the vice presidency for Women & Family Affairs Isalmic Republic Of Iran

Speech of Masoumeh Ebtekar to High Level Consultation of World Muslim Scholars on Wasatiyat Islam





Sunday 06 May 2018 - 18:06

Speech of Masoumeh Ebtekar

 

Vice President Islamic Republic of Iran

 To High Level Consultation of World Muslim Scholars on Wasatiyat Islam

 

 In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

 

Islam is a school of peace, Salam. Salam is one of the divine names,

اسما الحسنی

الملک القدوس السلام مومن

The basics of Islam in the Shariat or in the Spiritual methods , in the heavenly or earthy paths are the key to all divine teachings of the Prophets. They had no discord or strife among them.The edicts and rituals and teachings of Islam are sahle and samhe , ease of practices and tolerance.

The Prophet SA who is the final messenger has announced the ultimate philosophy and reason for his appointment to be the “The sublime restoration of good ethics and manners”.

The objective of the Shariat in the political or social jurisprudence is to promote a self recognition and understanding as well as cognition of the Creator, through ethical and spiritual codes of conduct.

من عرف نفسه فقد عرف ربه

Prophets have been sent with Divine Books to cleanse and educate, and the ethical education at individual and social levels is a priority. Islam is a religion based on thought and contemplation for an hour of thought is more valuable than seventy years of worship.

Moderate Islam based on individual thought and opinions and collective wisdom is the ultimate product of a realistic understanding of history and lessons learnt and the social assets obtained. Lessons from the fate and history of nations in the past are beacons for the future of humanity.

This collective wisdom is the result of a dialogue between individuals within a family and society and civilisations. Critical thought and dialogue are the basics for guidance for a subliminal lifestyle or a model for individual and collective human advancement and uplifting.

In this equation both men and women have specific roles, rights and responsibilities.The woman has been designated in divine creation as the channel of life. Her life giving features are not limited to the biological roles since she also carries the tributes of the anima, the colour and spirit of life. Motherhood is the sublime manifestation of human values through her unconditional love and sacrifice she brings not only biological life but educates and trains her child throughout life. The father albeit has a complementary role in this path that cannot be underestimated. The woman is the manifestation of the beauty and anima of God’s creation while the man is the symbol of the omnipotence of God’s creation or the animus.

The education of a society begins within its families and a prosperous and healthy family is the source of calm, peace and intellectual and moral development for all it members. Ethical behaviour and value systems take shape in the family and a healthy society relies on healthy families.In many individuals the root of violence, hatred and terror can be traced to problems in families or unbalanced family relationships.

The eqalitarian vision of Islam for all humans, the Quranic view that all “have been created from a single soul and created its pair from it”. Or that “Oh Humankind we have created you male, female, and set you in tribes and races that you may know the dearest among you for God is the most pious of you.”

In the Creation narrative of the Quran Karim when Adam and Eve are both prohibited from taking the forbidden fruit, contrary to the Torah which claims that the woman is first approached by satan and is deceived first, then she is the one who lures Adam to sin; in the Quranic version both are approached and deceived by Satan, both sin together and both are condemned to descend or Hobut to the troublesome worldly life out of heaven.

This eqalitarian version of creation has important philosophical implications for Muslims. In Islamic perceptions, in stark contrast to the Old and New Testament, women are not the source of sin and deviation for mankind. In other words the original sin is for both men and women, both have to strive to protect and purify their souls.

In this view women are not denounced for their gender but they are honored for their god given tributes.The Prophet SA has sons who all die early and only a daughter Fatima is left for him,this gives Qureish a pretext to admonish the Prophet for not having a son, a heir to inherit him and to ensure the continuation of  the mission. Then the Kauthar Sura is revealed pointing to his only heir, his daughter Fatima, as the source of great goodness and that he is not Abtar. (without hein)

The Quran has many eqalitarian references to women “Examples like the wife of Ferown Pharoah and Maryam bint Emran for all believers..not only women”.

