Podcast on 'Obedient Wives Club' with Marina Mahathir (SIS), Dr Farouk Musa (IRF) and Dr Azlina (OWC)

Publication Date: 
July, 2011

A podcast on the 'Obedient Wives Club', with views from Marina Mahathir (Sisters In Islam), Dr Farouk Musa (Islamic Renaissance Front) and Dr Azlina (Obedient Wives Club). 

Listen to it here:


Malaysia: Sisters in Islam challenge the Obedient Wives Club's dogma

Mon, 07/18/2011 - 12:02

In this audio interview/ podcast on Malaysian business radio station, BFM, Marina Mahathir of Sisters in Islam and Dr Farouk Musa of the Islamic Renaissance Front debate Dr Azlina of the Obedient Wives Club (OWC). You can listen to the audio below, and/or read the partial transcription here: 

Dr Azlina (OWC): Members of the Obedient Wives Club (OWC) are a group of people from the global Ikhwan. Every 15 minutes there is a divorce; once the family unit is stable there will be less divorce and children being discarded. If we go back to the Qur’an and the Sunna, everything will be all right. The idea of using ‘obedience’ in our name was to provoke a reaction. The definition of obedience is that it is a decree from God: I do not question why, I just accept it as a Muslim. Obedience entails being entertaining and of service to the husband. The objectives of the OWC are to invite the Muslim community to be obedient to the prophet (PBUH). If you are obedient to Allah you are automatically obedient to your husband…. There are four things a wife must do to enter any gate of heaven: prayer, fast, have self-dignity (including covering herself) and obedience.

Dr Farouk Musa (IRF): It is very important to explain that these four criteria cited cannot be found anywhere in the Qur’an – there are no such verses. This is indoctrination of other people. Regarding Sura 34, ‘obedient’ doesn’t mean you have to be obedient to a man or subservient even if you are being victimized at home – all this domestic violence is caused because of a misunderstanding of the word disobedience, and we should not tolerate this.

Marina Mahathir (SIS): The whole idea of obedience is very confusing – is it unconditional? When I was working in HIV, women were afraid of getting infected but they were constantly being told you cannot refuse your husband because of your duty as an obedient wife. But surely Islam doesn’t ask you to harm yourself. Obedient means someone is less than the other, whereas marriage should be an equal partnership of mutual respect.

Dr Azlina: Regarding the equality part, God made Adam first and the female was only created from a fraction of his rib. To say we are equal is not true. The prophet said in ahadith, if it is allowed for a fellow human being to worship another then He would ask the wife to do so to her husband.

Marina Mahathir: So you are a lesser person than your husband?

Dr Azlina: I do not mind admitting it because God says so. In a marriage there should be a leader and a follower.

Marina Mahathir: Whose fault is it if the woman is being abused?

Dr Azlina: In the case of physical abuse, you can ask for a divorce. In sexual intercourse you can’t sodomise your wife or do it when she is having her period, that’s it. If you don’t feel like it, you should still perform. I do that not for my husband, but for God’s blessing, otherwise the angels and the whole of the universe would condemn me till dawn.

Dr Farouk Musa: God has never put a woman in an inferior position to a man. The story of woman being a fraction of the rib of Adam is not in the Qur’an and comes from the bible. The Qur’an always says that a man should be a companion to a woman and vice versa, and they should help each other to please God. Even if the husband is the leader in the family doesn’t mean she doesn’t have any say.

Presenter: Muslim Malays comprise 60% of population and 82% of divorces. Why is that?

Marina Mahathir: The reason there are so many divorces is that there are too many marriages. A lot of people are too young and unprepared, and think of it as a way of legitimizing sex.

Dr Azlina: We are not forcing anything upon anybody. If you want to follow the way, you can seek advice and guidance.

Presenter: Is the male Ikhwan behind this?

Dr Azlina: We have about 1000 premises worldwide – we’re expanding in the Middle East. 1000 working women with careers are in favour of OWC. The husband is the leader and it is easier to get the follower to change than the leader. Say the husband doesn’t pray or fast, obey him anyway. God has magical ways, he gives you blessings in other ways.

Presenter: Is sex the silver bullet to cure all these ills?

Dr Azlina: God says marry and multiply – he wants a lot of Muslims in the world. Sex is a big part of it. If you want someone to look after you and cook for you, you can get a maid.

Presenter: A goal of OWC is to get rid of prostitution

Marina Mahathir: Prostitution has existed since time immemorial. Even men with brilliant wives go to prostitutes. Being a wonderful wife is not an answer to eradicating prostitution. The issue is of respect, to consult each other. Having to be a follower is a cause of big stress. Don’t think men know everything. What keeps a relationship going is good communication, respect and laughing together. Women should understand they have rights in Islam

Dr Azlina: We follow the Qur’an and the Sunna. If you do so, you will never go wrong – Islam is complete and it has all the answers. I am not saying take abuse – that is not the intention. If he wants something unreasonable, discuss it with him. I’m sure he will be open to discussion. Then if he insists, go with it, even if it makes no sense at all. It makes sense to him.

Presenter: Is it acceptable is he wants another wife?

Dr Azlina: Yes, it was the way of life for the prophet – it’s the Sunna.

Dr Farouk Musa: the real intention of the Qur’an is for every man to have one wife.

Dr Azlina: I let my husband marry two other wives for the love of God. Polygamy is not for everyone – he must be a good, responsible husband. I don’t question why God allowed the man to have four wives. Men are naturally polygamous.

Dr Farouk Musa: I disagree – the man has to ask himself if he can be just or not.

Presenter: Is sex education important?

Dr Azlina: If you put God and religion into it, yes. Everything is in the name of God.

Dr Farouk Musa: Why is God dragged into this conversation all the time?