In the name of Allah ,the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

In the Name of Allah, most Compassionate, most Merciful

Women's Rights Upheld by the Taliban - Non-Existent in the West

"As for Muslim men and Muslim women, believing men and believing women, obedient men and obedient women, truthful men and truthful women, patient men and patient women, humble men and humble women, charitable men and charitable women, fasting men and fasting women, chaste men and chaste women, and men and women who remember Allah, surely Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward." (Qur'aan, Ch. 33, v. 35)

The list is very long. Following are only some examples of the rights that Islam, and the Taliban gave women -- rights that are non-existent in the West. Western women can only dream of having the following rights that the women of Afghanistan had enjoyed:

Share in inheritance from wide range of relatives: 

"There is a share for men and a share for women form what is left by parents and those nearest related, whether, the property be small or large - a legal share.  And when the relatives and the orphans and the poor are present at the time of division, give them out of the property, and speak to them words of kindness and justice." (Qur'aan: Ch. 4, v. 7)

The Taliban enforced this Islamic provision whereby a woman inherits from a wide range of relatives including her husband, father, son, and brother. This right was not there during the pre-Taliban era and women were deprived of their inheritance. "The decree [issued by Mulla Omar] stipulates that women have the right to inheritance, and that brides can keep the dowries that are traditionally paid to their families by the groom's parents. It also says that nobody can force a widow to marry a male relative of her deceased husband without her consent. At present, widows often have no say in the choice of her next husband." [BBC: Oct. 06, 1998]. The West has no set inheritance laws to ensure that women inherit, thus leaving women in a state of uncertainty and unsure.

Respect and care for women: 

"Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made on of them to excel the other, adn because they spend (to support them) from theri means..." [Qur'an: Ch.4, v. 34]

"They (the wives) have rights similar to the obligations on them in a manner that is reasonable, but men have a degree over them...". [Qur'an: Ch.2, v. 228]

The man and woman are equal in front of Allah, but what distinguishes them is their roles and responsibilities. The responsibility of care and maintenance of the wife and the rest of the family, has been assigned to the man, by Allah Subhaanuhu wa Ta'ala and has also been given certain traits and strengths to fulfill his obligation. The man has been placed a 'daraja' (degree) above the woman. Ibn `Abbas, a sahabah (uncle of and companion of the Prophet, sallallaahu `alaihi wa sallam) and a great scholar said in his exegesis (tafsir) regarding the 'degree' of man above the woman, is that "the degree urges men to make married life beautiful and to extend to women wealth and morals, that is, it is fitting for the one higher in rank to burden himself." The man bears the burden of maintenance and security for the family. It is inconceivable for a ship with two captains to sail swiftly and reach the destination safely, while each captain turns the helm according to his own desire and instead of one supervising the approach to the harbor. Moreover, imagine what will happen to the passengers of the ship!  

These complimentary roles of man and woman were prevalent in Afghanistan under the Taliban rule. A system was also set up in Afghanistan during the Taliban rule whereby they would try to have widows taken care of by either encouraging remarriage, or having other male relatives, or a government take care of them. In the West, on the other hand, women in general are expected to fend for themselves. The concept of men being the 'breadwinners' and the ones 'taking care' of women is fast disappearing, leaving many widows and other single women in a great deal of stress and trouble. As Rukaiyah Hill explains in her book, Women's Ideal Liberation: Islamic Versus Western Understandings, "Although a poor economy forces many mothers to work, it seems that other in the West are leaving home to get away from the stigma attached to being "just a mother." Sadly, when a woman in America stays home to raise children, she is not allowed the peace and security of knowing that the system upholds and recognizes her role as wife or mother. She is promised nothing if she should find herself facing divorce. Therefore, a woman who does not work may feel insecure and anxious because as attorney Frances Leonard says, "Place your hopes and dreams in the long future of your marriage; but recognize that the state won't back you in the gamble. When you forego your own career opportunities in the expectation of joint future returns, you place yourself at serious risk; and no amount of bitterness and recrimination will finance you if things don't work out in the end." [Frances Leonard, Women Pay More, p. 119].

Safety and security, no harassment 

The Taliban not only brought back honor and safety for the women, but they also were firm in protecting it especially during a time when no safety existed whatsoever. With rape being an 'epidemic' in America and sexual harassment being a major problem in work environments, even if they try, Americans cannot boast to have provided even a tenth of the security and peace the Taliban had provided women.

Freedom from being treated as a sex-object: 

This is a freedom that the Afghani women had under the Taliban, and a freedom that American and Western women cannot even think of! They have yet to taste the sweetness of being looked at as a "human being" and not as a sex-object. No matter what they may say, the fact remains: in any Western country, every bill-board, every advertisement, every magazine, every beach, and every swimming pool testifies to the exploitation of western women and their enslavement to men's desires.  Refer to The Western Concept of Women's Rights.

Family stability: 

"Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and protect their private parts.  That is purer for them.  Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do.  And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and protect their private parts and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils all over...". [Qur'an: Ch. 24, v. 30]

Taliban's implementation of gender segregation, modest dress, and modest behavior definitely led to increased stability within families and a better domestic life. Women could definitely expect more faithfulness from their husbands! No comparison to western women, who are helpless in this regard -- from the top level to the lowest level. America's ex-president Bill Clinton's extra-marital affairs are not hidden from anyone. What could the 'champion of women's rights', poor Hilary Clinton do after all? She is definitely not alone in the West.

"It is projected that 40% of American 14 year old girls will get pregnant by the time they are 19 years old." [Hal Mattern, "Good Values vs. Bad Influences," The Arizona Republic, Section H, September 5, 1993]

"60% of women lawyers practicing in federal courts in nine Western states, including Arizona, have experienced sexual harassment." Moreover, "A third of female attorneys said a male colleague had harassed them in the past five years, 40% said a client had harassed them, and 6% said they had been harassed by a judge." [Arizona Republic, Los Angeles Times, Santa Barbara California]

Positive effect on children

By allowing women to work within their homes and discouraging work outside of the home, the Taliban saved many children from facing yet another torture, which is faced by Western children every day - that of having to leave their mothers every single day to face the uncertainty of day-care and the many other associated problems. They saved mothers from the torture of leaving screaming and crying young children at the mercy of some babysitter who could care less about their welfare. With more women joining the work force in the West, more children are neglected and sent under the care of babysitters and others who lack the same level of affection and care which is the primary responsibility of the parents and a right of a child which is sadly deprived.

"Statistics from the Children's Defense Fund reported that more than 15 million children in the United States in 1994 were living in poverty." ["Child Poverty Worse in 30 years," Arab News, Oct. 8, 1994, p.8]

Work Force:

Under the Taliban rule, women were allowed to work in various sectors with dignity and respect and without fearing for their honor and their life. Women were given positions in the Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Interior (Police), Ministry of Religious Affairs and Ministry of Social Affairs. [Council of People and Scholars, Kandahar, Afghanistan]. However, women were never pressured to work, nor did they suffer from work-related stress and unequal pay.

In the West, many women are under stress trying to meet the male standards and end up working more than the men at their jobs. "You have to be better than any males in your job. You have to juggle family an work and still do better just to prove you are a career person and a mother," stated a woman in a report, "Government Finds U.S. Working Women Stressed, Underpaid" [Labor Department Women's Bureau findings, Arab News, Oct. 16, 1994]. "Karen Nussbaum, director of the Labor Department's Women's Bureau, said that a survey launched by President Clinton's administration discovered how working women felt about their jobs and that it "unveiled the anger" most American women have regarding their status. Besides being overworked and overstressed, women were still not earning the same amount for the same job men performed. "The Labor Department said women typically earn 0.71 cents for every dollar earned by a man. The problem is worse for women from racial and ethnic minority groups." [Rukaiyah Hill, Women's Ideal Liberation: Islamic Versus Western Understanding].

(coursey of azzam publications)