OF MAN AND WOMAN -
a very noble idea -
was practised and preached
by the Holy Prophet
of man and woman - a very noble idea - was practised and preached by
the Holy Prophet (SAW). But, what does equality mean to western society?
It means: "Lady, you are sitting comfortably at home and I have
to go to work, look here, we both are equal. Come, get out of this home
with me, don't be comfortable like a queen". This was and is their
philosophy. What an equality!
Another aspect of this equality is: if a family allows the young son
to remain outside the home up to midnight (men and women are equal),
then the girl should also be permitted to stay out late. The parents
should not ask her where she has been - this is bad manners according
to the western society! Remember, the pre-Islamic civilisation exploited
women as a chattels, modern civilisation does the same, but exploits
the woman in a more refined manner.
Their philosophers - may God deal with them who led humanity astray
- further defined their equality and taught women to behave like men.
They also taught a moral code wherein the woman can be exploited as
a toy. This is a refined way of murdering the prestige and dignity of
a woman - not as a chattel but as a toy.
The history of culture, the history of the sociological phenomena in
western society has been a tragic story up to the middle ages when human
society was under the blind grip of the Church and when this woman was
considered to be the incarnation of evil. Woman suffered and when these
modern emancipators came, she suffered even more. In those days the
woman could receive some compassion from the man, such as certain social
courtesies shown to woman, which came into existence after the Renaissance,
but it was a glow that did not last long.
Read the books of culture in England and let us find out about the women
of the Victorian era. All the women all over the world used to wear
the full dress, high neck, full sleeves, etc. - that was the fashion.
This time the devil really came to Eve. "You are in the prime of
your youth, the embodiment of charm, beauty and grace, but you look
like a grandma". The poor innocent girl asked: "My good sir,
what should I do?", and he took take a pair of scissors, cut the
frill, remove the high neck and cut the sleeve. The poor western girl
then asked: "Do I look pretty now?" and was told: "Well
not like a grandma but still like a nun; you are still too conservative,
be modern!, be progressive!
The poor girl took the scissors again and cut the neckline further,
the length up to the knees and the entire sleeves went and a further
opening appeared in front of the chest. Then the girl of the twentieth
century girl asked every man she met, "Do I look pretty now? Am
I modern?" They replied: "Not yet!" Exasperated and flabbergasted
she went to the dressing room and applied mini-skirt was born. She asked
again and was told: "You look young but not yet the flower of beauty,
be more modem." The poor girl was confused that soon she would
become absolutely naked and asked advice from her mother who said that
she must move with the times if she wants a partner in life. And then
what happened? A dress was invented consisting of a few strings of material.
This is what is happening in America and England.
When I went to France, I visited the houses of fashion and found that
the inventors of these fashions were all men. These inventors ended
up devising the micro-mini skirt. The poor girl again asked and the
boyfriend replied: "Yes, only as a toy but not as a woman."
The grace has been lost.
The high rate of divorce is another problem in Western society. The
U.S.A. brought the law ofcompanionate marriage: a man and a woman may
live together for a brief period of time considered within the law.
They experiment by living together to see if they will be happy together
before deciding to marry. The findings were that more than 60% of these
marriages ended in divorce within the same year! Shopkeepers appoint
sales girls behind the counter in order to boost the sales, so advertisements
come in the figure of naked women. In this modern civilization methods
have been refined to exploit the woman despite the fact that she is
the most valuable treasure of mankind.
This modem man has only one aim and that is to exploit the woman. Methods
have been refined for this job; in spite of the fact that a woman is
the most valuable treasure of mankind.
My dear sisters, beware of the ghost of modernism, of vulgarity, obscenity
and shameless behaviour. That destroyer of the purity and dignity of
womanhood is invading the homes of your country. The bacteria of this
plague is here and spreading fast. If you wish to save your dignity
and preserve the values of human life, you will have to take a definite
stand against all this. I know that Muslim communities are tossing and
turning between the evils of modernism and conservatism. I am sure most
of you are educated and possess a sense of what is good and what is
bad. I therefore appeal to all mothers, daughters and sisters to stand
up and wage an all-out war against this devil of destruction which is
in your midst and appears with an innocent face but with a dagger concealed.
