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Equality of Women and Men


Allah has got ready forgiveness and tremendous rewards for the Muslim men and women; the believing men and women; the devout men and women; the truthful men and women; the patiently suffering men and women; the humble men and women; the almsgiving men and women; the fasting men and women, the men and women who guard their chastity; and the men and women who are exceedingly mindful of Allah. (Al-Ahzab 33:35)

Attitudes towards women

O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness, that ye may take away part of the dower ye have given them,-except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good. (An-Nisa 4:19)

Collaboration and consultation

The believing men and women, are associates and helpers of each other. They (collaborate) to promote all that is beneficial and discourage all that is evil; to establish prayers and give alms, and to obey Allah and his Messenger. Those are the people whom Allah would grant mercy. Indeed Allah is Mighty and Wise. (Al-Taubah 9:71)

Examples of Consensual Decision Making

If both spouses decide, by mutual consent and consultation, on weaning [their baby], there is no blame on either. If you want to have your babies breastfed by a foster mother you are not doing anything blame-worthy provided you pay to the fostermother what you had agreed to offer, in accordance with the established manner. Fear Allah and know that Allah is aware it what you are doing”. (Al-Baqarah, 2:233)

Women’s Right to Attend Mosques

Narrated Ibn Umar: The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said, “Allow women to go to the Mosques at night.” (Bukhari Volume 2, Book 13, Number 22)

Narrated Ibn Umar: One of the wives of Umar (bin Al-Khattab) used to offer the Fajr and the ‘Isha’ prayer in congregation in the Mosque. She was asked why she had come out for the prayer as she knew that Umar disliked it, and he has great ghaira (self-respect). She replied, “What prevents him from stopping me from this act?” The other replied, “The statement of Allah’s Apostle (p.b.u.h) : ‘Do not stop Allah’s women-slave from going to Allah s Mosques’ prevents him.” (Bukhari Volume 2, Book 13, Number 23)

Ibn ‘Umar reported: Grant permission to women for going to the mosque in the night. His son who was called Waqid said: Then they would make mischief. He (the narrator) said: He thumped his (son’s) chest and said: I am narrating to you the hadith of the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him), and you say: No! (Sahih Muslim Book 004, Number 0890)

Ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Do not deprive women of their share of the mosques, when they seek permission from you. Bilal said: By Allah, we would certainly prevent them. ‘Abdullah said: I say that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said it and you say: We would certainly prevent them! (Sahih Muslim Book 004, Number 0891)

Yahya related to me from Malik from Yahya ibn Said that Atika bint Zayd ibn Amr ibn Nufayl, the wife of Umar ibn al-Khattab, used to ask Umar ibn al-Khattab for permission to go to the mosque. He would keep silent, so she would say, “By Allah, I will go out, unless you forbid me,” and he would not forbid her. (Sunan Abu Dawud Book 14, Number 14.5.14)

The Common Performance of Ablutions

Narrated Ibn Umar: “It used to be that men and women would perform ablutions together in the time of the Messenger of Allah’s assembly.” (Bukhari: 1: Ch. 45, Book of Ablution)

Women’s Right of Proposal

Narrated Sahl: A woman came to the Prophet, and presented herself to him (for marriage). He said, “I am not in need of women these days.” Then a man said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Marry her to me.” The Prophet asked him, “What have you got?” He said, “I have got nothing.” The Prophet said, “Give her something, even an iron ring.” He said, “I have got nothing.” The Prophet asked (him), “How much of the Quran do you know (by heart)?” He said, “So much and so much.” The Prophet said, “I have married her to you for what you know of the Quran.” (Bukhari Volume 7, Book 62, Number 72)

Women’s Right of Permission

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “A matron should not be given in marriage except after consulting her; and a virgin should not be given in marriage except after her permission.” The people asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! How can we know her permission?” He said, “Her silence (indicates her permission).” (Bukhari Volume 7, Book 62, Number 67)

Narrated Khansa bint Khidam Al-Ansariya that her father gave her in marriage when she was a matron and she disliked that marriage. So she went to Allah’s Apostle and he declared that marriage invalid. (Bukhari Volume 7, Book 62, Number 69)

The Right of Women not to be Forced

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: Barira‘s husband was a slave called Mughith, as if I am seeing him now, going behind Barira and weeping with his tears flowing down his beard. The Prophet said to ‘Abbas, “O ‘Abbas ! are you not astonished at the love of Mughith for Barira and the hatred of Barira for Mughith?” The Prophet then said to Barira, “Why don’t you return to him?” She said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Do you order me to do so?” He said, “No, I only intercede for him.” She said, “I am not in need of him.” (Bukhari: Volume 7, Book 63, Number 206)

