Prophet of Mercy Web site Team
10 WAYS THE PROPHET r CONTRIBUTED
THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN
A close study of the Islamic sources clearly demonstrates the high and honourable position of Women in Islam. Throughout his life, the Prophet Muhammad r stressed the rights of women and in this brief article; I would like to outline some of these points. Though one can write volumes on this topic, I have limited myself to ten random points for the sake of brevity.
1. EQUALITY IN HUMANITY
Fourteen hundred years ago, most societies viewed women as second-class citizens. Many centuries later, Europe engaged itself in heated debates to determine whether women even had souls, in comparison to all this, the Prophet Muhammad r taught the equality of men and women in terms of humanity.
Almighty Allah says in the Qur'án:
"O Mankind, keep your duty to your Lord who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate, and from them both He created many men and women…" (Qur'án 4:1)
In another verse of the Qur'án, we find:
"The believers, men and women, are helpers, supporters, friends and protectors of one another. They enjoin all that is good and forbid all that, which is evil…" (Qur'án: 9:71)
2. RIGHT TO LIFE
In Pre-Islamic Arabia, girls were seen as a burden and therefore some of the tribes allowed the practice of female infanticide. The Prophet r spoke against this evil custom and declared such crimes as murder.
The Qur'an describes it as follows:
“And when one of them is informed of [the birth of] a female, his face becomes dark, and he suppresses grief. He hides himself from the people because of the ill of which he has been informed. Should he keep it in humiliation or bury it in the ground? Unquestionably, evil is what they decide.” (Qur’ān: 16:58-59)
In another verse of the Qur'án, Allah says:
"And when the female (infant) buried alive, is questioned for what crime she was killed". (Qur'án: 81:8-9)
In contrast to this evil custom, the Prophet r taught:
“Whoever supports two daughters until they reach the age of puberty, he will come on the Day of Resurrection with me [like this], and he joined his fingers.” (Muslim)
3. RIGHT TO EDUCATION
Sadly, even to this day, many women are not given the opportunity to education. Not is this only unjust, but also directly affects the future generations. The Prophet r realized that mothers were the primary source of education for children and therefore, made education compulsory on everyone.
In one narration, he r said:
"Seeking knowledge is compulsory for each and every believer (i.e. male and female)." (Reported by ibn Májah and al-Bayhaqí)
In particular, the Prophet r assigned a day of the week, where women were given the opportunity to directly learn from him. Moreover, in his sermons he would address both men and women. It is no surprise to know, that his wife ‘Ayshā (may Allah be pleased with her) is regarded as one of the foremost scholars in Islamic History.
4. RIGHT TO PROPERTY
A woman in Islam has the right to keep her property or wealth, whether earned or inherited. She can own, buy, sell and undertake any type of financial transaction without the need for guardianship, restrictions or limitations. The right undergoes no change whether she is single or married. Additionally, Islam restored to women the right to inheritance, after she herself was an object of inheritance in some cultures.
Almighty Allah says in the Qur'án:
“There is a share for men and a share for women from what is left by parents and those nearest related, whether, the property be small or large - a legal share.” (Qur’ān: 4:7)