Resources WISE Compact: Scripture
We, the women of WISE (Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality), declare gender equality to be an intrinsic part of the Islamic faith. As Muslims, we affirm our conviction that the Muslim woman is worthy of respect and dignity, that as a legal individual, spiritual being, social person, responsible agent, free citizen, and servant of God, she holds fundamentally equal rights to exercise her abilities and talents in all areas of human activity. Furthermore, we insist that these rights are embedded within the Qur’an and six objectives of Shari’a—the protection and promotion of religion (al-din), life (al-nafs), mind (al-‘aql), family (al-nasl), wealth (al-mal), and dignity (al-‘ird).
As WISE women, we embrace our collective and individual responsibility to work towards building a unified change movement of Muslim women – driven by compassion and justice – that will enable Muslim women to realize their full potential as individuals and in relationship to family, community, nation, and globe. We assert our active commitment to the following principles:
We are dedicated to protecting and promoting religion
O Prophet! When believing women come to you to take the oath of fealty: that they shall not associate anything in worship with God, that they shall not steal, that they shall not fornicate, that they shall not kill their children, that they shall not utter slander, intentionally forging falsehood, and that they shall not disobey you in any just matter,- then receive their oath of fealty, and pray to God for the forgiveness of their sins: for God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (60:12)
If any do deeds of righteousness,- be they male or female - and have faith, they will enter the Garden, and not the least injustice will be done to them. Who is better in religion than one who makes his direction wholly devoted to God, while doing good, and follows the way of Abraham unswervingly? For God did take Abraham for a friend. But to God belong all things in the heavens and on earth: And He it is that encompasses all things (4:124-126)
By fostering Muslim women’s spiritual growth.
For Muslim men and women,- for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in God’s praise,- for them has God prepared forgiveness and a great reward (33:35)
By advancing Muslim women’s positions as religious and spiritual authorities.
When news is brought to one of them of (the birth of) a female, his face darkens, suppressing his anger. He hides himself from the people, because of the bad news he has had! Shall he retain it in a state of disempowerment, or bury it in the dust? Bad is what they judge! (16:58-59)
O you who believe! Stand up firmly for God, as witnesses to fairness, and let not the hatred of others make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to God consciousness: and be conscious of God, for God knows well what you do. (5:8)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) commanded Umm Waraqah, a woman who had collected the Qur’an, to lead the people of her area in prayer. She had her own mu’adhdhin (person who performs the call to prayers). (Ahmad ‘Abd al-Rahman Al-Banna, Al-Fath al-Rabbani li Tartib Musnad al-Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal al-Shaybani ma'a Sharhihi Bulugh al-Amani (Bayrut: Dar Ihya’ al-Turath al- ‘Arabi, n.d.) vol.5, 3:1375; Muhammad ibn Sa‘d , Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir (Bayrut: Dar Sadir, 1958) vol.8, p.457.)
God affirmed the suitability of women in major leadership roles as seen in the example of the queen of Sheba in Surat al-Naml (27:23-44). In the category of non-Prophets, she is the Qur’anic role model for a positive leader. Her method of leadership included transparency, public consultation, and putting the welfare of her people first. Pharaoh, a man, is the Qur’anic role model for negative leadership. Compare his words in verse 79:24— “I’m the big boss.” Thus gender is no guarantee for a successful leader, but women can be successful leaders as well.
God similarly affirmed the suitability of women in major religious roles as can be noted in the Qur’anic presentation of Mary as a Nazirite (Qur’an 3:35). Ancient Israelite Nazirites had access to the highest religious positions in the land, as can be noted in the case of Samuel and Samson. They had access to the Holy of Holies (mihrab), which contained the Ark of the Covenant, and to which only the religious elite could enter. Whereas Mary’s mother expected a boy, God willed her to deliver a girl, thereby affirming the suitability of women for major religious roles (Qur’an 2:36).
We are dedicated to protecting and promoting life
Say: "Come, I will rehearse what God has prohibited you from": Join not anything as equal with Him; be good to your parents; kill not your children on a plea of want;- We provide sustenance for you and for them;- come not nigh to shameful deeds. Whether open or secret; take not life, which God has made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus does He command you, that you may learn wisdom. (6:151)
By promoting the mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health of Muslim women.
