Position of woman in Islam
Misbah Mukhtar and Zarka Tasneem
Woman as an element of society has always remained under discussion. The modern world in the name of the ‘equality’ and ‘empowerment’ has made her a commodity, more marketable and saleable. But on the other hand Islam and true followers of Islam treat her in some other way, where her dignity, chastity and privacy is prioritized.
Before the advent of Islam, different civilizations of the world were treating women in a number of ways. From Roman Empire to different civilizations of West, she was treated as an asset of male gender, the possession went through different hands, from father to brother or husband, from husband to son. So this relocation never gave her confidence to challenge the atrocities committed on her. Her position was so much degraded that at some places notions were held that woman hardly belongs to human race. She was regarded as the source of all evils. In this ‘jahilya’ times, women were slaves and the men self-declared masters, and had to bear whatever was committed against her.
In this darkness in which women was engulfed, came a ray of hope. Prophet Mohammad (SAW) was given Divine ordinance to propagate the message of Islam (Islam-a complete code of conduct). Islam not only sifted the ritualistic part of this religion but also laid much stress on other aspects as well. It defined the relation between Creator and Creation, meaning of life, rights and duties of mankind against each other.
The advent of Islam proved blessing for women. It empowered her position in all aspects. Allah through Holy Quran laid much stress on the position and dignity of women. Allah says in QURAN in Surah NISA;4:32 “men have the reward from what they have earned (deeds), likewise women have the reward from what they have earned”. Both men and women will be rewarded on the basis of their deeds, and there will be no discrimination on the basis of gender. Allah says in the Qur’an, “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted (49:13).” Here again the division on the basis of gender, creed or caste is meaningless when it comes to deeds and this division is just to identify people. But this does not mean that the rights and the duties of men and women are not different at many times. Yes, at times the rights and duties are different but they hardly underestimate the position of one gender over the other. Say, when it comes to property division, they get less than men. Does this adversely affect their position? No. Because in certain aspects they have more rights than men e.g. as mother they have three times more rights vis-à-vis their children. To earn for home is the sole responsibility of men.
So, it is Islam which liberated women from the chains of ‘jahilya’ and empowered her. But with the passage of time, and by the corruption in Muslim monarchies and deviating from Islamic principles, we again degraded the position of women. Then came the Western wave of ‘women empowerment’. Under this disguise of women empowerment, she was degraded to a market commodity. Her chastity and dignity was crushed badly. In the name of liberation her beautify was made a public property. This not only satiated the lust of men but only fed the belly of capitalists. The half of the earnings women now consumed on cosmetics to beautify themselves for the sake of men. By this cleverness of ‘liberals’ and capitalists, the social fabric was devastated. The family system is in mess, where depression and anxiety is common.
So if we are really in a mode to empower women, we have to revisit the tenets of Islam. The panacea of women, rather of both genders lies in Islam. To inculcate basic principles of Islam among children and feed them doses of ethics and morality is need of hour. To say goodbye to Western version of women empowerment will be the first step to empower this section of civilization.
Misbah Mukhtar has recently qualified 10+2 and Aalimiyat from Jamiat Ul Banat, Srinagar.
Zarka Tasneem is 10+2 student at Govt Girls Higher Secondary School, Hamdwara.
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