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Found 13 results

  1. Allah has never left the earth, the habitation of earth and humanity without a leader. Everywhere, where their was a survival of human beings (a human society) of any kind, a Leader has come into place. A leader by every aspects needed according to the time. Here, comes the hierarchy of prophethood. How prophets are ranked? According to how big the responsibility is on their shoulders, size of community they have to deal with and other complex parameters. Other than prophets, even men are granted leadership. For example, Hazrat Zulqarnain. Even great men have played the role of a guide, for example, Ashab e Kahf. The most convenient example can be the leaders of our time and recent periods. Basically, we always have a leader who leads us to justice. This system where people are not left without a leader is called Nizaam e Wilayat (System of Leadership). Wali means leader. Here, I'm talking about Waliullah (Leader appointed by Allah). Now, what is this hierarchy? First of all, our absolute leader is Allah — 'Qul hu wallahu Ahad'. Only he. But in order to reveal his leadership, guidance, kindness, help etc. we need a system. This is why we need Nizaam e Wilaayat. Allah appoints prophets and Imams as our divine guides. These are those entities which bring the command of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) in the society. And because they are immune from error, they are irrefutable. Because they are irrefutable, they must be followed undisputedly. When they are followed undisputedly, it brings harmony and order in the social system like the system of military and defence. How disciplined they are! Because they have to follow the commandments in which there is no question and hence, no chaos. So, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) and then his divine guides chosen from among people should be followed in a similar manner. After that there are other people too who are given this responsibility as an obligation or they achieve it through their hard work. Such leaders are refutable most of the times. Their work is only to pass the divine law, values and conjuctions of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) in the right way. They don't have to say anything from their own side. They are coordinators or minor leaders. For example, the scholars, the imam e Juma, Imams of mosques, parents. Their role is to spread the message. Pass it to impose the divine will. All the leaders should be obeyed. In order to obey Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) we need to obey his Wali irrespective of there ranks. But as per the nature of hierarchy, one supercedes the other. The ones refutable should connect their orders to the irrefutable ones (Ambiya/Aimmah). If they don't do so, respect them but don't obey them because here their order can be replaced by the order of ones above them. So, moving in a bottom to top order of leadership — Parents hold the first right to leadership, then Imam of the mosque, then Imam e Juma, then an appointee of your region — for example if someone holds the authority of wilaayat for a country or state. Then, the appointees closest to the wali e Asr or irrefutable Wali of your time. Then, the prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). Then, Allah. Thus, this is the system of wilayat from the perspective of history and also from the perspective of region. Now, question comes up about woman? Question is genuine and begs an answer. Woman don't hold the position of leadership. They hold the role or responsibility but not the position on a larger level. Here, I'm talking about physical leadership. As an opinion, the female gender naturally seems to be a superior gender. It holds a lot of other major gigantic roles which can never be taken by men. Now, in a team, if the person who is extremely valuable and has a lots of roles to carry. Does it ever happens that such a person should also be burdened by this role of leadership? No. Secondly, men are by nature more stronger physically and because of their role in the society only, they are also more discrete and straight forward in thinking. Women are greatly attached to many things very closely. 'Lam yalid wa lamyulad' — Allah the absolute leader who is free from all attachments, would also like to give wilaayat to someone who is less prone to bending towards attachments. Now, I'm not saying that woman cannot hold this position. They certainly play this role but they are not given this position because of the other burdens on them. Women are leaders and this is undisputable. They are leaders ideologically, in a symbolic way and in the matters purely related to them. Like Mawla Ali (عليه السلام) is a man in portrayal. He will not teach or explain the roles solely related to woman. So, a woman needs a symbolic leader whose footsteps she can follow. A leader of heart who she can see as an example. A woman cannot step her foot in Imam Ali's (عليه السلام) shoe. She needs a woman for that. Who will tell her how to treat people? Who will make her aware about her own identity? Answer is : The ones who are the leaders of woman and the ones who have taken their legacy ahead. The one who can be called Sayyadatun Nisa il Alamin. It is Fatima tul Kubra, Khadija tul Gharra, Maryam e Muqaddas and all those who have carried their legacy ahead. These are the symbolic and ideological leaders of a woman. Take the concept of leader I said before and combine it with these leaders. Bibi Fatima (SA) is the leader of woman. A Woman should follow her until she becomes like her. Women have to say what she ordered them to say. Stand where she says 'Stand!'. Sit where she says 'sit!'. Her order is irrefutable. In order to become a perfect woman, a woman has to follow her. She should be an example and role model for woman. Now, how to follow her? Study about her. Find her traces in history. Try to understand why a woman who just lived so less (18 or 28) has become eternal in history. Don't we want such eternity. But for that women should struggle. They should struggle to get closer to her character. She is Imam of every woman. Though, only women are not bound to follow her but rather every human being but she is more important and specific for a woman. We should not only love her, but drive ourselves on her path. It is so bad that woman don't take her as there leader. They don't do hijab but lament for Hazrat Zainab. All this love is useless. In conclusion, It is crucial to study about Bibi Fatima (عليه السلام), Bibi Zainab (عليه السلام) and women in history similar to them. If women don't follow them, they have not attended completely to the message of Ghadeer. Traditional woman was submissive to oppression. Today's woman is herself an oppressor, heedless, worthless; who adores the fake beauty but can't perceive the character. Has no sense of self-sacrifice. A follower of Bibi Fatima is not actually like that. She has the ability to conquer the world but sacrifices herself to the duties given by Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى). She like Bibi Fatima (عليه السلام) uses her outer beauty, exploits it as a useful tool, sacrifices it with the sword of time and space, and burns it in the afflictions of this world. Why? To defend her inside. To bring her inner character. To shine her inner beauty. She kills her outside body in honor of the inside character and as a gift or sadaqah to create an ideal Islamic society. Such a woman is the Shia of Fatima (عليه السلام), Maryam, Hajra and all the noble names. Ghadeer for a woman (and muslims in general) is not only the acceptance of Mawla Ali (عليه السلام) as there Leader but also the acceptance and recognition of Hazrat Fatima (عليه السلام), the pure. Ghadeer is the only place which not only connects Imamate with nabuwwat but also resembles Islam as a political religion. Shame on us that we have accepted tyrants as leaders. We respect this worthless system of tyranny and are heedless about Nizaam e Wilaayat. If we really understand the message of ghadeer, we can never accept 'Taghut' to rule upon us. But we accept oppression. We are corrupt, top to bottom. The one who says that religion is separate from politics is neither aware of Religion, nor politics. Politics is bad because good people don't pay attention to it. Islam covers every dimension of life. But we don't follow Islam. We follow mawla Ali (عليه السلام) like Hindus follow Ram or Christians follow Jesus. We don't accept them as our leaders but rather as some holy figures who had a legacy. What is the use of wasting time on such personalities when we don't have to do anything with their character and leadership? Our leaders are our leaders in all aspects of life. And yes only these pure ones. You know the impact of ghadeer in politics? The banner of palestine is kept strongly by Shias only. Palestinians are Sunnis and so they asked help from their pretend leaders only. But they were duped, betrayed. They felt leaderless and forgotten many times. Because they didn't had a wise leader. Sometimes they even were deviated from there path. Muslims establish empires that caused bloodshed, were unjust and based on the old baseless system of monarchy like Ottomans, the Seljuks, Ghaznavis, Mughals etc. We as muslims feel insulted that these empires were muslim empires. If muslims had remembered Ghadir and accepted Nizaam e Wilaayat. All the administrations would have been called 'Islamic' Empires, not 'Muslim' Empires. People, irrespective of there faith, would have loved to take pride in such empires and rulers of Nizam e Wilaayat. Today, Iran is Iran because of Nizam e Wilaayat. In Lebanon, there is a Shia organisation, even some jews have supported it. A jewish scholar said, "They show courage, they show disciple." Where does this disciple come from. It comes from Nizam e Wilaayat (Leadership). Mawla Ali (عليه السلام) loved Bibi Fatima (عليه السلام). Respected daughters a lot. Our leaders were those who gave women opportunity, wings, a freedom to speak, to express but yes were strict in order to direct them in the right direction and in order to point them out. Just like a person having love for someone does. What we have done to this? In what way have we followed are leaders? Does leadership means celebrating a day for them, reciting poetries, eating delicious food? Do good to people this day. And say if someone asks, "My Leader Imam Ali, Imam Hussain. My leader Wali e Asr has taught me this. I am helping you as a tribute to my leader." Our leaders dealt with woman in a compassionate way. They loved them. Mawla Ali (عليه السلام) grieved and was in pain for what bibi Fatima (عليه السلام) had to endure. It is a matter of shame that we have never realised the honor of woman in such a manner. Even when they strictly commanded them or got angry, such treatment was in love because they wanted to direct them in a right direction.
