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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Women in Islam

A woman in Islam is a mother; a daughter and a wife..

As a mother, Allah has granted her a very high status as narrated in the Quran in Surah Luqman 14-15 :

وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ وَهْناً عَلَى وَهْنٍ وَفِصَالُهُ فِي عَامَيْنِ أَنِ اشْكُرْ لِي 
وَلِوَالِدَيْكَ إِلَيَّ الْمَصِيرُ

وَإِن جَاهَدَاكَ عَلى أَن تُشْرِكَ بِي مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ فَلَا تُطِعْهُمَا وَصَاحِبْهُمَا فِي الدُّنْيَا
 مَعْرُوفاً وَاتَّبِعْ سَبِيلَ مَنْ أَنَابَ إِلَيَّ ثُمَّ إِلَيَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَأُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ

"And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years; show gratitude to Me and to your parents, to Me is (your) final destination.

But if they (both) strive to make you join in worship with Me others that of which you have no knowledge, then do not obey them, yet treat them kindly, and follow the path of him who turns to Me in repentance and in obedience. Then to Me will be your return, and I shall tell you what you used to do."

It is also narrated in a hadis in Bukhari and Muslim:

A man came to the Prophet and said, ‘O Messenger of God! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship? The Prophet said: Your mother. The man said, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man further asked, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man asked again, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your father.

As a daughter, she is deserving of kind and impartial treatment from her father as narrated in Bukhari and Muslim :

The Prophet peace be upon him said: " Those of you who has a daughter, and did not mistreat her nor degrade her nor be partial towards his son over her, Allah will place him in heaven."

As a wife, husbands are urged to treat them kindly and with care.

Abu Huraira  reported Allah's Apostle  as saying: He who believes in Allah and the Hereafter, if he witnesses any matter he should talk in good terms about it or keep quiet.  Act kindly towards woman, for woman is created from a rib, and the most crooked part of the rib is its top.  If you attempt to straighten it, you will break it, and if you leave it, its crookedness will remain there.  So act kindly towards women.

If , we take this hadis as an illustration of a woman's character, it states that a woman with all her temperaments must be treated kindly, a harsh approach might break her, causing her unhappiness and misery for trying to be someone who she is not and and a whole lot of pent up feelings or on the extreme end, retaliation; causing her to drift away from Allah and breaking up the family institution and unraveling the thread of society. 

Frankly speaking, we women are full of emotions especially in situations that involved things which we feel passionately about. and if we are chided strongly for feeling the way we feel, we feel hurt and disrespected. But, if the men reason out with us kindly, we can also see things from their perspective and meet them half way. This is just my understanding. 

A woman in Islam is equal as a man in Allah's eyes in creation, worship, rewards and penalties.

O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single nafs (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife [Hawwa (Eve)]  (Surah Nisa; 1)

For men there is reward for what they have earned, (and likewise) for women there is reward for what they have earned, and ask Allah of His Bounty. Surely, Allah is Ever All-Knower of everything. (Surah Nisa; 32)

Cut off (from the wrist joint) the (right) hand of the thief, male or female, as a recompense for that which they committed, a punishment by way of example from Allah. And Allah is All-Powerful, All-Wise.But whosoever repents after his crime and does righteous good deeds (by obeying Allah), then verily, Allah will pardon him (accept his repentance). Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surah Al-Maidah; 38-39)

A woman in Islam is free to transact in monetary transactions such as keeping/spending her inheritance, drawing up her will, giving alms, giving out or taking up loans, acquiring possessions, taking part in business transactions, all without having to consult her husband with regards to her money and wealth. 

Islam has also given rights to women in many forms among which are:

1. The right to be educated

The Prophet peace be upon him said : "The seeking of knowledge is compulsory for both male and female Muslims."

2. The right to work

Woman are allowed to work as long as the work does not conflict with their nature, does not degrade them nor lead to any social ills. She should be able to perform her primary duties as a wife and mother reasonably well. If the work becomes a burden and she can not cope, she should not be asked to work if it is financially possible. If not, the husband should help out or provide other alternatives such as a live-in maid or a part time helper. 

3. The right of maintenance.

The husband is expected to provide for the family a shelter, clothing and food and if the husband is stingy and does not give enough even when he can afford to, it is permissible for the wife to take from the husband what is needed with out his knowledge. 

4. The right to pick her life partner. 

For the prophet has instructed that a divorcee/widow must be consulted and explicit  agreement given  before remarrying them off, while approval of virgins must be sought before marrying them off.

5. The right to inheritance, with out having to share with the husband.

6. The right to marriage gifts

7. The right to seek for annulment of marriage should there be valid reasons. 

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