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In Islam Are Women Inferior to Men?

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In Islam are Women inferior to men? If so, why?

Answered by Mufti Ahmed Desai (Damat Barakatuhum):

Western, liberal and UN-Islamic ideas have distorted your mental vision. What is your conception of inferiority? The Qur’aan says about the Ambiyaa [Prophets] (alayhimus salaam):

“These are the messengers. We have given some ranks over (or above) others.”

Even the Ambiyaa [Prophets] are not equal. Rasulullah pbuh.gif is superior in rank to Nabi Musaa alayhis.gif. In fact he is superior than all the Ambiyaa (alayhimus salaam). Thus, in relation to Rasulullah pbuh.gif all the Ambiyaa (alayhimus salaam) are inferior. Hadhrat Jibreel alayhis.gif is the highest ranking Angel. In relation to him, Hadhrat Israafeel alayhis.gif is inferior. In relation to Qur’aan Shareef, the Hadith is inferior. In relation to the Kab’ah, Masjidun Nabawi is inferior.

In relation to the elder brother, the younger brother is inferior. In relation to a mother, her son, even if he is a great Aalim and a Saint, is inferior. In relation to an elder sister, the younger brother is inferior. In relation to Hadhrat Abu Bakr anhu.gif, Hadhrat Umar anhu.gif and all the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) and the entire Ummah are inferior. In relation to the Ustaadh [teacher], his students are inferior. In relation to a Shaikh [spiritual guide], his mureeds [disciples] are inferior whether male or female.

In every level of society there are ranks and gradations. The concept of blanket equality is a stupid idea of the Kuffaar. The husband has been made the chief of the family by Allah Ta’ala. It is his responsibility to maintain and train his wife and children. He has the highest rank in his home. He is superior to his wife and children even if his sons are the greatest saints and he an ignorant farmer.

Is it an insult to all the Ambiyaa (alayhimus salaam) to say that they are inferior to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)? On the contrary, they all are proud to be the inferior followers of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Similarly is it with all the ‘inferior’ beings cited above as examples. The Qur’aan categorically states:

“For men over them (women) is a rank.”

What problem do you or any Muslim have with this assertion of Allah Ta’ala? the problem is only that westernism and kufr liberalism have imposed on the minds of people that the higher male ranks relegate women to chattlehood. Modernist and deviated Muslims have been made to understand that women in Islam are contemptible; that men are free to abuse and denigrate them. But every Muslim who has even a slight understanding of Islam knows that these western ideas are plain garbage which the enemies of Allah gorge out. Even in Jannat [paradise] there will be different ranks among all levels of people. When according to Islam even two men are not equal, what is wrong if there is not equality between men and women? But since deceived people have been indoctrinated to believe that ‘inferiority’ means contemptibility, they feel awkward with Islamic teachings.

A woman with her piety can surpass any man in rank by Allah Ta’ala. By Allah Ta’ala, the criterion of superiority is Taqwa [God consciousness]. Innumerable women will have higher ranks by Allah Ta’ala than males on account of their Taqwa. Every Mu’min is aware of the lofty rank of Hadhrat Aisha (radhiyallahu anha). She was the Ustaadhah of numerous Sahaabah. She was the most beloved Wife of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhis salaam). She will be entering Jannat centuries before numerous male Sahaabah. What idea will you now gain when it is said that she is inferior to her husband, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhis salaam)? Is any contempt implied for her by this claim? We in fact say that contempt for her is Kufr [disbelief]. Thus, gradations in society are the creation and command of Allah Ta’ala. The Khalifah, sultan or king may be a corrupt and immoral man. But, the Shariah commands obedience to him in all his lawful orders. His rank is superior to others here on earth.

In Islam women are not inferior to men in terms of the concocted meaning ascribed to ‘inferiority’ by the western kuffaar enemies of Islam.

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Mufti Shafi' states in Ma'riful Qur'aan:

Man's guardianship is essential for peace and order

Not giving women their due rights was ranked as injustice, oppression, stinginess and villainy which was erased by Islam. Similarly, leaving them to go their way with an unbridled liberty from the guardianship and care of men, and to make them earn their own sustenance and life support amounts to wasting her rights and destroying her genius. Neither does she deserve that fate in view of her physique nor does that great mission of bringing up children and the charge of family management, which has been naturally entrusted to her, deserve it. In addition to that, women are, when deprived of the guardianship and care of men, a great danger for the whole human society, a situation that is bound to create all sorts of disturbances, including riots and bloodshed, as a matter of daily routine. That is why the noble Qur'an, while stating the mandatory rights of women, also declared that is, men are a step above women which, in still other words, amounts to saying that men are responsible for them as their caretakers.

