Thursday, 31 October 2019

The Islamic Perspective on Feminism

by Alamin Abdu Muzakkar & Aisha Ismail Kure Usman Danfodiyo University Sokoto

The whole concept of feminism revolves around the belief that women should have equal rights as men. It is a political movement fighting for the equality of men and women in all aspects of life. Before going further I would like to refer to chapter 4:34 of the Quran which says:

“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) form their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands), and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity, their husband’s property, etc.).

As to those women on whose part you see ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful), but if they return obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great.”

Feminists argue that legal and social restrictions on women must be removed in order to bring such equality. This brings us to the question ‘what are those restrictions put on women?’ among these said restrictions is that of inheritance that a male’s portion is equal to that of two females. There is no doubt that Islam fights for the freedom of women.

Let’s check with history. Before the advent of Islam, women were not values in society. They were treated like slaves and sex slaves. Whoever gave birth to a female child saw it as bad luck and had to bury the child alive. Women were denied their rights and had no right to inherit. They were also properties to be inherited.

With the advent of Islam, these practices were wiped away. Women were given the right to inherit; the practice of burying women alive was stopped. Islam raised the status of women and women became valuable and precious in society. On the other hand, Islam did justice by making the share of a male equal the share of two females in inheritance. This is because men are burdened with greater responsibilities than women. Women themselves are among the responsibilities of men. So, the responsibilities of men cannot be compared with that of women. Here Islam did justice, not equality.

Another said the restriction is that of dress code and that of limiting women’s movement. Feminists see it as oppression; to make women cover theirbodies with the Hijab and to limit their movements.

But the fact to be considered is that if something is precious to a person, he protects and safeguards it. The same way Islam protects and safeguards women through the Hijab  because women are precious. Regarding the limitation of movement, people don’t take their values everywhere, the same with women; they aren’t supposed to be roaming about anyhow.

A study was conducted in a 2013 poll of 585 randomly selected adults from six Nigerian geopolitical zones by NOI polls, 34% answered ‘Who do you think is the most prevalent cause of rape in the society?’ with ‘indecent dressing’. 29% said they personally knew a victim of rape (Wikipedia). Although a woman considered indecently dressed is not an invitation to rape, women are made to cover and stay safe in Islam.

Furthermore, regarding women with jobs, the most recommended jobs for women are jobs like nursing, catering, teaching, business, and several others. Stressful jobs like bricklaying, construction work are not recommended for women because a woman is not meant to go through such stress. Time-consuming jobs are also not recommended. This is because a woman who is very committed to work will have no time for her responsibilities as a wife and mother.

Islam does not oppress women, rather; fights, provides for and cares for women’s freedom, comfort and wellbeing.

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