Islam came to honor women and give them their rights and enhance their status. Our beloved prophet said the following about women’s rights:
Abu Hurairah reported that a man came to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and asked: “O Messenger of Allah, who is the person who has the greatest right on me with regards to kindness and attention?” He replied, “Your mother.” “Then who?” He replied, “Your mother.” “Then who?” He replied, “Your mother.” “Then who?” He replied, “Your father.”
The prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“All people are equal, as the teeth of a comb. There is no claim of merit of an Arab and non-Arab, or a white over a black person, or a male over a female. Only God fearing people merit a preference with God.” [Ahmad b. Hanbal, Al-Musnad, vol. 6, p. 411.]
In many countries Islam is used against women to oppress them, changing the meaning of the Quranic verses, and sunnah just to force women to behave according to what they please. It is essential for women all over the world to learn and understand their rights in Islam, and not to let anyone control them in the name of Islam.
Because as a matter of fact, Islam chooses that women are equal to men, they are not property or something to control. Therefore, we will discuss some of the women’s rights based on Sharia, with hadiths and Quranic verses to illustrate.
Women before Islam.
Before Islam and the Islamic Sharia women were treated as property, or something to own and control. They were treated like slaves with no rights, they weren’t allowed to get their share as inheritance, nor be treated as human beings.
Before Islam, women were forced to work in prostitution, actually, some men forced their wives to work in prostitution. Men were allowed to marry any number of women, to marry two sisters at the same time, and do whatever they please with women.
Women were used as a sort of payment, if the man couldn’t pay his dept then his wife will be taken instead, as if women are something to own. When a female child was born the father will bury her alive to wash away his embracement.
Women’s Rights in Islam.
Islam came to change everything, to show that women are equal to men and that they have rights. Women are not property and a female child is not a bad omen and shouldn’t be buried alive. But what are women’s rights in Islam from a sharia perspective? Let’s find out:
1. Women as wives in Islam.
Islam shows every man how to treat his wife with kindness. Sharia Islam shows that women have rights over their husbands. Men should treat their wives with kindness, make them live a descent life, and help them, not to treat them badly, take their money with force, and beat them up as some men do.
When the Islamic sharia says that a man has a degree over his wife, it doesn’t mean that he is better than her and that he can force her to do anything, what it means is that he is the one who is responsible to spend on the house and take care of the family.
Allah says in the holy Quran:
“O believers! It is not permissible for you to inherit women against their will1 or mistreat them to make them return some of the dowry ˹as a ransom for divorce˺—unless they are found guilty of adultery.2 Treat them fairly. If you happen to dislike them, you may hate something which Allah turns into a great blessing.” [al-Nisa 4:19]
“O humanity! Be mindful of your Lord Who created you from a single soul, and from it He created its mate,1 and through both, He spread countless men and women. And be mindful of Allah—in Whose Name you appeal to one another—and ˹honour˺ family ties. Surely Allah is ever Watchful over you.” (al-Nisa 4:1)
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Women are the twin halves of men.”
Allah says in the holy Quran:
“They (your wives) are your garment and you are a garment for them.” (2:187)
“And among His signs is this, that He has created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquillity with them; and He has put love and mercy between you. Verily in that are signs for those who reflect.” (30:21)
And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “I urge you to treat women well.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari, 331; Muslim, 1468)
The prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Fear Allah in respect of women.”
“The best of you are they who behave best to their wives.”
“A Muslim must not hate his wife, and if he be displeased with one bad quality in her, let him be pleased with one that is good.”
“The more civil and kinder a Muslim is to his wife, the more perfect in faith he is.”
The prophet encouraged his followers to help the widow. Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet said: “One who makes efforts (to help) the widow or a poor person is like a mujahid (warrior) in the path of Allah, or like one who stands up for prayers in the night and fasts in the day.”
Also, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The best of you is the one who is best to his wife, and I am the best of you to my wives.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 3895; Ibn Majah, 1977; classed as sahih by al-Albani in Sahih al-Tirmidhi)
2. Women as daughters in Islam.
One of the women’s rights in Islam is to be treated with kindness, to give her the right to live a her life, not to bury her alive. Islam Sharia encourages men to raise their daughters well, educate them, and give them their rights.
