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The Meaning of Marriage in Islam

 

Qur'an-marriage ring

Marriage in Islam is regarded first and foremost as a righteous act, an act of responsible devotion.

Muslim scholars have interpreted the Qur’an to mean that marriage is a religious duty, a moral safeguard, and social commitment. As a religious duty, it must be fulfilled; but like all other duties in Islam, it is enjoined only upon those who are capable of meeting the responsibilities involved.

Challenging Commitment

Whatever meanings people assign to marriage, Islam views it as a strong bond (mithaq ghaleez), a challenging commitment in the fullest sense of the word. It is a commitment to life itself, to society, and to the dignified, meaningful survival of the human race. It is a commitment that married partners make to one another as well as to God.

It is the kind of commitment in which they find mutual fulfillment and self-realization, love and peace, compassion and serenity, comfort and hope. All this is because marriage in Islam is regarded first and foremost as a righteous act, an act of responsible devotion. Sexual control may be a moral triumph, reproduction, a social necessity or service, a sound health and a gratifying state of mind.

Yet, these values and purposes of marriage would take on a special meaning and be reinforced if they are intertwined with the idea of God, conceived also as religious commitments, and internalized as divine blessings. And this seems to be the focal point of marriage in Islam. To paraphrase some Qur’anic verses, the call is addressed to mankind:

O mankind! Be dutiful to God, Who created them from a single soul, and from it created its mate, and from the two of them scattered abroad many men and women. (An-Nisaa’ 4:1)

It was God Who created mankind out of one living soul, and created of that soul a spouse so that he might find comfort and rest in her. (Al-A`raf 7:189)

And it is a sign of God that He has created for men, of themselves, mates to seek in their company peace and tranquility, and has set between them mutual love and mercy. Surely, in that are signs for those who contemplate. (Ar-Rum 30:21)

strong bond

Even at the most trying times of married life, and in the midst of legal disputes and litigation, the Qur’an reminds the parties of God’ s law.

Dutifulness

Even at the most trying times of married life, and in the midst of legal disputes and litigation, the Qur’an reminds the parties of God’ s law; it commands them to be kind to one another, truly charitable toward one another, and above all dutiful to God.

It is noteworthy that the Islamic provisions of marriage apply to men and women equally. For example, if celibacy is not recommended for men, it is equally so for women. This is in recognition of the fact that women’ s needs are equally legitimate and are seriously taken into consideration.

In fact, Islam regards marriage to be the normal, natural course for women just as it is for men. It may even be more so for women because it assures them, among other things, of relative economic security.

This significant additional advantage for women does not, however, characterize marriage as a purely economic transaction. In fact, the least focal aspect of marriage in Islam is the economic factor, no matter how powerful this may be. The Prophet is reported to have said that

“A woman is ordinarily sought as wife for her wealth, for her beauty, for the nobility of her stock, or for her religious qualities; but blessed and fortunate is he who chooses his mate for piety in preference to everything else.” (Muslim)

The Qur’an commands marriage to the spouseless and the pious even though they may be poor and slaves:

And marry those among you who are single and those who are fit among your male slaves and your female slaves; if they are needy, Allah will make them free from want out of His grace; and Allah is Ample-giving, All-Knowing. (An-Nur 24:32)

On the other hand, whatever dowry (marriage gifts) a man gives his prospective wife belongs to her; and whatever she may have acquired prior to or after marriage is hers alone. There is no necessary community of property of husbands and wives.

Furthermore, it is the husband who is responsible for the maintenance and economic security of the family. He must even provide the wife with the kind of help and service to which she was used before marriage, and, according to some scholars, she is under no legal obligation to do the routine housework, although she may do so, and usually does, for some reason or other, e.g. cooperation, economy, etc.

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The article is excerpted from Dr. Hammudah’s well-known book “Islam in Focus”.

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Rights of the Muslim Woman: The Daughter and the Wife

By Dr. Jamal Badawi 

Woman as a Daughter

1- The Qur’an ended the cruel pre-Islamic practice of female infanticide(wa’d):

Rights of the Muslim Woman- The Daughter and the Wife

Parents are duty-bound to support and show kindness and justice to their daughters.

