Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Male Authority in Islam

Islam has a reputation for being male-dominated. To what extent is this true? In my previous two blogs, I've tried to show, that men and women, basically, are seen as equals. This contrary to the Bible. Like the Bible, Islam favors love above rules and regulations. Love between people can even save their souls in the hereafter, even if the people you love have lived better lives than you yourself. Honesty and loving intention is more important than behavior. It should be the start and finish of everything else!

Yet, Islam has also tried to solve some organizational issues in family life, and here we no doubt notice, that men and women have somewhat different positions, based on their difference in biology. These have an influence on family life. The most striking difference is women's ability to give birth and men's physical strength, which is reflected in several Qur'anic verses, mentioned below. Having said this, we shouldn't get stuck in dialectic, organizational issues. Is man the head of the family? Qur'an doesn't say so. Scholars and commentators do, however, even if the woman owns the family home. They leave us with a picture of a Muslim woman married at seventeen to an older well-established man, by her father, in order to live with her husband and his family, rarely leaving the home, and having no say in the family or the working life. Of course she exists: The young girl marrying into a family. But there's no ideal situation promoted in Islam. All Islam tries to achieve, is a situation where, within their capabilities, men and women can avoid certain pitfalls that may jeopardize a happy, stable life. And, perhaps more importantly, create a secure environment for children. Now, what do we normally see, between men and women? It's true, that women have less physical strength; they are the ones who bear children and bring them to life, with all the health risks attached to it; they have a much shorter reproductive cycle than men. But furthermore, women also have similarities with men. We all have professional capabilities, after all. This aspect is also reflected in Islam, which is why women have the right to inherit, work, own, and do business. Naturally, this leads to a situation, where women own businesses, homes, and obligations outside the family, where male relatives can't just barge into. A woman can employ a man, or she can offer a new husband a home. Women won't find these right in the Bible, which was reflected in legislation of western nations, until recently. Something else we've seen through the ages, is that women have received less credit for their works and even for their existence. Men aren't keen on working with women on an equal footing, let's not deny that, and that may be a gross injustice. Islam mentions all these aspects, including their ugly consequences--discrimination, sexual abuse, even infanticide to female babies. Even women don't always appreciate each other as their fellows and equals--probably a reason why discriminatory legislation could persist, during so many centuries.

Nevertheless, women's life cycle is different from men's. If they want children, they should dedicate their young years to having them. Bearing them and taking care of them during the first few years, is for women a time consuming task, that may put their health at risk, which is why Islam has exempted women from the obligation to work, without denying them their own work and property. It also entitled your mother to be the first person in your life to your help. Men can have a very large progeny with many women, also (almost) simultaneously. Islam favors them having a family with only one woman, but allows them to have four wives at the same time, if he can treat them as equally as possible, and if it doesn't unjustly disrupt the family.

But women also have a stronger physical tie with their children than men. They rarely live with the insecurity, whether their child is actually theirs, for obvious reasons. It's one of the reasons why marriages exist: To make sure, that a child has two known biological parents, who are in a committed, formal relationship, at least during the time it was conceived. All religions promote this phenomenon. In Islam the woman should make sure, that her husband can rely on one thing: that the children they give life to, are his. This is why her husband is entitled to insight in her life, friendships and activities.  All of this, however, without spying her or heavily mistrusting her, because these are sins in Islam. He must provide for her, he may not take her property, and he must give her a wedding gift. There is no joint property between husband and wife and, therefore, no need to make a prenuptial agreement to separate properties. Qur'anic verses inform us in more detail. He may never ask her to return his gifts. However, she may return him his gifts, if she wants to end the marriage. She can choose not to accept a wedding gift, or to provide for herself. A lot of controversy surrounds Qur'anic verse 4:34, the one that may say husbands can beat disobedient wives. It's not sure, if this is actually the intention of the verse. The Arabic word daraba has many meanings, of which 'beating' is only one. The verse could say, that a husband has the right to 'reconsider' his behavior towards the wife. The next verse, number 4:35, explicitly gives wives the right to end the marriage, if the husband abuses her. The Prophet exhorted men to treat their wife with kindness and without violence, too. After all, violence is in direct contradiction to love and kindness. Another thing a husband likes to rely on, is that the wife do her best to work on their relationship. She must be careful with his property, help him when he asks her to, and give him joy and sexual contact. All of this, is a right they both have towards each other, but a wife may be able to spend more time and energy to it in case she isn't in a job. Hadiths mention this aspect.

Qur'an says, that women can't be in a marriage with more than one man, unless the woman is kept captive. Men can. Men don't have to wait several months to remarry, after their previous marriage has ended. The reason is, that women would have uncertainty about their children's paternity. This explains, why women can remarry immediately after the end of their previous marriage in only two situations: They had no sexual relationship with the previous husband during several months prior to the end of the marriage, or she gives birth very soon after the end of the marriage. It doesn't really matter here why the marriage ended, be it death or divorce. However, in case of divorce, the husband must testify when the sexual relationship ended, rather than consent the wife to a divorce. That moment decides, when the woman can remarry. If he refuses to do so, it doesn't mean he can stall the woman for ever. Qur'an says this in verse 2:228. The husband may not prevent the wife to divorce, this in spite of what some commentators and scholars may have said. However, this all explains the Qur'anic words 'men have a degree above women'. It's not so much an economic, legal or political issue; it's a purely biological difference. Women receive their man, then they give birth, and for all of this, they need a safe, stable environment--also for their man.

Now about female leadership. There's a problem here. Many people tend to treat Qur'anic examples as meaningless anecdotes, but how can they be, in a book of religious law? I wonder, what attitude has caused so many people to deny the obvious. We should read religious texts with honesty, unclouded by our own tastes. Qur'anic Surahs 27 and 34 narrate about the queen of Saba (Sheba) who was 'provided with every requisite; and a magnificent throne', but who was humble enough to listen to another monarch, king and prophet Suleyman (Salomon), when she and her people didn't believe in God. This makes her an example of a female leader who, when listening to solid advisors, can bring her people to spiritual benefit. This is also the case for Pharaoh's wife, when she disobeyed her husband the Pharaoh and took care of prophet Musah. And for Mary, mother of Jesus (`Issa). Scholars and believers don't see Mary as a prophet, but an example for mankind she is nonetheless. Only one profession is forbidden to women: Prostitution. And even in that case, she may be forgiven, if she was forced into it, or if she has good deeds to compensate.

Is the woman forbidden to travel, work, or leave the home? Surah 33 contains some verses especially for the Prophet's wives: They must stay at home, and talk with visitors from behind a screen. This rule has to do with their safety. They have a public position, and more than others, they may suffer physical attacks. Like in modern days. Yet, there are hadiths indicating, see below, that they did leave their homes, and no one reacted excessively, the Prophet himself included. It's simply not true, that they weren't allowed to leave the home. Some Muslims, however, see in these rules an example for other women to follow. Yet, women must also take care of their business, work, or families. They are more entitled to ask other male relatives to step for them, but they're not exempted from it. As a rule, women have no obligation to spend their income on their family. They may keep their income and property to themselves. That's why, on the other hand, they inherit less than men in several situations. Sons inherit more than daughters, also, but during life, they must be treated equally, concerning gifts and such. Hadiths on travel for women are not unanimous, as shown below. Certain is, that women can travel, also alone. They can live on their own, too. Traveling more than several days is disfavored. In the good travel conditions we enjoy nowadays, that means, that most travel is allowed for women in Islam. A visit to the haramein is different, because the Kaabah is only mosque in the world where men and women pray together. So women must travel there with a male relative, or in a larger group of women.

All in, Islamic texts reflect what we know from everyday life: That intimate relationships are a challenge, and bring out the best or the worst in people.

These are the, imo, most relevant Qur'anic verses and ahadith of the Prophet saws on this topic:

Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will, and send (good deeds) before you for your souls, and fear Allah, and know that ye will (one day) meet Him. Give glad tidings to believers, (O Muhammad). Qur'an 2:223

