- Respectable place of women in Islam
- Bad condition of women in history
- Graceful status and rights of women given by Islam
- Rights of women in western countries
- Law regarding the betterment of women in Pakistan
- Role of women in modern era
The world is the book of women. Whatever knowledge they may possess is more commonly acquired by observation than by reading.
In every age and in every country and by all sorts of people, woman has often been condemned as something evil and considered inferior to man. But Islam gave a very respectable place to woman. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) has said, “Verily, the paradise lies under the feet of your mother”. Islamic social system gives much more importance to woman as compared to the other social systems of the world. In the Quran, we find that woman is called a blessing for the society as well as for the family.
Before the advent of Islam, woman was in a miserable condition and she was regarded as a burden and disgrace for the family and the society. That is why the female infanticide was prevalent among the Arabs and many fathers buried their daughters alive as soon as they were born.
Besides, there were many other customs, which forced women to lead an immoral life. In those days a woman used to live no less than a prostitute. Four types of marriage were in vogue in addition to temporary or “Muta” marriage. She was not a free agent to contract marriage and there was a practice prevalent of marrying woman by force. In the case of dower, the guardian of the girl used to take the dower himself. Many other customs were prevalent to deprive them i.e. a widow’s share for life of husbands’ estate, the widow of her dower. Polygamy was universally prevalent. It means that there was no restriction on a person about the number of wives and he even married more than half a dozen of women. Above all there was no prohibition even to marrying his own stepmother and after the death of the father; his heirs divided the wives of their father among themselves like other articles of his property. In Hindustan, to burn the widow alive with the dead body of her husband is still in vogue in some remote parts of India. This custom is called “Sati”.
In case of divorce or “Talag”, men were absolutely free to release themselves from the marital obligations or ties. On the other hand, wives had no rights to release themselves from the clutches of their husbands. Similarly, a woman was debarred from inheritance and she could acquire property only under the guardianship of her parent or any other male member of her family or relatives. If they were dishonest, the woman had no remedy in that case.
Slave trade was in vogue and one man could easily transfer them to another. They were used for only sexual satisfaction and no more. They had no self-esteem and they became a tool in the hands of the people of “Jahiliya” period and those people could use them according to their discretion, for instance, a prostitute a concubine or a slave.
But Islam abolished all those evil customs in which a woman was forced to lead a miserable and deplorable life. Islam raised her to a very high mark and gave her a respectable and graceful status in society. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has said “God has created three very precious things i.e. program, woman and prayer”. The Holy Quran describes woman as . the companion of man. Islam polished the intellectual, moral and spiritual abilities of woman. The rights of woman and obligations on man towards woman are mentioned in the Quran.
The teachings, examples and precepts of the Holy Prophet tell us the importance of woman as a mother, as a sister, as a daughter and as a wife and mention the prohibited degrees for marriage and also describe that marriage is essential for the legitimacy of children as well as for morality because in this way we can build up an exemplary society. :: Islam emphasis upon the education of the women because a woman cannot become a good citizen without education. According to the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
“To get the knowledge is obligatory on both man and woman.”
The logic behind this is that if we educate a man, we educate an individual; but if we educate a woman, we educate a family.
Islam gives woman the right of inheritance. Similarly a husband is bound to pay the full amount of dower to his wife after consummation of marriage and in case of his death, his heirs are bound to pay the dower amount and if they do not pay the dower amount it is recovered from them as the arrears of land revenue. Since Islam makes a man responsible for looking after of his wife, she is set free from economic worry. That’s why Islam imposes restrictions on polygamy when a man cannot manage the maintenance of more than one wife. Islam makes it obligatory for a man to treat all his wives equally and pay equal attention to all his wives.
In Islam, we find that a woman can become a “Mutwalli” of trust property except where the Mutwalli has to perform religious duties or spiritual functions which cannot be performed by a woman. Similarly, a woman is a competent witness and she is also a competent judge to perform the duties of a Qazi. According to the Hanfi school of thought, a woman is a competent judge except in cases of Hadud and Qisas.
Although there is some contradiction about the Diyat of a woman but one thing is certain that Diyat has to be paid. It is compulsory. It is only the amount of it, which is disputed. This thing tells us the importance of a woman. Similarly, there are many harsh punishments for those people who ill-treat women.
In western countries where law governs morality, marriage with stepmother is legal. It is the judgment of Privy Counsel in 1989. In 1959 the law was abolished in which the Homosexuality and lesbianism was an offence. Consented prostitution is allowed there. In America and England clubs are built for exchange of wives. Uterus leasing contract is legal, and even in England Virgin mothers were granted a legalized status in 1991. All this analysis brings home to us that woman in the western society is living in a depressed and squalid world.
In Pakistan, many laws have been enacted for the betterment of the women community and even Federal Shariat Court has given the right to women that they can give the evidence even in Zina (Adultery) cases, because the chapter No. 2 and verse No. 283 of the Quran has said.
“Don’t hide the evidence”, punishments are death penalty, eighty cains (Koray), Rajam or stoning to death etc. These punishments are related to rape or the murder of a woman. There are also some rigorous punishments for those who get the benefit from the compulsion of a woman.
If we compare the facilities provided by Islam to a woman with the facilities of other societies or religions to a woman then we find that there is a lot of difference between the status of Muslim woman and a Non-Muslim woman, though the Non-Muslim woman is much more advanced and independent than the Muslim woman yet she usually leads an immoral life and she merely becomes a puppet in the hands of complex modern civilized man. A brief survey of the west elucidates that the woman of the West has abandoned all the moral values and now she lives a life of aloofness or solitude and thus loneliness makes her a patient of depression and anxiety.
Islam has told us the fundamental principles and these principles are regarded as the milestone of a remarkable society. And for a remarkable society it is compulsory that a woman works for the betterment of the society under the supervision of her husband or guardian.
The sum and substance of this discussion is that the status or respect being enjoyed by a woman in an Islamic society cannot even be dreamt of in other societies of the world. And it is Islam where her honor and self-esteem is safe and secure and she has much more chances to improve her condition than the woman of other societies.
The injunctions of Islam are very easy and it is not difficult to act upon them. In this way a woman after entering the fold of Islam gets such facilities as are necessary for her betterment and national progress. Hence a woman in Islam acquires a unique status, which she cannot get in other religions.