The Oppression Of Women In Islam Must End

The Oppression Of Women In Islam Must End

The story of a beautiful religion being disgustingly corrupted to favor oppressive men.

Since the beginning of time, there has been an established role of men and women in society; men the hunters, the bringers of the bounty if you will, and women the gatherers and the caretakers. Because we live in a constantly evolving world, there has been a significant change in these roles.

Many women have expanded out of the domestic sphere to become the main provider of their families, and men have adapted and have become the main caregivers. However, this idea only applies to modernized and “western” nations; in Islamic societies, women tend to be forced into stereotypically feminine roles, uneducated, as well as oppressed.

This subjugation of women in Islamic society is ironic because the Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, was a feminist. Muhammad laid out the word of God, which simply said that women were equal to men, women were to be educated just like men, women were able to both own and inherit property just like men. Muhammad built Islam on exactly this doctrine of equality but it seems that current Islamic societies have reverted back to their 7th century Arabia state where women were treated similarly to property. Today, many Islamic societies oppress women using the very religion that was once used to promote equality among all.

Specifically, in war-torn Islamic nations, women tend to lack even the most basic human rights. For example, in a court of law, a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man’s. Furthermore, if a woman were to be murdered the compensation for the family would be half that for the murder of a man. In Islam, women are permitted only one spouse; however, men may have up to 4 wives. In addition, the legal age for girls to marry is just nine years old, but boys are allowed only after the age of fourteen. As a result, pedophiles are able to exploit and subsequently leave young girls. These are only a few of the injustices women and girls face.

Here in the US, people (especially teenagers) relish in the freedom that is choosing what to wear without heavy restrictions; in most Islamic societies women lack this freedom. Women are more often than not required to wear headscarves outside of the house or in the presence of males with the exception of family members and husbands.

Although many people argue that it is the religion of Islam that requires this practice, this idea is easily disproven because the religion only calls for modesty, which can be respected with conservative clothing. Not only are women encouraged, if not required, to wear a headscarf, but they often are forbidden from indulging in stereotypically feminine acts, such as applying makeup or nail polish. This comes back to the idea of “protecting” the modesty of women. Traditionalists believe that women are more likely to bring shame to their families or end up getting hurt, i.e. raped, if they were to revel in these practices.

All over the world, women have a higher chance of experiencing domestic abuse than men do, and in the Middle East that rate is even higher. In December 2016, 40% of Israeli and Arab women aged 16-48 reported that they had experienced some form of intimate partner violence (IPV). Whether it be rape, physical, or emotional abuse, women in the Middle East have a higher chance of experiencing it.

For some time, women were powerful and had rights, but centuries later societies dominated by Islam manipulated the religion to favor men and silence women. What heightens the urgency of the situation is that most women in Middle Eastern nations are unwilling to admit that they have been abused by their spouses because it will further belittle women in the eyes of men. They tend to be prodded with invasive questions: what were you wearing, what were you doing, were you alone, why were you alone. Consequently, the abuse continues and so does the silence.

Not only are women kept muzzled, but they are also kept uneducated. One of the few ways the corrupt Islamic society is able to grow is through uneducated women. Because the women are uneducated, they often do not understand how their legal system works, and as a result cannot get help from outsiders, thus staying oppressed.

If women were ever to learn the true teachings of Muhammad’s Islam it would be considerably harder to squash women and keep them in the domestic sphere. Women would understand their true value and protest for their rights and privileges, thus destroying the hierarchy traditionalists have built for centuries.

For hundreds and thousands of years, women have lived under the burden of injustice that is caused by corrupt interpretation of Islamic teachings. Women have been abused, raped, and oppressed for so long that it is the only life they know; it is the teachings they pass on to their daughters: listen to the men in your life and you will not be punished. In this society, to be a woman is to be punished. If you are born female, you are nothing but a burden to your family - an idea that is planted in the heads of young girls from the day they learn to think or talk.

Oppression is not only widespread in Islamic societies but virtually in every one. Expensive birth control or abortion, the pay gap, maternity leave, rape culture, these are only a few ways women are controlled on a day to day basis. It is the job of women to join hands and fight the injustices they are subjected to.

Cover Image Credit: flickr

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11 Struggles Of Being An Indian Muslim, As Told By Spongebob

Yes, I am Indian. No, I’m not polytheistic. And so what?

Disclaimer: The YouTuber pictured in the cover photo, known as Superwoman, is not a Muslim.

Most people I've encountered are extremely accepting, but this is for that other 1 percent. Whether it's dealing with the occasional misguided individual or having to wear atrocious swimsuits, here are 11 struggles of being an Indian Muslim.

1. Thinking that being Indian and being a Muslim are mutually exclusive.

Being Indian is a race, people. Islam is a religion. It is possible to be both.

2. Getting hit with #AlternativeFacts.

Did you know that every single Muslim in India left during the Indo-Pak split resulted in all "Indian" Muslims actually hailing from Pakistan or Bangladesh? Neither did I.

3. “You’re probably North Indian then, right? There are more Muslims there.”

Nope. I’m about as South Indian as it gets. #represent

4. Automatically assuming I'm a Hindu because of my skin tone.

No, I want to check if there’s pork in this sausage, not beef.

5. Judgmental Parents

“My parents hate most Muslims but I’m sure they’ll love you!

"I would love to meet your parents!"

6. Islamophobic statements people make in front of me because they assume I’m not a Muslim

Friend: Lol my parents said I can date anyone I want except Muslims because they’re evil — I’m sure you can relate.

Me: …

Me: No, can’t relate.

*Cue the awkward silence*

7. People constantly offering me water when I’m fasting

Their reactions when I tell them why I can't accept it are worth every drop they offered.

8. “Aren’t you hot in those long pants?”

Yes, I am, thanks for asking.

9. "Happy Diwali! Wait, you do know what that is, right?"

While I am a Muslim, I'm not ignorant. So, Happy Diwali to you too, friend. I'd rather you wish me for Eid though.

10. "Why don't you take that cardigan off?"

Because this shirt is sleeveless, but it was cute, and I didn't expect it to be this hot. Bad life decisions, I know.

11. Swimsuits.

No bikinis or tankinis or any kind of -inis for this girl. While everyone else is chilling in the sun, I'm hiding in the bathroom making sure that the morphsuit I have on doesn't see the light of day. At least it guarantees I don't tan :')

Cover Image Credit: YouTube / Superwoman

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6 Islamic Traditions People Scoff At But Never Give Muslims The Chance To Explain

Your questions to Muslims, answered.

As a Muslim woman, I’m aware that many people don’t understand why I do or say certain things for my religion. Sometimes, people aren’t brave enough to ask me their pressing questions. Sometimes they are. And sometimes they do ask, but I don’t have the time to answer them. After all, you can’t really explain an entire religion or mindset on a two minute walk from class to class. Here are six questions muslims get asked about, but don’t get the chance to explain.

1. Why do you wear that head thing?

This “head thing” that muslim women wear is called a hijab, but hijab isn’t only a scarf worn on the head. The definition of hijab is "cover," or in other words, "a barrier." In Islam, a hijab is a veil, sometimes from head to toe, used to protect a woman.

Think about it. If you bought a new iPad, would you leave it bare, or cover it with a screen protector and an Otterbox?

The hijab is used to protect women from wandering eyes and glances of malicious intent. There are more reasons that Muslims wear hijab besides this, though. I use hijab as a declaration of my religion, to show that I am Muslim and that I am proud. I also use it to show my identity. I don’t want to be judged or evaluated on the way I look. I want to be known and valued for my thoughts and the things I say, not for the way I look or how “pretty” I am.

Hijab is a form of empowerment and identity for Muslim women. Completely their choice. And let’s not forget, men also do hijab! Their hijab is to be respectful of women and not make them uncomfortable by "lowering their gaze" — no staring or catcalling.

SEE ALSO: Muslim Girls Answer Top 10 Basic Questions About Hijab

2. Do you not eat or drink for the entire month?

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast for the entire month, but many people misinterpret that to think that we don’t eat or drink for the entire month. Obviously that’s not true, or else none of us would make it past the first week. Muslims fast during Ramadan to become closer to God and to practice abstinence and self-control.

I also believe that fasting helps me humble myself and learn to appreciate my life and blessings more whenever I felt hungry like people who don’t have a privileged life. So during Ramadan, we eat before sunrise, fast for the day and eat again at sunset.

3. Why can’t you wear nail polish?

OK, this may not be that common of a question because not everyone knows that Muslims can’t wear nail polish. But for those who do know, they still don’t know why. Technically, Muslim women can wear nail polish. The reason that we can’t always wear it is because it covers our nails.

In Islam, before we pray or read the Quran, we cleanse ourselves by performing “wudhu” by washing our hands, arms, face and feet. If we wear nail polish, we can't properly cleanse our entire hands and would not be able to pray.

The exception to this is when women are menstruating. When women are on their period, they cannot pray or read Quran, so we are technically allowed to paint our nails as we don’t have to do wudhu.

4. Why do you have to pray right now?

If you’ve ever spent a whole day with a Muslim, you may feel like they stop every five minutes to pray. (Almost) everyone knows that Muslims pray five times a day, but they may not know that it happens at certain parts of the day. I’ve had to pray in parking lots, in the back of restaurants or in the middle or a park, and my friends always ask why I can’t just wait until I get home to pray.

Every prayer happens at a certain time in the day, and you have a chunk of time, basically until the next prayer starts, to do it.

5. Are you vegetarian?

Although some people may be vegetarian, not all Muslims are. If you’ve ever been to a restaurant with a Muslim, you may have noticed that they don’t eat the meat. This is because Muslims only eat halal meat, which is basically meat that is killed according to how the Quran instructs, zibah: which is to cut the jugular vein, carotid artery and windpipe of the animal.

You usually don’t find that meat at typical American restaurants, so Muslims find halal restaurants to eat at. This is also why we can’t eat other products like Jello that could contain meat products in it.

SEE ALSO: 7 Haram Ingredients Muslims Will Thank Allah We Can't Eat

6. Can you eat halal bacon?

Although we eat halal meat, bacon is one of the things that we cannot eat at all. There are a few things that are forbidden in Islam, including alcohol and bacon. Besides avoiding these foods because our religions just says to, these foods also can be damaging to a person’s health, which is another reason Muslims avoid them.

This was not at all to discourage questions about Islam and Muslims because I very much love answering questions. I appreciate those who care enough to learn!

Cover Image Credit: Pxhere | Creative Commons CCO

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