Question and answer details
|Hello, I don’t have faith in any religion and I don’t believe there is something like a god. But I’m, however, very interested in religions and different ways of life. I want to learn about and respect how people live all over the world. I live in Sweden, a western Christian country and I don’t think that our lifestyle is the best or the only one. Our society has come far in erasing the differences in social treatment between males and females. Islam is very often, or always, referred to as a religion that doesn’t respect females whatsoever. As far as I know, Islam men treat women with no respect, beat them, oppress them and sometimes kill them! Personally, I don’t think that there should be any differences between how we treat men and woman. I believe that woman have the exact, same, rights as I and should be respected doing whatever she wants with her life. BUT! I also understand that what I have learned to believe can’t be 100% right. My sense tells me something else than TV and newspapers. Please give me your view on the relation between men and woman. Let me know how Islam thinks and acts in this matter. I would like to be free from prejudices, but it’s not easy in a world full of that! Thank you very much.|
|Amani Aboul Fadl Farag|
Thank you for your attitude, which is free from prejudice.
I do agree with you that many images of Islam have been dreadfully and deliberately distorted by hostile mass media, especially after September the 11th. As for this image of women in Islam, actually it has been the target of the western spears and arrows, long before that time! This is not only due to prejudice, but also due to the ill practices of ignorant Muslims, which validate such a negative image.
I do not think it is worthy to tell you about the aspects of equality, between the two genders, either in the way they were created or their rights and duties towards God, since you don't believe in Him. Let me focus then on the aspects of equality in our materialistic world.
First, you have set a contrast between the Swedish society, as a model of respecting women, in opposition to Islam, which you have heard about to encourage people to kill them! I dare say that your society and many of the Islamic societies suffer from the same dilemma of the gap between paradigm and practice.
Considering paradigms, the Islamic law is not less respecting for women than any other liberal constitution, if indeed it is not more respecting! But when it comes to practice, I don't think that the Swedish or any other western society is any less than many Islamic societies in the rate of violence against women, which is only one symptom of the general violence syndrome, recently spreading in people's lives, due to factors, which are the target of sociological studies. I have a valid study for the high rate of violence against women even in the family in Sweden regardless of the strict rules that "dictate" respect for women.
This validates the fact that the law itself is not enough, unless there is an inherent power in people to respect this law. This inherent power, we - the religious people – define as ‘piety’ or ‘God love and fearing’. Therefore, the problem is with the practice and not with the law either in Islam or any other culture.
This value of mutual respect amongst humans is a keynote to the Islamic moral code. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
‘A Muslim would neither abuse nor speak bad words to, nor curse others.’ (Sahih Muslim)
Also, he always stressed the fact that men should treat their women in a fair way and never to use violence in dealing with them. He said:
‘Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should not harm his neighbors. And I command you to take good care of the women.’ (Bukhari)
Even when women misbehave, tolerance and not violence is recommended, as a way to solve the problem. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
‘No believing man should hate a believing woman, if he hates one of her manners, he should be satisfied with another.’
The same meaning is repeated in a heavenly advice for husbands through the Qur'an - the holy book of Muslims – that says:
Again, the Prophet (peace be upon him) stressed this meaning, saying: