Islam’s view about woman as human person 

In Islam both man and woman are independent individual and both are responsible for their actions individually before Allah (SWT). There is no concept of “coverture” and husband is responsible for the actions neither of his wife nor vice versa. Allah says, “And everyone of them [humans] will come to Him [Allah] singly on the Day of Judgment.” (Al-Qur’an 19:95). On the Day of Judgement Allah will say, “And certainly you have come to Us alone as We created you at first,. . . .” (Al-Qur’an 6:94). "The Day a person will run away from his own brother, his own father, his own wife and his children. On that day every one will be in a state which will engross him completely". (Al-Qur'an 80:35-38)

Islam recognises woman as perfectly human being with an equal share in all aspects of life like man. All the general commands in the Qur’an and Sunnah are equally applicable to both men and women. As such the reward for performing the responsibilities and the retribution for neglecting them are the same for both of them. “. . .I will not waste the work of a worker among you, whether male or female, the one of you being from the other. . ..” (3:195) . "A male or female, who is a believer and performs good deeds, We shall give him a goodly life. And ultimately a fine reward for what they had been doing". (16:97)

Islam completely denies any idea of a woman's being simply a sexual being or of her being intellectually less capable (let alone incapable). These things will be clearer in the following discussion, Insha-Allah.

To become a Muslim both man and woman have to pronounce the same articles of faith and both have be conscious about the consequent commitments. To make it clear Allah (SWT) categoricallydescribe the basic social and religious undertaking of both, "The believers, men and women, are "Awliy," (helpers,supporters, friends, protectors) of one another, they enjoin (on the people) Al-Ma`ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do); and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (i.e. polytheism and disbelief of all kinds, and all that Islam has forbidden); they offer their prayers perfectly (lqamat-as-Salat), and give the Zakat and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will have mercy on them. [ Surah 9:71]

“Lo! men who surrender unto Allah, and women who surrender, and men who believe and women who believe, and men who obey and women who obey, and men who speak the truth and women who speak the truth, and men who persevere (in righteousness) and women who persevere, and men who are humble and women who are humble, and men who give alms and women who give alms, and men who fast and women who fast, and men who guard their modesty and women who guard (their modesty), and men who remember Allah much and women who remember - Allah hath prepared for them forgiveness and a vast reward.” (33: 35)

Moreover, no woman is said to have truly accepted the message of Islam unless she does so out of her independent will. Admission to faith is entirely a personal matter; indeed, faith cannot be adopted by proxy. 
Nor does a woman become a Muslim merely because of her relationship tofather, husband or any other male. All Muslims used to present their oath of allegiance to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) personally and independently. Women, just like men, would come to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and pledge their own allegiance to Islam and the Prophet. (“Women in Islam and Muslim Society” by Dr Hassan Abdulla Al Turabi; Milestones Publications, London, 1991 available on

Allah Almighty commanded the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the following words: "O Prophet! when women believers come to you to make a covenant with you that they will not associate anything with Allah, nor steal, nor fornicate, nor kill their own children, nor slander anyone, nor disobey you in any fair matter, then make a covenant with them and seek God's forgiveness in their favour. Indeed Allah is extremelyForgiving and most Merciful". (Al-Mumtahinah, 12).

The individuality of woman in terms of faith is  precisely described in the following verse: "For the disbelievers, Allah gave the example of Noah's wife and Lot's wife. Both of them were under two of Our righteous servants. Both acted disloyally towards them, but (their esteemed husbands) could in no way protect them from Allah. And both were commanded to enter the fire (of hell) along with all others following the same course. And for the believers, Allah gave the example of Pharaoh's wife, when she prayed: 

"O Lord, put up for me a home in heaven, and save me from the Pharaoh and 
his practices and save me from the transgressing people". And Mary the 
daughter of Imran who guarded her chastity, wherein we breathed of Our Spirit. 
And she attested to the commandments of her Lord as well as his scriptures, 
and was one of the truly devouts. (66: 10-12)

