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The Status Of Women In Islam

2021 words - 9 pages

The religion of Islam has obtained the reputation of violence and misogyny in recent decades due to radical sects in the international spotlight. Although violence has been limited to radical groups, many people outside of the religion view Islam’s law, Shari’ah law, to define the status of women below men. However, from the original holy text, the Qur’an, and the Prophet Muhammad’s Sunnah, a framework of equality and mutual respect across sexes is evident. Although the Qur’an is the unadulterated Word of God, it is interpreted by Muslims in many different ways. It has been through these patriarchal interpretations of the five schools of Islamic law that the status of women has been ...view middle of the document...

Female infanticide prevented a woman from living for fear that she may one day be raped (Armstrong, 1991). This practice occurred for hundreds of years, up until the rapid expansion of Islam across the Arabian Peninsula. The Qur’an specifically outlawed the immoral act of female infanticide by stating, “When news is brought to one of them of the birth of a female child, his face darkens and he is filled with inward grief. With shame does he hide himself from his people because of the bad news he has had! Shall he retain her on contempt or bury her in the dust? Ah! what an evil they decide on?” Pre-Islamic Arabian men were ashamed by the “bad news” of a daughter and would be “filled with inward grief.” By condemning such atrocious occurrences, the Qur’an protected a woman’s right to live and denounced the “evil” performed by the fathers.
The Qur’an extends its protection of women by promoting equality between sexes. One such verse which maintains an equal relationship between man and woman is, “The Believers, male and female, are friends of one another. They command to virtue and forbid vice. They perform the prayers and pay the alms, and they obey God and His Messenger (Khalidi, 2008, 9:71).” This translation denotes that men and women are “friends of one another.” This does not say that men guard over submissive women, or that women are servants of men. Rather, men and women both encourage faithful behavior and a strong relationship to Allah to one another. An alternative verse the Qur’an reads, “Whoso commits a sin shall be rewarded with its like; whoso does a righteous deed, be they male or female, while believing, these shall enter the Garden, where they shall be provided for without reckoning (Khalidi, 2008, 40:40).” In the eyes of Allah, only righteousness and sin is seen, not the sex of the individual. The Qur’an clearly states that an individual’s sex does not impact their likelihood of achieving paradise; it is only achieved through being a righteous believer. As Allah does not view one’s sex as a predetermination of righteousness, men and women are equally defined by their actions.
Although such verses demonstrate the equality of men and women in the Qur’an, some versus controvert these statements. Muhammad Sarwar’s translation states, “Thus, virtous women are obedient, and preserve their trusts, such as God wishes them to be preserved. And those you fear may rebel, admonish, and abandon them in their beds, and smack them (Khalidi, 2008, 4:34).” At first, the verse seems reasonable by stating that one should scold a woman who disobeys God. However, to “smack them” in response to sin provides very clear validation of domestic abuse amongst Muslims. However, this popular interpretation of the verse may not be accurate according to the Iranian-American scholar Laleh Bakhtiar. In the original text, “smack them” is translated from the root verb “daraba.” Bakhtiar’s analysis of “daraba” reveals that the verb is translated with seventeen...

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