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Women in Islam

Mr. S. K. Srivastava in his article "Women in Islam" (Daily Pioneer, Jan 6, 2005) when he wrote "paradise lies under the feet of mother" got it all wrong. The actual quote is "Paradise lies under the shade of swords". (Sahih Bukhari, vol. 4, pp. 55) What the Prophet thought of women is revealed in Sahih Muslim (142). The Prophet asked the womenfolk to give charity and ask for forgiveness as he saw them in bulk amongst the dwellers of Hell. When asked by a wise lady why was it so(?), the Prophet replied: "You curse too much and are ungrateful to your spouses. I have seen none lacking in common sense and failing in religion but (at the same time) robbing the wisdom of the wise, besides you." When asked what was wrong with their wisdom and religion, the Prophet continued: " Your lack of common sense (can well be judged from the fact) that the evidence of two women is equal to one man, that is the proof of the lack of common sense, and you spend some nights (and days) in which you do not offer prayer and in the month of Ramadan (during the days) you do not observe fast, that is failing in religion.". The women were not given equal rights with the men -- their inheritance was also only one half that of a male. They were not allowed to travel alone and many other disabilities were heaped upon them. The Prophet himself worked for a business woman before he started getting revelations. But the post revelationary period has no mention of independent business women whatsoever. Let alone women, after the Prophet established himself in Medina, the main source of livelihood for his companions for quite some time was loot from raids on non-Muslim tribes which later on was changed into booty from warfare.

Vinod Kumar


Jan 13, 2005