By: Nur Rofiah


The history of human civilization is colored by inhuman perspectives and traditions that disgrace women. Women are seen as objects belonging to men. First father, then husband, then children or other male relatives. Men can make women as gifts, inheritance and merchandise, and modify women’s bodies, including cutting the vagina for the benefit of men.

Marriage is still generally seen as the transfer of ownership rights over women from father to husband. Fathers can force young daughters to gain economic benefits. Roman law allowed fathers to sell their biological daughters (Haekal, 1979). Husbands can also sell their wives. Britain only canceled legislation allowing this in the early 19th century (Shihab, 2001).

The father is considered normal to rape his biological daughter and the husband is seen as normal to rape his wife. The phrase “husband rapes his wife” is seen as strange as “husband steals money from his own wallet”. Sexual harassment and rape are often seen not as crimes against women as victims, but as the rights of men as owners. Fines are not paid to women, but to men. Rape of a woman who has neither father nor husband is considered the same as finding coins in the middle of the road so that it is not seen as a crime (Harari, 172).

The influence of this perspective on women’s humanity is still strong until now, making eliminating sexual violence difficult. Certain interpretations of the Quran are often used as legitimacy so that their elimination is seen as opposing the Quran. Is that right?


The Roots of Sexual Violence

Sexual violence against women is rooted in a negative view of women’s humanity. Its elimination in the Quran begins with verses about women’s human identity. Islam was present in the 7th century AD. Baby girls were still commonly buried alive, forced to marry as children, polygamy with an unlimited number of wives, forcibly prostituted as slaves, as inheritance, etc.

Islam emphasizes the humanity of women (QS. Al-Hujurat / 49: 13) so that it also has an intellectual and spiritual dimension. Even the non-physical dimensions of humans are more immortal because they remain after death (Qs. Al-An’am / 6: 94). Physically, men and women are created from the same material and process (Qs. Al-Mu’minun / 23: 12-14). Spiritually, both of them are created from one soul (nafsin wahidah) (Qs. An-Nisa / 4: 1), have an inherent status as only servants of Allah (Qs. Adz-Dzariyat / 51: 56), and carry out the mandate as Khalifah fil Ardl to realize benefit on earth (Qs. Al-Ahzab / 33: 72). The value of both depends only on piety (Qs. Al-Hujurat / 49: 13), namely the extent to which his tawhid commitment to the Creator brings benefit to fellow beings.

Physically, men and women have different reproductive systems. Women experience menstruation, pregnancy, giving birth, childbirth and breastfeeding, while men do not. This typical female biological experience accompanied by frequent bleeding is an excuse to humiliate women because it is understood as a curse. Women are seen as a source of slander for men as Hawa AS as a source of slander for Adam As to be expelled from heaven. The Quran confirms that the tempter of Adam As was Satan (Qs. Al-Baqarah / 2: 36) and directly seduced him (Surah Thaha / 20: 120-122). The two letters together only mention Adam As as the repentant one because he was the one who was tempted.

The Quran builds an empathic perspective on the biological experience of women. Menstruation is called something painful (adza) (Qs. Al-Baqarah/ 2: 222). Quraish Shihab in al-Mishbah (2012) explains that this verse provides instructions on how to deal with menstruation (properly). Pregnancy until breastfeeding is called a tiring experience (kurhan) (Qs.Al-Ahqaf/ 46: 15), even multiple pain (Wahnan ala Wahnin) (Qs. Luqman/ 31: 14). This verse contains a strong message to all humans to be clever to thank women as the mother of life. Breastfeeding is an experience that should not make the condition of the baby or mother difficult (Qs. Al-Baqarah / 2: 233). Abi Thahir bin Ya’qub in Tanwirul Miqbas emphasizes that two years in this verse are related to the father’s obligation to provide a living (Ya’qub, 1995).


The Strategy of Elimination 

Islam has a mission to create a life that is a blessing  for the universe (QS. Al-Anbiya /21: 107) including for women, and to perfect human morals including those of women. Islam in the Quran has two strategies to eliminate inhuman acts including sexual violence against women. First, direct and total deletion. For example, the prohibition of burying a baby girl alive. Second, through intermediate targets. For example strategies related to polygamy, the share of the inheritance of boys and girls, and the value of female witnesses in accounts receivable.

The Quran records a long history of humanizing women so that it contains three types of verses. First, the Point of Departure Verse, namely verses that reflect the way when society views women as objects. For example, verses about women as heavenly angels (QS. Ar-Rahman / 55: 56-58), accessories of life (Qs. Ali Imran / 3: 14), and fields (al-Baqarah /2: 223). This perspective and attitude towards women is something that will be changed during the time of revelation. Second, the Intermediate Target Verse, which is a verse that contains the perspective that women are a fraction of men. For example, the verse about the inheritance of a daughter (QS. An-Nisa / 4: 11), and the value of female witnesses in accounts receivable (al-Baqarah / 2: 282), and polygamy (an-Nisa / 4: 3). Third, the Final Purpose Verse, namely the verses that contain the perspective that women are equal to men. For example, the verse regarding the status of men and women as only servants of Allah (QS. Adz-Dzariyat / 51: 56), Khalifah fil Ard (QS. Al-Ahzab / 33: 72), quality is determined by piety (QS. Al-Hujurat / 49: 13), can be rewarded if you do good (QS. An-Nahl / 16: 97).

The Quran’s preventive strategy is carried out, among others, by providing two guidelines in the relationship between men and women, namely Ghodldlul Bashar (controlling the perspective), not just bowing the eyes (Ghodldlul ‘Uyun) and guarding the genitals (Hifdhul Furuj) (QS. An- Nur / 24: 30-31). Men and women in any capacity must associate as intelligent beings, not only as physical or even sexual beings. Only in this way can associations be able to educate and sharpen spirituality so that it benefits both parties (Rofi’ah, 2020). The Quran’s curative strategy includes prohibiting adultery (QS. Al-Isra / 17: 32) and committing adultery (QS. An-Nur / 24: 3). These prohibitions are a form of protection for women from sexual harassment to rape. Approaching adultery, let alone committing it, whether done voluntarily let alone coercion, is strictly forbidden in Islam.

The Quran prevents sexual violence by changing the perspective on marriage. The goal of marriage is not the husband’s sexual pleasure, but the peace of mind (sakinah) of the husband and wife so that the relationship between the two is also not the husband’s absolute ownership of the wife, but love (Mawaddah wa Rahmah) (ar-Rum /30: 21). This kind of marriage is supported by five pillars. First, husband and wife are not superiors and subordinates but in pairs (Zawaj) (ar-Rum/ 30: 21). Second, marriage is not a contract of transfer of ownership of women, but a husband and wife’s commitment to Allah so that it is called a firm promise (Mitsaqan Ghalidlan) (an-Nisa/ 4: 21). Third, husbands can no longer be arbitrary because husbands and wives must associate with dignity (Mu’asyarah bil-Ma’ruf) (an-Nisa/ 4: 19). Fourth, husbands are no longer allowed to carry out domestic violence because they both have to solve problems by deliberation (Qs. Al-Baqarah / 2: 233). Fifth, it is not only the wife who must get the approval of her husband, but both of them need to maintain the willingness of both parties (taradlin) (Qs. Al-Baqarah/ 2: 233). Husband and wife sexual relations should reflect the moral foundation of marriage.


Strategy for Elimination of Sexual Violence

Massive changes in the awareness of women’s humanity are reflected in the testimony given by the Companion Umar bin Khattab ra in a narration, “By Allah, we at the time of ignorance did not take women at all. Then Allah sent down the revelations and continued to mention them, then we realized they had rights that we are not allowed to intervene “(Narrated by Bukhari). The challenge of eliminating sexual violence has been closely related to the awareness of women’s humanity.

The Quran as a teaching system has shown a strong spirit of humanizing women and the spirit of the complete elimination of sexual violence, both inside and outside of marriage. The challenge is that the Quran continues to be read by humans with three types of awareness about women’s humanity. First, readers of the Quran with the lowest awareness who see women as objects, not humans, so they tend to see the Point of Departure as the ideal Islamic norm. As a result, they failed to link the message of benefit to Islam with women. Second, readers of the Quran with intermediate awareness who view women as secondary beings, tend to see the Intermediate Target Verse as the ideal Islamic norm. As a result, they fail to link the message of benefit to Islam with the unique human experience of women, both biologically and socially.

Third, readers with the highest awareness who view women as fully human beings tend to see the Final Purpose Verse as the ideal Islamic norm. As a result, they made strong efforts to ensure that the benefit of Islam did not add to the pain of the five biological experiences of women and did not contain any of the five social experiences of women (Rofi’ah, 2020).

The main challenge in eliminating sexual violence in Islam thus lies not in the Islamic teaching system as contained in the Quran, but in the human consciousness of women, both men and women, and the way they understand the Quran. Therefore, efforts to eliminate sexual violence in Islam must be accompanied by efforts to build awareness of the full humanity of women, so that the Final Purpose Verses can become the foundation of a life system full of grace for the universe, including for women. Allah knows best. {}

Similar Posts:


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here