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Women and Gender in Islam - Essay Example

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In understanding a piece of academic writing, the reader first has to be able to enter the mind in a way, of the author who wrote it and afterwards have the opportunity to discover the true meaning as it was that the author intended. In order to do the best research possible, the researcher has to be able to not only gather the information, but also be able to get past their own conceptions of what it is they are reading and force themselves into a form of cognitive thinking.
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Women and Gender in Islam
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Download file to see previous pages For this text analysis assessment, the purpose is to analyze and compare/contrast the issues pertaining to the Islamic culture and specifically the women of Islam.
Women are viewed as subservient to their husbands, with very little choice but to remain as a secondary force to the dominant male race. To better understand the role of women in a culture such as this, as well as to assess how the cultural aspect plays into such a societal standing, the two pieces of work to look at are "Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate" by Leila Ahmed and "Believing Women" in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Quran by Asma Barlas.
What was often common place for a woman in this culture would be to marry someone, but to marry a person that was chosen by her father. A marriage such as this would commonly be referred to as an "arranged marriage". As she begins her work, Ahmed brings up the first of many points regarding women and marriage. That is, "Neither the diversity of marriage practices in pre-Islamic Arabia nor the presence of matrilineal customs, including the association of children with the mother's tribe, necessarily connotes women's having greater power in society or greater access to economic resources," Adding that, "Nor to these practices correlate with an absence of misogyny; indeed, there is clear evidence to the contrary. The practice of infanticide, apparently to girls, suggests a belief that females were flawed, expendable," (Ahmed p.41). Ahmed begins her work with one of the central themes for study of women in Islamic cultures. While there was a vast cultural diversity throughout the region, in the end the women were seen as the weaker sex and as such could be done with as was decided by the male elders of the home. Ahmed emphasizes this by the choice of the word misogyny in her text. That is defined as, "hatred or strong prejudice towards women; an antonym of philogny," Elaborating further that, "Misogyny is considered by most feminist theories as an implicit motivation of political ideologies that justify and maintain the subordination of women to men," ("Misogyny" p.1.).
Just as monarchs were throughout the ages, males in this culture tended to express more outward joy at the birth of a male offspring rather than a female birth. This can be explained by the understanding that males sought to continue on their blood lines, as well as having someone to train that would be able to take a place of leadership as they saw it. Ahmed does counter with the fact that variation did occur in regards to the roles with which women were able to play throughout the vast Islamic culture. She sets out to compare lives, as well as the marriages, which the Islamic leader Muhammad would have had with his wives Khadija and Aisha. Unlike some of the other women around her, Khadija was a woman of wealth who actually was an employer of Muhammad as it was his job to keep an eye on her interests. Unlike the cultural norm, Khadija herself proposed marriage to Muhammad.
Ahmed writes that, "She proposed to and married him when she was forty and he twenty-five, and she remained his only wife until her death at ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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