Women in Islam
May 16, 2010 Leave a comment
What can I say about this post except that I am really disappointed with what I read and the comments. It was in early nineties in NY, I used to attend a religious gathering on weekends arranged by a respected lady of Tablighee Jamaat. We were always handed over “Fazail-e-A’maal”, a book suggested by them to get the guidance. One day she asked how can we make our class more effective? I suggested to select one short surah of Qur’an, read it’s translation and explanation so we would know what our God is saying to us……she immediately rejected the idea saying, “our scholars say that we, the common people, cannot read or discuss Qur’an unless certified by any madrassah. Only our scholars and madrassah authority can certify if anyone is liable to read Qur’an and discuss it in gatherings. For common Muslim, “Fazail-e-Amaal” is enough for guidance unless otherwise instructed by the people of madrassah.”
The next time couple of women requested her to visit their area for the reason that they can gather more women from their neighborhood since they all were unable to come here. She refused to them saying, “Islam prohibits women to travel around. They must stay home unless their is an emergency.” Many of us had an objection for this traveling would be for a good purpose and if Islam doesn’t allow women to move around for teaching and preaching Islam then how can it allow us to come to you for learning it. She said that she would ask her husband if he allows it.
She was running a business and had a store in NJ. She couldn’t answer that how does Islam allow her (or her husband gives her permission) to travel from NY to NJ for business purpose and not for preaching religion. As a result of these and many twisted issues such as the status of single women in Islam, I had to quit from there.
A few years later, I found an opportunity to volunteer in a mosque on weekend. I was happy as my intention was to figure out techniques to teach Qur’an properly and more effectively in a short period of time. In few months, I realized that this can be done very easily, even with the age group of 4 to 5, if “yassir nal-Qur’an” and “noorani qaidah”, the old, traditional book can be organized along with the addition of the vocabulary that is 1) common in Urdu and Arabic 2) is frequently used in Qur’an. I was very glad to see the outcome; children enjoyed the class and showed good progress.
Ah…one day, one of my student’s father (regular visitor of the mosque) swirled in the mosque like Tazmanian Devil and started shouting, asked me to stop teaching and leave the mosque. The reason he gave was that my way of teaching was against Islam, it’s like provoking children to challenge their parents about right or wrong (as they were learning the meanings too). He said that all in English and Bengali. As he stopped, I raised my voice telling him and other men that there is nothing wrong with teaching Arabic at this age, for effective learning. His daughter and other girls stood to defend me but I asked them all to stay quiet and told them that if they do that now, I will get another allegation of provoking children for humiliating the mosque.
I was shocked and disappointed to see that all the men, Bengalis and Pakistanis joined their voices against me. I wanted to ask them that does God allow men to disrespect a woman in the mosque? I wasn’t singing or dancing there. I left the mosque quietly because men of my family were there too. Others must have found out what happened there as they used to go there regularly, ignored the whole thing.
I didn’t give up and I pray for those Arab men and women who were really open-minded to my idea and helped me to improve my vocabulary. Later on my idea was more polished by Dr. Abdus Sami, the renowned student of Dr. Saab.
All I want to ask those close-minded religious people and our semi-religious parents….why do you think of and take God, Prophets, companions, Qur’an, women and children as your property? Why can’t children question parents about their character? Why can’t both religious and moderate people accept women as a scholar in religion? Why can’t they listen to womens’ opinion beside “how to become wealthy”? When will they get rid of this ‘BUNYA MENTALITY”? Forget about the common Muslims, the scholars of Islam if join their voices and swords cannot defend God, Prophet, Qur’an and companions. Infact, God is enough to defend Himself and us all. And He revealed Qur’an and chose Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) so we find protection and peace in them following their teachings.
I have personally met Dr. Farhat Hashmi at her residence in Islamabad and attended her lectures in both countries and I found nothing wrong in what she is teaching. May be our narrow-minded brothers are jealous with her because, as I always say, “when it comes to show quality and discipline in Islam, she is a one woman show and including men, she is one Pakistani Muslim we should all be proud of.”