Interpretations of Jahiliyya and Rashidun

Were Pre-Islamic Women worse off than Muslim Women?

By Beth Grove

The Status of women in Islam can be properly understood only when we know their status during jahiliyya (the period of ignorance or pre-Islamic period). The reason is obvious. No revolution, political or religious (and Islam was indeed a socio-religious revolution), can remove all traces of the past. 1

Terms such as the “spirit” of Islam are employed in order to argue that the spirit of Islam is justice, egalitarianism, equality, or humanism – either as single signifiers or combinations of these qualities…Often history is invoked to argue that these ideals were evident at the very inception of Islam as a tradition in the seventh century. 2

Glossary:

  • Jahiliyya – the time of ignorance before Islam, according to Muslim sources
  • Rashidun – the golden era of Islam from the time of Muhammad and the first four rightly guided caliphs

PART 1

A. Ambiguity Surrounding the Jahiliyya and Rashidun Periods

The prevalent view in most Islamic writing is the notion that Islam, in contrast to the surrounding Arabian tribes and religions, ennobled the position of women. Muslim scholars champion a view of ‘degradation’ for pre-Islamic women. 3

The Modernist scholar Asghar Ali Engineer echoes this belief when he says,

“What was the status of women in pre-Islamic society? Was it better or worse than in the Islamic period? The theologians maintain that women enjoyed no rights whatsoever and were treated no better than a commodity.” 4

Yet, it is difficult to come to a firm understanding of the exact environment which existed before the time of Muhammad, due to the lack of material available to us; and that which is extant (mainly Islamic sources) provide a contradictory picture of Islam’s formation 5, as well as the environment from which it arose. For example, Raga’ Elnimr, a feminist, states,

Much of the history of pre-Islamic Arabia is obscured by myth and legend and romantic notions have often been confused with factual elements. One feature, however, which seems to stand out as the most striking characteristic of Arabian society is its diversity. 6

Modernist, progressive Muslims, take the position that though some of the treatment of women in the early days of Islam may not be considered to have parity with the standards of the Western world today, in its context, the arrival of Islam improved the status of women. For them, this improvement set in motion a paradigm which should have developed the gradual ennoblement of women up to the modern era, largely due to their belief in Islam’s principle of ‘justice’ 7. Though, in reality, they contend that women’s liberty and rights in the modern era have been trampled by Islamic male elitist interpreters 8.

Keeping in mind the notion of women’s ennoblement by Islam, consider the claims of the Modernist writer, Asghar Ali Engineer on the Jahiliyya:

  • Women used to be enslaved and ‘inherited as a possession.’ Engineer believes Qur’an 4:19 prohibited this practice 9 when is states “O you who have believed, it is not lawful for you to inherit a woman by compulsion”.
  • ‘After inheriting a woman from her father, a man would marry her.’ Engineer deems Qur’an 4:23 prohibited the practice. Although the verse doesn’t seem to address this particular issue.
  • Qur’an 81:9 refers to the practice of infanticide – burying baby girls alive – which the Arabs allegedly practiced during the Jahiliyya period. Engineer refers to a Hadith which claims Muhammad said that those who do not bury their daughter alive, nor humiliate her, nor prefer a son to her, ‘will be sent to paradise’ 10.
  • In pre-Islamic Arabia there were no restrictions on the number of wives a man could have, and making political alliances through marriage was the norm; for example, according to al-Tabari, a man of the Quraysh tribe married on average ten wives. Engineer refers the reader to Qur’an 4:3 to show that the practice of polygamy was restricted, and was in fact not the norm for Muslims, according to the Qur’anic injunction which states, ‘if you … fear that you might not be able to treat them with equal fairness, then (only) one – or (from among) those whom you rightfully possess.’ When this verse was revealed Engineer states that the prophet told his men to choose four of their wives and divorce the rest 11. According to Engineer, this was an improvement in the treatment of women 12.

It is interesting that in the very verse Engineer uses for his argument of how Islam stopped the excesses of pre-Islamic Jahiliyya, which to him, is an improvement, a devastating Allah-ordained opt-out injunction is given, outlined in the oft-repeated phrase ‘except what your right hand possesses’. That is, the woman you own is open to be treated by you as you wish. It is important to note that only Muslim chaste women are permitted slightly better treatment, whilst there are cruel stipulations as to how un-chaste, and non-Muslim women, especially slave-girls, are to be treated 13. What’s more, unchaste women are to be confined to houses until taken by death, or Allah ordains some other way for them, (Qur’an 4:15).

