Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Weak ones

I found this in Riyad us-Saliheen in the Chapter about Benevolent Treatment Towards Orphans, Girls, and the Weak and Humble.

Abu Shuraih Khuwailid bin 'Amr al-Khuza`i (rahimahullah) reported: The Prophet (saws) said, "Oh Allah, I declare inviolable the rights of two weak ones: the orphans and women."

And that is reported in An-Nasa'i. Something about it seems strange... why would Rasoolullah saws declare something to Allah swt? I don't think Riyad us-Saliheen does the best job about compiling hadith about women. The vast majority of it seems like it's written entirely for men with small passages about "you should be nice to women" while insisting again on "women must be nice to men." In the few chapters 33-35 that's the impression I get.

Anyway, at best can I assume the author wasn't intending really for an audience of women. It's odd how I see this but.... hm.

I read an article tonight about educating women, how Muslim women are vastly uneducated, often illiterate, and daughters are really being denied education as well. For example, a girl with two brothers being taught in Urdu only despite being fluent in it, while her brothers learned Spanish and French and English. Her mother was homeschooling her while the boys went to an American school, expecting they would attend European universities at some point. Her mother who was homeschooling her could neither speak english, nor had herself a proper formal education.

So I wonder, why are the women uneducated? What foolishness is that? Some fathers will say, why educate a daughter if she is just going to go and get married. There is a crucial flaw in logic there--because she is going to get married, because she is going to have children. Does he not want his grandchildren to be educated? One of the best uses of money in my mind is to further education, really. I wish it were free, and sometimes it is expensive but it is worth it. The article made the point that if a man is taught to read, then he can read. If a woman is taught to read, then her family is taught to read. If a family is taught to read then a village.

Women are the backbone of society, the backbone. So why would you not want to reinforce your backbone? Why would Muslims deprive women of education, and so doing weaken the entire body, the entire ummah. There is no wonder we as Muslims cannot stand up straight, with a spine that is not cared for, strengthened, and nourished.


Anonymous said...

assalamu alaikum sis..

i think there is something u misunderstand here sis...first of all...when thre is a hadith which is considered "good" then when we feel something is "strange" it means something is "misunderstood"....sis our knowledge is very little...what we know is we trust Allah is just and wise 100%...we know islam is a true religion from Allah...from the creator who knows best what suits us...

what would you usually do when u find an answer in the key answers for some math book which u don't understand? do u start do doubt? or u try to understand?

so sis...islam gave women their rights when just recently they started getting some of their true rights in the west...what happesn in some "muslim" countries concerning women doesn't mean that's islam...teaching women is very imp in islam...just take one example of Aisha (raa) the prophet's wife, he taught her alot and he advised ppl to understand their religion from her...many women in islamic history were "scholars" and many men learned from them...

sis the prophet (saws) is the example which men should follow when they treat their wives...and surely it was the best treatment..very far from what men now do...in his last sermon he declared the importance of treating women nicely...if that was the only thing he did..i would consider it enough...the last sermon is for the most imp things the prophet wants his ummah to take care of..and among these was being nice to women...alhamdulillah for islam...

as for being weak...yes sis...we are weak..compared to men...and weak here doesn't mean in religion or wisdom...it's the nature of women...women are easily hurt..take longer to heal( i think being sensitive is something men like about women...they like to have the "soft" partner in their lives))..and that's why the prophet (saws) once compared women to (glasses) which means they are easy to break and thus men should be careful when they treat them :)

may Allah guide men and women to true islam
wassalmamu alaikum


Ibn Abd-el-Shafy said...

Actually, it's understandable why it seems strange: the wording *is* unusual, and the translation is not the best to begin with. There's nothing wrong with saying something is strange in Islaam if one doesn't have any evil intention in saying that. And we all know that Islaam began strange, and shall return to being strange... but that is not the issue here.

The Arabic word for what the translation you have says "declare inviolable" is "u7arrijo" from "7arraja" which according to the explanation for this hadeeth means to associate shame and sin with whoever does not respect the rights of the orphans and women. He (saas) used this style of speaking to make this a clear and emphatic warning. As to why he (saas) called upon Allaah in the very beginning, it is understood by the scholars in the same way as a man would call upon His Lord as the witness for what he is saying. By doing this, we are supposed to imagine here is the Messenger of Allaah calling upon He who sent him, saying, yaa Allaah, I call upon You to witness that whosoever does not respect the right of the orphans and women is blameworthy and sinful.

Given that all this is inspired from Allaah Himself, it is really interesting that Allaah chose this particular way to have His Messenger inform us about this topic; it certainly makes the point that these two segments of society are to be *especially* respected.

And Allaah knows best.

Amy said...

Wa alaikum as-salaam Rose

I'm not sure if I was clear about my opinion on the hadith really. I didn't understand it, why it was written that way. I wasn't saying I didn't believe it! Nono, and really there were no doubts in my mind about the validity of Islam at all by this one hadith.

I might need to make a whole new post simply to clarify this one... I think I did a poor job of making my point and I'm sorry about that.

You see, that was one hadith I came across but there are others to respect women. I wasn't thinking that Islam doesn't give women their rights, I was troubled that Muslims today chose to abandon the noble tradition of educating women, and chose to oppress them. Because that is oppression, to not educate them. That sons are favored to daughters shows a poor understanding of Islam, and the value of daughters. There is a hadith (which I can't recall at the moment) explaining the value of raising daughters, that if a man raises them properly and does not prefer his sons to them, that they will be a shield for him against hellfire.

As for being weak... well, I disagree with you. Women are weak in some ways where men are strong. But you said women are easily hurt and take longer to heal. Maybe more easily hurt sometimes, but I think women heal much much faster. When a couple has been married for a very long time, for decades, and are very old, and one person dies. If the husband dies, usually the woman recovers after some time and adapts to a new way of life and can live for many more years. But when it is the woman who dies, very often the husband dies not long after. Part of a woman's strength, I think, is her ability to heal and recover emotionally, her ability to forgive. It's not a weakness but a strength. And Allah made us that way, and alhamdulillah for that.

Anyway, my complaints about Riyad us saliheen were not that Islam doesn't respect women. Rather, that the book compiles hadith that suggest respect for women from men while demanding respect for men from women. That is an imbalance.

I think Imam An-Nawawi was not writing for a mixed-gender audience. That's all.

Amy said...

Jazaakallah khair for the explanation, brother.

Anonymous said...

assalamu alaikum

jazakallahu khayran bro for the explanation..i did go to riyadus saliheen and read it there in arabic..alhamdulillah

sis amy...imam an-nawawi was not writing for a certain audience...his job in that book was to collect "Saheeh" hadiths and that what gave it it's status among imp islamic books.. i am not saying other books are not good...i just wanted tell u about the kind of job that book was about.

in islam a scholar can't make a book of hadith for "men" audience or "women" only audience...hadths are for all muslims...a lecture can be addressed to women only or men only but not a "book of hadith"

sis when i say women are weak by nature i explained what i mean by that i.e "being sensitive" and when i say they are easily hurt it's true...men should be very careful when dealing with women and it's a "beautiful" side of women to be sensitive or life would be all "tough"...also that is different from being able to forgive....i agree..women are usually the ones who forgive more.i hope i cleared some misunderstanding there :)

jazakillahu khayran
wassalamu alaikum

Anonymous said...

assalamu alaikum

i just want correct a mistake i did in my last comment when i said Riyadus_saliheen had only "saheeh" hadiths..while it has (Saheeh And hasan"good") ones. anyway Imam nawawi tried his best to avoid "weak hadiths" and that's among the reasons his book is of the famous good books.