The right of women in Islam to work and to be active in the society
Qur’an is not the main source of Islamic law for most Muslims.
Muslims are divided into three main sects: Sunni, Shiites and Sufis. The Sunni man made Sharee’a is more prevalent because it is upheld by the two main sects ( Sunni and Sufis )
In the middle ages, Muslim Clerics did the following to manipulate the real Islamic Quranic law:
To add something that might contradict the Quran, they fabricated sayings, or (Hadith) and attributed them to Prophet Mohammed, more than two centuries after his death. Those books of Hadith were written in the Abbasside era,( 750- 1258 ) and still the main source of Sunni Sharee’a until now. For example: ( Book of Malik : Al Mowatta’), ( Book of Al Shafe’ee : Al-UMM), ( Book of Al Bukhari ) and ( Book of Muslim )
To abrogate the pure Islamic Quranic laws in the Quranic verses, they claimed they were (Mensoukh) or abrogated.
To change the Quranic meanings and terms, they used (Tefseer) and (Ta’weel). As the Quran is preserved and kept pure by Allah, they could not change its written words. So, they changed their meanings and terminology.
Justice is the main value in Islam and all the Holy messages came from Allah, including the 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; ) (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; He admonishes you that you may be mindful) (16: 90). Prophet Mohamed was ordered to say: ("I believe in the Book which Allah has sent down; and I am commanded to judge justly between you) (42: 15). So, in light of justice, it is a must to understand all the details of the Quranic Sharee’a.
In different forms of man made Muslims’ Sharee’a, you will find many aspects of injustice , including the rights of woman.
Equality under the law of the Quran
Shiites and Sunnis have different versions of Sharee’a. Under Shiite Sharee’a, women get more rights than under the Sunni Sharee’a, like in divorce. The Shiites idolize Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed, and for this reason they give women more rights than Sunni clerks do.
The Sunni Sharee’a represents the mighty power of Muslim Empires (Umayyads, Abbasids, and Ottoman empires) and their medieval culture , even towards women’s rights.. Under the mighty Muslim rule of Caliphs, women at that time were treated as second class citizens.
As example, Sahih Al Bukhari – most sacred text of Hadith for Sunni and Sufi Muslims - attributes – falsely –to Prophet Mohammad the Hadith saying “Women lack mind and religious attitude.”
Accordingly a woman should be( sponsored, supported, protected) by a man – father, husband, brother, even her son – for travels, and has to get his permission to work. 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 money. Some give a working woman wages less than a man who is doing the same work. Some prejudge the woman her right to supervise men, if she is qualified for promotion. This contradicts Qur’an and its real Islamic laws and its values of equality and justice.
Qur’an is gender-neutral. According to the Qur’an, however, women and men are equally included in many terms in the Quranic terminology, like:
“You who believe,” (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) (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) ( 62 : 9 )
“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 ) (2 : 21 )
Parents”( but if he has no child and (only) his two parents inherit him, then his mother shall have the third;) ( 4 : 11)
Children of Adam(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) (7 : 31 )
Servants of Almighty Allah (And the servants of (Allah) Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, "Peace) ( 25 : 63 ) .
Moreover, the Arabic word (Zawjah) means wife, while the Arabic (Zawj) means husband. But in the Quranic term, it is only one word for husband and wife: (Zawj). So, according to the holy Quran: Zawj is for wife in this 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?) ( 4 : 20 )( In what your wives (Azwaj ) leave, your share is a half, if they leave no child) ( 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, re-marry her until after she has married another husband and he(The second husband) has divorced her) (2 : 230 ).
Sometimes, Zawj means female and male , husband and wife together : (And one of His signs is that He created mates ( Azwajen ) 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) ( 30 : 21)
There is no word (Zawjah) for wife, in the Quran at all.
There are many examples in the verses that include laws/jurisprudence. Total equality between man and woman.
Generally , about equality ,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 ) (4 : 1 ).
About the orphan, male or female, He 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).
About the same equal right 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) (4 : 7 ) . All of this in one chapter.
About the same duties and obligations Allah says : (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. ) (3 : 195) .
About the equality among all humans regardless of gender, ethnicity, color … Allah says: (O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). ) ( 49 : 13 )
Rules of inheritance:
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. Qur’an balances equality and justice.
Man has to pay dowry:
(And give women their dowries as a free gift) (4: 4), He has to provide all her needs as a wife, and after divorce (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. ) (65: 1- 2 - 6).
So, sons get double of inheritance share that daughters get. This is the only case that there is a difference between a son and a daughter. Suppose a son dies and his parents inherit him, 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;) (4: 11)
However, every Muslim has to make a will saying that daughter (for example) should inherit more than son, etc., with society as a monitor of justice. (It is prescribed, when death approaches any of you, if he leave any goods that he make a bequest to parents and next of kin, according to reasonable usage; this is due from the Allah-fearing. Whoever then alters it after he has heard it, the sin of it then is only upon those who alter it; surely Allah is Hearing, Knowing But he who fears an inclination to a wrong course or an act of disobedience on the part of the testator, and effects an agreement between the parties, there is no blame on him. Surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.) (2 : 180 – 182 ).
Right of divorce
Right of man to divorce his wife – 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: ((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. ) (research about this in Cairo, appears on our Arabic website:
A Sunni man has the right to divorce his wife by only 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.
Qur’an talks about right of woman to divorce her husband by giving him back he gave her in dowry, under monitoring of society : (Divorce may be (pronounced) twice, then keep (them) in good fellowship or let (them) go with kindness; and it is not lawful for you to take any part of what you have given them, unless both fear that they cannot keep within the limits of Allah; then if you fear that they cannot keep within the limits of Allah, there is no blame on them for what she gives up to become free thereby. These are the limits of Allah, so do not exceed them and whoever exceeds the limits of Allah those are the unjust ) (2: 229).
In Egypt, they tried to make this a law, but the Sunni Muslim brotherhood rejected the right of a woman to divorce her husband.
Women as witness
Woman is equal to man as witness in everything, but not in the oral testimony in the contracting debts. It has nothing to do with the written testimony:
Allah says :( O you who believe! when you deal with each other in contracting a debt for a fixed time, then write it down; and let a scribe write it down between you in fairness; and the scribe should not refuse to write as Allah has taught him, so he should write; and let him who owes the debt dictate, and he should be careful of (his duty to) Allah, his Lord, and not diminish anything from it; but if he who owes the debt is unsound in understanding, or weak, or (if) he is not able to dictate himself, let his guardian dictate with fairness; and call in to witness from among your men two witnesses; but if there are not two men, then one man and two women from among those whom you choose to be witnesses, so that if one of the two errs, the second of the two may remind the other; ) ( 2 : 282 )
Right of women to work / choose work / equal compensation
Right to travel–
Qur’an talks about right to travel and seeking means of living for all humans, men and woman on basis of equality and opportunities for all the seekers and searchers. 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 the seekers. ) (41: 10).
Allah orders all human , male and female to walk the earth looking for means of living : (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.) (67: 15)
More over, the woman in Islam is ordered to immigrate like 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 ( 4 : 101 ). So, the woman who is able to immigrate and refuses will be put in hell fire: (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 in 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 guide-post) to their way.So those, it may be, that Allah will pardon them, and Allah is oft Pardoning, oft Forgiving) ( 4 : 97 : 99 ).
Early Muslims in Mecca were persecuted, so many of them men and women had to escape to Ethiopia twice, and then the third one was to Al Medina. Some Muslim women immigrated leaving behind their infidel husbands, some girls immigrated 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 Mohammed. Islamic state consists of a deal/contract among individuals who agree to form or create states – women have a role.
Sura ( 60 : 10 : 12 ) gives more details : (O you who believe! when believing women come to you flying, then examine them; Allah knows best their faith; then if you find them to be believing women, do not send them back to the unbelievers, neither are these (women) lawful for them, nor are those (men) lawful for them, and give them what they have spent; and no blame attaches to you in marrying them when you give them their dowries; and hold not to the ties of marriage of unbelieving women, and ask for what you have spent, and let them ask for what they have spent. That is Allah's judgment; He judges between you, and Allah is All Knowing, Wise. And if anything (out of the dowries) of your wives has passed away from you to the unbelievers, then your turn comes, give to those whose wives have gone away the like of what they have spent, and be careful of (your duty to) Allah in Whom you believe. O Prophet! when believing women come to you giving you a pledge that they will not associate none with Allah, and will not steal, and will not commit fornication, and will not kill their children, and will not bring a calumny which they have forged of themselves, and will not disobey you in what is good, accept their pledge, and ask forgiveness for them from Allah; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.)
Two centuries after Mohammad’s death, they mentioned a woman who immigrated alone twice, without husband or parents, independently from Mecca to Ethiopia (Al Habashah) and to Al Medina. Women immigrated alongside men, to escape persecution,
to their own Islamic state in the time of Prophet Mohammed, it was unlimited freedom of speech, belief and political opposition.
The ardent opposition in that time was named hypocrites. The hypocritical men and women used to compete with the believer women and men in the streets of Al Medina, playing 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. )( And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends one of another; they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and they establish worship and they pay the poor-due, and they obey Allah and His messenger. ) (9: 67 & 71)
Sura 9 – Qur’an talks about Al Medina in the time of Mohammad – how the hypocritical women and men are very active in the field of evil – ordering the evils and prohibiting the good things. At the same time, believer men and women were active against that, ordering the good things and rejecting evil, advising others to do good and not to do bad. In the time of Mohammad there was unlimited freedom of speech and belief. Believing women and Non-believing women enjoyed freedom of speech as they wanted, good or bad.
Worship: Controversy between Qur’an, Sharee’a and Fiqh.
Women actually were ordered to join the public Friday prayers just like men. Even in early writings and tradition there is talk of women sharing the mosque in the time of Prophet Muhammad. In the Quran, there is an indication that woman used to retreat ( E’tekaf ) in the night of Ramadan, but not to have sexual intercourse in this case : (but do not have sex contact with your wives while you are in retreat in the mosques )( 2 : More details
Every kind of work is available for earning means of living or to work for God. It is all the same because it is all in the name of God.
Woman is included in every kind of work, in worship and in means of living.
For more details:
Immigration is suffering and hardship : (And whoever migrate in Allah's way, he 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) ( 4 :100 )
In Immigration is rewards: ( And those who migrate 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 . : Those who are patient and on their Lord do they rely.) ( 16 : 41 : 42 )
In immigration: is punishment :(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 in the earth. They shall say: Was not Allah's earth spacious, so that you should have migrated therein? So those it is, whose abode is hell, and it is an evil resort . Except the weak from among the men and the children who have not, in their power, the means nor can they find a way (to escape); As for such, it may be that Allah will pardon them. Allah is ever Clement, Forgiving. : So those, it may be, Allah will pardon them, and Allah is Pardoning, Forgiving. )( 4 : 97 : 99)
In Fighting in the cause of Allah;
General orders for all 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) (2: 190)
General excuses :(No blame is there on the blind, nor is there blame on the lame, nor on one ill (if he joins not the war): 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 ) (48 : 17 )
General rules for men and women according to their deeds and behavior generally:
For the bad deeds and behavior :(whoever does evil, he shall be requited with it) (4: 123)
For the 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 a jot unjustly ) ( 4 : 124 ) .
For more details 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. )(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. ) (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) (40 : 40 )
People misunderstand – virgins of paradise. According to Qur’an when people are re-created they are re-created according to their own deeds. All the “winners” on Day of Judgment will be one gender and will be rewarded in the same way – virgins – according to their good deeds.
So, it is about the deeds and the behavior and the work, not about gender.
Right to equal compensation –
Coming to work itself is the issue regardless of who is the one working. When you do some work you are paid for the work itself.
No restrictions at all on the exercise of these rights.
Accordingly, the good example for good people is woman, and bad example for people is also woman:
(Allah sets forth 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 availed them naught against Allah, and it was said: Enter both 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 Thee 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) ( 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, the worst tyrant, but his wife chose to be a good believer, so she becomes an example for all believers along with Mary the mother of Jesus Christ. Two good women from different background, but they chose the right path and become an example of the good people to mankind.
About Mary (Meryem daughter of Imran and the mother of Jesus, Allah said: (And when the angels said: O Meryem! surely Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the worldO Meryem! keep obedient to your Lord and humble yourself, and bow down with those who bow)(3: 42: 43).
Working woman in Quranic stories:
Story of Moses:
In the first part of the Quranic story of Moses as a child, women played the primary part.
The first part is for the mother and sister and Pharaoh’s wife: (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) (20: 38 – 40)
For more details: (And We revealed to Musa's mothers, 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.) (82 : 7 -13 ).
