Social System of Islam 16 – Position Of Women In Islam Social Aspect
Channel: Jamal Badawi
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In the Name of God, the benevolent the Merciful, the creator and the Sustainer of the universe, peace and blessings upon his servant and messenger Muhammad forever. I mean, I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except the one true God. I bear witness, Muhammad is the messenger and servant of God, I greet you, as is my fashion with the universal readings of peace. This is a greeting that has been used by all of the profits from Abraham to the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon them all. Assalamu Aleikum, which means peace beyond to you? I'm your host Ahmed Rashid. Today we have our 16th program in our series dealing with the social system of Islam. We'll
be talking about the position of women in Islam, particularly with reference to the social aspect. I have joining me on the program as usual. Dr. Jamal betawi of St. Mary's University, brother Jamal Assalamu alaykum sidama
It is our fashion. Could I ask you before we get into today's topic, just to quickly take us back to our last program and highlight the main points that we touched on certain the previous program dealt mainly with the economic rights of the Muslim woman in accordance with the Islamic law. And we said that in Islamic law, a woman had the full right to own property and her own name and to dispose of it in any way or shape that she may prefer, regardless of her marital status. And we said that it took the European laws nearly 1200 years to catch up with the standard law that as earlier the seventh century has established that right, we made reference to the women married women property
act and Britain in 1870, which was the beginning of allowing women to have their independent ownership. The second aspect was the provision in Islam to allow women also a share of inheritance at the time when they themselves were regarded as objects of inheritance. And we discussed also the variations in the share of inheritance, in view of the variations also of the financial responsibility of men and women within standard law, which showed that it is quite equitable and fair.
And we discussed another issue related to economic rights, the question of work whenever it's needed, and we said that there is no provision a standard says work per se is prohibited to a woman in fact, and a standard society assumes that there will be some, at least some women in certain professions like medicine, nursing, teaching and other similar areas, but to simply said that, Islam emphasizes the important role of the woman as a mother and a wife, and that this is not something to be degraded or frowned on. But it is something which is perhaps the most noble careers for any woman to aspire to, from that standard perspective.
We're now turning to today's topic, what was the position of Islam regarding the birth of girls and how did this position vary from the common sentiment that existed before they before Islam, when there is a quite a contrast, rather than having to see the before Islam, the
practice of female infanticide of very good life, I think we made a quick mention to that in a previous occasion, was quite common.
Quran made it clear that this inhuman act is nothing but a murders, just like any other murder.
We didn't have time and a previous occasion to refer to specific documentation of this but in in the Quranic Chapter 81, and passages eight and nine, it reads in the translation. And when that's in the Day of Judgment, when the female infant buried alive is questioned, for what crime she was killed. So the term murders is being used there. But even aside from just stopping and uprooting this inhuman practice, which is them succeeded within a few years to totally eliminate even the cultural bias that existed before
Islam and by the way, it may still exist in some circles even today, of really feeling happy when a son is born and not feeling the same kind of feeling when a girl is born.
The Quran criticized this kind of attitude also undefined, for example,
in the Quran,
dealing with the attitude when people feel grieved when they receive the news of a birth of a baby girl in chapter 16, for example, passages 58 on
it says when the news is brought to one of them, of the birth of a female child, his face darkens and is filled with inward grief, with shame, does he hide himself from his people, because he had the news, which he has had,
shall he return harsh, that's the infant on sufferance and contempt are very harsh, and the dust Ah, what an even judgment they make. So in other words, the attitude of Islam was not only to stop in humanity, in dealing with girls, but even to criticize the attitude of feeling happier with the birth of a boy rather than a girl. So to put it in a very simple term, then Islam regards the curse of both boys and girls as equally a blessing and
gift for me.
Besides the stopping out, the discriminatory treatment of daughters, were there specific expectations, and directors to be kind to females that are flooding our children, right, there are plenty of this. In fact, one of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him as narrated. And
he says that whoever, look after two girls, until they mature, grew up,
he and I would come in the Day of Judgment like this, and he pointed with his fingers, that is,
we will be so close in the day of judgment and paradise as these two fingers are close to each other.
Indeed, there are certain texts, even in the prophetic tradition, which shows that the bias did exist. So it tried to deal and change this negative status quo. For example, in another setting, and arrested also an added, Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him says, Whoever has a daughter,
he did not bury her alive.
And he did not insult her.
And notice this, and he did not say about his son over her, even seven and a son or a daughter, was regarded as wrong, God will enter him into paradise.
The Prophet Muhammad gave in his own example,
in his own life, the practical manifestation of those teachings is extreme kindness and his treatment of his daughters to the point that he once said about his daughter Fatima,
that Fatima is a part of me, her happiness is of my happiness, and her anger or hurt is my heart. So both in terms of words and deeds of the Prophet peace be upon him, he really tried his best, under divine direction, of course, to try and move the society away from this strange ideas on resolving as some people call it the hate hate the female type of, of attitude.
Now, what about the right to education, as the male entitled to education is in the same way as the male according to Islamic law, okay, perhaps you can make a cross reference here to the previous program on the economic rights of a Muslim woman. And it was indicated that, for example, work is permissible in itself, unless there is a good reason why work is not permissible. But per se. There is no text that prohibits women from seeking some type of work, work or job.
Especially there's a necessity for that. One, if that is the case. And if it is true, as we have said before, that in an Islamic Society, it is highly desirable from an Islamic standpoint, to have females and professions like medicine, nursing and teaching to name a few. Because that's more appropriate within Islamic framework. Then how could they acquire those skills unless you know, exactly they have some education and learning, in fact, in the attitude of Islam towards learning, it that it is not simple
Aright, is regarded as an obligation or responsibility. Indeed, and have this directed and by hottie Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him says that seeking knowledge is mandatory. On every Muslim, he uses the term Muslim, in generic sense the same way like use Christian to refer to male and female, Muslim, again male and female, it is a duty and responsibility to seek knowledge. The Quran in numerous
passages in this is not the main topic, but I could have listed too many of them speaks about the status, the higher status that got in dows. On those who are knowledgeable, the same thing has been
mentioned and the sayings of the Prophet, and all of them do not make any distinction between male and female insofar as meeting this responsibility rather than right even to learn.
There's no question about it. Well, now, within the general right or obligation to seek knowledge, are there any specific fields of education which are permissible for girls, while others are not so famous for a muscle? I'm not familiar with any provision in Islamic law anywhere that says that it is unlawful, for example, for women to engage in certain fields and allow it to men, or that this type of work would be absolutely forbidden
to women, or men
in itself, and so just talking in terms of per se, whether these fields relate to the field of knowledge in terms of religious knowledge,
learning about sciences, humanities, or any other field there is nothing in itself that is closed
Indeed, if there is any field of knowledge which is unlawful for women, it is unlawful for men to example of that would be something that was covered. Some time ago, when we were dealing with the Muslim police, for example, learning sorcery, or magic, that is regarded as unlawful in Islam, regardless whether the learners is male, or female. By the same token, even though it's always desirable to seek knowledge, there are certain minimum degree of information and knowledge that each male and female must learn it is absolutely mandatory. Like, for example, learning about fundamental beliefs, devotional acts of worship,
moral teachings, basic guidance in human life and all that, well, in this area of absolute mandatory requirement. Again, they are requirements for both male and female again, there is no distinction.
But it is also fair to say that we can say safely that there are certain fields, which are highly desirable for a woman to engage in, which would help her to perfect her role for which God has created her with the special capability to do things that men otherwise could not do as effectively. For example, in various areas that deals with medicine, and nursing,
home management, with all the various branches that go with it, learning even if she doesn't go to medicine, or nursing minimum aspects about health care, to look after her family and to, you know, watch for the development of her baby, it could be psychology also, incident how to properly upbringing her child, so this areas that help the woman to fulfill what she called before the most novel, and important career that she can play and society would be highly desirable. But other than that, all other fields can be classified in the static terminology as permissible, whether in other sciences or humanities or any other area, so long as it's beneficial, and that there is nothing in
the pursuit of those, or this knowledge. That is against any other provision. In Islamic law. It is implied actually, when you say you need women teachers, is what you need teachers in all fields,
especially in Islamic psyche, what's desirable to have separate schools for girls, for example? So it's implied there was so far we've examined the position of women in Islam as
a daughter, how about the situation of the woman as a as the wife
was his wife? The the way Islam views marriage is that it is basically a partnership. When a person knows he does not get married to neither slave nor to master the
Because all human beings are the servants of God, none of them is a slave or a master of anybody else. That's a basic fundamental ideological orientation of a Muslim, that servitude belongs to God alone.
But it is basically a sort of partnership. The Quran describes marriage very favorably and positively, not as an inevitable evil, far from that, but as a blessing that God has endowed on humanity,
a source of tranquility, peace, mutual love and affection.
And for that reason, we find that Islam requires the consent of both parties to marriage, for the validity of that marriage.
Some of those aspects we can touch on, of course, when he touched on the area of family law in Islam, and how its regulated, there are lots of very important details. But at this point, we can say at least, that in terms of treatment, not only of wives but of women in general, the prophet peace be upon him has been very clear.
And that's simply echoing what the Quran teaches, just to give a sample of his face as narrated and
he says, the most perfect believers
are the best in contracts.
And the best of you are those who are best to their wives.
The best of you are those who are best to the wives.
Like I indicated this around the center, there are tremendous volume of Quranic verses as well as prophetic traditions, which points to the basic notion of full respect, affection and
compassion in the medicine relationship. When I was a mother, are there any special or specific approaches which the Islamic law provides to a woman
when Islam does not forget the woman when she gets old, in fact, this practice of nursing home to the Muslim sounds like a very cruel, inhuman, and from a Muslim point of view and Islamic type of Acts.
Indeed, the Quran ranks compassion and kindness to parents, especially when they're old. Second to the worship of God. Some people might be surprised that if you refer, for example, to chapter 17, in the Quran, passage 23.
When it says, Your Lord has decreed that you worship none, save him. So the question of monotheism comes first, immediately after that, and that you be kind to your parents. But even within the basic framework of kindness to parents, which involves both mother and father,
the Quran even make a special emphasis on kindness to mothers
in chapter 61, that's it 14 in the front, it says, and we have enjoined upon mankind or humankind, to be good to his or her parents. And then it gives one appealing reason his or her mother, bears him or her in weakness upon weakness. So the the weakness the suffering in pregnancy is not the gods just as divine punishment or anything of that sort. But this is like we mentioned in a previous program, struggled, sacrifice, and something that would really make her qualify for an additional touch of compassion,
and affection. And but maybe I can relate an interesting
incident that happened in the day of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, a man came to him.
And he said, O Messenger, of Allah,
Who among all people, is the most wersi of my good company, and kindness. So the Prophet answered your mother.
And then the man said, and who is next?
And the Prophet said, Your mother,
for the third time, said and who's next? And the Prophet said, Your mother said yes, but who is next to your father?
Like I used to tell some of the audience
listen to topics like that nature. I tell them, I'm sure that Muslim males may have some reason to be jealous, that three quarters, yes, three quarters of the kindness goes to the mother and one question to the Father. Of course, it doesn't mean to be unkind to the Father, but the overemphasis that three times the Prophet saying your mother, your mother, your mother and then your father.
Very interesting and very concise saying of the Prophet which is widely quoted. And in fact, it was narrated in more than one collection of hobbyists in Oxnard and the city manager, in which the Prophet says agenda to data academic.
Paradise is at the feet of mothers.
Paradise is at the feet of mothers,
a person who is true to his face, and read this and tried to implement it, you can imagine how he would treat his mother or her mother, it kind of impacts on his thinking, or her thinking or behavior. So it's it's obvious that Islam did not only honor a woman in one particular capacity, but honored her as a child, as a wife, as a mother, as a sister.
Even if a woman is not related to the individual,
this does not change the situation. Indeed, in one of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon me says it is only the generous in characters who is good to women. And it is only the wicked who insults them. In another saying,
he said in the Minnesota Chicago region, that could be translated into his son translated that women are but sisters of men out of a Chicago force was just like half from Chicago, that women are just like the half of men just the other half. So regardless of whether a woman is related or unrelated, Islam considers compassion, kindness, and respect as one aspect of good Islamic behavior.
Whether the challenge really is for people to measure up to those standards.
Now, some people claim that
in terms of the treatment of women that Muslim men require their women to wear one particular style of dress and to be all covered. And
that same time these men don't seem to be subjected to the same kind of restrictions don't seem to have any restrictions at all. How would you respond to that position? Well, it appears that I'm familiar. This is not the first time I came across this kind of quiz, which is understandable, because, in fact, it does reflect a number of misconceptions that predominate in the West about certain stereotypes on Islam and Muslim women. First of all, Islam does not really require a particular style
of dress, but rather establishes standards, it doesn't say you have to wear x dress in that design that was used in this country or that,
but rather established basic standards of proper coverage and modesty so as to keep, you know, the moral fibers of the family and society intact.
