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Chapter 3: Prophetic Attitude Towards Fair Sex

Islam: Sex and Violence
Chapter Three: The Prophetic Attitude Towards Fair Sex
Anwar Shaikh

2nd Edition: January 15, 2017

Islamic Concubine Slave Trade

The Prophetic Attitude Towards Fair Sex

The Muslim nations have suffered a huge setback during the 20th century. Its major cause is lack of women's rights, which have held them back from playing their full role in modern history.

A socially restricted woman is a handicapped mother, who being deprived of proper training, cannot teach her children to cope with the mode of time.

As we have seen in the previous chapter, a Muslim woman is raised to live for the pleasure of man, yet she is made to feel through misinterpretation of the Muslim doctrine that she has substantive legal rights, which make her man's equal. Since this issue has been deliberately made complex by the Muslim divines to serve their own purpose, I may draw reader's attention to the personal attitude of Prophet towards member of fair sex. Since he was the Model of Behaviour, his precedents may enhance understanding of the issue:

1. The hadith (Muslim 2: 3371 ) describes the frivolity of coitus interruptus, which means withdrawing penis for the purpose of discharging semen outside the female organ. In Arabic, it is called Al-Azl.

Abu Saeed narrates: "We went out with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) on the expedition to the Banu-Mustaliq and captured some of their excellent women: We desired them because we suffered for being absent from our wives. So we started copulating with them by practicing azl, that is, withdrawing penis at the moment of orgasm with a view to avoiding conception. Realising that we were doing an act while the Messenger of Allah was amongst us, we decided to refer the matter to him. The Prophet said, 'It does not matter whether you observe azl or not because every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born."'

One should ponder over the following points contained in this hadith:

1. The Prophet himself headed this expedition against the tribe of Mustaliq, who had not yet embraced Islam.

2. The companions of the Prophet i.e., his immediate followers, who were practically in his company, seduced women whom they captured after murdering their menfolk.

3. Not only did they want to copulate with them but they also desired to get ransom for them.

Allah claims to be the Creator and God of all irrespective of colour or creed, yet He is pleased when the Muslims lead military expeditions against innocent people for the sheer "crime" of not believing in Him and Muhammad. Is it really Allah playing havoc with the unbelievers? He cannot; the Creator of this immense universe is too great to care about beliefs and disbeliefs of ordinary mortals. If it really mattered, He would have created believing humans. Since longing for praise and greatness is a human weakness, it is Muhammad's desire to murder and enslave innocent people for personal glory. It is certainly defamation of Allah's character and an insult to His greatness.

Fancy a man projecting himself as the ambassador of high morality and encouraging seduction of innocent women. Instead of allowing and encouraging coitus interruptus to his reverent companions, he should have rebuked and punished them to serve the cause of human values. The fact that he did exactly the opposite, clearly demonstrates that the Prophet used sexuality to enhance his own purpose, which was personal deification and national dominance. Had he punished the seducers, nobody would have joined him in his campaigns.

It should be remembered that seducing a slave-girl was punishable by death in the Byzantine Empire, and it was customary not to dishonour the captive women because it was considered inhuman in the Christian and pagan worlds to subject conquered women to such disgrace as helplessness was their only crime. These people were conscious of the fact that the captured members of the fair-sex had lost their fathers, husbands, sons and brothers in the battle. It was considered a great punishment in itself, and any further humiliation was thought of as sheer barbarity. This is the reason that ransom was deemed conditional on respecting the captive women in the civilised world whereas the Muslims observed azl as a cover-up to receive ransom.

2. Like ordinary people, politicians and priests, the Prophet also used women to conclude family alliances with powerful men: Abu Bakr and Umar were his fathers-in--law and Uthman and Ali were his sons-in-law. These are the men who are considered next to the Prophet in rank and dignity for the part they played in spreading Islam and establishing the Arab Empire. One expects higher morality from the Prophet, who claimed to be the Model of Behaviour for mankind, appointed by God.

3. Sodha Bint Zama was one of Muhammad's oldest wives. He married her after the death of Khadija. As she had migrated to Medina with her husband (Muhammad) under dreadful conditions, she obviously possessed great wifely virtues. The Muslim commentators say that the Prophet wanted to divorce her because of her age, though she was only a year or two older than he was. She did not relish the idea of consortial separation and wanted to avoid this catastrophe at all costs.

The Prophet had several wives, and as a matter of equity, he prepared a rota system to spend a particular night with each of them regularly. Since Aisha was the most dearly loved wife of Muhammad, Sodha volunteered to give up her own turn in favour of Aisha to influence him. The Prophet willingly accepted this offer and desisted from his threatened action. (Mishkat,Vol. 3, P 352)

Is this action compatible with the concept of equity? On the contrary, does it not show what the Prophet thought of womanhood? Why did the Prophet accept this proposal? The following account may explain the issue.

