Women in Islam

Women in Islam

The complex relationship between women and Islam is defined by both Islamic texts and the history and culture of the Muslim world.Haddad and Esposito, pp. xii] "Sharia" (Islamic law) provides for differences between women's and men's roles, rights, and obligations. Muslim-majority countries give women varying degrees of rights with regards to marriage, divorce, civil rights, legal status, dress code, and education.

Even where these differences are acknowledged, scholars and other commentators vary as to whether they are just and whether they are a correct interpretation of religious imperatives. Conservatives argue that differences between men and women are due to different status and responsibilities, [Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i-Qur'an, 2nd ed., vol. 2, (Lahore: Faran Foundation, 1986), p. 278] while liberal Muslims, Muslim feminists, and others argue in favor of more progressive interpretations.

ources of influence

Islamic law is the product of Quranic guidelines, as understood by Islamic jurisprudence ("fiqh"), as well as of the interpretations derived from the traditions of Muhammad ("hadith"), which were also selected by a number of historical Islamic scholars. These interpretations and their application were shaped by the historical context of the Muslim world. Furthermore, whether or not Muslims tended to follow these rules was dependent on the prevailing culture, which differed between social classes, local conditions, and regions.Fact|date=June 2007 Quranic reforms, which in many regions improved the position of women relative to their situation prior to Islam, have often been undermined by the reassertion of tribal customs, or the use of such customs under the name of Islamic law. The spirit of the Quranic reforms may also have been modified by historical or cultural interpretations, reaffirming male dominance and perpetuating gender inequality.Fact|date=June 2007

Early historical background

To evaluate the effect of Islam on the status of women, many writers have discussed the status of women in pre-Islamic Arabia, and their findings have been mixed.Turner, Brian S. "Islam" (ISBN 041512347X). Routledge: 2003, [http://books.google.com/books?id=zOAo9VvT4FEC&pg=PA77&dq=%22pre-islamic+arabia%22+women&sig=IiMFAyu6P3-rNii4QQmN_q3mXQQ#PPA78,M1 p77-78] .] Some writers have argued that women before Islam were more liberated drawing most often on the first marriage of Muhammad and that of Muhammad's parents, but also on other points such as worship of female idols at Mecca. Other writers, on the contrary, have argued that women's status in pre-Islamic Arabia was poor, citing practices of female infanticide, unlimited polygyny, patrilineal marriage and others.Valentine M. Moghadam analyzes the situation of women from a marxist theoretical framework and argues that the position of women are mostly influenced by the extent of urbanization, industrialization, poletarization and political ploys of the state managers rather than culture or intrinsic properties of Islam; Islam, Moghadam argues, is neither more nor less patriarchal than other world religions especially Hinduism, Christianity and Judaism. [Unni Wikan, review of "Modernizing Women: Gender and Social Change in the Middle East", American Ethnologist, Vol. 22, No. 4 (Nov., 1995), pp. 1078-1079] [Valentine M. Moghadam. "Modernizing Women: Gender and Social Change in the Middle East". (Lynne Rienner Publishers, USA, 1993) p. 5]

Islam changed the structure of Arab society and to a large degree unified the people, reforming and standardizing gender roles throughout the region. According to Islamic scholar William Montgomery Watt, Islam improved the status of women by "instituting rights of property ownership, inheritance, education and divorce." [Maan, Bashir and Alastair McIntosh. [http://www.alastairmcintosh.com/articles/2000_watt.htm "'The whole house of Islam, and we Christians with them...': An interview with 'the Last Orientalist' - the Rev Prof William Montgomery Watt."] Internet version from www.alastairmcintosh.com. Also published in The Coracle, the Iona Community, summer 2000, issue 3:51, pp. 8-11.]

