Women in Islam Action Manual
Women in Islam shows you the true teaching of Islam, in the Quran and Hadith. Including Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, an emancipated businesswoman, chosen by God as wife for The Prophet. We met Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai in Oslo and Queen Rania in Jordan. We visited Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. And talked about women rights in Islam as well with German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock in Berlin, who is promoting a fresh “feminist foreign policy”, and Karen Armstrong.

Women in Islam shows you the true teaching of Islam, in the Quran and Hadith. Including Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, an emancipated businesswoman, chosen by God as wife for The Prophet.

We met Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai in Oslo and Queen Rania in Jordan. We visited Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. And talked about women rights in Islam as well with German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock in Berlin, who is promoting a fresh “feminist foreign policy”, and Karen Armstrong.

Let’s empower the women in the Islam world. Especially in Afghanistan, where women can no longer go to schools or universities, after the West left in summer 2021. Or in the Islamic world of Iran, where in 2022 a strong woman protest started and many were killed or imprisoned.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

1. Challenges

2. Facts & Numbers

3. Best Practices

1 - CHALLENGES

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2 - FACTS & NUMBERS

1,800,000,000
or 24 percent of the global population are Muslims, half of them women
20,000,000
women in Afghanistan cannot attend schools, universities or work
44,000,000
women in Iran are suppressed by the Mullah dictatorship

77 percent of women 

enroll in higher education in secondary school and make up 70 percent of all university graduates in the United Arab Emirates.

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3 - BEST PRACTICES

Let us first analyze these two main sources on the rights of women in Islam:

What does the Quran teach about women?

How did The Prophet treat his wife and daughters?

Later we ask:

Who are the Icons of Women Rights in Islam?

Khadijah bint Khuwaylid – An emancipated Woman chosen by God for The Prophet.

There is only one religion in the world where the first follower was a woman: Islam.

Only one religion was financed by a woman who was a multimillionaire: Islam.

Only in one world religion was a prophet employed by a female boss: Islam.

There is only one religion where the main advisor of the founder and Prophet was a woman: Islam.

 Only one religion gave women five more rights than in previous times: Islam.

Who was this mysterious, influential woman?

She was called the “mother of Islam” or “mother of believers” (33:6). Her name was Khadijah bint Khuwaylid. She lived from 555 CE to 620 CE and died two years before the Prophet Muhammad left the holy city of Mecca. Khuwaylid sacrificed her status and her impressive wealth, and also risked her life, for her beloved husband. She did all of this to protect and advance the sacred message of Islam.

This woman had a very strong and humble personality. In Mecca they called her “Khadijah al-Kubra (The Great Khadijah), Amirat Quarysh (Princess of the Tribe of Quraysh), and al-Tahira (the Pure). She is regarded as the “Mother of the Believers”.

Khuwaylid was a distant relative of Muhammad.

The very emancipated Mother of Islam was a woman even chosen by God.

Muhammad’s first biographer Ibn Ishaq wrote, “She was a determined, noble and intelligent woman.” Nobody other than God had chosen this kind of woman for Muhammad. When God selected such a strong and emancipated woman for his messenger, He showed what kind of Islamic woman is best for the Prophet and Islam. She is the benchmark, a role model and guideline for all Muslim women of today.

Every Muslim woman should remember and follow her example.

The opponents of womens´ rights still denying female emancipation and prefering women without their own rights, ought to accept and approve Khuwaylid’s outlook and demeanor.

If God chose this type of woman for his Prophet, why don’t all Muslim men choose such strong women for themselves? Wouldn’t it make sense for Muslim men to seek women who are courageous, outspoken, strong, hardworking, self-confident, friendly, business-oriented and maybe even multi-millionaires?

We are talking about the 6th century. What position did women have at this time in Europe, Asia, or America?

It was a bitter irony for many decades that women could not drive a car in Mecca or work and travel alone in the same place where Khadijah dominated the transportation business more than 1,400 years ago.  This nonsense was abolished in 2018. But Taliban extremists in Afghanistan just re-introduced it in 2022.

Religious extremists have adulterated the true teachings of Islam, changing it from a religion offering more women’s rights to one offering no rights at all. This is a perversion of the messages found in the Holy Qur’an and the Hadith which contradicts God’s will and the choice of the Prophet.

Khadijah bint Khuwaylid inherited her fortune from her father. Her caravans to Syria and Yemen were as large as all the other caravans from Mecca combined. She was the most successful entrepreneur in Mecca. Her two previous husbands passed away before she met Prophet Muhammad. She had two sons and one daughter from these marriages. The rich widow had already rejected several proposals to marry when Muhammad came into her life.

As a respected member of the most influential clan of Asad, she was at the top of the social hierarchy. However, this was not the case for Muhammad, as he was isolated as an orphan. He came from a lower social rank and had to struggle to earn a living, why he was forced to work for his uncle, Abu Talib,  an agent for merchant caravans. After a period of time Khadijah offered him a better job with more money and recognition. Muhammad accepted her offer and she employed him.

Khadijah was impressed by his character, “I like you because of your high reputation among people, your trustworthiness, good character and truthfulness”. The Prophet perceived her as a gift from God, “God has planted the love for her into my spirit.” Muhammad was more than ten years younger and needed her advice, support and love for many years; she inspired him.

This amazing woman introduced him to her spiritual cousin, the Christian monk Waraqa. This monk discussed religion with Muhammad though little is known about this special relationship with the Prophet’s new mentor in Mecca. However, it is certain that he became a catalyst for the Prophet’s search for God.

Khadijah, who was in her thirties when she hired Muhammad, was pleased with her younger employee. He was excellent at his job, which qualified him to partner with her, and so she encouraged 25-year-old Muhammad to offer her a marriage proposal. It is believed this hint at a marriage proposal was most probably passed along via Waraqa. Muhammad graciously accepted and they became a very happy power couple. He never took another wife while Khadijah was alive, and he was quickly accepted in the city as her husband.

This opened the door for Islam in the city of Mecca. Since Khadijah was part of high society, she planted the new religion within the inner circle and at the top of the community. She not only provided the money and shelter he urgently needed but also fostered the tiny young seed of Islam. At first Muhammad hesitated to take over the spiritual task and experienced a long period of uncertainty (fatra) which lasted up to three years. During this difficult time Khadijah was his main advisor, supporter and mentor.

When Muhammad received his vocation on Mount Hira, he asked a woman for advice instead of a man. She was next to Muhammad when he said, “I am afraid to be a fortune-teller (kahim) myself, because I see lights and hear voices.” At this point he was unsure and at a low point which meant Islam was in real danger. Khadijah stabilized him and shared her great guidance and confidence with him. “You are kind and considerate to your kin. You help the poor and bear their burden. You are striving to restore the high moral qualities that your people have lost.” Therefore, he quickly overcame his doubts concerning the revelation.

This was the watershed moment for Islam because Prophet Muhammad was about to give up.

A woman turned the tide and steadied his course.

She strengthened and encouraged him to follow his mission and visions.

Khadijah was able to help the Prophet in such a momentous way because of her self-confidence, intelligence and strong personality.

Now it should be clear to us why God selected this kind of female to walk beside of and guide Muhammad.

Any silent and suppressed woman – a woman following the rules of the Taliban, Boko Haram, or the IS – could not have performed these vital tasks at all.

A strong woman was needed in Mecca for the birth of Islam in 610 CE, otherwise Islam would have died away like a little date palm without water.

The beautiful story of Khadijah and Muhammad offers the Muslim world a core message. A man should partner with a strong woman because at one point he will need her support and guidance.

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4 - GOLDEN GLOBAL CHAMPIONS

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan ★★★

There are three reasons why The Kingdom of Jordan is one of the best practices for women rights in the Islamic world.

First, the King Abdullah II is the 43rd generation direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammed, like no other Muslim leader. He is promoting true Islam, including women rights.

Second, the parliament has included equal rights for women in the constitution in 2022 and wants to reach gender equality until 2030.

Third, Queen Rania is a charming promoter as a Rose of Islam and as well herself best practice of an emancipated woman in the Muslim world.

 

United Arab Emirates ★★★

The United Arab Emirates are not a Westminister democracy, but a joint royal kingdom with seven Emirates. But the tolerance towards other religions and races (with 47 Christian churches, two synagogues, one Sikh temple) and the clear emancipation of women in the UAE during the last twenty years are impressive.

In the 2022 cabinet of prime minister Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum nine young female ministers were appointed. In a progressive mix they are responsible for Culture and Youth, Climate Change and Environment, International Cooperation, Youth Affairs, Early Education, Happiness and Wellbeing, and Community Development.

Women can vote. 50 percent are members of the Federal National Council, reaching gender parity in 2019.

There are 104,000 female students (35 percent, 2021). 77 percent of women enroll in higher education in secondary school and make up 70 percent of all university graduates in the United Arab Emirates.

Several female ambassadors serve in foreign countries. Like Lana Nusseibeh, appointed as the UAE’s first female Permanent Representative to the United Nations, as well elected in 2017 as President of the UN Women Executive Board.

Many female professors teach at the top universities. Women are F-16-jet pilots in the air force. Many have started their own businesses.

Azerbaijan ★★

Since 1919 women may vote in the newly formed Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, the first Muslim-majority country ever. 17 percent of the members of parliament are women.

According to the Constitution of Azerbaijan, men and women are equal before the law. The constitution prohibits discrimination.

Mehriban Aliyeva, the president’s wife, was appointed Vice President of Azerbaijan in 2017. Sahiba Gafarova became the Speaker of the National Assembly in 2020.

Although this oil- and gas-rich country borders Iran and Turkey and is majority Shiite, women here traditionally do not wear headscarves.

1,000 women are serving in the army.

The 21-article Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan On State Guarantees of Equal Rights for Women and Men, adopted on 10 October 2006, aims to eliminate all forms of gender-based discrimination and ensure gender equality in the political, economic, social and cultural spheres. A law to prevent domestic violence was adopted on 22 June 2010.

 

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ★★

During the de facto rulership of Crown prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) this very conservative Muslim country has changed dramatically since 2017. It opens to the world and wants to attract international investments, sport events and tourists with the Saudi Vision 2030.  MBS wants to reduce the influence of the Saudi Wahhabi clergy.

We visited this Kingdom and talked to several of its representatives and woman activists. The killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the imprisonment of feminists have painted a negative picture. Mistakes had been made.

But MBS on the other side promoted women’s rights like never done before. The absurd ban on female drivers was removed in 2018. The male-guardianship systems weakened in 2019. The first public concert of a female singer, the admission of women to a sports stadium, the opening of movie theater or the first female karate school document the rush of Saudi women emancipation. Most important women can work now, visit universities and became an active and more visible part of the modern and young society. Female tourists came and enjoy the beach, like in Dubai.

MBS is turning his country into a copy of the more progressive and successful UAE, which is good for the women.

We should support this historical experiment, which contains the radicals in the Muslim world.

The Kingdom of Morocco ★

Significant progress in gender equality, with a decrease in child marriages and improvements in girl-child education and women’s political leadership, the United Nations confirmed in 2023.

 

Tunisia ★

Progress in women rights, starting in 2014 with the draft of the constitution after the Arab Spring 2010. Now stopped step by step by Islamists and Muslim Brotherhood, with many women fighting for freedom.

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5 - ACTION PLAN

What to do?
1. All Muslims must stand up and actively defend this true teaching of Islam against the ignorance of extremists.

They should include women’s rights in the constitutions, national laws, education and media. Promoting the true teaching of Islam in the public. Speak out against sinners, like the Taliban in Afghanistan or the Mullahs in Iran.

2. The gold standard for every Muslim woman is Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, an emancipated female entrepreneur, chosen by God for the Prophet as his first wife.

Confident, professional, educated, wealthy and socially engaged. What God has chosen for his Prophet, cannot be wrong or bad indeed today for a Muslim society. When God selected such a strong and emancipated woman for his messenger, He showed what kind of Islamic woman is best for the Prophet and Islam.

She is the benchmark, a role model and guideline for all Muslim women of today. Every Muslim woman should remember and follow her example.

Khadijah bint Khuwaylid lived from 555 CE to 620 CE. She sacrificed her status and her impressive wealth, and also risked her life, for her beloved husband. She did all of this to protect and advance the sacred message of Islam. This woman had a very strong and humble personality. In Mecca they called her “Khadijah al-Kubra (The Great Khadijah), Amirat Quarysh (Princess of the Tribe of Quraysh), and al-Tahira (the Pure). She is regarded as the “Mother of the Believers”. Muhammad’s first biographer Ibn Ishaq wrote, “She was a determined, noble and intelligent woman.” Nobody other than God had chosen this kind of woman for Muhammad.

3. The Prophet demanded to treat women at its best in several Hadith.

True Muslims have to follow him. Always quote his many words you find above in Facts & Numbers.

4. Equality of men and women is possible and wanted in Islam.

Like in Azerbaijan or Jordan. The Quran gave women more rights without a limit.

5. All Muslim women can wear their hair open and needs no full body cover.

This was never demanded by the Prophet or in the Quran but adopted as a Christian Byzantine tradition 100 years later by Muslim rulers. It is even un-Islamic. See chapter 2.4.

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6 - TOP SOURCES & PARTNERS

Here is our Mission Future List of excellent global partners for you to learn from and connect, to solve the problem quick, creatively, effective and with humanity:

Love is Tolerance – Tolerance is Love (Trailer)

Watch our documentary Love is Tolerance – Tolerance is Love here:

Love is Tolerance – Tolerance is Love (Directors Cut)

Directors Cut by Hubertus Hoffmann, long 82 min, 2018:

pass word   loveistolerance2018

World Economic Forum

World Economic Forum, Global Gender Gap Report 2023

U.N. Deputy Secretary-General's video message

U.N. Deputy Secretary-General's video message for the Conference on “Women in Islam: Understanding the Rights and Identity of Women in the Islamic World” on the Sidelines of CSW67; March 8, 2023

Noeleen Heyzer

Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) “Promoting Gender Equality in Muslim Contexts – Women's Voices Must Not Be Silenced.”

Arzoo Ahmed and Dr. Mehrunisha Suleman

Gender and Women’s Rights in Islam, by Atlantic Council

Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann

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