Is Islam Discriminatory When it Comes to Women?

on Friday, August 23, 2013

There are many misconceptions in today’s world regarding the difference of the status between a man and woman. Islam is seen as being discriminatory when it comes to giving obligations and rights to the two genders. However, while it is pleasing to solve the misunderstanding of those who at least wish to study Islam, it should be kept in mind for all that the teachings of Islam are in-depth and comes with a far-sighted ring to it. Allah Almighty has laid out rules and obligations to make the society better for Muslims, but that does not mean a woman is inferior to a man.

Let us see the first few questions that most commonly arise. Many people consider the permission to men given to marry four wives, while same not granted to women, is unjust. Why are Muslim women asked to cover themselves? Why a woman cannot marry non-Muslims while Muslim man is permitted, though the fear of disrespecting Islam remains there in both marriages?

First of all, we must know that Eve was created from the lower ribs of Adam, which itself says everything regarding the status of women compared to men. Allah Almighty might have wanted to create Eve from Adam’s sole of feet, or legs. Or He also could have created Adam’s partner from his neck or head. No, the Lord did justice from the very first human on earth and said that women are equal to a man. Likewise, the obligations and responsibilities indeed differ for each, but they still stand equal.

Muslim women indeed are expected to cover themselves when outside or among “na-mehram” men. Non-Muslims take this covering as a sign of inferiority. However, it should be noted that though Western women fight for equal pay, promote justice and rights to education; they still go to work in revealing clothes. They might be declaring “I am equal to a man; I have a brain” by working, yet they still want to dress up to attract men’s eyes, or to be more blunt, dress like “a piece of meat.” Muslim women, on the other hand, cover themselves yet still work which says “I am equal to a man; I have a brain” and at the same time, more appropriately demonstrates the equality by shutting the doors to be seen as an object.

Moreover, Islam is the only religion that came with strict acceptance of a female in society, and made the people know the status of women. About 1400 years ago, the pagans used to burn the girls alive, the Christians were doubtful that a woman even had a soul, the nuns, priests and Jews as well were strictly against the existence of a woman and their rights. Islam never blames Eve for Adam’s sin, since each of them repented for their own mistake and Allah forgave them. Islam does not hold a woman inferior, or responsible for a man’s mistake. A man is responsible for his deeds, and is expected to repent for them.

Islam does not allow a woman to marry four times while it says to a man, as the conditions here say that all four of them must be best supplied, equally treated and lived with pure justice. Unless known otherwise, it is not okay to marry more than once. We know a man has the obligation to provide for his woman, to care for her needs, and to see to her. A woman is not expected to maintain her husband; instead, she has the certain role of nurturing children, delivering and bringing them up as better Muslims. A man as a husband comes with many duties. He has to raise a family and comply with his wives’ (if more than one) demands. However, Islam gives full right to a woman to marry any married man, to retain her name and identity, to keep their earning with them but can allow a man to share from it. The concept of four marriages is a concept of future Islam. Allah Almighty has created all of us, and he knew that in the last days, women would outnumber men. When a man marries more than thrice, the women in the society would be properly supplied and would have husbands for them.

Marriage is a very important step in Islam. In Western societies, people have no problem of conceiving illegitimate children, and divorces are more common than measles. It is the marriage that is intolerant, while Islam has took certain measures to ensure that Islamic society is safe with marriage. True, women are expected to do hijab but men are also obliged to lower their gazes. True, women are not allowed to marry a non-Muslim but that is just to ensure a successful marriage and that ends compatible with husband’s as well as Allah’s orders. True, women are not allowed to marry thrice, but a woman only needs a husband who provides for her, not the other way round.

Islam is the religion that serves complete code of life, which also includes the welfare of society. A man and a woman are equal in rewards and beliefs, but not “same” in their roles. Equality isn’t being same on both sides; they both have to fulfill their own roles and responsibilities as a human being, and bear the demands of their distinguished gender.

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