Some have argued that in terms of women's rights, women generally had fewer legal restrictions under Islamic law than they did under certain Western legal systems until the 20th century. For example, restrictions on the legal capacity of married women under French law were not removed until 1965.citation|title=Islamic Criminal Justice|first=Gamal M.|last=Badr|journal=The American Journal of Comparative Law|volume=32|issue=1|date=Winter 1984|pages=167-169 [167-8] ] However this argument is opposed by thoseWho|date=June 2008 who state that the consensus of Islamic Jurists has consistently held that in many cases a woman's evidence has half the value of that of a man, and that in some cases it is not admissible. Fact|date=June 2008 To clarify, in matters of business, two men's testimony is required, and where there is only one man, two women and one man are required. In matters of family, marriage, divorce and such, however, one woman's evidence is enough to prove a case.

Early reforms under Islam

During the early reforms under Islam in the 7th century, reforms in women's rights affected marriage, divorce and inheritance.Esposito (2005) p. 79 ] Women were not accorded with such legal status in other cultures, including the West, until centuries later. [Jones, Lindsay. p.6224] "The Oxford Dictionary of Islam" states that the general improvement of the status of Arab women included prohibition of female infanticide and recognizing women's full personhood.Esposito (2004), p. 339] "The dowry, previously regarded as a bride-price paid to the father, became a nuptial gift retained by the wife as part of her personal property."Khadduri (1978)] Under Islamic law, marriage was no longer viewed as a "status" but rather as a "contract", in which the woman's consent was imperative. "Women were given inheritance rights in a patriarchal society that had previously restricted inheritance to male relatives." Annemarie Schimmel states that "compared to the pre-Islamic position of women, Islamic legislation meant an enormous progress; the woman has the right, at least according to the letter of the law, to administer the wealth she has brought into the family or has earned by her own work."Schimmel (1992) p.65] William Montgomery Watt states that Muhammad, in the historical context of his time, can be seen as a figure who testified on behalf of women’s rights and improved things considerably. Watt explains: "At the time Islam began, the conditions of women were terrible - they had no right to own property, were supposed to be the property of the man, and if the man died everything went to his sons." Muhammad, however, by "instituting rights of property ownership, inheritance, education and divorce, gave women certain basic safeguards." [ Maan, McIntosh (1999)] Haddad and Esposito state that "Muhammad granted women rights and privileges in the sphere of family life, marriage, education, and economic endeavors, rights that help improve women's status in society." [Haddad, Esposito (1998) p.163 ]

Female education

Women played an important role in the foundations of many Islamic educational institutions, such as Fatima al-Fihri's founding of the University of Al Karaouine in 859. This continued through to the Ayyubid dynasty in the 12th and 13th centuries, when 160 mosques and madrasahs were established in Damascus, 26 of which were funded by women through the Waqf (charitable trust or trust law) system. Half of all the royal patrons for these institutions were also women. [citation|title=Daily Life in the Medieval Islamic World|first=James E.|last=Lindsay|publisher=Greenwood Publishing Group|year=2005|isbn=0313322708|page=197]

According to the Sunni scholar Ibn Asakir in the 12th century, there were opportunities for female education in the medieval Islamic world, writing that women could study, earn "ijazahs" (academic degrees), and qualify as scholars and teachers. This was especially the case for learned and scholarly families, who wanted to ensure the highest possible education for both their sons and daughters. [citation|title=Daily Life in the Medieval Islamic World|first=James E.|last=Lindsay|publisher=Greenwood Publishing Group|year=2005|isbn=0313322708|pages=196 & 198] Ibn Asakir had himself studied under 80 different female teachers in his time. Female education in the Islamic world was inspired by Muhammad's wives: Khadijah, a successful businesswoman, and Aisha, a renowned hadith scholar and military leader. According to a hadith attributed to Muhammad, he praised the women of Medina because of their desire for religious knowledge: [citation|title=Daily Life in the Medieval Islamic World|first=James E.|last=Lindsay|publisher=Greenwood Publishing Group|year=2005|isbn=0313322708|pages=196]

While it was not common for women to enroll as students in formal classes, it was common for women to attend informal lectures and study sessions at mosques, madrasahs and other public places. While there were no legal restrictions on female education, some men did not approve of this practice, such as Muhammad ibn al-Hajj (d. 1336) who was appalled at the behaviour of some women who informally audited lectures in his time:citation|title=Daily Life in the Medieval Islamic World|first=James E.|last=Lindsay|publisher=Greenwood Publishing Group|year=2005|isbn=0313322708|page=198]

Female employment

The labor force in the Caliphate were employed from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, while both men and women were involved in diverse occupations and economic activities. [Maya Shatzmiller, pp. 6–7.] Women were employed in a wide range of commercial activities and diverse occupationsMaya Shatzmiller (1994), "Labour in the Medieval Islamic World", Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004098968, pp. 400–1] in the primary sector (as farmers for example), secondary sector (as construction workers, dyers, spinners, etc.) and tertiary sector (as investors, doctors, nurses, presidents of guilds, brokers, peddlers, lenders, scholars, etc.). [Maya Shatzmiller, pp. 350–62.] Muslim women also held a monopoly over certain branches of the textile industry, the largest and most specialized and market-oriented industry at the time, in occupations such as spinning, dying, and embroidery. In comparison, female property rights and wage labour were relatively uncommon in Europe until the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries. [Maya Shatzmiller (1997), "Women and Wage Labour in the Medieval Islamic West: Legal Issues in an Economic Context", "Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient" 40 (2), pp. 174–206 [175–7] .]

Gender roles

In Islam, relations between the sexes are governed by the principle of complementarity.Carla Makhlouf Obermeyer. "Islam, Women, and Politics: The demography of Arab countries", "Population and Development Review", Vol. 18, No. 1. (Mar., 1992), pp. 33-60] [Haddad, Moore, and Smith, [http://books.google.com/books?id=7A77E1aBrucC&pg=PA155&dq=islam+women+complementarity+equality&sig=TOsHeQbGGtgLRIG92tZRuFUop4c p155] .]

In the family unit, Islam honours mothers very highly.

"Narrated Abu Huraira: A man came to Allah's Messenger and said, "O Allah's Messenger! Who is more entitled to be treated with the best companionship by me?" The Prophet said, "Your mother." The man said. "Who is next?" The Prophet said, "Your mother." The man further said, "Who is next?" The Prophet said, "Your mother." The man asked for the fourth time, "Who is next?"The Prophet said, "Your father." [Sahih Bukhari 8.73.2] [http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/073.sbt.html#008.073.002]

As men are blessed with more strength, they're commanded to support and take care of women; where as women safeguards.

"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..." cite quran|4|34

Still even though men are given more strength, kindness to women are commanded. It is forbidden to take women against their will.

"O you who believe! It is not lawful for you that you should take women as heritage against (their) will, and do not straiten them in order that you may take part of what you have given them, unless they are guilty of manifest indecency; And treat them kindly; then if you hate them, it may be that you dislike a thing while Allah has placed abundant good in it."cite quran|4|19

"...O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah's trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste..." [Prophet's Last Sermon] [http://www.islamicity.com/mosque/lastserm.HTM]

In many Islamic societies, there is a division of roles creating a woman’s space in the private sphere of the home and a man’s in the public sphere.Hessini.]

ex segregation

Islam discourages social interaction between unmarried or unrelated men and women when they are alone, but not all interaction between men and women. This is shown in the example of Khadijah, a rich, twice widowed businesswoman who employed Muhammad and met with him to conduct trade before they were married, and in the example set by his other wives, who taught and counseled the men and women of Medina.

In strict Islamic countries, such as Saudi Arabia, sex segregation has been or is strictly enforced. The Taliban treatment of women in Afghanistan is an extreme example of this. Even in countries where the sexes mingle socially, they generally remain segregated within the mosque (see Women in religious life below).

Financial matters

Islam gives women the right to own, which entitles them to have personal possessions. While women have no financial obligations like men, some of their financial rights are less. Women's share of inheritance, as outlined in the Qur'an, is typically less than that of men, but in some cases, women get more, depending on their placement in the family, and the existence of other heirs. Women's right to work is also disputed.

