The Ideal Status of Women in Islam
There are three questions that Muslims and non-Muslims always ask. What is the real status of women in Islam? Are they treated fairly? Are Muslim women oppressed?
If we look at the Qur’an and the sunnah, and we read the story of Islam, Prophet Muhammad -peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- and his companions; we can say, 'yes!' Islam honors women, cherish them and gives them a high level, not only inside family boundaries, but also in the society. Allah prescribed for women and men, the same rights and duties. The Prophet -saaws- used to advice his companions and the first Muslims to be good to their wives and families to attain the mercy and forgiveness of Allah.
We can quote some hadith and Qur’anic verses in this regard.....
"And among his signs is this: that he created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest and peace of mind in them, and he ordained between you love and mercy. Certainly, herein indeed are signs for people who reflect." [Qur’an 30:21]
"And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women." [Holy Qur’an 2:228]
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
"The most perfect in faith amongst believers is he who is best in manners and kindest to his wife." [Hadith reported by: Abu Dawud]
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Paradise is at the feet of mothers." once a man came to him and asked, "O, messenger of Allah, who among mankind is worthy of my kindness and love?" the Prophet –pbuh- answered, "your mother." "Who is next?" "Your mother is." "Who is next?" "Your mother is." Only after the third time he said, "and your father."
Now, we are sure that Islam itself, namely: Qur’an and authentic sunnah, tend to treat women in the best way, giving them all the rights concerning property, heritage, care and respect.
This is what it should be, what Allah and His Prophet -peace and blessings be upon him- instructed us to do.
But, what is the reality nowadays? Is Muslim society following Qur’an and Sunnah?
Are our fellow Muslim men treating their women the way they should?
"O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should you treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the dowry you have given them - except when they have become guilty of open lewdness. On the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to them, it may be that you dislike something in which Allah will bring about through it a great deal of good." [Qur’an 4:19]
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) reaffirming what the Qur’an states, said, "I command you to be kind to women." In one of his last commands in his farewell pilgrimage before his death, he kept repeating, "I command you to be kind and considerate to women." In another hadith, he said, "it is only the generous in character who is good to women, and only the evil one who insults them."
We need to raise awareness; we need to advice and help each other, to be better Muslims, so we can be a better ummah (Muslim community or nation). Promote kindness, mercy and respect between each other and what is most important, we must strive to attain piety and fear Allah in all what we do and say.
Women should not be mistreated as a result of the misunderstanding of the Qur’an and sunnah, however, women should fear Allah and strive to keep away from fitnah/ corruption and licentiousness, dressing and acting according the rules prescribed by Allah and His Messenger, prophet Muhammad –peace and blessings be upon him-
Once Mu'awiyah – ra- asked the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), "what are the rights that a wife has over her husband?" the Prophet replied, "feed her when you take your food, give her clothes to wear when you wear clothes, refrain from giving her a slap on the face or abusing her, and do not separate from your wife, except within the house."
Once, a woman came to the Prophet with a complaint against her husband. He told her: "there is no woman who removes something to replace it in its proper place, with a view to tidying her husband's house, but that Allah sets it down as a virtue for her. Nor is there a man who walk with his wife hand-in-hand, but that Allah sets it down as a virtue for him; and if he puts his arm round her shoulder in love, his virtue is increased tenfold."
Once he was heard praising the women of the tribe of Quraish, "...because they are the kindest to their children while they are infants and because they keep a careful watch over the belongings of their husbands."
Every individual is for the society like a grain of sand in a sand-clock, every grain may not seem important, but all together they move the clock. Together, we can change our community, and we may also make a better world.
Author: Amal, Patricia Schiavone