Marriage and Family Life


Marriage and Family Life

God has created humanity as His vicegerent on Earth in order that human beings might populate and rule it. Obviously this purpose cannot be realized unless humanity perpetuates itself, living, thriving, cultivating, manufacturing, building, and worshipping its Creator. Accordingly, the Creator has placed certain appetites and impulses in humanity so that its members are impelled toward activities that guarantee humanity’s survival. The Qur’an declares:​

Men innately feel a passionate attraction toward women, children, treasures of gold and silver (money hoarded), branded horses, cattle, and plantations. Such are the enjoyments of the life of this world; yet with God is the best of the goals to pursue. (3:14)
God has inculcated such impulses in human nature so that humanity could survive on Earth and evolve spiritually and mentally by disciplining them to transform each one into a virtue in order to develop into being a true, perfect human from being only potentially human. Humanity is not like other species, for it has been created with a different disposition, multiple potentialities, and various mental and spiritual faculties. So, there must be a significant purpose behind its creation. To realize this purpose and being perfected require self-discipline. Islam is the name of the set of principles for that self-discipline.
According to Imam al-Ghazzali, Islam’s legal principles seek to protect and secure five basic values in human life, namely, religion, life, intellect, personal property, and reproduction, and forbid acts that will nullify them. When we consider the Divinely established prohibitions (e.g., unbelief, hypocrisy, associating partners with God, apostasy, killing a person, taking intoxicants and drugs, usurpation, theft, adultery, fornication, and homosexuality), we can deduce that they have been given to protect and secure those values. In order to secure these values for a virtuous life based upon justice, the observation of mutual rights, mutual helping, and righteousness, we also see that Islam has taken some measures and precautions. As regards marriage and family life, we can point to the following:
Prohibition of Approaching Adultery and Fornication. Islam prohibits illegal sexual relationships, for they lead to a confusion of lineage, child abuse, family break-ups, bitterness in relationships, the spread of venereal diseases, and a general laxity in morals. Moreover, it opens the door to a flood of lust and self-gratification. God’s command: And do not approach adultery and fornication; indeed, it is an abomination and an evil way (17:32) is absolutely just and true.
Prohibition of Privacy between a Man and a Woman Who Are not Married to Each Other. Islam prohibits a man and woman who are not married to each other from being alone together in a private place where there is no fear of being interrupted by someone else. This is done to prevent such illicit sexual activities as touching, kissing, embracing, or having sexual intercourse.​

Looking with Desire at the Opposite Sex. Islam prohibits people from looking lustfully at people of the opposite sex, for the eye is the key to the feelings, and the look is a messenger of desire. The Qur’an declares:

Tell the believing men that they should lower their gazes and guard their chastity; that is purer for them. God is well-acquainted with what they do. And tell the believing women that they should lower their gazes, guard their chastity, and not display their adornment, except that which is apparent of it, and that they should draw their head-coverings over their bosoms. (24:30-31)
Looking at the Private Parts of Others. Islam defines “the private parts” as those parts of the body that must be covered in front of others. For men, this is the area between the navel and the knees, which other men and women are not allowed to see. For women, this area is her whole body, except her face, hands and, according to some scholars, her feet. This prohibition applies to all men who are allowed to marry the woman in question.
Muslim, Abu Dawud, and al-Tirmidhi report from God’s Messenger: “A man should not look at the ‘awra (private parts) of another man, nor a woman of a woman, nor should a man go under one cloth with another man, nor a woman with another woman.”
Islam equipped and adorned Muslim men and women with chastity, dignity, self-respect, and modesty, while most of the men and women of the “ages of ignorance” were and have been vain, showy, and anxious to display their attractions.
Sexual Perversion: A Major Sin. Islam, while regulating one’s sexual drive, has prohibited illicit sexual relations and all ways that lead to them, as well as homosexuality. Homosexuality is considered a reversal of the natural order, a corruption of male sexuality, and a violation of the rights of women. The spread of this unnatural practice disrupts a society’s natural life. It also makes those who practice it slaves to their lusts, thereby depriving them of decent taste, decent morals, and a decent manner of living. The Qur’anic account of Prophet Lut’s (Lot) people should be sufficient for us.
No Monasticism. Although Islam is against sexual license, and thus prohibits fornication and adultery and blocks all ways leading to them, it does not seek to suppress the sexual urge. Therefore, it encourages people to get married and prohibits renunciation and castration.
Muhammad Abu Zahra, a modern scholar, defines marriage as follows: “Marriage is a contract that results in the man and woman living with each other and supporting each other within the limits of what has been laid down for them in terms of rights and obligations.” Ibn Uthaymin adds: “It is a mutual contract between a man and a woman, whose goal is for each to enjoy the other, become a pious family and a sound society.”
The Purpose and Goals of Marriage
Like anything a Muslim does, marriage should be undertaken only after gaining an understanding of what God has prescribed in terms of rights and obligations, as well as gaining an understanding of the wisdom behind this institution. Nearly all peoples and societies practice marriage in some form, just as they practice business. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab used to expel people from Madina’s marketplace if they did not know the Islamic rules of buying and selling. Likewise, Muslims should not engage in something as important as marriage without understanding its purpose or having a comprehensive understanding of the ensuing rights and obligations.
One of marriage’s most important purposes is to continue and increase the Muslim community’s population. Clearly, this goal could be achieved without marriage, but when actions are undertaken in disobedience to God, they do not receive His blessing and corrupt society. The goal is not just to produce children for the next generation, but to produce righteous children who will obey God, serve the people, and be a source of reward for their deceased parents.
Islam takes humanity’s natural instincts and needs into consideration. It is not like the human-made (or modified) religions or systems that place unnatural constraints on people or set them free without any restrictions. Men are inclined toward women, and women are inclined toward men. Marriage fulfills this desire and channels it in ways pleasing to God and befitting humanity’s honor and mission in life.
The desire of men and women for each other needs to be fulfilled. If left unfulfilled, it will be a source of discord and disruption in society. For this reason, God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, ordered all men who can meet the responsibilities of marriage to get married: “Whichever of you is capable should marry, for it will aid him in lowering his gaze and guarding his body (from sin). As for one who is not capable, fasting is his protection.”​

Marriage and the Home

· The purpose of marriage is not pleasure; rather, it is to establish a family, ensure the nation’s permanency and continuation, save the individual from dispersed feelings and thoughts, and to control physical pleasures. Just as with many other matters related to the basic nature that God has given to each being, pleasure is a payment made in advance to invite and encourage marriage.
· One should not marry for reasons of dress, wealth, or physical beauty; rather, marry for spiritual beauty, honor and morality, and virtue and character. Every union made in the name of marriage, but without careful thought, has left behind crying wives, orphans, and those who wound the family’s heart. Some marriages based on logic and judgment were initiated by taking refuge in God. They are so sacred that, throughout a lifetime, they function just like a school, and their “students” guarantee the nation’s permanency and continuation.
· If a couple wishes to divorce, the most intelligent criteria are of no use to those who did not (or could not) get married for the correct reasons. The important thing is not to escape from the fire in the home with the least harm, but to prevent it from ever starting.
· The soundest foundation for a nation is a family in which material and spiritual happiness flows, for such a family serves as a sacred school that raises virtuous individuals. If a nation can make its homes as enlightened and prosperous as its schools, and its schools as warm as its homes, it has made the greatest reform and has guaranteed the contentment and happiness of future generations.
· The word home is used according to the people in it. They are considered happy to the degree that they share human values. Yes, we can say that people live humanly with those in their home; a home becomes a home because of its inhabitants.
· A home is a small nation, and a nation is a large home. One who successfully manages a home and who has raised its members to a level of humanity can manage a large organization with a little effort​

