The rights of women in Islam

She is asking about the rights of women in Islam
What are the women rights like under Islam/ and how have they changed since Islams golden age (from mid 8th century until 12th century) if they have changed?.

Praise be to Allaah.

Islam honours women greatly. It honours women as mothers who must be respected, obeyed and treated with kindness. Pleasing one's mother is regarded as part of pleasing Allaah. Islam tells us that Paradise lies at the mother’s feet, i.e. that the best way to reach Paradise is through one's mother. And Islam forbids disobeying one’s mother or making her angry, even by saying a mild word of disrespect. The mother’s rights are greater than those of the father, and the duty to take care of her grows greater as the mother grows older and weaker. All of that is mentioned in many texts of the Qur'aan and Sunnah.

For example, Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful and kind to his parents”

[al-Ahqaaf 46:15]

“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour.

24. And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: ‘My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was young’”

[al-Isra’ 17:23, 24]

Ibn Maajah (2781) narrated that Mu’aawiyah ibn Jaahimiah al-Sulami (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said: O Messenger of Allaah, I want to go for jihad with you, seeking thereby the Face of Allaah and the Hereafter. He said, “Woe to you! Is your mother still alive?” I said, Yes. He said, “Go back and honour her.” Then I approached him from the other side and said: O Messenger of Allaah, I want to go for jihad with you, seeking thereby the Face of Allaah and the Hereafter. He said, “Woe to you! Is your mother still alive?” I said, Yes. He said, “Go back and honour her.” Then I approached him from in front and said, O Messenger of Allaah, I want to go for jihad with you, seeking thereby the Face of Allaah and the Hereafter. He said, “Woe to you! Is your mother still alive?” I said, Yes. He said, “Go back and honour her (lit. stay by her feet), for there is Paradise.”

Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan Ibn Maajah. It was also narrated by al-Nasaa’i with the words: “Stay with her for Paradise is beneath her feet.”

Al-Bukhaari (5971) and Muslim (2548) narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: A man came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said: “O Messenger of Allaah, who is most deserving of my good company?” He said: “Your mother.” He said: “Then who?” He said: “Your mother.” He said: “Then who?” He said: “Your mother.” He said: “Then who?” He said: “Then your father.”

And there are other texts which we do not have room to mention here.

One of the rights which Islam gives to the mother is that her son should spend on her if she needs that support, so long as he is able and can afford it. Hence for many centuries it was unheard of among the people of Islam for a mother to be left in an old-people’s home or for a son to kick her out of the house, or for her sons to refuse to spend on her, or for her to need to work in order to eat and drink if her sons were present.

Islam also honours women as wives. Islam urges the husband to treat his wife in a good and kind manner, and says that the wife has rights over the husband like his rights over her, except that he has a degree over her, because of his responsibility of spending and taking care of the family’s affairs. Islam states that the best of the Muslim men is the one who treats his wife in the best manner, and the man is forbidden to take his wife’s money without her consent. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“and live with them honourably”

[al-Nisa’ 4:19]

“And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect) to what is reasonable, but men have a degree (of responsibility) over them. And Allaah is All-Mighty, All-Wise”

[al-Baqarah 2:228]

And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I urge you to treat women well.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 331; Muslim, 1468.

And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best of you is the one who is best to his wife, and I am the best of you to my wives.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 3895; Ibn Maajah, 1977; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.

And Islam honours women as daughters, and encourages us to raise them well and educate them. Islam states that raising daughters will bring a great reward. For example, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever takes care of two girls until they reach adulthood, he and I will come like this on the Day of Resurrection,” and he held his fingers together. Narrated by Muslim, 2631.

Ibn Maajah (3669) narrated that ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Aamir (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “Whoever has three daughters and is patient towards them, and feeds them, gives them to drink and clothes them from his riches, they will be a shield for him from the Fire on the Day of Resurrection.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah.

Islam honours woman as sisters and as aunts. Islam enjoins upholding the ties of kinship and forbids severing those ties in many texts. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “O people! Spread (the greeting of) salaam, offer food (to the needy), uphold the ties of kinship, and pray at night when people are sleeping, and you will enter Paradise in peace.” Narrated by Ibn Maajah, 3251; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah.

