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Women are a Danger to the Social Order

The outcome of the above premise of Mernissi is as follows: Since Islam considers women as sexually more active, therefore, it considres them to be a danger to the social order.

After quoting Ghazali that, "The virtue of the woman is a man's duty. And the man should increase or decrease sexual intercourse with the woman according to her needs so as to secure her virtue," Mernissi comments, "The Ghazalian theory directly links the security of the social order to that of the women's virtue, and thus to the satisfaction of her sexual needs. Social order is secured when the women limits herself to her husband and does not create fitna, or chaos, by enticing other men to illicit intercourse."1

Firstly, by looking at Ghazali's statement, I see nothing which would seem to indicate that in his view women are a danger to the social order. It simply describes one of the basic rights of the conjugal relationship -that the huband should not be a self-centered and selfish person, rather he should also think about the feelings of his wife. There is no indication at all that unsatisfied Muslim women in general would necessarily go out and commit adultery.

Secondly, if unsatisfied women become a danger to the social order just because there is a possibility that they might commit adultery, then this possibility is in no way confined to women -even unsatisfied men could commit adultery! If Islam had considered women as a danger to the social order on this account, then it must also do so with men! And in stretching this argument to its logical conclusion, one would have to say that Islam considers men and women a danger to the social order. You see the absurdity of this line of thought. If all men and women are a danger to the social order, then whose 'social order' are we talking about?!

1. Beyond the Veil, p.39; Ihya, vol.2, p.148.

Adapted from: "Marriage & Morals in Islam" by: "Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi"

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