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June 11th, 2014

Some hadith on women and Maulana Muhammad Ali’s view

1. There is a report in Bukhari as follows:

Narrated Ibn Umar: The Prophet said, "If your women ask permission to go to the mosque at night, allow them." (Muhsin Khan translation, Book 12, Number 824).

Commenting on this in his Urdu translation and commentary of Bukhari, Maulana Muhammad Ali writes:

"At night the risk of that danger is even greater, for the fear of which Muslims do not allow their women to go to mosques during daytime. How far removed is the present condition of Muslims from this instruction of the Holy Prophet! This cannot mean that permission has to be sought every time they want to go to the mosque. Its real intent is that husbands are forbidden to prevent their wives from going to mosques." (Fazl-ul-Bari, 1st edition, p. 215)

2. It appears from various hadith reports that the next generation of Muslims after the Companions wanted to set aside and infringe this instruction of the Holy Prophet. Just read the report below from Sahih Muslim:

Abdullah b. Umar reported: I heard Allah's Messenger say: Don't prevent your women from going to the mosque when they seek your permission. Bilal b. Abdullah said: By Allah, we shall certainly prevent them. On this Abdullah b. Umar turned towards him and reprimanded him so harshly as I had never heard him do before. He (Abdullah b. Umar) said: I am narrating to you that which comes from the Messenger of Allah and you say: By Allah, we shall certainly prevent them.

Ibn Umar reported: Grant permission to women for going to the mosque in the night. His son, who was called Waqid, said: Then they would make mischief. He (the narrator) said: He thumped his (son's) chest and said: I am narrating to you the hadith of the Messenger of Allah and you say: No! (Abdul Hamid Siddiqui translation, book 3, chapter 28)

This, it seems, was the beginning of the movement among Muslims to roll back the rights which the Holy Prophet gave to women. Then there is the following saying in both Bukhari and Muslim attributed to Aishah:

"If the Messenger of Allah had seen what new things the women have introduced (in their way of life) he would have definitely prevented them from going to the mosque, as the women of Bani Isra'il were prevented."

What "new things" refers to is that, apparently, some women were going to mosques displaying their beauty, wearing jewellery, fragrance, etc. However, this statement amounts to saying that the Holy Prophet gave a mistaken teaching because he did not know that people would abuse this permission in the future. Such a weak statement cannot be attributed to the Hazrat Aishah. It undermines the very prophethood of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, to assert that he wouldn't have given a certain teaching if he had known the bad effects that it would lead to!

Maulana Muhammad Ali makes the following comment on this statement:

"This is nothing more than speculation by Hazrat Aishah. Neither had the Holy Prophet seen the times of the women of Bani Isra'il, nor had he forbidden them. It is also not proved that the women of Bani Isra'il were forbidden to go to their places of worship for this reason. The Holy Prophet found both men and women in the worst moral condition, and he reformed them. In regard to this opinion of Hazrat Aishah it can be said that if the Holy Prophet had seen the circumstances of the women of earlier times, he would have reformed them too, not forbidden them to enter mosques. The work of a reformer is to reform people, not to stop them from doing a good work due to some shortcoming in them. Ever since women have been removed from participating in Muslim communal life, and kept in ignorance of national affairs, the condition of the Muslims has fallen into decline. It is a matter of regret that women have been rendered incapable of doing worldly work and at the same time they have been deprived of performing religious duties." (ibid., p. 216)

3. The hadith from Bukhari given above, "If your women ask permission to go to the mosque at night, allow them", is given in Abu Dawud as follows:

"Do not prevent your women from visiting the mosque; but their houses are better for them (for praying)."

"It is more excellent for a woman to pray in her house than in her courtyard, and more excellent for her to pray in her private chamber than in her house."

Maulana Muhammad Ali has commented on this version of this report in his note in Fazl-ul-Bari at the point where the above hadith occurs. He writes:

"The five hadith reports in this chapter [in Bukhari] contain testimony that in the time of the Holy Prophet women said prayers with the congregation in the mosque. In Abu Dawud and Ibn Khazimah it is reported from Ibn Umar "Do not prevent your women from visiting the mosque; but their houses are better for them". If this were true then the Holy Prophet himself would have directed women to pray in their houses as it is better. However, all hadith that are in Bukhari mention that women used to join prayers in the mosques with the congregation. None of them mention that the Holy Prophet told women that it is better for you to pray at home." (Fazl-ul-Bari, 1st edition, p. 215)

It can be seen in the cases I have noted above that Maulana Muhammad Ali has given preference to the hadith which accords rights to women, of participation in Muslim society with men, and rejected reports which restrict and deny those rights. Most Muslim opinion is the other way round, and regards the restricting reports as holding a higher place than the one which only mentions the rights.

Zahid Aziz

7 Responses to “Some hadith on women and Maulana Muhammad Ali’s view”

  1. Salaam Alaykum,

    Jazak Allah khair, Dr. Aziz, for this excellent information from the Maulana's Urdu commentary. I can only imagine what bezels of wisdom are contained therein.

    Regarding the hadith from Abu Dawud, I read the following sensible explanation from Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood:

    Yet nowadays, in some places we find devout brothers in Islam depriving women of their rightful place in the mosque by quoting the hadith that it is better for women to pray at home. Where did this originate? In fact, it came from an occasion when an elderly and arthritic Muslim lady—Umm Humayd—expressed her regret to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) that although she longed to pray behind him in the mosque, as so many others did, she was not able to be there. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) told her not to be concerned about this, it was better for her to pray in her own home (Abu Dawud 570).

    http://www.themodernreligion.com/women/w-hell.html

    Unfortunately I haven't been able to find any information regarding Umm Humayd, her age or debility. 