Asserting Women’s Rights

Ibn Al-Jauzi narrated the virtues and merits of Umar bin Al-Khattab (Allah bless him) in the following words: Umar forbade the people from paying excessive dowries and addressed them saying: “Don’t fix the dowries for women over forty ounces. If ever that is exceeded I shall deposit the excess amount in the public treasury”. As he descended from the pulpit, a flat-nosed lady stood up from among the women audience, and said: “It is not within your right”. Umar asked: “Why should this not be of my right?” she replied: “Because Allah has proclaimed: ‘even if you had given one of them (wives) a whole treasure for dowry take not the least bit back. Would you take it by false claim and a manifest sin'”. (Al Nisa, 20). When he heard this, Umar said: “The woman is right and the man (Umar) is wrong. It seems that all people have deeper insight and wisdom than Umar”. Then he returned to the pulpit and declared: “O people, I had restricted the giving of more than four hundred dirhams in dowry. Whosoever of you wishes to give in dowry as much as he likes and finds satisfaction in so doing may do so”. quoted in: “On the Position and Role of Women in Islam and Islamic Society” 

Seeking advice and comfort

Narrated ‘Aisha (the mother of the faithful believers): … Then Allah’s Apostle returned with the Inspiration and with his heart beating severely. Then he went to Khadija bint Khuwailid and said, “Cover me! Cover me!” They covered him till his fear was over and after that he told her everything that had happened and said, “I fear that something may happen to me.” Khadija replied, “Never! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your kith and kin, help the poor and the destitute, serve your guests generously and assist the deserving calamity-afflicted ones.” Khadija then accompanied him to her cousin Waraqa bin Naufal bin Asad bin ‘Abdul ‘Uzza … (Bukhari Volume 1, Book 1, Number 3)

The Characteristics of a Believing Man

Narrated AbuHurayrah: Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said: a believing man should not hate a believing woman; if he dislikes one of her characteristics, he will be pleased with another. (Muslim Book 8, Number 3469)

The Education of Women

Narrated Abu Said: A woman came to Allah’s Apostle and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Men (only) benefit by your teachings, so please devote to us from (some of) your time, a day on which we may come to you so that you may teach us of what Allah has taught you.” Allah’s Apostle said, “Gather on such-and-such a day at such-and-such a place.” They gathered and Allah’s Apostle came to them and taught them of what Allah had taught him. (Bukhari Volume 9, Book 92, Number 413)

On the Treatment of Women

Narrated Mu’awiyah al-Qushayri: 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.” (Sunan Abu Dawud: Book 11, Number 2139) “The best of you is one who is best towards his family and I am best towards the family”. (At-Tirmithy). “None but a noble man treats women in an honourable manner. And none but an ignoble treats women disgracefully”. (At-Tirmithy).

A Husband must keep the Privacy of his Wife

Narrated AbuSa’id al-Khudri: Allah’s Messenger (peace_be_upon_him) said: The most wicked among the people in the eye of Allah on the Day of Judgement is the man who goes to his wife and she comes to him, and then he divulges her secret. (Muslim Book 8, Number 3369)

A Husband’s Attitude

‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (RA) said that a man came to his house to complain about his wife. On reaching the door of his house, he hears ‘Umar’s wife shouting at him and reviling him. Seeing this, he was about to go back, thinking that ‘Umar himself was in the same position and, therefore, could hardly suggest any solution for his problem. ‘Umar (RA) saw the man turn back, so he called him and enquired about the purpose of his visit. He said that he had come with a complaint against his wife, but turned back on seeing the Caliph in the same position. ‘Umar (RA) told him that he tolerated the excesses of his wife for she had certain rights against him. He said, “Is it not true that she prepares food for me, washes clothes for me and suckles my children, thus saving me the expense of employing a cook, a washerman and a nurse, though she is not legally obliged in any way to do any of these things? Besides, I enjoy peace of mind because of her and am kept away from indecent acts on account of her. I therefore tolerate all her excesses on account of these benefits. It is right that you should also adopt the same attitude.” quoted in Rahman, Role of Muslim Women page 149

The Prophet’s Disapproval of Women Beaters

Patient behavior was the practice of the Prophet, even when his wife dared to address him harshly. Once his mother-in-law- saw her daughter strike him with her fist on his noble chest. When the enraged mother -in-law began to reproach her daughter, the Prophet smilingly said, “Leave her alone; they do worse than that.” And once Abu Bakr, his father-in-law, was invited to settle some misunderstanding between him and Aishah. The Prophet said to her, “Will you speak, or shall I speak?” Aisha said, “You speak, but do not say except the truth.” Abu Bakr was so outraged that he immediately struck her severely, forcing her to run and seek protection behind the back of the Prophet. Abu Bakr said, “O you the enemy of herself! Does the Messenger of Allah say but the truth?” The Prophet said, “O Abu Bakr, we did not invite you for this [harsh dealing with Aishah], nor did we anticipate it.” quoted in: Mutual Rights and Obligations And Allah (swt) knows best.

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