How do I convince someone that Islam has done justice to the woman?

SHAFAQNA – Consultation…

How do I convince someone that Islam has done justice to the woman, at a time it made wearing the veil incumbent on her for the sake of the man, while it gave the man himself the right to divorce her whenever he wants, while if she wants divorce, she would not have it unless the husband says so?

Moreover, with regards to inheritance, Allah says in His Glorious Book: “for the male, what is equal to the share of two females” (04:11). Moreover, the woman does not have the right to go out without her husband’s permission, while he enjoys full freedom, not to mention that the man has the right to have four wives at the same time. How can a non-Muslim be convinced of such thoughts, knowing that I, a Muslim woman, wonder about such contradictions?


Allah has rendered polygamy allowed for man, and what Allah legislates is the rightful acts that conform to the interests of the human beings. So, Allah allowed polygamy to prevent illegitimate relations and limit such relations to marriages, yet He restricted it to the condition of justice, for He said: “But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one” (4:3).

Moreover, Allah gave the man the right to divorce, for there is a supreme interest in having a final reference in the marital relations, and the man is the one more suitable to such a position, considering the nature of both the man and the woman, for each of them has a certain responsibility in life. The man is the one responsible of working and sustaining his family financially, and consequently facing the affairs of life, which makes him more capable of running the marital house. However, this does not mean that he is allowed to be tyrannical and oppressive, for the man is not allowed to abuse this right. Moreover, the woman can set a condition in the marriage contract that prevents the man from acting oppressively, which is to have the right to be his proxy in divorcing herself and so on. Once she is granted that, she can embark on marriage whilst knowing the obligations and duties of each of them.

As for the difference in the share of the inheritance, it is due to the responsibility the husband upholds in terms of sustaining his family financially. So, when he sets on getting married, he has to pay for all the requirements and facilities of the house, the dowry and daily provisions. That is why he was given twice the share of the woman. This is but to establish justice, and justice does not necessarily mean equality; rather, it is to give the owner of a right what is due to him, according to the responsibility of each.

As for the issue of going out, it is permissible unless it contradicts the husband’s marital right. Moreover, the husband does not have the right to prevent his wife from going out, knowing that they should live in understanding and harmony, for this should be the basis of marital relations: “and He placed between you affection and mercy” (30:21), and: “And live with them in kindness” (4:19).

With regards to the issue of the veil, it is not for the sake of the man in the sense that legislations are set with only the benefit of the man in mind. Rather, it is legislated for the best interest of the man and the woman and the society as whole, for [the woman] going out wearing makeup and ornaments will have negative impacts on the society, while the veil provides chastity and enables her to be a member of the society as a human being and not as a female; as a human with all the knowledge, potentials and scientific capabilities she enjoys, and not a female figure that is subjected to the man’s desires and whims.

Reciprocally, the woman not wearing the veil is what renders her subjected to the man, and not the veil, whose main function is to preserve her dignity, chastity, humanity and value. Allah has legislated what is rightful to His servants, and the servants, in their turn, ought to fulfill the right of Allah by obeying and submitting to Him, for even the prophets submitted themselves to Allah, and they were the most fearing and most pious and they were the ones who reached the utmost level of thought, awareness, knowledge and reason.

Sent by: ….

Response by: Sheikh Hussein Abdullah, a religious scholar and researcher, and a member of the Juristic Office of the Institution of the late Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)

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