The Challenges Facing Women at the Time of Tribulations

IMG-20150812-WA0006The following are paraphrased highlights of Habib Abu Bakr Al-Masyhur’s speech at Masjid Salahuddin Abdul Aziz, Shah Alam, Malaysia on 31 August 2015

This topic is important for both women and men to understand. For men, understanding this topic helps them assist their womenfolk deal with challenges appropriately. For women, it helps them develop the right skills required in facing the challenges of our times (zaman al-ghutha’).

Knowing Your Place in this World

Generally, women are more honoured by Allah than men because they are the “origin” (asal) of life i.e. Man comes from them, and it is the woman who is primarily responsible for the upbringing of men. Allah gave women three times more value (fadhilat) and rights (haq) than men. This understanding is derived from the famous hadith wherein a man had come to Rasulullah ﷺ and had asked him ﷺ about who he should give goodness (bir) to. Rasulullah ﷺ responded to him, “Your Mother” three times before saying “Your Father”.

In another hadith Rasulullah ﷺ had said:

كُلُّكُمْ رَاعٍ، وَكُلُّكُمْ مَسْئُولٌ عَنْ رَعِيَّتِهِ، الإِمَامُ رَاعٍ وَمَسْئُولٌ عَنْ رَعِيَّتِهِ، وَالرَّجُلُ رَاعٍ فِي أَهْلِهِ ومَسْئُولٌ عَنْ رَعِيَّتِهِ، وَالْمَرْأَةُ رَاعِيَةٌ فِي بَيْتِ زَوْجِهَا وَمَسْئُولَةٌ عَنْ رَعِيَّتِهَا، وَالرَّجُلُ رَاعٍ فِي مَالِ أَبِيهِ وَمَسْئُولٌ عَنْ رَعِيَّتِهِ، أَلاَ كُلُّكُمْ رَاعٍ وَكُلُّكُمْ مَسْئُولٌ عَنْ رَعِيَّتِهِ

Meaning: All of you are guardians and are responsible for your wards. The ruler is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects; the man is a guardian and is responsible for his wife and family; the woman is a guardian and is responsible for her husband’s house and his offspring; and so all of you are guardians and are responsible for your wards.

And Allah says in the Qur’an:

الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاء

Meaning: Men are established (made responsible) over women.

We understand from these words that the original (asal) place for the woman is in her home. Unfortunately, many do not accept this today and look for liberation elsewhere without realising that true liberation is about dealing with matters according to Islamic laws and guidance (shara’). Westerners do it differently – they deal with matters according to contemporary requirements (maslahat).

Valuing Islamic Education

Women today neglect Islamic education (tarbiyyah) and are fixed on cultural norms (thaqafat). The following knowledge are of foremost importance in Islamic education: cleaning oneself (istinja’), solah (solah), menstruation (hayd), forgetfulness prostration (sujud sahwi), and the like. Sadly, these are knowledge that the women and men of today neglect. The root cause of this neglect is the value we have placed on Contemporary Knowledge (ilmu wadh’iy) e.g. social systems, economics, technologies etc. over Sacred Knowledge (ilmu shar’iy). Islam does not oppose knowledge (including Contemporary Knowledge) rather, Islam encourages it. However, placing over importance on Contemporary Knowledge creates an imbalance. We should be concerned and work towards the acquisition of Sacred Knowledge e.g. solah, zakah, sawm etc. just as how we concerned and work towards the acquisition of the knowledge dispensed by our colleges and universities.

Limiting What You Watch – Prevention is Better than Cure

Cartoons are the worst of films and watching them encourages laziness and violence. Whilst we should be concerned with this, parents today are seen giving their children technology gadgets without restriction, and without dispensing any advisory on the use of use of such gadgets. The character of our youth today is the result of this.

Observing Your Dress

And Rasulullah ﷺ said:

وَنِسَاءٌ كَاسِيَاتٌ عَارِيَاتٌ مُمِيلاَتٌ مَائِلاَتٌ رُءُوسُهُنَّ كَأَسْنِمَةِ الْبُخْتِ الْمَائِلَةِ لاَ يَدْخُلْنَ الْجَنَّةَ وَلاَ يَجِدْنَ رِيحَهَا وَإِنَّ رِيحَهَا لَيُوجَدُ مِنْ مَسِيرَةِ كَذَا وَكَذَا

Meaning: And the women would be dressed but appear to be naked, who would be inclined (to evil) and make others incline towards it. Their heads would be like the humps of the bukht camel inclined to one side. They will not enter Paradise and would not smell its odour when it is possible to smell from such and such a distance.

Notice that the “humps of the bukht camel” is mentioned here following the description of “women would be dressed but appear to be naked, who would be inclined (to evil) and make others incline towards it”. These humps are symbolic of women engaged in repulsive acts whilst believing and priding themselves to be progressive. Such is the state of women today. Rasulullah ﷺ emphasises here these women will not enter Paradise and would not even smell its odour.

Etiquettes in Marriage

Women today don’t know about Etiquettes in Marriage (adab az-zawwaj) whilst men violate the rights of women in a marriage. When proper etiquette is found in one’s household, there would be no squabbles (ikhtilaf).

In Surah Rum Allah says:

 وَجَعَلَ بَيۡنَڪُم مَّوَدَّةً۬ وَرَحۡمَةً‌ۚ

Meaning: He ordained between you (husbands and wives) love and mercy.

Mutual cooperation is sought after in a marriage. Unfortunately, the women and men of today don’t know their proper place in marriage. Wives cooking for their husbands and husbands spending time at home, as opposed to regularly spending time in restaurants/coffee-shops for meals, are part of this etiquette.

Parting Word

Reflect on the life of Sayyidatina Fatimah az-Zahra binte Rasulullah ﷺ.  She grinded wheat till her palms became coarse. She carried buckets of water for her household upon her shoulders until her shoulders bore marks of her laborious efforts. The bed that she and her husband, Sayyidina Ali, shared was simple a mat laid out on their floor. Despite all this, she leaves the house in thick, full hijab and protected from fitnah. This was also the example of The Mothers of Believers (Ummul Mu’minin) and the other main female companions of Rasulullah ﷺ.

WassollaAllahu ‘ala Sayyidina Muhammad wa ‘ala alihi wa sohbihi wa sallam.


Youtube Links:

Full Lecture (Part 1)

Full Lecture (Part 2)

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