Women’s liberation is a very subjective topic, especially when it comes to Western perceptions. Are women who wear flimsy clothes free, or are they slaves to a society that requires young girls to flaunt themselves to be accepted?
Islam gave rights to women 1,400 years ago. Indeed, these rights would have startled many so-called progressive western societies even a century ago as women in Islam received rights to inheritance, their names, their earnings and roles as equals in the eyes of Allah.
Less than a century before the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him), many historians believe that the 585 AD Council of Macon decreed that women do not have souls.
In Surah Al-Nisa (4), verse 7, Allah says with regards to inheritance: “From what is left by parents and those nearest related there is a share for men and a share for women, whether the property be small or large – an ordained share.”
Wife-beating is a major problem in western societies as well as societies that are supposedly Muslims, but Islam frowns upon such evil practices, as the Prophet said: “Give them food what you have for yourself, and clothe them by which you clothe yourself, and do not beat them, and do not revile them.” (Abu Dawud: Book 11, Number 2139).
Women’s rights in Islam include:
- Name – Islam forbids Muslim women from removing the name of their father. Therefore, after marriage, a Muslim woman is not permitted to take the name of her husband, as is the common practice these days.
- Choice of husband – a Muslim woman has the right to refuse a marriage proposal. The Prophet made it clear that a girl’s permission is to be sought before a marriage can be validated.
- Earnings – women have the right to earn money in a halal (permissible) manner and are under no obligation to use their earnings for their upkeep. This is the responsibility of their husbands.
- Protection – it is a right of the women in Islam to be protected by their male relatives or husbands; to be housed, clothed and fed.