Muslim women are oppressed??

I’m taking a justice studies class and we are currently reviewing intimate partner relationships.

There are a few points that have left me amazed and awestruck; how could ISLAM ever be labeled as anti-women, or oppressive to women? ESPECIALLY by the American people. Do you realize how much women have had to go through in our country in order to gain BASIC human rights?

For example, laws on domestic violence did not exist. In the late 1800s, when the feminist movement really started, it was normal for women to be beaten by their husbands. It was very normal to say, “Oh, she’s just a woman.”

One of the first legal decisions was that women should be treated at least as well as PIGS are treated.

This is similar to the Mary Ellen case in the mid-late 1800s. Mary Ellen, a young child, was severely beaten by her stepmother. There were absolutely no child protection laws through which the stepmother could be convicted. But the law looked at the fact that there were ANIMAL treatment laws, and thus they could try her stepmother based on those laws.

Compare that with the Qur’an [revealed over 1400 years ago] and examples from the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. We’re talking in the middle of the desert of Arabia. How could anyone claim Muslim women are oppressed?! Women’s rights [not outlined here, but are enormous and more progressive than women in America have now, even with the feminist movement], and the necessary kindness that men should have with women, were divinely revealed in the middle of chaotic, women-inherited, pagan-Arab society. With Islam, the low status of women changed to one equitable with men within a period of 23 years.

Did you just read that? A 23 year period. We learned in class that it takes about 100 years for society to change their cultural attitudes and ways. Is there any way that oppressive pagan-arab society to women, children, slaves, and the poor, could have transformed into one which every person is considered equal in the Sight of God without it having because of God’s Divine Help to His Prophet, peace be upon him, and His Revelation (the Qur’an)? In which no one is better than the other, except if they are more God conscious? And that no one knows of who has more God consciousness except for God Himself?

Allah says in the 49th chapter of the Quran, “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other. Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).

The Ideal

Women in the Qur’an and Sunnah

The Qur’an

“O ye who believe! ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness that ye may take away part of the dower ye have given them except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good.” (Qur’an, an Nisa, 19)

The Sunnah

Helpers and Supporters of One Another

“The believers, men and women, are helpers and supporters of one another; they enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil…”

(Qur’an, At-Tawbah, 9:71).

The Best in Faith, are Those Best to Their Families

“The believers with the strongest and most complete faith are those who possess the best characters and possess the best of characters towards their wives.”

“The best of you is the best to his family…”

Honoring the Woman

“The generous and honored one is whoever dignifies them [women] and whoever harms and debases them is the wicked and debased one.”

The Mother

I said to the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), “O Messenger of Allah, I desire to go on a (military) expedition and I have come to consult you.” He asked me if I had a mother, and when I replied that I had, he said, “Stay with her because Paradise lies beneath her feet.”

I asked, “Messenger of Allah, to whom should I be dutiful?” He replied, “Your mother.” I asked, “Then whom?” He replied, “Your mother.” I asked, “Then whom?” He replied, “Your mother.” I asked, “Then whom?” He replied, “Your mother.” I asked, “Then to whom should I be dutiful?” He replied, “Your father, and then the next closest relative and then the next.”

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