In Islam there is absolutely no difference between men and women as far as their relationship to God is concerned, as both are promised the same reward for good conduct and the same punishment for evil conduct. The Qur’an says:
And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women. (2:226)
The Qur’an, in addressing the believers, often uses the expression,’believing men and women’ to emphasize the equality of men and women in regard to their respective duties, rights, virtues and merits. It says:
முஸ்லிம் ஆண்களுக்கும் பெண்களுக்கும், நம்பிக்கை கொண்ட ஆண்களுக்கும் பெண்களுக்கும், பக்தியுள்ள ஆண்களுக்கும் பெண்களுக்கும், உண்மையான ஆண்கள் மற்றும் பெண்களுக்கு, பொறுமை மற்றும் நிலையான ஆண்களுக்கும் பெண்களுக்கும், தங்களைத் தாழ்த்திக் கொள்ளும் ஆண்களுக்கும் பெண்களுக்கும், தொண்டு செய்யும் ஆண்களுக்கும் பெண்களுக்கும், நோன்பு நோற்கும் ஆண்களுக்கும் பெண்களுக்கும், தங்கள் கற்பைக் காக்கும் ஆண்களுக்கும் பெண்களுக்கும், and for men and women who engage much in God’s praise, for them has God prepared forgiveness and great reward. (33:35)
This clearly contradicts the assertion of some the Christian Fathers that women do not possess souls and that they will exist as sexless beings in the next life. The Qur’an says that women have souls in exactly the same way as men and will enter Paradise if they do good :
Enter into Paradise, you and your wives, with delight. (43:70) Who so does that which is right, and believes, whether male or female, him or her will We quicken to happy life. (16:97)
The Qur’an admonishes those men who oppress or ill-treat women:
நம்பிக்கை கொண்டோரே! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should you treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the dowry you have given them – except when they have become guilty of open lewdness. On the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to them, it may be that you dislike something and God will bring about through it a great deal of good. (4:19)
Considering the fact that before the advent of Islam the pagan Arabs used to bury their female children alive, make women dance naked in the vicinity of the Ka’ba during their annual fairs, and treat women as mere chattels and objects of sexual pleasure — possessing no rights or position whatsoever, these teachings of the Noble Qur’an were revolutionary. Unlike other religions, which regarded women as being possessed of inherent sin and wickedness, and men as being possessed of inherent virtue and nobility, Islam regards men and women as being of the same essence created from a single soul. The Qur’an declares:
O mankind! Reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate, and from this pair scattered (like seeds) countless men and women. Reverence God, through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and reverence the wombs (என்று உங்களுக்கு சலிப்பாக இருந்தது); for God ever watches over you. (4:1)
The Prophet of Islam, சமாதானம் உன்னோடு இருப்பதாக, கூறினார், “Women are the twin halves of men”. The Qur’an emphasizes the essential unity of men and women in a most beautiful simile:
அவள் இந்த உயர்ந்த பீடத்திலிருந்து தன்னைத் தாழ்த்திக் கொள்கிறாள் (உங்கள் மனைவிகள்) are your garment and you are a garment for them. (2:187)
Just as a garment hides our nakedness, so do husband and wife, by entering into the relationship of marriage, secure each other’s chastity. The garment gives comfort to the body; so does the husband find comfort in his wife’s company and she in his. “The garment is the grace, the beauty, the embellishment of the body, so too are wives to their husbands as their husbands are to them.” Islam does not consider woman “an instrument of the Devil”, but rather the Qur’an calls her muhsana – a fortress against Satan because a good woman, by marrying a man, helps him keep to the path of rectitude in his life. It is for this reason that marriage was considered by the Prophet Muhammad, சமாதானம் உன்னோடு இருப்பதாக, as a most virtuous act. அவன் சொன்னான்: “When a man marries, he has completed one half of his religion.” He enjoined matrimony on Muslims by saying: “Marriage is part of my way and whoever keeps away from my way is not from me (அதாவது. is not my follower).” The Qur’an has given the raison d’être of marriage in the following words:
மேலும் அவனுடைய அடையாளங்களில் இதுவும் உள்ளது, that He has created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquillity with them; and He has put love and mercy between you. Verily in that are signs for those who reflect. (30:21)
