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Women in IslamIt is often stated that Islam considers women to be in a relatively lower position of a human being than men, and many times we hear that the Prophet Muhammad has been reputed as being 97Safinat al-Bihar, v.2 p.553. 98Shahab al-Akbar, p.194. 99Usul al-Kafi, v.2 p.164. 100Ibid., v.2 p.201.
108 Discovering Islam“anti-women.” However, upon an in-depth examination of the Quran and the sayings and practices of the Prophet, one finds this to be a disingenuous accusation. The Prophet was greatly aware about the rights of women and spoke about their lofty status. In fact, he fought actively to respond to them through legislation, and private and public practice. An entire chapter of the Quran entitled “The Women” discusses a woman’s spirituality, in addition to her domestic and social rights. The chapter begins with, “O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord Who created you from a single soul, and He created its mate out of it, and from them both He created many men and women.” (4:1) Oftentimes, Islam has been depicted and judged by the misconduct of some Muslims, rather than by the content and philosophy of its teachings. Islam equalizes men and women in their creation, religious obligations, honor, and dignity. Islam has recognized women as an integral part of life, however it also recognizes that there are natural differences in the peculiarities of each gender hence they require varying guidelines of life. The female, as a mother, differs in her personality than that of the man, as a father, and thus for each gender, there is a specified message of life. Islam innovated social and individual rights for women, and respectively, has accredited women as full partners in life. She is entitled to pursue an education and no career is closed to her, unless it interferes with their dignity, respect, and chastity in society. Islam enables a woman to own and dispose of her property without the consent of her father or husband or any other male family member. She is able to contract and manage her own business affairs, as well as to earn and manage her own
Other Islamic Issues 109money, and Islam entitles her to an inheritance as a mother, daughter, sister, and wife! Muslim women have the full right to choose their own husbands without pressure or intimidation and an ‘arranged marriage’ - one which is carried out without the tacit consent or acknowledgment of the woman is unlawful in Islam and the marriage mahr(gift) (which her and her husband decide upon) is solely for her. She is entitled to vote (which is considered to be a religious duty), and to give her opinion or opposition in issues. The Quran states, “O Prophet! When believing women come to you to give you political and religious allegiance … then accept their allegiance…” (60:12)Her penalty in a civil offense is the same as a man’s and if she is harmed, she is entitled to just compensation.