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WOMEN IN ISLAM A woman is a flower vase of beauty and fragrance. So smell her gently, do not wrestle with her!

- Imam Ali (as) Women are like flowers. Do not put on them responsibilities they can not bear! Imam Ali (as) According to Islam, being a human, woman is even superior to angels and all other living organisms. If she performs any good task or deed, she will be equally blessed as much as a man will for his good deeds. She is the benefactor and patron of Islam, as lady Khadija (Wife of Holy Prophet [saw]). She is a partner of prophethood, as lady Fatima (Daughter of Holy Prophet [saw]). She is one of the greatest leaders, as lady Zainab (Daughter of Imam Ali [as]) She superior to man, as a mother. She's respectable like a saint. She is precious like an expensive pearl. She is honorable like a delicate rose. Islam emphasizes the equality of all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or social status. Islam has prescribed different roles and responsibilities for men and women, with each gender complementing the other.

Centuries before the modern world recognized women's rights, Islam acknowledged the equality of the two genders, and abolished the barbaric ritual of burying infant daughters alive, an outrageous crime practiced by the Arabs before the time of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). Islam made women aware of their rights and gave them an identity, a personality, freedom, and independence. These rights, among others, include the right to inherit, to own property, to obtain a divorce, to collect a dowry, and to gain child custody. Regarding the equality of the genders, the Holy Qur'an states: "Surely the men who submit and the women who submit, and the believing men and the believing women, and the obeying men and the obeying women, and the truthful men and the truthful women, and the patient men and the patient women and the humble men and the humble women, and the almsgiving men and the almsgiving women, and the fasting men and the fasting women, and the men who guard their private parts and the women who guard, and the men who remember Allah much and the women who remember-Allah has prepared, for them forgiveness and a mighty reward." (33:35) Muslims consider four ladies to be the most noble and pious: 1. Aasiya - Wife of Fir'awn / Pharoah (peace be upon her) 2. Maryam / Mary - Mother of Isa / Jesus (peace be upon her) 3. Khadija - Wife of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon her) 4. Fatima - Daughter of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon her) MOTHER (THE FOUNTAIN OF LIFE)

And the paradise is under the feet of your mothers. - Prophet Muhammad (saw) Islam has greatly emphasized the issue of loving and respecting the parents, the father and the mother. In our infancy and childhood, we needed the protection, love and nurturing of the parents; but when they become old, they need us to protect them and take care of them. "Your Lord has commanded that you shall not worship (anyone) but Him and to be good to the parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, say not to them (so much as) 'Ugh' nor chide them, and speak to them a generous word. And lower for them 'the wings of humility' out of mercy; and pray; 'O my Lord! Have mercy on them as they brought me up (when I was) little.'" (17:23-24) However, out of the two, the mother has been given greater priority as far as kindness is concerned. Once Hakim bin Hizam came to the Prophet of Islam and asked: "To whom should I be kind?" The Prophet replied, "Your mother." Hakim asked, "Then to whom?" The Prophet said, "Your mother." Hakim asked, "Then to whom?" The Prophet replied, "Your mother." Only when Hakim asked the fourth time that, "Then to whom?" the Prophet replied, "Your father." This shows that the right of mother upon the children is three times more than the rights of father as far as kindness is concerned. Imam Ali bin Hussain, the greatgrandson of the Prophet, said: "Coming to the rights of relatives, it is the right of your mother that you should appreciate that she carried you [in her womb] as nobody carries anybody, and fed you the fruits of her heart which nobody feeds anybody, and protected you [during pregnancy] with her ears, hands, legs, hair, limbs, [in short] with her whole being, gladly, cheerfully and carefully; suffering patiently all the

worries, pains, difficulties and sorrows [of pregnancy], till the hand of God removed you from her and brought you into this world." "Then she was most happy feeding you, even if she herself had no clothes; giving you milk and water; not caring for her own thirst; keeping you in the shade, even if she had to suffer from the heat of the sun; giving you every comfort with her own hardship; lulling you to sleep while keeping herself awake." "And [remember that] her womb was your abode, and her lap your refuge, and her breast your feeder, and her whole existence your protection; it was she, not you, who was braving the heat and cold of this world for your safety." "Therefore, you must remain thankful to her accordingly, and you cannot do so except by the help and assistance from Allah." (The Charter of Right, p.18) WOMEN'S ROLE IN ISLAM The Purpose of Life: Wherever God talks about the human beings (Insaan) or whenever He talks about human soul (Nafs) in the Qur'an, Muslims theologians and scholars have never considered that humanness or the soul as 'male' or 'female'. (See 51:56, 91:1-10; 53:38-39) The male or female division is only possible when we talk about the physical dimension of humans, not when we talk about the spiritual dimension. And so, from the Islamic perspective, the humanness of woman has never been denied or questioned; nor has there ever been any discussion whether she possesses a soul or not. Since both are same in their humanness, both have been created for the same purpose: to serve God. The Virtues in Human Beings: The beauty of a woman: Is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries,

or the style she does make up. The beauty of a woman: must be seen in her Hijab, and her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. The beauty of a woman: is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman, is reflected in her soul. The beauty of woman is in her modesty. And the real glamour of her is her honesty. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows. And the beauty of a woman, with passing years - only grows!