  2. Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu. Which is the view of Sistani on women working on a place where there is intermixing? Are there specified jobs that a Muslim woman is allowed to do? And what a Muslim woman is preferred to study at University? And if our parents,or one of them push us to study something in particular,we have to study what our parents or one of our parents wanted us to?
  3. We all love to live a lavish life. Some of them desire too. We all are human and blessed with uncountable blessings. Some say thanks to god for his gratitude what they have while some seem ungrateful and unthankful. It is very natural. Moreover, its human nature, he desires more. What a quote say here, “I try to give to the poor people for love what the rich could get for the money, no, I would not touch a leper for a thousand pounds, yet I willingly cure him for the love of god”. If there is richness as well as poverty here, if there is the point then there is an argument too. In a ceremony, if there is a man then there is a woman too. It is all obvious and universal truth. Everything has its opposite. Moreover, converses clash even attracts. Islam says, “When you see a woman or man, low down your gaze. Secure yourself from prohibition. About arguments is says do not waste your time by doing arguments with illiterate. Because there is a seal on their mind, ears, and eyes by Allah. About emaan,” O You who have believed, believe in Allah and His Messenger, (in) the Book that He sent down upon His Messenger, and the Scripture, which He sent down before. And whoever disbelieves in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day has certainly gone far astray (Al-Nissa, 4: 136).”About richness, it says, “Wealth and children are the adornments of the life of this world. But the permanent righteous deeds are better in your Lord’s Sight (to attain) rewards, and better in respect of hope.” (Quran 18:46). Islam strictly prohibited the things, which force you to commit sins. Islam forbids you to sit from bad society who mold you to commit sin. Moreover, you forget the difference between rich and poor. Stay away from a woman, whose beauty attracts you. Stop argument-um with a person who does not want to change his/her life. Do not let go your belief with the niggling of life. If you are in Umrah with umrah tour packages then Ask Allah for his mercy. Hold his rope strongly and refrain yourself from bad deeds. A true Muslim is the one, who resist his own desire. And forbade his self for the sake of Allah happiness. Allah says, “Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children – like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. Moreover, in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion.” (Quran 57:20)
  4. One has a question that "How would you, as a Muslim man, react if your wife or daughter decided to remove her hijab?" My Humble Response was as follows: On Hijab One Since you have promised to appreciate sincere answers and try to be a better practicing Muslim, the following material is provided: Had we accepted that Allah, the most Beneficent Being, is our Creator, Possessor and all-Knowing, we would have relied on His absolute Wisdom and Will more than on our own intellect. For He is the creator of our intellect as well. His commands will be beneficial in all areas, particularly in the field of legislation; because they stem from pure wisdom and benevolence. The Muslims are called Muslims because they have willingly accepted the Sovereign Authority of Allah. The Quran, the reflecting mirror of the legislative will of Allah, has declared certain objects and actions lawful or unlawful. Thus, every practicing Muslim observes those various legislative pronouncements on a daily basis. One among the obligatory acts is to keep modesty and observe Hijab. Observing Hijab is a must on both man and woman; for they both have their respective Hijab. Man are primarily commanded to lower their sight and avoid gazing at strange women whereas women are ordered to avoid wearing revealing cloths and attires. In terms of laws and regulations, it is to be kept in mind that wherever Allah has an explicit say, the human beings in general and the Muslims in particular, have nothing to say contrary to Allah. For it will run counter to their submission to Allah. Anyhow, neither you, nor your husband or other family members have the right to say something contrary to Allah’s Will and Law. For sure, the form of Hijab is something geographical, cultural and based on human made customs but the very concept of modesty is something divine and rooted in everyone’s primordial nature. The conclusion is that the Muslims are required to obey the divine laws and regulations; for their obedience will serve their worldly interests; leaving aside that they will be rewarded in the hereafter as well. The best way to convince our sisters, daughters and etc. to observe Hijab is to win their satisfaction through intellectual arguments and persuasion. Moreover, defying the Divine Commands will never win one’s prosperity and felicity. Thanks May Allah, Bless Us all to Remain Committed to the Divine Laws and Values.
