A woman is one of the most precious creations of Allaah Ta'aala. Qur’an e Kareem stresses on the fact that, Woman is an integral part of Mankind and could not be rendered helpless and subjected to humiliation in any form. Maulaatona Hawwaa AS was created from the upper ribs of her Master Maulaana Aadam Safiyullaah AS. Ribs hold the heart and protect it. So man should deal respectfully, gently and protectively with his woman. There is an entire Qur’anic chapter, Surat un Nisaa dedicated to women. Apart from this many chapters touches the most sensitive issues involving women thereby giving them justice and audience. Issues relating to spiritual ascension, business, inheritance, marriage, divorce, personal hygiene, relationships, ethics etc.
Our Taiyebi Faith recognises the purity and chastity of woman at its highest level as far as her loyalty and devotion to her Faith and Family is concerned. This is the reason we pay high reverence to Maulaatona Haajerah, Maulaatona Mariyam AS, Maulaatona Khadijah AS, Maulaatona Faatemah AS, Maulaatona Zainab etc. Their sacrifice and pure-heartedness has become eternally a role model for the entire women world. The perception and practices centred to muminaat-ladies which we follow today is a clear outcome of the traditions propounded by Ahl ul Bayt AS in Madinah and then by A'immat e Faatemiyeen AS (325-425 AH/937-1034 AD) in Cairo. How can we forget the pivotal role of Maulaatona Hurrah al-Malekah RA, the representative of the 20th Imaam e Faatemi Maulaana al-Aamir AS (d. 426 AH/1035 AD), in fortifying and establishing the centre of Da'wat e Faatemiyah in Yemen. Rasoolullaah SAWS said, “Your women are like gems. Keep them guarded from the evil eyes of others. No one of them should leave your house without your permission.”
Here it is important to note that, During the period of 40th Da'i e Mutlaq Saiyedna Amiruddin saheb AQ (d. 1296 AH/1879 AD), his zawjah taaherah-wife Umm ul Mumineen Maa Saahebah Qibu binte Shamsuddin RA (d. 1336 AH/1918 AD) and her daughter Faiji Saahebah Qaiyembu RA (d. 1344 AH/1925 AD) made crucial efforts in educating muminaat in all spheres of life. Qaiyembu was revered greatly by her piety and gracefulness. By the guidance of Saiyedna Amiruddin saheb, Maa saahebah Qibu and Qaiyembu taught muminaat different ladies oriented skills like artistry, stitching, clothing, cooking, embroidery, mannerism, etiquette, home-making etc. with great zeal.
Maa saahebah also gave teachings regarding proper dressing-outfit and maintaining proper decency and modesty, personal hygiene to the muminaat. She spearheaded the cause of the second marriage of a widow or divorcee and abolished the custom of Child marriage. She was the one who began Majis e Maulaana Imaam Husain AS exclusively for ladies in Ziyaaii Masjid (sd. 1386 AH/1966 AD) during Moharram ul Haraam.
Faiji Qaiyambu was older than her brother 41st Da'i e Mutlaq Saiyedna Fakhruddin saheb AQ (d. 1347 AH/1928 AD) , hence her presence, power and prestige was witnessed in the household affairs and in the Madrasah. She herself taught a special class of young girls and prepared them for the age of puberty and helped in developing domestic skills. Saiyedna Fakhruddin saheb AQ was brought up under her loving care and she taught him Fann-e-Shaa'eri (The Art of Versification).
Each woman has to play several roles during her lifetime. It includes the role of a daughter, sister, wife, mother, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law and so on. Allaah Ta'aala has blessed every woman with innate strengths such as patience, compassion, multitasking, humility, creativity, optimism etc. Family is protected by the outwardly intellectual strength of business and livelihood of Father and by the inwardly emotional strength of relations and home-making of Mother. Imbalance in this creates discord and disturbances in a family.
In our Alavi Bohra community, having a girl child is considered as a Ne’mat (a blessing or bounty). A girl child is given equal importance, attention and education like any boy child. Right from her childhood, her parents make efforts for proper upbringing of their daughters . After completion of the studies from school i.e. after 12th grade, the parents motivate their daughters for further higher education in India or Abroad. The parents leave no stone unturned to make sure that their daughter gets her desired higher education. Aqaa Maulaa Saiyedna saheb TUS always guide the parents and says, “O parents! You should engage their daughters before opting for higher education, with a boy of good and respectful character. You will get respect through your daughters. They will do your khidmat whenever you need your loved ones to be at your side. Daughters will always remain close to you. Choose a right person for them at a right time from our community only. Freedom is good but its not meant to leave our Jamaa'at by marrying a non-Alavi.”
