Many scholars have criticized Islam for being harsh on women and depriving them of basic rights over the years, supporting the misogynistic perspective prevalent in the Middle East today. Has that been shown to be right? Is Islam so strict on women that it does not advocate for their rights?
IQRA Online may have the right answer for you. Keep reading to learn more.
Women Status in Islam
Given that the pagan Arabs used to bury their female children alive, make women dance naked in the area of the Kaaba at their yearly fairs, and regard women as simple possessions and objects of sexual pleasure with no rights or position, Islam came to permanently alter the status of women.
Gender Equality in Islam
In Islam, a woman is a self-sufficient individual. She has the authority to create any contract or bequest in her own name. She has the right to inherit her roles as a mother, a wife, a sister, and a daughter. She is completely free to pick her husband. Unlike the pre-Islamic Arabian pagan culture that had an illogical aversion towards its female children, whom they used to bury alive.
Unlike other religions, which consider women to have inherent vice and wickedness and males to have inherent virtue and majesty, Islam considers men and women to be of the same essence, formed from a single soul.
“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer.”
Important to note that the previous ayah is taken from Surah An-Nisaa which translates to ‘women’s chapter,’ highlighting how Quran cared to include a chapter named after women, talking about their rights and status in Islam.
Women are spiritual and intellectual equals to males, according to Shari’ah. The primary contrast it draws between them is in the physical sphere, which is founded on the equitable concept of fair distribution of work.
The Quran also emphasizes the unity and equality between a man and his wife.
“They are a garment (i.e. vestment, mutual protection) for you, and you are a garment for them.”
Wives in Islam
Islam ordered the women to obey Allah SWT and follow the right path of Him. Not only that, but they should also guide men (their husbands) to the path of Allah SWT and prevent them from doing otherwise. Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) once said:
“The world and all things in the world are precious but the most precious thing in the world is a virtuous woman. He once told the future khalif, ‘Umar: “Shall I not inform you about the best treasure a man can hoard? It is a virtuous wife who pleases him whenever he looks towards her, and who guards herself when he is absent from her.”
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was Allah’s messenger who was responsible for teaching Islam via his acts as well as his words. He valued his wives and set a good example for men to follow in how they treat their spouses.
He never regarded one of his women as a servant or an object of pleasure; instead, he shared responsibilities for housework and sought their opinion on many issues. He left messages for all Muslim males to follow:
“Fear Allah in respect of women.”
“The best of you are those who behave best to their wives.”
“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.”
“The more civil and kind a Muslim is to his wife, the more perfect in faith he is.”
Islam And Working Women
From day one, Islam didn’t prevent women from working jobs and didn’t even make it obligatory to stay at home to serve the family. Prophet Muhammad’s wife Khadija (May Allah Be Pleased With Her) was a popular merchant before and after Islam was revealed.
Women also worked as Islamic teachers in the early days. The wives and daughters of Prophet Muhammad were the first to convey his words and make efforts to clarify Islamic teachings to other women.
Women education in Islam
The Quran urges all Muslims, regardless of biological gender, to put out effort in the quest for knowledge as it continually encourages Muslims to study, ponder, meditate, and learn from Allah’s signs in nature.
“And those who strive in Our (cause), – We will certainly guide them to our Paths: For verily Allah is with those who do right”
(Surah Al Ankabut)
Furthermore, Prophet Muhammad’s (sunnah) stated or performed examples both support for the equal rights of men and women to pursue knowledge. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
“Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave”
Prophet Muhammad’s interest in female education was evident in the fact that he used to teach both men and women. Prophet Muhammad’s teachings were greatly sought after by both genders.
Early women in Islam used to learn how to memorize Quran and Quran Tajweed rules in order to perfectly recite the Quran and use it in their lives as Muslims and mothers. Furthermore, it was stated that there were many female Islamic scholars at the time of Muhammad’s death.
Rules For Women In Islam
Because of Islamic rules regarding women, some people spread the idea of how Islam is being so strict on women. Every religion has its rules and regulations that its followers must adhere to, and in comparison to women’s rights in Islam, women’s rules are not intended to oppress them at all.
As a matter of fact, all haram (forbidden) things in Islam are forbidden for both men and women. However, there are some gender-related rules, but it’s not for women only either. For example, wearing silk and gold is haram for men, but permissible for women. On the other hand, wearing shorts in public is forbidden for women and permissible for men, and so on.
These rules have a purpose that Allah SWT intended and ordered us to comply with. This doesn’t mean that Islam is exclusively strict on women or treats them as objects to be covered and hidden.
Here are some rules that Islam made for women:
- A woman can only have a relationship (marriage) with one man.
- Muslim women can’t marry a non-Muslim man.
- A Muslim woman is expected to obey her husband as long as he does not compel her to do something prohibited by Islam.
- A woman must conceal her beauty from men other than her husband or her close relatives.
- A woman must wear a Hijab that hides all her body parts except for her face and hands. The hijab must be modest and not tight-fitting or see-through.
- Muslim women are not permitted to have any physical interaction with a man that’s not her husband or a member of her family.
- Perfumes, cosmetics, jewelry, and particularly beautiful attire shouldn’t be worn in public not to attract males’ gaze.
- During menstruation, Muslim women are not permitted to pray (salah), read the Quran, do umrah/hajj, fast, or engage in sexual intercourse.
Islamic Clothing For Women
Islamic clothing for women might be the biggest reason why western scholars think of Islam as oppressing women. Because women are required to cover their bodies and wear baggy clothes, people think that Islam treats them as objects and oppresses their nature to wear whatever they please.
However, even with the Islamic dress code for women, women are free to wear whatever they like as long as it’s covering, not tight, and not see-through.
Modesty rules can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Although there is no Quranic verse demanding this extreme, some Muslim women wear full-body coverings that only reveal their eyes. Some people conceal their entire body except for their face and hands. Some people feel that simply their hair or cleavage must be covered, while others do not follow any specific dress codes.
What Is The Punishment For Touching A Woman In Islam?
It is haram for a male to hug or touch a non-mahram woman out of desire and with the aim of enjoying sexual pleasure, although there is no penalty for it. An Islamic monarch, on the other hand, has the authority to punish people who have done such haram conduct by putting them into jail.
Can A Woman Ask For A Divorce In Islam?
Yes, a woman can ask for a divorce in Islam. Women can also initiate divorce through the procedure of khul’, which is a type of no-fault divorce mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah where the husband’s permission is not necessary.
Can A Woman Teach Quran?
Yes, a woman can teach Quran as long as she has Ijazah. Visit IQRA Online’s website to know how to get Ijazah in Tajweed and learn al Quran online through male and female professional tutors.