If it is it doesn't matter

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Questions for Moderate Muslims #3

In a comment to my first post in this series, I was accused of asking biased questions. I don't believe I did, in that or the other post in the series. Hard questions, certainly. Challenging questions, yes. But 'biased' ones, no.

This group, however, does come from a personal bias. I have always been a feminist, that is, I have never accepted that men should have any rights women should not, have never even accepted the concept of 'gender roles,' other than the strictly physiological. Growing up in a lesbian household can do that for you, one of the reasons I consider it lucky I did. (Yes, in the 1950s, in suburban New Jersey no less. This may be one of the things that Jami referred to in his post. And the other reasons I consider myself lucky have far more to do with the people Billie (my 'birth mother') and Claire (her partner of over 30 years until her death) were, and the quality of parenting they gave me than their genitalia. But I'll discuss this another time, it is really irrelevant here.

One thing that is also irrelevant is the permanent cliche that keeps on coming up in discussions of Islam and women's rights and treatment. "But, Mohammed treated women better than Christianity and Judaism did at the time." It is not just a cliche, it is not just irrelevant -- we aren't living in the 7th Century, at least most of us aren't -- I am not sure it is true, except possibly as far as the question of inheritance goes.

So, if anyone insists on bringing this up, I will insist they include quotes from the Talmud, the Torah, the New Testament, or the "Church Fathers" to show that they accepted what Mohammed did. Now, on with the questions. I think there are enough issue that this may lap over into two posts, even ones as long as readers of this blog are getting used to.

Of course, the first question is obvious:
4: Do you believe that women and men should be treated equally as far as rights go, and if not, how do you feel they should differ, and why.

4a: Do you accept the Qur'anic rules as far as the proper division of inheritance goes, or the rules that in certain cases it takes the testimony of two women to match that of one man.

4b: How do you feel about the fact that the Qur'an never addresses women directly, that they are always 'they' not 'you.'

4c: Do you accept the idea that men need to be protected from 'uncontrollable sexual urges?' and Shaitanic temptation?

4d: If you do, do you accept that this should be done by encouraging or requiring women to restrict their freedoms in various areas?

4e: For each of the following, please state both what restrictions you believe women should accept, and if such restrictions should be voluntary, enforced by society, or enforced by legislation: (each of these has in fact been a matter of controversy)

i: 'modesty of dress'

ii: engaging in sporting events where the audience may include men and uniforms may not be able to meet the requirements of (i.)

iii: coeducation, and do you distinguish between primary school, high school, and college

iv: contact with 'non-mahram' men in day to day to life

That's enough for one post. Let's take up matters specifically relating to sex, marriage, and similar matters in the next.

1 Comments:

Blogger LouLou said...

"Do you accept the Qur'anic rules as far as the proper division of inheritance goes, or the rules that in certain cases it takes the testimony of two women to match that of one man."

Quranic rules for inheritance assume that other rules should be in place. Women should have no financial responsibility. A husband has an obligation to support his wife even if she is rich. A brother has to support his unmarried/widowed/divorced sisters. Whereas a woman's income is exclusively her own & she never has to support anyone not even herself. If these laws are enforced then the inheritance rule is valid. A man inherits more than his sister because he has to support her, his wife, his kids etc....while she doesn't have to support anyone not even herself. In a situation where a woman does have financial responsibilities she should inherit the same.

"How do you feel about the fact that the Qur'an never addresses women directly, that they are always 'they' not 'you.'"

This is not true. The plural pronoun in Arabic refers to both men & women. Incases where the Quran mentions believing men it also mentions believing women. Otherwise it uses the generic form which refers to both genders.

"Do you accept the idea that men need to be protected from 'uncontrollable sexual urges?' and Shaitanic temptation?"

No. It's women who need to be protected from men's urges. How that is achieved is debatable but the Quran states clearly that women should be modest so as not to be harrassed by those men who have 'diseased hearts'.

For the rest of the questions I don't believe women should be restricted from working or sports etc....I think this debate is over in most of the Islamic World actually apart from Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia & maybe Yemen. Women do actually work in most fields in Egypt, Morocco, Turkey, Tunisia, Lebanon, Syria etc....even women who wear hijab don't sit at home.

The Prophet's first wife Khadija was a businesswoman. When he received the revelation he went to her & she took him to a Christian man who was a friend of hers so clearly she had male friends. Women in his day used to fight in the army.

3:21 AM  

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