M.Y.A. Fortnightly Gift

Jamadi al-Awal 1, 1426 AH: Role of Women

All praise belongs to the Almighty [swt], the Master of the Universe.

"Whosoever performs righteous deeds, male or female, and is a believer, then certainly we will make him live a life that is good (pure), and certainly we will bestow on them their reward according to the best of their actions" [An-Nahl: 97]

The role of women in Islam is highly sanctified and dignified. Islam was the world’s first system that gave women the rights of inheritance and asset ownership. Islam also abolished age-old gender discrimination, whereby pre-Islamic peoples were accustomed to giving preference to male children.

The example of the luminous life of Sayyida Zaynab bint Amir-ul-Mo’mineen [a] is sufficient to illustrate the true potential of women in Islam. Her name, Zayn-Ab, meaning the adornment (beauty) of her father, makes it very clear that in Islam, women are looked upon as a source of blessing and honour for the father. In fact, Imam Ali bin Abi Talib [a] loved this name so much so that both his daughters were named Zaynab. Sayyida Zaynab [a] led a life amongst the panjatan, i.e. the first five members of the 14 infallibles [a]. In Kufa, Sayyida Zaynab [a] conducted tafseer classes and propagated Islam, to the point whereby she is known in the hadith literature as the Aqeela of Banu Hashim.

Alas, the history of the ummah also records a time when this once princess of the nation was paraded as a prisoner in Kufa and Damascus following the Tragedy of Kerbala. However, in keeping with the bravery inculcated by her lofty father and mother, and her strong faith and devotion to her brother, Sayyida Zaynab [a] delivered the most powerful speeches in both the palaces of Ibn Ziyad [l] and Yazid bin Mu’awaiya [l]. Indeed, the very person whose shadow was not to be seen by a non-mahram, spoke with such confidence in public when circumstances necessitated such action.

Muslim women learn about balance when studying the life of Bibi Zaynab [a]. Her life is an example of ultimate devotion to Islam, and to those who are on the path of Haqq. Sayyida Zaynab [a] maintained her Hijab in the most perfect manner, and when the time dictated, just like her mother Sayyida Fatima Zahra [a], she was ever ready take a firm stance for her rights. Surely, the second phase of the Tragedy of Kerbala was the struggle of the women of Ahlul-bayt [a], and their relentless effort to spread the news about Ashura. It is in their tradition that the institution of Majlis-e-Aza was established, and continues to flourish every year.

Therefore, we must gain our strength from Sayyida Zaynab [a]’s life and make a commitment to lead our lives as good Muslims and Muslimas in a world that degrades women and treats them as mere objects of entertainment. An example of positive leadership from Muslim Women is the work being done by the United Muslim Women of Canada, and branch of the Islamic Humanitarian Service. Read below about their upcoming Youth Seminar in Montreal, Canada.

NOTE: The United Muslim Women of Canada (U.M.W.C) present the third annual Youth Seminar entitled "Building our Community, Building our World". Lectures, workshops, displays, Q & A and much more! Location: Montreal, June 24-26. Speakers include Dr. K. Tabatabai, Sh. S. Bhimji, and Sh. Hijazi. For info, visit www.umwc.org

Muslim Youth Association http://www.MuslimYouth.ca
E-mail: MYA@MuslimYouth.ca

The Muslim Youth Association is a branch of the Islamic Humanitarian Service