1- She is dignified, not oppressed
You may think that women in Islam are getting a row deal and that they are oppressed. You may say that men are dominant over women and that Muslim women are culturally oppressed. Or that they are culturally abused.
Let us differentiate between certain culture baggage and true religion! Let me show you how women are dignified in Islam. Islam clarifies that Muslim women have their own wealth. Islam also guarantees that a woman can get her own portion of inheritance and keep it for herself. Allah Almighty orders men to provide women with money and all kinds of care, no matter how much the women earn. Islam dignifies women and make men, whether the father, brother, or husband responsible for all of the women’s expenses even if the women had millions. Islam also gives women the right to end their marriage legally if they hate the marriage and the husband won’t agree to divorce.
2- She is equal to man, not a second class
Islam gives women rights that they couldn’t have before.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
Women are counterpart to men.” [Sunan AbuDawud]
Islam gives women the right to be educated; and seeking knowledge is obligatory for each Muslim man and woman. In Islam, a woman is allowed to work in different occupations. She can be a doctor, teacher, engineer, or even an ambassador and minister and other high status occupations. Islam preserves gender equity. We all know that a male is not like a female neither physically, emotionally, nor psychologically. Islam recognizes that fact and says that men and women are equal but they are not identical. For example, women are known to possess higher emotional tendencies than men. So women are superior to men in this particular area:
Abu Huraira reported that a person came to Allah ‘s Messenger (PBUH) and said:
Who among the people is most deserving of a fine treatment from my hand?
– He said: Your mother.
He again said: Then who (is the next one)?
– He said: Again it is your mother (who deserves the best treatment from you).
He said: Then who (is the next one)?
– He (the Prophet) said: Again, it is your mother.
He (again) said: Then who?
– Thereupon he said: Then it is your father.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
We can see that Prophet Muhammad mentioned “the mother” tree times and then “the father” only once. On the other hand, men are superior to women, for example, in the portion of inheritance as men according to Islamic law are the providers for money and they have many financial responsibilities, unlike women. That’s why God Almighty said in the Quran:
Allah instructs you concerning your children: for the male, what is equal to the share of two females.” [Quran.com/4/11]
3- She is conservative in her appearance but not provocative
Let’s agree that ” there is no compulsion in religion”. This is a very basic rule in Islam. Wearing hijab is a personal decision for a Muslim woman after puberty. She decides to wear hijab out of her own will as a submission to God’s commandments. Hijab is not about a piece of cloth that covers her body but it is a sign of modesty, respect, and protection. Each religion has a dress code. Christian nuns, for example, have a very conservative dress code. Are they oppressed due to this religious dress code? Of course not. They are pious and they have commitment to God, that is all.
4- She is active, not a victim
Some people think that Muslim women are victims of their culture, veil, or religious limits. They think that she must be liberated and get her own freedom. But is wearing red lipsticks, miniskirts, and high heels going to liberate a woman? Does a woman have to be sexually open for everybody in order to feel free? Statistics about sexual abuse in the US show that 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed, 2.8% attempted). Statistics also indicate that every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. Muslim women through their pious attitude and modest dress code are giving a really active and strong message that is; look at my intellect not my feminine hot body or sexuality…Treat me as a human being not as an object of desire.
5- She is valued, not a sexual object
I keep asking myself why women on TV and all kinds of media are used as objects? Why are women on the billboards beside cars and soaps, paints and chips and not men? The media is always using women as objects of desire for men. The media and the society are constantly trying to treat women as objects. But in Islam, a woman is highly valued. Islam made women pillars and builders of the society. The last message of prophet Muhammad (PBUH) during the Farewell Hajj was to take due care of women.
The Messenger of Allah said:
I order you to treat women well, for they are but like captives with you, you have no sovereignty beyond this over them, unless they manifest lewdness.” [Jami` at-Tirmidhi]
Islam dignifies women when it prohibits them from dating strangers and having boyfriends. It values women when it regulates a lawful relation between men and women which is “marriage”. It is obligatory in Islam to make a marriage contract and for a representative to be there to protect the woman’s rights and make sure that she will not be deceived by the sweet words of the fiancé. I can hear some people saying that not all men see women as sexual objects. “All” men may be an over-generalization, but “everywhere” certainly isn’t. And everywhere, it’s a big majority of men who would love nothing more than to have casual sex with as many promiscuous women as possible, but have absolutely no desire to settle down with one. That’s just a fact of life and that’s why Islam is clear about this issue.