Heart Soul – Episode 18

Lauren Booth


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Welcome to heart and soul with me Lauren booth your place to reflect. Today my guest is Amina Blake. Amina has studied Islam under different teachers since 1994. And now she teaches Islamic Studies at local mosques in the north of England. She is the Assistant Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain. salaam aleikum Amina.

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We're very glad you could join us today all the way from sunny or rainy Sheffield on Sunday, actually, at the moment very nice. Today we're going to be talking about jewels of the Quran, tell us about these jewels of the Quran. The jewels of the Quran

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is actually a metaphor for some of the female scholars through time.

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And of course, the if you think if we think about what a jewel actually encompasses or represents, its its richness, I'm not talking about financial richness, I'm talking about the rich and the quality of somebody's face. Somebody lost for a subject, a jewel has a debt, and a value that nothing else does. And this is what these these these amazing ladies, remind me of? And this is why we mattifies them as jewels, and how do these jewels reveal themselves? Often we from the outside can feel overwhelmed by the male voices and the male experience in the Quran? How do these women stand out too? Can you give us a primary example? Yeah, of course. And I think before we move on to

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talk about the actual, the women who are these jewels, it's very important to look at the place of women in Islam, and what a woman is in Islam, in the Quran, which is a scientific miracle. Allah subhanaw taala mentions men and women an equal amount of times that in itself is an amazing miracle. However, we look at how many times men or women have mentioned, men are mentioned 23 times and women are mentioned 22 times making and I'm not good at math 46 how many chromosomes are there in the human being which has an X and a Y, there are 4620 from the male 23 from the female, that is amazing. It's amazing. Absolutely. Now this of course, also, as well as being a scientific miracle

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also suggests that there is a balance in the balance in Islam that can be Zen of scales. And of course, society should very much match those scales. Unfortunately, we have lost this equality in in society through the centuries, and instead of progressing and keeping this balance between men and women, we have regressed the scales have come very down on the side of the males. Let me just stop you there. Because we're going to take a short break we'll be right back after this.

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inside his home he was

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an angel came with words from things were still

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saying read read, but he could not read amazing words that he heard.

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A trembling deep inside his heart. confused by word.

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There was only one look at comfort him to help him see

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his face phase two.

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Was Khadija his wife. He said some melone some melone delphy Ronnie, the ferroni Ameri task has come before me I need you here with me.

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Welcome back.

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heart and soul with me, Lauren booth. I'm joined today by Amina Blake of the Muslim Council of Britain. I think we need to explore how have we regressed, we have voting rights, we're seeking parity in pay across the world, people listening will say, hang on a minute, the quality is much better than it's ever been. One could say that as far as maybe the western mentality is concerned. But when we look at Islam, and we look at not just the Muslim world, but the non Western world as well, we can see maybe there is a progression in the West insofar as women's rights are concerned, this is something that Muslim women have enjoyed for 1500 years, Islam actually came and, and freed

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us from the oppression of culture. I mean, nowadays, you know, in the West, in particular, maybe since the 1940s 1950s, through advertising and through media, and through general cultural change, women might have got the rights of inheritance and the rights of,

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you know, a political voice, etc, which is amazing. And, unfortunately, still women are way, way behind in life. I mean, how many countries do we know that our female leaders, very, very few, but unfortunately, women are repressed in another way nowadays, which is sexual repression, the way we are portrayed in the media, we have to look a certain way and act a certain way, otherwise, we are not considered very well, that you know, with very much, and this is this is something where we have certainly regressed even from the time you know what I mean, I remember, my grandma, who were quite strong Christian used to, you know, be very, very strong gun on women's rights, she wasn't doing it

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from sort of a sexual perspective, she was doing it very much from logistics and the way the woman should be treated, etc. And, you know, this very much stemmed from Christianity, but because we lost the morals and values which are across the board for Muslims and Christians, but the woman has been seen in a very different light now. And I think women across the world are recognizing this and the rise of the feminist movement in in Muslim countries and in non Muslim countries, is very much a signifier of this over the last sort of 5060 years. So let's return to that. That's clear. Let's return back to equality. In the Quran. We spoke a little bit about each male and female gender,

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specifically being mentioned 22 times in the Quran, which may surprise a lot of people. It is not a book of male domination. With regard to spirituality. How does God speak to men and women through the Quran,

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particular verse in Surah, Alyssa nisab, meaning the woman in verse 32. But Allah, Allah says, unto men, the benefit of what they earn IE virtue, and into women, the benefit of what they earn. So even the linguistics the language is equal, it shows equality.

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And Islam, of course, like any society, need male and female perspective to maintain this balance. And this is extremely important. research has been done. And I'm sure that, you know, many Muslims out there would be able to mention lots and lots of male scholars. But I challenge any Muslim out there to mention maybe five female scholars to history apart from Alisha. Hello, Andrew, it's very, very well known to mention female Muslim scholars throughout history. So very, very, very small percentage of them are going to be able to do that. Why is that? Why? Why is this scholarship hidden or removed from our history? What's happened? I think it's

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a mixture of different things, maybe removed through people forgetting, remove through cultural imposition of male dominated society, making the generations forget that these amazing contributions, but no scholar, no Muslim scholar, even to this day, will deny the huge influence and the huge input of women into Islam throughout the ages. And when you know, when the UK and the West were in the dark ages, at that time, and women were even it was the church with even questioning whether women were actually human beings or not. And women had zero rights. They didn't even have the right to own their own property. After marriage. It automatically became the husband's Muslim

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women were enjoying being leaders and sitting with their male counterparts of scholars. And we have lots and lots

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have beautiful examples of this. And of course the first example is IE shipping abubaker May Allah be pleased with her and she was undoubtedly the greatest scholar whether male or female, who has ever lived. She narrated over 2000 hobbies and actually the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said about her to the people learn a portion of your religion from this red colored lady lady this was the this was like an Indian man like a nickname that He has for her

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to do is it to do with blushing, a red a redness, a sweetness, what would you do with her complexion was a slightly ruggedly complex one as opposed like you would say, an English row would have a slight a slightly rubbery complexion and Alka red cheeks, which you've considered, you know, very beautiful, very attractive. So it's an Indian, and in this way, this this, this red colored lady, so that's what it's suggesting. But after the death of the Prophet peace be upon him, the Senior Companions, people like and whatever the May Allah be pleased with him and Abubakar has other and earthman and Annie would seek her advice in matters. For example, one of her areas of expertise was

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inheritance. inheritance is in Islam, it's very specific. And the math behind it is quite complex. And they would approach her because they knew that one of her skills while in this area, and in particular, in the mathematical area, I mean, my math is absolutely appalling. But clearly hers was amazing.

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The studies that she narrated, were written down preserved, and her students that were both male and female, and revered here in a very high position. In fact, monitor students who was called Abu Musa said, if we meaning the companions of the Prophet peace be upon him have difficulty in any matter, we would ask, Are you sure about it?

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Nowadays, it's very, very rare that you would get anybody approaching females that type of advice like this. So clearly, you know, this is something that was practiced by the closest companions of the Prophet peace be upon him. So we need to return to this, in order to get this balance back into our society. Women scholarship is certainly somewhat invisible, across the major faiths. What does it mean, for people who don't know, to have a had DCE narrated? Why is this so pivotal to the understanding of the Islamic faith?

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Have you thought absolutely pivotal, I mean, the science of the Habib says, a huge, huge subject. But just just to very briefly explain, when the Prophet peace be upon him said something, then, and he would say it obviously in front of people. And then this would be recorded by the people who heard it, and it would be learned and it would be passed on and put into practice.

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What would happen then, is what's called a chain of narration, now, the chain of information has to be very, very reliable. And what happens is to have ether actually graded into different different different grades of accessibility. So you would have the top grade which is a much water which is a hubbies that is completely reliable Prophet peace be poly definitely said that. And this is based on the right the right liability, opportunity duration, so the person or people have to be 100% reliable, they have to be people who are not lying people who are not cheating in their lives, you know, so the chain is very, very strict. And that chain goes right down to people like Bukhari and

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Muslim who compiled and actually traveled around the Muslim world to compile these change and put chains and put them into into different books. Okay, that's clear. Thank you for that explanation. We want to hear about one of these gems these jewels in the Quran. Now, these women have quality that you were speaking about earlier. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I mean, I'll just finish off speaking a little bit about about Asia.

