This is to clarify the misunderstanding stemmed out of the remarks I made about gender equality during one of recent speeches. Islam stands for the safety of women in a milieu of extreme feminism and misogyny. A fair approach is one that empowers them through education and social upliftment, and in this sense we are implementing systematic and wide establishments under Jamia Markaz and Sunni organizations.
My speech referred to was to giving special support and care for the women in a situation where they were kept apart from social sphere. This special care and support, need to be extended to women in public and professional life, has been reiterated many a times by the judiciary. We live and abide by the constitution of India which provides equal justice to all irrespective of caste, creed or sex.
I referred to the nobility of motherhood while talking on the duties of men and women in family life and reiterated the plain fact that ‘only woman can give birth’. I stick to the statement that childbirth and upbringing of the children are of the noblest deeds we can ever think of. This pro-women statement has been deliberately distorted and misinterpreted, and quoted me as saying women are capable only of childbirth.
We live by the saying of Prophet Muhammed صلى الله عليه وسلم, that the heaven lies underneath your mother’s feet. It’s my request to those who responded on the spur of the moment, to take out some quality time and probe the authenticity of the report.
In my speech (which some people consider as controversial because of the reasons that they consider as important), I precisely said women have superiority over the men in certain aspects and traits, as the men have superiority over women in certain other aspects. To substantiate the argument of women have superiority over the men in certain aspects, I have given the example of “only women can deliver kids (this was just one example in my speech among few other examples to substantiate my argument). However, for anybody who believes in media ethics and objective journalism, it is quite shocking that some media houses have given news stories based on the previous speech claiming “Kanthapuram said women are only to deliver kids” by distorting my previous statement and saying exactly opposite of what I said. Through this distorted presentation of my statement and also taking it out of the context, without even making an attempt to cross check their “story” with me or anybody in our organization, these media houses are proving our doubts about Islamophobic media houses in Kerala who are trying to thrive by sensational victimizing a community and its leaders, as evident from other examples such as “gender equality issue in Farook college”, “claims on human trafficking by orphanages”. However, it is quite unfortunate that a Muslim media house, which always improved their circulation through their claims of “some other mainstream newspapers are spreading Islamophobia”, is leading this campaign against me. I suggest this media house, which has a long history of responsible journalism, not to sacrifice their image at the cost of their factional issues with us, through the distorted presentation of my statements. While we respect and looking forward to the debate and dialogue with this organization (not through half truths and untruths) on various religious issues, as we are doing for the last many decades, we humbly request them to consider that tarnishing an Islamic group or leader in the public by distorted statements is by no means going to do good to Islam or neither it contribute to the respect between us.
Secondly, I suggest the socio-political leaders and our cultural dignitaries to check the facts before responding to the distorted statements of media.
I maintain my position that the diversity in the traits and characteristics of men and women are natural, as the biological and psychological facts shows, such as the hormone differences between men and women, differences in the male and female brains in terms of the processing, structure and activity. I also maintain my position of nature suggests to take responsibilities in the social and personal life according to the differences in the gender. I have no problem in anybody stigmatizing me as misogynist for saying the fact that men and women are different. While I disagree with those who believe that gender differences are social construction, I respect their right to express their opinion and also expect they may respect my right to disagree with their opinion, informed by the basic tenets of Islam. (As per Kanthapuram’s Official FB Page)
Facing flak from various organisations, Sunni leader Kanthapuram A.P. Aboobacker Musliyar has clarified his comments about gender equality during one of his recent speeches in Kozhikode.
In a statement here on Monday, the Musliyar said: “My speech referred to was to giving special support and care for women in a situation where they were kept apart from social sphere. This special care and support needed to be extended to women in public and professional life, and has been reiterated many a time by the judiciary. We live and abide by the Constitution of India which provides equal justice to all irrespective of caste, creed or sex.”
Role in family
He said that he had referred to the nobility of motherhood while talking about the duties of men and women in family life and reiterated the plain fact that “only woman can give birth.”
“I stick to the statement that childbirth and upbringing of the children are of the noblest deeds we can ever think of. This pro-women statement has been deliberately distorted and misinterpreted, and quoted me as saying women are capable only of childbirth,” the Musliyar said.
Authenticity of report
“We live by the saying of Prophet Muhammed, that the heaven lay underneath your mother’s feet. It’s my request to those who responded on the spur of the moment, to take out some quality time and probe the authenticity of the report,” he said.
He said that Islam stands for the safety of women in a milieu of extreme feminism and misogyny. (as published in Hindu Newspaper )
A Past Interview with Kanthapuram AP Aboobackar Musliyar is a testimonial that he is standing by his statement on Gender Justice.
