In the face of the scourge of gender-based violence, JASMINE KHAN writes that one needs to turn to the Quran and Sunnah for solutions
IN view of the ongoing and escalating rise in incidents of violence against women, there have been many talks and programmes attempting to address the issue.
There has been extra emphasis placed on how we raise our children and the way boys and girls are physically different. Parents are cautioned to be extra vigilant when children play together, and watch that their natural curiosity does not cross the line.
The reasons why men abuse women, and women remain silent have received a lot of attention. However, there still remain the women who are in abusive situations and are unable to find help.
As Muslims, we turn to the Quran and Sunnah for answers. We know these things but, somehow and somewhere along the way, we have lost the ability to apply these facts, either through forgetfulness on the part of the woman and, possibly, disregard on the part of the man.
Consider the following:
- One of the instructions of Rasoolullah (SAW) during his last sermon was that women should be treated kindly. ‘O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under a trust from Allah and with His permission.’ [From the last sermon of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).]
- The Quran has a surah specifically detailing how women should be treated. The first line of Surah Al Nisa spells this out clearly: ‘O humankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate, and from the two has spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your duty towards Allah in whom you claim (your rights) of one another, and toward the wombs (that bore you). Lo! Allah has been a watcher over you.’
- The Arabic word for womb is ‘raheem’, one of the attributes of Allah, and it means ‘continuous mercy’. Allah chose women to bring into the world Allah’s creation. This shows just how highly women are revered.
- Women comprise half of society and give birth to and raise the other half.
- Women are so precious that Allah has ordained the hijab for them as a protection.
- We should bear in mind that the first person who believed in Rasoolullah (SAW) was a woman, Khadijah (RA).
- At a time when society looked down on widows, Rasoolullah (SAW) married Khadijah and said she was one of the four greatest women ever created.
- When society said you cannot marry outside of your class, he (SAW) married Safiyya, who was a Jewess and she became the mother of the believers. When society taught racism and made people feel ugly because of the colour of their skin, he spoke about an African woman and referred to her as ‘my mother after my mother’.
- When society said that women have no worth, he said that Paradise lies under the feet of the mother, and a daughter is a means for her father to enter Jannah.
- He (SAW) said that a wife completes half the religion of her spouse; and the best of men in religion are those who are the best to their women.
- When culture said that women should remain ignorant, he taught Aisha (RA) and Umm Salama (RA) and they became the greatest of all scholars and teachers.
It is necessary for us, as women, to take ownership of this great favour, privilege, honour and blessing from Allah.
It is imperative that both men and women know and internalise what our Creator specifically says about creation:
‘And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed, in that are signs for a people who give thought.’ (Quran 30:21)
Allah addresses us in the Quran in numerous places as ‘those who reflect’. We have to look within ourselves and ponder; we need to ask the very important question: ‘Do I deserve this?’
When we decide on the answer, we have to resolve to do something about it. Women in abusive relationships are afraid to speak up for a variety of reasons – fear of being judged, embarrassment or believing that they, for whatever reason, deserve it.
No one deserves to be disrespected, and whether it is physical, emotional or financial, it is still abuse and unacceptable. People who destroy another person’s self-worth and inflict injury to body and soul must be exposed. We are all responsible for each other; men, women and religious leaders must rally to the defence of our abused sisters.
The Quran and Hadith are filled with references about the status of women and how they should be honoured. I have done the research for you, and if you want, the information can be used either for talking to the perpetrator or to the imam or shaikh you have consulted or to the family for mediation.
To obtain the information, email the author at: firstname.lastname@example.org
This article first appeared in the September 2020 print edition of Muslim Views.