WomenFamily > Women in the Islamic Social System


Women in the Islamic Social System

According to the view of the Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah

The Islamic system of the family is based on that the marriage contract is the agreement that the two contracting parties should abide by. The contract also governs the relations between the two spouses. That is because marriage is considered the practice of both parties out of their free will of their commitments. Among these commitments that both spouses meet on is that they will live together in the same house in which the husband holds the responsibility of providing for it at a level that guarantees for the wife the human conditions of living (which she would be acquainted with before concluding the contract and which signing the contract means that she accepts them – the translator). On the other hand, the wife has the right to include her own conditions as part of the contract, such as to ask her husband to live with her in her private house, in her parents' house or in another country. If the husband agrees on her conditions, he must abide by them, based on the honorable Hadith: "The believers abide by their commitments".

- The family in Islam is not a patriarchal one; rather it is based on mutual responsibility between the man and the woman according to the contractual commitments. Besides, the family represents a system through which the two spouses enjoy the freedom in asserting their will through the contractual commitments.

- With respect to the male lineage, this is a social issue that is based on the historical traditions and it is not a legal one. Moreover, since we might find some historical examples of female lineage, for example it is stated that Muhammad bin Ali (a.s.) was known as Muhammad bin al-Hanafiyya (who is his mother), therefore, it is not prohibited in Islam to adopt female lineage, in case the social norms change.
- Furthermore, the sons receive their inheritance from their father's side if it was from him or from their brothers (from their father's side). They also receive the inheritance from their mother's side in the similar cases.
- With respect to holding a judicial post, it is widely known among the jurists that the woman can not hold the post of a judge, but this issue has started to raise debate in the jurisprudential aspect. The same ruling is applied in the issue of being a head of a state. Perhaps, some jurists justify that by saying that the woman's emotional aspect is dominant and this might have negative impacts on her decisions in judging or if she is to be a president. Thus, this Islamic ruling, according to those who adopt this view, is considered as a precautionary ruling for the sake of ensuring justice and the welfare of people, and it does not humiliate the woman.
- With respect to the issue of inheritance, Islam has exempted the woman from financial obligations. She does not have to pay the Mahr (dowry), but rather the man is the one who must pay it. Besides, she is not responsible for providing for her husband, children or the house, whereas, the man is the one who is responsible for that, and she can do that as a matter of voluntary cooperation based on the principle of giving on the level of the spiritual humanitarian value and not as a matter of a legal obligation… Islam has also exempted her from paying some financial taxes, such as taking part in paying the diyya of unintended killing or the like and this makes her share greater than that of the man.
- With respect to the issue of the man's spending on his wife, it is a practice that aim at honoring her and easing her sufferings since the woman, might be exposed to some painful and exhausted situations due to her responsibilities as being a mother. The mother's maternity lies in her body, while the father's paternity has nothing to do with his body on the level of suffering. This fact might prevent her from playing a productive financial role. Therefore, we have seen that the mother is given a long [maternal] vacation. Nevertheless, the two spouses might cooperate together in spending on the matrimonial home on the basis of love, mercy, and mutual giving.
- With respect to divorce, Islam has given the woman the right to divorce in case she stipulated in the contract that she would be given an irrevocable attorney to divorce herself from him, as well as in certain other cases. This reveals that Islam has kept the door open before the wife to choose to divorce based on this condition.
- With respect to the talk that Islam has made the woman lower than the man, we say that this is not precise, since Islam has put the woman on an equal footing with the man on the level of the human value, in the movement of responsibility as well as in rights and obligations, but on the basis of distributing the roles in accordance with the nature of the various situations on the spiritual, and physical aspect… We also know that Islam did not want the woman to live her femininity outside the matrimonial relation. Man too has to live his masculinity in the framework of the marriage situation. Islam wants the woman – as well as the man – to act in the public realm as a human being who has a mind and a will as well as a scientific, intellectual and practical value in which she must not arouse sexual instincts in her social relationships. Islam has also given her the right to participate in the cultural, political, social and economic activities just like the man. In addition, it has given her the right to participate in the security and military fields and to voluntarily participate in the Jihad. It has neither prevented her from it nor considered it as obligatory on her, unless in emergency and necessary cases such as when the nation is exposed to imminent danger. Prophet Mohammad (p.) used to take the women with him to war in order to treat the wounds and water thirsty people, as a model of the women who participate in the acts of Jihad …