Not An Option

People, Three, Portrait, Black

Violence against women in Latin America has recently been classified as an epidemic in the region, sexual violence is one of the main types of violence, and the situation of women in the rest of the world isn’t very different. According to a report by the World Health Organization and data from the UN Women,”recent statistics of the international prevalence indicate that one in three women in the world (35%) has endured physical and/or sexual abuse of a couple or sexual abuse by third parties at some time in their lives”.

In the wake of the expanding wave of violence against women, protests are organized in different parts of the world, in an unsuccessful attempt to stop it, particularly after cases are heard that shake the population due to their cruelty and sadism. And in those protests, you may read countless posters with phrases of repudiation of violence and support for girls. One of those phrases that caught my attention and that I’ve seen repeatedly is:”We live in a world where they teach girls to take care to not be raped, instead of teaching men NOT TO VIOLATE”… I had been called to attention for two reasons:

The first, because I saw a harsh truth in that phrase, because I was born and raised in a macho society where it’s taken as normal for men to harass women in the street, to tell them obscenities or to touch them impudently; where it is common for men to beat their women because they have”rights” to them in some regions of my country, women consider their husbands have the right to hit them, since they are their husbands, and they get angry if someone tries to defend them!!! It appears a joke, but it’s not-, and I believe that to a large extent that the high rate of sexual violence against girls in my country and in the rest of the world is machismo.

The second, because I’d have liked to explain to the person who wrote that phrase that Islam does teach men to”not violate”. Moreover, before referring to the issue of women’s behaviour and dress, the Koran calls men’s attention to their behavior and gives them a strong warning: Here God is telling men that they shouldn’t even look at women unduly, up to that level guys have to respect women, in spite of their eyes! And they are warned that God knows what they’re doing, even if nobody else knows, God knows. Then, in the first place, God addresses guys and commands them to behave well and respect women; he then addresses women and requests them to act well and dress modestly, because Islam is honest, and teaches us that both men and women must meet our share of responsibility to make this a better world and live in harmony. So Islam teaches men not to rape because if they are forbidden to examine girls unduly, they are far more forbidden to touch them .

Islam has approached the dilemma of good treatment of women in a detailed and detailed manner, emphasizing the special respect it deserves in each of the different phases it goes through throughout its lifetime – when it’s a daughter, when she’s a wife and when she is a mother-, as we will see below.

Respect for girls

Before Islam was revealed, among the Arabs was considered a hardship the birth of a woman. While men were the origin of the pride of the parents and family members, women were cause for despair and disappointment; and for that reason, they had the horrible habit of burying alive the newly born women. God categorically condemned this attitude and these crimes, saying: When one of them is announced [the birth of] a girl, the affliction and distress is reflected in her face because of what’s been announced to her, she hides from the people ashamed and doubt whether he will let her live regardless of his disgrace or bury her alive. What a terrible thing they do! [Quran 16: 58-59]; and warns that one day will come, the Day of Judgment,When women are asked to be buried alive for what sin they were murdered [Quran 81: 8-9]. In this way God forbade this wild practice considering it a very serious sin. Then a man from the audience asked:”What if he has just two daughters?” The Prophet replied:”Even if he has two daughters.”

This is how Islam establishes the worth of women from birth and gives them a place of honour by making them a source of blessing for their parents in this life and in the other.

Respect to the mother

Islam commands respect and decent treatment towards our parents but elevates the status of the mother over the father. It is related that a man appeared before the Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him) and asked him: “O Messenger of Allah! Who’s the person who deserves my company?” He replied:”Your mom.” The man asked:”Then who?” The Prophet responded:”Your mother.” The man asked for the third time:”Then who?” The Prophet said:”Your mom.” And the man asked again:”And who?”

The Prophet spoke of the respect we should have towards our aunts. A man went to speak with Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said:”O Prophet, I have committed a grave sin. Do you think I can repair it in some way? ” He asked:”Does your mother live?” He replied no, then the Prophet asked him:”Have you got any maternal aunt alive?” The guy said yes, then the Prophet said to him:”Be nice and considerate for her” (Tirmidhi, Al-Hakim, Ibn Hibban); and he also said:”The mother’s sister has a status similar to that of the mother” (Bukhari).

Respect towards the wife

Said the Prophet Muhammad:”The best among men is the one who best treats his wife.”

The Koran commands: … kindly treat women in coexistence. And if something of them should displease you [be tolerant], it might be that you dislike something in which God has put a great for you [Koran 4:19].

Throughout the last sermon given by the Prophet Muhammad before his death, he said:”… Treat your women well and be kind to them, because they are your companions.”

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