Woman – the Concealed Jewel
It is to you, the founder of generations, and producer of great men. I will point out in it some of what Islam requires of the individual and the society concerning the rights of women.
1) Have you seen the jewel? Why is it that the people love it while it is simply a piece of art? It is because it is not so easy to see it, nor can you touch it. Similar is the case of the woman – it is forbidden for a man to see her or touch her, in order that he does not dishonor her. She is like an untouched (pure) jewel, which is affected by the least touch.
2) Have you seen how a rose wilts, withers, and loses its luster and beauty if it is touched too much.
Likewise, the woman is not allowed to be touched except by one in a lawful relationship of marriage. And whoever attempts to touch her – unlawfully – will earn a severe punishment or death.
3) Do you know the punishment for one who violates the marriage trust and betrays his wife? The penalty is death since he has fallen short in regards to the jewel which is with him, in addition to transgressing the rights of others.
4) Have you seen a jewel searching for a person (to possess it)? The same is the case of the woman, like a precious jewel, she is the one who is sought out, not the seeker.
It is incumbent upon the man to seek her hand. And if she agrees to marry him, then he will present to her a marriage dowry and something from his wealth.
5) Allah has created the male strong of the body in order that he may go out and earn his livelihood, even in difficult circumstances. This is so that he may serve the women and children of his family.
As for the woman, she has been created gentle, soft and sensitive, so that she may cultivate the future generations. The man goes out and works with the natural elements, while the woman deals with the human beings (raising the children).
6) The woman is allowed to work in any occupation, which she is capable of, as long as it is in consonance with the nature of her delicate physique.
7) The woman – like man – is addressed in the divine revelation with responsibilities for which she – like a man – is equally rewarded.
8) The woman is excused from certain religious observances and obligations during her post-childbirth and menstrual periods since these conditions are a cause of weakness and hence, she is in need of rest and relaxation.
9) The person who is killed while defending his mother, wife, daughter, or sister will be rewarded with the highest station in Paradise.
10) It is permissible for a woman to seek a separation from her husband if he fails to fulfill her marital rights.
11) It is permissible for the woman to remarry – whomever she desires – if he is divorced from her husband or widowed.
12) If a woman possesses wealth, she is free to use it in any lawful way, without permission of anyone (father, husband, or others.)
13) The woman has the right to the inheritance of her relatives – at the time of his death – even if he does not desire that she receive it.
14) It is obligatory upon the man to spend his wealth for the maintenance – housing, food, etc. – of those under his care including his mother, wife, or daughter, even if he doesn’t desire to do so.
15) The mother has been given preference over the father – three times over – concerning their right to kindness and benevolence from their children.
16) Whoever has daughters and treats them well – they will be a cause of him being screened from the Hellfire.
17) The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) advised concerning the woman: Treat the women well. He also said: The best of you are those who are the best in the treatment of their wives.
He also said: No one honors the woman except an honorable man. And no one humiliates her or holds her in contempt except one who is evil, vile, wicked, and depraved.