Common Rights of Women and Men

• What are the common rights of men and women?
Reply: Islam does not regard women and men any different in their humanness and it considers this principle so obvious that it does not feel the need to openly stress this issue in the Quran or Hadith. Hence, whenever a Quranic verse or Hadith addresses humans, both men and women are intended. At the advent of Islam even in ‘civilized’ nations there was a controversy as to whether women were human or not or perhaps half-human.
The case of human rights has only become global for about a century. Assuredly, Islam has discussed this topic from the very beginning and has determined and validated various rights. The issues I shall subsequently discuss regarding women’s rights are the same that are sometimes discussed as human rights, which are common among women and men. Here I shall itemize several of the most important points:

1. The Right to Live and Exist
As living beings, humans have the right to continue their lives and no one has the right to take this right away from them without religiously and legally legitimate grounds.
2. The Right to Freedom
Every person, man and woman, has been created free and this freedom has been ingrained upon every soul. No one has the right to deprive any person of this freedom unless it causes conflict with the freedom of others or divergence from their own or the society’s interests.
3. The Right to Utilize Natural Resources
We live in a world that requires of us various needs: water, air, food, clothing, etc. We must be able to consume food, oxygen, and the like. Resources such as mines, forests, jungles, and seas belong to the people and naturally, humans have the right to utilize them. No one has the right to prevent us unless this right conflicts with the rights of others. It is the same regarding the right of residency.
Because humans require a home, naturally, they have the right to obtain a home for themselves within the boundaries of their country or city, or anywhere else for that matter. Of course, it is established that this must be according to a specific regulative system, which is a necessity for social life and required for providing public interests.
In all of these points, we state that due to our human nature and according to primary principles, we have such rights. Naturally, if our use of these rights entails violation and infringement upon the rights of individuals or the society, they must assuredly be restricted. For example, the right to live of a person who performs acts of aggression against the lives of others or puts the security of the society in danger cannot be said to be respectable and secure. In fact, such persons divest themselves of this right and civil law, whose rank is just after human rights, shall determine what must be done regarding them.
4. The Right to Health Care and Sanitation
In order to protect their lives and health, as humans, women and men have the right to enjoy a healthy and hygienic environment and make use of what they require for treatment and eliminating illness. This is a natural right of all humans and no one can legitimately obstruct them from it.
5. The Right to Employment
A prerequisite for providing living expenses is work. Thus, in order to resolve one’s needs, men and women have the right to work and the fruits of every person’s toils belong to themselves. Whoever works for another person must receive fair wages. Fair wages means compensation for the amount of work that is done, regardless of whether the employee is man or woman, black or white.
Every person has the right to receive compensation for the work they do. One cannot say to their employee: because you are a woman you must receive lower wages for the same amount of work. Islam is completely against this. According to Islam, if a woman works at home or anywhere else, she must receive the same income that a man receives. In my opinion, women are oppressed in this regard all over the world because usually others take advantage of the needs of women and employ them and instead of a fair income they give them less pay than a man.
Unfortunately, this is also true in the West and women are used as an inexpensive workforce. The concept of just rights is not the same as equal rights. Each person must receive as much pay as the value of their work. A female worker might work as much as a male worker or even more and she must receive an equivalent amount of pay for the work she does. Gender must not be a criterion—the work, its conditions, and its yield must be the basis for a person’s salary.
A Sympathetic Word
In current conditions, we have hundreds of thousands of university graduates in various disciplines, many of which are women who are usually inclined to work. With the pretext of the equality of the rights of men and women, those in charge prefer to employ women rather than unemployed young men because they are content with less pay and are more compliant. With the current high rates of unemployment, the numbers of unemployed young men rises every day.
Women are not willing to marry unemployed men and every day the number of young women and men who cannot marry increases. The age of marriage has skyrocketed and many people are completely deprived of marriage, forming a family, and raising children and must live their whole lives in solitude. Single life is very hard and has many detrimental side effects.
With the current situation, the foundations of family are in great jeopardy. Government officials must find a remedy for this problem. Also, women must not neglect the issue of timely marriage and formation of a family when choosing a university field and job. They must cooperate with men otherwise they will have many regrets.
6. The Right to Possession and Enjoyment of Property
When a person works legitimately, they become the owner of the proceeds of their work. The results of one’s work do not belong to anyone else. By way of example, if a woman works and her husband or father takes her income, this is oppression. Of course, if she chooses to spend her wages for her family she may do so.
However, due to the fact that the property belongs to her as a result of legitimate means, whether through work, inheritance, donation, etc., she has the right to enjoy or dispose of her properties in any way she likes and her femaleness does not result in the restriction of her right to possess and utilize assets.
If a woman obtains some goods and chattels and chooses to give it as a gift, start a business, hoard it, or donate it for God, she is free to do so. However, there are some things that neither men nor women may do even with their own money, such as if a person wishes to set fire to their own wealth, utilize it in an illegitimate manner, or make use of it in a way that is harmful to the society. Such usages are forbidden and there is no difference in this whether one is a woman or man.

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