Women Rights in Islam [Archives:2003/674/Culture]

October 6 2003

By Fatima Mohammed Nasser
Everybody has rights to entertain and duties to fulfill. No one can totally ignore women's rights especially in Islamic countries because Islam as a universal religion that was revealed upon Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him) has granted the woman many rights preserving her dignity and personality as a vital constituent of the society. Islamic teachings take care of every aspect in human's life (social, political, relationships etc). In addition to that, everything related to women and children that were neglected before Islam is taken into account and granted in Islam. Islam ensures that the woman must be given all her rights and there are many texts dealing with these rights mentioned in various chapters of the Holy Qura'n.
If we hold a comparison between the women's position before and after Islam, we will know the big difference. Before Islam, there was no right for the woman to speak or even think about her rights. She was almost nothing, no one respected her. She was like a servant doing everything to satisfy the man's needs such as cooking and taking care of the children and nothing more. Sometimes the girl who was just born was killed by her father as a rule in some very backward segments of the society for no reason but for fear of shame befalling the family by females, according to their very backward thinking. The woman couldn't even ask about her inheritance that she is liable to take from her parents or family. Women must obey orders without any right to discuss or object. She shouldn't choose what she could actually do or not do. The woman lived under such inhumane life circumstances until the advent of Islam spread throughout the earth as the light of the sun.
Islam came and changed all the cruel rules and stood by the woman. The woman became an active member in her community. She has become as equal as man in most of life affairs. Islam always encourages the woman to contribute to development of the society. There is no difference between man and woman, he who does well will be the best. There are people who claim that Islam forces women to wear a veil and doesn't let her work at places where men work. They allege that Islam allows women to work just in certain occupations as a teacher or a doctor. But we tell those that Islam gives the woman rights that are not granted in any religion in the world.
I think that wearing the veil protects the woman against certain awkward situations she may face in her daily life. Westerners ask for woman's emancipation. But what kind of freedom are they looking for? Is it in disobeying her family, disrespecting herself or mixing with foreign people? Or is it in removing the veil? Islam emancipates the woman and gives her the right to participate in every field and when Islam asks the woman not to do something which is against Islamic instructions that is only to save her. The woman in Islam is freer than her counterparts in any other parts of the world because emancipation and rights are granted by the Almighty God not by people.