Monday, 11 March 2013

Women’s Rights in Islam

Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. And among the people converting, majorities are women  . According to the research done by Swansea University,   in past 10 years 10,000 British people has converted to Islam , of whom 3 quarters are women. So why large number of women’s     are  converting to Islam?  What teachings and laws are influencing them to accept this religion? Let us discuss the few important points.

Islam has given special rights to women’s 1400 years ago , which western culture has started to enjoy recently. The women’s rights in Islam are:

1.       Right to seek Knowledge/ Education OR Right to Work
“Seeking knowledge is the duty of every muslim,   man or  women”. (Al Trimidhi – Hadith 218)
“Whatever men earn, they have a share to that and whatever women earn, they have a share in that.” [ Quran 4:32]

As per the past history, Islam has never restricted women ‘s  in participating in any political, economic and social sphere of society.  For example, Seyyida Khadija Radiallahu Anha, the Prophet's first wife was one of the most important merchants of the time, and the Prophet Hazrat Muhammad peace be upon Him himself was her employee. Seyyida Aysha Radiallahu Anha, the Prophet's other wife was one of his most important advisers and consultants. In the early Islamic history women not only participated in various aspects of their society's public sphere, they also had the right to be elected to political offices. For example, Seyyedina Omar Katthab Radiallahu Anhu the second caliph, appointed a woman to oversee the affairs of the marketplace.

2.       Right to Choose a spouse
At the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), a woman came to him and said, “My father has married me to my cousin to raise his social standing and I was forced into it.” The Prophet sent for the girl’s father and then in his presence gave the girl the option of remaining married or nullifying the marriage. She responded,” O Messenger of Allah, I have accepted what my father did, but I wanted to show other women (that they could not be forced into a marriage).” (Ahmed, An-Nasa’I and Ibn Majah).

The above hadith  shows that the   women’s  are free to choose their husband. And Islam also allows the women to keep their original family name after marriage.

3.       Financial Rights
“And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart” [ Quran al-Nisaa’ 4:4]

It is the right of a woman to get the Mahr ( dowry) from her husband at the time of completing their marriage contract. Also the scholar of Islam has agreed that it is obligatory for  husbands to spend on their wives on the condition that the wife make herself available to her husband. If she refuses him or rebels, then she is not entitled to that spending.

4.       Right to be treated Kindly and Respectfully
“and live with them honourably” [ Noble Quran  Surah al-Nisaa’ 4:19]

“The most perfect in faith amongst believers is he who is best in manners and kindest to his wife.” Hadith reported by Abu Dawoud, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad.

“And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect) to what is reasonable” [ Noble Quran Surah al-Baqarah 2:228]

Islam always teaches to respect a woman.  It says that the best is the person who is kindest to his wife

5.       Financial Security after divorce
“For divorced women Maintenance (should be provided) on a reasonable (scale). This is a duty on the righteous…” (Quran 2:241)

Allah reveals that a sincere Muslim man must guarantee his ex-wife's financial security in order to safeguard her continued financial well-being

Allah says that “It is not lawful for you (Men) to take back any or your gifts except when both parties fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah. There is no blame on either of them if she gives something for her freedom. These are the limits ordained by Allah so do not transgress them” (Quran 2:229)

“When it comes to housing an ex-wife, Allah proclaims:”Let them live where you live, according to your means. Do not put pressure on them, so as to harass them. If they are pregnant, maintain them until they give birth…” (Quran 65:6)

6.       Law for Widows
Allah says “If any of you die and leave widows behind, they shall wait concerning themselves four months and ten days: when they have fulfilled their term, there is no blame on you if they dispose of themselves ( Marry) in a just and reasonable manner” ( Quran 2: 234)

He further says “Those of you who die and leave widows should bequeath for their   widows a year’s maintenance and residence”. (Quran 2:240)

 It is mentioned in Quran that if a person dies leaving his wife, then she (his wife) has to perform iddah  for four months and ten days. And then she is allowed to marry again.It is further mention that if a husband dies then the wife has to be provided with the maintenance and residence for one year. 

 Iddah: A specified period of time that must elapse before a Muslim widow  may legitimately remarry.

7.       Mothers are given more importance  compared to Fathers
A man came to the Prophet and said: O Messenger of Allah! Who from amongst manking warrants the best companionship from me ? He replied: “ Your mother.” The man asked: Then who? So he replied: “Your mother.” The man then asked: Then who? So the Prophet replied again: “Your mother.” The man then asked: Then who? So he replied: “ Then your father.”            ( Sahih Bukhari 5971 and Sahih Muslim 7/2)

I know of no other deed that brings people closer to Allah than kind treatment and respect towards ones mother [Al-Adab al-Mufrad Bukhari 1/45]

The above hadith shows that the women’s are given more importance as a mother too.  Children has to respect, obey and take care of their mothers first and then their fathers.

Thus it is concluded that  Islam is providing special rights to the women’s and this is the  reason why   more and more women’s get converted to this religion.


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