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The Concept of Women in Islam

The Holy Quran honours both men and women in its blessed verses.  Allah states that He rewards both men and women who believe in and do good deeds. The issue of women in Islam is the topic of great misunderstanding and distortion due partly to a lack of understanding, but also partly due to the misbehaviour of some Muslims which has been taken to represent the teachings of Islam. We speak here about what Islam teaches, and that is that standard according to which Muslims are to be judged. Allah Says:

فَاسْتَجَابَ لَهُمْ رَبُّهُمْ أَنِّي لَا أُضِيعُ عَمَلَ عَامِلٍ مِّنكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَىٰ ۖ بَعْضُكُم مِّن بَعْضٍ

“Their Lord responded to them: Never will I cause to be lost the deeds of any among you, whether male or female; you are of one another.” (Surah Ali Imran 3:195)

The Quran indicates that one of the most honoured positions of humans is that God created the human, and as His trustee and representative on earth. No restriction in Islamic law says a woman cannot work or have a profession, that her only place is in the home. Woman as mother commands great honour and respect in Islam. Allah Says:

سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ الْأَزْوَاجَ كُلَّهَا مِمَّا تُنبِتُ الْأَرْضُ وَمِنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ وَمِمَّا لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

“Glory to He who created all pairs, from what the earth grows and from themselves and from that which they do not know.” (Surah Yasin 36:36)

Islam has given dignity and respect to Muslim women in society and in religion Islam that didn’t give in any other religion. Islam establishes that men and women are equal, it does recognize that they are not identical. God created men and women with unique physiological and psychological attributes. In Islam, these differences are embraced as vital components to a healthy family and community structure with each contributing their distinctive talents to society. Allah Says:

الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ

“Men are guardians over women by what Allah has favoured some over others and by what they spend of their wealth.” (Surat Al-Nisa 4:34)

Islam is the religion that liberated Muslim women by ensuring equal rights to them in comparison to their male fellow. There are some misconceptions prevailing in Bangladesh regarding women’s rights in Islam.  Some make a great mistake in presuming that all conduct and practices of a Muslim are connected to Islam. The prime object of this study is to pick out how the rights of women are ensured in Islam. Women are not subordinate to men and indicate an avenue to identify properly women in the light of Islam.

Below are the things Power learned about Islam and women:

  1. A woman has the right to opinions and beliefs
  2. A woman has the right to choose a spouse
  3. A woman has the right to seek knowledge
  4. A woman has all necessary for social life 
  5. A woman has the right to raise children
  6. A woman has the right to employment
  7. A woman has the right to health care
  8. A woman utilize natural resources
  9. A woman has the right to security
  10. A woman has the right to work 
  11. A woman has all rights in society
  12. A woman has the right to freedom
  13. A woman has the right to go outside
  14. A woman cannot be forced to marry
  15. A woman has the right to live and exist
  16. A woman has the right to have a property
  17. A woman has the right to get an education
  18. A woman has the right to continue their lives
  19. A female worker might work as a male worker

In Islam, a woman is a completely independent personality. She can make any contract or bequest in her name. She is entitled to inherit in her position as a mother, as a wife, a sister, and as a daughter. She has the perfect liberty to choose her husband. Allah Says:

‏قُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا۟ مِنْ أَبْصَرِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا۟ فُرُوجَهُمْ ۚ ذَلِكَ أَزْكَىٰ لَهُمْ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ خَبِيرٌۢ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ

“Tell believing men to lower their gaze and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. God is acquainted with what they do.” (Surah An-Nur 24:30)

Islam holds great respect for mothers and endorses the followers to respect their mothers. “Paradise is at the feet of the mother.” To eliminate prevailing misconceptions regarding women’s rights in Islam proper Islamic knowledge and awareness of women is essential. The core implication of this research is that it will play a vital role to eliminate prevailing misconceptions regarding women’s rights in Islam and ensuring the rights, dignity and status of women as given in Islam. Allah says:

