On Monday May 31st, there was a celebration commemorating the women’s day and the birth of the Prophet Mohammad’s daughter, her holiness Zahra, which was attended by several women groups and activists as well as Dr. Zahra Rahnavard as its keynote speaker. In this gathering representatives of various women’s parties and groups spoke of different aspects of her holiness Zahra and the necessity of finding role model in today’s society from the life of this great figure.
In her speech, Dr. Zahra Rahnavard said:
“We carried a great revolution but gradually deviations started in it such as the lack of freedom and democracy, the presence of discriminations against women, and the oppressions we witnessed over the past year; and we see the solution only in religious innovation and having a modern view of Islam and her holiness Zahra along the principles of democracy and freedom. We know that many of the actions being conducted in the framework of the Islamic Revolution and under the name of the Islamic Revolution are not the Revolution but are rather Islamic deviations including oppressions, arrests, tortures, turning the entire country into a big prison and creating many smaller prisons that are the pains and sufferings. We witness mothers that like Hajar (the wife of Prophet Ibrahim) struggle to see their children; mothers, who held their children’s wedding ceremonies over their tombs; mothers who are in prisons and their children miss their coddles; mothers who have been imprisoned and it is not known who should raise their small children. All these are done under the name of Imam Ali or Zahra. In such a situation, how appropriate is this claim that is making our youths distrustful of their prayers and fasting. In this situation, the healthy path to find the right Islam is in an innovation. We should read Islam once again and understand its liberal language and declarations; understand its innovative language and declarations. Islam is a religion for eternity and when I say eternity, it cannot live in the past; in fact it cannot be bound by time. If it is the case, how can we make it eternal? We think with an innovative view that contains the principle of “no obligation exists in the religion” (a versus from the holy Quran); a view that contains so much equality that says men and women are friends to each other; a view that is so liberal that when states women it also states men alongside. We can make it eternal. I am only a simple Islam researcher and I am not speaking of the religious narratives and I hope it doesn’t create misunderstanding. When we look from the aspect of innovation, her holiness Zahra is the symbol of Islam.”
“We cannot see any thing in a stained mirror but only with innovation we can read in a clear mirror that has been cleaned of stains and superstitions, and that the veil of time has been removed from it. This is how we should re-read her holiness Zahra. It is in this reconstruction that her holiness Zahra can be the role model for the most modern and post-modern women of the world. Of course, I personally believe in diverse role models. We can find role models from all around the world, from any idea, generation, philosophy, and way of thinking. If we think about her holiness Zahra with this innovative view, we can say with pride that we are the most modern and liberal people in the world. We are human rights supporters, journalists, women’s rights activists, liberals, Green movement supporters and at the same time the followers of her holiness Zahra.”