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Women rights in Islam

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One day I was giving a brief presentation about the concept of monotheism and the religion of Islam for a group of Latinos in Spanish language.

I was saying:

The Muslim believes in the Creator, Who is God of the prophets, Moses and Christ. The Muslim worships God Who is the Creator of the universe and what it contains directly without a saint or a priest. The Muslim also believes that the Creator created Christ without a father as He created Adam without a father or a mother, for He is the Most High creates and does not beget.

I was then surprised when a Latin woman attacked me by saying: Muslim women are oppressed. Islam has deprived them of their rights.

I told her:

Although I was talking about monotheism, and your attack has interrupted the calm conversation, but let me note several important points.

At the peak of the Islamic civilization, and when Muslim women were enjoying a queen-like treatment and had the rights of a queen, Europe was still debating the point of controversy: Is a woman human, animal, or demon?

What many do not know is that Islam has given women rights which you will never find even in the United Nations ‘ constitutions.

  • Islam gave women rights over men similar to those of men over women. And men have a degree above them in terms of having more responsibility towards them; men have more to give the women “.. Women have the same rights against their men as men have against them; but men have a degree above them. Allah (God) is All- Powerful, All-Wise” . (Qur’an 2:228).
  • The Qur’an, in addressing the believers, often uses the expression, ‘believing men and believing women’ to emphasize the equality of men and women in regard to their respective duties, rights, virtues and merits.
  • The Qur’an admonishes those men who oppress or mistreat women. “O you who have believed, it is not lawful for you to inherit women by compulsion. And do not make difficulties for them in order to take [back] part of what you gave them unless they commit a clear immorality. And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them – perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good”. ( Qur’an 4:19).
  • If her husband hates her, Islam urges him to stick to her, and the Qur’an tells him: Perhaps you hate something and God makes it good for you.
  • Islam gave women the opportunity to hide her beauty from strangers, so that a man judges her based on her thoughts, culture, and convictions, not on her physical appearance.
  • Islam exempted her from involving into beauty contests that women suffer in the West, which leads to death, disfigurement and pain as a result of plastic surgeries. Islam encourged her instead to compete in intellectual contests.
  • Islam honors her, and protects her from being a commodity displayed semi-naked in advertisements. Westerns talking about women’s liberation or emancipation is actually a disguised form of exploitating her body, depriving her honor, and degrading her soul!
  • Islam gave her the right to marry a single or married man, while a man has the right to marry only single women in order to preserve the rights and lineage of children.
  • Islam exempted her from having the title ” a single mother” responsible for children abandoned by their father, who was in a relationship with their mother without controls or responsibility.
  • Islam protected her and honored her from being a humiliating mistress without rights, and gave her the opportunity to be a second or third wife with rights equal to the first.
  • Islam had mercy on her by exempting her from working in nightclubs, pubs, and brothels to earn money.
  • Islam gave a woman a completely independent personality. She can make any contract or bequest in her own name. She is entitled to inherit in her position as mother, wife, sister, and daughter.
  • Islam gave women perfect liberty to choose her husband, and she has the right to keep her family name after marriage.
  • Islam gave her the right to stipulate that her husband should not marry another woman during his marriage to her.
  • Who does not treat his wifs equally, God will judge him in a difficult way.
  • Islam has mercy on a woman, as she earns dowry, and forbids anyone to take anything from it without her consent.
  • If her husband writes her a dowry and does not give it to her, then he is considered a thief.
  • Her husband must provide her with someone to serve at home if he has financial means.
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  • If he divorces her, he does not have the right to take what he gave her back.
  • Islam gave her the right to demand separation from her husband if she could not stand her life with him. But she has in this case to give him the dowry back, so that he could marry another woman.
  • She has the right to remarry after her divorce or the death of her husband, but after a short specific period of time has passed to ensure that she is not pregnant from the previous husband.
  • Her husband is responsible for her food, clothing, drink, and needs. This right is denied to Western women, who must work to support themselves. Islam have given men more responsibility towards women in appreciation of her effort and fatigue during motherhood, and this is to provide comfort and the necessary fondness, so she wouldn’t need to work to secure these needs.
  • Islam gave her the right to work if she wants and to keep her own income. She is not obliged to spend her money on her house, even if her husband is poor. Yet a Western woman must share her monthly income with her husband, even if he is rich.
  • If they get seperated, her children stay with her, and he has to spend on them.
  • The woman is free with her money. If she gives charity to her husband, she will get two rewards. If she prevents him from taking the money, he has no right to rob her.
  • Islam requires the man as a head of the family to consult with his wife and then have the final say in decisions concerning it.
  • Islam exempted her from “jihad” , which is to defend and confront the aggressor, while the man is obligated to it.
  • Islam relieved her from the burden of attending Friday prayers and congregations (optional), while the man is obligated to do so.
  • The woman wears gold, while the man is forbidden from wearing it.
  • Islam relieved her from the burden of Pilgrimage if a relative didn’t accompany her to guard and serve her. But a man is obligated to perform Pilgrimage if he can find a way.
  • Islam has mercy on a woman, so whoever degrades her honor must be flogged with eighty lashes, and is considered notorious in the community. Also, his testimony is not accepted.
  • Islam gave her the right to testify alone in many cases related to lineage and breastfeeding, while the testimony of a man alone is never accepted under any circumstances.
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  • Islam has mercy on women by ordering another woman to testify with her in documenting transaction contracts. Because an unemployed woman ( who decided not to work) is not involved in financial matters and commercial transactions, hence she wouldn’t bear the responsibility alone.
  • Islam had mercy on the woman, so it exempted her from the testimony in blood and felonies incidents in appreciation of her weakness, and out of concern for her feelings when she sees accidents.
  • Islam had mercy on the woman, so he gave her inheritance from her husband, her brothers, her children, and her parents. Though she doesn’t bear any of the alimony, so she takes half because the man is the one who spends on her in only four cases. In thirty cases she inherits equally or twice as much, or she inherits while he does not inherit at all.
  • Islam has mercy on a woman and forbids her to marry without a guardian or witnesses, so that she will not be accused of her honor and lineage of her children.
  • If her husband deserted her for more than four months, she has the right to divorce.
  • If her husband hates her, Islam urges him to stick to her, and the Qur’an tells him: Perhaps you hate something and God makes it good for you.
  • If he deserts her with the intention of harming her, the judge forces him to treat her as a wife or to divorce her and provides her all her rights.
  • If he takes her inheritance, he has transgressed the limits of God. Whoever transgresses the limits of God is unjust to himself.
  • If he divorces her, he should not forget her favour.
  • If her husband attacks her without justification, he shall be punished in the same manner as he attacked her.
  • Her guardianship is a responsibility, and her obedience to him is like a self-defense for the sake of God.
  • If her husband commands her to do good, she obeys him, and if he commands her otherwise, there is no obedience to a created being in disobedience to the Creator.
  • Islam enjoins Muslims to show respect to their mothers and serve them well even if they are still unbelievers. The Prophet states emphatically that the rights of the mother are paramount.
  • Death while defending women is considered a martyrdom for the sake of God, as the messenger of God said: (He who is killed while defending his family is a martyr).
  • For her sake, the Prophet lunched a war against the tribe “Banu Qaynuqa”.
  • For her sake, the Calif “al-Mu’tasim” moved his army to the city of Amoriyah.
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The Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) said:

Women are the twin halves of men.

The Qur’an emphasizes the essential unity of men and women in a most beautiful example:

They (your wives) are your garment and you are a garment for them. ( Qur’an 2:187)

The Messenger of God said:

Among my followers, the best of men are those who are best to their wives, and the best of women are those who are best to their husbands. To each of such women are set down a reward equivalent to the reward of a thousand martyrs. Among my followers, again, the best of women are those who assist their husbands in their work, and love them dearly for everything, save what is a transgression of Allah’s laws.

Islam regards women as the spiritual and intellectual equals of men.

The main distinction was made between them is in the physical realm based on the equitable principle of fair division of labor.

It allots the more strenuous work to the man and makes him responsible for the maintenance of the family.

It allots the work of managing the home and the upbringing and training of children to the woman, work which has the greatest importance in the task of building a healthy and prosperous society.

Prophet Muhammad said:

Fear God regarding women. Verily you have married them with the trust of God, and made their bodies lawful with the word of God. You have got (rights) over them, and they have got (rights) over you in respect of their food and clothing according to your means.

Before the advent of Islam women were often treated worse than animals. The Prophet wanted to put a stop to all cruelties to women. He preached kindness towards them. He told the Muslims: 

Fear God in respect of women.

And: 

The best of you are they who behave best to their wives. 

And: 

A Muslim must not hate his wife, and if he is displeased with one bad quality in her, let him be pleased with one that is good. 

And:

The more civil and kind a Muslim is to his wife, the more perfect in faith he is.

This is the rights of women in Islam

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