Economic Role of Women The Islamic Approach

Economic Role of Women The Islamic Approach

With the introduction of the concept of Gender and Development (GAD) in the 1990s, economic development and empowerment of women has today become a cross cutting theme of all national policies and plans worldwide.

Policy Perspectives , Vlm 5, No.1


With the introduction of the concept of Gender and Development (GAD) in the 1990s, economic development and empowerment of women has today become a cross cutting theme of all national policies and plans worldwide. Different international agreements require signatories to take appropriate measures to provide women access to and control on resources to reshape gender relations.


Given the global implications of the concept of development and empowerment, it is pertinent to critically examine the position of Islam in relation to the subject under discussion, keeping in view present day realities. However, before taking this question up, the subject of family in Islam must briefly be touched upon as it has a direct bearing on the debate.


The family is an institution of society, and it is essential for every institution to have order and discipline, without which it cannot run or even survive. The institution of the family is run with the mutual collaboration and cooperation of husband and wife. The Islamic scheme for a family’s management is that the woman should be relieved from all other responsibilities in order to focus on the family’s internal discipline and stability, while the man should take the burden of meeting economic needs. The woman’s food, clothing and shelter are counted among the family’s economic needs; if both partners are well-off, a servant or helper for household chores is also included in these needs. The man has to arrange for the expenses of healthcare as well. This is the legal position of Islam on the responsibilities of the husband. In addition, good moral conduct as encouraged in Islam demands that a man treat his wife as well as he can and do everything possible for her comfort and happiness.


While it is true that a woman’s home and family are her primary sphere of activity, and that she has been relieved of financial burdens to give the best of her time and energy to the sustenance and growth of the family, it is not true that she has no right to do anything else, or that all avenues for economic activity have been shut to her. Islamic history shows that, along with paying their duty to family and home, Muslim women have rendered great services outside their homes as well. They have also been involved in economic activities according to the situations in which they found themselves. It is necessary to reflect on different aspects of this phenomenon in the light of Islamic teachings:

  1. Sometimes, a situation demands that a wife support her husband in earning for the family. This situation, where both husband and wife work to meet the family’s needs, is generally seen in the working middle class. However, a highly educated, professionally trained and skilled woman too may find herself in a difficult situation that demands of her to work and earn. If she adopts a lawful occupation, she has every right to do this.
  2. Women may have certain sources of income even where they do not set out to earn in the first place. For example, a woman receives dower (mahr) from her husband, she owns her jewelry, and Islam has given her the right to inherit. A woman may receive money, a plot of land, or property in the shape of a shop or house. She is free to invest her assets and holdings in a profitable business and thereby improve her economic situation.
  3. There were times when women had to bear a very heavy burden of household chores and maintenance, which included, along with serving the husband and rearing the children, sieving and grinding grains, cooking, fetching water, washing dishes as well as clothes, sweeping and dusting, etc. These were really hard and tiresome duties in which women used to spend almost all of their time. Today, we are living in an era of machines. Many of the chores that were done manually get done by machines now. This is one reason why, at least in urban areas, women have more time at their leisure. Moreover, children are sent to nursery and kindergarten when they are just three or four years old, which means that their mothers are spared the time they would have had to give to them in the past. Thus, women generally have more time at their disposal now, even while performing all household responsibilities. If they manage this time and utilize it to improve the economic conditions of their family and their own selves, there is no harm.
  4. For a certain period after marriage, women remain quite busy in bearing children and giving them the special care they need in their early years. A woman might be busiest during this period. When she crosses the age of 40, these responsibilities begin to shrink. However, her abilities and energies do not similarly diminish; rather, maturity and experience adds to her competence. At this stage, therefore, women can engage themselves in economic activities with greater focus and attention.

Women can adopt any occupation or business according to their situation and circumstances, abilities and inclinations. They can seek jobs as well as invest in trade, industry, or agriculture. They can manage and supervise the ventures in which they invest or which they own. They can even create new opportunities for themselves.


