بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِِ

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The Official Website of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Muslims who believe in the Messiah,
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian(as)Muslims who believe in the Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani (as), Love for All, Hatred for None.

The Role of Women in Shaping Society

10 May 2005
Address to Lajna Imaillah (ladies’ Auxiliary Organisation) of Tanzania

I am very pleased that I am addressing Ahmadi sisters in Tanzania directly today.

At this time I just want to say a few things and draw your attention to the fact that a woman enjoys a very special status in Islam. Every Ahmadi lady who has taken part in the bai’at (the oath of allegiance) of the Imam of the age and has pledged that she would try her best to act on the teachings of Islam, should fully try to understand this noble status.

The Holy Qur’an has mentioned the taking of bai’at by women separately. This reflects the significance of women in Islam. The Holy Prophet(sa) was given those specific conditions for women as the basis on which the bai’at from women should be taken. All this was so that women should stand firm on their pledge and should undertake a Jihad or strive against all evils and adopt all good values so that the purity and righteousness of the future generations may be preserved. Therefore the Holy Qur’an states:

O Prophet! when believing women come to thee, taking the oath of allegiance at thy hands that they will not associate anything with Allah, and that they will not steal, and will not commit adultery, nor kill their children, nor bring forth a scandalous charge which they themselves have deliberately forged, nor disobey thee in what is right, then accept their allegiance and ask Allah to forgive them. Verily, Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful. (Ch.60: V.13)

So this is the high status of believing women that they associate no one with Allah. Now, shirk, or associating anyone with Allah, is not just idol worship. Ladies have a natural weak tendency and are generally suspicious. As a result of this weakness, they are generally prone to such acts that fall close to associating partners with Allah. For example, she may think that someone has bewitched or cast a magic spell on her husband and he has left her and has begun to take interest in others. Or she may think that someone has done magic on her child and this is why it is weak or ill. Or, perhaps something has happened and that it is a bad omen, and now her horoscope or star-sign is on the move and she will suffer a loss.

So all these things are included in shirk or believing in something other than Allah. Allah has said that those who do shirk are most sinful. They may be men or women – but because in this verse women are mentioned, I am quoting their example – who have supposed that God Almighty does not have the power but that so and so, a witchdoctor or magician, has the power.

What was needed was that whenever such a situation arose, one should have turned to God alone in the way shown by God. They should have prayed. They should have given alms and helped the needy. They should have sought the help of Allah and bowed before Him that O lord! Cause my husband to do good and enable him to honour my rights and enable him to obey Thy commandments. If the child was sick, then in addition to material means, greater emphasis should have been placed on prayers and the giving of alms.

There are many similar examples in everyday life where instead of placing her trust in God Almighty, a woman relies on the ways of the world and forgets the existence of God. When such a situation develops, she pays no attention to turning towards God and worshipping Him. If this condition develops in a woman, it would mean that future generations would become corrupt. In that case, instead of yielding sweet and wholesome fruit, the seed of Ahmadiyyat and true Islam that you have sown in yourselves will yield sour and tasteless fruit which may apparently seem fine but would in reality be rotten. In fact, it is possible that when such children grow older, they will cause others to become just as bad. Therefore, the responsibilities of women increase tremendously because they have not only to take care of themselves but the future generation as well.

Moreover, in this verse many other evils are also mentioned. Do not steal. Do not commit adultery. Do not make false accusations. By mentioning all these bad things, it asks you to avoid these things because their avoidance is vital to save your future generations. This is why after mentioning these evils, it mentions and obtains your pledge that you shall not kill your children.

Now, which sane person will kill one’s own offspring? When a woman is about to become a mother, before she gives birth, strong feelings of love and affection for her baby develop in her. So when her sentiments are such, who can say that she can kill her child? Then after the birth of the baby, a mother endures immense difficulties in nourishing and taking good care of the baby. All the time, she holds the newborn next to her. Then can any person with common sense say that this woman who is clinging to this baby in this manner will kill this baby? Of course not! So, most certainly, there must be some other meaning. That meaning is the same that I mentioned earlier that as long as a woman does not train her children in the correct way, and does not demonstrate by her actions the difference between good and bad, the child will not be trained properly. When a child learns evil ways and bad things, it will ruin society and would be worthy of being cut and thrown away.

Let me explain this by telling you a story. Once there was a man who had committed many crimes and had exceeded all limits. He had committed many murders and robberies and many other crimes. Finally, he got caught. Because of his past crimes, he was sentenced to death by hanging. When they were about to hang him, he was asked whether he had any last wish. He said, ‘Yes!’ He had one last wish and that wish was that he should be permitted to meet his mother and that she should be brought close to him and that all others should leave them two alone. So when this wish was granted, he said to his mother that I want to love you before I am hanged but I want to love you on your tongue. So in accordance with the wish of her son, she stretched her tongue out. But the son bit the tongue with his teeth so hard that the tongue was cut in two halves. The mother began to cry very loudly with pain.

Hearing all this noise, the guards rushed forward and cursed this man that have you no shame that despite having committed so many crimes and being about to be hanged, instead of doing one good deed, you have cut off the tongue of your own mother. The criminal replied, ‘Indeed today is when I have done the good deed. When I committed petty crimes and people used to come and complain to my mother, she took my side and even though she knew it, she did not prevent me from these acts. As a result, I became bolder and became a big criminal. Had at that time this tongue of my mother distinguished good from bad, I would have not become a criminal. Therefore, the punishment given to me and the one that I have given to my mother are both justified and such mothers should be treated as such.’ So you see that by improper training, whereas the child was indeed cut off from society, his physical killing occurred when he was hanged.

So always pay attention to the good upbringing of your children so that you may save them from being killed. The status of those women who train their children in a good manner is very high. Indeed it is equivalent to giving up one’s life for the sake of Allah as is related in one Hadith (Tradition):

Hazrat Ibn Abbas(ra) relates that a woman came to the Holy Prophet(sa) and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! The women have sent me as their representative and have asked that has Jihad been made obligatory on men that if they get injured, they will be rewarded and if they are martyred they will live forever with their Lord and benefit from His bounties? But what about us women who look after their children after they have parted? What reward will we get?’

Upon this the Holy Prophet(sa) said: ‘Say to the women you meet that obedience to your husbands and to recognise their rights is equal in status to Jihad, but there are few women who do this.’

Now see, how anxious were Muslim women to do virtuous deeds and to earn Allah’s pleasure. They used to take care of and nurture the children of the Companions with the intention that the Companions should take part in their Jihad in peace without any worries about their children. Nevertheless, they were also concerned whether they were going to get any reward from Allah for their spirit. So, the Prophet(sa) of Allah confirmed that if they cared for and trained the children, they would most certainly get Allah’s reward.

The real lesson to be drawn from this Tradition is not that the wife of the one who participates in the Jihad would earn a reward for looking after the children, but the lesson is that when a woman discharges the trust and respects the rights of her husband, and takes care of her child and that of her husband so that descendants are not destroyed by falling into bad habits but become a good part of the society, then Allah gives the woman a good reward.

With the advent of the Promised Messiah(as) and in accordance with the prophecy of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa), the jihad of the sword has now come to a halt. Now, Jihad is to worship Allah, promote good deeds in the world, and to become obedient to your husbands. Do not think that everyone who trains her children in a good way does a virtuous deed and that it does not matter or that you can do whatever you like. A Tradition, however, states that just as the man of the house is the shepherd of the home, and is responsible for feeding and clothing his wife and children, giving them accommodation and providing for their other needs, so too is the woman responsible for taking care of her husband’s home and his children, for nourishing them, and for drawing their attention to good education and training. If she does not do this, then as a shepherd of the household and its custodian, God Almighty would hold her accountable.

So, this is a very grave responsibility on an Ahmadi Muslim woman and as such each one of you should pay great attention to this responsibility. You are somewhat fortunate in this day and age that there is a Jihad or a struggle for tabligh (preaching), tarbiyat (religious training) and promoting the doing of good deeds in which women can participate just like the men. You would earn a higher reward from Allah that you trained the children of your husband in a good way and discharged the obligations of the household. Now you can participate in two Jihads: the training of your children and undertaking Tabligh.

So every Ahmadi should vie with others in taking part in this Jihad. You should pay greater personal attention towards worship and in spreading good deeds in society. Train your children in such a way that apart from an inclination towards performing good deeds there should be nothing else and everyone who observes them should exclaim how well-mannered the children of Ahmadi women are; that they possess such high moral values and pay no attention towards the unclean things of the world. When you try to promote such values in society, your heart will be content and pacified and you will be pleased that Allah is pleased with you.

Shamelessness and promiscuity and the inter-mixing of sexes are common in today’s society. If Ahmadi ladies become pure and clean and tell the others that a woman’s respect lies in her chastity, then this would be a source of spreading exemplary good deeds.

Today AIDS is rampant in the world. Unfortunately, African countries are heavily afflicted with this epidemic. The Holy Qur’an has urged that adultery should be avoided and by avoiding this sin, this disease can be avoided. Ahmadi women should, therefore, engage in a Jihad against this disease. Other women should be told that the further away they go from the ways of God Almighty, the greater would be His censure about them and whatever lifespan remains for them, it would be an existence of extreme distress and suffering. 1500 years ago, this disease and the many deaths resulting from it had been prophesied by the Holy Prophet(sa). Thus, according to one Hadith, it is narrated that he said that the people amongst whom adultery spreads would suffer many deaths . Although men are just as responsible as women in the causes of this disease, a woman needs to make greater effort to preserve her dignity and respect and in spreading deeds that are good. If today you launch a Jihad to arrest this disease in your country, then remember well that future generations will never forget your kindness and benevolence. But, if on the other hand, you do not pay attention towards it, future generations will point the finger of accusation at you and question why despite having listened to the words of Allah and His Messenger, you ignored it. Though, at this time this disease affects only a small percentage, when epidemics errupt, one loses all count. May Allah enable you to pay attention towards this matter.

Furthermore, in the tarbiyat of children, in addition to getting knowledge of secular subjects such as history and science, you should also pay attention to religious and spiritual knowledge. Even if you cannot read or write, get it firmly imprinted on the minds of your children right from early childhood that you have to become educated and that you have to learn at least up to the final class of secondary school. Then if they are not to continue in education, they must learn some skill with which they can help their country instead of becoming a burden on the state. Then, as I said earlier, the most important thing is to get religious education. Try and get this yourself. Learn how to teach the Holy Qur’an and make sure that you teach your children to read the Holy Qur’an. If after becoming an Ahmadi, whether man or woman, he or she is unable to read the Holy Qur’an, then his or her being an Ahmadi is of no use. So when you study the Holy Qur’an and teach the Qur’an to your children with great attention, then as a result of its blessings, you will be instrumental in bringing about a revolution not only in your lives but the lives of your children as well. If your husbands have gone away from the doing of good deeds, then you would become a source of their reformation. I am confident that if you resolve to do this, you will most certainly be able to cause this revolution in society.

African women are generally very hardworking and sacrifice a lot. Therefore, use this special quality for your own reformation, the reformation and training of your children, the reformation of the environment and the society. As I said earlier, if you try and undertake a Jihad to promote and spread good deeds, for which the Lajna Imaillah organisation would have to be very proactive, then you will be able to advance this country from its existing condition to further progress.

May Allah enable you to do that. May your future generations make Tanzania a progressive nation and a nation with high moral values that should be an example of a beautiful and healthy society and a befitting model for a progressive people. May Allah enable you to do that. Amin.