The world over has got this assumption that women in Islam are thought to be subjugated, degraded and oppressed, but are they really? Are millions of Muslims simply oppressive or are these misconceptions fabricated by a biased media?
By Moulana ILYAAS McLAN SAIDI
Over 1 400 years ago, Islam gave women rights that those in the west have only recently began to enjoy. In the 1930s, Annir Besant observed, “It is only in the last 20 years that Christian England has recognised the right of women to property, while Islam has allowed this right from all times. It is a slander to say that Islam preaches that women have no souls.”
Women and men all descended from a single soul — the Prophet Adam (peace be upon him). Islam does not accept for either of them anything but justice and kind treatment. Men and women worship Allah in the same way, meaning they worship the same God (Allah), perform the same acts of worship, follow the same scripture, and hold the same beliefs. Allah judges all human beings fairly and equitably. Allah emphasises the just treatment and reward due to both men and women in many verses of the Qur’aan: “Never will I allow the loss of the work of any worker among you, male or female, you are of one another.” (Qur’aan 3:195).
All the Qur’aanic verses show that the reward is dependent upon one’s actions and not one’s gender. Gender does not play any part in how a person is rewarded and judged. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also encouraged men to treat their spouses in the best way.
Muslim women are compelled to cover and conceal their whole body except the face, hands and feet. Muslim males are also required to dress in loose and unrevealing clothing in order to maintain their modesty and dignity.
A mother has the greatest influence on a child, especially in the earlier years through her affection, care and love. Undoubtedly, the success of a society is due to mothers. Therefore, it is only right for Islam to honour and raise their status. Reward is not only given to the good and kind treatment towards mothers. In fact, Islam has designated a special reward for raising daughters that is not granted for raising sons.
Muslim women are obliged to dress covering the entire body except the face, feet and palms. This is because women are meant to be protected and well safeguarded just as the electrical wires are always insulated to avoid electrical shock. The covering of women is not to oppress them but this shows how vital they are, their precious bodies are not to be shown to strange men.
Islam, unlike other religions, offers justice between sexes. For example, Islam dismisses the idea that Eve is more to blame than Adam for eating the forbidden fruit. According to Islam, Adam and Eve both sinned, they both repented and Almighty God forgave them both.
Islam also equally commands men and women to acquire secular as well as religious knowledge. Allah Almighty created men and women to be different, with unique roles, skills and responsibilities. These responsibilities are not viewed as evidence of superiority or inferiority, but of specialisation. In Islam, the family is of central importance. The man is responsible for the financial well-being of the family while the woman contributes to the physical, educational and emotional well-being. This encourages and promotes co-operation rather than competition.
By fulfilling their mutual responsibilities, strong families are created and hence strong societies. Emotionally, neither men nor women live a happy life without one another.
To conclude, ponder and reflect why many women around the globe willingly enter into the fold of Islam if it is an oppressive religion. May Allah Almighty grant us the best understanding. — Aameen