The Place of
In Christianity & Islam

Salman Hassan Jabbaar


To All women, of any nation or faith,
To my Sister in humanity,
To the other Half of Society,
To the Original Partner in the Journey of Life,
To Womankind, I dedicate this my simple effort.

S.H. Jabbaar

Chapter One:
Womanhood in Christianity
God's Image
Who's then is boss?
Holy Women

Chapter Two:
The place of women in Islam
Temporary Marriage - "Zawaj ul Muta'a"
Teen Marriage
Marriage with "People of the Book": 'Sheltered' and 'Unsheltered' women
Women in Paradise
The Rights of women in Islam
The Veil

Chapter One

The Place of Women in Christianity

So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman' for she was taken out of man." For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. (book of Genesis chap.2: vs. 21-24)

Whenever I used to read this blessed book in the Bible I would - and I still do - pause at these majestic verses, then return to the beginning of the story in chapter one!! I was struck by the wisdom of God, His love and understanding. All who study the book of Genesis will notice that God had created everything at first by one command; when He saw that it was good, He would complete it and then bless it. If we look more closely at the above passage we will notice that God, after creating Adam performed another act of creation from this creature; something made from another. We see from this that it required a special operation, despite God's omnipotence. This operation demanded a special act and procedure for, in order to produce the secondary creation it was necessary to put the first one out of action. To enable the Maker to do His work properly He had to induce a deep sleep on Adam. He put him out of action. We can imagine the Lord considering which part of his creature to borrow to provide the material for his future partner and mate... In His wisdom He chose to remove one of Adam's ribs.

One could ask: "But why a rib; why didn't the Lord take a finger, for instance or a tooth?" Perhaps because if He were to cut off a finger or a leg or extract a tooth or eye the person would still be able to continue lying. However, no one can remove a rib from my body without first gouging my chest which would inevitably result in my death!!

Notice too that here we have God taking one rib only. No more nor less than necessary! This may point to His unique holiness. Then we come across the use of the word "made" instead of the fiat: "Let there be... and there was". The act of making demands architecture, design, study and testing to ascertain fitness for the purpose. When the structure is complete its builder can be proud of it. Moreover, building demands effort and expenditure on the part of the maker after which, he deserves to rest. What's next?; I find myself marveling at God's precision and perfection in all the works of his hands. After He had made Eve the creator Himself brought her to Adam! We all know the social custom whereby the bride's father brings the bride, leading her by the hand to her awaiting bridegroom... Then follows our human father - Adam's recognition that she is," flesh of his flesh and bone of his bones" and that henceforth they are something new, one united body, "until death do us part".

God's Image

We are certain that no one has seen God. And that he is the light of the heavens and earth. This is taught throughout the Bible for when Moses tried to look at the face of God he failed. Instead, the whole mountain above him shook at his presence and movement. God is awesome in his might and we cannot openly see his glory, for if we could we would be struck dead! ! It would be too much for us...

But God has marvelous ways to reveal himself in a form which can be comprehended by our human mind; he will not burden us with more than we can bear. The point is that God loves us and reveals his beauty and might to us is by appropriate means. Thus he did not create us from the dust of the ground in order to insult us but rather to demonstrate to us that there is a special connection between our bodies and the dust. But then this earthy takes on another, incorruptible body no longer subject to corruption or death. In this way God's prior act of creation seems to be counterbalanced. It is as though God is holding heaven in one hand and the material world in the other; though created from dust, man was also made to bear God's image! Can you imagine a combination of glory with the dust of the earth? That is a mystery indeed!

But God states clearly in the book of Genesis, in that same chapter: "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the f ish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." (Gen. 1:26)

Male and female, thus did God's wisdom decree. He did not just create Adam in his image but Eve also. We see him giving them both the same degree of honor for the female, as the male was also created in God's image. He did not take into account their sexual or functional differences when he gave both of them equal glory, the very glory which they, unfortunately lost when they yielded to the love of self! It is also noticeable from the following passage; he addressed them saying... "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over all the creatures that move along the ground". (Gen. 1:28)

The order came to them jointly. God did not single out Adam for authority and management but Eve too was included in this mandate; she would be his co-worker and equal partner in all things. It is therefore quite clear that from the start woman was meant to enjoy the same rights on this earth, he gave her the same high rank and honor. However, l really wonder when I read some of Muhammad's sayings regarding women for they belittle their ability in a surprising way. It is totally inappropriate. At-Tarmathi in his collection of the Prophet's sayings mentions one such reference: "If a woman enters, she comes in the form of a devil" ... Then, in another saying, attributed to Sahih Al Bukhari we read: "Woman is just a rib; if you straighten it you break it and if you try to relish it the taste is ambiguous!"

We do know that Muhammad had a reasonable knowledge of the religions of his day and thus would have had a good idea of the teachings of the Bible since he was the disciple of the scholarly Waraqa bin Nawfal. However, it appears that the closed society in which he lived contributed to Muhammad's unusual view of women's place. What is one to believe, I often wonder? Should we believe the One who said he had created Eve in his own image or the one who considered her a mere arched rib or a scary devil? Surely, the Holy One who ennobled both my own status and that of my womenfolk; isn't that the case, brothers and sisters?

What then is the woman's role in general? Was she created to serve the man and bear him sons and daughters, to cook for him meals, whatever his stomach craved? Of course not!

The Bible mentions that God, after creating Adam presented him with all the creatures in Eden. We are told that he asked him to name them and that Adam did; but among all those creatures there was none like him. That must have saddened him. He had a deep desire for someone his equal - to know he had a partner in Eden. God knew what was in his heart and soon provided him with a helpmate, a most beautiful gift, Eve! The role of woman then came as a fulfillment of a deep-felt need, an existential necessity for the man. Otherwise one can visualize Adam, placed in control of the vast riches and bounties of Eden feeling depressed, unfulfilled and lonely. Maybe, in the wisdom of God from the beginning his plan was to create him solo in order for him to develop a strange longing for another to share life with him. He would not obtain her before first waiting and experiencing loneliness so that when she arrived it would be as from God in order to find the necessary favor and grace in his sight; then she was taken from his body so that she would correspond to him and reflect his nature. A 'Helpmate' indeed!

This then is the function of woman; to complete man and walk with and cling to him to the end. As for the practical things such as cooking, doing the laundry and bearing offspring, these help to enhance rather than to detract from woman's ability and femininity. Indeed they bestow on her a different kind of beauty since they stamp her character with that of a wife, mother and cherished one, qualities contributing to her deep feeling of kinship which is surely God's will for her life. You are well aware that we live in an age when the man is probably doing more of the household chores than his wife because the progress and demands of modern life require the wife to pull her weight in the workplace, thus helping her husband to keep the home together. Happy indeed is that man whose wife can also shoulder these outside responsibilities while remaining in charge of her home, spouse and children ... but this is rare.

Who then is Boss?

We have here a major war, whose flames can only be extinguished by faith. Who is to rule over the other, the man or the woman? Each has his special weapons and without faith in God and submission to him neither side is safe from the other's missiles. Men by nature like to dominate and for their word to be unquestioned while women, by nature like to run things according to their own ideas. So who is the winner and who is the loser in this battle when differences begin to surface in the home?

It seems to me that the first difference between the man and his wife occurred in the garden of Eden when Eve listened to the serpent's voice and, seeing the idea was good, obeyed it. This was the first step in straying and departing from faith. Then later, when she had convinced Adam also to eat from the fruit of the tree, he too incurred the wrath of his Creator. To God's question why he did that, he replied by putting the blame on his wife and indirectly, on God too. His statement in Genesis chapter 3 verse 12 shows it:

The man said, "The woman you put here with me - she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." It is understandable why he should want to shift the blame; he feared the punishment. As for Eve, since she had no one else to blame, when she was questioned she blamed the serpent, saying: "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." However, none of these excuses availed. God's wrath and his justice were inevitable. And since that day the conflict has continued; who is to obey the other, and does the man have to obey his wife in all things? Furthermore, what about the 'serpents' of these days...? Or should the wife obey her husband no matter what?

In my judgment the situation needs to be a consensus and a balance between the two parties. The woman has to submit to her husband so long as she submits to God with a pure trust while the man needs to understand that his wife is his partner in this life and not an employee or a servant. Above all else, there has to be faith in that family because where it is absent there can be no true, stable family life. We know that if there is faith in a family there is also the love of God and his leadership. This was the case with Adam and Eve before their disobedience. They were in control of all of Eden's domain but when they fell into satan's trap all that they obtained from God were leather aprons to cover their nakedness!! What a difference now!

