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Gender Roles in Islam - Essay Example

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Among the many religions around the world, Islam has been one of the most complex. Many of its "rules" and "by-laws" are not found in the other religions. Beliefs and traditions in Islam is totally different form that of the Catholics, Protestants and other religions…
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Gender Roles in Islam
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Download file to see previous pages Specifically, this takes a closer look on how Islamic society treats its male and female members. This also analyzes how this tradition affects the new generation of males and females in particular.
In Muslim societies women and men are expected to behave in accordance with social, cultural or religious codes. They have various reasons from doing so but what is most dominant is the fact that they want to make create a line separating men from women and that they want to distinguish between what is considered to be 'masculine' or 'feminine'. These gender roles are learned within a particular social and cultural context. More so, these gender roles are affected by factors such as education and economics (Armstrong 489).
In practice, gender roles are often affecting women thereby adversely impeding their self determination in areas such as their socio-economic status, status within the family, health, life expectation, independence, freedom and even their rights (Armstrong 490). This clearly reflects the gender bias that is happening inside the Muslim communities. For them, women are still the weaker sex and males are the dominant ones. For them, women are essential for male for they should act as their partners and because they are essential for men, Muslim societies tolerate men from having numerous women (provided that men can financially support all his women and his offspring equally). For them, women are accessories to the male's harem and that the males are the ones who would ensure on the availability of food, shelter and other basic commodities, while the women should stay at home and manage what is being given by the males. For the Islam, women should not be in command the decision making is the sole responsibility of the males. In short, women in Islam, are often expected to be obedient wives and mothers remaining within the family environment, whereas men are expected to be protectors and caretakers of the family
Although the Qur'an views women and men to be equal in human dignity, this spiritual or ethical equality has not been reflected in most Muslim laws. Like for example, women do not have equal rights to make independent decisions in relation to choice of marriage or even of their partners. Still, women are not the deciding factors when it comes to obtaining a divorce and custody of the children (Armstrong 489).
The Reactions
Now, there have been various reactions from the female side. Reformists and feminists have challenged women's lack of rights and lack of control over their own lives in Muslim Laws through the various techniques discussed in the section (Armstrong 494).
Central to this challenge has been the reinterpretation of Qur'anic verses which seemingly privilege men over women and reinforce gender roles. Qur'an verse 4.34, which refers to men as 'guardians' (qawamun) (over women), has been used to justify gender roles. Likewise, this verse is used to give merit as the why men enjoy certain privilege over women. Reformist and feminist scholars have argued that the concept of guardianship has formed the basis of particular "gendered roles" in Muslim societies (Denny 494).
Scholars have also explored how verse 4.34 has been interpreted and used to limit women's autonomy, freedom of movement and access to economic opportunities and independence. They found out that the concept of 'guardianship' actually only meant to ensure that a woman who is bearing ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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