Women's Position in Islam

Since 2003-01-20

By Ayman Samy

Praise be to God and may God bless Mohammad His messenger (peace be upon him).

God created both females and males from one origin, and one soul. {It is He Who created you from a single person and made his mate of like nature in order that he might dwell with her (in love)} (A'raf 189)

Adam appreciated Eve's worth and they lived together practicing all the meanings of love, kindness, respect, and appreciation. Then as years passed new generations were brought up away from God's Law, not guided by Him and their lives not brightened by His message, which led to recurring disasters.

For a long time, women have suffered disrespect to the extent that in some religions, parents have prayed to be blessed with male children.

Then if a girl was born, this meant shame, misery and bitterness for the parents which could only be taken away by burying the daughter alive. If she survived, then the misery survived with her and she lived as a negligible object which could be owned and never own, with no freedom in her actions, hopeless and dispirited. Some religions even allowed her to be sold like a cow is sold, or if they were kind to her, they rented her for a limited period.

In societies where statues were worshipped, if many girls had been borne to a family and they couldn't support them, they would leave them in fields to be killed by wild animals or die from the night frost without feeling any regret or remorse.

With all of that in mind, what would you expect about educating and culturing them?

Even when it was time for her to be married, she was married to someone she didn't want, and by the form of Shughar Marriage (which is a form of marriage without a dowry) or exchanged or traded (where a husband may send his wife to another man for the purpose of having a male child) or sold. Then what would the price of the woman be in these societies? It would be the number of bulls being given to her dad.

Then how can she live with the man who bought her for the price of bulls?!

She has to work as a servant, fetching water from the rivers, carrying out the house keeping and with no objections to also helping her husband in his trade. Then if he gets angry for any reason and leaves her, she becomes suspended, neither a wife nor able to remarry. What a bitter life she's living, away from God's Law following human decreed laws such as the one written by one of those who had gone astray "The man is the lord, he has to order. The woman is the follower, she has to obey".

What an unfair judgment.

And if this is the situation of married women, then what about those who are forced into prostitution?

Your forgiveness God, for those who have no respect for God.

And you can imagine a woman from one of the societies sitting and waiting to be burned alive and the crime that she committed is nothing but that her husband has died and she has to follow him with dutiful acceptance, until they buried around 6000 women in 10 years.

All these wrongdoings were asked to be stopped by God's messengers whenever they were sent because God doesn't like wrongdoers. And those wicked people who changed God's Law, did not stop sullying the women with their dirty tricks but also changed the first testimony, adding in that women were something to be ashamed of, all of which God's Law is totally innocent of. The same thing also happened in changing the bible and even in the 5th Century when the Makony Group, whom Christians believe are holy, gathered to discuss the origin of the Woman. They discussed whether she is a body with no soul, or whether she has a soul just like men, and the decision was that she does have a soul.

Thank God for that, but the matter hadn't finished yet! They decided that she had a wicked soul which will not escape punishment with the exception of Jesus' mother for she is the only woman whom they believed would escape Hell-fire.

O how much suffering have women had to bear?! Until God permitted Islam's light to brighten the earth by God's Law and His light and His guidance.

Look and you will see believers (both men and women), and Muslims ( both men and women), near Al Kaaba facing it and prostrating towards it, all together. {And their Lord hath accepted of them, and answered them: "Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female: ye are members, one of another"}(Al-i-'Imran 195)

Yes, duties to God are for both men and women, with the reward of Heaven, and so men and women are equal. {The Believers, men and women, are protectors, one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practice regular charity, and obey God and his Apostle. On them will God pour his mercy: for God is exalted in power, Wise. * God hath promised to his Believers, men and women, Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein, and beautiful mansions in Gardens of everlasting bliss. But the greatest bliss is the Good Pleasure of God: that is the supreme felicity.} (Tauba 71/72)

God is great, His Law which he layed down to people is all light and all goodness. {Should He not know, -He that created? And He is the One that understands the finest mysteries (and) is well acquainted (with them)} (Mulk 14)

God's Law made man and his sister, the woman, equal in many duties and responsibilities for you are all carers and you are all responsible for those in your care.

And also, God's Law makes the woman and her brother, the man, completely equal in both rewards and punishments {whoever works evil will be requited accordingly. Nor will he find, besides God, any protector or helper* If any do deeds of righteousness, - be they male or female - and have faith, they will enter Heaven and not the least injustice will be done to them.}(Nisaa 123/124)

Islam gave women rights in this life: human; social; economic and legal rights.

  1. From her human rights:

The right to live; from before she arrives in this world, a baby in her mother's womb, Islam took care of her rights and banned killing her for God has banned the killing of souls, both of men and women {Nor take life - which God Has made sacred - except for just cause}(Al Isra 33)

And once she is born, Islam banned killing her or burying her alive. {When the female (infant) buried alive, is questioned - for what crime she was killed} (Takwir 8/9)

And ordered for he to be brought up well and promised a great reward for this, such as avoiding the punishment of Hell and the reward of entry to Heaven and being closer to the Apostle (peace be upon him) in there.

