A formidable body of Allah’s creation: Womenkind. They are precious, honoured and worthy. They too are under attack by a society that seeks to make them forget this fact. On August 9th, Women’s Day, we are reminded.
In lieu of the re-insurgence of women empowerment, June 2019 saw the entire nation donning black attire in solidarity with the victims of gender-based violence. Whilst Western misconceptions illustrate Islam as misogynistic and patriarchal, the Nabi Muhammad’s (SAW) advocacy for women’s rights goes largely unrecognised, even by Muslims. In a time when birthing a daughter was viewed as dishonourable, The Prophet (SAW) said, ”Whosoever has a daughter and does not bury her alive, does not insult her, and does not favour his son over her, God will enter him into Paradise.”
This clear protection of women’s value and their rights, affording them equal rights to that of men, demonstrates the Islamic attitude of compassion, respect and equality of women – the very definition of feminism.
Objectification, harassment and abuse against women, a global ‘femicide’, is more than close to home – it exists within it. Encapsulated in the marriage of Khadijah and the Nabi (SAW), the first and only monogamous marriage of the Prophet (SAW), is the best example of man-woman relations, inclusive of unfaltering faith in Islam, marital support and harmonious parental nourishment of their children. Surah Tawbah (Verse 71) reads, “The believers, men and women, are supporters of one another, they enjoin to do good and forbid evil.” Such is the blueprint for a stable and successful household environment and a vital solution for the persecution of women.
The responsibility of men – the foremost perpetrators against women – is outlined in Surah Nisa (Verse 34), “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women.” Regardless of a woman’s clothing, location or behaviour the duty falls upon men to control their actions. In a Hadith, The Prophet (SAW) saw Al-Fadl staring at a women then turned Al-Fadl’s face in a different direction, not assigning blame to the women for her dress or mannerism. Indeed, following Allah’s (SWT) instruction and the Prophet’s (SAW) teachings will provide protection to women from these injustices.
Furthermore, far too often women are taught to view themselves as less deserving, powerful and valuable compared to men. This mindset caps their capabilities, in a world where women’s opportunities are already limited. Khadija (RA) herself is a great role model for the modern Muslimah: an educated businesswomen, provider and the greatest supporter for the Nabi (SAW) during the most tumultuous times of his Prophethood. Inshallah, our daughters will grow up conscious of their ability to achieve greatness through the will of Allah (SWT).
From the many well-known narrations mentioning the status of a mother (“Paradise is beneath her feet”), and the parental honour accompanied with raising daughters (“Whoever has three daughters and he accommodates them, show mercy toward them, and supports them, Paradise is definitely guaranteed for him”), it is clear that Allah (SWT) holds women to a high esteem. However, it is essential to note that a women’s primary value does not come from her maternal, domestic or commercial productivity in the Dunya, rather from the inherent honour that Allah (SWT) places on all humankind, with equal capacities to do good and grow closer to Him – this is the greatest equality and the most magnificent gift from Allah (SWT).
Photo Credit: @yvanaaramoss
Born in Cape Town, South Africa in 2001, Sakeenah Toefy is a 1st year student at Madina Institute in Cape Town, having had matriculated from Pinelands High School in 2019.
Sakeenah has been a freelance graphic designer since 2018, specialising in marketing, visual identity and publication design products.
With a passion for film and media, public speaking and writing, she plans to complete a degree in the broader creative field within the forthcoming years, drawing inspiration from the Islamic basis acquired at Madina.