Woman in Islam and the Western Civilization
While discussing the marital rights, I feel it is important to refer to women's ranks in Islam and to tell how this religion cares for and treat women with utter kindness. This is the reason beyond women's being happy and respectful under the shades of Islam. To prove so, it is essential to compare between women of the first age of Islam and women of other ages in the light of the divine principles and genuine standards, away from capricious and ignorant tendencies and control of the customs and traditions that are unsuitable to be considered as true criteria in examining, evaluating, and distinguishing the genuine facts from the false, since some facts may take the color of their surroundings or circumstances. As a matter of fact, custom, sometimes, regards evil manners as good and good traits as evil. It can be trusted and accepted as arbiter only when it agrees with the wise guidance of God. Only then, custom will not misjudge and will not go astray from justice.
Woman in the Ancient Ages
The social standard of women's evaluation in the different ancient ages varied to great extent and swing between negligence and excessiveness, deprived of any state of moderation. Woman, first, was regarded as lowly, imperfect creature. Then, she was regarded as a devil that inspires with sinning and evil. Then, she was regarded as the mistress of the society who has absolute control over everything. Then, she was regarded as a worker that must be exerting all efforts for saving her livelihood.
During most of these ages, woman used to suffer misery and humiliation, since her rights were usurped and her soul was enslaved by man who had the right to use her for any purpose.
During the Roman civilization, woman's values were unstable. First, she was decided as a slave and servant of man, who had all the freedom to domineer her. Then, she was overestimated when she was freed from the fist of fathers and husbands and granted all rights of possession, heritage, divorce, indecorum, and indecency to the degree that a Roman woman used to marry a number of men shamelessly.
A Roman writer mentioned the story of a woman who moved in the laps of eight men in less than five years. Another saint referred to the story of that woman whose last marriage was the twenty-third to the man who married twenty times before her.( Quoted from Mr. Al-Mawdoudi's book titled al-Hijab; page 22).
Furthermore, the Roman woman was allowed to practice sexual deviation freely, and that was the main reason beyond the corruption that affected the Roman society.
In the custom of the Greek civilization, woman was added to the rubbish. She was sold, purchased, and regarded as devilish infection.
The ancient codes of India decided that epidemic, death, hell, poison, snakes… etc. are better than woman. Hence, the Indian women's rights to live were ceased with the death of their husbands who were their absolute masters and lords. Hence, they had to throw themselves in the fire in which the bodies of their husbands were thrown; lest, the eternal curse would befall them.
From the viewpoint of the Torah, the rank of woman can be noticed through the following words that are recorded in the Exodus, Chapter 14, paragraph 17:
"My heart and I wandered so as to know, search, and seek wisdom and reason, and to know that evil is ignorance and idiocy is insanity. I found that woman who is snare and whose heart is trap and hands are fetters, is bitterer than death." (Quoted from Dr. Ahmed Chalabi's Comparison of Religions; 3/196).
Christianity, in the Middle Ages, considered woman as a devilish, profane creature that should be kept away.
In his book titled 'History of Ethics of Europe, Liki says that people used to escape women's shadows and deem sinful to approach or meet them. They also believed that to meet by chance in the way or talk to any woman, including mothers, wives, or sisters, abort righteous deeds and spiritual efforts.
Thus, the Western society used to underestimate women. In 586 A.D., a conference was held in France to decide whether woman is human being or not! After discussions, they decided that woman is human being that is created for serving man!
In England, Henry VIII deemed unlawful for women to recite the Holy Scriptures. Until 1850 A.D., women were not regarded as citizens, and until 1882, they had no personal rights and had no right to possess anything. Hence, women were dissolved in the personalities of their fathers or husbands.( Quoted from Dr. Ahmed Chalabi's Comparison of Religions; 3/200).
Woman in the Pre-Islamic Arab Society
Mr. An-Nadawi could summarize the life of women in the pre-Islamic Arab society by the following words:
"Women were the subjects of wronging and oppression. Their rights were violated and properties were extorted. They were deprived of their heritage, prevented -after being divorced or widow- from choosing husbands, and inherited just like properties or riding animals. They were also given deficient measures. Man could enjoy all of his rights, while woman enjoyed nothing. Even in food, there were definite meals allowable for men, but forbidden for women. Man also had the right to marry any number of women. They also hated the newborn girls to the degree that they used to bury them alive. They also used to kill girls so savagely. It happened that a newborn girl was kept alive until her father would come back from a journey that took, sometimes, months or even more. When that father came back, he would kill that girl who began to grow up mentally and physically! Some, furthermore, used to throw girls from tremendous heights."
Woman in the Modern Western Civilization
After long strife and big sacrifices, woman could win her freedom and rights when the modern Western civilization came to its climax. Woman, hence, have been able to feel her being equal to man and share him in offices, shops, industries, and various social activities. The Western woman has been glad at these gains that she could obtain after centuries of shedding tears and suffering misfortunes. Unfortunately, she has ignored the reality of the wrong and loss that she has to encounter in this field. If woman used the criterion of logic for comparing the gains that she has achieved with the losses that have befallen her, she would feel grief, disappointment, and damage. The propagandists of liberalism in this material civilization have certainly deceived, beguiled, and exploited women's innocence so meanly and cunningly. First, they exploited her to compete with man who demanded with raising the wages and decreasing the working hours, and she was deceived when she accepted to do men's jobs with fewer wage. Because she has the ability to attract customers, they exploited her femininity in commercial fields so as to double their material profits, deriving benefit from the sexual potentials. After that, she has to do her feminine tasks, such as pregnancy, giving birth, education, and household management in addition to her strife for seeking earnings so as to get rid of ghosts of hunger, because man, in most cases, had deserted his mission of securing her living.
In spite of the achievements of the European woman, she is, still, decided as loser according to the logical standards. This is because, as she sought freedom, lost her religion, morality, and dignity, and became in such a disgusting state of dissoluteness and degradation. We have previously shown that the Western scholars themselves have testified to this fact. Let us focus more light on this fact through the following discussions:
Woman's Liberation in Islam
With the rising of the dawn of Islam, the inconsiderate traditions and the ragged customs were thrown away. Instead, an everlasting constitution befitting the intellects and sound nature and escorts humankind all over ages was issued. One of the reformations of that constitution was rectifying and rehabilitating the values of women, by granting them all their material and moral rights in such a wise, moderate style away from negligence and exaggeration. During the luminous age of Islam, woman occupied a high rank that has never been achieved by women of any other nation.
Islam has shed lights on women's reality and equality to man in the human concepts, principles, sanctity of soul, honor, and property, and gain of the afterlife rewarding. Thus, Islam has canceled all the pre-Islamic allegations of woman's coming after man in these fields:
"People, We have created you all male and female and have made you nations and tribes so that you would recognize each other. The most honorable among you in the sight of Allah is the most pious of you. Allah is All-knowing and All-aware (49:13)."
"All righteously believing male or female will be granted a blessed happy life and will receive their due reward and more. (16:97)"
As some of the Arabs used to bury their newborn girls alive and kill them wrongfully, Islam, granting girls dignity and right to live, reproached the committers of such a crime and threatened them with painful punishment:
"And when the female infant buried alive is asked for what sin she was killed? (81:8-9)"
"Do not kill your children for fear of poverty. We will give sustenance to all of you. To kill them is certainly a great sin. (17:31)"
The pre-Islamic customs decided to control woman so wrongfully by coercing her to marry the one she does not like, preventing her from marriage, or inheriting her just like properties and giving the right to the heir to do anything with her-such as giving her in marriage and seizing her dowry or preventing her from marriage until she redeemed herself or died so that he would inherit her. Islam freed woman from all these forms of slavery and granted her the right to choose for her marriage the one she sees well-qualified. As an Islamic law, it is inadmissible to give a woman in marriage before obtaining her satisfaction. Islam, also, deemed forbidden to inherit a woman coercively:
"Believers, it is not lawful for you to inherit women against their will as part of the legacy. Do not create difficulties for your wives in order to force them to give-up part of what you had given to them to set themselves free from the bond of marriage, unless they have clearly committed adultery. Always treat them reasonably. If you dislike them, you could be disliking that which Allah has filled with abundant good. (4:19)"
One of the customs of the Arabs before Islam, and even some of the Western societies in recent times, was depriving women of ownership. Claiming that inheritance is a right dedicated to men of the tribe who defend it with their swords, the Arabs before Islam deprived woman of right of inheritance.
When Islam prevailed, these false traditions were cancelled and women were granted all their rights of possession and inheritance. Islam, also, decided their shares of inheritance, as mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, or other titles:
"Men and women will both be rewarded according to their deeds, rather pray to Allah for His favors. Allah knows all things. (4:32)"
"Male and female are entitled to their legal share in the legacy of their parents and relatives, whether it be small or large. (4:7)"
Islam has also imposed upon husbands to cover the needs of their wives even if they are rich and wealthy.
Thanks to the principles and ethics of Islam, Muslim woman could be the ideal examples of rationality, faith, and high nobility. Islam has also raised women's social ranks to the degree that they could dispute with even the caliphs-the highest authority in the Islamic state:
Omar ibn al-Khattab, once, was addressing to people not to exaggerate in dowries, but an ordinary woman opposed him saying: "You have no right to say so." He asked: "Why?"
She answered: "This is because God says: 'Do not take back the dowry which you had paid even if what you paid was a large amount of gold. To do this is a slanderous act and a manifest sin (4:20).'"
Hence, Omar unsaid declaring: "Omar was wrong, and a woman was right."
History has recorded bright pages about the glories and heroic situations of Muslim women, and narrators could not hide their admiration of such situations; therefore, they related them with fascinating styles showing their esteem and wonder:
Naseeba al-Maziniyya used to participate in the campaigns of the Prophet (s) with her son. In one of the battles, her son wanted to flee, but she attacked him saying: "Son, do you want to leave God and His Messenger?" Hence, her son was back to the battle, but a man attacked and killed him. As she saw this situation, she took the sword from her son's hand and attacked that killer and could kill him. Referring to her situation, the Prophet (s) addressed to her: "God bless you, Naseeba."
This lady used to stop in front of the Prophet (s) so as to protect him. Because of that, she was injured heavily.( Quoted from safinat ul-Bihar; vol. 2 page 585).
The following is another story showing heroic situations of a lady:
During his reign, Muawiya -the Umayyad caliph- performed the hajj and, during his stay in Mecca, he asked about a black, fat lady from the tribe of Banu Kinana. She was residing in al-Hujoun and was named 'Daramiyya al-Hujoun.' When he was informed that she was still alive, he summoned her, and she was brought before him.
He said: "How are you, daughter of Ham?"( Ham is one of the sons of Noah the prophet. He is regarded as the father of the black).
She answered: "You should not have dishonored me for my belonging to Ham. I am a woman from the tribe of Banu Kinana, and from the tribe of your father."
He said: "You have said the truth. Do you know why I summoned you?"
She answered: "None but God knows the unseen?" He said: "I summoned you to ask you why you have loved and supported Ali and hated and antagonized me."
She requested: "Will you allow me not to answer you?"
He said: "No, I will not."
She said: "Well, you have insisted. I have loved Ali for his justice among the subjects and for his equitable distribution. And I have hated you for you fought those whom are more deserving than you are of this position and for you asked for that which it is not rightful for you to ask. I have supported Ali for the obligation of the loyalty to him that was declared by the Prophet (s), and for he loved the poor and reverenced the religious. And I have antagonized you for you shed the respectful blood, sowed discord among Muslims, ruled unfairly, and issued judges according to your own caprices."
Muawiya said: "Therefore, your belly is puffed up, is it not?"
She said: "Listen you, it is Hind whom is cited as example of puffed bellies, not me." (Hind (daughter of Utba) was the mother of Muawiya. She was one of the well-known most notorious prostitutes in Mecca. In the battle of Uhud, she tried to swallow the liver of Hamza ibn Abd ul-Muttalib (a), out of her rage and malice, after she had given a great prize to a slave if he would kill him).
Muawiya said: "Listen you, stop it. I have not meant something disgraceful. I have only intended goodness."
Hence, she stopped.
Muawiya then asked her: "Did you see Ali?"
She answered: "Yes, by God, I did."
He asked: "How was he?"
She answered: "He was not seduced by the authority that seduced you and was not engaged by the grace that engaged you."
He asked: "Did you ever hear his words?"
She answered: "Yes, by God, I did. His words polished hearts from blindness in the same way as oiling polishes rust."
He commented: "You have said the truth. Do you have any need that I can settle for you?"
She wondered: "Will you really settle my need if I say it to you?"
He answered: "Of course I will." She said: "Then, I want one hundred red she-camels with their male and cameleer."
He asked: "What do you intend to do with these?"
She answered: "I will feed the babies with their milk and feed the adults with their meat, win noble deeds through them, and use them for reconciling the disagreeing tribes."
Muawiya said: "Well, if I give you these camels, will I occupy the same position that Ali occupied in your heart?"
She answered: "This will never happen. A great difference lies between Ali and you."
He said: "By God I swear, Had Ali been alive, he would not have given you a single camel."
She answered: "Of course he would have never done it. Furthermore, he would not have given a single hair of a camel so long as they are within the public treasury." (Quoted from Qissas ul-arab; part 2).
Let us now mention another story in this regard:
Az-Zarqaa bint Edi was a strong lady from Kufa who stopped, during the battle of Siffeen, among the rows of Imam Ali's army calling loudly at them with statements of the highest degree of encouragement on fighting. Her words were so affective that they urged even the coward to fight, the absconder to attack, the peaceable to go into battle, the fugitive to assail, and the unstable to resist.
A long time after the battle, Muawiya summoned her. When she attended, he asked her: "Do you know why I summoned you?"
She answered: "Except God, nobody knows the unseen."
He asked: "It was you who rode the red camel during the battle of Siffeen and stopped between the rows of the soldiers kindling the fire of war and urging on fighting, were you not?"
She answered: "Yes, it was I."
He asked: "What for did you do so?"
She answered: "Chief of the believers, the head died, the tail was amputated, that which departed will never come back, time is changeable, he who thinks will realize the truth, and matters will surely be followed by others."
He said: "You have said the truth. Now, do you still remember your words in that situation?"
She answered: "No, by God, I do not. I have forgotten."
He said: "How excellent you are! I do remember you when you said: 'O people! Pay attention and think well. You have been engaged in a seditious affair. You have been covered by the gowns of gloom that took you away from the very course. It is surely a blind, deaf, and mute ordeal that does not respond to the whooping and does not become mild to its leader. A lantern cannot shine in sunlight, stars cannot shine in moonlight, and mules cannot win over mares. Likewise, nothing can cut the iron except the iron. We will surely lead him who seeks guidance and we will surely answer him who has questions. O people! The right has certainly gained its long-sought goal. O Muhajirs and Ansar! Be steadfast against difficulties, for the reunification shall very soon be achieved, the word of justice shall very soon prevail, and the right shall very soon overcome the wrong. For sure, the right and the wrong are not the same. (Is he then who is a believer like him who is a transgressor? They are not equal.) Go on fighting and be steadfast. It is certainly that women's dye is henna, while men's is blood. Patience surely achieves the best result. Wage war without regression, for this day will be followed by other alike days.'
These were your words of urging on fighting, were they not?"
She answered: "Yes, they were."
Muawiya said: "You are the partner of Ali in every single drop of blood that he shed during that war."
She answered: "Chief of the believers, God may reward you excellently and keep you in safety for such great tidings that you have born to me. You are, now, surely worthy of telling good news and pleasing the sitters."
He wondered in astonishment: "Has my accusation been great tidings in your sight?" She answered: "Yes, by God, it has. Had I been actually participating him!"
Muawiya laughed and said: "Verily, your loyalty to Ali after his death is more astonishing than your love for him during his lifetime." (Quoted from Qissas ul-arab; part 2).
Let us now cite a third story in this field:
On the day of Ashura, the mother of Wahab ibn Abdullah ibn Khabbab al-Kelbi said to her son: "Son, stand up to support the son of the Prophet's daughter."
He responded: "Of course, mother, I will do without showing any neglect."
Hence, the son proceeded for fighting, reciting his famous rajaz.( Rajaz is a sort of Arabic poetry used to be including an introduction of the fighters during battles). When he attacked, he could kill a number of the enemies. He then returned to his mother and wife, saying proudly: "Mother, are you satisfied?"
She answered: "I will not be satisfied before you fight until you will be killed before al-Hussein (a)."
When his wife shouted at him, 'By God, do not distress me,' his mother said: "Son, do not listen to her words. Go to fight in front of the son of the Prophet's daughter so that he will intercede for you before God on the Day of Resurrection."
He listened to his mother's words and went on fighting. He could kill nineteen horsemen and twelve soldiers before his hands were cut. Seeing this, his mother took a post and came towards him shouting: "I may sacrifice my father and mother for you, fight for protecting the Immaculate-the harem of the Prophet (s)." When the son tried to convince her to go back with the other women, she hanged to his clothes saying: "No, I will not go back before I will be killed with you."
Imam al-Hussein (a) intruded in the situation to say: "God may reward you and your family excellently. Join the other women."
Only then, she went back, and her son went on fighting until he was martyred. (Quoted from Sheikh Abbas al-Qummi's Nafas ul-Mahmoum).
How great the difference between such honorable, virtuous women and the modern Muslim ones, most of whom call to primping up, casting away the Islamic traditions, and imitating the Western women in their showing off and dissoluteness, is!
Equality of the sexes
Among the various heresies that invaded the East was the idea of the complete equality of man and woman in political, economical, and social fields. The naïve Muslims, having been deceived by this fallacy, went on calling to it, ignoring its being in violation of the principles of nature and conscience, because of the great differences between the two sexes and the dissimilarity of their qualifications in this life. By proving the great differences between man and woman, it becomes easy to realize the falsity of this idea that is full of negligence and waste of the characteristics of both sexes.
Generally, man is huger, stronger, and more steadfast against ordeals than woman is. He is also more broad-minded, sagacious, and experienced.
Woman, on the other hand, is, generally, more handsome, less physically powerful, more sensitive, and more delicate than man is, since she is prepared for her maternal tasks.
Symptoms of menstruation, pregnancy, and suckling that occur to women and influence effectively their lives and physical states are factors that increase the difference between the two sexes. During their monthlies, women suffer symptoms that cause them to be unfamiliar.
Dr. Jebb Hard says that it is infrequent to find a woman who does not suffer a disorder during her menstrual period. Most women, however, suffer headache, exhaustion, pain under navels, and anorexia. They also become aggressive and sleepers. Because of these symptoms, it is possible to say that women become ill during their monthlies and that they have to suffer such illness once a month. Hence, such physical changes naturally affect women's intellectual faculties and bodily processes.
Thus, many researchers have proved the impossibility of the equality of the sexes.
In his book that proved the inequality of the sexes through natural experiments and observations, Antoine Namilav; the Russian physician, records that 'we must not deceive ourselves by claiming that it is easy to equalize between man and woman in the practical life. In fact, none in this world exerted the efforts that we, the Soviet, had exerted for making the equality of the sexes practical, and none enacted such innocent, but fanatical, laws that we have enacted in this field. Nevertheless, woman's familial position has hardly ever changed. Moreover, woman's social position has also hardly ever changed. The conception of the impossibility of the equality of the sexes is still deep-rooted in the minds of all the classes of the Soviet society.' (Quoted from Mr. Al-Mawdoudi's book titled al-Hijab).
Dr. Alexis Carrel, who received the 1912 Nobel Prize for Physiology, says that it is essential for educationists to pay a great deal of attention to the mental and organic characteristics as well as natural functions of both male and female since there are innumerable differences between the sexes. Hence, it is necessary, for constructing a civilized world, to take in consideration these differences.
As a matter of fact, we cannot consider man's surpassing woman in the scientific and theoretical fields as a standard that is applied to all men. It happens that woman surpasses man in such fields. This, however, cannot deny the fact that woman, in most cases, falls behind man. Some people claim that woman's falling behind man has been the reason of social traditions and educational systems that prevailed on her life. This is not accurate because most of such traditions and systems have ceased to exist in most of the dissolute nations where the difference between the sexes faded away and woman have enjoyed all opportunities that are gained by men. Yet, woman, in these societies, has still occupied the second position after man. This is another evidence on the impossibility of the equality of the sexes, which is, such being the case, considered as a sort of idiocy and silliness.
As the propagandists of equality of the sexes are completely incapable of developing man's qualifications so as to make him fit to do the female tasks, they cannot make women assume masculine manners and do the jobs that are purely men's.
The Divine Wisdom has prepared each sex for definite function and tasks in this life. Hence, it is unavoidable to distribute jobs among them according to each one's qualifications and abilities. It is said that 'everything is prepared for doing its job.'
Man's task is to practice the arduous works and the out-of-house affairs, work hard for securing means of livelihood for the family members, and guarantee material and moral protection and pleasure for them. Women, however, are unqualified enough to do such tasks so expertly.
Woman's task, on the other hand, is to be good housewife and bring up well-qualified men. None but woman can change her house and society into a paradise where man can find release of the life difficulties and children can feel the warm affection and factors of growth and prosperity. To insert women in men's fields and encourage her competing with him in his own tasks is regarded as forfeiture of their qualifications. It also plays the role of immobilizing men's right to practice their vital activities that, nobody except him, can do, as well as his right to create a family.
The results of modern women's competition with men in the fields of their specialization have been dangerous moral, social, and mental evils whose disadvantages have surpassed greatly their advantages. Because women have failed to do their genuine tasks and joined the mixed society, the family structure has become the victim of loss, immorality, and misery, and has suffered the commonness of moral deviation and collapse.
On another page of his aforementioned book, the Russian researcher records that 'symptoms of sexual disorder have disappeared on all the workers. This is in fact serious danger that threatens termination to socialism. Hence, we must fight with every weapon such symptoms. However, fighting at this front has many problems and difficulties. I can refer to thousands of events that demonstrate the fact that the infection of sexual libertinism spread into the educated individuals of the proletariat in addition to the ignorant ones.' (Quoted from Mr. Al-Mawdoudi's book titled al-Hijab; page 257).
It is however acceptable for women to practice certain jobs pertaining to and befitting their sex, such as teaching girls or treating women. In case a woman does not have a family provider or when the breadwinner is incapable of securing her essential requirements, it becomes acceptable for her to practice a job that saves her from the charms of the mixed association and saves others from her charms.
Islam, having protected her dignity, has saved the earnings of the needy women without letting them need for such suffering. If Muslims defray the zakat, poverty will find no place in the Islamic society. Thus, what do the propagandists of the equality of the sexes want? If they intend to dignify and free women from social wronging, Islam has certainly freed women, raised their ranks, and granted them their moral and material rights. They in fact intend to deceive and humiliate women so as to approximate them from the eyes and flirts of the wolves. What do the liberalist women want? Do they seek the absolute equality with man, or do they seek the freedom of dissoluteness and indecorum?
Because they all are immoral purposes, Islam has forbidden both man and woman to respond to such calls so as to save them from the slips of charms and the tragedies of the mixing of the sexes.
Distinction Between the Sexes
Islam has freed women from the offensive traditions and customs of the pre-Islamic era, honored them, raised their ranks, and decided their being equal to man in humanity, principles, sanctity of blood, honor, and property, and the deserving of the rewards and penalties of the life to come. On bases of fairness and wisdom, it has identified women's values and standings to men. In some situations, Islam, depending upon advisability and rightness, has deemed women as same as men, but it, because of the different qualifications and responsibilities in the various fields of life, has also made a distinction between them through nominating certain rights, duties, and rulings for each.
In all these affairs, Islam has aimed at achieving wisdom, uprightness, and fair evaluation of humankind's natures and traits. By preferring man in certain rulings, Islam has not aimed at humiliating or wronging woman. Its one and only purpose has been the achievement of justice through granting each sex the rights that befit the qualifications and responsibilities.
We, hereinafter, will refer to the most significant points of distinction between the two sexes so as to realize the reasons of the Islamic rulings in this regard:
Each society, no matter how small it is, is in need for a well-qualified guardian whose mission is to supervise its affairs and achieve prosperity and development. From this cause, each family is in an inevitable need for a guardian and supervisor who, though engaged in serious task requiring sagacity, practice, willpower, and enough experience in this life, must govern his family member with well management and secure means of acceptable livelihood.
Now, which one is the worthiest of supervising and maintaining the family? Is it man or woman?
Owing to his qualifications, man is more experienced in the life affairs, more competent of supervising the family morally and materially, and more capable of achieving means of good living than woman is. This matter has been decided by the eternal constitution of Islam:
"Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property. (4:34)"
Maintenance, however, does not mean absolute dominance and policies of severity and violence against the family members, since such practices are in violence of the ethics of Islam. The true maintenance relies upon mutual understanding, cooperation, and emotional and intellectual consent between the paterfamilias and his family members:
"Women have benefits as well as responsibilities. Men have a status above women. (2:228)"
In view of her femininity, woman is tenderhearted, sensitive, and touchy. Frequently, women's emotions prevail on their minds. All these matters qualify her to fulfill the mission of maternity whose functions require such feelings, and take her way from the leadership of family that requires sagacity, emotional balance, tolerance, and firmness. All these traits are found with man; therefore, he is more qualified than woman is in fields of maintaining the family.
Finally, positive woman usually disrespects the inactive, feeble husband and honors the husband of great and attractive personality.
2. Man's Preference to Woman in Inheritance
The Islamic Sharia has decided that man should enjoy the double of woman's share of heritage. Some simple-minded people misthink that such a law is considered as mortification and wronging for woman. In fact, Islam has never degraded or wronged woman. Because of man's big responsibilities, Islam has decided for him double share of heritage so that fairness and equity can be achieved.
Unlike woman, man is responsible for securing his family members' food, clothing, house, education, and medical treatment. He is, unlike woman too, responsible for protecting Islam by all possible means. Finally, man is responsible for many social obligations that require spending. In the light of this comparison, it is fair to decide for man a double share of heritage. Woman, however, is luckier than man is, since she is not responsible for many family and social obligations. Hence, Islam has decided:
"Let the male inherit twice as much as the female. (4:11)"
Finally, woman's possessive and vested rights are completely saved for her alone, and man has no right to do anything to such properties before her satisfaction and permission are obtained. Woman, in this field, is equal to man.
The Islamic Sharia has considered two women's testimony as one man's so as to protect woman's testimony from falsity and to guard the litigants' rights from wronging and waste.
As she is prevailed by agitated emotions, sensitivity, and passivity towards a definite party, woman deviates from justice and neglects the right and the obligation of providing exact testimony. Evading so, Islam has decided the joining of two women in testimony so that one may remind the other and prevent her from false testifying:
"Let two men or one man and two women whom you choose, bear witness so that if one of them makes a mistake the other can correct him. (2:282)"
Modern medical experiments have proved that some women, during their monthlies, suffer symptoms causing their mental powers to be enfeebled. Hence, they become oblivious.Such experiments support the necessity of joining two women during bearing testimonies.
The enemies have waged wrong campaigns against Islam using various forms of bitter criticism and empty censure one of which is their vituperating Islam's permitting polygamy, which is, as they have claimed, considered as injury and confusion for the marital life.
First of all, Islam was not the originator of polygamy. Many centuries before Islam, polygamy was decided by the divine religions and positive laws.
"Polygamy was not forbidden in the most ancient code. Likewise, it was not forbidden in the Torah and the Gospel. Since the reign of Prophet Abraham up to the Nativity, none of the prophets forbade polygamy. In the Gospel, we cannot find a single text telling the illegality of a matter which was decided as legal in the Old Testament. Everything that is mentioned in the Gospel asserts the legality of polygamy in every situation except one: the bishop who shows failure in standing monasticism must satisfy himself with a single wife…
Edward Westermarck, whose major interests were history of marriage, says that 'polygamy, as the Church confesses, perpetuated until the seventeenth century. Moreover, it occurred frequently beyond the sights of the Church and the ruling authorities.'
Hence, Islam, allowing polygamy, has not brought something heretic. However, the new thing that Islam has brought in this regard was reforming the disorder created by absolute polygamy and taking in consideration the necessities that God does not neglect. In some circumstances, or even general social circumstances, the allowance of polygamy is more beneficial than its forbiddingness." (Quoted from Abbas Mahmoud al-Aqqad's haqaaiq ul-Islam).
As a matter of fact, those who denied Islam's allowing polygamy have certainly practiced it by means of deviation and sinful relations. Had they thought about the matter perceptively and impartially, they would have found that polygamy is the one and only solution for the problems and crises that befall individuals and societies.
Justifications of Polygamy
In the light of the following justifications, we may refer to the purposes beyond Islam's allowing polygamy:
First, it happens that a wife may be affected by a physical or mental defect that impedes her from doing her duties, responding to her husband's desires, or paying attention to the family members. Such crises may create disorder; therefore, it is essential to find acceptable and firm solution. This solution must be that:
(a) Either the husband, suffering the deprivation of his marital rights, is neglected without treatment and left slipping in the depths of vice, and the family members, as well, are left for disorder. This is in fact wrongness against the husband and the family members,
(b) Or the husband leaves the diseased wife, by means of divorcement, suffering the agonies of ailment in addition to the bitterness of rejection and loneliness. This is absolutely denied by sound sense, for it contradicts the principles of humanity,
(c) Or the husband, after obtaining the diseased wife's permission, marries another wife who can respond to his desires, reunite the scattered family, and encompass the diseased wife with kindness.
This is in fact the best and most acceptable solution.
Second, in some circumstances, it happens that a wife is incapable of giving birth. Husbands, in such cases, have to choose one of two-either deprive themselves of sons and stand the burning feelings of being heirless. This is however nobility. Or marry another woman capable of giving birth. The second is in fact more logic since it is decided by nature and instincts. Very rare are those who deny this fact.
Third, women, as a rule, are more numerous than men because, practicing dangerous and deadly jobs in factories, mines, and the like, men encounter fatal dangers. Men, naturally, are less immunized and more subjected to the infections of diseases and epidemics than women are. Biologists, referring to this fact, say that women enjoy physical abilities that men lack and nearly all diseases affect men, not women. On this account, there are 7,700,000 widows living, currently, in the U.S.A. The office of American Census predicts that numbers of this class will raise in the rate of two million per one decade.
Dr. Marion Langer, the sociologist, says that there are two solutions only for covering the reduction in the numbers of men-either polygamy or inventing a method that elongates men's ages!
War is another reason beyond women's being more than men in numbers. Wars in fact terminate great numbers of men and cause horrible decrease in their rates in proportion to women. In the First World War, the number of the casualties was 21,000,000. The Second World War consumed about 50,000,000 men. This huge number of casualties caused a big space in the numbers of men and created an international crisis that needed a decisive treatment.
The Western nations, because they prohibited polygamy, faced this problem with puzzlement; therefore, they had to treat it by means of moral corruption that rumored profanity, prostitution, and bastards as well as moral disorder.