In order to encourage men to take care of their daughters the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever takes care of two girls until they reach adulthood, he and I will come like this on the Day of Resurrection,” and he held his fingers together. (Narrated by Muslim, 2631)
Ibn Majah (3669) narrated that ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amir (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: “Whoever has three daughters and is patient towards them, and feeds them, gives them to drink and clothes them from his riches, they will be a shield for him from the Fire on the Day of Resurrection.” (Classed as sahih by al-Albani in Sahih Ibn Majah)
3. Women as sisters and aunts in Islam.
Among the women’s rights in Islam is here right to be treated kindly as a sister and aunt.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “O people! Spread (the greeting of) salam, offer food (to the needy), uphold the ties of kinship, and pray at night when people are sleeping, and you will enter Paradise in peace.” (Narrated by Ibn Majah, 3251; classed as sahih by al-Albani in Sahih Ibn Majah)
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Allah, may He be exalted, said to the ties of kinship: ‘Whoever upholds you, I will support him, and whoever breaks you, I will cut him off.’” [Al-Bukhari (5988)]
4. Women as mothers in Islam.
To show the significance of taking care of women as mothers in Islam, Allah said that the Paradise lies at the mother’s feet. Obeying your mother, taking care of her, respecting her, and making her happy, are of great reward to you.
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: A man came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said: “O Messenger of Allah, who is most deserving of my good company?” He said: “Your mother.” He said: “Then who?” He said: “Your mother.” He said: “Then who?” He said: “Your mother.” He said: “Then who?” He said: “Then your father.” [Al-Bukhari (5971) and Muslim (2548)]
Islam honors women and encourages men to treat them kindly. And to show the significance of a mother in Islam Allah said that the Paradise lies at the mother’s feet. The best and fastest way to paradise is being good to your mother, obeying her, and treating her with kindness. Pleasing one’s mother pleases Allah.
A mother has rights over you, you shouldn’t disobey her, make her angry, disrespect her, or hurt her with words. It is your duty toward your mother to be kind to her, do your best to see her happy, be there for her, and respect her, even when she grows old and weak. Take care of her just like she did when you were just a baby.
Allah says in the holy Quran:
وَوَصَّيْنَا ٱلْإِنسَـٰنَ بِوَٰلِدَيْهِ إِحْسَـٰنًا ۖ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُۥ كُرْهًۭا وَوَضَعَتْهُ كُرْهًۭا ۖ وَحَمْلُهُۥ وَفِصَـٰلُهُۥ ثَلَـٰثُونَ شَهْرًا ۚ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا بَلَغَ أَشُدَّهُۥ وَبَلَغَ أَرْبَعِينَ سَنَةًۭ قَالَ رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِىٓ أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ ٱلَّتِىٓ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَىَّ وَعَلَىٰ وَٰلِدَىَّ وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَـٰلِحًۭا تَرْضَىٰهُ وَأَصْلِحْ لِى فِى ذُرِّيَّتِىٓ ۖ إِنِّى تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَإِنِّى مِنَ ٱلْمُسْلِمِينَ ١٥
“We have commanded people to honor their parents. Their mothers bore them in hardship and delivered them in hardship. Their period of bearing and weaning is thirty months. In time, when the child reaches their prime at the age of forty, they pray, “My Lord! Inspire me to ˹always˺ be thankful for Your favors which You blessed me and my parents with, and to do good deeds that please You. And instill righteousness in my offspring. I truly repent to You, and I truly submit ˹to Your Will˺.” [al-Ahqaf 46:15]
۞ وَقَضَىٰ رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوٓا۟ إِلَّآ إِيَّاهُ وَبِٱلْوَٰلِدَيْنِ إِحْسَـٰنًا ۚ إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِندَكَ ٱلْكِبَرَ أَحَدُهُمَآ أَوْ كِلَاهُمَا فَلَا تَقُل لَّهُمَآ أُفٍّۢ وَلَا تَنْهَرْهُمَا وَقُل لَّهُمَا قَوْلًۭا كَرِيمًۭا ٢٣
وَٱخْفِضْ لَهُمَا جَنَاحَ ٱلذُّلِّ مِنَ ٱلرَّحْمَةِ وَقُل رَّبِّ ٱرْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِى صَغِيرًۭا ٢٤
“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honor.