At the advent of the messenger (SA), many religions and cultures even did not consider woman as a human being. ‘Woman is not human being or beast, but is created for the mere enjoyment of man’. This was the Roman view. No consideration was given to woman in Arabian society. There was unlimited freedom for men to exploit her mentally and physically. And there was provision for man to marry as many women as they please and after his death they were distributed to the children as properties.
There was no relevance for the life of woman in the early cultures. In some societies they were literally used for mere sexual pleasures. And there was no regulation for divorce and remarriage. The only criterion was the pleasure of male. In Arabia , a group of men would seek to woo the woman and the powerful one would have sexual contact with her and only after the expiration of months that she would be married by him. Such woman could be divorced for silly causes. Another block in her way was that the divorcee had to perform a year long Idda (Waiting period). Such women were compelled to live in a lonely confinement away from home and had no access to food, drink or water to take bath. What put her life back were the silly things she got during long intervals. And if she was taken back by him before the expiration of one year and then divorced instantly by him, her life would be hellish. This was the custom in pre-Islamic Arabia .
In the ancient Indian society also she was only the sexual instrument of man. Sati which compels the widow to commit suicide in the Chitha of her husband, even now continues to be there in some parts of India .
In the Christian society there was no provision, till last century, to woman for inheritance. And she had no right of divorce. All the rights were reserved to man. The socially compelled virginity is one of the atrocities against woman. It is a practice of denying the human emotions and innate needs. It is not a secret that such women are subjected to exploitations.
Islam has provided women with all possible rights. It has given them the economic rights as well as individual rights. She has the right to select her own partner in life and to decide her own future. She has the full right to possess wealth and make all kinds of transactions permissible in Islam. In Islam she has many rights as well as duties in social and family matters.
Q: But there is a strong allegation that Islam confines them to homes by applying Pardha system and by not allowing them to interfere in public?
A: Are they arguing that the woman should mix up with alien people displaying their beauty and nudity? Islamic Hijab is the most appropriate dress for women. The beauty of women may attract anyone. There is no distinction of religion, cast or age in this matter. No one can deny that there is an innate attraction between the two sexes.
Both man and woman are powerful and weak in different fields. Unlike man, she has no mental courage to face difficult situation. But she is powerful to handle the family dealings and the matters related to nursing the children. Islam gave rules and regulations to the male and female sections of the society taking into account the nature of their intelligence and the difference in their mental and physical features. Islam has not barred her from going out for her livelihood. It has not commanded her to continue to be the chattel of man by suffering all agonies.
Woman is to be protected. Islam puts the responsibility of her food, cloth, dwelling, and security on man. Man should protect woman as mother, daughter, wife or sister. Otherwise the transgressors may exploit her sexually. Islam wants to evade this situation. I am skeptic of those who come out to streets for the empowerment and advancement of women whether they are giving due freedom for the women.
Islam does not command woman to wear a particular dress like ‘Pardha’. But it teaches them to wear a dress that hides them from being revealed to the alien people. Putting this in consideration, Pardha is very appropriate for them because it conceals them and protects them from being revealed to the people. The women in Muslim community wear Pardha considering their security.
Kamala Surayya, the storyteller of Kerala, has told a lot. She told that she would wear Pardha when she visited Europe even before 20 years of her embrace of Islam. She explained it as Pardha was necessary for her to feel free and secure while living in Europe .
Q: France has abolished Pardha and many other European countries are moving towards its abolition. How do you see it?
A: This is actually against the liberty. It is cruel and inhuman to deny freedom of faith and fundamental and religious rights. Islam is in high progress in France , Belgium and many other Euro-American countries. The people with the quest of searching truth are converting to Islam in huge numbers. The dress code of Muslim women is attracting others greatly. We can see many Non-Muslim tourists in Gulf countries purchasing Pardhas. When they are asked about it they say that Pardha is necessary for them to pass securely through European cities.
Q: There is an opinion that Muslim women are neglected by wearing Pardha?
A: It is absolutely wrong. We can see it in Gulf countries. We can see in great numbers the women with Pardha in Emigration and Customs departments and such like high positions. They do their duties wearing Pardha. It is not a hindrance in discharging their duties or their personal life.
Q: How do you see the increasing presence of women in jobs?
A: Man is responsible for all the needs of woman. One takes job for the livelihood. If she is not responsible for it, then why should she go for it? But if the husband is unable to do job or there is no male in the family to fill gap, then there is no impediment for her to go for job. But she should maintain all the rules pertaining to her limitations.
Q: What is the approach of Islam towards education of women?
A: Man and woman should acquire knowledge. There are many things, which should necessarily be known to both. Both should know the languages and information, which are unavoidable for life. That everyone should learn every thing is in no way practical. So the sole criterion in this regard is the necessity.
Q: Is Islam putting limits for the woman’s education and her progress?
A: Certainly, there is limit. Woman should learn what is necessary for her. And man should learn what is necessary for him. She has some limitations to learn and practice. She has to learn just what is appropriate for her physical and mental nature and her intelligence and responsibility. In many fields she cannot act like man. It is by this consideration that Islam puts limits.
Q: There is an allegation that it is monasticism to take off the rights of women and keep them in darkness. What do you say?
A: There is no Rahbaniyya (monasticism) in Islam. No Muslim group agrees to Rahbaniyya. Rahbaniyya is a system that authorizes the priests to make and reform laws. It is prevalent in Hindu and Christian religions. The changes in rituals are the results of Rahbaniyya.
Islam is the religion of Allah. All of the laws and rituals of Islam are taught by His Messenger Muhammad Sallallahu alaihi wasallam. The responsibility of a scholar is just to seek the solutions according to those laws for the new problems. But the Rahbaniyya is to change the traditional rituals, which are recommended by Islam, and to establish the new ones instead. The Scholars of Ahlu Ssunnah are against such reforms. And they argue that these innovations are anti-Islamic. We are enlightening the people through Sunni Jamiyyath Al Ulama and Samastha Kerala Sunni Yuvajana Sangham against such reforms. Then I don’t know how we become with Rahbaniyya.
And the argument that we deny the rights of women and try to keep them in darkness is absolutely wrong. We give them all the rights Islam permitted and we teach the same to the people. The critics should explain the rights that we have denied to the women. But some say that man and woman are a vehicle’s two wheels, which should roll together. But we cannot agree with it. The woman has a different role in the society than that of a man.
Q: At the time of Hazrath Umar (RA) the women argued for their rights and he agreed with them?
A: It is not special for his age. Even at the time of The Messenger (SA) they collectively and lonely had approached him for their rights. And the Messenger helped them in gaining their rights. Many women even now come to the scholars to protest against the denial of their rights from their husbands and other family members. Islam, which provided them with the rights of expression and wealth, has gained them the right of approaching the courts and filing the petitions.
Q: What about women working in business? And there were many women at the time of the messenger (SA) involving in business?
A: They can participate in trade and industry, but with keen observation of rules and regulations. Khadeeja (Radhiyallahu Anha), the wife of the messenger (SA) was a great businesswoman. But she did not go to marketplace. Instead she used trustworthy people as officials. Even the messenger (SA) at the age of 25 was in her business group. Zainab RA, another wife of the messenger (SA), led the life by making threads. So, all the Halal businesses are permissible for women. But a keen observation of Sharia rules should be kept. And Islam has strictly prohibited the intermixing of women with alien people.
Q: Is the man the maintainer of woman in family matters only?
A: No it is not right. He is her maintainer in all matters. The man has the different kinds of positions like father, husband, brother, son and uncle. The one who is in these positions should compulsorily ensure the security and well being of the women who are depending on him.
Q: What do you say about the new term ‘Love Jihad’ coined by some Fascist people?
A: Every time the Fascists are in need of new such misleading terms. It is the basis of their existence. It is the usual characteristics of communal forces. And this is the case with all the movements that have no basic ideas or practical wisdom. Fascists intend to get political gains by exploiting the momentary emotions. ‘Love Jihad’ is just one example for their hate propaganda. Islamic community has no any knowledge about such movement. High Court was wrong when it used the same term while it ordered to submit report on the issue. That was a heinous act to darken a particular community. And now the courts have revealed that there is no such movement in Kerala or Karnataka. Really love has been a weakness of man throughout the ages. Even the first murder was in the name of love. Qabeel (son of Adam ) killed Habeel (another son of Adam ) just to get the latter’s wife. Religion and cast don’t pose a barrier in front of love. Some lovers change their religion for the smooth social life. And some other people continue in their own religion as India allows mixed marriage. In the most case the people with least ideology and religiousness fall in the trap of love. But neither religion nor movement can bar the people from this tendency. So it is not right to put all the brunt of these love marriages on a particular religion. And we cannot blind to the fact that there were many intentional attempts to convert the Muslim girls and to entrap them. And there are many instances of trapping the Muslim girls by those who come for the jobs in houses. But we don’t deny that there are some instances of Hindu girls running with Muslim boys. But it is not fair to keep the whole followers of a religion under suspicion. The courts should be aware of the bad minds behind these accusations.
There are many people who are agreeing with the Islamic principles, which proved true in all ages. It is a tendency throughout the world. The intellectuals and the people with broad outlook are attracted to Islam. Any one can study Islam. Islam is an open book. The one who studied it can live as a Muslim. No need of reproaching him/her. Man can find truth only if he is ready to use his intelligence and think freely. Islam calls the mankind to this truth. The Holy Quraan asks the man to think about the world by using the intelligence and to find The Creator through thought and to live with worshipping Him alone. This is the Islamic approach; to spread this message and need not compel others to convert to Islam.