Monday, February 16, 2009

Equality and Justice

The never-ending issue that has been controversial and brings misconceptions about Islam is the muslim women. The ban on hijab, the anti-islamic feminists, moral degradation, rape, the bias media, the deterioration of family institutions-the list goes on and on- all of these often leave us furious and sad. However, besides the bad picture we see in the muslim world, we should never lose hope in Allah to help us overcoming this situation.

To start with, we have to clear our minds by understanding our position as one of Allah’s creations. The very issue that is always being questioned about muslim women is the equality. Now. We cannot deny that we are physically, biologically and emotionally different from men. That is why Allah-with all His wisdom- ascribes things that we can and cannot do, things we have and do not have to do. For example, we cannot lead men in prayers. We are exempted from participating in battles. We inherit half to that of men. We have more rights to take care of our children. We are not obligated to find provisions for our families. Mothers have higher rank than fathers. And so on. In the quran Allah says

‘It is not fitting for a believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by God and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys God and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong path’
[Al-ahzab: 36]

Is Allah unfair? No. If we contemplate deeply, the rules of Islam, made by Allah the All-Wise suit our fitrah, desire and nature. Are we insignificant because of these? No. Whatever Allah has ordained, we hear and we obey because there is always good behind it. We are not subjugated simply because we are women. In fact, many places in the quran when Allah talks about His faithful servants, He addresses both men and women

‘Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has faith, verily, to him will We give a new life, a life that is good and pure and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions’
[An-nahl: 97]

‘For muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast (and deny themselves), for men and women who engage much in God’s praise -for them has God prepared forgiveness and great reward’

‘The believers, men and women, are protectors one of another, they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil, they observe regular prayers, practise regular charity, and obey God and His Messenger. On them will God pour His mercy, for God is Exalted in power, Wise’
[At-taubah: 71]

Allah further says,

‘Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you’
[Al-hujurat: 13]

So, what differs one person from another is taqwa. That means, if a woman has more taqwa than a man, then in Allah’s sight she is better than the man.

If we look at the seerah, during the prophet’s time women used to learn along with men. They used to ask Rasulullah s.a.w questions without shyness (for the sake of Islam) that Aishah, the mother of the believers praised the Ansar women for their determination in learning about purification, haid etc. They also used to pray in congregation with men in the masjids, attended the Jumuah prayers and also listened to the khutbah. Aishah herself used to teach the companions of the prophet.

The seerah also highlights about the nobility and reputation of muslim women. It was Khadijah who first believed in Rasulullah s.a.w and sacrificed what she had for Islam. It was Fatimah who cleaned Rasulullah s.a.w when the Quraish people threw feces onto his back. It was Asma’ who brought provisions to Rasulullah s.a.w and Abu Bakar when they were hiding in the cave. A large number of the ahadeeth came from Aishah. Women also used to participate in battles like Aishah, Ummu Sulaim, Ummu ‘Atiyyah and others. They helped the muslim army by preparing food, nursing and treating the injured. In addition, Allah also honours the pious believing women amongst the earlier people such as Asiah, the wife of Pharaoh and prophet Jesus’ mother, Maryam. Allah says

‘And God sets forth, as an example to those who believe the wife of Pharaoh: Behold she said: “O my Lord! Build for me, in nearness to Thee a mansion in the Garden, and save me from Pharaoh and his doings, and save me from those that do wrong”. And Maryam the daughter of Imran, who guarded her chastity, and We breathed into (her body) of Our spirit, and she testified the truth of the words of her Lord and of His Revelations, and was one of the devout (servants)’

As muslimat, we play a vital role to clear the misconceptions that befall the ummah, to fight the liberal feminists and also to spread the true teachings of Islam throughout the world, to everybody. In order to achieve this, we have to prepare and improve ourselves in every aspect. What can we do?

Educate. The most important thing is to increase our knowledge of Islam and also in other fields that are beneficial for this ummah, such as in medicine, teaching, IT, etc. the knowledge of our deen is important so that we practise the true teachings of Islam, parallel to the Quran and Sunnah, and away from the deviations and blind traditions which are totally against what Islam preaches. The study of other fields of knowledge is crucial because it is fard kifayah and so that we will be independent from the non-muslims and to revive our civilisation.

Apart from that, we should equip ourselves with the best manners. We shold be loyal to husband, love our parents, kind with children, good to neighbours, helpful, work hard, accept apologies, avoid gossiping, etc. Engage ourselves in da’wah, be sensitive to muslim affairs, enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil. Moreover, we should be proud of Islam and our unique identity as muslimah, hold fast to Islamic principles, and always strive to get closer to Allah. This way we can show people that Islam actually grants us high status and muslim women are the best examples.

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