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A local pastor in Zambia, has left many shocked as he allegedly instructed his church members to take off their clothes, touch themselves and to reach ‘climax’.
Zambian pastor who allegedly instructs members to ‘climax’ in church
An end time church pastor has allegedly shocked his members by encouraging them to climax in church as he believes they will produce a sacrosanct fluid to make the church floor as sacred as heaven.
Below is how the news was reported by Mwebantu Breaking News:
“Charismatic preacher in South Africa has shocked the world after he asked his members to undress in church until they reach climax. According to the pastor, the holy fluid of sperm would produce a sacrosanct fluid which would make the church floor as sacred as heaven. Church members both males and females were head screaming in excitement as they reach climax in church. Some fell in deep sleep after the act.”
REASONS WHY PEOPLE DEVIATE FROM THE CORRECT AQEEDAH (ISLAMIC BELIEF)
The Deviation from the Correct Aqeedah has many causes, which should be known.
1. Ignorance of the Correct Aqeedah because of turning away from learning and teaching it, or lack of attention or concern for it until a generation is raised not knowing the Aqeedah and not knowing that which opposes it and what contradicts it. The truth is then deemed to be falsehood and falsehood to be the truth, as Umar Ibn Khattab (radhi allahu anhu) said, ‘Verily, the bonds of Islam will be destroyed one by one when there arise in Islam people who do not know or recognize Jahiliyah (ignorance).’
2. Bigotry (ta’assub) towards that, which the ancestors were upon and adhering to it even if it was false, and abandoning what opposes it, even if it was the truth. As Allah says, ‘When it is said to them, ‘Follow what Allah has sent down.’ They say, ‘Nay! We shall follow what we found our fathers following.’ (Would they do that!) Even though their fathers did not understand anything nor were they guided?’ [Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 170]
3. Blind-Following (Taqleed) by accepting people’s statements in Aqeedah without knowing its proof or level of authenticity, as is the case of the Jahmiyyah and Mutazilah, and Ash’aaris and Soofis and others, whereby they (blindly) followed their scholars of deviation who preceded them and thus, they were misguided and went astray from the correct beliefs.
4. Extremism or Exaggeration (in honoring) the Awliya and Saliheen (the righteous) and raising them above their status where it is believed that they bring benefits and prevent harm, in a manner, which none has the ability except Allah. Taking them as intermediaries between Allah and His creation in fulfilling needs and answering the duaa until the matter turns into their worship other than Allah. Seeking nearness to their tombs through sacrifices, vows (nadhr), supplication, seeking aid and asking for help like what occurred among the people of Nuh regarding the pious, when they said, ‘You shall not leave your gods, nor shall you leave Wadd, nor Suwa’, nor Yaghuth, nor Ya’uq, nor Nasr (names of the idols).’ [Soorah Nuh (71):23] Such is the case of the grave-worshippers of today in many countries.
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In Islam there is absolutely no difference between men and women as far as their relationship to Allah is concerned, as both are promised the same reward for good conduct and the same punishment for evil conduct.
The Qur’an says: “And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women.” (2:226)
The Qur’an, in addressing the believers, often uses the expression,’believing men and women’ to emphasize the equality of men and women in regard to their respective duties, rights, virtues and merits.
It says: “For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise, for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward.” (33:35)
This clearly contradicts the assertion of the Christian Fathers that women do not possess souls and that they will exist as sexless beings in the next life. The Qur’an says that women have souls in exactly the same way as men and will enter Paradise if they do good: “Enter into Paradise, you and your wives, with delight.” (43:70)
“Who so does that which is right, and believes, whether male or female, him or her will We quicken to happy life.”(16:97)
The Qur’an admonishes those men who oppress or ill-treat women: “O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should you treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the dowry you have given them – except when they have become guilty of open lewdness. On the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to them, it may be that you dislike something and Allah will bring about through it a great deal of good.” (4:19)
Considering the fact that before the advent of Islam the pagan Arabs used to bury their female children alive, make women dance naked in the vicinity of the Ka’ba during their annual fairs, and treat women as mere chattels and objects of sexual pleasure possessing no rights or position whatsoever, these teachings of the Noble Qur’an were revolutionary. Unlike other religions, which regarded women as being possessed of inherent sin and wickedness and men as being possessed of inherent virtue and nobility, Islam regards men and women as being of the same essence created from a single soul.
The Qur’an declares: “O mankind! Reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate, and from this pair scattered (like seeds) countless men and women. Reverence Allah, through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and reverence the wombs (that bore you); for Allah ever watches over you.” (4:1)
The Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) said, “Women are the twin halves of men.”
The Qur’an emphasizes the essential unity of men and women in a most beautiful simile: “They (your wives) are your garment and you are a garment for them.” (2:187)
Just as a garment hides our nakedness, so do husband and wife, by entering into the relationship of marriage, secure each other’s chastity. The garment gives comfort to the body; so does the husband find comfort in his wife’s company and she in his. “The garment is the grace, the beauty, the embellishment of the body, so too are wives to their husbands as their husbands are to them.” Islam does not consider woman “an instrument of the Devil”, but rather the Qur’an calls her muhsana – a fortress against Satan because a good woman, by marrying a man, helps him keep to the path of rectitude in his life. It is for this reason that marriage was considered by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a most virtuous act. He said: “When a man marries, he has completed one half of his religion.” He enjoined matrimony on Muslims by saying: “Marriage is part of my way and whoever keeps away from my way is not from me (i.e. is not my follower).”
The Qur’an has given the raison d’etre of marriage in the following words: “And among His signs is this, that He has created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquillity with them; and He has put love and mercy between you. Verily in that are signs for those who reflect.” (30:21)
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was full of praise for virtuous and chaste women. He said: “The world and all things in the world are precious but the most precious thing in the world is a virtuous woman.”
He once told the future khalif, ‘Umar: “Shall I not inform you about the best treasure a man can hoard? It is a virtuous wife who pleases him whenever he looks towards her, and who guards herself when he is absent from her.”
On other occasions, the Prophet said: “The best possessions a man can have is a remembering tongue (about Allah), a grateful heart and a believing wife who helps him in his faith.” And again: “The world, the whole of it, is a commodity and the best of the commodities of the world is a virtuous wife.”
Before the advent of Islam, women were often treated worse than animals. The Prophet wanted to put a stop to all cruelties to women. He preached kindness towards them. He told the Muslims: “Fear Allah in respect of women.” And: “The best of you are they who behave best to their wives.” And: “A Muslim must not hate his wife, and if he be displeased with one bad quality in her, let him be pleased with one that is good.” And: “The more civil and kind a Muslim is to his wife, the more perfect in faith he is.”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) was most emphatic in enjoining upon Muslims to be kind to their women when he delivered his famous khutba on the Mount of Mercy at Arafat in the presence of one hundred and twenty-four thousand of his Companions who had gathered there for the Hajj al-Wada (Farewell Pilgrimage). In it he ordered those present and through them all those Muslims who were to come later, to be respectful and kind towards women. He said: “Fear Allah regarding women. Verily you have married them with the trust of Allah and made their bodies lawful with the word of Allah. You have got (rights) over them, and they have got (rights) over you in respect of their food and clothing according to your means.”
In Islam, a woman is a completely independent personality. She can make any contract or bequest in her own name. She is entitled to inherit in her position as mother, as the wife, as the sister, and as the daughter. She has perfect liberty to choose her husband. The pagan society of pre-Islamic Arabia had an irrational prejudice against their female children whom they used to bury alive. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was totally opposed to this practice. He showed them that supporting their female children would act as a screen for them against the fire of Hell.
It is narrated by the Prophet’s wife, ‘A’isha, that a woman entered her house with two of her daughters. She asked for charity but ‘A’isha could not find anything except a date, which was given to her. The woman divided it between her two daughters and did not eat any herself. Then she got up and left. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) came to the house, ‘A’isha told him about what had happened and he declared that when the woman was brought to account (on the Day of Judgment) about her two daughters they would act as a screen for her from the fires of Hell.
The worst calamity for a woman is when her husband passes away and, as a widow, the responsibility of maintaining the children falls upon her. In the Eastern World, where a woman does not always go out to earn her living, the problems of widowhood are indescribable. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) upheld the cause of widows. Most of his wives were widows. In an age when widows were rarely permitted to remarry, the Prophet encouraged his followers to marry them. He was always ready to help widows and exhorted his followers to do the same.
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet said: “One who makes efforts (to help) the widow or a poor person is like a mujahid (warrior) in the path of Allah, or like one who stands up for prayers in the night and fasts in the day.”
Woman as mother commands great respect in Islam. The Noble Qur’an speaks of the rights of the mother in a number of verses. It enjoins Muslims to show respect to their mothers and serve them well even if they are still unbelievers. The Prophet states emphatically that the rights of the mother are paramount.
Abu Hurairah reported that a man came to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and asked: “O Messenger of Allah, who is the person who has the greatest right on me with regards to kindness and attention?” He replied, “Your mother.” So Abu Hurairah asked again, “Then who?” He replied, “Your mother.” Again, it was asked, “Then who?” He replied, “Your mother.” And again, it was asked, “Then who?” He replied, “Your father.”
In another tradition, the Prophet advised a believer not to join the war against the Quraish in defense of Islam, but to look after his mother, saying that his service to his mother would be a cause of his salvation. Mu’awiyah, the son of Jahimah, reported that Jahimah came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said, “Messenger of Allah! I want to join the fighting (in the path of Allah) and I have come to seek your advice.” He said, “Then remain in your mother’s service, because Paradise is under her feet.”
The Prophet’s followers accepted his teachings and brought about a revolution in their social attitude towards women. They no longer considered women as mere chattels but as an integral part of society. For the first time, women were given the right to have a share in inheritance. In the new social climate, women rediscovered themselves and became highly active members of society rendering useful service during the wars which the pagan Arabs forced on the emerging Muslim umma. They carried provisions for the soldiers, nursed them, and even fought alongside them if it was necessary. It became a common sight to see women helping their husbands in the fields, carrying on trade and business independently, and going out of their homes to satisfy their needs.
‘A’isha reported that Saudah bint Zam’ah went out one night. ‘Umar saw her and recognized her and said, “By God, O Saudah, why do you not hide yourself from us?” She went back to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and told him about it while he was having supper in her room, and he said, “It is permitted by Allah for you to go out for your needs.” The predominant idea in the teachings of Islam with regard to men and women is that a husband and wife should be full-fledged partners in making their home a happy and prosperous place, that they should be loyal and faithful to one another, and genuinely interested in each other’s welfare and the welfare of their children. A woman is expected to exercise a humanizing influence over her husband and to soften the sternness inherent in his nature. A man is enjoined to educate the women in his care so that they cultivate the qualities in which they, by their very nature, excel.
These aspects were much emphasized by the Prophet (peace be upon him). He exhorted men to marry women of piety and women to be faithful to their husbands and kind to their children. He said: “Among my followers, the best of men are those who are best to their wives, and the best of women are those who are best to their husbands. To each of such women is set down a reward equivalent to the reward of a thousand martyrs. Among my followers, again, the best of women are those who assist their husbands in their work, and love them dearly for everything, save what is a transgression of Allah’s laws.”
Once Mu’awiyah asked the Prophet (peace be upon him), “What are the rights that a wife has over her husband?”The Prophet replied, “Feed her when you take your food, give her clothes to wear when you wear clothes, refrain from giving her a slap on the face or abusing her, and do not separate from your wife, except within the house.”
Once a woman came to the Prophet with a complaint against her husband. He told her: “There is no woman who removes something to replace it in its proper place, with a view to tidying her husband’s house, but that Allah sets it down as a virtue for her. Nor is there a man who walks with his wife hand-in-hand, but that Allah sets it down as a virtue for him; and if he puts his arm around her shoulder in love, his virtue is increased tenfold.”
Once he was heard praising the women of the tribe of Quraish, “…because they are the kindest to their children while they are infants and because they keep a careful watch over the belongings of their husbands.”
The Shari’ah regards women as the spiritual and intellectual equals of men. The main distinction it makes between them is in the physical realm based on the equitable principle of fair division of labor. It allots the more strenuous work to the man and makes him responsible for the maintenance of the family. It allots the work of managing the home and the upbringing and training of children to the woman, work which has the greatest importance in the task of building a healthy and prosperous society.
It is a fact, however, that sound administration within the domestic field is impossible without a unified policy. For this reason, the Shari’ah requires a man, as head of the family, to consult with his family and then to have the final say in decisions concerning it. In doing so he must not abuse his prerogative to cause any injury to his wife. Any transgression of this principle involves for him the risk of losing the favor of Allah, because his wife is not his subordinate but she is, to use the words of the Prophet (peace be upon him), ‘the queen of her house’, and this is the position a true believer is expected to give his wife. In contrast to these enlightened teachings of Islam in respect of women, Western talk of women’s liberation or emancipation is actually a disguised form of exploitation of her body, deprivation of her honor, and degradation of her soul!
The life of Aishah is proof that a woman can be far more learned than men and that she can be the teacher of scholars and experts. Her life is also proof that a woman can exert influence over men and women and provide them with inspiration and leadership. Her life is also proof that the same woman can be totally feminine and be a source of pleasure, joy and comfort to her husband.
She did not graduate from any university for there were no universities as such in her day. But still her utterances are studied in faculties of literature, her legal pronouncements are studied in colleges of law and her life and works are studied and researched by students and teachers of Muslim history as they have been for over a thousand years.
The bulk of her vast treasure of knowledge was obtained while she was still quite young. In her early childhood, she was brought up by her father who was greatly liked and respected for he was a man of wide knowledge, gentle manners and an agreeable presence. Moreover, he was the closest friend of the noble Prophet who was a frequent visitor to their home since the very early days of his mission.
In her youth, already known for her striking beauty and her formidable memory, she came under the loving care and attention of the Prophet himself. As his wife and close companion, she acquired from him knowledge and insight such as no woman has ever acquired.
Aishah became the Prophet’s wife in Makkah when she was most likely in the tenth year of her life but her wedding did not take place until the second year after the Hijrah when she was about fourteen or fifteen years old. Before and after her wedding she maintained natural jollity and innocence and did not seem at all overawed by the thought of being wedded to him who was the Messenger of God whom all his companions, including her own mother and father, treated with such love and reverence as they gave to no one else.
About her wedding, she related that shortly before she was to leave her parent’s house, she slipped out into the courtyard to play with a passing friend: “I was playing on a see-saw and my long streaming hair was disheveled,” she said. “They came and took me from my play and made me ready.”
They dressed her in a wedding dress made from fine red-striped cloth from Bahrain and then her mother took her to the newly-built house where some women of the Ansar were waiting outside the door. They greeted her with the words “For good and for happiness may all be well!” Then, in the presence of the smiling Prophet, a bowl of milk was brought. The Prophet drank from it himself and offered it to Aishah. She shyly declined it but when he insisted she did so and then offered the bowl to her sister Asmah who was sitting beside her. Others also drank of it and that was as much as there was of the simple and solemn occasion of their wedding. There was no wedding feast.
Marriage to the Prophet did not change her playful ways. Her young friends came regularly to visit her in her own apartment.
“I would be playing with my dolls,” she said, “with the girls who were my friends, and the Prophet would come in and they would slip out of the house and he would go out after them and bring them back, for he was pleased for my sake to have them there.” Sometimes he would say, “Stay where you are” before they had time to leave, and would also join in their games. Aishah said: “One day, the Prophet came in when I was playing with the dolls and he said: “O Aishah, whatever game is this?”
“It is Solomon’s horses,” I said and he laughed. Sometimes as he came in he would screen himself with his cloak so as not to disturb Aishah and her friends.
