Rights and Duties of women analysis of Islamic law

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BAKHTAWAR MALIK

Abstract

: No matter how much women prefer to lean, to be protected and supported, nor how much men prefer them to do so, they must make the voyage of life alone. The strongest reason why we ask for a woman a voice in the government under which she lives in the religion she is asked to believe: equality in social life, where she is the chief factor, a place in the trades and professions, where she may earn her bread, is because of her birthright to self-sovereignty: because as an individual, she must rely on herself. Islam and women’s human rights entertain an uneasy relationship. Much has been written on the subject. This volume addresses it from a new perspective.

Introduction:

 The status of women in society is neither a new issue nor a completely resolved one. Many studies have been done in this field from different perspectives. They generally suggest that, in ancient civilizations, a woman was seen as the property of her husband. She did not have any rights to own assets or exercise any civil or public positions; could not be a witness, surety, tutor, and curator, could not adopt or be adopted, or make will or contract. Islam provides women equal rights.

Islam and Women:

 One of the missions brought by Islam to mankind is to elevate the status of women and  make it parallel with men’s status. Before the advent of Islam, there was a tradition in Jahiliyyah Arabs to bury alive the daughters (female infanticide) because they were deemed as a burden or disgrace for the family. When Islam came, this tradition was abolished, and, further, women were acknowledged as individuals who have rights, including property rights and inheritances. Beforehand, as a consequence of the patriarchal-agnatic system, women in Jahiliyyah Arabs did not have access to inheritances. Instead, they were properties that were inherited by males. Widowed females sometimes were forced to marry their stepson or their husband’s brother because of her status as a part of an estate. Again, Islam came to condemn and prohibit this levirate practice. Therefore; it is believed that Islamic doctrines give a high status to women. However, the picture of women in Islamic history was not always as encouraging as in the Prophet era. There was a time when women were only portrayed as sexual entities along with the development of harem institutions in some Islamic kingdoms. Nowadays, many have seen an increasing level of violence against women in many Muslim countries. Muslim women are still treated discriminatorily, especially about personal status issues such as marriage, divorce, and inheritance. All of these further confirm the findings of many studies that have been conducted in Muslim countries: the status of women in the Muslim world is still dominantly inferior to that of men. This situation allows us to question whether Islam legitimizes gender inequality, since the discouraging picture of women in Muslim countries.

Women in Islamic Religious Texts:

 The relationship between men and women, the basic principles of the Qur’an depicts an egalitarian standpoint. In several Verses, It is written that men and women will be rewarded equally by Right and Duties of women analysis of Islamic Allah in the Hereafter for whatever good deeds they Conducted, as long as they have faith in Allah. In some texts, the Hadith even places women in a slightly „superior‟ position to men, due to the Islamic mission’s concern for elevating the status of women, who were deemed previously as no more than possession. For instance, “It was narrated that the Prophet had said that Heaven was located under a mother’s feet.”

Some verses in the surah Nisa mainly talk about women issues In Verse one, “It has been generally accepted without reserve the notion that Eve was created from the rib of Adam. This means that women Are the secondary creature because their ancestor, Eve, was created from The existing creature, Adam.”

A woman’s right to choose her husband:

 In Islam, a marriage cannot proceed without the consent of the woman who is to be married. Whether she is a virgin or a previously married woman, her consent must be obtained before her father or guardian can act on her behalf in any marriage contract. Indeed, when a marriage is conducted, the government registrar or other official must obtain the bride’s consent. Several hadiths demonstrate that a previously married woman has more authority over herself than her guardian. A virgin must be asked concerning her marriage and her silence is considered her consent. The distinction here between a previously married woman and a virgin relates to how a bride shows her consent. A virgin may be too shy to voice her consent while a previously married woman has learned practically that there is nothing to be shy about in marriage. Islam does not condone forcing a female to marry against her will. A woman once approached the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to complain that her father had married her to his nephew without first obtaining her consent. She said that her father wanted to enhance his reputation through marriage. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) annulled the marriage. Later, the woman told the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), “Now that I am free, I willingly consent to this marriage. I only wanted it to be known that men have no say over women in their marriages.” It is often thought that because a father acts as his daughter’s guardian in her marriage, he can marry her to whoever he likes without obtaining her consent. When a woman sees positive qualities in a man and wishes to marry him, she should speak to her family about it. Her father or guardian will take over and approach him either directly or through intermediaries. This is all appropriate. What is not appropriate from the Islamic point of view is that the woman should try to involve herself in a relationship with the man of her choice as depicted in movies. A father may have to go to the extent of offering his daughter to him as a wife. If some people find this strange, let me remind them of the hadith narrated by Umar Ibn al-Khattab who said, “Hafsah Bint Umar [Umar’s daughter] became a widow when her husband, Khunais Ibn Hudhaifah, who was a Companion of the Prophet, died in Medina. I went to Othman Ibn Affan and offered her to him in marriage but Othman said, ‘I will consider the matter.’ I waited for a few days, then Othman met me and said, ‘I have considered the matter; I do not wish to marry at present.’ Umar continued and said, “I then met Abu Bakr and told him, ‘If you wish, I will give you Hafsah in marriage.’ Abu Bakr kept quiet and did P a g e | 8 Right and Duties of women analysis of Islamic or International laws not answer. I felt more offended than I was by Othman. After a few days, God’s Messenger asked to marry Hafsah. When I later met Abu Bakr, he said, „I might have offended you when you offered to give me Hafsah in marriage and I made no reply.’ „Indeed,‟ I replied. He said, „What prevented me from answering you is that I knew that God’s Messenger had expressed his wish to marry her. I am not one to reveal the Prophet’s secret.‟ “All of this shows that it is permissible for a woman’s guardian to make a marriage proposal, either to a person of his choice or to one of his ward’s choice.

Women as Citizens of Islamic Governance:

 Respect towards all human beings, regardless of their gender and social status, is the primary rule in Islam. As citizens of Islamic governance, men and women are afforded equal protection and security.  Along with male citizens, women enjoy at least six basic rights under the Islamic government: the right to vote; the right to the nomination for political office; the right of consultation in the affairs of the government; the right to express an opinion on political matters; the citizen’s right not to obey a deviant ruler; and, lastly, the right to health, welfare, occupation, and education. Every citizen of an Islamic polity is entitled to participate in the election of the ruler and other representative government bodies. The Prophet (PBUH) received the pledge of alliance (bayÑah) from both men and women on at least two or three occasions, the first two of which are known as the First ÑAqabah and the Second ÑAqabah, and the third as BayÑat al-RiÌwÉn. Also, the citizen of an Islamic polity enjoys the right to criticize and to express his or her opinion on the conduct of government as well as political matters. Under Íisbah, no individual in the state, regardless of his or her gender, religious belief, or social strata, can be prohibited from promoting a good cause or putting a stop to an evil one. In the Quran and Sunnah as well as in Islamic history we may find various examples of women who had participated in serious discussions and argued even with the Prophet (PBUH) himself. The same equal treatment of both men and women regarding the essence of human dignity, accountability, and matters about a property, educational, public, and social rights and responsibilities maintained in the early years of Islamic history.

Conclusion:

 Firstly, Islam has empowered women with the most progressive rights since the seventh century. In the early years of Islam, women constituted an important portion of their societies with their specific duties and inborn features given by God. They served as full vibrant members of their societies as skillful educators, leading scholars, successful entrepreneurs, and shining public and political figures. Also, along with men, women enjoy full and equal basic civilian and human rights as citizens of an Islamic polity. Respect towards all human beings, regardless of their gender or social status, is the primary rule in Islam. Secondly, the Islamic empowerment of women, as the paper establishes, bears little relation to the real condition of women in modern Muslim societies. Today the Muslim world is suffering from various political and economic calamities, and social ills, which are directly related to or the reasons for the ignorance of the citizens‟ rights. Unless the Muslim states establish good governance, there will be no improvement in the status of women. The paper accordingly proposes that the status of women is an indicator of good governance. Lastly, Muslim women have the potential to play fundamental roles in curbing corruption, social ills, violence, and crime in the Muslim world; and the active participation of women in legislature, law-making, and policy-making processes could be considered as one of the principal keys for the success of the ummah.