The Bible orders women to obey their husbands and to submit to them in an honorable manner, making reference to and recalling those godly women of old who had obeyed their men with all dignity and honor. We find the apostle Peter, in his first letter, chapter three, saying:

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without talk by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self; the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women, of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master... (I Peter 3:1)

The beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. How beautiful is this description but how hard to apply!! I myself observe with great sadness that many women do not like these sayings of this dear apostle. They prefer instead what the world has to offer in the way of styles and fashions. But I know that God's thoughts, which are as far from man's as the East is from the West are always for our good.

What is important and plain here is that the man is entitled to have his wife's obedience. When a woman like Sarah, who could be called "Mother of the Faithful" addressed her husband as 'master' conceding to him the lordship of their home while, at the same time she was cooperating with him in the building of that home. No wonder a woman of this caliber deserved to have the Lord himself announce to her the promised son after all those barren years. She also earned the honor to be mentioned in Holy Scriptures with all respect and esteem.

What would have resulted if the opposite were the case? What if Abraham agreed to everything which his beloved Sarah ordered? In fact, this did happen on one important occasion when he consented to her wishes to marry her servant Hagar in order to produce an earthly offspring. This was categorically against God's wishes but Abraham obeyed Sarah this time. What was the result??

If you have been following the news of the Middle East relating to Palestine and Israel and the shared and un-shared destiny between them you can understand the reality of what happened and is still happening to this moment between the children of Ishmael the firstborn and Isaac the favorite. The Muslims bitterly hate the Jews and the Jews hate and fear them even more. Thank God that Christ's followers, though often caught between the upper and lower millstones in these issues are eagerly awaiting the Second Coming of Christ, who will save the world from its host of political, economic and religious problems. But we must thank the Lord at all times that He doesn't deal with us according to the flesh but according to the necessities of His grace and mercy. With God there is no difference between the Ishmaelites and the Isaacites, between the Zionist and the Arab, between the American and the African but everyone who loves God receives the right to be His child and one of His chosen people. In the letter to the Galatians, for instance we hear this heavenly declaration: You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:26-29)

As for the woman in general, if she has shut her ears to the voice of God and made up her mind on something, woe to her man! But we repeat; faith plays an effective part in restraining the feelings of pride and dominance on the part of both spouses. Furthermore, it is the duty of the wife, while obeying, to advise and counsel him if he is in the wrong; indeed she should pray for him and ask for his conversion if he is an unbeliever. The man, on his part should listen to his wife's views and be able to discuss them. Also he should nurture her and give her the honor she deserves. The apostle Peter in that same third chapter goes on to say: Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, ... (I Peter 3:7)

And to you, my brother, the honored reader and to you, my sister a grace which surpasses every grace and blessings unequaled: God's love and the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit in Christ the Beloved. Amen.

Holy Women...

If we want to elaborate a little to further show God's concern with the person of the woman and her place we discover that a whole book in the Bible has been set aside for this purpose. In the book of Ester we see a portrayal of a woman's wisdom and skill in taking some brave steps. God had entrusted her with all the necessary wisdom for rescuing her nation from certain destruction which had been planned for them. She offered her mind, soul and body in order to save the people of God from slaughter and extinction. What love and what beauty is there displayed! Then observe too how the book of Ruth describes Ruth, the gentile widow, the least in the eyes of the nation, amongst whom she was a stranger. Read this narrative for you will see how loyalty, devotion and sacrifice which this patient woman of faith displayed worked out God's gracious plan in her life and fulfilled His wonderful purposes for mankind. Such were the women of the Bible. Sanctified women are endowed with God's boundless wisdom and the holy pages of Scriptures are illuminated by their exploits throughout human history. By their deep faith they were able to lead the armies of believers to victory, defeating the enemies of God. Witness, for instance Deborah, who was also a judge in Israel (See the book of Judges chapter 4). She rescued the Lord's army from destruction. Likewise, Rahab of Jericho who was a despised prostitute, looked down upon by the community. Yet she sheltered the prophets and men of God, fed them, then let them escape safely. Then we have the story of the widow of Zarephath who sustained that prophet of miracles Elijah (see the book of 1st Kings chapter 17). We also have mention in the Bible of Miriam, Moses' sister who was a prophetess and leader... In the New Testament numerous women served the early church and thus participated in the spread of the Gospel. To my mind these examples demonstrate the elevated position in which God held womanhood.

Nevertheless, if I ignore all these women and consider just one individual whom the Bible singles out for the highest esteem and honor it would suffice to give grounds for real pride to her sex. I mean, of course Mary the mother of Jesus. God almighty chose her before the foundation of the world to carry to the world the best tidings. She was to be the vessel to bear God's infinite Love for mankind. God selected the virgin Mary, that devout woman in Israel by granting her the favor, through the Holy Spirit to conceive and bear God's holy Son. This incarnate Son of God was made in fashion as a man in order to be our substitute, saving us by His death on the cross Thus he satisfied God's justice and demonstrated his abundant mercy. Consider, oh woman what a position you occupy in God's sight. Will you not open your heart to the One who loved you and bow before Him and pray: "Come now, Lord and save me so that my soul too may rejoice in you; come, oh Master and flood my life with your amazing light so that henceforth I will not seek anything except you. No one else has elevated me, respecting my person like you. And I will be your servant all my life. Amen"

Finally, I will conclude this chapter by inviting you to read with me the next pages with an open mind. My only hope is that you will leave behind any bigotry and extremism and listen only to God's voice within you. Let your conscience be the judge and dismiss all dark thoughts from your mind. I have not come with something out of thin air or from my grandfather's wallet but from well attested sources. I therefore beg you to read on with a good conscience even as I have written this with a good conscience before God and myself. And God is above all and knows all secrets.

In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. (I Corinthians 11:11)

Chapter Two

The Place of Women in Islam

"Wives are playthings, so take your pick" attr. to the Prophet, according to Al Hakem, attr. to Omar.

And now, let us discuss this subject calmly:

When one studies the Koran which is the recognized, legal authority among Muslims one finds differences between one sura and another on various important and sensitive subjects to do with building the social fabric. Our purpose here is not to discuss the structure and composition of the Koran but only to focus on our main goal in this study, namely ... womanhood.

In this chapter we shall discuss an important topic dealing with marriage and divorce situations and the wife's treatment by her Muslim husband according to the Law (Sharia'a.) Also we shall consider the evaluation of women in general by Islamic legal standards. Some of these topics may be unfamiliar even to Muslim women.

We shall start by asking ourselves the basic question: What is Marriage?

It is generally known that marriage is a familial relationship - a holy relationship, the purpose of which is the creation of a live nucleus within a living society. In a sense then, marriage is like a tent whose walls shelter a man and a woman - one man and one woman - the one consecrated to the other. It is not an animal relationship but a full life of respect, appreciation and reciprocal human emotions.

God, as we have seen when he first created Adam also made Eve from his rib and here the divine wisdom is very clearly displayed. Eve was not created from the dust of the ground nor from the leaves of trees nor from other materials at God's disposal. We saw how, after putting Adam to sleep he removed one of his ribs from which he formed Eve. Thus the woman here is derived from the man; in other words, she and her mate are one body (see the book of Genesis Chap.2:24)

What does the Koran teach on this subject?

Undoubtedly the Koran allows a Muslim to marry four wives. However, if he is afraid of not treating them equally then marry one only. The actual text reads: If you fear that you will not act justly towards the orphans, marry such woman' as seem good to you, two, three, four; but if you fear you will not be equitable, then only one, or what your right hands own; so it is likelier you will not be partial. (Women vs.2)

We shall deal later with the matter of equitable treatment among the wives. But at this point, if we look more closely at the form of the text we will notice that the writer departed from a whole number to approximate numbers. He did not say (in the Arabic) "ithnatayn wathalath w'arbaa" as one might expect. Neither did he use the term "wahida" correctly in order to fit the context. In fact it is stylistically ambiguous since it may give the impression that here Muhammad is permitting the man to marry more than four if he dares... That may have been the intention because at the time this verse came down Muhammad himself was legally married to nine wives!

But what is this 'impartiality' which the Koran speaks of in this text? The Koran here enjoins the man with two wives or more to be scrupulously fair between them. That means he is to give each her legal rights and treat each as if she was the only one. If he spends time with one he should do the same all round, if he buys a garment for one he should not neglect the others; in effect his love and attentions should be fair and equally distributed without the least partiality.

It is said that an Arab once came to Muhammad and told him: "Oh apostle of God, I have ten wives and they are all very dear to my heart." The Prophet replied: "Get rid of six" The Arab kept pestering him to keep them and the Prophet urging him to get rid of some until he divorced six of his wives. I do not know if that Arab ended up being impartial with all his remaining wives or not. I mention it just to note my amazement at the Prophet's position for he himself, as we shall later see did not follow the Koranic injunction received from his Lord! Why do I say this? Come with me so we can look at some facts.

First of all, it should be recognized that Muhammad had nine wives whom he married after the death of his first, Christian-born wife, Khadija. The Prophet had a special way of classifying his wives:- Intimate (Muqarribat) and Remote (Ghair Muqarribat). At the head of the list of Intimates was Aiysha, then Hafsa, Um Salma and Zainab. As for the Outer Circle (Remote): Um Habeeba, Maimoona and Sawda. Then comes Juweiriyeh and Sufia.

These were the legal wives of Muhammad and we do not here envy him nor accuse him of impropriety, God forbid! All we are saying is that he did not bind himself with the rules he laid down for others although he is considered the highest example to every Muslim. What happened in this case? It raises some really serious questions which we need to address.

Does God have partiality in his laws? Did he permit him to do things forbidden to others? God forbid! What we see here is that physical instinct or the desire for male offspring or some other factor had a large part to play in the Prophet's marital conduct. He does not feel bound to marry according to the Koranic laws. But he doesn't stop here; he goes well beyond these limits when he attributes to God the permission to marry any other woman he fancied. She would in effect become a slave to him for purposes of sexual gratification. Here is the relevant text from the Koran:

Oh Prophet, We have made lawful for thee thy wives whom thou hast given their wages and what thy right hand owns, spoils of war that God has given thee, and the daughter of thy uncles paternal and aunts paternal, thy uncles maternal and aunts maternal, who have emigrated with thee, and any woman believer, if she give herself to the Prophet and if the Prophet desire to take her in marriage, for thee exclusively, apart from the believers --
(The Confederates vs.49 ff.)

So we see Muhammad allowing himself any wives, exclusively even if they were bound by law to another man. And this is actually what happened with Zainab. Once again, we remind the reader that the principle at issue is fairness among the wives. But one sees the Koran legislating a special provision for him without regard whatever for the opinion of the woman. She is to be led as a lamb to the slaughter at the whims of the chieftain, if he fancies a woman he acquires her with appropriate authority! He then obtains whatever enjoyment he desires after which he decides whether to bring her into his inner circle or desert her without fear of injustice in the matter...

In the same sura, verse 50 he says:

Thou mayest put off whom thou wilt of them,
and whom thou wilt thou mayest take to thee;
and if thou seekest any thou hast set aside there is no fault in thee. etc.

It is said of Ibn Saad through Munir bin Abdallah Ad Daa'ouli: "that the mother of Shareek Ad Dousieh offered herself to the Prophet and she was beautiful. He accepted her. Aiysha's reaction was: "God indeed speedily grants your passions", referring to the above-mentioned text. Aiysha hit the nail on the head!

We do not wish to stray too deeply into this subject lest we should lose sight of our main theme which is 'Womanhood'. It suffices to note that there are contradictions in the Koran when it comes to the value and place of women; it is clear that marriage in Islam favors the husband more than the wife. In fact, it is wholly preoccupied with the feelings of the man and his needs, while largely overlooking the woman's emotions and rights. By contrast, the Bible teaches us that the married man is concerned how he might please his wife while the latter is concerned with how to please her husband.

The Bible also teaches us that the man has no mastery over his body but his wife has; likewise the wife has no mastery over her own body but her husband has. (see I Corinthians chap.7). In this way an equality and complementarity follows, yes a harmony results in the sense in which God decreed. They come together to become one body.

And when the wife gives her husband his rights whether they be respect, esteem, love, even her own body, the husband responds by giving his wife an equal measure no less!

The husband is not to deceive or cheat her with diplomatic words so that when he gets his desire he can banish her from his face...

One can give as an example an incident in Muhammad's life: the Prophet had let his wife Hafsa leave in order to visit her father. He seized this opportunity to invite Maria the Copt (who was a concubine in the house not a legal wife) to go to Hafsa's apartment and he slept with her in Hafsa's own bed... It so happened that Hafsa had to return to the house for something. Then when she saw the couple in bed she was afraid to enter. She sat down and wept bitterly. There was nothing else she could do ... He came out and implored her not to cry, promising her that he would abstain from intercourse with Maria. Unfortunately he broke his promise, arming himself with yet another Koranic text, this time from The Forbidding:

O Prophet, why forbiddest though what God has made lawful to thee, seeking the good pleasure of thy wives? And God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.

And so, returning to verse 2 of sura Women we see that there is no place for justice or harmony in the polygamous marriage. No wonder God wisely decreed that for the true Christian, for reasons of fairness as well as health, "One man for One woman", enabling them to be truly One body, unified, holy without blemish. He called that institution MARRIAGE.

Temporary Marriage (Pleasure Marriage)

One concludes from these texts that the Koran advises marrying one wife if the husband doesn't feel he can be fair. Expanding a bit in our consideration of this subject we shall discover an important aspect which appeals to any man who feels he cannot be impartial.

Isolating the phrase: Or what your right hands own, we see that it gives the man of means the full right to exercise the special option known as "Temporary Marriage". This is a subject which frankly, to explore would fill a whole book; it is so complex and has wide variations in the different sects of Islam. But the Koran definitely sanctions it and Muhammad not only agreed to it but also practiced this type of liaison. Later in his life when he conquered Mecca and as he approached death he changed his views somewhat... When Omar became Caliph this subject was very controversial between his followers and their successors so that he had to ban 'temporary marriage' completely. This ban remained in Mecca and Madina until Ali succeeded Othman to the Caliphate. He once again lifted the ban and it became prevalent. As every Muslim knows the Shi'a sect practices 'temporary marriage'. However the Sunni Muslims do not, in spite of its admissibility in the Koran.

{Correction by the web editor: A Muslim reader pointed out that the above paragraph contains an error. The Quranic phrase "or what your right hands own" does not refer to temporary marriage (known as mut'a) but to taking slaves as wives or concubines, which could either be slaves that the Muslim master had legally bought or women whom he himself captured / enslaved, i.e. prisoners of war. Since we do no longer have contact to the author of the book to ask him to revise this section, I am instead making the correction by adding this note. On the issue of Muhammad allowing his men to have sex with prisoners of war, the reader may consult these two articles: [1], [2].}

What is Temporary Marriage?

This type of marriage is like a personal agreement or contract between a man and a woman, acquainted or strangers. In it the man offers the woman a sum of money for that particular year as well as providing her with housing and all other necessities, be it food, clothes, etc. In exchange she will agree to satisfy his sexual demands whenever he wants without hindrance. She has to remain exclusively his for the duration of the contract signed between them. When the period expires (the Koran does not specify an exact period; it could be from one month to one whole year) the first party, the man has to either pay her off and release her or renew his agreement for a further period. This used to be the custom in the past with men who went to war, leaving their wives behind. At the new location they would come across other women with whom they would contract 'temporary marriages'. This practice was also common among men of business and commerce, since they are constantly on the move and need surrogate wives to satisfy their sexual urges...

The reason Omar banned this custom among Muslims was because many of the women wanted to renew their contracts, thus keeping their man. Often they had to conceal early signs of conception so that if they revisited them again they would find they'd become mothers of their child. In that case it was forbidden to desert or wrong them in any way. That led to more complications, for instance when the man already had four legal wives. Muslim scholars tried to find a solution to this problem and came up with the system of concubinage. A concubine is a woman who was previously a servant or temporary wife in the household then becomes a mother, having borne him children. By law he then had to keep her and take care of her and the children. However, she remained one degree below the legal wife and, in practice often played the part of helper to the original homemaker!!

Consequently it became simple for the wealthy Muslim to claim he had one legal wife only, thus freeing himself of the problem of being impartial among several wives! At the same time it enabled the man to secure his fill of sexual gratification with what, in those days was proudly described as a household full of 'jawari' and 'sarari' (slave-girls and concubines).

Teen Marriage

The Islamic religion recommends early marriage and this appears to be a good, healthy piece of advice. It enables the mature young man who can afford it to marry the girl of his dreams and settle down in his life's journey in a healthy manner. The Bible similarly advises young people that, it is better to marry than to burn in any case!

But Islam here goes beyond merely advising people to marry early. It makes it legal and proper to entertain the marriage of minors. This was something alien to most Arabian tribes for they did not allow young girls to be married off. The parents normally had to wait until the girl matured into a woman before accepting offers of marriage.

At the beginning of Islam we find clear instances of the practice of teen marriage. For instance, Muhammad gave his twelve year old daughter, Fatima in marriage to his cousin Ali bin Abu Taleb. It is true she was capable and quite mature mentally; it was said she would be reading the Koran with one hand while grinding barley with the other! Still her age would place her in the category of a minor or a child, approaching adolescence.

And if Fatima was so mature, this was not the case with Aiysha, daughter of Abu Bakr As Siddiq who was a close friend of the Prophet and in charge of his books. When he offered her as a legitimate wife to Muhammad she was only eight years old. He added, jokingly "She is eight but dependable!" (Ar. Hia thaman, wa alaihad dhaman). Yet there was another problem; it comes as a great shock to learn that the Prophet was fifty three years old when he married Aiysha - an age difference between them of forty five years!!

