Women in Islam: Truth vs Falsehood

Saleemah Abdul-Ghafur contributed to and edited “Living Islam Out Loud: American Muslim Women Speak.” (Getty Images Photo / Frank Mullen)

I’m inspired to speak on a very controversial issue….Women in Islam. I’m reading this book: “Living Islam Out Loud” by this wonderful sister Saleemah Abdul-Ghafur, and I’m so glad I took it off my wife’s book-shelf behind her back! Over the years during my sojourn as a Muslim convert/revert, the issue of Muslim women or Women in Islam is an oft repeated, discussed, and debated topic. Often by the naysayers against Islam who use all kinds of “examples” to make Islam look like a religion that is against everything woman. It’s not like there isn’t ample ammunition to fire at us Muslims, when you see what happens when Talibanistic (yeah new word) ideology and practice is oft repeated in some circles of the world. Then of course, there’s no shortage of some rotund fiery self-made “cleric” making an ass of himself calling women meat, or helping to propagate the subjugation of Muslim women as second-class. We all know what’s out there from the negative perspective, but how much do we know about the positive reality of muslim womens’ lives?

Has anyone of the critics actually talked to Muslim women? And no, I’m not talking about women like Ayaan Hyirsi Ali who certainly had a troubled life, is really void of reason, and is more a mouthpiece for everything anti-Islam than one who is “enlightened” to the plight of Muslim women by her recent embracing of Atheism. People like Ali are the reason I’m writing this today. They forget to add in their constant diatribe railing against the treatment of women in Islam, that while they are not false in recounting actual events, that those events don’t describe the lives of all Muslim women.

If you listen to them, every Muslim woman wears a Burka and walks behind her husband! What drives me crazy to no end is this idea that Islam is a person! Islam does nothing! Islam is a faith, religion, condition, ideal, void of any physical substance, yet people want to blame Islam for the actions of physical beings. Are there Muslims that abuse women, yes, are there Muslims that subjugate women, yes, are there Muslims that oppress women, absolutely! However, where the lack of reason appears is that the question that is never asked ,”Do all Muslims exhibit this behavior?” The answer would be a resounding NO! Then after that, one would have to ask why. Muslims are not the only people on the planet that commit these crimes, yet Muslims are the most scrutinized by those posing as Muslim women rights activists and have made entire careers and money off of slandering Islam and pandering to Neo Conservatives, Anti-Islamic think tanks, organizations and groups.

Domestic violence occurs every 4 minutes here in America, yet 74-76% of the population is considered “Christian”. Less than several percent are actually Muslim. Out of about 300 million Americans only 2-8 million are believed to be Muslim. So why aren’t people up in arms about Christianity and calling it a religion that oppresses women?

Because the Truth is clearer than Falsehoods. We all know that Christianity is not a person and we all know that the actions of adherents are often different than the teachings of Christianity, so we consciously separate the “Christians” and their actions from Christianity. What I like to ponder is… why isn’t the same standard applied to Islam and Muslims?

I’m thoroughly convinced that the reason(s) lies in the intention of the individual. Those who truly want to know about Muslim Women in Islam have a wealth of information they could utilize, some of which I will share, they could also talk to actual Muslim women and see what they think, they can ask Muslim men how they truly feel, etc.

However, many of us already know that isn’t happening and their is no desire to do such, because their is more money to be made slandering Islam and Muslims, than actually getting to know us.

I have yet to meet any Muslim woman and I have met many with diverse backgrounds and origins, who feel oppressed, subjugated or unequal to Muslim men. Yet, many non-Muslims somehow speak for them! Now some of you may say “Well that’s because you live in America!” and I would reply “EXACTLY!!!” there’s lots to ponder from that….

As a Muslim man in America I have met countless Muslim women who are educated, work, are successful, some wear and some don’t wear hijab, and they are happy and free, that should say something. Could a Muslim man in Afghanistan make a similar claim? Would he want to?

Why is this important? Because it really begins to defeat the naysayers. How can I as a Muslim in America who believes exactly in the same religion as my counterparts in the Middle East make such statements? How can I view my experiences with Muslim women as perfectly normal and acceptable, yet my counterparts may or may not? The truth of the matter is and I feel like a broken record, is that it’s not Islam that is the problem, but the interpretation and practice of those who call themselves Muslim. It is a known fact in religious study and various other disciplines especially psychology, that nature versus nurture dictates that people in general are a product of their environment. How much more is this true than when you’re dealing with culture, tribalism, and tradition?

Islam is a universal system in which 1.5 billion people believe in and subscribe to. It has core fundamental teachings that every Muslim agrees on no matter where they live, however like all systems that are subscribed to by many, the application tends to vary from person to person, and often that persons personal bias, background, culture, environment, etc. plays an important role in how person applies the system.

Case in point: Hijab

Hijab is often a controversial subject, especially to non-Muslims, and especially to those who use it as a “smoking gun” as proof of Muslim women’s “oppression”, this is because they don’t bother to actually study Hijab. Hijab is an Arabic term that means to cover, conceal, protect, veil (verb), etc. it isn’t a physical thing or garment but a concept. The actual word for veil is Khamar. The concept of Hijab is modesty. This is a foremost teaching of Islam. We are taught as Muslims to be modest in all things from actions, to speech, and yes dress. Hijab is a requirement for men and women Islam, we are told to guard our modesty. The Quran gives us guidelines on how we should do these things, but its the individual’s practice that manifest the actual how. Which is why there is great diversity in Muslim dress in general, but also Muslim women. Culture and tradition more than anything plays a part in Muslim dress. We know this to be true, because no one, not even the naysayers can say that they have seen 2 million Muslim women in America walking around in a Burka! Sometimes you don’t even know who’s Muslim and who’s not.

So what’s the truth? Yes, it is true that there are Muslim men and societies (mostly dominated by men) that interpret the Quran in such a way to use it as a means to oppress women. But this is nothing new in the history of religion. Some same people do the same to justify terrorism. The same thing was done to the Bible to justify slavery, slaughter, and oppression of women too. That is the manifestation of man. The sad but true part is that anyone with intention enough can make the Quran or Bible for that matter, say anything they want it to. But to ignore the truth that while that happens, the overwhelmingly majority still practices or believes a certain way is misleading. I can without a shadow of a doubt say that yes, there are those who call themselves Muslim that commit horrors and oppression against women and Muslims based off of their interpretation(s) of Islam and the Quran, but I can also without a shadow of a doubt say that yes there are those like myself who are Muslim and do none of those things based of my understanding, teaching, and interpretation of the very same Islam and the Quran. How many of the naysayers are ready to admit that? They are hypocrites of double standards talking out both sides of their mouth, because what I described is true of all religion, yet for some “odd” reason, no one believes it’s true of Muslims and Islam.

So who do we listen to? Who do we believe? I alluded to this an earlier posts. I believe in the law of numbers and majorities. There is ample evidence that the majority of Muslim women are not oppressed, abused, uneducated, etc. etc. nor feel that way. If so, why do so many women convert in the west to Islam? There is ample evidence that Muslim women are scholars, leaders of organizations, heads of state, etc. etc. without problems and are devout Muslims. There is equal substantial evidence that Muslim men like myself feel proud to see a Muslim woman as President of organizations like the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) or love the fact that my wife is finishing her Masters, has her own business, and still is a wife and mother and doesn’t wear “traditional” Muslim garb but is content in jeans a blouse and head covering. There are numerous Muslim women like this and numerous Muslim men like me that support them. So why not tabulate that? Why not look at the facts that the majority of Muslims don’t live in the Middle East, are Arab, or even speak Arabic? Why not account these things and learn that when you do you will see that the norm for Muslims is equality for women, justice, love, and support. Islam does more to liberate women than oppress, but the naysayers perceive it not. Maybe it’s not Islam but those who misuse, abuse, and spread falsehood about it both non-Muslim and Muslim alike. They are one in the same these two, because both are ignorant of Islam and both use Islam to forward their agenda’s often that agenda falls apart in the light of the truth.

For More info on Women in Islam be sure to check out these sites, many are for and by Muslim women and make sure you get and read the book “Living Islam Outloud” by sister Saleemah Adul-Ghafur:

http://islam123.wordpress.com/tag/women-in-islam/

http://www.islamfortoday.com/women.htm

http://www.jannah.org/sisters/

http://www.themodernreligion.com/w_main.htm

http://www.submission.org/women/

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49 Comments

  1. i totally agree with salaam that women in the west are the most oppressed and they are the most suffered women also. THIS DARK WOMEN aryaan Ali is an idiot and bastard black that the black people has ever had. damn her and curse her this idiot.she can sees only the black side of muslim because she is black, she can never see the good and the white part of islam, this bitch.eh yah she is a witch i’ve heard also.

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  2. your web is very interesting. thanksa lot for explaining clearly about the position of women in islam. the west always see fault with islam. we need ppl like you to explain about islam. may Allah the almighty rrewards you and your family. ammen

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  3. excellent. continue to defend islam brother. ALLAH WILL REWARD YOU AND I PRAY FOR YOU FOR YOUR HEALTH AND MAY YOU LIVE LONGER AND LONGER TO DEFEND THE CAUSE OF ISLAM. YOUR POINT ON WOMEN IS VERY INTERESTING, IT’S TRUE ,ACCURATE AND MAKE SENSE. THERE ARE MANY PROPAGANDA AND LIES AGAINST ISLAM. I THINK YOU ARE THE BEST JUGE TO DEFEND ISLAM AND ITS VALUES. THANK ONCE AGAIN.

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  4. thanks for highlight about women in islam. it is very interesting indeed. i live the poems as well as the picture. vey beautiful also. i like your blog very much, hats off

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  5. Very interesting post. I just found your blog today. A couple of points I wanted to make as a former American Muslim:

    So why arenโ€™t people up in arms about Christianity and calling it a religion that oppresses women?

    A couple of reasons:

    1) Muslims believe the Quran is the Exact Word of God, Unchanged, correct? That nothing has changed in it, everything applies now as over one thousand years ago. Most Christians don’t believe that about the Bible. Some either don’t believe it’s the Exact Word of God, or that things have changed and it doesn’t have to be followed to the letter. Muslims are Strictly following a book that says a man can beat his wife. Don’t go into “it says ‘lightly'” or other such crap. It says he can be his wife. Muslims are quick to either say it doesn’t mean literally, or that it doesn’t mean very hard. Hitting is hitting, period.

    2) Islam treats women like they were treated in the 8th century A.D. Sure the rights they were given in Islam (at least in theory) were tremendous FOR THAT TIME, but what about now? A woman’s word is only worth half of a man’s? She can’t pick out her own husband? Plus, they aren’t even given those rights in actuality. Many Imams in the US will not give a woman a divorce unless the man agrees to it. So where’s her right? Women get half the inheritance of the man in Islam. In a perfect world where the family always takes care of the woman, that might work, but times have changed. Even Arab women are on their own in case of divorce/death of their spouse.

    In the “Christian” countries, women are not treated as they were in the 8th century, like they are in Islam. We have rights now that were unheard of, even in Islam. If we are a “Christian” country, the Bible does not dictate our laws, as the Quran and Hadith dictate Muslim laws.

    IMHO, Islam treats women like they are children. Many Muslims think she has to ask permission to leave the house. Sorry but that’s just not right! She is not a child, she is an ADULT, and has the right to do as she wishes, not have to ask permission as to who she wants to marry, or if she wants a divorce, or if she wants to travel.

    I have nothing against Muslims, I was one for about 13 years. But many things made me leave it, and one of them is the way women are treated in Islam, which is not the “beautiful” way that most Muslims write about.

    Anisah

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  6. Salaam Sister Anisah,

    It appears to me that you are a “little” scorned or have had some very bad experiences with “Muslims” otherwise you wouldn’t write the way you do about Islam. This is quite unfortunate. You asked a pertinent question about why people aren’t people calling Christianity a religion that oppresses women, and my answer is because they are hypocrites! On this topic and many others, there is just about enough history and scripture to support the same things in Christianity that some claim is the “smoking gun” in Islam. Speaking of stats, I was Christian for most of my life 20+ years, I come from a line of Pastors, I was raised in the Church, I was a lay Minister, I study Christianity and Religious Studies to this day, etc. etc. So called Christians not even 50 years ago in this country and some even still today use the Bible to support racism, classism, and the oppression of women. We can pretend if we want that the books of Ephesians and Corinthians both speak of women as inferior to men who are to submit to their husbands. Divorce isn’t even an option!

