Essay on “The Status of Women in Islam” for CSS, PMS

This is an essay on “The Status of Women in Islam” for CSS and PMS. In this paper, an effort has been made to put on the status of Women in Islam. Women are often expected to be obedient wives and mothers staying within the family environment and men are expected to be protectors and caretakers of the family. However, the majority of Muslim scholars agree that women are not obligated to serve their husbands or do housework or do any kind of work at home. So here is a complete essay on the topic of The Status of Women in Islam for CSS, PMS, and All other Judiciary Examinations.

Essay on “The Status of Women in Islam”

In the history of the world, under other religions and constitutional systems, women never enjoyed the rights and privileges which Islam gives them. The status of a woman in Islam is something unique, something novel, something that has no similarity under any other system. The Quran categorically states that a woman is as vital to life as a man himself and granted the status equal to that of a man. The rights and responsibilities of a woman are equal to those o( a man, but they are not necessarily identical with them.

Islam gives her due consideration and recognizes her independent personality, makes her directly accountable to God, and confers rights on her equal to men though not identical with them.

In the pre-Islamic world, the plight of a woman was abject and pathetic. She was branded as the product of the devil or the seed of evil. Some systems placed men as the dominant lord of a woman and she was to surrender to his dominance. Never in the history of Islam has any Muslim ever doubted the dignity of women, her possessions or a soul, and other fine spiritual qualities. Unlike beliefs of some other religions, Islam does not blame Eve alone for the First Sin. The Quran precisely states that both Adam and Eve were tempted, that they both sinned and that God’s pardon was given to both after both repented.

The rights of the woman of modern times were not granted voluntarily or out of kindness to the female. She had to struggle hard for centuries to get to where she is nowadays. Even now her status in many parts of the world and under many systems is not enviable and she is not really in a happy position.

She paid heavily to establish her status as a human being possessing a soul. She had to force her way and various circumstances arose to aid her. A shortage of manpower during various wars, the pressure of economic needs, and the requirements of industrial development forced her to get out of the home, to work and struggle for a livelihood, to appear as an equal to man and to run side by side with men in the race of life.

She has come to enjoy a kind of liberty that in the same cases amounts to libertinism. Whether she is really happy, whether she can discharge the dual responsibility of running her home, taking care of her children and labouring outside to earn her living and augment that of her husband’s, whether there are any miseries and setbacks that encircle the freedom and rights of [a] modern woman are different matters which need not be elaborated here. They are quite well known. What is not known is the status of women in Islam.

As Lady Cobbold says in her Pilgrimage to Mecca, “It was Islam that removed the bondage in which women [were] held from the very dawn of history and gave them a social standing and legal rights such as were not granted to them in England till many centuries later.” Islam did more than that. What it gave her “suits her nature. gives her full security and protects her against disgraceful circumstances and uncertain channels of life.”

The Quran has honoured women so much so that there is a whole chapter on her entitled “Woman” and her status and dignity are explicitly stated therein as also [it is] in so many other verses of the Quran. Some of her rights and indications of her status are stated below.

Islam recognized women as a full and equal partner of man in the procreation and [the] survival of mankind. Her role is no less vital than [that of] men’s. As a consequence of this partnership, she has an equal share in every aspect and is entitled to equal rights. She undertakes equal responsibilities and possesses as many qualities and as much humanity as there are in her partner. About his equal partnership in the reproduction of humankind God says:

“Oh, mankind! Verily, We have created you from a single (pair) — male and female and made you into nations and tribes that ye may know each other.

Again the Quran says:

“Women and men mutually form complements of one another. He created for you helpmates from yourselves that ye may find rest in them and He ordained between you love and mercy.”

She is acknowledged as an independent personality, possessing all human qualities and worthy of spiritual inspiration. Her human nature is neither inferior to nor deviates from men. She is equal to man in bearing personal and common responsibilities and in receiving rewards for her deeds.

