In Islam are Women inferior to men? If so, why?
Western, liberal and UN-Islamic ideas have distorted your mental vision. What is your conception of inferiority? The Qur’aan says about the Ambiyaa [Prophets] (alayhimus salaam):
“These are the messengers. We have given some ranks over (or above) others.”
Even the Ambiyaa [Prophets] are not equal. Rasulullah is superior in rank to Nabi Musaa . In fact he is superior than all the Ambiyaa (alayhimus salaam). Thus, in relation to Rasulullah all the Ambiyaa (alayhimus salaam) are inferior. Hadhrat Jibreel is the highest ranking Angel. In relation to him, Hadhrat Israafeel is inferior. In relation to Qur’aan Shareef, the Hadith is inferior. In relation to the Kab’ah, Masjidun Nabawi is inferior.
In relation to the elder brother, the younger brother is inferior. In relation to a mother, her son, even if he is a great Aalim and a Saint, is inferior. In relation to an elder sister, the younger brother is inferior. In relation to Hadhrat Abu Bakr , Hadhrat Umar and all the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) and the entire Ummah are inferior. In relation to the Ustaadh [teacher], his students are inferior. In relation to a Shaikh [spiritual guide], his mureeds [disciples] are inferior whether male or female.
In every level of society there are ranks and gradations. The concept of blanket equality is a stupid idea of the Kuffaar. The husband has been made the chief of the family by Allah Ta’ala. It is his responsibility to maintain and train his wife and children. He has the highest rank in his home. He is superior to his wife and children even if his sons are the greatest saints and he an ignorant farmer.
Is it an insult to all the Ambiyaa (alayhimus salaam) to say that they are inferior to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)? On the contrary, they all are proud to be the inferior followers of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Similarly is it with all the ‘inferior’ beings cited above as examples. The Qur’aan categorically states:
“For men over them (women) is a rank.”
What problem do you or any Muslim have with this assertion of Allah Ta’ala? The problem is only that westernism and kufr liberalism have imposed on the minds of people that the higher male ranks relegate women to chattlehood. Modernist and deviated Muslims have been made to understand that women in Islam are contemptible; that men are free to abuse and denigrate them.
But every Muslim who has even a slight understanding of Islam knows that these western ideas are plain garbage which the enemies of Allah gorge out. Even in Jannat [paradise] there will be different ranks among all levels of people. When according to Islam even two men are not equal, what is wrong if there is not equality between men and women? But since deceived people have been indoctrinated to believe that ‘inferiority’ means contemptibility, they feel awkward with Islamic teachings.
A woman with her piety can surpass any man in rank by Allah Ta’ala. By Allah Ta’ala, the criterion of superiority is Taqwa [God consciousness]. Innumerable women will have higher ranks by Allah Ta’ala than males on account of their Taqwa. Every Mu’min is aware of the lofty rank of Hadhrat Aisha (radhiyallahu anha). She was the Ustaadhah of numerous Sahaabah. She was the most beloved Wife of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhis salaam). She will be entering Jannat centuries before numerous male Sahaabah. What idea will you now gain when it is said that she is inferior to her husband, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhis salaam)? Is any contempt implied for her by this claim? We in fact say that contempt for her is Kufr [disbelief].
Thus, gradations in society are the creation and command of Allah Ta’ala. The Khalifah, sultan or king may be a corrupt and immoral man. But, the Shariah commands obedience to him in all his lawful orders. His rank is superior to others here on earth.
In Islam women are not inferior to men in terms of the concocted meaning ascribed to ‘inferiority’ by the western kuffaar enemies of Islam.
(Maulana Ahmad Sadeq Desai)
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By Maulana Ahmad Sadeq Desai
The discussion on the difference between the sexes and the greater intellectual capability and ‘brain power’ of men, may be perceived in certain quarters in which there exists a glut of perverted brains, as Islam’s contempt for womankind. Nothing can be further from truth and reality than such a misconceived and convoluted understanding of Islam’s position.
It is unintelligent to infer from the Islamic concept of woman’s intellectual and biological inferiority on which is based her lower or inferior status, that Islam holds her in contempt. While a person may have an inferior status in a certain sphere of life, the very same person may be enjoying a superior rank in another domain.
Consider a mother. This female while sharing in common the general rank of all women, in relation to her son, she holds a superior status notwithstanding the masculinity of the latter. And, her superiority over him remains unaffected even if he happens to be the greatest Saint on earth. In relation to him, his quest for paradise always initiates from under her feet. He cannot obtain Divine Pleasure without remaining perpetually under the yoke of her sacred feet, literally and spiritually.
If the son fails to serve his mother, like a slave for the rest of his life, he is doomed to hell-fire. Yet, she is not allowed to go on a journey without him being in escort of her.
While she holds the key to unlock the portals of Jannat for her Saintly son, and whilst the safety of his Imaan is reliant on her pleasure, her testimony is equal to half his testimony.
These rules of the Shariah establish that the female attribute of motherhood confers a vastly superior status to this woman over elevated males who happen to be her sons and grandsons. A necessary and a rational corollary stemming from this Islamic concept, is the superiority of a mother despite her intellectual inferiority and biological differences with her sons. These latter attributes do not elevate sons above their mothers.
An elaboration on this subject will fill a whole volume. The paucity of this concise bulletin cannot dilate here on this question. However, one further example should suffice to convince even unbiased non-Muslims of Islam’s true attitude to women, men and even animals.
Humility is an imperative requirement for spiritual elevation which in turn is incumbent for the acquisition of Divine Proximity. An entire lifetime of ritual obeisance, spiritual incantations, devotional practices and litanies will not secure for the ‘saint’ one step of advance up the spiritual ladder if the attribute of humility is lacking.
Once Hadhrat Hasan Basri (rahmatullah alayh), the renowned Authority of all dimensions of Islam— spiritual, moral, intellectual and academic — who was among the greatest Taabieen, crossed the path of a dog. Hadhrat Hasan Basri pulled his flowing cloak close to his body to avoid it brushing against the dog. By the command of Allah Ta’ala, the dog stopped and spoke: “O Imaam of the Muslims! If my body is dry the your garment will not be rendered impure, and if it is moist, it can be purified by a simple washing with water. But if your heart is washed with the waters of the seven oceans, it will not be purified of the pride lurking therein”.
Overwhelmed with extreme remorse, sorrow and realization of the truth uttered by the canine servant of Allah, Hadhrat Basri cried: “O Dog! Come live with me and instruct me in morality.” The dog responded: “O Imaam of the Muslims! The two of us cannot coexist. You are the honoured Imaam of the Ummah while I am buffeted with contempt. And besides this, I do not treasure a bone for tomorrow (while you store food for days on account of the deficiency in Tawakkul).” So saying, the dog departed.
Thereafter, Hadhrat Hasan (rahmatullah alayh), as long as he lived, always held himself inferior to even a dog. In fact, the Mashaaikh of Islam say that as long as man cannot feel himself to be inferior to a dog, he should understand that pride lurks in him.
This should suffice to clinch the argument and neutralize the accusation of contempt which the perverted brains of the gender mob hurl against the Islamic concept of the superiority of man over woman.
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What did the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) mean when he explicitly stated that women are “Naaqisatul Aql”?
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) had described women as Naaqisaatul Aql or person of intellectual deficiency. The female’s intellectual deficiency is in relation to the mans Aql (intelligence). Since Allah Ta’ala has created man as the ruler of women, Divine Wisdom demanded that he be bestowed with a superior intellect. The Qur’aan Majeed states:
“Men are the rulers of women”. [Qur’an]
While the skeptics suffering from deficiency of Imaan finds Rasulullah’s designation intolerable and extremely unpalatable in view of the diametric conflict with the concepts of the gender mob, the studies of intelligent non-Muslim researchers confirm what Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, although a Muslim of healthy Imaan has no need for the confirmation and research of aliens. Nevertheless, for the benefit of the dithering hearts of skeptics vacillating between kufr and Imaan, we reproduce a report on this subject:
“…….a study claims that the cleverest people are much more likely to be men than women. Men are more intelligent than women by about five IQ points on average, making them better suited for ‘tasks of high complexity’, according to the authors of a paper due to be published in the British Journal of Psychology. Genetic difference in intelligence between the sexes helped to explain why many more men that women won Nobel Prizes or became chess grandmasters, the study by Paul Irwing and Professor Richard Lynn concluded.
They showed that men outnumbered women in increasing numbers as intelligence levels rise. There were twice as many with IQ scores of 125, a level typical for people with first class degrees. When scores rose to 155, a level associated with genius, there were 5.5 men for every women.
Dr. Irwing, a senior lecturer in organizational psychology at Manchester University, said that he was uncomfortable with the findings. But he added that the evidence was clear despite the insistence of many academics that there were “no meaningful sex differences” in levels of intelligence. “For personal reasons I would like to believe that men and women are equal, and broadly that’s true. But over a period of time the evidence in favour of biological factors has become stronger and stronger”, he added. “I have been dragged in a direction that I don’t particularly like, but it would be sensible if the debate was based on what we pretty much know to be the case.”
The findings from the study involving 24,000 students will intensify a battle of the sexes that was triggered last week by Michael Buerk, the BBC newscaster, who complained that “life is now being lived according to women’s rules”. Professor Lynn argued in a letter to the Psychologist this month that the differences between the sexes were explained by a link between IQ and the brain size. He said: “Men have larger brains than women by about 10 percent and larger brains confer greater brain power, so men must necessarily be on average more intelligent than women”.[By Tony Halpin, Education Editor, The Times] ***********************************
In the creation of Allah Wa Jal there is no waste and superfluity. The Qur’aan Majeed declaring the Divine Intent underlying creation states: “We have not created the heaven and the earth and whatever is between them in idle sport. Most certainly, that is the idea of the kuffar.” There is, therefore, no need for a genius IQ of 155 to comprehend why Allah Ta’ala created men with larger brains than women. There is also no difficulty and perplexity in comprehending why physically a woman is weaker than a man and why there are so numerous biological differences between men and women, both within the human body and without. And, even a person with a sub 100 IQ can quite readily understand why there are stark emotional differences between men and women, and why beards grow on the faces of men and not on faces of women.
Kufr is the worst disease which afflicts the mind and heart of men. Men who appear to be ‘intelligent’ and endowed with the brains of a genius, fail to recognize even empirical truths and realities directly related to the physical and material dimension of the world in which the kaafir materialist dwells. Although recognition of these real existences in the material world are unrelated to awareness and comprehension of transcendental truths and values, the aberration of kufr blights the natural functional capacity of the brain and reduces it to a level of insane ‘taqleed’ of ‘personal reasons’, norms and concepts of the prevailing concepts of ‘enlightenment’. Thus, even a “senior lecturer in organizational psychology at Manchester University”, despite being in possession of the material facts of his in-depth scientific research, considers it sufficiently rational to aver: “that he was uncomfortable with the findings” although the evidence was clear to substantiate the claim of meaningful sex differences.
The professor who has arrived at an intelligent conclusion on the basis of scientific facts, finds it rational to irrationally say: “For personal reasons I would like to believe that men and women are equal….”, Yet his findings based on intelligent study of scientific facts, constrain him to make the ‘bold’ proclamation: “But over a period of time the evidence in favour of biological factors has become stronger and stronger.” The undeniable reality of the intellectual, physical, and emotional superiority of the male has been repeatedly confirmed by the scientific studies and researches of the men of science who irrationally like to believe in the equality of the sexes.
(By Maulana Ahmad Sadeq Desai)
ADDENDUM (By Admin)
The question that needs to be asked: Are we true followers of Allah’s Divine Law or have we been influenced by a tidal wave of liberalism that has been successful in desensitizing the masses to such abominations as fornication, adultery, and homosexuality within the space of a few years, with incest and bestiality following very soon?
The fact that some of us find unpalatable or even cringe at the Prophet’s (Allah bless him and grant him peace) explicit words regarding women’s deficiency in intellect, or the Qur’an’s explicit declaration, “Men are the rulers of women.”, exposes the abject deficiency in our faith (Imaan) in Allah’s Law. As a result, our ‘common sense’, our ethics, and our moral compass is every-changing with the wind and moulded by the constantly fluctuating norms of society.
If one avers that men are generally physically stronger than women, then that too should be regarded as a ‘sexist’ comment according to western rules of equality which has colonized the brains of the world today. The fact that men are physically stronger and larger than women does not negate the existence of women who are physically stronger and larger than many men. Similarly, the fact that men in general possess greater intelligence than women does not negate the existence of women who are intelligent than many men. Many other similar comparative statements could be made, For example, the statement, “Women are better at nurturing and raising children than men.” should also be regarded as ‘sexist’, discriminatory, and giving one gender a higher rank than the other in a particular field.
Although the aforementioned comparative statements may not have been confirmed by the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) we are willing to accept them wholeheartedly since it fits well with our ‘common sense’. Yet we are unwilling to accept the Prophet’s (Allah bless him and grant him peace) explicit statement regarding women’s intelligence.
A concept not conforming with our common sense, influenced by an increasingly degenerate and hedonistic society, should never be the basis on which to reject it. Rather, if any part of the religion, that we believe to have been divinely revealed by our Creator, be it a verse, a Hadith, or a ruling, appears unpalatable to our ever-changing and fluctuating taste-buds, then consider attributing it to a weakness in our Iman and understanding, not to the immutable Divine Law.
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By Shaykh Ashraf Ali Thanwi (rahmatullahi alayhi)
The Degradation AND ruin which ensue in the wake of immorality, shamelessness and all such acts and practices of immorality which introduce and lead to the commission of fornication do not affect only individual persons. The moral, spiritual and mundane destruction flowing in the wake of these evils engulf whole tribes and nations. Entire nations are ruined by the destruction of the moral character of its members. Carnal desires and bestial pleasures were the forerunners to many tumultuous upheavals which had afflicted humanity.
The evils of immorality and the destructive consequences of illicit sexual indulgence have never been disputed by the people of intelligence and decency even if they happen to be kuffaar and mushrikeen. Mankind, since its very inception on earth, has held a unanimous view regarding the ruinous consequences of sexual liberalism. All nations and all religions – even baatil religions – share in this common opinion. A divergent view has emerged only in this belated age of modernity and material progress which bears testimony to the calamity of spiritual retrogression.
It is only in this last of eras – aakhiruz zamaan – that the evil and contemptibility of immorality have left the minds of numerous people. People have become absolutely desensitized in this regard and no longer view sexual libertinism and illicit association between the sexes as evil. Whole nations reeling under the impact of the onslaught of Western libertinism have banished all shame and decency from their minds and hearts. The libertine culture of the West with its total advocacy of sexual mingling and illicit sexual relationships has ripped the veil of hayaa (shame and modesty), honour and purity from most nations. Undoubtedly, the promiscuous and carnal culture of the modern West has taken a disastrous grip on the minds of the majority of those who had the misfortune of being its cultural and educational slaves and students.
The modern culture of the West in relation to morality, spirituality and purity of character is indeed an aberration. There never existed a people or a culture given up so extensively and intensively to such a wide range of immoral acts of perversion. The history of mankind has had its share of evil communities, but the present culture of Western modernity excels in immorality. There has never been a people so perverse, so licentious, so immoral as Western man. Sexual libertinism and acts of sexual immorality have been accorded respectability and are considered virtues of the material cult of the West. The whole outlook of Western man is permeated with this attitude of licentious immorality. Evil and immorality existed in piecemeal among nations and communities of bygone times, but they are found conglomerate and intensified in Western civilization. Alas! Muslims too have fallen by the wayside and have allowed themselves to be scooped up and cast into the cauldron of Western libertinism. May Allah Ta’ala come to our rescue.
The lifestyles of Westernism which we have accepted as our way of life have been designed to introduce immorality at every step of life. Shame and honour are not ingredients in a Western way of life. Shame have been utterly annihilated by Western civilization, by its obsession with illicit sex and emphasis on self- exhibition. Muslims too are increasingly banishing their hayaa which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said is an integral part of Imaan. Exposure and exhibition of the female body are the greatest acts of “art” offered by Western civilization. All spheres of Western life are dominated by such exhibitionism.
