Lady Zeinab: An Evident Exemplar

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SHAFAQNA-

According to the view of Islam, the woman is given the high status she desires. In fact, one of the advantages of Islam, which has turned it into the best way of living for mankind, is its view on the true status of women.

As opposed to many schools of thought which have a derogatory view of women and introduce them as the inferior gender, Islam’s view of women is different from the common views of women fourteen centuries ago or even the view in today’s world.

For example, even the modern world has failed to describe the status of woman in the society. As such, Will Durant, the famous philosopher and author of The Story of Civilization states:

Supposing that we are Christians living in the year 2000, and we want to know the greatest historic event in the first quarter of the twentieth century, we would realize that this event was not a war or the revolution in Russia, rather it was the revolution in the status of women. The history has barely witnessed such a significant alteration, in such a short period of time; the holy union of family which was the basis for social order, marriage which was the barrier to lustfulness and instability of human, the complication moral rules which turned us from savagery to civilization and sociability, all have evidently been caught in this revolutionary transform, which has affected all our traditions, lifestyles, and even thoughts.

Therefore, we hear the complaint of western intellectuals about the shakiness of the foundation of family and marriage, the escaping of the youth from accepting the responsibility of marriage, the hatred towards motherhood, the diminishment of parents’ and especially mothers’ love for their children, the status of women in today’s world and the replacement of true love with superficial desires, the growing rate of divorce, the extraordinary rate of illegitimate children, lack of unity and kindness between spouses… more than anytime before.

However, the religion of Islam and its Holy Scripture offer a different point of view. At the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), when woman was considered as a cause of adversity and worthy of being buried alive, he used to kiss the hands of his daughter, and introduced woman as a cause of tranquillity and peace (1).

The Holy Qur’an, in contrast with some other religious books, has not mentioned the theory that woman was created from a substance inferior to that of man. Moreover, the Holy Qur’an strictly opposes the common notion in the literature that woman is “an element of sin”‌, “a little Satan”‌, or “there is a woman involved in every sin or crime”‌.

On the contrary, there are several verses in the Holy Qur’an which state that human being is created from a man and a woman. Throughout these verses and other related ones, the Holy Scripture of Islam rejects the common perception that despises the role of women in childbirth and degrade her status to just a sex object.

Moreover, the Holy Qur’an disproves the unreal claim that women do not have the capability of getting into Paradise or gaining spiritual positions by enumerating examples of distinguished women.

The Holy Qur’an clearly relates proximity towards Allah (SWT) to faith and deeds, rather than gender (3).

It refers to a prominent woman besides every prominent man. It has admired the wives of Adam and Abraham (PBUT) as well as the mothers of Moses and Jesus (PBUT). On the other hand, wives of Noah and Lot (PBUT) have been condemned while Asiyah (the wife of Pharaoh), who was a faithful woman, has been recognized (4). This reveals that to prove its advanced viewpoints on the status of women, the Holy Qur’an has introduced some real examples and successful models.

One such model, who is an outstanding example in terms of spiritual positions, as well as religious knowledge and social-political actions, is the auspicious Lady born on this day, namely Lady Zeinab (PBUH). The role of Lady Zeinab (PBUH) in the event of Ashura, which was the initiation of the revival of the Islamic movement and the main reason for the revival of the Islamic religion, was not marginal; rather she had a complementary role without which the rising of Imam Hussein (PBUH) would have been incomplete.

According to the viewpoint of the religion in which Lady Zeinab (PBUH) is a model, women have such a valuable status that the capability of influencing the history is just a small portion of it; indeed, this viewpoint has no identical in any of the other ideologies…

(Selection taken from The Rights of Women in Islam, by Martyr Murtada Mutahhari (with some changes)

Footnotes:

1. The Holy Qur’an (30, 21)

2. The Holy Qur’an (49, 13)

3. The Holy Qur’an (4, 124), (16, 97), (40, 40)…

4. The Holy Qur’an (66, 10 & 11)

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