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Old Monday, August 08, 2011
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Women in Islam:


Outline:
• Introduction
• Status Of Women In Islam
i) The spiritual Aspects
ii) The Social Aspect
a) As A Child
b) As A Wife
c) As A Mother
iii) The Economic Aspect
iv) The Political Aspect


Introduction:

In the midst of darkness that engulfed the world, the divine revelation echoed in the wide desert of Arabia with a fresh, noble and universal message to humanity,

“O, Mankind! Keep your duty to your Lord who creates you from a single soul and from it created its mate (Of the same) and from them twain spread the multitude of men.”
(An-Nisa: 1)


The position of Islam regarding the status of women is explained in various term such as politically, socially, spiritually and economically.

Status Of Women In Islam:

I) The Spiritual Aspect:

The Holy Quran gives a clear-cut evidence that woman is completely equated with man in the sight of God in terms of rights and responsibilities. The Quran says:

“Every soul will be held in pledge for its deeds.”
(Al-Muddaththir: 38)


“Whoever works righteousness, man or woman and has faith verily to him. We give a new life good and pure, and we will bestow on such their reward according to the beat of their actions.”
(An-Nahl: 97)


Woman, according to the Quran is not blamed for Adam’s first mistake. Both were jointly wrong in their obedience to God both repented, and both were forgiven.

(Al-Baqara: 36-37, Al-Araf: 20-24)


In terms of religious obligations such as Daily Prayers, fasting, poor-due and pilgrimage, woman is no different from man. In some cases indeed, the woman has certain advantages over man e.g. the woman is exempted of Daily Prayer and fasting during her menstrual periods and 40 days after her child birth and she is also exempted of daily prayers and fasting during her pregnancy when she is nursing he baby, if there is any threat to her health and her baby’s.

The attendance of congregational for women is optional while it is mandatory for men.

ii) The Social Aspect:

a) As A Child And Adolescent:

Despite the acceptance of social custom of female infanticide among some Arabian tribes the Quran forbad tis custom and considered it as crime like another murder.

“And when the female is buried alive-is questioned, for what crime she was killed.”

(At-Takwir: 8-9)


The sayings of Holy Prophet about above customs are following:

“Whoever has a daughter, and does not burry her alive, does not insult her, and does not prefer his son over her, God will enter him into Paradise.”

(Ibn’.Hanbal.No: 1957)


“Whoever supports two daughters till they mature, he and t will come in the Day of Judgement as this (and he pointed with his two fingers).”


The right of females to seek knowledge is not different from that of males. The Holy Prophet said,

“Seeking knowledge is mandatory for every Muslim man and woman.”

(Al-Bayhaqi)


b) As A Wife:

Among the most impressive verse in the Quran about marriage is the following:

“And among His signs is this: that He created males for you from yourselves that you may find rest, peace of mind in them, He ordained between you Love and mercy, Lo, herein are signs for people who reflect.”

(Ar-Rum: 21)


According to the Islamic laws women cannot be forced to marry with anyone without their consent.

At the time of marriage besides all other provisions for her protection, it was specifically ordained that the woman has the full right to Mehr, a marriage gift, given to her (by husband) and that such ownership does not transfer to her father or husband.

The rules for married life in Islam are clear and in conformity with upright human nature. In consideration of the physiological and psychological make-up of a man and woman, both have equal rights and claims on one another, except of one responsibility, that is leadership. This is a matter which is natural in any collective life and which is consistent with the nature of man.

“And they (women) have right similar to those (of men) over them, and men are a degree above them.”

(Al-Baqara: 228)


Men’s role of leadership in relation to the family does not mean the husband’s dictatorship over her wife. Islam emphasizes the importance of taking counsel and mutual agreement in family decisions. The Quran says:

“…….If they (husband and wife) desire to wean a child with mutual counsel and consultation, there is no blame on them……”

(Al-Baqara: 233)


Over and above her basic rights as a wife comes the right which is emphasized by the Holy Prophet.

“the most perfect believers are the best in conduct and the best of you are those who are best to their wives.”

(Ibn Hanbal No. 7396)


The women’s right to seek an end for unsuccessful marriage is recognized. Marriage may be dissolved if she proves before the court that she has been ill-treated by her husband and he has failed to give her sustenance allowance agreed upon between them.

c) As A Mother:

Islam considered kindness to parents next to the worship of God.

“Your Lord has decreed that you worship none save Him, and that you be kind to your parents.’
(Al-Isra: 23)


Moreover, Quran has a special recommendation for good treatment of mothers.

“And we have enjoined upon man (to be good) to his parents, His mother bears him in weakness upon weakness.”
(Luqman: 14)


A man came to Muhammad (PBUH) asking:

“O, Messenger of God! Who among the people is worthy of my good company?” The Prophet said, “Your mother” The man said, “Then who else?” The Prophet said, “Your mother.” The man said, “Then who else?” The Prophet said, “Your mother.” The man said, “Then who else?” Only then did the Prophet say. “Your Father.”

(Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

A famous saying of the Prophet is:


“Paradise is at the feet of Mother.”

(An-Nisa, Ibn Hanbal, Ibn Majah)


iii)The Economic Aspect:

According to Islamic law, women’s right to her money, real estate and other such properties is fully acknowledged. This right undergoes no change whether is single or married. Before Islam, she was deprived of her right of independent ownership. But in Islam, she retains her full rights to buy, sell, mortgage or lease any or all property.

With regards to women’s right to seek employment, it should be stated first that Islam regards her role in society as a mother and a wife as the most sacred and essential one. However, there is no decree in Islam which forbids woman from seeking employment. Whenever, there is necessity for it, especially in positions which fit her nature and in which society needs her most, e.g. the professions such as nursing, teaching (especially for children) and medicine. Moreover, there is no restriction on befitting from her exceptional talent in any field.

In addition Islam is restored to women the right of inheritance in some cultures. Her share is completely hers and no one can make claim on it, including her father or husband. Her share in most cases is one-half of the man’s share. With no implication that she is worth half of man. This variation in inheritance rights is only consistent with the variations in the financial responsibilities of man and woman-according to the Islamic Law. Man in the Islam is responsible for the maintenance of his wife, his children and in some cases of his needy relatives esp. of females. Woman on the other hand, is far more secure financially, and far less burdened with any claims on her possession. (She has no obligation to spend on her family out of such properties or out of her income after her marriage). She is entitled to the Mehr which she takes from her husband at time of marriage. If she is divorced, she may get an alimony from her ex-husband.

v) The Political Aspect

Fair investigations in the teachings of Islam and into the history of Islamic civilization give a clear evidence of women’s equality with men what we call today “political rights”.

This right include the right of election as well as nomination in the political offices. This also includes the right to participate in public affairs. Both in the Quran in the Islamic history we find many examples of women participating in serious discussion and even argue with the Holy Prophet himself.

During the Caliphate of Umar Ibn-e-Khattab, a woman argued with him in the mosque, proved her point, and caused him to declare in the presence of the people, “A woman is right and Umar is wrong.”

Although not mentioned in the Quran, one Hadith of the Holy Prophet is interpreted to make woman ineligible for the position of head of the State. It is Translated as:

“A people will not proper if they let a woman be their leader.”


This limitation, however, has nothing to do with the dignity of women or with her rights. It is rather, related to the natural difference in the biological and Psychological make-up of men and women.

According the to the Islamic law, the Head of the State is not mere a figure-head. He leads people in the prayers, especially on Fridays and Festivities; he is continuously engaged in the process of decision making pertaining to the security and welfare of the people. This demanding position, or any similar one, such as commander of the Army, is inconsistent with the Physiological and Psychological make-up of women in general.

It is a medical fact that during their monthly periods and during their pregnancies, women undergo various physiological and psychological changes. Such changes may occur during an emergency situation, thus affecting her decision.

It is more logical to explain the present situation in terms of the natural and indisputable differences between man and woman, a difference which does not imply any supremacy of one over the other. The difference implies rather the complementary roles of both the sexes in life.
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Originally Posted by SYEDA SABAHAT View Post
salam to all. roshan here goes my notes for zakat i collected them from different sites,it might help you. its a bit lenghty topic but really informative.



Charity and Alms giving




Zakaah literally means to purify and develop. In the terminology of Shari'ah it is the giving of specified wealth with specified conditions to the rightful ones.


