Dignity of women in Islam | Conference at Aligarh Muslim University on Gender Pluralism

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Link: http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2015/05/dignity-of-women-in-islam-conference-at.html

Aligarh Muslim University conference – April 6 and 7th 2015 – “Intellectual crisis of the Muslim Ummah: Rethinking traditional solutions. Details at:  http://futureislam.com/ 

It was such a joy to be a part of the panel on Dignity of women in Islam, Dr. Sadat Ullah Khan moderated and Dr. B.A. Khan coordinated the proceedings. 

Dr. Azra Abidi, Mohsin Mandal, Mariya Khan, Shaista Tabassum, Dr. Sarika Sharma and Tarannum Khan boldly presented their papers.   I was pleased that they offered me to chair this panel and loved dealing with a few misogynistic attitudes out there (in every society). I pride myself in being a big supporter, believer and practitioner of equality of women.  Indeed the pleasure was listening to each one of the presenters and acknowledging their contribution to the discussion at the end of the program.

One of the greatest lessons of my life came from an individual who taught me how to listen intently while I am at it. I was under tremendous pressure to hear each one out, and I am glad I was able to do that.  

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is perhaps one of the first women’s libbers, he liberated women from the oppressive clutches of men and set them free as God had created and intended for all humans to be free.  Perhaps again for the first time in human history women had the liberty to own their own property, own their business and chose to marry whom they want and the freedom to divorce for a better life.  If all men follow their religions, world would be a better place.  Each one of us is individually responsible for our actions and as such no one should be less than the other.  

Mariya Khan is an outstanding confident, assertive speaker for women’s rights, I will post a few video clips in the next few days and hope to invite her to speak in the United States. She is Malaysian, but spoke perfect American.  Dr. Azra Abidi boldly presented her paper on wrongful practices among Muslims – including temporary marriages, divorces etc. Mohsin presented a list of things that need fixing. Dr. Sarika Sharma talked about the work being done by NGO’s to preserve the status of women and quoted extensively from Mahatma Gandhi.  Shaista Tabassum blasted on the “Haibatnak Jehez” – dowry system that is common to all Indians regardless of their religion.  Imtiaz and Jamil presented good statistics, and quoted Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer and Sachar report. Tarannum talked about women empowerment, and cited that Muslim women are 51.9% literate compared to the average of 53.1% nationwide literary among women. The good news is Aligarh Muslim University has 42% women enrollment. 

I was rather surprised at the lack of awareness of corrected translation-interpretation of the verse 4:34 by Dr. Lelah Bakhtiar. For nearly 1400 years we were misled to believe that a man can beat his wife a feather lite stick if they are not in agreement, that is not the case now, respectful separation is the way forward as it reflects the character of the prophet and God’s justness – that all people are created equal. More about it at http://www.worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2014/05/wife-beating-is-culture-of-men-and-not.html 
I have asked the presenters to share their paper, and once I receive them all, I will be posting it at www.WorldMuslimCongress.com and possibly ask Dr. Sultan Shaheen to publish in www.Newageislam.com

Though the conference was between 9 am and 6 pm, I chose to stick around and had several informal mini-conferences and I wanted the participants to go home asking every question they had about the topic.

Summary (notes will be added to each item):

  1. Plenary Session – Spoke on Commiment and Muslim puzzle of misplaced focus on Aakhira while ignoring the Hazira.
  2. Chaired the panel on “Islamic perspective for the future” – notes will be added soon.
  3. Panel speaker on “Who speaks for Islam today” – Can Muslims lead the world?
  4. Chaired the panel on “Gender Issues” – notes – http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2015/05/dignity-of-women-in-islam-conference-at.html
  5. Valedictory Session – spoke on the power of engagement.
  6. General Notes – http://www.worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2015/04/congratulations-to-aligarh-muslim.html
  7. Summary remarks – http://www.worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2015/04/back-to-dallas-from-conference-at.html

Mike Ghouse is a Muslim thinker, writer and a speaker. Just Google Muslim Speaker or Pluralism Speaker to get most of my writings.www.TheGhouseDiary.com  – www.MikeGhouse.net

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