THE MUSLIM WOMEN'S IDEAL CHARACTER
Qur'an, Allah informs us how belief benefits a woman:
Do not marry women who associate [others with
Allah] until they believe. A slave girl who is one of the believers
is better for you than a woman who associates [others with Allah],
even though she may attract you. And do not marry men who associate
[others with Allah] until they believe. A slave who is one of
the believers is better for you than a man who associates [others
with Allah], even though he may attract you. Such people call
you to the Fire, whereas Allah calls you, with His permission,
to the Garden and forgiveness. He makes His Signs clear to people
so that, hopefully, they will pay heed. (Surat al-Baqara: 221)
Allah reveals that belief, fear and respect of Allah, and Islamic
morality are the foremost causes of the believers' strength of character
and virtue. Belief makes all of a person's qualities meaningful.
In addition, the Qur'an's morality helps women, and everyone else,
to acquire a most strong, solid, and virtuous character. As Allah
revealed in the verse, "No indeed! We have
given them that by which they are remembered [i.e. their honor,
eminence and dignity]" (Surat al-Mu'minun: 71), this morality
gives people their dignity and honor. Therefore, women who live
by this morality will be respected and enjoy their deserved honor
As we mentioned earlier, Allah has not determined separate characters
for men and women and therefore calls on all people to abide by
one Muslim character. Therefore, Muslims fear and respect Allah,
seek His good pleasure, and seek only to win the Hereafter, in the
full knowledge that this worldly life is temporary and that he or
she will die one day.
All Muslims always strive to live by the Qur'an's morality. Women
who do so are free from all of the character defects, weaknesses,
and prejudices found among unbelievers. Instead, they develop a
strong character based on their belief. Believers disregard the
suggestions and criticisms of their society, family, or friends
and live according to the Qur'an's values and morality.
Maryam is one of the best role models for such women, for during
all of the difficult trials that she underwent at the hands of her
unbelieving society, she always showed her strength of character
and integrity. And, the strength that she derived from her belief
in Allah, her sincere submission to Him, and her constant adherence
to Islam's values enabled her to preserve her honor and integrity.
In fact, she was noted for these qualities among people.
In the coming pages, we will explore the basics of a woman's ideal
character and how much it differs from the character of unbelieving
Muslim Women Submit to God
Muslim women believe in Allah with a true heart, submit completely
to Him, are aware that there is no other deity, that He is the Lord
of every being and thing, and that He is All-Powerful. Therefore,
she fears and respects only Him and seeks to win only His good pleasure.
She worships only Him, accepts only Him as her closest friend, and
seeks only His help. She also knows that only He can direct good
and bad toward her, and so lives in the full knowledge that she
is dependent on Him. She knows that He keeps her alive, provides
and cares for her, and protects and guards her. For these reasons,
she has no expectations of other people.
She believes in Allah without the slightest doubt in her heart
for her whole life, never losing heart or belief regardless of the
circumstances. She knows how to be grateful and content with her
closeness to Him both when her life is good and when she is undergoing
difficulties. She is in a state of constant submission, certain
of our Lord's love, compassion, forgiveness, and providence.
When she encounters a problem, she knows that Allah has provided
a solution in the Qur'an, and that what matters most is her continued
sincere love, submission, and trust in Allah. She is certain of
Allah's promise that He creates everything according to His justice
and with wisdom and goodness.
Even if her problems seem to go on forever, she never surrenders
to hopelessness or worries when His help will come. Content with
what He has sent her way, she maintains her patience and submission,
knowing that something good will come out of it. She remembers what
the Qur'an says about those who abandon their belief in such times.
In addition, she recites "My Lord is with
me and will guide me" (Surat ash-Shu'ara': 62), just as the
Prophets did when faced with hardship. Throughout her life, her
profound faith enables her to see Allah's compassion, closeness,
love, help, and friendship at all times.
This superior character becomes even more distinctive when compared
with that of unbelieving women. Some unbelieving women do not show
the appropriate degree of submission in their encounters, because
they ignore the fact that Allah creates everything and inserts much
wisdom and goodness hidden therein. One of the best-known characteristics
of such women is their impatience, lack of determination, panic,
and throwing tantrums when experiencing various hardships.
For this reason, and to save themselves the hassle, men often try
to keep women away from potentially troublesome situations. Movies
and novels are full of such stories. Since they do not place their
trust in Allah and do not submit to Him, they cannot find the patience
and resolution to endure hard times. In fact, their strength is
in direct proportion to the size of the gain they can expect from
working through these difficulties.
Believing women derive their strength from their belief and their
determination to win Allah's good pleasure. Therefore, their resistance
can be quite powerful. The Qur'an reveals this truth in the following
verse: "Allah's guidance, that is true guidance.
We are commanded to submit as Muslims to the Lord of all the worlds"
(Surat al-An'am: 71). Allah gives good news to those who submit
Those who submit themselves completely to Allah
and do good have grasped the Firmest Handhold. The end result
of all affairs is with Allah. (Surah Luqman: 22)
Not so! All who submit themselves completely
to Allah and are good-doers will find their reward with their
Lord. They will feel no fear and will know no sorrow. (Surat al-Baqara:
The Muslim Women, the Qur'an,
and the Hadiths
As is the case with all believers, a Muslim woman's sole sources
of guidance are the Qur'an and the sunnah (example) of our Prophet
(saas). She shapes her personality, character, lifestyle, ideals,
desires, behavior, and morality according to these two sources.
By asking "Do they then seek the judgment
of the Time of Ignorance? Who could be better at giving judgment
than Allah for people with certainty?" (Surat al-Ma'ida:
50), Allah proclaims that the most correct and best judgments are
contained in the Qur'an. Moreover,
... We have sent down the Book to you making
all things clear and as guidance, and mercy and good news, for
the Muslims. (Surat an-Nahl: 89)
Our Prophet (saas) said: "Verily, I have
left among you the Book of Allah and the sunnah (example) of His
Apostle. If you hold fast to them, you shall never go astray."21
With these words, he reminded Muslims that the most important guidance
is the Qur'an and his sunnah.
When looking at an unbelieving society's stereotypical ideas of
women, we notice immediately that they act according to their whims
or instincts. The conditioning they receive from childhood onward
about the ideal woman's character become almost their sole source
of guidance. Given that the women in their immediate environment
act and speak in the same way, that women portrayed in films and
novels display the same character, that people seem to agree on
what a woman's character should be, their character is a habitual
one. Thus, it is easy to predict how they will respond in certain
situations, what decisions they will reach, how they will behave,
and even what they will say.
On the other hand, Muslim women always react correctly, make the
right decisions, and obtain the best results because they are guided
by the Qur'an and the Prophet's (saas) sunnah. Besides, they do
not experience the unhappiness and discontent that unbelieving women
do. As the following verse reveals, Muslim men and women lead a
happy life, as promised by Allah: "Anyone
who acts rightly, male or female, being a believer, We will give
them a good life and recompense them according to the best of what
they did" (Surat an-Nahl: 97).
Muslim Women Have Great Ideals
One of the unbelievers' most misguided character traits is the
restrictions that they placed on people's ideals, thoughts, and
lifestyle. In the case of women, society tells them that they have
certain duties and responsibilities that they are expected to fulfill
to the best of their ability. Usually, they are not encouraged to
acquire different ideals or develop their personalities. Only when
women become aware of this reality do they begin to perceive the
need to seek greater ideals, widen their horizon, and develop their
Primarily, women are expected to provide for and cater to their
families' needs and raise their children. Otherwise, they focus
on themselves, according to the conditioning they received when
young. They concentrate on their physical appearance, hair style,
make-up, clothing and fashion in general; keeping their homes clean;
and talking with their friends. While there is nothing wrong with
such activities, it is wrong to limit their lives just to these
tasks without even knowing why this is so.
Allah created men and women for a purpose and revealed their responsibilities
in the Qur'an. Most importantly, each woman is responsible to our
Lord, for He created her, gave her life, protected and watched over
her, and provided for her. Men and women are required to lead the
moral life prescribed by Allah, worship and serve Him, and to win
His good pleasure. They are required to tell people who are far
from the happy and contented life of following the Qur'an's values
about Islam's values and to make a genuine effort to help them draw
closer to Allah's pleasure, mercy, and Paradise. They must strive
to save people from negative frames of mind, and from suffering
under the influence of the chaos and disorder, all of which are
presented by Satan and thus are devoid of true love, respect, and
All believers are obliged to help and guide those who are weak
and distressed to His path:
What reason could you have for not fighting in
the Way of Allah-for those men, women, and children who are oppressed
and say: "Our Lord, take us out of this city whose inhabitants
are wrongdoers! Give us a protector from You! Give us a helper
from You!?" (Surat an-Nisa': 75)
Allah further reminds Muslims that they are obliged to assist orphans,
people who are stranded, and other needy people:
Worship Allah and do not associate anything with
Him. Be good to your parents and relatives, orphans and the very
poor, neighbors who are related to you and neighbors who are not
related to you, and companions, travelers, and your servants.
