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  1. Female Leadership in Islam by Moulana Muhammad Karolia Introduction Female leadership is a question not unknown to the Muslim world. Although Muslim scholars have in the past discussed this topic, it first gained prominence in the twentieth century with the wake of the women's liberty movement. In recent years the question was further highlighted with the success of Benazir Bhutto in the 1989 elections in Pakistan and Khalida Zia in the 1991 election in Bangladesh. Recently some women in South Africa also embarked on a similar campaign claiming the right of leadership even in Salāh. This article is a study of the position of female leadership in the Shariah and will be followed by a discussion on women leading the Salāh and delivering lectures from the mimbar (pulpit). Can a Lady Rule a Country? Prior to Islam, women were among the most oppressed creatures in the world. Neither did they have any rights nor were they regarded as human-beings in many communities. Islam on the contrary, raised the social status of a woman and granted her many rights ranging from inheritance to the basic necessities of everyday-life. Regarding these rights Allāh Ta'āla says in the Qurān: "And women have rights similar to the rights against them (i.e. the right of men) according to what is equitable and men have a degree over them." [BAQARAH: 228] Mufti Muhammad Shafi Saheb (RA) explains this verse: "The rights of women that men are responsible for are compulsory just as the rights of men that women are responsible for are compulsory. The right of both (men and women) have been given the same ruling ...... it is not necessary that the rights of both take the same form. Instead, if women are responsible for a specific duty then so are men. Household matters, training and looking after the children are the responsibility of the women whereas men are responsible for earning a living so that they may fulfil the needs of women (their wives). It is a lady's duty to serve and obey her husband and the mehr (dowry) and expenditure of the women is the husband's duty. (In short, even though each have different rights over the other, the rights of both are incumbent.....) There is however one quality on accord of which man have superiority over women. This is why Allāh Ta'āla, at the end of this verse says: "and men have a degree over them." Mufti Shafi (RA) thereafter explains that this degree of superiority that men have over women is explained in the verse: "Men are overseers of women because Allāh Ta'āla granted virtue to some of them (i.e. men) over others (i.e. women) and because of their spending from their wealth."[NISā 34] Shaikh Muhammad Rashid Rida offers a similar explanation: "...... the lady equals the man in all rights (i.e. in the ruling of all rights) except one which Allāh refers to in the sentence 'and men have a degree over them.'" This degree is explained in the verse "men are overseers .....". (Huqooq-un-Nisā fil Islām) It is therefore necessary that we now focus our attention on this verse of the Qurān in the light of some acclaimed commentators of the Qurān. "Men are Overseers of Women" Allamah Ibn-ul-Arabi (RA) comments on this verse: The meaning of this verse is: I have made men overseers of women because I have granted the former superiority over the latter. This is due to three reasons viz. perfect understanding perfection of deen and obedience in jihad and commanding the good and forbidding the evil etc. This has been explained by Nabi sallallahu alaihi wasallam in an authentic Hadith:"I have not seen any one of deficient intellect and deen who is more destructive to the intelligence of a cautious man than you women." The women asked: "Why is that, O messenger of Allāh?" He replied: "Do you not spend a few nights without performing salāh and without keeping fast? This is the deficiency of her deen and the testimony of one of you equals half the testimony of a single man - this is the deficiency of her intellect. "... so that if one of the two women errs, the second would remind her". (Al Baqarah, verse 281) His spending on her in the form of dowry and other expenditure. (Ahkāmul Qurān, verse 1, pg.416) Allamah ālusi (RA) writes in the commentary of this verse that it is the quality of men to oversee the affairs of women just as the rulers oversee their subjects by commanding them to do good etc. This ruling is attributed to two reasons: one being wahbi (this is granted solely by Allāh) and the other Kasbi (i.e. achieved on account of his action): because Allāh has granted him superiority as has been narrated (in the Hadith) that women are deficient in intellect and deen and men are the opposite, that is why risalat (prophethood), imamat-e-kubra and sughra (major and minor leadership), Adhān, Iqāmat, khuthba etc. are confined to men. (meaning that only men were Rasuls and Nabis and only man can rule, lead the salāh etc.) because men bear the expenditure of women. (Ruhul Ma'āni, vl.5, pg.23) Before considering Maulana Shabbir Ahmed Uthmani's (RA) commentary, it is necessary that we first refer to the verse: "And do not covet that which Allāh favours some of you with over others - men will receive the reward of what they earn and women will receive the reward of what they earn. And ask Allāh of his bounty. Verily Allāh has full knowledge of all things." [An Nisā - 32] Hafiz Ibn Katheer (RA) narrates on the authority of Imam Ahmad and Imam Tirmidhi that Umme Salmah (RA) said: "O Messenger of Allāh! The men wage Jihad whereas we (women) do not and we receive half the inheritance." (i.e. blood-brothers receive double the share of blood sisters). Thereafter the verse "And do not covet......" was revealed. (Ibn Katheer vl.1, pg.498) This verse would therefore mean that when Allāh has granted some of mankind (i.e. men) virtue over others (i.e. women) by means of certain actions, then it is incorrect to covet the favour of Allāh on them because each of them will be rewarded according to his actions. Envy and complaining is of no avail. On the contrary, it would be most beneficial to ask Allāh for more reward for one's actions. Complaining and envy yield no reward. However all good actions yield reward. Verily Allāh has knowledge of everything and knows fully well the wisdom in specifying certain actions for man only. He knows best which actions are appropriate for men and which are appropriate for women. Commenting on the verse "men are overseers....." Maulana Shabeer Saheb Uthmani (RA) writes: "It was mentioned in the previous verse that the rights of men and women have been given full consideration. Had their rights been given a different consideration (women's right were not considered fully as men's rights) women would be justified in complaining. This verse now explains that men have a status higher than women, women cannot complain because the difference of rules (regarding men and women) that result on accord of this additional degree of men is in total agreement with divine wisdom.....". (Tafsir-e-Uthmāni Pg.128) Summary Just a few commentaries of the verses concerned have been mentioned above. Many other commentators have elucidated the meaning of these verses in a similar manner. The above discussions may be summarised in the following points: Although both men and women have rights upon each other that are compulsory, their rights do differ in many situations. Men have an additional right over women - they are their overseers and guardians. There are two reasons due to which men have been given this additional right over women. Firstly, they have to give the women their dowries and they are responsible for all their expenses. Secondly,Allāh granted man this favour when creating him, women had been created as the weaker sex. Besides, women experience monthly menstrual periods due to which they are unable to perform salāh and fast during that period. Thus the hadith has classified her as deficient in deen. The hadith has in a similar vein regarded her as deficient in intellect because the Qurān has regarded the testimony of one lady equal to half the testimony of a single man. (see Al-Baqarah, verse.282) Since the rights of women have been given the same amount of importance and consideration as the rights of men, women should not complain of men having an additional right over them. If they do, they would be questioning the wisdom of Allāh. Conclusion It may thus be concluded that although men and women are equal in that both have rights, they do not have the same rights. Among the sole rights of a male is that he is always the head of a family since he is the guardian of the women. Leadership of a country is in a similar vein the sole right of men. Most commentators of the Qurān have explained the verse under discussion that just as men only rule a country, lead the salāh etc. only men can be the head of a family. A few examples are: QURTUBI "..... and the judges, rulers and mujahideen are among the men and this is not found among the women." (Qurtubi, vl.5, pg.168) IBN KATHEER "..... that is why nubuwat is reserved for men just as rulership ....."(Tafseer Ibn Katheer vl.1, pg.503) BAIDAWI " .... that is why nubuwat (prophethood), leading the salāh, leading a country and establishment of other sha-āir (distinguishing features) of deen (e.g. adhān, iqamah) are confined to men only. (Tafseer al Baidawi Pg.111) In short, this verse has encompassed a major reason why women cannot rule in the Shariah. Just as she cannot lead a home, she cannot lead a country. Another Verse from the Qur'ān Describing women, Allāh Subhanahu Ta'āla says in the Qurān: "Is then one brought up among trinkets and unable to give a clear account in a dispute (to be associated with Allāh).(Az-Zukhruf: 18 ) i.e. women are normally brought up in decoration and adornment and are always occupied with jewellery. This is a proof of deficient intellect and understanding (because true beauty is the beauty of the Akhirah) and due to a weak understanding, women are unable to express themselves clearly when debating." (Tafseer-e-Uthmani pg. 652) This verse substantiates the claim that women are physically weak and unable to fulfil the duties of leadership. It has thus been made the right of men only. Hijāb and Female Leadership Hijāb is generally understood to mean the donning of a veil. This is however incorrect. The scholars of Islam have included the following verses in the discussion of hijāb: "And stay in your houses. And adorn not yourselves with the adornment of the time of Ignorance." (Al Ahzāb: 33) "And when you ask of them (wives of Nabi Sallallahu alaihi Wasallam) anything, then ask them from behind a curtain." (Al Ahzāb: 53) ".... therefore be not soft of speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease, aspire (to you) but utter customary speech."(Al Ahzāb: 32) "O Nabi! Tell your wives and daughters and the women of the believers to draw their jilbābs (a special cloak that covers the entire body) close around them ...." (Al Ahzāb:59) "And they (the women), should not stamp their feet so as to reveal their hidden adornment." (An Nur:31) From these verses, the following rules of hijāb may be deduced: The lady should at all times remain in her home. If due to any shar'ie necessity (eg. Haj, visiting her parents, visiting the ill etc.) (Ruhul Ma'āni vl.22 pg.6) then she should cover her entire body including the face. She has to communicate with men from behind a curtain. She must not lower her tune when speaking with strange men. She should not walk in such a manner that would attract the attention of men. Intermingling of the sexes is prohibited in Islam. Besides these, it has also been established from the Hadith that a lady cannot travel further than 77 kilometers without a mahram (any such male relative with whom marriage is prohibited). (Tirmidhi Vl.3 pg.472) It is clear from the above that the implications of Hijāb are in direct conflict with the duties of leadership. In order to ensure the welfare of his subjects, the leader has to leave his home daily, meet and consult with people (men in particular) and travel to various parts of his country and sometimes to other countries as well. These cannot however be achieved if a lady has to be the ruler and at the same time observe the rules of hijāb. It is on this accord that Shariah has prohibited female leadership. Warning of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam A female leader would either be contravening the rules and regulation of Hijāb or neglecting the welfare of her subjects. Thus Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said: "A nation that has entrusted its affairs to a woman can never be successful."(Bukhari vl.5, pg.136, Bukhari vl. 4 Page 97, Nisai vl. 8 Page 227, Tirmidhi vl. 5 Page 457) Imam Tirmidhi (RA), after narrating this hadith, says: "This is a sound and authentic hadith." In another hadith we read: "Men are destroyed when they obey women." Hakim (RA) writes that the chain of narrators is authentic and Hafiz Dhahabi (RA) has also agreed that this hadith is authentic. (Quoted by Ml. Y.Ludhyanwi on the authority of Mustadrak Hakim, vl.4, pg.291) Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam also said: "When your rulers are the best among you, your wealthy are generous, and your matters are decided by mutual consultation, then the surface of the earth is better for you than the belly of the earth. However, when your rulers are the worst among you, your wealthy are miserly and your matters are in the hands of your women, then the belly of the earth is better for you than its surface." (Tirmidhi vl.4, pg.459) Commenting on the quality of this hadith, Imam Tirmidhi writes: "This is a Gharib Hadith (i.e. a hadith that had been narrated by only one person in each era until the codification period) - we do not know it except from Salih-al-Murriy. There are some strange facts in the narrations of Salih in which he is unique (mutafarrid). He is however, a pious man." Nevertheless all scholars of Islam; commentators of the Qurān, Hadith and jurisprudence have, on the basis of the Hadith "A nation will never be successful ...." unanimously agreed that female leadership is not permissible in Islam. Some Quotations The reader has already seen the opinions of some leading commentators of the Qurān (ālusi, Ibn Katheer, Baidawi and Qurtubi). Here are a few more quotations from the writings of other scholars: Hafiz Ibn Hajr (RA) and Hafiz Badruddin Aini (RA) write in their respective commentaries of Bukhari: "There is proof in this hadith that a lady cannot be appointed to the office of leadership or as a judge." (Fathul Bari vl.8 pg.129) Qadi Abu Bakr ibn ul-Arabi (RA) writes in his commentary of Tirmidhi: "This proves that only men may be appointed as leaders (rulers). There is a consensus that women have no right to rulership." (āridatul Ahwadhi vl.9, pg 119) Allama Shawkani (RA) writes in the commentary of this hadith: "In it is a proof that women do not qualify for any sort of leadership. It is not permissible to make a lady the leader because it is compulsory to abstain from anything that will result in failure." (Naylul Awtār vl.8, pg 298) Qadi ibn-ul-Arabi (RA) writes again in Ahkām-ul-Qurān: "This is clear proof that a lady cannot become the khalifah (leader of the Muslim state) - There is no difference of opinion in this matter." (Ahkāmul Qurān vl.3,pg.29) Allamah Mawardi (RA) and Shah Wali-ul-llah (RA) have listed "Zukoorah" as an essential requirement of a Muslim ruler." (Hujjatullah-ul-Balighah Vl. 2 Page 396,Izalatul Khifa Vl. 1 Page 19, Shāmi Vl. 1 Page 548) Allamah Shami explains: ".... because women have been commanded to remain in their homes, their condition is therefore based on remaining concealed ...." (Shāmi vl.1, pg 458) Qurtubi, after listing "being a male" as one of the necessary conditions of a ruler says: "They are unanimous that it is not permissible for a lady to become a leader." (Tafseer Qurtabi, vl.1 pg.270) Imam Baghawi after quoting the hadith "A nation can never be successful ...." says that it is an authentic hadith and thereafter comments: "They have unanimously agreed that a lady neither has the ability to become a leader nor a judge because it is necessary for the leader to leave his home in order to establish jihad and see to the matters of the Muslims. Similarly the judge has to leave his home in order to pass judgement in arguments. A lady is however "Awrah" (something that must be concealed) and cannot (unnecessarily) leave. Because of her physical weakness, she is unable to see to most matters of the Muslims. A woman is also deficient whereas leadership and passing judgement are among the greatest appointments. (Sharhus Sunnah vl.10, pg.77) NB: An extremely important point is made in the above quotations: There is "ijmā" (consensus of opinion) among the ummah that female leadership is not permissible. Ijmā is the third most important source of Islamic law and cannot be opposed. Consider the Following: Protagonists of female leadership should consider the following: The messengers of Allāh were always men. Never was a lady deputed as a Rasul or Nabi. "And We have not sent messengers before you except that they were men." [Al-Ambiyā: 7] Nabi sallallahu alaihi wasallam had during his lifetime despatched many jamāts (for the sake of da'wah and jihad etc.) but never did he appoint a female as ameer of any of these jamāts. (Fatawa Mahmoodia, vl.10, pg.129) NB: The scholars have enumerated approximately 60 jamāts of this nature that were despatched by Nabi sallallahu alaihi wasallam. (Zadul Ma'ād vl.1, pg. 129) These jamāts are normally referred to as Sarāya by the historians. Nabi sallallahu alaihi wasallam had on many occasions personally led military expeditions. On such occasions he would leave a deputy to see to the matters of the women, children, aged and ill people that were still in Madina. For example, he made Hazrat Ali (RA) his deputy at the time of Tabuk and Abu Lubābah bin Abdul Munzir at the time of Badr. These deputies were however never women. (Fatawa Mahmoodia vl.10, pg.129, Zādul Ma'ād vl.3, pg.172 & 529) Nabi sallallahu alaihi wasallam had four muazzins - Hazrat Bilal, Hazrat Abu Mahdhoorah, Hazrat Abdullah ibn Umme Maktoom and Sa'd al-Qurdh. ( Fatawa Manmoodia, vl.10, pg.127; Zādul Ma'ād vl.1, pg.124) None of them were women, and it has never been narrated from the salaf (pious predecessors from the Sahābah, Tabieen and Taba-Tabieen) that women may give Azān. On the contrary, jurists have regarded it as makrooh. (Durrul Mukhtār, vl.1, pg.392) In a similar manner the duties of iqamat, khutbah of jumuah and the eids, imamat of salāh etc. can only be fulfilled by men.(Fatawa Mahmoodia, vl.10, pg.125/6) Besides ruling a country, standing as a candidate in a political party, leading any other movement or organisation and becoming a member of a masjid or madressah committee are also not permissible for a lady because: these are not her functions in society, if she does engage herself in such activities, she would be contravening the rules of the Qurān and Hadith regarding hijāb and female leadership. "Bilqees: The Queen of Saba" Protagonists of female leadership normally justify their claim with an analogy of Bilqees of Saba - whose story is mentioned in the Qurān (Al Naml 20-24). This analogy is however very strange and can in no way substantiate their claim, because: Bilqees was a disbeliever at that time as is clear from the verses: "I found her and her nation prostrating to the sun ...." [Verse 24] "Verily she was of a disbelieving people". [Verse 43] Later, with the invitation of Hazrat Sulayman (Alaihis salām) she brought Islam. She said: "Oh my Rabb! Verily I have wronged my soul and I have surrendered with Sulayman to Allāh, Rabb of the worlds." [Verse 44] After embracing Islam, she also surrended her kingdom to Sulayman (AS) as was the order of Sulayman (AS). This is apparent in the following verse: He said: "Do you give me abundance in wealth .... go back to them, for we will most certainly come to them with such armies that they will not be able to oppose, and we shall expel them in disgrace and they will be humbled." [Verse 37] There is thus no indication in the narrative that Sulayman (AS) had approved of and permitted her to continue ruling her kingdom. It is sometimes argued that after Bilqees brought Imān, Sulayman (AS) married her and therafter sent her to rule Yemen. This argument is however incorrect because it is based on very weak Israeli narrations and besides being weak, these narrations are very contradictory. While some say that after marrying Bilqees, Sulayman (AS) kept her with him, others say that he sent her to rule over Shām (Syria). Allamah Qurtubi (RA) has in his tafseer also declared all these narrations as incorrect and unreliable. (Awrat ki Serbarahi by Ml.Y. Ludhyanwi pg.33 and Mufti R. Uthmani - Al Farooq Arabic Quarterly, Rabiul Awwal 1410-1989) The legislation of the previous ambiyā is not necessarily a proof. The shariah of the previous ambiyā can only be regarded as a valid argument if there is no verse of the Qurān or hadith contradicting it. We have however already seen that the Qurān, hadith and Ijm (consensus of the Ummah) do not permit female leadership. (Ibid) Mufti Muhammad Shafi (RA) writes in Ahkamul Qurān: "If it is argued that the trend in the Qurān is to boldly refute any evil action of the Kuffar that the Qurān quotes and (the absence of any refutation in these verses indicate permissibility), then our reply is: Firstly:The generality of the claim is not known (meaning this is not an established fact). Secondly: it is not necessary that such an act be refuted in the very same verse that discusses it. It will suffice if such an act is refuted in some other place (in the Qurān) or in any other shari proof. Thus if female leadership has been refuted in the Hadith of Bukhari, it would be sufficient explanation of it's evil (and impermissibility)." (Ahkāmul Qurān vl.3, pg.29) Hadhrat Aisha (RA) and the Battle of Jamal (The Camel) Protagonists of female leadership substantiate their claim from Hazrat Aisha's (RA) participation in the Battle of Jamal. Hazrat Uthmān (RA) had been murdered just after the days of Tashreeq. The wives of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam had, after completing the rites of Haj just left Makkah Mukarramah on their return journey to Madinah Munawwarah. Upon receiving the news of the murder of Hazrat Uthmān (RA) they changed the direction of their journey and returned to Makkah. The Muslims at that time were in utter turmoil. Hazrat Ali (RA) had taken the bay'at (pledge of allegiance) from the people of Madina and the assassins of Hazrat Uthmān (RA). He felt that it would be more appropriate to allow the turmoil and confusion to settle and thereafter avenge the blood of Hazrat Uthmān. Others however differed and thought it of greater importance to first avenge the blood of the assassinated Khalifah. Thus, a group of senior Sahabah (RA) including Hazrat Talha and Hazrat Zubair gathered in Makkah and persuaded Hazrat Aisha (RA) to use her influence as Umm-ul-Mu'mineen to help them unite the Muslims and therafter demand the requital of the blood of Hazrat Uthmān (RA). Hazrat Aisha agreed and it was decided that they would proceed to Basrah. The rest of the wives of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam refused to join Hazrat Aisha (RA) and returned to Madina. Although Hazrat Hafsah (RA) agreed with Hazrat Aisha (RA), her brother, Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) did not allow her to join the campaign to Basrah. (Summarised from Al Bidayah wan Nihayah vl.7,pg.230) A closer study of the battle of Jamal and the events leading to it (most of which were mentioned above), would reveal the futility of justifying female leadership from it because: Hazrat Aisha (RA) was not the leader of the army. Neither at the time of suggesting that she accompany the army did they consider making her their leader nor later during the cause of the expedition was she regarded as their leader. Hazrat Talha and Hazrat Zubair had asked her to accompany them so that she could use her influence to convince the masses of the nobility of their cause. This is why the rest of the wives of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam were also requested to accompany the expedition and Hazrat Hafsah (RA) had even accepted the request. Neither was Hazrat Aisha (RA) intending to capture the khilafat from Hazrat Ali nor were Hazrat Talha and Zubair (RA) intending to do so. They were only demanding that the assassins of Hazrat Uthmān be brought to task. (Fathul Bari vl.3, pg.56) In fact they had barely thought of meeting the forces of Hazrat Ali (RA) on the battle field. Allamah ibn Taymiyyah (RA) writes: "Neither did Hazrat Aisha (RA) fight (in the battle) nor did she leave (her home) in order to fight. She had only intended to create peace among the Muslims and thought that the Muslims would benefit by her leaving (for Basrah etc.) .... They did not have any intention of fighting on the day of Jamal. The battle however took place without their choice. Because when Hazrat Ali and Hazrat Talha and Hazrat Zubair (RA) had negotiated and agreed on re- conciliation and that after they had settled they would seek the assassins .... The assassins therefore feared that Hazrat Ali would agree with them (Hazrat Zubair etc.) to capture them, and they therefore captured the camp of Hazrat Talha and Hazrat Zubair (RA). They thought that Hazrat Ali had attacked them and in defence attacked the camp of Hazrat Ali. Hazrat Ali (RA) thought that Hazrat Talha and Hazrat Zubair had attacked him and retaliated in defence. The battle thus occurred without their choice. Hazrat Aisha (RA) was seated (on the camel) - neither did she fight nor did she command anyone to do so. (Quoted by Ml.Y. Ludhyanwi on th authority of "Minhājus Sunnah" pg.185, vl. 2) Many Sahabah (RA) disagreed with her participation in the campaign. Many had written to her expressing their dissatisfaction. Hazrat Umme Salma (RA) wrote her a lengthy letter admonishing her: " ..... Had Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam known that women are able to endure (the difficulties of) jihad, he would have entrusted you! Do you not know that he (Rasulullah Sallallahu alaihi Wasallam) had prohibited you from travelling in the cities? Verily the pillar of deen neither remains firm with women nor wealth and it cannot be repaired by women if it has to crack (break). The jihad of women is the lowering of the gaze and the drawing of the hem and the intending of modesty. What would you say to Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam if he has to object to some of these mistakes - sitting on a camel travelling from place to place? I take an oath that if it has to be said to me: "O Umme Salmah! Enter Jannah! I would be ashamed to meet Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam while I had torn a veil (barrier) he had placed over me. Therefore make it your veil (barrier) also ...." (quoted by Mufti R.Uthmani from Al Aqdul Fareed vl.5,pg.66) Hazrat Aisha (RA) had written a letter to Zayd bin Suhan encouraging him to join Hazrat Talha and Zubair and if he disagrees, he should dissuade the masses from joining Hazrat Ali (RA). He replied:".... Verily I am your loyal son. If you leave and return home, (then I will obey you) otherwise, I would be the first to oppose you." He also said: "May Allāh have mercy on Ummul-Mu'mineen. She has been commanded to stay in her home and we have been commanded to fight ....". (Ibnul Atheer vl.3, pg.216) Hafiz Ibn Hajar (RA) narrated that after the battle, Ammar Bin Yasir (who was from Hazrat Ali's camp) said to Hazrat Aisha (RA): "How distant is this journey from the command that was imposed on you!" (referring to the verse: 'And remain in your homes'). She replied: "Are you Abul Yaqdhan?" He replied in the affirmative, upon which she said: "In the name of Allāh, ever since I know, you always speak the truth." He said: "All praises are due to Allāh who has decided in my favour on your tongue." (Fathul Bari vl.13,pg.58) Hazrat Aisha (RA) later regretted joining the expedition to Basrah as is clear from the above narration. Later in her life she would say: "I wish I had stayed behind just as others (from the Ummahat-ul-Mumineen and many Sahabah) had stayed behind ....". (Fathul Bari vl.13,pg.55) "I wish I were a fresh twig and I had not undertaken my journey ..." It is narrated that whenever Hazrat Aisha used to read the verse "And remain in your homes," she would cry so excessively that her veil would become soaked. (Quoted by Mufti R.Uthmani-Al Farooq Quarterly - Siyar A'lam un Nubala vl.8,pg.80) Can a Lady Lead the Salāh? The Fuqaha (Muslim jurists) have discussed two types of Imamat viz: Imamat-e-Kubra: Major leadership, referring to the leading of a country. Imamat-e-Sughra: Minor leadership, referring to the leading of the Salāh. Just as the shariah has reserved imamat-e-kubrah for men only, it has reserved imamat-e-sughra for men only. (Some jurists have permitted female imamat of the Salāh when the congregation is purely female. This will be discussed later Insha-Allāh). Women Leading Men in Salāh Most, if not all fuqaha (Muslim jurists) are of the opinion that women cannot lead men in salāh. If any man performs his salāh behind a female imam, his salāh would be null and void. Below are the opinions of each of the four madhahib. Hanafi Madhab - "And it is not permissible for men to follow a lady in salāh." (Hidayah vl.1. pg.209) Shafiy Madhab - "And a male following a lady (in salāh) is incorrect."(Minhāj:Allamah Nawawi vl.1, pg.241) Maliki Madhab - "Salāh will therefore not be correct behind a lady (imam)."(Bulghat-us-Salik: Allamah Sāwi vl.1.pg.146) Hambali Madhab -"It is not correct in the opinion of the general fuqaha, for a man to follow a lady (in salāh)."(Al Mughni: Ibn Qudamah vl.2, pg.199) Ibn Rushd-al-Qurtubi writes: ".... The jamhoor (general majority) are of the opinion that it is not permissible for her to lead the men in salāh ...." (Bidayatul Mujtahid vl.1, pg.105) Why Can She Not Lead the Men in Salāh? Nothing has been narrated regarding this from Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam or the Sahabah (RA) or the Tabi-een. Had it been permissible, it would have definitely been recorded in the books of Hadith and Fiqh. (Bidayatul Mujtahid vl.1,pg. 105 & As Saylul Jarrar vl.1, pg.250) On the contrary Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam had commanded the women to stand at the rear of the congregation (if they do attend the congregational salāh). The reason being that women are to be hidden and have been commanded to observe hijāb. If men have to follow a lady imām in salāh, they would have to stand behind her. This is in total contrast with the rules of hijāb. (Bidayatul Mujtahid vl.1,pg. 105 & As Saylul Jarrar vl.1, pg.250) A hadith has been narrated regarding women standing at the rear of the congregation: "Place them in the rear as Allāh has placed them in the rear." (Nasbur Rayah vl.2, pg.36 - quoted from Musannaf Abdur Razzāk- although this hadith is mawqoof, (the chain of narrators terminates on Hadhrat Ali radhiallah anhu, the fact that man should occupy the first rows, thereafter the children and behind the children the women is established from other authentic ahādith - see Bukhari vl.1, pg. 211) Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said: ."... and a lady should not lead a man in salāh ...." (Sunan Ibn Majah vl.1,pg.250) The generality of the hadith "The nation that has entrusted it's affairs to a lady cannot be successful," demands that women do not qualify to be entrusted with any sort of leadership duties. Salāh is the most noble and important matter of the Muslims. Can we entrust it to a lady and hope for success? (As Saylul Jarrar - Allamah Shawkani vl.1,pg.250) Ibn Qudamah Al-Maqdisi (RA) after explaining the opinion of the majority writes that some Hambali scholars are of the opinion that "it is permissible for her to lead the men in taraweeh salāh (but) she will stand behind them. It (lady leading the taraweeh) will be permissible because of the narration of Umme Waraqah (RA) that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam had appointed a muezzin for her who would given azān for her and He commanded her to lead the people (ahl) of her dār (house) - Abu Dawud has narrated this hadith. (See Abuj Da'ud vol.2 Page 161 Beirut). Ibn Qudamah however disagrees with these Hambali scholars and refutes their claim explaining that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam had only permitted her to lead the women of her home (nisā-e-ahle-dāriha) - this is how Dār-Qutni has narrated this hadith. When an addition of this nature is narrated, then it is compulsory to accept it. Had the extra word 'Nisā' (women) not been narrated, there would have been some possibility of substantiating one's claim from this hadith. Besides, this hadith does not pertain to Taraweeh or any other nafl or sunnah salāh because the hadith also says that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam had appointed a muezzin to call the azān for her. Azān is not called out for nafl or sunnah salāh. It is only called for the fardh salāhs. (Al Mughni vl.2,pg.199) There is however no difference of opinion even among the Hambali Fuqaha that women cannot lead men in fardh salāh. This hadith is therefore referring to a purely female congregation only. Apart from the jamhoor (majority), Abu Thour and Tabri have allowed women to lead the salāh even it there are men in the congregation. Ibn Rushd said that they have based their claim on the hadith of Umme Waraqah.