Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Is Feminism being incompatible with Islam or with our society?

Feminism, the belief in the social, economic, and political equality of the sexes. Although largely originating in the West, feminism is manifested worldwide and is represented by various institutions committed to activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests. First started in the 19th and early 20th centuries in the United Kingdom and the United States, which originally focused on promoting equal rights only between the sexes. By the end of the 19th century, the first place on the acquisition of political power, especially the right to vote for women, and from here began other waves and the emergence of many types of the Feminism linked to the development of societies and change.

It may be pointed out that the conflict over feminism is originally between men and women, gender is defined by FAO as ‘the relations between men and women, both perceptual and material. Gender is not determined biologically, as a result of sexual characteristics of either women or men, but is constructed socially. It is a central organizing principle of societies, and often governs the processes of production and reproduction, consumption and distribution’ (FAO, 1997). Despite this definition, gender is often misunderstood as being the promotion of women only. However, as we see from the FAO definition, gender issues focus on women and on the relationship between men and women, their roles, access to and control over resources, division of labour, interests and needs. Gender relations affect household security, family well-being, planning, production and many other aspects of life (Bravo-Baumann, 2000). 

These roles, vary over time and vary widely within one culture and from one culture to another. That the description of characteristics between men and women has nothing to do with organic differences. The conclusion of these definitions is that the concept of gender is the image that society views male and female and the way expected of them, which is due to the method of organization of society and not to the biological differences between male and female.

“One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman” ... Simone de Beauvoir in her book "The Second Sex".

The majority of opinions that attempt to prove the contradiction of Islam with the Feminism entirely depends on taking non-objective images of Arab Muslim women in  their societies and sheds a light on the extent of their delay due to their adherence to their religious values without shedding a light on the social roles imposed on women that are completely different from their role in Islam Indeed,  the problem is not in Islam for the absence of a strong and equal role for women in the society, but the problem in how women is constructed in the society, because of the fact that what a women should be is closely related to the mental image formed by the various media, which devoted her as a "body" culture, and putting her in secondary roles in life.

If a woman has a duty to take on the task of domestic chores in society and in Islam, women in the era of the Prophet were not required to do housework as much as they are now. A recent British study, published in the British daily Star, Women spend 5 years of cooking, 4 years shopping, 7 years of childcare, while men spend a lot of time in social gatherings, playing video games and exercise. Saudi economic studies revealed that more than 78% of the total unemployed Saudi women are university degrees, and reflects the pressures faced by the government to provide more job opportunities for this segment of the society, so here the major issue is the society itself, especially the state and not Islam. The state regulates the religion laws, not the religion laws that regulates the society.

Msawah is an Arab initiative was founded in 2009 by a conference held in Malaysia with the participation of 50 countries, in which women can practice their activities and their demands for justice and equality in both an Islamic and a human context.The movement provides equality of opportunity between men and women, and this is not incompatible with Islam, where we find texts in the Koran provide many women models of the selection of Mary for the strength and the Queen of Sabaa and giving them attention on how they  adhere to their social and political participation, but the text of the Qur'an recognizes their alignment at the time Which we find traditional interpretations and traditional Islamic jurisprudence not only turns a blind eye to these facts, but restricts the role of women in the meanings of submission and obedience. 

Although Islam does not prevent women from wealth and power, this is evidenced by the presence of a woman like Khadija bint Khuwailid, who was the first of the women to be converted. A woman who is characterized by money, wealth and winning trade. 

There is no doubt that there are contradictions in our Arab heritage that led to the emergence of a great contradiction between Islam and Feminism. While there is still a debate about the right of girls and women for education and leadership, our history reveals that Arab women have been pioneers in spreading education and building schools and universities for centuries. The books of heritage are rich of women in the fields of Fiqh and Hadith, including Nafisa Bint Al Hassan, Shehada bint Al-Abri, Fatima Bint Ala Al-Din Al-Samarqandi and many others.

Dr. Heba Raouf spoke about the equality of men and women in the Islamic vision, where she signifies that they are equal to their absolute aspects, and that their relative aspects correspond to the differences of the two in some characteristics that serve their complementarity in the achievement of differentiation, which remains the framework for this equality, Which the two bear under the relationship of the Faithful State and the Association of Creed, this background is necessary and indispensable as a framework for the comprehension of "guardianship" in the Islamic vision

Although the extended family is the broader framework of the family in the Islamic vision, the concept of "guardianship" is specific to the privacy and importance of the small matrimonial family.
The concept of "guardianship" in Quranic usage is presented in three places, not in one place, and most of the writings dealing with the concept are confined to the verse " Men are the protectors " in isolation from the other two verses, where the word is said in the verse: "Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means" (Surah el Nisaa:34), and saying: (O ye who believe! stand out firmly for justice,"(Surah el Nisaa: 135), and saying: O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. (Surah Al-Ma'idah: 8). If the guardianship at the level of the nation is a general feature, it is the responsibility of the mandate of the man in his family under the marriage, both levels are the presumption of unification and justice.

The word "protectors" involves two important things: that the man takes the role to provide the material and moral needs of women, so as to ensure the satisfaction of their desires and the feeling of safety and housing. The authority of the head of the family is subject to many controls and restrictions that allow for the ability of the wife and children to act within the framework of what is legitimate and permissible for Islam. The family has no authority over its adult children except guidance and advice, (Al-Baqarah: 228). 

The degree of guardianship is not based on a subjective lack of women, but on the basis of practical and extraneous application. Preference to increase the proportion of goodness in this is not considered a challenge to the validity of women and their identity, as evidenced by the fact that they take over the matter and order their children in the absence of the husband in the request for livelihood or jihad and the like, or when he died even in the extended family care continued.

In a paper on the image of Arab women in the Arab media, writer Jaber Asfour said that one of the biggest reasons for the stereotypical image of women associated with the consumer side comes from the influence of the high-economy countries, which use politics that placate everything, including women. In their view that cultural domination is a form of ancient colonialism imposed by powerful states on weak states. Cultural influence is consistent with the political and economic influence and domination of these countries. The weak states have nothing, but are influenced by the dominant countries, as Ibn Khaldun says in his famous introduction.

 Jaber Asfour stresses the seriousness of these media, which address everyone without exception, whether they are educated or illiterate, and impose their authority on them by repeating some media messages that correspond With the interest of some, such as the repetition of consumer stereotypes of women in proportion to the policy of international companies giant, and in the present era, social media play a large role in supporting the spread of stereotypes, and emphasizes that if the media plays a very important role in the formation of the media plays the same role in shaping the images of the communities of society in the minds of its members and plays a parallel role in fixing certain images about the man or the woman. 

In the minds of all members of the society without distinction between large or small, rich or poor, especially in the area of values and social and behavioural norms that exceed the limits of poverty or wealth, and the negative impact of the media by the formulation and installation and dissemination of the prevailing image of women affiliated. Generations come to believe in the safety and validity of this picture and do not doubt their credibility, whether they become men who reproduce the ideology of male supremacy. Women remain in their precarious positions or practice habits that do not exclude them from the social margin.
The researcher in Islamic thought, Bassam Nasser, pointed out that the Orientalist view of Arab women has played a major role in creating our way of understanding and looking at their roles in the present age.
Orientalists have focused on the side of customs and traditions and mixed them with Islam. Images that do not address the real issues experienced by Arab women.

Dr. Amena Wadud also talked about equality in the framework of religion, where she stressed that equality is guaranteed in the Holy Quran and since the beginning of creation in her book (Quran and Women). Wadud relies on the verse: "O people, fear your Lord who created you from the same one" (Surah el Nisaa), in order to point out that God created the human kind of male and female and did not prefer one over the other even in creation.
The word of the soul is neutral and does not benefit prejudice either to the male or to the female, and this one soul created her husband (in the sense of her partner) in order to reproduce (both men and women) therefore, in this understanding, the friendly nature of the two sexes in all fields is confirmed and based on this, it moves to prove gender equality in public life. It sees that God did not impose on women or men roles that they committed to perform throughout their lives.  

Finally, Amina Wadud stresses that although social roles are different between men and women, the reward with God remains fair and by one standard. "O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you people and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted" (Surah Al-Hujurat:13), "Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer - We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do" (Surah el Nahl:97)

Thus, the questions about feminism turned from social form  to philosophical one, the question is: Are women's role and associated traits inevitable on the basis of their physiology? Or is it a matter of a male dominant culture that produced this social mechanism as a consecration of the "Patriarchal" society, which fears that women are a real competitor in the public sphere? And is Feminism being really incompatible with Islam or with our current society?

1 comment:

  1. كلام في مجمله جيد جدا، ونقطة ممتازة محاولتك للفصل بين ما هو ديني(إلهي) وما هو اجتماعي. لكن طغى جانب علم الاجتماع كمنهجية(جيد) وفلسفة غربية على الجانب الشرعي، وكان يجب الموازنة في الخطاب لأنك تناقشين موضوع مشتبك بينهما. وأخيرا اختيارك لل feminism كان غير موفق لأنها في جوهرها الhumanism أي علمانية فلا تتوافق بحال مع الدين لو كان عنوانك عن حقوق المرأة مثلا لكان خيرا، ولو قصدتيها كحركة اجتماعية فهي الخيال الجمعي لجمهورك _أي الشرقي والإسلامي والعربي_ سلبية جدا، لأنك وكما تعلمين الناشطين فيها ومطالبهم لا تتماشى مع الإسلام.


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