It is to be stressed that Islam has honoured and elevated the status of the woman. In Islam, the man and woman are partners in critical social duties and obligations such as enjoining good and forbidding evil. The Muslim woman has every right to increase her Islamic knowledge and awareness, to participate in active Islamic work, and to get to know and cooperate with other sisters who work for Islam as long as she doesn’t transgress or neglect the rights of her husband and children.
The European Council for Fatwa and Research states that: The problem with many Muslims who lack sufficient Islamic knowledge is that they impose their own moods, mentalities and personal views upon Islam. Therefore, we often find someone who is rough and merciless treating those around him, including his wife and children, in a very aggressive and rough manner and he may go so far as to claim that this is part of Islam. This also includes the view of some men towards women. This view is often very radical and narrow and is characterized by the man’s wish to control his wife as well as his ill-perception of her.
Those men may come from environments that look down upon women and believe that they were created for the sole purpose of serving man and fulfilling his sexual needs. It is unfortunate that many of those men have had the opportunity to observe other societies and cultures and have gained in knowledge. Many may hold masters and doctorate degrees, others may be scientists, engineers, economists or administrators, yet they fail to change and they fail to advance in that respect. It is a fact that no religion honoured women as Islam did. Islam honoured and elevated the status of the woman as a human being, as a female, as a daughter, as a wife, as a mother, and as a member of society. Isn’t it sufficient enough that Allah states in the Holy Qur’an: “So their Lord accepted of them their supplication: Never will I allow to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female; You are one of another…” (Al `Imran: 195)
The meaning of “one of another” is that the man complements the woman and the woman complements the man, and that one cannot do without the other and, therefore, they equally carry the burden of duties and responsibilities. Allah Almighty states in the Holy Qur’an: “Verily the Muslims, men and women, the believers, men and women, the men and the women who are obedient to Allah, the men and the women who are truthful, the men and the women who are patient, the men and the women who are humble, the men and the women who give in charity, the men and the w
omen who observe fasting, the men and the women who guard their chastity and the men and the women who remember Allah much with their hearts and tongues; Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward.” (Al-Ahzab: 35)
This also implies that man and woman are partners in critical social duties and obligations such as enjoining good and forbidding evil. Allah Almighty states: “The believers, men and women, are supporters and protectors of each other: they enjoin good and forbid evil.” (Al-Anfal: 71)
The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Women are the complimentary halves of men” (A good Hadith, reported by Ahmad (6/256), Abu Dawud (No. 236) and At-Tirmidhi (No.113) from the Hadith of `A’ishah). He (peace and blessings be upon him) also said: “Do not prevent women from attending mosques.” (Agreed upon from the Hadith of `Abdullah ibn `Umar)
It is to be noted that in the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), mosques were the only means for women to learn, increase their knowledge in Islam, and to observe the congregational and Friday prayers, as well as to get to know their good sisters. The example of the mosque in our days is the Islamic meetings which give women the chance to increase their Islamic knowledge and awareness, to participate in active Islamic work and to get to know and cooperate with the sisters who work for Islam. All these are compulsory activities upon all Muslims, whether they be men or women, otherwise, Islam would definitely recede and go into decline. This becomes more of an obligation when we learn that enemies of Islam workday and night and employ men and women of all sorts to isolate Islam from the reality of society and to promote ill thoughts, views, cultures and ideas within the Muslim society.
However, the woman’s activity must never transgress the rights of her husband and children, as it is only fair that each receive their due attention. In addition, while Islam gave the husband the right to govern and rule the household, he must not abuse this authority and prevent members of his family from exercising their respective rights and freedoms, as Islam prevents harm to be caused or to become reciprocated.