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Essay: Women in Islam/feminism

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Islam, heavenly admission is a monotheistic religion of spiritual fact, internal well-lit, of love, of human brotherhood and social fairness. Open to all races and all peoples without distinction, to men and women all countries and all ages, whatever the degree of their knowledge and the rank of their fortune. It implies faith in a unique and absolute God and the mission of His Messenger, Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) which he chose for transmitting its message (Qur’an). It is the reason why, Leila Ahmed in her book ‘WOMEN AND GENDER IN ISLAM’ argues that the oppressive practices to which women in the Middle East are subjected are due to the prevalence of patriarchal interpretations of Islam rather than Islam itself.

Conservative/Fundamentalist Positions on Islamic history and the Sacred Texts

Fundamentalism means the strict adherence to the original principles of doctrine, usually religious. To maintain male supremacy, they have managed to put the veil in the heart of Muslim societies. For them, women have to wear the hijab. The hijab is often considered the most appropriate clothing; this being, women have to cover their heads, but not necessarily the face. They believe that God has taught women to wear it as a means of satisfying his directive for modesty. The veil serves to mark the upper class, but more fundamentally, to differentiate respectable women and those who were publically available. Similarly, Defended by Islamists and conservatives in the name of Islam, is the denial of equality, between men and women. This refusal is justified a verse which states: “Men their (that is to say, the women) are superior to a degree “(2/228). The obligation of obedience to the woman to her guardian and right of correction which is man against woman considered rebellious. Women and Gender in Islam, pg. 20 ‘husband had right, to property acquired by the wife after marriage unless a contract had specified otherwise’. When the husband to his wife sees signs of pride or insubordination, it is up to him tried to arrange the situation with all possible means starting with the word, the convincing speech and wise advice. We can summarize their views as follows: Women do not have the right to abandon their homes and their husbands should keep them there. The Qur’an says: “And stay in your houses” (33:33); “Do not cast out from their houses and they do not come out” (65: 1). The natural place of women is in the home where she has to take care of her husband. The Qur’an says: “It is he (God) who created you from a single soul that he shot his wife that it rests with her” (7: 189). Maintaining the housewife is a husband’s right on the woman because she is the housekeeper of its business and the guardian of his house. This is in consideration of the work of the woman’s husband takes care of the expenses of the house: “Men have authority over women, according to the preference that God has given them over them, and because of the expenses that they are doing to maintain them (4:34). Conservative continues to practice their religion in addition to ignore people, who want a progress and follow the religions rules to do not make it disappear.

Progressive/Feminist Positions on Islamic history and the Sacred Texts

Islam is not a religion or a cult. It is a global system. It has religious elements, political, economic and military. The religious component is the false beard that hides all others.

Islamic feminism is seen as a force for social change. He is best perceived by European as a filter distinguishing religious traditionalism and patriarchal as a key assertion of equality between the sexes. Fundamentalist don’t want an improvement in the religion. They just want to maintain it because for them, Islam will disappear and women should always be under men domination. Asma Barlas, Believing Women in Islam pg. (57) said ‘there is only slavery, and know it well that she cannot be emancipated from this bondage’. Feminist struggles against societal abuses that are cultural, such as forced marriages, tribal practices, female circumcision, polygamy, or that are a pathological nature such as rape or domestic violence within couples. The Qur’an affirms the principle of equality between all human beings and it is ideas (ideology) and patriarchal practices that have impeded or subverted the practice of equality between men and women. Leila Ahmed, in Women and Gender in Islam, pg. 4 said: ‘the adoption of the veil by Muslim women occurred by a similar process of seamless assimilation of the mores of the conquered peoples’. For my perspective, conservative misinterpreted the veil wearing and of certain things written in the Quran. The origin of the veil wearing came from the prophet Mohamed wife. One day, the prophet received some friends in his house. While he was talking to them, his wife came out to tell him something and returned. When his friends left, his uncle called him and told him that he did not like the way his friends were looking at his wife so it will be good if she covered her face with something, when he will receive people and remove it when they will go back. Since his uncle was his advisor, he decided to do what he told him. Since then, people imitate that because they think that if the prophet wife all other women should do it to be respectful without even knowing the meaning. People also started to have multiple wives, when the prophet Mohamed does it but those wives were the present people give to him when he arrived somewhere. It wasn’t his willing to do so. Leila Ahmed, ‘Treacherous Sympathy with Muslim Women’ said ‘it is time now really that we deleted this entire subject of (the oppression of women in Islam) from our repertoire’ Inform society about women’s rights on education, marriage, child custody, inheritance, property, business and other things is essential to create a company that can truly claim to the principles of Islam. Western wanted an improvement in Muslim people life. But, Muslim men didn’t want westernize because for them, western didn’t want to make a change in the society but wanted to colonize Muslim society. Western intern intervention allows women to have the same right as men do.

Conservative/Fundamentalist Positions on Women

The Muslims brothers’ have for targets an official Islamic revival, and non-violent struggle against Western influence. They quickly spun their ideas in Muslim-majority countries. Some partisan groups formed themselves into autonomous movements such as al-Jama’a Islamiyya or Hamas. Muslim Brotherhood has condemned a UN draft declaration on women’s rights, claiming the document violates Islamic Law. The Muslim brotherhoods claim that the title, however, is misleading and deceptive. The Brotherhood also criticized what it said were UN recommendations to give a woman the right to choose the gender of her partner, raise the marriage age and legalize abortion and be able to divorce. As an example, Muslim Brotherhood will say that Women are solely for beauty, status, and believers. The movement has with the institutions promoting the Saudi Wahhabism relationships alternating between cooperation and rivalry. Muslim brotherhood believe that, grant too many rights to women and make them equal to men would lead to “total destruction of society”. God Almighty says in the Holy Qur’an: ‘No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another’ (Surah al-Isra 17:15).’ Therefore their goal is to make the Islamic nation regain its power and be liberated and assume its rightful position, which was intended by Allah, as the most exalted nation among men, as the teachers of humanity.

Progressive/Feminist Positions on Women

Identifies the pervasive influence of patriarchy on legal structures, demonstrates its effects on the material condition of women, girls and develops reforms to correct gender injustice, exploitation, or restriction and have the right to divorce. Wadud claim that the ‘Qur’an provides women with explicit rights to inheritance, independent property, divorce and the right to testify in a court of law’ (Amina Wadud Aisha legacy) Feminism refers to a reform movement within Islam that combines modernity and Islam. Currently, dominant are the most fundamentalist. But this verse, as indicated 3 verses earlier refers to the wives of the Prophet (Peace be upon him); ‘O wives of the Prophet (Qur’an 33:30). The verse further proceeds to single them out by saying ‘O wives of the Prophet, you are not like anyone among women’ (Qur’an 33:32). After which general commands are given equally to both men and women. The Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so. For them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward’. (Qur’an 33:35). They have become obsessed with attempting to define what a woman should be like, how she should act, and what she should do. This is a wrong approach in understanding what it means to be a woman, and how a woman should be, a woman. There is more to being a woman that being a mother and wife. A woman is not a ‘reproductive-machine’. Her role is not limited to giving birth and being a mother. In fact, I will use religious text as a basis for my argument here. When God created men and women to ‘dwell in tranquility and find love’ in one another; to have affection and mercy between one another (Qur’an 30:21), he did not create men and women with the primary purpose of being a ‘husband’ or ‘wife’. He created human beings with the sole purpose of his glorification (Qur’an 51:56).


In conclusion, I find the feminist’s position and the Quranic message on women the more meaningful progress; in favor of women’s rights in Islamic countries has come from civil society groups. Muslim feminist women are fighting fundamentalist interpretations and changing cultural paradigms that force them to choose between religion and their rights. What I find important about these efforts, is that Muslim female activists tend to apply concepts such as justice, equality and democracy not only in the public sphere, but also in the family, culture and religion areas that used to be considered private and therefore free from regulation. In the Koran, 2:228 ‘it is written that (Women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness, and men are a degree above them.” It follows that the rights owned to the wife are unnegotiable, whereas the husband has to give up certain rights. Therefore, for my perspective, a woman should have the right, to be treated as God has endowed her, with rights, such as to be treated as an individual, with the right to own and dispose of her own property and earnings, enter into contracts, even after marriage. She has to have the right to be educated and to work outside the home if she chooses so. She has to have the right to inherit from her father, mother, and husband. A very interesting point to note is that in Islam, unlike any other religion, a woman can be an imam, a leader of communal prayer, for a group of women. Marriage does not have to be sign of oppression for women.

Works Cited

Ahmed, Leila. Women and Gender in Islam. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, July 28, 1993 .
Barlas, Asma. ” Believing Women in Islam .” University of Texas Press (2002): 57.
Brotherhood, The Muslim. “The Muslim Brotherhood Denoncing UN Women Declaration.” (March 13, 2013).
Leila Ahmed. “Treacherous Sympathy with Muslim Women.” Colonialism and Islamophobia (August 23, 2011).
Wadud, Amina. “Aisha’s Legacy.” New International Issue 345 (May 1, 2002).
Muhammad, Prophet. The Quran . Tahrike Tarsile, 632

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