But Muhammad was insistent on that marriage with Aiysha; he even had planned it years before. He used to play with her and sit her on his lap and play games with her when she was only five years old. As soon as she was eight he could no longer wait and married her...

And here my Muslim brother and sister I would like to ask you this question: "Would you give your daughter in marriage to a man the age of her grandfather?... even if she were your ugliest and least lovable child?? Would you give away your daughter to a man, whoever he be while she is still a child in her mother's lap? Would you give your daughter in marriage at a time when, in all good conscience you knew she was still too young to know what marriage was about?. Be realistic and think with me; don't you feel that such an act would be a crime, deserving of punishment from God and man? I don't know your view but I, myself see it as a great crime...

In the case of Aiysha she was still a young child, immature and obviously ignorant of married life. To illustrate this; one evening the Prophet was in deep conversation with Abu Bakr when Aiysha stepped into the room. As Muhammad continued and was long winded, she grew bored and interrupted him with the words: "be brief." At which her father slapped her on the mouth, causing it to bleed. The Prophet, we are told was most unhappy... This shows that Aiysha was still a child, petted by Muhammad. He well knew that she was immature. Therefore he overlooked her interruption. He also permitted her to argue for she was, among his wives the one closest to his heart. How he deserted her though, before she was eighteen and went his way is hard to understand. Not only that but he forbade her and his other ex-wives from marriage all their lives. History does not tell us much of what befell her afterwards except that we know Aiysha stirred up many divisions among Muslims after the Prophet's death and her father had ceased to be Caliph. She did not completely see eye to eye with the new Caliph Ali ibn Abu Talib, Muhammad's cousin.

I myself will never forget a terrible incident which happened to my Muslim friend's sister there in the southern part of our homeland. My friend had a sister who was thirteen years old. Since they lived under a strict Islamic tribal code it was decided to stop her schooling and marry her off because her breasts began developing. When they searched for a youth to marry her they were unsuccessful; no one seemed interested. Then a man came forward and proposed marriage although he was forty five years old, a husband of two wives and had seven grandchildren. After consulting the sheikh, who held God's book in his hand, she was married according to the Koran. On the night of the consummation of the wedding the child was shocked to discover that it was not a mere game as she had been made to believe by her mother and aunts ... This grown man wanted from her what she could not comprehend, let alone understand. To prove his masculinity the man forcibly raped her. The result was that the girl died that same night! I can still picture my friend's tears streaming down his face as he related to me this tragedy. I found it heart-breaking and do, even to this day whenever I remember her story. I carry within me the indescribable hope that the day will come when God will open a wide gap and illuminate the minds and remove from all hearts the veil so that he can reach all mankind with the sunshine of his love.

Marriage with 'People of the Book'

Sheltered & Unsheltered Women

The Koran mentions 'The People of the Book' in numerous places, sometimes critically, at other times approvingly - it is inconsistent on this subject. But what concerns us here is the interaction between Muslims and 'The People' mentioned in sura The Table verse 4. There we find it allowing the Muslim in a general sense the "delicacies" available to the People of the Book such as certain pleasures, and foods. At the same time it allows the People (Christians and Jews) access to Muslims' food but without mentioning other pleasures. Then it goes on to expand by saying a Muslim can take to himself a wife from the People provided he can pay her dowry fully!! However, no mention is made in the text nor even in that sura, or the Koran, for that matter, about allowing a man from the People of the Book to marry a Muslim wife. One asks: "Does not the Muslim woman have the right to accept a Christian or Jewish man as a husband? Of course not! This is totally forbidden her by God, the Prophet and those in authority; it is common knowledge.

This is how the text reads:

Today the good things are permitted you, and the food of those who were given the Book is permitted to you, and permitted to them is your food. Likewise believing women in wedlock, and in wedlock women of them who were given the Book before you if you give them their wages, in wedlock and not in license, or as taking lovers. (to end of verse)

And in spite of the fact that the Koran itself makes our foods, our delicacies and our women available to our Muslim brethren some Muslim sects, even to this day insist on the principle of complete separation from The People of the Book, especially the Christians. Some have a prohibition to even drink water with or accept anything from the hand of a Christian. It is common in the southern part of my originally Christian homeland to refer to a Christian person as "Unclean". If the truth be told, these Christian families wherever you find them scattered in the land, look cleaner and better groomed and are better educated than most, assuming the reference is to outward cleanliness!

If we go back to the Koranic text we shall find that the word "sheltered" (muhassanat) is mentioned twice in this connection; once concerning 'believing' women, i.e. Muslim being fair game to Muslim men and the second time about Christian and Jewish women being available to Muslim men. Why then did the Koran make a distinction between the two categories when it came to eligibility? Why did it not, for instance include the Muslim believing women with the women of the People of the Book in one sentence?. Who was intended in the first reference of 'sheltered' and in the second and is there a difference? Yes, I would say there is a significant difference!

An Arabic language authority, Abu Bakr Ar-Razi, in his work "Mukhtar As Sihah" mentions that:

The man becomes sheltered when he marries and the woman becomes sheltered when she is chaste - her husband has made her sheltered. Then he comments on a statement by Tha'alab by saying: 'Every chaste woman is sheltered.'

It follows then that there is a clear distinction here: 'sheltered' as used first refers to Muslim women who enjoy complete shelter as well as the support of her people and tribe. Its second use also refers to women who are chaste and have husbands who are alive. Therefore the first half of the text includes unmarried Muslim women, widows or divorced; these are all available for marriage to a Muslim as long as he pays their dowry. The second half of the text refers to women of the Book, regardless of whether they are married or not. She is available to the Muslim under certain circumstance such as abduction, captivity or purchase and such like. And so we learn from Abu Sateed: We came across some women captives from Outas who had husbands and we hated to touch them while their husbands were still alive. So we asked the Prophet. He replied: "...take believing handmaids that your right hands own..." We took this to mean that God had placed them in our hands ... so we violated them. From that account one gathers that this commander had taken captive some Christian families. He separated the men from the women, as was the custom. The soldiers were tempted to violate the women but because they had husbands they refrained. However, after consulting the Prophet, who was Commander-in-Chief of the nation, and obtaining his permission they gratified their lust on them. The fact that they were 'sheltered' and had living husbands nearby didn't seem to deter them any more since they were abiding by the Koranic injunction in sura Women verse 23...

Just consider the extent of the pain and humiliation which befell those captive men when they learnt that their wives had been forcibly raped by strange men! It may be that the Prophet in this case intended to preserve the lives of those captives rather than allow them to be killed and their wives later taken due to the shortage of men! I personally feel that death is to be preferred to the sight of one's wife becoming another's while one stands helpless. He was, after all a prisoner, unable to stand against soldiers armed with swords and with the Prophet's word as well as the Koran's...

And now, having ascertained that a Muslim is allowed to marry from The People of the Book certain questions arise. What is the fate of a family having two religions? Whose religion are the children supposed to follow? Will things go smoothly between the spouses? Actually Islam has laid down that the wife of the People of the Book should not be forced to embrace her husband's religion. She can keep the faith of her fathers. On the other hand her children would have to become Muslim by inheritance. Yet the mother has to bring them up and initiate them in the doctrines of the Muslim religion. I myself know of many examples of this situation. I had a neighbor whose relative married a Muslim man, lived a long life with him and bore him many boys and girls. Naturally, the children were supposed to be Muslim. Whenever their mother took them to visit her family they would accompany her to church. I noticed that the children had a disposition which leaned towards their mother and her church. In their eyes one could see a certain insecurity and distraction. When I quizzed my neighbor on this he confirmed that he also regretted the children's plight. They do not know whose side to be on. Their father would take them to the mosque on a Friday and teach them the traditions and rituals of Islam but when they would visit us with their mother we would take them with us to church and involve them in our devotions. This had the effect of further unsettling them and making them insecure.

Perhaps when there is love and sacrifice between the couple and a spirit of tolerance harmony could prevail in such a home, at least for a while. But isn't this somewhat like the calm which precedes the storm?

I had a rare experience while I was a student at the institute. There was a young Muslim Arab whom I got to know and our friendship grew and deepened. I discovered that he was married to a Catholic woman from the Philippines. They were deeply in love with one another and so he was able to persuade her to adopt his religion in order to be better accepted by his family. At first she objected, saying that she had been baptized a Christian as a child and knew that Jesus has saved her and she must continue to follow him. He took pains to convince her that she need not take the thing seriously or bother about fulfilling all the Islamic precepts. It was enough for her to pronounce the two statements of faith for her to become Muslim! That would do the trick; and they could thereafter live in peace.. She finally agreed. He took her to Jerusalem where the head sheikh made her pronounce the two 'testimonies' in Arabic without really knowing what she was saying. He then declared her a Muslim woman and blessed their happy marriage. But when I asked this colleague if his wife was persevering in the reading of the Koran he laughed and replied: "She doesn't even know what it is or where it came from. All she knows is that now she is a Muslim and that I am still married to her!!"

