Women: Unacceptable treatment of women

Q707 :I am referring to a practice which is found in many parts of the world. If a woman is walking alone, she is subjected to a great deal of teasing. If a woman is seen in the marketplace, many a young man try to touch or tease her. What does Islam say to this?

A707 : In the early days of Islam, when the Muslim community settled in Madinah and began to establish the first Islamic state, there were many non-believers, hypocrites and Jews in the city. Such people did not pay any heed to Islamic standards of propriety and decorum. On the contrary, they recognized that Islam placed very great emphasis on morality. All those people were hostile to Islam. They wanted to have a go at it and tried to irritate the Muslim community. Some of them felt that one of the easiest ways to irritate the Muslims was to direct their abusive remarks at chaste Muslim women. The Qur'an takes such people to task, warns them that they must desist from such practices immediately, or they will be expelled from Madinah. At the same time, Muslim women were commanded to wear modest dress and to observe Islamic standards of propriety. The following passage of the Qur'an refers to those events: "Those who malign believing men and believing women without their having done any wrong, will surely burden themselves with the guilt of calumny, and thus with a flagrant sin. Prophet, say to your wives and your daughters as well as believing women that they should draw over themselves some of their outer garments (when in public). This will be more conducive to their being recognized and not annoyed. God is indeed much forgiving, merciful. Thus it is; if the hypocrites, and those who are sick at heart, and those who try to cause disturbances in the city by spreading false rumors will not desist (from their hostile actions), We shall indeed give you mastery over them, and then they will not remain your neighbors in this city except for a short while. Bereft of God's mercy, they shall be seized wherever they may be found, and slain one and all." (33;56-61) I think the answer to your question is very clear on the basis of these Qur'anic verses. The action of those people whom you describe is certainly forbidden. It is not at all acceptable from them or from anyone else. There are three types of action to be taken in order to remedy the situations you describe. The first is by Muslim women who must always bring their behavior in line with Islamic teachings. They should appear in public in such a way which will make them easily recognized as decent and chaste women. They must in no way do anything that may be understood as encouragement to such people. Secondly, the local community must be on the alert to put an end to such actions as and when they are taken. If young people begin to annoy or irritate Muslim women, they must be taken to task immediately. Thirdly, the authorities should always be vigilant so that they can punish such behavior in a way which deter anyone from trying to annoy or tease Muslim women.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )