By Umme Maryam
UMME MARYAM presents in brief certain facts culled from various sources to prove that Prophet Muhammad gave woman all the rights of a human being and raised her status in society.
How Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, Changed the World
“And We have sent you (O Muhammad) not but as a mercy for the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exists.” (Al-Qur’an – 21:107)
Humanity was trapped in the depth of darkness and superstition as people were living animal lives. This was the social condition in which came Allah’s mercy in the form of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him). He broke the chains and shackles that had enslaved humanity and removed the burden under which the humanity was being crushed. He brought in a revolution to free society from these chains and shackles with his wise sayings and practical deeds; and humanity was once again able to raise its head with pride.
History tells us that before the advent of the Holy Prophet, women were treated as chattel and slaves and in some tribes, newly-born girls were buried alive. Women were treated as inferior species that had no legal existence. In such a primitive world, what the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) achieved was remarkable. The very idea that a woman could act as a witness or could inherit anything at all in her own right was unthinkable.
We must remember that in Christian Europe, women had to wait until the 19th century before they had anything similar; even then, the law remained heavily favourable towards men. Western feminists have often denounced Islam with regards to the rights of women. They should perhaps look at the Christian traditions that are extremely negative to women.
If Muslim women today reject some of the so-called freedoms that the West offers them, it is not due to any obstinacy but because the Western view of women and relationship between sexes is confused. While preaching equality and liberation, Western society, at the same time, exploits and degrades women in advertising, shamelessness and popular entertainment in a way that Muslims find offensive.
Islam’s radical revolutionary support, gave women their due right and status in the days of ignorance… 1,400 years ago. Islam’s objective was and continues to be, to modernise our thinking, our living, our seeing, our hearing, our feeling and striving for the women’s upliftment and emancipation in the society. Islam believes in equality of men and women – ‘Equality’ does not mean ‘identicality’. In Islam, the role of a man and woman is complimentary, it is not conflicting. It is that of a partnership, it is not contradictory, so as to strive for supremacy.
A world famous orator has broadly divided the women’s right in six categories: Spiritual Rights, Economical Rights, Social Rights, Educational Rights, Legal Rights, and Political Rights.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) specifically by presenting the Qur’an and by Hadith proved the right to worship Allah granted by Him to women. In the Bible, pregnancy and child birth has been said to degrade the women and the labour pain is a sort of punishment. While the Blessed Prophet taught us the Quran in which pregnancy and child birth uplifts women.
Equal Moral Duties for Men and Women: Both men and women have been granted equal rights and responsibilities. The only criterion for judgment in the Sight of Allah is ‘Taqwa’, ‘God consciousness’ or ‘righteousness’. Rather the woman has been given certain concession in Islam.
If she is undergoing her menstrual period or pregnancy, she does not have to fast. She can keep those fasts later on, when she is healthier.
Economical Rights to the Women: Islam gave economical rights to women 1,300 years before the West. An adult Muslim woman can own, dispose of or disown any of her properties without consulting any one, irrespective of whether she is married or single.
Women on Job: A woman in Islam, if wishes to work, can work. There is no text in the Qur’an or any authentic Hadith which prevents or makes it prohibited for a woman to do any work, as long as it is not unlawful, as long as it is not within the purview of Islamic Shari’ah, as long as she maintains her Islamic dress code.
Financial Security for Women: A woman in Islam has been given more financial security, as compared to man.
Compulsory Marital Gift for a Woman: When she gets married, she does not have any financial liabilities.
Right to Inherit: Islam gave women the right to inherit, 14 centuries ago.
Social Rights of Women in Islam: Broadly it can be categorised into four sub-headings. Social rights given to a daughter, to a wife, to a mother and to a sister. Islam prohibits female infanticide. The killing of female children is forbidden in Islam. The Blessed Prophet loved all his daughters a lot and in many Hadiths has said that bringing up daughters correctly will earn a special place of nearness to him in the Paradise.
Social Rights to Wife: All the previous civilizations, they have considered women to be an ‘instrument of the devil’. The Blessed Prophet treated all his wives extremely well and showed us the same path. It is compulsory that man and woman both should agree to marry. No one - not even the father can force their daughter to marry against her wishes.
Social Rights to a Mother: The Blessed Prophet taught us to pay special love and attention to our mothers and in a Hadith he said that 75% of the love and respect goes to the mother and 25% of the love and respect goes to the father.
Educational Rights to a Woman: Imagine, 1400 years ago, when women were ill-treated and were only used as property, Islam asked women to be educated.
Legal Rights to a Woman: According to the Islamic law, men and women are equal. The Islamic Law protects the life and property of a man and woman both.
Political Rights of a Woman: During the time of Caliph Umar a famous incident took place when a common lady made him take back his decision, which shows that ladies can have a say in politics and law making.
Thus, we see that Allah sent His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) as mercy to women.
Source: Radiance Weekly