The story of Hazrat Umar's acceptance of Islam is another example of personal independence of men and women in accepting or rejecting the faith. Umar's sister Fatima bint Al Khattab, embraced Islam although her brother Umar was still an unbeliever. Ibn Abbas is reported to have asked Umar about the manner in which he embraced Islam. Umar said, "three days after Hamza had embraced Islam, I went out of my house, to meet by chance a man of the Makhzumi tribe whom I asked: "Doyou prefer Muhammad's faith over that of your own forefathers?" The Makhzumi said: "One who is more closely related to you than myself has also done so". I asked him, who it was. Your sister and your brother-in-law, replied the Makhzumi. I hurried back and found the door of my sister's house bolted from within; and I heard some humming sound inside, as Fatima and her husband were reciting something from the Holy Qur'an. Later, when the door was 
opened, I entered the house and asked: What is it that I am hearing? My sister replied: "You heard nothing". We were exchanging words. When I struck her on the head, she stated defiantly: "We do that whether you like it or not". I was filled with remorse when I saw her bleeding, and said to her: "Show me the scripture". Umar narrated the whole incident. (Al-Isabah Fi Tamyeez Al Sahaba, by Ibn-Hajar Al Asqalani, hereafter cited as Al-Isabah).

Similarly a woman, like Umm-Habiba, the daughter of Abu Sufiyan, embraced Islam, though her father was still a pagan. When Sufiyan went to Madina, he visited his daughter, Umm-habiba, then wife of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He was about to sit on the Prophet's bed but his daughter did not allow him to do so and rolled up the mattress. Abu Sufiyan, who felt grieved at her attitude, said to her, "Was it that the mattress is not worthy of me or that I am not worthy thereof"? Umm-Habiba curtly replied to 
her father, Abu Sufiyan, "But this is the Prophet's mattress, and you are an impure polytheist, I did not want you to sit on it." When he heard that, Abu Sufiyan felt annoyed and reprimanded her, "During my absence something has gone wrong with you." (Tabagat, Ibn-i-Saad).

(Both the above incidents, along with a number of similar stories, have been mentioned in the first chapter of the book “Women in Islam and Muslim Society” by Dr Hassan Abdulla Al Turabi; Milestones Publications, London, 1991 available on . The students are strongly recommended to read the book)Islam’s view about woman as human person

In the recent Western history women were denied many fundamental human rights as she was viewed much lower than man. Their individuality was not recognised; in political decision-making they had no share nor were they allowed to exercise their voting power. It is only after the World War-I (when women proved their worth by taking part in outside work to meet the workforce crisis caused by the death of many males in the War), women earned their political right to vote through the toughest Suffrage Movement. Women suffrage was realized with the introduction of a bill (1918) in England, which gave women over 30 the parliamentary vote. In 1928 universal adult suffrage was granted in Great Britain. Much the same thing happened in Russia in 1917, Germany in 1918 and America 1920, but it was not until 1944 that France granted women the vote and in Switzerland it was in 1971.

In marital bond women’s individuality was thought to be dissolved in  the person of her husband. By marriage the husband and wife were one person in law: that is, the very being or legal existence of woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband: under whose wing, protection and cover, she performs everything.” (William Blackstone, “Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1765, I. Xv.)

The subservient position of women in the English legal system is well understood in the writings of the Victorian social reformer Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon (1827-1891) who summarizes the British law concerning women in the following words:

"A man and wife are one person in law; the wife loses all her rights as a single woman, and her existence is entirely absorbed in that of her husband. He is civilly responsible for her acts; she lives under his protection 
and cover, and her condition is called coverture."

In her letter to the Queen, Caroline Norton (1808-1877) refers to the Victorian law governing married women to draw her attention to its central contradiction. She writes,

“As a husband, he has a right to all that is hers: as his wife, she has no right to anything that is his. As her husband, he may divorce her (if truth or false swearing can do it): as his wife, the utmost divorce she could 
obtain is permission to reside alone, —married to his name. The marriage ceremony is a civil bond for him, —and an indissolvable sacrament for her; and the rights of mutual property, which that ceremony is ignorantly supposed to confer, are made absolute for him, and null for her.” (Uneven Developments, Mary Poovey)

Moreover, in the family woman was simply a puppet at the hands of men. {A portrayal of such female subordination is given in the Norwegian Playwright Henrik Ibsen’s (1828-1906) drama “A Doll’s House”}. What Sophie Tolstoy (1844-1919), a Russian writer, says about her relationship with her husband Tolstoy indicates almost the same situation of wife at home. She say, “I am a source of satisfaction to him [Tolstoy], a nurse, a piece of furniture, a oman—nothing more.”(Diary of Tolstoy’s Wife, 1860-1891)

Virginia Woolf gives a more convincing picture of the role of women in the family life if the Western world: “Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.” (A Room of One’s Own, 1929).

It is not long before when in the UK women had to get her husband to sign her tax form as Jacui Lait says referring to Margaret Thatcher, “It is ironic that the wife who made Britain great again, and who isthe leader of the Western World, has to get her husband to sign her tax form.” (Speech, Oct 1987)

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) summarises the subordinate female personality in the following touching manner:

“Gracious creator of the whole human race! hast thou created such a being as woman, who can trace thy wisdom in thy works, and feel that thou alone art by thy nature exalted above her,--for no better purpose? Can she believe that she was only made to submit to man, her equal, a being, who, like her, was sent into the world to acquire virtue? Can she consent to be occupied merely to please him; merely to adorn the earth, when her soul is capable of rising to thee? And can she rest supinely dependent on man for reason, when 
she ought to mount with him the arduous steeps of knowledge?”(A Vindication of the Rights of Woman; Mary Wollstonecraft: Political Writings; Oxford, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1994; p. 138)

So there is no essential distinction between the man and woman and Allah makes no preference to any of them on the basis of sex. If anyone of them (man and women) wants to get close to Allah, for both of them have to pursue the same course of action: "Verily, the most honourable of you in the Sight of Allah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa [i.e. one of the Muttaqeen: 

i.e. pious and righteous persons who fear Allah much](abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden), and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)" [Surah 49:13]. The distinctions, however, are merely conditioned by the different tasks assigned to each of the two sexes by virtue of their natural disposition. (Qaradawi, Dr. Yousuf Al. The Status of Women in Islam)

To be perfectly human does not mean that man and woman are literally identical in all respects. As has been discussed early, in some cases, Allah (SWT), out of His infinite Wisdom, has made some differences between men and women. Some of the things are forbidden for men and some others are for women. Such reservations are simply to protect the distinctiveness of men and women. For example men are forbidden to wear gold and pure silk, which allowed for women. The Prophet (SAWS) says, "These two (gold and silk) 
are prohibited for the men of my Ummah and allowed for its women". [Transmitted by Ibn Majah on the authority of Ali (3595), Hadith Sahih.]

Moreover in dress code as well, man and woman have to maintain the distinctiveness as the Prophet(SAWS) says, "Allah condemns the man who dresses like a woman and the woman who dresses like a man". 
[Transmitted by Abu Huraira, Abu Dawud (4098); and Ahmad 2/325; and Ibn Hibban (1904); and others.] Again the Prophet (SAWS) says, "Three (kinds of people) do not enter Paradise and do not enjoy Allah's gaze upon them on Judgement Day: a son who is disobedient to his parents, a mannish woman and an 
adulterer. [Transmitted by Ahmad lbn Umar and approved by Sheikh Shaker as Sahih (1680); and Al-Nisa'i 5/80; and Al-Hakim 1/72 and others.] (Dr Yousuf Al- Qaradawi mentions the above Hadeeth in his book The Status of Women in Islam).

Islam does not support any such idea that a woman is for the adornment of house and to please men and that she does not have any important role in the society. It is the duty of both men and women to adorn the house by their mutual love and trustworthiness. And if she is to please him, he is also to please her. Dr Yousuf Al-Qaradawi mentions a nice incident of Ibn Abbas who was once standing in front of a looking glass to straighten his appearance and arrange his ornamentation. Being asked about it, he said, God 
Almighty says: " And they (women) have rights (over their husbands) similar (to those of their husbands) over them to what is reasonable". [Surah 2:228] This  is a wonderfulexample illustrating the deep Qur'anic knowledge of the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them all. (ibid)

Even in the present Western world, after marriage a woman has to forsake her family name and has to take the one of her husband, which is a manifest violation of individuality. In Islam there is not suchconcept of name-change because of marriage. All the respected wives of the Prophet and all other important female personalities of Islamic history are known by their own names.

