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« on: Feb 25, 2008 09:32 PM »


Famous Women in Islam
Dr. Umar Farqur Abd-Allah
   
START

Main Issues
   
The importance and legitimacy of the topic
   
Early Islamic feminist discourse
   
The effect of colonialism on the Muslim feminist discourse


During the period of nineteenth-century colonialism, feminism was strongly opposed in Britain and Europe. What was the nature of the introduction of feminist discourse into Muslim countries like Egypt at that time? How did that affect the future attitude of many Muslims toward the feminist enterprise?

   
The status of women in Muslim society: Neither monolithic or uniform

It will show that the status of women in Islamic societies has never been uniform or monolithic but has shifted from place to place, from age to age, and from class to social class. There were also differences between nomadic and sedantary, Arab, Turkic, and Mongol Tribes provided avenues for strong women [of tribal status].
   
The core versus the periphery

We know little about Muslim in societies beyond the core zones. Ibn Battuta tells us about West Africa, Mauritius, etc.
There were matriarchal societies.
   
Generalizations about the Prophetic period

The greatest disparity, however, has been between the norms of the Prophetic period and those of subsequent ages. Prophetic society lacked the rigid divisions of social space that became characteristic of many traditional Islamic societies, and, as a rule, Prophetic society was more open and less patriarchal, giving women greater freedom and allowing them a conspicuous role within the matrix of social and civic life.
   
Modern versus Medieval

"Islam liberated women"

Gender is a charged issue. Some Muslims confront it simply by declaring that "Islam liberated women." This is about as meaningful as saying that "Islam is peace" or "Islam is against terrorism." Such pronouncements are hollow if they do not address the real issues and problems in Muslim societies: the status of women needs liberation; Muslims must stand up against terrorists in their midst and solve the underlying social and economic problems. Yet who condemns Osama ben Laden, who condemns the suicide terrorists, who have become so common that Islam has become identified with them?
   
Many Muslims only want to be told that Islam is great

Many Muslims are psychologically and spiritually insecure. They need to be told over and over again that Islam is great and we are great--despite the wretched present that we find almost everywhere than we find Muslims.
   
'Abduh: Muslims have become the best argument against their religion
   
'Abd al-Hakim Winter as a new Muslim: Muslims are always their worst enemy
   
The issue of power structures: Who benefits?

There are those in Muslim societies--including Islamic centers and mosques--who have vested interests in blocking women's rights in Muslim society.  They "camouflage their self-interests by proclaiming that you either have their way (which is Islamic) or the other way, which is un-Islamic. Women's rights are not a problem because of the Prophetic legacy but because of male elites that benefit from the status quo.
   
Gender does not just concern women
   
The incapacitated lung (symbol)
   
20th Century Muslim reformers and the centrality of women's issues

Concern with the "socio-moral degeneration of Muslim society." [We used to talk about this in the 1970s. Then it became popular to talk about how bad everybody else was and how oppressed we were. We became very judgmental--judging everyone but ourselves.]
   
'Abduh and the demeaned status of Muslim women

'Abduh: Reforms regarding women are necessary for the rebirth of sound Islamic society. Many of our problems go back to child rearing and are a function of the feminine matrix in which that takes place-- uneducated, neglected women, disempowered women. Anti-social behavior is typical of women in the Muslim world: dirty bathrooms, dirty prayer areas, talking during khutbas. In the West you expect women to be cleaner than men; in the East it is the other way around.
   
Raising a generation of slaves

'Abduh: Men who want only to be masters of their homes and oppress the women in their households, should also be content to raise a generation of people only worthy of being slaves to others.
   
Today both men and women need liberation

Both men and women need liberation in the context of modern Muslim societies.

     There is an immense waste of our human resources throughout the Muslim world-- in body and mind.
   
The greatest issue: Mental liberation

The Muslim mind must be liberated --empowered. These are the greatest shackles that keep us from Qur'an and Sunnah and the light of guidance.
Deconstructed, reconstructed--made authentic--and empowered.  Made understanding, self- confident, and dynamic as of old.
Liberation from the overpowering bonds of false understanding, misdirected values, invalid ideas, strange conceptions that have dominated Muslims for decades and centuries.

Complex ignorance = applied complex ignorance.   
   
Socio-Moral Soundness Can Only Be with Sound Women

Women must have access to social and economic space. They must know what is happening in "the world of men."
   
Gender Rights Are Essential to "Modernity"

Pluralism, human rights, women's rights, equal suffrage, economic equality: Cultural Modes that are adapted to the new dynamics of economy and communication. THE NEW AXIAL AGE.
   
The Centrality of Family to Our Identity

Modernity has had a severe impact on the social system of Islam. But the family remains central to the Islamic social system and sense of identity. Thus, issues of women in the context of the family receive a disproportionate amount of attention in the discussions of Islam in the modern context.
   

Raising the sails of the memory ship

The world is old but the future springs from the past.   The sleeping past can animate the present. That is the virtue of memory. Let us raise the saild of the memory ship: this is to speak the language of freedom and self- development. NOTE: And we must allow ourselves to be inspired by the inspirational tradition.
   
Al-Udar al-Karima (d. 1360)

I wanted to study the biographical dictionaries on women--simply because, in terms of methodology, this is a first. We cannot judge a thing without knowing what and how it was. We cannot generalize in historiography about women based on how they are in the Muslim world today-  -Just as we cannot generalize about Islamic Civilization in the past based on the ruins and garbage heaps of the contemporary Muslim world.

MY SURPRISE: When I began to look into the dictionaries--I opened to al Udar. Then I found this amazing array of great women.
   
The legacy of famous women
   
Sailing into the future
   
Al-Jahiz and an early feminist discourse
   
Al-Jahiz Amr b Bahr d. 255 / 869

Basrah: mu'tazili but among the greatest of Islamic thinkers and the most remarkable.

NOTE: Jahiz has Fakhr as-Sudaan ‘ala l-BiDaan; the Book of Misers; the Book of Mules; the Book of Animals.  The Book of Granting Precedence to Dogs over Many Who Walk Upright.
   
The legacy of Islamic humanism

Al-Jahiz' contention
   
The relation of men and women was natural

Men and women spoke with each other in Jahiliyah and Islam until the hijaab was placed upon the wives of the Prophet, peace be upon him.

      Jahiz is arguing from the lives of the Companions and the early generations of Muslims that it is permissible to discoure with women properly and look at them in the course of that and that it is forbidden to look at that of their bodies which only the husband and mahram can see.
   
Remarriage was no problem

He then discusses how the early Muslims saw no harm in women remarrying as long as there were men who were still interested in her.

“But today they loathe that and regard it to be a type of depravity in some [women], and they expect a free woman who has already been married [once] to remain chaste [the rest of her life without remarrying] and they attribute shame and scandal to anyone who seeks to marry her.

The equality of men and women

We do not say nor does anyone with intellect say that women are above men or below them by one degree or by two or more than that.

Yet we have seen people who disparage them to no end and look upon them with the greatest disdain and  blatantly deny them most of their rights.

And verily it is a [strange type] of incapacity [impotence] when a man cannot fulfill the rights of his fathers and paternal uncles except by denying the rights of his mothers and maternal uncles, and for this reason we have [taken it upon ourselves] to call to mention a large number [jumlah] of the praiseworthy attributes of women….
   
Loving and hating things

[NOTE: Jahiz had said at the beginning of the article that the feeling of love in one’s heart is what produces immeasurable good, while the feeling of hatred in the heart is what produces immeasurable evil.

Therefore, hatred of women produces great evil.
   
A question of rights, not natures

Jahiz notes that, although it is much more common and apparent for people to speak of the superiority of men over women—the [regardless of that issue]:

“…it must never be the case that we fall short as regards the rights of the woman. It must never be the case that the aggrandize the rights of the fathers by belittling the rights of the mothers, and likewise the brothers and the sisters, and the sons and the daughters…”.
   
The issue of male honor

It is our opinion that ghairah has no place except regarding that which is forbidden. If there were nothing forbidden, there would be no ghairah….
   
Going too far

“…But this is a matter in which the the multitude [al- muta’addun] have gone too far beyond the limits of ghairah to those of bad character and narrowness of parochialism [Diiq al-‘aTan]—such that it has become for them like an obligatory right.  “…Can you not see that ghairah, when it goes beyond the limits of what God has made forbidden, is batil?…but some go to the extent that they have ghairah regarding women even on the basis of zann or a dream that they saw in their sleep…..”

Moderation and proper limits

“There are limits that embrace everything in the world and that comprise all of their extents that have been set for them in due proportion. Thus, each moral attribute [khuluq] that goes beyond  the limits that have been set for it—even in deen and wisdom, which are the most excellent of all things—is ugly and deserving of blame.

 I will make clear to you what is beauty. It is the perfection of moderation. [It is to be perfect in [your] moderation….to go beyond that is to diminish beauty [in all things]].
   

Fast Forward: Gender and the Colonial Legacy

The issue of women only emerged as the centerpiece of the Western narrative of Islam in the nineteenth century, and in particular the late nineteenth century.
   
Making feminism a handmaid to Imperialism
   
Colonial duplicity: Double standards for feminism

People like Lord Cromer combated feminism within their own societies, but fostered in Muslim societies white supremacist views, androcentric and paternalistic convictions, and feminism in conjunction with the imperial idea.
   
The language of colonialism and feminism combine to eradicate cultures

Here the languages of colonialism and feminism are combined to “render morally justifiable its project of undermining or eradicating the cultures of colonized peoples.”
   
Feminism as a weapon of cultural genocide

Colonial feminism: feminism as used against other cultures in the service of colonialism. It was shaped into various constructs each tailored for a particular culture as the immediate target of domination: India, the Islamic world, and sub-Saharan Africa.
   
Feminism was a fundamental missionary agenda
   
Focusing on symbol, not substance cast off the veil, cast off Islam

All essentially insisted that Muslims had to give up their native religion, customs, and dress, or at least reform their religion and habits along the recommended lines.
   
Trapping gender concerns in cultural struggle

          o  The assumption that issues of culture and women are connected has trapped the struggle for women’s rights with struggles over culture. An argument for women’s rights is often perceived and respresented by opponents as an argument about the innate merits of Islam and Arab culture comprehensively. But it is neither Islam nor Arab culture which is the target of criticism but “those laws and customs to be found in Muslim Arab societies that express androcentric interests, indifference to women, or misogyny. The issue is simply humane and just treatment of women, nothing less, and nothing more—not the intrinsic merits of Islam, Arab culture, or the West.”

   
The colonial discourse gives new meaning to the veil: A symbol of resistance

          o  It is the Western discourse that determined the new meanings of the veil and gave rise to its emergence as a symbol of resistance. "Because of this history of struggle around it, the veil is no pregnant with meanings." But the veil—as an item of clothing—has little relevance to substantive issues.

   
Legitimate gender concerns carry the taint of colonialist strategy

Feminism was given the taint of having served as an instrument of colonial domination, rendering it suspect in Arab eyes and vulnerable to the charge of being an ally of colonial interests. “The taint has undoubtedly hindered the feminist struggle within Muslim societies."
   
Qasim Amin (1899): Internalizing the colonial perspective

Qasim Amin's The Liberation of Women (1899): Amin’s book triggered the first major controversy in the Arabic press: more than thirty books and articles appeared in response. Most were critical.

The beginning of feminism or a new colonial narrative

Westernization not feminism was the basic premise of Amin

Analysts routinely treat the debate as one between “feminists”—Amin and his allies—and “antifeminists”—Amin’s critics. They accept Amin’s equation at face value. But the fundamental and contentious premise of Amin’s work was its endorsement of the Western view of Islamic civilization, peoples, and customs as inferior, whereas the author’s position on women was profoundly patriarchal and even somewhat misogynist.
   
Generating an indigenous anti-colonial narrative rejecting the entire colonial premise

The opposition it generated marks the emergence of an Arabic narrative developed in resistance to the colonial narrative.
   
Setting the symbolic and superficial tone of the debate
   
The feminist discourse today: Assertiveness and our own values

The new feminist discourse among Muslims is dominated by Muslim women and highly influenced by the effect of post-modernism and the academic and psychological space it opened. Modernism came with a Western and class agenda. Post-Modernism opposed this with a spirit of assertiveness and the will to direct our own futures in terms of our value systems.
   
Summing up
   
Compatibility with our times and our society
   
Abu Shaqqa and the 2 Jahiliyyas

Abu Shaqqa: There are 2 Jahiliyyas today: one of the 15th century=ghuluw, tashaddud, and blind taqlid; another of the 20th=libertinism, scandal and blind imitation of the West.
   
Muslim disaffection over all this

Abu Shaqqa: Many Muslims have fled from Islam today because of positions that its scholars have taken in its name.
   
Again, the issue of power structures

What blocks full participation of Muslim women today is not pious adherence to a patriarchal law-- although Verses and Traditions are sometimes used as sledge hammers--but it is that some men have vested interests in blocking women's rights and camouflage their self-interest by denying full access to our inspirational tradition.
   
Women must partake of the discourse

Amina Wadud: Muslim women must be the subject and object of their own discourse. NOTE: Women have a long legacy in Tradition and Law. Today they must resume that legacy. This does not exclude men but does not allow them a monopoly either.
   
The main problem with the traditional approach: It has been the work of men alone

Barbara Stowasser said this. NOTE: Despite the fact that we are directed to take half of our religion 'Aishah. The 'Aishah's of succeeding generations had little to say about how issues of gender would be elaborated.

"Do not treat people with contempt, nor walk insolently on the earth. Allah does not love the arrogant or the self-conceited boaster. Be modest in your bearing and subdue your voice, for the most unpleasant of voices is the braying of the ass." [The Holy Qur'an, Surah Luqman - 31:18-19]
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« Reply #1 on: Feb 26, 2008 11:39 PM »

 peace be upon you

may allah reward you for posting the notes...are these your own notes or are they from the notes the CD comes with?
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« Reply #2 on: Feb 28, 2008 05:10 PM »

Defining patriarchy
   
The rule of the fathers

Narrowly and literally defined, patriarchy is "rule by fathers."

Religious patriarchy "God on my side"

In its religious and traditional forms, assumes a real as well as symbolic continuum between the “Father/fathers;” that is, between a patriarchalized view of God as Father/male, and a theory of father- right, extending to the husband’s claim to rule over his wife and children. The Qur'anic view of God is not as a patriachal father.    

Biological essentialism

Ideological patriarchy

Patriarchy broadly defined is focuseded in an ideology that ascribes social/sexual inequalities to biology. It confuses differences based on biology with inequality centered on gender-based social dualism.

Binary opposites: Male as normative female as Other.

It privileges men over women in their biological capacity as males or treats man as the Self (normative) and woman as the Other. It views women and men as binary opposites.
   
