Rape in Muslim Countries

In many Muslim countries, rape is common but the idea that there should be four witnesses to prove the rape can be hard to produce as rape can take place when the aggressor and the victim are totally alone.
Some women prefer not to report the rapist for fear of scandal as sex outside marriage or rape is seen as dishonouring their family.

The Islamic law or sharia condemning the aggressor to lashes or death is practised in very few countries like Saudi Arabia. In other Muslim countries like Morocco the penalty is imprisonment and a fine or the aggressor with the consent of the victim in case of deflowering her should marry her.

Another point is that in many Islamic countries rape within marriage isn’t recognised as the woman should be at the beck and call of her husband even in sexual matters. But in countries like Morocco, there are associations formed to help women in difficulties with their husbands, including the sexual abuse they can be exposed to.

In view of the traditional restrictions on sexual freedom in Muslim countries and the desire for a romantic relation, many women fall victims to rape resulting in deflowering which is considered as a loss of dignity for the woman and a dishonour to her family.

To deal with the problem of rapes and to have real statistics about it in the Muslim world, taboos on this should be lifted and open debates should be organised to sensitise women about the legal procedures they should follow as well as sensitizing societies and families to provide the victim with support instead of looking down on her as a shame to her surrounding.

23 Comments

  1. candycane said,

    July 16, 2008 at 1:56 am

    I just have a problem with you continuously using the words “Muslim” and “Islamic countries” no counrty on the face of this planet correctly uses or carries out Islamic law, and lets not forget that other religons do exist in those countries. In Islamic law 4 witnesses are needed to prove adultry not to prove rape a DNA test is enough to prove rape. About Islamic law allowing rape within marrige well if she doesn’t want to be with him she should get a divorce. I agree that women in Middle Eastern (not Muslim) countries should be more educated in terms of thier options but lets not forget that even in the west alot of women choose not to report, so its not something restricted to that part of the world. Women all over the world should be able to find reassurance that the people who do these kinds of things wont go unpunished and that those women will be protected so the men who assaulted them will never be able to get near them again.

    • August 4, 2009 at 4:46 pm

      While it’s true that many women in western countries don’t report rape either, it’s often for very similar reasons. In the west, the problem is also often the court system, which in the past has been quick to vilify women who dress a certain way, for example, as not really being victims. Another common issue in the U.S. court system anyway, is that the woman is often subpoenaed to testify against her attacker, meaning that if he is acquitted, she is then at risk of him coming after her again.

      While there are cultural issues to take into account, the larger issue remains: Men need to get a grip on their sexuality and stop viewing women as conquests. Women need to feel empowered, have better access to education and jobs (globally), and the court systems need to change to stop blaming the victims.

    • xxx said,

      December 6, 2012 at 7:50 pm

      DNA test is a modern day invention of science…..200 year back it was not possible….

  2. quazi said,

    February 22, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    60% of women in west dont report the rape case, who says raai says dat ,unless u dont see d islamic laws as a whole u cant understand the total situation

    • sb said,

      July 20, 2013 at 4:12 am

      Don’t talk bullshit to cover up the serious flaws of islam. You muslims should change your attitude like getting easily offended and not caring at all how a woman feels.

  3. Humility said,

    July 7, 2009 at 8:35 am

    candycane,

    If you have a problem with the use of “muslim” and “islamic” in the context of the mentioned countries, then i suggest you bring that to the attention of the various regimes ranging from the islamic parties of Pakistan, to irans ayatollah regime or just have a chat with the saudi mutawa and their sharia neforcing authorities. How about organizing a online signature petition? I mean people are always ranting on about the 1.4 billion muslims so surely some million signatures should be gathered inno time? But that is not gonna happen.

    When they then smack you with the various of ahadith (sahih/authentic beyond dispute) and koranic verses along with the commonly available consensus on various of issues from zina (adultery and fornication) to dresscode and the mixing of genders, then you will have your answer.

    Calling a muslim country like Afganistan for ignorant and taliban for uneducated mountain ruling war lords is one thing. What about the Saudis? Afterall every single Saudi (original suadi not the migrant workers or their families) is wealthy and education is available to all saudis men and women. So you can not use the same argument that they are ignorant and uneducated and thus unable to practise their faith correctly.

    In Pakistan the hudood ordinance is in place. Every attempt to make it lenient or sheer removal has invoked several protests and marches along with political opposition from islamic groups represented in parliment. You should know that rape is not mentioned anywhere in the Quran. But fornication and adultery (zina) are. And there is common consensus throughout 1200 years to apply the laws and conditions involving zina to rape analogous. Now you may disagree but this is evident and clear if you study islamic litterature and the jurisprudance of islam as established by various “scholars”/ulema throughout time.

    So while it is (in my view) unreasonable to demand 4 witnesses to proof rape nevertheless the rule is based on zina. So unless you can manage to remove such consensus or change it or remove sharia altogether in terms of law frame and punitive framework, then you dont have a leg to stand on.

