Islam's Liberation of Women

Category: Faith & Spirituality, Life & Society, Women Topics: Islam, Women Views: 11259

At a recent Islam Awareness Week organized by the Muslim Student Association of The College of William and Mary (located in Williamsburg Virginia), Professor Tamara Sonn gave an enlightening presentation on "Women in Islam: Tradition and Change". Tamara Sonn is the College's Kenan Professor of Humanities, Religious Studies. She tackled many misconceptions about women in the Islamic faith.

Generalizations about Women in Islam

Lecture by Tamara Sonn
Photo by Emily Fraser.

Sonn introduced her topic with a complaint. "Everyone is always coming up to me and saying, 'I don't really know much about Islam, but I sure don't like how they treat their women,'" she said. "People always want to hear about 'women in Islam,' so I usually turn it around and say, OK, but first, you tell me about 'women in Christianity.'"

Sonn explained that "there are very few things you can say about all Muslim women. How can you characterize one half of one fifth of the world's population?" she asked.

Women in the Quran

But then, diving into the true subject of her talk, she explained that "the Qur'an has a great deal to say about women-and it has a great deal to say that is positive about women." Sonn spent the remainder of her lecture explaining the truly progressive nature of the Qur'an in the context of the highly patriarchal society within which it developed. 

She mentioned some of the practices common at the time, including female infanticide and sons inheriting their father's wives-"just imagine hearing that added bonus at the reading of the will," she said.

The Qur'an is progressive because at a time in which females were devalued, it explicitly insists on equality between the sexes. Sonn cited Chapter 3, which claims that whoever does good deeds, male or female, whoever believes, male or female, etc. will be favored in the eyes of God.

The Qur'an also gives women the right of inheritance, which was historically forbidden, and which women in Western societies did not attain until the late 19th century. It also specifies that a woman's marriage dowry was to be given to the individual woman, not to her family.

Sonn went on to explain that the Qur'an provides several examples of strong, powerful, dominant female figures. She used the prophet's wife and one of his first followers as an example. "She was a successful business woman whom he actually worked for, and who proposed to him," Sonn said. "People were not afraid to put forth women as models for believers-and not just for women believers, but for all believers."

Patriarchy and Misogyny

Muslim women have a leg-up on women in many other religions because the scripture, itself, gives them rights ..

Sonn also emphasized the difference between patriarchy, and misogyny. She explained that many of the Islamic practices that feminist complain about, such as hijab (meaning both the headscarf worn by Muslim women and the institution of separating the sexes) was introduced as a protection for women and not out of hatred toward them. She explained that hijab is introduced in the Qur'an during the prophet's wedding, when guests rudely wandered into the private quarters of the house. In response to this transgression, they were told that when they ask something of a woman, they must do so behind a curtain in order to protect the privacy and privilege of the woman.

Sonn reminded her audience that "most authorities on the Qur'an would agree that to describe it as demeaning to women would discredit its overall teaching of equality." She explained that the trouble comes not from the scripture itself but from interpretations of the Qur'an which date mainly to the medieval period.

Both Adam and Eve share the fall from heaven

"In the Qur'an's creation story, it is Adam, or Adam and his wife, who are to blame, but it wasn't just the wife's fault. Why do I stress this? Because women are always being blamed for everything! This is a common tradition, but it does not originate from the Qur'an ... . Then the medieval commentators in the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries give us more details, and reveal that, 'Oh, it was all Eve's fault,'" Sonn explained. "I don't know where they got this stuff!"

Human interpretation, Quran and Shariah

Reformers today are looking back to the text of the Qur'an and are saying there is something unique about the scriptures: the absolute moral equality of men and women. The inequalities are just a matter of deviation by human beings creating legislation. 

Sonn then explained the distinction between shari'ah, or Islamic law given by God, and fiqh, or the science of legislation enacted by human beings. Sonn claimed that we now have a responsibility to revisit shari'ah and develop legislation that is more in line with contemporary moral society, remembering that the basic ideology of the Qur'an treats women and men with equality. She went on to state that, "with such strong language about equality between the sexes, reformers claim it is unthinkable that the Qur'an would envision a society that marginalizes women.

During the question and answer portion of the lecture, one student asked about the logic of women inheriting only half as much as men. Sonn reminded her audience of the context of the verse. "We have to understand that the right to inheritance of any level was an enormous improvement for women at that time ... But yes, there's pre-Islam patriarchy, and the residuals of this seeped into the legislative derivation." Sonn explained that there is certainly some human engineering involved in many contemporary laws, such as women not being allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. But she joked, "I think I'd prefer a chauffeur. I'm not necessarily a fan of equality in that case."

Sonn concluded by asserting her belief that as education increases, and people learn their rights, there will be a greater equality for women throughout the Muslim world. "And Muslim women have a leg-up on women in many other religions because the scripture, itself, gives them rights," she said.


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  40 Comments   Comment

  1. John Sandman from USA

    What is Islam? Indeed, what is Christianity? The problem with both is that they each can stand for anything any accolyte says they stand for, something that Sonn just doesn't comprehend.

  2. Kris from Malaysia

    Assalamualaikum wrbt and greetings to all.

    Dear Romesh, thank you for proposing those books for my reading. Some of those books are not alien to me.At least I know where you based your opinion from. That's the right approach in academic and even in advocacy, one must have his or her basis and grounds before forming an opinion. Or asserting a stand.

    I'll write more if time permits.

    Regards,

    Kris,

  3. shafique from canada

    Dear Romesh Chander I sincerely thank you for participating in

    the Islamic and Muslim matters despite you being critical.

    Definitely it shows your interest in religion(Islam). I am sure you

    do read and write your comments with open mind. May God

    guide you right direction.

    I must thank the writer of the article for presenting his view very

    nicely and may Allah help you to write more and more on Islam

    and encourage people from other religion into health dialogue

    to clear any misunderstanding about Islam as whole.

  4. Sameena from US/India

    I am really missing J. Her comments always cheered me up. Yep,Islam was progressive for its time and the society it was founded in. However, that was a long time ago. At present, we have places like Saudi who use Islam as a justification for their refusal to allow women to drive. Women adulterers in many countries are given much harsher punishments than male adulterers. In many Arab countries, women are not equal citizens in the eyes of the law: no right to vote etc. The truth is the treatment of women in muslim societies is the worst in the world. Yes, I know there are dowry deaths in India but atleast it is a custom not institutionalized by the state. The ummah will never be strong and never be able to compete with the West economically and intellectually until Muslim women are treated as equals.

  5. Romesh Chander from US

    Note to Kris:

    Regarding Monroe Doctine, read the books Richard J Barnet "Revolution and Intervention", JW Fulbright "ARROGANCE OF POWER" and William Appleman Willimas "Tragedy of American Diplomacy", and various other books by Prof Williams.

    These are over 40 year old books, and deal over all with the US foreign policy for at least 150 years, especially since 1890.

  6. Kris from Malaysia

    I am not borthered about Romesh's reply or any thing contagious from him, whatever.

    I will only debate with those with academic credentials or Muslims who have sound knowledge about Islam. I have had dialogues with non Muslims before but none one of this sort. he keeps on changing issues, and he based his opinions with no factual grounds. And I had replied all those that he wrote in his post in " American marmalukes ( slaves ). I do not know why the editorial hasn't publish those 3 replies from me to Romesh yet. So again i ask that all Muslims who read his post to ignore them and all his antics. What does he knows about Islam any way to qualify him to give opinions. We have heard enough of his antics from the grumpy old man.

  7. Kris from Malaysia

    Assalamualaikum wrbt and greetings to all.

    Dear Muslim Brothers and Sisters, please read this. I wanted all Muslims especially our sisters to know and appreciate this.

    Annie Besant, a western woman writer and a non Muslim authored the book " The life and Teachings of Muhammad " ( 1932 ). This is one excerpts from her book -

    ...." I often think that woman is more free in Islam than in Christianity. Women is more protected by Islam than by the faith which practices monogamy. In Al Quran the law about woman is more just and liberal. It is only in the last tywenty years that Christian England has recognised the right of woman to property, while Islam has allowed this right from all times. It is slander to say that Islam preaches that women have no souls...."

    So sisters, be proud and grateful that you are Muslimah. Whether a born Muslim or someone that ALLAH has granted hidayah or consciousness of the faith along the way in this life. May ALLAH Bless all of you, in this world and the here after. I'll write more excerpts from other famous writers and even jurists again, Insya ALLAH. Wassalam.

  8. Tasneem from USA

    Loved the article and fortunately coming out from a western woman who has studied and gave an intellectual answer. Thru Islamicity, I have learnt so much and it is so good to discuess our views wheter positive or negative as it opens our mind. Islam does give women more rights than any other religion and sometimes to be behind the seen is better than in the front as it conveys more message than liberating ourselves.Men are the Kings but women are prime ministers.

  9. Romesh Chander from USA

    Note to Kris:

    You write "Romesh Chander, since you are an old Indian army pandit, retired I presumed, i propose that you save your views for your grand children. For their bed time stories. May be they'll listen to you.".

    I thought you were educated in the West and your speciality is law. Looks like you did not learn anything in the west, and I wonder what kind of law you practice which does not allow any kind of Reasoning from the others; may be Taliban style law.

    By the way, I have never been in the army; I hate military expeditions and unnecessary death and destruction. No, I am not a Pandit. Yes, I was born a Hindu; however, currently, I am a hard-line athiest and secular humanist; I separate politics from religion.

  10. Siddiq from United States

    As-Salaamu Alaikum Why do women get have the inheritance ofthe men? The answer is they don't. I've heard this question asked several times and I'm trying to figure out why We (muslims) never answer this question correctly. Women DO NOT GET HALF THE INHERITANCE OF men. Look at Surah 4 Ayat 11. If you read all of the ayat you will see that the parents which consists of a Father (male) and a Mother (female) get a sixth share EQUALLY. A female does not get half of what a male gets she gets the same amount. If we keep reading we will see If the deceased left no children, then the Mother (female) receives a third and the Father (male) still receives a sixth. Note: a sixth plus a sixth equals a third; The Mother (female) gets DOUBLE the Father(male). Here the male gets half that of the female. Why no one ever says that the men get half the inheritance based on this ayat. It's clear to me that more is given to Male children in inheritance because the responsibility of the Men to provide. Please Dear Muslims, stop entertaining the false idea that women's inheritance is half. Next time someone ask that incorrect question, Simply read the Qur'an and don't stop after a few lines read the entire ayat.

  11. farishtah from usa

    i grew up in the usa, i converted to Islam 2 years ago, although i have been studying it for many years. I completely understand why men inherit more than women and i see no problem whatsoever. Honestly, i don't understand all the hype behind women's lib- the Qur'an is very explicit on the roles of men and women- why can't everyone just leave it at that- why do people need to analyze it to death- i am proud to be a "traditional" Muslim woman- nothing makes me happier than to fulfill my husband's wishes and needs...

  12. Kris from Malaysia

    Romesh Chander, since you are an old Indian army pandit, retired I presumed, i propose that you save your views for your grand children. For their bed time stories. May be they'll listen to you.

  13. Kris from Malaysia

    Assalamualaikum wrbt and greetings to all.

    Dear Brother A.R., just forget about replying to Romesh misguided views. He knew next to nothing about Islam. He rebelled against everything. Please refer to my replies to him in " American marmalukes ( slaves ) ".

    There's no academic value in his views. He's just a frustated old man, trying to have his little voice heard. Or a circus clown for that matter. He will shift his arguments once cornered. He will claim this and that without making reference to any source.

    So, Brother A.R. just ignore Romesh known antics. Wassalam.

  14. EVILpenguin from usa

    in replying to Ahmads post about why males are to receive greater inheritance then women Mr. monkey god states the following:

    Are these reasons/explanations given in the Koran/sunnah/fiqh or you just made them up yourself?. Now who you are trying to fool?

    Um..isn't that simply logical? Suppose the Koran states "if your cutting a branch off a tree make sure your not sitting on that very same branch" now does it have to explain the why part? isn't it our responsibility to use logic as our guide and come to the conclusion that the Koran states such a suggestion BECAUSE if one were to cut the same branch he's sitting on..he will fall down and die? Now what is most logical to you Mr. Shiva? So why does the Holy Koran allow for greater inheritance for men then women? Now if we use all the other verses of the Quran as our guide which are very explicit in their claim of equality for men and women, we can be sure its NOT because God loves these great macho men more then women..so what are we left with? jeez I am shocked that a hindu would even show his face at any debate...let alone be so brazen. Misguided fools.

  15. Shereen from USA

    My father followed the Qur'an and spearheaded the Muslim Teacher Trainiing College for Muslim Women who were huddled in fear inside their homes due to British occupation of Sri Lanka. The then Muslim men feared that their women will be mislead by British missionary schools. These were Arab businessmen and they were not scholars but simple and honest God fearing men who were confued by the VIOLENT occupationist from the West. We survived it only due to Allah (SWT) mercy and kindness.

    We are all given the SAME Qur'an, what differs is WHO is reading it. Some men and women born to Muslim families are NOT familiar with the content of the Qur'an and they are the target of missionaries. They targeted even my family and many other. Thay knock on our doors, give leaflets at bus stops. Come with "food and clothings" when a tsunami hits. Islam forbids preaching to the hungry because that is "COERSION" and the mind is muddled/confused with hunger pangs and grief when family is lost due to war. Islam lets the woman keep her earnings. A psychologically stable Muslim man trusts his wife (if he trust Allah SWT) and then the woman on top of it, again ON TOP OF HER OWN MONEY AND HER MOTHERS, gets MORE, yes, MORE from her fathers, brothers, sons, and husbands money. Now, if it is followed as Allah SWT has ordained (without western and jewish interest and financial interference) then the MOST financially STABLE woman on this earth will be the Muslim woman and consequently a stable mother and then STABLE CHILDREN from a stable and happy mother. The Sri Lankan muslims have worked it out. The husband goes to live in his wife's house (if he cannot afford to buy one because still a young man) and he provides daily food, clothing and Qur'an education to the family. All worked out fine till the recent invasion of the Western money market and NUCLEAR FAMILY and ISOLATION contrary to Islamic teaching.

  16. Romesh Chander from USA

    Note to A.R>:

    Funny, in my post, I was talking about the plight of muslim women, not about Islam. I am sure you know the difference between muslims and islam; the former are people who practice (or pretend to practice) islam; the latter is a religious concept.

    It is terrible to say, you live in England where Reason predominates; unfortunately, you seem not to like Reason; you seem not to have learnt anything there.

    The examples you gave are not regading Hinduism; they are regarding Hindus. And there is lot of difference between concepts and practice.

  17. A.R from UK

    Romesh Chander you have made this site a chat show. An Indian army pandit now trying to be an American pandit as an old man. However, you still dribble if Islam is being stricken, the western world does not spare a chance to degrade Muslims in the media or any other source. There are more books written against Islam, full of obscenity that a non-Muslim civilised person would not like taking it. Nevertheless, today their civilisation is not complete without it. In your homeland India Muslims are facing the filthiest language of your Hindu brothers that is not being used anywhere else in the world. The brutality Muslims are facing time to time in your idol worshipper land is not happening to anyone other than Muslims in the world. Watch the interview with whatever face you have got.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/hardtalk/2493075.stm

    Mr. Chander you have shown enough foolishness of yours with the kind of knowledge you have about Islam. Do not utter a word about Islam of that you have no knowledge. It is not your kind of idol worshipper mythology. You watch the dirt of your undercover idol worshipping where still innocent children are being sacrificed to your black mother goddess and you got no shame for it but attacking Islam. You are trying to make your face not different to the western world. Watch your own face if you dare.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4903390.stm

  18. khan from US

    Answer to previous allegations,

    Firstly women inherits from both sides her father's side and then her husband's side.

    Secondly please list one religion (not secular government's), which gives Muslim women such rights and to live with honor and dignity.

    Thirdly, men has an obligation of providing sustenance for the family in Islam and women is not bound to any such obligation.

    Even today women have become a showpiece in the west, which is interpreted or dubbed as 'women rights.' The best statement for women over here is that she is hot and etc etc..that's not honor trust me.

  19. NADEEM KIRMANI from INDIA

    ASLKM,

    I TOTALLY AGREE WD THE PROFESSOR'S POINT OF VIEW THAT ISLAM GAVE WOMWN EQUAL RIGHTS TO THOSE OF MEN IF V R TO SPEAK RELATIVE TERMS... I SEE PROPERTRY RIGHTS GIVEN TO MEN BY ALLAH DOESNT INDICATE INEQUALITY RATHER EQUALITY. SINCE ALLAH HAS MADE MEN PRIMARILY RESPONSIBLE TO CATER FAMILY NEEDS N EARN 4 D FAMILY, DERE4 MALES R GIVEN MORE PROPERTY THAN FEMALES IN INHERITANCE...D BEAUTY IS THAT WOMEN R NOT DISCARDED BT ALSO GVEN THE PROPERTY RIGHT TO INHERIT. AGAIN IF THE WIFE EARNS...THEN IT IS UPTO HER TO SPEND HER EARNED MONEY ON THE FAMILY OR NOT FOR HER ITS NOT OBLIGATORY N COMPULSORY..ITS HER CHOICE...IS THIS INEQUALITY OR TRU N LOGICAL EQUALITY.....

    WSLM

    NADEEM

  20. Romesh Chander from USA

    Nothing new or unusal in the article. It just refused to discuss the issues facing muslim women. May be, the author thinks, muslim women have no problems, and hence there is no need to discuss and change anything. Well, that is what US men used to think in 17-19th century. May be muslims want to live in the 7th century?. If muslim men and women want it that way, I say, they can have it that way; who am I to object.

    Surprisingly, from the picture, the author seems to be very modern, western and equal, and talking to essentially non-muslim audience in a non-muslim country; I wonder this picture will be accepted in a muslim society. Terrible question, indeed!!

  21. Romesh Chander from USA

    Note To Ahmed:

    You write "the question about women inheriting only half as much as men is not answered well. the reason is because men have more responsibilty to support financially, his wife and children and sisters who are not married yet. whereas the women do not have this obligation. whatever she inherits is for hers to keep. she does not have to spend it on her family..that is the reasponsibilty of her husband if not brother.".

    Are these reasons/explanations given in the Koran/sunnah/fiqh or you just made them up yourself?. Now who you are trying to fool?

  22. Ahmed

    the question about women inheriting only half as much as men is not answered well. the reason is because men have more responsibilty to support financially, his wife and children and sisters who are not married yet. whereas the women do not have this obligation. whatever she inherits is for hers to keep. she does not have to spend it on her family..that is the reasponsibilty of her husband if not brother.

  23. Ahmed from UK

    I have yet to read a single post where "Sameena" does not post anti-Islamic polemicism and oversimplification. All we need is to be is ignorant white washed inferiority complex ridden brown sahibs, yes?

  24. 3omar from UK

    Great article, except for it shows the danger of non-Muslims talking about Islaam, they always speak from their paradigm. e.g. she answers the question about why women inherit half by saying that patriarchal tendencies entered the Islaamic ruling. Now, as any Muslim should know, we view the Qur'aan as God's word, and inheritance is one area that is explicit in the Qur'aan, there's little room for interpretation. The reason women get half is because the men of the family are obliged to financially look after female members of the family, but women aren't obliged to look after the men, therefore a man's financial outgoings are higher. Simple as that.

    The paradigm is that we believe the sexes are equal, but we are different, and therefore certain aspects of our behaviour are different.

  25. j. from canada

    You're right it was a millenium and a half. This is what I get for trying to write quickly. As a busy mother, I'm sure you can sympathize. Luckily, a minor error really doesn't affect the basic message I was trying to convey.

    Likewise, your grammatical errors didn't interfere with your message either. I'll start double-checking what I write before I press send. Perhaps you should do the same when you submit your thesis. Good luck!

  26. j. from canada

    Mrs. Smith, I'm not sure that I understand your point(s). Are you suggesting that I'm secretly Irshad Nanji posing as 'J'? Or just that I'm someone who has read her books? To be honest, I don't care for Nanji at all, and disagree with virtually everything she says. Perhaps you just think we're the same because we don't subscribe to your narrow view of Islam. In that case, there are probably millions of Nanjis out there.

    Congratulations on being the wife of a highly successful "international businessman". Does that make you a better Muslim, or simply a person who is more important than other people? In my interpretation of Islam, we're judged by our actions and beliefs. Not that it matters (as everyone is entitled to an opinion) but I am also a practicing Muslim and mother, who works and goes to school. My husband, alas, is not a highly successful businessman, but that doesn't prevent him from praying and studying to better understand Islam.

