9 Haziran 2016 Perşembe

Women are One of the Finest Blessings in This World

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One of the most striking examples of the lovelessness and harshness of the fanatic mindset is these people’s attitude towards women. Because of all the superstition they fabricate, fanatics, who regard women as an inferior species, exclude women from society and are unable even to bear the sight of them on the streets. In the pages that follow we shall be setting out the fanatic attitude toward women, citing various fabricated hadiths on the subject, and then seeing how their false perspective is diametrically opposed to the Qur’an and the true word of our Prophet (pbuh). The fabricated hadiths in question will give a much better idea of the utterly immoral way in which women are oppressed in many Muslim countries.
Underlying the fanatic perspective toward women is the idea that women are deficient in faith and mind. The idea that women are semi-people and need to be governed and directed therefore prevails. For people who think like that, even the very existence of women is a menace and a cause of anger; they therefore feel the need to keep them covered up, excluded from society, deprived of all rights and declared non-persons to the maximum extent possible. They foolishly turn women into second-class citizens and prevent them from making decisions and becoming involved in social matters, and seek to turn them into a community under their own dominion because they know full well that women are quite capable of thinking in great detail, making rational judgments and drawing accurate conclusions by analyzing fine detail. Excluding women by false means has also made it possible for some fanatical types to spread their own falsehoods very easily.
Yet God has revealed that there is no differentiation between men and women in terms of piety and that men and women have equal responsibilities when it comes to doing good works, striving to disseminate moral virtues and waging an intellectual struggle on His path. According to the Qur’an, men and women are equal in terms of responsibility; however, the Qur’an also regards women as superior to men in terms of solicitude and worth, taking great care of them. Some verses which various fanatics and enemies of Islam always seek to portray as evidence against women are actually verses that reveal the superiority of women and the importance and value that our Lord attaches to them. We shall be looking at these verses in detail in due course.
One comparison that our Lord makes regarding women in the Qur’an shows how much He values them; He compares woman to a delicate plant, or a flower. This description of Mary (pbuh) is an explicit corroboration of the importance and value attached to women:
Her Lord accepted her with approval and made her grow in health and beauty [like a beautiful plant] .... (Qur'an, 3:37)
Caring for a lovely flower calls for the very greatest sensitivity. A lovely plant is delicate and valuable and requires great care and attention. That beauty of a flower, its delicacy, the care it needs and its value and importance neatly describe the place of women in the Qur’an. It is a fact that God has created all the plants and flowers in the world as elements of beauty, as delightful blessings, as symbols of cleanliness and beauty and as marvels of creation. The use of such an expression of beauty to refer to women, the way that God compares women with a symbol of cleanliness and beauty, is an excellent representation of the value attached to women.

Women in the Qur’an

A magnificent value is attached to women in those verses of the Qur’an that speak of her, and women are placed under special protection under all circumstances. In terms of responsibility, however, she is regarded as equal to man. A woman is placed under protection therefore, not because she needs that protection, but because she possesses a special value.
In the Qur’an, a woman can work if she pleases, but she is not obliged to work. As we see in the example of the Queen of Sheba, women can even rule over states. As we see in the example of Mary (pbuh), a model for all other women, a woman in the Qur’an is superior in her fortitude and determination at times of difficulty. A woman in the Qur’an is a queen, an entity who must always be given pride of place. In terms of its perspective toward women, the Qur’an is therefore the finest guide for the entire world.
In the time of our Prophet (pbuh), women were involved alongside men in all areas of life. The fact that the blessed wife of our Prophet (pbuh), Khadija (ra), was a well-known and respected businesswoman in the region is an important piece of information in terms of showing the active role that women could play in social life. In the time of our Prophet (pbuh), female and male companions enjoyed equal responsibility in the instruction of people who had newly come to Islam, in the establishment of social order and even in war. The kindness, love, warmth and goodness that our Prophet (pbuh) showed his wives are the finest model for the whole world. It is clear that our lovely Prophet (pbuh), who ran races with his wives, who bent down to help them climb up onto the backs of donkeys, who praised the superiority of women at every opportunity and who rested his head on his wife’s shoulder while watching entertainment, would never permit the dreadful practices of the fanatics. There is also no doubt that by casting doubt on the Companions by fabricating false hadiths in the name of the Messenger of God (pbuh), the fanatics are slandering both him and the Companions and are assuming a heavy responsibility on themselves.
The reason why women in the religion of the fanatics are so different to women described in the Qur’an will immediately become apparent when we examine some fabricated hadiths. A clear and definitive response to each fabricated hadith is also provided from the Qur’an.

Ways that the fanatics slander women

The Idea that Women are Deficient in Intelligence and Faith

John William Godward's oil painting “Rich Gifts Wax Poor When Lovers Prove Unkind,” 1916
O women! You curse frequently, and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. (Sahih Bukhari, Chapter 24, Hadith 541)
God said: … I also make her stupid, although I had created her intelligent, and must make her suffer pregnancy and birth with difficulty …. (The History of Al-Tabari: General Introduction and From the Creation to the Flood, translated by Franz Rosenthal
[State University of New York Press, Albany], Vol. 1, pp. 280-281)
There is no mention in any verse of the Qur’an of women being weaker than men in terms of intelligence. On the contrary, by referring to “believing women and believing men,” God tells us that they have equal responsibility in His Sight; in other words, that they are similar in terms of intelligence and conscience. Moreover, as in the example of the Queen of Sheba, women can even be rulers of states taking decisions on the most important matters. In addition, it is not having a different anatomy that makes a person more intelligent, but their fear of God, love of God, depth of faith and conscience. God always inspires the truth in the conscience of every human being, man or woman. Therefore, what makes people intelligent and devout is not whether they are men or women, but whether they abide by what is revealed to their consciences and, as revealed in this verse,  You who believe! If you fear God, He will give you discrimination [between right and wrong]...” (Qur'an, 8:29) their fear of God: That is the sole measure of intelligence in the Qur’an. Therefore, in the same way that a man is not superior solely for being a man, a woman is not deficient in intelligence and faith simply because she is a woman. However, as we have said many times, the religion of the fanatics is totally different to the Qur’an and is full of slanders. 
The way that they slander God Himself with the fabricated hadiths in question shows the extremes to which the fanatics will go. Nothing along the lines of “... I make her stupid, and must make her suffer pregnancy and birth with difficulty” appears in the Qur'an, so what is the status of these words alleged to be the words of God? Where is this revelation, alleged to have come from God, if it does not appear in the Qur’an? The greatest danger of the religion of the fanatics is that they speak lies in the name of God and are therefore capable of such slander.
Pregnancy is regarded as a sacred state in the Qur’an, for which reason mothers are also regarded as sacred in it. Our Lord’s verses on the subject read:
Hz. Meryem
Sassoferrato's oil painting “The Virgin in Prayer.”
Mary (pbuh) fell pregnant in a miraculous manner by the will of God. Throughout her pregnancy she bore all her difficulties with fortitude, and she was made superior to all the women of all the worlds because of that fortitude and her devotion to God.
We have instructed man concerning his parents. Bearing him caused his mother great debility and the period of his weaning was two years: “Give thanks to Me and to your parents. I am your final destination.” .” (Qur'an, 31:14)
We have instructed man to be good to his parents. His mother bore him with difficulty and with difficulty gave birth to him; and his bearing and weaning take thirty months. Then when he achieves his full strength and reaches forty, he says, “My Lord, keep me thankful for the blessing You bestowed on me and on my parents, and keep me acting rightly, pleasing You. And make my descendants righteous. I have repented to You and I am truly one of the Muslims.”  (Qur'an, 46:15)
Mary (pbuh) became pregnant by the will of God and was patient in the face of all the difficulties she encountered during that pregnancy; because of that fortitude and her devotion to God she has been made superior to all the women of the world:
And when the angels said, “Mary, God has chosen you and purified youHe has chosen you over all other women.” (Qur'an, 3:42)
The Messiah, the son of Mary, was only a messenger, before whom other messengers came and went. His mother was a woman of truth...(Qur'an, 5:75)
In exhibiting their own horrifying ways of thinking about women by talking about “stupidity,” and referring to pregnancy and childbirth as punishments from God, the fanatics are at the same time foolishly insulting Mary (pbuh), the Companions and all other devout women praised for their superior virtues.
anne ve çocuk
William-Adolphe Bouguereau's oil painting “Mother and Children,” 1879
The idea that women are “deficient in mind and faith” is a slander from the religion of the fanatics. God addresses men and women equally in terms of responsibility. This is one of the reasons why many verses are addressed to men and women believers at the same time.
A difficult pregnancy and giving birth in pain is one of the tribulations of this world, and one that requires great fortitude, strength and willpower to bear. God reveals that a mother who displays fortitude in the face of this difficulty is very valuable in His Sight. For that reason, a mother who displays submission to God and love of Him despite all such difficulties is a very superior entity. This value attached to mothers is one of the moral values in the Qur’an.
As we have seen, there are ways in which women are even superior to men in the Qur’an, therefore the idea that they are “deficient in intelligence and faith” is a grotesque slander by the fanatics. God addresses men and women equally in terms of responsibility. That is one the reasons why male and female believers are addressed at the same time in numerous verses. One such verse reads:
Men and women who are Muslims, men and women who are believers, men and women who are obedient, men and women who are truthful, men and women who are steadfast, men and women who are humble, men and women who give the alms, men and women who fast, men and women who guard their private parts, men and women who remember God much: God has prepared forgiveness for them and an immense reward. (Qur'an, 33:35)
As seen in this verse, there is no distinction between men and women when it comes to such basic elements of being a Muslim as fearing God, remembering God, being loyal to God, having fortitude and giving alms; there is not the slightest suggestion in the Qur’an that women possess any less of any of the characteristics of a believer. Whether people are men or women they have a responsibility to fear God with all their might, love Him with a profound passion and earn His approval.

