The Chief Missioner, Nasru-lahi-l-Fatih Society, NASFAT, Imam Abdul-Azeez Onike, says men and women are equal in the sight of Allah and are expected to perform all acts of worship and faith.
Onike made the assertion in a statement on Sunday on the occasion of International Women’s Day. The United Nations has declared March 8 every year as the annual international women’s day.
According to Onike, NASFAT, as an international organisation, always aligns herself with the international norms, values, standard and traditions.
“In conformity with her tradition, NASFAT has lined up various activities to mark the day, which coincidentally falls within the period of 25th anniversary celebration of the society.
“Top on the activities to mark the day include: project 25-25-25, meaning empowerment of 25 women in 25 trades in 25 locations of Nasfat,” he said. Onike, quoting a scriptural reference, said:
“There is no gender superiority in Islam, but each sex playing the roles based on the physiological and psychological make-up. “Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer- We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do. “I will not suffer the work of any of you, whether male or female, to go to waste; each of you is from the other.
“My parting counsel (wasiyya) to you is to treat women with kindness for verily they are your partners and committed helpers” (Hadith).” He said that many women had held political power, while some jointly with their husbands, and others independently.
“The best-known women rulers in the pre-modern era include…..Kutlugh Khatun (thirteenth century) and her daughter Padishah Khatun of the Kutlugh-Khanid dynasty; the fifteenth-century. “Andalusian queen Aishah al-Hurra , known by the Spaniards as Sultana Madre de Boabdil ; Sayyida al-Hurra , governor of Tetouán in Morocco (r. 1510 – 1542 ); and four seventeenth-century Indonesian queens. “In the contemporary era, women have again assumed leadership roles in the Muslim world. Benazir Bhutto was Prime Minister of Pakistan (1988-1990; 1993–1996 ), Tansu ç;iller was Prime Minister of Turkey (1993 –1996), and Shaykh Hasina is the current Prime Minister of Bangladesh (1996 –)”
. According to Onike, even, the Holy Book mentioned Queen of Sheba as a ruler regardless of the argument in some quarters that, did she ruled as a believer? “Imam Hakim Naisapuri states: ‘One fourth of our religion depends on the narrations of women. Were it not for those narrations, we would lose a quarter of our religion. “Imam Dhahabi affirms: ‘There are many men who have fabricated Hadith.
However, no woman in the history of Islam has been accused of fabrication. “The great Caliph Umar b. ‘Abdul ‘Aziz used to say: ‘If you want to learn Hadith go to Amrah.’ Imam Zuhri, who is credited with compiling the first systematically edited compilation of Hadith used to say: ‘Go to Amrah, she is the vast vessel of Hadith’.
“Two great Islamic Scholars, Imams Malik and Shafi were taught by female teachers, Aisha bint Sa’ad bin Abi Waqqas and Nafisha respectively.” Onike said that the patriarchal tendency and beliefs were inherited attitudes from the period referred to as “Period of Ignorance” which predated Islam. simply put, it’s a cultural rather than religious concept.
“But, if there is one thing that the women and men of the late 20th century who have an awareness and enjoyment of history can be sure of, it is that Islam was not sent from heaven to foster egotism and mediocrity.” he said.(Margalit Fox) According to Onike, NASFAT, having realised that most of the misconceptions held about women are due to deliberate distortion or manipulation of textual provisions and that even most of the concept degrading womanhood are not scripture based.
“The society has been collaborating with many local and international non-governmental organisations such as the Carter Centre Inc. to champion the cause of better living intellectually and financially for women in and outside Nasfat. Onike said that the misconception that women have no right to divorce was also cleared during such trainings. He cited the concept called khul‘, which refers to when the woman asks her husband to separate from her in return for financial compensation or giving up her mahr or part of it.
“Islam’s acknowledgment of women’s equity in the societal, familiar, and spiritual spheres was unprecedented at its time, and its demarcation of rights and obligations between men and women remains unmatched to this day,” he said. Onike said that women were excused from prayer and fasting during menstruation due to the weakness that accompanies menstrual bleeding.
“They are not ostracised nor deemed spiritually impure, nor are they obligated to separate themselves from society (Omar Sulyman et al, 2019). “Our religion appreciates the right of women to maintain their identities if they so wish, even after marriage, rights to own property, to be heard, to represent herself in court as well as testify therein, pledge alliance, not under compulsion to spend her money on her family, pledge allegiance. “There is a punishment for slander, defamation, or accusation. To accuse someone without proof is a serious offense in Islam; in particular, baselessly accusing a woman of committing an immoral act is punishable by flogging.
“It is an offence refered to as Qadhf, which from indications stem from the need to protect the dignity of women even, by implication, it applies to all human beings as well. “It is an offence against God, hence it carry Hadd (Divinely fixed punishment) of 80 lashes of cane. “And those who accuse chaste women and then do not produce four witnesses – lash them with eighty lashes and do not accept from them testimony ever after. And those are the defiantly disobedient”.