Al-Bukhaari (5988) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah, may He be exalted, said to the ties of kinship: ‘Whoever upholds you, I will support him, and whoever breaks you, I will cut him off.’”

All of these qualities may co-exist in a single woman: she may be a wife, a daughter, a mother, a sister, an aunt, so she may be honoured in all these ways.

To conclude: Islam raised the status of women, and made them equal with men in most rulings. So women, like men, are commanded to believe in Allaah and to worship Him. And women are made equal to men in terms of reward in the Hereafter. Women have the right to express themselves, to give sincere advice, to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil, and to call people to Allaah. Women have the right to own property, to buy and sell, to inherit, to give charity and to give gifts. It is not permissible for anyone to take a woman’s wealth without her consent. Women have the right to a decent life, without facing aggression or being wronged. Women have the right to be educated; in fact it is obligatory to teach them what they need to know about their religion.

Anyone who compares the rights of women in Islam with their situation during the Jaahiliyyah or in other civilizations will understand that what we are saying is true. In fact we are certain that women are given the greatest honour in Islam.

There is no need for us to mention the situation of women in Greek, Persian or Jewish society, but even Christian societies had a bad attitude towards women. The theologians even gathered at the Council of Macon to discuss whether woman was merely a body or a body with a soul. They thought it most likely that women did not have a soul that could be saved, and they made an exception only in the case of Mary (Maryam – peace be upon her).

The French held a conference in 586 CE to discuss whether women had souls or not, and if they had souls, were these souls animal or human? In the end, they decided that they were human! But they were created to serve men only.

During the time of Henry VIII, the English Parliament issued a decree forbidding women to read the New Testament because they were regarded as impure.

Until 1805, English law allowed a man to sell his wife, and set a wife’s price at six pennies.

In the modern age, women were kicked out of the house at the age of eighteen so that they could start working to earn a bite to eat. If a woman wanted to stay in the house, she had to pay her parents rent for her room and pay for her food and laundry.

See ‘Awdat al-Hijaab, 2/47-56.

How can this compare to Islam which enjoins honouring and kind treatment of women, and spending on them?


With regard to the changes in these rights throughout the ages, the basic principles have not changed, but with regard to the application of these principles, there can be no doubt that during the golden age of Islam, the Muslims applied the sharee’ah of their Lord more, and the rulings of this sharee’ah include honouring one’s mother and treating one’s wife, daughter, sister and women in general in a kind manner. The weaker religious commitment grew, the more these rights were neglected, but until the Day of Resurrection there will continue to be a group who adheres to their religion and applies the sharee’ah of their Lord. These are the people who honour women the most and grant them their rights.

Despite the weakness of religious commitment among many Muslims nowadays, women still enjoy a high status, whether as daughters, wives or sisters, whilst we acknowledge that there are shortcomings, wrongdoing and neglect of women’s rights among some people, but each one will be answerable for himself.

Islam Q&A

Abu Hurayrah

Abu Hurayrah

"An Abi Hurayrata, radiyallahu anhu, qal.' qala rasul Allahi, sallallahu alayhi wa sailam..." Through this phrase millions of Muslims from the early history of Islam to the present have come to be familiar with the name Abu Hurayrah. In speeches and lectures, in Friday khutbahs and seminars, in the books of hadith and sirah, fiqh and ibadah, the n ame Abu Hurayrah is mentioned in this fashion: "On the authority of Abu Hurayrah, may God be pleased with him who said: The Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace, said... ". Through his Prodigious efforts, hundreds of ahadith or sayings of the Prophet were transmitted to later generations. His is the foremost name in the roll of hadith transmitters. Next to him comes the names of such companions as Abdullah the son of Umar, Anas the son of Malik, Umm al-Mumininin Aishah, Jabir ibn Abdullah and Abu Said al-Khudri all of whom transmitted over a thousand sayings of the Prophet. Abu Hurayrah became a Muslim at the hands of at-Tufayl ibn Amr the chieftain of the Daws tribe to which he belonged. The Daws lived in the region of Tihamah which stretches along the coast of the Red Sea in southern Arabia. When at-Tufayl returned to his village after meeting the Prophet and becoming a Muslim in the early years of his mission, Abu Hurayrah was one of the first to respond to his call. He was unlike the majority of the Daws who remained stubborn in their old beliefs for a long time.

