Jalsa Salana/Annual Conventions

The Status and Honour of Women Established by Islam

Address by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) to Lajna (Ladies) at the Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention) UK 2021

After reciting the TashahhudTa’awwuz and Surah Al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) stated: 

‘Nowadays, in the name of so-called enlightenment, a concept has taken shape about one’s freedom to express and act however one wishes, which in fact, leads one more towards darkness as opposed to enlightenment. It is a completely artificial and shallow concept, and no attention has been paid whatsoever to assess the benefits and harms it entails. 

There are far greater harms that outweigh the few benefits of certain aspects of this so-called freedom and enlightened thinking. This fact is being overlooked completely. In the name of this so-called enlightened thinking and freedom of thought and expression, proponents are placing their future generation at great risk; not only are they themselves heading into an abyss of darkness, but also dragging their future generations along with them. 

These days, this so-called freedom is being exploited and promoted in such a wrong manner on social media that people have completely lost their faculties to even comprehend the destruction they are bringing upon themselves. Nevertheless, when worldly people look at this issue from a worldly perspective, even if it is out of good intentions – though this is very rarely the case – and they wish to eliminate an evil or safeguard themselves from it, they end up falling prey to another evil. This is because they are spiritually blind. 

Moreover, materialism and lack of interest in faith has made people become so averse to religion that they do not want to address this issue from a religious perspective. They strongly criticise Islam and level allegations against it and label its teachings as outdated, backward and hold no significance in the progressive world of today. This is what is said about Islam, whereas the fact is that it is Islam that outlines the rights of everyone as well as their freedom of thought and expression. Moreover, it outlines the limits and regulations of these freedoms and also advises to adopt moderation.  

In the concluding address on the occasion of Jalsa [UK] 2019, I spoke about the various rights Islam has established for different factions of society and also mentioned how it is the religion of Islam that grants them their due rights. I will, Insha’Allah [God-willing], mention some of them in the future as well, but at present, I wish to speak about the rights established for women.

Generally, the allegation levelled against Islam is that it does not grant freedom to women. However, this allegation is either born out of ignorance or simply asserted for the mere sake of raising an allegation. 

The basic principle of Islam’s beautiful teaching is that one should not just focus on attaining their own rights. In fact, in order to establish an atmosphere of peace and harmony in society, one ought to be mindful of fulfilling the rights of others as well.

Moreover, each and every person ought to give importance to fulfilling the responsibilities they are entrusted with. It is only then that one can establish true peace and harmony. Thus, Islam not only clearly outlines the rights of every person but also their responsibilities as well. Islam not only instructs women to attain their rights, rather it enjoins them to recognise their status while cautioning them to safeguard themselves from various evils. This is such a comprehensive teaching which truly grants the rights of every person and guarantees their freedom of expression and actions. There is no other religious or secular teaching or law that can compete with the teachings of Islam.  

As I mentioned earlier, I will now speak about this subject in relation to the status of women in Islam and the rights Islam grants them. Allah the Almighty has given countless commandments in relation to women, and the life of the Holy Prophet (sa) is a practical demonstration of how he established the honour of women. Furthermore, in this day and age, the Promised Messiah (as) has also drawn our attention towards championing the honour and respect of women. 

When we reflect upon the rights of women that have been mentioned in the Holy Qur’an which were explained by the practise and sayings of the Holy Prophet (sa), and then were elaborated upon by the Promised Messiah (as), in light of which his Khulafa [Caliphs] have expounded upon this on various occasions, there is no reason for any Ahmadi women to think that, God-forbid, Islam does not grant women their rights upon hearing the claims of the opponents of religion.

In light of the commentary of Surah Al-Kauther, Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) has explained the various rights Islam has established for women. Based on Qura’nic teachings, he explained that the rights established for women in the Holy Qur’an were not to be found in any other Shariah [religious law] before. In, fact they did not even exist in any worldly law either. The Holy Qur’an does not just recognise the rights of women, but in fact, lays so much emphasis upon it, that an entire avenue of knowledge has been opened as a result of it, and new insights continue to come forth. The verses [of the Holy Qur’an] which the Holy Prophet (sa) selected to be recited on the occasion of the Nikah [Islamic marriage announcement] between a man and women are ones which outline the importance of women’s rights. 

