Muslim women in Muslim state history, present and future

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Yousuf Ibnul Hasan : The writer is Columnist, Teacher, Trainer, Broadcaster, Contributor to Islamic Banking, Economics and Finance since 1981. He can be reached at: pride4pen@gmail.com.

Hazrat Adam was created and Hazrat Hawa (Eve) was born from the left rib of Hazrat Adam. That is what the Holy Quran narrates and the world knows the miracle of Almighty Allah. But what is the reason for this creation from the ribs of man? If we study the purpose operating behind dividing humanity into two genders, a simple principle of economics emerges that gives an idea that every human act must be in participation and cooperation and that the creation of humanity and its bifurcation into opposite genders enjoins male to be responsible and female to be dutiable.
The female’s creation from the male’s rib implies that a woman’s position within a man’s life is meant to be close to the heart of the man, and that a woman is supposed to comport herself as the support of the strong hand of man through every thick and thin. In consideration of the man’s act of fulfilling his responsibilities and taking care of women, the women have to perform their duty as the first school for the child that is begotten and born as a result of cooperation and participation of the two genders. This idea could not be wrong because the decisions of Almighty Allah are beyond the limits of human imaginations and comprehension. One can only make assumptions regarding reality according to the limit of human mind and rational faculties.
The female gender has been designated with four prestigious statuses in the male life and these four statuses are the pride of male. We look at the four statuses of female which includes that of mother, sister, wife and the daughter. In return of the said exalted position they acquire in the men’s lives, the women remain obedient to their men while they conduct themselves as conscientious sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers in order to ensure a secure and prosperous family life.
Women with a rational approach to their lives are seen in the ascribed four statuses as tough and strong with emotion as well as efforts as compared to the men. The said idea is also corroborated from Islamic point of view. Almighty Allah has ascribed to the women, the sacred task of carrying a human fetus for nine months within their bodies. Undoubtedly, letting it be nourished and developed into a fully grown human within one’s body and giving birth to it is not an easy task. It is owing to the same reason that once a woman embraces motherhood, she is transformed into a stronger and honorable entity, as she now develops into a law-abiding citizen for the community and one of the three factors responsible for the production of resources. This does not mean that a woman’s only destination and goal in her life pertains to her home and children. Rather, she is permitted to be the helping hand of men to ensure the economic stability of the family, community, state and region.
The process of creation of the world and birth of humanity spans over a long period of time. The system of expansion and continuation of the human race has ever since been made possible by means of the participation and coordination of women and men. As evident from precedence as well as from the present, many women personalities have actively contributed in person, while a number of women contributed immensely in shaping and directing men’s performance and efforts through suggestions, advice and guidance they offered to their men. The entire trading system which as practically seen in the life of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalam was primarily based upon a proposal given by a woman entrepreneur Hazrat Kadijah Al Kubra, a wealthy widow from Holy City of Makah. Hazrat Kadijah Al Kubra was following the Jewish religion prior to embracing Islam.
With a Jewish following Hazrat Kadijah Al Kubra took a decision to invest in trade with the Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalam despite his overt difference with the Jewish faith, owing to his prominence as one of the honest persons. This act of holding faith and trust on a stranger solely owing to his ability, and financing for the trade voyage on the basis of his reputation within her social community rather than within her religious confraternity can rightly be asserted as a revolutionary commercial and business assessment made by a woman on a trade related financing. Later Hazrat Kadijah embraced Islam and married Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalam, proved herself as first woman entrepreneur in Islamic History and her first financing contract became the first Modaraba financing contract in the Islamic history as Sunnah and Ijma.
Hazrat Kadijah Al Kubra’s gesture as Rab-al-Maal (financier) to a Modaraba had brought a revolution in the trading techniques. It was the vision of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalam that ultimately became the first principle of Islamic economic system that functions as the guidance for human life. A simple sentence narrated by Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalam,”Actions are judged by theintentions”.
It is a common understanding in other religions that women in Islam are the weaker and second graded faction of the family, and that the Muslim community is characteristically male dominated. Such a concept pertaining to Women status in an Islamic is totally fabricated and misconstrued. Holy Quran in Surah Baqarah 2:228states:”And for women are rights over men, similar to those of men over women.”Discernibly, the divine directives with regards to women’s social status are diametrically opposite to the misconceived opinion of women’s status within the Muslim community held by outsiders. In reality,the rise of Islam is the rise of human importance for the world economics, as the system prescribed by Islam has paved way for accepting that humankind-comprising of male as well as female-are the force behind all economic or socioeconomic activities. Fourteen hundred years ago, Islam gave women rights that women in the west are still struggling to procure.
In 1930’sAnnie Besant validated the foregoing claim with her remarks on western women and Islam that, “It is only in the last twenty years Christian Society in England has recognized the right of woman to be the shareholder of inherited property, whereas Islam had specified these rights since the birth of Islam. It is an insult to say that Islam preaches that women have no souls.”
Men and women are equal in all respects for having reward and punishment to their acts and deeds.
Almighty Allah has created both the genders with equal love and care and has not merited any one of the genders with an extra right over the other. The same blood, the bones and the brain, the needs, wants, instincts and desires for basic exigencies. Both have to worship the same way and the same creator. Both walks, talk, laugh or speak with no difference in act and means. Creating both men and women in precisely equal proportions, Almighty Allah has emphasized upon the necessity of just treatment of both the genders. Furthermore, by formulating the same standard and criteria of evaluation, reward and punishment for both men and women through many verses of the Holy Quran, Allah Almighty has reiterated the notion of gender equality. The scriptural narrative of Hazrat Adam and Eve further strengthens the foregoing postulation. Why Hazrat Adam and Eve were sent out from heaven was the matter of disobedience? It is noteworthy that irrespective of who tempted and who violated the directives of Almighty Allah, the punishment was equally given and pardon was granted to both the genders.
Hazrat Umm Salama,narrated that the Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalam said: “O people! Allah has said in his book: ‘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 guard their chastity, for men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise; For them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward.'”
The role of women in Islamic history who committed their entire lives to the support for Islam and its system as dutiable.
The role of women in the Islamic history is significant and speaks volumes with regards to the importance of women in socioeconomic life. Islamic history has proven the participation of women equal to the participation of men since the birth of this world. From the early period of Islam to 2021 the role of the women in the society could be proven by taking into account some of the prominent personalities who played their part along with the men in strengthening the roots of Islam within soils of their respective homelands. The importance Islam has given to women and respect it has rendered to her status is not confined merely to the spiritual realm. Rather, it has allocated significance to women in commercial, social and cultural spheres of life, placing the condition of maintenance of modesty and respect. The accurate image of ideal women of Islam can be portrayed through the following personalities:
Hazrat Khadija was first Woman who embraced Islam. She is also the first woman entrepreneur in Islamic history. A women financier to the trade deals and transaction with vision and wisdom to judge the trade techniques.
Hazrat Aisha Binte Abu Bakar wasthe wife of the Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalam who had the most influence upon the Muslim community and played a central role in the political opposition to the third and fourth Caliphs. She led an army against Basra in 656. Her role as soldier justify the association of Muslim women at the Pakistan Armed Force services.
Hazrat Zaynab Binte Ali. She was the grand-daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalam and a leading figure of the family during the late seventh century. She played a central role during as well as after the Massacre at Karbala, where her brother Al-Hussain Ibn Ali, and 72 of her nephews and other brothers were killed by the Umayyads
Hazrat Hafsah Bint Umar was the first person who compiled a copy of the Holy Quran. She was given the honorable charge of keeping and preserving it.
Hazrat Ayesha Bint Abu Baker was the narrator of the second largest number of Hadith. She is one of the leading jurisprudents to be Known in Islamic history.
Hazrat Sumayyah Bint Khayyat was the first martyr among Muslim women.
Hazrat Umme Ammara was a participant in the second treaty of Aqabah. She is known as the heroic defender of the Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalam asin the battle of Uhud, she shielded him by picking the sword and killing an approaching enemy. She was seriously wounded while selflessly defending the Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalam.