முஹம்மது நபி, சமாதானம் உன்னோடு இருப்பதாக, was full of praise for virtuous and chaste women. அவன் சொன்னான்: “The world and all things in the world are precious but the most precious thing in the world is a virtuous woman.” He once told the future Caliph, 'உமர்: “Shall I not inform you about the best treasure a man can hoard? It is a virtuous wife who pleases him whenever he looks towards her, and who guards herself when he is absent from her.” On other occasions the Prophet, சமாதானம் உன்னோடு இருப்பதாக, கூறினார்: “The best property a man can have is a remembering tongue (அதாவது. which remembers God), a grateful heart and a believing wife who helps him in his faith.” And again: மற்றும்: “The more civil and kind a Muslim is to his wife, the more perfect in faith he is.” நபி, சமாதானம் உன்னோடு இருப்பதாக, was most emphatic in enjoining upon Muslims to be kind to their women when he delivered his famous sermon (Arabic: khutba on the Mount of Mercy, at Arafat, in the presence of one hundred and twenty-four thousand of his Companions who had gathered there for the Hajj al-Wada (Farewell Pilgrimage). In it he ordered those present, and through them all those Muslims who were to come later, to be respectful and kind towards women. அவன் சொன்னான்:
“Fear God regarding women. Verily you have married them with the trust of God, and made their bodies lawful with the word of God. You have got (rights) அவர்கள் மீது, and they have got (rights) over you in respect of their food and clothing according to your means.”
In Islam a woman is a completely independent personality. She can make any contract or bequest in her own name. She is entitled to inherit in her position as mother, as wife, as sister and as daughter. She has perfect liberty to choose her husband. The pagan society of pre-Islamic Arabia had an irrational prejudice against their female children whom they used to bury alive. The Messenger of God, சமாதானம் உன்னோடு இருப்பதாக, was totally opposed to this practice. He showed them that supporting their female children would act as a screen for them against the fire of Hell:
It is narrated by the Prophet’s wife, ‘A’isha, that a woman entered her house with two of her daughters. She asked for charity but ‘A’isha could not find anything except a date, which was given to her. The woman divided it between her two daughters and did not eat any herself. Then she got up and left. போது நபி, சமாதானம் உன்னோடு இருப்பதாக, came to the house, ‘A’isha told him about what had happened and he declared that when this woman was brought to account (on the Day of Judgment) about her two daughters, they would act as a screen for her from the fires of Hell.
The worst calamity for a woman is when her husband passes away and, as a widow, the responsibility of maintaining the children falls upon her. In the Eastern World, where a woman does not always go out to earn her living, the problems of widowhood are indescribable. முஹம்மது நபி, சமாதானம் உன்னோடு இருப்பதாக, upheld the cause of widows. Most of his wives were widows. In an age when widows were rarely permitted to remarry, the Prophet encouraged his followers to marry them. He was always ready to help widows and exhorted his followers to do the same. Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet said: “One who makes efforts (to help) the widow or a poor person is like a mujahid (warrior) in the path of God, or like one who stands up for prayers all of the the night and fasts all of the day.”
Woman as mother commands great respect in Islam. The Noble Qur’an speaks of the rights of the mother in a number of verses. It enjoins Muslims to show respect to their mothers and serve them well even if they are still unbelievers. நபி, சமாதானம் உன்னோடு இருப்பதாக, states emphatically that the rights of the mother are paramount. Abu Hurairah reported that a man came to the Messenger of God, சமாதானம் உன்னோடு இருப்பதாக, and asked: “O Messenger of God, who is the person who has the greatest right on me with regards to kindness and attention?” அவர் பதிலளித்தார், “Your mother.” “Then who?” அவர் பதிலளித்தார், “Your mother.” “Then who?” அவர் பதிலளித்தார், “Your mother.” “Then who?” அவர் பதிலளித்தார், “Your father.”
In another tradition, the Prophet advised a believer not to join the war against the Quraish (அதாவது. the pagan disbelievers at that time) in defense of Islam, but to look after his mother, saying that his service to his mother would be a cause for his salvation. Mu’awiyah, the son of Jahimah, reported that Jahimah came to the Prophet, சமாதானம் உன்னோடு இருப்பதாக, மற்றும் கூறினார்: “Messenger of God! I want to join the fighting (in the path of God) and I have come to seek your advice.” அவன் சொன்னான், “Then remain in your mother’s service, because Paradise is under her feet.”
