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Women in Islam - Essay Example

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One of the most misunderstood concepts today is that of women in Islam. Thanks to a few misguided Muslims, and extremists many believe that Islam oppresses women, and treats her as a second class citizen. Many would cite the Taliban in Afghanistan as to prove this point, where under their rule women were forced to stay hidden in houses, not allowed to go to schools, drive and what not, all in the name of Islam…
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Women in Islam
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Download file to see previous pages According to Islam, in the eyes of Allah both men and women are equal.
Before we can even begin to argue whether men and women are equal or not, we must define what we mean by equality. For depending on how one looks at it, one can easily argue that equality between men and women does not exist, or vice versa that it does. For instance from a physical and psychological point of view we can claim that the two are not equal. Due to their physical make up, women tend to experience more pain, especially during their menstrual cycles; a kind of pain that a man can never experience. Then generally men tend to be physically stronger then women, and as they grow old are faced with the prospect of balding, something that women rarely have to worry about. Thus if we were to look from this perspective we can claim that men and women cannot considered to be equal. That, "from the Islamic point of view, the question of the equality of men and women is meaningless. It is like discussing the equality of a rose and a jasmine. Each has its own perfume, color, shape and beauty. Men and women are not the same" (Jameelah, 5). However, such a view is ambiguous and misleading, and can be easily taken out of context to make the claim that men are superior to women. In general when we talk about equality, we refer to the rights of the individual, and in that sense Islam does states that both men and women are equal. To elaborate a bit further, "Islam adopts the perspective of gender equality, but it does not endorse the idea of gender equivalency. Islam affirms the difference between the natural dispositions and constitutions of men and women. Women have the ability to bear and nurse children, whereas men do not, so there is a lack of equivalency in regards to the physical and psychological make-up of men and women, but both enjoy rights and bear responsibilities, in which respect they are equal" (Gomaa, 1).
The claim that Islam teaches all to treat women with respect and dignity and not to discriminate on the basis of gender, is made by both Gomaa and Jameelah in their articles. However, this point is more clear and more easily understood in 'Gender Equality in Islam', by Gomaa, when compared to 'The Feminist Movement and the Muslim Woman', by Jameelah. The reason for this is not because the topic of Gomaa's piece is about gender equality in Islam, it is because it is more focused, well thought out, when compared to Jamleeah's work. Furthermore, Gomaa provides more credibility to his article by using the Quran as his sole reference. It is common knowledge that the Quran is the most revered book in Islam, since that contains all the teachings of Islam in it. Furthermore, since Muslims also believe that the Quran was written by God himself, and hence a true devout Muslim cannot go against its teaching. If they do then they are not practicing Islam as it was meant to be. It is simply due to this fact that Gomaa has been able to add credibility to his article by using the Quran as his reference. Jameelah on the other hand, does not cite any references at all when she talks about women in Islam. She simply states either Islam says this, or that according to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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