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religious life, or even of intellectual life. Let us very briefly consider each of these varied aspects of the subject in due order.

§ 1. It is somewhat difficult to form a correct opinion of the position which woman held among the Pre-Islamic Arabs. Muhammadan stories tend in many instances to exaggerate the degradation of her status and the necessarily attendant low state of morality which prevailed in the "Times of Ignorance." It is certain that divorce and polygamy were sanctioned and extensively practised, that incestuous unions 1 were of very frequent occurrence, and that—at least among the lower classes—woman had few rights. She could not inherit her husband's property, but was herself inherited along with it by the nearest heir, even if he happened to be her own stepson. Yet on the other hand women of noble family not unfrequently held a high position; and there are indications of the existence of quite a chivalrous2

1 Yet vide Ash Shahristani's testimony (الملل والنحل quoted by Abu'l Fida, Fleischer's ed., p. 180) to the effect that all such unions were held in abhorrence among them. He says:
كانت الجاهلية تفعل اشياء جاءت شريعة الاسلام بها فكانوا لا ينكحون الامّهات والبنات وكان اقبح شئ عندهم الجمع بين الاختين وكانوا يعيبون المتزوج بامراة ابيه ويسمّونه الضّيزن
2 This is shown, e.g., in some of the poems of the Mu'allaqat, and in Arabic traditions preserved by Muslim historians.

spirit among some at least of the tribes. Muhammad limited polygamy to a certain extent by 1 decreeing that no man but he himself should be allowed to have more than four undivorced wives living at the same time. But he permitted 2 divorce, though he is said to have disapproved of it, enjoining, however, upon the husband who divorced his wife for an insufficient cause, the repayment of a certain part of her dowry.3 Concubinage, like polygamy and divorce, he sanctioned by uttering verses, which he said were the words of GOD Himself, and in which definite rules to regulate these matters were laid down. His example in such matters showed how thoroughly he approved of all these 4 evils. The Qur'an not only recognizes these things, but it legalizes and sanctions them for all time. Among the poorer classes of the population of Muhammadan lands even up to the present day, the wives are the slaves of their husband, while in the higher circles of society they are his playthings. The idea of woman being created by GOD to be man's helpmeet, the sharer of his joys and the partner of his sorrows, seems never to have entered

1 Surah iv. 3.
2 Vide Mishkat, Babu'l khul' wa'ttilag, pp. 285, sqq., and Surah ii., vv. 227-229. Note especially the abominable injunction in v. 230.
3 Vide Surah iv. 3-28[4-25]; Surah lxx. 29, 30; &c.
4 Vide Freeman's remarks on the subject, "Hist. of the Saracens," p. 53.

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