Allah does not love anyone vain or boastful. (Surat an-Nisa':
A Muslim woman is aware of all these responsibilities and so does
not focus only on herself. Rather, she does her best to solve the
problems around the world, such as helping people who are suffering,
fighting infectious diseases, working with children displaced or
orphaned by war and conflict, and taking care of the elderly and
other women as if they were her own problems.
She gives her full attention to every matter in her daily life,
because she knows that the truly important thing is to win Allah's
good pleasure, live the Qur'an's morality, and spread this morality
in order to bring true contentment and happiness to all others.
For this reason, she acts in the knowledge that what she encounters
each day is not so important when put into the overall context of
what she was created to do.
Muslim Women Are Dignified
... And the soul and what proportioned and inspired
it with depravity or heedfulness; he who purifies it has succeeded,
he who covers it up has failed. (Surat ash-Shams: 7-10)
The above verses warn people about the selfish ego that, when not
brought under control, will lead them to limitless evil. A person's
fear and respect of Allah, as well as his or her belief in the Hereafter,
gives each person the strength and reason to resist these temptations.
Without this awareness, people will follow their desires and not
worry about their meeting with Allah in the Hereafter, where they
will be held accountable for their deeds. If his ego demands anger,
jealousy, or ill-treatment of someone else, he will indulge it.
If her selfish ego encourages her to vent her anger or jealous frustration
with insinuations, mockery, slander, lies, conspiracies, or hypocritical
behavior, she will oblige it without giving it a second thought.
Such people will commit all of these sins without reservation, because
they believe that they will never have to account for their deeds.
Allah, however, reveals that all of these activities are unconstrained
evils called for by the selfish ego. When people act on these impulses,
things just get worse. People who cannot control their emotions,
even when they know that what they are doing is wrong, show that
they are both weak and ignore their conscience. In other words,
they seem to grow smaller. It is debasing to be unable to act maturely
or respond rationally when their selfish egos suggest otherwise.
As Allah reveals, the dignifying and rightful response to such evil
suggestions is to ignore them and act conscientiously. This character
trait needs to be worked on, for eventually it will earn other people's
respect and love and raise the person's ranks in His eyes, as well
as in the eyes of other people.
Muslim women have enough dignity and character to reject such debasing
behavior for small gains. Allah informs us of the conspiring nature
of unbelieving women: "He saw the shirt torn
at the back and said: 'The source of this is women's deviousness.
Without a doubt your guile is very great'" (Surah Yusuf:
28). Unbelieving women often try to resolve situations by conspiring,
intriguing, or lying instead of seeking rational solutions. Indulging
Satan's suggestions, they fall back on hypocrisy, cowardice, or
devious methods. Believing women, on the other hand, resolve their
problems by honesty, openness, and sincerity, for their awareness
of Allah totally removes them from such inappropriate behavior.
Unbelieving women also are characterized by envy. Allah mentions
envious people and warns others about their evil: "Say:
'I seek refuge with the Lord of Daybreak, from the evil of what
He has created and from the evil of the darkness when it gathers,
and from the evil of women who blow on knots and from the evil of
an envier when he envies'" (Surat al-Falaq: 1-5). Some unbelieving
women are prone to such behavior, which causes distrust, tantrums,
broken relationships, and endless arguments, all of which result
in an unfulfilled and unhappy life. In addition, they cause great
suffering and damage to themselves and to those around them. Believing
women, however, will disregard this aspect of human ego, knowing
that it leads to great losses in this life as well as in the next.
Mockery is another character defect of unbelieving women. In the
following verse Allah warns them against such behavior: "O
you who believe! People should not ridicule others who may be better
than themselves; nor should any women ridicule other women who may
be better than themselves. And do not find fault with one another
or insult each other with derogatory nicknames" (Surat al-Hujurat:
Those women who are shaped by the unbelief that rules their societies
do not hesitate to ridicule people for their shortcomings or to
mock others, because they do not think of the Hereafter. They do
not consider this behavior as wrong, but rather as a kind of humor.
Often this mockery is not even verbal, but is expressed by making
faces, rolling one's eyes, imitating their mannerisms, or whispering
about them. Believing women shun such activities, because they know
that Allah requires them to live according to the Qur'an's morality.
In another verse, Allah reminds people not to speculate or gossip
about others: "O you who believe! Avoid most
suspicion. Indeed, some suspicion is a crime. Do not spy and do
not backbite one another. Would any of you like to eat his brother's
dead flesh? No, you would hate it. And have fear of Allah. Allah
is Ever-Returning, Most Merciful" (Surat al-Hujurat: 12).
Believing women live dignified lives. Instead of mocking others,
they try to help. They compliment people who are successful, instead
of succumbing to envy and gossip. And, when in the company of unbelieving
people who might somehow offend them, they do not compromise their
integrity or dignity.
Muslim Women Have a Strong
Character and Willpower
The values of unbelief usually identify power with such things
as money, fame, prestige, or status, for each of them is believed
to confer power on that particular person. In fact, even one who
acquires the patronage of such a person considers himself or herself
to be powerful. In reality, however, power based on this world's
impermanent values can disappear just as quickly as it appeared.
Muslims derive their power from their faith, and so their power
never changes. This is an important factor in the character of Muslim
women, and Allah describes it in the following terms:
O you who believe! If any of you renounce your
religion, Allah will bring forward a people whom He loves and
who love Him, humble to the believers, fierce to the unbelievers,
who strive in the Way of Allah and do not fear the blame of any
censurer. That is the unbounded favor of Allah, which He gives
to whoever He wills. Allah is Boundless, All-Knowing. (Surat al-Ma'ida:
Hamid Aytac's calligraphy, in which the
names of Prophet Muhammad (saas) and the four rightly guided
caliphs are written.
Another important Islamic character trait revealed here is the
believers' strong personality, which can withstand the criticism
of people. Muslims know very well that all Prophets were accused
and persecuted, made to suffer and forced to emigrate, or even killed.
Nevertheless, these Prophets are the believers' role models, due
to their strong, enduring, and solid personalities, as well as their
patience and determination.
As Allah reveals, Muslims know that they will be tested in this
life through hardship, suffering, and insulting words: "You
will be tested in your wealth and in yourselves, and you will hear
many abusive words from those given the Book before you and from
those who associate [others with Allah]. But if you are steadfast
and guard against evil, that is the most resolute course to take"
(Surah Al 'Imran: 186). They will regard all such events as opportunities
to prove their faith in Allah, their surrender and loyalty to Him,
and will endure them with determination and patience.
They never show the weaknesses of unbelieving women. No one's insults,
rude behavior, or criticism causes them to lose heart or become
weak, and they consider it beneath their dignity to respond with
an emotional display of hurt or being upset. Whatever happens, they
trust in Allah and keep their peace of mind, knowing that Allah
is ever Just and All-Knowing, and that "they
will not be wronged by so much as the smallest speck" (Surat
an-Nisa': 49). They surrender to Allah, knowing that He will expose
any injustice, and so do not worry about any unfounded accusation.
Some unbelieving women consider strength and willpower to be male
characteristics, out of the mistaken belief that only men have to
show strength and determination for themselves, as well as for the
women in their charge, in the face of adversity. Thus, they consider
it to be in their best interest to surrender to men's intellect,
willpower, and strength. Especially when encountering trouble and
difficulty, they lose whatever little strength and willpower they
have and panic, and thus give themselves up to irrational and confused
This pale and weak personality leads unbelieving women to pay too
much attention to what other people think about them. Often, they
knowingly do something wrong just to impress others or to win a
respectable place among them. Likewise, if they are criticized,
they feel belittled and disliked, and so feel devastated. Not understanding
that what matters is their value in Allah's presence, they only
seek the approval of people and end up being upset and distraught,
thinking that all they ever do is a waste. As a result, they become
depressed and lose their strength, willpower, and courage.
But Muslim women never stagger because of people's criticism. Given
that they measure themselves by the yardstick of the Qur'an, which
spells out clearly what is right and what is wrong, they strive
to live up to the Qur'anic morality. If they are criticized for
doing so, they become even more determined and stronger in their
pursuit of His good pleasure, which is the highest goal to pursue.
Believing that only the Qur'an's morality gives them any value in
this world and the next, they do not care what other people think
of them. Even if they are all alone, they do not follow the majority
but remain independent. Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, when discussing
this matter, stated that the people's approval has no significance
for those who live in ways designed to win His good pleasure:
The Divine assent is sufficient. If He is your
beloved, then everything is your beloved. If He is not your beloved,
then the applause of the entire world is utterly worthless.22
You should seek Divine pleasure in your actions.
If Almighty Allah is pleased, it is of no importance even should
the whole world be displeased. If He accepts an action and everyone
else rejects it, it has no effect. Once His pleasure has been
gained and He has accepted an action, even if you do not ask it
of Him, should He wish it and His wisdom require it, He will make
others accept it. He will make them consent to it, too. For this
reason, the sole aim in this service should be the direct seeking
of Divine pleasure.23
O lower self, if you acquired your Creator's
assent with your piety and devotion, then it shall be sufficient
and there shall be no need to look for people's assent. If the
people agree and accept on Allah's behalf, then it is good. If
they act to gain worldly blessings, then it shall be utterly worthless.
