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Islamic Restrictions on Women?!


I greatly bless your patience with all of the letters I have written. I must clarify again that nothing I write is meant in any way to offend Muslims or the Islamic faith. Islam has many restrictions regarding women, from covering their bodies, praying behind men in a mosque, etc… to being allowed only to marry a Muslim man. You say these rules are for protection. But, they seem truly discriminatory! For example, a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man because he may not respect her faith. Well what if a non-Muslim woman does not respect the faith of her husband? His marriage is not prohibited because of this. Is a woman a frailer species than man? Does she need extra protection and babying, because she is female? Why should there be any difference in treatment if she is equal to a man, which the Qur’an clearly states? Possibly you can enlighten me. Thank you.

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Thanks again for your questions.

They don’t offend us. Rather, they show that you are making a real effort to understand Islam.

Some of your questions here are on the subject of mixed marriage, but first I would like to comment briefly on your remark on the restrictions regarding women. It has long seemed strange to me that women in the West have fought for equal education and promotion opportunities and equal pay, yet they still want to wear revealing clothes!

On the one hand they seem to be saying: “I am equal to a man, I have brains!” Then, on the other, they still want to be seen as a sex object and attract men’s eyes… And, why is there no outcry about the use of sex in advertising?

In contrast, by covering herself, a Muslim woman declares that she is equal to man and has brains. She closes the door to being seen as “a piece of meat”.

As for women praying behind men, it is not, my dear, because they are inferior. Muslim prayers involve bowing and prostrating. If women were next to or in front of men, their movements would be distracting. It is again, to keep their chastity and avoid focusing on their bodily existence.

Now, let’s move for your question regarding mixed marriages. In Islam, the husband is responsible for all the expenses of the household. Then, in return, the wife is to guard his property and her chastity in his absence. She is to obey him in things regarding their life together.

The husband should not be a tyrant! He should consult with his wife and take her opinions into account on major decisions that affect her and the family. For more information on this, please see:

Scope of Men’s Qawamah

A Muslim family, like any other social institution has to have a final leader or decision maker. In Islam, the husband takes this responsibility. Thus, a Muslim husband has the right to order his non-Muslim wife not to serve pork or alcohol in the house. Yet, he is also responsible not to offend her creed or prohibit her from her given right of worshiping, according to her Christian or Jewish faith.

But, if a Muslim woman were to marry a non-Muslim man and he ordered her to serve pork or alcohol, what would she do? What if he ordered her not to pray or fast?

A Muslim wife is originally obliged to obey her husband, in order to maintain peace and love with the family relations. Yet, off course a woman should obey Allah first. So, if there is conflict between the husband’s demands and Allah’s orders, it puts a great strain on the marriage. Thus, Islam prohibits a Muslim woman from marrying a non-Muslim man.

It is true, as you say, that a non-Muslim wife might not respect her Muslim husband’s religion. A man would be foolish to marry such a woman in the first place, but as he is the breadwinner, he has the right to demand certain behavior from her.

Men and women are equally responsible for their actions. They have equal rights to education and the necessities of life. But they do not have exactly the same responsibilities and rights in Islam. For example, the wife has the right to be maintained by her husband, but he does not have the right to be maintained by her…

This does not mean that women are inferior. They have different roles in life, as mothers and nurturers. When a woman doesn’t have – though she is not prohibited – to exhaust herself to work outside. She is allowed to stay home and care for her young children. She can instill the best values in them. She can build a strong family… and strong families build strong healthy societies.

I hope this has answered your questions. May Allah guide us all to the truth.


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