Saturday, November 10, 2007

Violent sexism and wife beating in Islam

Battered Saudi TV Host, Ranya Al-Baz and Abusive Husband

Posted Nov 14, 2005

A glimpse into women's rights in Saudi Arabia.

As I said in an earlier post, a great way to get a Muslim woman thinking is by starting with Mohammad's pedophilia or Islam's violent sexism. Muslim's will generally deny the first (in the face of all evidence), but eventually succumb to the existence of sexism although twisting and turning with respect to the violent aspect.

General sexism

The sexism is obvious, as can be found in the Skeptics Annotated Quran's section on Women. It's quite a long list, here is a subset of really loony verses:
  • A woman is worth one-half a man. 2:282 ; and males are to inherit twice that of females. 4:11
  • Lewd women are to be confined to their houses until death. 4:15 ; but the wives of Mohammad will be punished double for lewdness! 33:30
  • You can't have sex with married women, unless they are slaves obtained in war (with whom you may rape or do whatever you like). 4:24
  • Don't pray if you are drunk, dirty, or have touched a woman lately. 4:43
  • A husband can accuse his wife of adultery with only one witness. 24:6
  • The wives of Mohammad are not like other women. They must not leave their houses. 33:32-33 [a little controlling, aren't we Mohammad?] ; oh, and Allah says it is lawful for Muhammad to marry any women he wants. 33:50-51
  • If men must speak to Muhammad's wives they must speak from behind a curtain. And no one must ever marry one of his wives. 33:53
These are just nutty (now we know what Mohammad liked fair, young virgins with wide eyes):
  • The single-minded slaves of Allah will enjoy a Garden filled with lovely-eyed virgins. 37:40-48
  • Allah will reward faithful Muslims after they die with "fair ones with wide, lovely eyes." 44:54
  • Those in the Garden will be attended by immortal youths with wide, lovely eyes. 56:17-23
Most of us are aware of this one:
  • Believing women must lower their gaze and be modest, cover themselves with veils, and not reveal themselves except to their husbands, relatives, children, and slaves. 24:31
But not everybody is aware of this one:
  • Men are in charge of women, because Allah made men to be better than women. Refuse to have sex with women from whom you fear rebellion, and scourge them. 4:34
Wife beating

The last verse mentioned is responsible for some horrific domestic violence, so let's examine further with the full translation:

YUSUFALI: 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 guard. As to those women on whose part ye 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, great (above you all).
PICKTHAL: Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great.
SHAKIR: Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.

For those doubters, I bolded the key parts. If you fear disloyalty, desertion or rebellion...beat your wives (of course after admonishing them and not sleeping with them). Now, in Yusuf Ali's version, the word "lightly" is added, but this was added for palatability not because the word is actually there. In the video at the top, you can see how "lightly" some are beaten.

In fact, the word in the Quran in 4:34 used for "beat" is "idreb". It is a conjugate of the word "daraba" which primarily means "to beat, strike, to hit" - Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, page 538.

Here is a Quranic verse in which "idreb" is used:

8:12 - ""Strike" off their heads, "strike" off the very tips of their fingers!"

Don't believe the Muslim apologists. In the next post, I'll go through what Mohammad actually thought when "revealing" the Quran.


Anonymous said...

You are taking the sentences out of context and completely interpreting them incorrectly.
I think you should do some real research before making false accusations about any religion. Clearly you have nothing better to do. If you knew anything about Islam, you'd know that it is wrong for any muslim to act violently against another person. The Prophet (pbuh) did not hit a single woman, child or man ever. Islam is not sexist at all.

Silly Allah said...

Thanks Kate for contributing. However, you've offered no new information except claims about false accusations and an apparent understanding that "Muhammad didn't hit a single woman, child or man ever." Unfortunately, this is clearly false. Let's go to just one example.

If the reader read text above in my original post, he/she can see that Muhammad (through his words of his imaginary friend, Allah) instructed his followers to beat their wives when they were not obedient. Well, he followed this practice personally. In fact, he beat his child bride, Aisha, according to the following Hadith:

Sahih Muslim Book 004, Number 2127:

"...Why is it, O 'A'isha, that you are out of breath? I said: There is nothing. He said: Tell me or the Subtle and the Aware would inform me. I said: Messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be ransom for you, and then I told him (the whole story). He said: Was it the darkness (of your shadow) that I saw in front of me? I said: Yes. He struck me on the chest which caused me pain, and then said: Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly with you?.."

Hippo345 said...

You should get a life instead of making false accusations on a religion you obviously know nothing about. If you don't believe in God, then there is no reason for you to discourage anyone else from believing in Him. I repeat, get a life!

Silly Allah said...

Thanks Hippo for contributing, but again no new information just personal attacks.

Foomi said...

Silly Allah
You're right about the complete lack of information in accusations against you, but Kate and Mr.Hippo are right. I looked at the sources of your "facts" on Islam and sexism and they are all biased interpretations. Men AND Women can't pray after SEXUAL contact, not just any contact. That's just one example of your bias. And after skimming through the rest of your blog, I would just like to say, If we were all set out to kill the "infidels" and terrorize the non Muslims, there would be all out war between all the Muslim countries and the rest of the world, not just a small group of idiots strapping c4 to their chests and blowing themselves up.
Please take your time to open your mind to Islam and the world.
You'll realize how much you don't know.
It's obvious how much energy you put into this blog.
I was overwhelmed by how much hate seeps from this site.

Silly Allah said...

Thank you Foomi for participating. So because you think you found one error (and supposedly "biased interpretations"), you therefore think you have proved my whole blog biased. Your one example is the relatively benign verse about whether a man can pray after having touched a woman (more on that later), but you have no answer to the most important verse discussed at length on the page, 4:34, which legalizes and even suggests wife-beating.

Your next point is a strawman - that if all Muslims were "set out to kill the "infidels" and terrorize the non Muslims, there would be all out war between all the Muslim countries and the rest of the world, not just a small group of idiots..." It's a strawman because I never said "all." Also, the supposed conditional proof put forth is not a true test because there could be many reasons why there isn't all out war (e.g., relatively weak military strength in Muslim countries today). Now, I have pointed out the verses which clearly encourage violence by Muslims on non-Muslims, and there is no denying they exist. I also clearly pointed to numerous example of Muslim violence, especially in Islam's early growth. I don't think the rest of the world needs any reminder of Islamic violence...just ask those who live in Kashmir, Middle East, Somalia, Darfur, Philippines, Nigeria, Indonesia...need I go on? Clearly from the Pew polls (, quite a few Muslims support violence against civilians and even view Bin Laden positively. So your test of the matter is a false one. Believe me, I wish there wasn't a connection between Islam and violence.

Speaking of research...what about your earlier point wrt prayer after touching a woman. As stated in the original post, I got this from the Skeptic's Annotated Quran. I had also checked the top three translations (Ali, Pickthal and Shakir) - all just said "touched" without any reference to a sexual touch. Here is a clinical discussion of the actual Arabic (

"lāmastum, a variant reading has lamastum: both mean lams, that is, ‘touching with the hand’, as stated by Ibn ‘Umar; this is also the opinion of al-Shāfi‘ī, and it extends to touching with other parts of the skin; according to Ibn ‘Abbās, however, it is [referring to] sexual intercourse"

So there is disagreement amongst the scholars. You seem to have overstated the point, Foomi. Here you can see Imam Shafii's ruling (

"Al-Shafi`i took the verse "Or if you have touched women" (4:43) literally, and considered that contact between the sexes, even accidental, nullified ablution. This is also the position of Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Umar, al-Sha`bi, al-Nakha`i, al-Zuhri, and al-Awza`i, which is confirmed by Ibn `Umar’s report: "Whoever kisses or touches his wife with his hand must renew his wudû’." It is authentic and related in numerous places including Malik's Muwatta’. Al-Shafi`i said: "Something similar has reached us from Ibn Mas`ud." They all read the above verse literally, without interpreting "touch" to mean "sexual intercourse" as do the Hanafis, or "touch with pleasure" as do the Malikis.:"

You can see the debate going on here:

So while I'll grant that some schools of thought believe men can't pray after sexual contact, the literal translation of "lāmastum" does not say that. Also, there are schools (e.g., Shafii) that say that ANY contact with a woman prevents prayer. Sorry Foomi.

Clearly you were offended by my blog, but as I like to say - just because the truth is offensive does not mean it is not the truth.

Dutch said...

This is interesting. I don't think you can deny that your blog is biased. The title alone is testament to a very specific interpretation of the ideas conveyed in the Koran. I don't think any attempt at real comprehension can escape internalization of any written words. Not to mention, then be commented on without some sway or level of bias. It is my opinion that environment, experience and human nature are filters that unavoidably alter our comprehension of any book we might read. That being said, I agree with your interpretations of this book, and this particular religion. Which leads me to the point of my commenting. Have you read any of the comparisons between women in Islam vs. women in Christianity and Judaism? It's also very obviously biased, but quite interesting and relevant to this conversation. You can find it here
As far as Islam specifically, based on the research I have done, I think the problem lies not in the words themselves, but the interpretations of the words. When comparing side by side to other major religions, one could argue that the words, in the Koran, themselves are no more harmful than those of the old testament in the Christian bible, or any of the Jewish holy books in regards to sexism or the inequality between men and women. But for whatever reason the very way of life in Muslim dominated countries remains primitive for the most part. Culturally ancient. As if, unlike their religious competitors, they have refused to adapt or progress in very significant ways. Thus, remaining dangerously superstitious, dangerously literal, and dangerously devout. Now, in your opinion, what holds these parts of the world back?

ethereal said...

Thank you! for writing this post :) For years, I've been disgusted with the treatment of women and minorities in Islam, and their blatant demands for special treatment in the western world (which our overly PC goverments just give them after one VIOLENT protest).

And as for people who're saying 'islam isn't violent'. Please look at your holy book and the majority of Islamic Law. It's sexist, violent, and totally biased towards muslim men. (Where are womens rights advocates in Saudi Arabia?). We allow a country like that to exist the way it does, and that is more disgusting than anything.

So, thanks Silly Allah! Don't listen to the haters :)

Areeba said...

what a joke. I suggest you go see an Imam and have an argument there - stop being a pansy and taking things out of context

Iman said...

Many religions are as sexist as Islam. The religion itself is not sexist, yet the way the Quran has been interpreted makes people think the religion is sexist. For example, it says in the Quran that women should dress modestly, yet Muslim people have thought this means women should dress in such a way that they cover the whole body except the eyes.
One might think Islam is a sexist religion due to the fact that it allows men to have more then one wives in some countries. Yet in the Qur’an it says marry them if you can treat them all equally. Some say it doesn’t give equal rights to women yet in the Quran it says let men have a portion of what their parents and near relatives leave and let women have this also. Since Islamic countries are theocratic, Muslims and other believers in Islam follow this if they live in Islamic countries.
Islamic women are allowed to vote, unless they live in a country ruled by Shariah laws. In 1928, the United Kingdom granted equal voting rights to women. By this time several majority-Islamic countries let women have the right to vote. This illustrates that Islam is not as sexist as other religions in some aspects.
Also the reason for women dressing modestly is so that they are not considered sex objects by men. I would look at the whole Qur'an before making obscene comments. It is also offensive to say Allah is silly. Many people believe strongly in the religion.
I understand that there are some sexist aspects of Islam, yet this is true with all religions.

Silly Allah said...

Typical ad hominem comments Areeba. Here's another take with similar conclusions:

Silly Allah said...

Iman, I did look at the Quran. It sounds like you did not read my post where I quoted the offensive phrases from the Quran. And the fact that ""many religions are sexist" doesn't change the fact that Islam is quite sexist and violently so. I don't believe in any religion so that language has no affect on me.

I suggest you watch the following video

Finally, I will keep using the Silly Allah name partly because the shock of it may wake people up. You, unfortunately, are still caught in your delusion.