Religion is defined as the worship and belief in a divine human, usually a personal God or gods, with power to control the faithful. There are various religions across the world; some of the most practised religions include Baha'i, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism, and Zoroastrianism. Every religion has its view on various factors concerning the superhuman and the men and women who believe in these faiths. Islam like any other religion has its opinion on different responsibilities of men and women concerning their beliefs, moral life, and their religious fate. Following the recent activities, Islam as a religion has been recently seen as a pioneering force in fighting for the rights of women in the society as opposed to long-time community belief of womens place being in the kitchen (Subbamma 165). The fate of women being in the kitchen and seen entirely as an evil creature is evident from the fourth Caliphs sentiments a few years after the death of Prophet Muhammad. Caliph who was Muhamads cousin and son-in-law called a woman an evil creature. Tafsir al-Qurtubi, one of the worlds most respected commentaries of the Quran further went ahead to liken women to cows, camels and horses contemplating that all are ridden. Quran (2:228) and the men are a degree above them from which the standard traditional saying in Islam A womans heaven is beneath her husbands feet gives men power over women (Subbamma 189).
The moral and religious fate of women and men through which a man is given more authority to rule over women are also evident from the Islamic Scholar, al-Ghazalis, sentiments where he stated the roles of women in the society being staying at home and sewing. The Islamic law denies women many opportunities like testimonies to excluding other women from their matrimonial beds. The law does not allow the women to get married even outside their faith proving how lesser value they are as compared to men, this is also evident in the following chapters of the Quran, (4:24) and (33:50). The Islamic law, which has been entirely derived from the Quran, further specifies the fate of a woman murdered by a man where the compensation is only half of what is paid when a man is killed. The law also demands the dispossession of the children from a widowed non-Muslim woman; unless she has converted or remarried a Muslim man while the same law allows men to retain the custody of the children should the wife pass away.
From the Quran, we learn that Muhamads first wife was a wealthy woman with lots of properties and ran successful businesses before they met. However, after meeting, everything changed. In another incidence, the scripture, Sahih Bukhari (62:58), tells us about the woman who presented herself to Muhammad for marriage but instead donated her to another man because he found her unattractive. The ill treatments that women has received have its roots from Prophet Muhammad, the founder of the Islam faith. Muhamad, during the times of war captured women and handled them as tradable commodities (Stowasser 207). The oppression of women in Islam has been so rampant that the late Homa Darabi, who was a skilled physician, had to take her life by setting herself ablaze in the protest against the oppression of women. The fate of women in the society has further been suppressed by the clerics, for example, Abu Ishaq al-Husaini, a modern day cleric called for a reintroduction of slavery where Muslim men could have the freedom of ordering concubines.Quran 4:11 which talks about inheritance allows men to have and marry more than one wife by telling them to have the equal of the portion of two women. It further states that women are lesser beings as compared to men where in Quran (2:282) which talks about the court's testimony, Allah said that when two witnesses are to be brought before the court, they should either be men or one man and two women (Stowasser 128). In this section, Allah valued a mans testimony as twice that of a woman. The apologists have given several reasons to explain why there is so much value given to the testimonies of men. However, research shows that men are more likely to lie as compared to women, thus women are reliable witnesses than men. This verse demonstrates how Allah, view women and values men in the Quran.
Men are also advised to clean, or rub their faces and hands should they make any casual contact with the women; this is evident in the Qurans surah and ayat (5:6) (Ali 107). This is further complemented when the women are told by Allah to lower their gaze so as not to look men in the eye. The Quran refers women as tilth and gives men the power to approach them anytime they want in any way. The Quran also allows men to marry women of their choice and does not specify the exact number of women whom a man can marry, Quran (4:3). In the world today, the Muslim men have acted as per the scriptures and as per their faith. The scriptures are also biased regarding womens position in the society. Sahih Bukhari (2:29), is the only place where women are mentioned in heaven (Ali 204). Unfortunately, the women who are in the sky are the virgins who are there to satisfy the sexual needs of men.
Throughout all the incidences from the surahs of the Quran, men and women have acted according to their Islamic religion under the influence of the Quran. Belief is an important part of the Islamic faith. Beliefs in Allah, the humanity and universe, forms the original foundation of the Islamic religion. The sacred texts of Islam, Quran, states that Righteous is he who believes in Allah and the scriptures and the Prophets Quran (2:177). The doctrine beliefs are paramount to those who follow the faith of Muhammad in the past and the present thus any action of men and women who observe the Islamic religion must act according to the scriptures, Allah and his Prophet Muhammad. Islamic faith, like Christianity and Judaism, teaches of the existence of only one God in the universe making Islam a monotheistic religion. The Islam faith, similar to Judaism and Christianity, hold the position of a Prophet to whom the faithful observe and try to live like. Like any other faith, those who believe in Prophet Muhammad and the Quran, act righteously as per the scriptures and try to live as their prophet. Thus it is right to say; the Quran view the individual men and women as the ones responsible for their own moral and religious faiths.
Ali, Maulana Muhammad. Holy Quran. Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam Lahore USA, 2011.
Subbamma, Malladi. Islam and Women. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers, 1988. Print.
Stowasser, Barbara F. Women in the Qur'an, Traditions, and Interpretation. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Print.
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