How should Men treat Women? What does the Islam say about the wife and about the ones who oppress or ill-treat women?
Allah says in the Qur’an:
"O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should you treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the dowry you have given them – unless they commit open illegal sexual intercourse; and live with them honorably. If you take a dislike to them, it may be that you dislike something and Allah will bring about through it a great deal of good." (Surah An-Nisa’, 4:19)
Considering the fact that before the advent of Islam the pagan Arabs used to bury their female children alive, make women dance naked in the vicinity of the Ka'ba during their annual fairs, and treat women as mere slaves and objects of sexual pleasure possessing no rights or position whatsoever, these teachings of the Noble Qur'an were revolutionary. Unlike other religions, which regarded women possessing inherent sin and wickedness and men possessing inherent virtue and nobility, Islam regards men and women as being of the same essence created from a single soul.
Allah declares in the Qur’an:
"O Mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife (Eve), and from them both He created many men and women; and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual rights, and do not cut the relations of kinship. Surely, Allah is Ever an All-Watcher over you." (Surah An-Nisa’, 4:1)
"Verily, Muslim men and women, believing men and women, devout/obedient men and women, truthful men and women, men and women who are patient, men and women who humble themselves, men and women who give in charity, men and women who fast, men and women who guard their chastity, and men and women who remember Allah much with their hearts and tongues, Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and great reward (Paradise)." (Qur’an, Surah Al-Ahzab, 33:35)
"The believers, men and women, are helper, protectors, supporters one of another: they enjoin all that is good, and forbid all that is evil, they perform the regular prayers, and give the regular charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will bestow His Mercy upon them. Surely Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise." (Qur’an, Surah At-Taubah, 9:71)
"So their Lord accepted their supplication and answered them saying, "Never will I allow the work of any of you to be lost, be he male or female." (Qur’an, Surah Al-‘Imran, 3:195)
"Whoever does an evil deed, will not be requited except the like thereof; and whosoever does a righteous deed, whether male or female and is a true believer in the oneness of Allah, such will enter Paradise, where they will be provided therein with all things in abundance, without limit." (Qur’an, Surah Ghafir, 40:40)
"Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has faith, verily to him/her we will give a new life that is good and pure, and we will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions." (Qur’an, Surah An-Nahl, 16:97)
It is clear that the Qur’anic view of women is no different than its view of men. They are both God's creatures whose ultimate goal on earth is to worship their Lord, do righteous deeds, and avoid evil and both will be assessed accordingly. However, their responsibilities differ according to their nature and physical makeup.
The Qur’an never mentions that the woman is the devil's gateway or that she is a deceiver by nature, nor does it mention that man was created in God's image. All men and all women are his creatures, that is all. According to the Qur’an, a woman's role on earth is not limited only to childbirth. She is required to do as many good deeds as any man is required to do. The Qur’an never says that no upright women have ever existed, as we previously saw mentioned in other texts. On the contrary, the Qur’an has instructed all the believers, women as well as men, to follow the example of those ideal women such as the Virgin Mary and the Pharoah's wife:
"And Allah sets forth, as an example to those who believe, the wife of Pharoah (Fir'aun): Behold she said: 'O my Lord build for me, in nearness to you, a mansion in the Paradise, and save me from Pharoah and his doings and save me from those who do wrong." (Qur’an, Surah At-Tahrim, 66:11)
There is also a whole chapter named after Mary, the mother of Jesus. It is the 19th chapter of the Qur’an and it is called 'Maryam', which is Arabic for Mary. Allah the Most High says about her in the Qur’an:
"And Maryam (Mary), the daughter of Imran who guarded her chastity. And we breathed into her of Our spirit, and she testified to the truth of the Words of her Lord and (also believed in) His scriptures, and she was of the devout and obedient servants to Allah." (Qur’an, Surah At-Tahrim, 66: 12)
The Prophet Muhammad said:
"Many amongst men reached the level of perfection but none amongst the women reached this level except Asiyah, Pharaoh's wife, and Maryam (Mary), the daughter of Imram…" (Reported Sahih al Bukhari, Vol. 4 Hadith No. 623)
"Mary, the daughter of ‘Imran, was the best among the women (of the world of her time) and Khadija is the best amongst the women (of this nation)." (Reported by Sahih Al-Bukhari, Hadith No. 642, Vol. 4)
And these are just a few examples of the honor and respect given to women in the Qur’an and Islam in general.
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