Social System of Islam 20 – Muslim Women In History 2

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Jamal Badawi

Channel: Jamal Badawi

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Topics: History,Women

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Episode Transcript

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In the name of God the beneficence the Merciful, the creator and Sustainer of the universe, peace and blessings upon his servant and messenger Muhammad forever Ameen

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bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except the one true God. And I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger and servant of God. As is my fashion I greet you with the universal greetings of peace. A greeting that has been used by all of the profits from Abraham through the prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon them all. Assalamu Aleikum, which means peace be unto you. Today we have our 20th program in our series dealing with a social system of Islam. We'll be continuing our discussion with part two of Muslim women in history. I'm your host hammer Rashid have joining me on the program as usual. Dr. Jamal Badawi of St. Mary's University of Jamal assalamu

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aleikum. Monique,

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could I have you just very quickly highlight the main points that we touched on in our first program, dealing with Muslim women in history? Certainly, in the very early part of the program, we just continued the discussion of the acceptance of the witness of a Muslim woman. And we've gone into some final details that I hope would clarify that issue.

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But the focus of the program really was the actual examples of Islamic history of prominent Muslim women.

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And it was quite clear that they were quite involved in many respects. question was raised about Muslim women involvement in belief and faithfulness. And we have indicated that the very first person who became Muslim was not the man was a woman, Khadija, the wife of Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, and how he supported him, by her, soothing by her kindness by her property, throughout his lifetime, which was 25 years where he lived alone with

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a DJ as his only wife at that time. And as a result, we talked again, about how recognition was given to Khadija

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in the words of God, as communicated by God and the recognition given by Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, extending even to being very faithful to hurt memory, after her death.

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We have given also examples of some Muslim women who became believers, irrespective of what their fathers brothers or even husbands were, and in some cases, even they prefer to separate

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from their husbands are migrate and leaving their

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place of birth and their families in pursuit of their freedom, of practice of their faith. And finally, we touched briefly on the case of women not only becoming believers, or standing on their own, but the case where they were even subjected, like men, to all kinds of of hurt and torture, and suffering. And again, we mentioned that women scored another first in the fact that the first moustache in Islam after Prophet Muhammad came, was a woman, not a man that's to my, the mother of American Yes, it was tapped by spirit, or, you know, through a process of torture that she was going through. And we give examples of women who participated in very dangerous assignments like asmat,

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who was a teenager at that time, she was the daughter of Abu Bakr, and she was to provide the supplies and news

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to the Prophet despite the fact that people were seeking his head in the head of his companion.

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Well, no, in addition to the Muslim examples of a Muslim woman that we discussed in our first program, who achieved prominence in areas of faith, is there any example of Muslim women playing crucial roles in the endow and the propagation of the faith?

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Well, first of all, it should be indicated that the obligation of a Muslim to communicate the message of Islam or to invite others to it is a matter which is not just a privilege, or right just like seeking knowledge. It is rather a gap

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And responsibility. And there is no reference that you can find in the Quran or prophetic tradition that exclude women from this very laudable act. Indeed, historically speaking, if we were focusing on that particular angle, we find that, for example, urwa, the daughter of Optima Talib, used to publicly support the Prophet even in the most critical times. Not only this, she was quite outspoken in urging people to believe in Prophet Muhammad and to give him their support.

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Another example is of Another prominent woman by the name of Alma Saleem, who was also the mother of a very prominent Companion of the Prophet. He was a small boy at that time, his name is Ennis, Edna Malik.

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And that woman, after the death of her husband, a rich man came to her. His name was Abu Taha to seek her hand in marriages. He was a very rich and noble person. And she told him, Well, Abu talhah

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a man like you should not be turned down. However, I'm sorry, because you are an unbeliever, and I am a believer, and it is not permissible for me and Islam to get married to an unbeliever.

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And then she told him, I will tell her, do you realize that the god you worship has grown from Earth? Because he used to worship the kind of image or statue, which was made of wood? Did you know that your God that you worship was grown? Or came out from the earth? He said, Yes. He said, Don't you feel ashamed of praying to something that comes out of the earth?

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Then he started telling her Well, how about the gold and silver that means he wants us to tempt her to marry him because he's rich. I have no need for your gold or silver. But if you turn to the truth, and you become a believer and become a Muslim, I'll get mad at you. I don't want even American guests are

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your beliefs would be my mind would be my marriage, marriage gifts. In fact, he did tend to face and became a very good Muslim afterwards, so that I can show you another activity of propagation of faith, even on the personal level, when even the future of the woman as a possible wife is at stake from very personal, very, very good and personable individual. But still, faith was very essential to her should she spread the faith via this means yes. Another interesting example also is the lady named Omar Sharif.

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That even in the most critical moments in Islamic history, where Muslims were persecuted and tortured sometimes to this, she never hesitated to go around secretly visiting other women, inviting them to the truth of Islam and asking him to give up all these pagan practices that they used to have, and she did succeed with with many of them. So as far as involvement, it took a variety of forms, but women were part and parcel of invitation of people to the truth of Islam.

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In the area of knowledge and scholarship, were women

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distinguishing themselves in this area as well as family history. Yes, indeed, the in various points of Islamic history this has been shown. But perhaps one of the most prominent examples is our Isha wife of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, that she was regarded as a very important source of prophetic tradition. And by the way, that might relate back to the question we discussed in a previous program about women being witnessed. This point was brought to my attention by my wife, I was discussing that topic this morning. And she mentioned that if a woman is accepted as a source of prophetic tradition, which is the basis of Islamic law, how could her witness be rejected and other

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minor disputes? So Ayesha was one of those great sources of prophetic tradition, and she's not the only one almost LMR was a source. Other women also were sources of prophetic tradition.

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Indeed, Abu Salah Shari, one of the prominent scholars of Islam in early days, one time put it very

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humbly, as narrated in Takata.

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And he said, whenever we met scholars, whenever we had any complex problem pertaining to Islamic law, we used to go to our Isha and asked her, and always we found that she had some knowledge of it.

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So she used to do what is called today that was used to get verdicts in matters of faith because of her deep knowledge and scholarship of Islamic teaching. This is not the only example. Maybe I'll just give you one more example for brevity of time. Another lady was known as a smart Vinci

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See it.

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And this woman was an Ansari woman from Medina. And when Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him migrated from Mecca to Medina, she made Baya are also allegiance to him. And she learned a lot from him. And she proved herself to be a scholar in her own right. Indeed, it was narrated that many

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future scholars actually learned through her she was like a professor, if you went if you give the title of today's title, he was really a professor and educator to many other important

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jurist, so many bright examples like this, but the question of knowledge, and scholarship. As far as Islam is concerned, pure Islam, there is no barrier whatsoever, have been no barrier. But now how about in the areas of social service and involvement in charitable activities, when in fact, the area of charitable activities from an Islamic perspective is perhaps one of the most suitable areas where women can excel men even because of the nature of compassion, kindness and concern, self sacrifice, they can do a much better job on this. In fact, if you go back to the early, that's the perfect in a perfect era of Islamic practice, the early days, you will find very touching examples,

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I'll give you one, after the death of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. And when was Islam spread in different lands and the wealth, you know came in of the life miserable, who was a relative of Asia, the former wife of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, he brought her 100,000, Durham, Durham was a kind of coin or currency, they use 100,000. Immediately, she distributed the entire amount, the entire amount to the poor and needy. That day, I was fasting. And as you know, in Islam, you break your fast only after sunset, ie there is no food or drink. When the sunset came, and she wanted to break her fast. She just discovered that she didn't have any food at home to break her

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fest on. So you see the self sacrifice that she didn't have enough food even to breakfast and still that mess, wealth that she received was all distributed to the poor and needy, what could be more novel example of self sacrifice and concern for the poor and the needy.

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Another very interesting example, took place also in the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. And they, the heroine in that one was Fatima, his daughter.

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As you know, Fatima was so close to Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, that they used to call her her that his daughter used to love her so much.

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And she was married to his cousin, Ali.

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And he was a poor person, he didn't have that much.

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And one time, I told Fatima, listen, the situation of Muslims improved now a little bit financial.

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And your father is the Prophet himself. He has no control over all these things. Why don't you go to him and ask him to assign a servant to us to help us after all, I keep cutting water on my back. My back is aching. So Fatima responded to her husband, Alicia said, And me too. I keep grinding the grains. Of course, they didn't have the bread nicely packaged in plastic covers and all that or plastic bag. sheets. I also keep grinding the grains until my hands were full of blisters.

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He said all right, why don't you go to the prophet and ask him to help us to give us a servant or something. They went to Prophet Mohammed she went first by her on her own. But she felt shy to ask to make that request. She went back home to her husband Ali. And then she told them she said all right, let's go together to the profit. So both of them went to the profit and they explained to him that you know, if you can just give them some relief and assign somebody to serve them. What was his answer?

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He said, I cannot provide you with this service. While there are so many Muslims, particularly people who are who are not as apt to suffer. While there are so many Muslims, who is tummies are aching from hunger.

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You compare that with the behavior of many rulers today, who spend and squander millions of dollars just in the wedding of their son or daughter. Here is the prophet to have command over all that was refused.

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You're using to give or assign a servant to his own beloved daughter.

