Women: Participation in public
Q692 :Just before the general elections that took
place recently in a Muslim country, an Islamic group included in its
manifesto a clear opposition to the candidacy of women and their
standing for parliament. History tells us that Lady Aisha, the
Prophet's wife, led battles against the enemies of Islam. How can we
reconcile this with the view of that Muslim group?
A692 : Let me first correct you on the role of Lady
Aisha and her command of a Muslim army. She was not the commander in
any battle whatsoever, and she did not fight the enemies of Islam. She
was in disagreement with Ali, the fourth Caliph, and she was in the
opposing camp when the battle known as "the Battle of the Camel" took
place. She was not the commander in that battle, nor did she fight.
When the fighting was over, Ali sent her, with due respect and honor,
back to Madinah. I am not aware of the manifesto of that Islamic group
you have mentioned. I find it very strange that any group should adopt
such an attitude. I hope that you are certain of your information.
Otherwise, you could be acting on hearsay, which is not appropriate for
a Muslim. If your information is correct, then that Islamic group is
mistaken in their attitude. There is nothing wrong with Muslim women
standing for parliament or being elected to parliament. It is wrong to
deny women the right to vote. Women offered their pledge of loyalty to
the Prophet, and that was an act which signified full participation in
public affairs. Similarly, Muslim women gave their pledges to the early
caliphs in the same way as men did. That was akin to exercising the
right to vote. In recent history, whatever elections were contested by
Islamic parties or groups in Muslim countries, they were ahead of other
parties and groups in advocating full participation by women. Islam
considers men and women to be equal. The Prophet says: "Women are the
sisters of men." This signifies equality and the right to full
participation in public affairs.
Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )