“And do not covet that by means of which Allah has raised some of you above others; for men shall have (the benefit) of what they earn, and women shall have (the benefit) of they earn…” (4:32)
In the modern world, many negative things are being spoken particularly about Muslim Women. The world has been made to believe that Islam does not consider men and women as equal. And that Muslim women are suppressed. They do not enjoy the freedom which non-muslim women do.
Unfortunately, some Muslim Women have fallen prey to such propagandas. They have discarded their Religious obligations in order to show to the world, what infact, the world wants to see of them.
Dealing with two terms: Equality and Freedom.
In the issue of Equality, following points should be taken into consideration:
1. Not only Men and Women are NOT equal but the entire human race is not equal to each other. Among us, some are white, some are brown and some black. Some are rich, some are middle-class and some poor. Some are intelligent, some are average and some least intelligent. Some live in hot places, some live in cold places and some in moderate places. What makes the Gender issue so important that we have to go to lengths to criticize and even discard Islamic laws??
2. Allah (SWT) has created Men and Women to play different roles in life. The role of man is to provide protection and maintenance to a woman and the role of a woman is to receive these to be successful in her duties. Therefore, men are superior to women only as far as their physical abilities and emotional strength are concerned.
“Men have authority over women, on account of that by means of which Allah has made the one of them excel the other, and on account of what they spend out of their property..” (4:34)
According to Mufassireen, in this verse men have authority over women means that they are protectors and maintainers of women. The means by which Allah has made the one of them excel the other refers to physical abilities and mental/emotional strength.
3. Men and Women are equal in the sight of Allah (SWT) in spiritual persuits and its achievements.
When Asma binti Umays returned from Ethiopia with her husband Ja’ffar bin Abi Talib (as), she enquired from the wives of the Holy Prophet (saw) if anything regarding women was revealed in the Holy Quran. When informed of nothing, Asma complained to the Holy Prophet (saw) saying: “O Prophet of Allah! Verily women are at loss”. When asked why, she replied: “Because they have not been mentioned with good as the men have been. So Allah (SWT) revealed the following verse:
“verily the muslim men and the muslim women, the believing men and the believing women, the obedient men and the obedient women, the truthful men and the truthful women, the patient men and the patient women, the humble men and the humble women, the alms-giving men and the alms-giving women, the fasting men and the fasting women, the men who guard their private part and the women who guard their private part, the men who remember Allah very much and the women who remember Allah very much, for them Allah has kept ready forgiveness and a great recompense”. (33:35)
In the issue of Freedom, it is of two kinds: One which takes one away from his/her roles and responsibilities and the other is which enables one to perform his/her duties in a fulfilling manner. Whilst we all focus on the former kind of freedom, Islam is inviting to the later kind which assures both, fulfilment in this life and salvation in the hereafter.
According to Islam, injustice is not when responsibilities are taken away but when one is obstructed from freely fulfilling duties. This is the message of Seyyida Zaynab (as) in the court of Yazeed: “Is this justice O son of the freed slave! That women of your house remain in cover (hijaab) whilst we, the daughters of the Holy Prophet (saw) be imprisoned and paraded from place to place unveiled…..” What she (as) was implying is that yazeed had snatched their freedom of performing duties to Allah (SWT) which was injustice.
SEYYIDA ZAYNAB (AS):
She was the third child of Imam Ali (as) and Seyyida Fatimah (as). Born on 5th Jamadi-ul-Awwal 6 AH. Her name Zaynab means “adornment of her father”. One of her many excellent qualities was ‘Aalimah meaning “Knowledgeable”.
In her Ziyarah, we recite: “Peace be upon you O’ the learned, the rightly guided”.
Imam Zaynul-‘Aabideen (as) said: “You O’ Aunt! Are Alhamdulillah such a knowledgeable person whom no one has taught”. This knowledge was God-given.
Seyyida Zaynab (as) was very keen in imparting knowledge to women, particularly knowledge of Islamic laws and Tafseer of Holy Quran. She taught Islamic laws to women in Madina, and Tafseer and Islamic laws to women in Kufa after her migration during the khilafah of her noble father.
Mulla Mujaheedali Sheriff