A few things left out of this whitewashed presentation, which is typical of such presentations all over the country:
“Men have authority over women because Allah 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 Allah has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them.” — Qur’an 4:34
Nowhere does the Qur’an teach that a woman can beat a man under any circumstances.
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, so go to your tilth as you 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 you 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 you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if you fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly, then only one, or one 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 directs you as regards your children’s inheritance: to the male, a portion equal to that of two females” (4:11).
It allows for marriage to pre-pubescent girls, stipulating that Islamic divorce procedures “shall apply to those who have not yet menstruated” (65:4).
Islamic law stipulates that a man’s prayer is annulled if a dog or a woman passes in front of him as he is praying. “Narrated ‘Aisha: The things which annul the prayers were mentioned before me. They said, “Prayer is annulled by a dog, a donkey and a woman (if they pass in front of the praying people).” I said, ‘You have made us (i.e. women) dogs.’ I saw the Prophet praying while I used to lie in my bed between him and the Qibla. Whenever I was in need of something, I would slip away. for I disliked to face him.” (Sahih Bukhari 1.9.490)
Another hadith depicts Muhammad saying that the majority of the inhabitants of hell are women:
“I looked into Paradise and I saw that the majority of its people were the poor. And I looked into Hell and I saw that the majority of its people are women.” Sahih Bukhari 3241; Sahih Muslim 2737)
When asked about this, he explained:
“I was shown Hell and I have never seen anything more terrifying than it. And I saw that the majority of its people are women.” They said, “Why, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “Because of their ingratitude (kufr).” It was said, “Are they ungrateful to Allah?” He said, “They are ungrateful to their companions (husbands) and ungrateful for good treatment. If you are kind to one of them for a lifetime then she sees one (undesirable) thing in you, she will say, ‘I have never had anything good from you.’” (Sahih Bukhari 1052)
And in another hadith:
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) went out to the musalla (prayer place) on the day of Eid al-Adha or Eid al-Fitr. He passed by the women and said, ‘O women! Give charity, for I have seen that you form the majority of the people of Hell.’ They asked, ‘Why is that, O Messenger of Allah?’ He replied, ‘You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religious commitment than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you.’ The women asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is deficient in our intelligence and religious commitment?’ He said, ‘Is not the testimony of two women equal to the testimony of one man?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Is it not true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?’ The women said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is the deficiency in her religious commitment.’” (Sahih Bukhari 304)
“Muslim speaker demystifies the role of women in Islam,” Forest Lake Area Lowdown, November 26, 2016:
STILLWATER — In light of the racial, religious and political tension that has taken the country by storm in the last few months, many Stillwater locals were ready to come together at the Stillwater Public Library last week to learn about one of the most touchy national topics — Islam, and the role women play within its religious doctrine.
The presentation, titled “Getting to Know the Role of Muslim Women Better,” was hosted by the St. Croix chapter of the American Association of University Women or AAUW (whose mission is to create equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research) in partnership with the Stillwater Public Library. The event attracted a sizable audience, whose members were eager to learn about Islam and asked many questions throughout the evening presentation.
The guest speaker was Hanadi Chehabbedine from the Islamic Resource Group in Minneapolis. Originally from Lebanon, Chehabbedine is now an American citizen and resident of Eden Prairie, where she has been involved in local activism, reaching out to educate others about Islam.
The number one thing to understand, Chehabbedine said, is that religion and culture are two very different things. Not every culture that identifies as Islamic follows the Qur’an or the Hadith (the sayings of the Prophet) in quite the same way. As a Lebanese Muslim, Chehabbedine grew up with many more rights than her sisters in Saudi Arabia, where even non-Muslim women are forced to wear a veil or scarf, or Afghanistan, where many female children are denied education.
During her presentation at the Stillwater library, she dispelled many of the myths that Americans have about Islam, and especially the myth that Islamic women live in oppression. She shared passages from the Qur’an that highlight the role of women. Many people don’t realize, she said, that Muslim women keep their maiden names when they are married, and that education is a basic right for all children, male and female. Islam recognizes the right of women to own property (in fact, the first wife of the Prophet Muhammad was a businesswoman, and he was one of her employees). But Muslim women don’t have to work if they don’t want to — they are automatically assured financial security throughout their life.
“I’m 40 years old, and I never paid a bill,” Chehabbedine said. “How does that work? Basically, the inheritance law that governs the system of Islam allows financial security throughout the life of a woman, specifically by giving the man double the amount of money by inheritance.”
Male children inherit twice as much money from their parents, but all expenses for females are covered by the closest males in their lives. However, any money that she makes on her own belongs completely to her, and she is able to spend it as she wishes.
“If a woman wants to be responsible for her own expenses she can; it’s not like she can’t,” Chehabbedine said. “But if she doesn’t want to, she really doesn’t have to.”
Marriages are based on mutual love and understanding. Many Americans believe that Islam promotes polygamy, which is allowed by Islam, but Chehabbedine said that Islam’s teachings on marriage serve to limit a man to four wives, rather than the limitless amount he could theoretically have outside of sharia. (The oft-repeated phrase “sharia law,” Chehabbedine explained, is redundant, as “sharia” is a rough Arabic translation for “law.”)
Monogamy is the norm;Chehabbedine couldn’t think of anyone she knew of who was in a polygamous marriage, though she explained it sometimes happens when a couple is unable to conceive a child. The wife always has input in this decision. However, polyandry — a woman being married to multiple men — is prohibited, mostly because of lineage and inheritance rights.
The western world sometimes hears of forced marriages in Islam, but Chehabbedine said that consent is a requirement of marriage in Islam, and forced marriage is not an Islamic practice, but a cultural one.
Islam is especially reverent of mothers — in one story about the Prophet, a follower asks who among the people is most worthy of his companionship. When the Prophet says, “Your mother,” the man asks who is next. The Prophet repeats that his mother is most worthy two more times before finally saying “Your father.” Islam reveres many female figures, including Mary, mother of Jesus; Asiya, the wife of Pharaoh who rescued baby Moses; Khadijah, the first wife of the Prophet; and Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet.
One of the foremost topics of the presentation was the headwear worn by many Muslim women: the headscarf or hijab. This symbolic garment is not required for Muslim women, but many choose to wear it as a sign of their modesty and faith.
“It’s a choice, and it’s not something that can be forced,” Chehabbedine said. “The main concept behind it is kind of moving away from the sexuality of a woman, and bringing about her femininity so that when she is talking, you’re actually listening. Basically, eliminating the bodily distraction.” …