Family and Women Affairs
Question 94: Why did Islam limit the number of wives to four? And why does it confine man’s sexual pleasure to marriage commitments, home and tasks?
Answer 94: Islam limited the number of wives to four as the maximum number for a variety of reasons. On the one hand nature and reality have proved the righteousness of this rule, especially when we take into account the rising percentage of women compared to that of men. On the other hand men are more exposed than women to dangers and mortality like wars and perilous jobs. If man’s marriage is limited to one woman only, a number of women will be deprived from the bliss of marriage which is an instinctive demand in all human beings; which provides shelter, intimacy and marital life for every member of the family. When allowing man to marry more than one wife Islam does not make the case obligatory, but rather something lawful. As a matter of fact, Islam encourages marrying only one wife for those men who do not have the ability to be fair amongst their wives. It proscribes its male followers to marry more than one if they cannot fulfill marital duties equally well among the wives. Almighty God says: “…then marry (other women of your choice, two or three, or four; but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one...” (Holy Qur’an: 3: 3). However, the percentage of those who marry more than one wife is limited, as most men limit themselves to one wife. The percentage is lesser among those who marry three or four women.
Islam prohibits intercourse between man and woman outside wedlock as this cause harm on to both the individual and on society. It causes many diseases, it leads to loss of lineage and it brings about the destruction of the family, which is the nucleus of any society.
It remains to say in this context that it is difficult to find a man or a woman in the western societies not having one or concubines. This is something that often happens at the expense of the family and its structure. It is strange how developed people would justify having concubines but not wives!
Question 95: Why does Islam allow polygamy for men but not polyandry for women? Where is justice here?
Answer 95: Only those who regard marriage as purely sexual relationship propagate this point of view. They ask: “Why cannot a woman have the same right as men, of marrying more than one man? The Answer can be as follows: if a woman marries more than one man, the lineage will be lost, as the woman is responsible for pregnancy. If land is not good for planting more than one kind of plant at the same time, how could a woman be good for planting more than one kind of semen at the same time? Science has proved that out of millions of sperms, only one is able to fertilize the egg. If the relationship of the woman is with one man within marriage, we know for sure that this fertilization has come from her single husband, not anybody else, even though the sperms are millions, but if the woman is married to more than one man, how could we know whose sperm it was that fertilized the egg of the woman; eventually, to whom should the child belong? And which of these husbands will be responsible for this family? Is it then justifiable that for the sake of equality with man in polygamy the lineage of children will be lost?
Naturally speaking, the majority of women reach the age of menopause early. The age of menopause ranges between 40 and 50. As to men, their potency continues until very late, on the one hand, and some women do not desire their husbands, which causes them sexual frigidity, which is much more common in women than in men. Women have their menstruation and confinement periods, and some of them have long menstruation periods. This prevents men from having sexual intercourse with them.
Question 96: Why is it not lawful for man to have sex with his wife when she is having her menstrual period?
Answer 96: What is forbidden during the menstrual period is the vaginal sexual intercourse only. All other forms of sexual pleasure are lawful, as almighty God said:
“They ask you concerning menstruation. Say: that is an adha (a harmful thing for a husband to have a sexual intercourse with his wife while she is having her menses), therefore keep away from women during menses and go not unto them till they are purified (from menses and have taken a bath). And when they have purified themselves, then go in unto them as God has ordained for you (go in unto them in any manner as long as it is in their vagina). Truly God loves those who turn unto Him in repentance and loves those who purify themselves (by taking a bath and cleaning, and washing thoroughly their private parts, bodies, for their prayers) (Holy Qur’an: 1:222).
Almighty God commands men to keep away from women during their menstrual period, that is, not to have vaginal sexual intercourse in the vagina. intercourse in the vagina during menstruation has been proved medically harmful. In fact it comprises every kind of harm, as straight natures hate mixing with impurities. Judaism prohibited cohabiting with the woman during her menstruation, eating with her, and having sexual intercourse with her. Islam is a medial religion, it allows men and women to enjoy each others in any way except sexual intercourse.
Question 97: Does Islam encourage marriages arranged by the parents without prior consent from the son or the daughter?
Answer 97: Islam does not encourage arranged marriages without the consent of the son or the daughter, even though the guardian is the father, which is clear in what Prophet Muhammad said:
“A widow is not married until she gives her consent, and a virgin is not married until she gives her permission.’ They asked, “O, Messenger of God, how can she give her permission?” He said, “By keeping silent.” And in other words “A widow has more right than her guardian to give her consent, and a virgin is asked and her permission is her silence.”
Khansa’ Bint Huzam related that her father married her off when she was a widow. She, therefore, came to the prophet (pbuh) to complain about it. The prophet annulled her marriage. It was also related that the a virgin maid came to the messenger of God and told him that her father had married her off by force, and the prophet gave her the choice to stay with her husband or to leave him.”
It was related too that a girl came to the messenger of God and told him: “My father married me off to his nephew for reputation;” whereupon the prophet gave her the choice to stay with her husband or to leave him. She said: “I have accepted what my father had done, but I wanted to tell the women that a father does not have the right to do so.” These traditions and many others confirm that Islam does not allow a father or a guardian to marry his daughter or sister off except when she gives her full consent. And in the likely case she is forced to marry out of her consent, she can file a case to the court or to the authorities, which have the right to nullify the marriage.
Question 98: Why does not Islam allow a Muslim woman to marry a Jew or a Christian at the time it allows the Muslim man to marry a Jewess or a Christian woman? Also why does not Islam allow Muslim men to marry other women than Jews or Christians (People of the Scripture)?
Answer 98: Islam allows Muslim men to marry Jewish or Christian women. This is a clear indication of the extent to which it tolerates and honours the followers of these two heavenly religions. It deals with them in a special way which does not apply to the followers of other religions, in terms of eating from their food and marrying women from them. In all religions, the guardianship is in the hand of the man. In this case if a Jew or a Christian man marries a Muslim woman, he might deal arbitrarily with her and use his right to force her (and their children if any) to abandon Islam. But for this, Islam might have allowed equal treatment in marriage, like equal treatment in food. Almighty God says:
“Made lawful to you this day are at-tayyibat [all kinds of halal (lawful) food, which God had made lawful (meat of slaughtered eatable animals, milk products, fats, vegetables and fruits). The food (slaughtered cattle, eatable animals) of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) is lawful to you and yours is lawful to them. (Lawful to you in marriage) are chaste women from the believers and chaste women from those who were given the Scriptures (Jews and Christians) before your time when you have given their due mahr (bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage), desiring chastity (i.e. taking them in legal wedlock) not committing illegal sexual intercourse, nor taking them as girl-friends. And whosoever disbelieves in Faith [i.e. in the Oneness of God and in all the other Articles of Faith, i.e. His (God’s) Angles, His Holy Books, His Messengers, the Day of Resurrection and al-Qadar (Divine Preordainments)], then fruitless is his work; and in the hereafter he will be among the losers” (Holy Qur’an: 3:5)
Islam gives equal treatment to the chaste Christian or Jewish woman as one as the Muslim women in terms of wage (dowry), prohibition of unlawful sexual intercourse, or making them concubines: it allows them to keep their religion while they are wives to Muslim men. As to marriage of non-Muslim men to Muslim women, it is prohibited for particular reasons:
1. Man has the authority and guardianship on his wife, in which likely case he might affect her behavior, conduct, thought and beliefs.
2. In terms of equal treatment, Christianity and Judaism do not allow the marriage of Christian or Jewish woman to marry a Muslim man.
3. In order to prevent the authority of non-Muslims over Muslims, almighty God said: “And never will God grant to the disbeliveers a way (to triumph) over the believers” (Holy Qur’an: 4: 141).
