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Foreword of Translator

I begin with the name of Allah Most Beneficent Most Merciful.

All praise is due to Allah the Exalted and may Allah exalt the mention of His Prophet and render him and his household, his Companions, and all those who follow their way safe from every evil, and grant them security on the Day of Resurrection.

This book discusses the special place women have in the religion of Islam and seeks to address some of the many misconceptions and false propaganda published by those who are ignorant of this religion or harbor a malicious intent to purposely misrepresent this religion. Islam states that men and women are totally equal in their humanity, and basic human responsibilities and rights; a concept that was radically new to the world compared to other civilizations at the time of the inception of the Islamic Message through the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him), and remains so for many people of the globe until today. Islam also states that men and women have complimentary roles and obligations in society, which are commensurate with their natural physical, psychological and social inclinations and differences. The feminine qualities of women can only find fulfillment when they are taken into account in relation to men, just as the masculine qualities of men are not complete without the complimentary role of women in society. A great injustice is done by seeking to force upon them genderless equality where they are different and complement each other, or by forcing them to be unequal, and thus demeaning them, where they are truly equal.

Only Allah, the Almighty and Omniscient Creator, is the Perfect Guide to the correct and smooth path, devoid of extremism and deficiencies. Since rights are always in relation to abilities, obligations and duties, the unique perspective of Islam on women’s rights needs to be put into the context of a complete moral and legal code of Islamic belief, morality and law. Humanity can only survive and prosper with the survival and prosperity of the family unit. Each member of the family fulfills his or her obligations and receives his or her rights, while bound to universally accepted virtues, of which include faith, purity, chastity, respectfulness, good manners and upright morality. Of course, different civilizations and cultures present different views on these issues and virtues.

In the Islamic revealed scriptures, there are many eloquent expressions of woman’s equality with man and the special relationship and bond between man and woman. For instance, the Most Majestic says:

(Surely for men who submit to Allah and for women who submit to Allah, for believing men and for believing women, for devout men and devout women, for truthful men and truthful women, for steadfast men and steadfast women, for humble men and humble women, for charitable men and charitable women, for fasting men and fasting women, for men who guard their chastity and women who guard their chastity, for men who remember Allah much and for women who remember Allah much, for all of them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a mighty reward.)

[33:35]

And Allah, the Exalted, says:

(…they are garments for you, and you are garments for them…)

[2:187]

Clothes and garments are a necessity for warmth, protection, covering, and adornment. In our clothes we find comfort, security, satisfaction and identity. The male and female are in need of each other in a way similar to how the naked body of the human stands in need of clothes to face his natural and social environment.

Islamic civilization has its own view to present; a view that we believe expresses the highest of possible human values achievable because it is based on the divine revelation and guidance from the One and only Creator, the God of Mankind, Allah the Beneficent, Wise, Sublime and Omniscient, Who knows all the needs of his creations. He sent His last and final Prophet and Messenger to mankind; Muhammad ibn Abdullah (may Allah exalt their mention). He inspired him with the revelation and teachings that were to be a perfect guide and example to the sincere worshipper, the servant of Allah in righteousness and obedience, in all the various circumstances and spheres of life. With humility and humble service Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon Him), delivered the message and fulfilled the huge responsibility of his mission of beneficence and mercy.

His family and followers, although humans with the imperfections that are the mark of human frailty, followed his example of righteousness, fortitude in goodness and selfless virtue. After the examples of all the Prophets of Allah, which included Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus (may Allah exalt their mention), it is they who present for us the best examples. Successive generations of Muslims have exhibited mixed behavior, and some have unfortunately deviated horrendously to the lowest grades of misguidance, wickedness and criminal behavior. Nevertheless, Muslims remain encouraged and optimistic because there will never be an era without some glowing lights of knowledgeable, upright, and virtuous Muslim men and women, who exhibit the virtues by which the Islamic message and mission is characterized.

This book was previously published with the title WOMAN IN THE SHADE OF ISLAM, and we have strived to re-adapt the work for the benefit of a wider range of English readers. We ask Allah, the Exalted, to accept our humble efforts and forgive our lapses and mistakes. He indeed answers prayers and accepts good deeds.

Abu Salman Deya-ud-Deen Eberle