Difference Between Bai’yah of Men and Women
Regarding the differences between men and women, a significant difference exists in the Bai’yah of the two genders. Just before the Hijrah, the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) took the pledge for Iqamah al-Deen, also known as the Second Pledge of ‘Aqabah, only from his male companions. The terms of this oath were very strict and demanded the obedience to the Ameer — leader — under all circumstances, even if one has to force himself against his will. It also required one to obey all the persons in the hierarchy of authority other than the Ameer. Without doubt the terms and conditions of this oath are very strict, but the formation of an organized and dedicated group of people who are ready to make any kind of sacrifice to bring about an Islamic revolution, cannot be achieved without such discipline. In the oath, therefore, the whole emphasis is on discipline and maintenance of this discipline is guaranteed positively by stressing the right attitude of “listen and obey” and negatively by sealing off all doors that might lead to disobedience or disorder in the ranks of the revolutionary group.
As far as the Bai’yah of women is concerned, at the occasion of the Second Pledge of ‘Aqabah, there is no mention of either women not taking part in it, nor any mention of a separate Bai’yah for them (even though the presence of at least two women, at this occasion, is confirmed). However, the oath administered to women, as can be proved by the Qur’an and Sunnah, is basically an oath of piety and righteousness: to denounce all gods but Allah, to give up bad deeds – harming, lying, stealing, adultery, fabricating falsehoods and finally not to go against any order of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) and His Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). The words used in this Bai’yah are same as those of the First Pledge of ‘Aqabah, which took place a year before the second pledge, taken from twelve men from Yathrib (Madinah). This proves that the strict discipline, required of men, as members of a disciplined organization, is not required of women. This can be naturally explained by the fact that women are not supposed to directly participate in the highest stage of religious responsibilities. Their participation is more of an indirect nature.
Organization – Compulsory for Both Men and Women
Nonetheless, I believe that Jama’ah (organization) is necessary for both men and women. It provides a positive environment in which we take inspiration from others. It is on the account of being a part of this collective existence that we find motivation to do more and more good deeds and the courage to abandon the Nawahi (the forbidden things). Therefore, Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) has not deprived women of the blessings and spiritual benefits of belonging to an organization. Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) says in Surah Al-Taubah:
“And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends of one another; they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and they establish worship and they pay ‘the poor-due and they obey Allah and His messenger (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). As for these, Allah will have mercy on them. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Wise.” [Al-Qur’an, Surah At-Taubah, 9:71]
It was due to the blessings and. benefits of the organizational environment that the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) took Bai’yah from Muslim women as well. As a result, women felt that they were also part of an organization, that they too had allegiance to a leader, that they also had to listen and obey the commands of the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), that they also had to do good deeds, and that they were under an oath. This gave rise to the spirit of self-criticism, that if they deviated from their oath, then they would be breaching the covenant and held responsible for it.
Consequently, we have a women’s wing in Tanzeem-e-Islami and they also take Bai’yah. Our highest priority is to emulate, in all matters and as closely as humanly possible, the example set by our Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). Consequently, in the Tanzeem that we have formed for the purpose of bringing about an Islamic Revolution, we expect both men and women to refrain from evil and to struggle for making Allah’s Word supreme and we consider both men and women as being bound by the pledge of allegiance occurring in the 111th verse of Surah Al-Taubah. However, the more stricter Bai’yah of “listening and obeying fee al-Ma’roof”, which we find in an agreed-upon Hadith, has been exclusively reserved for men only. The oath administered to women is the one found in the 12th verse of Surah Al-Mumtahanah. In the said verse, instead of positive demand of “listen and obey”, women are asked “not to disobey” the messenger of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala). It is easy to note that the pledge of allegiance for women is much more lenient as compared to men. This is further supported by the fact that the above Ayah includes the wording of “Fee Ma’roof” even in the obedience to the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam).
In conclusion, women need to belong to a jama’ah and to pledge allegiance to an Ameer so that they can have constant self-censor and a consciousness of being an active participant in the struggle for the establishment of Deen. However, they are not entrusted with the responsibility of directly taking part in this struggle. They have a comparatively more passive, hut equally vital, role to play. Hence, the best course of action for them is to stick to their Divinely-prescribed role. May Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) prevent us from taking on unnecessary burdens and May He (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) help us in performing our duties in the best possible manner. Aameen!
 A pledge of allegiance
 It should be pointed out that the Bai’yah taken by the Sufiyaah, known as Bai’yah al-Irshad, is similar to the one taken by the women. This is due to the fact that the concept of Iqamah al-Deen as an obligation is non-existent among them.
 “Allah hath purchased from the believers their lives and their wealth; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause and slay and arc slain: a promise binding on Him in truth through the Torah, the Gospel and the Qur’an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? Then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.” [Al-Qur’an, Surah At-Taubah, 9:111]
 “Fee al-Ma’roof” refers to obeying someone as long as the orders are within the bounds of Shari’ah. In case of the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), such condition need not exist, however, for any other leader it is necessary to enforce this condition.
 “O Prophet! when believing women come to thee to take the oath of allegiance to you that they will not associate in worship any other thing with Allah that they will not steal that they will not commit adultery (or fornication) that they will not kill their children that they will not utter slander intentionally forging falsehood and that they will not disobey you in any just matter, then you should receive their allegiance and pray to Allah for the forgiveness (of their sins): for Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful.” [Al-Qur’an, Surah Al-Mumtahanah, 60:12]
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