Using such a unique, nonesuch method befitting the nature of humankind and requirements of circumstances, Islam has treated this problem with polygamy through which individuals and societies are saved from many tragedies:
"Marry such women as seem good to you, two and three and four; but if you fear that you will not do justice between them, then marry only one. 4:4)
Having allowed polygamy, Islam has not opened its door at random. Protecting women's rights and dignity, it has specified justice and equality between wives as stipulations for the validity of polygamy. Nevertheless, the stipulation of justice is dedicated to the material requisites of life. The other emotional aspects are not controlled by human beings. Hence, man is incapable of achieving fairness among wives in the emotional matters:
"You will never be able to maintain justice among your wives, no matter how hard you try. (4:129)"
Some people may claim that the Western woman does not need marriage since she is able to practice jobs and seek earnings. This claim is untrue. The actuality of the human nature and the inner instincts prove the opposite. Woman's need for man is not restricted in material aspects only. It is in fact an urgent mental need without which woman cannot perfect her entity. The same thing can be said about man.
Fourth, some men are characterized by excessive sexual energy that requires extreme carnal need. This energy can be controlled by polygamy; otherwise, it may find a deviant course. This is the very thing that occurred in the societies that banned polygamy and, in return, were affected by poly-girlfriends or poly-paramours.
Divorce in Islam
Islam has been also criticized nonsensically for allowing divorce, which, from the viewpoint of the criticizers, threatens woman's entity with ruination. Hence, for a single state of stupidity of the husband, the wife may change into homeless, heartbroken woman.
This is in fact one of the false accusations against Islam. Since the most ancient ages, divorce was enacted in such an improvised form that wasted the wife's rights and dignity. Unconditional divorce was common among the Greek. The Romans, though their first generations forbade it, allowed divorce in their religious and governmental laws. The Jewish code narrowed the zone of divorce and made it lawful in three cases only:
fornication, barrenness, and moral or physical defect. Christianity forbade divorce except in two cases: fornication of one or both spouses and barrenness.
These were the reasons that urged the modern Western nations importunately to codify the civil divorce, even if this may contradict the religion.
When Islam emerged with its prosperous reign and inclusive legislation, it has enacted divorce and encompassed it with a number of precautionary measures that contribute in reducing its problems.
In sight of Islam, divorce is the most discommended legal matter to God. There are certain states in which the disagreement between spouses reaches climax to make any association and mutual understanding impossible. Treating such cases, Islam provides solutions step by step. It does not hurry to untie the sacred matrimonial bond at first blush, but it tries the best to fasten it. First of all, Islam repeats the words of God:
"Always treat them reasonably. If you dislike them, you could be disliking that which Allah has filled with abundant good. (4:19)"
This is an invitation to wait and be patient even in case of dislike.
If the matter surpasses the question of like or dislike to reach to alienation, divorce is still not the first solution that Islam advances. It should be preceded by efforts of other parties who intend righteousness:
"And if you fear a breach between the two, then appoint judge from his people and a judge from her people; if they both desire agreement, Allah will effect harmony between them, surely Allah is Knowing, Aware. 4:35"
"And if a woman fears ill usage or desertion on the part of her husband, there is no blame on them, if they effect reconciliation between them, and reconciliation is better. 4:129"
If this mediation is of no use, too, then the matter has reached a considerable stage of seriousness, and there must have been impossibility to continue. Such being the case, it is futile to coerce the two spouses to stand such a situation, and it is wise to put an end for this manner of life so long as there is no other way.
Such separation may create in the mentalities of the two spouses the desire to begin anew. It frequently happens that we feel the advantages of a thing after we lose it. Hence, there is still an opportunity:
"A marital relation can only be resumed after the first and second divorce, otherwise it must be continued with fairness or terminated with kindness. 2:229"
There is also the term of waiting for the consummated wives. During this term, it is obligatory upon the divorcing husbands to meet the material needs of their divorcees generously. During this term, also, it is permissible for the regretting husbands to reassume marriage and begin new marital life without being in need for any matrimonial procedures.
If the term of waiting passed without reconciliation between the spouses, they, also, can reassume their matrimonial life, but with a new matrimonial contract.
This is, so far, the first experiment for both the spouses to realize the reality of their feelings towards each other and the seriousness of the reasons that led to separation. If these reasons, or any others, rise again to cause the husband to declare a second divorcement, he then will lose the second opportunity, and will have to encounter a very difficult situation, because of his frivolity, if he repeats the divorce for a third time:
"After a divorce for the third time, it is not lawful for the husband to resume marital relations with her or remarry her until she has been married and divorced by another husband. 2:230"
Why then are the blabbers criticizing Islam for allowing divorce? Do they want to annul the law of divorce so that the tragedies that have been suffered by the Catholic nations whose laws of forbidding divorce and polygamy obliged people to take numbers of girlfriends and commit fornication- do they want such tragedies to prevail on the Islamic society?