    Wasalaam,


  2. I  need information about hadiths mentioned in this program. his interpretations sound so bizarre. kindly give me a jammat link about these hadith 

    http://www.zemtv.com/2014/07/06/the-debate-with-zaid-hamid-ghazwa-e-hind-aur-khawarij-ka-fitna-ahadees-ki-roshni-main-6-july-2014/

    Rumi's understanding of prophet's hadith about woman:

    The Prophet said, "Take not counsel from a woman"; this carnal soul of ours is a woman, even though it be an abstinent.
    Amna


  3. Salaam Alaykum Amna,

    I am not from the jama’at but I consider myself their friend and student. Rumi is not impugning women, he is trying to interpret this hadith in a metaphorical way because the word ‘nafs’ is feminine in Arabic.

    I don’t know if he’s referencing the same hadith but there is a hadith in the ‘sahih’ collections narrated by Abu Bakra that states that “Those who entrust power (mulk) to a woman will never know prosperity.”

    However, Abu Bakra was in fact flogged for false accusation by Umar ibn al-Khattab during the adultery case of Mughira, and the Quran in surah 24:4 advises us regarding those who accuse chaste women of adultery to ‘ever after refuse to accept from them any testimony – since it is they, they that are truly depraved!’ (Asad translation).

    All this information is from Fatima Mernissi’s ‘The Veil and the Male Elite’. You can see a reference to it, and more detail, from another person’s work on Google Books here:

    http://books.google.com.au/books?id=-VQ6sQHFjesC&pg=PA124&lpg=PA124#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Besides which the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wa alihi wasallam) did take advice from women – including, notably, his wife Umm Salama.

    … the Prophet ordered the Muslims to slaughter animals in sacrifice (indicating the end of the 'Umrah rites). But the Muslims hesitated in offering the sacrifice, which grieved the Prophet.

    Umm Salama who was with the Prophet Muhammed (saw) on this journey, heard this and suggested to the Prophet Muhammed (saw) to offer the sacrifice, shave his head and take off the Ihraam. The Prophet did so acting on her advice. When the companions saw that the Prophet's command was irrevocable, they at once sacrificed their animals and shaved their heads.

    http://www.spiritualfoundation.org.uk/index.php/women-in-islam/116-ummul-momineen-bibi-umm-salama-hind-bint-abi-umayya-ra

    I'm sure there's a lot more that can be added.

    Wasalaam,


  4. July 10th, 2014 at 4:28 am
    From Zahid Aziz:

    The instruction "Take not counsel from women" is opposed to the Quran, where the Holy Prophet's wives are told to "speak a word of goodness" to people who came to see them (33:32).

    Hazrat Umar repeatedly took advice from women. He asked his daughter, how long can a man remain away from his wife, and in the light of her reply he set a limit to how long a soldier would be required to remain away from his home. Then there is the famous incident of Hazrat Umar realising his error on a proposed law when a woman pointed out that it was against the Quran.

    Then there are the following statements in Tirmidhi:

    “Abu Musa said: Whenever there was any hadith that was difficult for us, the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, and we asked Aisha we always found that she had knowledge about that hadith.”

    “Musa ibn Talha said: I never saw anyone more eloquent than Aisha.” (chapter on Virtues of Aisha)

    The Abu Bakra report is in Bukhari as follows:

    During the days (of the battle) of Al-Jamal, Allah benefited me with a word I had heard from Allah's Apostle after I had been about to join the Companions of Al-Jamal (i.e. the camel) and fight along with them. When Allah's Apostle was informed that the Persians had crowned the daughter of Khosrau as their ruler, he said, "Such people as ruled by a lady will never be successful." (Muhsin Khan translation, Book 59, Number 709)

    In his Urdu translation of Sahih Bukhari, Maulana Muhammad Ali comments as follows on this:

    "Most likely the Holy Prophet said this only in relation to this particular occasion. After the incident when Pervez tore the letter he received from the Holy Prophet, he was murdered by his own son. The son succeeded him but lasted only six months. After him the rule was given to a woman called Buran. It is most likely that the Holy Prophet said only about this occasion that there is no brave man left in this family who, being experienced in warfare, would make his nation overcome its enemies. It is a conclusion drawn by Abu Bakra that whenever rule is given to a woman that nation will not be successful."


  5. Jazak Allah khair Dr. Aziz for the translation from Urdu. I hope sincerely that one day more of the Maulana's works will be translated into English as it would solve a lot of confusion.

    Wasalaam


  6. AOA

    i do not have confusion about hadiths regarding woman. i am quite clear that there is no bias in quran on basis of gender. 

    i am intertested to read about the prophecies mentioned in the link i quoted. hadith about khuwarij, khurasan, ghawa-e-hind, descend of isa, imam mehdi etc

    Thanks 


  7. July 14th, 2014 at 3:50 am
    From Zahid Aziz:

    Dear Amna: These are discussed in various places in Ahmadiyya literature, for example Maulana Muhammad Ali's books The Ahmadiyya Movement and The Promised Messiah, both of which are available in Urdu as well as English, and accessible from http://www.aaiil.org.


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