International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day 2020

Arshad Gamiet

Jurgens Centre, Englefield Green, Surrey, UK 6h March 2020.

 “A-úthu billáhi minash shaytánir rajeem. Bismilláhir rahmánir raheem

Al hamdu lillahi nahmaduhu wanasta’eenahu, wanastagh-firuhu, wanatoobu ilayhi, wana’oothu Billaahi min shuroori an-fusinaa, wamin sayyi aati a’maalinaa. May- Yahdillahu fa huwal muhtad, wa may- yudlill falan tajidaa lahu waliyan murshida. Wa ash-hadu an Laa ilaaha ill-Alláh, wahdahoo laa shareeka lah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhoo warasooluh

All Praise is due to Alláh, We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our own evils and our own bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Alláh, he is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no god but Alláh, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad, peace and blessings on him, is His servant, and His messenger.

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem! Ya Ay-yuhal-latheena ‘aamanut taqul-laaha, haqqa tuqaatihee wala tamu tun-na, il-la wa antum Muslimoon.”

O You who believe, – Be aware of Allah, with correct awareness, an awe-inspired awareness, and die not except as Muslims.

Ya Ay-yuhal-latheena ‘aamanut taqul-laaha, wa qooloo qawlan sadeedaa. Yuslih-lakum a’maalakum wa yaghfir lakum thunoobakum, wamay yu-til-laaha warasoolah, faqad faaza fawzan atheemaa.”

O You who believe, – Be aware of Allah, and speak a straightforward word. He will forgive your sins and repair your deeds. And whoever takes Allah and His Prophet as a guide, has already achieved a mighty victory.

In the opening verse of Sura An-Nisaa’, Allah says:

“O mankind! Show reverence towards your Guardian-Lord Who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate and from the two of them scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;― Be conscious of Allah, through Whom ye demand your mutual (rights) and (show reverence towards) the wombs (that bore you): for surely, Allah ever watches over you.”

My Dear Sisters and Brothers,

International Women’s Day will be in 2 days’ time, on Sunday 8th March. I thought it would be a good idea to dedicate this khutbah to our sisters, the women of Islam.

In the verse I have just read, the opening verse of Sura Nisa, Allah commands us to “Show reverence towards the wombs that bore you, for surely, Allah ever watches over you.”

What does it mean, to show reverence? The dictionaries tell us that reverence is “deep respect.” Allah commands us to show deep respect to our mothers, our sisters and our daughters. I ask you, my dear brothers, are we doing so? Are we really treating our mothers, sisters and daughters with the same love and respect that we have for our fathers, our brothers and sons? Really?

Look around you and you will see that there are some really appalling situations in many parts of the Muslim world. Our womenfolk are often treated very badly, not by others, but by their own fathers, brothers and sons. Their education is often neglected. Remember that forced marriages and so called “honour killings” have also nothing to do with Islam. These are dishonourable tribal practices that are forbidden in our religion. Sadly, many of these abuses are still rampant in some places today. Islam and culture are not the same things.

My dear brothers, we have to liberate ourselves from these backward, ancient tribal attitudes that Islam abolished over 14 centuries ago. Prophet Muhammad sws was a loving and dutiful husband. He said that “The best of you are the those who are best to their wives.” Did our beloved Prophet Muhammad, sws, not remind us that “Paradise, Al Jannah, lies at the feet of your mother.”

If you read about his personal life, you will find that he mended his own clothes and shoes. He cooked, he cleaned and helped with the housework. He played games with his wife and he was never too proud to do the most humble tasks. This is the prophetic example we men must follow… How many of us menfolk are doing this regularly? Really?!!

We men must stop being such chauvinists! There are many good aspects of the modern struggle for women’s rights that we must support: equal pay, equal opportunities and so on. But there are also some problems. Islam forbids same-sex marriage and relationships. We were created as male and female to marry, raise families and ensure the survival of our species. Our roles are complementary, not contradictory. We should become good caretakers of Allah’s creation. Allah is the generous landlord who has given us the keys to His property. Our job is to take good care of the other tenants, the nations and tribes, the animals, plants water, air and soil that sustain life on Planet Earth. The rent we pay for our place on earth is simply to offer thanks to our generous Lord and Life-Giver. We offer thanks by worshipping Allah as Allah alone deserves to be worshipped. As we are reminded in the Holy Quran:

“Wama khalaqtul jinni wal insa illah liya’budoon.” (Quran 51:56)

 I have only created human beings and Jinn (subtle beings) to worship Me.”