As it was in the first age of ignorance before Islam, all nations of the world, by keeping women as a household item or a dumb animal, had fallen prey to this mistake. So it came to pass that, following Islam's age of decadence, there started a later age of ignorance. Here the first mistake is being matched by yet another mistake, as a reaction in the opposite direction, when efforts are being made continuously to get rid of even this much degree of precedence men have over women. As a result, obscenity and shamelessness became common, the world became a home of conflicts and disorder, and bloodshed became so cheap that the first age of ignorance remained no match anymore. There is an Arab saying: which means: The ignorant man never stays on moderation. If he decides to stay from acting excessively, he slides into a behaviour of neglect.

This is the prevailing attitude in the world of today. There was that time when they were not even prepared to call or understand women as a member of the human race. Now they have advanced to the limit that the 'yoke' of man's guardianship and caretaking of women, which is perfectly wise and suitable universally for men, and women, is being thrown away, the ill consequnces of which are becoming visible everyday. And believe it, unless they bow down before this noble statement of the Qur'an, such disorders will go on increasing day by day. Governments today make new laws incessantly to bring peace into the world. New institutions are established for this purpose. Millions are spent but the source of disorders goes unnoticed by them. If a Commission of Inquiry was to be established to determine the causes of disorder, bloodshed and internecine wars, it is likely that the cause of more than fifty percent of such crimes will turn out to be woman and her unbridled freedom. But, in the contemporary world, the prevailing pursuit of desires has confounded even the best of minds. No corrective check against the worship of desires is even entertained.

May Allah Almighty enlighten our hearts with the light of faith and help us act according to the guidance given in His Book and in the conduct of the Holy Prophet because that is our blessed capital both in in this world and in the Hereafter.

A Conflict and its Resolution - We find out from this verse that the Qur'an tells the husband and wife about duties assigned to each, whereby men have been placed under obligation to give women their rights, in the same manner as women have been placed under obligation to give men their rights. This indicates that each party should watch out on the fulfillment of its respective duties rather than go after demanding rights. And should they succeed in doing so, the very issue of demanding rights will cease to exist, because the duties of men are the rights of women and the duties of women are the rights of men. When duties are taken care of, rights will be automatically fulfilled. These days the root of all troubles lies in the attitude of people who are alert to their rights but negligent of their duties. As a result, rights are demanded on a war footing as is evident from the current confrontation between governments and masses, husbands and wives and between other authorities and their challengers. This indicator of the Qur'an has modified the confrontational aspect of the issue by stressing that everyone should make all possible effort to fulfil his or her duties and when it comes to his or her own rights try to overlook any infringements gently, forego and forgive. If this teaching of the Qur'an could become common universal practice, homes, families, even countries and governments will find that most of their conflicts have been resolved for good.

Man's higher position over woman is for discipline only

A universal system in the world, the human nature and the best interests of women themselves required that men be not only given a particular sort of controlling and care-taking right over women, but that it be rather made incumbent on them. This is what has been stated in the verse : 'Men stand care-takers of women.' But, this does not necessarily entail that all men are superior to all women because being superior in the sight of Allah wholly depends on belief and good conduct. In Divine dispension, the increase or decrease in degrees operates in synchronization with the degrees of belief and conduct. Therefore, in matters relating to the Hereafter, it is not necessary that men alone should continue to have that step or degree above women. This too is possible and, as elaborated in Qur'anic verses and Hadith narrations, this is what would come to pass - that some women, through their obedience to and worship of Allah, will become superior to many men with their degree of precedence rising higher than many a men.

Although the Holy Qur'an, while describing the injunctions of Shari'ah, according to its own clear stress, declares that men and women are absolutely equal and the injunctions where there is some difference have been expressly explained, but the address is generally to men and the gender used is masculine. This treatment, however, is not peculiar to the noble Qur'an. Governments too, use the masculine gender in their laws fairly commonly, although the law is universally applicable to men and women both. One immediate reason for this is the very difference identified in the verses of the noble Qur'an, that is, for men there is a step above women. The second consideration, perhaps implied here as well, may be that satr (concealment) is better even when there is a discussion about masturat (women: the concealed ones). But, when women realized that the noble Qur'an does not address them directly at various places like it does address men, the venerated mother of the faithful, Sayyidah Umm Salmah pointed this out to the Holy Prophet and thereupon the following verse of the Surah Al-Ahzab was revealed: "Submitting men and submitting women, believing men and believing women, obedient men and obedient women ..." (This appears in details in Nasa'i, Musnad Ahmad and Tafsir Ibn Jarir etc.) where women were clearly and expressly identified along with men which implies that the status of women is no less than men in obedience to Allah and in His worship, in being near Him and His approval, and in the ranks of Paradise.

According to a report in Tafsir Ibn Kathir, some Muslim women came to the the blessed wives of the Holy Prophet and asked about the general absence of any mention of Muslim women in the Holy Qur'an, while it does mention men at several places, and also refers to the blessed wives of the Holy Prophet , from among women. Thereupon, the verse referred to above was revealed. To sum up, it can be said that a certain measure of precedence and authority in regulating the affairs of worldly life is for the good of women and that wisdom so dictates. Other than that, there is no difference in the reward and retribution for deeds, good or bad, and in the degree of merit attained in the Hereafter.The same subject appears in the noble Qur'an with much more clarity in the following manner: "And whosoever male or female, does a righteous deed, while he (or she) is a believer, we shall assuredly get him (or her) to live a goodly life." (16:97)

After these preliminary remarks let's ponder over the words of the original verse under discussion. It was said: "And women have rights similar to what they owe" that is, their rights are incumbent upon men similarly as the rights of men are incumbent upon them. Here the rights of women were mentioned before the rights of men, one reason for which is that man after all, given his physical power and God-given precedence, manages to wrest his rights from women anyway. The concern should be for the rights of women since they cannot habitually wrest their rights by force. There is yet another hint here which suggests that men should take the first step to give the rights of women. However, the similarity and equivalency declared by the use of the word mithl (like, similar) in the text here could just never mean that the kind of job men do should also be done by women, or vice versa, because the distribution of work and respective duties for men and women are naturally different. In fact, it means that it is obligatory that rights belonging to both be observed equally and mutually and that the punishment for any negligence or shortcoming be also equal.

It is worth observing at this point how the noble Qur'an has, in a sentence so small, miniaturized a whole roster of rights and duties since all rights women have over men and all rights men have over women are included under the sense of this verse. (Muhit) Simply by adding one more word (bi l'ma'ruf: justly, uprightly, kindly, courteously, according to the practice approved by the Shari'ah, or simply - "as recognized", a closer expression used in the accompanying translation of the verse) the possible occurrence of mutual controversies was eliminated. It was established that rights should be given using the ma'ruf method because the meaning of ma'ruf includes that which is neither prohibited nor impermissible under the dictates of the Shari'ah nor does it have any element of hardship or excess under common habit or custom or 'urf. The purport is that observing the routine of legal provisions is not enough, instead, it will be examined that, according to 'urf or customarily approved practice, the other party does not in any case suffer from pain or loss. That which is judged to be a source of pain and loss, in view of 'urf, will be forbidden and remain impermissible, for instance, coldness, indifference or such behaviour or conduct which causes pain. These can hardly be covered under an article of law but the word bi l'ma'ruf does encompass them. After that it was said: 'Though for men there is a step above them.' The well-known meaning and sense of this verse is that despite the rights of the parties being equal, Allah Almighty has bestowed upon men a certain degree of precedence and authority over women. That there is great wisdom in doing so has been hinted at by the use of the words "And Allah is Mighty, Wise" towards the end of the verse. Giving the meaning of this sentence, Sayyidna 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas has added that Allah Almighty has given men a degree of precedence as compared to women, therefore they should act with much more forbearance. Even if women fall short of giving them their rights, the degree of their precedence is such that they should bear by it, be patient and do nothing to desist from giving them their rights. (Qurtubi)"

 

 

Mufti Shafi' rahma.gif states in Ma'riful Qur'aan:

The Qur'anic Eloquence in Describing the Precedence of Men

It is noteworthy that the Holy Qur'an, while giving the first reason for the precedence of men, has not opted for an expression like "faddalahum alayhinna" ('because He made men excel women'), On the contrary, it has elected to give a deeper significance to the statement by using the expression: "Ba'dahum ala Ba'd", that is, 'made some of them excel the others'. The wisdom here is not difficult to see. The Arabic expression "Ba'dahum ala Ba'd" has a subtle indictation to the fact that men and women are part of each other. Therefore, there is a hint that the precedence of men, even if proved in one or the other field, will not go beyond being similar to the precedence of man's head over his hand, or of his heart over his stomach. So, just as the precedence of man's head over his hand does not diminish the role and the importance of the hand, similarly, the precedence of man does not cause any lowering of the status of women, because both of them are parts of each other's body - if man is the head, woman is the body.

Some commentators identify yet another hint here. According to them, this precedence men have over women is in terms of genus. As far as individuals are concerned, it is quite possible that a woman may excel a man in her qualities and practical accomplishments, so much so that a woman may be superior to some individual men even in the qualities of a care-taker.

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Mufti Desai describes vividly the mental slavery the Ummah is labouring under with regards to the concept of 'equality' in terms of the Dunya:

"Aayat 23 of Surah Noor states: "Those who slander chaste, believing women who are simpletons, they are cursed in this world and in the Aakhirah, and for them there is a great punishment." The term 'ghaafilaat' (simpletons) mentioned in this aayat is not employed in a pejorative sense. On the contrary it is presented as a noble attribute and virtue of the Mu'minaat (Believing Women). Allah Ta'ala has imbued women with the attribute of simplicity. Female indiscretion is a natural effect of their inherent simplicity. But the half-male-half-woman aunts who project and exhibit themselves in the male domain are bereft of this virtue which the Qur'aan Majeed glowingly mentions. Regardless of any moral, spiritual and academic (Islamically speaking) excellences they may achieve, the pious women of Islam will remain 'simpletons' as long as their brains have not become convoluted and their natural haya (modesty) has not been extinguished by the libertine culture of the immoral West.

On another occasion, Hadhrat Umm-e-Salmah (radhiyallahu anhu) said to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam): "O Rasulullah! Men wage Jihad whilst we don't, and for us is half (mens' share of) inheritance." Allah Ta'ala then revealed the following aayat: "Do not desire that with which Allah has granted superiority of some over others. For men is (their) share (i.e. thawaab in the Aakhirat) for the (deeds) which they have earned, and for women is (their) share (i.e. thawaab) for the (deeds) which they have earned. Ask Allah (to grant you) from His grace."(An-Nisaa', aayat 32). With her gaze on the superior and greater benefits, both worldly and spiritually, for men, Hadhrat Umm-e-Salmah (radhiyallahu anhu) broached the subject with Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). In response, the Qur'aan Hakeem, with patriarchal authority and countenance prohibited her from desiring what Allah Ta'ala has not decreed for her. She was commanded to accept the patriarchal order ordained by Allah Ta'ala.

Hadhrat Umm-e-Salmah (radhiyallahu anha) was yearning for the immense thawaab of Jihad. Allah Ta'ala does not deprive women from gaining equal and even more thawaab than men notwithstanding the inequality of status. Women can acquire the same thawaab by means of little effort, far less arduous than the effort which men have to expend for gaining the thawaab. While males have to face the hardships and dangers of the battlefield for the thawaab, women gain the same thawaab for attending to their domestic duties. A woman gains the thawaab of martyrdom just for restraining her emotions and adopting sabr when her husband takes a second wife. While the men obtain the thawaab of 100,000 raka'ts for performing Salaat in the Haram Shareef, women obtain the same thawaab for performing Salaat at home. Thus, their inferior status relative to males does not disadvantage them in any way whatsoever.

With regard to the worldly benefit of a double share of inheritance, it in no way disadvantages women. This double share for males is a valid discrimination taking into account their responsibilities and obligations. The male has to financially support the woman and the children while there is no such obligation on the woman. It is not her obligation to financially support even her own children while it is the Waajib duty of the man to support his wife, children, his parents, his destitute sisters and all female relatives if they have no male to support them. On the other hand, a woman has no such responsibilities. In terms of this Patriarchal System of Islam, a woman may not leave her home confines to earn her livelihood. It is haraam for her to venture into the public domain in normal circumstances. Islam has placed numerous breadwinners and providers at her disposal. In the absence of her husband, it will be her sons. In their absence, her father. In his absence will be her brothers, then her paternal uncles, then her paternal nephews and so the chain continues. It is an entirely different matter that this glorious command of the Patriarchal System is no longer implemented. The reason for its abandonment is our enslavement to western culture with its fraudulent claims and slogans of 'equality' and human rights.

Muslim men nowadays have degenerated to the level of the western swines of immorality, bestiality and gluttony. They have abandoned their womenfolk to the wolves in the public domain. Whereas Allah Ta'ala has created women for the home, and the males to care for them, these scoundrels in subservience to the western libertine cult have expelled their womenfolk from the home, compelling them to earn while they (the cowardly males) are shirking their responsibilities and obligations. In addition to the unnatural and haraam burden of earning and sacrificing their shame and modesty in the public domain, these women have to bear children, attend to the children, attend to the house, the cooking, the washing, the cleaning and the bestial demands of a cowardly husband who shirks his obligations. Is this equality and justice? Yes, it is – it is the 'justice' of western barbarians whom the plastic academics and lewd aunts in our community ape.

