Farhat Hashmi

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Farhat Hashmi
Native name
فرحت ہاشمی
Born
Farhat Hashmi

(1957-12-22) December 22, 1957 (age 61)
Sargodha, Punjab, Pakistan
OccupationIslamic scholar

Farhat Hashmi (Urdu: فرحت ہاشمی‎) (born December 22, 1957) is a Pakistani Canadian Islamic scholar, Muslim television preacher,[1] and founder of Al-Huda Institute.

She holds a PhD degree in Islamic studies from the University of Glasgow, Scotland and was formerly a lecturer and assistant professor at the Faculty of Usul-al-Din at International Islamic University, Islamabad.[2][3] Hashmi founded Al-Huda International Welfare Foundation in 1994. The foundation started a number of schools to teach the Quran and Hadith to women in order to "help women become better observant muslims by helping them understand the Quran". The foundation now runs a network of schools, seminaries and social welfare projects.[4][5][6] In 2004, the foundation established the Al-Huda Institute in Mississauga (Toronto area), Ontario, Canada. This institute offers courses on exegesis of the Quran and Hadith and attracts students from a number of foreign countries such as Australia.[7][8]

She has gained popularity as a feminist scholar both in Pakistan and abroad, as evidenced by crowds of up to ten thousand that attend her religious lessons, called "Dars". Most followers come from liberal, literate and modern backgrounds; and most are women.[7][9] She has stated that her mission is to bring a renewal in Islam, through better understanding of the core scriptures. In contrast to rigid and confrontational styles of proselytising, Hashmi has emphasized the need for her students to engage in voluntarily educating others through their examples. [10][11]

Early life and education[edit]

Farhat Hashmi was born in Sargodha, Punjab, on December 22, 1957. Her father, Abdur Rehman Hashmi, was a Muslim scholar, and the local leader of the Jamaat e Islami.[12] She was educated at a local school; then studied at the Government College for women Sargodha and ultimately completed her Master's degree in Arabic Language from the University of Punjab, Lahore. Her religious education occurred at her home where she was taught the tenets of Islam by her father. She married a fellow scholar of Hadith Muhammad Idrees Zubair and the couple took up posts of lecturers at the International Islamic University (IIU), Islamabad. Soon after they moved to Scotland where they enrolled in the doctorate programme of Islamic studies. During this time, they both travelled to Turkey, Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.[12]

She emigrated to Canada in 2005.[13]

Career[edit]

While teaching at the International Islamic University, Hashmi had started informal religious classes for women. Upon returning to Pakistan she launched Al-Huda International; a non-government welfare trust which seeks to educate women as to how they can interpret and then employ Islamic principles in their daily lives. The establishment of a progressive school purely for women, by a female Islamic scholar was seen by some as a direct response to large seminaries, which women had come to view as being regressive and highly politicised.[14][7] Hashmi has been noted for her nontraditional style of teaching and original lectures which focus on feminism. She utilizes modern methods of teaching in her lectures and is multilingual in Urdu, Arabic and English, so her female students; a large of whom come from educated, urban families, are able to relate with her. [14][15][16][17][15] Academic studies have shown that the innovative techniques of teaching introduced by Hashmi are one of the reasons for the institute's popularity.[18]

Hashmi began her career as a television preacher on Geo TV, where she hosted the programme Shahru Ramadan during the month of Ramadhan. She also appeared in the programme The Quran & You on Aag TV. She continued to give lectures on exegesis of the Quran on Geo in the show Fahm ul Quran. More recently her lectures have been broadcast as standalone episodes.[19][20][21] During her television shows, she appears on air covered with an Islamic veil and niqab; while giving her lectures from her laptop. This has been termed as an "image that projects the confluence of pious traditionalism and media savvy prosperity".[22]

Views[edit]

Farhat Hashmi's approach has been termed as Quran centric. Her views have been labelled as reformist, feminist, progressive and revivalist; as well as traditionalist and conservative. Her lectures focus on empowerment of women, however it is an empowerment that leaves certain rules intact. She espouses the use of veil by Muslim women and teaches her students to veil themselves, although none are forced to do so. Some scholars believe she is breaking down gender barriers that exist in Islamic scholarship and leadership. She favours greater participation of women in day to day matters of faith, and is of the view that women should be able to pray outside their homes, and they should be able to lead their own prayers.[23][24][25] According to Hashmi, women can touch and recite the Quran during their menstrual periods, wearing gloves (either when learning Quran from a teacher or teaching Quran to others), traditionally considered by some to be prohibited.[26][27] Some other scholars are supportive of her views.[28]

Hashmi advocates for a revival of Islam and encourages her followers to interpret the Qur'an for themselves supporting their views with strong evidence. She urges her followers to focus on becoming better Muslims and her lectures are focused on family structures. This view is criticized by her critics, who claim that her religious Dars "center around personal and family development, rather than community service". Hashmi, however, argues that if all of her students undergo a transformation for the better, their personal transformation will be reflected on a national and a global scale.[29][30][31]

Hashmi is in favour of establishing the Sharia Law in Canada. Her views on domestic matters are in accordance with her interpretation of the Sharia Law. According to Hashmi, both men and women have specific spheres of influence within the society. Typically men are the ones who work outside the house, while women work within. However, Hashmi argues that these roles are not set in stone and if a person has fulfilled his or her role, they can help the other in their duties as well. This, and her other arguments which call for women to work outside the roles that have been designated to them by rigid traditionalist scholars, have drawn considerable ire from conservative, right wing scholars.[32][33][16][25] Hashmi considers polygamy to be legal, and has preached that Muslim women should let their husbands marry a second time so “other sisters can also benefit”. This saves men from having a nonmarital relationship, which is forbidden according to the Quran.[34][35]

Awards[edit]

Media reception[edit]

Hashmi has been criticised by some ultra-conservative, right wing preachers and puritan men for breaking gender roles in Islam, especially on her views about women teaching and preaching outside the home. Other conservative sources have criticized her devotees of "wearing western clothes", of consuming western products and holding informal women-only gatherings. They have also criticised her for using the internet and audio visual aids in preaching, methods that they deem as western.[32][40][25]

Liberal and secular outlets have criticized her for "not going far enough" in her progressive interpretation of Islam. She has also been criticized for allowing polygamy.[41][35] Due to her unbending religious doctrines she has been termed a Wahabi by some liberal activists like Raheel Raza.[2][42] Although Hashmi and Al-Huda have stated that they do not follow any particular sect of contemporary Islam and refer to themselves simply as Muslims as was done during the time of early Islam.[43]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kenney, Jeffrey T. (2013-08-15). Islam in the Modern World. Routledge. pp. 313–314. ISBN 9781135007959.
  2. ^ a b Editorial: ‘Pakistani factor’ in Canada terrorism
  3. ^ "Farhat Hashmi operating in Canada". Daily Times. Washington. May 6, 2005. Archived from the original on 29 March 2014. Retrieved 12 March 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ Courtney Bender, Wendy Cadge, Peggy Levitt, David Smilde, Religion on the Edge: De-centering and Re-centering the Sociology of Religion, p 170. ISBN 0199986991
  5. ^ Bender, Courtney (2012-12-06). Religion on the Edge: De-centering and Re-centering the Sociology of Religion. OUP USA. ISBN 9780199938643.
  6. ^ Ngunjiri, Faith Wambura; Madsen, Susan R. (2015-02-01). Women as Global Leaders. IAP. ISBN 9781623969660.
  7. ^ a b c Esposito, John L. (2010-02-04). The Future of Islam. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199745968.
  8. ^ "4 female students who went to Syria to join ISIS attended Mississauga school". CBC News. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  9. ^ Ahmed, Ishtiaq; Ahmed, Professor Emeritus of Political Science Ishtiaq (2011-05-04). The Politics of Religion in South and Southeast Asia. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9781136727030.
  10. ^ Kassam, Zayn (2010). Women and Islam. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9780275991586.
  11. ^ Daniels, Timothy P. (2017-01-12). Sharia Dynamics: Islamic Law and Sociopolitical Processes. Springer. ISBN 9783319456928.
  12. ^ a b Mushtaq, Faiza (2010-12-08). Laurent Gayer, Ingrid Therwath. "A Controversial Role Model for Pakistani Women". South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal (in French) (4). doi:10.4000/samaj.3030. ISSN 1960-6060.
  13. ^ https://www.hindustantimes.com/world/long-before-tashfeen-malik-pak-institute-blamed-for-radicalising-women/story-URzRLlvzbb3npYJY5I9ycN.html
  14. ^ a b Times, Los Angeles (2016-07-17). "Mixed messages at all-female Islamic schools". GulfNews. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  15. ^ a b Mushtaq, Faiza (Autumn 2008). "Al-Huda & its Critics Religious Education for Pakistani Women" (PDF). ISIM Review. 22: 30–32 – via openaccess.
  16. ^ a b Ahmad, Sadaf (2009). Transforming Faith: The Story of Al-Huda and Islamic Revivalism Among Urban Pakistani Women. Syracuse University Press. ISBN 9780815632092.
  17. ^ Ahmed, Akbar (2007-08-30). Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 978-0815701330.
  18. ^ Bayat, Asef (2013-08-01). Post-Islamism: The Many Faces of Political Islam. OUP USA. ISBN 9780199766062.
  19. ^ "Dr Farhat Hashmi Archives - EMAANLIBRARY.COM". EMAANLIBRARY.COM. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
  20. ^ "Dr. Farhat Hashmi To Host Shahru Ramadan On Geo". Awami Web. 2012-07-18. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
  21. ^ "Dr. Farhat Hashmi To Host The Quran & You On Aag TV". Awami Web. 2012-07-18. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
  22. ^ Kenney, Jeffrey T.; Moosa, Ebrahim (2013-08-15). Islam in the Modern World. Routledge. ISBN 9781135007942.
  23. ^ Bender, Courtney (2012-12-06). Religion on the Edge: De-centering and Re-centering the Sociology of Religion. OUP USA. ISBN 9780199938643.
  24. ^ Markey, Daniel S. (2013-10-07). No Exit from Pakistan: America's Tortured Relationship with Islamabad. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107436060.
  25. ^ a b c Hasan, Nadia Z (2015). Unscripting Piety: Muslim Women, Pakistani Nationalism, and Islamic Feminism (pdf) (Doctorate, York university, 2015 thesis).
  26. ^ (Pakistan) Daily Times, March 17, 2001
  27. ^ "A controversial role model for Pakistani women" in South Asian Multidisciplinary Academic Journal (SAMAJ) by Faiza Mushtaq in issue 4, 2010
  28. ^ https://islamqa.info/en/152742
  29. ^ "Awakening Islam", in Fort Worth Weekly by Shomial Ahmad on 15 April 2009
  30. ^ Bayat, Asef (2013-08-01). Post-Islamism: The Many Faces of Political Islam. OUP USA. ISBN 9780199766062.
  31. ^ Kassam, Zayn (2010). Women and Islam. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9780275991586.
  32. ^ a b Lipsett, Barbara Diane; Trible, Phyllis (2014). Faith and Feminism: Ecumenical Essays. Presbyterian Publishing Corp. ISBN 9780664239695.
  33. ^ Follesdal, A.; Pogge, T. (2006-03-30). Real World Justice: Grounds, Principles, Human Rights, and Social Institutions. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9781402031427.
  34. ^ "Farhat Hashmi operating in Canada". Daily Times. Washington. May 6, 2005. Archived from the original on 29 March 2014. Retrieved 12 March 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  35. ^ a b Bayat, Asef (2013-08-01). Post-Islamism: The Many Faces of Political Islam. OUP USA. ISBN 9780199766062.
  36. ^ "Wonder Women Pakistan". wonderwomenpakistan.com. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
  37. ^ "Award recipient page". wonderwomenpakistan.
  38. ^ "Dubai Witnesses First International Dawah Awards". m.dubaiprnetwork.com. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
  39. ^ "Hashmi, Dr Farhat | The Muslim 500". themuslim500.com. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
  40. ^ Ahmed, Ishtiaq; Ahmed, Professor Emeritus of Political Science Ishtiaq (2011-05-04). The Politics of Religion in South and Southeast Asia. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9781136727030.
  41. ^ Follesdal, A.; Pogge, T. (2006-03-30). Real World Justice: Grounds, Principles, Human Rights, and Social Institutions. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9781402031427.
  42. ^ The Islamist Role in the 2008 Canadian Elections
  43. ^ Ahmed, Akbar (2007-08-30). Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization. Brookings Institution Press. ISBN 978-0815701330.

External links[edit]