Reading through Western media, one would be forgiven for thinking that the Muslim girl child is an endangered species. Apparently, marrying them off at age 7 is just fine as far as the religion is concerned. Well this is simply not how the religion approaches girls. Read through the Qur’an and study the history of the religion before coming to such a conclusion.
The advent of Islam in the Middle East was in fact a blessing to females. Islam arrived at a time in history when a female child was an object – a piece of property and not a person. Baby girls were often killed in a belief that it was shameful to give birth to a girl and more desirable to give birth to a boy. Islam made many of the cruel actions against women haram (forbidden).
For one, fathers were allowed to bury baby girls alive without facing any criminal charges. Islam abolished the practice. (Quran 81:8-9) The Prophet Mohammed went ahead and promised paradise to a father who did not favor a son over a daughter. He lauded the job of raising girls as a noble one.
Prophet Mohammed similarly made it clear that each Muslim had a duty to get an education – including the women and girls.
Within marriage, Muslim women also have rights. For one, women have the right to accept or reject a proposal of marriage. The prophet Mohammed allowed women who were forced into marriage to obtain dissolution of marriage. At the time of marriage, women also have a right to ask for a prenup.
Married women are given the right to be provided for. The Qur’an provides that a woman has the prerogative to decide whether or not she should spend money from her dowry or income to sustain her household.
The prophet Mohammed expressly lauded that ‘the best’ men are those who are kindest to their wives. With regards to household duties, the prophet Mohammed worked at mending his own clothes, repairing his own shoes, and milking his goats. This example shows that he clearly was in support of men taking part in household tasks. The Qur’an commands that the society respects mothers because of their unique role in child bearing.
It does not end there. Even when it comes to divorce, the Qur’an does not allow men to be unkind to their wives by for example, taking back any gifts they had given. It is commonly believed that Islam does not allow women to divorce their husbands, but they may obtain a divorce.
Islam is responsible for restoring women’s financial security by making it mandatory for women to enjoy financial support, either as mothers, daughters, wives, sisters, or nieces. Islam also allowed women to inherit property from their fathers, and outlawed forced wife inheritance.
In terms of employment, nowhere does the Qur’an allow exclusion of women from employment.