Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Who Treats Women Better: Americans, Islam or Muslims?

" In France (America), there is Islam without Muslims, In the Arab World (Middle East), there are Muslims without Islam." Tawfik Hakim (I am pretty sure about this attribution, as well as the accuracy of the quotation itself, which I read in "Seclurism Confronts Islam," but could not find the quote or the attribution online, so I put it here with this caveat.)

Muslims all over the world are proud to be following the right religion. Unfortunately, a great majority of them are following the right religion the wrong way. They are focused on the prize and rewards Allah Subhanawatalla will give them instead of the sacrifice and greater good their religion can offer the world. (Remember the story of when the Prophet, Peace Be Upon Him, asked Ali to pray without thinking of the prize and he would get a great reward. Ali made it through almost the whole prayer before he thought for a split second of the prize, and then lost it all.)

In America, by contrast, there is Islam without Muslims.

America is a beacon of Democracy just as Islam is. (American Democracy is a majority Democracy and Islam is ijma or consensus Democracy, so there are some differences, although they are more similar than Islamic governance and, say, Saudi Arabia, where there is governance by kingship.)

Americans also have respect for their women unlike many Arab countries. Although they perform pre-marital sex, they respect their women in many other ways.

Many Americans believe that Islam (the religion, not the people) does not respect women because of the aya that allows Muslims to marry up to four wives. There are many points to consider when you look at this aya:

the first and subsequent wives of the man must approve the partnership of the next wife in the line

a Muslim must treat each wife EXACTLY equally, probably an impossibility because it is impossible to treat everyone the same way, no matter how hard you try

which brings us to the historical ramifications of the decision, the aya was revealed after the Battle of Uhud, wherein a great amount of Muslim men lost their lives, the aya (line of poetry in the Quran) gave Muslims the ability to marry so many wives to PROTECT the women, not the men, as they were now recently widowed and lived in a partiarchal society

(Mohemad, Peace Be Upon Him, did a lot for women, as before this decree it was legal in Mecca, Medina and most of the Arabian Peninsula to marry as many wives as you want, and while Mohemad, Peace Be Upon Him, did what he could, you cannot change the culture of a whole people during a lifetime.)

One of the ways Americans respect their women more than some Arab countries is allowing them to work. A woman's proper place is ANY COMBINATION of cooking, cleaning, raising the children and WORKING that they CHOOSE.

Now, based on what most Americans and most Westerners have heard about Muslims and the Muslim world, they would be confused to find this out. The truth is many Muslims have strayed from the right path.

The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and his life are the best example of how a Muslim should go about anything. Did the Prophet keep his wife locked up in the house and not allow her to work? No. His first wife, Khadijah, was in fact HIS BOSS before (and I believe during, but I am not sure) their marriage. She owned the caravan ring the Prophet, Peace Be Upon Him, worked at.

You can thank the Wahhabis and the Al-Saud family (current Kings and Princes of Saudi Arabia) for the false religion that has become mainstream Islam in the past 2 centuries. Muhammed Abdul-Wahab was a 18th century Islamic scholar who failed out of his training multiple times. He was the son and brother of two Islamic jurists who vehemently disagreed with his views on Islam.

Abdul-Wahab and his views did not become popular until he and the British co-opted these views with the rising power of the Al-Saud tribe. Once the Al-Sauds became Hakims of Mecca and Medinah, they were able to easily influence Muslims who were going on pilgrimage into their views. (If you are interested in Islamic law, may I suggest you research the Hanabalite school of law, the most liberal and closest chronologically to the time of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and therefore, probably, the least corrupted of the existing and established four schools of Muslim thought.)

They have twisted the words of the Holy Quran and not allowed women their proper place in society (such as banning them from the roads and forcing them to wear the burqa, something the Quran encourages but does not force its women to do.) Much of the Arab world can learn from America in how to treat their women. 
I recommend "Seclurism Confronts Islam" by Olivier Roy for anyone interested in the topic of how Islam can coincide with the Modern State.