Good visuals excite me.
The beauty of nature mesmerizes me.
Memories of Pakistan nostalgia-te me.
Position of women worries me.
Chauvinists exasperate me.
Preachers of false dogmas enrage me.
Terrorism sickens me.
Extremists frustrate me.
Moral policing infuriates me.
The lost community baffles me.
Racism saddens me.
Political bastards need to get a life!

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Women in the Culture of Islam














In Islam, the man has been declared as the head of the family; the maintainer, the provider, the caretaker, the leader. He is the one who disciplines his woman if she goes astray.

Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand. (4:34)

I am conflicted over this verse. Firstly, this sounds more fair than what is normally practiced; men hear something unpleasant to their ears about their women, the first thing they do is hit them (oftentimes without even validating). They hit them so hard that it leaves the women black and blue. They hit them on their face as well. All commentary so far unanimously agrees that a man must not hit a woman on her face, and that the act must not leave a mark on her body. So what is the penalty for a man who doesn't follow the proposed way?

What is this then?

Secondly, what action can a woman take if her husband goes astray? It is irrational and illogical to believe that women cannot feel as angry as men, or that in their state of anger they don't have destructive thoughts as men do. So how do they show this anger? All she can do is take divorce, or forgive. Believing for a moment that a man's rage is far worse than that of a woman's, I fail to understand how the authority of divorce is in the hands of the husband, since in the advent of such an occurrence, it is the woman on the receiving end.

Divorced women shall wait concerning themselves for three monthly periods. Nor is it lawful for them to hide what Allah Hath created in their wombs, if they have faith in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands have the better right to take them back in that period, if they wish for reconciliation. And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree (of advantage) over them. And Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise. (2:228)

This constant reminder of how a man is superior, has a degree of advantage, is more knowledgeable, has more control, is more trustworthy, is more powerful, is not at all making me feel very useful. Perhaps to those who like submission, and who like to believe that they are worthless. But would that kind even exist by default? Or is it a character-trait that has been ingrained in our genes?

For all such Islamic characterizations of a man, it has been argued that a man is capable of maintaining control in his interfaith marriage; retaining his religion, and also making sure his children are brought up as Muslims. This makes me wonder. What right does this non-Muslim wife/mother have in such a relationship? She is obviously allowed to practice her religion, and any force on her to convert is haram. Is she an outsider in this marriage who prays separately, joins her family in her religious celebration, and most certainly has a different appearance than that of a Muslim woman? Would not the kids from this union be intrigued as to why their parents are different from that of other kids in the neighborhood, or in school? Or is this oppression a form of making the woman feel bad and disconnected, and thereby unconsciously self-forced into converting?

Taking this similar scenario with a Muslim woman married to a non-Muslim man, what the Islamic clergy fears is the similar unconscious submission of the Muslim woman by either giving up her faith or converting. One thing I absolutely do know, women who believe in Islam, have not given up their faith prior to falling for a non-Muslim man, know for a fact that turning back on Islam is a big sin, it is absolutely unacceptable. Under no circumstances will she convert or leave Islam, unless she becomes doubtful of the Text at her own account. Saying that it is inevitable that she becomes doubtful is not a legitimate argument because her doubts will arise from the behavior of the society around her and her culture, of how difficult they make her life. While non-Muslim women may easily consider converting for her Muslim partner for the sake of marriage.

Keeping our talk to the present times, we know that there are many non-Muslim women who end up hurt, forced and misused by Muslim husbands. I agree that many Muslim-woman/Non-Muslim-man marriages also end up in the dump. We all also agree that intra-faith marriages also fail, and the percentage of which continues to rise. Marriage is a gamble. You cannot guarantee success unless each of the involved parties put their egos and prejudices aside.

Do not do to others, what you would not have done unto you. As Karen Armstrong quotes repeatedly, is the golden rule for success at any level. Dethrone yourself, and put the other in that position.

There are more men in the Islamic world who are not excited over equal rights in comparison to those in the non-Islamic world. Islamic cultures are unjust towards their women. These women kill personal desires only for the sanctity and well-being of her husband and family. She reduces herself to a nobody; a nobody who keeps giving. In today's world where there are so many challenges and opportunities, why would a woman feel happy with becoming a nobody? Scholars argue that Islam gave women respect and the Western world has sexually objectified their women and turned them into social butterflies. Sorry, but they aren't being forced into doing so. I am not glorifying Western culture at all, I only see it as a stark contrast to Islam, and I am desperately seeking the mid-culture, the mid-road, where things aren't so black and white.

Regardless of how wonderful Islam is or isn't, that fact of the matter is, Islamic cultures are oppressive, they deprive the women of her rights. When her rights in her own culture aren't being met, what difference does it make if she marries a Muslim or a non-Muslim. So what if her husband isn't fasting with her or praying with her? I read somewhere, What can a Christian husband do for a Muslim wife? What is the Muslim husband doing for a Muslim wife? At least in the non-Muslim world, her rights are protected by the state, and she won't go hungry and naked in case of a divorce, where otherwise all she has is a few hundreds from the haq mehr.

They keep shouting and screaming, it's not Islam, it's the Muslims. Well I really don't care, because it is effecting me largely and negatively either way. Everywhere in the Quran the first command is for the man, and then to the woman. Every cause has an effect, every action has a reaction. So when the first order isn't being implemented, it is damn right going to effect of how women then implement it. It's a balance that needs to be maintained; the crop isn't going to grow if it isn't being taken care of.

It is seriously fucked up of how Muslim women are expected to follow their orders down to the last letter, while the Muslim men run around like horny horses with nobody to answer to.

6 comments:

  1. http://www.quran434.com/wife-beating-islam.html

    wife beating..the Quran strikes back..

    ReplyDelete
  2. AnonymousMay 01, 2010

    women do have rights , if their men goes astray or cheats or is abbusive or whatever reason they have a right to seperate , get a divorce extra , unfortunately men and women are not same when it somes to phisical strenght , men are (most times) superior thus have a fear over women , you have to realize that its mostly men and not the religion that abuses, i've seen men beat there women in America Europe etc etc , it happens every where and has nothing to do with Islam or Muslims, once again i feel like you are manipulating Islam , Quran just laid down the rules , like them or not doesn't change a thing . Men are superior then women in most ways thats just how it is but that doesn't mean one shud treat their women in such disgraceful manners , in the end they are partners , friends, lovers and all that is gud amongst human biengs .

    ReplyDelete
  3. @Anonymous I wonder why people choose to remain anonymous online? It's your choice of course. At least reveal if you're a man or woman. In case you're a woman, I seriously feel sorry for you. If you're a man - ahahahahahaha *straight face*

    If you read my post with wide open eyes and mind, or at least had read the title of the post, you would have understood my frustration of the “cultures” Islam is found in, not Islam itself.

    Second, you have skipped my point of what is the punishment for a man who hits his wife black and blue? The part about the woman having the right to divorce comes later. And even with the divorce, the most disliked thing in Allah's eyes, that is the only option available for a woman. While in today's world, it mostly doesn't matter to a man, and is ready to divorce at the blink of an eye anyways (or he doesn't just for the sake of some sadistic interests). You know better exactly how divorce is practiced in the “real” world.

    As for your argument about wife beating happening in Europe and America, I don't disagree, and I have posted my viewpoint before. Such an apologist attitude. Give me examples from those who YOU believe to be credible. Are Europeans credible enough for you? If they beat their wives make it ok for Muslim men to beat their wives? Are you actually going to tell me domestic violence (in such light) is a bigger issue in Europe/America than in ALL Muslim households and states combined?

    Before you even start thinking that I am twisting the words of Allah, please go listen to some random khutba or have lunch with some so-called scholar. These are the so-called maintainers of our religion,or who are responsible to teach people about the truth of Islam, because they are the learned ones. Go tell them to stop twisting reality, and making themselves any more superior than what God has ordained.

