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In the Name of God بسم الله

Are You A Feminist?

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i got bored after reading the first question.....go make me a sandwich..

In your attempt to clarify 'for the sisters' what feminism is, you've defined it based on your stereotypes and hence, completely inaccurately. It isn't an ideology at all, or at least in the same way

(salam) , 1) I dont believe that Islam is patriarchal, you have to remember that just because it's a popular view doesnt mean it's the islamic view. 2) I am not a feminist because feminism is an ext

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You would need someone to actually consult the history books, but in the meantime, here is something:

According to a number of sources, Khadija was born in 565 A.D. and died one year before the Hijra (migration of the Holy Prophet and his followers from Mecca to Medina) in 623 A.D. at the age of 58, but some historians say that she lived to be 65.

http://www.al-islam.org/masoom/bios/khadija.htm

If she died at 58 a year or so before hijrah, and the Prophet (pbuh) was 53 when he made hijrah, that makes her no more than 5 years older than him.

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In The Name of Allah ÓÈÍÇäå æÊÚÇáì, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful.

You're weird. Lol thank you. That was what I meant. Btw I don't like just googling things like this because I don't know any website I can trust.

How dare a woman call me weird! :mad: :P By the way, why do you think I am weird? I seriously did not understand your sentence. Well, there is no harm in googling. At worst, it will give you a Salafi site but it is good to know the others side's opinions so as well so even that would do more benefit than harm. I am sure you won't convert! :P So don't worry! :P And, by the way, you are the one who is weird because you don't do what nearly everyone with an internet connection does: google! :P

You would need someone to actually consult the history books, but in the meantime, here is something:

http://www.al-islam....ios/khadija.htm

If she died at 58 a year or so before hijrah, and the Prophet (pbuh) was 53 when he made hijrah, that makes her no more than 5 years older than him.

Which would be 30?

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Brother Haydar, is there any other evidence to suggest that her age was much less than 40? Like the example of proof I have quoted by Sayed Mohammed al-Musawi. Have you ever come across it? Do you have those hadith which indicate this?

The most obvious proof is nowhere was it ever mentioned that a miracle was needed for Khadija (as) to get pregnant, and yet if the age of 40 is to be believed, she would have been near 60's when she was having her last couple of children.

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In The Name of Allah ÓÈÍÇäå æÊÚÇáì, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful.

How dare a woman call me weird! :mad: :P By the way, why do you think I am weird? I seriously did not understand your sentence. Well, there is no harm in googling. At worst, it will give you a Salafi site but it is good to know the others side's opinions so as well so even that would do more benefit than harm. I am sure you won't convert! :P So don't worry! :P And, by the way, you are the one who is weird because you don't do what nearly everyone with an internet connection does: google! :P

Which would be 30?

You are weird. It's just that. Embrace it. Lol

I do use google. All the time when I need trival information or things for school but I never just google stuff when it comes to Islam. Tbh some of the stuff I come across makes me angry so I try to avoid it. You are right though, the more I know about the other side the stronger my faith will be.

The most obvious proof is nowhere was it ever mentioned that a miracle was needed for Khadija (as) to get pregnant, and yet if the age of 40 is to be believed, she would have been near 60's when she was having her last couple of children.

Haydar you are confusing me....

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In The Name of Allah ÓÈÍÇäå æÊÚÇáì, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful.

You are weird. It's just that. Embrace it. Lol...

:mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: Why am I weird? :mad: Haydar, I am starting to agree with whatever you and Dawud were saying about women! :P

I do use google. All the time when I need trival information or things for school but I never just google stuff when it comes to Islam. Tbh some of the stuff I come across makes me angry so I try to avoid it. You are right though, the more I know about the other side the stronger my faith will be.

Well, you know, in my view, ignorance to one's own faith is one of the most profound reason for conversion. It doesn't matter whether you convert to the right religion or from the right religion but if you don't know your original religion properly, there is a high probability that when you talk to people about it, you will start to change. Why do I say this? Because once you don't know much about your own religion and then you start to debate others, there will surely be something or the other which you may not have expected. So, when they present it to you and you have a shock. This shock, psychologically, accelerates your rate of conversion.

I have seen two example of this effect myself. One happened with me. I used to visit this Sanatana Dharma (Hindu) website where they would constantly criticise Islam and I used to try and defend it. I was doing pretty well until they brought forth something that seemed shocking to me and I have never ever posted on that website again. Of course, I have some reason to brush that thing down the carpet, objectively or maybe I am too biased to my religion to not take heed of it. :unsure:

Another time, on Paltalk, a Sunni was trying to attack Shias and one of the brothers there gave him some stuff - which is very disgusting - from Sahih al Bukhari and he had never heard this before. He was just so shocked by it; he has not visited the shia room after that and I don't even think he comes online now. Whether he uses another account, I don't know but he surely does not use the one he used that time!

So, it is always good to see what others believe and what are their criticisms about your beliefs so that this shock effect is reduced a bit. This may, of course, also be positive in the case of a non-Muslim coming to Islam but also destructive in the case of a Muslim seeing shocking stuff. Overall, I would say that it is really not benefiting both sides because when you have this "shock", it is much more of an emotional conversion rather than a intellectual one.

By the way, here is another proof of your weirdness: you google to find school stuff when you have the encyclopedia e natiq - Khadim uz Zahra! :P

Haydar you are confusing me....

What he is trying to say is that if she was around 45 at marriage, then she would have been around 60 when she gave birth to the last of her children. The problem here is that, normally, women CANNOT give birth at such an old age. So, what he is trying to say is that if she did get children at 60, it is nothing less than a miracle and, so, the history books would have been filled with tales of this miracle! Since this is not the case, there was no miracle and, therefore, her age could not have been so much. On the other hand, an age of 25 or 30 would still be a lot more reasonable than 40.

INSHALLAH, I have been helpful, clear and objective in my reasoning and have not hurt those who call me weird!

May Allah (SWT) bless us all, our families and loved ones, guide us all to The Straight Path with His Perfect Guidance and may He, The Forgiver of Sins and The Oft-Forgiving, forgive all our sins for, indeed, there is neither any refuge nor any respite for the sinners except in Allah ÓÈÍÇäå æÊÚÇáì.

In The Name of Allah ÓÈÍÇäå æÊÚÇáì, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful.

You are weird. It's just that. Embrace it. Lol...

:mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: Why am I weird? :mad: Haydar, I am starting to agree with whatever you and Dawud were saying about women! :P

I do use google. All the time when I need trival information or things for school but I never just google stuff when it comes to Islam. Tbh some of the stuff I come across makes me angry so I try to avoid it. You are right though, the more I know about the other side the stronger my faith will be.

Well, you know, in my view, ignorance to one's own faith is one of the most profound reason for conversion. It doesn't matter whether you convert to the right religion or from the right religion but if you don't know your original religion properly, there is a high probability that when you talk to people about it, you will start to change. Why do I say this? Because once you don't know much about your own religion and then you start to debate others, there will surely be something or the other which you may not have expected. So, when they present it to you and you have a shock. This shock, psychologically, accelerates your rate of conversion.

I have seen two example of this effect myself. One happened with me. I used to visit this Sanatana Dharma (Hindu) website where they would constantly criticise Islam and I used to try and defend it. I was doing pretty well until they brought forth something that seemed shocking to me and I have never ever posted on that website again. Of course, I have some reason to brush that thing down the carpet, objectively or maybe I am too biased to my religion to not take heed of it. :unsure:

Another time, on Paltalk, a Sunni was trying to attack Shias and one of the brothers there gave him some stuff - which is very disgusting - from Sahih al Bukhari and he had never heard this before. He was just so shocked by it; he has not visited the shia room after that and I don't even think he comes online now. Whether he uses another account, I don't know but he surely does not use the one he used that time!

So, it is always good to see what others believe and what are their criticisms about your beliefs so that this shock effect is reduced a bit. This may, of course, also be positive in the case of a non-Muslim coming to Islam but also destructive in the case of a Muslim seeing shocking stuff. Overall, I would say that it is really not benefiting both sides because when you have this "shock", it is much more of an emotional conversion rather than a intellectual one.

By the way, here is another proof of your weirdness: you google to find school stuff when you have the encyclopedia e natiq - Khadim uz Zahra! :P

Haydar you are confusing me....

What he is trying to say is that if she was around 45 at marriage, then she would have been around 60 when she gave birth to the last of her children. The problem here is that, normally, women CANNOT give birth at such an old age. So, what he is trying to say is that if she did get children at 60, it is nothing less than a miracle and, so, the history books would have been filled with tales of this miracle! Since this is not the case, there was no miracle and, therefore, her age could not have been so much. On the other hand, an age of 25 or 30 would still be a lot more reasonable than 40.

INSHALLAH, I have been helpful, clear and objective in my reasoning and have not hurt those who call me weird!

May Allah (SWT) bless us all, our families and loved ones, guide us all to The Straight Path with His Perfect Guidance and may He, The Forgiver of Sins and The Oft-Forgiving, forgive all our sins for, indeed, there is neither any refuge nor any respite for the sinners except in Allah ÓÈÍÇäå æÊÚÇáì.

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Thanks everyone for your responses. I'm glad to see some of the women on this board taking this discussion seriously, and I also find the responses very interesting, in fact, a bit different than I expected. This post will be long, so I have summed up a few conclusions at the top here:

1. I noticed that a few women may have misinterpreted the word "patriarchy", or, at the very least, associated the word on very negative terms. Haydar has already posted a definition, but I'll restate it here:

Patriarchy, for the sake of this discussion is a social system in which men play the authoritative role over women, children and property. This happens in economic terms (in that the man is the breadwinner of the family), political terms and legal terms.

2. Men and women on this board alike seem to dislike the word "feminism", but everyone has different understandings of what the word means.

3. I believe that women are very conscious of their rights in Islam, and that Muslim women are a very mobilized group (as opposed to the oriental view that women are passive, sexualized beings). At the same time I do not believe that men see women's rights in Islam the same way women see their own rights. Many women may have passed off my questions as really typical, 'same-old' type topics we see ALL the time on Shiachat. Thats true. I just wanted the chance for women to be able to speak by themselves FOR themselves.

4. I also believe that men are confused about their own roles too. This is not just in the Muslim world, but in the West as well. Women have been writing gender discourse for centuries so we've had a ton of time to think about our issues, our position in relation to God, and our position in relation to men. At the same time, men have also been thinking about women's issues and made their own contributions to the field as well. But very rarely do men think about their own position in relation to women.

5. I'd really appreciate if more women answered the questions and we stay on topic. I know they are time consuming so just answer the ones that interest you. I really did enjoy reading every single person's response here. I've taken a few days just to read and think about what you all have written, so thank you!

And now I'll respond to a few of the posts I found interesting.

3. How do you define what it means to be a Muslim woman. For the sake of this discussion lets say there is a new term called "Muslim Womanism" (sort of like the term "feminism"), what values and ideas would you attach to it? (ex, equality? motherhood?)

I dont think i've understood this question properly..but, i think if I gave my definition of a muslim women - id get in trouble, lol/

Well if you can say it in a respectful way, I'd really like to know what you think! You are a very distinguished character on shiachat, so your opinions are very valuable in this discussion.

4. Do you wear hijab? If not, why not? - If you used to wear the hijab, and decided to take it off, what led you to your decision?

No. Because its not seen as modest anymore. I took it off because i was getting more (muslim) male attention with it on.

Interesting. So what do you consider 'modest'? Is it a way of dressing?

What was it like to remove your hijab? Did you see it as 'liberating'? Do you think you've changed as a person after you took off your hijab?

5. Should women be involved in politics (if so to what extent)? How do you feel about male politicians deciding laws for women?

Not sure about this. I think women are sometimes a bit too emotional...

Well how about women's issues in law? Do you feel comfortable about men deciding what constitutes 'rape'? Sexual abuse? Abortion laws? Access to birth control? These are issues that men clearly do not have any foresight about.

10. What are your thoughts about mutah? Does (or did) your virginity hold any special importance to you?

Disgusting. Im ashamed to be a shia for this reason. Virginity is very important.

Outside the domain of Islam, do you believe women should save their virginity until marriage? Why is virginity important? Often it is associated with chastity and purity - do you agree?

3) You wanna know what it means to be a Muslim woman? Go read about the life of Fatimat ul- Zahra (as). She is, and always will be, every Muslim woman's role model. Also her daughter, Zainab, whom without her brave speeches along the way to yazids palace, Islam wouldn't exist today.

This was a lovely response. You can disagree with me here if you want. But often I find that in majlises, different lecturers will stress on different aspects of Bibi Fatima and Bibi Zaynab. Some will specifically talk about their roles as great mothers and housewives, and others will focus on their outspoken will and defenders of Islam. I see you have emphasized on the latter.

4) I do wear the hijab and there isn't anything in this world that can convince me to take it off.

When did you start wearing hijab? Why?

5) Yes they should and they are. I don't know much about other countries but in Iraq we have many women involved in politics. Also there is nothing in the Quran or any Hadith that says women shouldn't be involved in those matters.

Well male politicians are elected by both men and woman so if it really is majority rules then i don't understand why it's a problem.

Well said.

6) If there are any improvements to be made It would be cultural and not religious. I don't quite understand this question. What difference would it make if a woman translated the Quran or a man. If you think something is unclear about a marja's ruling on things maybe you should contact them.

Perhaps. I suppose if you take the topic of hayz though, there may be the issue that male ayatollahs can't tell us what a period is or isnt since they clearly havent experienced it or seen it. In the Prophet's time, the rules for women were explained through Fatima (as). Shouldn't it continue to be that way?

8) I honestly have never even heard of female circumcision being practiced outside of Africa and it's quite sickening. Thats also another thing that has nothing to do with islam.

There is a long winded thread on shiachat which basically says that female circumcision is allowed in Islam. There are certain rules that apply, but at the end of the day it is circumcision. It is not mustahab or anything, but it is allowed

10) My views on mutah are the same views of any Muslim woman. It's a blessing Allah (swt) bestowed upon us.

You know what? You've been asking me all these questions, why don't you define virginity for me. What makes a woman chaste and pure? Her hymen? If that's the way that you're going to look at things then any woman who was unfortunate to have a hymen that doesn't break right away should be tried and convicted as a adulteress. As for the woman who lost their virginity during a mutah marriage, what's the difference between her and a divorced woman? She did it the halal way so what part of that is unchaste?

I believe you certainly have a point here. I don't disagree. Historically speaking, virginity and chastity were first associated with one another via Christianity. Islam was not traditionally a proponent of this idea of associating the two things together.

One thing I would like to comment on from your original introduction, is your statement that you wish the conversation to be conducted between sisters without the interference of brothers. In general I agree it could be beneficial to have any number of serious discussions focusing in on the view point of sisters. However, since brothers are able to read this topic, if they view something which is wrong and no one else is standing up and correcting the wrong statement, then they have a duty Islamically to address the wrong being stated. In this case they would not be allowed Islamically to avoid interference in a sister’s only topic.

Inshallah I will try to answer some of your questions today and I will come back to answer others at a later time.

First of all, thank you so much for your long detailed response. You clearly put a lot of thought into your answers and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one that enjoyed reading your answers. I am looking forward to reading your answers to the rest of the questions.

Certainly, I think men's opinions are great contributions too, but frankly, they are overrepresented on this board. The idea though was so that we could get a real discussion flowing on how women view their own rights and place in Islam. My plan is to start another topic in the men's forum and ask them some gender specific questions as well (although probably not as many as this one calls for). We can have a discussion on circumcision for example, and the discussion will go on and on about how female circumcision is halal, but it will hardly talk about how women feel about the issue, and whether they'd willingly allow the practice.

2. Do you consider yourself a feminist? If so, how do you define 'feminism'? If not, why not?

No, I define myself as a creature of God and as a Muslim (one who submits to Gods will, which is in the ability of every creature to do so). As God loves all His creatures and provides for all of them, I must also strive for the rights of all the creatures to be implemented (as this is the just thing to do). Regardless of the creature’s gender, age, race/nationality, religion or species, I must fight for their rights equally without allowing any group to oppress the rights of another.

If the definition of a feminist is one who strives for the rights of women to be implemented, then I could be deemed a feminist (and striving for the rights of women) by others, if commitment to this cause would not exclude commitment to the fight for the rights of every other group within God’s creation. For example I would also have to be considered by others as a fighter for animal rights, male rights, children’s’ rights, adult’s rights, elderly rights, the racial and religious minorities rights and the rights of the religious and racial majority, and the list would continue until it encompasses the rights of every group in the creation.

To need to define every sector of the creation for whom I fight for, would not be practical. So it is better to be classified under a name which defines me as a striver for the rights of all. Furthermore, I would not define myself separately under the names of each different group because I believe that the whole of creation should be looked upon as a whole whenever possible, to avoid the creation of barriers between us.

The reason we should try to define ourselves as being part of one big group, is that God wants the whole of creation to work together in co-operation to achieve the greatest happiness for all, and all our actions should be aimed at achieving this goal.

In order to achieve this goal, defining difference between groups of creatures is necessary only for obtaining the understanding of what each individuals role should be for the greatest benefit of the collective (different creatures will have different strengths and weaknesses, and therefore will provide greater benefit working in the areas of their strengths).

But when deciding which group we as an individual should work to obtain the greatest benefits for, we should always make our priority the group as a whole (prioritize obtaining the rights of all of creation). If we prioritize achieving benefits and what we deem as ‘rights’ for just one or a few groups, we may overlook the rights of other groups and oppress them. So we need to consider the rights of all groups in the group as a whole, and try to apply equilibrium by following God’s laws.

One of the biggest diseases faced by the human is the disease of prioritizing the self at the expense of others. We have to understand that we are created to co-exist in a system that will only function efficiently if there is harmony between every creature. We have to understand that for our self to achieve our greatest benefit, the whole has to achieve the greatest benefit. This is because, if every creature wanted for others the good that they want for their self, then logically no creature would harm another.

Feminism combined with the ignorance of the rights of other groups, is another expression of the disease of the self. It is about prioritizing one’s self or one’s own group, in order to try to obtain the greatest benefits for this group. It is no different to racism, nationalism (believing ones nationality is superior), believing one’s religious group to be more important than others and believing adults are superior to children, etc. The desire to obtain benefits for one’s own group above others always comes back to the selfishness of wanting to obtain the greatest benefit for one’s self. And this is harmful if obtaining self benefits, is at the expense of the rights of others.

However, being selfish is not necessarily a bad thing. It is necessary to want the greatest benefit for your self, it is a basic instinct God has placed inside all of us. God has placed inside us the desire to obtain the greatest benefit for our self and to avoid harm as much as possible. He has done this so that we will for strive to find the truth of what will really provide the greatest benefit for our self and for us to apply this in our life. If we study reality and discover what the truth really is, we will see that God is Just so He made achieving the greatest benefit for each individual creature directly tied to achieving the greatest benefit for all of the rest of creation. He did this so that there would be the maximum chance for all to receive the greatest benefit. And once we understand that our greatest benefit is achieved by obtaining the greatest benefit for all, then we will fight for justice for all and not just for imagined ‘benefits’ for our self and our own groups, at the expense of oppressing the rights of others.

Bad selfishness, is wanting the greatest benefit for one’s self but not truly understanding what that is, and thereby oppressing others to obtain their rights (in the belief that you are gaining more benefit for your self), when truly you are harming the whole of creation (and thereby truly harming your own self).

The only way to make your self and the rest of creation happy, is to know what truly are your own rights and what are the rights of the rest of the creation, and then by working to have these rights implemented in every situation we face in everyday life. You can only find out what the true harms and benefits are by finding out what are the true laws that the Just Creator has provided for us. Truly only the One who is Just and has knowledge of all things, can be the only true expert on what laws will provide the greatest benefit for all of His own creation. And that is why we must submit to His laws, for the happiness of our self and all creation, in this life and in the next.

I think your take is very interesting but I have a few followup inquiries for you:

1. Do you think equality for every being is really what Islam promotes? Equality is not necessarily synonymous with justice. This world can be just, but it does not mean that everyone has to be equal in order for it to be just. Animals, for example, are clearly not equal to the status of human beings. God created us with intellect that animals do not have.

2. Are you implying being a feminist in the most general and orthodox sense of the term is selfish?

Your view on equality seems a bit idealistic to me. While anyone might believe in equality of all kinds, as in the examples you mentioned, there are only certain causes we can take up. We cannot simultaneously mobilize against every injustice at the same time: this is not very productive or realistic. Furthermore, just because one is a feminist does not necessarily mean they are ignorant of other issues. Most hardcore feminists are vegetarians as well. That said, are there certain causes you would prioritize over the rights/needs of women?

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2. Do you consider yourself a feminist? If so, how do you define 'feminism'? If not, why not?

If we take the definition of feminism to be "the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men", then no I don't consider myself to be a feminist. The reason for this lies with the fact that I am happy with the position given to me by Islam and I have to reason to pursue what is seen as 'equal rights' by others (usually the Western world). However, that said, in many Islamic cultures women are not even respected like they should be in Islam, in such cases I do consider my self to be a feminist as I'm not being given my rights (given to me by Islam) and so I need to pursue them.

4. Do you wear hijab? If not, why not? - If you used to wear the hijab, and decided to take it off, what led you to your decision?

I do wear hijab (you didn't really ask 'why' so I shall leave it at that :P )

6. For example, some women feel that there needs to be translations of the quran by women, or more female scholars to interpret the fiqh rules for women (as opposed to having a male ayatollah decide the rules for them). Do you think they might be unfair or unreasonable? 7. On a similar note, do you think the lecturers in mosques do a fair job talking about women's issues? Many of us have heard Ammar's rant about Muslim women who don't wear their hijabs properly. Are you okay with male preaches lecturing women about their hijab? or should women be the ones engaging in this discussion themselves?

I think that questions 6 and 7 have elements of similarity and so I have put them together and taken out the parts I haven't thought of or have no interest in. Apologies, I hope that is okay? :blush:

I don't have any problem with an Ayatollah telling me what I should do, what my rights are as a women, what are my duties as a women etc. I doubt that a scholar would purposely hold a bias approach to women and tell them things which are not Islamic. If anything, I think that if a woman was to interpret the fiqh rules for women they would hold more bias (as opposed to men) as they would be deciding on laws about themselves. To be honest, I don't really see any difference if a women did the translations of the Qur'an.. if anything I would look for the best and most learned person (when reading a translation) rather than worrying about their gender. On the other hand, I do feel encouraged by women who decide to study Islam as if anything, when lecturing, they can speak from experience when discussing female issues whereas with male speakers won't be able to and it may be hard for female listeners to be able to connect with them. An added bonus would also be that it can be awkward asking a male scholar about female issues (in person as opposed to online) and many women would probably feel a lot more comfortable talking to a woman.

8. How do you feel about female circumcision?

Apart from the fact that it is a horrible practice? I don't really think this is an issue in many Islamic cultures..

9. What are your thoughts about polygamy?

I don't have any particular views on polygamy however I do believe it should only be practised by men who can actually remain fair to all wives, whether there is such a man who can do that or not is another question. Though admittedly, being the romantic that I am, the idea of me being the only one for my (hypothetical) husband and him being the only one for me, appeals to me much more.

10. What are your thoughts about mutah? Does (or did) your virginity hold any special importance to you?

I don't have a problem with mu'ta at all really, I believe that you might as well stay with one women (for a period of time) in a halal way, rather than committing zina with your eyes with 20 women/men. That said though, I agree with mu'ta in theory however it is not really an option for many women who would probably be shunned by men when it came to permanent marriage.

11. What age do you want to get married/What age do you think women should get married? Before college? After pursuing a career?

The thing is, when people are on their own for so long, they develop their own lifestyles and when it comes to marriage they find that their lifestyles clash too much. Consequently, I think it is much better to get married young so you can grow and develop with your significant other

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1) yes it is, the fact that you have to take their premission to do certain things kind of takes your freedom away. Men are dominated in islam and its understandable why because he provideds and protects so asking for premission for somethings shows a sign of respect towards the man.

2) Thats for me to know and for you to figure out.

3) A strong woman that believes in Allah. The greatest muslim woman is fatmaid al zahra , shes the prefect example of definig what a muslim woman means. "muslim womamism" is extermly similar to feminist veiw e.g equal rights, they can do what a man can do and do better. Which can be achived because their are female soldiers,officers,pilots etc.

4) Hijab is wajab but it shouldnt be forced up on anyone. People should wear it because they fair god and not their parents. I think hijab is beautiful it makes you feel save and it covers you , its a sign of modesty but then again its not just about what you wear on your head its your actions and purity.

5) Ofcourse they should, if they have the ability to argue their case then why not? How would you feel about a female politiocans deciding laws for men? Obviously these politicans have worked with woman and studied what they want to make law for them. However some would say a woman would have a better understanding of what a woman needs, but if oppiste attrack then shouldnt they know better? Woman can be involved in any sector just like men can. The top chiefs are men, even though we have this sterotype that woman are good at it.

6) Culture and religon have to work together to see improvement. You need one to apply to the other to solve issues. If you think about it all these hadiths we have, have been designed to answer thr cultures issues. God put them as a guide. An this maybe the reason why culture and relgion cant be separated for some people. It would be nice to see a females interpretation of the quran ,why because their are ayat that females may faser differently . However if the words are the same or similar then their would be no difference if a man or woman did it. Their should be more female scholores , because I dont know any , if you can write my a list of names you be doing me a favour. Females can not be ayatallah because of this so called " emotional" aspect , then we have the pregnency issue etc. Men ayatallahs are better because they focus on one thing a time, while woman multi task they may mess out a point . Nevertheless woman can look at the topic from different angles and not just focus on one. Their will never be a ayatallah female because people may not take her word seriously because of the way culture looks at woman. Theres nothing unreasonable about it. However there may be some hadiths or ayats that men translate differently to a female which may lead to unfairness. Having said that if we translate some things we usually have similar traslations so theirs nothing unfair about it. Some may want the quran to be translated by a female to see if theirs any information hiden.

7) The lectures do a far job at the masjjed, however they can still discuss more about their issues because woman have all sorts of issues. Ammar is the last person on the plant that can talk about hijab, how you he feel if a woman told him about his hajab?

Some male lectures make the topic funnier so its lighter to take in, while others scream or shout which does not help sovlve the problem. How would men feel if a woman lectured them? Take it lightly or give that attuided " oh shes a female what does she know". Their are females that do a great job talking about hijab , woman are the ones that wear it so getting a woman to represent their view on the topic is good too.

8) No comment, purely because I feel sick and can not comment.

9) It states in the quran that men can have four wives but it also says that men can never, I repeat can never ever be equal in feelings. Even though god have allowed it , he has also made it difficualt just like he has done to other rules. If a man is a multi tasker and can treat all his wives equally then their would be no problem. But to what extend can a man treat them fairly, what if he forgot the needs of the other one sub cousiously ? Doesnt he have to have the same feelings for each one ? But if thats impossible then how can he marry another? For the ones that think woman are jealsey and selfish , would you like to share your wife? When you have the answer for that then you have the answer to why some woman act that way.

10) I CANT STRESS TO YOU HOW MUCH I HATE THAT WORD RIGHT KNOW. Its a type of marriage that can cause: honor killings, no sinning,tricking of others, self pleasure and premeint marraige rare cases. Its like boy/girl friend relationship but those words you say save you from sinning. But then again both of this relationship have no witness but god and god is forgiving. Whoever wishes to engage with them is not doing anything wrong but using a halal alternative to feed their needs. If virginity is not important then why is their a whole surah about mariam al 3thra (virgin mary)? Why didnt fatimat al zarha enter this type of marriage? Why did god create us virgins if its not impotant? It may of been designed for the male ego because it makes them feel like they have taken a gift,a specil thing away that no one else can take. Its a sign of purity , that you have saved your self from the sins and you have saved this for the person that deserves it.

11) When your physically and mentily ready to get married. When you find a person that accepts you for who you are, supports you , takes you in your highs and lows, grows your faith and doesnt change anything about you accepte your last name and address lol.

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This was a lovely response. You can disagree with me here if you want. But often I find that in majlises, different lecturers will stress on different aspects of Bibi Fatima and Bibi Zaynab. Some will specifically talk about their roles as great mothers and housewives, and others will focus on their outspoken will and defenders of Islam. I see you have emphasized on the latter. 

When did you start wearing hijab? Why?

Well said.

Perhaps. I suppose if you take the topic of hayz though, there may be the issue that male ayatollahs can't tell us what a period is or isnt since they clearly havent experienced it or seen it. In the Prophet's time, the rules for women were explained through Fatima (as). Shouldn't it continue to be that way?

There is a long winded thread on shiachat which basically says that female circumcision is allowed in Islam. There are certain rules that apply, but at the end of the day it is circumcision. It is not mustahab or anything, but it is allowed

I believe you certainly have a point here. I don't disagree. Historically speaking, virginity and chastity were first associated with one another via Christianity. Islam was not traditionally a proponent of this idea of associating the two things together. 

Okay, I admit it,  in a way Islam is patriarchal. 

I may have been a little hesitant to accept that. Although I try, it's kinda hard to let go of the western mindset. 

I completely agree. I, too,  dislike the way that some of the lectures are made. Fatima and Zainab (as) wouldn't be the great women they are if it weren't for their roles as both great mother figures and as defenders of Islam. You just can't see the full beauty of a picture if you look at one small piece of it. Those people who focus on one aspect or another will never see the true greatness and beauty of Fatimat ul-Zahra and Zainab (as). 

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I started wearing the hijab at 8. The original reason I put it on at the time was because I wanted to be like my mother. I found the hijab to be beautiful and something about it made me feel comfortable. Around the age 13, I started hating the hijab. I couldn't stand it and I'm pretty sure I was ready to take it off. The main reason for this was that I went to an American school wearing the hijab and not knowing why I did.  So after a while I started questioning everything and i started learning more about islam. I especially focused on the meaning of hijab. 

As a girl who grew up with a kind of feminist ideology, the idea of being respected for who I am and not my body amazed me. Alhamdulillah, at the time I also started learning about the other benefits and beauty in wearing the  hijab. Like the fact that the hijab is meant to keep your true beauty for the eyes of those whom deserve it. It really emphasizes how special a woman is. Also, hijab is the banner of islam. When someone sees me, they judge my whole religion by the way i look and act. That gave me responsibility, it made me want to represent Islam in the best way that I can. That's why it saddens me when I see a Muslim girl donning the 'wrong' hijab. This actually pushed me to wear as modest as i could. Even back when I first started wearing the hijab it wasn't the full hijab. Back then I would have rather died than to walk outside my house with what I wear now. 

Now, when I see a non-muslim I am completely confident and comfortable to be wearing the hijab. 

I would also like to emphasize that if one was wearing the correct hijab then one wouldn't attract the attention of men.  This was a very short summary of why I wear the hijab. I could elaborate even more if you would like me to.

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Most women in western countries trust male doctors but they can't trust male ayatollahs?? Okay, lets say that it is a problem that a man is making these rulings. So are you saying that we should have women as ayatollahs? I could add the fact that there are some women who go to howza just as long as any ayatollah out there. I have a relative that has been in the howza for quite some time now. We could have women working with a marja' to make these matters easier for us women. I'm not sure if that is the case currently or not.  

___________________________________

Would you please provide me with a link to that thread...  To be honest, I'm appalled at this idea and I'm very sure that it is prohibited. 

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The idea that words virginity and chastity are synonymous with each other is completely unislamic. I believe its just another one of those societal rules that are pushed as Islamic laws. Ive heard many stories of good Muslim women being divorced by men because they didn't shows signs of virginity on the wedding night. Sometimes it's the mans parents that demand proof that this girl was a virgin. It's disgusting. If only everyone started think as Muslims and only Muslims. 

