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The Role of Women in Islam

In Islam there is absolutely no difference between men and women as far as their
relationship to Allah is concerned, as both are promised the same reward for good
conduct and the same punishment for evil conduct. The Quran says:

"And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women." [Noble
Quran 2:228]

The Holy Book Quran declares that men and women are created from one soul to be
partners to each other, that male and female have the same religious responsibilities,
and both genders will receive like rewards on the Day of Judgment. There is a
difference between Islam and tradition. Some Muslim countries or societies may be
seen as oppressive to women but if you take a closer look, it is their traditions and
culture rather than Islam that suppresses and deprives women of their rights. Islam,
on the other hand, liberates women and gives them rightful standing in society, unlike
any religion or race.

When we talk about the role of women in Islam then we have to discuss it in detail
which we are going to discuss in this article about women and Islam and her role in
Islam and society in which she is living as a Muslim woman. Islam has given dignity
and respect to Muslim women in society and in religion Islam that didn’t give in any
other religion.

The Quran, in addressing the believers, often uses the expression, 'believing men and
women' to emphasize the equality of men and women in regard to their respective
duties, rights, virtues and merits. It says:

"For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and
women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant,
for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity,
for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for
men and women who engage much in Allah's praise, for them has Allah prepared
forgiveness and great reward." [Noble Quran 33:35]

Role of Muslim women in Islam:

There have been many misconceptions about the real role of Muslim women in Islam.
Many people view Islam as a religion that oppresses and suppress women but they
are wrong. Most non-Muslims who are completely unfamiliar with the teachings and
belief of Islam turn to paint Islam with a brutal brush. From the beginning, Islam worked
on creating equality among people and tried to eliminate the different barriers created
by people that distinguished them from one another and let them feel superior or

Allah (SWT) stated many times in the Holy Book Quran about the role of women and
even dedicated a whole Surah to them (Surah An-Nisa). Clearly Allah does not make
any distinguishing about the importance of men and women, to Allah both men and
women are equal as he stated in the Quran “To whomever, male or female, does
good deeds and has faith, We shall give a good life and reward them according
to the best of their actions.” (Quran, 16:97). From this ayah, it can be clearly proved
that in the eyes of Allah both men and women are equal.
Islam considered to give women an equal entity and declared their status as a
beneficial and important part of the society and did whatever possible to ensure that
women experienced and enjoyed the same respect in the society like men. Women
make up half of society and they are responsible for the nurturing, guidance and
transformation of the successive generations. It is the woman who pervades principles
and faith into the souls of the nation.

The Prophet (SAW) said. “The pursuit of knowledge is a duty of every Muslim,
man, and woman.”From this saying of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), we can say that
education is compulsory for both men and women and Islam gave an equal right to
women to get the education but also opened the door to a better understanding. When
a woman will be educated then she can up bring her children in a good and an Islamic
way according to teachings of Allah Almighty.

The biggest example of the rising of women can be seen in Quran, where Allah
Almighty addresses both men and women alike related to giving of commandments.
Allah Almighty says in Holy Quran:

“The Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women,
the worshipping men and worshipping women, the truthful men and truthful
women, the pious men and pious women, the alms-giving men and the alms-
giving women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who are chaste and
the women who are chaste, the men who remember Allah much and the women
who do likewise, Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward for
all.” (Quran, 33:35)
From above ayah, we can conclude that Allah Almighty has associated the same
qualities of dignity and piety with women the same as He has associated with men.
Allah Almighty said women are equal to men and women must also possess the same
level and kind of dignity as men must.
Social Role of Muslim Women
Now we will discuss the role of Muslim women in different areas of life in a society
which gave her by Almighty Allah. At a social level, Islam recognizes the different roles
that women have in society and makes sure that women receive respect and devotion
for their place in the society. In Islam, women are great mothers, obedient daughters,
caring wives and equal sisters. We will discuss these roles of women in light of some
verses and hadiths:

1. Women as Mother: Islam holds great respect for mother and endorses the
followers to respect their mothers. “Paradise is at the feet of the mother.” Islam
recognizes the great role that women play in the upbringing of the children and
that the future of mankind and of societies depends on mothers. The paradise
mentioned by the Holy Prophet (SAW) refers to both the social paradise that can
be achieved in Islam and the heavenly paradise. Therefore, mothers have been
placed in a position of the highest respect. Referring to respecting the parents in
their old age, Allah Almighty says in Quran: “Your Lord has decreed that you
worship none but Him and that you be kind to parents. When one or both of them
attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor repel them but
address them in terms of honor.”(Quran, 17:23). From an ayah, we can conclude
that mother has the same rights in old age on children as the father. No Muslim is
allowed to discriminate between father and mother.
2. Women as Wife: The character of men in an Islamic society is established in
relation to their treatment of women. As our beloved Prophet (SAW) mentioned:
“The best from among you is one who behaves best towards his wife.” Islam is
the first religion that settled the rights of women as wives and associated the
element of giving respect to them. Allah says in Holy Quran: “And among His signs
is this that He created wives from among yourselves, that you may dwell in
tranquility, with them, and He put love and mercy between your (hearts).”(Quran,
30:21). Therefore, the love that produces tranquility is put in the heart of both the
partners; hence, husband and wife both have the duty of caring and loving each
other for a healthy relationship. Also, women are the caretakers of men in the
same way as men are the caretakers of women.
3. Women as Sister and Daughter: Women as a daughter, her importance is such
that the Holy Prophet (SAW) tells us: “He who brings up his daughters well, and
makes no distinction between them and his sons, will be close to me in Paradise.”
Islam ensures that in both these roles sister and daughter women enjoy absolute
respect, care, and protection. In Islam both male child and female child are equal
and a parent is as responsible for the education and upbringing of female children
as they are responsible for the male. Moreover, as far as the brother-sister relation
is concerned, it is respected in Islam and brothers and sisters are to respect and
treat each other well. In Quran, Allah Almighty says: “He bestows female
(offspring) upon whom He wills, and bestows male (offspring) upon whom He
wills.”(Quran, 42:49). In Islam, there is no discrimination between male and female
children and they both should get an equal education.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was full of praise for
virtuous and chaste women. He said:

"The world and all things in the world are precious but the most precious thing in the
world is a virtuous woman. He once told the future khalifah, 'Umar: "Shall I not inform
you about the best treasure a man can hoard? It is a virtuous wife who pleases him
whenever he looks towards her, and who guards herself when he is absent from her."

On other occasions the Prophet said:

"The best property a man can have is a remembering tongue (about Allah), a grateful
heart and a believing wife who helps him in his faith." And again: "The world, the whole
of it, is a commodity and the best of the commodities of the world is a virtuous wife."

Before the advent of Islam women were often treated worse than animals. The Prophet
wanted to put a stop to all cruelties to women. He preached kindness towards them.
He told the Muslims: "Fear Allah in respect of women." And: "The best of you are they
who behave best to their wives." And: "A Muslim must not hate his wife, and if he be
displeased with one bad quality in her, let him be pleased with one that is good." And:
"The more civil and kind a Muslim is to his wife, the more perfect in faith he is."

Muslim women should understand the rights and roles that Islam has given to her and
then in the light of those rights and roles, she must perform all the social and Islamic
roles with absolute dedication and commitment. Islam is really the complete way of life
and a divine religion that is not lacking in any sense, let alone upholding women’s right.

The Shari'ah regards women as the spiritual and intellectual equals of men. The main
distinction it makes between them is in the physical realm based on the equitable
principle of fair division of labor. It allots the more strenuous work to the man and
makes him responsible for the maintenance of the family. It allots the work of managing
the home and the upbringing and training of children to the woman, work which has
the greatest importance in the task of building a healthy and prosperous society.

It is a fact, however, that sound administration within the domestic field is impossible
without a unified policy. For this reason the Shari'ah requires a man, as head of the
family, to consult with his family and then to have the final say in decisions concerning
it. In doing so he must not abuse his prerogative to cause any injury to his wife. Any
transgression of this principle involves for him the risk of losing the favor of Allah,
because his wife is not his subordinate but she is, to use the words of the Prophet
(peace and blessings be upon him), 'the queen of her house', and this is the position
a true believer is expected to give his wife. In contrast to these enlightened teachings
of Islam in respect of women, Western talk of women's liberation or emancipation is
actually a disguised form of exploitation of her body, deprivation of her honor, and
degradation of her soul.