To the Editor:
On this occasion when we are celebrating Women’s History Month, I, a mother of four children, a medical and a master’s student want to let the world know that it is Islam that liberated women 1,500 years ago. It was Islam that gave women right to inherit, right to remarry, right to divorce, right to work, right to seek education, right to vote — rights that in the West may have been recognized only a few decades ago.
The critics have been active in pointing out what they perceive to be negative teachings of Islam. One of these accusations is the practice of wearing the hijab.
They say that the hijab is a symbol of a Muslim woman’s oppression. But little do they realize that Islam is a religion that provides guidance to a way of life conducive to the creation of a harmonious and stable society. It encourages marriage rather than an unbridled exercise of one’s natural instincts.
It is for this reason that Islam laid down the rules and guidelines of modesty. The Quran commands the men first to restrain their looks and guard their private parts. It then instructs the women to do the same, but in addition they are directed to cover their heads.
Islam being proactive established the institution of purdah and laid down all the principles leading to a stable and peaceful society. If we adopt the other path under the name of freedom, that is, the free mixing of the genders, we see the damaging effects in the society which in turn leads to destabilization.
Also to accomplish this goal of a stable society, Islam stressed the importance of education of both men and women. Education raises the intellect of an individual, particularly of a woman who is the primary care giver, and who will help raise her children in a better way leading to a stable and a healthy society and a nation.
If we dig deep in Islamic history, we see many examples of Muslim women who observed the Islamic injunction of covering their heads and their bodies yet they contributed significantly to the society. Khadija, wife of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), was a successful business woman. Similarly, his wife Aisha was known for her intellect and was the contributor of thousands of hadith (sayings of the Prophet).
So as a Muslim woman and an ambassador of my faith, I want to put my voice in the forefront and let the world know that I, in a hijab, am enjoying the status that my religion has granted me as a mother, sister and a wife thousands of years ago by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This is real Islam.