Sample Paper on Female Activism in Islam

Female Activism in Islam

Female activism within Islam has been a controversial issue in history, with arguments arising whether Muslim women need to be given more freedom as seen in the Western cultures. A number of female activists have come up, especially in Egypt, in an attempt to join hands in fighting for what they term as more freedom from oppressive cultures. Most Sheikhs and other Islamic religious leaders have always taken up in opposition to such calls. Feminism is regarded as to advocate for recognition and respect of all women in the society, irrespective of race, religion or culture; however, Nazira 1928 refutes the current idea of Islamic feminism as non-productive, and something that does not consider Islamic culture and traditions.

According to Nazira, (1928), feminism should not represent the “universality” of women because it does not take into account different cultures within the society. It is important to understand that Islamic feminism arose from the need to achieve certain freedom for all women, something that activist describe as the doorway towards opening up women to achieve much in the society. However, Dughan criticizes Islamic feminism because it tries to secularize culture and feminize important social, political, and moral issues. This article notes that such a drive towards universality is borrowed from the Western thought and the past colonial encounters. For this reason, the article disputes efforts towards achieving feminism through such efforts because it fails to recognize and understand Middle East culture (Aflatun, 1946).

To put Islamic feminism activism in perspective, it is important to look at some of the thoughts of actual activists within the Islamic world. Zain al-din, an Islamic activist, notes that Islamic woman should be set free from the culture that does not open them up to succeed in the society (Dughan, 1944). One thing that stands out between Guindi and Zain al-din is the issue of Islamic veil. It seems that other religions like Christianity had also adopted the use of veil; however, they later abandoned it. According to Aflatun (1946), the use of veil was popularized by Islamic activism in many of the institutions of higher learning. On the other hand, some scholars see it as a sign of ret rogation and Islamic women should it. Activist note that the veiled remove their veils when they go travel to the veiled nations for higher education, even in the presence of their fellow male Muslims.

Social and political rights are pillars towards feminism. Activists note that Muslim women in most of Middle East nations do not have equal rights as stipulated in the UN charter. Most importantly, political rights to certain offices have not been achieved because of the opposition towards feminists (Dughan, 1944). The notion that Islamic woman’s place is domestic and surrounds serving men and rearing children is debatable in the current society. Most of the countries that have opened doors for women to come out of the domestic cage have empowered women to contribute to the immense growth of their lifestyles and economy. It is obvious that Islamic feminism seeks to help open up women to greater freedom of choice to pursue growth for the benefit of the whole society.

Guindi’s (2005) argument is that culture Middle Eastern is designed to make women show sobriety both at home and in public; however, remember that most of the decision made is done by the men. As indicated, feminist’s drive is geared towards removing the ‘veil’ that has covered most Muslim women for long (Aflatun, 1946). They need to come out and develop strong character out of the choices they make. By this, they stand to be more beneficial to their families and the society.

 

 

 

References

Aflatun, I. (1946). Activism in in Badran, M & Badran, A. (2004). Opening the Gates, Second

Edition: An Anthology of Arab Feminist Writing (2 ed.). Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pp. 343-351.

Dughan, Z. (1944). Arab Women’s Intellectual Heritage. In Speech at Arab Feminist

Conference in Badran, M & Badran, A. (2004). Opening the Gates, Second Edition: An Anthology of Arab Feminist Writing (2 ed.). Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pp. 320-324.

Nazira, A. (1928). Unveiling and Veiling: on the Liberation of the Women and Social Renewal

in the Islamic World, in Badran, M & Badran, A. (2004). Opening the Gates, Second Edition: An Anthology of Arab Feminist Writing (2 ed.). Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pp. 270-278.