Women, the Inferior Species in Islam

Updated version of this article here

Islam is a religion by men for men.  The narrative of Islam empowers women is just not true.  Islam may have given women some rights that they did not have, but it also froze their rights in time so that they could never get any more.  As well, many of the rights are very one-sided in Islam.  Wouldn’t it make more sense for God to send general principles such as “treat women well” that we could apply to each culture rather than strict rules that would soon become outdated in modern societies?

Niqabi Girl

To start with, here is a fascinating quote that sums up the entire argument:

If I were to command anyone to make prostration before another I would command women to prostrate themselves before their husbands, because of the special right over them given to husbands by Allah. (Abu Dawud, 2140)

Revelations directed to men only

The wife of Prophet Muhammad Umm Salamah actually asked her husband why are we not mentioned in the Quran like the men are?  To which the Quran came with some verses for women:

Imam Ahmad recorded that Umm Salamah, may Allah be pleased with her, the wife of the Prophet said, “Why is it that we are not mentioned in the Qur’an as men are?” (Tafsir of Quran 33:35)

Narrated ‘Amr bin Dinar:
from a man among the children of Umm Salamah, from Umm Salamah that she said: “O Messenger of Allah! I have not heard Allah mentioning anything about women and emigration.” (Tirmidhi.)

To which the verses of Quran came:

So Allah, Blessed and Most High, revealed: “Never will I allow to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female. You are members one of another (3:195).”

Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so – for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward. (Quran 33:35)

Testimony – 1 Man or 2 Women?

A woman’s witness is half of a man’s in the Quran:

..And bring to witness two witnesses from among your men. And if there are not two men [available], then a man and two women from those whom you accept as witnesses – so that if one of the women errs, then the other can remind her… (Quran 2:282)

Incase she forgets?  Wow, Allah, why do you say that? Are women dumb or forgetful or something?  Actually Prophet Muhammad explained this verse to us:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?” The women said, “Yes.” He said, “This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.” (Bukhari 2658)

Ah okay, so we know Allah and Muhammad are in agreement that women are stupid.

Spousal Discipline

She can be beaten by her husband simply for being a badass or for him fearing her disobedience, according to the Quran.”

A woman wanted retaliation (because the Quran prescribes eye for eye) after her husband slapped her, and look what happened:

Around the time when the verse on retaliation was revealed amongst the Muslims, a man had slapped his wife. She went to the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace and said: “My husband has slapped me and I want retaliation”. So he said: “Let there be retaliation”. As he was still dealing with her, Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other”). Upon which the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “We wanted something and my Lord wanted something different. O man, take your wife by the hand” “. (Asbab Al Nuzul by Wahidi for 4:34)

Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand. (Quran 4:34)

Marital rights

A woman is not allowed to reject her husband’s sexual advances.  If a woman rejects her husbands sexual advances she is cursed all night by the angels:

Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “If a husband calls his wife to his bed (i.e. to have sexual relation) and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning.” (Bukhari 3237, Bukhari)

And if she is cooking she has to drop what she is doing to have sex with him:

If I were to command anyone to prostrate to anyone other than Allah, I would have commanded women to prostrate to their husbands. By the One in Whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad! No woman can fulfill her duty towards Allah until she fulfills her duty towards her husband. If he asks her (for intimacy) even if she is on her camel saddle, she should not refuse.’ ”
(Ibn Majah, rated Hasan)

Also see my article Marital Rape in Islam

She is not allowed to perform optional fasts or make up her missed Ramadan fasts without his permission either because he might want to have sex. Aisha said she had to wait all year before making up her Ramadan fasts because Muhammad “needed her”:

Aishah narrated:
“I would not make up what was due upon me from Ramadan except in Sha’ban, until the Messenger of Allah died.” (Tirmidhi)

It was narrated that ‘Aishah said:
“I would own fasts from Ramadan and I would not make them up until Shaban came.” (Nasai)

Yahya related to me from Malik from Yahya ibn Said from Abu Salama ibn Abd ar-Rahman that he heard A’isha, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, “I used to have to make up days from Ramadan and not be able to do them until Shaban came.” (Malik)