    I would have thought that a PhD. candidate would be more familiar with the idea of differing viewpoints based on experience. I have lived in both Islamic and non-Islamic societies. I have seen firsthand women mistreated by ignorant men who honestly believe that women are inherently evil and that Islam supports that idea. Who are YOU to deny their suffering? If you have never suffered hardship and you "praise God for making you the wife a Muslim man" that's your prerogative. But there are many sisters who have a different reality.

    There is a difference between Islam, and the people who practice Islam. It is my duty as a Muslim to protect other Muslim women. If you cannot differentiate between an attack on the ignorance of certain Muslims, and an attack on the entire religion, perhaps you're not ready for your PhD.

  27. Mrs. Smith from Canada

    To "J" by the way it is not a century or half ago Islam gave rights to woman but a thousand and five hundred years ago which is equivalent to 15 centuries ago so who is down playing here. I pray for you may God give you knowledge, the pure knowledge with truth so it can set you free.

  28. Mrs. Smith from Canada

    The comment below written by initial "J" seems familiar with the style of Irshad Manji the famous muslim sounded name lesbian living in Canada. Her view of Muslim woman in taking meanings out of context without merit and proper balance education on the subject of the Quran and related matters. Her job is to pretend with distorted knowledge to attack Islam for the purpuse to serve her masters - basically the known enemies of Islam. However you accept or deny that you are not Irshad Manji as the commentator but it is a line by line match with her satanic book. It is difficult to understand the freedom and honor it brings to a muslim woman without being one and the hejab without wearing it as I do. By the way I am a mother of 2, my husband is a very successful international businessman, I speak 4 languages and I am working for my Ph.D. now. I am a convert by reading comparitive religion. So please stop giving fatwa before being one of us. The is the best thing happen in my life being a practicing Muslim woman.

  29. Sameena from US/India

    Thank you J, for your comment. It made my day. It is always refreshing to hear a muslimah speak with such candor:we need more of us to speak openly without mincing words and without fear. Its muslimah like you who give me hope for the future of muslim women

  30. j from canada

    The author has wilfully downplayed the huge difference between true Islam, and how Islam is practiced. Yes, a century and a half ago, Islam gave rights to women that didn't exist in many other cultures. Since that time, those other cultures have caught up - and FAR surpassed most if not all modern "Islamic" communities. As usual, rather than dealing with the issues that plague modern Islamic society, we take refuge in the past.

    Muslim women do not have a "leg up" on anyone. Until the cultural traditions that have been incorporated into Islam are challenged, we will continue to be second-class citizens. The Quran, like other scriptures, is open to interpretation. It is easy to find Islamic scholars who wax magnificent about the theoretical "rights" given to Muslim women- but how do they put those rights into practice? These same scholars force the vast majority of burdens onto women. In the event of a marriage breakdown, it is inevitably the woman who is told that divorce is Makruh, and that she will get rewards in heaven for putting up with a husband who hits her, verbally abuses her, uses pornography etc. These same women are reminded of their domestic and sexual responsibilities to their husbands.

    It's lovely to say that hijab was created to protect women's dignity - but again, where is the modern relevance? Quite often it IS a tool of control that is exercised over women. In theory, both men and women are asked to be chaste and lower their eyes. In practice, we are told that men can't control their sexual desire and so women should take exaggerated precautions. In most Muslim societies hijab is a question of personal honour for the MAN of the house, it has nothing to do with the woman. This hearkens back to a time when women were seen as property - not as equals.

    While I appreciate the obvious effort that Ms. Sonn made in researching early Islam, her piece is more historical information than it is an insight into modern Islamic society.

  31. Sameena from US/india

    I have yet to see a Muslim marriage where both partner's wishes are equally valued. More often than not, it is a situation where the Muslim man is telling his wife waht to wear, think, eat, drink, controls every trivial detail of her life and expects his wife to obey. When she doesnt obey, he becomes abusive by withdrawing emotionally or being being verbally/physically abusive. I certainly dont know of a single Muslim marriage where the wife's sexual needs are respected as much as the husband's. Frankly,when I have a daughter, I would prefer that she marry a man who is reasonable and intelligent and the chance of finding such men among Muslims is pretty slim. Islam was progressive towards women in its inception but as it is practiced today, its treatment of women is the worst in the world. I would urge single Muslim women to be very very very careful in their choice of mates from among Muslims. In a lot of cases, Muslim women would be better off living by themselves if they just get over their hangup on seeking companionship outside the Muslim community, on staying in a s****y marriage and learn to be financially independent.

  32. Auwal from Nigeria

    The issue is not about oppinion,religion is beyond that,Allah has said it all, he created us not with jinn but to worship,you can worship Allah the way you want it but rather if you are truley a servant it should be the way he said you should.Islam is about total submission to Allah 's will not to the way we want.islam is not about your choice or about your thinking or about your opinion is what about what Allah want. so be it .Salaam

  33. rawaa from romania

    ok..im not really against it...but it had some stuff which is not true...i mean come on men and woman cant be equal in any way not i mean physically and spitittually in some way....physically it is obveiuos; spitittually not just in islam even in other religions woman ar not alowed to be popes the only position they can have is a nun....im not abusing any religion but all what i am trying to say the we didnt reach equality in any cultur...sry 4 da spellin mistackes....still i liked this artical coz it gives a better frame for da muslim woman...i 4got to mention somethings like i am a muslim who wares a scarf; but this dosent make the men respecy ya what really dose is your actions.....and behavior; you can ware a scarf but you are still flirting with boys....i hope that i didnt haret antbody by these words but i am sure that there is a huge debate bout all wat i juss said but that was juss an openion.

  34. khadijah falak from usa

    ASSASLAMU ALAIKUM, WONDERFUL ARTICLE. ISLAM KEEPS A GREAT FOCOUS IN WOMAN, IN THIS ARTICLE IS SHOWN WHO ARE THE WOMEN BEHIND THE VEIL. THANK YOU FOR SUCH WONDERFUL DISPLAY OF KNOWLEDGE I WILL PASS THIS ARTICLE TO ALL MY NON-MUSLIM FRIENDS AND CO WORKERS WICH ASK ME ALL THE TIME, WHY AM I A MUSLIM?

  35. najeeb from USA

    Good article. Just a clarification about "the logic of women inheriting only half as much as men". That had more to do with economics since the man still had the duty and the responsibility to be the sole provider for the family (the woman's share, on the other hand, was all hers to keep) and thus inherited a bigger share. In today's world this may no always apply but that was the context then. Hope this helps and Allah knows best.

  36. Christina from usa

    Yes, as muslim women we do have the right to inherit but 1900 here in the states women weren't even allowed to vote or work so in my reiligon I know that we are more free to express our self's in such a great manner.Thanks again.

  37. Christina Tanya Acevedo - Tyhertha Ahmed from usa

    As being a new muslim women and before as being a christan women, I feel more free being a muslim women. Wearing the head cover make's me feel 100% free no one touches me or sometimes I feel I get more resepct from men and from women of any faith. As being an American women I always felt that I always have to wear what people wanted me to wear but being Islamicly corrett I finally wear what God and I want to wear. Because I am more free now than ever before. Thank you for allowing me to speak my mind.

  38. Muhammad Ali Shariati from Canada

    Praise be to Allaah. Here it is a non muslim speaking on behalf of muslim women. There are potentails that person might become a muslim one day. Why not send here books, literature and other materials that would be beneficial to her. Thanks, May Allaah guide her towards Islam.

  39. Adam Ibrahim Muhammad from Nigeria

    EXCELLENT.

    I HEAR YOU PROF. SONN THROUGH EMILY. I HOPE THE ANTAGONISTS DO HEAR YOU ALSO.

  40. Essi from Iran

    In Islam, Allah(subhanuataala) created women and men EQUAL but DIFFERENT. I know Islam liberated women from pre-islamic social and cultural norm forced upon women as Islam libearted many many Bilals (black slaves) from slavery. Islam brought equal rights and respect to women in mid-eastern societies where men used to dominate women very much. But what happened to these very societies (mid-eastern) after the death of four khalifes ? Now, they went back very close to their pre-islamic culture of dominate and oppress women. I mean, today, in all mid-eastern nations (arab, kurds, iranians etc) women are facing severe injustice and inequality by men. If we even attempt to follow islam, we should love and treat our women equally and make sure they are not oppressed or facing injustice. I agree with this article that Islam liberated women and gave them bran new high respect. But what is muslim men giving or doing to their own women ? Can they even apply Islam in our own muslim societies regarding women ? Sorry, it seems very unlikely to me ...