  5. The Human Dignity of Woman in Creation from the Perspective of the Holy Qur’an Statesmen and noblemen, not long ago, in many parts of the world, held degrading opinions of women because of their gender; considering them inferior to men in terms of nature and essence. The flame of such gender discrimination engulfed the world so high that the existence of woman was perceived as an element of guilt. Even some bishops, priests and popes believed in sexual abstinence and sacrosanctity of celibacy in the Christian world. They seemed to regard avoidance of female as great value. There were also gender inequality between men and women in beliefs of some religious people. The main point here is that some of the scholars attributed these traditional values to Islam. It appears that they remarked on gender inequality, sexual abstinence, and considering woman as an element of guilt in Islamic doctrines. No inequality of gender is found in the holy Qur’an. It is alleged that the Qur’an considered the creation of woman inferior to man or regarded them subordinate to men. Even it is claimed that Eve, the first woman, is created from one of the left part of Adam (pbuh). Bible in Genesis states: “And Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof: and the rib, which Jehovah God had taken from the man, made he a woman and brought her unto the man”.1 Furthermore, the similar story is mentioned in the New Testament. The holy Qur’an, nevertheless, mentioning in lots of verses, considered the essence of men and women the same. “He it is who has brought you into being from a single soul”.2 Sexual abstinence or sacrosanctity of celibacy was one of the strange ideas of man in centuries, in which he, by his firm belief, felt contempt for the essence of woman. It seems they hold no regard for females but just thought of them as burden of development, especially in spiritual manner. They considered marriage a great evil. Even nowadays some Christians believe that the reason of celibacy of Jesus was the inherent evilness of marriage. For example, Pope is chosen from believers whom the clergy know him for making a vow of celibacy and sexual abstinence. The church believes piety is founded upon sexual abstinence. But in Islam, the marriage is eulogized. The holy Qur’an declares correspondency of connubial relationships to the biological needs of human body and the reason of his development and ascendancy in individual or social issues. It causes tranquility and pacification in human body. Allah says: “He it is who did create you from a single soul … that he might take rest in her”3, “And one of his signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest in them, and He put between you love and compassion”4 One of disdainful ideas of women’s essence in the past was that female was considered an element of guilt. Some religious scholars believed that every sin which is done by men is caused by a woman. Surprisingly they said that Satan could not penetrate into men directly but by means of women. Bible attested this theory and said: “… she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat; and she gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat.”5 But the holy Qur’an states the story differently and do not condom women. It is mentioned that Eve was not the agent of Satan. Both of them were tempted by Satan. The holy Qur’an says: “But the Shaitan made an evil suggestion to them”6 Considering the Islamic ideas, an impartial researcher will testify the importance of female unique position in Islamic doctrines. The saying of the holy prophet of Islam is fascinating: “Heaven is underneath of mothers’ feet.”7 1. Bible, Genesis 2/21, 22 ]online[. Available: http://www.readbibleonline.net ]Accessed May, 1,2016[ 2. The holy Qur’an, 5/98 «و هو الذی انشاکم من نفس واحده» 3. The holy Qur’an, 7/189 «جعل منها زوجها لیسکن الیها» 4. The holy Qur’an, 30/21 «و من آیاته ان خلق لکم من انفسکم ازواجا لتسکنووا الیها و جعل بینکم موده و رحمه» 5.Bible, Genesis 3/6 ]online[. Available: http://www.readbibleonline.net ]Accessed May, 1,2016[ 6.The holy Qur’an, 7/20 «فوسوس لهما الشیطان» 7. M. Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat Al-Kobra. 4/274 ]online[. Available: http://www.ghbook.ir ]Accessed May, 1,2016[
  6. Nowadays some try and insist to introduce themselves as the forerunners of respect for women's rights, but the reality is that more than 14 centuries ago, when girls were buried alive and had no place in a family and society, Islam had given orders to cherish them. Prophet Mohammad (SAAW) said: "Your daughters are your best children." (Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, v.2, p.615)
  7. SallamAlikum All, I hope you are all having a great week. I was recently reading Surah Al-Nisa, and I came across an ayah, that I'm sure it's caught lots of people's attention. "Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand." First I want to start of with saying, I know Allah is all knowing and what God says is what we do. But he never said not to question specially if one doesn't understand. Islam always told us about educating ourselves and ask question. My question is, Islam says that men and women are equal but from just the Ayah's translation it states men are higher. So how does that make men and women equal? Second The Prophet always talked about respecting the women and never to beat them. Then why in this verse does it say Oh if they don't obey you, then strike them. That just contradicts the prophets teaching? Explanation? Also there is a lot more other things in Islam which seem (A'thu bill Allah) hypocritical and contradicting. I know there has to be answers to them, so this is why I ask. It's merely for knowledge and knowing how to respond to other. JAK.
  8. (bismillah) Be kind and considerate to your woman. She is a tender flower, and not your slave in the household. Imam Ali (A.S)
  9. Strength of Woman and Islam!! http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/world/2014/04/17/natpkg-ctw-iran-execution.cnn.html
  10. I am going to visit my parents in America in a month or so, and I am newly religious. I live in Lebanon, and I have gotten use to not shaking hands with men since I put my scarf on in 2009. My husband is also moderatly religious as I am. We are so worried about whats going to happen when we go to America and we dont shake hands with men/women. How am I suppose to explain my stance? Without them thinking I am an extemist maniac? My dad is Sunni & doesnt really support some of my religious boundries. If there is anyone out there with this problem, please enlighten me on how you act when an old friend comes charging at you with a hug when you havent seen them for 3 years. Or when you are almosted forced to shake someones hand! Like what do we do!
  11. I have a big big problem! I was talking to a man with regards to marriage. Him and I live in different countries, have never met but have talked on the phone and so on. So one day, out of the blue he calls me and tells me he did istekhara for our marriage and it came bad! So at first, I began doubting his honestly about this istekhara and thought it was a way out of making a decision but then later on got convinced when he told me he felt bad about it. Well, here is the situation. Him & I live in separate continents totally. We began talking on Whatsapp and Phone. Nothing haram, just genuine talks about life and marriage. So there came a point where there was a certain amount on pressure on him to make a decision about us as to whether he wanted to proceed or not. So instead of meeting me first, talking to me and then making a decision, he does an istekhara! And it comes bad! So he decides not to marry me or even considering marrying me! Is this istekhara even valid? It's driving me nuts. I wanted to really pursue thinking marriage with him but I was so shy in the beginning that talking to him so much about things was making me uncomfortable and he was my first conversation with a man with regards to marriage. He didn't even ask me if he should do an istekhara! I don't know what to do. All I know is I have feelings for this guy. Mainly because he is so nice! Perfect husband!! And he says I'd be a perfect wife! :( I don't know what to do. Istekhara has made me so confused. I really thought him and I were getting somewhere.
