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 Shaykh Mohammed Daniel responds on Females lecturing Mixed-Gender Audiences on Islam

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Registration date : 2011-05-09

PostSubject: Shaykh Mohammed Daniel responds on Females lecturing Mixed-Gender Audiences on Islam   Sun Jun 02, 2013 1:17 pm


بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرحْمَنِ الرحِيْمِ
Assalāmu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuhu,
Peace, Blessings and Mercy of Allah unto you.
For the full article with footnotes see [URL="http://forum.cordobaacademy.com/2013/06/01/shaykh-mohammed-daniel-responds-on-the-permissibil/0/"]original here.[/URL]

Despite not counting myself from amongst those that initially called for a boycott of the recent lecture conducted by Sister Yasmin Mogahed in England , I believe that those who did call for such are fully within their rights to ask for it. They have exercised their scholarly prerogative, assessed the issue and made their decision on the proofs provided to them and for that they will earn the reward based on their Ijtihaad.

Presently, while people have been faffing around trying to defend the lecturer, the venue, the right for sisters to study, the organizers and many other things, they have failed to address the crucial points which I touched on in my generic article written a few months ago on the subject of 'young females addressing mixed audiences' It is even claimed that some scholars, 'giants' in fact, defended the lecturer through their Twitter and Facebook accounts and yet they did not present any credible scholarly response to the initial article.

عنْ ابنِ عبَّاسٍ رَضِي اللهُ عَنْهُما، أنَّ رسولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قالَ: ((لَوْ يُعْطَى النَّاسُ بِدَعْواهُمْ، لاَدَّعَى رِجَالٌ أَمْوَالَ قَوْمٍ وَدِمَاءَهُمْ، لَكِنِ الْبَيِّنَةُ عَلَى الْمُدَّعِي وَالْيَمِينُ عَلَى مَنْ أَنْكَر

On the authority of Abdullah ibn Abbas (radi Allah anhu) that the Apostle of Allah said: "Were people to be given in accordance to their claims, men would [unjustly] claim the wealth and blood of others. However, the onus of proof is upon the claimant, and the taking of an oath is upon him who denies.

As many of us are aware, Islam has a set the highest principles to ensure fairness by which claims are to be made and disagreements are to be settled. This principle assumes that the defendant's integrity is intact and they are free from any blame, however if a plaintiff should make a claim, the claim must not be accepted automatically, but the onus is upon them to substantiate these claims.

A wonderful example of this occurred while Sayyiduna Ali (radia Allah anho) was the Ameer al-Mumineen (Khalifah) and his armour was stolen by a Jewish subject. The Jew cunningly knew the above principle so when Ali (radia Allah anhu) approached him the Jew immediately requested that they go and settle this with the Muslim judge. When they reached the judge, Ali (radia Allah anhu) complained to the Chief Judge (Shurayh al-Qadi) that his armour was stolen by the Jew. Shurayh al-Qadi turned to the Jew and asked him regarding the armour. The Jew said, "This is my armour and it is in my hands" Shurayh then asked Ali (radia Allah anhu) to provide his proof or witnesses. Ali (radia Allah anhu) provided two witnesses, his freed slave and his son. As the testimony of the son in favour of his father is rejected, Ali (radia Allah anhu) was unable to prove his case and the armour was judged to be the Jews. The Jew seeing that even the leader of all Muslims is judged against according to this principle immediately became Muslim.

Consequently, it follows that this feeble slave of Allah must also provide the proofs for the reservations that I have regarding this issue, therefore allow me now to succinctly establish the proofs and ask the questions directly in the hope that we no longer continue to beat around the bush, but collectively reach the truth in this matter.

I respectfully request that those who want to offer rulings on the permissibility of young female speakers lecturing mixed audiences should not rely on conjecture or non-academic Facebook and Twitter responses with snide remarks, rather they should make a decent academic effort to silence their critics with their proofs as has been the tradition in scholarly disagreement for hundreds of years.

THE CAUSES FOR DISAGREEMENT

FIRST CONTENTION
The use of make-up by females in front of non-Mahram males.

Action
Upon requesting over a dozen sisters, to view numerous clips, it was unanimously agreed that Sister Yasmin can be seen clearly wearing make-up while standing in front of a mixed-gender audience and lecturing.

The proof
The sister without make-up http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJwZKDI_El4
The sister with make-up http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GH5pAN8Qxh4

The questions
After informing women that it would be better for them to remain in their homes, but providing the dispensation that women may leave their homes, did Allah (SWT) not categorically forbid females from committing al-Tabaruj in the Quran?

وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ
And abide quietly in your houses, and make not a dazzling display, like that of the former Times of Ignorance;

Did Allah also not offer a dispensation especially for the older women that they may neglect the wearing of the outer garment, and was this also not dependant on the fulfillment of a condition?

وَالْقَوَاعِدُ مِنَ النِّسَاء اللَّاتِي لَا يَرْجُونَ نِكَاحًا فَلَيْسَ عَلَيْهِنَّ جُنَاحٌ أَن يَضَعْنَ ثِيَابَهُنَّ غَيْرَ مُتَبَرِّجَاتٍ بِزِينَةٍ وَأَن يَسْتَعْفِفْنَ خَيْرٌ لَّهُنَّ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ
Such elderly women as are past the prospect of marriage- there is no blame on them if they lay aside their (outer) garments, provided they make not a wanton display of their beauty: but it is best for them to be modest: and Allah is One Who sees and knows all things.

That condition was that they do not make a wanton display of their beauty. This verse was for the elderly women, does it not follow then that young women -who do not have the dispensation of neglecting the outer garment- must also not make a wanton display of their beauty? What more wanton a display can there be than a woman applying make-up to embellish her face?

Did Allah also not command that Muslims (male and female) to not commit any action that would draw us closer to Zina?

وَلاَ تَقْرَبُواْ الزِّنَى إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً وَسَاء سَبِيلاً
And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way.

Did the Ulama not say that al-Tabaruj is one of the methods that lead to Zina because it seeks to magnetize the opposite gender which then opens a door leading to Zina?

SECOND CONTENTION
The female lecturer speaks softly, tells jokes and even laughs during her lectures.

The proof
There are many examples of this spread out through her lectures: The following Youtube clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7BLtk1DqOs from 41:15-42:15

The question
Allah states in the Quran in Surah al-Ahzab:

إِنِ اتَّقَيْتُنَّ فَلَا تَخْضَعْنَ بِالْقَوْلِ فَيَطْمَعَ الَّذِي فِي قَلْبِهِ مَرَضٌ وَقُلْنَ قَوْلًا مَّعْرُوفًا

"If you fear Allah then do not be soft in speech [to men], lest he in whose heart is disease should be moved to desire [you], but speak with appropriate speech."


So is laughing in front of men not more of a temptation for them and is this not a breach of the Haya that a lady should have in front of the opposite gender?

THIRD CONTENTION
The sister is clearly wearing dazzling eye-catching clothing that would attract the attention of people unnecessarily.

The proof
Again, numerous clips that show this colourful clothing- some are:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cs5W64Fgtv4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfKihkYwtVc

The question

How did the scholars interpret the following verses in particular the commandment for women not to reveal their adornment?

وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَى جُيُوبِهِنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَائِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَاء بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَائِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَاء بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي أَخَوَاتِهِنَّ أَوْ نِسَائِهِنَّ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ أَوِ التَّابِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُوْلِي الْإِرْبَةِ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ أَوِ الطِّفْلِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُوا عَلَى عَوْرَاتِ النِّسَاء وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِن زِينَتِهِنَّ وَتُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And turn to Allāh in repentance, all of you, O believers that you might succeed.


Is it not true that scholars such as Imam al-Nawawi (RA) and Imam al-Dhababi (RA) as well as dozens of others have stated that the clothing that a woman wears when she leaves the confines of her home must not in itself attract unwanted attention by the designs and colours it bears? Did Imam al-Dhahabi (RA) not state in his famous text entitled "al-Kaba'ir" (The Major Sins) the following:

"From the actions for which a woman invites curse is the wearing of perfume when leaving the house and the wearing of mixed-coloured clothing and … all of these are from al-Tabaruj and are severely despised by Allah and Allah despises this person in this world and in the hereafter."

Is there such a thing as zina of the eyes? Would the eyes then not be more attracted to something or someone that stood out from the rest of the crowd by the glittery clothing they were wearing or have the scholars above been unreasonable in what they said?

عَنْ أَبِيهِ عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَتَبَ عَلَى ابْنِ آدَمَ حَظَّهُ مِنْ الزِّنَا أَدْرَكَ ذَلِكَ لَا مَحَالَةَ فَزِنَا الْعَيْنِ النَّظَرُ وَزِنَا اللِّسَانِ الْمَنْطِقُ وَالنَّفْسُ تَمَنَّى وَتَشْتَهِي وَالْفَرْجُ يُصَدِّقُ ذَلِكَ كُلَّهُ وَيُكَذِّبُهُ

On the authority of Abu Hurairah (radi Allah anhu) who said that that the Prophet (salalahu alayhi wasalam) stated: “Allah has decreed upon every son of Adam (alayhi salam) his share of zina which he will unavoidably commit. The zina of the eyes is gazing, the zina of the tongue is speaking, one may wish and desire and the private parts confirm or deny it.”

كل الحوادث مبداها من النظر ... ومعظم النار من مستصغر الشرر
والعين أصل عناها فتنة النظر ... والقلب كل أذاه الشغل بالفكر
كم نظرة نقشت في القلب صورة من ... راح الفؤاد بها في الأسر والحذر
والمرء ما دام ذا عين يقلبها ... في أعين العين موقوف على الخطر

FOURTH CONTENTION
A female lecturer traverses distances that exceed those permitted for a believing woman to travel when there is no urgent need for her to do so.

The proof
It is well known that the sister has been traveling throughout the USA and abroad well before she married and not in the company of a Mahram

The questions
Has it not been narrated in numerous authentic Ahadith that it is not permissible for a woman to travel without a Mahram. Then on what grounds has it suddenly become permissible when there is no pressing urgency?

Narrated Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) the Messenger of Allah (salalahu alayhi wasalam) said: "It is unlawful for a woman who believes in Allah and the last day to travel the distance of one day and one night without a Mahram accompanying her." (al-Bukhari)

Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) the Messenger of Allah (salalahu alayhi wasalam) said: "A woman must not travel for three days except with a Mahram." (Agreed Upon)


Furthermore, we all know the dispensation that women have for visiting the Masajid in the Hadith of the Prophet (salalahu alayhi wasalam) however what did the scholars say about young women attending?

FIFTH CONTENTION
The uncontrolled and unnecessary free-mixing of genders so that they sit next to or behind each other.

The proof
Again, this can be seen on many of the clips, here is just one
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXKSwwx9F0Y (at 8:30 in the clip)

The question
Is it permissible for men and women to mix freely within these gatherings sometimes wearing clothing and make-up that attracts the opposite gender and if not then why is the seating arrangement, entrance/exit the same for all when with a little effort, this can be stopped?

SIXTH CONTENTION

Scholars should all know the Fiqhi maxim:
درء المفاسد أولى من جلب المصالح

(Avoiding corrupting elements is preferred over achieving benefits)

The question
When weighing up all the Mafasid that are involved with Muslim females lecturing mixed audiences do you still feel that it should be permissible? Yes, the Fiqhi maxim "Hardship brings with it a relaxing (Tayseer) of the rules" can be implemented for female medical doctors who need to learn gynecology etcetera, but has the Ummah reached such a low in its level of male scholarship that it now requires non-qualified sisters to lecture mixed audiences about Islam when it clearly contains numerous dubious issues and it would it not be better for us to steer away from these for that which is clear?

JUSTIFICATION FOR ABOVE QUESTIONS

While in the normal sphere of things, the previous questions may seem as an intrusion into the private life and choices of an individual, but in reality they are not. When a person chooses to take to the limelight and specialize as an Islamic preacher/lecturer they clearly have a responsibility to at least outwardly live according to what they preach as they fill the role of an exemplar for the young, impressionable youth they seek to engage. This principle in the Hadith Sciences is known as 'Adalah and it was stated clearly by Sayyiduna Umar (Radi Allah anhu) when he said:

إنَّ أُنَاسًا كانُوا يُؤخَذُونَ بالوحيِ في عهدِ رسولِ اللهِ صلَّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلمَ ، وإنَّ الوحيَ قد انقَطَعَ ، وإنَّمَا نأْخُذُكُم الآنَ بمَا ظهَرَ لنَا من أعمَالِكُمْ ، فمَنْ أظْهَرَ لنَا خيرًا أمِنَّاهُ وقَرَّبْنَاهُ ، وليسَ إلينَا مِن سَرِيرَتِهِ شيءٌ ، اللهُ يحَاسِبُهُ في سَرِيرَتِهِ ، ومَن أظهَرَ لنَا سوءًا لم نَأْمَنْهُ ولم نُصَدِّقْهُ ، وإنْ قالَ : إنَّ سَرِيرَتَهُ حسَنَةٌ .

“The people would be accepted [or rejected] based on revelation in the time of the Messenger of Allah, (salalahu alayhi wasalam), and revelation has ended. Now we can only accept [or reject] you by what is apparent to us from your actions. Thus whoever appears good to us, we trust him and draw him near, while we know nothing of his secrets- Allah will bring him to account regarding his secrets- and whoever appears evil to us, we will not trust him and we will not befriend him, even if [someone] said: ‘His secrets are good"

It has been noticed in numerous videos that the sister can clearly be seen welcoming questions from the audience and she attempts to answer them. Simply being Arab is not a qualifier for a person to speak and pronounce Quran and Hadith correctly and it certainly does not ensure scholarship. Based upon all the above and other points that I do not have time to go into now, is it really objectionable for people who wish to attend her lectures, and those with a responsibility towards their children, to not ascertain the credentials of the individual lecturing, in much the same way that a person would do if they were going to attend a professional skills workshop?