When at-Tufayl visited Makkah again, Abu Hurayrah accompanied him. There he had the honor and privilege of meeting the noble Prophet who asked him: "What is your name?" "Abdu Shams - Servant of a Sun," he replied. "Instead, let it be Abdur-Rahman - the Servant of the Beneficent Lord," said the Prophet. "Yes, Abdur-Rahman (it shall be) O Messenger of God," he replied. However, he continued to be known as Abu Hurayrah, "the kitten man", literally "the father of a kitten" because like the Prophet he was fond of cats and since his childhood often had a cat to play with. Abu Hurayrah stayed in Tihamah for several years and it was only at the beginning of the seventh year of the Hijrah that he arrived in Madinah with others of his tribe. The Prophet had gone on a campaign to Khaybar. Being destitute, Abu Hurayrah took up h is place in the Masjid with other of the Ahl as-Suffah. He was single, without wife or child. With him however was his mother who was still a mushrik. He longed, and prayed, for her to become a Muslim but she adamantly refused. One day, he invited her to have faith in God alone and follow His Prophet but she uttered some words about the Prophet which saddened him greatly. With tears in his eyes, he went to the noble Prophet who said to him:

"What makes you cry, O Abu Hurayrah?" "I have not let up in inviting my mother to Islam but she has always rebuffed me. Today, I invited her again and I heard words from her which I do not like. Do make supplication to God Almighty to make the heart of Abu Hurayrah's mother incline to Isl am." The Prophet responded to Abu Hurayrah's request and prayed for his mother. Abu Hurayrah said: "I went home and found the door closed. I heard the splashing of water and when I tried to enter my mother said: "Stay where you are, O Abu Hurayrah." And after putting on her clothes, she said, "Enter!" I entered and she said: "I testify that there is no god but Allah and I testify that Muhammad is His Servant and His Messenger." "I returned to the Prophet, peace be on him, weeping with joy just as an hour before I had gone weeping from sadness and said: "I have good news, O Messenger of Allah. God has responded to your prayer and guided the mother of Abu Hurayrah to Islam." Abu Hurayrah loved the Prophet a great deal and found favor with him. He was never tired of looking at the Prophet whose face appeared to him as having all the radiance of the sun and he was never tired of listening to him. Often he would praise God for h is good fortune and say: "Praise be to God Who has guided Abu Hurayrah to Islam." Praise be to God Who has taught Abu Hurayrah the Quran."

"Praise be to God who has bestowed on Abu Hurayrah the companionship of Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace." On reaching Madinah, Abu Hurayrah set his heart on attaining knowledge. Zayd ibn Thabit the notable companion of the Prophet reported : "While Abu Hurayrah and I and another friend of mine were in the Masjid praying to God Almighty and performing dhikr to Him, the Messenger of God appeared. He came towards us and sat among us. We became silent and he said: "Carry on with what you were d oing." "So my friend and I made a supplication to God before Abu Hurayrah did and the Prophet began to say Ameen to our dua. "Then Abu Hurayrah made a supplication saying: "O Lord, I ask You for what my two companions have asked and I ask You for knowledge which will not be forgotten." "The Prophet, peace be on him, said: 'Ameen.' "We then said: 'And we ask Allah for knowledge which will not be forgotten, and the Prophet replied: 'The Dawsi youth has asked for this before you." "With his formidable memory, Abu Hurayrah set out to memorize in the four years that he spent with the Prophet, the gems of wisdom that emanated from his lips. He realized that he had a great gift and he set about to use it to the full in the service of I slam. He had free time at his disposal. Unlike many of the Muhajirin he did not busy himself' in the market-places, with buying and selling. Unlike many of the Ansar, he had no land to cultivate nor crops to tend. He stayed with the Prophet in Madinah and went with him on journeys and expeditions.

Many companions were amazed at the number of hadith he had memorized and often questioned him on when he had heard a certain hadith and under what circumstances. Once Marwan ibn al-Hakam wanted to test Abu Hurayrah's power of memory. He sat with him in one room and behind a curtain he placed a scribe, unknown to Abu Hurayrah, and ordered him to write down whatever Abu Hurayrah said. A year later, Marwan called Ab u Hurayrah again and asked him to recall the same ahadith which the scribe had recorded. It was found that he had forgotten not a single word. Abu Hurayrah was concerned to teach and transmit the ahadith he had memorized and knowledge of Islam in general. It is reported that one day he passed through the suq of Madinah and naturally saw people engrossed in the business of buying and selling. "How feeble are you, O people of Madinah!" he said. "What do you see that is feeble in us, Abu Hurayrah?" they asked. "The inheritance of the Messenger of God, peace be on him, is being distributed and you remain here! Won't you go and take your portion?"