So, are the Islamic views of a despicable Jahiliyya period justified? Not everyone agrees.For instance, Ghada Karmi, a senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at Durham University, believes that “the situation for women in pre-Islam was not quite as bad as has been attested,” and reiterates the problem of defining the Jahiliyya experience for women, due to little available information, much of which came through, “the censorship of ardent Muslim believers wishing to throw a bad light on everything which preceded Islam.” 14

What she does determine, however, is that during this period there were female goddesses, a fact which suggests to her a matriarchal or matrilineal society. It was a society where marriage was flexible and women had considerably more independence and control over their own lives, where women stayed with their kin family after marriage; and a society where polyandry was practiced 15. Furthermore, in this society a woman’s word was final when placing the paternity of her child on a man; a practice in direct contrast to Islam today, where a man can legally deny paternity to a child, no matter what a mother says, and his testimony holds supremacy against hers 16.

Karmi states further that unlike the earlier Jahiliyya period, “a hierarchical social structure which ensures male supremacy is fundamental to the Qur’anic view of society.” 17 In contrast, this patriarchal hierarchical structure was not the only form of societal makeup before the advent of Islam. Karmi then concludes, “we cannot know fully what the social situation in seventh century Mecca was, nor to what social forces the Islamic revelation had to address itself.” 18

Therefore, any further discussion of pre-Islamic Arabia and the advent of Islam and what it brought to Arabia, and the world, must be considered with this in mind. Never-the-less, there are two areas of historical investigation which may aid a deeper understanding of women pre-Islam, that found externally, in archaeological and documentary evidence, be it fairly sparse, and that found internally in the histories of Islam and through a re-consideration of who Khadija, Muhammad’s first wife represents. Asking whether she is a woman of the Jahiliyya, or a woman of the Rashidun?

B. The Debate on the Status of Women in the Jahiliyya and Rashidun

Modernist Scholars, such as Leila Ahmed and Fatima Mernissi, often refer to Western, non-Muslim scholarship, to support their views of the Jahiliyya. They regard the widely held Muslim views of the Jahiliyya to be inconsistent with the mounting evidence gleaned by historians around the world 19.

Taking into consideration the ambiguous, and at times conflicting reports from early Muslim scholars and historians, 20 there is external evidence to suggest that during the Jahiliyya, at least women of a higher status commanded greater resources and were held in great esteem. Certain customs and rules did not apply to them 21. For example, Khadijah was a woman of great prowess in business, and had authority over men in her field of expertise.

However, Muslim scholar Haifa Jawad sees Khadijah as an exception among the small elite, rather than as an example of the general condition of women in that society. She takes Engineer’s ideas a step further, using more emphatic language to communicate her position of pre-Islamic women:

  • ‘men enjoyed absolute right over women,’
  • ‘husbands enjoyed… absolute power,’
  • ‘inhuman treatment,’
  • ‘degradation of womanhood,’
  • ‘deplorable situation,’
  • ‘liberties of women were… trampled on’
  • ‘captured women were completely under the authority of her captor,’ et al 22.

She then contrasts it with the situation of women under Islam, stating that, “with the advent of Islam, the position of women was radically redefined.” 23 She begins her defence with a list of verses commonly referred to by Muslim scholars to support the ennoblement of women in Islam, 24 and employs the commonly held misconception among Muslims, that Christians see Eve as responsible for mankind’s sin, in contrast to Muslims, who put the responsibility on both Adam and Eve 25 essay, challenging the position of women in the Judeo Christian traditions at http://www.islamworld.net/compwomen.html, and the Christian response at http://www.answering-islam.de/Main/Responses/Azeem/women_response.htm.]. Furthermore, she believes that Islam created a new relationship between men and women “based on respect and mutual understanding,” wherein taking care of the woman, and respecting her were emphasised. She adds,

It is within this context [‘being allowed to attain the highest ranks of progress materially, intellectually and spiritually’] 26 that Islam has granted women broad social, political and economic rights, education and training rights and work opportunity rights. To protect these rights from being abused by men, Islam provided firm legal safeguards 27.

However, in order to uphold her position of ‘ennoblement’ under Islam, she has to ignore a plethora of stories from Muhammad’s biography 28, and direct Qur’anic edicts to men and for men on divorce, punishment and divinely ordained obedience of women to men, none of which supports ‘ennoblement’ in the eyes of Western society today, and in direct contrast and contradiction with the divine Biblical edicts of how a man is to treat his wife today 29.

