Social System of Islam 15 – Position Of Women In Islam Economic Aspect
Channel: Jamal Badawi
Series: Jamal Badawi - Social System of Islam
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Episode Transcript ©
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In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful, the creator and Sustainer of the universe, peace and blessings upon his servant and messenger Muhammad forever. I mean, I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except the one true God. And I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger and servant of God. I greet you with our usual greetings on our program.
Universal greeting that has been used by all of the profits from Abraham through to Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon them all. Universal readings of peace, assalamu Aleikum, which means peace be unto you.
Today we have our
15th program in our series dealing with the social system of Islam. We'll be talking about the position of women in Islam and more specifically, we'll be looking at the question of property and other economic rights. I'm your host, Hamad Rashid, and I have joining me on the program as usual, Dr. Jamal Badawi of St. Mary's University, brother, Jamal Assalamu alaykum Polycom cinema. Before we get into today's topic of discussing the question of property and other economic rights for for women, class, physical back and highlight very quickly the main points we talked about in last week's program, especially last week program will look at the position of woman in Islam first from
the human and spiritual
perspective. And the main thing that was indicated that Islam first dispelled all those arguments that preceded the advent of Islam. In the latter part of the sixth century, you will even religious conferences used to meet to discuss whether a woman has a soul or not, whether she's a human or not, whether she deserves the life hereafter or not. And we quoted from the Quran indicating that Islam recognizes helpful humanity, that the Quran says that she was created from the same nature or the same soul as man, there is no difference. In terms of spiritual status, we indicated that Islam recognize the same potential of spiritual qualities of women just as it does to men, that the duties
and responsibilities that is religious duties are the same for men and women. In some cases, even women are giving certain privileges by having certain concessions, by not being required to have certain religious duties in consideration of their feminine or maternal functions. Like a woman, for example, doesn't have to fast when she's nursing a baby or when or when she's pregnant, in protection of her health and her baby's health. And then we discussed specifically some of those concessions as to why for example, women pray, indeed,
behind the lines of men, and why a woman does not lead, prayer and bow down in front of men. Why there was no female prophet of prophets. And we indicated that all of this has nothing to do with her status or position, but rather the nature of human Muslim prayers, which involves movements, frustrations, and the nature also of the role of the Prophet and the suffering that he has to go through. But otherwise, they're basically on the same plane, and the human and spiritual level. Okay, well, now, looking at the topic of today's program, does Islam recognize the right of women to own property, a property independently, independent of her husband? Certainly, according to Islamic
law, a woman has the full and complete unquestioned right to own property, in her own name independently, that this right does not change in case you get married. In other words, it does not transfer to her husband as we have seen in previous laws preceding Islam and even continued after Islam. In some other non Muslim societies, that she is eligible to dispose of this property in any way she wishes to bequeath it, sell it or rent it, invest it or any other form of disposal of property, without any interference or need of permission, so called from her husband or any anybody has for that matter.
the other thing that might be of interest also is that among Muslim women, even until
Today, a woman does not take the name of her husband, or the family name of her husband upon marriage. And that's an important symbolical thing because it is actually a symbol of maintaining her personality and her legal identity. Some Muslims who migrate or live in the West find it rather difficult and uncomfortable, for example, to refer to the wife as Mrs. So and so in the official sense that she's taking the name of the family. In Islam, she maintains her maiden name, and all of these things. We're not talking about interpretations of jurists that are recent, all of those rights has already been established and entrenched in Islamic law as early as the seventh century.
In the Christian. Yeah.
Well, I'm sure that many of our viewers would find it surprising that
Islam recognize some of these rotors early as the seventh century, particularly when, for example, in this province, so we've only just in 1980, I guess, ahead the proclamation of the matrimonial property Act, which gives touches on this important area of women being a crown property and so on. I wonder if perhaps, we could go back and have you compare
the situation with Islam with the situation, the legal approach this whole question of property ownership in western civilization, after the industrial revolution? Well, I just chosen to quit quotations that might somehow reflect or answer that question so that they wouldn't give opinions really on my own without some documentation. According to Encyclopedia Americana, international edition, published in 1969, that's in volume 29, page 108. And they describes there's what was the approach of the English common law. And it says, according to the English common law code, all real property, which a wife held at the time of a marriage became a position of her husband,
position of harassment, he was entitled to the rent, from the land, and to any profit which might be made from operating the state during the joint life of the spouses.
