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We are planning a book that will address the truly hard questions about women's place in Islam.  We shall not concentrate on refuting crude Western attacks on Islam like the accusation that Islam claims that women have no souls or that Islam denies women entrance to heaven.  Instead we wish to concentrate on difficult questions that are controversial within the Muslim community.  Questions submitted to date for consideration are listed below. Your assistance is most welcome. If you have suggestions, please e-mail us any questions about women in Islam that you have found difficult and problematical.  Send them to: [email protected].

Questions under consideration:

  • Is the restriction of women to the "private sphere" an Islamic mandate or human innovation? Specifically, is the preference for women to restrict themselves to the private sphere in the Qur’an?
  • Does permission in the Qur'an given to men to beat their wives open the door to physical abuse?
  • In what ways, if any, does the Quran say that men are superior to women?
  • Does the Quran or the hadith mandate a headscarf for women or is this just an antiquated custom?
  • Why must a wife consult her husband before she can fast?
  • Is obedience to the husband essential to obedience to God?
  • Why is the testimony of two women equal to one man’s? Is this specific to financial transactions and that time / those circumstances or a general symbol of women’s intellectual inferiority?
  • Why are there cases where a woman's share of the inheritance is half that of a man's?
  • Why can’t Muslim women marry non-Muslim men?
  • What is the rationale for child custody?
  • Can husbands divorce their wives by saying " I divorce you" three times?
  • Under what circumstances is polygyny permitted?
  • Why must a virgin have the consent of her wali to marry?
  • Why must a woman have her husband’s permission to go out of the house?
  • May women lead congregational prayers?
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