Dr. Wajeeha AL Bahrna, Vice president of BWA participated in the regional workshop on gender equality in Islam, titled ‘Gender Justice in Islam: Concept of Roles within Marriage”, which was held in Egypt, from November 29 to 30 in Alexandria, Egypt. The workshop was co-organized by Egyptian Foundation for Family Development (EFFD) and the Swedish Institute in Alexandria.
The conference participants were from variety of civil society organizations, and religious institutions of the Department of Al Awqaf, Dar El Eftaa, who met to discuss the importance of production of an Islamic knowledge with a gender-justice perspective, through re-thinking methods of interpretation and presenting new ethical visions that promote justice and equal human dignity and opportunities for both men and women. This is considered the second phase and follow-up of our previous event that took place in May 2016, in this meeting the main focus was on the ‘Concept of roles in marriage’.
Al Baharna participated in the conference with a paper on the concept of “Qiwamah”, she pointed out that the holy Quran verse on “Qiwamah” talks specifically about the marriage relationship, and has nothing to do with men and women in other contexts, nor with authority of men over women, as it is wrongly understood. The “preference” in the verse of stewardship is not for men over women, but the superiority of some men on some other men, by tender, i.e. by giving or spending either financially or from oneself wisely, and by not dismissing/renouncing their duties and responsibilities towards women who shared them their life, and it’s by this giving and endurance is the disparity(preference). “Qiam”. God preferred such men custodians who are just and fair with their wives over men who dismiss and laggard their duties and responsibilities toward their wives. Al Baharna confirmed that stewardship is the persistence of giving and exerting and it is based on taking responsibility rather than domination and control and evasion of responsibility. Al Baharna concluded by stating that the ‘Qiwamah’ verse is an important verse in family formation and establishment, but it was taken out from its context and its meaning was impaired as it was interpreted to women oppression and humiliation!
It is worth mentioning that BWA has a project entitled ‘Women…a New Paradigm’ to discuss and analyze controversial issues related to women in Islam such as ‘Qiwamah’/ guardianship, authority and witness, it organized seminars and specialized training workshops in order to raise awareness and correct misconceptions in this regard.