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Islam & Women Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Shah.

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1 Islam & Women Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Shah


Islam vs. cultural practices Primary sources of Islam: Qur’an Practice (Sunnah) of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

4 Methodology of Interpretation
Lexical meaning Context in the Qur'an The occasion of revelation The practice (Sunnah) of the Prophet (PBUH)

5 Human Equality “O MANKIND! Be conscious of your Sustainer, who has created you out of one living entity, and out of it created its mate, and out of the two spread abroad a multitude of men and women. And remain conscious of God, in whose name you demand [your rights] from one another, and of these ties of kinship. Verily, God is ever watchful over you!” (4:1)

6 Human Equality “IT IS HE who has created you [all] out of one living entity, and out of it brought into being its mate, so that man might incline [with love] towards woman...” Qur’an 7:189

7 Men & Women: Same Nature
“The Originator [is He] of the heavens and the earth. He has given you mates of your own kind…to multiply you thereby: [but] there is nothing like unto Him, and He alone is all-hearing, all-seeing.” (Qur’an 42:11)

8 Same Spiritual Responsibilities & Rights
“…I shall not lose sight of the labor of any of you who labors [in My way], be it man or woman: each of you is an issue of the other…” (Qur’an 3:195) I.e., "you all are members of one and the same human race, and therefore equal to one another"

9 Same Spiritual Responsibilities & Rights
“ Whereas anyone - be it man or woman - who does [whatever he can] of good deeds and is a believer withal, shall enter paradise, and shall not be wronged by as much as [would fill] the groove of a date-stone.” (Qur’an 4:124)

10 Same Spiritual Responsibilities & Rights
“Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has Faith, verily, to him will We give a new Life, a life that is good and pure, and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions.” (16: 97)

11 Same Spiritual Responsibilities & Rights
"He that works evil will not be requited but by the like thereof: and he that works a righteous deed - whether man or woman - and is a Believer; such will enter the Garden (of Bliss): therein will they have abundance without measure.” (13: 40)

12 Same Spiritual Responsibilities & Rights
“The Believers, men and women, are protectors, one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practice regular charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His Mercy: for Allah is Exalted in power, Wise.” (9: 71)

13 Same Spiritual Responsibilities & Rights
“VERILY, for all men and women who have surrendered themselves unto God, and all believing men and believing women, and all truly devout men and truly devout women, and all men and women who are true to their word, and all men and women who are patient in adversity, and all men and women who humble themselves [before God], and all men and women who give in charity, and all self-denying men and self-denying women, and all men and women who are mindful of their chastity, and all men and women who remember God unceasingly: for [all of] them has God readied forgiveness of sins and a mighty reward.” (Quran 33:35)

14 Fall of Man God prohibited both of them from eating the fruits of the forbidden tree. The serpent seduced Eve to eat from it and Eve, in turn, seduced Adam to eat with her. When God rebuked Adam for what he did, he put all the blame on Eve, "The woman you put here with me --she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it”. (Gen. 3:12)

15 Fall of Man "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you." (Gen. 3:16) To Adam He said: "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree .... Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life..." (Gen. 3:17)

16 Eve’s Legacy All women were believed to have inherited from their mother, the Biblical Eve, both her guilt and her guile. Consequently, they were all untrustworthy, morally inferior, and wicked. Menstruation, pregnancy, and childbearing were considered the just punishment for the eternal guilt of the cursed female sex.

17 Sin Offering 1. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
Leviticus Chapter 12 1. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2. Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If a woman conceives, and bears a male child; then she shall be unclean seven days; as in the days of her menstruation, shall she be unclean. 4. And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying for thirty three days; she shall touch no consecrated thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled.

18 Sin Offering 5. But if she bears a female child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her menstruation; and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying sixty six days. 6. And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, to the door of the Tent of Meeting, to the priest;

19 Biblical Legacy "I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare....while I was still searching but not finding, I found one upright man among a thousand but not one upright woman among them all" (Ecclesiastes 7:26-28)

20 Jewish Rabbis & Nine Curses
"To the woman He gave nine curses and death: the burden of the blood of menstruation and the blood of virginity; the burden of pregnancy; the burden of childbirth; the burden of bringing up the children; her head is covered as one in mourning; she pierces her ear like a permanent slave or slave girl who serves her master; she is not to be believed as a witness; and after everything--death."

21 Orthodox Jewish Men To the present day, orthodox Jewish men in their daily morning prayer recite "Blessed be God King of the universe that Thou has not made me a woman." The women, on the other hand, thank God every morning for "making me according to Thy will." Another prayer found in many Jewish prayer books: "Praised be God that he has not created me a gentile. Praised be God that he has not created me a woman. Praised be God that he has not created me an ignoramus."

22 Eve & Christianity The Biblical Eve has played a far bigger role in Christianity than in Judaism.

23 St. Paul (circa ad 3-62) "A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I don't permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner" (I Timothy 2:11-14).

24 St. Paul “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” I Corinthians 14:34-35

25 St. Tertullian (c ), "Do you not know that you are each an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the Devil's gateway: You are the unsealer of the forbidden tree: You are the first deserter of the divine law: You are she who persuaded him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God's image, man. On account of your desert even the Son of God had to die."

26 St. John Chrysostom (c347-407)
"It does not profit a man to marry. For what is a woman but an enemy of friendship, an inescapable punishment, a necessary evil, a natural temptation, a domestic danger, delectable mischief, a fault in nature, painted with beautiful colors?"

27 St. John Chrysostom (c347-407)
"The whole of her body is nothing less than phlegm, blood, bile, rheum and the fluid of digested food ... If you consider what is stored up behind those lovely eyes, the angle of the nose, the mouth and the cheeks you will agree that the well-proportioned body is only a whitened sepulchre."

28 St. Augustine (c ) "What is the difference whether it is in a wife or a mother, it is still Eve the temptress that we must beware of in any woman......I fail to see what use woman can be to man, if one excludes the function of bearing children."

29 St. Augustine ( ) "[Satan turned to] the inferior of the human pair ... supposing that the man would not be so easily gullible, and could not be trapped by a false move on his own part, but only if he yielded to another's mistake."

30 St. Albertus Magnus (c1200-1280)
“Woman is a misbegotten man and has a faulty and defective nature in comparison to his. Therefore she is unsure in herself. What she cannot get, she seeks to obtain through lying and diabolical deceptions. And so, to put it briefly, one must be on one's guard with every woman, as if she were a poisonous snake and the horned devil. If I could say what I know about women, the world would be astonished ...

31 St. Albertus Magnus (c1200-1280)
Woman is strictly speaking not cleverer but slyer (more cunning) than man. Cleverness sounds like something good, slyness sounds like something evil. Thus in evil and perverse doings woman is cleverer, that is, slyer, than man. Her feelings drive woman toward every evil, just as reason impels man toward all good.”

32 St. Thomas Aquinas (c ) "As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from a defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence."

33 St. Thomas Aquinas ( ) The intellectual defects of women, according to Aquinas, is similar to those "evident in children and mentally ill persons." Women are also less resistant to sexual temptation than men "Because there is a higher water content in women, they are more easily seduced by sexual pleasure."

34 Martin Luther (c ) "If they become tired or even die, that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth, that's why they are there"

35 Qur’anic Position Qur’an 7:19-25, 27:
“And [as for thee], O Adam, dwell thou and thy wife in this garden, and eat, both of you, whatever you may wish; but do not approach this one tree, lest you become evildoers! “Thereupon Satan whispered unto the two with a view to making them conscious of their nakedness, of which [hitherto] they had been unaware; and he said: ‘Your Sustainer has but forbidden you this tree lest you two become [as] angels, or lest you live forever.’

36 Qur’anic Position “And he swore unto them, ‘Verily, I am of those who wish you well indeed!’ “And thus he led them on with deluding thoughts. But as soon as the two had tasted [the fruit] of the tree, they became conscious of their nakedness; and they began to cover themselves with pieced-together leaves from the garden. And their Sustainer called unto them: ‘Did I not forbid that tree unto you and tell you, `Verily, Satan is your open foe'?’"

