Biological and historical studies show that women have been specially gifted with qualities required for the establishment of social harmony
Realizing the Potential of Women
Studies show that women have been specially gifted by nature with such qualities as fit them for the role of bringing about peace and harmony in society in times of conflict. These qualities are gentleness, selflessness, compassion, mildness and, above all, a spiritual approach to life. A study of history tells us that women have always played this role, albeit mostly on the home front.
It is a matter of common knowledge that women have always contributed greatly to normalizing conditions at home by relieving tensions and resolving conflicts. The softness of their approach to problems and their marked capacity for pacifying are clearly attributes which will eliminate stress.
Women have been specially gifted by nature with such qualities as fit them for the role of bringing about peace and harmony in society in times of conflict.
When we look at Islamic history, the first instance we find of such positive feminine influence is that of Khadija, the wife of the Prophet. When the Prophet Muhammad received his first revelation from the angel in the cave of Hira, it was a totally new experience for him, and he trembled in fear of what he had seen and heard. He immediately set off for his home after the disappearance of the angel. When he had regained his composure, he related the incident to Khadija. She did her best to assure him that no harm would come to him as he always spoke the truth, helped the poor and those in distress, and invariably treated others with respect. With these reassuring words, she successfully calmed him down, employing all her natural gifts of gentleness, sympathy, understanding, and, above all, selfless love. After the Prophet of Islam left this world, great differences arose among Muslims in many matters. During his lifetime, all such issues had been referred to him for a solution. But after the demise of the Prophet, it was now left to his wife Aisha, who had been under his training for many years, to play the very positive role of guide and mentor. Having become fully imbued with the spirit of the religion of Islam, she used to give guidance to both male and female Companions of the Prophet. In this way, she successfully resolved such differences.
The most prominent name of a woman within the Sufi tradition is that of Rabia Basri (713-801). She was born in 713 C.E. into a poor family in Basra, Iraq. She devoted her life to worshiping God and serving others. She lived a life of extreme asceticism, and a large number of disciples gathered around her. Her mystical sayings have become proverbial.
The spiritual role of women has never been properly realized because of the failure to institutionalize their role in society.
In Rabia Basri’s times, Muslim society was rent with great religious differences. But her strong spiritual personality exerted such a powerful influence that people eventually forgot their doctrinal differences and rallied around her. She laid emphasis on pure divine love, which alone could minimize all these differences.
According to a hadith, the Prophet of Islam observed: “Men and women are two halves of a single unit.”
Teachings to this effect in the Quran and Hadith ushered in a new age of gender equality
Both biological and historical studies show that women have been specially gifted with qualities required for the establishment of social harmony. In the Muslim case, this potential of women has never been properly realized because of the failure to institutionalize their role in Muslim society. Had Muslim women been trained to perform this task, they would have been able to play this role far more effectively, and on a far greater scale. The need of the hour today is to institutionalize this role and give proper training to women so that this capability with which women have been so abundantly endowed by nature may be fully harnessed.
Once this feminine potential has been realized, the world will be a better place for all to live in.
(Extracted with some modification from spiritofislam.co.in)