I’m certain this topic has been done to the nth degree, however I don’t think it has been done or discussed enough. I’m convinced by the mere fact that we still see the disgraces and open hypocrisy among the Ummah as it concerns the treatment of women, that apparently there is not enough talking and certainly not enough action.
On the website of the Saudi Embassy in the US you can read this section on Women and Islam:
WOMEN IN ISLAM
“It is He Who created you from a single person and made his mate of like nature in order that he might dwell with her (in love). When they are united she bears a light burden and carries it about (unnoticed). When she grows heavy they both pray to Allah their Lord (saying): “If Thou givest us a goodly child we vow we shall (ever) be grateful.”
(Qur’an: Translation of the meaning, 7:189)
Islam sees a woman, whether single or married, as an individual in her own right, with the right to own and dispose of her own property and earnings. A marriage dowry is given by the groom to the bride for her own personal use, and she keeps her own family name rather than taking her husband’s. Both men and women are expected to dress in a way which is modest and dignified; the traditions of female dress found in some Muslim countries are often the expression of local customs.
The Messenger of God said:
“The most perfect in faith amongst believers is he who is best in manners and kindest to his wife.”
The religion of Islam was revealed for all societies and all times and so accommodates widely differing social requirements. Circumstances may warrant the taking of another wife but the right is granted, according to the Qur’an, only on condition that the husband is scrupulously fair.
A Muslim marriage is not a ³sacrament², but a simple, legal agreement in which either partner is free to include conditions. Marriage customs thus vary widely from country to country. As a result, divorce is not common, although it is not forbidden as a last resort. According to Islam, no Muslim girl can be forced to marry against her will.
Now I don’t claim to be psychic, but we can all read this information and compare this to the actual reality of what happens in Saudi Arabia and see something “wrong”.
Lets be honest for a minute, many a Muslim man has argued how great Islam views women (and it does), but how many Muslim men actually act in accordance with that greatness?
I don’t know about some of you, but I’m getting a little sick and tired of my fellow Muslims who say one thing and do another. Maybe its the nature of the religious convert, or maybe its just me, but the beauty of the Koran is what motivated my acceptance of Islam. However, if I viewed the actions of Muslims to make a decision, I don’t think I would have readily accepted Islam as I did.
I’m not speaking from the perspective of an outsider looking in. I see some of this crap right here in America. I call it crap, because that is exactly what it is. You go to some Masjids and the women are blocked off in some corner of the room, you go to iftars and the men and women are separate and the men feast while the women fight for food, you go to the mall and the wife walks behind her husband, etc. I don’t even have to speak about what happens outside of America do I? These are actual experiences I have had right here in the D. C. area, I need not look at the Muslimahs in Sudan who can’t even go get firewood without the threat of rape, or the women in Pakistan being forced into marriage.
I’m beginning to wonder if we are even reading the same Koran at times. How can we read about the equality and sacredness of the woman and yet treat her as we do? How can we read about how we should be equitable and just to our wives, yet treat her as a second-class citizen? How can we as MUSLIMS even resort to lustful thoughts and sexual deviancy toward a woman, let alone a Muslimah, and still call ourselves that which we are by the very name Muslim are not?
For the record, “Muslim” is not just a name, its a title. We should treat it as such. Muslim is the best word one could be called. What’s better than being called one who submits to the One Creator and Sustainer of the Entire Universe? Muslim doesn’t imply part-time submission either. If you are indeed one who submits, then it should be apparent in your actions, words, etc. because the very word “submit” is a verb, that means it denotes an action. So if your a Muslim that means you are showing an action, the action you are supposed to be showing is spelled out in the Koran itself and the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw). These actions aren’t just to be shown in the Masjid or Home (even though those places rarely get that respect these days) but they are to be shown to all mankind, for Allah (swt) did say that He perfected our Deen did He not?
Obviously, I could spin this to talk about many issues in our Ummah, however, I want to solely focus on the woman…today that is.
We love to sit back and “marvel” at how non-Muslims view us as an Ummah. We love to correct their assertions about how we practice. Yet, I have yet to see us actually look in the mirror and marvel at where they get these “fanciful” ideas. Lets be honest for a moment: Can we really believe that “they” make up these things about how ”we” treat women, if they weren’t given examples by ”us”?
I was horrified this past Ramadan, when I found out from my wife, that at the local Masjid (which will remain nameless), two Muslim sisters got into a physical fight at iftar over food! Why you ask? Well, this particular Masjid segregates the men and women (yes even at iftar) and therefore, has different food for each group. The men feast like kings, yet the women barely get enough. So the stage was set and ripe for two Sisters to get upset at the pushing and shoving in line to attempt to get food.
I was appalled on so many levels. First, the Masjid is foolish for segregating husbands and wives during iftar, Second, at least ensure there is enough food for everyone, Third, the two sisters should have done much better than resorting to that ESPECIALLY during Ramadan, but Last and certainly not least, what if the Masjid had non-Muslim guests? What would they have thought about this?
This is but one example, but the message is clear: We have to get out acts together. The woman is sacred….PERIOD. We treat the Kaaba as sacred so we cover it with a cloth. We consider our bodies as sacred so we cover them too right? Covering, although physical in application most of the time, is really more spiritual above all else. Allah (swt) in the Koran declares “men are the protectors and maintainers of women”. Allah (swt) also reminds us that women are EQUAL partners of man, we should reverence the womb that bore us, and the Prophet (saw) told us the paradise lies at the foot of the mother. Yet, instead of covering her with kindess and the peace of mind that brings about security what do we cover her with? Do you think forcing her to stay home, remain uneducated, or walk behind you is security? Do you think the threat of death, rape, or torture makes a women feel safe?
We have all this guidance and instruction, so what’s our problem? Can we not read, comprehend, etc. ? What is it? Have we allowed the testosterone to overwhelm and cloud our judgement? How would we feel if someone hit our mother/daughter/sister? How would we feel if someone raped our mother/daughter/sister? How would we feel if someone denied them education, freedom from the tyranny of men, freedom of choice, etc. ?
Allah (swt) doesn’t need nor want a people like this. It is time we stand up like Muslims or sit down as non-believers.
4:1 O MANKIND! Be conscious of your Sustainer, who has created you out of one living entity, and out of it created its mate, and out of the two spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Asad(4,1) And remain conscious of God, in whose name you demand your rights from one another, and of these ties of kinship. Verily, God is ever watchful over you!
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُواْ رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالاً كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاء وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءلُونَ بِهِ وَالأَرْحَامَ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا
16:72 And God has given you mates of your own kinds Asad(16,81) and has given you, through your mates, children and children’s children, and has provided for you sustenance out of the good things of life. Will men, Asad(16,82) then, continue to believe in things false and vain, and thus blaspheme against God’s blessings?
وَاللّهُ جَعَلَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا وَجَعَلَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَزْوَاجِكُم بَنِينَ وَحَفَدَةً وَرَزَقَكُم مِّنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ أَفَبِالْبَاطِلِ يُؤْمِنُونَ وَبِنِعْمَتِ اللّهِ هُمْ يَكْفُرُونَ