Women and Islam: Social Role of Muslim Women in Islam

The Holy Book Quran declares that men and women are created from one soul to be partners to each other, that male and female have the same religious responsibilities, and both genders will receive like rewards on the Day of Judgment. There is a difference between Islam and tradition. Some Muslim countries or societies may be seen as oppressive to women but if you take a closer look, it is their traditions and culture rather than Islam that suppresses and deprives women of their rights. Islam, on the other hand, liberates women and gives them rightful standing in society, unlike any religion or race.

When we talk about the role of women in Islam then we have to discuss it in detail which we are going to discuss in this article about women and Islam and her role in Islam and society in which she is living as a Muslim woman. Islam has given dignity and respect to Muslim women in society and in religion Islam that didn’t give in any other religion.

Role of Muslim women in Islam:

There have been many misconceptions about the real role of Muslim women in Islam. Many people view Islam as a religion that oppresses and suppress women but they are wrong. Most non-Muslims who are completely unfamiliar with the teachings and belief of Islam turn to paint Islam with a brutal brush. From the beginning, Islam worked on creating equality among people and tried to eliminate the different barriers created by people that distinguished them from one another and let them feel superior or inferior.

Allah (SWT) stated many times in the Holy Book Quran about the role of women and even dedicated a whole Surah to them (Surah An-Nisa). Clearly Allah does not make any distinguishing about the importance of men and women, to Allah both men and women are equal as he stated in the Quran “To whomever, 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.” (Quran, 16:97). From this ayah, it can be clearly proved that in the eyes of Allah both men and women are equal.

Islam considered to give women an equal entity and declared their status as a beneficial and important part of the society and did whatever possible to ensure that women experienced and enjoyed the same respect in the society like men. Women make up half of society and they are responsible for the nurturing, guidance and transformation of the successive generations. It is the woman who pervades principles and faith into the souls of the nation.

The Prophet (SAW) said.  “The pursuit of knowledge is a duty of every Muslim, man, and woman.” From this saying of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), we can say that education is compulsory for both men and women and Islam gave an equal right to women to get the education but also opened the door to a better understanding. When a woman will be educated then she can up bring her children in a good and an Islamic way according to teachings of Allah Almighty.

 

The biggest example of the rising of women can be seen in Quran, where Allah Almighty addresses both men and women alike related to giving of commandments. Allah Almighty says in Holy Quran:

“The Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the worshipping men and worshipping women, the truthful men and truthful women, the pious men and pious women, the alms-giving men and the alms-giving women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who are chaste and the women who are chaste, the men who remember Allah much and the women who do likewise, Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward for all.” (Quran, 33:35)

From above ayah, we can conclude that Allah Almighty has associated the same qualities of dignity and piety with women the same as He has associated with men. Allah Almighty said women are equal to men and women must also possess the same level and kind of dignity as men must.

Social Role of Muslim Women 

Now we will discuss the role of Muslim women in different areas of life in a society which gave her by Almighty Allah. At a social level, Islam recognizes the different roles that women have in society and makes sure that women receive respect and devotion for their place in the society. In Islam, women are great mothers, obedient daughters, caring wives and equal sisters. We will discuss these roles of women in light of some verses and hadiths:

  1. Women as Mother: Islam holds great respect for mother and endorses the followers to respect their mothers. “Paradise is at the feet of the mother.” Islam recognizes the great role that women play in the upbringing of the children and that the future of mankind and of societies depends on mothers. The paradise mentioned by the Holy Prophet (SAW) refers to both the social paradise that can be achieved in Islam and the heavenly paradise. Therefore, mothers have been placed in a position of the highest respect. Referring to respecting the parents in their old age, Allah Almighty says in Quran: “Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him and that you be kind to parents. When one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor repel them but address them in terms of honor.”(Quran, 17:23). From an ayah, we can conclude that mother has the same rights in old age on children as the father. No Muslim is allowed to discriminate between father and mother.
  2. Women as Sister and Daughter: Women as a daughter, her importance is such that the Holy Prophet (SAW) tells us: “He who brings up his daughters well, and makes no distinction between them and his sons, will be close to me in Paradise.” Islam ensures that in both these roles sister and daughter women enjoy absolute respect, care, and protection. In Islam both male child and female child are equal and a parent is as responsible for the education and upbringing of female children as they are responsible for the male. Moreover, as far as the brother-sister relation is concerned, it is respected in Islam and brothers and sisters are to respect and treat each other well. In Quran, Allah Almighty says: “He bestows female (offspring) upon whom He wills, and bestows male (offspring) upon whom He wills.”(Quran, 42:49). In Islam, there is no discrimination between male and female children and they both should get an equal education.
  3. Women as Wife: The character of men in an Islamic society is established in relation to their treatment of women. As our beloved Prophet (SAW) mentioned: “The best from among you is one who behaves best towards his wife.” Islam is the first religion that settled the rights of women as wives and associated the element of giving respect to them. Allah says in Holy Quran: “And among His signs is this that He created wives from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility, with them, and He put love and mercy between your (hearts).”(Quran, 30:21). Therefore, the love that produces tranquility is put in the heart of both the partners; hence, husband and wife both have the duty of caring and loving each other for a healthy relationship. Also, women are the caretakers of men in the same way as men are the caretakers of women.

Muslim women should understand the rights and roles that Islam has given to her and then in the light of those rights and roles, she must perform all the social and Islamic roles with absolute dedication and commitment. Islam is really the complete way of life and a divine religion that is not lacking in any sense, let alone upholding women’s right.

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