On Muslim Women
'Islam' means the submission of humankind to the will of God,
not the submission of women to the will of men.

Quotes from the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah,
the two prime sources of Islamic Law

Collected and compiled by Rabia Mills

 (The subtitles are not part of the text and are added only to highlight the subject matter.)

Spiritual Equality of Women and Men
Lo! men who surrender unto Allah, and women who surrender, and men who believe and women who believe, and men who obey and women who obey, and men who speak the truth and women who speak the truth, and men who persevere (in righteousness) and women who persevere, and men who are humble and women who are humble, and men who give alms and women who give alms, and men who fast and women who fast, and men who guard their modesty and women who guard (their modesty), and men who remember Allah much and women who remember - Allah hath prepared for them forgiveness and a vast reward. . (Qur'an  33:35 - M. Pickthall translation)

Attitudes towards women
O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness, that ye may take away part of the dower ye have given them,-except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good. (Qur'an 4:19 - Yusuf Ali translation)

Collaboration and consultation
And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends one of another; they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and they establish worship and they pay the poor-due, and they obey Allah and His messenger. As for these, Allah will have mercy on them. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Wise.. (Qur'an 9:71 -Yusuf Ali translation)

Examples of Consensual Decision Making
Mothers shall suckle their children for two whole years; (that is) for those who wish to complete the suckling. The duty of feeding and clothing nursing mothers in a seemly manner is upon the father of the child. No-one should be charged beyond his capacity. A mother should not be made to suffer because of her child, nor should he to whom the child is born (be made to suffer) because of his child. And on the (father's) heir is incumbent the like of that (which was incumbent on the father). If they desire to wean the child by mutual consent and (after) consultation, it is no sin for them; and if ye wish to give your children out to nurse, it is no sin for you, provide that ye pay what is due from you in kindness. Observe your duty to Allah, and know that Allah is Seer of what ye do. (Qur'an 2:233 M Pickthall translation)

Women's Right to Attend Mosques
Narrated Ibn Umar: The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said, "Allow women to go to the Mosques at night."  (Sahih Bukhari Volume 2, Book 13, Number 22)

Narrated Ibn Umar: One of the wives of Umar (bin Al-Khattab) used to offer the Fajr and the 'Isha' prayer in congregation in the Mosque. She was asked why she had come out for the prayer as she knew that Umar disliked it, and he has great ghaira (self-respect). She replied, "What prevents him from stopping me from this act?" The other replied, "The statement of Allah's Apostle (p.b.u.h) : 'Do not stop Allah's women-slave from going to Allah's Mosques' prevents him." (Sahih Bukhari Volume 2, Book 13, Number 23)

Narrated Ibn Umar: The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said, "Allow women to go to the Mosques at night."  (Sahih Bukhari Volume 2, Number 22)

Ibn Umar reported: Grant permission to women for going to the mosque in the night. His son who was called Waqid said: Then they would make mischief. He (the narrator) said: He thumped his (son's) chest and said: I am narrating to you the hadith of the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him), and you say: No! (Sahih Muslim Book 004, Number 0890)

Ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Do not deprive women of their share of the mosques, when they seek permission from you. Bilal said: By Allah, we would certainly prevent them. 'Abdullah said: I say that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said it and you say: We would certainly prevent them! (Sahih Muslim Book 004, Number 0891)

Yahya related to me from Malik from Yahya ibn Said that Atika bint Zayd ibn Amr ibn Nufayl, the wife of Umar ibn al-Khattab, used to ask Umar ibn al-Khattab for permission to go to the mosque. He would keep silent, so she would say, "By Allah, I will go out, unless you forbid me," and he would not forbid her. (Sunan Abu Dawud Book 14, Number 14.5.14)

Narrated Aisha: Allah's Apostle used to offer the Fajr prayer and some believing women covered with their veiling sheets used to attend the Fajr prayer with him and then they would return to their homes unrecognized. (Sahih Bukhari Vol. 1,  No. 368)

Women's Right of Proposal
Narrated Sahl: A woman came to the Prophet, and presented herself to him (for marriage). He said, "I am not in need of women these days." Then a man said, "O Allah's Apostle! Marry her to me." The Prophet asked him, "What have you got?" He said, "I have got nothing." The Prophet said, "Give her something, even an iron ring." He said, "I have got nothing." The Prophet asked (him), "How much of the Quran do you know (by heart)?" He said, "So much and so much." The Prophet said, "I have married her to you for what you know of the Quran." (Sahih Bukhari Volume 7, Book 62, Number 72)

Women's Right of Permission
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "A matron should not be given in marriage except after consulting her; and a virgin should not be given in marriage except after her permission." The people asked, "O Allah's Apostle! How can we know her permission?" He said, "Her silence (indicates her permission)." (Sahih Bukhari Volume 7, Book 62, Number 67)

Narrated Khansa bint Khidam Al-Ansariya that her father gave her in marriage when she was a matron and she disliked that marriage. So she went to Allah's Apostle and he declared that marriage invalid. (Volume 7, Book 62, Number 69)

The Right of Women not to be Forced
Narrated Ibn 'Abbas: Barira's husband was a slave called Mughith, as if I am seeing him now, going behind Barira and weeping with his tears flowing down his beard. The Prophet said to 'Abbas, "O 'Abbas ! are you not astonished at the love of Mughith for Barira and the hatred of Barira for Mughith?" The Prophet then said to Barira, "Why don't you return to him?" She said, "O Allah's Apostle! Do you order me to do so?" He said, "No, I only intercede for him." She said, "I am not in need of him." (Bukhari: Volume 7, Book 63, Number 206)