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Despite the fact that they badly needed it. And then what did the Prophet say to them? He said, instead of seven, could I teach you something. And then he taught them that after prayer, you should make this supplication. And then when you go to bed, you should make this kind of stuff. He taught them some special type of supplications and prayers to God. And both Fatima and her husband, Ali reported that they never left this practice of repeating this, which showed that, again, this spiritual elation, and worship was better in the mind of the Prophet as well as his daughter, Fatima, and her husband Ali, than simply having a more comfortable and luxurious type

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of life. So there's another interesting incident here, I just may add this quickly.

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Not only were women participating in charity, in the sense of just you know, helping the poor, but some of them even participated in what you might call today consumer protection. Yes, in the days of

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the second carrot after the profits, one of the ladies was known as

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the daughter of Abdullah. And that woman was so much wise and liked, that Ahmed used to give her or give a lot of weight to her opinion. And at one time, it was reported

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that he appointed her in the marketplace to supervise the buying and selling to make sure that nobody is cheating, which you might call today, like I said, there's something like a public office and consumer protection.

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Now, we touched on this point, I'm going to raise it briefly last time, and that is in the involvement of Muslim women in war efforts. Can you tell us something about the involvement of the Muslim woman in the early war efforts, when it is quite evident historically, from variety of sources that Muslim women did, volunteers, indeed, in many of the battles that Muslims had to go through to defend their faith in themselves.

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But more particularly in services, like what you call logistical services, providing food drink for the fighting army, nursing those who are wounded, and cutting them back to the city or providing whatever help they could to support the fight in men.

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It is interesting to notice that in the most authentic collection of prophetic tradition, in body,

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there is a chapter there about the women's participation in

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the battlefield or in warfare.

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In Bukhari, and Atman, it was reported by way of example, that a lady by the name of Arabia will smile with

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said that we used to go in the battlefield with the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, providing the drink, for the people, serving them, and taking the injured and the dead back to Medina.

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In another

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narration, in Muslim and I met and if no matter another lady by the name of Martha, which was an unsavory woman, she also narrated that I went in seven battles with Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. And then she gives similar

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description of the kinds of duties she performed, like looking after their supplies and luggage, making food for them nursing those who are injured, and looking after those who have been disabled as a result of the of the battle. Even the wife of the Prophet herself, peace be upon him,

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was reported to have carried waters in a water bag they used to have a kind of leather water bag

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on her back along with another woman or a man to go to give drinks to people in the front line in the battlefield.

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Another woman or my case,

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again, when she was very young, about a teenager, at the age of 14, she made the oath of allegiance to Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. And one time she came along with other women to him and she told the Prophet, we would like to go out with you in the battlefield to take care of the injured and provide you with what you need. And the Prophet simply says Allah Baraka Tila okay come with the blessing of Allah, he did not object to the participation. These are only few examples, but if you look at the standard history, I could give you offhand a few more names. Besides those mentioned already, like almost iliamna, suburban Chicago, manana Islamia, Laila Maria amata, Huck Sophia,

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daughter of Abdulmutallab Hannibal

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Dozens of them. And these are only the women who took lead actually, in meeting other women to support the fighting men, but it doesn't cover even all the rank and file of multitudes of Muslim women who provided the best health record to the people in the battlefield.

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So in the discussion thus far, you've indicated the involvement of which might I guess be characterized more or less as being of logistical support? That's fine. I wonder if perhaps there were occasions where Muslim women were actually involved actually participated in the battlefield who actually carried arms for self defense? Well, yes, there were examples of that we mentioned before a name of a very prominent woman on the Saleem, who was married to Abu Taha, we just mentioned about her early in the program in the Battle of her name,

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when Muslims were really endangered, that woman did not simply say, All right, I'll depend on men totally for protection, she had self made or obtained a dagger. And she put it you know, on her waist, and she actually mentioned

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to her husband, that if somebody gets close to me or try to violate me, I would not hesitate to use the dagger to defend myself. And when Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him heard about that, he didn't say, all right, you are only a woman that you have no business in defense live with us. He simply said, honestly, that's Mother of Selim, Allah have already protected us from the danger. But he did not really object to her. after the fact, of course, he did not object that she was careful trying to defend herself.

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In the Battle of offered another very serious method when Muslims were really in grave danger.

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There was a moment where the tide was against the Muslim fighting army. And the pagans started attacking to reach the Prophet, Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and kill him and just to get rid of all this difficulties that they had as a result of emergence of Islam.

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And at that moment, it was really a trying moment, because Muslim like I said, we're really in a very critical position, one of the ladies by the name of Jesse bourbon to come.

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While she was providing this logistical support that you're talking about, she felt that there is a great deal of dangers on the life of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. She's through everything. And she took a sword. And she started defending the Prophet putting herself in the face of the pagans to protect the life of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. Indeed, the prophets recognize the her courage. And actually, he mentioned after the battle that whenever I changed my face towards the right or left, there was this lady nusseibeh that he kept defending, defending me, along with other believers. In fact, it was reported that she received 12 injuries while defending Prophet Muhammad

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peace be upon I don't know how many women can have that kind of perseverance and courage to engage in that kind of battles.

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Early in the program, I think it was perhaps in the previous program, we mentioned the name of a lady asmat than to Z and I'm sorry woman who is a scholar in her own right. She was not only a scholar, in fact, she was also

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a woman who was very courageous who participated in some battles. Many historians refer to her participation in the Battle of Yarmouk initially to give waters and nurse the injured among the Muslim

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fighting men. But at one point when she was in danger, when the Roman army was attacked me the Muslims, she took the poles of her tent, and it was reported that she succeeded to kill nine of the enemy soldiers who tried to attack the Muslims just using the poll of attempt.

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Similarly, we find that Sophia Abdulmutallab

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was left in the Battle of conduct are the trench.

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And there was a man with them has sent him the Sabbath, try to guard them. But at one point, she wasn't dangerous and unbeliever started getting close. And she immediately used a pole like a smart use, and she got rid of him. So there are several examples of women being really in the very dangerous position of fighting even or participating in the, in the battlefield.

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Now, some people some of our viewers might claim that

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many of the examples that we've been discussing in the past few programs would not be applicable to today, because they occurred in the very early days of Islam when Muslims were weakened in grave danger and and you know,

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Perhaps this might have been in exceptional circumstances in exceptional circumstances. How would you respond to somebody who took that view? Well, to use that argument, for example, to say that a Muslim woman should be barred exclusively from the battlefield, even if she wanted to volunteer, does not seem to have any definite and solid support, we have already mentioned that the Prophet peace be upon him consented to that. But you're right in case you want to really to raise the issue of this, this especially dangerous to which Muslims were exposed in the early days, then the same argument would be applicable to any other time, after the time of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon

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him, where similar dangers may arise. And indeed, in recent times, we hear also about the persecution of Muslims in a variety of places in the world, fighting internal oppressive regimes or external occupying forces, as we hear about the struggle, heroics struggle of Muslim women in Egypt, in Syria, in Afghanistan, in Iran. One in all of these cases, we find that the same danger did exist when you have tyrannical regimes and you have to really resist and try to overthrow this tyranny.

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So if you if we make an argument on the basis of danger, danger does not know any specific time or place whenever the danger arises. It is permissible.

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But it should be fair also to indicate that, unlike men, woman is not obliged, for example, to participate actually, in the frontline in the battlefield. In other words, a woman cannot be, for example, drafted drafted in the Muslim army, that the primary responsibility falls on men. But to say that God released her from the jetty of being drafted because God knows she maybe she had a small infant at home to take care of I mean, they might be all kinds of reasons why women in particular, should be given special consideration. But to say that is one thing, and to say that women are prohibited from participating in war effort, if need be, is a different thing.

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Some people refer to certain sayings of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him when women, for example, asked him whether they are obliged to engage in jihad or struggle in the path of God, meaning partly also participating in the battlefield. And his answer was, your jihad is a good pilgrimage. If you do pilgrimage, that's your jihad. But again, to say that does not mean that you can participate. It simply means that if you're not able to, if you're not participating in the battlefield, God will give you as much reward as he gives to men, if you do some other types of worship, like pilgrimage, for example. So it's a kind of compensating factor rather than prohibition.

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But, in any case, one has to indicate that Islam does not require a woman, for example, to leave her infant at home, simply to participate in the battlefield, those who are able to should, if they wish to be allowed to participate, especially in logistical support, nursing and other services of similar nature. So within the

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overall framework of Islam and Islamic teaching, there is no difficulty with that. I should mention how about one text that some people might use again to say woman should not participate, that a lady by the name of Moksha came to the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him as an admin with a with an NSA to take his permission to participate in the Battle of her name.

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And it is narrated that the Prophet said, Alright, I'm afraid if I allow you that it becomes established practice. That was, for example, narrated in Sabah. It means to have a reference that I mentioned earlier. But that even text does not simply mean that women should be forbidden from participating. But he simply, perhaps was afraid that some people may interpret that as a regular pattern, that Muslim may be forced even to participate and put their life in the line in the battlefield even against the wish. So if we take this argument, then in the totality of the picture,

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in view of the fact that the Prophet peace upon did allow this did not object to that did not have any specific, clear cut tradition.

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In the fact that this things happened with the approval of the Prophet, peace be upon him, shows that even in the so called Muslim related issue of participation in the best of Muslim women, and early days, were not barred from involvement and participation. We'll have to leave it at that. That's our time for today. We want to thank you for watching one, invite you

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back next week Assalamu alaikum peace be on to you.