Faithful Obedience — Hard Act to Follow!

16 12 2008

(Yusuf Ali’s translation of a verse in the Holy Qur’an below):

“Believing women … should draw veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sisters’ son, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, ….” Sura 24:31.


Apart from the deficiencies of the woman, she is also has ten ‘awrat. The Encyclopedia of Islam defines ‘awrah as pudendum, that is “the external genitals, especially of the female. [Latin pudendum (literally) a thing to be ashamed of]”[25]

“Ali reported the Prophet saying: ‘Women have ten (‘awrat). When she gets married, the husband covers one, and when she dies the grave covers the ten.”[26]

And according to the following Hadith, women not only have ten ‘awrat, but the woman herself is perceived as ‘awrah :

“The woman is ‘awrah. When she goes outside (the house), the devil welcomes her.”[27]

(This Hadith is classed as ‘Sahih’ that is sound or faultless.) So going outside the house is a form of exposure of the ‘awrah; a thing that delights the devil.

This is why women are discouraged from going outside the house, even to pray in the mosque, as the following Hadith indicates.

“A woman is closest to God’s face, if she is found in the core of her house. And the prayer of the woman in the house is better than her prayer in the mosque.”[28]

(This Hadith is classed as ‘Hassan’, that is approved.)

Dr. Buti a modern scholar said, “Muslim teachers unanimously agreed in every generation that the woman should cover all her body except her hands and face, that is without any make up, from strangers.”[29] While the followers of Hanbal and some followers of Shafi’i consider even the hand and the face to be ‘awrah, and therefore should be covered.[30]

“And those who allow the woman to show her hand and face -the Malikiyah and Hanafiyah- do so with the provision that make up will not be used, but if the woman’s face is naturally beautiful, then she must cover her face for fear of being a temptation to men.”[31]

Dr. Buti gives the reason behind the wearing of the Hijab.

“Allah, the most high, decreed that the woman should be veiled. He did so in protecting the chastity of the men who might see her, and not in protection of the chastity of the woman from the eyes of those who look at her.”[32]

“’O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women).’ They asked, ‘Why is it so, O Allah’s Apostle?’ He replied, ‘Your curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you…. The women asked, ‘O Allah’s Apostle? What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?’ He said, ‘Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?’ They replied in the affirmative. He said, ‘This is the deficiency in your intelligence. Isn’t it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses? The women replied in the affirmative. He said, ‘This is the deficiency in your religion.’” Bukhari vol.1 no.301 p.181

During the zenith of Islamic culture, Muslim scholar al-Ghazali (1058-1111 A.D.) catalogued a list of 18 ways women are inferior to men in Islam. Here are nine of them that relate to religion and culture.

Lesser inheritance

Liability to divorce and inability to divorce

Men can have multiple wives, but a woman can have only one husband

The wife must stay secluded at home

A woman must keep her head covered inside the house

A woman’s court testimony is only counted as half of a man

A woman cannot leave the house except accompanied by a near relative

Only men can take part in Friday and feast day prayers and funerals

A woman cannot be a ruler or judge

Women are to obey the husband. Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.1802 p.118

A Wife Needs Her Husband’s Permission

A wife cannot fast (superogatory) or allow someone to enter their home without her husband’s permission. Abu Dawud vol.2 no.2452, 2453 p.677-678

(superogatory means beyond what is required)

Outside of Ramadan, a wife can only fast with her husband’s permission. Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.1761-1762 p.62

Mohammed did not rebuke a husband who beat his wife for praying and fasting extra. Abu Dawud vol.2 no.2453 p.677-678

Men tell their wives when to take a bath. “If anyone makes (his wife) wash and he washes himself on Friday, goes out early (for Friday prayer), attends the sermon from the beginning, walking, not riding, takes his seat near the Imam, listens attentively, and does not indulge in idle talk, he will get the reward of a year’s fasting and praying at night for every step he takes.” Abu Dawud vol.1 no.345 p.91. No reward for the wife is explicitly mentioned.

A woman should not give a gift from the joint property with her husband. Abu Dawud vol.2 no.3539 p.1006. This is generally because a woman lacks wisdom and intelligence. Abu Dawud vol.2 footnote 2991 p.1006.

