Hand 2 Help

The plight of an estimated 258 million widows across the world starts with the death of their husbands.
However, it doesn’t end there.
What follows suit is a devastatingly long struggle for basic human rights.
The extremity of discrimination varies upon the region of the globe they belong to. While widow’s in the west are often denied inheritance rights, those in lesser developed parts of the world, notably in South Asian and African Countries have it worse. Birthed from stigmatization and superstition their life follows a series of ill-fated experiences.

Accounts of widows around Pakistan, be it urban or rural are nearly identical. For they all have a deep sense of looming guilt as if they are responsible for the death of their husband. Alone and helpless in a society that treats them as a subject of bad omen and burden, they are exposed to physical, social and economic discrimination. While they are treated as alien, their children are no different. According to research, 1.5 million children of widowed mothers die before reaching the age of 5. Such devastating accounts are of no surprise when out of 258 million widows, 38 million are reported to be poverty-stricken.

For decades the role of a proverbial widow in Pakistan is to be lonesome, repressed, and that of an outcast. Widows, more often than not have been ruled out of their husband’s property rights, some are even forced and coerced into giving up their rights by a relative, leaving them with little or nothing to fend for themselves or their children. Such desperate circumstances expose widows and their children to violence and exploitation.



To avoid such a plight, religions call for societies to protect the rights of widows earnestly.
In Christian faith, according to the Letter of James, one of the 21 epistles in the New Testament, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction.”
Amongst major Semitic religions, Islam takes precedence in advocating for the rights of widows.
As stated by Al-Bukhari: “The one who looks after a widow or a poor person is like a Mujahid (warrior) who fights for Allah’s Cause, or like him who performs prayers all the night and fasts all the day.” This Hadith is proof that one who takes care of a widow, will be held in high regard by Allah.
The life of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) is a prime example of how a believer should treat a widow. Rather than shunning her, she should be accepted and looked after without having to give up her financial right or will.  As mentioned in Surah Al- Nisa (4:12) “And for the wives is one fourth if you leave no child. But if you leave a child, then for them is an eighth of what you leave.”
Such are the rights of widows held in Islam. But it is a pity and a bitter truth of the society that although the masses claim to be religious, they fail to follow the rights of widows preached in the teachings of Islam.

Dar-e- Fatima Al-Kharia

Dar-e- Fatima Al-Kharia (Widow House) We Relate. We Understand. We Listen, We Care.