One of the most misunderstood Islamic teachings is about the treatment, or rather the mistreatment of Muslim women. The mainstream Westernized perspective is generally that Muslim women are deprived of their rights. By continuously presenting Muslim women as fully covered and following male orders, the media has stereotyped Muslim women as oppressed and with little rights.
Despite the negative stereotypes of women’s rights in Islam, it was the first religion, over 1400 years ago, to give women rights, which many women in the Western world in the 21st century are still struggling to gain.
In some cultures and families, both East and West, women are still considered of lowly status, unable to live an empowered and worthy life. Many Western countries boast and celebrate women’s rights and raise liberating protests for women’s rights; however, there are many injustices and acts of inequality.
In recent times, during the American presidential election, the institutionalized misogyny takes women’s rights backwards by demeaning female candidates and questioning their abilities. America is a developed and first-world country that says they are an open-minded country that takes freedom and equality seriously, but they are unable to see the injustice they have created with such acts of gender prejudices.
America is a developed and first-world country that says they are an open-minded country that takes freedom and equality seriously, but they are unable to see the injustice they have created with such acts of gender prejudices.
In Islam, if a woman is discouraged from doing a certain job, it is not because they are incapable or don’t have the abilities to do so. However, God has divided the duties of man and women equally. Certain roles are better suited to either men or women, without their rights being comprised. To further this, in Islam, women are entitled to their own money, and have the freedom to work. She has the financial rights to earn, own or dispose property, without any male domination or interference. In the Quran it states, “Men shall have the share of what they have earned, and women shall have the share of what they have earned. And ask Allah of His bounty. Surely, Allah has perfect knowledge of all things.” (4:33)
Additionally, Allah has admonished those men who oppress or treat women with disrespect. In the middle of a deeply misogynistic historical context, the Holy Prophet (Peace and Blessings be Upon Him), preached with great importance of the bounty and respect of women. The Holy Prophet (Peace and Blessings Upon Him), celebrated and secured the rights of women and raised her status.
An important verse in the Quran teaches us the status and rights of women: “O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should you treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the dowry you have given them – except when they have become guilty of open lewdness. On the contrary, live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to them, it may be that you dislike something and Allah will bring about through it a great deal of good.” (4:19)
Allah has admonished those men who oppress or treat women with disrespect. In the middle of a deeply misogynistic historical context, the Holy Prophet (Peace and Blessings be Upon Him), preached with great importance of the bounty and respect of women.
While a women in Islam is allowed her financial freedom and doesn’t have to undertake financial responsibility of the household, she has the right to work and attain a professional career if she has the desires to. While men and women have been created equal in the eyes of God, women have been entrusted to up bring her offspring on strong Islamic foundations, a good worldly education, and to become good people which ensures the betterment of mankind. Both genders are seen as equal in the eyes of God, however their primary roles differ, making any career which may interfere with their primary roles as discouraged. On the contrary, a woman is able to pursue her career as long as she is fulfilling her primary roles to the best of her abilities and manner.