Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was born in a society where women had been subjected to much violence, which often took the form of female infanticide.
Daughters were considered a burden; and getting rid of them was sometimes considered a necessity, which they did in a most violent manner: by burying them alive!
It is reported that Umar RA, the second caliph, prior to his accepting Islam buried one of his daughters alive. Later whilst was in the fold of Islam, he was often seen wiping tears while reminiscing about this dark chapter in his life! As he recalled:
“I was digging a grave to bury her and she was wiping the dust off my cheeks!”
Prophet Muhammad was very kind and polite toward women. At a time when they were treated very badly, the Prophet gave women honor and dignity equal to men.
Umar RA reported:
“We did not have much regard for women in Makkah; however, they were better treated in Madinah. The Prophet established women’s right through his sayings and commands, which strengthened their position and status”. (Mishkat ul Masabih)
Since men were always around the Prophet, women were prevented from listening to him or asking about matters of concern to them.
Therefore, they requested him to appoint one day a week when they could have free access to him, a proposal to which he agreed. He took special care of them and always treated them with kindness so that they would feel free to ask him about anything.
Kindness and Respect for Women
Once, many of the Prophet’s female relatives were sitting around him and talking loudly to him. When Umar RA entered the house, they all left the room and the Prophet laughed. Umar said:
“O God’s Messenger may God keep you smiling. Why did you laugh?”
The Prophet replied that he was amazed that these women, upon hearing Umar’s voice, had all hidden themselves. Umar, addressing them said:
“You fear me but do not fear God’s Messenger”.
They all replied:
“You are hot-tempered in comparison with God’s Messenger”. The Prophet agreed with them. (Muslim)
One day, the Prophet was sleeping in Aisha’s house with his face covered. It was the day of Eid, and so the young girls were singing. Abu Bakr entered the house and told them to stop. The Prophet said:
Let them sing. It is the day of Eid for them. (Al-Bukhari)
As result of the Prophet’s good temperament and kindness, women used to ask him questions. Although the companions were often surprised at their boldness, he never showed any dislike or intolerance for their questions. In fact, Abu Sa’id, Aisha, Anas, Ibn Abbas, Jabir, and many other companions related that Prophet Muhammad PBUH said:
Whoever has two or three daughters or sisters and treats them well will go to Paradise. (Abu Dawud)
These stories are reflective of the Prophet’s mercy and kindness towards women. But he went even farther. He tried to liberate women from all kinds of injustice, maltreatment and oppression.
The Prophet can genuinely be viewed as a liberator of women. He gave women such rights and privileges that even Western women did not enjoy until centuries later, like the right to own and use property independently of her husband and family. She also had a voice in the public sphere and politics, as the example of Prophet’s giving audience to women shows.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) was most emphatic in enjoining upon Muslims to be kind to their women when he delivered his famous khutba on the Mount of Mercy at Arafat in the presence of one hundred and twenty-four thousand of his Companions who had gathered there for the Hajj al-Wada (Farewell Pilgrimage). In it he ordered those present, and through them all those Muslims who were to come later, to be respectful and kind towards women. He said:
“Fear Allah regarding women. Verily you have married them with the trust of Allah, and made their bodies lawful with the word of Allah. You have got (rights) over them, and they have got (rights) over you in respect of their food and clothing according to your means.”
SOURCE: AUTHOR: Ibrahim Malabari aboutislam.net
Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Prophet (pbuh) said,
“Whoever supports two girls till they attain maturity, he and I will come on the Day of Resurrection (close to each other) like this –The Messenger of Allah joined his fingers to illustrate closeness.” (Muslim)
Women in Islam are given a high status. A prevailing principle we find in the Quran is one of egalitarianism. All human life has value, and every human being has inalienable rights regardless of gender. Therefore, if we hear of women’s rights being taken away and women being oppressed or denigrated, we can know that it is not from Allah, Islam, or the Prophetic tradition of Islam.