The job description of Isis brides has changed. Isis has issued a general call for women to begin fighting, deeming it necessary and obligatory for female citizens to engage in jihad. To justify this, they have said that it is part of “Khilafat” – an Islamic mandate mentioned in the Holy Quran, which in actuality promises peace and security (24:56). Their interpretation is bizarre and goes against what it says in scripture. It almost feels like they live in some sort of parallel universe where guns are the same as roses.
I am a Muslim woman, adherent to Ahmadiyya Muslim Khilafat, as well as a mother and a feminist. I want to share a different version of Khilafat with you – which is, in fact, the mainstream Khilafat followed by tens of millions worldwide. One that honours life, rather than destroying it.
I don’t own a gun, but I am well equipped with secular and religious education. Being a born Ahmadi Muslim, love for Khilafat runs in my blood. At the age of seven, I became a member of Nasiratul Ahmadiyya, a worldwide organisation of girls between the ages of seven and 15. I was trained on two main aspects of life: education and service to humanity.
Before going to school in the morning, I was supposed to read and memorise religious texts. But compromising my mainstream secular education to do that was out of the question.
On the humanitarian front, I spent several summers helping my mother to collect donations for flood victims in Pakistan. Teaching literacy to those kids who couldn’t afford to attend schools and collecting clothes and school supplies for them wasn’t even considered a charity – it was more like second nature to us.
As I grew older, I graduated to becoming a member of Lajna Ima’illah (“Maidservants of Allah”), an international organisation for Muslim girls and women over the age of 15. The organisation came into being in 1922 with three main objectives: education, services to humanity and services to Islam.
Since 1922, we as Ahmadi Muslim women have fought the true jihad. We have fought the jihad of equal rights for women in all walks of life and in all parts of the world. From the most remote places on the planet to the most advanced countries, this organisation works relentlessly to establish women’s rights to education, property and marriage.
In countries where female literacy shows a bleak picture, more than 99 per cent of Ahmadi Muslim women are literate. Not only that, but a large number of them are highly educated. While many countries are still struggling against customs such as child marriage, honour killing and female infanticide, such horrific customs are basically unheard of among Ahmadi Muslim communities. The reason is that the worldwide organisation for Ahmadi Muslim women works directly under the leadership of the true Khilafat – so the oppressive customs that are wrongly associated with Islam are ruled out in the light of the true teachings.
We are present in 210 countries of the world and pursue global sisterhood. In each country, a woman president works parallel to the male president. The female president has her own working cabinet that includes directors of various departments such as education, humanitarian services, health and fitness, interfaith relations and so on. Local and regional administration is modelled after the national administration.
Under the true Khilafat we, as “the maidservants of Allah”, are busy defending the honour of the Holy Prophet of Islam through our pens. When an Isis female fighter brings a bad name to Islam by killing innocent people, we pick up our pens and inform the world about the true teachings of Islam. We donate our blood to save lives. We contribute to the building of mosques, open to people of all faiths and of no faith, with our hard-earned money and jewellery donations.
We translate the Quran so people can read it by themselves and do not fall for Isis propaganda. We serve in remote villages of developing countries as teachers, doctors, paramedics and nurses. We are re-establishing the core of Islam through our service and knowledge.
While doing all this, we have not neglected our families: the job we love the most is to be the mothers of our beautiful kids. The prophet Mohammed rightly noted that heaven is under the feet of mothers.
This honour and status is only possible with true Islamic Khilafat and true jihad. So we encourage our fellow Muslims not to fall for the falsehood and barbarity of Isis – instead, they should see the blessing of true Khilafat as the prophet Mohammed foretold.
Ayesha Noor is the Director of Interfaith Relations of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women’s Association in Virginia, US
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies