'Faith is to believe what we do not see;
And the reward of this faith is to see what we believe.'
Religion is a very sensitive subject and its truths are not to be verified but believed. The purpose in writing this article is to make those people aware who have misunderstood Islam, especially in context to women. In a way it is aimed for those who believe that Islam does not recognize their worth'
There is nothing unreasonable in Islam. It is just that our minds do not possess the sophistication and understanding to comprehend the real meaning of our Hadiths andSunnah. It is a very wrong notion that Islam treats women unfairly, giving them no rights, or freedom. In fact, Islam restored the dignity and rights of women at a time when women had no status at all in the society.
According to Hindu scriptures, a good wife is defined as a 'woman whose mind, body and speech is kept in subjection' In Athens, women were not considered important enough to seek their consent for marriage. According to Encyclopedia Britannica (11th edition), legal status of women in the Roman civilization was such that her self and property became that of her husband's. A woman could not exercise any civil or public office and had no right to adopt or make a will/contract. Even English law stated that the property of a woman became the possession of her husband. He had the right to manage it and utilize the profit as he saw fit. In the Mosiac Law, divorce was a privilege of the husband only. It was after 1938 only that French Law recognized the legal rights of women.
Islam says that the most valuable thing in the world is a virtuous woman. When a woman performs the daily prayers, fasts in the month of Ramadan, and is chaste and not disobedient to her husband, she is to enter Paradise by whichever door she likes. Qur'an provides ample evidence that spiritually a woman is equal to a man in terms of her rights, obligations, and duties. In some cases, she even enjoys certain privileges due to her physiological and psychological makeup.
Holy Qur'an accepts all the fundamental rights of a woman. She is given the freedom in case of her marriage. Islam also abolished the obligation of providing huge dowers to the bridegrooms. On the contrary, Islam fixed a suitable dower called 'maher' on the wife at the time of marriage.
She has the right to divorce or remarry after widowhood. The Jewish practice of inheriting an elder brother's childless widow and divorcing a childless wife were abolished by the Prophet of Islam, Mohammed (PBUH) through the command of Almighty Allah. Islam can also be credited with a very humane system of divorce. If there is total incompatibility between a husband and a wife, there can be a mutual agreement for a divorce. Otherwise all steps are taken to ensure that the divorce is avoided. During the waiting period the man is obliged to provide maintenance for her.
She is entitled to property and inheritance rights. Muslim women were made to inherit the property of their husbands as well as parents. According to Judge Pierre Crabiles's article 'Things Mohammed did for women' which was published in 'Asia' magazine (USA):
'Mohammed was probably the greatest champion of women's rights the world has ever seen. Islam conferred upon the Muslim wife property rights and judicial status exactly the same as that of her husband. She is free to dispose off and manage her financial assets as she pleases, without let or hindrance from her husband.'
She has been authorized to become the caretaker, teacher, friend, and guide of her child ' a child who is to be molded into a good human being and a citizen. Such a big and vital responsibility given to women in no way reflects her weakness but rather her strength of mind and character. It was because of this responsibility that Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) laid emphasis upon the education of women.
Islam is the religion that abolished the disgusting and terrible practice of female infanticide, which was prevalent long back in Arab ', a land of barbarians and pagans. It asked parents to be kind and affectionate toward their daughters and never to favor their sons over them. Islam is the religion that restrained the unlimited rights exercised by men over womenfolk, thus giving women both spiritual and material equality.
Islam gave respect to those destitute women and widows who were left without protection due to frequent wars and disputes. Marriage gave then a means of obtaining bread, protection, love, and respect in the society. This was the reason behind polygamy in Islam as introduced by Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). Such practice was already prevalent among other people in the form of marriages of convenience. In fact, Muslim men were allowed to marry 2, 3 or 4 times only if they could ensure equality among them in all aspects of life; otherwise they could espouse a single wife only.
Regarding employment, Islam has entrusted women with the social role of a mother and a wife. This is because nobody can replace a mother's role in educating and raising her child. Recent trends have shown what have been the repercussions of a home where both spouses work full time. There have been serious concerns over family matters. Studies conducted in USA have shown that emotional, physical and mental distress is on the rise in modern societies, especially the Western. As women are becoming more and more career-oriented and ambitious, childcare is being neglected to a large extent. The personality development of children gets affected. However, in case of necessity Islam does not forbid women from seeking employment, preferably in the fields of nursing, medicine, and teaching.
Islam has not denied the political rights to women. However, according to the interpretation of one of the Hadith, Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) did not consider women fit for the position of head of the state due to her biological and psychological makeup. Leadership is a demanding position, which may coincide with the instinctive nature of women.
It should not be assumed that Islam has laid no specifications or limitations for men. Men too have to follow certain specifications and guidelines regarding dress code, conduct of worldly affairs, performance of family duties, etc. Now, where does Islam become harsh or unjust to women? Or even to men? If there is no scope for vulgarity or excess in Islam it should go to extol the religion and not subject it to criticism. People, society, and cultural ethos are responsible for any injustice, distress, and dissatisfaction prevailing in the modern society. Most of the ills, worries, tension and problems of the modern society and the world at large are attributable to the non-implementation of religious and moral principles and guidelines. Deviations from the teachings of Islam are responsible for the misconceptions that have emerged. It is said that there are always two choices'two paths to take. One is easy, and its only reward is that it is easy. It is for the Muslim men and women to decide as to which path they have to choose and follow.