It is high time to correct wrong concepts about women’s status

March 08, 2021
It is high time to correct wrong concepts about women’s status
Najeeb Yamani

Dr. Muhammad Al-Issa, member of the Council of Senior Scholars and secretary general of the Muslim World League (MWL), underlined the need to understand the religious texts in a comprehensive and correct way from all angles and not to take them out of their context and understand the real implications so as to reach out to the correct and intended meaning of the text in the legislation.

He also cautioned that extremists are circulating wrong concepts about the position and real status of women in Islam after drawing inference from portions of some verses of the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah and taking them out of their context. These people use God’s directive of “Settle in your homes,” extracted from a Qur’anic verse out of context to prevent women from going out and participating in public life.

This verse was revealed in the case of the wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and the reason for its revelation was that the Mothers of the Believers or the wives of the Prophet (pbuh) wanted from their husband to have an enhanced spending in life but the Prophet (pbuh) wanted them to share with him the life of asceticism and austerity.

The Holy Qur’an says in Surah Al-Ahzab: O Prophet! Say to your wives, “If you desire the life of this world and its luxury, then come, I will give you a suitable compensation for divorce and let you go graciously. But if you desire Allah and His Messenger and the everlasting Home of the Hereafter, then Surely Allah has prepared a great reward for those of you who do good. O wives of the Prophet! If any of you were to commit a blatant misconduct, the punishment would be doubled for her. And that is easy for Allah. And whoever of you devoutly obeys Allah and His Messenger and does good, We will grant her double the reward, and We have prepared for her an honorable provision. O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women: if you are mindful of Allah, then do not be overly effeminate in speech with men or those with sickness in their hearts may be tempted, but speak in a moderate tone. Settle in your homes...

This is a set of rulings specific to the Mothers of Believers that do not apply to other Muslim women, so it is inconceivable that if a Muslim woman commits clear immorality, the punishment will be doubled for her. The verses clarified that this is special for the wives of the Prophet (PBUH) and not applicable to other Muslim women. Interpreting one portion of a verse after taking it out of context would not imply the real meaning of the text as in the example of “Settle in your homes.”

Islam has given Muslim women an independent financial responsibility, so she has the right to trade, sell, buy and work in the public jobs. So how then does it command her to stay at home and not leave it? On the other hand, the Qur’an orders her to strive like men and the Qur’anic discourse is directed to both men and women alike without any discrimination.

These people also cite another part of a verse taken out of context to demonstrate the difference between a woman and a man. The extract “and the male is not like the female,” which was quoted by the Holy Book as part of a conversation of the wife of Imran, is being misused as a sword hanging over the necks of women to deprive them of their rights, which are permissible in Islam. This part of the verse is related to the supplication of the wife of Imran to God, saying that she dedicates what is in her womb entirely in the service of God. Here the truth is that the wife of Imran vowed to give what is in her womb if it was a baby boy to serve the Aqsa Mosque. It was a custom during the period to vow to give the newborn baby boy to the service of God. But when the wife of Imran gave birth to a female baby, she said with sorrow for what she intended for the newborn to be a male to serve and worship God, saying “the male is not like the female.”

Some of these people also cite a Hadith (Tradition of the Prophet) that “those people who have turned in their affairs to a woman will not succeed,” in order to oppress and suppress women and prevent them from assuming public positions. Imam Malik has challenged the validity of this Hadith, attributing the false testimony of the narrator.

These are some of the examples for misinterpreting the texts of the Holy Qur’an and Hadith to deprive women of their legitimate rights and prevent them from participating in the development of the homeland and wheel of its prosperity. Now we are living in a glorious era where women can develop their potentials and regain their dignity, with enabling them to set off and fly into a wider and more welcoming space. She can forcefully and powerfully eliminate this extremist ideology that is emerging from the Muslim Brotherhood’s mantle, correcting many misconceptions and nullifying the intellectual dictatorship.

We are promised a secure society with our moderate Islam that was open to the world, religions, traditions and peoples, and to lead a normal life that translates our tolerant customs and traditions.

On International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8, I congratulate women in their homeland of glory, whose rights have been strengthened with getting support, encouragement and appreciation they deserve. I congratulate her on what has been achieved in her homeland of goodness.

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