A relation of equity and respect
In Islam, the relationship between men and women is based on equity, kindness, protection, love and mutual inclusion. The sad reality is that in many parts of the world, Muslims are falling short of keeping the relationship up to that standard. Consequently, this has been a source of insult for Muslims around the globe. Someone might ask: are the myths about the status of women in Islam the reality?
It is not just the perception
The perception that Muslim societies have a biased attitude towards their women is not flattering. The visual impression of a man whipping a burqa clad woman in the streets of Afghanistan does not help this image. It is a fact that in many Muslim countries, women are significantly lagging behind in education from the rest of the world. Sadly, this is occurring, while Islam requires both men and women to seek knowledge. Pew Research center publication suggests that the limiting factors in educating Muslim women is their poor economic conditions, not the religion. Unfortunately, if an individual Muslim does something reprehensible, Islam and rest of the Muslim world are condemned. The mainstream media around the world perpetuates this perception of guilt by association and the blame goes to 1.7 billion Muslims. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/06/12/education-of-muslim-women-is-limited-by-economic-conditions-not-religion/
Islam changed the concept of marriage in seventh century Arabia
The Quran was revealed to the seventh century patriarchal Arabian society when women were seen as objects to be owned. Female infanticide was in rampant practice. Female literacy was near zero. Women in general were tied with domestic responsibilities including carrying babies and raising children. Men were the absolute monarchs of the family. The concept of marriage was one of ownership. The Quran revolutionized the relationship of marriage and took away the concept of ownership. It urged that the relationship of marriage should be based on mutual love and kindness. It condemned and abolished the practice of female infanticide.
The Quran 30:21 “…. Another of His signs is that He created spouses from among yourselves for you to live with in tranquillity: He ordained love and kindness between you. There truly are signs in this for those who reflect… ”
Islam prohibited forced ownership of women
The Quran warns men not to marry women against their will. In seventh century Arabia when, if a husband died, his legal heirs would inherit the wife. They would just keep her as a prisoner. They would not let her go unless she abandoned claims to her property in their favor. If they wanted, they would marry her against her will. The Quran abolished this horrific practice.
The Quran 4:19 “..O you who believe! It is not permitted for you to inherit women against their will….”
A Poetic Metaphor: You Are The Garments for each other
The object outside of our own body that comes closest to our being is our garments. This is the analogy the Quran has used to describe the relationship between the spouses: a source of mutual protection, beautification, comfort and warmth. In the Quran, women and men are equal in spirituality. They are equal recipients of God’s forgiveness and rewards (Quran 33: 35, 3:195). Men and women are seen as allies of each other.
The Quran 2:187 “… They are as a garment for you, and you are as a garment for them…”
The Quran 9:71 “…And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends of one of another;”
Care, share and overlook the shortcomings
Sharing and forgiving each other is the foundation of a sound relationship. The Quran urges men to provide a livelihood for their wife, to be kind to them and overlook their shortcomings. If a man finds something of disliking in his wife, the Quran suggests that, the man should realize that he may dislike someone that Allah has blessed with much goodness.
The Quran 4:19 “..O you who believe! It is not permitted for you to inherit women against their will. And do not coerce them in order to take away some of what you had given them, unless they commit a proven adultery. And live with them in kindness. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike something in which God has placed much good.”
Answering more questions on Women in Islam: Index
(1) Does a female witness merit half the male witness? Discussion on male and female witnesses in the Quran. Please click to view: https://qpeace.net/?p=314 (2) Is it fair that men get double the of women’s share of inheritance? How Does Islam Empower Women? Please click to view: https://qpeace.net/?p=5034 (3) Myths About the Status of Women in Islam. Please click to view: https://qpeace.net/?p=4064