This past week, Malaysia banned an Islamic sex manual put out by the controversial group Obedient Wives Club, whose statements have caused a stir. The Obedient Wives Club maintains that wives meet only 10% of their husbands’ needs and thus this manual instructs Muslim women to be subservient and obedient to their husbands sexually. Furthermore, they maintain that it is the wife’s job to prevent her husband from being adulterous by acting like a prostitute. Finally, they encourage polygamy. Although the manual does not contain any pictures, it is very descriptive. Moreover, the manual suggests that it is acceptable for polygamous men to have sex with all their wives at the same time. Continue reading
A recent radio program on Asian Network Reports Special focused on the increase of polygamy among British Muslim men. Although bigamy is banned in the United Kingdom, according to Islamic Sharia Council, there has been a noticeable increase in the rates of polygamous marriages in the last 15 years. Continue reading
Among the many stereotypes about Islam is that it is oppressive towards women and that it is a rigid and unchanging faith. Often the hijab and covering in general are mentioned as examples of this oppressiveness. Another example that is used to demonstrate the faith’s attitude towards women is verse 34 in chapter 4 of the Qur’an:
Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds (and last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance): for Allah is Most High, Great (above you all). (34)
For many, this verse permits men to hit their wives. While it is true one cannot dismiss this verse and must address the issues that it raises, it is equally important to recognize that throughout the history of Islam, discussion, dialogue, and diversity of opinion and interpretation have all be been prominent features of the worldwide Muslim community. This verse, specifically, has sparked and continues to generate discussions in regards to how men should treat women. Continue reading
Last month, in Tajikistan, religious authorities banned the use of text messages by Muslim men to divorce their wives. To those not familiar with the practice, this may seem an odd thing to worry about. But divorce by text message has become a problem in Tajikistan because an increasing number of migrant workers there are not returning to their countries of origin and so need a remote method to divorce their wives from home. Text messaging specifically impacts Muslims seeking a divorce because they are being used to issue the “triple talaq,” the process by which a husband ends a marriage by stating his desire for divorce three times.
In 2008, Nujood Ali’s story got headlines around the world. The ten-year-old girl had escaped from her husband, to whom she had been forcibly married, and went to the courthouse and asked for a divorce. Ali was eventually granted her divorce. However, the court asked Ali to pay compensation to her husband because she was the one initiating the divorce.
Under Islamic law, whoever initiates a divorce carries the consequence. So, if the husband initiates a divorce he cannot take back the dowry and must complete payment of it if he has not paid it in full. If the wife initiates divorce, she must return the dowry to the husband. Unfortunately, the court did not seem to recognize the circumstances of the situation and applied the traditional rules for divorce by asking Nujood to pay. Nujood’s lawyer, though, was able to raise the money.
After her divorce, Ali received fame for her story and was even named one of Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year. Ali’s story called attention to the practice of child marriages in Yemen. Continue reading
Today Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders will air the next program in our Inside Islam Radio Series “Love and Dating in the Muslim World: True Stories of Falling in Love.” The show airs live at 3:00 pm CST today and is re-broadcast at 9:00 pm. To find out how to listen, click here to visit the radio show page for this program. Also on the page, you will find bios for our guests and full audio for the pre-recorded interviews with local Muslims on their stories of love, dating, and marriage.
The topics range from dating in Turkey, hiding relationships from parents, eight-year courtships, the engagement contract, an impromptu proposal in a roadside ditch, modernizing traditions and working wives who are separated from their husbands in school, and even the story of a Catholic convert marrying a Somali woman. All of these are available for you to listen here on Inside Islam: Dialogue and Debates. What is your marriage or dating story and will you share it with us? Please leave a comment below or send us an email with your response.