It was narrated that Abu Salamah said:
“I heard ‘Aishah say: ‘I used to owe fasts from the month of Ramadan, and I would not make them up for until Sha’ban came.’” (Ibn Majah)

Abu Hurairah narrated that:
The Prophet said: “A woman may not fast a day – other than in the month of Ramadan – while her husband is present, except with his permission.” (Tirmidhi)

Narrated `Aisha:
Sometimes I missed some days of Ramadan, but could not fast in lieu of them except in the month of Sha’ban.” Said Yahya, a sub-narrator, “She used to be busy serving the Prophet (ﷺ) .” (Bukhari 1950)


Women cannot divorce in Islam, only Men can:

‘Any woman who asks her husband for a divorce when it is not absolutely necessary, the fragrance of Paradise will be forbidden to her.'” (Ibn Majah 2055)

Not smelling paradise is another way of saying she will not go to paradise.  Women can request their marriage to be annuled (called Khula in arabic) but they have to give back their maher (marital gift).  A man simply has to utter a word and over a three month period she is divorced.

See my post on Divorce in Islam


Men are allowed to marry multiple partners:

And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those your right hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice]. (Quran 4:3)

To marry Christians and Jews:

And [lawful in marriage are] chaste women from among the believers and chaste women from among those who were given the Scripture before you, when you have given them their due compensation, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse or taking [secret] lovers. (Quran 5:5)

And to have sexual intercourse with their slaves:

We went out with the Apostle of Allaah(ﷺ) on the expedition to Banu Al Mustaliq and took some Arab women captive and we desired the women for we were suffering from the absence of our wives and we wanted ransom, so we intended to withdraw the penis (while having intercourse with the slave women). But we asked ourselves “can we draw the penis when the Apostle of Allaah(ﷺ) is among us before asking him about it? So we asked him about it. He said “it does not matter if you do not do it, for very soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born.” (Abu Dawud 2172)

And those who guard their private parts
Except from their wives or those their right hands possess, for indeed, they are not to be blamed – (Quran 70:29-30)

My longer post here on Sleeping with Female Captives of War in Islam


Muhammad said women are deficient in religion and intelligence and the majority of hell is full of women.

Once Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) of `Id-al-Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, “O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women).” They asked, “Why is it so, O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) ?” He replied, “You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you.” The women asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?” He said, “Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?” They replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn’t it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?” The women replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her religion.” (Bukhari 304, Bukhari and Tirmidhi)

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “I looked at Paradise and found poor people forming the majority of its inhabitants; and I looked at Hell and saw that the majority of its inhabitants were women.” (Bukhari 3241 and others)

Yet strangely in another hadith he said the majority of dwellers in hell are Gog & Magog:

Who are the mission for the (Hell) Fire?’ Allah will say, ‘Out of each thousand, take out 999.’ … The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “From Gog and Magog nine-hundred ninety-nine will be taken out and one from you.  (Bukhari 265)

In Paradise

In paradise men get fair big breasted sex dolls to hump and bump with all day:

And with them will be women limiting [their] glances and of equal age. (Quran 38:52)

In them are good and beautiful women –
Fair ones reserved in pavilions –
Untouched before them by man or jinni –
Reclining on green cushions and beautiful fine carpets.
(Quran 55:70-76)

And full-breasted [companions] of equal age (Quran 78:33)

and their wives will be large-eyed maidens (Muslim 2834c)


Girls like my own sweet daughter would get half what my sons get if I die.

Allah instructs you concerning your children: for the male, what is equal to the share of two females. (Quran 4:11)

How does this make any sense?  I would wish my daughter to have a fair share to her brothers.  Muslims will sometimes say “well her brothers are supposed to take care of her.”  But this is a strange argument.  What if she is married, does she not deserve my inheritance?  What if she wants to spend the money I give her on her own children?  Why should she get half of what my boys get?  Nowadays men and women both work and it would be nice for me to leave her some money to pay down her home or to keep it for her kids education.

