While Muslim daughters must honor both mother and father, they are expected be especially close to their mothers. Islam teaches that while children have the right to be clothed, protected and educated by their parents, parents subsequently have the right to be cared for by their children during old age, reports Islam 101. A Muslim daughter, in particular, is expected to be respectful and humble to her mother, and is required to care her in illness and old age. Sons are obligated to provide financial support, but daughters must provide day-to-day care.
Value of Daughters
Contrary to the Western perception that Islam devalues women and, in consequence, daughters, their existence is actually celebrated in several hadiths, which record the traditions and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. In fact, Muhammad – who reportedly had four daughters – is quoted as saying that caring for daughters is a gateway to heaven for parents. One of those better known hadiths says, “If someone has three daughters and is patient with them and clothes them from his wealth, they will be a shield against Fire for him.” According to the Quran, mothers are more deserving of their child’s good treatment than fathers, since they physically gave birth to them and have typically sacrificed their own comforts to raise them. A famous hadith of the Prophet Muhammad states that “Paradise lies under the feet of the mother.”
The Quran states that men and women are equal before God, and condemns the attitude of parents who reject their female children. Female infanticide was common among Arab tribes in pre-Islamic times, the BBC reports. The practice is considered an abominable crime by the Quran, which states “And when the female infant buried is questioned, for what crime she was killed?” While the Quran does not specify separate roles for female believers, in most Islamic societies women are primarily confined to the private sphere of the home, while men are responsible for the family's financial needs. The book states “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to respect the other, and because they spend from their means.” Although the verse is often interpreted to support the superiority of men over women in Islam, scholars argue it only refers to the relationship between a husband and wife, and not women’s role in society, according to the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
In Islam, a woman can't be forced into an unwanted marriage, not even by her parents. Muslim women are only permitted to marry a Muslim man. Unlike their male counterparts, Muslim women can only take one husband, while the Quran states men can take up to four wives if he has the means to care for them. Women also have the right to seek a divorce if the union is not successful.
Extremist Views About Women
Although some extremist Muslims have banned women from educational opportunities, the Quran states both sexes have a right to receive an education, saying, "Seeking knowledge is compulsory for every Muslim." Similarly, the Quran does not specifically ban women from seeking employment or political office, despite the conservative cultures that relegate women to the home in many Muslim countries. Although wearing a hijab, or head scarf, is mentioned in a hadith, and not the Quran, that ruling advises modest attire for both men and women. Men are also advised to wear a head covering. Despite the attire currently imposed by law in some conservative Muslim countries, the BBC reports there is no verse that states it is essential for Muslim women to cover their faces.
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