Saleha Abedin and The Muslim Sisterhood
Why our media's silence about Huma Abedin's mother represents a grotesque and dangerous dereliction of duty.
Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, and four other members of Congress—Representatives Gohmert, Franks, Westmoreland, and Rooney—have all expressed legitimate concerns to the State Department Inspector General (IG; and IGs of the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Justice) regarding policies “enormously favorable to the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and its interests.” The five Representatives, in turn, characterize these policies, more ominously (albeit appropriately) as “deeply problematic,” and even posing overt “…security risks for this nation, its people and interests.”
My colleagues Andrew McCarthy and Diana West have each contributed thoughtful, irrefragable rebuttals to the uninformed attacks on these intrepid Representatives—particularly Congresswoman Bachmann—epitomized by the distressingly ignorant, hypocritical, and scurrilous remarks of “maverick” Senator John McCain. McCain’s non-sequitur, Captain Queeg-like Senate floor diatribe perseverated on his warped reconstruction of Congresswoman Bachmann’s passing query about the State Department vetting process for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s aide, Huma Abedin.
I share the Congresswoman’s concerns based upon readily available, objective evidence (discussed below), and traditional, long established State Department protocols which screen the background of candidates for such sensitive positions in the diplomatic corps, to avert any potential “foreign influence.”
During a February 2010 speech at Dar Al-Hekma College, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acknowledged she visited the college at the behest of her Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin, daughter of Dr. Saleha Abedin, the Vice Dean of Academic Affairs and founding member of the institution. Dr. Abedin’s remarks, elaborated on the pioneering efforts being made by Dar Al-Hekma to collaborate with international educational organizations and programs that might expand opportunities for the Saudi Arabian college’s students and graduates.
So who is Dr. Saleha Abedin? According to World Who’s Who, Saleha Mahmood Abedin (b. 1940), is a British sociologist, Muslim scholar and academic. She received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1977, for a thesis entitled, “Islam and Muslim Fertility: Sociological Dimensions of a Demographic Dilemma.” Dr. Abedin is Director of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs in London, and Editor-in-Chief of the Institute’s Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. She is also a Professor of Sociology at King Abdulaziz University Women’s College, Jeddah, and, as noted, the Founder of Dar Al-Hekma College, Jeddah.
An investigative report by Al Liwa Al Arabi (reported, in part, at Al-Jazeera, and translated via Walid Shoebat) further revealed that Dr. Abedin—Huma’s mother—was an active member of the Muslim Sisterhood—the women’s “component” of the prototype modern (i.e., circa 1928), traditionalist Islamic jihad movement, the Muslim Brotherhood. According to the late (d. 1983) Richard P. Mitchell’s definitive scholarly analysis of the Muslim Brotherhood’s origins, and initial quarter century of development, movement founder Hasan al-Banna,
…made known his concern about the essential role of women in his Islamic reformation, for if reform was to succeed, it must begin with the individual in his family context; the mother was thus a prime instrument of the reformation. Among the first projects was the creation of an “Institute for the Mothers of the Believers” in Ismailiyya. This “school.” In April 1933, became the first official “branch of the Muslim Sisters”…
During a critical juncture in the Muslim Brotherhood’s history—subsequ ent to al-Banna’s assassination in 1949, and several years later, the aggressive Nasser regime campaign to dismantle the Brotherhood—an heroic female figure in MB lore emerged, Zaynab al-Ghazzali (d. 2005; although technically, despite having pledged herself to al-Banna’s cause shortly before his murder, she remained a member of the MB-independent, “Muslim Ladies Association”). Eventually imprisoned for 6-years in the 1960s, she served a year with thousands of Muslim Brothers, including the seminal MB ideologue Sayyid Qutb, before being sent to the women’s prison. Al-Gahzzali’s autobiographical prison memoir, “Return of the Pharaoh,” elucidates her Weltanschauung. For example, before ultimately separating from her husband, Al-Ghazzali recounts this frank discussion:
I reached an agreement with Hasan al-Banna during the trial of 1948, shortly before he was martyred. I had decided, then, to relinquish the idea of getting married for ever, so that I would devote my entire life to da’wah [proselytizing, to disseminate Islam]. I cannot ask you [i.e., her husband] today to share with me this struggle, but it is my right on you not to stop me from jihad in the way of Allah. Moreover, you should not ask me about my activities with other mujahidin, and let trust be full between us. A full trust between a man and a woman, a woman who, at the age of 18, gave her whole life to Allah and da’wah. In the event of any clash between the marriage contract’s interest and that of da’wah, our marriage will end, but da’wah will always remain rooted in me.
