Why people still deem Islam as oppressive is beyond me. With the internet and higher education utilized, now more than ever, it seems absurd that the fastest growing religion is still so inaccurately labeled.
So, as you can assume, the aim of this post is to break down the ‘oppression’ stereotypes and present, to you, some of the benefits of being a Muslim woman.
- They ain’t no wifey.
You would never connect that 2014 Tumblr quote with Islam, I’m sure, but the two are, surprisingly, very linked. In your average Western marriage, the female leaves behind her maiden name and takes her husbands surname. It seems to be the unwritten rule that everyone blindly follows without question. And if you don’t conform to this, you’re breaking tradition. But in Islam, it is normal for women to keep their maiden name after marriage. There is no obligation to adopt their husbands, they are seen as their own person and thus reject the idea of being bound by their husband in title.
And with that being said, it seems the perfect time to resurface this iconic debate.
2. Women in the Workplace
Long before feminism hit the West, Women in Muslim parts of the world, despite what the media shows you, could work and earn freely. Furthermore, all the money she owns is her own. She has no obligation to share the money with anyone, not even her husband, but I’ll come onto that in the next point. During the time of the Prophet Mohammed PBUH (PeaceBeUponHim), he met a wealthy and successful businesswoman called Khadijah, who he married and continued to work with and support her as a successful working woman. It is said she was the ideal Muslim woman. And bear in mind, this was all the way back in 595AD. Way before most women could work freely in the rest of the world.
3. Money Money, Less Problems
In Islam the man is the provider, whatever he earns, his wife is entitled to. Essentially, his earnings are her earnings. Whatever he makes, she can spend it however she desires. However, if a woman is to work, her money is just her money. The man is the provider, not her. So she doesn’t have to provide. If she so wishes, she can spend money on her husband, share with him and buy for their children, which most do, but under Islam, she has no obligation to do so. If she wants to use the joint account for the food shop and her own money for herself, there’s nothing stopping her.
If anything, this is harsher for the man, women really are held high in the eyes of Islam. However whilst this does sound particularly unfair for men, it is important to remember that when it comes to marriage problems, statistics show that women usually get the raw end of the deal, thus this ruling is very much protection for women, should the worst happen, just like how in today’s day we have court rulings continually giving custody of houses and children to the mums, majority of the time.
4. Blessing from birth
“When a boy is born, then he brings one Noor (light) and when a girl is born, then she brings two Noors.”
It’s true, the future is female. In the past, culture has been mixed up with religion and people have believed that Islam regards girls as lesser than boys. But this is completely false and merely a backward culture belief. In Islam, having a girl guarantees you a bright future. It is said that “Whoever had a female who was not buried nor insulted by him, and had not preferred his male children to her, Allah admits him to Paradise.” Baby girls are a blessing and can be the key to paradise for her parents.
5. Mamma’s know best.
These days Mum’s get a great deal of hassle from their kids. Teenagers give mouthfuls and more to their mothers. But under Islam mothers should be the highest in your life. There are two Islamic quotes that stand out to me on this topic. One: ‘Heaven lies beneath the feet of mothers’. Typically, in most households, mothers dedicate their whole lives to their children, even mothers that abandon their children still go through the painful process of bringing a human into the world and thus they have one of the highest of statuses in Islam. If a Muslim child respects and takes care of their mother, she will be the opening gate between him/her and paradise.
The second quote takes form in a story, in which a man came to the Prophet (PBUH) and asked a parenting question.
A man came to the Seal of the Prophets and said: “O Prophet of God! Guide me, to whom should I be good in order to benefit completely from my good deed?”
He said: “Be good to your mother.” He asked: “Next to her?”
The Prophet repeated: “Be good to your mother.” He said again: “And next to her?”
The Prophet answered: “To your mother.”
The man said: To what other person should be good?”
The Prophet said: “To your father.”
The mothers’ respect is very important and holds higher than the fathers, due to the sheer pain and sacrifice it takes to be a mother.
Many people view Islam as oppressive, due to the media portrayal in both fictional movies and non-fictional news stories. But the reality is that these stories are due to a number of reasons other than the religion itself. One, culture. Culture is a cause of a great deal of sexism. Asian communities, Arab communities, African communities, and even Western communities, all have different forms and ways of sexism. There is discrimination within every society and culture. The only reason we see other cultures as worse than us is because their form of discrimination is different to ours, and therefore alien to us.
For example, in the West we find it strange that women couldn’t drive in Saudi Arabia and that the women in that country cover themselves up, all but their eyes.
But in Saudi, they find it weird that The West have used almost naked women to sell cars, and use sex as a selling point. They are both seen as discriminatory from each of the different viewpoints. Both viewed as sexist, but just in a different way.
The second reason people potentially can label Islam as oppressive to women is that no one talks about the good news, the everyday stories of the good people. The topics that actually make the news are nothing other than outliers, they are the bad apples that we get in every religion, every race and every society, it just seems that at the moment, there is a particular focus on the Muslim population. It can be argued that this is to do with a political agenda, which brings me to my next and final point.
The third and final point is The Political Agenda, whilst a less ‘clear-cut’ explanation, it could be argued that these negative stereotypes of ‘Islam and women’ have been painted to highlight Samuel P Huntingtons theory of the ‘Clash of civilizations’. History has shown the Muslim world and the West as incompatible and it’s possible that the West will always show the Muslim world as ‘wrong’ and vice versa.
These are, of course, all speculation and there are many reasons for people to obtain negative views on different groups, be it religious, racial, cultural etc. But what is certain, is that there has been significant negative press on Muslims in recent years and when looking at the true facts and real teachings of the faith, oppression seems far off!