Women (sura)

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Turning towards Mecca
Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.
Qur'an 4:34

The Women (An-Nisa) is the fourth sura of the Qu'ran. And surprise surprise, it ain't no feminist tract.

The sura says that sons should inherit twice as much as daughters Allah enjoins you concerning your children: The male shall have the equal of the portion of two females, Women:11; and states that if women are found to be "guilty of lewdness", the correct punishment is to "confine them to the houses until death takes them away or Allah opens some way for them." Luckily, a whopping four men are required to witness this lewdness and testify on it. (Qur'an 4:15)

At the same time, you are not to just take things away from women, not take them against their will (Qur'an 4:19)[note 1]

Though women are property, nowhere in this Sura does it advocate dismembering much less honor killings, regardless of the "Qu'ranic justification" supposedly offered for those acts.

Women are as unclean[note 2] as using the restroom: …do not go near prayer… if you are sick, or on a journey, or one of you come from the privy or you have touched the women (Qur'an 4:43).[note 3]

The Women allows polygamy though only where the husband's demeanor and finances allow him to care for all those he marries and their children (Qur'an 4:3). The Women also contains instructions on exchanging one wife for another, as long as you provide for the first in proper gold and steal nothing from her.[note 4] (Qur'an 4:20)

One verse of the sura was quoted by Osama bin Laden in his letter to America following 9/11:[1]

Those who believe, fight in the Cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve, fight in the cause of Taghut (anything worshipped other than Allah e.g. Satan). So fight you against the friends of Satan; ever feeble is indeed the plot of Satan.

The sura contains discussions of Jesus and his human nature (as opposed to the supernatural sense that Christians claim), and establishes that the Crucifixion was faked: "and they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, though it appeared to them so… But Allah took him up unto Himself. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise." (Qur'an 4:157-168)

See also[edit]


  1. In the West, that's called rape, in less civilized countries, it's called a "marriage proposal"
  2. Especially at that icky time of the month
  3. Though admittedly "touched" might here be a euphemism for "just had sex with".
  4. The first case of alimony?