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Women in Islam
Allah has created every living being in pairs, male and female (51:49).
In islam a woman has a distinct and separate identity. Islam has given her the right to own property. She is the owner of her earnings. She can dispose of her earnings and property as she wishes within the bounds of halal (lawful) and haram (unlawful). Islam has given women a right to inheritance. She has a claim on the property of her dead father, husband or childless brother.
A woman has a right to develop her talent and seek employment within limits of Islam.
Women have a very important place in Islamic Society. Unlike a number of other religions, Islam holds a woman in high esteem. Her importance as a mother and a wife has been clearly stated by Prophet Muhammed (SAW).
Some of the famous sayings of the Prophet (SAW) are:
Paradise lies at the feet of your mothers?
Once a person asked the prophet who deserves the best care from me? The prophet (SAW) said your mother (3 times), then your father and then your closest relatives.
He (SAW) also said "Fear Allah (SWT) 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; the more civil and kind a Muslim is to his wife, the more perfect in faith he is."
These sayings clearly prove the important position given to women in Islam but there are still people, especially in the West, who have misgivings about the status of women in Islam. To these people, the Muslim women is seen almost as a prisoner in the four walls of the house, a non-person and someone who has no rights and is living always under the domination of a man.
These nations are totally wrong and are based on ignorance rather then knowledge of Islam. One of the rites of Hajj is a fast walk between As-Safa and Al-Marwah, which is observed to remember the event of Hajar; mother of Prophet Ismail, who ran between these two Hills to find water. This is another proof of the importance given to two women by Islam.
Why are man and woman not Equal?
Allah (SWT) has made man and woman identical, so it would be against nature to try to have total equality between a man and a woman .
That would destroy the social balance. Society would not prosper but would instead have insoluble problems such as broken marriages, illegitimate children and the break up of family life. These problems are already in Western society. Schoolgirl pregnancies an increase in abortion, divorce and many other problems have copped up because of permissive outlook and the so called freedom of women.
Women in other religion and societies
In order to judge the false ideas held by Western people, it would be useful to look at the attitudes to women in different societies in the past. During the Roman Civilization, for example, a woman was regarded as a slave. The Greeks considered her a commodity to be bought and sold. Early Christianity regarded women as temptress, responsible for the fall of Adam. However, women according to the Qur'an is not blamed for Adams first mistake. Both were jointly wrong in their disobedience to food both repented and both were forgiven.
In India, the Hindus until recently considered their women worse then death, pests, serpents or even hell. A wifes life ended with the death of the husband. In the past, a widow had to jump into the flames of her husbands funeral pyre.
In the pre-Islamic state of Arabia, a women was regarded as a cause for grief and unhappiness and baby girls were sometimes buried alive after birth.
"And when the female (infant) buried alive ?is questioned for what crime she was killed" (Quran 81:8-9).
Among the sayings of prophet Muhammed (SAW) in this regard are:
"Whosoever has a daughter and he does not bury her alive, does not insult her, and does not favour his son over her, god will enter him into paradise"
"It is generous (in character) who is good to women and it is the wicked who insult them".
In France, 587 CE, a meeting was held to study the status of women and to determine whether a woman could truly be considered a human being or not. Henry VIII in England forbade the reading of the Bible by women and brought out the middle ages the Catholic Church treated women as second ?class citizens. In the Cambridge and Oxford uni, male and female students were not given the same right until 1964. Before 1850, women were not counted as citizens of England and they did not have any personal rights until 1882.
If we keep this picture in mind and look into the position of the women in Islam liberated women from the dark age of obscurity 14 hundred years ago.
Islam is a religion of common sense and is in line with human nature. It recognises the relatives of life. This does not mean it has recognised equality of man and woman in every respect. Rather, it has defined their duties in keeping with their different biological make up.
The family in Islam is a unit in which a man and woman unite to share life together according to the rules and regulations laid down by the Shariah.
A great deal thought is necessary therefore before the couple decide two marry piety should come before all other consideration.
Prophet (saaw) said: "Do not marry only for the sake of beauty, maybe the beauty becomes the cause of moral decline. Do not marry even for the sake of wealth; maybe the wealth becomes the reason of disobedience; marry rather on the grounds of religious devotion"
Is marriage obligatory
When a man marries, he has fulfilled half of his religion, so let him fear for the remaining half.
Marriage should not be put off or delayed if one has the means to do so.
Prophet (saaw) said: " Marriage my tradition who so ever keeps away there from it is not from amongst me"