    Furthermore, the right for women to be treated as objects of lust isn’t much freedom in my mind in so-called Christian countries. A women should be cherished because of her nature and knowledge, not by how she looks. But I digress….

    The important thing to take away from this is that there is hypocrisy with people of religion in general. So to point the finger at Islam because of what some Muslims do or what you personally experienced is wrong. It’s an illogical fallacy. Especially when your sole justification is because it’s not that apparent in the “Christian” world. So are you telling me that there is a difference between hypocrites who are such saying they can do it because of their religion and those who are hypocrites who say they can do it for freedom yet still claim a religion nonetheless?

    In other words, whether you use your religion as a crutch actively or not, if you say you belong to one and are not acting in accordance to what it actually teaches, you are outside the fold of that religion.

    If you were in fact a Muslim for “13 years” then you would know the highest principles of Islam are governed by Niyyah (intention) and Mizan (balance). Islam is supposed to be in a constant state of itjihad and Islam isn’t supposed to be a burden. Does that mean there aren’t those who claim to be a Muslim that use the Quran as a tool in their foolishness? Absolutely they exist, I talk about them all the time on this blog and my radio show, but there are even more Muslims who use the Quran as a means to actually practice Islam and remember that the Prophet (saw) said “paradise lays at the foot of the mother” and “the nearest to me are those who treat their wife kindly”, so for women like my wife and her friends who were born into Muslim families, they laugh at posts such as yours, considering my wife has a Master’s degree, is a Yoga instructor, and does many other things, her friends are doctors, teachers, and organizers. We are all active practicing Muslims and for us men, we know our wives are the boss! So I’m sorry about your experience, maybe you should have sought out actual Muslims who follow Islam rather than to borrow a phrase from our President “cutting and running” when you got a bad taste in your mouth.

    As Salaam Alaikum,

    Robert Salaam

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  7. Robert, I was a Muslim for 13 years. I am not one anymore. Call me kafir or apostate, it really doesn’t matter. I believed in all that crap, and I don’t believe in it anymore. Islam does treat women badly. Don’t just say that I wasn’t a “real” Muslim or that I wasn’t around “real” Muslims. Saying paradise is at the feet of the mother doesn’t change the Qur’an saying a man can beat his wife, or that women are stupid so their word is worth half of a man’s. ISLAM says this. Does your wife feel that she is worth half of you? You can’t have it both ways. Or is this a “separate but equal” kind of thing? I think we both know that is a load of bull.

    You may buy into that, but I don’t anymore. Islam is misogynistic. It doesn’t revere women, it puts them below the man. If you want to pretend differently, be my guest. But I won’t.

    Anisah

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  8. I am not defending Christianity or Christians. I didn’t “find Jesus”, I just lost Muhammed. But there is a great deal of difference between the way women are treated in the West and in Arab or Muslim countries. Women have rights in the West that they will never get in the Arab/Muslim countries. A right to be independent, not to have to depend on their father/brother/husband/guardian for permission to get married, work, go to school, leave the country, or travel. Not to be arrested if they say they were raped like in Pakistan. How is treating women like this different than how you treat a child? It’s not. And saying Islam is so good to women doesn’t negate how it treats them.

    Of course the West is not perfect. But the right for a woman to wear what she wants is part of the rights in the country. I’d rather women have the right to wear what they want, than for them to not be able to be independent, and to be treated like children.

    I lived in Jordan for 1 1/2 years, my experiences are not just from Muslims in the United States. I have been married to Muslims and was around Muslims from various countries for years.

    Just because you don’t hit your wife doesn’t mean it’s not a part of Islam. It’s in the Quran, are you denying the Quran? Are you denying that Islam gives women’s testimony 1/2 the weight of a man’s? Or that she gets 1/2 the inheritance of a man? Sorry but I am the equal of a man, not 1/2 of him. And I won’t accept any less, for me or for my children!

    A.

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    1. Reading your posts makes me really sad. Why do you blame the religion of Islam for the failings of human beings? All your statements about how Islam treats women are really just plain wrong. It is unfortunate that you did not meet people who could explain to you Islam and not just teach you their culture. Unfortunately, many people confuse Islamic teachings with actions of Muslims. I pray that God will guide you. I could respond point by point to your posts, but I am guessing you don’t want to hear it. If you do, let me know.

      ML (female convert to Islam (not to arab (or any other) culture)

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  9. Sister Anisah,

    My readers can see that your obviously a woman scorned. Make no mistake in thinking you know me I don’t care what you think or believe in reference to God or not. However, when one comes on my blog spreading lies about Islam, then I will refute baseless claims. Your “proof” makes absolutely no sense, your experiences in Jordan, the Middle East, or your marriages are not enough to bodly say how Muslims feel or what Islam teaches. If you read my blog, I point out quite often what Muslims are doing in the name of Islam to include your accusations and then some, however the difference is that I don’t blame a religion or 1.5 billion people as you do, I specifically target the actual people or communities that engage in such activities. In other words, I don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!

    Islam doesn’t treat women badly, Men do. Christian men, Muslim men, Atheist men, etc. etc. and each has their own scapegoat as to why they do. If Islam firmly taught as you claim then every Muslim would act the same in regards to women right? In Muslim countries in Asia for instance there wouldn’t be women PM’s, lawmakers, etc. There would be no women scholars in many “Muslim” countries, there wouldn’t be a Muslim President of ISNA. See you have the same chip on your shoulders as those that decry that Islam teaches terrorism. No matter how much you scream from the rooftops and cite your many personal experiences or articles, you can’t quite articulate how is that if your position about Islam were so true, why is it that all Muslims don’t act that way.

    Why is it that our personal experiences with Muslims are not the same? I mean since you blame Islam then how can Muslims such as myself claim such if we don’t beat our wives and treat them badly? How can I be a Muslim and know Muslims like myself who are from all parts of the globe not just black Americans who have never experienced or acted anywhere remotely as you say our religion teaches?

    Explain that then we might get somewhere, otherwise just tell the truth:

    -For whatever reason (I really don’t care) you decided you don’t want to be a Muslim.
    -You had bad experiences in your tenure as a Muslim in the Middle East and with fellow “Muslims”
    -Some Muslims have called you or you think they will a Kafir or apostate, therefore you bring that up in my blog when I don’t care for or use either word, heck I was even called a kafir in this blog! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Whatever your experiences, whatever your ideas, you can’t speak for 1.5 billion Muslims. We are not the same and the majority of Muslims don’t even live in the Middle East or are Arab. So what are the majority of Muslims doing? The same thing the majority of the rest of the world is doing, living in peace, working, loving and supporting their families. Other people say a myriad of different things as to why they are that way, Muslims such as myself say I’m this way because of Islam.

    Now as far as the 10% of humanity who don’t live in peace, who treat their wives brutally, commit war or terror etc. they have a myriad of different things to claim as justification, the irony is that they claim some of the same things the other 90% do.

    You claim Islam teaches bad things against women and there are Muslims that do these things, I say Islam doesn’t and there are Muslims that don’t do these things.

    So how do you wrap your mind around that? Are the majority of Muslims just false and you have the monopoly on what Islam truly is based off of the handful of Muslims you encountered? Even though the majority of Muslims are neither Arab nor live in the Middle East, I guess we should believe you when all your examples of what Islam is comes from the minority.

    This reminds me of my blog post “Who speaks for Muslims” it never ceases to amaze me how those who claim so much against Islam never stop and listen to themselves.

    As Salaam Alaikum

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    1. Dear sisters,

      Please do not be stressed up with the normal cycles of our lives. It is actually a survival test, how we cope and encounters during this period of our time. Those who really try very hard to do good deeds and carry themselves well and able to maintain their dignities, may Allah, The Most Merciful be merciful when He gives us this test.

      Yes, from time to time and is always in history the stronger will always manipulate the weaker soul. Now, Allah has created Mankind, He has created and given Full Amanah or responsibilities for Men to be the Protecter and Maintenance of Women. Allah has also mentioned in the Holy Quran, He (Allah) commanded Men to create justice to women. This is very clear and very simple to understand.

      But, still most Men failed to carry their duties. These men they are abusing because of LUSTs….Most women must be very very careful in making decisions. Try not to hurt others for I am sure, Allah would be merciful to you. Your life would be easier. Subhanallah.

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  10. Robert, I am not a “woman scorned”. Don’t think that you know me either! I came to Islam on my own, no Muslim boyfriend or husband or anything, and I left on my own, not because of what anyone else did or thought. I left BECAUSE of Islam.

    The Quran is clear about how it views women. If you want to deny that, it’s your right. But don’t come up and say others are saying Islam is this and it’s wrong. It’s RIGHT IN IT’S OWN BOOK! No one is projecting this on Islam. It says it for itself.

    Khalas! You are not even seeing what I am saying. Your smart readers will see that you are denying what the Quran actually says because you don’t want Islam to look bad.

    Not Muslim Anymore and never will be again

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  11. Dear sister,

    What’s your angle? How many times must you remind us that you left Islam? So what?

    Moving right along, my “smart” readers have read my blog and listened to my show and know my answers to your “proof” texts especially those in Surah 4. I have been down this road many times and don’t feel like repeating myself, when my words and show are forever archived. I know what’s in the Quran I read it daily and I’m an Islamic studies major what’s your point. I know what the Quran says concerning those like you who pick and choose verses out the Quran to come to a conclusion such as yours:

    3:7 He it is who has bestowed upon thee from on high this divine writ, containing messages that are clear in and by themselves – and these are the essence of the divine writ – as well as others that are allegorical. Now those whose hearts are given to swerving from the truth go after that part of the divine writ which has been expressed in allegory, seeking out [what is bound to create] confusion, and seeking [to arrive at] its final meaning [in an arbitrary manner]; but none save God knows its final meaning. Hence, those who are deeply rooted in knowledge say: “We believe in it; the whole [of the divine writ] is from our Sustainer – albeit none takes this to heart save those who are endowed with insight.

    Maybe if you would have studied the Quran and Islam rather than read it, maybe we wouldn’t be having this conversation, but alas Allah (swt) knows what I know not and obviously put you where you are and me where I am for a reason.

    All I can say is if you have this “smoking gun” evidence produce your proof if you are truthful and don’t forget tasfir, that’s very important if your actually trying to talk about what the Quran says, but if your just going to pick up some English translation and say “see there it is” don’t waste me or my readers time, because your “proof” will get shut down very fast in the light of tasfir and actual Arabic.

    As Salaam Alaikum ๐Ÿ™‚

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  12. Robert & Anisah,

    The two of you are not talking on the same wavelength here, and I don’t mean you disagree with each other, but: you two have no idea what the other one is talking about.
    You two seem to think you’re having a discussion about women’s rights in islam, and it’s not about that.
    It’s about: how do we determine the content of a set of beliefs refered to by various people using the word ‘islam’.
    Anisah claims that what ‘islam’ does is ‘right there in it’s own book’ and sees support for her views in how muslims in the Middle East treat women. That in itself is not a ‘wrong’ way to determine what ‘islam’ is.
    Robert claims that islam is what the Quran says ‘in the light of tasfir and actual Arabic.’ and finds support in muslims that act according to his ideas of what ‘islam’ teaches. That in itself is not a ‘wrong’ way to determine what ‘islam’ is.
    It’s just that when you start talking to each other, you should first decide on which dictionary you use for the discussion.
    Seems you haven’t been doing that…
    The only thing you seem to agree on is that the behaviour of actual muslims plays a role in determining what ‘islam’ is, but you don’t agree on the statistics and you haven’t even brought up the question of whether statistics should have a say in this.
    Start at the bottom, THEN work you way up!

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  13. Wow, you guys are truly confusing me. I am a Greek Orthodox Woman in a relationship with a Modern Muslim man. When we first started dating I was determined to get him to convert, as I feel in love with him and realized that will never happen I accepted the fact that he will remain Muslim and I will remain Orthodox. Then we spoke about marriage and children and I sacraficed my beliefs to save our relationship and against my families wishes expressed to him that I would be willing to raise our children Muslim. So here I am (we are not yet engaged) but I am attempting to learn about Muslim’s and Islam but there is so much back and forth it is making it very hard. From an outsider who knows very little about the Muslim world, I have always respected it because I understood that the real Muslims believe in God, just as Christans do, am I wrong? I have watched the beheading of American’s on youtube and asked the question to why they are claiming Islam yet commiting murder and my boyfriend has explained to me that with any religon, race or culture there are evil people. I have never looked at those videos and felt that it was a true picture of Muslims. I know that to believe in something pure and honorable is the right direction in life whether it’s Christian or Muslim as long as we are good people and good to those around us. Am I wrong?

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  14. i’m a young muslim and i’m already having doubts about islam and i think that i have been brought into the wrong religion. when you are brought into this religion by your family, by birth, it’s harder to break out of it either because you are scared, that your family will disown you for your veiws, that you have no where to go. so even though you disagree with you religion you still follow it or pretend to.

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  15. If you can lili, please email me directly at salaam@theamericanmuslim.net and we can talk more candid. Let me state this for the benefit of the broader readership.

    What I have noticed is that we converts and this applies to converts to any religion, are often more zealous about it than those born into a religion. In my opinion it is because we have studied the religion and compared it to other systems and made the choice to convert or not to.

    Those who are born into a religion, tend to just go along with the way things are. The problem with that is that sometimes those things maybe wrong.

    What I have noticed from my Muslim brothers and sisters is that Islam for them is often a routine, but it takes a lot more effort to actually be enthused about it. I saw the same thing in the Church by the way.

    People born into a religion, often have to convert to it themselves.

    I don’t know enough about you, but I will state that oftentimes in the Ummah, people tend to mistake their culture for Islam and vice versa. If we all drop the shackles of culture and embrace the culture and philosophy of Islam, we will have a lot more in common.

    Unfortunately, it often appears that what a Muslim believes about Islam is influenced by the culture they belong to. When in fact it should be the other way around: Islam should influence the culture.

    What I recommend is that you seek out fellow Muslims, from varied backgrounds and feel them out and look within yourself to see what the real problem or issues are.

    If in the end, you decide to leave the fold of Islam, only Allah (swt) knows best.

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  16. First of all, I just want to say as an Islamic man living in the United States,
    I find many of these Muslim women, calling themselves Muslim, and talking about feminism ridiculous. Women and men are not the same. I am sick of these lesbian and feminist Muslims weining about women being treated badly in Islamic countries and at the same time I am fed up with Muslim men being emasculated both by the Chrisitan Jewish-controlled West and also by westernized-Muslim women like Irshad Manji and Saleemah Abdul-Ghafur. Wake up, women behave like women and men behave men. Not like a bunch of homosexuals and lesbian perverts. And furthermore, i think the Quran speaks for itself, not how progressive Muslims interpret it to speak for. As the book Living Islam, I think it is a bunch of garbage that should be burnt.

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  17. I also wanted to reply about the Quran. Women know your place in society. Have children and take care of them, and not run around like most of the women in the West run around, like a bunch of half-naked whores. There is no place in Islam for feminism, homosexuality, lesbianism, pre-
    marital sex. If you don’t like it, then leave Islam and become a Christian,
    in a religion which allows for all these abominable vices against Islam. The Quran is written the way it is. Fornication is wrong. Homosexuality and les-
    bianism is wrong, and there is one god. The problem with all these Muslims who are raised in the West is that they become corrupted by Western values and loose their own values. Dressing modestly for both men and women is necessary. You cannot westernize Islam and make it compatible with your sick perverse lifestyles. Christians have been doing that with their religion for centuries, which is why most of their priests are homosexuals and their nuns are lesbians.l

    Reply

  18. As Salaam Alaikum Syed,

    Personally, I dislike terms such as “progressive” just as much as a disdain assumptions about intentions, something that should be left up to Allah (swt). Without going into great detail, I truly believe our deen is not meant to be one of rigidity, harshness, or closemindedness, all of which I believe you are advocating.

    One has to be able to define something before one can say what something is not. To say that anyone is not behaving like a man or a women would require one to define exactly what is a man or a women, Islamically, of course.

    Yes, the Quran is what it is, however as we are reminded by Allah (swt) it is not a book to be taken lightly nor is it a book to be looked at outside of learning, study, etc. Islam is not meant for one time but all times.

    One cannot be devisive and expect unity, nor can one believe in a superiority of “culture” either. There is no such thing as a “Western” or “Eastern” Islam, there is only Islam and it is either followed or it is not.

    The burden on the opinionated is to highlight those specific actions, practices, or beliefs that individual Muslims or groups are engaging in that are un-Islamic.

    It is always very easy to rant and/or condemn people, but very difficult to be patient and slow to anger as was the Prophet (saw).

    Instead of accusing, provide a solution, be an example and an advocate. I could go on a rant on how bad and un-Islamic “Eastern” Muslims are in the so-called Islamic lands, but that wouldn’t be a just statement. Although one could use whatever means of short-sightedness and fill several books with the atrocities and hypocrisy over there. Not to mention those who are from the East who come to the West only to condemn as if things are so great where they came from.

    Those of us who belong to an ethnically indigenous Muslim population in America could say “Then why are you here?”

    These back and forths would do nothing in the cause of Islam and would just further divide and alienate the ummah.

    What I would suggest is that you help the sisters instead of add to the seemingly constant trend of degrading them, expecting them to be something many of us are not.

    If you are that which you say they, we, or I am not, then show such by actions and deeds and with your statements thus far you have not in my personal opinion.

    Allah (swt) of course, knows best.

    Reply

  19. You must be kidding me. Closed mindedness. This is not about closedmindedness, this is about what is halal and haram. Are you really a Muslim. To believe in Tauhid is a must on every Muslim. Likewise, subscribing to Muslim beliefs about morality is incumbent on anyone who believes. Next, thing you will be telling me, we don’t have to go to hajj anymore and can we drink alcohol if we want, because that is being progressive. Yes, the Koran is for all the times, but I will put foot down before my mosque allows homosexuals and lesbians to pray alongside me or in back of me. What is going on? I am sick of this liberalism that is creeping into Islam. The problem is that Muslims in the West want to do what the West wants and they don’t want to stand on the moral principles of the Koran. Even the hadeeth, there are several references that towards the day of judgement there will be apostasy in Islam. Also, there are references to same-sex behavior as signs of the day of judgement. Many of you people are leading Muslims away true Islam. You Saleemah Abdul Ghafur’s book and you make great comments about. A book, estakfarallah, which encourages lesbianism and pre-marital sex. Listen, I was born a Muslim and I became a Christian, then I converted back to Islam. Why, because I was sick of the inconsistincies in the Christian faith and I also because of all lewdness and hypocrisy in the churches. Don’t make the same mistake in Islam. This is not about rigidity. This is what is about right. Read the Quran, Allah made man and woman, not man and man or woman or woman. Hijab is Islamic as well as all traditional Islamic dress, and should be disgarded for tight revealing blue jeans and a tank top, because some deem it backward and out place with our modern times.

    Reply

  20. I just wanted to correct some errors I made in my last statement. When I said hijab is Islamic as well as all traditional Islamic dress, I meant to say also and should “not” be disgarded. I instead said should be disgarded, but enough with that. Yes, the truth is I am extreme in my views, but my views are correct Islamic views. There extreme in the sense that is the way West perceives my Islam, which is strictly based on the Quran and the Sunnah. My version of Islam is the Taliban’s version of Islam. They were the great example of Islam, whether you care to admit or not. When I was in Great Britain, the Muslims there shared the same views I have. It is only when I am in this sick demented cesspool called the United States, that people including Muslims don’t see I eye to eye with what I believe. Yes, I believe Queers should be punished severely as well anybody who engages in Zina, because that is what is mandated in Islam, if you people still believe in Islam that is?

    As for Muslim women, I feel that they disrespect me all the time, especially the ones who have grown up in America. They have no respect for men at all, because they have all been infected with Jewish Feminism.
    Yes, I believe Jews control America and through their media they brainwash everybody, including many of the people who have been writing on this forum.

    Reply

  21. Br. Sayed I have been down sick, so I haven’t gotten a chance to reply. Let me thus say this;

    You have made many accusations to various groups and peoples including me. For those groups and peoples I cannot defend and you are entitled to your opinion, but as to me, I will.

    I would like to know where on this entire blog or anywhere on the net can you find me once stating that anything you mentioned is halal? In Islam as you should be aware, Allah (swt) makes it quite clear how He feels about those that backbite, especially those who spread rumors, that are not founded on truth.

    I placed the sisters book and story as an example of the diversity of Muslim womens thoughts and practices, whether I agreed or not, because of the stereotypes about Muslims that you unfortunately are vindicating. What is halal or not, I ordinarilily don’t get into, but if you had simply asked me what I believe is halal or haram, I would have obliged you.

    Instead, you have gone on a rant accussing and assuming about the Ummah as if you have definitive proof. None of these actions are Islamic and as one who bills himself as a purest, of this you must know. Sabr ring a bell?

    There really is no need to go point by point with you, because it is obvious through your words that there is more going on with you. It would be proper Islamic manner to seek proof before one accuses a fellow Muslim of wrong doing. To associate without proof is plain wrong.

    Reply

  22. Sorry to offend you Brother Salaam. It was not my intention to inflict any vicious rumor on you. I admit I spoke in haste. I was not trying to level any personal criticism at you, but rather I was trying to express my outrage with certain elements of the Islamic community that I found fault with.

    With that said, I hope their are no hard feelings between the both of us.

    Reply

  23. No hard feelings. There is nothing wrong with disagreement among the Ummah. However, we have to be willing to exercise wisdom, compassion, and patience with one another and learn to resolve our differences Islamically.

    As Salaam Alaikum

    Reply

  24. Aslam aliekom brothers and sisters,

    Wisdom of islamic said that (say good or quiet), i’m woman who feels islam flow in her blood, it’s my religion and i thank our God for this.
    i have been travel to some non muslim countries for study and i touch with my self what western women freedom meaning .it’s very dear to be come free wemon you have to work hard to feed her self,no support from husband or brother or father, it’s easy to sale her body to men because she need money badly if she can’t find job. She always think a lot about how ske look to men.

    as i muslime women who married from great muslim husband and i live with islam low and i’m so so happy. i have alot of support from my husband to complet my master, he love me so much and look after me, i have my money from my job and he loves to spend his money for me. we respect each other and supprt each other , we have children and we do the best for them.

    we are arab so i don’t have Anisah’s experiences.

    that show us that people still human they are not angels even they are muslim or not.

    islamic teaching is not for one person or for one problem or against women, it is give use agood way to keep our people and our world more safe, clean and strong. it’s a good way to protect women from profligacy and men’s sensuous.

    so GOD created man and woman and he know what good or bad for them

    i apologize to you for my weak english

    thank you all

    Reply

  25. Assalamu’alaikum Wr. Wb.

    Peace be on to you Mr. Robert Salaam. My name is Widya Kumara B., a muslim in Indonesia. I came upon your blog and I read some of the comments. If I may, I would also like to give my “two cents” about my personal experience with Islam.

    Allow me to describe a little of my background. I was born into a Muslim family. My father and mother “inherited” their Islam from their parents (my grandmother). It’s just that my parents never taught me the practices of Islam very much. I’m now in my early thirties (31 years old to be exact) and I started praying (the daily prayers of 5 times a day) when I was 18 years old. Before that I didn’t feel the need to pray nor fast during the Holy month of Ramadhan. I wasn’t exactly what you’d call a muslim, but I was born into the religion. I was introduced to the Prayers by my aunt here in Indonesia. Oh ya, I forgot to tell you I had lived in North America for 9 years (2 1/2 years in Virginia, USA and 6 1/2 years in Montreal, Canada).

    When I went on my holiday to Indonesia in 1992, I saw Islam full-faced. I read about it many times before, but didn’t truly understood the beauty of this religion. I started praying slowly and until now have the sense of need to pray everyday. When I leave even just one time, I feel like I have lost a part of me. Through this experience, I realize that I was closer to Allah SWT whenever I pray than when I’m not. I really would like to discuss deeper about my experience with Islam, but right now i would like to comment about Women in Islam: Truth vs Falsehood.

    I used to dislike…even disgusted with women in veil (Jilbab). My past experience have taught me that any interactions with veiled-women has always been a bad one. Until I met a beautiful woman (now my wife) who also wears a Jilbab. I learned so much from her. It gave me the conclusion that it is not the Jilbab who should be “blamed”, but rather we should question the individuals themselves. Jilbab was not commanded by Allah SWT to limit women. In fact, it there to protect them. You can imagine in the “Western” civilization where women choose to wear tight, even incomplete wardrobe. Exposing their skin to whomever may see. I ask myself, if anyone can see even the barest or the most intimate part of a woman, then what does a husband have that no other man does? What I mean is if anyone ia able to see the arms of a woman or even (excuse me) the cleavage, then what purity does she have for her husband? Even now, here in Indonesia, there are many designers who have created Islamic Clothing which do not restrict women’s activities. In fact, it is an aded value (for me at least) to see a woman fully clothed and wears a Jilbab (veil).

    When I knew my wife (before she became my wife) to even touch her hands (accidently, because Muslim Men are forbidden to come in contact with any women who aren’t their Muhrim (wife, sister, or mother), I cannot describe the sensation. You can imagine when she “revealed” herself to me on the night of our wedding. Again, I am saying that a Hijab (covering) for women is commanded by Allah SWT to protect the very creature He has created; women. Women are liberated from any fear of being sexually harrased or being bothered by men. It is also her identity to her surrencer for Allah’s commands.

    Believe me when I say that any Muslim (men and women) is viewed as equal in Allah’s eyes. The only thing that differentiate us from each other is our faith in our Prophet Muhammad SAW Hadits and The Qu’ran. How much are you willing to surrender to Allah SWT and Islam despite of the strong current of opposition that lays in front of you.

    Wassalamu’alaikum Wr. Wb.
    Peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad SAW and his family and best friends
    Keep the faith, Brothers and Sisters

    Widya Kumara B.

    Reply

  26. Assalamu ‘alaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh
    For all of my brothers and sisters in faith, barakallahu laka… may Allah bless you. My name is ellen. i am Indonesian. i am very excited with the spirit of american muslim. Keep in faith. May Allah let us meet in the paradise. amin.
    “Our Lord, make us not trial for the folk who are Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers). And save us by Your Mercy from the disbelieving folk”. (The Holy Qur’an, Yunus(10) : 82)

    Reply

  27. Dear all,
    I am a young muslim girl, currently studying Architecture at an American University in the middle east, I did however grow up in a westernized society.Indeed, I spoke English as a first language. Growing up in a community like I did, I am more grateful day by day for the rules the Quran has put on me . I feel honored as I walk down the street with my veil, How can anyone say anything about a muslim women being disrespected in the society. What is more beautiful than walking around the streets looking decent. Did it ever occur to anyone that God, our creator, set these rules for a reason? Did any of you guys consider the rate of pregnancy at the age of 15 in the west and in the middle east and gave the drastic difference a thought. Maybe the way a muslim woman dresses is RESPECTING her. Maybe a muslim woman is too precious to expose her body to everyone other than her husband. Everyone keeps talking about the Quran saying the husband can hit his wife. Why isnt anyone literate enough to study the hadeeth when the prophet Muhammed was asked to what extent the hitting was acceptable and he answered by saying no more than a “sewak” is to be used. A sewak is an approximately 10cm long flexible stick used to clean ones teeth.To be honest, I have nothing more to say than I am honored to be a muslim girl and hope every other Muslim that feels different would take the time to actually study Islam.

    Reply

  28. Assalammu’alaikum…….all my brothers and sisters in america

    I’m a muslim boy from Indonesia

    I’m so happy…..there are muslims in america……..

    And i just wanna say

    All Muslims is brothers…………

    so we are brothers…..

    we are family…..

    Reply

  29. Hi

    Maybe is time to western woman say what We really think about muslim women.In some reason there is misuderstanding about veil and what western woman think about it. I do not feel that muslim women do smething stupid because they use veil. Its more about REASON why they use it.

    I feel bad when i hear that women use veil because it makes them feel safe and that their is not so much sexual assault in muslin community because women do not show themselves like western women.

    Well…there is something REALLy badly wrong if woman has to hiding herselves because that means that muslim men can not be trusted and they do not know how to behave. We suppose to be humans not animals. Animals go after their instints but human have brain to think what is right and wrong.

    If that is reason why muslim women use vail then its really makes me uppset. In that case muslim men should keep inside houses and do not let walk by themselves in public places because they obviously are dangerous.

    Reply

    1. Dear Pia,

      I only approve comments like this so that my fellow Muslims can see the ignorance we have to contend with. In Islam, even though this has nothing to do with the blog posting you commented on, modesty in dress and in action is enjoined upon both men and women. Obviously, you don’t know this and believe that “the veil” is something non-western or oppressive. In Islam, as it relates to Hijab, the Qur’an gives 2 reasons for it:
      1. Modesty
      2. Be recognized as a Muslim

      While this may not be important to you as the West has become more and more secular, note that there is something to being modest and being recognized as one who practices their religion. These are not new concepts as any Christian in America older than 60 and younger will tell you that women in those days would not be caught in Church wearing what many women in the Church today wear. I know of Churches that to this day still believe women shouldn’t wear pants. As it relates to “veiling” this is common in many religions with many orthodox Christians and Jews still doing it. Nuns ring a bell, Amish, etc. Why is it that their women aren’t called oppressed? I call it like I see it, Nuns, Amish, Jewish, etc. women who cover their hair and dress certain ways are looked at as pious because your OK with their religion, but if it’s a Muslim women…then they are oppressed. I suggest you consider your bias on this matter.