4. The Prophet was a wise man. He wanted to create close ties with Aisha's father, Abu Bakr, who was very rich, very sincere and very capable. After Muhammad's death, Islam would have become an echo of wilderness but the wisdom, resolutness and bold action of Abu Bakr, who had succeeded Muhammad as his caliph, made Islam a living faith, which imposed the Arab cultural imperialism over all Muslim people of the world. This is exactly what Muhammad had dreamt of. As this episode is sexually oriented, I may provide readers with necessary details of Muhammad's marriage with Aisha so that they may come to their own conclusions:

Khadija, the Prophet's first wife, was a rich and powerful woman, and thus proved helpful to his career It is universally accepted that she was fifteen years older than the Prophet. However, he was forty-five years older than Aisha. She was a child of six and the Prophet was fifty-one at the time of their nuptial ceremony. This age-difference of Khadija and Aisha in relation to Muhammad, reveals his personal attitude towards womanhood.

Aisha was a child of six and naturally did not know anything about matrimony or its purpose. Islam has laid down certain rules for the marriage of women:

a. No woman should marry without the permission of her guardian. The ruler or state is the guardian of such a female, who has no guardian at all. (Mishkat, Vol. 2 p 78)

b. No widow or virgin should be married off without her consent. (Mishkat, Vol. 2, p 77)

Of course, Abu Bakr, Aisha's father was her guardian, but she was too young to know the meaning or purpose of marriage for giving her consent. Thus the episode of Aisha's marriage does not satisfy the basic Islamic rules of matrimony.

Aisha was conscious of being the most beloved wife of the Prophet (Mishkat, Volume 2, page 79), and this is proven by the unusual behaviour of a husband towards his wife:

Aisha said: "The Prophet would stand in the (open) door and as negroes practiced their spears in the yard of the mosque, he (the Prophet) picked me up and held close to his chest so that I could watch them from over his shoulders. He kept standing because of me until I left him. One can judge little girl's interest in game from this." (Mishkat, Vol. 2, p 99)

Aisha said: I used to play with my dolls in the presence of the Prophet. I also had other little girls as my friends, who would play with me. When the Prophet came, they left. When the Prophet directed them towards me, they would start playing with me again." (Mishkat Vol. 2, p 99)

Aisha said: "During menstruation, I used to bite off meat from bone; the Prophet would take the bone from me and place his mouth at the same spot to eat of it where I had been biting; when I drank water, he would take the vessel from me and place his lips at the same spot where I had put mine." (Ibn-e-Majah, Vol. 1, p 202-3)

Aisha said: "The Prophet told me that she was shown to him in dreams by an angel for three nights consecutively. Each time, the angel brought me (Aisha) to him (the Prophet) wrapped up in a silk cloth and said, 'this is your wife.' The Prophet removed the cloth from my face and confirmed that it was I. He said that if it was from Allah, it was bound to happen." (Mishkat, Vol. 3, p 265)

The above hadiths demonstrate the Prophet's deep rooted love and desire for Aisha, but the following hadith is really stunning:

"….. Gabriel does not come to me with the Divine message when I am in bed with any of my wives except Aisha " (Mishkat, Vol. 3, p 265)

Aisha said, "The Prophet and I used to take bath together from the same vessel of water. If he was in a hurry, I would say, 'leave some water far me '. At that time we both used to be in a state of defilement." (Mishkat, Vol. 1, p 102)

Here are more hadiths which should help to understand the Prophet's attitude towards womanhood:

a. Aisha said: "I was six years' old when the Prophet married me then we migrated to Medina where I caught fever. My hair fell off, and I became clean- headed. My mother, Rumaan, came to me when I was playing on the swing with my friends. She called me and I came to her. I did not know her intentions. She held me by my hand and made me stand in the door while I was panting. She washed my face and head, and then took me inside where some Ansaar women had gathered. They were saying 'God bless and good luck.' Then my mother handed me to these women, and they decorated me. Then the Prophet came and I was frightened; they handed me over to him. I was nine years' old at that time." (Ibn-e-Majah, Volume 1, p 526)

The following hadith gives fuller explanations:

b. "When the Prophet Muhammad married Aisha, she was six years' old; when she left her paternal home and came to live with him, she was nine, and when he died, she was eighteen." (Ibn-e-Majah, Vol. 1, p 250)

Here the hadith 'b' elucidates the event described in 'a' i.e., it is not about the wedding ceremony but about consummation of marriage. One should pay attention to the fact that it was Aisha's mother who washed her face and head. It means that, mentally, she was not ahead of time but a normal nine-year-old child. The following hadith completes the story:

c. Aisha said:" she was nine years old when the act of consummation took place and she had her dolls with her." (Mishkat, Vol. 2, p 77)

The hadith speaks for itself and the reader can draw his or her own conclusion.

Sexual intercourse has universally been considered a private and confidential affair between the parties concerned but there is a stunning hadith in "Muslim."

"Anas reports that Allah's apostle (may peace be on him) had nine wives and he appointed a separate night for each of them. Thus, the turn of each wife fell on every nineth day. However, they all used to gather in the house of the one whose turn it was to have coitus with the Prophet. It was the night of Aisha (the youngest wife) when Zainab (a pretty wife) came there. The Prophet stretched his hand towards her. As Aisha noticed it, she said, "It is Zainab." So, he withdrew his hand. The two wives got involved into an altercation, which gradually became louder and lasted till early morning when Adhan ( Iqama ) was announced for prayers. ( As usual ) Abu Bakr, father of Aisha called to accompany the Prophet to the mosque. He said, "Messenger of Allah, come for prayer, and throw dust in their mouths. "

Aisha remarked that after finishing prayers, Abu Bakr, her father, would return to reprimand her as he did on such occasions. This is exactly what happened: "Abu Bakr returned and spoke to her (Aisha) in stern words, and said 'Do you behave like this?"'
(Sahih Muslim, Hadith 3450, p 747)

Having coitus with one wife in the company of several others, is an unusual attitude. Even more amazing is Abu Bakr's treatment of his daughter in a matter, which was purely sexual.

5. The Prophet claimed to be Mercy for all humankind, Model of Behaviour and the Preacher of higher morality, but it becomes difficult to believe these assertions when we carefully examine his attitude towards the institution of concubinage at the expense of his own laws:

It is a universally accepted principle of jurisprudence that once a law has been laid down, the law-giver must abide by it while he allows it to stand. The reason is that the law is considered supreme and indivisible; therefore, nobody is above the law because it applies equally to both the high and low.

In theory, the Koran acknowledges that bias in the application of law leads to contradiction within the legal system, and this is something which is injurious to the dignity of the Word of Allah:

"What, do they not ponder the Koran? if it had been from other than God surely they would have found in it much inconsistency." (Women: 80)

Briefly stated, this verse means that a message cannot be from God if it contains inconsistency. When this rule is applied to the Koran, it fails to pass the test of divinity because we find numerous inconsistencies in it. Let us take the law of marriage, for instance:

"Any one of you, who has not the affluence to be able to marry believing freewomen in wedlock, let him marry believing slave-girls that your right hands own; God knows very well your faith; the one of you is as the other So marry them, with their people's leave, and give them their wages honourably as women in wedlock, not as licence or taking over. (Women, 4: 25)

Here, the law of sexual intercourse has been clearly stated, that is:

1. Marry believing freewomen, but if one cannot afford such a marriage,
2. then marry a believing slave-girl honourably by observing all the legal and proper customary rules of marriage.

Now, it is evident that the Koran does not permit sex outside marriage. It means that coitus with a concubine is tantamount to rape or adultery because she has not been given the marital honour through the recognised process of marriage. Even though she is the property of her master, he has no right to have sexual intercourse with her; it is simply seduction. The Byzantinian (Roman) law acknowledged a slave girl's right of chastity and prescribed death for the violator. Allah has obviously adopted the same approach, which is further supported by the following verses:

"Marry the spouseless among you, and your slaves and handmaidens that are righteous; If they are poor, God will enrich them of His bounty .... And let those who find not the means to marry, be abstinent till God enriches them of His bounty. Those your right hands own who seek emancipation, contract with the accordingly ….And constrain not your slave-girls to prostitution, if they desire to live in chastity " (Light, 24: 30)

The above verses clearly lay down that a man must observe abstinence until he can afford to get married. Thus forcing a slave-girl to coitus amounts to prostitution, which is a sin and carries a heavy penalty.

So far so good…… then the Koran contradicts itself suddenly:

"O. Prophet, We (God) have made lawful for thee thy wives whom thou hast given their wages and what thy right hand owns, spoil of war that God has given thee ... (The Confederates, 45)

On the one hand, the Koran forbids sex outside marriage but on the other, it authrorises sexual intercourse with slave-girls despite having declared it unlawful! Why this glaring inconsistency? The reason is also given in these verses: here slave-girls (what the right hand owns) are mentioned with the spoils of wars. Owing to scarcity of women, the Arabs had developed enormous appetites. Allah allowed the seduction of slave-girls as an inducement to Jehad, which sought to attract the pagan Arab to Islam through a carnal bait. Again as a war booty and its use was declared "lawful and good" by the Koran, concubinage, that is, seducing slave-girls on a regular basis, became lawful and pious act in Islam. Further, one must also remember that the Prophet himself came to own slave-girls as his share of booty in battles against the Jews. For example, pretty Saffyia, the Prophet's share of booty, embraced Islam and became his wife as a freewoman but beautiful Rihana refused to accept Islam, and therefore had no choice but to act as Prophet's concubine: her legal status was that of a household chattel. Therefore, she could not ignore the sexual demands of her master.

As sex-potential of concubinage became evident in relation to gaining and retaining converts, the Prophet extended its scope beyond the spoils of a battlefield. He made it lawful to purchase women for concubinage and accept them as gifts of goodwill. For this purpose, he encouraged concubinage as an institution:

"So not marry idolatresses, until they believe; a believing slave-girl is better than an idolatress, though you may admire her……." (The Cow 2: 220)

It does not imply that a (Muslim) man must marry a believing slave-girl; he is free to have intercourse with her. It simply enlarges the institution of concubinage by forbidding marriage with the unbelieving women; they are considered good enough for sexual intercourse but not suitable for the holy bond of matrimony. What kind of morality is this?

Muhammad, being the Behavioural Model for all beings by Allah's decree, set the example of concubinage. He accepted Marya, (Mary) the beautiful Coptic girl, as a gift from the ruler of Egypt. As she did not embrace Islam, she remained the Christian concubine of the Prophet and bore him a son, Ibrahim, who died in his infancy.

As already mentioned, the Prophet had made a rota system which required of him, as a rule, to spend a particular night with a certain wife. Since a concubine has no spousal rights, *Marya (a Christian) and Rihana (a Jewess) did not come within this rule of regularity, but had to be available whenever the Prophet desired them.

It happened that when it was the turn of Aisha (the Prophet's youngest wife), Hafsah (another wife of the Prophet, who was Umar's daughter ) found him in her own room with Marya. Since it was a serious breach of the rota system, the Prophet realising its consequences, pleaded with Hafsah not to tell Aisha. He vowed to her that as a compensation for the act, he would have nothing more to do with Marya. But the fiery Hafsah, who could not swallow the fact because it had happened in her bed, gave the secret away.1*

Marya was a Christian slave-girl of Egyptian origin but all Prophet's wives (except Saffyia) were proud of their Koresh descent, and looked down upon her. This incident bore heavily upon them because:

1. He broke faith with Aisha: instead of sleeping with her according to the rota system, he honoured Marya.

2. Hafsah was completely upset by the fact that he used her room and bed for the purpose.

It led to a mighty row between the Prophet and his wives. To gauge the magnitude of domestic discord, one must pay attention to the following verse:

"Wives of the Prophet, you are not as other women. If you are god-fearing, be not abject in your speech …. but speak honourable words."
(The Confederates, 33: 30)

Abject speech cannot be anything but abusive language. This is what the Prophet is complaining about here. As the situation worsened, he threatened to divorce them and declared "Ila," that is, a period of separation, before finalising the act of divorce. The details of this episode are to be found in Chapter DLXXXI of Sahih Muslim. It ought to be stated that both Abu Bakr (the father of Aisha) and Umar (the father of Hafsah) spanked their daughters to make them obey the Prophet, their son-in--law!

I must add emphatically that concubinage was not Muhammad's invention. It had existed in the East long before his advent. Being a Prophet of God, who had come to enforce higher morality through personal example as the Behavioural Model, he should have abolished it. I must state categorically that concubinage is an evil institution, and those who practiced it, must have known it. This is an abomination because:

1. A concubine is the property of her master; he can sell her and flog her.

2. She is a forced mistress and cannot withhold herself from the master whenever he wants her. Nor could she walk out on him because the law concerning the fugitive slaves was very severe, indeed.

3. Sleeping with a concubine amounts to rape because she is forced, and not a consenting party.

4. Concubinage is a crime against womanhood: it abolishes all her (human) rights of freedom, inheritance and dignity.

5. Concubinage means that woman has no purpose but to please man.

Since modern scientific advances have hit at the roots of Scriptural faith sustained through brainwashing, the Muslim scholars have come out with very large nets of misinterpretation to keep the faithful in an eternal hypnotic state. They claim that a concubine in an Islamic household is not a woman kept for sexual purposes against her will, but is secondary wife.

This is very misleading because:

1. The Prophet Muhammad did not marry Rihana or Marya: both these women were his slaves, and he slept with them whenever he liked.

Allah may sanction sexual intercourse with a helpless woman "possessed by the right hand" of a Muslim, but morality does not permit such an atrocity. How would the Muslims feel if their daughters, sisters, mothers and wives were seized by the non-Muslims and used for immoral purposes ?

2. There is no such thing as a secondary wife even in a polygamous Muslim household:

" Marry such women as seem good to you, two, three, four; but if you fear you will not be equitable, then only one or what your right hand owns." ( Women, 1 )

This verse decisively states:

a. Polygamy is allowed on the strict condition that a husband treats all his wives equally and fairly. Hence equity is the basic principle for having more than one wife at the same time. If a man cannot be equitable to all his wives, he loses the right to polygamy.

One should remember that marriage is a civil contract, which is brought about by a nuptial ceremony recognised by custom and law. The rule of equity demands that a man must go through a matrimonial ritual with a concubine, too. If he does, she becomes a wife entitled to equality, and thus cannot be treated as a "secondary wife."

Either she is a wife or she is not.

b. The verse quoted above clearly states that if a man fears that he will not be equitable to all his wives, then he must have only one wife but can also possess concubines.

This fact demonstrates beyond a shadow of doubt that a concubine is not a wife but a woman kept for domestic duties and carnal pleasure.

c. There are several hadiths which show the distinction between a wife and a concubine:

Abd b. Zamaa said to the Prophet: "He is my brother and the son of my father's concubine." ( Mishkat, page 115 )
Here the distinction between a wife and concubine is maintained deliberately.

The Prophet said: "The concubine, who bore her master a child, would become free after his death." ( Ibn-e-Majah, p 96 )

Jabir narrated: "We used to sell our concubines, who bore us children but the Prophet expressed no revulsion." (Ibn-e-Majah, p 96)

"A man seduced the slave-girl of his wife but the Prophet did not subject him to any punishment." (Ibn-e-Majah, p 107)

Even punishments are different for a wife and a concubine: If a wife commits adultery, she is liable to death by stoning but a concubine must be flogged even if she does it four times; thereafter, the master must sell her even if he can get only a piece of string for her.

However, there is a very strange twist to the whole affair of concubinage when it comes to the children she has borne to her Muslim master: they are treated as legitimate even if the concubine is a Kafir i.e., non-Muslim! How surprising it is that in sexual pleasures the difference between belief and unbelief disappears! One wonders about the morality and legality of the Islamic doctrine.

It should be noted that the Prophet himself had a son, called Ibrahim, from his concubine, Marya!

Concubinage became rife in the world of Islam because the Muslims believe that the Prophet is the Behavioural Model for them, and entry into paradise is not possible until he is imitated sincerely in all aspects of life including eating, drinking, walking, talking, and so on. In fact a person is not a true believer unless he acts like the Prophet and looks like him. This attitude is based on the following Koranic verse:

"You have had a good example in God's Messenger for whosoever hopes for God and the Last Day …" (The Confederates, 33: 20)

The truth is that the Prophet cannot be a Model of Behaviour for people because he was above his own laws. If he is not willing to practice his own rules of conduct, how can he expect other people to follow them? Here are a few examples, out of many such episodes:

1. A Muslim is not allowed more than four wives at the same time but the Prophet had no fewer than nine wives simultaneously.

2. A Muslim is permitted more than one wife on the strict condition of equity, but when the Prophet failed to do so, Allah did not tell him to keep one wife only; instead He gave him dispensation from the fundamental law of polygamy:

''You can suspend any of your wives at will, and receive any one of them as you will: and whomsoever you desire of those whom you have set aside, it is no sin for you (The Confederates, 33: 50)

If this is not enough, look at the following verses:

"..... and any woman believer, if she give herself to the Prophet and if the Prophet desires to take her in marriage, for thee exclusively, apart from the believers." (The Confederates, 45 )

Fancy Allah making exclusive law of sexual enjoyment for the Prophet to the total exclusion of the believers. It is this exclusivity which negates the Prophet's claim as the Behavioural Model for his followers. Humans can follow in the footprints of a human but cannot measure up to the conduct of someone who occasionaly gives the impression of being a man but usually claims the privileges of God.

In view of these facts, one wonders if it is not befitting to regard Islam as Muhammadanism!

The faithfuls, who are usually brainwashed, lose the ability to be rational. Despite what I have said above, the followers of Islam set up huge harems to honour the Prophet as the Behavioural Model. I shall explain this point in the next chapter with reference to India. Next Page

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