Seeking advice and comfort
Narrated 'Aisha (the mother of the faithful believers): ... Then Allah's Apostle returned with the Inspiration and with his heart beating severely. Then he went to Khadija bint Khuwailid and said, "Cover me! Cover me!" They covered him till his fear was over and after that he told her everything that had happened and said, "I fear that something may happen to me." Khadija replied, "Never! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your kith and kin, help the poor and the destitute, serve your guests generously and assist the deserving calamity-afflicted ones." Khadija then accompanied him to her cousin Waraqa bin Naufal bin Asad bin 'Abdul 'Uzza ... (Sahih Bukhari Volume 1, Book 1, Number 3)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Consult women about (the marriage of) their daughters. (Sunan Abu Dawood, Hadith No. 854)

The Characteristics of a Believing Man
Narrated AbuHurayrah: Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said: a believing man should not hate a believing woman; if he dislikes one of her characteristics, he will be pleased with another. (Sahih Muslim Book 8, Number 3469)

The Education of Women
Narrated Abu Said: A woman came to Allah's Apostle and said, "O Allah's Apostle! Men (only) benefit by your teachings, so please devote to us from (some of) your time, a day on which we may come to you so that you may teach us of what Allah has taught you." Allah's Apostle said, "Gather on such-and-such a day at such-and-such a place." They gathered and Allah's Apostle came to them and taught them of what Allah had taught him. (Sahih Bukhari Volume 9, Book 92, Number 413)

How praiseworthy are the women of [the] Ansar that their modesty does not prevent them from attempts at learning and the acquisition of knowledge. (Sahih Muslim).

A person who has a female slave in charge and takes steps to give her a sound education and trains her in arts and culture, and then frees her and marries her, he will be doubly rewarded. (Sahih Bukhari)

On the Treatment of Women
Narrated Mu'awiyah al-Qushayri: I went to the Apostle of Allah (pbuh) and asked him: "What do you say (command) about our wives?" He replied: "Give them food what you have for yourself, and clothe them by which you clothe yourself, and do not beat them, and do not revile them." (Sunan Abu Dawud: Book 11, Number 2139)

Narrated AbuHurayrah: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The most perfect Muslim in the matter of faith is one who has excellent behaviour; and the best among you are those who behave best towards their wives. (Tirmidhi)

The best of you is one who is best towards his family and I am best towards the family.(Tirmidhi).

A Husband must keep the Privacy of his Wife
Narrated AbuSa'id al-Khudri: Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: The most wicked among the people in the eye of Allah on the Day of Judgement is the man who goes to his wife and she comes to him, and then he divulges her secret. (Sahih Muslim Book 8, Number 3369)

Fair Treatment of Women is Commanded
Allah has not permitted you to enter the houses of the people of the Book without permission, or beat their women, or eat their fruits when they give you that which is imposed on them. (Sunan Abu Dawood Hadith No. 1329)

More Quotes From Hadith on Women

  • Women are the twin halves of men.
  • The world and all things in it are valuable; but the most valuable thing in the world is a virtuous woman.
  • The best women are the virtuous; they are the most affectionate to infants, and the most careful of their husband's property.
  • When a woman performeth the five times of prayer, and fasteth the month of Ramadan, and is chaste, and is not disobedient to her husband, then tell her to enter Paradise by whichever door she liketh.
  • Verily a great number of women are assembled near my family, complaining of their husbands; and those men who ill-treat their wives do not behave well. He is not of my way who teacheth a woman to stray.
  • Asma, daughter of Yazid, said, "Victuals were brought to Muhammad, and he put them before some of us women who were present, and said, 'Eat ye.' But notwithstanding we were hungry we said, 'We have no inclination.' Muhammad said, 'O woman! Do not mix hunger with lies.'"
  • Whoever doeth good to girls, it will be a curtain to him from hell-fire.
  • Whoever [brings up] two girls till they come of age, will be in the next world along with me, like my two fingers joining each other.
  • Whoever [brings up] three daughters, or three sisters, and teacheth them manners, and is affectionate to them, till they come of age, may God apportion Paradise for him.
  • Whoever hath a daughter, and doth not bury her alive or scold her, or prefer his male children to her, may God bring him into Paradise.
  • Shall I not point out to you the best of virtues? It is your doing good to your daughter when she is returned to you having been divorced by her husband.
  • God enjoins you to treat women well, for they are your mothers, daughters, aunts.
  • The rights of women are sacred. See that women are maintained in the rights assigned to them.
  • Do not prevent your women from coming to the mosque.
(From The Sayings of Muhammad by Allama Sir Abdullah Al-Mamun Al Suhrawardy. The above quotes are from sahih traditions.)

A Famous Lectureon Women's Rights
Women have clearly defined rights in Islam. These have been set out in the Quran and Sunnah as expounded by the famous English convert to Islam and Quran translator, Mohammad Marmaduke Pickthall. Pickthall had lamented and condemned the non-Islamic treatment and "pitiful condition of Muslim womanhood"  in India as long ago as 1927 in his lecture The Relation of the Sexes