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WOMEN IN ISLAM

A woman is a flower vase of beauty and fragrance. So


smell her gently, do not wrestle with her! - Imam Ali (as)
Women are like flowers. Do not put on them
responsibilities they can not bear! - Imam Ali (as)
According to Islam, being a human, woman is even
superior to angels and all other living organisms. If she
performs any good task or deed, she will be equally
blessed as much as a man will for his good deeds.
She is the benefactor and patron of Islam, as lady Khadija
(Wife of Holy Prophet [saw]).
She is a partner of prophethood, as lady Fatima (Daughter
of Holy Prophet [saw]).
She is one of the greatest leaders, as lady Zainab
(Daughter of Imam Ali [as])
She is nsuperior to man, as a mother.
She's respectable like a saint.
She is precious like an expensive pearl.
She is honorable like a delicate rose.
Islam emphasizes the equality of all people, regardless of
race, ethnicity, gender or social status. Islam has
prescribed different roles and responsibilities for men and
women, with each gender complementing the other.
Centuries before the modern world recognized women's
rights, Islam acknowledged the equality of the two
genders, and abolished the barbaric ritual of burying infant
daughters alive, an outrageous crime practiced by the
Arabs before the time of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon
him).
Islam made women aware of their rights and gave them
an identity, a personality, freedom, and independence.
These rights, among others, include the right to inherit, to
own property, to obtain a divorce, to collect a dowry, and
to gain child custody. Regarding the equality of the
genders, the Holy Qur'an states:
"Surely the men who submit and the women who submit,
and the believing men and the believing women, and the
obeying men and the obeying women, and the truthful
men and the truthful women, and the patient men and the
patient women and the humble men and the humble
women, and the almsgiving men and the almsgiving
women, and the fasting men and the fasting women, and
the men who guard their private parts and the women who
guard, and the men who remember Allah much and the
women who remember-Allah has prepared, for them
forgiveness and a mighty reward." (33:35)
Muslims consider four ladies to be the most noble and
pious:
1. Aasiya - Wife of Fir'awn / Pharoah (peace be upon her)
2. Maryam / Mary - Mother of Isa / Jesus (peace be upon
her)
3. Khadija - Wife of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon
her)
4. Fatima - Daughter of Prophet Muhammad (peace be
upon her)
MOTHER (THE FOUNTAIN OF LIFE)
And the paradise is under the feet of your mothers. -
Prophet Muhammad (saw)
Islam has greatly emphasized the issue of loving and
respecting the parents, the father and the mother. In our
infancy and childhood, we needed the protection, love and
nurturing of the parents; but when they become old, they
need us to protect them and take care of them.
"Your Lord has commanded that you shall not worship
(anyone) but Him and to be good to the parents. If either
or both of them reach old age with you, say not to them
(so much as) 'Ugh' nor chide them, and speak to them a
generous word. And lower for them 'the wings of humility'
out of mercy; and pray; 'O my Lord! Have mercy on them
as they brought me up (when I was) little.'" (17:23-24)
However, out of the two, the mother has been given
greater priority as far as kindness is concerned. Once
Hakim bin Hizam came to the Prophet of Islam and asked:
"To whom should I be kind?" The Prophet replied, "Your
mother." Hakim asked, "Then to whom?" The Prophet
said, "Your mother." Hakim asked, "Then to whom?" The
Prophet replied, "Your mother." Only when Hakim asked
the fourth time that, "Then to whom?"
The Prophet replied, "Your father." This shows that the
right of mother upon the children is three times more than
the rights of father as far as kindness is concerned.
Imam Ali bin Hussain, the great-grandson of the Prophet,
said: "Coming to the rights of relatives, it is the right of
your mother that you should appreciate that she carried
you [in her womb] as nobody carries anybody, and fed you
the fruits of her heart which nobody feeds anybody, and
protected you [during pregnancy] with her ears, hands,
legs, hair, limbs, [in short] with her whole being, gladly,
cheerfully and carefully; suffering patiently all the worries,
pains, difficulties and sorrows [of pregnancy], till the hand
of God removed you from her and brought you into this
world."
"Then she was most happy feeding you, even if she
herself had no clothes; giving you milk and water; not
caring for her own thirst; keeping you in the shade, even if
she had to suffer from the heat of the sun; giving you
every comfort with her own hardship; lulling you to sleep
while keeping herself awake."
"And [remember that] her womb was your abode, and her
lap your refuge, and her breast your feeder, and her whole
existence your protection; it was she, not you, who was
braving the heat and cold of this world for your safety."
