22 February 2013
Women in Islam
Even today, stereotypes persist about Muslim women. Sadly, these stereotypes are perpetuated by attitudes within Muslim societies themselves. Many, in so called “Muslim” societies think that Muslim women are basically not allowed to do anything; they assume that women are wired differently than men and that a Muslim woman is restricted to stay home, not permitted to leave her house, and is unable to get an education. A lot ofthese same people also think that if women don’twear the veil, they are subject to cruel punishment. All of these views are completely antithetical to Islamic teaching. They may stem from traditional cultural beliefs, but not from Islam. Such views within Muslim societies lead outsiders to think that women in Islam are treated totally different than men. Yes there are some rules pertaining specifically to women just as there are rules addressing men, but the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace be on him) said that education was the duty of every Muslim, man and woman. Islam is unequivocal about the right of a woman to gain the highest education; in fact it proclaimed a woman’s right to an education hundreds of years before any secular law did so. So the assumption that Muslim women are not allowed to get an education is false. In today’s society there are many successful women leading the world. Today Muslim women are doctors, teachers, lawyers, journalists, etc. They are proving to the world that they are as successful due to, not in spite of, the rights given them as Muslims.
If you talk to a non-Muslim, such as an American, to describe Muslim women, they will just say they are wrapped up in a big black burqa. Basically that shows that in today’s society there is a special image set for Muslim women. Sometimes that can be a good thing and sometimes it can be a bad thing. Good thing-Muslim women cover or wear the veil to uphold their faith and to be recognized for it. It also shows they have self-respect, and that their bodies are not to be objectified. Bad thing- that a lot of people think that if Muslim women don’t cover, they receive cruel punishment or that they are forced to wear the veil. The fact is Islam does not prescribe any such punishment and the injunction to cover in the Quran is a Muslim woman’s right to follow, not be forced to follow.
Day by day, Muslim women are doing good things in the world and also getting recognized for it.