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WOMEN IN ISLAM

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Title: WOMEN IN ISLAM


1
WOMEN IN ISLAM
  • By
  • Seema Khan

2
Introduction
  • Family, society and ultimately the whole of
    mankind is treated by Islam on an ethical basis.
  • Differentiation in gender is neither a credit nor
    a drawback for men or women.
  • Therefore, when we talk about status of woman in
    Islam it should not lead us to think that Islam
    has no specific guidelines, limitations,
    responsibilities or obligations for men.
  • What makes one valuable and respectable in the
    eyes of Allah, the Creator of mankind and the
    universe, is neither one's prosperity, position,
    intelligence, physical strength nor beauty, but
    only one's God-consciousness and awareness.

3
Historical perspectives
  • Indian women
  • Athenian women
  • Roman women
  • English women

4
Indian women
  • Describing the status of the Indian woman,
    Encyclopedia Britannica states
  • In India, subjection was a cardinal principle.
    Day and night women must be held by their
    protectors in a state of dependence. The rule of
    inheritance was agnatic, that is descent traced
    through males to the exclusion of females.
  • In Hindu scriptures, the description of a good
    wife is as follows a woman, whose mind, speech
    and body are kept in subjection, acquires high
    renown in this world, and, in the next, the same
    abode with her husband.

5
Athenian women
  • Athenian women were always minors, subject to
    some male - to their father, to their brother, or
    to some of their male kin.
  • Her consent in marriage was not generally thought
    to be necessary and "she was obliged to submit to
    the wishes of her parents, and receive from them
    her husband and her lord, even though he were
    stranger to her."

6
Romans
  • Roman women were minors in the society
  • In the Encyclopedia Britannica we find a summary
    of the legal status of women in the Roman
    civilization
  • In Roman Law a woman was even in historic
    times completely dependent. If married, she and
    her property passed into the power of her husband
    . . . the wife was the purchased property of her
    husband, and like a slave acquired only for his
    benefit. A woman could not exercise any civil or
    public office . She could not be a witness,
    surety, tutor, or guardian she could not adopt
    or be adopted, or make will or contract.

7
According to the English Common Law
  • ...all real property which a wife held at the
    time of a marriage became a possession of her
    husband.
  • He was entitled to the rent from the land and to
    any profit which might be made from operating the
    estate during the joint life of the spouses.
  • As time passed, the English courts devised means
    to forbid a husband's transferring real property
    without the consent of his wife, but he still
    retained the right to manage it and to receive
    the money which it produced. As to a wife's
    personal property, the husband's power was
    complete. He had the right to spend it as he saw
    fit.

8
Only by the late nineteenth Century did the
situation start to improve. "By a series of acts
starting with the Married women's Property Act in
1870, amended in 1882 and 1887, married women
achieved the right to own property and to enter
contracts on a par with spinsters, widows, and
divorcees."
9
According to the Mosaic Law
  • Encyclopedia Biblica states
  • The girls consent is unnecessary and the need
    for it is nowhere suggested in the Law.
  • As to the right of divorce, we read in the
    Encyclopedia Biblica
  • The woman being man's property, his right to
    divorce her follows as a matter of course.
  • In the Mosaic Law divorce was a privilege of the
    husband only

10
Misconceptions about Women in Islam
  • Muslim women are slaves to their husbands/
    inferior to them
  • Women are forced by their husbands to cover
  • Women are backward
  • Women are oppressed in Islam
  • Women are completely devoid of spiritual, social,
    economic or political rights

11
Women in Islam
12
  • In the midst of the darkness that surrounded the
    world, the divine revelation echoed in the wide
    desert of Arabia with a fresh, noble, and
    universal message to humanity
  • He (God) it is who did create you from a single
    soul and therefrom did create his mate, that he
    might dwell with her (in love)...(Qur'an 7189)
  • And Allah has given you mates of your own
    nature, and has given you from your mates,
    children and grandchildren, and has made
    provision of good things for you… (Qur'an 1672)

13
  • The spiritual aspect
  • The economic aspect
  • The social aspect
  • The political and legal aspect

14
The Spiritual Aspect
  • Women have the same human spiritual nature as men
  • "Every soul will be (held) in pledge for
    its deeds" (Qur'an 7438). It also states
  • ...So their Lord accepted their prayers,
    (saying) I will not suffer to be lost the work
    of any of you whether male or female. You proceed
    one from another ...(Qur'an 3 195).
  • Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and
    has faith, verily to him will We give a new life
    that is good and pure, and We will bestow on such
    their reward according to the their actions.
    (Qur'an1697, see also 4124).

