for Safety of Women, Ensures They’re Not Harassed
Muslim Women In India Are Carving Out New Spaces, Skills Gives Women Sense Of
Worry About Our Family Back Home: Zakir Naik's Wife
Woman Executed During Rouhani’s Presidency
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Reality of Polygamy, Nigerian Islamic Scholar Counsels Muslim Women
– Ustaz Sa’eed Abdur-Rauf, Director, Nigeria Office of International Institute
of Islamic Therapy, has called on women, particularly Muslims, to appreciate
the reality of polygamy in building lasting relationships.
made the call on Saturday in Ibadan during the 4th Annual Ramadan Lecture
organised by Oyo District of The Criterion, an association of Muslim women in
business and the professions.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Abdur-Rauf, a Dawah activist and
author, is also the Managing Director of De Minaret International in Abuja.
Dawah activist in a lecture entitled ‘Marital Chaos: The Islamic Antidote,’
said polygamy was a law of God.
a Muslim woman, you should know that there is no alternative to it. If your
husband brings a new wife, you should be able to endure it. It is not easy, but
you must be able to appreciate than endure it,” he said.
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who listed polygamy, financial problem, hurtful utterances and role of the
devil as factors affecting the home-front, said the most important antidote was
fear of God.
admonished couples to always be prayerful and patient in times of financial
problems than collapsing their relationship for minor trials.
Dawah activist cautioned couples against hurtful utterances, urging them to be
humble and appreciate each other’s sense of pride.
every clime, there must be a leader. We have the father as the master of the
house while the wife is meant to be subservient. The husband must treat and
utilise his powers with fear of God.
must always be mindful of our hurtful utterances against one another. These
utterances sometimes are unpardonable and aggravates the problem of the
home-front,” he said.
concluded that problem of marriages only required expression of piety and fear
of God, adding that there would be peace and comfort when the couple are pious
and could identify each other’s rights.
Sekinat Adekola, Iya-Adinni of Yoruba land, urged couples to seek the help of
God on all issues with patience, perseverance and total reliance on God.
said it was with such that anyone could grow spiritually and earn the favour of
have been in my marriage for the past 59 years and it has been very peaceful.
The secret behind it has been prayer, patience, perseverance and total reliance
on God,” she said.
Alhaja Falilat Olatunji, the Amirah of the association, said the essence of the
topic was to reveal the solutions to marriage problems from the Islamic
said that the importance of marriage in Islam could not be over-emphasised as
lots of Quranic verses and Hadiths were pointers to the fact.
wife is not meant to provide sensuous pleasure only to the male, but to fully
cooperate with the husband in making the life of the family and ultimately of
the whole humanity significantly meaningful.
as a total way of life have ways of solving perceived problems in marriages.
This and many more are the reasons for the lecture,” she said.(NAN)
Hijab is one of the most debated topics in the modern era where the watchwords
are liberty, equality, and freedom. To understand the Hijab, it is essential to
know the ideology of Islam vis-à-vis women. Unlike what many popular tropes
would have one believe, the woman in Islam is considered to be both respected
and valuable as the base of family and society. She is important because of her
faith, values, knowledge, wisdom, intellect, service, sacrifice, and commitment
for her family and society. Her roles as daughter, wife, and mother are vital
to a stable and progressive society.
Islam, women are empowered and have the right to education, economic growth, as
well as contribute to socio-political spheres. And here is where the hijab
comes into play.
Hijab is an important part of the social system in Islam, which lays down the
basic principles (usul) for both men and women to ensure their honour and
dignity. It also guarantees safety of and protection to women.
Surah Noor of the Quran, men are ordered to lower their gaze and guard their
chastity. Similarly, women are ordered to lower their gaze and guard their
chastity. During the latter set of instructions, veils are mentioned: “And tell
the believing women to lower their gaze and protect their private parts and not
to show off their adornments except only that which is apparent (like palms of
hands or one eye or both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer dress like
veil, gloves, head-cover, apron etc.,) and to draw their veils all over
juyubihinna (i.e their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms' etc.,)... (Surah Noor
references to veils can be found in Surah Ahzab, where they are asked to cover
the entire body with long coats (jilbaab).
Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to
draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e, screen themselves
completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better,
that they should be known(as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed.
And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful”. (Surah Ahzab Aayat 59)
in the early days of Islam, women had to go out of the house for social,
financial, and medical needs. Islam has not stopped them from stepping out of
the house but they may step out only when properly covered. The dual purpose of
this, as stated before, is that she will be recognised as a modest person and
not someone to be molested.
prohibits mixing of men and women. This barrier is for a chaste society and to
safeguard the family unit. Divorce and separation may bring imbalance to
society. Adultery and extramarital relations also cause harm to social fabric
and weaken the family system. To nip all issues in the bud, it is essential to
give moral code to both men and women.
and culture are choices of individuals and groups. It is a person's individual
choice. The hijab covers a woman's beauty not her mind, wisdom or intellect.
Women in Hijab are seeking higher education, they are into fields of medicine,
science, pharmacy, engineering, computer science technology, and human resource
safety and protection guaranteed by the Hijab is in fact attracting women from
all religions and communities. Many practice hijab for protection and security.
is an irony and pity that in this era of liberation, where women have the
freedom to exhibit their beauty, Muslim women's right to conceal their body and
beauty is being denied. It is their personal choice. There are no compulsions
in Islam. There are many Muslim sisters not practicing Hijab in various fields.
They are not forced by their families or by the society. The instructions of
Islam are to be followed by free will and choice. They should not be enforced by
force or pressure.
a large section of the community, especially young girls are adopting the
Hijab, it should be viewed as empowerment of women for seeking education and
better livelihood. If any issue of national security arises, where there is a
need to identify the face, women will cooperate for the safety and security of
the nation. Let not Islamophobia of the West enter the Indian society and
damage the beauty of our country. Ghunghat, purdah, dupatta have been part and
parcel of the Indian society for a very long time.
the debate has erupted as a fallout of the terrorist attack in Sri Lanka, it
should be understood that acts of terror are not sanctioned in any religion.
Islam equates the killing of one person to the killing of humanity.
Zehra is Chief Organiser Women's Wing All India Muslim Personal Law Board
Muslim women in India are carving out new spaces, setting aside traditional
roles and challenging gender stereotypes as they step out to open their own
businesses or study further.
a dilapidated building in an old quarter of the north Indian city of Lucknow, a
group of girls from less privileged backgrounds have gathered to learn
photography and video skills.
the walls, black and white caricatures show girls firmly shutting the kitchen
door behind them as they set out for college.
is not just about shooting photographs but about changing attitudes. People
dismiss girls saying we don’t have technical skills for a job but as we talk, a
lot of things become clear,” said Aisha Khatoon, 32, who teaches computer and
is fine if girls understand technical things inside the house. They want us to
learn how to use a food mixer, a washing machine. But skills outside the house
can also be part of our identity like holding a mike, a camera, making a film
based on our ideas. There is a power we feel in our hands that cannot be taken
away from us.”
lawyers, judges, teachers, the girls aged 18 to 30, are part of a
leadership-building programme for young Muslims where they learn conversational
English and engage in discussions on women’s rights.
group is affiliated to the Bebaak Collective or the Voice of the Fearless, a
coalition of women’s organisation that began as an informal reading group six
years ago in Mumbai, the country’s financial capital.
has since spread to more than a dozen states including Uttar Pradesh where
conversations about empowerment, rights within marriage, sexual harassment,
domestic violence blend with discussions on equal opportunities for the
talk veers to the need for politicians in the ongoing general elections to
focus on employment and better access to education.
Khatoon, 32, does not mince words when she calls for the nationalist agenda of
the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party to include every-day concerns.
is fine to talk of nationalism and say ‘Jai Bharat (Long live India)’ but what
about the common issues we face about education, jobs, clean drinking water and
Muslim community has the highest illiteracy rate of the country patchwork of
communities at 42.7 per cent – it surpasses the national average of 36.9 per
cent, according to a census in 2011.
have the second highest proportion of illiteracy at 36.3 per cent.
illiteracy rate among Muslim women is even higher at 48.1 per cent, followed by
Hindu women at 44 per cent with the numbers for Christian women far lower at
28.03 per cent.
Khan, a law student with ambitions of becoming a judge, is part of an effort to
change the dismal statistics.
on the centre’s white walls, her caricature portrays a girl who dreams of
studying while preparing unending meals in the family kitchen. She said her
drawing represented all women.
are dominated in the Muslim community and in other communities too and pushed
into household roles. Here we talk about gender perception and how there is so
little equality for girls. We learn about prostitution, marital rape and our
rights. I believe women should have all information available to them,” said
the 22-year-old started coming to the centre to improve her computer skills.
who are not taught technology are girls who are left behind. We need to learn
the basics like Excel, PowerPoint so we have a chance outside.”
girls come from families supportive of their education and career goals.
are keen to reverse census data that shows 13.5 per cent of Muslim women are
married before they turn 15, and close to 49 per cent get married between 14
and 19 years of age.
Khatoon, 32, is the director of the women’s centre and runs a film studio that
shoots wedding videos with a twist.
three-hour long colourful ceremony also features the bride’s take on
most videos, no one talks to the bride. She just looks down shy, when pictures
are taken. We decided that in our films we will not just have a crying bride
and a smiling groom. We ask the bride what she thinks of the ties she is
entering into, what does her mother think?”
Bebaak-affiliated centre also addresses gender-based stereotypes with
documentary films such as ‘Shame’ about sexuality and ‘Kabul Hain (Do you
Agree)’ about marriage.
speak about how uncomfortable we are talking about our desires, our body. In
one film, young women discuss how the ring on your finger can become a
girls come in to learn media skills and are also given information on current
affairs from the cow slaughter ban in many Indian states, mob lynching of
Muslims suspected of eating beef or killing a cow and the triple talaq or divorce
practice struck down by India’s Supreme Court.
aim is to equip women with information when they head out to vote in the
elections spread out until May 19.
girls just follow what their parents say. We talk to them about the power of
that vote. They get a voice with their vote,” she said.
Bebaak Collective was among the petitioners who successfully challenged the
validity of triple talaq, a form of divorce that allowed Muslim men to dissolve
their marriage by saying the word talaq (divorce) three times.
practice is banned in many Muslim countries but was common in India where women
have been abandoned sometimes via a text message.
Supreme Court ruled last year that the triple talaq was unconstitutional.
ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government drafted a bill criminalising the
practice and allowing for the imprisonment of men who continued to follow
Khan, Bebaak’s founder, said sending men to prison was not a solution. She has
called political parties to look beyond the triple talaq ban and focus on
welcome the abolition of triple talaq but it will not end discrimination faced
by Muslim women. We want political parties to look at protection and
maintenance of divorced women. They need social security, should be entitled to
property rights from their parents and their husband,” she said.
group recently released a manifesto that framed 39-points calling for a law
against mob lynching, reservation of seats for women in parliament, access to
safe homes and rehabilitation of victims of domestic and other forms of
violence, training and sensitization of police and state authorities in dealing
important for us to have a collective voice. Politicians look at all Muslims as
one vote bank. Maybe now they will realise they should talk to Muslim women
separately and ask what we need,” Ms Khan said.
Namrata Biji Ahuja
Naik is extremely fond of his wife, Farhat. Strong, articulate and educated,
Farhat is a few months older than her husband. In an exclusive interview with
THE WEEK, she spoke about her relationship with Naik, her worries about
returning to India and her unflinching faith in God.
have the charges against your husband affected your life?
had left home on a 15-day tour for umrah (pilgrimage to Mecca), and while we
were there, we came to know that we could not go back home. It did come as a
shock, but thanks to God almighty, things are all right now. The belief in
Allah makes us stronger each day. This is nothing compared with the kind of
suffering people around us face. The only pain I feel today is for the people
back home and the kind of harassment they are going through.
are those people?
the family members, like his brother, sister and all his family members. Even
my family members, like my brothers were called and interrogated all the way
from Pune to Mumbai and Delhi. It is really painful to see them going through
this. Otherwise all of us have taken it in our stride and we feel this is part
of the test from Allah. Their phones are being tapped so we don't even talk to
them, that saddens us. The good work that was going on has also stopped.
has happened to the Islamic Research Foundation?
is locked and no one is working there today. The educational institution is
given to someone else and there are some 300 students there. Whatever good
things are taught there, are not going to die off and will show the true colour
of peace wherever each student goes.
have your children reacted to the whole episode?
have been very strong, because right from childhood they have been taught that
way. Sometimes I think about things back home, but they are very strong and
even give us the courage saying it was okay, a part of the test. Zakir always
ask had we lost everything in an earthquake what we would have done? In our
case, we are being rewarded in every way by Allah. We have left everything back
home and its like a migration (Hijrah). Yes, we do feel sad. Home is home after
all. We could never imagine India not being our own land. Whoever is ruling,
the love for India will always be there in our hearts. We owe so much to India
and there is a lot more that Zakir and all of us could have done for India. We
are proud of India.
you cry sometimes?
a lot. But, the tears are always of contentment, not of complaint. We feel sad
about how things happened and we feel so much for those who are suffering
there. We feel nostalgic at times about how we spent our time there.
is facing serious charges like terrorism and money-laundering.
