Prior to the commission of Allah's Messenger (peace and
blessings of Allah be upon him) as a Prophet and Messenger,
women suffered great injustice, unfair treatment and were
exposed to humiliation of all kinds. Women were not entitled
to inherit from their parents, husband or other relatives
because Arabs believed inheritance should only be granted to
those who could ride a horse, fight, gain war booties and help
protect the tribe and territory. In fact, more humiliation was
even applied to women, in that she herself could be inherited
as a commodity after the death of her indebted husband. Women
were treated like material items of this world. If a woman's
deceased husband had adult sons from other marriages, the
oldest son amongst them had the right to add the wife of his
deceased father to his household, exactly as such a son
inherits the wealth of his deceased father. This widow, the
wife of the deceased, was unable to leave the house of her
stepson unless she paid a ransom for her life and liberation.
were forbidden to remarry if a husband divorced them. Women
had no right then to choose, or even consent, to their
marriage. Man, on the other hand, had the freedom to acquire
as many wives as so desired, with no set limit. Moreover,
there was no justice system that may forbid a man from
practicing anything unjust or unfair to his wives.
the pre-Islamic era, never liked or welcomed the birth of a
female baby into their family. They hated such a birth, and
considered it an evil and bad omen. A father who received the
news of the birth of a female baby was usually extremely sad,
disappointed and depressed. Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala),
described the father's situation when receiving the news about
the birth of a daughter in the family in the pre-Islamic era:
“When the news of (the birth of) a female (baby) is brought to
any of them, his face becomes dark, and he is filled with
inward grief! He hides himself from the people because of the
evil of that whereof he has been informed. Shall he keep her
with dishonor or bury her in the Earth? Certainly, evil is
were not able to practice some natural rights, such as eating
certain types of foods for instance. Some specific types of
food were allowed only for males. Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala),
stated in the Glorious Quran (6:139) which the meaning of is
“And they say: What is in the bellies of such cattle (milk or
fetus) is for the male alone, and forbidden from our females
(girls and women), however, if it was born dead, then all have
In fact, the
hatred of female baby girls reached the extent of burying them
alive at a very early age. Some Arab tribes were well known
for burying their newborn girls alive at a very early age. The
reasons for burial of young females alive varied, however,
according to the social status of the family. Some families,
or rather the head of the family, the father, buried their
daughters at a very early age fearing a shame that girls may
bring to the family (if they are indulged in any shameful
practices, i.e. adultery, fornication or prostitution). Allah
(subhanahu wa ta'ala), stated in the Glorious Quran (81:8-9)
with reference to the Day of Judgment which the meaning of is
“And when the female (infant) buried alive [as the pagan Arabs
used to do] shall be questioned; for what sin she was killed?”
used to bury alive their female child at a very early age if
the child was leprous, lame or had any other major handicap or
birth defect. Those were the poor Arab pagans. Allah
(subhanahu wa ta'ala), stated in the Glorious Quran (17:31)
which the meaning of is translated as:
“And kill not your children for fear of poverty. We provide
for them and you. Surely, the killing of them is a great sin.”
thing women could be proud of during the pre-Islamic era was
the protection of the man and his revenge against others who
humiliate or dishonor her in an attempt to maintain her
dignity and honor in the tribe.
Women were treated as maids or slave-girls in the Indian
society. Women had no will or desire of their
own. They followed their husbands fully with no questions
asked. Women were easily lost in a gambling game played by the
They were never allowed to remarry after the death of their
husbands. In fact, women were not even entitled to live after
the death of their husbands as both usually were burned in the
same funeral pyre.
The widow had to be buried on the same day of the death of her
lasted until the end of the 17th century when this custom was
outlawed in spite of the dismay caused to the Hindu religious
leaders. In fact, in certain areas of India, women were
brought as a sacrifice to the Hindu gods in order to please
them or to seek the fall of rain from heaven. Some Hindu laws
declare that: "The predestined patience, the blowing wind or
tornadoes, death, hellfire, poison, snakes and fire are no
less worse than women (the female)."
It is also
stated in Hindu religious books,
that "When Manna (the Hindu god of creation) created women he
imposed onto them the love of bed, seats, decoration
[make-up], filthy lust (of all types and kinds), anger,
rebellion against honor and dignity and evil attitude,
behavior and conduct."
In the teachings of Manna Herma Sistra
concerning women, one can read: "A woman may live without any
choice regardless of whether she is a little girl, a young
lady or a mature woman. A young girl is under the command and
choice of her father. A married woman is under the command and
choice of her husband. A widow is under the command and choice
of her male children, and she may never become independent
(after the death of her husband). A widow may never remarry
after the death of her husband, but rather she must neglect
all that she likes in terms of food, clothes, and makeup until
she dies. A woman may not actually own, or possess anything,
as whatever she may gain or acquire shall go straight and
immediately to the ownership of her husband."
In fact, in
some, maybe rare cases a woman may have several husbands at
the same time
. This made her look like a prostitute in the society.
Women in the Chinese society occupied a very low place. She
used to be assigned the most despised and least important jobs
and positions. The male child, however, was treated and looked
upon as a "gift" from God. As for the female child, nobody
cared for her, but rather they would be pleased to see her
die. A Chinese proverb says: "Listen to your wife, but never
believe what she says."
Therefore, we notice that the status of women in the Chinese
society was not much better than that of the pagan Arab
The woman in the Roman society was looked upon as a minor who
could not run her own affairs. Men directed all of women's
affairs. All authorities were in the hands of men. Men enjoyed
full rights over their family's affairs. Men had the authority
to sentence their wives to death in certain cases in which a
woman was accused with certain crimes.
Similarly, men, as fathers, had the authority to run their
daughters-in-law's affairs (the wives of their sons and
grandsons). The authority of man over woman in the Roman
society included, but not limited to the following: Selling
the woman, torturing her, sending her into exile or killing
her. The woman in the Roman society had to listen, obey and
execute fully what the man says or judges. Women were deprived
of the right of inheritance. In the meanwhile, the heir of the
deceased father was his eldest son. In fact, Roman society
permitted the man to add to the family members any person who
might not belong to that specific family. Similarly, men had
the right to kick out or sell any member of the family.
Women in the Greek society did not enjoy any better status.
Women were deprived of the right to education. In fact, women
were very discerned in the Greek society to the extent that
man claimed that "Women are nothing but all evil."
There was no system to protect women in this society. Women
were sold and bought like any other commodity. Women were
deprived of the right of inheritance as well. Moreover, women
in this society were considered minors who had no right to
make any transaction with their own wealth. Women, throughout
their lives, were subjected to the will of men. Women had no
right to seek divorce. Divorce was an absolute right of man
that led some Greek thinkers to say: "Women's name must be
locked up in the house, as it is the case with her body."
Women in the
Greek society therefore were in the lowest position.
Bond, the French thinker, stated in his book Arab
Civilization: "Greeks, in general, considered women as the
lowest creatures of the low. They were useful for nothing
other than reproduction and taking care of the household
affairs. If a woman gave birth to an 'ugly, retarded or
handicapped' child, the man could take the liberty to kill the
(unwanted or undesirable) child."
the well-known Greek speaker and thinker even said: "We, Greek
men, enjoyed the company of prostitutes for sexual pleasure,
'girl-friends', sweet-hearts, to care for our daily needs and
we marry to get 'legitimate' children."
So, we can see what fortune women had in such a society based
on the statement issued by one of their best and well-known
Women in the old Jewish society were not more fortunate than
those previously described. In the Old Testament (7:25-26)
women were described as follows: "Both my heart and I searched
and sought wisdom and good judgment, to know that evil (acts)
are nothing but ignorance, and stupidity, foolishness and
madness. I found that more better than death is a woman as she
is a net, her heart is a trap, and her hands are shackles (or
In the book
of Exodus (21:7-11):
"7. And if a man sells his daughter to be a maidservant, she
shall not go out as the menservants do.
8. If she pleases not her master, who has betrothed her to
himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a
strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he has dealt
deceitfully with her.
9. And if he had betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal
with her after the manner of daughters.
10. If he take him another wife, her food, her raiment, and
her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.
11. If he does not do these three unto her, then shall she go
out free without money."
Thus, if a
Jewish woman got married, her guardianship was transferred
from her father to her husband and she became as one of his
possessions such as his house, his slave, his maidservant or
his money or wealth.
This is also
understood from Exodus (20:17): "Thou shalt not covet thy
neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife,
nor his manservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that
is thy neighbor's."
the Jewish teachings and laws deprived the girl from her
father's inheritance if the father had other male children. In
the Old Testament, the book of Numbers (27:8): "And thou shalt
speak unto the children of Israel 'If a man dies, and has no
son, then ye shall cause his inheritance to pass unto his
Jewish men never slept in the same bed with a menstruating
woman, eat with her or drink with her. Jewish men used to
isolate themselves fully from a menstruating woman until she
is completely free from menses.
Christian priests went to the extreme considering the woman as
the cause of "original sin" and the source of all catastrophes
from which the entire world suffered. For this very reason,
the physical relationship between man and woman labeled as
"filthy" or "dirty", even if it was officially done and
performed within a legitimate marriage contract.
Trotolian says: "Woman is the Satan's pathway to a man's
heart. Woman pushes man to the "Cursed Tree." Woman violates
God's laws and distorts His picture (i.e. man's laws and
Knudesen, a Danish writer, illustrated the woman's status in
the middle ages saying: "According to the Catholic faith,
which considered the woman as a second class citizen, very
little care and attention was given to her."
there was a conference held in France to decide whether woman
was to be considered a human being or not! After lengthy
discussions, the people who attended the conference came to a
conclusion that: "Woman is a human being, but she is created
to serve man." Thus, the conference approved the rights for
women as human being, a matter that was in doubt and
undecided! Moreover, those who attended the conference did not
decide on full rights for the woman, but rather she was a
follower of the man and a maidservant to him with no personal
rights. This decision was in effect until 1938, where, for the
first time, a decree was issued to abrogate all the laws that
forbid a woman to conduct her own financial affairs directly
and open a bank account in her own name. In England, women
remained until 1850 with no citizen-status having no personal
rights until 1964 when a decree from Oxford University was
issued to declare equality between male and female students.
continued to discern women and deprive them their rights
throughout the entire Middle Ages. It is also surprising to
know that English laws permitted the man to sell his wife. The
rift between the sexes, men and women, continued to increase,
so much so, that women became fully under the control of man.
Women were stripped completely of all rights and whatever they
owned. All that a woman owned belonged to her husband. For
instance, until very recently, women, according to the French
law, are not considered capable of making their own financial
decisions in their private ownership. We can read article 217
of the French laws that states: "A married woman has no right
to grant, transfer, bond, own with or without payment, without
her husband's participation in the sale contract, or his
written consent to it, regardless whether the marriage
contract stipulated that there should be a complete separation
between the husband's and wife's possessions and ownership's
of various items."
amendments and modifications occurred onto these French laws,
we can still see how these laws are affecting the married
French woman. It is a form of civilized slavery.
a married woman loses her surname (family's name) as soon as
she enters into a marriage contract. A married woman shall
carry the family name of her husband's. This, of course,
indicates that a married woman will be only a follower of her
husband and she will loose even her personal identity.
the well-known English writer says: "The moment a woman
marries, all her personal possessions become her husband's in
accordance to the English laws."
is one more injustice that has been imposed upon the woman in
Western society which is that a marriage bond is made to last
forever, in accordance with the legal and religious teachings.
There is no right for divorce (according to Catholicism, at
least). Husband and wife are physically only separated from
each other. This separation may have contributed to all sorts
of social decay and corruption, such as having affairs,
mistresses, boyfriends, girlfriends, as well as possibly
prostitution, homosexual and lesbian relations.
surviving widow is not given the chance to remarry and lead a
normal married life after the death of her husband.
For all these
reasons collectively, the status of women became very
negligent in the "modern" Western society. This led, at a
later stage, to the movement in favor of women in the society
led by the Western thinkers, lobbyists, human rights activists
and educators. These "thinkers" demanded absolute equal
rights, socially and otherwise, for women in the society.
 Glorious Quran (16:58-59).
 See Pre-Islamic Religious Books, Pages 168-169, by Ali
Abdulwahid Wafi. See further Woman In Islam and International
Laws, Page 14, by Salim Bahnasi, Dar al-Kalam, Kuwait, 1986.
 What Has the World Lost in Muslim Degeneration, Pages
60-61, by Nadawi, quoting "the Great Indian Battle" of the
story of Baharat.
 The Story of Civilization, Voluntary.3, pages 178,
180, 181, by W. Durant. Translated by: Mohammed Badran.
 See Comparative Religions, Part-3, Page 208 by Dr
Ahmad Shalabi. See also Arab civilization by G. Lebon Pages
406-408, translated by Zuaiter. You may further refer to The
Story of Civilization, Part-3, Pages 177-178 and 180-181 by W.
Durant, translation of Muhammad Badran.
 Dr. Mostafa Al-Siba'iee, in his book "Woman between
Jurisprudence and Law".
 Manna is a very strange personality, which has been
surrounded with a lot of mystery in the Hindus culture. Some
classify Manna as a god above people while other Hindu books
classify him as the grandfather of their people.
 Ahmad Abdul Azeez Al-Hosaiyin Woman and her Position
 Abbas Mahmoud Al-'Akkad, Woman in the Glorious Quran.
 See Women In Islam page 183 by Dr Samia Munaisi,
quoting the last report of the International Seminar on
Illiteracy on 1 December 1990, by UNESCO, entitled Islam and
Woman Education by Nakib Exor Nicole Page 44 (ED/91/WS/22).
 What Has the World Lost in Muslim Degeneration, Pages
60-61, By Nadawi, quoting R.C.Dutt. 331.
 See Arab Civilization Page 406 by Dr G. Lebon,
Translation of Zuaiter.
 The Story of Civilization, by W. Durant, Vol. 9,
pages 118, 119 and 120. Translated by Mohammed Badran.
 Comparative Religions page 188, Part 3, by Dr Ahmad
Shalabi. Also, Arab Civilization, Page 408. Rendered into
Arabic by Adel Zuaiter. Al-Halabi Press - Egypt.
 Arab Civilization, by Dr. G. Lebon, translated by
Zuaiter, page 408.
 Ibid, page 208, part 3.
 The Story of Civilization, by W. Durant, Vol.7, pages
117 and 118. Translated by Mohammed Badran.
 Arab Civilization, Page 406. Rendered into Arabic by
Adel Zuaiter. Al-Halabi Press - Egypt.
 Husain Al-Shaikh, Studies in the Greek and Romans
Civilization, Page 149.
 Shawqee Abu-Khaleel, Islam in the Accusation Cage.