Here, it is important to note that meeting the financial needs of a woman is her husband’s responsibility if she is married, and her father’s or brother’s responsibility if she is single. This is an obligation (wajib) on him, of which he is not exonerated even if his wife (or daughter or sister) is well-off and has some other means of income. A woman’s income is exclusively her own. She may spend it as she wills. She may choose to spend it on her husband and children, but this will be an act of goodness (ihsan) on her part and is not a legal compulsion.


Hazrat Abdullah ibn Masud (May Allah be pleased with him) was in a financially weak position. His wife, Zainab (May Allah be pleased with her) used to spend on him. She once approached the Prophet (Peace be upon him [pbuh]) and asked through Hazrat Bilal (May Allah be pleased with him) if she could spend on her husband (in addition to the orphans she was taking care of). An Ansari woman too had the same question. The Prophet (pbuh) replied that theirs was a double reward: one for keeping the relationship good and the other for charity.


To prevent women’s economic activities from taking any direction considered wrong in Islam, it is essential to be aware of the following Islamic principles:

  1. Islam has prescribed the limits of halal (lawful and allowed) and haram (unlawful and forbidden), which both men and women have to observe in all circumstances. They can engage only in halal pursuits. Nobody is allowed to engage in haram activities.
  2. A distinguishing feature of the Islamic scheme for society is that the notion of free intermixing of the two genders is simply alien to it. Therefore, women cannot adopt an occupation or business in which they would have to work in close proximity with men. Chastity and modesty are important values, which give dignity and security to women. As they cannot be compromised, Islam wants women to avoid all situations where there is danger of these values being flouted or violated.
  3. The family is an important institution of society. It is accorded great importance in the Islamic scheme of life. Its strength gives strength and stability to Islamic society as a whole, while its weakness makes the growth and very survival of Islam in society very difficult. The family is built and run by a man and a woman. In this set-up, they both have rights and obligations. It is their responsibility to raise their children, and train and educate them. They may have to shoulder many other responsibilities as well. For instance, they have to fulfill the legal and moral rights of their parents, brothers and sisters and any other relations who are also part of their family. On the internal front of all this, the woman has a highly significant role to play. The family needs her time and attention, energies and potential.

Thus, finances are important, but a woman should not engage herself in economic activities at the cost of the family system and discipline. She should not give herself up to economic struggle at the cost of the warmth of relations.


The family is an abode of peace for its members and an institution that, if strong, guarantees the progress of society. Any damage to it is a loss to both the individual and the society. Therefore, it is not right for individual men and women to ignore it in their pursuit of any other objective.


Question-and-Answer Session


Q: Women doing jobs or other activities outside the home cannot perform household duties as well as they would have otherwise. Do they still have the right to maintenance?


A: There could be two situations in this regard. One is where a woman has opted for a job or some other activity with the permission of her husband. Here, it is meaningless to accuse her of giving less time to household duties. She also retains the right to maintenance. The second situation is where a woman takes up some activity against the will of her husband, and spends quite a lot of her time outside the home or at her parents’ home. Then, she will have no right to maintenance. Although the family relations cannot be taken simply as the economic contract yet this can be understood by considering the case of a person who goes on leave according to the rules and regulations of his organization. In this situation, he would get his salary. But a person who goes without informing the concerned staff and without following any procedure would have no right to get salary.


Q: In our society, which jobs could be considered right and correct for women within the limits prescribed by Islam?


A: I think a woman can decide for herself which job she would be able to observe Islamic conduct in, and which are the situations where she would not be able to hold fast to it. She must desist from jobs in which she thinks she would be put in trying situations.


Q: Sometimes a woman may find herself in circumstances, such as her husband’s little income and absence of other resources, which compel her to do a job in which she finds it difficult to be able to observe Islamic conduct.


