Holy Quran and Women

Houston Smith, in his book entitled “The World’s Religions” states: “If we approach the status of women historically, comparing the status of Arabian women before and after Prophet Mohammad, the charge that Islam degrades women is patently false.  Addressing conditions in which the very birth of a daughter was regarded as a calamity, the Quranic reforms improved women’s status incalculably by forbidding infanticide.” 1

Historians tell us that a commonplace practice at the time of the revelation of the Qur’an was burying female infants alive, shortly after their birth. Men and women mourned the birth of a female infant.  However, the Quran states that to be ashamed of the birth of a daughter and to murder them is evil (16:57-59). The Quran repeatedly lectures against this practice, stating that the evidence of it will be recorded, and whoever does so will be called to account “Lost are those who slay their children, from folly, without knowledge” (6:140).

قد خسر الذين قتلوا أولادهم سفها بغير علم.

It is important to notice that this injunction of forbidding infanticide was the first amendment of its kind in protecting women’s right.

Houston Smith further explains that “Islam required that daughters as citizen have rights to education, suffrage, and vocation – the Quran leaves open the possibility of women’s full equality with man, an equality that is being approximated as the customs of Muslim nations become modernized.

The Qur’an speaks repeatedly of the Muslimun and Muslimat, Mu’minun and M’minat, the “Muslim men and women,” “the faithful men and women.”  The same religious injunctions are valid for both sexes.2

For Muslim men and women, – for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in Charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise,- for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward.
إن المسلمين و المسلمات و المؤمنين و المؤمنات و القانتين و القانتات و الصادقين و الصادقات و الصابرين و الصابرات و الخاشعين و الخاشعات و المتصدقين و المتصدقات و الصائمين و الصائمات و الحافظين فروجهم و الحافظات و الذاكرين الله كثيرا و الذاكرات أعدّ الله لهم مغفرة و أجرا عظيما.

The Holy Qur’an repeatedly makes it very clear that gender has nothing to do with one’s spiritual status. That is determined by individual belief and behavior.

Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has Faith, verily, to him will We give a new Life, a life that is good and pure, and We will bestow on such their reward, according to the best of their actions.
من عمل صالحا من ذكر أو أنثى و هو مؤمن فلنحيينّه حياة طيبة و لنجزينهم أجرهم بأحسن ما كانوا يعملون.

  1. Huston Smith, World’s Religions, Harper San Francisco, 1986, p.166
  2. Ibid., p.166