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Translator's Foreword

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Translator's Foreword

Post by Ithar Ghada Faied on Tue Apr 27, 2010 4:47 pm

Praise be to Allah (SWT), Lord of the Worlds, and may the blessings and peace of Allah (SWT) be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his Family and Companions.

The Ideal Muslimah: the true Islamic personality of the Muslim woman and defined by the Qur'an and Sunnah offers the reader a comprehensive overview of the woman's place in the Islamic scheme of things. The many roles which a woman may play throughout her life - daughter, wife, mother, friend - are explored in detail. Extensive quotations from Hadith and historical accounts of the lives of the early Muslim women provide a vivid picture of how the Muslim woman at the time of the Prophet (PBUH) went about putting Islam into practice; this is an example which Muslim women of all places and eras may follow in their own lives.

An important point is the fact that the first chapter addressed the Muslim woman's relationship with Allah (SWT). Dr. Muhammad `Ali al-Hashimi rightly puts first things first, and reminds readers that they must pay attention to this most important aspect of our lives. If our `aqidah and worship is sound and sincere, then other things will begin to fall into place, in sha Allah.

From there, the author takes us by stages from a woman's care of her own self - body, mind and soul - to her relationships and dealings with her family, friends, neighbours and society as a whole. Far from being the passive, oppressed victim of popular stereotype, the Muslim woman is seen to be a whole person with a valid contribution to make at every level of community life.

This is, above all, an immensely practical book. Dr al-Hashimi addresses real issues that face Muslim women throughout the world, and supports every point made with extensive quotations from the Qur'an and hadith.

At a time when Muslim women are being increasingly attracted by "feminist theories" and "women's studies," this book serves as a timely reminder that the unique and authentic sources of Islam have always spoken of the rights of women and recognized women as full partners in the human venture of history. The translation of this book into English will render this valuable information more readily accessible to Muslims whose mother-tongue is not Arabic.

Husbands, fathers, brothers and sons will also benefit from reading this book. Studied in conjunction with the author's Ideal Muslim: the Islamic personality as defined by the Qur'an and Sunnah, it will enable both men and women to have a deeper insight into the complementary roles of men and women and the harmony between the genders envisaged by Islam.

The interpretations of Qur'anic quotations have been taken from the well-known translation by Yusuf `Ali. The archaic style of this translation has been amended and modernized, so that "thou" becomes "you," "goeth" becomes "goes," etc.

Many Islamic concepts are difficult to express in English, where "religious" words carry much cultural baggage that gives connottions that do not exist in Arabic. For this reason, many Arabic religious terms have been retained, with explanations given either in the text or in the Glossary that may be found at the end of the book.

May Allah (SWT) reward the author for his efforts to educate the Muslims, men and women alike, about their religion; may He cause this book to be a source of beneficial instruction to English-speaking Muslims; and may He (SWT) guide us and keep us on the Straight Path.

Nasiruddin al-Khattab

September 1997
Ithar Ghada Faied

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Publisher's Note

Post by Ithar Ghada Faied on Tue Apr 27, 2010 4:49 pm

At a time when Muslim and Non-Muslim women are being harshly attached and attracted by the "feminist theories and studies" this book is a good approach and a reminder that Islam has held women as highly esteemed and respected. It is enough that the Holy Qur'an contains a full chapter on women. The sources of Islam i.e. the Holy Qur'an and the Prophetic Traditions have always spoken of the women rights and made them full partners in the human venture of history more than any other religion or thought.

Women in Islam are; mothers, sisters, partners, workers, scholars and business owners and managers. etc.

Though this book outlines the ideal Muslimah personality as it should be according to the Qur'an and Sunnah Husbands, sons and daughters will also draw very much benefit from it.

A true Muslimah is the one who is alert, knowledgeable, true to herself as well as to others. She is righteous, and faithful. She balances her obligations to Allah (SWT), her parents and children. She does not excel in one thing and neglect the other. She is a Qur'anic example to follow-, she is a woman whose examples to follow are the she-companions of the Messenger (PBUH). Her ideals are the wives of the Messenger (PBUH).

The reader will find all this and much more in this book, which Dr. Hashmi wrote in a Arabic and was also broadcast on Riyadh Radio.

This is his second book I.I.P.H translated into English. We hope the readers will find it really informative and comprehensive and pray Allah (SWT) for the best reward for them and ourselves. May the peace and blessing of Allah (SWT) be upon Muhammad (PBUH) his household and all his companions.

Mohammed Abdul-Mohsin Al Tuwaijri

International Islamic Publishing House (I.I.P.H)

Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

At a time when Muslim women are being increasingly attracted by "feminist theories" and "women studies," this book serves as a timely reminder that the unique and authentic sources of Islam have always spoken of the rights of women and recognized women as full partners in the human venture of history. The translation of this book into English will render this valuable information more readily accessible to all the Muslims whose mother-tongue is not Arabic.

Dr. Muhammad Ali Hashmi is a well-known writer in the Arab world. Born in Syria, he is the author of numerous books on Islamic and literary topics. This is his second book translated into English; the first was "The Ideal Muslim."
Ithar Ghada Faied

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Preface to the first edition

Post by Ithar Ghada Faied on Tue Apr 27, 2010 4:53 pm

All praise and blessings be to Allah (SWT), as befits His glory and the greatness of His power. Peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the most noble of the Prophets and Messengers, whom Allah (SWT) sent to bring life to the Arabs and mercy to the worlds.

For a long time, I have been wanting to write a book on the Muslim woman, but for too long I was not able to find the means to fulfill this wish, as life kept me too busy with other things. But I was still very keen to write a book that would explain the character of the righteous Muslim woman who is guided by the teachings of her religion, understands its wisdom, follows its commandments and adheres to its limits.

Years passed by, when I was preoccupied with other matters, but my interest in this issue grew deeper. My desire to produce a book on this topic increased because I felt that it was of great importance: it would cast light on the life of the Muslim woman and explain how her character should be, in accordance with the will of Allah (SWT) and her understanding of the high status to which Allah (SWT) has raised her. For years I was determined to write such a book, until Allah (SWT) blessed me and enabled me to write it in 1410 AH/1994 CE.

The reason for my interest in presenting the character of the Muslim woman stems from the inconsistencies I had noticed in the lives of contemporary women, whereby they exaggerate some aspects of Islam and neglect others.

For example, you might see a Muslim woman who is pious and righteous, observing all the rites of her religion, but she neglects oral and bodily hygiene and does not care about the offensive smell emanating from her mouth and body; or she may pay attention to her health and hygiene, but is failing to observe all the rites and acts of worship prescribed by her religion; or she may be performing all the acts of worship required, but she does not have a proper understanding of the holistic Islamic view of life and humanity; or she may be religious, but she does not control her tongue in gatherings and refrain from gossip and slander; or she may be religious and knowledgeable, but she does not treat her neighbors and friends properly; or she may treat (female) strangers well, but she is failing to give her parents the love and respect that they deserve; or she may be treating her parents properly, but neglecting her husband's rights and failing to be a good wife to him, making herself look beautiful at women gatherings but neglecting her appearance in front of him; or she may be taking good care of her husband, but not taking care of his parents or encouraging him to be righteous, to fear Allah (SWT) and to do good works; or she may respect the rights of her husband, but she is neglecting her children and failing to bring them up properly, teach them, direct their spiritual, physical and mental development, and monitor the pernicious influences of their environment; or she may be paying attention to all that, but failing to uphold the ties of kinship; or she may uphold the ties of kinship, but fail to uphold social ties, focusing only on her private affairs with no concern for Muslim men and women in general; or she may be concerned with both her own and society's affairs, but she is not taking care of her own intellectual growth by continually reading and seeking to increase her knowledge; or she may be totally absorbed in reading and studying, but she ignores her house, her children and her husband.

What is strange indeed is to see these contradictions, or some of them, among those who consider themselves to be educated Muslim women who have benefited from an extensive Islamic education. It may be a matter of negligence or carelessness, or it may be a failure to fully understand the idea of balance on which Islam bases its holistic view of man, life and the universe, a view which gives everything the place it deserves in life, without neglecting any one aspect at the expense of another.

The true sources of Islam, the Qur'an and Sunnah, explain the ideal behavior which the Muslim woman should adopt in her relationship with her Lord, in her personal development, in her relationships with others, whether they are related to her or not, and in her social dealings in general. Whoever takes the time to research these texts will be amazed at their abundance and comprehensiveness: they deal with all major and minor aspects of a woman's life, setting out the guidelines for a balanced, upright, virtuous life which guarantees happiness and success in this world, and an immense victory and reward in the Hereafter.

I was astounded when I realized how far the modern so-called Muslim woman falls short of the noble level which Allah (SWT) wants for her. Nothing stands between her and the attainment of that level but the need to devote herself to seeking knowledge of the true Islamic character described in the Qur'an and Sunnah, which will make her a refined, noble woman who is distinguished by her feelings, thoughts, behavior, conduct and dealings and will make her adhere with determination to her religion.

It is of the utmost importance that a woman does reach that refined level, because of the great influence she has in bringing up the next generation, instilling in them virtues and values, filling their lives with love, compassion and beauty, and creating an atmosphere of security, tranquility and stability in the home.

The Muslim woman is the only woman who has the potential to achieve this in a world where modern women are exhausted and tired of materialistic philosophies and the wave of ignorance (jahiliyyah) that has overwhelmed those societies that have gone astray from the guidance of Allah (SWT). She may achieve this through knowing who she is and being aware of the pure intellectual sources of the Qur'an and Sunnah and the genuine character which Allah (SWT) wants her to have, by which she will be distinguished from all other women in the world.

So I began to collect texts from the Qur'an and authentic ahadith which spoke about the character of the Muslim woman, and I sorted them according to their subject-matter. This enabled me to draw up an integrated plan for researching personal and general woman's issues, as follows:

1. The Muslim woman and her Lord

2. The Muslim woman and her own self

3. The Muslim woman and her parents

4. The Muslim woman and her husband

5. The Muslim woman and her children

6. The Muslim woman and her sons- and daughters-in-law

7. The Muslim woman and her relatives

8. The Muslim woman and her neighbors

9. The Muslim woman and her Muslim sisters and friends

10. The Muslim woman and her community/society

Whilst I was examining these texts, an important fact became apparent to me, one which we frequently overlook. That is, that the mercy of Allah (SWT) to the Muslim woman is great indeed. Islam has rescued her from the abyss of humiliation, (being regarded as valueless) and total subordination to men, and has raised her to the highest level of honorable and respected femininity, free from the exhausting burden of having to fend for herself and earn a living; even if she is rich she does not have to provide for herself. Islam has made her independent, entitled to dispose her own wealth - if she is wealthy - as she wishes, and equal with man in human worth and with regard to general religious duties. She has rights and duties, just as a man has rights and duties. Women and men are equal in the sight of Allah (SWT) and may be rewarded or punished equally.

The blessings of Islam did not stop at raising women from humiliation and backwardness to a level of progress, honor, security and protection. Islam is also concerned with the formation and development of every aspect of her personality, whether it affects her alone or her relationship with her family and society, so that she may become refined and highly developed, worthy of her role as Allah's vicegerent (khalifah) on earth.

How does Islam form her personality? How may her development reach such a high level that had never before been attained in the history of womankind, except in the religion of Islam?

This is the question to which the reader will find the answer in the following pages. I ask Allah (SWT) to accept my work and make it purely for His sake. May He benefit others through it, make it a source of reward for me in this life and the next, and make it a help for me on the Day of Reckoning. May He guide me through it to what is right, and protect me from errors of thinking, bad intentions, slips of the pen, weakness of arguments and excessive verbiage.

Dr. Muhammad Ali al-Hashimi


20th Sha'ban 1414 AH

2nd January 1994 CE
Ithar Ghada Faied

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