Divorce through sms, murdered for dowry, physical abuse by husband, torture by in-laws, high illiteracy in Muslim women and second marriage by husband. We hear such kind of news regarding Muslim women in India, writes Saima Farzeen exclusively for OKHLATIMES.
Does Islam teaches us to torture, oppress our women? Does our religion is wrong or do we wrongly follow our religion and defaming Islam?
Islam has so many rights for women: if not superior she is no less than man in eyes of Allah. We have numerous hadith and Quranic verses justifying this point.
Have we not made Islam a male dominant religion where we highlight the rights of men but ignore or rather hide the rights of women from the eyes of the world?
In India we have heard many cases where husband just in fit of anger gives “talaq” to wife and sometimes they phone/sms their wife with “3 talaq” for petty issues. Some man rather threatens his wife and her family with “talaq”.”Do this or that or I am going to utter 3 talaq now”. The men who takes this word lightly do they realize that “talaq” is the most despised word in the eyes of Allah and Islam gives right of talaq for extreme cases where reconciliation is unavoidable. Do they realize how much “azaab” they are earning for themselves for misusing this word and causing misery to their poor wives and talaq has some process and needs witnesses and ofcourse proper reasoning.
Islam is most infamous for one rule “Men can marry four women” and men take good advantage of this rule. But does anyone know that Islam is the only religion that promotes one marriage
“But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those your right hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice](Surah Nisa verse 3) and this four wives rule is applicable for extreme case.
• If your country has larger population of women than men
• In extreme cases where your first wife give consent to your decision.
• If you have the ability to do proper justice between your wives.
In India we have sex ratio of women less than men and most of these men marry for their selfish reason. Neither they bother to ask their first wife nor do they ever do justice among their wives. Their family and children suffer for them and Islam gets accused for their family disaster.
We have the life of our prophets and sahabas as an example set to lead our life. Have we ever heard any case where these great men beating and humiliating their wives. They might have had issues with their spouses but we never had any hadith mentioning them lifting hands on their wives. Then which sunnat our men follows when they brutually hit their wife and humiliate them in front of their family and children.
Ask any Muslim man what is the status of husband in Islam. He will haughtily mention you all the Quranic verses and hadith stating how high a status given to a husband in Islam and all the rights he has on his wife. But does this man realizes, that this high status comes with even high responsibilities. Throughout his life he has responsibility, to fulfill all his wife needs, protect her, love her, resolve all her issues and take a stand for her whenever requires and give high status to her in his life and society. But this kind of man just knows his right on his wife and beat, harass and humiliate her in return.. He even fails to take a stand for her when his own family humiliates his wife. This kind of husband does not deserve any high status role and are a culprit in the eyes of Allah.
A young bride enters into her marital life with dreams in her eyes and what if she gets in return
• taunt from her in-laws for dowry
• interference from in-laws in her private life
• Pressure from in-laws to cook and serve them like slave
The poor girl gets so much entangled in these issues that she becomes a victim of depression and low self-esteem and worst happens when her husband for whom she left her entire family stands against her instead of standing beside her. We heard many cases where mother and sister in laws fill the ear of the man and causes discord between the couple.
This is being done so that their son/brother could be in their hand. They never realize how much “gunah” they are doing. The worst of “gunah” in the eyes of Allah is if someone causes discord between the couple.
The consequences of this are ugly fights/divorce between the couple. The woman is never in a proper state of mind and she fails to fulfill the duty of a wife and a mother.
A bitter truth many Muslims must not be aware of is Islam does not promote joint families. Joint family is the concept of India not Islam. Islam is a practical religion and it emphasizes on both pros and cons of joint family. No doubt if family members are supportive and understanding there are numerous advantages of joint family but this is not always the case. If issues arise in a family the best solution is to stay separately.
A woman has got right in Islam to ask for separate lodging from her husband and it is the duty of husband to provide one to her. Islam knows that fights among family deteriorate relations, causes endless illness, stress and it affects the upbringing of children. A woman has every right to manage her home and raise her children in her own way. Inlaws can guide her but they have no right to force their decision or methods on her. If a woman serves her in-laws on her own it is her good deed but she is not obliged to serve or cook for them according to Islam.
Have we ever heard any prophets or sahabas forcing their wives to serve their families? No!! And this is the key of harmonious life. If we think practically then it will make sense. A young girl gets married to start her new family if so many other responsibilities would be put on her she will fail to fulfill any responsibilities.
It is also seen that if family stays separately they do not have any scope for grudges and so no bitterness exists among them.
The worst a Muslim family does to their daughter in law is to harass her for dowry. Dowry is nowhere mentioned in Quran or hadith and whoever claims that it is a part of Indian culture should be aware of that it is a crime according to Indian law. A woman leaves her family to take the responsibility of a man and raise his children and still she is expected to bring dowry from her own side. Does it make any sense? And whatever does not make sense could not be a part of a practical religion like Islam.
Dowry harassment is not restricted to lower or middle class, greed exists in upper class too. Women are humiliated, abused and sometimes murdered for dowry.
These days parents of engineers, doctors etc pretend to be sophisticated and do not demand anything during fixing of marriage but they silently expect the girl family to present them with huge dowry just because their son is in high ranking profession and if they do not get what they expect they taunt and humiliate the poor girl hurting her self-esteem. “Our son is an engineer, we were expecting your dad to give us 10 lakh and he did not even gift us a torn shoe”. These kinds of dialogues are not unusual. Do these people realize that it is a duty for them to do good upbringing of their son and Allah should repay them for their good deeds not the girl father whom they are marrying their son. Such people have made a beautiful relation as marriage a selfish business deal. Allah saves every girl from such families.
The girl father saves money throughout his life and fails to provide her good education. Islam gives so much emphasize on gaining knowledge (education) and simple wedding. If we Muslims followed these Islamic principle seriously the literacy rate of our woman would have been very high, because parents would have spent money on their education rather than saving money for dowry and high profile wedding.
Education is the only solution to improve the state of Muslim women in society. Good education helps in building the self-esteem of women, help them in their career and make them independent. It even helps them to know their religion and be aware of their rights provided by Islam.
Most families consider it a taboo if an educated woman is pursuing a career. It is a completely wrong perception among Muslims. They fear that if they allow their daughter to work it will hamper her marriage prospects.
Khadija (R.A) the beloved wife of our prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) was one of the best business women of her time and our prophet did not judge her for her working status.
If a woman is pursuing a decent profession lying under the threshold of Islam, there is nothing wrong in it.
Worst are those people who get their son marry a working woman and then force her to quit job after marriage because according to them girls are expected only to cook and manage home. It takes a lot of effort to build a good career and no one has the right to force a woman to end her career. It is up to her to decide whether she is willing to give all her time to her home or she manages both. Most woman even if willing to quit her job after marriage gets so annoyed with the domination and interference of her in-laws that she decides to continue her career only to escape the mess at home.
It is extremely necessary for Islamic organizations to start and promote counselling sessions to women facing issues in their life as well as to their families. Frequent seminars and counseling session should be conducted to teach Muslim families the benefits of women education and rights of women in Islam.
Lastly, Islam is a beautiful religion and it does not discriminate between genders, but world perceives Islam as a religion which is harsh towards its women. The problem is with us and not with our religion. We should go back to our books (Quran and Hadith) and learn proper way of living rather than following our wrong old traditions blindly and causing defame to our religion.
Saima is resident of Johri Farm. Born and brought up in a typical Muslim area in Kolkata to an educated family, she has interestingly managed to see both the world closely. On one side women were subjected to being mere objects, the other saw feminine power being glorified. A senior software engineer by profession and a dutiful daughter and wife, she really wants to bring to light issues related to society. She thinks it’s time that women stand up for their rights and use the power of pen to bring in a change in society.
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are those of the author not of OKHLATIMES