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Afghan Feminists See Koran as Strongest Weapon

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Fatima Gailani believes that women’s rights can be achieved by a return to the teachings of the Koran. She is one of a small but growing number of Islamic feminists in the Middle East who are seeking to challenge both the dominant patriarchal culture in the region, and the assumptions of an earlier generation of women rights activists in the West.

There’s no set creed as to what makes an Islamic feminist. Most are university-educated women who took feminism’s critique of male-dominated society (prevalent in the Middle East’s largely secular-minded campuses in the ‘70s) and combined it with the dictates of Sharia Law and the rising Islamist tide over the past decade. In doing so, they have been able to show how poor treatment of women is rarely condoned by the Koran.

“Forced marriage, child brides, honor killings – none of this is in the Koran,” Fatima told me, when we met in her office at Kabul’s Red Crescent Society, which she directs. “Women are treated like chattel, and in the name of Islam. This is not sanctioned in the Koran,” she said.

What Fatima, and others like her, are attempting to do is use the Koran and its huge cultural weight to steer Middle Eastern societies towards a more generous treatment of women.

It’s not an easy task. For a start, their numbers are small - Fatima estimates there no more than a few dozen Islamic feminists like her in Afghanistan. And then there are the entrenched interests they are battling, none more stark than in Afghanistan, where adult illiteracy is estimated at 75%.

“If we want to change Islam from within, we have to be totally committed to the religion. That’s the only way to succeed,” said Fatima, “The men in this country, and most of the women, will only be convinced to change their behavior if they know it is in the Koran. That’s the highest authority here.”

The solution that Fatima proposes is a re-configuration of village life, starting with the village imam, or religious leader. “We can’t have semi-illiterate preachers defining who women are and what they can do,” she says.

Unfortunately for Islamic feminists, they have largely been ignored by traditional women’s movements in the U.S. and Europe, who see Islam as the final frontier in the struggle. They are put off when women like Fatima insist that wearing a veil or headscarf is an Islamic duty clearly spelled out in the Koran, and that they cannot pick and choose elements of their creed.

“What Western feminists don’t understand is that we don’t want freedom,” Gailani said. “We want to be able to follow the Koran, minus all the anti-women dogma that surrounds it.”

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Comments (49)

lalala:

In response to Center,

I don't think it is wise to compare western feminism and Islamic feminism and judge one over the other. There are many flaws in the western feminist movement, and many times it is only agreeable for White women, not minorities... Why? Because we all have different struggles that we need addressed. I think Islamic feminism faces the issues that they feel is most important. This is not something to be judged by an outsider looking in. Also, what is western feminism doing right now? All I can see on t.v. is half naked women and advertisements geared towards mens pleasure.. Sexism and exploitation in the west is EVERYWHERE, so get off your high horse with your beliefs that western feminism is the ideal.
As for a Muslim woman wearing a scarf, for many it is freedom from being judged on their looks, I know that is a hard concept to ponder considering that in the west that is ALL we are judged on..
THINK ABOUT IT!

We are waiting for the of Judgement:

Stop to write bad things agains Islam, Great Allah, Prophet Mohammed(peace be upon him).
Great Allah pay you all back, you have to just wait. Can't you see how billion of past Islam enemies like you lost against Islam? If the Quran and Prophet was bad and wrong, today would't be more muslms in the world and no body could follow Prophet Muhammed that time!
Can't you see how USA and his followers goes down 'economic, nature, moral, social,..' while they start to kill muslims? Great Allah says in Quran, If they touch one Muslim, I will give trouble one group of them. Or if they kill one good muslim, I will bring 10 new good fighters. If they turn one muslim out of Islam, it will come one group new muslims.(The proof for it is, that muslims growing, and the fight of hunderttausands of devilfollowers against view muslims is worst.)

All things what in Quran was written and Prophet Muhammed(peace be upon him) was saying became/cames truth. You(non-muslims) have to know for sure, that you will burn in hill, some more some less, we are the witnesses that you(christinas, jews, Indos) killed million of innocents, destroyed the earth and you did all of life sins, you prayed to man, cow, stature to represent God weak and helpless. And we are witnesses that you wrote bad words to Prophet of Allah!!
we are waiting for the day of Judgement.

AlanRockville:

The author's view is supported by the late Benazir Bhutto in her marvelous recent work "Reconciliation". Based on actual Quran text, it is a must read, especially in the light of her assasination. It seems that the moderates of the world attempt to speak, the extremists only attempt to silence.

Ibrahim Mahfouz:

Willis;
Proof of adultery in Islam.
You believe it would be difficult to prove adultery for women because
four male witnesses will be needed to convict her. That is not hard to do especially women cannot testify to the court in person but through a male representative who can only relay the woman’s side of the story. He cannot testify for his ‘client’ nor is the woman’s testimony counted for more than that of half a male’s witness testimony. Any jerk can get three of his friends to accuse any woman of having sex with a man they don’t like or even with a dog and get her stoned or imprisoned for life. In Sharia courts the accuser is the one to present the evidence in the form of witnesses.
The overriding problem these days with this four witness bit is that men are using it as license to rape women. When women report the rape and fail to get four male witnesses to testify that she was forcibly violated along with an admission of guilt by those who committed the crime, which is highly unlikely, the woman will be considered as admitting to prostitution for which there is a stiff penalty. That is why rape is rampant in Muslim societies and why 75% of women in Pakistani jails, for example, are there. Those women were stupid enough to report their rape to the authorities.