Women in Paradise

The Gospel written by Matthew the disciple gives us an incident in which Jesus himself leaves us in no doubt whatsoever on this subject. We read that a certain Jewish party came to trick Jesus on a then controversial subject, namely life and the married state after the Resurrection. (Gospel of Matt. chapter 22 verse 23-31):

That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. "Teacher," they said, "Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and have children for him. Now there were several brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. Finally, the woman died. Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?" Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven... "

Therefore, it has been God's decision since eternity past that everyone who believes in him will live with him in heaven, the the angelic beings, occupied in praising and declaring him to be holy. God Himself will dwell among the host, rejoicing the hearts of all with that heavenly, unspeakable joy! No matter how hard we think about this subject we will not be able to fully understand what God has prepared for us in heaven. The beloved apostle Paul perhaps gave us the best glimpse from his experience when God allowed him to be transported to that blissful sphere. He testified:

"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those
who love him."

(1 Corinthians 2:9, quoting the prophet Isaiah)

Here we see that there is no room for uncleanness where holiness dwells, nor for darkness in the realm of unsullied light. God is holy and has prepared heaven for the saints (holy ones) and the fire for evildoers. It does not make sense at all to mix the two. And there is a vast difference between enjoyment as we know it on earth and heavenly joys, which are unsurpassed... We have mentioned all the foregoing simply in order to determine whether there is a difference in the concept of heaven between the two faiths. Obviously there is a vast difference!

Moreover, in the book "Kitab ul Isra'a wal Mu'raj" the author, Ibn Serene quotes Muhammad as describing the trip he took one night from Jerusalem to the Seven Heavens.

Among other things he reports about the paradises prepared for Muslims that each of them contained a variety of fruits, unpicked and not forbidden. Also there were rivers flowing underneath rivers of honey, milk and wine in which the believers were swimming as well as drinking. As he looked, he saw palaces made of crystal, sapphire and diamonds, the likes of which he had never seen. When he entered these palaces he saw that in each there were seventy couches made of gold and emerald on which lay virgins, untouched by man prepared for their bridegrooms...

When this reached the ears of his disciples and followers there were many questions asked. Among them, whether sexual intercourse was permitted in heaven. Were there female angels whom God had prepared for that purpose? When one of his followers posed the question: "Oh Messenger of God, do we have sexual intercourse in paradise?" He replied in extravagant words, indicating the intensity and total preoccupation with sexual expression... Then he added: "There is no bachelor in paradise". When another asked him how one man could have the strength to mount seventy girls in one day he responded: "He would be given the strength of one hundred men"!

This is also the case if we study the Koran, we find the subject repeated here and there and woven into several contexts. It would seem God not only rewards believers with perpetual paradise but gives them all that their worldly hearts desire of wine, milk, honey, fruits and women without number. In surat Imran verse 14 this fact is clearly stated and it is confirmed in surat Women verse 65, the sure which follows immediately. This topic recurs in different places throughout the Koran.

Indeed, wherever we come across this subject in any sure in the Koran it is couched in a special style, known among Islamic scholars as the "Threat and Inducement" style: The Koran thus offers the Muslim (man) all that he desires as a reward for loyalty and adherence to his faith in this world. On the other hand he is given dire warnings, repeatedly if he should turn round and become an apostate from his faith.

It is like threatening someone and appeasing him at the same time (a 'carrot & stick' approach), a treatment, certainly not worthy of a holy God! And what really bewilders me is that whenever I read such texts, it seems that only the men enjoy all these privileges. There is not even one verse in all of the Koran which gives the woman her right, for instance to swim in that river of wine in paradise or eat of the dangling fruits or claim ownership of one of those gorgeous palaces... Why then is womankind judged to be lacking in brains and piety in this world and apparently remain so in the next?? Muslim scholars have judged that the woman whose husband dies, while satisfied with her will presently be ushered by God into paradise to join her husband there. I wish I knew the fate of the less fortunate one whose husband leaves this world while angry with her - even though her faith may be stronger than his! We must leave her destiny in God's hands... However, logic dictates that there is no further use for such a woman in paradise. Her husband, with all that he desires of women at his disposal will hardly be content with someone with whom he has lived and been familiar all his married life. I think this woman will live as a pariah there, alongside those dark-eyed, virgin 'houris'. Even the service of her husband will be denied her since all things are automatically provided for him there. And so ... injustice in this world and worse injustice in eternity! What a fate...

Also worth mentioning in this connection is that Muhammad will have the lion's share of all the good things in paradise for surely he was singled out for favor by God by virtue of his flight into the seven heavens (Al Isra'a wal Mi'raj incident) It was there too that he received from God's hand all the teachings which he transmitted to his followers. When he returned to earth from that trip he was unable to hide the fact from his first wife, Khadija - the eldest. He told her as she lay dying: "Oh Khadija, know that God has wedded me to Mary, Christ's mother in paradise." He repeated this story to his favorite wife, Aiysha, after the Hejira, saying:" Oh Aiysha, didn't you know that God Almighty in heaven wedded me to Mary the daughter of Imran, to Kulthum, Moses' sister and to Assiya, wife of the Pharaoh". (related by Abu Umama)

It appears then that the trip to heaven culminated in the marriage of Muhammad to one of the greatest saints, and chiefest woman in the Bible, namely the mother of Jesus Christ! The Blessed Virgin Mary whom no human had touched! She it was who shouted, rejoicing in the Lord her Savior, because he chose her from the foundation of the world to carry in her womb the Child of the Holy Ghost, mankind's Savior.

Consider, my brother how much this story hurts the feelings of millions in the Christian world who regard this Mary with such reverence and love...

In any case, the woman in Islam, whether in heaven or earth will never get beyond her deficient, powerless status. She is a mere plaything at the mercy of her husband's whims. We've already referred to the saying, attributed to the Muhammad: "Women are playthings, so take your pick" (attr. to Al Hakem). It is also said of Omar that he once reprimanded his wife in front of his guest with the words: "You are only a toy; if you're needed we will call for you". Thus we see from all the foregoing that the woman in Islam is regarded as an appendage, there to serve a need; she is for cooking, cleaning, rearing the children and for the bed. This is all that is expected of her. Beyond that, if she steps over the limits she should be beaten, deserted, imprisoned and, maybe stoned. However, I thank God that in some Islamic countries women have started to be aware of their situation. In many of the progressive cities in the region we find women assuming more authority vis a vis the men. One just fears that the tables might, some day be turned if the man ends up under the woman. From such a calamity our refuge must be ever in the Lord!!

The Rights of Women in Islam

Some have heard of the custom among pre-Islamic Arabs of burying the newly born female child. There was a feeling of shame among those Arabian tribes if one's wife bore him a girl. When Islam came it utterly prohibited this killing of innocent babies. This measure gave a special distinction to the new religion and enhanced Muhammad's reputation in the eyes of all his people. Actually the custom was not universal; maybe just among those tribes who were unstable and relied largely on raiding, pillaging and fighting with others. And so when these tribes became Muslim they abandoned their ancient custom. However there still persisted a negative feeling towards the female throughout the whole region.

Here, while I would like to express my deep respect to Muhammad for his part in banning the murder of innocent babies, I wish he had also granted the female more than her mere right to life. Evidently she was given hardly any rights to protect her and uphold her dignity and worth in the eyes of Islamic society. For we have seen earlier in our discussion how Islam, definitely lowers women's station in society. Even the Prophet himself declared that woman is deficient, both mentally and religiously.

Mentally, because Islamic jurisprudence does not accept the witness of one woman whom it considers incapable of a reliable testimony. Therefore, where necessary it prescribes the witness of two women to be equivalent to one man.

This is how the text reads: and call to witness two witnesses of your people; but if there be not two men, let there be a man, and two women of those whom ye shall judge fit for witnesses: if the one of them should mistake, the other may cause her to recollect. (The Cow verse 281).

The reason why she is deficient religiously is due to her condition during her monthly period; she is considered to be in a state of imbalance spiritually and thus incapable of proper prayer or sustained fasting. Her menstrual period would interrupt that, even though it is the very thing, biologically which gives her fertility and thus the vehicle for continuance of the species. However, one presumes that she continues to be a woman and effective, after her own fashion... One reads of a saying by the Prophet, related in the "Sahih" by Al Bukhari: Oh ye women I have yet to find anyone swifter to the heart of a resolute man than one of you half-witted and irreligious lot! They asked: 'How are we irreligious and half-witted, oh Apostle of God' He replied: Isn't the testimony of the woman equal to that that of the man? They said: 'Yes'. He countered: That is due to her inferior mind; adding isn't it true that during her period she neither prays nor fasts? They said: 'True' Then he said: That is due to her lack of religion!

