As a Muslim, I feel that Muslim women should be encouraged more to achieve their full potential. They should be empowered to become successful and influential in every field of life.
We should encourage every Muslim woman to work to achieve Ihsan (excellence) in every field of endeavour, for example science, business, entrepreneurship, voluntary work; instead of trying to stifle the talents and contribution of women – who are half of the population, by asking women to stay at home.
Muslim women should be empowered and enlightened. The Prophet’s (pbuh) wife, Khadija pbuh was a successful and influential business woman. Aisha bint Abu Bakr ra, the wife of the Prophet pbuh taught Muslim scholars and made valuable contributions to Islamic thought and civilisation. These wonderful Muslim women are our role models.
In reference to the argument that women should stay at home to take care of their children and shouldn’t go out to study/work, it is important to note that being well educated and having a successful career will make you more capable of raising children who are higher achievers.
The Ummah and humanity need us to work very hard and contribute to human progress. Muslim women should bring pride and honour to Islam by their pursuit of excellence in every field.
It is quite ironic that a small minority of people still oppose womens’ right to work, learn and contribute to society through activism and voluntary work. The basis of their argument is that women shouldn’t mix with men and shouldn’t be faced with the hardships of life at work. This position is diametrically opposite to the evidence from Islamic history, where Muslim women were so active in the community in every possible way, to the extent that they accompanied armies to nurse the wounded and provide moral support. These Muslim women risked being murdered, tortured and raped if captured by the enemy. Their resolve comes from the inherent values of hard work and contribution in Islam.
Imagine a world where all of our Muslim women are excellent scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs etc. Muslim women are able to achieve the pinnacles of success while being modest. There is nothing wrong with Muslim women interacting with men at work, it can be done while remaining within the bounds of Islam. It is quite evident from the Prophet’s times that Muslim women interacted and were active in the community.
As for raising children, most women are able to balance their responsibilities, especially if they have a husband who helps her at home as the Prophet pbuh used to.
Unfortunately, the world has always been an unfair place for women. Women (whether Muslim or non Muslim) have always had to work harder than men and get less recognition. Women have to juggle the responsibilities of their careers, their family lives and their roles as mothers at the same time. It is difficult and challenging.
Women are so dedicated, selfless, patient, industrious, compassionate and intelligent.
‘He (God) it is he who did create you from a single soul and there from did create his mate, that he might dwell with her (in love ).’ (Quran 7:189)
Take a stand for women. Be the best you can be for all the women in your life. Give them the love, support and encouragement they need to excel and achieve everything they dream of for Islam and humanity. Syeda Aisha, the Prophet’s pbuh grand daughter was a vanguard in activism and voluntary work. Her husband and family supported her work and even financed her charitable establishments.
Empowering women is not merely empowering half of the population. Empowering women means empowering future generations. Today’s women are the mothers of tomorrow’s nation. Our women are our future.
The Prophet PBUH said: “The best among you is the one who is the best towards his wife.”
The Prophet pbuh Muhammad said: ‘Your Heaven lies under the feet of your mother.’ (Ahmad, Nasai)
A man came to the Prophet pbuh and said: ‘O Messenger of God! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship?’ The Prophet said: ‘Your mother.’ The man said, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: ‘Then your mother.’ The man further asked, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: ‘Then your mother.’ The man asked again, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: ‘Then your father.’ (Bukhari, Muslim)
For all those who oppress women or fail to recognise womens’ contributions: shame on you.
(16 Sep 2011 / www.mpacuk.org / 17.07.2012)