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Part 2 of a 5 part special of the advent of Islam: Lessons we should never forget.
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With international Women’s day last week, it seems fitting to discuss the value Islam places on women (making this Part 2 of a 5 part special of the advent of Islam: Lessons we should never forget). As mentioned earlier, Pre Islam Arabia was a very different time for the region and for women particularly.

Part 2 of a 5 part special of the advent of Islam: Lessons we should never forget.

On the advent Islamic Feminism and how it affected Arabia

One of the biggest contributions of Islam was to bring about feminist thought and improve the rights of women within the region. With the establishment of a new religion and a new central government, the rights of women were far better protected than ever before.

Female infanticide was one of the most heinous crimes of the era (the practice of slaying female infants) which was not just condemned by those who found the idea appalling but also by a source that most Arabs post Islam revered i.e., the Holy Quran. “When the buried infant shall be asked for what sin she was slain, when the scrolls shall be unrolled”… “Whither then will you go?”

The above quote from the Muslim Holy Book, the line of thinking that Islam was presenting regarding the rights of women made the people of Arabia look at women in a different light and ended up having quite a propitious effect on the land and its people. It was a wake up call for a nation of tribes who had ignored the very basics of humanity till then by depriving the innocent of their very basic right to life. The realization that women are people and should be treated as such was drawn from it. By banning the murders of innocent babies, the state of Arabia became a much better place for females to live in. A lot of female infants who would never have grown old ended up living full enriching lives as a result of this wonderful aspect of Islam.

Narrated by Abu Huraira:

Allah’s Apostle said, “A prostitute was forgiven by Allah,

because, passing by a panting dog near a well

and seeing that the dog was about to die of thirst,

she took off her shoe, and tying it with her head-cover

she drew out some water for it.

So, Allah forgave her because of that.” 

(Book #54, Hadith #538)

It is from words like this that women today draw courage to run for public office, succeed in all walks of life and excel in every academic and practical field. The concept of forgiveness, the concept of God holding women in such high esteem that a small merciful gesture is enough to wash away a lifetime of sin shows the value that Islam places on women.

While there are certain people who feel that Muslims should reject this view for a more patriarchal one, it does not really fit in with the central beliefs of Islam. In fact, it can be argued that Islam may have been one of the original proponents of feminism (which traditionally aims to prove that women are equal to men and in this context can be taken to mean women are equal to men in the eyes of God). With words of such wisdom backed up by religious arguments, how can the status of women in Islam ever be in doubt?

Welsh Soldiers Visit Local Mosque before Being Dispatched to Afghanistan
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Welsh soldiers have paid a visit to a mosque to prepare them for their forthcoming tour to Afghanistan. Troops from 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh went along to the Zakaria Mosque, in Bolton, one of the largest in the north west.

Welsh soldiers have paid a visit to a mosque to prepare them for their forthcoming tour to Afghanistan.

Troops from 1st Battalion, The Royal Welsh went along to the Zakaria Mosque, in Bolton, one of the largest in the north west.

The request was put forward by the unit, which has soldiers from Swansea, Neath, Port Talbot and Carmarthenshire, and is based at Dale Barracks, in Chester.

A total of 50 soldiers from the regiment, who took part in the trip, are expected to head out to Afghanistan in April.

They will be helping with the transfer of security over to members of the Afghan National Security Forces.

Major Owain Luke, Officer Commanding B Company, said the aim of the visit was to offer the soldiers a better understanding of Islam and the cultural significance of the mosque.

He said: “We are going to an Islamic country and so it is critical our soldiers understand the faith. The more we do so, through activities like this, the more likely we are to avoid making cultural blunders.”

The Bolton mosque was founded 40 years ago and is one of 20 based in the area.

A total of 3,000 people can worship at the mosque, which looks different to those in Afghanistan. The mosque’s Imam Rashid spent around three hours with the soldiers. The troops were invited to watch prayers take place.

He also took questions on Islam, daily prayer rituals and Ramadan — the month of fasting — appearance and dress.

Major Luke added: “An occasion like this is important for those who come to visit and those who are visited.

“It gives each of us a good understanding of each other, and it gives the soldiers a good understanding of our place of worship.

“It was a good experience.”

Inayat Omarji, chief officer at the Bolton Council of Mosques, said: “It was good to have the soldiers here and we would like to invite them back on their return to hear their stories.”

Sources:

Elizabeth Perkins, “Troops put faith in mosque visit to aid new tour” South Wales Evening Post February 25, 2012

“Troops from 1st Battalion Go to the Zakaria Mosque” Religion NewswireFebruary 25, 2012Reproduced with permission from Islam Today

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