Aishah’s early life in Madinah also had its more serious and anxious times. Once her father and two companions who were staying with him fell ill with a dangerous fever which was common in Madinah at certain seasons. One morning Aishah went to visit him and was dismayed to find the three men lying completely weak and exhausted. She asked her father how he was and he answered her in verse but she did not understand what he was saying. The two others also answered her with lines of poetry which seemed to her to be nothing but unintelligible babbling. She was deeply troubled and went home to the Prophet saying: “They are raving, out of their minds, through the heat of the fever.” The Prophet asked what they had said and was somewhat reassured when she repeated almost word for word the lines they had uttered and which made sense although she did not fully understand them then. This was a demonstration of the great retentive power of her memory which as the years went by were to preserve so many of the priceless sayings of the Prophet.
Of the Prophet’s wives in Madinah, it was clear that it was Aishah that he loved most. From time to time, one or the other of his companions would ask: “O Messenger of God, who do you love most in the world?” He did not always give the same answer to this question for he felt great love for many for his daughters and their children, for Abu Bakr, for Ali, for Zayd and his son Usamah. But of his wives the only one he named in this connection was Aishah. She too loved him greatly in return and often would seek reassurance from him that he loved her. Once she asked him: “How is your love for me?”
“Like the rope’s knot,” he replied, meaning that it was strong and secure. And time after time thereafter, she would ask him: “How is the knot?” and he would reply: “Ala haaliha in the same condition (Allah kept it in the same condition).”
As she loved the Prophet so was her love a jealous love and she could not bear the thought that the Prophet’s attention should be given to others more than seemed enough to her. She asked him: “O Messenger of God, tell me of yourself. If you were between the two slopes of a valley, one of which had not been grazed whereas the other had been grazed, on which would you pasture your flocks?”
“On that which had not been grazed,” replied the Prophet.
“Even so,” she said, “and I am not as any other of your wives. Every one of them had a husband before you, except me.” The Prophet smiled and said nothing. Of her jealousy, Aishah would say in later years: “I was not jealous of any other wife of the Prophet as I was jealous of Khadijah, because of his constant mentioning of her and because God had commanded him to give her good tidings of a mansion in Paradise of precious stones. And whenever he sacrificed a sheep he would send a fair portion of it to those who had been her intimate friends. Many a time I said to him: “It is as if there had never been any other woman in the world except Khadijah.”
Once, when Aishah complained and asked why he spoke so highly of “an old Quraysh woman”, the Prophet was hurt and said: “She was the wife who believed in me when others rejected me. When people gave me the lie, she affirmed my truthfulness. When I stood forsaken, she spent her wealth to lighten the burden of my sorrow.”
Despite her feelings of jealousy which nonetheless were not of a destructive kind, Aishah was really a generous soul and a patient one. She bore with the rest of the Prophet’s household poverty and hunger which often lasted for long periods. For days on end no fire would be lit in the sparsely furnished house of the Prophet for cooking or baking bread and they would live merely on dates and water. Poverty did not cause her distress or humiliation; self-sufficiency, when it did come, did not corrupt her style of life.
Once the Prophet stayed away from his wives for a month because they had distressed him by asking of him that which he did not have. This was after the Khaybar expedition when an increase of riches whetted the appetite for presents. Returning from his self-imposed retreat, he went first to Aishah’s apartment. She was delighted to see him but he said he had received Revelation which required him to put two options before her. He then recited the verses: “O Prophet! Say to your wives: ‘If you desire the life of this world and its adornments, then come and I will bestow its goods upon you, and I will release you with a fair release. But if you desire God and His Messenger and the abode of the Hereafter, then verily God has laid in store for you an immense reward for such as you who do good.’ “
Aishah’s reply was: “Indeed I desire God and His Messenger and the abode of the Hereafter,” and her response was followed by all the others.
She stuck to her choice both during the lifetime of the Prophet and afterward. Later when the Muslims were favored with enormous riches, she was given a gift of one hundred thousand dirhams. She was fasting when she received the money and she distributed the entire amount to the poor and the needy even though she had no provisions in her house. Shortly after, a maidservant said to her: “Could you buy meat for a dirham with which to break your fast?”
“If I had remembered, I would have done so,” she said. The Prophet’s affection for Aishah remained to the last. During his final illness, it was to Aishah’s apartment that he went at the suggestion of his wives. For much of the time, he lay there on a couch with his head resting on her breast or on her lap. She was the onewho took a tooth stick from her brother, chewed upon it to soften it and gave it to the Prophet. Despite his weakness, he rubbed his teeth with it vigorously. Not long afterward, he lost consciousness and Aishah thought it was the onset of death, but after an hour he opened his eyes.
Aishah it is who has preserved for us these dying moments of the most honored of God’s creation, His beloved Messenger may He shower His choicest blessings on him.
When he opened his eyes again, Aishah remembered Iris having said to her: “No Prophet is taken by death until he has been shown his place in Paradise and then offered the choice, to live or die.”
“He will not now choose us,” she said to herself. Then she heard him murmur: “With the supreme communion in Paradise, with those upon whom God has showered His favor, the Prophets, the martyrs and the righteous…”Again she heard him murmur: “O Lord, with the supreme communion,” and these were the last words she heard him speak. Gradually his head grew heavier upon her breast until others in the room began to lament, and Aishah laid his head on a pillow and joined them in lamentation.
In the floor of Aishah’s room near the couch where he was lying, a grave was dug in which was buried the Seal of the Prophets amid much bewilderment and great sorrow.
Aishah lived on almost fifty years after the passing away of the Prophet. She had been his wife for a decade. Much of this time was spent in learning and acquiring knowledge of the two most important sources of God’s guidance, the Quran and the Sunnah of His Prophet. Aishah was one of three wives (the other two being Hafsah and Umm Salamah) who memorized the Revelation. Like Hafsah, she had her own script of the Quran written after the Prophet had died.
So far as the Ahadiths or sayings of the Prophet is concerned, Aishah is one of four persons (the others being Abu Hurayrah, Abdullah ibn Umar, and Anas ibn Malik) who transmitted more than two thousand sayings. Many of these pertain to some of the most intimate aspects of personal behavior which only someone in Aishah’s position could have learnt. What is most important is that her knowledge of Hadith was passed on in written form by at least three persons including her nephew Urwah who became one of the greatest scholars among the generation after the Companions.
Many of the learned companions of the Prophet and their followers benefited from Aishah’s knowledge. Abu Musa al-Ashari once said: “If we companions of the Messenger of God had any difficulty on a matter, we asked Aishah about it.”
Her nephew Urwah asserts that she was proficient not only in fiqh but also in medicine (tibb) and poetry. Many of the senior companions of the Prophet came to her to ask for advice concerning questions of inheritance which required a highly skilled mathematical mind. Scholars regard her as one of the earliest fuqaha of Islam along with persons like Umar ibn al-Khattab, Ali and Abdullah ibn Abbas. The Prophet referring to her extensive knowledge of Islam is reported to have said: “Learn a portion of your religion (din) from this red colored lady.”
‘Humayra’ meaning “Red-colored” was an epithet given to Aishah by the Prophet.
Aishah not only possessed great knowledge but took an active part in education and social reform. As a teacher she had a clear and persuasive manner of speech and her power of oratory has been described in superlative terms by al-Ahnaf who said: “I have heard speeches of Abu Bakr and Umar, Uthman and Ali and the Khulafa up to this day, but I have not heard speech more persuasive and more beautiful from the mouth of any person than from the mouth of Aishah.”
Men and women came from far and wide to benefit from her knowledge. The number of women is said to have been greater than that of men. Besides answering enquiries, she took boys and girls, some of them orphans, into her custody and trained them under her care and guidance. This was in addition to her relatives who received instruction from her. Her house thus became a school and an academy.
Some of her students were outstanding. We have already mentioned her nephew Urwah as a distinguished reporter of Hadith. Among her women pupils is the name of Umrah bint Abdur Rahman. She is regarded by scholars as one of the trustworthy narrators of Hadith and is said to have acted as Aishah’s secretary receiving and replying to letters addressed to her. The example of Aishah in promoting education and in particular the education of Muslim women in the laws and teachings of Islam is one which needs to be followed.
