FOR THE MUSLIMAH OF UMMAH - THE TRUE STATUS OF WOMEN IN ISLAM

Hundreds of years ago Islam gave women rights but now media headline scream oppression and the words Muslim. Women and oppression seem to have become inextricably linked. No matter what Muslim women do or say to try to convince the world otherwise, words like HIJAB, BURKA, POLYGAMY, and sharia seem to do little but convince people that Islam oppresses women. The most visible sign of a Muslim women’s faith is the headscarf of Hijab. It is also the garment that leads people to believe that Islam oppresses women. The women who chose to wear Hijab view it as right, not a burden and many describe wearing Hijab as liberation from the need to conform to unrealistic stereotypes and images dictated by the media. In 2005 a world Gallup poll entitled what women want: listening to the voices of Muslim women and the report concluded that most women in the Muslim world are well aware that they have the same capabilities and deserve the same fundamental rights as me. Majorities of females in each of the eight countries surveyed said they believe women are able to make their own voting decisions, to work at any job for which they are qualified and even to serve in the highest levels of the government.

Islam raised the level of women, they were no longer chattels being passed from father to husband. They became equal to men with rights and responsibilities that take into account the nature of humankind. Unfortunately, across the globe, Muslim women are victims of cultural aberrations that have no place in Islam. Powerful individuals and groups claim to be Muslim yet fail to practice the true principles of Islam. Whenever the media reveals unconscionable stories about honour killings, genital mutilation, forced marriage the punishment of rape victims, women were confirmed to their homes or women being denied education they are revealing a tale of men and women who are ignorant about Islam the status of women in Islam.

The Quran says: “O YOU WHO BELIEVE! YOU ARE FORBIDDEN TO INHERIT WOMEN AGAINST THEIR WILL, AND YOU SHOULD NOT TREAT THEM WITH HARSHNESS, THAT YOU MAY TAKE AWAY PART OF THE BRIDAL MONEY YOU HAVE GIVEN THEM AND LIVE WITH THEM HONOURABLY. IF YOU DISLIKE THEM, IT MAY BE THAT YOU DISLIKE A THING AND GOD BRINGS A GREAT DEAL OF GOOD THROUGH IT”. Quran 4:19 Religion Islam demands that women be treated with respect, honor and justice it condemns the oppression of any kind. In Islam women like men are commanded to believe in Allah and to worship him. Women are equal to men in terms of reward in the hereafter.

Women in Islam have the right to own property, to control their own money to buy and sell and to give gifts and charity. It is not permissible for anyone to take a women’s wealth without her consent. Islam gave women formal rights of inheritance. Right to an education seeking and acquiring knowledge is an obligation on all Muslims, Male or female. Muslim women have the right to accept or refuse marriage proposals as they see fit and married women are completely free from the obligation of supporting and maintaining the family. Working married women are free to contribute to the household expenses or not, as they see fit. Women have the right to seek divorce if it becomes necessary. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “ a matron should not be given in marriage except after consulting her and a virgin should not be given marriage except after her permission”. The asked O messenger of Allah, how can we know her permission? He said her silence indicates her permission.

The religion of Islam declares that women are worthy human being deserving respect and the right to be free from oppression. Women have the right to a decent life without facing aggression or abuse of any kind. They have the right to peruse a life that is pleasing to them within Islamic boundaries. Nobody has the right women to be less than they want to be and women should be held in a position of high regard. So it is not correct to say that Islam oppresses women if women were given their god given rights as set out in the religion of Islam, the global oppression of women could be trampled into oblivion. Prophet (PBUH) said “NONE BUT A NOBLEMAN TREATS WOMEN IN AN HONOURABLE MANNER. AND NONE BUT AN IGNORABLE TREATS WOMEN DISGRACEFULLY”…