The frauds of western civilization who have expelled women from the homes to gratify their bestial instincts practise the worst type of 'patriarchy' – a patriarchy in which women are robbed of their natural rights divinely bestowed to them - a satanic patriarchy which strips them of the natural attributes of womanhood -- a patriarchy which reduces women to cheap chattel, and all of this camouflaged with the false façade of 'equality'. Islamic Patriarchy being a sacred divine system does not deprive women of the benefits of both worlds. Despite their subjugation to male governance, there is no deprivation for them. They enjoy all the fruits and benefits which males enjoy in both the spiritual and mundane domains. Effectively negating the stupid hypothesis of equality, and conclusively affirming the superiority of men, is the following Qur'aanic aayat along with its Shaanun Nuzool (the circumstance which occasioned the revelation) "Men are the rulers over women." (Aayat 34, Surah Nisaa')

A lady was grossly disobedient to her husband. In anger he slapped her. The lady complained to her father who reported the matter to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) instructed that the wife should also slap her husband. Whilst on the way to extract her vengeance, Jibraeel (alayhis salaam) appeared with the aforementioned aayat which prohibited the woman from slapping her husband. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) hastily despatched a messenger to inform the lady and her father of the rescission of the earlier order. Since Allah Ta'ala declared that men are the rulers of women, it was not permissible for the woman to treat her husband as a subordinate. Commenting on this rescission, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: "We desired something and Allah desired something else. Whatever Allah desires is best." The Divine Desire is patriarchy in which the man is the dominant figure. He leads and the woman follows.

We are in this age observing the evil effects of unnatural inversion of the natural roles ordained by Allah Ta'ala for men and women. The Islamic Patriarchal System rising out from the Qur'aan, is a wonderful system of governance in which the man is the dominant figure. This is a sacred system in which women are not deprived of anything. It is a system which ensures their chastity, modesty, womanhood, motherhood, wifehood, morality, spirituality and security. It is a system which prohibits the transformation of women into chattel for the bestial gratification of fussaaq and fujjaar. It is the system which honours women and which allows them to progress to the loftiest stages of spirituality and divine proximity while all other systems of governance border on barbarism if not flagrantly barbaric. The system of fraudulent 'equality' which the deviates and the plastic academics are advertising deceptively to ensnare women into the quagmire of immorality and bestiality is pure Satanism."

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A Woman's Reflection on Leading Prayer

On March 18, 2005, Amina Wadud led the first female-led jum`ah (Friday) prayer. On that day, women took a huge step towards being more like men. But did we come closer to actualizing our God-given liberation?

I don’t think so.

What we so often forget is that God has honored the woman by giving her value in relation to God—not in relation to men. But as Western feminism erases God from the scene, there is no standard left—except men. As a result, the Western feminist is forced to find her value in relation to a man. And in so doing, she has accepted a faulty assumption. She has accepted that man is the standard, and thus a woman can never be a full human being until she becomes just like a man.

When a man cut his hair short, she wanted to cut her hair short. When a man joined the army, she wanted to join the army. She wanted these things for no other reason than because the “standard” had it.

What she didn’t recognize was that God dignifies both men and women in their distinctiveness – not their sameness. And on March 18, Muslim women made the very same mistake.

For 1400 years there has been a consensus of the scholars that men are to lead prayer. As a Muslim woman, why does this matter? The one who leads prayer is not spiritually superior in any way. Something is not better just because a man does it. And leading prayer is not better, just because it’s leading. Had it been the role of women or had it been more divine, why wouldn’t the Prophet ﷺ have asked Ayesha or Khadija, or Fatima—the greatest women of all time—to lead? These women were promised heaven—and yet they never led prayer.

But now, for the first time in 1400 years, we look at a man leading prayer and we think, “That’s not fair.” We think so although God has given no special privilege to the one who leads. The imam is no higher in the eyes of God than the one who prays behind.

On the other hand, only a woman can be a mother. And God has given special privilege to a mother. The Prophet ﷺ taught us that heaven lies at the feet of mothers. But no matter what a man does he can never be a mother. So why is that not unfair?

When asked, “Who is most deserving of our kind treatment?” the Prophet ﷺ replied, “Your mother” three times before saying “your father” only once. Is that sexist? No matter what a man does he will never be able to have the status of a mother.
And yet, even when God honors us with something uniquely feminine, we are too busy trying to find our worth in reference to men to value it—or even notice. We, too, have accepted men as the standard; so anything uniquely feminine is, by definition, inferior. Being sensitive is an insult, becoming a mother—a degradation. In the battle between stoic rationality (considered masculine) and selfless compassion (considered feminine), rationality reigns supreme.

As soon as we accept that everything a man has and does is better, all that follows is a knee-jerk reaction: if men have it, we want it too. If men pray in the front rows, we assume this is better, so we want to pray in the front rows too. If men lead prayer, we assume the imam is closer to God, so we want to lead prayer too. Somewhere along the line we’ve accepted the notion that having a position of worldly leadership is some indication of one’s position with God.

A Muslim woman does not need to degrade herself in this way. She has God as a standard. She has God to give her value; she doesn’t need a man.

In fact, in our crusade to follow men, we as women never even stopped to examine the possibility that what we have is better for us. In some cases we even gave up what was higher only to be like men.

Fifty years ago, society told us that men were superior because they left the home to work in factories. We were mothers. And yet, we were told that it was women’s liberation to abandon the raising of another human being in order to work on a machine. We accepted that working in a factory was superior to raising the foundation of society—just because a man did it.

Then, after working, we were expected to be superhuman—the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect homemaker—and have the perfect career. And while there is nothing wrong, by definition, with a woman having a career, we soon came to realize what we had sacrificed by blindly mimicking men. We watched as our children became strangers and soon recognized the privilege we’d given up.

And so only now—given the choice—women in the West are choosing to stay home to raise their children. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, only 31 percent of mothers with babies, and 18 percent of mothers with two or more children, are working full-time. And of those working mothers, a survey conducted by Parenting Magazine in 2000, found that 93% of them say they would rather be at home with their kids, but are compelled to work due to ‘financial obligations.’ These ‘obligations’ are imposed on women by the gender sameness of the modern West, and removed from women by the gender distinctiveness of Islam.

It took women in the West almost a century of experimentation to realize a privilege given to Muslim women 1400 years ago.

Given my privilege as a woman, I only degrade myself by trying to be something I’m not – and in all honesty – don’t want to be: a man. As women, we will never reach true liberation until we stop trying to mimic men, and value the beauty in our own God-given distinctiveness.

If given a choice between stoic justice and compassion, I choose compassion. And if given a choice between worldly leadership and heaven at my feet—I choose heaven.


May the blessings of Almighty Allah be on you

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Mufti Taqi (Damat Barakutuhum) states in his discourses:

Men and Women are two different sexes.

A great hue and cry is being raised now-a-days that women should also work side by side with men. In the zeal of their ceaseless propaganda, they have failed to reflect that if men and women were created for doing the same kind of work why was it necessary to create them with different physical characteristics and bodily constitutions. Who can deny the fact that men and women have different bodily systems, habits, sentiments, susceptibilities and mental trends. Allah has created each sex with different constitutions. To declare that there is no difference between men and women is self-deception and revolt against nature, because it is disbelieving our eyes and our senses. The difference between the physical constitution and sentimental trends of each cannot be effaced by artificial means, i.e., by putting on the same dress, having the same hair-style. The fact remains that the difference between men and women is too palpable to be denied and too real and true to be ignored.

The means to put a question to Allah are His Prophets.

As already pointed out it is the Creator Himself who can tell for what purpose He created men and women and one can approach the creator for an answer through His Prophets, the last of them being Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace).

 

Two branches of Human life

It appears, without any shadow of doubt, from the teachings of the Holy Qur'an and the Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) that human life stands divided into two branches, viz., the indoor affairs and the outdoor affairs. Each branch is complimentary to the other. It is not possible to lead a balanced and moderate life without taking into account, and meeting the requirements of both the branches of life. It is equally important and necessary to plan and procure the indoor as well as the outdoor demands of life. Man's life can be stabilized and regulated with the help of these two branches. If one branch is ignored or preferred to the other, life will get shattered, disorganized and unbalanced.

Distribution of duties between men and women

Allah has distributed the duties between two sexes in such a way that men have been made responsible for outdoor duties, e.g. earning livelihood and looking after political and social affairs and women have been made responsible for all indoor duties. If an intelligent survey is made of the natural peculiarities of man's creation it will have to be admitted that there can be no better arrangement of the distribution of duties between men and women. None can deny that in physical constitution man is stronger than woman. Outdoor work demands more strength and endurance which has been bestowed upon man. Outdoor duties demanding physical and muscular strength can be discharged efficiently only by man power and not by woman power. As regards indoor duties which are easier and which require less physical strength have been rightly entrusted to women.

A woman should take charge of household duties

The Qur'anic verse which was quoted in the beginning contains a divine command addressed direct to the sacred wives of the Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and indirectly to the entire community of Muslim women. The command is:

“O wives of the Prophet, stay in your houses.”

This does not mean to say that women should not go out of their houses, except in emergent conditions. The verse points out to a basic truth to the effect that women should stay in their houses and look after all indoor household affairs...

The child needs its mother's care and affection.

Allah has created women to take over the duties of bringing up and training the children on the right lines and putting them on the right trend of thought. That is why Allah has put in the heart of the mother more love for the child than in that of the father, although the child belongs to both, when the child feels some discomfort he will at once call its mother and not its. father, wherever she may be. because the child knows well that it is its mother who can remove its discomfort. The child is brought up in the shadow of this affectionate relation. It is not possible for a father to breed and bring up his child without the assistance of the mother. Actual experiment will support this statement. Nowadays people submit their children to nurseries for their upbringing. Remember that no nursery can provide the child with a mother's care and affection. The child does not stand in need of an institution like a poultry farm, but instead, the child needs the mother's care and love to ensure the provision of this care, love and affection, it is imperative that the mother should take charge of the management of the household. If a women is not doing this, she is rebelling against nature. The result of this rebellion against nature is the same which is before our eyes today.