When the female (infant) buried alive is questioned for what crime she was killed…. (At-Takwir 81:8-9)

The Qur’an went further to rebuke the unwelcoming attitude of some parents upon hearing the news of the birth of a baby girl, instead of a baby boy:

When news is brought to one of them of (the birth of) a female (child), his face darkens and he is filled with inward grief! With shame he hides himself from his people because of the bad news he has had! Shall he retain her on (sufferance and) contempt or bury her in the dust? Ah! What an evil (choice) they decide on! (An-Nahl 16:58-59)

3- Parents are duty-bound to support and show kindness and justice to their daughters. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

Whosoever has a daughter and does not bury her alive, does not insult her, and does not favor his son over her, Allah will enter him into paradise. (Ahmad)

Whosoever supports two daughters until they mature, he and I will come on the day of judgment as this (and he pointed with his two fingers held together). (Ahmad)

4- A crucial aspect in the upbringing of daughters that greatly influences their future is education. Education is not only a right but a responsibility for all males and females.

Prophet Muhammad said, “Seeking knowledge is mandatory for every Muslim”. (Al-Bayhaqi and Ibn-Majah)

(The word “Muslim” here is inclusive of both males and females.)

As a Wife

1- Marriage in Islam is based on mutual peace, love and compassion, and not the mere satisfying of human sexual desire.

And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts); verily in that are signs for those who reflect. (Ar-Rum 30:21)

(He is) the Creator of the heavens and the earth: He has made for you pairs from among yourselves and pairs among cattle: by this means does He multiply you: there is nothing whatever like unto Him and He is the One that hears and sees (all things). (Ash-Shura 42:11)

Marriage and Divorce

2- The female has the right to accept or reject marriage proposals.

Her consent is a prerequisite to the validity of the martial contract, according to the Prophets’ teaching. It follows that if an “arranged marriage” means the marrying of a female without her consent, then such a marriage may be annulled if the female so wishes:

Ibn `Abbas reported that a girl came to the Messenger of Allah, and she reported that her father had forced her to marry without her consent. The Messenger of God gave her the choice… (between accepting the marriage or invalidating it. (Ahmad)

Another version of the report states that the girl said: “Actually, I accept this marriage, but I wanted to let women know that parents have no right to force a husband on them.” (Ibn-Majah)

3- The husband is responsible for the maintenance, protection, and overall leadership (qiwamah) of the family, within the framework of consultation and kindness. The mutuality and complementarity of husband and wife does not mean “subservience” by either party to the other. Prophet Muhammad helped with household chores although the responsibilities he bore and the issues he faced in his community were immense.

The mothers shall give suck to their offspring for two whole years, if the father desires to complete the term. But he shall bear the cost of their food and clothing on equitable terms. No soul shall have a burden laid on it greater than it can bear.  No mother shall be treated unfairly on account of her child, nor father on account of his child. A heir shall be chargeable in the same way. If they both decide on weaning by mutual consent, and after due consultation, there is no blame on them. If you decide on a foster-mother for your offspring, there is no blame on you, provided you pay (the mother) what you offered on equitable terms. But fear Allah and know that Allah sees well what you do. (Al-Baqarah 2:233)

Prophet Muhammad instructed Muslims regarding women,

“I commend you to be kind to women.” (Al-Bukhari) He said also, “The best of you is the best to his family (wife).” (An-Nawawi in his book Riyad As-Saliheen)

The Qur’an urges husbands to be kind and considerate to their wives, even if a wife falls out of favor with her husband or disinclination for her arises within him. It also outlawed the pre-Islamic Arabian practice whereby the stepson of the deceased father was allowed to take possession of his father’s widow(s) (inherit them) as if they were part of the estate of the deceased:

O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should you treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the marital gift you have given them, except when they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary, live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to them, it may be that you dislike a thing through which Allah brings about a great deal of good. (An-Nisaa’ 4:19)

4- Should marital disputes arise, the Qur’an encourages couples to resolve them privately in a spirit of fairness and probity. Under no circumstances does the Qur’an encourage, allow, or condone family violence or physical abuse.