Women who are divorced shall wait, keeping themselves apart, three (monthly) courses. And it is not lawful for them that they should conceal that which Allah hath created in their wombs if they are believers in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands would do better to take them back in that case if they desire a reconciliation. And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness, and men are a degree above them. Allah is Mighty, Wise. Divorce must be pronounced twice and then (a woman) must be retained in honour or released in kindness. And it is not lawful for you that ye take from women aught of that which ye have given them; except (in the case) when both fear that they may not be able to keep within the limits (imposed by) Allah. And if ye fear that they may not be able to keep the limits of Allah, in that case it is no sin for either of them if the woman ransom herself. These are the limits (imposed by) Allah. Transgress them not. For whoso transgresseth Allah's limits: such are wrong-doers. And if he hath divorced her (the third time), then she is not lawful unto him thereafter until she hath wedded another husband. Then if he (the other husband) divorce her it is no sin for both of them that they come together again if they consider that they are able to observe the limits of Allah. These are the limits of Allah. He manifesteth them for people who have knowledge.  When ye have divorced women, and they have reached their term, then retain them in kindness or release them in kindness. Retain them not to their hurt so that ye transgress (the limits). He who doeth that hath wronged his soul. Make not the revelations of Allah a laughing-stock (by your behaviour), but remember Allah's grace upon you and that which He hath revealed unto you of the Scripture and of wisdom, whereby He doth exhort you. Observe your duty to Allah and know that Allah is Aware of all things. When ye divorce women, and they fulfil the term of their ('Iddat), do not prevent them from marrying their (former) husbands, if they mutually agree on equitable terms. This instruction is for all amongst you, who believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is (the course Making for) most virtue and purity amongst you and Allah knows, and ye know not. Mothers shall suckle their children for two whole years; (that is) for those who wish to complete the suckling. The duty of feeding and clothing nursing mothers in a seemly manner is upon the father of the child. No-one should be charged beyond his capacity. A mother should not be made to suffer because of her child, nor should he to whom the child is born (be made to suffer) because of his child. And on the (father's) heir is incumbent the like of that (which was incumbent on the father). If they desire to wean the child by mutual consent and (after) consultation, it is no sin for them; and if ye wish to give your children out to nurse, it is no sin for you, provide that ye pay what is due from you in kindness. Observe your duty to Allah, and know that Allah is Seer of what ye do. Such of you as die and leave behind them wives, they (the wives) shall wait, keeping themselves apart, four months and ten days. And when they reach the term (prescribed for them) then there is no sin for you in aught that they may do with themselves in decency. Allah is informed of what ye do. There is no sin for you in that which ye proclaim or hide in your minds concerning your troth with women. Allah knoweth that ye will remember them. But plight not your troth with women except by uttering a recognised form of words. And do not consummate the marriage until (the term) prescribed is run. Know that Allah knoweth what is in your minds, so beware of Him; and know that Allah is Forgiving, Clement. It is no sin for you if ye divorce women while yet ye have not touched them, nor appointed unto them a portion. Provide for them, the rich according to his means, and the straitened according to his means, a fair provision. (This is) a bounden duty for those who do good. If ye divorce them before ye have touched them and ye have appointed unto them a portion, then (pay the) half of that which ye appointed, unless they (the women) agree to forgo it, or he agreeth to forgo it in whose hand is the marriage tie. To forgo is nearer to piety. And forget not kindness among yourselves. Allah is Seer of what ye do. Qur'an 2:228-2:237

Those of you who die and leave widows should bequeath for their widows a year's maintenance and residence; but if they leave (The residence), there is no blame on you for what they do with themselves, provided it is reasonable. And Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise. For divorced women Maintenance (should be provided) on a reasonable (scale). This is a duty on the righteous. Qur'an 2:240, 241

O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your duty toward Allah in Whom ye claim (your rights) of one another, and toward the wombs (that bare you). Lo! Allah hath been a watcher over you. Give unto orphans their wealth. Exchange not the good for the bad (in your management thereof) nor absorb their wealth into your own wealth. Lo! that would be a great sin. And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans, marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice (to so many) then one (only) or (the captives) that your right hands possess. Thus it is more likely that ye will not do injustice. And give unto the women (whom ye marry) free gift of their marriage portions; but if they of their own accord remit unto you a part thereof, then ye are welcome to absorb it (in your wealth). Give not unto the foolish (what is in) your (keeping of their) wealth, which Allah hath given you to maintain; but feed and clothe them from it, and speak kindly unto them. Prove orphans till they reach the marriageable age; then, if ye find them of sound judgment, deliver over unto them their fortune; and devour it not by squandering and in haste lest they should grow up Whoso (of the guardians) is rich, let him abstain generously (from taking of the property of orphans); and whoso is poor let him take thereof in reason (for his guardianship). And when ye deliver up their fortune unto orphans, have (the transaction) witnessed in their presence. Allah sufficeth as a Reckoner.
Qur'an 4:1-6

Lo! Those who devour the wealth of orphans wrongfully, they do but swallow fire into their bellies, and they will be exposed to burning flame. Allah chargeth you concerning (the provision for) your children: to the male the equivalent of the portion of two females, and if there be women more than two, then theirs is two-thirds of the inheritance, and if there be one (only) then the half. And to each of his parents a sixth of the inheritance, if he have a son; and if he have no son and his parents are his heirs, then to his mother appertaineth the third; and if he have brethren, then to his mother appertaineth the sixth, after any legacy he may have bequeathed, or debt (hath been paid). Your parents and your children: Ye know not which of them is nearer unto you in usefulness. It is an injunction from Allah. Lo! Allah is Knower, Wise. And unto you belongeth a half of that which your wives leave, if they have no child; but if they have a child then unto you the fourth of that which they leave, after any legacy they may have bequeathed, or debt (they may have contracted, hath been paid). And unto them belongeth the fourth of that which ye leave if ye have no child, but if ye have a child then the eighth of that which ye leave, after any legacy ye may have bequeathed, or debt (ye may have contracted, hath been paid). And if a man or a woman have a distant heir (having left neither parent nor child), and he (or she) have a brother or a sister (only on the mother's side) then to each of them twain (the brother and the sister) the sixth, and if they be more than two, then they shall be sharers in the third, after any legacy that may have been bequeathed or debt (contracted) not injuring (the heirs by willing away more than a third of the heritage) hath been paid. A commandment from Allah. Allah is Knower, Indulgent. Qur'an 4:10-12

As for those of your women who are guilty of lewdness, call to witness four of you against them. And if they testify (to the truth of the allegation) then confine them to the houses until death take them or (until) Allah appoint for them a way (through new legislation). If two men among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. If they repent and amend, Leave them alone; for Allah is Oft-returning, Most Merciful. Qur'an 4:15,16

O ye who believe! It is not lawful for you forcibly to inherit the women (of your deceased kinsmen), nor (that) ye should put constraint upon them that ye may take away a part of that which ye have given them, unless they be guilty of flagrant lewdness. But consort with them in kindness, for if ye hate them it may happen that ye hate a thing wherein Allah hath placed much good. And if ye wish to exchange one wife for another and ye have given unto one of them a sum of money (however great), take nothing from it. Would ye take it by the way of calumny and open wrong? Qur'an 4:19,20

And covet not the thing in which Allah hath made some of you excel others. Unto men a fortune from that which they have earned, and unto women a fortune from that which they have earned. (Envy not one another) but ask Allah of His bounty. Lo! Allah is ever Knower of all things. Qur'an 4:32
Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all). If ye fear a breach between them twain, appoint (two) arbiters, one from his family, and the other from hers; if they wish for peace, Allah will cause their reconciliation: For Allah hath full knowledge, and is acquainted with all things. Qur'an 4:33, 34

If a wife fears cruelty or desertion on her husband's part, there is no blame on them if they arrange an amicable settlement between themselves; and such settlement is best; even though men's souls are swayed by greed. But if ye do good and practise self-restraint, Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do. Ye will not be able to deal equally between (your) wives, however much ye wish (to do so). But turn not altogether away (from one), leaving her as in suspense. If ye do good and keep from evil, lo! Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful. But if they separate, Allah will compensate each out of His abundance. Allah is ever All-Embracing, All-Knowing. Qur'an 4:128-130

And they assign daughters for Allah! - Glory be to Him! - and for themselves (sons,- the issue) they desire! When news is brought to one of them, of (the birth of) a female (child), his face darkens, and he is filled with inward grief! Qur'an 16:57,58

Allah has bestowed His gifts of sustenance more freely on some of you than on others: those more favoured are not going to throw back their gifts to those whom their right hands possess, so as to be equal in that respect. Will they then deny the favours of Allah? Qur'an 16:71

Marry those among you who are single, or the virtuous ones among yourselves, male or female: if they are in poverty, Allah will give them means out of His grace: for Allah encompasseth all, and he knoweth all things. And let those who cannot find a match keep chaste till Allah give them independence by His grace. And such of your slaves as seek a writing (of emancipation), write it for them if ye are aware of aught of good in them, and bestow upon them of the wealth of Allah which He hath bestowed upon you. Force not your slave-girls to whoredom (prostitution) that ye may seek enjoyment of the life of the world, if they would preserve their chastity. And if one force them, then (unto them), after their compulsion, lo! Allah will be Forgiving, Merciful.Qur'an 23:32,33

"I (Suleyman/Solomon's messenger, the Hoopoe) found (there) a woman ruling over them (the Queen of Saba) and provided with every requisite; and she has a magnificent throne. Qur'an 27:23

"I (Suleyman/Solomon's messenger, the Hoopoe) found her (the Queen of Saba) and her people worshipping the sun besides Allah: Satan has made their deeds seem pleasing in their eyes, and has kept them away from the Path,- so they receive no guidance,- Qur'an 27:24

And he (Solomon) diverted her (the Queen of Saba) from the worship of others besides Allah: for she was (sprung) of a people that had no faith. Qur'an 27:43

She was asked to enter the lofty Palace: but when she saw it, she thought it was a lake of water, and she (tucked up her skirts), uncovering her legs. He said: "This is but a palace paved smooth with slabs of glass." She said: "O my Lord! I have indeed wronged my soul: I do (now) submit (in Islam), with Solomon, to the Lord of the Worlds." Qur'an 27:44

O Consorts of the Prophet! Ye are not like any of the (other) women: if ye do fear (Allah), be not too complacent of speech, lest one in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire: but speak ye a speech (that is) just. And stay quietly in your houses, and make not a dazzling display, like that of the former Times of Ignorance; and establish regular Prayer, and give regular Charity; and obey Allah and His Messenger. And Allah only wishes to remove all abomination from you, ye members of the Family, and to make you pure and spotless. Qur'an 33:33,34

For Muslim men and women,- for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in Charity, for men and women who fast (and deny themselves), for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah's praise,- for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward. Qur'an 33:35
O ye who believe! If ye wed believing women and divorce them before ye have touched them, then there is no period that ye should reckon. But content them (financially) and release them handsomely. Qur'an 33:49

O Prophet! Lo! We have made lawful unto thee thy wives unto whom thou hast paid their dowries, and those whom thy right hand possesseth of those whom Allah hath given thee as spoils of war, and the daughters of thine uncle on the father's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the father's side, and the daughters of thine uncle on the mother's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the mother's side who emigrated with thee, and a believing woman if she give herself unto the Prophet and the Prophet desire to ask her in marriage - a privilege for thee only, not for the (rest of) believers - We are Aware of that which We enjoined upon them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess - that thou mayst be free from blame, for Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful. Qur'an 33:50

O ye who believe! Enter not the Prophet's houses,- until leave is given you,- for a meal, (and then) not (so early as) to wait for its preparation: but when ye are invited, enter; and when ye have taken your meal, disperse, without seeking familiar talk. Such (behaviour) annoys the Prophet: he is ashamed to dismiss you, but Allah is not ashamed (to tell you) the truth. And when ye ask (his ladies) for anything ye want, ask them from before a screen: that makes for greater purity for your hearts and for theirs. Nor is it right for you that ye should annoy Allah's Messenger, or that ye should marry his widows after him at any time. Truly such a thing is in Allah's sight an enormity. Qur'an 33:53

O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. Qur'an 33:59

We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents: In pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth. The carrying of the (child) to his weaning is (a period of) thirty months. At length, when he reaches the age of full strength and attains forty years, he says, "O my Lord! Grant me that I may be grateful for Thy favour which Thou has bestowed upon me, and upon both my parents, and that I may work righteousness such as Thou mayest approve; and be gracious to me in my issue. Truly have I turned to Thee and truly do I bow (to Thee) in Islam." Qur'an 46:15

When the female (infant), buried alive, is questioned - For what crime she was killed; Qur'an 81:8,9
Allah citeth an example for those who disbelieve: the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot, who were under two of Our righteous slaves yet betrayed them so that they (the husbands) availed them naught against Allah and it was said (unto them): Enter the Fire along with those who enter. And Allah citeth an example for those who believe: the wife of Pharaoh when she said: My Lord! Build for me a home with thee in the Garden, and deliver me from Pharaoh and his work, and deliver me from evil-doing folk; And Mary, daughter of 'Imran, whose body was chaste, therefor We breathed therein something of Our Spirit. And she put faith in the words of her Lord and His scriptures, and was of the obedient. Qur'an 66:10-12

Here are some hadiths by Sahih Bukhari:

Volume 1, Book 3, Number 69:

Narrated Anas bin Malik:
The Prophet said, "Facilitate things to people (concerning religious matters), and do not make it hard for them and give them good tidings and do not make them run away (from Islam)."


Volume 2, Book 20, Number 192:

Narrated Ibn 'Umar:
The Prophet said, "A woman should not travel for more than three days except with a Dhi-Mahram (i.e. a male with whom she cannot marry at all, e.g. her brother, father, grandfather, etc.) or her own husband.)"

Volume 2, Book 21, Number 288:

Narrated Qaza'a Maula: (freed slave of) Ziyad: I heard Abu Said Al-khudri narrating four things from the Prophet and I appreciated them very much. He said, conveying the words of the Prophet. (1) "A woman should not go on a two day journey except with her husband or a Dhi-Mahram. (2) No fasting is permissible on two days: 'Id-ul-Fitr and 'Id-ul-Adha. (3) No prayer after two prayers, i.e. after the Fajr prayer till the sunrises and after the 'Asr prayer till the sun sets. (4) Do not prepare yourself for a journey except to three Mosques, i.e. Al-Masjid-AI-Haram, the Mosque of Aqsa (Jerusalem) and my Mosque."


Volume 3, Book 33, Number 249:

Narrated 'Amra:

Aisha said, "the Prophet used to practice Itikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan and I used to pitch a tent for him, and after offering the morning prayer, he used to enter the tent." Hafsa asked the permission of 'Aisha to pitch a tent for her and she allowed her and she pitched her tent. When Zainab bint Jahsh saw it, she pitched another tent. In the morning the Prophet noticed the tents. He said, 'What is this?" He was told of the whole situation. Then the Prophet said, "Do you think that they intended to do righteousness by doing this?" He therefore abandoned the Itikaf in that month and practiced Itikaf for ten days in the month of Shawwal."


Volume 3, Book 33, Number 251:

Narrated Ali bin Al-Husain:

Safiya, the wife of the Prophet told me that she went to Allah's Apostle to visit him in the mosque while he was in Itikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan. She had a talk with him for a while, then she got up in order to return home. The Prophet accompanied her. When they reached the gate of the mosque, opposite the door of Um-Salama, two Ansari men were passing by and they greeted Allah's Apostle . He told them: Do not run away! And said, "She is (my wife) Safiya bint Huyai." Both of them said, "Subhan Allah, (How dare we think of any evil) O Allah's Apostle!" And they felt it. The Prophet said (to them), "Satan reaches everywhere in the human body as blood reaches in it, (everywhere in one's body). I was afraid lest Satan might insert an evil thought in your minds."


Volume 3, Book 48, Number 826:

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri: 

The Prophet said, "Isn't the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?" The women said, "Yes." He said, "This is because of the deficiency of a woman's mind."


Volume 4, Book 51, Number 5:

Narrated Sad bin Abu Waqqas: 

The Prophet came visiting me while I was (sick) in Mecca, ('Amir the sub-narrator said, and he disliked to die in the land, whence he had already migrated). He (i.e. the Prophet) said, "May Allah bestow His Mercy on Ibn Afra (Sad bin Khaula)." I said, "O Allah's Apostle! May I will all my property (in charity)?" He said, "No." I said, "Then may I will half of it?" He said, "No". I said, "One third?" He said: "Yes, one third, yet even one third is too much. It is better for you to leave your inheritors wealthy than to leave them poor begging others, and whatever you spend for Allah's sake will be considered as a charitable deed even the handful of food you put in your wife's mouth. Allah may lengthen your age so that some people may benefit by you, and some others be harmed by you." At that time Sad had only one daughter.

Volume 4, Book 51, Number 14:

Narrated Ibn Umar: 

I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "All of you are guardians and responsible for your charges: the Ruler (i.e. Imam) is a guardian and responsible for his subjects; and a man is a guardian of his family and is responsible for his charges; and a lady is a guardian in the house of her husband and is responsible for her charge; and a servant is a guardian of the property of his master and is responsible for his charge." I think he also said, "And a man is a guardian of the property of his father."


Volume 4, Book 54, Number 538:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle said, "A prostitute was forgiven by Allah, because, passing by a panting dog near a well and seeing that the dog was about to die of thirst, she took off her shoe, and tying it with her head-cover she drew out some water for it. So, Allah forgave her because of that."


Volume 7, Book 62, Number 24:

Narrated Sahl bin Sad As-Sa'idi:

A woman came to Allah's Apostle and said, "O Allah's Apostle! I have come to give you myself in marriage (without Mahr)." Allah's Apostle looked at her. He looked at her carefully and fixed his glance on her and then lowered his head. When the lady saw that he did not say anything, she sat down. A man from his companions got up and said, "O Allah's Apostle! If you are not in need of her, then marry her to me." The Prophet said, "Have you got anything to offer?" The man said, "No, by Allah, O Allah's Apostle!" The Prophet said (to him), "Go to your family and see if you have something." The man went and returned, saying, "No, by Allah, I have not found anything." Allah's Apostle said, "(Go again) and look for something, even if it is an iron ring." He went again and returned, saying, "No, by Allah, O Allah's Apostle! I could not find even an iron ring, but this is my Izar (waist sheet)." He had no rida. He added, "I give half of it to her." Allah's Apostle said, "What will she do with your Izar? If you wear it, she will be naked, and if she wears it, you will be naked." So that man sat down for a long while and then got up (to depart). When Allah's Apostle saw him going, he ordered that he be called back. When he came, the Prophet said, "How much of the Quran do you know?" He said, "I know such Sura and such Sura," counting them. The Prophet said, "Do you know them by heart?" He replied, "Yes." The Prophet said, "Go, I marry her to you for that much of the Quran which you have."


Volume 7, Book 62, Number 33:

Narrated Usama bin Zaid:

The Prophet said, "After me I have not left any affliction more harmful to men than women."

Volume 7, Book 62, Number 123:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle said, "It is not lawful for a lady to fast (Nawafil) without the permission of her husband when he is at home; and she should not allow anyone to enter his house except with his permission; and if she spends of his wealth (on charitable purposes) without being ordered by him, he will get half of the reward."


Volume 7, Book 62, Number 127:

Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Amr bin Al-'As:

Allah's Apostle said, "O 'Abdullah! Have I not been formed that you fast all the day and stand in prayer all night?" I said, "Yes, O Allah's Apostle!" He said, "Do not do that! Observe the fast sometimes and also leave them (the fast) at other times; stand up for the prayer at night and also sleep at night. Your body has a right over you, your eyes have a right over you and your wife has a right over you."



Volume 7, Book 62, Number 160:

Narrated Ibn 'Abbas :

The Prophet said, "No man should stay with a lady in seclusion except in the presence of a Dhu-Muhram." A man stood up and said, "O Allah's Apostle! My wife has gone out intending to perform the Hajj and I have been enrolled (in the army) for such-and-such campaign." The Prophet said, "Return and perform the Hajj with your wife."


Volume 7, Book 62, Number 165:

Narrated Salim's father:

The Prophet said, "If the wife of anyone of you asks permission to go to the mosque, he should not forbid her."


Volume 7, Book 62, Number 168:

Narrated 'Abdullah:

The Prophet said, "A woman should not look at or touch another woman to describe her to her husband in such a way as if he was actually looking at her."


Volume 7, Book 62, Number 171:

Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah:

Allah's Apostle said, "When anyone of you is away from his house for a long time, he should not return to his family at night."


Volume 7, Book 64, Number 272:

Narrated 'Aisha:

Hind bint 'Utba came and said, "O Allah's Apostle! Abu Sufyan is a miser so is it sinful of me to feed our children from his property?" Allah's Apostle said, "No except if you take for your needs what is just and reasonable."


Volume 7, Book 71, Number 656:

Narrated Abu Mas'ud:

The Prophet forbade the utilization of the price of a dog, the earnings of prostitute and the earnings of a foreteller.


Volume 7, Book 72, Number 845:

Narrated Abu Juhaifa:

that he had bought a slave whose profession was cupping. The Prophet forbade taking the price of blood and the price of a dog and the earnings of a prostitute, and cursed the one who took or gave (Riba') usury, and the lady who tattooed others or got herself tattooed, and the picture-maker.


Volume 8, Book 73, Number 1:
Narrated Al-Walid bin 'Aizar:

I heard Abi Amr 'Ash-Shaibani saying, "The owner of this house." he pointed to 'Abdullah's house, "said, 'I asked the Prophet 'Which deed is loved most by Allah?" He replied, 'To offer prayers at their early (very first) stated times.' " 'Abdullah asked, "What is the next (in goodness)?" The Prophet said, "To be good and dutiful to one's parents," 'Abdullah asked, "What is the next (in goodness)?" The Prophet said, To participate in Jihad for Allah's Cause." 'Abdullah added, "The Prophet narrated to me these three things, and if I had asked more, he would have told me more."


Volume 8, Book 73, Number 2: 

Narrated Abu Huraira:

A man came to Allah's Apostle and said, "O Allah's Apostle! Who is more entitled to be treated with the best companionship by me?" The Prophet said, "Your mother." The man said. "Who is next?" The Prophet said, "Your mother." The man further said, "Who is next?" The Prophet said, "Your mother." The man asked for the fourth time, "Who is next?" The Prophet said, "Your father."


Volume 8, Book 73, Number 6:
Narrated Al-Mughira:

The Prophet said, "Allah has forbidden you ( 1 ) to be undutiful to your mothers (2) to withhold (what you should give) or (3) demand (what you do not deserve), and (4) to bury your daughters alive. And Allah has disliked that (A) you talk too much about others ( B), ask too many questions (in religion), or (C) waste your property."


Volume 8, Book 73, Number 42: 

Narrated Jarir bin 'Abdullah:

The Prophet said, "He who is not merciful to others, will not be treated mercifully.


Volume 8, Book 73, Number 65: 

Narrated Al-Aswad:

I asked 'Aisha what did the Prophet use to do at home. She replied. "He used to keep himself busy serving his family and when it was time for the prayer, he would get up for prayer."


Volume 8, Book 73, Number 68: 

Narrated 'Abdullah bin Zam'a:

The Prophet forbade laughing at a person who passes wind, and said, "How does anyone of you beat his wife as he beats the stallion camel and then he may embrace (sleep with) her?" And Hisham said, "As he beats his slave"


Volume 8, Book 73, Number 90: 

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "Beware of suspicion, for suspicion is the worst of false tales; and do not look for the others' faults and do not spy, and do not be jealous of one another, and do not desert (cut your relation with) one another, and do not hate one another; and O Allah's worshipers! Be brothers (as Allah has ordered you!")


