The Obligations of the Muslim Woman in the West
Shaykh Usaamah al-Qoosi Trans: Mut’asim al-Haamidhee
Taken from: A recorded lecture given by the Shaykh at Call to Islam, Masjid al-Ghurabaa, Luton – UK (29/08/04) Transcribed and adapted by Call to Islam
All praises are due to Allaah the Lord of all the worlds, and peace and blessings upon the best of His creation Muhammad and upon his family members and all of his companions.
After this: No matter where the Muslim woman is (in the world), she has rights, responsibilities and obligations. She must present Islaam in the best way regardless of what part of the planet she lives in, but in the West it is even more critical, this is because everybody (i.e. the non-Muslims) are looking at her to see how she acts and behaves, as a wife, as a mother, as a daughter and as a sister, is she presenting the correct image of Islaam, or is she giving the wrong image about this religion? In these countries (i.e. the West) the responsibilities upon the Muslim woman is heavy, indeed it is immense.
If the non-Muslim sees the Muslim woman misbehaving and/or treating her husband and/or family badly then they will think that this is Islaam, so they would look at the Muslim woman and see that she is shouting at her husband and mistreating him, not taking proper care of her children, disrespecting her family and being rude. The Muslim woman should be focused and should always keep herself under inspection, she should be responsible and accountable since she will be held to account by Allaah (subhaanahu wa t’aalaa) Who Sees and Hears everything. The Muslim woman living in the West should be keen to please Allaah, eager to obey her husband, striving hard to bring up her children in the best way and have a firm willingness to present a bright picture of Islaam in the West. And she should come to know the Salafee manhaj and she should present this, and in doing so she will be presenting Islaam in its pure form, and this is the manhaj of the Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), the manhaj that he (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) died upon and left his companions (radee Allaahu ‘anhum) upon.
Some of the bad ways that we see some of the Muslim women in the West present Islaam is that they take off their hijaab, dress up and put make up on, dress like the non-Muslim women and imitate them in the way that they wear their hair and put on tight fitting clothes, they then go to the clubs to dance and drink alcohol. It has got to the point that sometimes we encounter Muslim women in the streets or the market places and it does not occur to us that they are Muslim, so we are surprised when we learn that they have names such as Aa’ishah, Faatimah, Khadeejah or Hafsah. They have the appearance and manners of the kuffar but yet they are Muslim. This is an evil thing, but in contrast the Islaamic etiquettes of dress (i.e. the hijaab) protects the Muslim woman wherever she goes. Allaah (subhaanahu wa t’aalaa) said that women should lower their veils and cover their faces so that they will be recognised and not be harmed or hurt. So the Muslim woman is recognised and well known her protecting her honour, protecting herself and presenting a bright image of Islaam so that the people (even the evil and indecent ones) realise that this woman cares about her honour and for her dignity, so the people respect her, even (in Muslim countries) those who are not practising and spend most of their time chasing women, once they see a woman with her hijaab they lower their gaze with respect because they know that this woman protects her honour, this woman has dignity and has religiousness so that they do not even dare to comment on her, they lower their gaze and they respect her. And the sinners in the Muslim countries who do not pray or fast would still leave room for a Muslim woman (who is covered) to pass freely. And from the bad images that are presented by some (other) Muslim women is that we see some of them wearing the hijaab from head to toe, but with this we see them wearing high heels. These high heels were designed (in the first place) for women to dance and if the woman tries to walk straight when wearing high heels she would not be able to; rather, she would slip and trip and fall on her face. The people who design high heels have knowledge of anatomy, knowledge of the body of the woman and they know that her joints are not strong (they are weak) unlike the joints of men, so if she wears high heels she will fall upon her face unless she walks in a way which resembles dancing and showing her body (in that the high heels make her wobble from side to side) in order to avoid falling upon her face, so this is another bad image that is presented by some Muslim women.
The Muslim woman does not associate with men, does not mix with them, does not shake hands with them, does not laugh with them and does not act freely with them, although some Muslim women, they think that it is presenting a good image of Islaam if they mix with men, behave freely and laugh and joke with them and feel easy with them. Rather the good image of Islaam is the middle course, to stick to the religion and the middle course is in between falling short and going beyond bounds. The Muslim’s main concern is to please Allaah (subhaanahu wa t’aalaa), And presenting Islaam in the best way means not going beyond bounds and not falling short, so one should not become lenient compromising ones religion in order to present Islaam in a (seemingly) good way and one should not fall short by being harsh and tough with the people in that it frightens them away from Islaam.
Allaah (subhaanahu wa t’aalaa) said:
“Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allaah and to their husbands), and guard in the husband’s absence what Allaah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity, their husband’s property, etc.).” (Soorat un-Nisaa’ 4:34)
The Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
“If the woman prayed her five (prayers), fasted her month (ramadhaan), protected her private areas, and obeyed her husband, she will enter paradise.” (Ahmad & others)
So what goodness is better than being made to enter paradise! So the righteous woman establishes the prayer observing its obligations and fulfilling its pillars, praying it properly, fasts during ramadhaan and obeys her husband. Obeying the husband is from the most important issues, and we want this image (of Muslim women obeying their husbands) to be the image of Muslim women in the West.
We are in a time of turmoil in which the devils from amongst the jinn and from amongst the humans are working hard to pollute the mind of the Muslim woman by making them think that they are equal to men, so they call to equality of man and woman but they are nothing except liars and they are people who are plotting and planning. The reality is that women are not like men and they never will be. Women have their own nature (with which Allaah created them with), their own characteristics and their own mental and physical capabilities and attributes.
Allaah (subhaanahu wa t’aalaa) said:
“O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife [Hawwa], and from them both He created many men and women…” (Soorat un-Nisaa’ 4:1)
We find in the markets, airports and public places that we have toilets, toilets for men and toilets for women, so those who are calling for equality why don’t they build toilets for both men and women (if they are both equal) as opposed to having separate toilets why don’t they unite the toilets. We see in the mans toilet that they put a kind of toilet so the man can urinate standing up, if men and women are both equal then why don’t they put the same kind of toilet there for women to use. The reason they do not is because the woman is different from the man.
The wife of ‘Imraan (‘alayhis-salaam) said when she was still pregnant that she will put her child (when it was born) at the service of Allaah (subhaanahu wa t’aalaa). Allaah (subhaanahu wa t’aalaa) said:
“Then when she delivered her [child Maryam], she said: ‘O my Lord! I have delivered a female child,’ – and Allaah knew better what she delivered, – ‘And the male is not like the female, and I have named her Maryam, and I seek refuge with You (Allaah) for her and for her offspring from Shaytaan (Satan), the outcast’.” (Soorah Aali ‘Imraan 3:36)
So the wife of ‘Imraan (‘alayhis-salaam) gave birth to a girl, and the statement “and the male is not like the female” is explained in the books of tafsir. Some of the scholars say that it is the statement of Allaah and others say it is what the wife of ‘Imraan (‘alayhis-salaam) said, either way it is a statement of truth. So the woman is not like the man, be it mentally or physically, and in the West the woman has been over burdened with duties that she is unable to deal with. Now we see that the woman is going out to work (all day long) and when she gets home she has to look after her family too. How can she perform her duties as a wife and as a mother after she has worked all day long? So we she that she arrives home (after going out to work all day) tired, she looks beautiful and soft but yet she is tough and harsh due to her lifestyle (of going out to work). If her husband tells are off she answers him back and is harsh to him and if he tells her to wash the clothes or dishes or to make some food she will say, “it is your turn today, I did it yesterday.”
So it is as if the woman has the same rights that the man has and that she has the same duties as the man. So we see that the woman in the West is oppressed and that her nature has been destroyed and the woman who goes out to work is abused psychologically by her boss and her whole life is full of pressures and many women collapse under the intensity of it, but if these women came to know the true reality of Islaam they would be pleased and would embrace Islaam. What has happened though is that Muslim women are presenting the wrong image of Islaam, so when the non-Muslim woman (the one who is oppressed) sees that they is no difference between her and the Muslim
woman she says that we are all the same and she does not see the true reality and beauty of Islaam. Therefore, it is upon the Muslim woman to paint a good image of Islaam, just as the companion Umm Saleem (radee Allaahu ‘anhaa) did as we shall see in the following narration: Umm Saleem (radee Allaahu ‘anhaa) was the wife of Abu Talhah (radee Allaahu ‘anhu) and together they had a child named Abu ‘Umayr. He was very beloved to Abu Talhah (radee Allaahu ‘anhu), but however after a few years he passed away. So when Abu Talhah (radee Allaahu ‘anhu) entered upon his wife and asked, “How is Abu ‘Umayr?” She answered him saying, “He is in the best of all situations.” Then she beautified herself for her husband and after he had taken pleasure from her she said, “What do you think if a people had given another people some property to look after and they came one day to ask for their property back, do you think they have the right to do so?” Abu Talhah (radee Allaahu ‘anhu) said, “Yes, of course.” So Umm Saleem (radee Allaahu ‘anhaa) said, “Verily, Allaah has taken back His property.” At this Abu Talhah (radee Allaahu ‘anhu) became very angry and said, “You did all of this and then told me the news about my son?” So he went to the Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and told him about what had happened. The Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “May Allaah give blessings upon that night and what you did together.”
They were granted a son from that very night and his name was ‘Abdullaah, and he (‘Abdullaah) had nine other sons, all of whom memorised the Qur’aan. This was in answer to the du’aa of the Prophet (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).
So this woman (i.e. Umm Saleem) was patient and was righteous and this is what we want the women in our time to be like, with regards to manners, with regards to patience, with regards to religiousness, this is what we need today. It is imperative that during a time when women in the West are oppressed and are dealt with unjustly that the Muslim woman shows and presents to them the bright picture about Islaam and the Muslim woman, so that they can come to learn about Islaam and realise how pure it is.
If the Muslim woman’s husband falls into financial difficulties and hardships she is patient and she helps him and supports him, she does not squander her own wealth and add extra pressure onto her husband, she becomes more pure in order to help her husband, so at the end of the month if her husband runs out of money she can approach him and give him some money (telling him that she has managed to save some money). We find though that many women squander their money and spend it unwisely and at the end of the month they approach their husbands and ask them for more money, this is not the image of a righteous woman.
The Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:
“Every one of you is a guardian, and is responsible for what is in his custody. A lady is a guardian of her husband’s house and is responsible for it.” (Saheeh al-Bukhaaree)
So the Muslim woman is responsible for those under her charge and for her husband’s house, and these are responsibilities and duties in accordance with her nature and her physical and psychological characteristics. However, many of the Muslim women (in Muslim and non-Muslim countries) are affected by the West and their ideas and they have left the home and have started to work alongside men competing with them (i.e. men) to get jobs, and as a result many men cannot find jobs because the women have taken the posts accepting smaller salaries and doing more work for less money.
So in this case women are oppressed in the West (and even in Muslim countries). The main point is that women have responsibilities and duties that are in accordance with her nature, the nature with which Allaah created her upon.
One of the main duties of the Muslim woman is to bring up generations cultivated, educated and prepared for the future, but the enemies Islaam say that the Muslim woman is doing nothing in her home and that she has to come out of the house – However, in Islaam the Muslim woman is the one who prepares the generations, the one who cultivates and educates the up and coming generations upon manners and upon dignity. When the Muslim woman leaves her home to go and work outside, the home becomes corrupt because the mother is the school in which the generations are cultivated and educated. Our mothers fulfilled their duties and carried the trust that Allaah entrusted them with.
In general women are more emotional than men, and we do not mean women who have become like men, we mean women who are still women, and in contrast a man is more firm and decisive. The Messenger of Allaah (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Allaah has cursed the women who resemble men and the men who resemble women.” (Saheeh al-Bukhaaree)
There is nothing wrong with the woman being emotional and this is not something which is shameful or something that she should be shy about, for indeed it is needed in our life and is a balance. If we turn our attention to “Allaah said and His Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said” we find that many Muslim women and Muslims in general are not always convinced, but when a disbelieving doctor says such and such we see the Muslim convinced. So when the disbelieving doctor says that breast feeding is better for a child because it helps to protect them from diseases and it strengthens their immune system then the Muslim accepts it, but when Allaah says so in the Qur’aan we find many Muslims not really believing it. How does the woman who works long hours expect to breast feed her child? And is it not amazing that after research the disbelieving doctors are now saying that breast feeding is what is best to the extent that they are now advising women in the West to breast feed, but yet Muslim women and Muslims in general were not convinced until they heard the disbeliever say it, but when Allaah said it they stood in disbelieve to it. Allaah (subhaanahu wa t’aalaa) created men and women, is He is All knowing or does He not know His creation? Indeed Allaah (subhaanahu wa t’aalaa) is All Knowing, so why is it that we find Muslims not convinced by that which Allaah (subhaanahu wa t’aalaa) informs us of and commands us with?
