What the Holy Qur'an and Traditions Say About Woman and Social Life
By: Allamah Sayyid Sa'eed Akhtar Rizvi
"O you who believe, do not enter houses other than your own houses, until you have obtained permission and greeted their dwellers; this is better for you, that you may remember."(Holy Qur’an, 24:27).
Imam Ali (a.s.) quotes the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) as saying: "Allah curses those men who make themselves resemble women or those women who make themselves resemble men."
Perfuming Outside Home
Imam Husayn (a.s.) quotes the Prophet of Islam as saying: "Any woman who perfumes herself and leaves her home is cursed by the angels and deprived of the blessings of the Almighty Allah until she returns home."
Imam Husayn (a.s.) quotes the Messenger of Allah as saying: "An evil look is one of the poisonous arrows of Iblis (Satan) and how an evil look causes long-suffering regrets."
Avoiding the Forbidden Things
Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) narrates: "Every eye shall cry on the Day of Resurrection with the exception of three: an eye which passed the nights guarding Muslims (their wealth, land, etc.) for the sake of Allah; an an eye which wept for fear of Allah; and an eye which was cast down against the deeds made forbidden by Allah."
Looking at Women
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) was asked whether it is lawful for a man to look at the face of a woman whom he wants to marry and also to look at her from behind. He said: "Yes, there is no objection for a man to look at a woman whom he wants to marry including her face and to look at her from behind."
Imam Husayn (a.s.) says: "The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) used to salute women and they used to reply his salutation. While the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (a.s.), also used to salute women, but he disliked to salute the young among the women and said, 'I feared that her voice would admire me and thus affect me so I would commit sin more than get reward."
The Punishment of Chasing women
Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a.s.) says: "A young man from the Ansar met a woman is Madina. At that time, women used to wear a veil, so he looked at her while she was coming toward him. Men she passed by he continued looking after her until he entered one of the alleys. He continued looking as he passed along the alley until a bone on a wall slashed his face and the woman passed out of sight. Then, unexpectedly, he saw blood flowing over his clothes and chest. He said, 'I must go and inform the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) about the incident.' When the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) saw him in this condition he said, 'What happened?' When he informed the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) about the event in details, the angel Gabriel (a.s.) came down with this verse: 'Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Truly Allah is Cognizant of what they do.' (Holy Qur’an, 24:30).
Sitting on Roadsides
Abi Saeed al-Khidri narrates that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said: "'Beware of sitting on roadsides.' Then some of his companions asked him,. 'Oh Messenger of Allah! We cannot stop these meetings on roadsides where we talk about different matters.' The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said, 'If you refuse but to stop having such meetings, then you should give the road its rights.'
"They asked him, 'What are the rights of the road?' He said, 'To cast down your eyes; to forbear harms to others; to reply to salutation,. to enjoin what is right and to forbid what is wrong.'"
Being Covetous of the Honour of Believers
The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) said: "Surely Allah gets angry for the honour of the believing men and the believing women. So a believing man should get angry (for his honour). Because he who does not get angry (for his honour) is the one whose heart is upside-down."
Sweetness of Casting down the Eye
Abu Imamah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said: "A Muslim is he who looks at the beauties of a woman and then casts down his eyes, Allah will give him the reward of worship whose sweetness he will find in his heart."
The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said: "Guard yourselves from six things and I am your surety for Paradise: when you speak, speak the truth; perform when you promise; discharge your trust,. and guard your private parts (except from your wives); cast down your eyes; with hold your hand from committing aggression or forbidden things."
Respecting a Woman
The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), addressing the Muslims on the occasion of the Farewell Pilgrimage, warned them against the values which he feared would be neglected after him, and referred to woman as one of the important issues about whom he said: "Observe your duty to Allah in respect to the women, and treat them well."
The Blessed Marriage
Anas narrates that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said: "Whoever marries a woman for her glory, Allah will not increase his, but will bring him humiliation; whoever marries her for her wealth, Allah will not increase his, but place him in poverty; whoever marries her for ancestral claims, Allah will not increase his, but in meanness; whoever marries a woman for nothing but to cast down his eyes, guard his private parts, and join a relationship, Allah will bless him through her and vice versa."
The Holy Qur'an says: "And one of His signs is that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He put between you love and compassion; most surely there are signs for a people who reflect."(Holy Qur’an, 30:21).
In another verse, the obedient married women are described: "...there fore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what God would have them guard." (Holy Qur’an, 4:34).
Encouragement to Keep Hijab
Islam, with its benevolent view towards women, encourages them to keep hijab in this verse of the Holy Qur'an: "O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers that they should cast their outer garments over them (when abroad); this is more proper, that they should be known (recognized as such) and not molested. And Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful." (Holy Qur’an, 33:59).
The Holy Qur'an speaks of the equality of the two sexes in various verses. In one place it says: "...and women have rights similar to those against them in a just manner,..." (Holy Qur’an, 2:228).
Elsewhere, the Holy Qur'an says: "O mankind, surely We have created you from a mele and a female, and made you nations and tribes, that you may know each other. Surely the noblest of you with Allah is the most righteous. Surely Allah Knowing, Aware."(Holy Qur’an, 49:13).
About work and doing good deeds, again the Holy Qur'an reveals the beauty of Islam and its equal treatment of workers. This is something the West still has not been able to accomplish! The Holy Qur'an says: "And whoever does righteous deeds, whether male or female, and he/she is a believer - they will enter the Garden, and not the least injustice will be done to them." (Holy Qur’an, 4:124).
"Whoever does good, whether male or female, and is a believer, We shall certainly make him live a good life, and We shall certainly give them their reward for the best of what they did." (Holy Qur’an, 16:97).
Another verse, Allah, Most High still promises: "...I will not suffer the work of any worker among you to be lost whether male or female, the one of you being from the other..."(Holy Qur’an, 3:195).
 Bihar al- Anwar, Majlisi, vol. 79, p, 64, narrated by Ibn Dawood, Tirmidhi, Nisai', Bukhari, Ibn Maja.