Dr Hassen Al Turabi Goes Secular and Sets Women Free!
Translation by John A. Akec
In a lecture entiltled "The Role of Women in Just Governance" which was delivered by Dr Hassen Al Turabi (74) at the headquarters of Umma Party in Khartoum, Turabi said a Muslim woman can mary a Christian or Jew. He described the teachings that a Muslim woman should not marry a christian or a Jew as misguided teachings intended to confuse and keep women behind. He explained that the practice has its origins in war times and was only used against those fighting the Muslims, but which ceased once hostilties were over.
Turabi also said that Al Hujab (women face and head cover) was meant for women to cover their breasts as one of good practices and was not intended to be generalised to wrap up all the woman body according to the Quaranic verses given by Alah for this particular purpose. It was worn as sign of respect and as a curtain to separate Prophet wives from his guests.
Regarding the right of women to lead in paryers at the front, Dr Turabi said that women can lead at the front if they are more knowledgable in Quaran and Hadeeth (Prophet sayings) than anyone in the congregation. He gave two examples: First, that Prophet Muhammed once gave permission to a woman Muslim scholar to lead members of her family in regular prayers including men. Second, that one of the Prophet's wives, Aaehisha was more versed in Quaraan than many men at the time and hence was often allowed to lead in prayers at the front.
Turabi also sanctioned mixed prayers between men and women on condition that men and women should not sit too close or rub against each other in order to avoid arousing sexual feelings that could distract attention from paryers and devotion.
He also denounced the perceived superiority of men over women saying that the fact that men dominate business and trade life does not mean that they are superior to women. It is only a question of specialisation as opposed to superiority, adding that some women can far outperform men in certain activities or trades.
Regarding women witness in the courts, Dr Turabi said that a woman witness is as valid as that of a man, if not more reliable in some instances. He denounced the belief that the witness of two women in court is equivalent to that of one man. He said that all such beliefs and teachings have nothing to do with Islam. That they wre meant to confuse, mislead, and imprison the minds while keeping Muslims in darkness! He challenged anyone who can come up with Islamic verses to prove such teachings.
Regarding women rights, Turabi said that Islam accords full rights for women even better than how Western cultures treated western women in the past.
He called for women to play greater role in the creation of a just society. That women should be allowed to enter all fields of activities including politics, art, sport, culture and creative thought, and sport. He described the current government as corrupt, unjust, undemocratic, and lacks transparency. He called for the rights of women to particiapate in the coming elections to be upheld by the constitution so that women can take part in the running of the country on equal footing with men.
Regarding alcohol, Turabi said drinking alcohol is not a crime unless it turned into a hostile act. Turabi also casted doubt on the correctness of using the term "martyers"to describe [Northern Sudanese] killed in the war in South Sudan!
The lecture was attended by a huge number of political and religious figures.