The Great Courses

Women in Islam

Mar 14, 2013 at 6:06 AM
5 years ago

How perverse are Muslims! For Muslims are the vilest of animals. So show mercy to one another, but be ruthless to Muslims.

Fight those Muslims who are near to you. Muslim mischief makers should be murdered or crucified. Strike off the heads of Muslims, as well as their fingertips.

That's some pretty nasty hate speech, isn't it? If you find that terribly offensive, you're absolutely right to do so. And no, I didn't come up with that myself. I'll give you the source for those lines in a moment.

Every time Seth or I post anything even remotely related to Islam, some little racist windbag shows up to either attempt to defend Islam or who attempts to deflect to Christianity.

Of course, those same people never show up on posts that take aim at Christianity, which constitute the overwhelming majority of posts we write aimed at a specific faith, and wail, "yeah, but Islam...!"

So let's just take a moment before delving into the topic to clear up a couple of common misconceptions...

Islam is no more a race of people than Christianity is. Only 12% of all Muslims are Arabs. There are more Muslims in the Southeast Asian country of Indonesia than in all of the Arab countries combined. And, of course, not all Arabs are Muslims, some are Jews or Christians.

Muhammad commanded that those who leave Islam be put to death, so particularly in Muslim-majority countries, being an atheist can cost you your life.  

Islam is a set of ideas. Only. It is not a race of people. And it’s a particularly rotten set of ideas as I learned in courses on Islam and Islamic History at University.  

When atheists pop up and defend Islam, it appears they think so little of brown people and their capacity to grasp basic morals like "don't pour acid on your daughter" or "don't shoot children in the head" or "don't kill people" that you have to defend them.

If men did the very things we post about Muslims doing and they were white, these same people wouldn't even consider trying to downplay such actions.

It’s extremely racist to expect more of white people. Skin color has absolutely nothing to do with a human being's capacity to observe basic ideas like "hurting and killing other people is bad and wrong." Which should, of course, go without saying.

Another common misconception is that the word “Islam” means peace, which even some Muslims truly believe. The Arabic root is similar to the word peace. However, the word Islam actually means submission, and the Qur’an ties the two together by saying that when people submit to Islam, there is peace.

Muhammad was anything but peaceful during his lifetime. He was a slave-owning, lying, thieving, raping, pillaging, extremely violent warlord who spread Islam by the sword, attacked innocent tribes with zero provocation, beheaded people with his own hand, raped a young woman immediately after he murdered her young husband and father, condoned wife-beating and even commanded it in his cult's dogma, and had sex with a nine year-old little girl named Aisha when he was in his 50s. Just to name a few "highlights" though there is plenty more.

If there was something rotten, immoral, perverse, evil, or downright stupid a human being could do, Muhammad did it. In any civilized country today his repugnant ass would be in prison where in belonged.

Now, about those verses at the beginning…

The phrase "Strike off the heads of Muslims, as well as their fingertips" from the beginning of this post appears in its original form as the Qur'an, Sura 8:12 - I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.

That is actually Allah promising to terrorize non-Muslims in the Qur'an and commanding Muslims to behead us for not believing as they do.

Another line from the beginning of this post said "Muslim mischief makers should be murdered or crucified."

How could anyone say such a horrible, disgusting thing about Muslims? Here is how that phrase appears in its original form:

Qur'an, Sura 5:33 - The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement.

The line "Fight those Muslims who are near to you" actually appears in its original form as Qur'an, Sura 9:123 - O you who believe! Fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you ruthlessness

"How perverse are Muslims!” comes from Qur'an, Sura 9:30 - And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah... Allah (Himself) fights against them. How perverse are they!

"For Muslims are the vilest of animals."

Qur'an, Sura 8:55 - Surely the vilest of animals in Allah's sight are those who disbelieve.

"So show mercy to one another, but be ruthless to Muslims."

Qur'an, Sura 48:29 - Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard (ruthless) against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves.

The sources for the terribly offensive lines at the beginning were a variety of verses from the Qur'an. I simply replaced terms like "unbelievers" with the word "Muslim" in the Suras.