A: These compulsions are a product of the contemporary economic system. It is a responsibility of an Islamic state to create an environment where everyone has opportunities to earn his livelihood according to the teachings of Islam. One should not be compelled to violate Islamic norms of conduct in order to obtain or retain a job. This is why Muslims should strive to make their society and country a true Islamic state. Then you will see that the services of educated women who have spare time and who can play their role in economic development of the country will be sought and appreciated.


In the obtaining circumstances, if women find themselves compelled to overlook Islam’s prescribed norms of conduct, this can be regarded “compulsion” in specific circumstances. This will have no general sanction in Islam, however.


Q: A hadith of the Prophet (pbuh) asks men to provide food and clothing to their wives as they would provide for themselves. Based on this, some women think that preparing food and other household chores are not included in their duties. It is for men to provide prepared food, etc. What do fuqaha (Islamic jurists) say in this matter?


A: Fuqaha (Muslim Jurists) have deliberated on the issue of whether household chores are included in women’s duties or not. To me, the hadith that asks men to provide food and clothing to their wives as they would provide for their own selves does not mean that they should provide prepared food and ready-made garments to wives. In fact, the purport of the hadith is that women’s status and standard of living should not be less than that of men. We see in countries like Pakistan and India that most men actually try to keep their women in better conditions than their own. Nevertheless women are not treated well because of difference in disposition, lack of tolerance, quarrels or some other reason. This is why Islam exhorts that women have equal rights to the same standard of living as their husbands. They cannot be denied maintenance and expenditure for their needs, or forced to have a lower standard of living. It is not correct that, while a man is using the car for himself, his wife is not even able to hire one; while he has one or more servants or assistants, his wife has no maid to help her. As for preparing food and other household chores, women performed this duty during the era of the Prophet (pbuh) and they do this job even today. If a woman does not consider it her legal duty and refuses to do it for her husband, then she should expect nothing more than her legal rights from her husband, and no better conduct.


Q: You said that though women find it difficult to do jobs during certain periods of time in their lives, they can take up jobs more easily at later stages. But if a woman has to participate in economic activities, she would, nevertheless, have to be trained from the start. Without professional education and training, how would she enter any field?


A: This is a very important question, and merits serious consideration and deep thought. If women wish to obtain professional education, it is a right that should not be denied to them. If they want jobs along with attending to family responsibilities, and have their husbands’ consent, or if they are at an age where they have time as well as potential and experience, then they should be given opportunities to realize their potential. This has to be properly schemed. The existing rules and regulations have been framed with men in view. Thus, for instance, the timing for work prescribed for men may not be suitable for women. Likewise, the procedure we have for appointment and retirement of men may need to be altered for women. If a woman wants to begin a job even at the age of 40, she should be given the opportunity. Similarly, her retirement may be set at a later age than 60. Along with this, her health and ability to work too should be kept in view and given due regard. While we should all think over the issue, it is primarily a responsibility of the state to examine all these aspects from an Islamic perspective and design a new framework for the economic role of women.


Q: From the Qur’anic instruction to women to “stay in your houses” the term ‘chadar aur char diwari’ was derived and it was thought that women should remain confined to their homes. Champions of women’s liberty raised a lot of hue and cry over this. We would like to hear you on this issue.


A: The Qur’anic instruction for women to “stay in your houses” does not mean that women must be kept permanently in houses and not allowed to go out. What it means is that women should not leave or forsake their houses if they risk ruining them for lack of attention and care. In the Prophet’s era, women used to go for prayers to the mosque, visit the market, and come out of their houses for various other tasks as well. They performed Hajj and Umrah. Nobody restricted their movement. What we need to realize is that Islam has given the internal management and administration of the home to women. It is a woman’s responsibility to make the home an abode of peace, comfort and tranquility. Her conduct should not say that the home is not her focus of attention, and that the office or market or factory where she works has absorbed all of her attention. If she comes out of her home after meeting its needs and demands, there is nothing wrong in her going out and it cannot be termed a violation of the Qur’anic instruction “stay in your houses”.