And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: ‘My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was young’” [al-Isra 17:23, 24]
The prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) instructed us to treat our parents with kindness.
Mu’awiyah ibn Jahimiah al-Sulami (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said: O Messenger of Allah, I want to go for jihad (battle) with you, seeking thereby the Face of Allah and the Hereafter.
He said, “Woe to you! Is your mother still alive?” I said, Yes. He said, “Go back and honor her.”
Then I approached him from the other side and said: O Messenger of Allah, I want to go for jihad with you, seeking thereby the Face of Allah and the Hereafter. He said, “Woe to you! Is your mother still alive?” I said, Yes. He said, “Go back and honor her.”
Then I approached him from in front and said, O Messenger of Allah, I want to go for jihad with you, seeking thereby the Face of Allah and the Hereafter. He said, “Woe to you! Is your mother still alive?” I said, Yes. He said, “Go back and honor her (lit. stay by her feet), for there is Paradise.” [Classed as sahih by al-Albani in Sahih Sunan Ibn Majah.]
Before Islam, women didn’t have the right to get their share if Inheritance, because they were looked at as objects or property not equal, or human with rights. But Islam came and how the right of women to inherit.
Allah says in the holy Quran:
لِّلرِّجَالِ نَصِيبٌۭ مِّمَّا تَرَكَ ٱلْوَٰلِدَانِ وَٱلْأَقْرَبُونَ وَلِلنِّسَآءِ نَصِيبٌۭ مِّمَّا تَرَكَ ٱلْوَٰلِدَانِ وَٱلْأَقْرَبُونَ مِمَّا قَلَّ مِنْهُ أَوْ كَثُرَ ۚ نَصِيبًۭا مَّفْرُوضًۭا ٧
“For men there is a share in what their parents and close relatives leave, and for women there is a share in what their parents and close relatives leave—whether it is little or much. These are obligatory shares.” [An-Nisa: 7]
يُوصِيكُمُ ٱللَّهُ فِىٓ أَوْلَـٰدِكُمْ ۖ لِلذَّكَرِ مِثْلُ حَظِّ ٱلْأُنثَيَيْنِ ۚ فَإِن كُنَّ نِسَآءًۭ فَوْقَ ٱثْنَتَيْنِ فَلَهُنَّ ثُلُثَا مَا تَرَكَ ۖ وَإِن كَانَتْ وَٰحِدَةًۭ فَلَهَا ٱلنِّصْفُ ۚ وَلِأَبَوَيْهِ لِكُلِّ وَٰحِدٍۢ مِّنْهُمَا ٱلسُّدُسُ مِمَّا تَرَكَ إِن كَانَ لَهُۥ وَلَدٌۭ ۚ فَإِن لَّمْ يَكُن لَّهُۥ وَلَدٌۭ وَوَرِثَهُۥٓ أَبَوَاهُ فَلِأُمِّهِ ٱلثُّلُثُ ۚ فَإِن كَانَ لَهُۥٓ إِخْوَةٌۭ فَلِأُمِّهِ ٱلسُّدُسُ ۚ مِنۢ بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍۢ يُوصِى بِهَآ أَوْ دَيْنٍ ۗ ءَابَآؤُكُمْ وَأَبْنَآؤُكُمْ لَا تَدْرُونَ أَيُّهُمْ أَقْرَبُ لَكُمْ نَفْعًۭا ۚ فَرِيضَةًۭ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًۭا ١١
۞ وَلَكُمْ نِصْفُ مَا تَرَكَ أَزْوَٰجُكُمْ إِن لَّمْ يَكُن لَّهُنَّ وَلَدٌۭ ۚ فَإِن كَانَ لَهُنَّ وَلَدٌۭ فَلَكُمُ ٱلرُّبُعُ مِمَّا تَرَكْنَ ۚ مِنۢ بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍۢ يُوصِينَ بِهَآ أَوْ دَيْنٍۢ ۚ وَلَهُنَّ ٱلرُّبُعُ مِمَّا تَرَكْتُمْ إِن لَّمْ يَكُن لَّكُمْ وَلَدٌۭ ۚ فَإِن كَانَ لَكُمْ وَلَدٌۭ فَلَهُنَّ ٱلثُّمُنُ مِمَّا تَرَكْتُم ۚ مِّنۢ بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍۢ تُوصُونَ بِهَآ أَوْ دَيْنٍۢ ۗ وَإِن كَانَ رَجُلٌۭ يُورَثُ كَلَـٰلَةً أَوِ ٱمْرَأَةٌۭ وَلَهُۥٓ أَخٌ أَوْ أُخْتٌۭ فَلِكُلِّ وَٰحِدٍۢ مِّنْهُمَا ٱلسُّدُسُ ۚ فَإِن كَانُوٓا۟ أَكْثَرَ مِن ذَٰلِكَ فَهُمْ شُرَكَآءُ فِى ٱلثُّلُثِ ۚ مِنۢ بَعْدِ وَصِيَّةٍۢ يُوصَىٰ بِهَآ أَوْ دَيْنٍ غَيْرَ مُضَآرٍّۢ ۚ وَصِيَّةًۭ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَلِيمٌۭ ١٢