Here, 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 working their nature work towards the child, except his sister who followed her child brother risking and endangering her life.
There was reference to the women who tried to suckle the child.
In the second part, when he became an adult, women played the main part also 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 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.) (28: 22 - 28).
Here, we find some indications:
1 – Women do the hard work of men to help the old father.
2 –One Woman has a strong personality and character to give piece of advice to her father to hire Moses and also has a good understanding of that strange man ( Moses ).
The wife of Moses accompanied him in his journey back to Egypt, and In Sinai Moses was chosen by Allah to be messenger of Allah to Pharaoh, 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.) ( 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 there-from a live coal or find guidance at the fire). (20:9 - 10).
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. )(20: 94).
Comparing Pharaoh and Queen of Sheba:
The Quran does not object to the fact that a woman was a ruler. She 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 embrace 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 well revered by her chiefs as she was asking their advice in the matter of this message. They were all waiting for her decision believing in her and telling her that they would obey any decision she takes. She was wise enough not to answer Solomon’s letter by waging war or by making it a personal matter but 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." True because lands have only been spoiled but by tyrant mindless rulers that we still see around us. They would bow to stronger powers and oppress 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 proves more intelligent when she embraced Islam and saved herself and her people in this life and in the hereafter and she said "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).
So, in the Quranic stories we find two major examples of tyrant rulers; one is a man that is Pharaoh and the other is a woman that is the queen of Sheba. And even though the story of Pharaoh was repeated several times the story of the queen of Sheba is only mentioned once. Similarities between Pharaoh and the queen of Sheba They were both tyrant 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?" (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 "president"!! Similarly the queen of Sheba was the autocratic holder of wealth and power. In the Quran it says "I found (there) a woman ruling over them and provided with every requisite; and she has a magnificent throne." (27:23), and her chiefs confirm her autonomous power by saying "we are endued with strength, and given to vehement war: but the command is with thee; so consider what thou wilt command." (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, they were asked to "speak to him mildly; perchance he may take warning or fear (Allah)" (20:44) and 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 yet their reactions were completely different, and so were the destinies of their people. Moses and Aaron’s main mission was to deliver the people of Israel from the Pharaonic persecution and to take Pharaoh Permission to them out of 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."(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!" (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 the persecution had weakened the Israelites to the extent that it took them after that forty years 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."(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- and 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 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, Most Gracious Most Merciful: Be ye not arrogant against me, but come to me in submission (to the true religion).’ “(27:30, 31) so even though she has full authority, she discussed the matter openly with her chiefs and read the message to them and described it as ‘a letter worthy of respect.’ That was a clear sign from her so that they would not respond negatively and vote for retaliation. And with the same calm politics she was able to reach a happy ending while Pharaoh and his people were resting at the bottom of the sea with their illusory politics. Here is the difference between a tyrant man and a tyrant woman. There is no doubt that a tyrant woman has less animosity and belligerence than a tyrant man.
Muslim woman in real life in the Medieval Age after the death of Mohammed
In the first century, even after Prophet Mohammad – women were very active on both sides –the side of Muslims and the side of other worshippers. 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 because of dictatorship that was the culture of the Middle Ages.The Qur’an is against dictatorship. Details are in my book (Democratic Islam and Muslim tyranny :
Placing women in a second degree position was also main aspect of this middle aged culture, so Muslims in that time responded to that culture of their time and ignored the real Islam. More over, they treated this contradiction between their actual life and the Quran by creating their new human made religion, like Sunnah, Shiite 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 coming from all over – India, Central Europe, North Africa – as slaves. Men at that time had wives, and a great number of slave women who were more beautiful than Arab and free women (In the eyes of Arab men). So, women at that time and for many centuries were of two kinds 1)- The very beautiful : were slaves, served as second class citizens, mastered songs and dancing, 2)- free women, Arabic women, struggled to keep their husband’s attention, struggle was not for political agenda but for personal agenda. Women were competing against each other. However, Muslim woman in that time enjoyed more rights than women in the West. More details in Adam Metz book about the Islamic civilization in the fourth Hijri century.
Wahhabism has revived and restored the most fanatic Sunni sect in Muslim Medieval Age history and brought it to our modern times in the name of Islam. So, Islam becomes accused wrongly of persecuting women.