Women, family, and politics
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The first social establishment is the family whose principle pillar is the couple; in many cases, with political and social changes, the family also undergoes a change when the function of the women is great and special as she plays the parts of both spouse and mother.

   To examine the influence of politics on women in the house and the family, numerous cases and issues may be enumerated of which we briefly mention a few.

   The religious history has recorded special uniqueness of women in houses of the Prophets (P) during the political changes in the world. The prophet- hood of every greatly dignified Prophet (P) has been the source of great change in the political structure of the community in period and the characteristics of these women effecting the life of that Prophet (P) have also been significant. For example:

  • - The role, the mother of the Prophet Ibrahim (P) exemplified during the bearing and bringing up of her child when the dominant power of the day was determined to destroy her child was unsurpassed.
  • - The role, the mother of Samuel Ismail (P) and her efforts and sacrifices in bringing him up and his growth was also unsurpassed.
  • - The role, the mother of Moses (P) in concealing her pregnancy giving birth to her child and her prudence and policy to preserve his life, along with the role of his sister each played to reestablish communication between the mother and child. The role of Asiah the pharaoh’s wife who planed to protect Moses (P) and the effect of the daughter of the prophet Shuaib (P) in helping him during his wandering years and in defending the dangers which threatened him. The common efforts of all these women led to the ruin of the powerful and corrupt government of pharaoh by Moses. (P)
  • - The role of Maryam the honorable mother of Jesus (P) in bringing up and developing the character of Christ whose prophet hood led to a great political change in the world was undeniable.
  • - The role of Job's (P) wife to help him to survive despite great afflictions was unprecedented.
  • - The role of Khadijah (P) in the life of the holy Prophet (P)…. All the above-mentioned cases need further and detailed examination each of these ladies was of exemplary spiritual greatness for having undergone all unforeseen special difficult conditions. Without questions that circumstances several books have been written on these cases we ignore any detail discussion and suffice to mention the words of the holy Prophet (P) in partnership with the Family of the Prophets (P) in their political hardships and suffering. It is reported that, Salman of Persia has said that once he was in the presence of the holy Prophet (P) during last moments of his life when Fatemah (P) could not withstand the pain began to weep uncontrollably. After which, she was informed of the coming events of the future. The holy Prophet (P) said to her, ”O my daughter, God is with you, trust in Him and be patient as the past prophets (P) and their wives were patient".

 Let us mention other cases of women and their families whose close connections with politics left their affect on history.

  • - During the time when one of the religious leaders, was the leader of the Islamic community, he considered his duty to balance his cost of living so carefully that the poorest individual in the Islamic community might feel he equally suffers the same pains and poverty. The severe economic piety the holy Prophet (P) and Ali (P) observed, caused their wives to strongly suffer from it. This sharing of suffering by the wives to understand the under privileged of the community was a characteristic unique worth noting. Some of these suffering may be named, for example, when the Prophet's wives complained of his personal life, and by divine revelation his wives were given the choice to continue living with him or separate from him they all chosen to be with him and to withstand the hardships of living with him. (P)

Once, it is said that Fatemah (P) went to her father and complained of the difficulties of life. She asked him for a servant but since there existed in the Islamic community people who could not meet their basic needs he refused to provide her with a servant and taught her a prayer instead.

   Numerous examples may be given of Ali's (P) house to indicate the partnership of his wife and children in tolerating the pressure of his economic piety, however, they will not be enumerated on because of their great numbers and therefore it is read recommended that the readers study books on the topics concerning the household's behavior and reflect on them carefully.

Therefore numerous cases regarding the political partnerships in the family of the holy Prophet's companions (P) which have been recorded including the following:

   When Muslims emigrated from Mecca to Medina in order to establish the Islamic government, the helper's families… went to welcome them happily, did what they could to provide them with the houses, food and livelihood, as their wives provided them or shared with the immigrants through wives sincere and kindmanness their rooms and furniture and never failed to help them in any way. For example, during the   Abuzar the sincere friend and close companions of the holy prohet (P) famine caused by the battle of Khandagh, Jaber Ebne Abdullah and his wife slaughtered their only sheep prepared a meal with some bread and invited the leader of the Islamic government and all the combatants with him to the modest feast of Jaber. Jaber's wife joined him happily and sincerely to meet and serve the guests with what they had in that simple but splendid reception. By the blessing and abundance that God granted, all the guests were satisfied and left the tablecloth gratefully.

