Women rights in Islam
Equal rights of men and women in Islam
.right to get education
.right to accept or reject marriage proposal
.right to get divers
.right to secrecy
.right to just treatment in case of polygamy
.right to entertain and dine out
.right to demand separate house
.right to deny doing all the chores of home
.right to dress
.right to Inheritance
.right to ownership
.right to dowry
.right to maintenance (Iddah, child upbringing)
.right to seek employment
.right to do business
Legal and political rights
.right to be equal before law
.right to witness
.right to vote
.right to work on legal and political positions
Women rights in Islam
Holy prophet (S.A.W) said,
Among you the most respectable is the one who respects women and the most disrespectable is the one who disrespect the women.
The above instruction of holy prophet (S.A.W) declared the ground of honor and respect for a person in Deen-e-Islam .Islam gave women an honorable life and ignite the light of rights in her life. Before Islam women were extremely deteriorated by the society. Arabs used to bury their daughters alive, wives were harshly beaten, step mother became legacy of eldest son and the sisters were given as a compensation for any sin of her family. Islam abolished all these dark practices and made the paradise under the feet of mother, guaranteed paradise to a father who brought up her daughters with love, assured paradise to the husband who care her wife and made sisters partners in the inheritance. Today Muslim woman is facing problems not because of lack of her rights in Islam but due to the male driven and illiterate society. Islam promised women respect, honor and safety before and more than any other religion, civilization and moderation. Islam gave women all rights to women before 15 centuries which any one can expect in todays highly modern world.
The sad pages of history only present crying voices and tears of women that break the heart the reader. All the big civilization of their time including Hubsha, Byzantine, Room, Greece, Egypt, China, Hindustan and Arabian Penusiuala ruined the women under the feet of brutality. Those who are claiming themselves the leaders and providers of women rights in todays world were in fact the real usurper of women rights from centuries. Women In these civilizations struggled so hard and fight for her rights centuries and centuries even than their male dominant leadership never gave them rights until they need them. After the two world wars when men strength became insufficient in forces and in the other fields of life then they brought women out of house and used her for their different purposes on the name of women rights. Lets have a look on the dates of rights givers as a prove US in 1920,British in 1918,France in 1944,Norway in 1907,Sweden in 1921,Belgium in 1919,Japan in 1945,Netherland in 1919 and so on. Whereas Islam gave all social, economical, political and legal rights to the women long before fifteen (15) centuries.
Everyone knows Islam claim that it is a complete code of life. Therefore Islam is not only complete code of life for men it is also complete code of life for women. It gives equal rights to men and women. It is very important for everyone that there is big difference of meaning between the words equal and same. As women and man cannot same physically so there rights can also not same due to their duties but they have equal rights on or the other way. This equal terminology can also be explain by taking a very simple example. There are two students in class one called Saeed scored 4 in economics,3 in political studies and 3 in social studies and another called Sadia scored 2 in economics, 4 in political studies and 4 in social studies. Saeed got (4+3+3)=10 and Sadia got (2+4+4)=10,that shows both Saeed and Sadia scored equal marks that is total 10 but they score different marks in different areas. It illustrates the real meanings of equal and its similar to the meaning of equal rights of men and women in Islam. If father has more rights and responsibilities economically than women then mother has more rights and responsibilities that balance their rights in all circumstances.
For further classifications of women rights in Islam, lets discuss them under different heads such as social, economic, legal and political.
Starting from the social, holy prophet (S A W) said
Education is mandatory for men and women.
The above hadith does not discriminating gender that means it is not only mandatory for men but also for women. Therefore no body restricts her from getting education. Its her right to get same education as her brother gets.
Holy prophet (S A W) said
You have to get education even its available in China.
Again there is no discrimination of gender in above hadith. If a boy can get education by traveling long distance then girl can also. She has right to go to school and mosque. If women had right to go to mosque for getting education and offer prayers during the period of holy prophet (S A W) and Caliphate than why not she has this right in todays modern world. Hazat Ayasha(R.A) was the teacher of 8000 companions and she was expert of history, medicine, hadith, literature and law.
