“Muslim women are oppressed by their husbands”.
I’m sure you’ve heard that before.
In fact, so many have taken it upon themselves to campaign for the reforming of Islam to ensure such oppression no longer continues. And in all honesty, such statements couldn’t be further from the truth.
While yes, some Muslim women, like all other women, may face injustice in their homes. It has little to do with men following Islam and more to do with them neglecting Islam. And if we truly want to rid injustice in marriage, we need not reform Islam, but rather, we must return to Islam.
Here are seven clear Quran verses that prove my point.
Husbands must give women their dowry.
Unlike the traditional understanding of a marriage dowry, whereby a woman must give her husband a bridal gift of value upon marriage. Islam reverses the concept whereby it is the husband who must pay his wife whatever sum of money she requests. Not only is a man obliged by law to give his bride-to-be this dowry, but the Quran also states he must do so graciously, without expressing any dissent.
“And give the women [upon marriage] their [bridal] gifts graciously.”
A woman must not be restricted from her wealth.
Upon receiving her dowry, the husband is also prohibited from touching this wealth entirely. In fact, the Quran mentions that even if she received an immense sum of money; the prohibition still applies; unless she of course willingly offers a portion of it herself.
It was common practice in the past that the bride’s father would take her dowry without her consent. This injunction was sent to change this ignorant practice and also remind husbands that their wives are a great trust from God that they shouldn’t take for granted.
“But if you want to replace one wife with another and you have given one of them a great amount [in gifts], do not take [back] from it anything. Would you take it in injustice and manifest sin?”
“And how could you take it while you have gone in unto each other and they have taken from you a solemn covenant?”
Husbands must always treat women with kindness.
The Quran implores men to treat women with kindness and respect, even in times of dissent or disagreement. This means spouses must practice beauty in their speech, their actions and in their overall presence amongst one another. Even if one may not like something about his or her spouse, God mentions that perhaps this thing may, in fact, bring about much good.
“And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them – perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good.”
The end of forced marriages.
Prior to Islam, following the death of a woman’s husband, the husband’s family would inherit her as a widow. Islam came to annul this ignorant practice and give a woman the right to be her own agent.
In fact, Islam came to give women the right to choose their own husbands and the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ himself directly taught that a woman shall not be married until her permission has been sought.
“O you who have believed, it is not lawful for you to inherit women by compulsion.”
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
“The virgin should not be given in marriage until her permission has been sought.”
Husbands must spend on their wives.
In an Islamic household, a man is obliged to financially provide for his wife. He is responsible to provide her food, clothing, shelter, medicine and all necessities to the best of his ability. This includes providing his wife with the same standard of living he expects for himself. Such rules apply to the marriage and even after divorce if a woman has a child or is pregnant.
A woman is not obliged to spend on her husband, however, if she chooses to do so, it would be recorded for her as an act of voluntary charity.
“Lodge them [in a section] of where you dwell out of your means and do not harm them in order to oppress them. And if they should be pregnant, then spend on them until they give birth. And if they breastfeed for you, then give them their payment and confer among yourselves in an acceptable way; but if you are in discord, then there may breastfeed for the father another woman.”
“Let a man of wealth spend from his wealth, and he whose provision is restricted – let him spend from what Allah has given him. Allah does not charge a soul except [according to] what He has given it. Allah will bring about, after hardship, ease.”
Avoid bitterness in divorce.
In many instances in the Quran, God would advise Muslims towards patience and avoid divorce. He, in fact, states that if the two spouses truly wanted to resolve their issues, Allah would reconcile the two of them together.
Nevertheless, if divorce does happen, Allah advises both spouses to do so in a manner that is both righteous and honorable, void of all hardship and conflict.
“And if you fear dissension between the two, send an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they both desire reconciliation, Allah will cause it between them. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Acquainted [with all things].”
“And when you divorce women and they have [nearly] fulfilled their term, either retain them according to acceptable terms or release them according to acceptable terms, and do not keep them, intending harm, to transgress [against them]. And whoever does that has certainly wronged himself.“
These verses encourage men to further look after their wives to the utmost of their ability and avoid rushing to divorce for every minor issue; an unfortunate epidemic we are witnessing today.
The right to inherit.
Prior to Islam, women would be quite restricted when it came to what wealth they could inherit following the death of their husbands; that is if they were entitled to anything at all. Islam came to set in place certain regulations that would ensure a woman would secure a select sum of money following the death of her husband.
The amount a woman receives would, of course, vary according to various circumstances.
“For men is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, and for women is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, be it little or much – an obligatory share.”
May Allah enlighten us all with the true teachings of Islam and restore peace and happiness to all homes and families.