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Has Islam Prescribed The Duties of Woman?

By: Ayatullah al-Uzma Shaykh Nasir Makarim Shirazi
& Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani

Question: According to the decree of Islamic jurisprudence, the housework and breastfeeding of children and their care is not obligatory for the woman. Also, it is obligatory on the husband to arrange for the maintenance of the wife. On the basis of this, she does not need to work outside her home. Therefore, neither is it obligatory for her to earn nor is she bound to do the housework.
What is the duty of woman in the society?
Answer: If Islam has not made housework, breastfeeding and care of children on woman obligatory, its aim was that the position of women should be elevated in society.
And in order to do this they were given a free hand so that she does all this willingly. And if she desires she can take recompense for all this. But we should remember that if a particular thing is not obligatory it does not mean that she has been reframed from doing it.
Doubtlessly in order to elevate the status of women, Islam has not made housework obligatory on them. So that they are not reduced to a maidservant. Actually it has based these things on her conscience and natural desires.
Apparently mothers love their children no end. This motherly feeling makes them fed them with the juice of her body and brings them up.
Women are by nature inclined towards the beautification of the house and this inclination is itself a surety of the well being of house. Thus nearly fourteen centuries have passed since the dawn of Islam and the same customs continue between Muslim men and women. Muslim women should continue to fulfill these natural duties, and in times of need they have been capable that to gain benefits from their legal rights.

How Can We Control The Misuse of Polygamy?
Question: It is correct that when man observes rules and justice with regard to divorce and polygamy, that is he does not divorce his wives unreasonably and does not put many women to trouble, the position, personality and rights of women are secured.
And she is saved from humiliation and oppression. And many a times conflicts arising out of the inequality of sex is cured by relying on justice.
But in our times when unfortunately many of the Muslims are in name alone, and very few follow the religious rules, they take unfair advantage of the law of polygamy. In such circumstances, question arises that in Islam what is the prophecy regarding such shameless people. And how their misuse limited?
Answer: As per principle no matter how eager and sensible are the desirous of laws, till the time there is guarantee of their organs they cannot be sufficient for the well-being of the society.
Though it is possible that education and training and faith upon God should discourage people from breaking and misusing law. But in spite of this the following actions can never make a person loyal to the Islamic law and aware of their duties. Somehow or the other such people appear who act against the law and it take undue advantage from it.
Therefore in order to assure social justice and protection of law and help of the oppressed, it is necessary that there should be a responsible ruler (governor) who can keep an eye on the actions of the people and take steps to implement the laws. It can only be the Islamic government.
For achieving this aim, Islam has given wide rights to the Islamic government. So that when people are not capable enough to recognize their duties and responsibilities and want to exceed their limits, and if they take undue advantage of religious laws, the Islamic government has the right that for helping the oppressed and supporting the law it should take steps and to being in control those who have exceeded the limits.
In this regard there is no difference between the laws of divorce and polygamy and other laws. That is just as Islamic government is the helper and supporter of oppressed and inimical to the oppressors in the same way if divorce and polygamy is a cause for injustice upon the woman, and though their her rights are trespassed, the Islamic government has the right that in territories within its control, it should refrain the man from misusing the law of polygamy and help he women.
Apart from this regarding various sections of Islamic law it must necessarily be remembered that the laws of Islam are connected to each other like the links of a chain. And we should never see one of them in isolation and then start argumentation and criticism. The laws of Islam must be studied keeping in view the prevailing circumstances. Where Islam is ruling and where its laws are in force. For example the punishments and penalties, judgment and wisdom and marriage and divorce laws of Islam should be seen the society where all the Islamic laws are absolutely in force.
From this aspects if all the Islamic laws are applied fully no one would go against the law and trespass on the rights of others. And men will never consider polygamy as forced control over women. Rather they will have to follow all the Islamic laws and rules.

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