  12. Salaams Brothers and Sisters, My question relates to istekhara for marriage Is it permissible for a man to do an istekhara for marrying a woman without informing her or asking her? I ask this because I have read that going against an istekhara is not allowed, so if the istekhara comes good, isn't it obligatory on BOTH of them to get married? Also, I hear istekhara can change with time. Is this true? Is it even allowed to do istekhara anymore because nowadays it's being used as a reason for not making a big decision and just relying on istekhara? When should istekhara for marriage be done? Both the people think they are good and decent people, yet if someone is not 100% sure, should they resort to istekhara? And if istekhara comes bad, can one still consider marriage with the same person after a certain amount of time, when circumstances have changed? Lastly, is our partner destined for us, or is there any way that we can make dua to Allah for Him to grant us the person we wish to marry but can't at the moment? Duas can change destiny. Allah accepts all duas that are legitimate. Isn't dua for marrying a specific person a legitimate desire? Thanks a lot in advance for your responses.
  13. (bismillah) (salam) I've been reading this book by Wael Hallaq, entitled An Introduction to Islamic Law, and, in it, I came across an interesting passage where he gives a historical perspective into the dealings of the Muslim courts, with respect to women and I found it an interesting reply to those who argue women are disadvantaged in Islam as it clearly shows that while Islamic Law favours men in certain places (such as daughters only getting half the inheritance of their fathers, as compared to the sons), women also possess distinct advantages in other areas - while, at the same time, giving us valuable insight into how we can reform the current situation within Muslim communities: "Divorce, as the jurists understood very well, and as legal practice testifies, was a very costly financial enterprise for the husband, let alone that in many cases it was effectively ruinous (a fact which may also explain the rarity of polygamy). Upon [the invocation of the right to unilateral] divorce [by the husband], the ex-wife was entitled to maintenance for at least three months, delayed dower, children’s maintenance, any debts the husband incurred to her during the marriage (a relatively frequent occurrence), and if the children were young, a fee for nursing. And if the husband had not been consistent in paying for marital obligations (also a relatively frequent occurrence), he would owe the total sum due upon the initiation of divorce." THAT WAS THE SHORT QUOTE. IF YOU WANT TO READ MORE, WELL, CARRY ON: Furthermore, "In this context, it must be clear that when women entered marriage, they frequently did so with a fair amount of capital, which explains why they were a source of lending for many husbands and why so many of them engaged in the business of money-lending in the first place. In addition to the immediate dower and the financial and material guarantees for her livelihood, the wife secured a postponed payment, but one that she could retrieve at any time she wished (unless otherwise stipulated in the contract). But equally significant was the trousseau that she received from her parents, customarily consisting of her share of her natal family’s inheritance paid in the form of furniture, clothing, jewelry and at times cash. Many women, before or during marriage, were also endowed with a waqf portion, giving them further income. Whatever the form of the trousseau and the total wealth they could accumulate, women were entirely aware of 66 An Introduction to Islamic Law their exclusive right to this wealth, and understood well that they were under no obligation to spend any portion of it on others or even on themselves. They apparently spent their own money on themselves only if they chose to do so, since such expenses as pertained to sustenance, shelter and clothing (in the expansive meaning of these terms if the husband was prosperous) were entirely his responsibility, not hers. In other words, unlike that of husbands, the property of wives was not subject to the chipping effect of expenditure, but could instead be saved, invested and augmented. Considering the unassailability over the centuries of these rights–which on balance availed women of property accumulation–it is not surprising that, in the historical record, unilateral divorce by the husband appears to be less common than KHULʿ, the contractual dissolution of marriage (where the wife surrenders some of her financial rights in exchange for divorce). The relative frequency ofkhulʿ in Istanbul, Anatolia, Syria, Muslim Cyprus, Egypt and Palestine has been duly noted by historians. It is a phenomenon that explains –in this context –three significant features of Muslim dissolution of marriage. First, while the husband could divorce