Question and answer details
|Are women denigrated through Islam or is it a misconception of the Occidental world? Thank you.|
|Heba Raouf Ezzat|
Salam, dear Shura.
Thank you for your clear and direct question.
The first idea that came to my mind was that if women are oppressed in many countries and cultures and for an array of different reasons, how then can one assume that Islam is a reason of the denigration of women?
The second idea that came initially to my mind was that if Muslim women are under oppression for cultural reasons, how can one easily jump to a conclusion that it is about religion not about cultures and local contexts?
Now, let me turn to your question from an Islamic approach.
Islam is a message of an egalitarian nature socially and a transcendental conception of divinity theologically. The result is a moral and socio-political doctrine and a body of jurisprudence based on the Noble Qur'an that advocates women's equity and dignity, along with her social, economical and political participation.
The ideal image of a Muslim society is the society of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The life of the Prophet and the social organization of the city state of Madinah show clearly that women were liberated and empowered by Islam within a wider context of social reform. This, in its turn, introduced notions of social justice and tolerance to that society. This led to achieving a social transformation that the Arabian Peninsula never witnessed before. It paved the way to the rise of the Muslim civilization later on.
Yet social revolutions always faced regressions and challenges over history as much as any civilization is prone to decline in all cultures. This definitely includes the history of Muslims. When people in new cultures embraced Islam, many local traditions survived. Thus it was easier to abuse the text rather than adhere by its vision.
I would like to refer you to many other replies provided previously by Ask About Islam that might extend my argument. And I also invite you to do some basic research on your own, and compare the original texts of the Qur'an and the Hadith (sayings of the Prophet), along with the Sunnah (the deeds of the Prophet) and his seerah (biography) to the current situation or even historical stands of other leaders and figures. You would soon discover the gaps and shortcomings that result from historical or traditional understanding rather than the frame of reference of Islam itself.
Thank you for your question and please do stay in touch.