Zaynab al-Ghazzali refused to be broken by her imprisonment under Nasser, and enthusiastically imbibed Qutb’s “revivalist” jihadism—a doctrine that simply recapitulated the classical jurisprudential features of this millennial old, uniquely Islamic institution, and quintessence of the Muslim creed:
The Ikhwan are the same as the Muslim Ladies Group and the da’wah of Allah carries on and the word of truth is upheld forever. Nasir will perish, but the Word of Allah will persist. When our life-terms come to an end, the unjust will surely know what final destiny they are headed for. Allah’s religion will be upheld, and there will always be a group from the Muslim Ummah who will uphold truth, defend our religion, and make Jihad for His sake. This group will not be affected by those who oppose them until Allah establishes His Will. I pray to Allah to be from among those who enjoin truth and forbid falsehood, from those who show the Ummah its way to Allah. For these are the successors of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and it is the people who will revive this religion.
…We had decided, following Sayyid Qutb’s instructions and with the consent of al-Hudaibi [who succeeded al-Banna as the MB’s “Spiritual Guide”], to extend the period of education, training and planting of tawhid [monotheism] in people’s hearts, to thirteen years. This accorded with da’wah’s age in Makkah. The grassroots of the Muslim Ummah in Egypt were members of the Ikhwan who adhered to the Shari’ah of Allah. We were bound to establish all the commands mentioned in the Qur’an and the Sunnah inside our Islamic circle. Obedience was due to our sworn-in.
In a 1981 interview with Valerie Hoffman (published here), Al-Ghazzali stated:
The Brotherhood considers women a fundamental part of the Islamic call. They are the ones who are most active because men have to work. They are the ones who build the kind of men that we need to fill the ranks of the Islamic call. So women must be well educated, cultured, knowing the precepts of the Koran and Sunna, knowing world politics, why we are backward, why we don’t have technology. The Muslim woman must study all these things, and then raise her son in the conviction that he must possess the scientific tools of the age, and at the same time he must understand Islam, politics, geography, and current events … Islam does not forbid women to actively participate in public life … as long as that does not interfere with her first duty as a mother, the one who first trains her children in the Islamic call. So her first, holy, and most important mission is to be a mother and wife. She cannot ignore this priority. If she than finds she has free time, she may participate in public activities … Marriage is a sure Sunna … a mission and a trust in Islam…It is to preserve the human race, establish the family, build the man and the woman, to build the ruler, to bring about righteous government.
Fittingly, when al-Ghazzali was asked what she would do if she came to power she replied that under Islamic rule Muslim women “would retreat to their natural domain as nurturers of the nation’s men.”
Saleha Abedin, and her contemporary cohorts in the Muslim Sisterhood, such as prominent Egyptian MB leader Khairat Al-Shater’s daughter Zahraa, and Naglaa Ali Mahmoud, the wife of Egypt’s newly-elected President, the MB’s Mohammed Morsi, represent the living legacy of Zaynab al-Ghazzali.
But the fulcrum of Saleha Abedin’s own cultural jihadist universe—consistent with being a Muslim Sister—may well be serving as Chairperson of the International Islamic Committee for Women and Child (IICWC), in Amman, Jordan.
A clearly documented report at Legal Insurrection, which simply quotes the IICWC website (in google translator Arabic to English translation of sections from this IICWC post), demonstrates how Dr. Abedin’s organization, as a champion of the Sharia over “manmade law,” vehemently opposes both laws which prohibit child marriage, and bans on the misogynistic barbarity of female genital mutilation (FGM)—an horrific scourge in major Muslim countries such as Arab Egypt, and far flung non-Arab Indonesia, where FGM rates exceed 90% because Shafiite Sunni Islamic jurisprudence predominates in both Muslim countries.
It should be noted such Muslim “jurisprudential logic” is already shared by the US Muslim community. Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA)—Muslim legists in the US who train US imams, advise US Muslims, and are embraced by mainstream, institutional American Islam—also endorses both FGM and child marriage, in logical compliance with the Sharia.
IICWC website pronouncements notwithstanding, a far more comprehensive elaboration of Dr. Abedin’s traditionalist Islamic Weltanschauung—rigidly compliant with the totalitarian Sharia—can be gleaned from her vigorous efforts to assist in translating into English, editing, and publishing the book, Women in Islam: A Discourse in Rights and Obligations
The inner flap of the book cover provides the following “erudite” discussion of author Fatima Umar Naseef’s (b. 1944) bona fides. She is described (quoting verbatim) as
…an accomlished [sic] and renowned scholaar [sic], speaker, academic, educationist and social worker in contemporary Saudi Arabia. She has made outstanding contribution to the advancement of women’s education in the country. As head of the women’s section of King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah for eight years, and as professor of Islamic Shari’ah, and through her popular public lectures, she has inspired a generation of Saudi women. She has also published a number of books and articles on issues relating to Islamic Shari’ah, the position and status of women in society, and on the subject of their rights and Obligations.
