Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Quran Perspective :Women

There is no doubt that, as per the distribution of responsibilities, there are certain functions particular to the woman (for example, pregnancy, childbirth and the initial care and training of children). For the same reason, her body is built differently from man; and so is her psyche, which helps her with her duties, such as the love and affection for the child, and ability to sacrifice. What a sacrifice ! That it begins with the embryo, which develops with her blood and continues in the form of lactation after birth. The mother has such an abundance of patience and tolerance that she can fulfill all kinds of demands from her child with a smile, without expecting any thanks or reward. This and other similar qualities make women unique.

In Quran

The main rule of the Holy Quran which has made men and women equal to each other. It is said in Soora Al-Ahzab
chapter 33 - verse 35 (O Prophet / Messenger ! The education and upbringing of your household is all the more important, because they have to serve as models for other women. Remember that society consists of both men and women, who have to go through life hand in hand. If one of them lags behind, it is bound to hamper the progress of the other. It should be well understood that there is no difference in the potentialities of men and women; except certain biological differences which have been retained for the posterity of the human race.) Therefore, in an Islamic Society, both men and women should have the following qualities: 1 ) They should totally submit to the Divine Laws; 2 ) This obedience should not be mechanical, but must arise from the very depth of their hearts. They should thus exhibit complete conviction in them; 3 ) They should utilize their developed potentialities according to the Divine Laws; 4 ) They are true to the covenant (9:111) which they have made with Allah Almighty ; 5 ) They remain steadfast when facing adversities, troubles or difficulties ; 6 ) They are always prompt in rendering service to others (like the fruit-laden branch of an easily accessible tree) ; 7 ) They are ever ready to sacrifice all their assets for the sake of the Divine Order ; 8 ) They abstain themselves from all that the Divine Laws prohibit them to do and they bear in mind the restrictions imposed by these Laws; 9 ) They guard their chastity fully ; 10) In short, throughout their lives, at each and every step, they act upon the Divine Laws. These are the people to whom Allah's Law of Mukafat shall provide full protection against all types of doom. They will get great reward for all their efforts and deeds.

The High Status of Women

The notion that women have been created to just fulfill the needs of men has been hammered into the subconscious of women folk to such an extent that women want to present themselves in that way. To men, they should appear attractive. That is the reason the Holy Quran does not mind them showing off in front of father, brothers, sons, etc. since one does not "dress up" to "show off" in front of them with the intent of attracting their attention. It is worth noting that the Quranic Verse next to the one regarding "show off" (33:33), is the declaration of their equality with men. The verse has been quoted earlier, when it is said in Soora Al-Ahzab Verse (33:35).

The Holy Quran tells women that men and women are both equally capable of performing the chores of life; then why should they (women) have the desire to show their adornment off to men. Unlike the Biblical notion that the woman was created to please the man, the Holy Quran has wiped off this concept and said that both the men and the women have not been created just to fulfill the needs of anyone of them. Both have been created to fulfill equally, Allah's programme for this universe. It wants women to be dignified and that is why it is opposed to women showing off their embellishment to men. They are not a commodity which should be made attractive for buyers so that they could fetch a good price. The women who cannot get rid of this desire are told in verse
(7:176) : We wanted to elevate you (with The Holy Quran), but you have embraced the earth by virtue of trailing your lowly desires.

It is hoped that the readers realize the great importance Allah Almighty has given to women as the securer of the world's posterity. Therefore, they should be proud of their unique position and not necessarily copy or envy the opposite sex. Rather than regretting the fact that they are women, they should try to set themselves as equal to men, as Allah Almighty has ordained, and take their rightful position in the human society.


As was mentioned earlier, the governing rule regarding equality will be discussed later. That rule of the Holy Quran is that there is no difference between one human being and another. The Jews believe that Heaven is for anyone who is born in a Jewish home. Non-Jews would not be able to enter Heaven. This is the biggest discrimination between one man and another. No one decides the family he or she is born into. To discriminate against non-Jews on this basis, is not worthy of a true God.

The Christians believe that every child coming into this world carries forward the first sin of Adam and Eve and until and unless he believes in the atonement (of Jesus) he/she cannot have salvation (i.e. cannot enter heaven). It is obvious, no person is born in this world out of his/her own decision. Hence it is unjust to attribute any sin that he/she has no control over. The Hindus believe that all human beings are divided into four groups by virtue of their birth. The Brahmins are born from the head of their God, therefore they have all the respect and power. Khastri, born from the arms are the warriors, commanders and rulers. Waish, born from God's stomach, are the businessmen. Shooder, born from God's feet, are supposed to serve others, especially the Brahmin. They are practically considered non-human. No one can change this distribution. Should this discrimination be from God, then what kind of impression one gets of God! With the revelation of the Holy Quran, all of the aforementioned misconceptions were wiped out with one stroke, when it was said in chatper
Al-Asra - Verse 70 : We have created all human beings to be equally worthy of respect

Hence one cannot discriminate between one human and another by virtue of its birth. All human beings are equally respectable in the eyes of Allah. It is obvious that word `human' includes both men and women. Hence all the injunctions of the Holy Quran are equally applicable, whenever human or people etc. are mentioned, to both men and women.

The fact of the matter is that no boy is born by his own decision to be a boy nor a girl is born by hers. Hence to consider girls (or women) to be inferior to boys (or men) is just like accepting the misconceptions mentioned earlier which have been negated by the Holy Quran. Nevertheless, to consider men superior to women, is against the basic principles of the Holy
Quran and negates God's designs. According to the Holy Quran, superiority depends on the individual qualities (developed personality, character, and one's deeds) and not by virtue of birth. In Islam's basic principles, men and women are equal partners. All these ideas of man's superiority are the creation of the "Islam" manufactured during the era of Muslim monarchy, when the women were auctioned off in the markets. The classical books of Muslim jurisprudence are full of rules and regulations about their trade.


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