Politics of sexual differentiation to privilege males

More broadly, patriarchy is “a politics of sexual differentiation that privileges males by ‘transforming biological sex into politicized gender, which prioritizes the male while making the woman different (unequal), less than, or the ‘Other’."
   
A good beginning: Abu Shaqqa's study

Abdal-Halim Muhammad Abu Shaqqah, Tahrir al-Mar'ah fii 'Asr ar-Risaalah, 6 vols. in 3, (Kuwait: Dar al-Qalam, 1999).

[It is a work that needs translation.]
   
Seeking the middle path

This book in the view of several great scholars represents an authentic middle path.

Abu Shaqqa's last counsel

He emphasizes the need for attention to detail, context, and sociological and anthropological approaches.
Regarding the Modern Muslim world and Western Gender studies: full use of statistical studies.

Comprehensive study of the Sunnah

Social history of Islamic law
 
Contemporary Muslim thought

Contemporary Muslim gender sociology

Contemporary Western gender sociology
   
Women in the private life of the Prophet
   
   
The Prophet attended to women. Women had attended to him
   
The Prophet gave women a major part in his life and the public life (He adopted the culture of Madinah; but domination of women was never his sunnah.  At the end of his life (according to Bukhari and Muslim), Bilal would prop him up and he would address the large group of women. He feared they could not hear and repeated. Ata' ibm abi Rabah later asked: But, the later imams neglected this. What is the matter with them?

Umm Aiman Barakah

Umm Aiman Barakah bt Tha'labah: Transmitted 5 Hadith. She participated in Battles of Uhud, Khaibar, and Hunain. [She was a mawlaah and helped raise the Prophet, peace be upon him: He would look at her and say:

     "O my [little] mother"... then stare at her and say: "This is a remnant of the people of my house."  She is the one who cried when the Prophet, peace be upon him , died and said: "I cry for the sake of [God's] notice coming from the sky." [i.e. the Revelation]. When Umar died, she cried and said: "Today, Islam has been weakened."

Islam began in a woman's arms

During the larger part of the first 3 years of the Prophecy the Ummah was essentially 2:  A man and a woman who held together, counseled each other, and prayed together--mostly in privacy. The Prophet drew strength from Khadijah in launching the message. Islam began in her arms. The first person to believe in the Prophet was Khadijah - a woman. She was then his primary support - his right arm. When his enemies would spread malicious slanders and lies, Khadijah would console him, encourage him, and keep him FIRM in his call. She would make all his troubles seem insignificant.
   
Aunts and women of the household

Safiyyah [Hamzah's sister]. Umm al-Fadl: Soon her sisters: Maimunah, Salma, and Asmaa.
        
The defiance of Arwaa

Tulaib, her son was 15. He embraces Islam in the House of Arqam. "If we (women) could do what men can do, we would protect our brother's son." She then rebuked her brother Abu Lahab for his mistreatment of their nephew.

Aishah

The Hadith is authentic: "Take half of your religion from this little redskinned (or white skinned) one" [Aishah]: "khuudhuu nisfa dinikum 'an haadhihi l-humairaa."

   {This little woman with the reddish skin}

Aishah and her legacy

The Hadith is authentic: "Take half of your religion from this little redskinned (or white skinned) one" [Aishah]: "khuudhuu nisfa dinikum 'an haadhihi l-humairaa."

    {This little woman with the reddish skin} Transmitted over 2500 Hadith.

Example [We will talk about the Muhaddithat later--But 'Aishah is their archetype.]

KARIMAH BT AHMAD of Marw transmits one of the most authentic and highly regarded of all the transmissions of al-Bukhaarii.

Of the 1000s of muhaddithat--none of them was ever guilty of fabricating hadith - as opposed to the many men who were discovered.

Asmaa bint Abi Bakr

Dhaat an-Nitaaqain: She was 10 years older than Aishah--and among the first women in Islam- -17 men before her.

She lived to be more than 100--she was known for her brilliant intellect, will power, dignity, and self- respect. Her intellect never dulled, and she never lost any of her teeth.

She transmited 58 Hadith. Poetess and she could write.

She was extremely wealthy and generous. She would nurse the sick. She participated in the Battle of Yarmuk with her husband, az- Zubair.

Zainab bint Jahsh

She was the Prophet's wife, closest in kin, and Aishah's best friend. She transmitted  11 Hadith.

She was skilled in handicrafts. She cured and tanned skins--sheep, goats, etc.

She would pierce them, sew them, ornament them with beads, etc.

She would then sell her goods in the market of Madinah. She gave her wealth to others and left neither dirham or dinar when she died.

Umm Salamah

The Prophet, peace be upon him, always listened to Khadijah, may God be pleased with her.

The Prophet, peace be upon him, consulted Umm Salamah, may God be pleased with her, and followed her advice at
Hudaybiya.

The big picture: Women in the Prophetic community
   
300 texts in Bukhari and Muslim

Over 300 texts in Bukhari and Muslim demonstrate Muslim women in the Prophet's time, peace be upon him, taking an active and direct role in the social life of the community.

The stipulation was that this be done with proper behavior and courtesies, which included modest dress for men and women alike.

   
The Hijaab of isolation. It's not the big picture

There had been no division of public and private space. The Prophet's household was public space. The restriction of women to houses was specific to the Prophet's wives, may God be pleased with them. Almost everyone understood it that way. [O wives of the Prophet...Ahzab 32-33)

     NOTE: Qur'an 4:15: Makes the seclusion of a woman to her house for life a punishment-- tanatamount to capital punishment--for women who have been proven guilty of sexual misconduct by 4 trustworthy eye witnesses. This was before the hadd of adultery was set.

How the wives understood it

Even the Prophet's wives did not understand this verse in a manner that kept them from all particpation in social life, as hundreds of Bukhari and Muslim texts verify: Aishah and the 7 Fuqaha'. [Take half of your deen from this little reddish skinned woman.]

Zainab bint Jahsh

The Prophet's wife, closest in kin, and Aishah's best friend. Transmited  11 Hadith. Skilled in handicrafts. Cured and tanned skins--sheep, goats, etc.  She would pierce them, sew them, ornament them with beads, etc.  She would then sell her goods in the market of MADINAH. She gave her wealth to others and left neither dirham or dinar when she died.

The dress code

2) Exposure of the face was predominant. The niqab, which shows the eyes, was an earlier custom and one-- before and after Islam--that emphasized a woman's beauty.

3) The Law allowed women to use certain amounts of ornamentation on their face and hands: kuhl and hennaa, according to the custom of the believing women of the time.

4) The Prophet, peace be upon him, did not impose a specific type of dress--other than to cover the body without revealing shape. Styles varied according to class, environment, and region.

5) It was the purpose of this dress to facilitate the movement of women in society and allow them full participation.

6) The decree of Isolation [hijaab] was specific to the wives of the Prophet, peace be upon him. Even the noblest of the women Companions did not imitate them in that. But even this isolation did not keep the Prophet's wives from full participation in society.

Islam's egalitarian sociopolitical context

Full participation

The Prophetic Precedent was one of full participation of Muslim women in society--she had a role in homemaking, education, working outside the house, social, military, and political activity.

The modern Muslim woman must be allowed to assume new forms of these same activities, which allow her to partake fully in modern society.

But, we will see that the period when she was put in a prison in which no  light came was in the last 100 and 200 years. This is essentially a function of the social- psychological trauma of a Muslim world in universal confusion, contradiction, and disarray in the wake of its decadence and subsequent defeat at the hands of the powerful nations of the West.

Adjoining living space

Living space was compact - they were close to each other and close to or adjoining the mosque where they all met daily and nightly.

Undivided space: The great sociopolitical reality

Early Muslim Space was not sharply divided. The Prophet's house was accessible to all. There was little separation of public and private space. All were neighbors: ruler and ruled. This is the great sociopolitical context of Islam's rise. It governed from the home and the neighborhood: not the palace. The ruler lived exactly as the ruled.

Male dominance and social space

Male supremacy can only exist and consolidate with sharp public and private divisions, which are maintained like sacred matters.
   
Facility of movement

Critical consciousness

Muslim women in the Prophetic age were conscious of themselves as an essential element of society and of the dynamic social position Islam had given them. Their practice embodied the Hadith: "Women are nothing less than the fullblooded sisters of men."

Dynamic social participation

Such activities elevated their social status and enabled them to become the patronesses of the poor and needy.
   
Rich, mature, helpful, honorable lives
   
Such social dynamism--made the Muslim woman a true light in society--it gave her profound maturity and enabled her to contribute infinite good to the society's welfare and advance.

Taking the counsel of wise women

Khadijah at the beginning
   
ash-Shifa

Ash-Shifaa bint Abdullah  ibn Abd Shams al- Qurashi: Noted for her extremely sharp intellect, excellence of character, and soundness of opinion.

She taught Ruqayyah and Hafsah how to write and other arts. The Prophet, peace be upon him, would visit her and take the noon nap in her house.

Umar always asked her council and gave her opinions priority. It was important to Umar pursue policies that met Shifaa's approval.

He put her in charge of certain aspects of the Madinan marketplace. 
            
Asmaa bint 'Umais

Asmaa bint Umais: Wife of Ja'far ibn Abi Talib. Transmitted 60 Hadith in Bukhari and other like texts. She interpreted dreams for Umar.
   
Hudaibiyah

The Prophet, peace be upon him, consulted Umm Salamah, may God be pleased with her, and followed her advice.
   
Fatimah bint Qais al-Fihriyah

Known for her great beauty, intellect: a perfect woman in every way. The Companions regarded her as (nujuud)--always ready to come to the help of others. The Shura met in her house after the murder of Umar, may God be pleased with him.  She transmitted 34 hadith.
     
Women and the trust of knowledge
   
Hafsah bint Umar

She was entrusted with the Mushaf.

She transmitted 60 Hadith. She could write and was very eloquent.

Gave oration upon her father's death and consoled him on his death bed.
   
Aishah

The Hadith is authentic: "Take half of your religion from this little redskinned (or white skinned) one" [Aishah]: "khuudhuu nisfa dinikum 'an haadhihi l-humairaa."

    {This little woman with the reddish skin}


Women at work

7) The women Companions participated fully in society-  -in all public and private dimensions--This was a natural response to the demands of a dynamic social life; just as it was a matter that made life easier for men and women alike.

8) The restrictions on women's social life was in a number of issues that pertain to lofty, social adab-- courtesies and good behavior--the purpose of which was to preserve women in this dynamic capacity--not to deprive them of it. 

9) Women worked in social, military, and political activities; they gave political advice; they had handicrafts and trades according to the customs of the period; they were fundamental to the socialization, enculturation, and education; they worked in the area of charities and social services; they even fought political oppression and spoke out bitterly and courageously against it and against the use of torture and political assassination. They were farmers and shepherdesses. They nursed the sick. They helped in administration. They cleaned the mosques and ran their homes.

10) Such activities and such economic lives--enabled them to lead rich and honorable lives, to help their families or support them completely in case of a husband's death or loss, to support their husbands when they became poor, sick, wounded or otherwise incapacitated.

Rules of thumb
   
Finding the norm and locating the general principle

Using the Sirah as a guide (The life example)

Balancing the Qur'an with Hadith (Queen of Sheeba & Battle of Camel Hadith)

Not making the exception the rule

Problematic interpretations cannot be allowed to derail established principle. "I do not know" is half of knowledge.

Establishing parameters of certainty: The principle must dominate the anecdote

How do we arrive at certainty? Turning hadiths into clubs for beating people. Problematic Hadith are anecdotal. If they are authentic, they fit in somewhere. But false parameters of certainty--literalism at all costs- -mean that they are affirmed at the expense of principle and good sense. If it's crazy, if it's impossible, it it's counterintuitive, it must be the truth. Not knowing the parameters of certainty is one of the failures that makes some Muslims-- especially in a confusing time like ours--literalists.

The epistemology of certainty

Traditionally, certainty--for most scholars--was in the overriding principle or precept: It alone was a matter of consensus and definitive (qat'i): for example, the Law must be applied in a manner appropriate with culture, people, time, and place. What is good for a village in Upper Egypt may not work in Chicago.

The individual Hadith or Verse taken alone was hardly ever considered the basis for certainty. Epistemologically it was conjectural--generally because it lent itself to different interpretations-- assuming it was authentic to begin with. "Deficient in religiosity and intellection"-- was it a statement of universal principle or was it something said in good humor on the morning of the Eid prayer to the dominant women of Madinah? What was the context?

Such epistemological considerations never occur to today's literalists. Thus, they overturn the definitive, destroy the principle, and make the utterly counterintuitive and sometimes unprincipled their interpretation of the Law. The more counterintuitive it is, the harder they hold to it.

The polysemic nature of the texts versus interpretative reductionism


"Do not treat people with contempt, nor walk insolently on the earth. Allah does not love the arrogant or the self-conceited boaster. Be modest in your bearing and subdue your voice, for the most unpleasant of voices is the braying of the ass." [The Holy Qur'an, Surah Luqman - 31:18-19]
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« Reply #3 on: Mar 17, 2008 08:47 PM »

Muslim Women at War

The three Take Aways

Crouching tiger: Nusaibah
   
Flying eagle: Asda

Hidden dragon: Khawla
   
Muslim women on the Prophet's battlefields

Khaibar and Umayyah bt Qais
   
Umayyah was a young girl of Banu Ghifaar. She came with other girls and women of her tribe to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and said:

We want, O Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, to go to battle with you against Khaibar and treat the wounded and held the Muslims to the extent that we are able.

The Messenger, peace be upon him, replied: Alaa Barakat illah.

The Prophet, peace be upon, mounted young Umayyah on his camel behind his back like a daughter- -[this shows great honor to her and his deep appreciation for what she has done]--he gave her and the others part of the FAI (booty).

And he gave Umayyah a necklace, which he fastened around her neck with his own hands. She never letit out of her sight the rest of her life and asked to be buried with it around her neck.

Prophetic balance versus gender rigidity

Regarding present day rigors, the story of the Prophet, peace be upon him, with his nephew al-Fadl ibn 'Abbas behind him--a handsome young teenager. Al-Fadl sees a beautiful young teenage girl:

Muslim: 'Al-Fadl kept looking at her again and again. So the Prophet, peace be upon him, put his hand over al-Fadl's face, so al-Fadl turned his face to the other direction so that he could see her. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, then moved his hand to the other side of al- Fadl's face and pointed it in the other direction...". [NOTE: NOT A WORD SAID.]

[How far from the adab of today's Mutawwi'].

There are many transmissions, and in one in Bukhari and Muslim, the Prophet, peace be upon him, could not turn al-Fadl's face away until he took him by his beard.

Crouching Tiger: Nusaibah bt Ka'b al-Ansariyah

Umm 'Ammaarah transmitted hadith.   

She was a great Companion and Mujaahidah.

She was known for her uprightness, Deen, Nusuk, ijtihaad, and self reliance.

The Women of Quraish

Theirs was a different non-agrarian culture. The Ansar women asked question and were dominant.

They too could fight and would fight in Yarmuuk and other battles of the future.     

Lailat al-'Aqabah

She was there to give allegiance to the Prophet, peace be upon him.

The Prophet's praise

1) He asked "Who (what human being) has the capacity to do what Umm 'Ammaarah has the capacity to do?" The Prophet saw her as valiant as is humanly possible.

2) Verily the role that Umm 'Ammaarah played today is better than the role of so and so and so and so and so and so.

3) "I  never turned to the right or to the left (on the day of Uhud) but that I saw there Umm 'Ammaarah before me (fighting off the enemy)."    Her question of the Prophet

It seems to me that everything [in Islam] is for the men. I never see the women getting mentioned at all. 
Then the verse was revealed: Veruly the Muslim men and the Muslim women, the believing men and the believing women: each of them is the patron of the other [Awliyaa] 9:71

The Battle of Uhud

She came with her husband and two sons. [Note: the agrarian women of Madinah versus the Makkan women.]

She came with bow and arrows, sword, and bandages for the wounded.   

Her defense of the Prophet, peace be upon him.

In the moment of greatest difficulty--there were 10 around the Prophet, peace be upon him:

Nusaibah, her husband, her two sons and six others.
   
Her wounds

Umm 'Ammarah wrapped her clothes around her tightly- -especially her middle section. She still received 13 wounds.

Ibn Qumai'ah gave her a blow to the shoulder, her deepest and gravest wound, which she nursed for an entire year.   
   
Nursing the warrior Nnurse

When the Muslim retreat to Hamraa al-Asad was commanded: Umm 'Ammarrah wrapped herself tightly, summoned her strength, but had lost too much blood. She could not make the final retreat.

They carried her. All night until the break of dawn the Muslims kept bandaging and treating the 13 wounds of Umm 'Ammaarah.
       
 But how is Umm 'Ammaarah?

When the Muslims returned to Madinah, the Prophet sent Abduallah  b Ka'b al- Maazini to Umm 'Ammaarah to see how she was.

He did not enter his house before getting news of her. 
   
When Abdullah returned with the good news that her state was improving, the Prophet, peace be upon him, was overjoyed and entered his house. 
      
Umm 'Ammarah's observation

She was later asked: Did the women of Quraish also fight along side their husbands [like you]?

She replied: I seek refuge in God. By Allah -- I did not see a single one of them shoot a single arrow or throw a single rock. But they had drums and tambourines which they beat, while reminding their men of the martyrs of Badr. They also had their kuhl sticks: whenever a Muslim would flee or cower from fear they would come and stuck him and say: You are supposed to be a man.

Nusaibah bt Ka'b al-Ansariyah

The Great Women generally are early and often fall into categories we have dealt with.  Umm 'Ammaarah transmitted hadith.

She was a great Companion and Mujaahidah.

She wa known for her uprightness, Deen, Nusuk, ijtihaad, and self reliance.

Hidden Dragon: Khawlah bt al-Azwar

Her praise: She was a Lordly woman of courage and furuusiyah.

A story to match the ancient Chinese legends of  "Crouching Tiger" and the "Mulan".

[NOTE: We must make documentaries, films, and cartoons of the highest quality.]

Dirar and Khawlah

Khawlah accompanied her brother Dirar to Greater Syria to fight under Khalid b al-Walid.

As long as Dirar fights, Khawlah stays behind with the women.

Dirar taken captive

Dirar fought naked--i.e., without armor--he penetrated the Byzantine ranks, killed dozens, reached the Emperor Heraclias' son, and killed him.

The Byzantines then overpowered Dirar and took him captive.

The Muslims did not know what happened to Dirar-- although they learned later that he had killed Caesar's son.
   
The Black Knight seeks her brother

Khalid sees from afar a tall Muslim knight, dressed in black, his nose and mouth covered, with a green turban wrapped around his helmet.

The Black Knight cannot be overtaken. He fights alone. Khalid: He is a master of the arts of horsemanship, encirclement and enclosure; he charges the enemy 'as if he were fire.'

Khalid: If only I knew who this knight is! By the oaths of Allah, he is a brave Faaris!
       
The Black Knight: A pillar of fire

Khalid and his soldiers fear for the black knight--but they cannot overtake him. The Roman legions are shaken before him; their retenues and mounted escorts are shattered and scattered in all directions.     

The black knight disappears among the Romans and then reappears with his lance dripping with blood.   

He exposes himself to certaing death, but comes out unharmed. He shows no care for himself. 
   
He lets parties of Roman knights follow him; then turns upon them and routs them.
    
The black knight discovered

Khalid's general Raafi' b 'Umairah sees the knight: it could only be Khalid b.al-Walid.

Then Khalid arrives: Who is the knight? Khalid: "By Allah, I am even more ignorant of him that you, but I am impressed by the excellent skills he has shown."

O Assemblies of Muslim! Attack all of you together. Come to the aid of the Defender of God's faith.

Still the Black Knight eludes them like a torch of fire [burning in the night] before them.

Khalid's resolve

Khalid: We will attack together and place our hopes in Allah that he bring us to your brother and set him free. 
   
'Aamir b Tufail on Khalid's right and Khawlah in the lead before Khalid. The Muslims charge from behind.   

The Byzantines found matters hard to bear, when they saw the black knight coming down upon them again with Khalid and his army. If all these people are like knight, we don't have a chance.
     
Khawlah's lament

Khawlah again veers to the right and the left, looking for her brother, Diraar. Huge victory at noon.

Khawlah searches for news, man by man. Nothing. She despairs. Her lament.   

     O MY MOTHER'S SON, IF ONLY I KNEW IN WHICH DESERT THEY HAVE THROWN YOUR BODY OR WHOSE SPEAR HEADS HAVE STABBED YOU OR WHOSE SWORD HAS KILLED YOU. O MY BROTHER, YOUR SISTER IS HERE AS YOUR SACRIFICE. IF ONLY I COULD SEE YOU '[AGAIN], I WOULD DELIVER YOU FROM YOUR ENEMIES' HANDS. IF ONLY I KNEW IF I WILL EVER SEE YOU AGAIN AFTER THIS DAY. SON OF MY MOTHER, YOU HAVE LEFT IN YOUR SISTER'S HEARD A HOT COAL AND ITS FLAME WILL NEVER BE QUENCHED. HAVE YOU JOINED OUR FATHER WHO WAS KILLED WITH THE PROPHET, S. IF SO, THEN PEACE BE UPON YOU, UNTIL THE LAST DAY'S MEETING.

Khawalah cried. Khalid cried. All the Muslims cried.    

Good news at last

The next day, Khalid, Khawlah, and the army attack the the Byzantines.   
 
The first unit for him--throw down their arms and dismount and cry asylum. 
   
Where is Diraar: "You mean the one who fights without armor. Who killed us by the dozens and then killed the Emperor's son."

That's him.     

Khalid forms a rescue party--Raafi' b 'Umairah and 100 of the best knights. [Hubban wa karaamah]

Taken prisoner, sent with 100 knights to Constantinople by way of hims.       
   
Khawalah's happiness

When the news reaches Khawlah, her face lights up like a beacon of joy.   
 
She puts on her armor, takes her weapons, mounts her war horse and goes to Khalid:   
 
I BESEECH YOU BY THE PURE AND PURIFIED ONE, MUHAMMAD, THE LORD OF HUMANITY- - THAT YOU ALLOW ME TO GO WITH THESE WHOM YOU HAVE SENT FORTH. MAYBE I WILL BE OF SOME USE TO THEM.
        
Dirar rescued at last

Khalid to Raafi': You  know her courage; take her with you. Raafi': "Hearing and obeying."   

Khawlah rides behind the 100 knights but keeps a careful eye on her brother's tracks. She then calls out: They haven't come this far yet! Good tidings! The party has not reached here yet!

Abush. Rescue. All 100 Romans killed; horses and armor taken; Dirar is safe and sound.

Khawlah sequel: The prison break

Khawlah bint al-Azwar al-Kindi

Dirar ibn al-Azwar al-Kindi

The Battle of Sajuuraa Shaam

The Muslims were taken by surprise at night, and the women were taken captive. Khawlah was one of them.
   
Superwoman to the Rescue
   
Khawlah's appeal

Khawlah gathered the women: O DAUGHTERS OF HIMYAR AND REMNANT OF THE ANCIENT KINGS OF YAMAN, ARE YOU CONTENT TO HAVE THE ROMAN BARBARIANS AS YOUR SIRES AND YOUR CHILDRENS SLAVES IN BYZANTIUM? WHERE IS YOUR HEROISM AND SURPASSING SKILL THAT THE ARAB TRIBES AND ARABIAN TOWN AND VILLAGE PEOPLE SPEAK SO MUCH OF? I BELIEVE YOU ARE THE FURTHEST OF PEOPLE FROM SUCH SUBJUGATION. I THINK YOU WOULD LOVE TO DIE MORE THAN BEAR THIS BONDAGE AND THIS SERVITUDE WHICH THE BYZANTINES HAVE AFFLICTED YOU WITH.
   
The daughters of Himyah answer

'Arfaa bt Ghifaar al-Himyariyah answers:

YOU HAVE SPOKEN THE TRUTH, BY ALLAH, O DAUGHTER OF AL-AZWAR. WE HAVE THE COURAGE THAT YOU HAVE MENTIONED AND THE SURPASSING SKILL THAT YOU HAVE DESCRIBED, EXCEPT THAT THE SWORD DOES ITS JOB WELL IN TIMES LIKE THESE. BUT THE ENEMY HAS OVERTAKEN US BY SURPRISE AT A TIME OF INATTENTION. WITHOUT WEAPONS, WE ARE LIKE NOTHING BUT MERE SHEEP.
   
 Khawlah's night strategem

Khawlah replies: DAUGHTERS OF THE ANCIENT KINGS OF YAMAN! SEIZE YOUR TENT POLES AND THE TENT STAKES OF THEIR GUYLINES. WITH THEM WE WILL ATTACK THESE VILE MEN, AND PERHAPS ALLAH WILL GRANT US VICTORY OVER THEM AND GIVE US RESPITE FROM THE BLAME OF THE ARABS, [WHICH WOULD BE OUR LOT OTHERWISE].

THEY ALL AGREE.

Then Khawlah says: DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELVES TO GET SEPARATED. MAKE A TIGHT CIRCLE. LINK YOURSELVES TOGETHER LIKE THE FIRM LINKS OF A CHAIN. NEVER ALLOW YOURSELVES TO BE BROKEN ASUNDER. IF YOU DO, THEN YOU WILL BE TAKEN CAPTIVE AGAIN AND DISPERSED [IN SUBJUGATION] TO THE WINDS. CRUSH THE ENEMY LANCES. BREAK THEIR SWORDS IN TWO!

Khawlah attacks and the women follow. They put up a violent fight. Take the Romans by surprise. Defeat them and are liberated from their hands.
     

Suggested reading

Readings for next class

Leila Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam: Chapter 3: "Women and the Rise of Islam" and Chapter 4: "The Transitional Age."
Fatima Mernissi, The Forgotten Queens of Islam.

Wiebke Walther, Women in Islam: From Medieval to Modern Times.
   
Leila Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam: Chapter 3: "Women and the Rise of Islam" and Chapter 4: "The Transitional Age."
   
Wiebke Walther, Women in Islam: From Medieval to Modern Times.
   
Fatima Mernissi, The Forgotten Queens of Islam.
   
Arabic

'Umar Ridaa Kahhalah, 'Alaam an-Nisaa fi 'Aalamayi al- 'Arab wa l-Islaam, 5 vols., (Beirut: Mu'assat ar- Risaalah, 1991).

Excellent easy reference.

Uses MS of adh-Dhahabi', History of Islam.

Tabaqat of Ibn Sa'd.

As-Sakhaawii's Biographical Dictionary and other works.

Ibn Hajar's Biographical Dictionary.
   
'Umar Ridaa Kahhalah, 'Alaam an-Nisaa fi 'Aalamayi al-'Arab wa l-Islaam, 5 vols., (Beirut: Mu'assat ar-Risaalah, 1991).

"Do not treat people with contempt, nor walk insolently on the earth. Allah does not love the arrogant or the self-conceited boaster. Be modest in your bearing and subdue your voice, for the most unpleasant of voices is the braying of the ass." [The Holy Qur'an, Surah Luqman - 31:18-19]
Siham
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« Reply #4 on: Mar 27, 2008 08:02 PM »

Muslim Women of Political Acumen and Power

Three major questions

How does our epistemology of certainty relate to the sledgehammer Hadith on women in political authority?

Five biographies and several anecdotes: Which of the women pleases you most? Why?

Why is the issue of excluding women from politics important to Islamic radicals today?

Generalizations about political women

Women of wealth, power, and acumen

These women are women of massive wealth, social prestige, and political power, who live in a world of treachery and politics, where their womanhood could and would often be used against them for cynical reasons.

Therefore, they are sometimes like the men around them and should be judged by the same or more generous standards.

[Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great, Isabel]  (We do not neglect to study the great Western Queens.)
     

Do you remember al-Udar al-Karima? (d. 1360)

Al-Udur al-Karimah wijhat at-Tawaashii Shihaab ad-Diin Salaah: {Yamani--a "true daughter of Balqis"}
She died in 762 H/ 1360 CE: A lordly women of great piety, goodness, sharp intelligence, decisive resolve, calm forebearance, and political acumen.

She took over rulership of the Yaman during her son's absence who set out for jihad on the Egyptian frontier for 14 months. She brought Yaman Lpinto complete order, she established perfect justice, she did much good by way of charity, and she established internal security.

She had a profound love for scholars and upright men of religious piety and showed them honor and elevated their status with greater honor.

She would go [secretly] from house to house to see what people needed and give them generous gifts.     
She built the great school called as-Salaahiyah in the city of Zabiid, and she built a similar school in the valley of al-Maslab near Zabid: and she built various schools and mosques in different villages and cities-- Ta'izz and others.

Functioning in patriarchal societies with great disability

These women functioned in highly patriachal societies and generally had to face that reality. This was a great disability.
Sometimes they proved themselves despite it. Sometimes they ruled behind men. Sometimes they were forced into power for the sake of their royal families.

On the other hand, women of knowledge do not seem to have labored under these disabilities. Certainly not to the same extent.