How does it make sense to have a permament rule that men get double what women get?

Islam may have given women some rights, such as the right to own property, but it also took away some rights from them.

See Divorce In Islam

Read more about Arab Women Before and After Islam.

Also see my post on Death Penalty for Adultery in Islam.

Picture source: Pinterest. Fair use, no copyright infringement intended.  

24 thoughts on “Women, the Inferior Species in Islam

  1. I was born into Islam and didn’t really grow up in a religious environment but later on I started practicing and learning and all kinds of questions would rise up in my mind and I would always try to look for a satisfying answers but couldn’t find any. I am a woman and all that you wrote here are the real answers to my questions. I left Islam two months ago and I can tell you that I feel that I have been cheated on. A strange way to describe what I feel but I feel so hurt that every time I remember and think about me leaving my religion and identity behind is no less than a heart stabbing pain that I have to go through for a while and sometimes the pain is so unbearable I feel like I am going to drown in my sorrow. The only thing that is keeping me sane for now is that I still believe in a God or a higher power that created us and I believe in that from my own experiences. Sorry for the long comment but can you please write about some helpful ways to deal with this huge life shift and how to deal with this kind of emotional pain. Thank you.

    1. Just for my own education and intellectual growth, can I ask you what kind of questions and issues you faced as a muslim. Maybe you can tell me your life story in detail. I would like to know what you went through and the circumstances surrounding your efforts. @ Tealovermama

    2. I feel you sister. Totally relate, being an only girl growing up in a patriarchal culture PLUS muslim.

  2. Interesting that you say that Islam gave some rights to women that they did not have at that time. It was what I was made to believe as well growing up Muslim. After doing further research I came to find that it was actually quite a matriarchal society; I still need to do further research on this however. Please can you tell me what you have found out about this matter? Would be really good if you did a video or post about it.

  3. Sameer simply lack foundation as a Muslim.Then drank the poisons from enemies of Islam among the orientalists and Christian missionaries to the death of his faith ultimately.All these issues have been thoroughly handled by Islamic scholarship.All without exceptions and even more.

    O Muslims seat before you crawl,crawl before you walk and walk before you run.Go learn your Deen at deep levels and you will be protected from going off the Straight Path as is happening to all the vulnerable today.

    I suggest that Muslim readers search “Deliverance From Error and Misguidance” by AlGhazali in google.Read seriously and follow up with learning from competent Islamic scholarship and thus secure your faith forever by Allaah’s ‘fadl’ and never become a victim of self-conceitedness as Sameer did.May Allaah bring him back.

    Wishing you Allaah’s guidance.

    1. @TruthSeeker. I would love to see you address these specific issues instead of your general responses and accusation of people falling into Oreintalist traps. This is a platform for intelligent discussions about real issues that Muslims can no longer ignore in this information era we now live in.

    2. Truthseeker, scholars have not dealt with the issues other than invent excuses and hypothisis. It’s funny how muslims always want to refer you to what a scholar or mufti has to say, if the Islamic scripture is so clear and perfect (as it’s proclaimed) then why do we need experts to deal with such issues? Why don’t you tell us yourself? If you are happy to settle excuses then good for you however us normal people simply read the Quran and Hadith and the picture it paints it pretty clear. As a result of the scripture Islam along with all other religions is man made there us no doubt about that. Also I would bet my house and life savings that Sameer knows more about religion that you do as it’s clearly evident from your idiotic response to this post. You have no business being on this site so go be a good Muslim and offer salah to Allah in a language you do not understand so that you get your full breastfed virgin houris.

  4. i really like the wording of the first paragraph of this article, yes islam gave women some rights but it “also froze them…”

  5. The natural order of things is one in which men are in control of women and women are servile to them. Islam accords to the physical and psychological differences between them. Yes men are intellectually superior, physically stronger, and more virile. The men who fail to live up to that are failures indeed. The gender regulations are one of the greatest things Islam has given the dunya, the ills of feminism are manifest in the west.