(Bidayatul Mujtahid vl.1,pg.105) Ibn Qudamah's explanation of the hadith however leaves no doubt that they have erred. Other than Abu Thour and Tabri, the entire ummah has 'ijmā' (unanimous agreement) that women cannot lead men in salāh. Can a Lady Lead a Purely Female Congregation AHNāF: If a lady leads the salāh of a purely female congregation, then salāh will be correct. It is however makrooh tahrimi for women to form their own congregation. (Hidayah vl.1,pg.305; Bada'i-us Sanai vl.1,pg.157) MāLIKIYYA: A lady can in no circumstance be the Imam even if the congregation be entirely female. The salāh of even a lady behind a female imām is invalid.Bulghatus Salik vl.1, pg.146; Ashalul Madarik, vl.1,pg.241) SHAWāFI: A lady can be the imam of a purely female congregation. In fact it is mustahab for them to form their own congregation. (Al Mughni vl.12,pg.199; Bada-i vl.1,pg. 157) HANABILA: The salāh of a lady behind a lady imām is permissible. There is however difference of opinion regarding women forming their own congregation (behind a female imam). (Al Mughni l.12, pg.199) The Shafi and Hambali scholars substantiate their opinion with the hadith of Umme Waraqah (RA) that was mentioned earlier. It is similarly narrated that Hazrat Umme Salmah (RA) and Hazrat Aisha (RA) used to lead the women in Salāh. (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah vl.2, pg.88-89) While it is narrated from Hazrat Ali (RA) that "a lady cannot be an imām"(Ibid) and from Nafi (RA) that: "I do not know that a lady can lead the women in salāh"(Ibid), Hanafi Scholars also explain that when a lady does lead a purely female jamāt, she has one of two options: She stands in front of the first row (just as a male imam would do). This is however makrooh because it is contrary to the spirit of Hijāb. She could stand in the middle of the first row (as Hazrat Aisha and Hazrat Umme Salmah did). This however is also makrooh because it is wajib (necessary) in a congregational salāh that the Imam stands a little in front of the first row. (Fathul Qadeer vl.1, pg.306) Hanafi Fuqaha therefore explain the ahadith of Umme Waraqah, Aisha and Umme Salmah (RA) as mansukh (abrogated). Although Sheikh Kamal Ibn Humām has after critically discussing the possibility of abrogation concluded that purely female congregations are makrooh-e-tanzihi, the general body of Fuqaha-e-Ahnāf regard it as makrooh-e-tahrimi. The fatwa (preferred verdict) is also on tahreem (prohibition)."And a purely female congregation is makrooh-e-tahrimi, even though in taraweeh."(Durrul Mukhtar, vl.1, pg.528) Can a Women Deliver a Lecture from the Mimbar? A few verses of the Qurān regarding hijāb have been previously mentioned under the caption "Hijāb and female leadership." Among these verses were: "And stay in your houses and do not make a dazzling display like that of the former times of ignorance." (Al Ahzāb:33) This verse implies that it is necessary for a woman to remain in her home at all times. She may only leave her home on account of a shar'ie necessity. (eg. Haj, Umrah, visiting the ill and visiting her parents etc.)(Tafseer Ibn Katheer,vl.13,pg.491). Going to the musjid in order to perform salāh is not acceptable in the light of the general opinion of the Sahabah and the Ulama of Islam. A lady that leaves her home in order to deliver a lecture to a mixed gathering of men and women (from the mimbar) would firstly be contravening this important principle of the Shariah. In another verse Allāh Ta'āla says: "And when you ask them of anything, then ask it of them from behind a curtain." (Al Ahzāb:530 "... therefore be not soft in speech ..." (Al Ahzāb:32) These verses imply that if a lady has to communicate with a strange man while at home, then this communication should be from behind the curtain. (i.e. the lady should not be seen at all) and when speaking she should not speak in a lowered tone. In yet another verse Allāh Ta'āla says: "Oh Nabi! Tell your wives and daughters and the women of the Believers to draw over them their jilbāb." (Al Ahzāb:59) ii.e. If due to any necessity a lady is compelled to leave her home, she should cover herself with the jilbāb. The jilbāb is a large sheet that extends from above the head to the feet including the face. (in other words she is commanded to cover the entire body including the face).(Ibn Katheer vl.13, pg.526) (There is consensus of opinion that the face must also be covered in times of evil and corruption.) A lady that delivers a lecture from the mimbar is unable to fulfil the demands of the above-mentioned ayāt and her action is contrary to the spirit of Hijāb. In a purely female congregation two, the lady imām stands in the middle of the first row and not ahead of the first row as a male imam would do. (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah vl.2,pg.88/89 ; Hidayah vl.1,pg.306 ; Al Mughni vl.2,pg.2) In view of the above, it is not permissible for a lady to deliver a lecture from the mimbar. Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said: "A lady is 'AWRAH' (something to be concealed). Thus when she leaves, shaytān stares at her."[Tirmidhi Pg. VI] Published by: Madrasah Arabia Islamiah, Azaadville Source: http://www.beautifulislam.net/women/female_leadership_islam.htm
  2. The following is an article written by Bint Assalaam and posted on Jamiatul Ulema (KZN) website: Is sisterhood dying? We hear it often, “By nature women are nurturers.” Just not always with each other. We easily speak about how men hate on women, but let’s talk about our propensity as women to hate on each other. And we do it frequently. Almost habitually, that unbeknownst to us, sizing each other up has become a skill we can perform in a matter of seconds. Women are often harder on each other than men. At home, at work, even at play, appraising and judging each other constantly. We have entered each other in a competition where the only prize on offer is an unfounded feeling of short-lived self satisfaction. In a never-ending pageant, we are contesting with and judging each other on our dress, marital status, occupation, smarts, social disposition, walk and talk. No matter how much girl power we profess to have over men we’re still insecure about it. We are strangely threatened by another woman possibly “stealing” our power that it drives us to wield that so called power over each other. A lot of women will tell you that they have either survived the torment served by at least one mean girl in their past, that girl who dismissed, belittled, or socially tortured them. There might be some who will tell you they are going through it right now. And chances are you’re actually the bully. Take for example that most mother and daughter – in – law relationships are based on mutual dislike or worse. The line between letting go and grabbing on too tightly is thin. Mother – in – laws are more often the ones abusing what’s meant to be a respectable seniority in these cases, to such an extent it results in the failure of some marriages. Most times these mothers – in – law suffered under the iron fist of their husband’s mother but instead of breaking the vicious cycle, they continue the “tradition”. One would think rearing one’s own kids would incline one to be more accepting of another’s. But instead power play has pushed some mothers – in – law to take out a hit on their new daughters. Because of this young women enter marriage with their guards up thinning the chances of a mother-daughter bond from forming. Sisterhood is dying. A recent study has found that two women are less likely to co-operate than two men when one is more powerful than the other. This contradicts the accepted notion that a woman’s nurturing nature makes it normal for them to help each other. Aside from this asphyxiation of one woman’s growth by another, the female newbie at a company undergoes all types of tests by those already there. If you’re too quiet, you’re labelled a snob. Speak up and you’re a big mouth. Take the initiative or push boundaries and you’re a suck up. Disagree with others views and you’re outcast and given the silent treatment. This happens with women in the same profession, of different professions and generally outside the workplace also. This strong arm tactic of mocking or shunning other women, and denying them a social connection works because according to experts, relationships are a source of solace and power to women and girls. But female bullying is not restricted to the real world only. Twitter and Facebook have opened up new arenas for it, with complete strangers slinging verbal vitriol at each other. Never mind that woman make silent deductions about other women based on their dress within seconds of meeting women across seas are openly typecasting each other. Social media has allowed women to betray, backstab and trash-talk each other without face-to-face conflict, to the amusement and glee of their friends and followers. It sets apart the real friends from the pseudo ones. Disagree with a woman on her status or tweet and you might earn the cold shoulder at work or even worse be unfriended. Constantly images of