15
Woman responsible for the fall of man? Bible
  • "A woman should learn in quietness and full
    submission. I don't permit a woman to teach or to
    have authority over a man she must be silent.
    For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was
    not the one deceived it was the woman who was
    deceived and became a sinner." 1 Timothy 211-14
  • "No wickedness comes anywhere near the wickedness
    of a woman... Sin began with a woman and thanks
    to her we all must die. .." (Catholic Bible,
    Ecclesiasticus 2519,24)

16
Woman responsible for the fall of man? Quran
  • The Quran does not blame woman for the fall of
    man, nor does it view pregnancy and childbirth
    as punishments for eating from the forbidden
    tree.
  • There is no hint that the first woman created by
    God is a creature of lesser worth than the first
    male.
  • The Quran deals with the pair with perfect
    equity. Both are equally guilty of sinning both
    are equally punished by God with expulsion from
    the Garden and both are equally forgiven when
    they repent. 

17
The Spiritual Aspect (cont.)
  • Religious obligations and rewards
  • In terms of religious obligations, such as the
    Daily Prayers, Fasting, Zakat, and Pilgrimage,
    woman is no different from man
  • If any do deeds of righteousness, be they male
    or female, and have faith, they will enter
    paradise and not the least injustice will be done
    to them. (Quran 4124)
  • Lo! 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 are humble and women who are
    humble, 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 and
    women who remember-Allah hath prepared for them
    forgiveness and a vast reward. (3335).
  • In some cases, woman has certain advantages over
    man

18
The Social Aspect
  • As a child and an adolescent
  • Despite the social acceptance of female
    infanticide among some Arabian tribes, the Quran
    forbade this custom, and considered it a crime
    like any other murder.
  • "And when the female (infant) buried alive - is
    questioned, for what crime she was killed."
    (Qur'an 818-9).
  • Criticizing the attitudes of such parents who
    reject their female children, the Qur'an states
  • 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
    (sufferance) and contempt, or bury her in the
    dust? Ah! What an evil (choice) they decide on?
    (Qur'an 16 58-59).

19
  • Among the sayings of Prophet Muhammad in this
    regard are the following Whosoever has a
    daughter and he does not bury her alive, does not
    insult her, and does not favor his son over her,
    God will enter him into Paradise. (Ibn Hanbal,
    No. 1957). Whosoever supports two daughters
    till they mature, he and I will come in the day
    of judgment as this (and he pointed with his two
    fingers held together).

20
  • Right to education
  • The right of females to seek knowledge is not
    different from that of males
  • Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said
  • "Seeking knowledge is mandatory for every
    Muslim". (AlBayhaqi)
  • The Quran repeatedly commands all readers to
    read, to recite, to think, to contemplate, as
    well as to learn from the signs of Allah.
  • In fact, the very first revelation to Prophet
    Muhammad (PBUH)) was concerned with knowledge.
  • Lectures of the Prophet were attended by
    audiences of both men and women
  • By the time of the Prophet's death, there were
    many women scholars. 

21
The Social Aspect (cont.)
  • As a wife
  • The Qur'an clearly indicates that marriage is
    sharing between the two halves of the society,
    and that its objectives, besides perpetuating
    human life, are emotional well-being and
    spiritual harmony. Its bases are love and mercy.
  • And among His Signs is this, that He created
    for you mates from among yourselves that you may
    dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put
    love and mercy between your (hearts) verily in
    that are signs for those who reflect. (Quran
    3021)

22
Rights pertaining to marriage in Islam
  • The female has the right to accept or reject
    marriage proposals
  • Her consent is a prerequisite to the validity of
    the marital contract, according to the Prophet's
    teachings
  • Right to retain her family name
  • Right to a separate home
  • Full right to her Mahr marital gift
  • Right to be satisfied by her husband
  • The husband is responsible for the maintenance,
    protection, and overall leadership of the family,
    within the framework of consultation and
    kindness.
  • Right to divorce her husband

23
  • The Qur'an states
  • "...But consort with them in kindness, for if
    you hate them it may happen that you hate a thing
    wherein God has placed much good." (Qur'an 4
    l9).
  • Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said
  • The most perfect believers are the best in
    conduct and best of you are those who are best to
    their wives.
  • Prophet (peace be upon him) instructed Muslims
    regarding women,
  • I commend you to be kind to women.

24
  • Should marital disputes arise, the Quran
    encourages couples to resolve them privately in a
    spirit of fairness and probity.
  • Under no circumstances does the Quran encourage,
    allow, or condone family violence or physical
    abuse.

25
The Social Aspect (cont.)
  • As a mother
  • Islam considers kindness to parents next to the
    worship of God.
  • Quran says
  • "Show gratitude to Me and to your parents to Me
    is (your final) destiny." (Quran 3114)
  • Moreover, the Qur'an has a special recommendation
    for the good treatment of mothers
  • "And we have enjoined upon man (to be good) to
    his parents His mother bears him in weakness
    upon weakness..." (Qur'an 3114) (See also Qur'an
    4615, 298).

