Friday, November 02, 2007


The True Islamic Personality of the Muslim Woman
as Defined in the Qur'an and Sunnah
By Dr. Muhammad 'Ali Al-Hashimi
Translated by Nasiruddin Al-Khattab and Revised by Ibrahim
M. Kunna and Abu Aya Sulaiman Abdus-Sabur

Copyright and published by the International Islâmic Publishing House (IIPH), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1999.
The Ideal Muslimah is proud of the great position that Islam has given her among humanity. She performs her duties knowing that her role is clearly defined and that her rights are still, even today, greater than any other ideology has provided. She is a woman of moral excellence, true to her nature, not confused by alien and morally bankrupt ideas. She preserves her self-respect and dignity through her piety in obedience to Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saw). She is the role model that every true believer hopes to emulate.
She enjoins what is good and forbids what is evil The Muslim woman who understands her religion reads the ayah: ( The Believers, men and women, are protectors, one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practise regular charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His Mercy: for Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise. ) (Qur'an 9:71)- which Allah (SWT) revealed fifteen hundred years ago, and she finds herself on the highest level of intellectual and social status that any woman of any nation or race has ever known. Islam has stated that women are fully human,and are legally competent and independent. There is no difference between women and men when it comes to owning property, buying or selling, or arranging a marriage. This is something which had never previously been the case in any nation, where women were seen as possessions of men, under their tutelage and command. This ayah, ( The Believers, men and women, are protectors, one of another . . .) raises women to the level of loyalty and friendship with men, and makes them partners in the work of enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil. Women are responsible for fulfilling this duty on equal terms with men, as both are charged with the duty of populating and cultivating the earth, and worshipping Allah (SWT) therein.

Thus Islam rescued women from their position of being mere chattels of men, which in most cases had given men control over life and death., and raised them to the level of equality and humanity.
When Islam gave women the duty of enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, it gave her the status of a human being who, for the first time in history, was giving orders whereas under other systems she was the one to whom orders were always given. Islam declared that in the sight of Allah (SWT), both sexes were equally qualified to worship Him, and were equally deserving of His mercy. There is a great deal of proof of this in the Qur'an and Sunnah. Our history is filled with women whose words and deeds reflect their noble Islamic character. They spoke the truth, and felt that they had a responsibility before Allah (SWT) to do so, and were never afraid to do so. One example of the strength and maturity of Muslim women's character, and the freedom that they had to express their opinions, is the criticism voiced by a woman who was listening to the khalifah `Umar ibn al-Khattab forbidding excessive dowries and advocating that they should be limited to a certain amount. This woman stood up and said, "You have no right to do that, O `Umar!" He asked, "Why not?" She said, "because Allah (SWT) says: ( But if you decide to take one wife in place of another, even if you had given the latter a whole treasure for dower, take not the least bit of it back; would you take it by slander and a manifest wrong?. ) (Qur'an 4:20)
`Umar said, "The woman is right, and the man is mistaken."127
The khalifah `Umar listened to this woman, and when it became apparent that she was right, he admitted that she was right, and he was mistaken. Thus a Muslim woman set the earliest historic precedent of criticizing the head of state, and what a head of state! This was the rightly-guided khalifah, the greatest ruler of his age, a man who was feared, the conqueror of Persia and Byzantium. This woman could not have criticized and opposed him if it were not for her deep understanding of the religion that had given her the right to freedom of expression, and commanded her to enjoin that which was good and forbid that which was evil. She reads Qur'an often In order to reach this high level of obedience, righteousness and taqwa, the Muslim woman has no choice but to seek guidance in the blessed Book of Allah (SWT), sheltering herself in its shade every day. She should read Qur'an regularly, reciting it carefully and thinking about the meaning of the ayat. Then its meaning may penetrate her mind and emotions, and her heart and soul will be filled with the light of its pure guidance.It is enough for the Muslim woman to know the status of the one who reads Qur'an in the sight of Allah (SWT), as the Prophet (PBUH) described it in a number of Hadith. So she should read Qur'an whenever she has the opportunity, and her days and nights should be filled with recitation of its ayat and reflection upon its meaning. The Prophet (PBUH) said:"The likeness of a believer who reads the Qur'an is like a citron, whose smell is pleasant and whose taste is pleasant; the likeness of a believer who does not read the Qur'an is like a date, which has no smell, but its taste is sweet; the likeness of the hypocrite who reads the Qur'an is like a fragrant flower which has a pleasant smell but whose taste is bitter; and the likeness of a hypocrite who does not read the Qur'an is like a colocynth (bitter-apple), which has no smell and its taste is bitter." 128"Read the Qur'an, for it will come forward on the Day of Resurrection to intercede for its readers."129
"The one who reads the Qur'an fluently is with the honourable pious scribes130, and the one who reads the Qur'an and struggles to read it even though it is difficult for him, will receive a double reward." 131
Knowing this, how can any Muslim woman fail to read the Qur'an, no matter how busy she is with household duties and the role of wife and mother? Can she neglect the Qur'an and deprive herself of its great blessing and the reward which Allah (SWT) has prepared for those who read it?
In conclusion, this is the attitude of the true Muslim woman towards her Lord: she has deep faith in Allah (SWT) (and willingly submits to His will and decree; she worships Him sincerely, obeying all His commands and heeding all His prohibitions; she understands what it means to be a true servant of Allah (SWT); she constantly strives to support His religion and to make His word supreme on earth; she is proud of her Muslim identity, which draws its strength from her understanding of the purpose of human existence in this life, as defined by Allah (SWT) in the Qur'an: ( I have only created jinns and men, that they may serve Me.) (Qur'an 51:56)

127 See Fath al-Bari, Kitab al-nikah; also Shaykh 'Ali al-Tantawi, Akhbar 'Umar, p 393.
128 (Bukhari and Muslim), See Sharh al-Sunnah 4/431, Kitab fada'il al-Qur'an: bab fadl tilawat al-Qur'an.
129 Sahih Muslim, 6/90, Kitab salat al-musafirin, bab fadl qira'at al-Qur'an.
130 i.e., the angels who record the deeds of man. The meaning is that one who is well-versed in Qur'an will enjoy such a high status in the Hereafter that he will be in the exalted company of these pious scribes. [Translator]
131 (Bukhari and Muslim), See Sharh al-Sunnah, 4/429, 430, Kitab fada'il al-Qur'an, bab fadl tilawat al-Qur'an.

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