As time passed, the English courts devise means to forbid husbands transferring real property without the consent of his wife. But he still retained the right to manage it, and to receive the money which it produced. As to the wives or as to a wife's personal property, the husband's power was complete, he had the right to spend it as he saw fit. Again, the source of that was Encyclopedia Americana. It appears that this kind of situation continued until as late as the later part of the 19th century.
to document that we refer to Encyclopedia Britannica.
And in the 1968, edition, in volume 23, specifically, in Page Six to four, it says,
by a series of Acts, starting with the married women's property act in 1870. So you're very right close to the end of the 19th century,
amended in 1882 and 1887. married women achieved the right to own property, and to enter contracts on a par with spinsters, widows, and divorcees.
Indeed, Britain even was ahead of many other European nations. It is known that in the French law,
it was only recognize as late as 1938, for the first time, recognize the right of women to own property. Prior to that the French law indicated that among people who could not have the eligibility to dispose of property are the miners. Those who are under guardianship, like for example, people are not in stable mental condition. And women only 1938 were women getting that? Right.
That means that many of the rights that were recognized women economically as late as the 19th, and even the 20th century, was already well entrenched, canonized and established in Islamic law.
Since the seventh century, that's almost a span of more than 1300 years. difference.
To express his astonishment about this provision that the Quran provide a French writer by the name of Maurice, godfroid them and Ben and a book that was translated in English
BY JOHN McGregor under the title, Muslim institutions.
And he says, and I quote, that the Quran, or the Quranic law gave a wife, quote, a state, or a status, which is, in many respects, more advantages than that bestowed by modern European laws. And that book was published in 1950.
Another writer also wrote that about Islam, that Islam was astonishingly ahead of its time and environment. What this astonishment to me, result from the fact that plenty of those writers look at this provisions in Islamic law. And they say How could Mohammed or Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him say that, in the seventh century, at the time when women themselves were an object of inheritance, and what they forget,
is that the these laws are not altered by Mohammed, the Quran was not written or authored by Prophet Muhammad, but rather it was divine revelation. And when God's revealed His laws directly, God's laws are not subject to the limitations, or the spirit of the time or the pressures, or environments, it is simply the truth and the light, regardless whether that's right, or truth was recognized widely or not, at that time, so to the Muslim, it's not surprising. It's simply divine, it is the divine justice.
Another related question that would come come up in this particular connection, but it has to do with the whole situation of inheritance.
under Islamic law is a woman entitled to share in inheritance or state of people who are deceased relatives, husbands and so on? Well, it is interesting to note, as I was just indicating earlier, that before Islam, at least in Arabia,
in some cases, a woman herself was an object of inheritance, she was part of the state left by the by the disease.
depriving a woman from inheritance was not uncommon, not only in pre Islamic Arabia, but in many other parts of the world. In some cases, only males were entitled to inheritance. In some other cases, even in even in Europe, as you know, in some cultures, only the eldest son was entitled to inheritance, the argument was made that that preserves the wealth of the family under the structures rather than splitting that among so many children. So the first and most important reform measure the form that the Quran introduced, first was to establish the rights of both males and females, among that this is no exclusion of any and a certain share of the state of the disease. In the
Quran, for example, in chapter four, verse seven, the translation leads on to men of the family belongs a share of that which parents and near country live.
And until women belongs a shares of that which parents Americans live on simply.
And then it says, whether it be a little or much a determined, share, determined in a sense that nobody determined that not even Prophet Mohammed does. And God determined that sure, and as such, nobody has the right to change it, or to deprive anyone from his or her legitimate inheritance under an excuse, indeed, an Islamic law, even if the disease before his death, made a will,
to the exclusion or recommending the exclusion of any of the legitimate female ears, that this would be regarded as void, and no, from the static point of view, and that word could not be implemented. And did it's interesting to notice that the reason of revelation for that verse reflect the fact that it was made essentially to protect female rather than males. It was said that a wife of a man whose name was sad,
went to complain to the Prophet, Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. And she said that my husband died. And he left a state and I had two daughters. But his brothers took away the state or the property of my deceased husband. And she said, I have two daughters and when they get married, they will need this. You know, this funds. So that verse was revealed to Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him though and that I just decided that both male and female are entitled. And by the way, this is a unique way in which the Quran was revealed that God planned His revelation to comment on certain case studies or certain problems, realistic problems in society to give us and show us the way as to
how to resolve these problems. However, it should be indicated that in the law of inheritances land, there are lots of details. It's quite an involved one. We might touch on that briefly after that.
