Wants, Lofty Truths and Disciplining, Oppression of Women

Issue 914 » September 30, 2016 - Dhul Hijja 29, 1437

Living The Quran

Al-Kahf (The Cave) - Chapter 18: Verse 108

"They shall abide therein, not wishing ever to be removed."

What people want is something they perceive to be better and different than what they presently have. A child wishes to grow up and a mature person wants to be young again. In the end, it is more accurate to say that people do not really know what they want.

Generally, we perceive of abiding in the same place and state of being for a long time as something bad. Therefore, it is significant the Quran mentions that the denizens of Paradise will not wish for any alternative to remaining where they are. As for their state in Paradise, they will have and behold all that they desire. Whenever a want comes to their minds, it will be realised for them.

Compiled From:
"Whining... That Incessant Habit" - Salman al-Oadah

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Lofty Truths and Disciplining

[continued from issue 913]

10. Teaching high and lofty truths (talim al-haqaiq al-aliyah)

As far as the capacity of teaching lofty notions and higher truths is concerned, this pertained to the high ranks of God's Messenger and his closest Companions. An example of it is the report of Abu Dharr, who said: "My beloved said to me: 'O Abu Dharr! Do you see [the mountain of] Uhud?' I said: 'I do!' He said: 'I do not wish that I have the like of Uhud in gold to spend all except for three pieces of gold'." Abu Dharr thought that this was a general command applying to the entire Muslim community, and he therefore warned against accumulating wealth. As we shall see, Uthman, may God be pleased with him, rejected his understanding. [Muslim]

11. Disciplining (tadib)

As for the capacity of disciplining people (tadib), it should be carefully considered, for statements flowing from it might be couched as hyperboles aimed at provoking awe and fear. The jurist ought therefore to distinguish between what is appropriate to be specifically intended as legislation and what is appropriate to be specifically meant as a rebuke and threat, but which none the less falls under legislation by genre, that is, by a general consideration of the idea of disciplining.

This can be illustrated by the Tradition narrated in Sahih Al-Bukhari from Abu Shurayh who said: "God's Messenger said: 'By God! He does not believe! By God! He does not believe!' It was said, 'Who is that, O Messenger of God?' He said: 'The one whose neighbour does not feel safe from his evil.'" Here, the statement is formulated in a threatening manner regarding anyone who causes harm to his neighbour, to the extent that it is feared he would not be among the believers. What is really meant, however, is that such a person is not a true believer.

..... [to be continued]

Compiled From:
"Treatise on Maqasid Al-Shariah" - Ibn Ashur, pp. 46, 47


Oppression of Women

The creation of superstitions and the spreading of ignorant backward beliefs of family traditions, the inherited faulty systems of order along with servitude, the tradition of 'father power' in the community, the lack of psychology, all weave themselves together like a spider's web. And it is this very web which impoverishes the woman within itself. She becomes known as 'someone who is behind the curtain'. All of this occurs in the name of Islam, in the name of religion, in the name of tradition and worst of all, in the name of 'similarity to Fatemeh'.

It is explained to her in terms of chastity and the necessity to nourish her children. I don't know how a person who is herself incomplete and useless, who is missing a part of her brain and who is excluded from literacy, books, education, discipline, thought, culture, civilization and social manners could possibly be worthy of being the nourisher of tomorrow's generation.

Most probably they mean fattening their bodies when they say nourishing their children. What can this weak creature of the house, born to sit behind a curtain without thought or culture, who has not been educated, do for the development of her child? How can she develop her child's sense of completeness? Can she awaken the depths of the spirit within the person? How can she learn to accept the complicated ideas and feelings of her child?

What can she do other than nurse her child and change her baby's diapers? In disciplining her child she can only swear at it or use lewd language or cry or scream or curse her fate. If none of these have any effect, she strikes the fear of an older brother or the father within the child. If this doesn't work, she calls upon the jinn and the angel of death or threatens the basement or the well.

Yes! These are the ways and means of educating and disciplining a child in a system where the only duty of a woman is to nourish her children. It is perfectly natural to think that if she spent her time making use of her cultural and social abilities, if she were to become part of civilization, she would not be able to perform her special mandate which is to bring up children. If she were to develop and nourish her thoughts and her spirit and become aware of the system she is part of, some would obviously conclude that her mandate would suffer.

Thus we see the fate of women in our traditional, conservative society which has had false undertones of religion added to it. She grows up in her father's home without breathing any free air. She goes to her husband's home (her second lord and master) in accordance with an agreement which is made between a buyer and a seller. She is transferred to her husband's house where the marriage license or ownership paper shows both her role and her price. She becomes a respectable servant. A married man means someone who has a servant who works in his house. She cooks food, nurses babies, watches the children and sees to the cleaning and ordering of the house. She manages the inside of the house.

Compiled From:
"Fatemah is Fatemah" - Ali Shariati, pp. 131-135