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Women's Rights in Islam

 

Women's Rights in Islam  

Women's Rights and Islam in two different Views

Before discussing the rights of women in Islam, we need to show briefly how much of what is considered Islam in the modern world (as well as much of the historical world) differs from Islam as envisioned in the Quran. Islam is only Quran. Muslims have three human made religions (Sunni, Shi'a and Sufis.) that contradict Islam and its Quranic jurisprudence.

The rights of women in Muslim world that is practiced by the majority of Muslims today are not the same as the rights of women in the Quran, as we shall show. The Quran grants women equal rights with men to actively participate in society. This was at a time when such rights were denied to women in almost every society and culture in the world, from the West to the East.

 

Although it is considered the most sacred of books by all Muslims, the Qur’an is not the main source of Muslims law for most Muslims. Instead, much of their religious law which is considered Shari'a by most Muslims is derived from so-called "hadith ", and Imams or scholars who distorted the Quranic jurisprudence.

In the Middle Ages, Sunni Imams manipulated people's understanding of the true Islamic Quranic law as follows:

 

1. To add something that might contradict the Quran, they fabricated sayings, or "Hadith," and attributed them to Prophet Mohammad more than two centuries after his death. Those books of Hadith were written in the Abbasid era ( 750­ -1258  CE) and are still the main source of Sunni Shari’a today. For example: "The Book of Malik : Al Mowatta’", "The Book of Al Shafe’ee : Al­UMM", "The Book of Al Bukhari " and "The Book of Muslim."

 

2. To abrogate the pure Quranic laws in the Quranic verses (ayat), they claimed that certain verses were "mensoukh" or abrogated.

 

3. To change the Quranic meanings and terms, they used Tafseer (explanation) and Ta’weel (interpretation). The Quran is preserved and kept pure by Allah, so they could not change its written words. Therefore, they changed ("reinterpreted") their meanings and terminology, that is, the way they distorted the real religion of Islam.  

 

 As a matter of fact, there is no religious priesthood in Islam, and there are no Muslim "saints" in the Catholic sense.  The Quran does not promote or allow an Islamic "clergy," but on the contrary admonished each Muslim to think for him/herself. By establishing themselves as "knowledgeable ones" or giving themselves authority over the knowledge that is freely and clearly given to all Muslims in the Quran to access its truth directly without mediation, such 'ulama disobey Allah's book, the Quran.

 

"In this way God makes clear unto you His verses, so that you might [learn to] use your reason." (Quran 2:242). 

 

Justice in Islam Includes Upholding Just and Fair Rights for Women

 

Justice is the main value in Islam and in all the holy books/ revelations that were sent by Allah, including His final message, the Quran: "We sent aforetime our messengers with Clear Signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance (of Right and Wrong), that men may stand forth in justice;" (Quran 57:25) .Allah says in the Quran: "Surely Allah enjoins doing justice and doing good (to others), the giving (of charity) to kindred, and He forbids indecency, evil and rebellion (against His just law); He admonishes you that you may be mindful." (Quran 16: 90).

Prophet Mohammad was ordered to say: "I believe in the Book which Allah has sent down; and I am commanded to judge justly between you." (Quran 42: 15).

So, in the interest of justice, it is a must to understand all the details of the true Quranic Shari’a (Islamic Law). In different forms of man-made (non-Quranic) Shari’a, you will find many examples of injustice applied to various aspects of life, and one of these is the rights of women.

 

Inequality in the Sectarian Versions of "Muslim Law” vs. Equality under the real Islamic Law of the Quran

 

Shiites and Sunnis have different versions of Shari’a. Under Shiite Shari’a, women get (in general) more rights than under the Sunni Shari’a, such as in divorce, for example. The Shiites idolize Fatima, the daughter of Mohammad, and for this reason they give women more rights than Sunni clerics do.

The Sunni Shari’a represents the mighty power of the Muslim Empires (Umayyad, Abbasids, Mamelukes and Ottoman empires) and their medieval culture, even towards women’s rights. Under the mighty rule of Muslim Caliphs, women at that time were treated as second-class citizens.

As example, the book of Al Bukhari –the  most sacred text of Hadith for Sunni and Sufi Muslims – ­ attributes falsely to Prophet Mohammad the Hadith saying “Women are half in (their capacity of) mind and religious attitude/ understanding.”

Accordingly, those who believe this hadith say a woman should be sponsored, supported, protected by a man – father, husband, brother, even her son – for travel outside the home, and to work, for which she has to get his permission. Generally, she is prohibited in many ways to work. Some women whose husbands allow them to work do not allow them to have control over the money they earn. Some give a working woman wages less than a man who is doing the same work. Some deny the woman her right to choose a husband and her particular type of work or to supervise men, even if she is qualified for promotion. This contradicts the Qur’an and its true Islamic laws and its values of equality and justice.

 

The Qur’an Text is gender­ neutral

 

In the text of the Qur’an, women and men are referred to equally, using many Quranic gender-neutral terms such as:

1. “You who believe” “The believers “

"O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) to be God fearing." (Quran 2: 183)

"O ye who believe! When the call is proclaimed to prayer on Friday (the Day of Assembly), hasten earnestly to the Remembrance of Allah, and leave off business (and traffic): That is best for you if ye but knew. (Quran 62:9)

“Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds - their Lord will guide them because of their faith. Beneath them rivers will flow in the Gardens of Pleasure. “(10: 9).

