Although Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musaliyar refers to the unchanging aspect of Islam’s view of women as “obstinacy,” he doesn’t appear to be using that word in a pejorative sense. He apparently approves of this “obstinacy.”
Islam has not changed its decrees regarding the life of women. Among them are these: The Qur’an likens a woman to a field (tilth), to be used by a man as he wills: “Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will” (2:223).
It declares that a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man: “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” (2:282).
It allows men to marry up to four wives, and have sex with slave girls also: “If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice” (4:3).
It rules that a son’s inheritance should be twice the size of that of a daughter: “Allah (thus) directs you as regards your children’s (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females” (4:11).
Worst of all, the Qur’an tells husbands to beat their disobedient wives: “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” (4:34). It allows for marriage to pre-pubescent girls, stipulating that Islamic divorce procedures “shall apply to those who have not yet menstruated” (65:4).
“Islam’s views on freedom to women has not changed: Kerala Muslim cleric,” by Shaju Philip for the Indian Express, November 19 (thanks to Twostellas):
Kerala’s prominent Muslim cleric Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musaliyar has observed that Islam has not changed its obstinate approach with regard to the freedom for Muslim women and their relation with men on the reason that the women were educated.
In an interview with latest issue of Malayalam weekly Mathrubhumi, the influential Sunni leader said the modern times require education for Muslim women. “But that did not mean the Islam has changed its decrees regarding the life of women. Muslim women should not work in a place where only a woman and a man are present. They should go for job only in a place where there are enough number of women and trustworthy men. About 90 per cent of jobs do not require man-women mingling. These rules cannot be changed. The obstinacy still continues,” said Musaliyar, the general secretary of All India Sunni Jam-Iyyathul Ulema.
On women’s mobility, Musaliyar said they should travel only in unavoidable circumstances. These journeys should be for the purposes ratified by Islam. The Islam could not accept the argument that women have to travel extensively these days. If they go out, it should be in the company of male family members or of large group of women.
On recent controversy in Kerala over reducing the marriage age of Muslim women, he said the community organisations were looking for means to dissuade the government from fixing the marriage age at 18. But the general impression that Muslims do not obey the rules of the government or court is a dangerous situation, he said.
The Sunni leader, once known for his pro-Left stand in elections, said the community would not tolerate if a law is made tomorrow that a parent does not have the right to marry of [sic] his daughter. If a parent is able to find a suitable bridegroom for his daughter when she is 15 year old, it is better to allow such marriage. Sometimes, the bridegroom would take a stand that he was not ready to wait, instead would scout for other prospective brides. In such occasions, it is not good that the parent is unable to conduct that marriage, he said.