When Women Emerge

by Madrasah Ta'leemuddeen – Isipingo Beach

No Muslim has the slightest iota of doubt in the fact that the Qur'an is absolutely

infallible. How could it be otherwise when the Qur'an is the word of Allah Ta'ala

who is All Knowing, All Seeing and the possessor of absolute and perfect wisdom.

Every command of Allah Ta'ala is compatible with human nature and its adherence

not only earns a person rewards in the hereafter, but is also vital to facilitate the

smooth harmony of our existence on earth. No system or mode of life can ever be

superior. Allah Ta'ala, the Creator of men and women, the Eternal Being that

blessed mankind with intellect and the One who created in human beings passions,

emotions and desires, addresses His female slaves in His Glorious Qur'an with the

following command: "And remain firmly within your homes and display not

yourselves like the display of the former times of ignorance"(Al-Ahzaab; 33).

This is the command of none other than our Creator, Allah the Most Wise. Hence

by disregarding this command we will not only invite His displeasure, but we will

also have to suffer the terrible consequences of our violation in this world. It will be

similar to the case where a person ignores the instructions of the manufacturer of a.car and he fills water into the petrol tank and fills petrol into the radiator.


Likewise Rasulullah (Sallallaahu layhi Wasallam) has restricted the emergence of

women from the home to the situation of genuine necessity. Ibn Umar (RA.) reports

that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam said: 'A woman should not emerge

from her home except if she is forced to do so" (Tabrani). Also when emerging out

of necessity, the woman is commanded to adopt full Hijaab, which includes the

covering of her face.

However in the present climate of women's lib and feminism which has risen from

the decadent west, even Muslims of weak Imaan have found it appropriate to cast

women out of their homes and into the outside world. Yet do we really know what

goes on out there? The situation is indeed shocking to say the least.


According to the American Psychological Association sexual harassment is

extremely widespread in the work place. "It touches the lives of 40 to 60 percent of

working women, and a similar proportion of female students in colleges and

universities. In Texas, for example, after having been cast out of the home, the

women finally want to return to their rightful place. According to an article in the

Texas Poll (21/2/93), one third of all Texas women have experienced sexual

harassment at work. According to the article "more than half said the incidents

contributed to them leaving their jobs or wanting to."

Indeed the outside world has become a jungle. Here again, let the statistics of the

west speak for themselves.

Research conducted in August 1990 revealed that 1 in 4 college women have been

attacked by a rapist and 1 in 7 have been raped. This should be considered together

with the fact that only 7% of all rapes are reported to the police and more than 50%

of the victims do not tell anybody about their ordeal . Thus these figures are only

the tip of the ice-berg. (A Criminological Study; Koss and Woodruff).


Besides the above, due to the free intermingling of men and women in the work

place and elsewhere, it seems that legitimate children are becoming an endangered

species, especially in the U.S. as well as in other countries. In the article titled "The

Truth About Feminism," Kenneth R. Pangborn writes that "in the United States one

child in four is illegitimate (1 in 3 in Florida)." Also in those children born

out-of-wedlock, more than 50% have birth certificates where the father is described

as "unknown"!

Perhaps some readers may feel that all this is very far away in the U.S.. Hence it

should not concern us. Actually we should be extremely concerned. In South Africa

SEVEN OUT OF TEN (70%) women encounter sexual abuse in the working world

(Natal on Saturday 25/3/95).

Yes, it is a reality, though in most cases the victims never mention it to anyone.

According to a survey carried out by the Student Counselling Centre (SCC) at the.

University of Natal (Durban), "of these incidents (of sexual harassment) as many as

80% are not reported." Rather, the victims would even deny it, for fear of reprisals.


Similarly, "academic" institutions also paint a horrid picture. The SCC report states

that a survey at Rhodes University revealed that 63% of female academics

experienced sexual harassment. Also out of one hundred students surveyed at

Rhodes, six said that they had been 'offered higher marks for sexual favours.' The

report also states that at the University of Natal (Durban) "one in four females

reported experiencing sexual harassment `occasionally' (which means that though it

does not occur frequently, it happens on an on going basis)."


Let alone in other places of work, even the highest office in the country has not

escaped the sexual harassment of women. According to a Daily News report

(9/12/94) "several women MPs and parliamentary staff have complained of sexual

harassment by male MPs." The report quoted the speaker of parliament as saying

that the alleged perpetrators were "from more than one party." It was also reported

that women MPs feared going to certain parts of the parliamentary complex.


When this is the situation in the highest office of the country, what can be said of

elsewhere? Yet, despite this shocking state of affairs, many Muslims still ignore the

injunctions of the Qur'an and actually propagate that women should be working

"shoulder-to-shoulder" with men. Numerous Muslim girls have married men who

are out of the fold of Islam due to the contact that developed in high schools,

universities and in the work place. All the parents of these girls were adamant that

"My daughter will never do such a thing." That woeful day however came when

they had to swallow hard on these words and wash it down with a flood of tears -but

to no avail. The apple of their eye had become the wife of some John, Peter or


Nonetheless, the most baffling part is that in spite of many of these aspects being

common knowledge, numerous parents continue to send their daughters to high

schools, universities, and into the working world. When these parents are spoken to

with regards to the Imaan-snatching dangers out there, their simple response is:

"My daughter will never do such a thing." The problem however is that in the

"melting pot" environments of the outside world, only those with Imaan as firm as

mountains can withstand the onslaught. Simply no rationalizations whatsoever can

sanction women being cast into the lion's den.


Allah Ta'ala has given us the beautiful formula compatible with the differing

natures of the genders. This is illustrated in the following practice of Rasulullah

(Sallallaahu layhi Wasallam) had apportioned the work that pertains to matters

outside the home (which includes earning for the family) to Sayyidina Ali {RA.)

.while the work pertaining to aspects inside the home were allotted to the Queen of

Jannah, Hazrath Fatima (RA.) (Zaadul Ma'aad 2/235). Hence it is the man's duty to

go out into the world and earn a Halaal living. Thus in a truly Islamic state where

women are not found working "shoulder-to-shoulder" with men, the root cause of

the illicit liaisons which take place in the working world will be non existent.

However, when that ideal situation does not exist, the man who goes out to work

must be extra cautious to protect himself. Allah Ta'ala says: "Say to the Believing

men that they should lower their gazes (An-Noor: 30)." Also the Hadith clearly

states that 'no person should ever be in seclusion with a strange woman. When these

and other similar injunctions will be violated then the obvious outcome will be

involvement in grievous sins. The solution is thus to eliminate the cause, not to

light the fire and then attempt to control it.

Indeed, we are living in difficult times. While numerous women venture out into

the world merely to maintain a high standard of living, some venture out only to

earn their mere daily bread. Hence if it is necessary, Islam has not forbidden a

woman from earning. However, it is incumbent that All the laws of the Shari'ah be

upheld. Among other aspects, of utmost importance is that she may not expose

herself to non-Mahram males (men to whom marriage is permissible}. She should

also have sufficient time for her domestic activities and for the caring of her



A woman has a great duty to discharge at home. The upbringing of her children

require her full attention. Unfortunately, "upbringing" to a great extent has come to

mean clothing, feeding and attending to the other physical necessities of the child.

This is however, the necessary but less important part of upbringing. The more

important part is the inculcating of Deen in the life of the child and embedding the

correct morals, character and etiquette in that innocent soul. This is more than a

full-time job. When mothers fulfilled this duty (obviously with the father also

playing his role), the Imaam Razis and Ghazzalis were constantly produced. The

same is possible today - if we get our priorities in order.

May Allah Ta'ala give us the correct understanding of Deen and enable us to

practice upon ALL His injunctions, Aameen.

Al-Haadi Vol. 3 Issue No. 6

Source: Jamiatul Ulama (Kwazulu-Natal)

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