    I feel sorry for people like you who believe “blindly” ... Blind faith has no mercy in my eyes. What I say or believe may not matter a friggin dime in relation to what the Quran has already said ... but those who choose to close their brains, cause victimization, support victimization, encourage more power to the already powerful, are having a massive impact. And that is what is really shameful.

    A person with power will never give up his power, but only increase it, even if it means by exaggeration.

    ReplyDelete
  4. AnonymousJune 04, 2010

    the title of this article should have been "women in the culture of ISLAMISTS"
    islam and islamists are two absolute different realities if one could understand, but the thing is that we ourself accepted the authority of the ordinary and set aside the apostles, we gave power to the ordinary and they exploited it, which was meant to happen, just as when u give a match box to a minor...after effects are disastrous. we had examples to the defined ones....'; THE PANJATAN" { MUHAMMED , ALI , FATIMA , HASSAN , HUSSAIN " the real fragrance of islam , the beauty of it , the softness , the sweetness , the wisidom , the right , the freedom , the right expression....but muslims for their greeds wasted all that...and for little joys and lusts handed over the authority to mullah , who when became powerfull...blasted the a**es of their own followers by hijacking islam...but now its too late..out of human hands....al-faraj is awaited...and we all will see the blossoms of him.....love u all

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am not a fundo or jihaadi.

    But after reading your blog for last 40 minutes, I realize that you are judging Islam on experiences.

    Obviously, we all have our issues with GOD and religion both. Yours are more cultural based. You parents migrated but as you put 'without knowing the consequences'. Whatever they did or many still do is nowhere said in Islam.

    A man is equally punished for all the sins in Islam. It is just that, nobody has yet start practicing it yet. Be it adultery or even beating wife. Reading Quran and quoting is different from understanding the meaning beyond.
    A man cannot beat his wife with a light stick even till he has evidence of adultery. And in case of evidence, she has to go through shariah court trial and not husbandly abuse etc.
    Now a days, these so called "islam kay thekaydaar" have changed the whole concept and encourage beating women if she doesn't listen to her men(father, bro, husband).
    For divorce, a woman has to wait for 3 periods to make sure she is not expecting a child of that man. Cuz if she is, he will have to pay her expense money of that period and bear the delivery as well.

    So, I suggest on a lighter note, think and take religion as you think its right. Not what what your parents or society or so called islamists tell you.

    You write very well.
    I might drop again :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hello Kulsoom,

    Firstly, thank you for liking my blog. It's always lovely to hear feedback.

    You have quite gotten the gist of where I'm coming from, but allow me to rearrange your thoughts, though that must be quite rude :P ... whatever my parents did, and many others continue to do is definitely not said anywhere in Islam. my problem doesnt directly rest with Islam, but the cultures of it .. a word I keep repeating. And I would agree with the anonymous poster above you ... the culture of Islamists that we live in.

    In "Islam" men will be equally punished. In the Islamic world unfortunately, they arent. and that is my absolute frustration. i think this world is not really a punishment, as christianity may put it. it is for both men and women. and you only live once. so what's with the constant imbalance of the genders of what they are capable of doing?

    Saying that Islam doesnt allow this or that is one thing. Because the real issue at hand is: are women experiencing all that freedom, love, rights, etc that Quran is apparently teaching us? the answer is quite simply: No.

    You mentioned the issue of divorce. In a perfect scenario, that is exactly how it is supposed to happen and should happen. But let's look into reality. Does it look very healthy? No. The amount of power men have, and the absolute lack of law is working only against women in every possible way.

    I most certainly take religion as it appeals correct to me. But the essense of this blog is not to convey the message of Quran and Islam. Others are doing that. I touch the subject sometimes though. But rather to put forth the evils of these "apparently, wonderfully, calm" mullahs on tv and otherwise, who really have the worst of the intentions.

    Why do the strictly observant muslims appear so grim and angry all the time? is smile an evil?

    Hope to have written my message as appropriately and properly as you did. I really appreciate that.

    bests,

    ReplyDelete

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