A Muslim married woman is under many obligations, as compared with her husband. She cannot easily seek a divorce. She cannot also keep more than one husband, though husband can have as many as four wives.
The first important duty of the woman is that she should maintain proper marital relations with her husband, should obey him and provide him sexual pleasure. She should remarry only according to the principle of Iddat and also feed her children She should not indulge in adultery.
Along with responsibilities she has certain rights as well. She has right to live with her husband in his house, claim maintenance and property rights. She claims mehr from her husband and bring up the children in the way she likes.
It will thus be observed that Muslim marriage becomes permanent only when ceremony has taken place. Once marriage takes place on permanent footing it is difficult to dissolve that for the wife by easy for the husband. She is supposed to tolerate upto 4 wives of her husband. In fact wife is considered property of her husband.
As already discussed women in the Hindu society enjoyed high position and respect in the past. In fact no religious ceremony was complete without her participation in that. She took active part
along with man, in all walks of life During middle ages in India her position went down. She was subjected to child marriage. She could not leave four walls of her house even for getting education. Sati system became quite common and widow re-marriage was banned. She had to suffer many humiliations. But now she is again gaining her lost position and prestige. She is now trying to share the burden and responsibilities with men in all walks of life.
The present position in respect of status of women in both societies is as under:
Among the Muslim women Purdah is not only common but has also religious sanction which cannot be violated. Due to this system Muslim women find it difficult to maintain good health and get higher education. It is argued that Purdah has helped women from preserving morality and character of Muslim women.
Among the Hindus there is custom of dowry which girl is to get from her parents at the time of her marriage. It implies that status of women in Hindu society is lower than that of the man. On the other hand among the Muslim is the system of mehr which a boy gives to the girl recognising her need and necessity in life and thus accepting her higher status.
Among the Muslims it is easy for a male member to divorce his wife at any time he likes. In this way women have a very low status in Muslim society as they are at the mercy of men. On the other hand a husband in Hindu society cannot easily get divorce from his wife. Thus women and men in Hindu society have been recognized at least equal in matters of seeking divorce.
It Hindu society there is monogamy. System which implies that a male can have only one female as his wife. A second wife can be had but only is very exceptional circumstances when there is no issue or no male issue from the first wife. Consent of first wife even in that case for second marriage is needed. But in the case of Muslim marriage system a male legally can have four wives. It is marriage with the fifth wife which makes the marriage illegal.
In so far as Muslim women are concerned, they cannot get high education and on the whole education is not as widespread among the Muslim as that is among the Hindus. Hindu women in ancient India used to get higher education. They are now getting that as well. Gradually, however, education among the Muslim women is spreading but at present it is much less than what it is among the Hindus women.
Both among the Hindus and the Muslims adultery is not disliked by it is much condemned. If husband is sure of the charge of adultery of his wife, among the Hindus he can leave her. But in Islam things go still further. It is provided that a husband has a right to punish his wife with 100 canes if charge of adultery is proved true. In some cases both the woman and her lover are even put to death.