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I think the way OP used patriarchal she she meant islam favors men over women.

It may be neither politically correct nor fashionable to admit to this fact in modern time but Islam, as defined by the brother, is indeed patriarchal. As Ayatullah Professor Mutahhari wisely explains in his book "The Modest Dress" (http://www.al-islam.org/modestdress/), Islam views men and women to be equal but not identical. And it is this which differentiates some laws that apply to the two genders. Some unenlightened people and pseudo-intellectuals often decry this asymmetry as "the oppression of women". But their blunder is not recognising this fact; that we are equal but not identical. This is only logical, for had we been created identical then 'gender' would have no real meaning or existence.

An example of how we all acknowledge this fact, regardless of world-view, is when we all agree that men and women are not identical physiologically. Hence, a female would normally take no offense at being offered a seat on the train or having the male carry the shopping bags! This is an everyday acknowledgement of the fact that we are not identical. The opposite – for the female to carry heavy objects in the presence of her male companion - would be scandalous and that is because our assumptions are grounded in reality; that genders have real differences. But this is not the whole extent of the asymmetry and genders also differ in other aspects. Islam simply understands more about this asymmetry between genders and this is hence manifested in the different form of laws that apply and the supposed ‘patriarchy’ that results. If cultures take this too far, as is often the case, then Islam is not itself at fault but those who have misapplied it.

All in all, and according to Islam, God has created male and female as complimentary beings that each possess strengths and weaknesses that alleviate or are allevated by the other, respectively. This intrinsic “asymmetry” between genders is, according to the Qur’an, a blessing and mercy from God and is the cause of gender companionship.

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6) Culture and religon have to work together to see improvement. You need one to apply to the other to solve issues. If you think about it all these hadiths we have, have been designed to answer thr cultures issues. God put them as a guide. An this maybe the reason why culture and relgion cant be separated for some people. It would be nice to see a females interpretation of the quran ,why because their are ayat that females may faser differently . However if the words are the same or similar then their would be no difference if a man or woman did it. Their should be more female scholores , because I dont know any , if you can write my a list of names you be doing me a favour. Females can not be ayatallah because of this so called " emotional" aspect , then we have the pregnency issue etc. Men ayatallahs are better because they focus on one thing a time, while woman multi task they may mess out a point . Nevertheless woman can look at the topic from different angles and not just focus on one. Their will never be a ayatallah female because people may not take her word seriously because of the way culture looks at woman. Theres nothing unreasonable about it. However there may be some hadiths or ayats that men translate differently to a female which may lead to unfairness. Having said that if we translate some things we usually have similar traslations so theirs nothing unfair about it. Some may want the quran to be translated by a female to see if theirs any information hiden.

Well, there are many - but not enough - females who have accomplished a lot when it comes to study of Islam. Here is a small list:

1. Sister Amina Inloes

2. Sister Rebecca Masterton

I know they are not seen with the Amama that our male aalims may wear or they don't look like traditional Female scholars from "back home" but I still do think they are quite knowledgeable.

3. Sayyed Khanum Tayyiba Bukhari (urdu speaker).

In fact, there is even a lady who has reached the level of Ijtihad! I follow Ayatollah Seestani and, therefore, am one of the "old school" people and he does not allow women to be Marjas but even if she cannot be followed, she is certainly knowledgeable. Here is a link about her:

http://www.islamicin...reh-sefati.html

Of course, most Marjas don't allow women to be followed but I will give a quote from someone who is quite well known (not revealing his identity):

I will provide a short "script" of the question:

Brother A: So can we do her taqleed or only Women can ??

Knowledgeable brother: Yes, according to Ay. Yusuf Sanaei and Ay. Ahmad Jannati (If I recall correctly).

The precedent set on its historical prohibition was a logical one and therefore can be dispensed with in accordance to circumstance; Ay. Syed . al-Kho'i wrote on some length on this matter.

Brother B: Bro (knowledgeable brother's name) sorry was that yes you can follow her?

Knowledgeable brother: If I recall so, yes, based upon the requisite statutes governing A'lamiyyah and/or its subsidiary responsibilities.

"My religious view – which is born out of a half century of deliberation and effort and while recalling the religious jurisprudence of Javaheri and durable methods of religious jurisprudence – is that the rights of men and women are equal in all affairs, and a woman can take up any and all government posts or very important religious positions."

- Aya. Sanaei ®

(The different colours represent the different people)

So, even if you disagree - like me - and say she cannot be followed, you must, at the least accept she is very, very knowledgeable about Islam.

May Allah (SWT) bless us all, our families and loved ones, guide us all to The Straight Path with His Perfect Guidance and may He, The Forgiver of Sins and The Oft-Forgiving, forgive all our sins for, indeed, there is neither any refuge nor any respite for the sinners except in Allah سبحانه وتعالى.

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In The Name of Allah ÓÈÍÇäå æÊÚÇáì, The Most Benficent, The Most Merciful.

We must remember one thing when we talk about Islam being patriarchal and that is that it just refers to men having the leadership position - the Prophets (peace be upon them all) and the Imams (peace be upon them all) were men - but that does not mean that women are either subjugated or oppressed. After all, Lady Fatima (peace be upon her) was NOT a male and, therefore, not one of the Prophets (peace be upon them all) or Imams (peace be upon them all) but she was still one of the Masumeen (peace be upon them all)!

She did not hold any leadership position as such - like Prophets (peace be upon them all) hold - and yet she was much greater than all Prophets (peace be upon them all) except one (pbuh) ! In fact, I do remember a hadith by one of the Imams (peace be upon them all) which said something like "We are the Hujjah of Allah upon you but Lady Fatima is the Hujjah upon us"!

NOTE: The above hadith is NOT word for word/verbatim but I gave the theme.

This just goes to show her status. This I believe is the most effective and most important statement I am going to make: "As long as Lady Fatima (peace be upon her) is there, Islam can NEVER be called a religion which is either misogynist or suppresses women!"

I know the questions are a bit more of a "ladies only" discussion but I think an important point must be made about the part I have highlighted in point 6 below:

6. What improvements do you think needs to be made toward the status of women in Muslim culture? For example, some women feel that there needs to be translations of the quran by women, or more female scholars to interpret the fiqh rules for women (as opposed to having a male ayatollah decide the rules for them). Do you think they might be unfair or unreasonable? Skimming through the a risalah for example, there is are some details I've always felt are quite difficult to follow, especially rules on menstruation.

I don't think that just because, as according to most Marjas, males makes the laws, this results in either oppression on the females or lead to errors in the laws just because the ones giving the fatwas don't experience what women experience. This is because, for one thing, they can always consult with women and can get an understanding of their issues as well.

I also think that this issue must be divided up into two facets: who makes the laws and how they are, then, delivered to the women.

1. According to most Marjas, women cannot be followed and, therefore, only males can be Marjas. Going with the majority view, we cannot really argue that since women are not the ones making the laws, then this would either lead to errors in the laws or subjugation of women. I believe so because of two things:

a. In the time of the Prophet (pbuh) , he was the one who was giving the laws and he was male. Can we ever argue that the laws he gave were not appropriate, erroneous or oppressive just because he did not experience the issues women face. Obviously not and the sole reason for this is that he was not the one who was making these laws but, rather, he was getting these laws from The Creator who knows the issues and problems women face even better than women and knows their solutions much better than any woman could ever find! Therefore, in the Prophet (pbuh) 's time, the laws regarding women were perfect even though the law giver was not a female. Of course, he did use his wives or Lady Fatima (peace be upon her) to disseminate these laws to the women in the community but that does not negate the fact that he was the prime lawgiver in the society and they were just his messengers. He just transmitted these laws using them because it is, often, inappropriate to discuss such issues with the opposite gender since they are sensitive topics. In fact, IF I AM NOT WRONG - which could be the case - I do remember reading or hearing - I am not sure whether it was from Sunni sources or Shia ones - that when needed, if the issue was complicated enough, he, himself, would go and answer the questions and queries of the females! Of course, I am not sure about this and, perhaps, someone more knowledgeable than me can shed some more light on this.

b. As for the current situation, we must realise one important fact: the Maraje are NOT the ones who make the laws. The Marajes do NOT make their own laws; they just collect the various Islamic sources and pass a fatwa about what they think the Prophet (pbuh) had ordered and, since they don't make the laws, even if they did not experience what women experience, their laws are still good since their source is the Prophet (pbuh) and Ahlulbayt (peace be upon them all) and, therefore,
Allah
(SWT) Himself! This is why even these laws cannot be oppressive or erroneous.

2. In regards to how the laws should be transmitted to the females, I do agree that females are mostly uncomfortable talking to men about certain issues but I don't see why the Maraje cannot use females to pass on the laws to the wider community and, then, there is, of course, the Risalah. I don't think anyone could feel uncomfortable reading from a book. I do recognise that, sometimes, the problem may be a bit too complicated for the Risalah to answer and, therefore, a person may need to talk to someone in person and that is why I would greatly encourage more of our females to be more active in Islamic circles and increase their knowledge of Islam on a professional note. If you read my last post, I have named some of the very knowledgeable ladies in our communities MASHALLAH. I am sure there are many more but since women's majalis tend to be a bit more "discreet", I just don't know many of them but the more the merrier!

Therefore, I don't see any reason to believe that males making laws (religious) about females is either subjugation or that it can lead to inappropriate or erroneous laws.

INSHALLAH, I have been helpful, clear and objective in my reasoning, have not hurt anyone and I hope the starter of this thread did not mind me breaking the "ladies only" rule! :D

May Allah (SWT) bless us all, our families and loved ones, guide us all to The Straight Path with His Perfect Guidance and may He, The Forgiver of Sins and The Oft-Forgiving, forgive all our sins for, indeed, there is neither any refuge nor any respite for the sinners except in Allah سبحانه وتعالى.

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INSHALLAH, I have been helpful, clear and objective in my reasoning, have not hurt anyone and I hope the starter of this thread did not mind me breaking the "ladies only" rule! :D

T) bless us all, our families and loved ones, guide us all to The Straight Path with His Perfect Guidance and may He, The Forgiver of Sins and The Oft-Forgiving, forgive all our sins for, indeed, there is neither any refuge nor any respite for the sinners except in Allah سبحانه وتعالى.

Actually, I do mind. You are free to post here, of course, since you are not breaking any rules. However, your input is completely defeating the point of the thread. I do not mean to single you out because I know its tempting and there are a few other men who have taken it upon themselves to give their opinions on a thread where I really wanted to explore what Shia women think and feel about certain things.

It is important for people, and in this case especially women to understand that it is okay to have difficulties understanding certain concepts or accepting certain things that may be "halal" and be uncomfortable with them. Judging from the responses I've seen here, even though certain things might be halal or haram everybody (again this is from what I have observed) faces some tensions between what they feel and what is "islamically" right and wrong. Its important to highlight these tensions, not to criticize Islam, but to figure out how we can confront them, because I truly believe Islam is a religion for all times.

While the men on this board do make a lot of contributions, this is simply a domain they cannot contribute toward. They can lay down all the hadiths, ayats and "objective" opinions they want, but that doesn't change or help how we feel about gender-specific issues.

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Actually, I do mind. You are free to post here, of course, since you are not breaking any rules. However, your input is completely defeating the point of the thread. I do not mean to single you out because I know its tempting and there are a few other men who have taken it upon themselves to give their opinions on a thread where I really wanted to explore what Shia women think and feel about certain things.

It is important for people, and in this case especially women to understand that it is okay to have difficulties understanding certain concepts or accepting certain things that may be "halal" and be uncomfortable with them. Judging from the responses I've seen here, even though certain things might be halal or haram everybody (again this is from what I have observed) faces some tensions between what they feel and what is "islamically" right and wrong. Its important to highlight these tensions, not to criticize Islam, but to figure out how we can confront them, because I truly believe Islam is a religion for all times.

While the men on this board do make a lot of contributions, this is simply a domain they cannot contribute toward. They can lay down all the hadiths, ayats and "objective" opinions they want, but that doesn't change or help how we feel about gender-specific issues.

Well, then I am extremely sorry for intruding into this discussion :no: ; I hope you will forgive me.

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You don't think Islam give the father supremecy in the family? The women and children and legally dependent of the men? Islam doesn't favour boys when it comes to inheritance? Descent isn't through the male line? Men don't have a disproportionately large share of power? A wife can't even leave the house without her husband's permission, so how can Islam be anything other than patriarchal? The mistake you are making is thinking this is a bad thing.

Men have a lot more responsiblity. Inheritance and power are to be used for the good of those you maintain not just for you. It is a different role not supremecy.

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2. Do you consider yourself a feminist? If so, how do you define 'feminism'? If not, why not?

If we take the definition of feminism to be "the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men", then no I don't consider myself to be a feminist. The reason for this lies with the fact that I am happy with the position given to me by Islam and I have to reason to pursue what is seen as 'equal rights' by others (usually the Western world). However, that said, in many Islamic cultures women are not even respected like they should be in Islam, in such cases I do consider my self to be a feminist as I'm not being given my rights (given to me by Islam) and so I need to pursue them.

So you consider yourself a feminist. But not exactly in the western sense. How would you define the Muslim version of feminism? What rights of women are not being respected in the Muslim world?

4. Do you wear hijab? If not, why not? - If you used to wear the hijab, and decided to take it off, what led you to your decision?

I do wear hijab (you didn't really ask 'why' so I shall leave it at that :P )

Have you ever considered taking it off? How do you feel about women who decide to take it off? Personally I sympathize with them because although I wear hijab I know how hard it can be.

I don't have any problem with an Ayatollah telling me what I should do, what my rights are as a women, what are my duties as a women etc. I doubt that a scholar would purposely hold a bias approach to women and tell them things which are not Islamic. If anything, I think that if a woman was to interpret the fiqh rules for women they would hold more bias (as opposed to men) as they would be deciding on laws about themselves.

But by that logic, dont you think men are bias towards their own rights?

10. What are your thoughts about mutah? Does (or did) your virginity hold any special importance to you?

I don't have a problem with mu'ta at all really, I believe that you might as well stay with one women (for a period of time) in a halal way, rather than committing zina with your eyes with 20 women/men. That said though, I agree with mu'ta in theory however it is not really an option for many women who would probably be shunned by men when it came to permanent marriage.

What do you think about women who choose to have sex before marriage via muta? Do you think women, in general, should wait for marriage? There is the stereotype, I think, in our community that women who choose to have sex before marriage are like prostitutes

1) yes it is, the fact that you have to take their premission to do certain things kind of takes your freedom away. Men are dominated in islam and its understandable why because he provideds and protects so asking for premission for somethings shows a sign of respect towards the man.

do you feel comfortable with the idea of asking a man permission before you go out? or before you do anything? You dont see that as something that hinders your own independence as a human being? That said, does independence appeal to you?

3) A strong woman that believes in Allah. The greatest muslim woman is fatmaid al zahra , shes the prefect example of definig what a muslim woman means. "muslim womamism" is extermly similar to feminist veiw e.g equal rights, they can do what a man can do and do better. Which can be achived because their are female soldiers,officers,pilots etc.

Are there things you think a woman cannot do?

4) Hijab is wajab but it shouldnt be forced up on anyone. People should wear it because they fair god and not their parents. I think hijab is beautiful it makes you feel save and it covers you , its a sign of modesty but then again its not just about what you wear on your head its your actions and purity.

I'll ask you the same question I asked whiteskies and that is: how do you feel about women who choose to take their hijab off? Do you sympathize with them in any way?

6) Culture and religon have to work together to see improvement. You need one to apply to the other to solve issues. If you think about it all these hadiths we have, have been designed to answer thr cultures issues. God put them as a guide. An this maybe the reason why culture and relgion cant be separated for some people. It would be nice to see a females interpretation of the quran ,why because their are ayat that females may faser differently . However if the words are the same or similar then their would be no difference if a man or woman did it. Their should be more female scholores , because I dont know any , if you can write my a list of names you be doing me a favour. Females can not be ayatallah because of this so called " emotional" aspect , then we have the pregnency issue etc. Men ayatallahs are better because they focus on one thing a time, while woman multi task they may mess out a point . Nevertheless woman can look at the topic from different angles and not just focus on one. Their will never be a ayatallah female because people may not take her word seriously because of the way culture looks at woman. Theres nothing unreasonable about it. However there may be some hadiths or ayats that men translate differently to a female which may lead to unfairness. Having said that if we translate some things we usually have similar traslations so theirs nothing unfair about it. Some may want the quran to be translated by a female to see if theirs any information hiden.

If I've understood this correctly, you are arguing that women, at times, may be too emotional to think objectively? But isn't that a case for all human beings? Sure women have pregnancies and periods, but men have testosterone that cause them to be equally egotistical, stubborn and certified [Edited Out]s.

In the medieaval era, there actually used to be MANY female scholars in Islam who used to lecture in mixed arenas.Do you see culture now a days as a hindrance on female empowerment in this respect? You said that its because of culture that women aren't taken seriously. Have you, personally, experienced this?

7) The lectures do a far job at the masjjed, however they can still discuss more about their issues because woman have all sorts of issues. Ammar is the last person on the plant that can talk about hijab, how you he feel if a woman told him about his hajab?

Some male lectures make the topic funnier so its lighter to take in, while others scream or shout which does not help sovlve the problem. How would men feel if a woman lectured them? Take it lightly or give that attuided " oh shes a female what does she know". Their are females that do a great job talking about hijab , woman are the ones that wear it so getting a woman to represent their view on the topic is good too.

I agree with you here. Personally even as a hijabi, I was offended by the way he approached the topic. Just the idea in general that he felt he could get up on the mimbar and yell at women for not wearing hijab.

10) I CANT STRESS TO YOU HOW MUCH I HATE THAT WORD RIGHT KNOW. Its a type of marriage that can cause: honor killings, no sinning,tricking of others, self pleasure and premeint marraige rare cases. Its like boy/girl friend relationship but those words you say save you from sinning. But then again both of this relationship have no witness but god and god is forgiving. Whoever wishes to engage with them is not doing anything wrong but using a halal alternative to feed their needs. If virginity is not important then why is their a whole surah about mariam al 3thra (virgin mary)? Why didnt fatimat al zarha enter this type of marriage? Why did god create us virgins if its not impotant? It may of been designed for the male ego because it makes them feel like they have taken a gift,a specil thing away that no one else can take. Its a sign of purity , that you have saved your self from the sins and you have saved this for the person that deserves it.

So you feel that virginity of a woman is very important. How do you define 'virginity'? Is a man's virginity important or significant as well?

Do you really feel that virginity is a gift for men? If so, how does that feed into the idea of equal status between men and women?

And just to clarify, you do feel that there a tension between Islamic laws on Muta'a and your own personal feelings about sex and virginity?

Okay, I admit it, in a way Islam is patriarchal.

I may have been a little hesitant to accept that. Although I try, it's kinda hard to let go of the western mindset.

I think forte put it nicely - men might be given more power, but it does not have to make them superior in status.

I started wearing the hijab at 8. The original reason I put it on at the time was because I wanted to be like my mother. I found the hijab to be beautiful and something about it made me feel comfortable. Around the age 13, I started hating the hijab. I couldn't stand it and I'm pretty sure I was ready to take it off. The main reason for this was that I went to an American school wearing the hijab and not knowing why I did. So after a while I started questioning everything and i started learning more about islam. I especially focused on the meaning of hijab.

As a girl who grew up with a kind of feminist ideology, the idea of being respected for who I am and not my body amazed me. Alhamdulillah, at the time I also started learning about the other benefits and beauty in wearing the hijab. Like the fact that the hijab is meant to keep your true beauty for the eyes of those whom deserve it. It really emphasizes how special a woman is. Also, hijab is the banner of islam. When someone sees me, they judge my whole religion by the way i look and act. That gave me responsibility, it made me want to represent Islam in the best way that I can. That's why it saddens me when I see a Muslim girl donning the 'wrong' hijab. This actually pushed me to wear as modest as i could. Even back when I first started wearing the hijab it wasn't the full hijab. Back then I would have rather died than to walk outside my house with what I wear now.

Now, when I see a non-muslim I am completely confident and comfortable to be wearing the hijab.

I would also like to emphasize that if one was wearing the correct hijab then one wouldn't attract the attention of men. This was a very short summary of why I wear the hijab. I could elaborate even more if you would like me to.

______________________

This was actually very inspirational.

So in a sense, what you are saying is that you feel hijab is a muslim symbol of female empowerment.

Can you elaborate on what you see as "wrong" hijab?

Most women in western countries trust male doctors but they can't trust male ayatollahs?? Okay, lets say that it is a problem that a man is making these rulings. So are you saying that we should have women as ayatollahs? I could add the fact that there are some women who go to howza just as long as any ayatollah out there. I have a relative that has been in the howza for quite some time now. We could have women working with a marja' to make these matters easier for us women. I'm not sure if that is the case currently or not.

Nope, there aren't any women working along side ayatollahs to make their rules. Sure, women do hang out in hawzahs but they don't end up getting many scholarly positions, as far as I know...

Would you please provide me with a link to that thread... To be honest, I'm appalled at this idea and I'm very sure that it is prohibited.

http://www.shiachat....e-circumcision/

The idea that words virginity and chastity are synonymous with each other is completely unislamic. I believe its just another one of those societal rules that are pushed as Islamic laws. Ive heard many stories of good Muslim women being divorced by men because they didn't shows signs of virginity on the wedding night. Sometimes it's the mans parents that demand proof that this girl was a virgin. It's disgusting. If only everyone started think as Muslims and only Muslims.

Thats a great point. What would you say to kim.tinkerbells response here:

10) I CANT STRESS TO YOU HOW MUCH I HATE THAT WORD RIGHT KNOW. Its a type of marriage that can cause: honor killings, no sinning,tricking of others, self pleasure and premeint marraige rare cases. Its like boy/girl friend relationship but those words you say save you from sinning. But then again both of this relationship have no witness but god and god is forgiving. Whoever wishes to engage with them is not doing anything wrong but using a halal alternative to feed their needs. If virginity is not important then why is their a whole surah about mariam al 3thra (virgin mary)? Why didnt fatimat al zarha enter this type of marriage? Why did god create us virgins if its not impotant? It may of been designed for the male ego because it makes them feel like they have taken a gift,a specil thing away that no one else can take. Its a sign of purity , that you have saved your self from the sins and you have saved this for the person that deserves it.

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Well if you can say it in a respectful way, I'd really like to know what you think! You are a very distinguished character on shiachat, so your opinions are very valuable in this discussion.

Ok - no offence intended - I would define a muslim woman as a sexual object. And that she enjoys it and does not see this as a problem. The fact that she enjoys it as much as a man, means that I also define a Muslim woman as equal to a man.

Interesting. So what do you consider 'modest'? Is it a way of dressing?

What was it like to remove your hijab? Did you see it as 'liberating'? Do you think you've changed as a person after you took off your hijab?

Modesty is in manner. In the past it would have been in dress, however now, hijab is a kind of fashion. No I didn't feel liberated, I actually felt as though my freedom got taken away from me. For eg, i suddenly felt like I couldnt hang out with the hijabi friends i had or socialise with the opposite sex because I was not as accepted (by muslims). I dont think removing my hijab has changed me as a person; but it has probably led me to befriend people who I wouldnt have otherwise and therefore I have become a bit more Western (and subsequently anti-western).

Well how about women's issues in law? Do you feel comfortable about men deciding what constitutes 'rape'? Sexual abuse? Abortion laws? Access to birth control? These are issues that men clearly do not have any foresight about.

Sometimes I think its best if men also deal with womens issues because women are too involved. For example, a man would constitute sexual assault to be only extreme incidents. This is a good thing because otherwise, according to the female definition of assault, most women would be victims and therefore more women would suffer as victims. Also, consdiering women are naturally more emotional, maternal and caring, if women were to decide the laws regarding birth control, abortion etc, contraception would be abused. Sometimes hard firm laws are required for the betterment of the majority of society as a whole, even if this means a minority of women will suffer as a consequence; and I believe men are best suited in doing this.

Outside the domain of Islam, do you believe women should save their virginity until marriage? Why is virginity important? Often it is associated with chastity and purity - do you agree?

Yes. Virginity means purity and chastity and I think this is very important. Sex before marriage just devalues marriage and the consequences will be what we see in the Western world today.

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3. How do you define what it means to be a Muslim woman. For the sake of this discussion lets say there is a new term called "Muslim Womanism" (sort of like the term "feminism"), what values and ideas would you attach to it? (ex, equality? motherhood?)

I dont think i've understood this question properly..but, i think if I gave my definition of a muslim women - id get in trouble, lol/

I would genuinely really like to know what your definition is, perhaps you could PM me, i enjoy hearing your views.

4. Do you wear hijab? If not, why not? - If you used to wear the hijab, and decided to take it off, what led you to your decision?

No. Because its not seen as modest anymore. I took it off because i was getting more (muslim) male attention with it on.

That's interesting, i have the same viewpoint as you here. I express my views on the headscarf here

http://www.shiachat.com/forum/index.php?/topic/234996772-worst-hijab/

My post is at the bottom of the page.

7. In your experience, have you always been treated by men 'fairly' and respectfully? Do you ever feel inferior around community men to a point you feel uncomfortable? On a similar note, do you think the lecturers in mosques do a fair job talking about women's issues? Many of us have heard Ammar's rant about Muslim women who don't wear their hijabs properly. Are you okay with male preaches lecturing women about their hijab? or should women be the ones engaging in this discussion themselves?

No muslim men have treated me extremely disrespectfully. As far as Im concerned Syed Ammar should fix up his hijab before telling me to.

LOL i don't see anything wrong with Syed Ammar's 'hijab' but i don't think men should be ranting about this topic on the pulpit because the perspectives of muslims on the headscarf are really subjective and it's all questionable.

How have men treated you 'extremely' disrespectfully?

10. What are your thoughts about mutah? Does (or did) your virginity hold any special importance to you?

Disgusting. Im ashamed to be a shia for this reason. Virginity is very important.

I don't agree here, a virgin isn't better than a non-virgin, you're being dictated by culture , not reality. It's a biased perception. There's no hymen worship in the religion.

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Salam

1. Do you believe Islam is a patriarchal religion? If so, do you have any trouble reconciling this?

- I believe Islam outlines the roles for genders as they are intended to be.

2. Do you consider yourself a feminist? If so, how do you define 'feminism'? If not, why not?

- No, I do not consider myself a feminist. I define feminism as women attempting to take male roles...

3. How do you define what it means to be a Muslim woman. For the sake of this discussion lets say there is a new term called "Muslim Womanism" (sort of like the term "feminism"), what values and ideas would you attach to it? (ex, equality? Motherhood?)

- I dislike the idea of the term “Muslim Womanism”. I believe that role confusion a significant cause of the decay in western society.

4. Do you wear hijab? If not, why not? - If you used to wear the hijab, and decided to take it off, what led you to your decision?

- I do not always wear my hijab. I have recently reverted and appreciate wearing the hijab around other Muslims. However, I am clearly white and where I live it is VERY unusual to see a white person in a hijab, which makes me uncomfortable. I do wish to wear it all the time. Even not wearing the hijab, my clothes are loose and appropriate.

7. In your experience, have you always been treated by men 'fairly' and respectfully? Do you ever feel inferior around community men to a point you feel uncomfortable?

- I feel that behaviour has an impact on how females are treated by males.. ie, dress, places frequented and friends a woman spends time with. No, I have not always been treated fairly or respectfully by men. I do not feel inferior to men, but I have felt intimidated.

9. What are your thoughts about polygamy?

- I feel it is acceptable for those who wish to be in a polygamist marriage.

10. What are your thoughts about mutah?

- Personal choice and not my business what others chose to do.

11. What age do you want to get married/What age do you think women should get married? Before college? After pursuing a career?

- I want to get married when I find the man who is right for me and I am right for him. Timing is not an issue, but good choice is.


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jen - thanks for your comments. I'll definitely respond in length in a few days. Just have to catch up on some of my own work first!

I would genuinely really like to know what your definition is, perhaps you could PM me, i enjoy hearing your views.

She actually did respond in her last post. See here:

Ok - no offence intended - I would define a muslim woman as a sexual object. And that she enjoys it and does not see this as a problem. The fact that she enjoys it as much as a man, means that I also define a Muslim woman as equal to a man.

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1. Do you believe Islam is a patriarchal religion? If so, do you have any trouble reconciling this?

Islam is a patriarchal religion in the sense that men lead society. that does not mean that women and men are unequal, just that men are created to make more suitable leaders.

2. Do you consider yourself a feminist? If so, how do you define 'feminism'? If not, why not?

I don't consider my myself a feminist, because (as someone pointed out), feminism is not a word to describe real women's rights. It is a word used to describe women's cries to assume male roles. Why don't we see men protesting to be recognized as cooks, bringing up children, sewing, etc and calling it masculinism? its quite ridiculous. Women who are feminist in that sense of the word need to be more graceful: what we have is something to be proud of. Women make or break a community; decent, chaste, pious, loving, caring, patient women will bring up the best children, support and influence the best of husbands - and usually won't even ask for anything in return. This is the power of a pious woman. The opposite - a impious, unchaste woman is very much like what Imam Ali (a.s) mentions in his sermon ... like a scorpian.

What I do believe in is standing up for the rights of women where they are actually being oppressed. I.e. in the western countries today, the models and media present women so lowly... why don't we speak against it? how can they treat something so precious, respectable, in such a dirty manner? where is our self respect and pride? or even in other places around the world, not western countries usually, the level of education for women is poor... things like that...

3. How do you define what it means to be a Muslim woman. For the sake of this discussion lets say there is a new term called "Muslim Womanism" (sort of like the term "feminism"), what values and ideas would you attach to it? (ex, equality? motherhood?)

I touched on this above but I'll expand: a Muslim women should be chaste, a good mother, a supportive but obedient wife. I say obedient and many people think "how old fasioned" but the way i see it: A women is like an expert politician in her house. If she obeys her husband, her husband will be putty in her hands. She can mould and influence him however she wants, as long as she makes sure that he thinks he is the master and making all the rules. And same with children; if you make them feel like they are free (to a certain extent), or if you give them space to grow, they will come back to what you taught them no matter what happens....It sounds bad, the whole 'controlling the husband thing' but usually the women who have the patience to carry this through are the pious women who will use this power only for good.

I read somewhere recently that the reason islam puts so much importance on women obeying men, and men being 'higher' than women is because in reality men are weak - they need that 'stroking of the ego'.

4. Do you wear hijab? If not, why not? - If you used to wear the hijab, and decided to take it off, what led you to your decision?

I wear Hijab. More importantly, I believe in it. many people who wear hijab and discard it later never wore it properly to begin with; fully, never compromising to 'fit in', modestly, and when you wear it like that, it empowers you.

unfortunately most muslims in the west have compromised their hijab too much. They try and wear hijab and look pretty at the same time, but what they don't realise is neither do they look as good as they would without their hijab, nor are they wearing hijab properly. these are losers in both the world and the akhira, in this aspect. You can look presentable in hijab without using make up, without making your aba's just a tad tighter, without wearing short clothes, and while ensuring your body shape is entirely covered. you can still look respectable and presentable.

5. Should women be involved in politics (if so to what extent)? How do you feel about male politicians deciding laws for women?

Not really necessary unless women are being oppressed on a political level and need to speak up against the oppression. I don't mind as long as they take into consideration women, justice etc..

