STATUS OF WOMEN IN QURAN AND HADITH
Islam is the first religion in the world to offer a system for the protection and well being of women and their rights. This system is absolutely perfect. It offers them with dignity, respect, and equal status as men. In the Holy Qur’an, Allah Almighty instructs both men and women separately and collectively about their role, duties, and responsibilities both as man or woman. It provides a charter of rules and regulations to make sure that women are protected and respected in every possible scenario in the society and as a practicing Muslim. Strong Hadith and Quran, if studied in general manner, will provide with the rights and practices that were compulsory and prohibited for a Muslim women as given and instructed by Prophet Muhammad and the Almight Allah.
Islam confirms that both men and women are equal in the sight of God. In the Quran, God declares, “…Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you…”
Back in the 7th century, Muhammad (pbuh) declared that the pursuit of knowledge is obligatory on every Muslim be it male or female. One of the most influential scholars of Islam was Muhammad’s wife, Aisha. After his death, men and women would travel to learn from her because of her intellect. “Seeking knowledge is compulsory for each and every Muslim. The recognition of female scholarship and women’s participation in academia has always been encouraged.
In the Quran, God mentions all the sacrifices mothers make in bearing children to remind people to treat their mothers with love, respect, and care. Emphasizing the importance of mothers, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “Heaven lies under the feet of your mother.” Women participated in government, public affairs, lawmaking, scholarship, and teaching. They traded openly in the market place. Like men, they can buy, sell, and participate in any financial activity provided that she is not financially supported by her guardian. They traded openly in the marketplace
Islam permits polygamy, but also restricts the number of wives a man can have at a time. Islam instructs and commands a man to treat all his wives with justice and equality. If he ignores so, he will be sinner.
WIFE DISCIPLINING AND ADULTERY
Islam strongly condemns beating and abusing women. The Prophet (PBUH) always treated his wives with love, affection, and compassion as stated by Hazrat Ayesha. Both men and women enjoy equal respect in the society. If a woman is wrongly accused of adultery, the culprit will receive the same penalty as would be the case with him/her if a man was accused. Allah, the Exalted, states in the Qur’an “And those who accuse chaste women and then do not produce four witnesses – lash them with eighty lashes and do not accept from them testimony ever after. And those are the defiantly disobedient.”
GUARDIANSHIP IN MARRIAGE
In Islam, it is obligatory to obtain a woman’s approval and agreement in marriage. Also, a woman cannot marry without a guardian. A father, grandfather, brother, or even a mature son can be her guardian in order to protect and guard her rights.
SOCIAL AND MORAL RESPONSIBILITY
A woman is created to bear and raise children in the best possible way. She is also responsible for looking after the house and belongings of her husband when he is away to work.
The hudood (punishments) are the same for men and women; the female thief is punished the same as the male thief, the adulteress as same as the adulterer, the female wine-drinker is punished like the male wine-drinker, and the female who wages war on Allah and the Prophet is punished like the male who does so.
In qisas (retribution), the woman’s soul is equal to that of the man. The murderess is like the murderer and the murdered woman is like the murdered man. Qisas is exacted from a man if he kills a woman exactly and as equally as when he kills a man.
The woman has full financial status that is no less than that of the man. She has the right, in the same way that a man does, to possess all types of wealth whether it be in the form of assets, real estate or cash. She has the right to use her wealth in any manner she wishes to. So, she can buy, sell, trade, barter, provide grants and loans, incur loans, exchange assets etc. All these actions do not require the consent of any male whether this be her father, husband, or brother.
INHERITENCE RIGHTS OF WOMEN
In Islam, financial responsibilities are placed on the shoulders of men only. For this reason, Allah does justice with both men and women by giving them that much share in inheritance that would make it possible for both of them to fulfill their subsequent responsibilities. A woman gets fewer shares than a man only because she has no responsibility to look after the financial needs of the household.
For the slave girls, the Prophet of Allah (PBUH) said: “Whoever has a female child with him (under his guardianship from slavery), and trains her in the best behavior, and teaches her well, and then frees and marries her, will have a double reward.” A woman is permitted to free slaves and give gifts to someone other than her husband, unless she is mentally challenged
In Islam, divorce is allowed, but, in many ways, strongly discouraged. Divorce requires that a man divorce his wife only when she is not menstruating and he has not experienced sexual relationship with her within a month’s time. In this way, they can buy time to settle down issues.
It is obligatory for a woman in Islam to observe Hijab i.e. to cover and put veil. In order to protect and guard her integrity and dignity, Islam instructs the ladies to cover and hide their physical assets. Both men and women are instructed to lower their gazes and dress in a decent and modest fashion to guard their integrity and chastity.
Before the advent of Islam, condition of woman was very pathetic. They were not given their share in inheritance, both from parents and spouses. They were treated as material things. The protector of a woman conserves all the right to decide about their life. Men could marry as many women as they wanted to. There were no rules in this regard. They did not have the right to choose their husbands, so, her faith remains in the hands of her protector. Women were subjected to unimaginable atrocities. In certain cases, they could not even eat certain kinds of food items. In the pre Islamic society, the husband-wife relationship was more like a master-slave relationship. However, things changed. Islam becomes the first religion in the world to offer a system for the protection and well being of women and their rights. This system is absolutely perfect. It offers her dignity, respect, and equal status as men. In the Holy Qur’an, Allah Almighty instructs both men and women separately and collectively regarding their role, duties, and responsibilities both as men/women. It provides a charter of rules and regulations to make sure that women are protected and respected in every possible scenario in the society and as a practicing Muslim. They also provide guidelines using which will ensure the safeguard of the chastity and modesty of both the creations as this is important for the sustenance of the society. Islam has offered an extensive tradition of protecting the civil liberties of women based on the guidelines set forth by God and His Prophet. In 610 C.E., Muhammad (pbuh) called people towards the belief in one God and encouraged them to be just and merciful to one another. In reforming the pagan Arab society, he particularly transformed their mindset regarding the treatment of women. Islam played role in abolishing the practice of killing female children and raised the stature of women in society to one of dignity, esteem, and privilege.