The status of women in the Quran and Sunnah 2. The Social Aspect
2. The Social Aspect
What’s new Islam had brought to the social aspect of women’s life?
A. As a Daughter
1. The Quran ended the cruel pre-Islamic practice of female infanticide, “wa’d”.
2. The Quran went further and rebuked the unwelcoming attitude of some parents upon hearing the news of the birth of a baby girl, instead of a baby boy.
3. Parents are duty bound to support and show kindness and justice to their daughters.
4. A crucial aspect in the upbringing of daughters that greatly influences their future is education. Education is not only a right, but also a responsibility for all males and females.
B. As a Mother
1. The Quran elevates kindness to parents to a status second only to the worship of Allah: “And we have enjoined on every human being (to be good) to his/her parents: in travail upon travail did his/her mother bear him/her and years twain was his/her weaning: hear the command show gratitude to Me and to your parents: to Me is your final destination”[31:14].
2. Naturally, the Prophet specified this good behavior to his followers, rendering to mothers an unequaled status in human relationship. A man came to the Prophet asking: “O Messenger of Allah, who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship?”. The Prophet said: “Your mother”, the man asked: “Then, who is next”. The Prophet said: “Your mother”, the man asked: “Then, who is next”. The Prophet said: “Your mother”, the man further asked: “Then, who is next”. The Prophet said: “Your father”.
C. Towards Women in general
Prophet Muhammad taught kindness, care and respect towards all women, he said: “I commend you to be kind to women”. “It is the generous among you who is good to women and it is the wicked who insults them”.
D. As a Wife
1. Marriage in Islam is based on mutual peace, love and compassion.
2. The female has the right to accept or reject marriage proposals. Her consent is a prerequisite to the validity of the marital contract, according to the Prophet’s teaching.
3. The woman is entitled to receive a marital gift, “Mahr” depending on the groom’s financial situation, which is to be included in the nuptial contract, and such ownership does not transfer to her father or husband.
4. The woman keeps her maiden name. She has separate identity from her husband’s. She keeps all her properties and enjoys full right to dispose of them.
5. In consideration of the physiological and psychological makeup of men and women, both have equal rights and claims on one another, except for one responsibility, that of Quewamah “maintenance”, “providing for, taking care of” as described in another verse [4:34]. This refers to that natural difference between the sexes that makes the man more suitable to “provide for” the woman, the only one capable of bearing children and bringing them into existence. It is important to fulfill all the needs, spiritual, intellectual and material of the woman so she can carry on this noble function. The Quran delineates another function for males to create a balance in human relations and to allow the continuation of human existence.
The Quran recommends kind treatment and consideration to the wife. Even if a wife falls out of favor with her husband, or disinclination for her arises within him. The Prophet Muhammad said: “The most perfect believers are the best in conduct and the best of you are those who are best to their wives.”
Should marital disputes arise, the Quran encourages couples to resolve them in a spirit of fairness and probity.