Indeed, the sexual exhibitionism offered by Western culture in degree of degradation is worse than the “displays of the times of jaahiliyyah” mentioned in the Qur’aan Shareef in regard to the displays of lewd women of former times. In former times of ignorance female exhibitionism was considered evil and disgraceful, but in the modern culture of the West such public displays of female bodies as are in vogue in our day are regarded as virtues and acts of artistic development. The sad fact is that Muslims too consider such revolting displays of immorality as progress and worthy of emulation.
Islam imposes a host of restrictions and prohibitions on mankind in order to keep human beings within the confines of humanity by upholding their morality and spiritual values. All acts, practices and attitudes which lead towards fornication and perversion are banned in Islam. The attitude of Islam in this regard is to prevent man from plunging into the abyss of immorality which destroys his moral fibre and reduces him to levels below that of even beasts. All things which direct man towards the boundaries of immorality are prohibited in Islam. The sum total of the Islamic measures ordained by Allah Ta’ala for man’s moral and spiritual preservation and progress is called Hijaab or Purdah.
Westernism has diligently pursued the tasks of destroying the mantle of Hijaab which Allah Ta’ala has ordained for the protection of the moral fibre of mankind. The pernicious motive underlining the destruction of Hijaab (purdah) is to drive women into the amphitheatres of the inordinate lustful desires of the bestial nafs. The onslaught against Islamic Hijaab was initiated by the Western kuffaar, but today, the vile task of pillaging and plundering modesty and shame has been inherited by modernist Muslims who have lost themselves in the drunken stupour of the libertine ways of Westernism. Since the purpose of Hijaab is to guard the spiritual and moral purity of mankind, Islam has closed all avenues which lead to fornication and moral corruption. Without any doubt discarding Hijaab leads to immorality. Among the initial steps towards fornication is to discard Hijaab. The Shariah prohibits not only the ultimate evil of fornication but all ways and means leading to this abomination are forbidden by the Qur’aan Shareef Hence, Allah Ta’ala declares:
“Do not approach near to fornication”
The Qur’aan Shareef makes mention of “the exhibitions of the former times of ignorance”. Muslim women are warned by the Qur’aan Shareef not to make such evil displays of themselves. The exhibitions of ignorance mentioned in the Qur’aan refers to the lewd and immoral ways of evil women of former times. Such evil displays by women of former times were not the practices of respectable women among the decent Arab families even during the days of jaahiliyyah. The shameless displays of jaahiliyyah referred to in the Qur’aan were the devices of slave-girls and prostitutes and of women with loose morals. It never was the custom of respectable ladies among the pre-Islam Arabs to intermingle with men. The history of the Arabs bear testimony on this fact.
Not only among the respectable Arabs of pre-Islam but even among the Hindus, Bhuddists and other kuffaar of Asia as well as of Europe, intermingling of sexes was not advocated nor practiced by ladies of honour and shame. Shame and respect are natural qualities in human beings. These qualities exist in greater measure in women. The West has abandoned its original culture which they too had inherited from Ambiyaa (Prophets) alayhimus salaam. They have adopted a culture introduced by the nafs and shaitaan. Their bestial culture has for its salient feature free intermingling of the sexes and immorality which started off with the destruction of Hijaab which also was a custom which Christians had initially obtained from Ambiyaa alayhimus salaam.
The evil which set in the wake of promiscuous intermingling of the sexes has already taken its toll of the Muslim nation, the world over. Then abandonment of hijaab has imposed the libertine ways of the West on them. Without a high degree of morality and spirituality, the Muslim nation can never progress. The Muslim Ummah is basically and essentially a spiritual Nation in which the Rooh is supposed to dominate. In the acceptance of Western libertine ways – in the destruction of Hijaab – the bestial nafs has overwhelmed the celestial Soul and the Muslim Ummah is wallowing in a quagmire of corruption and degradation from which it can never extricate itself long as it plods the path of Westernization. Our moral fibre has been destroyed by the brutal onslaught of immorality which was unleashed by the abandonment of Hijaab.
Hijaab has been abandoned to such a degree that it now seems alien to Muslims. The propaganda of the kuffaar and then modernist Muslim votaries has led ignorant Muslims to believe that Hijaab is not of Islam in spite of the fact that Purdah is an inseparable part of Islam not only of Islam, but of mankind. Therefore, the task to revive this custom of Islam is not simple. Even Ulama – those Ulama whose belief is correct in regard to Hijaab – have in practical life abandoned Hijaab. They too have fallen in the path of modernity and have adopted a stance of acquiescence to the norms and ways of the libertine Western culture. Reviving Hijaab in our day is therefore an ibaadat of the highest merit. Although it may be difficult to revive, the thawaab is tremendous for Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said
” He who adheres to my Sunnah at a time when my Ummah has become corrupt will obtain the thawaab of a hundred martyrs”.
The thawaab and Divine Pleasure for reviving Hijaab are colossal because in the words of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) :
“There will soon dawn an age when the one who holds onto the Deen will be like one holding a burning coal”.
It is therefore essential that all Muslims strive to revive the suppressed practice of Hijaab in whatever measure is possible. If total Hijaab is not possible immediately, at least partial Hijaab should be instituted. Hijaab in whatever degree possible should be introduced and then constantly improved on until Hijaab is attained. If full Hijaab cannot be introduced due to circumstances and weaknesses, it does not follow that we should resort to total abandonment of this command of Allah Ta’ala. Strive and make dua, Allah will aid, for He declares in the Qur’aan Shareef:
“Those who strive in Our way most assuredly. “We shall guide them along our
Ways (which lead to our home Jannat)
Allah is the One Who grants taufeeq and Hidaayah.