Willis:

There's a lot to read here. Skimming through the posts, I noticed that at least one non-Muslim has actually read the Koran. Their may have been others, so my apologies if I missed them. I'm trying, and have made it about two thirds of the way through the Book. Based on what I've read so far, I wouldn't be so quick to accuse anyone of committing adultery. The penalty for being a false witness is 80 lashes. And it looks to me like a "false witness" is anyone who makes such an accusation without three other witnesses, presumably independent witnesses, as back up. My first question to anyone commenting in a forum like this or to anyone commenting on Islam in any other forum: "Have you read the Koran in the vernacular, preferably in your native language?"

Jimbo:

Strict Sharia creates an ignorant population with a lower standard of living. The Mullahs for the own personal power push this strict Sharia as a good thing. Afghanistan suffered greatly under the Taliban. Iran now has its men marry 3-4 years later in life, due to the inability of men to support their families. When women are not educated, don't participate in commerce, their children don't get the intelligence passed on by their mothers, nor do their economies benefit by women in the work force. Believers in Turkey and India live better than believers in Iran or western Pakistan where strict Sharia is enforced. If the Quran tells you knowledge is to be shared for the benefit of mankind, why are these so called religious leaders stopping women from being educated?

Jimbo:

As a practicing Roman Catholic that has read the Quran, I find thousands of similiarities to our Bible. My understanding of Islam is the Quran is the word of Allah dictated to the prophet Muhammed and is binding on all believers. The Hadiths are not and I can't reconcile the Great Prophets not forcing non-believers under his rule to convert with the ideology of the terrorists. History tells us non-believers sought his expert advice to settle their disputes, not to live in fear under his rule.

Ibrahim Mahfouz:

To Ahmed
Re: stoning
Omar ibn el Khattab, the companion, friend, father-in-law and adviser to the Prophet stated during his reign as the Second Caliph of the Muslims that he and the Prophet took part in a number of stoning events . If this Caliph along with Aisha, the Prophet’s favorite wife, assured the Muslims that there was a Koranic verse calling for the stoning of fornicators and adulterers but was eaten by a goat during the time Aisha and the rest of the household were distracted by the Prophet’s terminal illness. If there are dozens of Sahih Hadiths mentioning incidents in which the Prophet had ordered the stoning of “guilty” parties as described by the link below , then stoning is a part and parcel of Mohammad’s religion regardless of what Ahmed , I or anyone else thinks.

http://www.faithfreedom.org/Articles/stoning.htm

Ibrahim Mahfouz:

To Ahmed from Ibrahim
You say:

"Faten attempted to escape to Jordan but her efforts where hindered when(1) her family Priest called the Palestinian authorities(2) and demanded that she be apprehend and returned to her father’s home. (3)On her arrival to her father’s house she was beaten and her pelvis was broken as she was either thrown from a window or jumped trying to escape. 4.Two day's later she was raped and (5)killed by her father in front of her younger siblings on living room floor."
My comments:
1. The Palestinian Authority in the person of the Governor of the region where her family resided asked the priest to intervene.
2. The priest kept her at his house up until her father promised him not to harm her.
3. Her pelvis was broken when she jumped out of a hospital window where she was undergoing medical examinations.
4. I have read all the news accounts of this unique incident and there was no mention of any rape by anyone.
5. The father struck his daughter once on the back of the head with a pipe as she was sitting in a wheelchair.

Man if you can make so many prejudicial errors in reporting about a single incident , what credibility then you have for us to even bother and read your long blabbering? You suggested to me and Haloscel to "educate” ourselves by studying a link you gave. All I saw is a list of names and drawings and photos for ugly women. What was that supposed to prove? That Muslim women are esteemed in the Muslim culture?(By the way those two last Nigerian women in the list are not Muslim). We are not blind. All we have to do is just look around.
How long are you and those of your ilk are to insult the readers’ intelligence. It seems to me that you believe in making realiy by decribing your vision of that reality.

Ibrahim Mahfouz:

Ibrahim to Ahmed:

Equal treatment for adultery?
You quote:
“The adulteress and adulterer should be flogged a hundred lashes each, and no pity for them should deter you from the law of God, if you believe in God and the last day; and the punishment should be witnessed by a body of believers” (Qur’an 24:2)

You Say:
“As you can see the Quran treats the committer of Adultery in the same manner regardless of their gender”.

I say:
Check out what follows
Volume 3, Book 49, Number 860:
Narrated Abu Huraira and Zaid bin Khalid Al-Juhani:

”A Bedouin came and said, "O Allah's Apostle! Judge between us according to Allah's Laws." His opponent got up and said, "He is right. Judge between us according to Allah's Laws." The Bedouin said, "My son was a laborer working for this man, and he committed illegal sexual intercourse with his wife. The people told me that my son should be stoned to death; so, in lieu of that, I paid a ransom of one hundred sheep and a slave girl to save my son. Then I asked the learned scholars who said, "Your son has to be lashed one-hundred lashes and has to be exiled for one year." The Prophet said, "No doubt I will judge between you according to Allah's Laws. The slave-girl and the sheep are to go back to you, and your son will get a hundred lashes and one year exile." He then addressed somebody, "O Unais! go to the wife of this (man) and stone her to death" So, Unais went and stoned her to death.”

