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Women membership and leadership in the community


Salaam Alaykum,
My question refers to the women membership and leadership in our khoja communities.
Currently they are not members or do not have voting rights.
1) Are women allowed to be members, participate in meetings and vote?
2) Can they take up leadership positions in the community including the president of the community?



Waalaykum al-salam

Thank you for your question.

  1. According to Islamic laws, there is no issue into becoming a Member or practicing voting rights for women. However, in  a Khoja community, once  a man becomes a member, automatically the entire family is member.  hence, there is no need as such to make a different set up for women and segregate their membership.
  2. There is no problem in becoming a president either per se, However, I wonder what is the need of a woman taking up the task when men are available to do it. More so, because it involves a lot of interaction with non Mahram (including outside community members) and unnecessary hard work on a woman’s side. This does not by far mean that we underestimate the capabilities of a woman, rather, its to respect her and reduce un-needed load than what she already carries on her capable shoulder. Kindly ponder upon the following Hadith:Imam Jaffer al-Sadiq (as) says: “A man who works hard for his family’s sustenance, is like a warrior who fights in the way of Allah (az)”
    (ref: Kafi, Vol5, P88)

    While Imam Ali (as) says: “Jihad of a woman is to be a good wife and care for her husband”
    (Ref: Nahj al-balaghah, short sayings 136)

    Comparing the  two Hadith Above, it clearly shows that, a woman is really a Mujahidah by just being a good wife an taking care of her husband ( while we know that no husband is in the house and  needs 24 hr care. In other words, a Mujahidah woman is the one who deals with household, and indoor responsibilities just like Sayyidah Faatimah (sa) did)

    As for men, It clearly says in the Hadtih that a man who works hard for the sustenance of his family is “like  a Mujahid” and not the actual Mujahid!. whereas, a woman is a Mujahidah doing what Imam al-Sadiq (as) said.

    In this case, No woman would be ready to swap her place with a man and earn less for her position. Its like settling for a simple car in comparison to a latest one.
    Besides this, we in the Khoja community, take the Ah al-Bayt (as) as our role model. The ideal couple of all times are Imam Ali (as) and Sayyidah Faatimah (as), and the above mentioned ways of Becoming a Mujahidah or like a Mujahid are the very ways they adopted and agreed upon. (one become the home minister while the other for foreign affairs ).

    Although, I find it wise to mention that, need be, the same woman will stand and take up any role that will be needed out of her just like Sayyidah Faatimah (as) and her noble daughter Sayyidah Zainab (as)

    Hope this is useful.