Once a lady came to Holy prophet (S A W) and said that she was forcefully married
by her father and she is not happy with her husband, the Holy prophet (S A W)
dissolved her marriage then and there and emphasizes for marrying couples by their consent.
Above hadith validating the consent of females before marriage and made it compulsory for all Muslim parents. She can also demand to see the person before her marriage and she can also talk to him in the presence of her legal blood relative.
Once hazrat Aysha (R.A) showed desire to see the ongoing circus in the street. Holy prophet (S A W) happily replied to her that she can hide herself at the back of holy prophet (S.A.W) and then watch the circus. Aysha(R.A) did this and enjoyed the circus as long as she can stand there when became tired she went back to home. The Holy prophets (S A W) stand there more than an hour for her entertainment.
This hadith is highlighting very kind treatment of Holy prophet (S A W) to his wife. It also emphasizes the right of entertainment to women. Some people having wrong perception that Islam binds women in the walls of house and she has no right to come out for any purpose. In fact this is opposite of Islamic teachings. It is also her right that she should be treated with love by her husband.
You and your wives are dresses of each other.
Therefore it is women right that she should be entertained by her husband.
Once Holy prophet (S A W) said to one of his companion
Why not you get marry so that you can play with your wife and she can play with you.
It is making clear that its not matter of disrespect or against the sobriety of men or matter of hummer if he entertains his wife.
Dinning out or going out for outing with wife is also encouraged in Islam. It is also women right that she should be taken out by her husband for outing or for dinning.
Once an Iranian companion of Holy prophet (S A W) who was a very good cook cooked some food and came to Holy prophet (S A W) house for inviting him. Holy prophet (S A W) asked can Aysha (R.A) also come with me. Because of any reason companion replied no she cant. Holy prophet (S A W) also replied then I also cannot. Companion invited Holy prophet (S A W) three times and got same answer from the Holy prophet (S A W) .At last companion said yes she can also come with you then Holy prophet (S A W) accepted invitation and brought her for dinner along him. Therefore bringing wife to dine out is not only encouraged but also SUNNA of Holy prophet (S A W).
In addition, to demand separate house for living is also right of wife from his husband. If she does not like to live with the family of her husband then she has complete right to live with her husband in a separate place. Many cruel of our male driven society are considering this right against their ago. So often instead of fulfilling this true right of wife they give diverse or beat their wives for forcefully living with their family like a servant which is completely against Islamic teachings.
Furthermore, Islam is not binding women to cook food to do crockery or to wash clothes of her husband. If she refuses to do all this then its not making her guilty in the eyes of almighty ALLAH. But yes, she might be very guilty in the eyes of her husband who brings her for doing all these services for him. Many of Muslim women love to do all these services for their husbands, so their husbands must be thankful for their wives.
Subsequently, human being is used to make mistakes. So if there is any conflict arises between husband and wife then husband needs to resolve it first only by consulting her wife. In case matter could not solved by both of them then they need to bring any other family member for consultation. Secrecy is also immensely important for the matrimonial relation of couple. It is duty of husband to keep all secrets of bed relation with her wife.
Holy prophet (S A W) said,
The person who shared his wife bed relations with anybody, he is the worst man and he cannot get even the smell of paradise.
Similarly, when conflict between husband and wife became bone of contentions and seems unsolvable. In this case if wife no more wants to live with her husband then she has right to get diverse. In case husband is not willing to give diverse she can consult court for getting diverse.
Further, in case of polygamy Islam teaches full justice, equal and fair treatment to all waives. Practically this is very hard for a men to keep completely fair balance between all wives therefore it is highly recommended if he is not strong enough financially, physically and morally then he should not gets married even with a single woman. If anyone has more than on wife and he could not maintained just and fair treatment among all wives then he is severely treated by almighty Allah at the Day of Judgment.
