Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel
A man is rewarded at the expense of a woman; is it possible a woman is rewarded at the expense of a man? If a wife is much more pious, but her wish is not to have co-wives, her husband is much less pious, but his wish is to have numerous wives. Even though she is more righteous, her husband gets rewarded at her expense. So, piety does not matter gender matters.
Is a woman ever rewarded at the expense of a man? Why are sacrifice, compromise, and change always made on the woman’s side and never on the man’s? Please don’t tell me things are different because this is not said to men. Why are men always rewarded at our expense? I feel a woman can’t even covet Allah’s generosity.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
I pray you are in good faith (iman) and health. Thank you for your important question, as many might need to be made aware of the exclusive virtues women have, and this can hopefully add some light to it.
We live in a world with a push to compare and equal both genders. Unfortunately, so much so that other genders are being lined up, and it won’t be far that this third gender will fight for more rights than the other.
The Quran has set criteria for reward and good life. It is not having multiple wives, cars, houses, or wealth. The real matter is only sound faith and good actions. “Whoever does good, whether male or female, and is a believer, We will surely bless them with a good life, and We will certainly reward them according to the best of their deeds.” [Quran; 16:97]
Many women are mentioned in the Quran, but only one is named Maryam (Mary), who appears more times in the Quran than in the Bible, with a whole chapter, Sura Maryam, named after her.
The Existence and Birth of Women are a Blessing in Itself
Wathila (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that he (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Auspicious/blessed is a woman who gives birth to girls before boys.” [Ibn ‘Atiyya, Al-Muharrar al-Wajiz; Ibn Asakir]
Imam Sakhawi (Allah have mercy on him) comments: “If daughters didn’t bring barakah (blessing), the blessed progeny of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) wouldn’t have spread through his daughter.”
Women as Daughters
Ubaid Allah al-Saʿdī says, according to what was reported to him, “Verily, Allah loves the men that have many daughters; Lut had daughters, and Shuʿayb had daughters, and the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) had daughters.” [Ibn Abi Dunya]
ʿUqbah bin ʿAmir (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Do not dislike daughters; they are charming (solacious) and precious.” [Musnad Ahmad]
ʿAbd Allah bin ʿAbbās (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever has a female child, and he does not bury her alive, or demean her, or give preference to his (male) children over her, Allah will grant him entry into Paradise.” [Abu Dawud]
The Reward of Raising Children
`A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported, “A woman came to me with her two daughters. She asked me (for charity), but she found nothing with me except one date fruit, so I gave it to her. She accepted it and then divided it between her two daughters, and herself ate nothing out of that. She then got up and went out. When the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) came in, and I narrated to him the story, he said, “He who is involved (in the responsibility) of (bringing up) daughters, and he is benevolent towards them, they would become a protection for him against Hell-fire.” [Bukhari; Muslim]
Women as Sisters
ʿAwf bin Malik (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever has three daughters, or three sisters, or two daughters, or two sisters, (and) he feared Allah regarding them (by fulfilling their rights), and treated them well, until they separate (from him by getting married) or they pass away, they will be a barrier for him from Hell-fire.”[Ahmad]
Rights of Mothers are Threefold
Narrated Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him), “A man came to Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) and said, “O Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him)! Who is more entitled to be treated with the best companionship by me?” The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Your mother.” The man said. “Who is next?” The Prophet said, “Your mother.” The man further said, “Who is next?” The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Your mother.” The man asked for the fourth time, “Who is next?” The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Your father.” [Bukhari]
It is nothing but a privilege of just being a woman – be it a mother, wife, widow, daughter, sister, or even an aunt. Women are like the sun, and men like the moon, the operation of the Sun and the Moon is so succinct and closely related, yet they do not clash or interfere with one another. They have different and exclusive roles.
Shaykh Mohammad Akram Nadwi has written a 43-volume biographical dictionary titled “Al-Wafa Bi Asma Al-Nisa” (Biographical Dictionary of Women Narrators of Hadith) containing 10,000 entries detailing the lives of female scholars as hadith narrators, teachers, jurists, wives, mothers, and daughters, these women have contributed to the growth and development of the Muslim community on a social, moral and intellectual level.
Women as Widows
Ṣafwan bin Sulaym (may Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The (reward of the) one who strives to fulfill the needs of the widows and destitute is like (that of) a Mujahid (who fights) in Allah’s path, or like (the reward of) a person who prays all night and fasts all day.”[Bukhari]
Women as Wives
Allah ordained men to be a good company to their wives. He said, “And consort with your wives in a goodly manner.” [Quran, 4:19], i.e., by being fair and just in actions and pleasant in speech.
Ibn ʿAbbas (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “The best of you is the one who is best to his wife, and I am the best of you to my wives.” [Ibn Maja]
Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “A dinar you spent in Allah’s path, and a dinar you spent to free a slave, and a dinar you gave in charity to a needy person, and a dinar you spent on your wife (and family), the greatest of these in reward is that which you spent on your wife.”[Muslim]
I suggest you read about women’s virtues, roles, and privileges; you will learn each time about their uniqueness and loftiness and how great they are compared to the men, just like the sun shining throughout the day compared to the moon!
Reader on Polygamy in Islam
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I pray this helps with your question.
[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete the hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled in an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and ‘Aalimiyya sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan. He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for several years. He has taught hifz of the Quran, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to children and adults onsite and online extensively in the UK and Ireland. He taught at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences. He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His interest is a love of books and gardening.