Women in Isalm

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Islamic Council of Europe, 1978/1398 A,H,
ISBN 0 86037 004 6
All rigills rrservrd, No pari o f this publication
may be reproduced or transmllted In any form
or by any means, wI/haul prior permission,

Prepared under the auspices o f:

THE ISLAMIC FOUNDATION
223 London Road,
Leicester LE2 t Z E
United Kingdom

rei: (0533) 700725

Cover design b y:
Sultan H. Farooqui

Printed by Superprint (Graphics) Glasgow Ltd.,
27 Seamore Street, Glasgow G20 6UG.

Contents
Foreword
Preface
Chapter I

Salem Azzam
Khurshid Ahmad

W oman in I slam: B. A isha Lemu
Fantasy and Escape
Spiritual Status o f W oman
Intellectual Status
Relations Between the Sexes
Rights and Obligations
Marriage in Islam
Divorce
Right to Inheritance
Role as Mother
Sex and Society
Dress
Role Differentiation
Polygamy
Summing Up

F amily Life in I slam: Fatima Heeren
The I slamic A pproach
Structure o f M uslim Family
The Family as a Cradle f or Human Society
T he Education Process
Islamic D uties
Training f or Life
II T he Family as Guardian o f Desires
Arranged Marriages
Polygamy
Divorce
Woman's Status
l \l T he Family and Character-Building
I V T he Family as Refuge

Chapter II

Chapter III

Discussion
Polyandry
Inheritance
Covering the Face
Dress
3

F oreword
T he W est has known Islam f or over thirteen centuries now, but i t has generally known i t in antagonistic terms as an enemy and as a threat. I t is n ot surpri'sing therefore that our religion has been portrayed as a hostile, tyrannical, violent and even i dolatrous religion and o ur c ulture has been painted in dark and dismal colours. T his state o f affairs cannot be allowed to persist and d isfigure relations between Islam and the Western world. With the advance o f knowledge and a greater contact between Europe and the Muslim world, intellectual, social, cultural and p olitical and economic, we hope the old attitudes will change, giving place to better understanding and closer co-operation based on loyalty to facts, honest appreciation of areas o f agreement and disagreement between us, and respect f or d ifferences. where we may disagree.

The I nternational Islamic Conference held in London from
3rd to 12th A pril, 1976, has no parallel in the history o f Europe f or never before have so many distinguished M uslim s cholars and statesmen been brought together in one place in Europe to explain before the world the teachings o f Islam as Muslims

understand. them. A major aim o f the Conference was the
development o f a better understanding o f Islam and Muslim
C ulture in the West, with a view to improving relations between Muslims and the followers o f other faiths and ideologies.
One o f the most memorable sessions was the one devoted
to themes relating to woman in Islam. I t was addressed by two Muslim women, both coming from the Western background,
one English and the other German. A s such the Western
audience had a chance to listen to the Islamic viewpoint from those who, although coming from a different background, had
accepted the Islamic social framework o ut o f c onviction and were prepared to share their experience and its intellectual 5

appreciation with others. I am glad that these lectures are being published in the form of a separate book even before they appear in the voluminous proceedings of the Conference. I am thankful to the Islamic Foundation for producing this book so quickly and efficiently.

Salem Azzam
Secretary General
Islamic Council of Europe
London
23rd June, 1976

6

Preface
Ours is a period of tumult and change. Doubt, dissatisfaction with the status quo, yearning f or revolution seem to symbolize the spirit of the age. Age-old institutions face the prospect o f disintegration. Values that have inspired and led man In the past are being questioned, i f n ot scorned. Everything seems to be in a state of flux.

There i s nothing baSically wrong in a mood of inquiry and...
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