According to Bernard Lewis, while Islam sanctions a social inequality between man and woman, Muslim women have historically had property rights unparalleled in the modern West until comparatively recently. [Lewis, "What Went Wrong?" 2002, pages 82-83]

In general, as Valentine M. Moghadam argues, "much of the economic modernization [of women] was based on income from oil, and some came from foreign investment and capital inflows. Economic development alters the status of women in different ways across nations and classes" [Valentine M. Moghadam. "Modernizing Women: Gender and Social Change in the Middle East". (Rienner Publishers, USA, 1993)] . This is a proof that since always the status of women was influenced by the economy of the region and its development.

Financial obligations

A woman, when compared with her husband, is far less burdened with any claims on her possessions. Her possessions before marriage do not transfer to her husband and she is encouraged to keep her maiden name. She has no obligation to spend on her family out of such properties or out of her income after marriage. A woman also receives a "mahr" (dowry), which is given to her by her husband at the time of marriage.Jamal Badawi, " [http://www.jannah.org/sisters/badawistatus.pdf The status of women in Islam] "] Women are not required to provide financial support for their family under Sharia Law. Men as with women also have the right to be supported financially by their families or State. [Fathi, Asghar. "Women and the Family in Iran." Brill (1985), [http://books.google.com/books?id=Oqk3AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA25&sig=kcn2S0vgoYOpe6-6sKhsCAE7mmo p25] . ISBN 9004074260.]


In Islam, women are entitled the right of inheritance,Quran|4|7 but often a woman's share of inheritance is less than that of a man's. In general circumstances, Islam allows females half the inheritance share available to males who have the same degree of relation to the deceased. [For example, where the deceased has both male and female children, a son's share is double that of a daughter's.Quran|4|11 Additionally, the sister of a childless man inherits half of his property upon his death, while a brother of a childless woman inherits all of her property.Fact|date=September 2007] This difference derives from men's obligation to financially aid his parents, wife, children, and sisters, while the women's share would be entirely at her own disposal.

In most Muslim nations, the law of the state concerning inheritance is in accordance with this law.Fact|date=June 2007

The Qur'an guarantees women the right to inherit a proportion of their father's estate. A widowed woman inherits a portion of her husband's estate.

Scholars argue under Islamic law, why is a woman's share of the inherited wealth only half that of a man?

Koran contains specific and detailed guidance regarding the division of the inherited wealth, among the rightful beneficiaries.

The Quraanic verses that contain guidance regarding inheritance are:

Surah Baqarah, chapter 2 verse 180 Surah Baqarah, chapter 2 verse 240 Surah Nisa, chapter 4 verse 7-9 Surah Nisa, chapter 4 verse 19 Surah Nisa, chapter 4 verse 33 and Surah Maidah, chapter 5 verse 106-108

There are three verses in the Koran that broadly describe the share of close relatives i.e. Surah Nisah chapter 4 verses 11, 12 and 176.

The translation of these verses are as follows:

"Allah (swt) (thus) directs you as regards your children's (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females, if only daughters, two or more, their share is two-thirds of the inheritance; If only one, her share is a half. For parents, a sixth share of the inheritance to each, if the deceased left children; If no children, and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third; if the deceased left brothers (or sisters) the mother has a sixth. (The distribution in all cases is) after the payment of legacies and debts. Ye know not whether your parents or your children are nearest to you in benefit. These are settled portions ordained by Allah; and Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. In what your wives leave, your share is half. If they leave no child; but if they leave a child, ye get a fourth; after payment of legacies and debts. In what ye leave, their share is a fourth, if ye leave no child; but if ye leave a child, they get an eight; after payment of legacies and debts. If the man or woman whose inheritance is in question, has left neither ascendants nor descendants, but has left a brother or a sister, each one of the two gets a sixth; but if more than two, they share in a third; after payment of legacies and debts; so that no loss is caused (to anyone). Thus it is ordained by Allah; and Allah is All-Knowing Most Forbearing" [Al-Qur'an 4:11-12]