And since the woman has so much deficiency it is incumbent to direct her from on top. You suppress her when she is recalcitrant, expect total obedience from her without the least protest and to be led like a lamb wherever the father, brother and, later the husband wishes. A questioner might ask: "Does the woman have any rights at all?" You reply: "Yes", but it is not for us to decide where these lie!

Once the Prophet was asked about this subject: "What rights does the woman have with the man?" He replied: He should feed her if he eats, clothe her when he dresses, avoid disfiguring her or beating her excessively or abandoning her except at home.

These then are her rights: To be beaten but not enough to disfigure her (even though it might disfigure her spiritually and mentally) and to abandon or desert her at home - meaning shunned confinement in bed - at times when she is in most need of her only man. You remember, she does not have the right to marry four husbands... She will be fed and clothed like any other member in the household of her husband. Nothing special. She is accrued of no higher value beyond that! (See surat Women verse 33) As for the rights of the man with the woman; all things both the possible and impossible. The wife has to keep her husband happy no matter what it costs. It is everything to her. She also has to respect him and place him in a very elevated position in her spiritual and temporal life. The Prophet even mentioned that if it were decreed to kneel in worship to other than God, he would have ordered that women kneel before their husbands! The woman is also duty bound to be ready any time of night or day to satisfy her man's sexual needs, regardless of circumstances even if she is sick... It is attributed to Abu Huraira in the "Tayalisi", that he said: The man has the right to approach his wife even if she were menstruating.

So much for sexual matters. What about social affairs?

As we have mentioned earlier, no single woman's testimony is accepted in a court of law. The same is true of all other legal transactions. The woman is treated in a far inferior manner than the man. For example she cannot inherit the same amount as the man because the latter has the lion's share of the inheritance since he is complete mind and religion. As for her, No! Therefore she only receives one third. We find in the surat of Women: To the male a portion twice the female's, etc. where there is also a list of women's civil rights in Islamic society.

The Veil

What is the veil and why is it necessary for the Muslim woman to wear one? I recall when I was still in my homeland that many of my Muslim brethren used to regard the Christian woman as degenerate and loose in her morals for she would go out immodestly dressed often in clothes which revealed her physical attractions... And although this description only applies to some, yet I tend to agree with them. But I categorically object to the label "Christian" or "believer" being applied to such. Indeed, Christianity has nothing to do with these persons. For I believe in my religion with such conviction that I know it is the religion of holiness and chastity. When it enters a person's life and heart it ennobles and purifies it and lifts it above all uncleanness. For that reason the Christian person becomes, in the words of Scripture "a New Creature". As for those who have inherited their religion from their relatives and society, it does not follow that they are adherents of that religion nor bound by its precepts. These days there are millions who follow Islam but it is evident that not all Muslim women are veiled or follow the precepts or are bound by the fundamentals of their faith. What do you think; are they Muslims or no?

Regarding those nominal Christians, both women and men, they will attract to themselves the greater judgment because in their lifestyle they dishonor and crucify Christ again, in a manner of speech. But the true Christian woman is the one who is beautified by the presence of the Lord in her life. She is of neat appearance, careful what she wears, choosing only modest dresses so as not to be a temptation for other men, and so on. She has within her personality that quiet, meek spirit enjoined by the Bible. At the same time she is careful to keep her husband happy and attached to her physically and spiritually (see First Epistle of Peter chapter 3). This is the Christian woman, in God's sight, the woman who does her duty towards God by prayer, fasting, and godliness with knowledge and not by blind tradition. If she attends church, she stores God's words in her heart, memorizing them, and worships with fear and reverence. She covers her head for the sake of the angels and because God's presence fills the place. She does not enter the church dressed in anything less than modest. What really baffles me is that some modern women object strongly to this way of life in spite of the fact that the subject in the Bible is plain and clear. Some argue that these restrictions applied to the ancient world. We are now towards the end of the twentieth century, which is marked by its progress, prosperity and culture. Surely, they argue it is no longer necessary for the female to cover her head in the presence of God. I say, this is a gross error. The One who decreed this is the eternal God in whom there is no variability or change. He is Lord of yesterday, today and tomorrow; the God of the first century and the twentieth and he is Lord of all. The issue here is very plain but anyone who wants to do as he wishes let him do so without attributing it to God. We have the letter of the beloved Paul to the citizens of Corinth which explains this divine subject, leaving no room for doubt. In chapter eleven and starting at verse five we read: And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head - it is just as though her head were shaved. If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head. Thus we see that the Apostle did not leave a choice; either the head should be shaved or covered. He mentions shaving the head here because the women of that culture used to despise those with shaven heads because it was the style of the harlot. Observe carefully that he leaves no room for choice: either the woman is a follower of Christ or Satan. If she is Christ's she must obey his commandments not what the world dictates, in the way of alluring modern fashions and hair-styles. So it is clear that during a woman's attendance at church she should cover her head.

Now that we know what our Christian position is let us discuss this sensitive subject in Islam. Where did the veil come from? It was not known among the women of Quraish nor in the early stages of the Islamic religion when dress and ornament were in the traditional Arab styles. When the new religion moved from Mecca to Medina and Muhammad began to make consistent strides in his revolution laws were enacted for the residents of that city. Also the Koranic suras came down more frequently, regulating the people's rights and duties in the new society. As Muhammad began to marry one wife after another it gave rise to a certain jealousy from his distant followers vis a vis his wives. Such jealousy is not uncommon when a man has that number of spouses and since he cannot be with them a lot of the time... We have already alluded to the fact that Muhammad used to spend most of his time in his main house with Aiysha his favorite wife. It therefore became necessary to provide sufficient protection for his other wives by way of keeping them confined in their houses and not allowing them to venture out at all without permission. One day, a follower and relative of the Prophet named Talha was discovered visiting one of Muhammad's wives. This angered the Prophet and he ordered him not to be seen there again, to which the man responded: "She is my cousin and, by God, nothing improper took place between us!" The Prophet retorted: "None is more jealous than God and none is more jealous than me!" This sentiment was repeated more clearly on another occasion when he forbade his followers from entering his house without a specific permission from him. It is recalled that his servant 'Ans who was one of his honored followers stalked him about something he needed. Muhammad asked him to desist and forbade him from entering his house. This is how the sure reads: O believers, enter not the houses of the Prophet, except leave is given you for a meal, without watching for its hour. But when you are invited, then enter; and when you have had the meal, disperse, neither lingering for idle talk; that is hurtful to the Prophet, and he is ashamed before you; but God is not ashamed before the truth. And when you ask his wives for any object, ask them from behind a curtain; that is cleaner for your hearts and theirs. It is not for you to hurt God's Messenger, Neither to marry his wives after him, ever; surely that would be, in God's sight, a monstrous thing (Sura The Confederates vs. 52 ff.)

The fact is that no matter how many layers of clothes a woman may wear, even thick cloaks, etc. covering all that may give rise to lust in the beholder, the problem remains with the person of the woman herself. How many well draped ladies from all denominations and sects do not possess a draped or hidden spirit! If a woman does not fear God and has not his presence in her life, neither a veil nor doors or locks will stop her from doing what she wants, barriers notwithstanding... There have been many examples of this phenomenon.

However, if the heart of the woman is graced with the fear of God and filled with his wonderful light, one finds the believing woman without order or threat will reverence God's presence in her life. She will always appear as an honorable lady whether at home or abroad, preserving within her the meekness of the holy Lord and remaining faithful to her family to the end of her days.


This subject is considered one of the most important in any human society and is frowned on generally in all religions. Moreover, divine authority has forbidden divorce in the family but some people's intolerable situations have made divorce necessary.

In the Bible, in the book of Deuteronomy chapter 24 we read: If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the Lord. (Deut. 24:1-4)

It is plain then that God does not permit divorce except when a real, clear indecency is found in the woman such that she is no longer wanted by her husband. However, no sooner does he allow her divorce than he immediately bans her from her first husband after she has had intercourse with another man. The word 'defiled' is used to make it clear that in God's sight divorce is an abomination, after he had blessed the family and the two become 'one body'. She no longer has the option of taking another 'body'. Thus came the clear injunction regarding her non-return to her former husband after divorcing him; she has become another 'body' for another man. On the face of it, this scripture appears to be too harsh on the subject. The truth is that God desires that there be no loathsome situations in society nor division in the home!

But in spite of that some Jewish sects legislated their own special rules for divorce. Some schools of thought allowed it, for instance in the event that the wife could not cook or perform adequately in bed. The matter degenerated into a kind of game; a man would marry one day and divorce the next. Consequently, when Jesus came on the scene he wanted to save the family and to end the decline and disintegration of society, hence he banned divorce, except for the sin of adultery. If a woman committed adultery and been unfaithful to her husband the first punishment would be abandoning and divorcing her. She has not respected the presence of God in her life but went after her physical lust. The same prescription and consequences applied to the husband. And because in these cases, unfaithfulness is regarded as primarily directed to God, there is first a spiritual divorce between the body of the adulterer and the Holy Ghost, followed by a physical divorce between the two partners. This is the only situation where divorce is permitted; other than that, No! In the gospel of Mark chapter ten there is a comprehensive treatment of this subject. Jesus had been asked a pertinent question by a very dogmatic Jewish group. His reply was full and convincing. Here is the whole narrative: Some Pharisees came and tested him (i.e. Jesus) by asking, "Is if lawful for a man to divorce his wife?"

"What did Moses command you?" he replied. They said, "Moses permitted a us to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.

"It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law," Jesus replied.

"But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female'.

'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery."

And in the gospel of Matthew Jesus deals with the same problem in chapter five and verses thirty one and thirty two: "It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce." But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to commit adultery, and anyone who marries a woman so divorced commits adultery.

One asks, "Was God unjust here?" - God forbid! He wanted to elevate the status of the woman and her value and keep her presence as a wife and not a divorcee... God stressed the inadmissibility of divorce except for a fatal flaw, namely marital infidelity. Therefore the divorces due to anger, incompatibility and inadequate sexual performance are not legitimate divorces in God's sight. Any man or woman who divorces for such reasons, then remarries is viewed as an adulterer by God. Therefore this is the Bible's view of divorce. What about it in Islam? It is common knowledge among all sects of Islam that a man can divorce his wife for any reason notwithstanding it being in God's eyes a most hateful remedy.

There are a number of classifications here. For example, a man can divorce his wife twice without her knowledge and take her back. If he divorces her the first time and leaves her he can return to her whenever he wants without seeking her opinion. This is known as 'Al Bainoona as Sughra' i.e. Minor Separation. However, if he divorces her the second time it is incumbent on both parties to wait a while. If no signs of love or returning to the marital home are evident, the wife has to observe a probationary period of three months for fear she may be pregnant. That is called 'Al Bainoona al Kubra' i.e. Major Separation. Should the wife be pregnant the husband must bear the expenses of her confinement if he insists on leaving her. After the childbirth they will divorce. If she returns to him and he divorces her again she is no longer permissible to him since she is now in a major separation.

If the divorcees insist on returning to one another the woman has to first consummate a marriage with another competent man who will then divorce her through a minor separation. In that case she can return to her first husband. And so the same cycle is repeated if the man divorces her again she finds herself going through a minor separation, and so on!

In the sure The Cow in verses 225-232 there is a description of this process. It is worth mentioning that a certain man named Rufa'a al Kurthi had a wife who went to complain to Muhammad. She said that her husband divorced her 'by the three', that is by repeating orally the words: "I divorce you" three times. After that she married Abdul Rahman ibn Al Zubair but they had not consummated the marriage yet. After hearing her, the Prophet smiled then said: "do you want to return to Rufa'a, you cannot do so till after you have had your honeymoon with your new husband!" This principle is clearly enunciated in that same sure verse 229 where it says: If he divorces her finally, she shall not be lawful to him after that, until she marries another husband. If he divorces her, then it is no fault in them to return to each other, if they suppose that they will maintain God's bounds. This kind of remedy has created many problems in society. The man who divorces his wife in a fit of anger by uttering 'the three' finds it hard for himself to see his wife physically subject to another man overnight, then being re-united to her again... Muslim scholars are in agreement about this phenomenon of 'muhallel'. The term usually refers to any man who consents to marry a divorced woman for one day only then divorces her the second day so that she can return to her former husband. However, many do not permit their newly divorced wives to go to bed with the 'mohallel'... It may well be that they are right because in the sight of God she is still her husband's wife. It is known that in a fit of anger a man may say something he does not mean. If that should result in the sudden loss of his spouse to another man she would have committed adultery and that is brazen godlessness. As a result she is no longer fit to return to her original husband since she has become an adulteress, deserving indeed of divorce!!

Islam also permits a man to divorce his wife in order to offer her to another as was the case between Zaid bin Haretha and the Prophet. You may recall that once Muhammad needed something from Zaid so he went to his house. There he saw Zeinab, Zaid's wife, cleaning the house. Noticing the beauty of her body he was strongly attracted to her. He exclaimed, "Praised be God who changes men's hearts!" Zeinab reported the incident in detail to her husband. He was very upset and went at once to the Prophet and asked him permission to divorce her. Muhammad concealed what he felt in his heart and urged Zaid to keep his wife. Now this was a noble posture. However, Zaid could not bear to see his adoptive father so infatuated with his only wife. He went ahead and divorced her and Muhammad quickly married Zeinab. Thereafter she would boast among the other wives of Muhammad that God married her to him despite all the odds... Let us allow the Koran to tell us this story in the surat Confederates verses 36-37: When thou saidst to him whom God had blessed and thou hadst favoured, 'Keep thy wife to thyself, and fear God, and thou wast concealing within thyself what God should reveal, fearing other men; and God has better right for thee to fear Him. So when Zaid had accomplished what he would of her, then We gave her in marriage to thee, so that there should not be any fault in the believers, touching the wives of their adopted sons, when they have accomplished what they would of them; and God's commandment must be performed. It follows that his is God's adjudication of this matter: lifting the ban from Muhammad, therefore from all Muslim men to marry the divorced wives of their adopted sons or a servant or follower if the master fancied her! When one examines these texts closely one notices here that the matter is: "...fear God" originating from the lesser (the Prophet) to the one beneath him (Zaid bin Haritha). In truth, there is nothing more generous, more chaste or even more detached than this! The Prophet here wanted to preserve his follower's family from ruin and appeared to be helping to build up the family instead of destroying it... But what really puzzles me is the command issuing from the higher authority (God Almighty) to the lesser (Mohammed), without hiding what was in his heart of strong desire for that follower's only wife. He is not satisfied with that but goes on to chide him over the bounty and grace he was receiving from God and his Prophet. We do not know just the depth of emotional pain Zaid underwent during that tragedy but certainly his strange behavior proves that he was greatly distracted and fearful. He even went himself to notify his divorced spouse of the Prophet's intention to wed her.. He told her: "Rejoice oh Zeinab, for the Messenger of God has betrothed you to himself." That showed his complete impotence in the face of the bounties and graces which the Prophet bestowed upon him when he adopted him as a child. But we do know that man is a sinner by nature and therefore is bound to commit sin wherever he is found because he was born with it. So we can understand the Prophet's reproach to his follower. However, I stand amazed at God's reproach to that simple servant and why he should permit another to take his wife. Truly this is a baffling situation.

I well know that our God is the Father of all Lights. He is also Lord of majesty and bounty and that every good gift from him comes to us from a pure heart free from reproach or partiality. The Apostle James teaches us this lesson clearly in the first chapter of his epistle. He says: If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

Let us return to the heart of the matter in the text. We see that God dealt with the Prophet according to the desire of his heart. He did not, for instance check him or turn him from his path yet he blamed him for hiding the matter, for fear of the people. Evidently the case is reversed here; in Muhammad's lust for Zeinab he did not really fear God but men. Yet he was instrumental in her prompt divorce!!

But beloved, we notice that Almighty God, Lord of all holiness and master of every authority has a different view in the Bible. It is very easy for God to make of His prophet a martyr and pluck him from this earth rather than make a laughingstock of him in the eyes of people. He also had, in addition to His mercy and nobility a justice which had to prevail; spiritual values superseding physical ones, and heavenly issues overruling earthly ones. For the things of earth were created for the One in heaven and not the opposite!

I, as a humble and ordinary observer fail to discern any heavenly principles in this whole story as related in The Confederates despite my stated deference. On the contrary the incident and its justification all appears to be physical and earthy. By contrast, if we refer without bigotry and with the same degree of neutrality to the gospel of Mark chapter 17 we shall find a story similar to what transpired between Muhammad and his follower Zaid but quite different in principle with regard to the divine intervention!

It recounts how the prophet John the Baptist (corresponds to Yahya bin Zacharia in the Koran) was strongly opposed to the marriage of the King Herod to his brother's wife since the latter was still living. He argued with him, in the name of God, denouncing him vehemently at other times. He was quite unafraid in his protest - until it cost him his head, literally. He paid the ultimate price for standing up for the truth. Here, as a simple observer I would say this shows God's justice displayed in His majestic and unique and impartial holiness. There is no compromise. No other position is tenable!

