Women are the foundations of a strong family and society.
1. The importance and role of women
Why is it important to address this topic ?
* Religious importance
Women are addressed by the revelation as equal human beings, which means they are vicegerents on earth, with responsibilities and duties.
Defining the status of women in Islam requiresemphasizing their important role,consolidating theirspiritual, personal and interpersonal capacities to enable them to play this role to the full, and raising the level of religious awareness (particularly regarding cultural and social dimensions).
* Social importance
It is important to correct anymisconceptions on the status and role of women,given their vital position in society and the family, and their role as pillars for the proper development of the family and society. Lack of understandingof this important question would undermine the foundations of society and its development.
2. The status of women in Islam
* Vicegerents on earth
Women are theassociates and partners of men in building human civilization. They were created from a single soul and there is no existential value to one without the other.
Women are the partners of menas vicegerents on earth. Allah entrusted both Adam and his wife with the task of managing Allah’s creation (the earth).Both women and men were honored with this trust, and both are equally rewarded with Paradise if they fulfill it and punished if they do not.
This sacred trust requires a deep awareness by women of their role in this world and an even deeper awareness by all of theimportant role of women in every matter.
* Human dignity
An awareness of our sacred dutyas human beings to manage Allah’s creation is based on a recognition that women have been honored, as human beings,as Allah tells us in the Qur’an, "We have honored the childrenof Adam" (Chapter al-Isra, verse 70).
Women are free, like men.They enjoy freedom of choice, as exemplified in the Prophet’s saying that women "have the right to decide who they marry" . Their lives and bodies are sacrosanct and their dignity is respected.They have the same rights and responsibilities as men.The difference between men and women in Islam is only a matter of differences in natural and social functions.
* Equal in intellect and religion
Womenare notlesser than men in terms of intellect or religiosity.
The saying of the Prophet peace be upon him regarding women in this respect does not suggest that women have an inferior intellect or level of religiositynor does it suggest that men should think that it is more appropriate for them to think or act freely.The saying refers not to intellectual ability but to psychological factors and cultural influences on thinking.
The roles of women are based on an awareness of the depth of their responsibility in fulfilling their roles as vicegerents on earth, and the realization of the dignity bestowed on them by God.
* In society
- Women are the centralpillar of the family, and the family is the main guarantor of social harmony and continuity. Thus, the Prophet peace be upon him emphasized the status of women as mothers, daughters and sisters.
The most important social function of women is to create harmony within the family and to ensure its continuity through educating the children and contributing effectively to their upbringing and care.
Therefore, the Prophet peace be upon him warned us that we should choose carefully who we marry, and that men should avoid marrying a woman who is beautiful but has a bad character.
* In politics
- Women are a pillar of political and public life through their participation in decision-making and by holding those in power to account.An example isKhawlaBintThalabah who criticized the Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab, reminding him of his duty tohis people. Women also play a role in public life by participating in wars. An example is Rafida al-Aslamiyya, who treated the injured in battle.
Asaying of the Prophet peace be upon him is often misinterpreted to suggest that womencannot hold positions of leadership or authority. This saying was referring to a particular female ruler, not women in general.
Women havecontrol over their wealth and their own bodies, as well as over their husbands’wealth.The view that women cannot be heads of state is one jurisprudential opinion which differs from other jurisprudential opinions, nothing more.
* In the economy
Women’s participation in the workplace is a duty in Islamic law if it is in the interests of society and the country.Islam gives women the right to equal wages as men based on the principles of justice and equity.
The second Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattabordered that women be paid for the housework they do at home.
* In the cultural sphere
Women contribute to cultural life as poets and writers, thus expressing their individuality, which enriches the cultural sphere and builds theconsciousness of future generations.
Among the most famous poets who were women are SafiyyaaBint Abdul Muttalib, her sister Roqayya,and Hind BintAthatha.