Islamic women: a story of respect, privilege, and equality
Islamic women- this concept is always misunderstood by the world. Dominated and unequal, these are the words considered by most of the Non-Muslim people whenever they think about the women in our peaceful and noble religion. These are nothing by stereotyping and misunderstanding Islam.
We should be patient and learn about it at first. Does anyone know that Islam has empowered women progressively since the 7th century? Well, let’s start reading.
Islamic women- the progressive attitude
In our noble religion, we women are not at all inferior to men. On other hand, Islam always preached gender equality in its own ways. If we look back to the ancient past, women were considered properties. Also, they were transferable.
If a king conquered land, the defeated king was forced to barter his wife and daughters to get rid of the death. Islam is the first religion that stopped that. Islamic women got an elevation. Also, religion protected them with a lot of rights.
Take the example of Rufaidah Al Aslamia. She always wanted to be a nurse, and our almighty Allah provided her the chance. If Islam is so oppressive, this would have never happened. Thus, the theory is completely false.
What did our beloved Prophet (PBUH) do to raise the position of women?
After getting the message from almighty Allah, Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) started to reform the Arab society. In this process, he actually changed their mindset. He educated them about the treatment of women. Thus, we can say that Islam actually destroyed the practice of female foeticide. Religion also raised the position of women. Islamic women are provided with respect and privilege.
According to our prophet(PBUH), both men and women are actually equal to Allah. In the Holy Quran, Allah depicts,
“Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do. ” (16:97)
Islamic women- the differences we embrace
Islam believes that men and women are actually equal. But it also depicts that they are not identical. It is true. Scientifically we have different physical and mental attributes. Allah asks us to embrace the differences to maintain a healthy family structure. This is to build a strong ummah. Both males and females have unique duties towards ummah.
A woman is asked to wear a hijab to maintain her modesty. Similarly, a man is also asked to cover his head to maintain his dignity. In Allah’s sight, everyone is equal.
The privileges that Allah gave to us women
Allah through our beloved Prophet (PBUH) provided us with 5 privileges that made Islamic women empowered.
Allah clearly gives mothers a high position in society. The prophet said, ‘Heaven lies beneath the feet of your mother.”
2. Literacy and education
Our beloved Prophet declared that everyone has to study. Knowledge was mandatory for both men and women. He always encouraged women. For example, His wife, Aisha was one of the greatest scholars of that era.
3. Taking part in Society
Islam allows women to express their opinions freely. In Islamic history, women took part in governance, lawmaking, and teaching.
4. Economic independence
In Islam, a woman has every right to work and not work. She is not obligated to earn, her husband or father will take care of her. But if she earns, she can spend the money as she wishes. We can take the example of Khadija, the wife of our Prophet (PBUH). She was one of the most successful businesswomen in that era.
In Islam, a woman has every right to accept or reject the proposal. And without her approval, a marriage cannot happen. She has to say ‘Kabool hai’ or I agreed to be married. Even, a woman has the right to get a financial gift or Mahr during her marriage. Prophet(PBUH) clearly stated, ‘A man is best if he is best towards his wife.’
So we can say that Islam has a tradition of respecting women in its own ways. Islamic women are actually honored and empowered from ancient times.