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|The condition of women before Islam:
Islam came at a time when women all over the world were being oppressed and exploited. The most any society would accord the woman was to admit that she was part of the human race. They never admitted her dignity or gave her rights and responsibilities equal to those of men. The Greeks considered her to be an object of pleasure and amusement. This view was articulated in the text of Deemo Stayn:
He said: “We take prostitutes for pleasure, lovers to care for our daily health, and wives to give us legitimate children.”
The Romans gave the father and husband the right to sell her to whomever they pleased.
The Arabs gave the son the right to inherit the wife of his father (not his own mother) just like he would inherit his father’s wealth and his steed! That is if she were lucky enough not to have been buried alive at birth.
This was the case with the rest of the world’s societies, like the Persians and the Hindus.
Women remained in this horrible state without protesting or rebelling against it. No one else was to do so either. Nor were there any social or economic developments that would require a betterment of her status.
Then Islam came, proclaiming her rights and her equality with men. It established for her all of her rights to bring her out of the miserable state that she was in and elevate her to the noble status that she deserves.
How did this happen?
Equality Between Men and Women in Islam:
Islam establishes the principle of equality between men and women in all aspects of life that they are equal in, because both of them are equally human. It distinguishes between them in some areas, taking into consideration the natural differences between them and the special qualities that each of them has.
The areas of equality are as follows:
1. Equality in their human origins:
Islam conclusively establishes that all human beings have a common origin. This fact is mentioned in many verses of the Qur’ân:
“O Mankind, fear your Lord who created you from a single soul and created from it its mate and brought forth from the two of them many men and women.”
“O Mankind, verily we created you from a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes so you may know one another. Verily the most honorable of you with Allah are the most righteous.”
2. Equality in their destiny:
Islam also establishes that all of mankind is going to return to Allah who created them, and everyone – male and female – is going to be recompensed for his or her worldly deeds. They will receive well if they did good and they will be requited with evil if they did evil. Allah says:
“And every one of you will come to Him alone on the Day of Resurrection.”
“A human being will have nothing except for what he does. And his deeds will be seen. Then he will be recompensed fully.”
“So their Lord accepted of them their supplication and answered them: ‘I will never allow the work of any of you to be lost, male or female. You are from each other.”
“Whoever works righteousness as a believer, whether male or female, we will truly give a good life and We shall pay them a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do.”