The prophet (peace be upon him) said in the hadeeth which has been agreed as truth, from the Hadeeth of Aisha (mother of Muslims) "Whomever is blessed with girls and then does well by them in bringing them up, it will be a protector for him from Hell-fire" (Saheeh Al Targheeb 1968)

And so Muslim says in his recording of the Hadeeth by Anas that God's prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) said "Whoever looks after 2 girls until they are mature, on the Day of Judgment he and I will be. Then he brought his 2 fingers together" (Saheeh Al Targheeb 1970)

Says Jaaber that the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) said "Whoever has three girls, and gives them a refuge, clothes them, and is kind to them, he will surely be rewarded by Heaven. So one of the men from the land asked him 'What about 2 girls?' and he replied "And the same for 2 girls" ( Saheeh Al Adab 58)

And so God made men and women equal in their human pride and so God Almighty says {Wehave honoured the sons of Adam} (Al Isra 70)

And so He made men and women equal in rewards, both in life and in the after-life, as we have illustrated previously. {Whoever works righteousness, man or woman and has faith, verily, to him We will give a new Life, a life that is good and pure, and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions} (Nahl 97)

{If any do deeds of righteousness - be they male or female - and have faith, they will enter Heaven, and not the least injustice will be done to them} (Nisaa 124)

As also He gave her the right to express her opinions and to be consulted.

And the day she complained, God heard her complaint from the top of the seven skies, and sent part of the Quran concerning her situation, which is recited until the Day of Judgment. {God has indeed heard (and accepted) the statement of the woman who pleads with thee concerning her husband and carries her complaint (in prayer) to God: and God (always) hears the arguments between both sides among you: for God hears and sees (all things)} (Mujadila 1)

  1. And as for her social rights:

GOD gave her the right to be educated and to be taught how to behave, exactly like her brother, the man {O ye who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is Men (i.e. mankind) and stones}(Tahrim 6)

And the Prophet Mohammad had advised of the importance of education, as in the Hadeeth by Anas, recorded by Al Tarmathy that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said "Education is compulsory for every Muslim" (Al Targheeb 72)

And so this Hadeeth shows that there is no difference between a man and woman in this religion when it comes to learning.

So was it confirmed in the true Sunnah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had advised for a woman (Hafsa) to be educated and insisted on her being taught to write.

And it is the woman's right over her brother and her father of claiming alimony {But he (the father of the baby following a separation) shall bear the cost of their food and clothing}(Baqara 233)

And when Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan, complained to the Prophet (peace be upon him) that her husband was mean and tightfisted and didn't give her enough money for her and her children, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to her " Take what you need for you and your children" (Al Nisaa'y 5010)

And also it is the woman's right to pick her own husband who is suitable for her and as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said " The woman who has been married before has the right to make the decision on her future marriages, and for an unmarried girl, her father must seek her approval and if she is silent then that is a sign of her approval" (The True Series 1807)

And if a father marries one of his daughters without her approval, the Prophet (peace be upon him) nullifies the marriage and this is recorded in Saheeh Al Bukhary.

Islam made the dowry a woman's right and Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says {And give the women (on marriage) the dower as a free gift} ( Nisaa 4)

And He gave her the right to enjoy her husband and decreed that the maximum length of time a husband can be separated from his wife is 4 months. If he comes back after the 4 months then it is fine, but if he doesn't then she can take her case to court, and says Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala {For those who take an oath for abstention from their wives, a waiting for four months is ordained; if then they return, God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful* But if their intention is firm for divorce, God heareth and knoweth all things} (Al Bakara 226/227)

And she has the right to live well whether she is a mother {We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents} (Ahqaf 15) or a wife {live with them on a footing of kindness and equity} (Nisaa 19) or even other than that, for she is not forced after marriage to live with a man she doesn't love, and she has the right to choose to separate from him for a legal reason.

If a married couple are going to separate, then here is shown the woman's rights over her ex-husband, for she is entitled to alimony during the period of 3 months after the divorce during which she cannot remarry. And it is her right to breastfeed her baby and so Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says {The mother shall give suck to their offspring for two whole years, if the father decides to complete the term} (Bakara233)

And this right to breastfeed her own babies is definite whether she is married or separated from her husband.

And so it is her right, whether she is married or separated from her husband, the custody of her children.

Islam also gave women her own rights in inheritance {From what is left by parents and those nearest related there is a share for men and a share for women, whether the property be small or large, - a determinate share} (Nisaa 7)

  1. And gave her social rights:

For she owns and sells, buys and gives.In short, women in Islam have their own financial independence.

  1. As for her legal rights:

She is a fully capable human being, who has got rights to appeal or to be a witness.

In the end, we have only touched on this huge topic here, but have you truly ever seen a Law so kind to women as this, or even half of this? But as Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says {Truly it is not their eyes that are blind, but their hearts which are in their breasts} (Hajj 46)

All quotes used from the Quran where taken from the The Holy Qur'an translation and commentary by A. Yusuf Ali, (published by Islamic Propagation Centre International, Durban)

  • 3
  • 0
  • 13,474