Women In Islam Updated
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Women In Islam Updated Women In Islam Updated Presentation Transcript

  • Women in Islam: Liberated and Elevated Saadia Z. Yunus November 17, 2008 Nassau Community College
  • To Begin with Prayer…
    • I seek refuge in Allah (God) from the accursed devil. In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. I bear witness that there is no God but Allah, the One, Who has no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His servant and messenger. Oh my Lord, open my heart, and make easy my task, open the knot on my tongue, so that they understand my speech. Oh our Lord, grant us knowledge…
  • Introduction
    • Islam is a complete way of life, not a religion
    • ~ 1/5 th of the world’s population consists of Muslims
    • Fastest growing religion—45,000 people revert to Islam each year in the U.S.; Ratio of females to males– 4:1
    • Goal of every Muslim, male or female—to seek the pleasure of God
    • Authentic sources of Islam—Qur’an, the word of God, and Sunnah—traditions of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
    • Women in Islam should be judged according to authentic sources (not by Muslims or the media)
  • Equality Between Men and Women
    • Islam believes in equality of men and women – ‘Equality’ does not mean ‘identicality’
      • Example-Students with the same grade on exam  
    • In Islam, the role of a man and woman is complimentary, not conflicting. It is that of a partnership, not contradictory, so as to strive for supremacy.
    • Gender is not the criteria to enter Paradise:
      • Surah Nisa, Ch. 4, Verse 124- ‘If any of you do deeds of righteousness, whether it be male or female and has faith, they shall surely enter Paradise and not the least injustice shall be done to them’  
  • Islam Gave Women Their Rights
    • Islam gave women their due right and status in the days of ignorance over 1,400 years ago.
    • Six Categories of Women’s Rights in Islam:
      • Spiritual rights
      • Economical rights
      • Social rights
      • Educational rights
      • Legal rights
      • Political rights 
  • Spiritual Rights
    • Men and women have the same spiritual nature
      • Ch.4, Verse 1 - ‘O humankind, reverence your Guardian Lord, who has created you from a single person and created in a like nature his mate’  
      • Surah Nahl, Ch.16, Verse 72 - ‘We have made for you companions and mates of your own nature’
    • Adam and Eve fall from Heaven; who is blamed?
      • Surah Araf, Ch.7, Verses 19 to 27, Adam and Eve (may peace be upon them both) both are addressed more than a dozen times
      • Both disobeyed God, both asked for forgiveness, both repented, and both were forgiven
  • Spiritual Rights cont’d
    • Only criteria for judgment in the sight of God is ‘Taqwa’, ‘God consciousness’ or ‘righteousness’
    • Equal Spiritual/Moral Duties for Men and Women (33:55)
      • ‘ For Muslim men and Muslim women, for believing men and believing women, for devout men and devout women, for true men and true women,  for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity,  for men and women who engage much in God's praise, God has prepared for them forgiveness and a vast reward’ 
    • Women have been given certain concession in Islam  
      • If she is undergoing her menstrual period or pregnancy, she does not have to fast
      • During the menstrual period and during the postnatal period, does not have to pray
      • She does not have to attend the Friday congregational prayers
  • Economic Rights
    • Islam gave economical rights to women 1,300 years before the West
    • A woman in Islam has been given more financial security, as compared to the man. 
    • Husband has duty to support and maintain the wife, even if she is rich in her own right
      • Ch. 4, Verse 34- ‘The men are the protectors and maintainers of women, for God has given one of them more strength than the other and they give them from their means’
      • ‘ Qawwam’ does not mean one degree higher in superiority; it means one degree higher in responsibility
    • An adult Muslim woman (married or single) can own, dispose of, or disown any of her property without consulting anyone
    • Inheritance laws—Islam gave the right to women to inherit centuries ago when today, there are still no such laws
    • Women in Islam can work—her money is hers
    • When she gets married, she is on the receiving end
      • Surah Nisa, Ch. 4  Verse 4-‘Give to the woman in dowry, a marital gift’ 
  • Social Rights
    • Social rights given to a daughter, wife, mother, and sister
    • In pre-Islamic Arabia, whenever a female child was born, she was buried alive  
      • After the spread of Islam, this evil practice was discontinued. 
      • Surah Isra Ch.17 Verse 31- ‘Kill not your children for want of sustenance, for it is God that will provide sustenance to you and your children, for killing of children is a major sin’
    • In Islam, there should be no partiality in upbringing of the daughter or the son
      • In the presence of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), once a man kissed his son and placed him on his lap but did not do the same to his daughter. He immediately objected and said that you are unjust - You should have even kissed your daughter and placed her on the other lap’
  • Social Rights cont’d
    • Rights of a wife
      • Previous civilizations have considered women to be ‘instruments of the devil’
      • The Qur’an refers to a woman as ‘Mohsana’- ‘fortress against the devil’
      • A good woman prevents her husband from going on the wrong path
      • Ch. 30, Verse 21- ‘And amongst our signs We have created for you mates or companions, so that you may dwell in them in tranquility and we have put love and mercy between your hearts’
      • Prophet: “The most perfect believers are the best in conduct and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”
      • In getting married, permission of both parties is required- Ch.4, Verse19- ‘You are prohibited to inherit women against their will’
  • Social Rights cont’d
    • Rights to Mother
      • Only thing above respect to Mother is the worship of God
      • Ch.46, Verse 15- ‘We have enjoined on the human beings to be kind to his parents. In pain did their mother bore them and in pain did she give them birth’
      • Nisa Ch.4, Verse1- ‘Respect the womb that bore you’
      • A man came to the Prophet and said, ‘O Messenger of God! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship? The Prophet said: [Your mother]. The man said, ‘Then who?' The Prophet said: [Then your mother.] The man further asked, ‘Then who?' The Prophet said: [Then your mother]. The man asked again, ‘Then who?' The Prophet said: [Then your father.] (Bukhari, Muslim)
  • Educational Rights
    • The first verse revealed in the Qur’an was Surah Alaq Verse No. 1— “Read in the name of your Lord who created”
    • Education is Compulsory in Islam:
      • Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)- “It is obligatory for every Muslim, male or female, to acquire knowledge”
      • “ God will exalt those of you who believe and those who are given knowledge to high degrees” (58:11)
    • Imagine, over 1,400 years ago, when women were ill-treated and only used as property, Islam asked women to be educated!
  • Legal Rights
    • Islamic Law protects the life and property of both a man and woman (the Law of Qisas)
    • The punishment for men and women is the same
    • In Islam, a woman is allowed to give witness
    • Islam gives utmost importance to the chastity of the woman
      • Accusing a woman falsely is an enormous crime in Islam that requires 4 witnesses
  • Political Rights
    • Surah Tawba, Ch.9, Verse 71, ‘Men and women are friends (supporters) of each other’ 
      • Supporters not only Socially - even Politically – they should support one another
    • Women are allowed and encouraged to take part in law making
      • Women in the U.S. were guaranteed the right to vote in 1920
      • Women in Islam were guaranteed the right to vote over 1,400 years ago
      • The leader of the Muslims at one time, Umar (may God be pleased with him) was discussing with his trusted advisors; he considered putting an upper limit on the ‘Mahr ’ since young men were discouraged from getting married. A lady from the back seat objected and said, “When the Qur’an says in Surah Nisa Ch.4, Verse 20 that… ‘you can even give a heap of treasure, a heap of gold in ‘Mahr’, and puts no limit on ‘Mahr’, who is Umar to put a limit?
      • Immediately Umar (may God be pleased with him) said, ‘Umar is wrong and the lady is right’
  • Elevating Women Through Hijab
    • And say to the faithful women to lower their gazes, and to guard their private parts, and not to display their adornment except what is apparent of it, and to extend their headcoverings to cover their chests and not to display their adornment… (Nur:31)
  • Purposes of Covering
    • Obedience to the Creator
    • Identity
      • She is known as a Muslim
      • She is recognized as a respectable woman
    • Modesty/Chastity
      • Dignity
      • Her mind and manners are more important than her body
    • Protection
      • Keeps her safe
      • US has one of the highest rates of rape
      • 1 out of every 6 American women have been the victims of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime
      • College age women are 4 times more likely to be sexually assaulted (Source: RAINN)
  • Muslim Female Role Models
    • Khadijah—wife and employer of the Prophet; successful businesswoman
    • Aishah—leader, scholar; men and women came to learn from her; led the Muslims in battle
      • Abu Musa al-Ash'ari said: Whenever we Companions of the Prophet* encountered any difficulty in the matter of any hadith we referred it to Aishah and found that she had definite knowledge about it
  • Conclusion
    • In a truly Islamic society, women are guaranteed…
    • - personal respect,
    • - respectable married status,
    • - legitimacy and maintenance (for themselves) and children,
    • - the right to negotiate marriage terms of their choice,
    • - to refuse any marriage that does not please them,
    • - the right to obtain divorce from their husbands,
    • - custody of their children after divorce,
    • - independent property of their own,
    • - the right and duty to obtain education,
    • - the right to work if they need or want it,
    • - equality of reward for equal deeds,
    • - the right to participate fully in public life and have their voices heard by those in power,
    • and much more besides.
    • What other religion, political theory, or philosophy has offered such a comprehensive package?
  • Prayer to Conclude…
    • Glory be to You, Oh God, all praise is for You. I bear witness that there is no God but You. I ask forgiveness from You and turn to You in repentance. Glory be to You, Oh Lord, Lord of honor above that which they associate, and peace be upon the messengers. All praise is due to the Lord of the Worlds. And upon us is only the deliverance of the message.
    • For more information on Islam, visit www.whyislam.org