What do you know about the rights of women from Islam? How are they treated and what does their main teaching say about their rights and freedoms? Let’s see it together.
The question we are talking about right now has been raised multiple times. The mass media show us the picture of how miserable Muslim women feel in certain cultures, how their rights and freedoms are neglected and how strict their husbands can be to them. That is why we have decided to find out what the real situation is, and if those treating women like unworthy or invaluable creatures are acting according to the teaching of the main book of Islam.
We will take into account how females were supposed to be treated not the way they might be treated by certain individuals. Therefore, let’s start with what their Quran says about equality of men and women.
Muslims believe that men and women were created equal
The first thing you should know is that both men and women were created equally valuable. Allah did not intend one of them to be superior to the other. They are different, and so they complement each other. This rule applies to all areas of life: social, spiritual, and economic.
According to Surah 17, men and women are viewed by Allah as his representatives and ministers on the earth. They were created for a reason, and only together they can fulfill the mission set before them. This applies to both sexes, and not only to men. It says there that Allah gave them a breath of life and his spirit to be able to perform well and stick to the main purpose of their life.
Women in Islam are supposed to be respected
Another argument to support this idea is about the first people that ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of good and evil. These two people were Adam and Eve. And even though Eve was tempted by Satan and ate the fruit first, she was not blamed as the only one guilty of the sin. Adam ate from it later, and they were both considered equally guilty before God for this choice. Then when He sent them away from the Garden of Eden, He said that women would give birth to their babies in pain. Nevertheless, unlike Christianity, Islam states that this was not a result of the original sin, as they do not believe there is such a concept. They claim that this was done for children to value their mothers and take good care of them. They gave birth to kids in pain, so they deserve respect and praise for this.
Islamic women that were given an honor of becoming mothers are supposed to be treated with nothing but adoration and respect for what they have been through. There is a particular commandment in Quran about it. It says that women are to be treated as a real treasure for they bore children in suffering.
Islam and social freedom of women
Regarding social equality Quran does not set limits on what women can or cannot do. They are definitely a weaker sex, so there are duties they cannot perform on their own. However, it doesn’t mean that something is off limits for them to try. In another passage from Quran, it says that whoever does his best for Allah and brings good fruit will receive an eternal reward for the effort and desire of the heart to serve. There is no hint that men will be rewarded while women won’t.
Unfortunately, for women that were born in Europe before the 1860s, they were not able to own any real estate. The only way for them to own something was if they got married and their husbands received r bought property. Other than that women could not get a piece of assets even if they had all the money for it.
However, as Muslims like to state, their women were never deprived of that law. They had all the rights to make money and own anything they can afford buying. There was no such a thing as not letting unmarried women own anything they worked hard enough to purchase.
On top of that, since Islam wants Muslim women and men to be separated when it comes to medicine and hospital treatment, there is a need for female doctors, as well as representatives of other important occupations. And this also is true for schools: since girls need to study apart from the boys, there is a high demand for female tutors in these schools. So, there are no limits on what jobs to choose and what career to pursue as long as the husband of this woman allows her to work. By the way, when a Muslim woman applies for a job she should be entitled to equal pay for the job done.
Financial rights of Islamic women
According to the Quran, Muslim women are supposed to be treated respectfully about their own income. I f a woman owned a piece of property before she got married, she is entitled to be the sole owner of it once she becomes someone’s wife. Moreover, if she had some savings before the wedding, she can use them in whatever way she wants. She does not have to give them all to her husband or use them to pay the bills or cover any other expenses at the household.
Another important thing about financial freedom of a woman in Islam is that whenever a wedding is being planned, a bride is given a privilege of getting all the gifts they were given on their special day. Allegedly, this rule was written down in Quran, so they stick to it. All the gifts are in the hands of a wife-to-be, not the husband-to-be or his family.
One more example of the rights in the area of finance of Muslim women is that if a female got a divorce from a husband, he is supposed to pay a certain amount of money every month to support them. They are not left with no funds to get by. Moreover, some years ago girls were not welcome in the family. Women that gave birth to boys were called luckier and happier. People were glad for them. However, whenever a girl was born that started mourning, and some even tried to bury the girls alive. Years later, this was called a crime and serious prevention measures were take to stop this practice.
Islam on women’s education: Rights of Muslim women for having a proper education
A lot of misleading comments were left about this part of lives of women of Islam. However, to dismantle the myth, here is what they actually believe in. Quran mentions that daughters and sons are supposed to be treated equally and given the same level of education. Since there is no distinction between a boy and a girl, they should all have education and individual rights of a sufficient level. There was a story in Quran when some man was spending time with the Prophet, and as his son approached him, he let him sit on his lap, but when his daughter came, he let her sit next to him. The Prophet said that this is not fair and that is not how one should treat daughters. She should be given the same privilege and right.
