The everyday struggle of Asian Muslim women is palpable. They are policed for their attire, behavior, personality, career choice, and whatnot! But if we look back at Islamic history, it is the opposite of the present oppressive rules and demands by the misogynist. Let not the oppressors set standards for you.
Islam has never degraded or devalued women; it has always treated women as equal to men. But why do we generally see the opposite of what Islam preaches? Well, the simplest reason is that people selectively extract lines from the Holy Quran for their good.
Most women are forced to believe that they should live in a secluded way to attain paradise. They assume that being good to your abusive husband is what Islam teaches, so 90% of Muslim women who belong to the older generation live by that. Well, Allah (SWT) is the most merciful, and Islam never advocates gender inequality.
“I know of no other religion in which women were so central in its formative history” –Sheikh Mohammad Akram Nadwi, Islamic scholar
But we are not aware of our women-centric Islamic history, right? Currently, Muslim communities don’t function as if they had such wholesome history that centered on women. However, Islam doesn’t represent misogynist Muslim men. Partly, it is women’s fault to stay where they have been asked to rather than find what Islamic history says about women.
How Islam Treats Women and Why It’s Not Followed Now
If you are a Muslim woman, you will feel liberation through Islam. But oppressive men in society have turned Islam restrictive, so most Muslim and non-Muslim women have started to look at Islam as an oppressive religion.
For example, according to hadiths, the wife of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Aisha (radhiallahu ‘anha), rode a horse when accompanying the Prophet. But, it becomes a big deal when it comes to driving as a woman in the current community. She is often mocked or challenged. In some Asian families, she wouldn’t be “allowed” to get her license. This is precisely the opposite of what Islam preaches.
“Islam is perfect but not Muslims” – anonymous.
The problem with putting up with misogynist rules is that you will be carrying the lies you have been fed with. You will be teaching the same practices to your daughters and sons, so the chain will never be broken.
You must know that Allah (SWT) never assigned gender roles. As a woman, you can avoid domestic chores. As for most scholars, it is not your duty, and you will not be questioned if you disagree to do domestic chores. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) also stated that he did his household chores while earning for his large family.
But in the current Islamic community, we can see how women need to do household chores, and look after children while working. Even though she shoulders all the burdens, she is still set behind and never appreciated. It is the man who gets recognition and respect from society. Her work, dedication, and perseverance are always put behind a veil.
Islam Emphasizes Educating Girls
Last but not least, her right to secure education is still a subject that never met the table. Of course, restricting girls’ education has been reduced to a greater extent. But in most Asian Muslim communities, we still find the stereotypes.
I have dealt with many girls who complained that their brothers don’t let them continue higher education because the brothers consider it “unnecessary” since they can help them financially. I couldn’t fathom their negligence in educating girls.
“Denying girls an education – it’s basically live burial” Sheikh Mohammad Akram Nadwi, Islamic scholar
Education is your right, and only through knowledge, you can increase your self-worth. You have to fight it. To make it more precise, the iconic figure in Islamic history, Aisha (radhiallahu ‘anha) loved seeking knowledge. She was one of the famous Muslim scholars at the time and has narrated over 2000 hadiths. She has also lectured eminent scholars. Her leadership skills were top-notch, and we can still learn a lot from her.
She could make sharp judgments due to her immense intelligence. Her exemplary lifestyle promotes that education in the field of politics and law is nothing to frown upon. This is a hallmark of women’s education.
However, not following what Islam says is not the fault of the religion. If women are still behind and lacking equality, it is because of the oppressive men and oppressed women. Yes, I mentioned oppressed women as one of the reasons because they functioned to believe whatever they are being fed. We need to become the voice of oppressed women to stamp them out from the male chauvinist community.
Everything about Feminism in Islam
“You can’t be a feminist if you are a Muslim,” well, if Muslim women become feminists, they will soon turn the tables, this is the very reason for such remarks. You can definitely be a Muslim while being a Feminist if you are not going to restructure true Islamic rulings. When we speak about true Islamic rulings, it is not what oppressive men decide to extract from the Quran and practice for their own good. Instead, it is what Islam actually taught.
Most women often feel they are inferior because they have been made to feel that way. Their self-growth is restricted. They are forced to carry the “real Muslim woman” card. You don’t have to be the perfect wife or perfect mother because you are a human, too.
You need to become the woman who is more than ready to please God. Your priority shouldn’t be to become a submissive wife because it is not what Islam emphasizes. Your priority should be God’s happiness and becoming his obedient servant.
But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be kind to your husband or father. Of course, you should be, but all these come after Allah (SWT). As a Muslim woman, you have the right to build your identity, so you shouldn’t let it slip away because of misogynist men.
More often than not, every woman is tied to her roles as wife, sister, daughter, and mother. She is never considered an individual sans her roles. This should change. Make sure to look back at Islamic history to find successful, fearless woman and their stories. If you do so, you will unlearn and relearn Islam to overcome subjugation and to bring women to the center of the stage!