"Therefore, you must remain thankful to her accordingly,
and you cannot do so except by the help and assistance
from Allah." (The Charter of Right, p.18)
WOMEN'S ROLE IN ISLAM
The Purpose of Life: Wherever God talks about the human
beings
(Insaan) or whenever He talks about human soul (Nafs) in
the Qur'an, Muslims theologians and scholars have never
considered that humanness or the soul as 'male' or
'female'. (See 51:56, 91:1-10; 53:38-39)
The male or female division is only possible when we talk
about the physical dimension of humans, not when we talk
about the spiritual dimension. And so, from the Islamic
perspective, the humanness of woman has never been
denied or questioned; nor has there ever been any
discussion whether she possesses a soul or not.
Since both are same in their humanness, both have been
created for the same purpose: to serve God.
The Virtues in Human Beings: Whenever and wherever
Islam has talked about virtues in human beings, it has not
differentiated between men and women. Both have the
potential to acquire knowledge. Both, men and women,
are expected to exhibit the spirit of piety and other good
attributes in Islam.
MODESTY & DECENCY (HIGHEST ACHIEVEMENT
FOR HUMANITY)
The beauty of a woman:
Is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries,
or the way she combs her hair, or the style she does make
up.
The beauty of a woman:
must be seen in her Hijab, and her eyes, because that is
the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.
The beauty of a woman:
is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman,
is reflected in her soul.
The beauty of woman is in her modesty.
And the real glamour of her is her honesty.
It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she
shows.
And the beauty of a woman, with passing years - only
grows!
HOLY QUR'AN PROCLAIMS: O Prophet! Tell thy wives
and daughters, and the believing women, that they should
cast their outer garments over their persons (when
abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be
known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-
Forgiving, Most Merciful. ( Soorah-e-Ahzaab, verse 59)
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 (must
ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils
over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to
their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their
sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers or their brothers'
sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or the slaves
whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of
physical needs, or small children who have no sense of
the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet
in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And
O ye Believers! turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye
may attain Bliss. ( Soorah-e-Noor, verse 31)
Islam does not allow free and unrestricted intermingling of
the sexes.
The rule of modesty applies to men as well as women.
CORRUPT VS PURE: Women impure are for men
impure, and men impure for women impure and women of
purity are for men of purity, and men of purity are for
women of purity: these are not affected by what people
say: for them there is forgiveness, and a provision
honorable. (Holy Quran 24:26)
A woman's best Jewelry is her Shyness. - Lady Fatima
Zehra (sa)
Nice girls are with Hijaab. - Prophet Muhammad (saw)
HAJIRA (MOTHER OF ISHMAEL):
Prophet Ibrahim had become over 90 years old and had
no child. Sarah, his wife, gave her slave-girl, by name of
Hajira, to Ibrahim as a wife. Through Hajira, Almighty God
blessed Ibrahim with a son: Ishmael (peace be upon him).
Sarah became jealous of Hajira. Finally, decided to test
the patience of Ibrahim by asking him to take Hajira and
the infant Ishmael into a desert and leave them there.
Ibrahim was guided to that desert area which later became
famous as Mecca. Prophet Ibrahim brought Hajira and
Ishmael to Mecca and left them as commanded by God.
Whatever provisions Ibrahim had brought for his wife and
child finally ran out. The baby Ishmael started crying out of
thirst. Hajira set out in search for water. She was standing
on the small hill of Safa; she looked towards the hill of
Marwah and thought that there was water over there.
When she reached Marwah, there was not water; it was
just a mirage. She turned facing Safa and thought that
there was water over there. She returned to Safa, but
there was no water; it was just a mirage.
As mother, desperately looking for water for her child,
Hajira ran between the hills of Safa and Marwah seven
times. Finally, she saw that a water stream had started at
the feet of Ishmael. This miraculous steam is still running
on beside the Kaaba, the House of God, and it is known
as Zamzam.
God so much loved the spirit of motherhood demonstrated
by Hajira - ho ran seven times between the hills of Safa
and Marwah in search of water for her child that, He has
commanded the Muslim pilgrims to walk between the hills
of Safa and Marwah when they go for the pilgrimage.
The ritual of walking between the two hills of Safa and
Marwah seven times is an essential part of pilgrimage and
it perpetuates the memory of Hajira as a mother.