what the perfect woman should look like bombard us. It isn’t a surprise that the reason for women hating on women is self hate. Not being able to identify with this ridiculous slim, flawless, cellulite-free, and perfect image of beauty has created angry women. Envy, insecurity and feelings of intimidation drive women to knock other women down. More often than not these unhealthy feelings develop because of this visual assault, rather than a deep rooted psychological problem. Women with a strong sense of self and high self-esteem are less likely to hurt others, if they aren’t prone to making judgments about women of other cultures and religion. Sisterhood is drawing its last breaths. Unfortunately even amongst Muslim girls and women. We are choosing the wrong examples to direct our identities and so weaving flimsy friendships and relationships based on the superficial. If sisterhood in Islam transcended the surface levels of friendship, Muslim women could enjoy a very special bond with each other. As Muslim women we share a gift more special than any other, we share the belief in the Oneness of Allah SWT. This shared belief and testimony of faith should go beyond our differences of race, nationality, culture or language. Being a sister in Islam is one of many blessings but it also comes with a responsibility to each other. As Muslim women we are taught that there is great reward in loving each other for the sake of Allah SWT, that we should be trustworthy and show a cheerful face towards one another, that we should not abandon each other, that we should be faithful, forgiving, kind and tolerant to each other, that we should conceal each others flaws, and that we should love for each other what we love for ourselves. It’s fair to say the opposite is happening. We place each other in boxes of too religious, too modern, too pious,too quiet, too intelligent or too homely. The list goes on. We choose our friends based on the superficial and fail to make lasting friendships with other women because of our increasing envy, self-hate, insecurity and feelings of intimidation. If we are failing to build a strong sisterhood in Islam how do we expect that sisterhood to extend to women of all faiths to build a sisterhood in humanity.
  3. 10 things a Women on Menses can do in Ramadan Almighty Allah has made it easy for a women in Ramadan during her menses for she is still able to get the same rewards as men. The good deed accounts don't stop when a women is menstruating for the angels are continuing writing down good deeds as long as a women is doing good actions in order to please Allah. The following are 10 good deeds a women can do whilst on her menses during Ramadan and throughout the whole year: 1. Listen to Qur'an recitation: Listening to recitation is the perfume of the souls, the calmer of hearts, and the food of the spirit. Is is one of the most important psychological medicines. It is a source of pleasure, even to some animals – and pleasure in moderation purifies inner energy, enhances the functioning of the faculties, slows down senile decay by driving out its diseases, improves the complexion, and refreshes the entire body. Pleasure in excess, on the other hand, makes the illnesses of the body grow worse. Abu Nu’aim states, in his Tib an-Nabbi, that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said that the benefits of listening to recitation are increased when it is understood – that is, when its meaning is understood. Allah Himself says:…so give good news to My slaves, those who listen to the word and then follow the best of it…(Qur’an: 39.17-18) Source: As-Suyuti’s Medicine of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) 2. Read the tafseer and meanings of the Qur'an: To reflect upon the verses of Allaah is a form of worship; it is something that will draw one close to Allah, Most High. Allaah, Most High, Says in the Quran (what means): "Then do they not reflect upon the Quran? If it had been from [any] other than Allaah, they would have found within it much contradiction." [Quran: 4:82] We should try to understand the Qur'an: Ibn Kathir says regarding tafsir of [soorah al-A'raf (7): 179]: The similitude of the one, who memorizes the Qur'an but does not act in accordance to it, is like a donkey, which carries a load of books, but does not understand! We should read and study the deeper meanings of the Qur'an and act upon everything we read as this is what the Sahaaba did. Some of the Sahaaba took a very long time finishing the Qur'an because they wanted to implement everything they read before moving on to the rest of the Qur'an. 3. Dhikr of Allah: A woman on her menses can do excessive dhikr night and day. We will all have utter regret for each second wasted without remembering Allah: Mu`adh Ibn Jabal (RA) said that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "The People of Paradise will not regret anything except one thing alone: the hour that passed them by in which they made no remembrance of Allah." Narrated Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-iman (1:392 #512-513) The highest rank in Jannah are for those who remembered Allah the most: Abu Sa`id (RA) narrates the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was asked, "Which of the servants of Allah is best in rank before Allah on the Day of resurrection?" He said: "The ones who remember him much."I said: "O Messenger of Allah, what about the fighter in the way of Allah?" He answered: "Even if he strikes the unbelievers and mushrikin with his sword until it broke, and becomes red with their blood, truly those who do Dhikr are better than him in rank." (Ahmad, Tirmidhi, & Bayhaqi) Therefore we should remember Allah as much as we can & glorify him night & day, not just in Ramadan but until our very last breath. What better time to start remembering Allah more than in this most blessed month. So we should set ourselves daily targets of doing as much Dhikr as we can. We can remember & glorify Allah whatever we are doing throughout the day. At work, whilst cooking, shopping & even whilst relaxing. We should remember Allah in our heart's & not just by our tongues. We should also contemplate over his magnificence & his creations & imagine him in front of us as we glorify & remember him. The following are 10 Dhikr, supported by Hadith that we can recite throughout the day & night in Ramadan until our last breath: Note: We should try & aim to recite each of these 10 Dhikr a 100 times each which makes a total of 1000 a day minimum. 1. Allahumma innaka 'afuwwun tuhibbul 'afwa fa'fu 'annee - Recite this abundantly during the last ten nights of Ramadan. 2. Subhaanallah 3. Alhamdulillah 4. Allahu Akbar 5. Laa ilaaha illallah 6. LA HAWLA WA LA QUWWATA ILLA BILLAH-HIL ALIYYIL ADHEEM 7. Asthaghfirullah-halladhee Laa ilaaha illa-huwal Hayyul Qayyuumu Wa athoobu Ilay Or short version: Asthaghfirullah 8. SUB-HAAN'ALLAAHi WA BI-HAM'DIHI SUB-HAAN'ALLAH-IL ADHEEM Or short version: SUB-HAAN'ALLAAHi WA BI-HAM'DIHI 9. Subhāna-llāhi, wa-l-hamdu li-llāhi, wa lā ilāha illā-llāhu, wa-llāhu akbar. Wa lā hawla wa lā quwwata illā bi-llāhi-l-aliyyi-l-azīm 10. Lā ilāha illā-llāhu waḥdahu lā sharīka lahu lahu-l-mulku wa lahu-l-ḥamdu yuhyi wa yumītu wa huwa ḥayyu-llā yamūtu abadan abada, ḏū-l-jalāli wa-l-ikrām, biyadihi-l-khayr, wa huwa alā kulli Shay-in qadīr Or the shortened version: Laa ilaaha illal-laahu wahdahu laa shareeka lahu, lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamdu wa huwa ‘alaa kulli shay-in qadeer We should also recite much of durood e Ibrahim which is the durood that is recited towards the end of Salaah. Or the shortest durood is: Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallim 4. Dua & Repentance: A woman in her menses can make excessive Dua to Allah night and day. Almighty Allah says in the Qur'an: "When my servants ask you concerning me, (tell them) I am indeed close (to them). I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on me." [2:186] The place of Dua is so high in front of Allah, that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallim) has said: "Nothing is more honourable to Allah the Most High than Dua." [sahih al-Jami` no.5268]. Allah loves repentance & loves those who turn to him in sincere repentance: Truly Allah loves those who turn [to Him] in repentance... (Qur'an 2:222) Many of us rush our Dua’s & quite often our hearts are not present whilst we are making dua to Allah. That is why we lose out on much of the benefits & blessings of Dua. Therefore we should not let our minds wonder whilst in Dua & we should concentrate more, making sure our hearts are present whilst asking of Allah. Whilst we are in dua we should imagine Almighty Allah in front of us & so we should humble ourselves in front of him in a state of meekness & humility. It may also help if we made a list of what we want to ask Allah during our dua’s. We can then refer to this list as a reminder so that we can cover everything we need to ask him, which may help in making our Dua’s longer & more sincere. This is because we will not always remember everything we want to ask Allah unless we note it down & refer back to it when we need to. The times when Dua's are most accepted during Ramadan are: 1. The third portion of the night shortly before sehri ends. 2. Whilst fasting. 3. Between Asr & Maghrib. 4. Just before fast opens. 5. On Jumma before & after khutba. 6. Between Adhan & Iqamah. 7. Whilst raining. 8. After Qur'an recitation. 9. The Night of Qadr Let us not be of those who pass by Ramadan without gaining any forgiveness: Rasullullah (sallahu’ ‘alaihi wasallam) said: ...the angel Jibra’il appeared before me and said: Destruction to him who found the blessed month of Ramadan and let it pass by without gaining forgiveness...’ Upon that I said: ‘Amin.’ (Al-Bukhari, Al-Tabrani) We should ask of Allah to accept all of our good deeds & efforts throughout Ramadan & be hopeful that Allah will accept it from us. We should also have FULL hope that Allah will accept our Dua’s if not in this world then in the hereafter. We should accept his decree for he knows best in all matters. Narrated ‘Ubaadah that the Messenger of Allah said, “Whoever seeks forgiveness for the believing men and believing women, Allah will write for him a good deed for EACH believing man and believing woman.” (Tabarrani) Subhanallah this deed can be done in EVERY dua and can you imagine how many rewards can be gained for each and every Muslim you make dua for from Adam alayhis 'salam until now and the last Muslim on earth. This is the easiest way to earn rewards that go into the billions and the more you make these dua's then the more your good deed account wil get filled! Every night in the last ten nights the following dua should be recited abundantly: Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said: I asked the Messenger of Allah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallim): 'O Messenger of Allah, if I know what night is the night of Qadr, what should I say during it?' He said: 'Say: "Allahumma innaka 'afuwwun tuhibbul 'afwa fa'fu 'annee" O Allah, You are pardoning and You love to pardon, so pardon me.' " (Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and Tirmidhi). 5. Learning Islamic knolwedge: A woman in her menses can learn Islamic knowledge as much as she can through books, online, teachers etc "Allah will exalt those who believe among you, and those who have been granted knowledge to high ranks." (Qur'an) "Seeking knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim (male and female)." (Hadith) THE VIRTUES OF KNOWLEDGE Allah (Most Exalted is He), Who created us and gave us sustenance, has also given us guidance. He said: "Verily We have created man into toil and struggle… Have We not made for him a pair of eyes; and a tongue, and a pair of lips; and shown him the two ways (obedience and disobedience)?" (Qur'an, Al-Balad 90:4-10) After providing us with the capability to contemplate, think and differentiate between things, He instructed us to know Him, to know his Prophets and to know His Deen, Islam. He said: "So know that there is no god save Allah, ask forgiveness for your sins and for the believing men and the believing women. Allah knows well your moving and your place of rest." (Qur'an, Muhammad 47:19) This verse shows the importance of knowledge and the virtues that Allah has given to it. It also shows that knowledge comes before deeds, since Allah instructed His Prophet to know that He is One and the only One worthy of worship. After that, He commanded him to ask forgiveness for himself, his family and for his Ummah. If Muslims truly realise the importance Islam places on knowledge and its virtues, they will definitely be keen to learn and teach others. They would start with themselves and their families; then their neighbours and the community at large. 6. Serving your parents: A man once asked the Prophet Muhammad (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallim): "'Should I join the jihad?' He asked, 'Do you have parents?' The man said, 'Yes!' The Prophet (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallim) said, 'Then strive by serving them!'" (Sahih Al-Bukhari, No. 5972) Therefore serving one's parents is even better than jihad so serve your parents as much as you can and gain rewards you can NEVER imagine! Treating your parents the best: To be obedient and to show kindness to parents has been enjoined in the Holy Quran in such a manner as to say that among the noble deeds, to obey parents, treat them respectfully and to show kindness to them is next to worshipping Almighty Allah. The Quran says, "Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour." - Surah Al Isra (17:23). The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam) said:“What a loss is for him! What a loss is for him! What a loss is for him!” Someone asked: “Who, O Allah's Messenger?” He replied: “He whose parents reach old age, either one or both of them, and he does not use their presence (by being good to them, etc.) to cause him to enter Paradise.” (Muslim) Abdullah bin Mas'ood (RA), observed: "I asked Allah's Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam) which deed was the best." He replied: 'The Prayer at its appointed hour.' I (again) asked: "Then what?" He replied: 'Kindness to the parents.'... (Sahih Muslim: 120) So a woman in her menses should do what she can to serve her parents in anyway that she can like for eg clean the house so that her parents do less, attend to their every need etc. Surely she will be pleasing Allah so much and gaining unimaginable rewards! 7. Giving dawah: "And who is better in speech than he who invites to Allah and does righteous deeds, and says: 'I am one of the Muslims.'"[al-Qur'aan, Fussilat(41):33] A woman on her menses can give dawah to other sisters and non Muslims. We should spend our lives inviting others towards Allah whether they are Muslim or non Muslim. "Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong. They are prosperous ones." (3.104) We should not argue with them or use a harsh manner but use wisdom, tact and the best approach possible: Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious. (16:125) We should enjoin good and forbid evil for it is a duty upon us: The Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: ‘Indeed, by Allah, you either enjoin good and forbid evil and catch hold of the oppressor and persuade him to act justly and stick to the truth, or, Allah will involve the hearts of some of you with the hearts of others and will curse you as he had cursed them’ (At-Tirmidhi) Whatever beneficial knowledge we have we should convey it unto others so that they may also benefit from it: Zaid b. Thabit (RA) narrated the Prophet(Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam) said: "May Allah cause to have freshness and brilliance the man who hears what I say and keeps it in mind, then convey it to others. (Ahmad, 5-183) We should know that any good action another does because of some beneficial knowledge we have shared then we will also have a share of it: "Whoever guides [another] to a good deed will get a reward similar to the one who performs it." (Sahih Muslim) So she can give dawah by text, e mail, direct or indirect 8. Best Manners, Character & Conduct: A woman on her menses should show the best manners, character and conduct in this blessed month and throughout her life. She should strive to be of those with the best of characters and manners as that is what will elevate us in the hereafter: Rasulallah (Sallallahu Alahi wasallam) used to say: The best amongst you are those who have the best manners and character. (Related by al-Bukhari) Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam) said: There is none heavier in the scales of the Hereafter than good character, (Hadith narrated by al-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud). Subhanallah so if we show good character outside of Ramadan then it is of the heaviest on the scales but can you imagine the rewards of good character in Ramadan? The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "The best loved by me and the nearest to me on the seats on the Day of Resurrection are those who have the best manners and conduct amongst you, who are intimate, are on good terms with others and are humble, and the most hated by me and who will be on the furthest seats from me are those who are talkative and arrogant." (Tirmidhi) So let us strive to perfect our manners, character and conduct and know that these good deeds will be of the heaviest on the scales and will enable us to reach the highest ranks of Jannah 9. Charity: A women in her menses should spend in the way of Allah as much as she can for charity extinguishes sins save one from the fire: The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam) said: “Charity wipes out sins as water extinguishes fire.” (Tirmidhi) Charity should be paid secretly: The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam) said: “Righteous deeds protect a person from an evil end; a charity spent in secret extinguishes Allah’s wrath; and maintaining good ties of kinship increases ones lifespan.” (Tabaraani) Removing harmful objects from people’s way is also a charity: The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam) said:“I saw a man enjoying himself in Paradise (simply) because he removed from a road a tree that used to harm people.”