Question 99: Why can a Muslim divorce his wife any time likes, while a woman is not allowed to do so except after long and inconvenient procedures?
Answer 99: Islam does not allow man to divorce his wife arbitrarily and unjustly. If he does so that means he has not maintained his responsibility efficiently. Islam legislated several measures which a man should adhere to before he can take the decision to divorce his wife. These include:
1. advising her,
2. desertion her in bed,
3. beating her harmlessly,
4. arbitration, i.e. asking (any of her and/or his relations) for intervention,
5. first divorce (revocable),
6. second divorce (revocable),
7. third (or final) divorce (irrevocable).
Almighty God said: “As to those women on whose part you see ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful)” (Holy Qur’an: 4: 34). After all of these stages, the irrevocable divorce can take place, and there are several stages that the husband has to follow, otherwise his divorce will be arbitrary and unfair to his wife. On the other hand, there are several things to do, like:
1. man is usually less hasty or excited and has more self-control of nerves and emotions than woman;
2. man has authority and guardianship at home which commands him to spend on the wife and family.
3. man is the one who pays the marriage portion, whereas the woman takes it.
Question 100: Why should a woman wait if her husband has been away from her for a very long time until a judge can give a verdict of her divorce?
Answer 100: It is not a matter of waiting as much as there should be confirmation and proof of the complete absence of news about the husband. Marriage is a real bondage and contract which implies intimacy, mercy, stability and tranquility. Almighty God says:
“And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect” (Holy Qur’an: 30: 21).
It is known that whenever the contract has grand effects, it is more difficult for the legislator to dissolve it and that depends on the contractors themselves. If the absence of the husband allowed the dissolution of the contract accordingly, there must be patience and confirmation, as mentioned before, in dissolving this contract, so that neither of the contractors would be done any harm because of haste. This happens depending on the cause of absence and its justifications. The judge should estimate such matters and try to avoid harm to anyone as much as possible.
Question 101: Why should there be a guardian and two righteous witnesses at the time of the marriage contract in Islam? Is it not possible for a woman to have her complete freedom in this respect, and not wait for someone to humiliate her in choosing and allow her to marry? Since men have the right to marry whenever they like, why, women are not granted the same status? And why her guardian’s consent is a prerequisite in this instance?
Answer 101: Part of the Answer has already been given in (Answer 97). Here is the rest of the Answer. At the time of marriage, there should a guardian (usually the father) and two righteous witnesses. Marriage is different from unlawful adultery, and a woman is not allowed to marry without the consent of her guardian; the guardian in turn is not allowed to marry her off without taking her consent. The responsibility here is mutual; it cannot be achieved except through the consent of the two sides, both the guardian and the girl. This signifies a respect for the woman and maintenance of her right. It takes care of her and does not cause her any harm or humiliation. If she happens to choose a suitable man and her guardian prevents her from marrying him, or in the likely case she has no guardian, the judge can be in charge of marrying her off in spite of the objection of her guardian. In Islamic jurisprudence the judge is the guardian of anyone who does not have a guardian, i.e. he can marry a woman off if she has no guardians.
If a woman wants to marry a man and there is another one who is better than him, the consent of the guardian and the witnesses will be superfluous, and her freedom will not be limited. But if the husband she has chosen is not an appropriate one (to the best of the guardian’s knowledge), her guardian can interfere. Preventing her from such a marriage is deemed to her interest. Not all kinds of freedom necessarily bring benefit to man, and every kind of limitation is harmful to hime/her. Almighty God says: “…and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. God knows but you do not know” (Holy Qur’an: 2: 216).
Question 102: Is it lawful for a woman to divorce her husband if he is infertile, ill or having a chronic disease? And is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife if she is barren or has a chronic disease?
Answer 102: As mentioned above, divorce is in the hand of man not woman because of reasons, most important of which is his right of guardianship. However, Islam has made it lawful for woman to dissolve the marriage contract (In Islamic jurisprudence–mukhaala’a), which happens when a woman asks the judicial authorities to dissolve the marriage contract, either because of the infertility of her husband or because of some harm caused by the husband to her, as is the case when the husband is chronically ill. This matter will be different if the woman knows about her husband’s situation before her marriage to him.
Question 103: Why is not lawful for girls in some Muslim countries to choose any man she wants to marry?
Answer 103: Islam should not be judged through the practices of some of its followers; people should be judged according to their implementation of Islam. Islam does respect the will of the girl, as mentioned above. However, the consent of the girl’s guardian should be achieved when she would like to marry and the marriage contract will not be valid without it.
A woman is free to choose any man she wants to marry; she is also free to reject any man she does not want to marry. This is alright as long as her choice is right. As to the choice based on socialization between man and woman or unlawful courtship, it is undoubtedly a failing one. In this case, the guiding guardian, who takes in his consideration the benefit of his daughter or ward, should interfere. Prophet Muhammad said: “Any woman married off by an angry guardian, her marriage is invalid.”
If the guardian is fair, he should interfere, as his consent is beneficial not only for the girl in this case, but also it goes beyond that to include his family and clan. Islam stresses familial and social relations. The fact that Islam is the religion of equality is true and right, because it holds similar things as equal, it draws distinctions between contradictions, antitheses and differences. If it regards different things as equal it would be unfair and unjust. Man and woman are the same in terms of humanity, in reward and in punishment, in rights and in responsibility, and in many duties. The same applies to the marital home, as almighty God said: “And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect) to what is reasonable…” (Holy Qur’an: 2: 228). As man is responsible for work and expenditure for his family, and is exposed to more struggling in life, he was given an extra degree: “but men have a degree (of responsibility) over them” (Holy Qur’an: 2: 228). Almighty God also said: “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because God has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means” (Holy Qur’an: 4: 34).
Suspicion comes from adopting corrupt criteria; difference in jobs leads to differences in concepts. When a European woman wants to work, earn her living, and spending money, as man does, undoubtedly she will demand equality. Troubles emerge from asking a woman to do what is not her duty. For this, and besides other reasons, Islam does not regard man and woman as equal in a variety of respects, including testimonies, inheritance, guardianship, custody, confinement after divorce, and the areas of the private parts of the body which should be covered, and the duty of expenditure, divorce, etc. It is a well know fact that organic and functional build of woman is different from that of the man. The French scientist Alex Carrel stated:
The difference between man and woman does not come from the particular shape of their genitalia, or from the presence of womb in woman, or from the method of education, as the difference is of a more important nature than this. The differences come from formation of texture itself, and from the fertilization of the body with specific chemical materials which the ovary exudes. Ignoring those essential facts by feminists led them to believe that both sexes should receive the same kind of education, and that both sexes should be given the same authorities and similar responsibilities. In fact, woman differs considerably from man, as every cell of her body carries the nature of her sex.
Question 104: Since Islam is the religion of equality, why it gives man double what it gives to woman in matters of inheritance?
Answer 104: Islam gave man double what it gave to woman in inheritance for several reasons:
1. Man’s need for money is more than that of woman, because he is charged of the financial burdens of life which are double the burdens of woman. When he becomes adult, he is required to spend on himself (marriage expenses for example), at the time girl continues to be spent on by her guardian until she gets married. When she accepts to marry a man, her future husband gives her the marriage portion. When she gets married, her husband becomes in charge of spending on her.
2. Money is the nerve of life and proper management of finance is both an individualistic and collective duty. Man is often better at handling inherited money and better at managing and investing it.
3. Islam observed the possibility that the inheritors may share the inherited money: men mostly participate in running the business of their fathers, whom they inherited while women do not.
4. Giving man double the amount of the inheritance to woman man is not always the case, as both man and woman may get the same amount in some cases, as in the case of the brother of a mother, and the sister of a mother, and the father and mother from their son, if the son has inheriting descendents, and so on.