ASIYA BINT MUZAHIM (THE PHARAOH'S WIFE):
The holy Qur'an has presented Asiya bint Muzahim as one
of the best role models for women.
Asiya's greatness is in the fact that although she was the
wife of one of the most Powerful, arrogant and tyrant
rulers of Egypt, she was able to see and accept the truth
in message of Prophet Moses. For her, wealth, beauty or
status was not the main criterion of human excellence; she
realized that without faith in God, a human being has
nothing.
God had chosen her to provide refuge to Moses when he
was an infant.
When her maids brought the cradle of Moses from the
river, she insisted to Pharaoh that she wanted to adopt
that infant as a child:
The wife of Pharaoh said: "(Here is) joy of the eye, for me
and for thee: slay him not. It may be that he will be use to
us, or we may adopt him as a son." And they perceived
not (what they were doing)! (28:9)
Asiya bint Muzahim had declared her faith in the message
of God after witnessing the miracle of Moses in the Court
of Pharaoh; and after witnessing the death of another
believing, woman under torture.
Pharaoh tried to turn her away from the God of Moses and
sought her mother's help. But Asiya refused to reject the
God of Moses. On Pharaoh's order, she Was tortured to
death.
The Qur'an says: "And Allah gives an example for those
who believe:
the wife of pharaoh. (Remember) when she said, 'My Lord!
Build for me a house with Thee in the Paradise, and
deliver me from Pharaoh and his deeds; and deliver me
from the unjust people.'" (66:11)
In this lady, we see the example of supreme sacrifice: By
marrying Pharaoh, Asiya bint Muzahim became the Queen
of Egypt, she gained everything that she wanted in this
worldly life from the materialistic point of view: the best of
clothes, food, palaces, jewels, servants and maids, etc.
But she sacrificed all that to be closer to Allah. And that is
why we see her included by the Prophet in the list of the
four women who attained the level of perfection.
MARY (MOTHER OF JESUS):
Mary is one of the noblest women in Islamic teachings
since she was chosen to miraculously give birth to the
Prophet Jesus.
When the Angel approached her with the news that she
has been chosen as mother of the Prophet who is to be
born miraculously without a father, she was perplexed.
She said, "When shall I have a boy and no man has yet
touched me, nor have I been unchaste?"
The Angel conveyed the answer of God: "It is easy for Me.
And We intend to make Jesus a sign to people and a
mercy from Us; and this is a matter which has been
decreed."
She was alone when the throes of childbirth compelled her
to take refuge by the trunk of a palm tree. She was
distressed and said, "I wish that I had died before this, and
had been a thing quite forgotten!"
Right then, Jesus was born and he called out: "Grieve not,
surely your Lord has made a stream to flow beneath you;
and shake towards you the trunk of the palm-tree, it will
drop on you fresh ripe dates. So eat, drink and refresh the
eyes." She was also told: "If you see people, do not worry
about their questions. Just say that you have make a vow
to that you shall not speak to any person today."
When she came back to his people with Jesus, they said,
"O Mary!
Surely you have done a strange thing; your parents were
not unchaste people!" She pointed towards the baby. They
responded, "How can we speak to a child in the cradle?"
At that moment, Jesus, by the power of God, started to
speak. He said:
"Surely I am the servant of God, He has given me the
Book and made me a prophet. He has made me blessed
wherever I may be. He has enjoined on me to pray, to give
charity so long as I live, and to be dutiful to my mother. He
has not made me insolent and unblessed. So peace upon
me on the day I was born, on the day I die, and on the day
I shall be raised back to life."
This is the story of the Virgin Mary and her son, Jesus, the
Prophet and Messenger of God, as mentioned in Chapter
19 of the Qur'an.
KHADIJA (THE WIFE OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD):
Khadija bint Khuwaylid, the wife of the Prophet, is truly
known as a noble lady; she was, in the modern
terminology, the First Lady of Islam.
During the Meccan phase of Islam's movement, Khadija
was the main pillar of support for Prophet Muhammad
(peace be upon him). She was the first one to declare her
faith in Islam. Her declaration of faith was a great
testimony of the Prophet's character: a wife knows her
husband's outer as well as inner character. By being the
first to accept person to accept Islam, Khadija
demonstrated that she believed in the truthfulness of
Muhammad as the Messenger of God.
The initial years of Islam's mission were very trying; the
Prophet faced severe opposition from the people of
Mecca. In face of this rejection, Khadija provided the moral
support and boasted the morale of the Prophet. According
to Muslims historians, he even used to consult and
discuss with her the issues related to the Islamic
movement.
