5 Rights Islam Gave Women Before Western Feminism Did

5 Rights Islam Gave Women Before Western Feminism Did

Muslim women have always been empowered and will continue to be.
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The video above was created by Neghena Hamidi.

As an American-Muslim woman who's worn hijab for upwards of eight years, I've heard it all when it comes to people's opinions about my religious head wrap. I've received both loving support and ignorant hate from family, friends, co-workers and peers. The most aggravating comment from those uneducated about Islam is that the hijab, and Islamic rules in general, are oppressive towards women. As a feminist and a Muslim, it disturbs me to think people actually believe this.

1,400 years ago, Islam gave women more rights than western women have gained in the last century. Below are just a few you probably didn't know existed.

1. The right to vote




Islam gave women the right to vote and historically, Muslim women were politically active. They helped shape societal rules and regulations. Women in leadership positions are mentioned in the Quran on multiple occasions. Meanwhile, in America, white women could not vote until the 1920's, while black women couldn't vote until the 60's.

2. The right to own property and wealth





In America, women were denied the right to own property until 1848. They became the property of their husband after marriage along with everything they owned. The Quran not only granted women the right to own property, but also acknowledged that women were not the property of their husbands. Muslim women are not obligated to spend their earnings on anyone, while men are responsible for financially supporting their family.

3. The right to an education




Education is heavily emphasized in Islam for men and women equally. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, "Seeking knowledge is mandatory on every Muslim." In 859 CE, the world's oldest standing university was founded by a Muslim woman, Fatima al-Fihri, in Morocco. In America, women didn't start regularly attending universities until less than a century ago.

4. The right to work (or not to)





Islam gives women the right to work and earn a salary. Anything she earns while working is entitled only to her, not her husband or family. This independence is seen in Kadijah, the first woman to accept Islam after it was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Before she married the prophet, she was a well-known, successful and respected businesswoman. Equally important, Islam gives women the right not to work, if they choose.

5. The right to modesty




Contrary to popular belief, the religious meaning behind hijab is female empowerment. We choose to cover because we respect ourselves and consider hijab a form of worship. Islam teaches us that a woman's self-worth does not revolve around physical beauty or approval from men. Islam raises women above all that and frees us from the need to conform to the societal definition of what women "should" look like.

Most importantly, hijab is for god and god alone. How a woman chooses to dress, her decision to wear hijab or not, is between her and god - not her father, brother, or the law.

These are a small sample of rights Islam granted women 1,400 years ago. Western society is still trying to catch up. Islam recognized women as equal in status to men, 1,400 years ago. The Quran says:

[3:195] Their Lord responded to them: "I never fail to reward any worker among you for any work you do, be you male or female - you are equal to one another."

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Should People Label Their Sexual Orientations?

Better question: why are you asking?
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Lesbian. Gay. Homosexual. Heterosexual. Asexual. Demisexual. Pansexual. Akoisexual. Graysexual. Bisexual. Androsexual. Gynesexual. Intersex. Queer. Skoliosexual.

And the list goes on.

Nobody can seem to agree on whether or not people in the LGBTQ+ community should put labels such as these on their sexual orientations. Well, I’ve got the answer for you.

Stop trying to answer it.

Whether someone chooses to identify, openly or not, with a certain sexual orientation is none of your business. It’s their choice, not yours. Not mine. Not anyone else’s. There are valid reasons for both holding a nameable identity and avoiding labeling sexuality.

Some advantages of naming a specific identity could potentially include making sense of an identity that is different from the normative one, becoming part of a network of people who understand, and utilizing the term as a tool to explore different identities.

Some advantages of avoiding “labels” for sexuality could potentially include feeling free to explore sexuality in its fluidity, avoid what feels to some like constraints, and allowing for the often unclear nature of sexuality.

But unless you are the one questioning whether or not to use a label for your own sexual identity (or aiding a friend in this pondering), then you don’t need to worry yourself with any of this. It’s a personal choice. You don’t need to present an opinion on this if it does not apply to you.

If you’d like more information on the meaning of different terms related to the LGBTQ+ community and movement, see the following super helpful list: http://itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/2013/01/a-comprehensive-list-of-lgbtq-term-definitions/

Cover Image Credit: rihaij

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20 Powerful Quotes By 20 Powerful Women

"Girls compete with each other, women empower each other."
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If you're feeling unmotivated, uninspired, or discouraged, you're not alone. Women everywhere are being made to feel as if they're lesser simply for speaking their minds and living their lives the way they desire. We are incredibly fortunate to thrive in a world with so many influential, outstanding women.

It's important to have positive role models to look up to amid all the chaos, so here are 20 powerful quotes by 20 powerful women.

1. "I don't care what you think about me. I don't think about you at all." — Coco Chanel

2. “I’m tough, ambitious and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, Okay.” — Madonna

4. “Women are like teabags. We don’t know our true strength until we are in hot water.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

5. “Doubt is a killer. You just have to know who you are and what you stand for.” — Jennifer Lopez

6. "Nothing will work unless you do." — Maya Angelou

7. “Once you figure out what respect tastes like, it tastes better than attention.” — Pink

8. "You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it's important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages." — Michelle Obama

9. “I am a woman with thoughts and questions and shit to say. I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story — I will.” — Amy Schumer

10. “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.” — Mother Teresa

11. “You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.” — Rosalynn Carter

12. "I don't like to gamble, but if there's one thing I'm willing to bet on, it's myself." — Beyoncé

13. “Everyone has inside of her a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be, how much you can love, what you can accomplish, and what your potential is.” — Anne Frank

14. “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.” — Margaret Thatcher

15. "We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced." — Malala Yousafzai

16. "Women must pay for everything. They do get more glory than men for comparable feats, but, they also get more notoriety when they crash." — Amelia Earhart

17. “A really strong woman accepts the war she went through and is ennobled by her scars.” — Carly Simon

18. "Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning." — Gloria Steinem

19. "Giving up doesn’t always mean you’re weak. Sometimes you’re just strong enough to let go.” — Taylor Swift

20. "If you truly pour your heart into what you believe in, even if it makes you vulnerable, amazing things can and will happen." — Emma Watson

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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