EXAMINATION OF THE PRACTICE OF ISLAMIC WOMEN RIGHTS AND ITS INFLUENCE AMONG MUSLIMS IN KATSINA STATE

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EXAMINATION OF THE PRACTICE OF ISLAMIC WOMEN RIGHTS AND ITS INFLUENCE AMONG MUSLIMS IN KATSINA STATE

ABSTRACT

Women‟s rights and how they are being practiced among different societies and civilisations remain among the topical issues in today‟s world. This study made an examination of the practice of Islamic women rights and how it impacted on people in Katsina state. The key variables addressed by the study were the applicability of marital rights, economic rights and educational rights of women in the study area vis-à-vis their impacts on the people‟s development. The research questions, objectives and hypotheses were stated in this line. In terms of scope, the research covered Katsina state, a state with 34 local governments. However, only six local governments were selected for the purpose of the study. These were Daura, Baure, Batsari, Katsina, Faskari and Funtua. The period of study covered was 2006 to 2015. The research design adopted was an amalgam of survey and historical research methods. Data were generated from both primary and secondary sources. The primary data were gathered through the instruments of questionnaire and interview while the secondary data included relevant textbooks and other published materials. The population of the study were three (3), key informants (religious leaders and traditional rulers), women (married/widowed/divorced) and heads of households. In terms of sample, 210 units were selected from the key informants‟ sample with 35 units representing each local government. For the women sample, 360 individuals were selected with 60 units representing each local government while for the heads of households, 180 were selected with 30 units representing each local government. Data were largely presented in tables and hypotheses were tested using

Pearson Chi-square.

The study found among other things that most husbands/men met their family

obligations and also facilitated education of their wives. There was also fair access to both Islamic and Western education by girls/women; and that the prevailing practice of women favoured economic empowerment, educational development and enhanced the protection of women marital rights in the study area. It was recommended that men should be   encouraged by both the religious and traditional leaders to continue and consolidate their efforts of meeting their family obligations; be more just and fair in treating wives; continue the habit of protecting privacy, dignity and honour of women; and government should intervene more in the educational development of the area among other things.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background to the Study

In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful. May peace and blessing of Allah (SWT) be upon the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W) his family and all his companions. In modern times, the issues relating to gender inequality are getting more concern as they become themes of discussion in many public gathering, media and ceremonies.

Women all over the world suffer from, and are faced with many peculiar and complex problems. Many of these problems revolve around their rights within their different societies. This situation is largely as a result of and exacerbated by, the existence of several discriminatory practices against them. These problems manifest in very different forms in various societies with extensive implication and it is very prevalent in the Nigerian society.

The value of the teachings of Islam regarding women become obvious when one compares the situations of women in different societies at the time of the rise of Islam, women  before Islam were regarded as inferior to men, no religion allowed them equality, no religion gave them a share of inheritance in the property of their parents or husbands. A woman was looked upon as an evil and an unwanted burden, a source of disgrace and humiliation to the family.

Women were universally treated as chattels.

Their own consent in anything was considered immaterial. In fact, they were never viewed as a party to their marriage. They could be brought at the time of leisure and discarded most capriciously. They had no independent status, could own no property, were given no right of inheritance.

In Arabia particularly, immediately before Islam, women were considered to be a sign of disgrace and shame to the family. When female child was born to an Arab, it was an occasion of grief and gloom for him. This was how Arab women were considered before Islam.

Allah (SWT) says:

 

وَإرَِا بُثشِّ ِ  شَ أحََ بُذ بُهم ثِ لۡأُٱبُ ضَ ىٰ    َ لَّ   وَ لۡأُ بُ بُ   ۥ بُم لۡأُغوَ شِّدًّ۬ا وَ بُه وَ َ ِ  مٌ۬مًّ۬  ) ٥٨ (

َ زَوَ سَىٰ    مَِ     لۡأُٱ َ لۡأُو ِ   مِ  بُع وٓوِ   مَب بُثشِّ ِ  شَ ثِ ِ    ۦۤ ۚ   أَ بُ لۡأُ غِ بُ بُ   ۥ َ  َ ىٰ   بُهو نٍو  أَ لۡأُ    بُذَ سُّع بُ  ۥ  فِ   ٱ سُّزشَاةِ

أَ َ   عَبوٓ َ  مَب َ لۡأُ بُ بُ ووَ  ) ٥٩ (

“when news is brought to one of them of (the birth of a female child) his face darkens, and he is filled with Inward grief! With shame does he hide himself from his people, because of the news he has had! Shall he return it on (sufferance and contempt) or bury it in the dust? Ah! What an evil (choice) they decide on? ( an-Nahl, 16:58-59 ).