26
The Economic Aspect
  • In the 19th century European women did not have
    the right to own their own property.
  • In Britain, perhaps the first country to give
    women some property rights, laws were passed in
    the 1860's known as "Married Women Property Act."
  • In Germany the wife was denied any control over
    her property until 1922 by civil law!

27
The Economic Aspect
  • Islam provides a woman with
  • Right to possess personal property- buy, sell,
    mortgage, lease without anyones permission being
    required.
  • "Whatever men earn, they have a share of that
    and whatever women earn, they have a share in
    that." (Qur'an 431)
  • In Islam the wifes property and earnings are
    under her full control and for her use alone. No
    matter how rich the wife might be, she is not
    obliged to act as a co-provider unless she
    herself voluntarily chooses to do so.
  • Right to seek Employment
  • Right to Inheritance laws
  • Financial security

28
The Political Aspect
  • Islam provides a woman with
  • Right to vote
  • Participation in political affairs
  • Women can be in leadership positions
  • Participation in public affairs
  • - During the Caliphate of Omar Ibn al-Khattab, a
    woman argued with him in the mosque, proved her
    point, and caused him to declare in the presence
    of people The woman is right and Omar is wrong.

29
Rights of Women in Islam
  • Equality of reward for their deeds
  • The right and duty to obtain education
  • The right to obtain provisions from her father or
    brothers until she gets married
  • The right to have their own independent property
  • The right to provisions from the husband for all
    her needs and more.
  • The right to work to earn money if they need it
    or want it
  • The right to keep all her own money
  • The right to express their opinion and be heard
  • The right to negotiate marriage terms of her
    choice 
  • The right to obtain divorce from her husband
  • The right to have custody of their children after
    divorce
  • And more…

30
Even with such distorted image of women in Islam
in the West it is worth mentioning that
  • The history of Muslims is rich with women of
    great achievements in all walks of life from as
    early as the seventh century (B.C.)
  • Out of every 5 Muslim reverts, 4 are women!
  • The status which women reached in the west was
    achieved through a long struggle and sacrifice on
    womans part and only when society needed her
    contribution and work, during the two world wars,
    and due to the escalation of technological
    change.
  • In the case of Islam such compassionate and
    dignified status was decreed more than 14
    centuries ago, not because it reflects the
    environment of the seventh century, nor under the
    threat or pressure of women and their
    organizations, but rather because of its
    intrinsic truthfulness.

31
A Dual sex society rather than a unisex society 
  • Western Idea of equality of sexes (Unisex
    society)
  • In Islam, men and women are equal but different
    (Dual Sex Society)
  • Created differently
  • Abilities differ
  • Roles and duties differ

32
Islamic Dress
  • Both women and men are expected to dress in a
    way, which is modest and dignified.
  • Men and women are required to dress and appear
    different from each other to maintain their
    identity
  • The Prophet cursed the men who appeared like
    women and the women who appeared like men
  • The traditions of male and female dress found in
    some Muslim countries are often expression of
    local customs.

33
  • "Say to the believing men that they should lower
    their gaze and guard their modesty......And say
    to the believing women that they should lower
    their gaze and guard their modesty that they
    should not display their beauty and ornaments
    except what ordinarily appear thereof that they
    should draw their veils over their bosoms...."
    (2430,31).

34
Islamic Dress for Women
  • In reference to women, the Quran and the Hadiths
    have mandated various rules in regards to
    behavior and appearance
  • This was not to restrict women, but to provide a
    virtuous society where sexual attraction is not
    the main obsession
  • The Muslim woman is not forced to display herself
    to be accepted in the society.
  • She does not lower herself into competition with
    other women, using her body as a lure.
  • She is not a slave to the societal trends

35
Hijaab- The covering
  • What is Hijaab?
  • Why Hijaab?
  • Benefits of Hijaab

36
What is Hijaab?
  • The word itself comes from the Arabic word
    "hajaba" meaning to conceal or hide from view.
  • Hijaab is the modest covering of the head and
    body of Muslim women.
  • Clothing is only one facet of hijab. It is also
    behavior, manner, and speech. Women who wear the
    hijab do not find it inhibiting, impractical, or
    interfering.

37
Why wear hijaab?
  • Because Allah, Their creator ordered them to
  • "O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters and
    the believing women to draw their outer garments
    around them (when they go out or are among men).
    That is better in order that they may be known
    (to be Muslims) and not annoyed..." (Qur'an
    3359)

38
Benefits of Hijaab
  • She pleases her Lord and earns blessings from
    wearing it
  • Purifies her heart and mind
  • Attains nobility
  • Protects her honor
  • By covering her beauty, she is evaluated for her
    intelligence and skills instead of looks and
    sexuality
  • Many women who cover are filled with dignity and
    self-esteem and are happy to be identified as a
    Muslim woman.
  • Defines her femininity
  • Beautifies her inner and outer appearance
  • Expresses her independence and she feels
    liberated.

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