At the age of 18, a girl starts thinking about her career. She takes up a suitable course as per her intelligence and liking. By the grace of Allaah Ta'aala, we have many women who are, teachers, professors, doctors, engineers, nutritionist, lawyers, architects, IT professionals, dress designers, tax consultants, CS, CA, beauticians, psychologist etc. At the age of 21, when marriage proposals start coming, the parents always consult their daughters and ask their consent. The daughter’s decision is always respected and accepted by her family. Nowadays parents permit their daughters to have a talk with a boy from whom proposal has come for engagement. But in the past and better say the traditional way was that parents used to convey their daughters about the family of a boy and their decision. Without any contact between a girl or boy, the decision of parents was regarded final and sublime. The fact that parents always think better and favourable for the future of their children is eternally true.
In one of his bayaan, Aqaa Maulaa Saiyedna saheb TUS said that, “Till now we were following a tradition and has become a social norm that in order to get engaged a proposal is sent from a boy (dikro) side to a prospective girl (dikri). But now to bestow an equal opportunity and choice for our daughters, I permit the parents of a girl to send proposal from their side to a boy if she thinks he will prove best for her. This should be done with mutual understanding without any disrespect to our elders. This thing is not an evil but Khayr for the integrity of our society.”
al-Hayy al-Muqaddas 44th Da'i e Mutlaq Saiyedna Taiyeb Ziyauddin saheb AQ (d. 1436 AH/2015 AD) used to do naseehat in his bayaan that, “O Muminaat! Your Ridaa is your respect and identity. Your colourful attire is a mirror to your enterprising thoughts. Your progress is seated on the throne of your education. This progress is a step forward because of your unique culture. You have to take extra care for the education of your daughters. I want my Muminaat to be educated and always imparting education to their families.” al-Hayy al-Muqaddas envisioned the era of English medium education. When he was Mazoon e Mutlaq, he himself got his sister and daughter admitted to English medium school. He strongly believed that, if anyone will not follow the need of time i.e. English learning then there is a possibility that he will miss the mainstream educational benefits. It is due to his rigorous encouragement for higher education, today our community is enjoying its fruitful outcome of 100% literacy.
Marriage plays a crucial role in the life of every women. New relations and new responsibilities get added up in her life. Unlike other communities, we do not have the evil customs of child marriage or dowry. In marriage, both parties give due respect to each other. Every woman is a talented homemaker. She is capable of managing all the responsibilities of her home and also aware of the financial condition of her family. In this competitive and expensive era, sometimes it becomes difficult for the husband to provide enough earning and support the family singlehandedly. So his wife, irrespective of her academic status, supports and takes up a suitable occupation or business to help her husband. Nowadays, we see many women are well-versed with online trading and business. Covid era has come as a blessing in disguise as many new avenues has come to the rescue of the debt-struck family where women has started new ventures in catering, embroidery, baking, tailoring , painting etc. Tremendous success encouraged them to continue with it from the confines of their house but only after fulfilling routine daily house chores.
Motherhood phase is one of the most challenging and charming phase in every woman’s life. During this phase she plays not only the role of a mother in her child’s upbringing and learning but simultaneously she also plays the role of a teacher, nurse, counsellor and friend. A mother is always the first teacher for her children. There is a famous proverb, “If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family (nation).” Understanding the importance of women education, our Alavi Bohra women are constant and enthusiastic learners. They are always keen to gather knowledge, whether it is Deeni or Duniyaawi.
Every woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform. Every Alavi Bohra women is blessed since she belongs to a community where she is not bounded by any shackles but is free to take her own decisions of higher education, job, business, life partner, child-bearing, personal expenses, social involvement and responsibilities, dressings, food, religious congregations, outings, festivities etc. All these things are done under the holy veil of decency and dignity. In our teaching fraternity, 70% are ladies and they are the best example to showcase the perfect balance between the family and career. In our Deeni learning institution al-Madrasat ut-Taiyebiyah, 60% are ladies teacher where they prepare our new generation to be a perfect Mu'min and a person of good conduct.
The Saiyedaat of Da'wat e Shareefah are shouldering some of the crucial khidmaat of Jamaa'at. Some of them are all-women committees such as,
- al-Bunaiyaat e Taiyebiyah is organizing majaalis at various occasions.
- Star Charitable Trust is organizing medical camps, arranging cataract operation, best price trade exhibitions etc.
- at-Taiyebaat is organizing Fun-fair, sports activities, cooking and traditional recipes competition, drama and skill development competitions.
- Tadbeer Foundation is involved in child psychology and counselling programs, yoga and self-defence sessions.
- Tasheel e Nisbat works for easing and arranging the proposals of Rishtedaari-engagement to prospective boy or girl.
- Tanzeem e Millat e Taiyebiyah is centred on the aim to address the difficulties faced by those girls who were outsiders, but due to marriage with our jamaa'at brothers accepted our faith and they have now become a part of our society.
- az-Zakawi does different inspirational and educational programs for Mumbai Jamaa'at.
21 Rabi' ul Awwal 1443/27-10-2021, Wednesday