The True Identity of Woman - Part 1
By : Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei
Chapter 1: Importance of Issue of Women
The Issue of women: one of the most fundamental issues in any society
The issue of women - which should be referred to as "the crisis of Women" in the modern world - is one of the most fundamental issues in any civilizations, any society and any country.
Islamic communities' negligence of the Islamic view of women
Dear sisters, my dear daughters, I believe that if in a certain part of an Islamic society - whether in Iran or in certain other countries Muslim women have been neglected, this is partially the fault of men and partially the fault of women because primarily it is women who should recognize and defend the Islamic position of herself.
Ladies should know what judgment God, the Holy Qur’an and Islam have said about them. They should know what God, the Holy Qur’an and Islam expect from them and what have been specified as their responsibilities. They should defend and demand what Islam has ordered and demanded. If they fail to do so, those who are not committed to any value will feel free to oppress women.
Chapter 2: Historical Background
Wrong conceptions, analyses and thoughts about the position of women
Why has mankind generally had the wrong conception about the issue of men and women? I am surprised why this has been the case and why mankind wants to resist. Apart from the teachings of the divine prophets, in all human interpretations, analyses and thoughts, there is a wrong conception of the position of men and women. And the conception of the relationship between men and women is a wrong conception. Even in the case of the great ancient civilizations - such as the Roman and Persian civilizations - the conception of women was a wrong conception.
Establishing the right to pledge allegiance and ownership rights for women
In Islam women enjoy well-established ownership rights and the right to pledge allegiance and the ground has also been prepared for their presence in essential political and social arenas.
"O Prophet, when believing women come to you giving you a pledge that they will not associate anything with Allah, and will not steal, and will not commit fornication, and will not kill their children, and will not bring a calumny which they have forged of themselves, and will not disobey you in what is good, accept their pledge." [The Holy Qur’an, 60: 12] Women would go to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and pledge allegiance to him.
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) had never said that only men should pledge allegiance to him and force their wives to accept whatever decisions they make. He announced that women could also pledge allegiance to him. He announced that women should also have a say in accepting Islamic rule and the new social and political system. Westerners are 1300 years behind Islam in this regard and yet they make all those extravagant claims. The same is true of ownership as well as certain other social and political issues.
Effective presence in the battlefield, in the family and in society
During the early years after the introduction of Islam, women would treat the wounds of the wounded soldiers, a duty which was mainly carried out by women. They would cover their heads and fight with a sword in the battle fields as well. They would also take care of their children in the home environment and would raise them in an Islamic way and they would always observe their hijab. This is because none of these things are in conflict with each other.
The opportunity to achieve high scholarly positions
During the years when the western culture would humiliate women like that [denying them educational opportunities], in Islamic Iran "Banu-ye Esfahani" [literally the Isfahani Lady] had received permission from the top Islamic jurisprudents of her time to engage in Islamic jurisprudence. She would teach philosophy and fiqh (jurisprudence) in Isfahan at that time. This is what Islam is.
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