Channel: Jamal Badawi
In the Name of God, the benevolent the Merciful, the creator and Sustainer of the universe, peace and blessings upon the servant and messenger Muhammad forever. I mean, I bear witness that there was no God worthy of worship except the one true God. And I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger and slave servant of God, I greet you, with our usual greeting on the program, universal readings of peace. It's a reading that has been used by other prophets from Abraham through the prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon them all. Assalamu alaikum, which means peace be unto you. I'm your host, Hamlet Rashid. Today we have our 13th program in our series dealing with the social
system of Islam. And we'll be looking at the position of women in Islam. In a special reference to the spiritual aspect, I have joining me on the program as usual. Dr. Jamal Baddeley, of St. Mary's University, about the demand for money from cinema. Before we go into this discussion of the position of women in Islam, a special reference to the spiritual aspect, I wonder if perhaps I could ask you to go back and very quickly highlight the main points that we touched on in our last program where we did a comparison of the position of women in the Judeo Christian
and Muslim scriptures to what we continued with that
particular area of comparison, by looking into the question of dealing with women in the case of rape, how they are treated, compared both in Islam and according to the Bible, as it appears in the in the book of Deuteronomy, particular chapter 22. We dealt also with the case of a man accusing his wife of committing adultery, as we find in the book of Numbers in chapter five, and what procedures are to be followed, and also with the view of marriage, dowry, divorce, the consent of girls in marriage, which in which we quoted the dictionary of the Bible and encyclopedia biblical, and we indicated that Islam was quite different from those viewers that assumed automatically or almost
automatically that killed a woman.
We move in towards the end of the program to the comparison with the New Testament. And he indicated that it is important even when we look or before we look actually into the new testament to look into the heritage of the old testament to get a better picture and see how things progressed or changed throughout history. We said that as far as Jesus himself a peace be upon him,
there is no recorded statement, at least that I know of which is against women are negative.
But unfortunately, the so called second founder of Christianity, Paul, seem to have repeated again, this Old
Testament type of views about women. We call it particularly the First Timothy, chapter two in the first Corinthians chapter 11. And in Second Corinthians also referred to his various
pronouncements on women that they should keep in silence should not teach and all these kinds of things. And then we have seen that the views of porn did not seem to end with him. In fact, it seemed to have persisted quite for quite some time. We caught it from various famous Fathers of the Church about their attitude towards women, which were very, very negative. Indeed.
If I may add one quick thing also, that even until the 20th century, I think some people may feel that this there's some trace of this attitude. For example, in 1977, the poor decision on the question of ordaining a woman included statements like this, it says the Catholic Church does not consider herself authorized to admit women to priestly ordination and getting the reason he says that priests must have natural resemblance to Christ. If a woman celebrated mass, it would be difficult to see in the minister the image of Christ, which again reflects that, again, the main image of God. And this is the first thing in Islam that a Muslim does not have any male or female
image of God because there is no material image of God in Islam at all. So the continuation of that seem to have been part of history.
Okay, well, we'll turn our attention now to
clustering examination of the position of women in Islam itself. I wonder if perhaps I could begin this program today by asking you to
Share with us your bases basic thesis on the mountainous method. The basic thesis, which I hope would be amply clear, with evidence and documentation from the Quran and the saying of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him is that there is no
religion that I know of philosophy or way of life, past or present, that has dignified woman restored to her her humanity, dignity and rights, more so than a standard,
invades, if there was if there was, if there is a will be at any point of time, or any place any deficiency in the practice of these teachings of Islam on the part of men or women or both. It has nothing to do with the teachings of Islam. It is something that cannot be ingrained, or documented from the scriptures of Islam. It just like saying that if people do not abide by the rule, then the rule is wrong. The opposite is true, the the rule is there, if Muslims, as groups or individuals at any point of time or any place, did not apply those rules, it is their problem, and not the problem of the robot to interpret in terms of teachings of Islamic law, what the Quran and what the saying
of the Prophet, indicate about the position of woman is something that cannot really be superseded by any better or superior view at all, you will see that as you're gone. This has an important implication for Muslim women in the Muslim world today, who are seeking to improve some of the corrupt and improper practices that might be done.
treatment that would not be consistent with the standard law, that for those women, once they understand the nature of Islamic law, then the foundation of their reform calls should really be based on Islam, not other philosophy, or not other way of life, because there is enough in Islamic heritage in Islamic law, to provide the best solution for the problems. Indeed, even for non Muslim women who might be confused. In this whole supermarket of ideas in the conflicting shades of so called liberation and feminism and all that. I think for them, even they might find something interesting, and educational, in the Islamic system.
Dealing with with women,
the topic covers, or could be dealt with from a variety of ways the stretch on human aspects, the rights and position from the economic point of view, social or socio political, as some people might wish to call it. These are on various angles that could be explored in some depth to see whether this thesis extends or not.
Well, perhaps we could follow the basic outline that you've suggested, and begin by clarifying the position of a woman in Islam from the spiritual viewpoint. Okay, one point that was covered in previous programs, I need not to repeat it. To start we're going to talk about the spreadsheet thing that we indicated that woman is not regarded as the one who's responsible for tempting Adam or the blame to be blamed for the first sin.
And the other thing that he discussed about attitude towards verse and cycle and all that, and how that was different. So I'm not going to repeat that since we have already covered it in previous programs. But I'd like to add one more thing before I quote from the Quran as to how women are guided is that up until the sixth century.
In the later parts of the sixth century, some religious conferences were held, including one in Rome, famous one, in which the major topic for discussion was two things.
One, does the woman have a soul? Secondly,
should be should the women be considered as part of human being?
energy and that was a religious conference. Again, that was nothing surprising in view of the attitude that we discussed before about women in the in the Old Testament and the continuation of views.
But after the in the final resolution, it says after long can very heated discussion. The conference with a small majority agreed
to answer both questions positively that yes, woman does have a soul and she's part of human creation, and he is a human being with a slight majority.
In view of this, of course, today, it might sound quite strange that no one would question
or raise an issue as to whether a woman has a soul like humans or not.
Today, it's not strange. But what might be quite interesting
is that in the midst of this kind of views, in the seventh century also the Quran was revealed the Prophet Muhammad shortly after this conference was held less than 30 years old. But
in chapter four in the Quran, first verse,
it says, all mankind, keep your duty to your Lord who created you from a single soul and have same kind
of the same type of same kind of soul he created Smith, putting an end to all questions and arguments that could be raised about the spiritual nature of women, just like men is she is also a creation of God.
And the chapter seven in the Quran verse 189, it repeat the same thing talking about God creating the first mankind was gonna come in has an agenda and from it created its myth that is again of same kind. And when the finances from it, as indicated in a previous program does not necessarily mean from physical rip.
Indeed, there are three verses in the Quran that shows that it is not necessarily used to refer to a rip, because men hair is used there
in the plural, and physical in a plural sense, which does not necessarily two references to that could be found in chapter 42, verse 11, Chapter 16, verse 72, and chapter 30, verse 21, using the plural
The Quran also indicates in 32, nine and 1529, that when God created
the human who breathed into him, of his spirit, and it doesn't say when He created man, the human humankind, which shows that any human being is created by God, and God breathed into that do of his of himself, in a sense, not physically, but in a sense of every human being have the basic spirituality ingrained in his pure innate nature, the knowledge of God no distinction whatsoever between male and female.
examination of the little bit further, is there any explicit explicit indication in the poem that a,
a believing in righteous woman is rewarded in the same way as a believing in marches, man? Absolutely, I give you three, explicit among many other explicit statements that could be found in the Quran about this just for shortness of time. In chapter 74, for example, verse 38.
It establishes the basic rule, that every soul not every man or woman, every soul
wouldn't be held in pledge of its deeds, condemned simply Mecca. savasana, don't say every man, what shows again, that in terms of responsibility before God, there's no distinction between men and women.
Secondly, in chapter three, verse 195, describing the delivery, as the de Belem, Rubbermaid says, In the translation, so, their Lords accepted their prayers, saying, I will not suffer to be lost the work of any of you, whether male or female, you proceed one from another,
absolute equality in this, and they notice the beauty of the expression you proceed one from the other, a woman proceeds from men the sense of the seed, and then proceeds from the woman being endowed. In fact, every man and woman has to go first to the one but of another, which is a sample again, of the significance of the role of motherhood. And the third condition is even more explicit in chapter 16, verse 97, in the Quran.
In the translation again, whoever works righteousness, male or female, this is the texts not between brackets, indicating male or female, and has faith, very new to him, when we give a new life that is good and pure, and we will distort on such very world according to the best of their actions. And like I said, these are only three examples, among many others, which was the absolute spiritual equality between men and women after our Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said, and you sat with him and he said, Chicago region, that women are bad sisters of men. That's the way it's supposed to
be practical manifestations of this spiritual quality in terms of the in terms of religious duties. Are these duties the same for us?
The male and the female. Yes, they are basically the same. There are even some additional concessions even given to women.
