Women of Islam. What can I tell you about these strong pillars who were and are the cornerstone of faith and divine grace. For a start, they are indeed a multitude and start at the very beginning with Eve (Awa aleihi salam) our first mother who if you read the transliteration of the Quran wasn’t accused of leading Adam (aleihi salam) to doom. It was their unanimous decision to listen to the whispers. But this is where the blaming game was inferred. Women aren’t evil temptresses. Both men and women have the ability to seduce and tempt! To prove this, the holy verses say :
“But Satan caused them BOTH to stumble therein, and thus brought about the loss of their erstwhile state. And so We said: “Down with you, [and be henceforth] enemies unto one another; and on earth you shall have your abode and your livelihood for a while.” (Quran 2 :36)
They repented and Allah made them vicegerents of earth. They ruled it peacefully until their time was up. Now speaking of peace, Bilqis (Queen of Sheba) comes to mind. She is considered a valiant governor and a democratic Queen. We know her story from surah 27 of the Quran. King Solomon sent messengers her way to announce the message of Islam (Submitting to One God). As the diplomatic ruler that she was, she consulted her advisers first.
“She said, “O eminent ones, advise me in my affair. I would not decide a matter until you witness [for] me.” ” (Quran 27: 32)
“They said, “We are men of strength and of great military might, but the command is yours, so see what you will command.” ” (Quran 27: 33)
The advisers implied that they were ready to fight off the Prophet of Allah because they had the means of their politics but she was wise not to go that route.
Since the final decision rested upon her, Bilqis decided to test King Solomon with a gift from Dunya. She wanted to know if he was after this materialistic world or if his cause was truly above that. Long story short, Bilqis (Barakissa in certain languages) and Solomon saw eye to eye and got married. In fact, Solomon was quite infatuated with her!
The hadith “Never will succeed such a nation as lets their affairs carried out by a woman.” was uttered in a very specific and isolated case about a treacherous nation (Neo-Persian Empire) whose tyrant ruler died and his daughter took over doing the same thing he was doing. The success of Balqis, the former idol worshiper, who converted to Islam after the presence of Allah was made evident to her goes against the fact that this hadith was meant as a general rule of thumb like many religious clerics and some Muslim men make it sound like. Who do you think counselled great kings and men behind closed doors when no one was/is at ear shots? Women of great morals of course! In my opinion, if a nation doesn’t do well because its ruler is a woman it’s probably because the men surrounding her don’t have her back, give her the evil eye, or perhaps undermine her authority because they can’t seem to get acquainted with the idea that a woman is above them. Plain and simple. Idiosyncrasy when a woman gives birth to you…
To continue with another Muslim woman, how about Mary (Maryam aleihi salam) mother of Jesus (Issa alehi salam) ? She was a spiritual woman whose mother (Hanna) prayed that she only become a servant of Allah in a time where only boys were allowed to become monks. Her name actually means just that too. She was so close to Allah that her name is mentioned in the Quran masha’Allah and the law changed because of her and she entered in the service of Allah when she reached the age. Even back then, gender disparities were present. The other great women of Islam aren’t mentioned in the Quran by name but their stories are still known by His might.
Hanna, mother of Maryam aleihi salam was also very religious. She made immeasurable prayers to have a pious boy devoted to the service of Allah. But Allah had a plan and gave her a girl instead to make groundbreaking changes in regard to gender discrimination! So always pray for your children and the sake of the ummah as it is Allah only that guides people and fix all our affairs!
“[Mention, O Muhammad], when the wife of ‘Imran said, “My Lord, indeed I have pledged to You what is in my womb, consecrated [for Your service], so accept this from me. Indeed, You are the Hearing, the Knowing.” (Quran 2: 35)”
“But when she delivered her, she said, “My Lord, I have delivered a female.” And Allah was most knowing of what she delivered, “And the male is not like the female. And I have named her Mary, and I seek refuge for her in You and [for] her descendants from Satan, the expelled [from the mercy of Allah ].” (Quran 2: 36)”. See, women are just as capable of doing what men do and the real Islam doesn’t preach discrimination between the sexes.
Feeling like many of the early verses revealed always addressed men or were perhaps vague for her, Umm Salama (aka Hind bint Abi Umayya) spoke up about her concern to her husband Rasullulah sallallahu aleihi wasasalam. Then the same day by Zhur prayer, Surah 33 verse 35 was revealed. How special would you feel when a verse is addressed to you just because you spoke up? I bet fabulous will be the word! So speak up about what bothers you and bring about a change! Surah 3 Verse 195 was also revealed under the same circumstances of brave women demanding inclusion and recognition for their tireless efforts in spreading the message of Islam under the harsh times the Ummah faced at the time.
And in the time of Rasullulah sallallahu aleihi wasasalam, there were such ‘things’ called mubayiat (the involvement of women in politics) and shura (consultation between the head and the constituents of the community). Women participated in many events in the communities notably the bayat annisa. Umm Umarah aka Nusayba bin’t Ka’b mentioned in part I was actually in one of the stages of the bayat al-Aqaba. She was what you call a true warrior never falling short of her duty and allegiance to protect the Prophet Rasullulah sallallahu aleihi wasasalam. She lived the life of a bodyguard for him.
With all that being said and as you might suspect, anything related to women evolving has to be stopped, reduced, hidden, and diminished by closed-minded people. Many women entered Islam and pledged allegiance to the Prophet sallallahu aleihi wasasalam because non-believing Arabs at the time didn’t treat women well. Here is a religion that put women on a pedestal, what do you think I would do in those times? I would join to and surah 60 verse 12 was revealed to protect these enlighted and chosen women to siratal mustaqeem. However, this women’s revolution was cut short when our beloved Prophet sallallahu aleihi wasasalam died and many of his successors went retrograde. Women were pushed back to the sidelines and dismissed from social and political involvement. A women revolution is on its way and nothing will stop it because it was written long ago.
In conclusion here, without women society will collapse. Without men, it’ll collapse too. So give us credit where it is due and see us not as handicapped and invaluable.
Source : Women in the Quran by Asma Lamrabet.
Note: ‘The Written vs. NOT Written Stuff’ is a copyrighted collaborative feature series bringing forward attention towards serious issues within the global Muslim communities. It’s a joint initiative of two Muslimah writers, Papatia Feuxzar of Djarabi Kitabs Publishing and Saadia Haq of The Human Lens. As always we would loveto hear your feedback, here at wordpress or through email which ever medium works for you. Copyrights @2015 – 2016