That's one thing. The other thing is that,
like you quite correctly summarize difference questions, that they seem to think that it's something imposed on the woman by other people by means, for example, who might have system bias against females. But indeed, in the case of, of Islam, the compliance on the part of a Muslim male or female, for that matters, to the standards of modesty, in dress or behavior, not is not imposed, and should not be imposed simply by society, or just social norms. It could be only one element of it, not by just the force of law and itself, not even by the prophet peace be upon him. Because these are simply divine revelations, divine commands, that this is the guidance that God has provided. So
when a man or female comply with those standards, as I've talked to many on both sides, they simply feel that they're not simply obeying society or other men that are obeying God and are committed to him, which is basically the meaning of Islam to be to submit to God in a loving, willing and trusting manner.
A second misconception also is that it seems that some people against saying that Islam only legislate certain restriction on women, but has nothing to say about men. And that's not correct either.
In one of the several actually, of the programs that were covered under moral teachings of Islam, we have seen that the question of dress and behavior is the responsibility of both male and female, there may be certain differences in the degree of modesty required or the cover, but the principle is there and it's not true to say that it's done and that was meant also, to wear anything that you like there are certain restrictions also, for both of them, not imposed by one over the other, but they're all
Part of the religious practice really.
The other thing also that perhaps would be relevant here is that many of the viewers would be surprised, for example, to learn that in our age, in our era, there have been incidents, several incidents indeed, not of men trying to impose on women or push them to cover, but the reverse of secular, ungodly governments trying to force Muslim women who chose to cover themselves properly to uncover.
In just a few weeks ago, we heard of orders issued in several countries, including Turkey, Egypt and Syria,
to prevent women in some degree or the other from complying with a standard dress in one men use that came from Syria. It was narrated even that the government sponsored an armed militia used to stop Muslim women who are covered properly in the streets and tear their claws and force them to uncover their their heads. So it's actually it was heroic resistance on the part of Muslim woman who wanted and chose to comply with the standards, but most people do not hear about that particular side
of the issue.
And others, another related issue,
some writers and journalists, and many others to suggest that. And quite often when they depict the ideal Muslim woman, they depict her as one who is confined to the to the home.
Is that a true?
It's one of those misconceptions to the same typical stereotypes. We have seen, for example, from previous points. But first of all, it is totally illogical to think that Islam require women to stay at home because she is required to learn. And if she doesn't go out to learn, how should you say that you must stay at home. Indeed, sometimes a misconception may arise, because there is one verse in the Quran that was praising and instructing the wives of the prophets as examples for other women. And it uses the term Walker nephew BeautyCon, and stay in your homes. And don't be this in yourself and discipleship outside, like the days of ignorance.
But this must be taken as a text only in the context of other texts also, of both the Quran and the prophetic tradition, it simply means that it is preferable to you, if you don't have a particular good reason to go out, that it's better for you to concentrate on really having a warm and happy household, it does not mean stay in your home, never get out, don't see the state that's totally in contradiction with many explicit texts, and Quran and prophetic tradition.
Some people may raise an issue and say we're right, in a society where there's so much corruption and rape and attack and so on, it's better to keep women because that is protection for her. But the same thing also applies to men. What if we go to that extreme, then both men and women should stay at home and never get out? So the idea here is to minimize that. take precautions, but not to prevent a woman from going and give you quickly just to conclude some text, which proves conclusively that the notion of a woman being totally secluded at home has nothing to do with systemic teaching. First of all, the prophet has indicated in more than one saying that women are
permitted to go to pray and they should not be prevented from going to pray. Secondly, knowledge, we talked about that she's permitted to go to seek knowledge and this happened in the days of the Prophet. Thirdly, if she works, which again, we said it's permissible when there is a need, and that requires going out. And even then, in Bukhari, a collection of Hadith. The Prophet said, explicitly, God has allowed you to go out for your needs without specifying even any restriction, so long as it is within the proper modesty of dress and behavior, and within a proper standard framework.
Okay, I'll leave it there for today. But
we want to invite you back next week, when we'll continue our series, dealing with the social system of Islam. Thank you for watching. Assalamu alaikum peace