A similar verdict is held by Dr. Jamal Badawi, a highly influential Egyptian Scholar living in Canada, in an essay on the status of women in Islam. He introduces his subject with a quick overview of the position of women seen throughout history, from the pre-Islamic era up to the 19th century, including a look at the ‘Mosaic’ Biblical period. Each example is given in contrast to the Islamic position which he believes only needs more clarification, because in Western culture, a “disparity between the sexes exist”, implying there is none in Islam 30.

He quotes what he considers are “Biblical decrees,” by citing the Encyclopaedia Biblica’s descriptions of the Mosaic Law, as well as unfavourable examples from the early church fathers, and examples from Roman times; building a case for the destructive environment for women living under such worldviews and societies 31. He then notes the central Arabian treatment of women before Islam – the time of Jahiliyya – citing Qur’anic examples against infanticide, and sayings of Muhammad as a contrast to Mosaic Law and previous Arabian culture, concluding that Muhammad’s words are “favourable towards women” 32.

It is a skewed picture of history, with a deep misunderstanding of previous culture and ancient Mosaic culture, never-the-less, many a Muslim signs up to his impression of the past without a question as to its reliability. It is with this in mind that he, along with Haifa Jawad, and their many counterparts, present their views on the days of Jahiliyya and the influence of Islam on it. But are they correct? Does the evidence, both in the Qur’an and in the life of Muhammad, really affirm ‘protection’, ‘rights’ and ‘safeguards’ for women? Are the descriptions of Jahiliyya, such as those presented by Haifa Jawad, in actual fact a better reflection ofthe Qur’anic view of woman, rather than pre-Islamic, or non-Islamic.

In fact, isn’t it true that the biography of Muhammad and Qur’an 2:223, 228; 4:3, 24; 4:34, 33:53; 66:1-5 either dictate, or by means of deduction, give men:

  • ‘absolute rights over women,’
  • ‘absolute power’
  • allow cruel treatment
  • a degraded view of womanhood
  • provide a ‘deplorable situation,’
  • allow the ‘liberties of women’ to be trampled on
  • complete control and abuse of the women they capture, enslave and marry.

C. A truer picture of women under Islam

The historical data, from within Muslim sources themselves, point to this deteriorating scenario for women under Islam, and would need to be ignored by scholars who espouse an ‘ennoblement’ of women from the dawn of Islam, if they are to continue to maintain their position. Take for example, the detailed stories of how non-Muslim women were treated with little regard by the growing Muslim community during the Rashidun period. Female captives faced a daunting future when taken during Muhammad’s battles and campaigns as he fought to gain territory in Arabia 33. Many troubling stories are detailed of non-believing women, taken as captives by the early Muslims, who had little choice but to turn to Islam after their capture if they were to escape judgement, or treated as mere chattel 34.

In today’s world, Muhammad and his tribal warriors affirmed the practice of sexual violence against women in war, the trafficking of women in sex-slavery, and the forced marriages of women (including married women). The early Islamic literature reports that ‘spoils of war’ were subsequently taken as wives, sold ‘for horses and weapons,’ retained for ransom leverage 35, or kept as slaves and concubines by the Muslim raiders 36. Suggesting that during Muhammad’s last ten years, there seems to have been few freedoms for non-Muslim women who found themselves under his ‘protection’ 37.

There are further disturbing stories, such as reports from Muhammad’s young teenage wife Aisha, which tell of women being captured, abused, enslaved, and killed. Aisha is said to have related one such incident of a woman in fear of what she was about to face

She was…talking with me and laughing immoderately as the apostle was killing her men [the men of the Quraysh tribe] in the market when suddenly an unseen voice called her name…the woman states, “I am to be killed… because of something I did.” 38 She was then beheaded.

Safiyah bint Huyayy, a wife Muhammad took as booty in battle 39, is another such story of a captured woman. The Jews gave up all their possessions as loot to Muhammad at the siege of Khaybar after Kinana the Chief, Safiyah’s husband, and her relatives were tied to stakes and burned with fire to torture out of them the whereabouts of their wealth. His victims included her father, brother, first husband, three uncles and several cousins. Kinana’s 17 year old wife was then forced to become Muhammad’s wife, and Muhammad consummated the wedding soon after, not waiting for the prescribed iddah (waiting period) as dictated in the Qur’an. (2:234-235; 65:1-6). Her life is an example of the lives of the women enslaved by Muslim groups which are prolific today, such as ISIS, Boko Haram, Al-Shabab, as well as ongoing stories of forced marriages within Muslim communities of the world 40.

“Diḥyah al-kalbī had asked the Messenger for Safiyah when the Prophet chose her for himself… the Apostle traded for Safiyah by giving Diḥyah her two cousins. The women of Khaybar were distributed among the Muslims.” 41

Another woman, ‘Asmā’ d. Marwān, came to an untimely death at the end of a Muslim sword while suckling her child. Her murder, an act praised by Muhammad. Yet, what was her crime? She wrote poetic verse against Muhammad after he killed a relative from her clan 42. Her open poetic critique suggests she lived in an Arabian tribe that gave people, including women, an arena for free speech; something seriously lacking among those who followed Muhammad.

Similarly, the prolific Muslim historian, al-Tabari (d.923), early compiler of Tafsir (Qur’anic exegesis) and histories of Islam, relates stories of Muhammad ordering the execution of women, reporting the following command: ‘the messenger of God commanded that six men and four women should be killed’ 43 What’s more, Muhammad’s closest companions were not exempt from horrific crimes against women. For example, Ibn Hisham 44 (who wrote the earliest full biography of Muhammad) writes of girls among the spoils of the battle of Hawāzan, whom Muhammad gave to ‘Ali, ‘Uthman, and ‘Umar 45.

A further illuminating study on the role of women pre-Islam (or non-Islamic woman of other tribes) can be seen in discussions between Muhammad and his men. The exegete, Ibn Kathir, details a story of Umar, a companion of Muhammad stating: “We, the people of Quraysh, used to have authority over our women. But when we came to live with the Ansar, we noticed that the Ansari women had the upper hand over their men, so our own started acquiring the habits of the Ansari Women.” 46 Sahih Bukhari also narrates the same story narrated by `Abdullah bin `Abbas, of Umar going to talk to Muhammad about the problem and found Hafsa weeping, along with many other Muslims, due to a rumour that Muhammad had divorced all his wives for their behaviour. Muhammad had not divorced them, but swore that he would not go to his wives for one month, because of his severe anger towards them “until Allah the Exalted and Most Honoured censured him.” This story is repeated by many narrators, exegetes and Hadith, providing some illumination of the power of women outside of Islam compared to the control of women within Islam.

It was always in response to domestic situations within Muhammad’s family that Allah responded with Qur’anic verses that defended and excused Muhammad of his oaths. We see this in sura 66:3-5 which refers to the above ‘disobedience’ of two of his wives, (traditionally held to be Hafsa and Aisha), by threatening them to toe-the-line. After one of Muhammad’s young wives had shared a secret of Muhammad with another wife, Allah informed him in part of what she had said. Allah then responds with the following threat to the wives:

“If you two [wives] turn in repentance to Allah, your hearts are indeed so inclined; but if you help one another against him then verily, Allah is his Maulā (Lord, or Master, or protector), and Jibrail, and the righteous among the believers; and furthermore, the angels are his helpers. It may be if he divorced you that his Lord would give him instead of you, wives better than you, – Muslims, believers, obedient, turning to Allah in repentance, worshipping Allah sincerely, given to fasting (or emigrants), previously married and virgins.”

It would seem, then, that strict obedience is expected and demanded from the women of Muhammad, which in turn means the same for all the women of Islam, if they are to obey the Qur’anic injunction of obeying Muhammad 47.

All of the above stories come from traditionally held authoritative Islamic sources, from their own history, and thus, according to most Muslim Jurists, from their own prophet. It is difficult to reconcile such stories with Jamal Badawi and like-minded Muslim scholar’s apologetic for an Islamic ‘ennoblement of women’. It seems Islam in fact teaches and exemplifies quite the opposite of ‘protection’, ‘rights’ and ‘safeguards’ for women.

D. Khadija and Aisha as examples of the Jahiliyya versus Islamic Women

The debates of what truly constituted a woman’s life before Islam and after Islam’s advent continue unabated. These debates largely remain in academic circles, especially among Modernist, liberal Muslim scholars, who find traditional Muslim views of womanhood based on the Sunna and Sira objectionable. Popular belief, however, among Traditional Muslims paint a despicable picture for women pre-Islam, and an ennoblement of women post Islam, although their particular view of ‘ennoblement’ is negated by Modernists.

One example of a Modernist challenging traditional belief is Leila Ahmad’s reference to Khadija and Aisha as examples of what Islam would do for women after its inception; Khadija representing the pre-Islamic woman 48, and Aisha representing what was to become the norm for Muslim women. She states,

Autonomy and monogamy were conspicuously absent in the lives of women Muhammad married after he became the established prophet and leader of Islam, and the control of women by male guardians and the male prerogative of polygyny were thereafter to become formal features of Islamic marriage 49.

She continues to say, “It was Aisha’s lot… which would prefigure the limitations that would thenceforth hem in Muslim women’s lives.” 50 These ‘limitations’ are referred to as ‘protection’, ‘rights’ and ‘safeguards’ in most popular Islamic literature.

Conclusions

A quick perusal of the literature available to us, reveal a mixed view of Jahiliyya, with some Modernist scholars contradicting the current Islamic apologetic of a ‘deplorable situation’ for women in Jahiliyya. They acknowledge that the evidence does not all point towards a ‘despicable’ situation for women, although they still champion a ‘spirit of Islam’ that sought to bring about some sort of ‘emancipation’ for women. However, in the end, it is Islamic literature itself that unwittingly provides clues of a better life for women pre-Islam, or outside of Islam, by stipulating a continued tightening of control for women post-Islam, especially for the non-Muslim women under Islamic control.

Whilst Muslim apologists in the West attempt to convince the Muslim masses of a betterment for women with the inception of Islam, their convictions fail to stand up when analysed in the light of their own Traditions; the Sira (biographies), the Tafsir (exegetes), the Tariq (histories) and their Qur’an. Furthermore, the inequalities brought upon women wherever Islam has dominated, is compelling for a narrative that underlines, spells out and points to Islamic holy literature written to men and for men. Overwhelmingly, the data highlights the establishment of the ‘degradation of women’ with few liberties and untenable wellbeing with the dawn of Islam.


 