That is the only reason for our existence. To worship, love and obey Allah. So, as we remember International Women’s Day, let us remember the importance of treating all our womenfolk, out mothers, sisters and daughters with the love and respect they deserve. Let me repeat that beautiful verse:

“O mankind! Show reverence towards your Guardian-Lord Who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate and from the two of them scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;― Be conscious of Allah, through Whom ye demand your mutual (rights) and (show reverence towards) the wombs (that bore you): for surely, Allah ever watches over you.”

“Alhamdu lillahi Rabbil ‘Aalameen. Was-salaatu was-salaamu alaa Khairil mursaleen. Muhammadin-nabeey-yil Ummiy-yee, wa-‘alaa aalihee, wasah-bihee, aj-ma’een.                               Ammaa ba’ad:

“Innalláha wa malaaikata yusallúna alan nabi. Yá ay yuhal latheena ámanu sallú alayhi wasalli mú tas leema. Allahumma salli alá Muhammad, wa ala áli Muhammad, kama salayta ala Ibrahim, wa ala ali Ibrahim. Allahumma barik ala Muhammad, kama barakta ala Ibrahim, wa ala ali ibrahim. Fil ála meen, innaka hameedun majeed.”

(Second Khutbah):

“Soob’ hanallahi wal hamdu lillah, wala hawla wala quwwata illah billah yu althi yual theem”

Glory to Allah!  Praise to Allah! There is no power and no strength except from Allah!

My dear sisters and brothers,

As International Women’s day is celebrated, let us also remember some of the great women of Islam. Remember our Prophet’s wife Khadija, a wealthy business woman who employed him and who supported him in those difficult early years of Islam. Remember Aisha, whom he married after the death of Khadija. Aisha was a great scholar and one of the most authentic sources of Islamic law. Remember Pharaoh’s wife, Aasiyah, who refused to worship her husband as a god. When Pharaoh ordered his soldiers to stone her to death, she looked up and smiled as she saw her place in Heaven, even as the boulders crushed her body. Remember Rabia al Adwiyyah, (Rabia Al Basra), who taught us such a beautiful prayer:

O Allah, if I should worship you out of greed for heaven, then close the doors of heaven to me. O Allah, if I should worship you out of fear of hell, then put me into the hell fire. But O Allah, if I should worship you only because You deserve to be worshipped, then please do not turn your face away from me.

Remember Fatima Al Fihri in Morocco, whose father left her a big inheritance more than 1,000 years ago. She didn’t splash it all on the latest clothes and jewellery. She built a mosque and a university, Al Qarawayiin University, the oldest in the world, older than Oxford or Cambridge. The mosque and the university are still there, producing scholars, scientists and philosophers. Remember Miriam al Astrulabi, who designed and made astrolabes, brass discs engraved with maps of the stars that helped navigators find their way over oceans and deserts, long before the mariners’ compass and our modern GPS satnav systems. These are just a few of our Muslim women heroes. Many of them today are just doing their good work, far from the public spotlight.

We men must remember, reflect and live up to the verse in the Quran that says:

“..and (show reverence towards) the wombs (that bore you): for surely, Allah ever watches over you.”

Brothers and sisters, to conclude our khutbah:

InnaAllaha, Yamuru bil adel, wal ihsaan, wa eetaa-i zil qurba; wa yanha anil fuhshaa-i, wal munkari walbaghi; ya-idzukhum lallakum tathak-karoon. (Sura 16:90), Fadth kuroonee adth kurkum, wash kuroolee walaa tak furoon [2:152]. wala thikrul-Laahi akbar, Wal-Laahu ya’lamu maa tasna’oon.” [29:45].

“Surely Allah commands justice, good deeds and generosity to others and to relatives; and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, so that you may be reminded.” “and remember Me: I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and do not reject faith.” “and without doubt, Remembrance of Allah is the Greatest Thing in life, and Allah knows the deeds that you do.”        

Ameen.    Aqeemus salaah