Thursday 1st of December 2022
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A Woman May Work in Every Field

What is the Islamic view regarding the work of the woman in special fields or fields which do not match her nature as a woman?

A woman has the same right as a man to work in any halal work she chooses, and the Shariah does not differentiate between the work of a man and the work of a woman. There are, however, some specifics which may concern the woman in her wifely duties and the natural state of motherhood. Her wifely duties may dictate that she not work except with the agreement of her husband.

On the theoretical plane, Islam certainly does not prevent the woman from working, no more than it prevents the man from working. The same ethical obligations apply to the woman in the workplace as to the man. If the work is in a moral environment, then it is as permissible for the woman as it is for the man.

Parental Monitoring of Children's Behaviour

Does the parental monitoring of the behavior of their sons and daughters constitute interference in the latters' private affairs?

There is a form of primitive, retrogressive supervision which causes the person to live in what is like a stifling nightmare that throws his life into confusion, with severe problems, where he finds himself besieged by your inquisitiveness or "spying", if one may use that term.

Supervision is absolutely necessary for knowing about our youth, students, and sons. We must make supervision something good that does not affect youth in such a way as to be a problem, except in certain situations where we wish to exert some pressure on them to let them know they are under supervision; so that they may not go astray or advance too far in what may cause them severe problems in life.

What we mean is monitoring of the youth's studies and associates, and trying to find out his weak points in order to draw attention to them afterwards. It is necessary that this monitoring be psychologically sound, not one that afflicts his mentality or presents a problem. You may find some children looking at their parents or their teachers with dislike or hatred, benefit little afterwards from any advice that these parents or teachers may have given them.

We must make our children and students like us. This may be done by astute methods which do not adversely affect them in their developmental stages of life.

Equitability Between the Children

What does Islam want from parents in their interaction with their children, in accordance with equity and justice?

The fundamental principle in Islam is justice, and equity is a manifestation of justice. Such justice may be exemplified in matters of affection with respect to the children. This is what is reported from the Prophet: that he saw a man kissing one of his sons, and so he said to him, "Kiss the other one, so he may not feel anything against his brother or his father."

Equity is a fundamental principle in parents' care of their children, but sometimes we need to stay away from equality in justice, when one child is better in religion than the other; is better in his studies or morals; or is more obedient. In this case, we prefer him to his brother in order to influence that latter brother to be like him, so that he could receive the same treatment. In other words, we create a situation of competition, which needs some wisdom in its application, so the child does not assume that the father loves his brother more.

Actions of the Infallible Leaders (masum) Indicate Legality, not Compulsion

Is the required emulation of the Prophet and the members of his household something absolute, because of their standing, or does the issue of conditions, developments, and needs of the time qualify this emulation?

When we wish to emulate the Prophet and the pure Imams, we must study factors behind their conduct, and whether this conduct was by virtue of their being paragons-whose actions are not linked to time and place. Or was their conduct dictated by the specific conditions which made them act in a specific manner? If other conditions occur, the matter may not be one of emulation, but exactly like a Shariah ruling that must be based on lack of precedent, and when a different situation comes up, then the ruling is changed to reflect the relevant circumstances.

Therefore, the actions of the Prophet or the infallible leaders (masum) do not indicate obligatory emulation, because an act may be compulsory, or it may be commendable, and indicate only legality and not compulsory imitation. When we observe that the Prophet did something, or practiced something, we must study whether his action was determined by the circumstances and the issue subject to circumstance, or this issue contains elements which are intrinsic to the action.

Emulation does not mean Deduction

Emulation is not to be taken from any single occurrence as absolute. Rather, the action of the Prophet must be studied. We hold that this action may take the form of a method for calling to the way of God, without discounting the need for another method. This is because the Prophet had acted in a particular manner relative to circumstances. The need for propagation had called for a specific method. There may be situations with different circumstances which need different methods.

Therefore, Islamic propagation did not need a structured methodology at the beginning of Islam. However, later circumstances may have dictated a structured format. Moreover, the great challenges which others have had to face through a structured format dictate that we, too, must draw up our methodology based on Islamic perspectives.

This does not mean that everything that does not have precedent is to be deemed as innovation [bida], or that the precedent must be absolutely emulated. We must analyze every new occurrence in terms of its concordance with the ideational and functional Islamic principles, and study that which occurred before-was it normal for the time and circumstances? Or was it a Shariah action on which time and place have no bearing?

Civilizational/Cultural Showing Off

The dazzling display of advance in civilization, and Western technological advances have undoubtedly greatly affected social life. What are the effects of this-negative or positive-in your eminence's view?

The impressive picture of material life, with all its forms, colors, and vastness, encourages display-especially to the weak who live without the slightest power; nor do they sense any internal power, but dwell on their weak points. This is what makes the weak submit to the strong, and the oppressed submit to the tyrants.

As such, we must understand the issue according to the Quran, which focuses on the weak points of the strong, and on the negative elements we now find in Western civilization. Every negative aspect which this civilization has must be compared to the elements of strength found in Islam and the positive elements of the Islamic way of life. By doing this, we will be able to rescue our people, our boys and girls from Western pomp and display; especially since display signifies the degradation of Islamic society and the oppressed. We may use politics to reject the subjugation to Western culture, since it appears savage and wild, and to negate every display of pomp which people have taken from other milieux.

We may understand this from the meaningful words of Imam Ali when he spoke of the world: "Whoever perceives it understands, and it blinds whoever looks at it." The world blinds whoever looks at it in its forms. But whoever looks at the world for reflection, perceives its reality in his analysis. When we see things thus, we can recognize that Western civilization is equal to this one (i.e., ours).

Imitation and Copycat Behaviour

Imitation and copycat behavior have a great influence on the life of youth. There are those who imitate heroes, stars, famous, and outstanding people. What are the negative and positive limits in imitation?

Imitation may have negative effects, since it does not stem from any intellectual premise relating to the merits of the action itself, or of the position imitated. This causes one to follow others and lose charge of himself or his ideas; and this can have an effect on his mental, emotional, functional, and future development. He may thus always look to others rather than rely on his own assessment, which may be gained by having his own mental, emotional, and functional perspectives.

This is what Islam establishes in the approach to taking the parents' example. The sentiments which children have for their parents make them lose confidence in themselves as separate thinking beings, or when questioning other ideas. Therefore, they belittle other ideas, perceptions, or spirituality and stick to their parents' position. This freezes the intellect of the parents and grandparents, and makes the coming generations idolize and sanctify their parents' ideas without allowing themselves or others to question them, let alone reject them.

Imitating Actors

What we see now is the coming generation of boys and girls imitating the actors, singers, and other public figures which, in one form or another, attracts youths. This is occurring to the point where, just to imitate their idols, they go against ethical and social values, etc. They do not care about the positive or negative effects of their behavior on their lives; they see no difference between attractive and contradictory points; their sole value is to do the same as their close friends do.

Consequently, we find that many of those who oversee the conditioning of children direct generations in this direction, since these children have lost their strength of character which connects them to their roots and which opens their minds to new horizons.

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