PRIOR TO ISLAM
WOMEN IN THE PAST.
Prior to Islam, a womans status in the sight of all nations of the World was nothing more than the value of household goods. They were treated like animals. They were bought and sold. They had no choice in the matter of marriage; they had to silently accept the highest bidder. They never inherited, even from their close relatives. In fact, she herself would become an item of distribution just like any other commodity of inheritance in a descendants estate. Women were regarded merely as properties and possessions of men. Even in the so-called modern European countries they were not even regarded as human. Even in religious matters women were given no status by the men, for they were not considered to be worthy of prayer or fit to be counted as human.
It was generally accepted that it was permissible for men to bury their daughters alive, and this heartless act of inhumanity was regarded as an act sight of humanity and respect. Further more, it was generally accepted that if a lady was murdered then her murderer could not be punished in any way. Neither was he to be killed in retaliation nor was he to pay blood money. According to many religions, when a man dies, his wife has to burn herself to death.
In fact, it was as late as 586 AC that a little concession was given to women and after much arguing, debates and disputes, revolution was passed stating that a woman was a human but that she was created and born only to serve man. As late as 1856 women in Britain were not allowed their earnings and had no right to inheritance. In that year women perhilitioned pastinant which was composed safely of male members to allow married women to keep their own earnings and inherit property. In 1857 divorcee women were given the same rights as single woman but married women had to wait until 1893 to receive the same rights.
Testullion, a religious leader of the early period of Christianity interprets the Christian idea of women in these words: She is the gate through which the devil enters she is the beginner of man to the forbidden tree, she is the breaker of the law of God and is the plunderer of man who is the image of God.
May our lives be sacrificed for that mercy unto mankind the Prophet Muhammad and the religion of truth which he brought and which opened the eyes of the World. He , with divine guidance taught mankind the real value of humanity. From the swarm of darkness and polytheism into the paradise of light and monotheism.
He enforced justice, making it obligatory for men to fulfill the rights of women. Just as it is necessary for them to fulfill the right of men. He freed women from the slavery of man. A woman was granted the ownership of her life and property. Thus, no man not even a father or a grand father could force a mature woman to marry against her wishes and desires, nor without her consent.
No person has the right to use her wealth without her permission. Just as males are entitled to their share in the estate of their relatives, females also have their own rights. To spend upon ones wife and to keep them happy within the boundaries of Islam is regarded as an act of worship. The blessed Prophet has stated:
To have intercourse with ones wife is charity and a means of reward ". The Sahabah ? inquired. O Prophet ? is there a reward for fulfilling your desires also? The Holy Prophet replied, Had he fulfilled his desires in the wrong place would he not have sinned? The Sahabah answered Yes. So the Prophet then said, In order to safeguard oneself from sin one will undoubtedly attain reward.
To deprive a woman of her rights is undoubtedly a severe oppression, which Islam has wiped out by means of very just and moderate laws. The so-called lifestyle of women is also a form of injustice to give them a free right depriving them of the guided authority of men and making them equally responsible to pursue their own livelihood to lead them to their destruction.
Unfortunately, nowadays, the parents themselves encourage their young daughters to go and earn their own livelihood and when things go wrong they question themselves as to how the situation came about. They will cry for months on end little knowing that they themselves sent their daughters to the fire.
Allah states in the Qurân: And stay in your houses and
do not display yourselves like that of the time of ignorance.
And at another place: And tell the believing women to lower their
gazes (from forbidden things) and protect their private parts and not to
show off their adornments only that which is apparent.
In Surah Baqarah Allah has declared: And the men have superiority over the women. In other words, men are their guardian governors. The difference could be likened to the necessity of appointing a captain in a football team, where the captain is subjected to the same rules and privileges of his teammates. But a greater responsibility and a higher rank have been conferred upon him in order to maintain a proper system for the smooth running of the team.
During the pre-Islamic era women were treated like animals and household goods. Unfortunately today the modern world has ushered in a second period of ignorance in which, in its attempt to rectify the folly of the pre-Islamic times.
Some of the ill effects created by removing women from under the guardianship and authority of men:
a) The respect for women has been lost.
All this in the name of liberation.
Nowadays, there are some misguiding and misleading notions regarding the status of the rank of women in Islam. This information is given by people who consider women in Islam to be prisoners and someone who has no rights and is always under the domination of man. The importance given to a woman can be deduced from the following Hadith:
The Holy Prophet
has stated :
On another occasion the Prophet
stated: Paradise lies under the feet of mothers.
On another occasion the Prophet
was questioned, Who deserves the best care from me? The
replied, Your mother. He repeated this three times. When
he was asked a forth time he replied, Your father and your near
Also, the first person to accept Islam was not a man, but it was a woman. Hazrat Khadija the wife of the Prophet .
O Sumayyah radiallhu anha forsake the religion of Muhammad ?.
From the above it is clearly proven just what an important position is given to women in Islam. May Almighty Allah guide both the Muslim men and women and grant them the correct understanding of the true religion. Aameen