What if someone had told Janet Jackson before she married Wissam al-Mana about Islam’s teachings about women? She probably would have denounced the truth-teller as an “Islamophobe.”
Janet Jackson is now estranged from her Muslim husband Wissam Al Mana. According to insiders, Jackson began to feel “like a prisoner” in the marriage. Al Mana wanted “a traditional wife who stuck with Muslim traditions.”
“Muslim traditions.” Would Jackson have married Wissam al-Mana in the first place if she had known about these Muslim traditions?
A manual of Islamic law certified by Al-Azhar, the foremost authority in Sunni Islam, as “conforming to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni community,” stipulates:
[A] woman may not leave the city without her husband or a member of her unmarriageable kin accompanying her, unless the journey is obligatory, like the hajj. It is unlawful for her to travel otherwise, and unlawful for her husband to allow her to. ( Reliance of the Traveller m10.3)
As a traditional Muslim wife, Jackson could also have expected to be beaten if she got out of line. This is because the Qur’an says:
[M]en 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. (4:34)
Nowhere, of course, does the Qur’an teach that a woman can beat a man under any circumstances.
The Qur’an also 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 (those “your rights possess”) 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).
The Qur’an has more that oppresses women. 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).
There is much more Islamic misogyny. But if you try to discuss these things with any modern feminist, you’ll just be denounced as an “Islamophobe.”
Yet does Islam really make women “prisoners”? Does it really oppress women? Can we talk about this without name-calling? My new book Confessions of an Islamophobe (preorder here now) makes the case: there is perfectly good reason for women to be concerned about Islam, and it isn’t “prejudice” or “bigotry” to point that out.
This is the book to give to your feminist friends who think that concern about women’s rights in Islam is just “right-wing bigotry.” In other words, this is the book to give to pretty much the entire world except for those who have at some point in their lives been called “Islamophobes” — and even they will find it enlightening as well. Reserve your copy here today.