Friday, November 22, 2013

Truth About the Status of Women in Islam

The common perception about the status of Muslim women are that they being oppressed, treated inferior and deprived of all their rights. But on observing the core of Islam, it is evident women are always raised in their status and dignity and given rights which prior to the spread of Islam women were deprived of.

Back in times when women were deprived or rather were not entitled for any rights and were treated as slaves and objects of possession by men, Islam raised our status by acknowledging us as equal to men. There has not been any secular laws that  eloquently stressed upon the fact of equality to women and give us our rights other than the words from the Holy Quran. It has given us rights and raised our status in various aspects - spiritual, social, economical and political namely.

It is mentioned in the Quran as:
"Their Lord responded to them: "I never fail to reward any worker among you for any work you do, be you male or female - you are equal to one another. Thus, those who immigrate, and get evicted from their homes, and are persecuted because of Me, and fight and get killed, I will surely remit their sins and admit them into gardens with flowing streams." Such is the reward from God. God possesses the ultimate reward." [3:195] 

Clearly identifying that both men and women are equal. Also our beloved Prophet has mentioned that "women are twin halves of men".
Islam forbade the practice of female infanticide which was prevalent back in times, and it is considered as a murder and in Quran the parents were criticized for such rejections. Showing the importance and implementing rulings on the children and adolescents in the social aspect. 
"And for the female (infant) buried alive - is questioned, for what crime she was killed" [89: 8-9]

""When news is brought to one of them, of (the Birth of) a female (child), his face darkens and he is filled with inward grief! With shame does he hide himself from his people because of the bad news he has had! Shall he retain her on (sufferance) and contempt, or bury her in the dust? Ah! What an evil (choice) they decide on?" [16: 58 -59]

Education has and seeking knowledge has been obligated upon every man and women and they have the rights exiting their house, driving, seeking knowledge, choosing suitor and also for divorce.
On regard to marriages in Quran, it identifies that the base of marriages are love and mercy, and that it is a sharing among the husband and wife.
"And among His signs is this: That He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest, peace of mind in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy. Lo, herein indeed are signs for people who reflect." [30:21]

Women are given the rights to chose their partners in Islam as it has been mentioned in the Hadiths. They should not be forced into marriages without their consent.
Ibn 'Abbas reported that a girl came to the Messenger of God, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), and she reported that her father had forced her to marry without her consent. The Messenger of God gave her the choice... (between accepting the marriage or invalidating it). [Ibn Hanbal No. 2469]

A man's leadership in the family does not suggest his dictatorship. Islam accentuates on the importance in mutual agreement in decision making. The following Quran verse states:
"...If they (husband wife) desire to wean the child by mutual consent and (after) consultation, there is no blame on them..." [2:233]

On instances when marriage has become impossible men are yet ordered to end it in a kind manner.
"When you divorce women, and they reach their prescribed term, then retain them in kindness and retain them not for injury so that you transgress (the limits)..." [2:231]

Beloved Prophet and also the Quran verses have always recommend special treatment to mothers. It has raised the status of women as much that the famous saying of Prophet mentions that the paradise lies under the feet of mother. It is also advised in Islam not to use the harshness of speech to mothers. t

Considering on the economical aspects, Islam has conferred the responsibility for the financial maintenance of the wife and the family upon men. But still there is no restriction in women being employed or women being employers. The wife is also entitled to 'mahr' the money the husband gives her on marriage and also alimony on divorce from her ex-husband. Islam vested the right of inheritance to property to women at times when women themselves were handed down as inheritance. She has the authority to handle, sell, mortgage or lease her property and on the case of getting married it still belongs to the woman, neither her father nor her husband can claim on it. The law of inheritance is another standing example for the justice served to women by Islam. As stated in the Quran as:
"Unto men (of the family) belongs a share of that which Parents and near kindred leave, and unto women a share of that which parents and near kindred leave, whether it be a little or much - a determinate share." [4:7]

The status of women in pre-Islamic era and during the Islamic era are notable. And you can read completely about the comparison of the two eras here. Women in Islam were and are dignified and conferred with their rights. It is noteworthy the rights women have achieved today are a result of the series of struggles and fights women had to go through, but the Shariah has bestowed us these laws long time back.The above rights and liberty to women are from the Holy Quran which every Muslim has to adhere to. It is due to lack of Islamic knowledge and the Shariah law, some avowed Muslims do not adhere to these teachings. And some exploit these instances to spread misconceptions about Islam without referring to the authentic sources of the Islamic law.