Islamic Human Rights (49)
Welcome to this week’s episode of the series Islamic Human Rights. Today, we continue to discuss women’s rights in the view of sacred religion of Islam.
One of the negative views that have existed in human communities toward women has been that women have been created to fulfill men’s needs and on this basis the social status of women has not been considered as the main issue.
Meanwhile, Holy Quran notes that husbands and wives play a complementary role toward each other.
The divine religion of Islam notes that husbands and wives have been created for each other.
The 817th ayah of Surat al-Baqarah in relation to husbands and wives notes: “They are a garment for you, and you are a garment for them.”
This means that husbands and wives prevent each other from getting entrapped in depravities; cover up each other’s shortcomings; and take comfort in each other. In this manner, each of them is a garment for the other. This ayah clarifies the profound spiritual bond between husbands and wives; their proximity and equality.
Furthermore, Holy Quran has introduced wives as a source of comfort and peace of mind for husbands.
The 21st ayah of Surat al-Rum notes: “And of His signs is that He created for you mates from your own selves that you may take comfort in them…”
This ayah notes that husbands take comfort in wives, and presence of woman as a spouse and source of comfort is presented as a major divine blessing.
In the contemporary era, efforts are made to establish the same situation for men and women in regard to rules and regulations, rights, and duties, and to neglect the differences in the innate nature and instincts of women and men.
The great thinker, Martyr Motahari, has considered the equality of rights of men and women as an inalienable right. But, he has pointed out resemblance between men and women as impossible and incorrect. This is because given the difference in the creation of men and women and their physical and spiritual conditions and needs; establishment of similar rights for the two genders is impossible and undesirable. It is appropriate for women to maintain rights compatible to their traits and innate nature. The difference in the innate nature of women and men warrants the difference in the two genders’ rights. This remark is in line with justice and innate rights; and human prosperity is fulfilled with the logic which is in coordination with creation. This is because men and women appear in the social and familial scenes with different capacities and needs that originate from nature. Thus, based on the terms of creation of women and men, the rights of each gender are clarified.
The sacred religion of Islam has granted women the right to maintain a job, the right of ownership, and the right to acquire wealth. This divine religion has not permitted men to seize women’s wealth. Women, like men, maintain taste, understanding, intelligence, and talents. Women’s talents are God-given and it is prudent to make the best of them. Given that any natural talent provides a reason for maintenance of a natural right, women maintain the God-given right to work; and denial of this right to women violates justice. Obstruction of women from making efforts; imposes an injustice against women and betrays the community. This is because whatever wastes the God-given abilities of mankind is to the detriment of the community.
The sacred religion of Islam never wants women to sit idle. In the view of Islam, woman’s job belongs to her. Women’s work is not exclusive to house chores. Women can select any activity which would not corrupt the family and disrupt rights originating from marriage, while the related income also exclusively belongs to her.
One of the baseless objections against Islamic Hijab is the allegation that Hijab obstructs women’s work and leads to recession and closure of women’s activities. The response is that Hijab in Islam aims to limit sexual instinct to the legitimate spouse, while considering the community as an environment for work and activity; thereby not allowing women to provoke men, upon leaving the house, while also not permitting men to be lewd. In fact, Hijab does not obstruct woman’s activity and in fact reinforces the community’s labor force.
Islam is not against the social, political, and cultural activity of women, and the history of Islam and Islamic texts attest to this fact. Islam is against wastage of women’s talents and denial of cultural and social activities to them. Islam favors acquirement of knowledge by women and does not ban women from economic, social, and political activities.
Furthermore, Islam does not negate women from participation in the community as long as it doesn’t lead to corruption. Muslim women can take part in Hajj rituals, Jihad for defense, Friday Prayers, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha Prayers.
The right to take part in political activities in the West was granted to women at the end of 20th Century and early 21st Century, while Islam had recognized this right for women more than 14 centuries ago.
In Islam, women maintain equal rights to men in regard to acquirement of knowledge. When the divine religion of Islam obliged Muslims to acquire knowledge, it did not consider any difference between men and women in this domain.
Furthermore, Islam maintains a specific philosophy toward the familial relations and rights of men and women. In the view of Islam, men and women are both human beings and maintain equal human rights. What Islam points out is that women and men are different in regard to their nature and creation, which in turn lead to differences in their rights, obligations, and punishments. However, the contemporary Western world aims to neglect the differences in the nature of men and women.