There’s been many a misconception about the real role of women in Islam. Many view Islam as a religion that oppresses and stifles girls but they could not be more wrong. Most non-Muslims that are completely oblivious and ignorant about the teachings and doctrines of Islam have a tendency to paint Islam with an oppressive brush. Unfortunately some of our Muslim brothers and sisters are also forced to think exactly the identical because of western ideology.
Primarily before going on to say the elevated and well defined role of women in Islam, an individual should be certain that you distinguish between tradition and Islam. Some Muslim nations or societies could be considered oppressive to women but if you have a closer look, it’s their traditions and culture instead of Islam that stifles and deprives women of their rights (more here). Islam on the other hand liberates women and provides them rightful standing in society unlike any race or faith.
In a time in Arabia, during the period of jahiliyah (ignorance) when female children were being buried alive and girls just deemed as a commodity which could be bought and sold, Islam came into abolish those ignorant and backward customs by elevating women to some well revered position in society and gave them their due and rights in society.
Allah SWT stated numerous times in the Quran about to function and rights of Muslim women and even dedicated an entire Surah to them (Surah An-Nisa). Clearly Allah doesn’t make any identifying about the importance of women and men, to Allah both women and men are equal as he said in the Quran “To whoever, male or female, does good deeds and has faith, We will give a fantastic life and reward them according to the best of their activities.” (16:97). A clear proof that in the eyes of Allah both men and women are equal.
Although Islam doesn’t show impartiality between men and girls it does however recognize which aren’t identical both emotionally and physiologically. Allah created man and woman with identifying attributes, none superior to another. A woman can give birth but a man can’t but that does not make a girl more exceptional or vice versa. Islam understands these differences and embraces it so both can play with their distinctive yet special functions to contribute to a healthful and balanced society.
The Prophet Mohammed SAW stated clearly that hunting Knowledge was obligatory upon each Muslim-male or female. Clearly debunking the misconception that Islam doesn’t encourage female education. Indeed among the best scholars of Islam was the wife of the Prophet SAW, Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her). Following the death of Prophet Mohammed SAW, people would travel from far and wide to come seek knowledge from her as she had been a well revered scholar. Really Islam has advocated for the recognition of female scholarship and contribution to academia throughout history. A excellent example of this is the al-Qarawiyin Mosque and University, the oldest running University and it was financed by a woman, Fatima al-Fihri, in Morocco at 859 C.E.
Islam provides high standing and reverence to motherhood and highlights Their significance in society. Allah SWT said in the Quran the hardships that women undergo during pregnancy and hence requests people to take care of their mothers with care, love and respect. The Prophet SAW was also heard saying that “Heaven lies under the feet of the mother.” And on another occasion a man repeatedly asked Muhammad (SAW), “Who amongst the people is the most worthy of my good companionship?” Every time, the Prophet (SAW) replied, “Your mother.” When the guy asked for the fourth time, he responded, “Your father.”
Really women were active in political and social activities since the arrival of Islam. They took part in the day to day activities of society and publicly voiced their opinions and their information had been sought. The nursed the wounded in conflicts and some even engaged on the battlefield. They also took part economic activities like trade and company to the extent that Umar (R.A.) that the next caliph appointed a won Shaffa bint Abdullah as the manager of the bazaar (market).
Before the arrival of Islam, women were not allowed to inherit and were rather viewed as property to be inherited. Islam abolished this injustice and gave women the right to inherit their deceased relative’s property and to also own land of their very own, this was revolutionary from the 7th century as no other race or faith gave women this right. Their share of the inheritance depends upon how closely related they are to the deceased relative and the amount of relatives.
Girls are under no obligation whatsoever to spend money on their fundamental necessities in Islam. If they’re married that burden falls on their spouse and if they’re single the weight falls on the nearest male relative (father, brother, uncle, cousin etc.).
Even if the girl has some source of making she’s not Obligated to share that money with anybody, it’s her money and she can do what she pleases with it (within the laws of Islam). She could nevertheless spend on her relatives if she desires from goodwill. A fantastic example is Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) that the first wife of the Prophet SAW, who was a wealthy business woman, she aided the Prophet SAW financially and also in the cause of Islam.
A woman has the right to choose whom she wants to get Married to and shouldn’t be pressured in any way to accept a marriage proposal she does not want. She also has the right to reject a marriage proposal at the same vain. She has the right to search to get a divorce if she’s dissatisfied with the union.
Marriage in Islam embodies love, respect and compassion as Allah SWT said in the Quran “And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you might find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy…” (Quran 30:21). Prophet Mohammed was the best for his wives and he ordered us to do the same by stating “The best of you are those who are best to their wives.”
Dignity and protection against injury
Islam is a religion that strongly prohibits any form of Violence and abuse and women are no exception. Islam is a faith that honors a woman and treats her with the utmost caution and respect.
In a generation were girls are just portrayed as icons of beauty and allure, Islam protects the modesty and integrity of women. Girls are ordered by Allah SWT to cover themselves in veil to guard their modesty and guard their chastity. Some view the veil as somewhat oppressive but the veil only liberates the girl from the prying eyes of men and highlights her character not her shape or figure.
The detractors of Islam want to make you believe that this is an oppressive religion that does not respect women’s right. But they could not be more wrong and dumb and Islam is really the comprehensive way of life and it a heavenly religion that’s not lacking in any way, let alone assessing women’s right.