6. What improvements do you think needs to be made toward the status of women in Muslim culture? For example, some women feel that there needs to be translations of the quran by women, or more female scholars to interpret the fiqh rules for women (as opposed to having a male ayatollah decide the rules for them). Do you think they might be unfair or unreasonable? Skimming through the a risalah for example, there is are some details I've always felt are quite difficult to follow, especially rules on menstruation.

Women should DEFINITELY be more involved in islamic knowledge, we need more female scholars as a matter of urgency, particularly in the western countries - more 'western' speakers who have really studied the traditional way. As for interpreting fiqh rules, it takes many many years of study to reach ijtihad level, and even then, according to our scholars women cannot be followed in matters of fiqh. I don't understand why, perhaps its because women have so many other responsibilities that this one is best left to men - who knows. Nevertheless, I don't think fiqh rulings are 'unfair' - anyway, they aren't designed or taken out from 'male scholars' - these scholars just interpret what Allh wants from us according to the Imam's and the H.Prophet. The rules of menstruation are generally very much misunderstood anyway...

To emphasise: male shcolars DONT take out rules from their pockets. They research ahadith and quranic ayahs, and make rules according to these, so its not their 'opinion' rather its their 'interpretation'

personally I would be very cautious in claiming there is a bias present.

7. In your experience, have you always been treated by men 'fairly' and respectfully? Do you ever feel inferior around community men to a point you feel uncomfortable? On a similar note, do you think the lecturers in mosques do a fair job talking about women's issues? Many of us have heard Ammar's rant about Muslim women who don't wear their hijabs properly. Are you okay with male preaches lecturing women about their hijab? or should women be the ones engaging in this discussion themselves?

I have always felt most respected when I am around men who don't look me straight in the eye. I am awed by such respect, it moves me. There are not enough women out there (again, i mean properly educated in a traditional way) - to teach women about hijab, so i guess men have to take that role. But yeah I'm okay with it - people who get offended are sometimes guilty of it. But, reading the posts above, I guess in a way if it is done in a mocking manner than it doesn't really befit the adab of speaking in public, nor is it respectful to the audience.

8. How do you feel about female circumcision?

Haven't really read about it or done any research, Sounds gross. no idea what islams take on it is.

9. What are your thoughts about polygamy?

Ok for some but doesn't work in our society and culture at all...for those arab countries who are able to handle it nicely, well Allh says its ok, so who am i to protest?

10. What are your thoughts about mutah? Does (or did) your virginity hold any special importance to you?

Mutah was created for a specific purpose, and in fulfilling that purpose i don't have any problem with it in theory. I choose to pass the question on virginity for now...

11. What age do you want to get married/What age do you think women should get married? Before college? After pursuing a career?

I'm married. was married quite young (according to western standards) but i studied after and was fine... don't really see why people have to study before getting married. I think women should get married young only because the older you get, the harder it is these days... change is difficult and when you're young, you can handle it a lot better. but its debatable and im quite open minded about it, i think... marriage is tough, you do need a level of maturity. the answer is not getting married later, its becoming mature earlier.

Edited by amirafatima
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Reading this thread, it seems that we are already in an age of post-feminism, at least so far as Muslim women are concerned. It looks as if it is only those who have reaped full benefits of the successes of traditional feminism (educational and employment opportunities, increased gender equality in society, more female individuality etc) who are now turning their backs on its gains, without giving second thought to the plight of those millions of unfortunate ones (outside the glorious West) who are still locked down in 18th century.

Sorry for poking my nose in, Mehvish. Couldn't resist making an observation. Please ignore.

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I have a few points to make, so that sisters (and brothers, for that matter) don't get confused by the word feminism; and unknowingly accept it, along with the package that comes with it.

We cannot reduce "feminism" to simply a call for increased rights for women. That would be akin to reducing Marxism to "social justice," or capitalism to "free markets," or fascism to "authoritarian government" (which so many people time and time again, make this mistake).

The whole point of ideology, is that you have an all-encompassing program, not just a two-word slogan.

So feminism is not simply, women's rights, but rather it has an all-encompassing program, with specific dictates on specific issues.

Now if you ask me the "nitty gritty" of feminist ideology, I won't have an answer for you. I have not read their literature, to be honest with you.

But from observations and reflections on Western society and the position of women in Western society, a reasonable conclusion about the feminist program, can be reached. When I say Western society, I do not mean the Western society as propagated by the highly sexualized cultural apparatus, which reduces woman to a piece of meat. I mean the more sophisticated side of Western society: the educational appratus, the labor system, etc.

And there is one thing that can easily be noticed: the structure of the society, is in a way that there is equal economic burden on women and men. There is an equal burden on women as far as producing income, having gainful employment that pays off living expenses, etc...

This is plainly evident just by looking at the society. Because median marriage age is so high, women coming out of high school or college are just as much in need of adequate income, as men are. For a good portion of their lives, women must provide for themselves economically. And to boot, most households, are two-income households (meaning, both the man and the woman, work outside the home and earn income).

So...

This is the first point. The Leader says: Islam does not prohibit women from being in the workforce, and in fact, this is encouraged in Islam. However, their presence in the work force must not take them away from thier job as a mother. Imam Khomeini says: The lap of the mother is the school that produces lofty individuals. (not quotes, just paraphrases; can provide references for anyone who is interested). He also says: For the ladies there is one matter which is greater than other matters, and that is the raising of offspring. (this, and the rest, will all be direct quotes)

So clearly, according to our beliefs, motherhood is the job for woman which takes priority over others. As such, the social structure, the family structure, the labor system, etc... must cater to that. Now... does the society that I have described above, cater to motherhood? If we are honest with ourselves, then we say: No, it does not. It places equal economic burden on the man and woman, which invariably makes motherhood -- strong motherhood, the type that Imam Khomeini referred to -- exceedingly difficult. Not impossible! But difficult. This is undeniable. And this is why, in American families, there is very little imparting of values from parent to child. The children essentially, do not have their first school (their mother's lap) in full form. The child spends a good deal of time in a day care center and ultimately, the mother's role in the instruction and training of her child, is reduced. The Departed Imam says: The role of woman in society is greater than the role of man, because women – in addition to themselves being active in all dimensions of society – raise the future generation of activists, in their laps. Because of this dual role, it logically follows that one aspect of the role is made lighter, in order that a woman is better able to perform the other!

So this is one point where we see the feminist program is in opposition to to programs of Islam. In Islam, economic burdens of man and woman are not equal. There is a greater economic burden on the man, which is precisely because of this motherhood issue. Because of the very nature of motherhood, for there to be equal economic obligations of man and woman, is a clear injustice to woman! Imagine having to work to make a living; through pregnancy, through nursing, through raising the future generation of society? This is a task, which very few can succeed in. And if a few do, they are exceptional cases and thus should not be used to derive judgements.

Western feminists miss the boat, on this issue. Instead of realizing the incorrectness of this idea, and the illogic of having this expectation of a human being, they spend their time talking about "income equality" and other matters that are completely irrelevant! The dignity and respect of woman is much greater than such petty matters; it is manifested in everything, right down to the personal interactions between man and woman (which Islam best governs over). Ruhollah the Great says: Woman is not a doll; she is a human being, and a lofty human being at that. He also says: The history of Islam is witness to the Messenger of God’s infinite respect for this noble sex. He showed people that woman has a special greatness, and that she is equal to man, if not greater. The reductionist feminist attitude -- which reduces a woman's dignity to something as petty as gaining equal wages (as if this solves everything, and this will give woman dignity!) -- misses the boat.

As for the nonsensical mentality that whatever progress mominaat have made is due to Western influence and the reluctant implementation of feminist programs in Islamic countries, whoever thinks this should not say it out loud! Because it shows their complete lack of understanding of Islamic history! Look at Islamic history and you see we have always had women participating in jihad, women recording hadith, women in scholarship, women doing many such things. In the West (the US and Britain, to be exact), married women could not own property until just about 100 years or so ago. Islam had already provided these rights, 1400 years ago. The West brags about its female combat nurses which they only began having in World War I (1914-1918), while Muslim women were doing these things during battles in which the Prophet himself was commanding armies.

Meanwhile, one of the highest of stature in Mammad Reza Shah's royal court once bragged: The miniskirts in Tehran are shorter than the ones in Paris. Our countries took feminism (already a very flawed idea) and churned out... that. This is what I hate about us: we take ideas which are imperfect, genetically deform them so that they become a one-eyed monster with downs syndrome and paralysis in its left leg, and then implement them in our country. Feminism's ascent in the West -- and the rise of feminist ideas in the West -- is due to specific conditions in a specific society. Outside of that context, outside of that paradigm, it really doesn't make sense. It makes as much sense to export feminism to non-Western societies, as it does to export Italian fascism to eskimos.

In any case, there is much more to say on this issue, and I planned on saying more, but this is taking way too much time so I will just leave on this note: Islam is Islam. We should not try to amalgamate it with other ideologies. Moreover, the dignity, honor, and exalted status that Islam has given women, cannot be found in any other ideology; not even if it has a name like "feminism."

Ya Ali

Edited by baradar_jackson
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I guess it only makes sense that everyone has the chance to scrutinize me too. Below are my answers:

1. Do you believe Islam is a patriarchal religion? If so, do you have any trouble reconciling this?

Islam was revealed to a patriarchal society, and therefore, things had to be catered to making a patriarchal society more just. I do not think its incompatible with non-patriarchal societies, we just need to find a way, and change the way we think. There is nothing divine or profound about patriarchal societies that we must continue to live by them.

If Islam was revealed today, the Prophet wouldn't get very far in convincing non-patriarchal societies to readjust and change their entire lifestyles, just like he wouldn't have gotten far in asking patriarchal to become non-patriarchal. The Ahlul Bayt clearly catered to the societies they had to work with.

2. Do you consider yourself a feminist? If so, how do you define 'feminism'? If not, why not?

Yes I do consider myself a feminist. I don't like the word, because its the same word first-world women refer themselves as, and I am definitely not part of that category. First-world feminists and mainstream Islamic scholars are equally reductionist in their view of Muslim women. While first world feminists see the developed world as the only gateway to female empowerment, and fall back on cultural relativism to explain third-world women, Islamic scholars and Muslim politicians are equally reductionist in that they take it upon themselves to create a set of rules as to how a woman should live.

I define feminism as a Muslim as standing up against the orientalist-driven critiques given by first-world feminists, and against the mullahs that feel that they can control our lives.

3. How do you define what it means to be a Muslim woman. For the sake of this discussion lets say there is a new term called "Muslim Womanism" (sort of like the term "feminism"), what values and ideas would you attach to it? (ex, equality? motherhood?)

Muslim womanism would entail critiquing gender roles as they have been set by Islamic culture, and as they have been imposed on us by the west.

