Page 145 - Islam In Focus

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property to help him to meet his family needs and social responsibilities. At the same
time. Islam has not forgotten her altogether, but has given her a portion to satisfy her
very personal needs. In fact, Islam in this respect is being more kind to her than to
him. Here we can say that when taken as a whole the rights of woman are equal to
those of man although not necessarily identical (see Qur’an, 4:11-14, 176)
9. In some instances of bearing witness to certain civil contracts, two men are required
or one man and two women. Again, this is no indication of the woman being inferior
to man. It is a measure of securing the rights of the contracting parties, because
woman, as a rule, is not so experienced in practical life as man. This lack of
experience may cause a loss to any party in a given contract. So the Law requires that
at least two women should bear witness with one man. If a woman of the witnesses
forgets something, the other one would remind her. Or if she makes an error, due to
lack of experience, the other would help to correct her. This is a precautionary
measure to guarantee honest transactions and proper dealings between people. In fact,
it gives woman a role to play in civil life and helps to establish justice. At any rate,
lack of experience in civil life does not necessarily mean that woman is inferior to
man in her status. Every human being lacks one thing or another, yet no one questions
their human status (2:282). (It is interesting that a woman’s witness in certain matters
is exclusive and her expertise conclusive. No man’s witness is accepted and no more
than one woman is needed. Furthermore, bearing witness to contracts and business
transactions is not a privilege but a duty (Qur’an, 2:282-283) that must be performed.
If the woman’s share of this duty is lightened by one half, it can hardly be called a
denial of her rights; if anything, it is a favor or an exemption)
10. Woman enjoys certain privileges of which man is deprived. She is exempt from
some religious duties, i.e., prayers and fasting, in her regular periods and at times of
confinement. She is exempt from attending the obligatory congregation of Fridays.
She is exempt from all financial liabilities. As a mother, she enjoys more recognition
and higher honor in the sight of God (31:14-15; 46:15). The Prophet acknowledged
this honor when he declared that Paradise is under the feet of the mothers. She is
entitled to three-fourths of the son’s love and kindness with one-fourth left for the
father. As a wife she is entitled to demand of her prospective husband a suitable
dowry that will be her own. She is entitled to complete provision and total
maintenance by the husband. She does not have to work or share with her husband the
family expenses. She is free to retain, after marriage, whatever she possessed before
it, and the husband has no right whatsoever to any of her belongings. As a daughter or
sister she is entitled to security and provision by the father and brother respectively.
That is her privilege. If she wishes to work or be self supporting and participate in
handling the family responsibilities, she is quite free to do so, provided her integrity
and honor are safeguarded
11. The standing of woman in prayers behind man does not indicate in any sense that
she is inferior to him. Woman, as already mentioned, is exempt from attending
congregational prayers which are obligatory on man. But if she does attend she stands
in separate lines made up of woman exclusively, just as the under-aged children
compose separate lines behind the adult men. This is a regulation of discipline in
prayers, and not a classification of importance. In men’s rows the head of state stands
shoulder to shoulder to the pauper. Men of the highest ranks in society stand in prayer
side by side with other men of the lowest ranks. The order of lines in prayers is