The political influence of the harem system

NOTE: Islam today has become a 'home oriented or individual activity:' it is not civic or communal manifestation

Thus, Hijab becomes a home-oriented activity. This is part of a personalization of religion. One’s own religious behavior becomes the most important aspect of the exercise of Islam rather than its communal manifestation. The implementation of Islam in the home becomes a line of defense. The central focal point of Muslim defense in the modern world is the preservation of the home. Secularism encroaches from all sides; the home becomes the representation of an Islamic paradise: an oasis of divinely structured society in a world awash with everything that Islam rejects.

But this is inappropriate as an absolute standard and reflects the disruption of traditional culture

Democratic societies and the importance of gender and race equality

Democratic societies are participatory. There is a direct relation between the degree of "democratization" and the degree of gender and race (class, sectarian, ethnic group) equality.

The sledgehammer Hadith in Context

Radical Islamism: The reassertion of male authority over women: The assertion of state authority over women

Radical Islamism is characterized by the “(re-)assertion of male authority over women. Often they emphasize the state’s power to control women’s activities. These are symptoms of the economic and social pressures resulting from the radical restructuring of society taking place in many areas of the Muslim world.

Regarding our epistemology of certainty: The basic principle of gender equality in Islamic Law

Ibn Rushd: The basic principle is that rulings about people refer to both genders unless a legal distinction can be clearly established. Ibn Qayyim: It is the established ‘urf of the Law that rulings which are mentioned in masculine form if they are generalized (utliqat) and are not specifically related to the feminine form apply equally to men and women. Ibn ‘Arabi explains that when men and women are mentioned together in a text, it is simply for emphasis. If the text is masculine but general, it applies equally to both.

The patriarchal background: Umar and Jahiliyya: We used to disregard women

Umar: In Jahiliyya, we used to look upon women as nothing (kunna la na'uddu l-nisa' shay'an), but when Islam came and God made mention of them, we came to see that they had a right over us by virtue of that fact.

Even in his sickness, the Prophet designated time for the women: Later Scholars left it.

Even in his sickness, the Prophet would admonish the women. Bilal would support him as he did. Bukhari and Muslim report this. Ibn Jurayh ask ‘Ata do you think it a duty that the Imam give women admonition? He replied: “It is their duty! What is wrong with them that they do not do it?”

Basic Hadith: Women are nothing less than the full sisters of men

"Believing men and the believing women are the patrons (friends and protectors, guardians) of each other: They (all join in) enjoining right and forbidding wrong and establishing prayer and paying alms and obeying God and his Messenger: It is such as these to whom God will surely show his mercy: God is overpowering and wise. God has promised believing men and believing women Gardens, beneath the (trees of) which rivers flow, so that they live there in eternity: and beautiful dwellings in the Gardens of Eden, but the pleasure of God is greater: this is the great victory."

The first verse comes in contrast to “the male and female hypocrites are of each other.” Here awliya’ is used, indicating that what unites them substantively is the common walayah of Islam: In this matter they are equal. One of them is not muqallad to the other or following him without basirah. This is because walayah indicates iklas and tanasur.

The Sledgehammer Hadith

Fatima Mernissi and the Moroccan grocer

Fatima Mernissi, The Veil and the Male Elite, p. 1: She declares before this, that if women are deprived it is because of the male elite and their manipulation of texts: not the texts themselves.

She asks here grocer in Morocco “can a woman be a leader of Muslims?” They are taken aback. One man “then hit me with a Hadith that he knew would be fatal: ‘Those who entrust their affairs to a woman will never know prosperity!’” “This Hadith is the sledgehammer argument used by those who want to exclude women from politics.” "Not only have the sacred texts always been manipulated, but manipulation of them is a structural characteristic of the practice of power in Muslim societies.”

The scope of the Hadith: What it was used for

The Hadith and its connection with Kisra in Bukhari

The Prophet had already invoked destruction upon Kisra's kingdom

Bukhari transmits the Hadith in "the Prophet's letter to Kisra and Qaysar:" When his letter came to Kisra and was read to him, he took it and tore it into pieces. When this reached the Prophet, he made a du'a against them all saying: "O God, tear them to shreds in every way" (Allahumma mizziqhum kulla mumazzaq").

Abu Bakr cited the Hadith as his proof for not joining Aishah in the Battle of the Camel--thus, he like others took it in a general way.  He says: "When news reached the Messenger of God, may God bless and keep him, that the Persians had made Chosrow's daughter their king over them (or granted her the kingdom over them) (qad mallaku 'alayhim), he said: "A people [or there is a people] will not meet with success who have turned their affair over to a woman." In other transmissions, "No, a people ruled by a woman will not succeed" (tamlikuhum).

This Hadith is specific to Persia

Kisra was killed by his son, Shirwayh. This is in the year 7 or 9. Ibn Hajar says that Chosrow learned of his son's intent to kill him and arranged to have him poisoned. Shirwayh only ruled for six months. He had also killed all of his brothers and had no sons. Thus, there was no male to succeed.

The Persians wanted to keep the kingdom in the House of Anushirwan and appointed Chosrow's daughter, Buran or Puran.

The use of the Hadith

It has been a primary text in prohibiting women from prominent positions like rulership and judgeship. It is also used as proof that she cannot give herself in marriage or oversee the marriage of others.

At-Tabari and Malik according to one report descented. Abu Hanifa allowed women to be judges in matters concerning women: matters in which their testimony was accepted.

Where here is the queen of Sheeba?

Politically prominent and outspoken Companions

Umar Kahhala gives more than 125 entries (including Bilqis)

Umm Haani' Fakhitah bt Abi Talib

Ali's Sister. She became a Muslim on the day of the conquest of Makkah.  Transmitted 46 Hadith.

Fatima and Abu Bakr

Muslims have always found this disagreement upsetting, and Sunnis have sought to minimize its gravity, while shi'a have magnified it.

Fatima had not been involved in political matters but became directly involved after the Prophet's death. (She died about 6 months after his death).

She is said to have said to Abu Bakr and Umar: "You have left the body of the Messenger of God with us and have decided among yourselves without consulting us and without respecting our rights." Another report says she went to the Ansar asking their support for Ali, but they had already sworn allegiance to Abu Bakr.

The issue of Fadak and Khaybar: Abu Bakr met Fatima's claims with flat refusal, saying the Prophet had said he left no heirs and all would be sadaqa. Fatima contended that Fadak was a gift to her from her father. Sunnis and Shi'a have argued about these matters for centuries.

Some say she was reconciled with Abu Bakr before her death; others deny it.

Fatima bint Muhammad

Sunnis hold that the greatest and most perfect of women were: Maryam, Khadijah, Fatimah, 'A'ishah, and Aasiyah, may God be pleased with them all.

Fatimah: Lady of the women of all the worlds, of all ages.     

Arwa bt al-Harith ibn 'Abd al-Muttalab versus Mu'awiya

She was the strongest versus Mu'awiya and came to him as an old woman declaring that he had disbelieved in the Prophet and taken their rights. He had claimed closeness of lineage, she said: "We have become people of your household like the people of Moses were with regard to the household of Pharoah, who put their sons to death and kept their women alive."

Amina bin al-Sharid versus Mu'awiya

Mu'awiya imprisoned her for two years, seeking her husband, 'Umar al-Khuza'i who was a strong supporter of Ali. She became one of Mu'awiya's strongest opponents and he could not silence her tongue.

Asma bint Abi Bakr told Hajjaj: You spoiled your hereafter

Asma bt Abi Bakr told al-Hajjaj after he had killed Abduallah b Zubair after he asked her what she thought of his killing God’s enemy: “I think you ruined his life and he ruined your hereafter.” Then she told him that Thaqif would produce a great Liar and a great Exterminator. She had seen the first and believed him to be the second.
- Muslim

Zubayda bt Ja'far b al-Mansur

The wife of Harun ar-Rashid--whom she married in 165/781-- wealthiest and most powerful woman in the world of her time. Died 216/ 831 12 years after Shf. She was a benefactor of political acumen and standing. She was a noble woman of great wealth, generosity, and munifence. She had great intellect and profound opinions and was an eloquent mast of Arabid. She was a builder of cities and civilization, one who brough the earth to life.  She was also a patroness of writers, poets, and physicians--even Christians. The poor and needy; religious scholars and men of piety. Close to Abu Yusuf.

Makkah's water system

Water was scarce in Makkah and the price of a single load of water was one piece of gold.

Zubaidah brought water to Makkah from the moutains over many miles: under the gound and over the mountains--using highly engineered catchment basins, tunnels, pits and channels. She spent 1 million 700 thousands pieces of gold.

'Ain Zubaidah remained in excellent condition more than 600 years. The Ottomans then renewed it. Its remnants can still be seen.

The pilgrimage

The brought the entire pilgrimage route from Baghdad to Makkah to life: factories, fresh water pools, excellent wells, camping stations--some so beautiful you would not want to leave [The Sufis used them as metaphors]. Marvellous constructions--the highest technology of the time.

Without them perhaps no one would have taken that route.

She would make pilgrimage and give away millions of dinars on her journeys.

Her wakil spoke to her about her budget: She replied "Allah's recompense is beyond all computation."

Zubaidah bt Ja'far b al-Mansur

The wife of Harun ar-Rashid--whom she married in 165/781-- wealthiest and most powerful woman in the world of her time. Died 216/ 831 12 years after Imam Shafi'. She was a benefactor of political acumen and standing. She was a noble woman of great wealth, generosity, and munifence. She had great intellect and profound opinions and was an eloquent mast of Arabid. She was a builder of cities and civilization, one who brough the earth to life.  She was also a patroness of writers, poets, and physicians--even Christians. The poor and needy; religious scholars and men of piety. Close to Abu Yusuf.

Sensitivity to the false Hadith

She did not like to be praised with expressions like "May Allah make your karaamah endure forever" because of the baseless Hadith that the "karaamah" of a woman  is her burial.

But she generously forgave wellmeaning poets and others who made grave mistakes with good intentions.

Her bondswomen

Zubaidah kept over 100 bondswomen who were all Hafizah of Qur'an.

She gave each of them a daily wird of one tenth of the Qur'an. Thus, one who entered her palace heard it filled with the recitation of Qur'an-- like the humming of bees.

Ten khatmahs everyday--and 1000 extra completed every ten days.

Makkah's water system

Water was scarce in Makkah and the price of a single load of water was one piece of gold.

Zubaidah brought water to Makkah from the moutains over many miles: under the gound and over the mountains--using highly engineered catchment basins, tunnels, pits and channels. She spent 1 million 700 thousands pieces of gold.

'Ain Zubaidah remained in excellent condition more than 600 years. The Ottomans then renewed it. Its remnants can still be seen.

The pilgrimage

The brought the entire pilgrimage route from Baghdad to Makkah to life: factories, fresh water pools, camping stations----some so beautiful you would not want to leave [The Sufis used them as metaphors.] Marvellous constructions--the highest technology of the time.

Without them perhaps no one would have taken that route.

She would make pilgrimage and give away millions of dinars on her journeys.

Her wakil spoke to her about her budget: She replied "Allah's recompense is beyond all computation."

Radiyah Begum bt Altemesh of India

She was the Queen of India. A woman of great inflence and power. Excellent administration. Took power in 634/1236 after her brother Rukn ad-Din Fairuz Shah was removed from power.

The princes refused to give her their oath of loyalty. She brought the entire land under her authority by virtue of her excellent policies and her stubborn determination.

She possessed all qualities needed for leadership and rulership.     

Her father

Her father would leave her in charge of the administration, when going out to war.

He preferred her over his sons: They were devoted to drinking and self indulgence--it would be dfficult for them to rule the land.

But, he said: "Radiyah Begum has the intellect and heart of a man." [NOTE: PATRIARCHAL SOCIETY.]

Attire

Radiyah Begum lived up to her father's expectations of her. She took firm control of the government. She took off her women's dress and donned the attire of the kind and undertook direct governance.
She did justice, led her armies and was famed for fair dealing.

Benefactoress

She improved the entire region she ruled. She spreak knowledge and made handicraft workshops and factories.
The Indians regarded her a saint and visited her grave. Killed in 637/ 1239.

Radiyah Begum bt Altemesh of India

Queen of India. Great inflence and power. Excellence administration. Took power in 634/1236 after her brother Rukn ad-Din Fairuz Shah was removed from power.

The princes refused to give her their oath of loyalty.

She brought the entire land under her authority by virtue of her excellent policies and her stubborn determination.

She possessed all qualities needed for leadership and rulership.
   
Her father

Her father would leave her in charge of the administration, when going out to war.

He preferred her over his sons: They were devoted to drinking and self indulgence--it would be dfficult for them to rule the land.

But, he said: "Radiyah Begum has the intellect and heart of a man." [NOTE: PATRIARCHAL SOCIETY.]

Attire

Radiyah Begum lived up to her father's expectations of her. She took firm control of the government. She took off her women's dress and donned the attire of the kind and undertook direct governance.

She did justice, led her armies and was famed for fair dealing.
     
Her Brother Bahraam's plot

Bahraam plotted against her from Lahore and sent armies against her in Dehli.

Radiyah broke up his alliance by send liaisons to the generals and making them various promises. She dealt severly with those who remained.

Benefactoress Betrayed

She improved the entire region she ruled. She spreak knowledge and made handicraft workshops and factories.

Bahraam plotted against her again and accused her of infidelity--Bahraam the playboy--she was betrayed by her Turkish troops and imprisoned.

She escaped in desperate circumstances, wearing the garments of a man, and was killed by a peasant.

The Indians regarded her a saint and visited her grave.  Killed in 637/ 1239.

Shajarat ad-Durr: The Tree of Pearls

Ayyubid dynasty.

One of the most famous of Muslim queens: a superb administrator, a woman of determination, intellect, cunning, uprightness, and "Goodness".

Iman vitamins may in order: two political murders

Background

She was a Circassian bondswoman of extreme beauty and brilliant intellect: He husband, Najm ad- Din Ayyub, the king al-Malik as-Salih, owned her and had a son Khalil by her. He loved her passionatelyfreed her, and married her.

He brought her to Egypt from Syria. She won great fame.

Much of the administration fell to her during her husband's rule and especially during his sickness.

Al-Mansurah

Her palace was in al-Mansurah, from whence she fought the crusaders.

She held the king of France her prisoner and made the French abandon dimyaat to get his release. There was a long correspondence between both sides.

The Queen of Egypt & Syria

She became queen in 648 / 1250. She sat behind a curtain in hijaab and the amirs kissed the ground before her.
9th Ayyubid Regent in Egypt.

She appointed 'Izz ad-Din Aibek, a Turkman, as the Atabek of the army and had the support of the Bahri Mamluks of Cairo.

Benefactoress of the People

She ruled the people in the best of fashions and was extremely popular. Many awqaaf and a great school and great Hammam.

Her Atabek 'Izz ad-Din never did anything without her consultation and agreement.

