In the first instance, people may think that a Muslim woman is a victim of man and society. Let us see how Islam valued woman and protected her from being a commodity that could be sold and bought, let us see how Prophet Muhammad was a women rights hero in the Arabian Peninsula.
In the pre-Islamic era, when the Arabs had the custom of burying baby girls alive in order to get rid of those “surplus mouths”, Prophet Muhammad promised that anyone who disciplines his daughter well will enter paradise.
At that time women were treated like slaves or property and their personal consent concerning anything was considered unimportant, to such a degree that they were never even treated as a party to a marriage contract. Prophet Muhammad went further beyond giving women the right to accept or refuse marriages; he forbade forcing them to marry against their will.
The identity of Muslim woman is kept after her marriage; she has given the right not to change her family name to her husband’s name upon marriage. In some Muslim countries, woman is known by her father’s name, as a mark of her own identity. She also has the right to seek divorce, if necessary within the laws of Islam.
Indeed, Prophet Muhammad was the first one in the peninsula to give women the right to vote, in a time where they were treated only for one purpose and then discarded.
A Romantic Story
If you want to read the perfect love story, I recommend that you don’t read “Romeo and Juliet” but read the story of Muhammad and Aisha, in the very words of Aisha herself explaining how beautiful this relationship was between her and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
The Prophet was a loving husband. Aisha talked about the times when she enjoyed meals with him. He enjoyed his meals only when she sat next to him. They drank from one cup and he watched where she placed her lips so that he could place his lips on the same area. He ate from a bone after she ate and placed his mouth where she had eaten. She also said that he placed morsels of food into her mouth and she would do the same.
‘Aisha and the Prophet would use code language with each other denoting their love. She asked the Prophet how he would describe his love for her. The Prophet Muhammad answered, saying: “Like a strong binding knot.” The more you tug, the stronger it gets, in other words.
Every so often ‘Aisha would playfully ask, “How is the knot?” The Prophet would answer, “As strong as the first day (you asked).”
When she was asked: “What did the Prophet use to do in his house?” She replied, “He used to keep himself busy serving his family.” When one of his companions asked him “who is the most beloved to your heart?” he answered instantly “Aisha”.
Before his death, Prophet Muhammad’s very last words to his companions were: “Treat women with kindness, treat women with kindness! Have fear of God in relation to them and make sure you want well for them”.
These were his last public words concerning women which responded to the meaning of the following revealed verse regarding the life of a couple:
“And of His signs is that he created for you, of yourselves, spouses, that you might repose in them, and He has set between you love and mercy. Surely in that are signs for people who consider” (The Holy Quran, 30:21)
First published: August 2010