“The most perfect of the believers, where faith is concerned, is the finest of them in moral character, and the best of you are the ones who treat their women best,” the Prophet Muhammad declared. In Arabia, women were treated like property and were stripped off their rights. They could be inherited and were not given any status in society. The Prophet changed the way the Arabs viewed women. He advocated the rights of women and upheld their dignity. He declared them partners to men and declared their immunity in warfare. Women were legislated a right to initiate divorce, receive inheritance and own property. They had a right to education and even partake in the running of state affairs. The Prophet honoured women by acknowledging the critical role played in upbringing their children by declaring the right of a mother three times more than the right of the father. He promised Paradise to any man who took care of his daughters³ at a time when the Arabs deemed daughters to be a blemish to their family honour and found no qualm in burying them alive. In doing so, he ﷺ changed the perception of society and enshrined honouring of women as a part and parcel of piety and religiosity.

I Set forth by al-Bukhārī in al-Ṣaḥīḥ, 3:1006 S2591, 2593. •Muslim in al-Ṣaḥīḥ, 3:1250 $1628.

2 Set forth by •al-Bukhārī in al-Ṣaḥīḥ, 5:2227 $5262. Muslim in alṢaḥīḥ, 4:1974 $2548.

3 Set forth by Aḥmad b. Hanbal in al-Musnad, 3:97 S11943. •Abū Dawūd in al-Sunan, 4:338 S5147.

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