unilaterally, there was also a“price”that he paid for this prerogative. In other words, the average husband was constrained by hefty financial deterrents, coupled with legal and moral deterrents installed by the law as well. Second, the husband’s unilateral divorce in effect also amounted to a one-way transfer of property from the husband to the wife, beyond and above all that he was–for the duration of the marriage – obliged to provide his wife by default. In fact, an important effect of this transfer was the fact that many repudiated women purchased the husband’s share in the matrimonial house, funneling the divorce payment due to them toward such a purchase. Third,khulʿ, within the economic equation of Muslim marriages, was in a sense less of a depletion of the woman’s property because the payment by the wife was usually the delayed dower her husband owed her, plus her waiting period allowance. This was so typical that the juristic manuals reflected this practice as a normative doctrine. The point, however, remains that it was the very financial promise made by the groom that was used as the bargaining chip for khulʿ. Khulʿ, a means by which a woman could exit an unhappy marriage, provides an excellent context to assess domestic violence against womenand other causes of their marital discord. Because they had fairly easy access to the courts, unhappy wives had the option of addressing themselves to the qadi, who would assign officials of the court to investigate the abuse or other harm that made these women’s marriage unbearable. If abuse was proven, the court had the power to dissolve the marriage, as it often did. The law also allowed the woman the right to self-defense, including, under certain circumstances, the killing of an abusive husband. But if the husband was not at fault, a wife who found her marriage unbearable could at least dissolve it by khulʿ. The formal legal aspect of such situations might well be augmented by another social aspect. Obviously, the ties of the wife/woman with heroriginal family were not, upon marriage, severed, and her parents, brothers and sisters continued to watch closely as the marriage of their daughter/ sister unfolded. It was, after all, the parents of the wife who had usually arranged the marriage, and who were at least to some extent responsible for it as well as for the well-being of their daughter. If the marriage failed, they not only had to deal with such a failure in the public space, but also had to“take back”their daughter, with all the economic and other consequences this“taking back”might entail. Their interest in the success of their daughter’s marriage explains the close scrutiny many families exercised (and still do) to prevent abuse by the husband of their daughter (including such measures as the beating of the abusive husband by the wife’s brothers). Unlike the present situation of many women who, in the nuclear family of today, must fend for themselves, women in earlier Islamic societies continued to have the psychological and social –and when necessary economic–backing of their original families. This obviously did not prevent abuse in all cases, but it did contribute significantly to its reduction. However, when all attempts had failed, the wife’s original family, often with the collaboration of the husband’s own family, would exercise the necessary pressures to bring the marriage to an end, before the qadi or not. Finally, a few words about women and property rights are in order. Making up about 40 percent of the real estate dealers in some cities, women regularly approached the court to register their sales and purchases, recording in this way the fact that they were heavily involved intransactions related to house transfers. As court litigation and registries show, women owned both residential and commercial properties, mainly rent-earning shops. They often owned their own houses, and frequently jointly purchased houses with their husbands, during, but also before, the marriage. As already mentioned, when they were repudiated by their husbands, they often bought the latter’s share in their matrimonial house with the very money their husbands owed them as a result of divorce. Women were also participants in one of the most powerful economies in Muslim lands, namely, the real property dedicated as waqf, which, by the dawn of European colonialism, constituted between 40 and 60 percent of all real property. Except for the largest endowments, usually established by sultans, kings, viziers and emirs, many of the founders of medium-size and smaller waqfs were women. They often foundedand managed endowments alone, and to a lesser extent they were also co-founders, along with males and other females. A relatively impressive number of waqfs were established by manumitted female slaves associated with the political and military elites, and these too established waqfs independently as well as with their (former) masters (a fact that