 Allah the Almighty states,

یٰاَیُّھَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوۡا رَبَّکُمُ الَّذِیۡ خَلَقَکُمۡ مِّنۡ نَّفۡسٍ وَّاحِدَۃٍ وَّ خَلَقَ مِنۡھَا زَوۡجَھَا وَ بَثَّ مِنۡھُمَا رِجَالًا کَثِیۡرًا وَّ نِسَآءً ۚ وَ اتَّقُوا اللّٰہَ الَّذِیۡ تَسَآءَلُوۡنَ بِہٖ وَ الۡاَرۡحَامَ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ کَانَ عَلَیۡکُمۡ رَقِیۡبًا

O ye people! fear your Lord, Who created you from a single soul and of its kind created its mate, and from them twain spread many men and women; and fear Allah, in Whose name you appeal to one another, and fear Him particularly respecting ties of kinship. Verily, Allah watches over you.” [4:2] 

Thus, it is clearly explained that men and women have been created from a single soul. In other words, they are both from the same species but have different genders; one is male and the other is female, however they belong to the same species. They both possess the same intelligence, emotions and feelings. If a man possesses a mental ability, or has a certain skill, women also possess the same abilities. Likewise, if a man has emotions and feelings, so too does a woman. Hence, right from the outset of the Nikah, men have been reminded of the importance of women’s rights. Men should not think that women do not possess any intelligence and therefore can control them as they wish. A woman also has feelings, intellectual faculties and emotions, therefore; women should be considered similar to men and not lesser or inferior.

Furthermore, the Holy Prophet (sa) stated that women should also be consulted in certain important matters. The Holy Prophet (sa) himself would seek consultation from them. On one occasion, Hazrat Umar’s (ra) wife gave her suggestion regarding a matter upon which Hazrat Umar (ra) stated, “Who are you to interfere in this?” (Since she was also present and heard the conversation, therefore she also presented her suggestion). Upon this, she replied, “Those days are long gone when we did not have any rights. Therefore, do not try to intimidate me. Those days are no more. Even the Holy Prophet (sa) seeks consultation from his wives, therefore who are you to stop me?” 

Thus, the Holy Prophet (sa) placed such emphasis on the rights of women, that women also realised that they were not any lesser than men. There are certain incidents from the era of Hazrat Umar (ra) which demonstrate that he would issue a command and sometimes the women would openly question how he could give this command when it was contrary to what had been said by Holy Prophet (sa). 

Therefore, irrespective of whether this response of the women was correct or not, or whether Hazrat Umar (ra) had understood the matter properly and was offering a correct interpretation of it, this does prove that women were given the right to express their opinions in communal matters. This right was afforded to them by Islam, the like of which cannot be found in any other religion. [1] 

It should also be made clear here that those women had a passion to seek religious knowledge and indeed attained it as well. It was for this reason that they were able to reference what the Holy Prophet (sa) had said pertaining to a certain matter. 

Therefore, Ahmadi women should pay attention to this as well; they should not only focus on seeking their rights but should also acquire and excel in religious knowledge and instil this quality within their children. You should not just focus on seeking worldly knowledge, because it is the Holy Qur’an and religious knowledge that will enable you to respond to those who, in this day and age, level allegations and ridicule religion. Remember that this is the ploy of the Dajjal[Antichrist] to steer the youth away from faith in the name of freedom, and to take women away from faith under the pretense of establishing their rights. Their objective is for future generations to develop an aversion to Islamic teachings, or for them to advocate for Islamic teachings to conform with the modern-day, and that they should be afforded their respective rights. Always remember that those who try to turn people away from faith, do this in the guise of sympathy.  Thus, instead of becoming influenced, you ought to be vigilant in order to safeguard against satanic onslaughts and prepare yourselves to repel their attacks. You should ask these people how they can raise allegations against Islam when, in fact, the protection and freedom granted to women by Islam cannot be found in any other religion or worldly law. Moreover, you should inform them that their concept of “freedom” completely diminishes the modesty and honour of women. Even among secular writers, some have acknowledged that men who raise their voices for the freedom and rights of women, do so purely for their own interests and to satisfy their wrongful desires – they do not possess any true sympathy for women. Many columnists have written this in newspapers, in fact, one of them has very openly stated this. Therefore, this is merely done in order to satisfy their own desires as opposed to actually for the sake of women. They only speak for their own benefit and not for the benefit of women. Thus, it is very important to be extremely vigilant. An Ahmadi woman is extremely fortunate as she has accepted the Imam of this age, who has clearly explained the beautiful teachings of Islam. In relation to the rights of women, the Promised Messiah (as) states, 

