The Status of Women Before & After Islaam

The Status of the Woman before Islaam: What is meant “before Islaam” here is the period known as Jaahiliyyah (Days of Ignorance), which the Arabs used to live in specifically and the people of the whole world in general. This was when the people did not have any Messengers amongst them and they were void of any guidance. And as is stated in the hadeeth, “Allaah looked at them – both Arabs and Non-Arabs – and hated them, except for some remnants from the People of the Book (who stayed upon the true message).” In most cases, the woman of this time period lived under critical conditions – especially those in the Arab societies, where they used to hate it when a girl was born. So amongst the Arabs were those who would bury their daughter while she was still alive until she died below the earth. And amongst them were those who let them live only to find a life of humiliation and degradation. Allaah says: “And when news of the birth of a female child was brought to any of them, his face would become dark and filled with grief. He hides himself from the people because of the evil that he has been informed of. Shall he keep her with dishonor or bury her in the earth? Certainly, evil is their decision.” [Surah An-Nahl: 58-59] And Allaah says: “And when the female child who was buried in the ground will be questioned – for what sin was she killed?” [Surah At-Takweer: 8-9] The word maw’oodah refers to the baby girl that was buried alive and left to die inside the earth. And if she was spared from being buried alive and allowed to live, then indeed she found herself living a life of degradation. This is since she was not allowed to inherit any portion of her relative’s estate no matter how much money he had and regardless of if she was suffering from poverty and dire need. The reason for this is because they would make the inheritance specific for men in exclusion of women. In fact, she would be distributed as part of her deceased husband’s estate, just as his money would be distributed in inheritance! And there would be found a score of women living under one man, since they would not put any limits to the number of wives they could marry. So they wouldn’t show any concern for what occurred to the women as a result of that, such as living under cramped conditions, inconveniences