Despite their under-representation in the literatures of traditional Muslim societies, the prominent public roles of women in those societies cannot be overlooked. Perhaps the most prominent role that women have traditionally played as partners in societal advancement, however, has been as the spiritual center and functional head of the Muslim family. In Islam, women are considered the bedrock of the family, not in terms of worldly tasks, but as the spiritual well-spring. In the ‘Islamic’ society, one based on the teachings of Islam, such a role is in no way inferior than that of the full-time worker. On the contrary, the role of homemaker is all the more important for society cannot exist peacefully and advance successfully without them. Arguably, it is in this role that women everywhere have and continue to make their greatest contribution to societies' advancement and progress. Women as homemakers are not mere task-masters, but are educators, nurturers, counselors, doctors, nurses, cooks, cleaners, mechanics, who, through their love and hard work make their families oases of tranquility, love, harmony and peace. It is from this foundation and platform that the other family members in the home can thrive. Many a life and society have been ruined on account of the proverbial ‘broken home’. Why, then, do critics continue to de- and undervalue the role of homemakers as the spiritual foundation of family and home life? Arguably, the root cause of inequality between men and women has never been due to what has been written in the annals of law and policy or even societal norms, but rather in the disregard of the absolute value and necessity of women for the healthy and robust functioning of families and societies.
Women in Islamic teachings, therefore, are considered critical for nation building in a number of ways, both from their work in the home and outside of it. The role of women in the establishment and maintenance of peace, therefore, begins with their role as the spiritual foundation of the family, followed by the variety of additional roles that they may take on outside of the home. The all-important role that they play as homemakers cannot be disregarded in any discussion on nation building, and unfortunately, it often is. Stable, peaceful and loving families are a primary, major and integral element for the advancement and progress of any society, and in this role, women as homemakers are key partners in nation building.
- From "Muslim Women and Peace: Toward Understanding the Role of Islamic Religiosity as a Contributor to Nation Building," Steven Eric Krauss (Abdul-Lateef Abdullah) and Azimi Hamzah
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Monday, March 20, 2006
The truest and highest stage of worship is to see God face to face, and to receive his guidance from his own mouth. Those who attain this highest stage, choose for themselves whatever God chooses for them. Their entire characters are transformed by God. They are God's friends; so they no longer discriminate between people, but regard all people as friends. Wherever they go, they go from God; wherever they arrive, they arrive at God. Whatever they do, they do for God; whatever service they perform, they perform it in God. The self has been truly annihilated. - Junayd, "Tawhid"