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Women's Rights in Islam
The issue of women in Islam, is topic of great misunderstanding and distortion due partly to a lack of understanding, but also partly due to misbehavior of some Muslims which has been taken to represent the teachings of Islam. We speak here about what Islam teaches, and that is that standard according to which Muslims are to be judged. As such, my basis and source is the Quran--the words of Allah, and the sayings of the Prophet, his deeds and his confirmation. Islamic laws are derived from these sources. To facilitate our discussion we can discuss the position of women from a spiritual, economic, social, and political standpoint.
From the spiritual aspect, there are seven points to remember:
According to the Quran, men and women have the same spirit, there is no superiority in the spiritual sense between men and women. [Noble Quran 4:1, 7:189, 42:11]
The Quran makes it clear that all human beings (and the phraseology doesn't apply to men or women alone, but to both) have what you might call a human; He
"breathed some of My spirit into divine touch. When God created him"(or her in this sense). [Noble Quran 15:29 See also 32:9]
Some of His spirit here means not in the incarnational sense, but the pure, innate spiritual nature that God has endowed her or him with.
The Quran indicates again that one of the most honored positions of human, is that God created the human, and as I referred to Surah 17 earlier, it means both sexes, as His trustee and representative on earth. There are many references in the Quran that reaffirm this.
Nowhere in the Quran do we find any trace of any notion of blaming Eve for the first mistake or for eating from the forbidden tree. Nowhere, even though the Quran speaks about Adam, Eve, and the forbidden tree, but in a totally different spirit. The story is narrated in 7:19-27, and it speaks about both of them doing this, both of them are told that both of them disobeyed, both of them discovered the consequences of their disobedience, both of them seek repentance and both of them are forgiven. Nowhere in the Quran does it say woman is to be blamed for the fall of man. Furthermore, when the Quran speaks about the suffering of women during the period of pregnancy and childbirth, nowhere does it connect it with the concept of original sin, because there is no concept of original sin in Islam. The suffering is presented not as a reason to remind woman of the fall of man, but as a reason to adore and love woman or the mother. In the Quran, especially 31:14, 46:15, it makes it quite clear God has commanded upon mankind to be kind to parents and mentions,
"His mother bore him in difficulty or suffering upon suffering." [Noble Quran 31:14, 46:15]
The Quran makes it clear again to remove any notion of superiority and I refer you again to 49:13. I must caution you that there are some mistaken translations, but if you go to the original Arabic, there is no question of gender being involved.
In terms of moral, spiritual duties, acts of worship, the requirements of men and women are the same, except in some cases when women have certain concessions because of their feminine nature, or their health or the health of their babies.
The Quran explicitly, in more than one verse, 3:195, 4:124, specified that whoever does good deeds, and is a believer and then specifies "male or female" God will give them an abundant reward.
In the area of economic rights, we have to remember that in Europe until the 19th century, women did not have the right to own their own property. When they were married, either it would transfer to the husband or she would not be able to dispense of it without permission of her husband. In Britain, perhaps the first country to give women some property rights, laws were passed in the 1860's known as "Married Women Property Act." More than 1300 years earlier, that right was clearly established in Islamic law.
"Whatever men earn, they have a share of that and whatever women earn, they have a share in that." [Noble Quran 4:32]
Secondly, there is no restriction in Islamic law that says a woman cannot work or have a profession, that her only place is in the home. In fact, by definition, in a truly Islamic society, there must be women physicians, women nurses, women teachers, because it's preferable also to separate teenagers in the volatile years in high school education. And if she chooses to work, or if she's married with the consent of her husband, she's entitled to equal pay, not for equal work, but for work of equal worth.
Thirdly, when it comes to financial security, Islamic law is more tilted in many respects towards women. These are seven examples:
During the period of engagement, a woman is to be on the receiving side of gifts.At the time of marriage, it is the duty of the husband, not the bride's family. He is supposed to pay for a marital gift. The Quran called it a gift, and it is exclusively the right of the woman.
"Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands), and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity, their husband’s property, etc)…" (An-Nisa’ 4:34)
In Islam the man presents his wife with a dowry they have mutually agreed upon, at the time of marriage. The amount varies according to his means and generosity, and his wife has the right to spend, save or remit any part of it. Allah (SWT) says in the Quran:
"And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart, but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it, and enjoy it without fear of any harm (as Allah has made it lawful). (An-Nisa’ 4:4)
Women have been entrusted by Allah (SWT) with the task of providing a peaceful, comfortable home environment for the breadwinner who works for their provisions outside the home all day long.
It is one of the extraordinary beauties of Islam that by entrusting the male to the position of protector and provider, it frees the woman, who is burdened with the long cycle of bearing, giving birth to, nursing and raising children, from having to assume the extra burden of her own and her children’s support, which is unjust and a tremendous hardship.
While a woman must obey her husband, as long as he does not ask anything forbidden of her, and guard his possessions while he is away from the house, and handle his money as he wishes, she must also be faithful, trustworthy and honest.
A wife is regarded as a source of love, peace and compassion, as stated in the Quran:
"And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them , and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect." (Ar-Rum 30:21)
"…But the father of the child shall bear the cost of the mother’s food and clothing on a reasonable basis. No person shall have a burden laid on him greater than he can bear…" (Al-Baqarah 2:233)
"’O Messenger of Allah (SAW), what right can a wife demand of her husband?’ He replied, ‘that you should give her food when you eat, clothe her when you clothe yourself, not strike her on the face, and do not insult her or separate form her except in the house.’" (Reported by Ahmad, Ibn Majah and Abu Dawud)
"A woman came to the Prophet (SAW) complaining of her husband, ‘Messenger of Allah (SAW), Abu Sufyan is a niggardly man who does not give me and my son enough; except what I take from him without his knowledge.’ He replied, ‘Take what is enough for you and your son according to what is ma’roof (well-known in your society).’" (Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
What Are HadithA brief poster regarding the meaning of hadiths, who wrote the
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