After Khadijah al-Kubra (the Great) and Fatimah az-Zahra (the Resplendent), Aishah as-Siddiqah (the one who affirms the Truth) is regarded as the best woman in Islam. Because of the strength of her personality, she was a leader in every field in knowledge, in society, in politics and in war. She often regretted her involvement in war but lived long enough to regain position as the most respected woman of her time. She died in the year 58 AH in the month of Ramadan and as she instructed, was buried in the Jannat al-Baqi in the City of Light, beside other companions of the Prophet.
Islam – Elevation of Women’s Status
Shaikh Ali Al-Timimi
Assalaamu `Alaykum Wa Rahmatullaahi Wa Barakaatuhu
Al hamdu lillaah was salaatu was salaamu `alaa rasoolillaah, `amma ba`d:
The topic that I was asked to discuss here at McGill University is the elevation of the status of women in Islam. Many, upon hearing the title of this lecture, might assume it to be an oxymoron because the prevalent idea – at least in the West – is that Islam does not elevate the status of women, but that Islam oppresses and suppresses women. So people might find the title in itself to be shocking or a curiosity at least.
In discussing this topic – since it appears to me that this is a mixed audience of Muslims and non-Muslims – I’d like to make my remarks and comments brief. I will take no more than thirty to forty five minutes, and then allow you an opportunity to ask your questions. Perhaps the question and answer session might be more fruitful in addressing specific accusations, understandings or misunderstandings regarding the status of women in Islam.
As we all know, in the world today, there are – for the overwhelming majority of humanity – basically two world views. These two views are often in conflict – not only on the personal level where individual human beings are making choices, but also on the international level in terms of the debate over the authenticity and correctness of these two world views.
The first world view, which I am sure most of us are aware of, is the Western liberal view. A view which claims to draw its roots from the Judeo-Christian tradition that probably, upon investigation, is more well rooted in the ideas that appeared after the reformation; ideas that are rooted in secularism and the world view that appeared thereafter during the ‘era of enlightenment’.
The second view is that of the Muslims – the Islamic world view, and this view says that its roots and ideas lie in the revelation given by God (or Allah in Arabic) to the prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam). Those who proclaim this view say that it can be used by humanity during all ages and times, and that its relevance and benefit is not restricted to a certain period of time, geographic area or certain race of human beings. Likewise, the adherents of the first view, that of Western secularism and the liberal tradition, believe that their world view, ideas, culture and civilization are the best for humanity. Some of you might have read a book that came out a few years ago by an American author of Japanese decent (Francis Fukuyama) called “The End of Time”. He basically put forth the theory that human development in terms of its ideas has concluded with this final period of liberal secular thought and nothing more will come to humanity. However in his book he adds that that the only part of he world which has not adopted this secular human view is the Islamic world and proposes that there will be a conflict in terms of this ideology in the Islamic world.
With that brief introduction, one of the topics of contention between these two worlds views, that of the secular liberal humanist in the West and the Islamic tradition, concerns women. What is the position and status of women? How are women looked to? Are women elevated in one culture and oppressed in another? The Western view is that women are elevated only in the West and that they are getting more and more rights with the passage of time, while their sisters – they say – in the Islamic world are still being suppressed. The Muslims who they encounter say that in actuality it is the Islamic system that provides the true freedoms for men and women alike, and women in the West as well as men, are deceived into an idea of freedom which really doesn’t exist. What I’d like to discuss this evening is exactly how Islam looks to women. And therefore my discussion will be more upon – what we might say for the lack of a better term – the philosophical basis, rather than the individual practices which vary from one country to the other. How women are understood in Islam cannot be properly understood – and this is more significant, I feel – unless one understands exactly what we might call the philosophical basis or ideological understanding – since this is really a theological concept.
First, let’s review how exactly women were thought of and understood in the western tradition, to compare and contrast perspectives. We know that the western tradition sees itself as the intellectual inheritors of the Greek tradition that existed before the prophet Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), and so therefore many of the intellectual traditions of the West are found to some degree in the writings of the early Greek philosophers like Aristotle, Plato and so forth.
How did they look towards women? What were the ideas of Aristotle and Plato towards women? When one reviews the works of these early Greek philosophers, he finds that they had very disparaging views of women. Aristotle in his writings argued that women were not full human beings and that the nature of woman was not that of a full human person. As a result, women were by nature deficient, not to be trusted and to be looked down upon. In fact, writings describe that the free women in many aspects of the Greek society – except for the very few women of the elite classes – had positions no better than animals and slaves.
This Aristotelian view of women was later carried on into the early Christian tradition of the Catholic church. Saint Thomas of Aquinas in his writings proposed that women were the trap of Satan. The issue of Adam and Eve added a dimension to the earlier Greek ideas of Aristotle; women were the cause of the downfall of man and therefore were Satan’s trap and should be looked at with caution and weariness because they caused the first downfall of humanity and all thus evil precedes from women. This type of thought was persistent within the writings of the Church fathers throughout the Middle Ages.
In their writings, we find this theme proposed in one aspect or another. However, after the Protestant Reformation Europe decided to free itself from the shackles and chains of the Catholic church. Ideas which have been entitled as the Age of Enlightenment or thought of as such, caused them to feel that they needed to free themselves from many of these ideas. Some of these ideas were scientific in nature, that the earth goes around the sun, instead of the sun going around the earth; theological in nature, as in the writings of Martin Luther; and also social in nature, like the position of women in society.
However, the writers of the Enlightenment still carried this basic theme that was not much of a switch – women were not full human beings. French writers during the revolution, like Rousseau, Voltaire, and others, looked at women as a burden that needed to be taken care of. This is why I believe it’s Rousseau in his book “Emile”, which he wrote concerning the education of women, proposed a different form of education for women based upon the fact that women were unable to understand what men were able to understand.
This is the tradition that the West inherited and thereafter we find in the 1800’s the first writings appearing by women and some men calling for the change of these ideas. And with this, we have the origins of the first feminine movements. One of the first books written was the “Vindication for the Rights of Women” by Mary Walsencraft which appeared in the 1800s. Thereafter the tradition of women receiving certain rights came. The first of these were basically legal rights because until the 1800s women were not able to own property and were not able to dispose of their wealth as men did. It is very well known that the first laws that allowed women to own property in the United States or in Europe appeared only in the last couple of decades of the 1800s.
The Industrial Revolution caused another impetus, another search, to this feminist movement. Women in the Industrial Revolution, especially England, were forced to labor for many hours in the coal mines and so forth, and would receive no pay whatsoever compared to men. So therefore the first calling of the movement was that people who work the same amount of hours deserved the same amount of money or pay.
Finally, a break occurred in this century of basically all which is understood from the Western tradition. Coming from the latter feminist movement which appeared after World War II, a new movement called for the emancipation of women not only in terms of legal rights, but it also questioned some of the morals of society and called for greater sexual freedoms for women and men alike. It contended that basically a lot of problems were caused by the institution of marriage and the ideas of family and so forth. People wrote concerning the need to break from these.
And finally, in the 1990s, the prevalent argument in the West is that we should discuss genders, not sexes. This idea was expressed recently in a book which came out a year ago called “The Age of Extremes”. The author discusses the idea that there is no difference between male or female and that gender is so only due to the environment. So, therefore, we can change the environment so that men could take the roles of women and women take the roles of men by changing education and climate. This is where it has ended up now. So we find in this 2500-year-old western tradition, we come from the first extreme which was expressed by the Greeks, where women were denied their essential humanity, to this extreme expressed today where there is no differences between the sexes and it is an issue of gender, climate, and environment. This is, of course, a very brief summary of the first world view. I didn’t do justice to those 2500 years in just those few minutes, but it just gives us an idea.
The other view which I would like to talk about in more detail is the Islamic view. How does Islam look at the issue of women? Well, first of all, we should understand that Muslims unlike, for instance, the Greek philosophers or the French writers after the French revolution, do not feel that their concepts, ideas and beliefs are those of fellow men.
But rather they believe that what they are taught, what they believe, what they practice, and all that is tied to this, is part of a divine revelation given to them by God. And so, its truth and veracity is not questionable because of it being revelation from God. The argument is that God knows best that which He created. He created human beings, He is a God of wisdom, and a God of all knowledge and so therefore He knows what is best. And He decrees that which is best for humanity, His creatures. Therefore, Muslims try to live by a code of law which is an expression of that belief.
Now I don’t want to discuss the various details of the code of law because that, I feel, would not really benefit us in this lecture. Although perhaps some of that might come out in the question and answer session and I’ll be glad to entertain any questions you might have. But what I would like to discuss is how does Islam look at women, i.e. what is womanhood in Islam? Did Muslims believe like the early Greek writers or early church fathers that women were not full human begins? Did they feel that women where Satan’s trap, so therefore should be shunned and looked at as something evil and dangerous? How did they perceive women? Upon investigating into the traditions of Islam which is, as I said, based on revelation known as the Qur’an, we find that it becomes very clear that Muslims are taught that men and women share a single humanity – that they are equal in their humanity and that there is no difference in the amount of human nature in them. We might now take that for granted, but as I explained, the initial western civilization was based on the fact that women were not full human beings.
So this being something that was taught 1400 years ago was a revolutionary idea in the sense that it is only within the last 100 years or so that the issue of women being full human beings has come to be accepted in western intellectual circles. Initially, women were not considered full human beings.
The Qur’an in describing the origins of human beings tells them, the translation of which would be something like “O humanity! Verily we have created you from a single male and a single female, and have made you into tribes and peoples so that you may know one another. Verily the most honorable of you are those who are most pious with God.” [49:13] This verse in the Qur’an teaches that humans come from a single male and a single female. The indication here is that the male and female in terms of their human nature are at an equal level. Likewise another verse, from a chapter which is known in the Qur’an as the chapter of Women – because most of the issues discussed there are laws dealing with women – starts off with a verse which could be translated as “O humanity! Verily We have created you from a single soul, and have made from it its mate,” this is a reference to Adam and Eve, “and have made from both of them many people, men and women, and scattered them throughout the earth.” [4:1] So here again is the issue of men and women and all human beings coming from a single source, a single family, a single set of parents. This shows that women share in full humanity with men.
Likewise in the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) – which is the second source of the Islamic religion – we find that the Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) said in a Hadith that indeed verily women are the twin halves of men. The Arabic word shaqaa’iq, which I translated as twin halves, means taking something and splitting it in half. The understanding is that there is a single humanity, a single essence which is shared, and there are twin halves of that – one is man and one is women.
This is repeated often in the Qur’an. The words of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) also emphasize this. As I said, this is a very important concept to understand when one reflects on how traditional western civilization looked at women as not being full partners and not sharing in humanity.
Although now, we might not find much surprise to that because it is a given perhaps that men and women are full human beings. But this is something that is a late occurrence in western traditions.
Let us take it to another step, what is the aim of humanity? What is the purpose for which human beings exist on earth, to what ends do they strive? What will occur to them if they strive to those ends and what will occur to them if they did not strive to those ends? Since Islam is a religion which sees itself as revelation from
God and the truth, Muslims would feel that human beings have a set purpose here on earth; that in everything of God’s creation there is wisdom. There is nothing of God’s creation that does not have any wisdom. There is nothing for sport or play and so therefore human beings have a purpose, and that purpose has been elucidated for them in the teaching of Islam.
They were created to worship God. A verse from the Qur’an says that God says that He has not created human beings except to worship Him. So therefore, the essence of humanity is the same between male and female, and they also share the same aim and that is to worship God. And that is the most important issue in the Islamic culture and civilization. You know that the Islamic culture and civilization is rooted in religious belief. American civilization is rooted in what? In the writings of the founding fathers of the United States of America.
It is rooted in the Declaration of Independence, the ideals which were placed therein. It is rooted in the Constitution of the United States. It is rooted in some of the arguments between monarchy or democracy which were written by some of the early writers or founding fathers. So it is rooted in a political thought. Yes, it might have some traditions which go back further and extend to certain ideas like in parts of Christianity and so forth, but in its essence it is a political thought, unlike Islam which is a religion in its essence.
The civilization of Islam – a civilization which is 1400 years old – is one which is rooted in religion. For a Muslim the greatest aim is to serve God, to worship God alone, and that is what the word Muslim means. Muslim is not a racial description, it is not an ethnic category, Muslim means one who submits. Islam means submitting to the will of God – the voluntary submission to God – so Islam is a religion of submission.
Therefore, in the most important aspect of the Islamic religion, we find that men and women share in the same aim and are expected to have the same responsibilities, in that men and women are both required or obligated to testify that there is none worthy of worship but Allah alone – God alone – and that Muhammad is His Messenger. Men and women are both obligated to pray five times a day, which is the second pillar of Islam. They are obligated to fast the month of Ramadan. They are obligated to make pilgrimage to Makkah.
They are obligated to give charity. They are obligated to have the same beliefs. They are obligated to have the same type of morality and the same type of code of conduct and behavior.
Men and women share these essential ingredients of Islamic behavior, which define a Muslim from a non-Muslim. And this is of extreme importance because it breaks from the tradition of religions. For instance fifty years before the birth of the prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) who was born around 560 CE we find that there was a gathering of bishops in France to discuss whether women possessed souls or not, and that, if they do possess souls, what would be their purpose on earth? Was it to worship God? And if they worshipped God, would they go to paradise? In the end it was decided that, yes, women do possess souls – which was a break from previous tradition – but that their purpose was not just to worship God, but also to serve men.
In Islam, however, the basis of submission is not that women are submitting to men, but that men and women together submit to God. So therefore, when you read the passages of the Qur’an, it becomes very clear that the obedient from among both the believing men and women receive paradise, which is the greatest aim and objective in a Muslim’s life, and the basis of that civilization. Likewise, those who are disobedient and who are renegades, and who do not want to worship God also receive the same punishment whether they are male or female. This is why throughout the Qur’an you find the wording addressed to both males and females. The Arabic language like French has two types of verbs, one representing the feminine and one the masculine. So in the Qur’an you’ll find both categories of the human race, both sexes, being addressed. This you find over and over and over. There is no need to now recite all these passages, but they are there if anyone wants to know.
In summary we found three bases: that they share the same humanity, that they have the same aim on this earth, and also, they expect the same reward, which is the goal which they are working for collectively as human beings. And this is a break as I said from the previous religious traditions and also political and social understanding prevalent among the philosophers before the coming of Islam. And as a result of that, we find that Islam accorded women rights which perhaps we take for granted now, but were given by God to men and women some 1400 years ago. These rights like the right to own property, the right to dispose of property according to their own wishes as long as they follow the laws of the religion of Islam, which apply the same for men or women and the right to certain what we would call now political rights, like the right to enter into a treaty with combatant, are something very recent relatively speaking in the West.
One of the rights given by Islam in the time of the prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) was that if a woman gives a treaty to a combatant from a non-Muslim attacking force – her treaty would be considered as was the case with a female companion of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam). In the Christian church these companions would be called disciples for instance, the disciples of the Prophet Muhammad are the companions as they are called. They were in the hundreds and thousands not just twelve as with Jesus Christ, and there are both men and women amongst them.
When the prophet Muhammad came to Mecca, one of the women companions by the name of Umm Hani, who was an inhabitant of Mecca and a believer in the Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam), accorded certain relatives of hers protection that they would not be harmed. Her brother who was one of the main companions of the Prophet Muhammad and married his daughter, Ali Bin Abi Talib, wanted to execute two of these men who were known for harming the Muslims and fighting against them. So Umm Hani went to the Prophet Muhammad and complained that she had accorded them protection and the Prophet recognized her giving protection to those two individuals.
This is what we might call, in the classification and terminology that we now use, a political right. In the sense of according protection for another person during the state of war is something which is relatively new in the West and was a known tradition in the Islamic world 1400 years ago. Likewise, in terms of what we might call public participation, there are certain acts of worship which are public acts of worship in Islam, and there are certain acts of worship which are private. One of the public acts is the pilgrimage, when men and women all make pilgrimage, and this is one of the pillars of Islam. Likewise another public act of worship is the two `Eid prayers which occur twice a year, once after the pilgrimage and once after the pass of Ramadan.