      Furthermore, as it relates to men, going bare chested and wearing shorts is often frowned upon too. See Islam recognizes the nature of man and women as they gravitate toward one another sexually and to ensure respectful conduct between the sexes prescribes guidelines to follow, look where immodesty in dress and action have gotten us in America? Crimes against women are through the roof many men claiming that the woman’s dress or actions provoked them, while I find those reasons stupid, the fact remains it happens. How many women are harassed just walking down the street by men because of their dress daily? Whistles, chants, and other rude comments are the norm. Can you seriously state with a straight face men would react the same to a modestly dressed woman proportionately to an immodestly dressed woman?

      Reply

  30. Furthermore, I just wanted to let every body know, that progressive Muslims are a front of the American government, who seek to liberalize and destroy Islam. Where are you guys getting your funding from–Zionist Jews!

    Reply

    1. I only approved the post by “syed” because it’s so funny and I wanted the world to know what type of conversations are going on within the Muslim world. People like syed embarrass me as a Muslim at times because it’s a staunch reminder of how many spooked out faithless Muslims there are in the world. Unfortunately, there are many Muslims who wear tin-foil hats looking for conspiracies at every corner. What I have noticed with many Muslims that disagree with the Islamic virtues of “TOLERANCE” and “MODERATION” is that they either condemn you as false, heretic, etc. or your either a spy, front, or something else for the US Government and of course the Jews….! ๐Ÿ™‚ “Syed” if you are ever able to leave out of the closet you live in, you would know that 1.5 billion Muslims do not share all your views and it’s perfectly possible to disagree on points regarding our Deen, without slander, backbiting, and other un-Islamic viewpoints and deeds. BTW, this is a free blog, i.e. it costs nothing to set it up! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply

  31. You have it all wrong. You and the rest of the fools in your organization are a bunch of dupes for special interests. Islam teaches tolerance, but not tolerance of haram which your organization is promoting. You know that and I know that. So I once again put forward the question what Zionist Jews are funding your group. Irshad Manji is on the payroll of the Bilderbergers, so you are probably are on the payroll of some New World Order group as well. You are all a disgrace to islam. You promote haram, not halal. And no, you are mistaken, don’t think you speak for the majority of muslims, because you obviously don’t. And believe me, many Muslims out there would agree with me.

    Reply

    1. Let’s see brother your supposedly educating me on Islam right and telling me how I have it all wrong so you:

      1. Call me a fool
      2. Accuse me a being a dupe for special interests
      3. Promote Haram
      4. Accuse me of being funded by Zionist Jews or a New World Order group

      Rather than reply to your open accusations, I will only ask you to prove your claims if you are truthful. I mean for one Muslim to publicly make such statements about another Muslim, one should be prepared to not only back up their claims but also have witnesses to verify them. That is what Islam teaches does it not? What is the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw) as it relates to calling out a fellow Muslim as you have done?

      Reply

  32. UnIslamic,where do you get off calling me that. Your organization is unIslamic and kufr promoters. Get yourself out of the closet you are in. You are all a disgrace to Islam. Yes, there are differences in opinion on deen, but in the end there is only one deen, true deen. And obviously your opinon of deen is very much in error and many Muslims would agree with me on that, Uncle Tom!

    Reply

    1. I called your words and statements unIslamic, because you make claims against other Muslims with no proof. You openly spread rumors and falsehoods attacking the character of Muslims, such as myself, based on your personal feelings and not evidence. That is unIslamic. Here again you state:

      1. My organization and I promote Kufr
      2. I am a disgrace to Islam
      3. My opinion of deen is in error
      4. I am an uncle Tom

      No Muslim conscious of their deen would do so much backbiting, name-calling, and making accusations against a fellow Muslim as you have done. Not only have you called me names, but called my character into question as well as my actions. On top of that you contend with me on issues of Islam never once using any Islamically sanctioned method of backing up your claims. How can you contend with a fellow Muslim on issues of deen, if you never:

      A: Point out what issues they have that are in error
      B: Show them in both the Qur’an and Sunnah where they are in error

      I called you unIslamic, because I know you would be hard pressed to show me in both the Qur’an or Sunnah, where what you have stated on my blog is perfectly acceptable.

      Reply

  33. Aslamu Alikum my dear brothers and sisters in islam

    okay heres what I want to say ” WHAT IS THIS!!!!!”
    you guys are talking about women and their veils and western women but all I see is people who want what they want in life and become blind on what others or going through. Im not just saying i’ve be through a lot but most of the MUSLIM SISTERS IN AMERICA AND OTHER CARING COMMUNITIES. In the holy quran it says there will be 73 groups of musims (shia, sufi, sunni ect.) and only one will enter Jannah, AND THAT ONE GROUP IS WHO EVER FOLLOWS THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD(pbuh)
    so if you all are discussing about women rights and all that, your wasting time and you will be questioned on the day of judgment.

    W/salamu sisters and brothers

    Reply

  34. I’ve posted an article on Women in Islam, Christianity and Judaism on our website, and it was very favorably received by the males. Three feminist infiltrators worked hard to derail the thread and start a fight. I just posted a thread on the blog “The Sakooter Speaks”, and it went through the same process. One of my colleagues on the site, Male-Rights-Network, is working for positive outreach and networking with the Muslim community. We just had a 21-year old muslim male join our community of members. Please visit our site and help us counter the malicious prejudice of several of our female members. Thank you.
    A-salaam alleikum!

    Reply

  35. Robert Salam and the progressive Muslims are in cohoots with the NEw World Order crowd’s determination to liberalize Islam. They are a bunch of liars. They have been proven frauds. Numerous webpages take them into account.

    Reply

  36. The hadeeth make many statements about liars and deceivers that will rise among us before the last day. progressive Muslims are just that. All these cockroaches are in the same camp–Hamza Yusuf, Zaid Shakir, and, now, Robert Salaam and his group of deviants. Do not believe them.

    Reply



  37. I say take the comments down brother! That negative energy seeps across the copper cables into the viewer. We are exposed to enough negative energy and already know what hate is! Take it down.

    Reply

  38. thank you so much for sharing. i will go buy your book. i want to share this book with my family so they can see the truth about Islam for women. Thank you again for you wise and true words. I wish you a good and happy life and may god bless you.

    Reply

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