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AhmadJoyia
 
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Quote AhmadJoyia Replybullet Posted: 02 June 2005 at 1:44pm

My Dear Sisters and brothers in Islam,

I must admit that women in Islam are not given the status by their men that Islam offers them. It has to do with our own social and cultural influences superceeding the teachings of Quran and Sunnah. This situation is worst in so called Islamic countries than in America or Canada, simply because the civil crimes are more emphatically persued and justice implemented in USA and probably in Canada as well, than in most of the Islamic countries. However, beside this, the problem lies in our own apathy towards making a truely vibrant Islamic community. It needs not only financial resoureces, but more important, selfless devotion with persistence. Our involvement with our own respective Islamic community centers and what do we expect to achieve through them, must be clearly understood. Since, I am not very clear on this and therefore, would like to hear from all of you as what should be done at the community level. Should I expect the community to make arrests of a husband beating wife or what? Should I expect such a person bared from attending the center or what measures should be taken to punish such a person keeping in view the limitations of such community centers. To address such issues especially in countries like USA or Canada, where there are well established Islamic centers exists, we should discuss them here in this forum to obtain a meaningfull outcome. I mean what is lacking other than our own will, that such issues especially concerning women maltreatment etc may be more appropriately be addressed? Women leading men in prayer is just a simplistic solution than being simple. Are our men lacking social/moral sense, and hence need education? Does our women lack courage to report such incidents to police, hence at a community level we need their education? What else do we expect the community as a whole to do to achieve the balance of life between muslim men and women? I think question like these needs to be discussed more frequently and then collectively finding the solution, a viable solution that is implementable as well. Let us see how we come up with such discussions.  

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ummziba
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Quote ummziba Replybullet Posted: 02 June 2005 at 2:44pm

Assalamu alaikum,

An excellent post, brother Ahmad.  This is such a huge problem.  We do need to discuss solutions and not just re-hash the problems.  If all Muslim men and all Muslim women lived Islam in the way Allah intended, there would not be problems such as these.  But, we are humans, and Allah created humans weak.  So, what to do?

Men and women must learn to respect each other and cherish one another as unique individuals.  It has to become alright to have differing points of view or different solutions to problems without being "cut off" from the community or gossiped about or made to feel bad.  We need to learn the art of compromise.  We need to learn to really listen.

Men need to be better at reminding one another about following Islam correctly.  It is not alright to ignore the fact that the imam is drinking alcohol.  It is not alright to ignore the fact that a brother beats his wife.  It is not alright to laugh or join in when brothers are saying things that diminish women.

Women need to be better at helping each other to follow Islam correctly.  It is not alright to let the community treat you badly when you point out something that needs correcting.  It is not alright to do nothing about the fact that a sister you know is abused.  It is not alright to laugh or join in when sisters are saying things that diminish men.

We need to learn to stand up for what is right - regardless of the consequences.  We need to learn to stand up for each other in selfless and helpful ways.  We need to remember that as long as another Muslim is abused, or hungry, or homeless, or in need of help in any way - it is our failure.

Brother Ahmad, I do hope that your post starts a long line of posts with good, viable solutions to discuss.  We all certainly need to quite griping and in-fighting and learn to stand together to help the ummah.

May Allah guide us all to the straight path.

Peace, ummziba.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words...they break my soul ~
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abuayisha
 
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Quote abuayisha Replybullet Posted: 02 June 2005 at 6:55pm
Originally posted by AhmadJoyia

My Dear Sisters and brothers in Islam,

I must admit that women in Islam are not given the status by their men that Islam offers them. It has to do with our own social and cultural influences superceeding the teachings of Quran and Sunnah. This situation is worst in so called Islamic countries than in America or Canada, simply because the civil crimes are more emphatically persued and justice implemented in USA and probably in Canada as well, than in most of the Islamic countries.

You may be correct in your assertion, however you may want to site a few examples to illustrate and prove your statement.

However, beside this, the problem lies in our own apathy towards making a truely vibrant Islamic community. It needs not only financial resoureces, but more important, selfless devotion with persistence. Our involvement with our own respective Islamic community centers and what do we expect to achieve through them, must be clearly understood.

This point is well taken, but, I believe most communities have a core group of individuals who take initiative and most others are quite satisfied to allow them to do all the work.  This should not discourage that core group, because their sincere efforts will be rewarded by Allah, Most High, and others will follow their example.  Also, Muslims, like the greater society in which they live, have various levels of education, both islamic and otherwise, wealth, social and cultural upbringings and objectives for life.  Sometimes one's need simply can not be met in a given islamic center.

Since, I am not very clear on this and therefore, would like to hear from all of you as what should be done at the community level. 

I would like to see more Muslims living together in the same housing complex or neighborhood, and all within close proximity of their Masjid.  Whereby daily interaction around the five salats can take place, allowing for true closeness to develop, which is important for enjoining the good and forbidding evil on one another.  In other words, "Ahmed" may be embarrassed to strike his wife, if their family is living next door to "Bilal" and his family.  Intervention coming from those you know and see daily at the masjid may certainly be more effective, than meeting an islamic center official/Imam only when a problem arises.

Should I expect the community to make arrests of a husband beating wife or what? Should I expect such a person bared from attending the center or what measures should be taken to punish such a person keeping in view the limitations of such community centers.

I hate to use the term zero tolerance, because their will always be cases which demand otherwise, but physical abuse must involve intervention from Police, and as members of not only our islamic centers, but the greater society, we should not hesitate to report those who beat and abuse others.  The shame is on them - for their behavior and not those who are doing their best to stop oppression.  With respect to boycotting, care should be used, as the harm my out-weigh the good.  When a person is banned from the masjid, he may then be cut off from learning his religion, which may very well cure his ills.  This should be only used as a last resort.

 What else do we expect the community as a whole to do to achieve the balance of life between muslim men and women? 

Our situation, that is, very large numbers of Muslims willingly living among non-Muslims, I believe is unprecedented in Islamic history.  Therefore many problems we face will first of all require not only knowing our religion well - good islamic education, but to have scholars who are intimately aware of our unique situation, guide and assist our efforts.  When we look to churches and synagogues, many have trained preists and rabbis; but, often we can hardly find one Imam in an entire metropolitan city who has been trained in an islamic university or otherwise.  Mostly we find "Dr." so and so doing his best - and often even worse.  I am also troubled by "fatwas" which come from abroad from those who have little or no understanding of our situation here in the West.  Recently, I read that a questions was put to a scholar concerning islamic communities here in the West, having problems post 911.  Basically, the question was; 'if we have knowledge that some harm may be done by a muslim, can we inform the police.'  Sadly, the response was no.  I believe this is nonsense.  How can we sit idle having direct knowledge and do nothing?  So, we really need those who make judgements taking into consideration - again, what I believe to be our unique circumstances. 

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herjihad
 
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Quote herjihad Replybullet Posted: 03 June 2005 at 6:56am

Bismillah,

I agree with Ummziba that these are productive posts by Ahmad and Abuaysha.  Abuaysha, I agree with your point about the misunderstanding of non-resident scholars for our issues in America.  Even the ones who have come here will take quite some time to figure out what our situations need.

I believe hardened hearts and judgmentalism separate us more than a 10 minute drive to visit one another.  The rules from other countries can apply here in terms of social interaction, but that leaves a lot of people with no one to interact with. 

We need to treat each other like close family.  Visit each other frequently.  Be nice and helpful.  Take chances and interact with people who intimidate you or seem strange.  Then we can be like family and get mad at each other and help each other.

If my son misbehaves, I do try to think of the best way to let him know that his behavior is not acceptable.  The men at the mosque could just let the people who are violent, abusive, intolerant, smelly, late, whatever, that they don't like it.  And offer real solutions to the brother's dilemma.  And forgive each other.  But while you're forigiving, don't forget the women and children who need real help much more quickly than we are getting it now.

I know the men are afraid to appear to be interested in the women and to check on us.  But who is going to do it?  Take your wife with you, and go visit and find out what the women who you've heard are hungry, lonely, beaten, sick need.

I need help from our mosque, but they won't do it.  They are too embarrased to deal with the situation.  It is my family's problem.  It is our fault because of this and that, whatever.  I asked the sheikh and a couple of brothers for help, and they gave some promises of future help, years ago, and pathetic excuses. (He's so sensitive.  He'll get mad at me if I talk to him about it.)

So the entire burden is on me.  And ISA Allah, SWT, will help and guide us. 

I Know this forum can do nothing for my situation, but I thought putting reality into the discussion might make other brothers in other mosques wake up.  Do something.  Don't be so shy of your fellow brother's feelings when his family, which includes his kids who are your brothers in Islaam also, is being devastated.

You talked about the core people at the mosque who are willing to do the work.  Those core people shut me out and many others because they like the power more than they mind the work.  We are not slaves to clean the toilets while they sit in meetings making important decisions for the community.  These people have thrown out and shut out so many families because they didn't like them.  And if the door is locked, give us a key!  Lock the computer room if you like, but locking the masjid without giving all non-criminals keys, is wrong.  I have wanted to pray many times while on the side of town where the mosque was, and it was locked.

 

Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.
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Nausheen
 
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Quote Nausheen Replybullet Posted: 03 June 2005 at 8:53pm

Auzubillahi minash shaitan ir rajeem,

Bismillah ir rahman ir rahim,

Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullah

To my understanding, for any society to build strong and successful, the real efforts should come from the level of individual homes. This is so, because a society is made up of homes. Households are the building blocks of a community.

To build a healthy household every man and woman/ husband and wife must learn and understand the rights and responsibilities of marriage from an islamic stand point. Women of today are educated, they have better exposure to the world, and a better understanding of their worth. However, in this process what has slipped away is the worth and value of a husband in her life. Allah has said that if He would have accepted sujud from any human being to another, it would have been of a wife to her husband. Unfortunately, today there are many sisters who do not know this hadith, and many who will stumble over this and similar to "question" according to their own perception of matters. What we need is to "understand" the wisdom instead, from the perspective that has been presented to us in Islam.

Respect comes from love. True love comes through the love of Allah. Thus one must understand what is the will and sanction of Allah between a man and wife, in order to love and respect in the real sense.  Parents who are good to eachother, finally achieve raising good children, thus building a strong society.

Rabban hablana min adhwajina wa zurriyatina, qurratan ayuniyun, wajalna lil muttaqeena imaama...

"Our Lord! Grant unto us spouce and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and give us (the grace) to lead the righteous."

Maa salaama,

Nausheen

Wanu nazzilu minal Qurani ma huwa
Shafaa un wa rahmatun lil mo'mineena
wa la yaziduzzalimeena illa khasara.
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ummziba
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Quote ummziba Replybullet Posted: 04 June 2005 at 8:01am

Assalamu alaikum,

Yes, I agree sister Nausheen.  Many wives fail to appreciate all their husbands do for them, and many husbands also fail to appreciate all their wives do for them.

That being said, the sad reality is that many brothers have wives who are a real trial to them and many, many, many sisters have husbands that are a real trial to them as well.

It is a sad fact that many of our sisters are sexually, physically and emotionally abused by their husbands.  It is also a sad fact that this behavior is mostly ignored by the ummah.  The men are not being told by the brothers that it is wrong and are not getting any help or support to change their behavior.

The sisters are not being educated, supported and helped to find solutions to their miserable conditions.  Many of our sisters suffer in silence (as do some brothers).  Many of our sisters struggle to raise children in the most despicable of conditions.

Yes, a good society most definitely starts at home.  But, if that home is filled with abuse or poverty or terribly 'unIslamic' conditions how can it contribute to the good of society as a whole?  It is up to the greater society to be aware of the conditions some are living in and to do something about it.

How many masjids/Islamic centers offer courses to help young men learn how to be good husbands?  How many masjids/Islamic centers offer courses to help young girls learn to be good wives?  Leaving this kind of learning up to the family alone does no good to the one growing up in a disfunctional family.

As a community we need to be aware of these problems, but, most importantly, we need to act upon them to improve the lives of our members.  There is a verse in the Qur'an that says something to the effect - 'your spouses and children shall be a trial to you'.  For some, this is certainly their reality.  No one should expect a spouse to be very grateful to someone who abuses them.  We should all expect to get help from our community to help improve the situation.

Peace, ummziba.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words...they break my soul ~
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herjihad
 
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Quote herjihad Replybullet Posted: 05 June 2005 at 4:59am

Bismillah,

I know this hadith.  I do not accept it.  It doesn't sound right to put anyone next to Allah.  That "if" wording is just semantics, word play.  Women must not worship their husbands.  Sisters, do you guys think that because your husbands are good muslims and follow Islaam that most of them are?  I am too shy to say the repulsive things some husbands do. 

I prefer the Quran which says that men and women are equal in piety before Allah, SWT.  Every woman must think Islamically and decide what is correct, and not follow the whims of her husband.  We also are not made to be slaves to other people.  We are servants of Allah, SWT, who is always fair, just, kind, loving and merciful.  Let's pray and remember Allah, SWT, to help us and guide us always, ISA.

Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.
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AhmadJoyia
 
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Quote AhmadJoyia Replybullet Posted: 05 June 2005 at 2:46pm

I think our expectations are too high than our commitments to our Islamic centers. I certainly don't know about christian churches etc, however, in our islamic centers, there are no trained Islamic phycologists who could mitigate the issues between two human beings. All is done through elders guiding the youngers through mutual cooperation. I really feel this to be inadequate way of dealing with the problems, especially once it comes to an issue between a husband and wife. The problem is more aggrevated because of no formal method of providing education (about interrelationship between husband and wife) to our young ones. The most prevalent method among them is through peer to peer gossips, which again is full of myths and distortions than anything else. Very few parents, (I would say less than 1%) talk to their childern about this issue (even when they come to their marriageable age). After marriage, this education becomes a non-issue and they learnt through the hard way of life. I don't know if there are any good books on the issue by Islamic scholars etc. Now coming to the problems/issues of our islamic centers, I fully agree with sis herjihad especially once she mentions it and I quote

Originally posted by herjihad

You talked about the core people at the mosque who are willing to do the work.  Those core people shut me out and many others because they like the power more than they mind the work.  We are not slaves to clean the toilets while they sit in meetings making important decisions for the community.  These people have thrown out and shut out so many families because they didn't like them.  And if the door is locked, give us a key!  Lock the computer room if you like, but locking the masjid without giving all non-criminals keys, is wrong.  I have wanted to pray many times while on the side of town where the mosque was, and it was locked.

I think, this need more effort by all of us in our respective centers to keep out these 'Core' people of limited vision to their limits and not let them feel unchallanged. Our efforts and only our sincere and concerted efforts to reform these centers shall be the success of the community whose fruit may we not eat but our children. Every opportunity must be availed to raise our democratic voices for our "right to know" where ever decisions are made. Every issue must be debated upon openly through logical reasoning with evidences. All the accounts of the center must be made transperant to its members and accountability of these accounts must be implemented through annual audit. Though the list of such measures is long, but the first step is what we are lacking now. After our first step, I hope the vehicle shall pick up its own momentum for the right direction. Inshallah. 

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