*Understand Islam *
*What are the Rights Islam Gives to Women?*
Islam has given woman rights and privileges, which she has never enjoyed under other religious or constitutional systems. This can be understood when the matter is studied as a whole in a comparative manner, rather than partially.
While men and women have equal rights as a general principle, the specific rights and responsibilities granted to them are not identical. Men and women have complementary rights and responsibilities.
*1. Equal Reward & Equal Accountability:*
Men and women worship Allah in the same way, meaning they worship the same God (Allah), perform the same acts of worship, follow the same scripture, and hold the same beliefs. Almighty Allah judges all human beings fairly and equitably. Allah emphasizes the just treatment and reward due to both men and women in many verses of the Qur’an: “Allah has promised to the believers, men and women, gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein, and beautiful mansions in gardens of everlasting bliss” (Quran 9:72). See Quran 3:195 also.
*2. Right to Freedom of Expression:*
She is entitled to freedom of expression as much as man is. Her sound opinions are taken into consideration and cannot be disregarded just because she belongs to the female sex. It is reported in the Qur’an and history that woman not only expressed her opinion freely but also argued and participated in serious discussions with the Prophet himself as well as with other Muslim leaders (Quran 58:1-4; 60:10-12).
*3. Right in Social Life & Politics:*
Historical records show that women participated in public life with the early Muslims, especially in times of emergencies. Women used to accompany the Muslim armies engaged in battles to nurse the wounded, prepare supplies, serve the warriors, and so on. They were not shut behind iron bars or considered worthless creatures and deprived of souls.
*4. Right to Work & Earn:*
Islam grants woman equal rights to contract, to enterprise, to earn and possess independently. Her life, her property, her honor are as sacred as those of man. If she commits any offence, her penalty is no less or more than of man’s in a similar case. If she is wronged or harmed, she gets due compensations equal to what a man in her position would get (2:178; 4:45; 92-93).
*5. Right to Knowledge:*
She is equal to man in the pursuit of education and knowledge. When Islam enjoins the seeking of knowledge upon Muslims, it makes no distinction between man and woman. Almost fourteen centuries ago, Muhammad declared that the pursuit of knowledge is incumbent on every Muslim male and female.
*6. Right to Choose Spouse:*
Islam has honored women by giving them the right to choose a spouse and keep their original family name once married. Additionally, many have the impression that parents force their daughters into marriage. This is a cultural practice but has no basis in Islam. In fact, it is prohibited.
*7. Right for Inheritance:*
Apart from recognition of woman as an independent human being acknowledged as equally essential for the survival of humanity, Islam has given her a share of inheritance. Before Islam, she was not only deprived of that share but was herself considered as property to be inherited by man. This share is hers, and no one can take it away or disinherit her.
Before Islam, women were considered shameful, girls were buried alive, prostitution was rampant, divorce was only in the hands of the husband, inheritance was only for the strong, and oppression was widespread. Islam came and abolished these practices. Islam, however, regards women as precious and valuable, not to be disrespected or disgraced. Why would many women around the world willingly enter Islam if it is an oppressive religion?
For those who would like to know more about Islam: