DISPELLING MISINFORMATION ABOUT ISLAM
Refuting Common Misconceptions
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“Polygamy in the Islamic society is limited to four wives only, the marriages being performed lawfully with a proper marriage contract, witnesses, etc. The man must bear all financial burdens and responsibilities to his wives and children that arise from his marriages. All the children are legitimate, who must be raised and cared for under the responsibility of both parents…
Allah, the Exalted, stated in the Glorious Qur’an: “(… 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). But if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely, Allah is Most High, Most Great.) [4:34]
“Islam forbids beating women and warns strictly against it. The Prophet (Peace be upon Him) never beat any of his wives or servants, as his wife Aishah (may Allah exalt their mention) reported in an authentic tradition (Bukhari #2328). Women are, in general, weaker than men in their physique and stamina. Women are often unable to defend themselves against violence. Although beating of women is generally forbidden, Islam permits the beating of wives in a restricted and limited sense only as a final solution and acceptable valid reason when all else fails. This is analogous to spanking children when all else fails and they must learn a lesson in obedience for their own protection and success.
“In the verse we quoted, Allah deals with the case of a wife who behaves immorally towards her husband’s rights. The treatment of this extremely sensitive issue comes in gradual stages, as we have noticed from the verse. Medicine, or treatment of any ailment, can be very bitter at times. But an ill person will take the remedy gladly and bear the bitterness of the medicine in order to be cured from his illness. The remedy to treat a wife blameworthy of immoral behavior, as we have noticed, comes in three gradual stages:
“1. First stage: The stage of advice, counseling and warning against Allah’s punishment. A husband must remind his wife of the importance of protecting his rights in Islam. This stage is a very kind and easy one. But, if this treatment does not work and proves to be ineffective, then the husband may resort to the next stage.
“2. Second stage: To leave the wife’s bed. Or, if one sleeps in the same bed with her, he will turn his back to her, not touch her, talk to her or have intercourse with her. This stage, as noticed, combines both strictness and kindness, although it is a very harsh practice on both. But, if this treatment does not work, then the husband may resort to the final stage of discipline explained below.
“3. Third and final stage: Beating without hurting, breaking a bone, leaving black or blue marks on the body, and avoiding hitting the face or especially sensitive places at any cost. The purpose of beating her is only to discipline and never retaliation or with desire to hurt by any means. Islam forbids severe beating as punishment.
“The Prophet (Peace be upon Him) said: “None of you should beat his wife like a slave-beating and then have intercourse with her at the end of the day”. [Bukhari #4908]
“This treatment is proved to be very effective with two types of women, as psychologists have determined: “The first type: Strong willed, demanding and commandeering women. These are the type of women who like to control, master and run the affairs of their husbands by pushing them around, commanding them and giving them orders.
“The second type: Submissive or subdued women. These women may even enjoy being beaten at times as a sign of love and concern…
“Beating, according to the Islamic teachings, is listed as the last and final stage of disciplining methods. Islam does not permit, allow or even condone beating unless the first two stages are proven to be ineffective. Moreover, beating must not be employed as a remedy, if a wife prefers to be divorced.
“The three stages of discipline stated in the verse of the Glorious Qur’an are only meant to be a means of discipline for the protection of the family unit. One form of destruction of a family is when the wife becomes a victim of divorce. Islam aims to relieve unnecessary pains, problems and conflicts…
“On Honor Killings
“In some traditional and tribal custom based societies, custom gives the male such a dominant role that if the honor of his womenfolk are perceived, even without proper verification, to have been violated by an action of promiscuity on her part, the man kills her to protect his honor. This situation has been hyped up in the media because some unscrupulous people who continue to do this and others who allow it to continue.
“The answer to this is simple. To begin with, people are not allowed to take the law into their own hands and punish in this manner based on unverified accusations of promiscuity, as the rules of testimony in Islam are very strict. Therefore, this is a direct violation of the Islamic law. If the court assesses the case as an outright premeditated murder, after considering all circumstances and receiving proofs conclusively, it becomes punishable by the Islamic law of equity and retribution in cases of premeditated murder.
