Social System of Islam 23 – Muslim Women In Contemporary History

Jamal Badawi


Channel: Jamal Badawi


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The social system of Islam is a source of pride and social development, but also a source of fear and desire for women to be leaders. A three-pronged approach to reform is to restore the act of peace, transform women into leaders, and transformation of men into leaders. The importance of acceptance of Islam is emphasized, and a program that starts with faith in God and proper understanding of Islam is suggested. The speakers stress the importance of learning and working with one's own values to improve one's social and political environments, as well as the need for men to play a role in the growth and development of their society.

Transcript ©

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In the Name of God, the benevolent the Merciful, the creator and 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. And I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger and slave servant of God, as is my fashion I greet you with a greeting that has been used by all of the profits from Abraham through the prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon them. It's a universal greetings of peace. Assalamu Aleikum, which means peace beyond to you. I'm your host hammer Rishi. Today we have our 23rd program in our series dealing with the social system of Islam.

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And we'll be continuing discussion of our topic of the role of Muslim women in contemporary society. I have joined me on the program as usual. Dr. Jamal betta, we have St. Mary's University of Jamal Assalamu alaikum. My name

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is also our fashion Could I asked you to quickly highlight the main points that we touched on in our program last week. Certainly, the program focused more on the trends pertaining to the possession and involvement of Muslim women, particularly in recent history, that is in the late 19th century and the early 20th century.

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And I said that in my understanding, they seem to have been three basic trends. The first trend was that of wholesale westernization not just adopting good ideas or technology, but rather wholesale acceptance of values, ways of life, that come from the west, which was at that time, and still is superior technologically. And as such, some people fell in the period of decay of the Muslim people, that this is the way just adopt everything. And we indicated that this was not a successful solution, because the uncritical imitation and adoption of values is quite different from adopting technology. So it didn't really work because it didn't fit the kind of heritage and belief of the

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people themselves.

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And the second attitude was to try and uphold the status quo.

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With it's both positive and negative aspect is just tried to stick to what is there. Rather than trying to improve in we discuss some of the reasons why this was apparent. And we said that one reason is that some people felt, or were afraid that the reform and improvement in the way a woman is treated, and the way she should relate to the rest of society may threaten moral values of society, and may result in changes similar to those that has taken place elsewhere, resulting in the disintegration of the family.

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And we indicated that this, this matters did not necessarily or need not necessarily be saw.

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We indicated also that some Muslims might have misinterpreted

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certain texts of the prophetic sayings in a way which contradicts what is more important, even the words of God in the Quran, the text of the Quran, and sometimes even in ways which are contradictory to other sayings of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and we address some of those specific issues and try to alleviate some of the misunderstanding, even among Muslims themselves. As a third approach, which I turned the Islamic revivalist movement is the one that we didn't get much time to elaborate on last time, which was the basic feature. Let's move now then into the discussion of the third approach here. I'd be happy to clarify. In what way this third approach differs from the

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previous two approaches that we discussed in the in the last program, what does it call for? Well, first of all, it calls for the awareness that the early Muslim woman, as we have seen in several programs in the past, were quite involved in the affairs of Islamic Society. And that in the period of decline of Muslim civilization, this was not the case. And as such, it calls First of all,

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to the restoration of this active involvement and role of Muslim woman in the affairs of Muslim society within the limits of course of Islam.

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This is one thing. The second basic premise is that any reform or improvement of the status quo must emanate not from him.

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partition but from the Word of God, the teaching of Islam, that is, and the prophetic tradition, more particularly the exemplary behavior of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him in his treatment of of women,

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but not on the basis of rejection of faith or uncritical imitation of others. In fact, it upholds that a Muslim should be leaders, not a laggard, a Muslim should be initiators, not an imitator, because that's one of his function. Being here on earth is to guide humanity onto the path of God rather than just imitate various fads and fashions which come and go.

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The other basic point in that Islamic revivalist approach is that the aspiration of Muslim women and their pursuit of happiness, respect and dignity and order ingrained, not only accommodated, but are all ingrained in the very teachings of Islam, if properly understood.

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Third, basic premise is that the main problem that Muslims faced, were not really problems because of inadequacy of the Islamic law itself, or injustice, which are inherent in the law. There's nothing like that. But the main problem lies not with the law, but the application of the law, that if Muslims sincerely

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go back to this original Christian teachings, then all of these problems could be resolved without any need to adopt. So the deficiency is in Muslims, not in Islam.

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Now, is there any broad program that you might be able to suggest which could help in accomplishing these objectives that you've just indicated, what to start with, for any reform, or reformist movement, which is religiously based, the first thing in any program would have to start

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by faith in God. This is the very basic foundation for any improvement. By that we mean, specifically, the preparedness on the part of the Muslim male and female alike, to receive the guidance of God, to accept His divine plan in organizing, guiding, and enriching the lives of human beings on the individual and collective level. And this applies to both sides. And that's the spiritual, basic part of the program. The intellectual part involves the proper understanding of Islam, through Islam, through its Preston, original and authentic sources, with an attempt to try and avoid extremes and excesses.

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By that we mean that one should not try to twist Islamic teachings in a way that may fit with the various pressures of time, place or cultures without being apologetic about the teaching of Islam or just trying to appear before others as modern or aristocratic or any other title that people might use. That is to appear modern in their own ways of judgment, one has to take the values provided by God, not by humans as the basic thing to distinguish between what is right, and what is wrong. But in the meantime,

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true understanding of Islam requires that people also Muslims, particular should not rigidly adhere to status quo, and try to justify it on Islamic basis, even though it contradicts the method and the spirit of, of Islamic teaching. So that's the intellectual part. Beside the spiritual and intellectual part of the problem, there is also the practical, applied elements. And that is basically to try and implement Islam in its purity, in better spirits, without being enslaved by local cultures of practices, which may not necessarily be consistent with Islam or based on its teaching.

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Now, some people would argue that

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custom is an acceptable source of Islamic law. How would you respond somebody who might hold that view is a source but it is not an unconditional or unqualified source.

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In fact, the basic condition for accepting customs, local customs, as part of the process of Islamic law, is that those customs should not be contradicting what the kitchen has done. This is a very important qualification.

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So the relationship between customs what is customer in agreement

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Place, and the teachings of Islam as ingrained in the Quran, the Word of God and the prophetic tradition can be either positive, neutral, or negative.

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It can be positive if those local customs are based on the teachings of Islam are influenced by the teachings of Islam. For example, if you go to virtually any Muslim country, you will find that among committed Muslims, there is an attitude of generosity and hospitality. All right, this is based on Islam, it is encouraged by Islam. And as such, you could say that the correlation or relationship between custom and Islam is a positive relationship. But there are some other customers also, which doesn't have any relationship or a correlation of zero as mathematicians.

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That is to say, suppose in different Muslim countries, different people prefer different types of food, depending whether they are Muslims from Indonesia, India, Morocco, Sudan, Nigeria, or whatever. Now,

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this can be set to set to research or to run it in a way that there's not really positive or negative to standard teaching, there is nothing that in Islam that say you must eat this type of food or not eat it, so long as the food of course is permissible. So there's no relationship there.

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But there is also

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are there are also some local customs that you may find among Muslims in Muslim countries, which are thought to be related to Islam. But in reality, they are contrary to the teachings of Islam. One example we have given in the previous program, the cases where a fathers or mothers do not get the approval of their daughters when they give her in marriage, without giving her a chance to see her fiancee and approve of him. And some people might think that this is consistent with the teaching of Islam or religion, it has no relation whatsoever. It's contrary. So the correlation here between local custom among Muslim and Islamic teaching is a negative one. So one has to identify what kind

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of correlation the correlation is positive, fine. If it's neutral, then you can do it or not do it. But if the local customs in any Muslim countries, no matter how widely practice they are, if they contradict with the standard kitchen, then the customs cannot be taken here. So the customs is only accepted with this qualification that you should not contradict with the standard teaching. I hope that clarifies the No, that's a very helpful yardstick, I think, to follow in terms of measuring whether or not something is relevant or not. But now, I'd like to shift into another area and ask you, what do you see as being the role for the contemporary Muslim woman? How can she contribute to

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the improvement of her position and position her position in society generally.

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And our society at large, want to start with my humble understanding that any change, any improvement or social development would have to start on the individual level, the awareness of the individual Muslim woman,

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more specifically, a Muslim woman should understand and be totally aware

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that no less than any men, she is also the trustee of God on earth.

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That she carries a grave responsibility of carrying that trust for which she was created as a human being.

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That she should understand and be aware that her life is important. Her life is meaningful, and that she has a specific mission to fulfill while she is here on Earth, and to understand ultimately, that she cannot escape responsibility before God just like any male, that in the Day of Judgment should have to get a count as to how productive Muslim woman she was, how did you conduct their life? How much did you contribute to the overall good of the Muslim Ummah, or the community of believers and humanity at large for that matter.

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That means then, that in order for her to fulfill this responsibility successfully, she's got to start from self purification, and that applies to males as well. By self purification, I mean that a Muslim woman should have the firm faith, unshakable faith and certitude

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in the validity and wisdom of the teachings of God as ingrained particularly in the Word of God, the Quran, and prophetic traditions.

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This requires that a Muslim woman would not place her preferences, personal preferences, liking or disliking or inclinations, which might be biases resulting from a social environment. She should not put these things or the culture of a society above the Word of God and above the clear and explicit

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directions that God provided. In other words, that's basically the meaning of Islam that applies to both sides, both male and female, to be to submit to the will of God, consciously, willingly and lovingly.

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It also requires that a Muslim woman should approach Islam as a complete and total way of life.

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Not in a matter of just believing things and having the certitude but through her own behavior, trying to deepen her commitment to Islam and to God, to try and to avoid the things that God has forbidden in dress, behavior, manners, and all aspects of human life, to try and follow God's directives and commands, to try to inculcate in instance, in her relationship, his or her personal individual relationship with Gods through various acts of worship, like prayers, fasting, charity, a recitation of the Quran, remembrance of God, and above all, in the day to day activity wherever she's acting or doing something. It also requires a Muslim woman to train equip herself with all the

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skills and abilities and knowledge that would enable her to play a more active and involved role within the boundaries again, I'll Islamic law. That means that she should not only acquire knowledge about Islam or quote unquote, religious knowledge, she should obtain and acquire other knowledge that make her an effective mother effective wife, effective and useful members in society at large, there is no such restriction. As far as Islam is concerned, she should also try to work with perseverance and patience, without the spirit of contention, contention and conflict, to convince other Muslims, male and female alike, that they should accept the legitimacy of her involvement, the

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legitimacy of her role within the boundaries of Islam, and that they should not be enslaved to the particular local customs, if it's contrary to the teaching of Islam, or the various fads, like I said before, which might change over time. I think if a Muslim woman start from this basic individual level, with this understanding, with this motivation, it could go a long way, paving the way for development and improvement both on the individual and collective levels. Now, in addition to the individual level that we've just been discussing, how can European the Muslim women contribute to social development through a family involvement? What this is perhaps the most

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potential area of contribution of a Muslim woman and when I say the most potential does not necessarily mean the exclusive or the only ones that that has been explained several times. But if a Muslim woman for example, as a youth as a unmarried daughter, the way she relates to her mother, her father's brothers and sisters relatives, could contribute a great deal to create an atmosphere at home, which is as close as possible to the teaching of Islam where people can find comfort and warmth in that home.

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This cannot be achieved simply by undue militancy or conflict, but rather through perseverance, and good example.

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She could also contribute if she's married by acting as a truly Muslim wife,

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carrying heavy responsibility and demanding her rights also as a Muslim wife, encouraging her husband, inspiring him, encouraging and aiding him to perform his activities and to contribute to the good of the family and society at large. And not to try and stand as an obstacle or various and his past to do this activities. If she begets children, this perhaps could be one of the most noble function that she can perform. By being an ideal Muslim mother or close to

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she should realize that her duty is not simply to feed the child or change his or her diaper. That's only part of the picture, but rather to be like a school, the first school for the child.

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inculcating values spirituality in the child which is a very important and novel function, a full time job, and which next to home school from which heroes of the future are graduated before even they go to school.

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This points that I just touched on are areas that require a lot more analysis, but I hope that in the upcoming

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segments of this program when we touch on the family life and Islam, we can specify more clear

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But expectations are there in Islam, for a Muslim woman and by being the wife, or mother, just in the context of our topic, I thought I should just highlight it. Right? How about the broader social context? What do you see as being the role of the Muslim woman in the broader social context? Well, beyond the individual and family level, a Muslim woman should always regard her role also, as assistance to others, Muslims, both male and female,

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that she has a duty to remind them to do good to try and correct them when the urge to try and forbid them or entice them or encourage them not to do even an indecent things. And this is not on the agenda, which is limited to either males or females. Indeed, one beautiful verse in the Quran, which says, What

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about Oh, yeah, that is the believing men and women. The verse specifies both sides, the believing men and women are helpers and supporters, allies of each other, they are then everything that's decent, they forbid everything that's even and decent. They establish regular prayers and charity and they obey Allah and His messenger. And then it says, God will have his mercy on such maneuvers. She should remember also that the duty the very important duty in Islam that you covered early in the

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this particular series social system was done. The Associated concern and the duty to ordain the good and forbid the evil are deities which are not limited or restricted to either male or female, every Muslim has that deity.

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Another aspect of the broader social context is that a Muslim woman should try to bring Islam to the lives

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of Muslims by participating in the spiritual and social awakening of other women, or men for that matter, especially for women, who, because of the period of decay and decline, have accepted to act on the on the fringes of society without being totally involved in the affairs of their Islamic Society, being just followers, rather than taking initiative also, in good work should try to remind them that they do have the potential to serve God as men to, uh, to inculcate in their heart and mind, trust in God and trust and confidence in their own abilities to contribute something and to help improve the total social media.

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But beyond that, also, there are lots of educated Muslim women who carry an additional responsibility. Many of them either live in Muslim countries where illiteracy, ignorance disease are quite Paramount, or even in their own neighborhood, regardless where they live in this might be social problems around them. I think for those sisters, they have an additional responsibility to be active not only in following, but also initiating activities in the educational area. And I know for example, for example, here in North America, there are lots of activities that has been going on in recent years, Muslim women having their own study circle, regular meetings, and even seminars that

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are they organized themselves, she should be active in the area of health, guidance, helping other women to take care of their children and to learn certain basic health

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rules for their families, their area of charity and social services. There are endless ways in which a Muslim woman can contribute within again, the boundaries and framework of Islam,

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in improving society, but above all, your best contribution would be by her own good example. In her own behavior in her own activities, it would be an inspiring example, for other women, and for other men's also in our society.

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At this point in our program, we've been focusing attention on how women themselves can improve their situation. Is there any role or any responsibility that men have in terms of assisting with the growth and development of the sisters? Well, as I indicated in answering a number of previous questions that many of these responsibilities actually should be shared. But I think you're you've got a good point also that maybe should be clarified. And that is, how could I Muslim men, if I understand you, contributes to the improvement of the status of Muslim woman and his associate involvement? That's right. One, definitely. Men also have a part to play

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on the individual level. The

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jetties of a Muslim med would be identical to those other females. So I would not repeat that the question of test care or self purification is something that they should really start from, and to be ready to accept the rule of Islam rather than the rule of their particular subcultures.

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In the role on the family level, would involve a number of things, but basically to

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treat the Muslim woman as Islam requires her to be treated as a sister, mother, or wife or daughter. And these are issues that we hope to cover in future topics. But I can be Islamic in one's attitude in the way of

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dealings would help a great deal. Muslim men should also accept a Muslim woman, as an independent person with her independent personality who was responsible before God that she has her own identity. And as such, a word inculcates in higher self confidence in her ability to do things on her own within the boundaries again of Islam.

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Many Muslim males may behave in such a way that would make them an obstacle in the face of their wives being active in a static work their wives or daughters, I think they should revise this attitude, not only condone their participation, but encourage them to be involved again, in in the ways that Islam has required them to do and to understand that their role is extends beyond the role of the family. And what's the moment is not only supposed to be a good wife and a good mother, that she has to be also a good Muslim, a good member of society and a good human being also. And that's such a shift in culture, not only in terms of religious learning, but other administrative and

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organizing activities that would help her be more effective in that role. And above all, to remember, the constant reminders of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, and the way that women should be treated kindly, and in a compassionate way. And perhaps, very befitting,

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ending for that is to remember two things, first of all, is that a Muslim woman should also be a die should be a person who is actively involved in putting other people onto the path of truth. Even those friends may not necessarily be Muslims, you should introduce Islam to them. And secondly, that both men and women should remember the Quranic exhortation. And I just chose one verse to end the program with

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that appears in chapter 33, verse 35,

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for Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for development and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant for men and women who humble themselves. For men and women who are giving charity for men and women who fast for men and women who got their chest dirty. And for men and women who engage much in God's praise for them has got prepared forgiveness, and great rewards.

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program. That excellent I have from the from the ground, we want to thank you for being our guest, and invite you back next week when we'll start a new segment in our series with dealing with family life in Islam. And we'll be discussing the topic of Islam attitude towards sex. Thank you for watching. Assalamu alaikum peace be unto you