Islam gave voting rights for Women 14 centuries before the West

Date: 26 December posted by adminon


Male dominated Western societies did not allow women to vote


In ancient Athenian Democracy, often cited as the birthplace of democracy, only men were permitted to vote. Same was the case with other western countries. Various countries, colonies and states granted restricted voting to women in the latter half of the 19th century after the ‘Suffrage movements’.

In USA women were not allowed to vote till nineteenth century and were given the right after Amendment to the constitution in 1920.’s_suffrage_in_the_United_States

In Canada, women were not allowed to vote till 1917.In United Kingdom ,full voting rights were given to women only after 1928.’s_suffrage


Rights of voting given to Women under Islamic Caliphate


In contrast to the above ,women were given voting rights under Islamic Caliphate way back in 645 A.D.In a Hadith narrated by Al-Miswar bin Makhramain in Sahih Bukhari, it is stated that during the governance of Sayyidina Umar (radiyallauh Anhu) a six member committee was chosen to decide who should succeed the Caliphate, with Sayyidina Uthman(radiyallauh Anhu) and Sayyidina Ali (radiyallauh Anhu) being the prime candidates.This took place in 645 A.D. (23 A.H.).

The committee was divided in its decision so the case was referred to the Parliament of Madina consisting of 50 members. They also found it difficult to come to a decision, the members divided in their vote so it was decided to appoint Hadrat Abdul Rahman bin Auf (rad) as the chief election commissioner. He was instructed to hold a general election to obtain the peoples vote, and so over a period of three days traveled from house to house asking each and every person whom they preferred. The result of the election was an overwhelming majority in favor of Sayyidina Uthman (radiyallahu Anhu).►{Sahih Bukhari, Kitab Al-Ahkaam,‘Tabqat Ibne Saad’, ‘Tabari’, Book on history by ‘Ibne Kathir}

When election of Hazrat Usman Ghani (radiyallahu Anhu) took place, it is reported in books like ‘Tabqat Ibne Saad’, ‘Tabari’, ‘Ibne Kathir that there was a vote tie in parliament. General elections followed and Huzrat Abdur Rehman Bin Auf was appointed Chief Election Commissioner. It is categorically stated that both men and women voted for three days. This was right to vote for women.During the election process women were included in the adult franchise, and asked about their preference, an act undoubtedly performed for first time in world history.


In today’s society we take for granted women’s active participation in political affairs and also assume it was the Europeans who first gave this right to women. However universal suffrage in England was only granted in the early twentieth century whereas 1400 hundred years ago Muslim women not only voted but were involved in the affairs of the state. During the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and in generations after him, women’s opinion’s were sought and then acted upon, highlighted in many examples of books of Hadith and History.

Only one example is being quoted below.


Caliph Umar(Radiyallahu Anhu) withdrew a bill on advice of a woman


During the caliphate of Hazrat Umer (Radiyallahu Anhu) , the women used to be members of parliament. It has been mentioned in many books of Hadith and history that he wanted to present a bill about limiting the dower when he was the Commanders of the Believers. He wanted to fix a maximum limit of such a dower in the parliament. A woman member stood up in opposition saying that if Allah did not fix any limit on it, how come he could do it. Hazrat Umer asked her to present evidence in support of her viewpoint. She recited a verse of the Holy Quran. And if you seek to take a wife in place of another and you have (by now) given to her heaps of wealth, yet do not take back any part of it…” ►{Surah Nisaa, Chapter 4 , Verse 20}

This was a jurisprudential point. The word ‘heaps of gold’ denotes that no limit has been fixed on dower. At this, Caliph Umar(Radiyallahu Anhu) said as the head of state that “Men kept sitting in error and a woman gave correct opinion.”As a result, he withdrew his bill. Islam gave women respect and rights which were unknown in the pre-Islamic society.