Adding to it, growing age of fashion makes many minds ultra modern. Now husband wants to look his wife as a model and he forced her to wear dresses according to fashion. In this case Muslim women has right to wear all these dresses which are according to Islamic dress code while going out of house. If her husband forced her to do so she can refuse to her husband to wear any vulgar dress which is against the teachings of Islam.
Allah almighty knows all strength and weaknesses of his creatures. He made women physically very sensitive and weak than man. Therefore he shifted all the financial burden of women on mens shoulder. When she is daughter she is duty of her father. If father died she becomes duty of her brother. When she is wife she is duty of her husband and when she is mother she is duty of her son. In this way she can live her life very comfortably and can take care of house easily. God assigned all the financial requirements of women as a duty of men but even then he does not make women empty hand in economical rights.
Before Islam there was no concept of inheritance for women. Islam gave right to women in the inheritance. Women have half of the part as men have in parents properties. This does not mean she has half right than man. But as it is mentioned above she does not have any financial responsibility to fulfill as the men have. Therefore she can save or invest her part of the property for her future and making profit. It is also very clear in Islam that her husband can demand a single penny from her wife and she not bound to give anything to anybody.
In addition to she can buy property on her own name as a legal person. She can possess property without anybodys interference. She has complete right on her property as she can sale it, rent out it and can give it to anyone as a gift.
Furthermore, wife has right to get dowry from her husband before establishing matrimonial relations. Husband is bound to give her wife dowry at the time of marriage.
When Allah almighty created Eve (R.A) for Adam (R.A) .
Adam (R.A) was attracted towards Eve (R.A) and wanted to touch her.
At that time Allah almighty said to Adam (R.A) that
He should not touch her without paying her dowry.
One more thing needs attention here that Islam did not fix any maximum limit of dowry. Husband can give whatever maximum he can give to his wife.
In region of Hazrat Ummer(R.A) he forward a bill in the parliament for fixing the maximum limit of dowry. That bill was challenged by a female parliamentarian and she said nobody can fix the maximum limit of dowry if Allah himself did fix it. Hazrat ummer(R.A) asked her that why it couldnt be fixed.
She quoted the holy Quran
If husband gave her wife bundles and bundles of wealth as dowry even then he cannot demand anything after diverse.
Hazrat ummer (R.A) said that she is right and today men made a mistake and women corrected him.
Subsequently, maintenance is also on the shoulder of men at her stages of life. Father, brother, husband and son has to give her food clothes and other needs of life respectively.
Holy prophet (S A W) said,
Anyone who brought her daughters with full care and then merry them. He is as close to me as my two fingers.
Maintenance of x-wife is also husband responsibility during the period of Iddah. Some of Islamic scholars agreed that husband has to fulfill his x-wifes maintenance until her second marriage. In case if any childe from her x-husband then it is also responsibility of childs father.
Moreover, she has right to seek employment. If she wants to do a job and if society needs her then Islam give her full right to seek employment. But if she doesnt want to do the job then nobody can force her to seek employment. Similarly she has the right to do business and to trade things in order to earn finance.
Hazrat Khadija(R.A), Wife of Holy prophet (S A W) said, was the famous business lady at that time.
Apart from social and economic securities in Islam, women have also legal and political securities.
In the eyes of law she is as legal person as a man. she can be witness but her witness is half of man.It is not because she has half right as an human but due to her sensitive and shy nature. In fact God made her half responsible than man in all legal witnesses.
Similarly she has right to vote from first election of Islam.
After the election result of hazrat usman(R.A).Hazrat usman(R.A) and hazrat Ali (R.A) got equal votes. Therefore Hazrat abur Rahman bin Auf was appointed as a chief polling agent and assigned the task to get votes of men and women. He did this work three days and ultimately hazrat usman (R.A) elected.
Above event proved that women were having the right to vote from the beginning of Islam.