Volume 8, Book 73, Number 144: 

Narrated Thabit:

that he heard Anas saying, "A woman came to the Prophet offering herself to him in marriage, saying, "Have you got any interest in me (i.e. would you like to marry me?)" Anas's daughter said, "How shameless that woman was!" On that Anas said, "She is better than you for, she presented herself to Allah's Apostle (for marriage)."


Volume 8, Book 73, Number 190: 

Narrated 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud:

A man came to Allah's Apostle and said, "O Allah's Apostle! What do you say about a man who loves some people but cannot catch up with their good deeds?" Allah's Apostle said, "Everyone will be with those whom he loves."


Volume 8, Book 73, Number 190: 

Narrated 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud:

A man came to Allah's Apostle and said, "O Allah's Apostle! What do you say about a man who loves some people but cannot catch up with their good deeds?" Allah's Apostle said, "Everyone will be with those whom he loves."


Volume 8, Book 74, Number 257:

Narrated 'Aisha:

(the wife of the Prophet) 'Umar bin Al-Khattab used to say to Allah's Apostle "Let your wives be veiled" But he did not do so. The wives of the Prophet used to go out to answer the call of nature at night only at Al-Manasi.' Once Sauda, the daughter of Zam'a went out and she was a tall woman. 'Umar bin Al-Khattab saw her while he was in a gathering, and said, "I have recognized you, O Sauda!" He ('Umar) said so as he was anxious for some Divine orders regarding the veil (the veiling of women.) So Allah revealed the Verse of veiling. (Al-Hijab; a complete body cover excluding the eyes). (See Hadith No. 148, Vol. 1)


Volume 8, Book 76, Number 474: 

Narrated 'Aisha:

The Prophet said, "Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and receive good news because one's good deeds will not make him enter Paradise." They asked, "Even you, O Allah's Apostle?" He said, "Even I, unless and until Allah bestows His pardon and Mercy on me."


Volume 9, Book 88, Number 219: 

Narrated Abu Bakra:

During the battle of Al-Jamal, Allah benefited me with a Word (I heard from the Prophet). When the Prophet heard the news that the people of the Persia had made the daughter of Khosrau their Queen (ruler), he said, "Never will succeed such a nation as makes a woman their ruler."


And here are some hadiths by Sahih Muslim:

Book 008, Number 3233:

Abdullah (b. Mas'ud) (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said to us: 0 young men, those among you who can support a wife should marry, for it restrains eyes (from casting evil glances) and preserves one from immorality; but he who cannot afford It should observe fast for it is a means of controlling the sexual desire.

Book 008, Number 3465: 

'Abdullah b. Amr reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The whole world is a provision, and the best object of benefit of the world is the pious woman.

Book 008, Number 3467:

Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported: Woman has been created from a rib and will in no way be straightened for you; so if you wish to benefit by her, benefit by her while crookedness remains in her. And if you attempt to straighten her, you will break her, and breaking her is divorcing her.

Book 012, Number 3970: 

Nu'man b. Bashir reported: My father conferred a gift upon me, and then brought me to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) to make him a witness (to it). He (the Holy Prophet) said: Have you given such gift to every son of yours (as you have given to Nu'man)? He said: No. Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: Don't you expect goodness from them as you expect from him? He said: Yes. of course. He (the Holy Prophet) said: I am not going to bear witness to it (as it is injustice). Ibn Aun (one of the narrators) said: I narrated this hadith to Muhammad (the other narrator) who said: Verily we narrated that lie (the Holy Prophet) had said: Observe equity amongst your children.
Abu Dharr reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying that he reported it from his Lord, the Exalted and Glorious: Verily I have made oppression unlawful for Me and for My servants too, so do not commit oppression. The rest of the hadith is the same (as 6246.)


The Prophet pbuh exhorted his followers to treat their wives well and without violence, and to respect their rights for themselves. He explicitly mentioned this after his last pilgrimage to Mecca, when he gave his followers a last qhutba, a sermon that has become one of the most quoted texts in Islam:

O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah’s trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste.

This is a lot of text, but when we read it well, a clear picture appears of what may be expected from a man and a woman in their capacity of: Human being, man or woman.

Sources:
University of Southern California USC-MSA Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement (Compendium of Muslim Texts) http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje
The Quran and its Message http://quransmessage.com/welcome.htm