RESPECT OF A WOMAN
Islam has cared a lot about a woman. It has raised her status and position. Hazrat Umar Bin Khattab (RadhiAllahu Anhu) said: “By Allah! We did not consider a woman anything in the Age of ignorance till Allah revealed a lot about them.”
THE REFLECTIONS OF IMPORTANCE OF WOMEN IN ISLAM
- 1. Islam abolished all the kinds of marriages that prevailed among Arabs and left just that right form of marriage which Muslims still follow, because there is respect for women in it. She is not a piece of enjoyment for everyone.
- 2. Islam has protected the status and position of a woman. In the Age of ignorance, a woman was distributed in inheritance as the wealth is distributed. The eldest son of the father was the heir of his wives as he was the heir of the other property. When Islam came, it declared this thing as Haraam (Unlawful).
- 3. Women had no rights to inheritance among Arabs. No daughter in her father’s wealth, no wife in her husband’s wealth, no mother in her son’s wealth was the heir. But Allah fixed the inheritance for a woman as it is said by Allah:
لِلرِّجَالِ نَصِيبٌ مِمَّا تَرَكَ الْوَالِدَانِ وَالْأَقْرَبُونَ وَلِلنِّسَاءِ نَصِيبٌ مِمَّا تَرَكَ الْوَالِدَانِ وَالْأَقْرَبُونَ مِمَّا قَلَّ مِنْهُ أَوْ كَثُرَ نَصِيبًا مَفْرُوضًا (النساء : 7)
Translation of Meaning: “From what is left by parents and those nearest related there is a share for men and a share for women, whether the property be small or large,-a determinate share.”(Sura An-Nisaa, Verse- 7)
- 4. Islam has strictly prohibited burying one’s daughters alive due to poverty or shame.
- 5. Islas has given the women rights to education. During the time of Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wasallam), the women visited him and asked about religious matters, and the Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied to their questions. In the same way, the women asked questions from the mothers of believers (wives of the Prophet SallAllahu Alaihi Wasallam).
The Holy Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) delivered sermon among men on the occasion of Eid, and then he went to the women and preached them. The Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) has regarded the seeking of knowledge as obligatory on every Muslim, whether male or female. The Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
«طَلَبُ الْعِلْمِ فَرِيضَةٌ عَلَى كُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ» (ابن ماجه)
Translation: “To seek knowledge is compulsory on every Muslim.”(Ibn Majah)
- 6. If the husband dies or falls sick and there is no one to run the living then Islam has allowed a woman to work so that she can take care of herself and her children. If she is unable to go outside, then it is the responsibility of the government to take care of her and her children. In the same way, if the Islamic government needs the skills of a woman and she is capable of that work, then it is obligatory for her to go and work and she should not refrain from it.
- 7. For a sound marriage, Islam has made it a condition that the woman agrees to the marriage. Nobody can force a woman to marry a person whom she dislikes.
The Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
«لاَ تُنْكَحُ الأَيِّمُ حَتَّى تُسْتَأْمَرَ، وَلاَ تُنْكَحُ البِكْرُ حَتَّى تُسْتَأْذَنَ» قَالُوا: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، وَكَيْفَ إِذْنُهَا؟ قَالَ: «أَنْ تَسْكُتَ» (صحيح البخاري)
Translation : “The nikah of a (previously) married woman should be held with her consent and a virgin girl should also be asked about her marriage.” The Companions (RadhiAllahu Anhum) asked: “O Allah’s Messenger (SallAllahu Alaihi Wasallam)! How can we know the permission from a virgin girl?” The Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Her silence is her permission.”(Bukhari)
- 8. Islam has not differentiated between a man and a woman on the basis of their gender, but the standard of superiority among them is on the basis which Allah has granted some of them over the other. Otherwise men and women are equal to each
other having superiority over each other only on the basis of their piety and good
2.deeds. Allah Almighty says:
مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا مِنْ ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنْثَى وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَلَنُحْيِيَنَّهُ حَيَاةً طَيِّبَةً وَلَنَجْزِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْرَهُمْ بِأَحْسَنِ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ (النحل: 97)
Translation of Meaning: “Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has Faith, verily, to him will We give a new Life, a life that is good and pure and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions.” (Sura An-Nahl, Verse 97)
THE STATUS OF WOMEN IN OTHER CULTURES
We take a glance at the status and position of women in other cultures so that we can realize the status of women in Islam.
Egypt was the only country in which the woman had some rights since the ancient age, she inherited as an heiress and performed different family tasks in the absence of her husband. Despite this, however, she was considered as the complete property of her husband. The woman was considered as a way to fulfill one’s sexual urges.
