Women Rights in Islam

women in islam

From amongst the most important messages of the Qur’an is justice for woman. The Jahiliyah society gave women no rights, they were not much different to commodities that were bought and sold on the market. And this was not just in the Arabian Peninsula but across the globe, especially Europe, where women were not even considered human. The Qur’an very proudly recognises the role of women and firmly establishes their rights in all aspects of their contribution to society.

So in Islam there is no difference between men and women as far their relationship with Allah is concerned. They are the same as Allah says

O humanity! Be mindful of your Lord who created you from a single soul, and from it He created its mate, and through both He spread countless men and women.”[1]

Allah has honoured women as a human, female, daughter, wife, mother, member of society. Islam sees women and men as two branches of the same tree. We are all children of Adam and Hawa, equal and responsible.

We are created in pairs for a reason

So, Allah has created man and women in pairs and our existence, wellbeing and happiness is only found when we are paired together. Allah created Adam to enjoy paradise, but Adam did not fully enjoy paradise until he was given a spouse, Hawa. So Allah says:

He is the one who created you from a single soul, then from it made its spouse so he may find comfort in her.”[2]

Undoubtedly, there is no difference in Islam between women and men as far as their relationship to Allah in concerning as both are promised the same reward for good conduct and the same for punishment for evil conduct.

The Qur’an when referring to the believers addresses them as ‘believing men and believing women’ to accentuate the equality of both male and female in regards to their particular duties, rights, virtues and merits.  Islam abolished inhumanity, equality, discrimination towards women as well as gave a complete code of conduct for both male and female. Islam teaches very clearly that both men and women are equal yet they both have different roles and responsibilities.

Evil treatment of Women prior to Islam

Before the coming of Prophethood, the pagan Arabs would bury their daughters alive make women dance naked around the ka’ba, sell them to one another, they had no rights. Other faiths fundamentally considered women cursed or even the source of all evil, taking their doctrines from a corrupt interpretation of the story of Adam and Eve, blaming eve for the down fall of Adam.

Islam and women

The Prophet Muhammad on his final and only Hajj stood strong on the day of Arafat, the most sacred day of Hajj, he stood infront of his followers who numbered in the tens of thousands, the biggest gathering he had ever faced. He stood up and addressed his followers with his departing message for the world, he could have spoken about politics, economics, war rather he said

Fear Allah in respect of women, verily you have married them with the trust of Allah, and made their bodies lawful with the word of Allah. You have rights over them, and they have rights over you in respect of their food and clothing according to your means.”

The different types of rights of women ensured in Islam are:

In no other system or religion could a woman inherit wealth, it was only until 1922 the law of Property Act enabled a husband and wife to inherit each other’s property in the United Kingdom, that’s nearly 1300 years too late. Whereas in Islam six classes of people are never deprived of inheritance. From these six three are women (a mother, wife and daughter). From among the twelve sharers eight of them are women (mother, wife, daughter, son’s daughter, true grandmother, full sister, consanguine sister and uterine sister).


Allah has created men and women in pairs as comforters of one another, so they can live in peace and procreate and bring up a good family.

And among His signs is this that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your hearts. Undoubtly in these are signs for those who reflect.”[3]

In marriage in Islam women can choose their partner, no one is to be forced into any relationship. A previously married women may marry without her guardian in some schools of thought. The wife has the right to receive a dowry, a gift from her husband. 


Maintenance (nafaqa) is mandatory upon the husband, he must provide for his wife food, shelter and clothing as basic necessitates. At the same time Islam does not impose liability upon the wife to bear expenses of the family or to bear expenses of her husband on any condition rather ensured her right to get maintenance from her husband.


In many ways of life divorce was unheard of, totally outlawed, once a woman was married she must remain with that person until death does them apart. Only in 1923, The Matrimonial Cause Act in the United Kingdom, was passed enabling either partner to petition for divorce on the basis of their spouse’s adultery (previously, only the man had been able to do this). Again nearly 1300 years too late.

Islam recognises marriage as being sacrosanct, yet it allows in deserved cases for a marriage to be dissolved. Both men and women can seek to terminate the marriage contract, both in different ways, and both must follow strict guidelines. The husband may issue a verbal divorce which will be taken in effect and the wife may file for a khul’a which may result in the termination of a marriage contract.

Women have the right to choose their profession

Islam is a social way of living and recognises women as half of society so their role in society is very important. As a matter of fact, their role is much more central than the mans, as she is the primary school of the next generation. So Islam encourages both men and women to play an active role in society in order to build and grow as a civilisation.

They have the right to Proprietorship

Women have full rights to property, they can be property owners just like men. It is not her responsibility to bear the expense of the family even her maintenance or the maintenance of the children. The husband has no right in her personal property. She is not liable to pay the debt of her husband.

Right to seek knowledge

The Prophet Muhammad ordered all people to seek knowledge, he said it is compulsory for both males and females to seek knowledge.

Seeking knowledge is a duty upon every Muslim.”[4]


There is much more to be said, you can visit Islamic Courses Online to gain a deeper understanding on this topic. But in conclusion, there are a lot of misconceptions about women in Islam which are a direct result of Islamophobes misconstruing Islamic teachings to suit their aggressive agendas. Islam is a complete way of life, it covers all aspects of our lives, and it respects and liberates all people including women. What Islam achieved with regards to the liberation of women no other system has and will ever achieve. Islam is the solution to the world’s problems, a world full of confusion needs Islam to set the balance of life in order again. Allah has created man and woman equally, yet differently, that is the key.

[1] An-Nisa 4:1

[2] Al-Araf 7:189

[3] Ar rum 30:21

[4] Sunan Ibn Majah

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