"Where is this, O Abu Hurayrah?" they asked. "In the Masjid," he replied. Quickly they left. Abu Hurayrah waited until they returned. When they saw him, they said: "O Abu Hurayrah, we went to the Masjid and entered and we did not see anything being distributed." "Didn't you see anyone in the Masjid?" he asked. "O yes, we saw some people performing Salat, some people reading the Quran and some people discussing about what is halal and what is haram." "Woe unto you," replied Abu Hurayrah," that is the inheritance of Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace." Abu Hurayrah underwent much hardship and difficulties as a result of his dedicated search for knowledge. He was often hungry and destitute. He said about himself: "When I was afflicted with severe hunger, I would go to a companion' of the Prophet and asked him about an ayah of the Quran and (stay with him) learning it so that he would take me with him to his house and give food. "

One day, my hunger became so severe that I placed a stone on my stomach. I then sat down in the path of the companions. Abu Bakr passed by and I asked him about an ayah of the Book of God. I only asked him so that he would invite me but he didn't. "Then Umar ibn al-Khattab passed by me and I asked him about an ayah but he also did not invite me. Then the Messenger of God, peace be on him, passed by and realized that I was hungry and said: "Abu Hurayrah!" "At your command" I replied and followed him until we entered his house. He found a bowl of milk and asked his family: "From where did you get this?" "Someone sent it to you" they replied. He then said to me: "O Abu Hurayrah, go to the Ahl as-Suffah and invite them." Abu Hurayrah did as he was told and they all drank from the milk.

The time came of course when the Muslims were blessed with great wealth and material goodness of every description. Abu Hurayrah eventually got his share of wealth. He had a comfortable home, a wife and child. But this turn of fortune did not change his personality. Neither did he forget his days of destitution. He would "I grew up as an orphan and I emigrated as a poor and indigent person. I used to take food for my stomach from Busrah bint Ghazwan. I served people when they returned from journeys and l ed their camels when they set out. Then God caused me to marry her (Busrah). So praise be to God who has strengthened his religion and made Abu Hurayrah an imam." (This last statement is a reference to the time when he became governor of Madinah.) Much of Abu Hurayrah's time would be spent in spiritual exercises and devotion to God. Qiyam al-Layl staying up for the night in prayer and devotion - was a regular practice of his family including his wife and his daughter. He would stay up for a third o f the night, his wife for another third and his daughter for a third. In this way, in the house of Abu Hurayrah no hour of the night would pass without ibadah, dhikr and Salat.

During the caliphate of Umar, Umar appointed him as governor of Bakrain. Umar was very scrupulous about the type of persons whom he appointed as governors. He was always concerned that his governors should live simply and frugally and not acquire much wea lth even though this was through lawful means. In Bahrain, Abu Hurayrah became quite rich. Umar heard of this and recalled him to Madinah. Umar thought he had acquired his wealth through unlawful means and questioned him about where and how he had acquired such a fortune. Abu Hurayrah replied: "From b reeding horses and gifts which I received." "Hand it over to the treasury of the Muslims," ordered Umar. Abu Hurayrah did as he was told and raised his hands to the heavens and prayed: "O Lord, forgive the Amir al-Muminin." Subsequently, Umar asked him to become governor once again but he declined. Umar asked him why he refused and he said: "So that my honor would not be besmirched, my wealth taken and my back beaten."

And he added: "And I fear to judge without knowledge and speak without wisdom." Throughout his life Abu Hurayrah remained kind and courteous to his mother. Whenever he wanted to leave home, he would stand at the door of her room and say: As-salaamu alaykum, yaa ummataah, wa rahrnatullahi wa barakatuhu, peace be on you, mother, and th e mercy and blessings of God." She would reply: "Wa alayka-s salaam, yaa bunayya, wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu - And on you be peace, my son, and the mercy and blessings of God." Often, he would also say: "May God have mercy on you as you cared for me wh en I was small," and she would reply: "May God have mercy on you as you delivered me from error when I was old." Abu Hurayrah always encouraged other people to be kind and good to their parents. One day he saw two men walking together, one older than the other. He asked the younger one: "What is this man to you?" "My father," the person replied. "Don't call him by his name. Don't walk in front of him and don't sit before him," advised Abu Hurayrah. Muslims owe a debt of gratitude to Abu Hurayrah for helping to preserve and transmit the valuable legacy of the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace. He died in the year 59 AH when he was seventy-eight years old.

