Conducted for Jamiah Ayesha Siddeeqa- ( An Islamic women's educational institute in Sri Lanka) via zoom followed by an interesting Q&A session.
Around 50 Final year students participated. Empowering women is Empowering generations. Long way to go. But every little step counts.I am sharing a snippet from the session
Community building is a continuous process where collective efforts are taken to create an inclusive and equitable space- A space which ensures the holistic development- A space where health, education, economy, security and spirituality of the society are wholesome.
The term development often misinterpreted as the mere expansion of growth. But it has more meaning than the increase in number, volume and size.
I believe that we are sent to this world for a reason. Every individual man and woman with a purpose. A purpose of higher esteem and regard. In a nutshell, our ultimate vision in life is to create a Peaceful, livable world and enriching it with justice and uprightness.
We dream of a community, a world where fairness and impartiality reign.
we are bestowed with enormous potential and skills to carry out that mission. The duty of enhancing the world, the responsibility of digging out new earth from the earth, is on us.
A mediocre life is less than satisfactory to a person who is aware of this great burden on his or her shoulders.
Prophet Muhammed PBUH visualised of such a society- A rational society where women along with men strive hard in the great mission of community building.
Women throughout Islamic history had contributed to the process of community building.
Social change is only possible in an environment where the individuality and the uniqueness of the women and man are recognised, respected and valued. We shall never forget the fact that women are half or more of the population of any community.
Actions start from thoughts. Attitudinal change is very important for social reform. We rarely discuss the role of women in community building. The common roles of women as daughters, wives and mothers are discussed extensively as well as few career-related roles such as female doctors, teachers, journalists accountant etc.
But when asked whether Muslim woman has a social role, the answer is not very clear and is often contradictory. People in general are reluctant to talk about the social role of women. Because we fear that her familial roles would be neglected.
In reality, women played great roles in the past across time, many Muslim women have left a mark on their communities to the extent of changing the course of history. They were able to influence, inspire and empower in the lives of others.
For example, Aisha, wife of the Prophet Muhammad, had special skills in administration and management. She became a scholar in hadith, jurisprudence, an educator, and a poet. Companions of Prophet used to consult her in crucial decision-making processes of the community. Aisha is just one example and maybe the best. There were countless Muslim women who excelled in areas for instance medicine, literature, and jurisprudence who enriched the mission of community building with their potential.
Muslim women participated alongside men in structuring the community, culture and civilization. They outshone in the economy, education, poetry, literature and the arts, making tangible contributions in every field of community building.
However, with time, culturally influenced interpretation of Islamic texts and supremacy of patrilineal ethos made Islamic society to forget or underestimate the significance of women’s social role.
Operational change is only possible when attitudinal change occurs. Current social order identifies women as dependents of men or more precisely as burdens. Women seldom develop their abilities, potential and life skills.
The basic unit of community development is the institute of family. But the role of women is not limited only to that. It is time we broaden our vision beyond these boundaries.
Empowering women is the key aspect to ensure her participation in Community building. Prophet Muhammed PBUH empowered women to build up an autonomous and peaceful community.
What are the first steps to empower women?
- Freedom of acquiring knowledge from every source from formal education to professional know-how and proficiency. Wisdom gained from books and other literature, knowledge of divine guidance and the learning about the world around.
- The opportunities to develop their skills in sports, leadership, communication and management etc
- The independence to choose her career and follow her dreams within the true guidance Allah SWT. The liberty to earn and spend her own money.
- Equal participation in decision making at all levels, starting from family to society.
- Ensuring a safe and protective environment for women to contribute to the building of community. Providing assurance and support.
Empowering women is empowering society. Women are the bridges of cultural heritage. They are the key participants of community building and change-makers.
"...I will not suffer the work of any worker among you to be lost whether male or female, one of you being from the other..." (Holy Qur’an, 3:195)