Khadija whole-heartedly supported the Prophet's cause by
placing her wealth at his disposal. Almighty God has
praised that by addressing the Prophet: "Did We not find
you in need and made your free of need?" (93:8) It was
through Khadija's wealth that the Almighty made the
Prophet self-sufficient in his financial needs.
Although Khadija came from a very affluent background,
she did not shy from sacrificing her wealth for the cause of
Islam. Not only that, she even willingly went through the
difficulties of three years of social/economic embargo
imposed upon Prophet Muhammad and his family, the
Banu Hashim. The hardship of these three years
eventually resulted in her death.
It is to her credit that the Prophet of Islam did not marry
another woman as long as Khadija was alive; she was the
only wife who bore children for him. The name of Prophet
continued through Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet
and Khadija.
FATIMA (THE DAUGHTER OF THE PROPHET):
Jab Kabhi Ghairat-e-Insaan Ka Sawaal Aata Hai Bint-e-
Zehra Terey Pardey Ka Khayaal Aata Hai
Fatima bint Muhammad is one of the four noblest women
in Islamic teachings. This is not just because she is the
daughter of the Prophet of Islam or the wife of Imam Ali or
the mother of Hasan and Hussain.
These relationships are significant in themselves, but
Fatima is important to the Muslims in her own right.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is seen as the
perfect model of the values and teachings that were
revealed in the holy Qur'an. He was the Last Prophet and
the Qur'an was the Final Revelation: no prophet or
scripture is to be sent after him. However, the Prophet was
a man and so he could not be a complete role model for
half of the humanity; therefore, there was a need for a
perfect female model of Qur'anic values and teachings.
And that role model for women was Fatima, the daughter
of the Prophet. This is how Fatima is part of the Prophet;
she completes the female dimension of the Prophet's
function as a complete role model for humanity.
That is why the Prophet of Islam described Fatima as
follows: "The leader of all the ladies of Paradise."
(Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 4, p.819.)
"Fatima is a part of me, and he who makes her angry,
makes me angry." (Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 5, p. 61.)
According to the holy Qur'an (33:33) she is among the
infallibles ones in Islam. This status of infallibility comes
with being a part of the Prophetic mission: he is the perfect
role model for the men whereas she is the perfect role
model for women.
Fatima was not only a loving daughter, a loyal wife and a
caring mother; she is known in history as a woman of
knowledge and wisdom, and she actively stood up for her
rights. An excellent example of her social activism can be
seen when she was denied her inheritance upon her
father's death. Fatima challenged the authorities in power
on basis of the Qur'an. She argued that the Qur'an has
examples where the children of past prophets inherited
their father. Using the Qur'an as her basis, she argued that
she should not be denied her right.
PROPERTIES OF THE BEST WOMEN:
She is content: Such woman is the best one who becomes
happy and content when her husband puts a loving glance
on her, and when he orders her for something right, she
obeys him immediately, and never does any thing against
his will. - Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) She is a great
cook and a good administrator: A woman who cooks neat,
clean and delicious food for her husband. Allah has
provided great food for such nice wife in paradise. In
heaven, she will be asked to drink and eat whatever you
wish, as this is the reward for the pain and services which
you performed for your husband! - Holy Prophet
Muhammad (saw) The best woman among your women is
one who cooks delicious food, spends the money justly
and does not waste it. Such women are the workers of
Allah, and the workers of Allah never get hopeless and
regretful! - Imam Jafer-e-Sadiq (as) She is priceless: A
woman doesn't have any price, whether she is good or
bad. A good and nice lady can not be measured with
money or gold or silver, as she is far more expensive and
precious than money or gold.
Similarly, a woman with bad character and worst nature
can not be compared with sand, as sand is far more
higher and good than her. - Imam Jafer-e-Sadiq (as) She
is loving, caring and patient: Do not you want me to tell
you about those ladies who will enter paradise? A woman
who is loving and caring to her husband, and gives births
to his children and when he gets angry with her, she
instantly says My hand is in your hand like she does not
get satisfied until her husband becomes happy with her. -
Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) She is obedient: Lucky
and fortunate woman is one who respects her husband
and does not give him any pain, hurt or discomfort and
does not makes him worried and obeys him in all the right
aspects of life.
- Imam Jafer-e-Sadiq (as)
She does Jehaad: The Jehaad of woman is that she must
not lose her patience if she gets hurt from her husband.
Her patience is her Jehaad. - Holy Prophet Muhammad
(saw)