Imagine a gender-equal world. A world is free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality, and collectively we can all.
Women’s day is observed every year on 8 March. The day commemorates women’s cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements and raises awareness against bias. Women are invincible, strong, and real change-makers. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender equality and unbiased participation of women in each and every field. To observe IWD personally, all we can do is educate all the women around us of their basic rights, build inclusive thriving, and safe workplaces, encourage their creativity, and teach them about their healthy choices.
You may have heard claims stating that:
“In Islam, women are not loved, have no rights, and are oppressed.” These may be some baseless claims that are being said about Muslim women. When we look at the life of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w, we can see that these statements could not be further from the truth.
Although he was sent when women are widely believed to be inferior and not given meaningful recognition, he led by example with his respectful treatment towards women. Although Islam acknowledges that Men and Women are not the same, the Quran mentions the equality of both in creation and in the sight of Allah.
O humanity! Be mindful of your Lord, Who created you from a single soul, and from it, He created its mate (Adam & Eve), and through both, He spread countless men and women. And be mindful of Allah in Whose Name you appeal to one another and (honour) family ties. Surely Allah is ever Watchful over you.” (Surah An-Nisa, 4:1)
His relationships with his wives were based on mutual love and respect.
Throughout his life, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. treated his wives the way they should be treated. They were gratified by his presence, tenderness, affection, and the love he provided to them was second to none. The Quran perfectly encapsulates the tranquillity and affection in marriage.
And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them, and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” (Surah Ar-Rum, 30:21)
His first wife, Khadijah r.a. was his emotional and spiritual comfort source. It was Khadijah r.a. who instilled confidence in him when he received the first revelation. He sought support and strength throughout his quest to uplift humanity in her.
His wife, Ayesha r.a. was the one he spent his last days with, and throughout their marriage, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. treated her in a very gentle way.
He allowed women to engage in public roles
Unlike the social norm of the time, Muslim women held important roles in the time of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. His wife, Ayesha r.a, was a scholar who used to be consulted by other companions on religious matters and expressed herself freely in the public sphere. She even praised the women of Ansar for not letting their shyness stop them from asking questions about Islam and learning their religion.
After the passing of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w, Ayesha r.a. continued to impart knowledge to the companions. As she was the closest person to the Prophet s.a.w, she was one of the most knowledgeable individuals during that time. She inherited many of the hadiths from the Prophet s.a.w, which she continued to transmit to others around her.
Prophet Muhammad showed immense love for his daughter
Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. was never shy about showing his deep love for his daughter, Fatima r.a. When she entered the room, he would stand up for her and make her sit in his place.
He uplifted the status of women
Prophet s.a.w. uplifted the status of women from that of being the property of men to that of equal status in the society with accorded rights and dignity. The Prophet s.a.w. paid special attention to the women in his society, who previously had been denied any rights, freedom, and space.
In real and everyday lives, we as a Muslim community and citizens of the world need to follow the noble Prophet’s example in our respect for women. In my experience as anchor of the Discover Yourself Workshops, over so many years, I realized that women have so much potential as contributors to their families and society.
We as parents need to be respectful towards our daughters and help them with our support as they journey through their lives, be it in their professional or personal challenges. We should not cut their wings but encourage them to fly high towards their goals under protection.
As husbands, we need to understand our spouse and her emotional needs, support, and help her. We must uplift their confidence, seek their opinion in several matters and respect them as human beings.
I pray and hope that we all start honoring the women we know, starting from within our own homes first and spreading peace to women across the globe.
Only then can we celebrate Women’s Day sincerely and honestly!