In addition, her civil personality is not diminished by marriage, nor does it lose its eligibility for making contracts, etc. She can sell and buy, rent her properties, buy properties, donate some of her money, give 
charity, deputise and dispute. These are matters attained only recently by the western woman, though she is still restricted in some countries by the husband's will. (ibid)

In Islam women are intellectually as capable as men and this is the general tone of the teachings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. In the Holy Qur’an there are innumerable verses where Allah (SWT) recommends the believers to exercise their intellect. “(It is) a Book We have revealed to you abounding in good that they may ponder over its verses, and that those endowed with understanding may be mindful” (38:29). “Most surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day there are 
signs for the people of understanding. Those who remember Allah standing and sitting and lying on their sides and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: Our Lord! Thou hast not created this in vain! Glory be to Thee; save us then from the chastisement of the fire” (3:190-91).All such verses that invite the people to exercise their intellect are common to both man and woman. Moreover, Islamic history is replete with the example of the scholarly women. After the demise of the Prophet (SAWS), all the people approached Hazrat Aisha (RA) to learnDeen (Islam) as she was second to none in terms of knowledge after the death of the Prophet (SAWS).

Some people misunderstand the following Hadeeth and try to establish that in Islam women are considered deficient in knowledge. Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri: Once Allah's Apostle went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) of 'Id-al-Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, "O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women)." They asked, "Why is it so, O Allah's Apostle ?" He replied, "You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you." The women asked, "O Allah'sApostle! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?" He said, "Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?" They replied 
in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn't it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses?" The women replied in the affirmative. He said, "This is the deficiency in her religion." (Bukhari)

That the above tradition indicates women's (in general) deficiency in knowledge cannot be accepted for the following reasons:

1. The background of the Hadeeth is that the Prophet (SAWS) addressed the women on the Eid day. Can we imagine that the Prophet (SAWS) could say anything that belittles women on such an occasion? On the contrary, it was a decent joke to the women from the Prophet (SAWS) on a happy event. No other report is there that says that Prophet (SAWS) made such remark at any other time. If we consider the tone of the Hadeeth, we see that Prophet (SAWS) praises a hidden power inherent in every woman. The import is that many women are there who may be deficient in intellect and religious knowledge but are potent enough to make a tremendous impact even on a man of even great intellect and thus prevail upon his intellect by her physical attraction. (Shukkah, Abdul Halim Abu; Tahrirul Mir’ah fi Asrir Risalah; Vol. 2 [Bangla version]; Dhaka, Bangladesh: World Assembly of Muslim Youth, 1995)

2. As we have discussed, the basic responsibilities (including the duties that demand the employment of intellect) of all Muslims (both men and women) are the same. And Allah (SWT) does not give any responsibilities beyond the capacity of an individual. “Allah does not impose upon any soul a duty but 
to the extent of its ability . . .” (2:286). So if women are less capable Allah would not give them the same responsibilities like men's. If some women are sometimes found inexperienced or intellectually incapable, 
this is because of the sad history of woman confinement to the four walls of house letting their mental faculty "rust" in isolation. If some women are really less capable, there are some men as well who are incompetent in the same manner.

3. Even if the Hadeeth proves that women are deficient in knowledge, it cannot be accepted for the fact that such notion goes against the general spirit of Shari’ah.An Islamic reading of the concept of Original Sin

No one can deny the obvious presence of the concept of the Original Sin in Judaism and Christianity and its significant influence on the Western society. Unfortunately because of colonialism and the widespread 
circulation of the Western literature throughout the world this concept has made almost a similar impact on many other societies in the formation of people’s attitudes towards women. Muslim society in this respect is not an exception so much so that some people think that Islam also shares the same concept. Some groundless unscrupulous writings have contributed to the spread of such misinformation regarding Islam. Let us see how Nawal El Sadawi, an Egyptian secularist feminist, passes around such misinformation:

“Islam, therefore, inherited the attitude of Judaism toward Eve, the sinful woman who disobeyed God, and towards sex as related essentially to women, and to Satan. Man, on the other hand, though endowed with an 
overpowering sexual passion, does not commit sin except if incited to do so by the seductiveness and devilry of woman. He is therefore enjoined to marry and thereby is able to beat back the evils of Satan and the bewitching temptations of women. (“The Hidden Face of Eve: Women in the Arab World; London: Zed Press, 1980; p.138)

This chapter intends to establish the dissociation of Islam with any such concept like Original Sin. According to the Christian doctrine, every human being inherits the sin of early humans i.e. Adam and Eve who disobeyed a divine command not to eat the fruit of a particular tree and as such human beings have an innate propensity to sin. So every human being is by born a sinner as they inherit the guilt of Adam and Eve. And, according to Christianity, Jesus Christ is the one who got their sins redeemed at the expense of his own life.

In relating the story of the Original Sin, the Christian tradition and the whole bulk of Western literature hold Eve, and as such all women, primarily responsible for the sin and the consequent fall of human being from Paradise. Because, according to the Western tradition, it was not Adam who committed the sin first, rather it was Eve who incited him to do so. Regrettably the attitude towards women has been largely influenced by this idea, which is widespread in many societies.

The description of the Original Sin goes in the Bible in the following manner (in the form of conversation):

“And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou 
art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:  

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy 
conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and has eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.” (Bible: Genesis 3:12-17)

Obviously in the above account, Eve is exposed as more blameworthy as she is said to have provoked Adam to eat the fruit. Similar concept is rife in English literature. The graphic description of the story by John Dryden (1631-1700) is almost identical to the one in the Bible. The following conversation occurs in his famous poem The State of Innocence and the Fall of Man edited by Jack Lynch:

Angel, singing: Look up, look up, and see
What Heav'n prepares for thee;
Look up, and this fair fruit behold,
Ruddy it smiles, and rich with streaks of gold.
The loaded branches downward bend,
Willing they stoop, and thy fair hand attend
Fair Mother of Mankind, make haste
And bless, and bless thy senses with the taste.

Woman: No; tis forbidden, I
In tasting it shall dye.

Angel: Say who injoyn'd this harsh command.

Woman: 'Twas Heav'n; and who can Heav'n withstand?

Angel: Why was it made so fair, why plac'd in sight?
Heav'n is too good to envy man's delight.
See, we before thy face will try,
What thou so fear'st and will not dye.

[The Angel takes the fruit and gives to the Spirits, who danc'd, they 
immediately put off their deform'd shapes, and appear Angels.]

Angels singing:
Behold what a change on a sudden is here!
How glorious in beauty how bright they appear!
From spirits deform'd they are Deities made
Their pinions at pleasure, the clouds can invade,
[The Angel gives to the Woman who eats.]
Till equal in honor they rise
With him who commands in the skies:
Then taste without fear, and be happy and wise.

Woman: Ah, now I believe; such a pleasure I find
As enlightens my eyes, and enlivens my mind.
[The spirits who are turn'd Angels
fly up, when they have tasted.]
I only repent
I deferr'd my content.

Angel: Now wiser experience has taught you to prove
What a folly it is,
Out of fear to shun bliss.
To the joy that's forbidden we eagerly move;
It inhances the price, and increases the love.

Commenting on the representation of Eve in the annals of English literature Mary Poovey says, ‘This is the representation of women as Eve, “Mother of our Miseries”. As late as the 1740s, woman was consistently represented as the site of wilful sexuality and bodily appetite: whether figured as that part of man responsible for the Fall, as was characteristic of sixteenth-century texts, or represented as man’s foil, as in 
eighteenth-century texts like Swift’s and Pope’s poems, women were associated with flesh, desire and socialized, hence susceptible, impulses and passions. (Uneven Developments;The University of Chicago Press, 1988; p. 9)

Interestingly the West has made a link between the concept of Original Sin and childbearing by the woman. It is firmly established that the pain that every woman experiences during the childbirth is an inescapable divine punishment for the sin that woman (Eve) committed by eating the forbidden fruit and persuading Adam to do the same mistake. This notion was so strongly ingrained in religion that with the invention of chloroform to alleviate the pain of childbirth there  underwent a heated debate between the medical people and the religious authorities of the time because the latter thought that the use of chloroform was sinful as they took it for an interference in the divine decree of punishment upon women. (ibid; p.27)

Before going to discuss the description of the story of Adam and Eve i.e. their descent from the Paradise in the Qur’an, let us talk about a fundamental principle of Islam, which will help make the Islamic position on Original Sin clearer. In Islam, no one is responsible for the misdeeds of other, nor the children for the sin of their parents and vice versa. Allah says, "Every soul will be (held) in pledge for its deeds." (74:38) "On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns, and it suffers every ill that it earns…." (2:286) Allah states, "That was a people that have passed away. They shall reap the fruit of what they did, and you of what you do! And you will not be asked of what they did." (2:134). Moreover, the Qur'an repeatedly affirms that no one is responsible for the burden of the other. Allah says, "and no soul earns (evil) but against itself, and no bearer of burden shall bear the burden of 
another; then to your Lord is your return, so He will inform you of that in which you differed." (6:164). The same truth has repeatedly been expressed in the verses: 17:15; 35:18; 39:7; 53:38. {Hasan, Md Mahmudul (ed.); Gender Issue: An Islamic Approach; Dhaka, Bangladesh: The Pioneer, 1999 [available on]}

The above Qur’anic verses make it clear that no humans inherit any sort of sin or guilt. Rather there is a prominent prophetic tradition where the Prophet (SAWS) says that every human being is born with the natural disposition, which is called Fitrah. Abu Hurayrah has reported that the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) says, "Every child is born upon Fitrah, then it is his parents who make him Jewish, or Christian, or Magian (Zoroastrian), just as an animal delivers a perfect baby animal; do you find it mutilated?" (Bukhari) So in Islam every newborn child is innocent and does not carry any innate guilt.

A simple look at the related verses in the Holy Qur’an will definitely establish that Eve or Hawa was not primarily responsible for the first sin nor did she tempt Adam to eat the forbidden fruit. The Bible says that 
Eve was, at first, tempted by the serpent to eat from the tree and then she tempted her husband to do so. But nowhere in the Islamic tradition is there any mention of the serpent. Islam establishes that it was Satan (and not the serpent) who tempted Adam.

The creation of the mankind along with the sin of Adam and Eve is mentioned in detail in the verses like 2:30-39; 7:20-25; 20:120-122, etc. And nowhere does Allah say that only Eve was responsible for the sin. Almost in every case, Allah uses the phrase "both of them" and hence it is not Eve alone who is to blame for their fall from the heaven. On the contrary, the verse 20:120 proves that it was Adam who was whispered or tempted by Satan and the verse 20:121-122 (where Adam is singled out) clearly states that "…Thus did 
Adam disobey his Lord, and allow him to be seduced. But his Lord chose him (for His Grace): He turned to him, and gave him guidance." The fact that Adam was a little bit more responsible for the sin is also supported by a prophetic tradition where the Prophet (SAWS) said that on the Day of Judgement, people would go to Adam (AS) and entreat him to intercede for them with Allah. He will refuse to do so saying, "Allah told me not to eat from the tree and I disobeyed; therefore, I am unworthy to intercede."

Bible says that women suffer in pregnancy and childbirth because of Eve's (who was a woman) sin. On the contrary, Islam deals with the matter of pregnancy and childbirth in a very sympathetic manner and it is 
described as a Jihad or struggle on the part of the mother for which she will gain due reward. Allah says, "And We have enjoined on men (to be good) to their parents: In travail upon travail did his mother bear him, and in years twin was his weaning: (hear the command), 'Show gratitude to Me and to thy 
parents: to Me is (thy final) goal'." (31:14). The Prophet (SAWS) says, " If a woman dies in her post-natal period, her infant will drag her into Paradise."