The Ruling on Zakaah

Zakaah is one of the five main pillars of Islam. It is compulsory upon EVERYONE who fulfills its conditions, for Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) states;

1. " Then establish prayer and pay Zakaah and obey Allah and His Most Beloved Messenger (Salla Allahu Ta'ala alayhi wa Sallam) and Allah ta'ala is aware of what you do. " Al-Qur'an : 58:13
2. " O believers! give something of your pure earnings and of what WE produce from the earth for you. " Al-Qur'an : 2:267

The Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Salla Allahu Ta'ala alayhi wa Sallam) has stated :

Islam is based on five things

1. To testify that none is worthy of worship but Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) and Muhammad (Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam) is the Messenger of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala).
2. To establish Salaah.
3. To pay Zakaah.
4. To perform Hajj (pilgrimage).
5. To fast in the month of Ramadan.



Zakaah became compulsory in the second year of the migration. It is Wajib (compulsory) to pay it immediately. To delay its payment without reason is sinful and the testimony of such a person will not be accepted. Zakaah is not Wajib upon the Prophets (alaihis salaam) because all that they own is Wakf (religious endownment) on their behalf.

It is permissable to pay Zakaah before a year has passed on the wealth, even several years before, as long as he possesses the Nisaab (minimum amount of property liable to payment of the Zakaah) for which he is going to pay the Zakaah in advance.

The wisdom of Zakaah

1. Zakaah purifies one's character from the evil traits of stinginess and greed.

2. Through Zakaah the poor receive help and the needs of dependents and destitutes are fulfilled.

3. Zakaah helps in the provision of public works upon which the well being of society depends.

4. Zakaah prevents wealth becoming centralised in the hands of a few wealthy people. Thus it ensures that the means of life are not restricted to a select group.


Making Du'a for the Zakaah payer

At the time of receiving Zakaah it is Mustahab (desirable) to make Du'a for the Zakaah giver. This is because Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) said, " ( O' Beloved Prophet - Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam) Take Zakaah from their wealth to purify and clean them therewith and pray for them. Surely your prayers will give them comfort. " Al-Qur'an : 9:103

The Prophet (Salla Allahu alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) prayed for the person who sent a beautiful she-camel in Zakaah in the following way, " O Allah bestow blessings on this person and in his camels. "

Imam Shafi'ee (alaihir rahman) states, " When the recipient receives Zakaah it is Sunnah to pray for the giver in the following way; ' May Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) reward you for what you have given and may He bestow blessings on the remainder of your wealth. ' (Fiqh as-Sunnah)

Persuasion to pay Zakaah

Almighty Allah says :

1. " And those in whose wealth there is a known right; for the one who asks help and for those who are deprived. "

2. " Those, if We give them control on the land, they would establish prayer and pay the Zakaah and command good and forbid evil. And the consequence of all things is in the hands of Allah. "


The Blessed Prophet (Salla Allahi 'alayhi wa 'aalihi wa Sallam) stated, " Whosoever gives alms equal to one date from his Halaal wealth, and Allah only accepts pure and Halaal items, Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) takes it in His Hand and develops (cultivates) it, just like one of you brings up his colt (young-horse), until it is equal to a mountain. " ( Bukhari )

In another Hadith it is stated that " (Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) cultivates that morsal of Sadaqah) to such an extent that it develops into the equal of the Uhud mountain. "



A warning to those who refrain from giving Zakaah

Almighty Allah says;

1. " On that day their treasures will be heated in the fire of hell, and their foreheads, sides and backs will be branded therewith. (They will be told) This is what you had hoarded for yourselves. Now taste the penalty of such hoarding. "
Al-Qur'an : 9:35


2. " And those who are miser in what has been given to them by Allah, by His grace, should not think that it is good for them; on the contrary it is bad for them. The riches they have piled up shall become their necklace on the Day of Judgement. " Al-Qur'an : 3:180


Some sayings of the Most Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu ta'ala alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam :

1. " To whoever Allah (swt) has given wealth and he did not fulfill his right from his wealth, his wealth on the Day of Qiyamah (Judgement Day) will take up the shape of a bald snake, - whose hair has fallen out because of its poison and who would have two black dots on its eyes. The snake will be made into his necklace and it will grab both jaws and say 'I am your wealth, I am your treasure'. " then the Prophet (Salla Allahu alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) recited the above verse (3:180) of the Qur'an. ( Bukhari )

2. "For every wealth owner who did not fulfill his right from his wealth, his wealth will come on the day of Qiyamah in the shape of a bald snake, who will have its mouth open. When it comes close towards the wealth owner the wealth owner will run away from it. The snake will call out to him 'come take the wealth which you hid for I dont need it.' When the wealth owner (in despair) sees no other way he will put his hand into the mouth of the snake. The snake will chew his hand like a bull chews something. " (Muslim)

3. Two women wearing gold bracelets came into the presence of the Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu ta'ala alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam). The Prophet (Salla Allahu ta'ala alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) asked them, " Would you prefer that Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) should give you bracelets of fire to wear on the day of Qiyamah ? " They replied, " No, O Blessed Prophet." The Prophet (Salla Allahu ta'ala alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) replied, " So give what is your duty on what you have in your hands. " (Ahmad)


The ruling on the one who does not pay Zakaah

The one who rejects the compulsory nature of Zakaah becomes a Kaafir (disbeliever) whilst the one who acknowledges the compulsion of Zakaah but due to miserliness does not pay it is sinful. Zakaah should be forcibly taken from such a person and he should be reprimanded. If such a person physically resists to pay Zakaah he should be fought until he submits to the will of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) and pays Zakaah.

Hadrat Abu Huraira (Radi Allahu anhu) narrates that after the blessed passing away of the Most Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) and when Hadrat Abu-Bakr (Radi Allahu ta'ala anhu) was the Caliph some Arabs became Kaafir (disbelievers). Hadrat Umar (Radi Allahu ta'ala anhu) said to Hadrat Abu-Bakr (Radi Allahu ta'ala anhu) ; How are you going to fight the people when the Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) said, " I have been ordered to do fight against the people until they read the Kalimah, whoever reads this he has saved his wealth and life from me, except when his life or wealth is taken in the course of justice. And his account is with Allah. " On hearing this Hadrat Abu-Bakr (Radi Allahu ta'ala anhu) replied, " By Allah, I will fight he who differentiates between Salaah and Zakaah, for Zakaah is Haqq (true and right). By Allah if whoever used to pay the child of a goat or a camel's rope in Zakaah during the time of the Noble Prophet (Salla Allahu ta'ala alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) and now refuses to pay I declare war on him. " Hadrat Umar (Radi Allahu ta'ala anhu) replied, " By Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala), this (reasoning) is because Allah (Subhanahu wa ta'ala) has opened/widened his chest and it is now clear to me that what he has stated is Haqq (right). "





The Compulsion of Zakaah

The following are the conditions for Zakaah to become compulsory on a person :

1. To be a Muslim. A disbeliever does not need to pay Zakaah.

2. To be free. A slave does not need to pay Zakaah.

3. To be mature. Zakaah is not compulsory on a wealthy minor.

4. To be sane. Zakaah is not compulsory on the insane.

5. Have perfect/complete ownership. This means must have both ownership and possession of it. Thus if a person owns something but does not have possession over it Zakaah is not compulsory upon it, (e.g. Zakaah is not compulsory on a woman's dower before she gains possession over it).

6. To be the owner of the Nisaab. Nisaab refers to that level (of property) specified by Shar'iah as a standard for Zakaah becoming compulsory. Not only must one own this much but it must also be in excess of debts and fundamental needs (such as clothing, abode, animals for transport, slaves for service, armaments, books for the people of knowledge if they are not for trade. Similarly no Zakaah is payable on the tools for a skillsman, if not for sale.) Nisaab varies for the different commodities - these will be stated below.

7. The passing of a lunar year, even if during the year Nisaab is not maintained. The passing of a year is not a condition on the Zakaah of agriculture and fruit.


Notes :

1. Zakaah is not compulsory on the wealth of minors (children) or insane. Thus one should not demand their guardians to pay Zakaah out of their wealth. This is due to the fact that Zakaah is an act of worship and it is not demanded from minors and the insane.

2. The paying of Zakaah will not be complete unless one has the intention at the time of paying or at the time when he separates the Zakaah wealth from his total wealth. But if someone, without the intention of Zakaah, gives all his wealth away in charity the compulsion of Zakaah will be removed (from him).

3. It is not a condition for the person receiving Zakaah to know that this is wealth from Zakaah. Thus it is correct for a person to give Zakaah to a poor person but to tell him that this is a loan or a gift.




