On the occasion of International Women's Day, columnist Suha Al-Jundi, who writes on the liberal website Elaph, penned a sarcastic article in which she enumerated various Islamic laws and customs that harm women, humiliate them, and discriminate against them, such as the inheritance, marriage and divorce laws.
The following are excerpts from her article:
Suha Al-Jundi (image: elaph.com)
"I wish to celebrate the lofty status which Islam has granted to the woman and the great respect it has for her, which is manifested in the following ways:
"1. A woman's testimony has half the weight of a man's, since she is feeble-minded and ruled by her emotions. Hence, for her testimony to be accepted, she must find another woman who witnessed the crime [to corroborate her story]. Otherwise she must stay home and remain silent, rather than tell the truth [about what she knows].
"2. Islam tasks the man with supporting his wife and children, [whether he is married or divorced]. That is why we do not see lines of women children and knocking on the doors of the courts for years, [just] so that the divorced women, and even those who are not divorced, receive the money to which they and their children are entitled. This, according to the verse "and support them according to your means" [Koran 65:7], which all men are careful to fulfill [even] without being forced by the courts - for men are pious and will not conceivably spare their children [support] out of miserliness, or claim to be financially distressed. Eventually the mother and her children receive [only] a few dirhams, because that is all the man can [afford]...
"3. A man may take four wives, even if his salary is meagre and his (physical) abilities limited. That is simply the nature of mammals who live in packs of one male and several females. Religious law must conform to this nature.
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"4. A woman's share in inheritance is half of the man's. Why? Because the man is charged with supporting [the family], while the woman sits at home with her makeup kit and spends her allowance on fashion and cosmetics. This [claim] disregards what happens in practice: the woman works and supports her family, and sometimes even works a second job. Do not believe the statistics; they are deceptive and slanted.
"5. Divorce in Islam is very simple. Islam does not compel a woman to remain tied to the family she has dedicated her life to establishing. The man may divorce her with a spoken or written word, or even with a gesture, if he is deaf or paralyzed. To ensure that she leave the house quickly, Islam does grant her any right to the fruits of her efforts and labors. If her husband [deigns to] give her the portion of her dowry he is obliged to pay her in case of divorce, she should take it and thank her honorable husband for his generosity.
"6. The woman must have a guardian...: her father, her brother, or [if they are unavailable] her uncle on her father's side, or on her mother's side, or some other of her male relatives who are forbidden to her in marriage. She cannot apply for official papers like an identity card or a passport without her guardian's consent, and may not travel or marry without his permission.
"7. [Islam] obliges a woman to wear a hijab the minute she reaches puberty, even if she is ten years old. This, in order to guard the woman and her chastity, and ensure that men will not be aroused and licentiousness will not spread. If the woman suffers vitamin D deficiency as a result of insufficient exposure to sunlight, she should take fish oil capsules. If she can't find any, Allah will reward her doubly for her ability to endure suffering.
"8. If a man summons his wife to have intercourse with him and she refuses, the angels will curse her, even if [she refused because] her husband does not respect her, does not make her feel cherished and safe, or because he smells bad.
"9. If a husband is concerned his wife may be rebellious (even if this is just a fear that has not yet materialized), he must warn her. If she does not repent he must throw her out of the house, and if she [still] fails to repent he must hit her. This, even if she is smarter and more knowledgeable than him, or if her salary is higher and she contributes more to the family income.
"10. Islam is concerned that the woman get enough rest, and therefore it exempts her from sensitive jobs like being a judge. This, [to ensure that] she remain quietly in her home and have time to raise her children, serve her husband and keep the family united - even if she has written academic papers and studies on this topic.
"11. Only three things - a house, a beast of burden and a woman and- may be regarded as [sources of] bad luck. It is a great honor for the woman to occupy this sensitive and important position...
"12. If a dog, a donkey or a woman passes in front of a man as he is praying, his prayer is null and void. This, because the woman is beautiful and attractive, and causes him to be aroused...
"To all [my fellow] oppressed women, happy new year."
 Elaph.com, March 8, 2015.