بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the Name of Allah The most Gracious The Most Merciful
33:35 Verily, the Muslims (those who submit to Allah in Islam) men and women, the believers men and women (who believe in Islamic Monotheism), the men and the women who areobedient (to Allah), the men and women who are truthful (in their speech and deeds), the men and the women who are patient (in performing all the duties which Allah has ordered and in abstaining from all that Allah has forbidden), the men and the women who are humble (before their Lord – Allah), the men and the women who give Sadaqat (i.e. Zakat, andalms), the men and the women who observe Saum (fast) (the obligatory fasting during the month of Ramadan, and the optional Nawafil fasting), the men and the women who guard their chastity (from illegal sexual acts) and the men and the women who remember Allah much with their hearts and tongues Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward (i.e. Paradise).
The Message of Islam has come for both men and women. Both have been created to worship Allah az wajal alone, both have a duty to fulfill and are going to be responsible for their deeds they will be judged by Allah az wajal and will either be rewarded or punished according to their individual actions. As Allah az wajal has said:
4:124 And whoever does righteous good deeds, male or female, and is a (true) believer [in the Oneness of Allah (Muslim)], such will enter Paradise and not the least injustice, even to the size of a speck on the back of a date-stone, will be done to them.
Misconceptions about the role of women:
Most people think that women have got a bad deal in Islam because they have to cover themselves, they say women do not have an identity. They are treated as mere chattels, imprisoned in their homes mistreated by their husbands or male members of the family. There are lots of misconceptions like they are forced into marriage and their choice is not considered, they are not allowed to work outside their home, they are married off when they are little girls, they are used as a commodity, they are illiterate, and not more than slaves, they have smaller share of inheritance and lastly she cannot be a ruler.
16:97 Whoever works righteousness – whether male or female – while he (or she) is a true believer (of Islamic Monotheism) verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter).
The laws in Islam are misconstrued and misinterpreted but the truth is something else entirely. If Muslim men do not adhere to the Islamic principles one cannot blame Islam for that. Let’s first see the state of women before the advent of Islam. What was it like in pre Islamic Arabia. How the Arabian Peninsula came out from the darkness of ignorance into the Light of Islam.
The Arabian Society presented a social medley, with different and heterogeneous social strata. The status of the woman among the nobility recorded an advanced degree of esteem. The woman enjoyed a considerable portion of free will, and her decision would most often be enforced. She was so highly cherished that blood would be easily shed in defence of her honour. In fact, she was the most decisive key to bloody fight or friendly peace. These privileges notwithstanding, the family system in Arabia was wholly patriarchal. The marriage contract rested completely in the hands of the woman’s legal guardian whose words with regard to her marital status could never be questioned.
‘Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported four kinds of marriage in pre-Islamic Arabia: The first was similar to present-day marriage procedures, in which case a man gives his daughter in marriage to another man after a dowry has been agreed on. In the second, the husband would send his wife – after the menstruation period – to cohabit with another man in order to conceive. After conception her husband would, if he desired, have a sexual intercourse with her. A third kind was that a group of less than ten men would have sexual intercourse with a woman. If she conceived and gave birth to a child, she would send for these men, and nobody could abstain. They would come together to her house. She would say: ‘You know what you have done. I have given birth to a child and it is your child’ (pointing to one of them). The man meant would have to accept. The fourth kind was that a lot of men would have sexual intercourse with a certain woman (a whore). She would not prevent anybody. Such women used to put a certain flag at their gates to invite in anyone who liked. If this whore got pregnant and gave birth to a child, she would collect those men, and a seeress would tell whose child it was. The appointed father would take the child and declare him/her his own. When Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) declared Islam in Arabia, he cancelled all these forms of sexual contacts except that of present Islamic marriage.
