Status of Women in Islam



The Quran and the traditions of the Holy prophet (P.B.U.H) has guaranteed to every Muslim women certain rights and obligations. Islam has given extensive rights to women and increased her status from chattel to equal creature to man.

Status as mother:

Status of mother is high in Islam. “Even paradise lies underneath the fact of your mother”. When asked which work pleases Allah most, the Holy prophet replied. “The service of worship at the appointed hour and to be bounteous to your father and mother”.

Status as wife:

“The best among you is the one who is best towards his wife. At the time of last sermon, the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) said, “Verily there are rights in favour of your women, which are incumbent upon you. And there are rights in favour of you which are incumbent upon them……… I command you to treat women well, because they are like captives in your house, possessing nothing for themselves and you, on your part, take them as a deposit from God……”

Status as Daughter:

Islam has severely criticized the pre-Islamic Arab tradition of burying the female child alive and termed it as a great sin. Islam has declared the birth of a female child as a blessing from Allah.

Rights of women:

The rights afforded by Islam to women are briefly discussed below.

Right to property.

According to Islamic law, the women possess absolute right over her property. The property of a woman cannot be severable from the property of her father or husband and property of woman cannot be used to discharge liability outstanding against her husband’s or father’s property.

Right to Inheritance.

Pre-Islamic Arab women have no right to inherit. In the year 3.A Aus Bin Thabit died leaving behind widow and four daughters of tender age. So the cousins of Aus took all the property and family become destitute and deprived of the means of livelihood. At that time law of inheritance was revealed and different shares were prescribed for different sharers. Women were also given certain shares under the Islamic law of inheritance.

Women consent in marriage:

The Quran specifically prohibits taking women into marriage without their consent. A marriage contract entered without the consent of woman is nullity in the eyes of law and a sin in Islam.

Right to seek judicial separation:

The court of justice also possesses the right of separation of couple on the plaint of the wife without special proof (Khula). The right to seek judicial separation through Khula, subject to surrendering dower, is a great right afforded by Islam to women.

Equal status to man:

Islam has afforded equal status to both man and woman. However, the status of woman though equal but is not identical with man. Many orientalist argue that Islam has discriminated women from her share in inheritance. However, the fact remains that in Islamic society, it is the responsibility of man to manage income for the family, whereas the property of woman cannot be used to meet daily expenses that is why Islam has made certain relaxations in favour of man. Further, women have been given many relaxations where they are in disadvantageous position.

Right to education:

“Seeking knowledge is mandatory for all Muslims (male and female)”

Right to participate in social and religious matter.

Islam grant women freedom of choice and expression women pose questions directly to the Holy prophet and other Muslim leaders and offer their opinion, concerning religions economic and social matters.

Right to vote.

Women have right to participate in vote political process and to cast their vote.

Obligations of women.

Religious obligations:

To believe in tauheed and offer religious duties. However, there are certain relaxations  in case of women under some circumstances.

Social duties:

Like men, women are prohibited from playing games of chance, lotteries etc. Further, they have an equal duty to participate in the policy of Islam of distribution of wealth and thus to give Zakat on savings.

Duty of morality:

Islam laid down a comprehensive duty of morality. If spirituality is our duty in our relations with our creator, morality has the same place in our mutual relations with fellow-being. All religion says that adultery and fornification is bad but Islam would go further and prescribe the means to diminish the temptations. Islam expects from women to have a deep sense of morality.

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