  1. Asghar Ali Engineer, The Rights of Women in Islam (London: C. Hurst and Co, 1992), 20.
  2. Ebrahim Moosa, “The Debts and Burdens of Critical Islam,” Progressive Muslims on Justice, Gender, and Pluralism, ed. Omid Safi (Oxford: OneWorld Publications, 2003), 111 – 144.
  3. Haifaa A. Jawad, The Rights of Women in Islam: An Authentic Approach (Hampshire: Macmillan Press Ltd., 1998), 2ff. This practice seems to have continued under Muhammad’s jurisdiction, cf. Alfred Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ishāq’w Sīrat rasūl Allāh (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 461ff.
  4.  Engineer, The Rights of Women in Islam, 20.
  5. C.E. Bosworth, “Al-Tabarī.” in Encyclopaedia of Islam Vol.10, eds. P.J Bearman, TH. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. Van Donzel, W.P. Heinriches (Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 2000 2), 11-15.
  6. Raga’ El-Nimr, “Women in Islamic Law,” in Feminism and Islam: Legal and Literary Perspectives, ed. Mai Yamani (Reading: Ithaca Press, 1996), 87.
  7. Amina Wadud, Qur’an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman’s Perspective (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 14ff.
  8. Ibid., 87.
  9. Engineer, The Rights of Women in Islam, 20.
  10. Sunan Dawud, in Engineer, The Rights of Women, 21.
  11. Engineer, The Rights of Women, 22.
  12. Ibid.
  13. The same phrase ‘what your right hand possesses’ is repeated in 4:24-25; 23:6; 24:34; 70:30; 33:50.
  14. Ghada Karmi, “Women, Islam and Patriarchalism” in Feminism and Islam: Legal and Literary Perspectives, ed. Mai Yamani (Berkshire: Ithaca Press, 1996), 76.
  15. Polyandry: women having more than one husband at a time.
  16. Karmi, “Women, Islam and Patriarchalism,” in Feminism and Islam, 77.
  17. Ibid., 79.
  18. Ibid., 80.
  19. Leila Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam: Historical roots of a Modern Debate (Newhaven & London: Yale University Press), 43.
  20. Patricia Crone, ‘What do We Actually Know About Mohammed?’ (31.08.2007), at Open Democracy.net, http://www.opendemocracy.net/faith-europe_islam/mohammed_3866.jsp, accessed May 5th, 2007.
  21. Engineer, The Rights of Women in Islam, 33.
  22. Jawad, The Rights of Women in Islam, 2ff. This practice seems to have continued under Muhammad’s jurisdiction, cf. Guillaume, The life of Muhammad, 461ff.
  23. Ibid., 4.
  24. Cf. Qur’an 3:194; 33:32; 16:95; 9:71; 48:5.
  25. Cf. Sherif Abdel Azim’s [Ph.D. from Queens University in Ontario, Canada
  26. Jawad, in The Rights of Women In Islam, 7.
  27. Ibid., also cf. S.A.A Mawdudi, Purdah and the Status of Woman in Islam (Lahore: Islamic Publications Ltd, 1998), 150-155.
  28. Read about Muhammad’s disturbing marriage to Safiyah bint Huyayy (See Alfred Guillaume/Ishaq 241-242, 511, 514-515, 516-517, 520; Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, pp. 134-135; Al-Tabari, V. 39, pp. 184-185), and his unofficial concubine: a beautiful Coptic concubine (possibly sent as a gift from the governor of Egypt). Muhammad went to Hafsa for her day, but she was not at home, so he took her slave girl instead, Mariya. Hafsa caught them. The slave girl got pregnant, but the baby died. Aisha was very jealous and both women refused to sleep with Muhammad. It was then that Muhammad received the revelation from Allah threatening to replace them with better wives for Muhammad, if they did not start towing the line (S 66:5) (Guillaume/Ishaq, 653; Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, pp. 137, 141; Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, pp. 193-195; Bewley/Saad 8:148-151).
  29. Ephesians 5:25 ‘Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her’, as well as the celebration of the love and intimacy between a man and woman in the Song of Songs.
  30. Jamal A.Badawi, “The Status of Women in Islam,” http://www.iad.org/books/S-women.html, accessed 5th December 2005.
  31. See, Sherif Abdel Azeem, “Women in Islam Verses Women in the Judeo Christian Tradition, Islam101, http:// www.islam101.com/religions/christianity/women3.html, and the Christian response at: http://www.answering- islam.de/Main/Responses/Azeem/women_response.htm.
  32. Jamal A. Badawi, The Status of Women in Islam (Birmingham: Islamic Propagation Centre International, no date given), 8.
  33. Al Waqidi, 348-349. Guillaume, 466; Al-Tabari, Vol. 8, p. 117; Vol. 9, p. 137; Vol. 39 p. 164-165.
  34. Juwayriyya bint Al-Harith a Jewess, a very beautiful wife of the chief, who was taken as booty. She tried to buy her freedom, butcaught Muhammad’s eye. Aisha was very jealous of her (Guillaume/Ishaq, 490-493; Al- Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 133; Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 182-184).
  35. Alfred Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ishāq’w Sīrat rasūl Allāh (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 593.
  36. Ibid., 466.
  37. Ibid., 464.
  38. Ibid.
  39. Guillaume/Ishaq 241-242, 511, 514-515, 516-517, 520; Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, pp. 134-135; Al-Tabari, V. 39, pp. 184-185.
  40. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/mar/11/forced-marriage-pakistan-matrimony-laws, accessed 3rd June, 2016.
  41. Al Tabari VIII:117
  42. Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad, 675 & Ibn Sa’d, Haq.S. Moinul, ed., Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir 2, p. 30-31.
  43. Al-Tabari, “The Victory of Islam,” in The History of al-Tabari, Vol.8, trans. Michael Fishbein (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997), 178-181.
  44. Muslims believe his writings are based on an earlier version of Muhammad’s biography written by Ibn Ishaq, but very little, if any of Ishaq’s writing are in existence, except for references in material too late to be authentic.
  45. Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad, 593.
  46. Sahih Bukhari Vol. 3, book 43, # 648; http://sunnah.com/bukhari/46/29, accessed 11.06.16.
  47. “He who obeys the Messenger (Muhammad) has indeed obeyed Allah…” (S. 4:80) “Nor does he speak from (his own) desire. It is only a Revelation revealed.” (S. 53:3) “And Allah said: “Oh you who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger.” (S.47:33) “Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.” (S. 33:21) “And verily, you are on an exalted standard of character.” (S. 68:4) “It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed in a plain error.” (S. 33:36)
  48. Karmi, “Women, Islam and Patriarchalism,” in Feminism and Islam, 78.
  49. Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam, 42ff.
  50. Ibid., 43.