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Loving God – The True Meaning محبت الہی کا حقیقی مفہوم Al-Hidayah 2010 Place : Warwick University, UK Dated : 07-08-2010
Loving God – The True Meaning by Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr. Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri
Al-Hidayah UK 2010
Extract from “Restoring Balance Faith, Law and Courage to Love (Al-Hidayah 2010)”
Download Book Link http://www.minhajbooks.com/english/control/btext/bid/263
Extract from Restoring Balance Faith, Law and Courage to Love (Al-Hidayah 2010)
Extract from Restoring Balance Faith, Law and Courage to Love (Al-Hidayah 2010)
Host (Question 5)
Let us take this topic forward and ask him when did women in the Western world get rights as a legal person as opposed to what he has said so far?
I wanted you to ask me this question so that I should elaborate upon it. So you have rightly raised this question. I have already told about the awarding of rights to women with the raising of the Holy Prophet (saw) and revelation of the Holy Quran. Today a lot of noise is made in the western world, Here is my book entitled as “Human Rights in Islam”. I am referring it to people so that they could study it. It comprises about 800-850 pages. There is a full chapter on women rights here because this book deals with the broader theme of human rights. Now just think that Islam gave women rights some 1500 years ago and the struggle for women rights in Britain got underway in 1897. There is a relative of ours, Madam Khudija. She is a sister-in-law of my daughter-in-law, Baji Ghazala. She converted to Islam from Christianity. Her grandmother was the leader of this movement. The struggle for rights started in 1897 and women got these rights in 1918. Even right to vote which Islam has granted 1500 years ago was given as a result of voting in House of Commons with 385 favouring it and 55 still opposing this proposition. Women got right to vote through Representation of People’s Act with the condition that women above 30 years of age would be able to vote. Women under 30 were still denied this right to vote. This is about the British history.
Now let us come to the US. Declaration of Independence was issued in 1776 and from that year till 1920, no rights were given to women and they kept struggling for their rights. They finally got right to vote through 19th Constitutional Amendment in the US. Explaining Declaration of Human Right, the scholars like James Burn and John Blum, authors of ‘Government by the People’ and ‘National Experience’ respectively have opined thus:
“Declaration refers to men or him not women” and “In the early America, men would not accept them equals”. Women were accepted as legal person and granted right to vote in 1920.
Afterwards, struggle started in France on February 7, 1848 and after continuous efforts of 100 years, women finally got right to vote in 1944 in this century in which all of us were born. I am closing my book. I have given a complete history of 144 countries in this regard along with the dates as to which country gave women rights when. This is the situation of the western world. In Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, and Japan, women got right to vote in 1907, 1921, 1948, and 1945 respectively. I have listed down 144 countries. Women in Islam got rights without any effort for which western women had to struggle for 200 years.
Host (Question 2)
Doctor sahib! Two terms are very ear-catching and attractive in your discussion so far and I would like you to throw more light on them. These relate to moderation and modern presentation of Islam. What is modern perception of Islam? Has Islam undergone changes?
This is a basic question and you have very rightly raised it. Whatever be the religion, it has two basic aspects. One is the basic structure, which has fundamental principles. These basic principles of Islam have neither changed nor will they change in any time to come. What I mean by it is the Holy Qur’an. Whatever is mentioned in the Holy Book and Sunna forms an eternal guidance and whatever is celestial guidance would stay intact till the Day of Judgment because it is not man-made law. The characteristic of man-made law is that it gets outdated with the passage of time. Since human mind and vision cannot perceive the requirements and changes, which would come about after 100 years, so as soon as changes happen in human society, man-made laws continue to change in order to meet the changing requirements for survival.
God-made law is permanent and immutable. It never changes. It is neither corrupted nor distorted. Its original text remains preserved as is the case with the Holy Qur’an and Hadith. They are preserved in their original form till today because that is based upon the revelation of Allah. Allah Almighty is the Creator of humanity and the Provider of guidance. So when He furnishes guidance, He caters to the needs of humanity in advance. That is why basic principles do not change.
The second angle pertains to its interpretation and execution. Circumstances continue to register changes in various societies and languages in different parts of the world. Human life also experiences continuous evolution. Social norms and values are changing. Political, economic, sociological and ecological factors are undergoing changes now. A religion, which cannot address the demands of changing circumstances, becomes outdated. Islam is not a religion to be outdated. It is a combination of the modern and the ancient. The Islamic teachings cater to the needs of modern-day society in a satisfactory manner.
After the Holy Qur’an and Sunna, Ijtihad is the third source of Islamic law. There is a form of collective Ijtihad today and if collective consensus among contemporary scholars and jurists is achieved on any given matter, it is called ‘Ijma’. And if it is individual opinion of a competent Mujtahid, it is called analogy. There are further kinds of Ijtihad, and Qiyas. Some are custom-based, others are necessity-based. Many terms like ‘Istehsan’, ‘marsala’ and ‘istuswab’ are used. These are the ways in Islamic law allowing for reinterpretation in accordance with the changing circumstances. They admit of the space for evolution and a new interpretation to respond to complex challenges in changed circumstances. But the Holy Qur’an and Sunna would continue to provide the basis for every new such module of interpretation and reconstruction. It would have to be in the light of the Quranic text and Sunna.
That is why four or five major interpretations of Islamic law have come into being. In Islamic jurisprudence, they are called ‘fiqa’-e-Hanfi, Malki, Shafii and Hambli and the fifth jurisprudential school of thought has come into being in the form of fiqa-e-Jafria. All of these schools of thought have the same origin, same Islam, the same Qur’an and Sunna. Now these schools of thought came into being with a view to meeting demands of contemporary age as I just told you so. This point can be further illustrated by an example of Pakistani Constitution. This is a federal document aimed at running the whole country. But under the federation, there are four provinces with separate legislatures, enactments and rules. But all of these rules and regulations are subject to the basic constitutional document called Constitution. There is no conflict between provincial laws and rules and federal laws. These rules only help in enforcing the government’s writ in accordance with its own peculiar conditions. The Assembly interprets the Article of the Constitution in keeping with requirements of Punjab or Sindh or NWFP or Baluchistan and enforces it as the case may be. There is always a space for reinterpretation. In the similar manner, Ijtihad is such a legal device because of which reconstructive spirit stays intact.
Host (Question 4)
Islam is a complete code of life. Every person has his own set of rights in the society. We talk to Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri sahib about these rights. Dr Sahib! What does Islam say about rights of women?
Let me clarify at the outset that Islam is not a religion but a Din (a complete way of life). There is a lot of difference between religion and Din. Religion is a part, while Din is a whole. But chief characteristic of Islam is that it incorporates all aspects in its body politic from the religious and spiritual to the secular and temporal and from the collective to the individual. That is why this faith is comprehensive code of conduct. This question of yours is also very interesting as to what is the position of women in Islam?
You should keep this in your mind that Islam is the first religion of human history that not only gave rights to woman some fifteen hundred years ago but also accepted her to be a legal person. And if you further ask I would give you comparative study as well. But from the Islamic angle, formal rights were given to women in the Holy Quran. Two verses of the Holy Book describe equality of rights between man and woman in domestic, social and economic domains. One is categorical declaration of human rights. It is not merely declaration but there is equality of rights described for both genders. There are hundreds of verses of the Holy Quran where rights of women have been recognized. This was the time when no culture or civilization of the world could think of such things in such a large-hearted manner. No country ever gave rights to its women after 1300 years which Islam bestowed on them at that time. Political rights are part of these rights.
During the caliphate of Hazrat Umer (ra), the women used to be members of parliament. It has been mentioned in many books of Hadith and history that he wanted to present a bill about limiting the dower when he was the Commanders of the Believers. He wanted to fix a maximum limit of such a dower in the parliament. A woman member stood up in opposition saying that if Allah did not fix any limit on it, how come he could do it. Hazrat Umer asked her to present evidence in support of her viewpoint. She recited a verse of the Holy Quran. ‘In case of separation, you cannot take back as a downer even if you have given her heaps of gold.’ This was a jurisprudential point. The word ‘heaps of gold’ denotes that no limit has been fixed on dower. At this, Hazrat Umer said as the head of state that man kept sitting in error and a woman gave correct opinion. As a result, he withdrew his bill from parliament. I have given all references in great detail in my book ‘Human Rights in Pakistan’.
When election of Hazrat Usman Ghani (ra) took place, it is reported in books like ‘Tabqat Ibne Saad’, ‘Tibri’, ‘Ibne Kathir that there was a vote tie in parliament. General elections followed and Huzrat Abdur Rehman Bin Auf was appointed Chief Election Commissioner. It is categorically stated that both men and women voted for three days. This was right to vote. The Holy Prophet (saw) himself included women in the important national affairs during the Caliphate period including defence duties. He would have them during Holy War, and journey. The incident of Hudbayia is an important epoch in Islamic history. When crisis arouse and ugly situation was created, the Holy Prophet (saw) consulted Hazrat Ume Salama (ra) and it was upon her advice that the Prophet (saw) decided to move on.
The role of women was such as Hazrat Ayesha (ra) was teacher of 8000 companions who learnt knowledge of Hadith from her. She was expert of literature, medicine, history, Hadith and law. In the similar way, Hazrat Umsan Ghani (ra) appointed Hazrat Umme Kalsoom Bint Ali (ra) as ambassador and sent her to the court of the Empress of Rome during his Caliphate. Hazrat Umer (ra) appointed Hazrat Shifa Bint Abdualla as the justice of Accountability Court and administrator of market. Women would play their role in diplomacy, politics and as advisors. They performed their role quite actively in other spheres too. Islam gave them respect and other kinds of rights like evidence rights, domestic rights, economic rights, business and trade rights etc. They were given political rights to vote and be elected to parliament, whereas western world was mired in darkness. I will tell about it later on.
They were given equality in rights as men. In his Farewell Address, the Holy Prophet (saw) urged believers to mete out good treatment to women three times repeatedly so much so that he said that a woman enjoyed a share in man’s earning. For It is man’s responsibility to provide for for living, maintenance and food of his wife according to Islamic teachings. This is so because Islam prefers family system. But if a woman does some job and earns, it is her discretion whether to share it with her husband or spend it on domestic needs. If she does not spend even a penny, it is not sinful on her part. Man does not have a right to share even a single penny in her earning. The Holy Prophet (saw) said that a person who respected a woman was respectable and he who demeaned woman was a mean himself. Thus the Holy Prophet (saw) set a criterion to distinguish between the respectable and the mean. The Prophet (saw) said, “The best Muslim from amongst you is the one who is the best in his conduct towards his wife and children.” If a woman is a mother, Islam has placed paradise under her feat, and if she is a daughter and sister, her good and pious upbringing guarantees paradise as a result. If she is a wife, guarantee has been given of paradise and pleasure of Allah as a result of good treatment towards her. This is high station Allah and His Prophet (saw) bestowed on woman.
Think about the society where female child was buried alive upon being born and women enjoyed no rights of inheritance. This was a breakhrough in that society, which when we hear today, appears quite strange. What was the status of woman in Rome, Iran, China or Hindustan, Byzantine, Greece, Egypt and Arabian Peninsula? When you look at it from this angle, it was in these circumstances that the Prophet (saw) gave them lofty and ideal rights by taking revolutionary steps and gave them such equality in rights as modern mind has not been able to go beyond what Islam has endowed on them in terms of rights.
What is unfortunate is that this is not taught here. It is so because if some Maulana mentions it in his speech, the wife will demand her rights. Let me tell it on TV that it is not woman’s responsibility to cook food, lunch, dinner and breakfast etc from point view of Islamic law. If she refuses to do all this or does not know how to cook, she would not be sinful in the eyes of Allah. She may be sinning in the eyes of man because he has married her to put her in kitchen all day long and play host to him, wash crockery and produce children. We do not have Islamic concept here in any department of life.
If she refuses, she would not be sinful. It is her act of benevolence and good upon a man that she is cooperating with him. It is a joint venture because of nature of their marital relationship. Therefore, man should appreciate that she is contributing more than her duties warrant. He should give her more time in privacy, extend more love and respect towards her. He should give her gifts like a rose flower upon reaching home. He should take her and children for an outing on weekends. He should have them dine out and show greater regard for her contributions. It is a misfortune that people who could present true face of Islam have not remained anymore in our society. And outside world has borrowed Islamic face from some other society. It was cultural traditions not Islam. Islam is getting bad name from every quarter. Would that rulers, men and women knew the spirit of Islamic teachings! No single voice can achieve effective results unless joined by other voices. Islam has granted such a high position to woman that a human mind cannot perceive it.