A foremost prayer group, Nasrul Lahi-L-Fatih Society (NASFAT), has called on government at all levels to accord women same opportunities as men.
NASFAT National Women Affairs Secretary, Alhaja Bola Kupolati, made the call at an event organised to commemorate this year’s International Women’s Day.
At the event, some members of the organisation were financially empowered as part of activities marking the group’s 25th anniversary.
While making a case for women empowerment and provision of quality education for the girl-child, Kupolati disclosed that both men and women have roles to play in nation building.
She said: “I am happy that a day like this is set aside to celebrate the womenfolk. When the International Women’s Day started, women realised that they were not given equal treatment as men. They realised that men were given preferential treatment and opportunities.
“We are calling on government at all levels to give equal opportunities to men and women.
“Opportunity of qualitative education should also be given to the girl-child for the actualisation of her full potential. Our girls should be encouraged to go to school, and after school, there should not be gender discrimination.
“In terms of employment, females should be given the opportunity to compete with males.
“There is also the need for more female doctors that would cater for the health needs of female Muslims.
“As part of activities to mark this year’s International Women’s Day, we have decided to empower financially, 25 women drawn from 25 zones of NASFAT and also recognise women and widows that have contributed immensely to the running of the affairs of the organisation. Apart from this, a lecture was held on the roles of women in Islam.”
In his lecture on the roles of women in Islam, NASFAT Chief Missioner, Imam Maruf Abd-Azeez Onike, said women are honoured by Allah and they have unique roles in Islam.
According to Imam Onike, the misconceptions held about women that made people perceive Islam as a religion that promotes male chauvinism are cultural, which are integrated into religious teachings.
He noted that the question bordering on the equality of men and women in Islam does not arise as Allah has given what is due to each gender.
He said: “One of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad is that women are partners of men. Therefore, it will not be ideal for anyone to draw a line of comparism between the male and female genders. It is like asking which is important between the two wings of a bird. A life without women is zero.
“Women played prominent roles when Islam was at infancy. The first person that believed in the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad was a woman. At an occasion where many men were present, our noble Prophet referred to Aisha as the custodian of half of our deen (belief).
“Also, two of the respected Imams in Islam, Imams Maliki and Shafii, at certain times in their lives, had women as their teachers. We have seen a lot of men fabricating hadith but no women have ever been caught in the act of fabricating the hadith.
“Women have equal moral rights and equal religious obligations in Islam. Both genders are the same in the sight of Allah.
“However, in terms of physiology and psychology, both genders are created differently but this does not in any way affect the practise of our religion.
“Men must observe salat, fast in the month of Ramadan, go on hajj pilgrimage. These obligations are equally incumbent upon women. Islam promotes equity. And on the Day of Resurrection, both men and women are the same. We are going to be accountable for our deeds regardless of our gender or social status.”