May 24, 2013 | 03:16 AM (BD Time)
24 May, 2013 Friday
The rights of women
Md. Motasim Billah :
(From previous issue)
The Qur'an states: "And among His signs is that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may live in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between you; verily, in that are signs for people who reflect." (30:21) Marriage is therefore not just a physical or emotional necessity, but in fact, a sign from Allah! It is a relationship of mutual rights and obligations based on divine guidance. Allah created men and women with complimentary natures, and in the Qur'an, He laid out a system of laws to support harmonious interaction between the sexes. "...They are your garments and you are their garments." (2:187). Clothing provides physical protection and covers the beauty and faults of the body. Likewise, a spouse is viewed this way. Each protects the other and hides the faults and compliments the characteristics of the spouse. To foster the love and security that comes with marriage, Muslim wives have various rights. The first of the wife's rights is to receive mahr, a gift from the husband which is very important part of the marriage contract and required for the legality of the marriage. The second right of a wife is maintenance. Despite any wealth she may have, her husband is obligated to provide her with food, shelter and clothing. He is not forced, however, to spend beyond his capability and his wife is not entitled to make unreasonable demands. The Qur'an states:
"Let the man of means spend according to his means, and the men whose resources are restricted, let him spend according to what Allah has given him. Allah puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him." (65:7)
Allah tells us men are guardians over women and are afforded the leadership in the family. His responsibility for obeying Lord extends to guiding his family to obey the Almighty at all times. A husband has to answer at the day of resurrection about his earning whether it is legal or illegal but a wife is free from this question if she leads her life under the proper guidance of her husband. The way of Paradise is comparatively easy for a woman. There is great emphasis to the husbands to behave gently, adequately as well as respectfully with their wives.
The Prophet (SM) said: "The most perfect believers are the best in conduct. And the best of you are those who are best to their wives." Allah tells us He created companions and put love, mercy, and tranquility between them. Both men and women have a need for companionship and sexual needs, and marriage is designed to fulfill those needs. So the women have to loyal & obedient to the rules & regulations of Islam which is calculated by Allah.
Some responsibilities come through the rights. Therefore, wives have certain obligations to their husbands. The Qur'an states: "The good women in the absence of their husbands guard their rights as Allah has enjoined upon them to be guarded." (4:34) A wife is to keep her husband's secrets and protect their marital privacy. Issues of intimacy or faults of his that would dishonor him, are not to be shared by the wife, just as he is expected to guard her honor. A wife must also guard her husband's property. She must safeguard his home and possessions, to the best of her ability, from theft or damage. She should manage the household affairs wisely so as to prevent loss or waste. She should not allow anyone to enter the house whom her husband dislikes nor sustain any expenses of which her husband disapproves. A Muslim woman must cooperate and coordinate with her husband. She should not fulfill the requests of her husband if he wants her to do something unlawful. A husband also should not take advantage of his wife, but should be thoughtful of her needs and happiness. At this stage it is very important to classify the distributing system of Islam regarding the wealth of deceased.
In Islam both man and woman are equally entitled to inherit the property of the deceased relations but the portions they get may vary. In some instances man receives two shares whereas woman gets one only. Here some peoples are treating it as a sign of giving preference or supremacy to man over woman. The reasons why man gets more in these particular those cases may be classified as follows:
Firstly, man is the person solely responsible for the complete maintenance of his wife, his family and any other needy relations.
It is his duty by Law to assume all financial responsibilities and maintain his dependents adequately. It is also his duty to contribute financially to all good causes in his society. All financial burdens are borne by him alone.
Secondly, in contrast, woman has no financial responsibilities whatsoever except very little of her personal expenses, the high luxurious things that she likes to have. She is financially secure and provided for. If she is a wife, her husband is the provider; if she is a mother, it is the son; if she is a daughter, it is the father; if she is a sister; it is the brother, and so on. If she has no relations on whom she can depend, then there is no question of inheritance because there is nothing to inherit and there is no one to donate anything to her. However, she will not be left to starve; maintenance of such a woman is the responsibility of the society as a whole, the state. She may be given aid or a job to earn her living. She is not responsible for the maintenance of anybody else besides herself. If there is a man in her position, he would still be responsible for his family and possibly any of his relations who need his help. So, in the hardest situation her financial responsibility is limited.
Thirdly, when a woman gets less than a man does, she is not actually deprived of anything that she has worked for. The property inherited is not the result of her earning or her accomplishments. It is something coming to them from a neutral source, something additional or extra. It is something that neither man nor woman struggled for. It is a sort of aid, and any aid has to be distributed according to the urgent needs and responsibilities especially when the distribution is regulated by the Law of Allah.
Now, we have a male heir, on one side, burdened with all kinds of financial responsibilities and liabilities. We have, on the other side, a female heir with no financial responsibilities at all or at most with very little of it. In between we have some property and aid to redistribute by way of inheritance. If we deprive the female completely, it would be unfair to her because she is related to the deceased.
Likewise, if we always give her a share equal to the man's, it would be unjust to him. So, instead of doing injustice to either side, Islam gives the man a larger portion of the inherited property to help him to meet his family needs and social responsibilities. At the same time, Islam has not forgotten her altogether, but has given her a portion to satisfy her very personal needs. In fact, Islam in this respect is being more kind to her than to him.
Here we can say that when it is taken as a whole the rights of woman are equal to those of man although not necessarily identical, (Allah Says in Surah An Nissa, 4:11-14 & 176).
The Muslim women are far from enjoying real taste of Islam and they are not trying to understand the meaning of freedom. They are misguided & far from the light of Islam, moreover they are living under the guidance of those people who do not have the ability to identify the meaning of life, do not have the fear of Allah, and do not have the preparation for the day of Resurrection.
We should not forget that the Muslim woman was given a role, duties and rights 1450 years ago and these are from Allah and are designed to keep balance in society. We have to understa
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