Because they are weak servants, just like you...24
Muslim Women Are Balanced
People who live by their own self-made rules can easily make compromises
when they deem it in their best interests to do so. No paramount
guiding principle shapes their lives and gives permanence to their
personalities. Therefore, from time to time, their personalities
show signs of change and cannot be considered consistent.
The defining factor is usually their selfish ego, for Allah reveals
that all people have been created with egotistic tendencies. If
people are ruled by their ego, all of their behavior will be determined
accordingly. This will have an impact on their personality's balance,
consistency, and stability. For example, they can become angry,
emotional, cross, or envious at a moment's notice and then reflect
it in their behavior. Such people constantly surprise others with
their unexpected reactions, and so evoke distrust and uncertainty.
Such character traits are found among unbelieving women. Since
they are far removed from the Qur'an's values, they surrender to
the stereotyped emotions of women and let their lives be determined
by this behavior. Eventually, this leads them to irrational and
Believing women, since they read the Qur'an, know that their ego
always tempts them toward wickedness and that Satan will try to
persuade them to indulge in imbalanced and irrational behavior and
to act on their instincts. In many verses, He reminds people that
those who accept the Qur'an's guidance and follow the voice of their
conscience will develop an ideal personality and become distinguished
in both worlds.
Muslim women acquire this strong and superior personality by following
the path shown by Allah. This involves conforming their responses
to Islam's values in order to develop a measured and balanced personality.
Their actions, viewpoints, and logic will never surprise other people,
for their personalities will always reflect the stability flowing
from the Qur'an's morality. In other words, they will have reliable
personalities, unlike all unbelieving women.
Muslim Women Are Not Emotional
Unbelievers think that being emotional is an important part of
the human character. According to this view, the resulting behavior
is a feeling that needs to be experienced. Such behavioral defects
as being angry, upset, and introverted, or weeping, complaining,
and apathy, are encouraged, for they supposedly come from the heart.
This view is completely wrong. In unbelieving societies, such emotionalism,
especially that seen in women, is responsible for a weak personality.
And, as we saw above, people with weak personalities are, to a great
extent, unable to think rationally or logically and thus cannot
make appropriate decisions.
Muslim women know the selfish ego's qualities and how to fight
them, for their personalities and lives are defined by the Qur'an.
They know that emotionalism clouds the mind, prevents reality from
being seen as it is, and causes weakness and irresolution. In addition,
they are very well aware that such stereotypical qualities as being
sentimental, upset, introverted, angry, and envious are not consistent
with the believers' character, because Allah does not like it and
tells Muslims to refrain from it.
These behavioral defects issue from flawed beliefs and the lack
of sufficient awareness of certain facts. People who easily surrender
to them have either forgotten or else continue to deny the fact
that Allah is All-Powerful; creates everything according to His
wisdom, justice, and goodness; creates whatever He wills; and answers
Genuine surrender and dedication to Him, as well as knowing that
He controls everything, results in seeing goodness in everything
and prevents inappropriate emotion-based behavior. Muslim women
guard themselves against all such behavioral defects out of their
strong love, and fear and respect of Allah. They seek to be role
models of Islamic behavior, personality, and high morality, as the
following verse reveals: "Those who say: 'Our
Lord, give us joy in our wives and children and make us a good example
for those who guard against evil'" (Surat al-Furqan: 74).
Thus, they never give way to depression or emotionalism.
Avoiding these non-Islamic character traits, they acquire a strong
personality in order to serve as examples to other women and act
in full awareness of this responsibility. By cleansing their ego
from wickedness, they find generosity and contentment in both worlds
and thus live happy lives: "It is the people
who are safeguarded from the avarice of their own selves who are
successful" (Surat al-Hashr: 9).
Muslim Women Have a Genuine
and Natural Personality
Sincerity means to be the same in every situation; to have one's
heart reflect its feelings as they are; and to be honest, open,
and clear. In other words, it consists of fully and honestly revealing
one's personality and thoughts without seeking any gain for doing
so. An important feature of sincerity is the impossibility of imitating
in one's life what goes on in one's heart. A sincere person's behavior
comes from the heart, is natural, and creates a very positive and
lasting impression on other people. A genuine person's looks, conversation,
style, and body language are natural and influential.
