I have received many comments regarding my previous blog Men and Women in two different Muslim Communities, some of them regarding clarification on the subject of women in Islam with respect to Islamic Law and Islamic values. This goal of this entry is to hopefully clarify any issues, questions, or misconceptions one might have on how Islam sees women.
Islam treats woman in a respectful way, acknowledging their importance in this world, as is evidenced by Islamic Law. Islam honors women as mothers, sisters, aunts, daughters, and wives. Islam recognizes women as not only part of the community, but as the foundation of any generation.
In Islamic Law, both genders are held to equal status and worth, neither gender given preference over the other. Muslims believe that heaven is at the feet of your mother, in other words, the best way to ensure going to heaven, is to obey one’s mother. Islam says, obedience to one’s mother is like obedience to obedience God. Denying your mother’s orders, disrespecting her, or making her angry is considered a sin. For example, God says in the Quran, “We have enjoined on man to be dutiful and kind to his parents.” In addition, a mother’s rights are considered above and more important than a father’s rights, because a mother has the duty of caring for the children. A man once came to Prophet Muhammad and said, “O Messenger of Allah, who is most deserving of my good company?”. To which the Prophet responded, “Your mother.” The man then asked, “Then who?” And the Prophet responded, “Your mother.” The man asked again, “Then who?” To which the Prophet responded again, “Your mother.” The man asked yet again, “Then who?” To which the Prophet finally responded, “Then your father.” This little story is to illustrate that Islamic Law has deeply rooted principles that encourage and motivate Muslims to treat mothers with the utmost respect and devotion.
According to Islamic Law, a father’s responsibility is to raise and educate his daughters. Fathers have full responsibility for his daughters. For example, it is the father’s responsibility to choose a good name for his daughter, exemplifying the close bond Islam cultivates between fathers and daughters. Contrary to popular belief a father does not have “full control” over his daughter- he cannot prevent his daughter from getting married unless this man is justifiably deemed not good for her. For example, a father can prevent his daughter from marrying if the man she is to marry is addicted to drugs, a womanizer, or known to be abusive. Also contrary to popular belief, if a man’s daughter gets divorced; her father is responsible for taking care of her emotionally and financially, if she needs it as it is dictated by most of the divorce lawyer firms.
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These situations I have just mentioned show how Islam puts in place rights to protect and care for women, and exemplifies how Islamic Law takes care of a woman from childhood until marriage and beyond, in fact, they give women the opportunity of getting child support if the father does not take responsibility, in most of the cases they are provided with a Child Support Lawyer.
In addition, Islam treats every Muslim as an individual, not male or female. This individualism gives women full right to conduct business and own property independently of men, or any male affiliation. Also, marriage does not affect a woman’s legal status such as her money, property, and her name- she is not forced to take her husband’s last name, or forfeit control of her assets or estate to her partner. While this is very much contrary to what most Westerners have learned from the media, these laws are clearly stated in Islamic Law. Like I stated earlier, Islamic law respects women, and acknowledges them as equal to men on every level. For example, women have the right to express themselves whichever way they deem necessary or fit, as well as the right to manage their own money without being subject to any male influence.
Islamic Law forbids anyone from touching a woman’s wealth without her permission. Moreover, women have the right to be educated, just like they do in Western culture. So far all of the Islamic women’s rights I have listed are exactly the same rights that women have in Western society; however this next one is a little more unique to Muslim culture: a woman has the right to continue living in her family’s home until she gets married, and no one has the right to kick her out. She is also entitled to “room and board”, essentially meaning that she is not forced to pay for her living expenses until she moves out. These rights demonstrate Islam’s absolute respect for women.
Social life is considered one of the most important doctrines in Islam. Societal interaction is how people communicate and live with each other. While God divided people into males and females, this creation serves many purposes; one of those being to build generations over the years. Men and women could not do that without any social interaction. Like almost all other religions, in Islam men and women get married in order to begin building a new generation, and as a result, marriage is mainly looked at as an agreement between a man and a woman. Such an agreement is in the form of a written contract, the terms to which both parties must agree to. While the ceremonies and festivities of marriage are important, Islam puts more emphasis on the marriage contract- it is a sobering legal procession, and not to be taken lightly, just like marriage itself. This contract usually includes a dowry from the groom to the bride. Once the contract is signed, this dowry belongs to the wife, and never be taken by anyone, even upon divorce. In addition, this contract states the husband agrees to take responsibility, both financially and socially, for his wife.
A Muslim husband is to treat his wife in a respectful and kind manner. Islam addresses that the best Muslim men, are the ones who treat their wife in the best way possible. Furthermore, in Islamic Law men are forbidden to touch their wife’s money without her consent. The Prophet stated, “I urge you to treat women well,” and, “The best of you is the one who is best to his wife, and I am the best of you to my wives.”
Islam has been through many ages, stood the test of time, and cultural differences, yet the basic principles have not changed. However, it is important to note, that even in these modern times there are many Muslim countries that do not follow Islamic Law in all sense of the values engrained within it, including some women’s rights. Despite these countries that have soiled the Muslim reputation in the West, it is paramount to remember that for every ignorant Muslim, there are many more Muslims out there who apply these values I’ve discussed to their everyday lives, and stick to Islamic principles the best they can. At the very least, I hope you take away the following: In Islamic Law, women are given the highest status, and negligence of women’s rights among some Muslims should not reflect on Islamic Law itself. At the end of the day, every person is responsible for their own actions, and ignorance to the true foundations of Islamic Law is a choice.
Posted By Mohammed Alshubrumi
Posted Jul 19th, 2013