"They ask thee for a legal decision. Say: Allah directs (them) about those who leave no descendants or ascendants as heirs. If it is a man that dies, leaving a sister but no child, she shall have half the inheritance. If (such a deceased was) a woman who left no child, Her brother takes her inheritance. If there are two sisters, they shall have two thirds of the inheritance (between them). If there are brothers and sisters, (they share), the male having twice the share of the female. Thus doth Allah (swt) makes clear to you (His knowledge of all things). [Al-Qur'an 4:176]

In most of the cases, a woman inherits half of what her male counterpart inherits. However, this is not always the case. In case the deceased has left no ascendant or descendent but has left the uterine brother and sister, each of the two inherit one sixth. If the deceased has left children, both the parents that is mother and father get an equal share and inherit one sixth each. In certain cases, a woman can also inherit a share that is double that of the male. If the deceased is a woman who has left no children, brothers or sisters and is survived only by her husband, mother and father, the husband inherits half the property while the mother inherits one third and the father the remaining one sixth. In this particular case, the mother inherits a share that is double that of the father.

It is true that as a general rule, in most cases, the female inherits a share that is half that of the male. For instance in the following cases:

daughter inherits half of what the son inherits, wife inherits 1/8th and husband 1/4th if the deceased has no children. Wife inherits 1/4th and husband 1/2 if the deceased has children If the deceased has no ascendant or descendent, the sister inherits a share that is half that of the brother.

In Islam a woman are required by Sharia to financially support their blood-related relatives. Before a woman is married it is the duty of the father to look after the lodging, boarding, clothing and other financial requirements of the woman. After she is married it is the duty of the husband.

Islam holds the men and women financially responsible for fulfilling the needs of his family.

The men get double the share of the inheritance. For example, if a man dies leaving about Rs. One Hundred and Fifty Thousand, for the children (i.e one son and one daughter) the son inherits One Hundred Thousand dollars and the daughter only Fifty Thousand dollars. Out of the one hundred thousand which the son inherits, as his duty towards his family, he may have to spend on them almost the entire amount or say about eighty thousand and thus he has a small percentage of inheritance, say about twenty thousand, left for himself. On the other hand, the daughter, who inherits fifty thousand is bound to spend the money for his blood-related family members.


Women are allowed to work in Islam, subject to certain conditions, and even recommended to do so should they be in financial need.Al Qaradawy, Yusuf. " [http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Books/Q_WI/default.htm The Status Of Women In Islam] ". Chapter: The Woman as Member of the Society: When is a woman allowed to work? ] This is supported by the Quranic example of two female shepherds (quran-usc|28|23). Islam recognizes that the society needs women to work for the sake of development. In general, women's right to work is subject to certain conditions:
*The work should not require the woman to violate Islamic law (e.g., serving alcohol), and be mindful of the woman's safety.
*If the work requires the woman to leave her home, she must maintain her modesty.
*Her work should not affect more important commitments, such as those towards her family.

Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the Muslim community to organize work for women, so that she can do so in a Muslim atmosphere, where her rights are respected.

However, the employment of women varies over fields in Islamic law. Whereas women may seek medical treatment from men, it is preferred that they do so from female physicians. It is also preferred that female schools, colleges, sports centers and ministries be staffed by women rather than men. On the contrary, there are disagreements between Islamic schools of thought about whether women should be able to hold the position of judge in a court. Shafi`ites claim that women may hold no judicial office, while Hanafites allow women to act as judges in civil cases only, not criminal ones. These interpretations are based on the above quoted Medinan "sura" (verse) quran-usc|4|34.Haddad/Esposito pg.41]

Even when women have the right to work and are educated, women's job opportunities may in practice be unequal to those of men. In Egypt for example, women have limited opportunities to work in the private sector because women are still expected to put their role in the family first, which causes men to be seen as more reliable in the long term. [Assaad, R., 2003, Gender & Employment: Egypt in Comparative Perspective, in Doumato, E.A. & Posusney, M.P., "Women and Globalization in the Arab Middle East: Gender, Economy and Society", Colorado, Lynne Rienner Publishers ] Patterns of women's employment vary throughout the Muslim world: as of 2005, 16% of Pakistani women were "economically active" (either employed, or unemployed but available to furnish labor), whereas 52% of Indonesian women were. [ [http://www.prb.org/pdf05/WomenOfOurWorld2005.pdf Women of Our World 2005 ] ]

