Heavenly Rights of Women

copyright.htmCopyright 1998, Open copy order with source (Inter-Islam) acknowledgement.


see also: 
Forty Ahadith Regarding Nikah
The Need for Simple Weddings
Marriage to Ahle Kitaab (People of the Book - Jews & Christians)
Why Should I Marry?
An Excellent Dowry

At all material times one should personally and collectively abide by the Rule of Law relevant to the jurisdiction of the country of abode or presence and those rules, regulations and laws that are nationally or internationally applicable.

A woman in Islam occupies a unique position, where she is ranked in a manner, which enables her to be respected in the fashion that she desires.

In our contemporary society Islam is considered an oppressive religion. In this society, women are viewed as objects: they are used, abused and victims of terrible crimes. In Islam, women are held high in esteem. Islam has liberated women from many things and has given them back their self-respect.

Through reading this booklet you can learn of the many benefits that a Muslim woman gains. You can also learn of the Shar’i view regarding women in certain situations, which gives you an insight of how to behave and practice in correct accordance to the Qur’an and Sunnah.


Allah Ta’aalaa states in the Qur’an: 

"And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness. " (2: 228)

This aayah of the Holy Qur’an shows that the status of men and women are equal in that their rights are mutually compulsive (obligatory). 

However, these "rights" are slightly different, as extorted in the verse: 

"Men are in charge of women because Allah hath made the one of them excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women)." (4: 34)


Prior to Islam (in the days of ignorance) it was prevalent in the world that women were valued for even less then an item of domestic use. She was bought and sold as cattle. She had no choice of spouse - whoever her guardians chose for her, she would have to go with them. Women would not receive inheritance from deceased relatives, but instead she was included amongst the household goods (in the will). Men owned her, but herself owned nothing. Whatever was counted as her own she couldn’t utilize it according to her will. 

In some continents, for example, in Europe (which is now regarded as the epitome of civilization and culture) women were not counted amongst humans. They didn’t have standing in religion, as they were considered unworthy of either worshipping or attaining Paradise. 

In certain Roman circles, it was decided that women were defiled soulless animals. 

Generally, for a father to bury his daughter alive was acceptable and was regarded as noble and respectable on his part. Many believed that if a husband died, then his wife should be cremated and her ashes buried with him. 

In 586 AD, in France (after much conflict), women were granted with some kindness that women were humans but were created only to serve man! 

The Mercy of Both Worlds, and the religion which the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam brought was an eye opener for the world, teaching human to value human, spreading a constitution of justice and equality - women’s rights were portioned in the same manner as men had rights. Islam gave her the freedom of choice - she was made the mistress of her life and property, just as men were their own born masters. Marriage did not make her totally dependent, as the man no longer had any say in her own wealth. On the death / divorce of her husband, she was given the right to choose what she willed. 

As far as inheritance was concerned she would also receive from her relatives. In fact the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallammade it an act of worship to spend on her and keep her happy. When women had no suitable rights, it was an oppression which Islam removed. However, if we momentarily look into what has happened to the status of women we shall find that to allow for complete independence, away from the guarding eyes of men, to make her solely responsible for her life and its necessities is in itself a dejection of her rights and corruption. 

As the Arabic proverb relates: 

"The ignorant man can never be moderate."

Islam is a life of moderation yet time and time again we find ourselves turning this moderation into a self inflicted life of extremities. 


The " Days of Ignorance" were days in which every woman lived a devastating pitiful life. The culprits of such violence were not any superior beings, or any exalted creation, they were none but the very fathers, brothers, husbands, and fellow brothers of these silently suffering women. 

An expectant mother would silently pray that the child she would bear would be a boy. Backing her desire for a boy would be an inner fear created by the men of her clan. For, if a girl was born, the mother would be reprimanded, her honor diminished. The father instead of rejoicing would be overcome with a mixture of shame and embarrassment. To announce the birth of a girl would be an issue of degradation and dishonor. The father’s only solution would be to silently take the child away and bury her alive beneath the ground. 

