High And Exalted Status of Woman In Islam

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Mohamad Mostafa Nassar

Remove your Misconception about the Status of Women In Islam

Allah has created every living being in pairs, male and female (51:49).

The Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) said, `Whoever sustained and protected two slave-girls until they came of age, on the Day of Judgement, he and I will be and then he put his two fingers together.”

The common belief and misconception of Islam oppressing women is totally out of this world. Sure some Muslim by name countries look down on women, but it has nothing to do with the Islamic faith itself. Furthermore all of these hate/evangelical sites (that can be easily found) purposely try to attach Islam to anything and it is sad most go to them for info about the Muslim religion.

I’ll start off by telling this- The first convert to Islam was a woman, the first scholar in Islam was a woman, and the first martyr in Islam was a woman. Muslim women have been leaders thoughout history (such as establishing the world’s first university, and being calipha’s (femminin version of the word “caliph”)).

Women in Islam are given rights to work, inheritance, choose who they marry, divorce. Also husbands are told to make sure women are protected and kept happy. Now let’s analyze the scriptures:

“O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness, that ye may take away part of the dower [money given by the husband to the wife for the marriage contract] ye have given them, except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and God brings about through it a great deal of good. ( Quran, 4:19)”

The verse explains how a man has to be obedient to his wife. He has to live with her in kindness and honor.

“Do not retain them to harm them so that you transgress limits. He who does this has wronged himself (Quran, 2:231)”

Not only this but Islam gives same rights to women as to a men We can judged it by Quranic verses:

[3:195] 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.

[4:124] As for those who lead a righteous life, male or female, while believing, they enter Paradise; without the slightest injustice.

Allah also gurantee equal rewards and happiness for man and woman in Quranic verses :

[16:97] Anyone who works righteousness, male or female, while believing, we will surely grant them a happy life in this world, and we will surely pay them their full recompense (on the Day of Judgment) for their righteous works.

In Islam there is absolutely no difference between men and women as far as their relationship to Allah is concerned, as both are promised the same reward for good conduct and the same punishment for evil conduct. The Qur’an says:

And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women. (2:226)

The Qur’an, in addressing the believers, often uses the expression,’believing men and women’ to emphasize the equality of men and women in regard to their respective duties, rights, virtues and merits. It says:

For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise, for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward. (33:35)

The Qur’an admonishes those men who oppress or ill-treat women:

O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should you treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the dowry you have given them – except when they have become guilty of open lewdness. On the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to them, it may be that you dislike something and Allah will bring about through it a great deal of good. (4:19)

The Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) said, “Women are the twin halves of men.” The Qur’an emphasizes the essential unity of men and women in a most beautiful simile:

They (your wives) are your garment and you are a garment for them. (2:187)

Just as a garment hides our nakedness, so do husband and wife, by entering into the relationship of marriage, secure each other’s chastity. The garment gives comfort to the body; so does the husband find comfort in his wife’s company and she in his. “The garment is the grace, the beauty, the embellishment of the body, so too are wives to their husbands as their husbands are to them.”

Islam does not consider woman “an instrument of the Devil”, but rather the Qur’an calls her muhsana – a fortress against Satan because a good woman, by marrying a man, helps him keep to the path of rectitude in his life. It is for this reason that marriage was considered by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a most virtuous act.

He said: “When a man marries, he has completed one half of his religion.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) was most emphatic in enjoining upon Muslims to be kind to their women when he delivered his famous khutba on the Mount of Mercy at Arafat in the presence of one hundred and twenty-four thousand of his Companions who had gathered there for the Hajj al-Wada (Farewell Pilgrimage). In it he ordered those present, and through them all those Muslims who were to come later, to be respectful and kind towards women.

He said: “Fear Allah regarding women. Verily you have married them with the trust of Allah, and made their bodies lawful with the word of Allah. You have got (rights) over them, and they have got (rights) over you in respect of their food and clothing according to your means.”

Quran states the status of women and men it states:

“[40:40] Whoever commits a sin is requited for just that, and whoever works righteousness – male or female – while believing, these will enter Paradise wherein they receive provisions without any limits.”
Women is categorized as wife, mother, daughter and sister in Islam

Mother In Islam:

Islam commands kindness, respect and obedience to parents and specifically emphasizes and gives preference to the mother as shall be shown in this article. Islam raises parents to a status greater than that found in any other religion or ideology.

The command to be good to one’s parents begins right from the Qur’an. Allah says:

“Worship God and join not any partners with Him; and be kind to your parents…” [Noble Quran 4:36]

A very famous hadith concerning the love and goodness of behavior of kids towards mother is given below; Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:

โ€œA man came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, โ€˜O Messenger of Allaah, who among the people is most deserving of my good companionship?โ€™ He said, โ€˜Your mother.โ€™ The man asked, โ€˜Then who?โ€™ He said, โ€˜Your mother.โ€™ He asked, then who?โ€™ He said, โ€˜Your mother.โ€™ He asked, โ€˜Then who?โ€™ He said, โ€˜Your father.โ€™โ€

Thus, our mother deserves the most from us.
ALLAH swt says in Quran; 17:23

โ€œSay not to them a word of disrespectโ€
According to a tirmidhi hadith:

A man once consulted the Prophet Muhammad about taking part in a military campaign. The Prophet asked the man if his mother was still living. When told that she was alive, the Prophet said: โ€œ(Then) stay with her, for Paradise is at her feet.โ€ (Al-Tirmidhi)

But, despite of all the ahadith and verse of Quran, what is happening in the wolrd today is, parents are living in old houses, and most of the old houses residents are women, the mothers especially who take so much pain to up bring their children and in their old age their children leave them for the sake of worldly pleasures.

Moreover Prophet said on another occasion: โ€œGod has forbidden for you to be undutiful to your mothers.โ€ (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

Daughter In Islam:

During times of Prophet Muhammad the birth of girls were taken as a matter of shame and still there are many socities in the world which abort girls before they are born. Quran address to this by saying:

“And when the news of (the birth of) a female (child) is brought to any of them, his face becomes dark, and he is filled with inward grief! He hides himself from the people because of the evil of that whereof he has been informed. Shall he keep her with dishonor or bury her in the earth? Certainly, evil is their decision.” (An-Nahl 16:58-59)

In pre-Islamic times, the Arabs used to be disheartened and annoyed with the birth of girls, so that a father, when informed his wife had given birth to a girl, said, “By Allah she is not as blissful as a son; her defence is crying and her care is but stealing!”.

Their traditions allowed the father to bury his daughter alive for actual poverty, or for expected poverty, or out of fear of a disgrace she might bring upon them when she grew up. In that context, the Qur’an says, denouncing and derogating them: “And when the female (infant) buried alive (as the pagan Arabs used to do) shall be questioned. For what sin was she killed? [Surah 81:8-9]

But the Messenger of Islam, Muhammad(saw), came elevating the status of this gift given by Allah(swt), welcoming the daughters, and raising high the importance of their upbringing with words to delight the hearts of the believing fathers and bring joy to their souls:

“Whoever takes care of two girls until they reach adulthood – he and I will come (together) on the Day of Resurrection – and he interlaced his fingers (meaning in Paradise).” (Reported by Muslim)

So can there be any greater honor given to a daughter!? And for those who wish to have them and bring them up properly!? And he said in another Hadith:

“Whoever has three daughters or sisters, or two daughters of two sisters, and lives along with them in a good manner, and has patience with them, and fears Allah with regard to them will enter Paradise.” (Reported by Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhee, and others)

Prophet once said : Ibn `Abbas recounted, “Whoever had a female who was not buried nor insulted by him, and had not preferred his male children to her, Allah admits him to Paradise.” [ Transmitted by Abu Dawud, 5/5146; and Al-Hakim who corrected it 4/177, approved by Al-Dhahaby.]
Thus, much more

Now let us analyze Women in other societies:

In India, the Hindus until recently considered their women worse then death, pests, serpents or even hell. A wife’s life ended with the death of her husband. In the past, a widow had to jump into the flames of her husbands funeral pyre.

In the pre-Islamic state of Arabia, a women was regarded as a cause for grief and unhappiness and baby girls were sometimes buried alive after birth.

In France, 587 CE, a meeting was held to study the status of women and to determine whether a woman could truly be considered a human being or not. Henry VIII in England forbade the reading of the Bible by women and brought out the middle ages the Catholic Church treated women as second class citizens.

In the Cambridge and Oxford university, male and female students were not given the same right until 1964. Before 1850, women were not counted as citizens of England and they did not have any personal rights until 1882.

Islam gave the following Rights to women 1400 years ago.

1. Total control of their wealth
2. Choose their spouse
3. Keep their own surname when married
4. Own property, operate business, study, and receive equal pay for equal work
5. Inherit Property, and have their marriage dissolved in case of neglect or mistreatment
6. Participate in all forms of worship that men participate in

If we keep this picture in mind and look into the position of the women in Islam liberated women from the dark age of obscurity 14 hundred years ago.