Status of Women in Islam and Hinduism



“One who is absolutely stunning, radiant, attractive and eye catching”. Excellence is the elegance in a lady’s heart. It is the graciousness with which she lives and the consideration for others she shows. It is in her giving soul. She aims to make others feel good and gives others encouragement.

Comparing the status of women in Islam and Hinduism is challenging due to the immense diversity within both religions. Both have rich histories, evolved interpretations, and varying practices across different cultures and social contexts. While broad generalizations can be misleading, here’s an attempt to highlight some key points:


  • Quranic principles: The Quran emphasizes equality in humanity for men and women before God. It grants women specific rights to inheritance, education, property ownership, and financial independence.
  • Diverse interpretations: Different schools of thought and cultural contexts lead to a spectrum of interpretations. Some interpretations uphold gender equality in various aspects of life, while others advocate for more traditional gender roles and dress codes.
  • Challenges exist: Women sometimes face challenges regarding domestic violence, unequal access to resources, and limitations on participation in public life. However, efforts towards reform and gender equality are ongoing.


  • Vedic texts: Ancient scriptures present diverse portrayals of women, ranging from goddesses and scholars to figures facing societal restrictions.
  • Social evolution: Hinduism’s views on women have evolved through various historical, cultural, and philosophical influences. Some texts like the Manusmriti promote patriarchal norms, while others like the Devi Mahatmya empower female deities.
  • Complex realities: Women’s experiences vary greatly across communities and social classes. Some enjoy freedom and independence, while others face discrimination and limited opportunities.

Attitude towards Widows:

Sati, also known as Suttee, was a historical practice in Hinduism where a widow sacrificed herself by sitting atop her deceased husband’s funeral pyre. It’s important to understand this practice with historical context and nuance, as it’s highly complex and raises sensitive issues.

Prevalence: Sati wasn’t widespread throughout India but remained concentrated in specific regions and social classes, mostly among Rajput clans. Its prevalence varied through history, increasing during the late medieval era and declining by the 19th century.

In Islam, widows hold a significant position and are granted specific rights and protections. Here’s a breakdown of what Islam says about widows:

Widows are encouraged to be treated with respect, compassion, and kindness. The Quran specifically instructs believers to:

    • “Treat orphans and widows equitably” (Quran 4:9).
    • “Do not harm the orphans and the widows” (Quran 95:8).

Key Differences to Consider:

  • Legal framework: Islam provides a legal framework for ensuring women’s rights, while Hinduism relies more on customs and traditions.
  • Patriarchal influences: Both religions have been influenced by patriarchal societies, but the degree of influence varies across interpretations and communities.
  • Religious leadership: While women hold leadership roles in Hinduism, Islamic leadership positions are traditionally reserved for men dur to her gentleness.

“A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do. A woman must do what he can’t.”
– Rhonda Hansome


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