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Honorable Status of Women in Islam

  Peace-Forum: Equality :  Men and women are absolutely equal with regard to their human status. The Qur’an, and the Prophet (pe...

Honorable Status of Women in Islam

EqualityMen and women are absolutely equal with regard to their human status. The Qur’an, and the Prophet (peace be upon him), stress the equality of the two sexes in clear terms. The Qur’anic address always applies to men and women equally, at times the women and men are also addressed together: 
“Surely the Muslim men and the Muslim women, the believing men and the believing women, the devout men and the devout women, the truthful men and the truthful women, the patient men and the patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and the charitable women, the fasting men and the fasting women, the men who guard their chastity and the women who guard their chastity, and the men who remember Allah much and the women who remember Allah much - for all those, Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward”( Qur’an;33:35). 
Yet there are occasions where women are addressed in the Qur’an on their own, with matters that apply to them only. On the contrary, Islam stresses equality of treatment of sons and daughters. Allah says in the Qur'an: 
"Mankind, remain conscious of your Lord, who has created you all out of a single soul, and out of it created its mate."(Qur’an;4:1)
Although man and woman have been created equal, but they are not identical. Both have been fashioned differently from each other, so their roles and responsibilities are also different. The Prophet (peace be upon him), says: "Women are the sisters of men." (Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawood and others). Needless to say that brothers and sisters are equally treated. The Judeo-Christian traditions put all the blame for man's fall from heaven on women, conception of the creation of Adam and Eve is narrated in detail in Genesis, chapters 2 &3 . God is quoted to address the women; “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.”(Genesis; 3:16). Islam repudiates that and makes Adam and Eve equally responsible for their actions. On the incident of their disobedience in heaven, Allah says in the Qur'an: “Satan caused them both to stumble, and thus brought them out of what they had been in."(Qur’an;2:36). Indeed, in some verses, the sin is attributed to Adam alone: "Adam disobeyed his Lord and thus he was astray…"(Qur’an;20:121). 

Furthermore, Islam rejects outright the principle of the original sin. It considers everyone responsible for his or her actions. Thus, no woman is responsible in anyway for what Eve had done in heaven, in the same way as no man is responsible for what Adam did there. According to Bible, the period of un-cleanliness of women upon birth of girl child is double than the male child: “Say to the people of Israel, If a woman conceives, and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days; as at the time of her menstruation, she shall be unclean. And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. Then she shall continue for thirty-three days in the blood of her purifying; she shall not touch any hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying are completed. But if she bears a female child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her menstruation; and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying for sixty-six days.”(Leviticus’12:2-5). Islam treats the children and their mother with equity whether the child is male or female.

Islam denounces the practice of those who feel sad or adopt a gloomy posture when a girl is born to them. This used to be the case in Arabia prior to the advent of Islam, and it is still so in many communities. According to Islam, the birth of a girl should be celebrated in the same way as the birth of a son. Prior to Islam, several Arabian tribes used to bury newborn girls alive. Islam not only forbade that practice but also denounced it in clearest of terms, threatening those who kill their children with utter ruin in this life and in the life to come. Islam issued strict orders to all Muslims to take good care of their women and look after them properly, whether they are their daughters, wives or mothers. In connection with looking after young girls, the Prophet (peace be upon him), says: "He who looks after two young girls until they attain puberty will on the Day of Judgment be with me like these two (and he pointed with his two fingers). His companions say that they understood that this also applies to a man with one daughter. " The Qur'anic verse and the Hadith which says: "The best blessing in this world is a good wife who pleases you when you look at her and protects you when you are away." (Related by Muslim and Ibn Majah). The verses which emphasize the importance of being dutiful to one's parents often highlights the role of mothers in order to stress the fact that a Muslim is always required to take particularly good care of his mother. A man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and asked him: "Who deserves my caring attention most?" The Prophet, peace be upon him, answered: "Your mother". The man asked: "Who comes next?" The Prophet (peace be upon him) answered again: "Your mother". He gave the same answer the third time, but when the man asked him the same question again, the Prophet (peace be upon him), said: "Your father". (Related by Al-Bukhari). Woman is equal to man in the pursuit of education and knowledge. The Prophet declared: “Search for knowledge is a sacred duty imposed on every Muslim man and woman. 

Equality in Faith, Worship and Rewards:

A woman is liable to reward or punishment like men according her faith, worship and deeds. The same standard of justice applies to both men and women. Allah says in the Qur'an: "Whoever does well, whether male or female, having already accepted the faith, shall be made by Us to enjoy a goodly living. We will also administer to them their reward according to their best deeds."(Qur’an;16:97). "Their Lord answers their prayer: I shall not loose sight of what any of you does whether man or woman; each of you is an issue of the other." (Qur’an;3:195). During the time of Prophet (peace be upon him), the women used to offer prayer (salah) in the mosque, in the last row. However it is not obligatory for the women to offer prayers (salah) in mosque, they are allowed to offer prayer at home for convenience. Women can even lead the prayer for the women in congregations: “It is related from 'Aysha that she would make the adhan and iqamah (prayer call) and lead the women in prayer, standing in the middle of the row.”(Related by al-Baihaqi- Fiqu-Us-Sunnah, Volume 1, Number 104 a). All the obligatory worships like Salah, Fasting, Zakah, and Hajj are also obligatory for Women like men, however during period of impurity (menstruation), they are exempted form offering prayers (salah) where as men are not exempted form prayers (salah) under any circumstances. The women are exempted to participate in combat (Jihad with sword or armed struggle). Narrated by Aysha (The mother of the faithful believers); “The Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked by his wives about the Jihad and he replied, "The best Jihad (for you) is (the performance of) Hajj.”(Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 4.128). However it is evident form a Hadith that in the initial days the women has been providing logistic support. Narrated Ar Rabibint Muauwidh :We used to take part in holy battles with the Prophet by providing the people with water and serving them and bringing the killed and the wounded back to Medina. (Sahih Al Bukhari, Hadith, Number.4.134).
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WOMEN IN ISLAM


Subjugated or Emancipated?

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