The Muslim Woman: Her Status in the Ummah
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The Muslim Woman: Her Status in the Ummah

The Muslim Woman: Her Status in the Ummah

By the noble Scholar Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘ʿAzīz bin Baaz [1]

The status of the Muslim woman in Islām is a very noble and lofty one, and her effect is very great in the life of every Muslim. Indeed, the Muslim woman is the initial teacher in the building of a righteous society, providing she follows the guidance from the Book of Allāh and the Sunnah of His Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Since adherence to the Qurʾān and the Sunnah distances every Muslim male or female from being misguided in any matter. The misguidance that the various nations suffer from, the path of Allāh the Most Perfect, the Most High, and from what His Prophets and Messengers, may Allāh’s peace and prayers be upon them all, came with. The Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

“I am leaving behind two matters you will not go astray as long as you cling to them both, the Book of Allāh and my Sunnah.” [2]

The great importance of the Muslim woman’s role – whether as wife, sister or daughter, and the rights that are due to her and the obligations due from her have been explained in the noble Qurʾān, and further details of this have been explained in the purified Sunnah.

The secret of her importance lies in the tremendous burden and responsibility that is placed upon her, and the difficulties that she has to shoulder. In terms of responsibilities, some of which not even a man can bear. This is why from the most important obligations upon a person is to show gratitude to the mother, and kindness and good companionship with her. And in this matter, she is to be given precedence over and above the father. Allāh the Most High, says:

“And We have enjoined upon man to be dutiful and good to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness upon weakness and hardship upon hardship, and his weaning is in two years. Show gratitude and thanks to Me and to your parents. Unto Me is the final destination.” [Al-Qurʾān 31:14]

Allah the Most High, said:

“And We have enjoined upon man to be dutiful and kind to his parents. His mother bears him with hardship, and she brings him forth with hardship. And the bearing and the weaning of him is thirty months.” [Al-Qurʾān 46:15].

A man came to Allāh’s Messenger ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: O Messenger of Allāh! Who from amongst mankind warrants the best companionship from me. He replied: “Your mother.” The man asked: Then who? So he replied: “Your mother.” The man asked: Then who? So the Prophet replied again: “Your mother.” The man then asked: Then who? So he replied: “Then your father.” [3]  So this necessitates that the mother is given three times the likes of kindness and good treatment than the father.

As regards the wife, then her effect in making the soul tranquil and serene, has been clearly shown in the noble aayah (verse), in His – the Most High’s – saying:

“And from amongst His Signs is this: That He created for you wives from amongst yourselves, so that you may find serenity and tranquility in them, And He has put between you love and compassion. Indeed, in this are signs for those who reflect.” [Al-Qurʾān 30:21]

Al-Ḥāfidh Ibn Kathīr (d.774H) – raḥimahullāh – said, whilst explaining the terms mawaddah and rahmah which occur in the above verse. “Al-mawaddah means love and affection, and ar-rahmah means compassion and pity, since a man takes the hand of a woman either due to his love for her, or because of compassion and pity for her; by giving to her a child from himself…” [4]

And the unique stance that the Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam’s wife Khadījah – radi Allāhu ‘anhaa – took, had a huge effect in calming and reassuring Allāh’s Messenger ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, when the angel Jibreel – ‘alayhis-salām – first came to him in the cave of Hiraa. The Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayi wa sallam returned to Khadījah with the first Revelation and with his heart trembling and beating severely, saying to her, “Cover me! Cover me!” So she covered him until his fear was over, after which he told Khadījah – radi Allāhu ‘anhaa – everything that had happened, and said: “I fear that something may happen to me.” She said to him: “Never! By Allāh! Allāh will never disgrace you. You keep good ties with relations, you help the poor and  the destitute, you serve your guests generously and assist those who have been affected with calamities.” [5]

And do not forget about ‘Aaishah – radi Allāhu ‘anhaa – and her immense contribution. Even the eminent Sahaabah (Companions) used to take knowledge of Hadeeth from her, and many of the Sahaabiyaat (female Companions) learnt the various rulings pertaining to women’s issues from her.

And I have no doubt that my mother (may Allāh shower His mercy upon her) had a tremendous effect upon me, and has a great excellence over me, in encouraging me to study, and she assisted me in it. May Allāh greatly increase her reward and reward her with the best of rewards for what she did for me. And there is no doubt also, that the house in which there is kindness, gentleness, love and care, with the correct Islāmic tarbiyah (education and cultivation) will greatly affect the man. So he will become, if Allāh wills, successful in his affairs and in any matter whether it be seeking knowledge, trading, earning a living, etc. So it is Allāh alone that I ask to grant us all success and to guide us all to that which He loves and is pleased with. And may the prayers and peace of Allāh be upon our Prophet Muḥammad, and upon his Family, his Companions and his followers.



[1] He is the exemplary Scholar: Abū ‘Abdullaah, ‘Abdul-‘ʿAzīz bin ‘Abdullaah bin Baaz. He was born in the city of Riyaadh (Sa’udi Arabiah) on the 12th Dhul-Hijjah in the year 1330H. He began seeking knowledge by first memorising the Qurʾān before reaching the age of maturity. He then went on to study the various Islāmic sciences, such as ‘Aqeedah (Beliefs), Fiqh (Jurisprudence), ʾuṣūlul-Fiqh (Fundamentals of Jurisprudence), Hadeeth (Prophetic Narrations), Faraa’id (Laws of Inheritance), Nahw (Grammar) and Sarf (Morphology) – even though the Shaykh became permanently blind at the age of seventeen. He studied these sciences under some of the most prominent Scholars of Riyaadh and Makkah of his time, including Shaykh Muḥammad ibn ‘Abdul-Lateef ibn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Ḥasan and also the former grand-muftee and noble scholar, Shaykh Muḥammad ibn Ibraaheem – whom he studied under for ten years. He is eighty-six years old, mild, generous and forbearing in nature, whilst firm, yet wise, when speaking the truth. He is a zaahid (one who abstains) with respect to this world and is one of the foremost Scholars of Ahlul-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’at in this present age. The noble Shaykh has – by Allāh’s grace – devoted his whole life to the cause of Islām and its people, authoring many books and booklets, teaching and serving the masses, along with being very active in the field of da’wah. May Allāh protect our noble father and Shaykh, and may He continue to benefit the Ummah with him.

This small article was a response to a particular question concerning the position and status of Muslim women, and has been taken from his Majmūʿ Fatāwá wa Maqaalaat Mutanawwi’ah (3/348-350).

[2] Ḥasan: Related by Mālik in al-Muwatta (2/899) and al-Ḥākim (1/93), from Ibn ‘ʿAbbās radi Allāhu ‘anhu. It was authenticated by al-Albānī in as-Ṣaḥīḥah (no.1871).

[3] Related by al-Bukhārī (no. 5971) and Muslim (7/2), from Abū Hurayrah radi Allāhu ‘anhu.

[4] Tafsīr Qurʾānul-‘Adhīm (3/439) of Ibn Kathīr.

[5] Related by al-Bukhārī (1/22) and Muslim (1/139), from the lengthy narration of ‘Aa’eshah radi Allāhu ‘anhaa.

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