Muslim scholar urges women to take centre stage in Islam

Sheikh Said Rageah was speaking at the third annual Dubai International Peace Convention, which ends on Saturday.

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Nouf Bakhsh

DUBAI // Women need to once again lead the Islamic community, or ummah, and produce thinkers and leaders, a leading Muslim scholar said at this year’s Dubai International Peace Convention.

Sheikh Said Rageah, a Somalia-born academic who live in Toronto, Canada, said: “Understand that Allah has given you your freedom, dignity and authority before anyone else.”

In his lecture at Dubai World Trade Centre, he talked of how the first person to convert to Islam was a woman and how, in the past, women were the leaders of the Islamic community. Therefore, he said, women are what make Islam the religion it is.

“If we want brothers and sisters to regain their legacy, we have to put women in their rightful place,” Sheikh Rageah said.

He asked the women in the audience to retake their role as leaders of the community.

“Today, what I’m requesting from my sisters is to rise once again, to stand up once again, to assume the responsibility to take care of the children and men of the ummah,” he said.

When it comes to wearing the veil and covering the face, Sheikh Rageah said that Allah knows what is best for men and women, therefore he commanded women to wear the hijab and for men to lower their gaze. This gives women the protection and respect they want.

Sheikh Rageah has a master’s degree in Sharia and a BA in Islamic studies. He is the founder of the Masjid Huda mosque in Montreal, Canada, and the Masjid Aya in Maryland, US, among others.

The third annual peace convention will end on Saturday after receiving more than 100,000 visitors.

It is held in association with Al Manar Quran Study Centre and the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award For World Peace will be announced during the convention in a few years. It is the largest prize of its kind, and reflects Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed’s, faith to spread peace.

Other prominent scholars lecturing at the event included Dr Zakir Naik, Yusef Ustes, Nouman Ali Khan and Sheikh Mishary Al Afasy.

During the question and answer session of some lectures, people have declared their desire to convert to Islam and eight people did just that during the three-day convention.