (women) on whose part you fear ill-will and nasty conduct, admonish them (first), (next) separate them in beds (and last) beat them. But if they obey you, then seek nothing against them. Behold, God is most high and great.

Women get less of an inheritance than men until today all over the Muslim world. Apologists claim that is because men take financial care of women so that is fair. This is implying that for all time, women will not ever be able to financially support themselves and as a result, their inheritance should be cut in half! Women also “spend out of their wealth” for men! Many women don’t want to be financially at the mercy of a man. It is nice to be able to stay at home when children are young but what about when they are in school? I enjoy working and so do millions of other women.

Furthermore, the whole notion of Muslim women perpetually being the responsibility of her husband puts the relationship into a dangerous imbalance. Many women in the Muslim world marry with a fairy tale notion of their prince sweeping them off their feet. If he loses his job or has financial problems, most Muslim women are not prepared to help their families financially because they grew up with this notion that “a man is responsible for a woman.” I see many cases of this and it is pitiful. Additionally, Muslims say that if a woman works, she can keep it all for herself. What woman could be so selfish to her family, and not want to share responsibility with her husband for their needs? This does not contribute to marital harmony and a sense of partnership. It is for the couple to determine what works best for them which may constitute a wide variety of agreements. In the end of the day, a woman should not be sexually discriminated against in terms of her inheritance.

Previous Previous - Child Marriage            How Women Are Perceived Disrespectfully - Next Next