O humankind! Reverence your Lord, who created you from a single person, and from her created her mate, and from them both scattered many men and women;- reverence God, through whom you ask demand your mutual (rights), and (reverence) the wombs: for God ever watches over you (4:1)
"O men, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have right over you. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers." (Hadith from Prophet’s last sermon)
By eliminating violence against Muslim women.
"On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our messengers with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.” (5:32)
Men are the providers for women, with what God has privileged some over others and with what they spend from their means. Righteous women are devout, and preserve the supernatural truth with what God has preserved. As for those women on whose part you fear desertion, counsel them, abandon them in bed, and stay away from them; but if they obey you, then do not oppress them in any way: For God is Most High, great (above you all) (4:34)
If a wife fears desertion or neglect on her husband's part, there is no blame on them if they affect reconciliation between themselves. Reconciliation is good; however, niggardliness is present in people, but if you deal kindly and God-consciously, God is well-acquainted with all that you do. (4:128)
“None but a noble man treats women in an honorable manner. And none but an ignoble treats women disgracefully.” (Hadith Tirmidhi)
We are dedicated to protecting and promoting the mind
When it is said to them: "Follow what God has revealed:" They say: "No! we shall follow the ways of our ancestors." What! even though their ancestors did not use their intellect nor achieved guidance? The parable of the ungrateful is that of a shepherd calling out with what he hasn’t heard, other than unintelligible calls and cries: Deaf, dumb, and blind, they do not use their intellect. (2:170-71)
By advancing Muslim women’s intellect at all levels of education and society.
“High above all is God, the King, the Truth! Be not in haste with the Qur'an before its revelation to thee is completed, but say, "O my Lord! advance me in knowledge." (20:114)
“Acquire knowledge, it enables its possessor to distinguish right from wrong; it lights the way to heaven. It is our friend in the desert, our company in solitude and companion when friendless. It guides us to happiness, it sustains us in misery, it is an ornament amongst friends and an armor against enemies." (Hadith)
By defending Muslim women’s freedom to interpret, think, and express, especially concerning Islam’s primary texts.
The male believers and the female believers are each others allies, they enjoin good and forbid harm, they establish prayers, practise charity, and obey God and His Messenger. On them will God have mercy, for God is Exalted in power, Wise.(9:71)
“Seeking knowledge is a religious duty for every Muslim, man or woman” (hadith)
“Seek knowledge, even if it is in China.” (Hadith)
By promoting Muslim women’s rights to pursue their talents.
"God is beautiful and He loves beauty." (Hadith Muslim)
We are dedicated to protecting and promoting the family
By empowering Muslim women to choose their marriage partners.
When ye divorce women, and they fulfill the term of their ('Iddat), do not prevent them from marrying their (former) husbands, if they mutually agree on equitable terms. This instruction is for all amongst you, who believe in God and the Last Day. That is (the course Making for) most virtue and purity amongst you and God knows, and ye know not (2:232)
A virgin came to the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and mentioned that her father had married her against her will, so the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) allowed her to exercise her choice. (Narrated by Abdullah ibn Abbas, Sunan Abu Dawood, Book 5, Number 2091)
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: A guardian has no concern with a woman previously married and has no husband, and an orphan girl (i.e. virgin) must be consulted, her silence being her acceptance. (Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas, sunan Abu Dawood, Book 5, Number 2095)
By ensuring that a basic quality of life and education is the right of all children.
We are dedicated to protecting and promoting the right to wealth
By supporting Muslim women’s financial independence and access to material assets.
"Men shall have a share in what parents and kinsfolk leave behind, and women shall have a share in what parents and kinsfolk leave behind, whether it be little or much—a share ordained by God" (4:7).
They ask you for instruction concerning the women, say: God instructs you concerning them and what has been recited to you in the Book, concerning the orphaned women (widows) to whom you do not give what has been prescribed to them and yet whom you desire to marry, and also the vulnerable children: that you stand firm for justice to the orphans. What you do of good dealings, God knows it well. (4:127)
We are dedicated to protecting and promoting dignity
By empowering Muslim women to make dignified personal, familial, and career choices.
By promoting Muslim women’s human rights from an Islamic perspective.
“O ye who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for God can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily God is well-acquainted with all that ye do.” (4:135)