In extreme cases, and whenever greater harm, such as divorce, is a likely option, it allows for a husband to administer a gentle pat to his wife that causes no physical harm to the body nor leaves any sort of mark. It may serve, in some cases, to bring to the wife’s attention to the seriousness of her continued unreasonable behavior  (refraction), and may be resorted to only after exhausting other steps discussed in endnote.

If that mild measure is not likely to prevent a marriage from collapsing, as a last measure, it should not be resorted to. Indeed, the Qur’an outlines an enlightened step and a wise approach for the husband and wife to resolve persistent conflict in their martial life: In the event that disputes cannot be resolved equitably between husband and wife, the Qur’an prescribes mediation between the parties through family intervention on behalf of both spouses.

5- Divorce is a last resort, permissible but not encouraged, for the Qur’an esteems the preservation of faith and the individual’s right – male and female alike – to felicity. Forms of marriage dissolution include an enactment based upon mutual agreement, the husband’s initiative, the wife’s initiative (if part of her martial contract), the court’s decision on a wife’s initiative (for a legitimate reason) and the wife’s initiative without a “cause” provided that she returns her marital gift to her husband (khul` or divestiture).

6- Priority for the custody of young children (up to the age of about seven) is given to the mother. A child later may choose the mother or father as his or her custodian.

Custody questions are to be settled in a manner that balances the interests of both parents and the well-being of the child.

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s “Gender Equity in Islam: Basic Principles”.

 

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Merits of the Prophet’s Wife, Lady Khadijah

Translated from an article by 'Abdullah ibn 'Abduh Nu'man Al-'Awaadi

Spouses are partners in life. In life’s different conditions, they are friends for better or worse, in prosperity and adversity, in poverty and richness, and in hopes and pains. When a good husband marries a good wife, she becomes the best consort and friend he has won.

Our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was one of those whom Allah chose for them the best of women. Allah chose for His Messenger the best and most virtuous women to be his wives. Thus, they were the best wives to the best husband ever. Of his pure wives was Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her)

Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) was a model of purity and chastity that every Muslim woman may be inspired to emulate. A Muslim woman should learn that from her as well as how to choose a husband, how to help solve the husband’s problems and how to allay his concerns and sorrows. Moreover, a wife should learn about her husband’s past life and benefit from it for a better present and future. Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) was also a model of unique sacrifice for advocating the truth, offering tangible and intangible support for the Islamic Call after accepting it right away and without hesitation.

The life of our Mother Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) was filled with causes of righteousness for Muslim women to emulate. She is like a school whose successful graduates are those women who would like to be good wives, successful preachers, ascetic worshippers and businesswomen who uses their wealth to advocate the truth.

Here’s a short part of Khadijah’s biography Khadijah bint Khuwailid:

Allah chose for His Messenger the best and most virtuous women to be his wives.

Her biography and behavior:

Her name is Khaidijah bint Khuwailid ibn Asad ibn ‘Abd al-‘Uzza ibn qusai. She was from the tribe of Asad from Quraish. She was the Prophet’s wife and the first to believe in his prophethood and accept Islam. The prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) married her maybe 15 years or over before his prophethood. The reason why she wanted to marry the Prophet (peace be upon him) was his good behavior which was very well-known among the people of Makkah.

Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her), who was older than the Prophet (peace be upon him), gave birth to all his children except Ibrahim. She was honest, forbearing and wealthy. After she had become a widow, every noble man from Quraish wanted to marry her. When the Prophet (pace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to travel to trade for her, the profits increased. Later, she wanted to marry him. So, she sent Nafisah bint Umayah who said to him, “why don’t you marry?” “I have nothing.” he replied. “What if you needn’t have anything as you are invited to marry a wealthy, beautiful and an efficient woman?” she suggested. “Who is she?” he asked. “Khadijah” she answered. Thereupon, he agreed.[i]

Her qualities:

1. Nobility, honorable lineage, wealth and honor

2. Sound judgment and apparent wisdom

3. She sacrificed her wealth in order to advocate the truth

4. She loved the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and gave preference to his pleasure

5. Chastity and purity; she was nicknamed “the Pure” in the pre-Islamic period.

Her Merits:

1. Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) was the first person ever to believe in the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)

2. She was given glad tidings of Paradise while she was still alive. Narrated Abu Huraira: Gabriel came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! This is Khadija coming to you with a dish having meat soup (or some food or drink). When she reaches you, greet her on behalf of her Lord (i.e. Allah) and on my behalf, and give her the glad tidings of having a palace of hollowed pearls in Paradise wherein there will be neither any noise nor any fatigue (trouble).” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

3. Allah and the archangel Gabriel greeted her.

4. The best of Muslim women

Narrated `Ali: I heard the Prophet (ﷺ) saying, “Mary, the daughter of `Imran, was the best among the women (of the world of her time) and Khadija is the best amongst the women (of this nation). (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

5. She gave birth to all the children of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon her) who said, “Khadija was such-and-such, and from her I had children.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The Prophet rewarded her for all these favors:

1. He did not marry a second wife until she had died.

2. He loved her so much and did not forget her virtues and favors

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: Her love had been nurtured in my heart by Allah Himself. (Muslim)

3. He felt great sorrow over her death.

4. He always remembered her even after her death

Narrated ‘Aisha: “Once Hala bint Khuwailid, Khadija’s sister, asked the permission of the Prophet (ﷺ) to enter. On that, the Prophet (ﷺ) remembered the way Khadija used to ask permission, and that upset him. He said, “O Allah! Hala!” So I became jealous and said, “What makes you remember an old woman amongst the old women of Quraish an old woman (with a teethless mouth) of red gums who died long ago, and in whose place Allah has given you somebody better than her?” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

5. He kept good ties with her friends as an act of loyalty to her.

Narrated `Aisha: I did not feel jealous of any of the wives of the Prophet (ﷺ) as much as I did of Khadija though I did not see her, but the Prophet (ﷺ) used to mention her very often, and whenever he slaughtered a sheep, he would cut its parts and send them to the women friends of Khadija. When I sometimes said to him, “(You treat Khadija in such a way) as if there is no woman on earth except Khadija,” he would say, “Khadija was such-and-such, and from her I had children.” (Al-Bukhari)

A sad incident and its date:

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) led a life of ease and comfort with Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her). He found tranquility, peace of mind and solace with her. She helped him in facing all the difficulties of life so she was a joy to the eye for him. However, death is certain and it is a destiny that can never be postponed. Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) died on 10 Ramadan in the 10th year after prophethood. It was also said that she died before that.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) felt great sorrow and pain at that because he lost the one who used to help and support him. He lost a beloved wife who was with him in times of prosperity and adversity for twenty five years. His sorrow increased as it wasn’t a long time since his uncle Abu Talib had died. His uncle also used to defend and protect him especially outside whereas Khadijah used to support him especially inside the house.

Lessons to be learned from this incident:

1. No matter how strong love is, death can cause people to break up. So, love whoever you wish, you will break up one day. However, the content and patient believer will be rewarded for this.

2. Sorrow which is not accompanied by words or actions that contradict patience is permissible. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) felt sorrow at the death of Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her)

3. One feels greater sorrow at the death of a person whose life is filled with acts of charity and goodness.

4. The death of a good wife remains a deep wound that memories, similar incidents and voices keep reopening.

5. What our mother Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) has done to support and help Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as well as her good qualities make us hold her in high esteem and to respect and praise her.


[i] Adapted from Ibn Hajar’s Al-Isabah fi tamyeez Al-Sahabah (7/600-604)

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Prophet Muhammad: The Perfect Family Man

Prophet’s Family Life: It’s Peace and Harmony

While the Prophet carried out his mission of Islam, he never shirked his duties as a household member.

The Qur’an is full of wonderful stories that revolve around fatherhood. It is probably one of the most overlooked thematic messages in the Qur’an. Repeatedly, Allah bears witness to prophets who are recognized as great fathers.

Chapter four of the Qur’an (an-Nisaa) tells us how humanity sprung forth from the first prophet and father, Adam, and the womb of our mother, Hawwa (Eve).

Prophet Nuh (Noah) pleaded with his son to believe in the oneness of God before calamity hit.

Prophet Lut (Lot) valiantly protected his children from the surrounding lewdness and temptation in his community.

Prophet Yaqub (Jacob) dealt with the heartbreaking abduction of his young son, Yusuf (Joseph) by his older brothers.

Then there was the epic du’a of the father of the Abrahamaic faiths, Ibrahim (AS),as he took upon the task of building the Ka’abah with his wonderful son, Ismail. By way that Allah had commanded the dynamic father and son duo to build the Ka’abah is testament to how important the role of the father is in Islam.

After all, Allah (SWT) could have commanded Ibrahim to build the House of Allah on his own, but he had a little helper, an assistant, and the final prophet, Muhammad, came from the direct lineage of Ismail.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

Prophet Muhammad himself was the ultimate family man of all times.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) sternly advised his followers:”The best of you is he who is best to his family and I am the best among you to my family” (Tirmidhi). By saying this, he reminded the ummah (Muslim community) to emulate his behavior when dealing with their own families.

The cornerstone of a strong Muslim ummah lies within the family unit. Many problems that arise today is really due to the disrupted relationship between spouses, between parent and child, and even between siblings. In addition, this could be very well a function of poor leadership by the father, although there are always other factors involved.

If all, or a majority of family units were held on sturdy grounds, then members of the same would have better outward relations with others, whether they are neighbors, co-workers, classmates, and other families in the community in general. So, it is no wonder that the Prophet (PBUH) took time to remind us of the importance of leadership within a family.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) embodied the importance of a strong family unit in his own family life. He loved his first wife Khadijah so much that even years after her passing he kept good relations with her family. The Prophet’s young wife Aisha felt the devotion he had toward Khadijah even though she passed away years before her own marriage to prophet Muhammad.

The Good Husband

The Prophet was, of course, good with Aisha too. He raced with her and took her on excursions. He taught her the Qur’an and his sunnah (his teachings and practices); especially those matters relating to women and intimacy. His young wife made sure to carefully record those teachings.

The Prophet spent a lot of time with Aisha. He accompanied her when she wanted to spend a laid-back afternoon watching sports.

He was good to his other wives as well. Many of the Prophet’s sayings mention their contributions to society. This could only surface through a husband who recognized them as iconic women of their time.

Umar ibn Khattab was shocked to see how the Prophet’s wives would speak back to their husband. They would rush to hide when Umar entered the Prophet’s household telling him – from behind a veil –that he was stern and harsh while Prophet Muhammad was kind and understanding toward them.

While the Prophet carried out his mission of Islam, he never shirked his duties as a household member – often tidying up and mending torn clothes.

While many men nowadays would struggle with one wife, Prophet Muhammad kept good relations with all of his wives. There was, sometimes, enmity between them (as human as they were). But he would deal with the problems justly and without causing harm. He never once raised a hand towards them even when relationships in his household were strained.

The Kind Father

The Prophet raised four daughters in a culture where baby girls were considered cursed. He educated them and married them to pious Muslim husbands. The Prophet still rushed to his daughter Fatimah’s house when he missed her even after she became a mother to many children herself. He was known for letting her boys ride on his back during congregational prayer.

The companions of the Prophet often commented that his daughter Fatimah was the person who resembled him most in appearance and behavior. When Fatimah entered a room where the Prophet was, he would rise, kiss her and lead her to his seat. She would do the same when he stopped by to see her.

Fatimah was so attached to her father that she was happy to hear from the Prophet that she would be the first of his family to follow him in death.

Arguably, there is no stronger bond between father and daughter than the relationship of these two remarkable people.

Among the many adversities faced by the Prophet, he also lost children; two sons in Makkah and one in Madinah. The Prophet naturally wept at their deaths. His archenemy and uncle, Abu Lahab, on the other hand, celebrated their deaths. Allah sent the Prophet a special gift in Chapter 108 (al-Kawthar) of the Qur’an, promising eternal happiness to calm the heavy heart of the bereaved father.

Spouses’ Mutual Rights

In his farewell sermon to believers, the Prophet reminded men to be gentle with their wives. He also told them that wives and husbands both had rights and responsibilities towards each other.

He said,

“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.”

The Prophet was sent to perfect a faith that supported (among other things) women’s rights: elevating their status in society, honoring them as mothers, and garnering their values, knowledge and expertise to enrich the development of a thriving ummah.

The Qur’an is full of messages about fatherhood and good leadership within a family. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) demonstrated through his own behavior –in outstanding leaps and bounds –how to be the perfect family man.


Source: aboutislam.net

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Legal Rulings Concerning Menstruation

By Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan

Menstruation is the flow of a type of natural blood from the womb at specific times. This flow of blood occurs every month for six or seven days, and the period may last for more or less than that. In other words, a woman’s menstrual period may last for a fewer or more than seven days depending on the different nature of each woman as predetermined by Allah.

 Allah, Exalted be He, says:

“And they ask you about menstruation. Say, ‘It is harm, so keep away from wives during menstruation. And do not approach them until they are pure. And when they have purified themselves, then come to them from where Allah has ordained for you. Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves.’” (Qur’an: AI- Baqarah: 222)

Rulings Stated in the Noble Qur’an and the Sunnah Concerning Menstruation

It is prohibited for a menstruating woman either to perform prayer or observe fasting.

1. Performing Prayer and Fasting

It is prohibited for a menstruating woman either to perform prayer or observe fasting. This is because the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said to Fatimah Bint Abu Hubaysh:

“Give up prayer when your menstrual period begins.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Thus, the prayer and fasting of a menstruating woman are deemed invalid, as the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) has prohibited that. And the Prophet’s prohibition means it is invalid to perform what he has prohibited. Therefore, a woman who performs such acts of worship in that state of impurity is considered to be disobedient to Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace).

May women make up for the missed prayers and days of fasting?

When the menstrual period is over, a woman has to make up for the missed days of fasting according to the juristic consensus, without making up for the prayers she has missed. ‘A’ishah (Allah be pleased with her) said:

“When we menstruated during the life of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace), we used to be commanded (by Allah’s Messenger) to make up for the missed days of fasting, but we were not ordered to make up for the missed prayers.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

What else is prohibited for a menstruating woman?

It is impermissible for a menstruating woman to make tawaf (circumambulating the Ka’bah), to recite the Noble Quran*, or to stay in a mosque. In addition, it is prohibited for her husband to have sexual intercourse with her until her period is over and she takes a ritual bath. Allah, Exalted be He, says:

“And they ask you about menstruation. Say, ‘It is harm, so keep away from wives during menstruation. And do not approach them until they are pure. And when they have purified themselves, then come to them from where Allah has ordained for you…” (Quran: Al-Baqarah: 222)

 

The phrase “…keep away from wives during menstruation” means not to have sexual intercourse with them within that period. The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) also said:

“You can do everything (with your wives during menstruation) except sexual intercourse (or ‘copulation,’ as in another version).” (Related by the Group of Compilers of Hadith except Al-Bukhari)

A  husband of a menstruating woman may enjoy her by kissing, touching, and the like, except for having sexual intercourse with her.

What is the legal ruling on divorce during menstruation?

Likewise, it is impermissible for the husband of a menstruating woman to divorce her before her menstrual period is over, as Allah says;

“O Prophet when you [Muslims] divorce women, divorce them at [the commencement of] their waiting period…” (Quran: At-Talaq: 1)

That is, when they become pure (from menstruation, sexual intercourse, etc.). Also, the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) ordered a man who had divorced his wife during her menstrual period to take her back and to divorce her (if he insisted) when her period was over.

What must a woman do after the end of her menstrual period?

Once the menstrual blood stops discharging, a woman becomes pure and her menstrual period is deemed over. She must then take a ritual bath. After that, she is allowed to do whatever acts of worship which were prohibited for her during menstruation.

What is the legal ruling on secretion and yellowish discharge?

After blood stops discharging, a woman does not have to be concerned about any secretion or yellowish discharge. The following hadith supports this. On the authority of Umm ‘Atiyyah (may Allah be pleased with her) who said:

“We never considered yellowish discharge as a thing of importance (as menstruation)”

Al-Bukhari and other compilers of Hadiths related the above mentioned hadith. Moreover, it is deemed a marfu’ (Traceable) hadith, for the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) approved of its content.

When may women start performing prayer?

If the discharge of a woman in a state of menstruation or postnatal bleeding stops before sunset, she must perform both the Dhuhr (Noon) and the ‘Asr (Afternoon) Prayers of the same day. Likewise, if the discharge stops before dawn, she must perform both the Maghrib (Sunset) and the ‘Isha’ (Night) Prayers of the same night. This is because the time of prayer for the latter is a permissible time of prayer for the former in case of a legal excuse. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

“So, the majority of scholars, such as Malik, Ash-Shafi’i and Ahmad view that if a menstruating woman’s discharge stops at the end of daytime, it is obligatory for her to combine performing both the Dhuhr and the ‘Asr Prayers of the same day. Also, if the discharge stops at the end of the night, it is obligatory for her to combine performing both the Maghrib and ‘Isha Prayers of the same night. This is because there is a legal common specified time for every two successive prayers to be combined due to a legal excuse.

To clarify, if a woman’s discharge stops at the end of the day, it is obligatory for her to perform the Dhuhr Prayer before the ‘Asr Prayer, for it is still a permissible time to perform the Dhuhr Prayer, i.e. she is still at the specified period of the Dhuhr Prayer. Likewise, if that was at the end of the night, it is obligatory for her to perform the Maghrib and the ‘Isha Prayers, as she is still at the specified time of the Maghrib Prayer. This ruling was narrated on the authority of ‘Abdur-Rahmdn, Abu Hurayrah, and Ibn “Abbas.”

What is the legal ruling if a woman do not perform prayer at the very beginning of its specified time and her period arrives before she can perform it?

If a woman starts discharging before she can perform an obligatory prayer at its specific time, the preponderant opinion is that she is not required to make up for such a prayer after her discharge stops. In this respect, Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

“The opinion of the Hanafi and Maliki Schools is the most cogent; as they maintain that a woman is not required to make up for such a missed prayer after her discharge stops. This is because making up for such a prayer necessitates a new legal command, and there is none in this case. Her delay of prayer is based on a legal excuse, so she is not to blame, as the delay is not out of negligence.

If a Muslim oversleeps or forgets to perform a prayer at its due time, though it is not out of negligence, the time of prayer starts for him when he gets up or remembers. Thus, his prayer is not considered a way of making up for a missed one.”


*: Some scholars hold the opinion that a menstruating woman may read the Gracious Quran. However, she may not touch or hold the Mus-haf (a written or printed copy of the Quran) with bare hands, namely, she can wear gloves or read from a smartphone, etc. Narrated `Aisha:

I was menstruating when I reached Mecca. So, I neither performed Tawaf of the Ka`ba, nor the Tawaf between Safa and Marwa. Then I informed Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) about it. He replied, “Perform all the ceremonies of Hajj like the other pilgrims, but do not perform Tawaf of the Ka`ba till you get clean (from your menses).” (Al-Bukhari)

The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence” with some modifications.

Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan is a Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence, Member of the Board of Senior Ulema & Member of the Permanent Committee for Fatwa and Research.

 

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The Distorted Image of Muslim Women

By Sister Naasira bint Ellison

Since the height of the feminist movement in the late 70`s there has been a magnifying glass placed over the status of Muslim women.

Unfortunately, the magnifying glass that has been used is an unusual one. Unusual in the sense that it is very selective about which items it will magnify; other items it will distort to such a degree that they will no longer look familiar.

Islam has the most humane and most just system of divorce that exists.

I remember once reading an “in depth” article about the lives of Muslim women. This article “explained” that at any time a man can divorce his wife by simply stating “I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you”.

This article can lead anyone ignorant of the Islamic ruling regarding divorce to believe that in less than five seconds the woman is left with no husband and is left to care for herself (and possibly children) by any means necessary.

The question that immediately popped up in my mind was, “Did the author innocently write that out of sincere ignorance or was it another of the many attempts to degrade the religion of Islam and its followers (Muslims)?” It may be out of paranoia, but I tend to believe it was the latter of the two.

The Islamic System of Divorce

The truth of the matter is that Islam has the most humane and most just system of divorce that exists. Firstly, many options are taken and tried before coming to the decision of divorce. If the man and woman decide that they can no longer live together successfully as a husband and wife, the husband (in most cases, not always) pronounces the divorce by saying “I divorce you”. At this point the waiting period begins.

The Purposes of the Waiting Period

The waiting period lasts for three menstrual cycles to assure the woman is not pregnant. This period allows the couple time to think about what they are doing and if this is what they really want to do. There are no lawyers involved to antagonize an already delicate situation.

In the case that it is realized, that the woman is pregnant, the waiting period lasts the entire time she is pregnant. During the waiting period (whether the woman is pregnant or not) the man is obligated to provide food, clothing and shelter to the woman as he did before the divorce pronouncement.

If the couple carries the divorce through to the birth of the child and the woman suckles the baby, the man is obligated to feed and clothe both his ex-wife for the time the woman suckles (the maximum being two years). After his weaning, the child will be provided for by the father until he/she is no longer in need of support.

It is quite ironic that in such an “advanced society” as America, there are divorce cases in which women are being forced to pay alimony to their ex-husbands. Can this and many other things we know about the American system of divorce compare to the Islamic system of divorce?

Are Women Forced to Marry Men without Their Consent?

I have also read stories wherein it is stated that women are forced to marry men without their consent. This in no way resembles the marriage system in Islam. In Islam the woman marries the man of her choice. She may even marry someone that her mother and/or father objects to. The point is that it is the woman who makes the final decision as to whom she will marry.

Dowry

Once the man and the woman decide that they are interested in one another for marriage, a dowry is decided upon. A dowry is not a bride’s price but it is a gift from the groom to the bride.

They agree upon a gift that is affordable by the groom. In the time of the Prophet (PBUH) , often things such as livestock and money were given. This is a wise decision in the event that a woman becomes divorced or widowed, she has some financial security to fall back on even if it is for a limited amount of time.

The Wife’s Basic Rights

Once the man and woman are married, the man is required to clothe, feed, shelter and educate her (or allow her to be educated) in the same manner as he does himself.

Muslim Women’s Dress Code

The last distorted image that I will cover is that of the Muslim women`s dress. The western-influenced media portrays our dress to be outdated and oppressive. Needless to say, I differ with these adjectives. Our dress code does not hinder us from doing anything productive in our lives.

Muslim women maintain a variety of jobs, none of which are devalued nor hampered due to their dress code. And as for the timing of Muslim women`s dress during these contemporary times, it seems most appropriate due to decreasing morals in the world today.

For those who say that Islamic dress is outdated, they speak from great ignorance. The decreasing morality and trials of this time makes Hijab even more in need. More than ever before sex crimes are rampant.

Although this society tells women they can wear what they want to wear, anytime a rape occurs the woman is the one put on trial and one of the first questions is, “What were you wearing?” This concept seems as though it is a set up directed against the so-called contemporary woman. Also there is a direct correlation between the respect a man has for a woman and the amount of her body she displays flauntingly.

In conclusion, I hope this article helps to clear up some distorted/misunderstood aspects of Islam and women. Women in Islam are respected and held in high regard. We will never find success and/or solutions to our problems until we realize that Allah knows best and that this disbelieving society will ruin itself.


Sources:

Taken from Hudaa magazine, Jamaica, New York (as cited in http://www.iupui.edu).

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