Muslim women’s rights in marriage
Marriage is not viewed by Quran as a bad thing. It is not slavery or anything like this. It is being tied with a partner for life and trying to build the firm foundation together and live a long and a happy life side by side. One should be willing to get married and see this as a huge blessing, not as a heavy burden.
Unlike the common tradition to agree with some people about having your children get married as they grow up, Quran mentions that a girl can agree or disagree to get married to a man chosen for her by her relatives or other parents.
However, as the life shows, a lot of people still agree to marry their children without ever asking them about it. The age of marriage varies depending on the region and denomination of the families. Some countries permit marriages between a man and a girl below ten or twelve years old. According to the tradition, the girl can be taken as the wife as soon as she reaches the sexual maturity. This fact should be proven by a guardian of the community and can be different for different girls. For some of them, it is around fifteen years old. However, as they insist on getting married according to a tradition first set by the Prophet, laws of numerous countries are being adjusted to the demands of the men.
Polygamy and rights of Muslim women
Now, another controversial issue of Islam is polygamy. A lot of people automatically associate Islam and having several wives as a given. However, it was not always so. A lot of other religions have gone through this at one or another point of their development. This was not invented by the adherers of Islam. However, they justify it. Allegedly, they believe that by taking up more than one wife they are doing what is good. For instance, after a war took place and men died there, they do not want to leave children and women without means for existence, so they marry them and adopt their children as a noble gesture. This was a commandment after the battle of Uhud took place. There were limitations on polygamy, but still, it was encouraged. This was claimed to be a necessity for the sake of women and children that needed support and means to keep on living on their own with no men to help them around.
Marital rights of women in Islam
Here is what Wikipedia says about this: “Islamic law and practice recognize gender disparity, in part, by assigning separate rights and obligations to a woman in married life. A woman's space is in the private sphere of the home, and a man's one is in the public domain. Women must primarily fulfill marital and maternal responsibilities, whereas men are financial and administrative stewards of their families. According to Sayyid Qutb, the Qur'an "gives the man the right of guardianship or superiority over the family structure to prevent dissension and friction between the spouses. The equity of this system lies in the fact that God both favored the man with the necessary qualities and skills for the 'guardianship' and also charged him with the duty to provide for the structure's upkeep.”
Mothers’ freedom in Quran
According to the Holy Book all the Muslims respect, commands them to respect their parents and be kind to them under all circumstances. There is no way to be judgmental or disobedient. Peace and prosperity were promised to those who brought good and happiness to parents and not vice versa.
Sex and Islam
“In Islam, a Muslim woman can only have sex after her "nikah" - a proper marriage contract – with one Muslim man; sex is permitted to her only with her husband. The woman's husband, may, however, marry and have sex with more than one Muslim woman, as well as have sex with non-Muslim slaves. According to Quran and Sahih Muslim, two primary sources of Sharia, Islam permits only vaginal sex.”
And another quote about this: “Sex and menstruation are considered some of the causes that make men and women religiously impure. Some Islamic jurists suggest touching and foreplay, without any penetration, may qualify wudu (minor ritual washing) as sufficient form of religiously required ablution. Muslim men and woman must also abstain from sex during a ritual fast, and during all times while on a pilgrimage to Mecca, as the sexual act, touching of sexual parts, and emission of sexual bodily fluids are considered ritually dirty.”
Muslim women and their rights on divorce
In Islam, a woman may only divorce her husband under certain conditions. These are many and include neglect, not being supported financially, the husband's impotence, apostasy, madness, critical illness or some other defect in the marriage.
Political freedoms of women in Islam
When it comes to discussing the rights of Muslim women, it is important to mention their involvement in the political life. In the early years of Islam existence, women were given equal rights and were able to share their beliefs on general matters of the politics. They were even able to help the soldiers during the wars and other military conflicts.
The international leaders are working on giving more freedom in the area of politics. They say that they are left with no chance to share their points of view on things they find useful, discriminatory, lacking something or evil. Surveys showed that most women that were Muslims did not think that they were oppressed in any way; however, as specialists explain they had nothing to compare to, so they did not know the truth. Meanwhile, the tragedy of September 11, 2001, raised the question of Muslim women’ rights again and since then serious measures were taken to stop injustice and discrimination of any kind.
This is what you need to know about the lives, rights, freedoms, limitations and traditions Muslim women have to live in. Even though the intentions were good at first, they were changed by people on their way, so today we can witness a lot of discriminatory actions towards women in Islam. However, this is something we can discuss in a different topic. That’s it for now!
- READ ALSO: How many religions are in Nigeria?