Thursday, June 21, 2007

Women in Islam

When ever any one discusses Islam, the most controversial issues is of the Status of women in Islam. Among majority of non-Muslims, she (Muslim woman) is viewed as oppressed and living under the domination of males, confined in the boundaries of home, not having a right to express herself or take part in public life. To their suprise, its a misconception and in this article I will clear this.

But first I would discuss on how did this misconception surfaced....

First its due to non-Muslims lack of knowledge of Quran. Secondly due to Muslim male patriarchy system. Due to this system, both non-Muslims and Muslim males perception of woman in Islam is based on the traditions and cultural practices of certain group within a community, which are stereo-typed as legitimate Islamic practices.

This happens due to the fact that modern Muslim has distanced itself from Allah's Book, and the ones who may identify themselves as Muslim, are themselves unaware of Quranic injunctions and blindly follow the doctrines of the sect in which they are born into, assuming them to be consistent with Islam. But that doctrine in some places is more closer to their ancestors pagan culture than Islam.

Its also due to more dependence on secondary source instead of primary source of Islam. First indirectly they give status of demi-God to Muhammad, status of infalliblity to Sahaba and Ahl al-Bayt, then their names are used to make a forged Hadith look genuine and provide the notion that males are far superior to woman both spiritually and physically and link it with Islam.

It should be asked, when we say something is Islamic, who is the authority in that matter? Do we term something Islamic, only because sectarians who apply the label of a Muslim or Muslim scholar on them selves are practicing/championing it using the secondary source which is contradictory to Quran?

Even a casual study of Quran can make one understand that the final authority for all matters of Islam lies with the Book of Allah and whatever confirmed by Quran, is valid Islamic practice and what is refuted or resented by it, is not.

Not a scholar but still in this article I will show you the true picture of Muslimah citing examples from Quran...

The Origin:

Quran describes that male and female are equal in status in the eyes of Allah as both were created out of one single source material called "Nafsin wahida".Unlike the Bible, which states that Eve (woman) was created from Adam's rib (For more check Genesis).

4:1 O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your duty toward Allah in Whom ye claim (your rights) of one another, and toward the wombs (that bare you). Lo! Allah hath been a watcher over you.

7:189 He it is Who did create you from a single soul, and therefrom did make his mate that he might take rest in her. And when he covered her she bore a light burden, and she passed (unnoticed) with it, but when it became heavy they cried unto Allah, their Lord, saying: If thou givest unto us aright we shall be of the thankful.

Also Quran discards the Biblical story where Eve is held responsible for Adams temptation and expulsion from Heaven (check Genesis). Quran tells that both Adam (man) and his pair (woman) were equally tempted by Satan, tasted of the forbidden fruit, were equally admonished for their forgetfulness, and both repented which was accepted by Allah, as stated in Sura Al-Araaf...

7:19 And (unto man): O Adam! Dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden and eat from whence ye will, but come not nigh this tree lest ye become wrong-doers.

7:20 Then Satan whispered to them that he might manifest unto them that which was hidden from them of their shame, and he said: Your Lord forbade you from this tree only lest ye should become angels or become of the immortals.

7:21 And he swore unto them (saying): Lo! I am a sincere adviser unto you.

7:22 Thus did he lead them on with guile. And when they tasted of the tree their shame was manifest to them and they began to hide (by heaping) on themselves some of the leaves of the Garden. And their Lord called them, (saying): Did I not forbid you from that tree and tell you: Lo! Satan is an open enemy to you?

7:23 They said: Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If thou forgive us not and have not mercy on us, surely we are of the lost!

Sura Al-Baqara also describes that both man and woman, were tempted by Satan..

2:36 But Satan caused them to deflect therefrom and expelled them from the (happy) state in which they were; and We said: Fall down, one of you a foe unto the other! There shall be for you on earth a habitation and provision for a time.

With these verses its quite clear that Quran holds the idea that both men as well as women were created out of one source (Nafsin wahidatin) and both were equally responsible for their expulsion from the Garden. Never does Quran holds the view that the first woman was created from a man's rib or its because of her that mankind was expelled from Heaven.

Women's treatment by Muslim sectarians, radical Muslims and Pagans...

Its a fact that in such societies which are governed by superstition, ignorance, sectarians and self interest of the Muslim make part elite, female is oppressed to the fullest extreme and considered as a lowly being in comparison to men and worst males of such society shamelessly even say that they respect woman from heart.

But facts are different and it observed that her rights are usurped by the influential class and she seldom has the opportunity to voice her grievances.

Quran is a naked sword for such a mentality which considers females to be of a lower worth than males, Quran tells that in the sight of God, whole mankind is equally honored and worthy of respect..

17:70 Verily we have honoured the Children of Adam. We carry them on the land and the sea, and have made provision of good things for them, and have preferred them above many of those whom We created with a marked preferment.

Quran also tells us that in a society of pagans and sectarian Muslims, female gender is despised and a son is preferred over a daughter. In Sura Al Nahl their mentality is identified...

16:58 When if one of them receiveth tidings of the birth of a female, his face remaineth darkened, and he is wroth inwardly.

16:59 He hideth himself from the folk because of the evil of that whereof he hath had tidings, (asking himself): Shall he keep it in contempt, or bury it beneath the dust. Verily evil is their judgment.

More worse thing is, in such societies she is also deprived of the nourishment that was to be meant equally for her as well as her male counterpart. This is done on the basis of self made traditions...

6:139 And they say: That which is in the bellies of such cattle is reserved for our males and is forbidden to our wives; but if it be born dead, then they (all) may be partakers thereof. He will reward them for their attribution (of such ordinances unto Him). Lo, He is Wise, Aware.

Allah tells in Quran, that the birth of a male or a female is in accordance with His laws of nature and not something to raise discrimination against..

42:49 Unto Allah belongeth the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. He createth what He will. He bestoweth female (offspring) upon whom He will, and bestoweth male (offspring) upon whom He will;

42:50 Or He mingleth them, males and females, and He maketh barren whom He will. Lo! He is Knower, Powerful.

Children are born not only of a father, but also a mother, therefore it should not be subjected to any bias on account of its birth as said in Quran...

49:13 O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.

Now lets check the status of women in a society which is governed by true Quranic principles and not by sectarian or secondary sources.

Right of expression:

Scripture of Allah tells up that woman in true Islamic society not only have the right to express herself freely but she is in such a position that she may even argue and hold discussions with the head of the community. Our beloved Prophet who was not only the divine emissary to his people but also the head of the Islamic state, gave so much freedom in society that the people, including women were in a position to argue with him.

As a matter of fact such argument is even recorded in Quran in Surah "Al-Mujadilah" (the woman who argues).

58:1 Allah hath heard the saying of her that disputeth with thee (Muhammad) concerning her husband, and complaineth unto Allah. And Allah heareth your colloquy. Lo! Allah is Hearer, Knower.In true Islam women are required to take an active part in public life.

Right to acquire education:

Quran and Prophet both hold the point of view that the acquisition of education(spiritual and non-spiritual) is an obligaton on whole Ummah. Prophet taught Quran to his audience, which included men as well as women...

62:2 He it is Who hath sent among the unlettered ones a messenger of their own, to recite unto them His revelations and to make them grow, and to teach them the Scripture and wisdom, though heretofore they were indeed in error manifest,No fee was charged, for imparting knowledge

25:57 Say: I ask of you no reward for this, save that whoso will may choose a way unto his Lord.Women are also to be involved in acquisition of knowledge, as wives of Prophet (S.A.W) were commanded:

33:34 And bear in mind that which is recited in your houses of the revelations of Allah and wisdom. Lo! Allah is Subtile, Aware.

Implication of this verse early Islam saw a scholar like Aisha (as)

Quite clear that as per Quran women should also be educated and trained to know the realities of life.

Right to select a life partner:

In Islam marriage is termed a contract between consenting adults who are believers in the Deen e Islam. Quran in clear terms says that women cannot be forced to get married, which suggests they have the right to express their will.

4:19 O ye who believe! It is not lawful for you forcibly to inherit the women, nor ye should put constraint upon them that ye may take away a part of that which ye have given them, unless they be guilty of flagrant lewdness. But consort with them in kindness, for if ye hate them it may happen that ye hate a thing wherein Allah hath placed much good.

In Sura An-Nisa, men are also given the permission to marry women of choice but marrying more than one is CONDITIONAL and this aspect will be discussed later in this article.

4:3 If you fear that it will not be possible to find an equitable solution of the problems of "Yatama" (orphans in society) otherwise, marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice then one or that your right hands possess. Thus it is more likely that ye will not do injustice.

Quite clear, women cant be married forcefully and men also have been given the right to marry women of their choice, but more than one is conditional

In same Surah its stated that women have taken a 'meesaq' (contract) from men;

4:21 And how can you take it when one of you has already gone in to the other and they have made with you a firm covenant (meesaq'an ghaliza)

A contract or covenant ( "meesaq" in Arabic) requires free consent of both parties in agreeing to that contract, if forced to do something against his/her will does not constitute a "meesaq".

If the woman has been forced into getting married or the will of the man has been manipulated by coercion then such an agreement does not become a contract or "meesaq". So to bring a contract of marriage into existence both parties (man and woman) have to use their free will in coming to terms and agreeing to live the rest of their lives with each other. If they forced against their will then such would not constitute a "meesaq".

Husband-wife relations:

Married couple ought to have good relations so love, compassion, and tranquility may develop between man and woman, which is essential so they live a life of harmony and become a source of solace to each other.

30:21 And of His signs is this: He created for you helpmeets from yourselves that ye might find rest in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy. Lo! herein indeed are portents for folk who reflect.

Quran uses the term "zawj" for the husband-wife pair, which means such a pair which is complimentary to each other, and with the absence of one of its halves the other gets incomplete.So husband and wife should be like that they provide fulfillment to each other's personality and become a source of nourishment for each other.

Quran never gives an idea that a husband-wife relationship is of a boss and his servant, instead of mutual companionship and comradeship.For this it is essential that both have a unified outlook of life and maintain same stance for various matters.

Such a life, in which both are in harmony with each other will be a life of exhilaration, on the other hand where people of conflicting tastes, views and ideologies are bound together, may result in kindling the fires of discontentment.

Thats why Quran states that Muslims should be paired with Muslims only, as if they selected spouses from the opposing camps, then that would cause discord.

2:221 Wed not idolatresses till they believe; for lo! a believing bondwoman is better than an idolatress though she please you; and give not your daughters in marriage to idolaters till they believe, for lo! a believing slave is better than an idolater though he please you. These invite unto the Fire, and Allah inviteth unto the Garden, and unto forgiveness by His grace, and expoundeth His revelations to mankind that haply they may remember.

Quran also terms husband and wife pair as "Garments" to each other, classifying type of relations a Believing couple maintains..

2:187 Permitted to you, on the night of the fasts, is the approach to your wives. They are your garments and ye are their garments.........

As nothing comes between us and our garments, such should be the outlook that believers are to maintain towards their spouses. Garment protects us from all kinds of climate and guards our shame, similarly a couple which considers Quran to be their guidance for life, should protect each other from the harmful effects of society and guard each others weaknesses.

Men are instructed that they should treat their spouses with mercy and compassion and should not be harsh on them.

4:19 O ye who believe! It is not lawful for you forcibly to inherit the women, nor ye should put constraint upon them that ye may take away a part of that which ye have given them, unless they be guilty of flagrant lewdness. But consort with them in kindness, for if ye hate them it may happen that ye hate a thing wherein Allah hath placed much good.

Some believe that they can be harsh on their wives if they are displeasing them and can use little force to tame them, but this is just a radical belief which got associated with Islam couple of centuries ago and is refuted in another article of mine..


Finally we hit the topic of Polygamy, which is favorite of many males, and they provide you with most absurd points to justify Polygamy. But in this article we will understand it using Quran...

So first I will remind you that Quranic laws are not meant for just one individual but for betterment of whole society at large.In a community there may arise a situation when the relaxation of the rule of one-man, one woman as a married couple becomes a necessity under strict conditions.

For eg. long wars or some natural calamity may reduce considerably the number of young men in the society, leaving a large number of widowed women, generally with children and un-married orphan girls un provided for.

Such women and children must be protected and looked after in the fulfillment of their needs without compromising their dignity and honor so only in such a case Quran has relaxed the condition of monogamy.

Polygamy, is not for satisfaction of lust of a man or to raise a soccer team or any line of personal motives like to get male child as a heir but for a special situation of society.The following verse informs us this situation and the conditional rule linked to polygamy..

4:3 If you fear that it will not be possible to find an equitable solution of the problems of "Yatama" (orphans in society) otherwise, marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice then one or that your right hands possess.

Thus it is more likely that ye will not do injustice.The above verse points out two very important things in context of Polygamy .

(1) Marrying more than one wife is conditional if it is feared that (which in Arabic means widowed and orphaned people in society, i.e. those left in isolation.) are not being provided for equitably in society.

(2) If one feels that he cannot do justice between his wives then he has to marry only one wife.

(3) Polygamy in this verse is actually directing fair treatment of wives, otherwise the man is asked to marry only one woman.

Quite clear that polygamy is not an obligation, but it is a marriage under special conditions but if one is not able to do justice then he has to marry only one woman. Some may argue that nowadays majority of woman might not be willing to have another woman brought as a rival into her home, so in such cases men may not need permission of their first wife. This argument can be countered as well by saying, one can help by Establishing orphanages, old homes and making them economically independent.


Another popular topic for non-Muslims and radical/ignorant Muslims. Islamic radicals use to incite ignorant Muslims for violence,non-Muslims to trash Islam by emphasing beautiful maidens known as "hoor" which will be reserved for the men of paradise for sexual pleasure.

Some where down the lines clergy, under the influence Male patriarchy, unauthenticated material and cultural background started to back the claim of Hoor and sexual pleasures and many fell in this trap citing points by english translation of Quran.

So first let of clear the term Hoor.Hoor word is mentioned in Quran is plural of "ahwar" which is for the masculine gender and "hawrau" which is for the feminine gender.

So the word "hoor" is not restricted to the female gender only, but represents both men as well as women. The word litterly means whiteness of the eye , and also signifies a clean and pure intellect of a person, free from vile intentions.

The word "al-hawariyun" is also derived from this word and is (al-hawariyun) used for the disciples of Jesus (as), as they were persons having purified souls.In context of paradise52:20..and We shall pair them with companions of pure eyes..Quite clear, believers will have companions of pure intellect, which will include, men as well as women.

For more check this link:

Woman dress code:

Its so amazing that across globe Muslim talk about Hijab for woman, when in Quran Hijab word is not even mentioned when Quran talks about woman dress code.

The first rule of DRESS CODE for Muslim women is in 7:26, second can be found  in 24:31 and the third is in 33:59.

7:26 O children of Adam! We have indeed sent down to you clothing to cover your shame, and (clothing) for beauty and clothing that guards (against evil), that is the best. This is of the communications of Allah that they may be mindful.

33:59. O Nabi! Say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers that they bring their over-garments nearer to themselves (while in public); this will be more proper, that they may be recognized, and thus they will not be given trouble; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

In public she is to take "Jilbaab" or over garment over herself according to above verse, Allah doesnt mentions to cover her face. Jilbab in no means head cover as head cover in Arabic means khafiya

24:31 And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty. They shall not reveal any parts of their bodies, except that which is necessary. They shall cover their chests, and shall not relax this code in the presence of other than their husbands, their fathers, the fathers of their husbands, their sons, the sons of their husbands, their brothers, the sons of their brothers, the sons of their sisters, other women, the male servants or employees whose sexual drive has been nullified, or the children who have not reached puberty.; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss.

In this verse word KHUMAR is used, and let me tell you what Khumar means, it simply means cover, any cover, a curtain is a Khumar, a dress is a Khumar and in this verse Allah asks to cover one's bosoms and one is to maintain this type of dress in public in front of all relations.

In family setting Allah puts no hardship on women, and permitted them to relax their dress code, though Allah doesnt gives the details as every situation is different, so we need to see Sunnah.A woman may relax her dress code in front of the four year old son of her brother but not as much in front of the 16 year old son

33:55 It is no sin for women to relax their dress code with their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or the sons of their sisters or of their own women, or their slaves. O women! Keep your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is ever Witness over all things.

About elderly women, verse is itself very clear.

24:60 Such elderly women as are past the prospect of marriage,- there is no blame on them if they lay aside their (outer) garments, provided they make not a wanton display of their beauty: but it is best for them to be modest: and Allah is One Who sees and knows all things.

