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Message to Imams on the occasion of Baitul Salaam's National Conference on Domestic Violence and Human Rights to be held in Atlanta, October 26, 2002.
For information on program and registration:
Imams Urged to Speak out Against Domestic Violence and Disrespect for Women

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

"Our Lord! Grant us "coolness of our eyes" (joy) in our spouses and in our offspring, and put us in the forefront of those who have God-consciousness." [The Qur'an 25:74]

" with them (women) with kindness and justice even if you dislike them. It may be that you dislike something and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good." [4:19]

"Let no Muslim man consider a Muslim woman as his enemy or antagonist. If you do not like one of her ways, you will like another." (Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, Hadith Sahih Muslim, kitab-ur-rida. Narrated by Abu Huraira, r.a)

"The messenger of Allah, pbuh, never hit a woman or even a servant. He only raised his hand in jihad in Allah's way." [Hadith. Sahih Muslim, kitab al-fadail. Narrated by ‘Ayesha, r.a.]

Dear Imams of masajid of Allah: asalamu alaikum

As preachers, teachers and servants of Allah, we have a heavy responsibility to make sure that in the communities of Islam, women are not mistreated, battered or hurt . We cannot be a united ummah striving against oppression if our families are not safe from dominance-orientation, ego drives and physical bullying of the weak by the strong.

Hazrat ‘Umar (r.a.) has warned us against the vestiges of jahiliyya (ignorance) which sometimes good Muslims retain even after outwardly accepting Islam. He said:

"In the era of jahiliyya, we gave no importance to women. When Islam emerged and Allah Almighty Hiself spoke of them (women), we realized that they have rights over us." [Hadith, Sahih Bukhari, kitab il-libas]

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) changed the ways of men through his personal example and his teachings. We all know that he taught us that paradise is at the feet of mothers (Baihaqi's collection) but we often forget that he taught:
"The best among you is the one who is best to his wife." [Hadith, Jami Tirmidhi. Narrated by Abu Huraira.]

The relationship between the wife and the husband is often strained by insecure men who want to dominate their wives. This drive can lead to physical intimidation. The very idea that physical strength, instead of taqwa, can make one person superior to another is alien to Islam but is popular among some of our communities. The Prophet (pbuh) did not teach the superiority of the male. Instead he taught that:
"Women are the twins of men." [Sunan of Abu Dawud.]

This equality was explained by hazrat ‘Umar r.a.: "She has her own likes and dislikes just like you men have yours." (Reported in Ibn Jawzi's biography of ‘Umar, r.a.)

Male irritation and misunderstanding of women, leading to intolerance, is often connected to menstruation. A hadith in Imam Ahmed's Musnad points out (narrated by Anas, r.a.), that the Jews made menstruation into a cause for mistreating women. "When a woman started menstruating, they would not eat with her, nor sit with her nor allow her anywhere near them." It was in that context that verse 222 of sura 2 was revealed to the Prophet (pbuh). Anas, r.a., reports that the Prophet, pbuh, said "do everything with women (during menses) except actual intercourse." When the Jews heard this, they said: This person (meaning the Prophet, pbuh) wants to go against us in everything.

Dear Imams: Warn the Muslims not to behave like the Jews.

The Prophet, pbuh, took extraordinary steps to teach Muslims that women must be loved and respected during menses. There are numerous hadith on these teachings. For instance, hazrat ‘Ayesha narrates that when she was menstruating, the Prophet, pbuh, would put his head in her lap and recite the Qur'an. Or when she was menstruating and was eating a piece of meat, he would eat from the place where she had put her mouth, and when she would drink, he would put his mouth at that place on the glass from where she had drunk and share the drink with her.

Thus, if we are followers of the Sunnah, we too must show love, care and respect to women.

No Muslim man, worth the name of "man", should ever raise his hand against a woman. If a man thinks he is ever so tough, let him go and stand against the Zionist Jews who are oppressing our people in Palestine or the Hindus who are looting and killing in Kashmir or the Russians running amuck in Chechnia or the Americans preparing to bomb the defenseless state of Iraq.

Your brother-in-faith
Kaukab Siddique
Ameer, Jamaat al-Muslimeen

2002-10-19 Sat 13:12ct