Deliver my heart

Deliver my heart

A man went to Ibrahim ibn Adham (may Allah be pleased with him) and said: 'O Abu Ishaq! I transgress against myself by committing sins. Inform me of a deterrent that will deliver my heart.'

Ibrahim (may Allah be pleased with him) said: 'If you accept five practices and remain steadfast on hem, nothing will harm and no sinful pleasure will destroy you.:

  1. If you want to disobey Allah, then don't eat from His provisions
  2. If you want to disobey Allah, then don't live in a place that He owns.
  3. And if you (are such an ingrate) and still wish to disobey Him, then find a place where you can do so inconspicuously.
  4. When the Angel of Death arrives, ask him to delay taking your soul for awhile so that you are able to make a sincere repentance and perform some good deeds for Allah. The angel will not grant you your desire and will immediately dispatch your soul to the next world.
  5. When the angels of Hell come to escort you to Hell, don't follow them. You will not be able to resist.

The man said: 'Enough, enough Ibrahim. I will make a sincere repentance right now.' The man did so and stayed with Ibrahim until his death separated them. (Muwaqif Mushriqah Fi Hayatis Salaf:15)

If you have no shame, then do as you please

If you have no shame, then do as you please

One of the children of Al-Qa’nabi is the narrator of this story:

A regular drinker of wine, my father used to keep company with disreputable young man. He one day invited them and then sat down in front of his door, waiting for them to arrive. While he was waiting, Shu’bah passed by on his donkey, and a number of people were racing behind him in order to keep up with him.

“Who is that?” asked Al-Qa’nabi.

“Shu’bah”, answered someone who was seated nearby. “anwhat is a Sho’bah?” asked Al-Qanabi derisively. “a scholar of Hadith” was the reply. This explained why so many people were following Shu’bah, for they were probably his students. “Al-Qa’nabi, who was wearing an indecent, red-colored lower garment”, said Al-Qa’nabi, in a peremptory and somewhat disdainful manner.

“you are not one of the people of hadith, so I do not feel obligated to relate a narration to you,” said Shu’bah. Al-Qa’nabi, who had probably just imbibed a few drinks, too out a knife and pointed in menacingly at Shu’bah.

“you will report to me a narration or I will injure you” said Al-Qa’nabi.

“Mansur repoeted to us”, began As-Shu’bah, “from Rib’I from Abu Masu’ud, who said the prophet of Allah said: “if you have no shame, then do as you please” (one meaning of this narration might be: one who has no shame is one who does as he please, but he will certainly face the consequences of his actions.)

Tossing the knife onto the ground, Al-Qa’nabi went inside. Not wanting the implications of the aforementioned hadith to apply to him, he took all of the wine bottles he had and emptied them onto the floor. The than said to his mother, “My companions will soon arrive. When they come, admit them inside and offer them food. When they are finished eating, tell them what I did with the alcohol, so that they will than leave.” As for himself, Al-Qa’nabi immediately left for Al-Madinah, where he spent the following years of his life as a student of Imam Malik bin Anas- may Allah have mercy on him. He eventually had the honor of reporting Hadith narrations from the Imam

The Accepted Repentance

The Accepted Repentance

A man once went to Rabiah bint Ismail Al- Adawiyyah, who was known by the titles, Mother of dooness, and the famous worshiper, he said, "Indeed, I have perpetrated a great number of sins. If i repent do you think that Allah will accept my repentance?" she said, "Woe unto you! Do you not see the He invites those who turn away from him; then why wouldn't he accept the repentance of those who turn towars him?"
What she said is indeed ture, for Allah is happy when we submit to him and hasten back to him, repentance for our sins. To worship Him is purpose for which we were created. Glad tidings, then, to he who knows his purpose and puts what he knows into practice.