There’s a lot of misconceptions about Islam – especially in relation to women and feminism. Alongside traditional “Western feminists”, there’s two common branches of Muslim feminists: “secular Muslim feminists” and “Islamic feminists“. As a Muslim woman and an Islamic feminist, I believe in feminism within Islam – both being not only compatible but mutual. In Islam men and women are different yet equal. Women are treasured in all forms – as humans beings, believers, daughters, sisters, mothers, wives…
To give a brief introduction, here are 12 quotations depicting women’s equality to men and status in Islam – belonging to the Qur’an and the ahadith (sayings/teachings) of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).
- “The most complete believer in faith is the best in morals, and the best among you is the best to their wives.” (Tirmidhi)
- “And among God’s signs is this: He created for you mates from amongst yourselves (males […] for females and vice versa) that you might find tranquility and peace in them. And he has put love and kindness among you. Herein surely are signs for those who reflect.” (Qur’an, 30: 21)
- “They (your wives) are your garment and you are a garment for them.” (Qur’an, 2: 187)
- “O Messenger of Allah! Who is most deserving of my fine treatment?” He said, “Your mother, then your mother, then your mother, then your father, then your nearest, then nearest.” (Narrated by Abu Hurairah – Bukhari and Muslim)
- “Observe your duty to Allah in respect to the women, and treat them well.” (Prophet Muhammed’s Last Sermon)
- “I went to the Apostle of Allah (PBUH) and asked him: What do you say (command) about our wives? He replied: Give them food what you have for yourself, and clothe them by which you clothe yourself, and do not beat them, and do not revile them.” (Narrated by Mu’awiyah al-Qushayri – Abu Dawud)
- “Verily, women are the twin halves of men.” (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi)
- “And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women.” (Qur’an, 2: 228)
- “Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms.” (Qur’an, 24: 30-1)
- “When one of them gets a baby girl, his face becomes darkened with overwhelming grief. Ashamed, he hides from the people, because of the bad news given to him. He even ponders: should he keep the baby grudgingly, or bury her in the dust. Miserable indeed is their judgment.” (Qur’an, 16: 58-59)
- “Their Lord responded to them: “I never fail to reward any worker among you for any work you do, be you male or female – you are equal to one another.” (Qur’an, 3: 195)
- “The believers, men and women, are helpers, supporters, friends and protectors of one another, they enjoin all that is good, and forbid all that is evil, they offer their prayers perfectly, and give Zakah (obligatory charity) and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will bestow Mercy on them. Surely Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” (Qur’an, 9: 71)
So there you are – it’s a vast topic but I hope that’s given some insight into the beauty of being a Muslim woman. Abuses against women in the name of culture and through ignorance and a lack of understanding of Islam, do not represent Islam and are contrary to the rights that Allah had ordained and bestowed upon women.
*Images are re-published under a Creative Commons licence