By Fazna Fazmi
The Status of Women in Islam, like any other matter, is argued, misunderstood and often undermined throughout the world. But in the true light of Islam, Women are considered as twin halves of men. Neither has a greater value nor is one of greater importance. Both are subject to Divine Retribution as individuals. This importance and empowerment given to women in Islam extend to financial dealings as well. The Quran expounds upon this in multiple verses such as the following:
For men is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, and for women is a share of what the parents and close relatives leave, be it little or much – an obligatory share. (Al-Quran – 4:7)
“To men is allotted what they earn, and to women what they earn, but ask Allah of His Bounty.” (Qur’an – 4: 32)
The Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) is also replete with stories of women’s financial independence such as the following:
Narrated `Amr bin Al-Harith: Zainab, the wife of `Abdullah said, “I was in the Mosque and saw the Prophet saying, ‘O women! Give alms even from your ornaments”.
The above divine revelations indicate that Islam does not believe in discriminating between men and women from an economic perspective.
Financial Independence of Women
The history of Islam speaks of a powerful woman who was the first wife of the Prophet, lady Khadija (Peace Be Upon Them). She was a prominent businesswoman who owned trade caravans. She owned merchandise in her own right and took decisions of her own. It was in her home that the Archangel Gabriel brought Revelations from God. She played the role of a daughter, a wife, a mother and also as an employer. In fact, there is nothing in Islam that prevents women from engaging in business activities or taking independent business decisions. Further, there is nothing un-Islamic about women giving their opinions and sharing their views on important financial issues.
Women are also partial to savings. It is mostly women who control the home budget and manage the finances earned by the breadwinner of the family. Thus it is imperative that they are engaged in elevating the Islamic Finance Industry. Today Muslim women have a greater role to play in the community and more women need to be encouraged to get into the Islamic Finance workforce which will increasingly need to cater to the needs of women.
Opportunities for women
Islamic Finance is not only about working in a bank or a financial institution. It is also about creating financial solutions for various economic problems.
Source: World’s Islamic Finance Market Place Malaysia’s – Growing Demand for Talent in Islamic Finance Report
The Islamic Finance industry is in need of Shariah Expertise and it is time women came forward to provide Shariah solutions to existing financial issues. Due to the availability of latest technologies, women can provide Shariah advice using online platforms. Women can get into entrepreneurship and start their own business ventures using their creativity to contribute to the Islamic Finance economy in many different capacities. Women can start their own microfinance firms which can change the state of the community. Advisory or consulting firms can also be opened up by women to serve the community.
With the advancement of the Islamic Finance industry, the need for new software solutions and new technological improvements are increasing and this opens up another platform for women to get into. Doing research about the banking and finance industry as a whole and coming up with innovative solutions and products to cater to the specific needs of Islamic Finance would certainly raise the bar of the industry.
As such we find that today many opportunities are opening up for women to make their mark in this ever growing industry. It is the high time women took advantage of these opportunities so as to make a meaningful contribution to Islamic Finance and drive it forward.