However, many people are unaware of sincerity's power and effect
and so look for it elsewhere. Some people resort to pretence, hoping
to discover what behavior or way of thinking will please the other
people. Since all people have different character traits, these
insincere people develop a suitable personality for each person
they want to influence, behave differently, and try to appear as
if they were representing different thoughts. But since this insincere
approach forces people into hypocrisy, it does not have the desired
effect and eventually creates an atmosphere of repulsion, coldness,
and distance. In addition, such people make others nervous, for
they never know what to expect.
Allah tells us about such people:
Allah has made a metaphor for them of a man owned
by several partners in dispute with one another, and another man
wholly owned by a single man. Are they the same? Praise be to
Allah! The fact is that most of them do not know. (Surat az-Zumar:
Unbelievers consider pretence a legitimate behavior, because they
do not reflect sufficiently upon the consequences of insincerity
toward Allah and other people. Pretence is especially common among
unbelieving women, for some of them appear to like and take an interest
in others, whom they neither respect nor like, but backbite nevertheless
because of some common interests that they may have. They can lie
and cheat one another without a second thought or, by concealing
their antipathy, create the opposite impression. Likewise, they
can conceal these feelings and try to fool the people they value
and like very much.
Kazasker Mustafa Izzet's calligraphy:
"Allah is the Best of protectors. He is the Most Compassionate
of the compassionate."
Muslim women do not behave this way, because their lives are guided
by their sincere fear and respect of Allah. They never worry about
pleasing anyone for some small material gain, for Allah and many
other people despise such behavior. Rather, they seek to behave
in a way that will win them His good pleasure. They also know that
Allah likes only those who are sincere, for "He
knows what the heart contains" (Surat ash-Shura: 24). In
another verse, Allah says: "Though you speak
out loud, He knows your secrets and what is even more concealed"
(Surah Ta-Ha: 7). For this reason, only unbelievers seek to conceal
from others what is really in their hearts.
Besides, Muslim women know that winning people's pleasure will
not benefit them in either world, for Allah has revealed that He
will not forgive anyone who ascribes partners to Him. Therefore,
all believers must refrain from such behavior, for seeking to win
other people's approval is just one of the many ways of ascribing
partners to Allah.
Muslim Women Are Honest Allah
reminds people not to lie:
O You who believe! Have fear [and respect] of
Allah and speak the right word. He will put your actions right
for you and forgive you your wrong deeds. (Surat al-Ahzab: 70-71)
... Have done with the defilement of idols and
with telling lies. (Surat al-Hajj: 30)
He also reveals that turning the truth upside down and lying brings
evil and Satan's friendship:
Shall I tell you upon whom the demons descend?
They descend on every evil liar. They give them a hearing, and
most of them are liars. (Surat ash-Shu'ara': 221-223)
As Allah reveals with "Cursed be the liars"
(Surat adh-Dhariyat: 10), Muslim women know that Allah disapproves
of lying and so refrain from it. Aware that all of their words will
confront them in the Hereafter, believing women speak only words
of goodness, which will be rewarded with Allah's grace and mercy.
Lies, which will bring great loss in the Hereafter, bring no benefit
in this world either. As they always lead to psychological and material
loss, hypocritical and insincere people reflect their true nature
on their faces. Admitting to themselves that they are dishonest
and insincere, they lose their self-respect and the respect for
those whom they deceive. Nevertheless, they believe that others
do not perceive their insincerity and so develop a superiority complex
toward them. But such behavior leads to a major difficulty: One
is forced to develop more and more elaborate lies to conceal the
truth, and therefore lives with the constant fear of being exposed.
Allah will expose their insincerity and lies either in this world
or the next.
On the other hand, telling the truth is superior and dignifying.
Allah reveals the difference between good words and corrupt words
in the following example:
Do you not see how Allah makes a metaphor of
a good word: a good tree whose roots are firm and whose branches
are in heaven? It bears fruit regularly by its Lord's permission.
Allah makes metaphors for people so that, hopefully, they will
pay heed. The metaphor of a corrupt word is that of a rotten tree,
uprooted on Earth's surface. It has no staying-power. Allah makes
those who believe firm with the Firm Word in the life of this
world and the Hereafter. But Allah misguides the wrongdoers. Allah
does whatever He wills. (Surah Ibrahim: 24-27)
Aware of the goodness and prosperity inherent in truth and honesty,
Muslim women never compromise in such matters, regardless of the
consequences to themselves or others. With courage and openness,
they speak the truth at all times. Allah reveals this character
O you who believe! Be upholders of justice, bearing
witness for Allah alone, even against yourselves or your parents
and relatives. Whether they are rich or poor, Allah is well able
to look after them. Do not follow your own desires and deviate
from the truth. If you twist or turn away, Allah is aware of what
you do. (Surat an-Nisa': 135)
Allah also reminds people not to sacrifice truth and honesty in
moments of anger:
O you who believe! Show integrity for the sake
of Allah, bearing witness with justice. Do not let hatred for
a people incite you into not being just. Be just. That is closer
to heedfulness. Have fear of Allah. Allah is aware of what you
do. (Surat al-Ma'ida: 8)
In unbelieving societies, many women lie to their family members,
spouses, children, siblings, or friends. They have an excuse for
each of these lies: some lies are harmless, it is alright to lie
in order to benefit someone, or white lies do not count. For instance,
they believe that there is nothing wrong with lying about where
they have been, whom they have been with, or on what they have spent
their money. Such things, they claim, are little harmless lies common
in every marriage.
