Women In Islam:
Status of women in Islam is a hot issue in the modern secular countries. In many situations the Muslims defend the given status by claiming that when Islam introduced rights of Muslim women, the female majority of the world was not considered even human beings.
It id today’s reality that women have got social, legal, economic and political status in western society in the result of a long history of struggle. In the process, they have lost benefits of family system, a part of their mental peace and special privileges but they are enjoying better status than women living in the Muslim countries.
Irony of the situation is that the most prime source of Muslim Jurisdiction; Quran and Sunnah give certain rights which are identical or even better to the rights of women given in the West. But they are neither prevailing nor being protected in most of the Muslim countries. In certain situations the women in some Muslim societies are treated like a commodity in the ownership of their men like fathers, brothers or husbands. You may label these societies as Muslim societies but they can’t be termed as Islamic societies.
How Status of Women in Islam can be Measured?
While arguing the Muslim women rights, the critics exemplify from the existing Muslim societies in Pakistan, India, Africa, Arab etc. Adopting a practical approach they claim that whatever Quran says about status of women in Islam is sacramental in nature. Practically, the Muslim society neither recognizes certain rights of women nor is ready to enforce them willingly. In our opinion there are certain issues to be kept in mind while discussing the status of women in Islam:
• The status of women in Islam must not be measured on the status of women in today’s Muslim societies. A big part of world population is Muslim but they are strongly influenced by their local marriage cultures and customs. In some situations they follow local customs to the extent of violation of Quranis instructions.
• You can’t measure a machine with the expertise of its operator. Similarly you may not measure status of women in Islam vis-à-vis status being offered to women in today’s Muslim societies.
• The basic sources of Islamic jurisdiction are Quran and Sunnah. There is no contradiction in the contents of Quran. And Sunnah is derived from Ahadiths which don’t contradict Quran anyway.
• There may be differences between different groups of Muslims on meanings and interpretation of certain Quranic verses. We believe that scholars of all sects have been making their best efforts to interpret Quran. Anyone of them may err in opinion but not in good faith. The Muslims should try to follow the verdict which is closest to Quran in their own opinions. You shall not be judged for the opinions expressed by different scholars but for your own beliefs and actions.
• In these pages we may follow the enlightened opinions of the modern scholars. Every Muslim should try to learn Quran and develop your own judgment in the light of Quran, Sunnah, act of companions of Muhammad (PBUH), Muslim jurisdiction and opinions expressed by different scholars.
• The Quran is a miracle, no doubt in it. It does not explain everything at one place. Without breaking the context, Quran explains different shades of an issue at different places. Similarly, status of women in Islam can not be established basing upon one or two verses of Quran. Instead all related places in Quran are to be analyzed while discussing rights of women in Islam.
Status of Women and Men by Quran
“We have honored the descendants of Adam; provided means to transport on land and sea; given them things good and pure for sustenance; and conferred upon them special favors, above a great part of our creation.” (17:70)
Quran is not addressing me here but all descendants of Adam. They include men and women. The both sexes are equally honored. They may be different in structures but no in the honor that Quran bestows upon them. Neither of them has a right to claim superiority over the other just for the virtue of birth.
Degradation of Women is Rejected by Quran
In many places of the world including Muslim societies, the women are considered inferior to men in many ways. The girls are not welcomed. However, if they are born the whole family becomes sad and depressed. This attitude resembles to the prevailing attitude of Arabs before Islam. The Holy Quran has condemned this mentality as follows:
“When news is brought to one of them of the (birth) of a female (child), his face darkens and he is filled with inward grief. The birth of a girl is considered such a disgraceful event that he hides himself with shame from the people because of the bad news announced to him. He begins to think whether he should keep her alive with disgrace or bury her in the dust, in order to save himself from this ignominy. Ah! What an evil (choice) he decides on her.” (16:58-59
The result of such an attitude has degraded status of women in Muslim societies as well. They are kept away from education, art and science. They are considered foolish and ignorant. Their opinions are not given due weight. They are forced to live a life which is not acceptable under Quranic injunctions.
Will it change ever?