Women always accompanied men in their wars. The winners would freely have sexual intercourse with such women, but disgrace would follow the children conceived in this way all their lives. Pre-Islam Arabs had no limited number of wives. They could marry two sisters at the same time, or even the wives of their fathers if divorced or widowed. Divorce was to a very great extent in the power of the husband. The woman was a marketable commodity and regarded as a piece of inanimate property. The obscenity of adultery prevailed almost among all social classes except few men and women whose self-dignity prevented them from committing such an act. Free women were in much better conditions than the female slaves who constituted the greatest calamity. It seemed that the greatest majority of pre-Islam Arabs did not feel ashamed of committing this obscenity. Abu Da’ûd reported: A man stood up in front of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and said: “O Prophet of Allâh! that boy is my son. I had sexual intercourse with his mother in the pre-Islamic period.” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “No claim in Islam for pre-Islamic affairs. The child is to be attributed to the one on whose bed it was born, and stoning is the lot of a fornicator.”
With respect to the pre-Islam Arab’s relation with his offspring, we see that life in Arabia was paradoxical and presented a gloomy picture of contrasts. Whilst some Arabs held children dear to their hearts and cherished them greatly, others buried their female children alive because an illusory fear of poverty and shame weighed heavily on them. The practice of infanticide cannot, however, be seen as irrevocably rampant because of their dire need for male children to guard themselves against their enemies. Islam came and changed all that. It did away with tribal practices and dealt with the avarice of the arabs, it was a new beginning for the Arabs. A beginning where women were viewed as women not just dispensable commodities. They had rights, duties, female feoticide was abolished completely and the Quran said about killing children:
And kill not your children for fear of poverty. We shall provide for them as well as for you. Surely, the killing of them is a great sin. (Surah Al-Isra, Chapter 17:31)
Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم): “Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited you from: Join not anything in worship with Him; be good and dutiful to your parents; kill not your children because of poverty – We provide sustenance for you and for them…(Surah al-an’am 6:151)
Narrated Al-Mughira bin Shu’ba: The Prophet said, “Allah has forbidden for you, (1) to be undutiful to your mothers, (2) to bury your daughters alive, (3) to not to pay the rights of the others (e.g. charity, etc.) and (4) to beg of men (begging). And Allah has hated for you (1) vain, useless talk, or that you talk too much about others, (2) to ask too many questions, (in disputed religious matters and (3) to waste the wealth (by extravagance). (Sahih al-bukhari, Book of Loans, Payment of Loans, Freezing of Property, Bankruptcy, Hadith 591)
O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will; and you should not treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the Mahr you have given them, unless they commit open illegal sexual intercourse; and live with them honourably. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing and Allah brings through it a great deal of good. (Surah An-Nisa 4:19)
Men and women have different needs and who can know this better than the One who has created them. They compliment each other and are not created to compete with each other. As Allah az wajal said:
9:71 The believers, men and women, are Auliya’ (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another; they enjoin (on the people) Al-Ma’ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do), and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (i.e. polytheism and disbelief of all kinds, and all that Islam has forbidden); they perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and give the Zakat, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will have His Mercy on them. Surely Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.
They are helpers to one another, but the society that we live in has changed the role of a woman from a gentle, soft, shy, loving supportive person to an ambitious, competitive, hard headed, egoistic person. This is against the fitrah (natural disposition) of a woman. This in turn has created a lot of upheavals in society and caused break up of the family system, divorces, child abuse, insecurities, rise in mental illnesses, lowering of moral values all in the name of female emancipation. The real emancipation comes from Islam. A woman is treated an equal not because of how she looks but by what her real contribution to society is. If a woman is truthful to herself she will realize her true worth is at home, how she raises a family, who she chooses looks at her, how she raises her kids so that they are successful in this world and in the hereafter. One of the three things that will benefit a person after he dies is the invocations of his children, if a child is not brought up with the correct Islamic knowledge how is he going to benefit his parents when they need his invocations the most. For a muslimah success is not in this world but in the hereafter and that success depends on the life she has lived in this world.
3:14 Beautified for men is the love of things they covet; women, children, much of gold and silver (wealth), branded beautiful horses, cattle and well-tilled land. This is the pleasure of the present world’s life; but Allah has the excellent return (Paradise with flowing rivers) with Him.