Jul 14, 2008, 8:46 AM
Now we propose to take up some other doubts that are prevalent about the problem of woman. To begin with is the right of the woman to work and move in public, which is duly endorsed by Islam. In the early period the woman worked outside whenever there was any genuine need for it. Similarly Islam did not forbid women to go out and work in such social institution as required their services e. gfemale education, nursing, medical treatment of women etc. their services may for these purposes be procured as these of men are procured in wars ect. If a woman has no bread-winner her may as well go and work outside. But it must be remembered that Islam permits women to go outside their houses only when there is really a genuine need for them to do so. Otherwise it does not in principle approve of women’s outside activities as the West and the communist nations do. This is a mere folly which Islam does not approve of, for a woman cannot participate in social activities but at the cost of her real primary functions within her home by leaving which she may engender many psychological, social and moral problems.
That woman is physically, intellectually and intuitively best equipped for her real function of motherhood can hardly be disputed by anybody. Therefore if her attention is diverted to other unimportant activities, humanity is bound to suffer. In such a case she becomes just a plaything in the hands of men and a slave to their foolish demands, giving way to unchecked luxury and license. Islam cannot approve of this situation which if it did, it might be shorn of its chief distinctive mark of holding that mankind is a coherent entity that does not suffer a change with the changing circumstances.
It is also said: why can’t a woman be a worker outside as well as a mother inside home at the same time with a nurse taking care of children in her absence? This is a baseless assertion, for a nurse may give the children in the most efficient manner all possible physical, intellectual or psychological help but she cannot give them one thing-the love, the care of a mother and the mother herself – but for which life can hardly flourish or good manners take roots.
However hard they may try the crazy standard-bearers of civilization or the foolish votaries of communism can never effect any change in human nature. The child badly stands in need of the mother’s attention during at least the first two years of its growth-full and undivided attention and love in which no partnership is tolerated even if the partner be the child’s own dear brother. How can a nurse give this motherly care and love to children? She has in most of the cases ten to twenty children to look after. The children cannot but quarrel together over their playthings and for the attention of the artificial mother they share in common. The quarrel thus comes to stay as a permanent feature of their lives leaving their hearts cold and hard without love, without any fraternal affection.
A nurse may be, if there is any genuine need for her, engaged to take of the children. But without any such need resort to her is nothing short of foolishness.
The crazy westerners may, however, excuse themselves on the basis of their historical, geographical and politico-economic conditions of life, but what about us living in the Islam East? Have we too got any such excuse? Are there no more male workers available to work outside so that we should require extra female workers, or have the Muslim men-fathers, brother, husbands or kinsmen-abstained from supporting their daughters, sisters, wives or poor relations and left them to themselves to go out and scratch a living for themselves?
It is also said that by working outside a woman may attain her independent economic existence which may enhance her honor and prestige in society. But we would like to know if Islam has denied an independent economic position to woman? The fact is that the problem with which the Islamic world is faced today is not that of a system but it is poverty due to which both men and women have been deprived of all facilities of decent living. The solution lies in stepping up our material production so that the whole of the nation may proper, men as well as women and none may remain poor. The competition between men and women over the possession of sources of economic production is no solution at all.
Assigning the woman her natural function of nursing the human race wholeheartedly Islam had an eye to the demands of human nature as well as those of society. So man was charged with the duty of supporting her and providing for her all her requirements so as to leave her free from all irrelevant worries, besides giving her the highest respect and regard so much that when a man enquired of the Holy Prophet: “Who has the first claim to my good treatment?” he said: “Then your mother.” The man asked: “And then who?” he said “your mother.” The man asked: “And then who?” Again the Prophet replied: “Then your mother!” The man once again asked: “And then who?” The Prophet said: “Then your father!” (Muslim and Bukhari).
What then is all this uproar by the Muslim woman of today about? Is there any right or facility that Islam has not already given her so that she should still feel constrained to lunch a campaign to win them through means such as suffrage and representation in parliament? Let us see:
She demands an equal human status. But Islam has already given this to her in theory as well as in practice before law.
She wants economic independence and the right to participate in social life directly. Well, Islam was the first religion that gave her this right.
She wants the right to education? Islam not only recognizes it but makes the acquisition of it obligatory on her as well.
Does she want the right not to given in marriage without her permission? Islam has given her this right as well as the right to arrange her own marriage.
Does she demand that she should be treated kindly and fairly while performing her functions within the house, and that she should have the right to ask for a separation from her husband if he should fail to treat her in a just and fair manner? Islam does give her all these rights and makes it incumbent upon men to safeguard them.
Also does she want the right to go and work outside? Islam recognizes this right of her too.
Or does she seek the freedom to indulge in base degrading and humiliating sybaritic? Well, Islam cannot grant this to her as it does not also allow men to degrade themselves by indulging in such depravities. This license does not, however, hang on the representation of women in parliaments. They may do well to wait patiently till the social relationships and traditions disintegrate and degenerate into anarchy. Then all those craving for this license may enjoy it unchecked.
There are certain other people who maintain that though our conditions and values of life differ from those of the West, yet practically the position of woman in East is so low that one cannot but protest against it. Her western counterpart has already won her freedom besides a high social status, so why should not the eastern woman as well, following in the footsteps of her western sister, endeavor to get back her usurped rights?
This is no doubt true. The woman in the Islamic countries is generally backward with neither respect nor any grace. She lives a life similar to that of animals; her whole existence is but another name for mean earthly desires; she suffers privations more than she ever tastes of happiness; she is made to surrender more than she is given; and seldom rises above the level of a purely impulsive existence.
This is also true, but may we ask; who is responsible for this state of affairs? Does Islam or its teachings have anything to do with? To be continued