“The unfortunate reality is that because secular laws are in place in these countries, and because politicians appease tribal and other leaders for political advantages, these unjust customs are allowed to continue. If the Islamic laws were established and executed, the severe punishments for fornication, adultery, murder, etc, would satisfy the Muslim population; that justice has been done, and this would curtail the sense of vengeance that one needs to have recourse to…
“Testimony of Women”
“Allah, the Exalted, stated in the Glorious Qur’an: And get two witnesses out of your men. And if there are not two men (available), then a man and two women, such as you agree for witnesses, so That if one forgets the other can remind her. [2:82]
“Allah clarifies to assure the rights of others that testimonies will not be valid unless two men, or one man and two women offer them.
“Divine wisdom has granted women, in general, very sensitive emotions, tender feelings, and a predisposition towards care and love of other members of the family. This makes a woman capable of her natural task of childbearing, nursing, taking care of all the needs of the young child, etc. Based on these emotional characteristics of the woman, she might very well follow her emotional inclinations and swerve from harsh realities due to an emotional involvement in a case. A woman’s loving and kind feelings might overcome what she has witnessed, and thus she may distort the story of her witness and testimony. At the same time the biological changes that occur in her body due to menses, pregnancy, child-birth and post-natal conditions reduce the sharpness of her memory and may make her forget the details of the issue. Therefore, a divine precautionary measure was established to eliminate any shortcoming on a woman’s part in any case of testimony. We would like to point out here one of the essential principles of the legal and judicial system in Islam, which states that the case is not valid for proceedings if a doubt arises in the case. Therefore, the strength of two female witnesses is intended to eliminate this doubt. “Besides testimony that involves other people’s rights, Islam has granted women full financial freedom in terms of independence and financial decision-making, and made her exactly equal to men in that regard. However, woman’s natural role in life, in raising children and caring for the family requires her to stay in the home for longer and extended periods in comparison to men, thus limiting her knowledge and experience to the affairs she stays involved most of her life…
“Travel Without a Male Guardian
“The Prophet (Peace be upon Him) said: “A woman must not travel alone without a mahram. No man may enter the house of a woman unless there is a mahram with her.”
“A man stood up and asked Allah’s Prophet (Peace be upon Him): “O Messenger of Allah! My wife is going on Hajj ( pilgrimage), while I want to participate in a battle, what should I do?” The Prophet of Allah (Peace be upon Him) said: “Go out with her.” [Bukhari #1763]
“For the protection of the person and honor of women, the Islamic rule encompassed in this tradition forbids any woman, whether she be young or old, single or married, to travel alone without (mahram) as a travel companion. This man must be of those to whom she is permanently prohibited to marry due to their close blood relationship, such as a father, a brother, an uncle, an elder son or nephew after he has reached puberty, or a husband, etc. Some people might say that this regulation restricts the freedom of the woman and her basic right of movement. The purpose of this rule is not to prevent her ravel but to free her from harm and molestation, and thus to maintain and preserve her right of dignity.
“Traveling entails many hardships and dangers, and since women are physically weaker than men, and moreover she may have circumstances of pregnancy, menses, nursing and childcare, or some ailments, she is in more need of help and service. Also women are generally more emotional and impressionable; they are more susceptible to unscrupulous and characterless men in search of victims. The Prophet of Allah (Peace be upon Him) expressed this most eloquently when he said to a man singing travel songs with a beautiful masculine voice in order to help the steady movement of the riding and pack animals, as per the custom of travelers:
“Go gently, O Anjashah, you’re urging on the delicate glassware.” [Bukhari #5857]
“The phrase “delicate glassware” describes the fragileness and softness of the women’s nature, who were the riders in that caravan, easily broken or disturbed.
“There are, as we all know, wicked minded, evil and violent men who lurk about and seek to take advantage of women whom they find susceptible, gullible or traveling alone. Such wicked-minded men are of course either interested in robbery, trickery, seduction, or rape. Therefore, a woman is very much in need of someone to care for, protect and fulfill her special needs while traveling, providing her the needed security, service and attention to help her in the difficulties and ward off strangers and potential predators. The “mahram” of a woman in Islam protects and serves with utmost sincerity since this is a natural obligation on him, rewarded by Allah (The Almighty).
“We find that many civilizations have similar rules about escorting women in travel, but often they allow other than the “mahram” to escort her since they do not differentiate between a “mahram” and a “non-mahram” in their cultures, which results in terrible stories. Therefore, and upon this line of reasoning, forbidding a woman to travel alone, and mandating a male escort who must be a “mahram”, is not in any way a humiliating restriction or insult to her abilities, but, in fact, is an honor that she is served, protected and given companionship by a male escort who has to give her preference over his personal matters and needs”