Thursday, 16 June 2011

WOMEN'S LIBERATION THROUGH ISLAM

WOMEN'S LIBERATION THROUGH ISLAM

Published by: The Institute of Islamic Information and education

Today people think that women are liberated in the west and that
the woman’s liberation movement began in the 20 th century.
Actually, the women’s liberation movement was not begun by
women but women but was revealed buy god to a man in the seventh
century by the name of Muhammad (peace be upon him) who is known
as the last prophet of Islam. The Qur’an and the traditions
of the prophet (Hadith or Sunnah) are the sources from which every
Muslim women derives her rights and duties.

I. HUMAN RIGHTS:

Islam, fourteen centuries ago, made women equally accountable
to God in glorifying and worshipping Him setting no limits on her
moral Progress.

Also, Islam established a woman’s equality in her humanity
with men, in the Qur’an in the first verse of the chapter
entitled "women" God says

"O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord who created you
from a single soul and from it its mate and from them both have
spread broad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your duty
toward Allah in whom you claim (your rights) of one another and
towards the wombs (that bore you) LO! Allah has been a watcher over
you"(4:1)

Since men and women both come from the same essence, they are
equal in their humanity. Women cannot be by nature evil (as some
religions believe) or them men would be evil, also. Similarly, neither
gender can be superior because it would be a contradiction of equality.

II. CIVIL RIGHTS:

In Islam, a woman has the basic freedoms of choice and expression
based on recognition of her individual personality. First, she is
free to choose her religion. The Qur’an states;

"there is no compulsion in religion. Right has been made
distinct from error". (2:256)

Women are encouraged in Islam to contribute their opinions and
ideas, There are many traditions of the Prophet (p) which indicate
women would pose questions directly to him and offer their opinions
concerning religion, economics and social matters.

A Muslim woman chooses her husband and to keep her name after
marriage. A Muslim woman's testimony is valid in legal disputes.
In fact, where women are more familiar, their evidence is conclusive.

III. SOCIAL RIGHTS:

The Prophet (s) said, "seeking knowledge is a mandate for every
Muslim (male and female )’’. This includes knowledge
of the Qur’an and the Hadith as well as other knowledge. Men
and women both have the capacity for learning and understanding.
Since it is also their obligation to promote good behavior and condemn
bad behavior in all spheres of life Muslim women must acquire the
oppropriate education to perform this duty in accordance with their
own natural talents and interests.

While maintenance of a home, providing support to her husband
and bearing, raising and teaching of children are among the first
and very highly regarded roles for a women, if she has the skills
to work outside the home for the good of the community, she may
do so as long as her family obligations are met.

Islam recognizes and fosters the natural differences between men
and women despite their equality. Some types of work are more suitable
for men and other types for women. This in no way diminishes either’s
effort nor its benefit. God will reward both sexes equally for the
value of their work though it may not necessarily be the same activity.

Concerning motherhood the prophet [pbuh] said, "Heaven lies under
the feet of mothers" this implies that the success of a society
can be traced to the mothers that raised it. The first and greatest
influence on a person comes from the sense of security affection
and training received from the mother therefore a woman having children
must be educated and conscientious in order to be a skillful parent.

IV. POLITICAL RIGHTS:

A right given to Muslim women by God 1400 years ago is the right
to vote. On any public matter, a woman may voice her opinion and
participate in politics. One example narrated in the Qur’an
(60:12) MUHAMMAD [Pbuh] is told that when the believing women come
to him and swear their allegiance to Islam he must accept their
oath. This established the right of women to select their leader
and publicly declare so. Finally Islam does not forbid a woman from
holding important positions in government. Abdurrahman Ibn Auf consulted
many women before he recommended Uthman Ibn Affan to be the caliph.

V. ECONOMIC RIGHTS:

The Qur’an states: "by the creation of the male
and female: Verily [the ends] ye strive for are diverse"(92:3-4)

In these verses, God declares that he created men and women to
be different, with unique roles, functions and skills. As in society,
where there is a division of labor so too in a family, each member
has different responsibilities. Generally, Islam upholds that woman
are entrusted with the nurturing role, and men, with the guardian
role. Therefore woman are given the right of financial support.

The Qur‘an states: "Men are the maintainers of woman
because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because
they spend of their wealth (for the support of woman" (4:34)

This guardianship and greater financial responsibility is given
to men requires that they provide women with not only monetary support
but also physical protection and kind and respectful treatment.

Muslim woman have the privilege to earn money, the right to own
property, to enter into legal contracts and to manage all of her
assets in any way she pleases. She can run her own business and
no one has any claim on her earnings including her husband. The
Quran states: "and in no wise covet those things in which
Allah hath bestowed his gifts more freely on some of you than on
others: to men is allotted what they earn and to woman what they
earn: but ask Allah of his bounty for Allah hath full knowledge
of all things." (4:32)

A woman inherits from her relatives .The Quran states: "For
men there is a share in what parents and relatives leave and for
women there is a share of what parents and relatives leave whether
it be little or much an ordained share." (4:7)



VI. RIGHTS OF A WIFE:

THE Qur’an states: " And among His signs is that
he created for you mates from among yourselves that you may live
in tranquility with them and he has put love and mercy between you;
Verily, in that are sings for people who reflect". (30:21)



Marriage is therefore not just a physical or emotional necessity
but in fact a sign from God! It is a relationship of mutual rights
and obligations based on divine guidance God created men and women
with complimentary natures and in the Qur’an, He laid out
a system of laws to support harmonious interaction between the sexes
"they are your garments and you are their garments." (2:187)

Clothing provides physical protection and covers the beauty and
faults of the body. Likewise, spouse is viewed this way. Each protects
the other and hides the faults and compliments the characteristics
of the spouse.

To foster the love and security that comes with you and security
that comes with marriage, Muslim wives have various rights. The
first of the wife's rights is to receive mahr, a gift from the husband
which is part of the marriage contract and required for the legality
of the marriage.

The second right of a wife is maintenance. Despite any wealth
she may have, her husband is obligated to provide her with food,
shelter and clothing. He is not forced, however, to spend beyond
his capability and his wife is not entitled to make unreasonable
demands. The Qur’an states: "Let the man of means
spend according to his means and the man whose resources are restricted,
let him spend according to what Allah has given him. Allah puts.
No burden on any person beyond what he has given him."(65:7)

God tells us men are guardians over women and are afforded the
leadership in the family. His responsibility for obeying God extends
to guiding his family to obey God at all times.

A wife's rights also extend beyond material needs. She has the
right to kind treatment. The Prophet (pbuh) said. Go"The most
perfect believers are the best in conduct. And the best of you are
those who are best to their wives." God tells us He created
mates and put love, mercy and tranquility between them.

Both men and women have a need for companionship and sexual needs
and marriage is designed to fulfill those needs. For one spouse
to deny this satisfaction to the other, temptation exists to seek
it elsewhere.

VII. DUTIES OF A WIFE:

With rights come responsibilities. Therefore, wives have certain
obligations to their husbands, The Qur'an states: "The
good women in the absence of their husbands guard their rights as
Allah has enjoined upon them to be guarded." (4:34)

A wife is to keep her husband's secrets and protect their marital
privacy. Issues of intimacy of faults of his that would dishonor
him, are not to be shared by the wife, just as he is expected to
guard her honor.

A wife must also guard her husband's property. She must safeguard
his home and possessions, to the best of her ability, from theft
or damage. She should manage the household affairs wisely so as
to prevent loss or waste. She should not allow anyone to enter the
house that her husband dislikes nor incur any expenses of which
her husband disapproves.

A Muslim woman must cooperate and coordinate with her husband.
There cannot however, be cooperation with a man who is disobedient
to God. She should not fulfill his requests if he wants her to do
something unlawful. A husband also should not take advantage of
his wife, but be considerate of her needs and happiness.

VIII. CONCLUSION:

The Qur'an states: "And it becomes not a believing man
or a believing woman, when Allah and His messenger (Muhammad) have
decided on an affair (for them). That they should (after that) claim
any say in their affair; and whose is rebellious to Allah and His
messenger, he verily goes astray in error manifest," (33:36)

The Muslim woman was given a role duties and rights 1400 years
ago that most women do not enjoy today even in the west. These are
from God and are designed to keep balance in society; what may seem
unjust or missing in one place is compensated for or explained in
another place. Islam is a complete way of life.

 

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