37 Qur’anic Position “The two replied: ‘O our Sustainer! We have sinned against ourselves and unless Thou grant us forgiveness and bestow Thy mercy upon us, we shall most certainly be lost!’

38 Your Ancestors “O children of Adam! Do not allow Satan to seduce you in the same way as he caused your ancestors to be driven out of the garden: he deprived them of their garment [of God-consciousness] in order to make them aware of their nakedness. Verily, he and his tribe are lying in wait for you where you cannot perceive them! Verily, We have placed [all manner of] satanic forces near unto those who do not [truly] believe;”

39 Adam & not Eve Qur’an 20:115: “AND, INDEED, long ago did We impose Our commandment on Adam; but he forgot it, and We found no firmness of purpose in him.”

40 Adam & not Eve Qur’an 20: 121 “...Thus did Adam disobey His Lord and allow himself to be seduced (by Satan).”

41 Pregnancy & Childbirth as Source of Honor
Qur’an 31:14: “And [God says:] ‘We have enjoined upon man goodness towards his parents: his mother bore him by bearing strain upon strain, and his utter dependence on her lasted two years: [hence, O man,] be grateful towards Me and towards thy parents, [and remember that] with Me is all journeys’ end.

42 Pregnancy & Childbirth as Source of Honor
46:15 “NOW [among the best of the deeds which] We have enjoined upon man is goodness towards his parents. In pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth …”

43 Prophetic Injunction Your Mother: three times Your father: fourth
Paradise under mother’s feet Her pleasure = Divine pleasure

44 Piety: The Only Criterion for Superiority
Qur’an 49:13: “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other. Verily the most honored of you in the sight of God is (one who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).”

45 III. ECONOMIC ASPECTS Edina Lekovic, Communications Director, Muslim Public Affairs Council

46 Muslim Women in Thailand
A. The Right to Possess Personal Property Muslim Women in Thailand

47 The Right to Possess Personal Property
Islam decreed a right of which woman was deprived both before Islam and after it (even as late as this century), the right of independent ownership. According to Islamic Law, woman's right to her money, real estate, or other properties is fully acknowledged. This right undergoes no change whether she is single or married.

48 The Right to Possess Personal Property
Full rights to buy, sell, mortgage or lease any or all her properties. It is nowhere suggested in the Law that a woman is a minor simply because she is a female. Before & after marriage

49 Full Financial Support
No married woman is required to spend any amount at all from her property and income on the household. The woman is entitled to full financial support during marriage and during the waiting period case of divorce or widowhood.

50 Full Financial Support
Qur’an 4:34 “MEN SHALL take full care of women with the bounties which God has bestowed more abundantly on the former than on the latter*, and with what they may spend out of their possessions. And the righteous women are the truly devout ones, who guard the intimacy which God has [ordained to be] guarded...”

51 Inheritance Share The male, in most cases, twice the inheritance of a female. Males inherit more but ultimately they are financially responsible for their female relatives: their wives, daughters, mothers and sisters. Females inherit less but retain their share for investment and financial security, without any legal obligation to spend any part of it, even for their own sustenance (food, clothing, housing, medication, etc.).

52 Muslim Women in Cambodia
B. The Right to Work Muslim Women in Cambodia

53 Employment The most sacred role as a mother and wife
No restriction on employment Countless Muslim women working Mutually agreed

54 IV. SOCIAL ASPECTS Muslim Women in Ghana

55 Muslim Girls in Great Britain
A. As a Daughter Muslim Girls in Great Britain

56 As a Daughter The Qur'an ended the cruel pre-Islamic practice of female infanticide. “Whosoever has a daughter and does not bury her alive, does not insult her, and does not favor his son over her, God will enter him into Paradise.” (Ahmad) “Whosoever supports two daughters until they mature, he and I will come on the Day of Judgment as this (and he pointed with his two fingers held together).” (Ahmad)

57 Right of Education Education is not only a right but also a responsibility for all males and females. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, "Seeking knowledge is mandatory for every Muslim and Muslimah."

58 Muslim Women in Jakarta, Indonesia
B. As a Wife Muslim Women in Jakarta, Indonesia

59 Marriage: A Source of Peace
Qur’an 30:21: “And among His wonders is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you might incline towards them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you: in this, behold, there are messages indeed for people who think!”

