Justice and equality are fundamental to the spirit of Islam. In the 21st century, the world is trying to harmonize its traditional religious values with the demands of the modern world. The Muslim world has also absorbed the waves of modernism and is now trying to assess whether Islamic teachings conform to modernism.
In this context, the role of women’s justice within the Islamic framework becomes a crucial focal point. Today, we will explore the teachings of Islam in the modern world while stressing the importance of justice for women in Islam.
Women in Islam
Women’s rights in Islam are contentious, and a question has always been asked: “Does Islam protect the rights of women?”. Of course, it does. From the right of inheritance and work to the right of education and divorce, Islam encourages the role of women in the societal balance.
What Islam gave to women fourteen hundred years ago has been introduced in the Western world till much later. Islam protected the valuable lives of women when they were buried alive or sold as property.
Everyone knows that the status of women before the advent of Islam was so miserable. Then Islam came with its power to strengthen the status of women in the society. Islam said not to consider women a commodity and not to distribute them after death as you distribute your inheritance.
If she is a mother, seek paradise under her feet, and if she is a daughter, get a gliding tide of paradise for her best yen. If she is a sister, you can get a reward equal to jihad and charity. So Islam considers both men and women equal. It not only encourages women to learn about their rights but also to be aware of their responsibilities.
The Quran, the central religious text of Islam, explicitly highlights the equal worth of men and women in the eyes of God: “And their Lord has responded to them: ‘Never will I allow to be lost the work of [any] worker among you, whether male or female; you are of one another.'” (Quran 3:195).
That said, some people who speak in the name of Islam contemplate taking the rights away from women instead of elevating them. But Islam, at its core is an emblem of justice and equality. It gives rights to women that they did not previously have.
Challenges in the Modern World
Men and women are both pillars of every successful society. Just like the strength of a building can be assessed by looking at the pillars, the nation’s pride can be evaluated by looking at the status of women in society.
So, it is justified to say that Islam encourages a balanced society where both men and women are given equal rights. However, the world has progressed by leaps and bounds in the last 1400 hundred years.
During those years, some Muslim-majority countries have significantly promoted women’s rights in Islam. However, others lag due to conservative interpretations of Islamic law and deeply ingrained cultural norms.
One of the key challenges is the notion of “modernity” itself, which often carries Western connotations. So the dilemma between religion and modernism often confuses Muslim women.
Critics argue that Western-style feminism and gender norms may not align with the values and traditions of Islamic societies. Others suggest that Islamic jurisprudence should adapt in conformity with modernism.
This clash between both views can negatively affect the progress in achieving gender justice while preserving cultural and religious identity.
Reforming Islamic Jurisprudence
Some scholars within the Islamic world advocate the reinterpretation of Islamic jurisprudence so it can align more closely with modernism and women’s rights. This movement, often called Islamic feminism, seeks to challenge traditional interpretations that have led to gender disparities.
Islamic feminists argue that the Quranic verses and the Prophet’s teachings should be understood in their historical context but applied consistently with contemporary understandings of justice and equality. They assert that Islamic jurisprudence should evolve to address issues that violate women’s rights.
So which school of thought should be considered logical?
Considering the Islamic rules and regulations as an old school of thought makes no sense. Islam emerged as a ray of hope at times when women were ranked the lowest in the male-dominated society. Islam is a religion of justice and has equal worth for both men and women. However, their societal roles differ at some point, as well as their religious obligations.
For instance, women are obliged to wear hijab(veil) while men have to lower their gaze. So, as long as modernism does not make women do what Islam negates, it’s welcomed in the Islam and Muslim communities.
Promoting Women’s Rights within Islamic Frameworks
So answering whether Islamic laws conform with the modern world is a long debate. However, various strategies can be employed to promote women’s rights within the framework of Islamic law and modernity:
Islam is a promoter of women’s education. So we need to ensure that women have equal access to education. It is a fundamental step in a balanced and healthy society. Education empowers women and leads to informed interpretations of Islamic texts and principles.
· Legal Reforms
Advocates for women’s rights should work towards legal reforms that address gender-based discrimination. This includes marriage, divorce, inheritance, employment, and custody reforms.
· Engaging Religious Scholars
One way to minimize the confusion between feminist activists and religious scholars is through effective communication. This way, we can have a better understanding of Islamic jurisprudence. In addition, such dialogues can help adapt our traditional values to the demands of modernity.
· Media and Awareness
What’s the better way to increase awareness than social media? We can promote the rights of women and their justice through social awareness.
This way, Muslim women can understand their rights and responsibilities. In addition, this awareness will help women challenge stereotypes and promote understanding.
· Supportive Legislation
It is also crucial to enforce new laws that protect women’s rights. This is the most powerful way to combat gender-based violence and help build a supportive society for women.
Islam is a religion of justice and support for women. Muslim women enjoy the same set of rights as that of Muslim men. However, the concept of Islam in the modern world is often confusing when describing women’s rights.
Some scholars and feminist activists argue that Islamic laws should be modified in respect to the modern world. However, it is justifiable to put much effort into interpreting Islamic laws while considering modernism in mind.
Allah has set some rules and limitations which we should respect being a Muslim. However, Muslim women can adapt their lives to the modern way of living but within the boundaries of Islam.