what follow are some of the fabricated lies that are rumored by those who have some malicious ends. the answers of muslim and non-muslim scholars are also provided.
first allegation: polygyny
first: the prophet ’ s polygyny
abdullah quilliam said: “as for polygyny, prophet musa (moses) (as ) did not forbid it; prophet dawud (david) (as ) was a polygamist and even, until recently, the new testament did not forbid it. as for prophet muhammad ( saws ) he rather restricted polygyny.” (1)
in fact, prophet muhammad ( saws ) was not in any way an innovation among the messengers. prophet ibrahim (abraham) (as ) married sarah and then hajar; prophet ya'qub (jacob) (as ) married four women; prophet dawud (david) (as ) married more times than prophet muhammad ( saws ) and he is even accused unjustly in the old testament of committing adultery with bathseba, the wife of uriah the hitite and then having the husband killed in the battle to marry her. (2) prophet solaiman (solomon) (as ) married one thousand women, seven hundred free women and three hundred slave women.” (3)
polygyny was prevalent among the arabs, especially the leaders, at the time of the prophet ( saws ); it was a symbol of virility. many people used to come to the prophet ( saws ) to ask him what should they do because they had married six or seven or more. the prophet ( saws ) used to order them to have four wives and release the others with beneficence. (4) if polygyny was not prevalent at the time, the unbelievers would have taken it as a point of libel regarding the prophet ( saws ). however, this did not happen. ironically enough, the number of the prophet ’ s ( saws ) wives, that is nine, was below the ordinary number at the time.
second: general polygyny
emile dermenghem wrote: “the prophet ( saws ) allowed polygyny provided there is justice among wives; however, he did not recommend it. the husband should not give one wife something, however worthless, unless he gives the same to the other(s). the question is: which is better: legal or illegal polygyny? polygyny can put an end to prostitution and women celibacy that has many dangers. ” (5)
jack reisler wrote: “in fact, polygyny in islam, through its restriction of wild desires, has helped the consolidation of the family; hence the justification of the punishment of the married adulterer.” (6)
leitner indicated that “this polygyny has its conditions: the man can marry four wives if he can treat them equally in all aspects, even in love and affection. otherwise he is not allowed to marry more than one wife. the one who contemplates the shari ’ ah of prophet muhammad ( saws ) would realize that he encouraged people to marry one wife. he raised the status of woman to a great extent. women were hardly regarded as human beings by the arabs; they were to be owned and inherited. at the hands of the prophet ( saws ) the woman became an owner of her money; she became able to ask for her rights and to be treated fairly.” (7)
back to abdullah quilliam who asserted that “in the noble qur ’ an allah says (what can be translated as) ‘ in case you fear that you will not do justice, then one (only). ’ [4:3] this renders the accusation groundless. many people really ignore the prophet ’ s ( saws ) justice among his wives and his equal treatment to them and this led the muslims to admire all of them equally. the noble qur ’ an does not call for polygyny; on the contrary, it warns those who are not just as mentioned in the above ayah. many muslims nowadays marry only one. if we generally agree that having one wife is smoother for worldly life, we could not agree with this as we see now in europe that while polygyny is legally forbidden, many have illegal affairs.” (8)
second allegation: inequality between man and woman
jack reisler responded to this allegation that “woman in islam is on equal footing with man in all interests. she can inherit and bequeath and she has the absolute right to have a legal work.” (9)
the jurist marcel a. boisard faced this allegation by saying that “islam addresses both man and woman and treats them equally. islamic shari ’ ah aims generally to achieve a very distinctive objective, that is, protection for all. it provides the woman with precise definitions regarding her rights and it is really interested in guaranteeing such rights. the qur ’ an and sunnah call for treating woman justly, kindly, and gently. both the qur ’ an and sunnah raise the status of muslim woman by giving her many legal rights under the law and regarding such issues as private ownership and inheritance.” (10)
dr. nazmi luqa adds: “in the chapters of the qur ’ an, there are a plethora of ayahs that talk clearly about the equality between man and woman both in obligations and reward. on the other hand, some old and modern cultures do not allow the woman to inherit; islam has never accepted this glaring injustice… islam is not in reality a reactionary religion that differentiates between man and woman. in islam woman is on equal footing with man. he can only precede her by his actions and she can precede him likewise. it is not a matter of struggle and showing off and no normal woman would give up man ’ s protection because of her physical and psychological instinct.” (11)
third allegation: islam is not interested in
woman ’ s education
mckolosky said: “islam calls for woman ’ s education and provides her with knowledge and culture because she is like a school to her children. the prophet said that learning is an obligation on every muslim, man and woman. islam has also given woman the right to own and the right to draw marriage contracts. dowry in islam is a personal right for the woman. besides, woman in islam enjoys the right of thinking and expression. many of these rights were until recently forbidden on the european woman” (12)
fourth allegation: man ’ s beating his wife
it is well-known that before the prophet muhammad ( saws ) violence against woman was widespread to the extent of murder. the church in the middle ages thought of woman as a damned microbe and the source of all sins and evils. (13)
islam forbids violence against woman. islamic legislature allowed disciplinary light beating of the wife in a very restricted manner, that is, in the case of recalcitrant wife who insistently disobeys her husband and threatens the unity of the family. yet, this beating is not the first step. it comes after admonishing her and forsaking her in bed. beating comes next as a threat if it is in the general interest of the family. such a woman who does not comply after admonishment and forsaking in the bed – which sometimes hurts more than striking – is in a state of psychological non-compliance and striking her would be useful as the last means of correction. beating in this case is better than divorce and destroying the whole family. it is a matter of necessity that is allowed in exceptional cases. (14)
islamic legislature in this issue is logical and balanced in comparison to the disgusting status of woman in other civilizations that oppress woman. islam gives the man the right to manage the family and its affairs and this authority would be void unless there is valid power to support it.
fifth allegation: on hijab and woman ’ s right to cover her charms
rosemary how said: “hijab keeps woman’ s dignity and protects her from the lusty looks. it also keeps the dignity of the whole society and prevent seduction; hence, the protection of both sexes from deviation. i also believe that covering the charms by hijab is not everything; chastity should be internal as well: the soul should guard itself from all evil things.” (15)
loravicia vaghleri praises islamic hijab by indicating that “it is not a disrespect of woman or suppressing their free wills; it is a protection of them from men ’ s lustful desires. this prestigious rule that endorses the isolation of women from men has led to the creation of an ethical life in eastern countries and the absence of organized prostitution trade except at the time the westerners has power. once this is admitted we cannot deny that hijab has been an invaluable matter in the islamic society.” (16)
1) abdullah quilliam: islamic belief , pp. 22-23.
2) the old testament: samuel 2:11.
3) the old testament: 1 kings 11.
4) sahih. reported by tirmizi (1/211).
5) emile dermenghem: life of muhammad , pp. 330-331.
6) jack reisler: arabic civilization , p. 52.
7) leitner: the religion of islam , p.11.
8) abdullah quilliam: islamic belief , pp. 38-39.
9) jack reisler: arabic civilization , p. 52.
10) marcel boisard: humanism in islam , p. 108.
11) nazmi luqa: muhammad: the message and the messenger , p. 96 ff.
12) arafat kamel al ashi: men and women who embraced islam , vol. 9 pp. 62-63.
13) emile dermenghem: life of muhammad , pp. 331.
14) muhammad ali al khatib: the prophet of allah ( saws ) is the given mercy , p.50.
15) arafat kamel al ashi: men and women who embraced islam , vol. 8 pp. 25-26.
16) loravicia vaghleri: in defense of islam , pp. 103-104.