Those entitled to Zakaah



It should be clarified that there are eight types of people who have the right to Zakaah, this is because Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) says :

" Zakaah is only for those who are poor and needy and those who are employed to administer it, and for those attracted to Islam, and for the freeing of slaves, and for debtors and for the cause of Allah and for the traveller. That is the duty enjoined by Allah, He is knowing, Wise. (Al-Quran 9 : 60 )


1. Faqeer (poor) :

He who has some wealth but which is less than the Nisaab. It is better to give Sadaqah to a learned Faqeer than an ignorant. (al-Fatawa Aalamgiria)

2. Miskeen (needy) :

He who has nothing and must beg for food and clothes. For such a person asking for these items is halaal. (Kitaab al-Fiqh)

3. The workers of the Zakaah organisation :

Workers of Zakaah refers to those people whom the government appoints to adminster Zakaah. This includes people such as those who collect it, manage the organisation and the clerks in the Zakaah offices. Their wages can be taken out of the Zakaah even if they are wealth-owners. This is because they have given their time and thus must be compensated.

4. Those whose hearts are to be won over :

There are three types of this ;

i. Those people whom the Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) wanted to come towards Islam.

ii. Those people who had accepted Islam but their faith was weak - the Noble Prophet (Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) used to give them Zakaah to strengthen their faith.

iii. Those who were given Zakaah so as to prevent Muslims becoming the subject of their evil.


Note:
Since the victory of Islam this entitlement has become nullified. This is proven by the Ijmaa of the Sahaaba (Ridwanallahi ta'ala alaih majmain) during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr (Radi Allahu ta'ala anhu). This is stated on 'Hidaaya'.

Some Ulama (scholars) state that this item is still valid, for a Caliph of Islam may require to win over the hearts of the people. Hadrat Umar (Radi Allahu ta'ala anhu) seeing the strength of Islam, dismissed this item. Qadhi Ibn al-Arabi (rehmatullahi alaih) states that as Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) has given Islam strength this item is redundant but when its need arises in the future it becomes valid and these people can be given Zakaah, a Hadith of the Beloved Prophet (Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) states, "Islam started of as poor and will return to the state it began." (Qurtubi)



5. Slave :

Slave refers to a Muskatab slave, and Muskatab is that slave whose master has entered into a written contract that if the slave pays a certain amount (even if in instalments) the slave will be freed. Such a slave will be given Zakaah so that he can meet his contractual instalments.

6. Debtor :

Such a person who has debts but does not have enough wealth that after paying his debts he will have (wealth equal to) Nisaab.

7. Fi Sabeelillah (in the path of Allah)

This refers to the left behind Ghuzaat (singular Al-Ghazi: one who carries out a military expedition) and those doing Hajj (i.e. that person on whom Hajj became Fard but did not do it when he had the means to. But now he no longer has the means, he can be given enough in Zakaah so as he can fulfil his Fard of Hajj). Fatawa Zaheeriya states that only students of religion come into this category. Ruh al-Ma'aani also has this view.

8. Ibn as-Sabeel (the traveller) :

This means that a traveller who is travelling within Shari'ah (purpose of his journey is not contrary to Shari'ah). Such a traveller can be given Zakaah if during his journey he becomes needy, even if in his own domicile (home) he is wealthy.



Notes :

1. It is permissable for many people to give Zakaah to the same needy. Conversely it is permissable for one person to give Zakaah to a number of needies.

2. A person cannot give Zakaah to those people for whom he is responsible for, like parents, sons, grandsons and wife. This is because it is his duty to spend to fulfil their needs.

3, A person cannot give Zakaah to his own slave, or use it to construct a Mosque or to provide a shroud for a deceased.

4. Zakaah cannot be given to the Banu Hashim due to their noble status. The Banu Hashim also includes the descendents of Ali; Abbas; Ja'far; Aqeel and Harith ibn Abdul Muttalib (Ridwanalllahi ta'ala alaihi majamain) (Qudoori). This is because the Blessed Prophet (Salla Allahu 'alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) said, " It is not permissable for the family of Muhammad (Salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa aalihi wa Sallam) to take Sadaqah because Sadaqah is the dirt of peoples wealth. " (Muslim)
@Syeda Sbahat

thanks for this wonderful peace of information..........
i have one query if you can guide...plz
if question comes" how institute of zakat can be used to eradicate poverty from country"
would your article "charity and alms giving" would be sufficient?
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Originally Posted by Roshan wadhwani View Post
Thnx alot dear Syeda Sabahat for informative sharing and ur kind contribution.

I wud like to say one thing more here that i my view wud surely be helpful to all, that is k islamiat ke jo important topics ap ne btae jo paper ke current trend ke hisab se aate hain paper main aur jo 2 3 topics maine add kiye like jihad vs terrorism, purhah for women, status, rights, duties of women, ummah and their challenges etc hum un ke notes share karne ke bad main chahta hun ke hum ek ek topic ko le ke un topics pe past papers main different ways se jo questions puche gae hain hum un ko deal karen, q ke ye ek common problem hai jo har student face karta hai wo hai how to deal a question during xams bz paper main quetions as it is seedhe simple se nhn puche jate un ko different angle se pucha jata hai, to is se faida ye hoga ke jb hum un topics ko yahan deal karenge to sb ko ek view mil jaega ke kaun se question main kaun si heading suitable rahengi, hum yahan pe questions ke answer ke liye just outline draw karenge, baki jo information hum ne share ki hai us se us ka answer mil jaega.......wats ur and other members' views, do comment and share ur views on my suggestion.....waiting...Ragards
its my duty roshan i feel very happy when i share something with my forum members.
good idea zindagi rahi to apni taraf se is kare khair ma hisa dalne ki puri koshish karun gi inshallah.



@ vassal ye notes itne deatil ma han k agar question kisi bhi angle se aya to ap isse puri help le sakte ho.sure apke question ka ans. is ma ha.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roshan wadhwani View Post

In terms of religious obligations such as Daily Prayers, fasting, poor-due and pilgrimage, woman is no different from man. In some cases indeed, the woman has certain advantages over man e.g. the woman is exempted of Daily Prayer and fasting during her menstrual periods and 40 days after her child birth and she is also exempted of daily prayers and fasting during her pregnancy when she is nursing he baby, if there is any threat to her health and her baby’s.

The attendance of congregational for women is optional while it is mandatory for men.
Dear Brother one more thing i would like to acknowledge you here that you have mentioned that during the menstrual period fasting is exempted and also 40 days after child birth. Here we should not use the word exemption because it means free from obligation, because a menstrual woman has to complete her fasts after completion of that period. We should say that woman during menstrual cycle has Provisional Immunity. As soon as any woman competes her menstrual cycle than she is liable to complete those fast which has been missed by her during menses and similar case with child birth issue. only prayers are 100% exempted. It is mentioned in Shaih Muslim

Book 003, Hadith Number 0662. (Sahih Muslim)
----------------------------------------------------------

Chapter : It is obligatory for menstruating woman to complete the abandoned fats, but not the abandoned prayers.

Mu'adha said: I asked 'Aisha: What is the reason that a menstruating woman completes the fasts (that she abandons during her monthly course), but she does not complete the prayers? She (Hadrat 'Aisha) said: Are you a Haruriya? I said: I am not a Haruriya, but I simply want to inquire. She said: We passed through this (period of menstruation), and we were ordered to complete the fasts, but were not ordered to complete the prayers.

I hope I have clear this Issue. Thank you
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Rights of women in Islam


By Syed Imad-ud-Din Asad


IT is a general concept in the West that in the eyes of Islam woman is inferior to man. They staunchly believe that there is no such thing as “rights of woman” in Islam. This misconception is partly due to their lack of access to the Quran and the Traditions, and partly due to the irresponsible attitude of certain Muslim jurists and groups.

In fact, Islam is the only system which contains provisions that ensure equality between man and woman. No religion, no system has done even a fraction of what Islam has done to secure her rights and ensure a status for her that is at par with that of man. The status accorded to woman by Islam is unique and has no parallel in any other society.

If, on the other hand, we look at the western woman, we find that her rights were not acknowledged voluntarily or out of kindness or compassion. The early Greek philosophers had very disparaging views of women. They argued that women were not full human beings and were by nature deficient. The West inherited this thought and we find it persistent throughout the Middle-Ages. This concept was not discarded even during the Age of Enlightenment. Writers of that period, like Rousseau and Voltaire, looked at women as a burden.

In his book “Emile”, Rousseau proposed a different form of education for women because he believed that women were unable to comprehend what men were able to do. In other words, he believed women had lesser intellectual abilities than man. It was in the 1800s that the first feminine movement emerged in the West. The first laws that allowed women to own property also appeared in the same century. As time moved on, certain circumstances also aided women in their struggle for their rights such as shortage of manpower in times of war, demands of industrial development, etc., gave them the opportunity to learn, to work, to earn, to appear as an equal to man. They were forced by circumstances and in turn they forced themselves through and acquired a new status.

Still, the present set of rights that the Western woman attained after a long effort, fall short of those of her Muslim counterpart. Islam has granted rights to woman that suit her nature and disposition, and give her full security and protection. Also, in declaring man and woman as equal human beings, Islam is centuries ahead of the western legal systems.

