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The term Muslim women, or Muslimas/Muslimahs, refers to a group of women who practice the Islamic faith. These women are either born into the religion or have converted to the faith at some point in their lives.
The Role of Muslim Women
To understand Muslim women more, we need to look at their roles, rights and obligations as laid out in the Islamic faith. In Islam, the role of a Muslim woman is clearly defined. Islamic societies look up to women as the key to social continuity and the preservation of family and culture. A Muslim woman’s main role is to be a dutiful wife and a good mother to her children. This however does not mean that they are not accorded rights that would see them better themselves. According to the Quran, men and women have the same spirit, there is no superiority in the spiritual sense between men and women
Qualities of Muslim Women
A Muslim woman is expected to fulfil her obligations to the five pillars of Islamic faith just as men do save for very few minor differentiations pertaining to female physiology. They have to pray five times a day, go for Hajj pilgrimage at least once in their life, fast during the holy month of Ramadhan, charity and doing good deeds. A Muslim woman is also allowed the right to an education, the right to join the workforce, the right to start her own business if she so wishes, the right to vote, the right to an inheritance from her parents and the right to engage in politics.
Given all these rights, roles and obligations, there are certain qualities that Muslim women must have:
- Her religion - This refers to her obedience of Allah’s will for her. A Muslim woman must submit to Allah. She must believe in Allah with all her heart and recognize that that there is no other like him. Her first responsibility is her commitment to Allah. She must adhere to her obligations to Allah through prayer, fasting, pilgrimage and charity.
- Hermodesty and self-respect – In Islam, these terms are referred to as ‘Haya’. A Muslim woman should try as much as possible to avoid anything that would go against Allah’s teachings. A Muslim woman must have modesty in everything she does from her talk to her dressing. Modesty in her gaze means that she does not look at things that she should not look at. Modesty in her talk does not mean that she is soft spoken rather it means that she speaks with honor and knowledge. Modesty in her dressing means that she dresses in a way that does not reveal parts of her body that should not be seen. The single most representative piece of clothing is the Hijab when it comes to modesty.
- Her honesty – Truth and honesty are two of the greatest virtues a Muslim woman should have. She should always seek to be truthful and sincere in her words.
- Her patience – A Muslim woman should be patient and steadfast in her faith. She should be patient in her trials and steadfast in her challenges with the faith that Allah will see her through.
- Her Manners – By adopting good manners, a Muslim woman becomes a model human being and a model Muslim.
Misconceptions about Muslim Women
There is a misconception perpetrated in the western world that Islamic societies are backward and oppressive to women. However a look at the Qu’ran and various hadiths poses a completely different and very positive view of Islamic women in society. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said in a famous hadith: 'Paradise lies at the feet of your mother'. This hadith lays the basis for the high esteem, regard and respect for women in Islam. This shows that Islam lays the highest reward for human beings in their devotion to their mothers.
In earlier times, meeting Muslim women was hard as men and women were not allowed to interact. However, as Muslim communities have sprung virtually over the world it is not hard to meet Muslim women. Some of the places one can meet Muslim women include in school, in the neighbourhood one lives in and at the workplace. This is why many Muslims are looking online for potential marriage partners.
Muslim Women and Dating
Muslim women dating is not allowed by Islam as pertains to the Western idea of dating. In Islam, the only interaction allowed between men and women who are not related is through Marriage. It is in this light that Muslim women dating is considered a taboo topic. In fact, in marriage, Muslim women are accorded certain rights, some of which are mentioned below:
- She is allowed to choose her husband. Her ascent to the marriage is as important as that of her spouse’s.
- She is allowed to keep her identity through the keeping of her father’s name.
- She is to receive Mahr (dowry) as a gift from her husband that is part of their marriage contract.
- She is entitled to maintenance from her husband even though she may have a job or her own wealth.
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