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Social System of Islam 18 – Position Of Women In Islam Political Aspect 2

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Jamal Badawi

Channel: Jamal Badawi

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Episode Notes

Episode Transcript

© No part of this transcript may be copied or referenced or transmitted in any way whatsoever. Transcripts are auto-generated and thus will be be inaccurate. We are working on a system to allow volunteers to edit transcripts in a controlled system.


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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 was no God worthy of worship except the one true God. And I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger in servant of God, as is my fashion I greet you with the universal greetings of peace. The greeting that has been used by all of the profits from Abraham through the prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon them all. Assalamu alaikum which means peace beyond you. Today we start our 18th program in our series dealing with the social system of Islam. We'll be talking about the position

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of women in Islam, and continuing our discussion of the political aspect. I'm your host, Tamar Rashid and I have joining me on the program as usual. Dr. Jamal Badawi of St. Mary's University, brother, Jamal assalamu, alaikum my name.

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Once again, I wonder if I could have you as our faction on the program just to quickly summarize the main points that we talked about in last week's program? Sure. First of all, the

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initial question was whether the Muslim woman, according to Islamic law,

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is permitted to participate in the so called political activities. And we said that what we mean by political activities is the term used in the past of Public Affairs, the things that pertain to the overall interests of society at large.

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And we indicate that in the Quran in chapter nine, particularly verses 71 on heroin is established there that Muslims male and female, the believers, male and female are supposed to have to be earlier to be supporters and helpers of each other. The Quran further talks about the obligation of obtaining the goods and forbidding the evil as one of the characteristic of believers. And on those texts in the Quran. Not only there is no exception of women, they are included, specifically what we do in our Nominet abilities men and women.

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The second point was whether women has the right to express their views and political matters pertaining to government and administration.

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And again, we indicated that in the best model of Islam, that is the early days of Islam, we find that Muslim women did participate and had input in many of the more important decisions and what we call today political decisions.

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A third question pertains to the question of voting, whether Mr. woman

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should have or may have an input in the selection of people in public office like presidents or heads of states.

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And then we said that in the Quran, we find reference to buy, which was basically an oath of allegiance given to Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. And the Quran mentioned also

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about the

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buyer, or religions in which both men and women participated. Indeed, there is one verse in the Quran we quoted last time, which specifies even beta, or allegiance taken from women who said that this is not simply an allegiance in terms of worship, but the Prophet also was given that allegiance as a head of state. So it has also what you call today a political connotation. And

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the last point we left with last time, was whether a woman can really participate in what resembles today, discussions in Parliament or other political meetings.

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And we refer to a case during the second case, after Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him that his armor

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when he suggested some upper limits on the marriage gifts, or, and a woman stood in the mosque and argued with him and said, you cannot do that and she quoted him in the reference or the support of her argument. And he could not help but admit that he was wrong and that woman was right. And I ended by saying that this kind of discussion somewhat resembles any political discussion that goes on today, sometimes in Parliament or other political

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setting, in which objections are raised to administrative organs.

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decisions, sometimes on constitutional grounds as it was in that case, I see that analogy perhaps changing the terms really.

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This sounds like a very interesting analogy, but I wonder if perhaps I could have you explained to us the basis for you're using the analogy? Yes. Okay. To start with, when Ahmed stood in the mosque and said You people are exaggerating in the marriage gift, I'm going to suggest or ask you not to exceed 400. Durham's, which is a kind of

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that is like into a government decision, which has taken or in some other cases may be similar to a bill of proposed bill presented before the assembly. That's one. Number two,

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the venue for discussion was the mosque. Some people say yeah, but that's not parliament. But what they forget is that for the Muslim, the mosque is not only a place of worship or prayer, it has been traditionally used in the days of the Prophet. And shortly after, that was the best model as a place also for discussion of social issues, political issues, armies were sent, even from the mosques, measure issues were discussed, the emissaries from other countries were received also in the mosque, it was serving as, as you call today, again, political body which is somewhat similar to the parliament. And he proposed that, except that you didn't have really specific members in the

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parliament and upper house and lower house, everybody was sitting there, and that was the system that suited them. But it is somewhat analogous in my humble understanding. Firstly, the fact that I've said that in public implies that anybody can express his opinion, or objection to that decision, or Ben, if you will.

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Okay. What What's that? What difference is that from the present parliamentary decisions?

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Number four,

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it was a sort of like an open parliament, because anyone can express his opinion. And again, we'll find that lady objecting. What was the basis of her objection? Is what she calls today, contradiction of the bill to the Constitution,

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that no law or administrative decision should be against the Constitution of the country, let's say what it is analogous for the Muslim, the Quran, the word of Allah, the Word of God, is the constitution that no word of any human being or decision should supersede the Word of God.

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And the lady when she objected, she simply said you are suggesting that upper limit, but the Quran did not set that limit. And she could reverse that because the last time

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so in that sense, she is telling him basically, that you're out of orders, Mr. ruler, really,

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because actually, the original Arabic word like silica had they have no right to do this, you can do that. The Quran says that she can say something contrary to the objection, just like what you present before the Supreme Court or in a parliament. Now,

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I've said, This woman is right, I am wrong.

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What is just like a roller, withdrawing an administrative decision revoking his decision, or if it would have been withdrawal of the bill, because he realized that it's contrary to the Constitution. There are a couple of additional interesting points and that story, it's more than what it appears just by analogy.

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Number one, the narrator of that story, say that a woman stood from the back, it was the custom of those narrators. If the woman was so prominent, they would say such and such lady and mentioned her name. But the fact that they say a woman stand from the back implies that she was given a rank and file just a common woman, not even one of the prominent women that time. That's one observation. The second interesting observation is that the mosque was full of worshippers and full of some of those who are companions of Prophet Mohammed, who learned Islam directly from Him, who are definitely a lot more well versed with static load and many other scholars who came after them. None of them

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raised an objection, say, you are a woman, how come you interfere in politics? There was no reported objection. How much the ruler himself, who was known to be very meticulous about the implementation of Islamic law did not object to her. You could assess right for example. Yes, woman, I think you're right. You have a good point. But next time Don't interfere because it's the men who objected, not you. He never said that. He said, You're right. I am wrong.

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Okay. So and in a sense, we can really make the analogy at least the way I understand it. It's simply a change of the terminology really, rather than the essence of it. I

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should add also, that this by no means was the only incident in which Muslim women did participate in what you call today, political decisions. Indeed, it was reported that after the martyrdom of Ahmed the second case is

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when lots of consultation was going on, to select someone to succeed him. And then finally, the other one was given the mandate to ask people to consult with people as to which of the two top candidates are shortlisted, because today is acceptable to people as man or alley. And it was reported and that was mentioned in Elpida book by Edna Cassius, a very famous Muslim Australian, that among the people who were consulted, were women.

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So again, if we go to the purity of Islam and the best model in which Islam was implemented,

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I could not see any evidence of restricting women from participating in this type of offense. Okay, well, can we perhaps look at the administrative side of things now? Does the Islamic law object to women holding positions of leadership or public office?

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community, okay, the most important term that use that perhaps we should stop at is the question of leadership. When we say for example, if a person is permitted to be in a position of leadership, how do we define leadership? Of course, people in teaching management like myself are more familiar with leadership in a sense of leadership in a company or a given formal type of organization. But indeed, when you look at it in a more broad sense, leadership connotes positions which are important positions which carry responsibility and positions which involve also directing other people supervising them or helping them or guiding them. Okay. Now, we have already indicated in the

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previous program, that in an ideal Muslim society, because not only permissible, but desirable to have women, at least some women serving in positions like doctors, nurses, and teachers, not only in the primary grades, but in other grades also, because again, it is preferable to have separate schools for girls.

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All right, what are these not positions, which are important?

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Are this not this not our possessions, which carry certain degree of responsibility?

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Are these not positions which involve direction and guidance of other people? If not, what is that one thing. On the other hand, we can also say that suppose even a woman is not employed, she might, for example, be busy because she has infants that she has to take care of.

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Now, who can say that the position of a mother's at home does not involve leadership,

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directing, and upbringing of children isn't that direction of others, responsibility. Anyone who is familiar with what mothers and wives go through,

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cannot help but saying that this is just as great and as important responsibility as the responsibility of anyone employed in a mine or a factory or office.

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If it's the kind of importance, what could be more important to society, in terms of leadership, than leading the new generation on the right path. It is the lack of that leadership that's causing society today to suffer from what it says. So on that basic principle, indeed, we find a beautiful thing of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, which was narrated in several differences, including Bukhari, and Muslim, in which he says

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that, each one of you, all of you are leaders, or Ryan, means Shepherd leaders, somebody who was responsible for something. And he said, in each one of you would be responsible for his trust. And then he

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enumerates he says, the ruler is a shepherd or leader, and he would be responsible for the people he's leading.

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The men is a leader, and he's responsible for his family. And then he had edit, and a woman is a leader. And she's responsible also for her children, and household, even a servant, which could mean a servant in the household or somebody who's hired also to do work. And the employee is a leader and he's responsible also for the trust by way of funds or whatever that are interested with him. So in that sense, that texts of the prophetic tradition indicate that every woman even if she's not necessarily employed, I would say to her home, is indeed doing a leading role or leadership function.

