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Response to Noni Darwish’s Mass Email about Women in Islam

November 17, 2009

Response to Noni Darwish’s “Joys of Muslim Women” 

First of all, let me give you a little background on Noni Darwish: 

She is a converted Evangelical Christian—on the far right and conservative side of politics. She is a regular on Fox News—especially on news related to the so-called “War on Terror”.

She is friends with a man who’s nickname is “Nuke Mecca” (Mecca is the holiest site in Islam, it is a city in what is now Saudi Arabia where the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) lived and it is also the site of the Kaaba—a location that was founded as a holy site by Abraham (peace be upon him)—who is considered an early prophet of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.

 She is the founder of the group “Arabs for Israel” and author of a book called “Now They Call Me an Infidel: Why I gave up jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror”.

From these things, you should be able to get a pretty good idea of what her personal politics and internal struggles are—and how they might affect the way she talks about Islam.

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“In the Muslim faith a Muslim man can marry a child as young as 1 year old and have sexual intimacy with this child. Consummating the marriage by 9.”

In the early years of Islam, in the 7th century AD, girls got their periods much earlier, and when a girl starts menstruating—she was considered a women and able to marry. At the same time in Europe, Christian kings were marrying multiple child wives—and not always after they had started menstruation.

It is FORBIDDEN to have sexual intimacy or consummate a marriage with a girl who has not started menstruating. Nowadays, only extremely poverty-stricken or conservative areas of the Muslim world have this type of early marriage—usually because the girl’s family cannot afford to take care of her anymore, so they marry her to someone who can as early as possible.

“The dowry is given to the family in exchange for the woman (who becomes his slave) and for the purchase of the private parts of the woman, to use her as a toy.”

In true Islam, there is no such thing as a dowry. Instead the husband and his family are encouraged to offer a gift to the bride as an assurance of his love and intentions which is usually in the form of gold jewelry.

The reason that Islam forbids the dowry is because, before Islam, when a girl’s family was obligated to give a dowry to marry her, many couldn’t afford it so they would kill any female babies to avoid having that financial strain on them. Islam greatly improved the situation of women at the time and saved many female babies’ lives.

The Muslim wife is not a “sexual plaything”…she is an equal partner in the marriage—although her duties are different than that of the man. The man traditionally works to provide for the family while the woman’s duty is to raise the children well.

There is no law against women working, in fact—Muhammad’s first wife Khadija was older than him, divorced, and a successful business woman. She supported him financially and was the first to support him as a prophet.

The Muslim wife is given the right to get sexual satisfaction from her husband—the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) made it very clear that men were to treat their wives well and make sure that they enjoyed sex as much as their husbands.

Marital Rape
The Quran is very clear that the basis of a marital relationship is love and affection between the spouses, not power or control. Rape is unacceptable in such a relationship.

“Even though a woman is abused she can not obtain a divorce.”

This is a blatant lie. One of the most important rights that Islam gave women was the right to divorce—even if she just doesn’t like him that much—although divorce is frowned upon by God. Women were also given the right to have custody of the children after the divorce. She also has the right of refusing any marriage proposal she is not interested in.

“To prove rape, the woman must have (4) male witnesses. Often after a woman has been raped, she is returned to her family and the family must return the dowry.  The family has the right to execute her (an honor killing) to restore the honor of the family. “

According to Islam, a woman has to be respected and protected under all circumstances, whether she belongs to your own nation or to the nation of an enemy, whether she follows your religion or belongs to some other religion or has no religion at all. A Muslim cannot rape her under any circumstances.

Sura An Nur (Chapter: The Light)  24.33
‘… And do not, in order to gain some of the fleeting pleasures of this worldly life, coerce your slave women into whoredom if they are desirous of marriage, and if anyone should coerce them, then, verily, after they have been compelled (to submit in their helplessness), God will be much forgiving, a dispenser of grace (to them).

During the time of the Prophet (pbuh) punishment was inflicted on the rapist on the solitary evidence of the woman who was raped by him. Wa’il ibn Hujr reports of an incident when a woman was raped. Later, when some people came by, she identified and accused the man of raping her. They brought him to Muhammad (pbuh), who said to the woman, “Allah has forgiven you,” but of the man who had raped her, he said, “Stone him to death.” (Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud)

In Islam, rape is not considers ‘zina’ (or consensual sex outside of marriage or adultery) it is considered a violent crime in the category of murder or theft that uses sex as a weapon. The testimony of the woman is enough to punish the offender—and the punishment is severe and financial compensation (at the level of the financial compensation a person would get if a relative was murdered) is often given. Islam does not approve of the killing of a woman who has been raped based on so-called “family honor”.

In Islam, you need four witnesses to prove that someone committed zina (adultery or extra-marital sex). Without four witnesses who actually saw the act being committed, no punishment can be given.

“Husbands can beat their wives ‘at will’ and he does not have to say why he has beaten her.”

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said “How can any one of you beat your wife as you would beat a stallion or a camel, then embrace and sleep with her?”

And the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) never hit a woman in his life. He was known to be so gentle that once a cat fell asleep on the edge of his clothes as he was sitting. He wanted to get up and move but did not want to disturb the cat, so he cut off the edge of fabric the cat was sleeping on so it would not wake up. Now, if the Prophet is so gentle with an animal, how much more gentle and patient would he be with his wives?

This is the Quran’s stance:

“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more strength than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah would have them to guard.

As to those women on whose part you fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance); for Allah is most High and Great (above you all). If you fear a breach between them twain, appoint (two) arbiters, one from his family and the other from hers. If they wish for peace, Allah will cause their reconciliation; for Allah has full knowledge and is acquainted with all things.” (An-Nisa’: 34-35)

According to the Quran, first the man must talk to his wife about why he is upset. If this doesn’t work, he must refuse to sleep with her for a few days. If still, at the end of this, she is still doing something wrong, he can hit her lightly.

“The husband is permitted to have (4 wives) and a temporary wife for an hour (prostitute) at his discretion.”

Muslim men are allowed to have 4 wives technically—but the verse in the Quran that talks says “You are allowed to have up to 4 wives, but only if you can treat them all equally, and this is nearly impossible”

So basically, if you can’t treat all of them equally and make sure that they all feel loved; you are not allowed to marry more than one wife.

The reason for this rule is that at the time, the Muslim community was being attacked by different tribes and many Muslim men were dying in battle. So there were many more women than men in their community. The unmarried women and widows couldn’t find husbands and couldn’t support themselves, couldn’t have relationship to satisfy their own physical needs, so the God sent the message that men could have more than one wife—under the condition of treating them all equally.

In some very strange sects of Shiá Islam, there is such a thing as “temporary marriage”—this is NOT supported by the Quran or the precedent of the prophets. In this case, some Shia Muslim men sign contracts to “marry” a woman for any amount of time, one day, one weekend, one week, etc…It is NOT true Islam.

“By passing this on, enlightened American women may avoid becoming slaves under Shariah Law.”

As I have tried to show, inshallah successfully, men and women are both equally treated under the laws revealed in the Quran. Men and women are considered equal and Muslim women got many rights they hadn’t had before Islam because of the religion.

For more information about Islam and Women’s Rights in Islam visit these sites:

 

Women in Islam

http://www.islamfortoday.com/women.htm

 

What are women’s rights in Islam?

http://www.themodernreligion.com/women/w_rights_summary.htm

 

Rights and Equality for Women in Islam

http://www.islamfortoday.com/womensrights2.htm

 

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I am not an expert on Islam, but I want to show to the best of my ability, inshallah, the basics of Islam and how it relates to Judaism and Christianity. I would also like to show how women’s rights ARE respected in Islam—and to dispel the rumors that show Islam as a hateful religion towards women.

 

Islam as a Continuation of Judaism and Christianity

 The revelations that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) received from God. Yes…God, the same God as Christianity and Judaism. Muslims believe that God has sent many prophets down to mankind in order to guide them to the ‘straight path’—the path to God and heaven.

 These prophets were sent all over the world, not just to the Middle East, and from the early history of mankind—they include prophets of other religions besides the three Abrahamic faiths—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—but in Islam we focus on the Abrahamic prophets the most because their messages are believed to be less corrupted than others. These include Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them) along with many others you can find in the Bible and in the Quran.

 Prophets and their Messages

 In Islam, we believe that Abraham (peace be upon him) brought the first monotheistic faith to the Middle East and was the first that began to spread in large areas. After centuries, the message became corrupted (like when you play the game ‘telephone’) so God sent more prophets. The most well known next prophet was Moses (peace be upon him) and he was the original prophet of Judaism.

 After Judaism had been around for centuries and centuries, the message was again corrupted so God sent the prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) to correct the original message of morality, peacefulness, tolerance, and strict monotheism. In just a few centuries, Jesus’ message was corrupted and some of his followers started calling him a god. So God had to send a new prophet to correct the same message—this was when He sent the prophet Muhammad (pbuh). 

 Islam

The message God revealed to Muhammad (pbuh) was based on strict monotheism and the idea that God was not born and cannot have children—he can create human beings and fill them with his spirit but he cannot have a child. The other main messages were tolerance, peace, the mercy of God, morality and ethics, regular prayers (strict Muslims pray 5 times every day) and respect to the “People of the Book” (those in the Abrahamic faiths that follow revealed books (Torah, Bible, etc..)- Judaism and Christianity)

Women’s Rights in Islam

 The rights given to women at that time were a very big improvement from the Jahiliyya (time of ignorance—before Islam was revealed) when women did NOT have the right to own property, inherit property, divorce, etc… Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) gave women these rights.

 Unfortunately, because of Muslim’s awareness of the fact that the messages of past prophets have been corrupted and no longer remain valid, some Muslims advocate a very STRICT adherence to the original habits and rules of the early Muslims—whether they are cultural or actual religious rules. This is the problem—and the reason why the Wahabi (the sect of Islam that Osama Bin Laden is a part of) still advocate stoning (which is only a punishment for the worst sins in Islam—it is not a casual punishment) as a modern punishment whereas most of the modern Muslim community sees it as backwards and would set a comparable, modern punishment for the same offense.

 

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