I had stumbled across the beautiful words of the Prophet’s (PBUH) last sermon this past week. This sermon was delivered by the Prophet during his pilgrimage to Mecca.
The sermon contains universal values of justice, fairness and equality. It touches on, among others, the themes of ‘freedom, equality and human rights’.
Finding the sermon was a balm that soothed what had seemed like a rough day. However, a part of it left a tingling feeling of (for the lack of finding a better word to describe it), ‘unease.’ The part in question (highlighted below) reads:
“O People it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah’s trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well never to be unchaste.”
I searched in vain for variations of translations. Instead, I found a piece written by an Imam regarding this sermon. He provides a disclaimer that the sermon could be seen as one of the ‘earliest declaration of human rights in written history’, if you can drop your ‘21st century cultural baggage’.
Is my ‘baggage’ causing me to overlook the bigger picture that the sermon is asking us to reflect on? Am I then second-guessing my principles?
Embarking on a journey to learn more about your faith raises a lot of hard and difficult questions about yourself that only you can answer. It is even more of a challenge when you seek gender equitable interpretations. I can only pray that Allah leads me down the right path, iA. Allah knows best.