From the guidance that we find in the Sunnah is the narration of Abdullah ibn Mas'ood (radi Allah anhu) that is Marfu Hukman in which he stated:

إِنَّكُمْ فِي زَمَانٍ: كَثِيرٌ فُقَهَاؤُهُ، قَلِيلٌ خُطَبَاؤُهُ، قَلِيلٌ سُؤَّالُهُ، كَثِيرٌ مُعْطُوهُ، الْعَمَلُ فِيهِ قَائِدٌ لِلْهَوَى. وَسَيَأْتِي مِنْ بَعْدِكُمْ زَمَانٌ: قَلِيلٌ فُقَهَاؤُهُ، كَثِيرٌ خُطَبَاؤُهُ، كَثِيرٌ سُؤَّالُهُ، قَلِيلٌ مُعْطُوهُ"…

"Verily you live in times in which there are many scholars and few speakers. Few people ask and there are many to give. Actions are far more than the diversions. A time will come when there will be many speakers and few scholars. Many who ask and few who give…."

If you are able to provide proofs to defend one or all of the above questions then is it still not permissible for there to be a difference of opinion between scholars and students of knowledge or is that no longer something feasibly acceptable?

The Adab of Ikhtilaaf (The etiquette when difference of opinion occurs)

Whenever I write articles of any kind, I try to not only get across the Haq or truth in the matter as understood by me, but to also benefit the reader in other ways. In this article, I feel that it would be useful for us to briefly touch on the point of Adab al-Ikhtilaaf.

There is no doubt, that difference of opinion has occurred in the past and will continue to occur in the future, but should these differences of opinion lead us to the scare-tactics and slandering of our opponent as witnessed recently?

Well, let us look back at how the greatest people of this Ummah would differ? If we take a glimpse at the lives of the Sahabah, we find that there are scores of examples wherein the Sahabah would differ, but that they would not resort to such ill-behaviour:

Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu anhu) differed with Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn Mas'ood (radi Allahu anhu) in more than 100 issues some of which were related to the application of Hadd and issues pertaining to Halaal and Haraam and yet that did not stop them from having the utmost respect for each other so much so that Umar (RA) said in reference to Ibn Mas'ood (RA): "[He is] the trove of Fiqh or Ilm that enriched the people of Qadisiyah."

Despite, the huge differences that the School of Hadith had with the School of Ra’y, when the great Imam Abu Hanifah (RA) was buried, the great Muhaddith Shu'bah ibn al-Hajjaj said, "The complete Fiqh of Kufa has been buried with him; may Allah have mercy upon him and upon us." Despite, the scores of issues in which Imam al-Shafi'ee (RA) differs with Imam Abu Hanifah (RA), he said, "The people are the children of Imam Abu Hanifah in the affairs of Fiqh"

Much more can be said on this topic, but I feel the essence of what I want to say has been beautifully summarized in what Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (RA) said:

وَأَمَّا الِاخْتِلَافُ فِي " الْأَحْكَامِ " فَأَكْثَرُ مِنْ أَنْ يَنْضَبِطَ، وَلَوْ كَانَ كُلَّمَا اخْتَلَفَ مُسْلِمَانِ فِي شَيْءٍ تَهَاجَرَا لَمْ يَبْقَ بَيْنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ عِصْمَةٌ وَلَا أُخُوَّةٌ، وَلَقَدْ كَانَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرُ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا سَيِّدَا الْمُسْلِمِينَ يَتَنَازَعَانِ فِي أَشْيَاءَ لَا يَقْصِدَانِ إلَّا الْخَيْرَ
“As for the difference in opinion that occurs in rulings (ahkaam) then they are more than can be agreed upon. And if every time there is a difference of opinion between the Muslims they turn away from each other then there would not remain any unity or brotherhood. Indeed the leaders of all Muslims, Abu Bakr and Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) differed with each other, but did not intend except goodness.”

Final Thought

It is clear from this and my previous article on the subject of young female speakers addressing mixed audiences that I am vehemently against this practice and do not see how comparisons can be drawn between the learned muhaddithaat of the past who maintained the Islamic standards required of them and roving motivational speakers of today. If my fellow students of knowledge and our dear scholars are able to answer the contentions above and are satisfied that what they are doing is acceptable to the requirements of their deen and it does not affect their taqwa, then let us humbly disagree on this issue, but agree to meet each other with a smile and the greetings of peace for our brotherhood should not be compromised and our unity not be fragmented.

The lowliest creature of Allah
In need of his forgiveness,

Mohammed Daniel
Cordoba Academy
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