    1. + M, you really crack me up you do. There’s not a shred of evidence that men are intellectually superior to women. IQ ranges are slightly more extreme among men, so more men are found at each end of the spectrum, genius or very low IQ but that doesn’t translate into overall intellectual superiority for your sex. Yes you are physically stronger, but more prone to infantile mortality and with on average lower life expediency. As for virility, well a woman can have multiple orgasms in a single sex session, you can’t (and I’d bet quite a generous sum that no woman has had her natural share in your company). We from outside the Muslim world look at our sisters there with nothing but pity.

    2. Feminism can be practiced moderately and within the folds of Islam in order to uplift the women of this era since men nowadays are becoming more and more opressive.

  6. Im a passionate feminist, because why shouldnt i defend myself and my fellow females from inequality and opression? And i am also a Muslim. I am struggling like crazy. Yes its possible to be both muslim and feminist but its a pain in the ass. I’ve read the Quran and find some parts to be very depressing and just plain unfair! You dont need to be a scholar to figure that out. If the Quran cant be taken as it is then is it really that helpful? Why is it so vague? The main reason why i am still a muslim is because i believe in God and i want a religion to practice to be able to submit to God and Islam makes more sense to me than Judaism and Christianity, but it is still quite upsetting. I dont know what to do..

  7. You must be really upset for posting stuffs that would make Islam look bad. I hope you find peace and guidance again bro. This is sad.

  8. Bismillahirrahmanirrahim,
    i understand the points quoted, and since i converted to Islam, i am struggling with these points. But, what i have noticed after many years, (although it´s obvious), is, that all the things that most hurt, are from the ahadith, the Sunnah. Now what is the Sunnah: First Muhammad salla Allahu alayhi va sallams behaviour, what he did, and second, what we said. For neither of it there is a guarantee. Allah subhana va taala gives a guarantee for the Quran, not for the ahadith. Who knows, if our Prophet salla Allahu alayhi va sallam has really said the things that hurt us? Who knows what other things he has said that would have consoled us, but have never been transmitted to us? I have decided to concentrate more on the Quran, because altogether there IS plenty of repetition that man and woman, their deeds, their prayers are equal before Allah Almighty. There is also a very good book by asma Barlas “believing women in Islam”, which has personally helped me, may Allah reward her. Salam.

  9. Abdullah:

    I just came across your blog, and I’ve enjoyed reading your posts.

    I have friends who are Muslim, and I’ve been reading (by no means extensively) about the religion to try to get a better understanding. I find many things in Islam–big and little–troubling, particularly with respect to women.

    Muslims keep pointing to examples of how the treatment of women was improved in 7th century Arabia, which is fine, but what about more recent examples? As the saying goes, “What have you done for me lately?” I never get an answer to that, or at least, not a satisfactory one.

    The refutation of science, particularly evolution, is also bothersome.

    And then there’s the insistence on accepting all of the religion, or none of it. That kind of ultimatum is the reason I walked away from Catholicism.

    I applaud people who are trying to reinterpet the Q’ran and the hadiths with modern interpretations and views, and I hope they succeed. I’m not optimistic, though–so many respond, as you have said, insisting they need the hadiths to govern their lives. And maybe they do.

    Anyway, thank you for a blog that is clear, well written, well researched, and thoughtful.

  10. I was in a relationship with a religious abusive man. Regardless, I don’t believe he really understood Islam but he used the argument of angels cursing me at night a lot and that a woman needs to submit. At worst, Islam, like any belief system, can fuel the worst in people who don’t have sound character. Low value men are everywhere in the Muslim world and our cultures continue to breed these infantile men who believe they are superior to men. Anyone on a spiritual path will release the immense power of the divine feminine and put her on her rightful place. If woman aren’t respect and understood for their spiritual necessity on earth, then those people will be cursed with poverty and misery.

    Also, I had to get a khula from my ex after he was reluctant to give me a divorce. It meant I was married much longer than I wanted and had to go through great pains as he and the Imam he went to would not validate my need for divorce on the grounds of abuse. Sorry to say but for many “Muslim men”, only physical, visible abuse is considered real abuse even thought emotional abuse is far worse.

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