   Another example of the political partnership of the families follows:

Abuzar the sincere friend and close companion of the holy Prophet (P) protested against the economical misuse of the government. Muaviyyah who had spent his childhood youth in abundance of wealth and could not tolerate the economical justice of Islam was angry with him and persuaded the third caliph to banish him to the Rabazah desert. It was a hot and dry desert without any water or trees to take rest under their shade or meet a body needs will their fruits. There were no friends to be found in that desert to speak with or gain sympathy from. The companion of Abuzar in his banishment to Rabazah was alone with his wife and daughter. His daughter unable to tolerate the banishment experienced a long-term illness and died of hunger, which left her parents alone. His wife Umme Zar complained beside her sick husband crying, ”How could I tolerate that I have not enough winding cloth to shroud my husband's body". Abuzar consoled his dear wife and showed her the way to find the holy Prophet's companions (P). After finding them Umme Zar led them to the dead body of Abuzar where they shrouded and buried him. Painstakingly she left the desert in which she had buried the bodies of her daughter and husband with a broken heart.

   Rashid Al-Hujri, the great companion of Ali Ebne Abitalib (P) was killed tragically before the eyes of his daughter. First, they cut his hands and feet and then his tongue,while his daughter witnessed this great torture of her dear father.

   Busr Ebne Artat the commander of the army of Muaviyyah, who was ordered to overthrow the government of Ali (P), made an attack on Mecca in the presence of Ubaidullah Ebne Abbas, the governor of Mecca. He wretchedly killed two young children, while their mother, the guilty Governor's wife was the Governor forced to witness the martyrdom of her two children. After which she was stricken forever after the tragic event.

   The pains suffered by the wives and the children of the innocent Imams (P) were due to the pressure they felt at the threatening of the tyrant governments and their rules. The innocent Imams’ (P) pains were great and numerous for each case has many examples that may be enumerated. For example, when the bloody body of Imam Ali (P) was taken to his house from the mosque, Umme Kulthum who was suffering the pain of missing a leader rather than a father, said to Ebne Muljam, ”O God's enemy, did you kill the commander of the faithful? ”And he answered, ”Truly I killed your father".

   Similar hardships like that of the wife of Imam Hassan A-Askari (P) whose house and persons were constantly under control in anticipation to kill her child as soon as he was born.

   Besides the fore mentioned cases in relation to family and politics, sometimes, compulsory marriages were imposed. For example Imam Reza (P) and Imam Al-Javad (P) were forced to marry the relatives of the caliphs in order to have spies to keep the houses and activities of the Imams (P) under observation. In some cases too, girls were forced to marry. For example Imam Al-Sadegh (P) called the marriage of Umme Kulthum the daughter of Imam Ali (P) to the second caliph an imposed and political marriage.

   Concerning the political partnership of the family numerous examples can be given. Whenever a faithful escaped from the tyranny of the government spent his life in pursuit or was in flight he was either imprisoned for many years or was killed. The first victim of the consequences of this political violence was the wife who had to suffer the separation of her dear husband on the one hand and tolerate alone the heavy burden of the consequent economical pressures while sponsoring and bringing up the orphans on the other hand.

   To conclude this chapter, the prayer of Imam Reza (P) for Mahdi (P) is quoted in which he describes the characteristics of his companions as they separate from their family, ”They are the strength of the arm of the leader of the global government of Islam, their supporters and fellow companions had to fulfill this great duty they had as they left their houses and had to be separated from their family.”

Authors: By: Zahra Ayatollahi
Content Type: Article
Keywords: Family - Women
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