Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Perspective: Equal Rights for Women in Islam | Amtul Shakoor Din


With the advent of Islam, women were able to own and share property the same way men did. Such a right was conferred upon western women only in the nineteenth century.

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | US Desk
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By Amtul Shakoor Din | March 26, 2018

The status and rights of women in Islam are ambiguous for many in the Western society today. A major factor contributing to this fact is most commonly a negative image portrayed by the media. As we celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day in March, it would be worthwhile to understand how Islam has accorded many rights to women.

There are many aspects that are hidden from today’s society regarding Muslim women. The number one issue raised is why do Muslim women have to wear the Hijab (head covering). The Qur’an, which is the main source of guidance for Muslims, contains many commandments and tells both men and women on how to conduct themselves in their daily lives. The commandment to observe modesty is for both men and women (24:31–32). In fact the verses in reference call the men first to lower their gaze and then command the women to conceal their beauty from unrelated men. As attraction between men and women is something natural, therefore, both genders are told to follow these regulations so they are not tempted to any wrong doing. Despite of these injunctions, both women and men can live peacefully in the society and enjoy their freedoms whether it is in the field of education or in their respective professions.

  Islam greatly emphasizes seeking of both secular and religious knowledge. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Seeking of knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim man and woman.” In fact the very first academic University which was founded about twelve centuries ago was by a Muslim woman named Fatima Al Fihri in approximately 859 CE in Fez, Morocco. The name of this oldest and ancient university is The University of Al Quaraouiyine and is still in operation. Fatima Al Fihri decided to use her inheritance on this precious cause to promote education and at the same time have a mosque there as well. The Mosque of Al Quaraouiyine was the largest mosque in the entire North Africa at the time of its construction. This woman made an enormous sacrifice and founded a religious and educational establishment that changed history. In the center of the beautiful and stunning mosque and the university is an elegant fountain created to honor her.

 It might be very astonishing for my non-Muslim friends that women in Islam were given their rights about fourteen hundred years ago. In the pre-Islamic era gambling, idol worshipping and burying baby girls were common practices. The Qur’an states, “…Fear your lord who created you from a single soul and from them twain spread many men and woman” (4:2). This clearly defines that both men and women are given an equal status.

With the advent of Islam, women were able to own and share property the same way men did. Such a right was conferred upon western women only in the nineteenth century. Muslim women have the right to pursue a career but men have the primary responsibility of running the household. Women can choose to spend their earnings if they want to help their husbands.

 In order to have mutual peace, harmony and a strong foundation in the family men and women must treat each other with respect so that their children will do the same. I hope that my dear readers will understand the perspective about life of a Muslim woman. Hopefully some misconceptions will be removed by understanding the true teachings of Islam. Nations thrive when the youth is nurtured and brought up well. Women are the strong pillar of the families that make up a nation.


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