People in the West consider Muslim women a figure with a veil that is voiceless and has no rights. Unfortunately, not only Western people but Muslims also don’t understand Muslim women according to Islam. Islam is not one nation religion; several nations practiced Islam in different cultures. So the concept of Muslim women was different in each nation. Women had no rights even before the advent of Islam; women could not sell their properties. Before Islam, Newborn girls were buried alive in Saudi Arabia. A widow could not marry, and there were different social conditions for women with respect to marriage, inheritance, and education.
But, Islam has set certain rights for Muslim women. According to Prophet Muhammad’s teachings, Muslim women have a special place and rights in all areas of life.
Quotes about social rights of Muslim women
Prophet Mohammad (s.a.a.w) said that “Paradise lies under the feet of mothers”.
“Men are support for women,”
“Among the praiseworthy acts to Allah is to treat your mother with honor and respect,”
“Be just among your children, daughters and sons, provide them a good education and proper upbringing.”
If we look at the history we would see that Muslim men and women fought together against their enemy. Muslim women had the right to give a vote for Prophet(s.a.a.w), to select him as a political leader. She could participate in political, social and military matters. Muslim women had individual rights in all areas. Let’s take an example of Fatima, who is the daughter of Prophet Mohammad (s.a.a.w), she was very educated and worked for human rights. The Prophet (s.a.a.w) gave her lot of respect, and when she entered the room, Mohammad would stand to give his place to her.
Muslim women and Property
According to Islamic laws, Muslim women have rights to buy and sell their properties. A woman in Islam inherits her parents’ property that is half the property shared by her brother. Likewise, the daughter has a choice to support her kids or parents, but it’s not an obligation. The property laws are clear from Quran, but some people follow them and some don’t. A Muslim woman has a right over her dowry after she gets married. She can claim her dowry from the husband, and if divorce happens she gets a share from her husband’s property. Widow also has a right to her dead husband’s property.
Muslim women, Marriage, and Divorce
Islamic law gives full rights to a Muslim woman to choose her life partner. Nobody can force her to marry. We have a great example of Fatima because Prophet Mohammad (s.a.a.w) asked her decision if she wanted to marry Hazrat Ali.
Divorce is allowed in Islam under certain circumstances. Man can divorce his wife for some serious reasons. Likewise, the woman can also ask for divorce under some circumstances, and that’s called khula. Polygamy has certain regulations according to Islam. Quran (IV: 3) says “If you feel that you will be able to deal justly with orphans, marry the women of your choice one, two, three, or four. But if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with them, then marry only one.” A Muslim man cannot marry another woman without his first wife’s permission. Islam gives full permission to women to marry another man after the divorce. She should also marry after the death of her husband. But, the widow has to pass through Idat for a particular time according to Quran.
Muslim women and veil
According to Prophet Mohammad (s.a.a.w), and (Quran, XXIV:30, 31): “Tell believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty, that will make for greater purity for them and say to the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their modesty and they should not display their beauty and ornaments….” This law set a rule for women that they should cover themselves from head to toe. But, people misunderstood all these laws thinking that women should stay at home. It’s not so, a woman can participate in all social, political, and educational activities, but should stay within the Islamic practice.