“Allah commands you regarding your children: the share of the male will be twice that of the female.1 If you leave only two or more females, their share is two-thirds of the estate. But if there is only one female, her share will be one-half. Each parent is entitled to one-sixth if you leave offspring.2 But if you are childless and your parents are the only heirs, then your mother will receive one-third.3 But if you leave siblings, then your mother will receive one-sixth4—after the fulfillment of bequests and debts.5 ˹Be fair to˺ your parents and children, as you do not ˹fully˺ know who is more beneficial to you.6 This is an obligation from Allah. Surely Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.
You will inherit half of what your wives leave if they are childless. But if they have children, then ˹your share is˺ one-fourth of the estate—after the fulfillment of bequests and debts. And your wives will inherit one-fourth of what you leave if you are childless. But if you have children, then your wives will receive one-eighth of your estate—after the fulfillment of bequests and debts. And if a man or a woman leaves neither parents nor children but only a brother or a sister ˹from their mother’s side˺, they will each inherit one-sixth, but if they are more than one, they ˹all˺ will share one-third of the estate1—after the fulfillment of bequests and debts without harm ˹to the heirs˺. This is a commandment from Allah. And Allah is All-Knowing, Most Forbearing.” [An-Nisa, 11:12]
Islam ensures the women’s right of Inheritance, and anyone who doesn’t do as Allah orders he will be punished.
6. Women’s Right in Islam to Seek Knowledge.
Women have the right to seek knowledge just like men, there is no difference between them in Islam. no one can stop women from acquiring knowledge and proper education.
7. The right to own properties.
Among the women’s rights in Islam is that women are free to own property just like a man does. She can buy a car, a house, or whatever she pleases.
8. Women have the right to work.
In Islam, women are free to work and choose their profession.
Islam shows that Women have rights and that they are equal to men. No matter what you hear about Islam oppressing women don’t believe it, Islam raised the status of women and showed the world that they are humans and have the right to be treated equally to men.
Yes, some people oppress women in the name of Islam and they will be punished for their doing. However, their actions don’t represent Islam.
In Islamic Sharia, women have the right to inherit, own property, seek knowledge and get educated, be respected, call people to Islam, buy and sell, give charity, work, travel, and do whatever they please.
Women have the right to be heard and express themselves, they have the right to live a decent life, and to give advice without facing aggression. While in other civilizations women are looked at as property, a bad omen, the work of a devil, and they think that women are only created to serve men and please them.
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