I think this type of discourse is needed since we have so many different groups of people, be it Islamic scholars, Muslim politicians, male relatives, western scholars, western women etc who are all trying to decide what our roles should be and what we should or should not do. Muslim women, in this sense, have been silenced.

4. Do you wear hijab? If not, why not? - If you used to wear the hijab, and decided to take it off, what led you to your decision?

Been wearing hijab since I was a kid.

5. Should women be involved in politics (if so to what extent)? How do you feel about male politicians deciding laws for women?

Absolutely women should be involved in politics. They need a more active role in the justice system too. As I have mentioned repeatedly, there are so many areas men cannot have any foresight about.

Rape is probably the biggest example of this. How do we define rape? Is it sex without consent? How about women who give their consent but feel pressured to or are forced to? There are so many puzzles on the topic of sexual abuse its absolutely impossible for a man to decide laws on these things.

6. What improvements do you think needs to be made toward the status of women in Muslim culture? For example, some women feel that there needs to be translations of the quran by women, or more female scholars to interpret the fiqh rules for women (as opposed to having a male ayatollah decide the rules for them). Do you think they might be unfair or unreasonable? Skimming through the a risalah for example, there is are some details I've always felt are quite difficult to follow, especially rules on menstruation.

In Arabic, words can be translated in so many different ways, so translations and interprations of the Quran certainly can be abused by the translator or interpreter.

I think risalahs are generally inaccurate when it comes to rules on the kinds of blood seen by women. Its absolutely confusing and completely unfair.

7. In your experience, have you always been treated by men 'fairly' and respectfully? Do you ever feel inferior around community men to a point you feel uncomfortable? On a similar note, do you think the lecturers in mosques do a fair job talking about women's issues? Many of us have heard Ammar's rant about Muslim women who don't wear their hijabs properly. Are you okay with male preaches lecturing women about their hijab? or should women be the ones engaging in this discussion themselves?

While there are many men at mosques and Islamic gatherings who do make an effort to be appropriate and act respectful, I have certainly faced instances where I felt disrespected. There are many times I feel I'm not being taken seriously or simply ignored. I've also overheard lots of guys talking about other girls in an extremely disrespectful way. Its natural to be checking girls out, but the problem in our segregated communities, is that young girls and boys simply don't know how to interact with each other appropriately.

I absolutely despise whenever any lecturer takes it upon themselves to address women's issues. They have no right to lecture women, when there are no women physically in their presence to defend themselves. This is wrong, and completely unislamic.

8. How do you feel about female circumcision?

I think its awful. I know as a fact it does happen in a minority of our community. But who are the ones circumsing girls? Women. We do it to ourselves and we need to fix this.

9. What are your thoughts about polygamy?

I think monogamy is quite unnatural. People should have as many sexual partners as they can handle so long as they can do it responsibly with no one getting hurt. A woman should have the right to divorce if she feels uncomfortable with another wife around.

In practice i have seen many polygamous marriages where the wives and children generally feel satisfied with the arrangement. In these cases, they seem much more independent than women in monogamous marriages.

Personally, I dont see myself entering a polygamous marriage.

10. What are your thoughts about mutah? Does (or did) your virginity hold any special importance to you?

Virginity is a construct we make up in our head and is influenced by pseudo-christian culture. There is nothing islamic about being a virgin.

Mutah is a responsible way of having a boyfriend or girlfriend. I think its an interesting concept that absolutely does not work in reality. We simply do not have an Islamic culture that would make mutah okay, without tarnishing the reputation of the girl, and making it into something controversial in the community.

11. What age do you want to get married/What age do you think women should get married? Before college? After pursuing a career?

No age. Marriage isn't a priority at this stage in my life. Not sure if I will or when it will be.

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Reading this thread, it seems that we are already in an age of post-feminism, at least so far as Muslim women are concerned. It looks as if it is only those who have reaped full benefits of the successes of traditional feminism (educational and employment opportunities, increased gender equality in society, more female individuality etc) who are now turning their backs on its gains, without giving second thought to the plight of those millions of unfortunate ones (outside the glorious West) who are still locked down in 18th century.

Sorry for poking my nose in, Mehvish. Couldn't resist making an observation. Please ignore.

No, I think you have a point. But its not that women are necessarily turning their back on what they've reaped the benefits from, its that with all these greater opportunities they've also observed serious problems with western culture as a whole they'd like to stay away from, and by rejecting anything that is "western", we are safe from these things.

Western culture isnt perfect. Its not that women in the west are more advanced than we are. We simply have different issues. Thats why feminists in the west have no right to talk about Muslim women's rights - its not in their domain, or anything they could comprehend or understand.

Moreover, women are very much subordinated in the west, through laws, through media, culture, etc. For example, the legality of some types of pornography are extremely subordinating to women. It creates very degrading precepts in the minds of those who watch hardcore porn about women and what sex should be like. You should look at sex abuse cases in America, and you'll see how hard it is for people to decide things out in a court, when their reference points to sex entail hard core porn they watch on the internet everyday.

Veena Malik appeared nude on the cover of a mens magazine, and people in the liberal media saw that as "liberating" or the act of a "free woman". But thats not liberating at all, is it? Objectifying your own body on a cover of a men's magazine is equally reductionist and patriarchal as wahabbi fanatics are in Pakistan with their crazy fatwas. Both are guilty of sexualizing a woman's body and silencing her intellect.

We need to get past the fact that the West is an ideal standard, or something we need to work towards. AT the same time, we need to get past the idea that everything in the "west" is bad. We just need to be more imaginative and figure out our own discourse.

I do have a hard time understanding some of the ideas written by women here who are so against any form of feminism, but that doesnt mean these women are passive, theyre just reluctant to accept anything thats related to the "west"

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I'm wondering if there is even any point in responding in any detail to some of the stuff on this thread. It really becomes clear after you have read enough of these posts and articles that people with a certain type of ideology have chosen a specific line of attack against Islamic laws, and they maintain that line of attack with complete disregard for what the sources actually say. Maybe the only person on here who has secularist tendencies, while also maintaining some kind of respect for the sources, is kadhim, and it's no surprise that he is the most conservative of the bunch. In fact, it's not even that clear to me if he can still be said to be part of that group.

Whatever the case, all the secularists and feminists out there might be better off actually spending time learning about Islam properly, with an unbiased approach, and then forming their opinions, rather than studying Islam with a predetermined mindset, Of course, nobody ever admits to coming at Islam with a strong pre-existent bias, but it is actually better for people to think that than the alternative, which is just that they aren't very bright.

I think what really makes it obvious that this movement has nothing to do with Islam is that you never see any appeal to the sources, just empty rhetoric. The reason for this is simple, because Islamic sources as a whole have an anti-feminist and anti-secularist bias. So people prefer to look for ways of explaining away uncomfortable truths, than to simply derive their religion from what the Quran and ahadith clearly say.

Which leads the the funniest part of all this, that people blame the 'mullas' for being too conservative. That's rather interesting, because if you ask me they generally do as much as they can to be liberal on women's issues while still staying true to the Quran and Sunnah. If they were to really take a literalist approach, then things would be much 'worse' for women than they supposedly are now.

Edited by Haydar Husayn
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I'm wondering if there is even any point in responding in any detail to some of the stuff on this thread. It really becomes clear after you have read enough of these posts and articles that people with a certain type of ideology have chosen a specific line of attack against Islamic laws, and they maintain that line of attack with complete disregard for what the sources actually say. Maybe the only person on here who has secularist tendencies, while also maintaining some kind of respect for the sources, is kadhim, and it's no surprise that he is the most conservative of the bunch. In fact, it's not even that clear to me if he can still be said to be part of that group.

Whatever the case, all the secularists and feminists out there might be better off actually spending time learning about Islam properly, with an unbiased approach, and then forming their opinions, rather than studying Islam with a predetermined mindset, Of course, nobody ever admits to coming at Islam with a strong pre-existent bias, but it is actually better for people to think that than the alternative, which is just that they aren't very bright.

I think what really makes it obvious that this movement has nothing to do with Islam is that you never see any appeal to the sources, just empty rhetoric. The reason for this is simple, because Islamic sources as a whole have an anti-feminist and anti-secularist bias. So people prefer to look for ways of explaining away uncomfortable truths, than to simply derive their religion from what the Quran and ahadith clearly say.

Which leads the the funniest part of all this, that people blame the 'mullas' for being too conservative. That's rather interesting, because if you ask me they generally do as much as they can to be liberal on women's issues while still staying true to the Quran and Sunnah. If they were to really take a literalist approach, then things would be much 'worse' for women than they supposedly are now.

. That said, I would really appreciate that the men on this board NOT answer the questions I have poised below. The problem with almost every topic on women's issues on this board entail the fact that its always men speaking about what they think about women's issues, and not what women feel for themselves.

Actually, I do mind. You are free to post here, of course, since you are not breaking any rules. However, your input is completely defeating the point of the thread. I do not mean to single you out because I know its tempting and there are a few other men who have taken it upon themselves to give their opinions on a thread where I really wanted to explore what Shia women think and feel about certain things.

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The original feminists were the in the late 19th and early 20th century in America and Europe. They gained prominence because their message resonated in the society. In those days, women were considered the 'property' of their husbands, there was a debate as to whether women had souls or were just animals, they couldn't inherit, own property, hold most jobs, vote, etc. A man could beat his wife to death and the police would basically ignore it.

So they were addressing the injustices of the time and were a reaction to injustices in Western society. So, Islamically, they were correct in doing what they were doing and they succeeded in getting their rights. There is maybe one outstanding issue which is the descrepency in pay between women and men who do the same job but even that is disappearing. So now we have a situation where women in the West have gotten all those rights. In Islam, they already had those rights from the beginning so to say someone is a muslim 'feminist' kind of doesn't make any sense to me. Anyway, so what is modern feminism about ? I'm not quite sure ? It seems to me that it is a cover for some groups in society who want to confuse gender roles and make women the same as men. Men and women are equal in the eyes of Islam but not the same. There is a difference. They are equal in the value of their creation before Allah(s.w.a) but they have different roles to play in society. Both those roles are essential and without either one of them the society would fall apart. IMO, those women who say 'I think it's not fair because there is less women in leadership positions' means that they worship power and do not have a clear understanding of what leadership in Islam is. Imam Ali(a.s) said ' If it were not for the fact that I have an obligation to enjoin good and forbid evil and establish justice this Caliphate is worth less to me than a pair of old shoes'. So he wasn't seeking power in order to get power, he was given a duty by Allah(s.w.a) to establish justice and so he wanted to carry out that duty. Anyone who seeks power for the sake of seeking power is far astray from the authentic teaching of Our Prophet(p.b.u.h) and Ahl Al Bayt(a.s).

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