Women's Rights and Controversies in Islam # 2
by Kaukab Siddique
A church group in West Grove, Pennsylvania, asked Dr. Kaukab
Siddique a number of questions based reports in the
The questions, each followed by Dr. Siddique's answer, are
Questions and Answers:
Q. Women seem to be totally under male domination in Muslim
countries. This can be seen in the heavy veils they wear.
Ans: During colonial times Muslims became inward looking in
their approach to religion in their attempts to safeguard
their way of life from the Europeans. As a result they
became conservative and restrictive in their attitudes
towards their own women. Many of them started confusing
CONSERVATISM with religiosity. Males used the situation to
impose their dominance on women. Thus, among the older
generations of present day Muslims, purda or hijab is worn
usually owing to insistence by males or to please males or
often because the males consider women their property.
However, RESURGENT ISLAM sees the purda and hijab very
differently. Here the Islamic dress is the sign of a woman's
acceptance of the WILL of ALLAH and as a form of resistance
to Euro-American hegemony. University women are now wearing
the complete outer covering signifying their pride in being
Muslim, their love of Allah and their refusal to be
objectified as commodities in the consumer market. The more
radical among them also wear the face veil.
Q. What about female mutilation?
Ans: You probably mean female genital mutilation? ["Yes"
from questioner.] All forms of mutilation are forbidden in
Islam. Even in war, mutilation of enemies is not permitted.
Female genital mutilation [FGM] is a pagan custom prevalent
in tribal cultures in Africa and parts of Asia, including
India. In some Muslim cultures where Islamic rights of women
have been sidetracked, this abuse of women occurs.
To fully understand the Islamic opposition to female genital
mutilation [FGM] one must understand the Islamic view of
sexual pleasure. FGM is carried out to deny sexual pleasure
to the female. By contrast, Islam recognizes the right of
the female to sexual pleasure EQUAL to that of the male. The
Prophet, pbuh, answering a question about whether a female
too has sexual desires and dreams made his famous comment
that: "Women are the twins of men." (1) In Islam, a woman
can sue for divorce if her husband cannot give her sexual
satisfaction. There is an entire chapter in the Qur'an about
the woman who complained to the Prophet, pbuh, about her
husband ignoring her and claiming that "her back to him was
like the back of his mother." The Qur'an supported the
Q. Doesn't the Qur'an say that a man should treat his wife
as if she is his "tilth" and that she should be subservient
Ans: The verse [in chapter 2 of the Qur'an] legitimizes
sexuality and links it to having children. Sex is honored in
Islam between husband and wife and marriage is strongly
encouraged. The verse's audience are MEN. It is not
addressed to women and it does not tell women to be
subservient.  In fact Islam does not allow, in ANY of its
texts, a man to force himself on his wife. Islam however
does teach the wife to be accepting of the husband because
she is all he has. He cannot fornicate or commit adultery
and the punishments for such acts are severe. So, if a wife
keeps denying her husband's needs "the angels curse and
leave the house." 
Q. We have seen pictures of the Taliban shooting a woman and
beating women in enforcing the burqa or strict Islamic
dress. Isn't that harsh?
Ans: CONTEXT is essential in understanding people and
nations other than ours. Afghanistan has been ravaged by war
ever since 1979, that is 32 years. It fought Soviet
occupation and more than 7 million Afghans became refugees.
After the Soviet withdrawal, the U.S. refused to support the
establishment of an Islamic government in Kabul. The result
was civil war and the general breakdown of law and order.
Now the country is occupied by NATO and the war goes on.
During the civil war, crime and brigandage became common.
The people appealed to a Taliban leader named Mullah Umar to
save them, in a specific case of rape. Mullah Umar hanged
the rapist and drew support as he moved from village to
village. Finally the Taliban under his command captured
Kabul. Within that context, a woman and a man were executed
by the Taliban after being convicted. The conviction was
carried out in a stadium so that the public may attend and
realize that the rule of Law would be enforced. An agent
from a fringe communist group, known as RAWA, photographed
the execution and passed it on to U.S. intelligence. It was
shown about a million times on CNN and other media and
became the source of propaganda to demonize the Taliban and
to justify war against them.
The Taliban imposed burqa on the women of Kabul and there
you have the second photo of a woman being hit with a stick
by a Taliban regulator. Again, this was used to justify U.S.
military intervention. The source of the photo was again
RAWA. At this point Hillary Clinton took on the cause of
Afghan women. Most people did not realize that Kabul was the
base for Communism in Afghanistan. The Taliban captured
Kabul but the total punishment they imposed was ONE
execution and a few beatings wih sticks. Compare with other
cities which have been taken by force. The Soviet took
Berlin and other German cities and RAPED EVERY GERMAN WOMAN,
from age 8 to 80. The U.S. occupation forces often "took"
starving German women for nothing more than a chocolate.
The RESURGENCE of the Taliban, 2005 till today, has become
possible owing to the support of Afghan women. The Taliban
are fighting NATO and winning because the women are telling
their sons, husbands and brothers to go and fight the
occupiers. It is said that the women do not want to see the
face of a husband who does not oppose the occupiers. NO
WOMAN HAS EVER BETRAYED THE TALIBAN. Thus the stories of
Taliban being against women are nothing more than war time
Q. What about honor killings? Why are they permitted in
Ans: Islam STRICTLY FORBIDS all violence against women
including "honor killings." In Shari'a Law, a man who
expresses suspicion against the chastity of a woman must
bring four witnesses or such expression could result in
severe punishment. Gossip against innocent and/or
naive/careless women is strongly prohibited.  "Honor
killings" do take place in Muslim countries, not owing to
religion but owing to conservatism where the man thinks the
woman is his property. Similar crimes are committed in the
USA and are related to the activities of "stalkers" who have
a similar view of women. The highest rate of "honor"
killings is in Jordan, a highly secularized but conservative
country. Its king is a playboy whose exploits feed the male
ego of Jordanians. His father used to work for the CIA, so
the moral quotient is very low
1. Hadith, Sunan of Abu Dawud.
2. The Qur'an, chapter 58.
3. Chapter 2, verse 223.
4. See 2:228 for mutuality of rights. Men have a "degree"
above them only in divorce because they don't have to wait
for re-marriage. Men often use this verse to claim
5. Armageddon. The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945
6. The Qur'an 24:4
2011-11-27 Sun 15:14:31 cst