Feminism: An Islamic perspective

The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality is worth pondering especially in the contemporary time.”Feminist” in authentic sense of the term is to struggle for all people, male and female liberation from sexist role pattern, domination and oppression. The term “feminist” use in Pakistan is in fact exact opposite of Islamic culture. Not only has it been misunderstood but it also is being used wrongly by so-called feminists.

Feminism in Islam base on certain non-negotiable values. In Islam, men and women are equal in God’s sight and are expected to fulfil same duties of worship; prayer, faith, fasting and pilgrimage to Makkah.

Islam generally elevated women’s status which was unbecoming of pre-Islamic Arab culture. Islam honored women in society excavating them and protecting them with unprecedented rights. Islam gave women right to attain education, to marry someone of their choice, to retain their identity after marriage, to divorce, to vote and to participate in civic and political engagement.

Currently feminists in Islamic world are sharply divided among religious, social, and cultural lines. Islamic and liberal feminists are representing two extreme sides which is utterly unnecessary and uncalled for. Islam dawned at a time when women were buried alive and were denied their basic rights. Islam ‘liberated’ women from all ills.

The rights of women in Islamic modern society of today were not brought in to contentions as a matter of voluntary grand or an act of kindness.

The Quran speaks of man and women coming from each other and declares them each other’s clothes. They are advised to be bound by love and mercy. Feminists in various Muslim countries have demanded from people in power to give full representation to women according to their population percentage. They have demanded representation in almost all fields of life including political, legal etc.

Other groups too have demanded not only equality but often superiority based on race, language or regional prejudice. Equality is understandable and even debatable but superiority is not.

The hatred for men that many feminists preach is totally alien to Islamic teachings. Instead of sexes competing against each other, Islam teaches mutual cooperation to form a harmonious and just society, the bedrock of which is a stable family life.The debate between Islamic feminists and secular feminists is explored.

Islamic feminists claim that liberation for men and women lies in following the Islamic faith and it is Islam that provides the best protection for women. Secular feminists argue for the separation of religion from civil society and the State.

Currently women feminists in Islamic world are sharply divided among religious, social, and cultural lines. Islamic feminists and liberal feminists are representing an extreme agenda which is utterly unnecessary and uncalled for. Islam dawned at a time when women were buried alive and were denied their basic rights. Islam ‘liberated’ women from all ills.

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