Continuing with the topic, this one is for those who consider that woman is commodity yet claim that they respect woman, to their suprise Quran also gives us evidence to refute their so called claim of "Talibani Purdah" (Veils, 'Ninja style' face covers) an obligation on Muslimah.

To back my claim I present you with the woman who is among the four most honored women in Islam, or say who can be ranked among Prophets. I wont touch the subject of Woman Prophet as I believe sister Basmah can do a better job in that field.

Mother Mary mother of Jesus (as) is mentioned in Quran as the woman chosen and purified above all the women of all the worlds.

3:42 And when the angels said: O Mary! Lo! Allah hath chosen thee and made thee pure, and hath preferred thee above (all) the women of creation.

She has been called as an example for the believers and her conduct is called to exemplify..

66:11 And Allah citeth an example for those who believe: the wife of Pharaoh when she said: My Lord! Build for me a home with thee in the Garden, and deliver me from Pharaoh and his work, and deliver me from evil-doing folk;

66:12 And Mary, daughter of 'Imran, whose body was chaste, therefor 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.

The ones who chant and beat woman for Niqab must have read Quran, if so then they must have observed that as she appears from seclusion with young Jesus, her people recognized her.Now had she been wearing a "niqab" to cover her face, her people would not have identified her immediately as she had appeared from seclusion.

This informs us that she was not covering her face i.e. not wearing a "niqab", as mentioned in the following verses..

19:27 Then she brought him to her own folk, carrying him. They said: O Mary! Thou hast come with an amazing thing.

19:28 O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a wicked man nor was thy mother a harlot.

19:29 Then she pointed to him. They said: How can we talk to one who is in the cradle, a young boy?

19:30 He spake: Lo! I am the slave of Allah. He hath given me the Scripture and hath appointed me a Prophet,

Mary's (as) recognition by her people indicates that she was not wearing a "niqab" to protect her face from being seen, now the most honored woman was a Fitnah?

Ok now even lets forget the case of Mary (as) and check some other Quranic verses which are an evidence that negates the practice of wearing "Talibani Purdah".

After Allah (swt) informs Prophet (saw) about marriage with certain relations He further reminds..

33:52 It is not allowed thee to take (other) women henceforth, nor that thou shouldst change them for other wives even though their beauty pleased thee, save those whom thy right hand possesseth. And Allah is ever Watcher over all things.

Above verse clearly tells that Prophet (saw) was in a position to see the beauty of women and this clearly establishes that women not related to the Prophet did not wear "Talibani Purdah" or veils to cover their faces when they used to appear in front of him.

Now its time for pro-Talibanis to realize that attributing anything to Allah which He has not ordained is a very serious action on their part.Allah has informed us through His messenger that making any thing obligatory and then attributing it to Allah which He did not made as an obligation is Forbidden....

7:33 Say: My Lord forbiddeth only indecencies, such of them as are apparent and such as are within, and sin and wrongful oppression, and that ye associate with Allah that for which no warrant hath been revealed, and that ye tell concerning Allah that which ye know not.

Talibani Purdah has not been made mandatory by any verse of Quran, it is a cultural practice of pagan tribes and unbelievers.

Are women allowed to talk with men to whom they are not related (not married)?

Lets look into Quran for an answer on this issue..on studying Quran we learn that Moses (as)is shown to held a conversation with two women who were not married to him yet.

28:23 And when he came unto the water of Midian he found there a whole tribe of men, watering. And he found apart from them two women keeping back (their flocks). He said: What aileth you? The two said: We cannot give (our flocks) to drink till the shepherds return from the water; and our father is a very old man.

28:24 So he watered (their flock) for them. Then he turned aside into the shade, and said: My Lord! I am needy of whatever good Thou sendest down for me.

28:25 Then there came unto him one of the two women, walking shyly. She said: Lo! my father biddeth thee, that he may reward thee with a payment for that thou didst water (the flock) for us. Then, when he came unto him and told him the (whole) story he said: Fear not! Thou hast escaped from the wrongdoing folk.

Above said depicts the conversation between Moses prior to he was given prophethood and two un-married girls, making it clear that women can talk with men who are un related to them but for important tasks only and is done within the limits ordained by Allah.


Radicals believe in ideology that a woman should be confined within the boundaries of her house, Taliban and Sauds are example of this, lets see some verses from Quran on this issue...