Does that sound to you like equal treatment?


Qur'an 4:15 "If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, take the evidence of four witnesses from amongst you against them; if they testify, confine them to houses until death [by starvation] claims them."
Quran 4:16 “If men among you are guilty of lewdness punish them if they repent leave them alone; for God is Oft-returning. Most Merciful.

Does that sound like equal treatment? Suddenly Allah became merciful but was not so in the case of women.

As for your contention that “four Male witnesses’ is for protection of women’s rights, has been used to incriminate women. Now 75% of women in Pakistan’s jail are direct result of the application of this rule. Check below
"rape cases were dealt with in Sharia courts. Victims had to have four male witnesses to the crime - if not they faced prosecution for adultery."
justlybalanced.blogspot.com/2006_11_01_archive.html


You ask on what basis I object to child marriages.
My Answer:
I object on the following basis:
1. Sociological 2. Biological 3. Intellectual 4.Psychological

Shalom Freedman:

There is a considerable literature connecting the failure of modernization in the Islamic world to the continued restriction placed on women's opportunity for education and work. It is clear that the only way the Islamic world can modernize is through transforming its conception of the woman's role.
It seems to me somewhat tenuous to find prescriptions for such 'equality' in the Koran - though I by no means qualified to speak on this subject with any confidence. Simply there is such vast and pervasive discrimination against women in the Islamic worlds that I know- that I feel it must have its roots in the religious sources.

Anonymous:

“What Western feminists don’t understand is that we don’t want freedom,” Gailani said.

Well, good day to you, Ms. Gailani, as anyone who has any credibility with Americans or as anyone who has anything worthwhile to say. I do respect you for stating so bluntly what most of us already know: Islam is inherently incompatible with liberal, Western democracy. Most of your fellow Muslim commentators try to disguise that fact.

Freedom for us is the name of the game. I wish you success in building your society on your native soil. Just, please, do not come to America bringing your alien philosophy with you and demanding that America accommodate to you. You leave me alone, I'll leave you alone. Diffrent strokes for different folks.

Anonymous:

“What Western feminists don’t understand is that we don’t want freedom,” Gailani said.

Well, good day to you, Ms. Gailani, as anyone who has any credibility with Americans or as anyone who has anything worthwhile to say. I do respect you for stating so bluntly what most of us already know: Islam is inherently incompatible with liberal, Western democracy. Most of your fellow Muslim commentators try to disguise that fact.

Freedom for us is the name of the game. I wish you success in building your society on your native soil. Just, please, do not come to America bringing your alien philosophy with you and demanding that America accommodate to you. You leave me alone, I'll leave you alone. Diffrent strokes for different folks.

sunusayahoo:

into the yard, my misguided came every as proud reaction sour, to our

Ahmed:

To Ibrahiam

You seem to have a moral objection to 'child marriages' and 'honor killings'. If you do have an objection to these practices can you please tell why you deem them to be blameworthy?

Is it because the fail to adhere to your moral and ethical standards? If so then can you please tell me what the basis of these standards are?

Are they based on philosophical or theological grounds? If they are based on a philosophy which one? If they are based on theological principals then which one's and why should they be accepted by those who do not adhere to the particular religion from which they are derived?


In regards to the 'Stoning of women' in the Quran'

1. Their is not a single verse in the Quran (as you have stated above) which speaks of stoning of any kind. Their is however mention of stoning (regardless of gender) in the hadith (please get your facts straight)

In regards to 'Honor Killings in the hadith'

1. Their is no mention of such a practice in the six canonical books of tradition; Sahih Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Muslim, Sunun Abu Dawud, Sunan Ibn Majah, Sunan al-Nisai, and Sunan al-Tirmidhi.

As far as Islam goes:


1. The custom predates Islam by a millinia.

2. The custom is practiced by the indigenous Christian, Hindu, and Sikh minorities residing in the primarily Muslim regions where it is prevalent. Who can forget the murder of 22-year-old Palestinian Christian women Faten Habash who was raped and beaten to death with an Iron Bar while watching a Boy Scout parade by her father for wanting to marry a Muslim man? Faten attempted to escape to Jordan but her efforts where hindered when her family Priest called the Palestinian authorities and demanded that she be apprehend and returned to her father’s home. On her arrival to her father’s house she was beaten and her pelvis was broken as she was either thrown from a window or jumped trying to escape. Two day's later she was raped and killed by her father in front of her younger siblings on living room floor.

3. The practice is virtually unheard of in the Amazighan and Tourage region's of North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, most of Central Asia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and the world's most populated Muslim nation Indonesia.

4. Their is no concept of killing in the name of family 'honor' in Islamic Doctrine.

The Quran is very clear every human being is responsible for their actions and their action's alone. Islamic Jurisprudence however does in fact layout actual legal prescriptions criminalizing illegal sexual relations.

Islam like Judaism for those who are unaware is not only a metaphysical construct but a complete and total way of life; meaning their is no notion of what we in the west call separation between religion and the state.

In regards to adultery The Quran states:


The adulteress and adulterer should be flogged a hundred lashes each, and no pity for them should deter you from the law of God, if you believe in God and the last day; and the punishment should be witnessed by a body of believers (Qur’an 24:2).

As you can see the Quran treats the committer of Adultery in the same manner regardless of their gender.

In regards to women and adultery the Quran actually goes to such great lengths to protect women from being subjected to false accusations of sexual misconduct that it mandates mandatory lashes for all those who do not bring forth ample evidence to prove allegations of this sort.

Those who defame chaste women and do not bring four witnesses should be punished with eighty lashes, and their testimony should not be accepted afterwards, for they are profligates (Qur’an at 24:4).

As the brilliant Asifa Quraishi states in her article "Her Honor: A Islamic Critique of the Rape Laws of Pakistan":

After criminalizing extramarital sexual relations the Qur’an simultaneously attaches to the prosecution of this crime nearly insurmountable evidentiary restrictions: four eye-witnesses are required to prove a charge of sexual misconduct. Islamic jurisprudence further interprets the Qur’anic zina evidentiary rule of quadruple testimony to require the actual witnessing of penetration during sexual intercourse, and nothing less. This interpretation is based on the reported hadith (tradition) of Muhammad in which, after a man persisted in confessing to adultery (the Prophet having turned away to avoid hearing the information several times prior), Muhammad asked several specific questions to confirm that the act was indeed sexual penetration (Bukhari 1985, 8:528-35 (Bk. 82, Nos. 806, 810, 812-814); Abu Daud 1990, 3: Nos. 4413-14) Moreover, Islamic evidence law requires the witnesses to be mature, sane, and of upright character (Salama 1982, 109; El-Awa 1982, 126-27; Siddiqi 1985, 43-49).

Furthermore, if any eyewitness testimony was obtained by violating a defendant’s privacy, it is inadmissible. Why so many evidentiary restrictions on a criminal offense prescribed by God? Islamic scholars posit that it is precisely to prevent carrying out punishment for this offense. By limiting conviction to only those cases where four individuals actually saw sexual penetration take place, the crime will realistically only be punishable if the two parties are committing the act in public, in the nude. The crime is therefore really one of public indecency rather than private sexual conduct. That is, even if four witnesses saw a couple having sex, but under a coverlet, for example, this testimony would not only fail to support a zina charge, but these witnesses would also be liable for slander. Thus, while the Qur’an condemns extramarital sex as an evil, it authorizes the Muslim legal system to prosecute someone for committing this crime only when it is performed so openly that four people see them without invading their privacy. As Cherif Bassiouni puts it, "[t]he requirement of proof and its exigencies lead to the conclusion that the policy of the harsh penalty is to deter public aspects of this form of sexual practice" (Bassiouni 1982, 6)


In regards to 'child brides'.

1. All four traditional schools of Islamic Jurisprudence agree that in order for two individuals to enter into a marriage contract(not in Islam marriage is a social contract not some magical sacrament)they must posses the qualities on adulthood and sanity.

However the question thus remains what is adulthood?

Adulthood is reached at seventeen years of age for both sexes according to the Malikis.

According to the Hambali's and the Shafii's it is reached at the completion of the both the male and the females fifteenth year.

According to the Hanafis (the Madhab of Afghanistan) it is 17 years of age for the female and 18 years of age for the male. For the Hanafi's however this is the maximum age limit for maturity. The minimum age is 9 years for a girl and 12 years for a boy.

The definition of adulthood in the case of the Hanafis is a scrupulously scientific one rather then a socially constructed one. (Meaning when a male or a female attains the age of puberty and is able to reproduce)

To Halozcel:

I am afraid that like Ibrahim you comment has once again highlighted the average layman’s dismal ignorance of Islamic Doctrine, Jurisprudence, and History. I suggest you educated yourself by visiting the following website.

http://www.guide2womenleaders.com/Muslim_Leaders.htm

Mike:

This brings to mind such a great idea. Let's round up all of our feminists, especially the ever shrill Geraldine, and ship them off to Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and other Islamic countries. Let them hector the men there for a while and bring their societies the "benefits" of feminism. I figure any of those countries would have amore appropriate response for these hysterical twits than we have had.

Usama:

I think Ms Gailani means: she does not want the licentiousness and immorality which are a result of Western secularism- in effect saying she does not want Western secular humanism.

To dispell a few fallacies tossed about concerning Islam:

Fallacy #1) Islam omits individual responsibility

Truth: Even Ibrahim Mahfouz would have to concede, if he was honest, that the Quran and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (saaw) are full of specific teachings about personal, individual responsibility. For example: Yes, women should cover, but men should lower their gaze rather than oggle at women.

Islamic teaching repeatedly calls for continued, daily self-auditting, self scrutiny, consciousness of God and His commands, awareness, and a highly tuned conscience, called in arabic: TAQWAA. TAQWAA is a Quranically specified purpose of prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, charity.

Ibrahim Mahfouz:

Ibrahim to Ahmed:
As for child brides ask the Grand Mufti Qaraddawi and the Ayatollah Khomeini. Both
had 9 years old brides, and they were emulating their Prophet.

Regarding stioning
Omar the Second Caliph said:
“People will arise in the future who will deny the existence of rajm (stoning). These people will be religious apostates. Had I not feared the people’s allegation that Omar was making additions to the Quran, I would have introduced the rajm verse in the Quran” (Bukhari, Muslim Hudud, Abu Davud).
http://www.apostatesofislam.com/media/stoning.htm
This much for stoning.

The stipulation that four male witnesses needed to authenticate a rape as an added measure to “protect a women’s rights” is as funny as is sad. This rule is being used to incriminate those women who report rape. 75% of women rotting in Pakistani jails today are of this type.
Check under “women”
http://www.prophetofdoom.net/quotes1.html

center:

Ahmad,
he says: custom predates Islam....meaning man made culture is more powerful than god's words...
he then says:
The Quran is very clear: every human being is responsible for their actions and their action's alone.
he fails to say that agents of the state define 'responsibility' as well as exact consequences for not being responsible...all one needs to appreciate state weight on individuals is to examine the virtue squads in Iran, Arabia and egypt not far behind.
he comforts the readers by saying: Islam is a way of life....which shoots the notion of individual responsibility and prepares the community to 'accept' who ever in charge.
I say: a viable doctrine should be as coherent on the ground as it is in books. Do Muslims live a different life from what the book asks them to do.

Satheesan Kochicheril:

What Prophet Mohammad demanded was that life should be based on its System, the System that controls life on this planet. He called it the Truth just like some others. Religious faiths do not belong to the System, that is why they malign consciousness. 'The Koran' was compiled after the dath of Mohammad, and due to his death from fighting the inclusions contain elements of enemity. All hostilites will come to an end if we can be governed by the System, that was what Mohammad demanded. Religious faiths are alien to culture and spirituality.

Ibrahim Mahfouz:

Ibahim to Ahmed
You say:
"2. The custom(honor killing) is practiced by the indigenous Christian, Hindu, and Sikh minorities residing in the primarily Muslim regions where it is prevalent. Who can forget the murder of 22-year-old Palestinian Christian women Faten Habash who was raped and beaten to death".

I like to comment on this incident of Faten because I am familiar with it.
Her father, a jerk of a man, promised his pastor among others not to confront his daughter. He had struck her once in a fit of mad outrage, as he testified later. This rape bit is your creation to spice up the story.
Most of the Christians of Greater Syria (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Palestine) were Arabs before being Christians. Their subculture is a mix of Canaanite, Arab and Muslim cultures. They are indistinguishable in many respects from the Muslim majority. That is not to imply that “honor killing” is common among Christians. Far from it. This is an isolated and only incident of its kind as far as I know. It is so unique that even Ahmed knows the full name of the victim.

Michael D. Houst:

I was born and raised a Roman Catholic.

I've only been loosely associated with the Church for the past several years, inspite of my wife, who's a die-hard convert to it.

I consider myself to be a follower of Jesus. But since so much has been lost, or misinterpreted (either accidently or deliberately) by the Catholic Church; I feel free to follow the dictates of my own conscience, and not theirs.

Jews, Christians, and Islamics all seem to suffer from the same mental illness of persecuting their fellow members when they fail to adhere to their interpretation of their religious writings; and in so persecuting their fellows, demonstrate that they themselves have failed to obey the Will of Allah, El, God, or however they choose to call the One Above All.

C. Rockwell Hardney IV:

This is great news that provides real hope. Now, it should be followed up by a visit to explain feminism including Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Patty Murray, Janet Reno and Barney Frank, among others. Group leader could be Bill Clinton.

Exmxc:

Ohhhh...that's why thousands of islam women with thier children are trying to migrate to a western country to escape that kind of sharia law and still practice to be a good muslim. Why not let those countries with strict sharia law continue what they are doing until they run out of women to give birth to produce more men that will continue their law, and off course they are going to blame the west again to what happened to them. They blame the west anyway even if they dont have a running water, electricity and even if there is a thunder storm. Why would they use their smart people to make their country a better place to live, They have a lot of intellegent people to contribute to the world and some cleric will just stop them to change their world. For those people who dont believe what the west is doing...stop sending your kids to study in the west. So..if I want to make a revenge and do harm to another person, I'll change my religion to islam so I have a reason to hurt someone without going to jail and after a year will change back again to my original religion.

Exmxc:

Ohhhh...that's why thousands of islam women with thier children are trying to migrate to a western country to escape that kind of sharia law and still practice to be a good muslim. Why not let those countries with strict sharia law continue what they are doing until they run out of women to give birth to produce more men that will continue their law, and off course they are going to blame the west again to what happened to them. They blame the west anyway even if they dont have a running water, electricity and even if there is a thunder storm. Why would they use their smart people to make their country a better place to live, They have a lot of intellegent people to contribute to the world and some cleric will just stop them to change thier world. For those people who dont believe what the west is doing...stop sending your kids to study in the west. So..if I want to make a revenge and do harm to another person, I'll change my religion to islam so I have a reason to hurt someone without going to jail and after a year will change back again to my original religion.

Exmxc:

Ohhhh...that's why thousands of islam women with thier children are trying to migrate to a western country to escape that kind of sharia law and still practice to be a good muslim. Why not let those countries with strict sharia law continue what they are doing until they run out of women to give birth to produce more men that will continue their law, and off course they are going to blame the west again to what happened to them. They blame the west anyway even if they dont have a running water, electricity and even if there is a thunder storm. Why would they use their smart people to make their country a better place to live, They have a lot of intellegent people to contribute to the world and some cleric will just stop them to change thier world. For those people who dont believe what the west is doing...stop sending your kids to study in the west. So..if I want to make a revenge and do harm to another person, I'll change to my religion to islam so I have a reason to hurt someone without going to jail and after a year will change back again to my original religion.

Joshua Farrier:

I am currently reading a very interesting book, a good portion of which addresses the issues of women's rights in the Islamic world. I highly recommend it as reading for anyone trying to better understand the Middle East. It is called "No Got but God" by Reza Aslan. Aslan's premise, as best I can understand it, is that Islam is undergoing its own Reformation--an inner struggle to determine the future of the religion. I tend to agree.

At some point, I realized that I know so little of Islam. I believe that the lack of knowledge about Islam, the Koran and Muslim tradition is so prevalent in Western societies, even amongst the intelligentsia. We all have a responsibility to learn about our fellow man instead of first jumping to conclusions about them or judging them.

Muhammad:

I am surprised by the fact that most of us claim to have impartail point of view but still what we say is very much influenced by the ones who control the whole BIG game !!!
Think impartially please, don't just argue, when we say NO then there is an OBVIOUS reason to that
and that obvious reason does have a background most of the times.
Think it makes some sense
Peace for all
take care

John 2:

To Ahmed:
1) You sound well read, but it appears that you don't live in an Islamic society (at least, not as a woman). I do, right now. Women are treated like pets here. They are not free. I wish you could be a woman and live here. You could see how your book knowledge rates against real experience.

2) People who are free, talk so liberally about those who are not.

3) There is a prison here for women who have been raped. Yea, it was their fault that some perverted uncle couldn't control himself.

4) Tyranny creates two kinds of people; Cowards and Hypocrites.

John 2:

To Ahmed:
1) You sound well read, but it appears that you don't live in an Islamic society (at least, not as a woman). I do, right now. Women are treated like pets here. They are not free. I wish you could be a woman and live here. You could see how your book knowledge rates against real experience.

2) People who are free, talk so liberally about those who are not.

3) There is a prison here for women who have been raped. Yea, it was their fault that some perverted uncle couldn't control himself.

4) Tyranny creates two kinds of people; Cowards and Hypocrites.

John:

Islam bashers and haters, you harbor rampant hate for Islam. Seek professional help and clean your ugly souls.
you need to understand Islam, and rid yourselves of what your sick minds dictate.

Observer:

You mean verses like this?

4:34. ‘Men are in charge of (or overseers of - qawwamuna) women, as Allah has given them more (strength) than the other (sometimes translated as made them superior to the other), and because they spend of their wealth (to provide for them). Therefore women who are virtuous are obedient to God, and guard in (the husband’s) absence what God would have them guard. As for those women on whose part you fear rebellion (nushuz), admonish them and banish them to beds apart, (and last) beat (adribu) them. Then, if they obey you, seek not a way against them. For God is Most High, Great (above you all).


Right!

swp:

Chandra Shekhar Balachandran:
"Let us use our HEARTS and BRAINS, for goodness' sakes, and bring about the changes in our own daily lives. That's the only way change can come about.

And it is no mean feat!

Books, books, books! Keep them in the shelves and start LIVING."

*************************************************
well said!

Yes, let the law be written on their hearts. When people twist themselves in knots over rules, they may easily rob the spirit of the law. It doesn't matter if it is a religious law or sovereign law, books are records and not about trusting your own good sense. Believing that sovereign law is immune from corruption is equally misguided. Books should never replace life.

gary:

unfortunatly if they all return to what the koran say's all the rest of us are dead meat.

DontTypeLies:

Hogwash. This woman is clueless. Leave Islam then you will be safe.

http://www.answering-islam.de/Main/Silas/wife-beating.htm

Ahmed:

To Ibrahiam

You seem to have a moral objection to 'child marriages' and 'honor killings'. If you do have an objection to these practices can you please tell why you deem them to be blameworthy?

Is it because the fail to adhere to your moral and ethical standards? If so then can you please tell me what the basis of these standards are?

Are they based on philosophical or theological grounds? If they are based on a philosophy which one? If they are based on theological principals then which one's and why should they be accepted by those who do not adhere to the particular religion from which they are derived?


In regards to the 'Stoning of women' in the Quran'

1. Their is not a single verse in the Quran (as you have stated above) which speaks of stoning of any kind. Their is however mention of stoning (regardless of gender) in the hadith (please get your facts straight)

In regards to 'Honor Killings in the hadith'

1. Their is no mention of such a practice in the six canonical books of tradition; Sahih Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Muslim, Sunun Abu Dawud, Sunan Ibn Majah, Sunan al-Nisai, and Sunan al-Tirmidhi.

As far as Islam goes:


1. The custom predates Islam by a millinia.

2. The custom is practiced by the indigenous Christian, Hindu, and Sikh minorities residing in the primarily Muslim regions where it is prevalent. Who can forget the murder of 22-year-old Palestinian Christian women Faten Habash who was raped and beaten to death with an Iron Bar while watching a Boy Scout parade by her father for wanting to marry a Muslim man? Faten attempted to escape to Jordan but her efforts where hindered when her family Priest called the Palestinian authorities and demanded that she be apprehend and returned to her father’s home. On her arrival to her father’s house she was beaten and her pelvis was broken as she was either thrown from a window or jumped trying to escape. Two day's later she was raped and killed by her father in front of her younger siblings on living room floor.

3. The practice is virtually unheard of in the Amazighan and Tourage region's of North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, most of Central Asia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and the world's most populated Muslim nation Indonesia.

4. Their is no concept of killing in the name of family 'honor' in Islamic Doctrine.

The Quran is very clear every human being is responsible for their actions and their action's alone. Islamic Jurisprudence however does in fact layout actual legal prescriptions criminalizing illegal sexual relations.

Islam like Judaism for those who are unaware is not only a metaphysical construct but a complete and total way of life; meaning their is no notion of what we in the west call separation between religion and the state.

In regards to adultery The Quran states:


The adulteress and adulterer should be flogged a hundred lashes each, and no pity for them should deter you from the law of God, if you believe in God and the last day; and the punishment should be witnessed by a body of believers (Qur’an 24:2).

As you can see the Quran treats the committer of Adultery in the same manner regardless of their gender.

In regards to women and adultery the Quran actually goes to such great lengths to protect women from being subjected to false accusations of sexual misconduct that it mandates mandatory lashes for all those who do not bring forth ample evidence to prove allegations of this sort.

Those who defame chaste women and do not bring four witnesses should be punished with eighty lashes, and their testimony should not be accepted afterwards, for they are profligates (Qur’an at 24:4).

As the brilliant Asifa Quraishi states in her article "Her Honor: A Islamic Critique of the Rape Laws of Pakistan":

After criminalizing extramarital sexual relations the Qur’an simultaneously attaches to the prosecution of this crime nearly insurmountable evidentiary restrictions: four eye-witnesses are required to prove a charge of sexual misconduct. Islamic jurisprudence further interprets the Qur’anic zina evidentiary rule of quadruple testimony to require the actual witnessing of penetration during sexual intercourse, and nothing less. This interpretation is based on the reported hadith (tradition) of Muhammad in which, after a man persisted in confessing to adultery (the Prophet having turned away to avoid hearing the information several times prior), Muhammad asked several specific questions to confirm that the act was indeed sexual penetration (Bukhari 1985, 8:528-35 (Bk. 82, Nos. 806, 810, 812-814); Abu Daud 1990, 3: Nos. 4413-14) Moreover, Islamic evidence law requires the witnesses to be mature, sane, and of upright character (Salama 1982, 109; El-Awa 1982, 126-27; Siddiqi 1985, 43-49).

Furthermore, if any eyewitness testimony was obtained by violating a defendant’s privacy, it is inadmissible. Why so many evidentiary restrictions on a criminal offense prescribed by God? Islamic scholars posit that it is precisely to prevent carrying out punishment for this offense. By limiting conviction to only those cases where four individuals actually saw sexual penetration take place, the crime will realistically only be punishable if the two parties are committing the act in public, in the nude. The crime is therefore really one of public indecency rather than private sexual conduct. That is, even if four witnesses saw a couple having sex, but under a coverlet, for example, this testimony would not only fail to support a zina charge, but these witnesses would also be liable for slander. Thus, while the Qur’an condemns extramarital sex as an evil, it authorizes the Muslim legal system to prosecute someone for committing this crime only when it is performed so openly that four people see them without invading their privacy. As Cherif Bassiouni puts it, "[t]he requirement of proof and its exigencies lead to the conclusion that the policy of the harsh penalty is to deter public aspects of this form of sexual practice" (Bassiouni 1982, 6)


In regards to 'child brides'.

1. All four traditional schools of Islamic Jurisprudence agree that in order for two individuals to enter into a marriage contract(not in Islam marriage is a social contract not some magical sacrament)they must posses the qualities on adulthood and sanity.

However the question thus remains what is adulthood?

Adulthood is reached at seventeen years of age for both sexes according to the Malikis.

According to the Hambali's and the Shafii's it is reached at the completion of the both the male and the females fifteenth year.

According to the Hanafis (the Madhab of Afghanistan) it is 17 years of age for the female and 18 years of age for the male. For the Hanafi's however this is the maximum age limit for maturity. The minimum age is 9 years for a girl and 12 years for a boy.

The definition of adulthood in the case of the Hanafis is a scrupulously scientific one rather then a socially constructed one. (Meaning when a male or a female attains the age of puberty and is able to reproduce)

To Halozcel:

I am afraid that like Ibrahim you comment has once again highlighted the average layman’s dismal ignorance of Islamic Doctrine, Jurisprudence, and History. I suggest you educated yourself by visiting the following website.

http://www.guide2womenleaders.com/Muslim_Leaders.htm

MiiPandaa:

She and other Islamic feminists are using the best "transitional" strategy they have available: it is much easier and more marketable to find a solution WITHIN the Koran than to tell Islamic traditionalists that they (and, by default the Koran) are simply wrong.

President Clinton's "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding homosexuals in the U.S. military is one such transitional strategy. He and his Administration knew that the entrenched military leadership and their political supporters would have completely fought a full change to a sexual-orientation-irrelevant military.

In a similar vein, Islamic feminists who gain attention, reduce human rights abuses against women, and open eyes throughout the Islamic by finding women-empowering text within the Koran are producing the productive bridges between the Dark Ages through which most of Islam struggles today and the possibility of its Enlightenment a few generations from now. I wish Fatima Gailani and those who think like her all the encouragement and luck I can.

Bigmo:

What she should be saying is where is the need to enforce religion is in the Koran. Where is the concept of the so called Sharaih in the Koran? Where is the concept of "Islamic state" in the Koran? She is not a Koranist.

http://free-minds.org/

Bigmo:

What she should be saying is where is the need to enforce religion is in the Koran. Where is the concept of the so called Sharaih in the Koran? Where is the concept of "Islamic state" in the Koran? She is not a Koranist.

http://free-minds.org/

halozcel:

**What Western(not only western,but everyone in the World)feminists dont understand that ''We dont want Freedom''** What can it be written more ??

What you dont understand that if you are not free,you can not be Human.
What you dont grasp that women are not treated like *chattel* in the name of islam,but Woman IS *chattel* in islam,nothing else.

Could you write any statewoman or Queen or significant woman in three mainstream islamic empires in the history(Umayyad,Abbasid and Ottoman)

First thing first,You shall unchain your head.
Islamic feminist(?),muslim feminist,democratical Shariah(!),islamic democracy,talaben democracy exc. are charlatanism and sophistry.

First of all,you shall be Human,otherwise you can not do anything.

Hakhamanesh:

Ms. Gailani is as elegant as the conceited and self-righteous comments above are stale and cliched. It takes courage and creativity to fashion a new future within and from the four corners of one's own tradition. The wholesale grafting of the individualism and "feminism" of the consumerist secular West is often an insipid reduction of the actual dynamism of Western Culture. Good for Ms. Gailani and her brave cohorts for striking out a path of their own.

Oppsaa:

ALL HAVE "BLOOD" ON THEIR "HANDS"!

< ? : +) / a Ya!:

JEWs Should be a-shamed of their Religio(n)!

CHRiSTIAN(s) should be a-shamed of their Religio(n)!

ISLAM(s) should be a-shamed of their Religio(n)!


HiNDU(s) should be a-shamed of their Religio(n)!


BUDDiST(s) should be a-shamed of their Religio(n)!


And other "PRE-APOCALYPTiC" (splinters) SuperStupidStitious competing Faith, Belief & or Religion SYSTEM(s)!

CVH:

To disagree, partly, with Chandra: read MORE books than just a single religious text hundreds of years old. Many brilliant people have conveyed their ideas to future generations in books that too few people bother to read in our post-literate culture. The founding generation of this country was a generation of readers. Go the Library of America website, or buy a set of the Great Books, or look at what's being reviewed in the New York Review of Books.

< ? : + ) Ya Ya!:

Ye Have a "PRE-APOCALYTiC" Super Stupid Stitious Religion, Faith, Belief etc...

Rajneesh:

“What Western feminists don’t understand is that we don’t want freedom,” Gailani said. “We want to be able to follow the Koran, minus all the anti-women dogma that surrounds it.”

Not really sure what this means.Don't want freedom to walk around without the scarf, chose a man...?

Ibrahim Mahfouz:

Mr. Fairweather says:
"Fatima Gailani believes that women’s rights can be achieved by a return to the teachings of the Koran".
She wants to use Quran to improve women’s status? This is ironic because isn't that the same book that denigrated women in the first place?
http://www.prophetofdoom.net/quotes1.html.
(Islamic quotes-women)

You say the Quran does not speak of child marriages and honor killing. First these are not overriding women’s issues, mainly due to their affecting a small fraction of women unlike the other Muslim women's issues, such as inheritance, divorce, polygamy etc. Secondly, although the scourges of child brides and honor killing are not spelled out in the Quran, they are mentioned in the Hadith (Tradition of the Prophet).The Quran encourages the Muslims to consider their Prophet as the ideal model for a man’s behavior, and if he allows himself to marry a six years old child we should not be surprised if we see a 45 years old Afghani man married to an eleven years old child. As for honor killing, well when the Quran commands the "believers” to stone a woman for an alleged moral impropriety then by the same measure a man is implicitly encouraged by the Quran to kill his sister or daughter for what he and his family consider a shameful act that reflects on the ‘honor’ of the extended family.
There are Muslims who call themselves ‘Koranics” and who advocate the canceling of all the Hadith books. That alone would not change much of women status in Islam. For Muslim women to be treated as humans with equal rights with their men, the Quran has to be dropped as a source of civil legislation and be only used as a book of worship. Maybe after few generations there will be gender equality under the law as well as in the psyche of the Muslims.

Chandra Shekhar Balachandran:

Hillel: "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah; the rest is commentary. Go and study it."

Traditional Indic wisdom:

"What is said in thousands of scripture
I will say to you in half a verse:
That which is unwholesome to yourself
Do not unto others."

This is common sense. No book, no matter how holy it is considered, can trump such common sense. We need to stop living by literal readings of books.

Feminism combined with Koran ... all this is a waste of time and energy; not to mention, disingenuous. Let us use our HEARTS and BRAINS, for goodness' sakes, and bring about the changes in our own daily lives. That's the only way change can come about.

And it is no mean feat!

Books, books, books! Keep them in the shelves and start LIVING.

center:


Western feminists are many steps ahead of the type of feminist Gailani is. Western feminists are for the 'individual' actualization; Gailani et all, is for system perpetuation and subordinating the individual to 'cleric' interpretation of what is best. In her zeal for Islam, Gailani ignores, if not condones, exclusion of women from being equal to males in mundane things such as leadership roles in community functions.

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.