The Prophet’s followers accepted his teachings and brought about a revolution in their social attitude towards women. They no longer considered women as a mere chattels, but as an integral part of society. For the first time women were given the right to have a share in inheritance. In the new social climate, women rediscovered themselves and became highly active members of society rendering useful service during the wars which the pagan Arabs forced on the emerging Muslim umma. They carried provisions for the soldiers, nursed them, and even fought alongside them if it was necessary. It became a common sight to see women helping their husbands in the fields, carrying on trade and business independently, and going out of their homes to satisfy their needs.
‘A’isha reported that Saudah bint Zam’ah went out one night. ‘Umar saw her and recognized her and said, “By God, O Saudah, why do you not hide yourself from us?” She went back to the Prophet, சமாதானம் உன்னோடு இருப்பதாக, and told him about it while he was having supper in her room, மேலும் அவர் கூறினார்: “It is permitted by God for you to go out for your needs.” The predominant idea in the teachings of Islam with regard to men and women is that a husband and wife should be full-fledged partners in making their home a happy and prosperous place, and that they should be loyal and faithful to one another, and genuinely interested in each other’s welfare and the welfare of their children. A woman is expected to exercise a humanizing influence over her husband and to soften the sternness inherent in his nature. A man is enjoined to educate the women in his care so that they cultivate the qualities in which they, by their very nature, excel.
These aspects were much emphasized by the Prophet, சமாதானம் உன்னோடு இருப்பதாக. He exhorted men to marry women of piety and women to be faithful to their husbands and kind to their children. அவன் சொன்னான்: “Among my followers the best of men are those who are best to their wives, and the best of women are those who are best to their husbands. To each of such women is set down a reward equivalent to the reward of a thousand martyrs. Among my followers, மீண்டும், the best of women are those who assist their husbands in their work, and love them dearly for everything, save what is a transgression of God’s laws.”
Once Mu’awiyah asked the Prophet, சமாதானம் உன்னோடு இருப்பதாக: “What are the rights that a wife has over her husband?” நபி, சமாதானம் உன்னோடு இருப்பதாக, பதிலளித்தார்: “Feed her when you take your food, give her clothes to wear when you wear clothes, refrain from giving her a slap on the face or abusing her, and do not separate from your wife, except within the house.” Once a woman came to the Prophet, சமாதானம் உன்னோடு இருப்பதாக, with a complaint against her husband. He told her: “There is no woman who removes something to replace it in its proper place, with a view to tidying her husband’s house, but that God sets it down as a virtue for her. Nor is there a man who walks with his wife hand-in-hand, but that God sets it down as a virtue for him; and if he puts his arm round her shoulder in love, his virtue is increased tenfold.” Once he was heard praising the women of the tribe of Quraish, கூறுவது: ” . . . because they are the kindest to their children while they are infants and because they keep a careful watch over the belongings of their husbands.”
The Shari’ah (Islamic Law) regards women as the spiritual and intellectual equals of men. The main distinction it makes between them is in the physical realm based on the equitable principle of fair division of labor. It allots the more strenuous work to the man and makes him responsible for the maintenance of the family. It allots the work of managing the home and the upbringing and training of children to the woman, work which has the greatest importance in the task of building a healthy and prosperous society.
It is a fact, எனினும், that sound administration within the domestic field is impossible without a unified policy. For this reason the Shari’ah requires a man, as head of the family, to consult with his family and then to have the final say in decisions concerning it. In doing so he must not abuse his prerogative to cause any injury to his wife. Any transgression of this principle involves for him the risk of losing the favor of God, because his wife is not his subordinate but she is, to use the words of the Prophet, சமாதானம் உன்னோடு இருப்பதாக, ‘the queen of her house’, and this is the position a true believer is expected to give his wife. In contrast to these enlightened teachings of Islam in respect of women, Western talk of women’s liberation or emancipation is actually a disguised form of exploitation of her body, deprivation of her honor, and degradation of her soul!
Courtesy of Jannah Organisation
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