Mumbai, November 01: “Women’s rights are protected in Islam. Our Prophet has talked about women being major beneficiaries for social, political, spiritual and legal rights,” said Zakir Naik, president, Islamic Research Foundation (IRF).
He was speaking at the Somaiya grounds in Sion (E) on Saturday, dispelling myths about the rights of Muslim women in Islam. Naik blamed the media for painting a distorted picture of the Islamic laws for women.
“A hijab doesn’t subjugate a woman. The first Corinthians Book of the Bible, in chapter 11, verse 7-8, states that if a woman doesn’t cover her head, it should be shaved. There is a mention of covering heads in the Vedas too. In Rajasthan, women do not get out of their homes without a veil. So why make a big deal about Islam?”
When asked about women being stopped from entering mosques, Naik said, “Women are not prevented from entering mosques. Unfortunately, unlike the Gulf, in India, there’s no separate prayer place for women. The problem is with Indian culture, not Islam. We segregate them because we stand shoulder-to-shoulder. Otherwise, how will one be able to concentrate on God.”
Stressing on women’s rights in Islam, Naik said, “A woman can own or disown a property without taking permission. Islam gave the right to do that 1,400 years before the Western world did. Islam also permits women to inherit. In Islam, men give dowry to women, called meher. Muslim men are influenced by the Indian culture to accept dowries. It is the culture to be blamed.”
“Islam shouldn’t be criticised. If at all anything should be criticised, it should be the Olympics, where they show men and women together participating in games in a swimming pool.”