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Can women become Prime Ministers or Presidents in an Islamic country?
The sections of this article are:
1- Can women become Prime Ministers or Presidents in an
2- What about the women's integrity, credibility of witness, and equality with
men in Islam?
3- In Iran a woman ran for presidency.
Well, it is important to differentiate between the Spiritual and Political Rulerships. In the Spiritual Rulership, the leader or the person with authority preaches to the entire nation during prayers, especially the Friday Prayer and leads the prayer. He also gives the ultimate verdicts to all of the social issues especially the ones that deal with Capital punishment where the court would turn the file(s) of the convicted person(s) to the ruler or the group of high Ministers to take their decisions and sentence him based on the Islamic Code.
Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said:
Narrated Ibn Umar: "I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "All of you are Guardians." Yunis said: Ruzaiq bin Hukaim wrote to Ibn Shihab while I was with him at Wadi-al-Qura saying, "Shall I lead the Jumua prayer?" Ruzaiq was working on the land (i.e farming) and there was a group of Sudanese people and some others with him; Ruzaiq was then the Governor of Aila. Ibn Shihab wrote (to Ruzaiq) ordering him to lead the Jumua prayer and telling him that Salim told him that 'Abdullah bin 'Umar had said, "I heard Allah's Apostle saying, 'All of you are guardians and responsible for your wards and the things under your care. The Imam (i.e. ruler) is the guardian of his subjects and is responsible for them and a man is the guardian of his family and is responsible for them. A woman is the guardian of her husband's house and is responsible for it. A servant is the guardian of his master's belongings and is responsible for them.' I thought that he also said, 'A man is the guardian of his father's property and is responsible for it. All of you are guardians and responsible for your wards and the things under your care." (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Friday Prayer, Volume 2, Book 13, Number 18)"
Narrated Abu Huraira: "Allah's Apostle said, "If anyone of you leads the people in the prayer, he should shorten it for amongst them are the weak, the sick and the old; and if anyone among your prays alone then he may prolong (the prayer) as much as he wishes." (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Call to Prayers (Adhaan), Volume 1, Book 11, Number 671)"
As we clearly see above from the Sayings of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, the Imam (Spiritual Leader) is responsible for all people, and he is in charge of all of them. It is a must that the Imam be a man, because the Prophet referred to the Imam as "he". We also clearly see that the leader of the Prayer must also be a man.
Women can not take the leadership of such spiritual positions, because (1) They are not allowed to preach in Mosques; (2) Even though they are allowed to teach Islam to other women and underage children, but they are not allowed to give or make Islamic verdicts of any kind on their own. It is the Imam's responsibility as stated above:
"The Imam (i.e. ruler) is the guardian of his subjects and is responsible for them"
"A woman is the guardian of her husband's house and is responsible for it."
Allah Almighty said in the Noble Quran:
"O ye who believe! Obey God, and obey the Apostle, and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to God and His Apostle, if ye do believe in God and the Last Day: That is best, and most suitable for final determination. (The Noble Quran, 4:59)"
Those who are religiously "charged with authority" among us are the Imams. They are Spiritual Leaders, and they are men. However, in the Political Rulership, it is completely different. The Muslim State can have both Spiritual and Political Rulerships working together. Islam didn't really prohibit the political leadership for women. Women can be "charged with authority" in the Political Leadership. In fact, when we read the Noble Quran we see Allah Almighty talking about the Queen of Sheba or the Queen of Saba (Sabaa); also named as Queen Balqis or Bilqis, and how she embraced Islam:
"But the Hoopoe tarried not Far: he (came up and) said: 'I
have compassed (territory) Which thou hast not compassed, And I have come to thee From
Saba with tidings true. 'I found (there a woman Ruling over them and
provided With every requisite; and she Has a magnificent throne. I
found her and her people Worshiping the sun besides Allah: Satan has made their deeds Seem
pleasing to their eyes, And has kept them away From the Path -- so They receive no
She was asked to enter The lofty Palace: but When she saw it, she Thought it was a lake Of water, and she (tucked up) Her skirts, uncovering her legs. He said: 'This is But a palace paved Smooth with slabs of glass.' She said: 'O my Lord! I have indeed wronged My soul: I do (now) Submit (in Islam), with Solomon, To the Lord of the Worlds.' (The Noble Quran, 27:22-24, 44)"
There are several points from these Noble Verses that support Islam's acceptance for women becoming political leaders:
1- Allah Almighty saw the need to inspire Solomon peace be upon him to send a Messenger for the lands of Saba (Sheba), which was ruled by Queen Balqis, and to bring her to him to shed the light of Islam upon her and to have her embrace Islam.
2- Allah Almighty didn't mind in the Noble Quran that Queen Balqis was the ruler of the lands of Saba, and He the Almighty certainly didn't command her to step down from her Rulership after she embraced Islam. As far as history tells us, Queen Balqis had always ruled the lands of Saba until the day of her natural death.
3- Allah Almighty clearly didn't mind for Queen Balqis to rule the lands of Sheba (Saba). He didn't mind for her to be the Political Ruler of those lands.
I believe that Muslim women can become Political Leaders, such as Prime Ministers or Presidents, but there are certain conditions that must be met:
1- The woman doesn't have dependent children at home, because in Islam raising the children is strictly the mother's duty. Breast feeding is also her duty as long as the father wants her to do so. If she is however weak or busy to breast feed, then hiring a foster-mother to breast feed the baby is acceptable:
"The mothers shall give suck to their offspring for two whole years, if the father desires to complete the term. But he shall bear the cost of their food and clothing on equitable terms. No soul shall have a burden laid on it greater than it can bear. No mother shall be Treated unfairly on account of her child. Nor father on account of his child, an heir shall be chargeable in the same way. If they both decide on weaning, by mutual consent, and after due consultation, there is no blame on them. If ye decide on a foster-mother for your offspring, there is no blame on you, provided ye pay (the mother) what ye offered, on equitable terms. But fear God and know that God sees well what ye do. (The Noble Quran, 2:233)"
"And We have enjoined on man (To be good) to his parents: In travail upon travail Did his mother bear him, And in years twain Was his weaning: (hear The command), "Show gratitude To Me and to they parents: To Me is (thy final) Goal.' (The Noble Quran, 31:14)"
As we can see from the Noble Verses above, the mother can still go out and work with her husband's permission even if she has an infant at home, providing that a foster-mother is hired to take care of the baby. But the point is, the father can still command the wife to stay home and nurse the baby for as long as she physically can if he wants to.
2- The husband or legal male guardian gives the ok for the woman to work (in general), and gives her the ok to work in this specific job since she will interact and deal with so many men and so many duties:
"Men are the protectors and maintainers of women,.....(The Noble Quran, 4:34)"
3- The woman doesn't leave the State for more than 3 days without her husband or male guardian, for it is unlawful for the woman to leave for more than 3 days. If she is married she can of course leave her husband for more than 3 days, and go back to her legal guardians or relatives in the case of separation or divorce, or him must leave the home if they have kids, or if the home was initially hers:
Narrated Ibn 'Umar: "The Prophet said, "A woman should not travel for more than three days except with a Dhi-Mahram (i.e. a male with whom she cannot marry at all, e.g. her brother, father, grandfather, etc.) or her own husband.)" (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Shortening the Prayers (At-Taqseer), Volume 2, Book 20, Number 192)"
And as to who should leave the house when divorce is declared: "O Prophet! When ye do divorce women, divorce them at their prescribed periods, and count (accurately), their prescribed periods: And fear God your Lord: and turn them not out of their houses, nor shall they (themselves) leave, except in case they are guilty of some open lewdness, those are limits set by God: and any who transgresses the limits of God, does verily wrong his (own) soul: thou knowest not if perchance God will bring about thereafter some new situation. (The Noble Quran, 65:1)"
4- The woman's job duties don't interfere with her duties toward her husband, especially when he desires her sexually and emotionally:
Narrated Abu Huraira: "The Prophet said, "If a man Invites his wife to sleep with him and she refuses to come to him, then the angels send their curses on her till morning." (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Wedlock, Marriage (Nikaah), Volume 7, Book 62, Number 121)"
Narrated Abu Huraira: "The Prophet said, "If a woman spends the night deserting her husband's bed (does not sleep with him), then the angels send their curses on her till she comes back (to her husband)." (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Wedlock, Marriage (Nikaah), Volume 7, Book 62, Number 122)"
Of course men can not have sex with their women during the women's monthly periods.
The ironic case that took place between Hillary and Bill Clinton where she was too busy for him, which caused him to cheat on her with Monica Lewinsky is not allowed in Islam. I am certain that Bill Clinton would not have looked at other women, especially at a not so good looking one like Monica if his wife was there for him, not just sexually, but also emotionally. Even though Hillary Clinton was probably twice as old as Monica, but she was way more beautiful than her. That is really sad for the former US President Mr. Bill Clinton to have such beautiful wife but totally useless for him.
Anyway, if the above conditions are met, then I don't see any problem with allowing the woman to work as a Political Leader for the following reasons:
1- Islam allows education for all women. Therefore, educated women can contribute to the society through their knowledge and education.
2- Islam does have some very good female figures that were important such as (1) Queen Balqis, the Queen of the Sheba (Saba) lands who embraced Islam and remained in power; (2) Mary peace be upon her, whom Allah Almighty Spoke a whole Holy Chapter about her in the Noble Quran; (3) Pharaoh's wife, whom Allah Almighty built a mansion for her next to His Presence in Heaven; and (4) Khadijah, Prophet Muhammad's first wife, who stood for him and died for his cause when he declared to be the Messenger of Allah Almighty. There are others as well in the Islamic History who contributed great things for the sake of Allah Almighty.
What about the women's integrity, credibility of witness, and equality with men in Islam?
Some misled Muslims and non-Muslims argue that Islam doesn't give much credibility to women's integrity and witness, nor does it give women equality with men either.
These misunderstandings had all been addressed and refuted at the following articles:
Is there equality between men and women in Islam?
"Two women equal to one man in Islam" is a lie.
Women's inheritance laws in Islam.
Women's Rights in Islam.
Liberation of women in Islam.
In Iran a woman ran for presidency:
Please visit Woman seeks Iranian presidency.
If the above conditions were all met and satisfied, then women without a doubt are clearly allowed to become Political Leaders in the Islamic State.
And Allah Almighty knows best.
Back to Ask me any question section.
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Woman seeks Iranian presidency.
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