Editor: March is Women’s History Month. This is the month when we pay tribute to women and the achievements and sacrifices they have made over the years to earn the rights and freedoms they enjoy today.
As an American Muslim woman, I wanted to take this opportunity to share how my religion Islam celebrates and honors women by guaranteeing them equality, dignity and rights that were established more than 1,400 years ago, at a time when the idea of women’s rights was unheard of. Islam was the first religion to codify women’s rights in its religious texts. In a primitive society where women were only treated as men’s possessions and female infanticide was rampant, Islam revolutionized the role and place of women in the society by confirming their marital rights which safegaurded them from spousal abuse, and granted them rights to higher education, inheritance, financial independence, and attaining spiritual heights. In short, Islam confirmed women’s right to a dignified life.
In the Holy Quran we read, “But whoso does good works, whether male or female, and is a believer, such shall enter heaven” (4:125). It also states, “For men there is a share of that which parents and near relatives leave, and for women there is a share of that which parents and near relatives leave, whether it be a little or much” (4:8). Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “It is obligatory upon every Muslim man and woman to pursue education.” Woman was exalted as a mother, a wife and a daughter by the Prophet of Islam. He said that “Paradise lies under the feet of mothers.” This statement means that treating mothers in a most loving and respectful way could help a person achieve a path to paradise. He also taught that a daughter was a huge blessing for her parents because if they loved her and brought her up well, she would become their source of achieving salvation. About wives he said, “The best of you are those who behave best towards their wives.”
The above quotations are just tip of the iceberg, and our teachings are filled with such lessons that guarantee a woman a dignified life. According to Islam women are equal to men and to be honored, revered, and treated with utmost respect.
Aamna Bhatti, Ashburn