However, while discussing the rights of man and woman, the distinction between equality and similarity must be kept in mind. Man and woman have been created equal, not identical. In Islam, the rights and responsibilities of a woman are equal to those of a man, but they are not necessarily the same. Both have been fashioned differently from each other, so their roles are also different. The variation in their functions does not imply that one is inferior to the other.

Here, it must be mentioned that if certain rights of woman are being ignored, restricted, or denied in present-day Islamic states, it is a fault of the Muslims — governments and people — who are not enforcing them, not Islam’s. Let’s have a brief look at some of the rights granted by Islam:

1. Reward for good deeds: The Quran makes no difference between man and woman regarding the bestowal of reward for the good deeds performed by him or her: “Whoever does good, whether male or female, and is a believer, We will certainly make him live a happy life, and We will certainly give them their reward for the best of what they did.” (16:97) “Surely the men who submit and the women who submit; and the believing men and the believing women; and the obeying men and the obeying women; and the truthful men and the truthful women; and the patient men and the patient women; and the humble men and the humble women; and the charitable men and the charitable women; and the fasting men and the fasting women; and the men who guard their chastity and the women who guard their chastity; and the men who remember Allah and the women who remember Allah - Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a mighty reward.” (33:35)

2. Freedom of expression: Man and woman are equally entitled to freedom of expression. Women not only expressed their opinion freely, but also argued and participated in important discussions with the Prophet (PBUH) and other Muslim leaders. There were occasions when women expressed their views on matters of public interest and stood in opposition to the Caliphs, who then accepted their sound arguments.

3. Right to education: Woman is equal to man in the pursuit of education and knowledge. The Prophet declared: “Search for knowledge is a sacred duty imposed on every Muslim man and woman.”

4. Right to inherit: Man and woman have been given equal right to inherit from the parents and the near relatives: “Men shall have a portion of what the parents and the near relatives leave, and women shall have a portion of what the parents and the near relatives leave...” (4:7)

A woman’s right to inherit is as much protected by law as that of a man. If the deceased wishes to deprive her by making a will in favour of other relations or any other cause, the law will not allow it. However, it must be remembered that whereas the right to inherit of both man and woman is equal, their shares in the inheritance may differ. In certain cases, a woman gets half of what a man in her position would get. The cause of this variation is the financial responsibilities and liabilities with which man has been burdened, not woman.

As compared to Muslim man, Muslim woman is financially secure and provided for. If she is a wife, her husband is the provider; if she is a mother, it is the son; if she is a daughter, it is the father; if she is a sister, it is the brother; and so on. If she has no relations, then it is the responsibility of the state to maintain her. In no case she will be left helpless. Whereas, a man, except in one or two cases, is supposed to not only look after his family and other needy relations, but also to make financial contributions to good causes in society. Thus, a larger share in the inheritance does not depict the supremacy of man over woman, but it is rather a concession granted to him in lieu of his financial burden.

5. Right to earn: Islam has given man and woman equal rights to contract, to enterprise, and to earn and possess independently. The Quran says: “...For men is the benefit of what they earn. And for women is the benefit of what they earn. And ask Allah of His grace...” (4:32)

Women conducted trade and business even during the time of the Prophet. In fact, his first wife was a successful and famous business woman of Makkah.

6. Legal protection: In the eyes of Islam, a woman’s life, property, and honour are as sacred as those of a man. If she commits an offence, her penalty is no less or more than a man’s in a similar case. If she is wronged or harmed, she gets due compensation, equal to what a man in her position would get.

7. Right to contract marriage: Contrary to prevalent belief, in Islam, there is no concept of forced marriages of women. Parents have no right to force their daughters to marry against their will. Just as a woman has the right to choose her spouse, she also has the right to seek divorce from him.

8. Right to participate in public life: Islam does not ask woman to confine herself to her house. It gives woman the right to participate in public life along with man. History shows that women played active role in all walks of life. Women not only participated in trade, but even took part in battles. They were never shut behind iron bars or considered worthless creatures.

Laila Al-Ghifaria would nurse the wounded in battles. Suffiah Bint Abdul Muttalib even fought and killed the enemies. Women were also rewarded with booty in the same manner as Muslim men. The Second Caliph of Islam, Umar, appointed a woman, Shaffa Bint Abdullah, to supervise the market. He would often consult her and held her in high esteem. Under the Fatmids, a woman, Arwa Bint Ahmad, even served as the Governor of Yemen.

Conclusion:
The verdict of Islam on the inter se status of man and woman is the only complete, logical, and practical declaration pertaining to the matter, as it always handles the issue by making a distinction between equality and sameness. The Quran, the Traditions of the Prophet, and the attitude of the early Muslim scholars prove that the position and rights of woman are equal to those of man. In fact, Islam has safeguarded the rights of women by putting them into practice as essential articles of Faith.
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Equality of Men and Woman in Islam, and their complementary nature to one another


In one sense, equality between men and women is possible and reasonable because they are both human, with similar souls, brains, hearts, lungs, limbs, etc. In another sense, equality between men and women is impossible and an absurdity due to their natural differences in physical, mental, emotional and psychological qualities, inclinations and abilities. Between these two we must tread to illuminate how they are equal, and how they are complimentary.
If total equality between all members of the same gender is impossible due to natural differences in strengths and other qualities, regardless of whether the gender is masculine or feminine, then it is definitely impossible between the two genders. Allah, the Exalted and Almighty, says in the Glorious Qur'an:
(And of everything We have created pairs, that you may remember (the Grace of Allah).)[51:49]

Even atoms exhibit this dual quality with inter-related and complementary roles played by the positive and negative particles and ions, yet each is an integral part of the whole system of the so called binary basis of all life. Most living beings have male and female sexes for reproduction. As the science of biology teaches us, all mammals have similar traits in their molecular and glandular structures that determine differences in gender. These basic physical, psychological and sexual traits have their definite effects on other spheres of life.

It is natural for a man to need and find fulfillment with a woman and for a woman with a man, since they are created one from the other and for one another. They both are inseparably bound to each other. Neither can they find fulfillment except when in the company of the other as legal and honorable mate and spouse, as Allah (The Almighty) says in His Majestic Book, the Qur'an, mentioned in the two verses cited in the preface:
(O Mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you in the Sight of Allah is the believer who has Taqwa (piety and righteousness). Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.)
[49:13]

In many instances Islam treats women as equals to men. Some of them are given below. In the coming sections we will expand on these themes in various contexts throughout the book.

1) Eqaulity in Basic Humanity

Both the male and the female are equal in terms of their humanity. Islam does not categorize women, for instance, as the source of evil in the world for some & original sin that caused Adam (Peace be Upon Him) to be dismissed from Paradise, or to be the cause of evil in the world by setting loose a Pandora's box of vices, as some other religious doctrines and fables teach.
Allah, the Exalted and Almighty, states in the Glorious Qur'an:
(O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife (Eve), and from them both He created many men and women...)
[4:1]

Allah also states in the Glorious Qur'an:
(Does man think that he will be left neglected without being punished or rewarded for the obligatory duties enjoined by his Lord (Allah) on him? Was he not a mixed male and female discharge of semen pouring forth? Then he became a clot; then (Allah) shaped and fashioned (him) in due proportion, and made him into two sexes, male and female. Is He not able to raise to life those who are dead?)
[75:36-40]

Allah illustrated in the verses that He created both sexes from one single source. There is no difference between the two sexes in terms of qualifications in humanity, and each complements the other as the two genders of the species. Islam has abolished and abrogated all the previous unjust laws that demoted women as inferior in quality and nature. The Prophet of Allah (Peace be Upon Him) said:
Verily, women are the twin halves of men.
[Abu Dawood #234 , Tirmidhi #113 & others]

2) Equality in Religious Obligations

Equal religious duties and rituals are required from both women and men. Testimony of Faith (Shahaadah), Prayer (Salah), Obligatory Charity (Zakah), Fasting (Saum), and Pilgrimage (Hajj) are equally required of both genders. In some cases the requirements are a bit easier on women to alleviate their special cases of hardship. For instance, in consideration of her health and physical condition, menstruating women or a woman in the state of postnatal bleeding and recuperation are absolved from the duty of prayers and fasting. She is required to make up the days of fasting missed due to menses and postnatal bleeding, but not her prayers, as that would be too burdensome.

