Chapter 3: The Fanatics’ Hatred of Women
Women are One of the Finest Blessings in This World
One of the most striking examples of the lovelessness and harshness of the fanatic mindset is these people’s attitude towards women. Because of all the superstition they fabricate, fanatics, who regard women as an inferior species, exclude women from society and are unable even to bear the sight of them on the streets. In the pages that follow we shall be setting out the fanatic attitude toward women, citing various fabricated hadiths on the subject, and then seeing how their false perspective is diametrically opposed to the Qur’an and the true word of our Prophet (pbuh). The fabricated hadiths in question will give a much better idea of the utterly immoral way in which women are oppressed in many Muslim countries.
Underlying the fanatic perspective toward women is the idea that women are deficient in faith and mind. The idea that women are semi-people and need to be governed and directed therefore prevails. For people who think like that, even the very existence of women is a menace and a cause of anger; they therefore feel the need to keep them covered up, excluded from society, deprived of all rights and declared non-persons to the maximum extent possible. They foolishly turn women into second-class citizens and prevent them from making decisions and becoming involved in social matters, and seek to turn them into a community under their own dominion because they know full well that women are quite capable of thinking in great detail, making rational judgments and drawing accurate conclusions by analyzing fine detail. Excluding women by false means has also made it possible for some fanatical types to spread their own falsehoods very easily.
Yet God has revealed that there is no differentiation between men and women in terms of piety and that men and women have equal responsibilities when it comes to doing good works, striving to disseminate moral virtues and waging an intellectual struggle on His path. According to the Qur’an, men and women are equal in terms of responsibility; however, the Qur’an also regards women as superior to men in terms of solicitude and worth, taking great care of them. Some verses which various fanatics and enemies of Islam always seek to portray as evidence against women are actually verses that reveal the superiority of women and the importance and value that our Lord attaches to them. We shall be looking at these verses in detail in due course.
One comparison that our Lord makes regarding women in the Qur’an shows how much He values them; He compares woman to a delicate plant, or a flower. This description of Mary (pbuh) is an explicit corroboration of the importance and value attached to women:
Her Lord accepted her with approval and made her grow in health and beauty [like a beautiful plant] .... (Qur'an, 3:37)
Caring for a lovely flower calls for the very greatest sensitivity. A lovely plant is delicate and valuable and requires great care and attention. That beauty of a flower, its delicacy, the care it needs and its value and importance neatly describe the place of women in the Qur’an. It is a fact that God has created all the plants and flowers in the world as elements of beauty, as delightful blessings, as symbols of cleanliness and beauty and as marvels of creation. The use of such an expression of beauty to refer to women, the way that God compares women with a symbol of cleanliness and beauty, is an excellent representation of the value attached to women.
Women in the Qur’an
A magnificent value is attached to women in those verses of the Qur’an that speak of her, and women are placed under special protection under all circumstances. In terms of responsibility, however, she is regarded as equal to man. A woman is placed under protection therefore, not because she needs that protection, but because she possesses a special value.
In the Qur’an, a woman can work if she pleases, but she is not obliged to work. As we see in the example of the Queen of Sheba, women can even rule over states. As we see in the example of Mary (pbuh), a model for all other women, a woman in the Qur’an is superior in her fortitude and determination at times of difficulty. A woman in the Qur’an is a queen, an entity who must always be given pride of place. In terms of its perspective toward women, the Qur’an is therefore the finest guide for the entire world.
In the time of our Prophet (pbuh), women were involved alongside men in all areas of life. The fact that the blessed wife of our Prophet (pbuh), Khadija (ra), was a well-known and respected businesswoman in the region is an important piece of information in terms of showing the active role that women could play in social life. In the time of our Prophet (pbuh), female and male companions enjoyed equal responsibility in the instruction of people who had newly come to Islam, in the establishment of social order and even in war. The kindness, love, warmth and goodness that our Prophet (pbuh) showed his wives are the finest model for the whole world. It is clear that our lovely Prophet (pbuh), who ran races with his wives, who bent down to help them climb up onto the backs of donkeys, who praised the superiority of women at every opportunity and who rested his head on his wife’s shoulder while watching entertainment, would never permit the dreadful practices of the fanatics. There is also no doubt that by casting doubt on the Companions by fabricating false hadiths in the name of the Messenger of God (pbuh), the fanatics are slandering both him and the Companions and are assuming a heavy responsibility on themselves.
The reason why women in the religion of the fanatics are so different to women described in the Qur’an will immediately become apparent when we examine some fabricated hadiths. A clear and definitive response to each fabricated hadith is also provided from the Qur’an.