August 29, 2012

Islam and feminism

What is feminism?

The word is usually and most notably associated with women rights movement. Feminism movement has been present throughout mankind history. It is not certain when exactly it has started. Unfortunately, it is without fail that feminism has been linked to bra burning, androgynous cigar smoking women and lesbians. At one point, perhaps most people tend to think that a feminist is a lesbian. (Hollywood?)

If you ask me, feminism is what it is at core, a cause to provide a better world for the females, in a very male dominated society.

And the definition of feminism according to you is..?

A cause to provide a better world for the females, in a very male dominated society, as long as it is in line with Islamic teachings, and does not encourage and support any forbidden act that are mention in the Qur’an and teachings of the Prophet. (Say no to unnatural behavior!)

Why feminism?

Because women are also creation of Allah, and we deserve to be a treated justly and with respect wherever we are.

And, I believe that each woman should thank those who started this cause. I don’t think women will enjoy what we are enjoying today without those who decided to be ahead of the curve and demand all female to receive the same opportunity and benefit like their male counterparts.

I mean, do you think I would have successfully graduated from a university with a degree today if those ladies in the 17th century just kept quiet and docilely accept their fate that their mind is ‘not quite as developed as the gentlemen’ and ergo they don’t have any right to attend universities?

Ladies, despite their fame for the wrong thing, like it or not the feminists have done us a great favor.

Is Islam and feminism at odds?

Before you continue reading, please TAKE NOTE that this is a PERSONAL OPINION.

Generally, yes.

But at heart, I believe that any sound and good Muslim should support Muslim feminism movement. Because Islam has already given women their right, clearly mentioned in many verses of the Qur’an. Thus, there is nothing wrong with this movement as long as it is in line with the Sharia’.

You said Islam has given women their rights. Then why is there a need for this movement?

Because men are unfair. They forgot Allah’s and the prophet’s warnings and reminders.

And by men, I’m referring to both genders. I believe that both men and women are responsible for the general poor treatment of women when this movement started. Women are considered inferior, worthless and are only good for a certain purpose. Some women even go to the extent of convincing their daughters that they are born to only end up in the kitchen. (Excuse me, we are all hungry people, and we all have been in the kitchen) And nobody really cares if they are educated.

I’m a Muslim woman. I hate all feminist. I think they should be stopped and this kind of movement should be banned by our government. Allah has given us our rights and it is in the Qur’an. So, why should we make demands?

That’s the exact reason why we should fight for our female rights. Because Allah has given it to us. During the Prophet’s time, women enjoy their right in full and were respected. Can we say the same is happening today in a 100% Muslim community? I think no. In fact, Muslim men have received the unwanted-notorious claim that they are the number one women abuser. Basically, when people talk about Muslim women, those who are outside the community or the non Muslims tend to associate us with the ‘poor women who are oppressed.’

Why exactly is this happening if none other than because of the simple truth that it is true. Majority Muslim populated country like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Yemen, Egypt and others are famous for their males’ poor treatment of women. Harassment of women in Egypt is unbelievable. It is practically impossible for a female, citizen or tourist, to walk alone in an Egyptian city in the broad daylight without being harassed.

It is also true that this harassment and unacceptable treatment of women is also prevalent in other country, notably USA. And this is only one mistreatment of women. You know there are plenty of others.

But as Muslims, I think it is high time for us to think and reflect why this still happening in a Muslim community. Muhammad s.a.w came for the reason to correct our akhlaq (manners).

Our Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) said, "I have been sent to complete the goodness of your character" - Tazkiyah al-Nafs (purification of the soul)

Why call ourselves Muslims if we are not acting and portraying the manners of our beloved prophet? How do you answer and show the non Muslims the beauty of Islam if you are not a truthful ambassador of the religion?

For a better world, for a better mannered Muslim society, I think Muslim women should step up, and play our role in making people understand that Islam is a just religion. I think women tend to forget the kind of power they have in shaping the society’s perception. We are MOTHERS. We raised children. And yes, the mould makes the vase pretty or ugly. We are the mould. We can claim and fight for a beautiful, respectful, well mannered society.

Are you saying women should dominate and rule over men?

No. No. NO. That’s not the point. The point is to co-exist in a peaceful, God-worshipping environment. If you ask me, I think women are not suited to rule a country. I am not a big fan of female presidents. Allah has created men for that role. The guys will do it better. Allah has said that the men are the ruler and protector. I have faith in Allah.

I am confused. And you called yourself a feminist?

Yes. I am a Muslim feminist.

So, your point is..?

What I’m trying to point out is as women, we can raise better children. We can teach them the manners of Rasullulah. But of course, we have to practice what we preach. Start now. Teach yourself some manners. So that you can teach your children the same. Like it or not, our children learn most from us.

And in your community, voice out your worries. Point out how women can be better treated in our society. Stand behind your friends who are mistreated. Give them support. Find a way and help them restore balance in their life. Don’t let wrongdoings to pass without persecution. Use the law. Improve the law. Stand up for our rights. Islam taught us to appreciate and guard our ‘izzah (dignity). We women should do that!

And always refer back to the history and examples during Islamic Golden Age. What did they do differently? Why were women better treated then?

Any last words?

Don’t view any Muslim feminism movement as one that is up to distort the religion without properly checking first. It is true that some spokespersons of these organizations are so vocal and too upfront that they don’t stand by Islamic teachings. (ehem, Sisters in Islam (SIS), anyone?)

More the reason those who are properly and professionally educated about Islam should stand behind these organizations. We can help them improve. Don’t drag them down by your unkind words. I believe it will de-motivate them more if the negativity is coming from those who they are trying to help in the first place. If you are enjoying and getting your full rights as a woman, that does not mean all other women are in the same position. Some need help to stand up for themselves. And this is why this movement is so important. It is human nature to help.

Thank you for your time!

You are welcome.

p/s: In case you are wondering, I didn’t interview anyone. I just had a conversation with myself. I had always wanted to write about Islam and feminism. Feel free to share your opinion about the issue.

1 comment:

InkFlow said...

nice long post. hahaha. i totally agree with you. i don't like how some feminists use the term so liberally. I mean men and women are both humans and deserve their rights. Doesn't mean our responsibilities are the same tho.
I can't seem to agree with female presidents either. hahaha.
imagine a president who has to go on leave for a few months due to pregnancy. hmmm....

plus many women in malaysia preach feminism but don't play their roles right. esp in terms of educating their young. Like the occasional masjid hellions. oh mai.

plus a mothers role at home is a very BIG AND IMPORTANT (see the caps words?) role. I can't say enough about how important it is. Why is it that men and sometimes women seem to forget this?