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Can You Help Me Understand My Role and Value as a Woman?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

1. Does Allah not want me to be happy because I am a woman? Can I have wishes, dreams and happiness like men?

2. Can I achieve my goals and dreams without thinking that I am sinning by earning my bread?

3. Can I be independent like men? Am I allowed to travel and live by myself?

4. Are women deficient in their religion and intellect because of menstruation?

5. Why is the hellfire filled with women, not men when they are tyrants!

6. Is my husband a ruler over me? Can’t I have my own life after marriage? Do I have to ask permission for the smallest things?

7. Why do our children belong to men in case of separation?

8. Does the mahr mean purchase money?

9. Do I have all human rights and all rights to enjoy life and thank Allah for life?

10. Are women created as sexual objects for men? As per a hadith, women are the best provision to take benefit from?

11. If my husband has to provide me with just food, clothing and a house, then who will pay for my wishes? Ideally, a woman should be staying at home, but that means that if I live as a human, I won’t be happy just because I was told not to earn and I have to depend on my husband who chooses to decide if he wants to spend on me or not.

I have all these questions which made me start seeing Allah as One who hates women. These thoughts occur since I got married and nobody has answered them for me. I believe in Islam and have been Muslim all my life. I used to be a confident Muslim who believed that Allah loves women as much as men. Now I am seeing everything differently.

Answer

Thank you for your question. May Allah guide you to the truth of the matter and may he give you ease in your marriage and mend your relationship with your Lord.

Your answer has been broken down into a few categories:

Women’s Rights

Allah does want you to be happy, have dreams, and goals without feeling that you are sinning. Allah Most High said, “I created jinn and mankind only to worship Me.“ [Quran, 51:56] Worshipping Allah and obeying all of His commands and refraining from the impermissible is the pinnacle of existence for both men and women. This is every Muslim’s greatest wish, dream and goal, and both genders may fulfill this.

A woman has the right to live by herself and be independent. She may not travel without a mahram beyond her city limits or a little beyond because Allah and His Messenger forbade it. This is based on common sense because her safety is the top priority. This is an honor and not an insult.

Deficient

Women are not deficient in their intellect or religion in the way that you seem to perceive it.
Please see a full detailed explanation here:
A Commentary on the Hadīth of Women’s Intelligence

Hellfire

Please see the full details about the majority of the inhabitants of the Hell-fire being women:
Explaining Misunderstood Hadith About Women 
In What Context Did the Prophet Say ‘Women Make up the Majority of the Inhabitants of Hell’?

Rights Within Marriage

A man has rights over his wife in marriage, as she has over him. By entering into a marital contract, she should be fully aware of the rights of both parties and know that they are divinely-appointed rights.

The goal is to have freedom and happiness in your marriage, but this requires a mutual understanding with your husband. A husband is the leader of the team, and it is the highest form of worship for a woman to treat him as such.  This is why it is of utmost importance to marry a man who fears God, who would not encroach on his spouse’s divinely-given rights.

A woman is given a mahr (marriage payment) by her husband because Allah has commanded it as a part of the marriage contract. It is a gift. I’m just glad that women are not obliged to give their grooms a payment. See the details here:
What Is the Mahr (Dowry)? (Shafi’i)

If your husband provides you with the basics, and he is not willing to spend more than that, he is behaving contrary to the sunnah. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) encouraged men to spend on their families first, as he said, “A dinar which you spend for the sake of Allah, a dinar which you spend on freeing a slave, a dinar which you give in charity to a poor person and a dinar which you spend on your family – the greatest of these in reward is that which you spend on your family.” [Muslim]

If your husband is being stingy, I understand that you are having a hard time with it. Turn to Allah in your neediness with prayer and supplication, take steps to soften his heart, and try to come up with a plan to save money on the side or ask his permission to work. I highly recommend this website:
Jordan Page

She will teach you how to budget, and end up saving a lot of money for the extra things you need and want. See this link as well:
How Can I Deal With My Stingy Husband Who Earns Well?

Custody

Please see details here for child custody in case of divorce:
Who Gets Custody of the Children After a Divorce?
Custody Of A Child

Hadith

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), said, “The whole world is a provision, and the best object of benefit of the world is the pious woman.“ [Muslim]
This hadith in no way detracts from a woman’s value, but rather it does the contrary. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is telling us that a pious wife is better than any other good thing that you can perceive in this world. She is better than material things, friends, and other family members. She is the greatest thing a man can have because of the peace, tranquillity, love, support and stability that she will bring into his life.

Thus, a woman is not a sexual object for him, but they both derive benefit, protection, love, and support from each other and keep each other chaste. A couple’s true worth to each other is as Allah Most Hight told us, “They are a garment for you and you are a garment for them. [Quran, 2:187]

Please see these other links as well:
Women in Islam
Explaining Misunderstood Hadith About Women

Conclusion

Allah does not hate women but our obligations and rights are different, and our understanding, beliefs and actions must come back to this: Submission (Islam)
Allah has shown us in the Qur’an how to live: “And of His signs is that He created for you wives from yourselves that you might find tranquillity in them, and He set between you love and affection. In this, are signs for people who reflect.“ [Qur’an, 30:21]

And finally, Allah has a plan to reward both genders, as He told us, in His book, “Surely ˹for˺ Muslim men and women, believing men and women, devout men and women, truthful men and women, patient men and women, humble men and women, charitable men and women, fasting men and women, men and women who guard their chastity, and men and women who remember Allah often—for ˹all of˺ them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward. [Qur’an, 33:35]

May Allah give you 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, tafsir, 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 later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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