 

During the jahiliyyah period a woman would dig a pit when delivery period was due and would go and deliver near it. If it were a female child she would simply bury it alive, but if it was a male child she would return home with it (Al-

Qurtubi, 1993:18/172).

Islam recognized womens’ position over fourteen hundred years ago and granted them their due right and privileges which are not yet enjoyed by women in other faiths and societies even in this modern industrialzed age.

Furthermore, Islam made woman rights equal to that of a man except in some few areas. It is in consideration of the role of each in life that man is obliged to give his wife dower/sadaq, maintenance, allocation of time, separate quarters, education, medication, right of self-redemption, giving gift after divorce, burial expenses, etc, while maintaining one‟s mother, sister and the likes depends on time of their need, while a woman is not obliged to shoulder any of the above mentioned responsibilities. In the issue of inheritance, Islam gives woman what all other systems now and the past failed to give her, and obliges the father to bear all his daughter’s responsibilities, when she marries, all her responsibilities transfers to her husband, and at the absence of her husband, then her son, in the absence of the son or his incapability, then her relative from male side comes in.

However, in the absence of all mentioned above, then Islamic  Public treasury (Baital-mal) bears it.   Katsina state is one of the core areas of northern states of Nigeria whose inhabitants are predominantly Muslims. It is one of the areas covered by the jihad of Danfodio that cleansed and separated Islam from un-islamic cultures and traditions of the people in the area.

At the advent of Shehu Usman‟s jihad,  hemet women in a deplorable condition. A condition full of ignorance and a condition which deprived women of their rights thereby dehumanizing their human nature. They were in situation where by they did not know their rights as a result of mixing tradition with pure teachings of Islam. This condition of women in the pre-jihad hausa land was just like the Jahiliyyah period before Islam. It was then that, the Shehu started declaring an open and vigorous campaign for the rights of women as ordained by the pure teachings of Islam.

In view of this, this research attempts to critically assess the practice of the Islamic rights of women and its impact among the Muslims of katsina state,

Nigeria.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

Women‟s right is one of the contentious issues in today‟s world that receives attention of various scholars, researchers and institutions at national and international levels. In fact, prior to the emerging calls for women rights advocated by the Modern Western civilisation, there existed a reform that conferred on women a lot of rights that were hitherto being denied of. This took place over 1,400 years ago and was pioneered by the Noble Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) who reorganised and restructured the barbaric practices of the Jahilyyah period into the most humane state in the present world.

In the Jahiliyya period, women faced several discriminatory practices. They were treated as chattels that had neither independent status nor right to own properties. In fact, they have no right to inheritance. They were in addition, treated as slaves who were subjected to highly inhumane treatment. This was the prevailing trend in virtually all societies in that period although the practice differed among tribes, faiths, clans and regions.

However, in most Nigerian cultures, women are regarded as inferior to men. The girls in most cases not properly educated compared to boys. Some parents also keep their daughters out of school due to misinterpretation of the tenets of religion. In widowhood, women face a combination of abuses within the family, by being forced to observe burial and other rituals and discriminatory legal provisions. This was the practice of the early 19th century when a Jihad was waged by Shaykh Uthman Danfodio against practices that Islam prohibits. Thus, before the Jihad of Danfodio, women were in a deplorable condition, a condition full of ignorance that deprived them of their rights thereby dehumanizing their human nature. They were in a situation where by they did not know their rights as a result of mixing Hausa cultural traditions with the pure teachings of Islam.

Katsina state is one of the core areas of Northern states of Nigeria situated in the present North West geo political zone of the country bordering Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa and Zamfara States and the Republic of Niger whose inhabitants are predominantly Muslims. It is one of the areas covered by the Jihad of Danfodio that cleansed and separated Islam from Un-islamic cultures and traditions of the people in the area. This clearly indicates that it is one of the areas in which women‟s rights in the areas of marriage, education, inheritance and other economic undertakings among others were guaranteed and protected by Islam due to full acceptance of the tenets of Islam in the area. In fact, in the early 20th Century, the area was recognised among the portions of Nigeria governed in accordance with Islamic (Shariah) Law in all facets of human endeavour. By implication, this development indicates that, rights of women in all its ramifications as stipulated by Islam would be clearly adhered to in practice in the area.

