By Imam Murtadha Gusau
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon whom Allah sent as a mercy to the Worlds, upon his Family, his Companions and his Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.
Dear brothers and sisters, The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, marked every year on 25 November, is a global advocacy effort aimed at preventing and eliminating violence against women. Women worldwide continue to face unacceptable levels of violence.
World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that nearly 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner. The COVID-19 pandemic has further contributed to increasing risks of violence, particularly domestic violence against women.
From 25 November to 10 December, during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, WHO and partners will be raising awareness about the global need to prevent and respond to violence against women, and provide support to survivors.
Tomorrow, 26 November, join WHO, representatives from select countries and partners for a virtual panel discussion on “Innovations in addressing violence against women in the context of COVID-19.” Hear how countries and partners are implementing innovative ways to continue to provide services for survivors of violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speakers to include: WHO Deputy Director General Zsuzsanna Jakab and representatives from Ministries of Health and service providers in Argentina, India, Iraq and Spain.
Register here for the virtual event:
Spanish interpretation will be available during the event.
World Health Organisation (WHO) works to end violence against women through various methods, including training curricula, policy recommendations, fact sheets, and more.
Dear brothers and sisters, Allah bestowed humanity with the religion of Islam; this religion that made the issue of rights one of its intrinsic basics and a practice that all humans will be rewarded for doing and punished for disregarding. It is not a favour that we give (no matter what our statuses are) and it encompasses all human beings at large (no matter what faith, race, colour or nationality they have). It even encompasses animals and the environment. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was the best example for this kind of practice and he lived his whole life under the shade and guidance of this great religion.
In this article In Shaa Allah I will tackle some of the human/woman rights that were established and acknowledged by Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as a sign of the greatness of Islamic law.
Respected brothers and sisters, Islam looks at life from a very superior perspective; with a great deal of reverence and honouring. This is driven from the very words of Allah:
“We have honoured the children of Adam, and have borne them on the land and the sea, given them for sustenance things which are good and pure; and exalted them above many of Our creatures.” [Qur’an, 17:70]
This perspective gives human rights specific characteristics and privileges, the most important of which is their inclusiveness; they are political, economic, social and intellectual. They are also public and they encompass all individuals; Muslims and non-Muslims without any discrimination due to colour, race, language or faith. They are also irrevocable and irreplaceable because they are directly connected to the teaching of the Lord of the worlds.
The words of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) came as a true evidence of this fact. Look at his farewell sermon for instance and mark those words very well:
“O People, just as you regard this month, this day, and this city as sacred, so regard the life and property of every human as a sacred trust…” [Bukhari and Muslim]
His whole sermon confirmed a whole lot of rights most important of which are; the sanctity of life, the sanctity of property and the sanctity of honour… etc.
The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) also revered the human life in general by preserving its right in life and so forth. When he was asked about the major sins he said among other things:
“Ascribing a partner to Allah… Ending a life… [Bukhari]
The word ‘Life’ here is generalised to include any life that is unrightfully taken or ended.
The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) even went far beyond that when he protected the human being from himself by prohibiting suicide. He said:
“The one who throws himself off the top of a mountain to take his own life will go to hell. He will fall in hell and stay there forever and will never die. The one who takes poison to kill himself then his poison will always be in his hand and he will keep taking it on and on while in hell forever and will never die in it. The one who stabs himself with a rod, his rod will be in his hand and he will keep stabbing himself with it on and on while in hell forever and will never die in it.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
Islam also prohibits any act that would belittle the right of others to live whether this act is done as a threat, humiliation or when actually beating someone. Hisham Ibn Hakim (RA) said:
“I heard the Prophet of Allah (Peace be upon him) saying, “Allah will torture those who torture people in this life.” [Muslim, Abu Dawud and Ahmad]
Then the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) came to assert equality between the individuals and the groups, the races and the peoples, the rulers and the ruled, the governors and the governed without any discriminations, limitations or exceptions. Laws must never discriminate an Arab from a non-Arab, a black person from a white person or a ruler from those ruled. People are only measured by how Allah-fearing they are. He said:
