What are the rights of women in Islam? How does Islam honor and protect women? How does Islam view women in general, and how are they valued?
Thank you for your question. Your question is very important, and I think that this is something that everyone needs to understand the way that the Prophet understood it, Allah bless him and grant him peace.
The Period of Ignorance
The second caliph of Islam, the leader of the believers, Umar ibn al-Khattab, Allah be pleased with him, one of the most influential leaders in history tells us of own view of women before Islam: “In Jahiliyya, we used to have no regard for women whatsoever, but when Islam came and Allah made mention of them, this caused us to realize that they have rights upon us…” [Bukhari]
Women were given rights after the advent of Islam such as the right to inheritance, the right to earn and keep their own money, the right to divorce, and most importantly the right to life, to repel the horrid tradition of burying females infants alive.
The Value of Women
The value of women in Islam is undeniable to any logical mind. Women make up the mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters of society. They are instrumental in raising upright children, ensuring that Islam is upheld in the home, instilling and modeling religious values to those around them, and being the beacons of modesty and piety to which societal standards are held. This makes up the very fabric of the ummah. I pray that all Muslim women, including myself, use the role models of Sayyidah A’isha, Sayyida Fatima, Sayyidah Asiyah, Sayyidah Maryam, Sayyidah Khadijah, and countless others who have graced Islamic history with their strength, devotion, and fortitude as our standard.
The Point of It All
Allah sums up the reward and purpose of believers, males and females alike, in this verse from His holy book, “Surely, Muslim men and Muslim women, believing men and believing women, devout men and devout women, truthful men and truthful women, patient men and patient women, humble men and humble women, and the men who give Sadaqah (charity) and the women who give Sadaqah, and the men who fast and the women who fast, and the men who guard their private parts (against evil acts) and the women who guard (theirs), and the men who remember Allah much and the women who remember (Him) – for them, Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward.” [Qur’an, 33:35]
If anyone, man or woman, is blessed by Allah’s eternal bounty of Paradise, in which they will be no fear or sadness, where they will gaze at their Lord, Most High, they will have achieved the ultimate pleasure of the Creator and do not need to worry about how they are seen by creation. May Allah give us the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.