And yes, the Bible says horrific things, as well. Pointing that out to deflect from Islam is like whining that bee swarms can be deadly while ignoring the lion that's eyeing you for lunch from the bush. Everybody here already knows bee swarms can be deadly. That's not new information. And you can whine all you want about bee swarms; it's not going to stop the hungry lion from naturally selecting your ass out of the gene pool. 

Islam commands and condones wife beating in Sura 4:34 of the Qur'an and child rape, just to name a couple of points, but we’ll get into that subject in more depth in just a moment.

And while the Bible does command or condone rape, torture, murder, war, genocide, stonings and the like, you don’t see Jews and Christians stoning adulterers. In Muslim-majority countries, such punishments are part of the law.

There is no separation of church and state in Islam – absolutely everything Muslims do is prescribed for them by the Qur’an and the aHadeeth (pronounced ah HA deeth), from how to run a country, laws including divorce law, custody laws, inheritance laws, and the like, down to on which foot they should enter a room and how they are to clean themselves after defecating, and that’s not an exaggeration.

And because Muslims still adhere to those laws, even when not living in Muslim-majority countries, women's shelters in Germany, for example, are overflowing with a hugely disproportionate number of Muslim women beaten by their husbands with belts and electrical cords, despite the fact that Muslims are a tiny minority in the country. All across the globe in Muslim majority countries, little girls are married off to old men to be raped, just like their repugnant "prophet" did it to a little girl named Aisha.

That's what people are standing up for when they defend Islam and its adherents -- a dogma of wife beating and child rape that runs contrary to every, single basic human right. And they tend to do it on posts about Muslim girls and women being sentenced to horrible punishments or death, neglecting to realize the people in those stories, the victims, are themselves Muslims, and it’s Muslim victims who deserve to be supported, not the perpetrators. 

 As people who don’t have a dog in the religious fight, why would anyone support a dogma of wife beating and child rape? Especially to choose so in preference to those harmed by the dogma and those who have been brave enough to leave Islam and need and deserve our support.

So what harm does Islam do to women and what are some of the commandments they must follow?

Well, as we already mentioned, a man is supposed to beat his wife is she’s “disobedient.”

Qur'an, Sura 4:34 Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Surely God is high, supreme.

Some contemporary translations into English have added the word “lightly” after the command for men to beat their wives, but in Arabic the Qur’an simply says, “beat them.”

That verse also mentions another topic – does Islam stipulate women must cover themselves? Or is that part of some cultures instead?

The Qur’an says in Sura 33:59 Tell your wives and your daughters and the woman of the believers to draw their Jalalib all over their bodies."

The jalalib refers to an outer garment worn over clothes that covers a woman from her head to her feet.

Sura 24:31 also says women must cover up, plus it gives a detailed list of those among whom she can remove her outer covering and be seen in regular clothing, which includes certain male relatives and other women, and adds that women should tread lightly lest they make their bodies jiggle and hint at what’s beneath their outer cloak.

Sura 33:55 says a woman commits no crime in going without her cover in front of some males relatives.

While some argue that forcing women to cover up is oppressive, there are Muslim women who say they want to wear such coverings.

If I were a Muslim woman, I would likely want to wear a full body covering, as well.  What Islam teaches, in essence, is that a woman is too tempting to men to run around uncovered. Honorable women, they’re taught, cover themselves.

By contrast, as an Islamic cleric put it, a woman who doesn’t cover herself is seen as being akin to meat left out where the cats can get to it.

Islam teaches that non-Muslim women captured by Muslims are their rewards for war and can be made slaves, referred to in the Qur’an as those “your right hand possess” and therefore can be raped. And the concept of a man raping his wife or his female slaves is utterly foreign in Islam. The Qur’an says women are a field to be tilled by men, and in Islam women are to drop whatever they’re doing and engage in sex when their husband wishes. 

Statistics from organizations such as the UN Human Commissioner for Refugees, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International show that in some countries the vast majority of women are in prison for their own protection, having been victims of rape or domestic violence.

And while technically a Muslim man is forbidden from having sex with a woman to whom he is not married nor owns as a captive or slave, in Sura 24:13 the Qur’an stipulates four witnesses be provided to prove a woman was raped.

If a woman says she was raped and cannot provide four witnesses, she’s viewed as having admitted that she’s guilty of either sex outside of marriage or adultery, the punishments for which are flogging or being stoned to death.

And again, the Bible says similar things, as well. But there is a huge difference – Jews and Christians are not flogging and stoning rape victims these days. Muslim women are still being subjected to punishments for being raped, and deflecting to the Bible is of absolutely no help to those Muslim women who are suffering right now under Islam.

Particularly in countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan, being a rape victim without four witnesses makes a Muslim woman guilty of a crime, which is why so many women are in prison for their own protection – they face acid attacks, burnings, beatings, and death at the hands of their relatives for bringing dishonor upon the family.

And rape is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to injustices to Muslim women under Islamic law. Muslim daughters are given half the inheritance of their brothers, Muslim women are allowed to marry one man and he has to be a Muslim, while men are permitted four wives and they can also marry Christians or Jews, if they wish, and they’re allowed to have sex with their female slaves.

In Sura 33:33, according to the interpretation of Islamic scholars, Muslim women are to stay quietly in their homes like the wives of Muhammad were commanded to do.  

Islam stipulates that in the case of a divorce, the husband gets the children as soon as they’re 7 years old. Even in cases where the wife has suffered abuse at the hands of her husband, he still gets the kids.

Muslims will generally claim that Islam elevated women, that it gave them new rights, which is at least partially true if claims regarding pre-Islamic rule in Arabia are to be believed.

As with the authors of the Bible, however, Muhammad attempted to make and keep women second class citizens.

So what can we do to help Muslim women?

Speak up, first and foremost. When you hear of a country preparing to execute a teenage rape victim for having sex, take a minute to write an email or search Google for a petition. We know those things really do work and your vocal opposition truly can save a life.

In a recent case in the Maldives of a teenage girl who was raped by her stepfather being sentenced to flogging (according to local authorities the sentence was due to her admitting after she was in custody to having sex with some “other” man who has yet to be named or charged), outcry from ordinary people from the globe of ordinary citizens brought the case into the public spotlight, and to the attention of the country’s President who stated publicly that he did not agree with the sentence – a wise move on his part for the sake of the country’s economy which is dependent on tourism for its primary source of income.     

Just as the god of the Bible apparently changed his mind about condoms being a sin following the outraged cries of people from around the world, so the Vatican decided they were acceptable after all, Muslims are no different and given enough pressure they will change their tune.

Refuse to be a party to injustice, whatever religious adherents are the perpetrators. They zealots can’t get us all.

Finally, I have Muslim neighbors, and I know if my house was ever on fire they would be the first here to help. They drink alcohol and invite me over on warm evenings for a drink on their patio, their kids are sweet and adorable, and in general they are great people who are cultural Muslims as we know many Christians to be and they don’t take Islam and its horrific tenets all that seriously. As they explained, they see commands such as the prohibition of alcohol as something meant only for the time of Muhammad because Muslims were getting drunk too often. As long as it’s in moderation, they don’t see why it’s a problem. That attitude directly contradicts what Islam teaches – the Qur’an is supposed to be a book for all time. But I’m not going to try talking them out of their casual view either.

My Muslim neighbors are among the very last human beings I would ever worry about carrying a bomb on a train. On the contrary, when someone does kill others in the name of Islam, they speak up and not to deny it has anything to do with Islam, but in protest at violence.

Given the penalty in Islam for leaving is death, which is stipulated by law in some Muslim-majority lands, you have to wonder how many Muslims really believe, and how many go through the motions out of fear.    

Just something to keep in mind when dealing with Muslims – they need to see we will support them if they leave Islam. In many cases, we’ll be the only psychological backup they’ve got. And anyone who risks their very life to live honestly deserves our support.


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