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The Effect Of Islam On The Social Status Of Women

1048 words - 5 pages

The Effect of Islam on the Social Status of Women At the introduction of Islam the social status of women was deprived at best. Before Muhammad, women were property and were treated accordingly. The introduction of Islam by Muhammad had a dramatic effect on the improvement of the status of women and their rights as people. The condition of women has progressed, at much the same rate as the rest of advanced society, since the conversion to Islam. The Koran, presented by Muhammad, significantly influenced the treatment of women by addressing the issues of primogeniture, marriage and infanticide.The women of pre-Islamic Arabia were the social equivalent of livestock. They were included as ...view middle of the document...

Daughters had no inheritance rights; therefore they could not continue a family name the way the oldest son could. Their only worth would come from being one of many wives. This chauvinistic perception of the female race led to the drowning and even the burying of a daughter in her infancy.The Islamic teachings in the Koran fervently oppose primogeniture. As a practice it was forbidden. The Koran preaches that the Arabic policy on inheritance is discriminatory and should be ignored . The Islamic approach to inheritance includes dividing your estate among all of your sons as well as your daughters. The portion divvied to the daughters is half that of the sons. This approach is more appropriate then it might initially seem. An Muslim woman is not the provider for the family and is required to offer nothing in terms of financial support.The Institution of marriage was where Islam made its greatest social contribution. It sanctified marriage, first, by making it the sole lawful locus of the sexual act (Smith, 1991). The second demand the Koran made on the institution of marriage was that a woman has to give her free consent before being wed. Lastly, without forbidding it, the Koran placed such restrictions on divorce that it became a last resort. Muhammad made it clear that there was nothing worse than the termination of marriage vows.Muhammad also addresses the issue of polygamy. Having more than one wife was subject to the equal treatment of each wife according to the Koran; if you cannot deal equitably and justly with [more than one wife], you shall marry only one (Smith, 1991). This equality includes love and respect as well as the physical attributes of typical daily life. A growing number of Muslim marriages now include a clause, which forfeits the husband's right to a second wife.Without accurate statistical quotes I can't say for sure whether or not the practice of infanticide declined or even expired with the introduction of Islam. I would predict,...

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