Talks of a new fiqh seminar have created a blaring buzz in the AlMaghrib world. After an exclusive interview with Shaykh Waleed Basyouni, we bring to you the inside scoop to “Complicated? A to Z in Women’s Modern Fiqh.”
In every seminar, be it on the topic of hadith sciences, aqeedah or seerah, the sisters swarm around the instructors in crowds, racing to have their general questions addressed. Can I travel to another state alone for education purposes? What are the rules of interaction between my male colleagues and I? Am I allowed to speak before a mixed crowd at an Islamic event? Under what circumstances am I allowed to undergo cosmetic surgery? How can I balance my career goals with my duties as a mother/wife? Hair dying, halal or haram? These are some of the questions that continue to occupy the minds of twenty-first century female Muslims. “Complicated? A to Z in Women’s Modern Fiqh” with Shaykh Waleed Basyouni seeks to explore these issues.
What’s more, this seminar is the first of its kind that deals with the fiqh rulings of a particular demographic: the (seemingly complicated?) women. One time in Medina, the female companions approached the Prophet (saw) and said, “The men have won you over us, O Rasoolullah … So give us a day with yourself.” From that incident and on, the Prophet split his time with the male and female sahaba, enlightening them on Islamic matters most pertinent to their lives. Hence, this Women’s Modern Fiqh seminar serves as a revival of that sunnah.
From her birth to the moment of her final breath, Shaykh Waleed Basyouni’s course book maps the entire course of a female’s life, then stops to address each issue at its appropriate stage. “We will talk about shaving the female infant’s head, breastfeeding, early education, signs of puberty, the opinions on purification” Shaykh Waleed explained. “Then we will discuss the women’s fiqh for the five pillars, civic engagement, interactions in academia, and so on…” Although seemingly trifling, topics of beautification and physical appearance will also be addressed.
Although contemporary in its approach, this seminar by no means obscures the classical understanding of women’s fiqh. Attendees will gain insight on Usool ul-Fiqh via the works of classical and contemporary scholars, from the likes of Ibn Uthaymeen and Ibn ul-Qayyim al-Jawziyya, as well as female scholars at Umm al-Qura University. A whole plethora of Islamic text on women’s fiqh exists in the archives. While writing the course book, Shaykh Waleed sifted through them, page by page, extracting the rulings from varying schools of thought. One of his primary focuses was female roles in society.
“Sometimes we take statements of individuals and take them as evidence,” he said. “What we don’t realize is, many times, [these statements] are influenced by personality or culture or environment.” Local MSAs and da’wah groups are breedings grounds in the ongoing “battle of the genders.” A sister running for MSA president or rising to lofty career positions are often misjudged by their male counterparts. Similarly, a sister that chooses homemaking over her PhD is frowned upon in a growing feminist society. Prepare to have these controversies resolved in the single-weekend discussion on women’s fiqh.
Enrolling in this seminar is a no-brainer for sisters, as well as any student of knowledge pursuing an expertise in fiqh. But what of the average brother? Are the fiqh lessons of female purification and dress at all relevant? According to Shaykh Waleed and others, these lessons most definitely are. “In my travels to different states, I’ve seen men taking extreme positions against women in college and work issues,” Shaykh Waleed said. Men and women are interdependent; in every moment of his life, a man is juggling between his role as a father, a brother, a husband or work colleague to at least one member of the female species. That said, this seminar is essential to all brothers as it relates to issues they face within their families and community.
First to host this long-awaited seminar is Qabeelat Haqq, California, on the weekend of January 20 to 22; next in line stands Qabeelat Durbah, New Jersey, with the seminar scheduled for the weekend of January 27 to 29, insha’Allah.