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:
- Speaking clearly and slowly to make her listeners fully understand what she’s saying
- Using the practical training method of certain principles of Islam like (Wodoo’)
- Initiating explanations and advice based on her observations of current issues or situations
- Encouraging people to question and ask in order to learn
- Encouraging people to ask about everything and not to be shy to ask about embarrassing matters
- 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