“Yesterday I was clever, I thought I could change the world; today I am wise and I think I should change myself”. These are words of inspiration from Jalal ad-din Muhammad Rumi. To understand and set the record straight, we do tend to be judgemental about everyone other than ourselves. We forget that the world is also looking at us; our dealings with our parents, our general conduct, our economical & personal dealings, and our interaction with every age group etc., which ultimately defines our bond and our relationship with Allah. A good conduct must be applied with any dealing (muamalat). If these characteristics are missing then no matter what we speak or do, there is no way the world would change based on us just being clever.
Ustaz Nouman Ali in one of his lectures said, “If we hold on to the rope of Allah, along with the Sunnah (Prophetic sayings + actions) correctly and tightly, then all our relationships & dealings would be correct”. This is because each dealing would be based on Haq(truth+ justice); starting from our parents, our wives, our brothers & sisters, our kids, our relatives, our friends, our companions etc. The simple understanding of Haq makes us wise and then we immediately take this decision about ourself “I should change myself”. Once our self- corrections starts; that’s when our personalities become affirmative and humble. The world is still watching us with an eagle’s eye; but at this ‘self-change’ the world desires to change too or at least addresses that person with ‘DIGNITY’.
A little recap on the words of wisdom that came out from Khadijah’s(Raa) mouth when Prophet Muhammad (SAW) received his first revelation, “Allah shall never subject you to any indignity…, for you always maintain your ties with those of your kin, and you are always generous in giving; you are diligent, and you seek what others regard as unattainable; you cool the eyes of your guest, and you lend your support to those who seek justice and redress (to set right an unfair or undesirable situation)”. Ponder on the advice given to the world; it seems so easy but NO! it’s not. It’s difficult as our connection with Allah is weak and hence we are subject to ‘indignity’ in this world and in the hereafter.
Allah, the Almighty blesses an affirmative personality with guidance & self-respect. Baraka (blessings of Allah) is when maximum benefit is given with minimum provisions. Just like Asiya (Pharaoh’s wife)was an affirmative woman, who underwent extreme oppression from her husband, but she never stood by him on falsehood; she stood with her affirmative character against all odds of evil. Asiaya’s affirmative personality was thereby blessed with Guidance & Self-respect to the extent that Allah confirms her history in the Quran. Most of us would probably cry while leaving this world; whereas Asiya after being tortured by Pharaoh, her very own husband, smiled during her last few breaths of life. (Read her story in the Quran). Asiya couldn’t change her husband along with other oppressors; she decided to be wise by changing herself and that’s what changed the course of history. Asiya was an affirmative force as she was guided by Allah and Pharaoh was the negative force as he remained deprived of Allah’s guidance through Musa (As).
The next example I take is Fatimah, the daughter of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was very intelligent and she was the youngest sister but highest in grades. She was dearest to her father. He once said, “Fatimah is like soul and heart to me”. And once, he said, “Fatimah will be the leader of the women in Paradise”. He further said, “What troubles Fatimah troubles me as well”.
She had an affirmative and versatile personality; many of us are unaware of the fact that she was an amazing doctor. Not by Degree, but by listening to the doctors that visited her father Muhammad (SAW). She took care of so many children and was a nightingale for warriors at times of war.
Uqbah ibn Abi Muayt, one of the vilest of the lot, volunteered for a dirty act. He returned with obnoxious filth and threw it on the shoulders of the Prophet (saw), while he was still prostrating. Abdullah ibn Masud, a companion of the Prophet, was present but he was powerless to do or say anything.
Imagine the feelings of Fatimah as she saw her father being treated in this fashion. What could she, a girl not even ten years old, do? She went up to her father and removed the offensive matter and then stood firmly and angrily before the group of Quraysh thugs and lashed out against them. Not a single word did they say to her. The noble Prophet raised his head on completion of the prostration and went on to complete his Salah. He (SAW) then said: “O Lord, may you punish the Quraysh!” Just imagine standing up for Haq at such an young age and then slowly growing wise with knowledge, experience and age.
Ateqa the wife of Umar (ra), used to ask Umar ibn al-Khattab for permission to go to the mosque. He would keep silent, so she would say, “By Allah, I will go out, unless you forbid me,” and he would not forbid her. She wasn’t a feminist or standing up for some kind of a ‘woman’s lib’; she was asking for her right and Umar (ra) couldn’t stop her as he couldn’t deny her right given by Allah and His Rasool (SAW). Unfortunately women in the east and west have been misused, oppressed & tortured day in and out. Today if she asks for her RIGHTS, she is called a Feminist or a Liberated Woman. Read the Quran; Islam liberated women from tyranny and oppression. Sadly speaking, the ‘Hawwa’ of today have been crushed with the wrongful misinterpretation of the Quran and the hadiths of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
I could go on and on with a list of ‘the lively women & the giver of life’ of all times, but I will stop here with an advice for the Hawwa of today; do not be clever by pushing to change people around you. Trying to change them will only disturb and destroy you in the bargain. Please Dignify yourself by being Wise and change yourself on grounds that are right. Be on the side of Haq (truth & justice) and understand your Rights given by ‘The Almighty Creator’. Do not sulk and build in negative thoughts. Be affirmative as that was the personality of the Righteous Women in the past. You change, and the world will change along with you…InshaAllah.
“And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree (of responsibility) over them. And Allah is Exalted in Power and is Wise “(2:228).