Allah says:

And their Lord has accepted {their prayers) and answered them (saying): ‘Never will I cause to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female; you are friends. one to the other”

Islam grants a woman the equal right to contract, enterprise, earn and possess independently. Her life, her property and her honour are [as] sacred as those of men.

To protect her honour from slander and calumny, the Quran decrees that if a person accuses a woman of immorality and does not produce four witnesses in support of his accusations, he is not only liable to the penalty for false accusation but [he is] also to be declared, for perpetuity, as untrustworthy of giving evidence before any court and this is in addition to the punishment is the Hereafter.

It says,

“Those who defame virtuous women and do not produce four witnesses (in support of their accusation) flog them with fourscore stripes and never admit their testimony. And these are to be regarded as wicked people”.

The Holy Prophet elevated the dignity and status of a woman by saying:

“The best among you is the one who is best towards his wife.”

“The world is an ephemeral thing, of which one takes advantage and among the worldly things nothing is better than a good, pious wife.”

“The perfect believer is one who has a perfect character and is kind to his wife.”

“Even paradise lies underneath the feet of your mothers.”

She has to be shown respect,’ care, regard, affection, obedience and to be helped and assisted. In short, she has to be served accordingly. When the Prophet was asked what should be done if one’s mother has died, he answered, “Then serve her sister.”

Islam does not state the rights of a woman in dry statistical terms. It puts them into practise as integral articles of faith. It does not tolerate any prejudice against women or any discrimination between men and women. Time and again, the Quran reproaches those who believe [that]women [are] inferior to men.

It says:

“And when to any one of them the tidings of the birth of a daughter are conveyed, dark shadows settle on [their] faces. and [they are] filled with grief. He keepeth himself aloof because of these tidings and begins to [wonder] whether he shall keep it as a sign of disgrace or bury it in the earth. Mark! How vile is their lire of thought”.

Women are equal to men in pursuit of education and knowledge. Over 14 centuries back, the Prophet declared that the pursuit of knowledge is incumbent on every Muslim male and female. This declaration has been followed by Muslims throughout history.

She is entitled to freedom of expression as much as [a] man in Her sound opinions cannot be disregarded just because she belongs to the fair sex. The Qur’an and the history of Islam bear testimony that women not only expressed their opinion but also argued and participated in serious discussions with the Prophet himself and with other Muslim leaders.

Muslim women expressed their views in legislative matters of public interest in opposition to their English counterparts. In a discussion, Hadrat Umar the great had to concede that the woman was right and he was wrong.

Though the more pressing role of [a] woman 1fes in the home, she has not been confined to the house. Even in the early days of Islam, women participated in public life, especially in times of emergencies. They used to accompany [the] Muslim armies engaged in battle [in order to] nurse the wounded.

In recognition of the fact that women have independent personalities and equal rights, she has been given [a] share in inheritance. She is an heir to the deceased like the male heirs. Whether she is a wife or [a] mother or a sister or a daughter, she receives a certain share in the deceased kin’s property, the share depending upon her degree of relationship and the number of heirs.

In some instances of being witness to certain civil · contracts, like ( a contract of [a] debt, two men are required. But if both are not men, then one man and two women can witness it.

Women enjoy certain privileges which are not granted to men. She is exempt from some religious duties like prayers and fasting [during] her periods and at times of confinement.

Some people are inclined to think that it is derogatory [for] a Muslim woman [to be] required to put on a veil. She is not required to put on a veil of any particular design or cut but to put on a veil of honour, dignity, purity and integrity. The Quran directs believing women to lower their gaze before men and to keep their passions under restraint.

Islam sets up a high standard of morality and takes steps to safeguard a woman’s honour, dignity and chastity.

It should be apparent that Islam gives women unprecedented high status [that is] realistically suited to their nature. Her rights and duties are equal to those of men, but not necessarily or absolutely identical. If she gets half [a] share in inheritance, it is more than compensated [for] in other ways. Her rights are beautifully consonant with her [other} duties.

The Quran sums up:

“And women have rights over men, even as men have rights over women, according to what is equitable, albeit men rank a degree above them.”

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