Saturday, March 31, 2018

Perspective: Islam Liberates Women | Maryam Nasir Ahmed

Men and women are physically different but possess the same spirit and are therefore spiritually equal. Islam holds both Adam and Eve equally responsible for their mistake.

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: Philadelphia Patch
By Maryam Nasir Ahmed | March 30, 2018

1400 years ago Islam liberated women, gave meaning to their existence and bestowed rights which other civilized nations recently enjoy.

Before I share my thoughts with you I would just like to bring to your attention the phrase 'Women in Islam' and it might conjure up images of poor souls who are subjected to male authority, degradation, inferiority, disrespect, subjugation, submission etc. etc.

But hold on to your rein of sympathies because if I claim women in Islam are far more liberal and enjoyed this liberation way before the civilized nations even thought about it, I won't be wrong! Islam actually came to liberate women, to grant them identity, and a purpose of existence. It came to liberate them from the evils of the society labeling them as source of sins and misery.

All those secular people chanting for rights of women now need to know Islam voiced the rights of women 1400 years ago! March is Women's History Month which is an appropriate time to dispel all the myths that abound regarding the status of Muslim women.

Islam is a religion based on human nature and human equality certainly does not imply that every person should be engaged in the same kind of work. You cannot judge an intellectual scientist and a muscular wrestler in the same frame; similarly a man and a woman owning different physical capabilities are appointed different responsibilities. Only by abiding to these roles they will both be 'equally' successful. Thus, differences between men and women are solely based on their physical makeup which eventually distinguishes their roles and responsibilities.

So men and women are physically different but possess the same spirit and are therefore spiritually equal. Islam holds both Adam and Eve equally responsible for their mistake.

Islam liberated women from being treated like a slave hence gives the right to women to keep their own last names, their own identity which she inherits from her father. None of the Prophet Muhammad's (peace and blessings be upon him) wives' carried his name! To the westerners this may seem a rather insignificant thing but in a society where women were considered as properties of their husbands not taking their last names just reiterates the notion that they are independent individuals.

Till the 19th century women in Europe did not have the rights to own their properties. The ones holding any got passed to their husbands after getting married. Laws like "Married Women Property Act" were passed in 1860s and there Islam declared centuries ago that a man has whatsoever no rights over any asset of women. Anything the husband gives her willingly becomes her asset! Any penny she spends to support her family is to be taken as charity.

Islam is the first religion to give rights to women in inheritance. Daughters inherit from father, wife from husband, sister from brothers and mothers from children.

Hijab, often mocked as a sign of oppression or socially unacceptable, is rather a symbol of liberation. When a woman does not display her beauty to men, she is taken more seriously and the focus is on her intellect and not her physical appearance.

Islam gives full right to women to seek education. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "The pursuit of knowledge is a duty for every Muslim, man and woman." Over centuries Muslim women have been a hallmark in the field of female education. God has no offense in seeing these strong creatures in leadership roles, taking part in battles or voicing their opinions in law making. Prophet Muhammad's youngest wife Ayesha was a leader in every field of knowledge, society and politics. Malala Yousufzai, the youngest Nobel Laureate, is a champion for girl's education.

Unfortunately in today's world, information about Islam is either limited or totally erroneous. This creates a hoax paradigm promoting injustice in society. As a member of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, in the National Women's History Month, I would encourage you to not mix religion with culture. There is no compulsion in Islam. Anywhere you see Muslim women projected as oppressive or inferior is not Islamic at all - no matter how much these Muslims claim it to be Shariah! Prophet Muhammad said, "Paradise under feet of mothers" and so one can never earn paradise by degrading women. Secondly, don't judge us by our coverings. There is a whole universe or free mind behind our veils ready to establish its identity. We are as free to cover ourselves as a woman who chooses to wear a bikini. Come forward. Ask us questions. Be respectful to people expressing their religious beliefs because faith lives in hearts.

Read original post here: Perspective: Islam Liberates Women | Maryam Nasir Ahmed

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