An all-female seminar organized by Al-Qalam Institute was held last saturday at the Africana Guest House at Haatso. Al-Qalam Institute is an Islamic non-governmental organization which acts as an academic Islamic education provider of weekend Islamic studies through seminars. The seminar was what I will describe as one of the educative, informative and entertaining Islamic seminars.
Personally, when I saw the poster of the seminar on facebook, I knew it wasn’t going to be one of those boring seminars. And I was excited and willing to go for the program because two women I admire and derive inspiration from were the main speakers for the event. (Hajia Hannatu Abubakar and Asmaa Bint Ayub)
The seminar was scheduled to be in three sessions. The topics for discussion were, the rights of the woman; Islamic perspective, Choosing a suitable Husband; Step by step guide for Muslim lady and Moderate marriage; Life after marriage and the importance of sex.
The first speaker, Hajia Hannatu Abubakar spoke on the rights of the Muslim woman. She stated clearly that, “The first right of a Muslim woman is to know she has rights granted to her by Allah”. Allah (SWT) has granted liberation and freedom to the Muslim woman through HIS noble Prophet (SAW) over 1400 years ago. During the pre-Islamic era, women were treated as sub-humans. They didn’t possess any right and were owned as properties by their men. But thankfully, Islam came to rescue them from the evil of their society. The important right of the Muslim woman is her right to live. As we know, before the advent of Islam, it was the culture at the time to bury young girls alive because they were considered abominable to the society. But Allah(SWT) forbade anyone from such acts through HIS beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
It is the right of the Muslim woman to seek education. Hajia Hannatu clearly stated that, Allah has enjoined upon every man and woman to seek knowledge. Therefore seeking knowledge is compulsory for every Muslim. Therefore it is the woman’s right to seek knowledge to empower herself and know more about her Creator. Again, a Muslim woman has the right to own property if she wants to. During the period of ignorance, is was forbidden for a woman to own property because she herself was owned. But today to the Glory of Allah, women are able to work and own property. The Muslim woman has the right to choose her spouse and give her consent to a marriage proposal.
The second speaker, Hajia Memuna Maliki also addressed the topic, choosing a suitable Husband; Step by Step guide for the Muslim lady. She outlined, some of the important factors a Muslim lady should consider in her quest to finding the suitable man for marriage. The first and important factor a woman must consider in choosing a spouse is the Faith of the man. In Islam, it is forbidden for a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim. Hajia Maliki clearly stated, “Never marry a non-Muslim because it is forbidden by Allah”. One of the most important factor a woman should consider is the academic qualification of a man before marriage. ” You can marry a man whose academic qualification is lower than yours, but never marry an illiterate”. A Muslim woman can consider the family prestige of a man before marriage. It should be the choice of the woman to choose a man from a prestigious family or not. It is also the choice of the lady to consider the physical appearance of the man before getting married. She can decide to stop a marriage process if the man is not appealing to her. Other factors she should consider is the age and tribe of the man.
Asmau Bint Ayub, the last speaker spoke on the topic, Moderate marriage; Life after marriage and the importance of sex. From the above speakers, we learn the rights of the Muslim woman and the steps/factors for choosing a spouse.
“When it comes to the issue of moderate marriage, there is no definite meaning or specifications for it. What may be moderate for an individual may be extravagant for another. But the most important thing is to live within ones means.” She said.
The key to a lasting marriage is communication. Communication is one of the keys to having a lasting marriage which most couples under estimate. Communicate both in the verbal and non-verbal form. Most marriages these days break because of the absence of this important tool. A woman should not be passive in her relationship with her husband. She should participate actively in communication with him. She should be able to speak intelligently and give advice and suggestions where necessary. It is very necessary for couples to understand each other’s emotions and be at tune with it.
Feedback is another key to a lasting marriage. Feedback is the end result of communication (verbal and non-verbal). Accepting both positive and negative feedback is important to the growth of the couple.
Furthermore, cleanliness is one of the keys to a lasting marriage which in most cases is under played. Cleanliness brings about harmony in a home. No matter how busy a woman gets dealing with house chores, she should never forget to look and smell nice for her husband.
Sex is one of the important keys to a lasting marriage, but unfortunately, after marriage, lots of women do not pay attention to it especially when they have kids. Sex indeed is one of the first tools that binds and unites couples. When it comes to sex, don’t wait for the husband to always initiate sex. Sometimes initiate it too. Make sure you pray before sex and avoid talking during the act. But importantly, make sure you both enjoy it.
As Muslim women, the hijab is meant for covering our bodies when we go out of our homes, but when we are home we don’t need to cover ourselves. Most women make this kind of mistake when they are home with their husbands. “The man has been out all day lowering his gaze, he doesn’t need to come home to meet his wife all covered up. That’s wickedness.” She said.
The program was chaired by Hajia Akosua Abdallah veteran actress and Artistic Director at the National Theatre.
May Allah continue to bless the speakers who took time off their busy schedule to share their experiences with young Muslim women. And to the organizers, may Allah bless your efforts abundantly.