(M. Fethullah Gülen, Pearls of Wisdom [trans.], The Fountain, 2000).​

Men and Women To Be Preferred in Marriage
Making sure that Muslims are well-matched to their spouses is a most important matter. Those who want to get married must have their priorities straight and be clear on what characteristics are most important in ensuring a marriage’s success. Many characteristics are important in a husband or a wife, but some are far more important than others. God’s Messenger said: “A woman is married for the excellence of her religious belief and life, her wealth or her beauty. You must prefer the one with an excellent religious belief and life.” (Canan, a.g.e., 17:190) Thus, the first thing to be sought for in a potential spouse is excellence of religious belief and life.
Character is of extreme importance, and goes hand in hand with belief and piety. The Messenger described it as the purpose of his mission: “I have only been sent to perfect good character or morality” (Tabarani, Mu'jam al-Awsat, 7:74) and “That which will weigh the heaviest in the Balance in the Hereafter is good character” (Tirmidhi, 61, HN:2070). Believers with the most perfect belief are those with the best character.
God’s Messenger advised marrying child-bearing women and preferring virginity, and said that a virgin woman is more likely to be pleased by a man and less likely to be devious and deceiving. Scholars stress that this good attribute applies to both the husband and the wife. Especially if it is each person’s first marriage, both the man and the woman should be virgins.
Beauty has a certain undeniable role to play, since one of marriage’s purposes is to keep both spouses from sin. The best way to do this is to have a strong attraction between the spouses. However, this is something that surely grows over time, and in some cases first impressions can become an obstacle to a successful marriage.
Recommended Steps. The following are important steps for those who want to get married and for those seeking to facilitate a marriage.
· The entire process, in order to be successful with God’s blessing, should be proper and consistent with the teachings of the Qur’an and the Sunna.
· Both spouses should seek to get married purely for God’s good pleasure, fulfill the purpose of marriage, and put their full trust in God.
· If they do everything properly and in accordance with the rules of Islam, God will grant them a successful marriage.
· Both the man and the woman are allowed to see their perspective spouse before taking further steps.
Prohibited Proposals and ‘Idda for Women. A divorced or widowed woman cannot remarry during her ‘idda (the waiting period during which she is not allowed to remarry) and a man cannot propose marriage to such a woman, for this waiting period is part of the previous marriage and must not be violated.
A pregnant woman’s ‘idda ends when she delivers the baby. If she is widowed but not pregnant, her ‘idda is 4 months and 10 days. If she is divorced and it is not known if she is pregnant, her ‘idda is three menstrual cycles. This ‘idda relates to women who have menstrual periods; for women who do not menstruate, the ‘idda is 3 months.
The Girl’s Consent. A girl has the right to decide about her marriage, and her father or guardian cannot override her objections or ignore her wishes.
Women to Whom Marriage Is Prohibited
Muslim men cannot marry women who belong to one of the following categories: The father’s wife, whether divorced or widowed (this prevents any sexual attraction between the son and his stepmother, who should develop a relationship of respect and honor between themselves), the mother (including grandmothers on both sides), the daughter (including granddaughters from the son or the daughter), the sister (including half- and stepsisters), the paternal aunt (whether she is the father’s real, half-, or stepsister), the maternal aunt (whether she is the father’s real, half-, or stepsister), the brother’s daughter (his niece), and the sister’s daughter (his niece).
Marriages Prohibited by Reason of Fosterage. These are as follows:
· The foster mother: Muslim men cannot marry women who suckled them during their infancy, even if it was only for one time. Although some jurists opine that in order for such a woman to be forbidden she must have suckled him five or even seven times, in order to avoid committing a sin they must not be allowed to marry each other.
· Foster sisters: Just as a woman becomes a mother to a child by virtue of suckling, so do her daughters become his sisters, her sisters his aunts, and so on. Tirmidhi (Rada, 1) reports from the Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, that: “What is forbidden by reason of genealogy is forbidden by reason of fosterage.” Thus, marriage to foster-sisters, foster-aunts, and foster-nieces is forbidden.
In-Law Relationships. These are as follows:
· The mother-in-law: Marriage to the wife’s mother is prohibited from the time a man marries a woman, whether he and his wife have engaged in sexual intercourse or not. The act of marriage itself gives the mother-in-law the same status as the mother.
· The stepdaughter: A man cannot marry his stepdaughter if he has had legal sexual intercourse with her mother (his wife). However, if a man divorces his wife before consummating the marriage, he may marry his stepdaughter.
· The daughter-in-law: This woman is the wife of the real son, not of the adopted son. In fact, Islam abolished legal formalized adoption, because it is contrary to fact and reality, and results in prohibiting what is essentially lawful and permitting what is essentially forbidden.
Sisters and Aunts as Co-Wives. As opposed to the pre-Islamic practice, Islam forbade taking two sisters as co-wives and being married at the same time to a woman and her maternal and paternal aunt.
Married Women. A woman can only be married to one man at a time. She may marry another man only if her husband has died or she has been divorced, or if she has completed her ‘Iydda (the period of waiting before remarrying).
Female Idolaters. Muslim men cannot marry women who practice idolatry (associating partners with God in His Divinity or Lordship).
Marrying Women of the People of the Book. Islam allows Muslim men to marry Jewish or Christian women, for they are considered People of the Book (Jews and Christians), or people whose tradition is based upon a Divinely revealed Scripture.
Prohibiting Muslim Women from Marrying Non-Muslim Men. Muslim women cannot marry non-Muslim man, regardless of whether they belong to the People of the Book or not.
Women Who Engage in Fornication. Islam forbids marrying women who are engaged in prostitution, adultery, and fornication. If one has engaged habitually in such activities or is a prostitute, other people are forbidden to marry them. But if one has committed it only once or twice and is not a prostitute, it still is highly advisable not to marry them. However, it is not forbidden to do so. God permits Muslims to marry chaste believing Muslim, Jewish, or Christian women. Similarly, He has made marriage lawful to men on the condition that they seek it in honest wedlock, not in lust (4:24).
Temporary Marriage (Mut‘a)

Islam considers marriage a strong bond and a binding contract based upon both partners’ intention to live together permanently in order to attain, as individuals, the benefit of the repose, affection, and mercy mentioned in the Qur’an. In addition, its purpose is to attain the social goal of reproduction and perpetuation of the human species:

God has made for you spouses of your own kind, and has made for you from your spouses children and grandchildren, and has provided you with pure, wholesome things. Do they, then, believe in falsehood and associate partners with God in denial of His blessings? (16:72)
Temporary marriage (mut‘a), which is contracted by two people to marry for a specified period of time in exchange for a specified sum of money, does not realize the above-mentioned purposes of marriage. Thus, there is no room for it in Islam.


· Adam, the first man, and Eve, the first woman, were created together at the very beginning of human existence. This indicates that marriage is natural. Reproduction is the most important purpose of this natural state. A marriage made for reasons other than bringing up new generations is no more than a temporary entertainment and adventure.
· Human generations come and go. Those who have attained high levels of spiritual and moral attainment are worthy of being considered human. Those who do not develop their spiritual faculties, due to their low level of education, scarcely merit being called human. They are nothing more than strange creatures, even though they are descended from Adam. And their parents, to whom they are a burden, are unfortunate to have nurtured them.
· Those of you who bring children into this world are responsible for raising them to the realms beyond the heavens. Just as you take care of their bodily health, so take care of their spiritual life. For God’s sake, have pity and save the helpless innocents. Do not let their lives go to waste.
· If parents encourage their children to develop their abilities and be useful to themselves and the community, they have given humanity a strong new pillar. If, on the contrary, they do not cultivate their children’s human feelings, they will have released scorpions into the community.
· Parents have the right to claim their children as long as they educate and equip them with virtue. They cannot make such a claim, however, if they neglect them. But what shall we call parents who introduce their children to wickedness and indecency, and cause them to break with humanity?​

The Rights of Children

· A child has the same meaning for humanity’s continuation as a seed for a forest’s continued growth and multiplication. People who neglect their children decay gradually.
· Children form the most active and productive part of a community after every 30 or 40 years. Those who ignore their young children should consider how important an element of their own community’s life they are disregarding, and then shudder.
· The vices observed in today’s generation, the incompetence of some administrators, and other social problems are the direct result of the conditions prevailing 30 years ago, and of that time’s ruling elite. Likewise, those entrusted with educating today’s young people are responsible for the vices and virtues that will appear 30 years from now.
· Those who want to secure their future should apply as much energy to raising their children as they devote to other problems. While the energy devoted to many other things may go in vain, whatever is spent for raising a young generation elevates them to the rank of humanity. Such people will be like an inexhaustible source of income.
· Those people in our community who are miserable and lost, such as drug addicts, alcoholics, and other dissolute people, were once children. We failed to educate them properly. I wonder whether we are sufficiently aware of the kind of people we are preparing to walk our streets tomorrow.
· Communities that pay close attention to the family institution and their young people’s education, as opposed to those who are more advanced in sciences and technology, will have the upper hand in the future.​

(M. Fethullah Gülen, Pearls of Wisdom [trans.], The Fountain, 2000.)​

The Marriage Contract (Nikah)
Islam views marriage as a contract. Thus, as with any contract, several elements are considered essential to its existence. Each of these should be understood properly to ensure that the marriage is performed properly and that each spouse receives his or her full rights.
All the scholars agree that one essential act is the “offer and acceptance,” for no marriage contract is valid without it. Either party can initiate this process. The presence of two witnesses and the dowry paid by the husband are necessary elements as well.
Conditions for a Sound Marriage Contract. These conditions are as follows:
· The woman cannot be one of those forbidden to the man by relation, nursing, or any of the other preventing factors mentioned above.
· The offer and acceptance is permanent and certain. If anything in the contract indicates something of a temporary and uncertain nature, the marriage is invalid. This is why the words of acceptance must be in the past tense, which expresses certainty.
· Two credible witnesses must be present, and the marriage should be announced and publicized.
· Both parties have willingly accepted the marriage.
· The bride and groom are identified and known.
· Neither of the contracting parties are in the state of ihram.
· The parties and witnesses are not bound to keep it quiet.
· The presence of the woman’s guardian or representative (waliy). The waliy is a Muslim man charged with marrying a woman entrusted to his care to a man who will be good for her.
· The man and woman must be legally competent (i.e., adult and sane). If they are not, the marriage is invalid. The woman cannot be from any category of women that her intended spouse cannot marry. For example, suppose the couple get married and he then learns that they had been breast-fed by the same woman. In this case, the marriage becomes null and void, because their breast-milk relationship disqualifies them from marrying each other.
· The offer and acceptance of the contract must be done in one sitting. In general, this means that the response must be immediate. The acceptance must correspond to what is being offered, and the marriage must be effective immediately.
· The bride must receive a dowry (bridal-due [mahr]).
Mahr (Dowry or Bridal-Due). The groom gives the mahr only to the bride to honor her, show his respect for her, his serious desire to marry her, and his sense of responsibility, obligation, or effort to her. The Qur’anic injunction: Give to the women (whom you marry) their bridal-due all willingly and without expecting a return (4:4) is addressed to either the husband (because it is his duty to give it) or to the guardian (because before Islam came they used to keep a woman’s dowry for themselves). This verse shows that this particular pre-Islamic custom was no longer permitted. The exact amount of the dowry has not been determined, for the groom should pay it according to his capacity or wealth. The region’s customs also are considered in determining its amount.
Fulfilling Agreements. Generally speaking, Muslims must comply with any agreements that they make. God says about the believers: They fulfill their covenant when they have engaged in a covenant (2:177) and orders them: O you who believe, fulfill the bonds (you have entered in with God and people) (5:1). God’s Messenger mentioned breaking one’s promise and covenant as among the signs of hypocrisy.
Wedding Ceremony and Feast. It is permissible, even advisable, to arrange a wedding ceremony within an Islamic framework. The husband is required to sponsor the wedding feast, which can last for 3 days, after the marriage contract.
Mutual Love, Mercy, Respect, Understanding, and Thankfulness

The Qur’an declares:

O humanity, avoid disobedience to your Lord, Who has created you from a single original human self, and from it created its mate, and from the pair of them scattered abroad a multitude of men and women. (4:1)
The original expression translated as “a single original human self” is nafs wahida (literally, a single self or soul). Nafs has two cardinal meanings: a being’s self, and the animating energy or faculty that is the source of each person’s and jinn’s worldly life. Considering both meanings together, nafs wahida is understood to mean a single original human self.
This point is very important to understanding the nature of the male-female relationship. The Qur’an points out this very point: And of His signs is that He has created for you, from your selves, mates, that you might repose in them, and He has engendered love and mercy between you (30:21); God has given you, from your selves, mates, and He has given you, from your mates, children and grandchildren (16:72); The Originator of the heavens and Earth; He has given you, from your selves, mates, and from the cattle mates (42:11). What these refer to by your selves is the human kind, self, or nature. In addition, they indicate that everything in the universe was created in pairs: And everything We have created in pairs (51:49).
However, these verses do not mean that by being the two halves of a perfect unit, men and women are identical or the same. While a woman’s rights and responsibilities are equal to a man’s, they are not necessarily identical with them. Equality and sameness are two quite different things. This difference is understandable, because men and women are not identical but are created as equals. Bearing this in mind, there is no problem. In fact, it is almost impossible to find even two identical men or women.
This distinction between equality and sameness is vital. Equality is desirable, just, and fair; but sameness is not. People are created as equals, and not as identical to each other, and so there is no basis to consider a woman to be inferior to a man. There is no reason to assume that she is less important than he just because her rights are not identical to his. Had her status been identical with his, she would have been no more than a duplicate of him, which she is not. The fact that Islam gives her equal – but not identical – rights shows that it takes her into due consideration, acknowledges her, and recognizes her independent personality.
In: And of His signs is that He has created for you, from your selves, mates, that you might repose in them, and He has engendered love and mercy between you (30:21), the Qur’an stresses that male-female relations are – and must be – based upon mutual love and mercy. What satisfies the needs of a human being the most is having an intimate life companion with whom one can share love, joy, and grief. However, we should acknowledge that a woman’s heart is the most compassionate, loving and generous of all hearts. This is why the Qur’an stresses men’s inclination toward and attachment to women, rather than the other way. In fact, it states that the most beautiful blessing in Paradise for a man will be a pure woman.
On the other hand, the Qur’an also says: Men (who are able to perform their responsibilities) are the protectors and maintainers of women, for God has endowed some of the people with greater capacity than others (in some respects) and that they (men) spend of their wealth (for the family’s maintenance) (4:34). This verse is highly significant with respect to male-female relations and family law, and draws attention to the following cardinal points:
God has not created all people exactly the same in all respects; rather, He has given each superiority in some respect to others, as required by social life, the division of labor, and the choice of occupation. Although it is not true to the same degree for all men and women, as He has created men superior to women in some respects, He also has given women superiority over men in others. For example, God has given men greater physical strength, endowed them with a greater capacity for management, and has charged them with the family’s financial upkeep. This is why He has made men the head of the family. However, this does not mean that men have absolute authority over the family, for this authority must be exercised according to the Prophetic principle: The master of a people is he who serves them. In addition, responsibility is proportionate to authority and authority is proportionate to responsibility.
In short, Islam proposes a male-female relation based upon mutual love, mercy, understanding, and respect. It also exhorts the couples to be thankful to each other for their kindness and efforts to please each other. Such things should be fundamental in any marriage. Each spouse should acknowledge the other’s efforts, show them gratitude, and repay them with kindness.
Islam is primarily concerned with enabling people to attain the status of true humanity or perfection. Its legislation is based upon this cardinal point, and it considers legal rules or laws only as a means of reinforcement.
The Wife’s Rights. These are as follows: receipt of a dowry, support or maintenance, kind and proper treatment and due respect, marital relations, privacy, justice between multiple wives, to be taught Islam, defense of her honor, and not revealing their secrets to others.
The Husband’s Rights. These are as follows: enjoying due respect for being responsible for bringing up and maintaining the family, and marital relations. In addition, she must not allow in the house anyone of whom he disapproves, leave the house and go to places of which he disapproves without his permission, or undertake a voluntary fast without his permission. She also must defend his honor and not disclose their secrets to others.
Housework. The above-mentioned rights are noncontroversial and agreed upon by scholars. The wife’s duties in the house (e.g., cooking, cleaning and generally serving her husband in the house), however, have been the subject of debate. While this has been the traditional Muslim custom, given that the man is obliged to look after the entire family, it is considered as ihsan (good treatment and excellence) for the wife to do the housework and meets her husband’s needs (e.g., sewing, ironing, cooking, and taking care of the babies).
Sex. The Qur’an does not neglect humanity’s sensual aspect and the married couple’s sex life, for it guides humanity to the best path and enables them to fulfill their sexual urges while avoiding harmful or deviant practices.
It is reported that the Jews and Zoroastrians would go to extremes in order to avoid any physical contact with menstruating women. For example, Jewish laws and regulations are extremely restrictive in this regard. The Old Testament considers a menstruating woman unclean and impure. Moreover, her impurity “infects” other people, for whoever or whatever she touches becomes unclean for a day (Leviticus 15:19, 23). Thus a menstruating woman was sometimes banished to the “house of impurity” so that no contact with her would be possible during this time. The Talmud considers a menstruating woman “fatal,” even without any physical contact, whereas Christians will have sex with such women. The pre-Islamic Arabs would not eat, drink, or sit with menstruating women and would send them to separate dwellings, just as the Jews and Zoroastrians did.​

When some Muslims asked the Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, about menstruating women, God revealed:

(O Messenger,) they also ask you about (the commands concerning) the monthly course (of their wives). Answer (them): “Menstruation is a state that causes suffering and ritual impurity, so avoid women during menstruation and do not approach them until they are cleansed. After they are cleansed, (you can) come to them as required by the inherent urge that God has implanted in your nature and within the rules that He has established. God loves those who turn to Him in sincere repentance of their errors and improve themselves, and try their best to cleanse themselves.” (2:222)
What is meant by avoid women is sexual intercourse or benefiting from their genitals. Thus a man can fondle and enjoy his menstruating wife, avoiding only the place of hurt. Islam’s position, as in all other matters, is a middle one between the two extremes of banishing a menstruating woman from the house and of having sexual intercourse with her.
Islam has established no rules concerning the way or position of intercourse. However, it has forbidden anal sex.
Contraception. Marriage’s primary objective is to preserve humanity through continued reproduction. Accordingly, Islam encourages large families and blesses both boys and girls. However, family planning is allowed for only valid reasons and recognized necessities. At the time of the Prophet, the common method of contraception was coitus interruptus (withdrawing the penis from the vagina just before ejaculation, thereby preventing the influx of semen). The primary valid reason for contraception is that the pregnancy or delivery might endanger the mother’s life or health. Past experience or a reliable physician’s opinion should guide the couple in such matters.
Abortion. While Islam permits preventing pregnancy for valid reasons, it does not allow terminating the pregnancy once it occurs. Muslim jurists agree unanimously that abortion is forbidden after the fetus is completely formed and has been given a soul, which is, according to the hadiths, about 6 weeks after contraception (Muslim, “Qadar,” 3). This is considered a crime under Islamic law, for it is an offense against a complete, live human being. Jurists insist that blood money (diyat) must be paid if the baby was aborted alive and then died, and that a lesser amount must be paid if it was aborted dead.
There is only one exception, according to the jurists: If, after the baby is completely formed, it becomes clear that continuing the pregnancy will cause the mother’s death, the couple has recourse to the general Islamic legal principle that the lesser of the two evils should be chosen. In such a case, the fetus must be aborted.
Artificial Insemination. Islam safeguards lineage by prohibiting adultery and fornication (zina) and legal adoption, thus keeping the family line clear and “uncontaminated” by any foreign element. Thus, artificial insemination is forbidden unless the donor is the husband.
Islam is a way of life consonant with human nature, provides human solutions to complex situations, and avoids extremes. This characteristic can be observed most clearly in the issue of polygamy, which Islam allows only to resolve pressing individual and social problems. Many peoples and religions prior to Islam permitted marriage to as many women as one desired. Islam, on the other hand, laid down definite restrictions and conditions.
Some people criticize Islam wrongly as being polygamous. However, such criticisms are not justifiable for several reasons, as follows:
· Polygamy is an ancient practice found in many societies. The Bible does not condemn it, and the Old Testament and rabbinic writings frequently attest to its legality. King Solomon and King David had many wives and concubines (2 Samuel 5:13). According to Father Eugene Hillman in his insightful book, Polygamy Reconsidered: “Nowhere in the New Testament is there any explicit commandment that marriage should be monogamous or any explicit commandment forbidding polygamy.” Moreover, Jesus did not speak against it, even though it was practiced by the Jews of his society. Father Hillman stresses that the Church in Rome banned polygamy in order to conform to the Greco-Roman culture (which prescribed only one legal wife while tolerating concubinage and prostitution). The Qur’an, contrary to the Bible, limited the maximum number of wives to four and mandated equal and just treatment for each wife. The Qur’an does not encourage polygamy or consider it an ideal. Rather, it tolerates or allows it and no more, for the following reason: There are places and times in which there are compelling social and moral reasons for polygamy. Islam, as a universal religion suitable for all places and all times, could not ignore such compelling obligations.
· In most societies, women outnumber men. For example, America currently has at least 8 million more women than men. What should be done about such unbalanced sex ratios? There are various solutions, such as lawful polygamy or celibacy, female infanticide (which still happens), or sexual permissiveness (e.g., prostitution, extramarital sex, and homosexuality).
· This problem becomes truly problematic at times of war. Native American Indian tribes used to suffer highly unbalanced sex ratios after wartime losses. Their women, who enjoyed a fairly high status, accepted polygamy as the best protection against indulgence in indecent activities. After WWII, there were 7.3 million more women than men in Germany (3.3 million of them were widows). Many needed a man for companionship as well as to provide for the household in a time of unprecedented misery and hardship. What is more dignifying for a woman: to be an accepted and respected second wife or a virtual prostitute? In 1987, a poll conducted by the student newspaper at the University of California at Berkeley asked students whether polygamy should be permitted as a way to deal with a perceived shortage of marriageable men in California. Almost all of the students polled approved of this idea.
· Polygamy continues to be a viable solution to some of the social ills of modern societies. In his provocative Plural Marriage for Our Time, Philip Kilbride, an American anthropologist of Roman Catholic heritage, proposes polygamy as a solution to some of America’s social ills. He argues that plural marriage may be a potential alternative for divorce, in many cases, in order to obviate divorce’s damaging impact upon children.
· Polygamy is quite rare in many contemporary Muslim societies, for there is no large gender imbalance. In fact, one can say that the rate of polygamous marriages in the Muslim world is far less than the rate of extramarital affairs in the West. In other words, Muslim men are far more monogamous than their Western counterparts.​

