Womanhood, an Islamic Perspective

Thomas Cleary

A lecture given in 2011 by the distinguished translator of the I Ching and other Far Eastern Classics.

To understand why in Islam a woman is sacred to man, you have to understand most of all this relationship in which we experience muwadda, love and affection, and rahma, mercy and compassion, and sakina, peace. And we understand why this is so important for a man, because it is in the process of protecting this matrix of enlightenment that we develop our best qualities, our qualities of chivalry, such as valour and patience in adversity. And through our relationship with woman we develop the inner qualities of chivalry, which are in fact none other than mercy and kindness, and a longing for peace.

• Part 1, on the Quranic chapter “Women”, motherhood, man’s role and menstruation

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Right-click here to download – 41:55 (40.2MB)

• Part 2, on marriage, sexuality and conviviality

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Right-click here to download – 44:09 (42.4MB)

One of the beautiful words that come from this “feeling at home”, sakana, is sakina, “peace”, especially the “peace of the divine immanence”, and this is what I see in the Quranic perception for our relationship, that this is a way for us to draw down the sakina, to experience, to participate in the divine peace, and that in turn becomes the basis for an enhancement and development of our nature… Here we have loving affection, feeling at home, as a means of attaining peace, and the harmonious relation, the peace of the environment, as a means of establishing a subtle communication, which is between the man and the woman but at the same time and always in the consciousness of God.


Click here for the original recording including an introduction by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. With thanks to Zaytuna College.

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