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They have a lovely piece of her.

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She was a leader of education, but also social reform as well.

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She was very well known for her beautiful speech.

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wants to come up companions, who was called an F said, I heard speeches from before meaning Abu Bakr, Omar Ali and of man, but never any speech of persuasive and a beautiful as Ayesha may Allah be pleased with her when it came from her mouth, it was the most beautiful, she created an academy to train young people, male and female

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Email, I'm taking an orphans as well. I've never heard just solid. I'm absolutely stunned. This is the first I've heard about an academy. Yet she created the academy and she would train the future scholars. And the academy Academy was so intensive that she actually used to run it from her own house. This is how passionate she was about it. So she would take these young people into her house and she would nurture them. And she would send them out into the Muslim world of the future scholars, both male and female students would come to her from afar

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and to and they actually became the second generation of narrators of the hubby's. So they were very, very important. Now, one of the one of the ladies who was later on one of the later gems that we're talking about with a lady called farts and they've been photography, yes. And she actually lived in the eighth century. And maybe if you're listening to have heard of the works of a Bihari, he was he was a person, one of the people who I mentioned before, who actually compiled for these together, traveled the Muslim world compiling having been grading them. She was actually based in Damascus.

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And she was known across the Muslim world as one of the greatest scholars of time. Even now she's known as this.

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And when she went on Hajj, and went to Medina after she finished her Hajj, the leading male scholars from across the Muslim world would actually flocked to Medina to hear her teach firsthand so they could hear it from her mouth. And so Pamela, she would she would teach in Masjid neverwet which is the the Prophet's mosque in Medina. And she would, she would teach for days and days on end, sitting beside the grave of the Prophet peace be upon him in Masjid and number week.

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And Subhanallah when she was tired, she would rest her head on the grave of the Prophet peace be upon him. And she would continue teaching resting her head on the grave of Prophet peace be upon me nowadays, look at the state of what's happening. Women in Saudi Arabia can't even drive for crying out loud. Yet, hundreds of years ago, closer to the time of the Prophet peace be upon him there were women sitting teaching male scholars in this very place. How is that fair question. So Pamela,

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that is a beautiful reminder. We're going to take a short break now. And then we'll be back with more from me.

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We're going to take a short break now and then we'll come right back with more from Amina Blake.

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Fantastic, we're going to reintroduce us we need to we've got about four or five minutes the other end of this no six, seven minutes. So can we go to somebody from the Quran?

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Oh, I do like to speak because it's very short unfortunately. Right? I've got to I've got two nice stories, right? no light with my stories. Yeah, there's

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holub in cyber and the I need to say that because it's a beautiful that our

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my dad who was another female scholar from later on. So when we're saying jewels from the Quran, they're not in the Quran because I misunderstood that there

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no jewels of the Quran as the jewels who are teaching that scholars the female scholars through targeting her Yep, gotcha. Thank you. Okay, my mistake. Okay. We'll come back with hollub infallibly. Yes, yes. Okay, great.

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You're listening to heart and soul on Qf radio with me Lauren booth, sharing her gems of knowledge with us today's Amina Blake, from the Muslim Council of Britain. I am fascinated to know about these female scholars of the Quran, these jewels of the Quran that we're speaking about today. I'm one of these very rare, rarely known, not rare, because we've had scholars who are female but unknown today. Wonderful women is hola bint Saliba. I wonder sister if if you can talk about this incredible woman.

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Yes, follow up infallible was actually one of the ladies who was living at the time of the Prophet peace be upon him she was one of the early reverts to Islam.

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Live lift in Medina. Now, this is a very beautiful example of, of how women were treated and revered. And actually, you were mentioning the female scholars. Did you know that there were actually over 8000 known female scholars that have been researched and found out did let's just repeat that How many? Eight 8000 female scholars

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That we that we know existed from the time of the Prophet peace be upon him until, until recent times. And how many of those can we actually know? Not very many, right?

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So, but hold up infallible. Now what happened it was a it's a very important story at the time of the Prophet peace be upon him. Now the women before Islam came were very, very oppressed in the Arab world in the time of ignorance and follow up infallible.

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And first husband had a bit of an argument, they were very, very close couple, but they had an argument like people do.

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And he actually gave her a very, very harsh divorce that had been used before the time of Islam. And he said to her, you are to me, like the back of my mother, which was an irrevocable divorce. So

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he, they both realized, and he realized very, very quickly, you know, he'd done something very wrong and very, very unjust and felt very ashamed. And she said, Well, we need to sort this out you go and see the Prophet peace be upon him and deal with it until it has been said to her No, please, I feel shamed. You go to the Prophet peace we want to talk about. So Koehler went to the Prophet peace be upon him house, and the whole of the household of the Prophet peace upon him was there. And she related what had happened.

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She was so emotional, that right in the middle of a house of the Prophet peace be upon him, she made a very strong prayer to Allah. And the prayer was so beautiful, that the people in the house of the Prophet peace be upon him all started to cry, because it was so passionate what she was saying she was pleading with Allah to give a revelation that is going to keep her and her husband together.

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Now, when the verse of the Quran was revealed, shortly after birth, pertaining to her case, and this is a very, very important point that we need to make about the position of these women in Islam, when Allah in Surah, number 58, verses one to four revealed these verses protector case, it says, Allah have heard the words of her who pleads with you concerning her husband. So the address is directly to the woman involved. It's not to say it's not to her brother or to her children or anybody else, it is directly to her, which suggests a very high level of equality. So we need to think about this and remove this cultural baggage. And these false stereotypes as far as the

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perception of Muslim women is concerned, Muslim women are very, very empowered. Now, the last amazing woman that I want to talk about and I could go on all day, you know, I know you.

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I say to my listeners, sister, Amina Blake has made an impact on the British Army. God bless her with her wonderful speeches and strength of character and knowledge. So we're very grateful to have you here today. Please, one more example before we have to go.

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Yes, one more very short example. Okay, I'll keep it short inshallah. So this was a lady called Mr. danza.

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When she was a young lady, she used to say, I tried to worship online in every way that I can find. I'm lucky I've never found a better way than sitting debating with other scholars. This young lady used to used to go into the big centers, and she would sit and debate with the male scholars. Of course, she came to huge amounts of knowledge from this. And she eventually became a teacher of hobbies and fix that could be the deep understanding of the of Islam. And she would lecture in the male section in the men's section. And actually, one of her students was the homies of Damascus, the leader of Damascus. Now, these female scholars were very sought after, not to just their knowledge,

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because obviously, the knowledge was amazing. But also, we know that biologically women live for longer. Now, the chain of narration of the hubbies is always going to be stronger if it has less number of people in it. So the the students would seek out the female scholars, because they lived longer, it meant the change of chains of narration were shorter.

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And so this was another very, very important thing that these were very, very deep thinking analytical people who realized the importance of not just the male scholars, but also the female

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as scholars as well. So note that this this progression that I talked about, and this bringing back the jewels of the Quran, we need to understand that Islam is not a misogynistic face. Islam is a face that promote actively equality and if anything, it's actually got more rights than mentors, both councils, it's on the other direction. But we need to get this back and we need to resize and learn about these amazing jewels of the quarter and inshallah, thank you so much sister. I mean, and we need to encourage our young women as well, to become scholars and to know as much as they possibly can in order to share this beautiful way of life. This knowledge of how the universe and

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creation works and for the betterment of humanity to have our women sharing in the education process. May Allah The all knowing, guide us to the best respect for him and the best respect between men and women. Join me Lauren booth for more heart and soul talk tomorrow at the same time. Assalamu alaikum. The producer for this series is a have a chef