Status of Woman in Islam
ISLAM confirms and enhances the natural disposition, which Allah has instilled in His creation. Allah has created men and women, with different attributes, for each to fulfill part of the essential needs for both to live happily in this life and to work more efficiently for the life Hereafter.
He made them indispensable and complementary to each other. They can be compared to a day, which has two parts: night and daytime; also to electricity, which is composed of two elements that blows life into many ‘lifeless’ materials.
Amongst the things in which Allah has distinguished the female is that He made her highly affectionate and emotional in her behavior.
Besides, He made her elegant and fragile to increase her attractiveness, but limits her freedom of movement in the society wherein she lives.
She was made tender and affectionate to be capable of absorbing man’s stiff nature and to attract him, to provide him with psychological refuge and soothe his pains and relieve his worries. Also she was made to be more ready to sacrifice herself for the others in order to be suitable to take care of the children.
In fact, all these qualities are indispensable for the happiness of any family or community. It was proved through psychological experiments that women are stronger than men in surviving unusual psychological stresses and recovering from psychological shocks.
On the other side, Allah has created the male to be distinguished with toughness to protect his family, and to make him more capable to move freely in the environment where he lives.
He can wander freely in a wider area i.e., go to school or deserted areas, and can move more freely during the late hours, at night or in darkness. The male is also less prone to aggression and more capable to defend himself.
No wonder, Islam confined the supreme power in a state to a man, without neglecting women’s intelligent consultation. For Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who received revelation, took the advice of a woman seriously and organized his plan of action.
After concluding a deal with the tribe of the Quraish — before they embraced Islam — he commanded his companions to forsake their intention to perform Umrah. They were so upset that they hesitated in carrying out his orders.
For the deal with the Quraish included provisions which made Muslims submit to the will of the non-Muslims. When the companions hesitated in complying with his orders he felt sad, then Umm Salamah, one of his wives, advised him to perform the rituals of the release from Umrah — Ihram — himself without saying a word. The Prophet (pbuh) took her advice and did what she said (Ibn Al-Qayyim, Zaad Vol. 3:195).
However, when we speak about the distinguished characteristics of men and women, we should bear in mind that there are exceptional cases where a man or woman might excel in other’s area.