The Idea that Women Are Crooked

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Hadiths and Claims Fabricated to Debase Women

A pious woman among other women is like unto a raven marked with a white leg. (Nahj al-Fasahah, p.20)
One out of 99 women is in paradise, the rest are in hell. (Sahih Bukhari)
O womenfolk, you should give charity and ask much forgiveness for I saw you in bulk amongst the dwellers of hell. ... (Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Hadith 142)
The false hadiths in question make it clear how women are belittled and regarded as second-class citizens in societies made up of fanatics. Following the fabrication of these hadiths, some Islamic communities turned into societies of fear and fanaticism that despised and belittled women and shut them up indoors. Women being regarded as second-class citizens led to communities developing a terrible lack of civilization, cultural deformities, lack of taste and emptiness; the representatives of that fanatic mentality never grew or developed. Many countries in the Middle East today are in the middle of that cultural deformity and lack of quality produced by that terrifying perspective. Yet the religion in the Qur’an is lovely, plain, high-quality and peaceable. 
The fanatics in question have completely failed to grasp that God attaches great value to women, the jewels of paradise, in both this world and the hereafter. Most important of all, they never sought guidance from the Qur’an.
None of the terms in the false hadiths in question appear anywhere in the Qur’an. God described people with impaired morals, who do evil and commit unlawful deeds in detail in the Qur’an, and none of these descriptions say anything about them referring particularly to women.
For example, God reveals in the Qur’an that a great many people will not believe, and that a great many of those who do will ascribe equals to Him:
Alif Lam Mim Ra. Those are the signs of the Book. And what has been sent down to you from your Lord is the Truth. But most people have no faith. (Qur'an, 13:1)
Most of them do not have faith in God without associating others with Him. (Qur'an, 12:106)
In another verse, God reveals that despite His creating all possible means for people to learn from, the majority of people still do not learn, but continue with the same moral degeneration:
We have variegated it for them so they might pay heed but most people spurn anything else but disbelief.(Qur'an, 25:50)
As we have seen, neither these nor any other verses of the Qur’an say anything about people with poor morals and behavior being women, in the way that fanatics allege. People who behave immorally are not classified on the basis of their gender in any verse. There is nothing in any verse saying that women are more immoral or less women will enter paradise any less. The information in false hadiths is all fraudulent and fabricated in order to spread hostility toward women. The Qur’an absolutely and definitively refutes the false hadiths in question.