So we are in dire need of Muslims fully submitting to Allaah (subhaanahu wa t’aalaa) and being certain in that which He tells us, and whatever He orders us with is the truth and it is what is best for us. So, “the male is not like the female” and each one has its own responsibilities and duties and own course in life. So our call is a call to all the Muslim women and it is a call to the truth, a call for them to come back to the natural disposition with which Allaah (subhaanahu wa t’aalaa) has created women upon, the nature which Shaytaan wants to change: “Allaah cursed him. And he (Shaytaan) said: ‘I will take an appointed portion of your slaves; Verily, I will mislead them, and surely, I will arouse in them false desires; and certainly, I will order them to slit the ears of cattle, and indeed I will order them to change the nature created by Allaah’.” (Soorat un-Nisaa’ 118-119)
So Shaytaan wants to change the natural disposition of the woman and he wants to make her like a man (and make the man like a woman). We see today that many men are submissive to their wives and that their wives smack them and tell them off and that they have the final say on matters. So the man does what his wife tells him, whatever she orders him and he is submissive and obedient to her. Everything has been turned upside down in that now the woman drives the car to work, provides for the family and takes care of each and every situation whilst the husband remains submissive to her, so we have changed the way in which Allaah created us and the pure nature that He created us upon. And we ask Allaah (subhaanahu wa t’aalaa) to keep us upon the natural disposition that He created us upon. If the people use something that Allaah created for other than the purpose for which it was created then He will punish them in this life and in the hereafter. Allaah (subhaanahu wa t’aalaa) created the womb for the woman and not for the man, and the job of the womb is to carry the child until the time of birth. Our grandmothers and our mothers would give birth too many children, and during pregnancy they would walk to the place of their husbands work and give him food (for lunch) and then they would walk back home and all of this would help to make the birth easier on her during labour. Now we see the disbelieving doctors advising women to walk a lot during pregnancy so that giving birth is made easier on them, and now we accept this fact because it is coming from a disbelieving doctor.
So our grandmothers and our mothers would give birth to many children, but today we see a worrying trend in that women and families are only wanting to have one or two children, so they are not using what Allaah gave them for the purpose for which it was created, they are not using their womb for the purpose for which it was created and as a result are getting diseases such as cancer of the womb, and if the woman does not have children (or few children) then she is not using her breast for the purpose for which they were created (i.e. to breast feed) so we find an increase in breast cancer due to this and this is a medical fact. And breast cancer is now wide spread, so much so that there is hardly any woman who has not suffered from breast cancer or who does not know someone who has. And cancer is when the cells in the body do not function properly, they are stimulated in the wrong way which makes them take all the nutrition that comes in them and they start to attack the neighbouring fields and textures of the body which destroys that part of the body until it spreads all around the body and eventually it can lead to death, and this is what happens when that which Allaah created is not used for the purpose that it was created for. Scientific statistics have proven that breast cancer is wide spread amongst the woman who do not breast feed their children and womb cancer is wide spread amongst woman who do not get pregnant, these are scientific statistics which can be checked with scientific authorities or can be read in scientific magazines. By mentioning we hope that it will teach us a lesson, but we find that these lessons were originally (in the first place) in the book of Allaah and the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (sall-Allaahu’alayhi wa sallam), but as we have stated many names, unfortunately the Muslim only accepts it when it comes from a disbelieving doctor.
So it is incumbent that the Muslim woman fulfils her responsibilities and duties as a wife and a mother, that she preserves the natural disposition that Allaah created her upon, the disposition of Maryam, Khadeejah, Aa’ishah and all the other righteous women (radee-Allaahu ‘anhum). And peace and blessings upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon his family members and all of his companions.