60 Consent & Dowry The right to accept or reject marriage proposals
To initiate the marriage process Dowry, conditions at the time of marriage, intimacy

61 No Imposition Ibn Abbas reported that a girl came to the Messenger of God, and she reported that her father had forced her to marry without her consent. The Messenger of God gave her the choice...(between accepting the marriage or invalidating it) (Ahmad, Hadith no. 2469).

62 No Imposition Another version of the report also adds that:
"the girl said: 'Actually, I accept this marriage, but I wanted to let women know that parents have no right to force a husband on them.'" (Ibn-Majah)

63 Complementarities The husband is responsible for the maintenance, protection and overall leadership of the family (see Qur’an 4:34 above), within the framework of consultation and kindness. The mutuality and complementary of husband and wife does not mean "subservience" by either party to the other.

64 St. Paul “For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” I Corinthians 11:8-9 KJV

65 St. Paul “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” Ephesians 5:22-24

66 Goodness to Wife Qura’n 4:19
“O YOU who have attained to faith! It is not lawful for you to [try to] become heirs to your wives [by holding onto them] against their will; and neither shall you keep them under constraint with a view to taking away anything of what you may have given them, unless it be that they have become guilty, in an obvious manner, of immoral conduct. And consort with your wives in a goodly manner; for if you dislike them, it may well be that you dislike something which God might yet make a source of abundant good.”

67 Sexual Misconduct Advice Separation in bed A gentle pat Arbitration

68 Sexual Misconduct Qur’an 4:34:
“…And as for those women whose ill-will you have reason to fear, admonish them [first]; then leave them alone in bed; then beat them (lightly*); and if thereupon they pay you heed, do not seek to harm them. Behold, God is indeed most high, great!”

69 A Degree Over Them Qur’an 2:228
“And the divorced women (mutallaqaat) shall undergo, without remarrying, a waiting-period of three monthly courses: for it is not lawful for them to conceal what God may have created in their wombs, if they believe in God and the Last Day. And during this period their husbands are fully entitled to take them back, if they desire reconciliation; but, in accordance with justice, the rights of the wives [with regard to their husbands] are equal to the [husbands'] rights with regard to them, although men have precedence over them [in this respect]. And God is almighty, wise.”

70 Marriage Annulment Divorce Khul’a

71 Muslim Women in Town Hall meeting
Polygamy Muslim Women in Town Hall meeting in Seattle, Washington

72 Polygamy 1.Islam regulated, restricted and ultimately discouraged polygamy: 4:3 And if you have reason to fear that you might not act equitably towards orphans, then marry from among [other] women such as are lawful to you - [even] two, or three, or four: but if you have reason to fear that you might not be able to treat them with equal fairness, then [only] one…

73 Justice Impossible However, it is later stated:
Qur’an 4:129: “And it will not be within your power to treat your wives with equal fairness, however much you may desire it; and so, do not allow yourselves to incline towards one to the exclusion of the other, leaving her in a state, as it were, of having and not having a husband. But if you put things to rights and are conscious of Him - behold, God is indeed much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace.”

74 Muslim Women in Nigeria
D. As a Mother Muslim Women in Nigeria

75 Second to God The Qur'an elevates kindness to parents (especially mothers) to a status second only to the worship of God.

76 Godly Honor Qur’an 17:23: “For thy Sustainer has ordained that you shall worship none but Him. And do good unto [thy] parents. Should one of them, or both, attain to old age in thy care, never say "Ugh" to them or scold them, but [always] speak unto them with reverent speech, and spread over them humbly the wings of thy tenderness, and say: "O my Sustainer! Bestow Thy grace upon them, even as they cherished and reared me when I was a child!"

77 Modesty and Social Interaction
Iranian Women Ice Skating

78 Which one is dressed like a Muslim woman?

79 Which one is dressed like a Muslim woman?

80 Which one is dressed like a Muslim woman?

81 St. Paul I Corinthians 11:4-7 “Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. But every woman that prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”

82 Which one is dressed like a Muslim woman?

83 Which one is dressed like a Muslim woman?

84 Which one is dressed like a Muslim woman?

85 Modesty Divinely required Not male or socially imposed
The near or total seclusion of women is alien to the Prophetic period.

Benazir Bhutto, Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Khaleda Zia, Former Prime Minister of Bangladesh Ingrid Mattson, President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) Hasina Wajed, Former Prime Minister of Bangladesh

87 Participation in Social and Political Life
Palestinian Women Demonstrating

88 Full Participation The general rule in social and political life is participation and collaboration of males and females in public affairs.

89 Full Participation There is sufficient historical evidence of participation by Muslim women in the choice of rulers, in public issues, in lawmaking, in administrative positions, in scholarship and teaching, and even in the battlefield.

90 Final Observations Ultimate equality Role differentiation
Supplementary & Complementary

91 MURDER Every day four women die in this country as a result of domestic violence, the euphemism for murders and assaults by husbands and boyfriends. That's approximately 1,400 women a year, according to the FBI. The number of women who have been murdered by their intimate partners is greater than the number of soldiers killed in the Vietnam War.

92 BATTERING Although only 572,000 reports of assault by intimates are officially reported to federal officials each year, the most conservative estimates indicate two to four million women of all races and classes are battered each year. At least 170,000 of those violent incidents are serious enough to require hospitalization, emergency room care or a doctor's attention.

93 SEXUAL ASSAULT Every year approximately 132,000 women report that they have been victims of rape or attempted rape, and more than half of them knew their attackers. It's estimated that two to six times that many women are raped, but do not report it. Every year 1.2 million women are forcibly raped by their current or former male partners, some more than once.

94 THE TARGETS Women are 10 times more likely than men to be victimized by an intimate. Young women, women who are separated, divorced or single, low- income women and African-American women are disproportionately victims of assault and rape. Domestic violence rates are five times higher among families below poverty levels, and severe spouse abuse is twice as likely to be committed by unemployed men as by those working full time. Violent attacks on lesbians and gay men have become two to three times more common than they were prior to 1988.

Women who are battered have more than twice the health care needs and costs than those who are never battered. Approximately 17 percent of pregnant women report having been battered, and the results include miscarriages, stillbirths and a two to four times greater likelihood of bearing a low birth weight baby. Abused women are disproportionately represented among the homeless and suicide victims. Victims of domestic violence are being denied insurance in some states because they are considered to have a "pre-existing condition."

96 SOURCES "Violence Against Women: A National Crime Victimization Survey Report", U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., January 1994. "The National Women's Study," Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, 1992. "Five Issues In American Health," American Medical Association, Chicago, 1991.

97 Talmud:Yavemoth 57b Raba said, We also learned a similar Baraitha:8 A girl who is three years of age and one day may be betrothed by cohabitation; if a levir cohabited with her, he has thereby acquired her;9

98 Talmud: Yavemoth 60b It was taught: R. Simeon b. Yohai stated: A proselyte who is under the age of three years and one day is permitted to marry a priest,13 for it is said, But all the women children that have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves14 , and Phinehas15 surely was with them. And the Rabbis?16 — [These were kept alive] as bondmen and bondwomen.17 If so,18 a proselyte whose age is three years and one day19 should also be permitted! — [The prohibition is to be explained] in accordance with R. Huna. For R. Huna pointed out a contradiction: It is written, Kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him,20 but if she hath not known, save her alive; from this it may be inferred that children are to be kept alive whether they have known or have not known [a man]; and, on the other hand, it is also written, But all the women children, that have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves,14 but do not spare them if they have known. Consequently21 it must be said that Scripture speaks of one who is fit22 for cohabitation.23

99 Talmud - Mas. Avodah Zarah 37a
Rabina said: It is therefore to be concluded that a heathen girl [communicates defilement] from the age of three years and one day, for inasmuch as she is then capable of the sexual act she likewise defiles by a flux. This is obvious! — You might argue that he is at an age when he knows to persuade [a female] but she is not at an age when she knows to persuade [a male, and consequently although she is technically capable of the sexual act, she does not cause defilement until she is nine years and one day old]. Hence he informs us [that she communicates defilement at the earlier age].

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