One of the characteristics of the deviant extremist views of contemporary hypocrisy is that they have profound defamatory and humiliating views on women. They have acted to prevent women from education in Afghanistan, in parts of Africa, in the Caliphate of Daesh they were constructing in the Levant , women were brutally  discluded from  education and social sphere in the name of the Shariat.

We are proud to say that in Iran we now have a 40 year experience albeit with challenges and lessons to be learnt, of an Islamic model for women’s advancement. Women in Iran have taken the lead in closing the gaps in literacy coming from a mere 35% literacy rate in 1978 to 84%and rapidly rising, academic education has boomed among youth but women have taken the lead 28% of Iranian women now have academic education, 55% of our 4.5 million university students are women and 27% of our faculty are women. One element which we need to strengthen and for which new policies are underway is the issue of promotion of life skills in the educational systems for boys and girls, life skills that enable communicative skills, legal literacy, digital literacy, ethics, physical and psychological health skills, nature conservation and environmental skills, as well as a national Dialogue on the Family are underway now in Iran.

The intergenerational dialogue is indispensable for the Muslim Ummah today, the digital revolution has created both opportunities but also challenges aimed at confiscating the identity of our societies and our youth.

The balanced approach on women is an integral element of Wasatiyat moderation, dialogue, identity, and advancement of the Muslim Ummah. Educated mothers can enable a balanced family atmosphere and deal with the challenges and social ailments that threaten Islamic societies today. In addition her presence in social and political spheres ensures that the (motherhood and gender) balanced views of Islam are integrated in all aspects of policy making. Muslim women of Iran are now educated and employed in various fields, as teachers, medical professionals, artists, athletes, scientists, scholars, engineers, environmentalists and social workers playing an important indispensable role in the advancement and uplifting of their societies.

Women can play a more constructive role in peace building among Muslim societies but also between ethnic and religious denominations. Women have mentorship capabilities that can promote constructive dialogue and understanding among societies. They can lead social mobilisation strategies in societies to address challenges through civil society activism. The example of Iran today is a success story by all means. We have at least 50 thousand charity and NGO activities listed in Iran, a large portion of which goes to the voluntary work of women. We now have 2700 women focused NGOs and charity organisations in Iran active in various fields. According to current policy they have roles in policy making, social mobilisation, training and empowerment as well as oversight. Over 900 environmental NGOS are also active where women play a significant role in advancing the objectives of the civil society in this area.

Their role in strengthening the civil society and ensuring a dynamic national social dialogue is evident in Iran today.

Muslim women have an important role to fulfil in terms of shaping resilience and ensuring pubic participation in deciding the political fate of societies and ensuring an ethical and moderate outcome in political processes. Ensuring inclusion of all groups and minorities and the observance of their rights is essential for healthy societies.

In the moderate Islam collective wisdom takes the place of authoritarian rule and tyranny.Peace and security replace terror, militarism .  Tolerance in the social arena replaces violence, diversity of cultures replaces a single totalitarian view.Shariat samhe  va sahle.

Islam does not condone discord and incitement of hatred among or between society and nations. Women can have an influential role in conflict resolution and creating bonds among warring factions among the Ummah.

Moderate Islam considers the sublime status of women as an asset for the advancement of the society.

Moderate Islam does not consider power to be rooted only in arms and military might and does not consider greatness in wealth and authority but also rooted in ethics,and in dignity.

We have endeavoured to attain those objectives in Iran taking in mind the diversity of political view points and the long history of colonial and imperial influence in Iran before the Revolution.The general understanding based on many narrations

احب الادیان الی الله الحنیفه السهله و سمحه

is that Islam advocates tolerance, kindness, understanding among the Ummah for the Prophet SA was Rahmatan Lil Alamin .

Today more than ever the Islamic Ummah is in need of unity, collaboration on issues of peace and security, mainstreaming the meaningful role of women in the family and social spheres, promoting a strong sense of purpose for our youth who are under a cultural assault to steal their minds and hearts and markets. These are modern criteria of Wasatiyat.

Dialogue is essential but not sufficient in response to the immense challenges we face in terms of global security & peace and the precious future of our children.

Thank you.



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