Adding to it, women used to work at different legal positions from the start of Islam. During the period of Holy prophet (S A W) women worked in different sectors such as in wars and in hospital.
Hazrat Ummer (R.A) appointed hazrat Shifa(R.A)as an administrator and account officer for the market.
Hazrat Usman(R.A) made hazrat umm-e-kulsoom an ambassador and sent her to Room.
Women has right to be consulted as other family members have right to be consulted. Many people believe that it is folly to act or listen women advise in fact they themselves are disbelievers and unaware to the sunna of Holy prophet (S A W).
At the event of Hudabiya Holy prophet (S A W) have consulted hazrat umm-e-Salma and acted on her advice to move on.
By summing up the whole discussing it can be said that Islam is the first sun that embrace women with light of all social, economical, legal and political rights before 15 centuries. It is very unjust if anybody is blaming Islam for the present state of suppresses women. In fact it is not Islam to be blamed it is because of forgetting the teachings of Islam.
In khutaba hijtul Weda, the Holy prophet (S A W) said,
O, people fear from Allah in the matter of women, treats them carefully and fairly as Islam teaches you.
American Muslim women today are struggling to address the stereotypes and misconceptions associated with the role of women in Islam. Muslim women occupy a wide variety of positions in American life: medical doctors, engineers, lawyers, chemists, housewives, broadcast journalists, professors, clerical workers, business women, schoolteachers. Some are immigrants, from countries ranging from sub-Saharan Africa to Indonesia, while many others are American-born; some American Muslim women were raised in Muslim homes, while others embraced Islam as adults. Some Muslim women cover their head only during prayer in the mosque; other Muslim women wear the hijab; still others may cover their head with a turban or a loosely draped scarf.
The “role of women” in Islam is not easily defined. The Qur’an and the practice of the Prophet Muhammad seem to recognize the different functions and mutually supportive roles of men and women, encouraging just and balanced social and family life. In seventh-century Arabia, the Qur’an extended to women the right of property ownership and financial independence, prohibited the practice of female infanticide and other abuses, and significantly modified marriage and divorce practices. While many Americans consider Islam an “oppressive religion” with regard to women, Muslim women often comment on the liberty and dignity they derive from their faith. Many Muslim women explain that “true” Islam is frequently compromised by oppressive practices that have their roots in cultural differences or political expediency; general ignorance and lack of engagement with the diversity inherited within the tradition contribute to the perpetuation of these practices.
Numerous Islamic organizations in America are working to educate both the Muslim community and the larger society on this issue, writing articles, op-ed pieces, and publishing pamphlets such as ICNA’s “Status of Woman in Islam” and the Institute of Islamic Information and Education’s “The Question of Hijab: Suppression or Liberation.” The Islamic Center of Southern California distributes the pamphlet “To Separate Fact from Fiction… Women in Islam.” Citing the Qur’an, this publication aims to nuance views held by those outside of the Muslim community, while also pointing to the “regrettable practices in some Islamic societies where anti-Islamic cultur(al) traditions have won over Islamic teachings.”
Muslim women in the United States are actively engaged in this issue on every level, from academia to small grassroots groups. Dr. Azizah al-Hibri, a professor of Law at the University of Richmond, notes that Islamic laws about humanity come from a compassionate God. Accordingly, she researches issues in which Islamic law is being applied to women in what she views as an oppressive way, in order to find “the legal basis in Islamic jurisprudence for dealing with these kinds of situations.” Al-Hibri’s organization KARAMAH: Muslim Lawyers for Human Rights, is one of many outlets through which she works to understand and promote Islamic civil rights, especially those pertaining to women. In 2011, President Barack Obama appointed her as a commissioner to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Al-Hibri is one of many Muslim women in America assuming active leadership roles both within and outside of the Muslim community.
