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A new outlook for muslim women

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    Posted: 06 April 2006 at 3:21pm


A new outlook for muslim women

By Mikhail Sedov

March 13, 2006

Last Wednesday, Mar. 8, as millions of people around the world commemorated the International Women’s Day, Baruch College’s student organization, Women in Islam presented its own event, "Ayesha: Paragon of Activism" dedicated to the wife of Prophet Mohammad, who is considered to be one of the most important scholars of Islam and a role model of a Muslim woman.

The event, which was attended by several dozens of students, presented a guest speaker, Imam Shamsi Ali of the Islamic Cultural Center of New York, also known as the "96th Street Mosque."

He presented a lecture, in which he spoke extensively about Ayesha.

"Ayesha was a very intelligent woman. She was a professor to many of senior companions to the Prophet," said Ali, who studied the Islamic theology in Pakistan.

"She was considered to be a mother of the believers… a role model for all Muslim women," he said.

Ali stressed that many people have misunderstandings about the status of a woman in Islam due to "an internal factor and some ignorant practices of the Muslims in different parts of the world," as well as "ignorance of Islam itself by some non-Muslim friends."

Dardan Beselica, an Albanian-born student majoring in Economics agreed.

"Islam to this day is still in a struggle with the culture," he said referring to the women in Saudi Arabia who have limited property rights and are also prohibited from driving a car.

Sadaf Shaikh, a Pakistani-born Psychology major, said that some Muslim women have misconception that their role is limited to homemaking.

"The purpose of today’s event… is telling these women that you can maintain your identity while at the same time, working, teaching, learning, and all these things," said Shaikh, who served as Women in Islam’s president when it was established around two years ago.

"To me, she is a symbol of how women should be. She is someone I admire, respect, love, look up to and try to be in every aspect of my life," she said, adding that it was Ayesha’s combination of knowledge, action and critical thinking that "liberated her from falling prey to misconceptions about Islam."

According to Ali, Ayesha’s wisdom and advice were used to resolve many important issues that arose after the death of Prophet Mohammad.

Ayesha was born in Mecca in a family of a merchant, Abu Bakr, who as one of Prophet Mohammad’s companions was one of the first converts to Islam.

She joined her father in migration to Ethiopia in 615 CE amidst the persecutions of Muslims by non-Muslim Meccans who continued to follow the various pre-Islamic religions.

After Prophet Mohammad fled to Mecca, Ayesha and her older sister, Asma moved there as well. She married the Prophet in 622 CE.

The lecture was concluded with the traditional Muslim prayer and a complimentary lunch that included meat with broccoli, rice and soda.

"It was great, very informative," said Nabil Nih, the vice president of the Muslim Student Association who attended the event. "We are enlightened by the knowledge that the imams preach to us," he said.

A new outlook for muslim women

The Prophet said: "Do not eat before you are hungry, and stop eating before you are full"
"1/3 of your stomach for food 1/3 for water, 1/3 for air"
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