Muslim Women in India Are in Miserable Condition: Uzma Naheed
Abdul Hafiz Lakhani
To eradicate poverty, educational empowerment of Muslims is critical and I will focus on this, said Uzma Naheed, who has just been elected as one of the 20 members of Markazi Majlis-e-Amla (Central Working Committee) of All India Muslim Majlise Mushawarat for the term 2016-2017, headed by Navaid Hamid, who is the seventh president of the 50-year-old apex body of Indian Muslims.
The AIMMM is an umbrella body of many Muslim social, cultural, political and religious organisations, and is largely apolitical.
“We Muslims must adhere to Sharia ethos and propagate it. Our fight is an intellectual fight and for this we need to empower ourselves with the quality education. We can achieve economic strength by education, and we can come out of woods from poverty,” she remarked.
In a reply to a question, she said that Muslims must not depend on the government for upliftment. “The community should strive hard to get things in right way. The government will not do much for us on its own; we should also join in the process to empower our community.”
Uzma Naheed comes from a family of the founders of Darul Uloom Deoband. She is a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and has been working for the upliftment of the Muslim women in India and abroad.
Her father Maulana Ahmad Salim Qasmi is the present vice-chancellor of the Darul-uloom Deoband Waqf, and her great grandfather, Maulana Qasim Nanotwi was the founder of the Darul Uloom Deoband. Her grandfather, Qari Tayyab, too, was vice chancellor of the Darul Uloom Deoband. She is a prominent member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), and runs the IQRA school of Islamic studies.
Uzma Naheed pointed out that Muslim women in India are largely marginalized, faceless and voiceless in their own social circle in particular and in the larger Indian social context in general. she says. “I want to give the Indian woman the rights that she has been bestowed by the Quran, but have been denied systematically. The Indian Muslim woman is not aware of her rights and responsibilities, and I want to reintroduce her to her rightful position in society.”
Uzma Naheed strongly advised women not to neglect family and its responsibities. She added “Be positive in your approach and towards life if you do that then be rest assured you will conquer peaks after peaks”.
She says that the Quran does not discriminate between a man and a woman. “Thousands of years ago, women in the Muslim world were jurists, interpreters of the Hadith, and the Quran, and they represented Islam, and not just women. Somehow, we seem to have forgotten that,” she says.
She is also working to help Muslim women enter businesses, and by her efforts 3000 women have already entered different businesses under IQRA’ International Women’s Alliance. It is “an international association of Muslim women and NGOs to be formed to facilitate development initiatives with the mission to empower the women by building their capacities through education, health and skill based development through community participation.”
IIWA leaflet describes it as a “social initiative of Iqra Education Foundation. IIWA has been established to strategize alliance of Muslim women’s organizations and individuals, working for equal opportunities of women in all spheres of life.”
IIWA is “committed to serve as leading information, consultative and training center, an active participant in the international consultative process, and an advocate for gender equality and partnership of the sexes, in compliance with international standards in this field and the Sharia.