Islahi likens family to the institution of state. A state is required to be headed by a person; a family is also required to have a head. It can be husband or wife, but cannot be both.
Islahi’s assertion is in favour of man. In his view, man possesses those qualities which are required for the custodianship of family. However, it does not mean that man is superior to woman in all walks of life.
There are certain areas where women are ahead of men. For example, man cannot take care of the children as can a woman.
There is an inherent difference between man and woman. Man has an edge over woman in some physical aspects. Any step in the direction of equating both has proved futile.
Islahi considers all such moves a war against God and human wisdom. In the modern times most countries of the world equate women with men.
Legal and constitutional equality does not mean that they become equal in all fields of life.
A few women who prove themselves equal to men in some fields, they have to lose many feminine traits of their personality.
They have to lose their own female identity and finally absorbed in the man folk. Any move towards the equality of man and woman may culminate in a permanent clash between both. According to Islahi, if clash between inherited differences between sexes continues it will end up in the destruction of the social and universal system. Islahi does not rule out any competition between man and woman.
There is a vast field available to compete with each other. This field is not in the material world but it is the field of morality. In this field, a woman can supersede a man many times if she wishes. She can glorify herself more than a man through her noble deeds. The Qur’an states,
“And in no wise covet those things in which Allah hath bestowed his gifts more freely on some of you than on others: to men is allotted what they earn and to women what they earn: but ask Allah of His bounty: for Allah hath full knowledge of all things.” (Surah An-Nisa’: 32)
In family, man is required to provide sustenance to his wife and children. Woman is exempted from all economic struggles.
Instead, she is expected to be obedient to her husband, the way citizens obey state authority.
She is also required to be guardian of the private life of her husband. It is wife who knows all weakness and frailty of man and husband became vulnerable if his wife did not take care of him.
What should be done if disorder is caused in family because of the actions of wife? According to Islahi, man can take the following measures to restore order at home. Woman should be persuaded through arguments and guidance and then through warning to mend her ways. If woman does not do adhere, then, man should separate his bed from her and try to make her realise the negative consequences of her behaviour.
If this does not work, man is then allowed to punish his wife physically. However, the physical punishment should not be severe in nature, but should be that of a teacher correcting students.
Islahi pointed out that punishable disobedience is not an ordinary one. Physical punishment of wife is allowed when it challenges authority of the head of family. An anarchic situation is expected to appear in family, if it is not checked in time.16 Moreover, disobedience does not mean an error, carelessness, or negligence.
It is also not the non-fulfilment of husband’s taste or keeping aside his views and opinions by wife. Secondly, the punishment should not be severe. According to Javid Ahmad Ghamidi, the punishment should not leave a permanent imprint on the body. If punishment works and behaviour of wife return to normal, then she should be pardoned and man should not be in search of a pretext to take revenge from her.
Giving the right of custodianship to man does not mean that woman merges her personality in man’s entity.
According to Islahi, woman is not to be considered as personal property; rather she is an independent entity. The view of Islahi is important, as there exist some societies including Muslim societies which do not give due status to women and continue to exploit them in the name of religion.
The issue got much attention after the emancipation of woman in the Western industrialised societies. Islahi considered woman a fully independent member of society and asked man to honour this independent status of woman.
Please write: COMMENT in this box to verify that you are human