A wife cannot give a gift without her husband’s consent. Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.2388 p.423

If the wife had a bad tongue (i.e. is insolent) Mohammed suggested divorcing her. When the man said there were children, Mohammed then said to ask her to obey him. However, do not beat her like he would a slave girl. Abu Dawud vol.1 no.142 p.35

A man in Islam can divorce his wife for any reason. Bukhari vol.3 no.859 (p.534) says a man can divorce for “something unpleasant about his wife, such as old age or the like.”

‘Umar commanded his son ‘Abd Allah to divorce his wife, but he refused because he loved her. So ‘Umar went to Mohammed, and Mohammed ordered him to divorce her. Abu Dawud vol.3 no.5119 p.1422

“’Abdullah b. ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “The most despicable acts of lawful acts in the sight of Allah is divorce.” Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.2018 p.216

Paradise has a strong smell. Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.2054 p.236 A woman who asks for divorce without extreme reasons is also forbidden the smell of Paradise. Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.2055 p.237, or strong reason in Abu Dawud vol.2 no.2218 p.600.

“Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, ‘Treat women nicely, for a woman is created from a rib, and the most curved portion of the rib is its upper portion so, if you should try to straighten it, it will break; but if you leave it as it is, it will remain crooked. So treat women nicely.’” Bukhari vol.4 no.548 p.346.

“Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported: Woman has been created from a rib and will in no way be straightened for you; so if you wish to benefit by her, benefit by her while crookedness remains in her. And if you attempt to straighten her, you will break her, and breaking her is divorcing her.” Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 8 no.3467 p.752. See also Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 8 no.3466,3468 p.752-753 and Bukhari vol.7 book 62 no.113 p.80.

The urine of a male baby is cleaner that that of a female. Ibn-i-Majah vol.1 no.522,525,526 p.284,285,286. The reason is: “He (the Prophet) said, ‘Verily, Allah the exalted created Adam and Eve (Hawwa’) was created from his small rib. Thus a lad’s urine became from water and clay and urine of a lass [girl] became from flesh and blood.’”

“It is narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah b. ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah observed: O womenfolk, you should give charity and ask much forgiveness for I saw you in bulk amongst the dwellers of Hell. A wise lady among them said: Why is it, Messenger of Allah, that our folk is in bulk in Hell? Upon this the Holy Prophet observed: You curse too much and are ungrateful to your spouses. I have seen none lacking in common sense and failing in religion but (At the same time) robbing the wisdom of the wise, besides you. Upon this the woman remarked: What is wrong with our common sense and with religion? He (the Holy Prophet) observed: Your lack of common sense (can be well judged from the fact) that the evidence of two women is equal to one man, that is proof of the lack of commonsense, and you spend some nights (and days) in which you do not offer prayer and in the month of Ramadan (During the days) you do not observe fast, that is a failing in religion….” Sahih Muslim vol.1 book 1 no.143 p.47-48. See also Bukhari vol.2 no.161; vol.1 no.301, vol.1 no.28; Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 4 no.1926 p.417; vol.4 no.9596-6600 p.1431 Sunan Nasa’i vol.2 no.1578 p.342.

Any woman who dies while her husband is pleased with her is promised Paradise. Ibn-i-Majah vol.3 no.1854 p.119; vol.3 no.2013 p.212.

While early Islam did not preach total seclusion, it taught that a woman should not go on a journey of three days or more except when a close relative (Mahram) is with her. Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 7 no.3096-3098,3101-3110 p.675-676. An unaccompanied woman cannot journey for more than a day according to Ibn-i-Majah vol.4 no.2899 p.220

The prophet explicitly forbade that a woman should go on a two-day journey without her husband or a Mahram Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 7 no.3099-3100 p.676.

A divorced woman cannot go out of the house at some times. Abu Dawud vol.2 no.1605-1606 p.622-623

In Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 7 no.2789 p.606-607 ‘Aisha was on a camel with her relative ‘Abd al-Rahman bin Abu Bakr, and she took off her veil since no one was around in the empty desert. “…I lifted my head covering and took it off from my neck. He struck my foot as if he was striking the camel. I said to him: Do you find anyone here?…” Footnote 1648 says “What A’isha meant was that it was wilderness and there was none from whom she was required to observe purdah. ‘Abd al-Rahman was, however, over-cautious and he was afraid lest anyone should abruptly appear before her.”

Modernist Muslims are wrong. Veils and seclusion of women from men in Muslim society [today] is required. Abu Dawud 1vol.1 footnote 506 p.267

“Narrated Abu Sai’id Al-Khudri: The Prophet said, ‘Isn’t the witness of a woman equal half of that of a man?’ The women said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is because of the deficiency of the woman’s mind.” Bukhari vol.3 no.826 p.502.

The Qur’an in Sura 2:282 says, “…And get two witnesses, Out of your own men. And if there are not two men, Then a man and two women, Such as ye choose, For witnesses, So that if one of them errs, The other can remind her….”

According to the Muslim Sharia (Law), the witness of a woman is equal half that of a man, because of the deficiency of the woman’s mind. (Bukhari vol.3 no.826 p.502) Mohammed said that a nation will never succeed that makes a woman their ruler (Bukhari vol.9 no.219 p.171).

Eve was originally intelligent, Allah made her stupid after the fall. al-Tabari vol.1 p.280,281


Women are not only deficient in intelligence, but they also lack gratitude. Women’s lack of gratitude is expressed in another Hadith from Bukhari:

“Women are ungrateful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favours and the good (charitable) deeds done to them. If you have always been good (benevolent) to one of them and then she sees something in you (not of her liking), she will say, ‘I have never received any good from you.”[18]

So according to this Hadith, women are not only intellectually and spiritually deficient but also deficient in gratitude.


All the woman’s piety is considered useless if she disobeys her husband. Her disobedience to her husband represents an unlawful and irrational act. But obedience to her husband is the key to Paradise as is clear from the following Hadith:

“There are three (persons) whose prayer will not be accepted, nor their virtues be taken above: The runaway slave until he returns back to his master, the woman with whom her husband is dissatisfied, and the drunk until he becomes sober.”[44]”Whosoever female dies while her husband is pleased with her, will enter Paradise.”[45]

“The prophet once said to a woman: ‘Watch how you treat your husband for he is your Paradise and your Hell.”[46]


The obedience of the woman to her husband is an important prerequisite that shows her piety and guarantees her eternal destiny. He is her Paradise or her hell. Man is thus so elevated that by comparison with the woman, he is placed on a divine level. Her response to him approaches worship. That however, is impossible, as worship belongs to God alone.

Mohammad said:

“Had I ordered anybody to prostrate before any one, I would have ordered women to prostrate before their husbands on account of men’s rights over the women ordained by Allah.”[47]


Man’s status is so much higher than woman’s that no sacrifice on the woman’s part will ever gain her her full right in relation to a man. Even in our own time (1985) a Muslim writer, Ahmad Zaky Tuffaha, seriously and reverently quotes the following Hadith :

“If a woman offered one of her breasts to be cooked and the other to be roasted, she still will fall short of fulfilling her obligations to her husband. And besides that if she disobeys her husband even for a twinkling of an eye, she would be thrown in the lowest part of Hell, except she repents and turns back.”[48]

Although this Hadith is not mentioned in Bukhari, it is consistent with the other Ahadith quoted by Bukhari.

It is a noble sacrifice for a man to share his life with the woman as described in Bukhari’s sound Ahadith; she being deficient in mind, religion, and gratitude. It is condescension on the part of the man to spend his life with her. She can not repay this favour, no matter what sacrifice she makes.

Indeed, the rights of the husband are so vast that

“If blood, suppuration, and pus, were to pour from the husband’s nose and the wife licked it with her tongue, she would still never be able to fulfil his rights over her.”[49]

This Hadith is repeated, also with great reverence, five times by commentator Imam Suyuti who is regarded as one of the greatest of all Muslim scholars.


While the Hadith enumerates the husband’s rights, the woman’s rights are simple, as the following Hadith shows:

“‘O Messenger of Allah ! What right has the wife of one among us got over him?’ He said: ‘It is that you shall give her food when you have taken your food, that you shall clothe her when you have clothed yourself, that you shall not slap her on the face, nor revile her, nor desert her except within the house.'”[50]






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