On the back cover, Saleha Abedin, who edited and supervised the translation of Naseef’s scholarly oeuvre, adds these observations for context:
The overall objectives of IICWC include the promotion of knowledge regarding women’s issues. It fosters a publication program that is aimed to facilitate the collection as well as dissemination of information on women, family and society. The Committee is, therefore, pleased to launch its Book Series with its very first publication of the translation of the popular and well-received book, Women in Islam: A Discourse in Rights and Obligations, authored by a prominent Saudi scholar, Fatima Umar Naseef.
This book will be of special interest to students and scholars of Islamic law and women’s studies, as well as to that segment of the general public that is interested in women’s issues. It is a comprehensive study of the rights and obligations of women in society from the Islamic perspective, and also provides a comparison with other cultures, while examining the rights and positions of women in those cultures.
What follows are a series of verbatim quotes from Women in Islam. These extracts provide res ipsa loquitur, pellucid illustrations of the traditionalist Islamic views being promulgated without any attempt to mollify, i.e., conceal from Western sensibilities, their bellicosity, liberty-crushing supremacism, and misogyny. I thank the Center for Security Policy (CSP) for this selection of representative extracts, and have simply reproduced the CSP’s arrangement and parenthetical guiding observations, adding some commentary of my own.
Women Are Required to Wear the Hijab From Chapter 9—The Ethical Right (Hijab)
Sayyed Qutb has elaborated further saying, “The wisdom behind such restrictions is preventative; in different verses, Allah forbids women from intentionally drawing attention to their hidden adornments, thus arousing latent sexual desires. Allah says: ‘‘And let them not stamp their feet [in walking] so as to reveal their hidden adornments. “ [ 24:31] This order results from a deep knowledge of the human soul, its components and their interaction. Indeed, the imagination can be most dangerous in triggering sexual desires. The Noble Qur’an presents an exhaustive illustration of human nature and finally guides the believers to the way of repentance. Allah says: “Believers, turn to Allah together in repentance, that you may prosper. ‘[24:31]
[The author’s commentary elaborates on the Qutb quote on page 111:]
Al Tirmidhi [a collector of hadith, “traditions” of Muhammad] narrated that the Prophet(s) said: “Every (unlawful) gaze is sinful, and every woman who perfumes herself and passes by the people so that they smell her scent, is sinning.” Allah has stressed the importance of such modesty in order to prevent ‘fitnah” (temptation). Therefore, a woman who does not abide by the above rules of modesty is committing a great sin indeed. The Prophet has clearly and strongly forbidden women from attending the mosque wearing perfume. He (s) said: “Any woman who perfumes herself should not pray ‘Isha with us. Ibn Katheer [the classical Koranic commentator] narrates: “Women in the pre-Islamic period of ignorance used to walk around with silent anklets, but would stamp their feet in walking to inform men of their presence. Allah has forbidden the believing women from following their example and from intentionally revealing or suggesting their hidden adornments as well as wearing perfumed oil before leaving the house.” This verse, “Let them not stamp their feet [in walking] so as to reveal their hidden adornments”, is a prohibition of any movement that might stir men’s emotions and awaken their latent sexual desires since such behaviour contradicts the principles of modesty and discretion. In fact, regulations regarding the hijab are revealed in detail in Surat An-Nur.
Allah has made the hijab an obligation upon every believing woman in order to protect her chastity and preserve her dignity. Indeed, time has proven that adornment, free mixing of men and women and disobedience to divine wisdom can only lead to general corruption and dissoluteness,” which have manifested themselves in the following ways: an increase in the prevalence of adultery, sexually transmitted diseases, illegitimate pregnancies and divorce.
Stoning for Adultery when Married; Lashing for Adultery when Unmarried Chapter 10—Religious Rights, Section IV
[Pages 127-129 deal with the requirement of stoning for adultery by a married person, and lashing for adultery by an unmarried person – with equal punishments for men and women.]
Fornication and adultery (zina): Allah says: “The female and male fornicator shall each be given a hundred lashes. Let not pity for them detain you from obedience to Allah, if you truly believe in Allah and the Last Day; and let their punishment be witnessed by a number of believers.” [24/2] Ibn Katheer said: “In this verse, Allah pronounces His sentence upon those who commit fornication. People of knowledge have studied this subject in detail. In applying the above sentence, they differentiate between the married adulterer and unmarried fornicator. All the scholars, except Abu Haneefah, agree that the sentence should be a hundred lashes for the unmarried, plus he should be expelled from their country for one year. Abu Haneefah believes that the fornicator should be given the choice to emigrate or to stay in his country. However, the majority of the scholars, have presented the evidence of the following narration and disagreed with Abu Haneefah: Abu Huraira and Zaid bin Khaalid narrated: While we were with the Prophet, a man stood up and said: “O Prophet, I beseech you by Allah, that you should judge us according to Allah’s Laws.” Then the man’s opponent got up saying, “Judge us according to Allah’s Law and kindly allow me to speak.” The Prophet said, “Speak”, He said, “My son was a labourer working for this man and he committed illegal sexual intercourse with his wife, and I gave one hundred sheep and a slave as a ransom for my son’s sin. Then I asked a learned man about this case and he informed me that my son should receive one hundred lashes and be exiled for one year and the man’s wife should be stoned to death.” The Prophet (s) said, “By Him in whose Hand my soul is, I will judge you according to the Laws of Allah (T). Your one hundred sheep and the slave are to be returned to you, and your son has to receive one hundred lashes and be exiled for one year. O Unais! Go to the wife of this man, and if she confesses, then stone her to death.” Unais went to her and she confessed. He then stoned her to death.” Also, Al-Qurtubi [another classical Koranic commentator, noted for his legalistic acumen] said: “In this verse (24:2), Allah has specified the two genders, male and. Female although, it would have been sufficient to use the generic word ‘the fornicator.’ But, it has been said that both men and women are specified in this verse in order to emphasise the fact that they should receive the same; punishment with no difference between the male and females.”
Hence it is clear from the above verse that the unmarried adulterer and fornicators should receive 100 lashes each, in a public place and before the crowd. Also, in this verse, Allah warns the Muslims not to compromise His Law and to carry out His sentence as described in the verse and to have no mercy upon those who transgress His set limits. Indeed, those who refrain from doing so are not true believers. The verse specifies the punishment of the unmarried fornicators only. However, the narration that follows, clearly specifies the punishment of a married adulterer or adulteress. If she or he confesses, he or she is stoned to death [rajmj. On this, have agreed all scholars and people of knowledge.’; In, order to avoid any compromise, delay or slackness in carrying out this sentence, especially since it is only stipulated in the tradition (Sunnah) and not in the Qur’an, Umar [the second “Rightly Guided” Caliph] said: “I am afraid that after a long time has passed, people may say, “We do not find the verses of stoning in the Holy Book”, and consequently they may go astray by leaving an obligation that Allah has revealed. No! I confirm that the penalty of rajm be inflicted on him who commits illegal sexual intercourse if he is already married and the crime is proved by Witnesses or pregnancy or confession.’’ ‘Umar added, “Surely Allah’s Messenger (s) carried out the penalty of Rajm, and so did we after him.” Hence, equity and justice between men and women manifest themselves in all the penalties related to fornication in the verse that follows. Allah says: “The fornicator (or adulterer) may marry only a fornicatress or an idolatress; and the fornicatress (or adulteress) may marry only a fornicator or an idolater. The believers are forbidden such marriages.” [24:3)
Killing A Muslim Without Right: The Death Penalty Only for the Murder of a Fellow Muslim Chapter 10—Religious Rights B. Qisaas (Legal Retribution):
Allah has forbidden the deliberate killing of a human being, and reserved for those who do so an abode in Hell fire. As for those who kill unintentionally, Allah says: “It is unlawful for a believer to kill another believer except by mistake. He that kills a believer by mistake must free one believing slave and pay blood money to the family of the victim, unless they choose to give it up as charity. If the victim be a believer from a hostile tribe, the penalty is the freeing of one believing slave. But if the victim be a member of an allied tribe, then blood money must be paid to his family and a believing slave set free. If a man cannot afford to do this, he must fast two consecutive months. Such is the penance imposed by Allah: He is Knowing, Wise. He that kills a believer by design shall burn in Hell for ever. He shall incur the wrath of Allah, who will lay His curse on him and prepare for him a woeful scourge.” (4: 92/93)
The Prophet said: “The biggest of the great sins are: (1) to join others as partners in worship with Allah, (2) to murder a human being, (3) to be unkind to one’s parents (4) and to make a false statement.” It is unlawful to kill a Muslim except under three conditions. The Prophet said: “The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshiped but Allah and that I am His Messenger, cannot be shed except in three cases: In retaliation for murder, a married person who commits adultery and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims.” The sanctity of a believing soul is precious indeed and it is utterly forbidden for a believer to deliberately kill his brother in Islam. The one who does so shall submit to the law of Qisaas stipulated by Allah. He says: “O believers, Qisaas is decreed for you in bloodshed: a free man for a free man, a slave for a slave, and a female for a female. He who is pardoned by his aggrieved brother shall be prosecuted according to usage and shall pay him a liberal fine. This is an alleviation from your Lord and Mercy. He that transgresses thereafter shall have a painful punishment.” [2:178]
Ibn ‘Abbaas [a companion of Muhammad and very early Koranic commentator} reported that: The Law of Qisaas was prescribed for the Children of Israel, but the Diyya (blood money) was not ordained for them. So Allah said to this Nation (Muslims): “O believers, Qisaas (legal retribution) is decreed for you in bloodshed: the free for the free, the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. He who is pardoned by his aggrieved brother (not wanting to kill the killer by accepting blood money in the case of intentional murder) shall be prosecuted according to usage and shall pay him (to the relative of the killed person) a liberal fine. This is an alleviation from your Lord and Mercy [in comparison to what was prescribed for the nations before you]. He that transgresses [i.e. kills the killer after taking the blood money) thereafter shall have a painful punishment.”
The following verse further clarifies the legislation, Allah says: “We decreed for them a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds Qjsaas. But if a man charitably forbears from retaliation, his remission shall atone for him. Those that do not judge in accordance with Allah’s revelations, it is they who are the unjust.” (5:45)
Consequently, the majority of the scholars have agreed that there is no difference between men and women in retaliation, and Ibn Qudaamah [another classical Islamic jurist, of the Hanbali school] said: “The man is killed for killing the woman and the woman is killed for killing the man.” This is the opinion of most of the religious scholars, including Al-Nakh’i, Al-Sha’bi, Al-Zuhri, ‘Umar bin Abdul’azeez, Maalik, People of Madinah, Al-Shaafi’ee, lshaaq, and others. It has been authenticated that the Prophet executed a Jewish man who had beaten an Ansari girl to death. Also, Abu Bakr bin Muhammad narrated that the Prophet sent a letter to the people of Yemen which contained religious obligations and rulings and he specified that “a man is killed for killing a woman.” The people accepted this fact since both men and women are human beings and each receives the penalty for defamation when one of them accuses the other of illegal sexual intercourse. Hence, killing one sex for the other is like killing one person from one sex for another person from the same sex, and in either case, nothing should be added to the Qisaas ordained by Allah, and is a religious obligation.” Men and women are thus equal in terms of qisaas, so a man’s blood can be shed for shedding a woman’s blood and vice versa.”
Chapter 11—Political Rights: Freedom to Express One’s Opinion
[The author presents the definition of free expression under Islamic law: freedom is guaranteed as long as its intent is to advance the “general welfare” of the Muslim nation or the ummah. Page 145:]
Indeed, the truth is that to enjoin the good and to establish justice are the main characteristics of the Muslim nation. In fact, freedom to express one’s opinion is guaranteed in Islam as long as this opinion is expressed for the general welfare of the nation and does not lead to a greater evil being imposed on the Muslims in general, or to Fitnah (discord) being developed amongst themselves.
[Similarly, from page 147:]
Consequently, on the basis of the Qur’an and the tradition of the Prophet (s), freedom to express one’s opinion is an established right to be enjoyed by every Muslim woman as long as she abides by the rules and regulations of her religion in exerting this right, as we have seen from the above mentioned examples. Based on the Qur’an and the tradition of the Prophet (Sunnah), freedom to express one’s opinion is an established right of every Muslim woman.
Women’s Obligation and Right to Participate in Armed Jihad; Jihad is Both a Collective and Individual Duty Chapter 11—Political Rights: Right To Participate in Jihad
[The jihad section is presented in entirety, not excerpted, pages 152-156. What is important to note—a point I documented copiously in The Legacy of Jihad, and well-illustrated in the following extracts—is that Qutb’s views on the jihad are in full accord not only with classical Muslim jurists, but the assessments of his esteemed contemporary peers at Al Azhar University, including former Grand Imam of Al-Azhar (from 1958-1963), Mahmud Shaltut, quoted in this section, just before Qutb. Within two years of Qutb’s political execution (in 1966) for attempting to overthrow the Nasser regime, The Fourth Academy of Islamic Research, in September, 1968—representing the entire global Muslim umma’s pre-eminent Muslim theologians and scholars—produced a massive 935 pp. tome reiterating doctrines on jihad (and Islamic Jew-hatred) indistinguishable from Qutb’s. For a brilliant summary of this seminal conference see the David Littman/ Yehoshafat Harkabi pamphlet Arab Theologians on Jews and Israel. My own The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism has even more extensive reproductions of the Antisemitic materials from this Conference.]
Jihad was made a duty upon the Muslims in the year 2 AH. Allah says in the Qur’an:
“Fighting is decreed for you, much as you dislike it. But you may hate a thing although it is good for you, and love a thing although it is bad for you. Allah knows, but you do not.” [2:216] Jihad comes next in importance after religious obligations. Ibn Mas’ood narrated, ‘I asked the Prophet ‘Which deed is loved most by Allah?’ ‘He (s) replied, ‘To offer prayers at their earliest stated times.’ I said ‘What is next?’ The Prophet (s) said, “To be good and dutiful to one’s parents.’ I asked ‘What is next?’ The Prophet (s) said ‘To participate in Jihad for Allah’s cause.”’ And the reward of Jihad is great indeed.
There are seven conditions for Jihad: Islam as religion, adulthood, good understanding, freedom, manhood, freedom from disabilities and availability of the cost. ‘Aisha, the mother of the believers, narrated: “I asked the Prophet if the women were to participate in Jihad and He replied, For you is a jihad without fighting: Hajj and Umra (Pilgrimage and lesser Pilgrimage)” Jihad is a collective duty: When a group of Muslims are fulfilling the duty of Jihad, it ceases to be an individual obligation upon every Muslim. This is a judgment upon which all scholars have agreed.”
Ibn Qudaamah says: “Jihad is a duty upon the Muslims. If one group is already fighting the enemy and protecting the land, this duty ceases to be an individual duty. If not, Jihad remains an obligation upon every Muslim since Allah says: “The believers who stay at home – apart from those that suffer from a grave impediment- are not equal to those who fight for the cause of Allah with their wealth and their persons. Allah has given those that fight with their wealth and their persons a higher rank than those who stay at home. He has promised all a good reward.” [4:95]
The Prophet used to participate in Jihad with his companions as well as by sending armies. “Jihad is also an individual duty: When the enemy invades a Muslim country, all the inhabitants of this country should go out and fight the enemy. In this situation, it is unlawful for anyone to refrain from fighting. Allah says: “O you who believe ! Fight the infidels who dwell around you. “ [9:123] Commenting upon this, Sheikh Mohammed Shaltoot [Shaltut] said: “When the infidels invade a Muslim land, every Muslim should go out in order to fight and repel them. In this situation, the woman is allowed to go out without her husband’s permission, the child without his father’s permission, and the slave without his master’s permission.”
Allah says: “Whether slightly or well-equipped, march on and fight for the cause of Allah, with your wealth and your persons. “ [9:41] In such situations, where human life and property are endangered, Islam motivates men and women to work together for the restoration of peace and harmony.”
Sayyed Qutb wrote: “Allah has not made jihad a duty upon women. At the same time, He has not forbidden them from participating in jihad when the need arises. Women participated in Jihad and fought in several battles at the time of the Prophet. However, such Incidents are rare and exceptional since Allah has not prescribed jihad for women as He did for men.”
Jihad has not been made a duty upon women because it is they who give birth to the soldiers who fight in Jihad. A woman is more physically and psychologically prepared for that. She possesses a natural disposition that helps her prepare her sons to fight their way through life as well as in jihad. By doing so, she renders a better service. The divine wisdom has decreed that women should devote themselves to their important and vital duties for the survival of the nation. They are first of all mothers and guardians of their houses. These are permanent duties which do not cease when their husbands go out for jihad. Their children will always need the protection and care of their mothers, and the homes will always need their guardians. This important fact was pointed out by an Ansari woman Asma bint Yazeed when she said to the Prophet: “As you go out to fight in jihad, we, the women, will spin your clothes, bring up your children and guard your wealth.”
Allah has created men with a predisposition to fight and carry weapons, and created women with a predisposition that enables them to carry out different but equally important duties. However although jihad is not prescribed for women, they can still volunteer in the fields of their specialization. Women can also participate in fighting when jihad becomes an individual duty. The female companions did so whenever they were in danger or witnessed the heat of the battle. Some of them fought with swords in the battle of Uhud when the Muslims were surprised by their enemy and the Prophet was surrounded by only a small number of soldiers. When the female companions saw that the life of the Prophet was in danger, and that Islam and all the Muslims were threatened, they rushed forward to protect the Prophet. Omm ‘Umaarah Nusaibah bint Ka’b pulled out her sword to protect the Prophet, stood against the infidels and fought vigorously. Ibn Hisham said: “Umm ‘Umaarah Nusaibah hint Ka’b fought in the battle of Uhud.”
Continuous traditions have reached us relating women’s participation in jihad throughout Islamic history. They took it upon themselves to transport the injured, nurse the sick, distribute water to the soldiers, and other different services. Such services were vital and very necessary. Had Muslim women not provided them, the armies Would have been obliged to designate some of their much needed soldiers to fulfill them. Fortunately, Muslim women have always been there to render these services when required. The Mothers of the believers (the wives of the Prophet accompanied him in his military expeditions with other female companions. Anas narrated, “On the day of Uhud, I saw ‘Aisha hint Abi Bakr and Umm Sulaim, hurrying with their water skins. Then they would pour the water in the mouths of the people, and return to fill the water skins again and came back again to pour water in the mouths of the people.” Commenting on this narration, Imam An-Nawawi [an important classical jurist noted for his commentaries on the hadith] says: “The women would accompany their husbands in the military expeditions and distribute water and treat the injured during the battles” The following narration also confirms that women participated in jihad. Imam An-Nawawi said: “During the military expeditions, several tasks were delegated to women, such as distributing water, nursing the injured … etc. Every woman would nurse her husband or her mahram. When treating the wounds of other people, they would limit physical contact to the strict minimum and to the absolutely necessary. “ They were all true believers, who possessed sound knowledge of their religion and respected the limits set by Allah”.
