Women: Muslim women in this twentieth century

Q691 :How should a Muslim woman carry herself in this twentieth century when times and requirements have changed a great deal? Sometimes it is very difficult for a woman to adhere to Islamic standards, particularly when she is working in a non-Muslim country. Please comment.

A691 : A Muslim woman should carry herself according to Islamic principles and values in all ages and centuries. It is not up to any individual or human authority to change Islamic laws or Islamic values. When Allah has made it clear that He wants Muslim women to cover their bodies, with the exception of their faces and their forearms. He made it clear that His rule applies to all Muslim women at all times and all places. No one can say that there may come a time when these requirements may be relaxed. Who can decide that? A ruler? A community? A society? An individual? No one has the authority to change what Allah has legislated. Sometimes we tend to think that our age is totally different and far removed from other ages. If women have to work these days, we may think that they never had to work in previous Islamic periods. This is not correct. Even in the early Islamic periods, say, under the Abbasid caliphate, Muslim women were working. Some of them had shops which they ran themselves and some worked in the fields. If a community is Islamic in outlook, Muslim women can easily work and abide by Islamic rules. The implementation of Allah's law must be based in the first instance on submission to Him. This is indeed the very meaning of Islam. When man has shown his obedience, he may use his mind to identify as much as he can, Allah's purpose behind his commandment or prohibition, whether this purpose is stated by Allah or not, understood by human intellect or not. It must be remembered however, that Allah, not man, is the final arbiter on whether something should be included in His law. Man becoming the final arbiter on Allah's legislation does not fit in with the Godhood of Allah or the submission of man. Having said that, I have to point out that ultimately, every individual decides how he or she complies with Allah's orders. Allah is certainly aware of the circumstances of every single one of us and the pressures to which every one is subject. He rewards every one as he or she deserves.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )