Today people think that women are liberated in the west and that the woman’s liberation movement began in the 20 th century. Actually, the women’s liberation movement was not begun by women but women but was revealed buy god to a man in the seventh century by the name of Muhammad (peace be upon him) who is known as the last prophet of Islam. The Qur’an and the traditions of the prophet (Hadith or Sunnah) are the sources from which every Muslim women derives her rights and duties.
I. HUMAN RIGHTS:
Islam, fourteen centuries ago, made women equally accountable to God in glorifying and worshipping Him setting no limits on her moral Progress.
Also, Islam established a woman’s equality in her humanity with men, in the Qur’an in the first verse of the chapter entitled "women" God says
"O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord who created you from a single soul and from it its mate and from them both have spread broad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your duty toward Allah in whom you claim (your rights) of one another and towards the wombs (that bore you) LO! Allah has been a watcher over you"(4:1)
Since men and women both come from the same essence, they are equal in their humanity. Women cannot be by nature evil (as some religions believe) or them men would be evil, also. Similarly, neither gender can be superior because it would be a contradiction of equality.
II. CIVIL RIGHTS:
In Islam, a woman has the basic freedoms of choice and expression based on recognition of her individual personality. First, she is free to choose her religion. The Qur’an states;
"there is no compulsion in religion. Right has been made distinct from error". (2:256)
Women are encouraged in Islam to contribute their opinions and ideas, There are many traditions of the Prophet (p) which indicate women would pose questions directly to him and offer their opinions concerning religion, economics and social matters.
A Muslim woman chooses her husband and to keep her name after marriage. A Muslim woman's testimony is valid in legal disputes. In fact, where women are more familiar, their evidence is conclusive.
III. SOCIAL RIGHTS:
The Prophet (s) said, "seeking knowledge is a mandate for every Muslim (male and female )’’. This includes knowledge of the Qur’an and the Hadith as well as other knowledge. Men and women both have the capacity for learning and understanding. Since it is also their obligation to promote good behavior and condemn bad behavior in all spheres of life Muslim women must acquire the oppropriate education to perform this duty in accordance with their own natural talents and interests.
While maintenance of a home, providing support to her husband and bearing, raising and teaching of children are among the first and very highly regarded roles for a women, if she has the skills to work outside the home for the good of the community, she may do so as long as her family obligations are met.
Islam recognizes and fosters the natural differences between men and women despite their equality. Some types of work are more suitable for men and other types for women. This in no way diminishes either’s effort nor its benefit. God will reward both sexes equally for the value of their work though it may not necessarily be the same activity.
Concerning motherhood the prophet [pbuh] said, "Heaven lies under the feet of mothers" this implies that the success of a society can be traced to the mothers that raised it. The first and greatest influence on a person comes from the sense of security affection and training received from the mother therefore a woman having children must be educated and conscientious in order to be a skillful parent.
IV. POLITICAL RIGHTS:
A right given to Muslim women by God 1400 years ago is the right to vote. On any public matter, a woman may voice her opinion and participate in politics. One example narrated in the Qur’an (60:12) MUHAMMAD [Pbuh] is told that when the believing women come to him and swear their allegiance to Islam he must accept their oath. This established the right of women to select their leader and publicly declare so. Finally Islam does not forbid a woman from holding important positions in government. Abdurrahman Ibn Auf consulted many women before he recommended Uthman Ibn Affan to be the caliph.
V. ECONOMIC RIGHTS:
The Qur’an states: "by the creation of the male and female: Verily [the ends] ye strive for are diverse"(92:3-4)
In these verses, God declares that he created men and women to be different, with unique roles, functions and skills. As in society, where there is a division of labor so too in a family, each member has different responsibilities. Generally, Islam upholds that woman are entrusted with the nurturing role, and men, with the guardian role. Therefore woman are given the right of financial support.
The Qur‘an states: "Men are the maintainers of woman because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend of their wealth (for the support of woman" (4:34)
This guardianship and greater financial responsibility is given to men requires that they provide women with not only monetary support but also physical protection and kind and respectful treatment.
Muslim woman have the privilege to earn money, the right to own property, to enter into legal contracts and to manage all of her assets in any way she pleases. She can run her own business and no one has any claim on her earnings including her husband