In the present book entitled Women in Islamic Shariah, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan tries to clear the notion that to interpret the Islamic concept of woman as “degradation” of woman is to distort the actual issue. A Study of the Quran and Hadith tells us that in Islam a woman enjoys the same status as that of a man. The Quran says: “You are members one of another.” (3:195)

There is no difference between the two as regards status, rights and blessings, both in this world and in the Hereafter. Men and women can be likened to a cart running on two wheels. Each of the wheels contributes equally to the running of the cart. Even if only one of the wheels goes out of order, the cart will stop. The way a cart traverses its path with the help of the two wheels, in exactly similar way, with mutual cooperation of men and women, the system of life can be run efficiently. Thus, the biological division of human beings into male and female is the result of purposeful planning by the Creator. Further, the book elaborates the place of women in Islamic Shariah. 



At several places the Quran exhorts us to be on our best behaviour with parents; to pay their dues, and, even when scolded by them, to refrain from angry retorts; we should never be found lacking in loving them or in serving them. That is to say: we should at all times conduct ourselves with the utmost propriety, regardless of how our parents treat us.

According to a Hadith, a man approached the Prophet and asked, “O Prophet, who is more deserving of my good behaviour?” The Prophet said, “Your mother.” The man then asked, “Who after that?” The Prophet again said, “Your mother.” The man again repeated the question and the Prophet again said, “Your mother.” When the man asked the Prophet a fourth time, the Prophet replied, “Your father.” (Sahih Muslim, Hadith No. 2548)

A mother undertakes the great hardship of bearing and bringing up her children. Islam gives importance of a mother.

Source: Spirit of Islam July 2013

In Islam, a woman enjoys the same status as that of a man. There is no difference between man and woman as regards status, rights and blessings, both in this world and in the hereafter. Both are considered equal participants in the carrying out of the functions of daily living. According to Islamic belief, both men and women are born as equal partners in life. In a fine expression of gender equality, the Quran declares:

“Never will I waste the work of any of you, be they male or female: You are members, one of another…” (3:195)

We find the same definition in one of the sayings of the Prophet of Islam, (the Hadith): “Men and women are two equal halves of a single unit. (Sunan Al Tirmidhi, Hadith No. 113)

We see that both the sacred scriptures of Islam make it clear that neither sex is inferior or superior to the other. However, studies in biology and psychology show that the sexes are different in nature, each being designed for a different purpose. So, the Islamic maxim for men and women runs as: ‘Equal in respect, but different in role.’

Men and women being equal, each has a different sphere of action. That is, in making their contribution to social activity, the men undertake whatever is physically harder, while the women deal with whatever is lighter.

Men and women can be likened to a cart running on two wheels. Each of the wheels contributes equally to the running of the cart. Even if only one of the wheels goes out of order, the cart will stop. The way a cart traverses its path with the help of the two wheels, exactly in the same way, with mutual cooperation of men and women, the system of life can be run efficiently.

It is a fact that women in general are not physically as strong as men but their physical weakness in no way implies their inferiority to men. The eyes are the most delicate parts of our body, while the nails by comparison are extremely hard. That does not mean that the nails are superior to the eyes. Just as two different kinds of fruits will differ in colour, taste, shape and texture, without one being superior or inferior to the other, so also do men and women have different qualities which distinguish male from female without there being any question of inferiority or superiority. They are endowed by nature with different capacities so that they may play their respective roles in life with greater ease and effectiveness.

This makes it clear that, although males and females differ from one another biologically, they are equal in terms of human status. No distinction is made between women and men as regards their respective rights. This is all for the good if they are to be lifetime companions. Men and women in the eyes of Islam then are not equal duplicates of one another, but rather complement each other. This concept permits the shortcomings of one sex to be compensated for by the strengths of the other.

In respect of innate talents all individuals, be they men or women, differ from one another. Yet their need for each other is equal. All are of equal value. One is not more important or less important than the other. Similarly when it comes to the establishment of a home and raising a family, men and women have their separate roles to play. But each is vital. Each is indispensable to the other; and for them to come together, function in unison and live in harmony; there must be mutual respect. The prevailing sense is that a difference of biological function does not imply inequality. For the biological division of human beings into males and females is the result of the purposeful planning of our Creator.