Ar-Rabee’ bint Mu’az narrated: We used to take part in holy battles with the Prophet (s) by providing the people with water and other services, as well as bringing the killed and the wounded back to Madina. These narrations depict the nature of tasks which were assigned to women in the battlefields. ‘Umm ‘Atiyyah, an Ansari woman said: “I took part with the Messenger of Allah in seven battles. I would stay behind in the camp of men, cook their food, treat the wounded and nurse the sick. From the above mentioned narrations it is clear that although jihad is not prescribed for women, when necessary they are allowed to assist in certain areas of specialisation.”
Najda bin ‘Aamir wrote to Ibn ‘Abbaas inquiring of him about five things. Ibn ‘Abbaas said: If I had not the fear of committing sin by concealing knowledge I would not have written to him. Najda wrote to him saying (after praising the Almighty and invoking blessings on the Holy Prophet): Tell me whether the Messenger of Allah took women to participate with him in Jihad; (if he did), whether he allotted for them a regular share in the booty; whether he killed the children of the enemy; and how long would an orphan be entitled to consideration as such, and for whom the Khums (fifth part of the booty) had been allocated. Ibn Abbaas wrote to him: You have written asking me whether the Messenger of Allah took women with him to participate in Jihad. He did take them to the battle and sometimes they fought with him. They would treat the wounded and were given a reward from the booty, but he did not assign a regular share for them. And the Messenger of Allah did not kill the children of the enemy. Also you have written to me asking me when the orphanhood of an orphan comes to an end. By my life, if a man has become bearded but is still incapable of getting his due from others as well as meeting his obligation towards them, he is yet an orphan to be treated as such, but when he can look after his interests like adults, he is no longer an orphan. And you have written to me inquiring about Khums. (In this connection) we (the kinsmen of the Messenger of Allah) used to say: It is for us, but those people (i.e. Banu Umayya) have denied it to us.” Commenting on this narration, Al-Imam An-Nawawi says: “Ibn Abbaas was reluctant to correspond with Najda, as he was a Khariji (an extremist sect who held distorted views). However, he feared that by not giving him the knowledge he asked for, he would be committing a sin and so resigned himself to answering his questions.
Social Interaction Between the Sexes is Forbidden; “The People who Appoint Women as Rulers will Never be Successful” Chapter 11—Political Rights: Women & Positions of Authority
To be in a position of authority in Islam means to assume religious as well as civil responsibilities. This applies to the Caliph of the state, the Emir of the province, the Commander of the Army … etc. On the basis of the principle of “division of duties and responsibilities,” such positions of authority can only be assumed by men. Allah Almighty has created men and women with different physical and psychological predispositions to prepare them for their different, yet equally important roles in society. If a woman were to assume a position of authority, she would be required to travel constantly in order to fulfill her duties. Her job would also involve long hours of free mixing and social interaction with the opposite sex, which is forbidden in Islam. Moreover, women’s biological constitution is different from that of men. Women are fragile, emotional and sometimes unable to handle difficult and strenuous situations. Men are less emotional and show more perseverance. Indeed Islam would have never denied this right to women were It not for the general benefit of the nation. The divine wisdom has decreed that a woman’s natural and primary career is her home with her children and that men should provide for their families. Both responsibilities require full attention and complete devotion. Hence, for a woman to be in a position of authority would mean neglect and inattention to her family. The Prophet was very clear on this subject when he said: “The people who appoint women as rulers will never be successful.”
Nevertheless, women can occupy less strenuous executive positions which do not conflict with their natural and primary roles as mothers and wives. Umar , the second Righteous Caliph appointed Ash-Shaffaa’ bint Abdullah Al- Adawiyya to the management of the Sooq. (market) “Umar would listen to her advice. He took care of her and sometimes would delegate to her some affairs of the Sooq. This has been narrated by her two grandsons, Abu Bakr and Uthmaan, the sons of Ibn Abi. Huthmah. ‘‘Umar may have delegated such responsibilities to her because she mastered writing, possessed vast knowledge and was a vtrtuous woman.” Hence Islam has dignified and honoured women by providing and defining for them the rights and responsibilities in all aspects of the political sphere of their nation.
Women Have No Right to Abstain from Sex with their Husbands PART THREE: Chapter Fourteen: Obligations of Women in Islam
SECOND OBLIGATION: The wife should satisfy her husband’s desire for sexual intercourse. In other words, the wife is required to fulfill her sexual duties towards her husband. She has no right to abstain except for a reasonable cause or legal prohibition. Indeed, the tradition of the Prophet has confirmed and emphasised this important duty through various narrations. Abu Huraira narrated that the Prophet said, “If a woman spends the night deserting her husband’s bed, then the angels send their curses on her till morning.” Abu Huraira also narrated that the Prophet said, “If a man invites his wife to sleep with him and she refuses to come to him, then the angels send their curses on her till morning.” For these reasons and many more, the Prophet has said, “A woman should not fast (optional fasts) except with her husband’s permission if he is at home,” lest it would prevent her from fulfilling her duties towards him if he wished to have sexual intercourse. The divine injunction has emphasised this duty, since fulfilling one’s sexual desires is the primary objective of marriage and is one of the most important duties of Muslim women towards their husbands.