5. Inheritance is one of the forms of support, and men are much more supportive to their dependants more than women.
Question 105: Why does not an infidel brother inherit his Muslim brother, and vice versa?
Answer 105: Inheritance is an expression of loyalty, connection and relation. If the inheritor is different from the testator in terms of religion, there will not be guardianship or relation between them, since the most important relation is that of Islam. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “Neither an infidel inherits a Muslim nor a Muslim inherits an infidel.” Prevention of inheritance is a prevention of the forms of sympathy and relation, both of which might corrupt the Muslim’s faith. When Islam prevents inheritance between a Muslim and an infidel, it affirms the rule “profit against loss” and vice versa, which does not negate justice, but a kind of equal treatment.
Question 106: Why does Islam prohibit an heir from inheriting his testator in case this latter was killed by his inheritor? In this case what is the fault of the killer’s children if they did not take part in the murder?
Answer 106: Depriving the killer from inheriting his testator is a kind of prevention of a greater evil, as there could be more murders of testators. It is also a treatment of man according to the opposite intention of the killer and punishing him in a similar kind. The jurisprudential rule for this is: “Anyone who makes haste to get something before it is the right time is punished by depriving him from it.” Depriving the killer from inheriting does not prevent his children from inheritance, as long as they are not prevented by other heirs because of other reasons of prevention, than killing.
Question 107: Why cannot a woman travel on her own, while man can? Why should she always be escorted by a mahram (unmarriageable relative man) if she wants to travel? Also, why she can not travel without her guardian’s consent?
Answer 107: A woman may travel without a mahram but only for short distancees–less than a day and a night. In case she wanted to take more than this, she is required to be accompanied by a mahram or by a trusty group. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “A woman may not travel for more than one day and night on her own without a mahram.” Islam disallows a woman from traveling on her own for a long distance for the sake of her safety, protection, reputation and to preventing any evil which might befall her. Of course she can always travel for any distance with a good company or a group of people provided that her safety is maintained and confirmed. Unless accompanied and/ or escorted by amahram a woman may not even travel to perform her pilgrimage, which is one of the greatest Islamic forms of worship.
Question 108: Why would a woman wait for the consent of her husband or the companionship of one of her unmarriageable relatives if she wants to perform pilgrimage, although pilgrimage is an obligatory duty for women as well as for men who are allowed to travel without the consent of their wives?
Answer 108: This Question has already been Answered (Answer 107). However, we can also say that God Himself out of mercy and compassion with His people wanted to make life easier for them people. Some scholars mentioned that one of the conditions for women to perform pilgrimage is to be accompanied by a mahram. This is not a condition of duty as much as a condition of performance. It is not a condition for acceptance: if she performs pilgrimage without mahram the pilgrimage is deemed to right and she would have fulfilled this ritual. But God did not oblige her to do what she could not do and she is rendered sinful if she dies without performing pilgrimage if she does not find an accompanying mahram or a trustworthy company.
The consent of the husband for the wife to go with one of her unmarriageable relatives to perform pilgrimage remains a controversial matter among religious scholars.
Question 109: Could you comment on the prophetic tradition which says: “The people who give the leadership to a woman would never be successful.”
Answer 109: This tradition has its own historical context. It was stated by the prophet as a response to the political change in the crumbling <st1:place w:st="on">Persian Empire in the 6th century. In a failing attempt to save their empire, the Persian crowned Khosrau’s daughter, Buran, as their leader. When the prophet learned about this incident, he (pbuh) said: “The people who give the leadership to a woman would never be successful.”
Some scholars interpret this saying according to its historical context only, that is when the prophet foretold the downfall and the breaking-up of the <st1:place w:st="on">Persian Empire—which is an historical fact. However, there are scholars who take the words in a more general sense. They say that the authority of the woman will always be lacking because she might be exposed to difficult situations over which she might have no control because of her nature and weaknesses.
Question 110: Why does not Islam allow women to take judicial positions, i.e. become judges?