“O People, your Lord is One, your father is one and you are all from Adam. Adam is made from dust and the best of you are the most Allah-fearing. The Arab is not better than the non-Arab except with how Allah-fearing they are.” [Ahmad and Tabarani]
My beloved people, if we looked at how he dealt with the principle of equality we will only realise how great he was. Abu Umamah (RA) said:
“Abu-Dharr humiliated Bilal because of his mother (who was black) and he said to him, you son of a black woman!” Bilal complained to the Prophet who so angry because of this. When Abu-Dharr came to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) the Prophet looked the other way. Abu-Dharr instantly knew that something was wrong and asked him, “Prophet of Allah, I am sure that you looked the other way because you heard something bad about me!” The Prophet asked him, “Are you the one who humiliated Bilal because of his mother? By Allah who brought down this Book upon Muhammad, no one is better than the other except with your actions! You are all alike and equal.” [Al-Baihaqi in Shu’ab Al-Iman]
Another right is closely connected to equality and this is; justice. This was what the Prophet (Peace be upon him) taught his companions in saying:
“There are three types of judges; one in paradise and two in hellfire. As for the one in paradise; he knew the truth and judged with it. The other two who are in hellfire are; one who knew the truth and swerved from it, and one who judged in total ignorance.” [Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah]
He also prohibited declining someone‘s right to defend himself and seek justice. He said:
“The one who has a right has an argument…” [Buhari and Muslim]
He said advising the judges:
“If two opponents sit before you never issue a judgment until you have heard the second as you heard the first. Only then will you be able to judge justly.” [Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhi and Ahmad]
Among the rights acknowledged by the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is the freedom of faith and believing. This comes directly from Allah‘s words:
“There shall be no compulsion in religion…” [Qur’an, 2:256]
So no one is compelled to embrace any religion he does not want.
When Makkah was liberated the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) never compelled anyone to embrace Islam even though he was able to do it since he had the upper hand. Still he said to them:
“Go! You are free to go!” [Sirah of Ibn Hisham and Al-Bidayatu wan-Nihaya of Imam Ibn Kathir]
The list goes on and on with rights acknowledged by the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) to include rights like the freedom of opinion and thought. He respected the opinions of others and encouraged them to give it. Whenever anyone would give him an opinion that he liked more than his, he would just give up his own opinion and take the other opinion. The battle of Uhud was the best example for that when the Prophet (Peace be upon him) decided to take the opinion of the youth (who were the majority) when they advised to go out and meet the disbelievers outside the city. This opinion was contrary to his but he still took it. [Al-Baihaqi in Sunan Al-Kubrah and Ibn Kathir in Al-Bidayatu wan-Nihaya]
There is one unique right that the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) acknowledged and no other secular or positive law cared to legislate. This right is called; the basic right, and through it any individual living in a Muslim state earns the right to have his sufficient need of the basics of life to be able to lead a dignified life and achieve the proper level of living. This is different from the poverty-line that was set by the positive laws and denotes the minimum level of livelihood. [Encyclopedia of Human Rights in Islam by Khadijah Nabarawy]
The sufficiency right is achieved by work and if the person is unable to work the Zakkah can cover his need. But if the Zakkah cannot cover his need the State budget has to cover it. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
“No one is considered a believer (in me) if he goes to bed satisfied while his neighbour is hungry (and he knows it).” [Al-Hakim]
He also said:
“When the Ash‘arites food supply would go low they would gather all the things they own in one big pile and just redivide it among them equally. They are from me and I am from them.” [Bukari and Muslim]
This was how the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was always a pioneer in every walk of life. He advocated for human rights and his message came for all mankind; a human message to all humanity at large.
What a great and humane Prophet he was (Peace be upon him)!
Dear brothers and sisters, Islam enclosed women with a wrapping of care and attention that raised her status to the highest ranks. Women got the best treatment and honour from Islam whether a daughter, a wife, a sister or a mother. The first rule that was stipulated by Islam is that men and women both come from a single creation. So women are the twin halves of men and in humanity they are both equal. Allah says:
“O mankind! Fear your Lord, who created you from a single soul. He created its mate from it and from the two of them spread countless men and women [throughout the earth]. Fear Allah, in whose name you appeal to one another, and be mindful of your obligations in respect of ties of kinship. Allah is always watching over you.” [Qur’an, 4:1]
From this perspective and with rejecting the habits of the dark ages that preceded Islam, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) stood by women to raise them up to a status that they have never reached in any past civilisation. He gave her (as a mother, sister, wife or daughter) more rights than
she has ever had. This was more than fourteen centuries ago and up to this day the Western women are still struggling to reach even half of that but to no avail.
