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The Human Status of Woman in the Qur’an (Part 5)

muslim woman

Another derogatory view that was held was in connection with sexual abstention and the sacredness of being single and celibate. As we know in some religions sexual intercourse is in its essence unclean. According to the followers of these religions only those who live all their life in celibacy can attain the stations of the spirit. One of the world’s well-known religious leaders said:

“Root out the tree of marriage with the spade of virginity”.

The same religious leaders allow marriage only as one evil to ward off a greater evil. In other words they maintain that as majority of people are unable to endure the hardship of remaining celibate and may loose Self-control and thus become victims of perversion indulging in sexual contact with numerous women it is better that they should marry and not have sexual relations with more than one woman. The root cause of sexual abstention and celibacy is a feeling of aversion against the female sex. These people consider love of women to be one of the great moral depravities.

Islam has combated fiercely against this superstition. It considers marriage to be sacred and celibacy to be impure. Islam considers love of women to be a part of prophetic morality and says:

the verse

“Love of women is of the morality of the prophets.” The last Prophet used to say: “Three things are dear to me: perfume, women and prayer.”

Bertrand Russell says: [3] “In all codes of moral conduct there appears a kind of aversion to sexual relations except in Islam. Islam has ordained regulations and limitations with regard to this relationship for social reasons but it has never considered it an abominable and unclean matter.”

Another derogatory opinion held regarding women was that she is only a means for bringing man into existence and that she was created for man.

These ideas can never be found in Islam. Islam most explicitly explains the basis of the final cause it says quite clearly that the earth and the sky the clouds and the winds plants and animals have all been created for man. But it never says that woman was created for man. Islam says that man and women were each created for the other:

the verse

They are a vestment for you (man) and you are a vestment for them (Qur’an 2:187).

 If the Qur’an considered woman to be a means of making men and something created for then it would certainly have kept this fact in view in its laws. As Islam in its explanation of creation does not have this opinion and does not consider woman to be a parasite on man’s existence there is no trace or reflection of this idea in its special precepts regarding man and woman.

Another of the derogatory views held in the past was that women were considered an unavoidable and necessary evil. Many men in spite of all the gains and advantages they had derived from women regarded them contemptuously and considered them to be a source of misfortune and misery.

The holy Qur’an makes a special mention of the fact that woman is a blessing for man and is a source of solace and comfort for his heart.

Yet another derogatory view was that woman played a very insignificant part in bringing offspring into the world Arabs of the pre-Islamic age and certain other peoples considered women to be only a repository for the sperm of the man which according to them was the real seed of the child and they said that her part was to keep that seed safe and to nourish it. The Qur’an says in several verses that: “You were created from man and woman.” In other verses which are analyzed in the commentaries the final answer has been given in a similar way.

From what has been said above it is clear that both from a philosophical point of view as well as from its explanation of the nature of creation Islam does not hold any derogatory ideas concerning women; rather it has seen to it that all the above mentioned derogatory views are discarded. Now it is appropriate to examine why there is an absence of identicalness in the rights of men and women.


The book named: The Rights of Women in Islam

Ayatullah Morteza Motahari


Other links:

The Human Status of Woman in the Qur’an (Part 1)

The Human Status of Woman in the Qur’an (Part 2)

The Human Status of Woman in the Qur’an (Part 3)

The Human Status of Woman in the Qur’an (Part 4)

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