Does Islam Oppress Women?

Islam is the only religion that actually gives women the due rights that they deserve and protects them in many different ways. In Islam, women have the right to get an education, the right to work, the right to equal pay, the right to own and sell property, the right to inherit, the right to keep all of her own money, the right to choose who she wants to marry, the right to divorce, the right to keep her last name after marriage, the right to vote, and so much more. Even in America, the right to vote for women was only given to them in the 1920s, but Islam gave them this right more than 1400 years ago. Additionally, as of 2022, many women do not get the same pay as men in western countries even though they may have the exact same skills. But in Islam, this is not allowed and would be seen as a form of injustice.

In Islam, men and women are equal. Allah did not create one better than the other. However, just because men and women are equal, it does not mean they have equal roles. In order for our society to progress and strive, our Creator knows that He made each gender with a set role or position that is most suitable for them. For example, Allah says in the Quran, “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women” (Quran 4:34). So in Islam, men are obliged to provide for and protect his family, while a woman does not have the same obligation.

There are many other rulings in Islam that protect women. For example, in the scenario of marriage, there are many steps implemented by the sharia in order to ensure that the woman is not going to be used by the man. These rules include things like the man having to talk to the woman’s father beforehand, the man not being able to touch the woman until they get married, the man not being able to see the woman undressed until they get married, the woman setting the dowry however high or low she pleases, and more.

When a woman puts on her hijab and modest clothing, this is actually a way of liberating herself. She is setting herself free from the shackles of society that would have otherwise valued her based on the wrong things and only looked at her in an objectifying manner. Society is what truly oppresses women; why does a woman feel the need to spend hours putting on makeup before she goes outside? Why does a woman feel the need to fix her nose, her eyebrows, her breasts, her backside, etc? Why does a woman feel the need to wear high heels which are so uncomfortable that by the end of the night her feet are bruised and she has the heels in her hands? Why does a woman feel the need to go on such a harmful and dangerous diet where she essentially doesn’t eat anything in order to stay fit? No women wants to do any of these things, but the way society has made women feel ugly the way they are is why they do these things, and this is the true oppression that Islam came to liberate. At the end of the day, it is the men who run the fashion industry and are telling women what to do to be more beautiful, so a woman can either listen to what the men of their society says, or a woman can less to what her Creator says.

There is a book, which I recommend reading, called Beauty Sick and it talks about this exact problem. Renee Engeln is not a Muslim, but she wrote this book about how our societies obsessions with women’s appearances is actually hurting women in many ways. It makes women feel that if they are not beautiful, then they are less in some way. She even talks about a story of a woman in her book who would sleep with guys day and night just to feel more beautiful, just to give herself a sense of reassurance. Islam liberates the women and does not give them importance based on their beauty, unlike the degrading societies seen today. On top of that, Islam also takes measures to protect women from being harassed or abused by disgusting men. Allah tells the believing men in the Quran to lower their gaze before he tells the women to do anything. So in Islam, a man can’t just walk around and look at a bunch of women as he pleases. He also can’t touch them either, unless they are his close family members or his wife. There are many other rulings that can’t all be noted here, but one can quickly see that the value that Allah gave women is truly uplifting and honoring, while the value that societies give women today is downright objectifying.

To conclude, it should be noted that in Pre-Islamic Arabia, they used to bury their daughters alive, as having a daughter was seen as a disgrace. Women were treated as property with no rights at all. Even in the western world, women were deprived of many of their rights until recently, such as voting. Islam liberated the women, gave them honor, dignity, and their due rights. This is why, despite all of these outrageous, ongoing allegations against the way Islam treats women, most people who convert to Islam are in fact women!

And Allah knows best.