It is a common misconception that Muslim women are oppressed under Islamic laws.
While this may be true in certain cases, the Quran and Prophet Muhammad’s sayings prove otherwise.
On this year’s International Women’s Day, Pulse Religion seeks to change this narrative by revealing the truth and honoring Muslim women in the process.
Here is what the Quran and the religion have to say about women’s rights:
Women and men have similar rights
The Holy Book says: “…and women have rights similar to those against them in a just manner,…” (Holy Qur’an, 2:228).
Whoever does good, whether male or female, and is a believer, We shall certainly make him live a good life, and We shall certainly give them their reward for the best of what they did.” (Holy Qur’an, 16:97).
Fun Fact: Islam is regarded as the first religion to give women rights to own and inherit property.
Islam makes the education of girls a sacred duty
“It is the duty of every Muslim man and woman to seek knowledge,” the prophet is quoted as saying.
Women have the right to choose their partners.
Without the woman’s consent, any marriage contract or negotiation is considered illegitimate.
ALSO READ: Islam does not oppress Muslim women
The girl child is considered more important
Prophet Muhammad said: "He, who brought up two girls properly till they grew up, he and I would come (together) (very closely) on the Day of Resurrection, and he interlaced his fingers (for explaining the point of nearness between him and that person)."
In pre-Islamic times, history says girls were hated and the news of the birth of female child was considered the worst news ever. This was rejected by the Prophet, according to the Quran.
“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)
If anyone has a female child and does not bury her alive, or slight her, or prefer his children (i.e., the male ones) to her, Allah will bring him to Paradise," one verse reads.
The Prophet also said, If anyone has suffered at all respecting these girls and treats them well, they will be a covering for him from Hell.”
Islam recognizes that women deserve respect
The Quran says: “And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women.” [Noble Quran 2:228]
The Prophet told the Muslims: “Fear Allah in respect of women.” He also said: “The more civil and kind a Muslim is to his wife, the more perfect in faith he is.”
Before his death, he kept repeating, “I command you to be kind and considerate to women.”
Quran warns men not to oppress or ill-treat women
“O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should you treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the dowry you have given them — except when they have become guilty of open lewdness. On the contrary, live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to them, it may be that you dislike something and Allah will bring about through it a great deal of good.” [Noble Quran 4:19]
In one Hadith, the prophet said, “It is only the generous in character who is good to women, and only the evil one who insults them.”
Mothers are highly revered
On many occasions, the Prophet was quoted saying that the rights of the mother are paramount.
Abu Hurayrah reported that a man came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) and asked: “O Messenger of Allah, who is the person who has the greatest right on me with regards to kindness and attention?” He replied, “Your mother.” “Then who?” He replied, “Your mother.” “Then who?” He replied, “Your mother.” “Then who?” He replied, “Your father.”
Note: In the 7th century, women in Arabia and early Islam had more rights than women in other societies across the world.
This was all thanks to Prophet Muhammad’s reforms.