By UMME MARYAM
The world is celebrating another of its self-invented important “day” which it has used slyly to fool the fairer sex. The day is called “Women’s Day”. It is a great irony that we need to celebrate a day as women’s day instead of giving a woman the rights and status she deserves. Women have been exploited and treated as dirt since time immemorial.
In some societies women have indeed lived under oppression, cruelty and injustice, and have been denied basic rights of humanity. Women in the pagan Arab society did not generally have these qualities. They were inherited like any moveable commodity after the death of an indebted husband. If the deceased husband had adult sons from other marriages, the oldest son among them had the right to add her to his household, just as a son inherits other chattels of his deceased father. She was unable to leave the house of her stepson unless she paid a ransom. As a general practice, men had the freedom to acquire as many wives as they desired with no set limits. There was no system of law and justice that would forbid a man from committing any injustice towards his wives. Women had no right to choose, or even consent to being chosen as a partner for marriage; they were simply given away. Women were forbidden to remarry if a husband divorced them.
In India there was no balance; they were either worshipped as goddess or treated as slaves; there was no middle path.
Women in the Chinese society occupied a low and degraded status. They were customarily assigned the most despised and least important jobs and positions. The male child was looked upon as a “gift” from the gods, and treated accordingly. As for the female child, she had to endure multiple hardships, like the binding of her feet in order to cripple her from running.
Among the Greeks, women were degraded to the extent that men claimed that women were nothing but the epitome of evil. There was no system to protect women in that society. A woman in the Roman society was also looked down upon as an inferior being that could not run her own affairs. All authority was in the hands of men who totally dominated all private and public affairs. Men even had the authority to sentence their wives to death in certain cases when accused of specific crime. A Jewish woman got married, her guardianship was transferred from her father to her husband and she became one of his possessions such as his house, his slave, his maidservant or his money or wealth. Jewish teachings and laws deprived the girl of her father’s inheritance if the father had other male children.
Christian priests went to the extreme of considering the woman the cause of “original sin” and the source of all catastrophes from which the entire world has suffered. For this very reason, the physical relationship between man and woman has traditionally been labelled as “filthy” or “dirty” even if it were officially done and performed within a legitimate marriage contract.
In today’s so-called modern era women are treated as objects and commodities and are used and exploited in all fields of life. Semi clad women are used for selling everything from toothbrush to computers.
In Islam every day is women’s day; women are considered gifts of Allah and are always cherished. Islam gives woman the rights and status she deserves as it is the religion of nature people are born with. Islam has been programmed into our very being and a woman who follows it completely will be at peace with herself and the world. Islam treats women with dignity and honour. Islam treats women equally in all spheres of life: Equality in Basic Humanity, Religious Obligations, Rewards and Punishments, Ownership and Financial Transactions, Honour and Nobility, Education, Social Responsibilities. Women are given the best rights in terms of motherhood.
The Qur’ān specifically denounces the killing of daughters and the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) has shown through his example how to treat daughters in the best possible manner. Bringing up of children is the most important right after the right of breast-feeding and nursing by the mother. The mother is entitled to the custody of the child, son or daughter, at the early stage of life, between the ages of one and thirteen or fourteen. In cases of divorce, due to differences between parents, Islam entitles the mother to her child’s custody during early childhood because she, generally, is more caring and attentive to the child’s needs. Islam gives women their due as mothers, wives, sisters, daughters and so on. This is the reason why so many of them in the west are turning towards Islam.