(Muslim) Providing for ones family is a charity: The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wasallam) said:“If a man provides for his family hoping for the reward, it will be counted as charity for him.”(Bukhari & Muslim) She can involve herself in charity work in her local community or for a charity organisation. She can do various projects to raise money and awareness for good cauises. 10. Serve and obey Husband: It is obligatory on all Muslim woman to obey their husbands in all matters of good. She is promised Paradise for fulfilling her obligations unto her husband. Abu Hurairah reported that Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “If a woman prays her five (daily) prayers and keeps her private parts chaste and obeys her husband, she will enter Paradise from any of the doors of Paradise she wishes.” [ibn Hibbaan] So whether a woman is on her menses or not she should do her utmost this Ramadan and for the rest of her life to serve and obey her husband in the best manner possible for the pleasure of Allaha and in doing so she will not only be pleasing Allah but she will gain unimaginable rewards Conclusion Therefore a woman on her menses must never feel that she is not able to gain the blessings and reward of the month of Ramadan. There is NOTHING stopping her from gaining IMMENSE rewards equal to that of a man. All that is required from her is effort, the right good intentions and sincerety in her actions. May Allah enable us to gain he best of this month. Ameen (Source)
  4. Travelling without a Mahram: Why do Muslim women do it New means of communication have rapidly turned the world into a global village. A village easily accessed by advanced modes of transport increasing the number of people who travel to a scale never witnessed before. Today many Muslims are “wandering” the world for various reasons, work, leisure, discovery or necessity. With the emergence of women in the workforce, Muslim women have also begun to travel by themselves within their countries and abroad. Cii Radio asked its Facebook followers what they thought the reasons were for women disregarding the Islamic guideline that is impermissible for women to travel on her own over the specified distance of 88,864km. “1) Some women haven’t got a mahram, 2) some mahram’s are not playing their role and taking up the responsibility, 3) the woman doesn’t want to ask her mahram especially if he sees her as ‘burden’,” wrote Fatima. Another Facebook commenter coined the issue as the concept of “Womandla”. She said statistics of kids growing up in SA without a father in the home was “shocking”, “Many women have become sole breadwinners of the household and unfortunately have to travel and do many daily tasks on her own for herself and the family.” Aadila shared the same sentiment writing, “instead of ‘Muslim women today are not adhering to this guideline’ ask ‘why are Muslim [men] not taking care of Muslim women today so Muslim women can adhere to this guideline’.” Others simply wrote the reasons were because: women did not have any mahrams, a “western influence”, the “destruction of Islam”, a yearning for freedom, “no other choice” and imperfect Muslims living a perfect Islam. A male commenter wrote, “1. Many are not aware of that [ruling]. 2. Those who are aware of think that this is medieval safety system and it has lost its relevance now in this post-modern period. 3. Men-women equalitistic sense clouds their sense.” While the practice has become commonplace and questioning why it has become “normal” seems unusual and “backward” the ruling remains. According to Islamic law, a woman cannot travel without a Mahram if she is going to traverse beyond the Safar – specified distance – of 88,864km – the distance of three days and nights. In his book Injunctions Pertaining to the Traveller – edited by Mufti Afzal Hoosen Elias – Maulana Mufti Inam Haq Qasmi writes that in addition to a women’s physical nature, “The Islamic system of values attaches paramount importance to the safety and chastity of women.” It is for these reasons that Shari’ah has stipulated special guidelines for every situation in which the chastity and honour of a woman may be jeopardised. There are many clear narrations of Nabi Muhammad SAW in this regard. Sayyiduna Abu Said al-Khudri RA narrates that the Messenger of Allah SAW said, “Let no woman travel for more than three days unless her husband or a Mahram is with her.” (Sahih Muslim). Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Umar RA narrates that Nabi Muhammad SAW said, “A woman must not travel for three days except with a Mahram.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 1036 & Sahih Muslim). Sayyiduna Abu Huraira RA narrates that the Nabi Muhammad SAW said, “It is unlawful for a woman who believes in Allah and the last day that she travels the distance of one day and one night without a Mahram accompanying her.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 1038). The Shari’ah has allowed women to travel a distance less than the Safar without a Mahram as there is little danger involved. However, Ulama have discouraged it in today’s time as her honour is greatly jeopardised given the widespread immorality and corruption present. The four main schools of thought all agree on this matter except with women travelling for Hajj with a group of trustworthy ladies, which the Shafi and Maliki madhabs say is permissible. The basis for this ruling is not an evil assumption about women and their manners, as some people unreasonably think, but it is to take care of her reputation, dignity and safety. It is to protect her from the desires of those who have diseased hearts, from the assault of an immoral person. Today people argue that forms of travel have changed from how it was in the time of Rasulullah SAW. Since various modes of transportation such as planes, buses and ships gather large amounts of people at a time this provides plenty of confidence and reliability, removing feelings of fear for women, because she will not be by herself in any place. Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam from the UK based Darul Iftaa explains, “This deduction is incorrect and the permissibility of women travelling without a Mahram can not be justified on its basis.” Neither can the justification that we live in a different era where women need to “move with the times in order to improve” carry any weight. Rulings that are based upon clear texts of the Quran and Sunnah can never change. The wisdom behind this ruling is to save women from the dangers that can be encountered on a journey. However, this is not the legal reason. Whether the journey is safe, in a plane or on foot, it will remain impermissible. This is very similar to the ruling of shortening of prayers for a Musaafir. The wisdom behind the ruling is undue hardship; however, this is not the reason. The reason is the travelling distance of three days and three nights. Even if one was in a perfectly comfortable journey, all the Hanafi scholars (classic and contemporary) have declared that it is incumbent upon a traveller to shorten the Fard prayers. We don’t see people suggesting that prayers must not be shortened due to the modern day means of transport. (source: Jamiatul Ulama - KZN)
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