The role and effect of women in Muslim marriage

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Theroleandeffectof womenin Muslim marriage

Marriageis a highlyrespectedinstitutionamong theMuslim wherebymenandwomenjoiningare expectedto complement eachother.Islam,unlike mostof thereligions,takesa conservativestanceclaimingthatthefamilyunitis a divinely enthused institutionwheremarriageis at thecore(Dhami 351).In addition,attachmentto thefamilyis among themoststrikingfeaturesof theMuslim community,buta familyis not completewithout a woman.Therefore,Muslim womenare not onlythesymbolsof unitywithin thefamily,butalsothecornerstonesof a balancedMuslim society.Thispaperwill addresstherolesandeffectsof Muslim womenin marriagewith a focuson motherhoodroles,housekeeping,providingsupportfortheir husbandsin timesof need,coping with their husbands’jobs,maintainIslamic hijab, andcoping with relativesof an extendedfamily.Althoughgenderroleshavechangedsignificantly among theMuslims, womenstillplaya criticalrolein takingcareof their husbands,supportingtheir husbandsin timesof needs,assumingthemotherlyduties,andthehousekeepingchores.

Housekeepingrole

Ahouseis a littleplace,butitis a preciousblessingamong theMuslim community.Itis a placethat shelters husbandsafter workandchildrenafter school.TheMuslim communityconsidershousesas placesof love,friendship,comfort,sincerity,anda placefromwherehusbands,wives,andchildrenof virtuesandtrainedandeducated.Therefore,a houseis a smallsocietyon which theMuslim societyisbuilt(Jenkins 69). Althoughtheresponsibilityformaintainingthefamilylieswith all thestakeholders (includingthetwo parents),Muslim womenplaya criticalroleinkeepingthehousein orderfro thegoodof thefamilyandthesocietyat large.Thisimpliesthatwomenhavethecapacityto influencetheprogressorthedeteriorationof thefamilyas wellas thesociety.Previously,mostof theMuslim womenwerehousewives,butsomeof them are continuallyincreasingtheir academicattainmentandgettinginto professionaljobs.EducatedMuslim women,unlike in othercommunitieswheregenderrolesare changingdrastically, donot abandontheir housework.Instead,theyseeeducationas a toolto helpthem performtheir houseworkmuchbetterin additionto contributingtowards thefamily’sbudgetusingtheearningsfrom professionalcareers.

Motherhood

Takingcareof childrenis among themostvitalandsensitiverolesof themarriedMuslim women.Muslim considersmotherhoodas a valuableresponsibilitythat wasbestowedupon their womenby theorderof God’s creation(Dhami 353). Similarto othermembersof religiousgroups,bearingchildrenmay not necessarilybe theprimaryforcethat drivesMuslim into marriage.However,thepurposenaturalcreationeventuallybecomesapparentwhencouplesdeveloptheloveforbearingchildren.Therefore,childrenare consideredthefruitsof thepreciousmaritaltree. Muslim womenspendmoretimewith their childrenthan men.Althoughbothparentsare expectedto takepartin bringingup children,theampletimethat womenhavewith childrencomeswith a sensitiveresponsibilityof trainingandeducatingthem. Muslim womenaccomplishthisroleby providingtheir childrenwith stableandsecureenvironmentwithin thefamilysetup (Dhami 353). Muslims believethatsocietyiscomprisedof a collectionof differentfamilies,which impliesthatthequalityof lessonsthat childrengetfrom their motherswill determinethefuturesuccessof thesociety.

AlthoughMuslims regardmarriageas thesocialcontractbetween thehusbandanda wife,motherhoodis sacredandinterconnected with religiousbeliefs.Takingcareof childrenforthebenefitof theposterityis one of Prophet Mohammed’s commands,whostatedthattheParadise liesat thefeetof mothers(Behiery139). Tomorrow’ssocietyis expectedto reflectthequalityof today’smotherhood.Forexample,womenare blamedwhenthesocietyturnsselfish,ignorant,stubborn,materialistic,cowardly,andcruel.In addition,motherhoodandparenting,in particular, isinterconnected with religion,suchthattheMuslim believesthatwomenwill be heldresponsibleduringtheDay of Judgment fortheir carelessparenting. ThetrainingandeducationthattheMuslim womenare expectedto givetheir childrendoesnot necessarilyrequirea classroom setting.Instead,mothersare expectedto teachchildrenthebasicneedsas theyinteractwith them andserveas therolemodelsfortheir kids. Thisisachievedby providingchildrenwith an environmentof faithfulness,justice,sacrifice,patience,life,bravery,honesty,anddiscipline.Childrenwholivewith supportive mothersare likelyto becomeresponsiblemembersof thesocietyin thefuture.

Womenas comfortersof their husbands

Muslimmenhavetheresponsibilityof supportingandmaintainingtheir families,especiallyin termsof economicprovisions.Thisnobleresponsibilitymakesmenbeartheburdenof their livesas wellas thelivesof their familieson their shoulders.Someof thechallengesthat menconfrontincludepressuresfrom work,communication,andtraffichassles.Humanbeingscope wellwith theburdensof lifewhentheyhavesomepeopleto sympathize,listen,andreasonwith.Muslim womenplaythiscriticalroleby comfortingtheir husbands.Althoughwomenare consideredto be under their husbandsin thefamily’shierarchyof leadership,Islam holdsthatwomenhavethecapacityto handleandadvisetheir husbandsin mattersthat theyfeelmorequalifiedandtheir husbandscannot handle(Mejia 12).To thisend,Muslim womenassumetheroleof comfortingtheir husbandssince theyundergofewerhasslesthan men.

Inaddition,therecentchangesin genderroleshavepermittedwomento assumeprofessionalrolesotherthan whattheir husbandsdo.Thesechangeshaveresultedin familiesthat haveboththehusbandandthewifeworkingin differentprofessionalcareers.In suchas case,Muslim womenare expectedto complement their husband’sprofessionandmakethem moreproductivein their work.Whilegivingan exampleof theroleof professionalMuslim women,Mejia (12) statesthata Muslim womanworkingas a corporate lawyeris betterpositionedto givelegaladviceto a husbandwhois a businessman.ThisimpliesthatMuslim womencan usetheir professionalskillsto comfortandsupporttheir husbandsin thetimesof needs.Therefore,Muslim womenin marriageexpresstheir genuineconcernfortheir husbandsandusetheir knowledgeandskillsto showhusbandsthatthechallengesare not as hugeandimpossibleas theythought.

Theroleof womenas familynurses

Duringthetimesof illnessandpreoccupation,peopleneedto be nursedby their lovedonesin orderto enhancetheir recovery.In a Muslim familysetting,womenassumetheroleof nursingboth thechildrenandthehusband.Muslim womengenerallyconsidertheir husbandsas grownup children,whoneedtheir careandnursingat alltimes.Thismeansthatmarriedmenexpectthemotherlycarefrom their wives.Marriagein theMuslim communitychangestheir statusto motherandwifewherethisshiftoccursin favorof their husbands(Hossain 9). Thenursingrolesplayedby womenvarydepending on theneedsof their husbands.Forexample,a Muslim womanshould preparegoodmeals,keepthechild`ssilence,administerprescribeddrugs,andconsoletheir sickhusbands.Takingcareof illandtroubledhusbandsfacilitatestheir quickrecoveryin orderto helpthem proceedwith their obligations,includingprofessionalduties.

Muslimwomenare alsoexpectedto be resourcefulto their husbands,their husbandswhentimesare bad.TheMuslim communityacknowledgesthefactthatthewheelsof fortuneoftenrotateagainst one’sdesires.Peoplegothrough difficulttimesthat includelosingjobs,losingwealth,andcollapsingof businessesamong otherchallenges.During suchtimes,Muslim womenare warnedagainst engaginginthe disgracefulbehavior,butinsteadspendtheir limitedresourceswith their familiesas theyawaittheimprovementof thefinancialconditionsof their husbands.Thisisbased on theideaheldby Muslims thatsomemenandwomenwhohaveenteredinto a marriagecontractare protectorsof eachother(Mejia 12). Forexample,a Muslim womanwould be expectedto lookformedicalbillsfora critically illhusband,butstillretaintherespectforhim. However,womenare not expectedto overlookthehierarchical logicthat placesmenas theheadsof thefamilysimplybecausetheyare providingsomebasicnecessitiesthattheir husbandsare unableto provide.

Economiccontribution

Otherfactorsheldconstant,Muslim menare expectedto provideforthefinancialneedsof theentirefamilywhiletheir wivestakecareof thehouseholdchoresandfamilyactivities.However,Islam doesnot explicitly prohibitmarriedwomenfrom workingandsupportingtheir husbandsin takingcareof thefamily’sfinancialneeds(Khimish 139). AlthoughIslam putsmoreemphasison therolesof womenas mothersandwives,itremainssilentabout theparticipationin professionalfields.Thismeansthatwomen’sparticipationin financially productiveactivitiesisnot countedas a sinin Islam. Asubstantialnumberof womenhavetakenadvantageof Islam’s silenceon theissueof their engagementin economicactivitiesto pursuetheir academicgoalsandsupporttheir familiesfinancially. In addition,are advisedto accountfortheir expensesanddoa properbudgeting in orderto reducethefinancialburdenthattheir husbandsare carryingduring financialconstraintsaffectingfamiliesglobally. Through effectivebudgeting, Muslim womenareabletoavoidwrongexpectations andtocompetewith others fora luxuriouslife.

Mistreatmentof womenin Muslim marriage

Althoughwomenplaya criticalroleintakingcareof families(includingtheir husbands,children,andthehouseat large),theMuslim communityallowswifebeating.Muslims considerwifebeatinga meansof impartingphysicaldiscipline,althoughavoidingitmay be preferredat times(Chaudhry 90). Wifebeatingis amongthemostcontroversialissuethat is debatedevenamong theMuslims. Somepeoplearguethatwifebeatingis permittedby theQuran, whileothers believethatthosewhobeatwivesmisinterprettheQuran. Thecampthat supportsthebeatingof wivesbases their argumenton Chapter 4 of theQuran that authorizemarriedwomento beattheir wivesin casesof dishonesty(Chaudhry 88). Thisisa harshtreatmentof womenanditdemonstratesgender-based discriminationagainst theMuslim women.In addition,beatingreflectsthedegradedpositionof womenin Muslim marriage.Althoughcasesof wifebeatingarereducedamong theelite Muslim familiesitmight takethe timeto enlightenthemajorityof theMuslim menwhostillholdthatbeatingis theonlyeffectivewayof discipliningtheir wives.

Policyanddivorceare otherpracticesamong themuslin that degradethepositionof women.Boththepracticesof polygamyanddivorceare madeeasyformenwhilemakingthelivesof marriedwomendifficult.Althoughthesepracticesare allowedin theQuran as strategiesof enforcingdisciplinein marriage,theycan be easilymisusedby menwhowishto achievetheir desiresorusewomenforsexualpurposesbefore disposingthem.Forexample,a Muslim mancan divorcea wifeby simplystating“I divorceyou”(Spencer 12). In mostcases,womenare noroleto playin decisionspertainingto their husbandsmarryingotherwivesordivorcingthem. Muslim menrarelygivetheir wivestheopportunityto airtheir viewsormakecontributionswhenmakingdivorceormarriagedecisions.Denyingwomena chanceto participatein criticaldecisionsthat affecttheir ownlivesas wellthedevelopmentof their familiesindicatesthelackof acknowledgementof thevitalroles(suchas takingcareof childrenandtheir husbands)that playin maintainingthesefamilies.Althoughshiftsin genderrolesandtheincreasein thenumberof Muslim womenattaininghighereducationmight expandwomen’sopportunityto makecriticaldecisions,ittakesa longtimeto reformtheentirecommunity.

Issuesof Hijab

TheveilorHijab that is wornby womenis consideredas a symbolofthe returnof fundamentalprinciplesof Islam as wellas heightenedconsciousamong theIslamic community.However,theelite membersof thesocietyhavebeencriticizingthesignificanceof Hijab. Theopponentsof useofHijab believethattheveilis usedto coverandconfinewomenwithin domesticchores.Althoughliberalwomendonot rejectorattackIslam as a religion,theyopposeHijab becausetheybelievethatitis a representationof women’sseclusionanddeprivationof their rights(Khimish 137). Itisperceivedthattheveilis thefirststeptowards limitingwomen’srightsto work,education,andpubliclife.

Conclusion

Genderroleshavechangedwith time,butthishas not reducedthesignificanceof therolesin marriage.Housekeepingis theforemostandone of themostcriticalrolesof marriageMuslim women.In addition,Muslim women(includingtheeducatedones)understandthatitis their dutyto takecareof their childrenandhusbands.AlthoughMuslim menassumetherolesof family`sheadandproviders, there are someinstantthat womenare requiredto makefinancialcontributionsandsocialsupport.Forexample,a sickhusbandwould expecta Muslim to nursehim andprovideforthemedicationwith theobjectiveof facilitatinga quickrecovery.Despite thefactthatwomenplaycriticalrolesin their families,itseemsthattheMuslim communitydoesnot acknowledgethecontributionmadeby womenin families.

Workscited

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