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Women According To Islam

Societal Role
A Muslim female starts off her life protected by the Qur’an. Suri 81 Verses 8 and 9 state: “When the female (infant) buried alive, is questioned- For what crime was she killed.” This passage and others like it are used to indicate that the practice of female infanticide is not acceptable. Other passages go on to say that a man should not hang his head in grief when the birth of a daughter is announced. Later on in life, she’ll be taught that men are a “degree above” her, but this is usually interpreted only to mean that they are supposed to be the economic providers for the family because Sura 2, Verse 228 says: “And women shall have rights similar to rights against them, according to what is equitable. But men have a degree (of advantage) over them (Shorish-Shambley).”

When she reaches maturity, the Qur’an will establish her as an independent being that is responsible for herself. She will have to agree to being married or divorced, will have to decide for herself whether she will be Muslim or not, will share the task of managing the family, and will have equal claim on her children. She will also be taught that she should avoid sexual situations and dress modestly so as not to draw inappropriate attention to herself (al-Turabi). It is said that “women are the siblings of men,” and she will likely be treated as such. The Qur’an will tell her: “The believing men and women are confidants to one another; they enjoin good and forbid evil.” This will mean that she will be expected to play role in deciding the future (Hathout).

    In an economic role, men are generally considered the economic providers of a family, but women have rights to work, own property, have wealth, and obtain one-half the inheritance that a male child would receive (Shorish-Shambley). A female is capable of doing business as well as buying and selling goods on her own (al-Turabi). Often she will manage her own wealth, make her own money, and will keep property (Hathout). In fact, it is considered proper that she holds onto the mahr, part of the marriage contract. A mahr is the price her husband paid to have her as a wife, and will be considered hers to handle as she wishes (Shorish-Shambley).

In Relation to Education
    The Islamic belief establishes that everyone should learn when possible. Two Hadiths of the Prophets mention women in relation to this idea specifically. The first says, “Seeking knowledge is a duty of every Muslim, man or woman.” The second says, “A mother is a school. If she is educated, then a whole people are educated.” These quotes both support her right to learn (Shorish-Shambley). In fact, one could even say that she has more than a right to, it’s something that she should be doing (al-Turabi). One of the beliefs of the Islamic faith is that those who attend to it should be educated and gather knowledge (Hathout).


al-Turabi, Hasson. “On the Position of Women in Islam and in Islamic Society.” Islam For Today. Hussein Abdulwaheed Amin, n.d. Web. 27 September 2011.
Hathout, Hasson. “Perspective on Women’s Plight in Afghanistan.” Islam For Today. Hussein Abdulwaheed Amin, 1999. Web. 27 September 2011.
Shorish-Shambley, Zieba. “Women’s Position, Role, and Rights In Islam.” Afghanistan Online. n.p., n.d. Web. 27 September 2011.