The book of Mowlavi Abdul Hakim Haqqani, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, entitled The Islamic Emirate and Its System, is considered as the political-religious manifesto of the Taliban. What confirms the importance of this book as the Taliban's political strategy is the introduction of the Taliban leader, Hebatullah Akhundzadeh, at the beginning of the book, which shows that this work is approved by him. This book is a reliable source for understanding the intellectual structure and behavioral origins of the Taliban. The book, as the group's written strategy, has made it easier to judge the Taliban's ideology. This book deals with various topics such as the sources of Islamic legislation, independence, the principles of politics, judiciary, economics and so on.
Recently, a book by Mowlavi Abdul Hakim Haqqani, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, has been published under the title of The Islamic Emirate and Its System, which is considered as the political-religious manifesto of the Taliban. What adds to the importance of this book as the Taliban's political strategy is the introduction of the Taliban leader, Hebatullah Akhundzadeh, at the beginning of the book, which shows that this work is approved by him. Moreover, the introductions that some other Taliban figures have written to the book indicates its acceptance by the Taliban officials.
During the first term of their rule in Afghanistan (1996-2001), the Taliban closed the doors of schools and universities to girls and deprived almost half of Afghanistan's population of literacy. This was done at a time in history when the world was sensitive towards the human rights issues, especially those of women. Perhaps it was because of such actions that countries around the world and the region, except for two or three countries, refused to recognize the Taliban government. In addition to depriving girls of education, the Taliban imposed burqa on women as the only valid and desirable form of the Islamic hijab. As well described in Vahid Mojdeh’s book entitled Afghanistan Under Five Years of Taliban Sovereignty, the first Emirate of the Taliban practically turned women into a bunch of slaves who had no freedom and authority. Whipping women who didn’t have hijab (hijab in the sense that they had themselves defined) was another part of their unprecedented record in history.
Now that the Taliban have taken the power for the second time, there seems to be no change in their ideology. More than nine months have passed since the Taliban’s rise to power and the doors of girls' schools are still closed and women cannot be seen in any of the top ranks of the Taliban regime. In addition, the mandatory hijab orders and the Taliban’s treatment of protesters are reminiscent of their record in the first term. It seems that the Taliban's ideological principles are still in place and, given the regional and global context, just their tactics have changed somewhat.
Therefore, in order to understand what kind of intellectual structure exists behind the actions of the Taliban, it is necessary to read the book The Islamic Emirate and Its System. In the past, when there was no valid document about the intellectual principles of the Taliban, it was impossible to get access to the intellectual system of the Taliban, and no one knew about their views towards politics, women's rights, religion, etc. (except for what was issued through some of the declarations and statements of the leaders of this group). Now that the book The Islamic Emirate and Its System is available as the written strategy of the group, judgment about the intellectual foundations of the Taliban has become easier. This book deals with various topics such as the sources of Islamic legislation, independence, the principles of politics, judiciary, economics and so on. The purpose of this article is to analyze the rights of women in this book.
In one part of this book titled "Imam's conditions and specifications", it is stated that the Imam must be a man, “because women are ordered to stay at home, and the main principle regarding their status is based on coverage.” The author then cites a hadith and says that when Ayesha, the wife of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), did not deserve to take charge of the affairs, other women will not definitely deserve such a position. It asserts: “Because this responsibility involves doing difficult actions that are beyond a woman's toleration. As stated in the authentic hadith, women are deficient in reason and religion”. It continues: "Be aware that God has protected the position of women and put them in charge of taking care of the children. A woman is weak and therefore cannot protect herself from harm, let alone protecting others. On this statement, scholars have agreed on the impermissibility of a woman's Imamate". Then, Abdul Hakim Haqqani lists the effects of women’s Imamate, including interaction with men, leaving the house, guardianship over men and etc., and by referring to some narrations from the prophet of Islam, concludes that women’s leadership is not true.
Abdul Hakim Haqqani also answers some of the questions related to women's leadership. One of the questions is that, if women do not have the right to lead, why Ayesha took the command of a war? Doesn't this involve mixing with men and appearing in public? Haqqani claims that Ayesha was after peace rather than war, and since she was sitting in a howdah (a carriage which is positioned on the back of a camel), no one could see her. By arguing that Ayesha stood up for peace rather than war, Haqqani apparently ignores the fact that the wife of Prophet Mohammad was in charge of an army of several thousand people. Now, the question remains how Ayesha was able to lead an army of several thousand people? Did Ayesha's speeches to her troops also take place from behind the curtain, or did the people and the troops see her?
By distinguishing between the public sphere and the private sphere, Haqqani considers giving birth to children and their guardianship as the main duties of women, and defines providing alimony and carrying the outside jobs such as agriculture, industry, trade and official duties as responsibilities of men. He calls such a separation as an inherent characteristic of a divine system and considers issues such as education and right of women as violation of the divine system through the system of ignorance and disbelief. His reaction against the systems in which women can also work outside the home and engage in outside jobs is reminiscent of the distinction that Sayyid Qutb made decades ago between the Islamic society and the ignorant society. Haqqani, quoting a speech by Zylaeei and a narration by Ayesha, prohibits women from not only engaging in politics, but also going to mosques. On page 155, he talks about the superiority of men over women, and for this purpose, he refers to verse 34 of surah An-Nisa, which mentions the "guardianship of men over women."
From his point of view, men's superiority over women is in two areas: (1) knowledge, and (2) power. There is no doubt that men are superior to women in terms of physical ability. But, can physical superiority as a divine gift, "not as an achievement," alone can be considered as a privilege?
Moreover, the scientific superiority of men in Haqqani's view is a kind of reference to women's intellectual deficiency. However, the question is that, what is the fault of women in their intellectual deficiency, and what is the role of men in perfection of their intellect?
Among all wives of Prophet Mohammad, Haqqani defines Sawdah bint Zam'ah as the embodiment of a good woman, who, according to the author of Tafsir Ruh al-Bayan, never came out of her home, neither for prayer nor for Hajj and Umrah, until her dead body was brought out of there. He defines the conditions of women's education on page 254 of his book and says that principally, there is nothing wrong with women's education, but it should preferably be done at home. If they must go out of their house for education, their teacher should be a woman. If this is not possible, a curtain should be placed between the female students and their teacher. He considers studying sciences such as chemistry and geometry as unnecessary for women. Haqqani also refers to the following song as a proof for his claim about women’s interaction with men: The strangers’ eyes should be away from the women; If a woman leaves the house, she is better to die.
It seems that the Taliban's understanding of women's rights does not go beyond the framework of traditional jurisprudence. By getting a closer look at the book of Abdul Hakim Haqqani, we will understand that he has not referred to any contemporary scientific book. In the Taliban's intellectual system, only the primary scholars are considered as the real intellectuals. Relying on the opinions of primary scholars and jurists, on the one hand shows the Taliban’s reactionary approach, and on the other hand shows their ignorance of the necessities and requirements of the new world. In traditional jurisprudence, the Taliban also choose what is pleasing to their taste and reject what is not compatible with their intellectual principles. Apart from this, the tribal life of the Taliban has an invisible and significant role in their attitude towards the issue of women's rights. Haqqani's reference to the song “The strangers’ eyes should be away from the women …” is more derived from his tribal thinking than from Islam.