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Scripture

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By supporting Muslim women’s financial independence and access to material assets.

"Men shall have a share in what parents and kinsfolk leave behind, and women shall have a share in what parents and kinsfolk leave behind, whether it be little or much—a share ordained by God" (4:7).

They ask you for instruction concerning the women, say: God instructs you concerning them and what has been recited to you in the Book, concerning the orphaned women (widows) to whom you do not give what has been prescribed to them and yet whom you desire to marry, and also the vulnerable children: that you stand firm for justice to the orphans. What you do of good dealings, God knows it well. (4:127)

Resources

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The tradition of women’s financial independence in Islam reaches back to the earliest periods of Islam, when the Prophet Muhammad’s wives Khadija and Umm Salama ran their own businesses, Khadija in trade and Umm Salama selling crafts. Not only did Khadija manage her business independently, but she met the Prophet through his work for her as a tradesman; even after their marriage, she continued to manage her own finances. The Qur’an, Sunna, and early Islamic jurisprudence provide further key evidence for women’s financial independence in early times. However, verses in the Qur’an and hadith were later interpreted by male figures to place control of a woman’s finances with her husband or family. This trend is being broken by Muslims around the world as initiatives are developed to provide opportunities to women for economic empowerment and financial independence.

The field of microfinance continues to develop in the Muslim world, offering women with more opportunities through financial assistance and entrepreneurial skill-building. Muslim women are providing important opportunities for other Muslim women in their communities. For example, the newly launched Muslim Women’s Fund has provided financial assistance to barbers in exchange for a commitment to end their FGC practices. Additionally, women such as Dr. Humaira Islam have founded organizations like The Shakti Foundation for Disadvantaged Women in Bangladesh, which provides economic resources for women through an Urban Credit Program and other business services.

Another innovation in economic empowerment is the development of cooperatives for Muslim women. These co-ops are springing up throughout the Muslim world, and a 38 woman cooperative in a small Sri Lankan town is just one example. With the help of the organization Caritas, the women established this neighborhood cooperative and have been trained in cooking and tailoring. Additionally, cooperative societies such as the Green Mountain Women’s Cooperative Society in Jordan are providing loans to rural Jordanian women to expand their farming projects and generate more income.

Articles

Articles
Jordan Times, Friday May 7, 2004 - Cooperative society loans help women set up income-generating projects