3) Equality in Rewards and Punishments

Both males and females have similar rewards for obedience and penalties for disobedience in this world and the Hereafter. As stated by Allah in the Glorious Qur'an:
(Whoever does righteous acts, whether male or female, while he is a believer, verily, to him We will give a good life, and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do.)
[16:97]

And the Lord Most Majestic says:
(Surely for men who submit to Allah and for women who submit to Allah, for believing men and for believing women, for devout men and devout women, for truthful men and truthful women, for steadfast men and steadfast women, for humble men and humble women, for charitable men and charitable women, for fasting men and fasting women, for men who guard their chastity and women who guard their chastity, for men who remember Allah much and for women who remember Allah much, for all of them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a mighty reward.)
[33:35]

4) Equality in Preservation of Honor and Nobility
Women have the same moral obligations and are entitled to the same general rights as men in guarding chastity, integrity and personal honor and respect, etc. No double standards are allowed. For instance, those who falsely accuse a chaste woman of adultery or fornication are publicly punished, just as if a man is slandered. Allah, the Exalted, states in the Glorious Qur'an:
(And those who accuse chaste women, and produce not four witnesses, flog them with eighty lashes, and reject their testimony forever. Indeed, they are those who are disobedient to Allah.)
[24:4]

5) Equality in Financial Dealings and Property Ownership

Women are equally qualified and allowed to engage in financial dealings and property ownership. According to Islamic law women can own, buy, sell and undertake any financial transaction without the need for guardianship, and without any restrictions or limitations - a situation unheard of in many societies until modern times.

6) Best of you is the Best to his Womenfolk

Islam indicates that a man who honors, respects and deals with women justly and integrally, possesses a healthy and righteous personality, whereas a man who mistreats them is an unrighteous and unrespectable man. The Prophet of Allah (Peace be Upon Him) said:
The most complete believer is the best in character, and the best of you is the best to his womenfolk.
[Tirmidhi #1162 and verified]

7) Equality in Education and Cultivation

Islam entitles women to the same rights as men in terms of education and cultivation. The Prophet of Allah (Peace be Upon Him) said, as reported and authenticated by the scholars of prophetic traditions:
Seeking knowledge is compulsory for each and every Muslim (i.e. both male and female).
[Ibn Majah #224 al-Baihaqi and verified]

Muslim scholars collectively agreed that the word Muslim when used in revealed scriptures includes both male and female, as we indicated in parenthesis. Thus, Islam entitles women to the same right of education in order to understand the religious and social obligations, and obligated them both to raise their children in the best manner, in accordance with the right Islamic guidance. Of course women have certain obligations in bringing up their children that are commensurate to their abilities and men have complementary obligations to finance, protect and maintain according to their added responsibilities in the family unit.

The Prophet (Peace be Upon Him) said:
Whoever takes care of two girls until they reach puberty, he and I will come on the Day of Resurrection like this.” The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) then joined his fingers to illustrate this.
[Muslim #2631]

About female slave girls, the Prophet of Allah (Peace be Upon Him) said:
Whoever has a female child with him (under his guardianship from slavery), and trains her in the best behavior, and teaches her well, and then frees and marries her, will have a double reward.
[Bukhari #97 & Muslim #154 ]

8) Equality in Social Responsiblities

Men and women have similar obligations and responsibilities to reform and correct the society to the best of their capability. Men and women shoulder the responsibility of enjoining good and forbidding evil equally, as Allah, the Exalted, states in the Qur'an:
(The believers, men and women, are helpers, supporters, friends and protectors of one another, they enjoin all that is good, and forbid all that is evil, they offer their prayers perfectly, and give Zakah (Obligatory Charity) and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will bestow Mercy on them. Surely Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.)
[9:71]

9) Right to Receive Fair Share of Wealth

Men and women have set and determined rights to receive their fair share of wealth, just as they are obliged to give Zakah (Obligatory Charity) according to the set calculation. All Muslim scholars unanimously agree upon this. A woman has her set share of inheritance, as will be discussed in more detail later, which was a right unthinkable in many societies.
Allah (The Almighty) says:
(There is a share for men from what is left by parents and those closely related, and there is a share for women from what is left by parents and those closely related, whether the wealth be small or large: a legal mandatory share.)
[4:7]

10) A woman, just like a man, can give someone the right of seeking refuge and security among the Muslims

Allah, the Exalted, says:
(And if one of the polytheists seeks refuge, give him until he hears the words of Allah, then take him to his place of security.)
The Messenger of Allah (Peace be Upon Him) said:
And the protection of Muslims is one, and the least among them can give protection; and whoever usurps the right of a Muslim then the curse of Allah and His angels and all the people is upon him, and no repentance or ransom will be accepted from him
[Bukhari #3008]

This is also proven by the famous story of Um Hani' (Mother of Hani') when she gave protection to a polytheist who sought refuge with her on the day of the conquest of Makkah after her relative threatened to kill that person (for some past enmity) so the Messenger of Allah (Peace be Upon Him) said,
We protect and give asylum to whomever you give asylum O Um Hani'.
[Bukhari #350]
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Men and Women have the right to seek education in Islam:



- Men and Women have the right to seek education in Islam.
- So how come some Muslim extremists ban women from education?


Education and knowledge are mandatory upon men and women in Islam. Let us look at what Allah Almighty in His Noble Quran and His Messenger Muhammad peace be upon him said:
"....Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know? It is those who are endued with understanding that receive admonition. (The Noble Quran, 39:9)"

"...Those truly fear God, among His Servants, who have knowledge: for God is Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving. (The Noble Quran, 35:28)"

Narrated Abu Musa Al-Ashari: "The Prophet said, 'He who has a slave-girl and teaches her good manners and improves her education and then manumits and marries her, will get a double reward; and any slave who observes Allah's right and his master's right will get a double reward.' (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Manumission of Slaves, Volume 3, Book 46, Number 723)"

This Saying of our beloved Prophet peace be upon him came when he was gradually eliminating slavery among Muslims. I wonder if women are prohibited to be educated in Islam, then how is the above Saying of our beloved Prophet supposed to NOT contradict that?! It is clear that the right for education in Islam sees no gender discrimination between men and women.

Slavery was practiced before and during the times of Judaism, Christianity and Paganism. Islam came and eliminated slavery. Please see the many articles about the liberation of slaves in Islam.

Narrated AbudDarda': "Kathir ibn Qays said: I was sitting with AbudDarda' in the mosque of Damascus. A man came to him and said: AbudDarda, I have come to you from the town of the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) for a tradition that I have heard you relate from the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him). I have come for no other purpose.

He said: I heard the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) say: If anyone travels on a road in search of knowledge, Allah will cause him to travel on one of the roads of Paradise. The angels will lower their wings in their great pleasure with one who seeks knowledge, the inhabitants of the heavens and the Earth and the fish in the deep waters will ask forgiveness for the learned man. The superiority of the learned man over the devout is like that of the moon, on the night when it is full, over the rest of the stars. The learned are the heirs of the Prophets, and the Prophets leave neither dinar nor dirham, leaving only knowledge, and he who takes it takes an abundant portion. (Translation of Sunan Abu-Dawud, Knowledge (Kitab Al-Ilm), Book 25, Number 3634)"

Narrated AbuHurayrah: "The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: If anyone acquires knowledge of things by which Allah's good pleasure is sought, but acquires it only to get some worldly advantage, he will not experience the arf, i.e. the odour, of Paradise. (Translation of Sunan Abu-Dawud, Knowledge (Kitab Al-Ilm), Book 25, Number 3656)"

In the above Noble Verse and Sayings, we clearly see that knowledge and education are a must on both Muslim men and women. Those who know are better than those who do not know. Those who are rich in knowledge are the most who fear Allah Almighty, through glorifying Him, appreciating Him and Respecting His Mighty Power, for they would have more knowledge about Him than those who don't know.

So education to both men and women in Islam is essential. Without it, Allah Almighty's Servants would have no idea about His "Scientific" Miracles and Signs that He Shows some of it to us through our normal science and logic.
Also, those who seek good knowledge and education will be granted Paradise and the Angels will lower their wings for them with great pleasure, and forgiveness will be asked for them. The learned are considered the heirs of the Prophets.

We also clearly see that the improper worldly knowledge will not cause the person to enter Paradise. So everything we seek knowledge for, better be for good cause to humanity.

So how come some Muslim extremists ban women from education?

Please know that the only country or group of Muslim extremists that ban women from education are the "Taliban" group in Afghanistan. The rest of the 1.4 Billion Muslim populations don't have any laws that prohibit women to be educated or seek the highest academic degrees they desire.

Saudi Arabia is a country, however, that bans women from driving cars. Again, I don't really know where they are getting this rubbish from. Certainly cars didn't exist 1400 years ago. So all of these verdicts that you see today in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia from banning women to be educated and from driving cars are TODAY'S AUTHORITIES VERDICTS.

I never really understood the Saudi's point, and I guess I never probably will, because Khadijah, Prophet Muhammad's first wife, was a business woman. She actually used to travel on her camel and bargain with men and make deals with them!

