Women in Islam
As with anything in life it is important to study and gain knowledge and not just blindly believe what is written and said through the media. The truth is in the Quran and sunnah and not from the negative propaganda we see and hear of these days. Remember more and more non Muslim women chose to embrace Islam, and they do not do it because they want to be oppressed, they find out the truth. Many read about Islam to find proof that Muslim women are second class citizens and they want to save the poor Muslimahs from oppression etc. but instead they find that Islam protects women and regard them as superior to men in many aspects, whereas in other religions they are often put down. These women many times end up embracing Islam alhamdulillah.
In Islam a woman is equal with man, they have different roles in life, but both are equal in the sight of Allah and both are as important as each other. Both are promised the same reward for good conduct and both are promised the same punishment for doing wrong.
A man came to Prophet Muhammad asking:
'O Messenger of Allah, who is the person who has the greatest right on me with regards to kindness and attention? The Prophet said, Your mother. The man said then who else: The Prophet said, Your mother. The man asked, Then who else? again the answer was Your mother. Only after being asked a fourth time did the Prophet say, Your father. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
A famous saying of The Prophet is "Paradise is at the feet of mothers." (In Al'Nisa'I, Ibn Majah, Ahmad).
The prophet is reported to have said "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 walks 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."
In the west women's liberation movement began in the 20's century, but in Islam women were liberated in the 7th century by Allah himself through the Quran at which time they also received the right to vote.. In Islam women are encouraged to contribute their opinions and ideas.
In Islam a woman chooses her own husband and marries of her own free will. As a wife the woman's role is to look after the needs and property of her husband. The maintaining of the home and bringing up of children are important roles of the woman also, as her nature is better suited for this than the husbands. The husband on the other hand carries all responsibilities within the marriage for providing for all necessities like food and clothes etc.; the guardian role, therefore it is said that the man has a degree above the woman. A woman can choose to work outside the home as long as the household duties are met. Having said that then it is also the duty of the husband to help wherever he is able regarding children and household duties. Children need the love, stability, security, guidance and discipline of both parents. If a woman chooses to work outside the home she is not obligated to contribute to the necessities, but can do so if she wishes.
When a Muslim woman gets married the husband must pay her a mahr, which is a gift and is required as part of the marriage contract. This mahr is for her own use. Further a woman can include any clause in the marriage contract she wishes, some include i.e. that the husband is not to take another wife while he is married to her without her consent.
She must try to do what her husband wishes as long as it is within the laws of Islam. The husband must treat her with respect, love and kindness.
Regarding polygamy, then it is allowed for a Muslim man to take up to a maximum of 4 wives, but this is only if he respects each wife according to the Islamic guidelines and treats all with love and kindness, taking into consideration the needs of each wife. If a man has more than one wife they are to be kept in separate accommodation, not in the same house. The Quran states:
'...marry women of your choice two or three or four; but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them) then only one ... (Quran 4:3)
Being a wife of a man who has more than one wife is something which some women are fine with but something others will not accept. Many men with more than one wife are very capable of being fair to their wives and being sensitive to their individual needs. It does require patience, sacrifices and understanding between the husband and wife, but if Islam allows a man to have more than one wife then the woman who accepts this is a degree above the women who doesn't, as we can't reject something which is halal.
This rule of polygamy came at a very ignorant time, a time where women were treated as property and women could be inherited from one man to the other. Men used to have many wives and consorts. Islam put a stop to this by limiting the number to a maximum of four.
Muslim women dress modestly and guard their beauty when in the company of men. this dress and attitude is called hijab, to read more details about hijab please click here. Women's beauty is only to be displayed to their husbands and to closest relatives whom she is not allowed to marry. This makes complete sense as we can see the evils of displaying women's beauty from seeing what is going on in society today with adultery, rapes, abuse and fornication.
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page updated 10/03/08