Chapter 3

Sumayah was anxious to meet Ahmad to ask him about women's status in Islam. He usually called on her every day on his way home from work. That afternoon, she welcomed him with a lovely smile. He felt that she had something to say, so he encouraged her to speak her mind. She asked him if he was ready to listen to her.

Ahmad told her, "By all means, I always like listening to you."

"I would like to know the difference in rights between a male and a female in Islam."

"There is no difference", Ahmad replied. "They have equal rights. They are both created of the same clay."

"Why, then, are limits imposed on women rather than on men?" Sumayah asked him.

"No limits are imposed on women except that which is necessary in regard to their nature and biological structure. Islam does not put woman under any kind of pressure."

Sumayah persisted, "Doesn't hijab hinder her from enjoying life as she likes? Is it due to my hijab that I cannot travel with you to Europe?"

"Oh no, hijab cannot prevent woman from doing anything. I would take you with me to Europe, if it were a healthy, decent society. I oppose Muslim girls' travel to Europe for fear that they may become deviated. If it were a useful journey, I would surely take you with me."

Sumayah asked, "Don't you think that seeing western civilization can be useful?"

Ahmad said, "This is exactly the point which is the source of much trouble. We Muslims should not think that civilization is a western phenomena. In fact, if the matter is explored deeply, you will see that it is Islamic civilization that has brought to Europe its present scientific progress. European so-called civilization is nothing but an expression of the jahillia (Pre-Islamic Age of Ignorance), with regard to European women."

Sumayah then asked, "Well, does not the European woman have her rights in full, the same as man?"

Ahmad disagreed, "Absolutely not. Through recent European laws, the European woman has gained only a part of woman's rights that are already granted by Islamic laws. The European woman has lost her feminism. She has become a mere commodity and is a tool manipulated by men. Islam has granted woman her independent identity. She is free to handle her own financial affairs and personal life. European women have been trapped by the false, bright colours of life expoused by the so-called liberation of woman. Freedom is just a cover with which man hides his own exploitation of woman at all levels. Believe me, my dear, if Europe was a good place, I would encourage you to go."

"I am quite aware of this. I only wanted sound evidence to answer anyone who doubts our Islamic morals and beliefs," Sumayah replied.

Ahmad said, "You won't find a better, happier life except in Islam and when Islamic instructions are respected and applied. I wish you really knew about the great misery that engulfs families deviated from Islamic norms. A marriage based on Islamic foundations will be quite successful. Our future life will certainly be happy."

Sumayah smiled and said, "I know you will do your best to ensure such a happy life. By the way, have you decided when you will begin your trip?"

Ahmad said, "I am on my way to settle that. It is a matter of a few days. Then we will be able to plan living together in our own home when I return."

At this point, he said good-bye to Sumayah and left to his home. He promised to return later for further discussion.
Sumayah was sure of her Islamic belief; she just wanted to know the best answers to all the questions raised by her cousin and others.

On his way home, Ahmad thought about his fiancée. He was sad that some deviated girls were trying to confuse her thinking. He decided to explain any matters that were unclear for her. Above all, he wanted her to be in thorough harmony with him in his beliefs and ideals. What caused him to seek her hand in marriage was her good conduct and strong personality. Ahmad recalled an old incident when an unreligious girl used many tricks to try to tempt him and trap him. He wondered what had become of her. He couldn't even remember her name. He is quite happy with the choice he made in his future wife.