Do we really care widows?
International Widows’ Day was introduced by UN to raise awareness and assist widows and their children around the world who are experiencing poverty, illiteracy, conflict discrimination, and social injustice. According to The Loomba Foundation, there are an estimated 245 million widows and 500 million children in the world. Among these 115 million widows live in poverty, and many of them are malnourished, diseased, and subjected to severe deprivation. They live through eviction, social isolation, forced- marriage and prostitution, rape, and even murder
Islam in general command honoring and respecting women, which emanate honoring and respecting widows and to look them with compassion, mercy and sympathy to them as having and special circumstances requiring support. It also strives to maintain the positive image for them. Moreover, Allah commands in the Quran to care help and support them. Prophet Muhammad (S) was asked to proclaim: “The one who looks after and works for a widow and for a poor person is like a warrior fighting for Allah’s cause.” (Sahih Bukhari).
The ‘looking after and working for a widow’ does not just include providing money, helping them with shelter and supporting to earn money, which are the common care people offer, rather it should be emotional and psychological assistance. The widow loses psychological balance for a period of time, once she loses the partner, for him being, undoubtedly, the supporter and the care- taker. She either remains solid or collapses. Either the case, she will find herself in isolation, confronting her catastrophe, her new responsibility and the society’s critical look. The society should be mature enough to keep her positive image and not to doubt each and every movement she does.
Most likely, remarriage is a best solution, for it resolves roughly all problems one can list related with widows. But the society which is eager to give financial support does not agree with it. The women is seen to be unthankful and hypocritical to her late husband preventing from even to think about re marriage, though these are not the criterions for judging her sincerity, love and gratefulness or caring children.
It is interesting to note that the Quran, the message of Allah, has explicitly stated that a women can re- marry after losing her husband, on the condition that she should wait until four months and ten days, if she is not pregnant, and till the delivery of her child, in case she is pregnant. The Quran states: And those who are taken in death among you and leave wives behind – they, [the wives, shall] wait four months and ten [days]. And when they have fulfilled their term, then there is no blame upon you for what they do with themselves in an acceptable manner. And Allah is [fully] acquainted with what you do. (Quran 2: 234).
Allah does not allow something which is unreasonable and inhuman; rather His religion considers human nature and disposition. It is indispensable that she remarry in order to maintain her chastity, for marriage according to Islam is a shield for both men and women. Moreover, the emotional emptiness she experience can only be cured by filling that space. It is notable that wives of Muhammad (S), expect Aysha (R) were all widows.
A common practice some adopts who agrees with remarriage is to force the widow to marry, or force her to marry relative, mostly from her husband’s family in order to keep the ties between them, even ignoring the persons moral and religious conduct. Islam disapproves remarriages without their consent, because a remarriage is not different from a first- hand marriage. She has the right to choose her partner, even in remarriage.
A woman should also consider religion and morality when marrying someone, since in these case widow’s children has to be significantly considered, that is to say, no step- father concept.
Bringing up the Orphan
Caring the orphan is also a part of supporting widows. Allah decrees the responsibility to the Muslim society, especially children’s relatives. They should be provided with religious, educational and financial support. Prophet (S) said placing his index and middle finger together “I and the person, who brings up an orphan, will be like this in Heaven.”