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But if you're referring to one specific type of leader

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leadership positions. That is, as you call public office, I would have to say again, that as far as I know, there is no specific text and Australia that is in the specific wording of the Quran or prophetic tradition, which establish a blank rule that moment should never be in any office that can be turned public, regardless of the level of that position or the nature that per se.

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Indeed, there is only

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There are even justification of carrying some responsibilities, some senior responsibilities, if you will, in society, in a variety of institutions and society, particularly educational institutions, if there is a necessity for that there is a genuine need for it. And if the nature of the job and the environment of doing that function does not contradict other aspects of Islamic law, so it has to start first by saying that, as a rule, it is permissible.

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The only exceptions would for that from that rule would have to be something that has a solid text.

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And the only solid text that make any restriction on woman being in public offices is one that deals with the headship of the state, being a head of state, and most jurist but not all of them. By analogy, say that this also implies that you should not really bothered to serve in positions like a judge, or a commander of an army by analogy, but in terms of the text, the text only mentions about the headship of the state.

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Perhaps we could look a little closer at some of these exceptions. Sure. Perhaps we can begin with the question of headship of state, what texts in the Quran or in the Soviet are used to substantiate

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this particular exception? And what are the possible reasons in European for the for this exception? Okay, that's a fair question. First of all, starts with the texts, it should be clarified that there is no text in the Quran itself, the Word of God that's the most important source of course for Islamic jurisprudence. In the Quran, there is no text whatsoever pertaining to that. But there is an authentic text however, which was narrated in Bukhari and Akhmad Timothy and Missa tee, and it has a particular occasion attached to it.

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When Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was told that the persons that is before the parsha became Muslim, that's in the early days, that the person

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selected the daughter of their deceased kink, to be the queen to be the ruler. He commented, said the new flick a common one though, Amara manga melaku,

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Andromeda, which means in Arabic, that people will not prosper, will not succeed, if they choose, as their top leaders as the head of the state, one now a woman. Now, jurist has interpreted the word one level that the prophets used to refer specifically to the headship of the state, because that was the occasion for it, he was not saying about a woman occupying any position of responsibility, but he did object to being a head of state. That's as far as the text is concerned.

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As far as the possible reasons behind it, as much as our human understanding can permit us, we have to indicate that this rule, or that exception, would have to be taken within the boundaries and within the framework of Islam, not an alien type of structure of society. That's the beginning point. nsmen the head of state is not just a ceremonial head, a figurehead in Islam, at the head of the state is the thinking mind of the of the state, he has lots of responsibilities, and God is the spokesperson of his people. Not only this,

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he is also required

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to lead the prayers. He is supposed to be the lead prayer leader, especially in big congregations on Fridays festivals. He's supposed in some cases, even to be at the head are leading the army in the battlefield whenever it is necessary to do so. So we're really talking about its search of

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President or head of a state who is not really a figurehead or just the kind of title that has given.

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Now we have seen already in previous programs, that for example, in terms of leading prayers, we have seen that in Muslim prayers that is bouncing up and down and it's not appropriate for a woman to stand in front of them. We have discussed that before. That's one issue.

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In terms of leading an army, what even in the so called liberated societies, show me any significant examples where women, for example, really liked to serve as the chief or commander of the army. Indeed, if women come to that level where they become just like men, in terms of militarism,

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and taking good decisions involving bloodshed, and war, and fight, and all that, life will be losing the best of it. And that is the kindness and compassion of women, God has provided certain benefits also in the creation that men would have certain decisions to make. But if women

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cast, their kindness, their compassion for which they were really equipped to do the roles, and be just become in the same Gods exactly as men, wildlife would be,

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you know, twisted and really distorted in terms of its balance, and happiness. And

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in addition to this, it should be also indicated that in Islam, headship of a state is not a price that people are fighting for it, you know, that one, not me, why men, indeed, it is something that people are, who really are cognizant of its responsibility should shy away and escape from it unless they are really pushed into it, indeed, and Islamic rose, and that could be covered perhaps in different series and political system. And Islam. A person is not supposed to seek the public office, unless people really are offering him or asking him because of certain qualifications. So it is a position of a great deal of sacrifice, not of getting all the relatives and in laws and

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physicians and bribery and all this type of thing. That's not the case. It's a sacrificial role. And we'll see in Islamic history, for example, in better times, hopefully, how the rulers lived in a very, very simple and sacrificial life much harder than they used to live even prior to accepting responsibility like that.

