Umm Sulaim's Thoughts

Thoughts Lead To Appreciation

GENDER JUSTICE: Superiority In Perspective

We shall explore the meanings and implications, with general and specific instances, of Allah’s Speech: And men have a degree over women.

The General Nature Of The Law Of Justice:
a) The inheritance of a woman is half of that of a man.

b) Two women, for weakness in intellect, act in place of a male witness.

GENDER JUSTICE - Superiority In Perspective

The Specifics Of The Law of Justice:
a) The law of remunerations is based on one premise: actions – excellence is valued on character and effectiveness of actions.

To understand this concept of remuneration based on excellence, we look at examples from the Qur’an and the Sunnah.

i) Asma the spouse of Fir’aun to whom Musa and Harun were sent to effect the release of the children of Israel was a righteous woman, though her husband was taught an unforgettable lesson by Allah for his rebellion.

He perished in sin whereas Asma was elevated to the position of the best woman of her generation and one of the best women of all time.

This pattern of righteous wife/ rebellious husband is vivid in many Muslim homes today. Are these men superior to their spouse? Not at all, for the primary reason of superiority – the performance of more righteous acts than women – is not present.

ii) The Messenger of Allah when asked whom he loved most in this world mentioned a woman, Aishah. Only when he was asked to limit his response to men did he mention Abu Bakr, Aishah’s father.

iii) The Prophet loved Usamah Ibn Zaid dearly, not because of Usamah’s father Zaid who was also dear to the Messenger of Allah, but because of his mother Ayman a freed African woman who nurtured the Prophet in his infancy.

Unfortunately, Muslims are currently in a state of denial of the validity of love of good people, in particular love of ones spouse and limit the demonstration of love to mere in-club love or worse, to love of sinners to the detriment of those closer home who are more worthy of being loved.

iv) Umm Sulaim (not my Umm Sulaim, but my predecessor and female Companion of the Prophet) held firmly to her convictions though her husband turned apostate, in contrast to the convictions of the average contemporary Muslim woman which are tied to her husband’s approval and hence are neither genuine nor sustainable.

This explains the ease with which these women turn the table against their own convictions once a divorce occurs.

v) The very first Shaheed (martyr) in Islam was not a man, but Summayyah whose entire family was subjugated to powerful Quraishi families. She and her spouse were tortured to death for refusing to recant their Faith.

vi) The Prophet himself recounted events during the Battle of Uhud when the Muslim army were confused and many fled the battlefield. He commended a woman – yes, a woman – for being one of the few left standing fighting off the Quraishi pagans in his defence. In fact, the Prophet said that anywhere he turned, he saw her in front of him. She was one of a group of six who formed a defence shield around the Prophet.

Any woman who lacks genuine and sustainable convictions will be the first to sink when the ground shifts.

vii) A very peculiar circumstance in today’s world involves working women and house-husbands. The man is not superior in this instance for another condition of superiority – men are the financial backbone of the home and are obliged to spend on their spouse – has been neglected.

The present application of the law of remuneration in the workplace entails “same work same pay”. The sad reality is that East-West, women are denied this.

b) One female witness is valid in female matters, such as birth, nursing and paternity. In these and those in (a) the intellect of a woman overshadows that of a man. A woman’s weakness in intellect and Religion is not absolute.

c) Certain situations grant a woman a greater share of inheritance than a man.

If the heirs of the deceased’s financial assets worth $48,000 are his daughter, his granddaughter (son’s daughter) and his father, his daughter receives 50 percent of the estate worth $24,000, his granddaughter receives a sixth of the estate, $8,000 and the remainder ($16,000) goes to the deceased’s father.

Before we end this discussion, we must not overlook two far-fetched but real consequences of this degree of superiority, namely:

a) The Muslim woman who believes adult women are minors.

b) The Muslim man who sees women as a problem and does not hesitate to put a woman down for merely seeing her.

There are several articles on Umm Sulaim’s Thoughts that deal with such women and their misconceptions: Players For Super Players, The Identity Of A Muslim Woman, Obedience To The Husband series, The Battle Of The Sexes series, and others.

If a man’s superiority is a licence to disrespect and mistreat women, he should start with his mother. None of these men with a pea-sized brain will take the drastic step of insulting his mother. I wonder: Is his mother a donkey and not the same species as other women?

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