 

2 – Muslims:

(And We have sent down to you the Book (The Quran) as clarification for all things and as guidance and mercy and good tidings for the Muslims.) (16: 89)

(Say, [O Muhammad], "The Pure Spirit has brought it down from your Lord in truth to make firm those who believe and as guidance and good tidings to the Muslims.") (16: 102).

 

3. "People”

"O ye people! Adore your Guardian Lord, who created you and those who came before you, that ye may have the chance to learn righteousness." (Quran 2: 21).

 

4. "Parents”

"But if he has no child and (only) his two parents inherit him, then his mother shall have the third;" (Quran 4: 11).

 

5. "Children of Adam"

(O children of Adam, let not Satan tempt you as he removed your parents from Paradise..) ( 7 ; 27 )

"O Children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer; eat and drink; but waste not by excess, for Allah loves not the wasters." (Quran 7: 31).

(O children of Adam, if there come to you messengers from among you relating to you My verses, then whoever fears Allah and reforms - there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.) ( 7 : 35 ).

 

6. "Servants of Almighty Allah"

"And the servants of The Almighty are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say: Peace."(Quran 25: 63).

(Say, "O My servants who have believed, fear your Lord. For those who do good in this world is good, and the earth of Allah is spacious. Indeed, the patient will be given their reward without account.") (39: 10)

(Say, "O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.") (39: 53) 

 

7.” Human “

" And Allah wants to lighten for you [your difficulties]; and mankind was created weak.”( 4: 28)

“And when affliction touches man, he calls upon Us, whether lying on his side or sitting or standing; but when We remove from him his affliction, he continues [in disobedience] as if he had never called upon Us to [remove] an affliction that touched him. Thus is made pleasing to the transgressors that which they have been doing.” (10: 12)

“He created man from a sperm-drop; then at once, he is a clear adversary.” ( 16 : 4 )

 

8 – Woman is included in different terms, like orphans, relatives, neighbor, poor and needy, in verses like these:

“Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbor, the neighbor farther away, the companion at your side, the traveler, and those whom your right hands possess. Indeed, Allah does not like those who are self-deluding and boastful.” (4: 36)

 

Finally:  

Moreover, the Arabic word "Zawj” means wife and / or husband in the Arabic Quranic terminology, while it is used in the common Arabic language for husband only. The Quranic term, (Zawj) is only one word for husband and wife: "Zawj." Is for wife and also for husband. We understand from the Quranic context if (Zawj) means husband or wife. For example:

"Zawj" is used for wife and wives in these verse:

"And if ye wish to exchange one wife (Zawj) for another and ye have given unto one of them a sum of money (however great), take nothing from it. Would ye take it by the way of calumny and open wrong?" (Quran 4:20)

"In what your wives (Azwaj) leave, your share is a half, if they leave no child." (Quran 4:12)

"Zawj" is used for husband as well in this verse:

"So if a husband (Zawj) divorces his wife (irrevocably), he cannot after that re­marry her until after she has married another husband and he (the second husband) has divorced her." (Quran 2:230)

Sometimes, "Zawj" means female and male, both husband and wife together:

"And one of His signs is that He created mates (Azwaj - plural of Zawj) for you from yourselves that you may find rest in them, and He put between you love and compassion; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect." (Quran 30:21)

The word "Zawjah" -- an exclusively feminine term -- is never used to mean "wife" in the Quran.

 

Quranic Jurisprudence Grants Total Equality between Men and Women

 

There are many examples in the Quranic verses granting or exemplifying equality between men and women in matters of Islamic law.

 

1. Regarding gender equality in general, Allah says in the Quran:

 

"O people! be careful of (your duty to) your Lord, Who created you from a single being and created its mate of the same (kind) and spread from these two, many men and women." (Quran 4:1).

(It is He who created you from one soul and created from it its mate that he might dwell in security with her.) (7: 189).

Both men and women are equal in being the progenitors of future generations.

 

2. Regarding the orphan, male or female, Allah says:

 

"And test the orphans until they attain puberty; then if you find in them maturity of intellect, deliver to them their property, and do not consume it extravagantly and hastily, lest they attain full age; and whoever is rich, let him abstain altogether, and whoever is poor, let him eat reasonably; then when you deliver to them their property, call witnesses in their presence; and Allah is enough as a Reckoner." (Quran 4: 6)

The treatment of orphans is the same for male or female orphans.

About the same equal right for inheritance, He says:

"Men shall have a portion of what the parents and the near relatives leave, and women shall have a portion of what the parents and the near relatives leave, whether there is little or much of it; a stated portion." (Quran 4: 7)  (All of the above is in one chapter.)

 

3. The same duties and obligations are accorded to men and women

 

Allah says in the Quran:

"So their Lord accepted their prayer: That I will not waste the work of a worker among you, whether male or female, the one of you being from the other; they, therefore, who fled and were turned out of their homes and persecuted in My cause and who fought and were slain, I will most certainly cover their evil deeds, and I will most certainly make them enter gardens beneath which rivers flow; a reward from Allah, and with Allah is yet better reward." (Quran 3: 195)

 

(And whoever does righteous deeds, whether male or female, while being a believer - those will enter Paradise and will not be wronged, [even as much as] the speck on a date seed.)(4: 124)

(Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer - We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do.) (16: 97)

 

(Whoever does an evil deed will not be recompensed except by the like thereof; but whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer - those will enter Paradise, being given unlimited provision therein.) (40: 40).

 

 4. Regarding equality among all humans regardless of gender, ethnicity, or color, Allah says:

 

"O humankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise or fight each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (the one who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)." (Quran 49: 13)

 

5. Regarding rules of inheritance

 

In this matter, we must consider the difference between justice and equality. Suppose that I have ten thousand dollars and I entered a classroom, and divided the money among all the students equally – there is equality but not justice. Justice requires that one consider the different circumstances involved. The Qur’an balances equality and justice.

Thus, in reference to inheritance, the Quran considers the circumstances of each person's situation.

In marriage, a man has to pay a dowry to his wife:

"And give women their dowries as a free gift." (Quran 4: 4)

He has to provide all her needs as a wife, and after divorce as well.

"O Prophet! When you divorce women, divorce them for their prescribed time, and calculate the number of the days prescribed, and be careful of (your duty to) Allah, your Lord. Do not drive them out of their houses, nor should they themselves go forth, unless they commit an open indecency; and these are the limits of Allah, and whoever goes beyond the limits of Allah, he indeed does injustice to his own self. You do not know what Allah may after that bring about. So when they have reached their prescribed time, then retain them with kindness or separate from them with kindness, and call to witness two just men from amongst you, and give upright testimony for Allah. With that is admonished, he who believes in Allah and the latter day; and whoever is careful of (his duty to) Allah, He will make for him a way out.) (Lodge them where you lodge according to your means, and do not injure them in order that you may cause them harm; and if they are pregnant, spend on them until they lay down their burden; then if they suckle (your offspring) for you, give them their recompense and enjoin one another among you to do good; and if you disagree, another (woman) shall suckle for him." (Quran 65:1:2 ­6)

Thus, sons receive double the share of inheritance that daughters receive. Allah, in the Quran, takes into consideration the burden of a man in supporting his wife. This is the only case that there is a difference between a son and a daughter. Suppose a son dies and his parents inherit from him. In this case, the father and mother are equal:

"Allah enjoins you concerning your children: The male shall have the equal of the portion of two females; then if they are more than two females, they shall have two thirds of what the deceased has left, and if there is one, she shall have the half; and as for his parents, each of them shall have the sixth of what he has left if he has a child, but if he has no child and (only) his two parents inherit him, then his mother shall have the third; but if he has brothers, then his mother shall have the sixth after (the payment of) a bequest he may have bequeathed or a debt." (Quran 4: 11)

 

6. Regarding the Right of Divorce

 

As to the right of a man to divorce his wife, the Qur’an says it is very complicated. Divorce isn’t the end of marriage – it is the last step of conciliation that will be done under testimony of two witnesses: ((Quran 65:1:2). 

Note: Research about this in Cairo appears on our Arabic website:

http://www.ahl­alquran.com/arabic/show_article.php?main_id=59

In the Sunni "tradition," a man has the right to divorce his wife by simply uttering the words, “You are divorced." But in Shiite law there must be two witnesses present for divorce to hold true -- more merciful than Sunni law.

The Qur’an mentions the right of a woman to divorce her husband by giving him back what he gave her in dowry. The Quranic term (Hodoud of Allah) according to the Quranic terminology   means the Islamic Quranic law based on justice. This term is repeated 14 times in the Quran, in  fasting ( 2 : 187 ) , in laws of heritage ( 4 : 13 – 14 ), in Islamic law as general ( 9 : 97 – 112 ) and it is repeated eight time in particular for woman rights, concerning divorce: ( 2 : 229 – 230 ) ( 58 : 4) ( 65 : 1 ).  (Hodoud of Allah) as the Islamic law of justice is repeated three times in this verse that should be applied by the monitoring of the Islamic state to secure justice for wife: (Divorce is twice. Then, either keep [her] in an acceptable manner or release [her] with good treatment. And it is not lawful for you (husbands) to take anything of what you have given them unless both fear that they will not be able to keep [within] the Justice of Allah. But if you fear that they will not keep [their marriage within] the Justice of Allah, then there is no blame upon either of them concerning that by which she ransoms herself. (Divorce him by giving him back his dowry). These are the justice of Allah, so do not transgress it. And whoever transgresses the justice of Allah - it is those who are the wrongdoers.)  (2:229). The Arabic term in this verse (taftadee) in this verse means her right to free herself from this marriage, if this marriage is not just for her.

In Egypt, they tried to make this a law, but the fanatic Sunni Muslim brotherhood rejected the right of a woman to divorce her husband. However, the Sunni Shareeah itself recognizes the right of woman to (Taftadee) herself according to the verse (2:  229) but under the term called (Khol’a).

In Sunni shareeah, the term (Hodoud) means punishment and penalty, not the Islamic justice.

 

7.  Women as witnesses

Allah says: “And bring to witness two witnesses from among your men. And if there are not two men [available], then a man and two women from those whom you accept as witnesses - so that if one of the women errs, then the other can remind her.”  (2: 282

The verse is only for financial transactions and happen when the testimony is oral. The reasoning for this legislator older is explained in the same verse: “-So that if one of the women errs, then the other can remind her.”

The legislature’s purpose overrides its order. It legislature’s reasons is to confirm the oral testimony. If there is another way to confirm it, there is no need for the order and the testimony of a woman becomes like a man. That is what happens now, in our times, where the testimony can be recorded and retained on video and through official certificates.  So as long as it is possible to achieve the purpose without oral testimony, a woman's testimony is equal to that of a man in financial transactions. The woman's testimony in the penal courts are equal to that of the man because the word “witness” means both men and women because he/she sees and hears with their own two equal eyes and ears.