Source: Spirit of Islam April 2013

The Quran says that men are in charge of, that is, they are ‘maintainers’ of women (4:34). This leads to a common misconception that Islam gives a higher status to men then women. According to this verse of the Quran, it does not mean that men have a distinctive status over women – being maintainers of women has never been intended as a form of discriminatory treatment, it rather concerns the practical management of the home, for which the man is held responsible. However, this does not mean that a woman will never be allowed to shoulder these responsibilities. If she finds that she can bear this burden, no objection will be raised from any quarter. One example of this can be found in the Quran with reference to the people of Sheba. They lived in Yemen. The famous dam of Marib made their country very prosperous and enabled it to attain a high degree of civilization. The Quran tells us that they were ruled by a woman (27:23) without disapproving of her rule. Bilqis, the Queen of Sheba was very wise and sagacious, even more so than the men in her court. She did not want to embroil her country in war, while the men advised her to confront her enemies, namely, Solomon’s army. Abdullah Yusuf Ali writes: “In Bilqis we have a picture of womanhood, gentle, prudent, and able to tame the wilder passions of her subjects.”

It is an accepted principle with the commentators of the Quran that when the Quran reports something without any disapproval, that means that has been approved of by the Quran.

So when we look at this incident in the light of the Quran, we find the status of woman even higher than that of men. A woman is in charge of men and she has shouldered this responsibility with greater efficacy.

Thus the example of the Queen of Sheba having found mention in the Quran shows that rulership is not man’s monopoly. A woman can be a ‘qawwam’ over a man and the Quran has itself testified to it.

Source: The True Face of Islam

Women are at liberty to work in Islam. In fact, in the early period of Islam, both the sexes were fully active in different fields of life, from housework to agriculture and horticulture, and from worship in the mosque to the battleground. Everywhere women were visible and active. Gradually there came about a division of labour, which is justifiable not only biologically and physiologically, but also in terms of the ensuing social benefits. One such important benefit is that they can see each other’s lives objectively, without that personal involvement which tends to cloud their judgment and lead to a damaging emotionalism. They are better able to counsel each other coolly and wisely, to give moral support at critical moments, and to offer the daily encouragement with which every successful union should be marked.

In Islamic history, there are many examples of women giving invaluable help to their husbands in critical situations. One of the most notable was Khadijah, the wife of the Prophet of Islam who successfully brought the Prophet back from a state of fear and trembling to a state of normalcy after his receiving the first divine revelation in the solitude of the Cave of Hira from the Archangel Gabriel. She was able to reassure him that his life was not, as he feared, in danger, as she herself was emotionally detached from the incident. She observed: “God will surely never forsake you. You are kind to your kin; you always help the weak; you take care of whoever crosses your threshold; you solace the weary; you speak the truth.” The reassurance that Khadijah gave to the Prophet of Islam on this occasion was one of the most significant contributions to the furtherance of Islam.

Then it occurred to Khadijah that she had best make enquiries of some learned Christians, who, well versed as they were in the scriptures, were bound to have knowledge of revelation and prophethood. She went first to a rahib (hermit) who lived near Mecca. On seeing her, the priest asked, “O noble lady of the Quraysh, what has brought you here?” Khadijah replied, “I have come here to ask you about Gabriel.” To this the rahib said, “Glory be to God, he is God’s pure angel. He visits prophets: he came to Jesus and Moses.” Then Khadijah went to another Christian called Addas. She put the same question to him, and he too told her that Gabriel was an angel of God, the very same who had been with Moses when God drowned the Pharaoh. He had also come to Jesus, and through him God had helped Jesus.

Then Khadijah hastened to Waraqah ibn Nawfal, a Christian convert who had translated part of the Bible into Arabic. When she had finished telling him of what Muhammad had seen and heard, Waraqah exclaimed, “Holy, holy! By the Master of my soul, if your report be true, O Khadijah, this must be the great spirit who spoke to Moses. This means that Muhammad must be the Prophet of this nation.” On a subsequent visit, Khadijah brought Muhammad to meet Waraqah ibn Nawfal. Muhammad related the events exactly as they had taken place and, when he had finished, Waraqah said, “By the Master of my soul, I swear that you are the same Prophet whose coming was foretold by Jesus, son of Mary.” But then Waraqah sounded a note of warning: “You will be denied and you will be hurt. You will be abused and you will be pursued.” He nevertheless immediately pledged himself to the Prophet: “If I should ever live to see that day, I should surely help you.”

Islam gives liberty to women to work. Islam considers men and women as equal in respect, but different in role.

Source: The True Face of Islam


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