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Today's Reminder

December 16, 2019 | RabiÊ» II 18, 1441

Living The Quran

Gender Differences
Al-Baqara (The Cow) - Chapter 2: Verse 282 (partial

"... And bring to witness two witnesses from among your men. And if there are not two men [available], then a man and two women from those whom you accept as witnesses - so that if one of the women errs, then the other can remind her ... "

No one argues about “biological differences,” or about the fact that “equality” should not mean necessarily “similarity.” Some may believe in “differences of functions” between men and women, but such differences are not to be interpreted necessarily in terms of superiority and inferiority. When the Quran requires two women to substitute a man in witnessing a credit, this does not imply any devaluation of the physical or moral abilities of a woman but it just refers to the fact that women in many cases, may be less familiar with business procedures - especially the detailed specifies and legal aspects - than men, and therefore they may be more liable for errors in this respect. Accordingly, it may be wise to make sure that “if one of them should make a mistake, the other could remind her.” This fact can still be noticed in many societies now, but it does not mean that a businesswoman, a female accountant or lawyer cannot equal a man as a witness.

Moreover, physical inconveniences through which women go through such as menstruation, pregnancy and childbirth, may not be considered always as crippling obstacles for their positive role in the society. Unless women are able physically, intellectually and morally to fulfill the comprehensive social responsibilities of enjoying what is right and forbidding what is wrong, the divine justice would not let them have such obligations. Early Muslim women were active with men side by side even in the battlefield, according to their abilities and to the community’s needs.

Women played their social role throughout history without being restricted by their physical particulars. Going out of the house for work or for any social activity and being involved in other responsibilities beyond the family, may help the woman physically and psychologically to overcome these physical inconveniences, and it also widens and enriches her knowledge and experience.

Modern progress in science and technology can allow the women better chances in carrying out her family and social responsibilities in difficult circumstances and overcoming physical inconveniences. However, the most painful of the menstrual period may often be one day or two, and such a short time should never justify a permanent ban on the social activities of women that are repeatedly emphasized by Islam.

In addition, one should not ignore the physical and psychological needs of women to practice their constructive role in the society, nor the positive effect of social experience on a woman even in her role as a wife and a mother. Physical activity is essentially needed for a pregnant woman before, during and after delivery. A paid delivery-vacation can be secured for a working woman by law, and she can have a leave of absence from her work for a certain time to take care of the baby if she wishes, while she maintains the right to resume work when she feels that she becomes able to do so. Crèches and nurseries-with qualified staff- can be available in the place of work or close to it. So as to allow a working mother to be with her baby whenever this is possible or necessary.

As for the housework and the childcare, this is not a permanent full-time work for a woman all her life. Many families may prefer to have a few children to fulfill for them the high ethical and educational standards required by the teaching of Islam. The mother care that the children need becomes less when they reach a certain age. Moreover, the man has to help his wife in the housework, as the Prophet and the Companions did. The housework and even nursing the baby are not legal obligations of the woman according to Sharia, but voluntary contributions to the family that have to be practiced only by her consent. When children grow up, a mother would have more time and energy to study, work or practice social activities.

Compiled From:
"Muslim Women - The Family and the Society" - Fathi Osman, pp. 29-31

From Issue: 803 [Read original issue]

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Reprieve

"Surely God grants wrongdoers, the oppressor, a reprieve. But once He seizes him, He utterly destroys him."
[Bukhari, Muslim]

God gives the wrongdoers some time to repent and amend their behaviour. If they do not take advantage of this opportunity, He punishes them severely.

God sometimes uses wrongdoers to punish the sinful. This happens when God wills to punish them before the Day of Judgment. For example, after the Muslims split into many competing factions nine centuries ago and deviated from Islam, they were exposed to the Mongol invasion and massacre.

Compiled From:
"The Messenger of God: Muhammad" - Fethullah Gulen, p. 117

From Issue: 650 [Read original issue]

Blindspot!

Displeasure with Blame

Blame is not something we would naturally embrace. It runs against human nature to love it. But the problem is when the fear of blame is coupled with the urgent desire for praise and approval by others, which is often the case. Being concerned with "creation's opinion" places a barrier between a person and the station of ihsan, excellence in worship. This is considered a disease because the result is guiding one's actions in deference to the praise of people or in an attempt to avoid their blame or disapproval, irrespective of the integrity and soundness of one's actions.

If one worries about how people will receive him when he practices his faith, this can stop him from performing obligations. The fear of blame interferes with faith. Deeds that are done for the sake of God cannot share other intentions, namely, pleasing people or seeking their favour. Doing something for the sake of God is the manifestation of strong faith. Whether someone praises you or not is entirely inconsequential.

Compiled From:
"Purification of The Heart" - Hamza Yusuf, pp. 131-133

From Issue: 573 [Read original issue]