Canada: Exhibit By Ahmadiyya Youth Explains The Status Of Women In Islam
Equality and rights of women in society are important topics of discussion in many communities, religions and organizations around the world today.
They were a couple of aspects of Islam local residents learned about during an open house Saturday at the Tillsonburg Public Library.
The exhibit, presented by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association of Canada (AMYA), focused on women and the important role of Mother Mary in Islam.
"The role of a woman in a society is a very important role," said Noman Khalil of the AMYA. "A woman is the educator of society – she is the one that actually drives the direction of society."
"Islam gives a very high status to Mother Mary as a woman (because) Mother Mary is the most chaste and the most righteous woman in the Holy Qur'an," explained Khalil.
Recent world events and situations in Muslim countries have raised questions surrounding the role of women in Islam, questions extending to their relationships and marriages, as well as in various roles and aspects of society. A number of locals, including women, took in the open house Saturday.
Lori De Ryk and her daughter, Ashley of Tillsonburg, were just two of them.
"It was very informative. I've learned quite a bit," said De Ryk. "I think people are intolerant because they don't understand, and they're not informed.
"(The open house) can help clear up misconceptions."
Misconceptions regarding Islamic faith can include the use of force towards women. Khalil was quick to point out the correct manner in which most Muslim women are treated by their male partners, husbands, friends and associates, and how they should be viewed according to the Holy Qur'an.
"The Holy Qur'an talks about a working woman and about how her wealth should be spread as well," he said. "There are no specific roles that have been put in place (for women).
"There is no compulsion in religion – which basically means you cannot make a woman wear a hijab, you cannot force her, you cannot make her not work, and you cannot stop her from working, you cannot make her read the Holy Qur'an, you cannot make her wear the long gown and you cannot keep her in the house," he explained. "She has the right to choose her freedom and her religion."
It is an important part of Islamic faith to remember said Khalil, but unfortunately not all Muslims from other countries follow the Holy Qur'an's example. "No compulsion in religion puts an end to all the forcefulness that has been done by other Muslims (of different denominations and sects) onto women," he said. "Other sects have suppressed women so much, and that has gone against the Holy Qur'an (and its teachings)."
Khalil stressed the importance of equality between men and women in Islam, in all areas including education, sports, religion and relationships.
"In our community, anything that the men do, women also do," he said.
For those who will listen to and follow the Holy Qur'an, said Khalil, the answer to many questions, including those pertaining to the role of women in Islam, can be answered by the fundamental phrase used by many in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community – that there is absolutely no compulsion in religion, nor any place for it.
"It negates and takes away any type of terrorism, any type of extremism, any type of force used in religion," said Khalil. "Because it is a belief, and everybody has a choice to believe or not to believe."
Source/Credit: Tillsonburg News. By Kristine Macdougall | January 11, 2011