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Islam and Women


Islam and Women

Alhamdulilah, this is a small presentation taken from the recently published booklet “For the Sincere” which was compiled for non-Muslims. I thought it would be beneficial for the brothers and sisters to read it and help them develop a strong and clear Hujjah i.e. argument when they discuss these matters with their non-Muslim relatives. Especially the sisters as they have a very hard time convincing their non-Muslim female relatives the benefits of covering and the fact that she is not oppressed in Islam. If there were any mistakes made therein then it was from me and the Shaytan and I seek Allah’s pardon and if there was any good in it then it was from Allah.
What does Islam say about women?

“Allah has given the Muslim woman a very unique and distinctive role which no other religion has given her. Rather Allah addresses the Muslim woman in the Qur’an as being unique and special with His statement:

يا نساء النبي لستن كأحد من النساء

“O wives of the Prophet, (and the rest of the believing women), you are not like any other women…” (Al Ahzab:32)

The woman in Islam is regarded as a precious jewel; rather Prophet Muhammad (May peace and blessings be upon him) described the Muslim woman as he was traveling with one of his companions, and some of his wives were in the caravan, he said:

رفق يا أنجشة! ويحك بالقوارير

“…O Anjashah be careful! Don’t break the fragile vessels”, (Sahih Al Bukhari)

This is due to the delicate manner in which Allah has commanded the Muslim man to deal with her. And because of this, Allah has allocated for both the husband and the wife certain rights and highly emphasized their fulfillment.

Thus the Muslim man and woman are equal in this respect but their rights differ as it relates to gender. As equality between the man and the woman in every aspect of the religion is neither perceivable nor logical, but they are equal in that they both have rights which are specific to them. Allah the All Mighty says in the Holy Qur’an:

ولهن مثل الذي عليهن بالمعروف وللرجال عليهن درجة والله العزيز الحكيم

“And women have rights over their husbands similar to the rights of their husbands over them based on what is reasonable but the men have a degree of responsibility over them, and Allah is All Mighty, All Wise”, (Al Baqrah: 228)

This degree which the man has over the woman is due to many reasons, and from the most exclusive of them, is the tremendous responsibility which Allah has entrusted him with and the definite accountability which he is subject to in the event of any negligence in regard to the rights which she has over him. Even the bible alludes to this fact, as in the story of Adam and Eve when they both ate from the forbidden tree, God (As they proclaim) did not address Eve nor did He reprimand her, rather his reproach and rebuke was directed solely towards Adam.

This was because the husband is responsible for his household and his accountability is more emphasized than the woman’s and not because she was exempt from blame, nor was she considered to be the initial perpetrator as the Christians believe. In fact this dogma of “the original sin” creates a very derogatory and depreciating outlook towards woman, but they were both equally sinful as the Qur’an emphatically clarifies. For Allah addressed both of them with His statement:

فدلاهما بغرور فلما ذاقا الشجرة بدت لهما سوءاتهما وطفقا يخصفان عليهما من ورق الجنة وناداهما ربهما ألم أنهاكم عن تلكما الشجرة وأقل لكما إن الشيطان لكما عدو مبين

“So he (i.e. the Shaytan) mislead them both (i.e. Adam and Eve) then when they both ate from the tree which was forbidden to them their shame became exposed and they began to cover themselves with the leaves of paradise. And their Lord called out to them saying: “Did I not forbid you both this tree? And did I not inform you that Shaytan is an open enemy to you?” (Al A’raf:22)

Allah says in the Holy Qur’an directing His address towards the Muslim men:

يأيها الذين ءامنوا قوا أنفسكم وأهليكم نارا

“O you who believe save yourselves and your families from a fire…”, (At Tahrim: 6)

Likewise the Muslim man is also responsible for the financial well-being of the woman, as Allah the Most High says in the Holy Qur’an:

الرجال قوامون على النساء بما فضل الله بعضهم على بعض وبما أنفقوا من أموالهم

“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women because Allah has made one of them to excel the other and because the men spend from their wealth to support their women…” (An Nisaa’a:34)

Islam has not prohibited the woman from working but it has legislated specific guidelines to safeguard and preserve her chastity, honor and integrity, all of which Islam greatly emphasizes. The woman in Islam is considered a vital organ of the community. She is the primary nurturer and educator of the household and the future of our children is dependent upon her.

Nevertheless, if the woman adheres to these guidelines then she is not to be prevented from seeking her provision and the wealth which she acquires from her occupation is a right which she is in total control of and her husband has no right to it except by her permission. While her husband on the other hand, his wealth belongs to her, her children and their maintenance, and he is regarded as a sinner due to any intentional negligence in this. Prophet Muhammad (May peace and blessing be upon him) said:

كفى بالمرء أن يضيع من يعول

“It is sufficient for a man to be regarded as a sinner that he neglects someone he is responsible for.” (Sunan Abu Dawud)

Islam has preserved the integrity and chastity of the woman by legislating the veil and the over garment which she uses to conceal her beauty from strangers. Those who, in the absence of this veil, consider the woman to be a piece of flesh that is to be hunted and devoured. The overwhelming percentage of sexual assaults and rapes around the world vividly substantiates this fact. However, this does not mean that the vast majority of sexual assaults and rapes that take place are solely due to the way that women dress, but it contributes to it. And because of this, Allah said:

يأيها النبي قل لأزواجك وبناتك ونساء المؤمنين يدنين عليهن من جلابيبهن ذلك أدنى أن يعرفن فلا يؤذين وكان الله غفورا رحيما

“O Prophet! Tell your wives, your daughters and the believing women to draw their veils over their bodies, this is better so that they will be acknowledged as respectable women and not to be insulted and Allah is Oft- Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Al Ahzab:59)

For example, in corporate America where people are generally supposed to be conservative and meet a conventional dress code, you find that many women come to work with skirts above their knees not to mention the fact that it may even be skin tight and expect a man who is bombarded with visions of naked women whether on the television, billboards even on liquor bottles and cigarette cartons, to respect her chastity and integrity?

Although Islam has legislated the veil, it has also taken into consideration the gradual process of change which is inevitable with every human being and differs from one individual to the next. As most women who hear about Islam may incline towards the general and unique precepts of the religion but they reject the fact of accepting Islam as their way of life solely based on the mere aspect of covering.

Islam acknowledges the process of change and does not regard a woman who does not cover to be a non-Muslim, as the major affairs of the religion are to be embarked upon in stages as Allah says:

إن ربكم الله الذي خلق السماوات والأرض في ستة أيام ثم استوى على العرش

“Indeed your Lord is Allah, who created the heavens and the earth in six days, and then He rose above the throne (in a manner befitting His majesty)…” (Al A’raf)

The scalars of Tafseer explain that Allah has the power and capability to create the heavens and the earth and everything that is in it and that which is greater than it in one word! “Be an it is “ but from His infinite wisdom He created them in this manner to teach His creation that matters of great importance should be carried out in stages!

However Allah has command the woman to conceal her beauty and adornment from the eyes of strangers. We ask the question, when you love something don’t you make sacrifices for it? For example you would not wear a work uniform as a part of your normal attire right? Rather you humble yourself to wear it only because you have to work to provide for yourself and your children but otherwise you would never wear it.

This is called sacrifice, so if a woman truly believes in the Creator, Allah, and seeks to please Him and attain what He has prepared for her of felicity in this life and the hereafter, then she will make whatever necessary sacrifices and changes she has to, as this is more important! So just as you would not reject a particular job due to the uniform you may have to wear, then likewise, don’t reject the truth of Islam due to the honorable and principled uniform that has been legislated to safeguard and preserve your honor and integrity.

Authored by : Shadeed Muhammad, Abu Az-Zubayr
Date Published: Friday, 13 April 2007
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The author of these notes affirms the accuracy of his notes in accordance with the Noble Qur.aan and the Authentic Sunnah. Should you have any comment(s) and/or correction(s) to suggest, please write to us at:

…and your email will be passed on to him, inshaa.-Allaah.

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