WOMEN'S LIBERATION THROUGH ISLAM
Today people think that women are open-minded in the West and that the women's liberation movement began in the 20th century. In fact, the women's liberation movement was not begun by Men or women but was revealed by Allah (Glory be to Him), the creator to Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) in the seventh century, who was the last Prophet sent for the entire universe. The Qur'an and the Ahadith are the sources of Islam from which every Muslim woman derives her rights and duties.
Islam, fourteen centuries ago, made women equally accountable to Allah (Glory be to Him) in glorifying and worshipping Him setting no limits on her moral progress. Also, Islam established a woman's equality in her humanity with men. In the Qur'an, in the first ayath of the Surah entitled "Surah Nisa – The Women," Allah (Glory be to Him) says, "O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it its mate and from them both have spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your duty toward Allah in Whom you claim (your rights) of one another, and towards the wombs (that bore you). Lo! Allah has been a Watcher over you." Qur’an.Surah Nisa 4:1. Since men and women both came from the same essence, they are equal in their humanity. Women cannot be by nature evil (as some religions believe) or then men would be evil also. Similarly, neither gender can be superior because it would be a contradiction of equality.
In Islam, a woman has the basic freedom of choice and expression based on recognition of her individual personality. First, she is free to choose her religion. The Qur'an states: "There is no compulsion in religion. Right has been made distinct from error." (Qur’an.Surah Baqarah 2:256) Women are encouraged in Islam to contribute their opinions and ideas. There are many traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him Peace) which indicate women would pose questions directly to him and offer their opinions concerning religion, economics and social matters. A Muslim woman chooses her husband. A Muslim woman's testimony is valid in legal disputes. In fact, in areas in which women are more familiar, their evidence is definite.
The Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him Peace) said: "Seeking knowledge is a compulsory for every Muslim (male and female)." Tirmidhi 74 and Ibn Majah 224 This includes knowledge of the Qur'an and the Ahadith as well as other knowledge. Men and women both have the capacity for learning and understanding. Since it is also their obligation to promote good behavior and condemn bad behavior in all spheres of life, Muslim women must acquire the appropriate education to perform this duty in accordance with their own natural talents and interests. While maintenance of a home, providing support to her husband, and bearing, raising and teaching of children are among the first and very highly regarded roles for a woman, if she has the skills to work outside the home for the good of the community, she may do so as long as her family obligations are met it should be in the Parameters of Islam.
Concerning motherhood, the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him Peace) said: "Heaven lies under the feet of mothers." Ibn Majah 2771 This implies that the success of a society can be traced to the mothers that raised it. The first and greatest influence on a person comes from the sense of security, affection, and training received from the mother. Therefore, a woman having children must be educated and conscientious in order to be a skillful parent.
The Qur'an states: " By the night when it covers; And by the day when it appears; And by He who created the male and female, Indeed, your efforts are diverse Qur’an.Surah Layl 92:1-4. In these ayaths, Allah (Glory be to Him) declares that He created men and women to be different, with unique roles, functions and skills. As in society, where there is a division of labor, so too in a family; each member has different responsibilities. Generally, Islam upholds that women are entrusted with the nurturing role, and men, with the guardian role. Therefore, women are given the right of financial support. The Qur'an states: "Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend of their wealth (for the support of women)" Qur’an.Surah Nisa 4:34. This guardianship and greater financial responsibility is given to men, requires that they provide women with not only monetary support but also physical protection and kind and respectful treatment.
The Muslim woman has the privilege to earn money, the right to own property, to enter into legal contracts and to manage all of her assets in any way she pleases. She can run her own business and no one has any claim on her earnings including her husband. The Qur'an states: "And in no wise covet those things in which Allah has bestowed His gifts more freely on some of you than on others; to men is allotted what they earn, and to women, what they earn; but ask Allah of His bounty, for Allah hath full knowledge of all things." Qur’an.Surah Nisa 4:32
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