Most of the viewers perhaps are familiar with the so called five pillars of Islam. Yes, the testimony of faith, the five regular daily prayers, fasting, or charity, and pilgrimage. And we find that in this fundamental requirements, there is no basic distinction at all between men or women, they are both required to fulfill those deities. And I say basically, because as I indicated earlier, there are some cases where women even are exempt, and are given certain concessions, which are not given to men in consideration of their female nature. Can you give us some clarification as to the nature of these concessions that are granted to the women run, for example, let's take the
five daily prayers,
which is acquired above in the normal circumstances. In the case when the woman is going through their monthly cycle, or when she's recuperating from childbirth, the postnatal confinement
a woman is not required, she shouldn't actually, it goes through these five specific prayers.
The other thing also is during the month of fasting, the obligatory months of fasting in Ramadan,
every Muslim as a basic rule, men or female,
who's able that was health commits, should fast between dawn and sunset and there is no food or drink or matrimonial relationship for that trade. Now, in the case of a woman during the cycle, or during
the postnatal confinement, or even a settling mother, a mother was nursing baby breastfeeding, she may be exempt.
Or actually, she is exempt, I should say from fasting, but she can make up for that fasting. In some other times, she doesn't have to make up for missed prayers, but she must make for the fasting, which was missed in some other time. Another thing is that Jihad are struggling
in on in a broader sense, as indicated before struggle, or Jihad means struggle against even in one sense, even in society, next social injustice, and even in the world, which may be partly engagement in the battlefield to defend the country or to remove journey.
In that case, we find that this could be a requirement for men.
It's actually a collective requirement. But in terms of individual cases, it could be a capacity for men, but it cannot be compulsory for women. And it cannot be drafted, for example, within Islamic teaching against their will, of course.
But there may be some who would suggest that there's a hierarchy here, and least concessions, what would your response be to those who see these concessions as implying, perhaps a lower status for women? And you know, how would you respond to those people would ask, Well, why can't women worship God because of certain natural body functions? What my first reaction to that it's almost like somebody's throwing the gifts in the face of one who get it together. Let me illustrate that. Let's take the question of fasting.
Now, if element fests and she's not taking any food, or fluid in inequity, between dawn and sunset, why he is recuperating, from childbirth, is that really a lower status, or is that attenders consideration of her pain and suffering, just as again, the case of the monthly cycle, which again, affects the body, physiologically, and psychologically also, probably would not be a state where she's really
prepared for that? If a woman is nursing, a baby, and we know that as medical doctors say that she should take lots of liquids to get milk flow, and she doesn't take any liquids for 12, sometimes 16 hours? What kind of treatments would that be? How about the welfare of the child and her own welfare and hit on him? So what what kind of lower status is there in this? The second part is that when people for example, say, Why can't she worship God, who said that she cannot worship God. He said the word worship in Islam or abandon the equivalent roughly means that all actions in your life could be regarded as continuous acts of worship, so long as you're doing it correctly, and you're
doing it within the wind or boundaries that God has set. There is nothing that forbids the woman for example, from doing other acts of charity, like, you know, paying charity to the poor or whatever. But this restrictions or concessions in intense
Prayer or fasting is something that relates more to the requirement and the specific nature of prayers. You see, when we say here in the West prayer, somebody might say supplication like praying to God, oh God, oh Lord, help me in this and that a woman is not prevented in Islam from making this kind of prayer, journal prayers at any time,
whether in the cycle or after childbirth at any time, it doesn't matter. Nor is she prevented even from reciting Quran from memory, if she wants to during this period. But what confuses some people, perhaps is that prayer in Islam.
When we talk about Salah, we're talking about one specific form of prayer which is done five times every day, which has certain prerequisites, evolutions and cleanliness for both men and men, men and women, which requires also certain movements. So in that specific ritual,
the woman is not supposed to do it when she's bleeding for example, and there is an equivalent for men nothing things of bleeding first, but in the case of men, for example, he cannot also perform this ritual prayers
after a matrimonial relationship unless he takes a bath. And the same thing applies to women and applies in addition to the case of cycle or postnatal confinement. But after pleading stops, she can just take a bath and resume and her prayers. In other words, it's, it's more really I insist a
concession meaning rather than
a restriction or when others another contentious area that
is often raised by many non Muslims, or Muslim friends, and this whole question of the ordination of women, many churches now and the general Christian communities are beginning to accept the ordination of women.
How would you respond to somebody who raised this apparent contradiction? Well, the first response is that there is no ordination of men either.
You see, in Islam, there is no concept of church as a sole religious institution that is the source of all directives. And as such, there is no clergy in Islam, there's no church, no clergy in Islam.
And if there is no clarity, then there is no admission. Exactly. There are scholars of course, people who specialize in Islamic Studies, just as people specialize in chemistry or other areas, it could be authorities in the field or could act as religious leaders. Sometimes in the Muslim world, those people might be given different titles in different cultures or places. But essentially, as I said, it is quite different from the common notion understood by church or clergy. So there is no audition for men either.