Billy Graham, the eminent Christian evangelist, has recognized this fact:

Christianity cannot compromise on the question of polygamy. If present-day Christianity cannot do so, it is to its own detriment. Islam has permitted polygamy as a solution to social ills and has allowed a certain degree of latitude to human nature but only within the strictly defined framework of the law. Christian countries make a great show of monogamy, but actually they practice polygamy. No one is unaware of the part mistresses play in Western society. In this respect Islam is a fundamentally honest religion, and permits a Muslim to marry a second wife if he must, but strictly forbids all clandestine amatory associations in order to safeguard the moral probity of the community. (Abd al-Rahman Doi, Woman in Shari'a, London 1994, 76.)
· There are even psychological factors calling for polygamy. For example, many young African brides, whether Christian, Muslim, or otherwise, prefer to marry a married man who has already proved himself to be a responsible husband. Many African wives urge their husbands to get a second wife so that they do not feel lonely. A survey of over 6,000 women, ranging in age from 15 to 59, conducted in Nigeria’s second largest city showed that 60 percent of them would be pleased if their husbands took another wife. In a survey undertaken in rural Kenya, 25 out of 27 women considered polygamy better than monogamy and felt that it could be a happy and beneficial experience if the co-wives cooperated.
· Modern civilization rejects polygamy as unwise and harmful to social life. As observed even in animals and plants, the cardinal purpose for and wisdom in sexual relations is reproduction. The resulting pleasure is a small payment determined by Divine Mercy to realize this duty. Marriage is for reproduction and perpetuation of the species. Being able to give birth at most once a year, to become pregnant during half of a month, and entering menopause around 50, one woman is usually insufficient for a man, who can sometimes impregnate until the age of 70 or more. That is why, in most cases, modern civilization is obliged to admit prostitution. Even if the purpose of marriage were sexual gratification, polygamy would be a lawful way to realize it.
The condition that Islam lays down for permitting polygamy is that the husband be able to treat each wife equitably as regards food, drink, housing, clothing, expenses, and spending time with them. Any man who feels that he cannot fulfill such obligations justly cannot have more than one wife: But if you fear that you will not be able to do justice (among them), (marry) only one (4:3).
The Status of Woman in Islam [2]
The status of woman in Islam is not a problem. The attitude of the Qur’an and the early Muslims bear witness to the fact that woman is, at least, as vital to life as man himself, and that she is neither inferior to him nor of a lower species. Had it not been for the impact of foreign cultures and alien influences, this question would have never arisen among the Muslims. The status of woman was taken for granted to be equal to that of man. It was a matter of course and a fact, and so no one considered it a problem.
Equity, Equality, or Sameness?
In order to understand what Islam has established for woman, there is no need to deplore her plight in the pre-Islamic era or in the modern would. Islam has given woman rights and privileges that she has never enjoyed under other religious or constitutional systems. This can be understood when the matter is studied as a whole and in a comparative, rather than in a partial, manner. The rights and responsibilities of a woman are equal to those of a man, but are not necessarily identical with them, for equality and sameness are two quite different things. This difference is understandable, because man and woman are not identical, but are created as equals. With this distinction in mind, there is no problem. It is almost impossible to find even two identical men or women.
This distinction between equality and sameness is of paramount importance. Equality is desirable, just, fair; but sameness is not. People are not created identical, but they are created equal. With this distinction in mind, there is no room to imagine that woman is inferior to man. There is no ground to assume that she is less important than he just because her rights are not identical to his. Had her status been identical with his, she would have been simply a duplicate of him, which she is not. The fact that Islam gives her equal – but not identical – rights shows that it takes her into due consideration, acknowledges her, and recognizes her independent personality.
Islam’s View of Woman and Original Sin
Islam does not consider woman to be the product of the devil, the seed of evil, or man to be her dominating lord to whom she must surrender without any choice. In addition, Islam never asked whether a woman had a soul or not. Never in the history of Islam has any Muslim doubted the human status of woman and her possession of a soul and other fine spiritual qualities.
Unlike other popular beliefs, Islam does not blame Eve alone for the first sin. The Qur’an states that both Adam and Eve were tempted, that both sinned and were pardoned by God after repenting, and that God addressed them jointly (2:35-36; 7:19, 27; 20:117-23). In fact, the Qur’an gives the impression that Adam was more to blame for the first sin, from which all prejudice against and suspicion toward women have emerged. Islam does not justify such prejudice or suspicion, because Adam and Eve were equally in error. Thus if we blame Eve, we should blame Adam to the same degree – or even more.
The Status of Modern Woman
The status of woman in Islam is something unique, something novel, something that has no similarity in any other system. If we look even to the democratic nations, we find that woman is not really in a happy position. Her status is not enviable. She has to work so hard to live, and sometimes she may be doing the same job that a man does but is paid less. She enjoys a kind of liberty that, in some cases, amounts to libertinism. To get to where she is nowadays, woman struggled hard for decades and centuries. To gain the right of learning and the freedom of work and earning, she had to offer painful sacrifices and give up many of her natural rights. To establish her status as a human being possessing a soul, she paid heavily. Yet in spite of all these costly sacrifices and painful struggles, she has not acquired what Islam has established by a Divine decree for the Muslim woman.
The rights of woman in modern times were not granted voluntarily or out of kindness to women. Rather, she reached her present position by force, and not through natural processes, mutual consent, or Divine teachings. She had to force her way, and various circumstances came to her aid. A manpower shortage during wars, economic pressures, and the requirements of industrialization forced her out of her home – to work, to learn, to struggle for her livelihood, to appear as an equal to man, to run her race in the course of life side by side with him. She was forced by circumstances and, in turn, she forced herself through and acquired her new status. Whether all women were pleased with these circumstances being on their side, and whether they are happy and satisfied with the results of this course, is a different matter. But the fact remains that whatever rights modern woman enjoys fall short of those given to her Muslim counterpart.
What Islam has established for woman is that which suits her nature, gives her full security, and protects her against disgraceful circumstances and uncertain channels of life. We do not need here to elaborate on the status of modern woman and the risks she runs to make her living or establish herself. We do not even need to explore the miseries and setbacks that encircle her as a result of the so-called “rights of woman.” Nor do we intend to manipulate the situation of many unhappy homes which break up because of the very “freedom” and “rights” of which modern woman is proud.
Most women today exercise the right of freedom to go out independently, to work and earn, to pretend to be equal to man. But sadly enough, this is at the expense of their families. This is all known and obvious. What is not known is the status of woman in Islam. An attempt will be made in the following passages to sum up the attitude of Islam with regard to woman.
Understanding the Modern View of Woman
The Qur’an draws the attention to an important point by declaring that those communities distant from Divine guidance usually call upon female deities. That is, those that reject belief in One God adopt male and female deities. While they have usually chosen their supreme deity to be male, their other deities have been female. This is because they adore their own selves and consider, first of all, the satisfaction of their interests and animal desires. Since men’s primary appetite is for women, and since they tend to exploit their deities to satisfy their needs, they choose many of their deities from among women. They desire to see a physically comely woman wherever they look, and tend to eternalize them by making statutes and pictures of them. This is the most abominable way of degrading the meaning of women, and means viewing them as no more than physical objects. Women are no more than simple objects to gratify men’s desires and interests. They no longer receive any respect and affection when they need them most.
People also have many fears. They feel awe before that which they fear, and so conceive of their supreme deity (of whom they are afraid) as a man. By considering him above all other deities, they fawn on him. Even if such people may be Pharaoh-like tyrants, people degrade themselves in order to kiss the feet of any power above themselves and in whose hand they see the satisfaction of their needs and desires.
The Status of Woman in Islam
Islam recognizes woman as a full and equal partner in the process of procreation. He is the father, she is the mother, and both are essential for life. Her role is no less vital than his. This partnership gives her an equal share in every aspect. She is entitled to equal rights, undertakes equal responsibilities, and has as many qualities and as much humanity as her partner. Concerning this equal partnership in human reproduction, God says: O humanity, We have created your from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other (49:13; cf. 4:1).​

She is equal to man in bearing personal and common responsibilities and in receiving rewards for her deeds. She is acknowledged as an independent personality with human qualities and worthy of spiritual aspirations. Her human nature is neither inferior to nor deviant from that of a man. Both are members of one another. As we read in the Qur’an:

And their Lord has accepted (their prayers) and answered them (saying): “Never will I cause to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female. You are members, one of another. (3:195; cf 9:71, 33:35-36, 66:19-21).
She is equal to man in the pursuit of education and knowledge. When Islam enjoins the seeking of knowledge upon Muslims, it makes no distinction between man and woman. Almost 14 centuries ago, Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, declared that pursuing knowledge is incumbent upon every Muslim. This declaration was very clear and has been implemented by Muslims throughout history.
She is entitled to freedom of expression as much as a man is. Her sound opinions are taken into consideration and cannot be disregarded just because of her gender. The Qur’an and history both record that women not only expressed their opinions freely but also argued and participated in serious discussions with the Prophet and other Muslim leaders (58:1-4; 60:10-12). In addition, there were occasions when Muslim women expressed their views on legislative matters of public interest and opposed the caliphs, who then accepted their sound arguments. A specific example took place during ‘Umar’s caliphate.
Historical records show that women participated in the early Muslim community’s public life, especially during emergencies. Women accompanied Muslim armies to nurse the wounded, prepare supplies, serve the warriors, and so on. They were not shut behind iron bars, considered worthless and deprived of souls.
Islam grants woman equal rights to contract, enterprise, earn, and possess independently. Her life, property, and honor are as sacred as those of a man. If she commits any offense, her penalty is no more or less than that of a man’s in a similar case. If she is wronged or harmed, she receives due compensation equal to what a man in her position would receive (2:178; 4:45, 92-93).
Islam does not state these rights in a statistical form and then relax. Rather, it has taken all measures to safeguard and implement them as integral articles of faith. It does not tolerate those who are inclined to prejudice against woman or gender-based discrimination. Time and again, the Qur’an reproaches those who used to believe that woman was inferior to man (16:57-59, 62; 42:47-59; 43:15-19; 53:21-23).
Apart from recognizing woman as an independent human being and as equally essential for humanity’s survival, Islam has given her a share of inheritance. Before Islam, she could inherit nothing as was even considered property to be inherited by man. Islam made this “transferable property” an heir, thereby acknowledging woman’s inherent human qualifies.
Whether she is a wife or a mother, a sister or a daughter, she receives a certain share of the deceased kin’s property. This share depends upon her degree of relationship to the deceased and the number of heirs. This share is hers, and no one can take it from her or disinherit her. If the deceased wishes to deprive her by willing his estate to other relatives or a cause, the law will not respect his desire. Any person can use a will to dispose of only one-third of his or her property, so that no male or female heir will be treated unjustly. This matter will be discussed below within the framework of the Islamic law of inheritance.
Bearing Witness
Women were not allowed to bear witness in early Jewish society. The rabbis counted a woman’s not being allowed to bear witness among the nine curses inflicted upon all women because of the Fall.
In Israel today, women are not allowed to give evidence in rabbinical courts. The rabbis justify this prohibition by citing Genesis 18:9-16, where it is stated that Sara, Abraham’s wife, had lied. The rabbis use this incident as evidence that women are unqualified to bear witness. The Qur’an also mentions this incident more than once, in 11:69-74, 51:24-30, without any hint that Sara had lied. In the Christian West, both ecclesiastical and civil law debarred women from giving testimony until the late eighteenth century.
If a man accused his wife of unchastity, the Bible says that her testimony is not admissible. Furthermore, she had to undergo a trial by ordeal, a complex and humiliating ritual that supposedly proved her guilt or innocence (Numbers 5:11-31). If she was found guilty after this ordeal, she would be sentenced to death. If she was found innocent, her husband was considered innocent of any wrongdoing.
If a man married a woman and then accused her of not being a virgin, her own testimony would not count. Her parents had to prove her virginity before the town elders. If they could not prove her innocence, she would be stoned to death on her father’s doorstep. If the parents were able to prove her innocence, the husband would only be fined 100 silver shekels and could not divorce his wife as long as he lived.
By giving women the right to testify, the Qur’an made a revolution. In some instances of bearing witness to certain civil contracts, two men are required or one man and two women. This does not, however, indicate that a woman is inferior to a man. Rather, it is a means to secure the rights of the contracting parties, because a woman generally is not so experienced in practical life as a man. As this lack of experience may cause a loss to any of the contracting parties, the law requires that at least two women should bear witness with one man. If a woman witness forgets something, the other one would remind her; if she makes a mistake due to a lack of experience, the other would help correct her.
The reason why the Qur’an demands two women in place of one man in commercial transactions is quite clear. The Qur’an does not regard a woman as half of a man; rather, what is important here is not the status of women or men, but accuracy, justice, and equity in business.
Generally, men are supposed to be more engaged in business than women, which is actually the case, and are responsible for supporting the family. Furthermore, women are more emotional than men and more susceptible to forgetting. However, there are always women who have a better memory than men, and men who are more emotional then women. But rather than the exceptions, the law considers the majority of people in all matters relating to the community. Women also are expected to be more susceptible to mistakes and forgetfulness over a matter in which they are not so engaged as men. This precautionary measure guarantees honest transactions and proper dealings between people. In fact, it gives woman a role to play in civil life and helps to establish justice. Such a lack of experience does not denote inferiority, for every person lacks one thing or another. Yet no one questions their human status.
Islam does not demand two women in place of one man in all cases. For example, whichever spouse accuses the other of adultery must swear by God four times. In this instance, a woman’s testimony can even invalidate a man’s. For example, if a man accuses his wife of unchastity, he must swear five times by the Qur’an as evidence of the wife’s guilt. If she denies the charge and swears similarly five times, she is considered innocent. In either case, the marriage is dissolved (24:6-11). Likewise, both men and women can scan the sky for the crescent moon to determine whether a lunar month has begun or ended. In addition, the testimony of two women can be sought exclusively in matters in which women have greater knowledge or specialty than men.
A woman enjoys certain privileges that a man does not. For example, she is exempt from some religious duties (i.e., prayers and fasting while menstruating or experiencing post-childbirth bleeding) and all financial liabilities. As a mother, she enjoys more recognition and higher honor in God’s sight (31:14-15; 46:15). The Prophet acknowledged this honor when he declared that Paradise is under the feet of mothers.
A mother is entitled to three-fourths of the son’s love and kindness, with one-fourth left for the father. As a wife, she can demand a suitable dowry, which belongs to her alone, from her prospective husband. She is entitled to complete provision and maintenance by the husband, does not have to work or share any of the family expenses, and can retain whatever she possessed before her marriage. Her husband has no right to any of her belongings. As a daughter or sister, she is entitled to security and provision by her father and brother(s), respectively. If she wishes to work, be self-supporting, and participate in handling the family responsibilities, she is quite free to do so, provided that her integrity and honor are safeguarded.
The fact that women stand behind men during the prayers does not indicate inferiority. Women, as already mentioned, are exempt from attending the congregational prayers, which are necessary for men. If they do attend, they stand in separate lines made up of women exclusively. This is a regulation of discipline in prayers, not a classification of importance. In men’s rows, the head of the state stands shoulder to shoulder to the pauper. Men of the highest social ranks stand in prayer side by side with men of the lowest ranks.
The order of the prayer lines are intended to help every person concentrate while praying. Such discipline is very important, because the prayers are not simply chanting or singsongs, but involve specific actions and motions (e.g., standing, bowing, prostrating). If men and women pray in the same line, they might be distracted by something and loose their concentration. Thus the prayer’s purpose will not be fulfilled.
Moreover, no a man cannot touch a woman’s body while praying, and vice versa. If they stand side by side while praying, they cannot avoid touching each other. Furthermore, if a woman prays in front of a man or beside him, most likely part of her body may be revealed when she is bowing or prostrating. He might look at that uncovered part, which will embarrass her and distract him and expose him to evil thoughts. In order to concentrate on praying, prevent any unforeseen accidents, maintain harmony and order among worshippers, to fulfill the prayer’s true purposes of prayers, Islam ordains praying in rows: the men in the front, then the children, and then the women. Anyone who understands what praying means to a Muslim can easily understand the wisdom of organizing the lines of worshippers in this manner.
The Veil
The Muslim woman is always associated with an old tradition known as the “veil.” She is to beautify herself with the veil of honor, dignity, chastity, purity, and integrity; and refrain from all deeds and gestures that might stir the passions of people other than her husband or cause people to suspect her morality. She is warned not to display her charms or expose her physical attractions before strangers. The veil is one way to save her soul from weakness, her mind from indulgence, her eyes from lustful looks, and her personality from demoralization. Islam is most concerned with a woman’s integrity, safeguarding of her morals and morale, and protecting her character and personality (cf. Qur’an, 24:30-31).

By now it is clear that the status of woman in Islam is unprecedentedly high and realistically suitable to her nature. Her rights and duties are equal to those of a man, but not necessarily or absolutely identical with them. If she is deprived of one thing in some aspect, she is fully compensated for it with more things in many other aspects. The fact that she is a woman has no bearing on her human status or independent personality, and is no basis for justifying any prejudice or injustice toward her. Islam gives her as much as is required of her. Her rights match beautifully with her duties. This balance between rights and duties is maintained, and no side outweighs the other. As we read in the Qur’an:

In a fair manner women have the same rights against men as men have against them, but men (due to the heaviness of their duty and responsibility,) have a degree above them (which they should not misuse. (2:228)
This degree is not a title of supremacy or an authorization to dominate women, but rather corresponds with a man’s extra responsibilities and compensates him for his unlimited liabilities. The above-mentioned verse is always interpreted in the light of:

“Men (who are able to perform their responsibilites) are the protectors and maintainers of women, for that God has endowed some people with greater capacity than others (in some respects) and that they (men) spend of their wealth (for the family’s maintenance). (4:34)
These extra responsibilities give men a degree over women in some economic aspects, not in humanity or character. Nor is it a dominance of one over the other, or a suppression of one by the other. Rather, it is a distribution of God’s abundance according to the needs of each gender’s nature, of which God is the Maker. As He alone knows what is best for men and women, the following words are absolutely true:

O humanity, avoid disobedience to your Lord Who has created you from a single original human self, and from it created its mate, and from the pair of them scattered abroad a multitude of men and women. (4:1)
Inheritance and Women
Since Biblical days, Judaism has given no female members of the household, including the wife and daughters, the right to inherit any part of the family estate. In the more primitive inheritance process, the women of the family were considered part of the estate and as remote from any legal personality of an heir as was a slave. Under rabbinic law, daughters could inherit if there were no male heirs. However, even in such conditions the wife could not inherit anything. Why were the women of the family considered part of the estate? Because of the attitude: “They are owned – before marriage by the father, and after marriage by the husband.”
Christianity followed suit for long time. Both the ecclesiastical and civil laws of Christendom barred daughters from sharing with their brothers in their father’s patrimony. Wives also had no inheritance rights. These laws survived until late in the twentieth century.​

Among the pre-Islamic Arabs, inheritance rights were confined exclusively to the male relatives. Islam also made a great revolution in this respect, for the Qur’an declared:

For the male heirs is a share of what parents and near kindred (who die) leave behind, and for the female heirs is a share of what parents and near kindred (who die) leave behind, whether it (the heritage) be little or much – a share ordained by God. (4:7)
This short verse contains the basic principles of the Islamic law of inheritance and a significant warning: [3]
· Both women and men have a share in the inheritance.
· A deceased person’s property is inherited, whether it be little or much.
· It makes no difference whether the inherited property is movable or immovable.
· The survivors (e.g., parents, grandparents, and nearest relatives) can inherit. If there are any “nearest kindred,” “collateral relations” cannot inherit.
· Heirs cannot be deprived of their share of the inheritance.
The significant warning is: Women in pre-Islamic, idolatrous, Christian, and Jewish societies could not inherit. By mentioning female heirs separately, but in the same words as it mentions male heirs, at the risk of repetition and emphasizing that the estate’s size does not matter, the verse warns that women cannot be deprived of their share of the inheritance on such pretexts as “the estate is too small.”
Then, the Qur’an details the laws for inheritance (4:11-12). Its basic principles and standards were laid down, and its precise details were established on these standards, the Prophet’s practice, and that of his Companions.
With the exception of the parents, and the siblings in some cases, a son receives twice as much as a daughter, a brother twice as much as a sister, and a husband twice as much as a wife. This has been the target of unjust objections. However:
· First, it should be noted that Islam is not a religion that answers objections, for whatever it decrees is right and just. Therefore, all other religions, systems, and ideologies must design themselves according to the Islamic precepts. So while explaining Islam’s position in matters to which objections have been raised, we intend to illuminate sincere minds.
· Second, the verses present Islam’s law of inheritance as God’s absolute command, and in their conclusive pronouncements declare that they are based on God’s Knowledge and Wisdom. So we should try to find the instances of Divine wisdom in them. Breaching them means disobeying God and His Messenger, while rejecting them amounts to unbelief.
· Third, Islam is universal and thus considers and addresses the conditions of all ages and communities. Its worldview is holistic and deals with particular matters in its universal frame. So while viewing its law of inheritance, we should consider such psychological and sociological factors as the psychology of women and men; their positions and financial, familial, and social responsibilities; and their contributions to the economy. As the matter is never a matter of equality between men and women, we should evaluate every matter with respect to its own nature and context.
In order to understand the rationale behind Islam’s giving a woman half of a man’s share, one must remember that the man’s financial obligations far exceed those of a woman. A groom must provide his bride with a marriage gift, which then becomes her exclusive property and remains so even if she is divorced. The bride is under no obligation to present any gifts to the groom.
Moreover, the husband must maintain his wife and children. The wife, on the other hand, is not obliged to help him do so. Her property and earnings are for her use alone, except for what she may offer to her husband voluntarily. Besides, one has to realize that Islam strongly advocates family life, encourages young people to get married, and discourages divorce. Therefore, in a truly Islamic society, family life is the norm and single life is the rare exception, for almost all marriage-aged women and men get married. In light of these facts, one would appreciate that men generally have greater financial burdens than women, and that the inheritance rules are meant to offset this imbalance.
When a woman receives less than a man, she is not deprived of anything for which she has worked. The property she inherits is not the result of her earning or endeavor, but something coming from a neutral source, something additional or extra. Thus it is a type of aid, and any aid has to be distributed according to the needs and responsibilities, especially when the distribution is regulated by God’s law.
The Qur’anic injunction of inheritance is a perfect mercy for women, in addition to its being perfectly just, for a girl is delicate, vulnerable, and thus held in great affection by her father. Her father, in turn and thanks to the Qur’an, does not see her as a child who will cause him any loss by carrying away some of his wealth to others. In addition, her brothers feel compassion for her and protect her without feeling envious, as they do not consider her as a rival in the division of the family’s possessions. Thus, the affection and compassion which the girl enjoys through her family compensate her for the apparent loss in the inheritance.
Some still object on the grounds that a woman’s share of the inheritance should be equal to that of a man so that there would be no need to compensate her through a dower and maintenance by her husband.
Those who make this objection think that the dower and maintenance are the effects of women’s peculiar position with regard to inheritance, whereas the real position is just the reverse. Further, they seem to be under the impression that the financial aspect is the only consideration. If this were so, there would have been no need for dower and maintenance or for any disparity between the shares of men and women. As in every other case, however, Islam has considered all aspects connected to the individual’s nature and psychology. It has considered women’s unique needs arising out of their procreative function. Moreover, a woman’s earning capacity is less than a man’s, and her consumption of wealth is usually more. In most cases, in her parents’ house her contribution to the family income is far less than her brother(s). In addition, there are several other finer aspects of their respective mental make-up. For example, a man always wants to spend on the woman of his choice. Other psychological and social aspects that help consolidate domestic relations also have been considered. Taking all of these points into consideration, Islam has made dower and maintenance obligatory.
Thus it is a severe injustice, not a kindness, to give a girl or woman more than her due out of unrealistic feelings of compassion – unrealistic because no one can be more compassionate than God. Rather, if the Qur’anic bounds are exceeded, women may become vulnerable to exploitation and tyranny in the family. As for the Qur’anic injunctions, all of them, like those pertaining to inheritance, prove the truth expressed in: We have not sent you (O Muhammad), save as a mercy unto all beings.(21:107)
Modern civilization wrongs mothers more than girls by depriving them of their rights. Being the purest and finest reflection of Divine compassion, a mother’s affection is the most revered reality in creation. A mother is so compassionate, self-sacrificing, and intimate a friend that she sacrifices all she has, including her life, for her children. For example, a timid hen, whose motherliness represents the lowest degree, has been observed to attack a dog to protect her chicks.
Islam does not approve of wealth circulating only among a few people; rather, it wants wealth to be distributed among as many people as possible. In inheritance, considering that God’s grace and bountifulness have a share in it, it strongly advises and even orders that distant relatives, orphans, and the poor should also benefit from it.​


· Women train and educate children, and establish order, peace, and harmony at home. They are the first teachers in the school of humanity. A house that contains an honorable, well-mannered woman loyal to her home is a corner from Heaven. The sounds and breaths heard there are no different from the musical voices of the young people of Paradise and the burbling of the Kawthar stream in Heaven.
· A woman’s inner depth, chastity, and dignity elevate her higher than angels and cause her to resemble an unmatched diamond. A woman awake to virtue in her inner world resembles a crystal chandelier that, with every movement, sends light throughout the house.
· Women often have been used as objects of pleasure, means of entertainment, and material for advertising. Most champions of woman’s rights and freedom only excite women with physical pleasures and then stab her spirit.
· In the past, a son was called makhdum and a daughter karima. Meaning “pupil (of the eye),” this word expresses a member that is very valuable, as necessary as it is valuable, and as delicate as it is necessary.
· A good woman speaks wisdom and has a delicate, refined spirit. Her behavior inspires admiration and respect. Familiar looks sense this sacred side of her, and turn instinctive feelings to contemplation.
· Like a flower worn on the breast, a physically beautiful woman may receive admiration and respect for some short period. But, if she has not been able to get the seeds of her heart and spirit to blossom, she will eventually fade and, like falling leaves, be trampled underfoot. What a sad ending for those who have not found the road of immortality!
· Thanks to the good successors she raised and left behind, the home of a spiritually mature woman constantly exudes a scent of joy like an incense burner. The “heavenly” home where this aroma “blows” is a garden of Paradise beyond description.
· A woman whose heart is illuminated with the light of faith and whose mind is enlightened with knowledge and social breeding builds her home anew each day by adding new dimensions of beauty to it.​

(M. Fethullah Gülen, Pearls of Wisdom [trans.], The Fountain, 2000.)​

Christianity abhors divorce, and the New Testament unequivocally advocates the indissolubility of marriage. Judaism, on the other hand, allows divorce without cause. The Old Testament gives the husband the right to divorce his wife if he just dislikes her (Deuteronomy 24:1-4).
Islam, which rejects and is free from all extremities, occupies the middle ground between Christianity and Judaism with respect to divorce. It considers marriage a sanctified bond that should not be broken except for compelling reasons. Couples are instructed to pursue all possible remedies whenever their marriages are in danger. Divorce is not to be resorted to except when there is no other solution. In a nutshell, Islam recognizes divorce and yet it discourages it by all means. For example, the Qur’an warns: And consort with them in kindness, for if you dislike them, it may be that you dislike something in which God has placed much good (4:19).
God’s Messenger emphasizes: “Let a believing man not dislike a believing woman. If something in her is displeasing to him, another trait may be pleasing”; “Among all of the permitted acts, divorce is the most hateful to God” (Abu Dawud, “Talaq,” 3); and: “The most perfect believers are the best in character, and the best of you are the kindest to their families” (Canan, ibid., 17:212).
However, Islam recognizes that there can be circumstances in which a marriage will be on the verge of collapse. In such cases, a mere advice of kindness or self-restraint is not a viable solution. So, what should be done to save the marriage in such cases? The Qur’an offers some practical advice for the spouses, takes some measures, and gives the spouses the possibility to reconsider their decision.
No Divorce during Menstruation. A man cannot divorce his wife at any time; rather, he must wait for a suitable time. According to the law, the suitable time is when the wife had cleansed herself after her menstrual or post-childbirth bleeding periods and before they resume sexual relations, or when she is not pregnant.
The reason for prohibiting divorce during menstruation or post-childbirth bleeding is that since sexual intercourse is forbidden during such periods, a husband is given the time and opportunity to withdraw his decision by waiting until his wife is clean and there can be a new atmosphere of love, understanding, and reconciliation between them. Divorce is also forbidden between menstrual periods (i.e., “the period of purity”) if the husband has had sexual intercourse with his wife after the end of her previous period.
Repeated Divorce. A man is given three chances on three different occasions to divorce his wife, provided that each divorce is pronounced during the time when his wife is in “the period of purity” and he has not had intercourse with her.
He may divorce her once and let the ‘idda pass. During that time, the divorced wife must stay in her home (i.e., her husband’s house). She cannot move somewhere else, and her husband cannot evict her without a just cause. During ‘idda, he must provide for her. This requirement leaves the way open for reconciliation. They have the option of reconciliation without having to remarry. If, however, this waiting period expires without reconciliation, they are considered divorced and therefore each former spouse can marry someone else or remarry each other. If they decide to remarry, a new marriage contract is required.
If they remarry, the husband has one more chance to divorce his wife, as in the first instance. But if he divorces his wife for a third time, they can no longer turn to each other unless the woman marries another man and divorces or is divorced by him in normal conditions.
Appointing Arbitrators. The Qur’an advises that two arbitrators be appointed if dissension occurs between the two spouses and its source cannot be determined. One arbitrator should be from the husband’s family and the other from the wife’s family. If that is not possible, other people may be appointed, depending on what is in the best interest of those concerned. They also agree that when a possible resolution has been devised to reconcile the spouses, it should be implemented. However, if they disagree, their opinions are not to be implemented.
Imam al-Shafi‘i records in his book al-Umm from Ubayda al-Salmani, who said:
A man and a woman came to ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, each of them accompanied by a group of people. ‘Ali told them to appoint a male arbitrator from his family and one from her family. Then he said to the arbitrators: “Do you know what your responsibilities are? If you find that you can bring them back together, do so. If you find that they should be separated, do so.”
Reconciling Honorably or Separating with Kindness. If any reconciliation does not occur and the period of ‘idda ends, they have two alternatives if only one or two instances of divorce have occurred: either to reconcile honorably (i.e., to remarry with the intention of living in peace and harmony), or to free the woman and part with her in kindness, without argument and harsh words, and without setting aside any of their mutual rights.
The Divorced Woman’s Freedom to Remarry. After a divorced woman’s ‘idda ends, her ex-husband, guardian, or anyone else cannot prevent her from marrying anyone she chooses. As long as she and the man who proposes to her follow the procedure required by the law, no one has the right to interfere.
The Woman’s Right to Demand Divorce. If the wife chooses to end the marriage, she may return the marriage gifts to her husband. This is a fair compensation for the husband who is keen to keep his wife, while she chooses to leave him. The Qur’an instructs the man not to take back any of the gifts he has given to his wife, unless she chooses to end the marriage (2:229).
Once, a woman came to the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, seeking to dissolve her marriage. She said that she had no complaint against her husband’s character or manners, but that she honestly disliked him so much that she could no longer live with him. The Prophet asked her: “Would you give him his garden (his marriage gift to her) back?” she said: “Yes,” she replied. The Prophet then instructed the man to take back his garden and accept the dissolution of the marriage (Tajrid al-Sarih, HN: 1836).
In some cases, a wife might want to keep her marriage but find herself forced to seek divorce for a compelling reason (e.g., cruelty, desertion without a reason, non-fulfillment of his conjugal responsibilities). In such cases, the Muslim court dissolves the marriage.
As another case, a husband can confer the power of divorce on the wife. This delegation of power can be general or limited to certain specified circumstances. To make it irrevocable, it is included in the marriage contract as a binding clause that empowers the wife to dissolve the marriage based upon the agreed-upon specified circumstances.
Islam has abolished the type of adoption that makes an adopted child a member of the family, which would give him or her full rights of inheritance and to mix freely with other members of the household, and prohibit him or her to marry certain women or men, and so on.
But the word adoption is also used in another sense, one that is not prohibited by Islam. In this context, adoption means bringing home an orphan or an abandoned child to rear, educate, and treat as his own child as regards protection, feeding, clothing, teaching, and loving. However, he does not consider the child to be his own and does not give the child any of the rights that Islamic law reserves for natural children.
The Prophet, His Wives, and Children [4]
Prophet Muhammad personifies the roles of a perfect father and husband. He was so kind and tolerant with his wives that they could not envisage their lives without him, nor did they want to live away from him.
He married Sawda, his second wife, while in Makka. After a while, he wanted to divorce her for certain reasons. She was extremely upset at this news, and implored him: “O Messenger of God, I wish no worldly thing of you. Please don’t deprive me of being your wife. I want to go to the Hereafter as your wife. I care for nothing else” (Muslim, “Rada’,” 47). The Messenger did not divorce her.
Once he noticed that Hafsa was uncomfortable over their financial situation. “If she wishes, I may set her free,” he said, or something to that effect. This suggestion so alarmed her that she requested mediators to persuade him not to do so. He kept his faithful friend’s daughter as his trusted wife.
His wives viewed separation from the Messenger of God as a calamity, so firmly had he established himself in their hearts. They were completely at one with him. They shared in his blessed, mild, and natural life. If he had left them, they would have died of despair. If he had divorced one of them, she would have waited at his doorstep until the Last Day.
After his death, there was much yearning and a great deal of grief. Abu Bakr and ‘Umar found the Messenger’s wives weeping whenever they visited them. Their weeping seemed to continue for the rest of their lives. Muhammad left a lasting impression on everyone. He dealt equally with his wives and without any serious problems. He was a kind and gentle husband, and never behaved harshly or rudely. In short, he was the perfect husband.
Each wife, because of his generosity and kindness, thought she was his most beloved. The idea that any man could show complete equality and fairness in his relationships with more than one women seems impossible. For this reason, the Messenger of God asked God’s pardon for any unintentional leanings. He would pray: “I may have unintentionally shown more love to one of them than the others, and this would be injustice. So, O Lord, I take refuge in Your grace for those things beyond my power” (Tirmidhi, “Nikah,” 41:4; Bukhari, “Adab,” 68).
His gentleness penetrated his wives’ souls so deeply that his departure led to what they must have felt to be an unbridgeable separation. They did not commit suicide, as Islam forbids it, but their lives now became full of endless sorrow and ceaseless tears.​

The Messenger was kind and gentle to all women, and advised all other men to follow him in this regard. Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqas described his kindness as follows:

‘Umar said: One day I went to the Prophet and saw him smiling. “May God make you smile forever, O Messenger of God,” I said, and asked why he was smiling. “I smile at those women. They were chatting in front of me before you came. When they heard your voice, they all vanished,” he answered still smiling. On hearing this answer, I raised my voice and told them: “O enemies of your own selves, you are scared of me, but you are not scared of the Messenger of God, and you don’t show respect to him.” “You are hard-hearted and strict,” they replied (Bukhari, “Adab,” 68).
‘Umar also was gentle to women. However, the most handsome man looks ugly when compared to Joseph’s beauty. Likewise, ‘Umar’s gentleness and sensitivity seem like violence and severity when compared to those of the Prophet.
The Prophet’s Consultation with His Wives. The Messenger discussed matters with his wives as friends. Certainly he did not need their advice, since he was directed by Revelation. However, he wanted to teach his nation that Muslim men were to give women every consideration. This was quite a radical idea in his time, as it is today in many parts of the world. He began teaching his people through his own relationship with his wives.
For example, the conditions laid down in the Treaty of Hu-daybiya disappointed and enraged many Muslims, for one condition stipulated that they could not make the pilgrimage that year. They wanted to reject the treaty, continue on to Makka, and face the possible consequences. But the Messenger ordered them to kill their sacrificial animals and take off their pilgrim attire. Some Companions hesitated, hoping that he would change his mind. He repeated his order, but they continued to hesitate. They did not oppose him; rather, they still hoped he might change his mind, for they had set out with the intention of pilgrimage and did not want to stop half way.
Noticing this reluctance, the Prophet returned to his tent and asked Umm Salama, his wife accompanying him at that time, what she thought of the situation. So she told him, fully aware that he did not need her advice. In doing this, he taught Muslim men an important social lesson: There is nothing wrong with exchanging ideas with women on important matters or on any matters at all.
She said: “O Messenger of God, don’t repeat your order. They may resist and thereby perish. Offer your sacrificial animal and change out of your pilgrim attire. They will obey, willingly or not, when they see that your order is final” (Bukhari, “Shurut,” 15). He did what his wife suggested, and the Companions began to do the same, for now it was clear that his order would not be changed.
Women are secondary beings in the minds of many, including those self-appointed defenders of women’s rights as well as many self-proclaimed Muslim men. For us, a woman is part of a whole, a part that renders the other half useful. We believe that when the two halves come together, the true unity of a human being appears. When this unity does not exist, humanity does not exist – nor can Prophethood, sainthood, or even Islam.
Our master encouraged us through his enlightening words to behave kindly to women. He declared: “The most perfect believers are the best in character, and the best of you are the kindest to their families” (Abu Dawud, “Sunna,” 15; Tirmidhi, “Rada’,” 11). It is clear that women have received the true honor and respect they deserve, not just in theory but in actual practice, only once in history – during the period of Prophet Muhammad.
A Perfect Head of the Family. Some of his wives had enjoyed an extravagant lifestyle before their marriage to him. One of these was Safiya, who had lost her father and husband, and had been taken prisoner, during the Battle of Khaybar. She must have been very angry with the Messenger, but when she saw him, her feelings changed completely. She endured the same destiny as the other wives. They endured it because love of the Messenger had penetrated their hearts.
Safiya was a Jewess. Once, she was dismayed when this fact was mentioned to her sarcastically. She informed the Messenger, expressing her sadness. He comforted her saying: “If they repeat it, tell them: ‘My father is Prophet Aaron, my uncle is Prophet Moses, and my husband is, as you see, Prophet Muhammad, the Chosen One. What do you have more than me to be proud of ?’” (Tirmidhi, “Manaqib,” 64).
The Qur’an declares that his wives are the mothers of the believers (33:6). Although 14 centuries have passed, we still feel delight in saying “my mother” when referring to Khadija, ‘A’isha, Umm Salama, Hafsa, and his other wives. We feel this because of him. Some feel more love for these women than they do for their real mothers. Certainly, this feeling must have been deeper, warmer, and stronger in the Prophet’s own time.
The Messenger was the perfect head of a family. Managing many women with ease, being a lover of their hearts, an instructor of their minds, an educator of their souls, he never neglected the affairs of the nation or compromised his duties.
The Messenger excelled in every area of life. People should not compare him to themselves or to the so-called great personalities of their age. Researchers should look at him, the one to whom angels are grateful, always remembering that he excelled in every way. If they want to look for Muhammad they must search for him in his own dimensions. Our imaginations cannot reach him, for we do not even know how to imagine properly. God bestowed upon him, as His special favor, superiority in every field.
God’s Messenger and Children
The Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, was an extraordinary husband, a perfect father, and a unique grandfather. He was unique in every way. He treated his children and grandchildren with great compassion, and never neglected to direct them to the Hereafter and good deeds. He smiled at them, caressed and loved them, but did not allow them to neglect matters related to the afterlife.
In worldly matters he was extremely open. But when it came to maintaining their relationship with God, he was very serious and dignified. He showed them how to lead a humane life, and never allowed them to neglect their religious duties and become spoiled. His ultimate goal was to prepare them for the Hereafter. His perfect balance in such matters is another dimension of his Divinely inspired intellect.
In a hadith narrated by Muslim, Anas ibn Malik, honored as the Messenger’s servant for 10 continuous years, says: “I’ve never seen a man who was more compassionate to his family members than Muhammad” (Muslim, “Fada’il,” 63). If this admission were made just by us, it could be dismissed as unimportant. However, millions of people, so benign and compassionate that they would not even offend an ant, declare that he embraced everything with compassion. He was a human like us, but God inspired in him such an intimate affection for every living thing that he could establish a connection with all of them. As a result, he was full of extraordinary affection toward his family members and others.
All of the Prophet’s sons had died. Ibrahim, his last son born to his Coptic wife Mary, also died in infancy. The Messenger often visited his son before the latter’s death, although he was very busy. Ibrahim was looked after by a nurse. The Prophet would embrace, kiss, and caress him before returning home. When Ibrahim died, the Prophet took him on his lap again, embraced him, and described his sorrow while on the brink of tears. Some were surprised. He gave them this answer: “Eyes may water and hearts may be broken, but we do not say anything except what God will be pleased with.” He pointed to his tongue and said: “God will ask us about this” (Bukhari, “Jana’iz,” 44; Muslim, “Fada’il,” 62).
He carried his grandsons Hasan and Husayn on his back. Despite his unique status, he did this without hesitation to herald the honor that they would attain later. One time when they were on his back, ‘Umar came into the Prophet’s house and, seeing them, exclaimed: “What a beautiful mount you have!” The Messenger added immediately: “What beautiful riders they are!” (Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanz al-‘Ummal, 13:650).
The Messenger was completely balanced in the way he brought up his children. He loved his children and grandchildren very much, and instilled love in them. However, he never let his love for them be abused. None of them deliberately dared to do anything wrong. If they made an unintentional mistake, the Messenger’s protection prevented them from going even slightly astray. He did this by wrapping them in love and an aura of dignity. For example, once Hasan or Husayn wanted to eat a date that had been given to distribute among the poor as alms. The Messenger immediately took it from his hand and said: “Anything given as alms is forbidden to us” (Muslim, “Zakat,” 161). In teaching them while they were young to be sensitive to forbidden acts, he established an important principle of education.
Whenever he returned to Madina, he would carry children on his mount. On such occasions, the Messenger embraced not only his grandchildren but also those in his house and those nearby. He conquered their hearts through his compassion. He loved all children.
He loved his granddaughter Umama as much as he loved Hasan and Husayn. He often went out with her on his shoulders, and even placed her on his back while praying. When he prostrated, he put her down; when he had finished, he placed her on his back again (Bukhari, “Adab,” 18). He showed this degree of love to Umama to teach his male followers how to treat girls. This was a vital necessity, for only a decade earlier it had been the social norm to bury infant or young girls alive. Such public paternal affection for a granddaughter had never been seen before in Arabia.
The Messenger proclaimed that Islam allows no discrimination between son and daughter. How could there be? One is Muhammad, the other is Khadija; one is Adam, the other is Eve; one is ‘Ali, the other is Fatima. For every great man there is a great woman.
He loved them and directed them toward the Hereafter, to the otherworldly and eternal beauty, and to God. For example, he once saw Fatima wearing a necklace (a bracelet, according to another version), and asked her: “Do you want the inhabitants of Earth and the Heavens to say that my daughter is holding (or wearing) a chain from Hell?” These few words, coming from a man whose throne was established in her heart and who had conquered all her faculties, caused her to report, in her own words: “I immediately sold the necklace, bought and freed a slave, and then went to the Messenger. When I told him what I had done, he rejoiced. He opened his hands and thanked God: ‘All thanks to God, Who protected Fatima from Hell’” (Nasa’i, “Zinat,” 39).
Fatima did not commit any sin by wearing this necklace. However, the Messenger wanted to keep her in the circle of the muqarrabin (those made near to God). His warning to her was based on taqwa (righteousness and devotion to God) and qurb (nearness to God). This was, in a sense, a neglect of worldly things. It is also an example of the sensitivity befitting the mother of the Prophet’s household, which represents the Muslim community until the Last Day. To be a mother of such godly men like Hasan, Husayn, and Zayn al-‘Abidin was certainly no ordinary task. The Messenger was preparing her to be the mother first of his own household (Ahl al-Bayt), and then of those who would descend from them.​

