Women’s Status In Islam


Status of the Muslim woman in society is something which is critical, she is a daughter, she is a sister, she is a wife and she is the mother. Therefore she affects numerous individuals throughout society, and hence has a great deal of influence. Her thoughts will affect the next generation, she is their educator, their tutor, their role model and can drastically influence how Islamic or unislamic the next generation of Muslims will be or will become. That’s why Islam gives a special care and interest for the Muslim woman in all stages she passes by:

As a Wife: 

Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, says: “The best of you is the one who is best to his wife, and I am the best of you to my wives.”[Al-Tirmidhi, 3895] 

Wife in Islam has many rights, to name few: 

1. Financial Rights (Living Expenses):

When the couple enters into marriage contract; first and foremost thing is giving Mahr (Dowry). Mahr is the money to which the wife is entitled from her husband. It is a right which man is obliged to pay to the woman. Allah Almighty says (what means):“And give to women their Mahr (obligatory bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart” [Qur’an 4:4]

2. Spending on the Wife:

It is obligatory for the husband to spend on his wife and provide her according to his Salary. Allah Almighty says (what means):“Let the rich man spend according to his means; and the man whose resources are restricted, let him spend according to what Allaah has given him” [Qur’an 65:7]

3. Kind treatment: 

The husband must have a good attitude towards his wife and be kind to her, and offer her everything that may soften her heart towards him, Allah Almighty says (What means): “…and live with them honorably” [Qur’an 4:19]

It was narrated that Abu Huraira, may Allah exalt his mention, said: “The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: ‘Be kind to women.’”(Bukhari, 3153; Muslim, 1468)

4. Not beating or harming the wife:

Islam gives women huge respect and the greatest of that is not to beat or harm the wife. Prophet Muhammad , peace be upon him, said: “There should be no harming nor reciprocating harm.”( Ibn Maajah,, 2340)

6. Protector of Women:

Allah Almighty says (what means):“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands), and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity and their husband’s property)….” [Qur’an 4:34]

7. The Right to spend her own money:

The husband does not have the right to object to the way his wife handles her wealth in transactions such as buying, renting, etc., if the woman is of a sound mind and can handle the transactions.  The wife is encouraged to seek her husband’s permission but it is not obligatory for her to do so. Whatever the Husband gives to wife as a gift, wife can spend it herself. Allah Almighty, the Almighty, says (what means):“And if you divorce them before you have touched them, and you have appointed unto them the mahr (bridal money) then pay half of that (mahr), unless the women agree to forego it…”[Qur’an  2:237] 

 As a Daughter: 

Daughters were badly treated in the pre-Islamic era: man, if informed that his wife gave birth to a female child, he would be very sad as stated in the Qur’an (what means):

“And when one of them is informed of [the birth of] a female, his face becomes dark, and he suppresses grief. He hides himself from the people because of the ill of which he has been informed. Should he keep it in humiliation or bury it in the ground?  Unquestionably, evil is what they decide.” (Qur’an 58:59) 

In addition, some men would even bury their daughters alive. Allah Almighty says (what means):{And when the girl (who was) buried alive is asked, for what sin she was killed.}(Qur’an 81:8-9) 

In order to abolish such pre-Islamic methods in treating daughters, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, states:“He who is involved (in the responsibility) of (nurturing) daughters and is generous to them, will have them as a fortification for himself against the Hellfire.”(Al-Bukhaari & Muslim)

He, peace be upon him, also said: 

“Whoever Allah has given two daughters and is kind towards them, will have them as a reason for him to be admitted into Paradise.” And: “Whoever Allah Almighty has given three daughters and he preserves through raising them, will have them as a shield for him from the Hellfire on the Day of Resurrection.”(Muslim)

Thus, it is incorrect to believe that one has been humiliated by being granted a girl; rather it is an honor, a bounty and a gate towards Paradise.

Another crucial aspect in the upbringing of daughters that greatly influences their future is education.  Education is not only a right but a responsibility for all males and females.  Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said:{Seeking knowledge is mandatory for every Muslim.} The word “Muslim” here is inclusive of both males and females.

As a Sister in Faith (In General): 

(1)  According to the Prophet’s, peace be upon him, sayings:{women are but shaqa’iq (twin halves or sisters) of men.} This saying is a profound statement that directly relates to the issue of human equality between the genders.  If the first meaning of the Arabic word shaqa’iq, “twin halves,” is adopted, it means that the male is worth one half (of society), while the female is worth the other half.  If the second meaning, “sisters,” is adopted, it implies the same. 

(2) Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, taught kindness, care, and respect toward women in general:{I commend you to be good to women.} It is significant that such instruction of the Prophet was among his final instructions and reminders in the farewell pilgrimage address given shortly before his passing away. 

(3)  Modesty and social interaction: The parameters of proper modesty for males and females (dress and behavior) are based on revelatory sources (the Quran and prophetic sayings) and, as such, are regarded by believing men and women as divinely-based guidelines with legitimate aims and divine wisdom behind them.  They are not male-imposed or socially imposed restrictions.  It is interesting to know that even the Bible encourages women to cover their head: “If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head.” (1 Corinthians 11:6). 


As a Mother: 

(1)  The Quran elevates kindness to parents (especially mothers) to a status second to the worship of Allah Almighty: 

“Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to your parents.  If one of them or both of them reach old age with you, do not say to them a word of disrespect, or scold them, but say a generous word to them.  And act humbly to them in mercy, and say, “My Lord, have mercy on them, since they cared for me when I was small.”(Quran, 17:23-24, see also 31:14, 46:15, and 29:8) 

(2)  Naturally, the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, specified this behavior for his followers, rendering to mothers an unequalled status in human relationships.  A man came to the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and said, “O Messenger of Allah Almighty!  Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship?”  The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: {Your mother.} The man said, “Then who?”  The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:{Then your mother.} The man further asked, “Then who?”  The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: {Then your mother.}  The man asked again, “Then who?”  The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:{Then your father.}

To sum up, Islam treats women in a way that grants her many rights and puts her on the top of the Muslim community, something that’s totally contrary to what’s alleged by non-Muslims and those who hate Islam and spread rumors around it.


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