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The Myth that Women have to "Obey" their Husbands


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AceOfHearts
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« on: December 23, 2008, 01:30:56 pm »

The Myth that Women have to "Obey" their Husbands

The Qur'an was sent down to a disbelieving people who treated women as second class citizens. Their view was that women's duty is to obey men and to serve their needs. To this day, so-called religious Muslims have inherited this chauvinism. They approach the Qur'an with a pre-acquired mentality. The intention is not to totally surrender to Allah, rather to find ways to adapt the Qur'an to their twisted objectives. The verse they think they found is 4:34 quoted below:

"Men are to support women by what Allah has bestowed on them over one another and for what they spend of their money. The righteous women are obedient/dutiful women (قانتات); they keep private, the matters for which Allah would keep watch over. As for those women from whom you fear desertion, then you shall advise them, and abandon them in their sleeping place, and go away from them. If they respond to you, then do not seek a way over them; Allah is High, Great." (Qur'an 4:34)

These people fail to comprehend the word 'qaanitaat قانتات',  women who are obedient/dutiful, which is referring to believing women who are obedient and dutiful to Allah. They say it refers to the husband. Some of these insincere people even translate the Qur'an and put their twisted interpretation in the translation. Let us see what the word actually means from a Quranic point of view.

Maryam, a devout believer, was referred to in the Qur'an using the same term:

"Maryam, daughter of Imran, she guarded her chastity, so We breather Our spirit into her. She accepted the truth of her Lord's words and Scriptures: she was truly obedient/dutiful (قانتين) (Qur'an 66:12)

Maryam was never known to have a husband, this word used in this verse can only refer to her being obedient to Allah alone.

The following Verse also uses this expression:

"For submitting men and women, for believing men and women, for obedient/dutiful men and women (والقانتين والقانتات), for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in Charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah's praise, for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward" (Qur'an 33:35)

As can be seen, the word is associated with only being devoted to Allah. In fact, a study of the Qur'an reveals that the root word (ق-ن-ت) has always been used in the Qur'an to refer to believing women and men who obey Allah. Here are some examples:

"Abraham was truly an example, obedient/dutiful (قانتا) to Allah and true in faith. He was not an idolater." (Qur'an 16:120)

"...those who are steadfast, truthful, were the obedient/dutiful ones (قانتين), who spend (in Allah's cause) and pray before dawn for forgiveness.' (Qur'an 3:17)

"All that is in the heavens and the earth belongs to Him, everything is the obedient (قانتون) to His will." (Qur'an 2:116)

"And stand before Allah as obedient ones (قانتين)." (Qur'an 2:238)

"Maryam, be obedient (اقنتي) to your Lord, prostrate and bow down with those who bow" (Qur'an 3:43)

"Everyone in the heavens and the earth belongs to Him, there are all the obedient ones (قانتون)" (Qur'an 30:260)


As can be seen, the word is used to refer to obeying Allah and being devoted to Him.

"Men are to support women by what Allah has bestowed on them over one another and for what they spend of their money. The righteous women (صالحات) are obedient/dutiful women (قانتات); they keep private the matters for which Allah would keep watch over. As for those women from whom you fear desertion, then you shall advise them, and abandon them in their sleeping place, and go away from them. If they respond to you, then do not seek a way over them; Allah is High, Great." (Qur'an 4:34)

i.e. believing righteous women (صالحات) are obedient to Allah (قانتات) - a common Quranic theme.

To conclude, it does not make Quranic sense to say that 'qanitaat قانتات' in the above verse refers to women who are obedient to the husbands. 'Qaanitaat قانتات' are those women who obey Allah and are dutiful to Him, just as the word is used in the rest of the Qur'an.

To a believer who is well versed in the Qur'an, listening to or reading this Verse instinctively leads him or her to interpret it in the way we have done in this article. However, the insincere people out there are those whose aim is not to study the Qur'an for guidance, but to find religious basis for their preconceived views and motives. These people are disguised as believers and follow an inherited religion. Once a believer finds the true Quranic interpretations, no matter what other human beings or books say, he follows the path Allah makes clear to him in the Qur'an.

The believing husband and wife co-operate with mutual understanding and consideration. This originates from their innate believer personalities of being self-sacrificing, caring and understanding. There is not the slightest master-slave inclination in their relationship as they are devoted to Allah and take the Qur'an as their guide.

"One of His signs is that He created for you spouses like your selves so that you may live with them with affection and mercy - there are signs in this for people who reflect" (Qur'an 30:21)

www.quranicpath.com | The Myth that Women have to "Obey" their Husbands
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Heba E. Husseyn
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« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2008, 11:52:00 pm »

What a beautiful piece brother!  Smiley  I really liked this analysis.  Yes, Allah has made it so clear that husband / wife relationship is to be mutual based on love and understanding.  Just think of how much financial benefits a woman has been entitled to in the Noble Quran, both married women and divorcees.  Even as per the modern laws, the Quran is the only Book which grants a financial compensation to divorced women who's marriages have broken up before its consummation.  And this Divine dictate came in the 7th century when in Europe, kings and princes had the power to send their consorts for execution on false charges of disobedience and infidelity - financial compensation to a married woman being a far cry. 

Many thanks and salaam brother.  Keep it coming from Quranic Path ......
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AceOfHearts
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« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2008, 06:01:48 pm »

Dear sister Cat,

I am delighted to read your post. The general response from other forums has been extremely depressing. Though the article is based on well founded reasoning, these people hurl copy and pasted hadith-based ulama arguments...their state makes me feel very sad...i try to console myself remembering the verses where the prophet is told to not be upset and to wait until Allah's judgements come. He is the best of judges.

I feel closer to those undecided sunnis than the real sunnis who are staunch Hadithists. Alhamdulilah for the few believer friends i have though.
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« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2008, 03:09:06 am »

Very well articulated, brother.  Your explanation of Verse 4:34 makes a lot of sense.  Further supported by Verse 30:21 and many others, the Glorious Quraan makes it ample clear that the relationship between husband and wife got to be mutual, filled with kindness and understanding.  Neither of them should bully or nag the other and thus ruin the atmosphere of their home.   Thanks for this bit, brother Ace.
 
Frankly, in my humble opinion, neither in the Muslim world nor in the non-Muslim communities do they uphold the notion of a mutual relationship in marriage.  In Muslim countries, because of all the misogynistic hadiths and fatwas, the law is undoubtedly on the side of the man.  In the West, the growing influence of hardline feminists has gotten so widespread that husbands are often the underdogs.  Thus, in the Muslim world we have the battered wife while in the non-Muslim world there's the battered husband.  It's natural of the human mind that if any group or gender is given too much privilege by the society's legal system, it tends to get into their head and they misuse that benefit.

Not to mention, in non-Muslim countries like India, where the uneducated population in both urban and rural areas are huge and where the people follow no rules of Divine guidance, the situation of women is the worst.  During marriages the wife's family is expected to bear all expenses, the wife is expected to bring a big dowry, the wife is expected to produce male offspring, she is expected to accept herself as her husband's subordinate, she's expected to do all the dirty work around the house and of course, in case of a divorce she's kicked out without a cent as compensation.  In many cases, if the wife is unable to fulfil any of above expectations, she's murdered in the name of 'accidental death.'


It's only the Quraan that maintains the right balance of a perfect mutual relationship with no injustice to the wife nor the husband.
 
I also appreciate sister cat's point.  Financial compensation in case of divorce, especially if the marriage wasn't even consummated, was unheard of in the 7th century.  The Glorious Quraan is the first Book that brought this very considerate law for women.  The Quraan brings the law of following the middle path between the rights of the husband and wife.  It makes it plain that the wife shouldn't be made to suffer because of the husband, that is, in case of a divorce or other wise, the husband shouldn't spend less on her than he can afford.  And neither should the husband suffer because of the demanding spirit of his wife, that is, she shouldn't be asking more than he can possibly afford to give.  
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« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2008, 03:40:47 am »


The general response from other forums has been extremely depressing. Though the article is based on well founded reasoning, these people hurl copy and pasted hadith-based ulama arguments...their state makes me feel very sad...i try to console myself remembering the verses where the prophet is told to not be upset and to wait until Allah's judgements come. He is the best of judges.