Also, Aisha, one of Prophet Muhammad's wives, not only narrated so many of his Sayings, and taught so many Muslims many laws about Islam during his life and after his death, but believe it or not, she actually led an army of 60,000 Muslim men after our Prophet peace be upon him died. That battle was called the "Battle of Camel". It is a very popular battle. Every Muslim knows it.
The problem with the Taliban of Afghanistan, however, is that most of their top leaders are illiterate. They literally don't know how to read and write. The "Mullah Omar" their highest leader is one live example. As we saw in the first section of this article, those who lack education have a problem appreciating GOD Almighty. They are not preferred in Islam, and they could cause a lot of trouble.

I wouldn't expect any good leadership from a leadership such as the Taliban in Afghanistan. So, when they give verdicts against women's education, they are really coming up with their own false interpretations, that to them, seem to be the perfect rules.

Also, the Taliban gave verdicts that all Shia Muslims are infidels, and therefore it is ok to kill any of them. Their followers, who are mostly uneducated, blindly and ridiculously follow their leaders' twisting of Allah Almighty's Commands:

"O ye who believe! Obey God, and obey the Apostle, and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to God and His Apostle, if ye do believe in God and the Last Day: That is best, and most suitable for final determination. (The Noble Quran, 4:59)"
So to them, since the Taliban is the "authority", then they should blindly follow them. They and their leaders, however, obviously lack a great deal of knowledge about Islam, because Noble Verse 4:59 is talking about obeying the people with authority ONLY in what is Islamic.

This was clearly defined by our Prophet peace be upon him:
Narrated 'Abdullah: "The Prophet said, 'A Muslim has to listen to and obey (the order of his ruler) whether he likes it or not, as long as his orders involve not one in disobedience (to Allah), but if an act of disobedience (to Allah) is imposed one should not listen to it or obey it. (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Judgments (Ahkaam), Volume 9, Book 89, Number 258)"

History had repeated itself in Afghanistan. 1400 years ago we had so many civil wars because of not so knowledgable leaders about the Islamic laws took power. It's easy to give a verdict. But a leader in Islam is going to be held very dearly responsible for such verdict, especially if he caused the death of many innocent lives!
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On Hijab (Covering Head and Face)


This issue has been sensationalized in the media, especially in some secular countries like France and Turkey which seek to make illegal the wearing of the Muslim headscarf or face veil in public places. We will not delve into all the details of the issue but, given the information above and some additional information below, we will let the readers judge for themselves whether or not the modest clothing and covering of the beauty and adornments of women, mandated in Islamic scriptures, is only for her own honor and protection, or not.

Allah (The Almighty) says:
(O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (and/or veils) over their bodies. That is better that they should be known so as not to be annoyed and molested. Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.)
[33:59]

This verse clearly states that the reason the woman is obligated to cover herself is to distinguish her to be identified as a respectable Muslim lady, to avoid the annoying glances and glares of the men. As we all know, provocative clothing urges some men to make advances, and expose women to molestation. This may be encouraged and marketed in some societies, but not among the respectable faithful Muslims.

All protective measures should be taken to guard women from excess temptation, which are explained in Islamic jurisprudence. Some of them are related to the women's attire like loose fitting body wrapping, head covering, and according to the authentic interpretations of the scriptures of the Qur'an and Sunnah, the face veil.

Allah (The Almighty) also said:
(And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their private parts and not display their adornment (and beauty), except that which appears thereof (ordinarily) and to draw their coverings over their chests and not display their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their sons, their husband's sons, their brothers, their brothers sons, their sisters sons, their women, that which their right hands possess (their slaves) or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stomp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornments. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers that you might succeed.)
[24:31]

This verse indicates those males who are categorized as "mahram," as mentioned above, and designates that men and women should lower their gazes in modesty, which is the best self-protection from natural temptations and mutual attractions that occur between the opposite sexes.
And Allah (The Almighty) says, indicating the provocative manners with which the women of pre-Islamic era used to walk about, and calling the believers to appropriate behavior and repentance:

(And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance, and establish regular prayers and give obligatory charity and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah wishes only to remove impurity from you, O members of the family (of the Prophet), and to purify you with a thorough purification. And remember(O you the members of the Prophet's family, the Graces of your Lord), that which is recited in your houses of the Verses of Allah and Wisdom (i.e. Prophet's Sunnah ). Verily, Allah is Ever Most Courteous, Well-Acquainted with all things. Verily, the Muslims men and women, the believing men and women, the obedient men and women, the truthful men and women, the patient men and women, the humble men and women, the charitable men and women, the fasting men and the women, the chaste men and women, and the men and the women who remember Allah much with their hearts and tongues; Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward (i.e. Paradise). It is not for a believing man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter, that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed in a clear error.)
[33:33-6]

We can see that Islamic regulations, although similar to many other cultures where modest dress and behavior is concerned, are yet unique to the highest standards of the Muslim identity of chastity, righteousness, and moral uprightness. Islam protects and safeguards the individuals and the society from awkward situations of unnecessary intermingling between marriageable males and females leading to natural temptations. The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon Him) said in an authentic tradition:
"Verily for every religion there is a characteristic, and the characteristic of Islam is Haya`a (modesty, shyness, bashfulness)."
[Ibn Majah #4172 and verified]
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Polygamy in Islam


Polygamy (plurality of wives) is one of the controversial questions in the family system of Islam. The following are a few points worth of consideration in an effort to clarify the wisdom of polygamy and when it can be used:

Introduction

Islam has emphasized that taking advantage of the permission of polygamy is conditional on the observance of several factors and circumstances -as it will be explained later. If the man lacks those material and moral conditions, or he is not competent enough to satisfy all of them, then he will not be eligible to take more than one wife. Also, Islam has emphasized that the basic objective of healthy marital life comes from mutual love and benevolence between the husband and the wife which normally can be found in the form of regular marriage - monogamy. Preservation of that cordiality, stability, and purity in the family life can be seen clearly in the Quranic doctrines as well as in the tradition of the prophet (p.b.u.h):

Quran says:

“And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.”(Quran 30: 21)”

" live with them ( wife or wives) on a footing of kindness and equity” (Quran 4:19)

“And women (wives) shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree (of advantage) over them. And Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.” (Quran 2:28)

Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) said:

"The best man among you is the best with his wife".

”The best of your women are those: Who are loving and kindly; who look after their chastity; Who are not arrogant or disobedient to their husbands; Who are faithful to their husband in their absence.”

Imam Ali (A.S.) said:

"By your chastity protect your wife from casting an evil eye on others stealthily and entertaining an idea of sin".
"Be kind to your wife and treat her well. Kindness will change her for the better, will keep her satisfied and will preserve her health and beauty".

Is there a perfect Solution?

As a realistic religion that legislates real solutions for humanity, Islam avoided any utopian doctrine. In many of its laws, Islam keeps in mind the flexibility of the law and the realistic factors and circumstances. A law can not be 100% good for every person, groups, culture, or country. However, Islam considers the over all values and gaining. If the advantages of a law overcome its disadvantages, then that law would be legislated and vise versa. This concept is driven from Quran: “They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: "In them is great harm (sin) and some benefits for people; but the harm (sin) is greater than the benefits (2:219).”

Polygamy, like any other law, has its disadvantages and advantages on both the husband and the wife. But do those advantages overweigh the disadvantages?

Let the following brief study judge that:

I) Polygamy before Islam

Polygamy existed before the advent of Islam among several civilizations and religions. All that Islam has done is restricted it and make more organized and civilized.

In his book, History of Civilization (vol.1 p.61), Will Durant says:
The clerics in the Middle Ages thought that polygamy was an innovation of the Prophet of Islam. But that is not the case. As we have seen, it has been practiced in most societies before Islam.

Among the history lots of stories were narrated about men who cheated on their wives or got married with more than one. Take an example from the bible: some people accuse prophets and make them look sinful just not to say they had more than one wife. Isn’t that Abraham (peace be up on him) was married Sarah and from her he had Isaac and simultaneously he was married to his made and had from her Ishmael?

The following are some phrases from the bible

"After he left Hebron, David took more concubines and wives in Jerusalem, and more sons and daughters were born to him."
2 Samuel 5:13
"He (Solomon) had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines..."
1 Kings 11:3
"And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.
Genesis 4:19
"If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the first-born son be hers that was hated: then it shall be, when he maketh..."
Deuteronomy 21:15
"if he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall her not diminish."
Exodus 21:10

The point here is not to say that monogamy never been practiced or not applicable. However, it is just a wondering that how come the legalized polygamy in Islam is inferior to the unlimited clandestine adultery in other religions and civilizations.


II) Polygamy and the wife acceptance:



a) What if a woman does not accept polygamy

First of all, marriage in one of its phases is a legal contract between the wife and the husband. Both partners have the right to add any condition that they think it will help them to protect their future life. So, if a woman thinks polygamy is against her interest, then she has the full right to announce her objection during the marriage contract as a condition and a right for a valid contract or else it will be nullified. Based on that, the husband has to commit to that condition or he would have no right to keep her as a wife if she decides to get divorced and was approved by the Islamic court, especially if divorcing the husband is controlled by the wife.


b) What if the wife’s condition is disregarded?

Like in any other law, a person might misuse the law to seek his/her interest. If a husband, who previously has committed in the marriage contract not to marry another woman, decides to have a second wife, then his current wife has the right to ask for divorce and raise that issue to the Islamic court. But is it fair that the only thing the wife can do is to ask for divorce in this matter.

Is that Fair?

Answering that question is not simple since each case has its own circumstances. First of all, the question would be; why is the husband thinking about another wife, especially when both partners have agreed to dysfunction polygamy in their marriage life. In this case and before divorcing, a social worker assigned by the Islamic Court has to study the case and judges it. For instance, may be the husband wants children and his current wife is barren but yet he still loves her and wants to keep her as a wife in addition to his new one. Furthermore, if the wife is the one who is controlling the divorce process -not the husband- then she can divorce her husband if that avails her. Overall, Same question would be asked. As an American is it fair that I can divorce my wife or she can divorce me at any time.



III) Polygamy could be a Natural and social need?


What if:

- There are some men by nature need more than one wife and their wives have no problem with polygamy.
- Monogamy is not just a theory and is thoroughly practiced, so no more men were allowed to cheat on their wives. Do you think for that group of people- who never naturally get satisfied by one wife- Monogamy is a solution and is sufficient?
- There are women who have no problem in marrying a man already having a wife especially if a marriage is in their interest.
- The majority of society are women keeping in mind that:
o Marriage age of puberty mostly begins earlier in girls than in boys.
o The power of proliferation of women ceases at a certain age, after which pregnancy is very rare case, whereas there is no such fixed age for men.
In this case where no enough men, do we tell those women just disregard your emotion and desire or just abuse yourself through unlawful acts like being Homosexual.

IV) Homosexuality but not Polygamy!

It is so ironic that several western countries and some American states legalizing homosexuality under the excuses of genetic and psychological problems or nature, but yet disregarding vehemently any excuse for polygamy.
Keep in mind that in Homosexuality, a homo is destroying the structure of family by emphasizing strongly and exclusively on his/her lust and disregarding other bonds and factors that could create a continuation of a peaceful tranquil society. In addition to that, Homosexuality makes a person’s live under the emergency of lust and desire which starts growing infinitely and calls for desire saturation at any time or any where jeopardizing the pure ordinary relation between any two people.

While in polygamy, the person is restricting him self to more responsibilities and commitments since he has to be just with his wives and treat them co-equally in everything: money, living, emotion, etc. By that, he is just establishing a bigger family and limiting him self to a clear honest accepted relation.




V) Polygamy and its Preconditions in Islam


Islam allows polygamy on some condition and here are some of them:

a- The wife(s) has no objection about polygamy during or before the marriage contract. And if the husband disregards that, the wife has the right to raise that to the Islamic court.

b- Equitable treatment for all the wives
c- Number of wives not to exceed four.



VI) Major disadvantages of Polygamy:


The following are the major disadvantages of polygamy from the Wife Perspective:


A. Less time with the husband; since his spared time is now shared between two or more wives

B. Less attention

C. Jealousy and unshared love; since the woman likes to have full attention and full unshared love from her partner.

D. Family malfunctioning and Chaos since husband spends less time with the children i.e. less discipline and guiding.

E. Less money saved or given to the wife and children since money should be shared co-equally with the other family.

F. Population problems that burden the society since both wives (may be more) are going to have children.

G. Unfairness and discrimination; since the husband can have more than one partner while the wife should marry only and exclusively one.


But are the above disadvantages are exclusively because of polygamy, or they can be found in monogamy as well. And can any of those disadvantages considered a big obstacle if compared to the advantages of conditional pure polygamy.

The following explain each disadvantage as a case and analyze it to show whether each one is worth it to be considered a case to overweigh the advantage of polygamy.

Over all, the reader has to keep in mind that purity, honesty, justice, and doing good are one of the major attributes that Islam calls for. Therefore, any relation or behavior that is committed by the husband or the wife and it does not fall with in those categories, it would be considered a big sin and inhumane act i.e. a major disadvantages:

“Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that ye may receive admonition” (Quran 16:90)

1. Case “A”: spending less time with the wife might be because of other factors too. For instance, the husband’s job is based on overtime or even it requires lots traveling per year. So, do we say that he is not allowed to get married because there is certain time he is not sharing it with his wife or his children. Therefore, if a person is rich enough, rather than spending his time at work and traveling from one country to another, he can spends that time with another wife in a more aptly and equally controlled way. Keep in mind that, if a husband has more than one wife, he has to spend his time with his wives coequally.

2. Case “B”: Less attention to the wife might occur because of other reasons too. If the husband is so much occupied by his job, business, or studying for sure his wife will not get adequate attention. And if she does get some attention and caring it will not meet her expectations. In this matter, Should we tell those kinds of husbands to divorce their wives or not to get married if there have not been married yet. Nevertheless, the wife should understand her husband circumstances. She should bare with him the side affect of marrying another wife since she did not from the beginning had objected about the idea of polygamy and made a condition in her marriage contract.

3. Case “C”: That is right and the emotion of woman and her interest should be highly considered by the husband. However, if the conditions of polygamy are satisfied and the husband’s desire is above normal then what would be the solution. Should he just go a head and cheat on his wife with women that usually hang out with any guy. And by that he will be transferring diseases, committing adultery, and threatening the family stability. Especially when cheating on the wife becomes habitual with any lady that clicks on his emotion.

4. Case “D”: Family malfunctioning is a wide general problem and is not exclusively a result of polygamy. Moreover, it is because of unwise decisions and acts regardless of the size of the family. A person might find a disordered family though it just consists of: husband, wife, and one child. But, all of its members are conveniently ignorant and irresponsible.

5. Case “E”: Applying that case in the family is a disaster. And, its argument is so weak because what if there is a big family. Or, what if that family consists of more than 5 or 6 members does. Should the wife start aborting lives to control the budget of the family? Even in the case of using lawful birth control ways, it would be forbidden in Islam if they are used because of the fear of poverty. The Muslim, above all, has to rely on God, in any aspect of life , because God is the one that bestowed upon him/her before any one else, and because of His bestowing and wisdom you have the tools and abilities to make money: “Kill not your children for fear of want (poverty): We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you. Verily the killing of them is a great sin” Quran 17:31.Therefore, that case is a big deal for those who really weigh things based on money and materialism but it is not so with pious people if the money where coequally and wisely shared. Nevertheless, money is not everything. The husband who is rich now might be poor tomorrow. And the husband whose job is very good today might be jobless one day. But Moreover, the Muslim, above all, has to rely on God, when he is involved in any thing, because God is the one that bestowed upon him/her before any one else, and because of His bestowing and wisdom you have the tools and ability to make money: “Kill not your children for fear of want (poverty): We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you. Verily the killing of them is a great sin” Quran 17:31.

6. Case “F”: That argument could be used in any big family even if it falls under the Monogamy practice. Organizing the population is fine with Islam as long as no abortion is involved even in the early the development phases when the fetus still in like fertilized egg or zygote. So, a husband who has two families with acceptable number of kids rather than having big family with numerous numbers of children will not threat population.

7. Case “G”: That might sound a fair complain and objection but if we research it and analyze it, it would not be that valid and practical. It is just a utopian objection that is driven by emotional reaction.

First, because Islam considers the husband as the main supervisor in the family though the wife has it important supervisory role: “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Quran 4. 34” It is the husband’s responsibility to find a job, work hard, make money, make the life of his wife and family comfortable and if the wife is working, the money that she makes will be her exclusively and has the full right not to spend it on the husband. Also, while men emotionally -and even physiologically- more rigid and they are more prepared for hard circumstances and environment women usually are more emotional, benign, and sensitive. Such factors, in addition to some others, make the husband more reliable to be in the charge of supervisory.

Second, the wife is more toward one-to-one exclusive loving relation. Her complex emotions make her more comfortable in being dedicated to one person i.e. one husband; especially if she feels that her husband is the person that can offer her protection, love, honesty, and tranquility. And that might me the explanation why usually women are more jealous than men. They, generally speaking, go crazy if they feel or even see the husband looking or talking kindly to another woman.