Men and women both participate in that publicly. Likewise, we have a verse which shows that the social contract between men and women is the same in Islam. This verse might be translated as the following: “And the believing men and women are,” what we might translate as, “awliyaa” – the word in Arabic for friends or allies or supporters of one another, “they” – meaning men and women – “bid to that which is correct” i.e. they commend that which is correct, “and they forbid that which is evil”.
And this is a corrective process in society, removing evil and commending that which is good. And then “they perform the prayer”, both men and women, “they pay the alms”, or the charity to the poor, “and they obey God and His Messenger.” And then God shows them the reward and that they are those upon whom God will have mercy and God is Almighty and All-Wise.
So in this verse, we find that the social contract between men and women, as individuals in the society, is the same, that they both go for the highest goal of bidding or commanding that which is correct, forbidding that which is evil, and that they share in the two major acts of worship, which are the prayer and giving charity. They share in the beliefs and obedience to God and obedience to the Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) and likewise, they share in the reward in the end of obtaining Allah’s mercy. This is a very important concept, which is in contradiction with what the western tradition is upon today, and that is as I said as a result of the initial extreme of the Greek philosophers that women did not share in humanity. As the result of that extreme another extreme occurred – at least the Muslims consider it extreme – that there is no difference between men and women.
So therefore, the idea of having genders – this is a term which is not used in a biological sense, as we might use the word sex in a biological sense for male and female, but the understanding today is that the traits that define maleness or femaleness, the social traits and so forth are determined by upbringing, culture, and environment and that there is no inherent difference in the way men and women think or act or what their make up is and so forth. And that is why they use the term gender.
This extreme resulted from the initial extreme that occurred 2000 years ago, when the Greek thought that the women did not posses humanity. So as a result of this 2000 year processes we now come to another extreme – at least this is what Muslims would say – this extreme now is that men and women are the same, that there is no difference.
Islam, although confirming that men and women do share in the same essence of humanity, also confirms that men and women are different. But does this difference mean that men are inherently good or women are inherently evil? No. And this is why when you look at one of the verses in the Qur’an that sheds light on this aspect, God says, recounting His creation, that He is the One Who created the night, as it envelops, as it comes – if you look at the horizon, it comes like a sheet enveloping the horizon – and He is the One Who created the day as it comes bursting, shining, – that is how Sun rises and He is the One Who created male and female. And then the next verse says, verily, what you strive for – human beings are into different ends, diverse ends – some strive for God’s pleasure, some strive for disobedience of God, some strive to do good to humans, some strive to do harm, different ends. But what is the example here? God mentions night and day and then mentions male and female. The understanding is, yes,night has a purpose, and in the Qur’an you always find verse after verse, describing that night has a wisdom behind it. And also it tells humanity that had it been only night and no day human beings could not live on earth. And this is now shown scientifically that if it was only night and there was no sunlight, certain hormones of body would not be able to reproduce and human beings would die.
Life as we know it on earth would not exist. And likewise, day has its wisdoms behind it. But can one argue and say, that night is good and day is evil? No, and no Muslim would believe that. And can one argue and say that day is good and night is evil? No. Likewise, male and female also have their roles to play. But can one say that the role of men is inherently good and the role of women is
inherently evil? No. And can one say the opposite to that – the role of women is inherently good and the role of men is inherently evil? No. But they both have a role.
This is the main contention now between western thought and Islamic belief. Western thought has basically accepted, except for maybe some few corners perhaps in the Vatican or so, that men and women share in their humanity and that they are the same. Muslims have believed this for 1400 years. But the difference is that in western thought, as a reaction to the initial thought that women did not share humanity fully, the argument is that the roles of men and women in society are only defined by culture, environment and upbringing, therefore there is really no true role for men and no true role for women and that we can switch this, if we just teach the society correctly.
But in Islam there is a defined role for men and a defined role for women. Who is the one who defines this role for men and women? It’s their creator. This is the major, if you want to use the term philosophical, even though it is an inaccurate term in that sense, but we can just use if for the lack of better term, philosophical, ideological or theological difference between the two opposing arguments. Now with that said, it is important to understand that when Islam gave these roles to men and women alike, it put responsibilities equal to obligations to both.
I will give you an example for that: Islam senses that women have the nature of mother not by cultural tradition or by sociological system but inherently are better in providing and taking care of the offspring, that there is a bond there which goes beyond tradition. A psychological bonding, a physical bonding, something which is more than just traditions of human beings. As a result of that it has placed greater responsibilities upon women towards their children are then those of men.
At the same time, the obligations that children have towards their mother in Islam is greater than they have towards their fathers, and this is why when the prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) was asked by a man one was his companions “Who should I befriend in this world?” The prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) replied “your mother.” And then the man asked a second time, and the prophet replied your mother, and then a third time, and again he replied your mother, and on the fourth time, he said “your father”. Likewise in the Qur’an we find that it tells human beings that your mother bore you from one hardship to the other hardship, talking about the labors and difficulties of pregnancy and childhood, and then fed you for two years, suckled you, and tells us to be kind to our parents and reminds us of our mother first before our fathers.
The point is that even though it has defined a role for women with the children which is different than the role of the father, at the same time it gives women honor and respect from their children which is greater than that received by the fathers. The fathers do receive respect and their honor, they are not just thrown out of the picture, but it is given to them and according to the degree of their responsibility. And likewise, because the mother inherently, not just because of cultural tradition, has something inherent which makes that bond greater between her and her child then the male. She receives a greater honor and respect from the child and at the same time she is required to give a greater obligation.
I only gave that as an example to show you that while Islam recognizes differences between the sexes, it does not accept the concept that gender is just an issue of upbringing or cultural traditions, for there are inherent differences in males and females, and as a result of that the obligations and responsibilities of each of the two sexes are together. Imported from that is another matter that even though men and women are different, they are not in opposition to one another, which is the basis of much of the western thought and especially of feminist traditions. That there’s a struggle between men and women, “There is a battle of sexes”, as it is sometimes said in the popular sort of designation. This doesn’t exist in Islam. Men and women work in tandem, just like day and night revolve, and you live in day time and you live in night time.
You cannot live only in night, and you cannot live only in day, likewise, men and women are not against one another, they are not pitted against one another but rather they share in the same aim, the same purpose of being, the same humanity. They have different roles, but these roles complement one another and are needed by one another in order for the success of humanity, not in this world, but also – of course since Muslims believe in the hereafter- in the hereafter, which is the ultimate goal for Muslims.
Now, I would like to make one final comment and then I’ll leave it open for questions. Let’s look at the applicabilities of both of these programs. We discussed a lot of ideas, thoughts and beliefs and historical concepts, but when they are actually applied, which of the two view points is more successful. Which brings more bliss to humanity? Is it the secular western view or is it the Islamic view? And I have a concrete example which I’d like to share with you. When I was in Beijing this last summer for the UN 4th world conference on the women, there was a platform for action which was being discussed by the different nations and organizations there. The aim of the platform for action was to upraise, uplift, and to embetter the status of women around the world, which are of course noble and correct aims, there is no contention concerning that. The platform for action was divided into different areas of concentrations, such as poverty, health, finances, conflicts and violence and so forth, and one of it was a girl child. The 12th issue of the 12 concerned areas for the platform for action, the girl child, the status of girls – future women – in the world today.
The country which was hosting the conference, China is known for the practice of killing girls. The reason why is because of their population. You can only have one child per couple and Chinese by their tradition view males as fewer then females and so as a result they will usually kill the female child, in hope that the wife gives birth to a boy.
This is an issue which exists and because the hosts were the Chinese, the United Nations didn’t really want to get into this issue. They didn’t want to talk about it because it was not politically correct to address that issue in China. Moreover, even though they might have passed certain regulations, platforms for actions and certain commitments which they have required of citizens of the world to follow, they at the end will see that perhaps in twenty-five to fifty years the status of the world child will not have markedly improved.