4:15 As for those of your women who are guilty of lewdness, call to witness four of you against them. And if they testify (to the truth of the allegation) then confine them to the houses until death take them or (until) Allah appoint for them a way (through new legislation).

These radicals and ignorant justify confinement by misinterpreting a verse in Sura Al-Ahzaab.

But to their suprise the verse that they use for confinement of women within the boundaries of their homes, contains an Arabic word "qarna", which simply means "to be joined or linked, or connected with something or someone", and refers to the injunction for women in general and the wives of the Prophet in particular, to maintain a link and connection with their homes and families, such that they may not get neglectful towards their domestic responsibilities, but in no means justify the practice of confinement.

33:33 And stay in your houses. Bedizen not yourselves with the bedizenment of the Time of Ignorance. Be regular in prayer, and pay the poor-due, and obey Allah and His messenger. Allah's wish is but to remove uncleanness far from you, O Folk of the Household, and cleanse you with a thorough cleansing.

Quite clear confinement is a punishment for certain offences and not a norm for women. Quran clearly says that a woman may engage in activities outside of the house, but she has to maintain a link with her home and family and should not be neglectful of the responsibilities laid down for her by the divine code.

Women's participation in government:

From Quran we learn that organization of Believers which enforces the Quranic law has a very important duty to "order what's recognized by the divine laws and forbid what is unauthentic".

There's a specific phrase in Quran for this duty; "am
r bil maruf wa nahy an il munkar".

Translated as; ordering all things recognized by the law of Allah as right and forbidding all that which is un-authentic.

This responsibility was also included in Prophet's mission as he was the first leader of the Islamic state as stated in Quran....

7:157 .......He orders them with Al-Maruf (what is recognized by the divine laws) and forbids them from Al-Munkar (that which is termed unauthentic by the divine laws), and makes lawful to them the good things and makes unlawful to them impure things, and removes from them their burden and the shackles which were upon them.

This function of ordering with Al-Maruf and forbidding from Al-Munkar, is not just not limited to Prophet but a duty of even present day government....

22:41 Those who, if We give them power in the land, establish worship and pay the poor-due and order with Al Maruf (what is recognized by the divine laws) and forbid from Al-Munkar (that which is termed unauthentic by the divine laws). And Allah's is the sequel of events.

In this most crucial responsibility both men as well as women are included...

9:71 And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends one of another; they order with Al Maruf and forbid from Al Munkar, and they establish worship and they pay the poor-due, and they obey Allah and His messenger. As for these, Allah will have mercy on them. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Wise.

Very simple, both men and women together run the government in an Islamic state( established on Quranic principles). So Women must an active part in running the affairs of the state.

Allah tells in Quran he teaches us by the means of giving examples from past and these are the following verse

12:3 We do relate unto thee the most beautiful of stories, in that We reveal to thee this (portion of the) Qur'an: before this, thou too was among those who knew it not.

12:111 IN THEIR HISTORY VERILY THERE IS A LESSON FOR MEN OF UNDERSTANDING. It is no invented story but a confirmation of the existing (Scripture) and a detailed explanation of everything, and a guidance and a mercy for folk who believe.

Here I will bring you attention to story of Bilquees the Queen of Sheba from Suratul Namal ayat 22-44....

Allah told us this story, to set a precedent that a woman in a political leadership is not offensive to Allah.

She represented a republic who consulted with her people before making important decisions..but was Pagan...after witnessing a sign shown by Allah through Prophet Solomon she reverted to Islam, but still remained Quuen of ShebaSo here we we witness one of the first Muslim woman in charge of a nation, ruling them as the Queen of Sheba.

Girl's share in inheritance:

Many non-Muslim believe that Islam discriminates against women by giving them a lesser share in inheritance as compared to their male counterparts. Its not correct Quran gives equal share to women with the exception of the daughter of the deceased and for this instance share of a son is equal to that of two daughters..

4:11 Allah chargeth you concerning (the provision for) your children: to the male the equivalent of the portion of two females.....

To understand this idea one need to understand that in Islamic society responsibility of acquiring livelihood lies on the shoulders of men, and not an obligation on women to provide for her husband and family.

Neither do daughters have an obligation to provide for their family, but Sons not only have to maintain themselves, but their wives and family as well.So a man should get a larger portion from the division of resources, as he is given the responsibility care taker of his family. That is why, in inheritance, boy's share has been kept twice as much of a girl.

Where the dispersion of inheritance is among same generation, as is the case of a brother and sister (in case the deceased was issue-less and parents were still living) each of them gets one sixth (equal).

4:12..And if a man or a woman have a distant heir (having left neither parent nor child), and he (or she) have a brother or a sister (only on the mother's side) then to each of them twain (the brother and the sister) the sixth..

For parents, it is again one sixth each for mother and father.

4:11..And to each of his parents a sixth of the inheritance..

So incorrect to assume that Islam has made a general rule that woman's share is half of the man's.

Must note that in a situation where men are neglecting this duty of theirs and it is feared that the woman would be rendered impoverished, Quran gives authority that, in a will, a person can divide his property as he pleases according to circumstances.

Also the division of inheritance as mentione in Quran is only applicable if a person dies without leaving a will. So quite clear that apportioning a lesser share for a daughter neither lessens her rights nor degrades her status in the society as against the man.

Are men a degree above women?

Being part of Islam community I came across many people who use Quranic guidance to champion that men are superior to women.

This mentality is just not to Orkut but even outside this virtual life, there people back up this ideology citing a small portion of wrong translation of verse 2:228 of Sura Al-Baqara, and also fail to provide whole context, instead come to short sighted conclusion that Islam maintains the superiority of men against women.

It is an irony that the very verse which equates rights and obligations of gender is usually quoted to say that men are superior to women.

Quran cant be understood by just one verse, but crucial point to understand Quran properly is to always look at the verses preceding and following a specific verse/subject.

Its quite clear that they never read Quran in this manner as they failed to realize that its matter of biological construction men and women being different and have certain rights related to that aspect (i.e. maternity leaves are for women, not men) else both men and women are equal in spirituality according to Quran and one must remember that in Islam spiritual superiority matters.

For eg. Mr. X is physically very strong that Mr. Z, but Mr. Z is more strong(spiritually) in faith in Allah and Mr. X is zero (spiritually) in faith in Allah, so who holds more value in the eyes of Allah?Even a ten year old Muslim child can tell, of course Mr. Z.

Quran tells that they are not only equal but equally capable and responsible for developing those qualities in themselves which the Quran has said are essential for believers.

2:228. ......And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness...

Easy to understand, for every responsibility given to them, they acquire a right. This is the equality they have been granted. So men and women have same rights as each other..Verse continues.....

2:228. ...And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness, and men are a degree above them. Allah is Mighty, Wise.

To Male Patriarchy I would say that it would be highly contradictory to conclude from the statement: "li Rijaale alayhenaa darja" "men are a degree above them" that men are superior to women, as at one hand verse says that women and men have rights similar to each other, so the suggestion that men are superior, will contradict this impression..One gender cannot be superior to another if their rights and obligations are equal.

The word used by the Quran is "Daraja" meaning "degree". This "degree" can be understanding in what context this verse was revealed. To make it easy, this verse deals with the conditions attached to remarriage after divorce.The verse is..

2:228 Women who are divorced shall wait, keeping themselves apart, three monthly courses. And it is not lawful for them that they should conceal that which Allah hath created in their wombs if they are believers in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands would do better to take them back in that case if they desire a reconciliation. And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness, and men are a degree above them. Allah is Mighty, Wise.

Verse tells that Divorcees should refrain (from remarriage) for three menstrual cycles, so that whatever has been created by Allah becomes pronounced, then it goes on to say that men have one advantage. This advantage is that they can remarry right away and women have to wait almost three months, or more if found to be pregnant, before they can re-marry).

So my dear people suffering from Male Patriarchy , an advantage in a peculiar situation does not mean one is superior than the other. Just a biological stuff that males do not have to wait for a stated period ("iddah") for the purpose of getting married again upon divorce. Quite clear that only matter of "iddah", men have a degree higher than women, else both are equal.

Women are deficient when compared to men?


nadira said...

MashaAllah a great article, worth a read.

JazakAllah sister

Nazia said...

Nice article, you have a commanding knowldge on Quran.


Can you wrtie in mor details on the subject of Polygamy?

naza said...


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