are the very things that he is against, it is so ironic. The one who has been
preaching peace all the while is being called a terrorist.
you think Naik should return to India and clear his name?
if India can be just, which is quite rare now. The kind of threats he has been
getting—somebody said if you chopped his head off and hung it on top of the
tallest tree, he would give Rs 50 lakh. That went so viral on social media. He
was told that they will kill him and make it look like an accident.
you think God will take care of you?
says tie your camel and trust in me. A man once came to the Prophet and left
his camel outside, thinking Allah will take care of it. The Prophet said, ''Go,
tie your camel first, and then trust in Allah.''
have to take precautions. You cannot go and stand before your enemy and hope
that Allah will save you. We fear whether we will get justice. Zakir has told
the investigators that he is ready to talk to them over video and share
everything. But they don't agree.
are your children studying?
children are studying in Riyadh. My daughters are studying in Princess Nourah
Bint Abdul Rahman University. It is the biggest women's university in the
world. They are doing Islamic studies there. My son is doing his graduation in
Imam University in Riyadh.
your children also into preaching?
all three of them are doing it. My daughter likes to write so she is more into
writing Islamic articles. They do give lectures and when we all travel for
da’wah (preaching), all five of us give talks. My daughters and me give talks
to the ladies and Zakir and my son do it for everyone.
is the message you give to women?
is nothing in this world a woman cannot do, except for a few things the Quran
does not allow. The media portrayal of women in Islam not being able to do
certain things and being backward is wrong. Islam gives her the right to do
everything. There are certain things which Quran does not allow even for men,
such as acting, dancing, singing and working in pubs. When you are among women,
swaying or singing is fine, but if you are doing it in front of other men, it
is exhibiting your physical qualities in front of them and it is not right.
have a lot of important roles to play. A teacher, engineer, or doctor undergoes
many years of training, but unfortunately, a woman is simply pushed into
motherhood. How many years of training does she have? She is creating the most
important product, which is the human life. And often, she does not know
anything about it and she is playing around with lives. If she knows how to
live her life, knows her boundaries, knows what is good and bad for her and the
coming generations, then she can create a better generation. We are such a
professional society today that we have best of doctors and gynaecologists but
the same people cannot be a good mother or father? Relationships are going to
the dogs today. A woman must have that vision. Much before marriage, she should
know what she is getting into. Marriage is not a bed of roses, it is a big
responsibility. I strongly feel that a basic requirement for a mother is to
study the Quran very well. The Quran teaches dealing with relationships, rights
of spouses and teaches us how to live our lives. The human body is the most
intricate and sophisticated machine ever made, so does it not require a manual?
who would know this better than the maker? Since he made us, he would know best
how to live this life. What to eat, what to wear, what would lead to success
and salvation. Otherwise, I will be abusing this machine. If I walk into a
relationship empty handed, I will expect so much from everyone, husband,
in-laws. But if I go enriched with the love of God, I will be the one who will
be giving instead of begging. I am talking more in terms of emotional
relations. So it is very important she walks into a relationship empowered and
enriched and not being at the mercy of anyone. If she is empowered, then her
children are also empowered. If you have the love of Allah, you can move
mountains. That is what faith can do. And faith has made us stand this test
close are you to Naik's family?
lost my father when I was eight. When I got married to Zakir, Abba (Zakir's
father) was a father figure to me. He never made me miss my father. We lost him
and we could not even go back to perform the last rites because of all that was
is a lot of debate in India about triple talaq, homosexuality, burqa ban and so
don't know why they want to bring Muslim women into focus now. There are so
many other burning issues but they are not talking about those. In a marriage,
just like talaq, a woman can also take khula. There is another injunction in
the Quran which says that if a woman is not happy, after taking all other
steps, the last resort is to ask the husband for a divorce or she can go to the
qazi and request him to give khula. If the husband does not agree, the qazi can
declare the divorce. So I don't find anything wrong with triple talaq. Just
because something can be misused, you cannot change the laws. If we misuse, we
will pay the price. What is necessary is that women should themselves read the
Quran, learn the language, understand it or find a detailed commentary. If you
believe in something you should understand it completely. Out of ignorance they
are taken for a ride sometimes. I believe homosexuality is wrong and I think
burqa is very much in sync with the modern times. There is nothing you cannot
do in a burqa. Maybe there are some women who think it is an obstacle, but it
is a decision taken by the creator who knows what is best for us. We are so
limited in our own ways, even if we see something we don't understand it
completely. Quran is not time bound and it is very relevant today. Zakir is
trying to preach the teachings of Islam. During the time of the Arab
barbarians, 1,400 years ago, people used to say, “Oh, see my new donkey”. Today
it is “Oh , my new Lamborghini, my new Mercedes”. It is this pride, arrogance,
envy and hatred which Quran addresses.
says western attire can make women susceptible to crimes like rape.
