Saturday, April 28, 2018

Women's Rights: Men's Duties in Islam

Advices to the Wo/men of the Divine ManifestationPart 3

IN his Friday Sermon of 27 April 2018 (10 Shabaan 1439 AH), Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius, continues the stream of advices to the members of the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam on nurturing a spiritual core to their every day lives. In the previous sermons in the series, Hadhrat Saheb (atba) speaks of the need for being responsible citizens in society by practicing Islamic values  within the over all framework of Taqwah or being mindful of God in all that we do- observing modesty and decency in dress and habits; equity and balance in life choices; fairness in relations and respect for the rights of others, including family members, etc. Hadhrat Saheb (atba) also underscored the need for injecting vitality into the organizational frameworks so that the members- young and not so young- can be trained and moulded into the dynamics of Jamaat affairs so that they may take over social responsibilities in the fullness of time, without leaving a vaccum in leadership for sustaining the momentum of collective good works. 

Speaking of the identity, dignity and rights of women in society and the many ills that plague our social systems, Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba) notes the seminal role of men in distorting the delicate balance in the social order, including in family and spouse relations through their overbearing attitudes and victimisation of women. With their patriarchal mindsets and abuse of traditional privileges; many men frequently take a dime view of women's agency, rights and space. It is against this backdrop that one should view the modern feminist thought. The women empowerment movements in our times essentially seek to reclaim and restore a level playing field for the deprived/repressed/oppressed women in varying contexts of social rights that were/ are unjustly curtailed by men. Influenced by social custom and inherited family traditions, many Muslim men have no clear understanding of Islamic behavioural ethics. As a consequence, they end up justifying their anti-women attitudes and gender-stereotyping on Islam, leading to the furtherance of ant-Islam feelings in society. 

The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa), in his final days, was very much concerned about the future of women's rights within the Ummah, and exhorted men, in very strong and stirring words, to respect the rights and entitlements of women. In one of the Divine Revelations vouchsafed to Hadhrat Massih Maoud (as), the Divine Message is crystal clear: 'your wives are not your servants; they are your comrades in life'. 

Following in the footsteps of this great Islamic tradition, Hadhrat Khalifatullah (atba) exhorts the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam, especially the men, to mind their obligations in this vital arena of human relations. In the present sermon, Hadhrat Saheb (atba) reiterates the need for men to respect the space of women in the matrimonial home and family life, considering also the disproportionate impact of domestic and social obligations on most of the hapless women in impoverished families. Noting that abusive and unjust men who trump the basic rights of women/others cannot have any space in spiritual communities, Hadhrat Saheb (atba) exhorts all members of the Jamaat that if they are serious and sincere about the quest for God's approval, they need to ensure that their actions remain within the ethical framework and teachings of the Holy Qur'an or become like a 'Walking Qur'an' in their everyday lives.

Read the Extracts from the Friday Sermon: 

Alhamdulillah, Summa Alhamdulillah, Allah (swt) has given me the Ilm (Knowledge) and opportunity to continue the third part of my sermon on the Women & Men of the Divine Manifestation. This is indeed a great blessing of Allah Who guides me through His sheer love and blessings to impart to all members of our Jamaat and whole mankind the key essence of good living and how to mould it in your spiritual lives also, so that both the temporal and the spiritual marries in harmony and do not clash. Indeed all thanks and gratitude is to Allah Who teaches me and guide me to give you the best advices for your own good on earth and which shall open the avenues of felicity for you in the afterlife also. Indeed my love for Allah is beyond measure.

Repression of women corrodes Islamic values

So my dear disciples, and all Muslims around the world as well as the rest of mankind, coming to the heart of my sermon for today, it will be a great tragedy if tyranny and oppression against women should continue to exist in present society. This is the time for removing the blemishes from the face of Islam. Let no one blacken it again! If as a result of male high-handedness, the women started their own Liberation Movements such as would break loose from the Islamic ring of piety and decorum, the responsibility for this open revolt would lie with the husbands alone. All males under this category will be accountable to God for this serious lapse. The instances of ill-minded repression against women are varied and so many that a complete volume could be compiled with such accounts.

'Be a Walking Qur'an'

The Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam is a community which has been commissioned by God Almighty to show the world a way of living - the Islamic way of living - man's most precious heritage of all heritages. We may make commendable progress in the field of education; we may deliver beautiful speeches explaining the basic philosophy of Islamic teachings; but the world will never lend us a listening ear, unless our words are matched by concrete actions. Remember, it is not for nothing that our beloved prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is and shall always be known as a Walking Quran. Why so? Because, the divine teachings he preached were reflected in his daily life. He was an example par excellence. He was the embodiment of the Quran on earth. Therefore, we should always follow in his footsteps and live the Islam we preach, the same Islam which he (pbuh) also preached and lived.

Respect for women's space & Islamic Paradise

To revert to my original subject, the status of women in the Islamic society is a very delicate problem. It is a firm conviction that a man who disregards basic human rights and is temperamentally deficient in compassion and kindness, he is not fit to be included among the ranks of the true Muslims. If such a person thinks that despite his viciousness and cruelty in private life and his harsh and violent treatment of defenceless women, he would enter the Heavens like a true Muslim, then he is sadly mistaken. He can never enter paradise - prayer or no prayer. He may delude himself into believing that he shall enter paradise and may even boast proximity to God and piety, but his evil deeds shall nullify all the prayers he does, and God will bar his access to everlasting bliss (i.e. in Paradise). Indeed Paradise is reserved solely for the true servants of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). 

Social Order: Disproportionate Burden on women 

The families with small means in our society, the majority of them grovel in grinding indigence and penury. Children are being born but there are not enough money to buy basic necessities of life for them. The poor women and children cannot sleep during the nights because of the hordes of mosquitoes hovering around. On top of all this, are the frequent epidemics which take a heavy toll on the poorer classes. Even if the husbands are kind-hearted, the poor women are the main victims and the mills of hardships and poverty grind them slowly but constantly. Day long housekeeping duties, restless nights nursing the sick children and keeping awake for them night after night, without a moment's rest, are some of the difficult tasks that a woman has to perform single-handed throughout her life. Judged by any standard, it is a hard life and one which leaves an indelible print of hardship and misery behind it. May God enable us to put an end to this wretchedness in our society.

A Tyrant in Private Life Can Have No Claim on True Faith 

Is it not, therefore, inhuman that man should add insult to injury by becoming a tyrant in private life and use the rod where gratefulness and affability was the basic requirement? There are some husbands who accuse their wives of immoral acts but at the same time maintain normal conjugal relations and produce children at regular intervals. Such wicked persons whose sole aim in life is to torment their wives and create a hell here on earth are not fit to be treated as human beings. They cannot claim any relationship to Islam; and I warn you all, they cannot claim any relationship to the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam if ever such wicked people are born in or integrate the Jamaat. For such people, their presence in the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam is to no avail. It is void. 

Remember, the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam is the revival of Islam of our modern times. You shall become truly Muslims, Sahih al Islam only when you adhere to the teachings of Islam in good faith and with perseverance and care, by always taking precautions so as not to go astray. I call upon such persons as I have just mentioned to immediately reform themselves. I also warn our Jamaat worldwide not to become such black-hearted people who have no respect and regard for their wives and the women in general. 

Remember! Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam represents true Islam. If in this process, it does not produce specimens of highest virtue, the ultimate victory will never be ours. We have neither the courage nor the capacity to allow embodiments of evil to roll along with the blessed caravan of Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam. May Allah (swt) guide us all to the true path and enable us to become real Sahih al Islam. Insha-Allah, Ameen.