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So the point here is simply is, is that this is not really a very major issue. I suspect, many women even in the West who are not Muslims are not even familiar with all of these considerations. I'm not overly anxious

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to be the Presidents or heads of states, in the world now with 4000 million people, how many men even are in the position of headship of state, a lot more reform that could be done on all kinds of levels than to worry or to have over? Worry about?

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Mrs. Mrs. President, right? Well, how about situation now of women serving as judges? What is the basis for that exception? One, this issue, as I indicated before, is not an issue where there is unanimity among Muslim jurist. But in my fashion, I tried to give both arguments

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as objectively as I could.

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First of all, those who claim that by analogy, a woman should not serve as a judge. They say, Well, if a woman is not supposed to be head of state, to be a judge is a form also that has significance and some analogy or similarity to the role of the ruler, as somebody who decides in disputes between people. That's one thing.

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The second reason, the second basic reason I should say that was given is that they say in Islam, in the family structure, that the man is supposed to be the head of the family. And they say, if the man is supposed to be the leader, or the head of the household, then

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by analogy, a woman also should not be serving in the role of a judge because even the role of a judge is more important than being a head of household.

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This is the position of the majority of Muslim jurists. However, we find that the famous

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jurist authority differs with that and he says that there should be no restriction on a Muslim woman serving as a judge. And he says that there is some kind of fault in making this kind of analogy. And he says that the the prophetic tradition, which objected to a woman being a head of state, only specifies the headship of state. And this analogy should not be made to extend to other areas. That's one position. A third position took a middle ground, and that is the opinion of the famous Imam, and Muslim jurist, Abu hanifa, very famous, really the one of the four major scholars

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in the Sunday tradition, so called

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and he said that if the Quran indicated as we have quoted before, that a woman can be a witness in financial

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dealings, then she should also be eligible to be a judge in the same matter. In other words, if you accept somebody as witness, which is a sort of wilaya responsibility, then a person would be also equipped and qualified to be judge in this financial matters also.

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So, like I said, other than the headship of the state, others analogous positions are not always unanimous as viewed by, by Muslim jurist. Now, you mentioned in response to my previous question that women are accepted as witnesses.

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Some wonder, however, under Islamic law, that one male witnesses does he require to female is for one male witness? does that imply somewhat of a second class or lower status for women that are expected? They're only half as good? As a man? Absolutely, I think just like the discussion that you had before about, for example, law of inheritance that appears on the surface, but once you examine it correctly, it does not really turn out to be, as people think, well, first of all, if it's a matter of lowering the status of woman or considering how half a man and woman, the standard could have rejected her witness, period, and in the seventh century, that was too much even to expect a

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woman to be accepted as a witness. So it was quite normal within the spirit of time to reject the woman as a witness, regardless if it's a matter of, you know, second class position or status. No, absolutely, absolutely not. It The, the question does not have anything to do with the status. But if you go back to the verse in the Quran, which specified that, and that appears in chapter two, verse 282, that verse speaks about witness,

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financial dealings, and financial contracts in particular. And it says that you should see the witness on this dealings of two men, but if not two men, then one men and two women, and then it continues and gives the rationale right there. It says, unpopular documents, etc. Why to me, because because if one of them, that's the word of God in the Quran, because if one of them forgets, which is a rough translation of the Delta, if one of them forgets, the other one, will remind her what the question here may be asking, why should we worry about a woman for getting but not men. And again, the problem arise because of this translation, the word Patel does not necessarily mean forget, in

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terms of memory. Sometimes women might have better memory than men even, for example, they never forget their anniversary, for example, it is meant usually who has to be tempted for forgetting that. So it's not just a matter of memory. But other means simply that memory is not a matter of just remembrance. But within Islamic framework, a woman who is busy most of her time, centering, or focusing more about the center of her life, as a wife, and as a mother would be so involved in that very important role, that she may not necessarily be present. At the time when contracts, financial contracts are negotiated. And even if she's present, she may not be likely to be as experienced on

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the horn, not generalizing on odwin. But on the horn, she may not be as involved. She might not be as perceptive of all this boring details about finances. So there is a risk that her witness may not be totally accurate, even though she really intend to give a clear and correct witness. So the purpose is not to lower his or her status, but to make sure that in matters that involve finances, which are very sensitive methods among people, the stanic law provides for guarantees and extra precaution precautions. And if most women usually are not involved in that, and that applies even until today, then it is preferable to have this

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precaution. Of course, we cannot generalize. You could say that some women today can be better. Wall Street brokers. Yes, there are always exceptions. But on the whole, especially within Islamic framework, women would not be totally involved as men in this kind of

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activity. Right. Unfortunately, we'll have to leave it at that for today. We've exhausted our time. We want to invite you back next week we will continue our discussion. Thank you for watching Islam infocus Assalamu alaikum peace be unto you