Emerging into the era of modernisation, great measures are taken to ensure the establishment of justice, law, and order in this world.
Oppressed women initially became the voice of women empowerment and gender equality; Nelson Mandela became the face of the extinction of apartheid and racism — all of which have been highlighted in the Quran almost 2000 years ago, propagated by our beloved Prophet Muhammad, Peace and Blessings be upon him.
The big question is to what extent do we uphold justice upon mankind? Is it just a loud voice and empowering movement sparked in a very specific part and niche of the world, mainly higher income, more developed countries?
What about the underdeveloped countries swarmed with extreme poverty and inability to fulfill their basic human rights, according to the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948?
The Ugly Truth
Behind the crevices of the deep and dark world; not to be seen by people of modern and rational thinking, women in lower-income countries — sometimes called “Third World” or “developing countries” — are heavily discriminated against for not only their biological status of simply being women, but cultural beliefs are also mistaken for sound Islamic practices, heavily corrupted by patriarchal ideologies.
Women in lower-income countries are heavily discriminated against for not only their biological status of simply being women, but cultural beliefs are also mistaken for sound Islamic practices, heavily corrupted by patriarchal ideologies.
If you surf the dark web (surf at your own risk), you will find that most victims of pornographic materials promoted on the web are underage girls and women of colour.
It is absolutely atrocious that this lucrative and criminally offensive business is profiting business owners somewhere, up to millions and billions of dollars paid in cryptocurrency.
Female Genital Mutilation
In his book entitled Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, Nicholas D. Kristof reiterated the violence, injustice, and oppression inflicted on women in underdeveloped countries, which is heavily caused by culture.
In India, female genital mutilation (FGM) is a common practice among young women and completely legal, although it causes fatal injury, and even sepsis.
SO-CALLED “HONOUR” KILLINGS
In Pakistan on the other hand, many honour killings have occurred; in fact, one-fifth of the world’s honour killings happen in Pakistan. The reason for honour killings is to safeguard the honour or dignity of one’s family, in an ironically undignified way. This crime is exclusively invented for women in the family; as their lives are structured through strict maintenance.
To protect a woman’s chastity, women, unfortunately, are obliged to abide by socially restrictive practices and avoid dishonouring the family in ways such as refusal to submit to an arranged marriage (which is haram by the way), demanding a divorce, perceived as being flirtatious, or being raped.
Just imagine being a daughter in a family where you constantly have to walk on eggshells, or else, your life will be at risk!
In some corrupted radical groups, despite the restrictive teachings in many aspects of life, the topic of marriage is heavily influenced based on men’s animal souls, whims, and lustful desires.
The concept of contractual marriage was introduced to basically legalise sex for a temporary amount of time, similar to how brothels work. Why do these extremist groups pretend to protect women and their chastity, but act the exact opposite?
Extreme Discrimination against Women
According to Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl in his book entitled The Great Theft, he cited an unfortunate tragedy in March 2002, where 14 girls were burned to death by fire that took place at school.
This tragedy could have been easily prevented if the authorities prioritized saving lives rather than safeguarding women’s chastity in a moment of life and death.
Saudi police officers, known as mutawwa’un, prevented girls from escaping the burning building because they were not “properly covered” and feared sexual enticement among men. The firemen were barred from attempting to save the girls as the mutawwa’un were beating the girls and other defence personnel pretty badly.
From their puritanical and patriarchal point of view, Muslim women are considered a source of danger and vulnerability to Islam. They even regard them as a source of social corruption and evil. If there was one word to describe women, it would be “fitna,” or a complete burden for mankind to carry.
The excessive control of men over women, especially when it comes to their garments, is rooted in the issue of power, where puritans promote an aggressive form of patriarchy that degrades women so much to the extent of complete marginalization and exclusion from public life.
From their point of view, Muslim women are considered a source of danger and vulnerability to Islam. They even regard them as a source of social corruption and evil. If there was one word to describe women, it would be “fitna,” or a complete burden for mankind to carry.
Is all of this even Islamic?
The short answer would be no. According to Graham E. Fuller in his book entitled A World Without Islam, he mentions the main reason for such “Islamic” radical groups or beliefs to emerge and successfully sway the minds of the public is due to their pursuit of political self-interest hidden behind the facade of religion.
This may be the same case because it is definitely not taught or propagated by our beloved Prophet, Peace and Blessings be upon him.
Islam never promotes any violence, injustice, and discrimination of gender, and to think it does is just not right.
How could Islam promote such immoral teachings when it is sent down as a revelation to our beloved Prophet Muhammad, Peace and Blessings be upon him, to wipe out all the injustices during the pre-Islamic era?
Female infanticide, burying female infants alive, live, discrimination against women, as well as inheritance were all part of the cultural norm before Islam was introduced; Islam banned all of these things. So, can Islam even be associated with all these cruel acts that are currently happening now on the face of the earth?
Female infanticide, burying female infants alive, discrimination against women, as well as inheritance were all part of the cultural norm before Islam was introduced; Islam banned all of these things. So, can Islam even be associated with all these cruel acts that are currently happening now on the face of the earth?
Islam is a religion of mercy, compassion, and love. The nuances orchestrated in the Quran and hadith are viewed from the lens of mercy and compassion, bringing glad tidings to all; not making it more difficult for other people.
Most of the puritans often make mistakes in interpreting the meaning of Quranic verses by interpreting them literally — and cherry-picking verses to their advantage.
A real Muslim scholar devotes years of his or her life pursuing the path of knowledge, and studying Quranic exegesis to understand the Quran. Even then, they feel even more humbled when they learn more and praise Allah for the vast amount of knowledge.
That is why as a Muslim, it is essential to gain knowledge on the Quranic exegesis or tafsir when reciting the Quran as to not misinterpret the message.
It is also important for us to understand how the scholars of the past pursue such sacred knowledge with intricacy and thorough analysis, so we appreciate Islamic knowledge a lot more. How do you ensure you embark on the right and guided journey?
You can either learn from certified scholars face-to-face, or you can join credible Islamic learning platforms such as SimplyIslam Academy to learn deeply and be guided in the way of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah.
What does Islam say about Feminism and Gender Equality?
Overall, we have found many Quranic verses and hadith promoting gender equality and feminism. We hope that this list will help change the perspective of sexists and oppressors out there on the importance of treating everyone, regardless of gender; equally. The key takeaways are bolded for your reference:
وَٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَٱلْمُؤْمِنَـٰتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَآءُ بَعْضٍ ۚ يَأْمُرُونَ بِٱلْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ ٱلْمُنكَرِ وَيُقِيمُونَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ وَيُطِيعُونَ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥٓ ۚ أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ سَيَرْحَمُهُمُ ٱللَّهُ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
The believers, both men and women, are guardians of one another. They encourage good and forbid evil, establish prayer and pay alms-tax, and obey Allah and His Messenger. It is they who will be shown Allah’s mercy. Surely Allah is Almighty, All-Wise. [Quran 9:71]
أُحِلَّ لَكُمْ لَيْلَةَ ٱلصِّيَامِ ٱلرَّفَثُ إِلَىٰ نِسَآئِكُمْ ۚ هُنَّ لِبَاسٌ لَّكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لِبَاسٌ لَّهُنَّ ۗ عَلِمَ ٱللَّهُ أَنَّكُمْ كُنتُمْ تَخْتَانُونَ أَنفُسَكُمْ فَتَابَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَعَفَا عَنكُمْ ۖ فَٱلْـَٔـٰنَ بَـٰشِرُوهُنَّ وَٱبْتَغُوا۟ مَا كَتَبَ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمْ ۚ وَكُلُوا۟ وَٱشْرَبُوا۟ حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمُ ٱلْخَيْطُ ٱلْأَبْيَضُ مِنَ ٱلْخَيْطِ ٱلْأَسْوَدِ مِنَ ٱلْفَجْرِ ۖ ثُمَّ أَتِمُّوا۟ ٱلصِّيَامَ إِلَى ٱلَّيْلِ ۚ وَلَا تُبَـٰشِرُوهُنَّ وَأَنتُمْ عَـٰكِفُونَ فِى ٱلْمَسَـٰجِدِ ۗ تِلْكَ حُدُودُ ٱللَّهِ فَلَا تَقْرَبُوهَا ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ ٱللَّهُ ءَايَـٰتِهِۦ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ
It has been made permissible for you to be intimate with your wives during the nights preceding the fast. Your spouses are a garment for you as you are for them. Allah knows that you were deceiving yourselves. So He has accepted your repentance and pardoned you. So now you may be intimate with them and seek what Allah has prescribed for you. [You may] eat and drink until you see the light of dawn breaking the darkness of night, then complete the fast until nightfall. Do not be intimate with your spouses while you are meditating in the mosques. These are the limits set by Allah, so do not exceed them. This is how Allah makes His revelations clear to people, so they may become mindful [of Him]. [Quran 2:187]
ٱلرِّجَالُ قَوَّٰمُونَ عَلَى ٱلنِّسَآءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ ٱللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَبِمَآ أَنفَقُوا۟ مِنْ أَمْوَٰلِهِمْ ۚ فَٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتُ قَـٰنِتَـٰتٌ حَـٰفِظَـٰتٌ لِّلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ ٱللَّهُ ۚ وَٱلَّـٰتِى تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَٱهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِى ٱلْمَضَاجِعِ وَٱضْرِبُوهُنَّ ۖ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلَا تَبْغُوا۟ عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلًا ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيًّا كَبِيرًا
Men are the caretakers of women, as men have been provisioned by Allah over women and tasked with supporting them financially. And righteous women are devoutly obedient and, when alone, protective of what Allah has entrusted them with. And if you sense ill-conduct from your women, advise them [first], [if they persist,] do not share their beds, [but if they still persist,] then discipline them [gently]. But if they change their ways, do not be unjust to them. Surely Allah is Most High, All-Great. [Quran 4:34]
وَإِذَا بُشِّرَ أَحَدُهُم بِٱلْأُنثَىٰ ظَلَّ وَجْهُهُۥ مُسْوَدًّا وَهُوَ كَظِيمٌ
Whenever one of them is given the good news of a baby girl, his face grows gloomy, as he suppresses his rage.
يَتَوَٰرَىٰ مِنَ ٱلْقَوْمِ مِن سُوٓءِ مَا بُشِّرَ بِهِۦٓ ۚ أَيُمْسِكُهُۥ عَلَىٰ هُونٍ أَمْ يَدُسُّهُۥ فِى ٱلتُّرَابِ ۗ أَلَا سَآءَ مَا يَحْكُمُونَ
He hides from the people because of the bad news he has received. Should he keep her in disgrace, or bury her [alive] in the ground? Evil indeed is their judgment!
لِلَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِٱلْـَٔاخِرَةِ مَثَلُ ٱلسَّوْءِ ۖ وَلِلَّهِ ٱلْمَثَلُ ٱلْأَعْلَىٰ ۚ وَهُوَ ٱلْعَزِيزُ ٱلْحَكِيمُ
To those who disbelieve in the Hereafter belong all evil qualities, whereas to Allah belong the finest attributes. And He is the Almighty, All-Wise. [Quran 16:58-60]
She reported God’s Messenger as saying, “The best of you is he who is best to his family, and I am the best among you to my family. When one of you dies, speak no ill of him.” [Mishkat Al-Masabih]
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Messenger of Allah said, “Treat women nicely, for a woman is created from a rib, and the most curved portion of the rib is its upper portion, so, if you should try to straighten it, it will break, but if you leave it as it is, it will remain crooked. So treat women nicely.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]
In retrospect, oppression and discrimination against women in developing countries are unfortunately still actively happening, away from the eyes of the masses.
Although it is not directly our responsibility to uphold justice in such major countries where most of the population is practicing such evil, it is worth educating ourselves on the subject to raise our awareness of the ugly truth of today. And hopefully, we’ll spark a movement of justice in the future to bring smiles to the faces of the oppressed, InshaAllah.