When the Koran discusses relations between men and women there seems to be an edge given to men. ‘Men are the protectors and maintainers of women Because God had given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women Are obedient and guard in (the husband’s) absence what God would have them guard.’(Sura Al-Nisaa Verse no 34).
This Ayat along with giving men an advantage over women also gives them the responsibility of taking care of the women. It also describes the duties of the wife to her husband. This Ayat goes onto state that if a wife is disobeying and being disloyal the man is permitted to beat her lightly.
Men are allowed to have four wives at a time. However this excludes the women that the ‘right hand possess’. ‘If you fear that you will not be able to justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two, three or four. (Ali Yusuf (1938) Sura Al-Nisaa Verse no 3)
However according to the Koran neither the slave-women nor free women can be forced to marry or engage in sex with men if they don’t want to. ‘Ye are not forbidden to inherit women against their will nor should you treat them with harshness’ (Sura Al-Nisaa Verse no 19) As far as divorce is concerned, all attempts should be made to mend the marriage before it is considered. As a solution, in one part the Koran recommends that one family member of each should meet and try and help the couple if a rift has occurred. If the man chooses to leave his wife he cannot take her dowry away from her unless she has been guilty of lewdness. A woman who is afraid that her husband will leave her or if he is violent towards her she can leave him and still keep her dowry.
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