Hazrat Umm Salama served as an advisor to the Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalamwhen he was at a loss at the conclusion of the Treaty of Hudaybiyya with Meccans in 628 C.E
Hazrat Umm Kulsoom, wife of Hazrat Umar 2nd Caliph. She was a midwife.
Hazrat Umm Haram participated in the first sea battle for the control of Cyprus during the period of Othman.
Hazrat Umm Hakim married Khalid Ibn Saeed at the battlefield of Marj-Al-Safar. When the Roman army launched a surprise attack and Khalid Ibn Saeed was martyred, Umm Hakim fought all day and singlehandedly killed seven Roman soldiers in one day during the heavy fight.
Hazrat Asma Bint Abu Baker was the daughter of Hazrat Abu Baker and the 18th person to accept Islam. She played a key role in the Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalam migration to Medina by carrying food for Abu Baker and the Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalam who were hiding in Cave Thawr which was three miles away on a mountain. She carried food daily for three days during her pregnancy of seven months. Abu Jahl slapped her so hard that blood overflow from her ears. Bearing the pain with courage and tolerance, she did not disclose the secret of the Prophet Muhammad , Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalam hiding in the cave.
Hazrat Umm Salit was a Medinan woman who carried filled water skins for the soldiers on the day of the Battle of Uhud.
Hazrat Khawla Bint-e-Al-Azwar is known for her participation in the Battle of Yarmouk against the Byzantines. Her skill and finesse in fighting is deemed as equivalent to that of famed Muslim General Khalid Ibn Al-Walid
Rabia Al-Adaw?yya one of the most important spiritualist in the Muslim tradition as she spent her early life as a slave in Iraq before she was free. She is one of the initiators of the concept of “Divine Love,” which emphasizes the idea of loving Almighty Allah for own sake, rather than out of fear of punishment or desire for reward.
Fatima Binte Abul Qasim Abdul Rahman was one of the most learned women in Al-Andalus, (Muslim territory within Spain) during the late twelfth centuries. She contributed greatly to the fields of legal theory, jurisprudence as well as mysticism that makes her stand out as one of the prominent figures who hold ample knowledge of diverse range of Islamic sciences.
Lady Lubna of Cordoba was Spanishslave-girl who became one of the most important figures in the Palace of Umayyad in Cordoba, Spain as secretary of the Caliphs Abdul Rahman the III and Al-Hakam Bin Abdul Rehman. She was also an expert mathematician and controlled the Royal library of the state having over 500,000 books.
Lady Maryam Mukhtar, Pakistan Airforce young fighter pilot who sacrifice her life and reminded the history of women in Islam. Her act justifies in present period of time as women in skies and not in close boundaries.
The objective of expounding on the accomplishments of these women who added to the gloryof Islamic era with their efforts, contributions, abilities and capabilities is to prove the fact that Islamic framework of economics does not differentiate between the two genders for socio-economic reasonings.
Rights of women to acquire knowledge.
The Holy Quran commands the believing men and women to:”Read” and this word indiscriminately grants men and women the power of pen and a book. As the Prophet, Sallallahu Alayhi Wassalam alsosaid, “Education is compulsory for every Muslim.” Discernibly, the quoted Hadith exhibits the fact that Islam does not want its followers to consider education and knowledge as the sole property of a particular gender, rather it goes beyond the discrimination of gender to encourage a common pursuit of knowledge. Islam is the system of knowledge and stresses upon acquisition of knowledge to such a great extent that unwillingness towards the acquisition of knowledge deprives one of the rights to demand Allah’s blessings.
The names of prominent women in Islam proved the role of women in spreading the knowledge for the world affairs and many famous female Muslim Scholars contributed their role in the promotion of science and commerce. Hazrat Aisha is an example who explained and narrated about 30% of the Islamic law. Apart from her, a number of other Muslim women were great scholars of jurisprudence and had taught famous male scholars to enlighten them in various subjects. Perhaps it is a sin and against humanity to deprive women of their right to acquire education, as time has proven the fact that women’s contribution to knowledge and research is not less than that of men.
The contribution of an educated mother is to foster and bring up an educated generation. As a baby arrives in the world, he/she starts his/her life journey with a drop of milk that ultimately becomes the first drop of food which vitalize him/her. This food is derived from the life of the person that consequently contributes to the food for the human population as force behind the production, distribution, consumption and utilization of unlimited resources blessed by Almighty Allah. Thus, it can be inferred that the education for a woman is a potent tool which aids the humanity in securing a better lifestyle.
Rights of women to take the decision
The Islamic history has proved the women’s contribution to human economics and commercial contracts. The life contract is also an important and sensitive part of human life where two opposite genders decide to be a family and solely depend on each other with support of trust, confidence and benefits of life. Just as in commercial contracts the investigation and selection are the right of the two partners, the Islamic economics has categorized marriage as a social business contract in which men and women have equal rights to choose their life partner. Both the individuals are entitled to decide as to how they are willing to share responsibilities and duties within their own family once they enter into the contract of matrimonial relationship. The boy and girl can discuss their future role within the modest means and respectable way, with no fear of family. Any argument or opposition made against the decision of women who has reached the age of maturity has no validity according to Islamic code of conduct and is therefore clearly prohibited. At the same time the woman is allowed to earn her living and contribute to her husband’s income in order to secure a better living. However, it is crucial for her to carry out her professional duties with the husband’s permission and understanding so that it may not give rise to any kind of misunderstanding. Nor should it become a point of embarrassment and ignorance on the part of the woman for her husband.
Islamic economic system emphasizes the role of women, and Islam is the only system that gives women their rights in the inheritance. In the Holy Quran, all of the four statuses ascribed for women have comprehensively been defined along with the rights women come to deserve in each of the statuses. The daughters are given rights of inheritance from their parents, the wives have a right on husbands’ inheritance; the mothers have the rights on their children’s inheritance in case any of the children dies while the former is alive. Uniquely the daughters and sisters are heirs of their brothers in addition to their father and husband. It is beyond any doubt and accepted by the non-Islamic lobby that such rights are not available in any other religion, culture and tradition. No other religion established women’s rights as Islam stated.
If a woman is in a position of earning her own money, her earning for living activities have to be known to her parents and if married, to her husband only. She can contribute to the maintenance, the expenses and the cost of the family life. A woman is the rightful shareholder in her husband’s income, as the husband is required to fulfill his wife’s basic needs with his own earnings. Whereas a husband is not allowed to depend on wife’s income, nor does the Islamic law oblige wife to share what she owns with her husband.
Holy Quran in Surah Al Nish Ch.4:Vs.35: “Men are guardians over women because Allah has made some of them excel others, and because they (men) spend of their wealth”.
As of today, Pakistan is an example where women’s contribution to the economic sphere of the country is necessary and important in order to enhance the opportunities for a woman and to her assign her a substantial role to the level of the head of the state. Today the women in Pakistan are contributing to the defense of the state and adopting the use of weapons and warheads. They are the contributors and supporters of the war tactics and play an active role in the formation of the operation techniques of most sensitive operations that the state needs for its development and security. Women in Pakistan are contributing in almost all the fields and professions with equal opportunities and in most of the parts, they are offered the liberty to adopt the living pattern and professional path of their own choice.
The Muslim women form over 500 million of the global population which amounts to almost 43% of total Muslim population around the world. Considering the fact that women constitute a huge chunk of the population of the Muslim world, the issue of the role of Muslim woman in the growth of socioeconomic holds enormous significance which needs to be discussed on every relevantplatform owing to the fact that gender-based exploitation is rife throughout the globe. The said exploitation and the usurpation of women’s rights in the name of economics and culture is a consequence of ignorance and a lack of understanding of Islam. It is contrary to the rights that Almighty Allah had designed and conferred upon women. Both genders are dignified and are trustees of Allah on earth. Women are endowed with honor and substance within the world by Almighty Allah and an ignorance towards that significance would only put the global development and prosperity in the state of halt and stagnation, as despite the arbitrary ignorance, the world will remain dependent on women as she is honored as economic partner to humanity by Almighty Allah.