Sunday, December 18, 2016

Women’s Rights in Islam - II


Right to divorce

Islam gave the woman the right to seek divorce 1500 years ago, when the Quran was revealed; this is clarified from verse 226 to verse 242 in Chapter Al-Baqarah [Quran 2]. However, in so-called developed countries, like in Europe, women were only entitled to seek divorce in recent years, i.e. from 2000 onwards (in certain countries), like in the Republic of Ireland, for example.

If one were to divorce his wife, he should divorce her in kindness or keep her in kindness; Allah says (what means): {And when you divorce women and they have [nearly] fulfilled their term, either retain them according to acceptable terms or release them according to acceptable terms, and do not keep them, intending harm, to transgress [against them]...} [Quran 2:231]

Besides, the Prophet said to a man whose wife had demanded divorce because she was unable to love him, “Accept the garden (i.e. the bridal gift, as compensation) and divorce her.” [Al-Bukhari]

She has the right to return to her husband who divorced her once or twice; Allah says (what means): {And when you divorce women and they have fulfilled their term, do not prevent them from remarrying their [former] husbands if they [i.e. all parties] agree among themselves on an acceptable basis...} [Quran 2:232]

Right to education

The Muslim woman is allowed to seek knowledge, as the Prophet said, “Seeking knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim, male and female.” [Ibn Majah] Moreover, the Prophet, said, “Whoever follows a way to seek knowledge, Allah will make a way to Paradise easy for him.” (This applies to both men and women.)

Right to seek employment

The Muslim woman is allowed to work provided that she wears the hijab (Islamic dress for women) when going outside and avoids forbidden mixing with men. She should work in positions such as teaching, nursing other women, midwifery, pediatrics, or obstetrics-gynecology. However, her work should not interfere with her responsibilities as a wife or mother. Her entire salary, money, and wealth are purely and totally hers, and neither her husband nor anyone else can take anything from it without her consent.

Right to inheritance

The Quran clarified the woman’s right in inheritance and specified her share. Allah says (what means): {For men is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, and for women is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, be it little or much – an obligatory share.} [Quran 4:7] Allah also clarified her share as a mother or wife in verses 11 and 12 from Chapter An-Nisa’ (The Women) [Quran 4].

Some general rights

• Islam protects the woman’s body and soul by ordering her to safeguard her honor by wearing the hijab, as she is like a precious jewel. Allah says (what means): {O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known [as chaste believing women] and not be abused...} [Quran 33:59]

• The father is obliged to provide food and clothing for the woman as an infant and as a girl till she gets married.

• Rights when divorced.

• Islam protects the woman's rights to have custody over her children unless she remarries. The Prophet said to a divorced woman asking to keep her child under her custody, “You have more right over him unless you remarry.” [Ahmad and others]

• Islam protects the woman's rights during her menses by forbidding to have sexual intercourse with her due to the harm that it causes her. Allah says (what means): {…Keep away from wives during menstruation…} [Quran 2:222]

• Islam protected the rights of a woman by punishing anyone who accuses her of adultery without sufficient evidence. The accuser must provide the testimony of four witnesses; otherwise, they are punished for slander. Allah says (what means): {Those who commit immorality [i.e. unlawful sexual intercourse] of your women – bring against them four witnesses from among you...} [Quran 4:15]

• Islam protects the woman's rights by keeping the details of her sexual relationship with her husband secret. Islam prohibits having this secret divulged. The Prophet said, “Do not do this [divulge details of the intimate relationship]; this would be like a male and a female devil having sexual intercourse on the street, under everyone’s gaze.” [Ahmad]

• Islam protects the woman's rights by making it incumbent on the husband who has more than one wife to treat them equally and not to favor one in treatment over the other. Allah says (what means): {And you will never be able to be equal [in feeling] to your wives, even if you strive [to do so]. So do not incline completely [toward one] and leave the other hanging (i.e. neither divorced nor married)...} [Quran 4:129]

• Islam protects the woman's rights when travelling. It prohibited her from travelling alone without the company of a mahram (permanently unmarriageable kin). The Prophet said, “No woman shall travel without the company of a mahram, and no non-mahram man shall enter upon her unless she is in the company of a mahram.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

• Islam protects the woman's rights against her husband abandoning her. It prohibited the husband from staying away from his wife for more than four months.

• Islam protects the woman's rights in taking her counsel and respecting her opinion.


As discussed above, Islam preserved the rights of the woman and honored her from birth to death, and no other religion has given the woman more rights than Islam. Even after her death, her children can be kind and dutiful to her by donating in charity while intending the reward for her and asking Allah’s forgiveness for her. Therefore, a Muslim woman is happy to be a Muslim and is pleased with the status, honor, and respect that Allah has given her.


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