Islam had been quite progressive towards women


There was no question in my family that my sister and I would be given the same opportunities in my life as my brothers. Nor was there in Islam. We learned at an early age that it was men’s interpretation of our religion that restricted women’s opportunities, not our religion itself. Islam infact had been quite progressive towards women from its inception: the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH)* had forbidden the killing of female infants common among the Arabs of the time, and called for education for women and their right to inherit long before these privileges were granted to them in the West.

Bipi Khadijah, the first to convert to Islam, was a widow who ran her own business, employed the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH)* when he was a young boy and later married him. Umm e-Umara fought alongside the men in the Muslims’early battles against their enemies, her powerful sword-arm saving the life of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH)). Chand Bibi, the female ruler of the South Indian state of Ahmadnagar, defeated the Mogul Emperor Akbar and forced him to enter into a peace treaty with her. Noor-Jehan, the wife of Emperor Jehangir and the virtual ruler of India, was famous for her skill in the field of administration. Muslim history was full of women who had taken a public role and performed every bit as successfully as men. Nothing in Islam discouraged them, or me, from pursuing that course.

*Peace Be Uoon Him

[from the book: Daughter of the East by Benazir Bhutto]


3 thoughts on “Islam had been quite progressive towards women

  1. Hey, I didn’t know you have a blog! I commented on this post of yours on my blog with a photo of the Grand Mosque in Oman. Hopefully I’ll get more Oman photos online in the next few days!

    We keep observing in the Islamic countries that Islam has been turned into a very male oriented religion. You don’t see women out and about in any numbers and you don’t see anywhere near equal space for them to pray as well.

    On Benazir Bhutto, she’s an interesting person certainly. Corrupt, that still remains the question.

  2. I was delighted to read about Mohammed and all those other women in Beenazir’s autobiography. If they are true statements it means that the essence of Islam is not so much man oriented as it is shown today. It was a wrong interpretation of the religion that leaded up to forms of discrimination.

    On the other side the corruptess of the Buttho question is easily perceivable from her very words in some sections of the book (my feeling)

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