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Hazrat Muhammad (Sm) and the rights of women

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Anis Fatema :
Today's world has become an ensnare of immorality and misfortunes. Now-a-days we are living in such an atmosphere where it seems that even to breath honest air is almost impossible. People are running behind worldly desires forgetting the human responsibilities and leaving the ethical values behind. This dark episode of our everyday life compels us to look deep into our soul. We should accept the fact that to follow the way of the pious, generous and kind world is the only way to reconcile, to attain peace.
Whenever we think of the Best of mankind, the only name that comes to our mind is the name of our beloved Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Sm). To know the life of the last Prophet, to study the heavenly journey of the Prophet is our obligatory duty. Since The Almighty Allah loves us a lot He has bestowed us with the Most benevolent blessing 'The Holy Quran' through His most loving Prophet Muhammad (Sm). Thus one of the most auspicious days, the birthday of Rasoolullah (Sm), provides us with a special opportunity to discuss his life and teachings.
Being a woman I cannot ignore the fact of being neglected and obsessed. The struggling journey of women started before a long period of time. Till today we are struggling to gain, to achieve, and to see us in a much better and respected space in the existing society. But alas! We have not reached yet. There are wrong doers, mischievous, devilish people around us whose heinous clutches are lurking around. At the present moment when we are busy with our determinations and hardships, we are thinking of our goals.   This thought leads me to move back when peace and Divine tranquility could be established in Arab because of the presence of that enlightened soul. Undoubtedly the Great Muhammad (Sm) made it possible by dint of the Holy Quran. This sacred Scripture is the most benevolent and the most dynamic source of wisdom. In today's world, in present age, we are not having the drops of those Heavenly blessings just because of our ignorance and negligence.
Muhammad (Sm) established gender equality in his own life by respecting the spirit and noble nature of womanhood. The life of Muhammad (Sm) was the embodiment of the rules and regulations, do's and don'ts of The Holy Quran. Rasulullah (Sm) formed a peaceful nation by applying the method of Islam as mentioned in The Holy Scripture. To have a glance of the Holy Quran would make us comprehend the truth behind the most noble and the modest Seerat-un-Nabi (Sm).  
In the Holy Quran the equality among men and women and their balanced status have been mentioned several times. One of such examples is in Surat-al-Ahzab (33:35). Here it is declared by Allah , "Verily, men who surrender unto Allah, and women who surrender, and men who believe and women who believe, and men who obey and women who obey, and men who speak the truth and women who speak the truth...and men who give alms and women who give alms, and men who fast and women who fast, and men who guard their modesty and women who guard (their modesty), and men who remember Allah much and women who remember -Allah hath prepared for them forgiveness and a vast reward." This Ayat from The Holy Quran depicts the most dynamic shape of the balanced status of men and women. Herein both men and women equally possess the modest qualities and both of them have equally been assured by the message of benevolent award. The inhuman activities of today's existing society are proving the fact that gender inequality originates from absence of enough Islamic knowledge, lack of moral teaching, and the advancement of dishonest ideas. As for Islam, gender equality is a part of its jurisprudence and fundamental teachings. Elsewhere, the Holy Qur'an says :"O mankind, surely We have created you from a malea and a female, and made you nations and tribes, that you may know each other. Surely the noblest of you with Allah is the most righteous ; surely Allah Knowing Aware." (Holy Qur'an, 49:13)
The Almighty Allah repeatedly mentions in The Holy Quran the balanced and desiring relationship between men and women. As a Muslim woman my sense of honor multiplies when I recite the verse no. 187 0f Sura Bakara where it is declared for all the human beings' acknowledgement that The Almighty bears equal portion of love and sympathy for both of his male and female creatures and in this regard  His instruction is crystal clear. The Most Merciful Says: "They are a garment for you and you are a garment for them." (2:187) This Ayat deals with the moral value of married life. Here we are driven towards the lesson of responsibilities in our conjugal life. Both husband and wife will help each other to beatify each other's personality by means of responsible social behavior and also they will hide each other's faults with the hope of Allah Subhanahuta'ala's forgiveness. This Ayat depicts the dependency of the spouses on each other demolishing the idea of superiority.
About work and doing good deeds, the Holy Qur'an reveals the beauty of Islam and its equal treatment of workers. This is something the West still has not been able to accomplish! The Holy Qur'an says:"And whoever does righteous deeds, whether male or female, and he/she is a believer - they will enter the garden, and not the least injustice will be done to them." (Holy Qur'an, 4:124) In another place Allah says: "Whoever does good, whether male or female, and is a believer, We shall certainly make him/her live a good life, and We shall certainly give them their reward for the best of what they did." (Holy Qur'an, 16:97)  In another verse, Allah, Most High still promise:"...I will not suffer the work of any worker among you to be lost whether male or female, the one of you being from the other..."(Holy Qur'an, 3:195)
In the vast ocean of  The Holy Quran there are numerous Verses that categorically prove that gender discrimination is not Islamic faith-based. As per the teachings of Islam man cannot stake any claim legally.
