Islam and Women’s Rights

Translated by : A.J. Kassem

Islam and Women’s Rights


I would like to present some references from the words of Western authors on the subject of Islamic values ​​and their benefits for the family, society, and state, with hopes that supporters of justice in the West will consider adopting and promoting these values.

Among these quotes is what Roger Garaudy[1] wrote in his book, Promises of Islam, “If we compare the ethics of the Qur’an with the ethics of all previous societies, then they (i.e., Quranic ethics) represent unquestionable progress, especially when considering Athens and Rome, where the woman was permanently deficient [in the fulfillment of her rights]”. He adds: “In the Qur’an, a woman can dispose of her property as she wishes, which is a right that was not recognized in most western legislation, especially in France, until the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. As for inheritance, it is true that [in Islam] the female receives half of what the male does[2], but, in return, all financial obligations, especially the burdens of helping other family members, fall on the male while the woman is exempt from all of that. In the Qur’an, God gives the woman the right to ask for divorce, which women in the West did not obtain until thirteen centuries later.

Consider what Gustave Le Bon[3], wrote in his book, the Civilization of the Arabs, “The merit of Islam is not limited to raising the status of women; however it was the first religion to do so.”  He mentioned of the rules of inheritance mentioned in the Qur’an, “They are extremely fair and equitable - When comparing them to the French and English rights that, it should be noted that Islamic law grants wives rights of inheritance that you do not find in our own laws”. He describes the situation of the Muslim women in his present time as being, “better than that of their sisters’ in Europe; any deficiencies in their lifestyles occurred in contradiction to the Qur’an, not because of the Qur’an. Islam elevated the status of women. I am not the first to espouse this view - many of us have preceded me”. He mentions the following about the familial rights of women: “The rights of the wife stipulated in the Qur’an are much better than the rights of the European wife, because the Muslim wife enjoys her own money in addition to her dowry and she is not required to share in spending on household matters. If she is divorced, she should receive alimony”.

Likewise, Evelyn Kobold[4] wrote in her diary that “the freedom of Islam is broader and better than freedoms among other nations and groups”.

Muhammad Kurd Ali[5], wrote in his book, Islam and Arab civilization, with reference to the practice of polygamy among the Muslims, “The legitimate polygamy of the easterners is better than the irrational polygamy of the Europeans [friendships and betrayals], and the processions followed by illegitimate children.

With respect to restrictions on Muslim women under Islam, these restrictions are guarantees for the benefit of Muslim women themselves, for the good of the family, and for maintaining a strong and coherent society.  In the shadow of Islam, women regained their freedom and gained a prominent position. Islam considers women equal sisters to men, and both, men and women, complement each other. Islam honors the woman in all aspects of life, while the elderly in the West and America, considered to be the pinnacle of contemporary civilization, are thrown into nursing homes, ostracized, and forgotten.

In conclusion, the every person should consider the credibility of Islamic values on one hand and the West by becoming familiar with the Quran and the authentic prophetic traditions and not be discouraged by any apparent mistakes and incorrect policies observed in the Muslim world.


[1] Roger Garaudy, later Ragaa Garaudy (July 1913 - June 2012), was a French philosopher, French resistance fighter and author. He converted to Islam in 1982.

[2]  Actually, this is not always the case.  Islamic inheritance law does allow for women to inherit equal shares to men, or even greater ones, in some situations. 

[3]  Gustave Le Bon (1841- 1931) was a leading French polymath whose areas of interest included anthropology, psychology, sociology, medicine, invention, and physics. He is best known for his 1895 work The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind, which is considered one of the seminal works of crowd psychology.

[4] Zainab Cobbold (born Lady Evelyn Murray 1867 – 1963) was a Scottish diarist, traveller and noblewoman who was known for her conversion to Islam in the Victorian era.

[5] Muhammad Kurd Ali (Arabic: محمد كردعلي ‎, 1876-1953) was a historian and literary critic in the Arabic language. He was the founder and director of the Academy of the Arabic Language in Damascus.

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