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……DO NOT ATTEMPT TO BE SOMETHING YOU ARE NOT
A Woman’s Reflection on Leading Prayer
(Written by a sister)”
On March 18, 2005, Amina Wadud led the first female-led jum`ah (Friday) prayer. On that day, women took a huge step towards being more like men. But did we come closer to actualizing our God-given liberation?
I don’t think so.
What we so often forget is that God has honored the woman by giving her value in relation to God—not in relation to men. But as Western feminism erases God from the scene, there is no standard left—except men. As a result, the Western feminist is forced to find her value in relation to a man. And in so doing, she has accepted a faulty assumption. She has accepted that man is the standard, and thus a woman can never be a full human being until she becomes just like a man.
When a man cut his hair short, she wanted to cut her hair short. When a man joined the army, she wanted to join the army. She wanted these things for no other reason than because the “standard” had it.
What she didn’t recognize was that God dignifies both men and women in their distinctiveness – not their sameness. And on March 18, Muslim women made the very same mistake.
For 1400 years there has been a consensus of the scholars that men are to lead prayer. As a Muslim woman, why does this matter? The one who leads prayer is not spiritually superior in any way. Something is not better just because a man does it. And leading prayer is not better, just because it’s leading. Had it been the role of women or had it been more divine, why wouldn’t the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) have asked Ayesha or Khadija, or Fatima—the greatest women of all time—to lead? These women were promised heaven—and yet they never led prayer.
But now, for the first time in 1400 years, we look at a man leading prayer and we think, “That’s not fair.” We think so although God has given no special privilege to the one who leads. The imam is no higher in the eyes of God than the one who prays behind.
On the other hand, only a woman can be a mother. And God has given special privilege to a mother. The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) taught us that heaven lies at the feet of mothers. But no matter what a man does he can never be a mother. So why is that not unfair?
When asked, “Who is most deserving of our kind treatment?” the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) replied, “Your mother” three times before saying “your father” only once. Is that sexist? No matter what a man does he will never be able to have the status of a mother.
And yet, even when God honors us with something uniquely feminine, we are too busy trying to find our worth in reference to men to value it—or even notice. We, too, have accepted men as the standard; so anything uniquely feminine is, by definition, inferior. Being sensitive is an insult, becoming a mother—a degradation. In the battle between stoic rationality (considered masculine) and selfless compassion (considered feminine), rationality reigns supreme.
As soon as we accept that everything a man has and does is better, all that follows is a knee-jerk reaction: if men have it, we want it too. If men pray in the front rows, we assume this is better, so we want to pray in the front rows too. If men lead prayer, we assume the imam is closer to God, so we want to lead prayer too. Somewhere along the line we’ve accepted the notion that having a position of worldly leadership is some indication of one’s position with God.
A Muslim woman does not need to degrade herself in this way. She has God as a standard. She has God to give her value; she doesn’t need a man.
In fact, in our crusade to follow men, we as women never even stopped to examine the possibility that what we have is better for us. In some cases we even gave up what was higher only to be like men.
Fifty years ago, society told us that men were superior because they left the home to work in factories. We were mothers. And yet, we were told that it was women’s liberation to abandon the raising of another human being in order to work on a machine. We accepted that working in a factory was superior to raising the foundation of society—just because a man did it.
Then, after working, we were expected to be superhuman—the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect homemaker—and have the perfect career. And while there is nothing wrong, by definition, with a woman having a career, we soon came to realize what we had sacrificed by blindly mimicking men. We watched as our children became strangers and soon recognized the privilege we’d given up.
And so only now—given the choice—women in the West are choosing to stay home to raise their children. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, only 31 percent of mothers with babies, and 18 percent of mothers with two or more children, are working full-time. And of those working mothers, a survey conducted by Parenting Magazine in 2000, found that 93% of them say they would rather be at home with their kids, but are compelled to work due to ‘financial obligations.’ These ‘obligations’ are imposed on women by the gender sameness of the modern West, and removed from women by the gender distinctiveness of Islam.
It took women in the West almost a century of experimentation to realize a privilege given to Muslim women 1400 years ago.
Given my privilege as a woman, I only degrade myself by trying to be something I’m not – and in all honesty – don’t want to be: a man. As women, we will never reach true liberation until we stop trying to mimic men, and value the beauty in our own God-given distinctiveness.
If given a choice between stoic justice and compassion, I choose compassion. And if given a choice between worldly leadership and heaven at my feet—I choose heaven.
May the blessings of Almighty Allah be on you
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Man’s guardianship is essential for peace and order
Not giving women their due rights was ranked as injustice, oppression, stinginess and villainy which was erased by Islam. Similarly, leaving them to go their way with an unbridled liberty from the guardianship and care of men, and to make them earn their own sustenance and life support amounts to wasting her rights and destroying her genius. Neither does she deserve that fate in view of her physique nor does that great mission of bringing up children and the charge of family management, which has been naturally entrusted to her, deserve it. In addition to that, women are, when deprived of the guardianship and care of men, a great danger for the whole human society, a situation that is bound to create all sorts of disturbances, including riots and bloodshed, as a matter of daily routine. That is why the noble Qur’an, while stating the mandatory rights of women, also declared that is, men are a step above women which, in still other words, amounts to saying that men are responsible for them as their caretakers.
As it was in the first age of ignorance before Islam, all nations of the world, by keeping women as a household item or a dumb animal, had fallen prey to this mistake. So it came to pass that, following Islam’s age of decadence, there started a later age of ignorance. Here the first mistake is being matched by yet another mistake, as a reaction in the opposite direction, when efforts are being made continuously to get rid of even this much degree of precedence men have over women. As a result, obscenity and shamelessness became common, the world became a home of conflicts and disorder, and bloodshed became so cheap that the first age of ignorance remained no match anymore. There is an Arab saying: which means: The ignorant man never stays on moderation. If he decides to stay from acting excessively, he slides into a behaviour of neglect.
This is the prevailing attitude in the world of today. There was that time when they were not even prepared to call or understand women as a member of the human race. Now they have advanced to the limit that the ‘yoke’ of man’s guardianship and caretaking of women, which is perfectly wise and suitable universally for men, and women, is being thrown away, the ill consequences of which are becoming visible everyday. And believe it, unless they bow down before this noble statement of the Qur’an, such disorders will go on increasing day by day. Governments today make new laws incessantly to bring peace into the world. New institutions are established for this purpose. Millions are spent but the source of disorders goes unnoticed by them. If a Commission of Inquiry was to be established to determine the causes of disorder, bloodshed and internecine wars, it is likely that the cause of more than fifty percent of such crimes will turn out to be woman and her unbridled freedom. But, in the contemporary world, the prevailing pursuit of desires has confounded even the best of minds. No corrective check against the worship of desires is even entertained.
May Allah Almighty enlighten our hearts with the light of faith and help us act according to the guidance given in His Book and in the conduct of the Holy Prophet because that is our blessed capital both in in this world and in the Hereafter.
A Conflict and its Resolution – We find out from this verse that the Qur’an tells the husband and wife about duties assigned to each, whereby men have been placed under obligation to give women their rights, in the same manner as women have been placed under obligation to give men their rights. This indicates that each party should watch out on the fulfillment of its respective duties rather than go after demanding rights. And should they succeed in doing so, the very issue of demanding rights will cease to exist, because the duties of men are the rights of women and the duties of women are the rights of men. When duties are taken care of, rights will be automatically fulfilled. These days the root of all troubles lies in the attitude of people who are alert to their rights but negligent of their duties. As a result, rights are demanded on a war footing as is evident from the current confrontation between governments and masses, husbands and wives and between other authorities and their challengers. This indicator of the Qur’an has modified the confrontational aspect of the issue by stressing that everyone should make all possible effort to fulfil his or her duties and when it comes to his or her own rights try to overlook any infringements gently, forego and forgive. If this teaching of the Qur’an could become common universal practice, homes, families, even countries and governments will find that most of their conflicts have been resolved for good.
Man’s higher position over woman is for discipline only
A universal system in the world, the human nature and the best interests of women themselves required that men be not only given a particular sort of controlling and care-taking right over women, but that it be rather made incumbent on them. This is what has been stated in the verse : ‘Men stand care-takers of women.’ But, this does not necessarily entail that all men are superior to all women because being superior in the sight of Allah wholly depends on belief and good conduct. In Divine dispension, the increase or decrease in degrees operates in synchronization with the degrees of belief and conduct. Therefore, in matters relating to the Hereafter, it is not necessary that men alone should continue to have that step or degree above women. This too is possible and, as elaborated in Qur’anic verses and Hadith narrations, this is what would come to pass – that some women, through their obedience to and worship of Allah, will become superior to many men with their degree of precedence rising higher than many a men.
Although the Holy Qur’an, while describing the injunctions of Shari’ah, according to its own clear stress, declares that men and women are absolutely equal and the injunctions where there is some difference have been expressly explained, but the address is generally to men and the gender used is masculine. This treatment, however, is not peculiar to the noble Qur’an. Governments too, use the masculine gender in their laws fairly commonly, although the law is universally applicable to men and women both. One immediate reason for this is the very difference identified in the verses of the noble Qur’an, that is, for men there is a step above women. The second consideration, perhaps implied here as well, may be that satr (concealment) is better even when there is a discussion about masturat (women: the concealed ones). But, when women realized that the noble Qur’an does not address them directly at various places like it does address men, the venerated mother of the faithful, Sayyidah Umm Salmah pointed this out to the Holy Prophet and thereupon the following verse of the Surah Al-Ahzab was revealed: “Submitting men and submitting women, believing men and believing women, obedient men and obedient women …” (This appears in details in Nasa’i, Musnad Ahmad and Tafsir Ibn Jarir etc.) where women were clearly and expressly identified along with men which implies that the status of women is no less than men in obedience to Allah and in His worship, in being near Him and His approval, and in the ranks of Paradise.
According to a report in Tafsir Ibn Kathir, some Muslim women came to the the blessed wives of the Holy Prophet and asked about the general absence of any mention of Muslim women in the Holy Qur’an, while it does mention men at several places, and also refers to the blessed wives of the Holy Prophet , from among women. Thereupon, the verse referred to above was revealed. To sum up, it can be said that a certain measure of precedence and authority in regulating the affairs of worldly life is for the good of women and that wisdom so dictates. Other than that, there is no difference in the reward and retribution for deeds, good or bad, and in the degree of merit attained in the Hereafter.The same subject appears in the noble Qur’an with much more clarity in the following manner: “And whosoever male or female, does a righteous deed, while he (or she) is a believer, we shall assuredly get him (or her) to live a goodly life.” (16:97)
After these preliminary remarks let’s ponder over the words of the original verse under discussion. It was said: “And women have rights similar to what they owe” that is, their rights are incumbent upon men similarly as the rights of men are incumbent upon them. Here the rights of women were mentioned before the rights of men, one reason for which is that man after all, given his physical power and God-given precedence, manages to wrest his rights from women anyway. The concern should be for the rights of women since they cannot habitually wrest their rights by force. There is yet another hint here which suggests that men should take the first step to give the rights of women. However, the similarity and equivalency declared by the use of the word mithl (like, similar) in the text here could just never mean that the kind of job men do should also be done by women, or vice versa, because the distribution of work and respective duties for men and women are naturally different. In fact, it means that it is obligatory that rights belonging to both be observed equally and mutually and that the punishment for any negligence or shortcoming be also equal.
