Promoting an understanding of Islam that recognises the principles of
justice, equality, freedom, and dignity within a democratic nation state

A Muslim Woman's Reflections on Gender by Omaima Abou-Bakr
email to someone printer friendly

How valid or appropriate is it for Muslims -women and men- to adopt a so-called gender-sensitive perspective or approach to the study of religious, cultural, and historical texts? Or, we can reverse the question: can we study gender issues from a Muslim woman's perspective? In attempting to answer such a question, we can refer to three incidents related in the authenticated Traditions, two of them are in the context of the "occasions for revelation" of two particular Qur'anic verses.

(a) It was related that Um Salama, a wife of the Prophet (PBUH), was in her room with her maid combing her hair, when she heard the Prophet calling for a community gathering for an announcement in the mosque: "O people!" Her maid says, "You don't have to go; he is calling for the men, not the women." Um Salama replies: "Indeed, I am one of the people."

(b) Um Salama went to the Prophet and wondered: why are the men being praised for their sacrifices in the hijra and not the women? Hence, the revelation of verse 195 of chapter 3: "And God has heard them and responded: verily, I suffer not the work of any worker of you, male or female, to be lost, you are one of another…."

(c) Narrated is the incident of a group of women complaining to the Prophet that the Qur'an only mentions the wives of the Prophet and not women in general: "Men are mentioned in everything and we are not; is there any goodness in us to be mentioned and commended?" Hence, verse 35 of chapter 33: "Verily, Muslims, men & women, believers, men & women, obedient men & women, truthful men & women, patient men & women, humble men & women, charitable men & women, fasting men & women, chaste men & women, those who mention and remember God - men & women--, for all those God has prepared forgiveness and a great reward."

Read More... [Download Word Doc]

Copyright | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Sitemap