Islam denounces in unequivocal terms the pre-Islamic inhuman custom of female infanticide and commands people to love and cherish their daughters more than their sons. The Holy Qur'an says that on the Day of Judgment the female infant, buried alive, will be questioned:
"For what crime wast she murdered?" (LXXXI: 8-9)
Thus before the Almighty the victim herself will be able to give evidence against those who killed that innocent creature of God simply for the sake of satisfying their vanity. Allah again commands humanity:
"Kill not your children for fear of want, We shall
provide sustenance for them as well as for you. Verily,
to kill them is a great sin" (XVII: 31).
Faithmah was the first child born to the Noble Prophet (Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam) Muhammed (peace be upon him!). In dealing with her, he set an example of fatherly love which is a model for
mankind. "Fatimah", he would say, "is a part of my being; who annoys her annoys me" (Mishkat-ul-Masabih, XLIV 5).
He also emphasised preferential treatment towards the female sex and said: "When you bring any thing for your children for distribution, begin with the girls first because the girls love their parents more than the boys."
Marriage, in the Islamic Law, is really a contract just like other civil contracts between two parties. As far as the conditions of the contract are concerned, both the parties, the man and woman, stand upon the same level. Each party has certain rights and duties. Islam commands justice to be observed in every contract, and so in the contract of marriage too justice should be observed. The Holy Qur'an says:
"The women have rights similar to the rights against
them, according to what is equitable" (II: 228).
No doubt, under the principle of the distribution of labour, work should be divided between the pair. The
women fold have naturally to take care of their offsprings until they grow up. They have to engage themselves in bringing them up and so are not in a position to pay attention to secure their means of livelihood. The men, therefore, have been made responsible for maintaining the family, including the wife, and have been given the duty of securing all the requirements of the home. Thus we might say that in a Muslim home, the husband is supposed to work as the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the wife as the Minister of the Interior.
The Noble Prophet (Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam) is reported to have said: “Woman is the queen of her house”. The Holy Quran describes the position of the wife in a beautiful verse:
“He created for you mates from among yourselves that you might find solace in them and He ordained between you love and mercy” (XXX:21).
The Prophet said: “The most perfect of faith among the Believers is the best of them in morals and the best of you are those who are kindest to your wives”. In his famous Address at the Farewell Pilgrimage, the Prophet again laid stress on the good treatment of womanfolk. He said: “O my people, you have certain rights over wives and so have your wives over you….They are Allah’s trust in your hands. See that you treat them with all kindness”.
Before the Saviour of the female sex preached his Message, there was no limit for the males in respect of the number of their wives. Even in the present age we find that among some people of Africa and among other uncivilized races of the world is no limit to the number of wives a man can have. Islam really imposed a limit and allowed plurality of marriage with the idea of abolishing adultery. Polygamy is permitted in place of illegal intercourse in cases where it becomes difficult, or, rather impossible, to restrict marriage, in the interest of social health, to strict monogamy. There are two definite occasions in the lives of human beings when polygamy becomes necessary. For example, if the first marriage proves fruitless, the husband can, in most cases be kept on the path of virtue and uprightness only by allowing a second marriage. Again, when there is a surplus of women as it happens after the wars, human society can be saved from corruption and also extinction, as in the case of the present-day Germany, only by the permission of marrying more than one wife.
The Holy Qur'an restricts the number of wives to four and also orders complete equality and justice between
"And if you fear that you will not deal fairly towards
the orphans, marry of the women who seem good to
you, two or three or four, and if you fear you cannot do
between them, then (marry) one only" (IV.3)
The conditions the marriage contract are to be
settled by the parties to the marriage. If, on the one hand according to the Islamic teaching, the husbands are entitled to have the rights of divorce, the wives also are entitled to the right of fixing their dowry and maintenance as they like and they may also take the authority of separating from their husbands when they find it necessary to do so. If agreement at the time of marriage is made with complete consideration the parties stand practically at the same level and there
remains no possibility for the women folk to suffer. Islam enjoins justice, equity and straightfor-wardness. Therefore, if those who claim to be Muslims do not observe the Islamic principles, it is their fault and Islam
can on no account be accused for that. If today people
misuse the permission for polygamy and try to hide their
lustful actions under the cloak of Islamic legality, it is their fault and they deserve the most severe punishment at the Court of the All-Knowing Allah who knows what is in their hearts.
As mother the status of woman has been raised by Islam to such an extent that nothing higher is conceivable. The Holy Qur'an says:
"Your Lord has commanded that you shall worship
none but Him and goodness to your parents. If either or
both of them reach old age in your life, say not to them
a word of contempt, nor repel them but address them
in terms of honour. And make yourself submissively gentle to them with compassion and say: 0 my Lord!
Bestow on them compassion even as they cherished me
in my childhood" (XVII: 23,24)
The Prophet is reported to have said when questioned by a disciple as to who should be revered most after the great Prophet himself: "your mother". When questioned "Who, after the mother?", the Prophet said
"your mother". He was again asked: "and, then, who after the mother?" He again replied: "your mother". The man put the question a fourth time and the Prophet then answered "your father ". This tradition shows that the position of the mother in the eyes of her sons and daughters should be three times higher than that of the father.
It is reported that once a disciple came to the Prophet and said: "0 Prophet of God! On a hot day in the desert of Arabia, in the sunny noon when the stones and sands were burning like fire, my mother and I were travelling on foot without any shoes. I carried my mother on my shoulders so that she may not suffer the pain of walking bare-footed on the hot-sands and stones. Could I pay the reward of the pains she had to bear in bringing me up?" The Prophet replied: "No, not even a fraction of the pain she suffered at the time you were born".
In Islam the best action is the performance of the pilgrimage to Mecca, i.e., the Hajj, and the reward to a
person who performs the Hajj properly is that all his past sins are pardoned and he receives a high rank in the estimation of God. But, in expressing the dignity of the mother, the Noble Prophet (Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam) said: "One who looks at the face of his mother with sentiments of reverence and love once, is rewarded as if he had performed a Pilgrimage". People asked him, what if he looked twice, to which he replied: "It is as if he had performed two Pilgrimages, and if thrice, as if he had performed three pilgrimages, and so on".
In this respect, the Prophet himself set a model for the world. Once Halimah, the lady who nursed him in his
childhood, came to see him. The Prophet was sitting with his disciples. As soon as he saw her, he stood up with reverence and spread his mantle on the floor and requested his foster-mother to take her seat there.
It is quite evident from the above that the respect which a mother receives from her children in Islam is the
highest to which no other worldly relationship canaspire.
PSYCHOLOGY OF THE VEIL:
The doors of spiritual elevation are open to women in the same way as they are open to men. They are commanded to educate themselves in the same way as the men, and if they attain a high position in learning even the men are expected to learn and benefit from their knowledge and wisdom. It is reported that after the Prophet's death, his disciples used to visit Ayesha, the wife of the Prophet, and seek knowledge from her. Islamic history is resplendent with a long list of the names of ladies who received the highest honour in society, the highest degree in learning and the highest qualifications in different branches of human activity. It was through the influence of other societies, which were not Muslim, that the idea of the inferiority of the female sex already existing in those societies spread to
the uneducated class among the Muslims, who knew very little about the teachings of Islam. If they had known the teachings of Islam, they would have known that in Islam the female sex deserves the same position, the same respect and the same dignity as the members of the male sex who in their turn, are allowed to degrade and insult them and make them their tools. To touch them with a bad intent is considered a sin and even a look at them with a bad motive is counted as adultery in Islam. That is why in the Holy Quran the men are commanded in these words:
“Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them" (XXI:30)
The ladies too have been commanded in similar terms:
"And say to the believing women that they should lower
their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should
not display their beauty and their ornaments except
what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should
draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their
beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their
father's fathers, their sons, their husband's sons, their
brothers or their brother's sons, or their sister's sons, or
their women, or those whom their right hands possess,
or the male servants not having need (of women), or
small children who have not attained knowledge of what
is hidden of women; and let them not strike their feet in
order to draw attention to their hidden embellishment
There is an important point in this connection which might be elucidated here with advantage. Every human
being is endowed with Will Power along with physical
power This will power is connected with the mind and the more the mental faculty is trained, the more is the will power increased. The raining of this faculty is done through the exercise of concentration. The student of hypnotism, forms an idea and concentrates upon it to such an extent that for certain moments he forgets every other thing. Through this training he achieves a strong power which some times enables him to make other persons his objects and influence them with the idea in his mind. For instance, he forms an idea that X is having a headache. He makes X his object and within a few minutes X feels that he is having headach. Similarly, if he wants to attract Y towards himself, Y is attracted because the hypnotist's will power influences that of Y. This will power varies in its strength from man to man. Just as we say regarding an engine that it has ten or twenty of a hundred horse power, similar we say of a hypnotist that he possesses then or twenty or a hundred man's will power.