In Islamic culture, jihad is the highest degree of readiness and receptivity of the personality of a Muslim. However jihad is not specified only to men but to the woman, too. She has her own jihad and can perform a role of the same level as men’s jihad. Without doubt, the ground for activating this role has roots inside the family. Imam Ali’s (P) states:
جهاد المراة حسن التبعل
“A woman’s jihad (as a wife) is having good behavior towards the husband”.
This message is related only to the relation of woman with her husband however, woman’s relation is not limited only to her husband but inside the family she has relations with the children and relatives too. Nevertheless, the value and status of woman’s good conduct and treatment towards her husband is similar to her presence in the battlefield for jihad.
In general, other roles of woman are related to the affairs of everyday life. With this statement, one comes to think that such obedience might result in the erosion of woman’s personality and instilling within her passivity and indiscriminate submission to the husband but the meaning of having good attitude and treatment towards the husband and the evidences of good conduct can be found in Her Eminence Zahra’s (P) remarks and testament on His Holiness Ali (P), the testament which is in fact an explanation of “good treatment”. Her Eminence Zahra (P) tells her husband:
«يابن عمّ ماعهدتني كاذبة ولا خائنة و لا خالفتك منذ عاشرتني»
“O cousin, have you observed any lie, treachery or opposition from my part, during our marital life? I mean, during our marital life, can you mention the time when I have told a lie, an instance of disloyalty or a remark which I have expressed opposition?”
This remark indicates that good conduct of a woman revolves around the three following pivots:
- Shows honesty in her behavior and speech towards her husband and never tells a lie.
- Shows loyalty with regards to property, chastity and reputation and faithfulness and demonstrates her sincerity and loyalty regarding property and chastity.
- Never makes life bitter for her and her husband with opposition and discord of any kind.
Remarkably, His Holiness Ali (P) following the enumeration of these three pivots, states:
فقال (ع): معاذالله انت اعلم و ابرّ و اتقي و اكرم و اشد خوفاً من الله ان او بخك بمخالفتي.
“I seek refuge in Allah. O, my wife you are of a higher position to tell such words, you are more knowledgeable, more righteous, pious and magnanimous in relation to the divine obligations and your fear of God is to an extent that prevents you from having such deficiencies in your personality.”
Comparing the two sides of this narration, one can find out that a person can tell no lie, commit no treachery and wrongdoing if he/she is cognizant of God, in other words, has awareness of divine rules and religion, possess conviction with regards to God and His religion. Such a personality is concerned of God’s Justice and Fairness regarding piety and behavioral control.
His Holiness Ali (P) in reply to the question, “What is your experience during the 9 years of living with Her Eminence Zahra (P)?” states:
و الله لا اغضبتني اذلتني و لا عصت لي امراً
“She never makes me angry and never disobeys my command at all.”
Her Eminence Zahra (P) had such knowledge of the personality of His Holiness Ali (P) that he had devoted her life to the stability of his guardianship though it may seem that she had devoted her life to her husband. Of course, there might be two spouses, who being as one with each other, sincerely offer whatever they have to each other but Her Eminence Fatimah (P) not only did this but also was concerned of the strengthening of His Holiness Ali’s guardianship.
Some claim that they are Imams and have specific knowledge and others state that the concept of a woman as presented in Imam Ali’s remarks is too idealistic and it may be unachievable in real life however, it must be taken into consideration that they are witnesses of God, they are examples and proofs who will testify in the Hereafter. Unfortunately, in discussing woman’s personality it is said that woman should be like this and like that, she should not disobey and so on failing to see the other side of the coin. There are some people who relate to obligations of the spouse according to their own interests, rationalizing the rules of Islam to their own advantage.
The management inside the family and responsible supervision over the internal affairs of the family is another clear and distinct role of a Muslim woman. The Chief of the Faithful, Ali (P), quoting from the Holy Prophet (P) states: “One of the points of
كلكم راع و كلكم مسئول عن رعيته
“All of you should be a shepherd towards your flock.”
Refers to the woman’s role and responsibility initiated inside the family. His Holiness states in this regard:
والمراة راعية علي بيت زوجها و هي مسئوله
“The woman is the supervisor and the one responsible inside the house, in the family and in relation with her husband.”
Therefore, the supervision over the sphere of the family assigned to the spouse (wife) is considered one of the clear and obvious proofs of general supervision. Through this supervision, tensions inside the family will fade away and the ground for a sound life will be paved as well.
Written by Abbas Ali Shameli