“No other religion has safeguarded the rights of women as Islam has done. It lays down the injunction so succinctly:

وَ لَھُنَّ مِثۡلُ الَّذِیۡ عَلَیۡھِنَّ

That is, just as men have rights upon women, so do women have rights over men. [2:229]

It is said of some people that they treat their wives like shoes and require them to perform the lowliest of services. They abuse them and despise them and enforce the injunction regarding the veil with such harshness as to virtually bury them alive. The relationship between a husband and wife should be like two true and sincere friends. After all, it is the wife who is the primary witness of a man’s high moral qualities and his relationship with God Almighty. If his relationship with his wife is not good, how can he be at peace with God? The Holy Prophet (sa) has said:

خَیْرُ کُمْ خَیْرُکُمْ ِلِاَھْلِہِ

‘The best among you is he who is best toward his wife.’” [2]

Thus, the Promised Messiah (as) has very clearly explained here that men and women have the same rights. This is an extremely significant statement made by the Promised Messiah (as) in favour of women, that if a husband does not show good conduct toward his wife, then he cannot be at peace with God Almighty. Therefore, if men wish to attain the pleasure of Allah the Almighty, then they have no choice but to fulfil the rights of women. In the verse I quoted earlier, Allah the Almighty mentioned that women and men are equal in terms of their intelligence, sentiments, feelings and rights. This verse is quoted right at the start of the Nikah sermon. In this way, men have also been informed that if they harbour any arrogance then they ought to remove it, and it also reassures women that their rights have been protected by Allah the Almighty. If one does not fulfil these rights, then they will be punished by Allah the Almighty and this is something that a believer should always fear. If a person is of weak faith, then this is a different matter, but if one is a true believer, then they must certainly remain fearful of this. The bond of true friendship is an extremely strong one and the Promised Messiah (as) has stated that one should establish such a relationship [with their spouse]. 

In this liberal society, men and women form friendships with one another before marriage. They initially claim to have a very strong friendship, and as result, they decide to marry. But then later, in most cases, this friendship ends, and they even reach the stage of divorce. Therefore, it is wrong to say that a love marriage, or a marriage whereby the boy and girl form a relationship prior to their marriage, enables the marriage to last longer. In fact, their own statistics and data refute this notion and show that marriages formed through mutual friendships are more susceptible to breaking down. 

If one is a true believer, then even if the couple does not know each other [prior to marriage], they will fulfil their bond of marriage in a manner that attains the pleasure of Allah the Almighty. However, it also needs to be made clear here that a girl is not compelled to agree to a marriage proposed by her parents; Islam affords women the right that they cannot be forced to marry against their will. If one reflects upon history before the advent of Islam, they will find that women had to marry whoever their parents would choose for them. In fact, even today, such practices take place in certain underprivileged and developing countries where parents force the girl to marry according to their choice. Furthermore, even after coming to these developed countries, some people carry out these ignorant practices and wish to marry their daughter in accordance to their own choice or in their own family, and if she refuses , then she is made to endure extremely harsh treatment. 

The correct practise is that the parents should pray and then express their preference, but they should not enforce it. If someone alleges that it is Muslims themselves who are guilty of this practise, then let it be clear that only those are to be blamed who enforce their will upon others, and no blame lies on the teachings of Islam. In fact, Islam has emphasised this to such an extent that if a marriage has been settled against the will of a woman, then it deems such a marriage to be null and void. Thus, this is a great right which the Holy Qur’an and Islam has granted to women which was previously inconceivable. [3]

Furthermore, the Promised Messiah (as) mentioned that the relationship between a husband and wife is such that they are each other’s confidants and, in this way, the wife is witness to the actions of her husband. The wife can closely observe his qualities and shortcomings. If the husband is failing to fulfil the responsibilities entrusted to him by Allah the Almighty and is not fulfilling the rights he owes to his wife in accordance to the teachings of Islam, then his wife can confront her wayward husband – and she has the right to do so – that he should first reform himself, and only then can he give her advice. Often the discord in homes arises owing to this very reason. When a husband wants to run the house like a cruel dictator and fails to fulfil the rights of others, then he has to face criticism from his wife. Thus, in order to fulfil the rights of women and to establish an atmosphere of peace within the home, there is a beautiful saying of the Holy Prophet (sa) that, “the best among you is the one who is best toward his family.” How great are these rights which have been afforded to women! 

Moreover, Islam has given women the right to live in a separate home. People also ask about this; in this society, particularly in Asian, Pakistani and Indian societies, discord arises over this particular issue. Due to living in one house, there is friction between the wife and her in-laws over small issues, and this eventually leads to arguments between the husband and wife and subsequently leads to separation. Thus, the wife has the right to express her desire for them to live separately. And men have been instructed that except for extremely extenuating circumstances, they should seek to fulfil this desire of their wives. The wife should not be forced to live with her in-laws. If one has the means, then they should live separately, and if one does not have the means, then they should try their utmost to live separately as soon as their circumstances allow. 

Then, a dowry has been stipulated so that the wife can have some wealth or capital of her own that only she can control. Women have also been given a share in property. In this so called [modern] world, women have a right to inherit. However, this only became possible 100 or 150 years ago gradually over a period of time, whereas Islam gave this right 1500 years ago. In fact, there was a custom here that after marriage, any property or wealth of a woman was not considered to be hers. If a woman inherited some wealth from somewhere or managed to accumulate it prior to her marriage, then after her marriage, that wealth would not be considered her property. Some people would marry a wealthy woman and usurp all her wealth. After marriage, the wealth of a woman would become the property of her husband. However, right from the outset, Islam has declared the wealth of a woman to be her own property and gave women so much freedom that in the early days, the companions were unsure as to whether it was permissible or not to spend out of a woman’s wealth even if she agreed to it. The companions were so mindful of this that they would not spend [their wives’ wealth] even if their wives permitted them. The companions remained careful of this until the Islamic injunction was revealed that a husband can accept a gift from his wife that she gives willingly and can spend it on himself. If a woman gives it willingly then there is no harm. Hence, this is the level of caution that one must show. [4]

Furthermore, Islam stresses upon the education of women and even states that whosoever has two daughters and ensures their moral upbringing, Allah the Almighty will forgive that person’s sins.

Once, a poor lady along with her two daughters came to visit Hazrat Aisha (ra) and asked for some food. One daughter was sitting to her right and the other was sitting to her left. At the time, Hazrat Aisha (ra) did not have anything in the house other than a single date, which she gave to the woman. The woman put the date in her mouth and cut it in two; she gave one half to one daughter and the other half to the other daughter and remained hungry herself. In light of this woman’s actions, not only do we learn about the sacrifice of a mother, we also learn about a beautiful statement of the Holy Prophet (sa) regarding the actions of this woman. When the Holy Prophet (sa) was informed about this, he said, “Whoever has two daughters and they ensure their moral upbringing and give them a good education, then Allah makes paradise incumbent upon them.” Thus, this made paradise incumbent upon that woman. It is not necessary that acquiring education should be for the purpose of pursuing a career. It is also vital for the moral training and education of the next generation. There is no harm if one learns a skill in a particular field and then finds a job, but if a woman attains an education with the intention of looking after the future generation, then this would secure glad tidings of paradise for her. [5]

The glad-tidings of paradise have been mentioned in another Hadith in the following manner:

“Paradise lies under the feet of mothers.” [6]

In other words, attaining an education and inculcating the best morals will not only enable mothers to enter paradise, but will also become the means of enabling their children to enter paradise. How great an honour and how high a status that has been afforded to women and not men! In fact, the honour of women has been described as even greater than this.

Thus, a believing and pious woman has the potential to greatly excel ahead of men. If Muslim women excel in pious deeds, are well-educated, morally trained, and instil moral values in their children in light of the correct Islamic teachings, then the next generation – which will comprise both boys and girls – will prove to be those who compete with one another in piety and righteousness. 

In certain extenuating circumstances, owing to a clash of personalities or for any other reason, Islam has permitted for a marriage to be terminated. If one ponders, this right has been granted to both men and women alike. For men, it is in the form of “Talaq” [divorce issued by the man] and for women it is in the form of “Khula” [divorce issued by the woman]. Men have been instructed that when exercising this right, women should not be treated unfairly. If they act wrongly then this is a grave injustice and Allah the Almighty will punish them on account of their oppression. Regarding the matter of divorce, Allah the Almighty addresses men stating:

وَ اِنۡ عَزَمُوا الطَّلَاقَ فَاِنَّ اللّٰہَ سَمِیۡعٌ عَلِیۡمٌ

 “And if they decide upon divorce, then surely, Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.” [2:228]

Whilst elaborating on this verse, the Promised Messiah (as) has stated that this verse is not in favour of men, but explains,  

“If (a man) decides to divorce his wife, he should know that Allah the Almighty is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. In other words, if the woman being divorced has been wronged, and in the sight of God she has been oppressed, in such an instance when she prays against the man, Allah will listen to her prayer.”  [7]

Thus, men have been warned in this verse that if they proceed with giving a divorce, they must do so having pondered over the matter carefully. They should not give a divorce over trivial matters. If Allah the Almighty listens to the prayers of men and knows about their conditions, He also listens to the prayers of women and is aware of their condition. If a person separates from his wife and is unjust in his conduct, then the wife can pray against the man and Allah listens to the prayers of the oppressed. Thus, in this verse, men who are hasty in their decision to issue a divorce have been warned and the rights of women have been upheld.

Then there is another objection against Islam, that Islam permits a man to marry more than once and therefore this infringes upon the rights of women. The fact of the matter is that this is a permission granted under certain circumstances; it is not a directive. Furthermore, in order to act on this permission, there are certain prerequisites. In these developed countries, people marry but then have illicit relationships with others – something we see on a daily basis. This indecency and immorality is strictly forbidden in Islam. The consequence of this indecency is that when a wife finds out about the illicit relationships of her husband, it results in divorce and this has become a commonplace in today’s society. Therefore, such people should not have any objections against Islam’s  permission for a man to marry more than once. Their own conduct is such that they ought to reflect over their own actions first. 

Secondly, as mentioned already, this permission has been granted along with certain conditions, and if those conditions are not met then they are not permitted to marry more than once. Furthermore, in the case of more than one marriage, upholding justice is of vital importance. With regards to one’s responsibilities when marrying more than once and the rights a man owes to each wife, the Promised Messiah (as) states that the rights due [to each wife] are such that if a person became fully aware of them, he would prefer to remain celibate. Only one who remains within the limits prescribed by God Almighty can fulfil these rights. It is far better to live a difficult life as opposed to living a comfortable life with the punishment of Allah always hanging over one’s head.” In other words, not fulfilling the rights of one’s wife after marriage is a grave sin. If one knew about [the gravity of this sin], the Promised Messiah (as) has stated that perhaps they would not even marry once and would prefer to live without marrying; that is if they are a true believer.

The Promised Messiah (as) continues, “The Shariah has permitted more than one marriage as a remedy.” Along with the permission to get married, there are certain conditions which serve as a remedy. The Promised Messiah (as) further says, “One must ensure the welfare and emotional wellbeing of the first wife (this is another right that has been established). This is to extent that if a man needs to marry again, but realises that the second marriage would cause immense grief and distress to his first wife, then if possible, he should show patience. If he can manage without contravening any commands of the Shariah – he can abstain from sin and uphold the demands of the Shariah – then there is no harm in sacrificing his needs for the sake of the first wife and remaining content with one wife.

The Promised Messiah (as) has said that even in the case of a legitimate reason [to marry again], if it is not absolutely compelling, then one must make a sacrifice in order to protect the sentiments of his first wife, and it would be more appropriate for him not to marry again. [8]

The Promised Messiah (as) then states, 

“To cause someone pain is a grave sin and matters pertaining to women are especially delicate. Just imagine the hopes that parents have in their hearts when they give their daughter away and hand her into the care of another. One can glean the gravity of these [hopes] through the commandment:

عَاشِرُوۡھُنَّ بِالۡمَعۡرُوۡفِ

[Consort with them in kindness. (4:20)].” [9]

Here the sentiments of women have been made evidently clear and men have been advised and warned in relation to fulfilling the rights of women. The Promised Messiah (as) has even said, “At the time of their marriage to a Muslim man, women have the right to stipulate a condition that under no circumstances will her husband marry again [during the course of their marriage].” [10]

This is another right granted to women, that prior to getting married, a woman can take an oath from the man she is marrying that under no circumstances will he marry again. As a result, the man will be bound to fulfil this promise and will not marry again. Thus, women have the right to stipulate such a condition for their husband.

Furthermore, men have been made responsible to provide for the needs of women. In his capacity as a husband, the man is responsible for safeguarding his wife and is a guardian. Therefore, the man is responsible to oversee all the matters at home; he must provide for the home and fulfil the needs of his wife and children. Even if his wife works, the husband should not look towards her income, as I have explained before, except if the wife spends it willingly. Instead, the husband must fulfil his responsibilities. Additionally, men have been granted greater physical and emotional strength, and this is something that can be witnessed throughout the world. For this reason, men should not injure women’s sentiments nor harm them physically. If men have been granted greater physical and emotional strength in certain matters, then they have also been made responsible to not cause women any harm. If there is a disagreement at home, they should not cause any harm nor get angry and raise their hands and cause women physical or emotional harm. Men should not misuse their physical superiority granted to them, nor abuse the responsibility placed upon them of looking after their wives. 

Thus, in this regard, the rights of women have been upheld. In this verse of the Holy Qur’an, Allah the Almighty has stated that men are guardians and the rights of women have been upheld; also owing to their physical strength, men have been reminded of their responsibilities. This superiority is not in every matter, rather in certain aspects. For this reason, once a female companion stated that men fulfil their obligations and worship etc, and then mentioned a lengthy account. At the end she stated that on top of everything, they perform Jihad which affords them a great reward, whereas women are deprived of this as they remain confined to the home. They can only carry out work at home, look after the children and oversee matters at home. Will women not gain the same reward as men if they fulfil their responsibilities? If women are held back due to certain responsibilities, at the very least they should receive an equal reward. The Holy Prophet (sa) was thus asked whether they would receive an equal reward. The Holy Prophet (sa) praised the woman greatly and asked the companions if they had ever heard matters pertaining to faith expressed in a more articulate manner. The Holy Prophet (sa) indicated to the companions about the excellent question posed by the woman. The companions stated, “We could not imagine that a woman would say something so profound.” This was due to their old way of thinking and earlier perceptions, which is why the companions said openly that they did not think a woman could say something so profound. Thus, by asking the companions, the Holy Prophet (sa) explained to them that contrary to their perception of women being inferior, they were in fact intellectual and spoke wisely in matters of religion. Thus, [the Holy Prophet (sa) indicated that] one should not give precedence to one’s own self; at times women excel men in intellectual matters. Then to the woman – who presented this detailed account in which she numerated the tasks women carry out – the Holy Prophet (sa) stated that if a pious woman looks after her home and her children as she had stated, and then continues these responsibilities when her husband is present as well as when he is away, she will receive the same reward as men. The reward [of women] will not be reduced. The reward and blessings a man will receive when he partakes in Jihad will be the same reward received by a woman who stays at home. Upon hearing this, the woman jubilantly recited “There is none worthy of worship except Allah” and raised the slogan of “Allah is the Greatest”. Thereafter, she returned home to where the other women were [gathered]. [11]

Thus, men have been given superiority on account of certain responsibilities placed upon them; not because of their intellect or emotions. And if men do not fulfil their responsibilities, then they are sinful. Nonetheless, Islam has established many rights for women and set the reward for them equal to men on the condition that they fulfil their responsibilities and act on the teachings of Islam. Therefore, one should never be ashamed of the teachings of Islam owing to one’s inferiority complex, nor should one fall into the schemes of the Dajjal [Antichrist] and consider any teaching to be a burden.

One injunction in Islam is regarding purdah [the veil]. Recently someone from here wrote to me saying that in these countries people do not stare as much as they do in our countries – i.e. like men from the subcontinent who leer at women – therefore what is the reason to wear the veil in these countries as prescribed by Islam?

The first thing is that one cannot judge for themselves on the necessity to fulfil a commandment in any given era based on one’s erroneous interpretation as a result of being deceived by their own self. Similarly, remember that where women are commanded to wear the veil and lower their gaze, Allah the Almighty in fact has addressed men first [in the verse]. If a truly Islamic society is formed, where men lower their gaze and do not leer at women, even then women are commanded to lower their gaze and to observe the veil. The Holy Prophet (sa) has also commanded that if men sit in the markets, they must lower their gaze. [12]

The Promised Messiah (as) states, 

“A believer should not allow their eyes to wander uninhibited. Instead, they ought to act on the commandment:

یَغُضُّوۡا مِنۡ اَبۡصَارِھِمۡ

‘They [ought to] restrain their eyes’, to lower their gaze and abstain from all that which can lead one to the trespass of the eye.” [13]

Hence, this is not a plausible argument that since men are not leering therefore there is no need to wear the veil or dress modestly.

The Promised Messiah (as) states, 

“In the current day, objections are raised against the veil. However, people do not realise that the Islamic veil is no prison (it is not meant to be a means to imprison women). It is only a barrier which prevents the free mixing of men and women. The veil saves them from stumbling…” 

The Promised Messiah continues, 

“…It is to counter these very adverse effects that the Founder of Islam has forbidden an individual altogether from approaching anything that may lead them to stumble. (In other words, has taken precautionary measures lest people fall prey to its evil outcomes.) In this relation, the Holy Prophet (sa) has stated that where a non-mahram (an individual to whom marriage is lawful) man and woman sit in seclusion, the third of them is Satan…”

The Promised Messiah (as) states, 

“…If you wish to protect a thing from misuse, it must be safeguarded. However, if one does not watch over a possession—and considers the world to be innocent—then keep in mind that it will surely be ruined.” [14]

Thus, those who have these questions in their minds should remember that for the prevention of sin and misconduct, Islam commands to take precautionary measures. Only those acting on these measures can safeguard their chastity and honour. All the commandments in Islam are based on moderation, and for this reason, the Promised Messiah (as) has rejected such purdah which is unnecessarily strict. The Promised Messiah (as) has stated, 

“Under no circumstances does the Islamic veil mean that women are to be locked up like a prison. The Qur’an states that women ought to cover up and not look at men. Women are not prohibited from leaving the home in order to carry out their daily tasks. They may go out, but must lower their gaze.” [15]

Likewise, in another instance, the Promised Messiah (as) stated to cover the hair, cheeks and chin; and adhere to the commandment in the Holy Qur’an which states to draw their head-coverings over their chests and not to display their beauty. [16]

Also in order to highlight equality, the Promised Messiah (as) stated,

“There is no difference between men and women in terms of piety nor are they prohibited from equally excelling one another in piety. Since when has Islam ordained for [women] to be shackled? Islam tackles the carnal desires from its very root. Just look at the state of Europe. (The Promised Messiah (as) is referring to all of the so-called developed nations.) Is this as a result of adopting the veil or a lack of it?” (Many issues arise here, which we read in newspapers as well. What is all of this? The Promised Messiah (as) has questioned whether this is caused by adopting purdah or a lack of purdah?) Islam has been sent to teach the world righteousness.” [17]

The Promised Messiah (as) has stated that Islam has been sent to the world in order to teach righteousness. Therefore, irrespective if one is a man or a woman, we must adopt righteousness and act on the commandments of Allah the Almighty.

May Allah the Almighty enable us to always tread the paths of righteousness. Every Ahmadi girl and woman should understand her status and strive to live their lives in accordance with the commandments of Allah the Almighty and His Messenger (sa), as opposed to heedlessly following the people of this world in the name of freedom and rights. Informing the world today of the true status and honour of women is the responsibility of every Ahmadi girl and woman and they should strive for this without having any inferiority complex. May Allah the Almighty enable everyone to do so.

Please join me in silent prayer.’

ENDNOTES

  1. Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol 10, pp. 301 – 302
  2. Malfuzat, Vol. 5, pp. 417-418
  3. Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 10, p. 302
  4. Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 10, p. 302-303
  5. Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 10, p. 304
  6. Kanzul Al-Ummal, Vol. 8, pt. 16, pg. 192, Kitab Al-Nikah, Baab Fi Biri Al-Walidain, Hadith no. 45431 Darul Kutub Ilmiyyah. Beirut, 2004
  7. Arya Darham, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 10, p. 52
  8. Malfuzat, Vol. 7, pp. 63-64
  9. Malfuzat, Vol. 7, p. 65
  10. Chashma-e-Ma’rifat, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 23, p. 246
  11. Usdul Ghaba, Vol. 7, pp. 17-18, Asma bint Yazid, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2003
  12. Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitab Al-Mazalim Bab Afniya al-Daur wa al-Juloos Feeha, Hadith no. 2465
  13. Malfuzat, Vol. 2, p. 332
  14. Malfuzat, Vol. 1, pp. 33-34 [English Edition]
  15. Malfuzat, Vol. 1, p. 449
  16. The Review of Religions, January 1905, Vol. 3, p. 446
  17. Malfuzat, Vol. 1, p. 449
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