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A GLIMPSE OF ISLAM'S GREAT CONCERN FOR WOMEN

1- When the religion of Islam was revealed to the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allah exalt his mention ) it was the custom of the people of the pre-Islamic era to hate and detest women. Allah, The Exalted, Says (what means): {And when one of them is informed of [the birth of] a female, his face becomes dark, and he suppresses grief.} [Quran 16: 58]

They disdained the infant girl and would bury her alive. Islam prohibited this and insisted that she be exalted and maintained with dignity. Allah, The Almighty, Says (what means): {And when the girl [who was] buried alive is asked, for what sin she was killed.} [Quran 81: 8-9]

In some Ahadeeth, the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allah exalt his mention ) said:

• "Whoever maintains two daughters until they become independent will come on the Day of Resurrection along with me (close to each other) like these two (and he joined his two fingers)." [Muslim]

• "Whoever is put to trial by these daughters and he treats them kindly, these daughters will act as a shield for him from Hell." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

2- When the religion of Islam was revealed to the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allah exalt his mention ) it had been the habit of the people of the pre-Islamic era to prevent the woman from her share in the inheritance. Islam gave her this right, whether little or large; Allah, The Exalted, Says (what means): {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.} [Quran 4: 7]

3- When the religion of Islam was revealed to the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allah exalt his mention ) it had been the habit of the people of the pre-Islamic era to inherit women against their will. When a woman's husband died, one of the heirs would come, throw a garment over her and say, "I have inherited her just as I have inherited his wealth." This would entitle him to have more control over her than herself. Islam prohibited this. Allah, The Exalted, Says (what means): {O you who have believed, it is not lawful for you to inherit women by compulsion.} [Quran 4: 9]

4- When the religion of Islam was revealed to the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allah exalt his mention ) it had been the habit of the people of the pre-Islamic era to make difficulties for their women in order to prevent them from receiving their rights. A man would prevent his divorcee from remarrying until she had returned everything he had spent on her. A father would prevent his daughter from marriage, and likewise, the brother would prevent his sister if he so willed. A man would mistreat his wife and refuse to divorce her unless she ransomed herself. Islam prevented all this and eradicated such behavior. Allah, The Exalted, Says (what means):

• {And do not make difficulties for them in order to take [back] part of what you gave them unless they commit a clear immorality.} [Quran 4: 19]

• {Do not prevent them from remarrying their [former] husbands if they agree among themselves on an acceptable basis.} [Quran 2: 232]

5- When the religion of Islam was revealed to the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allah exalt his mention ) the woman was suffering from her husband's oppression, bad morals and ill treatment. Islam prohibited this and commanded the husband to treat her just as he would like her to treat him. Allah, The Exalted, Says (what means):

• {And live with them in kindness.} [Quran 4: 19]

• {And due to the wives is similar to what is expected of them, according to what is reasonable.} [Quran 2: 228]

6- When the religion of Islam was revealed to the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allah exalt his mention ) the widow's ‘Iddah (waiting period after the death of her husband) was a complete year. Islam lessened it to just a third. Allah, The Exalted Says (what means): {And those who are taken in death among you and leave wives behind - they, [the wives, shall] wait four months and ten [days].} [Quran 2: 234]

7- Islam instructed that women should be treated with kindness. In a Hadeeth, the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allah exalt his mention ) said: "Be kind to women." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

It also forbade one to hate his believing wife. The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allah exalt his mention ) said:

• "A believing man should not hate a believing woman; if he dislikes one of her characteristics, he would like another one." [Muslim]

• "The best of you are those who are the kindest to their wives." [At-Tirmithi]

• "This life is enjoyment, and the best of its enjoyment is a righteous wife." ` [Muslim]

While indicating the characteristics of the righteous wife, the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allah exalt his mention ) said: "She is the wife who pleases her husband when he looks at her, obeys him when he commands her and safeguards his honor and wealth when he is not present." [Ahmad and An-Nasa’i]

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