For about 14 years, from the birth of Islam in Mecca until the rise of Islam as an authoritarian religion in Medina, Muslim women were walking uncovered and Allah did not worry about their modesty or their families’ honor. He only stepped in after 14 years, when Muhammad and his pious followers attacked Jews and Pagans, and slaughtered their men, but spared their wives and girls for themselves as wives and slaves. Before Muhammad came, the Jews of Medina were 75% of its population. Some Jewish men were forced to flee Arabia but the others were all killed. Imagine the number of Jewish women and girls that were left behind for Muhammad and his followers! Added to this were the many pagan girls and women whose tribes did not want to follow Islam and lost their men fighting the Muslims. The resulting abundance of women for an inexperienced leader, Muhammad, and his followers created great disarray. Wherever he went or invaded he made himself overridingly busy with women. He even slept with a 17 years old Jewish woman called Safiyah in the same night after her husband was beheaded in front of her own eyes. Her father and brothers had also been killed by Muhammad’s order in another massacre a few months before this (Muhammad’s biography by Ibn Hisham, p.755ff; Ibn Sa’d, p.77f).
Not only non-Muslim women and girls were victims of the pious followers of Allah: Muslim women were too. We read in chapter 33 of the Quran of how Muhammad fell in love with his own daughter-in-law, Zeynab (the wife of his own adopted son), and eventually got her to become his own wife. Antoher time, he called a Muslim girl to his bed, slept with her at night, did not like her body so sent her back to her home the following morning. As a result, he gave the right to every Muslim man to check the private parts of a Muslim girl first before marrying her. As an ex-Muslim, I know how disgusted Muslim girls are by this practice, but in the meantime pious Muslims still honor this teaching.
Such abuses were all fine according to Allah and did not bother his so-called philosophy of modesty, as long as everything was according to the desires of his beloved prophet, Muhammad. Since Allah was being created in Muhammad’s own image, this god was ready to do everything for Muhammad’s pleasure. He revealed to Muslims in the same chapter 33 that Muhammad could not be called a father to Muslims but his wives were like mothers to them. In other words, Muslims were forbidden to take any of Muhammad’s abandoned wives as wives for themselves, but Muhammad had right to take any of their wives if he desired. This was the kind of example Muhammad set for his followers; he had more rights than other. Others did not have the same rights toward Muhammad as Muhammad had to them. Despite all this, Allah still calls him the best model in the Quran: In Allah’s messenger, you have a fine model… (Q33:21).
Every Muslim leader or scholar believes that Allah’s presence was more active in the time and life of Muhammad than for any other leader before or since. Allah never left Muhammad alone: he was present in everything he did in order to present him as a good role model to his surroundings. What was done to women by Muhammad was all done in the presence of Allah and by his permission. It was in Muhammad’s time that Allah revealed his so-called eternal and practicable words in the Quran, saying that Muhammad’s wives were like mothers to Muslims. Despite the presence of Allah, and his eternal Quran and Muhammad being the best role model, one of Allah’s pious followers had an affair with Muhammad’s most beloved wife, Aisha, who was called a mother to him. In other words, the Islamic cover for protecting the modesty of women did not work despite the active presence of Allah and his using his best man Muhammad. Why? Because Muhammad himself was not able to live according to the law of covering women: so he legitimized that boys had right to check the bodies of girls with whom they wanted to get married, exposing the modesty of women to threat again. Muhammad had always an exemption so that men could break the law. Now, Muslims want to keep the modesty of their women via covering them up. What nonsense!
Some of Muhammad’s own followers, who were exhausted and unable to correct Muhammad, asked him to force ladies to stay at home (Q33:33) or to cover themselves fully if they went out. They were not able to restrain Muhammad and therefore showed the edges of their swords to the already depressed women. He did not listen to them immediately, but after things got really unbearable, his Allah stepped in and decided to protect women’s honor and therefore decreed veiling. Interestingly, Allah revealed his decree in the same chapter where he allowed Muhammad to have his daughter-in-law as his wife, or any other women he desired to have, as recorded in chapter 33:
O Prophet! Speak to your wives and to your daughters, and to the wives of the faithful, that they let their veils fall low. Thus they will not be known more easily, and they will not be affronted (Q33:59).
In the verses 60-62 of the same chapter, Allah says this is his way, and anyone (especially non-Muslims) who comes against this must be slaughtered.
Can you imagine that despite such a harsh decree there is a way provided for Allah’s pious followers to satisfy their fleshly desires at the cost of women’s modesty?
We learn from the Qur’an itself that women are not compelled to guard their private parts from their fathers, father-in-laws, their own sons or stepsons, brothers, nephews, slaves or even their sterilized male attendants. They also can show their private parts to children who have not yet shown any interest in women’s nakedness:
And speak to the believing women that they refrain their eyes, and observe continence; and that they display not their [private parts and] ornaments, except those which are external; and that they throw their veils over their bosoms, and display not their ornaments, except to their husbands or their fathers, or their husbands’ fathers, or their sons, or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male domestics who have no natural force, or to children who note not women’s nakedness. And let them not strike their feet together, so as to discover their hidden ornaments. And be ye all turned to God, O ye Believers! that it may be well with you (Q24:31).
This Arabic verse of the Qur’an uses the word “foroujahonna” which clearly implies the private and sexual parts of women. The word “foroujahonna”, which is missing in translation, comes before the word “ornaments”. Rather than translating the exact meaning of the Arabic word in this specific passage of the Quran, the majority of translations use much milder words. In English, words such as ‘private parts’ or ‘continence’ are used. The Noble Quran’s English translation includes the “private parts”, but places them inside brackets, confusing readers so that they will not understand that this could be a part of the Quran itself. Moreover the word “farj” (the singular of the term “foroujahanna”) is used in reference to Mary, Jesus’ mother, in Q66:12, referring to her private parts: the angel Jibril (Gabriel) is said to have breathed into Mary’s vulva when allegedly causing Jesus to be conceived.
What is this bizarre covering which Muhammad and the god of his image, Allah, have created for people? What are these two extremes: On one hand, Allah forces women to cover themselves in order to protect themselves from tempting men, but on the other hand, he exposes their nakedness to their male relatives? Isn’t this mocking women? Isn’t this opportunist? Isn’t this saying that even a veil is not able to protect women’s modesty?
How will people be able to escape sexual immorality if Allah’s prophet was not able to stay away of it, or if the Qur’an teaches women to neglect protecting their private parts from most male relatives and others close to them? Consider a city or village whose population is only made up of relatives and others who are mentioned in the above verse. If women in the streets of that city or village were encouraged to follow the teaching of the Qur’an, how would she be looked upon? What kind of moral message would the children of the families from that village or city take out to the rest of the world? Wouldn’t the boys of that village feel justified in raping their family members or going to rape the women and girls of other villages?
All the evidence points to the fact that Muhammad was not ready in his heart to protect women’s modesty. If his heart was ready, he would not have needed a veil to protect women’s honor; his heart was not ready and for this reason he was not able to find a real tool for combating the urge to immorality. Muhammad, therefore, has not left a genuine legacy for Muslims to protect the modesty of their women through the veil.
Islamic history provides great testimony of veil’s uselessness. So many ladies have been stoned and hanged over 14 centuries of Islamic history because Muhammad’s decrees were impractical. Pious Muslims ignore this fact and are hesitant in putting an end to Muhammad’s mistakes. Instead they march ahead to establish their Islam everywhere and bring dishonor to all women in the world with their veil.