The Role Of Women In Islam

1518 words - 6 pages

In the pre-Islamic Arabian society a family’s honor depended on the honor of its females which led to the belief that the group was vulnerable through the girls and women. Females were seen as a burden and many were the victims of infanticide because they were in need of protection from capture and were seen as a drain on the family’s meager resources. The most common form of ridding the family of an unwanted girl was to “bury her in the dust” which was done while the child was still alive. Once established, Islam condemned this practice and required that “…those who had killed their daughters in the time of the j¬¬¬ahiliyyah make expiation for their heinous act.” The Prophet said, “Whosoever has a daughter and does not bury her alive, does not insult her, and does not favor his son over her, [God] will enter him into paradise.” The words of Muhammad sharply contrast with the commonly accepted portrayal of women’s importance in Islamic society. The search for the truth behind the stereotypes and misinterpreted ideas is an eye-opening voyage into the lives of Muslim women.
Khadija bint Khuwaylid (555-619 C.E.) is the first of many important women in Islam. Before her marriage she lived in a pre-Islamic society where local traditions and customs determined the behavior of women and polytheism was prevalent. After she converted to Islam, she lived in a society where the Prophet and his revelations defined acceptable behavior and monotheism was instituted. The capability of Khadija to adapt to the change of principles in her society show the high level of fortitude she possessed. The ability of Khadija to successfully run her father’s business while refusing to marry until she was ready suggests a high level of intelligence and independence. Further evidence of her autonomous character is her proposal of marriage to her employee Muhammad, a man 15 years younger than she. Khadija was a wealthy businesswoman who allowed her husband to spend his time in contemplation instead of laboring which ultimately allowed Muhammad to follow his path as Prophet. Khadija’s unwavering support led to Muhammad’s complete devotion to the marriage and he remained monogamous in a time when polygyny was prevalent. The financial, emotional, and spiritual support that Khadija provided Muhammad led to Islam’s birth as a religion and ensured her place as an essential figure in Islamic history.
Aisha bint Abu Bakr (612-678 C.E.) was a wife of Muhammad during a time when the customs of a Jahiliyyah society were conforming to fit with the teachings of the Prophet. The practice of having an unlimited number of wives was changed to four and only if the husband could equally provide for each wife. The limit as well as the provision that each must be treated equally both emotionally and financially led to many men having only one wife. The practice of veiling began in the Muslim culture not because of physical protection from the elements but because...

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