In one eloquent sentence the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) established an important rule about the equality between men and women without belittling the role of the women. He said:
“Women are the twin mates of men.” [Al-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Ahmad and Abu Ya’ala]
Meaning; their equals and their counterparts!
He always entrusted men to take care of the women and he said to his companions:
“I entrust you to take good care of the women…” [Bukhari, Muslim and Al-Tirmidhi]
He repeated this advice many times in his farewell sermon while he was addressing the thousands of Muslim nations back then.
If we try to trace the rules that were established by the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) to raise the status and honour of women we will find that during the dark ages (before Islam) women were badly wronged and because of this they suffered gravely. Only then will we be able to realise what the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) did to women.
It was the custom of the Arabs before Islam to bury women alive at birth, so the first thing he did was that he prohibited this heinous custom. He did this because the Qur‘an defamed this horrible tradition in clear words:
“And when the female infant buried alive is asked, for what sin she was killed.” [Qur’an, 81:8-9]
The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) made this one of the biggest sins. Ibn-Mas’ud (RA) said:
“I asked the Prophet of Allah once, What sin is the biggest?” He said, “To ascribe a partner to Allah while He created you!” I asked, “What next?” He said, “To kill your children for fear that you might split your sustenance with them.” I asked, “What next?” He said, “To fornicate with your neighbour‘s wife.” [Bukhari, Al-Tirmidhi and Ahmad]
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) did not stop at that, he also urged his companions to be good to them while they are still young. He said:
“Whoever is in charge of daughters and treats them generously, then they will act as a shield for him from the hellfire.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
He also entrusted them to educate the women and said:
“Whoever is granted a baby girl and he teaches her and educates her well… will have two rewards.” [Bukhari]
He also assigned a day for the women to lecture them, educate them and convey to them the teachings of Islam.
Once the girl grows up into an adult the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) gave her the right to approve or reject her marriage without compelling her to marry someone she doesn‘t want to. He said:
“A woman without a husband (or divorced or a widow) must not be married until she is consulted, and a virgin must not be married until her permission is sought. They asked the Prophet of Allah, “How can the virgin‘s consent be solicited?” He said, “If she keeps silent.” [Bukhari]
Once she becomes a wife he entrusted them to treat her well by showing them that treating wives well is a sign of nobility and good manners. He said encouragingly:
“If a man gave a drink of water to his wife he will be rewarded for it.” [Ahmad]
And he said unpromisingly:
“O Allah I become enemies to those who transgress the rights of the two weak ones; the orphans and women.” [Ibn Majah, Ahmad and Al-Hakim]
If a wife hates her husband and cannot bear to live with him the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) gave her the right to divorce herself from him. Ibn Abbas (RA) said:
“The wife of Thabit Ibn Qais came to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and said, “O Prophet of Allah, I do not blame Thabit for any defects in his character or his religion, but I am afraid that I (being a Muslim) may become ungrateful for Allah‘s Blessings.” On that, Allah‘s Messenger said to her, “Will you return his garden to him?” She said, “Yes.” So she returned his garden to him and the Prophet told him to divorce her.” [Bukhari]
He also established for the women a fully independent financial liability just like the men. She has the right to buy, sell, lease, rent, proxy and endow without any limits as long as she is mature. This comes directly from Allah‘s words:
“…if you find them to be mature of mind, hand over their property to them…” [Qur’an, 4:6]
When Umm Hani helped two of the disbelievers and her brother wanted to kill them, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) ruled:
“We will aid those whom you have aided Umm Hani.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
By this he gave her the right to help and give security to the disbelievers at times of war.
From this we see how the women lived securely, safely and honourably under the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him].
• Violence against women in the West
Where does the western woman stand in the scale of humanity and who represents her? Is she the indecent and phony woman of Hollywood or is she crushed under the impact of exhausting work and the tyranny of men?
In the dialogue of civilisations, could a real study be made to compare the realities of two civilisations in order to reach a practical answer, and not an answer that is fabricated by mass media, of which of the two is more honourable and advanced? In a media that is dominated by the corrupt, Hijab is considered the clearest evidence of woman’s humiliation, backwardness, degradation and ignorance, while on the other hand, trading in women’s bodies is never considered as such!
