Status Of Women In Islam The Status of Woman in IslamThe status of woman in Islam constitutes no problem. The attitude of the Qur’an and the early Muslims bear witness to the fact that woman is, at least, as vital to life as man himself, and that she is not inferior to him nor is she one of the lower species. Had it not been for the impact of foreign cultures and alien influences, this question would have never arisen among the Muslims. The status of woman was taken for granted to be equal to that of man. It was a matter of course, a matter of fact, and no one, then, considered it as a problem at all.
In order to understand what Islam has established for woman, there is no need to deplore her plight in the pre-Islamic era or in the modern would of today. Islam has given woman rights and privileges which she has never enjoyed under other religious or constitutional systems. This can be understood when the matter is studied as a whole in a comparative manner, rather than partially. The rights and responsibilities of a woman are equal to those of a man but they are not necessarily identical with them. Equality and sameness are two quite different things. This difference is understandable because man and woman are not identical but they are created equals.With this distinction in mind, There is no problem. It is almost impossible to find even two identical men or women.
This distinction between equality and sameness is of paramount importance. Equality is desirable, just, fair; but sameness is not. People are not created identical but they are created equals.With this distinction in mind, there is no room to imagine that woman is inferior to man. There is no ground to assume that she is less important than he just because her rights are not identically the same as his. Had her status been identical with his, she would have been simply a duplicate of him, which she is not. The fact that Islam gives her equal rights – but not identical – shows that it takes her into due consideration, acknowledges her, and recognizes her independent personality. It is not the tone of Islam that brands woman as the product of the devil or the seed of evil.
Nor does the Qur’an place man as the dominant lord of woman who has no choice but to surrender to his dominance.Nor was it Islam that introduced the question of whether or not woman has any soul in her. Never in the history of Islam has any Muslim doubted the human status of woman or her possession of soul and other fine spiritual qualities. Unlike other popular beliefs, Islam does not blame Eve alone for the First Sin. The Qur’an makes it very clear that both Adam and Eve were tempted; that they both sinned; that God’s pardon was granted to both after their repentance; and that God addressed them jointly. (2:35-36;7:19, 27; 20:117-123). In fact the Qur’an gives the impression that Adam was more to blame for that First Sin from which emerged prejudice against woman and suspicion of her deeds.But Islam does not justify such prejudice or suspicion because both Adam and Eve were equally in error, and if we are to blame Eve we should blame Adam as much or even more.
The status of woman in Islam is something unique, something novel, something that has no similarity in any other system. If we look to the Eastern Communist world or to the democratic nations, we find that woman is not really in a happy position. Her status is not enviable. She has to work so hard to live, and sometimes she may be doing the same job that a man does but her wage is less than his.She enjoys a kind of liberty which in some cases amounts to libertinism. To get to where she is nowadays, woman struggled hard for decades and centuries. To gain the right of learning and the freedom of work and earning, she had to offer painful sacrifices and give up many of her natural rights.
To establish her status as a human being possessing a soul, she paid heavily. Yet in spite of all these costly sacrifices and painful struggles, she has not acquired what Islam has established by a Divine decree for the Muslim woman.The rights of woman of modern times were not granted voluntarily or out of kindness to the female. Modern woman reached her present position by force, and not through natural processes or mutual consent or Divine teachings. She had to force her way, and various circumstances came to her aid. Shortage of manpower during wars, pressure of economic needs and requirements of industrial developments forced woman to get out of her home – to work, to learn, to struggle for her livelihood, to appear as an equal to man, to run her race in the course of life side by side with him. She was forced by circumstances and in turn she forced herself through and acquired her new status.
Whether all women were pleased with these circumstances being on their side, and whether they are happy and satisfied with the results of this course is a different matter. But the fact remains that whatever rights modern woman enjoys fall short of those of her Muslim counterpart. What Islam has established for woman is that which suits her nature, gives her full security and protects her against disgraceful circumstances and uncertain channels of life. We do not need here to elaborate on the status of modern woman and the risks she runs to make her living or establish herself. We do not even need to explore the miseries and setbacks that encircle her as a result of the so-called rights of woman.
