Allah the Creator has elevated women to a very special and precious status. The Qur'an and the prophet Muhammad, peace be onto him, explicitly directs men to take all necessary steps to guard, protect, and help maintain that precious status within all legally prescribed and authorized interactions with women. There is a whole chapter in the Qur'an titled "Women," which clarifies rights, responsibilities, and accountabilities. Another chapter titled: "Maryam" (Mary) to honor the mother of the prophet Jesus, peace be onto them. Islam offers women equitable, balanced and just rights and responsibilities in the faith (rewarding good deeds and effecting consequences for sinful deeds), family, as well as in society at large. Starting with the right to life, inheritance, choice in marriage, own entrepreneurship and income, exemption of financial responsibilities in family and marriage, as well as participation in public service if desired. Islam focuses more on justice and equal rights but perhaps different responsibilities from men.
History of women’s rights in Islam
Apr 2, 2021
Women’s rights have been a controversial topic throughout history. In Islam, men and women have similar rights, and in some areas women actually enjoy certain privileges that the men do not. In terms of property, married and divorced women have been given rights, and in fact at each turn they have been considered and provided for as appropriate. It is true to say that Islam gave women rights that are unparalleled in the history of women.
Prophet Muhammad said, “A person who is blessed with a daughter or daughters and makes no discrimination between them and his sons and brings them up with kindness and affection, will be as close to me in Paradise as my forefinger and middle finger are to each other.”
The Holy Quran repeatedly proclaims men and women’s equality in spiritual status: “But who so does good works, whether male or female, and is a believer, such shall enter Heaven.” (Ch.4: V.125)
Regarding education for girls, Prophet Muhammad said: “It is the duty of every Muslim man and every Muslim woman to acquire knowledge.” On the economic front, Islam entitles women to possess money, property and other assets.
Islam elevated the social status of women by ensuring that they are treated respectfully by their husbands, sons and fathers. A husband and wife have an equal role to play in providing support, comfort and protection for one another, fitting each other like a garment fits the body.
Islam is the only religion that gave women the right to an education, property rights, the right of inheritance, and freedom of married and divorced women more than 1,500 years ago. Similar rights were not available to women in Europe for many centuries after the advent of Islam.
December 25, 2021, Edition
Pittsburgh Post Gazette