We do not claim that the condition of the Muslim woman is at its best state of advancement and perfection; however, we believe that most of her afflictions are not caused by the fact of her being a female; rather, it is part of what also afflicts men, all of which comes as a natural result of oppression, tyranny and civilisation hegemony that are being imposed on the Ummah (Muslim nation). Within the context of my civilisational view of the reality of the western woman from the inside, I will let the figures reveal the truth. In this way, I may be able to establish a true dialogue between civilisations, not only between two trends of thought or two methodologies, but also between two realities.
I will begin with this topic. I cannot but notice that such violence, which goes beyond human limits, is not exercised by illiterate men who live in the jungles or in the poorest areas. On the contrary, such violence is perpetrated by men who are ‘refined’, just like Hollywood movie stars, with regard to fame, culture and social positions. They perpetrate such violence against weak women who, regardless of their glamour, have nothing to do after returning home but to be like slaves who are humiliated and degraded.
In this article, I will focus on domestic violence against women in the West. This study will prove by figures that the humiliated woman is not the stereotypical Afghani woman who covers her face, or the Muslim woman who lives protected and honoured in a community that calls for her esteem and respect. Real degradation and vulgarity is that which make a woman a commodity like any other commodity, and subject her to attacks and all types of oppression and persecution.
• Woman in America
Domestic violence, in all its forms, has afflicted the weakest members of the family, namely women and children. Secrecy makes it difficult to provide adequate evidence, and there are other social and legal impediments to it also. All these factors make it difficult to know the exact figures regarding domestic violence against women. Sociologists believe that domestic violence is the least reported type of crime. Most of the available information regarding violence against women is collected from small studies, which give a hint of what is supposed to be an international phenomenon. Such information cannot be used to precisely indicate the level of violence and abuse that is perpetrated against women, but it certainly clarifies that domestic violence is a widespread phenomenon and that the woman is the victim in most cases.
1. In 1981, the renowned Strauss stated that incidents of spousal abuse included 50-60% of marital relations in the United States of America, whereas Russell, another expert, estimated this percentage to be 21% in 1982 and Paglow, another expert, estimated it to range between 25-35%. Moreover, Appleton, who is also a leading authority, in a survey that he carried out in 1980 on 620 American women, stated that 35% of them were subjected to physical abuse at least once at the hands of their husbands. In 1984, based on her research, Lenore Walker pointed out that American women undergo a great deal of physical abuse, and that 41% of women have experienced physical abuse at the hands of their mothers, 44% at the hands of their fathers and 44% of them witnessed incidents where their fathers physically abused their mothers.
2. In 1985, 2,928 persons were killed by a family member. Counting only female victims, one third of them were killed by their husbands or partners. Also, 20% of women who were killed in 1984 were killed by their husbands and 10% of them were killed by their partners.
Statistics of perpetrators of violent crimes against women in America:
1. Three out of every four perpetrators are husbands; 9% of them are ex-husbands, 35% are partners and 32% are ex-partners.
2. Another statistic that studied the percentage of attackers showed that divorced husbands or those who are separated from their wives committed 79% of the assaults, while husbands committed 21% of the assaults.
3. It was proved that the most common cause for women’s physical injuries is physical abuse by male partners. It is more common than injuries caused by car accidents, robberies and rape all together.
4. According to the results of another study, one out of every four women who seek medical care by a family physician report that they were physically abused by their male partners. 37% of women who seek medical care by the family physician reported that they survived sexual abuse in their childhood, and 29% reported that they were sexually abused by the time they reached puberty. Also, women who were victims of such sexual assaults experience depression more than women who were not subjected to this.
5. Results of a questionnaire that included 6,000 American families showed that 50% of the men who continuously abuse their wives also physically abuse their children.
6. Children who witnessed their father’s violence are expected to be three times more violent and abusive with their wives than other men who did not witness violence in their childhood. Additionally, children whose parents are very violent are 1,000 times more likely to be abusive to their wives in the future.
7. More than three million children are endangered by the parent’s violence every year.
8. Every year, one million women are victims of domestic violence that does not reach the degree of death and this assault is made by someone who is close to the victim. This statistic is one of the most moderate ones.
9. Every year, four million American women are subjected to dangerous physical abuse by close male partners. Moreover, one out of every three adult women is subjected to physical abuse by her partner at least once during her adolescence.
10. In 1993, 575,000 men, more than half a million, were arrested for committing violent crimes against women.
11. In 1994, 21% of violent crimes against women were committed by male relatives, while only 4% of violent cases against men were committed by female relatives.
12. 90-95% of the victims of domestic violence are women.
13. Children who live in homes where the husband and wife assault one another, are subjected to physical abuse 1,500 times more than other children.
14. 40 – 60% of men who mistreat their wives also physically abuse their children.
15. Fathers who physically abuse mothers tend to acquire legal guardianship of the children after divorce, twice more than non-violent husbands.
16. In one study, 27% of the victims of domestic violence are children.
17. 90% of children who are killed before the age of ten are killed during a family dispute, and 56% of them are below two years of age.
18. In 1994, 243,000 of those who received medical care in an emergency room were treated for injuries resulting from physical abuse committed by a relative, and the ratio of male versus female victims here was estimated at 1:9.
19. There are at least four million reports of domestic violence incidents against women annually, and around 20% of them take place at home.
20. In 1991, more than ninety women were killed weekly; nine out of every ten were killed by a man.
21. In around 30% of domestic violence incidents, weapons are used.
22. In 95% of the incidents of domestic violence, women are assaulted by men.
23. In the field of work, harmful husbands and lovers cause annoyance to 74% of the women who are subjected to physical abuse, whether directly or through annoying phone calls.
24. In intimate relations, the rate of female victims who experience violence is tenfold greater than male victims.
• Women in Britain
In Britain in 1992, more than 50% of murdered women were murdered by their husband or partner. In that year domestic violence rose by 46%. It was also found that 25% of women undergo physical abuse at the hands of their husbands or male partners. British police receive approximately 100,000 calls annually which are complaints of physical abuse against wives or female partners. It is known that many of these women do not report such incidents to the police except after having been subjected to physical abuse more than ten times. Jean Lewis, an expert in this field, states that one to two thirds of divorce cases take place because of domestic violence which is mainly the result of consuming intoxicants and moral deterioration.
According to a questionnaire whose results were published in Britain, the rate of violence against women is on the increase. In a questionnaire that included 7,000 women, 28% of the women surveyed said that they were assaulted by their husbands. According to another British report, many husbands physically abuse their wives for no apparent reason, and this represents 77% of the incidents of physical abuse. In the same report, a woman mentioned that her husband continued physically abusing her for three and a half years from the beginning of their marriage. She said, “If I said anything to him after beating me, he would beat me again, and so I chose to remain silent. He does not beat in one way only, instead he hurts me by employing all methods of beating, like punching, kicking and hitting my head against the wall, and he does not care if he kicks me in sensitive areas of my body.” Some men extinguish cigarettes on their wives’ bodies or tie their wives with chains and leave them imprisoned in a room for long hours.
Women’s organisations try to provide shelters as well as financial and psychological aid for these victims. Joan Jonker leads a campaign of this type. For the past twelve years, she has helped thousands of people who have been subjected to domestic violence. She has collected donations that are estimated to be £70,000 to run these shelters and established the first of these centers in Manchester in 1971. After that, such centers spread throughout Britain and now amount to one hundred and fifty. 6 to 62% of females who visit such centers experience sexual abuse during their childhood.
Women in France
In France, almost two million women are subjected to physical abuse. As police confront this phenomenon, they have stated that this includes around 10% of French families. The government has announced that it will start an awareness campaign to prevent domestic violence from becoming the norm.
Mrs. Michèle André, the former French Secretary of State for Women’s Rights, said:
“Sometimes even animals are treated better than women. If a man hits a dog in the street, someone will complain to the Animal Care Society, but if a man hits his wife in the street, no one will move.”
In a statement for Agence France-Presse (AFP), she said:
“People should understand that beating up women is illegal. People should stop thinking that such an action is ordinary.”
“Our world acknowledges that there is someone who dominates and someone who is dominated. This kind of logic must be stopped.”
In a reportage that was published about this subject, the France Soir Newspaper quoted police officials, who said:
“About 92.7% of spouse abuse takes place in cities, and 60% of rescue calls that are reported to the police come from Paris. Such calls come from women who are being mistreated by their husbands.”
The French Secretariat of State for Women’s Rights stated that there are several types of domestic violence that are practiced against women: some are psychological, like threats and humiliation, and others are physical, like beating.
The Battered Women’s Shelter noted that the women who are received in their organisation range in age between 25 and 35 years of age, and have an average of two children. They also have a low level of education. In most cases, such women are isolated from their families and neighbours. More often than not, matters like illness, addiction to intoxicants or unemployment made the abuse practiced against them increase even more, but only a few dare to expose such violence for fear of their husband’s revenge or due to lack of courage. When a 25-year-old woman who had tolerated her husband’s physical abuse for two years, was told to leave her house, she said:
“In France we do not talk about our marital life because no one can trust his friends or any one else with his personal secrets.”
Alexander Dumas, a French writer, once compared women to slices of meat, saying:
“The more you beat them the more tender they get.”
• How Islam Protected the Rights of Woman
There are many proofs to confirm the fact that Islam is the real emancipator of the woman or the female from her slavery. To make this more evident, I will clarify how Islam protects the rights of the woman from the time she is a fetus in her mother’s womb until she dies and meets her Lord:
1. Islam preserves the woman’s rights before her birth when Allah The Almighty granted her, along with the man, succession to authority on earth, and made Hauwa (Eve) may Allah exalt her mention, share religious obligations with Adam. Allah The Almighty Says
“And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.” [Qur’an, 2:30]
2. Islam protects her humanity and has made her equal to man. Allah The Almighty Says:
“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” [Qur’an, 49:13]
Also, the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“Women are peers of men.”
3. Islam protects her rights as one of the signs of Allah The Almighty that necessitate praising Him. Allah The Almighty says:
“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” [Qur’an, 30:21]
4. Islam protects her rights by making her a gift to mankind. Allah The Almighty Says:
“He gives to whom He wills female [children], and He gives to whom He wills males.” [Qur’an, 42:49]
5. Islam protects her entity in society by considering her responsible for the establishment of virtue and the disappearance of vice on earth, through enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, just like man. In this way, she was made to carry the responsibility of religion and the call to Allah as a trust for which she and man will be held accountable before Allah The Almighty, who says:
“The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give Zakkah [obligatory charity] and obey Allah and His Messenger. Those – Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” [Qur’an, 9:71]
6. Islam protects the rights of the woman by deeming it foolish, if not sinful, to commit any transgression against her. Moreover, her arrival is a means of making the Muslim family rejoice. Allah Says:
“And when one of them is informed of [the birth of] a female, his face becomes dark, and he suppresses grief. He hides himself from the people because of the ill of which he has been informed. Should he keep it in humiliation or bury it in the ground? Unquestionably, evil is what they decide.” [Qur’an, 16:58-59]
“Those will have lost who killed their children in foolishness without knowledge and prohibited what Allah had provided for them, inventing untruth about Allah. They have gone astray and were not [rightly] guided.” [Qur’an, 6:140]
7. Islam protects the rights of the woman when it stated that killing her, or the man, is like killing all of mankind. Allah The Almighty Says:
“Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.” [Qur’an, 5:32]
8. Islam protects the right of the woman when she is in her mother’s womb. If her mother is divorced while she is still in her womb, it becomes due upon the father, in Islam, to spend on the mother during the period of pregnancy as shown in the following statement of Allah The Almighty:
“And if they should be pregnant, then spend on them until they give birth.” [Qur’an, 65:6]
9. Islam protects the right of the woman (when she is still a fetus), that no corporal punishment should be executed on her mother while she is still pregnant lest she should be affected. When Al-Ghamidiyyah (a woman who committed adultery) came to the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) and said to him:
“O Messenger of Allah, purify me (by executing the corporal punishment prescribed for adultery on me).”
He said to her:
“Not until you deliver what is in your womb.”
10. Islam also protects the right of the woman as an infant. When Al-Ghamidiyyah gave birth to her child and returned to ask for the corporal punishment (prescribed for adultery) to be executed on her, the Messenger of Allah said to her:
“Go and suckle your child until he is weaned.”
11. Islam protects the right of the female as a newborn in terms of spending and clothing as shown in the statement of Allah The Almighty:
“Upon the father is the mother’s provision and their clothing according to what is acceptable.” [Qur’an, 2:233]
12. Islam protects the right of the young female as it deems her as being in the period of rearing that extends for some years (after suckling), and enjoins upon the husband spending her mother during that period given the general evidence in support of spending on children.
13. Islam protects the rights of the woman in inheritance in general, whether she is young or old. Allah The Almighty Says:
“But if there are [only] daughters, two or more, for them is two thirds of one’s estate. And if there is only one, for her is half.” [Qur’an, 4:11]
14. Islam even protects the lives of polytheistic women by forbidding their being killed in wars. It was narrated on the authority of Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said:
“A woman was found killed during one of the battles led by the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) thereupon he forbade killing women and children (in wars).” [Al-Bukhari, Muslim and others]
15. Islam protects the rights of the woman by prohibiting burying her alive and making it obligatory to provide her with a good upbringing and education. Allah, The Almighty, Says:
“And when the girl [who was] buried alive is asked – for what sin she was killed.” [Qur’an, 81:8-9]
The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“Whoever has a female child whom he neither buries alive, nor humiliates, and never favours a male child of his over her, Allah will admit him to Paradise.”
16. Islam protects the rights of the woman by considering her a fundamental component of goodness in the world and the Hereafter. The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“If one is given the following four, he will have the goodness of both this world and the Hereafter: a thankful heart, an ever-remembering tongue (that always remembers and mentions Allah), a persevering body (that is patient) when under ordeal and a wife who maintains his honour and property.”
17. Islam protects the rights of the woman by considering her as the finest thing in this world. The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“The world is but enjoyment, and the finest enjoyment is a righteous woman (wife).”
18. Islam protects the rights of the woman by placing Paradise, the aim of all the believers, under her feet. What a great honour the woman has received in Islam! The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“(The way to) Paradise lies beneath the feet of mothers.”
It was narrated that a man came to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and the latter asked him:
“Do you have a mother (alive)?” He answered in the affirmative, thereupon, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “Then, stick to her, as (the way to) Paradise lies beneath her feet.”
19. Islam protects the rights of the woman by removing from her the curse of perpetual sin which the previous religions stained her with; rather; Islam considers Hauwa (Eve) and her husband, Adam, may Allah exalt their mention, as having sinned and then been given repentance and forgiveness. Allah The Almighty Says:
“But Satan caused them to slip out of it and removed them from that [condition] in which they had been.” [Qur’an, 2:36]
“But Satan whispered to them.” [Qur’an, 7:20]
When Adam may Allah exalt his mention, and Hauwa (Eve) had sinned, Allah condemned one person only, who was Adam, as Allah Says:
“Then Satan whispered to him; he said, “O Adam, shall I direct you to the tree of eternity and possession that will not deteriorate?” [Qur’an, 20:120]
20. Islam protects the rights of the woman by assigning to her a share in inheritance after she herself had been (for long centuries) a part of it. Allah The Almighty Says:
“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.” [Qur’an, 4:7]
“Allah instructs you concerning your children: for the male, what is equal to the share of two females. But if there are [only] daughters, two or more, for them is two thirds of one’s estate. And if there is only one, for her is half. And for one’s parents, to each one of them is a sixth of his estate if he left children. But if he had no children and the parents [alone] inherit from him, then for his mother is one third. And if he had brothers [or sisters], for his mother is a sixth, after any bequest he [may have] made or debt. Your parents or your children – you know not which of them are nearest to you in benefit. [These shares are] an obligation [imposed] by Allah. Indeed, Allah is Ever Knowing and Wise. And for you is half of what your wives leave if they have no child. But if they have a child, for you is one fourth of what they leave, after any bequest they [may have] made or debt. And for the wives is one fourth if you leave no child. But if you leave a child, then for them is an eighth of what you leave, after any bequest you [may have] made or debt. And if a man or woman leaves neither ascendants nor descendants but has a brother or a sister, then for each one of them is a sixth. But if they are more than two, they share a third, after any bequest which was made or debt, as long as there is no detriment [caused]. [This is] an ordinance from Allah, and Allah is Knowing and Forbearing.” [Qur’an, 4:11-12]
21. Islam protects the rights of the woman by granting her all her civil rights. She thus came to have the right to conclude contracts of sale, purchase, authorisation, partnership, loan, mortgage, to gift, and so on.
22. Islam protects the rights of the woman by removing from her the permanent state of being minor, as it acknowledged her full legal competence and gave her the right of guardianship over her property and other affairs.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah alone, Lord of the worlds. May the peace, blessings and salutations of Allah be upon our noble Messenger, Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions and his true and sincere followers.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: [email protected] or +2348038289761.