The Khutbah in Syria and Egypt were given in her name. Coins were minted in her name. AND PROTECT, O GOD, THE UPRIGHT WOMAN, THE QUEEN OF THE MUSLIMS, THE PROTECTION ['ISMAH] OF THE DIN WHO KEEPS THE BEAUTIFUL HIJAAB AND THE MAGNIFICENT COVER--THE MOTHER OF THE MARHUUM KHALIL THE WIFE OF THE KING NAJM AD-DIN AYUB.

The 'Abbasid Caliph and her demise

To the Amirs of Egypt: Have you no men? We will send you some.

Shajarat ad-Durr immediately removes herself from power and agrees to marry the Atabek and make him the king.

But this leads to problems with her new husband. Murder. etc.

Nur Jehan Queen of India

Wife of JEHANGIR. She was a great Indian queen of beauty, kindness, courage, and fortitude. She was a master of Persian and Arabic letters. She had refined taste for the fine arts and sciences of civilization.   She was a WISE ADMINISTATOR, WHO REMOVED TAXES FROM THE PEOPLE AND OVERLOOKED THE DAILY BUSINESS OF EMPIRE.
   
SHE WOULD SIT BEHIND A SPECIAL WINDOW IN HER PALACE TO RECIEVE REGIONAL PRINCES AND REVIEW HER TROOPS.

Helping the people

She helped the orphans and the needy and aided them in getting married by paying her their dowries. She put the general roads and highways in good repair; she built schools, hospitals, Sufi takkahs, and wonderful buildings throughout India. The first Suq Khairiyah: Princesses and women of note from all over India on Nawruz: extremely excellent and valuable handicrafts. The proceeds then went to the poor and the needy.

Hindu reform

She forbad Hindus in the strongest terms to mistreat women or to engage in wife burning upon a husband's death. 

She brought an end to this custom in her time. [NOTE: We should see to what extent history attributes this to her.]

The hunter

She would hunt like men along with the women of the court on the best of horses.

To the rescue of Jehangir

When Mahaabat Khaan took her husband, Jehangir, prisoner by surpise--Nur Jehan led her armies against him to rescue her husband. She charged the enemy bravely, fought with them, and fired upon them from her own bow.
When Jehangir died, Nur Jehan removed herself from power. She died shortly thereafter and was buried next to her husband.

Nur Jehan Queen of India

Also called: Mahr an-Nisaa. Wife of Jehangir [Grandmother? of Aurangzeeb?]

Great Indian queen of beauty, kindness, courage, and fortitude. Master of Persian and Arabic letters. Refined taste for the fine arts and sciences of civilization.

She was a wise administrator who removed taxes from the people and overlooked the daily business of the empire.
   
She would sit behind a special window in her palace to receive regional princes and review her troops.     

Coinage

She was very close to her husband, and the coinage of India bore her name and that of her husband.

Helping the people

She helped the orphans and the needy and aided them in getting married by paying her their dowries. She put the general roads and highways in good repair; she built schools, hospitals, Sufi takkahs, and wonderful buildings throughout India. The first Suq Khairiyah: Princesses and women of note from all over India on Nawruz: extremely excellent and valuable handicrafts. The proceeds then went to the poor and the needy.

Hindu reform

She forbad Hindus in the strongest terms to mistreat women or to engage in wife burning upon a husband's death. 
She brought an end to this custom in her time. [NOTE: We should see to what extent history attributes this to her.]

The hunter

She would hunt like men along with the women of the court on the best of horses.

To the rescue of Jehangir

When Mahaabat Khaan took her husband, Jehangir, prisoner by surpise--Nur Jehan led her armies against him to rescue her husband. She charged the enemy bravely, fought with them, and fired upon them from her own bow.
When Jehangir died, Nur Jehan removed herself from power. She died shortly thereafter and was buried next to her husband.

Two Rulers in modern times: Sakandar Begum of Bhopal & Daughter Shah Jehan Begum

Took authority in the principality of Bhopal in Central India--the second largest district in British India with the largest Indian mosque [Taj al-Masaajid]--in 1844 after the death of her husband--Amir Jehangir Muhammad Khan.

Extraordinary ability

She was the greatest woman in India in her time and certainly one of the most remarkable of her age in the world--a peer of Queen Victoria.

She ran Bhopaal wonderfully and wisely and with great determination. She showed justice and moderation. In 6 years she paid off the deficit of Bhopal and abolished many taxes that weighed down upon the people.

Colonel Milson: "She showed energy, sharpness of intellect, and an administration so excellent as to equal the best of the greatest rulers and politicians.

Her love of the people

Sakandar Begum never kept herself aloof or out of reach of her people.

She was dynamic. A woman who never stopped and never knew fatigue.

The daughter: Shah Jehaan Begum

She ruled after her mother's death in 1868 until her death in 1901.
     
Her mother's daughter

She followed excellent and wise policies.She worked everyday in the morning and afternoon and did most work herself.

Bhopaal flourished under her and became renowned for its wealth, justice, and luxury.

4086 cases unheard--during her mother's pilgrimage and sickness. Shah Jehaan Begum took it upon herself to see that they were all heard and dealt with fairly post haste.

Shah Jehan and the people

She lowered wheat prices in Bhopal by removing taxes on wheat. She increased the pay of her soldiers.

She travelled throughout Bhopal in 1869 to her the complaints of her peasants and farmers.

She urged them to bring all complaints to her without fear or anxiety.

Two rulers in modern times: Sakandar Begum of Bhopal & daughter

Took authority in the principality of Bhopal in Central India--the second largest district in British India with the largest Indian mosque [Taj al-Masaajid]--in 1844 after the death of her husband--AMIR JEHANGIR MUHAMMAD KHAN.

Extraordinary ability

She was the greatest woman in India in her time and certainly one of the most remarkable of her age in the world--a peer of Queen Victoria.

She ran Bhopaal wonderfully and wisely and with great determination. She showed justice and moderation. In 6 years she paid off the deficit of Bhopal and abolished many taxes that weighed down upon the people.

Colonel Milson: "She showed energy, sharpness of intellect, and an administration so excellent as to equal the best of the greatest rulers and politicians."

The Rebellion of 1857

In the eyes of Muslims, one of the controversial positions she took was in the rebellion of 1857-- Mutiny or Jihad.
The Muslims of Bhopaal urged her to declare jihad against the English. She insisted that it would be to the destruction of BHOPAAL. She refused and swayed the opinion of her people with her grave determination.
The British returned her favor in 1860 and kept her in power with special concessions. Many of the other principalities lost their independence altogether. [cf. Mudejar uprising of Spain--Castilian position.]

Her love of the people

Sakandar Begum never kept herself aloof or out of reach of her people.

She was dynamic. A woman who never stopped and never knew fatigue.

Her daughter's punishment

She protected her family's honor.

Jehan Begum and a prince of Dehli.

She had Jehan beaten severly and imprisoned in her rooms. She had the prince hung in a cage from the fortress gates for several months until the English interceded on his behalf.

Great Pilgrimage of 1863

Great pilgrimage of 1863 with grand retinue. Died in 1868.

The Daughter: Shah Jehaan Begum

She ruled after her mother's death in 1868 until her death in 1901.
     
Her Mother's Daughter

She followed excellent and wise policies. SHE WORKED EVERY DAY IN THE MORNING AND AFTERNOON and did most work herself.
     
Bhopaal flourished under her and became renowned for its wealth, justice, and luxury.

4086 cases unheard--during her mother's pilgrimage and sickness. Shah Jehaan Begum took it upon herself to see that they were all heard and dealt with fairly post haste.

Shah Jehan and the People

She lowered wheat prices in Bhopal by removing taxes on wheat. She increased the pay of her soldiers.
     
She travelled throughout Bhopal in 1869 to her the complaints of her PEASANTS AND FARMERS. She urged them to bring all complaints to her WITHOUT FEAR OR ANXIETY.

Hijaab Islolation

During the life of her first husband she did not isolate herself.
     
She married Wazir Sahyid Muhammad Sadiq in 1871 and then kept hijaab isolation. Yet she still kept up on every detail of Bhopal's affairs small and large.

Lapel Griffin: She ran her state from behind the curtain of hijab, yet she knew all comings and goings. She was the GREATEST WOMAN IN INDIA IN HER TIME.
     
GRIFFIN: She was vastly superior to many of the Indian princes.
     
She was--like her mother--of extremely QUICK WIT: GRIFFIN: Whoever converses with her must beware. None should converse with her who is not exceedingly intelligent, because of the quality of her wit.

Where we go from here: The need for further study of Muslim women in authority

There is a DISTINCTIVE TRADITION OF ISLAMIC WOMEN OF POLITICAL ACUMEN AND POWER.

THIS tradition needs to be studied on its own merits.

It should also be compared with parallel traditions in the West, China, Hindu India, and elsewhere--especially within the Jewish and Christian traditions.

"Do not treat people with contempt, nor walk insolently on the earth. Allah does not love the arrogant or the self-conceited boaster. Be modest in your bearing and subdue your voice, for the most unpleasant of voices is the braying of the ass." [The Holy Qur'an, Surah Luqman - 31:18-19]
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« Reply #5 on: Apr 14, 2008 10:01 PM »

Women in Religious Knowledge

Base lectures around three major questions students should answer

What bearing does the primacy of women in Hadith and Fatwas (Law) have on the issue of their giving witness?

In the light of women's role in Hadith and Law, what can be said of women's intellectual and religious contribution to Islam? NOTE: This is meant to respond to the issue of "naqisat 'aql wa din" and that it cannot have been literal.

In light of the role of women in Hadith and Law, what can be said regarding the dependency of men on women?


Special reference to Fatima al-Samarqandiyya.


Aishah, the Mother of Believers


Fatima al-Samarqandiyya


Karima bint Ahmad


Aanaas Khaatuun wife of Ibn Hajar


The special religious receptivity of women

1) Several scholars and Muftis in the Muslim world who give religious programs affirm that most of their questions and the most brilliant and engaging questions come from women. Some theorize that this is because women are generally closer to their fitrah than men--they are generally more natural.

2) They also see the phenomenon of the return to the scarf throughout the Muslim world-- despite the tremendous social and legal pressures to the contrary--  to be a sign of the special religiosity of women and not the tutelage and hegemony of men.

3) Moreover, it is a social fact that many Muslim women who wear western dress--and do not cover their heads--perform their prayers, fast Ramadan, make the umrah and Hajj, fulfill other aspects of worship and lead chaste and upright lives.

The women of Makkah

Aishah reports: That her father, Abu Bakr, built a little mosque jof his own in which he would pray and recite the Qur'an. The pagan women of Quraish with their children would push in on each other-- and nudge each other--trying to get close enough to her Abu Bakr's recitation. They were amazed by Abu Bakr and would stare at him in awe.
This startled the ashraaf of Quraish: "Verily, we fear that he will entice our women and our children away."

Give us our own day

A group of women said tho the Prophet, peace be upon him: "The men have gotten the better of us, so give us a day which is for us exclusively."

Generosity

In Muslim: The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, would say: Give donations, give donations! But the majority of those who gave donations were women."
NOTE: We will see that many of the most famous women in Islamic history were wealthy benefactors.
Fatimah as-Sulami: Qaraawiyiin and her sister.

Muslim women: Icons of knowledge

Note that women in hadith and knowledge are the most frequently mentioned, although generally with few details other than she transmitted from so-and-so to so- and-so and was exact. Women often mastered both Hadith and fiqh.

Amat al-Waahid bt al-Qadi al-Husain d. 377 / 987

Excellent scholar of the Shafi' school in Baghdad.

Master of Hadith--which she transmitted--the Qur'an with its 7 recitations. Master of mathematics, grammar, and other fields of knowledge.

She transmitted knowledge and gave fatwaas along with the greatest scholars of her time.

She was the one of the greatest Huffaaz and authorities of the Shafi' school. Extremely charitable.  
     
Tahirah bt Ahmad b Yusuf d. 436 / 1044

She was born in Baghdad and died in Basrah.

She was a great Faqih' and muhaddithah. Al-khatib al- Baghdadi received knowledge from her and transmitted on her authority.
     
Karima bint Ahmad al-Marwaziyya d. 463/1070

KARIMAH BT AHMAD of Marw transmitted one of the most authentic and highly regarded of all the transmissions of al-Bukhaarii. She was noted for her excellence as a transmitter and her insightful intelligence. She transmitted to men and women: Nur al-Huda was one of her famous women transmitters. Karima died in Mecca at almost 100 years of age.

Shuhdah bt Ahmad al-Ibrii d. 574 / 1178

She was born and died in Baghdad. She studied with the greatest scholars of her age. She was known for her knowledge and great piety and goodness.

The pride of women

She was one of the greatest Fiqh of her time--among both men and women--and was called Fakhr an-Nisaa'.

She was also a great muhaddithah, and her reputation spread far and wide throughout the world. Ibn al-Jawzi was one of her students and transmits from her on her authority.

Political prominence

Thiqat ad-Dawlah--one of the most important 'Abbasid officials in Baghdad--married her.

Fairuuz bt al-Muzaffar d. 740 / 1339

Great scholar in general and muhaddithah with very high ijaazahs.

She wrote a book called The Forty Transmissions of the Upright Women from the Upright Men (KITAAB AL- ARBA'IIN: RIWATAYAT AL-SAALIHAAT ''AN AS- SAALIHIIN).

'A'ishah bint 'Ali b Muhammad d. 840 / 1436

She was from Cairo. She was a great and uprigth scholar. She read the books of the F with perfect understanding.

She had a great following in Egypt and Syria. Many Imams learned from her: Fiqh, Hadiths and other sciences.

She was the master of the sirah and had profound knowledge and recollection of the sirah in all its details.

She was extremely intelliegent, wise, and understanding--she could memorize instantaneously.     

The women of learning around the Prophet

Iconic Fatima bint Muhammad

Fatima is the prototype of the charismatic woman: the source of secrets.

Sunnis hold that the greatest and most perfect of women were: MARYAM  KHADIJAH  FATIMAH 'A'ISHAH & AASIYAH

Fatimah: Lady of the women of all the worlds, of all ages.
     
The image of Fatima

Fatima becomes a central image of iconic womanhood in both Shi'i and Sunni tradition.

She is hailed as an apotheosis of womanhood (highest example): she is even “the mother of her father.” Her kunya is “an angel of knowledge.” Suhrawardi: “He who knows Fatima as she is, knows himself. He who knows himself, knows his God.”

The sacralization of woman

Majnun wa Laila sacrilizes the feminine but also carries the connotation of the suppression of the “game” of love and reciprocal pleasure. It represents woman as an idol beyond man’s reach but also as an erotic yet passive object, flattering the fancies of the poet and the story teller. She is thus also the passive object of physical pleasure for poets like Abu Nuwas or Ibn al-hajjaaj, who speak of her in less mystical and less guarded terms.