In another verse Allah Subhanahuta'ala says, "O mankind! Fear your Lord Who (initiated) your creation from a single soul, then from it created its mate, and from these two spread (the creation of) countless men and women." (Al-Qur'an, 4:1) This Verse clearly expounds that man or woman are created from a single entity and are basically equal in status and rights. So gender one is not superior to the other. "And according to usage, women too have rights over men similar to the rights of men over women."(Al-Qur'an, 2:228)This Verse denotes that rights enjoyed by men are the duties of the women and the duties of men are the rights of women. This implies a similitude between both the genders. In Islam woman can never be deprived of because she is a woman. In fact man has been made more responsible in connection with the performance of social and economic obligations. One of the basic responsibilities of man in the Islamic Law is to fulfill maintenance of woman. At no place has this responsibility been placed on woman. Woman has been freed of the burden of social, political and economic responsibilities. But still women are welcomed to put in front their ideas and values. In fact they have been given more freedom than men under certain rules and regulations and the opportunities for women to capitalize on them are more than those enjoyed by men. For example on economic matters the Qur'an says: "Men will have a share of what they earn, and women will have a share of what they earn."  (Al-Qur'an, 4:32)
Woman has not been burdened with the financial responsibilities of family. It has squarely been placed on the shoulders of man; he is responsible to ensure the fulfillment of the rights of woman even though she may be earning herself. It is not her responsibility to bear the financial burden of a family. Man cannot stake any claim legally. Whatever she earns is her personal income. However, it will be an act of benevolence on part of a woman if both of them spend on the wellbeing of their children out of their volition. But whether she earns or not she has been given the guarantee of complete economic maintenance; man is responsible for that.
 According to Islamic principles equal rights are enjoyed by men and women. In the eyes of the most beautifully civilized way of life woman is a complete embodiment of wisdom and capabilities in Islam.
In the Holy Quran we also have the examples of some enormous women personalities. They have been presented in various incidents in truly heart touching manner. These incidents are the depiction of women's emancipation. One of such noble characters is Asiyah, the wife of the Pharaoh and one of the four Heavenly women. In the history of Musa (As) this woman holds a unique establishment. She protected and nourished Hazrat Musa (As) according to The Almighty's choice. Infant Musa (As) was provided with a safe shelter in her lap. It seems that one of the most influential and magnetic episode of Divine interest was carried by this woman. In the life of Asiyah as it is mentioned in The Holy Quran, we see that a virtuous woman is permitted to keep herself away from evil deeds and in this regard if she needs to disobey the wicked husband, she has been allowed. For the satisfaction of Allah for passing test Iman is a must. Here it is proved a woman of great virtue and strong belief is far better than a man of wicked ideas. She prayed to Allah to build her a house in Paradise and save her from her wicked husband Pharaoh.
Another Heavenly woman as mentioned in The Holy Quran is Mariam, the mother of  Isa 'Alaihis Salam. Mariam is another respected female personality of Islam. Mother Mariam had to face tremendous difficulties but it never blocked her way towards the Holy Truth. She bore Isa (As) in her womb and established sacrificing example of motherhood.
Next comes the heavenly woman Hazrat Khadiza, the first wife of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sm) and the first of Ummat-e-Rasool as she was the first one to accept Islam and accept the Prophethood of Muhammad (Sm). Khadiza considered all her wealth and riches very negligible in comparison with deeds of Islam. The whole of her life she dedicated in worshipping Allah and in fulfilling her duties towards her dearest husband Muhammad (Sm). Alhamdulillah! Allah declared the best news for her of having shelter in Jannah.
The woman who was the piece of our Prophet's (Sm) heart was Fatima, his daughter. She was the wife of Hazrat Ali (Ra) and the mother of Hasan and Husain, the grandsons of Rasoolullah (Sm). The whole of her life she spent worshipping Allah following her father's guidance and obeying her husband. Even after being in the midst of poverty she remained untouched by sadness as she was filled with Imam.
 Muhammad (Sm) is that virtuous soul who established women emancipation in true sense as he was directly guided by The Almighty Allah. Our beloved Prophet said, "Heaven lies under the feet of mother." May Allah show us the right path to follow the correct ideals of Islam. May Allah provide us with Divine knowledge and wisdom and bless us with a truly peaceful and satisfying society.

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