What does the Koran say about women?

Following are pertinent quotes from the Koran/Quran regarding women, from the Dawood translation with the side-by-side Arabic. Below is also a summary of the koranic view of women, as well as relevant videos by Muslim authorities, expressing a very typical attitude towards women. Please note that millions of children worldwide are forced to learn these koranic scriptures by memory. Note also that women are likewise repeatedly addressed in the hadiths or Islamic sayings and deeds of the Muslim prophet Mohammed/Muhammad. The various hadiths that are supposed to be followed by Muslims are called “sunnah.”

Women in the Koran

“They ask you about menstruation. Say: ‘It is an indisposition. Keep aloof from women during their menstrual periods and do not approach them until they are clean again; when they are clean, have intercourse with them whence God enjoined you….'” Quran 2:222, “The Cow,” Dawood, p. 34

“Women are your fields: go, then, into your fields whence you please.” Quran 2:223, “The Cow,” Dawood, p. 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 forsake them in beds apart, and beat them.” Quran 4:34, “Women,” Dawood, p. 83

“A male shall inherit twice as much as a female.” Quran 4:11, “Women,” Dawood, p. 77

“Call in two male witnesses from among you, but if two men cannot be found, then one man and two women whom you judge fit to act as witnesses…” Quran 2:282, “The Cow,” Dawood, p. 47

“Women shall with justice have rights similar to those exercised against them, although men have a status above women.” Quran 2:228, Dawood, p. 35

“If you fear that you cannot treat [orphan girls] with fairness, then you may marry other women who seem good to you: two, three, or four of them. But if you fear that you cannot maintain equality among them, marry one only or any slave-girl you may own.” Quran 4:3, “Women,” Dawood, p. 76

“If you are in doubt concerning those of your wives who have ceased menstruating, know that their waiting period shall be three months. The same shall apply to those [of your wives] who have not yet menstruated.” Quran 65:4, “Divorce,” Dawood, p. 557 [Dawood notes: "On account of their young age. Child marriages were common."]

“[Forbidden to you are] married women, except those whom you own as slaves.” Quran 4:24, “Women,” Dawood, p. 81

“You shall not wed pagan women, unless they embrace the Faith. A believing slave-girl is better than an idolatress, although she may please you. Nor shall you wed idolaters, unless they embrace the Faith.” Quran 2:221, “The Cow,” Dawood, p. 34.

“Enjoin believing women to turn their eyes away from temptation and to preserve their chastity; not to display their adornments (except such as are normally revealed); to draw their veils over their bosoms and not to display their finery except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their step-sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women-servants, and their slave-girls; male attendants lacking in natural vigour, and children who have no carnal knowledge of women. And let them not stamp their feet when walking so as to reveal their hidden trinkets.” Quran 24:31, “Light,” Dawood, p. 352

“Wives of the Prophet, you are not like other women. If you fear God, do not be too complaisant in your speech, lest the lecherous-hearted should lust after you. Show discretion in what you say. Stay in your homes and do not display your finery as women used to in the days of ignorance.” Quran 33:32-3, Dawood, p. 421 [The "days of ignorance" refer to pre-Islamic times.]

Summary of Koranic quotes regarding women

Menstruating women are unclean, and men must stay away from them. Women are men’s “fields,” and men can have sex with them whenever they want. Men are superior to women and have authority over them, while women must obey men or risk being beaten. A woman is worth one-half of a man, and men are above women. Muslim men may marry up to four wives, including prepubescent girls, and can own sex slaves. Muslims are not allowed to marry non-Muslims, unless the latter convert to Islam. Women must cover themselves and be seen only by relatives, eunuchs, slaves and children who have not yet had sex with women.

The Koran also contains more equitable commentary on women, although these verses are widely ignored, even or especially in Islamic/sharia law and particularly by “radical” or devout Muslims such as the Taliban, Wahhabis, Salafis and Iranian Shiites. Even in these “equitable” verses the attitude is retained that women are inferior to and possessions of men, to be treated accordingly. Whether or not a master is exhorted to be kind, fair and just to his slaves, the fact of their slavery remains.

Further Reading

Dancing women brought disaster to Pakistan
Women’s rights in Islam

© 2014 Freethought Nation, Acharya S, D.M. Murdock & Stellar House Publishing
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