Episode 6: Oppressive rulings and legislations against women (2/3)



Marriage customs that showed no respect for women. On the contrary, they were an insult to her and females. There wasn't even a specific way of how marriage took place. They had many ways of getting married. This resulted in lineages being mixed up. These different marriages harmed her respect and that of her family and tribe.


Aisha, the mother of the believers, may Allah be pleased with her, narrated how the situation of marriage amongst Arabs before Islam was, thus she says:

There were four kinds of marriage in pre-Islamic Arabia: The first was similar to present-day marriage procedures, in which case a man gives his daughter in marriage to another man after a dowry has been agreed on. In the second, the husband would send his wife – after the menstruation period –to cohabit with another man in order to conceive. After conception, her husband would, if he desired, have sexual intercourse with her. A third kind was that a group of less than ten men would have sexual intercourse with a woman. If she conceived and gave birth to a child, she would send for these men, and nobody would abstain. They would come together to her house. She would say: ‘You know what you have done. I have given birth to a child and it is your child’ (pointing to one of them). The man pointed to would have to accept. The fourth kind was that a lot of men would have sexual intercourse with a certain woman (a whore). She would not prevent anybody. Such women used to put a certain flag at their gates to invite in anyone who liked. If this whore got pregnant and gave birth to a child, she would collect those men, and a sorceress would tell whose child it was. The appointed father would take the child and declare him/her his own. When Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him) declared Islam in Arabia, he cancelled all these forms of sexual contacts, except that of present Islamic marriage. (Narrated by Abu Dawûd)


If a wife became a widow, her period of mourning would be for her to stay in her house wearing the worst clothing, with very little to drink and without combing her hair. She would stay in this condition for one whole year. After that, her husband's eldest son from one of his other wives (her step-son) could either marry her or prevent her from marriage. Otherwise, her affair would be left for her father in-law to decide, to either get her married or keep her on house arrest.


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