Q: Holding that “men are protectors and maintainers of women,” the Qur’an places on men the responsibility of providing food and shelter for women. Is a man still his wife’s “protector and maintainer” if he is financially weak or unemployed and cannot bear the burden of financial responsibility, or if he is disabled and cannot give her physical protection?


A: One can think of even worse situations. For example, a man is blind and paralyzed and himself needs help and support. His wife takes care of him and bears his expenses. Does he still retain the position of “protector and maintainer”?


The answer is that man has been appointed “protector and maintainer” for two reasons. The first is that Allah has given a degree of superiority to man over woman. This may be for physical, mental and/or practical reasons. And this is why Islam places more political, social and financial responsibilities on men. The second reason for man’s superiority is that he spends from his means on the woman in his care. This is a general rule, and exceptions are always there. A woman may be ahead of her husband financially and more able physically and, therefore, she may be spending on him. But this would not annul his status of being “protector and maintainer,” or if the man — simply because of being a man and woman —because of her economic position enter into a clash would destroy the home system.


Then, we should note that along with declaring man a “protector and maintainer,” Islam has praised the good woman as one who obeys her husband, guards her honor and chastity in his absence, and keeps his secrets. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) defined a good woman as one who pleases her husband whenever he sees her, carries out his orders, and keeps away from such attitudes about herself and his wealth that he does not like.


Q: Sometimes we see that a wife provides financial support to her husband to make him financially stable and strong. He becomes strong with her support. But then they separate on petty differences and she has no right on him. Who would be responsible for the upkeep of such a woman, and for her maintenance?


Some people readily say that her father would take up the responsibility of her well being and upkeep. But it sounds odd that a woman who spent the best 30-40 years of her life with her husband and supported him should now come back to her father’s house. Is it not against logic that her old father should be burdened with her maintenance?


A: Along with the situation you have narrated, there can be many similar situations that raise the question of a woman’s maintenance. For instance, who would be responsible for an orphan girl’s education, training and marriage? Similarly, what about the future of a young woman whose husband divorces her or dies? These situations can happen to women of all ages — young, middle-aged and old. The general principle of Shari’ah in this regard is that the closest male relation of a woman who cannot meet her financial needs would be responsible to take care of her. However, it is generally the husband’s duty to provide maintenance to his wife even if she is well-off. In the case of an orphan girl, her closest male relation — a grandfather, paternal uncle or brother, etc. — would be responsible. If the husband of a young woman dies, or divorces her, and she does not have the means to meet her own financial needs, she would come to her parents and have all the rights that she had before marriage. If an aged woman faces such a situation, her sons would be responsible for her maintenance. This is how the maintenance system prescribed by Shari’ah seeks to resolve problems in varying circumstances.


It is quite another thing if we ignore Shari’ah and think that problems cannot be resolved. If you stretch your imagination to think of a situation where a woman has no male relation, or has a male relation but he cannot bear her financial burden, then the answer is that Islam has made it the responsibility of the state to take care of women in such situations. If the state fails to do so, it is guilty of not doing it duty. The existence of a state has no meaning if it does not look after helpless women who have no one else to seek support and help from. In fact, it is hard to imagine in an Islamic society or an Islamic state that there can be a woman who has no relations or state machinery to stand by her.


Q: Sometimes it is suggested that a man who divorces his wife should be bound to provide maintenance to the divorcee until her death. This would, on the one hand, make divorce difficult and, on the other, resolve the issue of maintenance. What do you say in this regard?


A: This suggestion is against Shari’ah, which binds the husband to provide maintenance only until the completion of the iddah (i.e., the waiting period, which in divorce is three months and tens days in general, and, where the divorced woman is pregnant, ends with the delivery). How can we prescribe some thing in the name of Shari’ah that has not been prescribed by it?


As to making divorce difficult, while this suggestion appears to favour women, it is, in fact, harmful for them. A man who wants to divorce his wife — whether owing to his own foolishness or due to some weakness on his wife’s part — would keep the step of divorce pending if he is told that he would have to pay maintenance allowance to her for her lifetime. He would neither live with her properly as her husband, nor would he divorce her so that she may decide her own future.


Then, at times, it is the woman who wants to get rid of her husband, because his conduct is wicked or wayward, or in some other way repulsive to her. Divorce is her way out. If obstacles are created in the way of obtaining divorce, it would only add to her misery. She would have no option but to approach the court, which may only get her separated after long and psychologically draining proceedings.


Q: Why is it that a woman is required to observe hijab (veil) while a man is not? Is it just? Does not it go against the concept of equality of man and woman?


A: There is no denying that there is great attraction between men and women. Their unbridled interaction and free intermixing would further provoke their sexual urge and lead them to sexual waywardness. History bears witness to this tendency, and the present age gives ample evidence that not observing hijab has given rise to adultery and rape. It has ruined women’s honor and dignity, which hijab seeks to uphold.


Having said that, there can be only two situations to observe hijab: either the woman is required to observe hijab or the man is asked to do so. Islam required woman to observe hijab because it is the demand of nature. Man is not asked to observe hijab because his doing so would disturb the whole scheme of life. He is tasked with financial responsibilities to maintain his family. For this, he has to undertake certain hard tasks that it would be cruel to assign to a woman, who has a more tender nature and disposition. If all these factors are ignored and men are made to observe hijab and stay at home, women would have to be burdened with financial responsibility, which would be unbearable.


Q: There can be many forms of mixed gatherings of men and women. Are all of them forbidden? Some people object to men and women attending the same session though they are sitting separately. What is your view in this regard?


A: It is a settled matter that Islam does not approve of the intermixing of men and women. The more the intermixing, the more vehement the prohibition would be. There can be various forms of mixed gatherings. One is where their seats are mixed, they are indulging in light or loose talk, and they have opportunities to come close and be informal, which they use. This is prohibited because there are great chances of conduct that is unacceptable in Islam.


Another situation is that of a classroom. Let us suppose there are 25 boys and 25 girls in a classroom. Although the two groups are in the same classroom, their seats are separate and there is no intermixing of the two genders. It seems there is no harm in this. In the era of the Prophet (pbuh), women used to come to the mosque as well as to the Eid site. They would listen to the Prophet (pbuh) and offer prayers behind him, just as men did, but they would do so in separate rows.


Both men and women need to go to markets but they should be on their guard and not try to be too open or intimate in any way. Their going to the market is necessary and therefore the visiting of both is tolerated.


There is another aspect to this issue: age. The Qur’an gives concessions with regard to dress to aged women. It can be inferred from this that Islam does not require old women to abstain as strictly from intermixing with men as young women.


Q: Women used to go to mosques during the time of the Prophet (pbuh) but our religious scholars consider their coming to mosques a cause of mischief. Not allowed to come to mosques, they cannot benefit from lectures and lessons that are arranged there. It is strange that women can go to markets, and are not stopped, but their coming to mosques is opposed. What do you think is the right course?


A: There is no denying that women used to come to the mosques during the time of the Prophet (pbuh) — and there were separate special arrangements to receive them there. But the Prophet (pbuh) also said that women’s prayers at home are better than their prayers at the mosque. This means that while women are permitted to go to mosques, their going there is neither obligatory, nor does it merit more reward. The practice is simply permissible.


Contemporary ulema’s opposition to women’s going to mosques should be viewed in the context of today’s moral decay and chaotic environment.


Your objection is that while women are discouraged from coming to mosques, they are not stopped from going to the market. The answer to this lies in the difference between mosques and markets. The mosque is a place of worship, which requires that one should be clean, not only physically but also mentally and psychologically; one’s heart and mind should be clear from the corrupting influences of base sentiments and urges. If women made frequent visits to mosques, it would become difficult to maintain such an environment.


