PART II : WHAT DOES THE QURAN SAY ABOUT PAIRS?
The Family As The Nucleus Of The Islamic Civilization: It is essential to gain a perspective of the stature of the family in Islam and how does a healthy family evolve in society.
Islam is quite clear on the issue of sexuality in all of creation. Here are some questions that need reflection: to read part one click here……..
How are pairs defined in the Quran? Allah Subhanawataala says:
That it is He who granted Death and Life; that He did create in pairs
(zaujain)—male and female. (53:45)
The Quran 53:45, quoted above, makes very clear the fact that Zaujain are a male and a female. Thus the azwajum mutahharatun mentioned in the
Quran (see 2:25) as the spouses of the believers in Paradise are not females as incorrectly understood by male-oriented scholars.
Those azwaj are pure companions, a wife for a man, and a husband for a woman.
Thus the first part of our discussion shows that the Quran sees sexual
relations in terms of pairs (azwaj). These pairs are a male and a female who need each other and are incomplete without each other.
Our quotes from the Quran make clear that those writers who translate azwaj as wives are mistaken.
THE BASIS OF MARRIAGE. The next step is to see the basis of marriage in Islam. This basis is faith or iman. Marriage is a permanent relationship between a man and a woman who want to follow the Guidance from Allah. If marriage is to be an Islamic marriage, the couple must give each other the same respect, which Muslims are taught to give each other.
Muslims, man and woman, are not physically or spiritually or mentally inferior to each other, though in specific cases an individual man or a woman may have certain strengths or weaknesses. As Muslims they are equal partners in the Islamic struggle as evident from the Quran:
For Muslim men and women—for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for truthful men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who engage much in the remembrance of Allah—for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward. (Quran 33:35)
Here Allah has categorized all aspects of a Muslim’s life, from its most hidden spiritual aspects to its most obvious outward ones and pointed out the togetherness and equality of Muslim men and women in all of them. Women are not deficient or left out of any aspect of Islam.
These men and women, when joined in marriage, do not, as a natural result of their togetherness in all Islamic activities, enter a contract between a superior male and an inferior female.
The basis of the existence of these people is the guidance they seek from Allah and their efforts to live as Muslims. This belief or iman is to be placed above considerations of race, social class, and nationality. In fact, in Islam belief and marriage together change the social structure, as we shall discuss at a later point.
We should remember that Islam came into a society, which was much more oppressive than any one which exists today. Women were treated as chattel and were sometimes inherited. Girls were often victims of legalized infanticide. Slavery was rampant and many of the slaves were women. Islam did not compromise with that oppression and broke the chains of slavery within the souls of men.
Today’s society has its own slaves and its oppressed people.
Today women are oppressed in devious ways and are exploited by society to enrich the exploiters. Let us see how Islam can free them.
The central belief of Islam, that we were created by Allah (the One God) and are answerable to Him and should seek guidance from Him, makes Islamic marriage strong and goal oriented. The belief is important, whether it is a man seeking a woman or a woman seeking a man. Allah Subhanawataala says in the Quran:
Wed not women who associate (others with God) till they believe! For, surely, a believing slave girl is better than one who associates (others with God) though she pleases you; and give not your daughters in marriage to associators till they believe, for, surely a believing slave is better than an associator (mushrik) though he pleases you. These invite you unto the fire and Allah invites unto the Garden, and unto forgiveness by; His Grace, and expounds thus His revelation to mankind that perhaps ye may remember. (Surah Baqarah:2:221)
Imagine the revolutionary changes which would take place in a society where men would cross race and class lines to marry their “inferiors” (slaves), or one in which women of “noble” families would marry “slaves” or other oppressed people on the basis of shared belief.
This belief, as the basis of marriage, is connected with good conduct and a strict sexual morality. Allah Subhanawataala says in the Quran:
The adulterer shall not marry but an adulteress or a female who associates (Others with God), and the adulteress none shall marry but an adulterer or a male associator (mushrik). All that is forbidden unto believers. (24:3)
Thus Islamic marriage is the coming together of a man and a woman who have a sense of spiritual direction in life. They live not to please themselves but to please their Creator. Such are the men and women who are taught to pray by Allah:
SUPPLICATION: Our Lord! Grant us “coolness of our eyes” (joy) in our s spouses and in our offspring
Allah knows best!
Here is a beautiful example of Aisha RA:
All through the Quran it is clear when taken in true contextual reference that gender is NOT the criterion for merit in Islam.
Men and women are enjoined with the same prayers and to stay away from the same things and both men and women if obedient and God fearing and God conscious are promised beautiful rewards in the gardens of Jannah.
At a practical level for instance, if a woman knows more Qur’an than a man, there is no Islamic basis for saying that we will not listen to her because she is a woman and that we will listen to a man even if he is a fool.
WHAT DOES ALLAH (SWT) SAY IN THE QURAN ABOUT MERIT & SUPERIORITY?
* The Qur’an makes it very clear that it bases merit and superiority on Faith-based BEHAVIOR, rather than on gender. Here are the relevant quotes:
Is the Qur’an a source of guidance relating to men or to women? That question is not relevant because the Qur’an says about itself:
ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ ﴿٢﴾
“This is the Book in which is no doubt, a Guidance sure for THOSE WHO HAVE TAQWA.” [The Qur’an 2:2]
Taqwa is translated as conduct/piety/virtue based on fear and consciousness of Allah. It is not limited to either gender.
* All the forms of Islamic worship are similarly related to TAQWA and not to gender. Let us take one of the most important: Fasting in the month of Ramadan. The Qur’an states its purpose in these words:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ ﴿١٨٣﴾
“O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you that ye may learn to have TAQWA.” [2:183]
Thus, as the Prophet, pbuh, explained in Hadith, fasting is mere hunger if it does not change behavior and brings about patience and self-restraint [various forms of taqwa.]
- Where the Qur’an affirms the male and female identity, as well as the differences between nations and tribes, it restricts merit/nobility/superiority to those who have TAQWA. There is powerful emphasis here on the affirmation of TAQWA which makes gender and nationality/tribe secondary, if not unimportant:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا ۚ إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّـهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ﴿١٣﴾
“O people! We created you from male and female and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other [not that ye may despise each other.] Surely the noblest/best of you with Allah is the one who is best in conduct [has the most taqwa] among you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted [with all things].” [49:13]
Allah Subhanawataala has leveled the playing field in the Quran with TAQWA as the goal and the source of determining merit in a human being irrespective of gender.
Thus, we Muslims must not let the opposing forces trap us into a debate about male and female superiority and inferiority.
Dua: O Allah allow us to see truth as truth and falsehood as falsehood………
Presented at: Women’s History Conference in Atlanta, Georgia
Muslim Women’s Leadership Summit: Sis. Hadayai Majeed Presiding