Role of Women as a Da’ia

What is the role of women in rectifying the members of the society?

We can basically classify change or betterment in society into two categories:

  1. External Betterment- This takes place outside the house, for example, in the masjid, in the market places, etc. Men are more suitable for doing this, calling people to good and forbidding them from evil outside their homes.
  2. Internal Betterment- This takes place in one's home and is more suitable for women.

Shaykh Uthaymeen quotes the Quran in this context,

وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَىٰ ۖ وَأَقِمْنَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتِينَ الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِعْنَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۚ إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا

And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance, and perform As-Salah (IqamatasSalat), and give Zakat and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah wishes only to remove ArRijs (evil deeds and sins, etc.) from you, O members of the family (of the Prophet SAW), and to purify you with a thorough purification.[1]

Many people consider this ayah as a prison sanction. Allah is giving the sisters the best of advice. Staying in the house serves as a protection for them, as a sanctuary, protects them from being attacked and hurt from the outside world.

The da'wah done in the masjid or on the streets is up to the brothers. Internal da'wah of calling, maintaining, looking after the families on proper akhlaaq, and modules of Islam is better suited for sisters. We are not saying that da'wah is not the responsibility of the sisters. Allah says,

ادْعُ إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ

Invite (mankind, O Muhammad (ﷺ)) to the Way of your Lord (i.e. Islam) with wisdom (i.e. with the Divine Inspiration and the Quran). [2]

ادْعُ, is an 'amr’, command, an order, not specific for males or females alone, but for both. The only time we know that something is obligatory for the sisters alone is when it is mentioned separately and when Allah orders the sisters with something specifically. The order of giving da'wah is general and it is up to the sister to fulfil the obligation also.

For a sister to be a successful Da’ia, she has to have different attributes, among which many are also similar for men too.

  1. Being an Upright Woman:

The first quality that a Da’ia must have is of being an upright woman. This can be achieved only through knowledge of Allah and His deen. If she does not have this knowledge and does not know and follow Allah and the Sunnah of Prophet Mohammed (ﷺ), then in fact she is following her own desires. In order to be upright brothers and sisters, we have to be knowledgeable and learn the deen of Allah and also the Sunnah of Prophet Mohammed (ﷺ). Today Masha’ Allah we have sites on the internet, audio material, duroos given by sisters to sisters, through which they can learn in the confines of their homes. There are also many Shaykhat who can educate sisters and it is not necessary for them to study under a Shaykh.

  1. Clarity and Eloquence in Speech:

Shaykh Uthaymeen urges the sisters to study Arabic so that they may understand the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of Prophet Mohammed (ﷺ). With that they should also study the local language of their area.

  1. Quality of Wisdom:

Both brothers and sisters should have this quality. As Allah says,

 يُؤْتِي الْحِكْمَةَ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَمَن يُؤْتَ الْحِكْمَةَ فَقَدْ أُوتِيَ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا

He grants Hikmah to whom He pleases, and he, to whom Hikmah is granted, is indeed granted abundant good. [3]

Shaykh Uthaymeen gives examples of Prophet Mohammed (ﷺ)'s wisdom using many hadith:

  • Anas Ibn Malik reported: While we were in the mosque with Allah's Messenger (ﷺ), a desert Arab came and stood up and began to urinate in the mosque. The Companions of Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "Stop, stop!", but the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, "Don't interrupt him; leave him alone." They left him alone, and when he finished urinating, Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) called him and said to him, "These mosques are not the places meant for urine and filth, but are only for the remembrance of Allah, prayer and the recitation of the Qur'an.” He (the narrator) said that he (the Holy Prophet (ﷺ)) then gave orders to bring a bucket of water and pour over it.

This is the wisdom of Prophet Mohammed (ﷺ). If he (ﷺ) had allowed the Sahabas to stop and hurt the Bedouin, it would have led to harm and no good.

  • Abu Hurrairah narrated: A man came and said: "O Messenger of Allah (ﷺ); I am ruined!" He (ﷺ) said: "What has ruined you?" He said: "I had sexual relations with my wife during Ramadan." He (ﷺ) said: "Are you able to free a slave?" He said, "No." He (ﷺ) said: "Then are you able to fast for two consecutive months?" He said, “No.” He (ﷺ) said: "Then are you able to feed sixty needy people?" He said, "No." He (ﷺ) said: "Sit." So he sat. A big basket full of dates was brought, the Prophet (ﷺ), said: "Give it in charity." So he said: "There is no one needier than us, between its two mountains." So the Prophet (ﷺ) laughed until his pre-molar teeth appeared and said: "Then take it to feed your family."

In the end the man left without worry and concern because Prophet Mohammed (ﷺ) used his wisdom and put him at ease.

  1. Training of her Children:

A very important quality that a Da’ia must have is the sound training of her children, her daughters, her sons who maybe the future Du’at. Lots of effort and commitment needs to go into their upbringing.

  1. Liveliness in performing da'wah.

This quality should be used whether it is in university, in school, in the office, or women meeting each other at houses.

Shaykh Uthaymeen was asked about what is the ruling on sisters going to each other's house. He refrained from giving a ruling saying that some sisters have to travel long distances to other's houses and he was not comfortable in passing the rule that it is alright. He rather said that if it was close to each other's house, like neighbours, sisters to sisters, then it would be fine.

References:

[1] Quran 33:33

[2] Quran 16:125

[3] Quran 2:269

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