The status of woman In Islam constitutes no problem. The attitude of the Qur'an and the early Muslims bear witness to the fact that the woman Is, at least, as vital to life as man himself. Had it not been for the impact of foreign cultures and alien influences, this question would have never arisen among the Muslims. The status of woman was taken for granted to equal to that of man. It was a matter of course, a matter of fact. and no one. then. considered it as a problem at all. There is a lot of talk about woman's rights in Pakistan and other Muslim countries these days.
The Western media is projecting a very gruesome and poor plight of woman in Muslim countries with the intension of distorting the true image of Islam. Unfortunately, this propaganda is proving quite effective and the entire west and a small section of females in our society have misinterpreted Islam as being the cause of their troubles instead of the Aryan culture that we have inherited. In order to understand what Islam has established for woman, there is no need to deplore her plight in the pre- Islamic era or in the modern world ot today.
Islam has given woman rights and rivileges which she has never enjoyed under other religious or constitutional systems. This can be understood when the matter Is studied as a whole In a comparative manner, rather than partially. The rights and responsibilities of a woman are equal to those of man but they are not necessarily identical with them. Equality and sameness are two quite different things. This difference Is unaerstanaaDle Decause man ana woman are not laentlcal out tney are created equals. With this distinction in mind, there is no problem.
It is almost impossible to find even two identical men or women. Islam was revealed at time when people denied the humanity of the woman. Some were skeptical about it; and still others admitted it, yet considered the woman a thing created for the humble service of the man. With the advent of Islam, circumstances improved for the woman. The woman's dignity and humanity were acknowledged for the first time. Islam confirmed woman's capacity to carry out Allah's commands, her responsibilities and observations of the commands that lead to the heaven.
Islam considers woman as a worthy human being, with an equal share in humanity to that of the man. Both are two branches of a single tree and two children from the same father, Adam, and mother, Eve. The status of woman in Islam is something unique that has no parallel in any other religion. In the midst of the darkness that engulfed the world, the divine revelation echoed in the wide desert of Arabia with a fresh, noble, and universal message to humanity: "O mankind!
Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife [Hawwa (Eve)], and from them both He created many men and woman....... (An-Nisa:l)". Stressing this noble nd natural conception, then the Holy Quran states: "He (God) it is Who did create you from a single soul and there from did create his mate, that he might dwell with her (in love)". (Quran 7:189) In the early days of Islam when a girl was born, she was buried alive. This custom is still observed in Hinduism.
However, the Holy Quran forbade this custom and considered it a crime like any other murder. The Holy Quran says: "And when the female (infant) buried alive- is questioned, for what crime was she killed? " (Quran 81:8-9) Far from saving the girl's life so that she may later suffer njustice and inequality, Islam requires kind and Just treatment to her. The saying of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), in this regard, is following: "Whosoever has a daughter and he does not bury her alive, does not insult her, and does not favour his son over her, God will enter him into Paradise".
The Holy Quran provides us a clear- cut proof that woman is equal in all respects with man before Almighty God in terms of her rights and responsibilities. The Holy Quran states: "Every soul will be (held) in pledge for its deeds" (Quran 74:38) In terms of religious obligations, such as ffering daily prayers, fasting and pilgrimage, woman is no different from man. In some cases indeed, woman has certain advantages over man. For example woman can and did go into the mosque during the days of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and thereafter attending the Friday prayers is optional for them while it is mandatory for men.
This is clearly a tender touch of the Islamic teachings because of the fact that a woman may be nursing her baby and thus may be unable to offer prayers in mosque. They also take into account the physiological and psychological changes associated with her natural female functions. The right of females to seek knowledge is not different from that of males. When Islam enjoins the seeking of knowledge upon Muslims, it makes no distinction between man and woman. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), said: "Seeking knowledge is mandatory for every Muslim".
This declaration was very clear and was implemented by Muslims throughout history. According to a hadith attributed to Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), he praised the woman of Madina because of their desire religious knowledge, "How splendid were tne women 0T tne Ansar; sname a a not prevent tnem Trom Decomlng learned In tne aith. " Under Islamic law, marriage was no longer viewed as a "status" but rather as a "contract", in which the woman's consent was imperative. The dowry, previously regarded as a bride-price paid to the father, became a nuptial gift retained by the wife as a part of her personal property.
The Holy Quran clearly indicates that marriage is sharing between the two halves of the society and its objectives are emotional well-being and spiritual harmony. Its bases are love and mercy. The rules for married life in Islam are clear and in harmony with upright human nature. In onsideration of the physiological and psychological make-up of man and woman, both have equal rights and claim on each other, except for one responsibility, that of leadership. This is a matter which is natural in any collective life and which is consistent with the nature of man.