Saudi Women’s Oppression Vs Muslim Women’s Mission – Part II

Posted: November 28, 2009 in My Articles

Saudi Women’s Oppression Vs Muslim Women’s Mission  – Part II

If Saudi women are oppressed, it is because they’ve chosen the luxurious life that doesn’t require seeking knowledge or hard work. Stories of beaten and humiliated women fill the empty columns and pages of the fire-generating magazines and newspapers, but they also show the emptiness of  those women. Freedom, independence, and respect don’t just happen by default; these concepts are put into practice only when women put great efforts to earn them. In the early ages of Islam, women’s freedom and independence were taken for granted because the women at that time knew what it meant to be a woman. Following are glimpses of very few examples of great Muslim women who were never subject to oppression or cruelty because they realized they are not meant for pleasure but for a mission.

Aisha Bint Abi Bakr Al-Seddiq (Prophet Mohammad’s Wife “Peace Be Upon Him”)

To talk about Aisha’s outstanding personality and achievements needs volumes, but I will try to mention the most important characteristics about her.

Aisha (May Allah be Pleased with Her) was Prophet Mohammad’s youngest wife, and she was the only virgin among his wives. She was known for her beauty, wittiness, and brilliance. However, her youth and her charm didn’t make of her a shallow and spoiled demanding wife.

Apart from being a supportive loving wife, she was one of the most knowledgeable people of her age. She was one of the best and most trustworthy narrators of Hadith, and she was considered the teacher of Islamic scholars and narrators such as Abdullah Ibn Al-Zubair, Al-Qassem Bin Abi Bakr, Abu Salama Bin Abdul Rahman, and many others. The great companions of Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) used to resort to her when they disagreed on something related to the narration of Hadith or related to general life issues. Notable companions like Omar Bin Al-Khattab and Othman Bin Affan used to ask her about the “Sunnah” and about different affairs that concern Muslims. Moreover, she used to argue with the companions and correct their misinterpretation of the Quraan and Hadith. She was daring, strong, patient, pious, and extremely generous with the poor and needy.

She used to have a specific style in teaching, which can be summed up in the following points:

  1. Speaking clearly and slowly to make her listeners fully understand what she’s saying
  2. Using the practical training method of certain principles of Islam like (Wodoo’)
  3. Initiating explanations and advice based on her observations of current issues or situations
  4. Encouraging people to question and ask in order to learn
  5. Encouraging people to ask about everything and not to be shy to ask about embarrassing matters
  6. Supporting her (Fatwa) with proofs from Quraan and Hadith

Yet the most important feature of Aisah’s personality is her consistent defense of women’s issues. She never agreed on treating women as less human beings, but she was keen on being modest and decent when dealing with men. Nothing used to make her furious like seeing women exposing their bodies or their beauty to men.

In addition, she used to be an eloquent speaker and poet. Also, she used to have general information on herbal treatment. Her life revolved around worshipping Allah, learning from the Prophet, reading and interpreting Quraan, narrating Hadith, and teaching others. She achieved all of this while living in an extremely simple and small house void of any sign of luxury and wealth.

This is only a very brief summary of Aisha’s role and mission in Islam, and I only want to emphasize that Aisha (May Allah Be pleased With Her) wasn’t respected and dignified because she was pretty and young, but because she was intellectual and giving.

Also read about Khadija Bint Khuwailid – The Prophet’s first wife

Part III: Hind Bint Otba: The Free Woman

  1. muse says:

    Maha, i was in your arabic blog and then come to see your english one. nice one indeed. now , let’s talk about the topic of saudi women, first: one word, 7aram 3aleke, not all of us are shallow and we are not being beaten or deprived of things because we only care about materil things. if you have not been in this life ,don’t judge and claim the rest of us for being whatever that you call us. second, if you want to give example, then please don’t use Aisha and Khadija and hind in your part three. first Aisha , do you think she would be known or respected if she was not the prophet’s wife !! or abu baker daughter ??? . as for Khadija, she was rich and a merchant and then she married the prophet. Hind was from an important family. if these women-مع حفظ الالقاب-were not surrounded with great men and families around them, they would be just women. give another name for a woman who was poor and her male siblings treat her badly and she mad it and then i will shut up and say that everything you write is right.
    thank you 🙂

  2. مها نور إلهي says:

    My dear muse
    Welcome to my blog(s) 🙂
    I didn’t say that all Saudi women are like that; if you found the connection between this type of women and oppression, you would have understood it in a better. In addition, there is another post somewhere down there which talks about a bright example of Saudi women, Dr. Suhair al-Qurashi.

    Mentioning Aisha and Khadija (may Allah be pleased with them) is just to assure the way Islam used to think of women in its early ages. Aisha was barren and she could have been treated in a totally different way if she were in our time, and Khadija was divorced twice…what do you think people think of a Saudi woman who is divorced twice these days?

    These women were not well known because they were the prophet’s wife because there were other wives who are less notable and productive…they aren’t recognized as Khadija , Aisha and Om Salama because they weren’t as brilliant and productive as those.

    Also, part 4 will include less previlleged women like Khawla Bint thaalaba and Om Yasser who were poor and not from very notable families.

    You said, they wouldn’t have been great if they were not surrounded by great men, which is true to some extent, but don’t you think your opinion here is a typical Saudi reactive attitude?

    and let me ask you a question, why then didn’t all the Prophet’s wives become as giving and as notable as Aisha, and Khadija for instance? I am not saying that some of them were shallow, but not all of them were as well-cultivated as Aisha althoug they were all in the same environment.

    Stay tuned for the rest of the parts…and you must never shut up…always stand for your thoughts and opinions 🙂

    Thank you so mcuh

  3. Jenny N. says:

    That was an eye-opener, Maha!
    I never knew that women in Islam were capable or actually allowed to learn..let alone teach others, especially men!
    Seems that the media is portraying another religion!

    I am definitely a follower of your blog!

    Regards from Illinois 🙂

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