Legal and criminal matters

The status of women's testimony in Islam is disputed. Some jurists have held that certain types of testimony by women will not be accepted.. In other cases, the testimony of two women can equal that of one man ( although Quran says 2 women and 2 male are needed but if a male cannot find another male he may carry this testimony out himself).Quran|2|282 [According to Averroes, a 12th-century Maliki, "There is a general consensus among the jurists that in financial transactions a case stands proven by the testimony of a just man and two women." (Ibn Rushd. "Bidayatu’l-Mujtahid", 1st ed., vol. 4, (Beirut: Daru’l-Ma‘rifah, 1997), p. 311).] The reason for this disparity has been explained in various manners, including women's lack of intelligence, [Bukhari|3|48|826] women's temperament and sphere of interest,Ghamidi. "Burhan:" [http://www.renaissance.com.pk/septrefl12y2.html The Law of Evidence] . Al-Mawrid] and sparing women from the burden of testifying. [" [http://www.renaissance.com.pk/Julrefl12y4.html Half of a Man!] ", Renaissance - Monthly Islamic Journal, 14(7), July 2004] In other areas, women's testimony may be accepted on an equal basis with men's.Ibn Rushd. "Bidayatu’l-Mujtahid", 1st ed., vol. 4, (Beirut: Daru’l-Ma‘rifah, 1997), p. 311.] [Azeem, Sherif Abdel. [http://www.twf.org/Library/WomenICJ.html#witness "Women In Islam Versus Women In The Judaeo-Christian Tradition."] World Assembly of Muslim Youth (1995).]

Commentators on the status of women in Islam have often focused on disparities in "diyyat", the fines paid by killers to victims' next of kin after either intentional or unintentional homicide,Ghamidi, "Mizan", [http://www.renaissance.com.pk/septfeart2y2.html The Penal Law of Islam] .] between men and women. Diyya has existed in Arabia since pre-Islamic times. [El Fadl, [http://books.google.com/books?id=rSW3swT9mjsC&pg=PA86&dq=diyya+OR+%22blood+money%22+%22pre-islamic%22&as_brr=3&sig=51-4PQYXBswY_HPBgW0rAl7z2yg p86] .] Hallaq, Wael B. "A History of Islamic Legal Theories: An Introduction to Sunni Usul Al-fiqh." Cambridge UniversityPress (1997), [http://books.google.com/books?id=V32wPKGhYiEC&pg=PA7&dq=diyya+OR+%22blood+money%22+%22pre-islamic%22&as_brr=3&sig=LqHp9FfXDa40wRnEtX2iTfmgvy4#PPA7,M1 p7] . ISBN 0521599865.] While the practice of diyya was affirmed by Muhammed, Islam does not prescribe any specific amount for "diyyat" nor does it require discrimination between men and women; the Qur'an has left open its quantity, nature, and other related affairs to be defined by social custom and tradition. Traditionally, however, "diyya" for a woman is half that of a man; [Faruq, Sherif. "A guide to the contents of the Qur'an." Garnet & Ithaca Press [http://books.google.com/books?id=_1nfZbHHwd4C&pg=PA212&dq=diyya+OR+diyyat+women+half&sig=IHK4SmafyBljwrc2s2jdC_fms5g p212] . ISBN 1859640451.] [Barak, Gregg. "Crime and Crime Control: A Global View." Greenwood Press (2000), [http://books.google.com/books?id=64na7bF39HQC&pg=PA99&dq=diyya+OR+diyyat+women+half&sig=CGbIObjaUOXVCUE9dxSFqTVjho4 p99] . ISBN 0313306818.] this is currently codified in the laws of some Muslim-majority countries such as Iran. [Joseph and Najmabadi, [http://books.google.com/books?id=4Uyypm6T7ZsC&pg=RA1-PA407&dq=diyya+OR+diyyat+OR+%22blood+money%22+women+half&sig=NHxhJkR81qEXSQzTQq1RM2D64zk#PRA1-PA406,M1 p407] .]