There is no doubt; the inhabitants of the state (Katsina) have evidently manifested the recognition of Islamic tenets in their daily lives as seen in various aspects of their endeavours. Fundamental to the practice of Islamic human rights in the polity are the issues dealing with marital rights in all its facets; economic rights; and educational rights ranging from Islamic to western education among the women. But, the key issue that often arises is that, what has been the prevailing practice of Islamic women rights in this area and how does that impacted on people in the state? This is what this research addressed.

1.3     Objectives of the study

 The main objective of this study was to examine the practice of Islamic women rights and how it impacted on people in Katsina State. In achieving this, the following objectives were set up:

  1. To examine the state of practice of Islamic rights of women in Katsina

state.

  1. To determine the extent to which the prevailing state of practice of Islamic women rights impacted on the marital life of people in Katsina state.
  • To evaluate the extent to which the prevailing state of practice of Islamic women rights impacted on the economic status of people in Katsina state.
  1. To examine the extent to which the prevailing state of practice of Islamic women rights impacted on the educational status of people in

Katsina state.

1.4. Research Questions

 

In achieving the research objectives raised above, the following research questions are raised

  1. What has been the state of practice of rights of women in Katsina

state?

  1. To what extent has the prevailing state of practice of women rights impacted on the marital life of people in Katsina state? To what extent has the prevailing state of practice of women rights impacted on the economic status of people in Katsina state? iv. To what extent has the prevailing state of practice of women rights impacted on the educational status of people in Katsina state?

1.5. Statement of Hypotheses

For the purpose of this research, three (3) null hypotheses were formulated as follows:  

  1. Ho There is no significant relationship between the prevailing state of practice of women rights and the marital life of people in Katsina state. ii. Ho There is no significant relationship between the prevailing state of practice of women rights and the economic status of people in Katsina state.

iii. Ho There is no significant relationship between the prevailing state of practice of women rights and the educational status of people in

Katsina state.

             1.6 Significance of the Study

This research work would be of immense benefits to the society in the following ways.

First of all, it would cover a gap of knowledge that exists in respect of Islamic right of women and its impact on peoples‟ life in Katsina sate which previous researchers have not covered.

The study would also help in clarifying the claim that Islam is against the right of women or that it deprives them of those rights.

It would also help in improving harmonious living, love, tolerance and support of one another among the Muslims.

It would also bring to light the educational and economic benefits of knowing the rights of women and how it will impact positively in the improvement of the status of women in the area of study.

It would however, help students in the course of their studies and research in giving them a clear and conceptual analysis on women right, its origin and impact on the life of people.

It is also clear and impeccable source of reference and guidance by

researchers in their investigation upon the relevant case study.

Another significance is that Muslim women  would be familiar with their duties and rights and learn how their behavior should be according to Islamic law.

The research would also benefit the inhabitants of the state by revealing the salient issues characterising rights of women in the state so as to know the areas that need improvement. At the same time, government can use the outcome of the research in designing policies and programmes that have to do with the women rights and how they could be best protected and promoted in the state.

          1.7     Scope and Delimitation of the Study

This research assessed the practice of Islamic women rights and its impact on people in Katsina state. The state was selected because of the fact that it is among the Nigerian states that have less mixture of Muslims with nonmuslims with over 90% of the inhabitants being Muslims. However, among the

34 local governments in the state six were selected for the purpose of the study.

These were Daura, Baure from the Katsina North Senatorial Zone; Batsari and

Katsina from Katsina Central Senatorial Zone and Faskari and Funtua from Katsina West Senatorial Zone. This was to ensure adequate representation of the state. In terms of substance, the researcher is aware of the fact that there are many issues surrounding women rights, but the study covered only issues revolving around marital and post- marital rights, economic rights and education rights. The period of study covered 2006 to 2015, a ten year period that was considered adequate for examining the issue under investigation. It is also a period that has been considered to have coincided with more spread of pure Islamic teachings in the area due to increase in religious awareness and enlightenment.

A study of this nature is bound to have some limitations. One of the main limitations of this research was the difficulty in generating data especially the data generated from the rural people who were dispersed in towns and villages across the study area, particularly the women whose access by the researcher was difficult. In addition, due to the literacy level of some of them, it was difficult for them to fill the questionnaire administered to them.

Other limitations of the study are those that have perennially troubled researchers in this part of the world. They include inadequate financial resources to the researcher. Thus, this study should be read and considered within the confines of its scope and limitations.

EXAMINATION OF THE PRACTICE OF ISLAMIC WOMEN RIGHTS AND ITS INFLUENCE AMONG MUSLIMS IN KATSINA STATE

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