In reality, none of these excuses is valid, since Allah has forbidden
lies. Moreover, lying is a characteristic of Satan. As we know,
Satan resorted to lies in order to get Prophet Adam (as) and his
wife expelled from Paradise.
Muslim women know the final destination of liars, for their guiding
principles are the Qur'an and our Prophet's (saas) sunnah. Therefore,
they refrain from this activity and strive to remain honest, because
following the truth at all times will bring goodness and respect.
Our Prophet (saas) told the believers that:
"Truthfulness leads to righteousness,
and righteousness leads to Paradise. And a man keeps on telling
the truth until he becomes a truthful person."25
Muslim Women Are Brave
A common stereotype, often held by unbelieving men, is that women
do not have the necessary patience and maturity to deal with certain
stressful situations. In fact, they believe that women actually
make matters worse and become liabilities. There is an element of
truth in this claim. Whereas men tend to remain cool even in very
dangerous situations and just deal with it courageously, unbelieving
women often surrender to fear and panic, thereby escalating the
situation and making it even more difficult for themselves. For
this reason, men are often forced to calm their women down while
trying to resolve the situation.
Such a situation is inconceivable for Muslim women, for their love,
trust, dedication, and submission to Allah help them develop a strong,
courageous, and brave personality. They know that Allah will test
them with hardship and that those who remain firm in their submission
and dedication to Him will be rewarded with His mercy. This makes
them even more determined, as Allah reveals below:
Many a Prophet has been killed, when there were
many thousands with him. They did not give up in the face of what
assailed them in the Way of Allah, nor did they weaken, nor did
they yield. Allah loves the steadfast. (Surah Al 'Imran: 146)
Those who, when disaster strikes them, say: "We
belong to Allah, and to Him we will return." (Surat al-Baqara:
Those to whom people said: "The people have gathered
against you, so fear them." But that merely increased their faith,
and they said: "Allah is enough for us and the Best of Guardians."
(Surah Al 'Imran: 173)
This bravery is based on their lack of concern for their worldly
life, for they know that their submission and trust in Allah will
be rewarded in the best possible way. Allah gave life and will take
it back again, just as He gave everything else (e.g., health, youth,
and property) and will take it all back again. Aware of this truth,
and that Allah creates everything according to His wisdom and goodness,
they maintain their peace of mind. As a result, believing women
never lose heart in the face of danger, hardship, or personal risk.
Furthermore, their courage is reflected in their determination
to observe the limits that Allah has imposed upon humanity. Whatever
the situation, they do not make compromises with the Qur'an's morality
or fear or respect any thing or being other than Allah. Allah reveals
this quality in the verse given below:
those who conveyed Allah's Message and had
fear [and respect] of Him, fearing [and respecting] no one except
Allah. Allah suffices as a Reckoner. (Surat al-Ahzab: 39)
Muslim Women Refrain from
Empty Words and Deeds
Allah defines the believers as "those who
turn away from worthless talk" (Surat al-Mu'minun: 3) and
"those who do not bear false witness and who,
when they pass by worthless talk, pass by with dignity" (Surat
al-Furqan: 72). In other words, Muslims who come face to face with
such situations do not compromise on their dignity and honor and
do not behave in an un-Islamic manner.
Passing time in such ways is common among unbelieving women. As
we mentioned above, women who have not acquired great ideals are
characterized by certain types of behavior. Some are of benefit
to their families, their environment, and themselves, while others
are just habits designed to pass time. Some of the best known of
these are socializing with friends on certain days, spending the
whole day watching television programs of no particular value, spending
hours on the phone, complaining about anything and everything, gossiping,
and discussing other people's shortcomings. The common denominator
of all these activities is that they benefit no one.
Allah reveals that such people's hearts are drawn toward the things
of this world:
Their hearts are distracted. (Surat al-Anbiya':
Muslim women avoid such useless activities, since they are well
aware that Allah has granted people only a limited amount of time.