Secondly, the the question of ordination is irrelevant also. And has nothing to do for example, with the view that was held for too long in the church. And until this time, also, in some, some churches, that element cannot be ordained because she's not the she does not represent the image of God because she's a female, because as we said before, for a Muslim, there is nothing called male or female image of God. But even in the in the western context, or Judeo Christian context, what are the functions of a priest or priestess, if you will,
two things, basically, to conduct rituals, and secondly, to offer services to the community and religious education. Now, in a sense of the first one, the particular rituals, we find that any standard framework, some of those rituals are not so much emphasized in Islam, there are very few things that has to be done in a particular way. So the the ritual does not constitute a major part of Islamic teaching. And secondly,
even in those lectures, like the five special daily prayers, the format of those prayers makes it quite obvious for anyone who is familiar with that, that element, it is not appropriate for a woman actually to need those prayers, considering the format and the nature of those prayers. As far as the second basic function of a priest, male or female, as it enters his teaching, or services to the community of videos, and I know of no restriction, basic restriction. It's all in Islamic law of element being engaged in Islamic education at any time during had life without any question of donation because there's no definition for either male or female. So the question may be applicable
in Judeo Christian context, but in Islam, it is irrelevant. Well, there's another question that grows out of what you've just said. And that is
question on the leading with affairs and so on. Many people who are non Muslims have difficulty with this
situation where women are not permitted to lead prayer. So women, for example, there
are placed in the back position of the of the mosque during the prayers and religious instructions. And some people would argue, Well, look, isn't this second class, second class status? The question is understandable, because sometimes,
unless you put things in the proper context, it may appear. So
the issue was discussed also partly in the series on Pillars of Islam. But just to make cross reference, perhaps it would be good to remind some of the viewers of what you mentioned that you see in the Muslim prayer, it is not just some people sitting and supplicating. It has special moves which involve frustration to the ground, which leaves us with three possibilities either that women should be in front of men barreling up and down in front of them, or
in the same line, and in Islamic prayer, a person should stand shoulder to shoulder and foot the foot. So mixing men and women men and women standing in the line touching each other with this so much body contact, or that woman should be in the back. But obviously in highly structured act like the this Islamic prayers, which involve this motions and closeness and body contact, it would be out of questions and need to have women stand next to men and stick concentrating on their prayers, or stand in front of them and bow down. I suspect women themselves would not prefer to bow down and frustrate to the ground while men are watching behind them. So the ontological place in the back, it
has nothing to do whatsoever with the with the status. It's simply the etiquette and the proper
modesty that is observed or should be observed by both Muslim males and females. So it has nothing to do with the spiritual status at all. One final question to conclude today's program, and that is the
this is a question on AI applicable to Islam, but other religions as well.
The question might be asked, Well, why were all of the profits male?
Does that suggest that religions are male oriented?
Again, to put it in sanctuary state, I cannot answer for other reasons. But in Islamic perspective, first of all, the prophet is not selected does not select himself are not selected by people. So there is no question of male or female bias is selected by God. And God is neither male nor female, and has no interest in siding with one sex or the other. Secondly, the prophet, at least as understood in Islam, is not just a person who has the gift of prophecy, because there is nothing that says only men can have the gift of prophecy, or God inspiring them to see things that may happen in the future, it could happen to men and women. But in Islamic context, a prophet has a very
important responsibility beyond just prophecy. And that is to
strive against evil in society, to always mix with people and going public and face all kinds of hurt. And opposition, as we know from the history of the prophets. He is also an emitter of the believers in the not on the rituals, which we described, again, appropriately in Islamic context should be led by men not that he's better but because of the nature of physical contact.
He leaves the believers in that confrontation against the enemies like we find in the case of prophets, Moses and G and Hamlet, basically upon them, even sometimes in a battlefield or semi battlefield.
giving this functions and jetties of a prophet
as you know, it would not be
quite easy for a woman to perform this job. Imagine, for example, a woman who's pregnant,
inviting some unbelievers onto the face and disturb stoning her as they did to Prophet Muhammad, for example, peace be upon him when he went to the city of authority when his feet was bleeding. So suppose you have a prophetess was pregnant, and she's subjected to this kind of abuse, in tortious, in treatment, so it's not that she's not qualified or does not have any spiritual qualities, as fine as men's, but it's simply because of the nature of hurt and suffering that prophets has to go through that requires and not appropriately, me to go through it. And not every day, by the way, that's next special needs also, with the fortitude to resist and to take on this certain
opposition. Well, we'll have to leave it at that. We want to thank you for being our guest Assalamu alaikum peace beyond you. Join us next week.