Muhammed a feminist and feminism is Sunnah : Rebuttal

On Jan 25 2013, Shehla Rashid wrote,


Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) was a feminist and feminism is Sunnah
Here’s wishing all Muslims a blessed 12th Rabbi-ul-Awwal the birth date of the holy Prophet of Islam, Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him). Although there exists a lot of debate around whether this day should be commemorated or not, there’s no second opinion on the fact that his birth was a blessing for the entire humanity.
I’m tempted to quote lines from a popular Kashmiri naat (or nasheed)
ba khuda saari khudayi aasi hey pardan andar
galihe nai zaal zulmatan Rasool-e-Muhataram
sallallahu allaihi wassallam
Translation: The truth about God would have remained shrouded in mystery if it weren’t for the holy Prophet (SAW) who released humanity from the clutches of ignorance
The Prophet (SAW) fought for the emancipation of women in a time and place where girl children were buried alive, not allowed to make any choices, not allowed to hold property. In an era when there were numerous war widows, practically without any rights, he (SAW) took the hand of some of them (RAA) in marriage, while making sure that he (SAW) is not biased towards or against any one or few of them (RAA).
All this was very progressive by the standards of that time. And this was about a millennium and a half back. This was when women were not empowered enough to speak up for themselves. Even centuries after he (SAW) lived, we continue to kill the girl child, not just outside the womb but even inside it. If a girl aspires to live, even in her mother’s womb, technology (esp. sex-selective abortion) has made it possible for us to take even that aspiration away from her. If she manages to survive, the society makes sure that her life is hell- she is harassed if she’s well-dressed, taunted if she isn’t, stigmatised if she’s unmarried, tortured if she’s married, objectified as a “house-wife”, objectified as a “sex-object”, talked down if she’s not making money, mentally tortured if she is, she is blamed for getting raped outside the home, but violence against her inside the home is qualified as “domestic” violence, “dowry” death, “bride” burning, “honour” killing, etc. Unique crimes against her are invented, for example “acid attack”, “female foeticide”, “female infanticide”.
Muhammed (SAW) would not be very happy to see this. It’s a shame that, on a day when we commemorate the 1443rd year of his blessed birth, Muslim women in some parts of the world are still subjected to what is another unique crime against womanhood, “female genital mutilation”.
Dear Muslim men and women and all people reading this post, let’s resolve to make the world a place where women can lead their lives with dignity and make choices on their own. Let’s be progressive rather than regressive. Had Muhammed (SAW) not fought against female infanticide I may not be even alive and writing this post right now. He (SAW) was a feminist, in my humble opinion, and thus, feminism should be Sunnah. Feminism need not be advocacy of short skirts. It’s about equality of rights as humans who are capable of experiencing the same emotions- pain, love, joy and freedom. We will never really progress until we treat our women better.
Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi (SAW) Mubarak!

In scientific argumentation, any claim/supposition has to be followed with facts and evidences. With this article, I would like to present facts and evidences from Quran, Hadith and Muhammad’s biography from the most reliable source of Muhammad’s life, that counter her claim.


Pre-Islamic women:

We often hear the claim that, in the time of Jahiliyyah (so called time of ignorance) or pre-Islamic time, women had no rights. They didn’t have rights to property and were sometimes buried after birth. In history, there has been a habit of making such claims about the preceding dark times. Similarly in the case of Islam, there is not enough evidence from non-Islamic sources to substantiate these claims.
Muhammad had 9 wives at one time (13 wives in his entire lifetime, according to some sources), namely
  1. Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid
  2. Sawdah bint Zam’ah ibn Qays
  3. ‘Aa’ishah bint Abi Bakr al-Siddeeq
  4. Hafsah bint ‘Umar
  5. Zaynab bint Khuzaymah
  6. Umm Salamah bint Abi Umayyah
  7. Juwayriyah bint al-Haarith
  8. Zaynab bint Jahsh
  9. Umm Habeebah bint Abi Sufyaan
  10. Maymoonah bint al-Haarith
  11. Safiyyah bint Huyayy ibn Akhtab

His prominent four-followers (Khalifas) also had many wives. In this era of polygyny, do we have any evidence that a woman could have multiple husbands? 

There are lots of evidences that there were other accomplished business women, poets (e.g. ‘Asma’ bint Marwan ), female fighters etc. in those times. Other prominent women in this era were Hind bint Utbah, Umm Jamil and many more. There are no evidences of any prominent women in the Islamic world after the death of Mohammad, except for Fatimah (daughter of Mohammad) and Aisha (wife of Mohammad). Some evidences suggest that Aisha was the leader of war against Ali. One can argue that Aisha became the leader because she was the wife of the Mohammad. No other women after the death of Mohammad could achieve such a level of prominence, solely based on her capabilities. It is important to ask if, women could have survived this time without having a male guardian. 

Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) was a feminist and feminism is Sunnah?Qur’an 4/20

The big question remains “What Islam really thinks about women?”. It is a common perception in the Muslim world that, “Islam and Only Islam gives women the absolute freedom and honor!”. But when we read Quran and Hadith, we are presented with a totally different picture.

Women are your fields- Quran 2/223: “Women are your fields: go, then, into your fields whence you please.”

You can beat them- Qur’an 4/34: “Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.”
A man can have 4 wives- Qur’an 4/3: 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.
Muhammad Married Aisha when she was 6 years old and cosumate the marraige when she was 9 years old”—- The Prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became all right, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said, “Best wishes and Allah’s Blessing and a good luck.” Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah’s Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age.”

Allah also allows jihadists to have sex with female slaves.

Sources: Ibn Ishaq, pp. 464-66; Tabari, vol. 8, pp. 27-41. 


Women, Not intelligent enough?

Narrated Abu Bakra: During the battle of Al-Jamal, Allah benefited me with a Word (I heard from the Prophet). When the Prophet heard the news that the people of the Persia had made the daughter of Khosrau their Queen (ruler), he said, “Never will succeed such a nation as makes a woman their ruler.”
Therefore, There are hundreds of laws, verses and Hadith written in the Quran, which are well documented and practiced by Muslims all over the world. These laws and verses conflict with the modern idea of women rights and human rights in general. In the modern society, we cannot tolerate that having sex with a slave girl is moral, as found in many verses and Hadith. A modern citizen of this world should have the right to criticize not only the fundamental and intolerant bigots, but also the original text written in the so called “Holy Quran”.

2 thoughts on “Muhammed a feminist and feminism is Sunnah : Rebuttal

  1. Dear Faruq by your Name i Think you are born in a Muslim Family, Its Rare to Observe or find A Muslim speaking against Islam.

    However i appreciate your broad mindedness and Questions about Qurans Philosophy.


    1. Hello Dear, Thanks for coming across this blog. Yes I was raised in a Muslim family. However, I have now moved away from religion and moved on with my life. it is true that you will rarely find muslims speaking against Islam. the reason being, many are scared to. Islam teachings state punishment by death penalty for disbelievers. Sad but true


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