Guardianship of Muslim women by men of a particular relative status is an important part of Islamic culture. I'm confused over this because on the one hand the word guardian implies the protection of women, yet in the West especially, it seems to be viewed very negatively as men deliberately trying to oppress women.

In particular: does guardianship in the Middle-East predate Islam? If not, what motivated its development?

  • The view in the West may be due to two reasons: 1) incidents of abuses of guardianship and twisting of it (which Islam itself would condemn and forbid) or 2) objection to the very notion that women need special guardianship different from men i.e. from feminism/equality (and clearly Islam says they do need it; that is why the system is there).
    – The Z
    Oct 13, 2021 at 3:46
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    You are asking about guardianship over marriage? That predates Islam, as the Quran narrates regarding the interaction between Moses عليه السلام and Jethro عليه السلام in verse 28:27-28.
    – UmH
    Oct 13, 2021 at 12:59
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    Guardianship was known long before Islam and was practiced in almost (if not) all other religions until not even long ago. Maybe asking your grand parents will already give you an answer.
    – Sassir
    Oct 14, 2021 at 23:33
  • @UmH no, it doesn't answer my question. My theory is that guardianship was used to protect women who aren't able to defend themselves against violence generally including sexual violence; and predates Islam. Islam probably made the protection of women via a guardian a part of Shariah law but I have no evidence for this. Jul 6, 2023 at 21:31

1 Answer 1


Male domination over women has a historical background not only in Asia but all over the world. Even in Britain and the United States. In Britain, in the wake of the Industrial Revolution, women were given property rights in order to be able to use women as factory workers.

This male province over women goes back to the physical strength and spiritual superiority of men to some extent. It means that men want to be the head and manager of women has not been anything outside of human nature. But Islam came and put this desire of the man in a moral and legal framework. He told the woman to respect the man and his wife as the manager and head of the house and family. And Islam advised the man to consider the woman as the minister, advisor and internal manager of the house.

Islam may seem harsh on women, but in fact, women's rights in Islam are much higher and higher than any other religion or sect in the world. The safe and secure world that Islam aspires for Muslim women does not exist anywhere else. The Western world seeks to distort the truths of Islam through propaganda against Islam. The capitalist system wants women to be naked women with low salaries, similar to supermarket goods. While Islam wants women to know that they are precious jewels that should not be given to everyone cheaply. The motive for the development of male guardianship over women by Islam is to regulate the innate interest of male management and to explain the special and valuable position of women in the family and society and to prevent the abuse and harassment of women.

Reference: https://www.islamquest.net/fa/archive/fa8369

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