In Chinese culture, a woman had no value and she was considered as bitter or dirty water. She was regarded as impure in the house of her husband, whenever husband wished he could kick her out of the house, an when her husband died, she was imprisoned in his house to serve others as an animal.
In Greek culture, woman was a worthless creature. That is why; she was kept as a servant in the houses of men. She could not benefit from any rights. The Greeks considered women as evil satanic works and they slaughtered the women as sacrificial animals in front of their false gods to ward off a calamity.
In the ancient Indian culture, a woman was considered as an impure object. When the husband died, the wife was burnt alive with her husband’s ‘Chita’ (funeral pile) and sometimes she was even buried alive. The husband had every right to beat, to abuse and to call names to his wife.
In Roman culture women had the same status as they had in Greek culture, rather
even worse than that. Woman was just a means of enjoyment and she was sold and bought in the markets. She was the complete possession of her husband. A person could marry as many women as he wished. Women were treated very badly. Women were assigned such tasks which they were too week to perform.
In Persia, people insulted the women and regarded them as the source of spreading conflicts and corruption. That is why women were abused a lot. They were under the absolute order of their husbands, to the extent that a husband had the right to kill her and he could marry numerous women without any conditions.
Jews considered the women responsible for the sin of Adam (Alaihis Salam) following which they were expelled from paradise. They considered a woman impure in the state of menstruation and whatever she touched during that period was treated as impure. They had the right to sell the women and to exclude her from the inheritance.
For Christians, women were means of Shaitan (Devil) and they considered them brainless. Roman Church was of the opinion that women were devoid of soul and they regarded them as impure not suitable for marriage. That is why the women turned towards Monasticism. The women had the same condition in the Christian world till the new revolution.
For Arabs, before the advent of Islam, the women were regarded as the object of enjoyment and a part of their property. Women were distributed in the same way as a property is distributed and the elder son inherited the wives of his father. Women were isolated during their menstruation cycle as they were regarded as dirty during that period. When the husband died, the wife had to spend the whole year in isolation in a corner of the house, wearing old clothes only. Prostitution and ‘Nikah Mut’ah’ were the most respectable professions for women. In the Age of ignorance, the worst habit of Arabs was to bury the girls alive.
SIXTH: EQUALITY AMONG PEOPLE
The Arabs believed in class system and their opinion on a person was that either he could be a master or a slave. Lineage was the standard of superiority among people. When Islam arrived, it abolished the class system and declared the piety
and righteousness as the standard of superiority. Allah Almighty says:
يَاأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ وَأُنْثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ ( الحجرات: 13)
Translation of Meaning: “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).”(Sura Al-Hujraat, Verse 13)
The Prophet (SallAllahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
«يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ، أَلَا إِنَّ رَبَّكُمْ وَاحِدٌ، وَإِنَّ أَبَاكُمْ وَاحِدٌ، أَلَا لَا فَضْلَ لِعَرَبِيٍّ عَلَى عَجَمِيٍّ، وَلَا لِعَجَمِيٍّ عَلَى عَرَبِيٍّ، وَلَا أَحْمَرَ عَلَى أَسْوَدَ، وَلَا أَسْوَدَ عَلَى أَحْمَرَ، إِلَّا بِالتَّقْوَى» (أحمد)
Translation: “O people! Indeed your Lord is One and your father is one, No Arab is superior to a non-Arab, and no non-Arab is superior to an Arab, and no white is superior to a black, and no black is superior to a white except by piety and righteousness.”
The Arabs were considered as weak in the Arabian Peninsula. They were frightened of the strength of Persia and Rome. They lived their lives under the order of the Persian and Romans unwillingly.
Hazrat Abdul Rahman Bin Auf (Radhi Allahu Anhu) had explained it in these words: “Indeed Rome and Persia were very strong and resilient.”
The Persians and Greeks looked at the Arabs with contempt. A king of Persia wrote a letter to Musanna Bin Harisa, who was the commander of Muslims at the time of war: “I have sent you an army of Persians, who are the caretakers of hens and pigs and this army of mine is enough to fight with you.” Musanna Bin Harisa replied to him: “You are one of the two kinds of men; if you are ready for uprising, then there is an evil aspect for you and a good aspect for us in it; and if you are a
liar then its punishment is nothing but defamation and humiliation in the court of Allah (Ta’ala). In our opinion, you are forced to do the war, and all praise is due to Allah, Who has retuned your tricks back to the caretakers of hens and pigs”. After reading this, the Persian king became desperate.
Indeed Islam has made the Arabs the conquerors of East and West so that they preach about Islam and found the global Islamic government.