Third and as described above, the wife-in general-considers emotion as a priority, and if she is getting full attention and love from the husband side, she will not feel comfortable in sharing her emotion with another man nor giving him her body since any physical contact should first pass through the gate of honest, valid emotion. However, some women might not be that way, but as mentioned before the law goes with majority. If there are some special cases then they have to be reviewed by an Islamic Court for proper Islamic solution. On the other hand, the husband, especially in the long run of marriage, might give emotion less attention. He, in general, would be more attracted and attached to physical beauty than emotion; since he sees in that attraction an ultimate satisfaction for his desire. That physiological behavior, which widely seen in men, becomes a threat on the relation with wife if it starts growing or becomes uncontrolled. Since, it will push the husband to have unlawful hidden affairs with other women causing less attention and caring on the wife side. In that situation, when the husband’s sexual desire can not be saturated by just one woman - especially when his wife has pregnancy or menstrual related issues or not emotionally ready when he needs her, what would be the solution?
Fourth, assume the following the husband marries more than one wife and those wives each one of them marries additional husband then what about the children to whom they belong or to whom they listen. And if the husband wants to apply his supervisory role, the wife of two husbands might end up of two contradicted statement .Also, who is going to spend on the family? Overall, a family, like any other healthy organization, can not have two principals or supervisors. Can a person imagine a country directed by two presidents?

So theoretically it might sound good for the wife to have more than one husband, but since Islam considers the husband as the main supervisor of the family it would not be practical at all.

In general, Polygamy is not allowed if it will become a destructive behavior and carelessness. And the husband who is misusing it, he is basically misusing the law. In such case, the impious human is the problem not the law itself.
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Human rights in Islam


By Syed Imad-ud-Din Asad


IT is a popular belief in the West, owing to their deficient knowledge of the Quran and the Traditions of the Prophet (PBUH), that Islam supports values and structures that are incompatible with the principles of human rights. In fact, Islam established the sanctity of human rights and advocated their promotion and enforcement, about 1400 years before the United Nations embodied them in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

If we consider human rights as a yardstick for evaluating civilizations, we would come to the conclusion that the world was not very civilized before the advent of Islam. Though there were great civilizations before Islam, they are held high in regard mainly because of their contributions in the fields of arts and sciences — none of them did anything to place human rights in a permanent manner. Advancement in human rights, if there were any, would derive their legality from a particular ruler whoever is in place and his successor would not be bound to extend them: human rights granted by a ruler could be taken away by another if deemed necessary or expedient.

It was in the 16th and 17th centuries that the western political thinkers and jurists educated the masses about the notions of civil liberties and fundamental rights. This awareness prompted the people to strive for their rights resulting in a bitter series of tussles between the rulers and the subjects. Privileges were stubbornly withheld by the rulers, whereas, the subjects fought vehemently for them. Revolutions took place, and with each revolution the people won a new concession. In this way, through the ordeal of bloodshed and struggle, a growing body of rights developed.

Islam, on the contrary, took a significantly different course. First of all, as God Himself had conferred them, the people did not have to violently snatch these rights from some ruler. Secondly, being the rights ordained by God, human rights cannot be abolished or abrogated by any man or group of men. Every Muslim ruler or government must recognize and enforce them as they are part and parcel of the Islamic faith. If one omits to do so, or denies them, or practically violates them while paying lip-service to them, the verdict of the Quran in such a case is clear and unequivocal: “...And whoever judges not by what Allah has revealed, those are the disbelievers.” (5:44). “...And whoever judges not by what Allah has revealed, those are the transgressors.” (5:47) Some of the rights that Islam declares all human beings should possess are:

Right to life: The Quran upholds the sanctity of human life and accords full protection to it. All forms of manslaughter are regarded as heinous crimes. It is said in the Quran: “...Whoever kills a person, unless it be for manslaughter or for mischief in the land, it is as though he had killed all humanity...” (5:32). “...And kill not the soul which Allah has made sacred except in the course of justice...” (6:152).

Right to equality: Islam disregards discrimination between persons on the basis of colour, race, nationality, nobility of birth, wealth, political status, gender, etc. Superiority of a person is determined only on the basis of piety, righteousness, and moral excellence. In his farewell sermon, the Prophet declared: “Righteous actions are the only mark of distinction and not wealth, birth, or status in life.”

Similarly, the Quran proclaims: “O mankind, We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into tribes and families that you may know each other. Surely the noblest of you with Allah is the (one who is the) most righteous of you. Surely Allah is Knowing, Aware.” (49:13)

Right to justice: Immense stress has been laid by the Quran on the right to seek justice and the duty to perform justice: “...When you judge between people, you judge with justice...” (4:58) “O you who believe, be maintainers of justice...” (4:135) “O you who believe... let not hatred of a people incite you not to act equitably. Be just; that is nearer to observance of duty...”(5:8)

Right to respect: Islam declares that each person, irrespective of his faith, race, gender, or wealth, is worthy of respect. The right to honour and self-respect is inviolable. The Quran says: “And those who malign believing men and believing women undeservedly, they bear the guilt of slander and manifest sin.” (33:58)

“O you who believe, let not a folk deride a folk, perchance they may be better than they (are); nor let women (deride) women, perchance they may be better than they (are); neither defame one another, nor insult one another by nick names. Bad is the name of lewdness after faith... Neither backbite one another...” (49:11,12)

Right to privacy: An individual’s right to domestic and personal privacy has been clearly recognised by the Quran: “O you who believe, enter not houses other than your own houses, until you have asked permission... This is better for you that you may be mindful.” (24:27) “O you who believe, avoid most of suspicion... and spy not...” (49:12)

Right to freedom of religion: In an Islamic state every citizen is free to profess and practise any religion that he has adopted. Individuals and government have been strictly forbidden to interfere in the religious affairs of non-Muslim citizens. It is said in the Quran: “There is no compulsion in religion...” (2:256). “And if thy Lord had pleased, all those who are in the earth would have believed, all of them. Wilt thou then force men till they are believers?” (10:99) “And say: the truth is from your Lord; so let him who please believe, and let him who please disbelieve...” (18:29)

Right to protest against oppression and injustice: Every citizen of the Islamic state has the right to resist and protest against oppression and injustice. There are numerous Traditions of the Prophet in this regard: “Abu Sayeed reported that the Messenger of Allah said, ‘The best jihad is that of one who says a true word before a tyrant’.” (Ibn Majah, Tirmizi, Abu Daud). “Abu Sayeed reported that the Messenger of Allah said, ‘Whoever from among you comes across a certain undesirable thing, must stop it by his hands. If it is not possible for him, he must stop it by his tongue. And if this also is not possible, he must condemn it in his heart — and this is the weakest position of belief’.” (Muslim)

Right to education: The pursuit of knowledge is considered a task of great importance in Islam. It is pointed out in the Quran: “...Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Are those who know equal with those who know not? But only men of understanding will pay heed.” (39:9)

Following are some traditions of the Prophet that describe the significance of education:

“Anas reported that the Messenger of Allah said, ‘Search for knowledge is compulsory upon every Muslim man and woman’.” (Ibn Majah). “Anas reported that the Messenger of Allah said, ‘Whoever goes out in search of knowledge, is in the path of Allah till he returns’.” (Tirmizi).

Right to earn: Islam grants an individual the right to do any lawful work and to pursue any lawful profession for earning his livelihood. The rewards of labour belong to the one who has made the effort. The Quran decrees: “...For men is the benefit of what they earn. And for women is the benefit of what they earn...” (4:32)

The right to earn also implies the right to get a job if one has no employment or occupation. The following Tradition of the Prophet is evident of it: “A man came to the Messenger of Allah and requested for alms. The Prophet said, ‘Have you got anything in your house?’ He replied, ‘Yes, I have a woollen carpet... and a cup...’ The Prophet said, ‘Come to me with both these things.’ The man did so. The Prophet took them and asked the people around him, ‘Who will buy these two?’... A man said, ‘I will take them both for two silver coins.’

The Prophet gave the things to that man and took the coins. He then turned to the man, who had come for help, gave him the coins, and said, ‘Buy food for your family with one of them and buy an axe with the other, then come to me with the axe.’ The man did so. The Prophet fixed a handle to it and said, ‘Go, cut wood and sell it. Come to me after fifteen days.’ When the man came to the Prophet after the prescribed time, he had earned ten silver coins... The Messenger of Allah said to him, ‘This is better for you...’” (Abu Daud)

Following this precedent set by the Prophet, the Islamic state is responsible to provide employment to its citizens if they have none.

Islam has conferred and acknowledged other human rights also. Their details and illustrations can be seen in the Quran, the Traditions, and the teachings of the pious caliphs and other Muslim jurists.
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