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Islamic Voice Logo
MONTHLY    *    Vol 11-10 No:129    *   OCTOBER 1997 / JAMADI UL AKHIR 1418H

email: editor@islamicvoice.com

WOMEN IN ISLAM


Women's Right in Islam - Modernision or ourdated? : Social Rights of Women in Islam - II


Women's Right in Islam - Modernision or ourdated? : Social Rights of Women in Islam - II

By Dr. Zakir Naik

Last issue we discussed on the social rights of a wife and a daughter.

III. Mother

1. In Islam, obedience, respect and love for parents is next to the worship of Allah. It is mentioned in several places in the Qur’an that one should to be kind to one’s parents.

In Surah Al-Isra Chapter 17, Verse 23 and 24 (17 : 23-24)

“Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, And that ye be kind to parents. When 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 (17 :23).

And out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say : “My Lord! bestow on them Thy Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood” (17 :24).

In Surah Al-Anam Chapter 6, Verse 151 (6:151)

“Be good to your parents” In Surah Al-Ankabut Chapter 29, Verse 8 (29 :8) and in Surah Al-Luqman Chapter 31, Verse 14 (31 :14) and in

Al-Ahqaf Chapter 46, Verse 15 (46 :15) It is stated, “We have enjoined on human beings kindness to their parents.”

In the last two quotations the mention of the word “mother” is specially referred to after the word “parents”.

In Surah Al-Nisa Chapter 4, Verse 1 (4:1). It is stated, “Respect the Womb that bore you.”

2. According to several authentic hadith including the one narrated in Ahmed and Ibn-e-Majah, “Paradise lies at the feet of the mother”. It does not mean literally, for example that if a mother walks on the road and steps on filth and dirt, it becomes paradise. It means if you respect your mother, obey her, love her and take good care of her, you will Insha Allah enter paradise.

3. According to another hadith narrated in Bukhari and Muslim by Abu Huraira, the Prophet was once asked who amongst all the people was the most worthy of his respect and compassion . The Prophet (Pbuh) replied “your mother”; the man wanted to know who should be next, the Prophet (Pbuh) said “your mother”. The man enquired, who next?, the Prophet (Pbuh) replied for the third time “your mother”, again the man asked who next? The Prophet (Pbuh) replied “your father”. This means that 75% of love and respect goes to the mother and 25% to the father; that the better 3/4th goes to the mother and the remaining 1/4th to the father; or to put it in another way the gold medal goes to the mother and the father gets a consolation prize.

IV. Sister

1. In Surah Al-Tambah Chapter 9, Verse 71 (9:71)

“The believing men and believing women are protectors, one of other”. Here the Arabic word used is “Auliya” which does not mean friend but supporters or helpers or protectors; this means that all believing men and women are protectors of one another like brothers and sisters unless otherwise stated.

The Prophet (Pbuh) said women are “shakaat” of men. Shakaat has two meanings, sisters or halves. Therefore women are sisters of men or women are halves of men, that is society is made of two halves, one half women and the other half men.

“I recommend you to be kind to your women”

Men and Women are overall equal.

IV. Educational Rights

The first guidance given to the mankind in the Qur’an was “Iqra” i.e. to read, recite or proclaim.

Surah Iqra and Surah Alaq Chapter 96, Verse 1-5.

“Read! Recite! Proclaim! in the name of thy Lord and cherisher who created - created the human, out of a congealed clot of blood (a leach-like substance). Read and thy Lord is Most Bountiful. He who taught (the use of) the Pen- taught man that which he knew not (96 : 1-5).

The first instruction in the Qur’an was, not to pray or fast or to give Zakkat, but to read. This instruction was to both male and female. Islam gives a great deal of importance to education.

According to Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) “It is obligatory for every Muslim, male or female, to acquire knowledge (Al-Bayhaqi).

The holy Prophet (Pbuh) made it a point of duty to every father and mother to make sure that the daughters were not ignorant of the teachings of Islam.

A woman has her right to religious education from her husband so that either her husband should teach her or allow her to go elsewhere to acquire it. If this matter is taken before a judge, he must compel the husband to fulfil her demands in the same way that he would in wordly matters.

