The head of religious board Fatima Zahra Center Iran, member of the Global Association of Muslim Women (GAMW) and the first ever PhD holder in Women’s Rights in Islam Dr Khanam Masooma Jaffery has said that the efforts to protect women’s rights and their suitable place in Pakistan are underway but there is stern need to include them in the development process of the country. In view of the greatness of women in Islam, it is important to respect the delicate gender in today’s world.

She said that Islam was a religion that gave its followers a perfect blueprint for living, thus it also told Muslims their rights and duties adding that according to Islam, there was no difference between men and women in terms of religion and both women and men were equal in human status.

This she said while delivering a lecture at a one-day international seminar titled “Life of Bibi Khadija Al-Kubra and the Status of Women in Islam”, which was held at the Institute of Gender Studies, University of Sindh (SU), Jamshoro here on Thursday.

Iran’s popular Islamic scholar Dr Khanam Masooma Jaffery added that today’s international seminar was made possible by the efforts of Sindh University Vice-Chancellor Professor (Meritorious) Dr Muhammad Siddique Kalhoro and the participants including her were able to sit in the spiritual gathering to recall the sacrifices of Hazrat Khadija Al-Kubra.

“If the pillar of the society in terms of empowering women is strong, then the peace and well-being of the nation can be put on it. Therefore, if women have an important role in making or spoiling the society, then why is she not given the importance she deserves?” she questioned.

She said that physically and in terms of scope, although there was a difference between the two [men & women], but as human beings, both were equal, so it was important to be aware of the rights of women in Islam.

She further said that women were moving forward in every field and they were being trapped in the life of malice but no one should forget that they could play their role in building a righteous society.

Dr. Jaffery said that history was a witness that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had announced for the first time in the world to empower women by allowing them to work as nurses, educate them in cloth making, thread making, agriculture, leather making, sewing, seeking education and other skills. However, the better half of the Prophet, Hazrat Kadijatu Al-Kubra (May God be pleased with her) taught women about business.

He said that Imam Khomeini had once said that the greatness of a woman should be judged from the fact that Allah chose to send one hundred and twenty-four thousand prophets on earth through her.

She said that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) worked a lot to protect the rights of women and he always asked Bibi Khadijah (RA) to explain the dignity of women before ladies and gents.

The Iranian scholar further said that women had a great place in Islam, as a result of which, Allah Almighty felt proud of their existence adding that the name of Bibi Khadija remained always on the tongue of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

She said that Hazrat Khadija RA was not only a wealthy business woman, but she was also a writer and poetess. “Islam is the only religion in the world, which gives women the right to get higher education and advancement”, she said and added that she was elated to see that in Pakistan there was great respect for the last Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his family.

She went on saying that once Hazrat Khadijata Al-Kubra (RA) had said that if she did not have the biography of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) but had the wealth and happiness of the whole world, then all of these would have been meaningless for her.

She said that it was very important to respect women in order to get the pleasure of Allah Almighty. Dr Jaffery said that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said that getting the love of Hazrat Khadijah (RA) was more than getting a special sustenance for him.

The speaker further said that in a period when the price of a woman was equal to 100 camels, rumors were spread that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had been harmed physically and various conspiracies were made to disturb Hazrat Khadija (RA) but the virtuous woman brought the Prophet (PBUH) to the market of Makkah and convinced the Quraish that a woman could not be intimidated or browbeaten with different tactics.

“Today’s role models for women are Hazrat Khadijah, Hazrat Fatimah, and Hazrat Zainab. There is absolutely no need for Pakistani women to look elsewhere, when they have such perfect role models before them”, she said and added that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) made women strong socially and economically, that was the reason why he allowed them to pray on one side of the mosque separately.

Dr Khanam Masooma Jaffery further said that once the Prophet (PBUH) said that three things were very dear to him- prayer, fragrance and the dignity of a woman.

Narrating an incident, she said that once the sister of the former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, came on a visit to Iran and she was on the way to Isfahan; she stopped at the shrine of the daughter of Imam Moosa Kazim, Fatima Masooma and asked about the rush of the people.

“She decided to stay at the shrine for a week and was surprised when she saw that the Iranian Chief of Army Staff, the Chief Justice of Iranian Supreme Court and other leaders were coming there without protocol and were bowing in respect and raising their hands to pray. Afterwards, they were going back”. Dr. Jaffery said and added that the woman’s curiosity increased even more when she learned that Fatima Masooma was a virgin till her demise.

“After a week, calling the entire media, she read the Kalma and told that the right position and status for a woman was only in Islam, and nowhere else”, the scholar stated.

She said that in 2021, over 20 thousand American citizens, especially women, accepted Islam after visiting Iran, urging that today’s woman had to be the bearer of Islam.

On the occasion, the Director of the Institute of Gender Studies Prof. Dr. Misbah Bibi Qureshi paid the vote of thanks to the visiting scholar from Iran and other participants and said that the it all happened by dint of the all-out cooperation extended by the Vice-Chancellor and the Registrar.

On the occasion, former Vice-Chancellor of Shah Abdul Latif University (SALU) Khairpur Prof Dr Parveen Shah, Dr Khalida Jamali, Prof Shireen Memon, Dean Faculty of Social Sciences Prof Dr Hamadullah Kakepoto, Dr Ahmed Ali Brohi, Dr Zulfiqar Ali Zaidi, Dr Muhammad Hasan Agheem, Dr Aftab Rajar, Dr Naseem Aslam Chana, Muhammad Mashooque Siddiqui, Wahid Paras Hisbani, Abdul Majeed Panhwar, Dr Mukesh Kumar Khatwani, Dr Anila Naz Soomro, Dr Rafique Ahmed Lashari, Dr Naheed Arain and a large number of teachers and students of the center were present.

Earlier, a traditional gift of ajrak was also presented to the guest speaker Dr Khanam Masooma Jaffery, Dr Hamadullah Kakepoto and others. At the onset of the seminar, recitation of verses from the Holy Quran took place while a Naat was also presented.

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Author

Arshad Yousafzai is a Karachi-based journalist covering Education and Human Rights. He can be reached on Twitter @Arshadyousafzay

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