May Almighty Allah protect you all.
Regarding the issue of a woman working, I would like to add that the
Holy Qur'an and hadith of the Holy Prophet (s) make no distinction between
man and woman with regard to the pursuit of knowledge. Similarly, there
is no distinction in the Qur'an and hadith with earning one's livelihood,
if the need arises. The woman can also earn and affirm her right to
economic independence. Needless to say, the universal principle of the
Islamic way of life will have to be maintained and Muslim women would
have to go out of their homes with decorum, grace and integrity. After
that the Qur'an says: "Men
have the right of ownership on that which they earn and women have the
right of ownership on that which they earn." (Q 4:32)
There is, however, another aspect to it. Islam wants the husband to
undertake these hardships. The Holy Prophet (s) said: "The
woman is the queen of her house."
The husband should consider himself to be the guest of his wife and
ask permission to enter the house. We often forget that whatever the
community achieves outside the home, it achieves much more inside the
home. The spiritual and moral foundations and progress of a community
are laid primarily inside the home.
To make it the rule, however can be damaging should both parents be
out of their home the whole day and leave their children in hostels,
nurseries, or to the care of their servants. Materially there may be
an increase but parental affection decreases on the emotional side.
Thus, the woman should undertake her living outside the home only if
there is no way out and if the children can be cared for. Japan is a
good example of an advanced country where production does not only take
place in the factory but also at home, hence cottage industries. In
this way the Japanese women can make a larger contribution than the
men. If a system can be devised whereby women can work without disturbing
the stability of the family and preserve their dignity, then society
will make great progress.
A question that is often posed is: How can one find out whether one
is going to marry the right woman who can bear children. There are surely
scientific ways by which this can be measured.
There is therefore no need for couples to sleep together before marriage.
Prostitution is not the answer. I married my wife, my father married
my mother, and we did not know anything about one another because of
the purdah being observed. In my family there are no cases of divorce
or bad relations between husband and wife. Arranged marriages have worked
well. Go to any western country and find out how their married lives
compare. Their marriages, which have been based on courtships, are devoid
of any stability. From the point of view of psychology, any marriage
that started from courtship and romance is bound to fail. And 99% of
them do fail! When they court, they actually live in a fool's paradise.
They create images that are not there in life. Life is something bitter.
Married life means obligations, and not just a past time and recreation.
Romance places before them the image as if all life is a garden of roses
and that those roses will bloom further and further. It cannot. The
moment they get married responsibility sets in. The first child is born,
the wife gets sick and the husband comes home tired to find his wife
sitting morose and sad. Frustration and anger come into play. The grace
and false charms vanishes into thin air. Consequently, all wise men
advise never to indulge in romance. Islam advises when choosing a partner
in marriage that the couple should see one another and check if they
like one another physically. The moral character can be found out from
others. The first consideration should be his or her character, not
features, wealth or position. Our Prophet (SAW) mentioned the physical
charms last. The Holy Qur'an and the Holy Prophet (s) exhort us to approach
marriage with dignity and decorum and not with vulgarity and eroticism.
The pleasure of Allah is foremost and the sensuous bodily pleasures
are secondary. It is natural that sensuous pleasure dies out the moment
it is obtained.
A good drama will please you, but then one recoils after having seen
it. One feels empty. This is the psychological experience never to feel
satisfied. Listen to any type of music and one experiences emptiness
after it stops. In the same manner sexual attraction between opposite
sexes comes as a blind force. There is a biological urge behind it and
there is a psychological imagery that is not rational. It is all a game
of emotions that are blind and irrational. The Holy Qur'an makes it
very clear and here lies the salvation:
among the signs of God is that he made male and female from the same
species of the same nature, so that when they enter into a bond of marriage
- they get spiritual consolation (Q 30:21)
The spiritual consolation that comes through companionship is the biggest
force in the ordeals of life. My wife and I support each other through
this force. Our companionship is primarily spiritual and consequently
we never have any quarrels. Of course, in every married life all types
of moments come, and people say: "What a model your marriage is".
