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The Rights of Women In Islam

The rights of women in general and wives are specifically stated clearly in the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet Mohammad (peace b...

The rights of women in general and wives are specifically stated clearly in the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), which makes it crystal clear that women's rights in Islam are well documented and protected.
I was shocked, as many others were, when I heard the news about a man who cut off the fingers of his wife's right hand just because she wanted to continue her studies. How can any sane man do this? This horrendous act isn't the first and will not be the last act of cruelty toward women, who are abused in different parts of the world all the time.
Many communities take steps to eradicate such inhumane practices perpetrated by men who torture their wives, but until these men themselves do not have self-consciousness, respect for women or are not God-fearing, these steps may be difficult to realize.
Islam has a strong foundation which is based on the belief in the Creator, Who observes and judges all our acts.
Narrated by A'ishah and Anas, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, "Women are the twin halves of men." (Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi, and-Darimi)
The relation between man and woman was designed in a way that protects the rights of both, and life between them starts with a marriage contract which is a contract willingly approved by both the parties. It entails the rights and obligation of each one of them toward the other.
Let's throw some light on a few basic rights of a wife:
1. Financial rights
a) Dowry - This should be given and mentioned in the marriage contract, and it is for the woman and not for her father or guardian. Allah has emphasized this right by saying, "And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal-money given by husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart; but if they of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, take it, and enjoy it without fear of any harm (as Allah has made it lawful)." (Qur'an, 4:4)
b) Living expenses: The husband is responsible for the welfare of the family. He should spend on his wife and his children. He should give them a suitable, respectable and comfortable life. He should never depend on whatever his wife owns or earns. Even if his wife is wealthy he has no right to take any money from her without her permission. Allah said, "Lodge them (the divorced women) where you dwell, according to your means, and do not harm them so as to straighten them (that they be obliged to leave your house).And if they are pregnant, then spend on them till they lay down their burden. Then if they suck to the children for you, give them their due payment , and let each of you accept the advice of the other in a just away. But, if you make difficulties for one another, then some other woman may give suck for him (the father of the child)." (Qur'an 65:6) This verse is for a woman who has been divorced, so any one can well imagine the right of a wife who is still living with her husband.
2Right of education (sincere advice): It is the responsibility of the husband to support his wife to acquire the necessary Islamic knowledge that will help her to do her religious duties in the correct way. Allah said, "O you who have believed! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded."(Qur'an, 66:6)
3. Respect them and seek kind companionship with them and look at the positive side of their character. Allah said, "And do not make difficulties for them in order to take [back] part of what you gave them unless they commit a clear immorality. And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them - perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good." (Qur'an, 4:19)
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated; The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "Be kind to women."(Bukhari) And he also said, "The best of you is the best to his family and I am the best among you to my family. "(Tirmidhi)" The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "The most perfect believers in faith are the best in conduct and best of you are those who are best to their wives". (Tirmidhi)
In another Hadith the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "That he should feed her whenever he eats and clothe her whenever he clothes himself, he should not hit her on the face, should not call her ugly, and should not boycott her except within the house."(Ibn Majah)
4. He should fulfill her needs. A common misunderstanding among some men is that it is his right to call his wife to bed whenever he wants (and it is his right), but he may desert her for whatever time he wants to though it is not lawful. As Allah said,"Those who take an oath not to have sexual relations with their wives must wait for four months, then if they return (change their idea in this period), verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Qur'an, 2:226)
Salman visited Abu Al- Darda and found Umm Darda (his wife) dressed in shabby clothes. He asked her why she was in such a state. She replied, "Your brother Abu Al-Darda is not interested in (the luxuries of) this world." Salman told Abu Al-Darda, "Your Lord has a right on you, your soul has a right on you, and your family has a right on you; so you should give the rights of all those who have a right on you."
And, when Abu Al-Darda told the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) about the incident, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "Salman has spoken the truth."
5. A woman has the right to seek separation from her husband if he doesn't give her the rights that Allah has ordained for her. This is known as Khul'a, which means that the woman can divorce herself by returning her husband's dowry or whatever arrangement and agreement they mutually agreed upon.
A classic example is to look at the household of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and see in him the ideal husband. Many Muslims claim that they love him and they follow his Sunnah; but why don't they see the way how he treated the women of his family? 
Authored By:  Dr. Yahya S Al-Bahith


M Junaid Tahir

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