Women rights and Iqbalian philosophy
IQBAL BELIEVED IN GRANTING WOMAN THE RIGHTS SHE DESERVES. HIS CONCEPT OF WOMANHOOD WAS THE SAME AS LAID OUT BY ISLAMIC TEACHINGS, WRITE PROF. TASKEENA FAZIL AND AJAZ LONE
Dr. Muhammad Iqbal was unquestionably one of the most influential social thinkers of 20th century. Women related problems assume a a greater significance when one wants to study the position of women in relation to the Islamic society. It is because on the one hand, Islam is the first religion to wage a crusade against the ancient social customs and prejudices for the emancipation and uplift of women in society, and on the other hand, many western writers and critics, out of their utter ignorance or lack of proper understanding of the true Islamic principles, have leveled false charges against the Islamic conception of womanhood. But in order to arrive at right conclusion regarding the real position of women in Islamic society, one should make a cursory survey of the pre-Islamic and post-Islamic history. Only a comparative study of history can reveal a true picture as to the position assigned to women in the ancient societies of the East and the West before the advent of Islam.
In the ancient Indian society women occupied a very low position. She had no right in the property of her father or husband. She was given only maintenance for livelihood. Subjugation of women by men was very much in vogue in the ancient Indian society. Though the social status of women was higher than that of servants, it was always lower than that of the master. In the 20th century, however, the position of Hindu women has undergone revolutionary changes due to several enactments passed and implemented in order to remove the disparity of rights between males and females.
Islam, however, about fourteen centuries ago, had promulgated its laws concerning the rights of women in the Muslim society. Islam brought with it is a message of equality and liberty to the women of the entire world. For the first time the women were given a status equal to that of man by Islam in almost every sphere of life. With the specific reservation, the females were allotted household affairs, while males were assigned the field work. The roles were assigned to males and females with regard to the principles of the division of labour, and taking in view the physiological differences between male and female.This is also with their fitrah (nature).
Iqbal’s concept of womanhood is fundamentally rooted in Islamic teachings. For him Fatima-uz- Zahra (R.A) is an ideal woman for the whole Muslim community. Though as Iqbal believed that the life of Holy Prophet (SAW) is the best guide for man and women alike, yet the necessity of a female guide for the women community cannot be ruled out. The life and character of such a women must be a complete example of the teachings of the Quran and the Prophet (SAW). Undoubtedly, such an ideal women, according to Iqbal, is Fatima, the daughter of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Her character is a combination of virtues worth following. Since her personality was an embodiment of various good traits, to Iqbal the life of the lady Fatima (RA) is the perfect pattern or model of Muslim womanhood. Iqbal was so much influenced with the ideal life and noble character of Fatima that he desired to bow down straight on her tomb. But his consciousness of the Islamic law forbade him to do so. His views regarding the comparative status of males and females in the Islamic society are almost the same as those of Islam. To Iqbal, males and females are like the two wheels of our social life. A society can properly function and prosper only through mutual coordination and cooperation of the two. Males and females are the two basic and essential elements of our social life, just as hydrogen and oxygen are the two basic and fundamental elements of water. Therefore, the problem concerning the comparative status of males and female in a society is of paramount importance. It’s importance increase further when one wants to present a balanced view and a comprehensive picture of society which cannot ignore the place of women in it. Not only so but the very existence of mankind on earth is related to both males and females.
However, in the spirit of Islam, Iqbal has accepted the biological difference between the two sexes i.e, male and female. Hardly anyone can deny the fact that mostly man is physically stronger than women. Hence he has taken up the harder course of life, i.e, the responsibility of earning livelihood for the entire members of his family. In this way, a husband is duty-bound to earn livelihood for whole family consisting of his wife, children, and old parents. If earning of livelihood is the duty of a husband, it is the right of wife to seek all essentials of life from her husband for the maintenance of household affairs. According to Iqbal, Islam provides equal opportunity to both man and women in the social activities of life. Both in principle and in practice, man and women posses the right of property, the right of education and the right of freedom and divorce. Prior to Islam, a woman in the east and the west inherited nothing in her father’s or husbands property. Islam brought about a substantial change in the social status of women by providing her the right in father’s or husband’s properties. Besides, women was given a special right of mahr (dower-money) to be claimed from her husband at the time of her marriage. Mahr (dower-money) is a personal property of women, and nobody can claim any share in it without her consent.
According to Iqbal Islam has provided equal opportunity to both men and women. They also posses the right of election. As regards the right of education, Islam has equal emphasis on both man and women . According to Islam, man and women must be educated in religious and worldly affairs. In this connection there is also a famous Hadith of the prophet: (SAW) ‘The acquisition of knowledge is incumbent on every Muslim man and women’. But the education of women should be in accordance with her temperament and the immediate needs of society. She should be educated in such a manner as could make her a good wife, mother, teacher, and an ideal citizen. Iqbal has given immense importance to religious education of the women. According to Iqbal all subjects which have a tendency to de-womanise and to de-muslimise her must be carefully excluded from her education. Various thinkers criticize Iqbal on emphasising of only religious education to be imparted to the Muslim girls and, perhaps, he has over-looked the importance of the knowledge of the worldly affairs for the Muslim women. But it is not so; its simple reason is that for Iqbal, religion is a part and parcel of a Muslim man and women. To him, “Religion is not a departmental affair; it is neither mere thought, not mere feeling, nor mere action; it is an expression of the whole man.
In the matter of the right of freedom and the right of divorce, too, Islam has maintained a balance of, justice between man and women. Every adult Muslim man and women possesses equal right to enter into an agreement of his or her own choice. Similarly, an adult Muslim woman is free to fix up her counterpart. As regards the right of divorce, a Muslim woman possesses her equal right to that of Muslim man. If a Muslim male is at liberty to exercise his right of divorce against his wife, a Muslim woman is equally entitled to exercise her right of divorce against her husband, and it is technically known as ‘khula’. ‘The wife’ , writes Iqbal, ‘ at the time of marriage is at liberty to get the husband’s power of divorce delegated to her on stated conditions, and thus secure equality of divorce with her husband.
This shows rights and duties of men and women are not contrary to each other, rather the two are complementary of one another for an all round development of society. It is man and women who together make up the real strength of a community. Hence, both should co-operate with each other, and work together without having any prejudice towards the rights and duties of one another.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 12 Dec 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 12 Dec 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 13 Dec 2010 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM OP-ED
Srinagar, Dec 12: Strike and protests were observed at Aripanth village in central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Sunday against the alleged thrashing of men and “mistreating” of women by the forces on Saturday More
- Srinagar City
800 meters of wall missing, 700 damaged; Historic rampart serves as ‘stone quarry’ for building constructions, beautifications
While a major portion of the historic Kalai (Mughal City wall) built by Mughal emperors has been invaded by encroachers, the rest has literally gone missing or is damaged. Of the 4.75 Kilometer long More
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Jammu, Dec 12: Less than a fortnight after Northern Army Commander tendered apology to J-K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah over the controversial press release issued by Army PRO, Udhampur-based Northern More
- News in Brief
Srinagar, Dec 12: The chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Sunday described arrest of Prof Noor Muhammad Bhat as unwarranted. Mirwaiz said that in Jammu region More
Concerned CM directs ministers to intensify pace of work
Jammu, Dec 12: Concerned over the slow progress of work and low expenditure, the chief minister Omar Abdullah has asked all the cabinet ministers to ensure that the pace of work during coming months be More