My secular friends-3


 

Women’s’ issues:

If your worry is about discrimination against women under Islamic societies, and the anticipation that women will be forced to cover their heads or will be prevented from driving; we aught to be far more worried and in fact alarmed by Secular France’s real actions when forcing Muslim women to take their head scarves off or be banned from work and education.

 I wonder which of these cases deserves our attention. And which of the two cases requires our campaign to protect the human rights and freedom of choice of women?

 Freedoms and equality are not necessarily granted under secular regimes: Secular Tunisia, France, and Turkey, all prohibit Muslim women from exercising their freedom of choosing to wear a head cover in work places, schools, and universities.

Islam clearly values and protects women’s rights, if not sure some research might be worth doing.  And please do not rely in your research about Islam on the media, because just as they have given a one sided view on the Palestinian-Israeli problem, they give – to a greater extent – a misinformed view on Islam. (Remember to include Muslim women views in your request for truth).

Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has Faith, verily, to him will We give a new Life, a life that is good and pure and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions”. (16-97)

When talking about women’s rights, again we – Muslims – must be allowed to deal with the ills of our societies in our own way, own time, and through our own research; all we need is time to transfer the inherited  fundamental values into the realm of understanding and then practice. No one should try to impose any pre-tried solutions upon us, because your problems are different, your history is different, your present is different, and your attitudes are different.

Women in Europe needed to rebel and go through their feminists struggle to gain some rights and some freedoms, that doesn’t imply that we should take a carbon copy of their experience and transfer it to the rest of the world.

 We have a different history and different reality; at the time of the peak of oppression of women in Europe; Muslim women were prominent figures of society, scholars teaching in major mosques and universities, doctors, poets…etc.

 We appreciate that- like all societies- we have problems, some small and some big; how do we choose to resolve these problems however should be entirely ours, it should not be forced upon us.

The relationship between western feminists and fellow men is one of competitiveness and confrontation, not in our society though… we like to deal with men in a less aggressive way, and we see them as companions, brothers, husbands, and friends. When they transgress we like to be more wise and gentle in bringing them back to their senses.

Western feminists in the past tried solving their problems through the approach that the only way to be equal to men is to be like men, act like a man, dress like a man; from our perspective this is the big downfall of the feminists in the west. They couldn’t hold on to their own femininity in their struggle, without realizing that by doing so they were saying that men are better.

It has been pointed out to me however that many feminists today do not hold the above views  as a  way of women liberation, and that they realise that they don’t need to change at all as women, because they don’t have a problem (good for them).

 It is men who have the problem. That might be true, but again from an Islamic perspective men and women are humans, both have the vulnerability of falling prey to inflicting injustice, and mistreating of each other, man may be to a greater extent (because he is physically stronger -but not necessarily emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually stronger).

 If one party is guilty of injustice we can find means of solving the conflict through education and dialogue. The main idea is that we are not enemies of men we are their complementary partners and twin-halves.

 “The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practise regular charity, and obey God and His Messenger. On them will God pour His mercy: for God is Exalted in power, Wise”. (9:71)

If any do deeds of righteousness, be they male or female – and have faith, they will enter Heaven, and not the least injustice will be done to them”. (3-124)

“Then shall anyone who has done an atom’s weight of good, see it! And anyone who has done an atom’s weight of evil, shall see it”. (99:7-8)

“It is He Who created you from a single soul, and made its mate of like nature, in order that he might dwell with her (in love)”. (7:189)

“And among His Signs is this: He created for you mates from among yourselves that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He plants love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect. 30-21

“For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for truthful men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in Charity, for men and women who fast (and deny themselves), for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in God’s praise; for them has God prepared forgiveness and great reward”. (33:35) 

Conclusion:

None of us on this earth created him/ her self, we just found our selves here, existing. None of us is perfect. None of us is a god. Through our life experiences, our environment, our personalities, our psychological tendencies, and our intellect we somehow try to find a logical explanation of it all. We try to make sense of our existence, and we adopt the ideology that is more likely to satisfy our thirst for a meaningful existence.

 None of us should dismiss the paths, experiences and conclusions of the other. All of us should find room in each other’s hearts to understand and tolerate those whom we disagree with; as their views are as valid to them as ours to us.

Finally, all I am asking from you my dear friends is to have an open mind, to exercise your principals of tolerance of the other especially when it comes to religion in general and Islam in particular, to appreciate that those 1.9 billion Muslims in the world may have something to say, they deserve to be heard for once.

 I am appealing to your conscious and to your beautiful analytical critical minds to re-examine the concept “religion is the opium of people” in a sincere honest scientific search aiming at understanding the other and in hope for building a better future for all mankind.

It is only through dialogue, communication, and listening to the other that we can come to understand each other.

 Bearing in mind that the stereotyping of us Muslims and categorizing us as such:            

 1) A gang of murderers and terrorists,

2) A group of brainless misguided beings,

3) A bunch stupid fundamentalists fanatics,

4) Or a few intellectual liberal oppressed secularists

 This is indeed an unfair and unscientific representation of the truth.

These are labelling that one gets from the exposure to the media in this country. These classifications demands from every free-thinker serious re-examining and it deserves at least a fairer and fresh new look into analysing Islam and Islamic principals before passing miss-informed judgements, going on repeating in a parrot fashion what the media throws at us.

 I believe that doing so is vital for achieving a society that lives by principals of tolerance and hence a more stable and peaceful world.

 ***********************************************************

 Please note, the numbers after some quotations are their correspondence verses from the Qur’an.

 The reason I used these many quotations from the Qur’an is to demonstrate to you that that the claims I made about Islam is not just fantasy of my own creation.

 All these concepts stem directly from the book that we uphold as Divine, hence we see as sacred, the adherences to tolerance and the strive to live by ethical values, and to respect human rights; despite the deviation of some very angry Muslims from the main stream of Islam.

Further more, we have two main sources of reference books; the first is the Qur’an that we believe is the Divine revelation to the illiterate prophet. That book we believe stayed intact without a single word added to or deleted from it.

For the last 1400 years it has kept its original purity and authenticity; today -and as always- millions of Muslims world wide know this book off by heart including children as young as six-year olds. I think that this is an exceptional and unique quality to the Qur’an, I am not aware of any other book ever that has enjoyed the same effect or achievement.

 The other sources are collections of sayings or doings of the prophet: Hadith. These collections were gathered by people about 150 years after the death of Muhammed. They are not viewed as authentic as the Qur’an; they are prone to human errors and forgetfulness. Yet within them there are so much that emphasizes the teaching of the Quran and enhances the knowledge of the exemplary life of Muhammed.

 

© Copyright 2006 Nahida Izzat -PoetryforPalestine – All Rights Reserved

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