Women Empowerment and Islam
A woman aware of her responsibility as a Muslimah, an important part of the whole Islamic system, is strong in the face of difficulties. It helps her gain confidence and respect for her own self. Understand that the Islamic law, Shariah, does not in any way degrade the status of a female. It, as opposed to this redundant ideology, empowers and enlightens the status of a woman.
As per some very important Hadiths, the Prophet (PBUH) affirmed:
“Be good to women. The woman has been created out of the rib and the uppermost part of the rib ends in a curve, so if you try to straighten out the curve, it will break, yet if you leave it alone, the curve will remain. Hence, be good to women.”
“The believers who possess perfect faith are those who display the best manners, and the best among you are those who treat their wives in the best possible manner.”
These hadiths point to the fact that Islam does not allow mistreatment of a woman in any form. Our Prophet (PBUH) also proclaimed that the birth of a girl child is a reason for rejoicing and festivity.
“For any man who is put to trail on account of daughters being born to him and he comes out of that trail successfully by virtue of showing good treatment to his daughters, these girls will serve him as a shield against the fire of Hell on the Day of Judgement.”
It is mandatory as per Shariah to not give any special preference to a boy over a girl in any matter. It is required to treat both well and in an equal manner. As per a hadith, the Prophet (PBUH) said that,
“A man, who does not show preference to a boy over a girl or consider a boy superior to a girl in any manner, will be admitted to Paradise by Allah.”
When going through the Quran and hadiths about the share in property given to children, it is explicitly mentioned that the prescribed share to the girl should be provided with careful attention. This is ordained by Allah and one should neither increase nor decrease this amount. No excuses should be made neither should a true believer breach this pious covenant as it insults Islam (Allah forbid!). Education should form a very important part of a girl child. She should be provided proper education and training to help her understand necessities of life. Preferences should not be allotted here.
In case of Nikah of a woman, it should be pointed out with specific attention that Islam prohibits forced marriages. The decision lies in the hands of the girl to be married. She has authority over everyone else to choose her husband. If she disallows or is not in favour of the relation, the Nikah cannot proceed. In another beautiful hadith, it is clearly mentioned by Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) that,
“For the two who love each other, there is nothing better than Nikah.”
Therefore, Islam does allow, and in fact recommends people to get married if they like each other provided the necessities of being a pious Muslim are satisfied. Consent from parents is, of course, mandatory but if they don’t agree even after the requisites are complete, it must be known that Islamic law has not been followed.
Some might think of ‘purdah’ as an obligatory prison for women, something she must be forced to do or beaten to death for. But that is not true at all. For making you realize this, let us understand what purdah means. It does not mean putting on a veil or not having a job, education, or an opinion. It means to be modest, dress properly, speak humbly, discourage extravagance, and not follow the path of evil. Purdah means hiding your beauty but protecting your dignity. It does not oppress women but makes them even more precious and respected. A woman should handle her nobility with care for it does not come cheap. These lines don’t reprimand women who don’t observe purdah. This is, however, an advice for women who do. Respect it. Why? Because it is them, the ones in purdah, who the others observe and profoundly scrutinize, for finding faults in the Islamic system.
Observing purdah with pride shapes a woman’s character. It does not only make her known as a Hijabi but makes her the epitome of a true Muslimah. Wearing clothes good enough to guard your modesty, draping a scarf over your head does make a difference. It cultivates love for one’s body, including image and all that is associated with it. And as is widely asserted that self-love is essential. It is indispensable in this ambiguous society of maimed morals, disrespect, broken promises, and desecration of individual effort.
Where in the Quran does Allah imply to confine a woman to illiteracy or slavery, to not make her own decisions, be beaten, used, or abused? Where does Allah proclaim that a woman should not be consulted or disallowed from being a genuine witness? Where does Islam degrade a woman’s status? The answer is: it does not. It never has.