Ingrid Mattson, a Canadian-born convert to Islam, was the first woman to have been elected and to serve as vice-president and president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). She is highly regarded as a scholar of Islam and as a Muslim scholar. Among many accomplishments, Dr. Mattson founded the Islamic Chaplaincy Program at Hartford Seminary, where she is Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations, as well as the Director of the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations.
In 2005, Amina Wadud, a black American female convert to Islam and a scholar of Islamic studies, led Friday prayers to a congregation of Muslim men and women in New York, breaking the tradition that reserves that role exclusively for men, and stirring a controversial debate about gender in Islam.
Daisy Khan, an Indian-born American Muslim, is the co-founder and executive director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA), as well as the founder of Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality (WISE) and she is also actively involved in other projects that focus on interfaith efforts and dialogue on Islam in the West.
These women are but a few of the many American Muslim female leaders who are challenging misperceptions about gender equality in Islam.
A December 2010 article in the New York Times, “Muslim Women Gain Higher Profile in U.S.,” highlighted this trend of increased involvement of American Muslim women in the United States, emphasizing the leadership roles that they have within public and private sectors, as well as within Muslim communities. The article noted that American Muslim women have more authoritative positions in society particularly as compared to Muslim women in other countries, and also compared to American women of other religions.
And yet, gender in Islam remains a frequent debate in America. The results of a 2011 Pew Research Center survey, “Muslim Americans: No Signs of Growth in Alienation or Support for Extremism”, suggest that nearly half of all American Muslims agreed that men and women should be separated when praying in a mosque. Data from the survey also shows that over a third of American Muslim women cover their hair, by wearing hijab or otherwise, when they are in public. These issues continue to fuel lively and important discussions throughout the country, particularly as more women express their own voices as community leaders.
Muslim women’s groups have been organized across the United States to discuss issues of the interpretation of scripture and tradition. Many of these groups also work together to confront issues of prejudice toward women wearing the hijab in the workplace and public areas. Muslim women are also actively engaged in interfaith groups, like Women Transcending Boundaries in Syracuse, New York, or Daughters of Abraham in Cambridge, MA. Some of these groups are independently organized by ordinary women trying to better understand their own faith on a practical level, while others take more academic approaches.
Many American Muslim women are writing their own alternate discourse. Of course, the Internet is one forum in which women can express themselves and engage with others, such as through blogs or publishing academic and/or opinion articles. They are also recording their stories in books. Through writing, these Muslim women are aiming to express their own experiences, which are separate from both the religious leaders of their own communities and from the American mainstream media portrayal of them.
Muslim women are writing about topics that include the hijab, romance, religion, fashion, and parenting. I Speak for Myself: American Women on Being Muslim and Living Islam Out Loud: American Muslim Women Speak are two such essay collections. Another is Love, InshAllah (2012), which is a collection of twenty-five essays on the “secret love-lives of American Muslim women.” This book amplifies the diversity of perspectives and experiences on relationships within the Muslim community in America. The co-editors of the book, Nura Maznavi and Ayesha Mattu, engage with Muslim and non-Muslim readers through an active web presence that includes regular guest bloggers on the book’s website (loveinshallah.com), a Facebook page and Twitter handle, as well as with in-person and online book discussions.
Female Muslim scholars are also writing, many of them examining the “Muslim world” and comparing Islam in “Western” versus Muslim countries. Some important voices include Fatima Mernissi, who writes on Qur’anic scholarship and gender, Saba Mahmood, who writes on Muslim cultural practice and the agency of women, and Leila Ahmed, who writes on feminism and Islam.
Whether they are formally trained in Islamic scholarship or they know Islam primarily through practice, women are increasingly entering into religious, academic, and political dialogue on a variety of issues, including the issue of gender in Islam.
The number of Muslim women leaders on the American stage has skyrocketed in recent years. More American Muslim women are asserting themselves as board members of mosques, participants in interfaith organizations, as scholars, and as writers. Only time will tell the myriad ways in which Muslim women will continue to contribute to the vibrant discourse on religion and gender in America.