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Islam and Human Rights ( 7 May 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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What Does Islam say about Women?


By Anna Saif

May 07, 2015

One of the most convincing things about Islam is the treatment of women in general and especially the high position in which it holds mothers. Among the clearest examples of Islam’s honoring of women is the great status it accords to mothers.

Islam commands kindness, respect and obedience to parents and specifically emphasizes and gives preference to mothers. The command to be good to one’s parents is in the Holy Qur’an. Allah says: “Worship God and join not any partners with Him; and be kind to your parents...” [Qur’an 4:36]

The mention of servitude to parents follows immediately after servitude to God. This is repeated throughout the Holy Qur’an. The great scholar, Abu Al-Faraj Ibn Al-Jawzî (d.1201CE) explained: “To be kind to one’s parents is: to obey them when they order you to do something, unless it is something which Allah has forbidden; to give priority to their orders over voluntary acts of worship; to abstain from that which they forbid you to do; to provide for them; to serve them; to approach them with gentle humility and mercy; not to raise your voice in front of them; nor to fix your glance on them; nor to call them by their names; and to be patient with them.” (Ibn Al-Jawzî, Birr Al-Wâlidayn)

The Holy Qur’an emphasizes the great struggles a mother goes through for her child, to highlight our need to reciprocate our parents sacrifice for us: “And We have enjoined on man [to be good] to his parents: in travail upon travail did his mother bear him and his weaning was over two years. Be thankful to Me and to your parents, unto Me is the final destination.”[Qur’an 31:14]

The renowned exegete, Sheikh Abdur-Rahman As-Sa’di (d. 1956), said about this verse: “{And to your parents} meaning, be kind to your parents, shower on them love, affection and piety, both in words and deeds, treat them with tender humility, provide for them and never harm them verbally nor physically. [...] Then, Allah mentions the reason why we should be kind to our parents, when He says  ‘in travail upon travail did his mother bear him’, that is, the mother bore constant suffering; in pain and hardship from the first moment she felt the child moving in her womb to the worst pangs during the time of delivery. So after all the years of suffering, hardship, love and care, could we not, at least, compensate our mothers for what they have done for us and pay them back their rights?”

The Holy Qur’an repeats its mention of the struggles of the mother in yet another passage: “And We have enjoined upon man, to his parents, good treatment. His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship, and his gestation and weaning [period] is thirty months. [He grows] until, when he reaches maturity and reaches [the age of] forty years, he says, “My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring. Indeed, I have repented to You, and indeed, I am of the Muslims.” [Qur’an 46:15]