REFLECTIONS

Website: www.ummah.com/reflections

Quarterly: Issue No 22

Rabi-us-Saani 1423

 

WOMEN IN ISLAM

 

All praise is due to Allah, Glorified be His Name, and blessings be upon His beloved Messenger Muhammad, his family and all his companions. Ameen.

 

In present times, there has begun a revolt of women against traditional Islamic law.  This segment of modernized Muslim society cannot understand the teachings of the Shari'ah on the issue of women’s rights, simply because it uses as criteria categories borrowed from the modern West. It is the patriarchal nature of Islam, in which the man functions as the leader that makes the reaction of modernized Muslim women today so vehement. These women are being used by the West and the kuffar to such an extent that it has now become topic in TV forum and debates. Islamic Law is being played and mocked in this way at the hands of the kuffar.

 

From the Islamic point of view, the question of equality of men and women is meaningless. Each has its own characteristics. Women are not equal to men. But then neither are men equal to women. Islam envisages their roles in society not as competing but as complementary. Each has certain duties and functions in accordance with his or her nature and constitution.

 

In all the 114 chapters of the Qur’an, not one chapter is dedicated entirely to men. However, the Qur’an contains one chapter - the fourth chapter - which is not only called The Women (An-Nisaa) but also concerns itself with women’s rights and their family life. The first verse of this chapter (surah) emphasizes the essential similarity and equal value of man and woman.  Allah, the Most High, Says:

O MANKIND! FEAR ALLAH YOUR LORD WHO CREATED YOU FROM A SINGLE BEING (NAFS); AND CREATED, OUT OF IT, ITS MATE, AND FROM THEM TWO SCATTERED COUNTLESS MEN AND WOMEN …

 

The Qur’an applies to men and women equally. According to the Qur’an, both sexes share a common fate, and are subject to the same existential conditions with the same power and determination. Can Islam then justify regulations and laws which are hostile to women?

 

Without any doubt, women played a major role in the life of Rasoolullah (SAW) and were held in high esteem. How then can the teachings and message of this Great Prophet ever be hostile to women? How can one ever think of a woman in Islam to be one who is prevented from developing, to be chained to the kitchen sink, and to be stifled and enslaved?

 

In Islam, a woman is not equal to a man. Let us look at some, but specifically Islamic aspects of the status of women in Islam.

 

MARRIAGE

A Muslim female may only marry a Muslim male, but the Qur’an allows Muslim males to marry CHASTE Christian or Jewish females (Al-Qur’an 5:5).  This is the result of the Islamic marriage constitution in which the father is responsible for decisions regarding the upbringing of the children. Thus, a Muslim woman would not be able to prevent her Christian husband from bringing up her children in the Christian faith.

A Muslim woman may only marry one man, whilst a Muslim man is allowed to practise polygamy with up to four women (Al-Qur’an 4:3) under certain exceptional conditions. Amongst other things, this regulation lays down the basis for the establishment of the father of a child. Polygamy of a Muslim man can only be justified if there is a need for it on the part of the woman and that she is psychologically open to the idea. Polygamy may also be applied in cases where the loss of men, as after a war, is so great that large numbers of young women would not have a chance of a marriage without polygamy. It is also conceivable that a woman dying of cancer should want a second woman in the household. This may be required to take care of the household, to become accustomed to the children and protect the family as a unit. Polygamy should therefore not be regarded as "unexceptionally immoral". It would not only be irresponsible, but also short-sighted to dismiss the Islamic institution of polygamy as such.

 

DIVORCE

Marriages sometimes have to face the problem of what to do when marriage partners disagree on certain points. According to Islamic Law, either one of the two partners is generally given the greater decision-making power. This is the Islamic solution. On issues which concern the running of the family, Islam has opted dearly in favour of the husband and therefore as a rule gives him the casting vote. Allah says: AND THE MEN ARE A DEGREE ABOVE (WOMEN). (Al-Qur’an 2:228 4:34). Though divorce is regarded as the most detestable of all actions allowed by Allah, it nevertheless remains permissible as a necessary escape valve. This may become necessary in situations from which there is no other way out. Divorce, however, is available for both marriage partners, the only difference lies in the procedures. Divorce initiated by the man (talaaq) is easier from the legal point of view, since with the divorce he forfeits the gift he gave his wife after their marriage. If the wife were also able to leave the marriage so easily, it could encourage the misappropriation of the marriage gift. For this reason, an Islamic Judiciary must decide on a divorce initiated by a woman (khul).

 

INHERITANCE LAW

The Quranic Law of Inheritance regulates the rights of men and women in relation to their parents (Al-Qur’an 4:7), with the sister only inheriting half of her brother's inheritance (Al-Qur’an 4:11). The rationale behind this is

the duty of male heirs to take sole responsibility for the maintenance of the entire family. Thus, unequal responsibilities lead to unequal claims.

 

TESTIMONY

Muslim women are not treated equally as men when they appear as witnesses before a court of law. As a rule, Islamic Law demands that a fact should be corroborated by the statement of two male witnesses, but the evidence of two women is equal to that of one man (Al-Qur’an 2:282). The reason for this is because there are some days on which women may possibly perceive things less reliably than on other days.

 

DRESSING

The Islamic requirements for dressing of Muslim women are in fact an expression of a strictness of morals and sexuality. This is never understood by our western-orientated modernized Muslims. For true believers (Mu'minoon), sexuality is not something to be displayed on the streets. To westernized Muslims, this is old-fashioned Islam, of which Islam is proud of. Westernized women have become sex objects through a gradual process of undressing. As a result, they are under constant pressure to dress more attractively.  The Muslim woman in a westernized society, who wears a headscarf or a veil (hijaab) out of obedience to Allah (Al-Qur’an 33:53 and 59 ; Al-Qur’an 24:31) is really seeking for peace.  She is trying to re-establish her dignity as a woman. What she is really implying is that she is a wife who reserves herself for her husband, and do not want to appear as if she is still available for marriage and sex.  In short, the Muslim woman with a headscarf is saying to her westernized society: please look at my face, not at my legs.

 

The above are some specific Islamic laws and regulations for women which do not stand in their way of future progress and development.  Islam confronts the so-called MODERN world with its "anything goes" mentality with a seriously intended counter-plan based on timeless facts.  These include the facts that:

- a woman is biologically and therefore physically different from man

- the happiness of a man and a woman as partners is rooted in their polarity

- adult love can only find the ideal conditions for development in the marriage of partners

- unfettered sex, which has become an obsession, can be destructive for the individual and for society.

 

In short, Islam takes into account the objective differences in roles between man and woman.  Man and woman have the same worth, but different tasks. They are of the same value, but have different abilities.  Men and women are equal before Allah, but they have different roles in life.  Whether or not this is "modern" plays no part in a Muslim's judgement.  Islam is not a fashion movement.

 

It must therefore be admitted that pure imitation of man is not the right way of liberating women. This is already being admitted by certain western scholars themselves.  Discussions on this point have already begun in Europe and America. For example, read the book, A Lesser Life: The Myth of Women's Liberation in America, by Sylvia Anne Hewlett.

 

Let us therefore not be misled by the West and the kuffar.  How can a Muslim ever challenge and debate the Laws of Allah as contained in the Holy Qur’an?  Let us not be fooled by some westernized Muslim ‘scholars’ who have become slaves of the Modern West.  No one has any legislative power or authority to change Islamic Law.  For a believer, no government law or constitution will change his faith in the laws of Allah and His beloved Messenger Muhammad.  Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

 

May Allah guide us all onto the path of the Qur’an and Sunnah.  Let us live our lives according to the teachings contained therein, and let us die not but in the state of Islam.  Ameen.

 

THE MOCKING TONGUE

 

Allah is disobeyed mostly with our tongues. There is a sin that sweeps amongst us, a sin that many take lightly, a sin that is laughed at, a sin that could very well put us into Jahannam: It is the sin of insulting others.

Read carefully what Allah commands us in the following verse. It is a commandment of Allah that begins with a call to those who claim to have Imaan.  Allah Ta’ala says in the Glorious Qur’an (49:11):

O BELIEVERS!  LET NOT SOME MEN AMONG YOU LAUGH AT OTHERS:  IT MAY BE THAT THE (LATTER) ARE BETTER THAN THE (FORMER):  NOR LET SOME WOMEN LAUGH AT OTHERS:  IT MAY BE THAT THE (LATTER) IS BETTER THAN THE (FORMER):  NOR DEFAME NOR BE SARCASTIC TO EACH OTHER, NOR CALL EACH OTHER BY NICKNAMES.  WRETCHED IS THE NAME OF DISOBEDIENCE AFTER ONE’S FAITH.  AND WHOEVER DOES NOT REPENT ARE THE WRONGDOERS. 

 

Perhaps the one that is being made fun of is more beloved to Allah.  Subhaan Allah, let us remember this if we ever try to make fun of someone, perhaps Allah loves them and does not love us.  Didn’t the Mushrikeen mock at our beloved Prophet Muhammad – Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam – and we know Allah loved him and not them.  Did not the Munaafiqeen make fun of the Sahaabah – and we know Allah loved the Sahaabah and not them. 

 

Rasoolullah – Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam – said, Verily a person will speak words from those that Allah hates, paying no heed to what he is saying, and with those words he will plummet into hellfire. – Sahih Al-Bukhari.

 

There are different reasons why a person would want to insult, make fun of and ridicule others:

Firstly: They may have weak Imaan and their fear of Allah in their hearts is very poor or almost non-existent. This is one of the major reasons.

Secondly: They spend a lot of their time in gatherings that bring no benefit.

Thirdly: They themselves may want others to praise them.  Sadly, when a student or a community member that insults others, often it is they that want to be the ‘cool’ one.  How can they be ‘cool’ if they are doing something that Allah and His Messenger hate?

Fourthly: They forget the punishment for those that make fun of others.

Fifthly: Those that make fun of others may do so out of love for the Kuffaar and a love to imitate them. How many times do we see the comedians mocking people and everyone else laughing? Indeed, mocking and insulting others is a characteristic of Jaahiliyyah and Kufr, and it is never a characteristic of a believer.

Allah Ta’ala shows us in Surah Al-Mutaffifeen (83:29,30) how this characteristic of mocking and laughing at others is a characteristic of the Kuffaar:  

INDEED  THOSE IN SIN USED TO LAUGH AT THOSE WHO BELIEVED.  AND WHENEVER THEY PASSED BY THEM, USED TO WINK AT EACH OTHER (IN MOCKERY); AND WHEN THEY RETURNED TO THEIR OWN PEOPLE, THEY WOULD RETURN JESTING.

 

I request your humble du'aas.

 

Abdul Haq Abdul Kadir

Umhlanga Rocks, KZN

South Africa