Quran tells us which way to dress. I cannot depend on society to tell me what
to wear or what not to wear. Today it is okay to be gay or lesbian, but
tomorrow they could make it obligatory. So, where do you draw the line? Showing
yourself off and wearing something which is tight or inappropriate are
attracting [men] in the wrong way. I totally agree with him as far as hijab is
you think husbands are superior?
husband and wife are equal in Islam. The husband has a higher degree of
responsibility, but not one of authority or superiority. He has to take care of
the family and the wife. He is the breadwinner. Each one has a different role
a man beat his wife?
who are educated in Islam will not do that, not even with a toothbrush.
are your views on polygamy?
is mentioned that you can marry more than one woman. What do you do with the
excess women in the world? But it is not a rule, only an exception. In fact, the
Quran says it is very difficult to do justice to [more than one wife]. So,
ultimately, the Quran says marry only once. Who in the world can claim that
they can do justice to two women? You can't love two persons the same way.
Maybe you can provide the material things, but when it comes to the emotional
part, it is so difficult. So a sensible man would not marry twice.
of course, it is allowed. In India, we are so possessive about the husband, but
in the Middle East, like in Saudi Arabia, the first wife herself gets her
husband other wives. Man, by nature, is polygamous. So I would rather have my
husband righteously get married to another woman than have him flirting around
has your journey been as Mrs Zakir Naik?
God's grace, it has been enriching. It has been nice. It has been pressurising,
of course. At the end of the day, it has given me a lot of exposure, a lot of
opportunities to do the work that I always wanted to do. I was more religious,
which, in fact, brought us together. We are very different by nature. I am a
very emotional person, he is very realistic and practical. But when it comes to
being in the forefront of Islam and serving Allah, we are on the same page.
Naik a liberal husband?
would call him very liberal. I can do whatever I want to. Whatever Islam
prohibits me, why would I do it? He is not a nagging, suspicious kind of a
is he as a father?
is good. We have a lot of discussions with our children. They can talk to us
about anything. The best thing he did was that he started a school, Islamic
International for children. He used to take the children for rides and the best
moments we have had were during our trips, when we combined da’wah trips with
family trips. They got to learn a lot from us. We visited 14 countries in 45
days in one of our trips, as we visited America, the UK, Europe and so on.
Otherwise, in Mumbai, he used to be very busy, but he was always very
particular about taking the children out and exposing them to whatever is
happening out there. We have made it a point to say the minimum 'nos' to our
children so they enjoy whatever is there on the face of the earth.
he get angry?
does not get angry very often. I have seen his anger with his staff because of
imperfection and dissatisfaction with the work. He has high levels of
expectations from his staff, but they are also human beings. They are bound to
make mistakes. He is a perfectionist.
state-run ROKNA news agency reported on May 9, 2019, of the execution of the
88th woman during Rouhani’s tenure in October 2018, in Maraqeh, East Azerbaijan
88th woman named Soudabeh had been imprisoned in the Prison of Maraqeh since
2006. She was hanged on October 26, 2018, upon the order of the Penal Court of
East Azerbaijan Province. Soudabeh is the 88th woman executed in Iran during
Hassan Rouhani’s tenure as the mullahs’ president.
is the world’s record holder of the number of per capita executions.
is the only country in the world where women and minors are hanged in large
numbers. Some 4,000 persons have been executed in Iran during nearly six years
of Rouhani’s tenure.
is a world record holder of per capita executions. Some 3,700 executions have
been carried out in Iran only during the six years of Rouhani in office.
is the only country in the world that frequently sends women and minors to the
Iranian regime uses the death penalty as a tool for suppression of a
disgruntled society, the majority of whom live below the poverty line, do not
have jobs and are deprived of freedom of speech. The death penalty helps the mullahs
preserve their rule.
a statement on October 5, 2018, condemning the execution of a woman in Iran,
the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, stressed that the
UN Human Rights Office opposes the use of the death penalty in all circumstances,
as no judiciary in any part of the world is mistake-free.
are at least 11 women imprisoned on death row in Qarchak Prison in Varamin,
most of whom had committed murder in self-defense against domestic violence. A
similar situation exists in other prisons across Iran where death row female
prisoners accused of murder have defended themselves against violence.
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