Knowing that they must use this time to win Allah's good pleasure,
mercy, and His Paradise, they live every moment of their lives accordingly.
Not willing to waste even one moment with pointless activities or
small talk, which they will regret in the Hereafter, they strive
to do good deeds. As He reveals, they are engaged in a constant
race to win His good pleasure: "They believe
in Allah and the Last Day, enjoin the right and forbid the wrong,
and compete in doing good. They are among the believers."
(Surah Al 'Imran: 114)
Muslim Women Are Chaste
Wealth and sons are the embellishment of the
life of this world. But, in your Lord's sight, right actions that
are lasting bring a better reward and are a better basis for hope.
(Surat al-Kahf: 46)
Through this verse, Allah reveals an important fact to people:
Those things that are so important for some and to which they dedicate
their entire lives to obtaining, are only the temporary pleasures
of this life. The only true and lasting values are the spiritual
values and their firm establishment in a person's life. But people
who disregard this reality chase wealth, status, and property due
to their misguided belief that these will bring them honor, respect,
and true values. Likewise, they measure others with these values
and, according to their material wealth, decide whether to respect,
like, and admire them or not.
In reality, Allah gives all of these things as gifts for the people
to use. But the qualities that bring distinction and worth in His
presence as well as here on Earth, such as honor, chastity, and
integrity, are very different. These qualities, along with the Muslims'
fear and respect of Allah, give purpose and value to their life
and win them other people's sincere respect and love. Even the richest,
most beautiful or powerful person cannot have the same degree of
superiority and exalted nature as a chaste, honorable, and virtuous
person. A person of such qualities has a natural radiance, beauty,
and depth of soul.
Allah reveals that He honors those who make a genuine effort to
live by the Qur'an's morality and fear and respect Him, as is His
due: "If you avoid the serious wrong actions
you have been forbidden, We will erase your bad actions and admit
you by a Gate of Honor" (Surat an-Nisa': 31) and that:
The men and women who give charity and make a
good loan to Allah will have it increased for them, and they will
have a generous reward. (Surat al-Hadid: 18)
People's true honor is revealed by their refusal to become base
when with base people, to seek little gains by little frauds, to
behave like unbelievers, lie, and become a hypocrite. In other words,
they respond to all people with the same maturity and good character.
Muslim women display honor and integrity by behaving in accordance
with their complete fear and respect of Allah, as well as their
total belief in and submission to Him. They never compromise over
such issues, for they know that doing so will displease Him and
put them on the same level as unbelievers.
In many verses, Allah mentions the importance of chastity and how
it benefits women. He reveals that Maryam's character and chastity
is an example for all women, regardless of time or location, and
reminds them of their ensuing superiority:
And when the angels said: "Maryam, Allah has
chosen you and purified you. He has chosen you over all other
women." (Surah Al 'Imran: 42)
In other verses, Allah reminds people that chastity is an important
and defining characteristic of Muslim women:
If any of you do not have the means to marry
free women who are believers, you may marry slave girls who are
believers. Allah knows best about your faith; you are all the
same in that respect. Marry them with their owners' permission
and give them their dowries correctly and courteously as married
women, not in fornication or taking them as lovers. (Surat an-Nisa':
... so are chaste women from among the believers
and chaste women of those given the Book before you, once you
have given them their dowries in marriage, not in fornication
or taking them as lovers. But as for anyone who rejects faith,
his actions will come to nothing, and in the Hereafter he will
be among the losers. (Surat al-Ma'ida: 5)
Chastity brings honor and respect to women and prevents their being
made to suffer in society. In another verse, Allah states that "this
makes it more likely that they will be recognized and not be harmed"
(Surat al-Ahzab: 59).
Muslim women acquire honor, integrity, and respect by adhering
to the limits that Allah has established for humanity. A person's
virtuous and chaste nature can be determined from his or her behavior,
conversation, movements, facial expressions, and even from a smile.
A chaste woman has a natural aura of well-being, a radiant personality,
and a trustworthy character. As Allah reveals, Muslims are recognized
by these qualities. In fact, "their mark is
on their faces, the traces of prostration..." (Surat al-Fath:
21. Sahih al-Bukhari hadiths.
22. Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, The Risale-i Nur Collection, Barla Lahikası
(Barla Letters), 78.
23. Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, The Risale-i Nur Collection, The Flashes
Collection: The Twenty-first Flash.
24. Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, The Risale-i Nur Collection, Mesnevi-i
Nuriye ("The seed-bed" of the Risale-i Nur), 215.
25. Sahih al-Bukhari hadiths.