The market is a very different place. It is a place for exchange, and the buying and selling of material items. Unlike the mosque, there is no notion of sanctity attached to it. Thus, women may go there to buy items of daily use or for other necessary things. Notably, while they are allowed to go to the market out of necessity, it is not permissible for them to go there for fun and leisure. The Prophet (pbuh) has instructed that women should not go out of their houses unnecessarily; if they have to go out, there are certain conditions they need to observe, such as wearing simple dress, not using strong perfume, avoiding crowds, and walking on the sides of the road, etc. A Muslim woman should abide by these and other related instructions, or she would be going against Shari’ah.


As for women’s being deprived of the benefits of listening to lectures and lessons that are arranged in mosques, I think that women should be given the opportunity to benefit through special systems or arrangements. Arrangements should be made to enable them to attend Juma (Friday) and Eid prayers in order to equip them with Islamic knowledge and strengthen their Islamic spirit and sentiment.


Q: Can woman be a judge or qadi? Have women been judges during the era of the Prophet (pbuh) or during the times of the Righteous Caliphs? Or is this an ijtihadi issue (i.e., an issue requiring scholarly deliberations and resolution)?


A: The Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was himself the qadi, as part of his prophetic office. He would make decisions that were final. His appointed governors and administrators decided matters in their capacity as his deputies. None of them was a woman. However, those who deliberated on Shari’ah and issued edicts during the times of the Prophet (pbuh) and the Righteous Caliphs included women. In this regard, the name of Umm-ul Muminin Hazrat A’isha (May Allah be pleased with her) is very prominent.


Islamic jurists have deliberated on whether a woman can be a judge or qadi or not. It is an ijtihadi issue. Some scholars see no justification for this. The Hanafi view is that her witness is accepted in matters other than hudud and qisas, and she can be a judge in matters where her witness is accepted. This means that, with some restrictions, she can be a judge or qadi. However, this issue needs further discussion and deliberation.


Q: Women are lagging behind men in education as well as in the economic and political spheres. To help them move ahead, a quota system is envisaged, in which 30 percent or more seats would be reserved for women in all walks of life. This system would be wrapped up when women are at par with men. The question is what would be the effects of such a strategy on society?


A: If the quota system could resolve some women’s problems and enhance their position socially and economically, it should not be opposed. However, there are many aspects and concerns that would need to be taken into consideration. One or two considerations with respect to the economic situation can be mentioned as examples.


In Pakistan, the situation of employment is unsatisfactory even for men. People are going abroad in search of employment. In these circumstances, if you reserve 30 or 50 percent seats for women, this would render or keep an equal number of men unemployed. If there is 40 percent unemployment among them now, it would jump to 70 or 80 percent and you cannot create enough new opportunities to reduce this number in the short run. Provision of employment to deserving women is a duty of the Islamic state, but if it does so by reserving a heavy proportion of seats for them, there would be extremely negative effects on the family system.

Another drawback of the quota system is that less capable people have to be recruited according to the quota at the cost of eligible and capable people. This is not good for the state. This is, of course, a delicate issue that merits serious consideration by the government, its policy makers and policy advisors.

The Fourth United Nations World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 advocated gender mainstreaming as a strategy for promoting this equality. The Platform for Action called upon Governments and the international community to take priority action for the empowerment and advancement of women besides identifying strategic objectives in twelve critical areas of concern and proposing concrete actions to be taken to achieve those objectives. And the United Nations General Assembly, which convened the twenty-third special session to follow up the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in 2000, enhanced the mainstreaming mandate within the United Nations. ( education/information/nfsunesco/pdf/BEIJIN_E.PDF)

For instance, Article 3 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) asks all state parties to take all appropriate measures, including legislation to eliminate discrimination in the political, economic, social or cultural, civil or any other field. The text of the Convention can be downloaded from the UN website ( econvention.htm#article4). The Beijing Platform for Action (BPA) is also relevant.

“Men are the protectors (qawamoon) and maintainers of women because Allah has made one of them excel over the other, and because they spend out of their possessions (to support them)….” (An-Nisa 4: 34)

Islamic jurists of the past made no mention of healthcare expenses, perhaps because these were nominal in their times as most ailments were cured by home-grown treatments and medicines. Since the situation has changed considerably now, it may be assumed that it is for the man to meet the expenses of healthcare as well.

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is reported to have said: “The most perfect believers are the best in conduct, and the best of you are those who are best to their spouses.” (Tirmidhi)

“Men shall have a share according to what they have earned, and women shall a have share according to what they have earned.” (An-Nisa 4: 32)


“Just there is a share for men in what their parents and kinsfolk leave behind, so there is a share for women in what their parents and kinsfolk leave behind- be it little or much-a share ordained (by Allah)” (An-Nisa 4: 7)

For a detailed delineation of this issue, see Syed Abul Moududi, Purda (Lahore:Istaqlal Press, 1958), pp. 198–219.

Al-Bukhari Book 24, Hadith 545.

See Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 1v. (1943–1973), 1979. Helen Hemingway Benton, London, Also see Hammudah Abdul Atai, The Family Structure in Islam (American Trust Publications, 1997), pp. 13–25.

“They have upon you [the rights] of providing for them and clothing, as regards to what is reasonable” (Tirmidhi). Also, the Prophet said to a questioner: “[Her right upon you] is to feed her when you eat, buy her clothes when you buy for yourself, not to smack her on the face, not to curse her and not to ignore her [if you have a difference with her] but in the house.” (Ahmad).

The concept of flexible timings to help women balance their careers with families is becoming quite popular these days, even in the Western world. Many Western countries, including the UK, have adopted this model. (See, for example,

“And stay in your homes and do not go about displaying your allurements as in the former time of ignorance. Establish Prayer, give Zakah, and obey Allah and His messenger. Allah only wishes to remove uncleanness form you, O members of the (Prophet’s) household, and to purify you completely.” (Al-Ahzab 33: 33)

“Men are the protectors (qawamoon) and maintainers of women because Allah has made one of them excel over the other, and because they spend out of their possessions (to support them)….” (An-Nisa 4: 34).

Mishkat-ul-Masabih, ref. Nasai and Baihaqi.

The issue was raised in the famous ‘Shah Bano case’ in India, in which the Supreme Court asked the husband to provide maintenance rights to his divorced wife for the rest of her life. The Court, however, had to revoke the decision in view of the protest of the Muslim population and All India Waqf Board. http://www. – January 5, 2007)

. No country in the world can claim to be free from the curse of rape. However, statistics prove that such incidents are more common in the non-Muslim world than in the Muslim world where the majority of women observe hijab. In this regard, figures from the US are highly alarming: 7 in 10 women who have sex before age 14, and 6 in 10 of those who have sex before age 15 report they had sex involuntarily (Facts in Brief: Teen Sex and Pregnancy: The Alan Guttmacher Institute, New York, 1996); Teens 16 to 19 are 3.5 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault (National Crime Victimization Survey: Bureau of Justice Statistics, US Department of Justice, 1996); One in two rape victims is under age 18; one in six is under age 12 (Child Rape Victims, US Department of Justice, 1992);While 9 out of 10 rape victims are women, men and boys are also victimized by this crime. In 1995, 32,130 males aged 12 and older were victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault (National Crime Victimization Survey: Bureau of Justice Statistics, US Department of Justice, 1996).


“The women who are past their youth (and can no longer bear children) and do not look forward to marriage will incur no sin if they cast off their outer garments without displaying their adornment. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.” (An-Nur 24: 60).


Background information on the concept of quotas for women and the global database of quotas for women can be found at http://www.quotaproject. org/papers_SU.htm.

Share this post