So how would you define a Muslim woman? An uneducated and illiterate woman? Someone who is covered from head to toe forcefully? or someone who is a victim of men’s brutality, and have little or no rights at all. Isn’t it how women are projected through Western media? Majority of the people form their opinion through media which is aimed to show that, Islam doesn’t believe in the equality of men and women. This image of Muslim women created by media is biased, and has nothing to do with reality, it’s to misguide people against Islam, as more and more women are turning to Islam, the western media is spreading false propaganda against it. The western representation of women is based on distorted images, fabricated views and over generalization. Edward said, American literary theorist, noted that “the west promotes deep-rooted hatred for Islam.”
So, what it is about Islam that attracts its followers from throughout the world. Islam is the second main religion of Europe. Why do we see European as well as American converts are mostly women? If Islam doesn’t give women any rights or discriminate between the genders-male and female. Then why more and more women are embracing Islam today. Why Muslim women are not giving up on Islam, they even strive to pass it on to their children, no matter which part of world they live in, they hold strongly to Islam. Despite the common belief that Muslim women are oppressed in Islam, why some women feel that, it’s actually women in the West who are being the victims.
Women before Islam:
Women before the advent of Islam had no rights, they were treated like slaves, they had no independence, couldn’t make any decisions regarding their own well-being, they couldn’t own a property or inherit. They were considered as burden. Women were used by men for one purpose only, and then discarded. Women were often distributed as looted property among men. Their situation was miserable.
A family where a baby girl was born was considered as a source of humiliation, and were often buried alive. After the death of a husband, wives were even shared among sons of a father. In Hinduism there was a practice of ‘Sati’, according to which, if a husband died, a woman would be burnt too. All this clearly shows that women had no respect in any role, not even as a mother before the arrival of Islam.
Treating Women with Respect:
It wouldn’t be wrong to state that Islam is the only religion that give women rights, which weren’t given to them earlier. Islam believes in giving women respect and treat them with kindness. Women in every role in Islam are given respect, be it a mother, sister or a wife. But Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) especially emphasized on the respect of a mother to such an extent that, he declared that ‘Jannah lies under her feet’.
Nowhere in Quran its written that, men are superior to women in anyway. The Quran says in more than one verse, that those who do good deeds and are believers whether ‘male or female’ will be given reward in abundance.
Once a man came to Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) asking for his advice to go on a military expedition that is Jihad, to which he asked a man, if he had a mother, he replied, “Yes”. Prophet said, ‘Stay with her, then, for paradise is under her feet’.
Right to Choose a Spouse:
Yes, Muslim women are allowed to choose a spouse for themselves, can have a look at them, and can even meet them in person, it’s not at all prohibited in Islam, contrary to the common belief .Once a woman approached Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) and complained that her father got her married to her cousin against her will, upon hearing that, Prophet called for her father and in his presence asked a girl if she wanted to stay married or nullify the marriage. This practice of forcing a girl into marriage has more to do with culture, and has no basis in Islam, infact its prohibited.
Islam Believes in Justice:
Islam believes in giving both men and women the rights to which they are entitled to. A man is a guardian of his house and will be asked about them. A woman on the other hand is guardian of her husband’s house and wealth. She will be asked about her responsibility. Men being physically stronger than women are given the responsibility to earn , and take care of the family needs. Islam doesn’t believe in giving burden to women for earning, as well as taking care of their house hold duties (as in west) it regards them as fragile and delicate. Hence, it’s best if they stay inside the security of their houses. Islam believes in the division of responsibilities between a man and a woman to which they are capable of.But no where it’s said that it’s forbidden in Islam for women to work, they can work, if financial need arises, or if a woman has a passion for any particular profession (provided it is in accordance with Islam) However, it would be best if she let man take the responsibility to take care of her needs.
Islam Considers Women Precious:
Islam considers woman as a ‘precious jewel’. It doesn’t believe in show casing women but to cover them. She is far too precious to be viewed by just any man. Her charms and beauty are only reserved for her husband. Just like an expensive jewel kept in a lock away from prying eyes, Hence, Islam believes in covering women in veil for high security and protection. Unlike west, where women are used from cars to toothpastes ads, to sell their products.
Islam Believes in Compassion with Women:
Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) was the most compassionate with his wives. He always made sure that he helped his wives with house hold chores, mended his own clothes, he was even kind to them, when they stood up and answered him back. There is no incidence recorded where Prophet treated his women with disrespect or humiliated them in public.
Prophet Muhammad said,
“I highly recommend that you treat women with goodness. The best of you are those who treat their wives the best”
Thus, Men and women are both equal in Islam, there is no such thing as men being superior to women or otherwise, if there are certain restrictions for women, that too are for their own benefit, it’s a blessing in disguise rather than inequality