And now, If I may ask of my dear Muslim reader a question: "Suppose you are a simple working man, laboring to spend on your home and wife. You are also very loyal to your boss and to the firm. Assume your boss, who is the source of all your income were to visit your home one day during your absence as a sign of his affection and humility. His eyes fall on your beautiful wife and her charms captivate him... He conveys his feelings to her. She too relays to you what had happened. Tell me, in all honesty and integrity, how would you feel and how would you treat your financial benefactor in view of his shameful behavior. Please do not answer now. However, think about it and review the above mentioned texts carefully. The rest is up to you. While you are thinking about this allow me to mention to you what God says to us in the Bible on this subject, since he regards it as a great sin. We read in I Thessalonians chapter 4: vs. 3-7 the words:

It is God's will that you should be holy; that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you for God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.

It should be added that Islam also sanctions divorcing the wife if the parents do not approve of her. Quoting Ibn Amr: I once had a wife whom I loved but Amr hated her and asked me to divorce her. I refused Amr then went and told the Prophet of God and he ordered me to divorce her.

Here, the father's dislike, for whatever reason of his daughter in law caused him to divorce her. And the judge in this case was no less than the Prophet himself. We do not know what happened to this poor woman who was the scapegoat of someone just hating her! But we can imagine the unbearable anguish she felt having to part from her husband. She may even have been driven to a life on the streets. For divorce - God preserve us - destroys homes, causes deviancy among family members and drives children away. This is why the Lord God forbade it, except for the sin of adultery by one spouse or the other or both. Divorce for any other reason is ruled out!

It comes as no surprise to you that Muhammad enjoyed immense spiritual authority among all his friends; hence his attribution of some of his deeds to divine providence, including his sexual adventures as well as his fickle behavior towards his legal wives. Whenever he angered any of them by an unseemly action he would invoke God's sanction in a text of the Koran. That would silence them and he was able to put the matter finally to rest. Let me wind up this topic by mentioning a typical case, where Muhammad claimed God's 'justification' on his behalf. It concerns his wife Hafsa in the incident quoted earlier but illustrates a broad principle:

It is possible that, if he divorces you, his Lord will give him in exchange wives better than you, women who have surrendered, believing, obedient, penitent, devout, given to fasting, who have been married and virgins too.
The Forbidding, verse 5.

What is worth noting is that the occasion for the coming down of this verse was when Omar told some of Muhammad's wives, in his presence: "It may be, if he divorces you that God will send him better ones." To which the Prophet replied: "God couldn't agree less, oh Omar!"


Both the Christian and Muslim religions rejects the existence of adultery in society. In the Old Testament days the penalty for adultery was death by stoning. The person was considered to have surrendered himself or herself to satan and strayed from the love of God. What follows is a description of the sentence for the sin of adultery, found in Leviticus chapter 20: If a man commits adultery with another man's wife - with the wife of his neighbor - both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death. (verse 10) It is repeated, in the same vein in the book of Deuteronomy chapter 22 and verse 23: If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, you shall take both of them the gate of that town and stone them to death...

This was God's law before Christ who when He came, embodied God's love for mankind. And since He preached love and forgiveness to all people, He forgave the woman who had been caught in adultery and whom the people wanted to stone - in accordance with the law. But God wanted to give this woman another chance to take stock of her life, an opportunity to become a new creature! After forgiving her, Christ told her to go her way but to "sin no more". While we are on this subject, let us see how the disciple John described this incident in the Gospel: The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with His finger. When they kept on questioning him, He straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

"No one, sir," she said.

Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared.

"Go now and leave your life of sin." (John 8:3-11)

Therefore we see clearly that God's view of this woman differed completely from that of the crowd. They saw her as a criminal, deserving death by stoning. He, however saw her as a victim of that society. The townspeople had apprehended her alone, allowing the other adulterer to escape and find refuge!! Jesus forgave her, giving her another opportunity and the record suggests that this woman was among those who followed Jesus wherever He went, adoring, nurturing in her heart the fear of a holy God; which leads naturally to the question: "Did Jesus' handling of the case mean that he sanctioned adultery in some cases and under special circumstances?" We would emphatically reply: "NO, God forbid!" For God is holy and cannot accept uncleanness wherever found. The Bible too warns categorically against this sin, as we have seen. In fact it orders us to 'flee adultery' and to 'boycott the corrupt one in our midst'. It exhorts us to keep our bodies pure because they are the temple of God; his Spirit dwells in us. Thus, in the case of the man who had committed adultery with his father's wife - mentioned in I Corinthians- God did not forgive him. On the contrary He was angry with him and ordered the church to excommunicate him. He was to be delivered to Satan for the destruction of the body in order that, perhaps his soul might be saved. (look up I Corinthians chap. 5)

Then, in the letter to the Ephesians, chapter 5 he confirms the prohibition against this sort of thing. It reads: But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving, etc.

You notice here that the apostle grouped adultery with some other vices, considering all of them to be sin. The Lord repeats to us this prohibition in the words of the Paul's First Letter to the Thessalonians chapter four. Indeed He commands us there to keep our bodies (vessels) in holiness and dignity and not in 'passionate lust' like people who do not know God. Last, but not least we have in the letter to the Romans a strict censure from the Lord against this practice in order to stamp it out among the believers. In chapter 13, God Almighty calls on the children of men to, Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (verses 13,14)

But for the lack of space here we would have mentioned many examples where adultery is forbidden in the Christian faith and where one is commanded to keep holy both body and soul in a complete union with God. Finally the words of Jesus Christ Himself tower above all the rest. In the gospel of Matthew, chapter five, we read: You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell vow that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (verses 27,28) These words, from the Master himself are meant to put an end, not only to physical adultery but the spiritual and mental as well. Do you now see what God means by holiness? What does Islam have to say on this subject?

We have already noted that adultery is also forbidden in Islam. The Koran in the various suras condemns this ugly and repugnant act and addresses the believers with warnings and threats against it. That is most admirable in my view. But the amazing thing I find is that this position contradicts the situations we have examined earlier, notably the practice of Temporary Marriage (Zawaj Al Mut'aa). But even in this case the punishment of the parties is unequal: the man's is limited to a flogging while the woman has to be imprisoned until death. This law was later abrogated to just eighty strokes for the man and one hundred strokes for the woman. But this law is not enforced in all Islamic countries. For instance, Egypt - a large Islamic country sentences the woman to a prison term ranging from six months to three years, not exceeding that. But the question which comes naturally to people's minds is: "How effective is the flogging or imprisonment? And do the beatings, torture and bodily confinement rehabilitate the wrongdoer or the fear of these punishments limit the occurrence of adultery? The answer is left to my readers. But I can tell you that no whip or prison or sword can stop a person from committing shameful deeds. Unless a person is born again - made a new creature - as God intended him to be he will continue in a vicious circle lost, as in a maze and unable to get out of its confines... We know that physical pleasure, like all other earthly pleasures is transitory. It is, as the Bible describes, like a garment which is folded up and discarded. By contrast, God's majesty and beauty are eternal. Therefore it behooves us to listen to His voice rather than the voice of our carnal natures! For if we do the latter we only feed it with death and corruption, whereas, if we listen to the voice of God's Spirit within us we attain to God's beauty, power and joy. Truly, how weak man is and how miserable when his main preoccupation is in the body. And here, we don't mean just sexual pleasures but everything which an uncontrolled person's nature seeks. What is one to do? Do we fight and keep under check our bodies or allow them free rein to hoard and possess and thus destroy all that is beautiful in us? How much better it is for us to restrain and reign in our physical natures, rising above them; instead of these natures controlling and leading us we should direct and channel them in a way well-pleasing to God.

I am thrilled at the words of the beloved apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatian Christians, chapter five:

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissension, factions and envy: drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:16 ff.)

Therefore, if we are led by the Spirit we are in complete control over the operation of the sinful nature. As such, we have no need of the whip or the jailer because there is a higher authority in control. It is the Spirit of God within us. There is then no need for threats or suppression from others who, themselves are under the sway of the same sinful nature. The conclusion of the matter is that whoever wants God's love and fear to rule in his heart must leave behind the old life and press on to what is new where there is no fear, threat or spiritual 'bribery' ... Instead, there is a full life, marked by holiness and striving upwards to reach the full stature of Christ. He is the Christian's model.

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature dictates but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace... (Romans 8:5,6).


The Bible (New International Version)
The Koran (The Koran Interpreted: A.J. Arberry)
"Mukhtar As Sihah" by Sheikh Al Razi
"Riyadh As Saliheen" (a Compendium of the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad)
"Silsilat Al Hidaya"
"Al Isra'a wal Mi'raj" by Mohd. b. Serene
"Ahadeeth An Nikah" (Talks about Marriage)
"Nisa'a Al Kitab Al Muqaddas" (Women of the Bible)
"Al Mar'a Fil Islam" by Naqeeb Rafi' Al Khayyat (The Woman in Islam)
"Al Nisa'a Fil Islam" by M. Rafiqul-Haqq (Women in Islam)

Women Issues
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