The dual image of woman as angel (Fatima) and demon

For centuries there has been a fixed dual image of the woman as angel and demon. Even in modern times—even in modern literature and films—feminine characters retain some of their traditional aspects. The mother or wife is often the angelic character today, and the “femme fatale” appears in some other form to embodied female eroticism.

Fatima as the source of the charismatic authority of the Imams

Two approaches to politcal authority and rule in Islam: Contractualist and Intrinsicalist: Geertz argued that one approach was intrinsicalist and the other was contractualist. In the first, charisma or power was in certain persons—the descendants of the Prophet through Ali and Fatima. It was like the idea of the sacral kingships of the ancient Near East. Ali had strong support among the South Arabian tribes who inherited an ancient tradition of divine kingship probably influenced by ancient Mesopotamia.

Asmaa bint Abi Bakr

Dhaat an-Nitaaqain: She was 10 years older than Aishah--and among the first women in Islam- -17 men before her.

She lived to be more than 100--she had brilliant intellect, will power, dignity, and self-respect. Her intellect never dulled, and she never lost any of her teeth.

She transmited 58 Hadith. She was a poetess and she could write.

She was extremely wealthy and generous. She would also nurse the sick. She participated in the Battle of Yarmuk with her husband, az- Zubair.

Asmaa bt 'Umais

Asmaa bt Umais: Wife of Ja'far b Abi Talib. Transmitted 60 Hadith in Bukhari and other like sources.  She interpreted dreams for Umar.

Fatimah bint Qais al-Fihriyah

She was known for her great beauty, and intellect: a perfect woman in every way. The companions regarded her as [nujuud]--always readu to come to the help of others. The shura met in her house after the murder of Umar. 
She transmitted 34 Hadith.

Zainab bint 'Abd-Allah al-Makhzumiyah

She is the daughter of Umm Salamah and the rabibah [stepdaughter; fosterdaughter] of the Prophet, peace be upon him.

She was among the most knowledgeable of people in fiqh in her age.

She was also a transmitter of Hadith. Bukhari and Muslim transmit from her.


Hafsah bintt Umar

She was entrusted with the Mushaf.

She transmitted 60 Hadith, could write and was very eloquent.

Gave oration upon her father's death and consoled him on his death bed.

'Amrah bint 'Abd ar-Rahman al- Ansaariyah d. 98 / 716

She was a great Faqih' and muhadditha. The lady (sayyidah) of the successors in Madinah. She was raised under the tutelage of 'Aishah and memorized a huge body of knowledge from her.

She was a principle disciple of 'Aishah. She also transmitted from Umm Salamah and many other women of the Companions.

She was regarded in her time to be one of the greatest scholars of Madinah and one of the primary authorities for the transmissions of 'Aishah.

The Hadith Project of 'Umar II

The Hadith Project of Abu Bakr b Muhammad b Hazm and az-Zuhri:

'Umar b Abdul Aziz: "Look to the Hadith that are of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon, or any sunnah maadiyah [well-established sunnah] or the hadith of 'Amrah, and write it down. For I fear that knowledge will pass away and its people shall depart [us]."

NOTE: 'AMRAH and no male scholar is designated for mention by name.

A'ishah: The Mother of believers

Take half of your deen from this little reddish skinned woman. The Hadith is authentic: "Take half of your religion from this little redskinned (or white skinned) one" [Aishah]: "khuudhuu nisfa dinikum 'an haadhihi l- humairaa."
{This little woman with the reddish skin} She transmitted over 2500 Hadith. Aishah is the archetype of the woman scholar in Islam.

Aishah played a major role in spreading and elaborating Islam and the Prophetic teaching.

She was a supreme genius in knowledge. She was known for her absolute mastery of Arabic and Arabic poetic and prosaic eloquence.

No doubt the prominence of women in hadith science has something to do with the prominence of 'A'ishah int hat field and others.

'A'ishah and the Companions

The Shaykhs of the Older Companions would come to 'A'ishah with their most difficult questions. She would give them the fullest and most reliable answers-- indicative of her perfection of knowledge.

The Successor Masruq said: "I witnessed the Shaikhs of the elder Companions of Muhammad asking [Aishah] about the laws of inheritance."

Umar and Ali

Az-Zarkashi says that Umar and Ali would both ask her numerous difficult questions in fiqh.

Abu Burdah b Abi Musa

His father, Abu Musa al-Ash'ari said: "There was not an issue that was problematic to us--the Companions of Muhammad--but that we would ask 'A'ishah about it and find the knowledge [we sought] with her."
     
'A'ishah: Transmitter of Hadith

'Aishah ranks among the 6 mukthirin [i.e., those who transmitted more than 1000 Hadith]
1) Abu Huraira 5394 5374   
2) Abdullah b Umar    2638  2630    
3) 'Aishah 2210      
4) Abdullah b Abbas  1660
5) Jaabir b Abdullah  1540      
6) Abu Sa'id al-Khudri   1170

'A'ishah as a teacher

The 7 Fuqahaa of Madinah to Malik.

Eloquence and oratory

'A'ishah was gifted with unmatched eloquence and mastery of the Arabic tongue.

If she spoke publicly: "She took possession of people's ears." Whenever she spoke: "She took over the junctures (majaami') of their hearts."

Al-Ahnaf b Qais

He said: "I heard the orations of Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali, and all the caliphs after them until this day of mine now. But never did I hear speech from the mouth of a created being more stately and beautiful than [what I heard] from the mouth of 'A'ishah.

Musa b Talhah et al

He said: "Never did I see anyone more correct in speech than 'A'ishah."
Mu'aawiyah said: "By Allah, never did I see an orator more eloquent and more correct in speech than 'A'ishah."

Greatest of the age

Aishah was the greatest muhaddiththa  of her age.  

She carried the banner of knowledge, gnosis, and education in her age. Brilliant lamp of knowledge.

She was a role model and archetype in other fields of learning also.
     
'Urwah b az-Zubair

Urwah b Zubair said: "Never did I see anyone more knowledgeable of the Qur'an, the laws of inheritance, the Halal and the Haram, poetry, the history of the Arabs, and genealogy than 'A'ishah." In another report: "...more knowledgeable of Fiqh, Medicine, and poetry than Ali."

Breadth

Aishah was regarded among her contemporaries as the most brilliant of scholars in Qur'an, Hadith, Fiqh, Arabic language and eloquence, poetry, pre-Islamic Arab history, genealogy, and medicine.

Her Uniqueness

Badr ad-Din az-Zarkashi--a Shf scholar--has a special work on 'Aishah's unique contribution.

Her special and unrivaled opinions.

Her opinions at variance with others.  Her refutations of other scholars.

Parts of the Sunnah only known through her.  Parts of the Sunnah only completed through her.

Her Great Integrity and Care

'A'ishah was a very careful thinker and researcher.

Al-Mizzi says that she never heard of a thing--that she had not already known--but that she researched it carefully [raaja'athuu] until she mastered it.

She was a role model - Take half of your deen from this humairaa. 

Imam Malik is directly in the line of 'A'ishah--and this was his way also, which we may say goes back to her.

'Aishah the Faqihah

Ibn Hajar & az-Zurqaani say: "Aishah was a true Fiqh to the extent that it has been said of her that a quarter of shari'ah rulings have been received through her [transmission]."
Adh-Dhahabi: In the entire Ummah, 'A'ishah was the most learned of women in Fiqh.

Muftiyah

The great muftis of the Companions number over 130. They were both men and women. But the most prominent were:
1) Umar  
2) Ali  
3) Abduallah b Masud  
4) 'A'ishah mother of the believers 
5) Zaid b Thabit  
6)  Abdullah b Abbass 
7) Abdullah b Umar


Women and tradition

Women muhaddithah are exclusively of the highest integrity: no liars or fabricators registered among them.

The analogy of the false transmitted women were not of this category

What does this say about the testimony of women?  Of the 1000s of muhaddithat--none of them was ever guilty of fabricating hadith - as opposed to the many men who were discovered.


Women: An essential part from beginning to end

Continuity: From the Prophet until modern or pre- modern times.


Women bearing the light of 'A'ishah

Transmitters of Hadith

Transmitters versus scholars of Hadith

These are the women who transmitted Hadith from the Prophet, peace be upon him, or from the Companion and Successor men and women until the great Hadith compilation.
Thus, they are the women mentioned in the isnaads of the great Hadith Compilations.

Distinction in meaning

These are the scholars of Hadith after the compilation of the great Hadith compilations who transmitted them to us.

Hadith Scholars: Glimpses and anecdotes

There were dozens and hundreds of great muhaddithaat throughout pre-colonial Islamic history.
The pattern from the beginning to the end is one of women and men taking knowledge from one another and giving it to one another with the highest degree of respect and integrity.

Karimah bint Ahmad al-Marwaziyah

She died in 463 / 1070

She was a most excellent muhaddithah. She was a haafizah, having memorized the majority of Hadith with their isnads.

Her transmission of Bukhari brom Abu l-Haitham M b Makki is the soundest or among the greatest. 3 great muhaddithah took it from her.

Abu Bakr b AR of Toledo--who died 3 years after her-- came all the way from Spain to study with her.

She died in Makkah at the age of around 100.

Amat al-Khaliq

Al-Ghazzi and Ibn 'Imaad mention a great muhaddithah Amat al-Khaliq who died in 902 [1496]--he says:
With her death all the people of the earth descended one degree regarding the quality of the transmission of Bukhari.

Lovers of Hadith and transmission

The great women muhaddithat transmit the standard books, but many of them transmitted books that were extremely rara--sometimes they were the only source of direct access to those books by direct transmission.

Zainab bint Yahyaa as-Sulami

d. 735 / 1334  She was a muhaddithah  of greatest integrity, uprightness, and piety. She was the greatest link to at-Tabaraani in her lifetime and the last to be connected to him by a chain of direct Samaa'.
Adh-Dhahabi: She was a woman of greatest goodness and intense worship. She loved the transmission of hafith to the extent that she gave ijaazah in severl chapters of knowledge on the day of her death at about 87 years of age. 

Zainab bint Ahmad al-Maqdisiyah

Magnificent muhaddithah  who died at the age of 90 in 740 / 1339 [NOTE that muhaddithah women seem to live very long lives]

She taught in the Umayyad mosque of Damascus and was famed through the world. She learned from and transmitted to an extremely large number of men and women.

Ibn Batutah, the world traveller, was honored to study with her when he came to Damascus.

'A'ishah bintt Mohammad bt Ahadi al-Maqdisiyah

d. 816 / 1413 in Damascus: Great muhaddithah. The last to transmit from the great women before her: Sitt al- Fuqahaa bt al-Waasitii, Zainab bt al-Kamaal, and Zainab bt Yahyaa by direct oral transmission and ijaazah.
     
The imams of her time travelled to her in search of knowledge--Ibn Hajar was one of them. He took Bukhari from her and read many books before her.

She was a great teacher and mild-mannered--easu to learn from.

When she died in Damascus-all the city mourned her passing and huge crowds followed her bier to the grave.

Baay Khatuun bint 'Ali

She lived in Damascus but taught in Syria and Egypt. d, 864 / 1459

She was the leader of her people [the turks in Syria] [ra'iisat Qawmihaa].

She was of the highest moral character.

She persisted with unbroken love and determination in hearing hadith from scholars and teaching them to others by oral transmission.

Aanaas Khaatuun wife of Ibn Hajar

d. 867 / 1462 -- 15 years after her husband Ibn Hajar. They married when she--a great muhaddithah- -was 18 and he--a great muhaddith--was 25. Ibn Hajar lived in her house until his death--where he had his joy and happiness with her.
There he wrote his great works.

She was brilliant and lively. Her main shaikh was Zain ad-Din al-'Iraaqi.

She gave celebrated public lectures to the people of knowledge in the presence of Ibn Hajar--as- Sakhaawii was among those in attendance. 

She surrounded herself with the helpless, the poor, the handicapped, the aged, and cared for them personally. 

She regarded it her privilege and pleasure to support them.

Women and law

Fatimah bt Muhammad b Ahmad as-Samarqandi d. 578 / 1182

She was a great scholar in general--a master of Fiqh and Hadith. HALAB

Illustrious father, author of at-Tuhfah

Her father was among the greatest scholars of his time. Author of Tuhfat al-Fuqahaa [the gem/rarity of the Fiqh].

Her education

Fatimah was the principle student of her father--and knew the Tuhfah by heart and understood it with perfection.
She also studied with the great Fuqaha of her time.

Illustrious husband: 'Alaa ad-Din al-Kaasaanii

Several kings and rulers of Rum [Turks] asked for her hand in marriage, but her father refused. [The kings were not worthy of her.]

Abu Bakr b Mas'ud al-Kaasaanii was also a student of her father. When he wrote his great work BADAA'I' AS- SANAA'I {The Marvels of Things Fashioned}--a commentary on the TUHFAH--her father married her to him.

Al-Kaasaanii's respect for her

Al-Kaasaanii--one of the greatest of all the Hanafi fuqaha --held Fatimah bt Muhammad in greatest awe and esteem. He never liked to go against her will and used to say that she is the daughter of my shaikh -- even when NUR AD-DIN ZANGI asked him to go where she did not want him to go.

The trilateral fatwaas

Fatimah bt Muhammad was regarded as among the most excellent transmitted of the hanafi madhab.

Before her marriage -- she would give fatwaas, and they would be written in her father's name and her own.

After she married al-Kaasaanii--their fatwaas would be in 3 names.

Al-Kaasaanii would sometimes err in his fatwaas, and Fatimah would clarify his mistakes to him and direct him to the proper decision.

Her primacy in halab

She was granted precedence [tasaddarat] in teaching in Halab. She transmitted, taught, and wrote many books in Fiqh and Hadith.
     
Nur ad-Din Zangi

She was highly regarded by Nur ud-Din Zangi--the amir of Salah ad-Din--and he often took counsel from her and often looked to her for guidance on running the internal affairs of his state.
     
Nur ad-Din would also ask her questions of Fiqh and used to give her lavish gifts.

Burial in Halab

Fatimah died in Halab and was buried there in 578 / 1182

Her husband al-Kaasaanii died in 587 / 1191 and was buried next to her.

The Scholar Queen: Khunaathah bt Bakkaar d. 1159 / 1746

She was of the best of lineages in Morocco. Married to one of the greatest kings in Islamic history.
 
A woman of great knowledge -- she had comprehensive knowledge in fiqh, hadith, etc--She was a woman of great knowledge --comprehensive knowledge, fiqh, and hadith, and was known for her great piety and good doing.

One of the most powerful women of the 18th century.     