It is worth observing at this point how the noble Qur’an has, in a sentence so small, miniaturized a whole roster of rights and duties since all rights women have over men and all rights men have over women are included under the sense of this verse. (Muhit) Simply by adding one more word (bi l’ma’ruf: justly, uprightly, kindly, courteously, according to the practice approved by the Shari’ah, or simply – “as recognized”, a closer expression used in the accompanying translation of the verse) the possible occurrence of mutual controversies was eliminated. It was established that rights should be given using the ma’ruf method because the meaning of ma’ruf includes that which is neither prohibited nor impermissible under the dictates of the Shari’ah nor does it have any element of hardship or excess under common habit or custom or ‘urf. The purport is that observing the routine of legal provisions is not enough, instead, it will be examined that, according to ‘urf or customarily approved practice, the other party does not in any case suffer from pain or loss. That which is judged to be a source of pain and loss, in view of ‘urf, will be forbidden and remain impermissible, for instance, coldness, indifference or such behaviour or conduct which causes pain. These can hardly be covered under an article of law but the word bi l’ma’ruf does encompass them. After that it was said: ‘Though for men there is a step above them.’ The well-known meaning and sense of this verse is that despite the rights of the parties being equal, Allah Almighty has bestowed upon men a certain degree of precedence and authority over women. That there is great wisdom in doing so has been hinted at by the use of the words “And Allah is Mighty, Wise” towards the end of the verse. Giving the meaning of this sentence, Sayyidna ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas has added that Allah Almighty has given men a degree of precedence as compared to women, therefore they should act with much more forbearance. Even if women fall short of giving them their rights, the degree of their precedence is such that they should bear by it, be patient and do nothing to desist from giving them their rights. (Qurtubi)”
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By Khalid Baig
In April President Clinton gathered an army of former presidents, state governors, city mayors and hundreds of prominent people from all 50 states to address one of the most pressing problems facing America today. He brought former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin Powell, to lead this army. Their task: Solve the problem of 15 million young Americans who are considered at-risk youth. “They are at risk of growing up unskilled, unlearned, or, even worse, unloved,” said Powell, who was appointed chairman of President’s Summit for America’s Future. The problem has “the potential to explode our society,” he warned.
He was not exaggerating. 15 million in a total population of about 60 million youth is a huge number. Mostly they come from dysfunctional families and fall victims to the “pathologies and poisons of the street.” Every year 3.4 million of them try drugs. Half a million attempt suicide. A lot of them will drop out of high school and will be functionally illiterate in a country with free universal education. Their sexual mores differ little from those of breeding horses (70% have done it before the age of 17). Recently a prominent lawyer and writer, Alan Dershowitz, suggested reducing the age of consent to 15. (Marriage at that age will, of course, remain illegal). Violent crimes committed by these youngsters have become such a problem that in May the Congress passed the Juvenile Crime bill that allows people as young as 13 to be treated as adults in the criminal justice system.
What is Powell’s solution for this daunting problem? He will find mentors — adult volunteers who will take care of these children. But what happened to their own parents? They were not killed in a war, or by a plague, or some other natural disaster. Their problem is self-inflicted. Mothers left the home to “realize their full potential” on the factory floor, in the show room, or in the office. A society that belittled the task of home-making lost the home-makers. With the free mixing of men and women in the work place, one thing led to another. The home was destroyed from both ends.
Life is fun. Home-making is dull. Children are a burden. Now 15 million of them are a burden on the society. It remains to be seen how a society, whose members could not take care of their own children, will make them take care of other’s children. But the elite team of American leaders could not bring itself to admitting that the root of the problem has been in the forcing of the women out of the home.
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was a little more candid. In his 1987 book Perestroika, he mentions the “paradoxical result of our sincere and politically justified desire to make women equal with men in everything.” He notes: “women no longer have enough time to perform their everyday duties at home — housework, the upbringing of children and the creation of a family atmosphere. We have discovered that many of our problems — in children’s and young people’s behavior, in our morals, culture and in production — are partially caused by the weakening of family ties and slack attitude to family responsibilities.” Hence the question: “what we should do to make it possible for women to return to their purely womanly mission?”
Well, Gorbachev (and the world), listen to the best Teacher and Guide for humanity, Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. He elevated the women from their status as chattel to the dignity of being equal servants of Allah with men. Yet their status in society was not conditioned upon entering man’s world. Their most important task is to take care of the home and children. “Take care of your home for THAT is your Jihad.” [Musnad Ahmed]. Jihad is the epitome of Islamic life. Declaring home-making as Jihad for women is giving it the highest possible status in an Islamic society.
Not only is it an all-important task, only women are uniquely qualified to do it. It is not by accident that pregnancy and nursing are purely feminine tasks. Allah has given women the special talents and psychological makeup needed to take care of the children. There is no substitute for mother’s milk or mother’s love. No one can extract and bottle motherly compassion. Her patience, kindness, willingness to sacrifice her own comforts, and her natural affinity for children — and the children’s natural affinity for the mother– are the key to successful upbringing of children. A mother understands the children’s problem even when they cannot express it. She can uniquely sense their needs, both physical and emotional. She can satisfy some of these herself. For others, children need the father. But even he needs her insights in discharging his responsibilities in this area. No day care center or nursery can make up for the absence of the mother and father. “What the children need for their upbringing is not a poultry farm,” says Mufti Taqi Usmani.
Mothers are the silent workers who are indispensable for building character of the next generation. A believing mother who understands the crucial nature of her responsibility, will imbue her children with faith and moral values, as only she can. She will raise children with courage, honesty, truthfulness, patience and perseverance, love and kindness, faith and self-confidence. On the other hand, a society without mothers and home-makers will produce at-risk youth.
In a way their role is like that of the archer’s in the battle of Uhud. It looked less important, but was the key to the fate of the entire army. If women hold on to their front, the entire army will succeed. If they leave it for “greater action” elsewhere, everyone will lose.
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(By Khalid Baig)
“You are the best of peoples evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah.” [Al-i-‘Imran 3:110]
Muslims have been given the task to be the witnesses to Truth for the entire mankind and to stand up for what is right. This is a logical consequence of one’s belief and one’s love for humanity. If you know that there is a right path that will lead to eternal success and that all others will lead to the exact opposite, it is natural to let others know about it. But it is also needed for one’s own protection. For we live in a world where each other’s thoughts and acts influence others; when a people stop calling others to the right path, they themselves become the target of their calls to the other paths.
The results of our collective dereliction of responsibility in this matter are all around us to see today. The campaign launched internationally in the name of women’s rights and gender equality, which has recently gained lot of momentum, is one example of this.
Equality is a slick and catchy slogan. But what does equality actually mean? In mathematics if two variables are equal, one can be substituted for the other without changing the result in any way at all. If men and women are equal in this sense, then a woman can do anything a man can do and vice versa. You can substitute one for the other everywhere. Thus a woman can be a truck driver, a coal miner, a prison guard, or what have you. Similarly a man can become Mr. Mom, replacing the mother in taking care of the children.
That such mathematical equality is absurd is manifest to anyone who knows the biological and psychological differences between men and women. Yet this is precisely the direction that the so called gender equality campaign has blindly taken. It aims at replacing the complementary relationship between men and women with a competitive one. The result can only be a social upheaval of unprecedented scale.
Some people in the societies that for centuries refused to consider women as human beings or to give them any rights have gone to one extreme from the other. Islam has nothing to do with such nonsense. When women had no rights in the world, it declared: “And women shall have rights, similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable.” [Al-Baqarah 2:228]. That remains its Command today and forever. Similar rights, not same rights. Equity, not a blind equality. Both men and women are equal in their humanity, in their accountability before Allah, in their responsibility to perform their assigned tasks and be judged based on their performance. But their assigned tasks are not the same. They have been given different capabilities by their Creator and the tasks based on those capabilities. This differentiation is not an error that needs to be corrected. It is the only basis for building a healthy and prosperous society. Islam liberates a woman from the modern tyranny of having to become a man in order to get a sense of self worth and achievement.
If Muslims had done their job, they would be asking for universal rights for women as given by Islam and generally ignored in the world today. Based on our dismal performance, and the current discourse on the subject, that would be quite a revolutionary — and liberating —act. Islam’s universal declaration of women’s rights would include the following:
1. Men and women have been given dignity by their Creator, but forces of immorality and darkness attack it in many ways. A prevalent form of this attack on women is pornography. Pornography is an affront to the respect and honor of women and produces an atmosphere where other crimes against them become possible. In many countries it has become an “industry” and they are exporting this filth to all parts of the world. Newer technologies, especially the Internet have also become mediums of choice for the purveyors of filth, posing a serious threat to morality everywhere. Pornography must be condemned and all trade in porn banned universally in the same way that dangerous drugs are banned.
2. Prostitution must be recognized as a despicable act of exploitation of women. No one who condones it can be taken seriously in their claims to respect women’s rights.
3. It is the responsibility of the husband to provide for the family. Islam has freed the women from this responsibility so she can take care of the home. All efforts to snatch this freedom and economic security from the women and forcing them out of the home into the labor force must be resisted.
4. Homemaking is a very honorable job and a serious responsibility; it is the foundation on which healthy societies can be built. The societies that disrespect homemaking lose the homemakers and result in broken homes as can easily be witnessed in many parts of the world. It should be recognized that the trend to belittle the task of homemaking is anti-family and anti-society and must be curbed.
5. It is a Muslim woman’s right to dress modestly, wear hijab, and refuse to be put on display. This right must be accepted universally and any effort to restrict this right must be recognized for what it is: Religious discrimination and/or persecution.
6. There is only one legitimate form of the family, that created by the union between a man and woman as provided in all revealed religions. Any other form is not only immoral, it poses a serious threat to the humanity.
7. Families should be protected from outside intrusion, especially intrusion by governments as much as possible. This also includes intrusion in the name of help. For resolution of family disputes, Islam suggests a three phase procedure.
A) Resolve the conflict within the home.
B) Resolve it within the family be involving elders from the families of husband and wife.
C) As a last resort resolve it through courts of law.
There is great wisdom in this approach. Sayyidna Umar, Radi-Allahu unhu, said in a directive to the qadis: “Refer the family disputes to the families (so they can resolve them within the family with the help of elders), for the judge’s verdicts create hatred and malice.” Ignoring this scheme can only hurt the families that this new plan purports to help.
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