We have taken the liberty, by the grace of Allah Ta’aalaa to bring to light how the Qur’an has upgraded women. 

Allah Ta’aalaa has stated in the Holy Qur’an: " And when the news of (the birth of) a female (child) is brought to any of them, his face becomes dark, and he is filled with inward grief. He hides himself from the people because of the evil of that whereof he has been informed. Shall he keep her with dishonor or bury her in the earth? Certainly, evil is their decision." (An Nahl: 58 -59) 

On another occasion Allah Ta’aalaa has stated within the mention of the happenings of the Day of Judgement: "And when the girl child that was buried alive is asked for what sin she was slain," (At- Takweer : 8-9 ) 

Those parents involved in burying their daughters alive are held in contempt by Allah Ta’aalaa. For this reason, on the Day of Judgement Allah Ta’aalaa will turn away from them and then ask the innocent child, for which wrongdoing were you slain? 

For this helpless child, regardless of her cries and pleas no person was present to remove the heaps of soil and stone, which were so inhumanly thrown upon her. 

It is the blessing of Islam that not only was this absurd custom abolished, but the birth of a girl is now considered a great blessing and virtue. 

The Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam has stated: " Whosoever raises three girls (daughters \ sisters), upbringing them with good manners, and shows mercy upon them, until they are no longer dependent, then Allah will make Paradise obligatory upon him." 

Upon hearing this a Companion questioned the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam, " O’ Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam, does this virtue apply to one who raises two girls?" The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam replied in the affirmative. Again the Companions enquired about the raising of one girl, again the reply was "yes". 

Surah An-Nisaa " Women" is so called because it deals largely with women’s rights, exterminating the wretched beliefs and oppressions, which had been laid upon women before Islam. 

Islam awards women with human rights, verily, upon women is to fulfil the rights of men but equally it is also upon men to fulfil the rights of women. As mentioned in the following verse: " And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses) similar (to those of their husbands) over them, (as regards obedience and respect) to what is reasonable, but men have a degree (of responsibility) over them." (Al- Baqarah: 228) 

A woman holds such responsibilities, which a man does not hold. It is upon her to ensure the children’s stability, take care of home affairs etc. Whereas, man is responsible for earning, giving of dowry etc. The fact those men are a level greater than women are once again for the benefit of women. Allah Ta’aalaa has stated: 

" Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands), and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah orders them to guard (eg. their chastity and their husband’s property)." (An-Nisaa: part verse 34) 

Necessarily, every systematic group requires a leader, accordingly every household requires a leader. Allah has appointed men as leaders to their greater physical and mental stability. 

As leaders, men are not entitled to give orders only, but the Holy Qur’an also instructs them upon discussing issues of importance and seeking advice from women. 

" Because Allah hath made the one of them excel the other." (An- Nisaa: Part verse 34) 

By taking the human body as an example the above aayah can be understood to a clearer degree. Obviously, the head excels the rest of the body. However, the hands are also an essential and vital part of the human body. 

So, by stating the head as being the superior should not degrade the value of the hands. Similarly, the Qur’an relates; men are in charge of women, positioning them a level higher, however, this does not imply towards the degradation of women. 

Prior to Islam, it was prevalent amongst the men to believe themselves to possess the wealth and being of women. Whoever married a woman believed himself to hold her very life in his possession. Upon his death the heirs would regard her as an object inherited from her deceased husband. 

However, if the heirs desired to marry her they would instantly do so, otherwise they would use her as a source of income by demanding money from whosoever they chose for her to marry. 

Upon the death of his father, a man would marry to any of his deceased fathers wives if he desired to. One can now understand that if a woman was regarded as a possessed object, then obviously, one can further understand the affairs regarding her own goods. This one foundational error was the outcome of numerous hardships women faced: 

  • Whatever a woman received from her family as gifts or inheritance would mercilessly be taken away from her by her husband or the men of his clan.
  • Many cases were such that even though a woman was not at fault her husband would hold her in contempt, and thus, disregard her rights. Instead, he would deliberately abstain from divorcing her so that she herself becomes compelled to free herself by Returning the jewels and dowry she received earlier, or if he had not as yet given her any dowry etc. then she would be compelled to overlook these rights.
  • If before marriage a woman held possession of certain goods, the man of her family would not allow her to marry as she would be entitled to take her goods with her. Instead they would forcefully detain her until she met her death and her goods would then fall as heritage upon them.
  • Various conditions were such that upon the death of her husband, the inheritors would not allow her to remarry, for reasons centered around absurd customs or, to use the widowed as a source of income.
The Holy Qur’an abolished such baseless ways and uprooted their existence. Allah Ta’aalaa has stated in the Holy Qur’an: 

"O’ye who believe! It is not lawful for you forcibly to inherit the women (of your deceased kinsmen), nor (that) ye should put constraint upon them that ye may take away a part of that which ye have given them, unless they be guilty of flagrant lewdness. But consort with them in kindness, for if ye dislike them it may happen that ye dislike a thing wherein Allah hath placed much good." (An-Nisaa: 19) 

In the above verse where mentioned: ‘forcibly’ does not connotate the order to be conditional in accordance to a woman’s will, because to possess a woman’s life and wealth without a Shar’iah or a logical reason is obviously a forceful situation. As well as indicating the severity of such an act, another indication of this verse can also be if a woman is forcefully married against her will and consent then such a marriage, according to the Shar’iah is not permitted and is invalid. 

Similarly, if a woman is compelled to return her dowry, or to forcefully pardon it, then in accordance to the Shariah this is not an acceptable act. It is not permissible for her husband to have this, and nor is he permitted to overlook any "Waajib" right. 

The Qur’an has highlighted this as has been quoted earlier. 

To pay the dowry and then forcefully take it back, and to promise to pay a certain amount and then disregard this is unlawful and not permitted. 

Similarly, any goods which belong to a woman, whether in the form of the dowry or gifts, are not her husbands possession, hence, neither he nor his inheritors are permitted to benefit from these. 

A limited selection of verses will now be portrayed to further clarify this issue: 


It occurred to many believing women in the era of Prophecy, that the mention of men is largely made within the Holy Qur’an in contrast to that of women. This thought was brought forward to the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam, saying, "We see within the verses of the Holy Qur’an that Allah Ta’aalaa mentions men, He addresses them, this means we women are deprived of goodness, We fear our worship may not even be accepted." 

Qur’anic Awardment :

"For Muslim men and woman, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s remembrance. For them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward."(surah Ahzaab : 35)


Hadhrat Umme Salamaa (R.A) once questioned the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam, "We (women) receive only half of what men receive (within inheritance), and there are other issues where we have been positioned differently." 

Qur’anic Awardment:

"And wish not for the things in which Allah has made some of you to excelothers. For men there is reward for what they have earned, (and likewise) for women there is reward for what they have earned and ask Allah of His bounty. Surely, Allah is ever All-knower of every thing." (Surah Nisaa: 32)


Amongst the Jews it was wrongly believed that a menstruating female was an object of impurity. Thus she was made to live separately and would not be allowed to join other family members for meals etc. In contrast, the Christian ways were such that they would go to the extent of having intercourse with a menstruating female. 

Qur’anic Awardment:

"They ask you concerning menstruation. Say: that is an Adha (a harmful thing for a husband to have a sexual intercourse with his wife while she is having her menses.) Therefore keep away from women during menses and go not unto them till they are purified (from menses and have taken a bath). And when they have purified themselves, then go in unto them as Allah has ordained for you (go in unto them in any manner as long as it is in their vagina.) Truly, Allah loves those who turn unto Him in repentance and loves them who purify themselves (by taking a bath and cleaning and washing thoroughly their private parts and bodies for their prayers.) (Al-Baqarah: 222)


To wed any from a deceased father’s wives was considered normality. The person who he had titled as "mother" all his life, would suddenly upon his will, become his wife the instant his father was deceased. 

Qur’anic Awardment:

"And marry not women whom your fathers married, except what has already passed: indeed it was shameful and most hateful, and an evil way. Prohibited to you (for marriage) are: your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, your father’s sisters, your mother’s sisters; your brother’s daughters, your sister’s daughters; your foster mother who gave you suck, your foster milk suckling sisters; your wives, mothers; your step daughters under your guardianship, born of your wives to whom ye have gone in, but there is no sin on you if ye have not gone in them (to marry their daughters), the wives of your sons who (spring from your own loins, and two sisters in wedlock at the same time, except for what has already past; verily Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. Also (forbidden are) women already married, except (slaves) whom your right hands possess. Thus has Allah ordained for you. All others are lawful, provided you seek (them in marriage) with meher (bridal money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) from your property, desiring chastity, committing illegal sexual intercourse, so with those of whom you have enjoyed sexual relations, give them their meher as prescribed; but if after a meher is prescribed you agree mutually (to give more), there is no sin on you. Surely Allah is ever All Knowing, and All Wise." (Surah Nisaa: 22-24)


The bestowal of dowry was made a deprivation, as the husband would not allow his wife any share. Many husbands would force their wives to overlook the matter. If dowry was given it would be with much discourtesy and grudge. 

Qur’anic Awardment :

"And give the women (on marriage) their dower with good heart; but if they of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you take it and enjoy it with right good cheer." (Surah Nisaa: 4)


It was firmly believed amongst the Arabs that the only persons worthy of inheritance were those who were able to mount horses, and fight the enemies; leaving no room for women or the young. 

Qur’anic Awardment:

"Allah thus directs you as regard your children’s (inheritance) to the male, a portion equal to that of two females: if only daughters, two or more, their share is two thirds of the inheritance; if only one, her share is half. For parents, a sixth share of the inheritance to each if the deceased left children; if no children, and the parents are the (only) heirs the mother has a third. If the deceased left brothers or (sisters) the mother has a sixth. (The distribution in all cases is) after the payment of legacies he ma have bequeathed or debts. You know not which of them, whether your parents or your children are nearest to you in benefit. These are settled portions ordained by Allah: and Allah is all Knowing, all wise." (Surah Nisaa: 11)


Orphans and women were the prey to inhuman violence and oppression. Firstly, no such rights were reserved for them and secondly, if they were deservent of any such rights the men from their own clan made this virtually impossible. 

Qur’anic Awardment:

" There is a share for men and a share for women from what is left by parents and those nearest related, whether, the property be small or large- a legal share. And when the relatives and the orphans and Al-Masaakeen (the poor) are present at the time of division, give them out of the property, and speak to them words of kindness and justice. And let those (executors and guardians) have the same fear in their minds as they would have for their own, if they had left weak offspring behind. So let them fear Allah and speak right words, Verily, those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans, they eat up only fire into their bellies, and they will be burnt in the blazing fire!" (Surah Nisaa: 7-10)


It is a distinctive characteristic of the companions of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam to uphold patience upon the agitations and complaints of their wives and acknowledgement of the fact that whatever opposition they may face from their wives reflects upon their own relationship with Allah Ta’aalaa. 

So, he who defies Allah will encounter antagonism from his spouse. It should be understood, however, that this only occurs within some cases and is not without exception, e.g. omission of the Prophets (A. S.) due to their abstaining from all sins. The former scholars endured the strife of their wives, maintaining the belief that their grievances were surpassed by their betterments. The Sahaaba fulfilled the rights of their wives and the confrontation of defiance did not prevent them from acting upon the following hadeeth: - "Be honest with him who is honest with you, but do not be dishonest with him who is dishonest with you",Both the husband and wife have been assigned certain rights upon the other which are constantly mentioned in the books of Ahadeeth of jurisprudence. 

Hadhrat Ka’ab Ahbaar (R. A.) has stated, "Whosoever endures patience upon the troubles of his wife, Allah Ta’aalaa will grant him the reward which was awarded to Hadhrat Ayyub (A.S.)". 

Hadhrat Ali (R.A) has said," Amongst a woman’s struggles is to wholly submit herself towards her husband." 

Hadhrat Hasan Basri (R. A.) has reported," Four items are from amongst the unfortunate; abundance of children, insufficiency of property, disagreeable neighbours and a wife who is dishonest with her husband." 

The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam has stated, "If Allah did not shroud a woman with modesty she would not even be equivalent to a handful of sand." 

Hadhrat Ali (R.A) would proclaim, "five attainments are from amongst the prosperity of man: that his wife be agreeable; his offspring righteous; his brother God-fearing; his associates devout; and his provisions present in his hand." 

The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam would supplicate, "Oh Allah I seek your protection from an ignorant companion, disagreeable neighbours and an annoying wife." 

Upon the demise of his wife Malik Ibn Deenaar (R.A.) refrained from a second marriage. He would say, "If it was possible to do so, I would divorce myself." 

(This was the extent of his aversion to the world). 

Hadhrat Ahmed Ibn Harb (R.A) has stated, "When six qualities accumulate within woman her reformation is complete: the safe keeping of the five daily prayers, obedience to the husband, to obtain Allah’s pleasure, protection of the tongue against backbiting, rejection of worldly goods and endurance upon misfortunes." 

Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Mubarak (R.A.) has reported that the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam has cautioned against the mischief of women saying, "She procures disruption upon husbands in order to break ties between kinsmen. She considers them deprived due to deficiency of earnings and she is a source of corruption caused by lust and desire." 

Hadhrat Hatim Al Asam has said, " A devout woman is the upholder of religion, organizer of the house and an accomplice upon obedience. An aggressive wife, however, melts the heart of her husband mockingly." 

Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Amr (R. A.) has said, "A woman’s destination to Hell becomes evident when for the sake of her husband she appears happy in his presence but is dishonest with him in his absence." 

Hadhrat Shaqiq Balkhi (R.A.) once remarked to his wife, "If your rank exalted mine, I would be incapable of preserving my religion, even if all the citizens of Balkh supported me." 

Hadhrat Malik Ibn Umair (RA.) has expressed the opinion that," The ageing of a woman, results in the sterility of her womb, deception of her tongue and the deterioration of her conduct. Upon the ageing of a man his views become more authorative, his temper recedes and his attitude improves." 

Hadhrat Hatim Al Asam has also said, " The righteousness of a woman is confirmed when the fear of Allah becomes her competence, her contentedness upon Allah’s givings is her wealth, generosity in all that she owns becomes her adornment, assistance of her husband, her worship and preparation for death - her motive." 

He would also add the following advice, "Support the husband of your daughter or sister in order to safe-guard her religion. Never defend your daughter or sister against her husband as this will lead to the ruin of her religion." 

Once Hadhrat Abu Mute’e Balakhi (RA.) complained to Hadhrat Ayyub Ibn Khalaf (R.A.) with relevance to his wife. Hadhrat Ayyub (R. A:) replied, "Whosoever cannot tolerate the agitations of his wife, how can he maintain to surpass her in rank?" It has been reported that the state of Hadhrat Hatim Ul Asam (R.A.) in his house was similar to that of an imprisoned animal. He would eat if food was offered to him, otherwise he would remain silent and be content to stay hungry." 

The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam stated, "A sinful woman is equal to a thousand evil doers." 

Hadhrat Ayaas Bin Moaawiyyah (RA.) once said, " I have not recognized any cure for two people, he who represses his urine and an aggressive wife." 

We acknowledge from the afore mentioned sayings that former scholars endured the strife of their wives and did not oppose them unless for their own betterment. 

(Tanbeehul Mughtarreen) 


-It is the husband’s incumbent duty to organize and enforce the religious, spiritual and moral teachings of his wife and children. In the execution of which he may use harsh methods if all else fails. 

- The husband is obliged to provide his wife with a home, food and clothing and to keep his wives allowance at a generous level. 

-It is of paramount importance that a husband treats his wife with kindness, affection and respect and not to take heed of any unfavorable traits in her character. 

-It is a husband’s obligation unto his wife that he regularly presents her with all the necessary requirements for the successful running of a household. 

-A husband must speak to his wife with fondness, and share with her his private thoughts, in earnest is also advisable. 

-A husband should not cast aspersions on the chastity of his wife on false grounds, nor do anything to harass and ill-treat his wife. 

- Chastisement (within boundaries of law applicable to relevant jurisdictions) of a wife is only allowed as a last resort, in any one of four cases: 

1. When she refuses to adorn herself as her husband wishes. 

2. When she refuses his call without any permitted excuse. 

3. When she refuses to take a bath from impurities. 

4. When she travels without her husband’s permission.

-The conjugal act as far islamic rights are concerned is the of the husband, which a wife can not deny without a valid reason in Islam. Permitted reasons for refusal are:  1. If she is on her menstrual period. 

2. During Nifaas.  

3. other reasons, exceptions or agreements recognised by Shariah.

-It is purely within a husbands right to refuse to sleep with his wife for a short period as a method of reprimanding if he discovers a lack in his wives’s religious inclinations. 

-Polygamy (without breaking the law of the land) is perfectly within the Islamic rights of men in which the wife/wives has/have no veto. The legalized limit however, is four wives at any single time with the strict condition of equal rights and treatment in every possible aspect of marital life but if there is fear that a man will not be fair and just then he can not practise polygamy even if the law of the land allowed it. 

-The option to pronounce divorce or to cancel a provisional divorce rests purely with the husband. 

-A wife must always remember that her obligations are unto her husband disregarding any others. 

-A wife is expected to contribute to the success of a marriage to the extent of creating a means of living, if her husband is helpless. 

-A wife must remain attentive to her husband’s comfort and well being for his happiness and it is obligatory for her to beautify herself for him. 

-A wife’s total faithfulness to her husband in heart, mind, gaze and body is a virtue. 

-A wife should be of total obedience to her husband, as it is incumbent in all lawful things. Even if these duties are not imposed on her by Shariah but her observance of her 

Husband’s wishes will be reckoned as a virtuous deed on her part. 

-It is not permissible for a wife to hurt the feelings of her husband in any way. She is not to scorn him if he is dependent nor treat him with contempt if he is poor, but rather to comfort him in times of distress. 

-A wife should not feign over her husband because of her beauty and wealth nor despising him if he is not handsome and poor. 

-A wife is not to slander her husband when his back is turned. In the event of his absence she must guard her husbands property and her own chastity. 

-It is the right of the wife to demand separate living quarters. Her bedroom however is her private chamber and she may therefore, prevent her-in-laws even her own parents from entering. 

-It is advisable that a wife under takes all work regarding her husband’s home unto her own hands. 

-It is not lawful for a wife to spend from her husband’s house except with their permission. However, if the husband is of a miserly nature then the wife may spend within limits without his permission. 

-It is incumbent on a wife, to answer the call of her husband disregarding any other activity in which she may be occupied. 

-A dissatisfied wife, for whatever the reason, is within her rights to demands the dissolution of marriage which is known as Khula. It is an option considerable by the wife as a means of securing divorce by returning a part of full amount of the dowre as agreed upon by the husband-but which is effective only upon the husband’s acceptance. 

- To emphasize the extent of a wife’s submission to her husband. Islam has ordained obedience to the husband to be an act of greater importance and higher merit than nafl salaah and nafl sawm (fasting), which are amongst the highest forms of Ibaadah. 

-A faithful wife who never betrays her husband in thought, gaze or deed is amongst the noblest of treasures bestowed unto a man by Allah Ta’aala. 

May Allah Taa’laa fill our hearts with the light of Imaan and give us the true guidance to practice on his book and deen. Ameen)

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