Irrespective of whatever Adam and Eve did, the Muslims have a profound respect for both of them. They respect Adam as a prophet because Islam teaches to believe in and honour all the prophets (Al-Qur’an 2:285). Even if Adam and Eve did a mistake Allah ultimately forgave them. Qur’an says, “They said: "Our Lord! We have wronged our own souls: If thou forgive us not and bestow not upon us Thy Mercy, we shall certainly be lost.” (7:23) “Then learnt Adam from his Lord words ofinspiration, and his Lord Turned towards him [forgave him]; for He is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.” (2:37) Moreover, Islam views the story 
of Adam and Eve as a “Grand Design” of Allah Himself to send the humanity to earth.Consent of Woman in her marriage

In some male dominated societies, people — both Muslim and non-Muslim alike — exercise excessive control over their daughters in many cases specially in taking the decision of marriage. Many parents (mostly fathers) prevail upon daughters and impose their own choice on their girl and the girl does not 
have any say in a most crucial decision of her life like marriage. When a Muslim does such malpractice on his/her daughter, it manifests nothing but his/her ignorance of Islam or lack of fear of Allah or the both. Islam does not support any such over-dominance of the parents/guardians on the daughters.

Some Western writers and secularists have exploited this weakness in some Muslim societies and took this as an opportunity to tarnish the image of Islam and Muslims in both covert and overt ways. The Danish writer 
Jorgen Bisch, in his book “Behind the Veil of Arabia”, criticises the Arab society but points his finger at Islam, which is understood if the context is considered. He says, “In Saudi Arabia the families decide whom their daughter shall marry. Young lovers will occasionally exchange letters, if they can read and write; but it is all done in the utmost secrecy, and should they succeed in getting their way and marrying each other it is something of a sensation. Love-matches are almost unknown in Arabia and are actually regarded as frivolous.” (Behind the Veil of Arabia, tr. Reginald Spink, London, George Allen and Unwin Led, 1962; p. 88)

Islam considers woman as fully independent human person and as such does not allow any coercions on her in the decision-making of her marriage. In verse 21 of chapter 4 the Qur’an terms marriage as Mithaq or a strong covenant or agreement between the husband and wife. In Islam no agreement can be done without the consent of the parties concerned and marriage is an important agreement, which cannot be solemnised without the consent of the man and the woman concerned. (Marriage in Islam; Prof. Abdur Rahman I. Doi Professor and Director, Center for Islamic Legal Studies, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaira, Nigeria.; 
Source:, 29.8.2001)

According to Islamic Law, women cannot be forced to marry anyone without their consent. The Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered that a woman should not be married but with her own authority and consent. The Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered: "Do not marry a non-virgin except on her instruction, nor marry a virgin except with her permission; and her silence may go for permission". (Bukhari). Whether a girl is a virgin or not, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would notallow their marriage under compulsion. Ibn-Abbas stated that a virgin girl came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and told him that her father had got her married without her approval. The Prophet (peace be upon him) gave her complete freedom to choose [either to repudiate the marriage or retain it] whichever course that pleased her. (Reported by Abu Dawoud, Ahmed, and Ibn-Majah). Another girl came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and complained that her father had married her to his nephew against her wish; the Prophet gave her the choice of rejecting the marriage. But she said to the Prophet (peace be upon him), "I endorse what my father did, but I 
wanted to show women that parents have nothing to do in the matter". (Ibn-Majah). (Quoted in “Women in Islam and Muslim Society” by Dr Hassan Abdulla Al Turabi; Milestones Publications, London, 1991)

In addition, the father has not got the right to marry off his daughter to a man she hates and does not approve of. He must have her opinion of the man she is going to marry, whether she agrees or disagrees. If she has been married before, she has to utter her consent clearly. If she is a virgin and overcome by shyness, it is enough to listen to her silence, which is a sign of consent. If she says, "No," then he has no power to force her to marry someone she does not want. Dr Yousuf al-Qaradawi; The Status of Women in 
Islam; tr. Sheikh Mohammed Gemeaah; Cairo, Egypt, Islamic Home of Publishing and Distribution, 1997)

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