Women would pose questions directly to Holy Prophet (PBUH) and contribute opinions concerning economics and social matters
Although geographically men and woman share the same place but they live in different worlds. Sprawling inequalities persist in access to physical and financial resources and opportunities in the social, cultural, economic and political spheres.
It is believed that there is no text, old or new that deals with humanity of woman from all aspects with such amazing eloquence.
Adam and Eve were created from the same soul and were equally guilty of their disobedience, both repented and both were forgiven by the Almighty. Holy Quran expresses equality of men and women before Allah in terms of their religious duties that is in praying, fasting, offering Zakaat and Hajj.
Equality in creation and Hereafter one is not superior to the other and one is not derivative of the other but are created with complementary nature “woman have similar rights to men and men are a degree above Quran: 2:228 “such degree is Quiwama (maintenance and protection). It implies no superiority or advantage before the law.
The rights and responsibilities of women are equal to men and not necessary identical with them. Certain qualities are natural to woman and certain qualities are natural to men. Status of woman is unique and novel in Islam. A mother or a sister or a daughter have roles that make them special.
Islam brought liberation to women from bondage: recognized her individuality as human being, instituted her rights of property ownership, inheritance, expression of opinion, education, marriage and divorce. Her consent is prerequisite to the validity of the marriage contract. Wife and not the family receives Mehr (dowry) and can retain it as part of personal property. A woman is entitled to inherit property of her relatives.
Besides, any earnings through employment or business belongs to her and not to be contributed towards family expenses. She is a responsible being in her own right and caries the burden of moral and spiritual obligations.
Since the advent of Islam, women have made numerous contributions in the development of society and were involved in diverse occupations and economic activities. They were even objects of admiration by western observers.
Women would pose questions directly to Holy Prophet (PBUH) and contribute opinions concerning economics and social matters. They accompanied Muslim armies into the battle to nurse the wounded, prepared supplies.
In Europe, until 19th century, woman had no right to own property. However after painful struggle, they acquired a position of prominence in today’s world what Islam established centuries ago.
But today a gap exists between rights of women outlined in Islam and prevalent in our society. It is an unfortunate scenario but gender discrimination is deeply ingrained in our social setup.
Misunderstandings, ignorance of religion, practices and customs alien to our faith have crept in and have become integral part of our social fabric.
Evil of Dowry, extravagance in matrimonial nuptial gifts and pervasive discrimination against women has taken precedence over the dictates of Islamic law (Sharia).
Dominant tendency for male child, female foeticide depicts the changing mind set of our society which has resulted in adverse gender ratio (100 males-862 females). It is a serious threat to development of our social vibrant society.
Women abuse is now common occurrences that go unspoken due to social stigma. What is needed is a change in the biased and despicable attitudes towards women.
A genuine shift in the mindset of people can stop and reverse the disgraceful practices. Let us rise to change the attitude.
Author was formerly associated with Valley based telecom companies