By Imam Abdullah El-Amin
I often speak at my Masjid and through this media about the responsibility of men in the community. It is no doubt that men have been given more than women. ALLAH says this is so because the job of the man is to maintain and protect women, (4:34) In some communities, more than others, it seems to be more of a problem for men to recognize this and exercise this responsibility. It is extremely important that men all over the world recognize that this is a Spiritual Commandment directly from ALLAH.
When you realize that you should maintain and protect women because ALLAH ordered it, it empowers and strengthens you to be more effective in carrying out this directive. Whatever â€œwombsâ€ bore you, obedience to ALLAH makes those experiences benefit you rather than stifle you.
On the other hand, the superiority of men can be a tool for oppression and belittling of women. Men, especially men in leadership positions, must be careful not to abuse their station in life by making inappropriate remarks and advances to women.
Our religion is on the rise these days although it may not look like it to the average person. We are in the news constantly. Islam is actually shaping the thinking of people in the world who previously had no knowledge of the religion. I speak to many non-Muslim groups at weddings, funerals and interfaith gatherings. They are always amazed at the sane, balanced tenets of Islam.
I just officiated at my sonâ€™s wedding in Birmingham, Alabama. Almost to a person, the non-Muslim guests (especially the females) marveled at what the Qur`an says about women and the example of our Prophet Muhammad (s) in the treatment of women.
It is also important to make the womenâ€™s section of the masjid the most pleasing to the eye and most comfortable. I have seen just the opposite in many masajid around the country. There are some masajid that have women enter the masjid through the alley by the garbage cans. At the same time, the men enter through nice doors with chandeliers and marble floors. What is it that necessitates this kind of treatment? Is it an oversight or do you only see yourself? This is totally against the spirit of the religion. I understand some peopleâ€™s understanding of fiqh necessitates total separation of the sexes at all times; and thatâ€™s OK if it is your understanding.
But is it necessary for the womenâ€™s section to be the dirtiest, smallest and less attractive?
This is also the kind of treatment that causes women to rebel and go to the other extreme. Then they will want to lead the Jumah salat. Since ALLAH put men in the leadership position, I believe a woman is not supposed to be an imam. She can, however, teach and lecture. But imam is a definite leadership post that has to be held by those that ALLAH has given that role.
Women are the softer sex. They like things like lace and curtains, nice lamps and so on. So if they are in a separate part of the mosque, why not treat them like they naturally are? You will make women feel so much better about the mosque, the religion, andâ€¦.you.
It is also good for dawah as it gives a prettier and more positive picture of Islam. AND, it is the Sunnah of the Prophet who said, â€œThe best of you is he who is best to his wife.â€ So while we strive to follow Muhammad the Prophet (s) in the way he dressed, ate, and went to the bathroom; let us also follow him in the way he treated women.
As Salaam alaikum
(Al Hajj) Imam Abdullah Bey El-Amin