The Islamic Social System:-
The Social system in Islam is deeply concerned with men and women, and the regulation of the way they treat with each other, whether in one way or the other way.
There has always been much confusion among the people in the west according to the roles that men and women play in life.in the past , women were seen as inferior beings to men, and have even been compared to animals and regarded as “without souls”, or just items of property. And nowadays women strive their best level to achieve the same status and rights as men in present-day society.
These kinds of issues arise between men and women, because it is left to human to give reason to elaborate the nature of men and women and what are the roles they are supposed to do in the society.Anyhow, it is out of the question for limited human minds to understand fully the intricate nature of men and women, and their different sentimental attachments and characteristics. As a result of this, erroneous ideas arise about how men and women should interact with each other.
Many issues stem directly from this lack of clarity, whether concerning the roles of men and women in terms of relationships, in families or in the work spot. This is why there is discrimination against the oppression of women, family breakdown, sexual harassment prostitution, child abuse, homosexuality- the list of the consequences of an ill-defined social system is almost endless.
MEN AND WOMEN IN ISLAM
Islam explains very clearly what are the roles of men and women in life, and gives detailed guidance as to how they should interact with each other in every corner of life. These definitions and roles come from Allah (SWT) the supreme power of the universe as a result they perfectly accord human nature and there is no scope in Islam for either men or women to be left to oppress or discriminate each other.
All Mankind is regarded as consisting of human beings, who have the same instincts, like the survival, spiritual or procreation instincts, and organic needs such as the need to sleep ,breathe and to eat and so on. They share these regardless of their gender.
As such, men and women are both creations of ALLAH (SWT) and in this respect both men and women are equal in their status. Islam defines the purpose of life for human beings as being purely a worship to ALLAH ( SWT ).
“I have not created jinn and human beings except as a worship unto me”(AL-QURRAN).
This worship is fulfilled by living in obedience to the commands and prohibition of ALLAH ( SWT ), and the extent to which a person has done this will be judged on dooms day , to determine wither they are to gain the reward of Paradise ir the punishment of Hellfire. This applies equally to both men and women , with neither having any preference over the other. In the eyes of Allah men and women have equal status. Allah says,
“And their lord has accepted of them and answered them, ‘never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you by you male and female, you are members of one another.”(AL-QURRAN).
It is acknowledged however, that Allah ( SWT ) created men and women with different fitrah (nature ) which gives them different roles to play in the society. This is because there are some attributes that are exclusive to men or women , that cannot be shared by the other; for example, women bear children and breast-feed them , but while men are physically stronger ,they are unable to do these.
One of the many errors found in the man-made system, is that ‘equality’ has taken the same meaning as ‘sameness’. Thus, women and men are forced to compete each other to fulfill the same roles.
The shariah of Islam prevents this. In some areas, which are not gender specific, men and women follow the same rules, as in the prayer, the giving of oaths or the fasting , except where their is an acknowledgment in the differences of their nature-so in times of menstruation, the woman does not pray, and when pregnant , the woman need not fast (although the missed days are made up later).
But in others, which are gender specific ,men and women have different roles to play and rules to follow, e.g. Motherhood or fatherhood. Thus instead of competition between men and women, there is harmony and tranquility.
OBJECTIVES OF THE SOCIAL SYSTEM
There are three main objectives of the social system which are given under mentioned :-
1) To define the roles of men and women.
2) To organize the relationship between men and women and to solve the problems that arise from this relationship.
3) To regulate the family structure.
All the rules and regulations and laws which human beings are subject to in order to fulfil these objectives are defined by the shari’ah. Some roles are unique to men and women and some apply to both.
A man can take different roles with regard to his relationship with his relationship with those around him. Islam defines different rights and responsibilities for the man depending on which capacity he is acting in. Some of the roles he could have as:
6)Maternal or Paternal Nephew
7) Unrelated man
Some examples of the different rights and responsibilities incumbent upon the men depending upon his capacity are:
(1) The father must provide food, shelter and clothing for his children, until such a time that they are mature, and able to support themselves after which his support becomes a charity.
(2) The son is obliged(i-e it is fared) to obey the mother or father in those areas which are permitted and are the right of the parent ,e.g.to serve them or look after them, and is recommended to obey them in areas which are the choice of the son, e.g. who to marry, what to wear etc. It is forbidden for him to obey his parents if they order him to disobey ALLAH ( SWT ).
(3) It is forbidden for an unrelated man to gaze at a woman with lustful intentions. Jsrir ibn ‘Abdullah reported, “I asked Allah’s messenger about the sudden glance(that is cast) on the face (of a non-mahram).He commanded me that I should turn away my eyes”.
The woman too can take different roles. Her responsibilities vary depending on which capacity she acts in.
Among the roles that a woman can take ,these are some of the important ones:
9)Wet-nurse (i-e. mother by breast-feeding).
Here are a few examples of what some of these roles may entail:
(1) The mother has more right of obedience and respect from her children than the father.
(2) The daughter needs the permission from her guardian, who is usually her husband or father, to leave the house.
(3)The Maternal aunt has more right of custody over her young nephew or niece, than any bother relation apart from the mother and father.
Each role that the man or woman may fulfil has its own details and explanations. However, by fulfilling the roles that each has with regards to the other people around them, harmony will prevail within the family structure. Disputes which may arise will be solved by the shariah, whether they are within the family structure, or in the society as a whole.
Syed Ihtisham Ulhaq Bin Maulana Syed Muhammad Khawaja Din