She was a scholar of Fiqh and adab. She was famed for her great piety, uprightness, and charity.

Al-Mawlaa Isma'il b Muhammad

1056 [1645] TO 1139 [1727]--He died 20 years before his wife's death.

Moulay Isma'il ruled for 57 years {The bedouin thought would never die}--longer than any king in Islamic history. He was in complete control during this time. He consolidated Morocco and extended Moroccan control over saharan and subsaharan Africa unto the Eastern banks of the Southern Nile.

He Built 76 fortresses. He made a huge and well- organized army.

Trust in Khunaathah

Khunaathah won the full trust of moulay Isma'il. He relied on her extensively.

He entrusted her judgment with matters concerning the internal organization of the state.

Supporting her son Al-Mawlaa 'Abd-Allah b Isma'il

Khunaath supported her son 'Abd-Allah.

She suffered greatly for the sake of her son and had her properties confiscated by two other sons. However, she was wise and long suffering until her son finally took power.

The fruit of the scholars of her time

Md b 'Ali al-Husaini says she was the fruit of the great and noteworthy shaykhs of her time.

Her Hajj and Makkan endowment

Queen Khunaathah made Hajj around 1142 / 1729. She visited Makkah and did i'tikaaf in Makkah for a long time.

She remained in Makkah for years and gave abundant gifts to the people and all those around her.

She brought a large house near the 'umrah gate, which cost her about 1000 pieces of gold. She made the house an endowment for students of knowledge.

She was the first overseer [Naazir] of the house. She appointed a shaykh to teach Bukhari there.

Return and death

She returned to Morocco; died in Fez in 1159 / 1746 and was buried there.

Witnessing and legal capacities

Mohammed Fadel: This is the best-known example of discrimination against women in the law. [NOTE: Really? What about not being a judge, receiving less inheritance, marriage, and divorce, beating?]

The Verse

O you who have attained faith,  whenever you give or take credit for  a stated term, set it down in writing.  Let a scribe write it down equitably  between you. ... If the one  contracting the debt is weak of mind  or body or cannot dictate himself,  then let his guardian dictate  equitably and Call upon two of your  men to witness. If there are not two  men, then a man and two women  from among such as are  acceptable to you as witnesses, so  that if one them should err, the other  can remind her

Mohammed Fadel, "Two Women, One Man"

"Two Women, One Man: Knowledge, Power, and Gender in Medieval Sunni Legal Thought," Mohammed Fadel, IJMES, 1997.

Legal Issue: Witnessing, Judges, Giving Fatwas, Education, Teaching Women to Read and Write

Normative versus political discourse

Normative discourse--Tradition transmission and fatwa giving, e.g.--may affect tangible interests but establish universal norms and facts.

Did a woman's words = half of a man's?

We should avoid this cliche. Evidentiary discrimination in Classical Law varies along a public- private continuum. It tended to regard public space as belonging to men. It tended to disallow women's testimony as it entered more and more into public space. Robbery and assault were excluded (they were public).

Defining normative and political

Mohammad Fadel distinguishes between public-private and normative/political. Normative = the domain of human life as regulated by universal norms. UNIVERSAL NORMS. Political = the realm of specific, tangible interests and third parties.

Acts of power

Fadel: It is when woman's testimony is an act of power that it became problematic. There was unanimity, however, in allowing individual women equality with men in transmission and legal opinion, which were not seen as acts of power, because they were not binding on third parties.

Witnessing is a political act

Fadel: The judge's verdict and the witness' testimony are both political. They are immediate, tangible, and binding irrespective of the contesting party's consent.

Women as marginalized political actors

Fadel: Discrimination was not based in woman's nature or a proclivity to fail to tell the truth but in specific social circumstances and the roles women played within them.

Court and legal enforcement

Fadel: Qarafi has an institutional argument: 1) the losing party bears a grudge against opposing witnesses [thus, women needed to be protected] and 2) in a partriarchal society, the sense of grievance is increased by the fact that the opposing witness was a woman. The party is less likely to comply of its own. There must be enforcement.

Witnesses exercise power

Fadel: Qr notes that witnesses exercise power over third parties in lawsuits. Religious transmission of opinion, however, was not binding by political authority and never treated the same.

Explaining the paradox

Fadel: The chief consideration was not epistemological, since a woman capable of transmitting Tradition and giving Fatwa clearly had the capacity to communicate testimony.

Women were protected

NOTE: Women were protected from the social consequences of false or difficult testimony in a way that men were not. Women were generally removed from the concourse of social intercourse.

Tradition and fatwa non-binding

Fadel: The Classical Jurists regarded Testimony and Fatwa as non-binding discourse. Testimony was personally binding.

The dilemma of the Fiqh

Fadel argues that Fiqh did argue that women lacked the capacity of men. But that argument was not easy for them, because of its inherent structural contradiction. If there were epistemological grounds, how could a distinction be drawn in the case of narration and legal opinion?
 
Identifying problems and framing solutions

What Is the problem? Is there a problem? What solutions can be framed?

Creating a new voice

Laila Ahmed calls for the recovery of the "stubbornly egalitarian" voice of early Islam. We must create a new and authoritative countervoice to the authoritarian and oppressive voice of traditional Muslim patriarchy. NOTE HERE: The prominence of women in the religious sciences authorizes them to have authoritative countervoices.

Establishing priorities


Short term and long term Solutions

Gisela Webb, “‘May Muslim Women Speak for Themselves, Please?,’” p. xiii:  The problems of Muslim women require short term and long term solutions.


"Do not treat people with contempt, nor walk insolently on the earth. Allah does not love the arrogant or the self-conceited boaster. Be modest in your bearing and subdue your voice, for the most unpleasant of voices is the braying of the ass." [The Holy Qur'an, Surah Luqman - 31:18-19]
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« Reply #6 on: Apr 24, 2008 03:40 PM »

Women: Benefactors

Three questions

What does the benevolence of women in Classical Islamic society say about their overall status? Does it imply they had social power? Did they have access to wealth?

What does their benevolence say about their understanding of society, social problems, and civic commitment?

How does the image of the woman as economic agent and benefactor mesh with male stereotypes of women?

In the legacy of the Prophet's wives and Companions as benefactors


The charity of women around the Prophet

Zainab bint Jahsh

Prophet's wife; closest in kin; Aishah's best friend.   Transmitted  11 Hadith.

She was among the most apt of the Prophet's, peace be upon him, wives and among the closest to 'A'ishah. She was a great benefactoress.

Skilled in handicrafts. Cured and tanned skins--sheep, goats, etc.

She would pierce them, sew them, ornament them with beads, etc.

She would then sell her goods in the market of Madinah. She gave her wealth to others and left neither dirham or dinar when she died.


Zainab bint Khuzaimah

She was regarded as the most compassionante and merciful of the Prophet's, peace be upon him, wives: She devoted herself to the poor and needy. She fed them regularly and gave them charity.

She was known for her boundless generosity before and after the coming of Islam.
The Prophet, peace be upon him, married her in the year 3 / 624, but she passed away the same year or the year after that. She was barely over 30 when she died.

The frequency of women endowments in traditional Islamic civilization

Women benefactors are another major category

What can be said comparatively about women benefactors in Islam and other civilizations?

Women were also creators of wealth not just inheritors

The Saint of Fez: Fatimah Umm al-Banin d. ca. 265 / 880

Fatimah Umm al-Baniin bint Muhammad b 'Abd-Allah al-Fihriyah

How many of you have been to Fez? Qairawiyin?

Her family and inheritance

She and her family came to Fez from QAIRAWAN in Tunisia and settled near al-Qarawiyiin during the early Idrisi period.
Her father, husband and a sister died, leaving her a vast fortune.

NOTE: Inheritance laws often made women very wealthy, because they were not required to support families from their money.

The Qarawiyiin Mosque project

She bought a large empty tract of land near her house, where people were extracting gypsum. She hired workers to dig out and lay the foundations and building up the walls of a huge mosque--which would be called the famous QARAWIYIIN MOSQUE.

Work began the first of Ramadan 245 / 859 [1142 years ago].
     
Fatimah's fast

Fatimah began to fast the day the first work began.  She continued to fast until all the work on the mosque was fully completed.

Why? She felt herself obliged to fast out of gratitude and thanksgiving to God who had bestowed upon her the consumate honor to build such a great mosque.

The Well

She had a well excavated in the middle of the mosque' courtyard for the workers, passers by, and any who wanted to drink.

It is still there and is for drinking and making wuduu. The water--Fez has several sweet underground rivers-- was especially sweet.

Stipulations

STIPULATIONS: All sand, earth, stone, were to be taken from her property itself --to avoid any dubious building materials misappropriated--that would deprive the mosque of barakah. Her workers excavated caverns under her land: They brought forth yellow sand of highest quality, gypsum [for plaster work and to amend the soil], and building stone of the highest quality.  Thus the Qarawiyiin mosque was built from the very soil upon which it stood.
     
The great Mosque

The building was completed. The mosque was completed: expansively spacious, in superb style and beauty and solid, sturdy structure, that would survive from then to the present.

The last time I was in Qarawiyiin with a friend of the Dabbaagh family of Fez (1998)--we were sitting in the courtyard between 'Asr and Maghrib--and noted how blessed the place was and how it was like the haram [Quds is also like this].

Her Sister's Project

Women as benefactors at the Pilgrimage

Reminder of Zubayda

The Queen of Bhopal

Shujjaa' Umm al-Mutawakkil d. 248 / 862

She was famed for her goodness and her good works, her devotion to worship and her upright and deeply religious character.

She possessed extensive wealth.
     
Secret charities

She would give out her wealth secretly to the needy through her private secretary, Ahmad B al- Khatib.

Her Pilgrimage escort

When she made her pilgrimage in 236 / 850 [twelve years before her death], al-Mutawakkil gave her a royal escort to an-Najaf. When she arrived at al-Kufah, she gave 1000 pieces of SILVER to every Talibi male-- Haashimi and 'Abbaasi--[in honor of the house of the Prophet, peace be upon him.]

She gave 500 pieces of silver to the descendents [of the Companions]. She also gave 500 pieces of silver to every Haashimi woman.

Jamilah bint Naasir ad-Dawlah d. 371 / 981

Her Pilgrimage 363 / 981

She brought 500 empty riding camels for pilgrims who had lost their mounts, their way, who were on foot, or who had gotten cut off from their parties.

She brought pack camels loaded down with carriages filled with excellent herbs, greens, and legumes for the pilgrims.

She provided iced sawiiq [mush made from wheat or barley, sugar and dates] and gave it out daily to all the pilgrims in attendance.

She gave out so much money in Makkah to the city's poor and those living around the haram--that she enrichened them and made them free of further want.

She emancipated 300 slaves and 200 slave girls--who became her royal clients.

She spent 10,000 pieces of gold on the Ka'bah and set up in it and around it giant candles of Ambergis for lights by night and dawn.

Women as builders

Al-Udar al-Karima

Banafshaa' bint 'Abd-Allah ar-Ruumiyah d. 399 / 1008: Restorer of a city

She was a freed woman of al-MustaDi' bi-Llah-- therefore, a Royal Client.

She was renowned as an upright woman of many good works.

Renovating Baghdad

She began to bring Baghdad back to life again.

She renovated public housing [ribaats] for homeless women, students, etc.  She restored schools.

She repaired and rebuilt the bridges of Baghdad.

Her own school and endowment

She endowed a Hanbali school on the banks of the Tigris river.

Zakaat al-Fitr

Each year in Ramadan, she would give a Saa' of dates as zakaat al-Fitr. Then she would say: "This is what the law has made obligatory upon me, But I do not regard it to be sufficient for the likes of myself [i.e., because of her great wealth]."

Then, she would give out another Saa' of Gold--made up on gold coins--which would be distributed among the poor.


Maryam bint ash-Shams d. 713 / 1313:

She was from Southwest Yaman. She was known for her profound intellect, and excellent opinion, as well as her good works.

She left behind her many "glorious vestiges" of her goodness.

Her school in Zabid

In Zabiid [Ka'bat al-'Ilm]--she built the Saabiqiyah School--which was regarded as one of the best schools of its kind in the Islamic world at that time.

She provided it with rich endowments for an Imam, mu'adhdhin, Superintendent [Qayyim], a special teach for orphans--whom the school provided for--and a fully trained scholar to teach the Shafi'i school--the predominant school of the Western coast of Yaman.

She provided many other rich endowments to support all the school's undertakings with the purpose of "guaranteeing that all the various and multiple needs of the school be met as they arise."

Her school in Ta'izz

She established the Mu'izziyah school in Ta'izz and established several large endowments to guarantee its upkeep and excellent running.

Her school in Dhu 'Aqiib

She established another school in Dhu 'Aqiib. She died in that school in 713 / 1313 and was buried within its precincts.

Barakah bint 'Abd-Allah d. 774 / 1372

Egyptian: She was the Mother of the Sultan al-Ashraf.

She was noted for her surpassing goodness, her upright character, her profound intelligence, her wisdom, and the excellence of her opinions about politics and other matters.

Her school

In 771 / 1369 She established a school near the Qal'ah of Cairo.   She established circles for all the four Sunni schools.

She provided regular sessions of dhikr for different Sufi groups.  She set up an office to provide, care for, and supervise orphans.

Fresh water

She constructed a handsome pool of fresh, sweet water in front of her school for the students and teachers and for all around.

as-Sitt Safiyah d. after 1101 / 1689: The model endowment

Her mosque endowment

She endowed a great mosque [probably in Damascus] called the Jaami' of as-Sitt Safiyah in the year 1101 / 1689

Her stipulations

The Friday orators

One khatib supported handsomely by the proceeds of a large property.

He must always be a person who recited the Qur'an correctly, as well as an ascetic, of noble character, performer of good works.

He must always give his Friday and Eid khutbahs-- according to the mode of the law-- but in a manner appropriate to the changing days and seasons and in accordance with the nature and needs of the people.

No one else could give khutbah in his stead---unless he was sick or had another legitimate excuse.

Two Imams for daily prayers

Two full-time imams were given the generous support, identical to the Khatib.
They must be scholars in the deen who put their knowledge into practice. They must know tajwid-- the 7 recitations--they must know and live by the high character of the imaamah. They change off leading the prayers in succession.    
They may appoint no one to take their places without legitimate excuses.

The prayer callers

The endowment provided well for 4 mu'adhdhins--fully qualified, working two by two in intervals [no microphones]. All four would call for Jumu'ah.

They must be people of good character, above begging, people of excellent religious commitment and practice, beautiful voices and excellent moral character.

Other provisions

The endowment provided well for Huffaaz.
It supported two garnders to plant trees in and around the mosque, aromatic herbs and plants: to water and tend them, and too look after an orchard that wa sin front of the mosque [which would provide fruits].

Today's Muslim economic heroine

WOMEN ARE BENEFACTORS TODAY: Wealthy women are a constructive part of many Muslim societies. But working women have always played a major role as contributors. They are not recorded in books, but today we can study them sociologically in person.

Exorcising the fantasy woman

FANTASY WOMEN: THE HOUSEBOUND WOMAN. In the pervasive male discourse of in several Muslim countries: problems pertaining to women in Morocco are matters of love and desire for the “woman-as- body." Women’s lives are meant to revolve around the major poles of beauty and sexuality: the woman- beauty-seduction discourse.

Ben Baz' fatwa versus women driving is an example of woman as fantasy, woman-as-body

He cannot visualize any good coming from it, only that she will become more tempting and more seductive and should be at home anyway. He takes as the norm a type of woman who exists but does not represent all and assumes that keeping her at home will solve all moral dilemmas.

Note the economic oppression of women in Taliban Afghanistan

The law and reality

Family law in Muslim countries may stipulate like the following law that “every person provides for his needs through his own resources X with the exception of the wife whose upkeep is incumbent on her husband.X” This does not reflect reality but the wide gulf separating the principles inspiring the article and women’s experience. IT ALSO REFLECTS THAT THE LAWMAKERS ARE OVERWHELMINGLY MEN.

Case in point: Masses have gender

Planners, politicians, and intellectuals often forget that the “masses” are sexed and that women constitute half of them. Neglect of this fact has radical implications regarding the perception of problems and the decisions that are made about them.

The toiling peasant woman "A woman's place is at home?"

(Radical Islamism is generally an urban phenomenon.) Radical Islamists hold that women’s position is in the home. But 80% of Egyptian women and large numbers of Muslim women in other countries are peasants that work in the fields. Why do they not protect the peasant woman from her labors and keep her within her home? Do they believe that feminity and honor are qualities to be enjoyed only by a small minority of Muslim women?

Real to life woman: Economic heroine

Many Muslim women--especially lower class but also professional--see themselves as economic agents: sources of income, energy, work, and ceaseless struggle against poverty, unemployment, and insecurity. Husbands are often absent (migrants), unemployed, sick, impaired. women raise the children too. Yet the women hardly appear on the screen of social planners and poiliticians. NOTE: This is versus jurisprudence. Thus, social policy fails because it does not address the reality on the ground or the need of such women [beware of generaliztion].

Realities, infrastructure, superstructure

In Muslim countries there is often an absurd contradiction between superstructure ("what-is- perceived", ideas, ideology, perception) and infrastructure realities (economics, daily experience). In Muslim countries, "ideological" and perceptual concerns generally have an overwhelming influence. Not the reality on the ground. Idealogical problems take precedence over economic ones. NOTE: Jurisprudence must address reality.

Perception versus technology

Many problems in today's Muslim world are not technological (which machine should be manufactured) but perceptual: what are the urgent problems that require a priority solution?

"Do not treat people with contempt, nor walk insolently on the earth. Allah does not love the arrogant or the self-conceited boaster. Be modest in your bearing and subdue your voice, for the most unpleasant of voices is the braying of the ass." [The Holy Qur'an, Surah Luqman - 31:18-19]
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« Reply #7 on: Apr 28, 2008 09:27 PM »

Women As Spiritual Exemplars


You ask the questions today: Synergy sessions


Can we speak legitimately of Muslim women as key to the formation of Classical Islam?


Did classical Islamic society encourage specifically female roles of religiosity within the overall framework of religion? Do we today?


Explain how synergy works: The ultimate brainstorm


Generalities on women in Sufism


Their prominence in Sufism

Abu Nu’aym, Ibn al-Jawzi, Ibn Khallikan, al-Munawi, Farid al-Din Attar, Jami, and others mention women Sufis, their lives, good deeds, and miracles.


Women are everywhere in Sufism

“One meets women in almost every avenue of Sufism. They act as patrons of Sufi khanqahs and as shaykhas of certain convents. They have been venerated as saints and accepted as spiritual guides. The symbol of the woman-soul who embodies the highest ambition of the God- seeking human beings, has been popular in the Sufi tradition of Indo-Pakistan.”


The autonomy of the early Sufis and the prominence of women

“Sufis acted autonomously, flowing freely in communication and worship, gathering to share spiritual conversation or listen to a particularly illuminated individual, yet each following more or less an individual path. By the end of the twelfth century, clusters of Sufi adepts were beginning to more closely follow a particular example.”


Women in the Tariqa

The Tariqa resulted from this. Women were still there, although sometimes hidden, and there was still a legacy of luminous women. Only occasionally did they act as “formal teachers, or shaykhas.”


Nana Asma'u (1793-1864) Daughter of Shaykh Uthman

Qadiris seem to have given attention to the education of women, as they spread Islam through Africa: Nana Asma’u is a good example. Nana Asma’u (1793-1864) was an enthusiastic teacher of men and women and was loved by students and the entire community. The daughter of Uthman dan Fodio; she was a devoted wife, mother, and daughter. She wrote and was a respected scholar.


They did not need the validation of men

They were self-assured women yesterday and today. Rkia Cornell notes that “rather than being validated by Sufi men, al- Sulami’s Sufi women just as often validate their male colleagues by educating them in Sufi doctrine and practices.”


Sufi women were usually married with families

Most great Sufi women were married and usually had families.


Great women were called "RIJAL"

“When a woman demonstrated intense strength in her spiritual endeavors, she was often referred to as 'a man'. This was true of Bib Fatima Sam and also of Mawlana Khwan Bibi.”


The legend of the "Old Woman"

Sufi legends of the “old woman” who suddenly appears and warns or instructs the adepts in some mystical problems. “Her prayer can stop armies, her complaint can change a ruler’s mind, and her appeals to the religious law are always heard, since the Koran teaches respect and affection for widows and orphans. The ‘faith of the old women of the Muslim community’ is often favorably contrasted with the hairsplitting discussions of intellectual theologians. Many a simple soul among them found salvation through sheer love and faith.”


Rumi: She Is a shaft of Divine Light

Rumi: "Woman is a shaft of light from God.... She is creative, not just created."


Ibn 'Arabi: Women can attain the highest stations

Ibn ‘Arabi [the greatest master] held that “there is no level of spiritual realization which women are incapable of attaining.” He said: “Men and women have their share in every level, including the function of the highest spiritual station."


Great men and women elders and guides


Bayazid Bistami (d. 874) and Fatima of Nisapur (d. 838)

“There is no station of the way about which I told her that she had not already undergone.” Bistami: “In all my life, I have only seen one true man and one true woman. The woman was Fatima of Nisapur.”


Dhu Nun al-Misri and Fatima of Nisapur

Dhu Nun was asked which Sufi he held in highest esteem: “A lady in Mecca called Fatemah Nishapuri, whose discourse displayed a profound apprehension of the inner meanings of the Qur’an which were astounding.” He said: “She is of the saints of God, and my teacher.”


Ibn al-'Arabi (1165-1240)


Fatima of Cordova

She was over 90 and played the tambourine and took great pleasure in it: “I take joy in Him Who has turned to me and made me one of His Friends, using me for His own purposes.” I am your spiritual mother and the light of your earthly mother. Ibn al- 'Arabi called her “a mercy for the worlds.” He built her a house of reeds in which she lived.


Shams of Marchena

He met her at Marchena of the Olives not far from Seville. We went there last summer with the Foundation.She was from Marsaanat al- Zaytun, and Ibn ‘Arabi would go to her from time to time. He said: She was profound in her mu’amalat and her mukashafat, of a strong heart: She had a noble himma and the power of tamyiz: discernment. She hid the reality of her gifts from others, and in private would only reveal a little to Ibn al-'Arabi because of her confidence in him, which made him immensely happy. She had many manifest blessings.


FIRST PLACE IN SUFISM without Contender: Rabi'a bint Isma'il al-'Adawiyya (717-801)

The great Sufis of her age would seek her authoritative opinion on the details of Sufism. Ibn al- Jawzi: Rab’I was a woman of supreme natural intellect. Her words indicated the depth and power of her understanding. She lived to be more than 80 years old. She was buried in her jubba in Jerusalem in 135 H. Rabi’a of Basra takes the first place among the earliest mystics and represents the first stage of the development of Islamic Sufism without contention.


Establishing the discourse: A new language and narrative

Rabi’a al-‘Adawiyya (717-801) first clearly expressed the relationship with the Divine in Sufic language. She was the first to speak of Sufic realities in “a clear language that anyone could understand.” THE WAY OF ADAB: She is one of the primary sources of Sufi notions of adab and proper interaction with God.


Rabi'a and Hasan of Basra

Rabi’a, according to Attar, was generally present in the circle of Hasan of Basra; if she did not appear, he would leave at once. Hasan said: “I passed one whole night and day with Rabi’a speaking of the Way and the Truth, and it never passed through my mind that I was a man nor did it occur to her that she was a woman, and at the end when I looked at her, I saw myself as bankrupt, and Rabi’a as truly sincere.”


Sufyan al-Thawri and Rab'ia

Sufyan al-Thawri would call her the teacher of adab and said he could find no one with whom he would be at peace around but her.


NOTE: Transsexual friendship: Can men and women truly be friends?


The Jewel of Knowledge and Spirituality: Al-Sayyida Nafisa bint al-Hasan ibn Zayd ibn al-Husayn (d. 208)

Nafisa bint al-Hasan ibn Zayd ibn al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, born in Mecca 145 H and grew up in Medina, but went to Egypt with her husband Ishaq ibn Ja’far al-Sadiq or her father.


Master of Qur'an, Tafsir, and Hadith

NOTE: Research project: Find the tafsir of Sayyida Nafisa.


Her spirituality and moral status

She was a master of worship, and salah, and zuhd, and wara’.  She would not sleep at night and would only eat every third night.


Mother of the helpless

She had much wealth and was very good to the sick and the critically ill.


Opposition to Ahmad ibn Tulun and his repentance

She confronted Ahmad ibn Tulun courageously about his oppression: “It is impossible that the oppressed should die and the oppressor remain living.” And they say that he changed from that moment.


Imam al-Shafi'i studied with her and held her in esteem

She was especially generous to Imam al-Shafi'i and helped to support him. When he died, she asked that his janaza be brought to her so she could pray for him.


Bishr al-Hafi and Ahmad ibn Hanbal

Bishr al-Hafi would visit her. Ahmad ibn Hanbal met her when she visited Bishr, who was sick. Bishr told him: “this is Nafisa. She learned I was sick and came to visit me.” Ahmad: Ask her to pray for me.


Her grave in Egypt

She dug her grave in her house with her own hands and would pray in it in preparation for her death. Her husband wanted to bury her in Medina but the Egyptians were willing to pay him a large sum to keep her in Egypt. He agreed after seeing the Prophet in a dream who commanded him to return the money.


Women As Spiritual Agents and Leaders: The NU AHONG (women imams) of China

Qing Zhen Nusi (Islamic woman's mosque)

The emergence of the qingzhen nusi (nusi = women’s mosque) and the institution of the nu ahong (female religious leader) to preside over the nusi with ritual, educational, social, and political functions is one of the important developments of Chinese Islam. The nusi is part of the “evocative ‘symbolic landscape’" of Chinese Islam.


Anecdote: Dr. Jackson and I: We Are Not Arabs.


We take it for granted that women's needs must be met

Women's needs must be met. Muslims in China take it for granted that nusi exist because the needs of women must be met.  Where the nusi reigned there was no question that “girls must go to school.” None opposed the idea.  BUT Patriarchs, however, feared the learning, ambition, assertiveness, and open-mindedness that the nusi might give rise to.


Were the Nusi an accommodation of a patriarchal social order?

There could be severe backlashes from the Islamic patriarchal institutions, however, if the ahong thought she could venture beyond her mosque and the confines of physical and symbolic delineations of female identity. Note: Islamic and Confucianist patriarchy. Consequently, the nusi are the subject of debate over their relevance for modern Muslim women. NOTE: Some of the more learned and respect of the nu ahong questioned patriarchal readings of Islam.


Building a world to replace the one from which you were excluded

The Islamic social system was based on the presumption of an extended family grouping within a patriarchal system. Women sometimes sought to build a world to replace the one from which they were excluded.


Are they relevant today?


Are they relevant to us?


Access to spiritual inspiration

Jewish and Christian women today—although their religions did little for them—enjoy full human rights and “access to an inspirational tradition.” These societies remain remarkably Judeo-Christian. NOTE: Thus, it cannot be permissible for us by the Law-- whatever applied yesterday--to exclude our women today, to keep them out of the mosque, or in other ways to make them feel unwelcomed. NOTE: we must also open the doors of Islamic spirituality to all women-- those who practice and those who don't. The non-practicing male has no outward sign. But lack of a scarf, is used as a mark against women, even though many such women are upright, pray, and fast.


Abu Shaqqa: Jewess, etc.

Abu Shaqqa: The Jewess goes to the temple; the Christian woman goes to the Church; the Buddhist and Hindu women go to their temples. Only the Muslim woman is denied that right.


The Nusi As Essential to the Defense of Muslim Culture and Identity

“Men came to see the important role women could play in maintaining Islamic belief and its cultural traditions.” Historical imperatives forced the Hui community to “resort to innovative means in order to preserve and reinvigorate faith in a hostile climate.” This provided women in Central China with an instrumental role, facilitating their emergence from confined spheres of domestic activity into sites of religious, educational, and social activity.”


The expansion of woman-centered viewpoints and women's social space

The nusi put women-centered viewpoints in the foreground and widened to encompass meanings beyond social space for women to acquire learning and master Islam.


The Nusi and self-determination and agency

The power of women's education

Women's religious education remained an undisputed force in Chinese Islam.


Expanding the network

Chinese Muslim women seized opportunities to develop advantages for themselves. They expanded education into multi-purpose institutions and extended the social influence of nusi through networking, using religious congregation and instruction to build up support structures beyond mosque grounds.


The Nusi and women's issues

The nusi were built specifically for Muslim women, they came there to worship and learn. The dealt with health and physiological issues that concerned women under the guidance of a nu ahong. Women would often gather there to talk about any event or issue of interest. The nusi were especially beneficial for illiterate and elderly women who feared for their decline in family or social status and had other problems. The nu ahong sought to meet the needs and anxieties of the women in her community.


Confirming women's spirituality

Collective worship enabled Muslim women to affirm their spirituality under the guidance of the nu ahong.

"Do not treat people with contempt, nor walk insolently on the earth. Allah does not love the arrogant or the self-conceited boaster. Be modest in your bearing and subdue your voice, for the most unpleasant of voices is the braying of the ass." [The Holy Qur'an, Surah Luqman - 31:18-19]
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