By Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam
10 October 2019
A common misconception is that Islam gives a higher status to men in comparison to women. This misconception is mostly made by the misunderstanding of the verse (4:34) in which God Almighty says, “Men are maintainers (qawwamun also translated as ‘caretakers’, ‘in charge of’) of women”. As a matter of fact, according to this Quranic verse, it does not mean that men have a distinctive status over women. This verse does not allow the form of discriminatory treatment. Instead it makes the men responsible for taking care of the women; which is good for women.
In the truest word, Islam endows both men and women with the rights of equity and fairness.
God Almighty says, “Certainly, I do not waste the wages of any labourer, whether man or woman; you all are from one another.” (3:195)
The phrase “you all are from another” means that the reward for obedience and good deeds is not differentiated between men and women. Both gain the equal blessings from God Almighty in return for their righteous deeds.
In another He Almighty says, “Whoever performs pious works, man or woman, provided he or she is a believer, We will surely let such a person live a life of purity, and will indeed reward them (as well) their wage of the righteous works which they used to do” (16:97)
God Almighty says;
“Surely, the submissive men and the submissive women, and the believing men and the believing women, and the obedient men and the obedient women, and the truthful men and the truthful women, and the steadfast men and the steadfast women, and the humble men and the humble women, and the men who give alms and the women who give alms, and the men who fast and the women who fast, and the men who guard their chastity and the women who guard their chastity, and the men who remember Allah abundantly and the women who remember Allah very much—Allah has prepared for all of them forgiveness and a mighty reward.” (33:35)
In this verse (above), God Almighty addresses the believers by using the words “believing men and women” and lays emphasis on equity between both genders with regard to virtues and merits. Both males and females are equal before God as regards to acts of worship and reward and thus equally require spiritual nourishment.
“Surely, the most honourable amongst you in the sight of Allah is he who fears Allah the most. Certainly, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” (49:13)
Rights To Education, Business and Choosing Spouse
Among the rights given to women are rights to good education, participation in business and job and choosing a spouse in order to lead a happy life, mutual respect and understanding.
The equal right to education can be seen in the hadith in which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon) is reported to have said, “Seeking knowledge is an obligation on every Muslim male and female.”
There were women from among the Prophet’s family who were scholars of their time. Prominent among them was Hazrat Aisha, the Prophet’s wife through whom, it is reported, a large number of Islamic rulings, especially those related to women issues, have been transmitted. Other females of that time were scholars of jurisprudence.
The first Muslim woman Hazrat Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) was a leading and successful Business woman in Arab and is one of the best inspirations in the lives of Muslim women.
Islam does not force a female to marry against her will. But she has right to choose husband on her will. Once a woman came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to complain that her father had married her to his nephew without first obtaining her consent. She said that her father wanted to enhance his reputation through the marriage. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) annulled the marriage. Later, the woman told the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him): "Now that I am free, I willingly consent to this marriage. I only wanted it to be known that men have no say over women in their marriages."
Women As Mothers in Islam
Women as mothers in Islam have been given special status, perhaps, greater than men, because of the duty the mothers do with regards to their children.
Allah says in the Qur’an: “And we have enjoined on man to be dutiful and kind to his Parents, His mother bears him with hardship and she brings him forth with hardship.” (46:15)
It is narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: A man came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said: “O Messenger of Allah, who is most deserving of my good company?” He said: “Your mother.” He said: “Then who?” He said: “Your mother.” He said: “Then who?” He said: “Your mother.” He said: “Then who?” He said: “Then your father.” (Al-Bukhaari (5971) and Muslim (2548))
Women As Daughters In Islam
It is because of the daughters that Islam designates a special reward for the men.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever Allah has given two daughters and is kind towards them; they will be a reason for him entering Paradise.”
It is mentioned in a hadith, “Whoever takes care of two girls until they reach adulthood, he and I will come like this on the Day of Resurrection,” and he held his fingers together. (Narrated by Muslim, 2631)
In another hadith, “Whoever has three daughters and is patient towards them, and feeds them, gives them to drink and clothes them from his riches, they will be a shield for him from the Fire on the Day of Resurrection.” (Saheeh Ibn Maajah)
Women As Wives In Islam
Women as spouses in Islam are very special in the sense that it is because of good treatment with the wife that the husband is known as the best. The following hadith encompasses this point;
The Prophet (peace be upon him) encouraged men to treat their spouses in the best way. One Hadith reads, “The best of you is the one who is best to his wife, and I am the best of you to my wives.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 3895; Ibn Maajah, 1977)
All these points clearly make us understand that Islam treats women with justice and fairness and that Islam does not give men a higher status in comparison to women.
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