The Idea that Women are a Barrier to People Living by the Faith

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John William Godward'nun "The Peacock Fan" adlı yağlı boya tablosu, 1912
Were there no women, God would be worshiped properly. (Suyuti, Sahih Bukhari, Ibn-i Adiyy, Abu Khatim, Ibn-i Jawzi, Muhammed Nasuriddin and Ibn-i Hibban all accept this hadith.) (Silsilat al-Ahadisuzzaif: 74, Tenzihusharia: 1/62, Al-Leali: 2/59)
Were it not for women, all men would go to paradise. (Ibn-i Arrak and As-Saqafi do not accept the hadith. [Jamiussaghir: 2/113])
Let us first of all recall one very important point; the misogynistic mindset described in the false hadiths appears absolutely nowhere in the Qur’an.
Moving on to the content of the fabricated hadiths above, it is not women or other blessings of this world that prevent people who are weak in, or devoid of faith, from living by religious moral values, but their own weakness of conscience, mind and will. God has created this world as a test. In the same way that people are tested throughout their lives with troubles, difficulties, diseases and weaknesses, so they are also tested by blessings and good things. Women are one of the blessings and jewels of this world. Like every blessing, however, how that blessing is evaluated depends on the moral values of the person possessing that blessing. God reveals in the Qur’an that the blessings of this world are created as a test:
To mankind the love of worldly appetites is painted in glowing colors: women and children, and heaped-up mounds of gold and silver, and horses with fine markings, and livestock and fertile farmland. All that is merely the enjoyment of the life of this world. The best homecoming is in the Presence of God. (Qur'an, 3:14)
Like women, children, gold, silver, splendid animals, farmland and wealth are all blessings of this world and provided for people to enjoy. However, a person who has faith will also be aware that all these blessings really belong to God, that all the blessings found in this world are transitory, and that the most and finest forms of all blessings are to be found in paradise. None of these blessings therefore turn such people away from God or prevent them striving on His path. If a person falls into heedlessness on account of any of these blessings and no longer seeks God’s approval in all things, then this is something stemming from his own weakness of faith; it is not the fault of the blessings, but of the person himself. It is therefore the person himself who will have to face the consequences, so long as he does not correct himself. It will do no good to a person trying to blame someone else in the hereafter.
Therefore, a man who seeks to hold women responsible, on the basis of these false hadiths, for all his own errors, sins and evil deeds, is merely deceiving himself. According to the Qur’an, faith means that a person must serve God properly, no matter what the conditions or circumstances. Nobody will be able to use the idea that, “I was unable to worship properly because of women” as an excuse in the hereafter. As we are told in a verse, “... man will be clear proof against himself in spite of any excuses he might offer” (Qur'an, 75:14-15)  In other words, no matter what excuses a person may come up with, he is still perfectly aware of the truth. Some people who blame women for their own lapses on the basis of these false hadiths are of course perfectly well aware that they are being hypocritical and making up the whole idea up. Ignoring the fact in this world will change nothing in the Presence of God, where “...Every self will be paid in full for what it earned. They will not be wronged.” (Qur'an, 3:25)

The Idea that One Should Never Be Guided by Women

Never will succeed such a nation as makes a woman their ruler. (Sahih Bukhari, Book 88, Hadith 219)
Obedience to women is regrettable. (Nahj al-Fasahah, p. 35)
Seek women’s advice, and then do the exact opposite of what they say." (Al-Maqasid al-Hasana: 248, Tazkirat al-Mawzuat: 128, Tenzihus Sharia: 2-204, Silsilat al-Ahadith: 432)
Do not seek women’s advice, but oppose them. Oppose them, because prosperity lies in opposition to women. (Religious Information for Women 44,45 Suyuti, al-Laali II, 147; Ibn Arrak, Tenzihus Sharia II, 210)
Whoever obeys his wife, God will cast him face down into hell. (Ibn Arrak II, 215) 
People who entrust the administration of their affairs to a woman will never be saved (prosperous). (Nahj al-Fasahah, p. 188)
Ruin is the end of men who obey women. (Nahj al-Fasahah, p. 203)
Those who are under the reign of women will not reach salvation. (Nahj al-Fasahah, p. 271)
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John William Godward's oil painting “The Bouquet,” 1899
And to recite the Qur’an.’ Whoever is guided is only guided to his own good; if someone is misguided just say, ‘I am only a warner.’ (Quran 27:92)
Woman in the Qur'an can be a head of state, a ruler, and can make decisions and issue commands regarding business. Woman in the religion of the fanatics is the exact opposite of the nature of woman in the Qur'an.
As we have seen, one of the most important reflections of the way in which fanatics despise women is their fervent wish never to see them in positions of authority. They are therefore opposed to women rulers; they are even against the notion of women being consulted at all. They have this idea that everything women think and everything they do is wrong. This is part of their unpleasant stratagem of excluding women from society. The fabricated hadiths above have also served that end and in many countries fanatical communities in which such perverse ideas prevail and which are hostile to women have formed. Yet that mentality is diametrically opposed to the practices of our Prophet (pbuh) in the Qur’an, and is in manifest conflict with Islam.  
For example, as the peddlers of superstition spread the foolish idea that “Never will succeed such a nation as makes a woman their ruler,” God cites the Queen of Sheba, a female ruler, in the Qur’an. Despite all the superstition about “not consulting women,” the Queen of Sheba was the sole ruler who made all the final decisions on matters of state. Verses report the leadership qualities of the Queen of Sheba as follows:
However, it was not long delayed, and then it said, “I have comprehended something you have not and bring you accurate intelligence from Sheba. I found a woman ruling over them who has been given everything. She possesses a mighty throne.” (Qur'an, 27:22-23)
That is how the Queen of Sheba, a female ruler who governed her people, was described to the Prophet Solomon (pbuh). After the Prophet Solomon (pbuh) had sent the Queen of Sheba a letter of invitation, she consulted the leading members of her people who sent the following reply:
They said, “We possess strength and we possess great force. But the matter is in your hands so consider what you command.” (Qur'an, 27:33)
As we have seen, in the Qur’an women can rule states and be rulers and have their decisions and commands enforced. The conceptions of women in the religion of the fanatics and the Qur’an are totally at odds with one another.
When fanatics shamelessly insult women through these false hadiths, they are unaware that they are also insulting Mary (pbuh), the devout female believers in the Qur’an, the blessed wives of our Prophet (pbuh) and his female Companions. It must not be forgotten that a mentality that so despises women turns that contempt toward all women.
We can clearly see how different the lives of the fanatics is from the Qur’an when we look at the position of women in the time of our Prophet (pbuh):
For example, the wife of the Prophet (pbuh), Khadija (ra) was one of the wealthiest merchants of Mecca. She sent trading caravans to Damascus and employed people for that purpose. In the Medina period, women worked as leather workers, manufacturers of thread, weavers, pharmacists, tailors and perfume sellers and took an active part in all spheres of life. Women took part in wars alongside men, and even served in the front line when necessary.
