Women in Islam: Some Crucial Issues-Response to Syed Suhail Yaqoob’s “Islam and Women: Misconceptions and Misperceptions”

Women in Islam: Some Crucial Issues-Response to Syed Suhail Yaqoob’s “Islam and Women: Misconceptions and Misperceptions”
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Owais Manzoor Dar

This is in response to the article “Islam and Women: Misconceptions and Misperceptions” published on 13th June 2017 in Kashmir Reader by Syed Suhail Yaqoob. I appreciate the worthy author for such an insightful write-up, and also appreciate the endeavors of KR for giving voice to the younger generation, and to the student community, who are writing on the topics, and in the areas of their specialization. Though one can agree with the opinions and thoughts summarized by brother Suhail brilliantly, however there is enough room for disagreements On various issues as well; and here I humbly submit those disagreements with the support of Primary Sources of Islam, Noble Quran & Ahadith (Prophetic Traditions).
Secularism and the resultant philosophy of modernism that dispenses with God and religion, corrupts the heart with deadly diseases. The dominant disease of the modern world renders people blind to spiritual reality. With several ideologies clashing into each other about the discourse on religion, it has become hard to tell whether the ‘western ideas’ have been essentially given an Islamic cover or there has been a genuine reinterpretation. The stance of Islam regarding certain issues relating to women has remained a hot subject of debate, especially in the last few decades due to the wave feminism. The wave corrupted many religious scholars to change the real norms of Islam. Among them is the Pakistani well known scholar Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, president of Al-Mawrid Institute of Islamic Sciences, who has attempted to paint Islam with liberal colors. The book ‘Islam and women: Misconceptions and Misperceptions’ authored by Dr. Shehzad Saleem based on the views of Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, has been made to dispel from Islam and produce a new interpretation based on Western covers.
[1] Women as the Head of state: According to the author, a vast majority of scholars believe that women cannot become the head of the state. This injection is derived from the Hadith narrated by Imam Al-Bukhari in Al-Jamia al-Sahih. According to Dr. Shehzad Saleem , the said Hadith was never known before the Battle of Jamal in 36AH. This shows the sheer ignorance of the former and blind following later, because in the same Book (i.e., Al-Jamia al-Sahih/Bukhari), Book of fitan, chapter no 18, Hadith No 7099 narrated by Abu Bakra, During the Battle of Jamal, Allah benefited me with a word (I heard from the Prophet) when the Prophet (PBUH) heard the news that the people of the Persia had made the daughter of Khosrau their Queen (ruler) he said, “never will succeed such a nation as makes women their ruler”. This Hadith clearly shows that before the Battle it was widely known. Secondly, they claim that the said Hadith is having a single narrator, which makes it weak. I think both the author (Dr Saleem) and the columnist (brother Suhail)have not have seen the air of Ilm-Hadith, otherwise they make such a big claim. The change of direction of Qibla was done for believers in the same manner. A companion back from Prophet (PBUH) mosque informed his community about the Qibla change. All of them without thinking there is single narrator turned their faces towards kaaba. This clearly shows that having a single narrator doesn’t make a Hadith weak.
The third claim by the author about the said Hadith is that it goes against the injunctions of Qur’an, as it is asserted in the Qur’an that anyone who enjoys the confidence of majority is eligible to become the ruler of Muslims. The author is of the opinion that here Quran doesn’t exclude women from the general principle. But the above mentioned Hadith clearly excludes women. The Quran produces a general rule that every dead being is prohibited, but the Noble Prophet in the hadith of Musnad Ahmad and Sunan Ibn Majah, among other books, made lawful for you flesh of two dead animals, they are locust and the fish. Here general rule of Quran is specified by the saying of the prophet (PBUH), doing the analogy above mentioned hadith also excludes women.
2. Polygamy: The author says that the Polygamy is permitted only in extreme conditions. No doubt there are some conditions not extreme conditions. Islam allows Polygamy as Quran mentions “And if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry (other) women of your choice, two or three, or four, but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one that your right hand possess. That is nearer to prevent you from doing injustice” (al Nisa 4:3). This Quranic text shows that man is permitted to marry one, two, three or four wives. It is not permissible for him to have more than four and there is consensus among the Muslims on this point. It should be noted that the above verse laid some conditions: (a) Justice or fairness; (b) The ability to spend on one’s wives. These conditions does not make it extreme and there is not a single word in the Qur’an and Hadith literature, what author claims, extreme conditions or war atmosphere. It is the General rule of Islam and will remain till the day Resurrection.
3. The Testimony of Women: The Quran States the testimony of one men equivalent to the testimony of two women. Allah says: “And get two witnesses out of your own men. And if there are not two men (available), then a man and two women, such as you agree for witnesses, so that if one of them (two women) errs, the other can remind her” (al-Baqarah 2: 282). The author produced a concocted view regarding the issue: ‘it suffers from serious defects’. Let us have a glimpse upon the Tafseer Ibn Kathir; he said: “two women are taken the place of one man because women are lacking in reason, as narrated by Iman Muslim in his Saheeh… From Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (PBUH) said, ” O women, give in charity and seek forgiveness a great deal, for I have seen that you from the majority of the people of Hell. “A wise woman among them said, ‘why is it, O Messenger of Allah (PBUH)? He said, because you curse too much, and you are ungrateful to your spouses. I have seen none lacking in common sense and falling in religion but (at the same time), robbing the wisdom of wise, besides you”. The woman asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is wrong with our common sense and our religion? ” He said, ” your lack of common sense (can be well judged from the fact) that the bear witness of two women is equal to that of one man, that is proof of lack of common sense, and you don’t offer prayer and in the month of Ramadan (during the days of menstrual cycle) you don’t observe fast. (Ibn Kathir 1/336). The said Hadith clearly indicates the bearing witness of two women equivalent to one man. The author must have to study the ‘Usool – Tafseer’ so that he can differentiate between the right and the wrong.

— The author is pursuing Masters in Islamic studies at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. He can be reached
at: owaismaznoor188@gmail.com