Prof. Abdulrafi Omotosho of Department of Islamic Law, University of Ilorin (Unilorin), has asserted that Islamic Law forbid forcible marriage and kidnapping.
Omotosho made the assertion in his paper presentation at the 191st Inaugural Lecture of Unilorin titled: “She has a lion share under the Islamic law”.
He added that “forbidden according to the laws are sale of women, automatic inheritance of widows and any other methods outside of what is prescribed”.
Omotosho, who teaches in the Faculty of Law of the institution, stated that all these were parts of the efforts to free women from the oppression imposed upon them by those who were supposed to be their partners in life.
He observed that there was misconception about the rights of women in Islam, adding that this had led to endless debate, particularly in modern times.
Omotosho said that, historically, women had been subjugated at different periods, when they were treated like properties, with no rights and they suffered heinous treatment.
He traced the historical context of pre-Islmaic Arabia, where women had no rights to ownership of property, while the girl-child gets buried alive.
“Before the advent of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the Arabs abhorred having female children, they either killed them or buried them alive out of fear of poverty and the evils they believed were associated with women.
“As they were around the Prophet Muhammad when the Qur’an was revealed, Allah did not waste time in drawing their attention to the ugliness of what they were doing, ” Omotosho said.
He stated that Islamic law had also forbidden all beliefs and practices that degraded women and advocated equality of women and men through enactment of rules and regulations.
The expert on Islamic Law urged the Federal Government and the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) to educate the general public on the rights of women in the society.
He recommended that a special body be set up to promote and defend the rights of women and empower them, as a first step alternative dispute resolution for women who could not afford the cost of litigation in the Shariah court.
“Muslim women and organisations should take proactive actions to ensure that they are familiar with their rights. It is only when one knows one’s right, one can demand for it,” Omotosho said.