Islamic criminal jurisprudence does not discriminate between genders in punishments for crimes.Fact|date=June 2007. In case of sexual crimes such as "zina" (fornication), for both men and women four witnesses are required to testify that they have seen the accused individuals having intercourse, in the eyes of the islamic law if the woman committs "zina" and as a result becomes pregnant she cannot be tried for "zina" if four witnesses are not available. The punishment for "zina" varies depending on the marital status of the guilty indivuduals. If they are single then both get a hundred lashes [quran24:2] . If they are married the punishment is death, by stoning, or "rajam". [Asifa Quraishi. " [http://www.crescentlife.com/articles/social%20issues/rape_laws.htm Her Honor: An Islamic Critique of the Rape Laws of Pakistan from a Woman-Sensitive Perspective] ," in "Windows of Faith: Muslim Women Scholar-Activists in North America", Gisela Webb (Ed.), Syracuse University Press (June 2000). The author also argues that this traditional view may be inconsistent with the requirements outlined in the Qur'an.] The difficulty of prosecuting rapists and the possibility of prosecution for women who allege rape has been of special interest to activists for Muslim women's rights. [See, e.g., http://www.geo.tv/zs/Zina_article_Final.pdf.] In the past decades there have been several high profile cases of pregnant women prosecuted for zina who claim to have been raped. [ [http://www.geocities.com/inquisitive79/rape.html In Pakistan, Rape Victims Are the 'Criminals' By SETH MYDANS] From: "New York Times," May 17, 2002 ] [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/01/world/01saudi.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin Saudi Rape Case Spurs Calls for Reform] By RASHEED ABOU-ALSAMH Published: December 1, 2007] [ [http://hrw.org/english/docs/2004/09/21/nigeri9364.htm Nigeria: Under Islamic Law, Rights Still Unprotected] ] [ [http://pakistaniat.com/2006/09/10/pakistan-hudood-ordinance-women-rights-islam/ Changing Rape Laws in Pakistan] ]

The overwhelming majority of Muslim scholars believe that there is no punishment for a woman coerced into having sex. [According to Ibn Qudamah, "This is the view of Omar, al-Zuhri, Qatadah, al-Thawri, al-Shafi'i, and others and we do not know anyone who has departed from this view." (Although this seems to indicate unanimity, Ibn Qudamah himself uses the language "overwhelming majority.") Muwaffaq al-Din Ibn Qudamah, al-Mughni (Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-'Arabi n.d), Vol. 10, p. 159, quoted in http://www.geo.tv/zs/Zina_article_Final.pdf.] According to a Sunni "hadith", the punishment for committing rape is death, there is no sin on the victim, nor is there any worldly punishment ascribed to her. [Sunan Abu Dawud Abudawud-usc|38|4366.] However, the stringent requirements for proof of rape under some interpretations of Islamic law, combined with cultural attitudes regarding rape in some parts of the Muslim world, result in few rape cases being reported; even the cases brought forward typically result in minimal punishment for offenders or severe punishment for victims. [http://www.islam-democracy.org/documents/pdf/6th_Annual_Conference-JulieNorman.pdf] It can be difficult to seek punishment against rapists, because a "zina" case cannot be brought without four witnesses, Most scholars, however, treat rape instead as "hiraba" (disorder in the land), [See, e.g., http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=1369 and Asifa Quraishi. " [http://www.crescentlife.com/articles/social%20issues/rape_laws.htm Her Honor: An Islamic Critique of the Rape Laws of Pakistan from a Woman-Sensitive Perspective] ," in "Windows of Faith: Muslim Women Scholar-Activists in North America", Gisela Webb (Ed.), Syracuse University Press (June 2000). Mentioned in verses Quran-usc-range|5|33|34 ] , which does not require four witnesses. The form of punishment and interpretation of Islamic law in this case is highly dependent on the legislation of the nation in question, and/or of the judge.

In Pakistan, at least 100 women are raped each day in Karachi alone, according to Additional Police Surgeon Dr Zulfiqar Siyal [citeweb|url=http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2008

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