Nor do we intend to manipulate the situation of many unhappy homes which break because of the very freedom and rights of which modern woman is proud. Most women today exercise the right of freedom to go out independently, to work and earn, to pretend to be equal to man, but this, sadly enough, is at the expense of their families. This all known and obvious. What is not known is the status of woman in Islam. An attempt will be made in the following passages to sum up the attitude of Islam with regard to woman.1. Woman is recognized by Islam as a full and equal partner of man in the procreation of humankind.
He is the father; she is the mother, and both are essential for life. Her role is not less vital than his. By this partnership she has an equal share in every aspect; she is entitled to equal rights; she undertakes equal responsibilities, and in her there are as many qualities and as much humanity as there are in her partner.To this equal partnership in the reproduction of human kind God says: O mankind! Verily We have created your from a single (pair) of a male and a female,m and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other.
. (Qur’an, 49:13; cf. 4:1). 2. She is equal to man in bearing personal and common responsibilities and in receiving rewards for her deeds.She is acknowl-edged as an independent personality, in possession of human qualities and worthy of spiritual aspirations. Her human nature is neither inferior to nor deviant from that of man. Both are members of one another.
God says: And their Lord has accepted (their prayers) and answered them (saying): ‘Never will I cause to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female; you are members, one of another.. (3:195; cf 9:71;33:35-36;66:19-21).3. She is equal to man in the pursuit of education and knowledge. When Islam enjoins the seeking of knowledge upon Muslims, it makes no distinction between man and woman. Almost fourteen centuries ago, Muhammad declared that the pursuit of knowledge is incumbent on every Muslim male and female. This declaration was very clear and was implemented by Muslims throughout history.
4.She is entitled to freedom of expression as much as man is. Her sound opinions are taken into consideration and cannot be disregarded just because she happen to belong to the female sex.
It is reported in the Qur’an and history that woman not only expressed her opinion freely but also argued and participated in serious discussions with the Prophet himself as well as with other Muslim leaders (Qur’an, 58:1-4; 60:10-12). Besides there were occasions when Muslim women expressed their views on legislative matters of public interest, and stood in opposition to the Caliphs, who then accepted the sound arguments of these women. A specific example took place during the Califate of Umar Ibn al-Khattab.5. Historical records show that women participated in public life with the early Muslims, especially in times of emergencies.
Women used to accompany the Muslim armies engaged in battles to nurse the wounded, prepare supplies, serve the warriors, and so on. They were not shut behind iron bars or considered worthless creatures and deprived of souls. 6. Islam grants woman equal rights to contract, to enterprise, to earn and possess independently. Her life, her property, her honor are as sacred as those of man.If she commits any offense, her penalty is no less or more than of man’s in a similar case. If she is wronged or harmed, she gets due compensations equal to what a man in her position would get (2:178;4:45, 92-93). 7.
Islam does not state these rights in a statistical form and then relax. It has taken all measures to safeguard them and put them into practice as integral articles of Faith.It never tolerates those who are inclined to prejudice against woman or discrimination between man and woman. Time and again, the Qur’an reproaches those who used to believe woman to be inferior to man (16:57-59, 62; 42:47-59; 43:15-19; 53:21-23).
8. Apart from recognition of woman as an independent human being acknowledged as equally essential for the survival of humanity, Islam has given her a share of inheritance. Before Islam, she was not only deprived of that share but was herself considered as property to be inherited by man.Out of that transferable property Islam made an heir, acknowledging the inherent human qualifies in woman. Whether she is a wife or mother, a sister or daughter, she receives a certain share of the deceased kin’s property, a share which depends on her degree of relationship to the deceased and the number of heirs. This share is hers, and no one can take it away or disinherit her.
Even if the deceased wishes to deprive her by making a will to other relations or in favor of any other cause, the Law will not allow him to do so. Any proprietor is permitted to make his will within the limit of one-third of his property, so he may not affect the rights of his heirs, men and women. In the case of inheritance, the question of quality and sameness is fully applicable.In principle, both man and woman are equall …