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Reflections on the Empowerment of Muslim Women

Women at the Prophet’s Time: Empowered But Humble

Part Two

Women Get Double Rewards

The Prophet said, ‘Yes, (it is sufficient for her) and she will receive a double rewards: one for helping relatives, and the other for giving Zakat.’”

If a Muslim man spends on his dependents, he gets one reward, that of fulfilling his obligation. However, since a woman has not been obligated to spend her wealth on anyone besides herself (and what she spends in Allah’s way as zakah, if it is due on her wealth), she gets two rewards if she spends on needy relatives. One reward for helping relatives because giving a relative something to fulfill their needs, leads to improvement of relations and strengthening of the ties of blood, and one reward for discharging charity in the way of Allah.

Now I ask you, who is being given an extra degree of excellence by Islam? Who has the greater reward, based solely on gender?

Conclusion

In the end, I just want to point out a few things, lest this hadith be used by some readers as an excuse to start eating shamelessly from their wives’ money.empowered

Ideally, a Muslim husband with a high sense of honor and self-respect should take offense at the thought of his wife spending her money on the household expenses, or even on her own basic expenses (such as food, clothing, and medical needs), as these expenses are his responsibility.

He should dislike her ‘chipping in’ to share the financial burden of running their house to such an extent, that she should have to resort to contributing her money in any way into their household (for the sake of earning rewards) discreetly and secretly, so that he doesn’t find out that she is doing it.

As for those husbands and in-laws who take a woman’s wealth by coercion, emotional blackmail or outright force – well, they are sinning, and will be answerable to Allah for committing this oppression.

Husbands and in-laws nowadays do this in various ways: e.g. by not paying a wife her dower (mahr) despite it being stipulated in the nikah contract. Not providing for her medical expenses, even during pregnancy and childbirth. Or by forcing her to work at a job against her will, and to give them all or a portion of her salary, or to pay for the children’s expenses from her money.

Such ignorant Muslims should brush up on their knowledge of Islam, increase their waning level of faith and self-respect, and stiffen up their spines to stop themselves from stooping to this injustice.

Finally, to those working women who have become so used to living the luxurious, independent and ‘carefree’ single life that they cannot envision themselves being dependent on a man for money, I say: there are some needs inside you, as a woman, that no one but a man can fulfill, through marriage. Not even your parents, much less your friends or siblings, can satisfy that part of you, or come close to.

There is a part of you that wants to be pampered by a man; to be indulged and flattered by him. The part that wants a man to pick up the cheque after dinner, carry the heavy bags during the shopping trip, and take care of you when you are down (e.g. when you’re sick).

The part that wants strong, manly shoulders to support you with a hug; to get wet with your tears as you sob your heart out. The part that wants him to bring you flowers when you least expect it, hold your hand for no reason, and caress your face like a child’s. The part that wants you to ‘make a baby together’…

Enough?

You don’t know what you’re missing, sister. So stop letting your love of financial independence keep you from attaining that elusive marital bliss, because marriage is much more than just a relationship based on who pays the rent, and who does the pile of dishes in the sink.

To my married female readers, I entreat you to start saving money for discharging your zakah and to spend the remaining amount wisely in order to attain true, long-lasting financial freedom and empowerment. Take care of your husband if, Allah forbid, he hits a bad spot in his life, and do not desert him in pursuit of material wealth and status, unless his character is very bad and he is severely lacking in Deen.

Republished, with kind permission, from Sister Saddaf’s blog: http://sadaffarooqi.com/

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