We can see from other things, one of the major issues which the United Nations was created for after World War II, was the slaughter of so many million human beings, six million Jews in Europe, and yet fifty years later, in the year of the fiftieth celebration of the UN, a genocide has taken place in Europe of the Bosnians. All the human rights, all of the declarations in the last fifty years has not been able to change anything on the ground. Now when the prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) was sent to the Arabs, the Arabs had the same practice. They used to kill their girl children. The Arabs killed their girls for a number of reasons, most of the time due to poverty. Being a desert peopl
e without industry or any sort of means of trade, existence was very minimal. And as a result, out of fear of poverty they would kill their girl children, and they would bury them alive. This is a fact which is mentioned in the Qur’an and was well known during the time of the prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam). God condemns in the Qur’an with verses, the idea of killing of the girl child, the burying in the ground, and also the attitudes of the Arabs towards girls. One verse in the Qur’an says that “when he is given the good news that his wife is given birth.” God calls it a good news, ” – to a female child, a girl – his face becomes blackened and he becomes ashamed. Will he hide the fact “that he has given birth to a girl and not tell the people, because he feels it as a shame. “Or will he bury it in the ground”, this is a condemnation of the practice of the people.
And likewise the companions of the prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) before they accepted Islam, many of them killed their girl children. One man came to prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) and said I killed ten of my daughters in my lifetime, will I receive paradise? For will God accept my repentance for this sin, now that I have left this pagan religion of before, worshipping idols and killing girl children and so forth. Within one generation, within 23 years this was how long the prophet was amongst the Arabs, the practice of killing girls ended. It no longer existed in Arabia. And likewise, it didn’t just stop like that, but a change in attitude came towards women, in educating them and making morally upright people.
People receive no other reward, but paradise. Again that is the greatest aim for the Muslim and that is their motivation and reason of being. So Islam not only tried removing the negative aspect of murdering girls, but also included the positive aspect of educating girls and raising them in society, and this brings me to my final point.
This is something of course which we can look at the previous declarations of human rights or whatever, irrespective of whether these being true or false, but they have not been able to achieve the aims which they have stated. As the example of human rights and the UN in Bosnia shows. Fifty years after the creation of the UN, there is no change in Europe, the same land which killed six million Jews.
The same genocide of the Bosnians occurs fifty years later by the same people who started the UN. They are unable to stop their own from this matter, and with this I come to my final point, that I would like to leave you with. Islamic civilization unlike any other civilization is based, of course on revelation, but it is in its essence supported and founded by women.
The first person to believe in Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) was his wife Khadeejah, and it was through her money and through her support of him, her financial backing, and also her encouragement that the prophet was able to spread the message of Islam in his first year of prophecy. The pagans did not have the ideas of freedom of religion, that you can take your own beliefs. This was not practiced by the pagans of Arabia – they saw this as an insurrection, they saw this as a changing of their ways, so they sought to stop it out by torture, by killing and by all other means that they could.
And likewise, they tried to stop the Islamic revelation, this tradition, when the prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) converted only the people of Arabia. But as you know there are about one billion Muslims in the world. They are in every single continent of the world, even in Beijing where the UN was convening. There was a mosque there which is over a thousand years old. And the neighborhood that lives there is about forty to fifty thousands Muslims. Now the king’s palace, the forbidden city in front of Tien Anh Man square which many of you have heard of, is only 500 years old. This shows how the growth of Islam and the sprit of Islam is not just a Middle Eastern phenomenon or an Arabian phenomenon but extends to all people and races throughout the world.
Where is this teaching from, of course when prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) died after twenty three years Islam only spread in Arabia. This religion of Islam was basically spread by four or five individuals who had the most in teaching. One of them was the prophet’s wife `Aa’isha. She is among the most to have narrated his statements and likewise she is amongst the three, four, five who have mostly given religious pronouncements, who have given religious verdicts, explained what these verses in the Qur’an meant or what the words of the prophet meant.
Look at any other civilization in the history of humanity, you will not find a women playing a role in its establishment where it can be attributed to her efforts for its establishment. The Greeks – look at the philosophers Plato, Aristotle and others – all were men. The early church fathers writings were basically men and until today the idea of women scholarship is limited in some areas of the church. The French writers at the French revolution and Voltaire and the Russians were men. The founding fathers of the United States were men, and also other civilizations are basically based upon men.
Islam is the only civilization which is known by humanity where a leading input in terms of its transmission and establishment was based upon the efforts of women. Central – and this is an historical matter which is not open to interpretation, it is a fact – these are the people who transmitted these teachings these are the people who supported it hereafter. Those are just some thoughts and impressions concerning how Islam uplifted women.
Istikhara: The Guidance Prayer
Question Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Reprinted from SunniPath.com
Question: Several people I know are confused on the topic of salat ul- Istikhara. Is it meant to be prayed several days in a row until a decision is made, or only once? Is it meant to be prayed after one has pretty much made up their mind, or when someone hasn’t really figured out what to do? Are their various valid opinions?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum,
When one is not clear about the result of the istikhara, the fuqaha mention that it is recommend to repeat it, up to seven times if necessary (usually done on separate occasions). [cf: Radd al-Muhtar]
Getting a Dream?
It is not necessary that you get a dream or even a “feeling.” Rather, the istikhara is a prayer that Allah guide you towards that which is best (khayr) for you. If you do the prayer of guidance (istikhara) with the proper manners, the most important of which is to truly consign the matter to Allah and suspend your own inclinations, then Allah will make events unfold in the direction that is the best for your worldly and next-worldly affairs.
In general, when it is not possible to perform the istikhara prayer itself (such as when one is out on the road, or in one’s menstrual period), it is recommended to simply read the dua itself. [Radd al-Muhtar]
The istikhara prayer may be made for a specific matter or be made for a general seeking of all that is best. Some scholars, including Imam Abd al-Wahhab al-Sha`rani and Ibn `Arafah before him saw this kind of (specific) istikhara prayer as being superior.
Others, including Shaykh Ibn al-Arabi, recommended performing a general istikhara prayer for all that is good every day, ideally at the time of the Duha prayer (after sunrise).
Before Istikhara Prayer
Imam al-Nawawi mentioned that before the istikhara prayer, one should seek advice (istishara) from those whose knowledge, wisdom, and concern one is confident.
Ibn Hajar al-Haytami and others mentioned that one of the benefits of this is to further distance oneself from the desires of one’s own egotistic inclinations.
Opening the Prayer
It is recommended to open the dua of istikhara [below], with praise of Allah and sending blessings on the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace), and to close it in this manner, too.
Like other duas, it is recommended that one face the qibla. It is disliked to ‘hasten’ in seeking the answer to one’s istikhara, just like other duas, because the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, “Your prayers are answered, unless you hasten, saying, ‘I prayed, but no answer came.'”
One should be pleased with what Allah chooses for one, and not seek to follow one’s whims after the answer to one’s supplication becomes clear.
There is a pious lady in our community who has offered to pray istikhara for me to help me make a decision for marriage…. [ …. ] my question to you is if you know if this idea of relying on someone else’s istikhara is a good idea and compatible with the teachings of Islam on how to make dua and decisions. Should I follow her advice (according to her dreams and feelings) to me on this issue or not?
This is one means you can take: to seek the istikhara of a pious person. The permissibility of this was mentioned explicitly by the Malikis and Shafi`is. The Hanafis do not appear to have discussed this issue [al-Mawsu`a al-Fiqhhiyya, Kuwait], but there is nothing in it that would indicate its impermissibility. Rather, it is merely the taking of a means, which is permitted as long as one knows that the one who gives and takes, benefits and harms is Allah alone.
In such cases, though, one should not leave doing the istikhara oneself…
CONCERNING THE RITUAL PRAYER FOR GUIDANCE IN CHOOSING THE BEST OPTION [SALAT AL-ISTIKHARA], AND THE PRAYER OF SUPPLICATION [DU’A’] APPROPRIATE TO IT.