End of the of this series, but the share of any particular ears depend number one on the degree to which is related to the disease. But also it should be said, quite honestly that according to what the Quran provides, if the ears are both male and female in most cases, though not in all cases, the male inherits twice as much, or two shares too much or twice as much as the female inherits. That is basically in consideration of the various financial responsibilities of males and females, according to Islamic law. Now, some critics,
although they're prepared to acknowledge the the fairness of Islam in terms of granting women the property rights, on this question of inheritance, the male getting twice as much in some instances may see this is being
unjust to the a woman that happens to be involved.
How would you respond to somebody who makes sense but if your
health is predictive? Well, to start with, as indicated this, the shares that has been determined for inheritance are not offered by any means, so that you could accuse men of being biased towards men, this are divine laws, that must have a great deal of wisdom and vision behind it. And in fact, there is a good reason behind it. Now,
if you look at the one aspect of Islamic law, pertaining to financial privileges or responsibilities, then you're right, you probably would come up with this conclusion that it is unjust it is it makes discrimination Why should the male inherit twice as much. But the errors in that conclusion, stems actually from the fact that you're taking one aspect of Islamic law, out of context and out of others, total financial privileges and responsibilities. And indeed, if you look at it further, you find that Islam even favors the woman a little more even. Even when chin hurts half as much as the mid inherits. The reason being, is that, number one,
in the case of marriage, a woman is much more on the receiving side than the male. How, during the period of engagement, any guests is given
by the husband to be to her by her fancy, so she's receiving. Number two, at the time of marriage, a Muslim woman is entitled for a marriage gift, or mash.
And that gift is absolutely hers. It is not the property of her father or anybody else. It is hers to keep just like a gift, nothing to do with the previous notions of mother.
So she's on the receiving side. And usually that's my heart, even though that Islam does not establish any minimum, but usually customary. It is consistent with the financial status of the fiance or husband to be.
if you had any property prior to marriage, that property remains hairs and she has full freedom to dispose of it the way she likes. So the husband doesn't have any claim on it.
Firstly, and that's perhaps the most important one. In Islamic law, even if the wife is rich, and she had property, she's not responsible to spend a single penny on the household, the full responsibility for health, food, clothing, housing,
medication, recreation, all her needs are entirely the responsibility of her husband, even if she had property.
If she happened to earn any income, during their marital life, by way of rental from her property, investment, what whatnot even by working, labor's income, all that income, again remains entirely hers, and she is not required to spend a single penny
in case of divorce. If there's any part the third part of the divorce or the Maha marathon marathon gift, it becomes due immediately. She is entitled to enter a complete maintenance during the waiting period. She's entitled beyond that for child support in case the child is inheriting custody even after the divorce has taken place. So let's be fair if we put all this additional privileges which are given to women that no matter how rich she is, she doesn't have to spend a penny. On the other hand, men are the mid side is the one in Islamic law who is responsible for all of those expenses in addition also to his responsibility to care for some of his needs.
relatives who are poor, and needy. So when things are put in a proper perspective, and we can see the great financial privilege is given to women, indeed in consideration also of their need for additional protection and additional financial security.
Now, another question which relates to the economic rights is the right to be able to seek a job into to work.
First of all, is that that right for women recognizing Islam? And if so,
is the woman entitled to equal pay for equal work?
Okay, well, first of all, on the question of whether it's lawful for a woman to work or to seek a job,
I know of no legal provision in Islamic law in the Quran, or the prophetic tradition, that can be construed in any way to say that a woman is not entitled to seek a job or a career
period without any particular qualification that's does not exist, there is no such provision in Islamic law to start with.
it should be even added that in an ideal Islamic Society,
women are some at least some women must take certain jobs. For example, within Islamic teachings, it is more desirable, much more desirable, for example, for a woman to be examined
by a female doctor, which means automatically that Islam presumed that it would be female doctors, that then the same thing goes for nursing and Islamic Society also, it is much more desirable, for example, to have a female teacher for females, that presumes teachers in a variety of disciplines who are females, yes, it is well known that females are much better in relating to smaller children in terms of their early education, which means again, they must be teachers in large numbers on the at least the primary level.
These are only examples which shows that automatically within the assumptions of STEM flow, there must be some women who have this type of skills. But it should be emphasized, however, that the there is also a very important and measure role for a woman to play in Islamic law. And that is her role as a wife and a mother. And these are by no means insignificant roles at all. And the this kind of roles, the more human roles that relate to the upbringing of new generations of humanity, actually should take precedence over taking a particular career or a particular job. So whenever there is conflict, actually, this basic roles should take precedence. The Prophet peace be upon him
indicated that God loves if one of you is doing something that you should try to perfect it. And if a woman has small babies, for example, that she's caring for, and if that requires her presence,
and not taking a job for a certain period of time, then certainly she's taking the right decision. But in any case, there are cases as you know, especially in non Islamic societies, where such guarantees are not available, such financial security is not really available to women, where a woman has to work in order to earn her own living, or to care for even her children. So long as the type of work and atmosphere is not contradictory to Islamic law, there is no provision to prevent that. As far as the question of equal pay, I would say even using the more contemporary term, that in Islamic law, there is no reason why a woman could not get an equal pay for work of equal value.
And these are two different kinds of takes a long time to experience but people in involved in human rights cases are familiar with the difference,
to get equal pay for work even of equal value. Now, there is nothing in Islamic law that says that a woman because she's a female should be paid less, and that again, is as old as the revelation of the Quran nearly 1400 years ago, there's no question actually, it's consistent with the rules of justice, and fairness and Islamic law that if you're doing work, whether you're male or female, you get paid for what you're doing, not on the basis of your sex. Now, one might be able to infer from your answer that although seeking or accepting a job is not forbidden for them. And it's something that perhaps is not impervious unless there's a specific need for it. Some people would argue,
predicted some of the women in contemporary society and others
for society that
a woman who doesn't have a career outside of the home is,
is not a productive or fulfilled
individual, and that she really doesn't contribute to development? How would you respond to somebody? Who would my initial response is that I don't know of any function that is more novel, and more important and more crucial in social development than motherhood?
And how do we define social development? Are we defining social developments in terms of dollars and cents? Or are we talking also spiritual, moral, social as well as material type of development?
Once we expand our view, and our vision of what social development is, what is what role could be more important, or could replace the role of motherhood?
And why is it that we consider a career outside of the home as a career, but motherhood is not regarded as a career in itself? How do we define the term carrier? formal organization working outside of the house? Is that the only determinant? And sometimes this sort of catch my mind? Why is it that in materialistic civilization like our present age, why is it that if a woman cooks in a restaurant, for strangers, she is regarded as fulfilled, she's got a job. But if she cooks for her beloved ones at home, she's only at home? Why is it if a woman is sewing clothing in a factory? For others, she is regarded as fulfilled and have a have a job. But when he sews or net clothing, for
her own family, she is regarded as only at home. Why is it if a woman is working as a secretary organizing the schedule of her boss, and his engagements, she's regarded as fulfilled. But when she's looking after the engagement of the family, and organizing that she's regarded as inferior. Indeed, the the biggest problem, it appears to me in contemporary thinking, is to look down upon the role of a mother or a wife, as if it's something traditional or not relevant or not important in society. What could be more productive than that, even if we take it from the purely materialistic point of view, if you try to put a price tag on the services that a wife and a mother does at home,
and if the husband were to pay her for those services, he would go bankrupt. Her contribution, even in dollars and cents, might exceed his entire salary. Don't you know that a woman a mother, for example, sometimes is on call 24 hours a day, especially when she had small babies anytime in the day of night, constant work and constant effort, looking after her husband and after her children in her household. So even in materialistic sense, it's not it's not really
worthless at all. But I should reiterate, however, what was mentioned earlier, it doesn't mean that Islam make it unlawful for women to seek a job, it simply means that there are priorities and if the need arises, that's it. Indeed, when you talk about fulfillment, what fulfillment could be greater than a word home? A happy husband, healthy and well, real children, and a cherished and loved wife? What else could be more fulfilling?
Well, I suppose there, we only have a minute or so left, but I suppose there would be some among our viewing audience who might say, Well, yes, but you're really speaking about traditional values, which are not really that consistent with today's modern world. How in one minute or less, would you respond when you made that view? Well, first of all, because something is traditional, doesn't mean that it's bad. And because something is so called modern doesn't mean that it's good. What is the price that society is paid today, for those so called modern values, you get a breakdown of the family. And because of breakdown a family, women seeking employment, to sustain themselves. And
because of that, you contribute to the problems of unemployment. When you have unemployment, you have crime in the streets, and you get people discouraged from getting married. When people are not married, this vicious circle continues. So what price are we paying for this so called modern values versus the so called traditional values? What is wrong, like I say, with this kind of worms within the family circle, that I'm sure that every man, woman and child, publicly or secretly are yearning for? Isn't that something we're missing?
And it's something we deserve a lot of
serious consideration. We want to thank you for watching our program. we've exhausted our time. Assalamu alaikum Peace be on