Women in Islam

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Summary

  • Women are no way inferior to men, they were created from the same single soul (Surah 4:1)
  • The word insan (man) means 'human being', 'person' or 'male and female', it doesn't refer to a specific gender therefore, every instruction given in the Qur'an is to both male and females (unless otherwised specified)
  • Women have the role as virgin, wife and mother and have the right to remain virgin
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Women's Rights

  • Have equal but different rights, they have equal responsibilities but as they have been given burdens of childbirth and menstruation, they have certain privaledges and allowances (excused from Salah and Sawm while menstruating)
  • Same duty as a man to become educated and a useful member of the community
  • The Qu'ran gives women rights they didn't have previously (in Pre-Islamic Arabia) - ownership, decisions in marriage and divorce
  • Are permitted to go on Hajj
  • Roles vary depending where they live - cultural
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Women + Education

  • Muslim women are commanded by Allah to seek education from cradle to grave - the prophet taught that it shouldn't be refused to them, the Women of Medinah were taught by him
  • It is a necessity - preferable for women to be treated by female doctors/nurses, be taught by female teachers etc.
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Women + Work

  • No injunction against women going to work as long as it is compatible with Islamic principles and doesn't affect home life
  • Khadijah was a highly successful business woman, Muhammad's employer before his wife
  • Islam puts burdons on the husband to support his wife, women have the right to be provided for, even if she is wealthier than him
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Inheritance

  • Islam gave women the right to inherit, it hugely changed the status of women
  • A daughter will inherit have that of a son BUT this is because men are expected to provide for women, a woman's inheritance doesn't have to be shared
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Seclusion of Women

  • Segregation is cultural - not religious
  • Extreme seclusion was never asked for by Allah - Hadiths are full of women out and about
  • Purdah = complete segregation of men from women, in some Muslim societies, each gender has a different, private part of the house - Mosques also have seperate entrances
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Exploitation of Women

  • Abuse/oppression = cultural
  • Allowances should be made so women feel comfortable and protected
  • Male and female workers should have the same rights - employers will be accountable if not
  • A woman has the right to be treated as a protected virgin, respected wife, honoured mother/grandmother
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Islamic Clothing

  • Hijab - means veiling, covering or concealing and indicates modesty in clothing and behaviour, Islam does not require women to wear the burka (no particular clothing is compulsary) or cover their faces, this was intended to cover intimate outlines of the female body
  • Head veiling comes from the Sunnah of the Prophet's wives
  • The Qur'anic verse on Hijab went directly for the Prophet's wives, to gain privacy when he has many visitors (Surah 33:35)
  • It is governed by society, as long as women dress modestly, they are following the religion - usually cultural 
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