The basis of great achievements is the "Home"

Allah has said in His Book, the Qur'an, fourteen centuries ago:

“Stay in your houses.”

The "Home" alone is your world, your Hereafter and your life. O Women! Do not think that as man is doing great deeds outdoors, you too can do the same by going outdoors. You should think that the "home" is the foundation of all great deeds. If you breed and bring up your children in the right way sow the seeds of Iman (faith) in their hearts and generate Taqwa in them, then this achievement of yours will be much greater than the so-called great deeds done by man by going outdoors, because you have brought up and trained a child on the path of Deen. The anti-propaganda and blind following of the West have begun to eradicate gradually the care of the women in our society for the religious training of their children. In such a situation those women who confined within their homes also sometimes begin to think that the people are right in saying that they have been confined within the four walls of their houses and those women who have gone out of these four walls are perhaps more advanced and progressive than they themselves. At any rate, bear in mind that the services which these 'confined' women are rendering within the bounds of their houses have no substitute and those valuable services cannot be rendered by going outdoors to work in market places and shops.

Contentment and comfort lie in Purdah.

Women should never think that the Purdah is a source of inconvenience to them. To be under Purdah is a part of women's nature. The very meaning of the word 'Aurat’ which is the Arabic equivalent of the word women is something which requires to be kept concealed. This is women's nature and if nature is distorted, then there is no remedy for its reform. The contentment and comfort to be received in living within Purdah cannot be received from a life without Purdah in which women are exposed to public gaze. The protection of the Purdah system is therefore, an essential part of modesty and chastity.

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The modern day concept dubbed "gender equality"

 

Q: Can the learned Mufti Saheb kindly provide references from the Qur'an and Hadith, for living expenses in a marriage. Which spouse is responsible for paying specific monthly commitments?

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A: Islam is second to none in advocating fairness and justice. In every dimension of a person's life, one will find Islam advocating the highest degree of justice. As a result of Islam's unparalleled justice, we see that each spouse is allocated their own responsibilities and duties in their marital life.

It is recorded in the Mubaarak Hadith that when Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) married Hadhrat Faatimah (radhiyallahu anha), Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) advised them regarding the manner in which they should conduct themselves in the nikaah. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) outlined the duties and responsibilities of each spouse, instructing Hadhrat Faatimah (radhiyallahu anha) to attend to the duties within the home and Hadhrat Ali (radhiyallahu anhu) to fulfil the responsibilities out of the home.

From this Hadith we understand that each spouse has been allocated their specific duties and responsibilities. The husband’s duty and responsibility is to fulfil the needs and requirements of his wife and family, such as providing them with food, clothing, shelter, etc. He is thus required to leave the home in order to generate an income through which he will be able to fulfil his responsibilities. On the other hand, the wife has been commanded to remain within the confines of the home and not to leave the home except at the time of need, as she has been allocated the duty of tending to the internal affairs of the home. Hence, she should serve her husband, take care of the children and manage the affairs of the home such as cooking, keeping the home tidy, etc. If each spouse acts responsibly and fulfils their respective duties and responsibilities, the home will run smoothly and they will prosper as a happy family. Each spouse will be able to fulfil the rights they owe to Allah Ta'ala and the rights they owe to each other. Furthermore, both parents will be able to focus on instilling Islamic values into the children and giving them the correct upbringing which they require.

Islam does not recognize the modern day concept dubbed "gender equality". In this alien and unnatural system, undue advantage is taken of the wife in the guise of gender equality. The wife, despite being from the weaker sex, is shamelessly exploited and expected to shoulder both her own responsibilities and the responsibilities of her husband by supplementing his income and contributing to the running expenses of the home. Hence, apart from her own duties, she is burdened with the added responsibility of earning an income to assist the husband in fulfilling his duties. It is generally witnessed that when the spouses do not fulfil their respective roles which have been stipulated for them by the Shari'ah, then problems, complications, misunderstandings, quarrels and disputes arise in the nikaah.

True respect, honour, dignity and happiness in our marital and social lives can only be attained by following the pure and pristine teachings of Islam and the Mubaarak Sunnah of Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). If we seek honour and respect elsewhere, we will bring nothing but disgrace and humiliation to ourselves. Hazrat Umar (Radiyallahu Anhu) has emphasized: 

إنا كنا أذل قوم فأعزنا الله بالإسلام فمهما نطلب العز بغير ما أعزنا الله به أذلنا الله (حاكم #207)

"We were the most disgraced of people. Allah Ta'ala then gave us honour through Islam. If we ever seek honour in something besides that through which Allah Ta'ala has honoured us (Islam), Allah Ta'ala will disgrace us."

May Allah Ta'ala bless us with the ability to uphold every command of Shari'ah and adhere to the Mubaarak Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) in every facet of our lives. Aameen.

And Allah Ta'ala (الله تعالى) knows best.

وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَىٰ وَأَقِمْنَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتِينَ الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِعْنَ اللَّـهَ وَرَسُولَهُ إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّـهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا ﴿الأحزاب:٣٣﴾

عن ضمرة بن حبيب قال قضى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم على ابنته فاطمة بخدمة البيت وقضى على علي بما كان خارجا من البيت من الخدمة (مصنف ابن أبي شيبة رقم 29677) 

عن أبي أمامة عن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم أنه كان يقول ما استفاد المؤمن بعد تقوى الله خيرا له من زوجة صالحة إن أمرها أطاعته وإن نظر إليها سرته وإن أقسم عليها أبرته وإن غاب عنها نصحته في نفسها وماله (ابن ماجة رقم 1857)

عن عبد الرحمن بن عوف قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم إذا صلت المرأة خمسها وصامت شهرها وحفظت فرجها وأطاعت زوجها قيل لها ادخلي من أي أبواب الجنة شئت (مجمع الزوائد رقم 7634)

فروع استأجر امرأته لتخبز له خبزا للأكل لم يجز قال الشامي: قوله ( لم يجز ) لأن هذا العمل من الواجب عليها ديانة لأن النبي قسم الأعمال بين فاطمة وعلي فجعل عمل الداخل على فاطمة وعمل الخارج على علي (رد المحتار 6/62)

Answered by:

Mufti Zakaria Makada

Checked & Approved:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)

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Unhealthy Rivalry: Feminism and More

 

وَلَا تَتَمَنَّوْا مَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بِهِ بَعْضَكُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۚ لِّلرِّجَالِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا اكْتَسَبُوا ۖ وَلِلنِّسَاءِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا اكْتَسَبْنَ ۚ وَاسْأَلُوا اللَّهَ مِن فَضْلِهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا
   

Do not covet something in which Allāh has made some of you superior to others. For men there is a share of what they earned, and for women, a share of what they earned. Pray to Allāh for His grace. Surely, Allāh is All-Aware of everything. (An-Nisā’, 4:32)

 

This āyah was revealed in response to questions regarding disparity between men and women. Sayyidah Umm Salamah, the mother of believers,  looking for an  explanation, observed: “Men take part in battles and we do not. We do not take part in combat so we can become martyrs. Also our share in the inheritance is half theirs.”  According to another report from ʿIkrimah some women said “We deeply desired that Allāh would let us participate  in battles so we would get the same reward as men.” According to another report a woman was concerned that since women have half the share in inheritance and are given half the weight as witnesses in many cases, they would also get half the reward of men for all good deeds.

Lest anyone influenced by feminist ideology jump into confusion here, women were not seeking equal rank in the family or tribal hierarchy; they were rather concerned about rewards in the Hereafter. They wanted to make sure they would get equal wages of piety for equal piety. And they were assured, here as well as at many other places in the Qur’ān, that the rewards for good or bad deeds are the same for men and women.

While we are encouraged to compete with each other in performing good deeds, we should not get carried away with the idea of competition.  Feminism is the result of taking competitiveness to extremes by seeking everything for women that applies to men. This is its foundation and this foundation is being demolished in no uncertain terms here.

If  men  are  superior in  some respects (like physical strength) so be it. That is Allāh’s plan. If they are given the sole responsibility for earning a living for the family and therefore are given a bigger share in the inheritance in most circumstances, so be it. Their abilities are not the same. Their spheres are not the same. But within their sphere, ultimately everyone will get the rewards based on their own effort and ability. If they listen to this āyah, women will be content being women and will lead happy lives.

But the message is not to be limited to its immediate context. It is general and applies to all unhealthy rivalry. We have not been created equal in our appearance, skin color, physical strength, talents, and abilities. We should not waste any time comparing ourselves with others and lamenting our disadvantages in any of these things. We submit to the Will of Allāh in everything that is beyond our control. But we try to do the best in areas where we have been given freedom of action. And we seek Allāh’s grace and mercy all the time.

Most of the psychological problems in the world would go away if we followed this one gem of advice.

 

Qur'an Reflections - Juz Five

Al-Balagh

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