Of course, I did not marry her for her physical charms, I came to know
her only after I was married to her.
The Holy Prophet (s) - in his last charter of human rights said: "Remember
0 husbands, your wives are a divine trust in your hands. It is sacred,
take care of it."
How sacred is a trust from God? My wife and I felt for one another in
this manner and therefore our life has been extremely happy. The husband
and wife grow old together and the beauty of such a life is that they
love one another more and more. This is possible only in the Islamic
attitude towards marriage. Allow me to give you another example, particularly
for the youth to note:
My mother's uncle was a landlord with
estates and a farm. He had a palatial house: one section for the ladies
and one section for the men. We used to go there every year for a holiday.
He became very fond of me as he had no children. He was in his early
thirties and a very handsome man. As a young boy I was shocked when
I saw his wife for the first time. She was blind, deaf, dumb, and a
part of her face as well as her body was paralysed. But her husband
served her like a humble servant. After coming from Fayr prayers, I
saw the first thing he would do is to go to her room and wash her face,
hands and feet himself in spite of there being twelve servants in the
house. He would put oil on her hair and comb it. After that he would
bring her breakfast and feed her with his hands. I could not understand
what was happening and thought something was wrong with my mother's
uncle. This thought lingered in my mind for a long time until curiosity
compelled me to ask my grandfather why my grandmother was so ugly and
he so beautiful. He answered, "When I married your grandma, she
was very beautiful and we loved one another very dearly. This village
is very far from the city and her first child was still born. There
was no nurse and no doctor and only her life could be saved, not her
health. Son, when I married her, I used to express my love to her, now
that she is in this state, should I abandon her? As a Muslim, I should
bestow more love on her so that her feelings may not be hurt. Therefore,
1 cannot marry another woman nor entrust a maid to care for her."
Now, there are attitudes in life to be observed. If we become believers
in Allah (swt) for all practical purposes and if we make hedonism (the
pursuit of sensual pleasure) as the real aim in life, then couples living
together without marriage and in prostitution will become the order
of the day. Read the health report of the U.S.A. - the blood of 80%
of all Americans contains the syphilis virus. This virus saps the energy
of the body. They have to take antibiotics to keep this virus under
control all the time. Examine people from Norway to Sweden and Denmark
you'll find thousands of naked prostitutes on the roadside. In terms
of psychological health, the suicide rate in these countries is the
highest. Unbridled freedom ends up in no marriage, no health and no
romance. It is just a bubbling lava of evil that eats into the being
of these communities. Do you want to repeat it in your community, my
Finally, another contentious point that is often raised is the condition
at the work place where there is inter-mingling of the sexes. Islam
does not encourage the promiscuous intermingling of sexes whether in
hospitals, colleges, schools, etc. It does allow healthy growth of these
sexes within their own freedom. We cannot take for granted that if all
men and women are well guarded they cannot fall into any kind of evil.
Evil can even be of a very innocent type. Islam wants to safeguard chastity
and condemns whatever violates this principle. If this can be safe-guarded
by the Muslim woman and she goes to work, then it may be allowed. Of
course, in a Muslim country there would be separate facilities for the
ladies and men.
My personal point of view is that a healthy society can grow only when
the men and women make a contribution in co-operation with one another,
but avoiding all those situations where there may be the possibility
of deviation from the divine law. I know of Muslim and non-Muslim men
and women who are the embodiment of purity and they work with one another.
But unfortunately, the percentage of such people is very low and we
cannot consider this as an argument for free intermingling.
All praises belong to Allah, Lord of all the worlds.
from "Islam to the modern mind"
by Sheikh F.Ansari (rahmatullah 'alayh)