You're absolutely right brother.  This is exactly what happens there.  What this actually means is that these so-called believers try to challenge the Words of Allah with the words of their sheiks and 'saints.'  About such people, Allah has mentioned in the Quraan that now they feel protected taking up for their spiritualists and 'saints' but on the Day of Judgment these so-called saints will forget their disciples and will be busy seeking forgivness for themselves.  And yes, on this issue, the Prophet (pbuh) has been comforted by Allah in several verses not to grieve over the unreasonable arguments of the disbelievers and to ignore their noxious talks.  It's really sad that so many of our brothers and sisters today are behaving on the lines of those people of the Arabian peninsula who were a source of such great anxiety to the beloved Prophet.

I feel closer to those undecided sunnis than the real sunnis who are staunch Hadithists. Alhamdulilah for the few believer friends i have though.

O yes, me too.  and this is how I interpret my feelings.  The Noble Quraan says nothing about the Sunni or Shiia faith.  It only mentions the Islamic faith, that is, Surrender to Allah.  This was the Prophet's message, loud and clear, at the orders of Allah (The Highest).  Therefore, I make it quite plain while interacting in other forums that those who call themselves Sunnis or Shiias are just that.  They aren't Muslims.  One cannot be a Sunni and Muslim together, nor can one be a Shiia and Muslim at the same time.  Sunnism and Shiiaism clash with the Message of the Quraan in numerous ways. 

Moreover, I wouldn't underestimate Shiias either.  They're just as madly in love with Hadith as Sunnis.  I've personally observed and experienced this time and again.  The only difference is that they both have their own separate collections of Hadith.  The contents of those Shiia collections are no more compatible with the Noble Quraan than the collections of Bukhari, Tirmizi etc.  However, the only real difference I've found between the two is that Shiias are better at agreeing to disagree than Sunnis.  Not all, but most of them seem less aggressive and more sober while debating or arguing.  I  give them the credit for that.

The fun of it is that in a Sunni or Shiia forum, if you find two groups consisting of Shiias and Sunnis arguing or quarreling with each other in the traditional way, would you know what's the best way to stop that fight and to unite them together?  Just jump into the scenario as a Muslim who's neither a Sunni nor a Shiia and tell them that you follow only the Quraan.  In a minute you'll find the Sunnis and Shiias shaking hands and rolling up their sleeves to fight with you.  After all, enemy's enemy is always a friend  Smiley  As a Quraan only Muslimah , I've played this role of uniting Sunnis and Shiias in many online quarrels. 
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« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2008, 04:11:38 am »

Dear sister Cat,

I am delighted to read your post. The general response from other forums has been extremely depressing. ...... i try to console myself remembering the verses where the prophet is told to not be upset and to wait until Allah's judgements come. He is the best of judges.

u r welcomed br. Ace.  I can imagine how the mainstream would respond to that article.   The more consistent one sounds with the Quran, the more staunch is their opposition.  u have taken the right method to console yourself, brother.  I hav myself been caught in such situations many a times when my Quranic presentations of facts have been discarded with preference to the contents of man written literature.  But Allah is a Watcher over everything.  He is sufficient to deal with the transgressors. 

And sister zeynab, I so much appreciate your wonderful points of view in both your replies to br. ace.


However, the only real difference I've found between the two is that Shiias are better at agreeing to disagree than Sunnis.  Not all, but most of them seem less aggressive and more sober while debating or arguing.  I  give them the credit for that.

Exactly, this is basically the only positive difference that makes the shiias a bit more civil.  I mean, online this is the impression I also get.  But I wouldn't know if they adhere to this kinda tolerance in practical life too.

The fun of it is that in a Sunni or Shiia forum, if you find two groups consisting of Shiias and Sunnis arguing or quarreling with each other in the traditional way, would you know what's the best way to stop that fight and to unite them together?  Just jump into the scenario as a Muslim who's neither a Sunni nor a Shiia and tell them that you follow only the Quraan.  In a minute you'll find the Sunnis and Shiias shaking hands and rolling up their sleeves to fight with you.  After all, enemy's enemy is always a friend  Smiley  As a Quraan only Muslimah , I've played this role of uniting Sunnis and Shiias in many online quarrels.

 LaaughingAway - this is soooo interesting - have u ever been a student of psychology sister?


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« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2008, 10:19:04 pm »

Dear Sister Cat, thank you very much for telling me of your experience. It helps to know that there are other sincere believers like yourself. You are ever so right, Allah is the Watcher. Just want to say, we love the Qur'an and love to truly follow it because we truly love Allah and the Qur'an is the only book Allah speaks to us. May Allah guide you and your family even more to the truth. Smiley Thanks Sr. Cat Smiley

Quote
O yes, me too.  and this is how I interpret my feelings.  The Noble Quraan says nothing about the Sunni or Shiia faith.  It only mentions the Islamic faith, that is, Surrender to Allah.  This was the Prophet's message, loud and clear, at the orders of Allah (The Highest).  Therefore, I make it quite plain while interacting in other forums that those who call themselves Sunnis or Shiias are just that.  They aren't Muslims.  One cannot be a Sunni and Muslim together, nor can one be a Shiia and Muslim at the same time.  Sunnism and Shiiaism clash with the Message of the Quraan in numerous ways. 

Alhamdulillah, beautifully put! All praise be to Allah. One cannot be surrendered to Allah if he or she does not have the dedication to Qur'an. Because, true sincerity leads to exploring the Qur'an, exploring the Qur'an leads to true surrendering. It is Allah who initiates the path of guidance.

"This (Qur'an) is a reminder. Let whoever wishes, take the way to his Lord. But you will only wish to do so if Allah wills. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise." (Qur'an 76:30)

Quote
The fun of it is that in a Sunni or Shiia forum, if you find two groups consisting of Shiias and Sunnis arguing or quarreling with each other in the traditional way, would you know what's the best way to stop that fight and to unite them together?  Just jump into the scenario as a Muslim who's neither a Sunni nor a Shiia and tell them that you follow only the Quraan.  In a minute you'll find the Sunnis and Shiias shaking hands and rolling up their sleeves to fight with you.  After all, enemy's enemy is always a friend    As a Quraan only Muslimah , I've played this role of uniting Sunnis and Shiias in many online quarrels.

looll! very nice explained there. And very true as well. Their religion has become a set of scribbles of sciences, hadiths and nostalgia...nothing more...not true devotion to Allah. When they meet a true servent of Allah, they make him or her an outcast. Sometimes I think, they cant accept life without the tangles of hadith and fiqhs and ulamas.

Also, Ive experienced the difference you state between Sunnis and Shias online. For example, the article on lowering the gaze got deleted from Sunniforum the same day, but its there on Shiachat...though I get refutations in replies. I never had any articles deleted from ShiaChat but have had many deleted articles on Sunni forum, even though the articles challenge hadith, rather the Quranicness of them they cannot accept. 

Quote
You're absolutely right brother.  This is exactly what happens there.  What this actually means is that these so-called believers try to challenge the Words of Allah with the words of their sheiks and 'saints.'  About such people, Allah has mentioned in the Quraan that now they feel protected taking up for their spiritualists and 'saints' but on the Day of Judgment these so-called saints will forget their disciples and will be busy seeking forgivness for themselves

Alhamdulillah, very well interpreted...the Verse about idols abandoning them. Yet, their concept of associating partners with Allah (shirk) lacks true understanding.

Many thanks sister Zeynab for your post. 

I am very happy to know believers like yourselves - Sr. Zeynab, Sr. Cat and others here...and its also reasuring that having taken the Qur'an as the only guide, we come with the same conclusions about Verses which are so differently interpreted by Sunnis and Shias. Its good to talk Smiley.
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« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2011, 03:28:03 am »

Well, the term "obedient" obviously refers to being co-operative and understanding towards a good husband (which is a good quality in a woman) .. the same way as men are instructed (even warned) in many more verses to be kind, understanding and generous to their wives.   Just as some men tend to be unreasonably demanding & abusive spouses, so can some women.  Neither of the 2 genders are perfect.
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« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2011, 03:32:28 am »

Yes exactly, this too is a very correct and realistic point sister Rose.
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