Excerpts from the speeches and articles of Hazrat Mowlana Sultan Mahomed Shah (a.s.)
ISLAMIC RIGHT TO EQUALITY(Extract from a message to all Pakistan Women’s Association)Karachi, Pakistan1954
I do not think you realise yourselves and I am sorry to say, certainly the men of Pakistan and a few other Muslim countries do not realise the importance of women taking a equal rank with men and the welfare, in the Government and in the general activity and prosperity of the country. 0nly the other day, the Minister of WAKFS, one of the leading Ulemas of Egypt responsible for, religious affairs, was telling me that a country is like a human body - men and women are two lungs - if you reduce the power of women, you crush them with inhibitions and imaginary restrictions based ultimately on man’s superior physical power, in a nation, it is exactly like a human being who has one lung perforated by tuberculosis and only one lung to work.
Ladies believe me, if Pakistan does not rise to modern idea of the equal position of women, you will find not only Europe but all the other countries of Asia going ahead of you. I am heart broken when I see how little many of our men realise what it is, and how little the women contribute, compared to what they could contribute to moral and material happiness and prosperity of the country.
To begin with, the women here, to my horror, are forbidden from taking part in the religious life of the country. In practically every Muslim country the women are allowed go to mosques for Friday prayers and there are proper, wings divided by ‘purdahs’ from the men where they conduct Friday prayers. Perhaps the greatest blot Pakistan is the neglect of Friday prayers by Muslims generally but above all, not giving women occasions for participating in these most important prayers. If you are forbidden even from prayers what can you expect? The first thing to agitate for, is to get the right for your prayers which women enjoy in practically every Muslim country. In Cairo there are special mosques, like the Mohammedali Mosque, where galleries are reserved for women. In North Africa, in the Paris mosque and the London mosque, in Iran and Turkey, women have their special place for Friday prayers. When you do not allow the women to pray, how can you expect them to do any lay service for the country?
First of all you must win the right to prayers, then win your right to equality in production industrial service and in office work…
…Oh my sisters, agitate! Leave no peace to the men till they give you religious freedom by opening mosques for prayers, not side by side with men, but in reserved quarters attached to all the mosques, to that the habit of praying public and self respect and self-confidence becomes general amongst women.
On that foundation of religious equality, you can then build social, economic, patriotic equality ,with men…”
THE STATUS OF WOMEN IN ISLAM
"The Prophet of Islam (who has been so cruelly libeled the Western ,world, by ignorance or malice) was one to say that men can but follow in the footsteps of their mothers towards Paradise. And it was not for nothing, according to Muslim belief, that his first convert was a woman.
Biologically the female is more important to the race than the male. While average women are capable or earning their own livelihood like men, they are the guardians of the life of the race, and only through their natural constitution are they able to bear the double burden. Experience shows the strong probability that the active influence of women on society, under free and equal conditions, is calculated not only to bring about practical improvement in the domestic realm, but also a higher and nobler idealism into the life of the State. Those who know Muslim society from within readily admit that its higher spiritual life owes a great debt to the example and influence of women. Today, as in the lifetime of the Prophet, probably the majority of devout and reverent followers of His teaching are women.
No progressive thinker of today will challenge the claim that the social advancement and general well-being of communities are greatest where women are least debarred, y artificial barriers and narrow prejudice, from taking their full position as citizens.
The progressive modernization which depends on co-operation and understanding will be impossible unless women are permitted to play their legitimate part in the great work of national regeneration on a basis of political equality.”
WHAT HAVE WE FORGOTTEN IN ISLAM?
Islam is fundamentally in its very nature a natural religion. Throughout the Quran God’s Signs (Ayats) are referred to as the natural phenomenon, the law and order of the universe, the exactitude and consequences of the relations between natural phenomenon in cause and effect. Over and over and over, the stars, sun, moon, earthquakes, fruits of the earth and trees are mentioned as the signs of divine power, divine law and divine order. Even in the Ayat of Noor, divine is referred to as the natural phenomenon of light and even references are made to the fruit of the earth. During the great period of Islam, Muslims did not forget these principles of their religion.
HAZRAT IMAM SULTAN MAHOMED SHAH AGA KHAH III
IMAMAT AND THE WORLD OF SPIRITUAL ENLIGHTENMENT
“It is the pride of Ismailis that we firmly believe that the world of spiritual enlightenment has come as a truth from the inception of Islam to this day with Imamat and carries with it as one of its necessary consequences : Love, tenderness, kindliness, gentleness, towards first our brother and sister Muslims of all Sects, and secondly to those who live in righteousness, conscience and justice towards their fellow men.”
THE LAST AND THE GREATEST PROPHET
(September 1934)The Holy Prophet of Islam is to us Muslims, the last and greatest messenger from the Creator, and through him man is to find salvation in both this world and the next
.The great religious teachers before and since Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s) have all limited the area of truth by excluding either some or all of their predecessors. Prophet Muhammad, on the other hand, by a full recognition of all his predecessors and by admitting that no people, race or nation had been left without some kind of divine illumination, gave his Faith universality in the past, and in fact, made it coexistent with human history.
If, now we turn from its historic background to its doctrine and to its possibility of development in the future, we will find the potential universality. Take the central principle of “Allah - ho - Akbar” Here we find on one side divinity, on the other side infinity. For what is the greater - time, space, the starry heavens, intelligence, knowledge - whatever existence goes there, His greatness extends. Greatness here, means that everything else is within the womb of the greater - everything else is maintained and sustained by Divine Power, including the furthest spaces of imagination.
Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s) told mankind first that the infinite sustainer and container of all existence had justice, mercy and love as well; Secondly, that man through these qualities and through gentleness and kindness, prayer, awe or wonder could get in howsoever infinitesimal proportion - direct communion with the All-embracing power in which he lived and moved and had his being.
I submit that this doctrine will have a universality that can be accepted as long as man is man and as long as intelligence as we understand it, survives on earth. We maintain that the Prophet only ordered prayer, fasting and gentleness in all human relations, kindness and consideration for all beasts and animals from the smallest worm to the largest mammal.
By the institution of the “Ullil-Amr” who can be interpreted as Imam and Caliph - and by placing obedience to “Ullil- Amr”, immediately after that to God and Prophet, he ensured that the Faith would ever remain Living - extending, developing with Science, knowledge, Art and Industry.
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