A Woman Should Not Let Anyone Into the House Unless Approved by Her Husband PART THREE: Chapter Fourteen: Obligations of Women in Islam
THIRD: The wife should not allow anyone to enter the house without her husband’s permission. The house belongs to the husband, who is at the same time the maintainer and the protector of his family. The wife should show respect for her husband’s feelings by not admitting to her house anyone he does not wish her to receive. The Prophet has been reported as saying: “You have your rights upon your wives and they have their rights upon you. Your right is that they shall not allow anyone you dislike to step onto your furnishings or allow any you dislike to enter your home, and their right is that you should treat them well in the matter of food and clothing.” “Furnishings” in the above narration refers to all kinds of furniture such as carpets, chairs, mats, cushions … etc. It certainly does not refer to the bed or any prohibited intimacy, since the wife is not allowed to offer the opportunity for anyone to do that regardless of her husband’s opinion, whether he is present or absent and whether he likes it or dislikes it. Indeed, the meaning refers to the entertaining and reception of ordinary visitors. Imam An-Nawawi says, “You must not allow in your house anyone whose visit your husband dislikes, whether this person is a man, a woman or one of the wife’s mahrams; indeed the prohibition includes them all. “The scholars have said that the wife must not permit anyone (man, woman or mahram) to enter her house unless she knew or thought that her husband would not mind their visit.
Female Genital Mutilation is Allowed Chapter Fifteen—Obligations of the Mother in Islam
[also see earlier discussion of IICWC website pronouncement; Page 221]:
Circumcision for women is allowed but is not ordered because the aforementioned hadith is weak. When the Prophet prescribed circumcision for the Muslim nation he specifically referred to Muslim men. There is no proven or authentic evidence that the Prophet ever ordered a woman to be circumcised – and Allah knows best.
Man-Made Laws “Enslave Women”; “Islam is the only solution and the only escape” Conclusion
Under the section “the political rights of women”, I have proved, with legal evidences and logical argumentation, that women have the right to participate in Jihaad and have pointed out that its abrogation is unjustified. Indeed Islam has allowed women an even greater right: the right to give sanctuary. This privilege is an extreme act of honour, giving her a status equal to that of men. Man made legislation such as the “so called” International Law of the Modern West has never given men, not to mention women, this right.
Despite my efforts to find out more about the duties of women through various readings, observation and personal experience in da’wah, I found that their rights largely exceed their duties. This is a spectacular fact which invites Muslim scholars and Muslim women in particular to ponder over the divine wisdom behind such a clemency. This reality is also a retort to those feminist authors who claim to be the liberators of women. Their call to freedom, addressed to Muslim women is but an invitation to liberate women from a religion that has dignified, honoured and cherished them, and is actually an invitation to return to Pre-Islamic oppression, despotism and tyranny of male legislators. I have also realised that man made laws have in fact enslaved women, submitting them to the cupidity and caprice of human beings, and that Islam is the only solution and the only escape.
The rights of Muslim women are granted by Allah and they cannot be altered or replaced. Women have gained these rights without a feminist rebellion or a suffragette movement, without flaunting or abusing their femininity as the Romans and the Greek did previously and as the women in the west continue to do today.
Women were and still are abused, humiliated and treated with contempt. The modern “liberated” woman in addition to performing her natural roles of motherhood and house management is expected to go out to earn her living, and often that of her family as well. Thus she is expected to be the man and the woman at the same time! Unfortunately some Muslim women are advocating the right to enjoy this miserable situation and to be equal with these “liberated” women, when they should be extremely proud and grateful to Islam, the only religion that affirms their humanity, dignity and equality with men.
Saleha Mahmood Abedin is intimately associated with Muslim educational, cultural, and charitable organizations that represent dangerous simulacra of their Western counterparts, and are designed to promulgate liberty-crushing Sharia supremacism, not free, objective inquiry, genuine respect for cultural differences, or even unfettered charity for the needy, regardless of creed.
The extent of Dr. Abedin’s influence on her daughter Huma Abedin’s views and efforts—the latter still a close aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—should long ago have been investigated, clarified, and discussed in the public domain. Where is the mainstream media? Where are our political leaders, other than the wrongfully maligned Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, and Representatives Gohmert, Franks, Westmoreland, and Rooney? The overall silence—punctuated by ignorant and vicious attacks on those few bravely seeking answers, represents a grotesque and dangerous dereliction of duty.
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