Log In

Reset Password

Islam has always elevated the status of women

First I start with a salute to all women globally in recognition of International Women's Day which was celebrated on Wednesday.

Every year on March 8, we are encouraged to commemorate and honour women's accomplishments, raise awareness about gender disparities and discrimination, as well as promote global support for women. Women have come a long way to get some semblance of equality and basic human rights. Unfortunately, women still have a distance to go.

International Women's Day is used as a focal point in the women's rights movement, bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, and violence and abuse against women. Statistics of inequality and other shameful atrocities occurring to this day in every corner of the world are shocking, alarming and certainly unacceptable.

Raising awareness of injustices to women is pivotal if we are to become truly free and successful on the global platform.

Bermuda has its own share of women to be proud of and celebrate; first honours go to our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, godmothers etc, for obvious reasons.

And then there are our home-grown women, Dame Lois Browne-Evans, Dame Flora Duffy and Ruth Seaton James to name a few who have made a difference in Bermuda's history.

Women in Islam too have made great strides in shaping Islam's history. Despite contrary belief, Islam has always elevated the status of women, since over 1,400 years ago.

What has caused confusion is what has been culturally constituted and practised as though it is an integral part of the religion. Islam echoes kindness to women. Islam promotes and encourages women to be the best that they can be whether it's business, medicine, education, law, etc.

Khadijah, the wife of Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings upon him) was a successful businesswoman in her own right. Islam encourages women to retain their maiden names and not take the names of their husbands. Whatever money a woman makes is hers and hers alone; if she opts to assist her husband in finances it's completely of her own volition and is considered a gift.

Mary, the mother of Jesus (as), is the most important woman in the Koran, as well she is the only one identified by name. In actual fact, an entire surah (chapter) is named after Jesus's (as) mother, Mary. There are many more famous women in Islam which I invite you to research, you will be pleasantly surprised.

In Islam, men are regarded as protectors of women and encouraged to treat them kindly.

Muslims are also encouraged to follow the example of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) which is known as the sunnah (behaviour). In this regard it is narrated in a Hadith [At-Tirmidhi, who categorised it as Hadith Hasan Sahih] that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) instructed men to follow his example.

Prophet Muhammad said, “The best among you is one who is best to his wife, and I am best among you in my dealings with my wives.” The following also reinforces how women are to be treated. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “The best of you are those who are best to their women.” (Ref: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 1162)

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) also said, “Indeed among the believers with the most complete faith is the one who is the best in conduct and the most kind to his family.” (Sunan Tirmidhi, Hadith: 2612)

In Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) last speech on Mount Arafat, after praising and thanking God, the Prophet (pbuh) said: “O People, lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year, I shall ever be among you again. Therefore, listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and take these words to those who could not be present here today.

“Oh People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under a trust from God and with His permission.

“If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. I enjoin you to treat women kindly for they are your partners and committed helpers."

What wonderful advice – plain, simple and direct, no ambiguity whatsoever. It summarises that practising kindness is key!

The following illustrates further the high esteem of women in Islam:

This is what is required when dealing with daughters: kindness, which results in Paradise, as the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “Whoever Allah has given two daughters and is kind towards them, will have them as a reason for him to be admitted into Paradise.”

It is also written: “Whoever Allah has given three daughters and he perseveres through raising them, will have them as a shield for him from the Hellfire on the Day of Resurrection.” (Bukhari, Muslim).

If all men globally, could read, learn, follow and remember the message of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) what a beautiful world it would be and indeed there will be no need for International Women’s Day. Let’s strive towards that.

Happy International Women’s Day! As salaamu alaikum (Peace be unto you)!

Linda Walia Ming is a member of the Bermuda Hijab Dawah Team, a group of Muslim women who reside in Bermuda and have a goal of educating the community about the religion of Islam

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published March 11, 2023 at 7:51 am (Updated March 11, 2023 at 7:51 am)

Islam has always elevated the status of women

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon