“Follow God’s orders and Give Women the Respect they Deserve”
Baba Virsa Singh March 2006
In honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, His Holiness Baba Virsa Singh, the great mystic and visionary, hosted a celebration in his beautiful garden. Guests from Russia and America, and Gobind Sadan’s community were entertained by music, dance and talks showcasing the value of women. Babaji, while clearly a Sikh, chose to use stories from Islam to illustrate just how great a position women hold in God’s sight.
“I could tell of the respect given women in the scriptures and through the lives of God’s Messengers of any tradition, but tonight I’ll take stories from Islam. There are many wonderful stories of Khadija, who first recognized Mohammed Sahib as the Prophet and became his wife. But the clearest proof is Mohammed Sahib had a Mosque built for her in his own presence to show that women can not only attend but also offer prayers. But with the spread of fundamentalism that Mosque has been torn down.
A’isha, considered one of the most influential of the Prophet’s wives, enjoyed wearing jewelry, even while she worked. The Prophet Mohammed stopped going to her home. Now look at how God took the woman’s side. From that day the Revelation/Voice stopped. Then Abu Bakr said, “My child, God has chosen him as the Prophet and he’s the king. Apologize to him.” A’isha replied, “But Father, God is just.” And then Allah spoke, “Mohammed, A’isha is right.” She retorted, “See Father, Allah took my side.”
There are many stories like this in Islam that people have tried to bury. Take the time of the great battles when so many Muslims were martyred leaving numerous widows behind without any resources. The question arose: How can we help these widows? The Prophet replied that each man could take up to 4 widows as his wives. But today men have forgotten that the order was to provide shelter for 4 widows. Now they are just taking 4 wives. That means that they are not following Mohammed Sahib’s orders. The Prophet has said that whosoever takes in the widows, must provide them the same quality of food and comfortable beds and treat them equally. That is the most important point. How can one man offer the same treatment to 4 separate women? His feelings will change among them. At the time, Hazrat Ali was sitting next to the Prophet. He said, “I’m happy with just Fatima”. That shows that Ali understood he could not give 4 wives equal attention. So the Prophet agreed.
Then one day the 3 of them were sitting as a family – The Prophet, Fatima and Hazrat Ali–and the Prophet said, “Fatima will live for a short time after me. I will give Fatima both worldly power and spiritual power. She will inherit my throne. All the blessings that Allah has given will go to Fatima.” But he knew that Abu Bhakr would take the throne. There’s a tradition that you kiss the hand of whomever sits on the throne. So after the Prophet, Abu Bakr assumed the throne and Ali didn’t kiss his hand. When questioned, Ali replied that the blessings are with Fatima and I will only kiss Abu Bakr’s hand after Fatima dies. So after her death Ali came out and kissed his hand.
This shows how great a position women were given in Islam that the Prophet gave all his spiritual powers to Fatima. But today people want to suppress these facts. However, they can’t be buried. This is historical fact and it will come out because there is a lot of evidence. This cycle continues. People try to suppress the truth and the truth ultimately re-emerges.
So that’s why I want to tell you, if you say you accept the Prophet then follow his rules. If you are a follower of Guru Nanak then follow his rules, if you follow Guru Gobind Singh obey the rules. If you don’t obey the rules you will not be blessed. The blessings only come when you follow the orders.
People are suffering today because they are breaking the rules. They are being orphaned. They are insulted everywhere. Whosoever disobeys the Guru’s orders will be insulted. It is written that you should cut the hand of a thief. But even so, stealing continues today.
So in honor of this Women’s Day I would like to stress: Follow the orders and give women the respect they deserve.
Within Islam, Rabia is revered as a prophet. And we have proof of her greatness. As the story goes, people went to Mecca to pray but found that the Kaba was not there. They asked where has Mecca Sharif gone? They were told that Mecca has gone to receive a very weak but greatly devoted woman. This is a unique incident in spiritual history and until today Mecca Sharif has never gone to receive anyone. And there is more to the story. When the Kaba came before her, Rabia asked “Where is Allah?” She said “I haven’t come to see Allah’s house, I want to meet Allah.” Look what great proof we get of just how high a position women are really given in Islam.
The respect for women exists in other religions as well. It is written that happiness leaves the house where women are not respected. In India people take the wife’s name first in prayer. We say Sita Ram, Radha Sham. Guru Nanak, in the Sikh tradition said “How can we denigrate those who give birth to our kings?” But this is a separate issue. Until today, Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple) has never gone to receive a woman. It’s only in Islam that Mecca Sharif (the Holiest Place) has gone to receive a woman. This shows how much respect Mohammed Sahib and Allah have given to women. So let’s put these things into practice. God has always taken the side of women.”
In Gobind Sadan (God’s House without Walls) Babaji’s spiritual community on the outskirts of Delhi, to overcome religious conflict Babaji celebrates the major holidays of all traditions and teaches reverence for all scripture and all those who bring God’s message. He not only praises women but has put women in charge of many areas. Women conduct prayers and manage the daily aspects of the community. Babaji feels that women are natural managers and are much more dependable than men.
Tonight’s message about women is nothing new for Baba Virsa Singh. When visiting Azerbhajan in 1989, he was quoted by Pravda as telling the Muslim leadership that: “Women are the most blessed among God’s creation, for before choosing to send any great soul, including His Prophets, God first chooses the woman to be his mother. And in several cases God has not even needed the help of a man.”