Status of Women in Islam

Topics: Woman, Marriage, Wife Pages: 5 (1504 words) Published: September 11, 2013
STATUS OF WOMEN IN ISLAM, Rights of Women in lslam and
Duties of a woman in lslam


Women have a very important place in Islamic society. Unlike a number of other religions, Islam holds a women in high esteem. Her importance as an other and a wife has been clearly stated by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).The prophet said, "Paradise lies at the feet of your mothers." Once a person asked the Prophet, "Who deserves the best care from me?" The Prophet replied, "Your mother (he repeated this three times), then your father and then your nearest relatives."

In his farewell speech at 'Arafat in the tenth year of the Hijrah, the Prophet said,"O people, your wives have certain rights over you and you have certain rights over them. Treat them well and be kind to them, for they are your partners and committed helpers." The Prophet also said, "The best among you is the one who is the best towards his wife."

These sayings clearly prove the important position given to women in Islam but there are still people, especially in the West, who have misgivings about the status of women in Islam. To these people, the Muslim women is seen as 'Prisoner in the four walls of the house', a non-person', and 'someone who has no rights and is living always under the domination of a man'. These notions are totally wrong and are based on ignorance rather than knowledge of Islam. One of the rites of Hajj is the fast walk between As-Safa and Al-Marwah, which is observed to remember the event of Hajar (Hagar), mother of Prophet Ismail, who ran between these two hills to find water. This is another proof of the importance given to women by Islam. In order to Judge these false ideas held by western people, it would be useful to survey the attitudes to women in different societies in the past. During the Roman civilization, for example, a woman was regarded as a slave. 

The Greeks considered her a commodity to be bought and sold. Early Christianity regarded women as temptresses, responsible for the fall of Adam. 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 husband's funeral pyre.

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

In France, in 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 throughout the Middle Ages the Catholic Church treated women as second-class citizens. In the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford, male and female students were not given the same rights until 1964. Before 1850, women were not counted as citizen in England and English women had no personal rights until 1882'.

If we keep this picture in mind and look into the position of the women inIslam, we must conclude that lslam liberated women from the dark age ofobscurity fourteen hundred years ago!

Islam is a religion of common sense and is in line with human nature. It recognises the realities of life. This does not mean it has recognised equality of man and woman in every respect. Rather, it has defined their duties in keeping with their different biological make-up (2:228). Allah has not made man and woman identical, so it would be against nature to try to have total equality between a man and a woman.

That would destroy the social balance. Society would not prosper but would instead have insoluble problems such as broken marriages, illegitimate children and the break-up of family life. These problems are already rife in western society. Schoolgirl pregnancies, an increase in abortions, divorce and many other problems have cropped up because of a permissive outlook and the so-called freedom of women.

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