Women’s suffrage has come a long way, but it’s still shocking to accept the fact that women could not vote in every country that has elections until 2015, when Saudi Arabia granted voting rights to women. Saudi Arabia not only did a huge injustice to women by withholding their right to vote, but also to Islam. Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings be upon him, proclaimed in the name of God that men and women are equal. Prior to his arrival in the Middle East, women had no rights and were sold as property, until he fought for their freedom to have social, financial, physical, and spiritual development.
In this sense, one could argue that it’s a religious imperative for a Muslim woman to vote. The Holy Quran states, “But whoso does good works, whether male or female, and is a believer, such shall enter heaven…” (4:125)
Though the world claims to have liberated women, Muslim women are still fighting for their sociopolitical rights, especially in terms of wearing hijab – a principal component of a Muslim woman’s spirituality and identity. Society claims that Muslim women are oppressed, while Western governments are the ones demoting their rights in the name of secularity. Since Islam commends “jihad of the pen,” it is important for Muslim women to remain active in political discussions at every level.
It’s not only a right that our religion has ordained for us, but a way of showing the world that we are not submissive, inferior, or deprived.