By Sara Atta

Islam brought dignity, respect to women

May 14, 2023 - 16:14
Women from the Leader's point of view - Part 2

TEHRAN - Islam signifies respect and dignity for women in a very unique way by instructing society on their rights and duties in different social statuses and roles she enjoys in their life.

Women have gone through an eventful and painful history, and at some points in history, they have been reduced to the level of a tradable commodity or an animal, or a slave.

During the period of Age of Ignorance (Jahiliyyah) [It is an Islamic concept referring to the period of time and state of affairs in Arabia before the advent of Islam in 610 CE], women were caught in the most disgraceful misfortunes and suffered the most difficult calamities.

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.

“And when one of them is informed of [the birth of] a female, his face becomes dark, and he suppresses grief. He hides himself from the people because of the evil of which he has been informed. Should he keep it in humiliation or bury it in the ground? Unquestionably evil is what they decide.” [Qur’an 16: 59]

With the advent of Islam, a woman's life entered a new stage. Islam entered the world and condemned the practices prevalent in the dark ages. To bestow women the right to live, to serve as a shield and hide women in the protective shells of Quranic teachings, and to eradicate the oppressed practices inflicted upon females is what Islam did.

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.

“O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him [Adam] He created his wife [Eve], and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual [rights], and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever and All-Watcher over you.” [Qur’an 4:1]

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. 

Islam does not allow the domination of men over women rather it upholds the rights, dignity, honour, and status of women by ensuring gender equality and also equality of rights for both males and females in every area of human life.

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 her position as mother, wife, sister, and daughter. She has the perfect liberty to choose her husband.

The Shari'ah 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.

Not only is there no difference between men and women in the acquisition of human sciences and divine knowledge, but in many spiritual fields, women are pioneers. Islam values the inherent dignity of women.

Considering the importance and the high position of women in human life, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini [Founder of the Islamic Republic] and the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei also attached great importance to women according to the teachings of the Qur'an and the Ahl al-Bayt.

They have introduced holy and noble women such as Hazrat Fatima Zahra [daughter of the Prophet of Islam Muhammad (PBUH), Hazrat Khadija [wife of Prophet Muhammad], Hazrat Zaynab [daughter of the first Shia Imam, Imam Ali and Fatima, the daughter Prophet Muhammad] and Hazrat Maryam [mother of Prophet Jesus] as perfect and noble human models who can serve as models for all human beings.

They also termed a woman as a being with true dignity and value in Islam and considered her as the source of the happiness of human societies and family peace. They consider women equal to men in their rights.

According to the founder and Leader of the Islamic Republic, a woman can engage in political, social, and economic activities in accordance with her personality and have a fruitful presence in the field of education and learning while being a mother and a wife.

Ayatollah Khamenei during a meeting with hundreds of prominent Iranian women in the Imam Khomeini Hussainiyah on January 4, 2023, said that men and women as human beings are completely equal in Islam.

“One of the points that I would like to talk about today is Islam’s viewpoint with regard to gender and the issue of women. [That is], what Islam’s view on the issue of men and women is… Men and women have no priority over one another. They are not different in this. The equality of men and women in terms of human and Islamic values is one of the clear principles of Islam. There is no doubt about this.”

Highlighting the fundamental difference between the viewpoints of Islam and the West on women, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution in one of his speeches said, “The basis of western culture is that women should be presented in society as a product, an object that men can benefit from. Promoting the immodest clothing is a step in this direction… The Western view of women is a degenerate, flawed, misleading, and wrong view… The Islamic view of women brings about dignity, honor, growth, and an independent identity for women.” (July 11, 2012)

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