Islam has empowered women with the most progressive rights since the 7th century. In Islam, women are not inferior or unequal to men. This brochure presents the actual teachings of Islam regarding the rights, roles, and responsibilities of women, with a special focus on gender equality in Islam. Complete Report file (PDF) is available for download.
Summary of Women’s Empowerment in Islam:
At a time when female children were buried alive in Arabia and women were considered transferable property,Islam honored women in society by elevating them and protecting them with unprecedented rights. Islam gave women the right to education, to marry someone of their choice, to retain their identity after marriage, to divorce, to work,to own and sell property,to seek protection by the law, to vote, and to participate in civic and political engagement. In 610 C.E., God began to reveal the message of Islam to Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him (PBUH), in Mecca. Muhammad (PBUH) called people towards the belief in one God and encouraged them to be just and merciful to one another.In reforming the pagan Arab society,he particularly transformed their mindset regarding the treatment of women.Islam abolished the practice of killing female children and raised the stature of women in society to on of dignity,esteem and privilege .
God devotes an entire chapter of the Quran, the holy book of Islam, to women. In addition, God directly addresses women repeatedly throughout the Quran. Islam proclaims that all human beings,men and women, are born in a pure state.The goal of every Muslim is to preserve this purity by shunning evil tendencies and beautifying their inner being with virtuous traits.Islam further confirms that both men and women are equal in the sight of God. In the Quran,God declares,“…Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you…” (49:13) At another place in the Quran, God clearly states that all humans are equal:“To whoever, male or female, does good deeds and has faith, We shall give a good life and reward them according to the best of their actions.”(16:97)
In an environment which constantly emphasizes the physical form through various media, women are constantly faced with an unattainable standard of beauty. Although Muslim women are falsely classified as oppressed based on their modest dress, they are in fact liberated from such objectification by the society around them. This modest appearance, which includes veiling, highlights a woman’s personality and character instead of her physical figure and promotes a deeper appreciation for who she is as a person. In this regard, Muslim women identify with Mary, the mother of Jesus (PBUH), who is known for her piety and modesty.
In conclusion, Islam has an extensive tradition of protecting the civil liberties of women based on the guidelines set forth by God and His Prophet. Women are empowered with many rights and protections under Islamic law and are honored with a dignified stature in society.
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