Former ABC presenter Yassmin Abdel-Magied called Islam the most feminist religion. Is this a true statement? Different religions have different teaching about women’s right. Christianity it is indicated in the Bible from the earliest, that it was chosen that men are going to rule over women. Bible said “…he shall rule over you”(Gen:3:16), “..And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.”(Timothy 2:11-12), “….they are not permitted to speak..”(Corinthians 14:34). Even in term of inheritance, Bible did not allow women to have it(Numbers 27:6-11). What about abusive husbands? Christian once forbade divorce based on a literal interpretation of Bible verses about marriage(Genesis 2:18-24, Matthew 19:3-61, Timothy 4:1-5)“.
In Arab Peninsula, women were oppressed by men in pre-Islamic age. They had very limited rights, except with a high social status. For example, Wife did not have the right to inherit her husband’s property, could not divorce her husband even though she was abused, even having a baby daughter was considered an embarrassing thing so much that fathers tend to bury their daughter alive!. In overall, women were considered a lower rank gender than men.
For this reason, God sent a reformer, founder of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and revealed revised law for women’s rights – The Holy Quran. Islam, as a perfect and complete religion for all humankind, restored women rights and raised their rank equally with men. For both worldly and spiritual status, men and women have same rights. For instance, a woman can inherit her father’s property. Islam is the first religion that allows women to have inheritance. A Muslim woman is without a doubt the proprietor of her own property and her husband can’t acquire any control over it by their relationship. She is granted a full freedom to manage her property as she likes. When a Muslim woman marries a Muslim man, she does not automatically become her husband’s property. When her husband gives her a dowry, she can use it in any way she pleases. The dowry is to be offered to the lady as her unavoidable property, and in a case of divorce, a man cannot recover it, so her security is guaranteed.
In spiritual status, Islam has removed the restriction in Bible. For instance, women can finally speak in to their friends and ask any question related to any issue which they may have. Having a daughter is considered a blessing in Islam as she opens a door of heaven for her father, as long as her father teaches her righteousness. When a woman becomes a mother, a door of heaven is under her feet for her children.
Some of you maybe wondering, If Islam really gives men and women same rights, why Islamic countries do not apply this equality in their national Law. The simple answer was given by His Holiness Mirza Tahir Ahmad, who led the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat from 1982 until his demise in April 2003. He said. “Turning to the other part of the question and the statement that the world of Islam is not acting upon Islamic teachings, as I have already explained, this is the case in respect of all religions of the world. Where are the countries in which the religions of those countries are practiced in all honesty and sincerity and good understanding? Religion is flying on a higher plane which is reviving and making noises but it has not been connected up with the ‘veins’ of human action. A revving engine can only play on one’s nerves but cannot help one move along. This, unfortunately, is the situation of religion everywhere in the world.”
In short, Islam did regard women as equal as men. Unfortunately, some of Muslims men do not act according to Islam’s teaching. We cannot judge that all man are same based on a single abusive act of a man towards his wife. Same rules apply, we cannot judge Islam based its followers. Learn Islam from its source, which is The Holy Quran and the examples of its founder, The Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Master of Technology and Innovation Management candidate at UNSW
Write is life, write is love.