‏يَٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ ٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَكُونُوا۟ مَعَ ٱلصَّدِقِينَ

“Believers, remain mindful of God and be among those who are truthful.” (Surah At-Tubah 9:119)

Islam ensures that in both these roles sister and daughter women enjoy absolute respect, care, and protection. The character of men in an Islamic society is established about their treatment of women. Islam is the first religion that settled the rights of women as wives and associated the element of giving respect to them. The rights of women as guaranteed by Islam and it does not include constitutional rights or other rights ensured by the existing laws of the country. Allah says:

لِّلَّهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ يَهَبُ لِمَن يَشَاءُ إِنَاثًا وَيَهَبُ لِمَن يَشَاءُ الذُّكُورَ

“To Allah (belongs the) dominion (of) the heavens and the earth. He creates what He wills. He grants to whom He wills females, and He grants to whom He wills [the] males.” (Surah Ash-Shura, 42:49)

She has the right to inherit from her father, mother, and husband. A very interesting point to note is that in Islam, unlike any other religion, a woman can be an imam, a leader of communal prayer, for a group of women. Many nomadic women, however, maintained their traditional freedom of movement and less restrictive dress codes even after conversion to Islam. Allah Says:

وَاللَّهُ خَلَقَكُم مِّن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ ثُمَّ جَعَلَكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا

“Allah created you from dust, then from a drop, then He made you into mates.” (Surat al-Fatir 35:11)

The Quran makes it clear that all human beings have what you might call a human. Islam considers a woman to be equal to a man as a human being and as his partner in this life. Women, like men, are also obligated to enjoin good and forbid evil; to strive and struggle by saying that which is truthful; and to adhere to all noble behaviour, like truthfulness, trustworthiness, courage, modesty, and self-respect.

Allah Almighty says in The Holy Quran:

  • “God loves those who are kind.” (Quran 5:13)
  • “And the male is not like the female.” (Quran 3:36)
  • “They (your wives) are your garment and you are a garment for them.” (Quran 2:187)
  • “And for women are rights over men, similar to those of men over women.” (Quran, 2:228)
  • “He bestows female (offspring) upon whom He wills, and bestows male (offspring) upon whom He wills.” (Quran, 42:49)
  • “Whatever men earn, they have a share of that and whatever women earn, they have a share in that.” (Quran 4:32)

A woman is to be treated as God has endowed her, with rights, such as to be treated as an individual, with the right to own and dispose of her property and earnings, enter into contracts, even after marriage. She has the right to be educated and to work outside the home if she so chooses. Allah says:

مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا مِّن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَىٰ وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَلَنُحْيِيَنَّهُ حَيَاةً طَيِّبَةً وَلَنَجْزِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْرَهُم بِأَحْسَنِ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ 

“Whoso does that which is right and believes, whether male or female, We will surely grant a happy life. And We will reward them according to the best of their actions.” (Surah An-Nahl 16:97)

Every Muslim woman, just like every Muslim man, is commanded to be steadfast in her religion and not to be negligent with her faith. In Islam, there is absolutely no difference between men and women as far as their relationship to Allah is concerned, as both are promised the same reward for good conduct and the same punishment for evil conduct. Allah Says:

مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا مِّن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَىٰ وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَلَنُحْيِيَنَّهُ حَيَاةً طَيِّبَةً وَلَنَجْزِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْرَهُم بِأَحْسَنِ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ 

“Anyone who works righteousness, male or female, while believing, we will surely grant them a happy life in this world, and we will surely pay them their full recompense for their righteous works.” (Surah An-Nahl 16: 97 )

Men and women are two equally important parts of humanity, and the rights and responsibilities of both sexes in Islam are equitable and balanced in their totality. Religion Islam regards women as precious and valuable, not to be disrespected or disgraced. Women are empowered with many rights and protections under Islamic laws and are honoured with a dignified status in society. May Almighty Allah help us and guide us to follow the right path. Ameen!