Islam and Women: International Women’s Day

women's day

March 8 is International Women’s Day. For our extensive collection on Women Rights, please click here

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

Some people wrongly accuse that Islam deprives women of their basic rights. In fact, Islam was the first religion, which not only has liberated women from the evil practices that are still being followed in many societies of the world but also protected and granted the basic rights to them, some of which other religions/societies have recently adapted. Such as, Islam is the first religion giving women rights of inheritance.

Following are some of the beautiful teachings of Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, about the rights and place of women in Muslim society.

* Abu Shuraih Khuwailad ibn Amr Khuzai relates that the Holy Prophet said: Allah, I declare sinful any failure to safeguard the rights of two weak ones: orphans and women. (Nisai)

* Abu Hurairah relates that the Holy Prophet said: The most perfect of believers in the matter of faith is he whose behavior is best, and the best of you are those who behave best towards their wives. (Tirmidhi)

* Abdullah ibn Amr ibn ‘As relates that the Holy Prophet said: The world is but a provision and the best provision of the world is a good woman. (Muslim)

* Ayesha relates: A woman came to me begging with her two daughters; I could not find anything except a single date which I gave her. She divided it between her daughters and did not herself eat any of it. Then she got up and left. When the Holy Prophet came, I told him of it. He said: one who is tried with daughters and treats them well will find that they will become his shield from the Fire. (Bokhari and Muslim)

* Abu Hurairah relates that the Holy Prophet said: Treat women kindly. Woman has been created from a rib and the most crooked part of the rib is the uppermost. If you try to straighten it you will break it and if you leave it alone it will remain crooked. So treat women kindly. (Bokhari and Muslim)

* Abu Hurairah relates that the Holy Prophet said: Let no Muslim man entertain any rancour against a Muslim woman. Should he dislike one quality in her, he would find another which is pleasing. (Muslim)

* Abu Hurairah relates that the Holy Prophet said: Of the dinar you spend in the cause of Allah; the dinar you spend in procuring the freedom of a slave; the dinar you give away in charity to the poor and the dinar you spend on your wife and children, the highest in respect of reward is the one you spend on your wife and children. (Muslim)

* Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqqas relates in the course of a long hadith that the Holy Prophet said: Whatever you might spend seeking thereby the pleasure of Allah will have its reward, even that which you put in the mouth of your wife. (Bokhari and Muslim)

* Ayesha relates: I did not envy any of the wives of the Holy Prophet so much as I envied Khadijah (the first wife of the Holy Prophet), though I had never seen her. The Holy Prophet mentioned her often. When a goat was slaughtered, he would cut it into pieces and send them to Khadijah’s friends. Sometimes I would say to him: You talk of her as if there never was any woman in the world beside Khadijah; and he would say: She was such and such, and I had children from her. (Bokhari and Muslim)

* Mu’awiah ibn Haidah relates: I asked the Holy Prophet: What is the right of a wife against her husband? He said: Feed her when you feed yourself, cloth her when you cloth yourself, do not strike her on her face, do not revile her and do not separate yourself from her except inside the house. (Abu Daud)

The debate about women rights in the context of the present day needs in our global village should, however continue. Here is a BBC debate highlighting the tensions between Abrahamic religions and contemporary understanding of women rithts:

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1 reply

  1. Is it wrong to add here a ‘non-religious’ comment?

    After a lecture during which equality of gender was preached the lecturer included one sentence that ‘some differences do remain between the sexes’ at the mention of which one French listener commented:

    Vive la difference! (Long live the difference).
    (difference – sindabad).

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