What About Muslim Women?
Islam sees the woman, whether married or
unmarried, as an individual in her own right. She has the same right to own
property, earn wealth, and spend it that a man has. Her wealth does not become
the property of the man after marriage. A woman does not change her name when
she gets married. A woman can seek divorce if her marriage does not work out.
Men and women are equal before Allah. They are both accountable before Allah. They both receive their reward in the Hereafter for their faith and good deeds.
Economically, every man and woman is an independent legal entity. Both men and women have the right to own property, engage in business, and inherit from others. Both have the equal right to receive an education and enter into gainful employment.
Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim. The type of knowledge that is obligatory upon every individual is religious knowledge. It is also obligatory upon some people in society to study every beneficial field of knowledge. For example, society needs doctors, both men and women. It becomes obligatory for some people to go into this field to fulfill the needs of society.
Women are allowed to pursue their academic interests and strive to fulfill their intellectual curiosity. To prevent women from getting an education is contrary to the teachings of Islam.
Many people perceive Islam as a chauvinistic religion that belittles women. They cite the condition of women in some Muslim countries to prove their point. Their mistake is that they fail to separate the culture of a given people from the true teachings of the religion that they profess. Women in many third world countries live horrible lives. They are dominated by men and denied many of their basic human rights. This does not apply to Muslim countries alone, nor does it apply to all Muslim countries.
Oppression of women exists in many cultures around the world. It would be unjust to blame these cultural practices on religious beliefs unless the teachings of the religion call to such behavior. The teachings of Islam clearly do not.