    Rape within marriage is actually allowed. There are many fatwas avaliable which either dont acknowledge the concept of marital rape, as sex is a mans right and he may request it any time he likes, or they simply contradict themselves by calling marital rape appalling and unislamic whole emphasizing that of course if a man was to take his wife by force, and nothing was wrong with her physically or such, then he simply taking what is his right (his right in terms of a nikah and the spousal right/obligation to sex). See the problem? I read one fatwa which was from an egyptian FEMALE scholar. How do you like that? A woman saying it is ok for a man to take his wife by force. Also there are hadith which establish that when a man calls his woman to bed then she must answer or else the angels will curse her until morning and God will be mad with her. What kind of pressure do you imagine this has on a godfearing woman? And let us not forget that according to hadith and islamic litterature the prophet evidently (if hadiths much be trusted as integral to understanding of islam and the koran) allowed rape and raped Safiyya. Yes the myth is he married her. But I ask youa woman whose husband was tortured by the enemy, whose father and brother killed, who became a slave, will she WILLINGLY marry the enemy within 24 hours of these tragedies if ever? Would you? Would any muslim woman marry say a jewish man who killed her entire family). Then you have the infamous hadith where some men of the prophet come to him and tell him they have caught some fine arab women and they desire these women seing as they are far from home and missing their wives. But they dont want the commitment in case of pregnancy. Now instead of condeming the rape the prophet allegedly gives them advice on not to withdraw themselves during intercourse and let whatever child come as that is Gods will. How about forbidding the rape in the first place? Abu Ghraib 1400 years ago. Notice I write evidently and allegedly, as I find it so hard to believe that a messenger of God, Muhammad, could have behave in such a manner.

    It is amazing that everytime something percieved as unpleasent or wrong or outdated or unfair turns up, people are quick to distance themselves from these countries calling them unislamic. Well that would be more credible if muslims and the “scholars”/ulema could join hands and protest as eagerly and with as much anger, threats and violence as displayed during the 2 infamous muhammad caricature/cartoon incidents.

    But where are the appeals? Where are the common majority condemnation? Where are the signature lists condemning these actions? Where are the many articles and readers columns contributions by muslims around the world? Where are the ambassadors request to meet with the leaders of such countries and appealing against their verdicts?

    Nowhere.

    And that shows more than anything there is a silent consensus. The “scholars” know very well that the countries are in the right (often but not always). for instance when brides are taken and raped at the age of 6, 7, 8, 9 and the legal age for girls are these ages in countries like Yemen, Saudi Arabia etc. They know they can not object because there are authentic hadith in place allowing this. And if you will question one hadith, then you must be default also question other hadiths and suddenly the entire ground of Islam as we have it today will fall to pieces. Certainly not desirable.

    So the shows goes on. The flogging and lashings continue. The pregnant women stoned. The child brides tradition continue. The intermarital rapes continue.

    I would advise you to take up studying of islam to fully understand these countries and Islam. Hearsay is not studying Islam. Most muslims dont speak arabic and majority has not even read the Quran nor the several volumes of ahadith. Majority are unacquainted with islamic litterature, “scholars” and common consensus. Yet the dependence of “scholars” is great judging from the the normal day to day questions at fatwa/sharia councils around the world to the online fatwa councils and Q&As and islamic websites. Until then your comments remain out of touch with reality and the reality in various muslim countries. Although i strongly agree with your sense of right and wrong!

    All the best.

    • Abu bakr said,

      January 1, 2012 at 6:54 am

      Hi there Humility

      Read your long post
      I’ve found that you are trying to pin poiint false in Islam based on unauthentic hadith. I feel so sorry for you and for all those like you who do the same by finding ahadith to suit their motives.
      Why can’t all of you find ONE VERSE OF THE QUR’AN. All you speak is hadit,hadith,hadith. I abhor such a hypocritical attitude.
      It’s not the hidith that is divine It’s the qur’an.
      and it’s not the hadith that challenges you to find one error in it its the qur’an which you critisizers of Islam cannever produce, except for the desperate attempts by some who try and interpret the qur;an to their own perspective ignoring the context of the verse and the true meaning.

      Tell me how is the qur’an the only scripture that is compatible to science. I’m ready for any argument about the Qur’an
      Awaiting your response

      • defendchrist said,

        January 25, 2013 at 12:32 pm

        Abu Bakr
        The reason why we have to quote Hadith is because it is the way Muslims explain the koran, because the koran does not detail in other words it does not explain everything we need to know.

    • Guardiana said,

      May 24, 2012 at 1:53 am

      Well said!

    • Fadheelah said,

      October 25, 2013 at 6:17 am

      TheAuthenticBase
      15-12-12, 03:58 PM
      American Rape Statistics:

      In 1995, over 354,670 women were the victims of rape or sexual assault. (National Crime Victimization Survey. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, 1996)

      Over the last two years, more than 787,000 women were the victim of a rape or sexual assault. (National Crime Victimization Survey Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, 1996)

      The FBI estimates that 72 of every 100,000 females in the United States were raped last year. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Statistics, 1996)

      Somewhere in America, a woman is raped every 2 mins. (US. Deprtment of Justice)

      Silent Victims:

      Approximately 28% of victims are rapd by husbands or boyfriends.

      35% by acquaintances.

      5% by other relatives. (Violence against Women, Bureau of Jusice Statistics, U.S. Dept. of Justice, 1994)

      According to the FBI estimates tat only 37% of all rapes are reported to the police.

      According to the U.S. Justice Department, only 26% of all rapes are reported to the police/law enforcement officials.

      Living In Fear:

      According to the U.S. Department of Justice (All statistics are taken from: Violence against Women, Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Dept. of Justice, 1994)

      25% of every rape takes place in a pubic area or in a parking garage.

      31% of female victims reported that the offender was a stranger.

      68% of rapes occur between the hours of 6pm and 6am.

      At least 45% of rapists were under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

      In 29% of rapes, the offender used a weapon.

      In 7% of rapes, the victim sustained injuries other than rape injuries.

      75% of female rape victims require medical care after the attack.

  4. Helen said,

    July 8, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    Your comment was very informative. I am trying to learn as much as I can about Islam, but I know I could never study the Quran or Hadith.
    Here we are communicating with one another and yet as you say the majority of Muslims worldwide have never even the read the Quran especially the women. It does seem a hopeless cause, as we cannot speak to these Muslim women or contact them in anyway.
    In a comment earlier someone said that if the woman in a marriage does not want sex with her husband, she should just divorce him.
    How unreasonable is that? They are saying that if a woman does not feel like having sex, for maybe just one or two days, she should divorce her husband.
    So a woman must feel sexual at all times, which is an unnatural state for anyone, or she must grin and bear it or divorce her husband.
    I am lost for words.
    Good luck.

    • July 8, 2009 at 11:25 pm

      Thanks Helen for your comment.

      Actually, I think women should assert their rights by being more independent of men, at least financially. For many women marriage is mere slavery, as they depend for their survival on their husbands. Even their families turn against them as the general belief is that the wife should be the servant of her husband!

      Only effective laws can protect women from rape within marriage or being just mere sexual tools at the whims of their husbands. Also women should be brave enough to come forward and declare their cases. They shouldn’t consider it as a shame to go public about it.

    • Habeeb said,

      December 24, 2012 at 9:48 pm

      Helen,

      You are right that “if a woman does not feel like having sex, for maybe just one or two days”, the solution should not be “take a divorce”. The one who suggested such a solution is either not married or not married to a woman. Marital relationship is not just a mechanical one, it is bond between two people at emotional, physical, mental level recognized socially and legally.

      So, there could be times in married life when man wants and woman doesn’t or woman wants and man doesn’t feel like it.

      As per my understanding, the hadith quoted here actually establishes the right of husband in the context of keeping society clean, encourage woman to give priority to man’s right since there are severe consequences of ignoring this right. So is the case of woman’s rights, if denied have severe social consequences.

      Because in case the person is continuously denied his right, he would look for other means of satisfying his desire (e.g. Adultery, prostitution, rape, sexual abuse of dependents or domestic workers) though nothing could server as a justification for him to commit any forbidden acts.

      Islam looks after a person and a society, so the causes of various societal issues are addressed at the level of “individual” (also), for example Muslim men are asked to lower their gaze, not to look at other women, keep their chastity, guard their sexual organ, not to be alone with other women etc similarly Woman are asked not to show-off their beauty, avoid mingling or being alone with other males, wear modest (non revealing clothes) and cover themselves.

      I do not comprehend Abdelilah’s comment below about financial freedom as a solution, many woman who work, their salaries are taken and used by their husband ( in many countries working woman are preferred as wife because of her income) in some situations woman become bonded labor in addition to being sex slave.

      So, there is no single (on shot) solution for marital harmony. It is life long process of care, giving, mutual respect, discovering and appreciating each other’s capabilities, helping each other become a better person, complementing and completing each other.

  5. zanaz said,

    August 4, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Selective comments?

    I see that you do not differentiate between adultery and rape. Candycan already explained it. In Islam rape can be interepted as a crime in the category of Hiraba.
    Hiraba does not need four witnesses. If you still believe that in Islam rape only can be proved by bringing four pious men then bring up some good arguments, otherwise you should edit your post.

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  9. amer hammad said,

    May 23, 2012 at 11:04 am

    you idiot abu bakr … i pity on you fool that u wudn’t hav kept ur name as such., u dnt noe da basic thing dat for evry basic thing why da sahaba use to rush to prophet muhammed(pbuh), to clarify their doubts., y cant de y just refer quraan nd solve their solns… next tym think nd speak…

  10. amer hammad said,

    May 23, 2012 at 11:12 am

    you idiot abu bakr . i pity on you fool dat y did u kept ur name as such.. y shld noe da basic thing dat y did da sahaba use to rush prophet mohammed(pbuh), to clarify their doubts.. y cant they directly refer quran 4 der solns…first f ol u get some knowledge bout quran nd ahadith den please think nd speak… (sry bro but u deserve)…

  11. July 4, 2013 at 9:39 am

    […] rapes happen becaus of revolution. and Egypt is muslim country. Rape in Muslim Countries | Comments on issues raised by BBC WHYS =/ Reply With […]

  12. shoaib said,

    December 8, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Islamic law is the best solution for rape & other crimes.pls study the Islamic Laws completely and think about each law


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