Answer 110: Depending on the prophetic hadith in Question 109, most scholars believe that women cannot become judges, because of the discrepancy of their nature as dealing with legal problems requires more reason than passion. However, Abu Hanifah, the well known leader of an Islamic school, stated that women may become judges but only in affairs where her testimony is indispensable and/or crucial. Ibn Jareer at-Tabari and the Malikis have no objection to women’s judicial positions.
Question 111: What is meant by the prophetic statement regarding women that they have “Women have their own deficiencies in both minds and religion”?
Answer 111: It has been reported that the prophet (pbuh) once addressed women by saying: “O womenfolk, give alms. I have seen that the majority of the people in hell are women.” The women asked: “O, Messenger of God, why?” He said: “You keep swearing, and deny your husbands, I have not seen people with incomplete minds and religions who could affect the mind of the strict men like you. Then they asked: “What is our lack of mind and religion, O, Messenger of God?” He said: “Is not the testimony of woman half that of a man?” They said: “Yes.” He said: “That is the lack in her mind.” He added: “Does not she abstain from praying and fasting when she has her period?” They said: “yes.” He concluded: “That is their lack of religion.” It is obvious from the Answer of the prophet that the lack of woman’s mind is in the matter of testimony, which needs control and affirmation. Man is more affirmative and controlling in this respect than woman. Also, he could afford to witness a crime more than a woman could do, that is because of the nature of woman who could not endure to do as a man can. A woman needs another woman’s testimony to confirm hers, as women are often busy with their children, and home, which usually distracts her mind and thinking. The first part of the tradition alludes to the cunning of women in some respect, that they affect the strict man’s mind. This is the most rhetorical description of women, as the self-controlled man is sometimes led by their intrigues. As such, one who is not self-controlled is more likely to be led by others.
As to the lack in woman’s religion, the prophet referred to that in the sense that when she menstruates, she neither prays nor fasts, which makes her more exposed to the devil’s insinuations. If she strengthens herself with supplication and giving alms, she will be more protected from the devil, God willing.
It has medically been proved that when a woman is menstruating, or in confinement she usually goes through an uncomfortable psychological and physical situation. This is a part of the prophetic miracle, as it shows us that woman is exposed to such emergent lack, which is not a permanent lack in the nature of woman.
Question 112: Prophet Muhammad said: “Woman was created from a bending rib.” What does this mean and is it also applicable on men?
Answer 112: This tradition has been mentioned to take care of women and not to prejudice them, as some might think. The original saying stated by the prophet in this respect was: “I command you to take care of women, as they were created from a rib, and if a rib bends, it does at the top part of it. If you try to straighten it, it breaks, and if you leave it, it will continue to be bending. Therefore, take care of women.” This can be taken to mean: accept my command of women and behave accordingly. Take care of women and be kind when dealing with them, because of their delicate nature.
Traditions say that Eve was created from one of Adam’s ribs, i.e. she came out of it as a palm tree comes out from a nucleus—something that has been affirmed by other heavenly religions.
The meaning of “the most bending part of the rib is its top” could be a reference to the most bending part of woman, which is her tongue. The tradition connotes that the woman has a definite nature according to which she was created; it is difficult to change natures and men should cope with this fact. Anyone who tries to straighten a bending rib will break it, and breaking means divorce and/or separation.
It is a fact that almighty God created Adam from earth and water (clay) and created woman from his (Adam’s) rib, and created the jinn from fire.
Question 113: Is it lawful for woman to enter the domain of political and parliamentary life? Is she allowed to vote to choose a certain ruler?
Answer 113: Within the framework of the Islamic law, it is quite possible for women to involve in political and/or parliamentary lives. She is also free to vote for the political ruler of her choice. Abdurrahman ibn `Awf consulted with women in their rooms when he was charged of choosing `Uthman or Ali as the third caliphate the death of Omar.
Question 114: Why does Islam consider the testimony of a woman half that of a man? Are not men and women treated equally well in Islam?
Answer 114: The number of witnesses has nothing to do with respecting the witness or humiliating him. This is due to the kind of testimony and its requirements. In many legal cases, especially those exclusively related to women, men’s testimonies are invalid; only the testimonies of women are to be accepted. This of course does not degrade men. Also there are cases where the testimonies of both men and women are accepted, because they have the same thing witnessed, like the proof of seeing the moon of the month of Ramadhan. There are also cases where the testimonies of men and women are accepted, but because of the lack of interest of women in them, and the probability of women’s forgetfulness, the testimonies of two women are equaled to one testimony of man. The aim here is to maintain right. The Holy Qur’an says: “…so that if one of them (two women) errs, the other can remind her.” (Holy Qur’an: 1: 282). This applies to financial matters; as it is the concern of men to work in markets, attend the contracts of financial negotiations, contrary to women who are not usually concerned with financial contracts.
Question 115: Isn’t it a savagery of Islam to order for the stoning of the married adulterer and whip the unmarried one?
Answer 115: There is no savagery in stoning a married adulterer and whipping an unmarried one, as their acts themselves are ones of bestiality and savagery. Adultery is a transgression of God’s right and natural law. All heavenly religions and conventions have agreed that adultery is heinous crime. Therefore, secular laws are not fair, and Islam’s incurring of such punishments, of the adulterer and adulteress, is to curb man from committing such crime.
The stoning of an adulterer had existed in the creed of the Jews before that of Islam in the books of the Old Testament (the creed of the Jews and the Christians), but the followers of those two religions changed that creed and the scriptures remained until the time of prophet Muhammad (pbuh). When two Jewish adulterers were brought him, he told them that their rule existed in their Torah, but they concealed it from him. To this denial God revealed to His prophet the following Qur’anic verse: “But how do they come to you for decision while they have he Torah, in which is the (plain) Decision of God; yet even after that, they turn away. For they are not (really) believers” (Holy Qur’an: 5: 43). The punishment of the unmarried adulterer according to the Jewish faith was to soil his/her face with black color and to make him/her ride backwardly on an animal while it is led through streets of the village, town or city.
Inflicting a painful punishment on the adulterer and adulteress is not a savage matter, especially after discovering its destructive effects, which threaten societies with perdition. AIDS, syphilis, leukorrhea, to mention only few, are well know fatal diseases which are caused by illegal practices of sex.
Question 116: Why does Islam restrict woman with niqab (hijab)l? Is not that a form of humiliating woman in every way in life? Is not faith in the heart? Is not it lawful for woman to enjoy the bliss of eyesight?
Answer 116: Islam commanded woman to use the veil in order to protect and maintain her from harm and aggression. She is like a jewel that is to be wrapped up with the finest pieces of cloth, and placed in the most protected location, far away from the hands of the corrupted people. This explanation is testified by almighty God’s words:
“O, Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters, and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks. That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And God is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” (Holy Qur’an: 33: 59).
This means the following:
1. Islam in its creed surrounds the woman with a halo of decency, which goes with her nature of instinctive shyness—something that exists in every heavenly religion. In Christianity, for example, a nun is made to be dressed decently, a way which is different from other women in her religion, whereas Islam made this rule apply to every woman, as religion is meant to be for all and not specific to a particular section, and this is the way in all of its rules.
2. It is true that faith lies in the heart, but man’s action and behaviour are supposed to testify to faith or belie. Commitment to God’s commands is a proof of the existence of faith, and violating almighty God’s commands is a proof of the absence of faith and its weakness.
3. Islam does not prevent woman from enjoying any bliss, provided that the bliss is lawful. Hence, Islam does not prohibit women from enjoying lawful eyesight. Unlawful eyesight mostly lead to unlawful things, and what might be deemed to be a joy becomes a killing arrow, and a sigh in the heart. Islamic philosophy is based on the injunction of preventing evil, for everything that leads to unlawful things is unlawful.