Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Responsibility not Superiority
Al-Nisa (The Women) Chapter 4: Verse 34 (partial)
"Men shall take care of women with what God has bestowed on the former ..."
This verse does not state a "superiority" of man over woman; rather it explains the "responsibility" of a man for sustaining the family. Since the woman is physically restricted from earning a living during the late stage of her pregnancy and the first year - or more- of her child's life, it is essential to show who is responsible for supporting the wife, mother and the children. This is the "care" that is mentioned in the above verse of the Quran. In Arabic, the verb (qama) with the preposition (‘ala) means to "take care of".
But, this responsibility of taking a care of "qawama," is within the family as the Qur'anic verse shows clearly, and cannot be extended to be a general rule in the whole society. Besides, the man's obligation to support the family does not contradict or restrict the woman's right to work if she likes to do so, and a coordinated timetable for both spouses can be reached after a constructive discussion that ends in mutual consent. When a man does not work and cannot secure for himself and his family a decent living for any reason, he cannot assume "qawama" just because he is related to the gender of men. However, his wife who works and earns money and secures for the whole family its needs should treat the non-workingman respectfully. Each believer - male or female - has to observe the divine teachings in mutual relations, whether one may be more or less powerful. This is the main difference between a God-conscious society and a jungle of selfish materialist.
A view that makes a man superior to a woman because he is physically 'stronger' lacks the support of the Quran and authentic Sunna. The divine sources mention "care" and "responsibility" within the family, but not superiority. Muslim men and women are equal in their individual and social responsibilities. They have to support each other in maintaining human rights and attaining moral and material development of each and of the whole society, being in charge (protectors) of one another and of the whole society "awaliya", and enjoining the doing of what is right and forbidding the doing of what is wrong.
Compiled From:
"Muslim Women - The Family and the Society" - Fathi Osman, pp. 27, 28

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Standing Up
"Every one of you should desist from walking with every traveler. He should not say that he is with the people, and that if people would do good deed, he would also do the good deeds; and that if they would do wicked deeds then he would cooperate with them. You should prepare yourself to cooperate with them if they do righteous deeds and to keep away if they do wicked deeds." (Tirmidhi)
When faith finds a place in a man's heart and takes deep roots in it, it fills a man's heart and mind with such power and strength that cover and influence all his dealings. Accordingly, when he opens his mouth, he talks with confidence and certainty. When he undertakes a work, he attends to it with full interest and sincerity. When he starts on a journey, his destination is before his eyes. If he enjoys the wealth of the correct and firm thinking, the world of the heart too is inhabited by the enthusiasm and restless courage. Hesitation and ambivalence do not find a place in his heart, and high-velocity winds do not move him from his path or make him deviate from his objective.
However, one who is weak, the current customs and habits make one their slave. On such a man's conduct rule the things which are current in the society. If these customs and practices are wrong and destructive, then he carries the burden of the troubles of this world as well as of the next.
Among the people, various kinds of innovations have become customary on the occasions of celebrations and mourning. They pay more attention to performing these innovative acts than on the realities of the religion.
But a straight-going believer does not take any interest in these things, for which there is no supportive proof in religion. He is confronted with opposition and experiences difficulties in opposing the popular and customary rituals, but it is obvious that he need not care for any condemnation from anybody in the affairs of Allah. He has to achieve his ideal. No weapon of criticism and fault-finding and no injuries from tongue can obstruct his way.
Compiled From:
"Muslim's Character" - Muhammad Al-Ghazali

Having prescribed punishments and imposed strict and meticulous, though not impossible, conditions of evidence, Islam has built in a whole range of principles and precepts which reflect not a frenzied desire to flog and stone but a compassionate urge to avoid and eschew. Islam does not allow either the state or individuals to spy upon people unless well-founded suspicion exists that a crime is being committed or a fellow human being's rights or interests are in jeopardy. Nor is it obligatory to report every crime. Where possible, settlements outside court are preferred. The punishment is swiftly over; the guilty man and his family do not have to live with the kind of lengthy public stigma that they would have had to endure in the case of a prison sentence at the end of a trial. The imposition of divinely prescribed hudud enhance, and do not diminish, the individual’s dignity and stature in society and before God.
As to the alleged cruelty of physical penalties, one wonders if to deprive a man of his freedom - his most precious and valuable possession - and his right to act and continue to make moral choices, to live with his family, to work and support them is not more cruel. Indeed, a prison term can inflict untold misery on innocent people whose lives are intertwined with the life of the prisoner. Prison becomes a school for hardening criminal behavior and a breeding ground for recidivism. Why should it be considered more cruel for a man found drug trafficking to be given ten lashes than to be sent to languish in prison for, say, ten years.
Why does Islam want to punish and not reform? The question is fallacious, for in Islam every institution of society is value oriented and owes a responsibility towards the moral development of every person from the cradle to the grave. Reform is therefore a pre-crime responsibility and not a post-crime syndrome and nightmare. Islam makes every effort to ensure that inducement to commit crime is minimal. Once the crime is committed, the best place for reform is in the family and in society, where a criminal is to live after punishment, and not in a prison where every inmate is a criminal; unless of course a society considers itself to be more corrupt and less competent to effect reform than a jail! Against this, the ‘modern, enlightened’ approach is to provide every inducement to crime by building a society based on conspicuous consumption; to make society, education and every other institution ‘value – free’ and then to try to reform a criminal by segregating him and keeping him in a prison.
Compiled From:
"Shariah - The Way to Justice" - Khurram Murad

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