Topic: Women’s Status in Islam and other Cultures.
Ghulam Sabir, Founding Chairman IAS, in his short introductory speech highlighted the importance of awareness among the younger generation on the delicate aspect of married life. He said that the situation of considering female as lower species in humankind has remained unchanged for centuries for centuries in all the cultures of the world. He gave a couple of examples in this respect.
Continuing the introduction on the topic, Sarosh Alamgir, IAS board member, spoke on a few points distinguishing between the powerful and worthy natural diversity across genders, and the misuse of that diversity towards promoting the interest of mail, suppressing the other half. He then brought to the table a view on the effect of social evolution on the degrees of chauvinism in different eras.
After the above talk Hadi Khan, another member of the IAS board, opened the session with comments on how the ‘imperialist Islam’ is different from actual essence of Islam and the spirit of freedom that it entails, and how the ‘crafted Sharia’ promoting the interest of a few, differs from the actual message o Qur’an. He then went on to list the different controversial issues and topics as understood in Islam today. This was followed by the open discussion.
The topic that consumed the most part of the programme was based on verse 4:34:(Sura al-Nisa), which is used as a source for the claims, 1) Men are superior to women, 2) Husbands are fully entitled to beat their wives. The rest of the discussion very much focused on the verse, looking at the different views and perspectives that Islamic scholars have or have had, and also discussing what this verse can or cannot mean, based on the formation of the verse and its context.
The topic is extraordinary vast and needs several further sittings. It was decided to hold further meetings on this topic on broader scale in which outsiders should also be invited.