The Position of Women in Islam
Islam has honoured women and freed them from servitude and subordination to men. It has also liberated them from being a cheap commodity with no respect or honour whatsoever. Examples of forms of respect Islam shows to women include the following:
- Islam grants them the right to inheritance, allocating them equitable shares with men, which sometimes differ under certain circumstances depending on their relationship with others and the financial obligations they have to discharge. While men support the family as a matter of religious obligation, women are not obliged to spend a penny
- It establishes total equity between men and women in numerous matters including financial transactions. As the prophet ﷺ said, “Women are the twin halves of men.” (Sunan Abu Daawood: 236)
- It grants them the right to choose ther husbands and places a large amount of the responsibility of bringing up children upon them, as the Prophet ﷺ said, “A woman is a guardian of her husband’s home and is responsible for it.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 853; Saheeh Muslim: 1829)
- It grants them the right to keep their maiden names. In Islam, a woman does not change her surname to that of her husband upon marriage, as is common in many parts of the world; rather, she retains her maiden name, and thus her independent personality.
- It makes it the husband’s duty to spend on those women entitled to his support, such as his wife, mother and daughters, without attempting in the least to remind them of his favours.
- It stresses the importance of helping weak women who are in need of support, even if they are not one’s relatives, and urges its followers to engage in such a noble act, regarding it one of the meritorious deeds in the sight of Allah. The Prophet ﷺ said, “The person who looks after a widow or a poor person is like a warrior who fights for Allah’s cause, or like one who performs prayers all night without slackness and fasts continuously and never breaks his fast.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 5661; Saheeh Muslim: 2982).
Women That Islam Enjoins Muslims to Look after
The Mother: Abu Hurayrah narrated that a man once asked the Prophet ﷺ, “To whom should I show kindness most?” “Your mother,” he replied. The man said, “Then who?” The Prophet [again] said,“Your mother.” The man further asked, “Then who?” The Prophet ﷺ replied,“Your mother.” The man asked again, “Then who?” The Prophet ﷺ said, “Then your father.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 5626; Saheeh Muslim: 2548)
The Daughter: ‛Uqbah ibn ‛Aamir narrated that he heard Allah’s Messenger ﷺ say, “Whoever has three daughters and he remains patient with them, provides for them and clothes them from his money, they will be a shield for him from the Hellfire on the Day of Resurrection.” (Sunan Ibn Maajah: 3669)
The Wife: ‛Aa’ishah ~ narrated that Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “The best among you are those who are best to their wives, and I am the best amongst you to my wives.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhee: 3895)