According to a traditional report transmitted on the authority of Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir, it was Jabir ibn ‘Abdi’llah (may Allah be well pleased with him and with his father) who said:
“Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to teach us how to seek guidance in choosing the best option available in a practical enterprise [al-istikhara fi ‘l-amr], just as he would sometimes teach us a Chapter [Sura] from the Qur’an.:
“‘If one of you is concerned about some practical undertaking, or about making plans for a journey, he should perform two cycles of ritual prayer [rak’atain], not as an obligatory observance [farida], but voluntarily. Then he should say:
‘”O Allah, I ask You to show me what is best, through Your knowledge, and I ask You to empower me, through Your power, and I beg You to grant me Your tremendous favor, for You have power, while I am without power, and You have knowledge, while I am without knowledge, and You are the One who knows all things invisible.
(Allahumma inni astakhiru-ka bi-‘ilmi-ka wa astaqdiru-ka bi-qudrati-ka wa as’alu-ka min fadli-ka ‘l-‘azim fa-inna-ka taqdiru wa la aqdiru wa ta’lamu wa la a’lamu wa Anta ‘Allamu ‘l-ghuyub):
O Allah, if You know that this undertaking is in the best interests of my religion, my life in this world, and my life in the Hereafter, and can yield successful results in both the short term and the long term, then make it possible for me and make it easy for me, and then bless me in it.
(Allahumma in kunta ta’lamu anna hadha ‘l-amra khairun li fi dini wa dunyaya wa akhirati wa ‘aqibati amri wa ‘ajili-hi wa ajili-h :fa-‘qdir-hu li wa yassir-hu li thumma barik li fi-h):
If not, then turn it away from me, and make it easy for me to do well, wherever I may happen to be, and make me content with Your verdict, O Most Merciful of the merciful.'”
(wa illa fa-‘srif-hu ‘an-ni wa yassir liya ‘l-khaira haithu kana ma kuntu wa raddi-ni bi-qada’i-ka ya Arhama ‘r-rahimin).”
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The South African Jamiatul Ulama Transvaal collected this:
The Etiquette of Du’â
These etiquettes are narrated in the Hadith. For reasons of brevity, only the following summary and reference of each Hadith is mentioned instead of the entire Hadith.
- To abstain from haraam food, clothing and earnings. (Muslim : Tirmidhi)
- To make Duaa with sincerity. In other words, one should firmly believe that nobody but Allah Ta’aala will fulfill his objectives. (Haakim)
- One should perform a good deed prior to making the Duaa & he should mention this during the course of the Duaa. For e.g. He should say, O Allah! I had performed so & so deed solely for Your pleasure. O Allah! accept my Duaa due to the barkat of that deed. (Muslim, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud).
- To make Duaa whilst one is paak & clean. (Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Nasai, Ibn Hibbaan, Mustadrak).
- To make wudhu before the Duaa (All six major hadith collections)
- To face the Qiblah (All six major hadith collections)
- To sit as in the Tashahhud position (Abu Awanah)
- To praise Allah Ta’aala at the beginning as well as at the end of Duaa (All six major hadith collections)
- To convey Durood upon Rasulullah (pbuh) at the beginning as well as the end. (Abu Dawud, Musnade-Ahmad)
- To spread out both the hands. (Tirmidhi, Mustadrak)
- To raise both the hands up to the shoulders (Abu Dawud, Musnade-Ahmad)
- To sit with humility and respect. (Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud)
- To mention ones helplessness and dependence. (Tirmidhi)
- To abstain from raising the eyes towards the sky whilst making Duaa (Muslim)
- To mention the Asmaal-Husnaa (the names of Allah Ta’aala ) and the sublime qualities of Allah Ta’aala. (Ibn Hibbaan and Mustadrak)
- To abstain from ceremonies rhyming of the Duaa phrases (Bukhari)
- To abstain from saying the Duaa in a “sing-song” tone if the Duaa is in a poetic form (Hisn)
- To make the Duaa in a soft voice (All six major hadith collections on the authority if Abu Musa)
- To utter the Duaa phrases transcribed from Rasulullah Sallalahu Alayhi Wasallam because Rasulullah Didn’t leave out a single need of the Deen nor of the dunya whilst teaching us how to make Duaa (Abu Dawud/Nasai)
- To make a Duaa that encompasses most of the needs of Deen and the dunya. (Abu Dawud)
- To make Duaa in favour of oneself first, thereafter ones parents and to include the other Muslims in the Duaa as well (Muslims)
- If the Imam is making Duaa, he should not make Duaa for himself only but he should Include all the congregants in the Duaa (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)
- Abu Dawud (R.A.) Narrates that Rasulullah Said that the Imam who makes Duaa for himself only, has betrayed the people.” In other words, the Imam should not Make a Duaa that is restricted to him alone. For e.g. He should not say, “O Allah! cure my son.” or “O Allah! Return my lost item.” etc. but he should make a Duaa that includes all the congregation for e.g. He may say “O Allah! Forgive us and have mercy upon us.”
- To make Duaa with firm conviction (for e.g. he should not say: “O Allah! If you wish fulfil so and so task of mine.” (All six major hadith collections)
- To make Duaa with enthusiasm & yearning. (Ibn Hibbn & Abu Awana).
- As far as possible endeavour to bring about a “presence of heart and mind” and cherish a high hope of the Duaa being accepted. (Haakim)
- To make Duaa repeatedly. (Bukhari, Muslim)
- This repetition should be at least thrice (Abu Dawud)
- Note One may repeat the Duaa thrice in one sitting or he may repeat it on three different occasions. The “repetition of the Duaa” can be interpreted in both ways.”
- To make Duaa earnestly and insistently. (Nasai, Hakim, Abu awanah)
- To abstain from making Duaa of severing family ties or other sins. (Muslim, Tirmidhi)
- Avoid making Duaas of pre-determined and fixed things (for e.g. woman should not make a duaa of being transformed into a man or a tall person shouldn’t make Duaa thus: “O Allah! Make me short.” etc) (Nasai).Don’t Make Duaa for impossible things. (Bukhari)
- Don’t make a Duaa in which you ask Allah Ta’aala to confine His mercy to yourself only (Bukhari, Abu Dawud, Nasai, Ibn Majah)
- Ask only Allah Ta’aala alone for all your needs. Do not depend upon His creation. (Tirmidhi/Ibn Hibbaan)
- The one making the Duaa as well as the person listening to it, both should say ‘Aameen’ at the end. (Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Nasai)
- Rub both hands over the face at the termination of the Duaa (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Ibn Hibbaan, Majah, Hakim)
- Don’t be impatient over the acceptance of Duaas. In other words, don’t say: “I’ve made Duaa repeatedly but to no avail.” (Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, Nasai, Ibn Majah)
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It is obvious that more and more people are now signing up for online dating services and many have found that they just wasted their time in other online dating sites that were not that good in terms of their services. When I started to join in an online dating website, I read some reliable reviews first.There are really some dating sites who have good services and you can just tell also by the way their websites were designed plus the welcoming feeling after you just signed-up for them. I had joined a good online dating website before and was glad to meet my husband in it. I was truly thankful I had joined, their service was truly outstanding and I am now happily married with him and we’re blessed with a healthy and beautiful daughter.
Some online dating service providers offer free sign ups for women and they only charge men in order for them to communicate with the women and this is the set-up with most Asian/western dating sites but oftentimes most of the dating sites now would charged anyone after they had posted their profile and decide to respond to the emails they had received in the dating website that they have just joined in. Many would not mind for the money that they had paid if they know that the services of the dating website is truly good.
There are so many dating websites nowadays so it is important to read reliable reviews first before joining on any of them so that you wouldn’t waste your time and money. Some may claim that they offer various services but after you have signed up and paid, you had realized that the dating site has bad services with few members in it. It would be a good idea that before you plan to register and sign up for any online dating website, it is better that you read reliable reviews written about these websites.
You can read some posted blogs of those people who have joined and they were the ones who are good sources of information since they knew the best and worst dating websites since these people had experienced the services of these dating website providers. If you want to join more than one dating website, you can also write your profile in advance, save it and then just copy and paste it so that you don’t waste your time in filling up the things about yourself that they ask of you (ex. hobbies, likes and dislikes, etc.) These are the tips based on my experiences and I just want to share these things to my readers.