Not a Muslim here - in the West we often hear talk of (what we see as) horrible non-equal treatment of women by Muslim culture in the East. Is it common for women to be in any way subjugated (given orders and rules which men aren't subject to, or being forced to behave as a husband demands, etc) like we often hear about, is this as a result of wrong interpretations of Islam, or does the religion really teach these principles?

I mean no offense, I'm genuinely curious and open minded on the issue.

  • <comments deleted> Comments are intended for constructive criticism and seeking clarification; they are not intended for answering questions or debating controversial points.
    – goldPseudo
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 11:10

2 Answers 2


There's many questions on here that may be pertinent:

  • women are considered inferior in intellect
  • they are supposed to stay at home mostly
  • the husband can determine where she lives, whether she can leave the house or take up a job, demand sex and she has to oblige (see also this for how the husband can enforce these); for his right to keep her from leaving the house and demanding sex, there are restricted circumstances where she can ignore his demands
  • if she doesn't have a husband, these rights (apart from demanding sex; extramarital sex is forbidden in islam, unless it's with a female slave) fall to a male relative, this is referred to as "guardianship" and the guardian is the "wali"
  • the wali's consent is required for a woman to marry (see here and here), a man can marry without the consent of anyone but his bride; the consent of the wali is not required in the hanafi school of law, which accounts for roughly 30% of the Muslim population
  • a woman never inherits more than a man in the same position and usually inherits less (see the topic here - someone heard that sometimes they do inherit more than a man in the same position, but no one could find any evidence of that)
  • a husband can dissolve a marriage by simply saying so (talaq), a woman needs her husband's consent and give him the dower back, or she needs a court order to have a marriage dissolved (these are called khula or faskh)
  • women have to cover a lot more than men
  • men can marry four women simultaneously, women are restricted to one husband at a time
  • virgin women can be married off by their wali without their consent in some madhahib (schools of law)
  • 2
    @Honey The point is that sharia gives men a lot of power over women, women almost zero power over men, and generally sets women up in a far inferior position compared to men; what you would prefer to happen within those boundaries tells us nothing about what the system incentivises. People have to be protected by enforcable rights, not wishful thinking, and women in Islam have very few enforcable rights over men compared to the other way around.
    – G. Bach
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 12:21
  • 3
    @Honey The question isn't "what would G.Bach like his relationship with his girlfriend/wife/partner(s) to be like", it's "does Islam subjugate women". As a system, Islam puts women at an extremely disadvantaged position, and I've listed some of the major points in which way it does so. "If enforcing gets involved too much then women will become depressed. And believe me if you look around, you'll see a great number of depressed Muslim families/women." This answer explains why, to a large degree.
    – G. Bach
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 13:05
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    This answer reflects a rather narrow view and can mostly be discussed or even disproved to some extent.
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 9:30
  • 2
    @Medi1Saif Can you be specific? Apart from a right to be sustained, I'm not aware of any substantial gender-specific enforceable rights that women have over men. I see no reason to include exhortations and unenforceable recommendations because they are a hope, not a reliable means of protecting people's interests, and I also didn't include gender-unspecific rights ("people generally cannot kill people" includes "men generally cannot kill women" but is not specific to the men-women distinction) because they are independent of gender distinctions - this includes rights that work both ways.
    – G. Bach
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 11:21
  • 1
    Could the downvoters let me know what's wrong with this answer?
    – G. Bach
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 0:21

Yesterday I was listening to a programme on radio 4 where a British man was explaining how in Victorian London women were subjugated and told only to be mothers.

Auteur temps, autre moeurs (other times, other morals).

Personally, this to me sounded a little anachronistic; I doubt that women at the time thought of themselves as being subjugated. Who would want to work as a drudge in one of those satanic mills? Likewise in my ancestral village in Bangladesh I wouldn't want my sister to work in the fields or in the bazaar. Neither of which is pleasant work.

The difference is that the world in the West, and now elsewhere, has changed a great deal between them and now.

In the Qu'ran 2:187 we are taught that:

They [your wives] are your garments and you are a garment for them.

We are not taught to 'subjugate' or 'oppress' them.

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