Why do women in Muslim countries not have the same rights as women in the West, such as rights for education and employment?

Gender issues the world over, including the Muslim world need urgent attention. However, the issues faced by women in the Muslim world are of a vastly different nature as compared to issues faced by women in the West.

Firstly it is important to differentiate between the status of women in Islam and the present status of women in the Muslim world. It is also important to appreciate the vast diversity of the Muslim world, with its varying levels of adherence to Islamic injunctions, with regard to the status of Muslim women. In a world-wide population of 1.5 billion Muslims, the status of women varies from culture to culture and often within the same culture. Thus the stereotypical image of the oppressed Muslim woman with limited or no access to education is just that, a stereotype based on gross misinformation.

The bedrock of the Islamic civilization was learning and intellectual striving, and women scholars have been common from the earliest days of Islam.

Limiting women’s access to higher education either openly or by tacit discrimination as happens in some countries is a violation of Islamic injunctions. It is true that in some places, parents tend to favor their sons over their daughters. This is in clear violation to the Prophetic tradition .

Social evils such as “honor” killings, domestic violence and the abuse of women exist in Muslim as well as non-Muslim cultures. They are completely anathema to the Islamic concept of adl (justice). To associate these evils with Islam is a grave injustice to the cause of women’s empowerment.

To say that women in Muslim countries do not have the same rights as women in the West assumes that the general status of women in the West is worthy of emulation by Muslim women, something that even ardent Western feminists would disagree with strongly. Germaine Greer, the renowned feminist, writes in her book “The Whole Woman” in 1999 referring to her earlier bestseller written thirty years ago:

“When The Female Eunuch was written our daughters were not cutting or starving themselves. On every side speechless women endure endless hardship, grief and pain, in a world system that creates billions of losers for every handful of winners”. (p. 3)

It is therefore important to understand that the status of Muslim women need not be viewed through the prism of the aspirations of Western women. The aberrations in the present status of Muslim women are a result of not following the teachings of Islam, rather than conforming to them. Therefore, improving the status of women in the Muslim world requires more and not less adherence to Islamic injunctions .

 

9 Comments

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I am a Mexican woman and I had made the desicion to convert into Islam 2 yrs ago. Ever since i am a strong believer and I know 100 percent that There is Only one God worthy of worship, and that is Allah, al-hamdulillah beacuse he chose me to become a muslim and most imprtant to understand islam. When ever i read topics like this it make me upset how some Arab Muslim men these days are so controling and do keep their wife from working and learning, how does someone deel with such a husband when Allah tells u to obey him, this is a question that i will like it to get answered by any Good strong believing Muslim, brother or sister that has knowledge to answer this question in the proper way.

    • Ron Seman says:

      I would like to know that as well.

    • oomar says:

      Asalm dear sister,1stly look to hadiths sahih,you will see what the prophet of ALLAH.[S,A,W]ADVICE N TEACHED WOMEN…in bukhari n muslims.don’t let anyone give their own point of view,am not n wil not advice you as some modern muslims will advise.ISLam Quraan n sunah are 4 life till the end sister. See how many women are having JOB n marriage life perished 1 amoung 100 of examples…Aslm a brother Umar

  2. Ron Seman says:

    Please send me links and information to put on my website. https://sites.google.com/site/buildingbridgestomuslims/

    I will gladly put any information that you have on to this website.

    Ron
    BuildingBridgesToMuslims@Gmail.Com

  3. AND Why do Islamic women have no rights to choose her life partner —- husband from Non-Islamic religions and Non-Islamic country?

  4. Jeff Ali says:

    Jeff Ali
    Why Muslim women do cover their face while it's not required doing salat in front of Almighty God. They way the Arab man and woman dress up is nothing to do with Religion. It's is their lack scientific logic. Keep certain dress does not make a follower of Islam but follower of their own liking. Arab is very hot country and has dust storm so people and local culture adopted a dress which suitable in those condition. Cover face so you can protect your eyes, nose, mouth even ears from blowing dust and sand. It was practiced by all people across the religious boundaries. Jesus (peace be upon him) used cover his all body. It protect from sun stroke, skin cancer and keep the sweat within so person don't feel too hot. Religions came to educate the human being so they prosper freely not for confinement. If you are not good human being first it doesn't matter what religion you belong is useless for this world and world after. Always watch yourself in self assessing mirror every night before going to bed. Good luck

  5. Niki M Kamal says:

    Where did you get the info that Muslim women must cover their face? Islam has strongly emphasized the concept of decency and modesty in the interaction between members of the opposite sex. Dress code is part of that overall teaching. There are two verses in the Qur’an in which Almighty Allah talks about the issue of decency and hijab as defined earlier.About the extent of the body to be covered by a woman in the presence of a ‘stranger’ (any male apart from the mahrim), the schools concur that it is a MUST for her to cover her whole body except the face and hands (up to the wrists) in accordance with the verse 31 of Surat al-Nur:

    …And reveal not their adornment save such as is outward; and let them cast their veils over their bosoms (Qur’an 24:31)

    considering that ‘outward adornment’ (al-zeenah) implies the face and hands. The word ‘al-khimar’ (whose plural ‘khumur’ occurs in the verse) means the veil which covers the head, not the face, and the word ‘al-jayb’ (whose plural ‘juyub’ occurs in the verse) means the chest. The women have been commanded to put a covering on their heads and to lower it over their chests.

  6. Niki M Kamal says:

    And why do think that Muslim women can choose her life partner? Please get your FACTS right. FYI, o & learn about prophet Muhammad and Umm-ul-Mu'mineen. Khad?ja bint Khuwaylid or Khad?ja al-Kubra was the first wife of prophet Muhammad. Khadijah grew up in a wealthy household. She later followed in her father’s footsteps, becoming a successful businesswoman in her own right. In addition to her business savvy, Khadijah was known to have good character, often feeding and clothing the poor and assisting her relatives in need. These deeds earned her the title Al-Tahira. Before marrying the Prophet Muhammad, Khadijah was widowed twice. She decided that she would not marry again and would just focus on her children from those two marriages. However, after she hired the Prophet Muhammad to take her trading caravans to Syria, she revisited the idea of marriage. She was impressed by his character and his honesty in dealing with her business. Khadijah’s friend, Nafisa, APPROACHED the Prophet and asked if he would accept Khadijah’s proposal (hand in marriage). He said he would. She was 40 years old and he was 25.They were married for 25 years, during which the Prophet was monogamous. Khadijah and the Prophet had 6 children together and Rasulullahsallallahualaihiwassalam remained devoted to his only wife for 25 years. When his Khadija passed away,he married with another widow who was 65 years old and he was at his 50.This year was called the year of sadness because it was a big loss for the Prophet Muhammad. Throughout the rest of his life, the Prophet Muhammad would remember Khadijah often, so much so that Ayesha said that she was never as jealous of another woman as she was of Khadijah. Once Ayesha asked the Prophet about his love for Khadijah and his response was, “She believed in me when no one else did; she accepted Islam when people rejected me; and she helped and comforted me when there was no one else to lend me a helping hand.”

    Have you heard of Khadijah?

  7. Pawan Rai says:

    Ok! How many muslim women are known in world for having POWER, MONEY or their contribution in Scientific Invention and Discovery? Yes I have been hearing the name of MALALA for last 2-3 years only

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