According to Sahih Al-Bukhari, the women at the time of the Prophet (Pbuh) had become so keen to acquire more knowledge that they came to the Prophet (Pbuh) with the following proposal, “You are always surrounded by men for imparting knowledge so appoint a day for us.” The Prophet (Pbuh) promised to do so and went to them and taught them. He also sent representatives with messages to enlighten the Muslim women.

Women, who till only a few years before the advent of Islam, were looked down upon as mere chattels unfit for education, became among the most learned figures of their time and started offering guidance to others in educational matters.

Several Examples of Great Muslim Women Scholars can be given

1. Aisha Bent Abu Baks

a. The first and foremost example is that of Aisha, the wife of the Prophet, who lived long after her husband’s death and provided great guidance to the first Muslim Community, even to the renowned sahabah and the Khalifah Rashidun. Her pupil, Urwah Ibn Azzubayr, testifies, “I did not see a greater scholar than Aishah in the learning of the Qur’an, obligatory duties, lawful and unlawful matters, poetry and literature, Arab history and genealogy.”

b. She had profound knowledge of medicine. Whenever foreign delegations came to the Prophet (Pbuh) and discussed various remedies for illnesses, she used to remember them. She was so wellversed in mathematics that important Sahabah used to consult her on the problems concerning “mirath” (inheritance) and the calculation of shares.

c. Aisha even guided Sahabah who sought her advice on different matters. They included the khalif “Umar” Abdullah Ibn Umar and Abu Hurairah. She was among the great huffaz (memorisers) of Ahadith. She narrated 2210 Ahadith in all.

d. Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari, himself a famous jurist and learned scholar, says “whenever we, companions of the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh), encountered any difficulty in the matter of any Hadith we referred it to Aishah and found that she had definite knowledge about it.

e. 88 great scholars learnt from her and there were a large number of others. In short she was the scholar of scholars.

2. Saffiyah, wife of the Prophet (Pbuh)

Saifyyah, the wife of the Prophet (Pbuh), was also very learned in Fiqh. Imam an Nawawi says, “She was the most intellectual among learned women”.

3. Umm Salamah :Wife of the Prophet (Pbuh)

She too was a great scholar. The scholar, Ibn Hajar has given the names of at least 32 scholars who learnt Ahadith from her.

4. Faitmah Bint Qays:

Fatimah bint Qays was also a scholarly lady in the early days of Islam. Her learning was so deep that she discussed a juristic point with Umar and Aishah for a long time and they could not change or challenge her views. Imam an Nawwawi says, “She was one of those who emigrated in the early days and possessed great intellect and excellence.”

5. Umm Salim : Mother of Anas:

Umma Salim, the mother of the famous Sahabi Anas, was herself a highly respected Sahabiyah. Hafiz Ibn Hajar praises her, saying, “Her laudable qualities are too many to mention and she was very famous. Imam an-Nawawi calls her “an excellent scholar among the sahabiyah.”

The list of learned women of the early days of Islam shows that women were not kept illiterate and ignorant, but rather were fully encouraged to participate in the process of learning and scholarship. They also knew their rights and responsibilities very well. There were instances to show that some women even challenged great scholars of their times if they said something which was against the rights granted to women by the Qur’an the Sunnah.

6. Sayyida Nafisa : Grand daughter of Hussein

She was a great scholar. A large number of pupils came to her from different places to learn from her. Imam Shafii, founder of the Shafii school of Islamic law, was one of her illustrious pupils. One of the illustrious pupils of A’ishah was Umrah bint Abdur Rahman who was described by Ahmad Ibn Hambal in the following words.

“An eminent theologian and a great scholar. She was the most learned of all pupils in the Ahadith of Aishah.”

7. Umm Ad-Darda : Wife of Abu’d -Darda:

Umm-ad-Darda, the wife of the famous Sahabi Abu-ad-Darda, was so learned in the science of Hadith that Imam Al-Bukhari, one of the compilers of the Sihah as Sittah (the six canonical collections of Hadith) referred to her as an authority in his Sahih al sukhar.

8. Aisha Bint Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqar:

She was the daughter of a great Sahabi, Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqar. She was very learned in Islamic Sciences, to such an extent that Imam Malik, the famous jurist and scholar of Hadith, was her pupil.

(to be continued)
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