 

 8. The right of women to work/ choose work/ equal compensation, and the right to travel

 

The Qur’an mentions the right to travel and seek a means of making a living for all humans, men and women, on the basis of equality and equal opportunities for all seekers thereof.

Allah says about this earth: (And He placed in it mountains above its surface and He blessed it therein and made therein its foods, in four periods: alike for (all) the seekers." (Quran 41: 10)

Allah orders all humans, both male and female, to walk the earth looking for a means of living (survival): (He it is Who made the earth smooth for you; therefore, go about in the spacious sides thereof, and eat of His sustenance, and to Him is the return after death." (Quran 67: 15)

Every kind of work is available as a means of earning a livelihood or to work for God. It all has the same consideration because it is all in the name of God, equally for men and women.

Women are included in every kind of work, in worship and in means of earning a living.

 

9 - Emigration, to emigrate on their own volition

Emigration can bring suffering and hardship, but the woman in Islam is ordered to emigrate like the man in the cause of God to avoid religious persecution. If it is hard to travel, permission was given to shorten prayer if there is a real danger (Quran 4:101).

So the woman who is able to emigrate and refuses will be put in hellfire the same as a man: (Surely (as for) those whom the angels cause to die while they are unjust to their selves, they shall say: 'In what state were you?' They shall say: 'We were weak on the earth.' They shall say: 'Was not Allah's earth spacious, so that you should have migrated therein?' So to those, their abode is hell, and it is an evil resort. Except those who are (really) weak and oppressed -- ­men, women, and children ­-- who have no means in their power, nor (a guide­post) to their way. So for those, it may be that Allah will pardon them, and Allah is oft Pardoning, oft forgiving." (Quran 4:97- 99).

Emigration is rewarded:

"And whoever migrates in Allah's way, will find in the earth many hardships and abundant resources, and whoever goes forth from his house migrating to Allah and His Messenger, and then death overtakes him, his reward is indeed with Allah and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful." (Quran 4:100). ("And those who emigrate for Allah's sake after they are oppressed, We will most certainly give them a good abode in the world, and the reward of the hereafter is certainly much greater, did they but know, for those who are patient and who rely upon their Lord." (Quran 16:41:42)

 All these admonitions, rules and rewards apply equally to men and women.

The first book on the history of the Prophet Mohammed written by Ibn Ishaq in the early Abbasy period mentioned a woman who emigrated alone twice, without husband or parents, independently from Mecca to Ethiopia (Al Habashah) and to Al Medina. Women emigrated alongside men to escape persecution, to their own Islamic state at the time of Prophet Mohammad, where there was unlimited freedom of speech, belief and political opposition.

 

10 - The right of woman to be a member in the Islamic state

 

The early Muslims in Mecca were persecuted, so many of them – men and women – had to escape: to Ethiopia twice, and then a third time to Al Medina. Some Muslim women emigrated, leaving behind their infidel husbands; some girls emigrated independently for the cause. So they were educated to be activists from the beginning. They established with men the first (and the last) real Islamic state with Prophet Mohammad. The Islamic state consists of a deal/contract among individuals who agree to form or create states – and women have a role. Sura 60: 10-12 gives more details:

"O prophet, if the believing females come to make allegiance (in being a member in the Islamic state) that they will not set up anything besides Allah, nor steal, nor commit adultery, nor kill their children, nor fabricate any falsehood, nor disobey you in any matter which is righteous, then you shall accept their allegiance, and ask Allah to forgive them. Allah is Forgiver, Merciful." (Quran 60:12)

 

11 - Equality in consideration and responsibility for women and men to be true Muslims, hypocrites, or deniers

Those who ardently opposed Prophet Mohammad and his followers at that time were referred to as the hypocrites. The hypocritical men and women used to compete with the believing women and men in the streets of Al Medina, each with a very different discourse: the believers advocated good and advised against evil, while the hypocrites advocated evil and forbade good:   

( The hypocritical men and the hypocritical women are all alike; they enjoin evil and forbid good and withhold their hands; they have forsaken Allah, so He has forsaken them; surely the hypocrites are the transgressors." (Quran 9:67)

( And the believers, men and women, are allies for each other , they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and they establish worship and they pay the poor due (zakat), and they obey Allah and His messenger." (Quran 9: 71)

In Sura 9, the Qur’an refers to Al Medina at the time of Mohammad – how the hypocritical women and men were very active in wrongdoing – ordering evil things and prohibiting good things. At the same time, believing men and women were active against wrongdoing, ordering good things and rejecting evil, advising others to do what is good and not to do what is bad. At the time of Mohammad, there was unlimited freedom of speech and belief. Believing women and non­-believing women enjoyed the same freedom to speak as they liked, whether good or bad, in the true Islamic state.

In the time of the Prophet Mohammad in his Islamic state woman enjoyed the unlimited freedom of religion like men.