Bukhari and Muslim gave another example of how he educated them. ‘Ali narrates that:

We had no servant in our house, and so Fatima did all the housework by herself. We lived in a house with just a small room. There, she would light a fire and try to cook. She often singed her clothes while trying to increase the fire by blowing. She also baked our bread and carried water. Her hands became covered with calluses from turning the millstone, as did her back from carrying water.
Meanwhile some prisoners of war were brought to Madina. The Messenger gave them to those who applied. I suggested to Fatima that she ask for a servant from her father. And she did.
Fatima continues:

I went to my father, but he was not at home. ‘A’isha said she would tell him when he came, so I returned home. As soon as we went to bed, the Messenger came in. We wanted to get up, but he did not let us and instead sat between us. I could feel the cold of his foot on my body. He asked what we wanted, and I explained the situation. The Messenger, in an awesome manner, replied: “Fatima, fear God and be faultless in all your duties to Him. I will tell you something. When you want to go to bed, say subhana’llah (All glory be to God), al-hamdu li’llah (All praise be to God), and Allahu akbar (God is the Greatest) 33 times each. This is better for you than having a maid” (Bukhari, “Fada’il al-Ashab,” 9; Muslim, “Dhikr,” 80, 81).
Affection toward and Respect for Parents [5]
O you who are unaware of filial responsibility toward parents, whose house contains an elderly parent, a helpless and invalid relative, or a coreligionist unable to earn a living. Heed these verses and see how they insist in five ways that you show filial affection.
As paternal affection for children is a sublime reality of worldly life, filial gratitude is a most urgent and heavy duty. Parents lovingly sacrifice their lives for their children. Given this, children who try to please them and gain their approval without showing them sincere respect or serving them willingly have no humanity and are monsters of ingratitude. Uncles and aunts are considered parents.
Know, you who neglect such duties, how terribly disgraceful and unscrupulous it is to be bored with their continued existence and so hope for their deaths. Know this and come to your senses! Understand what an injustice it is to desire the deaths of those who sacrificed their lives for you.
O you immersed in earning your livelihood, know that your disabled relative, whom you consider a burden, is a means of blessing and abundance. Never complain about the difficulty of making a living, for were it not for the blessing and abundance bestowed upon you, you would face even more hardship. If I did not want to keep this letter brief, I would prove this to you.
I swear by God that this is a reality that even my devil and evil-commanding self accept. All existence can see that the infinitely merciful and compassionate, gracious and munificent Generous, Majestic Creator sends children here along with their sustenance: their mother’s breast milk. He sends sustenance for the elderly, who are like children and even more worthy and needy of compassion, in the form of blessing and unseen, immaterial abundance. He does not load their sustenance onto mean, greedy people.
The truth expressed in: God is the All-Provider, the Possessor of Strength and the Steadfast (51:58) and: How many an animate creature bears not its own provision, but God provides for it and you (29:60) is proclaimed by all living creatures through the tongue of their disposition. So not only is the sustenance of elderly relatives sent in the form of blessings, but also that of pets, created as friends to people who feed and take care of them. I have personally observed this: Years ago, my daily ration was half a loaf of bread. I barely managed with this until four cats became my daily guests. As soon as they began sharing my bread, the same ration was always enough for all of us. I saw this so often that I became convinced that I benefited from the blessing coming through the cats. I declare that they were not a burden upon me; rather, I was indebted to them.
O people, you are the most esteemed, noble, and worthy-of-respect of all creatures. Among people, believers are the most perfect. Among believers, the helpless and the elderly are the most worthy and needy of respect and compassion. Among the helpless and elderly, relatives deserve more affection, love, and service than others. Among relatives, parents are the most truthful confidants and most intimate companions. If an animal is a means of blessing and abundance when it stays as a guest in your house, consider how invaluable a means of blessing and mercy your elderly parents are if they stay with you. The following Tradition shows what an important means for removing calamities they are: “But for the old bent double, calamities would pour down upon you.”
So come to your senses. If you have been assigned a long life, you also will grow old. If you do not respect parents, then, according to the rule that one is rewarded or punished in accordance with one’s action, your children will not respect you. Further, serious reflection on your afterlife shows that gaining your parents’ approval and pleasing them through service is a precious provision for your afterlife. If you love this worldly life, please them so that you may lead a pleasant life. If you consider them a burden, break their easily offended hearts, and desire their deaths, you will be the object of the Qur’anic threat: He [She] loses both the world and the world to come (22:11). So, those who wish for the All-Merciful’s mercy must show mercy to those entrusted to them by God.​

[1] This section is taken from various parts (edited and summarized) of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, The Lawful and Prohibited in Islam, trans. Muhammad Siddiqi (ASIN: 1999).
[2] This section is taken (and partly edited) from Hammuda Abdul-Ati, Islam in Focus (Kuwait: IIFSO, 1990), 184-91.
[3] Prof. Suat Yildirim, “Kur’an-i Hakim ve Açiklamali Meali” (“The Wise Qur’an Interpreted with Explanatory Notes”), Zaman newspaper, Istanbul, 1998, 77.
[4] This section is summarized from M. Fethullah Gülen, Prophet Muhammad: Aspects of His Life (trans.), The Fountain, 2000, 2:187-203.
[5] This section is taken from Said Nursi, The Letters 2 (trans.), Truestar, 1995, “The 21st Letter.”​


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Everything you need to be happy to apply a human life sacred in our book is already written. If you catch the happiness of course ... if you meet us' words Ihsan teacher ...
This is an issue as long as there is no need. Get copies of the text so long to open up blood vessels enter the radio.

I thank you very much. Very beautifull the comment;)
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