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John William Godward's oil painting “Autumn,” 1900
Women in the time of the Prophet (pbuh) provided for their households and had a voice in the family life; our Prophet (pbuh) praised these activities.
Raita bint Abdillah says to the Prophet (pbuh): "O Messenger of God, I am a craftswoman. My husband (Abdullah ibn Masud) and my child have nothing; I sell the products I make with my own artistry" and asks whether her expenditure on her family will earn merit. The Prophet (pbuh) replies, “Of course there is merit in your expenditure on them.” (Ibn Sa'd, Kitab al-Tabaqat, VIII, 290; Abu Nu’aym, Hilya, II, 69; Ibn al-Asir, Usd al-Gaba, VII, 121.) 
As we have seen, the women of the time of our Prophet (pbuh) provided for their households and had authority in the life of the family; our Prophet (pbuh) praises their efforts.
Quayba bint Sa'd, of the people of Aslam tribe, is reported to have treated the sick and injured in the time of our Prophet (pbuh); in other words, women in the time of the Prophet (pbuh) worked as doctors. Indeed, Asma bint Umais, a highly intelligent, educated and experienced women who migrated to Abyssinia (present-day Ethiopia), is known to have been a very good doctor. Ummu Salama says that Asma bint Umais made medicine for the Prophet (pbuh) from "plants and olive oil brought from India and Yemen.” That account also says that Asma learned to make that drug in Abyssinia.(Ibn Sa'd, Kitab al-Tabaqat, II, 236.)
The names of some of the women who sold attar of flowers in Medina in the time of our Prophet (pbuh) are known. One of these, Mulayka Ummu as-Saib al-Saqafiyya, entered into the presence of the Prophet (pbuh) in order to sell scents; this clearly shows us that women in the time of our Prophet (pbuh) worked as sales people.
The position of the female companions who took part in battles alongside all other Muslims is described as follows in one of the accounts that set the matter out quite perfectly:
“Polytheists who took advantage of the negligence of the believers entered in such a way that a group of 10-12 people charged with protecting the Messenger of God had to also enter the fighting. At one moment our Prophet (pbuh) was left alone, with only Nasiba with him. That isolation lasted 40-50 seconds. One of the polytheists seized the moment and attacked, but Nasiba slew him with her sword. A second polytheist attacked the Messenger of God. That polytheist was double-armored. No matter how much she struck, she could not kill him. She received a sword blow from her shoulder to her lower back. Other believers then arrived and neutralized that unbeliever. Those few seconds were so important! Nasiba received 11 wounds at Uhud. Yet she never left until the end of the battle.
As we have seen, in stark contrast to the false hadiths, women in the time of the Prophet (pbuh) were present in even the most crucial places such as the battlefield. Female companions occupied such eminent positions as protecting the Prophet (pbuh) in battle. The way that our Prophet (pbuh) regarded it as appropriate for women to assume the role of protecting him in such a dangerous and life-threatening situation is an important indication of how much he trusted the intelligence and conscience of the female companions in question.
Not only male believers, but also female believers are addressed in the verse “You who believe! Do not say, ‘Ra’ina’ [be our shepherd], say, ‘Undhurna’ [watch over us] ...” (Qur'an, 2:104). In this verse, women, as well as men, are advised not to say “be our shepherd.” This means that in the Qur’an, women are not regarded as entities needing to be looked after and governed by men because of their weakness of mind, but on the contrary as strong, intelligent people, capable of standing on their own two feet and whose conscience is to be trusted. However, many people in some Islamic countries that have been shaped by these false hadiths that have been brought in over the course of centuries are devoid of that conception: Therefore, when we say, “Men and women enjoy the same rights in the Qur’an,” those who vehemently deny that knowingly or unknowingly rebel against God’s verses.
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In the Qur'an, a woman is regarded as a person who can stand on her own feet, who is strong, sensible and intelligent and whose conscience can be trusted.