Thursday, September 27, 2007

Women in ISLAM

The Post covers topics about

1.Status of Women in Islam

2.Rights of Women in islam

3.Duties of Women in islam

1.Status of Women in Islam

Women have a very important place in Islamic society. Unlike a number of other religions, Islam holds women in high esteem. Her importance as a mother and as a wife has been clearly stated by Prophet Mohammad (pbuh).

The prophet said, “Paradise lies at the feet of your mothers.” Once a person asked the prophet, “Who deserves the best care from me?” the prophet replied, “your mother (he repeated 3 times), then your father and then your nearest relatives.

In his farewell speech at Arafat in the 10th year of Hijrah, the prophet said, O people, your wives have certain rights over you and you have certain rights over them. Treat them well and be kind to them, for they are your partners and committed helpers.

The prophet also said, The best among you is the one who is the best towards his wife.”

These sayings clearly prove the important position given to women in Islam. But there are still people, especially in the west, who have misgivings about the status of women in Islam. To these people, the Muslim woman is seen almost as ‘a prisoner in the four walls of the house, a non-person, and as someone who as no rights and living under the dominance of a man.’ Their notions are totally wrong, and are based on ignorance rather than knowledge of Islam. Unfortunately, most Muslims are ignorant and do things which are against what is taught in Islam. This helps those who are constantly on the look-out to pull down Islam.

In order to judge these false ideas held by western people, it would be useful to survey the attitudes to women in different societies in the past.

  • During the roman civilization, a woman was regarded as a slave.
  • The Greeks considered her a commodity to be bought and sold.
  • Early Christianity regarded women as temptresses, responsible for the fall of Adam.
  • In India, in the past, a widow had to jump into the flames of her husband’s funeral pyre. Sati, child marriages and ban on widow remarriages became part of social life in India.The system was abolished by the British and progressive leaders, including women, from the community supported its end.
  • In some parts of India, the Devadasis or the temple women were sexually exploited.
  • In pre-Islamic state of Arabia, a woman was regarded as a cause for grief and unhappiness, and baby girls were sometimes -buried alive after birth.
  • In Cambridge and oxford universities, male and female students were not given same rights until 1964.
  • Before 1850, women were not counted as citizens in England and English women had no personal rights until 1882.

If we keep this picture in mind, we must conclude that Islam liberated women from Dark Age of obscurity, 14 hundred years ago…!!

Islam recognizes the realities of life. This does not mean it has recognized equalities of man and woman in every respect. Rather, it has defined their duties in keeping with their different biological make-up (2:228). Allah has not made man and woman identical, so it would be against nature to have total equality. It would destroy social balance; society would not prosper, but would instead have insoluble problems such as broken marriages, illegitimate children and the break-up of family-life.

These problems are already rife in the western society. Teenage pregnancies, abortions, divorce and many other problems have cropped up because of a permissive outlook and so-called freedom. No doubt the western society has started to realize these faults and is trying to find ways to return back to family-life and setting moral standards and every sign of immorality is being dealt with. It’s a slow but a much needed change.

Note: (2:228) implies 2nd chapter, Verse number 228 of the Holy Quran.

2.Rights of Women in Islam

  • Allah has created every living being in pairs- male and female (51:49), including mankind.
  • Allah has honoured the children of Adam – both male and female (17:70).
  • Men and Women who believe are protectors of one another (9:71).
  • Allah will reward both men and women in life after death (3:195).
  • In Islam, woman has a distinct and separate identity.
  • Islam has given women a right to own property.
  • She is the owner of her earnings.
  • No-one (father, husband or brother) has a right over them.
  • She can dispose of her earnings and property as she wishes, within the bounds of Halal (lawful) and Haram (unlawful).
  • Islam has given women a right to inheritance.
  • She has a part in the property of her dead father, husband or childless brother (4:7, 32, 176).
  • She has a right to choose her husband. No-one can impose a decision on her against her will.
  • She has a right to seek separation (Khula’) from her husband if their marriage becomes impossible to sustain.
  • If any man falsely questions a woman’s chastity, that man is declared unfit for evidence (24:4). This shows how a woman’s honour is safeguarded from false accusations.
  • The Quran asks the Muslims to treat women kindly (4:19). It makes Muslim husbands responsible for their wife’s maintenance. The women, in return, are expected to remain obedient and chaste (4:34).
  • A woman has a right o develop her talents and to work within the limits of Islam.
  • Islam allows a non- Muslim married woman to retain her religion and her husband cannot interfere in this freedom. This applies to Christian and Jewish women with Muslim husbands.

Note: 51:49 implies 51st chapter, Verse number 49 of the Holy Quran.

3.Duties of a woman in Islam

Islam is a fair and balanced system of life. While it specifies the rights of women it also lays down duties. A Muslim woman is expected to observe the following duties:-

  • Belief in Tawhid and the practice of Islam comes first. A Muslim woman must perform her Salah (Namaz), observer Sawm (Roza/fast), pay Zakah on her own wealth (if it is applicable), go on Hajj (if she can afford it). She is exempted from Salah and can defer Sawn during her period, but she must make up the days lost afterwards. Friday prayer (Jum’ah) is optional on women.
  • She is required to maintain her chastity all the time. She must not have any extra-marital relationship. The same is the case with men.
  • It is her duty to bring up children according to the needs of Islam. She has to look after the family and has absolute control over domestic affairs, although the family is run by mutual consent and co-operation. She is the queen of the family and in charge of domestic life.
  • She should dress modestly and should put on Hijab while going out , meeting adult males beyond her close relatives (33:59,24:30-31). She should not wear men’s clothing.

  • She is her husband’s help-mate. A faithful wife is like a garment, a source of peace, happiness and contentment for her husband (30:21, 2:187).

  • If she is asked to go against the commands of Allah, she must defy even her husband, father or brother.

  • She is expected to protect her husband’s property and belongings in his absence.

Islam views husband and wife as complementary to each other. Together they form a peaceful and happy family which is the basis for a sound and prosperous society.

Man and women are not exactly equal in Islam. They have different physical and biological features. Islam recognizes the leadership of a man over a woman (4:34, 2:228), but does not mean domination.

Note: (4:34) implies 4th chapter, Verse number 34 of the Holy Quran.

In the west, women have been reduced almost to a commodity of enjoyment and fancy. And women have tended to degrade themselves unwittingly in modern times, for in the name of equality, they have become the objects of exploitation by men, and the slogans of liberty and equality have virtually reduced them to playful commodities. They have neither gained liberty nor achieved equality; rather they have lost their natural place in the home.

Source: - ISLAM-Beliefs and Teachings,

Author:-Ghulam Sarwar, Director, the Muslim Educational Trust (London).

publisher: The Muslim Educational Trust, London, 130 Stroud Green Road, London N4 3RZ( Tel 020 7272 8502).

( Not evrything is from this book, instead, like my other posts, i have taken refrences from other places too . And Allah knows the Best)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much so these true words.