attests to the financial, and even political, power of female slaves).Waqfs of modest range appear to have been established by men and women in equal numbers. Their participation in the important waqf economy began early on, and steadily increased throughout the centuries. By the eighteenth century, women constituted between 30 and 50 percent of waqf founders. In some places, there were more women establishing endowments than men. In certain cities, a significant number, and at times more than half, of the endowments established by women were public, dedicated to religious and educational purposes or to caring for and feeding the poor. And like men, most women creating endowments purchased their properties for this purpose. It is only reasonable to assume that more women benefited from waqf endowments as beneficiaries than there were women who founded suchendowments. Quantitative evidence of the proportions of men and women who were waqf beneficiaries has still to be tabulated, but the general evidence thus far points to well-nigh equal numbers. The theory that the juridical instrument of waqf was used to deprive females of their entitlements to inheritance no longer stands, for it appears, to the contrary, that the waqf was resorted to in order to create a sort of matrilineal system of property devolution. Equally important, however, was the crucial factor of avoiding the partition of family property (which Quranic inheritance tended to do), this frequently having harmful economic effects that were curbed by having recourse to the waqf instrument. It should therefore not be surprising to find many waqf deeds that allocate to the beneficiaries the same proportional entitlement to the estate as the Quranic shares. One historian has found that in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Aleppo women were disadvantaged as inheritors in less than 1 percent of the 468 waqf deeds she examined. Women generally designated more females than males as beneficiaries, while some 85 percent of men designated their wives and/or daughters, a situation that obtained in sixteenth-century Istanbul as well. The same pattern occurs with regardto rights of residency in the family dwelling of the founder. The great majority of waqf deeds–in Aleppo, Istanbul and elsewhere –did not discriminate against females, nor did they limit their rights in any way. But when they did, the restriction did not preclude the right to live in the house until marriage, or to return to it when they became orphaned or divorced. Nor did preclusion apply to female descendants, a fact that“left the door open for married women and their spouses and their offspring to claim their rights to live in the house.” Women were also deemed to be as qualified as men in their capacity as managers of endowments, an influential administrative and financial position. Although there were more men than women performing this function, a large number of women appear as administrators of waqfs established by their fathers, mothers, grandparents and distant relatives. In the eyes of the court too, women manifestly had precedence over younger males as administrators. And like men, women reserved for themselves the right to be the first administrators of their own endowments. They also reserved and used the right to sue against infringements of waqf rights, on behalf of themselves as well as others. In sum, Muslim women were full participants in the life of the law. As one historian has put it with regard to Ottoman women, they“used their right of access to the courts to promote their interests, in which a manumitted slave could restrict the claim of her past master to her estate, where a farm woman could challenge the claim of a creditor upon the expensive livestock she had purchased, where a widow could assert her priority right to buy her husband’s share in real property, and where a woman traveling alone from one village to another could charge a police officer with obstructing her path.” But if the law depended, in its proper functioning, on the moral community, then women–just as much as men – were the full bearers of the very morality that the law and the court demanded. And as moral denizens, or denizens who aspired to the power that was generated by moral character, they engaged in the law, losing and winning on the way. As participants in the legal system, they developed their own strategies, and drew on the moral and social resources available to them. They no doubt lived in a patriarchy, but the inner dynamics of this patriarchy afforded them plenty of agency that allowed them a great deal of latitude. That“Islamic modernity”has often proven to be oppressive of women, as we shall see inchapter 8, cannot take away from the fact that for a millennium before the dawn of modernity they compared favorably with their counterparts in many parts of the globe, particularly in Europe."
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