Islam means peace in dealing with people and (Iman) or (belief) means to be trusted in dealing with people, even if you keep worshipping idols beside Allah. Allah urged the early Muslims/ believers in Al Medina in the time of the Prophet Mohammad to desist from worshipping idols:  (O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful. Satan only wants to cause between you animosity and hatred through intoxicants and gambling and to avert you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. So will you not desist?) (5: 90 / 91).  It was the real Islamic state that was built on peace, justice and the unlimited freedom of religion for all. The Prophet Mohammad was the leader of that state but his sole mission is to admonish believers and to deliver the Quran, not to compel people to be real Muslims: (And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed - all of them entirely. Then, [O Muhammad], would you compel the people in order that they become believers? (10: 99). So, the Almighty Allah says next verse in Sura 5 says to those believers: (And obey Allah and obey the Messenger and beware. And if you turn away, then know that upon Our Messenger is only [the responsibility for] clear notification.  ) (5: 92).

You are Muslim and /or believer as long you uphold peace in your behavior. This has nothing to do in your religious choice. No one has the authority to interfere in your belief and/ or your rituals.   As the term (Islam) in dealing with God, it means to submit your heart, soul and life for God alone: (Say, "Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds.   No partner has He. And this I have been commanded and I am the first [among you] of the Muslims." Say, "Is it other than Allah I should desire as a lord while He is the Lord of all things? And every soul earns not [blame] except against itself, and no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. Then to your Lord is your return, and He will inform you concerning that over which you used to differ."   ) (6: 162 / 164): This real belief belongs to human freedom of religion and humans will be responsible for it before their Lord in the Day of Judgment. Until this day people should live in peace and maintain justice for all This is the concept of the real Islamic state, which is established in Western world, not in the so called Muslim world.

 

 12- Equality in Worshipping Allah

 All the orders of worshipping Allah are for men and women: (O mankind, worship your Lord, who created you and those before you, that you may become righteous) (2:21) (   O you who have believed, bow and prostrate and worship your Lord and do good - that you may succeed.) (22: 77).

Generally , Allah said about the righteous people ( men and women ): (This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for the righteous - Who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them, And who believe in what has been revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are certain [in faith] Those are upon [right] guidance from their Lord, and it is those who are the successful..)(2: 2/ 5).

Righteous include man and woman. Allah says :( Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west,( In salat prayers ) but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah , the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakah; [those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous.) ( 2 : 177 ).

In Salat prayers and giving charities and reciting the Quran, Allah says for both women and men : (Indeed, those who recite the Book of Allah and keep salat prayer and spend [in His cause] out of what We have provided them, secretly and publicly, [can] expect a profit that will never perish -) 35  : 29).

Salat prayers are for man and woman: (Maintain with care the prayers and in the perfect salat prayer and stand before Allah, devoutly obedient.) (2: 238).

Muslim human made shareeah prevents woman from salat prayer during her monthly period. In Islam, menstruation does not affect salat prayer of woman. She can make the usual ablution (Woodoo’a ) and prays. Menstruation prevents only sexual intercourse. Allah says: (And they ask you about menstruation. Say, "It is harm, so keep away from wives during menstruation. And do not approach them until they are pure. And when they have purified themselves, then come to them from where Allah has ordained for you. Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves." “Your wives are a place of sowing of seed for you, so come to your place of cultivation however you wish and put forth [sex stimulation] for yourselves. And fear Allah and know that you will meet Him. And give good tidings to the believers.)(2: 222 / 223). This Quranic verse – however – gives the equal right of sex enjoyment like her husband.

Women actually were ordered to join the public Friday prayers just like men.( O you who have believed, when [the adhan] is called for the prayer on the day of Jumu'ah [Friday], then proceed to the remembrance of Allah and leave trade. That is better for you, if you only knew. And when the prayer has been concluded, disperse within the land and seek from the bounty of Allah, and remember Allah often that you may succeed.) (62: 9/ 10). This is forbidden now In Muslim fanatic Sunni regimes. Moreover, there is an indication that women used to retreat (E’tekaf) in the nights of Ramadan in mosques, but not to have sexual intercourse in this case: "but do not have sexual contact with your wives while you are in retreat in the mosques."  (Quran 2:187).

 

Rules in giving charities are the same for man and woman: (They ask you, [O Muhammad], what they should spend. Say, "Whatever you spend of good is [to be] for parents and relatives and orphans and the needy and the traveler. And whatever you do of good - indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.”) (2 : 215 )

(Those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah and then do not follow up what they have spent with reminders [of it] or [other] injury will have their reward with their Lord, and there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.) ( 2 : 262 )

( O you who have believed, spend from the good things which you have earned and from that which We have produced for you from the earth. And do not aim toward the defective therefrom; spending [from that] while you would not take it [yourself] except with closed eyes. And know that Allah is Free of need and Praiseworthy.) (2: 267)

(Those who spend their wealth [in Allah 's way] by night and by day, secretly and publicly - they will have their reward with their Lord. And no fears will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.) ( 2 : 274 ).

 

Pilgrimage is for man and woman: (Hajj is [during] well-known months, so whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein [by entering the state of ihram], there is [to be for him] no sexual relations and no disobedience and no disputing during Hajj. And whatever good you do - Allah knows it. And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is fear of Allah . And fear Me, O you of understanding.  ) (2 : 197 ).

 

Glorifying, memorizing and remembering, commemoration Allah is an Islamic ritual for man and woman. Allah says ( And remember your Lord within yourself in humility and in fear without being apparent in speech - in the mornings and the evenings. And do not be among the heedless.) (7: 206)


13. In regards to fighting in the cause of Allah those who attacks Muslim state :

Admonitions apply to both men and women:  

"And fight in the way of Allah with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits, surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits." (Quran 2: 190)

Exemptions (for not fighting in the path of Allah) apply equally to men and women:

"No blame is there on the blind, nor is there blame on the lame, nor on one who is ill (if he does not fight). But he that obeys Allah and his Messenger,­ (Allah) will admit him to Gardens beneath which rivers flow; and he who turns back, (Allah) will punish him with a grievous Penalty." (Quran 48 : 17)

 

14. General rules for men and women considered equal according to their deeds and behavior:

 

For bad deeds and behavior: "Whoever does evil, he shall be requited with it." (Quran 4: 123)

For good deeds and behavior:

"And whoever does good deeds whether male or female and he (or she) is a believer,­­ these shall enter the garden, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly in the slightest." (Quran 4:124).

 

General examples of equality between male and female in the Quran

For more details and Quranic examples that confirm equality between male and female:

"So their Lord accepted their prayer: That I will not waste the work of a worker among you, whether male or female, the one of you being from the other; they, therefore, who fled and were turned out of their homes and persecuted in My way and who fought and were slain, I will most certainly cover their evil deeds, and I will most certainly make them enter gardens beneath which rivers flow; a reward from Allah, and with Allah is yet better reward." (Quran 3.195)

"Whoever does good whether male or female and is a believer, We will most certainly make him live a happy life, and We will most certainly give them their reward for the best of what they did." (Quran 16:97)

"Whoever does an evil, he shall not be recompensed (with aught) but the like of it, and whoever does good, whether male or female, and he is a believer, these shall enter the garden, in which they shall be given sustenance without measure." (Quran 40:40)

Virgins of paradise for all the winners of paradise

People misunderstand what is meant regarding the "virgins of paradise." Allah talks in the Quran about the owners of the paradise as one gender. They used to be believer men and believer women in this life. According to the Qur’an, ,all the “winners” on the Day of Judgment will be one gender and will be rewarded in the paradise the same way – virgins – according to their good deeds. So God's justice is about the deeds and the behavior and the work, not about gender.  

 

Right to equal compensation for equal work

Being able to work itself is the issue, regardless of who is the one working. When you work, you are paid for the work itself. There are no restrictions at all on the exercise of these rights in the Quran, and in fact people must be fairly compensated for the work they do regardless of gender (or religion).

 

Accordingly, a woman can be a (good) example for a good person, and a woman can also be a (bad) example for a bad person. Allah says:

"Allah sets forth, as an example to those who disbelieve, the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot: they were both under two of Our righteous servants, but they acted treacherously towards them, so they (their righteous husbands) availed them naught against Allah, and it was said: Enter, both of you, the fire with those who enter. And Allah sets forth an example to those who believe the wife of Pharaoh when she said: My Lord! Build for me a house with You in the garden and deliver me from Pharaoh and his doing, and deliver me from the unjust people. And Mary, daughter of 'Imran, whose body was chaste, therefore We breathed therein something of Our Spirit. And she put faith in the words of her Lord and His scriptures, and was of the obedient ones." (Quran 66: 10­-12 )

Here, you find two women who were supposed to be good because they were wives of two messengers of God (wife of Noah and wife of Lot) but they acted independently against their husbands, so they became a bad example for all disbelievers.

On the other side, there was Pharaoh of Moses' time, the worst tyrant, but his wife chose to be a good believer, so she became an example for all believers along with Mary the mother of Jesus. Two good women from different backgrounds, but they chose the right path and became an example of the good people to humankind.

Regarding Mary (Maryam), the daughter of Imran and mother of Jesus, Allah said:

"And when the angels said: O Maryam! Surely Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the world o Maryam! Keep obedient to your Lord and humble yourself, and bow down (in salat prayers ) with those who bow." (Quran 3: 42-43)

 

Working women appear in Quranic stories such as the Story of Moses:

 

In the first part of the Quranic story of Moses, when he was a child, women played the primary role. Here, regarding Moses' mother and sister, and Pharaoh’s wife Allah says:

"When We revealed to your mother what was revealed, saying: Put him into a chest, then cast it down into the river, then the river shall throw him on the shore; there shall take him up one who is an enemy to Me and enemy to him, and I cast down upon you compassion from Me, and that you might be brought up before My eyes. When your sister went and said: Shall I direct you to one who will take charge of him? So We brought you back to your mother, that her eye might be delighted and she should not grieve." (Quran 20:38–40)

And in more details:

"And We revealed to Moses' mother, saying: suckle him, then when you fear for him, cast him into the river and do not fear nor grieve; surely We will bring him back to you and make him one of the messengers.  Then the people of Pharaoh picked him up (from the river): (It was intended) that (Moses) should be to them an adversary and a cause of sorrow: for Pharaoh and Haman and (all) their hosts were men of sin. And Pharaoh’s wife said: A joy of the eye, for me and for you; do not slay him; maybe he will be useful for us, or we may take him for a son; and they did not perceive. And the heart of Musa's mother was void (from anxiety), –she would have almost disclosed it, had We not strengthened her heart so that she might be of the believers. And she said to his sister: Follow him up. So she watched him from a distance while they did not perceive. And we ordained that he refused suckle at first, until (His sister came up and) said: "Shall I point out to you the people of a house that will nourish and bring him up for you and be sincerely attached to him?".. : So We gave him back to his mother that her eye might be delighted, and that she might no grieve, and that she might know that the promise of Allah is true, but most of them do not know." (Quran 82:713).

Because of the greatness of his mother, Aaron used to call his brother Moses "Son of my mother": "He said: O son of my mother! seize me not by my beard nor by my head; surely I was afraid lest you should say: You have caused a division among the children of Israel and not waited for my word." (Quran 20:94)

 We find some hidden observations:

There is no indication as to the father of Moses while he was alive. All the rules are for women. Women here were doing their natural work in caring for the infant Moses, but his sister went beyond this when she followed her baby brother to protect him, endangering her own life. There is also reference to the women who tried to suckle the infant Moses, a common type of work for women at the time for which they were (normally) compensated.

In the second part, when Moses became an adult, women played the main role when he escaped to Medyan:

"And when he turned his face towards Medyan, he said: Maybe my Lord will guide me on the right path.  And when he came to the water of Medyan, he found there a group of men watering their flocks, and he found besides them two women keeping back (their flocks). He said: What is the matter with you? They said: We cannot water until (first) the shepherds take away (their sheep) from the water, and our father is a very old man. So he watered (their sheep) for them, then went back to the shade and said: My Lord! surely I stand in need of whatever good Thou send down to me. Then one of the two women came to him walking bashfully. She said: My father invites you that he may give you the reward of your having watered for us. So when he came to him and gave to him the account, he said: Fear not, you are secure from the unjust people. Said one of them: O my father! Employ him; surely the best of those that you can employ is the strong man, the faithful one. : He said: I desire to marry one of these two daughters of mine to you on condition that you should serve me for eight years; but if you complete ten, it will be of your own free will, and I do not wish to be hard to you; if Allah please, you will find me one of the good. He said: This shall be (an agreement) between me and you; whichever of the two terms I fulfill, there shall be no wrongdoing to me; and Allah is a witness of what we say." (Quran 28:22-8)

 Here, we find some indications:

1. The two women were doing the hard work normally done by men to help their old father.

2. One woman had a strong personality and character, and advised her father to hire Moses. She also had a good understanding of Moses even though he was a stranger.

The wife of Moses accompanied him on his journey back to Egypt, and in Sinai, Moses was chosen by Allah to be a messenger of Allah to Pharaoh, and to save the children of Israel:  

"So when Musa had fulfilled the term, and he journeyed with his family, he perceived on this side of the mountain a fire. He said to his family: Wait, I have seen a fire, maybe I will bring to you from it some news or a swath of fire, so that you may warm yourselves."  (Quran 28:29)

"And has the story of Musa come to you? When he saw a fire, he said to his family: Stop, for surely I see a fire, haply I may bring to you there­from a live coal or find guidance at the fire." (Quran 20:9­-10)

 

Comparing Pharaoh and Queen of Sheba:

 

 The Quran does not object to the fact that a woman was a ruler. The Queen of Sheba was provided every requisite and had a great throne. But the objection was that she and her people worshiped the sun. For that reason, King Solomon sent her a message inviting her to submit to Islam. He directed the message to her because she represented her people. That also shows that her reign was considered lawful. From the descriptions in the Quran, she was revered by her top aides, and she consulted with them in the matter of King Solomon's message. They all awaited her decision with full trust in her wisdom, telling her they would obey any decision she took. She was wise enough not to answer Solomon’s letter by waging war or by making it a personal matter. Instead, she thought of the well-being of her people and how they would suffer from such a war. She was wise to say "if kings enter a town, they spoil it and humiliate the most respected ones in it." (27 : 34 ). This is true, because lands have been spoiled mainly by mindless, tyrannical rulers such as those we still see, especially in the Middle East. They would have bowed to greater powers and thus oppressed their own people. The Queen of Sheba proved her intelligence by sending Solomon a present just to buy herself more time to decide what to do. At the end, she proved herself even more intelligent when she embraced Islam and saved herself and her people in this life and in the Hereafter. She bravely surrendered to the wisdom and truth of King Solomon's monotheist faith, saying,"O my Lord I have indeed wronged my soul: I do (now) submit (in Islam), with Solomon, to the Lord of the Worlds." Look at details in the Quran (27:23-44).

 

Thus, in the Quranic stories we find two major examples of absolute rulers: one is a man – Pharaoh – and the other is a woman – the queen of Sheba. And even though the story of Pharaoh was repeated several times, while the story of the Queen of Sheba is only mentioned once, similarities between Pharaoh and the queen of Sheba exist. Both were authoritarian absolute rulers who enjoyed total power. When Pharaoh had total control over Egypt’s wealth and army, he made a clear statement saying, "O my people! Does not the dominion of Egypt belong to me, (witness) these streams flowing underneath me, what see ye not then?" (Quran 43:51)

The Pharaohs’ history confirms that the pharaohs had complete power over politics, wealth and military forces, especially after they controlled the feudal lords along the riverbanks. They established a central power that would not function without the orders of the "dictator." Similarly, the Queen of Sheba was the autocratic holder of wealth and power over her nation. In the Quran it says "I found (there) a woman ruling over them and provided with every requisite; and she has a magnificent throne." (Quran 27:23) Her chiefs confirmed her autonomous power by saying "we are endowed with strength, and given to vehement war, but the command is with you; so consider what you will command." (Quran 27:33)

God considers Pharaoh to be representing the Egyptians just as the Queen of Sheba was representing her people. Pharaoh was sent two prophets from God, Moses and his brother Aaron, who were asked to "speak to him mildly; perchance he may take warning or fear (Allah)." (Quran 20:44) In a similar way, the Queen of Sheba was sent a message from the prophet Solomon, since she represented her people. Although there are great similarities between these two rulers, in terms of their situation as heads of state, their reactions were completely different, and thus so were the destinies of their people.

Moses and Aaron’s main mission was to deliver the people of Israel from Pharaoh's persecution and to take Pharaoh's permission for them to leave Egypt. They were ordered to say "verily we are messengers sent by thy Lord; send forth, therefore, the Children of Israel with us, and afflict them not." (Quran 20:47)

God had asked his prophet to ask in a gentle and peaceful fashion as they said "with a sign, indeed, have we come from thy Lord! And peace to all who follow guidance!" (Quran 20:47)

And Moses was endowed with miracles to convince Pharaoh that he was a true prophet. Pharaoh was perfectly capable of granting Moses’ wish and allowing the Hebrews, whom he hated, to leave. He had nothing to fear. On the one hand, his army was far too great to consider the Israelites a threat, and on the other hand, persecution had weakened the Israelites to the extent that it took them forty years after that to gather to build up strength in order to enter Palestine. Pharaoh’s pride got in the way and he refused to let those weakened people go with the two prophets. As a result, Pharaoh and his army drowned in the sea, sent to punishment until judgment day. The reason for that was the tyranny that leads rulers to assume divinity, as he said "I but point out to you that which I see (myself); Nor do I guide you but to the path of right." (40:29).  And because of that tyranny, the destruction reached Pharaoh’s historical signature: "And we leveled to the ground the Great Works and fine buildings which pharaoh and his people erected (with such pride). We took the Children of Israel (with safety) across the sea."(Quran 7:137,138)

The Queen of Sheba’s situation with the prophet Solomon was different. For Solomon was a prophet-king appointed by God. And from this position he sent her a message inviting her to embrace Islam,­ saying that Islam is devoting your heart and soul to God and living in peace with others, and this is the meaning in all God’s messages­ and Solomon’s message to the queen. His message could have hurt her pride, but when she read the message she turned to her chiefs saying:

"Ye chiefs! Here is delivered to me a letter worthy of respect. It is from Solomon, and it is (as follows): ‘in the name of Allah, The Almighty, the Merciful: Be ye not arrogant against me, but come to me in submission (to the true religion).’ “ ( 27:30, 31). So even though she had full authority, she discussed the matter openly with her top aides and read the message to them and described it as ‘a letter worthy of respect.’ That was a clear sign from her in order to keep them from responding negatively or voting for war/ retaliation. And with the same calm politics she was able to reach a happy ending for her people, whereas Pharaoh and his people were drowned at the bottom of the sea with their illusory and oppressive politics. Here is the difference between a man with absolute power and a woman with absolute power.

There is no doubt that in this important example, a woman with absolute power has less animosity and belligerence, hence less tyranny, than a man with absolute power, who most often becomes a tyrant.

 

Muslim Women in Real Life in the Middle Ages after the death of Prophet Mohammad in a brief glance

 

In the first century, even after Prophet Mohammad – women were very active on both sides – the Muslim side and the non-Muslim side.   Ayesha, the widow of Prophet Mohammed was involved in the political life to the extent that she was a leader of a Muslim army against another one. This has happened when Muslims – in contradiction to the Quran – invaded other countries and the result was civil war between Muslims. Muslim women were part of those movements. Even in civil wars, women were part of battles. This confirms that teachings of the Qur’an were applied at the time of Mohammad, but after his death, this dynamic movement went the wrong way.

 

These concepts were ignored and abrogated – why? Muslims failed largely because of dictatorship rule (sometimes monarchy, sometimes "Caliph" rule) that was the culture of the Middle Ages. The Qur’an is against dictatorship in all forms. Details are in my book (Democratic Islam and Muslim tyranny :

http://www.ahl­alquran.com/English/show_article.php?main_id=1846

Placing women in a second-degree position was also a main aspect of medieval culture, so Muslims at that time responded to and incorporated into law the culture of their time and ignored the real Islam. Moreover, they dealt with this contradiction between their actual life and the guidance of the Quran by creating new human-made religions or sects, like Sunnah, Shi'a and Sufism.

 

Why didn’t women at that time protest that their rights were being taken away?

In the second half of the first century, Arab Muslims established their empire from the borders of China to the south of Spain. They were at their peak. Women came from all over – India, Central Europe, North Africa – as slaves. Men at that time had multiple wives, and a great number of slave women were considered more beautiful than Arab and free women (in the eyes of Arab men). So women at that time and for many centuries were considered to be of two kinds:

 

1)­ The very beautiful, who were slaves, served as second class citizens, and mastered songs and dancing, and 2)­ free women, Arab women, who struggled to keep their husband’s attention and the family unit intact. Their struggle was not for a political agenda but for their personal, "family" agenda. Women competed against each other. This is why they didn't "rise up" in some way to gain their rights. No women were fighting for their rights in the rest of the world at that time, either.

 

In fact, Muslim women at that time enjoyed more rights than women did in what we now call the West. (More details in Adam Metz's book about the Islamic civilization in the fourth Hijri century.)  

 

Finally, Wahhabism has revived and restored the most fanatic Sunni sect in Muslim Medieval history and brought it to our modern times in the name of Islam. So, Islam has been accused wrongly of persecuting women, and the Quran wrongly considered advocating the Wahhabi-based subjugation and oppression of women. The true Islam as brought to humankind in the Quran is completely opposed to what they are doing.


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